The Triumphant History of the Slumber Party Flower
In 1932, the Women’s Textile Guild of Greenville, S.C., made the first Slumber Flowers in honor of the men and women who suffered needlessly in the cottony confines of Poe Mill. Along with markedly unsafe working conditions, the workers were forced to endure 14-hour work days, six days a week. Some died. Many hurt. All suffered.
However, the workers of Poe Mill persevered. They survived. They triumphed. After years of struggle, working conditions improved, workdays shortened, and wages rose.
Fearing that the advances made by workers could be taken away from them, the guild formed. They adopted the cotton ball as their symbol, and they began calling it the Slumber Flower.
In loving tribute to the men and women whose suffering allowed progress to bloom and fair treatment for workers to bud, the employees of Poe Mill proudly wore their Slumber Flowers. Their employers never again doubted their conviction, never doubted their solidarity, never doubted their power. The Slumber Guild had won.
Soon after, word of Poe Mill and of the men and women who called themselves the Slumber Guild spread. It was not long until workers around the world, longing for shorter workdays, higher wages, and safer working conditions, adopted the Slumber Flower as their own, and for a brief time, it seemed like all of the dreams of the Slumber Guild were poised to become reality.
But this was not to be. The Slumber Flower fell out of fashion, and the workers forgot.
My fellow workers, we have not been vigilant enough. We have forgotten the sacrifices of our predecessors. We have dropped the cotton ball. And our employers have noticed. The Slumber Flower is now a chilling reminder to us of our failures.
But it can once again be a symbol of hope and commitment — a hope that people will work together to eliminate excessive work hours and a commitment to nap time for workers worldwide. By wearing a Slumber Party Flower, you show your dedication to the rights of workers everywhere.
Now is the time for all of us to return to this timeless tradition.
They wore theirs. Will you wear yours?