2. Webster Hall Was The Location Of Many Strikes and Rallies
Greek Americans rallying outside Webster in 1912 towards the end of the Balkan War. Image from Library of Congress.
Webster Hall has been the place of many rallies and strikes in the late 19th and 20th centuries. In April 1888, one year after the hall’s construction, Samuel Gompers led a group of striking brewery workers in front of the hall. Emma Goldman, the “High Priestess of Anarchy,” threw a fundraiser in November 1906 for her journal Mother Earth, a ground-breaking, controversial collection of anarchist and radical writings on current events. But in the true style of Webster Hall, the police came and crashed the fundraiser. Margaret Sanger, before she was the mother of the birth control movement, in 1912 led a protest where she filled Webster Hall with 119 starving children of Massachusetts Mill Workers to call attention to their parents’ horrible working conditions.
The hall was also the founding site for the Socialist Labor Party and Gompers’ Progressive Labor Party. Once the building was bought by RCA Records, although it wasn’t a public performance space anymore, RCA did rent it out on multiple occasions when recording wasn’t in session. The notable example is in 1964 when Robert F. Kennedy made an appearance at a campaign rally for his bid for the New York Senate seat.