Little Rock Mechanics Association

From FranaWiki

The Little Rock Mechanics Association was established by mechanics and skilled artisans in 1839. White skilled laborers formed the Mechanics Association to combat the effects of slavery and prisoners on the wage scale. The organization created its own pay scales and a set of rules for trades such as carpentry, masonry, smithing, plastering, brickmaking, tailoring, hatting, shoemaking, and baking.

The Mechanics Association frequently voiced its opposition to the use of prisoners from the Arkansas State Penitentiary. It also campaigned against the efforts of the Commissioner of Public Buildings to subvert the wage scale by hiring skill laborers from Kentucky for the building of the State House.

The association had some success in reducing competition from free blacks, which had many political foes.


  • Ira Don Richards, Story of a Rivertown: Little Rock in the Nineteenth Century (1969), 39.

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