James Larkin: A Man of Great Heights

James Larkin (known as “Jim”) was originally born in Liverpool, England on January 21, 1876. Largin grew up on the outskirts of Liverpool, where he and his family suffered poverty. At an early age, Larkin committed to several jobs to feed and run his family.

As an employee of Liverpool docks, Larkin saw the injustice and poor treatment of workers, leading him to be a devoted socialist. Soon, he joined the National Union of Docks Labourers and took a role as a union member. Larkin then took his married wife, Elizabeth Brown and soon to be his four sons to Dublin, Ireland, where he was transported by the organization for alarming military methods.

When he moved to Ireland, he established the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) – the region’s largest union. The premise of the organization was to collectively join all Irish workers into one union. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml and http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/

After this attempt, Larkin decided to lead an Irish Labor Party himself and acted upon several strikes and reforms. In particular, Larkin led the 1913 Dublin Lockout, an event where over 100,000 Irish workers led an equal employment strike – eventually earning their rights.

When the first World War started, James Larkin protested, with several thousand, against the war. He viewed it as a mistake. Moreover, he vigorously tried to combat the British, even so by traveling to the United States and raising war funds. Consequently, the Irish government saw his acts as treasonous, so he was convicted of both communism and anarchy. Read more: James Larkin | Ireland Calling and Jim Larkin | Biography

Fortunately, he was still in the United States soil. Later, the Irish government pardoned him and was exiled back to Ireland, where he once again helped facilitate a labor union. In the process, he received support from the Communist International.

On January 30, 1947, James Larkin fell from a floor at the WUI’s Thomas Ashe Hall and peacefully died at age 73 in the Meath Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.

Larkin has felt his death coming as merely two years prior, his wife, Elizabeth had died. Today, his legacy lives on through his four sons and his commitment to the various labor unions throughout his career.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *