James Larkin was born in Liverpool, England. His date of birth was January 28th, 1874. He was not from a rich family. In fact, he grew up in the slums of Liverpool with not much education. As he grew up, he worked to supplement his family’s income.
Eventually he worked at the Liverpool docks as a foreman. He became a member of the National Union of Dock Labourers, and eventually became a full time organizer in 1905.
James Larkin organized and took part in militant strike methods, which the National Union of Dock Workers found to be alarming. As a result, Larkin was transferred to Dublin, Ireland, in 1907.
In Dublin, he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. The point of the Irish Transport and General Worker’s Union was to organize all industrial workers—both unskilled and skilled.
Later on , James Larkin Formed the Irish Labor Party, and led many strikes. He led the 1913 Dublin Lockout, which was an 8 month long strike that included 100,000 workers. This strike resulted in the right to fair employment.
When World War I broke out, James Larkin put on anti-war protests in Dublin. He traveled to the United States with the goal in mid to collect money to fight the British. England had taken over Ireland hundreds of years prior to the 19th century, and throughout those years England had used and abused Ireland for it’s own profit.
James Larkin was convicted of communism and criminal anarchy in 1920. As a result, he was deported back to Ireland from the United States after being pardoned three years later. In Ireland, he established Workers’ Union of Ireland. In 1924, Communist International gave them recognition in 1924.
Jim Larkin died on January 30th, 1947, in Dublin. In the latter part of 1946, he fell through a floor while supervising construction of a hall for the Worker’s Union of Ireland.
He died in January of 1947. Throughout his life, he did not smoke, drink or gamble; though he did take up smoking a pipe later on in his life. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison and http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/
In 2007, a stained glass window was made by John McLaughlin and installed into the Belfast City Hall. It commemorates the dockers’ strike.