Today in the 1913 Copper Strike

Strikers going to hear John Mitchell speak in August of 1913 in the Calumet district near Laurium. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Keweenaw Digital Archives.)

Strikers going to hear John Mitchell speak in August of 1913 in the Calumet district near Laurium. (Photo courtesy of the Michigan Tech Archives, Keweenaw Digital Archives.)

On Saturday, August 23, famed labor leader John Mitchell, former president of the United Mine Workers of America, second vice president of the American Federation of Labor, visited the Copper Country to address the copper miners’ on strike. He presented two addresses, one in the morning in Calumet and an afternoon speech in Houghton.  These appearances were meaningful to strikers because Mitchell was one of the more prominent labor leaders of a widespread national reputation to visit the district in the early weeks of the strike. National leaders in the WFM, the locals, and strikers regarded these speeches as a considerable advantage to their cause. Mitchell’s visit came in the midst of a back to work movement that had started amongst other miners who were not sympathetic to the principles of the strike, so the visit was well-timed to address issues of dissension amongst workers. By this point C&H had several shaft houses open as well as the Lake Linden stamp mill.  Recruitment campaigns in places like Chicago, as well as the return of workers who left in the early days of the strike meant the back to work movement was gaining momentum just as the strike was also claiming higher numbers of supporters.

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“Mitchell Will Speak to Striking Miners: Calumet Workmen Pleased with Announcement of Visit of Famous Leaders,” San Francisco Call, August 22, 1913.

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