A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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“I prefer my kale with a silent ‘k‘“ (5/19)
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Entry from March 28, 2014
“We want bread, but we want roses, too” (Bread and Roses strike)

"Bread and roses” (or “We want bread, but we want roses, too") is a popular labor movement slogan. The saying means that workers need living wages ("bread"), but also reasonable work hours and working conditions ("roses"). “Getting Out the Vote: An Account Of a Week’s Automobile Campaign by Women Suffragists” by Helen M. Todd, in the September 1911 The American Magazine, explained the origin:

“I saw that Mother Jones’ pillow was sent to her with the inscription, ‘Bread for all, and Roses, too.’ No words can better express the soul of the woman’s movement, lying back of the practical cry of “Votes for Women,” better than this sentence which had captured the attention of both Mother Jones and the hired girl, ‘Bread for all, and Roses, too.’ Not at once; but woman is the mothering element in the world and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life’s Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life, music, education, nature and books, shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country, in the government of which she has a voice.”

James Oppenheim (1882-1932) wrote the verses “Bread and Roses” for the December 1911 The American Magazine; these verses were later put to music. Oppenhaim’s verses were included in The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest (1915), edited by Upton Sinclair. The book added, “In a parade of the strikers of Lawrence, Mass., some young girls carried a banner inscribed, ‘We want Bread, and Roses too!’” The textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912 would acquire the name of the “Bread and Roses strike.”


Wikipedia: Bread and Roses
Bread and Roses is a poem by James Oppenheim, first published in The American Magazine in December 1911, with the atribution line “‘Bread for all, and Roses, too’—a slogan of the women in the West.” The poem has been translated in other languages and put into music by at least three different composers.

It is commonly associated with the successful textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts during January–March 1912, now often known as the “Bread and Roses strike”.

The slogan pairing bread and roses, appealling for both fair wages and dignified conditions, found resonance as transcending “the sometimes tedious struggles for marginal economic advances” in the “light of labor struggles as based on striving for dignity and respect”, as Robert J.S. Ross wrote in 2013.

The Lawrence Strike
The 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike, which united dozens of immigrant communities under the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World, was led to a large extent by women. The popular mythology of the strike includes signs being carried by women reading “We want bread, but we want roses, too!”, though the image is probably ahistorical.

Wikipedia: James Oppenheim
James Oppenheim (1882–1932), was an American poet, novelist, and editor. A lay analyst and early follower of C. G. Jung, Oppenheim was also the founder and editor of The Seven Arts, an important early 20th-century literary magazine.

He was a well-known writer of short stories and novels. His poetry followed Walt Whitman’s model of free verse ruminations on “social and democratic aspects of life”. Oppenheim depicted labor troubles with Fabian and suffragist themes in his novel, The Nine-Tenths (1911) and in his famous poem Bread and Roses (1911). The slogan Bread and Roses is now commonly associated with the pivotal 1912 textile workers’ strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The poem was later set to music in 1976 by Mimi Fariña and again in 1990 by John Denver.

Wikipedia: Mary Harris Jones
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1837 – 30 November 1930) was an Irish-American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer. She then helped coordinate major strikes and cofounded the Industrial Workers of the World.

Google Books
September 1911, The American Magazine, pg. 611:
Getting Out the Vote
An Account Of a Week’s Automobile Campaign by Women Suffragists

By Helen M. Todd
Pg. 619:
We had breakfast next morning at the usual hour of 6 A.M., in the old farm kitchen with its big black cook stove, its centerpiece of the lady slipper flowers on the table, and its back door opening on a yard full of hollyhocks. Maggie ate with us. “If you want to know what I liked best of all in the whole meetin’,” she said, “i was that abut the women votin’ so’s everybody would have bread and flowers too.” “Now, that’s what mother took a fancy to,” said my hostess. “Mother’s close on to ninety-two come next birthday, and I thought I would make her a birthday present of a sofa pillow with votes of women embroidered on it, but she took such a fancy to this ‘Bread and Flowers’ idea that I’m going to ask you to do me the favor to step into Marshall Field’s and get that motto stamped on a pillow and send it to me. Oh, and I most forgot,” she continued, “here’s a message from one of the ladies of your party that’s stayin’ over at Mr.s Kidder’s. She sent word by Mrs. Kidder’s Jim that she’ll be a little late startin’. It seems they was settin’ out of the porch, rocking and talkin’ over the meetin’ till all hours last night, and she overslept. I guess Liddie Kidder is mighty glad she offered to entertain her now. She was scared to have her in the house because she was a lawyer and a city woman. Mrs. Kidder, she took city boarders one summer, and she always said it wasn’t feedin’ them she minded, but it was havin’ to talk to ‘em when there wa’n’t anything to say. But I told her she’d lose the chance of her life if she didn’t take one of you. There ain’t no city or country to it,” I says, “with women that’s Suffragists. It’s just women. Before she’s been with you a minute you’d feel as if you’d grown up with her, and you’ll have so much to talk over between you, you’ll just be tuckered out in the mornin’ from sittin’ up discussin’ things till all hours of the night.’

The flowers they gave me when I left have faded; and the paper of prize hollyhock seeds bestowed upon me to plant in my backyard have never been planted, as my only back yard is a fire escape. But my heart is still warm with the memory of friendship of these down-State women.

I saw that Mother Jones’ pillow was sent to her with the inscription, “Bread for all, and Roses, too.” No words can better express the soul of the woman’s movement, lying back of the practical cry of “Votes for Women,” better than this sentence which had captured the attention of both Mother Jones and the hired girl, “Bread for all, and Roses, too.” Not at once; but woman is the mothering element in the world and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life’s Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life, music, education, nature and books, shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country, in the government of which she has a voice.

There will be no prisons, no scaffolds, no children in factories, no girls driven on the street to earn their bread, in the day when there shall be “Bread for all, and Roses too.”

Chronicling America
4 September 1911, The Evening World (New York, NY), Daily Magazine, pg. 8, col. 1:
BREAD AND ROSES.
“WOMAN is the mothering element of the world,” writes a woman suffrage magazinist in elucidation of what votes for women will mean, “and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life’s Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life—music, education, nature and books—shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country in the government of which she has a voice.”

Google Books
December 1911, The American Magazine, pg. 214:
BREAD AND ROSES
BY
JAMES OPPENHEIM
“Bread for all, and Roses, too”—a slogan of the women in the West
As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

Google Books
The Cry for Justice:
An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest

Edited by Upton Sinclair
Philadelphia, PA: The John C. Winston Company
1915
Pg. 247:
Bread and Roses
BY JAMES OPPENHEIM
(In a parade of the strikers of Lawrence, Mass., some young girls carried a banner inscribed, “We want Bread, and Roses too!")

27 February 1920, Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID), “Marvin Arouses Women of Boise,” pg. 5, col. 3:
(Dr. M. H. Marvin, a member of the Washington state welfare commission, speaking before the Business Women’s club.—ed.)
“The industrial girl is an idealist,” said Dr. Marvin, “in other words she is an American girl. She does not want leisure but she does want the right of a woman to labor in joy, to be surrounded with such environment and to receive such a wage as shall give her some of the joys of an abundant life, that she shall not starve for those other things, in other words, she wants bread and roses,” and here the doctor gave a few verses by a Hebrew poet, entitled “Bread and Roses” that so touched the listeners with its true insight into the aspirations of the girl in industry that the club members asked to have a copy to be used as a forward for the club, and he promised to leave it with the club’s secretary.

Google Books
The Garment Worker
Official Organ of the United Garment Workers of America
Volume 30
1930
Pg. 8:
Q.—In what strike was thc motto,_ “We want bread—and roses, too” featured?
A.-—The big garment workers’ walkout of 1910 in New York City, when the motto was used as the rallying slogan of the workers.
(There is no record that the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909-10 used the saying—ed.)

OCLC WorldCat record
Bread and roses : the story of the rise of the shirtworkers, two eventful years, 1933-1934.
Author: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.
Publisher: New York : Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, [1935?]
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Bread and roses too; studies of the Wobblies.
Author: Joseph Robert Conlin
Publisher: Westport, Conn., Greenwood Pub. Corp. [1969]
Series: Contributions in American history, no. 1.
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Bread and roses too.
Author: Jack Newfield
Publisher: New York : E.P. Dutton and C°, 1971.

The CLWU Herstory Website
A History of International Women’s Day: “We Want Bread and Roses Too” from Womankind (March 1972.)
(...)
These were women who, realized the tactical necessity of standing and working together lest they be destroyed individually, women who put to shame the ridiculous theories of “woman’s place’,” women who in the famous Lawrence textile strike carried picket signs reading “We want Bread and Roses, too”, symbolizing their demands for not only a living wage but a decent and human life, and so inspired James Oppenheim’s song “Bread and Roses”

As we come marching, marching,in the beauty of, the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing, Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days
The rising of the women means the, rising of the race
No more the drudge and idler that toil where one reposes
But a sharing of life’s glories, Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses


OCLC WorldCat record
“We want bread and roses too” : Wobbly poetry and the IWW cultural movement
Author: Michael J Mizell
Publisher: 1990.
Dissertation: Thesis (M.A.)--Tulane University, 1990.
Edition/Format: Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript Archival Material : English

Twitter
International Women’s Day : we want our bread and roses too!
Author: C J Grossman
Publisher: [Berkeley, Calif.] : Art Jazz Books, [2004]
Edition/Format: Book : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
A brief history of the women’s movement from the first recorded organized protest of women on March 8, 1857, to the Pro-Choice March in 2004.

YouTube
Labor History: Bread and Roses
knickerbockervillage
Uploaded on Mar 12, 2010
from http://www.tomjuravich.com/tangled/so…
The slogan “Bread and Roses” originated in a poem of that name by James Oppenheim, published in American Magazine in December 1911, which attributed it to “the women in the West.”
It is commonly associated with the textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts during January-March 1912, now often known as the “Bread and Roses strike.” The strike, which united dozens of immigrant communities under the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World, was led to a large extent by women.
The strikers are credited with inventing the moving picket line, so that they would not be arrested for loitering.
It was settled on terms generally favorable to the workers. They won pay increases, time-and-a-quarter pay for overtime, and a promise of no discrimination against strikers.
It has long been thought that Oppenheim was inspired by a strike sign carried by women with the slogan, “We want bread, but we want roses, too!”
We now know that he did not write it during the strike. But it was embraced by the strikers and the notion of “Bread and Roses” has become a cry for justice and dignity for women workers around the world.
Observer Ray Stannard Baker wrote in The American Magazine: [Lawrence] is the first strike I ever saw which sang. I shall not soon forget the curious lift, the strange sudden fire of the mingled nationalities at the strike meetings when they broke into the universal language of song. And not only at the meetings did they sing, but in the soup houses and in the streets.
Bread and Roses has since become a women’s movement standard with either of two melodies variously attributed to Martha L. Coleman, Caroline Kohsleet, and Carolin Kohlsaat. Utah Phillips also has a melody, as does Mimi Fariña, whose is the most well-known.
Tom Juravich adds: For me, though, the poetry of Bread and Roses suggests a different kind of melody—one that lends itself to a more lyrical interpretation than the march cadence of the Fariña tune. So several years ago I wrote a new melody. I also took the opportunity to revise some of the lyrics that had exhibited the sexism and racism of the early 20th century.”

Bread And Roses
As we come marching, marching in beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts grey
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people here are singing bread and roses, bread and roses.

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go rising through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Art, love, and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for but we fight for roses too.

As we come marching, marching, we battle once again.
We’re fighting for our children, our sisters and for men.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes,
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread, but give us roses.

As we come marching, marching, we’re standing proud and tall,
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.

Personnel: Teresa Healy, vocals; Tom Juravich, vocals, acoustic guitar, producer; James Stephens, fiddle, electric guitar, producer, recording, mixing; David Cain, mastering; Dave Bignell, mixing.

New York (NY) Times
Sunday Book Review
On Top of Everything Else
‘Overwhelmed,’ by Brigid Schulte

By ANN CRITTENDEN MARCH 28, 2014
A memorable moment in American labor history was the 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Mass., when, according to lore, predominantly female workers marched with signs reading, “We want bread, but we want roses, too.” The apocryphal slogan, revived in songs recorded in the 1970s and ’80s by Judy Collins and John Denver, came to mean, “We need a decent living, but we need a life, too.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Friday, March 28, 2014 • Permalink