History

Pages from (or about) the past, including:

Women in history

 

Poplar's rates victory: Ten key points

One hundred years ago, a big movement grew in the east London borough of Poplar, headed by thirty councillors who went to prison rather than levy extortionate rates or cut services to the working-class population that elected them. ‘Poplarism’ won.

Why did Poplar win? Here are ten key points, which contain lessons for today.

'A Terrible Betrayal': the centenary of 'Black Friday'

Frank Hodges

Published in Solidarity 588, 14 April 2021

Long before ‘Black Friday’ became the name for the first day of the Christmas shopping season, it was the name that the labour movement gave to the day on which trade union leaders inflicted a defeat on their own movement. It happened exactly one hundred years ago, on 15 April 1921.

Triolet: Don't Mention the War

The form that notified my great-uncle's death in 1917

They never talked about the war,

the ones who fought and struggled through it

Why speak of memories so sore?

They never talked about the war

but football, politics and more

Unless the young asked them to do it,

they never talked about the war,

the ones who fought and struggled through it

Triolet: War Is Over

She didn’t say the war was won

Instead she said the war was ended

Fall silent now, the bomb and gun

She didn’t say the war was won

There’s future-building to be done

Place and people to be mended

She didn’t say the war was won

Instead she said the war was ended

Black culture and resistance: the Harlem Renaissance

Augusta Savage

One hundred years ago, an arts movement was forming in a mainly-black district of New York City. Later known as the Harlem Renaissance, it was primarily cultural but also inescapably political. Literature, poetry, jazz, theatre, sculpture and more articulated the lives and demands of African-Americans no longer willing to be grateful that they were no longer enslaved.

O black and unknown bards of long ago.
How came your lips to touch the sacred fire?

How, in your darkness, did you come to know
The power and beauty of the minstrel’s lyre?
Who first from midst his bonds lifted his eyes?
Who first from out the still watch, lone and long.
Feeling the ancient faith of prophets rise
Within his dark-kept soul, burst into song?

James Weldon Johnson

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