Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today -100: June 26, 1912: Of conventions, marines, club women, lynchings, and bathing suits


Former South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Ira Jones tries to punch Gov. Blease after Blease says that his vote on the Court against a Jim Crow law was a vote for white women to be forced to ride in the same railroad carriage as “big negro bucks and wenches.” “That’s a lie,” yelled Jones, and went for him.

The Democratic Convention votes for Alton Parker over William Jennings Bryan for temporary chairman, 579 to 510. Parker gives the conservative keynote speech Bryan didn’t want to happen. Bryan reviews it in his syndicated reporting thusly: “People will not remain in a large hall unless they know what is being said, and Judge Parker’s speech was written in the language of Wall street. Only 200 or 300 of the delegates could understand it, and the committee was so busy oiling the machine that it had neglected to provide an interpreter to translate the speech into the every day language of Democrats.”

More by Bryan: “The smoke of battle has cleared away, and the country is now able to look upon the amazing spectacle of a national convention controlled by a national committee, that committee controlled by a subcommittee of 16, the sub-committee controlled by a group of eight men, these men controlled by Boss Murphy and Boss Murphy controlled by Thomas Fortune Ryan. Probably never before in the history of the country have we seen two men attending a national convention and pulling the strings in the open view of the public.”

The US Marines Taft sent to Cuba have been exchanging gunfire with the negro rebels.

The 11th biennial convention of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs is meeting, or, as the NYT headline puts it, “CLUB WOMEN MEET.; Thousands Make San Francisco Pavilion Attractive by Their Gowns.”

A rare lynching of a black woman, Annie Beshdale, a maid who supposedly stabbed her mistress to death (which is the sort of thing that white Southerners found especially worrying) in Pinehurst, Georgia. Authorities will make no effort to find the culprits, although they used automobiles, which were identified. She was hanged, and her body shot up.

Venice, California is considering a new bathing suit ordinance. Women would be required to wear bathing suits of “suitable heavy material which will not cling to the person,” with a skirt at least 14 inches below the waist and a neckline at most 2 inches below the shoulder. Men’s bathing suits must have skirts reaching the knee.

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