Event celebrates historic strike led by Iowan

One hundred years ago this March, 17-year-old Iowa labor activist Pearl McGill played a leading role in the work stoppage of 25,000 New England textile workers, famously known as the “Bread and Roses” strike. The Iowa Women’s Archives will celebrate this centennial from noon-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, in the second floor conference room of the University of Iowa Main Library.

The free, public event, part of Women’s History Month, will include a staged reading of Bread, Roses and Buttons: Pearl McGill and the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike, written by Janet Schlapkohl, an MFA candidate in the UI Theater Arts Department. The play explores the seeds of McGill’s activism, which were sown in Iowa’s pearl button industry in Muscatine where she advocated for the labor rights of 2,500 men, women, and children who faced poor wages and working conditions in the city’s numerous button factories.

For more information, contact Janet Weaver, assistant curator, Iowa Women’s Archives, 319-335-5068 or janet-weaver@uiowa.edu.