Friday, March 05, 2010

Today -100: March 5, 1910: Of strikes, Russian Jews, and Enrico Caruso and the Black Hand

The Philadelphia general strike has begun, with 60,400 said to be on strike, including 200 milk wagon drivers, 2,000 cigarmakers, 225 egg candlers, 150 piano wagon drivers, 300 horseshoers, 200 suspendermakers, and 350 fresco painters. A demonstration has been called for Independence Square, which the police plan to ban; Mayor Reyburn quotes, in support of the ban, a Supreme Court decision that “the public possesses in the highway the right of transit only”. He calls on people not to loiter on the streets, collect in or join crowds, or use insulting language.

Harriot Stanton Blatch (suffragist, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton) warns the NY Legislature against passing the Dana Bill, which has already passed the lower house, and would require that future amendments to the state constitution get a 2/3 vote of the electors rather than a simple majority. She believes (wrongly, I think) that it is intended specifically to thwart women’s suffrage and warns that “Heretofore there has been no reason in America for suffragettes to use militant methods... Our methods so far have been quiet and amiable. But with an added burden put upon us like this, we shall have to resort to...” wait for it... “open-air meetings, to bands and banners, and holding up people on the street corners.”

A committee of the Russian Duma denounces a 1907 government circular which instructed officials not to evict Jews who had settled recently outside the pale of settlement. The committee wants them not only evicted but brought to trial.

Two members of the Black Hand are arrested after sending threatening letters to Enrico Caruso demanding $15,000. Caruso wouldn’t talk to the press, and the director of the Met, Gatti-Casazza, merely “threw up his hands and said: ‘It is not musical and it is not artistic, and I know nothing about it.’”

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