Little Education Did Not Stop Jim Larkin From Making a Big Impact

James Larkin, known as Big Jim, founded the Irish Citizens Army on November 23, 1913. Despite everything he had done to help Ireland, Jim Larkin was born in Liverpool, England on January 21, 1876 to Irish parents. With little education, the native Brit worked at many manual jobs , starting as a child, until he became a foreman at the Liverpool docks.

Larkin realized that workers were not getting paid the money they deserved and joined the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL). By 1905, Larkin worked as a union organizer full-time. If it was not for the fact NUDL grew dissatisfied with Larkin, he would not have become a hero of Ireland. Read more: The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin

Jim Larkin moved to Dublin, Ireland in 1907 and formed the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU). Larkin’s goal was to get skilled and unskilled workers to join one union that would benefit them all.

By December 1908, Larkin outlined the program to provide for those unemployed people who wanted to work an eight hour a day job. Workers, who reached the age of 60, were supplied a retirement pension. Larkin managed to create arbitration courts, adult suffrage, nationalization of canals, and different means of transportation.

Four years later, Jim Larkin joined James Connolly to form the Irish Labour party. Connolly and Larkin led a series of strikes with the 1913 Dublin Lockout being the most significant of them all. It took seven months for 1,000 workers to win fair employment from their employers. Larkin earned many admirers, including the poet WB Yeats,who honored the labour leader with a poem after the Irish Labour party was formed.

On January 30,1947, Larkin died in his sleep at the age of 71. He has been revered by the country of Ireland ever since. Poems and songs were written about Big Jim and what he did to reform the Irish workforce. In 1996, a some members of the Liverpool, England community named their marching band after Larkin. Today, a statue of Jim Larkin stands on O’Connell Street in Dublin, Ireland to honor him.