Women marched for equal pay, the President of the United States advocated an anti-immigration policy, and the income gap between the rich and poor continued to grow. And it was just the beginning of the 20th century.
As a girl growing up in Italian Harlem, Angela Bambace needed answers. How could it be acceptable for women not to earn equal pay for equal work? Why were immigrants relegated to the factory jobs no one else would take and working under such dangerous and inhumane conditions? And why were the businessmen at the top getting richer and richer while the poor who worked for them struggled to provide for their own families? How could any of this be okay?
But perhaps Angela’s most consequential question was If not me, then who?
Born to a father and married to a man who both believed a woman’s place was in the home, Angela Bambace defied her family and social expectations to lead a labor union—organizing women’s marches, strikes, and protests “to build a better world, a better place for everybody.” Today, Angela’s story might be more significant than ever as others continue her fight and call to action.
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Peg A. Lamphier lives in the mountains of Southern California with five dogs, seven tortoises, a huge cat, two canaries, one husband, one daughter, and a collection of vintage ukuleles. When she’s not writing fiction or otherwise fooling around, she’s a professor at California State Polytechnic, Pomona, and Mount San Antonio Community College.