“A dynamic and visionary leader of the 19th century railroad workers; preeminent spokesman for the Socialist labor tradition; beloved by those whose lives he touched.”
Debs was active in organized labor, but believed that real gains could only be achieved through political power. At the age of nineteen in 1874, he became active in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. By 1893, Debs was a co-founder of the American Railway Union which claimed over 150,000 members. During the early 1900s, he concluded that political power was essential to working class rights. Debs became the foremost leader of the Socialist Party and received over one million votes in the 1920 presidential election.
“At age nineteen, the President of the 'Girls' Local at the Pullman Shops in 1894. She was articulate and vivacious.”
At the age of nineteen, Curtis was president of the 'Girls' Union 269, the Sewing Rooms, which had a membership of one-hundred twenty-five workers. As a union activist for the Sewing Rooms which provided drapes and curtains for Pullman palace cars, Curtis was instrumental in the Pullman Strike of 1894. She testified before the US Senate in an investigation of the strike.
William J. Adelman
“The popular and peripatetic prophet of labor history; teacher, author, lecturer, and tireless tour leader.”
Throughout his career, Adelman has promoted the history of Chicago labor. For twenty-five years he served as professor at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois. In 1969, he was a co-founder of the ILHS and has published numerous books on labor history: Touring Pullman: Labor Sites in the Chicago Area, Haymarket Revisited, and Pilsen: A Tour Guide. During the 1990s Adelman has lectured on Chicago labor and ethnic history before a variety of unions and community groups.