A Night of Tar, Feathers, and Terror: Anti-labor Vigilantism in Sonoma

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 6:00PM

<p>A Night of Tar, Feathers, and Terror: Anti-labor Vigilantism in Sonoma</p>

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A Night of Tar, Feathers, and Terror: Anti-labor Vigilantism in Sonoma

In the evening of August 21, 1935 a band of vigilantes abducted Sol Nitzberg—a Jewish Sonoma County chicken farmer—along with three other labor organizers. Nitzberg and Silva Green (another organizer) were tarred and feathered and forced by the mob to parade through Santa Rosa. What is the historical backdrop to this violent event? Barry Nitzberg—grandson of Sol Nitzberg— and historian Ken Kann will unpack the history of labor organizing in and vigilante terror in Sonoma County, including the 1935 Sebastopol Apple Pickers Strike, the assault on Nitzberg and Green, and the role of ACLU in the subsequent trial.

California Historical Society will provide a collection viewing in its North Baker Research Library of the Sol Nitzberg Papers after the presentations and audience Q&A.

Learn more about this history at the link.

About our Speakers:

A life-long resident of northern California, Barry Nitzberg has deep roots in the historic Jewish chicken ranching community of Petaluma, where he was born and raised. The grandson of Sol Nitzberg—chicken rancher, labor organizer, and tar and feathering victim—Barry and his family are featured in Ken Kann’s oral history of three generations of this unique immigrant community. Ken is a historian and author of Comrades and Chicken Ranchers; The Story of a California Jewish Community.

This event is a part of LaborFest.

LaborFest was established in 1994 to institutionalize the history and culture of working people in an annual labor cultural, film and arts festival. It begins every July 5th, which is the anniversary of the 1934 “Bloody Thursday” event. On that day, two workers Howard Sperry and Nick Bordoise were shot and killed in San Francisco. They were supporting the longshoremen and maritime workers strike. This incident brought about the San Francisco General Strike which shut down the entire city and led to hundreds of thousands of workers joining the trade union movement.

The Organizing committee of LaborFest is composed of unionists and unorganized workers, cultural workers and supporters of labor education and history. We encourage all unions not only to support us with endorsements and contributions but also to include activities about their own union members, their history and the work that they do.

Learn more at LaborFest's website.

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