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Wed Dec 24, 2014, 04:28 AM

When 59 Children Died On Christmas Eve 1913, The World Cried With The Town Of Calumet, Michigan

A little-known piece of history that Woody Guthrie documented in his haunting song, "1913 Massacre."

In July 1913, over 7,000 miners struck the C&H Copper Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan. It was largely the usual issues of people who worked for a big company during a time when capitalists ran roughshod over their workers — a time when monopolies were a way of life. Strikers' demands included pay raises, an end to child labor, and safer conditions including an end to one-man drill operations, as well as support beams in the mines (which mine owners didn't want because support beams were costly but miners killed in cave-ins “do not cost us anything."

Six months without work left many miner families with little food for the holidays and no money for presents, so the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners held a Christmas party for the kids. 500 children and 200 adults showed up that day, Christmas Eve 1913. It was held on the second floor of Calumet's Italian Hall; the only way in and out was a very steep stairway.

As darkness fell and people began to go home to their family celebrations, some of the children gathered around the stage as presents were passed out — for many, it would be the only gift they'd receive this year. In the middle of this festive celebration, someone — possibly more than one person — opened the door at the bottom of the staircase and yelled, “FIRE!"

Chaos ensued. As everybody headed down the stairs to the exit, the door was blocked from the outside, and children and adults were trampled, then suffocated, by the throng of bodies trying to escape the “fire" — which didn't actually exist.

http://www.upworthy.com/when-59-children-died-on-christmas-eve-1913-the-world-cried-with-the-town-of-calumet-michigan

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Reply When 59 Children Died On Christmas Eve 1913, The World Cried With The Town Of Calumet, Michigan (Original post)
Sherman A1 Dec 2014 OP
Brickbat Dec 2014 #1

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 01:13 PM

1. Heartbreaking. This song makes me cry.

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