Racial Policies of the Knights of Labor in Canada

Alexandra Hoffman

The Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, an international labour organization, had a great influence in Canada in the late nineteenth century. The order’s racial policies were unique for their time, as its membership was professed to be open to any worker regardless of “color or race, political or religious belief, or place of birth.”1 The order was indeed progressive, both in theory and practice, in their inclusion of black workers, but their exclusion of Chinese workers followed the popular trend of the nineteenth century labour movements. There are two possible interpretations to the Order’s double standard. The first interpretation takes the Knights’ promise at face value, claiming that discrimination against Chinese workers was not rooted in racist ideology, but rather in economic considerations. The second interpretation is more critical of the reality of the Knights’ progressive attitudes by pointing out numerous instances when the order was reluctant to fight discrimination (by white members and non-members alike) against Blacks and by emphasizing the racist, rather than economical, rhetoric used to exclude the Oriental worker. Evidence of the Knights’ failure to practice their promise to black workers, and the predominance of racist arguments against Chinese workers, suggests that the second interpretation reflects more accurately the reality of the Knights’ racial policies.

It is clear that the Canadian Knights’ policy concerning racial minorities was guided by both ideological and economic considerations. The inconsistency with which they were applied to black and Chinese workers suggests that the Knights’ main objective was the attainment of rights for white workers, rather than the unity of workers across race-boundaries. On the economic level, the black worker was seen not as an agent of injury to the white working class, but as a tool that might be used by the employers to undermine labour efforts. It was therefore wise, for the benefit of the (white) labour movement, to have this minority on their side. Black workers also served as a symbol for the liberated slave, adding the nobility of abolitionist notions to reinforce labour’s ideology. Oriental workers were seen as a tool in the hands of the employer, but also as a direct threat to the white working class. Ironically, their work was described as slave labour, which undermined the progress of white Canadian workers. On the ideological level, East Asian workers were seen as inassimilable foreigners whose moral corruption would be detrimental to the betterment of the white worker’s social standing, were they to participate in the labour struggle.

Not much has been written on the Knights’ racial policies within the Canadian context. The use of American sources is justified, however, as the communication between Knights’ of Canada and the United States seems to have been consistent,2 and their racial attitudes prove to be the same. Of particular interest is T. V. Powderly’s, the General Master Workman (head of the Knights), Thirty Years of Labor, 1859–1889, in which he recounts his visits to Canada, and reflects on issues that would have influenced all Knights. Contemporary Canadian newspapers and the Proceedings of the Canadian Labor Congress provide some insight into the Canadian scene. While the Order’s reasons for including and excluding racial minorities may be clearly broken down into economical and ideological ones, the two work in combination. That is to say, almost every document dealt with draws support from both of these spheres to create an argument.

The industrial revolution of the 1860’s transformed the workplace and the Canadian economic system; mechanization, transportation, and the rise of factories went hand in hand with urbanization and the rise of monopolies and increased exploitation of the workers. The revolution is not to be seen, however, as a swift change, as the Canadian workplace did not fully transform until the first decade of the twentieth century. The changes were felt by the 1880’s, however, and it is in this context that the Knights of Labor has emerged in Canada; as workers became a part of the generalized capitalist system, their needs and ambitions united them as a class within Canadian society. Thus, the Order concerned itself not only with working conditions, but also with larger social and political trends that effected worker’s life.3 Through speeches, socials, and journalism, the Order strived to educate workers as to their condition and to uphold all those who “earned their bread by the sweat of their brow.”4 The Order’s revolutionary objectives in Canada were broad enough to encompass discourse of national ‘progress,’ and their efforts were believed to foster “a society based on more democratic, humane relationships.”5

Established in Philadelphia in 1869, the Knights of Labor reached Canada only in the 1880’s, Hamilton workers launching the first Canadian local assembly in 1881.6 Uriah Stephens, the founder of the Order came from a mixed ideological understanding towards racial relations. While on his maternal side he was a Quaker closely associated to the anti-slavery movement, he also associated with organizations that were anti-Black (like the Masons, Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Pythias).7 Terence V. Powderly, who became the Grand Master Workman after Stephens, was “titular head” of the Order from 1879 to 1893.8 From its onset, the Order was run by Canadians and Americans of British descent.9 This ethnic allegiance is clear from T. V. Powderly’s response to the conflict between Quebecois assemblies and the Catholic Church in 1886, in which he made statements such as, “The French are so much harder to manage than our people,” and “they are of a very different temperament.”10 The Canadian journalist Phillips Thompson, one of the brainworkers of the Knights of Labor, believed that Quebec should abandon its cultural and political institutions and become anglicized.11

The Knights of Labor had great influence on the Canadian labour movement, both during its short-lived existence in the late nineteenth century, but also in the collective memory of Canadian workers well into the twentieth century.12 The Knights’ members were organized in both trade and mixed assemblies, pointing to their adherence to traditional working class divisions, as well as an acute awareness of necessity for the emergence of unity in the workers’ condition and objectives.13 Elected delegates were sent to annual meetings of the Order, in which national representatives were chosen.14 Between 1875 and 1907, eighty-two assemblies were formed in Ontario alone. To a lesser, but still visible extent, the Order organized workers in Quebec (35 assemblies), Manitoba (5–6 assemblies), and in British Columbia (six assemblies).15 The least influenced province was Nova Scotia, where two assemblies in 1890 was the maximum.16 As a percentage taken of all manufacturing workers (organized or not), at least 18.4 in 1881 and 13.1 in 1891 belonged to the Order, making it the most influential organization at the time.17 Such extensive membership also explains why the Knights’ objectives were often so broad in their formulation. Broad, often idealized, objectives made the practice of individual assemblies inconsistent, and central leadership could wave responsibility for these inconsistencies.18

Uriah Stephens stated during the first district assembly of 1873 that “creed, party, and nationality are but outward garments, and present no obstacle to the fusion of the hearts of the worshippers of God, the Universal Father, and the workers for man, the universal brother.”19 Similar, but more practical, was Powderly’s address to Canadian Knights of Labor in Hamilton, October 1884, recounted in the Toronto Globe:

The lecturer passed to the question of differences in race and religion between workmen. He spoke earnestly on the folly of workmen allowing such differences to interfere with nominations in the cause of labour. If two men, he said, were of different races, you could never make them the same in this respect; if they were of different religions they might argue for a month, and the opinion of neither would be changed. But say to both, “You are getting only a dollar a day – you aught to be getting a dollar and a half” – and you at once have a question on which they could agree. (Laughter and applause).20

This lofty sentiment must be tested against the reality of the Order’s policies: did it in fact attempt to unite all workers on an equal footing, or was it following some other agenda? Many black labour organizations annexed to the Order, though some were more cautious in trusting the noble slogan. In the American South, black workers constituted between one-third and one-half of total members, which was indicative the Knights’ popularity.21 For the first time, black and white workers united in strikes, demonstrations, and socials.22 Some white members of the Knights have displayed true solidarity with their black fellow workers. This wonderful type of cooperation was short-lived, however, as the Order’s central leadership did not follow up its promise of a discrimination-free organization. The Order’s leaders were ultimately concerned only with the needs of the white worker, failing to realize the specific needs of their black members.

Many of the assemblies, especially in the American South, but also in Ontario, were segregated.23 In London’s first women’s Assembly, an English woman provoked “disgust” in the other members of the assembly because she “was married to a negro.”24 John Brown, the head of the District Assembly, has decided to solve the matter by giving this woman an “Individual Membership card,” excluding her from the local assembly. This gives the concept of ‘mixed assemblies’ a completely new ring. In a way, the two groups, “unskilled” and “black,” often coincided, as black workers could rarely occupy positions above menial ones.25 The Journal of United Labour, a Knights’ journal, explaining the need to organize black workers, proclaimed: “Why should workingmen keep out of our organization anyone who might be used as a tool to aid the employer in grinding down wages?”26 Phillips Thompson makes a very similar argument for including unskilled workers in unions:

In protecting the unskilled in their rights as street car employees, teamsters, railroad laborers, and similar avocations, the mechanic and artisan are protecting themselves from the competition of many of them who could for a time at least do their work.27

Thus, the Knights of Labor was concerned more with the competition black workers may represent rather than with social equality.28

The treatment of Blacks within the Order seemed to be that of paternalism. Powderly was asked as to why he chose Mr. Ferrel, a black Knight, to introduce him in the Richmond convention of 1886. Powderly stated the reasons for his choice of speaker as being: “to encourage and uplift his race from bondage worse than that which held him in chains twenty-five years ago—Viz: mental slavery.”29 Even in his understanding of the Civil War, Powderly saw black slaves as passive people, ignorant of their own strength, whose war has been fought for them by the “chivalrous” (white) American sympathizers.30

Some black labour organizations refused to join the Knights because their agenda did not include the incorporation of black workers in skilled trades.31 This kind of misunderstanding of the black workers’ needs spread to education in general. The enthusiastic letter of “Ethiope” in The Toronto World, while generally very positive about the Knights, also refers to the fact that black educational facilities in the South, shabby as they are, are financed by church groups,32 perhaps hinting at the fact that the Knights have made no real efforts to make public education equitable.

Beside competition in the labour market, blacks represented both slavery, and the liberation from it. In his book, Thirty Years of Labor, 1859–1889, T. V. Powderly constantly referred to “new slavery.” The Grand Master Workman wanted to both present the white worker as a “new slave,” but also to encourage workers for victory in the struggle against employers. Within this extended metaphor, the white wage earner becomes the black slave of the past, while the employer becomes the slave owner:

Liberty to live meant more than to be a slave to the whim or caprice of any man. . . . And, while the conditions of servitude were somewhat different between the white toiler of the North and his sable brother in the South, yet the result was the same when a master decided to use his power. Shutting off the supply of food from the black slave while holding him to the plantation was no worse than the discharge of the white mechanic and the sending of the blacklist ahead of him.33

This kind of comparison seems ridiculous. The white worker, while obviously less free than his employer within a capitalist society, was free to establish a family and free to move the country as he pleased. The pain endured by black slaves was reduced by Powderly to an economical scenario between a boss and his employee. This shows that the Grand Master Workman was not concerned with Afro-American past, and thus not able to offer much for the future. Powderly was following the steps of Uriah Stephens, who articulated the contemporary condition of the working class:

In the recent arrangement of labor and capital the condition of the employe [sic] is simply that of wage slavery, capital dictating, labor submitting, capital superior, labor inferior. This is an artificial and man-created condition, not God’s arrangement and order, for it degrades man and ennobles mere pelf.34

There seems to be a difference, however, between the two leaders’ attitudes. While Stephens viewed solidarity between Whites and Blacks from a moral-religious standpoint, Powderly was more concerned with social and economic reasons. Furthermore, while Stephens used the image of slavery to emphasize the dichotomous relationship between the employee and the capitalist, Powderly actually compared the reality of the conditions and found them to be equatable. At some point, he even considers that slaves were better off than the working class in his time.35

Like Uriah Stephens, Phillips Thompson was raised a Quaker.36 In 1892, he published the song “Spread the Light” in The Labor Reform Songster, in which he uses the image of liberated slaves to encourage workers to organize:

Men who know their rights as freemen
     Ne’er to tyrants cower,
Slaves will rise and burst their fetters
     When they feel their power.37

The use of abolitionist language strengthened the Knights’ argument for the rights of workers, and had strong ideological appeal for post-Civil War America. The association with the anti-slavery movement was also particularly attractive to Canadians, as evident from “Ethiope’s” (a Knight) response to a racist statement made by “a Virginian”: “‘Virginian’ should exercise a little of the good taste that he suggests, and not again spread his pro-slavery sentiments and prejudices before a Canadian public in defiance of the customs of the citizens.”38 Clearly, the uses of slavery-imagery were used extensively to promote the interests of the Order. By placing black slavery in the past, the Order ignored the discrimination that blacks were still experiencing in North America; there were far-too-many “Virginians” out there, and far-too-few “Ethiopes” to challenge them.

During the optimistic years of cooperation, the Knights have received positive feedback from the black press, who followed with great scrutiny the Order’s actions.39 The memorable event that may be justly classified as a challenge to the racist norms of American life happened in Richmond, Virginia, in 1886. Frank J. Ferrell, the only black in a New York delegation, has been refused access to a hotel. The delegates’ response was to accept no accommodations in any hotel that excluded blacks. Some brought tents with them, and some stayed with black families for the duration of the convention. The Baltimore delegates, when confronted with the same problem, also refused to take separate lodgings from their fellow black Knight.40 Unfortunately, the actions of these two delegations were the exception to the rule, rather than representative of the Order’s mentality. Most delegates stayed in segregationist hotels, and Southern members condemned the “radicals” from New York and Baltimore.41 Powderly, while applauding the delegates’ actions in his speech to the convention, was soon pressured by the white southern Knights into modifying his praise. He repeatedly contended that the Knights did not set out to change social relations between the races, and dismissed the delegates’ momentous action by stating that “there need be no further cause for alarm.”42

Following this line of a passive bystander, rather than the bringer of true change to American society, Powderly wrote to Mr. J. M. Bannan, “The color line cannot be rubbed out, not can prejudice against the colored man be overcome in a day. I believe that for the present, it would be better to organize colored men by themselves.”43 Around the same time Powderly stated:

We believe the Southern people are capable of managing the negro . . . The social relations of the races is not the question . . . . [What the question is] that where the black man becomes a lever with which to oppress the white man . . . he shall be protected.44

The reasons for the inclusion of black workers within the order became more and more obvious: the black workers posed a threat in so much as they could have been hired for lower wages and used as strike-breakers. It seems that Powderly has never intended to create an equitable world, but rather protect the interests of white workers.

In 1886, as the Order’s power has become a real threat, employers took action to combat its influence. In the American South, employers were particularly concerned with the organization of black workers, which resulted in more strikes and further diluted the number of black strikebreakers.45 Southern tactics of repression was composed of verbal and physical violence against members and organizers of the Order, lynching being part of them.46 While their black members were being massacred in the south, the central leadership seemed to have little concern with it. Investigations into lynchings, if launched, were never followed by action.47 By 1888, only one black delegate was present at the general convention at Indianapolis,48 signifying the black workers’ disenchantment with the Knights.

Finally, in 1894, the American Knights declared their support for the deportation of blacks out of the U.S to Africa,49 which signalled the end of the “brief era of good feeling” between black and white workers.50 The unification by the Knights of Labor of the black and white workers was good while it lasted. The inability to follow their own agenda of taking care of all Knights, regardless of race, rendered the Order’s leadership as being concerned not with the fate of all workers, but rather with the fate of the white majority. It should not be surprising, then, that the Knights did not follow their own preaching in the case of Chinese workers. Sinophobia has been spread by the Knights both in the U. S. and in Canada, prominent Canadian Knights making the issue their primary concern. Unlike with the black worker, there seems to be a kind of ambivalence in reactions to the Chinese worker: at times, they are regarded as a tool in the employers’ hands, at others, as agents of degradation. Statements made by two Knights at the Canadian Labor Congress in Toronto exemplified this ambivalence. J. Rooney’s stated that “the Chinese . . . work to the injury and disadvantage of the people,” while J. R. Brown argued that “they [the Chinese] were brought out by monopolists who were looking for cheap labor.”51 The Chinese were seen as an unchangeable servile race, and the existence of this “race” could lead only to the degradation of the white worker’s condition.52

The mere support of employers (considered the enemy) and politicians (the enemy’s faithful alliance) for hiring Chinese workers stipulated white labour’s response to it. The Prime Minister John A. MacDonald, for example, argued that while the Chinese were inassimilable aliens, their hiring was necessary for the building of the railway.53 It seems that, while strongly opposed to the economical enterprises of the employers, the Knights of Labour shared their racist views. While anti-Chinese agitation was a popular practice, many of the leaders promoting Sinophobia were of middle-class, and politicians.54 Similarly, labour organizations did not only serve as outlets to popular racism, but also presented anti-Chinese action at the top of their agenda,55 which no doubt intensified popular fears.

In July 1885, when the railway was almost finished, and after several months of pressure from labour organizations, the Chinese Immigration Act finally came into being.56 Although the Anti-Chinese Union was the main agitator, the Knights of Victoria were also active on this issue.57 In 1886, Vancouver witnessed an anti-Chinese campaign, this time led by the Knights.58 They boycotted and threatened white businesspersons who employed Chinese.59 R. D. Pitt, a prominent member of the Knights, led an anti-Chinese committee that intimidated any Chinese workers who arrived, out of Vancouver.60 During these years, when Chinese workers were moving around the province looking for employment, hostility in Vancouver has reached its peak. So strong was their Sinophobia, that, contrary to their temperance tradition, they united with the local vintners’ association in their endeavours.61

In Ontario, the Knights cooperated with the Toronto Trades and Labor Council and the Canadian Congress of Labor in articulating their claims against Chinese labour.62 Knight speakers encouraged the boycott of Chinese businesses, and sentiments such as this one, belonging to Charles Old, were profuse: “white women could do as good washing as Chinamen, and for his part he would like to have the man who took his washing to a Chinaman “whipped up to a lamp post” when he came out.”63

The Order definitely saw the Chinese as an economic threat; the wages for which they worked were deemed unsuitable for an “honest white man.”64 This kind of “slave labour” came in direct competition with white labour, that could not make progress when the employers had readily-available replacement.65 For the same economic reasons that the Knights opposed Chinese immigration, they have also opposed European pauper immigration. However, their sentiment was that the European workers were fooled by immigration agents into believing that there is much employment in the New World.66 O’Donoghue, a Canadian Knight who served on the general committee on legislation in 1885, for example, worked hard to expose the deception of the Canadian immigration agents in Great Britain, informing his fellow-workers of the true condition in Canada;67 it seems that the Chinese did not deserve such attention. Quite the opposite, O’Donoghue, while speaking of the violent reactions in British Columbia and California at the Canadian Labour Congress, maintained that “although those assembled at the Convention might not in their lives feel the effects of unrestricted importation of the Chinese . . . still it was their duty to look out for those who . . . would follow them.”68 During the same convention, a few applauded suggestions were made to organize European immigrants who already reside in Canada;69 no such welcome was ever offered to the Chinese workers. During a labour meeting in Hamilton in October 1884, of which ten assemblies of the Knights of Labor took part, the workers resolved that they “especially protest against the introduction of Chinese labor in any part of the Dominion, and call upon the Government to send back all Chinese now in Canada, or enforce such a poll tax as will drive them hence.”70

In fact, the Order’s racism reached the point where workers felt justified in taking the law into their own hands. Incidents of violence against the Chinese were a common occurrence throughout the continent in the 1880’s. Quite a few of these incidents happened in California.71 J. Rooney, a Canadian Knight, claimed that “The agitation against the importation of the Chinese was not a weakness on the part of the laboring classes, as they were simply looking to self-preservation and self-defence.”72 In 1885 a massacre of Chinese at Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory, claimed over thirty lives. T. V. Powderly, while not applauding these violent actions, puts no blame on their executors either.73 In Canada, a demonstration in Hamilton not only included offensive slogans such as “the habits of the Chinese are both injurious and disagreeable, and therefore cannot be tolerated,” “Unclean! unclean! Beware of the moon-eyed leper,” and “The Chinese must go,” but its members began throwing mud and stones on Chinese businesses.74 In February 1886, white workers burned down Chinese working camps, intimidating them out of Vancouver.75 It should not be surprising, considering the lack of condemnation for such violence from prominent Knights, that these workers allowed themselves to express their fears in such violent ways.

Exclusion and violence, instead of organization, were chosen obviously because of racist notions. The Chinese were seen as immoral and inassimilable, whose heathen beliefs were contrary to the Christian religion. This statement by Knight J. Rooney at the Canadian Labor Congress articulated widely accepted attitudes: “they [the Chinese] could not be Christianized; neither could they be civilized, nor assimilated to our civilization. . . . if matters continued, in the course of a century the people of this country would be affected by their idolatrous religion.”76 The Chinese were deemed immoral often because their demographic was generally that of male workers, who were either bachelors, or who have left their families in China. This meant not only that they were more prone to vice than married men,77 but also that their allegiance with Canada could not be trusted.78 Many Chinese workers and businessmen chose not to bring their families, and could hardly be blamed for that: it was hard to imagine a family life in a place where their presence was, to say the least, unwelcome.

One of the predominant stereotypes of Chinese immorality was the establishment of opium dens.79 These places were deemed immoral not only because of the effect of the drug, but because they attracted both “vicious idlers” and respectable young men and women into their midst,80 where “common degradation makes them natural companions.”81 Furthermore, the Palladium of Labor, a Hamilton Knights’ journal, showed incessant concern with opium because it was supposedly used to intoxicate young girls in order to sexually abuse them.82 Often, no reasons were given for rendering the Chinese as immoral,83 so popular was the belief that they were essentially different (i.e. worse) from white workers. These racist sentiments were predominant among the white working class, and prevented any mediation between labour organizations and Chinese workers.

It is clear that while the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor claimed to adhere to lofty ideals, the practice of these ideals was faulty. The Order’s attempt to organize black and white workers alike proved to be guided by the interests of the white members. While the solidarity between workers of both races in political and social events was progressive for its time, the order failed to protect its black members when they were attacked by white manufacturers and workers alike. The Order’s treatment of East Asian workers shatters the illusion of social equality to pieces. The Knights not only applauded anti-Chinese action, but also participated in it, and spread Sinophobia among the workers. While some reasons for anti-Chinese agitation had their root in the economical struggle, their failure to include the Chinese in this struggle shows that economical reasons never acted alone in the condemnation of Chinese workers. This is not to undercut some of the Knights’ achievement in Canada; their vision of unified labour was indeed revolutionary. It is exactly because of their claim for the ideal of social equality between all workers that their racial policies must be scrutinized.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Canadian Labour Congress. Proceedings of the Canadian Labor Congress. Toronto: Roddy & Nurse, 1884.

“Chinese Labour.” The Toronto Mail June 3, 1882, 2.

“The Chinese Must Go.” Hamilton Spectator 26 March, 1885.

“The Color Line,” The Toronto World October 14, 1885, 3.

Dorney, P. S. “A Prophesy Partly Verified.” Overland Monthly March 1886, 230–34.

“The Horrors of Opium Smoking.” The Toronto World July 8, 1885, 6.

“The Knights of Labor: Visit of the General Master Workman to the City.” Toronto Globe, October 14, 1884, 6.

“Labor’s Mass Meeting.” The Hamilton Evening Spectator October 2, 1884, 1.

“The Opium Pipe.” Hamilton Spectator Weekly March 26, 1885, 2.

Powderly, Terence Vincent. Thirty Years of Labor, 1859–1889. New York: A.M. Kelley, 1967. (Reprint of the rev. and corr. ed., 1890.)

Secondary Sources

Bloch, Herman D. “Terence V. Powderly and Disguised Discrimination.” The American Journal of Economics and Sociology 1973: 145–160.

Burr, Christina. Spreading the Light: Work and Labour Reform in Late-Nineteenth-Century Toronto. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.

Chan, Anthony B. Gold Mountain: The Chinese in the New World. Vancouver: New Star Books, 1983.

Dubinsky, Karen and Adam Givertz. “It Was Only a Matter of Passion’: Masculinity and Sexual Danger.” Gendered Pasts: Historical Essays in Femininity and Masculinity in Canada. Ed. Kathryn McPherson et al. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 1999. 65–79.

Foner, Philip S. Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 1619–1973. New York: Praeger, 1974.

Forsey, Eugene. Trade Unions in Canada 1812–1902. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982.

Heron, Craig. The Canadian Labour Movement: A Short History. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1996: 20.

Kealey, Gregory S. Toronto Workers Respond to Industrial Capitalism, 1867–1892. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980.

Kealey, Gregory S. and Bryan D. Palmer. “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario, 1880–1900.” Canadian Working Class History: Selected Readings. Ed. Laurel Sefton MacDowell and Ian Radforth. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 1992. 205–243.

———. Dreaming of What Might Be: The Knights of Labor in Ontario, 1880–1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982

Kennedy, Douglas Ross. The Knights of Labor in Canada. London: University of Western Ontario, 1956.

Palmer, Bryan D. A Culture in Conflict: Skilled Workers and Industrial Capitalism in Hamilton, Ontario, 1860–1914. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1979.

Ward, W. Peter. White Canada Forever: Popular Attitudes and Public Policy toward Orientals in British Columbia. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002.

Notes

  1. Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario, 1880–1900,” Canadian Working Class History: Selected Readings. Ed. Laurel Sefton MacDowell and Ian Radforth (Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 1992), 226.
  2. Eugene Forsey, Trade Unions in Canada 1812–1902 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982), 164–66; Craig Heron, The Canadian Labour Movement: A Short History (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1996), 21.
  3. Craig Heron, The Canadian Labour Movement, 20; Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 209–216.
  4. Christina Burr, Spreading the Light: Work and Labour Reform in Late-Nineteenth-Century Toronto (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), 34–55; Craig Heron, The Canadian Labour Movement, 21–23; Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 223–27.
  5. Christina Burr, Spreading the Light, 35, 43–46; Craig Heron, The Canadian Labour Movement, 22; Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 237–38.
  6. Craig Heron, The Canadian Labour Movement, 20.
  7. Herman D. Bloch, “Terence V. Powderly and Disguised Discrimination,’ The American Journal of Economics and Sociology 1973: 148.
  8. Ibid., 150.
  9. Christina Burr, Spreading the Light, 42, 45–46, 55; Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 238.
  10. Quoted in Eugene Forsey, Trade Unions in Canada, 142.
  11. Christina Burr, Spreading the Light, 32.
  12. Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 205–6, 238.
  13. A Local Assembly (LA) could be formed with a minimum of ten members, and a minimum of five LAs, of either geographical or trade association, were required to form a District Assembly (DA). In Canada, all DAs were of the ‘mixed’ type, usually connected by geographical proximity. This constituted a clear brake from the predominance of trade labour organizations. Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 215–216.
  14. Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 217.
  15. Eugene Forsey, Trade Unions in Canada, 141, 144–145; Craig Heron, The Canadian Labour Movement, 20.
  16. Eugene Forsey, Trade Unions in Canada, 141, 144–145.
  17. Craig Heron, The Canadian Labour Movement, 20; Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 217–222.
  18. This seemed to be the case in other policies besides racial ones. The Order’s general dislike of strikes, for example, was contradicted by various strikes in the individual communities. Eugene Forsey, Trade Unions in Canada, 141, 147–161; Craig Heron, The Canadian Labour Movement, 23. Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, “The Bonds of Unity: The Knights of Labor in Ontario,” 230–237.
  19. Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 1859–1889 (New York : A.M. Kelley, 1967—reprint of the rev. 1890 edition), 88. Even this no doubt well-intentioned statement, set apart those who do not worship a god who is a “Universal Father,” and those who do not worship at all.
  20. “The Knights of Labor: Visit of the General Master Workman to the City,” Toronto Globe, October 14, 1884, 6.
  21. Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 1619–1973 (New York: Praeger, 1974), 49.
  22. Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 50–51, 52, 55, 57.
  23. Herman D. Bloch, “Terence V. Powderly and Disguised Discrimination,’ 153–157; Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 48; Bryan D. Palmer, A Culture in Conflict: Skilled Workers and Industrial Capitalism in Hamilton, Ontario, 1860–1914 (Montreal : McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1979), 165.
  24. Brown’s letter to Powderly, quoted in Gregory S. Kealey and Bryan D. Palmer, Dreaming of What Might Be: The Knights of Labor in Ontario, 1880–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 324–25.
  25. Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 49.
  26. Journal of United Labor August 15, 1880, quoted in Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 47–8.
  27. Palladium of Labor, 3 July 1886, quoted in Bryan D. Palmer, A Culture in Conflict: Skilled Workers and Industrial Capitalism in Hamilton, Ontario, 1860–1914, 164.
  28. Herman D. Bloch Herman D. Bloch, “Terence V. Powderly and Disguised Discrimination,’ 154–55.
  29. T. V. Powderly quoted in Herman D. Bloch, “Terence V. Powderly and Disguised Discrimination,’ 152.
  30. Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 32, 148.
  31. Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 51, 52–3.
  32. “The Color Line,” The Toronto World October 14, 1885, p. 3.
  33. Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 31–32.
  34. Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 88.
  35. Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 168, 227.
  36. Christina Burr, Spreading the Light, 42.
  37. Phillips Thompson, The Labor Reform Songster (Philadelphia, 1892), 14–15, quoted in Christina Burr, Spreading the Light, 36.
  38. “The Color Line,” The Toronto World October 14, 1885, p. 3.
  39. Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 54.
  40. Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 53.
  41. Ibid., 53–54.
  42. Quoted in ibid., 55.
  43. T. V. Powderly to J. M. Bannan, January 16, 1890, pp. 1–2, quoted in Herman D. Bloch, “Terence V. Powderly and Disguised Discrimination,’ 158.
  44. Journal of the Knights of Labor, January 16, 1890: 1–2, quoted in ibid.
  45. Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 58–59.
  46. Ibid, 58–61.
  47. Ibid.
  48. Ibid, 62.
  49. Ibid.
  50. Ibid, 63.
  51. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings of the Canadian Labor Congress (Toronto: Roddy & Nurse, 1884), 12 and 13 respectively.
  52. Anthony B. Chan, Gold Mountain: The Chinese in the New World (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1983), 60.
  53. Canada, House of Commons Debates, 1882, p. 1476, quoted in ibid.
  54. Gregory S. Kealey, Toronto Workers Respond to Industrial Capitalism 1867–1892 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980), 219–220, 250–51; Douglas Ross Kennedy, The Knights of Labor in Canada (London: University of Western Ontario, 1956), 52; W. Peter Ward, White Canada Forever (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002), 43–44, 48.
  55. Bryan D. Palmer, A Culture in Conflict: Skilled Workers and Industrial Capitalism in Hamilton, Ontario, 1860–1914, 178–180; W. Peter Ward, White Canada Forever, 449.
  56. W. Peter Ward, White Canada Forever, 42.
  57. Ibid.
  58. Ibid., 44.
  59. Ibid.
  60. Ibid, 45.
  61. Eugene Forsey, Trade Unions in Canada, 163; W. Peter Ward, White Canada Forever, 44.
  62. Douglas Ross Kennedy, The Knights of Labor in Canada, 41–42.
  63. “The Chinese Must Go,” Hamilton Spectator 26 March, 1885; “Labor’s Mass Meeting,” The Hamilton Evening Spectator October 2, 1884, 1.
  64. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings, 12; same sentiment expressed by Mr. Thomas Towers, quoted in “The Chinese Must Go”; and “Chinese Labour,” The Toronto Mail June 3, 1882, 2.
  65. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings, 13.
  66. Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 218–19.
  67. Gregory S. Kealey, Toronto Workers Respond to Industrial Capitalism 1867–1892, 233.
  68. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings, 13.
  69. Ibid., 19, 20.
  70. “Labor’s Mass Meeting.”
  71. See, for example, “A Prophesy Partly Verified” in Overland Monthly March 1886, 230–34, for a description of the massacre of twenty-three Chinese who were hanged by the mob. Interestingly enough, the author emphasizes the particular brutality of ethnic minorities within the mob, such as “Spaniard,” “Israelite,” “German,” Irish, and “Frenchman” (232–33).
  72. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings, 12.
  73. Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 214–15.
  74. “Labor’s Mass Meeting.”
  75. W. Peter Ward, White Canada Forever, 44.
  76. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings, 12; other examples: ibid, 13; Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 213–216.
  77. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings, 13; Karen Dubinsky and Adam Givertz, “‘It Was Only a Matter of Passion’: Masculinity and Sexual Danger,” Gendered Pasts: Historical Essays in Femininity and Masculinity in Canada, Ed. Kathryn McPherson et al. (Don Mills Oxford University Press, 1999), 72; “Labor’s Mass Meeting.”
  78. “The Chinese Must Go”; “Labor’s Mass Meeting.”
  79. Anthony B. Chan, Gold Mountain, 50.
  80. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings, 14; Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 216; “The Horrors of Opium Smoking,” The Toronto World July 8, 1885, 6; “The Opium Pipe,” Hamilton Spectator Weekly March 26, 1885, 2.
  81. “The Opium Pipe”; “The Horrors of Opium Smoking.”
  82. “The Horrors of Opium Smoking.”
  83. Karen Dubinsky and Adam Givertz, “‘It Was Only a Matter of Passion’: Masculinity and Sexual Danger,” 71–72.
  84. Canadian Labour Congress, Proceedings, 12; Terence Vincent Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 214, 216; “The Chinese Must Go.”

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