Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Today -100: August 2, 1917: Others take notice

Frank Little, one of the leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World, is lynched. Six masked men grab him from his boarding house in Butte, Montana, in his underwear, and hang him from a railway trestle. Pinned to his corpse is a card reading: “Others take notice. First and last warning. 3-7-77 L D C S S W T.” The number is a reference to the nineteenth-century Vigilantes of Montana, the initials presumably those of the next men to be murdered. Little had been organizing miners and talking shit about US soldiers (“Uncle Sam’s scabs in uniform”) and the war (“capitalist slaughter fest”). US District Attorney B.K. Wheeler calls the lynching “the most unwise thing that has happened in Butte,” adding that just the day before he’d asked the Attorney General whether he should prosecute Little for those speeches. The identity of the killers remains a mystery to this day, presumably thugs working for Anaconda Copper and/or Pinkertons, but not Dashiell Hammett. Hammett is in Butte as a Pinkerton strikebreaker and later claimed to have been offered $5,000 to murder Little.

Elsewhere in the paper, the NYT claims that IWW leaders are Germans or run by German agents in a campaign to disrupt the war effort. It mentions how important copper is to the war, but fails to mention the deaths in June of 168 miners in a fire at an Anaconda mine, which helped spur the current strike wave.

Impeachment proceedings open against Texas Gov. James Ferguson in a special session of the Legislature that begins with each member being searched for weapons. In addition to the previous charges of embezzlement, etc, the speaker of the House adds a new one: trying to bribe the speaker of the House to stop the impeachment.

The Senate votes 65-20 for a constitutional amendment for prohibition, with a 6-year deadline for ratification by the states.

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