1. Samuel Gompers (1850–1924) was born in London, England, immigrated to the United States in 1863, and settled in New York City. A cigar-maker, he joined the Cigarmakers’ International Union, and rose through its leadership ranks to become first vice-president from 1896–1924. He helped organize the Federation of Organized Labor Unions, and in 1886 was a founder of the American Federation of Labor. Gompers served as president of the AFL, with the exception of 1895, from 1886 to 1924. His importance as a shaping influence on the American labor movement can hardly be overemphasized. Distrustful of industrial unionism, he ignored unskilled workers and stressed organization of the crafts. Stressing business unionism, craft autonomy, and voluntarism, Gompers opposed eight hour laws, unemployment compensation, independent political action, compulsory arbitration, and other policies more radical labor leaders considered of prime importance. Initially he refused to support discrimination against black workers, but gradually yielded to the enormous pressures of “Jim Crow.” Gompers’ Seventy Years of Life and Labor (2 vols.) was published in 1925.
2. Andrew Furuseth (1854–1938) was born in Norway and became a seaman. During the 1880s he shipped out of ports along the west coast of the United States. In 1887 he became an officer of the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific. During the 1890s he served in Washington, D.C., as legislative lobbyist for seamen’s unions as well as the American Federation of Labor. His more than twenty-year struggle for legal protection of American seamen resulted in the La Follette Seamen’s Act of 1915. From 1908 until his death in 1938, Furuseth served as president of the International Seamen’s Union.
Denis A. Hayes was an official in the Glass Blowers’ Association, and replaced P. J. McGuire on the AFL executive council.
John F. Tobin, a socialist, was head of the Shoemakers’ Union.
3. Eugene V. Debs (1855–1926) of Terre Haute, Indiana, worked as a locomotive fireman and became involved in local union affairs. In 1878 he became associate editor and, two years later, editor of the Firemen’s Magazine, organ of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen. Debs also served as secretary and treasurer of BLF. Resigning in 1892, he launched the American Railway Union in 1893, which was organized as an all-inclusive union for railroad workers. His leadership of the ARU resulted in his imprisonment during the famous 1893 Pullman strike. Debs became a socialist shortly thereafter and played an important role in the formation of the Social Democratic Party in 1897. In 1905 he helped found the Industrial Workers of the World, but resigned over an ideological dispute. During World War I, he was convicted for violating the Espionage Act and began a ten-year sentence in 1918, but President Harding pardoned him in 1921. Debs served one year in the Indiana state legislature during the 1880s, and ran as presidential candidate on the Socialist ticket in 1900, 1904, 1912, and 1920.
4. H. W. Sherman served as third president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 1894–97.
5. For the New Orleans General Strike, see pp. 14–24.
6. For the Louisville convention, see pp. 5–6.
7. The article referred to probably was “The Best Free Labor in the World,” Southern Estates Farm Magazine (January 1898): 496–98.
8. Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856–1915) was born a slave in Virginia. His mother moved to West Virginia, near Charleston, after freedom came, where Washington worked in a mine. With but little formal education, he set out across the Allegheny Mountains to attend Hampton Institute, an industrial education institution. Washington became a prize pupil, and after graduating in 1875, he continued to teach at the school until 1881. In that year he was chosen to organize Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, which he fashioned after Hampton. From Tuskegee Washington built a political power base that led him to become the most prominent Afro-American of his day. Washington was catapulted to fame by his Atlanta Exposition address of 1895, which articulated a race relations policy of acquiescence to segregation, and abdication of political rights for economic self-development. White southerners, who were putting the final touches on the “Jim Crow” system just then, were instantly captured by Washington’s message. This posture won Washington extraordinary gifts from philanthropists, and even grants from southern state legislatures to erect and operate vocational schools for blacks. Washington became the chief power broker for the race between 1895 and 1915 when he died. Of his numerous books, Up From Slavery, his autobiography, is the most popular.
8 The Alabama State Federation of Labor, formed in 1900, included delegates from black unions and central labor councils during the first five years of its existence, and each year two or three Negroes were among the five vice-presidents elected. That attitude did not persist, however, and the Federation was soon controlled by racist elements in the labor movement.
9. See pp. 9–11.
10. Christopher Evans, President of District One Ohio Miners Amalgamated Association during the Hocking strike of 1884–1885 (see note 47), was one of the leading figures in the fledgling American labor movement. Born in England in 1841, he immigrated to America in 1869, and settled in the coal mining town of Straitsville, Ohio, in 1877. One of the founders of the United Mine Workers of America, during the 1890s Evans served as national secretary of the union under John McBride (see note 17). He also had been prominent in the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (1881–86). After that organization became the American Federation of Labor, Evans became its secretary from 1889 to 1895. Well known to all trade unionists, Evans was genuinely popular in the coal fields throughout his career. He became the official historian of the UMW, and wrote a two-volume History of the United Mine Workers of America, (n.p., 1920).
11. For James E. Porter, see also pp. 47, 48.
For John M. Callaghan, see also pp. 42–49. Some authors have used the “Callahan” for Callaghan, the English spelling. The editors have retained the name as it appeared in the documents.
12. The Noble Order of the Knights of Labor (K. of L.) is examined in Vol. III of this series.
13. Central labor unions were organized in many American cities during the 1880s. Established by the Socialist Labor Party, these city labor bodies attempted to affiliate local labor unions and to stir public interest in issues of concern to working people.
14. Peter James McGuire (1852–1906) of New York City worked as an apprentice wood joiner as a youth, became involved in local union politics, and served as an organizer for the Social Democratic party during the 1870s. After moving to Missouri, McGuire was instrumental in the establishment of the Missouri Bureau of Labor Statistics. McGuire organized the carpenters of St. Louis, and in 1881, inspired the meeting of twelve carpenters’ unions in Chicago, where they formed the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. McGuire was elected to head the new union, and also edited The Carpenter, its official organ. Through his efforts, legislation was passed in 1894 making Labor Day a national holiday. Also one of the founders of the AFL, McGuire became its first secretary, and later a vice president.
15. Augustine McCraith, secretary of the AFL in 1895, did not run for reelection in 1896. The probable reason for his decision was his apparent personality conflict with Samuel Gompers (see note 1), president of the organization. At the 1896 convention, McCraith charged Gompers with violating the nonpartisan policy of the AFL by endorsing Democratic party candidates during the general elections, but the convention supported Gompers. McCraith was replaced by Frank Morrison who served in that office for the next forty years (see note 33). In 1901 Gompers described McCraith as “difficult personally [but] so far as financial honesty is concerned, cannot be questioned. He was also a competent official. He did seek to impose his theories upon the movement, regardless of the attitude of the organization. It was this which caused friction between him and me. He seemed to suspect everyone of wrongdoing who did not agree entirely with him in his theories of philosophical anarchy. This, with an additional failing of overweening conceit which prompted him to imagine that he ‘knew it all and that there was no depth’ to any one whose studies and convictions of the social problem did not coincide absolutely with his, was his gravest fault. This fault made it exceedingly difficult for any one to get along with him, and which brought upon his retirement.” Gompers to James E. Bell, January 31, 1901, cited in Philip Taft, The A.F. of L. in the Time of Gompers (New York, 1957), p. 131.
16. “Talking label” refers to the attempt by organized labor to label goods produced by union workers. In this way union men could increase their ability to mount a successful boycott of non-union companies.
17. I.M.U. refers to the International Machinists’ Union. See pp. 49–57.
John McBride (1854–1917), born in Wayne County, Ohio, went to work in the coal mines when he was still a child. Active in the Ohio Miners’ Amalgamated Association, he was elected president of that organization in 1883. That same year he won a seat in the Ohio legislature, and was reelected to another term in 1885. In 1883 he also organized the Amalgamated Association of Miners of the United States, and after its quick destruction by a long strike, in 1885 he helped found and became president of the National Federation of Miners and Mine Laborers. McBride was instrumental in uniting the major mine unions into the United Mine Workers of America in 1890. He was elected president in 1892, and served in that post until 1895 when he resigned to be president of the AFL for one year. He lost his bid for reelection to Samuel Gompers by only eighteen votes. In 1896 he purchased the Columbus Record, which he edited until 1917 when he moved to Arizona for reasons of health.
18. See also pp. 21–22, 47–48.
19. D. Douglas Wilson (d. 1915) was editor of the Machinists’ Monthly Journal from 1895 until his death in 1915. As editor, he turned the Journal into one of the best trades publications of the time.
20. James P. O’Connell (1858–1936) became a machinist’s apprentice at age sixteen in Oil City, Pennsylvania, where he subsequently organized a local of the International Association of Machinists, Knights of Labor Lodge 113. In 1893 he was elected to the chief administrative post in the IAM, a position he held until 1911. O’Connell served on the AFL executive council from 1895 to 1918, and as president of the AFL metal trades department from 1911 to 1934. A close associate of Samuel Gompers, he was a conservative, “pure and simple” unionist.
21. James Duncan (1857–1928) was born in Scotland, but immigrated to the United States in 1880. Active in the Granite Cutters’ National Union in Baltimore, Maryland, Duncan was elected president of the GCNU in 1885, and later became second and then first vice-president of the AFL in 1894 and 1900 respectively. He also served as a labor representative with the American delegation at the Paris Conference in 1919.
22. Thomas J. Morgan (1847–1912) was born in England and immigrated to Chicago Illinois. Between 1875 and 1895 he worked as a machinist in the shops of the Illinois Central Railroad, and eventually graduated from Chicago Law College. During the 1870s Morgan was one of the founders of the Chicago Trade and Labor Assembly, from which he and other radicals split in 1884 to form the Chicago Central Labor Union. He was instrumental in the movement which ended in the creation of the Illinois Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1879. Morgan advocated public ownership of all means of production and distribution, and was active in the Social Democratic Party (Socialist) making several unsuccessful bids for public office on that ticket.
23. William J. Bowen (1868–1948) of Albany, New York, became a bricklayer’s apprentice and eventually became president of Local 6 of the Bricklayers’ Masons’ and Plasterers’ International Union in 1895. Rising through the ranks, Bowen was elected president of the BMPIU in 1904, a position he held until 1928, and was responsible for its affiliation with the AFL in 1916.
24. The Colored Screwmen’s Association No. 2, of Galveston, Texas, grew out of the Cotton Jammers’ Association. Founded in 1879, the Jammers consisted of Negro longshoremen who were prevented from entering the screwmen’s trade by the all-white Screwmen’s Benevolent Association. The Jammers unsuccessfully attempted to gain contracts on some of the company wharves. No. 2 was organized by a local black leader, Norris Wright Cuney, in March 1883, and gained its first contract the following month. The new contract precipitated a strike by white screwmen, the immediate outcome of which was an agreement between the black and white screwmen to share the work available.
25. The Pullman Palace Car Company was founded in 1867 by George M. Pullman. The company built sleeping cars for long-distance railroad passengers, offering them the finest luxury and personal service possible. Working for George Pullman had its drawbacks, however, for employees found the feudal paternalism he exercised over them an intolerable burden. Employees were forced to live in overcrowded tenements in the company town of Pullman, Illinois (which excluded blacks), compelled to pay exorbitant rents, even more exorbitant utility rates, and were subjected to innumerable shop abuses. When the Panic of 1893 (see note 55) brought wholesale dismissals and wage cuts, while rents and other living costs remained high, workers became restive. The 1894 strike against Pullman was organized by the American Railway Union, led by Eugene V. Debs (see note 3), and was one of the most serious of the decade.
26. The American Railway Union, founded by Eugene Debs (see note 3) in 1893, attempted to organize all railroad workers, skilled and unskilled, into one industrial organization. Except for blacks (Debs opposed this exclusion on the floor of the convention but was overruled), all railroad workers were accepted as members, and the dues were set low enough ($1 per year) so that anyone could afford to join. The ARU grew to about 150,000 within six months. A depression year, 1894 was the year in which the ARU saw glorious victory on the one hand, and devastating defeat on the other. In April 1894, James J. Hill slashed wages on the Great Northern Railroad, and Debs led his union out on strike. The strike was submitted to arbitration and the workmen won most of their demands. After the Pullman Company (see note 25) followed Hill’s example and cut wages, without lowering other costs in its company town of Pullman, Illinois, Pullman workers went on strike and urged Debs to help. This request raised a serious question for the ARU leadership. There was little sympathy for losing the recently won gains from Hill, but the union would also lose face among the workers if it did not come to their assistance. The quandary was settled when the railroad companies began to dismiss switchmen who refused to handle Pullman cars, and the stoppage was called. Eventually, the strike was defeated by the opposition of the Railway Brotherhoods, the AFL, the General Managers Association, and the federal government. The other railroad unions naturally resented the burgeoning presence of the ARU, and Gompers opposed the ARU as “dual unionism.” The Managers Association, composed of representatives of twenty-four railroads, orchestrated the firing of participating workers, and the federal government under orders of President Grover Cleveland and Attorney General Richard Olney (see notes 27, 28) ordered federal troops into Chicago to maintain order, although it had never been threatened.
27. John Peter Altgeld (1847–1902) was born in Nassau and came to the United States with his parents while still an infant. He grew to maturity in Richmond County, Ohio, with scant education. Altgeld drifted west in 1869, working variously as a laborer, school teacher, and law student. He was quick to learn, however, and after serving in minor political posts, he was elected to the superior court of Cook County (Chicago), Illinois. By the time he resigned in 1891, he was chief justice of the court. Altgeld came to have great influence among Illinois Democrats, and in 1892 he was their successful candidate for governor. Altgeld’s political reputation in American history is fixed to his pardon of the three Haymarket anarchists (see note 94) who had been convicted of murder in 1886; four of their colleagues already had been executed. Altgeld came to believe that the jury had been packed, the judge prejudiced, and that the conviction of the anarchists was miscarriage of justice. Historians have sided with Altgeld, but his pardon created a furor. He was renominated for governor in 1896, but lost to the Republican candidate, John R. Tanner (see note 95).
For biographical background on President Grover Cleveland, see Vol. III, note 61.
28. Richard Olney (1835–1917), a native of Massachusetts, graduated from Brown University and Harvard Law School before he began to practice law in Boston in 1859. He remained aloof from politics until 1893, when Grover Cleveland selected him for attorney-general. When the American Railway Union went on strike in 1894, he charged the union with obstruction of the mails, and ordered deputy marshals to protect the trains. Moreover, he obtained restraining orders from federal judges in Chicago prohibiting the activities of the strikers. Federal troops were sent to Chicago as well, and Eugene V. Debs was arrested. During the appeals which ensued Olney learned something about the basic grievances involved, became more sensitive to them, and afterwards supported the rights of organized labor. When Walter Q. Gresham died, Cleveland chose Olney to fill the office of secretary of state in 1895. Olney retired from public life in 1897, and returned to his private practice.
29. “Mr. Jeff Davis & Co.” is an obvious reference to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate States of America, of which he was president. For biographical background on Davis, see Vol. I, note 53.
30. Frank P. Sargent (d. 1908) was born in Vermont, but moved to Arizona for reasons of poor health. After serving in the United States Cavalry, he went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Active in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, he was elected vice-grand master in 1883, and then grand master from 1885 to 1902. Sargent served on the United States Industrial Commission, before being appointed United States Commissioner General of Immigration in 1902. He also was a member of the National Civic Federation.
31. S. E. Wilkinson was president of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen from 1885 to 1895.
F. S. Sweeney was one of the early leaders of the Switchmen’s Union of North America. Its chief rival was the Railway Trainmen, which was recognized by the AFL as the only spokesman for yard workers within the organized labor movement. After years of considerable friction, the Switchmen were absorbed into the Trainmen Brotherhood in 1922.
32. William D. Mahon (1861–1949), born in Athens County, Ohio, worked in the Hocking Valley coal mines before moving to Columbus in 1888. There he found employment with the city streetcar company, and assisted in organizing the local transit union. In addition to holding the presidency of his local union, Mahon served two terms as president of the Columbus Trades and Labor Council, and after helping found the Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America, he became its president in 1893. Mahon affiliated AASERMCE with the American Federation of Labor that same year. During his long career, Mahon served in numerous industrial relations capacities as a representative of organized labor, and served in the administrations of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. Few labor leaders can match Mahon’s longevity of fifty-two years at the head of a national union.
33. Frank Morrison (1859–1949), born in Canada, immigrated to the United States in 1873. A printer, he worked for various newspapers as a compositor and was active in the International Typographical Union, Chicago Local 16. He attended Lake Forest University Law School in 1893 and 1894. In 1896 Morrison was an ITU delegate to the AFL Convention, and the following year was elected secretary of the AFL. He served in that office for the next forty years with distinction as an administrator.
34. Peter M. Arthur (1831–1903) immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1842, and settled in Schenectady, New York. Beginning as an engine wiper in 1894, Arthur quickly rose to become a locomotive engineer on the New York Central Railroad. A member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, he was elected grand chief engineer (president) in 1874 and held that post until his death in 1903. A very conservative trade unionist, he refused to affiliate with either the Knights of Labor or the American Federation of Labor.
The B.L.E. refers to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, O.R.C. to the Organization of Railway Companies, B.L.F. to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, B.R.T. to the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, O.R.T. to the Organization of Railway Trainmen.
35. William Samuel Carter (1859–1923) was born in Austin, Texas, attended the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas for two years, and then went to work as a fireman on the railroad in 1879. For the next fourteen years he worked as fireman and engineer on several railroads in the Southwest. Active in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, he became the editor of the union’s official organ in 1894, was elected secretary-treasurer of the BLFE in 1904, and served as president from 1909 to 1922.
36. The AFL prohibited an affiliated union to have constitutional restrictions on race. Unions could avoid the restriction, however by placing it in the ritual for membership. Thus they could affiliate with the AFL and still bar black members.
37. For the Industrial Commission, see the Introduction to Part VI.
38. David Hume (1711–1776) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father was an attorney, and his mother was the daughter of the president of the College of Justice. Hume entered Edinburgh University in 1723, but left in 1726 to read law. Privately, Hume continued to study philosophy, and published his first work in 1739. After several years of financial strain, and disappointment as a writer, Hume’s reputation as an historian and philosopher began its ascent in 1748 with the publication of his numerous books. A moral philosopher, he is known for his skepticism, empiricism, and the application of inferential method to the study of human nature.
39. Communism as an ideology and social movement holds to the belief that property ownership should rest with the community rather than individuals, and that the benefits of the economic system ought to be distributed in such a way as to promote the common good. The modern ideology is largely the work of Karl Marx. Although revised or elaborated upon by his followers, Marx argued that human society moves through historical stages, which are distinguished by the mode of economic production: 1) primitive communal society, 2) slavery, 3) feudalism, 4) capitalism, 5) socialism.
Anarchism as a social philosophy was confined primarily to the nineteenth century. According to the theory of social relations, society should be controlled entirely by voluntary organizations without coercive power, not by the state. Without coercion each individual will achieve his greatest potential. The economic system under anarchism would be one in which goods would be distributed without profit, and all members of society have equal access to the means of production. Some anarchists believed in nonviolence as a tactic, while others believed in the efficacy of terror as a political tool.
Nihilism comes from the Latin noun nihil, meaning “nothing.” More particularly, it usually refers to a phase of the Russian revolutionary agitation against Czar Alexander II of the last half of the nineteenth century. It was used as a perjorative term to describe those who articulated an ideal of personal independence as opposed to the archaic tyranny of the state and its stifling of human behavior. Eventually, they became apostles of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the poor. Persecution pushed them further toward anarchism, but they usually shrunk from violence as a tool for toppling governments, and adhered to insistence upon an elected representative assembly.
Agrarianism probably refers to the political movement and ideology espoused by spokesmen of the farmers’ Alliances and the Populist Party (see Vol. III, note 47).
40. See Jerome Dowd, “Cheap Labor in the South,” Gunton’s Magazine, 18 (February 1900): 113–21. The editor refutes Dowd’s thesis on pages 121–30 in the same issue. Dowd was a professor in the department of economics and sociology, Trinity College, North Carolina.
41. “Black marbles” is a reference to the practice of blackballing applicants for membership in an organization.
42. R. L. Smith (b. 1861) left his native South Carolina and moved to Texas in the late 1870s or early 1880s. A graduate of Atlanta University, Smith became the principal of Oakland Normal School (Colorado County), in 1885. He also became an associate of Booker T. Washington, and an ardent champion of black self-help. In 1889 he founded the Farmers’ Improvement Society, a self-help organization with a program which called for: abolition of the crop mortgage credit system; improved methods of farming; the formation of cooperatives; creation of insurance funds; encouragement of home and land ownership. Serving in the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth legislatures, Smith was one of the last two blacks who sat in that body during the social Reconstruction era.
43. The correct name is Edwin Markham, author of the poem, “The Man With a Hoe.”
44. The senator from South Carolina who admitted keeping Negroes from the polls probably was Benjamin Tillman. For biographical background on Tillman, see Vol. III, note 60.
45. There was a strike in 1898 where operatives threatened violence because of the hiring of black mill hands. Violence had occurred at Atlanta cotton mills specifically, and southern mills generally when Negroes were brought in as mill hands. When they worked in these mills it was usually off the shop floor, or as clean-up men. See also, note 103.
46. For the most thorough study of Richard L. Davis to date, see Herbert G. Gutman, “The Negro and the United Mine Workers of America: The Career and Letters of Richard L. Davis, and Something of Their Meaning: 1890–1900,” in Julius Jacobson (ed.), The Negro and the American Labor Movement (Garden City, 1968), pp. 49–127.
47. Davis was referring to the Hocking Valley coal strike of 1884–1885, which erupted after years of hostility between miners and the mine owners. The strike was precipitated when the operators imposed sharp wage reductions from 80 cents to 60 cents per ton. On June 23, 1884, the long and bitter strike began involving 4,000 miners and helpers, forty-six mines, and lasted over nine months. Immigrants and a few blacks were imported to work some of the mines under protection of heavily armed guards. In the end, the miners inflicted considerable property damage, but nevertheless lost in a crushing defeat which destroyed the Ohio Miners’ Amalgated Association. For a short study of this strike, see George B. Cotkin, “Strikebreakers, Evictions and Violence: Industrial Conflict in the Hocking Valley, 1884–1885,” Ohio History 87 (Spring 1978): 140–50. For a study of an earlier strike in the valley, see Herbert G. Gutman, “Reconstruction in Ohio: Negroes in the Hocking Valley Coal Mines in 1873 and 1874,” Labor History, 3 (Fall 1962): 243–64.
“Blacklegs” was a perjorative term for strikebreakers.
48. “Edmunds” was a misspelling of “Edmonds.”
49. District 17 of the UMW included the state of West Virginia.
50. For “Brother Riley” see pp. 177–83.
51. In January, 1890, several rival miners’ organizations met in Columbus, Ohio, and founded the United Mine Workers of America. During its formative years, the UMW competed with the dying Knights of Labor, which had organized a large number of coal miners into its National Trades Assembly 135. Despite the rivalry at official levels, rank-and-file workers themselves often made little distinction between the two groups. Some miners even maintained dual membership, although national union officials vigorously denounced this practice as “dual unionism.” Riley apparently recognized that he would be addressing himself to “exclusive” as well as “dual” unionists, and in fact, possibly held dual membership himself.
52. In June 1882, 3,800 workers of the Carnegie steel mills at Homestead, Pennsylvania, went on strike over wages and working conditions. Henry Clay Frick, chairman of the board, hired 300 Pinkerton detectives to protect the strikebreakers he had hired to break the strike. As the detectives were being towed up the Monongahela River aboard barges, strikers fired on them, precipitating one of the gravest labor conflicts in American history. During the battle which ensued, three Pinkertons and ten strikers died, and a large but unknown number of men were wounded. When the tug pulled away stranding the Pinkertons, they surrendered to the strikers. The militia was sent in to restore order, but the strikers held out for several months. The ultimate failure of the strike devastated the 24,000 member Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, and destroyed union organization in the steel industry until the 1930s.
53. John Nugent, president of UMW District 17 (West Virginia), was elected to the West Virginia state legislature during the 1906 election.
54. “Stanley’s works” is a reference to the explorations and publications of Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841–1904). Born in England, John Rowlands (his original name) immigrated to the United States in 1859. After the Civil War he became a reporter for the New York Herald. His most spectacular assignment was a search of central Africa for the lost missionary-explorer, Dr. David Livingstone, whom he found in 1871. He continued the explorations of Livingstone, and worked toward the creation of the Congo Free State. In 1895 he resumed his English citizenship, and was knighted in 1899. Among his most popular writings are How I Found Livingstone (1872), Through the Dark Continent (1878), and In Darkest Africa (1890).
An “iron-clad” oath was one in which a worker signed his name, agreeing as a condition of employment that he would not join a union.
55. The Panic of 1893 began in February when the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad collapsed into bankruptcy. The financial panic accelerated before the year ended, and became one of the most severe depressions of the nineteenth century. There were several major causes of the depression: an overexpansion of railroads and other industries; banking reserves had been used too freely for speculation; the agricultural depression, which had already been chronic for several years, further reduced purchasing power; the withdrawal of foreign capital reduced capital at precisely the time it was needed most.
56. The Pocahontas coal field is located in the southernmost tip of West Virginia, particularly in Mercer and McDowell counties, near the western border of Virginia. Traditionally, black coal miners were relatively numerous in this district.
57. “The great coal miners’ strike” probably refers to the Great Strike of 1894 in Alabama.
58. Uriah Smith Stevens (1821–1882), a tailor, organized the Garment Cutters’ Association of Philadelphia in 1862. In 1869 he organized the Noble Order of the Knights of Labor, and became its first Grand Master Workman, serving until 1879, when Terrence V. Powderly succeeded Stevens. For biographical background on Stevens, see Vol. III, note 20. James R. Sovereign, in turn, supplanted Powderly as Grand Master Workman of the Knights of Labor in 1894.
59. The Spanish-American War (1898) had its origins in American expansionism which coveted the annexation of Cuba. But there were other more immediate causes of the war, some noble, others not. American sympathy for Cubans rose dramatically after the Revolution of 1895, which the Spanish brutally suppressed. Also, by the late 1890s, American investment in the sugar industry had grown to major proportions, and the economic depression in Cuba threatened those interests. Then too, America contracted the imperialist fever for foreign possessions elsewhere in the world to which Europeans had succumbed decades earlier. The rising spread-eagle chauvinism was fanned into hysterical proportions by sensationalist journalism.
President Cleveland (see note 17) did his best to enforce neutrality, but the U.S. was deeply involved in the Revolution of 1895 from the beginning. In 1896 William McKinley (see Vol. III, note 37) was elected to the presidency on a platform which included a demand for Cuban independence. On February 15, 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine suffered an explosion which sent it to the bottom of Havana harbor with 260 Americans aboard. McKinley succumbed to the clamors for war which reverberated throughout the nation, and on April 20, 1898, Congress adopted a resolution of war, which McKinley quickly signed.
The war lasted only ten weeks, but the United States acquired status as a world power, with possessions or client states in the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Asia. In the Philippine Islands, rebels against Spanish rule rejoiced at the news that the U.S. had acquired power over the Islands by the Treaty of Paris (1898), which ended the Spanish-American War. When it became apparent that the U.S. did not intend to bring immediate independence to them, however, the Filipinos continued their insurrection against outside rule until they were defeated in 1902. In that year the islands became an unincorporated territory of the U.S. The Philippines finally gained their independence on July 4, 1946.
60. Michael D. Ratchford (1860–1927) immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1872, and settled in Stark County, Ohio. Almost immediately he went to work in the coal mines, and became active in the Union movement. In 1890 he was elected president of the United Mine Workers of America local in Massillon, Ohio. His ascent in the organization was rapid, serving successively as general organizer (1893–1894), and president of District 6 (1895–1898). Due to high unemployment and other grievances which grew out of the depression of 1894, UMW membership had plummeted dangerously prior to his presidency, but Ratchford was able to reverse this downward spiral. He served as a labor representative on the Industrial Commission from 1898 to 1900, and as Ohio’s Commissioner of Labor Statistics from 1900 to 1908. Switching sides at the bargaining table, Ratchford became commissioner of the Ohio Coal Operators (1909–1912), and the Illinois Coal Operators’ Association in 1914.
61. For the eight-hour day movement, see Vol. I, note 69.
62. Coal-cutting machines increasingly replaced pick-and-shovel mining after the Civil War. Driven by steam, water, or compressed air, the “iron miner” dramatically increased coal production, reduced costs, and freed humans from the tedious and difficult task of winning coal from the seam by means of the pick.
63. Riley referred to the annual convention of UMW District 6 which met in January 1892 in Columbus, Ohio. United Mine Workers’ Journal, January 28, 1892.
Prior to the use of machine loaders in underground mines, coal was handloaded into cars by individual miners who identified their cars with special chips. A company “weighmaster” then weighed each car and the miners were paid according to the tonnage they produced. The system was laden with abuses, such as understating the tonnage, which worked to the detriment of the miners. Therefore, one of the early changes sought by the UMW was company acceptance of a “checkweighman” who weighed the coal along with the company’s employee in order to prevent cheating. The checkweighman was elected and paid by the miners themselves to insure his loyalty. He was, therefore, usually a strong labor man of tested conviction and known influence in the community. How race affected the chances of a black being elected to that post depended on local race relations. Prejudiced whites usually objected to dependency on a black checkweighman.
“Master Workman” referred to a local assembly leader of the Knights of Labor, a semi-secret labor organization founded in 1869 on the “one big union” concept.
64. Mine Number 3 was located in Rendville, Ohio, where Richard L. Davis, the black UMW official was employed. Number 3 employed a sizable black work force. The mines in the Rendville sub-district had all gone out on strike under an agreement that none of them would work until all had agreed on new terms. The other mines resumed to full operation, however, when the miners at Number 3 were still out, thus placing them in a vulnerable position (U.M.W.J., July 21, 1892). Apparently, this caused considerable friction among blacks at Number 3, and since Davis was black and a union official, he fell under suspicion. Davis wrote that he was considered “dangerous” by some of the black miners at Number 3 who vowed to replace him as checkweighman. While many of these men were “true as steel,” Davis believed that most of the black workers were more race conscious than class conscious, and therefore constituted a danger to union recognition in the district. In fact, he wrote, they believed that capital had a “right to its supremacy and that labor should bow submissively to the demands of capital.” Moreover, they did not like “being led by white men” (U.W.W.J., August 11, 1892).
In response to Riley’s letter, Davis wrote that he was delighted to see that there were others besides himself who had “the pluck and the energy” to express their thoughts in print. He hoped that “our people” would reconsider their position. While Riley might have a majority of “good men” in Tennessee, at Number 3 they were in the distinct minority. At the last meeting, for example, one of these black anti-union men took the floor and asserted that if there had been no union, pay and conditions would not have been any different than they were then. Davis admonished them for being “blind in every sense of the word” (U.M.W.J., September 1, 1892). Another black union activist, F. H. Jackson, also of Rendville, Ohio, in a subsequent issue of the U.M.W.J., encouraged Riley and Davis to continue their valuable efforts. He thought Riley’s letters were “grand” for he had “written my sentiments all the way through” (U.M.W.J., September 15, 1892).
“Brother Willing Hands” was a pseudonym for a black UMW organizer whose given name remains unknown. He generally applauded the letters of Riley, and other black unionists, published in the U.M.W.J.
65. The Coal Creek “war,” “rebellion,” or “trouble,” took its name from the creek along which many of the mines were located in northeastern Tennessee. The village of Coal Creek was renamed Lake City in 1936. The struggle itself occurred between miners, operators, and the State of Tennessee, over the use of convict labor in the coal mines. This practice earned the state revenues and saved the expense of another prison, but cost miners a means of livelihood.
The uprising against the system began in the spring of 1891 when the miners struck the Tennessee Coal and Mining Company and were subsequently replaced by convicts. What followed over the next two years was a series of incidents which followed the same scenario: Miner “armies” captured the mines, sent the convicts to Knoxville or Nashville by train, whereupon the Governor returned them under military escort. By the spring of 1893 the state government determined to bring an end to the orderly but defiant activities of the coal miners. Trainloads of troops were sent to the coal field with artillery and Gatling guns which they used to disperse the miners.
Although the miners lost the battles, they won the war. Public opinion was so aroused that by 1896 the State found it inexpedient to renew the convict lease system. See Pete Daniel, “The Tennessee Convict War,” in Tennessee Historical Quarterly, (Fall 1975): 273–93; Philip S. Foner, History of the Labor Movement in the United States, Vol. II (New York), pp. 219–29.
William C. Webb was president of UMW District 19 (Jellico, Tennessee) during the Coal Creek troubles, and was a leading spokesman for Tennessee miners. Apparently Webb did not practice racial prejudice in his union activities, and evidence exists that he possessed a strong social conscience: “The miners of the South for several years have been but little better treated in the convict camps than the colored man before the late war. Emancipation must come legally or the people will take the law in their own hands. And why not?” See U.M.W.J., July 30, 1891.
66. “Show” referred to a job, or to an opportunity to earn a living. “Kicking” was a popular term for complaining.
67. This letter was signed in Brazil, Indiana, and appeared in the U.M.W.J., March 24, 1892. A black organizer himself, “Willing Hands” experienced similar difficulties with white racial hostility when conducting union work in Kentucky.
68. Referred to William C. Webb and William R. Riley himself.
69. The Chattanooga Southern Railroad ran between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Gadsden, Alabama. The line was later renamed the Tennessee, Alabama, & Georgia Railway Company. The reasons for the strike are unknown.
70. The “paper question” referred to a mild debate among readers of the U.M.W.J. over the paper’s format.
71. By “mites” Riley meant small sums of money which the miners had saved from their meager wages.
72. Blacks probably went to work at Indian Mountain in 1893 as strikebreakers and stayed on after the strike ended. This was a common pattern of entry for blacks into employment which previously had been closed to them. This pattern existed in many American industries until recognition of the unions as collective bargaining agents was mandated by the federal government during the 1830s.
73. Apparently, “Little Rhody” referred to the state of Rhode Island.
74. James G. Blaine (1830–1893) graduated from Washington College in Pennsylvania, and after several years of teaching, settled in Maine to become a newspaper editor. Blaine was one of the founders of the Republican party, and over the years became the party’s chief power broker in Maine. Subsequently, he served in the state legislature for three terms, sat in the United States Congress from 1863 to 1876, and became speaker of the house from 1869 to 1875. In 1876 he began his service in the United States Senate. Blaine was a liberal during Reconstruction, and became associated with the reform wing of the Republican party during the internecine struggles of the Grant administration. In 1876 his chances for the nomination were thwarted by charges of corruption, and he again lost his bid for the nomination in 1880. Finally in 1884, Blaine was nominated for the presidency, but he lost the election to Grover Cleveland (see note 17). From 1889 to 1892 he served as Benjamin Harrison’s (see Vol. III, note 63) secretary of state, and surprised friends and enemies alike by rising above partisan politics to become genuinely interested in foreign affairs.
75. “Cahoba” is properly spelled Cahaba.
76. George R. Gliddon, an Englishman who came to the U.S. in 1837, was an Egyptologist with a special interest in mummies. He provided data on crania sizes used by pro-slavery apologists to “prove” that Negroes had smaller brains than caucasians. Originally he had no interest in such uses of his data; however, he realized the significance such materials had for selling books in the South.
Gliddon and Josiah C. Nott, of Mobile, Alabama, published Types of Mankind . . . in 1854, in which they argued that applied anthropology had an immense importance for Americans, because proper race management (i.e., control of blacks) required an understanding of their intrinsic racial character. The most ardent apostle of this creed was Nott, who became a leading figure in the defense of slavery school by using pseudo-scientific arguments to make his case. He published a considerable body of writings “proving” the innate inferiority of blacks.
77. T.C.I. & R.R. Co. refers to the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company which was the largest corporation of its kind in the South by the 1890s.
Henry Fairchild DeBardeleben was one of the leading figures in the development of the Alabama coal industry. The son of a widowed mother, he came under the guardianship of Daniel Pratt, one of the pioneer coal mine operators in the South. Pratt placed DeBardeleben in positions of responsibility in his businesses at a very early age. After marrying Pratt’s daughter, DeBardeleben entered a business partnership with his father-in-law. In 1878, he and two other mine operators formed a partnership to found the Pratt Coal and Coke Company. DeBardeleben also founded or purchased several other major coal mine enterprises in the state. By 1891, the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company had purchased or otherwise acquired control over most of the major coal mines in Alabama, including those of DeBardeleben. DeBardeleben became the Vice-president of the Tennessee Company, and was responsible for protecting the company’s interests during the miners’ strike of 1894. The career of DeBardeleben is treated extensively in Ethel Armes, The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama (Birmingham, 1910).
78. W. J. Kelso was a major figure in the Alabama UMW, and a regular correspondent to the United Mine Workers’ Journal. Kelso played a major role in the Alabama miners’ strike of 1894. As chairman of the committee which decided to attack a group of strikebreakers, an assault in which several men died, the court sentenced Kelso to one year at hard labor in the mines. For a study of the strike, see Robert David Ward and William Warren Rogers, Labor Revolt in Alabama: The Great Strike of 1894 (University, Ala., 1965).
79. The “Mary Lee Disaster” probably refers to the difficulties which beset the miners at these Alabama pits in 1894. In January the men had not received their pay for two months, and the company refused to allow the men to have their own “checkweighman” (see note 63). When seven men left the mines in protest, the company announced a wage reduction from .425 to .35 cents per ton, and the miners voted to strike.
80. The reference to national UMW officers, “like McBride” who “are willing to leave their old parties and try others” is a reference to the fact that John McBride (see note 17) organized a convention of Ohio union leaders which endorsed the 1890 Omaha platform of the People’s Party (see Vol. III, notes 47 and 52). They also ran a Populist-Labor slate in Ohio, although it garnered only five percent of the vote.
81. James Buchanan (1791–1868) became the fifteenth President of the United States. Following graduation from Dickinson College in 1809, he turned to law and Pennsylvania politics and was elected to Congress from 1821–1831. Buchanan served as minister to Russia from 1832 to 1833, and then in the Senate from 1835 to 1845 before his appointment as Secretary of State under President Polk. From 1853 to 1856 Buchanan served as minister to England, a position which removed him from the acrimonious debate over slavery, and enabled him to emerge in 1856 as a compromise Democratic candidate for the Presidency. Southerners gained his support for the proslavery Kansas Lecompton Constitution, but Congress refused to sanction the document. Buchanan desperately sought to mediate the slavery dispute, which had reached critical dimensions during his presidency, but to no avail.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sanfozd, issued March 6, 1857, was two-fold: 1. a Negro whose ancestors were slaves cannot himself become a citizen of the United States; 2. the Missouri Compromise, which prohibited slavery in the territories, is unconstitutional. Dred Scott, the plaintiff in the case, was a slave born in Virginia, c. 1795, and then taken to Missouri with his master in 1827. In 1833 he was purchased by Dr. Emerson and accompanied him into federal territory north of 36°30’, established in the Missouri Compromise of 1820 as the dividing line between slave and free soil. Emerson and Scott returned to Missouri in 1838, and after the doctor’s death in 1846, Scott sued the widow for his freedom, arguing that he was legally free because of his residence in the North. The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, having won an initially favorable judgment which was overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court. Expected to settle the broader issue of slavery, the Supreme Court’s decision, that black slaves “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect,” only heightened the sectional conflict and drew the nation closer to war. Two months after the historic decision, Scott was purchased by a white man who emancipated him. The following year, on September 17, 1858, Dred Scott died of tuberculosis.
Sponsored by Henry Clay, the Missouri Compromise was passed by Congress in 1820, and quieted the slavery extension issue for nearly thirty years. The act admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state, while prohibiting slavery above latitude 36° 30′ in the Louisiana Territory. The issue of slavery’s extension into the western territories was opened again during the 1850s.
Fugitive slave laws, acts passed by Congress in 1793 and 1850, required that fugitive slaves be returned to their owners. Because northern states either ignored or haphazardly enforced the 1793 act. Congress passed the much strengthened 1850 law to appease southern demands that northerners cease harboring runaways.
82. “Patrick Henry the Great” is a reference to Patrick Henry (1736–1799). A famous Virginia lawyer and orator, he took an uncompromising stand against British control in the American colonies. He is known to every American child as the patriot who delivered the impassioned speech in which he announced: “Give me liberty or give me death.” Henry was elected first governor of Virginia, serving during the Revolution from 1776–1779, but he steadfastly refused all offers of high office in the new republic.
83. The “check-off” system was fundamental to a union’s security, for unions did not have the ability to collect dues and keep accurate rosters of those who were members in good standing and those who were not. Thus, the company agreed to check-off dues, assessments, fines, and provide the union with accurate monthly statements of dues collected.
84. Congressional Radicals adopted the Fourteenth Amendment and sent it to the states for approval in the early summer of 1866. Section 1 declared that all persons born or naturalized in this country were citizens of the United States and their states of residence, establishing the first national definition of citizenship. Moreover, it proclaimed that no state could deprive a citizen of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny any citizen equal protection of the law. There is no doubt that the framers intended to protect the citizenship rights of Negroes. It was the Fourteenth Amendment to which civil rights advocates of the 1950s and 1960s appealed.
85. O. H. Underwood was a black miner from Mystic, Iowa.
86. F. A. Bannister was a Negro elected to the vice-presidency of UMW District 17 in West Virginia during the 1890s.
87. For the Pana-Virden Strike, see pp. 207–47.
88. W. R. Fairley (b. 1845) was born in England. A coal miner, he became active in the Miners’ Association of Durham, and served on its executive board for seven years. Fairley was also a member of the Miners’ National Association of Great Britain. Fairley immigrated to the United States in 1880, living in Ohio for two years before settling in Alabama. He became one of the leading figures in the labor movement in that state.
89. John Swinton (1829–1901) was managing editor of the New York Times during the Civil War. He became interested in the labor movement, and in 1874 was nominated for mayor of New York City by the Industrial Political Party. From 1883 to 1887 he published a weekly labor periodical, John Swinton’s Paper, and remained an ardent supporter of the union movement until his death.
90. For the “Hocking Valley troubles,” see note 47.
Unions vehemently opposed the importation of contract labor by American companies for several reasons. Aliens provided with passage to the United States in exchange for their labor were frequently viciously exploited by employers. Moreover, the practice purposely created a surplus of labor in order to drive down wages, and provided a ready pool of potential strikebreakers.
Coal companies usually operated in relatively isolated areas, and because employees found it difficult to purchase supplies at distant points, they had to rely on stores operated by the companies. As payment for their labor, miners often received “script,” which was redeemable only at the company store. In either case, miners became dependents, and forced to pay exorbitant prices for the necessities of life. Hence miners called this system of exploitation the “pluck me” system.
Joseph Emerson Brown (1821–1894) was reared in the mountains of Georgia, and for most of his youth, worked as a farm laborer. After attending school for a few years, he returned to northern Georgia, where he read law and was admitted to the bar in 1845. In 1846 he graduated from Yale Law School, and began his practice at home. He was elected to the state senate in 1849, and then to the bench. The Democrats successfully ran Brown for governor in 1857, and he was reelected to that office for three consecutive terms thereafter. As governor he was in constant conflict with legislators because of his independent will and his advocacy of institutional reforms. Following the Civil War, Brown practically stood alone among Georgia’s leaders in urging compliance with the Fourteenth Amendment, which would qualify the state for readmission to the Union. Switching to the Republican Party, Brown assisted in the implementation of the Radical plan for Reconstruction. He resigned from the Supreme Court of Georgia in 1870, where he had been appointed as Chief Justice in 1868, and became president of the Western & Atlantic Company, which ran the state-owned railroads. Brown also was highly successful in the coal and iron mining business. Governor Colquitt appointed him to an unexpired term in the United States Senate in 1880, and he was subsequently reelected to that office twice.
92. For T. Thomas Fortune, see note 119, and Vol. III, note 10.
93. Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881), The French Revolution: A History (New York, 1837).
94. The Haymarket anarchists were labor martyrs of the riot which occurred in Haymarket Square, Chicago, Illinois, on May 4, 1886. The riot grew out of the famous strikes for the eight-hour day. On May 3, the police precipitated a confrontation in which several people were killed or wounded. A meeting was called to protest the incident on May 4, and an unidentified person threw a bomb into the midst of the police. Seven policemen died in the ensuing panic. Seven of the rioters were sentenced to death, two of whom had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. In 1893, John P. Altgeld became governor of Illinois, and he pardoned the remaining three anarchists. For a discussion of anarchism, see note 39.
95. John R. Tanner (1844–1901) was elected Sheriff of Clay County, Illinois, and subsequently served as clerk of the circuit court, as a state senator from 1880 to 1883, and then as United States Marshal for southern Illinois. In 1886 he was elected state treasurer, and served in various other posts until 1897, when he defeated the Democratic incumbent John P. Altgeld (see note 27) for the governorship. His decision not to send troops to the coal fields to protect strikebreakers from violence during the Pana-Virden Strike, was very unpopular, and in large measure accounted for his failure to be reelected.
96. John Mitchell (1870–1919) was born into a mining family in Braidwood, Illinois, entered the mines himself, and worked in several states before resettling in Illinois. In 1885 he joined the Knights of Labor, National Assembly 135, and was one of the founders of the United Mine Workers of America in 1890. Mitchell served as president of the UMW from 1898 to 1909, during which time the union’s membership rose dramatically from 34,000 to about 300,000. An extremely popular labor leader, he also served as fourth vice-president of the American Federation of Labor from 1900 to 1914. Mitchell was a member of the National Civic Federation, and was chairman of the New York State Industrial Commission from 1915 until his death in 1919.
97. For a brief discussion of the “Filipino rebels’; see note 59.
98. For biographical background on President Benjamin Harrison, see Vol. III, note 63.
99. Richard R. Wright, Sr. (1855–1945) founded Savannah State College for Negroes in 1891, and served as its first president.
100. For biographical background on Bishop Henry M. Turner, see Vol. II, note 2.
101. For the war with Spain, see note 59.
102. For the Paris Commune, see Vol. II, pp. 151–52, 281.
103. The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills employed 1,400 operatives, and constituted the largest industrial enterprise in Atlanta in the 1890s. On August 4, 1897, the company hired twenty black women to work in the folding department. White women immediately quit work, and the men followed them out of the plant in a protest strike. The strike immediately degenerated into a riot when the police attempted to arrest several agitators. One of them, John O’Connor, was arrested, but upon being released that same night, formed the Textile Workers’ Protective Union. The company’s president refused to deal with the new union, but moved to undercut the strike by discharging the black workers, and the strike ended on August 5.
104. The exact number of lynchings from 1890–1899 are as follows:
1890 – 176
1891 – 192
1892 – 241
1893 – 200
1894 – 190
1895 – 171
1896 – 131
1897 – 156
1898 – 127
1899 – 107
See Ida B. Wells-Barnett, On Lynching (New York, 1969), pp. 46–47.
105. The best known member of the anti-lynching committee was George W. Cable. For biographical background on this prominent white southern liberal, see Vol. III, note 13.
106. William Saunders Scarborough (1852–1926) was born a slave in Macon, Georgia. He graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in 1875, and an MA in 1878, whereupon he returned to Macon and taught Latin, Greek, and mathematics at Lewis High School. In 1881 Scarborough published a Greek textbook. The following year he traveled to Africa, where he attended Liberia College and received an LL.D. degree. Proficient in several classical languages, Scarborough eventually joined the faculty of Wilberforce University, and served as its president from 1908 to 1920 when he retired.
107. For biographical background on Senator George F. Hoar, see Vol. II, note 54.
For biographical background on Senator William E. Chandler, see Vol. III, note 31.
108. Tuskegee Institute was founded on July 4, 1881, when the Alabama legislature authorized $2,000 annually for the operation of the school. It began as a normal and agricultural institution for Afro-Americans, and since the addition of a college department in 1927, the Institute has grown dramatically in size and mission. It was assumed by the legislators that Tuskegee would provide trained teachers, businessmen, and farmers who would lead their black communities in a segregated society. Much of the success of Tuskegee must be credited to its first principal, Booker T. Washington, who put the school on a strong foundation during his tenure from 1881 to 1915 (see note 7). The work of George Washington Carver, director of agricultural research for most of his long professional career, revolutionized southern agriculture and brought international attention to Tuskegee.
109. Vol. I in this series provides abundant materials on slaves in industry and in the crafts.
110. James Falconer Wilson (1828–1895) was born in Scotland, and immigrated to America in 1851, settling on a farm in Iowa. After attending Iowa College, he devoted his life to the advancement of agriculture. He served in the Iowa legislature from 1867 to 1872, and then was elected to the United States Congress as a Republican for three terms. Upon returning to private life, he devoted much of his time writing for farm journals. Wilson was appointed professor of agriculture at Iowa State College in 1891. Subsequently, Presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft appointed him to their cabinets as Secretary of Agriculture.
111. John Wesley (1703–1791), the founder of Methodism, was born in Lincolnshire England. One of ten children, John went to Oxford in 1720 and remained for fifteen years, earning an MA in 1727. In 1735 he volunteered for service in Georgia as a missionary to the Indians under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Instead, George Oglethorpe, the Governor of Georgia, appointed him minister of the English colonists living there. Wesley returned to England in 1738 more frustrated than ever with the rigid structure of the Church of England. That same year he had a religious experience which shaped the rest of his life. Excluded from many high church pulpits, he began to preach in the open air to ever larger throngs of poor people, and utilized laymen as preachers. Wesley organized his followers into Methodist societies, which, after his death, took on the shape of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The comparison was being drawn between Wesley and Booker T. Washington, the “Master of Tuskegee” (see note 7).
112. Joseph A. Tillinghast published The Negro in Africa and America (1902), a book which influenced an entire generation of scholars. Applying “social darwinism” to Africans and their American descendents, he argued that the Negro’s character had been formed in Africa, and that this racial heredity could be altered only over the indefinite period of time required for the process of natural selection. The “inferior” qualities of African life, such as “sexual licentiousness” and “inefficiency,” would be weeded out only by nature. African peoples, he argued, simply had not evolved as far along the human chain as members of other races, especially Caucasians. Because the forces of nature controlled the state of their social life, it was a foolish waste of time to artificially try to uplift them. See “The Negro in Africa and America,” Publications of the American Economic Association, 3d Ser., 3 (May 1902).
113. Fanny M. Jackson Coppin (1835–1912) was born a slave in Washington, D.C. An orphan, her aunt purchased her freedom and sent her to school in Rhode Island. From 1860 to 1865 she attended Oberlin College. After the Civil War Fanny Coppin organized schools to help educate freedmen who migrated to Ohio. In 1869 she became the principal of the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia. Subsequently, she became a leader in the black women’s club movement, lecturing on racial and sexual equality. Through her efforts Fanny became a well-known personality in America. Her autobiography, Reminiscences of School Life (1913), is a classic of its genre.
114. For biographical background on Robert Toombs, see Vol. III, note 57.
115. Matthew Arnold (1822–1888) was educated at Oxford University, and then became professor of poetry at that university from 1857 to 1867. Arnold was a prolific author, writing numerous volumes of poetry, literary criticism, lectures, and treatises on education. A leader in the movement to improve secondary education in England, he served as inspector of schools from 1851 to 1883.
116. Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), a Pennsylvania capitalist, acquired extensive holdings in the manufacture of coke. In the 1880s he took over management of Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills in Pittsburgh. His violently anti-labor posture precipitated the infamous Homestead Strike of 1892 (see note 52). He was at various times a business associate of many of the leading entrepreneurs of the day, including Carnegie, Mellon, and Rockefeller, and in the process accumulated one of the largest fortunes in America.
117. John Burns (b. 1858) was born in London. Following a grammar school education he worked variously in a candle factory, an engine works, as a pageboy, and finally as an apprentice engineer for seven years. Burns continued his education at night schools, and through extensive reading. A socialist with a gift for speaking, he was arrested several times for political agitation. In 1884 the Social Democratic Federation unsuccessfully forwarded Burns as a candidate for Parliament. He was an active member of the Amalgamated Engineers’ Union, and was still plying his trade when the workmen elected him as a Progressive to London County Council. That same year, 1889, he was one of the organizers of the London dock strike. In 1892, he began what would be the first of four terms as a member of Parliament from Battersea, and became a famous independent Radical.
118. The Rev. Alexander Walters (b. 1858) was born in Kentucky, and attended school in Lexington. After moving to Indianapolis, Indiana, he began his study of theology and was licensed to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1877. Walters served as a pastor and teacher in Kentucky for two years, and then moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1879 where he was ordained deacon. He returned to Kentucky for several years until called to a pulpit in San Francisco, California, in 1883, where he built the largest church in the Zion connection. He had risen to considerable influence as a black spokesman by 1884, for on a trip to New York City that year, he was granted conferences with President Chester A. Arthur, and the Governor of Pennsylvania. In 1887 Walters moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, rose to national prominence as a race leader, and became a bishop. Walters was interested in African missionary work, and in 1900 he and W. E. B. DuBois (see 136) attended a London conference of African and American Negro intellectuals. He was appointed chairman of the conference. Walters articulated a militant stance on racial uplift and European imperialism in Africa. See his autobiography, My Life and Work (New York, 1917).
119. The Afro-American League was conceived and organized primarily by T. Thomas Fortune (see Vol. III, note 10). In 1887 Fortune argued that blacks must organize and fight for civil rights themselves. Finally, in 1889 he was able to organize local protective leagues in scores of cities from coast to coast. At the first national organizing convention in 1890, the strategy of the League took shape. Addressing the convention. Fortune advocated a range of self-help programs, such as political agitation and the confrontation of injustice, an emphasis on racial solidarity, an Afro-American bank, the creation of bureaus of industrial education, and co-operative business development. The League’s constitution also called for a non-partisan agency to protest against racial discrimination in all forms. All the militant fervor notwithstanding, the League’s membership declined until by 1893 it was, for all practical purposes, defunct. In 1898 it was revived as the Afro-American Council, but came under the control of Booker T. Washington, and finally ended its days in 1908. See August Meier, Negro Thought in America, 1880–1915: Racial Ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington (Ann Arbor, 1963), Chapters 8 and 10, and Emma Lou Thornbrough, T. Thomas Fortune: Militant Journalist (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1972), Chapter 4.
120. District 49, Knights of Labor, commonly known as the “Home Club,” was located in New York. During the convention of 1886 in Richmond, Virginia, they created an uproar in the South by insisting on equal treatment for one of their black members, Frank J. Ferrell. See Vol. III, Part 4.
121. Edward McHugh came to the United States in 1896 to organize a dock workers’ union. That same year, the Dockers’ Union of England contributed $1,500 to launch a plan to organize longshoremen and waterfront workers throughout the world. Since an estimated 70,000 men were at work on American docks, they believed the chances of success were good. Thus, they sent McHugh to undertake the task. In New York he found thousands of men who recognized the need for organization. McHugh instantly won their trust, and launched a new union in October, 1896, known as the American Longshoremen’s Union. The men called it the “McHugh organization,” and he became president. The union grew rapidly, until by early 1898 it had twenty-one branches, mostly in Brooklyn, with about 15,000 members. The prospects for the union were bright until it was discovered that the general secretary, Frank J. Devlin, had absconded with the treasury. No serious doubt existed regarding McHugh’s integrity, but support for the organization evaporated. McHugh could not save the union, and in late 1898 he returned to England, However, a new organization arose out of the old, which became known as the Longshoremen’s Union Protective Association of Greater New York.
122. Albion Winegar Tourgee (1838–1905) was born near Williamsfield, Ohio, and attended the University of Rochester for two years before joining the Union Army during the Civil War. Following the secession of hostilities in 1865, Tourgee settled in North Carolina. By 1866 he became increasingly concerned that the political climate in the state would frustrate the establishment of racial equality. He became involved in local Radical politics for this reason, and by the late 1860s had made himself obnoxious to ex-Confederates for advocating that the franchise be extended to blacks. He was elected superior court judge, and despite his record as a fearless man of principle, conservative whites vehemently denounced Tourgee. In 1879 he gave up his efforts to make North Carolina a bi-racial democracy and returned to the North, settled in New York, and became a famous novelist. In his most famous novel, A Fool’s Errand (New York, 1879), which became a best-seller, Tourgee wrote about his experiences in Reconstruction North Carolina, addressing himself to the question of how to achieve Negro equality. In his career as a novelist and journalist, much of Tourgee’s attention focused on the seemingly inexorable downward spiral of southern blacks into ever deeper poverty and segregation. In addition to the significant role he played in the court struggles to oppose segregation through the National Citizens Rights Association, Tourgee also denounced the accommodationist strategy of Booker T. Washington, arguing for militant protest to achieve civil rights. See Otto H. Olsen, Carpetbagger’s Crusade: The Life of Albion Winegar Tourgee (Baltimore, 1965).
123. Chile was in a state of political instability and social turmoil in 1891. Following eight months of Civil War, Jose Manuel Balmaceda was defeated by the forces of Jorge Montt for control of the government. The American government had supported Balmaceda, and consequently was on unfavorable terms with the people. American sailors on shore leave in Valparaiso from the U.S.S. Baltimore got involved in a street brawl. As the police looked on, two Americans were killed and several others wounded. In response, Secretary of State James G. Blaine issued an ultimatum for a public demonstration of apology. Montt refused, and the Chileans demanded war with the United States. The incident was officially closed when the Montt government paid $75,000 to the families of the dead men.
124. The Interocean was a black-owned newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois.
The Citizens Equal Rights Association was formed in February 1890 when several hundred Afro-American leaders met in Chicago to devise a strategy to counter the growing trend of racial discrimination. The Association stressed the widespread belief that increased education, wealth, and “respectable” behavior would end racial discrimination. Blacks had formed the Equal Rights Association in 1865 at Syracuse, New York, to advance civil rights, and a similar organization was proposed in 1879 which never came to fruition. But they should not be confused with the 1890 Association. Many of the same delegates had been in Chicago one month earlier to found the Afro-American League (see note 119).
For biographical background on Ida B. Wells, see Vol. III, note 40.
125. Born in Philadelphia, Ignatius Donnelly (1831–1901) moved to Minnesota where he practiced law and entered upon a political career. From 1859 to 1863 he served as lieutenant governor, as representative to Congress for three terms from 1863 to 1869, and for many years thereafter as a Minnesota state legislator. A reformer, Donnelly edited two periodicals, the weekly Anti-Monopolist (1874–1879), and the Representative (1894–1901), an organ of the Populist Party. A leading organizer of the Granger movement, he also became one of the founders of the Populist Party, running as its presidential candidate at the time of his death. A colorful reformer, Donnelly expressed his Utopian visions in numerous novels. At least two of them were very popular, although his Doctor Huguet was not among them. The leading biography of Donnelly is Martin Ridge, Ignatius Donnelly: The Portrait of a Politician (Chicago, 1962). See also Vol. III, note 47.
126. Daniel Webster (1782–1852) was born in New Hampshire, graduated from Dartmouth College in 1801, and served in the United States House from 1813–1817. He achieved fame as a constitutional lawyer by winning several of the most significant cases in constitutional history, such as the Dartmouth College Case (1819), McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), and Gibbons v. Ogden (1824). After moving to Massachusetts, Webster was elected to the United States Senate where he served from 1827 to 1841. In that body, he rose to preeminent political leadership. From 1841 to 1843 he was Secretary of State, but returned to the Senate in 1845. Webster was the supreme speaker, and his name became synonomous with spellbinding oration.
William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898) was one of the greatest British politicians of the nineteenth century. A graduate of Oxford University, he was elected to Parliament in 1832 as a Conservative, but gradually converted to the Liberal party, and served in cabinets as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He became famous for lowering taxes, and later for broadening the franchise in the Reform Bill of 1867. Gladstone served as Prime Minister from 1868 to 1874, during which time he was responsible for important liberal reforms in the governance of Ireland. Benjamin Disraeli returned the Conservatives to power, and Gladstone retired. When the belligerent foreign policy of Disraeli outraged his sense of propriety, however, Gladstone returned to politics and regained his position as Prime Minister from 1880 to 1885. In 1892 he once again became Prime Minister, but retired from office in 1894.
127. George W. Perkins (d. 1934) was closely associated with Samuel Gompers in craft as well as philosophy. Like Gompers (see note 1), Perkins was a leading figure in the Cigannakers’ Union, and also like Gompers, opposed industrial unionism. In 1891 he was elected president of the Cigannakers’ International Union of America, and held that office until 1926. His early origins remain unknown.
128. The Constitution and the Journal were two newspapers of Atlanta, Georgia.
129. William E. Gregg (1800–1867) was four years old when his mother died and his uncle Jacob became the boy’s guardian. After serving an apprenticeship as a watchmaker, William Gregg settled in Columbia, South Carolina, where his business earned him a comfortable fortune. Upon his early retirement, he moved to Edgefield and purchased the Vaucluse cotton factory, quickly turning it into a prosperous enterprise. Convinced that reliance on a single staple crop was economically unwise, Gregg conceived of industrial villages in the southern countryside where home markets would be created, and where poor whites would labor in the manufacture of products which would diversify the region’s economy. In 1846, he began erecting a cotton mill near Aiken, called the Graniteville Manufacturing Company. The mill was to be a model industrial village. At Graniteville, Gregg took care to institute schools, a library, and otherwise administered to the health, housing, and recreation of the community. More than any other single man, he was the leading pioneer in southern cotton manufacture.
130. Rufus Brown Bullock (1834–1907) was born in New York, and moved to Augusta, Georgia, just before the Civil War, where he organized the Southern Express Company. An expert in telegraphy, he assisted in the establishment of a telegraph and railroad network throughout the Confederacy. By the war’s end, he had achieved the rank of assistant quartermaster-general. Returning to his home in Augusta, Georgia, in 1867 Bullock became president of the Macon & Augusta Railroad. Bullock favored the Radical Reconstruction plan, and became the leading Republican delegate at the state constitutional convention of 1868. Nominated for governor, Bullock defeated his Democratic opponent in the November election, and served in that office from 1868 to 1871. Charged with corruption by the Democratic “Redeemers,” he resigned on October 23, 1871, and fled the state. He was finally captured in 1876 and tried for embezzlement, but was acquitted for lack of evidence. After the trial, Bullock remained in Atlanta, and eventually became president of the Atlanta Cotton Mills, and held other influential positions in business.
131. James Henderson Kyle (1854–1901) attended the University of Illinois from 1871 to 1873, before transferring to Oberlin College where he graduated in 1878 with a degree in the classics. After studying law for a time, he turned to theology, and in 1882 graduated from the Western Theological Seminary, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Kyle served in several clerical posts before entering politics as a Populist. In 1890 South Dakota Democrats and Populists nominated Kyle for the state senate. He was elected to the legislature, and became a successful compromise candidate for the United States Senate in the following session. Kyle was reelected to the Senate in 1897, and became chairman of the U.S. Industrial Commission.
132. Allen D. Chandler (1834–1910) was born in Auraria, Georgia, and graduated from Mercer University in 1859. He taught school for several years, interrupted by service in the Confederate Army. He began his political career when he was elected to the Georgia General Assembly from 1873 to 1880. This was followed by four terms in the United States Congress. Chandler also served four terms as Georgia’s secretary of state. A staunch conservative noted for his honesty, he won the gubernatorial election in 1898, and again in 1900. From 1903 to 1910 Chandler served as the state historian.
133. Joseph Arch (b. 1826) was born in Warwickshire, England. Because he could not accept the class perquisites demanded by his “betters,” he was soon branded a troublemaker. Although poor, Arch educated himself, and acquired oratical skills as a Methodist minister. In 1872 he founded and became president of the National Agricultural Labourers’ Union. Arch was elected to Parliament in 1885, and with the exception of one term, held his seat until 1900. Arch was highly respected in the House of Commons.
134. For the New Orleans General Strike of 1892, see pp. 15–24.
135. For William H. Councill, see Vol. III, introduction to Part 2.
136. For nearly three-quarters of a century, W. E. B. DuBois was a prominent black educator, historian, and spokesman for his people. Born February 23, 1868, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, he won a scholarship which enabled him to attend Fisk University; he later earned graduate degrees from Harvard University. DuBois also studied at the University of Berlin and traveled widely in Europe, before coming back to America to begin a teaching career which included positions at Wilber-force University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Atlanta University.
DuBois wrote over twenty books, more than one hundred scholarly articles, and edited numerous volumes. His first major historical contribution was The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638–1870 (1896). His Black Reconstruction in America (1935) is one of the standard works on that topic, and The Philadelphia Negro (1899) and Atlanta University research studies were pioneer sociological explorations into Afro-American life. Overshadowing DuBois’ scholarship at this time, however, was his debate with Booker T. Washington concerning the type of education necessary for Afro-Americans; DuBois favored training in the liberal arts and humanities while Washington stressed vocational skills.
With the hope of bringing an end to racial discrimination and segregation, DuBois launched the Niagara Movement in 1905. This organization was the forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which came into existence four years later. Crisis, the official organ of the NAACP, was founded and edited by DuBois from 1910 until 1934. In 1919 he initiated the Pan-African Conference in Paris, in order to mobilize public opinion against the oppression of black peoples throughout the world. However, his leadership of the Peace Information Center brought an indictment as an “unregistered foreign agent” during the Communist witch-hunts of the early 1950s. Although the case was eventually dismissed, DuBois became a pariah in many quarters of the black community, where they feared to associate with a reputed Communist. In 1961 he immigrated to Ghana, became a member of the Communist party, and began work on a monumental study of African culture. He died on August 27, 1963. There are numerous biographical studies of DuBois and his thought. See for example, Elliott M. Rudwick, W. E. B. DuBois: Propagandist of the Negro Protest (Philadelphia, 1960); Rayford W. Logan (ed.), W. E. B. DuBois: A Profile (New York, 1971).
137. George Henry Evans (1805–1856) was born in England and immigrated to the United States. By 1829 he had become the editor of the New York Working Man’s Advocate, and then editor of the Man, also published in New York. In 1841 he began to espouse land reform in The Radical and Young America, and organized a campaign for a homestead act through his National Reform Association.
138. For race riots in Philadelphia during the ante-bellum period, see Vol. I, Part 3.
139. For Tammany Hall, see Vol. II, note 72.
Horace Greeley (1811–1872) began publication of the New York Tribune in 1841. An advocate of Fourierism, he also was an ardent Republican and an opponent of slavery. He served as president of the New York Printers’ Union, and in 1872 ran for president of the United States as a candidate for the Liberal Republican Party.
140. For the National Labor Union, see Vol. II, Parts 1–3.
141. See George E. McNeill (ed.), The Labor Movement. The Problem of To-day. Comprising a History of Capital and Labor, and its Present Status (New York, 1888). An advocate of the eight-hour philosophy of Ira Steward (see Vol. I, note 69(, McNeill (1837–1906) worked in the woolen mills of Amesbury, Massachusetts, before becoming an officer in the Grand Eight-Hour League during the 1860s and 1870s. After serving as deputy director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor Statistics, he became president of the International Labor Union in 1878. He bought and edited the Boston Leader in 1868. Then turning to a writing career, he published several books dealing with labor.
142. Henry O. Tanner (1859–1937) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Academic Julian in Paris. In 1888 he moved to the South, where some of his most famous American paintings were finished, particularly The Banjo Lesson (1890). Tanner then moved to Europe where the color bar was not so strict against blacks, and there he spent the remainder of his life. His Daniel and the Lion’s Den (1896) received an enthusiastic reception, and the following year, The Resurrection of Lazarus, his most famous work, was completed.