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This is the first biography of Ellen Dawson (1900-1967), a Scottish woman who participated in three of the largest and most dramatic textile strikes in U.S. history--Passaic, New Jersey; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Gastonia, North Carolina. She helped organize the National Textile Workers Union and became the first woman elected to a national leadership position in an American textile union. She spent her formative years in the Glasgow area as a young worker during Scotland's most radical period of labor history. With her family she moved first to England and then to the United States in search of economic survival. As a textile worker in Passaic, she became a leader in the communist-inspired strike of 1926. Later a labor activist working with both the American Federation of Labor and the Communist Party, she traveled to the Soviet Union and was elected to the executive committee of the American Communist Party. David McMullen investigates Dawson's background and the events surrounding her life, as well as the events she participated in to understand why she became a leading labor activist. This remarkable biography provides an unrivaled perspective of early American communists during the 1920s and 1930s, one that ignores the distortions so commonly applied during the Cold War.


For full access, check out the book through the USF St. Petersburg Library, request it on interlibrary loan, or order it through a book dealer.; Book TV interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJWiJ2Evp5M Contents : Working-class poverty -- Barrhead -- A spirit of cooperation -- Red Clydeside -- The Great War -- South to England -- On to America -- Passaic -- The Passaic textile strike of 1926 -- The strike drags on -- From worker to activist -- The 1928 New Bedford strike -- Worker against worker -- A new textile union -- Southern textile workers -- Workers ready to strike -- Propaganda war -- The strike turned violent -- Deportation and the Communist Party USA -- Dawson's final years -- My personal observations.




University Press of Florida