A major labor organization in the 1880s, the Knights of Labor was founded in 1869 by an organization of garment workers in Philadelphia. Its membership was open to all workers, including African Americans and women. The Knights promoted cooperation and believed that workers were entitled “the full enjoyment of the wealth they create.”
Eugene V. Debs was a railway employee who worked to create the American Railway Union, an industrial union for railway workers. In 1893, the ARU orchestrated the Pullman car boycott in 1894, which led to Debs' arrest and the end of the ARU. Debs later served as a leader of the Socialist Party of America.
Henry S. Doyle (1867–1913) was a Christian minister and a prominent African American Populist born in Georgia and educated at Clarke University and Ohio Wesleyan. Doyle campaigned vigorously for the Populist Party (or People’s Party) Congressional candidate, Tom Watson, in Georgia in 1892, prompting an attempted lynching of Doyle. Two thousand white Populist supporters, however, protected both Doyle and Watson from the potential violence.
Ignatius Donnelly (1831–1901) was an American writer, reformer, and politician who was a leading figure in the Populist Party. Donnelly started his political career as a Republican and spent time as a Greenbacker, a Granger, a Democrat, and an Independent before turning to the Populist Party in the 1890s. As an organizer of the Minnesota Farmers’ Alliance, Donnelly helped stir support for populism, and in 1892 he drafted the party’s Omaha Platform. Donnelly supported William Jennings Bryan, a Populist-leaning Democrat, in the presidential...