Victory for Workers in Millwork Capital: 125th Anniversary of Woodworkers Strike

This event takes place under the library's Dome.

The Wisconsin Labor History Society, in partnership with several Oshkosh area organizations, will be sponsoring an evening forum to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the Oshkosh Woodworkers Strike of 1898 at Oshkosh Public Library. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the program starting at 6 p.m.

The strike was truly a history-making event.  Many believe the city-wide worker action may have been one of the most critical times in Oshkosh history.  The ten-week strike affected seven millworking plants at a time when Oshkosh was considered the “millworker capital of the Midwest.”  It ended with a trial of three strike leaders who were charged with conspiracy and brought famed attorney Clarence Darrow to Oshkosh to defend the unionists.  His two-day closing argument ended in acquittal of the leaders.  Many historians believe it was a decision critical to ensuring the right of workers to strike.

The forum is entitled, “Victory for Workers in Millwork Capital: 125th Anniversary of Oshkosh Woodworkers Strike,” and will feature a panel discussion with Stephen Kercher, professor of history, UW-Oshkosh, and Jillian Jacklin, lecturer at the Department of Democracy and Justice Studies at UW-Green Bay.  Moderator will be Jon Shelton, chair of the Department of Democracy and Justice Studies at UW-Green Bay.

Particular emphasis will be placed upon the role of women in the strike and upon the historic closing argument by Clarence Darrow.

The forum is funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thank you to co-sponsors the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, the UW-Green Bay History Department, UW-Green Bay Justice and Democracy Studies, the UW-Oshkosh History Department, and the UW-Oshkosh University Studies Program. Special thanks to Oshkosh Public Library for supporting this event.

Event Type: 
Thursday, November 2, 2023 - 5:30pm