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Uprising of 20,000

November 22, 1909 – outside Cooper Union, New York City


I have listened to all the speakers, and I have no further patience for talk. I am a working girl, one of those striking against intolerable conditions. I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in generalities. What we are here for is to decide whether or not to strike.

I make a motion that we go out in a general strike — now.

And will you keep the faith? Will you swear by the old Jewish oath of our fathers?”

{Two thousand Jewish hands were thrust in air, and two thousand Jewish throats uttered the oath: “If I turn traitor to the cause I now pledge, may this hand wither and drop off from this arm I now raise.]



Source: “Clara Lemlich sparks “Uprising of 20,000.” This Week in History. Jewish Women’s Archive.


Also: What Eight Million Women Want, by Rheta Childe Dorr, 1910.