As we go marching, marching

In the beauty of the day

A million darkened kitchens

A thousand mill lofts grey

Are touched with all the radiance

That a sudden sun discloses

For the people hear us singing

Bread and roses, bread and roses


As we go marching, marching

We battle too for men

For they are women’s children

And we mother them again

Our lives shall not be sweetened

From birth until life closes

Hearts starve as well as bodies

Give us bread, but give us roses


As we go marching, marching

We bring the greater days

For the rising of the women

Means the rising of the race

No more the drudge and idler

Ten that toil where one reposes

But the sharing of life’s glories

Bread and roses, bread and roses


Songwriters: James Oppenheim / John Denver

Bread and Roses lyrics © Reservoir Media Management Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

Why this song?

The phrase ‘bread and roses’ was first associated with a successful strike by textile workers in Lawrence, MA, in 1912, led by women. The poem from which the phrase comes was set to music after WWII and has been used by numerous movements advocating for both fair wages and dignity and respect.

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision in Janus vs. AFSCME and also in the Arbitration case, both of which undercut the rights of workers, this song is especially poignant. However, the teachers’ strikes in West VA and OK are signs of hope and evidence that women are still willing to rise up to demand fair wages and dignity in the workplace. - Submitted by Elizabeth

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