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32 Peace Monuments
Related to the Labor Movement
Click here for labor leaders. | Click here for monuments relatred to Samuel Gompers [1850-1924].
1892 - Post Building, Homestead, Pennsylvania (USA). Unintentional monument. Used by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (and the international press) as headquarters during the Homestead Lock Out and Strike of 1892. Now the visitors center of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area "The strike began on June 30, 1892, and culminated in a battle between strikers and private security agents on July 6, 1892. One of the most serious disputes in US labor history. The dispute occurred in the Pittsburgh-area town of Homestead, Pennsylvania, between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (the AA) and the Carnegie Steel Company. The final result was a major defeat for the union, and a setback for efforts to unionize steelworkers... The pumphouse where the gunfight occurred [also] remains as a museum and meeting hall. There are several historical markers as well as a metal commerative sign with the US Steel logo that reads 'In Honor Of The Workers.'"
1893 - Haymarket Martyrs' Monument, Forest Home/German Waldheim Cemetery, 863 South DesPlaines Avenue, Forest Park, Chicago, Illinois (USA). "The labor activists executed for their alleged role in the 1886 Haymarket Square bombing are buried here; their striking grave monument has become a magnet for labor leaders, activists, and anarchists from around the world. The monument, designed by Albert Weinert [1863-1947] and dedicated in 1893, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997."
About 1906 - Clock permanently set at 8:00, Union Printers Home, 101 South Union Boulevad, Colorado Springs, Colorado (USA). The International Typographical Union (ITU) built this sanitarium in 1892, won the eight hour day in 1906, and then permanently set the clock on the sanitarium tower at 8:00 o'clock. /// The ITU was the largest & stongest union within the AF of L.
1916 - Augustus Pollack Monument, Monument Main Street, north of Fort Henry Bridge, Wheeling, West Virginia (USA). On Ohio River. Text of inscription: "Erected by Trade Union Members of United States in Memory of Augustus Pollack Whose Business Life and Actions Were Always in Sympathy with Organized Labor." /// "Commemorates Augustus Pollack [1830-1906] who immigrated to Baltimore from Germany in 1849 & moved to West Virginia in 1854. After the Civil War, he founded the Cigar & Tobacco Factory and the Crown Stogie Company in East Wheeling. Pollack was one of the city's leading businessmen & civic leaders, & was especially active in affairs of the communities' large German speaking population. He was known as a model employer & was a friend of organized labor, often called upon to settle disputes. In his will, he bequested scholarship funds to support a student from the 'industrial' population."
1918 - Ludlow Monument, Ludlow, Colorado (USA). Honors the 20 victims of the "Ludlow massacre" on April 20, 1914. Vandalized in 2003 with the heads and arms of the statue figures cut and removed, but has undergone repair. Maintained by United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). Next to the monument are a cellar door and stairs that lead down into the "death pit" where 11 children and two women died when fire broke out in the coal miners' tent city during their battle with the Colorado state militia. Visited by EWL.
1924 - "Champion of Labor. Defender of Human Rights" (statue of John Mitchell), Lackawanna County Courthouse, Scranton, Pennsylvania (USA). On back side of courthouse. John Mitchell [1870-1919] was a US labor leader & president of the United Mine Workers of America from 1898 to 1908.
1927 - "Canto al Trabajo" / "Ode to Labor," Buenos Aires (Argentina). Bronze by Rogelio Yrurtia [1879-1950].
1939 - Statue, ILO Headquarters, International Labour Organization, Geneva (Switzerland). Gift from the Government of Yugoslavia.
1951 - "Solidarity House" (UAW Headquarters) 8000 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan (USA). "Near the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle. The international headquarters of the United Auto Workers (UAW)." /// "This is a very significant site, perhaps the most symbolically significant site in the history of the labor movement in the United States."
1959 - "Triumph of Labour," Anna Square, Marina Beach, Chennai (India). Also known as the Labour statue. Opposite University of Madras. "An important landmark of Chennai. Shows four men toiling to move a rock, depicting the hard work of the labouring class. Bears a semblance to the famed World War II photograph of the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima by American Marines. Sculpted by Devi Prasad Roy Choudhary [1899-1975]. The statue is the earliest one to be erected on the beach & is installed close to the site where the country's first commemoration of May Day was held. Installed on the eve of the Republic Day in 1959, as part of the Kamaraj government's drive to beautify the beach. It remains the focal point of May Day celebrations in the city." June 1987 - Statue, ILO Headquarters, International Labour Organization, Geneva (Switzerland). Gift from the Government of India. Same as the "Triumph of Labour" by Roy Chowdury in Chennai?
November 1970 - The Hand of God, Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, Detroit, Michigan (USA). By Carl Milles [1875-1955]. Sculpted shortly before Mille's death but not dedicated until 1970. "Honors Frank Murphy [1890-1949], Detroit Mayor, Michigan Governor and US Supreme Court Associate Justice. Placed on a pedestal with the help of sculptor Marshall Fredericks. Commissioned by the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and paid for by individual donations from UAW members."
1972 - Statue of John Henry, Great Bend Railroad Tunnel, Talcott, West Virginia (USA). "The legend of John Henry, the “steel-drivin’ man” who beat the newfangled steel drill in a contest of strength & then died from exhaustion, is probably based on a real person. The statue was erected in 1972 by the Ruritan Club, then refurbished & moved closer to the tunnel entrance in 2012. Many of the workers, like John Henry, were newly-freed slaves. The legend is about both power & weakness, about persistence, about man vs. machine &, ultimately, the dignity of labor – with an African-American hero." This is "Monday's Monument" #54.
1980 - Monument, Gdansk (Poland). "Honors shipyard workers killed in Gdansk, the Baltic sea port, by government troops during unrest in 1970 which was triggered by food prices. The only monument built by a Communist government to victims of its own repression. Note that it consists of three tall crosses on which anchors are crucified." 2000 - Solidarity Museum, Gdansk (Poland). Opened on the 20th anniversary of the 1980 shipyard strikes, traces the history of the Solidarity movement and Poland's struggle to wriggle out of the grip of communism. The 'Roads to Freedom' multimedia exhibit consists of two parts; in the outdoor portion you'll see a section of the Berlin Wall beside the wall Lech Walesa climbed to lead the shipyard workersfarm workers. The grapes also represent the first consumer boycott of the UFW, the 1965 Delano strike.
June 1987 - Statue, ILO Headquarters, International Labour Organization, Geneva (Switzerland). Gift from the Government of India.
1992 - Charlie Brooks Memorial Peace Fountain, Peace Park, Detroit River, Windsor, Ontario (Canada). At former Coventry Gardens. Charles Brooks [1915–1977] was born in Windsor & grew up during the Great Depression. He witnessed first-hand the devastation that Windsor citizens endured at that time time, and these experiences caused him to become a labour union activist & first president of United Auto Workers Local 444. He was assassinated by an upset employee of Chrysler Motors." Entry #1342 in the "Peace Movement Directory" by James Richard Bennett (2001). Visited by EWL.
May 5, 1995 - Cesar Chavez mural, San Francisco State University, Malcolm X Plaza, San Francisco, California (USA). Lead artist Carlos (Cookie) Gonzalez. Dedicated about seven months after the SFSU Student Union was renamed after Chavez. The United Farm Workers (UFW) logo of an eagle was taken [by Cesar Chavez [1927-1993] & his brother Robert] from the Mexican flag. (The UFW was the first successful farm workers union in US history with a membership of 100,000 at its peak.) Logo colors represent hope (white), struggle of workers (black) & sacrifice (red). In his left hand Chavez holds a dove, which symbolizes his belief in non-violent resistance. Also present in the mural are the “Grapes of Wrath,” which resemble skulls to signify the harmful effects of pesticides on farm workers. The grapes also represent the first consumer boycott of the UFW, the 1965 Delano strike.
Date? - Statue of Emma Miller, Speakers' Corner, King George Square, Brisbane, Queensland (Australia). "Has a small hand-scratched plaque asking who stole Emma’s umbrella - missing from her left hand." /// Emma Miller [1839-1917] was a trade unionist, suffragist, freethinker & founder of the Australian Labor Party in Brisbane. The statue is one of a trio of statues in King George Square, the other two being Steele Rudd [1868-1935] & Sir Charles Lilley [1827-1897]."
1995 - A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, 10406 South Maryland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois (USA). "Promotes, honors and celebrates the legacy of A. Philip Randolph and contributions made by African-Americans to America's labor history. " A. Philip Randolph [1889-1979] was a prominent African-American civil rights leader and the founder of both the March on Washington Movement and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
1996 - Historical Marker, Pittsburgh Street, Springdale, Pennsylvania (USA). "The heritage of the Carnegie Hero Fund was commemorated in 1996 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission through the issuance of a roadside marker, which was installed near the sites of both the mine and the cemetery in which many of the disaster's victims were buried [after the massive explosion on January 25, 1904, in a coal mine at Harwick, PA, near Pittsburgh, claimed 181 lives and inspired Carnegie to create the Fund]. More than 1,600 such markers have been issued by the state since the program's inception in 1946. The blue and gold signs dotting the state's highways commemorate subjects having meaningful impact and statewide or national significance."
Date? - Flint Sitdown Strike Memorial, Sitdowners Memorial Park, Flint, Michigan (USA). Honors "sitdowners" of the 1936-1937 UAW automobile strike... Date? - Flint Sitdown Strike Historical marker, Sitdowners Memorial Park, Flint, Michigan (USA).
2003 - Monument to Labor, Omaha-Council Bluffs Bridge, 601 Riverfront Drive, Omaha, Nebraska (USA). Near the Missouri River. By Matthew J. Placzek. "Five figures at various tasks. A salute to the dedication & hard work of all those who built the city of Omaha. The second largest labor monument in the USA." What's the largest?!
August 30, 2003 - "Transcending" (Michigan Labor Legacy Monument), Philip Hart Plaza, Detroit, Michigan (USA). Near the intersection of Woodward & Jefferson. "Funded by United Auto Workers, Detroit area AFL-CIO & others. Sculpted by David Barr from Livonia & Sergio de Guisti, an Italian sculptor living in Redford Township at this time of his selection. Two steel arcs — the work of David Barr — stretch 63 feet into Detroit’s sky & weigh 30 tons. Barr saw them as an elegantly stylized gear emerging from the ground. They are not joined, & many assume they represent the unfinished mission of the American labor movement. However, at night, a light projects from one of the arcs at its zenith to the other. The sculptors assumed that viewers would focus on that light. To them, this light symbolized the energy of workers. At the base are 14 Vermont granite boulders, each six feet in height. The bas reliefs on those impressive boulders are the work of Sergio de Guisti. They remind us of the sacrifices & achievements of American workers. There are also more than a dozen plaques commemorating the accomplishments of the American labor movement such as the prohibition of child labor, free public school education and employer paid pensions and health care. This monument stands close to where Dr. Martin Luther King first gave his “I Have a Dream” speech on June 20, 1963, a speech that reached an even larger audience when Dr. King repeated its famous phrases at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on August 28 of that same year. Dr. King’s optimistic phrase: The arc of history bends toward justice is included in this sculpture."
October 2006 - Statue of Walter Reuther, Oglebay Park, Wheeling, West Virginia (USA). On Ohio River. Born in Wheeling, Walter Reuther [1907-1970] was "an American labor union leader, who made the United Automobile Workers a major force not only in the auto industry but also in the Democratic Party in the mid 20th century." He was a socialist in the early 1930s and became a leading liberal and supporter of the New Deal coalition.. "The larger-than-life statue, commissioned by the UAW, was sculpted by Zanesville, Ohio, artist Alan Cottrill. It features Reuther in shirtsleeves, gesturing as if speaking to a crowd."
April 19, 2007 - "Spirit of Solidarity" monument, Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA). "Designed by [Argentina-born] carpenters union member Roberto Chenlo. The man with his fist in the air is a striker; a younger man beckons others to take part; and a woman represents the workers’ wives. Approximately 150 Michigan labor activists & community leaders helped dedicate the bronze monument" on the 96th anniversary of the start of the 1911 furniture workers strike [which] "created a spirit of solidarity that set the stage for many labor gains to come."
2007 - "History of Labor in the State of Maine," Maine State Museum, Augusta, Maine (USA). 11 panel mural measuring 36 feet in length & nearly 8 feet tall. Names of the 11 panels: The Apprentice, Lost Childhood, The Textile Workers, The Secret Ballot, First Labor's Day, The Woods Workers, The 1937 [Shoe Workers] Strike, Frances Perkins, Rosie the Riveter, The [Paper Mill] Strike of 1986, and The Future of Labor in Maine. "In the summer of 2007, I...was selected to do the commission [for the Department of Labor reception area]. Along the way, I met some wonderful, and dedicated people. I also got an excellent education in Maine History." // "On March 23, 2011, Governor LePage sparked protests when he announced that he planned to remove the mural... The artist, Judy Taylor, stated, "There was never any intention to be pro-labor or anti-labor, it was a pure depiction of the facts." LePage also announced that he plans to rename conference rooms that have carried the names of historic leaders of American labor, as well as former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first woman cabinet member in American history & whose parents were natives of Maine. The governor's spokesman explained that the mural and the conference-room names were 'not in keeping with the department's pro-business goals.' Despite protests, on March 28 it was disclosed that the murals had been removed over the weekend."
September 7, 2009 - UAW Tribute to Women, Sitdowners Memorial Park, Flint, Michigan (USA). "An original member of the Women's Emergency Brigade who came to the aid of the Sitdowners at General Motors in Flint in 1937, stands in front of a new monument that depicts the Sitdown Strike during the Unveiling of the 'UAW Tribute to Women' at the UAW Region 1-C headquarters on Labor Day. Women who took part in Flint's historic sit-down strike in 1937 were honored today at Sit-Downers Memorial Park."
Early October 2010 - The Labor Monument, Elmwood Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). Philadelphia’s Tribute to the American Worker. Created by artist John Kindness. "Seven table-top sized 'work buttons' memorialize the contributions of labor nationwide & Philadelphia’s working-class history. The Fairmont Park Art Association, which commissioned the work, said Kindness, son of a shipyard worker, searched for a symbol that could represent laborers from all industries & discovered old metal work buttons. Regardless of trade or skill, early generations of laborers often wore the same denim uniforms; hence the term 'blue-collar worker.' These uniforms were fastened with metal buttons, that bore a variety of slogans & symbols. The result is a series of seven tables. The top of each table is a bronze relief sculpture that commemorates an important person or event in labor history. The Work Button Tables are arranged in a circle with benches along the perimeter. Blue paving & brick detailing around the benches allude to the denim & stitching on workers’ clothing."
March 7, 2017 - "Fearless Girl," Bowling Green Park, New York City, New York (USA). "In Manhattan's Financial District. A a bronze sculpture of a defiant girl by Kristen Visbal. Installed by State Street Global Advisors across from "Charging Bull" [aka the Wall Street Bull] another bronze, on the eve of International Women's Day. Meant to 'send a message' about workplace gender diversity & encourage companies to recruit women to their boards. The sculpture's installation is temporary [but] is expected to stay in place at least several weeks. It was initially given a New York City Hall permit for one week, later extended to 30 days. A petition on change.org asking for the statue to be made permanent gathered 2,500 signatures in its first 48 hours."
March 31, 2017 - Rio Grande Valley Melon Strike Marker, Hidalgo County Courthouse, Edinburg, Texsas (USA) — Erected by United Farm Workers (UFW). Commemorates strike & march [in 1966] by some 100 fieldworkers nearly 500 miles over a two-month period from Rio Grande City to Austin, where thousands of people marched on the Capitol demanding an increase on the state minimum wage to $1.25... The original 100 marchers traveled more than 490 miles starting July 4, 1966 in Rio Grande City & ending on Labor Day, Sept. 5, in Austin. According to media reports, more than 4,000 people marched on the Capitol that day alongside Cesar Chavez [1927-1993]; union estimates are closer to 15,000 supporters demanding the wage increase." /// Man in image holds United Farm Workers (UFW) flag. Information courtesy of Susan Ives.