87th Franklin Historical Society meeting: ‘Amazon Army’ fought for coalminers’ rights – Osage County Online | Osage County News

87th Franklin Historical Society meeting: ‘Amazon Army’ fought for coalminers’ rights

OTTAWA, Kan. – In December 1921, thousands of women in southeast Kansas rose up to fight injustice in the area coalfields, impacting coal mining labor conditions at the local, state, and national levels. Historian Linda O’Nelio Knoll will present “Army of Amazons: Women’s Fight for Labor Rights in Kansas Coalfields” as part of the 87th annual meeting of the members of the Franklin County Historical Society at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. This year’s meeting will be available both in person at the FCHS Archives and Research Center, 2011 E. Logan St., Ottawa, Kan., and online via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Coal mines could be found throughout Eastern Kansas – including Franklin County – in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but the coal mines in southeast Kansas were among the most productive. By December 1921, southeast Kansas coalminers had been striking for months when their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters joined the fight. In the short term, their efforts crippled mine production for nearly a month; in the longer term, their continued activism impacted future statewide elections and national legislation. O’Nelio Knoll’s talk will share the stories of these women, dubbed the “Amazon Army” by The New York Times, and their fight for democracy and labor rights in Kansas’s coalfields.

O’Nelio Knoll is an educator, author, and historian who researches local history in southeast Kansas. She assisted with the development of the Miners Memorial, in Pittsburg, Kan., and the Miners Hall Museum, in Franklin, Kan.

The Feb. 4 meeting will open at 2 p.m. with a review of 2023 and preview of 2024. There will be a short intermission before the featured speaker’s presentation, which will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m. This program is free and open to the public. Online attendees may participate via Zoom (registration required) or watch via Facebook Live (no registration required). For more information, visit www.olddepotmuseum.org, call 785-242-1232 or e-mail director@olddepotmuseum.org.

“Army of Amazons: Women’s Fight for Labor Rights in Kansas Coalfields” is part of Humanities Kansas’s Speakers Bureau and “21st Century Civics,” a collection of resources that invite Kansans to participate in community discussions and learn more about the history of American democracy and the shared responsibilities of citizenship. “21st Century Civics” is made possible with support from “A More Perfect Union: America at 250,” an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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