July 12, 1934
Workers at the Dwight cotton textile mill in Gadsden walked out on July 12, 1934. The strike was organized because workers were not receiving the pay raises they were promised, which was felt the most by the workers in the South. The action of the workers in Gadsden, Alabama spurred nationwide action that would go on to become the largest union labor strike in U.S. history. Due to violence experienced in other states, Alabama deputies were stationed with machine guns at mill gates to keep the peace. Soon after the strike became violent, the mills were able to reopen under the protection of the government, and the textile union never fully recovered.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
The July 12, 1934 textile workers strike at the Dwight Cotton Mill was the first in a string of strikes that led to the largest labor conflict in U.S. history. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the Alabama Department of Archives and History)
United Textile Workers of America truck in front of Samuel Gompers Memorial, Washington, D.C., 1935. (Harris & Ewing, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
Company housing near a cotton mill in Gadsden, Etowah County, in December 1940. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Library of Congress, photograph by John Vachon)
Noon hour at the Dwight Manufacturing Co., Alabama City, November 1914. (Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hines, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
Steel and cotton mill workers hung their hats in the vestibule of a Gadsden Baptist church during a Sunday service in December 1940. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the Library of Congress, photograph by John Vachon)
Boy working in Talladega Hosiery Mills, November 1910. (Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hines, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.