Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today -100: January 24, 1910: Of negro cadets, meat, kiddie factory workers, and kaiser sandwiches

West Point is very worried that it may have to admit as a cadet one Ollie R. Smith of Cheyenne, who is black (he is an alternate, but will be in if some white kid fails the entrance exams, as 1 in 4 do). He would not be the first, as some blacks were admitted after the Civil War, but it has been 25 years or so since the last. Past practice at West Point was to send them to coventry, to ignore them – not even hazing them. Actually, a few paragraphs later, the NYT mentions a Johnson Chesnut Whittaker, who did experience hazing at West Point in 1880, if by hazing you mean being tied up, beaten and having one ear cut off and the other slit. West Point investigated and decided that Whittaker had done it all to himself, dishonorably discharging him and fining him $1. President Arthur refused to accept the findings and ordered him restored, but for some reason he soon resigned. (Wait, not true. Wikipedia says they expelled him a second time for failing an exam. He had been the first black man to graduate Harvard. Later he was a teacher, lawyer, principal and psych professor.) Anyway, the NYT interviews a lot of military types, none of whom think letting Smith into West Point is a good idea.

Side note on usage: the NYT calls it the “civil war,” without caps.

The St. Louis Central Trades and Labor Council voted against joining the meat strike for 30 days. A woman delegate accused them of doing so “simply because the working women were the first to start the movement here.”

The British Home Office orders Lady Constance Lytton (see yesterday) released from prison before her two-week sentence.

The NY State Commissioner of Labor says that “the problem of child labor in the factories of this State is well in hand.” By that he means that while 10,415 children below the age of 16 were discovered working in factories in 1909, only 8% of them were employed illegally. So, well in hand.

Headline of the Day -100: “Kaiser Passes Sandwiches.” Kaiser Wilhelm invited University of California President Benjamin Ide Wheeler to a nice family gathering. “It was a typical German domestic scene, the Empress doing needlework while taking part in the conversation, and the Emperor himself passed around the sandwiches and other light supper dishes.” Must... not... make... lame... kaiser roll... joke...

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