We Shall Not Be Moved: The Women's Factory Strike of 1909

Joan Dash, Author
Joan Dash, Author Scholastic $15.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-590-48409-1
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 165 pages - 978-0-590-48410-7
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-13892-5
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-06149-0
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Writing with a brio that does justice to the intrepid heroines of her book, Dash (The Triumph of Discovery: Four Nobel Women) serves up a colorful and perceptive account of the ILGWU strike that mobilized almost 30,000 garment factory workers in New York City in 1909. Mostly Yiddish-speaking immigrant girls in their teens, the strikers protested painfully long hours, pitiful wages and demeaning policies (arriving at the factory five minutes late, for example, cost a worker half a day's pay). Yet, however just the laborers' cause, the odds against them seemed insuperable: they lacked funds; few of them were fluent in English; and they suffered brutality at the hands of the police as well as of the courts. But the factory girls were determined to prevail, and their morale was fortified by the support of society women-some of them motivated by the suffragette spirit, others seeking adventure. The unlikely alliance won major concessions from factory owners, paving the way for subsequent union victories. Dash brings a novelist's skill to her descriptions of Lower East Side streets, and she conveys the general excitement of the movement by focusing on key individuals, memorably presenting them as impassioned agents for social change. Ages 8-14. (Mar.)
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