The Shoeleather History Project

Stories from Hartford's Grassroots

Deeds, Not Words: Emmeline Pankhurst Speaks to Hartford

The British campaign to win the vote for women was led in large measure by Emmeline Pankhurst. She spoke to a Hartford audience in 1913 (see below). Her presentation is … Continue reading

November 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

Isabel Blake, Welfare Warrior

Isabel Blake challenges state legislators to “meet with us and talk things over.” The legislators stay silent. “We don’t bite,” Blake says, “we don’t have much to eat, but we … Continue reading

April 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Fugitive and the Hero

The steamship Hero made its way up the Connecticut River. It was October 1, 1850; two men with different purposes were aboard the vessel. The first was a runaway slave, … Continue reading

January 22, 2014 · 3 Comments

More Hidden History of the Wobblies

A Shoeleather History of the Wobblies: Stories of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in Connecticut is a new book that documents the organizing efforts of this unique labor group … Continue reading

January 10, 2014 · 5 Comments

The Gandhi Strike

It’s been more than 75 years since the legendary Flint sit-down strike by Michigan autoworkers, a watershed event in American labor history. The 44 day strike had a powerful impact … Continue reading

November 23, 2013 · 1 Comment

Ralph Allen: “He have more than courage”

As 3,000 people left Connecticut by car, bus, and train to join the historic March on Washington, Hartford college student Ralph Allen was spending his 20th day in a Georgia … Continue reading

August 22, 2013 · 2 Comments

Union Brew

In 1901, all Hartford saloons sold a glass of beer for a nickel. But if a thirsty man bought the same beer from a shop without a union card hanging … Continue reading

June 17, 2013 · Leave a comment

Solidarity and 75 cents

It started out as a dispute over seventy-five cents and ended up as a test of wills between hundreds of Hartford construction workers and their employer. Decades before working people … Continue reading

May 6, 2013 · Leave a comment

Two, Three, Many Rosa Parks

Sixty-one years ago, Rosa Parks was removed from a city bus by a Montgomery, Alabama police officer. Her arrest sparked a successful 381-day bus boycott by African Americans in that … Continue reading

May 3, 2013 · 1 Comment

Factory Girls Strike for Their Health

The factory owner demanded sixty hours a week from the young women employed at the Government Envelope Works on South Ann Street. But apparently this was not enough for the … Continue reading

May 2, 2013 · Leave a comment

Standing Your Ground

On the cold morning of November 29, 1976, snow and ice rained down on a small group crowded in the doorway of 18 Congress Street, the one-way street between Wethersfield … Continue reading

May 2, 2013 · Leave a comment

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The Shoeleather History Project