Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Today -100: July 23, 1913: Of state churches, the interests of negroes, coercing Mexico, banana protests, fires in factories, fires in prisons, barber riots, and perpetual motion


The House of Lords votes down the bill to disestablish the Anglican Church in Wales (i.e., they voted for antidisestablishmentarianism) until the issue is submitted to the judgment of the country in an election, because surely the next general election will turn on precisely this issue.

Pres. Wilson responds to a letter from Gaston Villard, chair of the NAACP, admitting that he plans to segregate government offices, “with the idea,” he writes, “that friction, or rather discontent and uneasiness which had prevailed in many departments would hereby be removed. It is as far as possible from being a movement against Negroes” but “in their interest.” So that’s okay then.

Headline of the Day -100: “Senate Talks of Coercing Mexico.” The US Senate discusses the Mexico situation, with many senators calling for military intervention, as was the custom. Purely to protect American citizens, of course. Albert Fall (R-New Mexico)’s resolution says that American citizens have the right to American protection for their lives AND PROPERTY anywhere in the world. In the House, William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray (D-Oklahoma) (who has to use that Alfalfa Bill thing to distinguish himself from Rep. William F. Murray of Massachusetts) introduces a resolution requiring the president to subdue Mexico militarily.

Disappointing Headline of the Day -100: “To Voice Banana Protest.” A delegation from Jamaica arrives to protest a duty being placed on bananas. See, wasn’t that disappointing? I’m sure we can all think of much more interesting banana protests.

50 mostly young female factory workers die in a fire in the Binghamton Clothing Company (later reports say 40, but as the only list of employees also burned up, the true number is not known). Although survivors blame the lack of adequate escape routes, the owners blame it on the state-mandated post-Triangle Shirtwaist Fire fire procedures: the girls were so used to fire drills that they ignored the fire alarms.

Scary Headline of the Day -100: “Men Roar in Cells as Sing Sing Burns.” Started in the prison factories. No one killed, no one escaped.

There is a barber riot in Harlem in connection with a strike called by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Barbers’ Union. I’m not sure I’d feel safe having my hair cut by anyone calling themself a “Wobbly.”

An Italian invents a perpetual motion machine. It runs on the “caloric energy of the air,” which is totally a really thing. A later article describes the machine: “it consists essentially of a system of closed cup-shaped vessels containing a substance which vaporizes with extreme facility, and revolving, partly in air and partly in water, makes the machine work through successive vaporizations and condensations of the substance inside.”


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