In February 1913, when a grade 6 teacher at the Aberdeen School made disparaging remarks about her Jewish pupils, a small group of 12-year old boys responded by calling a general strike. Several hundred Jewish children congregated in the park across the street where they appointed strike leaders, established a negotiating committee, and resolved not to return to class until the teacher apologized. Some of the little strikers marched to the offices of the Yiddish-language newspaper Keneder Adler to demand that action be taken; others picketed the school. The strike continued through the weekend while prominent Jewish community leaders and school commissioners negotiated an end to the conflict. This talk will look at the experiences of the children in light of the circumstances for working-class Jews in Montreal at the time, considering the young strikers’ class-consciousness and experiences of anti-Semitism in an Anglo-Protestant context.
Faculty: Mary Anne Poutanen and Roderick MacLeod