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When Corporations Play Dirty, Workers Band Together

On this day in labor history, the year was 1937. That was the day workers of UAW Local 14 walked out on strike against the Toledo Chevrolet Transmission Plant. They joined the strike wave against GM. The national campaign started in November in Atlanta, followed by auto strikes in Kansas City and Cleveland, then intensified […]


First Women Firefighters in NYC

On this day in Labor History the year was 1982. That was the day that eleven women graduated from the New York City Fire Academy. They were the first women firefighters ever to serve in the city of New York since the department was founded in 1865. The inclusion of women firefighters did not come […]


October 20 – The Death of Eugene V. Debs

On this day in Labor History the year was 1926. That was the day that one of the great labor leaders in U.S. history, Eugene V. Debs, died in Elmhurst, Illinois. In 1894, Debs gained national attention when his American Railway Union launched a boycott in support of the striking workers of Pullman Palace Car […]


The Elaine Massacre

On this day in Labor History the year was 1919. That was the day that began the Elaine Massacre. The massacre took place in Arkansas, where more than 100 black farmers and sharecroppers were gunned down for daring to organize their labor. The Year before, a black farmer by the name of Robert L. Hill […]

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Teaching Us to Accept the Lies

In a recent episode of The Rick Smith Show, we had the pleasure of speaking with author Jason Stanford about a book he recently co-authored called “Forget the Alamo.” It’s an examination of the actual events that occurred there, and also of the mythology that replaced those events in our history books, and how this […]


The First “Farm Aid”

On this day in Labor History the year was 1985. That was the year that the first Farm Aid concert was held in Champaign, Illinois. A retrospective article in Time magazine reported, “In the 1980s, American farmers were hit hard by what were, at the time, the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.  Droughts […]


The Surveillance State

The 9/11 anniversary has always been cause for reflection and remembrance, but the 20th anniversary of that terrible day happening within a few days of the withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan gives us cause for a necessary, overdue, and in many ways difficult look in the mirror. History has always been a harsh critic, […]


Roosevelt Signs Social Security into Law

Social Security has become an indispensable part of the American social safety net, but it’s also something we often take for granted. Listen to Rick Smith tell the story of the day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, and what it has meant to Americans ever since. On this day in Labor […]