The God and Country Parade

Image: A child dressed as Massachusetts in the 1962 God and Country Parade in Lawrence. Photo via the Lawrence Public Library/Digital Commonwealth Project.

The original God and Country Parade took place on the Columbus Day following the Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912, or the “Bread and Roses” strike (excellent summary here). The original strike at the end of the year was followed by months of unrest, with a mass demonstration walk-out at the end of September.

In a demonstration by members of the IWW, with the slogan “No God, No Master,” disgruntled workers had trampled an American flag. In response, Lawrence’s Mayor Scanlan began the God and Country campaign, with the parade as its centerpiece. Town leaders called for residents to wear flags in their button holes.

Bruce Watson asserts in his book Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream, that the strike went largely unmentioned for two generations, and says that newspaper accounts of the 1962 anniversary missed several of its most pro-striker details, telling the story as one about outside Communist agitators.

A candidate for Senate, one Edward Kennedy appeared in the 1962 Parade to campaign.


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