A Woman to Know: Annie Kenney

No committee ever has, or ever will, run a revolution. — Annie Kenney

(image via Library of Congress)


Annie got her first job at age 10, working in the Oldham Textile Mill. She worked 12-hour shifts, assisting weavers and fitting bobbins on the sewing machines. She lost a finger to one of these same bobbins, and from there became involved in the textile mill union, working for better shifts and workers' compensation. She began reading Labour Party icon Robert Blatchford's radical journal, "The Clarion," and sharing his work with her colleagues at the mill.

In 1905, she joined the Women's Social and Political Union, the organization responsible for launching England's suffrage movement. The WSPU was mostly run by wealthy women of the elite classes — Annie was the only working class woman to become an organization leader. She's remembered now as the woman who sparked the militancy of the movement — a move she believed to be critical in winning the women's vote in 1918.

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