There is no doubt that the Lawrence strike actually happened. However, there are many narrations of this event. Some of the stories may have been written up for personal gains or others. In contrast, there are those who wrote about what happened without omission of facts or exaggeration. In this context, the Lawrence strike account by the Lawrence History Centre is the most credible compared to the Mary Heaton Vorses side. There are various highlights in both stories that make the reader find Mary Heaton less to believe. These are plot of the story, use of references, and independence of the reporter.
Mary Heaton did not take time to develop her story. She starts it on a one cold afternoon in the winter of 1912 (Vorse, 1935). This denies the reader an opportunity to understand the background that led to the situation. Unlike Mary, the History Center has provided a clear picture of what Lawrence town looked like before the strike. It has provided a brief history of the town. In addition, a map has been used to develop a clear picture of the host location. This helps a reader to identify him or herself with the possible causes of the unrest even before he or she reads about it. Furthermore, the Centers work has been arranged on a systematic order. It is different from Heatons work that one finds difficult to follow. A plot is therefore a key feature in any type of an article.
In her account, Mary Heaton has not referred to any other source of information to confirm what she remembered. The account differs from the one presented by Lawrence History Center where photos and images have been used to reinforce their findings. For instance, the Center has shown real photos of workers demonstrating in the streets with policemen holding their guns and bayonets. Use of such materials makes the reader have a concrete touch with what was going on. On her side, Mary has relied solely on narrative. Other than being boring, readers tend to doubt whether the writer was present during the strike or not. When such an issue is raised in the minds of readers, no one can take the old news seriously let alone believing it.
Throughout her story, it is clear that Vorse had self-interests in what was happening in Lawrence. She was on the side of workers and against the authorities. This comes into play when she joined activists and organizers at the strike headquarters. Moreover, she became part of that team and her story suddenly started to campaign for the rights of mill workers. In such a case, any writer loses objectivity to safeguard his or her actions. Contrary to this, the History Center has maintained an impartial approach throughout the coverage of the strike. This reason and the others discussed above make the Lawrence History Centre more credible.
According to Vorse, various activities took place during the strike. To begin with, children were displaced from their homes. At the beginning of her account, she, Joe OBrien and others, had gone to Grand Central Station to meet the children of Lawrence strikers. She says that the homes of these children could no longer support them and had to be taken care of by other workers. Secondly, she claims that women were beaten and arrested by policemen. This happened at a railway station, when a group of children was prevented to leave by Lawrence policemen. As a result, more children were separated from their mothers and sent to poorhouse.
Soldiers were employed to patrol the streets. Vorse says that for the first time she had seen a town where troops had been called out against workers. According to the writer, this made Lawrence town look strange and alien. In addition, she says everywhere stood the uniformed boys guarding streets and mills. This implies that the police had not been instructed to maintain peace, but to harass the striking workers.
To Vorse, the strike brought unity and solidarity among mill workers who were previously living isolated lives. As a result of this, excitement and aspirations of these people came into existence. It is what resulted in what the writer refers to as innocent strike (Vorse, 1935). Finally, people were killed during the strike. In example, Annie Lo Pizzo was killed by a bullet while a young Syrian named John Ramey died after he was prodded with a bayonet.
On attitude, Vorse is sympathetic to the strikers. In the story, she and Joe were involved in finding homes for the children of Lawrence strikers. Also, they had gone to the station to welcome a group of children. Vorse has a bad view of policemen. When Annie Lo Pizzo was shot, the writer concludes that the bullets origin was likely to be a policeman since it had a caliber similar to those that they carried. Vorse considers mill owners as deceitful when she says that they used attractive posters to lure potential workers from their countries. The posters had images of happy employees, yet it was an opposite case on the ground.
Mary Vorse has told of an event that actually took place in history. Despite her effort, her account is neither credible nor trustworthy. The main reason for this is a one-sided approach in reporting what happened at Lawrence town. She has dwelled on praising the striking workers while speaking ill of other involved parties such as the police and mill owners. Her account therefore fails to represent the stakeholders equally.
There are several similarities in Vorses account with the description in the New York Times in what concerns childrens exodus during the strike. In both cases, a crowd met the children of Lawrence strikers at the same location, namely Grand Central Station. Similarly, other workers were ready to host the strikers children. Times article is not sympathetic to the affected children because it only states facts without exaggerations. The author is clearly not happy with the governments decisions. She says that despite the killings that took place, no trial was launched. Moreover, soldiers were sent out to deal with an innocent strike. Trustworthiness lacks in this account because she does not provide any evidence to back her claims.
Unlike the middle-class newspapers, Proletario seemed to be pro-government. It showed less concern to the striking workers and agitated for the rights of mill owners too. In contrast to the account of Vorse and Times, Proletario was against the exodus of children. To depict this, it claims that children were clubbed and arrested by policemen. This statement is not credible as there is no evidence that it certainly took place. It is also suspicious that Proletario is the only paper that reported about such treatment.
According to Vorse and others, the removal of children from Lawrence was to avoid the suffering of the minors (LHC, 1912). It was meant to take the children to safety where they could have enough food and shelter. Other workers who were not on strike were playing host to this group of people. It symbolized unity. However, it turned political when the children were used to create sympathy among the non-striking workers. They became a tool with which the strike was spread to different states. Additionally, the government firmed this aspect when it issued children identification cards. This was meant to ensure that the children involved had permission from their parents.
When a crowd gathered to welcome the strikers children, placards with protest slogans were used to spread the message. These children were not as politicized as the parents who were taking part in the mass action. All they did was eating and making noise as Vorse puts it. Interestingly, the removal of children from Lawrence town that later turned out political was gendered feminine (Murrin et al., 2011). This is because of two reasons. Firstly, though the children seemed to be of low concern, they became a key partner in the strike. Without them, the unrests would have achieved less than it did. Finally, children and women were the most affected by the Lawrence strike. Children had to be moved away from their homes while their mothers faced hostility at the hands of policemen.
Media is an important tool in the society. The information that they give out should have uniformity and, more importantly, be accurate. If this is achieved, cases of misleading reports would be minimal. It is the duty of every reporter to carry out his/her work professionally.
Vorse, M. H. (1935). Reminiscences of Mary Heaton Vorse. Retrieved 18 September 2013 from: http://www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/vorse/lawrence.html
LHC, (1912). Bread and Roses Centennial Exhibit. Retrieved 18 September 2013 from: http://exhibit.breadandrosescentennial.org/gallerylist/6
Murrin et al. Liberty Equality Power a History of the American People. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.