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What will be your part in the centennial of the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike?

Everyone is invited to become involved in the centennial commemoration of the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike. 2013 will present a one-of-a-kind opportunity to focus attention on the complex history of the Copper Country.  This is the time to get involved!

Volunteers are needed to assist with planning for the centennial year, to help with specific events, and to share what you know about this significant period in Copper Country history – one that figures critically in national labor struggles of the era.  

By becoming actively involved, you will learn directly about these pivotal events, meet other folks who have much to share, and have your voice heard in the many sides to these stories.  You are invited to learn about these historical events, explore the controversial sides of the strike, mourn the tragic loss of life, or explore some of the unsolved mysteries.

Centennial anniversaries encourage new research to explain, understand, and heal from historical events. They are also a time for descendants of former residents and students of history to contribute to the knowledge of our shared history. 

Those already involved in planning for commemorative events have received dozens of ideas for potential activities, most of which are collected here (click ion these words). There are certain to be topics you can contribute toward and events you can help to develop. There is still plenty of time to jump onboard.

Ultimately, this will require a community-wide effort with the involvement and cooperation of many individuals, organizations, and institutions.

Leadership for specific events is needed. We invite you to come forward and share your unique and valuable talents, skills, ideas and resources. Perhaps there is an event on the list that you would like to be involved in planning? Perhaps you have documents or artifacts of historical value to loan or donate? Perhaps you are involved with organizations and people that would be eager to contribute? The centennial commemorations present an opportunity to share in this very special community during a very special year.

What will be your part in the centennial of the 1913 Michigan Copper Strike?

For further information on how to become involved, send e-mail to or leave a comment on this page below with your name and contact information.

  1. Donna Armistead permalink

    “For They Are Women’s Children,” an original dance-drama depicting the strike, will premiere at the Calumet Theatre in October. Featuring local dancers and actors and an original score by local composer Robin Oye, the production is directed and choreographed by Donna Armistead.

    • Please let me know when you have a date confirmed so that I can add it to the event calendar. Thanks!

  2. Donna Armistead permalink

    Hi Lindsay, I’m waiting to receive the contract from the Calumet Theatre and will send you an update as soon as possible. We’re excited about this project and rehearsals are going well! ~thanks, Donna

  3. Donna Armistead permalink

    Hi Lindsay, Here is the updated press release. Thanks for your help. ~Donna

    For Immediate Release

    Original 1913 Strike Dance-Drama to Premiere at Calumet Theatre

    In 1996 two local artists, choreographer Donna Armistead and composer Robin Oye, began discussing a collaboration to produce an original work of dance depicting the Michigan Copper Strike of 1913. This theme has since been explored in drama and two operas, but never before have the events of 1913 been presented in a dance idiom.

    For They Are Women’s Children, a contemporary dance-drama featuring an original musical score and original choreography, will receive its world premiere at the Calumet Theater October 25, 2013. Featuring musicians and dancers from the local community, it depicts episodes in the daily lives of miners and their families during the strike, culminating in the Italian Hall tragedy on Christmas Eve when seventy-three people – including fifty-nine children – lost their lives.

    The ballet’s aim is to personalize the struggles of working people in prewar Calumet and its environs through the medium of original music and dance. Theatregoers will have the opportunity to see and hear the premiere of a unique theatrical work evoking the will and determination characteristic of Copper Country residents who persevered despite ethnic strife, enmity and bitterness in the face of hardship and tragedy.

    Director Donna Armistead is an independent choreographer and stage director who makes her home in Jacobsville, MI. Formerly a soloist/principal dancer with several regional ballet companies, she was for eleven years artistic director of the Superior School of Dance, Houghton/Hancock, where she is still a member of the faculty. Her choreographic work has been featured locally in productions of the Michigan Tech Theatre, Pine Mountain Music Festival and Calumet Players as well as her former company, Lake Superior Dance Theatre.

    The cast will feature some of Armistead’s students in principal roles, supported by local youth and adult community members. Performance times are Friday, October 25 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 27 at 2:00 pm. For ticket information call the Calumet Theatre box office at (906) 337-2610.

    For further information contact Donna Armistead or (906) 523-4258 (evenings)

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