Here are several other accounts of the February 1919 events. Start with Roberta Gold’s article from the Encyclopedia of Labor History Worldwide and "An Account of What Happened in Seattle and Especially in the Seattle Labor Movement, During the General Strike, February 6 To 11, 1919" written by Anna Louise Strong and members of the General Strike Committee. The Tacoma Public Library has a compilation of more detailed articles (starting with Edwin Short’s account of the strike in Tacoma, followed by Robert Friedheim’s article on the strike in Seattle, and memoir accounts by Art Shields and Harvey O’Connor). Also take a look at Sinan Demeril’s strike timeline.
Here is an interactive map the shows the location of important events and union headquarters in 1919. Use it to plan a walking tour of downtown Seattle. Here is a selection of fascinating photographs from the strike.
The Labor Archives of Washington State has digitized more than a hundred important documents from the strike, including pamphlets, minutes of strike committee meetings, IWW leaflets, and reports of agents hired to spy on labor activists.
In 1977, Professor Rob Rosenthal interviewed 35 men and women who participated in or remembered the 1919 General Strike. Rosenthal has generously agreed to share these oral histories with the Seattle General Strike Project. These audio MP3 files and transcripts comprise a rare and valuable resource. The narrators speak not only about the events of 1919 but about later aspects of Pacific Northwest labor and political history. Dave Beck is the most famous of the men and women interviewed. Later to serve as President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Beck was 24 years old at the time of the General Strike, newly discharged from the Navy and was part of a group of Teamsters who opposed the strike.
A fascinating and complicated history of labor movements and radical activism in Washington state set the context for the General Strike. The reports that follow explore a variety of issues, including the role of the IWW in the strike; the the way that the labor movement responded to women workers and to the African American community; how the national media covered the strike. In addition, there are reports on key unions and organizations like the right-wing Minutemen; reports on earlier strikes; and biographical essays on Anna Louise Strong, Mayor Ole Hanson, and University of Washington President Henry Suzzallo. Students in Professor James Gregory's History 498 course spent spring quarter 1999 researching and writing some of these reports. Students of History 353 added additional reports in Spring 2003. The reports are described on the Research Papers page. They are listed below.
The Politics of Gender in the Writings of Anna Louise Strong by Rebecca Jackson
The Industrial Workers of the World in the Seattle General Strike by Colin Anderson
African-Americans and the Seattle Labor Movement by Jon Wright
Women and the Seattle Labor Movement by Lynne Nguyen
How the National Press Reported the General Strike by Sheila Shown
Spying on Labor: The Seattle Minute Men by Susan Newsome
Campus Kaiser: Henry Suzzallo, the University of Washington and WWI Labor Politics by Patrick Farrell
International Shingle Weavers of America by Phil Emerson
Mayor Ole Hanson: Fifteen Minutes of Fame by Trevor Williams
Shipyard Workers on the Eve of the General Strike by Patterson Webb
Seattle Newspapers Report on Shipyard Workers in 1918 by Patterson Webb
Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen by Erik Mickelson
The International Union of Timberworkers 1911-1923 by Chris Canterbury
Laundry Workers Struggle for Recognition 1916-17 by Kimberley Reimer
The Seattle Telegraphers Lockout of 1918 by David Radford
The Mooney Congress and the 1919 Seattle General Strike by Stan Quast
The IWW, the Newspapers, and the 1913 Seattle Potlatch Riot by James Larrabee
Where Women Worked During World War I by Tae H. Kim
Washington State's 1911 Workmen's Compensation Act: The Newspaper Coverage by Ryan Deibert
Perceptions of Race in the Seattle Union Record by Chad Seabury
Additional essays are housed on our companion projects:
This lesson plan by Omar Crowder is designed for an 11th grade class. Click here. It satisfies national and state standards and requires students to write an opinion-editorial (op-ed) piece and give a class presentation. It is made available by the Northwest History Consortium of the Northwest Educational Service District. NWEWSD's area includes 35 public school districts and several private schools in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties.