Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Today -100: August 3, 1910: Of fan boys, lynch fines, coachmen, and grandfather clauses


Tice Shea of Belvidere, NJ, met Teddy Roosevelt on a back road and shook his hand. He was so excited (Shea, not Roosevelt) that he ran 2½ miles to tell his friends, but dropped unconscious just as he got into town. It took doctors four hours to bring him around.

Evidently Ohio’s anti-lynching law requires counties to pay a $5,000 fine for every fatal lynching. The gears are in motion for Licking County to cough up for the lynching of anti-saloon detective Etherington last month.

Headline of the Day -100: “Coachman Elected Over Millionaire.” The coachman, William Warren, was elected to the Manhasset, Long Island school board, defeating Stephen H. Mason, taxicab millionaire and the owner of a local estate. Warren was supported by Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of Lord Fauntleroy. He ran on the basis of being a father, pointing out that Mason and the other rich men on the board had no children.

The Oklahoma voters vote for fewer Oklahoma voters, specifically “illiterate” negro voters. The amendment to the state’s constitution (which is itself less than 3 years old) adds a literacy test for voters, along with a grandfather clause exempting from having to take the test anyone whose grandfathers had been eligible to vote before January 1, 1866 or were soldiers or lived in a foreign country. This amendment would be struck down by the Supreme Court in 1915, though Oklahoma kept trying variations. The NYT, which gives a scant one paragraph to this amendment at the end of a story about the primary elections and doesn’t report further in later editions, mentions that the Legislature changed the rules to make adoption of the amendment more likely. In fact what they did is put “For the amendment” in small print on the ballot; anyone who failed to scratch those words out with a pencil (which some precincts failed to provide) was deemed to have voted in favor.

Incidentally, the voting age in OK was 18.

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