Sunday, April 04, 2010

Today -100: April 4, 1910: Of disfranchisement, the bull moose & the pope, trolley lynchings, and pecan-headed parsons


The Maryland Legislature votes to disfranchise blacks in state and municipal elections, using the extremely dubious claim that the 15th Amendment, which Maryland never ratified, doesn’t apply to those elections. The national Democratic Party is worried that this will hurt them in November, possibly threatening their chances of taking back the House of Representatives, which depend in part on winning over some black voters in several states. The article mentions in passing that the minority (Democratic) leader in the Senate, Sen. Hernando De Soto Money of Mississippi (a former Confederate soldier), believes that the 14th and 15th Amendments weren’t constitutionally ratified.

You’ll remember that two months and 100 years ago, the pope canceled a meeting with former Vice President Fairbanks because Fairbanks was also going to speak in the American Methodist Church in Rome. Now, Teddy Roosevelt is visiting Rome, and received a preemptive warning from the Vatican that the same thing would happen if he dared speak to the Methodists (which he actually had no plans to do). TR replied that he refused to “submit to any conditions which in any way limit my freedom of conduct,” and so the pope won’t see him. TR explained in a letter to The Outlook that he thought most Americans, Catholic as well as Protestant, “will feel that I acted in the only way possible for an American to act”.

Yet another Philadelphia trolley runs over yet another child, 3-year-old John Traconnelli, and an “enraged crowd of foreigners” (i.e., Italians) set about lynching the conductor and motorman, but were thwarted by their being armed, and the police showing up.

Epithet of the Day -100: Rev. John Wesley Hill, doing the Glenn Beck thing 100 years early, attacks what he sees as socialism in churches. But the important thing is the epithet: “pecan-headed little parsons.”

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