The Great Newsboys Strike (Johnny Burke)

The crave for strikes is getting hot with boys,
as we can see,
The crowd around the Telegram
is what attracted me;
I asked what brought the boys around
in such a lot today,
They said the newsboys raised a strike
to look for higher pay.

The constables did take the steps
to keep the strikers out,
While cries of no surrender
each newsboy loud did shout;
While leaders stood around the cop
and kept their pimples cool,
And more were looking out for scabs,
who might break through the rule.

The leaders in this famous strike,
McCarthy and John Brown,
Who say they never will give in,
but bound to hang her down;
Six cents a dozen is the charge,
and if they don't give in,
Like Jeffries, they'll win the fight,
or perish in the ring.

####.... Johnny Burke [1851-1930] of St John's, NL ....####

Published in Burke's Ballads, p.10, c.1960, compiled by John White and archived at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Libraries, Centre For Newfoundland Studies - Digitized Books collection.

See more songs by Johnny Burke.

In the absence of any additional information about this song, GEST assumes it was published right around the turn of the century. The following reasons are given for this assumption:
¹ James J Jeffries [1875-1953] of Carrol, OH, was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1899 to 1905.
² The Spanish-American War in 1898 increased newspaper sales and publishers saw it as a means to raise prices to increase profits from the war. After the war most prices slipped back to previous levels, except for the two giants of the industry, Pulitzer and Hearst. For several days in the summer of 1899, this led to the refusal of newspaper boys in New York City to sell papers which were costing them more than they did in other cities. This now famous historic event was mimicked in other large cities around the turn of the century.


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