Labor Day 2021 Annual Strike Re-enactment in Willimantic

The Mill Museum will host the annual Labor Day Strike Re-enactment on Monday, September 6 at 5:00 p.m. This year’s strike will be the 1899 Newsboy strike in New York City. The public is invited to learn the story and participate in the strike.

In the late 19th century newspapers and word-of-mouth were the main forms of communication. Subscribers had the morning news delivered to their home or office, but the afternoon news was sold through newsboys hawking the papers on the street for a penny. One hot summer in July 1899, thousands of newsboys, orphans and immigrants went on strike against the New York Journal and the New York World. The newsboy’s strike was a U.S. youth-led campaign to force change in the way that Joseph Pulitzer (The New York World) and William Randolph Hearst (The New York Journal) newspapers compensated their child labor force of newspaper hawkers. Newsies in Brooklyn and Manhattan quickly followed suit, and suddenly boys across New York were refusing to sell newspapers and assaulting those who did. The strike lasted about two weeks until the price of papers was reduced to their original price.

This strike reenactment is an outdoor event and held rain or shine. The public is invited to participate in the strike reenactment. Come dressed as 1890s newsboy, newspaper magnate, reporter, police officer or crowd (optional.) Bring picket signs! After your picnic, bring the family and learn about why we celebrate Labor Day.

On past Labor Days, the Mill Museum has re-enacted the Willimantic textile strikes of 1912, 1925, Coal Strike, Sugar Plantation Strike, Lyddites attack and the Children’s March led by Mother Jones. Last March, the Museum held a sidewalk chalking event to honor the 149 victims of the 1911 New York City Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Fair wages, safe working conditions and labor regulations, such as a 40 hour week, that Americans enjoy today did not come about without strikes, unions, sacrifices and many casualties.

The event will last about an hour and is free but donations to support educational programs at the Mill Museum are greatly appreciated. The Museum is located at 411 Main Street in Willimantic. For more information, or 860-456-2178.