Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Today -100: January 14, 1914: Of lynchings, defaults, strikes, intellectual equals, disagreeable or incompatible races, and volcanoes

Booker T. Washington says there were only 51 lynchings in 1913, compared to 64 in 1912. Um, yay?

Mexico announces it will default on the interest on its bonds. And seize the property of rebels.

US District Court upholds the Wright brothers’ patent on heavier-than-air flying machines.

A general strike is declared in South Africa. The government declares martial law. Prime Minister Botha says he will crush the strike so that there won’t be another strike for a generation. Gandhi – that Gandhi – helps out the government by calling a halt to the Indians’ protest campaign against the pass laws (within a couple of days he will have negotiated a deal ending Indian-specific taxes and allowing polygamous marriages).

Members of the Paterson (NJ) Woman Suffrage League ask Mayor Fordyce why he refused to appoint any women to the Board of Education. Because “I do not regard women as the intellectual equals of men,” he says.

South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease spends much of his annual state of the state message attacking some of the many people he considers his enemies: a US district court judge for being “a little cheap partisan politician,” Navy Secretary Daniels for being small and stupid (Daniels would not approve improvements to the Port Royal Naval Station unless the sale of whisky in the barracks was stopped). He complains about encroachments on states’ rights by the federal government, such as fixing hunting seasons. Why, he says, “one of the greatest and noblest battles ever waged was fought in the sixties for State’s rights... Now are we to sit idly by and see their work undone and the results achieved by them set at naught?” Does he think the South won the Civil War, or is he talking about the Ku Klux Klan?

Gov. Blease calls for bans on football and on smoking in restaurants patronized by women. He again calls for a ban on white women teaching in negro schools and for the banning of negro lodges. And for a law banning all state colleges and any public schools for white children from “admitting any negro, Chinese, Japanese, Cuban, or other disagreeable or incompatible race into said school or school with white children.”

(The consul-general of Cuba objects to the “patent intention of this message officially to belittle and disgrace the Cuban people by putting them on a level with the South Carolinian estimate of the negro... nothing could be more insulting.”)

The volcano Sakurajima erupts in Japan.

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