This year for Women’s History Month, we are spotlighting two little known women from labor history, Florence Thorne and Margaret Scattergood. These powerhouse women lived together in a partnership for nearly 40 years on CIA property in Northern Virginia. They met when they were both doing labor organizing through the AFL-CIO under labor leader Samuel Gompers, pushing the labor movement forward through investigative work and statistical analysis. They kept unemployment statistics and researched the companies that labor leaders targeted to strike. Thorne and Scattergood’s work provided sorely needed resources and empowered unions to fight for improved working conditions.
In later years, they devoted themselves to civil rights and creating sanctuary for Central American refugees. They hosted many refugees in their home even while still living on CIA property, which caused the CIA much strife. Their story is a fascinating snippet of labor history and we encourage everyone to read more about these incredible women in the Washington Post article here.
History is full of fascinating yet overlooked women like Florence Thorne and Margaret Scattergood. If you are curious to learn about other “hidden” women activists, please check out this Google Slideshow.
To read more about the origin of Women’s History Month check out the article CLUW posted last year here. That article also spotlights current labor icon Bev Grant who created the phenomenal multimedia show about historic women labor leaders “We Were There” which CLUW will also be sponsoring this year. “We Were There” which CLUW unfortunately has had to cancel this year's production due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Happy Women’s History Month! We hope to greet many of you in celebration at our upcoming National Executive Board Meeting and Women’s Leadership Skills Conference: “Sister’s Not Afraid of Power - 100 Years and Counting!”