Personal Narrative: The Bedford Female Labor Reform Essay

I wake up thinking I am in our old farmhouse. The sun streams through the window and a calm wind blows on my face. I feel almost content until I remember I will have to endure another long day of spinning cotton. When the machines came, we moved to Bedford, Massachusetts, and started working in a factory. We tend machines all day long until we can finally hurry to sleep. Seemingly minutes after we fall asleep, the bells ring before the roosters back at our farm would have crowed.

My mother works in a factory a few miles away, but she is becoming weak. My younger brother Eli works with me at the textile mill, and my older brother William works in the coal mines. Despite being only 36, she already has gray hair. Ever since Father caught the…

My fifteen hour shifts have turned into twenty hour shifts. But working at a textile mill will never sustain a family as a main source of income, especially not when the manager always studies me suspiciously. I struggle through everything, and so does Eli. I can’t pretend I don’t hope the labor union will work out for the better. Coughing uncontrollably, Eli has been constantly sick and burning hot. My life is slowly collapsing on itself.

The Bedford Female Labor Reform Association becomes a popular topic among Bedford’s textile girls. I hear tales of managers in other textile mills whipping and firing reported union members, tipped off by someone on the inside. Why have I gotten myself in this mess?

I think deeply. I work twenty-hour shifts, but Mother is still weak, Father is still bedridden, and Eli is sick. Something has to change. This is my one opportunity to make things right for my family. I know everyone in the union. If I inform the manager, I can make a good impression and make him forget the Charlotte incident. I can secure my job and perhaps even get a higher pay. But if I tell on the girls, their families could die. I would be sending them to their deaths. Can I stand seeing them tomorrow, beaten and…