1913 Massacre Ramblin Jack Elliott Video

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1913 Massacre
American Folk Tales
Ramblin' Jack Elliot

The 1913 Massacre is based on an event that took place just as the song says in Calumet, Michigan on December 24, 1913. It is always known as the Italian Hall Disaster. The strike that led up to this was one of the longest, most dangerous strikes that took place in Michigan. The song refers to copper country which is the upper peninsula of Michigan.

The miners were striking for better pay, shortened work days and safer working conditions. Worker's pay was based on the depth of penetration into the mines made by his group that day. The mine was switching to using a one man drill, the mechanical drill cutting cost for the mines. However it broke up the family groups that worked in the mines together and cut many jobs. Most workers made around $2.75 a day for 10 - 12 hours a day.

The strike had been going on for 5 months. The striking miners and their families had gathered at the Italian Hall for a Christmas party. It is thought that there were five hundred people at the party. The building had a steep staircase and the party was being held on the second floor. There was a fire escape, however as was common at the time, it was poorly marked, poorly lit, and could only be reached by climbing through the window. Someone yelled "fire" and in the panic that followed 73 people were killed. Over half of the people killed were children between the ages of six and ten.
The investigations that followed produced no culprit. Part of the problem was victims who did not speak English were questioned and forced to answer in English. In other cases witnesses were not questioned at all. It was and still is commonly thought that out of town strike breakers, funded by mine management, were the ones that yelled fire.
The Italian Hall has since been demolished, and only the archway remains from that day. A state historical markers marks the spot and date.
Duration: 03 Minute, 40 Second
Rating: 4.95 - Excellent
Definition: SD
Published: 9 Years Ago
Author: leanannsidhe

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