Woman addresses a labor meeting in Spokane for the first time in March 1890.

  • By HistoryLink Staff
  • Posted 2/16/2006
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7647
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On or near March 3, 1890, a woman, Mrs. S. R. Keenan, addresses a Spokane labor meeting, the first time a woman has ever done so in that city.

Mrs. Keenan spoke about the oppressed condition of workers in the East. Workers in the East, she said, especially women, believed that workers in the West had no reason to organize and "create a disturbance" since they had things better than the "downtrodden labor" in large Eastern cities "where sewing girls worked hard from early morning till late at night, day in and day out, for three dollars per week and boarded themselves at that" (Schwantes).

But she said, Western people "did not propose to reduce themselves to that level, that they did not propose to wait till the crisis had come, but to take time by the forelock and avert it before it came. If the Eastern people want to come out here they must come up to our standard and not expect the people out her to drop down to theirs" (Schwantes).

Sources: Carlos A. Schwantes, "Spokane and the Wageworkers' Frontier: A Labor History to World War I," in Spokane and the Inland Empire: An Interior Pacific Northwest Anthology ed. by David H. Stratton (Pullman: WSU Press, 2005), 140-141.

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