Several events this weekend will commemorate the 75th anniversary of a historic Minneapolis strike, in an effort to raise awareness about the conflict that led to four deaths and union representation for thousands of workers.
"It's forgotten history to a lot of people," said event organizer Jim McGuire. "Most people haven't heard anything about it."
Local musicians, including Brother Ali, El Guante, and the Brass Kings will perform at a free street festival in the Warehouse District on Saturday. Local historians and union leaders will speak about the strike at a free picnic in Minnehaha Park on Sunday.
The tumultuous conflict began in 1934, when about 3,000 transportation workers, seeking union representation from the Teamsters, brought trucking operations in the city to a halt.
"People were pushed into action by the crisis of the Great Depression, and to some degree, inspired by the election of people like Gov. Floyd Olson and FDR," said Peter Rachleff, a history professor at Macalester College.
Violent clashes between police and strikers broke out on the cobblestone streets of the city's Warehouse District. About 200 people were injured and four were killed.
The strike ended when employers agreed to recognize the union. Many historians argue that the strike helped galvanize national organizing efforts over the next decade.
David Sundeen said his grandfather, Vincent Raymond Dunne, one of strike's leaders, never forgot the turbulent conflict.
"A few days before he died, on his deathbed, he gestured to the corner of the room," Sundeen said. "He sighed and said, 'Oh, look at all the poor people.' Up until the end, the strike never left him."