Saturday, February 20, 2010

Today -100: February 20, 1910: Of lynchings, dust, and funeral mutes

In Cairo, Ill., the inquest was held into the death of the one member of the lynch mob. The jury was most interested in determining which black deputy might have shot him. They didn’t, but the names of the four black deputies (which may – or may not, I’m unclear – mean people deputized by the sheriff for the occasion, after the militia failed to show up and he couldn’t find any white volunteers) who fired at the mob are now public. That’ll end well, I’m sure.

The local Catholic priest helpfully explains the race problem in Cairo: “Politics is the ruin of Cairo. The whites purchase the negroes’ votes, and that brings the negroes here. To my mind it is a disgrace that a white man should climb into office by the purchased votes of negroes. But so long as the negro can vote in Cairo this will be the trouble.”

Headline of the Day -100: “Strike Against Dust Settled.” Granite cutters in Vermont, unhappy with the dust caused by pneumatic brush hammers.

But that isn’t the Strike of the Day -100. That would be the strike being considered in Paris by the funeral mutes (croque-mortes). Since the separation of church and state in France, the undertaking profession is now supervised by the government rather than the Catholic Church, so the mourners-for-hire, rather than being paid a salary or a fee or however that worked, now have to beg from the real mourners.

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