Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


One repercussion of the "Red Scare" following World War I was the attempt by business to reverse the gains made by labor during the war. There followed a series of strikes throughout the nation. In southeast Kansas the coal miners of the United Mine Workers (UMW), led by Alexander Howat, defied both President Woodrow Wilson and the president of the UMW, John L. Lewis, in a series of strikes. When Kansas passed the Court of Industrial Relations law to do away with strikes, Howat called a strike to test the law. His imprisonment resulted in the "Amazon Army."

On December 11, 1921, a mass meeting of women in Franklin, Kansas, prompted 2,000 to 6,000 wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, and sweethearts of striking miners to march in the Kansas coalfields over the next several days. The marchers included Annie Stovich, Mary Skubitz, and her mother Julia Youvain. Mrs. Ted Farrell, Mrs. Felix Azamber, Mrs. William Howe, Mrs. J. R. Supple, Mrs. James Marioth, Mrs. Paul Johnson, and Mrs. Julia Chiararini signed the resolutions at Franklin. The women's march sparked interest across the state and nation. Although controversy exists over whether any violence occurred during the march (red pepper being the "weapon" of choice), the state sent in the militia, including cavalry and some machine-gun units, and some arrests were made. The women's march caused a stir but did not stop coal production, and the strike ended on January 13, 1922.

Thomas R. Walther Pittsburg State University

Schofield, Ann. "The Women's March: Miners, Family and Community in Pittsburg, Kansas, 1921–1922." Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains 7 (1984): 159–68.

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