January 22, 1904
Poet, journalist, and social activist John Beecher was born in New York. A descendent of abolitionists Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Beecher spent his youth in Birmingham and, at the age of fourteen, worked in the steel mills of the Tennessee, Iron, and Railroad Company. After witnessing the harsh conditions of factory and mills and the mistreatment of workers firsthand, Beecher later dedicated his career to the American labor and civil rights movements. He published several books and collections of poetry throughout his career, including To Live & Die in Dixie & Other Poems and Hear the Wind Blow: Poems of Protest & Prophecy.