Fundraising for Monument Moves Forward
In a surprise move, the Centralia, Washington City Council unanimously approved a monument to commemorate IWW victims of the 1919 Centralia Tragedy. The October 11 vote accepted the design submitted by IWW member Mike G. Fellow Worker Mike has been trying for years to get approval for a monument in George Washington Park, the principal city park in the middle of downtown. The monument will consist of a 2’x3′ bronze plaque listing the names of the IWWs lynched or imprisoned following the November 11, 1919 attack on the union hall. The assault was carried out by the American Legion at the bidding of the businessmen’s association. The monument will sit right next to the monstrous statue called The Sentinel, memorializing several American Legion members who died while breaking into the IWW hall, and overlooked by the famous ‘Resurrection of Wesley Everest Mural’ covering an entire building wall just across the street.
A committee of IWW members from western Washington IWW branches is coordinating fund raising and attending to the details of putting the monument in place. The city council motion stipulates that IWW is entirely responsible for all aspects of funding and establishing the monument.
The committee is raising $20,000 to purchase the plaque and a multi-ton boulder to mount it on, transportation from a quarry to the park on a truck, and rental of a crane to unload the monument in the park. The Whatcom-Skagit branch established a savings account to hold funds managed by the committee. Contributions have come from individuals, IWW branches, the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, local unions, the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association, and the Group Health Foundation.
According to an article in the October 12 Centralia Chronicle, council members discussed removal of the IWW’s ‘globe and stars’ logo from the original monument design. They decided to leave it to avoid the impression that the city sanctioned the plaque- though of course that’s exactly what they did by agreeing to the IWW proposal. The one stipulation by the council was that the IWW emblem on the new monument could not be larger than the American Legion’s emblem on The Sentinel.
Portions of this article first appeared in Seattle Worker.
To contribute to the IWW Centralia Monument fund, you may send money using the GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/centralia-iww-monument-fund. Alternatively, you may send larger amounts by check made to ‘IWW Monument’ and mail to
Whatcom-Skagit GMB, IWW
PO Box 192
Bellingham, WA, 9822