November 22, 1882
Seven men met in a blacksmith shop in Hot Springs (Garland County) with the goal of forming a local assembly of the Knights of Labor (KOL). The largest American labor organization of its era, the KOL recruited workers across boundaries of gender, race, and skill. The organization claimed more than 700,000 members at its peak in 1886, and actual membership at that time may have surpassed one million. In Arkansas, membership peaked at more than 5,000 in 1887, and despite the KOL’s official view of strikes as a measure of last resort, the organization led strikes in Arkansas among railroad workers, coal miners, and African-American farmhands.