Graphic Witness: visual arts & social commentary
Winter Soldiers image

LABOR SPOKE UP, spoke up loud and clear.

Labor had learned something in the hundred and thirty years since the shoemakers of Philadelphia were tried for “criminal conspiracy to raise their wages.” Learned it with clubs and bullets and tear gas. Learned it from the coal and iron police, the militia, the “Citizens’ Committees,” the Vigilantes. Haymarket, the Ludlow Massacre, Memorial Day in Chicago, 1937, bear eloquent and bloody witness. Labor had learned that rights must be won not once, but a hundred times over. That an injury to one is an injury to all. And Labor rallied to the support of the teachers and of their unions.

Seven hundred and seventy educators throughout the country, including ten college presidents and a hundred ministers, protested to the Board of Higher Education, adopted a “Statement of Principles on the Rights of Teachers.”

Theodore Dreiser, Richard Wright and a hundred others called upon “writers, free men, men of good will to support the teachers at City College waging the fight for democracy and education.”

And thousands of citizens flooded Ordway Tead and District Attorney Dewey with post-cards, letters, and telegrams. “What’s this you people are trying to do?” they said. “This is America.”

Julian Brazelton