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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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, […]

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 […]

Click the play button to hear Rick Smith discuss “The Silent Parade” – a part of our history that you won’t find in many textbooks. On this day in labor history, the year was 1917. That was the day more than 10,000 African-Americans marched down New York City’s 5th Avenue in what is known as […]

The phrase “politics is theater” is pretty common, especially these days. Our elected leaders spend much more time throwing one-liners back and forth than they do governing, or doing anything that might help working families. And while there is blame to go around for this anti-American behavior, there is no greater perpetrator of criminal hyperbole […]

In previous generations, most working people could retire with dignity due to a trio benefits that became known as “The Three Legged Stool.” These benefits are Social Security, decent wages that allowed people to save, and defined benefit pensions. Today, with wages stagnant for decades and pensions all but a memory, workers are left with […]

Click the link to hear Rick Smith discuss the corrupt and barbaric practice of convict leasing, which many scholars simply call “slavery by another name.” On this day in labor history, the year was 1928. That was the day the state of Alabama outlawed the convict lease system that had been in practice for decades. […]