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The Socialist and labor star. [volume] : (Huntington, W. Va.) 1911-1915
Alternative Titles:
  • Labor star Mar. 20, 1914-Jan. 1, 1915
Place of publication:
Huntington, W. Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Huntington, Cabell, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Socialist Print. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • -Jan. 1, 1915.
  • Began in 1911?
  • English
  • Huntington (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • West Virginia--Huntington.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01202938
  • "Official organ of the Socialist Party and of the Huntington Trades and Labor Assembly."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 1 (May 30, 1912).
  • Editor: W.H. Thompson.
  • Merged with: Labor argus (Charleston, W. Va.), to form: Argus-star (non-extant).
  • No issues published between May 8, 1912 and May 30, 1912. (The printing plant was destroyed and the staff sent to jail by the W. Va. Militia.).
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The Socialist and labor star. [volume] May 31, 1912 , Image 1


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The Socialist and Labor Star

Beginning publication in 1912, Socialist and Labor Star of Huntington, West Virginia, joined the cresting number of Socialist publications nationwide and served as "the official organ of the Socialist Party and of the Huntington Trades & Labor Assembly." Reflecting the political ideology, opinions, and ambitions of West Virginia's Socialist Party, the Socialist and Labor Star consisted of four pages of news, political and social commentary, and advertisements.

The Labor Star reflected the labor roots of its primary editor, Wyatt Hamilton "Henry" Thompson. A native West Virginian and coal miner by age nine, a printer's apprenticeship introduced Thompson to the world of newspapers. Thompson belonged to a variety of professional newspaper and labor organizations, including the Huntington Trades and Labor Assembly and the Socialist Party. Founder of the Labor Star, Thompson served as editor throughout the paper's run. In mid-1913, Socialist Edwin Firth joined Thompson as the business manager and co-editor.

Labor issues permeated the Star's pages. The Paint Creek-Mine Creek labor conflict and strikes received extensive local and national coverage. At times the Star clashed with other labor organizations, including the Socialist Party's national office. The Labor Star scorned the initial settlement of the strike in May 1913, believing the United Mine Workers' settlement unsatisfactory in meeting the miners' demands. Accordingly, the Labor Star often feuded with its local counterpart, the United Mine Worker's newspaper the Montgomery Miners Herald. Moreover, the Labor Star also criticized the national Socialist Party for its perceived failure to thoroughly investigate the labor situation in West Virginia, which led to weeks of quarrelling between Thompson and prominent Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs within the Star's pages.

The Star supported Socialist political candidates and proved critical of Governor Henry Hatfield's Republican administration. Doubtless much of this animosity arose from the May 1913 raid on the Labor Star's press by militia under orders from the governor. Critical of American foreign policy, the Star offered extensive commentary on American involvement in revolutionary Mexico and the looming threat of World War I. Many of the Star's columns explored the tenets of socialism in an attempt to define the movement to its readers. Religion also proved a popular topic among the Star's pages, as Thompson and others espoused a brand of social Christianity meant to highlight how religion and socialism could co-exist.

On New Year's Day 1915, the Star published its final issue. Recognizing their overlap in readership, the Socialist and Labor Star merged with the Charleston Labor Argus to form the Argus Star, with offices in both Huntington and Charleston. W.H. Thompson continued to serve as editor of the Argus Star.

Provided by: West Virginia University