The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Crisfield, Maryland Crab Pickers’ Strike Remembered

May 20, 2024

Families who worked in the seafood industry in rural Crisfield in Somerset County, Maryland, finally succeeded in May in their two-year struggle to have the state erect a marker commemorating the crab pickers strike of 1938.

The 1938 strike involved 600 predominantly Black women who struck for five weeks in what was called “the Seafood Capital of the World.” They faced violence by white cannery owners and local politicians, including home invasions and the burning of union activists’ cars. On May 10, 1938, they won, defeating wage cuts and achieving union recognition. This strike was one of a number of strikes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore marking a wave of unionization from 1931 to 1990.