On September 9, 1919, more than 1,100 members of the Boston Police Department went out on strike, seeking recognition for their trade union, fair wages and decent working conditions. It was the first ever strike by a public employees union in U.S. history. After a period of unrest, as well as state and national attention, the strikers were fired.
The goal of the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project is to uncover, document and preserve the stories of the men who were involved in this highly influential labor strike — a complex historical event that would have lasting effects in the City of Boston and across the country.
Since the 1919 Boston Police Strike Project launched in 2012, 82 volunteers, students, and staff from the Boston Police Archives, the City of Boston Archives, and the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston have devoted more than 90,000 hours to documenting the lives of the strikers through meticulous biographical research. Their energy, focus, and dedication have resulted in a public website and database for the benefit of all.
On September 7, 2019 — two days before the centennial of the strike — staff from the Healey Library at UMass Boston and the Boston Police Archives brought together project volunteers, community members, family members, students, retired police officers, and others to commemorate the lives and stories of the striking officers.
Learn more about how your can share photographs and stories.
The 1919 Boston Police Strike Project is a collaboration between the Boston Police Department Archives and University Archives and Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston.