Skip to main content

tv   1916 San Francisco Bombing  CSPAN  April 16, 2017 12:00am-12:50am EDT

12:00 am
who i don't necessarily agree with has changed. high school students are turning the annual weeklong united states senate youth program where they share their thoughts about government and politics. >> now i can safely say i am sure that i am certain of what i believe. and fair chance for everybody to reach the top will equalut to be, not an result but equal chance for everybody. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. on lectures and history, providence college professor jeffrey johnson teaches a class about the 1916 bombing of a parade in san francisco that killed 10 and wounded 40. to place onto dust preparedness day organize to keep people vigilant in case the u.s. entered world war i. the attack remains the worst act
12:01 am
of terrorism in san francisco history. his classes about 50 minutes. professor johnson: good morning and thanks for coming. i appreciate you all being here on a drizzly day at providence college. i wanted to share a moment of american history that, for me, is one of the most important moments of the late 20th century. it happens to be a subject of my new book and i have been living and breathing in this period and in this moment. i think it is very significant for 1916, and for the nation, as i will try to make clear. what i will do today is start by setting up the context of san
12:02 am
francisco in 1916. and then i will spend time in three parts, talking about why it's significant, and why it is important to american history. let me begin by framing the story about this 1916 moment. many of you have probably seen this character before. mark twain, a famous playwrights. he had many quips during his life and one of them was the coldest winter i had ever spent was a summer in san francisco. this was one of his jokes. if you had ever been to san francisco, you know this to beach room. he said this about the city -- bay city. july 1916, the air was pretty mild, the summer weather had turned very fair and pleasant. the local weather forecasters who wrote for the "san francisco chronicle" predicted only a light wind for july 22 1916. it settled into a very pleasant summer. it was a great deal of
12:03 am
excitement around the city. for lots of reasons, but san francisco, in many ways was a far cry from a city that had been, with the famous san francisco earthquake and decade earlier. the city had rebuilt itself since 1906 in the previous decade. so much so that the city had had -- had just had a world's fair in 1915 as a celebration of his revitalized city. there were lots of other things happening in the city. you can see this gentleman, charles evans hughes. he was a judge that was also running for president at the time. he came to san francisco, and he promised republican party loyalists that he would win by an overwhelming majority. his words. if you are not heard of president hughes, that is probably because he didn't win by an overwhelming majority. he visited the city that summer
12:04 am
as part of his campaign. another moment that happened around july 22, the new alaska shipping line announced a new service from san francisco to new york. for the first time utilizing the new and innovative panama canal. this was a city that had arrived, had to these famous moments happening. if you took a quick glance at san francisco, in 1915 and 1916, it seemed like a city that was revitalized and on the scene. the economy was strong, the city had all sorts of previous histories as a labor city that had a little bit affirmance, unrest, except, by this point, the city seemed that relative peace as the rest of the war -- world was at war. let's talk about this saturday in 1916. there was a woman by the name of cecil who was a young mother of
12:05 am
oakland california, and she made her way across the bay to san francisco that day and that morning. she took the journey with her husband lloyd and her two young children, virginia, age four, and billy, age two. they left their home to go to san francisco bay in a trip that was about the children. they were going to san francisco so that they can marvel in the spectacle of the city's much-anticipated preparedness day parade. by this point, as many of you know, by 1914 in europe, or had -- war had been raging and world war i was underway. the united states was involved in the war and started to have parades like this is a show of patriotism, and maybe for the possibility of entering the war. to show enthusiasm for the possibility of world war i.
12:06 am
newspaper accounts for the parade, when they traveled downtown estimated about 50,000 people would show up and witness this parade. including the wymore family. it seemed to symbolize the harmonious moment of patriotism in san francisco, perhaps. people could also buy a long market street, a famous street in downtown san francisco. in fact, where the parade would go up, they could buy at local markets and shops, flags, buttons, banners, and these kinds of things to demonstrate their patriotism. , assan francisco chronicle people prepared about all of these things, the parade was going to go up market street and then it would turn west on to another street. there was anticipation about the parade in san francisco. it is no wonder that the family went downtown. when the parade began, and when
12:07 am
it started, here is a shot of what the parade looked like. you get a sense of what this may have looked like. the official count said there was 51,319 people in attendance to see the prey. -- parade. this patriotic, world war i parade. 52 bands paraded. -- 52 bands participated. 2,134 different groups, soldiers, national guard, many veterans from the spanish war, nurses groups, boy scouts, you name it. curiously, no labor groups. no unions, working-class folks, they purposefully chose to boycott the event. to send a message about what this display might have meant to them. one oregon newspaper called this parade the greatest demonstration in support of a national movement that the west had ever seen. here was this huge outpouring for the moment. once in the city, the family
12:08 am
grabbed the spot on market street. all four of them. by this point, they are jammed shoulder to shoulder with these 50,000 plus onlookers. what happened next, just after 2:00 p.m., about a half an hour into the parade. the local press would deem one of the most pathetic results of the explosion, and of the parade. armse held billy up in her , a bomb exploded. it instantly took off pulled of her legs. this young, 26-year-old mother. surgeons quickly scramble to help her, but the wounds, as you would imagine proved fatal. dazed from the shock, her husband stumbled away very, kind of upset, very understandable -- understandably about this. the two children miraculously survived the attack.
12:09 am
it was a overwhelmingly festive and sunny day that had turned inexplicably dark. the blast ultimately will kill 10 parade goers that day, including ms. winemore. would wound another 40 people that were witnessing the parade. the tragedy i think that struck the family and many others at as ann 1916, stands underappreciated and critical point in american history. on the whole, it's marked 30 years of trouble between capital and labor. it also showed how the nation might respond to such an unsettling event. particularly how a nation might deal with discontented labor, critics of the war, immigrants in the country. just how the u.s. might handle a
12:10 am
high point of wartime dissent and division. this was a decisive event for one summer, and perhaps longer, that turned the nation's attention on san francisco and teatered on the edge of war. story in some ways because i think it matters in the broader context of american history. particularly in the early 20th century. what it gives us to think about, perhaps, is how war and anti-radicalism seem to intertwine during a time of dissent. i want to talk about why this matters, really, in three parts. i want to take this story and tragedy, and how we might make sense of it. i will give you a few reasons or frameworks for how i will talk about this. the first thing i think, and why
12:11 am
this is so important, is that it revealed a division between labor and capital. and, as you see here, a reaction to the government. particularly, dissent during world war i. the objections to the war. secondly, the aftermath of the parade and bombing revealed some serious and a stark anti-immigrant attitudes. sometimes they would be rolled into anti-radical attitudes as well. but during a time of war, the nation had to grapple with radicalism and that segment of the population. finally, as you will see, it also revealed and uncovered a problematic criminal justice system. certainly, as many people were nervous and fearful of radicalism gone awry in this country.
12:12 am
let me take up that first point and talk about the relationship between capital and labor and the reaction to the government as thisicism of war criticism, at least superficially, seems to take route. san francisco was in interesting labor city. this is more than a decade before the bombing. these are dockworkers in san francisco. san francisco, in many ways, replicated or paralleled the way that labor functioned in a country at the time. you could expect, if you are worker in the early 20th century, you could expect to work long days, low wages, and often in dangerous conditions. depending on your occupation. this was a real-time of reform and activism by unions and others to bring greater rights, fairer wages, safer working conditions, all of those things to workers. san francisco was a part of that. it was notoriously a closed shop
12:13 am
town. much to the sugar and of business district. what that meant was, you had to be a member of the union, as a condition of employment. right? lots of folks hopes for the opposite. they would hope that san francisco would be an open shop town. it really demonstrated the part of unions. unions were important to san francisco, no question about it. in fact, labor had flexed its muscles a number of times in san francisco. there was a number of famous strikes, a streetcar strike in 1907. gas company in 1913. unionism was a tradition in san francisco. certainly, this bombing and this connection to labor seems to be one that was apparent. it seemed to be an important connection. authorities would wonder how, but it certainly mattered in some ways, for sure. this dastardly act, as the press
12:14 am
-- as it was called in the press. many people started to expect radical laborers. the people who had been on the front lines of the strikes and activities and all of those kind of things. this was part of the longer american history since chicago in the 1880's, of this tenuous relationship. in sanse fights francisco and across the country had played out in newspapers, minds, and sometimes, the streets. this was a tenuous relationship and the country seemed, particularly because of capital and business interests, at odds. the other thing i will tell you about san francisco in 1916, and this image maybe doesn't have a lot to do with it because we don't have a lot of images of the groups. you should also know, there was a very vibrant and very alive and artist community in san
12:15 am
anarchy community in san francisco. they were holding meetings, advertising in newspapers, and you can come to some of their meetings. they had newspapers, and they were often high profile groups in san francisco. one was called volonta. people knew about it. in san francisco it was very different. we wouldn't identify its publicly now, but this is very public at the time. you have this and artist element as well. you have maybe conceptions about anarchism as bomb throws and so on. these were people from days of the french revolution, very
12:16 am
interested and concerned with in governments that had too much power. it was an ideology reacting to that. there were certain anarchists that believed in something called propaganda of the deed. meaning that if you have one specific attack, it could prove a spark against the state, inspire other radicals, and so on. this was kind of a moment for these deeds, perhaps. if we are still talking about labor and cap -- capital dissent during the war, you should also know world war i is happening. it breaks out in 1914. the united states doesn't get involved until 1917. it was a war that had been long and bloody in europe. the united states is not participated. you should know that this broader american movement of preparedness gained a lot a
12:17 am
fraction, gained a lot of steam. if you look at the thinking and that world events demonstrate the way the germans were using unrestricted submarine warfare, it is possible that the united states might get drawn into the war. united states and many leaders in particular started to have the attitude that we better be ready for war. wassize of the u.s. army behind, so we needed a bigger army and a better equipped army as well, just in case war happens. there were lots of national figures that led the fight for preparedness, which become this movement, preparedness. , woodrow wilson, you had all of these figures, former secretaries of war, former generals, they were saying we are behind militarily and if this war drags the united states in, we better be ready. we better be prepared.
12:18 am
this catches on for sure. parades, like the ones we started with today and the focus for today, was a phenomena that happened all over. in other words how communities demonstrated their preparedness was a part of this exercise. having a purpose -- parade that might demonstrate that communities patriotism. i will give you a few examples. this is the preparedness day parade that happened in washington dc. thecould see the capital in far distance, seed can make sense of this. these happen all over, particularly in the summer of 1916. seattle has a preparedness day parade, and the biggest one up to this point was in washington dc. you can see it playing out here. it happened on june 14, 1916. a little over a month before the one in san francisco. this was an estimated parade of
12:19 am
-- this was an estimated crowd of about 60,000 men, women, and children. the most patriotic skeptical we have ever seen. you can get a sense of this patriotism being displayed. the president of the united states, by his order, closed all of the federal offices that today so folks could attend. you had congress, women's suffrage advocates marching, boy scouts, all types of dignitaries participating. again, the president at the time hoped this would happen. at the front of the parade, was president woodrow wilson. this was him after he had led the parade. he then goes to the viewing stand so the parade to come by. he marched in front of the parade. he had a big straw hat on, and american flag over his shoulder, and everybody was cheering in the crowd. eventually, he made his way to this grand stand to review the
12:20 am
parade at the end. at one point, there was a bunch of handlers who released several hundred carrier pigeons into the air, too, in their words, send the message of preparedness all over the capital. asse pigeons were sent out part of a display, perhaps of patriotism. so, preparedness, is alive and well. world war i is looming and how the united states might handle that is interesting. part of the preparedness cycle is the fact that it wasn't a unanimous amount of support for preparedness. not everybody was on board. in fact, there was great criticism about world war i from lots of different forces. as you might imagine, criticism particularly comes of world war i from people that were among the labor class, working-class
12:21 am
americans, and also people on the american left, politically left. social anarchist would've been opposed to the war, for lots of reasons. if you read any marks for your classes, you know that all wars are capitalists wars. who benefits from wars? financiers and people running the war operations, and so on. said this mantra that war is the health of the state. he was a critic of the war. so who benefits, not the american workers who would be doing the fighting. right? the real issue about the war was certainly surrounding whether or not the u.s. should get involved with the war but also conscription. we didn't have a draft in the united states. there was a selective service at that started to get debated and eventually was signed into law in 1917. remember, our army is woefully
12:22 am
small and that means, for those of you who are young men in this car -- in this class, when you turn 18 you get selective service and you have to register for the draft. if you don't, it is a crime. we begin to see the process here, and many critics were outspoken about just to would be doing the fighting. rank and file average americans. certainly not the kind of people with means. there was this objection to the war, but especially to a draft, and the idea of a draft. all throughout the united states, there was a healthy dissent about war, u.s. involvement, and so on. san francisco was no different. on july 20, just two days before the bombing at the dreamland rink, there were war critics that showed up at this venue to express their discontent about the possibilities of war.
12:23 am
i will give you another example, on the night of the bombing, it didn't happen, but emma goldman who is a famous american and archivist was in san francisco when the bombing happen. that night, as you can see from this flag, she was to give a lecture. for $.25, you could hear this famous radical giving an address. again for $.25. the title of her talk, doesn't mince any words. can you see that? it says preparedness, the road to universal slaughter. it's making very clear what she thinks about preparedness and the possibility of what the draft and conscription would mean. universal slaughter. right? goldman was in town during the attack. let me share with you as well,
12:24 am
one of the ominous warnings. that was to happen the night of the bombing. before the bombing, and the few days before, the newspaper editors in san francisco got an ominous letter. the police chief did as well. i want to read to you this warning letter that was sent to these editors. days that they get this in the mail at the local newspaper offices before the barn -- bombing. editors. our protest have been in vain in part -- in regards to this preparedness propaganda. we will use a little direct action on the 22nd. it'll echo around the earth and show frisco knows how. and that militarism can't be forced onto us and our children without a violent protest. things are going to happen that will show we will go to any extreme, the same as the controlling classes, to preserve what's a little democracy we still have. we don't take it as a joke and you shouldn't. you should be truly awakened.
12:25 am
we are sworn to our duties of the masses and only send warnings to those who are wise but forced to march to hold their jobs. we want to give only the hypocritical patriots who shout for war, but never go to war, a real taste of war. if you read that statement. and you think about it, it is an ominous warning. it is playing on the fact that these are people shouting for war patriotically, but at the end of the day, these are not the people that will do the fighting in the war. nobody knows where this ominous warning comes from. but it is delivered to newspaper offices and chief of police. true to their words, whoever wrote this, or someone associated with that, held up their end of the bargain. right? they did the deed as we know. that is the first part, i think. in thinking about this and why it matters. its matters in terms of world war i, and the dissent, and
12:26 am
capital, and labor and these ominous warnings. if you look at that and listened carefully, it talks about the working classes and the ruling classes. it speaks to the divide. that seems so endemic in the early 20th century. let me talk second for a moment about how this mattered in terms of anti-immigrants especially, and anti-labor attitudes. after the bombing, the manhunt is immediately underway. it revealed a couple things. one, the powers that be in the city were interested in striking a blow at radical labor. cracking down on labor. using this as an opportunity against the closed shop for example. and against labor elements that had been so strong in the city. very much of a vibrant immigrant attitude.
12:27 am
those things -- vibrant anti-immigrant attitude. those things seem to go hand in hand. the condemnation came very quickly from the press. this is a dastardly act, as we know. the los angeles harold called it a diabolical crime. disturbed the equilibrium of the entire state of california, they said. the authorities acted quickly claiming they would find, and these are their words, the swarthy man responsible. and that seemed to have these kind of "washington journal "washington journal undertones about who might have been responsible for this. they started to focus for the perpetrator on what they called lodging analysis. looking at places where immigrant workers might have moved through, sometimes quickly, san francisco. if you listen to that, clearly, whoever committed this was someone who is swarthy, living in these transient, often immigrants, housing's. often the poorer parts of the
12:28 am
city. it was clearly targeted at a particular community. for sure. residents were told in san francisco to remain vigilant as the manhunt was underway. a very agreeable press continue to talk in those terms and said the authorities would get the -- get eight fanatic demon responsible for this is what they said. almost immediately blame fell on radicals. the san francisco mayor declared all agitators would be driven from the city. this labor anti-radical idea. one paper did not hesitate to specify the source of the attack. the anarchist and socialists have been very argued lead to .nnouncing the campaign there was one finish immigrant who got arrested by the police.
12:29 am
he was at a sailors of boardinghouse that he lived in. it was on drumm street. all he could do, according to the newspaper, is exclaimed, i didn't do it, i didn't do it. and he said it over and over again. he sat in the police station trembling, and the newspapers, when he was arrested and before, had explicitly said that whoever committed the crime clearly, -- clearly, this was "the act of some foreigner." so it's no surprise that someone like joseph would be nabbed and arrested and blamed. thankfully, for him he was very nervous and scared and the police admitted they had no connections between him and the bombing and they let him go. it spoke to the attitude. we know who did this. it was clearly an immigrant, was the attitude. also implicated, and i will
12:30 am
mention this quickly, or two other people in san francisco at the time of the attack. alexander berkman, if that means anything to you, he had tried to assassinate henry clay frick, a famous pittsburgh steel mogul in the 1890's. he went to jail for over a decade. he was very proud of this and labeled it first terrorist act in american history. he did not kill him, but he tried. him but he survived. alexander berkman was living in san francisco. he is an immigrant, he is jewish, he is a radical, he is an anarchist. he is very much in line with these kinds of attitudes. he also publishes, and i think you'll catch the subtlety of the headline of the newspaper, this is the masthead, he publishes a newsletter called "the blast." which of course is in an artist newspaper. he is immediately catching some suspicion. with him was his friend and
12:31 am
lover, emmaf-again goldman. she is around san francisco at the time, as well. they were very much in cahoots. to give you an example of the anti-immigrant attitudes of them both, who were both jewish, they were described as" the kind of people who pop up at any radical movement that promises a financial return." newspapers also spoke of their "money grabbing proclivities." in other words, this was a stereotype of jewish people, that they are just trying to profit from radicalism. anti-semitic stuff for sure. that kind of anti-immigrant force is important. let me finish with my third idea about why this matters. that is the anti-radicalism in this climate, the red scare in this broader miscarriage of
12:32 am
justice, which i think you will find interesting. the district attorney was a guy by the name of charles spikert. he was a football player and had his own political ambitions. he moved quickly and he said "in the interest of justice," so he was interested in making quick arrests. and finding the culprits very quickly. he is doing this in less than scrupulous ways, without warrants to bring someone to justice. it was also clear that the district attorney wanted to strike a blow against radical labor and this was part of his mission. he was working in cahoots with another guy called martin swanson, a former pinkerton detective. if you know anything about the pinkerton's, they were this kind of, before we had large bureaus of investigation, they were a
12:33 am
kind of auxiliary hired police force. lots of companies and others -- you know the story, the molly maguires? you know the pinkerton's and their story. he was a former pinkerton man who had worked in san francisco labor elements in the san francisco strike. so he has brought in by the district attorney and the district attorney said, i need a list of all of the labor agitators in town on july 22, the day of the bombing. that will be our list. swanson draws up a list of all the people who had even him -- given him trouble in the past and of the list, there were five people who work former labor organizers or deemed radicals who were in town on july 22nd. that is who they arrested. the group is as pictured here. they are brought into the police station, they are identified as
12:34 am
the five suspects, and again, brought in purely because of that list drawn up by swanson. warren was 22 years old, very young, very active in the shoemaker's union. he was an active union guy. edward nolan who is active in the machinist union. israel weinberg on the far left. he was a bus driver and involved in earlier strikes for car drivers and so on. you could see here in the bus operators union. these were all young and active labor organizers. of most interest to swanson was in the center here, tom mooney and rina mooney.
12:35 am
particularly tom. young, i don't know, he was 33. that seems young to me. tom was a noted radical agitator in san francisco and had been involved in a number of strikes. lots of organizing in those previous altercations and so on. he had been a socialist, it depends on how you might define that. he traveled with eugene debs at one point, the socialist candidate for president. aboard the red special, which was a train that took them all over the country. mooney was an active labor organizer and certainly on the political left. no question about it. he catches the eye of the authorities and his wife, rena, who was active in organizing with him, she spent her days as a music teacher. she had a music studio in san francisco. the authorities would call it a den, which makes it seem
12:36 am
ominous, but she had a couple of pno and music students. animals --f the pianos and music students. mooney and his wife, but especially mooney, attract the attention of the authorities. when they were arrested, they were held in solitary confinement. they were not allowed to talk to family, friends or legal counsel. and the assistant da told a local reporter that the suspects "ought to be hung without ceremony." in other words, let's do this quick and have a fast conviction. on august 2, 1916 they were jointly charged with murder. a legal story, but the authorities considered them all part of the same conspiracy. when one was tried the other would be used against the other and so on. it was very complex and a little unfair. i will tell you, as the investigation got underway,
12:37 am
there was problematic police work. there were macabre souvenir hunters. who after the bombing showed up when the bomb had been constructed so it had bullets in it and pieces of metal that intended to be projectile to and so on. they found a woman's watch hundreds of yards away. it was a powerful bomb. but with all of these pieces of shrapnel and so on. souvenir hunters took this stuff. that matters for the police work. the other problem with the police work complicating things, you can see the blast here, is the authorities came and they washed away all the dust and soot, which of course for police work is also a little bit of a problem in terms of finding valuable evidence and so on. the story of this, and the trials that began in 1916 and 1917 are a very long and complex story i could talk about more,
12:38 am
but you should know that during -- during the course of these -- but you should know that during the course of these legal proceedings, and it is well documented, it is not hard to dispute, there were documented photographs, perjured testimony, meaning people lied under oath, and all kinds of incriminating elements to the prosecutors' case. moody and billings will both be convicted. billings in december of 1916, moony in the following february. 1916 in 1917, these guys go to jail. if you think about this, they are not going to have a very sympathetic public. this is in the age of the red scare. the attorney general gets his front porch blown up by a bomb. radicals are now hunted in the united states and so on. we get the espionage act.
12:39 am
you could not mail socialist and other critical pieces of writing and newspapers and those kinds of things. things like the international socialist review were told to be stopped being mailed. the government cracked down on all that stuff by 1917 or 1918. there is a long series of appeals for their fight. they go to jail in 1916 and 1917. the legal fight lasts over 20 years. a series of governors review the case each time they come into office and each time, they all realize it is a political hot potato and they refuse to give mooney a new trial and refuse to exonerate him, to give him a pardon. president wilson, woodrow wilson
12:40 am
even commissioned the special organization to investigate the case and come to some conclusions. their conclusions were basically that there had been funny business with the trial with some of the photos and testimony, and since 1917, it came out more and more, more revelations about so-and-so had told this story on the stand that was not true or this happened with evidence that was not true. there started being more and more revelations. in the meantime, mooney became a cause celebre. he became a public figure. there was a huge defense fund. there was a continual fight made on his behalf for his exoneration. remember, this is a process that lasts over 20 years. it was not until the morning hours of a january 7, 1939. let me say that again, january 7, 1939.
12:41 am
they went to jail in 1916 and 1917. mooney, now 56 years old, is visited by the governor and mooney is taken to sacramento. the new governor, a guy called colbert olson. it was broadcast on national radio and the governor says, i have signed and a hand to you tom rooney his final and unconditional pardon. the crowd rang out. mooney understood it was a fight for justice and he was smiling. he framed it in the context of decay in the world and he was thinking about what was happening in germany at the time and how much justice really matter. to put this again in perspective, this is mooney when he gets out of jail. and that was when he went. these are powerful photos.
12:42 am
let me finish with this. i think that we know this is a gross misappropriation of justice. it is pretty clear that this was a wrongful conviction. having looked at the evidence, it is not very definitive at all if mooney had anything to do with it. mooney probably had nothing to do with it. some have made inferences about the whodunit question, who did the bombing? one name is bandied about, a famous san francisco anarchist. he will later blow up a church in the 1920's. so there is a theory he might have been responsible, but that has been squashed as well. there was an anarchist very famous at the time, an italian who would come to the united states and had all kinds of followers. he remained very coy in his last days.
12:43 am
he was deported from the united states. he was questioned in boston harbor before he left. the bureau of investigation asked him all types of questions, if he knew anything and he remained very coy and denied mooney's guilt. when he was deported. there were a couple of books that came out, and this is an image of the parade as we think of the whodunit question. there were a couple of books and -- that came out in the 1960's, one by richard frost and the other by curt gentry. they wrote about the german sabotage theory. in other words, the germans were going to blow up munitions and these kinds of things, and that it was a broader plot of the germans to create disorder in the united states. it is another theory, an
12:44 am
attractive hypothesis for some folks. is another book about alexander berkman and goldman, that they somehow had a role in this or that more likely, the anarchist group in san francisco, maybe they had something to do with it. all of it is sort of speculation. i think anyone with certainty about the perpetration is kind of eager. having looked at all the sources. now that the 100 year anniversary has come and gone, the only consensus seems to be that there is not any consensus. any other consensus is that mooney and billings did not plant the bomb. perhaps the whodunit question is not as important as the broader story about why it matters. as i have outlined, what this event tells us. the san francisco bombing stands as an underexplored and
12:45 am
underappreciated moment in american history. it is a high point for american radicalism against haymarket, something like this all the way to events in 1920. their preparedness day bombing was not the first, nor was it the last moment of radicalism in u.s. history. but i think it gives a lens into a broader history. i will say this as well, i think the bombings and attacks also give us during this period some looks into other domestic terrorism. for example, the atlanta olympics in 1996 or the boston marathon bombing in 2013. shrouded in this debate were questions of loyalty,
12:46 am
anti-immigrant attitudes, this rich/poor act and fear of radicalism that could have disastrous results. as i mentioned, one hundred years later, the anniversary has come and gone. it was this past summer. today, san francisco residents and probably even more tourists the bombing site and not really taking notice of this important site. and why would they? there is no plaque or memorial to draw our attention to that moment. but i think it stands as one of the most important reminders of this turbulent relations between labor and radicalism, and immigrants and war in the early 20th century. i will stop there and ask questions. you have any questions for me? surely you must. what are you left wondering about? we have a few minutes. if you have a question.
12:47 am
student: they really have no idea who did it? professor johnson: i wish i could tell you. as i mentioned at the end, there are many hypotheses but no definitive evidence. you could write a book about this and research this and find out who did it, but we don't know. it probably does not surprise you. espionage and what we might consider sabotage and those kind of things. it's not like whoever was responsible, whether they were anarchists or labor folks, they were not going to telegraph that. they thought they had the five people but then they started to dr. the evidence and so on. they found bomb making materials and so on, but they found it was not really bomb making materials. nobody really knows is the short answer. other questions? student: what happened to the district attorney? professor johnson: interesting
12:48 am
question. he ran for office and one in -- won in california. but then there was a recall election against him and that failed. he became a prominent citizen in california. he had his own political ambitions and clearly he could kind of serve as the candidate of business interests. and of course labor very much opposed him as a public official. he got his wish. and survived the recall election. good question. yes, joey. student: did anything happen to the police department that arrested the five suspects and jailed them? professor johnson: great question. no. police functions in such a different way then.
12:49 am
there was not really a censure, you got this wrong and we will fire the chief of police. this is a great example, this did not affect them at all. they continued their careers and ran for other offices, become judges and all these kind of things. the short answer is, no, there were not any formal -- we would think now there would be an investigation of the police. police work, when i started digging into this, functioned very differently at the time. you also have that kind of pinkerton element, which was acting quasi-independent. it was a very different time for police work. good question. these are all good questions. i think we are out of time, but i will see you all tomorrow morning and we will continue our work and we will have some presentations on friday, i think. we will talk more about the housekeeping things. thank you so much for coming. i will stick around and answer any questions you might have. thank you for coming.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on