Soapbox
Dimensions: 30 w x 40 b x 33 h cms
Medium: Reconfigured wooden package crate, pyrography drawing, battery operated lights for the interior of box
Date 2016

The decades immediately preceding World War I, have been called the "Golden Age of Soapbox Oratory." Working people had little money to spend and tub-thumping public speakers pushing their social or political agendas provided a form of mass entertainment. Radical political parties, intent on bringing what they perceived as an emancipatory message to the working class, were particularly intent upon making use of "street meetings," with their speeches and leaflets, to advance their specific message.

Throughout its history, soapboxing has been tied to the right to speak. From the period 1907 to approximately 1916, the Industrial Workers of the World conducted dozens of free speech fights in the United States, particularly in the West and the Northwest, in order to protect or reclaim their right to soapbox.

Soapboxing proved to be what one historian has called a hard, but nevertheless necessary, process in the development of revolutionary leaders.