Monday, November 18, 2013

Today -100: November 18, 1913: Of racism in Natal, Panama and baseball, heckling, forced loans, and tango teas

Indians in Natal, South Africa, have called a general strike, and are burning sugar plantations. This is a campaign, led in part by a lawyer named Mohandas Gandhi (not the burning sugar plantations part, presumably), against Natal province’s law requiring Indians to register with the government (a precursor to apartheid-era pass laws). The protests have been going on for a while, but the NYT & LAT have just found out about them. Gandhi was arrested for leading a march from Natal into Transvaal, illegally crossing the state border without prior registration. There have also been strikes of Indian coal miners and sugar plantation workers.

Wilson’s special envoy John Lind sends a note to Huerta threatening to leave Mexico City if Huerta does not respond favorably to the US’s demand that the newly “elected” Congress not be convened. The only person in the Mexican cabinet favorable to negotiating with the US was Interior Minister Manuel Garza Aldape. I say “was” because Huerta fired him and put him on a ship bound for Europe. (Update: Reporters catch up to Aldape on a stop-over in Havana. He claims there was no quarrel, he’s just going to France as ambassador.)

British suffragettes, who should really learn to pick their fights better, disrupt and heckle a No Conscription meeting in Sheffield being addressed by Philip Snowden, Labour MP and one of the best friends women’s suffrage has in Parliament (his hot wife Ethel is also a prominent suffragist). The meeting has to be abandoned. It says something about working-class culture that the attendees, although unable to hear the speakers they’d come to hear, were annoyed at the chairman for calling in the police.

75 suffragists from New Jersey, who did not have an appointment, force their way into the executive office of the White House to see Pres. Wilson. He agrees to see them and tells them the question of a Constitutional amendment for women’s suffrage was “under consideration” and there may even be a commission. They thank him as if he’d just agreed to something.

Pancho Villa extracts a $100,000 “loan” from banks in Juarez, promising they’ll be paid back if the revolt is successful.

All Chinese-owned businesses in Panama go on strike to protest the racist head-tax.

Kaiser Wilhelm bans military officers dancing the tango whilst in uniform. His dislike of the dance is not shared by German high society; for example, Countess Schwerin recently held a “tango tea.”

A Colored National Baseball League of the United States has been incorporated.

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