Talk by Dr. Miguel Moniz on “Eula Mendes: Portuguese migrant labor activism and the criminalization of protest”

Thursday, January 30, 2020 | Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, UMass Dartmouth

Eula Mendes

- View the flyer of the event

In coordination with the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture/Tagus Press at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives will host a talk by Dr. Miguel Moniz.  Moniz is currently the FLAD/Brown Visiting Professor in Portuguese Studies at Brown University.  The talk, entitled “Eula Mendes: Portuguese migrant labor activism and the criminalization of protest”,will take place at the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives on January 30, 2020 from 11 AM to 12:30 PM.Guests should use Parking Lot 13. For additional details please refer to the flyer and information below.

Although numerous histories exist of native-born American and English-speaking migrant leaders during the early 20th century labor movement, the essential role of industrial migrant workers is less examined. This talk, based on archival sources at the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese American Archives looks at the life of Eulalia “Eula” Mendes, and other migrant labor leaders from Portugal and their early contribution to the American labor movement. The political marginalization and criminalization of migrant labor activism made Eula Mendes a key figure in—and ultimately a martyr of—the fight for not only workers, but also for migrant civic rights. 

From Gouveia, Portugal, Eula was 18 years old at the time of the 1928 New Bedford Textile Workers Strike and had been doffing spindles in the carding room of the City Mill textile factory as her family’s primary wage earner since she was 14. At the outset of the strike, she began attending meetings run by regional and national labor organizers.  Promoting Portuguese industrial migrant worker participation in the strike made Eula a leader in her mill and in the community and she would eventually become a member of the strike’s executive committee. During the strike she was arrested several times and her prominence as a leader left her blackballed from working in the mills after it was settled. Instead, she went to work for the labor movement as a textile worker union secretary, and as an organizer (along with her husband, Joe Figueredo) for the Communist Party in New Bedford and the region. 

Hailing from Cape Cod but living in Lisbon since 2005, Miguel Moniz is a researcher at the Center for Anthropological Research (CRIA) at ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa.  Moniz studies racialization and ethnic group formation.  He examines the histories of migrant mobility, settlement, marginalization and efforts at civic inclusion among Portuguese-speaking geographies with a focus on New England. 

Dr. Paula Celeste Gomes Noversa, Faculty Director of the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives stated: “Eula Mendes sounds like an extraordinary individual.  I look forward to hearing about her life and her role during the 1928 New Bedford strike.”

Dr. Victor K. Mendes, Director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture/Tagus Press added: “Dr. Moniz’s scholarly visits to UMass Dartmouth are becoming a productive habit. He was here for a week in 2017 teaching, researching, community-networking, under the auspices of the Hélio and Amélia Pedroso/Luso-American Development Foundation Endowed Chair in Portuguese Studies at UMass Dartmouth, and his public lecture at the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture/Tagus Press was a huge success. My hope is that Dr. Moniz’s upcoming January 30th lecture will be an even bigger success in the company of our supporting friends.”

For further information, contact 508-910-6888 or email prioux@umassd.edu


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