Thursday, 8 March 2012
Bread and Roses - James Oppenheim.
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: "Bread and roses! Bread and roses!"
As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for - but we fight for roses, too!
As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more drudge and idler - ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses.
The above poem written by James Mc Millan was written to celebrate the movement for women's rights and was first published in American Magazine in 1911, and is closely associated with the Lawrence Textile mill strike of 1911, where the above picture was taken.
During this strike, which was in protest of a reduction in pay, under the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World ( The Wobblies) and led primarily by the women workforce, the women mill workers carried signs that quoted the poem, reading 'we want bread and roses too.'
It has since become an anthem for labor rights, and especially the rights of working women, across the globe.
Posted by teifidancer at 15:50