IN 1896, THE A.F. OF L. DECIDED TO GIVE UP ITS isolated headquarters in Indianapolis and move to the District of Columbia, where the officers could give more direct attention to their legislative program. Gompers packed up again and went to the nation's capital, then a small provincial city with a distinct Southern flavor. He rented a home on H Street, N.E.--a two-story brick home in a row-building, its narrow front facing directly on the sidewalk--and brought his family down from New York. But for a number of years he regarded his residence in Washington as temporary, maintaining his legal address in New York and going back each year to vote. Since Washingtonians were disfranchised, Gompers felt that to make the capital his legal residence would be an act of expatriation. Besides, he was fond of the metropolis: "too good a place to 'swear off.'"
In the next few years, a series of misfortunes struck Gompers' family. In 1898, while he was in Omaha for a Labor Day address, his mother died. She had become quite helpless in her old age, and lived in Samuel's apartment in New York. Since it was not possible for him to return to New York in time for the funeral, his family did not notify him of her death until his return. Gompers' father, Solomon, then came to Washington to stay with him, along with three of Samuel's still unmarried children. A few months later, Gompers was again in the far West, attending a labor rally in Des Moines. He was introduced by the chairman of the board of public works in place of the mayor, who was unable to be present because of the death of his daughter the day before. Gompers prefaced his speech with a few words of condolence to the mayor and his family. He then proceeded with
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Publication information: Book title: Samuel Gompers:A Biography. Contributors: Bernard Mandel - Author. Publisher: Antioch Press. Place of publication: Yellow Springs, OH. Publication year: 1963. Page number: 165.
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