The Clara Barton Museum Blog

Women’s History Wednesday: Clara Lemlich

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TClara Lemlichhis ‪#‎WomensHistoryWednesday‬, we’re thinking about another Clara: Clara Lemlich. While Clara Barton was one of the first female federal employees, Clara Lemlich was also a working woman … a garment worker on New York’s Lower East Side.

This week, in 1909, Clara Lemlich helped spark one of the largest strikes the country had ever seen—when she was only 15 years old. Like many other garment workers, Clara was tired of being exploited by her employer, treated as though she were “part of the machine [she was] running.” So, at a union meeting, Clara moved that she and her fellow garment workers strike. And they did. Today the landmark labor strike is known as the “Uprising of the 20,000” because between 20,000 and 30,000 people participated.

This was just Clara Lemlich’s first act. Like Barton, Lemlich would spend her life working to help others. And like Barton, Lemlich proves that‪#‎19thCenturyWomenKickButt‬ (and ‪#‎20thCenturyWomenKickButt‬ too)!

A re-enactment of Clara organizing the strike:

Clara Lemlich:
Uprising of 20,000:
Clara Lemlich’s Involvement in the Uprising of 20,000:

Clara’s words:
A children’s book about Clara Lemlich:




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