Franklin, Kansas, December 15, 1921. On December 11, 1921, propelled by the need to feed their children and outraged at Kansas’s new antilabor legislation, a crowd of more than five hundred women gathered in Franklin, Kansas, and resolved to march in solidarity with miners striking at Union District 14 coal mines. The strike was called in response to the new Industrial Court Law signed by Kansas Governor Allen, which forced unions into arbitration and outlawed strikes. On December 12, the women began their march on the mines, armed only with the American flag, which they carried to make clear that the values it symbolized were synonymous to those of their cause.
By December 15, the march had swelled to more than four thousand, stretching over a mile long. With the mines at a standstill, word spread that the militia was en route, and the women, dubbed the “Amazon Army” by the New York Times, voluntarily chose to end their march in hopes of preventing bloodshed. Victory for the marchers and their striking coal miners came the following year when the US Supreme Court ruled that the compulsory arbitration clause of the Industrial Court Law was unconstitutional. Workers still had the right to strike.
Printed at the worker-owned Stumptown Printers, Portland, OR.
This is #95 in the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series.
Dave Loewenstein is a muralist, printmaker, and arts organizer based in Lawrence, KS. His prints, which focus on social justice issues, are exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collections of many cultural institutions.