Labor History Links


Biography Page


see also biography books listings of this site's booklist

this is a beginning selection. There will be more listed on this site in the future



Listings from other sites

Samuel Gompers


"We want more school houses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more constant work and less crime; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge;

Eugene Debs, 1885-1926

Debs at Canton


"The earth is for all the people. That is the demand.

           The machinery of production and distribution for all the people. That is the demand.

            The collective ownership and control of industry and its democratic management in the interest of all the people. That is the demand. "

Lucy Parsons 1853-1942





"The great strike of May 1886 was an historical event of great importance, inasmuch as it was . . . the first time that the workers themselves had attempted to get a shorter workday by united, simultaneous action.... This strike was the first in the nature of Direct Action on a large scale. . . .Of course the eight-hour day is as antiquated as the craft unions themselves. Today we should be agitating for a five-hour workday."

Fannie Sellins

fannie sellins



Mother Jones

Mother Jones Shoes for Children

Mother Jones brings shoes for children in union camps during West Virginia miners strike

Kate Richards O"Hare 1876-1948

Kate Richards O'Hare



"Dimly I began to realize that if we would win (the fight against poverty) we must fight the cause and not the effects, and since poverty was the fundamental cause of the things I abhored, I began to study poverty, its whys and wherefores, and to try to understand why there should be so much want in such a world of plenty."



Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, 1890-1964

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn


"The majority of our workers are foreigners, one or two generations removed, and with their European home-ties and American environment, internationalism becomes the logical patriotism of a heterogeneous population....America--not as a melting-pot, that produces a jingoistic, mercenary, one-mold type, but as a giant loom weaving into a mighty whole the sons, the poetry, the traditions, and the customs of all races, until a beautiful human fabric, with each thread intact, comes forth--would stretch forth a myriad hands of brotherhood to the four quarters of the globe."

Rose Schneiderman 1882-1972



"I know from my experience it is up to the working people to
save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement."

Ben Fletcher 1890-1979

Ben Fletcher

woodcut of Fletcher by Carlos Cortez

Benjamin H. Fletcher Fletcher organized black dock workers into the Marine Transport Workers Union in Philadelphia under the Industrial Workers of the World

Encyclopedia article on Fletcher

Frank Little 1880 – 1917

"I don't give a damn what country your country is fighting, I am fighting for the solidarity of labor."
Little's gravestone remains a much visited site in Butte, where he was killed. His graveston reads: "slain by capitalist interest for organizing and inspiring his fellow men"

A. Philip Randolph, 1889-1979

"The combination of black and white workers will be a powerful lesson to the capitalists of the solidarity of labor. It will show that labor, black and white, is conscious of its interests and power. This will prove that unions are not based upon race lines, but upon class lines. This will serve to convert a class of workers, which has been used by the capitalist class to defeat organized labor, into an ardent, class conscious, intelligent, militant group."

Harry Bridges

1901 - 1990

"There will always be a place for us somewhere, somehow, as long as we see to it that working people struggle on, fight for everything they have, everything they hope to get, for dignity, equality, democracy, to oppose war and to bring to the world a better life."



Others in rough chronological order --send me your suggestions



Oral Histories

Available on-line

see History Matters guide to evaluating oral history use