Lead Artist: David Fichter
Sponsor Organization: Stevens Foundation
The Bread and Roses Mural depicts historical and contemporary scenes of Lawrence, MA to illustrate why the town has earned the name "Immigrant City". Drawn to the United States by similar histories of oppression and famine, Europeans in the last century and Latinos in this century have made Lawrence, MA their home. Their history is one of struggle to create a fair, human and culturally diverse community. The mural connects Lawrence's history, marked by landmark advances in child labor laws and workers' rights to organize, with the contemporary city.
The Bread and Roses Mural was initiated by the artist David Fichter and his wife Debra Wise. The Lawrence Family Health Center agreed to have the mural painted on their exterior wall on Park St. and assisted with the development of the imagery. The theme of the history and legacy of the famous Bread and Roses Strike was chosen because it was such an important point in our nation's history and the victories for labor and immigrant rights resonate even today. The artist divided the history of Lawrence into two parts. On the right side, 19th century immigrants from Europe stream out of the flame of the Statue of Liberty into the Lawrence textile mills and then into the street where they confront the state militia in the Bread and Roses strike. A young Italian-American girl Carmela Teoli is depicted being scalped by a machine. She testified about the accident to Congress as part of the Bread and Roses strike. On the left half of the mural, there is a depiction of more contemporary immigrants streaming out of the Statue of Liberty, primarily from Latin America and Southeast Asia. Once again people are working in the Lawrence Mill Buildings, which have now become the site of new industries. The mural is intended to depict the parallel stories of the immigration to Lawrence from different time periods. It was painted in a time (1980's) when there were conflicts between immigrants from different historical periods. The artist spent about 6 months researching the history of immigration to Lawrence, with a special emphasis on the 1912 strike. He worked with Eartha Dengler of the Immigrant City Archives to develop the historic imagery on the right side of the mural.
For more information on the history of the Bread and Roses strike, click here.