Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968). The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
By Ben Hanford
(A New York printer who literally gave his life for the Socialist movement, dying of consumption caused by overwork. He was the partys candidate for Vice-president in 1904)
A COMRADE who shall be called Jimmie Higgins because that is not his name, and who shall be styled a painter for the very good reason that he is not a painter, has perhaps had a greater influence in keeping me keyed up to my work in the labor movement than any other person.
Jimmie Higgins is neither broad-shouldered nor thick-chested. He is neither pretty nor strong. A little, thin, weak, pale-faced chap. But he is strong enough to support a mother with equal physical disabilities. Strong enough to put in ten years of unrecognized and unexcelled service to the cause of Socialism.
Then he hustled around to another branch and got their platform out. Then he got a glass of water for the speaker. That same evening or the day before he had distributed hand-bills advertising the meeting.
Previously he had informed his branch as to the best corner in the district for drawing a crowd. Then he distributed leaflets at the meeting, and helped to take the platform down and carry it back to headquarters, and got subscribers for Socialist papers.
The next day the same, and so on all through the campaign, and one campaign after another. When he had a job, which was none too often, for Jimmie was not an extra good workman and was always one of the first to be laid off, he would distribute Socialist papers among his fellows during the noon hour, or take a run down to the gate of some factory and give out Socialist leaflets to the employees who came out to lunch.
Be you, reader, ever so great, you nor any other shall ever do more than that. Jimmie Higgins had no riches, but out of his poverty he always gave something, his all; be you, reader, ever so wealthy and likewise generous, you shall never give more than that.