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Strike Exhibit on View at MTU Library

by on June 13, 2013


The “Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike” Exhibit, created by the Michigan Tech Archives, is currently back on view at the J.R. Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus.  The exhibit and accompanying pamphlet are available for view on the lower level of the library, just outside of the archives reading room.  The exhibit will be on view for the rest of June, before it makes it’s next round of appearances throughout the Copper Country.  The exhibit, which has been making the rounds to various local heritage sites, schools, and museums, is now back at MTU while the strike centennial schedule for the exhibit is being planned.

The exhibit explores a turbulent period in Michigan’s historic copper mining district. On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The conflict, sorrow, and tragedy of this confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The “Tumult and Tragedy” traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online here.

The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara. For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at or 906-487-2505.

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