Sunday, January 1, 2012
In 1904, at only fifteen years of age, Bessie Abramowitz (left) packed up her clothes and moved all the way from Russia to Chicago, Illinois, rather than marry the man her parents had already arranged for her to wed.
Six years later, not a bit less bull-headed, she talked sixteen other women into marching out of a garment factory with her because their wages had just been cut. Everybody laughed until it turned into a full-scale strike supported by thousands of garment workers all over Chicago.
Several years later, in 1914, the International Ladies' Garment Union proved that she was hardly alone when they published this quote in "The Woman Rebel": "A woman's duty: to look the whole world in the face with a go-to-hell look in the eyes; to have an ideal; to speak and act in defiance of convention."