A LOOK BACK: Port Alberni hunger parade

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with Alberni Valley Museum

A large group of demonstrators from the National Unemployed Workers Association of Port Alberni stands along the side of a dirt street during a ‘hunger parade’ on March 3, 1932. The crowd includes women and children, some with placards, as well as a man playing a drum. This Depression-era photo is one of nearly 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection. See more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com/ (PN06592 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)

A large group of demonstrators from the National Unemployed Workers Association of Port Alberni stands along the side of a dirt street during a ‘hunger parade’ on March 3, 1932. The crowd includes women and children, some with placards, as well as a man playing a drum. This Depression-era photo is one of nearly 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection. See more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com/ (PN06592 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)

On March 3, 1932, a group of demonstrators from the National Unemployed Workers Association of Port Alberni held a hunger parade in the middle of the street.

Photo PN06592, held in the digital archives at the Alberni Valley Museum, describes the photo and indicates there were women and children present. One child holds aloft a placard with a message about Communism , while two women appear to be holding donation tins.

Hunger marches took place across Canada that year, organized by the Canadian Labour Defence League and the “radical” Communist Party of Canada to demonstrate the plight of workers and farmers who had been out of work for several years during the Depression.

More than 15,000 people turned out for a peaceful parade in Vancouver and another 2,000 in Victoria, according to Labour Before the Law: The Regulation of Workers’ Collective Action in Canada (Judy Fudge, Eric Tucker). They were lucky: other parades were suppressed or denied parade licences.

The fate of Port Alberni’s hunger parade could not be discerned from the photograph.

This photo is one of nearly 24,000 in the Alberni Valley Museum’s collection. See more at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com/

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