PNLHA on Everett Massacre

Poster - Everett MassacreNovember 5, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the Everett Massacre. On the 70th anniversary, the PNLHA published a 24-page booklet documenting the terrible event that saw the shooting deaths of at least five people.

The booklet, by Scott Wilson, provides the details, including several photographs that depict the events that led to the deaths of several young members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and at least two members of the posse that was charged with stopping them from carrying on their free speech fight in Everett.

Everett Massacre – PNLHA booklet – 1986

For further details on the massacre, see Norman H. Clark, Mill Town: A Social History of Everett (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1970).

Wobblies in Grays Harbor

Sawmill workers at Grays Harbor, circa 1929

Sawmill workers at Grays Harbor, circa 1929

PNLHA Washington member Aaron Goings has had a busy publishing period.

Last year his article “Women, Wobblies, and the ‘War of Grays Harbor’ appeared in Montana, “The Magazine of Western History.” In 2013 he co-authored a book with Gary Kaunonen called Community in Conflict: A Working-Class History of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike and the Italian Hall Tragedy (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2013).

Both works include a generous collection of historic photographs, including the image at left from the Montana article.

Aaron has now returned to his job as assistant professor of history at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA, after teaching as a Fulbright Scholar in Finland. Welcome back to the PNLHA, Aaron!

Centralia, WA, Wobbly mural defacement called travesty

Centralia mural defacedAt the October meeting of the Oregon PNLHA trustees, Mike Sullivan raised concerns about the defacement of the labor history mural in Centralia, WA.

Here are some thoughts on what is being viewed by some as “cultural vandalism” and a “travesty.”

The issue is the cutting of windows into the famous mural depicting what has been called the Centralia Tragedy by some and a Massacre by others. It involved a deadly battle between members of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies, and local Legionnaires in 1919.

From Mike Alewitz, artistic director of the Labor Art & Mural Project at Central Connecticut State University:

THE RESURRECTION OF WESLEY EVEREST, the artistic result of a mural project involving dozens of activists in the Pacific Northwest, has been literally defaced.

Completed in 1997, the monument to the antiwar unionist Wesley Everest, lynched in 1919, was created as a way to reach out to immigrant workers new to the Centralia area. The painting of the image was preceded by months of public discussion and debate involving local unions, the IWW, the Labor Education Center at Evergreen College and numerous individuals.

Imagine if the same treatment was accorded to Martin Luther King or another beloved figure. This desecration of the mural by the owners of Centralia Square, is an insult to every working person.

From “Tuck” at Bellingham IWW:

Centralia Square Antique Mall responds to DEFACEMENT OF EVEREST MURAL. This August 22 comment appears on the Centralia Square Antique Mall F’book page, following Paul Lenart’s comment:

“In response to all of the concern about the mural, it will be completely restored. The new owners have gone to great trouble and expense to make sure it will remain. Every piece that was removed was preserved and hangs up in the hallway on the 3rd floor. In addition perforated plastic has been made with the exact images that were removed. This renovation should be completed soon. Since the owner of Centralia Square Antique Mall no longer owns the building, we had nothing to do with the renovation process. However we are very pleased with the new owner’s efforts to maintain the mural.” I will be writing them to commend their concern, and urging them to post to Bellingham IWW when the work is done. So, suggest in the meantime we hold off on further bad reviews, and give them a chance to get the renovation completed. Tuck

One Washington PNLHA member who has been following the discussion, advises that future commemorative plaques and murals should be erected either on a union building or a public property.

Call for papers – PNLHA conference 2015

Anita_willcox_solidarity-forever-posterThe call for papers, presentations and workshops is now out for the 47th annual conference of the PNLHA. The theme is “Celebrate, Honor, Act” and organizers at the Washington PNLHA are looking for presentations that offer “the best historical models for organizing, strategic alliances and coalitions, and to connect these models with contemporary actions to consider how the labor movement can strengthen for the future.” Download the PDF and submit your proposals by January 16, 2015. Organizers invite you to come to Seattle on May 1-3, 2015 to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the writing of Solidarity Forever, Honor the life of Joe Hill on the centennial of his execution, and Act to strengthen and rebuild the labor movement for a secure future.

Call for Papers – PNLHA 2015