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Reposted from Anarchism & Libertarian Socialism by Denise Oliver Velez

Haymarket Tragedy
Note: This is not presented as a general overview of May Day history and the Haymarket Martyrs. For a general overview, please see my other diary on the topic. I'd also like to use this opportunity to announce a new group, Anarchism & Libertarian Socialism, which will explore anarchist history, theory, and anarchist literature and voices.
The history of May Day has been obscured in many mainstream historical accounts, and the biographies of those who were central to the history, while available, are not very well known in contemporary America. For a fascinating account of just one example of how the history is revised, even by our own government and labor organizations, read this essay. Few know today of its connection to the Haymarket Tragedy, or know much about the life of Albert Parsons, one of the hanged men, or of his wife Lucy Parsons, or of August Spies, another of the eight men who stood trial, five of whom were sentenced to death by the Chicago court. And few know that it was due to the persecution of these labor activists, that May Day became, in addition to its pagan roots (click the link for the history leading up to modern times) the commemorative day of labor justice and worker's rights.
Albert Parsons
Albert Parsons
And few know today that the Haymarket eight were not just labor activists, but also were all anarchists, and active in what was at the time a very strong and widely followed anarchist movement, which played a very important and influential role in worker's movements around the world. And few today really know what anarchism is, or have a well grounded understanding of anarchist socioeconomic theory.

And yet, like Emma Goldman and so many others, had you been alive at the time of the trial, especially if you were interested in worker's rights and social justice, you would have followed the events as if it were the mesmerizing trial of the century. It cannot be over stated that the entire world was riveted to the story, and it was widely reported and discussed internationally. Albert Parsons, August Spies and the six others on trial were hot topics. Many high profile personalities called out for pardons of these men, and there was an international outcry against the corruption of justice.

 But the state was determined to use the persecution of these men to deal a blow to the labor movement:

Lucy Parsons
The authorities had believed at the time of the trial that such persecution would break the back of the labour movement. As Lucy Parsons, a participant of the events, noted 20 years later, the Haymarket trial “was a class trial — relentless, vindictive, savage and bloody. By that prosecution the capitalists sought to break the great strike for the eight-hour day which as being successfully inaugurated in Chicago, this city being the stormcentre of that great movement; and they also intended, by the savage manner in which they conducted the trial of these men, to frighten the working class back to their long hours of toil and low wages from which they were attempting to emerge. The capitalistic class imagined they could carry out their hellish plot by putting to an ignominious death the most progressive leaders among the working class of that day. In executing their bloody deed of judicial murder they succeeded, but in arresting the mighty onward movement of the class struggle they utterly failed.” [Lucy Parsons, Op. Cit., p. 128] In the words of August Spies when he addressed the court after he had been sentenced to die:
August Spies
“If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labour movement ... the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil in misery and want, expect salvation — if this is your opinion, then hang us! Here you will tread on a spark, but there and there, behind you — and in front of you, and everywhere, flames blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out.” [quoted by Paul Avrich, Op. Cit., p. 287]

At the time and in the years to come, this defiance of the state and capitalism was to win thousands to anarchism, particularly in the US itself. Since the Haymarket event, anarchists have celebrated May Day (on the 1st of May — the reformist unions and labour parties moved its marches to the first Sunday of the month). We do so to show our solidarity with other working class people across the world, to celebrate past and present struggles, to show our power and remind the ruling class of their vulnerability.

As Nestor Makhno put it:

    “That day those American workers attempted, by organising themselves, to give expression to their protest against the iniquitous order of the State and Capital of the propertied ...

    “The workers of Chicago ... had gathered to resolve, in common, the problems of their lives and their struggles...

    “Today too ... the toilers ... regard the first of May as the occasion of a get-together when they will concern themselves with their own affairs and consider the matter of their emancipation.” [The Struggle Against the State and Other Essays, pp. 59–60]

To understand why the state and business class were so determined to hang the Chicago Anarchists, it is necessary to realise they were considered the leaders of a massive radical union movement. In 1884, the Chicago Anarchists produced the world’s first daily anarchist newspaper, the Chicagoer Arbeiter-Zeiting. This was written, read, owned and published by the German immigrant working class movement. The combined circulation of this daily plus a weekly (Vorbote) and a Sunday edition (Fackel) more than doubled, from 13,000 per issues in 1880 to 26,980 in 1886. Anarchist weekly papers existed for other ethnic groups as well (one English, one Bohemian and one Scandinavian).

Anarchists were very active in the Central Labour Union (which included the eleven largest unions in the city) and aimed to make it, in the words of Albert Parsons (one of the Martyrs), “the embryonic group of the future ‘free society.’” The anarchists were also part of the International Working People’s Association (also called the “Black International”) which had representatives from 26 cities at its founding convention. The I.W.P.A. soon “made headway among trade unions, especially in the mid-west” and its ideas of “direct action of the rank and file” and of trade unions “serv[ing] as the instrument of the working class for the complete destruction of capitalism and the nucleus for the formation of a new society” became known as the “Chicago Idea” (an idea which later inspired the Industrial Workers of the World which was founded in Chicago in 1905). [“Editor’s Introduction,” The Autobiographies of the Haymarket Martyrs, p. 4]

Haymarket Persecutions and the Impact on the Labor Movement

That the Haymarket Affair and the persecution of activists had a profound impact on energizing the labor movement is an understatement. Thousands around the world were stirred to activism by the events. Emma Goldman describes the impact on her by the Haymarket tragedy in her autobiography, Living My Life (download  ebook). At the time of the Haymarket Massacre, in 1886, Emma was a young teenager, just 17 years old, having turned 18 during the months of the trial in 1887, and she, like the entire world, had followed the trial blow by blow. Her account of the events provides a wonderful glimpse of the mood of those times among activists, and how the tragedy and the wrongful executions of the labor martyrs formed the catalyst that awakened her to her life's work as labor activist, feminist, anarchist (i.e., libertarian communist), writer, speaker, and organizer.

Emma immigrated to the U.S. From her native Russia at the age of 16, and was horrified to discover that the America she had envisioned in her dreams, one of freedom and democracy, was firmly in the throes of the horrors of the industrial revolution, and the terrible hardships imposed on the working class of those times, with poor worker conditions, low wages, exploitative practices, long hours, and hegemony of the owning class.

Emma gives several biographical anecdotes of her first exposure to America, this excerpt from her autobiography being typical:

    One morning, as I looked up from my work, I discovered [Tanya] all huddled in a heap. She had fallen in a faint. I called to the foreman to help me carry her to the dressing-room, but the deafening noise of the machines drowned my voice. Several girls near by heard me and began to shout. They ceased working and rushed over to Tanya. The sudden stopping of the machines attracted the foreman's attention and he came over to us. Without even asking the reason for the commotion, he shouted: "Back to your machines! What do you mean stopping work now? Do you want to be fired? Get back at once!" When he spied the crumpled body of Tanya, he yelled: "What the hell is the matter with her?" "She has fainted," I replied, trying hard to control my voice. "Fainted, nothing," he sneered, "she's only shamming."
Young Emma Goldman, 1886
     "You are a liar and a brute!" I cried, no longer able to keep back my indignation.
     I bent over Tanya, loosened her waist, and squeezed the juice of an orange I had in my lunch basket into her half-opened mouth. Her face was white, a cold sweat on her forehead. She looked so ill that even the foreman realized she had not been shamming. He excused her for the day. "I will go with Tanya," I said; "you can deduct from my pay for the time." "You can go to hell, you wildcat!" he flung after me.
Emma's background in working in the garment factories, where she was exposed to the exploitation, the hard work and low pay, and brutal treatment of workers, prepared her to be drawn to the labor movement. She describes her fascination with the Haymarket trial in her autobiography, Living My Life, which has entered public domain and is available online.  Her account of the events begins in chapter one of her biography, beginning the night after she had first met Johann Most, the well known German-American anarchist and publisher/editor of the newspaper, Freiheit(freedom). Most had given a talk on Haymarket, and Emma was enraptured by his fiery spirit:
    That night I could not sleep. Again I lived through the events of 1887. Twenty-one months had passed since the Black Friday of November 11, when the Chicago men had suffered their martyrdom, yet every detail stood out clear before my vision and affected me as if it had happened but yesterday. My sister Helena and I had become interested in the fate of the men during the period of their trial. The reports in the Rochester newspapers irritated, confused, and upset us by their evident prejudice. The violence of the press, the bitter denunciation of the accused, the attacks on all foreigners, turned our sympathies to the Haymarket victims.
     We had learned of the existence in Rochester of a German socialist group that held sessions on Sunday in Germania Hall. We began to attend the meetings, my older sister, Helena, on a few occasions only, and I regularly. The gatherings were generally uninteresting, but they offered an escape from the grey dullness of my Rochester existence. There one heard, at least, something different from the everlasting talk about money and business, and one meet people of spirit and ideas.
     One Sunday it was announced that a famous socialist speaker from New York, Johanna Greie, would lecture on the case then being tried in Chicago. On the appointed day I was the first in the hall. The huge place was crowded from top to bottom by eager men and women, while the walls were lined with police. I had never before been at such a large meeting. I had seen gendarmes in St. Petersburg disperse small student gatherings. But that in the country which guaranteed free speech, officers armed with long clubs should invade an orderly assembly filled me with consternation and protest.
     Soon the chairman announced the speaker. She was a woman in her thirties, pale and ascetic-looking, with large luminous eyes. She spoke with great earnestness, in a voice vibrating with intensity. Her manner engrossed me. I forgot the police, the audience, and every thing else about me. I was aware only of the frail woman in black crying out her passionate indictment against the forces that were about to destroy eight human lives.
It's remarkable that the hall, a private facility, was "lined with police"! This underscores the tension of the times, when worker strikes and protests were common, with thousands taking to the streets, and the persecution of the worker's movement by the state and industry, which used beatings, murders, and the judiciary to suppress the movement. The largest strike undertaken by US labor had occurred in 1877, and it was a bloody episode in labor history.

Emma Continues with a Brief Account of the Haymarket Affair:


The entire speech concerned the stirring events in Chicago. She began by relating the historical background of the case. She told of the labour strikes that broke out throughout the country in 1886, for the demand of an eight-hour workday. The center of the movement was Chicago, and there the struggle between the toilers and their bosses became intense and bitter. A meeting of the striking employees of the McCormick Harvester Company in that city was attacked by police; men and women were beaten and several persons killed. To protest against the outrage a mass meeting was called in Haymarket Square on May 4. It was addressed by Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer, and others, and was quiet and orderly. This was attested to by Carter Harrison, Mayor of Chicago, who had attended the meeting to see what was going on. The Mayor left, satisfied that everything was all right, and he informed the captain of the district to that effect. It was getting cloudy, a light rain began to fall, and the people started to disperse, only a few remaining while one of the last speakers was addressing the audience. Then Captain Ward, accompanied by a strong force of police, suddenly appeared on the square. He ordered the meeting to disperse forthwith. "This is an orderly assembly," the chairman replied, whereupon the police fell upon the people, clubbing them unmercifully. Then something flashed through the air and exploded, killing a number of police officers and wounding a score of others. It was never ascertained who the actual culprit was, and the authorities apparently made little effort to discover him. Instead orders were immediately issued for the arrest of all the speakers at the Haymarket meeting and other prominent anarchists. The entire press and bourgeoisie of Chicago and of the whole country began shouting for the blood of the prisoners. A veritable campaign of terror was carried on by the police, who were given moral and financial encouragement by the Citizens' Association to further their murderous plan to get the anarchists out of the way. The public mind was so inflamed by the atrocious stories circulated by the press against the leaders of the strike that a fair trial for them became an impossibility. In fact, the trial proved the worst frame-up in the history of the United States. The jury was picked for conviction; the District Attorney announced in open court that it was not only the arrested men who were the accused, but that "anarchy was on trial" and that it was to be exterminated. The judge repeatedly denounced the prisoners from the bench, influencing the jury against them. The witnesses were terrorized or bribed, with the result that eight men, innocent of the crime and in no way connected with it, were convicted. The incited state of the public mind, and the general prejudice against anarchists, coupled with the employers' bitter opposition to the eight-hour movement, constituted the atmosphere that favoured the judicial murder of the Chicago anarchists. Five of them ---Albert Parsons, August Spies, Louis Lingg, Adolph Fischer, and George Engel --- were sentenced to die by hanging; Michael Schwab and Samuel Fielden were doomed to life imprisonment; Neebe received fifteen years' sentence. The innocent blood of the Haymarket martyrs was calling for revenge.
Young Emma, at age 18, learns about Socialism, but wonders, "What is anarchism?"


At the end of Greie's speech I knew what I had surmised all along: the Chicago men were innocent. They were to be put to death for their ideal. But what was their ideal? Johanna Greic spoke of Parsons, Spies, Lingg, and the others as socialists, but I was ignorant of the real meaning of socialism. What I had heard from the local speakers had impressed me as colourless and mechanistic. On the other hand, the papers called these men anarchists, bomb-throwers. What was anarchism? It was all very puzzling. But I had no time for further contemplation. The people were filing out, and I got up to leave. Greie, the chairman, and a group of friends were still on the platform. As I turned towards them, I saw Greie motioning to me. I was startled, my heart beat violently, and my feet felt leaden. When I approached her, she took me by the hand and said: "I never saw a face that reflected such a tumult of emotions as yours. You must be feeling the impending tragedy intensely. Do you know the men?" In a trembling voice I replied: "Unfortunately not, but I do feel the case with every fibre, and when I heard you speak, it seemed to me as if I knew them." She put her hand on my shoulder. "I have a feeling that you will know them better as you learn their ideal, and that you will make their cause your own."
Had you been alive in 1887, you would likely have known that the accused men were anarchists, and since anarchism had a larger following in that era, you would likely have had some idea that they were socialists, and that anarchism is one of two major strains of socialism, the other being Marxism. During the cold war years, and the Soviet Union, anarchism was overshadowed by Marxist-Leninism, and only began to rise in popularity again after the Soviet Union collapsed. Anarchism, since the 1999 Seattle WTO direct action events coordinated by the Global Justice Movement to shut down the World Trade Organization conference, has begun to have an influence again, aided as well by the Occupy uprising. Young people taking a new look at the increasingly horrific effects of capitalism, and not raised during the era of cold war anti-communist propaganda, are seeing socialism with new eyes, and anarchism, as it really is, rather than the scary image it was made out to be, is once again an item of interest and exploration.

Its interesting to note that Emma implies Greie described the Chicago men as “socialists”, which of course they were, but they were advocates of a specific strain of socialism. Many anarchists and anarchist-influenced historical events were and still are often obscured this way. One reason for this is Marxists often felt they were in rivalry with anarchists, stemming largely from Marx and Engels, who wanted to dominate the socialist movement of the 19th century, and thus in their writings often attacked and mischaracterized anarchist theory and its movement spokespersons.  Many contemporary accounts found online still refrain from identifying the Haymarket labor martyrs as anarchists, some accounts even leaving out that they were socialists, preferring to call them “labor activists”, which of course, they were. Parsons, in particular, and Spies, as well, were prominent labor activists, socialists and anarchists in the years leading up to their false arrests and executions. Parsons worked against racism, classism, and agitated for labor rights and equality from the time he was 19 years old.  

Back to Emma's story, where she reveals what impassioned her to begin her life's work:


 I walked home in a dream. Sister Helena was already asleep, but I had to share my experience with her. I woke her up and recited to her the whole story, giving almost a verbatim account of the speech. I must have been very dramatic, because Helena exclaimed: "The next thing I'll hear about my little sister is that she, too, is a dangerous anarchist."
     Some weeks later I had occasion to visit a German family I knew. I found them very much excited. Somebody from New York had sent them a German paper, Die Freiheit, edited by Johann Most. It was filled with news about the events in Chicago. The language fairly took my breath away, it was so different from what I had heard at the socialist meetings and even from Johanna Greie's talk. It seemed lava shooting forth flames of ridicule, scorn, and defiance; it breathed deep hatred of the powers that were preparing the crime in Chicago. I began to read, Die Freiheit regularly. I sent for the literature advertised in the paper and I devoured every line on anarchism I could get, every word about the men, their lives, their work. I read about their heroic stand while on trial and their marvellous defence. I saw a new world opening before me.
     The terrible thing everyone feared, yet hoped would not happen, actually occurred. Extra editions of the Rochester papers carried the news: the Chicago anarchists had been hanged!
     We were crushed, Helena and I. The shock completely unnerved my sister; she could only wring her hands and weep silently. I was in a stupor; a feeling of numbness came over me, something too horrible even for tears. In the evening we went to our father's house. Everybody talked about the Chicago events. I was entirely absorbed in what I felt as my own loss. Then I heard the coarse laugh of a woman. In a shrill voice she sneered: "What's all this lament about? The men were murderers. It is well they were hanged." With one leap I was at the woman's throat. Then I felt myself torn back. Someone said: "The child has gone crazy." I wrenched myself free, grabbed a pitcher of water from a table, and threw it with all my force into the woman's face. "Out, out," I cried, "or I will kill you!" The terrified woman made for the door and I dropped to the ground in a fit of crying. I was put to bed, and soon I fell into a deep sleep.
Emma Goldman
The next morning I woke as from a long illness, but free from the numbness and the depression of those harrowing weeks of waiting, ending with the final shock. I had a distinct sensation that something new and wonderful had been born in my soul. A great ideal, a burning faith, a determination to dedicate myself to the memory of my martyred comrades, to make their cause my own, to make known to the world their beautiful lives and heroic deaths. Johanna Greie was more prophetic than she had probably realized.
Linked Articles to Explore Below the Fold
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Reposted from Hellraisers Journal by JayRaye
You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Monday May 3, 1915
From the Appeal to Reason: H. G. Creel Series on the Walsh Commission in Texas

Tenant Farmer from Oct 1914 with text
Today's Hellraisers presents the third installment of H. G. Creel's coverage of the investigation made by the Commission on Industrial Relations into the conditions of tenant farmers in Texas and Oklahoma. The Walsh Commission was in session in Dallas in March and heard remarkable testimony of the wretched conditions under which the tenant farmers live, notwithstanding the back-breaking toil undertaken by the entire family, from small children to aged elders.

Creel maintains that the plutocrats hate the Walsh Commission because of the relentless questioning of witnesses by Chairman Frank P. Walsh. We have reprinted the entire article by H. G. Creel below the fold.

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Sun May 03, 2015 at 06:03 AM PDT

On 'riots' and roots

by Denise Oliver Velez

Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez
Langston Hughes' poem, "Harlem" has been floating around in my head, as I watch footage from Baltimore.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

We are watching one of those periodic explosions, which will continue until America gives itself a root canal, lances the boil or abscess, and addresses the cause of our national dis-ease of racism and xenophobia, while trying to put a compress on the symptoms.

Let us not forget that segregated housing was one of the main issues addressed in Lorraine Hansberry's  "A Raisin in the Sun," title taken from the Hughes poem, which I discussed in "The Hansberrys, and Housing Dreams Deferred."

For almost every "riot" sparked by either white vigilante destruction of stable black and brown towns and communities, or by police murder of civilians or leaders, there is the story of economic frustration, racism, and planned racial segregation.  

Follow me below the fold into "The Ghetto."

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Reposted from Street Prophets by Ojibwa

Think back about the past few days. How many times did you say “hello”? The word “hello” comes from nautical English: “hallo” or “halloa” was a form of address used by sailors between ships. The use of “hello” as a generic form of address is relatively recent and stems from the acceptance of a device commonly known as the telephone.

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Reposted from Hellraisers Journal by JayRaye

I am down at the Fleetwood whenever they want to put me in jail for violation of the law.
Come along for me, come.
There is coming a day when I will take the whole bunch of you and put you in jail.
-Mother Jones

Saturday May 1, 1915
Indianapolis, Indiana - Mother Jones Thinks of "Her Boys" on Her Birthday

From today's Indianapolis Star:

Mother Jones, 83 Today, Thinks of "Her Boys"

Mother Jones in West Virginia Military Bastille, 1913
Mother Jones in the Military Bastile
at Pratt, West Virginia, 1913
"I have spent one birthday in jail and missed spending the last one by only a few hours, but I'd be willing to spend all of them in prison if it would be of any help to my boys," said Mrs. Mary Jones, known as Mother Jones to thousands of admiring union labor men everywhere in America, yesterday afternoon. Mrs Jones had been at the Hotel Severin for several days and she recalled, just before she started to the Union station to take a train for Washington that today is her eighty-third birthday anniversary.

Mother Jones will spend a part of her birthday anniversary, after her arrival in Washington, with Terrance V. Powderly, former head of the Knights of Labor. Mrs. Jones said she and Powderly were "warriors together" at one time, and added that her eighty-first anniversary was spent in a military prison at Pratt. W. Va., and that she missed spending her eighty-second in a prison in Colorado only by a few hours. In both instances she had been placed under arrest for her efforts in behalf of striking miners.

[Photograph added.]

Mother Jones in the Military Bastile at Walsenburg, Colorado, 1914:
Mother Jones, Military Bastile, Walsenburg Cellar Cell, Colorado, 1914
Below the fold we offer two more articles regarding the recent trip made by Mother Jones to Indianapolis where she met with the officers of the United Mine Workers of America at the union's international headquarters in that city.
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Fri May 01, 2015 at 12:00 PM PDT

May Day History: The Haymarket Riot

by Lenny Flank

Reprinting this diary from last year's May Day:

In the US, May Day used to be the internationally-recognized day of recognition and celebration for Labor and its struggles--at least until the Soviet Union ruined it with their idiotic military parades. But in honor of the true meaning of May Day, I offer this account of its history . . .

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Reposted from Shutterbugs by Ojibwa

 photo DSCN5128_zpsd9f51f8f.jpg

The LeMay—America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington includes a collection of motorcycles. Photographs of some of the British motorcycles in their collection are shown below the orange exhaust symbol.

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Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 09:07 PM PDT

Gold Rush Journal Week 44

by oldmancoyote1

James White was a 21 year old farmer from Quincy, MA.  In 1849 he sailed from Boston around Cape Horn to San Francisco and the gold diggings of California.  In all he spent 6 months at sea and a year in California.  I've transcribed his journal and am publishing it here as well as on Amazon/Kindle and Apple/iBooks.

Thursday 27th.
Latham drying or jerking the beef.  Clark & myself went out and made $2.  Poor days work but hard.

Friday June 28th, 1850
Clark & myself dug 6 1/2 oz.  All this month here has been cool, clear & strong breezes from NW. the coast.  Most of the men were leaving the Trinity.  The water slowly falling.  Average on the river about $4.  Slim Picking.

Saturday 29th.
Prospected the bars.  Got $4.  Dull and cross all hands.

Sunday the 30th. and last of the first summer month.  Very hot.  So hot the sand burnt our feet.  Concluded we would rest today.  I done not a stroke of work, not anything to read, not even a testament.  No writing materials in camp.  Thought of home.  That name is sweater than money ever did sound to me.

July 1st.
Clark went after Davis.  Acted energetic as though he was join for the first time.  Lazy as the devil generally.  Something going to happen.  Latham & myself helped him off & dug $9.  Clark took $160 with him.  Very hot today.  

Tuesday, July 2d.
Latham & myself dug $16 1/2.  Rather warm today.  River falling very rapidly.  Worked hard.  Back almost broke.  This certainly is working for a living.

Wednesday July 3d, 1850
Latham & I dug $20.  Very warm.

Thursday July 4th, 1850
Independence day.  thought of home today more than ever & all the comforts etc, but here there was not anything to change.  All work.  Worked in the forenoon.  Dug $12.  Clark & Davis got in at noon.  Davis, poor fellow, had a hard time of it.  Glad to get with us again.  Enjoyed ourselves in talking over old affairs of home etc., what was going on in the States.  Had some visitors in the afternoon & as we had a little good Extra Cognac, we indulged it.  Done us a great dial of good.  It revived all senses, caused a better a light feeling, not so much absorbed in digging gold.  Got news from Davis that there was a gold lake discovered and all the people are rushing to it at the headwaters of the Feather River.  Considered as another hoax.  Can this be called a 4th or not.  Echo answers there is no independence about it.

Friday July 5th.
Latham, Davis & myself dug in the forenoon $32.  Clark making rocker in afternoon dug $10.  Did not pay.

Sat 6th.
Latham, Davis & myself dug $27, a great deal of work but poor pay.

Sunday 9th.
Put up tent.  Wrote a letter to Father in case I should get a chance to send.  Very hot day.  Good breeze from NW.  Coast breeze.

One year in California & what accomplished towards a fortune.  It is true I must be acclimated by this time.  Just money enough to get home with by prudent living, $300.  A miserable savage life.  Ay, worse than savage for in that there is contentment & happiness, but this has been a year of up & downs, sickness & misery.  But still must I on, hope on hope ever.

Quincy, Sept. 4, 1851
Here was an interval of eleven days that I believe I was busying myself in trying to sell my house on 4th. street & also in trying to get a situation in a store.

I recollect very plainly that it was very bad traveling around the streets and all communication with the mines with teams was stopped on account of the bad state of the roads.  

Whoever has as takes the trouble to read this (for I must call it trouble) will perceive by my journal where it leaves off and commences again that business of all kinds must have been very dull at that time.  As I have said whoever reads this in after days will pardon me for leaving this blank.  I was greatly elated by the news from home & after making a bad bargain for the house (bad for me) I hardly knew which end my head was on.  I was anxious to get to work doing something to get a living for my funds were now growing short & a starved country & diseased country stared me in the face.  I could not look to it for help or its people in case I should be taken sick.

I had a hard siege to commence with.  Now I was well and got out of that safe.  I must make ready for another.

I am now writing & always have since I commenced this book.  Writing to benefit myself, not thinking that someday or other I shall die and some one else will peruse these pages.  I must enter an apology for not being more particular in my memorandum.  I was unwell most of the time.  The reader will perceive both body & mind for when the body is the mind lies & to make a long story short, I had so much to think of that I thought of nothing.  

When I left the steamer on her arrival at New York, my memorandum or diary stopped as a matter of course.  I was within a few miles of home.  I thought of nothing else,  But now I take my pen again in hand to revive it.  I shall copy all off from my memorandum and continue a regular diary from today.  Hoping you will find me in better spirits after my arrival in Quincey from the land of gold.  I close here hoping you will profit by my experiences.


And so it ends on a sudden and confusing note.  I don't think I have quite figured it out.  I have suspected the Mr. White was somewhat manic/depressive.  Perhaps this is what he was referring to.

I would like to know more about Mr. White, but I have no other information other than the names, ages, occupation, and home town of the Company and crew as well as the constitution and by-laws of the Company.  Anyone interested can get the book entire with this information for free from Apple's iBooks under the name James White's Journal.

I hope you have enjoyed this.  It has been revealing to me.  I didn't really understand the conditions the 49ers were in.  I have a better understanding of it now.



In 1831, four naval countries of Europe--Britain, France, Spain, and the then-independent kingdom of Sicily--argued over ownership of an island in the Mediterranean Sea. An island which lasted less than half a year before vanishing.

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Reposted from Hellraisers Journal by JayRaye
You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Friday April 30, 1915
Trinidad, Colorado - State Rests In Murder Trial of John R. Lawson, Union Leader

John Lawson & Mother Jones, Wichita Beacon, Kansas, Apr 22, 1915
John Lawson with Mother Jones
From the South Dakota Lead Daily Call
   of April 28, 1915:
Defense will Begin Its Part of the
Murder Case Tomorrow.

TRINIDAD, COLO.,  April 28.-...The state this morning rested in the case of John R. Lawson, the union labor leader, charged with murder in connection with the killing of Nimmo, a deputy sheriff, after a number of witnesses had testified that they had seen Lawson at Ludlow on the day of the battle when Nimmo was killed.

Below the fold, Hellraisers features reporting on the prosecution's case against John Lawson who is charged with the murder in the death of John Nimmo, a deputized mine guard who was killed as striking miners defended the Ludlow Tent Colony from attack on October 25, 1913.
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Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 08:24 AM PDT

Indians 201: Wodziwob's Ghost Dance

by Ojibwa

Reposted from Native American Netroots by Ojibwa

During the nineteenth century there were a number of religious movements that developed among diverse Indian tribes. One of these, called the Ghost Dance by non-Indians, arose among the Paiute in Nevada.

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Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM PDT

The Voyage of the "Trieste"

by Lenny Flank

In January 1960, two ocean explorers named Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard took the manned submersible Trieste to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, the deepest spot in the ocean. It was a feat that would not be duplicated for another half-century.

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