Today In Labor History April 4, 1609: The Kingdom of Valencia expelled its Muslims.
April 4, 1812: Luddites rioted at Stockport, England. The Luddites were a secret society of radical textile workers. In order to avoid losing their jobs to machines, they destroyed equipment in protest. Their movement was named for Ned Ludd. He was a fictional weaver who supposedly smashed knitting frames after being whipped. The Luddites, however, were quite real. They rebelled from 1811-1816, until the military quashed their uprising.
Today In Labor History April 4, 1887: Argonia, Kansas, elected Susanna M. Salter as the first female mayor in the U.S.
April 4, 1866: Russian revolutionary, Dmitry Karakozov, tried to assassinate Czar Alexander II. He failed. Consequently, the government executed him. Some believe that he chose 1866 because that was when a character in Chernyshevsky’s book, “What Is To Be Done?” planned to launch a revolution. In the book, the protagonist, Vera Pavlovna, escapes a controlling family, and an arranged marriage, to start a socialist cooperative. Chernyshevsky wrote the novel in response to Turgenev’s “Fathers and Sons.” He wrote it while imprisoned in the Peter and Paul fortress. The book inspired generations of Russian radicals, including nihilists, anarchists and even many Marxists.
April 4, 1928: Poet and activist, Maya Angelou, was born on this date.
April 4, 1950: The government convicted Harry Bridges of lying about being a Communist.
Today In Labor History April 4, 1968: James Earl Ray assassinated Martin Luther King at the Lorraine Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee.
April 4, 2001: Ed Big Daddy Roth died on this date. Roth designed custom cars, pinstriped and drew cartoons. He invented the Rat Fink cartoon. He also designed numerous well known hot rods, like the Beatnik Bandit and the Orbitron.