Detroit’s old police HQ: Escapes, vanishing evidence, bird corpses

Share This Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about Facebook Email Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Pinterest Detroit's old police HQ: Escapes, vanishing evidence, bird corpses The old police headquarters, which is set to be redeveloped, is steeped in history. Sent! A link has been sent to your friend's email address. Posted! A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Join the Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press Published 11:11 a.m. ET March 9, 2018 | Updated 11:12 a.m. ET March 9, 2018 CLOSE The old Detroit Police Department headquarters opened in 1922 at 1300 Beaubien. The building is filled with stories. The police department left it in 2013, and in 2018, businessman Dan Gilbert announced plans to redevelop it. Ann Zaniewski / Detroit Free Press Wochit CONNECT TWEET LINKEDIN COMMENT EMAIL MORE George Clooney filmed a movie there.  A homeless woman called it home. Big-time bootleggers were locked up in its cells, and cockroaches as big as mice crawled the walls.  The Detroit Police Department's gritty old headquarters at 1300 Beaubien is legendary — and back in the spotlight with news that businessman Dan Gilbert is planning to redevelop it.  The building was home to the city's police force for more than 90 years, until 2013. It starred in movies, inspired writers and left its mark on thousands of police men and women — and bad guys.  The place is full of stories ...  State of the art The 9-story headquarters on Beaubien at the edge of Greektown opened in late 1922. It was designed by Albert Kahn, based on Italian Renaissance style and built of reinforced concrete.    The building was state of the art for its time, with the men's lockup on the top floor Continue Reading

For Minnesota farmers, the Roaring Twenties were anything but

Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society Starving farm family who appealed for aid, Hollandale, Minnesota farmers enjoyed a period of prosperity in the 1910s that continued through World War I. Encouraged by the US government to increase production, farmers took out loans to buy more land and invest in new equipment. As war-torn countries recovered, the demand for US exports fell, and land values and prices for commodities dropped. Farmers found it hard to repay their loans — a situation worsened by the Great Depression and drought years that followed. The onset of World War I in 1914 sparked an economic boom for farmers in the United States. Demand for agricultural products soared as the war-ravaged countries of Europe could no longer produce needed supplies. This created a shortage that drove up prices for farm commodities. In Minnesota, the season-average price per bushel of corn rose from fifty-nine cents in 1914 to $1.30 in 1919. Wheat prices jumped from $1.05 per bushel to $2.34. The average price of hogs increased from $7.40 to $16.70 per hundred pounds, and the price of milk rose from $1.50 to $2.95 per hundred pounds. To meet the demand, the U.S. government encouraged farmers to produce more. In 1916, Congress passed the Federal Farm Loan Act, creating twelve federal land banks to provide long-term loans for farm expansion. Believing that the boom would continue, many farmers took advantage of this and other loan opportunities to invest in land, tractors, and other new labor-saving equipment at interest rates ranging from 5 to 7 percent. By 1920, 52.4 percent of the 132,744 Minnesota farms reporting to the Agricultural Census carried mortgage debt, totaling more than $254 million. After the US entered the war in 1917 and continuing into the post-war years, 40 million acres of uncultivated land in the US went under the plow, including 30 million acres in the wheat- and corn-producing states of the Midwest. In Kittson County alone, wheat acreage Continue Reading

A lesser known Minnesotan aviation pioneer: Florence ‘Tree Tops’ Klingensmith

The first licensed female pilot in North Dakota and a pioneer of aviation, Florence “Tree Tops” Klingensmith made a name for herself in air racing circuits, winning several prizes and setting records. At a time when women were expected to stay at home, Klingensmith followed her own path. Florence Gunderson was born on September 3, 1904, in Oakport Township, Minnesota, to Gust and Florence Gunderson. In addition to owning a small farm, Florence’s father, Gust, worked as a janitor and bus driver at the school Florence and her three siblings attended. A career change for Gust moved the family to Moorhead in 1918. Florence, a gutsy and athletic fourteen-year-old at the time, scandalized her neighbors as she motorcycled down Moorhead streets. When Florence was twenty-two, she met and married Charles Klingensmith. The marriage lasted for only a year and a half before ending in divorce. When Charles A. Lindbergh touched down at the Hector Air Field in Fargo on August 26, 1927, Florence Klingensmith was there to witness the event. Watching him, she decided in that moment to become a pilot — a radical career choice for a woman at the time. The first licensed female pilot in the world had been France’s Raymonde de Laroche in 1910, but women had been taking to the skies for decades, since the earliest days of flight. Klingensmith wanted to join them. In early 1928, Klingensmith started taking classes at an auto school in Fargo, North Dakota, and worked as a mechanic’s apprentice at Hector Field. These experiences gave her a broad knowledge of airplanes and enabled her to take flying lessons. In the same year, Klingensmith’s instructor asked her to be his stunt girl in area flying exhibitions; she agreed to take the job in exchange for more lessons. Klingensmith’s first skydive was in June of 1928 and nearly ended in disaster. She was unconscious when she hit the ground, but survived. After the accident, she was more determined Continue Reading

The 1860 Eliza Winston court case illustrates Minnesota’s complicated racial politics

On August 21, 1860, enslaved African American Eliza Winston was freed from her Mississippi owner in a Minneapolis court. After being granted legal freedom, however, Winston faced white mob violence and was forced to leave the area. The event showed that although slavery was illegal in Minnesota, many white Minnesotans supported the practice when it economically benefited them. Eliza Winston was thirty years old in 1860, and she had been close to freedom once before. Her husband, Jim Winston, was a free man of color who planned to buy Winston's freedom from her owner at the time. But Jim died during a trip to Liberia, and she was pawned or sold to Mississippian Richard Christmas. In the summer of 1860, Eliza Winston traveled to St. Anthony when Christmas, his wife, Mary, and their young daughter went on vacation. Christmas brought Winston along so she could care for the daughter and for Mary, who was ill. Like many vacationing Southern slaveholders, they roomed at the Winslow House. Although slavery was legal in Southern states, Minnesota banned the practice in its first state constitution of 1857. That might not have been enough to grant Winston her freedom, however. Under the U.S. Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling a few months earlier, an enslaved person could not become free simply because he or she lived in a state that banned slavery. Fortunately for Winston, Northern judges usually ignored the Dred Scott decision. If the circumstances were right, Winston had a chance of being freed. While Winston was in St. Anthony, she met Emily and Ralph Grey, a free African American couple. The Greys were respected community members and abolitionists with ties to powerful local figures. They introduced Winston to notable local anti-slavery leaders, including W.D. Babbitt, Ariel S. Bigelow, and William S. King, later founder of Northrup, King and Company. On August 21, Emily Grey, Babbitt, and Grey's white friend Mrs. Gates filed a legal Continue Reading

How Mennonites came to Cottonwood County, Minnesota

Believing that war and violence are inconsistent with Jesus’s teachings to love one’s enemies, a group of people from Molotschna Colony, Russia — Mennonites of Dutch descent — searched for a permanent home in the early 1870s. They found such a place, where they could follow their faith without persecution, in Minnesota’s Cottonwood County. Menno Simon, a Dutch Catholic priest born in 1496 in Witmarsum, Friesland, Holland, was part of the Anabaptist Reformation of the sixteenth century. Simons taught nonresistance, advocated a Christ-centered lifestyle, and claimed that the teachings of Jesus held the most importance in the Bible. He also taught that baptism should follow (rather than precede) a person’s commitment to Jesus Christ. People who followed the teachings of Simons were called Mennonites. To escape persecution, the original Mennonites immigrated from Western Europe to Prussia in the 1600s. From there, they moved to Russia in the 1700s. By 1789, 228 Mennonite families had settled in the village of Chortiza, the first Russian Mennonite colony. Other colonies formed as Mennonites migrated to Russia to avoid persecution in Prussia. In 1810, 400 families lived in the Molotschna Colony, which was made up of sixty villages. It is from this group that the Carson Mennonite Brethren Church founders came. Czar Alexander II reformed the Russian military after losing the Crimean War in 1856. He terminated many of the privileges given to Mennonites by Catherine the Great, including military exemption. Mennonites, believing that participating in war compromised their faith, sent delegations to explore emigrating to North America. The first Mennonites from Russia to arrive in Cottonwood County came in 1873, when thirteen families immigrated to Mt. Lake from the Crimea. In April 1874, Minnesota senator William Windom introduced a bill (S. No. 655) in the U.S. Senate which urged the United States to establish permanent settlements for Continue Reading

The peak of the Minneapolis flour-milling industry coincided with World War I

The Minneapolis flour-milling industry peaked during World War I when twenty-five flour mills employing 2,000 to 2,500 workers played a leading role in the campaign to win the war with food. Minneapolis-produced flour helped to feed America, more than four million of its service personnel, and its allies. In 1880, Minneapolis surpassed St. Louis as the nation’s leading flour-milling center. Production increased from two million barrels in 1880 to 15.4 million barrels in 1910. Minneapolis became “the Flour-Milling Capital of the World.” Milling peaked in 1916 when mills near St. Anthony Falls produced 18.5 million barrels of flour—over 20 percent of the nation’s output. Three firms controlled 90 percent of the daily milling capacity. They were the Washburn-Crosby Company (eight mills and 37,300 barrels), the Pillsbury Company (six mills and 29,300 barrels), and the Northwestern Consolidated Milling Company (six mills and 15,960 barrels). The Pillsbury “A” Mill—the world’s largest mill—boasted a daily capacity of 12,000 barrels. More than fifty grain elevators storing nearly fifty million bushels of grain supplied the mills. When war erupted in 1914, Germany’s invasion of Belgium and the British blockade created an aid crisis. People in the occupied territories desperately needed supplies, especially food. With the approval of the warring nations, Herbert Hoover organized the private Commission for Relief in Belgium. Minneapolis millers were among the first to respond. William C. Edgar, editor of the Northwestern Miller, organized the Millers Belgian Relief Movement in November. In January 1915, a ship delivered 283,120 forty-nine-pound sacks of flour and other supplies to Rotterdam. Minneapolis millers and industries provided nearly 25 percent of the cargo. Fueled by record wheat harvests in 1914 and 1915, local mills operated near full capacity. Between 1914 and 1919, they produced an average of Continue Reading

Founded in 1888, St. Peter Claver Church was Minnesota’s first African American Catholic Church

Founded in 1888, St. Peter Claver Church was the first African American Catholic Church in Minnesota. The parish was created by St. Paul’s African American Catholic community and an Archbishop who vowed to “blot out the color line.” Before the parish was founded, St. Paul’s small African American Catholic population attended services at one of the Catholic churches in the area. However, Archbishop John Ireland hoped to actively recruit more African American Catholics. Archbishop Ireland was an early civil rights supporter. He called upon all Catholics to ignore differences of race. After the 1888 canonization of St. Peter Claver, a missionary to enslaved people in Colombia, Ireland saw an opportunity. That year, he invited Father John Slattery to make a speaking tour of St. Paul. Slattery, a white priest from Baltimore, was well known for his preaching to African American communities. By the end of Slattery’s visit, the St. Peter Claver Sodality was taking shape in St. Paul. The Sodality, a Catholic group of religious laypeople, met in a church in downtown St. Paul. Their services were led by priests from the cathedral. Early members included noted St. Paul lawyer Fredrick McGhee and Western Appeal founder Samuel Hardy. The Sodality held services on Market Street until 1892, when it began to plan for expansion. In the summer of 1892, the group began to raise funds for the construction of a new church. They bought land on the corner of Farrington and Aurora Avenues in St. Paul. The congregation of St. Peter Claver was officially formed on October 19. Fredrick McGhee and Archbishop Ireland both signed its charter. The new church was dedicated on December 18, 1892. St. Peter Claver was a cultural center of the African American Catholic community. The congregation held Sunday school classes and had a church choir. Both men’s and women’s community groups formed. In 1896, the congregation began the Toussaint L’Ouverture Continue Reading

100 years after being excluded from the Minnesota State Capitol, women rebuilt it

When the Minnesota State Capitol opened to the public and legislators on Jan. 2, 1905, it was a modern wonder, with a dazzling white marble exterior and the latest technology: interior lamps that ran on electricity. But there was something notably missing from the project, and from the group of legislators and construction workers gathered in St. Paul to celebrate the occasion: women.  Women didn’t work on the construction crews that built the Capitol, and no women were part of architect Cass Gilbert’s original design team. And since there were also no women serving in the state Legislature, the original design of the Capitol didn’t even include women’s restrooms. Fast forward more than 100 years, as crews finish up work on a massive $310 million project to restore the Capitol for the next 100 years: restoring murals and plaster work in every corner of the building; installing and carving massive slabs of marble on the exterior; rewiring the building to make it a modern workspace. Everyone agrees: It wouldn't have happened without women. From the state senator who introduced the first bill to catalog the damage to the state Capitol to the electricians, painters, architects and construction workers, women played an integral part of the building’s restoration — at every level. This time around, when the Capitol celebrates its official reopening in August, there will be a lot more women at the party.  “Every meeting you go to, every time you turn around, it was mostly women at the table,” said Ginny Lackovic, an architect and historic preservationist who spent years working on the Capitol. “I’ve never had a project like that, with such a representation of women from every angle, at all levels.”  The legislator: ‘I couldn’t really get anybody to listen’ Ann Rest has spent plenty of time in the hallways and chambers of the Minnesota Capitol. First elected to a seat in the Continue Reading

With help from Vikings, KFAN tops radio ratings

If there’s a single big performer in the latest Twin Cities radio ratings, it’s … the Vikings. The success and hype around the team this year has produced a steady climb in audience numbers for the all-sports KFAN-FM 100.3 (officially KFXN-FM) over the last couple months, resulting in a return to the No. 1 slot. So okay, let’s do the usual, somewhat windy disclaimer here: The numbers below represent a survey of all listeners 12 years of age and older, i.e. “12-plus,” which means everyone from pre-bopper Kyra with a mad crush on (fill in teen idol du jour) to grizzled, can’t-ever-find-his-keys grandpa Ed. But commercial radio is a targeted demographic business. KQRS morning man Tom Barnard makes the money he does because his show is aimed at entertaining 25-54 year olds, and 25-54-year-old men in particular. KQ sells ads to companies who want in turn to sell stuff to that slice of the population. Likewise, MyTalk 107 lives to chat another day by attracting women. Which is to say that these “12-plus” numbers, while they give a broad view of the popularity of local stations, are not where the game is played inside the business. To all that, I’ll add that even in a “metered world,” where individual listeners tote around devices that pick up signals from stations they’re being exposed to — in their cars, at work, in bars, wherever — it’s still a funky mess of a system. This most recent report, for example, notes that out of a potential audience of 2,910,700 people in the Twin Cities market (the 16th largest in the US) the “ethnic composition” of that audience is “0.08% black” and a whopping “0.00 % Hispanic.” With numbers like that, Donald Trump could have a real shot at winning Minneapolis-St. Paul. But enough. Here’s the current rankings from Nielsen Audio: Minnesota radio ratings, August–October 2016 Continue Reading

North Dakota’s decision to ban alcohol was very good for Moorhead’s saloon industry

For twenty-five years, between 1890 and 1915, Moorhead, Minnesota, was infamous for being a rough and rowdy saloon town. The reputation was well deserved, as alcohol sales were the city’s number one industry. Since the arrival of the first settler-colonists in the Red River Valley in the 1870s, there had been a moral, political, and economic fight in Moorhead between the “Drys,” who wanted alcohol restricted or banned, and the “Wets,” who advocated for alcohol. Their argument echoed a concurrent national debate over the proper place of alcohol in American social life. In 1890, the Drys scored a major victory when North Dakota outlawed alcohol sales. Thirsty North Dakotans simply went across the Red River to Minnesota border towns, where alcohol was still legal. “Let the saloons come,” said Moorhead mayor and brewer John Erickson in 1888. “The more the better it will be for us. They pay more in taxes than anyone else. How many temperance people…pay $500 a year in taxes?” By 1900, Moorhead, had forty-seven saloons and a brewery to serve its population of 3,732 people. One in ten Moorhead families gained its income from the alcohol industry, and saloons were clustered along the two bridges over the river. While most of them were simple places with wooden bars and spittoons on the floor, the North Bridge district became famous for its over-the-top “beer palaces.” John Haas’ Midway boasted 400 electric lights. The Rathskeller over the Rhine had polka bands on an arcaded porch and an international reading room downstairs. The Three Orphans’ Saloon boasted that its forty-eight-foot bar was the longest in the country. A few saloons had their own “jag wagons,” horse-drawn taxis that transported people from Fargo to Moorhead. Many of the saloons were “tied houses” — bars owned by a brewery that served only that brewery’s beer. Duluth Brewing and Malting Continue Reading

‘Homemade’: A modest memoir about Beatrice Ojakangas’ amazing life in food

The Hinckley Fire Museum, just off I-35W in Hinckley, isn’t one of those fire department museums that display old-time fire-fighting equipment and memorabilia. This museum is dedicated to a specific fire, the devastating wildfire of Sept. 1, 1894. On that day, 418 white settlers and many more untallied Native people and backwoods dwellers died in an inferno caused by a combination of drought, hot weather and poor timber management practices at the height of the logging boom. The survivors had amazing stories of survival against the odds, such as the story Beatrice Ojakangas tells about her family’s experience in the fire in her new memoir, “Homemade: Finnish Rye, Feed Sack Fashion, and Other Simple Ingredients from My Life in Food” (University of Minnesota Press). Her mother, a child at the time, was badly burned in the fire, and scar tissue covered her arms for the rest of her life. “I thought all mothers had ‘flowers’ on their arms. I thought it was beautiful. But it was very traumatic, for a lot of people. She didn’t talk much about it until the last 10 years of her life. And then the stories came pouring out,” said Ojakangas. First of 10 children Now, in her first book that isn’t a cookbook — she has written 29 cookbooks, a feat that landed her in the James Beard Hall of Fame — Ojakangas tells some stories from her own life. From growing up the first of 10 children in a family of Finns in Northern Minnesota to becoming an influential writer and thinking on cooking and food culture, Ojakangas has collected some amazing stories. She wouldn’t put it that way, though. “I didn’t set out to have any kind of special life. I just did what I wanted and needed to do, and opportunities kept coming along. But I come from people who don’t make a big deal out of things. Finns are very shy. They tend to pull back and not boast. They are just busy getting their lives Continue Reading

Shall Women Be Equal Before the Law?

Yes! The removal of all forms of the subjection of women is the purpose to which the National Woman’s Party is dedicated. Its present campaign to remove the discriminations against women in the laws of the United States is the beginning of its determined effort to secure the freedom of women, an integral part of the struggle for human liberty for which women are first of all responsible. Its interest lies in the final release of woman from the class of a dependent, subservient being to which early civilization committed her. The laws of various States at present hold her in that class. They deny her a control of her children equal to the father’s; they deny her, if married, the right to her own earnings; they punish her for offenses for which men go unpunished; they exclude her from public office and from public institutions to the support of which her taxes contribute. These laws are not the creation of this age, but the fact that they are still tolerated on our statute books and that in some States their removal is vigorously resisted shows the hold of old traditions-upon us. Since the passage of the Suffrage Amendment the incongruity of these laws, dating back many centuries, has become more than ever marked. In all of our States butone the fundamental law is the English common law, modified by the civil law where the influence of France and Spain was felt. Under the English common a married woman was subjeci to the will of her husband and without legal identity; the husband was the sole legal head of the house; the father was the guardian of the minor child and had the control of its education and the benefitof its labor. Mother as such was "entitled to no power but only to reverence and respect." Haphazard modifications of this old law by unrelated statutes have created the present anomalous legal position of women in which there is no uniformity. As a matter of fact there are more than fifty points at which the laws of one State or another at Continue Reading

Notes from the Capital: Emma Goldman

Recent events in Petrograd and Kronstadt must have brought rare comfort to the soul of Emma Goldman, prophetess of anarchy–the real article, warranted one hundred per cent, pure, name stamped on every package. Born in Russia and educated in Germany, she enjoyed during her girlhood exceptional opportunities for studying autocracy of various brands, and apparently conceived the stronger liking for the Russian sort, as offering the widest scope for fomenting rebellion. In the United States, whither she came with relatives as a young woman, she first emerged from obscurity in 1893, when she was arrested on a charge of inciting to riot by a speech made at a gathering of habitual malcontents in Union Square, New York. The judge who presided at her trial stretched consideration to the utmost limit in giving her the advantage of every favoring technicality, but the case was so clear that the jury was unanimous on the first ballot for conviction, and she was sentenced to one year in the penitentiary. The trial served to bring out in a most illuminating way her vagaries on various subjects, including the facts that she was an atheist and a disbeliever in all government and law, divine or human; that her pet hobby was that the rich are the oppressors of the poor and the ultimate cause of all the suffering and crime in the world, against which the poor are justified in revolting; that she did not personally believe in violence or robbery except where necessary, and that she would leave the question of necessity to every one’s individual judgment, not even using her influence to prevent pillage; that she was married, though to whom was nobody’s business but her own; that she had been living with Alexander Berkman shortly before his attempt to assassinate Henry C. Frick, and, though she had not publicly approved of that act, she “sympathized with Mr. Berkman for his courage”–whatever that may have meant; and that her mission in life was to make Continue Reading

Notes from the Capital: Louis D. Brandeis

The great trustbuster is about to become the first Jewish member of the Supreme Court. There is a haunting quality in the face of Louis Dembitz Brandeis which was more vivid when I first saw it, about a dozen years ago, than it is now, but not till some time had passed was I able to define it. Then, happening upon a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, taken at the same age, I recognized the resemblance. The nose was different, Brandeis’s being his most obviously Hebraic feature whereas Lincoln’s was distinctly a gentile origin; but the shape of the face, the growth of the hair in a shock which calls for taming by discipline from without, the mild expression with the instinct of pugnacity behind it held in restraint, the drawn-in corners of the mouth, the contemplative, perhaps prophetic, eyes under lids that if left to themselves would droop — all these things are paralleled so well in the two men that a composite portrait would probably show little blurring of the lines. Lincoln’s face, also, was a haunting one. I saw it only a little while before his first inauguration, and it lingers still in my mind, though I was a mere school-boy at the time. The beard, which is so conspicuous an element in the portraits familiar to the younger generation of today, had just begun to grow. His earlier portraits show him beardless, as Brandeis is. Lincoln had a way of slouching down in his chair when not actively engaged at something, and so has Brandeis; this makes further for the resemblance in their general physiognomy, particularly when Brandeis, in a lolling position, lets his chin half rest on his breast. Lincoln was most noted for his leadership of men, Brandeis for his advocacy of causes and his energy as a propagandist. If any one had nominated Lincoln for a high judicial office, demanding calm and dispassionate judgment on questions involving individual rights, rather than the larger human rights, the establishment of permanent legal precedents, and Continue Reading

Notes from the Capital: Jane Addams

When Jane Addams was last in Washington, to preside over a world-peace gathering, the common remark was that she had lost her hold on a considerable part of her old constituency. There was a time when Miss Addams had only to open her lips and the whole country listened. Indeed, her voice could be heard across the sea, as was evidenced when John Burns, the English labor leader, pronounced her “the only saint America has produced,” and other Old-World notables made use of her name and exploited her ideas in public utterances to their home people. It would he hard to define precisely the character of the change that seems to have come over feeling here. It was recognizable in the rather perfunctory quality of the applause which greeted her appearance on the platform, and it was not unlike what has been observed here repeatedly in the cases of political leaders who have overloaded their prestige with unfamiliar burdens. It contained no hint of derogation of her earlier activities. Jane Addams, of Hull House, loomed large in the history of her special era, and is still cherished as warmly as ever in the popular affections, but Jane Addams, of the World, seems a small figure projected against a huge background. Hull House and its work she knew from centre to circumference. As her fame spread and she was drawn into other lines of activity, however, her definiteness of vision seemed to suffer. The limit was reached, perhaps, four summers ago, when she became engulfed in the Progressive party whirlpool, where “Bill” Flinn, of Pennsylvania, and other boss-trained veterans were grasping at everything in sight which might be trusted to bring a vote to the polls in November. No one human mind could have compassed such a hodge-podge as was included in the demands of the new party programme, and the leaders of the movement did not hesitate to crack a jest on the fact in private. The one great object they had in view was the destruction of a certain public Continue Reading

Henry Ford: Notes from the Capital

A ‘plain man of the people” who looks sixty years of age, but undoubtedly is a good deal younger, of medium size, spare habit, colorless skin, and neutral-tinted hair which might have been brushed with his hands, clad in a dark, shapeless suit that sits on him as if placed there with a pitchfork such is your first impression of Henry Ford, inventor, millionaire, reformer, and human target for the paragraphers. The faraway expression of his eyes warns you that he is an eccentric, his large mouth is rendered larger in effect by an almost perpetual smile which is one of benevolence rather than of humor, and his manner of address has a quality which might be mistaken for timidity, but is really only the hesitancy of one poor at translating his thoughts into words. For he is neither a scholar nor an orator, and what he has had to say to the world he has said through his deeds. The public knows Mr. Ford chiefly as the inventor of an automobile which, in the language of one satirist, has “made walking a luxury,” and of a futile scheme for bringing peace to a war-racked continent. How a single mind could evolve two ideas so widely variant in practicality has puzzled multitudes; and yet, when you know the man and his history, the phenomenon ceases to excite your wonder. In his early days Ford had a struggle with poverty through which he acquired a strong sympathy with the men and women with whom he then brushed elbows; and after he had settled down to the manufacture of automobile machinery he resolved to construct a car which should be so cheap that almost any steady earner of fair wages could afford one, and which could he used not only for strictly utilitarian purposes, but for a family holiday outing as well. Doubtless, without realizing it, he had struck a great popular vein; for no sooner had his industry got a start than orders began to pour in more rapidly than he could respond to them, and in an inconceivably short time he was numbered among Continue Reading

The Outlaw German Government

Germany ought not to be left in a moment’s doubt how the civilized world regards her latest display of “frightfulness.” It is a deed for which a Hun would blush, a Turk be ashamed, and a Barbary pirate apologize. To speak of technicalities and the rules of war, in the face of such wholesale murder on the high seas, is a waste of time. The law of nations and the law of God have been alike trampled upon. There is, indeed, puerile talk of “warning” having been given before the Lusitania sailed. But so does the Black Hand send its warnings. So does Jack the Ripper write his defiant letters to the police. Nothing of this prevents us from regarding such miscreants as wild beasts, against whom society has to defend itself at all hazards. And so must the German Government be given to understand that no plea of military necessity will now avail it before the tribunal on which sits as judge the humane conscience of the world. As was declared by Germany’s own representative at the Hague Congress, the late Marschall von Bieberstein, there are some atrocities which international law does not need to legislate against, since they fall under the instant and universal condemnation of mankind. In the face of the great crisis thrust upon us, it is necessary for Americans to remain calm. If the Germans have gone mad, all the more reason for us to keep our heads. The duty of our Government is clear; and it is for the people to let the President know that in the discharge of it he has behind him a nation that, without passion or clamor, is resolute and strong. As soon as the facts are officially ascertained, the President should make the clearest and firmest representations to Germany. He should demand full disavowal of the lawless and inhuman act of the commander of the German submarine, with a promise of complete reparation. If the German Government is not entirely given over to a strong delusion and a lie, it will not haughtily refuse what Continue Reading

Justice for Coxey

The day has come, it seems to us, to perform a simple act of justice to “General” Jacob S. Coxey, of Ohio, for the reason that, if some one does not recall at this time the facts of history, this great advocate of the people’s welfare will be deprived of his proper laurels. It will be remembered that in 1894, while the effects of the panic of the previous year were still acutely felt, Gen. Coxey organized his army of the dissatisfied and unemployed to march on Washington and demand of Congress that this Government of and for the people should be restored to the people. He was hooted at, ridiculed, denounced, and troops were called out to regulate the progress of his forces. But when he reached Washington a respectful hearing was accorded him by a Committee of Congress. His arguments were subsequently reprinted in pamphlet form, and it is upon this that we shall draw to prove that many of our modern reformers have deliberately plagiarized from Gen. Coxey in their efforts to set the people free. There is the initiative and referendum, for instance. How few people know that Coxey was the first of our great statesmen publicly to demand them, not only for Ohio, but for the nation–or at least to walk for them? Others, college professors and students of Swiss history, may have privately advocated these innovations, but Coxey and his followers were the first to go to Washington and ask to be counted, on the grounds of the Capitol, in favor of those propositions. There are those who would claim the honor of being the pioneer public man to advocate this reform for William S. U’Ren, of Oregon, to whom is also credited the proselyting of Woodrow Wilson. The latter fact may be true, but for Coxey we claim first honors, just as we proclaim him the originator of the idea of walking to a place in order to get what you want. This point we stress particularly lest a fickle public credit the political device to “Gen.” Rosalie Jones and her Continue Reading

Lawrence Strike and IWW: Syndicalism

The Lawrence strike has brought into public notice in this country a new type of labor union and a new philosophy of the labor movement. The strike at Lawrence was conducted by the Industrial Workers of the World, familiarly known as the I. W. W., whose principles go by the name of Syndicalism. The term has been popularized recently by events in England, where Mr. Tom Mann, a veteran labor leader and the exponent of the new movement in the British trade unions, has been put in prison for preaching sedition to the army in connection with the coal strike. Isolated theories and practices of Syndicalism have already become fairly familiar to the general reader. Such are the “general strike” which constitutes the basic principle of Syndicalism, and “direct action” which has achieved notoriety through the acts of the McNamara brothers. Even the French word sabotage has become acclimated in the newspapers. But a general account of the Syndicalist movement has been wanting till recently. The deficiency is now supplied by an admirable monograph, entitled “The Labor Movement in France,” from the hand of Mr. Louis Levine and published under the auspices of the Columbia University Department of Political Science. Syndicalism in its latest phase has arisen out of peculiar conditions in the French labor movement. But the truth of Mr. Levine’s contention is quite apparent: Syndicalism is essentially a revival of conditions that prevailed at the beginning of the international labor movement fifty years ago. When the “Internationale” was founded in 1864, it was almost from the beginning torn between two conflicting tendencies, which in broad terms we may characterize as the revolutionary spirit and the evolutionary, the anarchistic and the Socialistic, the gospel of violence as preached by Michael Bakunin, and the gospel of gradual transformation under the laws of industrial development as set forth by Karl Marx. In other words, Continue Reading

Mark Twain: Two Frontiersmen

It is an odd reflection that the future literary historian who seeks the greatest American writer of the end of the nineteenth century will pretty surely have to choose between Mark Twain and Henry James. None of their contemporaries, we feel, has so fully realized his native gift. Mark Twain and Henry James have apparently gone as far as it is possible to go in diametrically opposite directions. Yet there is a point at which their talents meet. Both are essentially frontiersmen. Mark Twain is the chronicler par excellence of the palpable frontier of robust America; Henry James is the scrupulous analyst of that spiritual frontier which unrobust and nostalgic America established in the old country. Each has brought to his chosen material a singular expertness and fidelity. If Mark Twain has stretched his muscles and spent his sympathy from the Mississippi to the Sierras, Henry James has no less lived strenuously through the more sombre spiritual adventure of the American in Europe. Sooner or later, sociologists will take account of a significant reciprocal movement. Just as America has attracted the alert, muscular, and hopeful hordes of Europe who seek material prosperity, so Europe has obsessed the gentler, more discursive, and brooding imaginations of a certain type of Americans. It is easy to dismiss them, once for all, as bad Americans. A careful reading of Henry James’s novels would prompt a more pitying judgment. Through their lack of simplicity and of constructive energy these people are aliens in their own land. They long for certain fruits of leisure and joys of reflection that it supplies in rather short measure. They are oppressed by the sense of a relentless activity the value of which they are forced to question. Whether they go to Europe or stay, they are in a manner outlanders, and where they settle in numbers there is a spiritual frontier. It is needless to say that Henrv James is their prophet. That he is their advocate, it would be hazardous Continue Reading