Sunday, April 10, 2016

Today -100: April 10, 1916: There’s nothing worse than a racist bordello

A fight between negro soldiers of the 24th Infantry and the cops in Del Rio, Texas ends with a Texas Ranger killing one of the soldiers, Priv. John Wade. The soldiers had been “refused admission to a house in the restricted district” – by “house” the NYT means brothel – and returned to break all its windows with stones and bullets, then resisted arrest. The story the Texas authorities are putting out is that Wade grabbed the Ranger from behind and was then hit in the neck by a lucky shot. This doesn’t quite match the multiple bullet wounds in Wade’s torso, but hey, it’s Texas. Locals will clamor for the removal of the 24th from Del Rio, supported by their congressman, John Nance Garner (FDR’s vice president). The Army, which never conducted its own investigation into the death of one of its privates, quickly acceded.

An anti-conscription demonstration in Trafalgar Square led by Sylvia Pankhurst is broken up by thugs, including colonial soldiers. Speakers are pelted with red and yellow ochre. The police were for some reason missing. “The Government had obviously given orders to leave us to the violence of the mob,” Pankhurst writes in her book about the war years, The Home Front (1932). Her mother Emmeline, in the US, will send a cable to the press repudiating her.

The British government issues a report accusing Germany of torturing POWs.

Mormon Pres. Joseph Smith complains about women’s fashions which are “shameful, suggestive and humiliating to the modesty of honorable men”.

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