Saturday, July 27, 2013

Today -100: July 27, 1913: We have not the serf’s mind

Southern racists are gearing up to fight Pres. Wilson’s nomination of a negro, Adam Patterson, to be Register of the Treasury, one of a handful of federal posts traditionally occupied by negroes. No one has anything against Patterson personally; the objection is the one expressed in a letter to Wilson from Thomas Dixon, author of the novels that would be adapted for the screen as Birth of a Nation: “I am heartsick over the announcement that you have appointed a Negro to boss white girls as Register of the Treasury.” Wilson reassured him that he planned to make the registry division exclusively black to prevent race-mixing. (The LA Times story on this yesterday, headlined “Wilson Names a Negro,” said “The Republicans are laughing up their sleeves. They are chuckling at the latest faux pas of the administration”.)

The NYT claims to know what Henry Lane Wilson, US ambassador to Mexico, is telling his bosses: the US must either recognize Huerta or invade. He prefers the former.

The other Great Powers refuse Russia’s proposal that they jointly coerce Turkey into abandoning its military actions against Bulgaria through a joint naval demonstration and a mobilization of Russian troops.

We have a great rarity in NYT coverage of the British women’s suffrage movement: a story about something the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies did. The NUWSS was by far the largest suffrage organization, but it was non-militant: didn’t break windows, didn’t shout at politicians, didn’t get a lot of ink. Anyway, it just completed a Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage, in which women from all over the country marched to London, holding meetings (and being attacked by hooligans) all along the route. To distinguish themselves from the militants, they were asked not to wear the WSPU’s colors (purple, green & white) and carried banners saying only “Law-Abiding Suffragists.” A deputation of pilgrims meets with Prime Minister Asquith; NUWSS president Millicent Garrett Fawcett tells him, “What has been given to native races we demand should be given to the women of our own race. We are not political serfs. We have not the serf’s mind.”

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Upper Lip Like a Girl.” That lip is the 19-year-old Prince of Wales’ stiff but girlish upper lip, which would have prevented him joining the cavalry but for an order issued by the War Office on his behalf, making it no longer mandatory for officers to have a ‘tash.

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