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Great Hall at Cooper Union

About this listing

Prominent lecture hall

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : East Village
Institution, Education

Place Matters Profile

At an overflowing ILGWU meeting on November 22, 1909, Clara Lemlich, a Jewish dressmaker, declared in Yiddish, “I am a working girl, one of those who are on strike against intolerable conditions. I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in general terms. What we are here for is to decide whether we shall or shall not strike. I offer a resolution that a general strike be declared--now.” This fiery declaration launched a massive strike that eventually included over 20,000 workers.

On The Web

Cooper Union website


Lorna Gottesman

The Great Hall has a long history of progressive organizing. Abraham Lincoln spoke here in 1860 when he first ran for president, the great shirtwaist workers strike began here in 1909, and then in the 1990s, ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) also met here for many years after its meetings got too big for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender center.

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