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Frank Little lynching...



Item # 565300

August 1, 1917

THE WILMINGTON DISPATCH, Wilmington, North Carolina, August 1, 1917

* Frank Little hanging - lynching
* IWW leader


This 8 page newspaper has a nice three column headline on the front page: "MASKED MEN TAKE AGITATOR OUT OF HOUSE OF DEATH" with subheads that include: "Man Who Had Called Soldiers 'Scabs in Uniforms' hanged by Mob" and more. (see)

Tells of the hanging of Frank Little, unionist, by a lynch mob in Montana.

Other news of the day. Usual browning with little margin wear. Must be handled with care.

wikipedia notes:
Frank Little (1879-1917) was an American labor leader. He joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in 1906. He organized miners, lumberjacks and oil field workers.

Frank Little was born in 1879. Not much is known about his family background, but he told friends that he had "Indian blood". His mother, in fact, was part Native American. He was an organizer with the Western Federation of Miners before becoming active with the Industrial Workers of the World in 1906. He took part in the free speech campaigns in Missoula, Fresno and Spokane and was involved in organizing lumberjacks, metal miners and oil field workers into industrial unions. On one occasion, he was sentenced to 30 days imprisonment for reading the Declaration of Independence on a street corner. In 1910, Little successfully organized unskilled fruit workers in the San Joaquin Valley. By 1916, Little was a member of the IWW's General Executive Board.

Little was a strong opponent of World War I. While General Secretary-Treasurer William Haywood and members of the General Executive Board shared Little's opinions about the war, there was disagreement about whether to proceed directly with anti-war agitation. When the US joined the war, in April 1917, Ralph Chaplin, the editor of the IWW's newspaper Solidarity, claimed that opposing the draft would destroy the IWW, by visiting government repression upon the union the likes of which had not before been seen. Other Board members argued further that organized labor would not have the power to stop the war until more workers were organized, and the union should continue to focus on organizing workers at the point of production, even where it might incidentally impede the war effort. Little refused to back down on this issue and argued that: "...the IWW is opposed to all wars, and we must use all our power to prevent the workers from joining the army."

In the summer of 1917, Little was helping organize copper miners in Butte, Montana, which included leading a strike of miners working for the Anaconda Company. In the early hours of August 1, 1917, six masked men broke into Little's hotel room. He was beaten up, tied by rope to a car, and dragged out of town, where he was lynched from a railroad trestle. A note: "First and last warning" was pinned to his chest, along with the initials of other union leaders, and the numbers 3-7-77 a vigilante code famously used by Virginia City, Montana's vigilance committee. It was widely believed that Pinkerton agents were involved, but no serious attempt was made by the police to catch Little's murderers. His funeral procession was followed by thousands as he was laid to rest in Butte's Mountain View Cemetery.

Category: The 20th Century

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