Book: Soviet Princeton [Paperback]


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The winter of 1932–33 saw Princeton divided. Charges of outside agitators and charges by mounted provincial police into picket lines of workers, Ku Klux Klan threats and a beating and cross–burning, the kidnapping of legendary labour organizer Slim Evans who was bundled onto the next train out of town (though he returned soon enough) ––– Princeton’s few thousand citizens saw much of the human drama of the Great Depression play out right in their own lives over the course of just a few months.

A ten percent pay cut, in the depths of the Depression, galvanized the miners working Princeton’s coalmines into unionizing, and they brought in Arthur “Slim” Evans from the Workers Unity League to help them. Meanwhile, north of town, one of the federal government’s Relief Camps had opened up to build an airport, and soon Canadian Labour Defence League organizers were at work there. “Outside agitators” became the by-word as a few of the town’s merchants and its propertied establishment rallied around the cause ––– to defeat the “Communist menace” that threatened the prospects of their little town. They were given voice by the colourful local paper the Princeton Star, whose pages, held in the Princeton and District Museum & Archives, provide the source material for much of Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat’s engrossing history.

About the Author

Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat are singers and cultural historians. Their love of song, their love of the landscape and BC history, and their experiences and skills as historians and educators make them uniquely qualified to produce this book. They have been singing together since 1975, focusing especially on the songs of British Columbia made by settlers, loggers, miners, and fishers.