Sunday, June 7, 2015

What Sacrifices Did Your Ancestors Make For You?

On Sept 6, 1934, Labor Day in Honea Path, South Carolina at the local cotton mill workers protested working conditions and supported Labor Unions. When it was over 7 men were dead, one of them was my ancestor, Charles Livingston Rucker. 

Charles was the son of Mary Jane Dixon, my great grandmother, Addie Elizabeth Dixon Edwards sister.  Charles was my grandmother, Nancy Edwards Matherly's first cousin, making him my 3rd cousin.

Note: In the newspaper clipping below the cemetery burial place mentioned is wrong, it says Hoke's Chapel in Ebert County but he is actually buried at Pope's Chapel Cemetery in Wilkes County, Georgia.  Here is a link to his burial site on Find A Grave:

Charles Livingston Rucker 
died of not one but two gunshot wounds that day.   He was just 39 years old.
He was and always will be a hero of the working man.

In 1934 the General Textile Strike grew to the largest labor strike in American History. The workers at Chiquola Mill, the local cotton mill in Honea Path, circled the mill in protest of unsafe working conditions and low wages.  A fight broke out and shots were fired. The day is known as Bloody Thursday.

Most local history books have recorded very little about the incident and local's kept their mouths shut about what happened that day. Fear, threats and intimidation were used to silence the story. Those that supported the union were fired and kicked out of mill housing or required to never speak of the incident or become involved in union organizing.

 Not one person was ever charged for the murders that tragic day.  Over 10,000 people attended the funerals of the slain men.

Today a monument is erected in the local park in Honea Path, just a mile from the mill to honor those who died that day. The stone is etched with the words "They died for the rights of the working man" and the names of the men who lost their lives standing up for something they believed in.  
Charles Livingston Rucker was one of them.  

What sacrifices did your ancestors make for you?

More information about the documentary "The Uprising of 34" can be found at

After a few requests for the info here is a link where you can purchase the 88 minute film for home use for $44.95

I found this today, where the film can be rented from Vimeo for $5.95 here is the link:

Or FREE if your local library partners with Kanopy you can watch it for free, just sign up with Kanopy and check if your library participates.  Here's the link:

You can also search YouTube for "Uprising of 34" and find more videos about this tragedy.

As always, I welcome your comments.

1 comment:

  1. Rev. A. Charles ErwinFebruary 24, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    Charles was my dad's mom's dad's brother (My grandmom's uncle). I was raised in Elberton, GA and never knew about Honea Path or what happened. It wasn't until I was the Associate Pastor of Honea Path Pentecostal Holiness Church for about a year that my grandmother told me her uncle was one of the ones killed. The church was a mill church, and I could walk out of my office, look right, and the mill was 50 yards away. Where I now live in HP is literally 30 seconds walk from the field they held the funerals in (the 2nd from last photo you have). I teach South Carolina history now, and tomorrow I teach the Uprising of '34 to my students. Here's to our relative Charles.