Today in labor history: Debs imprisoned

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Eugene V. Debs was imprisoned May 22, 1895, for his role in the Pullman strike.

Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who had wide support from workers all over the country.

He was a founder of one of the nation's first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, and he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the Wobblies.

He ran for president of the United States five times on the Socialist Party ticket, attracting six percent of the popular vote in 1912.

On the same date in 1920, the Civil Service Retirement Act was signed into law, giving federal workers a pension.

And on May 22 in 1964, Democratic president Lyndon Johnson announced the goals of his "Great Society": to bring "an end to poverty and racial injustice" in America.

Photo: Pullman strikers outside Arcade Building in Pullman, Chicago. The Illinois National Guard can be seen guarding the building during the Pullman Railroad Strike in 1894. Wikimedia Commons.

 

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