Memorial Services Planned for Clara Lemlich

The daughter of Clara Lemlich, an immigrant who, at 23, sparked and led the first general strike by 20,000 shirtwaist-makers in New York in 1909, said today a memorial service was being planned for her late mother in Manhattan.

Rita Margolis, the daughter, said the time and place for the memorial service was still being worked out by the Emma Lazarus Federation of Women’s Clubs but would probably be held in October. The strike leader died in a Los Angeles nursing home on July 23 at the age of 93. Her ashes were interred at New Montefiore Cemetery in Pinelawn, N.Y.

Clara Lemlich, a founder of the Shirtwaist-makers, local 25 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, had a long career as one of the first suffragists in the United States and was active in many Jewish women’s organizations.

Most of the 20,000 workers she led in the general strike were women and most of them new Jewish emigrants who spoke only Yiddish, the language in which Clara Lemlich persuaded them, at a meeting at Cooper Union in Manhattan in 1909, to defy their sweatshop employers and paralyze them with the general strike.

NEXT STORY