Living, Singing History At Marquez Elementary

(Left to right) Ollie Latshaw, Maria Tompkins, Jeff Lantos, Trinity Drummond, Myla Angelina and Sophie Gibbs Photo courtesy of Jo Drummond
(Left to right) Ollie Latshaw, Maria Tompkins, Jeff Lantos, Trinity Drummond, Myla Angelina and Sophie Gibbs
Photo courtesy of Jo Drummond

In Water And Power we dramatize the plight of the mill girls in the cotton factories of Lowell, Massachusetts, circa 1940.  The mill owners needed a skilled and literate labor force, so they recruited teenage girls from the farms of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and paid them the princely sum of $2 a week.

For the first few years, everyone was happy.  Then the mill owners and the stockholders got greedy and cut the wages of the mill girls while increasing their work load.

Trinity Drummond who played ‘Abby Wayne’ and Ollie Latshaw who played ‘Nathan Jackson’ in Thursday’s matinee show. These are the lead fictional characters in the musical ‘Water and Power’ written by Jeff Lantos and Bill Augustine for the Marquez History curriculum. Photo courtesy of Mike Asawa
Trinity Drummond who played ‘Abby Wayne’ and Ollie Latshaw who played ‘Nathan Jackson’ in Thursday’s matinee show. These are the lead fictional characters in the musical ‘Water and Power’ written by Jeff Lantos and Bill Augustine for the Marquez History curriculum.
Photo courtesy of Mike Asawa

This led to women speaking out in public (for the first time), organizing and going on strike.  The mill girls demanded a 10 hour work day (instead of 13).

The 10-hour work day law was finally passed by the Massachusetts legislature in 1874.