History Of Women's Fight For Justice Continues To Be Wiped Out
Save Sarah Chapman's Grave, A Leader Of The 1888 Matchwomen's Strike & Trade Union Heroine
In all aspects of life, the part played by women; continues to be sidelined, ignored, denied and eradicated not only from contemporary media sources but most of all from the pages of history. One of the most effective ways of doing so of course, is to destroy anything which reminds society of, or pays tribute to; the accomplishment of women.
Whilst a perfect example is demonstrated in the recent film about the three women responsible for NASA's successes in the space-race - "Hidden Figures"; a more salient example for working women in the UK is that of the fate of the grave of one of Britain's most influential women activists in the Trade Union movement.
The 1888 Matchwomen’s Strike is remembered as one of the major events in the fight for the rights of working women in this country, and yet a leading member of the strike committee, who went on to become one of the first working-class women to represent their Union at the TUC; Sarah Chapman - lies in an unmarked, near invisible; pauper's grave.
Her grave in London's Manor Park, no more than a grassy footpath with no identification or markings whatsoever; is about to be flattened or 'mounded-over' as the official term is, in order to reclaim cemetery land.
Whilst the government seems happy to spend millions on maintaining statues and memorials of politicians and war heroes (usually male), they totally ignore the heroes of everyday people, many of whom were women and without whom many of the human rights and worker's rights we enjoy today; would never have become reality.
Now, Sarah Chapman's relatives and supporters are fighting to save her grave and to get a decent memorial and marking established in her name, in honour of the sacrifices she made at a time when women were scorned upon and denied basic human rights in so many ways; not to mention in the workplace.
The Matchgirl's Strike of 1888 - NW Regional Women's Committee article here
You can also watch Dr Louise Raw's talk to MPs courtesy of Parliament TV here
Source: Change.org / Sarah Johnson / Louise Raw / C Ingram