Music, political candidates and a reenactment of Mother Bickerdyke are planned for Salina’s 8th annual Labor Day celebration on Monday.
The event will be held at As Astra Books and Coffeehouse 141 N. Santa Fe. Doors open at 5 pm. Refreshments for purchase, live music from Alex Cosco, local candidates, and Mother Bickerdyke re-enactor Lu Adams sharing about her workplace experiences, including Q&A. The event is free, and donations are accepted.
Mother Bickerdyke was an advocate for the working person and Civil War veterans. Cemetary memorials to her in Ellsworth and Bunker Hill are featured by Kansas Sampler as one of the 8 wonders of Kansas. She built a boarding home on the 600 block of North Ninth Street, where she could sleep 33 and feed 110. Prior to coming to Salina she worked with civil War veterans and established more than three hundred field hospitals to assist sick and wounded soldiers. During battles, Bickerdyke commonly risked her own life by searching for wounded soldiers. She would carry a lantern into the disputed area between the two competing armies and retrieve wounded soldiers. Both Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman admired Bickerdyke for her bravery and for her deep concern for the soldiers.
Another effort she undertook is noted in the Barton County Courthouse, today in the Record Books of the Poor listing all the items Bickerdyke distributed to families devastated by a grasshopper invasion in 1874. She solicited over 200 train carloads of supplies from December 1874 to March of 1876.
The event is sponsored by the Salina Area Workers Coalition.