1934 Big Strike


Market Street During 1934 Strike

Photo: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA

1934: The Big Strike--a Menu

The 1934 waterfront strike in San Francisco is by all accounts a seminal event in class relations in the city. There are accounts of this period in many history books, but not so many versions tell a comprehensive tale of the strike, and most are steeped in romanticism of one sort or another. We present a series of screens here with texts, photos, captions, and videos that attempt to present the basic story. It follows this sequence:

Strike Begins

July 5, 1934

Bloody Thursday

July 9 Funeral

Vigilante Raids

National Guard


Media Distortion


A Terrible Anger: The 1934 Waterfront and General Strikes in San Francisco by David F. Selvin, Wayne State University: Detroit, 1996.

Strike! by Jeremy Brecher, South End Press: Boston, 1972.

American Labor Struggles by Samuel Yellen © 1936, Monad Press edition: New York, 1974.

The Labor Wars by Sidney Lens, Anchor/Doubleday: New York, 1974.

The Big Strike by Mike Quin, Olema Books: 1948.

On The Drumhead by Mike Quin, Daily People's World: San Francisco, 1948.

The Big Strike: A Pictorial History of the 1934 SF General Strike with a narrative by Warren Hinckle, Silver Dollar Books: Virginia City, Nevada, 1985.

The March Inland: Origins of the ILWU Warehouse Division 1934-1938 by Harvey Schwartz, International Longshore and Warehouse Union: San Francisco, 2000.

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