What about the workers?

Interesting observations by Jonas LaMattery-Brownell about the Mill City Museum. Along the same lines, there is copy on a sign along the Stone Arch Bridge stating that unions had a hard time getting started at the mills because they workers were treated so well. Sounds like the mill’s inheritance may be suffering from revisionist history-itis.

What about the Workers

I recently visited Minneapolis for the first time, just for a few days to see my sister and get a break from my mold back in Oakland, California. I ended up going to one museum repeatedly (the big free one; we don’t have such things where I live in the Bay Area), and another just once – the Mill City Museum. They do like their boosterism thick there, now, don’t they? The virtual eradication of any sliver of a notion of labor strife, discontent, or worker self-organizing for change at the exploding-factories-won’t-stop-me Washburn ‘A’ Mill, the evident primal powerhouse for the economy of Minneapolis, was one thing (it is hard not to wonder whether the over-14-hours-a-day workers really were purely “steady, industrious men with no bad habits and small ambitions”), but invoking lines from Sylvia Plath and Jean Toomer in a . . . chapel of wheat. now there’s an absurdity that can really rival reality!

-Jonas LaMattery-Brownell
Oakland, CA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.