A Little Bit About a Great American
I took this from my blog: http://genelantz.org on July 20, 2017:
Botkin, Jane Little, Frank Little and the IWW. The Blood that Stained an American Family. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2017
A giant hole in American labor history has been filled.
Frank Little’s Great Grand Niece has explained every known detail of the great union organizer’s life. 125 pages of careful notations testify to her ability as an historian of the first rank, but she also reveals family records hidden for a century. She has written not only the best biography of Frank Little possible, but she also put the events of his life and times in context so that a reader can, from this one book, draw the important lessons of the missing chapters, 1905-1919, of American history.
Frank Little was a top organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW, the Wobblies, the One Big Union, the OBU. At the time he was lynched, one hundred years ago on August 1, he was Chairman of the General Executive Board. Not all details are known, but his legacy probably includes:
Within a month of Frank Little’s lynching at the hands of the copper bosses of Montana, The United States government launched the fiercest attack against the working class in our history. Free speech, one of Frank Little’s greatest accomplishments, was trampled. Unionists were hunted down and deported or arrested and tortured. Heavy jail sentences were laid on any of the hundreds railroaded for having “conspired with Frank H. Little” to undermine war production.
Union halls were raided and all records were confiscated. History, especially any history associated with Frank Little, was wiped clean. Fear was so great that even Frank Little’s relatives dared not remember him. Fear was so great that the silence lasted almost 100 years, until now.
You can still find me every Saturday at 9AM Central Time on http://knon.org.
Frank Little was tortured and murdered in the early hours of August 1, 1917. After his death, virtually everyone who ever knew him scurried for cover as America's most shameful repression of a labor organization began. Any connection with Frank Little was worth a prison sentence, deportation, or at least a beating.
Little was raised in Oklahoma. Right after the turn of the century, he became a hard rock miner in Colorado, where he connected with the Western Federation of Miners. In 1903 they made him an organizer. In 1905, his union was the main force in organizing the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) whose purpose it was to organize all American workers into One Big Union. From 1906 on, Frank Little was a leading member of the IWW. He was Chairman of the General Executive Board when he was killed.
Little Led the Fight for Free Speech
He especially gained fame as a leader in the free speech fights of the western states. If local authorities denied the IWWers the right to speak in public or to congregate under the protection of the Bill of Rights, the union people would go to jail rather than give up. In fact, using the tactic now known as nonviolent resistance, Little led them into jail over and over again. He was almost always the first one arrested and the last one freed. Free speech in America owes a great deal to Frank Little.
Little Pioneered Non-Violent Struggle Long Before Gandhi or MLK
Those who believe that Americans should stand up to bullying could praise Frank Little. In addition to innumerable jail sentences, Little also suffered mob violence at least twice before the final fatal episode. He was kidnapped by businessmen and knocked unconscious after being held for several days. Several years later he was held again. With a rope around his neck for emphasis, Little was told to desist from labor organizing and to name any union men in the area. He did neither and was eventually rescued.
Little Stood Up for Peace
Those who treasure peace owe much to Frank Little, for he spoke out for peace on every occasion. Mineowners in Butte Montana argued that miners should risk their lives by continuing to work in unsafe mines because copper was a valuable war commodity and America had just entered World War I. Other union leaders wanted to duck the issue, but Frank Little told them: "Better to go out in a blaze of glory than to give in. Either we're for this capitalist slaughterfest or we're against it. I'm ready to face a firing squad rather than compromise!" "War," he warned, "will mean the end of free speech, free press, free assembly-- everything we ever fought for. I'll take a firing squad first!"
Little Organized Workers
And those who treasure the right to organize into unions owe him an especial debt. Little organized farm workers, lumberjacks, miners, oil field workers, dock workers, and everybody else who worked for a living.
Frank Little's friends and fellow workers remember him: "For his personal friends he had a strange and wonderful kindness and considerateness, and he was greatly beloved by them." "Frank Little will become a tradition, one of the greatest traditions of the American movement."
I doubt that Frank Little, had he the choice, would regret a single second of his life or even of his terrible death. He might, in fact, feel just a little bit compassionate for the rest of us, who do not speak up so readily. Little's good friend Ralph Chaplin, one of the IWWers who went to prison, wrote:
Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie --
Dust unto dust --
The calm sweet earth that mothers all who die,
As all men must;
But rather mourn the apathetic throng --
The cowed and meek --
Who see the world's great anguish and its wrong
And dare not speak!
Why Pursue Frank Little?
In 1996, Elaine Lantz and I went to Butte, Montana, to find out more about Frank Little. When we got back, I wrote this:
Our rental car pulled off Centennial Street onto a muddy pathway that led about 100 feet into a peculiar notch cut into earth that had been piled up 15 feet or so. A tiny rivulet ran through the notch; there were scattered wooden pilings around it. Looking through a camera lens, one could see part of the Montana city of Butte, a large mission with a bell tower, and the pointy hill from which Butte took its name.
Once, the Centennial Brewery dominated the area. The Milwaukee railroad trestle crossed over the B&O where only the bare notch stands today. German-Americans lived in the vicinity of the brewery. Many of them opposed the recent U.S. entry into World War I. Some even supported Germany. One theory holds that the pro-German feeling in the area was the reason that vigilantes chose to hang Frank Little from the trestle there.
After dragging him through the streets, they drove under the trestle. They threw the bitter end of a 25 foot length of half-inch hemp over the beams above. The noose was around his neck. Then they hauled him up so that his bare feet dangled high over the B&O tracks. The coroner said that he died of asphyxiation. That was in 1917.
* * *
In our rental car, we had covered every important landmark that had anything to do with Frank Little's life and death. The Capri Inn stands today where his rooming house stood next to the Finlandia Hall. Miners met daily in the hall and Frank Little spoke passionately to them about continuing and winning their strike against the Anaconda Mine Company. Leaving his crutches and clothes behind, the lynchers dragged him from his bed at 4 AM, August 1.
At the Butte Archives Center, they have two big cardboard displays about Little and a folder an inch thick. All the local news coverage of the period is there. The library, too, has a large folder on Frank Little. Local scholars can direct inquisitive people to the parade route of the funeral procession and to the grave.
The grave is well cared for by local activists. The epitaph is still easy to read: "Frank Little: 1879-1917: Slain by Capitalist Interests for Organizing and Inspiring His Fellow Man." Nobody ever had a better one.
* * *
Why do we go to so much trouble to find out about Frank Little and to tell others? That is what we were pondering as we sat in the rental car on our third visit to the hanging site.
It isn't just to right the injustice done when the government's post-war rampage wiped out all record and remembrance of one of America's greatest heroes. We're just working people, not scholars. It isn't just fascination with a man who made such great contributions to America. It isn't even what it was when we began, feeling for our Oklahoma homeland and the desire to restore its heroes to it. Little was actually born in Illinois and only raised in Oklahoma, for that matter.
We thought about how Frank Little differed from the 6 or 7 cowards who lynched him. Perhaps they were only young and impressionable, pumped up with company money, liquor, and false patriotism. One rumor says that Dashiel Hammett, who went on to become a famous and progressive mystery writer, was one of them. He is supposed to have told Lillian Hellman that Anaconda offered him $500 to kill Frank Little. Were those 6 or 7 paid murderers really so bad that we couldn't see the humanity in them? Was Frank Little really so good that we couldn't see the humanity in him?
Then we knew we had found the key to our search!
The difference between Frank Little and the lynchers; the difference between Frank Little and anybody else; the difference between Frank Little and ourselves! That is what we are searching for, cherishing, and trying to tell others about!
The difference between Frank Little and his attackers is the difference between the baseness, cruelty, isolation, and mistrust that characterizes so much of our lives and the nobility, caring, and sacrifice that Frank Little epitomizes in his life and death.
That difference is worth searching for; worth telling about!
Why Don’t Americans Know About Frank Little?
June 8, 1992
Dear friends and relatives of Frank Little,
I will hurry with some things because I know you have a family reunion in progress. I'm sending these things because I believe that Frank Little should be honored as one of Oklahoma's greatest heroes both for his accomplishments and for his great personal courage.
1879: Frank Little apparently was born in Illinois in 1878, but moved to Missouri, then Ingalls, Oklahoma, the area around Yale, near Stillwater, as a child. His father was a doctor. He had 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Both brothers attended college at Stillwater
1900: Little had become a “hard rock” metal miner and an Arizona member of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM)
1903: Little had been hired by WFM to organize the copper camps of the Clifton Morenci Metcalf area
1905: The Western Federation of Miners was the main force launching the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). I’m not positive, but I believe that Frank Little attended the organizing convention
1906: Frank Little officially entered IWW
1907 WFM convention pressed WFM into IWW philosophy of direct action. Little advocated "direct action." Spoke against a narrow electoral approach to politics. When WFM left IWW, Little stayed in IWW. WFM expelled him.
1909: Frank Little and others read the Declaration of Independence on a Spokane (Washington) street, got 30 days and was subjected to unusually cruel treatment. The Spokane fight ended in March 1910 and Frank Little came to Fresno, California, where his brother, Fred was organizing farm workers
1909, September 28: Frank Little arrested in Missoula, Montana during as free speech fight began there.
1909, October 8: Little and others released from jail. Free speech allowed in Missoula.
1910, Oct 22: "On October 22nd Frank's brother W.F. Little was arrested under mysterious circumstances for drunkenness. He pleaded not guilty originally but when he appeared in court on the 24th he changed his plea to guilty and asked the mercy of the court. He told the Judge that he had a wife and family to support and could spend no more time in jail. He also promised to quit the I.W.W.. The judge found him guilty and gave him a ninety day suspended sentence. (footnote here says Fresno Morning Republican, October 19, 1910, P. 12.) 'He had worked in a local carpet cleaning plant prior to the free speech fight. His age was given as thirty-six (four years older than Frank.) Nothing more was heard from him.... 'The Wobblies in jail took the news hard, there was much grumbling, and several changed their pleas to guilty to get a "floater" (parole)...." //The dates given don’t actually fit, so I’m not sure how much truth there is in this. But I read elsewhere that Fred was kicked out of the IWW after being branded a drunk. Actually, I think Fred was "in and out" of the IWW over time. I’m pretty sure that Emma left Fred somewhere during this period. When Frank died in 1917, one newspaper listed him as supporting his mother in Oklahoma and his sister-in-law in California.//
1910, December, Beginning of Fresno free speech fight. After Spokane, Frank Little was in Fresno to help found Local 66 of the agricultural and construction workers. Arrested there for street speaking. "Your jails and dungeons hold no terror for me," he told the judge, and was put into the tank on a bread and water diet. Frank Little among the first arrested, served 28 days in solitary..." They were arrested over and over until March, 1911! I expect that Little was in jail that whole time. Freezing cold and wet.
1911: IWW organizing headquarters (a tent) burned by rioters. Frank Little spoke out for non-violence and prevailed.
1911, March 9: Frank Little and the other Fresno free speech fighters released from jail
1911, Oct 6, He was arrested in Kansas City
1911: at IWW convention in Chicago, Little was elected to the General Executive Board of IWW
1912 Little was in Oklahoma City to organize a local (oil field workers? Agricultural?) . At one time or another, he organized oil field AND agricultural workers in Oklahoma.
1913 in Denver for free speech
1913, May 22: Arrested in Peoria, Illinois, on charges of conspiracy to start a riot during another free speech fight
1913 Agitated in the ore dock strike in the Duluth Minnesota area (Is this near Superior?). On July 22 he was beaten by steel company goons and left unconscious in a gutter.
1913, August 2: kidnapped by local businessmen and was held prisoner for several days until rescued by newspaper reporters and a party of striking dockworkers. He gave a speech that afternoon!
1914: Butte Miners' Local #1 fell apart after its union hall was dynamited to smithereens. Anaconda Mining Company executives must have been very happy about that.
1914 organizing oil field workers in Drumright, Oklahoma. Brother Alonzo worked in Drumwright. in 1914
1914 IWW convention, elected to the General Executive Board. Appealed to convention for formation of Agricultural Workers Organization 400 (AWO 400). AWO set up an 800 mile picket line. The AWO is widely believed to be the most successful of all IWW union operations. It endured long after the Palmer Raids. William Z Foster claimed that Little agreed with his strategies concerning work with the American Federation of Labor
1916 May have been charged with vagrancy in Joplin, Missouri
1916, August 16: In Mesabi Range. Arrested at Iron River (Michigan?). Lynched from jail and, with a noose around his neck for emphasis, was told to cease his activities and divulge the names of local leaders. He gave no names and was knocked unconscious. He awoke in a ditch in Watersmeet, some 35 miles from Iron River
1916, November: IWW Convention in Chicago
1917, April 6: War declared. Conscription law (Draft) implemented. Frank Little told Ralph Chaplin "I'll take a firing squad first."
1917 (approximately): Frank Little was attacked by a gunman in El Paso, Texas. He received a double rupture, which compounded his rheumatism. Little was a man in great pain.
1917, June 5: Miners in Butte, Montana had launched another organizing drive to re-start their union. Butte Miners Local #1 had already lived through an interesting and colorful existence
1917, June 8, Spectator Mine disaster in Butte took 164 lives. Strike for better safety conditions. Little went from Arizona to Chicago with leg in cast to discuss war. Had leg in cast "as the result of an accident in Oklahoma." he argued, "Better to go out in a blaze of glory than give in. Either we're for this capitalistic slaughterfest or we're against it."
1917, July 2: Against Little’s advice, Miner’s start striking in Bisbee. Within a few days, Frank Little had a car wreck in Bisbee that put him on crutches with a broken ankle. He organized from his bunk in a miner’s cabin.
1917, July 10: deportation of about 100 IWW and Mine-Mill members -- at Jerome, Arizona, just south of Flagstaff -- by a "Loyalty League" organized by the United Verde Copper Company. These workers were dumped in California and then driven back into Arizona by a California sheriff's posse -- and finally imprisoned at Prescott, Arizona. In this same period of time, Frank Little’s broken ankle apparently kept him from being deported.
1917, July 12: Cochise County [Arizona], was the scene of the Phelps-Dodge Copper organized "Loyalty League" roundup and deportation of 1200 striking copper workers at Bisbee [not counting three that were killed.] This was in the context of the great IWW-led copper strike that stretched from Butte, Anaconda, and Great Falls down to the Mexican border. The 1200 were taken without food or water by box cars and dumped at Columbus, New Mexico. They were Chicano, Anglo, Oriental, and Native -- either members of the IWW or members of Mine-Mill [or both, a practice that actually lingered through the 1950s in the Western copper situation.]
1917, July 17: En route to Butte, Little stopped in Salt Lake City, Utah, to send a telegram to Governor Campbell: “The membership of the IWW is tired of the lawlessness of the capitalist class and will no longer stand for such action. If you, as governor, will not uphold the law, we will take the same into our own hands. Will you act, or must we?”
1917, July 18: Arrived Butte, still on crutches. Spoke in baseball park on July 19 against war and for safe mining conditions
1917, July 27: With Frank Little’s backing, women began picket duties in Butte
1917, August 1, hoodlums kidnapped Little from his boarding house bed. They dragged him behind their car and, eventually, hung him from a nearby railroad trestle. "When his body was taken down, it was seen that the cast on his leg had been shattered and that both of his kneecaps had been crushed."
1917, August 5, 3000-6,800 (estimates differ) people at his funeral in Butte. It was the largest funeral in Montana history. In his last telegram to Bill Haywood, Little had written, "We've got what it takes to win!"
1917, August: The United States Government unleashed J. Edgar Hoover and the worst anti-labor repression in our history. The IWW office in Chicago was among the first places raided. IWW members faced deportations, arrests, blacklisting, and physical abuse for the rest of their existence as a major United States labor organization.
What Kind of Man Was Frank Little?
What Kind of Person Was Frank Little?
His grand-niece remembered a kind present from him when she was just a little girl. She had no information as to why some references say that W.R. Little had been a Quaker. She didn’t know why he was called a half-breed Cherokee. Neither of those things were precisely true. She doesn't believe that Frank ever married or established a home. She had no artifacts of his life and didn't know if any existed. When he died, one obituary listed him as having supported his mother in Oklahoma and his sister-in-law in California.
James P Cannon wrote a tribute: "The rebel youth see him as a hero. His soul is marching on." "For his personal friends he had a strange and wonderful kindness and considerateness, and he was greatly beloved by them." "I remember vividly to this day the quieting effect of his entrance into the jail in Peoria, Illinois, during the strike and free speech fight there in 1913..." "Frank Little will become a tradition, one of the greatest traditions of the American movement. A study of his life will become part of the revolutionary education of the American revolutionary youth."
IWW leader and songwriter Ralph Chaplin liked Little: “I liked Frank Little. I liked him because of his candor, courage, and unfailing good humor. I liked him because the sight of factories made him wrathful and ribald." But Chaplin also said that he was sincerely concerned about Little going to Montana because of the broken leg, but also "because of what I considered his intemperate manner of speaking - dangerous enough even in peace times. Little always blurted out the unvarnished truth as he saw it regardless of how it sounded or who it hurt." Little argued with General Executive Board for stand against war, but they never took one. Chaplin had written editorials against and Haywood had spoken, but no statement from GEB ever was made.
Little certainly was plain spoken. Chaplin quotes him on the war question: "Better to go out in a blaze of glory than to give in. Either we're for this capitalist slaughterfest or we're against it. I'm ready to face a firing squad rather than compromise!" As he prepared to leave he told Chaplin "It's better to go down slugging." "He was bitter on the subject of war. ‘War,’ he warned, ‘will mean the end of free speech, free press, free assembly-- everything we ever fought for. I'll take a firing squad first!’”
Renshaw, Patrick, The Wobblies. The story of Syndicalism in the United States. Anchor Books. Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY 1967. pg 160-1: "Little was nevertheless the toughest, most courageous and impulsive leader the IWW ever had. He joined the IWW in 1906, was active in the free speech fights at Missoula, Fresno, and Spokane, and went on to organize the lumberjacks, metal miners, oil field workers and harvest bindle stiffs all over the West and Southwest."
Not everybody loved Frank Little
Editor William F. Dunne later admitted that he used Little's death as a rallying point for the Butte miners’ fight while not actually sympathizing much with Little. Dunn called him "illiterate, embittered, and badly informed on labor problems." (This may have been a result of fear rather than actual personal opinion. Nobody dared admit that they even knew Frank Little, much less had any respect for him.)
The Mine Miller and Smelter workers’ paper blasted Frank Little for making a speech at a labor meeting in Joplin. They wrote, “Trouble maker was soon observed sneaking out of the hall. Later he was arrested by Joplin police on a charge of vagrancy -- having threatened a policeman on Main Street." Calls Little "cur that he is". "For the past number of years his sole mission on earth appears to be to destroy the Western Federation of miners where there is organization, and by peddling his damnable lies among the unorganized, prevent them from attaching themselves to the bona fide union of their industry." After the WFM left the IWW, they were hostile to it.
(Tulsa Democrat, 8/12/17) "Tulsan says F.H. Little, lynched IWW leader, always cursed the flag" The article, a letter from W.E. La Forge, slanders Little throughout by calling him unpatriotic, lazy, illiterate, etc. The writer indicates that he has been "a friend" of Little's! It concludes "His many acquaintances who have read of his final exit can but say: 'I told you so!!"
Cannon, James P, "Frank Little, the Rebel -- on the ninth Anniversary of his death." Labor Defender Aug 1926. In Equal Justice Vol 1-2. pg 133. Also in compilation by Pathfinder Press: Notebook of an Agitator. A tribute to Little. Says that someone soon will compile a systematic work on Frank's life. Says he was physically courageous.
Chaplain, Ralph, Wobbly, the Rough and Tumble Story of an American Radical. Union of Chicago Press. 1948
Chaplin, Ralph, "Frank Little and the War". Labor defender, Aug 1926. Says Little's right leg had been fractured in an auto accident in Arizona.
Call, The, "Organizer for IWW hung from a trestle by masked murderers". 8/2/17. New York. Says Little was born in Fresno California 38 years before. Had just left Globe, Arizona. "He was the support of his mother and his sister-in-law." Actually, I’m pretty sure he was born in Illinois
Dubofsky, Melvyn We shall be All. A History of the Industrial Workers of the World. University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago. 1969. This is the definitive history of IWW. Many references to Frank Little. pg 1325 Little argued at WFM 1907 convention against a simple electoral political strategy. Several references in this book show that Little advocated nonviolent struggle in the free speech movement. James Cannon says, though, that Little had a pistol in one episode. Apparently, Little believed in nonviolence as a strategy, not a religious commitment. pg 222: at 1911 IWW convention, Little was among leaders who advocated strong central leadership. pg 223: Foster claimed to have convinced Frank Little and Earl Ford to his view of tactics for the IWW at 1911 convention. pg 314 in 1914 convention, Frank Little made motion to start organizing harvest workers corectly. Result was AWO 400 organized by Walter T Nef. pg 321: "In 1913, for example, Frank Little, James Cannon, and E.F. Doree carried the Wobbly gospel North.... But in August local Duluth businessmen kidnapped Little, and though other Wobblies later rescued him, such repressive tactics kept the IWW from gaining recruits in the district. pg 346: "Haywood, Chaplin, and Frank Little... had no intention of
making peace with the American system;"
Dunne, William F., "August, 1917, in Butte. The Murder of Frank Little". Labor Defender vol1-2, pg 123. August, 1926. The cover of the magazine is a death's head of Little. I wonder whatever happened to it? Dunne's piece is a wonderfully written update on what happened after Little died. He claims they shut down Anacona, the largest mine in the world, the first time it had ever been closed by a strike. "We stopped completely the production of that primary war necessity -- copper -- when it was selling for 26 1/2 cents per pound." He goes on to accuse anaconda and certain perpetrators of the murder
Gutfeld, Arnon, "The murder of Frank Little; Radical labor agitation in Butte, Montana, 1917. From publication Labor History. Lots of bibliographical references from Butte newspapers
Hall, Covington, Labor Struggles in the Deep South & Other Writings. Edited & Introduced by David R Roediger. Charles S Kerr, Chicago, 1999. Covington Hall was an IWW supporter, orator, and editor in Louisiana and Texas during the first half of the 20th century. These are his personal recollections of big labor events, especially from an area from New Orleans into East Texas. Page 187 mentions that Frank Little of the IWW had "spoken before many Socialist Party locals in Oklahoma." As Hall explains it, the IWW would not allow farmers nor even sharecroppers, to join. Consequently, they formed their own organization. Hall felt that the IWW had made "one of the biggest mistakes in its history..."
Harrison George, The IWW Trial. Story of the Greatest Trial in Labor's History by one of the Defendants. Arno Press & The New York Times, 1969. Dallas Public Library 343.31 H427i. George took notes while he and 112 other defendants were tried for conspiracy by the United States Government. 166 leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) had been indicted, but all of them weren't found in time for the trial to start.
Haywood, “Big Bill,” Letter from William Haywood to F. Little concerning the IWW's position on the war and the upcoming Convention in Denver. It was originally used in the trial of the United States vs. William D. Haywood, et al. This exhibit was part of the deposition of John W. Hughes for the Michael Simmons vs. the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Company.
University of Arizona Special Collections AZ 114 Box 1, folder 1, exhibit 50.
Here is the complete text: July 27th.-17 F. H. Little Yours of the 24th. to hand, and the contents of same noted with care. In reply will say, that I note with pleasure that you have got the Branch of #800 going in Butte, but that you have not yet received the Charter, I will say that the Charter has been sent, and you should have received same by this time.
In regard to sending Moore down to Arizona, will say he is already there, and well on the job, received a wire from him to-day, saying he had secured the release of all the prisoners in Prescott, He is now going up to Globe, Miami and Bisbee, expect a report from him from these places soon.
In regard to the Statement of the Board on War, will say, after the statement in this week's Solidarity by the Editor it would be superfluous to publish the statement of the Board, as it is practically the same and covers the same essential points as "Solidarity's" statement.
Note what you say about the Craft Unions scabbing in Butte, and echo what you say, "But what can you expect from that bunch."
In regard to the Conference in Denver, I am afraid that as far as we are concerned we shall not be able to participate in that Convention. Perry says the Branches of #800 will not be able to afford the mileage and expenses of any delegates, and as #490 only figures upon sending one man, and all that #800 could send would be one delegates, it seems as far as we are concerned, we shall not be represented. I think myself, that Butte was and is the logical place for such a conference, it is adjacent to the great mining belt of the Couer-D-Allene country, and would be just as centrally located for us, as Denver, and then you are right there.
However you will explain matters in Butte, showing how, owing to the various strikes now on, we are unable to finance delegates to the Conference.
With best wishes, I remain. Yours for the O.B.U. [One Big Union, editor] “Signature”
International Socialist Review, "The man that was hung" ISR Sept 1917. Vol XVII, No. 3. pg 135, found in Tamimint library, NYU. Photo at graveside, hundreds of men. Photo of him in coroner's office. I understand photo of cadaver was widely circulated in Butte. Here is how they quote Little's speech, "Governor, I don't care what you are fighting for, but we, the Industrial Workers of the World, are fighting for Industrial Democracy."
They blame standard oil for everything! Says 6,800 working people followed Little's body to graveside.
La Forge, W.E., "Tulsan Says F.H. Little, Lynched IWW leader, always cursed the flag" Tulsa Democrat, 8/12/17. By W.E. La Forge with long prologue. La Forge claims to be a friend of Little's but bad mouths him all the way through.
Lehmann, Ted, Pamphlet in Fresno, California, library dated 25 May 1971, "The Constitution Guarantees Freedom of Speech--Rats! The Fresno Free Speech Fight" Through inter-library loan, I obtained a barely readable xerox copy of this pamphlet. Gives IWW preamble and a little background. He says that Frank Little was not widely known until the Spokane free speech fight in 1909. Then, his success in Fresno catapaulted him into national leadership. Photo of Frank, just like mine. From "Labadie Collection photo files". pg 7: "Frank was in Spokane to help with the fight there and had sent his brother letters describing his experiences and arrests in that town." W.F. Little (this must be Fred) organized Local 66 of the IWW "This local was composed of a majority of unskilled fruit workers.
Little, Frank, (I don't have this but I need it) Industrial Democracy (or was it Solidarity?) July 28, 1917. Has 3 page article by Frank Little. For interlibrary loan try RLIN CUBG86-53796. Nigel Sellars has ordered it. Also the 3/24/17 Solidarity has comparison of war policies of IWW and AFL. //I’ve tried library resources and asked several historians, but never found a copy of this key article//
Little, Frank, “Rank and File,” A Report on Free Speech fights, Solidarity, Aug 10,1912. Little also had article in the May 29, 1916, and June 3, 1916, issues of the Industrial Worker about organizing opportunities in general and in the lead and zinc mines of the Oklahoma, Kanasas, and Missouri Tri-State Region. Several other reports and letters from Little appear in other Wobbly publications, according to historian Nigel Sellars
Little family relative, Letter to me from Frank Little’s grand-niece in Oklahoma. 7/25/92. Tells where her grandfather and grandmother are buried. Asks me not to give out her name or address. Very sweet letter about Frank Little her uncle, whom she regarded highly, but never spoke of. I also have several letters & e-mails from other family members in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Missouri
McGuckin, Henry E, "Memoirs of a Wobbly." $6.95 Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co 1740 West
Greenleaf Av #7, Chicago Il 60626
Miles, Dione, Something in Common: An IWW Bibliography
Miners Magazine, “IWW try troublemaking." July 6, 1916. I think this is publication of Mine Mill & Smelter workers. It is an attack against Frank little by the WFM after they left the IWW.
Renshaw, Patrick, The Wobblies. The story of Syndicalism in the United States. Anchor Books. Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY 1967. This is a little paperback. pg 162: "Little then wrote a passionate antiwar statement which appeared in Solidarity on July
28, 1917, only three days before he died." (Nigel Sellars thinks it is in Industrial Worker, not Solidarity) pg 160-1: "Little was nevertheless the toughest, most courageous and impulsive leader the IWw ever had. He joined the IWW in 1906, was active in the free speech fights at Missoula, Fresno, and Spokane, and went on to organize the lumberjacks, metal miners, oil field workers and harvest bindle stiffs all over the West and Southwest."
Sellars, Nigel, my notes of discussion with historian Nigel Sellars, who agrees with me that Little is a great American.
Schwoegler, Steve, “Frank Little, Where are you Now that we Need you?” From Industrial Worker July 1982. Pg 5. This is the best little short list of Little's movement's I've ever seen: //I put them into time line//
Silver Bow County archives in Butte, Montana: Butte Archives Center, they have two big cardboard displays about Little and a folder an inch thick. All the local news coverage of the period is there. The library, too, has a large folder on Frank Little. Local scholars can direct inquisitive people to the parade route of the funeral procession and to the grave
Snell, Viola Gilbert, "In Memory of Frank Little" by Viola Gilbert Snell. pg 6 of Industrial Pioneer. Long poem eulogizing him. Xeroxes from Wayne State University
Tulsa Democrat and Tulsa World articles about death of Frank Little and Greencorn Rebellion. Also list of burial records of several Littles in Yale library
Wallace, Naomi, Poem about Frank Little in Massachusetts Review, Spring, 1999. She may also be working on a film script
Werstein, Irving, Pie in the Sky, An American Struggle. The Wobblies and their Times. Delacorte Press, NY, 1969. in OU library. pg 56 describes Fresno free speech fight. pg 114-115 gives short bio of Little's participation in IWW.
Winters, Jr, Donald E, The Soul of the Wobblies. The IWW, Religion, and American Culture in the Progressive Era 1905-1917. Greenwood Press, Westport, Cn 1985. Pg 118. "St. John, Heslewood, Ryan, Percy Rawlings and Frank Little ... led the convention radicals; ..." at Western Federation of Miners convention in 1907. Little & group wanted to join the IWW militant wing
Click here to return to homepage