Labor Unions - Flint

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The Basics

Time Required

4 class periods (90 minutes each)

Subject Areas

US History II:  1865 – Present 

Development of Industrial U.S., 1870-1900

Skills

Song analysis

Writing

Author

Mike Arnold (2011)

 

The Lesson

Introduction

This lesson considers life during America’s Industrial Age, and in particular looks at the issues of child labor, women’s suffrage, temperance, and labor organization. 

Guiding Questions

The “Do Now” activity that opens each lesson can act as Guiding Questions.

Learning Objectives

The student will demonstrate knowledge of how life changed after the Civil War by describing the impact of the Progressive Movement on child labor, working conditions, the rise of organized labor, women's suffrage, and the temperance movement.

Preparation Instructions

Songs used in this lesson

“Babies in the Mill”

“Lowell Factory Girls”

“Keep Women in Their Sphere”

“Freedom’s Anthem”

“Go It While You’re Young”

“The Wife’s Lament”

“I Don’t Want your Millions Mister”

“And Now Assemble”

Lesson Activities

Day 1 Activities:

Activity 1(5-10 minutes):  As students come in to class, directions will be posted on whiteboard:  “Using a half sheet of paper, copy down the question and answer it in 1-2 complete sentences.”

 

Do Now:  Using the knowledge you have gained about the industrialization of America, who makes up the workforce?

Activity 2(5-10 minutes):  Share answers and discuss as a class.  Hand out “Babies in the Mill” lyrics

Activity 3(5-15 minutes):  Students listen to the song “Babies in the Mill”.  The teacher will ask, “What kind of life is the singer describing?  Who are these babies?  Would you be able to handle it, if you were a child during this time period?”  Students return “Babies in the mill” lyrics.  Hand out photo analysis packets.

 

Activity 4(30 – 45 minutes):  In their groups, students will get a picture and a group of questions to answer.  They will work together to answer the questions for 30 minutes.  After the group time is up, the teacher will project each picture onto the Promethean Board, and each group will present their findings.  The class will be asked to add anything additional to the findings. 

Activity 5 (10-15 minutes):  Students will take notes from the Progressive Era Movements.

Activity 6 (20-30 minutes)  (Possible HW):  On the left side of their INB, students will create an advertisement for a company looking for children laborers, a poem or song about child labor in America, or a comic strip explaining some of the hardships of child labor in America.

Day 2 Activities:

Activity 1 (15-20 minutes):  As students come in, directions will be posted on the whiteboard:  “Come in and pick up a Do Now sheet from the front of the room.  Listen to the song that is playing and answer the questions on the Do Now sheet in COMPLETE sentences.” The song Lowell Factory Girls will be playing and the lyrics will be on the Promethean Board.

Who is singing this song?

 What is the singer’s message?

 What movement, during the Progressive Era, does this song address?

 

Activity 2 (5-10 minutes):  Students will be asked to share their answers in a discussion. The teacher will explain that there were other major movements of the time period and we will be discussing them in class.  Hand out “Keep Women in their Sphere” lyrics.

Activity 3 (5-10 minutes):  Instruct students to follow along with the lyrics and listen to “Keep Women in their Sphere”.  The teacher will ask:  “What movement do you think we are talking about today and why?  What is the song saying about this movement?  Can anyone explain suffrage to the class?”  Students will return the song lyrics. 

Activity 4 (10–15 minutes): Students will take notes on Women’s Suffrage Movement

Activity 5 (30-45 minutes):  In their groups, each student will receive a Women’s Suffrage photo analysis packet.  The students will work together to answer the questions (30 minutes).  After the group time, the teacher will project the pictures onto the Promethean Board and each group will present their findings.  The class will be asked to add any additional findings that they may have seen.

Activity 6 (20-30 minutes) (Possible HW):  On the left page, students will create a piece of propaganda for the Suffrage movement, a poem or song about the movement, or a Venn Diagram of the Child Labor and Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Day 3 Activities:

Activity 1 (10-15 minutes):  As students come in, directions will be posted on the whiteboard:  “Come in and pick up a Do Now sheet from the front of the room.  Listen to the song that is playing and answer the questions on the Do Now sheet in COMPLETE sentences.  Turn the Do Now sheet into the blue basket when completed.”  The song “Freedom’s Anthem” will be playing and the lyrics will be on the Promethean Board.

 

Who is singing this song?

What is going on in the song?

What movement, during the Progressive Era, does this song address?

 

Activity 2 (5-10 minutes):  Students will be asked to share their answers in a discussion. The teacher will explain that there were other major movements of the time period and we will be discussing them in class. Hand out “Go It While you’re Young” and “The Wife’s Lament” lyrics.

Activity 3 (5-10 minutes):  Instruct students to follow along with the lyrics and listen to “Go It While you’re Young” and “The Wife’s Lament”.  The teacher will ask:  “What movement do you think we are talking about today and why?  What is the song saying?”  The teacher will explain the Temperance Movement and its ties to the Suffrage Movement.  Students will return the song lyrics.  Hand out Temperance notesheet.

Activity 4 (15-20 minutes):  Students will take notes on the Temperance Movement from the Progressive Era Movement.

Activity 6 (20-25 minutes):  The teacher will ask for questions.  If there are none, the class will begin to watch a United Streaming clip on Temperance.  If there are questions, they will be answered before the clip or by the clip.

Activity 7 (20-30 minutes) (Possible HW):  On the left page students will create either a poem or song about the Temperance movement, a piece of propaganda for or against the Temperance Movement, or a Venn Diagram about the Child Labor, Women’s Suffrage, and Temperance Movement. 

Day 4 Activities:

Activity 1 (10-15 minutes):  As students come in, directions will be posted on the whiteboard:  “Come in and take out a sheet of paper.  Answer the questions, IN COMPLETE SENTENCES, which are posted on the Promethean Board.”

 

                  Do Now: 

 

Were children the only people being treated unfairly by business owners?

What kind of conditions do you believe workers faced at their jobs?

Did workers believe in the “American Dream”? 

 

Activity 2 (5-10 minutes):  Students will be asked to share their answers in a discussion. The teacher will explain that there were other major movements of the time period and we will be discussing them in class.  Hand out “I don’t want your millions mister” lyrics.

Activity 3 (5-10 minutes):  Instruct students to follow along with the lyrics and listen to “And Now Assemble.”  The teacher will ask:  “What movement do you think we are talking about today and why?  What is the song saying?”  What other movement have we studied that is similar?  Students will return the song lyrics. 

Activity 4 (15-20 minutes):  Students will take notes on the Rise of Organized Labor from the Progressive Era Movement.

Activity 5 (20-25 minutes):  The teacher will ask for questions.  If there are none, the class will read, Joe Van Der Katt and the Great Picket Fence

Activity 6 (5-10 minutes):  Class will discuss how the book compares to the lecture.

Activity 7 (20-30 minutes) (Possible HW):  On the left page students will create either a poem, song or piece of propaganda that takes a stand either for or against labor unions.

Assessment

Use last activity of each lesson as an assessment of the students’ understanding. 

 

Resources

Lyrics

“Babies in the Mill”

I used to be a factory hand when things were moving slowWhen children worked in cotton mills, each morning had to goEvery morning just at five the whistle blew on timeAnd called them babies out of bed at the age of eight and nine   Come out of bed, little sleepy head  And get you a bite to eat  The factory whistle's calling you  There's no more time to sleep The children all grew up unlearned, they never went to school,They never learned to read or write, but they learned to spin and   spoolEvery time I close my eyes, I see that picture still,When textile work was carried on with babies in the mill. Chorus To their jobs those little ones were strictly forced to go,Those babies had to be on time through rain and sleet and snow,Many times when things went wrong their bosses often frowned,Many times those little ones was kicked and shoved around. Chorus Old Timer can't you see that scene, that though the years go byThose babies all went on the job, the same as you and II know you're glad that things have changed, and we have lots of   funAs we go in and do the jobs that babies used to run Chorus

“Lowell factory Girls”

No more shall I work in the factory, 
Greasy up my clothes
No more shall I work in the factory, 
Splinters in my toes
Pity me, my darlin', pity me I say
Pity me, my darlin', and carry me away

No more shall I hear the bosses say, 
"Boys you better doff"
No more shall I hear the bosses say, 
"Spinners you better clean off"
Pity me, my darlin', pity me I say
Pity me, my darlin', and carry me away

No more shall I hear the drummer wheels 
Rollin' over my head
When factories are hard at work, 
I'll be in my bed
Pity me, my darlin', pity me I say
Pity me, my darlin', and carry me away

No more shall I wear the old black dress, 
Greasy all around
No more shall I wear the old black bonnet 
With holes all in the crown
Pity me, my darlin', pity me I say
Pity me, my darlin', and carry me away

No more shall I see the super come 
All dressed up so proud
For I know I'll marry a country boy 
When the year is out
Pity me, my darlin', pity me I say
Pity me, my darlin', and carry me away 

Pity me, my darlin', pity me I say
Pity me, my darlin', and carry me away

“Keep Women in Their Sphere”

I have a neighbor, one of those

Not very hard to find

Who know it all without debate

And never change their mind

I asked him ”What of woman’s rights?”

He said in tones severe--

“My mind on that is all made up,

Keep woman in her sphere.”

 

I saw a man in tattered garb

Forth from the grog-shop come

He squandered all his cash for drink

and starved his wife at home

I have a neighbor, one of those

Not very hard to find

Who know it all without debate

And never change their mind

I asked him ”What of woman’s rights?

He said in tones severe--

“My mind on that is all made up,

Keep woman in her sphere.

“Freedom’s Anthem”

Available at: http://www.kansasmemory.org/item/204064

“Go It While You’re Young”

Money's scarce they say, and very well we know it,
Then surely the best way, is while you're young to go it,
The banks are all flat broke, their rags are good for naught,
The specie's all bespoke, Then certainly you ought to--

Go it while you're young,
For when you're old you can't,
Let scandal hold her tongue
And bid dull care avaunt.

Now single men get wives, the States may soldiers need,
There's plenty to be had, if parties are agreed;
Learn them all to shoot, to them it will be sport,
Say you're fathers' fought before, then certainty you ought to--

Go it while you're young, &c.

Youth's the time for pleasure, life is but a span,
Gaiety's a treasure, seize it while you can,
Old men couldn't go it, were they to be hung,
Their looks and actions show it--then

Go it while you're young &c.

ENCORE VERSES.

The Temperance cause is up, liquor's bottle up and down,
For if you take too much, it flies right up into your crown;
Good liquor's a good thing, and plenty can be bought,
Drink when you feel dry, for certainly you ought to--

Go it while you’re young, &c.

Last night I was out late, the truth I must declare,
This morning I don't know how, but I was up before the Mayor.
Says he, you've had your fun, and now you must pay for it,
Certainly, says I mister Mayor, but then you ought to--

Spoken.--Ought to what? says he. Why, says I, you ought

Go it while you're young, &c.

“The Wife’s Lament”

My Connor was loving, gentle and kind,
The proudest of mortals was I in his love,
While nature's sweet graces adorn'd his mind,
Bright angels seem'd smiling on us from above.

CHORUS.

Sweetly we started, no two more  lighthearted,
Together cross'd over the ocean of life;
By true love united, the vows that he plighted
Were music the sweetest to his loving wife.

No husband was kinder, no father e'er cherish'd
A child with a purer or holier care,
But alas! he is chang'd, those joys are all perish'd,
Our once happy home, the abode of despair.

CHORUS.

Swearing and tearing, his acts over-bearing,
Embitter'd forever is my future life.
The vows that he plighted are broken and slighted,
Which leaves me to mourn a heart-broken wife.

The money he once felt so proud to bestow
On home and its comforts, in days that are fled,
For rum, in the ale house, now weekly must go,
While his children are naked and starving for bread.

Chorus.--Swearing, &c.

Would I had died, ere his fall and dishonour
Enshrouded us all in a mantle of shame,
Ere rum, cursed rum! destroy'd my poor Connor,
And quench'd in his heart love's exquisite flame.

Chorus.--Swearing, &c.

The poison that kills both the body and soul,
Has sunk him beneath they beasts of the plain.
His children and wife he forsakes for the bowl,
That has kill'd more than ever in battle was slain.

Chorus.--Swearing, &c.

“I Don’t Want Your Millions Mister”

I don't want your millions, Mister,
I don't want your diamond ring.
All I want is the right to live, Mister,
Give me back my job again.

Now, I don't want your Rolls-Royce, Mister,
I don't want your pleasure yacht.
All I want's just food for my babies,
Give to me my old job back.

We worked to build this country, Mister,
While you enjoyed a life of ease.
You've stolen all that we built, Mister,
Now our children starve and freeze.

So, I don't want your millions, Mister,
I don't want your diamond ring.
All I want is the right to live, Mister,
Give me back my job again.

Think me dumb if you wish, Mister,
Call me green, or blue, or red.
This one thing I sure know, Mister,
My hungry babies must be fed.

Take the two old parties, Mister,
No difference in them I can see.
But with a Farmer-Labor Party
We could set the people free.

So, I don't want your millions, Mister,
I don't want your diamond ring.
All I want is the right to live, Mister,
Give me back my job again.

 

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