Pins And Needles Day
You might be surprised to learn that Pins and Needles Day didn’t start in 1937. Although you might think of pins and needles today as that tingling sensation you get when you go to sleep, the original Pins and Needles Day was established in 1937 to celebrate the Broadway opening of the musical pro-Labor play of the same title. Although the production was eventually able to run for a staggering 1108 performances, its nameake day now means something entirely different.
The International Ladies Garment Workers Union produced the Broadway Play. It told the story about a group working during the American Labor Movement. It was first seen on the Broadway stage in 1937, and then again in 1978. The play also appeared on London stages as recent as 2010.
The original cast consisted of cutters, sewing machine workers and basters who wanted to do something creative with their spare time. After the production’s success, the cast members were able quit their jobs and participate in an 8-weekly performance schedule.
Pins and Needles was written in 1969 by Harold Rome. He was a Renaissance man who performed piano in local bands, studied architecture and pursued a Yale University law degree. Pins and Needles was the result of all his talents. He created a legend that would last through the ages and pursued a form social justice rarely heard of.
Pins and Needles Day would be a great opportunity to listen and revisit old musicals from the 1930s and 1940s, and even to read about the history of the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union, once one of America’s largest Labor unions.
It may be worthwhile to check if any person in your family was a member of the union at the time that the play was being performed. The history of labor unions in America and the rest of the world is long. Workers’ rights have been fought for in developing countries. Pins and Needles Day can also be honored by being aware of the locations where Labor Justice rights are being fought in the world.