|| Although Lowell's textile mills were crowded,
noisy and hot, they offered work for men and, in particular, women who
had few skills and spoke little English. It was in the mills that
many immigrants were introduced to American culture, traditions and language.
Despite these influences, however, many ethnic groups have retained much
of their own language, culture, and traditions to this day.
George Kenngott, in his 1912 sociological study
of immigration in Lowell, called the Portuguese a "quiet and well behaved
people." They were also considered a reliable workforce and, as a
result, experienced steady employment throughout the textile industry in
Lowell. When faced with labor/management confrontation however, they
did not hesitate to respond with confidence and solidarity.
During the strike of 1903, for example,
the Portuguese organized themselves separately from the other ethnic groups.
They survived because they had family members working in non textile jobs
and had saved a portion of their weekly paychecks. As a result, few
Portuguese applied for strike aid, preferring to take care of themselves
and their community. In the 1912 strike, they once again relied on their
own resources to develop a co-op program for food distribution to affected