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Too Little Strikers

Ella Mae Wiggins
Language: English


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[1929]
Written by Ella Mae Wiggins.
Tune: “Two little children, A Boy and A Girl”, sat by the Open Church Door.

Gastonia, Nord Carolina, maggio 1929

Canzone sul grande sciopero del 1929 a Loray Mill, complesso industriale tessile a Gastonia, Nord Carolina. Anche se i lavoratori non vinsero, ma solo a causa della spietata repressione condotta dalla polizia, dai vigilantes e pure dalla Guardia Nazionale, “The Loray Mill Strike” ha segnato la storia del movimento operaio nordamericano.
L’autrice della canzone, l’operaia e sindacalista Ella Mae Wiggins fu assassinata del settembre dello stesso anno dai vigilantes dei padroni.
Per un’introduzione più approfondita si veda The Mill Mother's Lament.
Per un’accurata ricostruzione del “Loray Mill Strike” si veda quanto scritto da Vera Buch Weisbord, una delle protagoniste dello sciopero, nel suo articolo Gastonia, 1929. Strike at the Loray Mill – da cui traggo anche il testo della canzone - pubblicato nel 1974 sulla rivista Southern Exposure.

“There were also children there. Little child workers. They were supposed to be age 14, but there were some who could never have been 14; they looked more like 10. There was a little girl named Binney Barnes. She was a little slip of a girl. Well, she had been working for two years already. She looked like 10, but, of course, they were undersized probably because they didn't get enough to eat and enough rest. And there were other child workers, too. And to think that they had to work the same long hours. Oh yes, they were out on strike. The little girls were out on strike” (Vera Buch Weisbord)
Two Little strikers, a boy and a girl,
Sit by the union hall door.
The little girls hand was brown as the curles
That played on the dress that she wore.

The little boys head was hatless,
And tears in each little eye,
"Why don't you go home to your mama", I said
And this was the strikers reply:

"Our mama's in jail, they locked her up:
Left Jim and me alone,
So we've come here to sleep in the tents tonight,
For we have no mother, no home.

"Our Papa got hurt in the shooting Friday night,
We waited all night for him,
For he was a union guard you know,
But he never came home any more."

Contributed by The Lone Ranger - 2010/5/20 - 11:27



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