Hello, my name is Samuel Gompers and I am here to discuss with you all about my life. In January 27, 1850 I was born in a London, England, son of Solomon and Sarah Gompers, both originally from Amsterdam. I was the oldest among my five brothers. In my first home, my family and I lived on the ground floor of London while my grandparents lived on the top floor with their four daughters.
When six years of age I was sent to the Jewish Free School in Bell Lane and learned rapidly all that was taught there - reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history. When I was ten I had to go to work and become an apprentice shoemaker due to my family struggling to make a living. When I left school I stood third to the highest in my classes. As I made rapid progress in my studies, the teacher told my father that it was I had a gift in education.
But I had a priority which was to help support my family. My father found it extremely difficult to support a family of six children on the low wages earned at the cigar making trade.
It became harder and harder to get along as our family increased and expenses grew. London did not seem to better our living so we thought more and more about moving to the United States, the land of opportunity. My work in the cigar factory gave me a chance to hear the men discuss this issue. This was a chance for our family to take advantage of industrial opportunity and freedom in America.
The Cigarmakers' Society Union of England, whose members was frequently unemployed and suffering, established an emigration fund - that is, instead of paying the members unemployment benefits, a...