Frank Little - A True American Hero


"1/2 White, 1/2 Indian, All I.W.W."

On August 1, 1917, labor organizer Frank Little was taken forcibly from his boarding house in Butte, Montana, and was lynched from a railroad trestle.

In the summer of 1917, Frank had been helping to organize copper workers in a strike against the Anaconda Copper Company, but it was most likely his stand against World War I that so infuriated his assassins. He argued that all working men should refuse to join the army and fight on behalf of their capitalist oppressors. As he said in the last speech before his death, "I stand for the solidarity of labor." Frank understood that his stand against the war might get him killed, but even this prospect did not deter him. He was a true revolutionary.

Not much is known about the early life of Frank Little. He was born in 1879 and was active in the 1913 free speech campaigns in Missoula, Fresno, Spokane, Peoria, and elsewhere. Frank was also active in organizing lumberjacks, mineworkers and oilfield workers into labor unions. By 1916, Frank was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World General Executive Board.

The I.W.W. was founded in 1905 by Eugene V. Debs, William "Big Bill" Haywood, and others who believed that workers should be organized into a single industrial union because individual trade unions were likely to be pitted against each other during disputes with the employers. The I.W.W. was founded on the belief that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common and that the historic mission of the working class is to abolish capitalism and replace it with an economic system based upon human need rather than private profit, so that the benefits of the good life could be extended beyond the privileged few.

Information taken from the International Workers of the World.