OTHER EXPRESSIONS OF BLACK LABOR MILITANCY
Black labor militancy was not confined to destitute southern farmers. On September 28, 1891, about 1,500 black longshoremen walked off their jobs at the docks in Savannah, Georgia. Their demands included an increase in wages, a guarantee that the employers would cease cheating them of their overtime pay, and union recognition. The strike was exceptionally well planned and orderly. A war chest of $5,000 had been accumulated, fliers were circulated asking other blacks not to become scabs, and Negro preachers appealed for solidarity from the pulpit. The black community held balls, the proceeds of which were designated for the support of the strikers’ families. Although several other groups of workers joined them, the strike was confined primarily to the wharf laborers who handled the transfer of freight between ships and the railroad cars (Doc. 1–6).
Immediately after the men quit work, the railroad companies sent out agents along the line to hire replacements, promising them free transportation and permanent employment. The first contingent of strikebreakers consisted of poor Negroes from the hinterland who arrived on the same day the strike began. Many of the new hands soon quit, however, claiming they were hired under false pretenses. The companies had not informed them that they were to be scabs. Thus, when 150 black recruits arrived in Savannah on October 1, they refused to go to work and joined the strikers. Others rejected employment because they feared retaliation. The stoppage was so well organized in fact, that city officials conceded the improbability that replacements could readily be found. By October 1, the strikers’ numbers had increased to about 2,500 and business along the wharfs ground to a standstill. As the economy of the port city began to feel the strain of idleness, a committee of the Savannah commercial leaders organized to pressure the companies to end the strike by any means available. Since a sufficient number of blacks could not be recruited to break the strike, company officials decided to hire white replacements. Most of the recruits were poor white section hands employed as extras by the railroad companies. The new men were kept on the job by hearty meals served at long tables on the wharfs (Doc. 7–10).
On October 3, five days after the walk-out began, morale of the striking longshoremen sagged, and most were ready to resume work at a compromise rate of pay. But when the black workers discovered that union recognition was not forthcoming, they voted to continue the strike. In retaliation the companies announced that the strikers would not be reemployed as a body. On receipt of this news the black wharfmen panicked and began individually to reapply for their old jobs. Under these circumstances, the collective determination required to continue the struggle evaporated, and leaders reluctantly called off the walk-out. Even though the strike had failed, the Savannah strike demonstrated a pervasive unity destroyed not by black workers, but by whites (Doc. 11–18).
While race could be used to divide the working class, the Chicago Culinary Alliance reflected the potential for solidarity when desired. In Chicago, where black waiters had been an important element in the Knights of Labor, and where they, together with white waiters, had won a strike for higher wages in 1887, the Culinary Alliance was a powerful organization. Most of the black waiters left the Knights in 1890 and affiliated with the independent Culinary Alliance, an interracial union of waiters and hotel employees. Founded in January 1889, the absence of racial and ethnic prejudice in the organization stimulated the growth of the Alliance until, with a membership of 30,000, it quickly developed into the strongest union of its kind in the United States. In 1890 the Alliance struck for higher wages. Typically, Chicago employers attempted to pit black and white waiters against each other, but Negro waiters refused to go to work as scabs. The union had several black leaders and, together with whites, they forged one of the few labor associations during the era to reject racial prejudice, both in principle and practice (Doc. 20–24).
Negro Wharf Laborers in Savannah Want More Pay—Trouble Feared
SAVANNAH, Ga., Sept., 27.—The wharf laborers of the Central Railroad and the Savannah, Florida & Western Railroad will strike tomorrow for an advance of 5 cents an hour in wages. The Laborers’ Union and Protective Association decided on a strike today and the men were ordered not to resume work tomorrow morning. The strikers number 1,500 and are all colored. They have been paid 15 cents an hour for time worked. Saturday a demand for 20 cents was refused. As a precaution against trouble the military has been ordered to be in readiness. Five thousand rounds of ammunition have been furnished by the Governor from the State arsenal for the military and it arrived today.
Memphis Appeal-Avalanche, September 28, 1891.
Trouble Threatened by the Colored Longshoremen
Five thousand ball cartridges are on their way to Savannah for the military of the city for use in case of an emergency arising out of the threatened strike of the colored longshoremen.
The cartridges left Atlanta last night and will arive here this morning, and will be distributed among the armories. They were ordered yesterday by telegraph by Col. Peter Reilly of the First regiment, after a conference with Mayor McDonough and Col. Garrard.
The walking delegates of the longshoremen’s organization waited on the officials at the Ocean steamship and Savannah, Florida and Western railway wharves yesterday and notified them that the longshoremen wanted 20 cents an hour for their services hereafter, instead of 15 cents.
The demand was refused. The delegates then threatened trouble. They said the men they represented would not work after last night for less than 20 cents an hour, nor would they allow any others to take their places except by walking over their bodies.
A CONFERENCE WITH THE MILITARY
The kind of talk alarmed the officials and they at once reported to Mayor McDonough. He immediately sent for Lieut. Col. Peter Reilly, commanding the First Georgia regiment, and Col. William Garrard of the Guards battalion and laid the state of affairs before them. After a lengthy conference, in which, it is understood, the military authorities pledged themselves to compel obedience to the law, and prevent any riotous disturbance. Mayor Mc Donough requested Col. Reilly to telegraph Gov. Northen for 5,000 ball cartridges, to be ready to meet any demonstration in the nature of a riot.
The telegram was sent at once, and the requisition was honored by the governor.
Mayor McDonough doesn’t think anything serious will occur, but he called the military into the conference for the purpose of being ready for any emergency that may possibly arise. He proposes to have the law recognized and obeyed, and will take precautions to have any outbreak promptly and summarily suppressed.
Including the 5,000 cartridges which will arrive this morning, there are about 20,000 in possession of the military and police, and it wouldn’t be well for either the longshoremen or any one else to start a riot at the present time.
A reserve force of police was kept in the barracks yesterday afternoon by Chief Green but there was no demand made for their services.
The colored hands quit work at the Ocean Steamship wharves at the usual hour last night without any demonstration, but many ugly threats were heard about what would be done if the company adhered to its refusal of the increase of wages demanded.
GUNS TAKEN TO THE WHARVES
At midnight Sergt. Muse of the Central railroad force carried all the rifles belonging to his department from the barracks to the wharf, together with a quantity of ammunition. This was done as a precautionary measure. A wagon was used to convey the firearms to the wharf.
The corporations refuse positively to accede to the demands of the men. They say that sufficient labor can be found to work at the present rate of wages, and if the old hands don’t want to remain new ones will be placed in the positions and protected at all hazards.
There may be trouble today or tomorrow, although the authorities hope that wiser counsels will prevail upon the dissatisfied workmen to make their issue in a peaceable and orderly manner.
Savannah Morning News, September 27, 1891.
The Colored Wharf Laborers’ Strike Inaugurated
The wharf laborers’ strike went into effect yesterday morning. Over 1,000 men are out. There is a complete tie-up at the Central railroad wharves. Between 800 and 900 men are out there. At the Merchants and Miners’ wharves over 100 men are out. The strike did not extend to the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves and the 800 laborers there were working as usual yesterday.
The strikers are quiet and orderly. The only disturbance that occurred was at the Baltimore wharves. As the non-union hands who had been unloading the steamship Allegheny left the yard at 6 o’clock last night they were met by a crowd of strikers who began cursing and abusing them. They started to run and all of them managed to escape but four. These were collared and beaten with stones and clubs by Isaac Polite, Wadley Screven and Jim Scott. A telephone message was sent to the barracks for officers, but before they were ready to start for the scene of the trouble another message was received that the row was over and the assailants had escaped. One of the men was badly injured. All were new hands.
KEPT AWAY FROM THE WHARVES
The strikers did not go near the wharves yesterday morning, but held a meeting instead at Odd Fellows’ hall, on Duffy street. The hall was well filled with the strikers. The speeches were of a temperature tone, and the leaders cautioned the men to avoid any violence, saying that if they adopted a dignified course they would have the sympathy of the community behind them, and would probably carry their point. The hasty action at the Baltimore wharf indicates that all the strikers are not in accord with their leaders.
The strike has been systematically conducted. The laying of the plans has been going on for weeks and a determination was arrived at to head off the corporations from securing help in the country. The union has in its treasury, it is said, over $5,000, and circulars announcing the intention to strike, together with its grievances and a plea to the colored people to remain away from the city, were printed and scattered broadcast through the country districts by agents. The pulpit was also appealed to, and the agents managed to get the preachers to talk of the intended strike and beg their people to remain at home and not be induced by any promises of the railroad companies to take the places of the strikers.
THE POLICE IN READINESS
Chief Green kept the entire police force, with the exception of the street patrol, in the barracks until nearly midday ready to respond in case of necessity, but no demand was made for their services. . . .
Mayor McDonough was asked by this Morning News reporter if he had anything to say in reply to the card of the Labor Union and Protective Association published yesterday, asking him if he would be a friend of the strikers if they didn’t disturb the peace of the city.
“As long as the Labor Union and the Protective Association obeys the laws, said Mr. McDonough, “the members will be granted fully as much protection as any other class or corporation. They must respect good order and conduct themselves accordingly, otherwise they must expect to be dealt with as the law directs. I have no feeling in the matter one way or the other except to see that the laws are obeyed.”
“As long as the strikers do this,” continued Mayor McDonough, “they will find me as friendly toward them as anyone else. I am acting in the matter according to my sense of public duty, and the precautionary steps taken already by the city authorities were because of the rash statements made by some of the laborers. I therefore urgently request all connected with the strike in progress to be peaceable and keep within the law, and I will guarantee them ample protection.”
THE STRIKERS’ MEETINGS
The strikers have held daily meetings for several days at the Odd Fellows’ hall at Duffy and Cuyler streets, attended by immense crowds. Their meeting there Sunday lasted almost all the forenoon, and people living in the vicinity say that the whole neighborhood was black with colored people. They have been holding meetings there at nights for some time in preparation for the strike and the colored military companies have been doing a great deal of drilling there. Balls are held frequently, and one was held last night, the proceeds of which, it is said, go into the fund of the strikers.
One of the party of excursionists that came in yesterday afternoon from among the Central said that a large number of them would remain in the city, and work for the steamship company or anybody else that wanted them.
Everything was quiet on the wharves last night. The strikers kept away, and there was no effort to interfere with the new workers that were brought in from the country.
John Youngblood, vice president of the Labor Union and Protective Association, said that the union will adhere to its demand for an advance in wages, but it will not countenance any disturbance or interference with men outside of the union who went to work. The union men, he said will stand together, and none of them will be allowed to resume work until the union’s demands have been acceded to.
THE POLICE HAVE A QUIET TIME
The police detail which guarded the Ocean Steamship bridge with rifles in the early morning to see that none except those who were willing to work should trespass on the company’s property, had little to do except to admire each other. It was the same story during the remainder of the day. Not a striker appeared and not the slightest intimidation was attempted on the few hands which the Central managed to secure.
In the afternoon the wharves were almost deserted. Everything south of the river front had a funeral air. No loungers were hanging around the bridge, as is usually the case, and but a few trucks were seen hauling goods. The hand cotton trucks were standing where they were left Saturday night by the strikers, and the policemen walked around with their Springfields as if guarding a tomb.
The City of Macon of the Boston line which arrived yesterday morning was lying in the first slip diagonally across from the bridge, with eight colored men and a couple of white men trying to unload her. They were making little progress, however, and were only taking off the light goods. The cotton and rosin yards presented the same deserted appearance as the rest of the wharf.
CLERKS TAKING IT EASY
On the river front wharves the clerks were lounging in the offices chatting and discussing the situation. They had nothing else to do. The Chattahoochee, which also came in yesterday morning, was lying alongside of the dock with her hatch doors open, but no one working on her. Four white men and five colored men were unloading rosin and other goods from freight cars just opposite in a listless manner.
The Kansas City, which was practically loaded Saturday night, was preparing to sail, and things were a little more lively at her dock than anywhere else. A gang of men had just completed the storing of 200 barrels of rosin and spirits and some other small freight, and were busy getting in the trunks of passengers. As soon as the Kansas City sailed things once more assumed the forlorn condition at other points, and the clerks gathered in groups and discussed the outlook. Not over fifty hands were at work on the wharves.
PICKING UP HANDS
The Central sent out agents along the line of the road to get hands, and shortly after 4 o’clock about forty country negroes arrived and were taken to the wharves and put to work with the other hands that had been secured in the city unloading the two steamships. The work progressed rather slowly, however, because of the men being green at the business.
The entire Central railroad police force has been on duty at the wharves since night before last at 6 o’clock. The officers are not allowed to leave. Their meals are sent to them and they sleep on their arms in a sleeping coach on a switch just west of the bridge. The arms consist of Springfield rifles and bayonets, besides clubs and pistols. The cartridge boxes are filled with ammunition and the force is in position to do thorough military duty and deadly service should the necessity arise.
Agent Wilkinson took a cheerful view of the situation last night. “Everything is quiet and has been so all day,” said he. “We have between fifty and sixty hands at work and by tomorrow afternoon I expect to have 600 at work.
“Where will you get the men?”
HELP FROM THE INTERIOR TOWNS
“From the interior. Men are being picked up at every station on the roads and we will have ample force in a day or two. The steamships will not be delayed, because we will put extra force loading and unloading them.”
Agent Anderson of the Ocean Steamship Company took the same view. He said the business of the line will not at all be interfered with by the strike, as the force which arrived last night and is expected today will be ample to get the vessels off on their sailing days. The Chattahoochee is to sail tomorrow, and the City of Macon Thursday. The City of Augusta will arrive today.
The freights at this season are very heavy, and a great deal of labor is necessary to properly handle it.
ALL QUIET ON THE LOWER WHARVES
Things were very different on the lower wharves than was anticipated. There was very little evidence of a strike. In fact, the strike did not go into effect on the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves at all, nor any of the wharves east of the city except at the Baltimore Steamship wharves. There it was plainly evident that something was wrong. Two or three clerks and a few green hands were found at work making feeble efforts at unloading the steamship Allegheny, which arrived up yesterday morning. The Allegheny is scheduled to leave tomorrow night, but unless the company gets more men the vessel will not be unloaded by that time. The force of from 80 to 100 men failed to put in an appearance yesterday morning. Half a dozen green men were picked up and started to work.
Agent J. J. Carolan of the Merchants and Miners’ Company said that unless he can get a full force together the sailing of the Allegheny may be interfered with for a day. He received a notice of the demands of the Labor Union and Protective Association Friday, but paid no attention to it, thinking it had been sent as much as a matter of form as anything else. The men had all the work they wanted with his company, and he was a little surprised to find that the strike had extended to his line. The situation of affairs was telegraphed to the traffic manager and Mr. Carolan received a reply to do the best he could and keep the company advised. He said that the Merchants and Miners’ will be guided entirely by the action of the other corporations interested in the strike. There are plenty of men in the city, Mr. Carolan said, who are willing to work, but they are afraid of the strikers.
AT THE PRESSES
At the lower presses work was going on as usual. On account of the small sales of cotton Friday and Saturday one of the presses was shut down for a day or two, making it necessary to drop about 110 men; but there is no strike among the employes, and none is anticipated.
A number of men asking work were turned away during the day, and if necessary to start up the other press enough could be found in a few hours. The men are paid 12-1/2 to 15 cents an hour at the presses, averaging $7 to $8 a week, and are well satisfied.
Alderman R. F. Harmon was pushing work on the Gordon wharf, and with no wrinkles on his brow because of strikers. He said all of his men reported promptly for work, and he expected them back again this morning. None of them had intimated any intention of striking.
“They make $1.50 a day,” said Mr. Harmon, “and get their pay every week and are satisfied. I have some men here that have been with me four years. I don’t think the strike will amount to anything on these wharves.”
ON THE S., F. AND W. WHARVES
All down the line of the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves, the spirits wharf, the rosin wharf and the long lumber wharves the men were working as usual. Some of them were spoken to about the strike. They said they hadn’t quit work because they were satisfied to stay where they were. They said, however, that pretty nearly all the laborers on the wharves belonged to the union.
One man who was sitting astride a cotton bale and who might have been a walking delegate, as he said he was not working, responded in reply to an inquiry:
“Yes, sir. They’s all going to strike. There won’t be nobody down here tomorrow. They’s all going to quit.”
The cotton workers said they had no intention of quitting work. The report put in circulation yesterday that there would be no longshoremen loading cotton in ships today is without foundation.
THE OFFICIALS NOT NOTIFIED
General Superintendent Fleming of the Savannah, Florida and Western railroad was seen yesterday afternoon and was asked why it was that the men had not struck on the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves. He replied that he did not know. They went to work yesterday morning without saying anything to the officials of the road. He did not know himself whether the men would go to work yesterday morning and could not tell whether they will go to work this morning. The men at the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves are paid 12-1/2 to 15 cents an hour and they get their pay every Saturday.
The police had a light day of it, notwithstanding anticipations of trouble with the strikers. Chief Green does not anticipate any trouble. The police will be held in readiness, however, in case trouble should arise. The whole force is sixty men, including officers, besides the Central railroad police force of twenty-two men, and the Savannah, Florida and Western railway police force of twenty-five men, a total available force of over 100 officers and men.
Another strike has cropped out as a result of the Labor Union and Protective Association trouble. It is that of the Lumbermen and Timber Workers’ Mutual Union. The only firm affected so far is Dale, Dixon & Co. The reason the lumber hands struck there, it is said, was because one of the members of the association was discharged for being unable to do the work required of him. Yesterday morning his co-laborers demanded his reinstatement, and when it was refused they quit work. Forty men were employed by Dale, Dixon & Co.
The other lumber concerns engaged in loading vessels will most likely be affected today, judging from a note sent by the secretary of the lumbermen’s organization to the meeting of the labor union. It reads: “We are glad to announce that the L. and T.W.M.U. has stopped work. Those who didn’t want to stop had to stop, anyhow.”
It is not known what the lumbermen’s grievances are.
Mr. Stillwell, of Stillwell, Miller & Co., said that the men employed by his firm were perfectly satisfied, and he expects no trouble. They are not paid by the hour, but get $1.50 a day.
A COUNTRY STRIKE
William and Harry Hudkins, contractors at Statesboro, were in town last night and said to a MORNING NEWS reporter that the strike idea prevails all throughout the country around Statesboro. The cotton pickers have not struck yet, but some trouble is expected. Messrs. Hudkins’ laborers, whom they were paying $1 a day, struck for $1.25, and their brickmasons whom they were paying $3 a day struck for $3.25. They refused to give the increase demanded and their men left them.
THE CENTRAL’S NOTICE
The following notice was posted at the cotton exchange yesterday; “Supt. McBee notified the members of the cotton exchange that the Central railroad will give guarantees of delivery of cotton to vessels in ten days from date of transfer.”
The above is a rule which has been in force heretofore and applies to f.o.b. cotton in transit. The order, it is understood, will not apply to the cotton already here.
TOOK THEM FOR LABORERS
A big colored excursion from Milledgeville arrived in the city by the Central railroad last night at 6 o’clock. There were fourteen coaches on the excursion train and the crowd numbered over 500 people. The general impression of everybody that saw the big crowd pouring out of the Central railroad depot was that they were laborers brought down by the Central to take the places of the strikers on the Ocean Steamship wharves. Any of the excursionists that want to work on the wharves will be readily received by the steamship company, however.
Savannah Morning News, September 29, 1891.
The Wharf Laborers To Go Out This Morning
The Central and Savannah, Florida and Western Authorities Refuse to Accede to the Laborers’ Demands for an Increase in Wages and the Strike Ordered—Fifteen Hundred Men Involved—The Strikers’ Demands—Precautions by the Police and Military to Prevent an Outbreak—None But Workers to be Allowed on the Wharves.
The strike of the wharf laborers at the Central railroad and Savannah, Florida and Western wharves for an advance of 5 cents an hour in wages was ordered yesterday by the Labor Union and Protective Association to go into effect this morning. The strikers number about 1,500.
Both the Central and Savannah, Florida and Western people say there will be no increase of wages.
“The first intimation I received of the action of the hands,” said Agent Wilkinson of the Central railroad, “was Friday afternoon when a committee waited upon me and said the association had decided to ask for 5 cents an hour increase. I told the committee that I would present the matter to Supt. Dill as soon as he returned to the city and asked that further action be deferred. The chairman of the committee answered that the Central would find an answer in the MORNING NEWS next day. The Central is willing to be just and reasonable in the matter of wages, but it will not be intimidated. It considers 15 cents an hour ample wages, and can get plenty of men to work at $1.25 per day. Between 800 and 900 men are employed at the wharves and their places can be filled rapidly should they quit. There was never any kick on the wages until the laborers found out they had to work for their money, and then they decided they must have an increase.
OPPOSED TO A STRIKE
“I understand,” said Agent Wilkinson, “that many of the men are opposed to the strike and will return to work if not intimidated. Any who wish to return to work will be protected. The Central has taken every precaution to protect its property and employes, and should there be any attempt at disorder it will be speedily quelled.”
A force of police is stationed at the bridge this morning and no one will be allowed to cross except they intend to work. All others will be excluded. The following card is published by Agent Wilkinson:
The authorities of the Central railroad, having understood that it was the intention of their wharf labor to quit work, pending decision as to increase of pay demanded, have conferred with the municipal authorities, and wish to assure all concerned that a delay to freight being very detrimental to the interests of the public as well as to the company, desire to publish, for the information of those who wish to continue their services as heretofore, the following notice, as the demands made are inconsistent with reasonable justice or equity in the employment of labor.
Any laborers in the employ of the company who wish to continue at work will be protected to the fullest extent of the law. Therefore, do not be misled by those who wish to create trouble, but who have not the power to protect you should trouble ensue; and further, those not intending to work must not trespass upon the company’s property.
AT THE LOWER WHARVES
About 600 men are employed at the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves and are involved in the strike. General Superintendent Fleming said yesterday that no increase in pay will be granted, as the present rate of wages is considered sufficient for the work. Plenty of hands can be found to do the work at the present rate. Fleming thinks, and they will be gotten at once. No trouble is expected by the Savannah, Florida and Western people. Supt. Fleming said that the company is prepared to protect its labor and property at all hazards. No more precautionary measures have been taken at the wharves, but several policemen will be out there to-day to see that no disorder occurs.
It was understood around town that the order to close work went into effect at 6 o’clock Saturday night and no work was to be done after that time at present prices. However there was a large gang at work all day yesterday at the Central wharves loading the Kansas City. The men worked with their usual vigor, and nothing was said about any intended strike or any intention of not resuming work today.
THE POLICE IN READINESS
Chief Green does not expect any trouble, but still he will hold the police force in readiness to respond at once should any outbreak occur.
Sergt. Muse of the Central railroad police force reported everything quiet yesterday and said that he had no reason to anticipate any trouble. Precautionary measures have been taken on the principle that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is on the same principle that the military have been notified to be in readiness to answer the alarm. Notices were posted in the armories yesterday ordering the men to hold themselves in readiness.
That the threatened strike is by the longshoremen and stevedores is denied. Several longshoremen and stevedores said yesterday that they had nothing to do with the strike and knew nothing about it. They say they are satisfied with present prices and want nothing but plenty of work.
THE STRIKERS’ ORGANIZATION
The Labor Union and Protective Association is entirely composed of wharf laborers and railroad hands. They claim a membership of from 1,500 to 2,000, though whether they can control all their members is doubted. They have been organizing for some time in preparation for a demand for higher wages. The laborers are paid 12-1/2 cents to 15 cents an hour for the time they work. They do not consider this pay sufficient as frequently they do not put in more than half a day and are paid accordingly.
A well-known stevedore said yesterday that about $1.10 a day is what he understood the average earnings of a wharf laborers to be. This, he said was less than the railroad have paid in previous years.
While the strike appears imminent, it is believed the precautions already taken will have the effect of preventing trouble.
FOR PEACEABLE METHODS
It was reported on the streets last night that at the meeting of the strikers held at Odd Fellows’ hall yesterday afternoon, it was resolved that none should cross the Ocean Steamship Company’s bridge and that they would make no offensive demonstration.
William Crutcher, one of the strikers’ committee, said yesterday that there will be no trouble so far as the strikers are concerned.
The prices demanded by the laborers are 20 cents an hour for all men in shipshold and 30 cents an hour for heads of gangs, and to be paid weekly and not every two weeks. The price demanded is an advance of about 5 cents per hour on present prices.
The following card is published by the laborers’ organization this morning, and indicating that the association is for peaceable methods and discountenance violence.
The Labor Union and Protective Association is not prepared for war, but is prepared for labor. We ask the mayor if he will be our friend if we didn’t break the peace of the city. The members of the Labor Union and Protective Association are all law-abiding citizens.
THE RAILROAD LABORERS’ STRIKE
The strike of the laborers employed by the Central railroad yards and on the wharves of the Ocean Steamship Company and Merchants and Miners’ Transportation Company which occurred yesterday was not unexpected. It was thought it would include the laborers in the yards and on the wharves of the Savannah, Florida and Western Railway Company. This class of laborers formed a protective union several weeks ago with the view of having alleged grievances remedied and of securing an increase of wages.
While the public cannot help taking a certain amount of interest in the relations between the foregoing companies and their employes, and is certain to express its sympathy with one side or the other in the issue which the strike has raised, it has virtually no concern with these relations. But if the companies fail to carry out their contracts, and thus disturb and embarrass the business of the community, the public has a right to demand the reason, and will not be slow to do so.
Whether or not the strikers have a reasonable basis for their grievances and demand is a question to which there are doubtless two sides. They think they have. All strikes are based upon a genuine or fancied grievance and they are occurring all the time in different parts of the country. In some instances, having the power or being in the right, their demands are granted or a compromise is effected. In most instances, however, strikes fail, and the failures are due to various causes, the main one being that they are ordered without a careful consideration of all the attendant circumstances.
The strike of yesterday is based upon a demand for higher wages. Other demands have cropped out since the strike was inaugurated, but they are rather in the nature of grievances, which, if properly presented, would probably be adjusted. The companies themselves must, of course, be the judges as to whether they can afford an increase of wages. It is not probable that they will grant an increase if they can get all the labor they want at the wages they are now paying. If they are dependent upon the strikers they will have to grant the strikers’ demands. The fact that they have refused to grant them is pretty good evidence that an ample supply of labor can be obtained at the wages they are paying.
There is no doubt of the right of the laborers to strike, though it may turn out that they were not wise in doing so. If the companies succeed in getting along without them the unpleasant fact will be forced upon them that they made a mistake. It is always a mistake for a laboring man having no means of support to give up the work he has before he sees a chance of bettering his condition.
The strikers seem to understand that they have no right to prevent others from taking the places they have abandoned. To attempt to bring the business of the companies to a standstill in order to enforce their demand would produce a condition of affairs that would array the public against them, and call for the interference of the authorities. And they would gain nothing by such a course. Strikers who resort to violence seldom or never gain their ends. They are the losers. If the strikers here are wise they will rely wholly upon peaceful means to accomplish their object, and from the published reports they do not appear to have exhausted these means, particularly in respect to what may be called their grievances.
Savannah Morning News, September 29, 1891.
The Warehouse and Rosin Yard Hands Quit Work
The wharf laborers’ strike has extended to the Savannah, Florida and Western hands, the naval stores, warehouse, and cotton press hands and the draymen. In all there will be in the neighborhood of 2,000 men out this morning.
The warehouse hands to the number of about 100 struck yesterday afternoon, 150 Savannah, Florida and Western hands went out last night, and the 400 naval store hands, between 200 and 300 draymen, the cotton press hands, numbering about fifty and about fifty warehouse hands gave notice last night that they will quit work this morning.
The naval stores hands notified the inspectors of their intention to strike in communications written in red ink. The cotton press hands informed Supt. Wade of the Cotton Press Association last night that there would be no necessity to start the fires this morning, because they would not be on hand to work. The demands of the strikers for wages are the same—20 cents an hour.
The cotton business is seriously affected, and work on the wharves was almost at a standstill yesterday. The obstruction of freights is causing businessmen a great deal of embarrassment and is creating considerable uneasiness.
A CONFERENCE WITH THE STRIKERS
A three-hours’ conference between committees from the cotton exchange, board of trade and the strikers was held at the cotton exchange yesterday afternoon. The strikers’ committee, after detailing their grievances and demands, agreed to leave the matter with the commercial bodies as a sort of arbitration committee between themselves and the railroads.
Col. J. L. Warren, president of the cotton exchange; J. F. Minis, Col. W. W. Gordon, Capt. John Flannery, H. M. Comer, Edward Karow and Alderman W. G. Cann, composed the cotton exchange committee and John R. Young, W. B. Stillwell and George P. Walker represented the board of trade.
These committees met General Superintendent McBee and Agent Wilkinson of the Central, General Superintendent Fleming and Assistant Freight Agent Papy of the Savannah, Florida and Western. Agent Carolan of the Merchants and Miners’ Transportation Company, and Agent Anderson of the Ocean Steamship Company, in the gentleman’s parlor of the De Soto last night for a conference.
LEFT WITH THE COMMITTEE
The representatives of the cotton exchange and board of trade asked the strikers’ committee to leave the matter in their hands and an effort would be made to bring about a settlement. If they could get a proposition which they discerned fair from the railroads they would report to the strikers’ committee at 10 o’clock this morning. They advised the strikers that if their statements regarding overtime were correct they would insist on a remedy. . . .
The meeting lasted 24 hours, and it is understood that a conclusion was reached to offer a compromise proposition to the strikers this morning.
THE COTTON EXCHANGE ACTS
The first action on the strike by the commercial men was taken at noon yesterday, when the cotton exchange held a meeting to consider the situation and see if anything could be done to remove the strike. A resolution was passed appointing a committee to confer with the Central, and Savannah, Florida and Western officials with a view to arriving at a settlement of the strike. Mayor McDonough and the board of trade were requested to co-operate.
In accordance with the action of the cotton exchange Clerk of Council Rebarer forwarded the following letter to the strikers:
Savannah, Ga., Sept. 29, 1891
H. S. Lowrey, Chairman Committee L. U. and P. A.
Dear Sir—His honor the mayor requests that you will appoint a committee representing your organization to meet with committees from Savannah Cotton Exchange and Board of Trade at the cotton exchange building this afternoon at 5 o’clock, for the purpose of endeavoring to adjust the differences at present existing between your association and the railroad systems, your committee to have power to act. Very respectfully,
FRANK E. REBARER, Clerk of Council
THE AFTERNOON CONFERENCE
The committees from the commercial bodies and the strikers were promptly on hand at the appointed hour, but the railroad officials could not attend on account of the press of business. Mayor McDonough was made chairman of the conference. A reporter of the MORNING NEWS sent up his card, but received a polite notice that it was the sense of the meeting that reporters were not wanted.
The members of the strikers’ committee presented their grievances in a lengthy and detailed manner. They said, in substance that the men were not paid enough for their labor, and were defrauded of their overtime. They said that lately it had been the custom to start gangs to work at the Central wharves unloading cars a short while before the quitting hour, and compel the men to continue the work until all the freight was out. Sometimes they would run over fifteen minutes, and sometimes half an hour. When they demanded overtime for the work, they were told it was Agent Wilkinson’s orders that wherever the unloading of a car was begun during regular hours and was not completed at the usual quitting time the work must be finished and no overtime was to be allowed.
A CONFERENCE WITH THE OFFICIALS
The conference between committees of the commercial bodies and railroad and steamship men began in the De Soto at 9:30 o’clock and it was midnight before an adjournment was reached. At the conclusion of the conference the MORNING NEWS reporter was furnished the information that an agreement had been reached and a proposition would be made to the strikers today. The committee declined to state the nature of the proposition.
It is understood, however, that it is a compromise on the basis of something like 8 cents an hour and the allowing of all overtime. The temper of the railroad authorities, it is said, was against granting any concessions. They denied the complaints of the strikers and argued that the pay was sufficient.
The business men, on the other hand, pointed out the necessity for a prompt settlement of the difficulty, and the damage which has already resulted to the city’s business, and insisted that some arrangement be arrived at.
Whether the strikers will accept the recommendation of the committee is a matter of conjecture.
BUT FEW HANDS AT WORK
There was little change in affairs at the Central railroad wharves yesterday. The officials secured between fifty and seventy-five men, and together with the fifty men secured the day before, managed to unload the Chattahoochee, which was finished at 9 o’clock last night. The work was rather slow on account of the hands being green. The work of loading the vessel was begun at once by the same force and she will sail on schedule time this afternoon, though probably with not half a cargo. The work of unloading the City of Macon was also begun last night and the taking out of the cargo of the Nacoochee will begin this morning. The same deserted air prevailed at the wharves on the preceding day, and the policemen walked around with their guns as if the stillness pervading everywhere made them weary.
Agent Wilkinson was asked last night about the situation. He said everything was quiet, and work was progressing rather slowly. He expected to get the steamers out on schedule time, but he wasn’t willing to say that they would go with full cargoes. He said there are 200 men at work. Others in position to know say there are not over 125 to 150.
Agent Wilkinson said he expects to have 600 hands by this afternoon. A number of the new hands which came the day before yesterday quit work yesterday, claiming that they had been brought to the city under misrepresentations. Agent Wilkinson believed that the leaders of the gangs who remained at work did so with an object in view, and that they are working under cover in the interest of the strikers for the purpose of running off the new hands.
AFRAID OF THE STRIKERS
The attack on the non-union hands of the Merchants and Miners’ Transportation Company had the effect of frightening the new hands off altogether. Not one of them showed up yesterday morning. Agent Carolan managed, however, to secure the services of a dozen white men and got the Allegheny unloaded last night. She will be loaded today and tonight, and will sail tomorrow morning, about eighteen hours behind schedule time. The men employed by the Baltimore line told Agent Carolan that they would like to return to work, but the union wouldn’t allow it. On account of the previous day’s disturbance a detail of police was at the Baltimore wharf last night at 6 o’clock to protect the men working there, but their services were not needed, as no attempt was made to molest them. The strikers disclaim any connection with the assailants of the non-union men. They say they are not members of the organization, and that it shouldn’t be held accountable for the acts of irresponsible outside parties.
THE WAREHOUSE HANDS’ STRIKE
The strike of the warehouse hands was rather a surprise to their employers, as no grievances had been heard. When asked for a statement of grievances, they said that all they want is 20 cents an hour, which would bring their wages up to $2 per day, they having been paid at the rate of $1.50 for ten hours work with permanent employment.
If the demands of the naval stores hands, cotton press hands and draymen are acceded to their wages will be brought up to the same standard, the men having been paid $1.50 a day of ten hours. It is understood that the naval stores inspectors have the demands of their men under consideration. The following is the notice of the striking draymen:
We are the Draymen’s Labor Union Association, and are not disposed to make any disturbance whatever. All that we ask is 20 cents an hour. We do not want any more than what we ask for. We simply ask the boss draymen for more wages. We have to work very hard in all kinds of weather, night and day, and think our demands reasonable.
It is rumored that the strikers will demand the removal of Agent Wilkinson of the Central railroad. They blame him for the condition of affairs which caused the strike.
HEADING OFF NEW MEN
The strikers are so thoroughly organized and are working in such a systematic manner that the railroads will have a hard time getting men to take their places. Yesterday morning the Central brought in forty-three new hands from along the line of the road, but among the forty-three were two delegates from the strikers’ association who had gone out in the country to head off the railroads’ endeavors to secure men. The delegates mingled with the country negroes in a quiet way without attracting any special notice, explained the situation of affairs and appealed to their brotherly instincts not to go to work. The strikers’ representatives promised to take charge of others in the city, feed and lodge them and return them to where they came from. They were taken to the Duffy street hall and given breakfast. They said the agents of the road had said nothing to them about a strike, but had told them that there was more work in Savannah than the home workmen could attend to, and that they needed extra hands. . . .
THE STRIKERS’ MEETINGS
The strikers are quiet and orderly, and no trouble occurred. They held meetings at Odd Fellows’ hall on Duffy street yesterday morning and afternoon. The morning meeting opened with prayer and singing “Stay in the Field Till the War is Ended.” The strikers announced that they will not interfere with the Central or the men it may employ. They declared that they intended to conduct themselves peaceably.
The employers of labor on the wharves east of the city felt last night that they had badly fooled themselves. Work went on during the day as it did the day before on the eastern wharves, except at the lumber wharves, where the laborers failed to put in an appearance.
At the Baltimore Steamship Company’s wharf about a dozen white men were unloading the Allegheny. Further down, the Savannah, Florida and Western employes were at work. A number of the old hands failed to put in their appearance, but others were found to take their places. Later in the afternoon, however, the entire force went out.
ANXIETY AT THE PRESSES
At the cotton presses everything seemed to be running smoothly. It was evident, however, that the strike was progressing. The employers and clerks said they expected no trouble and they did not believe the strike would prevent their getting all the men they needed, but it was evident they were anxious. The walking delegates were circulating around, telling the men they must quit work. A number of men were persuaded to quit. The new men were the readiest to quit and the men who had been longest in the employ of the companies were the least inclined to go out. Some of the old employes said they had been threatened and they were afraid to go to and from their work.
QUIT WORK QUIETLY
What was generally noted and commented upon with regard to the strikers was that when they got ready to quit they had nothing to say and made no demands, but left their work without a word.
Hundred of laborers who will fail to show up at the wharves this morning said nothing whatever of their intentions on leaving work last night. It was noticed that the men who were at work went about it in a listless sort of way, as if they were not interested in what they were doing.
Disaffection was evident among the draymen and warehousemen as well as the wharf laborers, and there was evidently a movement on foot to bring all classes of labor connected with the shipping business into the strike.
The strike was about all that was talked of among the cotton men on the Bay. Its effects are already severely felt. It is plain that if it continues even for a short time, it will lessen the cotton receipts of Savannah by many thousand bales, which will go to other ports, and will interfere with the arrangements between consignors and factors, causing serious loss.
Another effect will be to block up the Central railroad yards and wharves in such a manner that it will be very difficult to clear them again, and that too at a time when it is hard work to handle the daily receipts as they come in. The unanimous opinion was that if the strike only continued a few days it will seriously affect the cotton interests.
WILL CORNER MONEY
Instead of hurrying home as usual as soon as business was over the cotton men gathered in front of the cotton exchange from 5:30 to 6 o’clock and discussed the strike.
STANDING IN THEIR OWN LIGHT
The strike of the draymen and warehouse hands is the worst feature of the situation. “The laborers’ union,” said one cotton man, “is standing in its own light and is aiding the corporations against which it is fighting by keeping these men out. It gives an excuse to the roads to say to the merchants who want their cotton, ‘Where are your trucks to remove it!’ The strikers should think this over. The keeping away from work of the draymen and warehouse hands is not helping the strike one iota but is rather injuring the strikers’ chances.” . . .
“It will have a very serious effect in exhausting Savannah financially,” said one of the largest cotton factors on the Bay to a MORNING NEWS reporter. “All the money that can be raised from the banks will soon be wrapped up in the cotton coming in, and the cotton men will be unable to raise money, because they will not be able to transport their cotton. The factors will hold the railroads responsible for all losses by reason of failure to deliver cotton consigned to them. If the railroads undertake to transport the cotton and are unable to carry out their contract that is their lookout.”
ONE OF THE STRIKERS
John Williams, one of the vice presidents of the Labor Union and Protective Association, came up to the exchange with the strikers’ conference committee. He said the men were striking for a small advance of 5 cents an hour, and they would have to have that before returning to work. He declared it was untrue that they had endeavored to intimidate new hands, and that nothing of the kind would be allowed. The whole trouble, he said, began on the Central railroad wharf where the men were pushed and hustled all the time, and with a policeman over them to “hunch” them in the side with a club if they did not move fast enough.
Williams intimated that the strikers had very little use for Agent Wilkinson.
The effect of the strike upon the receipts was plainly seen. The receipts yesterday were only 2,861 bales, against 6,606 the corresponding day last year. The railroads are said to be holding cotton back along their lines on account of their inability to handle it here. Very little of the heavy cotton receipts of Monday have been unloaded and delivered yet. Almost all of it is still in the cars.
Savannah Morning News, September 30, 1891.
We, the Lumber and Timber Workingmen’s Union Association take pleasure in stating that we have never refused to work for anybody that pays our wages and complies with our laws. It has been reported that we had struck on Messrs. Dale, Dixon & Co.’s work, but it is everything except truth, and we hope that said company will not hold us responsible for such conduct. It was all done through Mr. Jones and his foreman, Tom Jones because they wanted to discharge Joe Thomas, a man that stands 6 feet in height and 24 inches across the breast, and in good health, and subject to inspection, and was one of the “right hand” men there, until he found some mistake in his time and held a little contention for his money. It was just then they found out that he was insufficient for the work if he did refuse duty. Mr. Jones had a right to knock him off; but to discharge him without a legal cause would be a violation to Section 22 of By-Laws; and because three did not break this section of law Mr. Jones refused to give the Lumber and Timber Workingmen’s Union Association any more work. Isaac Roberson was appointed a committee to wait on Mr. Jones all day and get such men as would suit Mr. Jones, and nothing could be done to satisfy him but to discharge all of the union men. The grand reason for making this section of law is that we have often found our money short, and when we contend for our money we gain a discharge. And we, the Lumber and Timber Workingmen’s Union Association also take pleasure in saying that we will guarantee that we can do as good and as much work as any other men in America.
ADAM COLLINS, President.
W. D. JENKINS, Secretary.
Savannah Morning News, October 1, 1891.
The committee, representing the cotton exchange board of trade and the city, interceded to adjust the differences between the strikers and the transportation companies failed to accomplish its object, and will so report to the trade bodies this morning. The transportation companies, although confident of their ability to secure an amount of labor within a short time sufficient to answer their purposes, consented to make concessions rather than have the business of the port interrupted, but the strikers were obstinate and insisted upon their original demands.
The wages which the transportation companies consented to pay are as high as those paid at any other southern port for the same class of labor. To pay higher wages than are paid at other ports would drive business away from our port. This fact was pointed out to the strikers, and they were assured also that every grievance of which they had complained would be remedied. Neither argument nor concessions had any influence with them. They spoke as if they felt they had the power to compel compliance with their demands and intended to use it.
At the beginning of the strike there was a quite general feeling that their demand was entitled to consideration, but their refusal to accept the compromise, which the committee is unanimous in thinking is fair and just, has caused whatever sympathy they had to be withdrawn. By demanding more than they are entitled to, and more than the business of the port will stand and remain prosperous, they indicate very clearly that they care very little about the business interests of the city.
The only thing that remains to be done is for the transportation companies to get labor elsewhere. That they are doing and are confident of their ability to handle their freights within the next day or two.
Savannah Morning News, October 1, 1891.
THEY REFUSE AN ADVANCE OF TWO AND A HALF CENTS AN HOUR
The Strike Spreading
The Conference Committee’s Proposition to the Labor Union and the Strikers’ Reply—They Adhere to Their Original Demands—The Tie-up Stops the Loading of Foreign Vessels, and Longshoremen Idle—Business Crippled and Serious Financial Embarrassment Threatened—The Situation on the Bay and Along the Wharves—Vessels Going Out Half Loaded—White Hands Filling the Strikers’ Places.
The wharf laborers’ strike is as far from adjustment now as at its inauguration. The railroads have offered a compromise, but the strikers refuse to listen to anything short of a concession to their original demand of 20, 25 and 30 cents an hour. “We want nothing more nor less than what we have asked for” is their motto.
The proposition agreed upon at the conference of the railroad and steamship officials and the. committee of the commercial bodies was an increase of 2-1/2 cents all around.
Yesterday morning the strikers’ committee met the cotton exchange and board of trade committees at the cotton exchange and listened to the report, together with a recommendation that the Labor Union and Protective Association adopt the scale. The strikers’ committee declined to recommend the scale, but said the proposition would be submitted to its organization.
THE COMMITTEE’S PROPOSITION
The proposition was given to the committee, and is as follows:
Savannah, Ga., Sept. 30, 1891
To the Committee of the Labor Union and Protective Association,
The joint committee from the cotton exchange and board of trade, with the mayor as chairman, have conferred with the officers of the railroad and steamship companies in your behalf.
The Central railroad officers state that they have already given notice that after Oct. 1 wages would be paid weekly. The steamship companies already pay weekly.
This committee recommended that the companies advance your wages to the following figures, viz:
This will give about 25 cents per day additional to each laborer.
The committee recommended your association to accept this advance and resume work.
The committee request you to submit this proposition to your association and report to this committee the decision of your association. . . .
The strikers’ committee went at once to the meeting of the union at the Duffy street Odd Fellows’ hall and laid the proposal before it. It didn’t meet with their approval and the strikers almost unanomously rejected it. They remained in session discussing the situation until after 1 o’clock. The committee had promised to report back to the commercial bodies at 4 o’clock the result, but it was nearly 5 o’clock when the reply was received. It is as followes:
Savannah, Ga., Sept. 30, 1891
To the Board of Trade:
Dear Sirs:—The proposition your honorable board submitted to us this morning was submitted to the Labor Union and Protective Association since, and they request us to report to you that after mature deliberation and after many days considering the justness of our demands, they wish us to report that they cannot, under any circumstances whatsoever, deviate from their first proposition, viz: 20 cents for common labor, 25 cents for men in ships hold and 30 cents for headers of gangs. Respectfully yours,
H. S. LOWERY,
Chairman of Committee, 90 Montgomery Street.
A 2-1/2 CENTS INCREASE
It will be seen from the above that the joint committee of the cotton exchange and board of trade, with Mayor McDonough acting as chairman, succeeded in getting the railroad and steamship lines to consent to an advance of 2-1/2 cents per hour to all their laborers, which the committee thought to be fair and just compensation for the classes of labor performed.
When the joint committee found that it had failed in its efforts to bring about an adjustment, owing to the laborers failing to accept the proposition made by the joint committee, it concluded that nothing further could be done in the matter.
There will be a general meeting of the cotton exchange and board of trade this morning at 10 o’clock and the arbitrating committee will make a report. The railroad and steamship companies were notified of the failure to arrive at a settlement.
THE STRIKE EXTENDING
The strike is assuming rather alarming proportions. It has got beyond the original lines. The porters and truckmen of several hardware establishments quit work yesterday, and when asked for a grievance said they had none, but being members of the union were compelled to go out. Several negroes employed at Taggart’s and Dixon’s coal yards also struck. They said they wanted $2 a day. The dry culture hands of the city quit work yesterday morning, and the drivers of the scavenger department threaten to strike this morning. They are paid $10.50 a week, but want $2 per day. This state of affairs will involve the city. The colored cotton samplers have also given notice that they will strike this morning. In all about 2,500 men are out so far.
The tie-up is seriously interfering with the white and colored longshoremen loading foreign vessels. They can’t get cotton to load, and many of them have had to quit work. If the strike lasts a day or two longer, all the longshoremen will have to stop. This will bring a big loss to hundreds of men.
LIKE SUNDAY ON THE BAY
The strike has brought about almost a complete paralysis of trade. Yesterday had the appearance of Sunday along Bay street, with the exception of the offices being open. The factors, commission merchants and shippers stood around in front of the cotton exchange in groups, discussing the situation, listening to and offering suggestions as to how the trouble might be brought to an end. They had nothing else to do, because there was no business of any consequence to be transacted. Their cotton is tied up at the wharves, and can’t be moved. Some of the railroad authorities are coming in for a share of disapprobation from the business men to as great an extent as the strikers.
They won’t compromise. “The strikers have become entirely too headstrong,” said a well-known cotton man. “The committee from the commercial bodies endeavored to get them to agree to take compensation by the day at $1.50, at the rate of 15 cents an hour for ten hours work, to be paid weekly and engaged monthly, but they rejected this proposition. They said they wanted to work by the hour and get 20 cents, because they might get tired sometime and want to stop, while if they were working by the day they would have to keep on. Their disposition is to concede nothing at all. The strikers said in substance, they have the business of the city within their grasp and will hold it tight, and will remain on strike till Christmas if necessary. They said they can starve as well as the next one, and will starve out business while the corporations are trying to starve them.
“The strikers intimated to the committee that they hadn’t begun this fight unprepared, but had been thoroughly organizing and laying aside money for months. They even claim that their organization is in a condition to tie up the greatest portion of the ports of the South Atlantic, and will do so unless their demands are acceded to.
“The committee promised the strikers,” continued the cotton man, “that if they would accept the proposition, which in the opinion of the committee was a fair and just one, it would guarantee that all their other grievances would be adjusted, but this had no effect. Up to the refusal of the compromise the strikers had the sympathy of a large portion of the business community in the struggle, but their arbitrary attitude has turned this sympathy from them. They are compelling the innocent to suffer for the guilty and damaging the commerce of the city. By their present course they will array the business community against them to their own injury.”
CRAMPING BUSINESS MEN
The cotton and naval stores men are inclined to believe that the railroad officials here do not sufficiently realize the gravity of the situation so far as they are concerned. One of the factors said to a MORNING NEWS reporter that a financial crisis is threatened if the strike is prolonged any length of time. Large amounts of money have been advanced by the cotton and naval stores men to the producers. Under a normal state of affairs cotton would be coming in now at the rate of 7,000 bales a day, or to the value of $2,000,000 a week, and the factors would be able to realize on it all that they needed to meet their obligations. The same is true of those in the naval stores business. Money is at present difficult to secure, and if the strike continues there will be serious embarrassment.
CONFERENCE WITH HIGHER OFFICIALS
Some prominent cotton men suggested yesterday that if a satisfactory agreement is not reached with the strikers today that President John H. Inman, Pat Calhoun and General Manager Green be asked by telegraph to come here and assist in bringing the trouble to an end. This was generally received with favor and may be acted upon this morning if the outlook is not more promising than it was last night. . . .
THE MEN HAVEN’T SHOWN UP
The hands which Agent Wilkinson had been expecting every day since Monday have not arrived, and only about 150 are at work on the wharves. The steamship City of Macon was in practically the same loaded condition she was in Monday, and a white man and negro were trying to relieve her of small freight, but their movements were rather slow. In the cotton yard sixteen gawky-looking country negroes were trucking the fleecy staple as if the bales were as big as a house.
The largest force was at work loading the Chattahoochee. The vessel sailed about 5:30 o’clock with something like half a cargo. She carried only 3,034 packages altogether, including 1,310 bales of cotton.
AMUSING SCENES ON THE WHARVES
The loading of the vessel by the green hands afforded the passengers and crew and a number of spectators on the wharf as much amusement as a minstrel show. The hands rushed in and out of the Chattahoochee on the inclined gangplank as if shot from a circus catapult. The scenes were ludicrous in the extreme. The men looked as if they were frightened, from the way in which they kept their mouths open and the manner in which their eyes bulged out as they ran with the trucks. They handled the trucks as if they were plows and coming out of the hold after unloading their freight many of them got such headway down and up the gangway and slip that they ran nearly to the middle of the wharf before coming to a halt. It was dangerous to be within several feet of them, and the spectators had to look sharp to keep from being jammed. Collision after collision occurred on the gangway, and it was surprising that none of the negroes fell overboard. Several pieces of freight got a dip.
While the baggage was being put in the vessel two truckmen had a collision and a trunk was sent flying into the river. It was secured only after a good deal of hard work and a thorough soaking.
Agent Anderson said last night that he expects to get the Boston steamship City of Macon off on schedule time today. The gangs which loaded the Chattahoochee were put to work last night unloading the City of Macon. If she sails today it will only be with a light cargo.
The Nacoochee, which arrived day before yesterday, hadn’t been touched in the way of unloading up to last night. She is booked to sail tomorrow afternoon.
The Central brought in about twenty-five hands yesterday morning, and another small lot last night. The great trouble experienced with the new hands is that many of them quit after working a day, the association men working at the wharf under cover using their influence to make them join the strikers.
AT THE BALTIMORE WHARF
The Baltimore steamship Allegheny, which was to have sailed yesterday afternoon, is still at her wharf loading. She will get out this afternoon with a fair cargo, about twenty-four hours late. The strike has interfered to a much greater extent with the Merchants and Miners’ company than the other corporations. Agent Carolan is taking the situation as cheerful as possible, however, and is working hard to secure a new force. He managed to get thirteen white men yesterday and these with the twelve he had previously gave him a force of twenty-five men. As all are white they learn the way of loading and unloading a vessel much quicker than the negro hands. The Wm. Lawrence will be in tomorrow.
The Savannah, Florida and Western railway brought in forty white men from along the line of road yesterday to take the places of the strikers. Supt. Fleming expected to get another force of white hands today.
The strikers still maintain their orderly demeanor, and no disturbance of any kind occurred yesterday. There is considerable complaint however, among the business men about the walking delegates calling on their colored employes and urging them to join the strike in sympathy with the labor union.
TO ARREST WALKING DELEGATES
The thing became so annoying that Mayor McDonough determined to find out what the law is on the subject. He asked City Attorney Adams for an opinion and received the following reply:
Savannah, Sept. 30, 1891
Hon. J. J. McDonough, Mayor:
DEAR SIR—Answering your verbal inquiry I beg to say that by an act, approved Oct. 20, 1887, the legislature has made it an offense against the laws of the state for any person or persons by threats, violence, intimidation or other unlawful means to prevent or attempt to prevent any person or persons in this state from engaging in, remaining in, or performing the business, labor or duties of any lawful employment or occupation. The act also punishes any combination or conspiracy to prevent or attempt to prevent any person or persons by threats, violence or intimidation from engaging in the business, or labor or duties of any lawful employment or occupation. There are other provisions in it which are broad and sweeping, and are designed to meet the state of facts mentioned by you to me today. There is no city ordinance on the subject, and a party violating the state law would be amenable to the state courts if prosecuted for the offense. Yours very truly,
SAMUEL B. ADAMS,
In accordance with this opinion Mayor McDonough has instructed the police officers to arrest any person found endeavoring to interfere with parties at work on the wharves or elsewhere. He will then turn over the offender to the state courts.
THE STRIKERS’ MEETINGS
There was another big meeting of the strikers last night at the Duffy Street Odd Fellows’ hall, and speeches were made by leading members of the union. The proposition of the commercial committee which was rejected in the morning was brought up again for consideration and was promptly rejected.
“Our demand is very plain,” said one of the strikers after the meeting, “and the railroad might as well understand at once that we want nothing more nor will we accept anything less. We will carry on the struggle quietly and peaceably and rely upon God for our rights.”
At midnight everything was quiet on the wharves. The police were patrolling with their rifles at shoulder arms, and most of them said they were tired of that sort of duty.
Supt. Wade of the Cotton Press Association called at the barracks last night and told the officer in charge that the hands employed at the presses had informed him that they would not go to work this morning unless they were given protection. Supt. Wade asked that two officers be placed at the entrance to the presses and his request will be granted. Two mounted men will be stationed just below the gas house this morning to see that the laborers are not interfered with by the strikers.
Savannah Morning News, October 1, 1891.
THE STRIKERS’ PLACES BEING FILLED
No Signs of a Compromise
The strikers endeavoring to Force a General Tie-up of All Branches of Labor—The Cotton Exchange and Board of Trade Measures to Bring About a Termination of the Strike Unsussessful—The Mayor Takes Steps to Protect Laborers Who are Willing to Work—The Situation on the Wharves.
The fourth day of the wharf laborers’ strike ended without any disorder. The situation is practically unchanged, except that the strikers are adding to their ranks from various lines of business. They refuse to compromise, and announce that they will accept nothing less than their original demands.
The Labor and Protective Association is taking in all classes of labor. A number of the city scavenger department drivers struck yesterday morning without giving any explanation of their conduct. It is inferred that membership in the union with the wharf hands is at the bottom of the trouble, and intimidation is suspected. They were paid $1.50 per day and had permanent employment. Their places are being filled by new men and the service will be in full running order again in a few days. The crematory hands also struck only five out of the nineteen hands working.
The twenty hands employed by the dry culture department failed to show up for work yesterday morning, and are supposed to have joined the strikers. The white engineer and colored fireman on the city tug Theckla also walked off without a word of explanation.
THE WALKING DELEGATES
The walking delegates of the strikers are going through the city interfering with and intimidating colored men employed in various kinds of business. These delegates are shrewd enough to keep out of the way of the police, but, nevertheless, get in their work. Yesterday afternoon they visited the stables of the horse car companies and endeavored to get the car drivers and stablemen to quit work. Policemen were telephoned for, but when they arrived the delegates had disappeared. The drivers and stablemen intimated last night that they wouldn’t show up this morning, but in such an event the street car companies will utilize the conductors until they can secure white labor and the schedules will not be interfered with.
It is thought that the back of the strike will be broken by tommorrow, as the railroad and steamship companies are getting in considerably white and colored labor from the country.
THE COTTON EXCHANGE MEETING
A joint meeting of the cotton exchange and board of trade was held on the floor of the exchange yesterday morning at 10 o’clock. President J. L. Warren presided, and there was an unusually large attendance. By invitation of President Warren, Mayor McDonough and H. A. Crane, acting president of the board of trade, took oath with the chairman.
President Warren said that the joint committee of the cotton exchange and board of trade, with the mayor as chairman, having in charge the adjustment of the differences between the railroads, steamship companies and the Labor Union and Protective Association, had called the meeting to report that the committee had utterly failed in discharging the duty imposed upon it.
The chairman complimented the gentlemen composing the committee upon the deep interest every member had taken in the matter, neglecting their own work to meet with the labor union, hearing the grievances and undertaking to redress the laborers’ wrongs, if any, and after consulting with them for three hours had spent the balance of the night with the railroad people differing the situation. After hearing both sides, the committee conferred with the union the next morning and discussed with its members the situation from beginning to end, and could only report failure to accomplish a settlement of the trouble.
Secretary Merrihew read the letters which passed between the Labor Union and Protective Association and the joint committee.
AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE PROVIDED FOR
J. F. Minis moved that a joint committee from the cotton exchange and the board of trade, consisting of seven members, to be known as the advisory committee be appointed to take general charge of the business interests of the city effected by the strike, and to preserve the interests as far as possible, the committee to have authority, if necessary, to call the joint bodies together again. The motion received a second, but action was delayed in order that the meeting might hear from the representatives of the railroad and steamship companies.
Supt. Fleming of the Savannah, Florida and Western railway said he did not agree with the mayor as to the seriousness of the situation. The trouble with the Savannah, Florida and Western hands, he said, commenced Sunday. The force decreased Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday the men were intimidated and drawn off by the strikers. White and colored laborers were imported Wednesday, but the colored laborers joined the strikers.
Yesterday, Supt. Fleming brought in a lot of colored men from the country, but the train was depopulated before reaching the city. He said he. had no difficulty in getting all the laborers he wanted, but they struck upon their arrival and only helped to fill the town with idle men. He could not say what he would do, but he had about concluded to abandon colored labor if he could get protection from the authorities for whites. He said he would probably meet the situation today if protection were granted to the men he brings here.
READY TO BRING LABORERS
General Manager Sorrel, of the Ocean Steamship Company, stated that he had only just reached the city, but was fully impressed with the gravity of the situation. He agreed with Capt. Fleming as to the intimidation of the men, but believed they would be able to stamp out the trouble if protection were guaranteed. He was ready to bring from New York a force of 200 or 300 or even more, white men to handle the work. If the situation demanded it he could have the force here by Monday, but they must be guaranteed protection. The Ocean Steamship Company, he said, will do all that is necessary regardless of expense.
The following resolution by Mr. Comer was adopted:
Resolved. That it is the sentiment of this meeting that the recommendation made by the joint committee is a fair one, and that we give the people fighting the strike our cordial and hearty support.
Mr. Minis’ motion was then unanimously adopted, and the chair appointed the following committee:.. J. F. Minis, H. M. Comer, W. W. Gordon, John Flannery, J. R. Young, George P. Walker and W. B. Stillwell.
The following resolution by Mr. Stillwell was adopted:
Resolved, That the mayor be requested to appoint a committee from the board of aldermen, to confer and act with the advisory committee in all matters they may consider in reference to the present trouble, and that this committee recommend to the mayor that he give all the protection in his power to men willing to work.
EVERY PRECAUTION TAKEN
Mayor McDonough at this point stated that everything had been done that could be done, and he was willing and ready to do anything in his power. The report of the joint committee was received and adopted, and the committee was discharged.
Mr. Comer suggested that all possible forbearance should be exercised toward the strikers, as they undoubtedly have some moving spirits upholding them.
Supt. McBee of the Central railroad expressed his thanks for the manner in which the committee had striven to adjust the trouble. The company, he said, had not anticipated the trouble, having received no notice from the men of their intention to strike. It had practically placed itself in the hands of the joint committee and would stand by any recommendation made by it. The Central will bring men here from this and other states and will soon be in a condition to handle the work as well as before the strike. Supt. McBee said he will not only bring enough men to handle the work of the Ocean Steamship Company, but enough free of charge to handle all work deserted by the strikers.
THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETS
Mayor McDonough called a special meeting of council at 12 o’clock, to meet theadvisory committees of the commercial bodies, railroad and steamship officials and citizens. The meeting was held at the mayor’s office. The situation and the result of the conference between the commercial bodies and the strikers was discussed at length.
A member of the committee from the cotton exchange explained in a concise way the result of the endeavors to bring about a settlement. He said after the grievances of the colored laborers had been attentively listened to, it was proposed to them that instead of working by the hour they accept a permanent scale of wages at so much per day, week or month, to be settled monthly. This proposition was rejected by the strikers. They said they wanted to work by the hour and would work no other way, even though the committee guaranteed them that the other grievances complained of would be adjusted. The striking laborers displayed anything but a conciliatory feeling in the matter, acting as if they felt they had the business community by the throat and proposed to squeeze if their demands were not acceded to.
IN THE COMMITTEE’S HANDS
Supt. McBee and Supt. Fleming stated that so far as they were concerned the matter had been put in the hands of the committee, with the understanding that the railroads would abide by its decision. They still stand ready to agree to the scale of wages proposed by the conference, and have already put it in force with the hands now employed at the wharves. All the roads ask of the city is that they be protected the same as any other class or corporation in the lawful transaction of business.
Supt. McBee showed by his remarks that the railroad and steamship companies are willing and anxious to do everything fair and just to bring about a settlement.
The council authorized Mayor McDonough, after hearing the situation discussed decided to augment the police to any number necessary to protect the men at work and to preserve the peace and good order of the city and to also issue a proclamation.
After the meeting adjourned Mayor McDonough issued a proclamation as follows:
CITY OF SAVANNAH
In view of the present unusual state of affairs growing out of a discontinuance of labor by a large number of workmen and their consequent idleness, and the importance of special and immediate attention to the preservation of the public peace, I, John J. McDonough, mayor of the city of Savannah, hereby issue this, my public proclamation, urging upon the citizens of Savannah its prompt and complete observance.
1. The intimidation or interference in any way with men desiring or willing to work is contrary to the laws of the land, to the rights of the individuals, and the public safety.
This cannot, and will not, be tolerated. Absolute protection against such interference is guaranteed. To secure this protection I have largely increased the regular police force, and I will invoke all the powers vested in me as chief magistrate of this city. Among these powers are those given with reference to the military of the city by the act of the legislature of Georgia approved Oct. 13, 1885, the ninth section of which follows this proclamation, and is now published for the information of the people.
2. In this emergency it becomes particularly important that all causes of excitement be removed as far as possible, and to this end citizens are hereby prohibited from obstructing the streets, sidewalks, wharves and other public places, and from gathering together in groups on the same. Policemen are strictly ordered to disperse such groups and prevent such obstruction.
3. The co-operation of all good citizens white and colored, is expected in the maintenance of the public peace and tranquility. While the right of individuals to elect whether they shall work or not, and all individual rights, shall be fully respected, violators of the law and of the public peace will be quickly apprehended and severely punished.
Witness my official signature as mayor of the city of Savannah and the seal of the city this first day of October, A.D. 1891.
JOHN J. MCDONOUGH, Mayor
Attest: FRANK E. REBARER, Clerk of Council
INCREASING THE POLICE FORCE
The swearing in of the special policemen began last night and nearly 100 were secured. As many more will be sworn in this morning and will patrol the wharves and streets and see that the law is obeyed. In dispersing gatherings on the streets Mayor McDonough has given the officers rigid instructions to act kindly and patiently and not to precipitate trouble. In acting in this manner, however, they must at the same time be determined.
The sympathy the strikers had among the merchants has turned. The sentiment of business men is that the strike no longer means a question of an increase of wages, but whether the commercial people will allow themselves in the legitimate transaction of their business to be dictated to by organizations.
Cotton is coming in slowly because on account of the strike, the merchants having telegraphed to the interior to stop shipments.
In connection with the question of wages it will be interesting to know the rate at other southern ports. The following is the scale:
ON THE CENTRAL WHARVES
The appearance of things in the Central railroad yards and on the wharves of the Ocean Steamship Company was much more cheerful yesterday than on any day since the strike was inaugurated. Several hundred men were at work, and they are working very earnestly. Four hundred more men were expected in last night, and today the movement of freight will be much more lively.
The Birmingham got in between 5 o’clock and 6 o’clock yesterday morning, and by 10 o’clock all of her perishable freight was unloaded. The unloading of the City of Macon has been completed, and she will be loaded and got off this morning. The Nacoochee was being discharged yesterday, and there is a fair prospect that she will be loaded and started on her trip to New York this evening.
Additions to the working force of the Ocean Steamship Company and Central railroad are being made all the time, and the officers of the two companies are feeling much more cheerful. Ample protection is guaranteed to all who return to work.
The report has gained currency that some of the headers in the employment of the Ocean Steamship Company are not true to the company; that they are emissaries of the strikers and try to make the men dissatisfied. This report they indignantly deny. Yesterday they united in making a statement that they are loyal to the company, and are faithfully doing all they can to promote the company’s interest. Their names are as follows:
Ret Enguine, Ed. Bailey, Ed. Wallace, Tom Hayes, Oscar Floynold, York Jackson, Mackey Jackson, William Chisholm, Jim Brown, Adam Smyley.
The head stevedore says that the headers speak the truth, and that they are giving entire satisfaction in every respect.
The Merchants and Miners’ company secured fifteen more white men yesterday, making a total force of forty. The Allegheny will sail at 5 o’clock this morning, thirty-six hours late, with a good cargo. Agent Carolan is paying his hands the scale agreed upon at Tuesday night’s conference, and the men are well satisfied. They are learning the knack of handling freight rapidly and will make excellent workmen in a few days. Agent Carolan expects a large addition of white men today, and by Sunday will have an ample white force for all the requirements of his company.
Agent Wilkinson is sick in bed. He had two chills yesterday and was unable to attend to his duties.
BRIGHTER OUTLOOK BELOW THE CITY
Things had a much better appearance on the lower wharves yesterday than on any day since Monday. About forty white men were at work loading the Allegheny at the Baltimore steamship wharf. The loading of the vessel was completed yesterday afternoon and she will sail this morning at 5 o’clock.
A number of men, white and black, were at work at the warehouses, though that section presented no such busy appearance as is natural at this season.
Work went on at the lower presses as usual. The lower presses have not shut down an hour since the beginning of the strike, and do not expect to so. They had about sixty men at work yesterday, including a number of white men and green hands. The “green hands” are catching on, and many of the strikers will find that they are not wanted when they make up their minds to return.
ALL RIGHT AT HARMON’S WHARF
Alderman Harmon was working his usual force at his cotton wharf, and informed a MORNING NEWS reporter, who was taking a trip on foot along the wharves, that he had a much better force than the day before. The force of laborers at the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves was largely increased yesterday. About seventy negroes were brought in from Thomasville and along the line of the road early yesterday morning. If they had all stuck the road would have had nearly enough men to transact its usual business, but the agents of the strikers got in their work. A number of the strikers got with the gangs, as is their manner of doing, and went to work with them. It was impossible to distinguish them from the workmen, and they soon began to get in their work with threats and persuasion, and it was not long before gangs of six and seven at a time began to quit work and walk off without saying anything to anybody. However, enough of the old men were got together with the new men that remained to give the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves a livelier appearance than for the last three or four days. Supt. Fleming expects to have a much larger force at work today.
The opinion was expressed by several employers along the wharves that the strike is beginning to weaken and that in a day or two they would have all the men they wanted. They said that in several instances men who had quit work three or four days ago returned yesterday and want to work as usual.
The Savannah Lighterage and Transfer Company was at work as usual yesterday with about fifty men. The company has kept up its work regularly since the beginning the strike.
The original strikers are very obstinate in their demands and will have the pound of flesh or nothing. In fact, they do not seem to want to work for individuals and small employers at all unless the railroads will grant to their fellow strikers all their demands.
A number of cases have occurred where work was almost imperative where employers offered 20 cents an hour and even more. The men refused to work at all unless they were guaranteed a full day’s work. In several instances draymen offered their former employes as high as 30 cents an hour to move cotton that was billed to the outgoing steamships, but the men refused even this unless guaranteed a whole day’s work. Work on any condition until all their demands are granted is not desired.
SUPT. FLEMING’S PLANS
Capt. Fleming, superintendent of the Savannah, Florida and Western railroad, was seen at his office by a MORNING NEWS reporter as to the situation and was asked what he was doing to mend it. Capt. Fleming said:
“The Savannah, Florida and Western is arranging to bing in a number of white men to take the places of the negroes who are being intimidated. A number are expected to arrive tomorrow [this] morning. There is no danger of them being intimidated, and they will not have to guarded. Our forces of negro laborers will probably be increased today also.
“Proper steps are being taken to protect the laborers on the Savannah, Florida and Western and Baltimore steamship wharves and warehouses and to allow all hands to work that wish to do so.
“The Savannah, Florida and Western railroad notified their employes yesterday that the scale of wages offered the strikers by the joint committee of the cotton exchange and the board of trade will go into effect with all hands that were at work or would come to work from the time that the committee made the proposition Wednesday morning.”
Capt. Fleming said that it was his understanding that a large amount of white labor would be put on the wharves by the different companies.
CAUGHT JUST IN TIME
Charlie Davis in the Barracks for Trying to Shoot Officer Dwyer
Charles Davis, one of the colored strikers, while under the influence of liquor at West Broad and Waldourg streets, last night at 9:30 o’clock, amused himself by cursing people generally.
Mounted Officer Dwyer rode up and ordered Davis to desist, but the negro promptly threw his hand to his hip pocket and drew a revolver. He had reckoned without his host, however, and before he could raise the weapon to shoot, Officer Dwyer gave him a blow on the wrist which almost broke it and sent the pistol flying across the sidewalk from the negro’s hand. Then the officer arrested his would-be murderer, secured the pistol and carried him to the barracks, where he was locked up on a charge of carrying concealed weapons and disorderly conduct.
Savannah Morning News, October 2, 1891.
The strikers made a mistake in not accepting the advance in wages which the transportation companies offered them. The advance was liberal, and, in the opinion of the committee of business men who secured it, all that the transportation companies could reasonably be accepted to grant. And the strikers should have borne in mind that the committee acted as their friend and did for them all that it was possible to do.
The leaders of the strikers are proving themselves to be bad advisors. Instead of obstinately insisting upon their original demand they should have accepted the offer that was made them, because they had the best of reasons for thinking that they would not get all they asked for, or even a better offer. The committee told them as much, and that committee was composed of men in whom they had every reason to have confidence.
They have crystallized against themselves the sentiment of the whole business community. The business men are now united in sustaining the transportation companies. The strikers may continue for several days to cause some embarrassment in the city’s business, but there is not the least probability that they will succeed in their purpose. The transportation companies are obtaining laborers all the time, and will soon be able to get along without the strikers. The strikers will then realize how great a mistake they made in refusing the very fair offer that was made them.
The intimidation of laborers is about ended. The authorities will not tolerate that any longer. The law is clear with respect to intimidation, and it will be enforced. It is right that it should be. If there are men who want to work they should be protected in doing so.
Some of the strikers may be disposed to be ugly as their prospects of success become less promising, but they should remember that a fair settlement was offered them and that they refused it. And they should bear in mind that no exhibition of bad feeling would assist them in the least. They would be the sufferers. If they are wise they will repress all tendency to violence among their members. They began the strike with the avowed determination not to break the peace. They will stand better with the community if they continue to abide by that determination. And they should remember that the offer of the transportation companies is still open to them, though it may not be very long.
Savannah Morning News, October 2, 1891.
The strike is settled and everybody is glad of it. Business will again move along in its accustomed channels, and its volume promises to be such that at the end of the season there will be nothing to show that it suffered an interruption of several days.
The more intelligent of the colored men of the community and of the strikers became convinced yesterday that the MORNING NEWS was right in telling the strikers that they had made a mistake in rejecting the offer made them by the transportation companies through the committee of the trade bodies, and they set to work to bring the more obstinate of the leaders of the strike to reason. Their efforts were crowned with success and the strikers will return to work today in a much more cheerful frame of mind than they were before the strike was inaugurated.
It is a source of satisfaction that the strike was not marked by violence of any kind. It is not often that a strike on so large a scale is brought to an end without exhibitions of bad feeling. Some irritation was caused by the efforts to intimidate laborers, and by the apparently unreasonable desertion of their employers by those who had no grievances and made no complaints, but such things, to a greater or less extent, are features of every strike, and are to be expected. Now that the trouble is ended there should be an effort and general willingness to make up for lost time.
Savannah Morning News, October 3, 1891.
The Union’s Committee of Eleven Advises the Acceptance of the New Scales of Wages—The Central to Employ its Old Hands as Fast as There are Places for Them. But Not as Union Men—The Tieup Broken by the Employment of New Labor—The Situation on the Wharves Greatly Improved Yesterday—A General Return to Work Today.
The wharf laborers’ strike is virtually at an end. After holding out for five days the strikers have agreed to accept the compromise offered by the conference committee, and by 10 o’clock this morning all the strikers who can get back will be working.
This decision was reached last night by the strikers’ committee of eleven after a conference with several well-known disinterested colored men. The fact of the railroad and steamship companies securing all the hands necessary to carry on the work was what caused the strikers to reconsider their action and accept the compromise. When they saw their places being rapidly filled by new men they saw that unless they promptly came to terms their bread and butter would be put in jeopardy.
ADVISED TO RESUME WORK
The day opened up with the strikers fully as determined to hold out for 20 cents an hour or nothing as they had been the first day. The better and more intelligent class of disinterested colored citizens, seeing that the sympathy of the community was turning against the strikers because of their arbitrary course, decided that something must be done at once to bring matters to a termination. With this end in view R. W. White, L. M. Pleasants, W. A. Pledger of Athens, Rev. Alexander Harris and Rev. E. K. Love, Prof. James Ross and C. C. Christopher held a conference with a view to urging the strikers to accept the compromise and go back to work.
The men were disinclined at first to listen to the committee, but the majority finally decided that they wanted to go back to work upon the terms and at the scale of wages offered by the conference committee.
WILLING TO GO BACK
The mediators, together with John H. Kinckle, Esq., the colored attorney called on Mr. H. M. Comer and discussed the situation with him. He expressed a willingness to do whatever was right and just toward helping the strikers get back, but told the committee he could only act as an individual, because the commercial committees had been dissolved.
The committee waited on ‘the strikers’ committee of eleven and fully explained the situation, advising that the union accept the terms if it didn’t want to do the members and city at large irreparable damage. It was shown to the strikers that they had the sympathy of the community in their fighting until they rejected the proposition giving them half of the advance asked for. They were told that unless they accepted the ultimatum they need expect neither sympathy nor support from the white people in the future.
TO BE DECLARED OFF
Ten members of the committee agreed at once to give in, but one was stubborn and wanted to continue the fight. But wiser counsel prevailed, however, and the committee told the mediators that the strike would be declared off this morning and the strikers to make application for their old places.
R. W. White and W. A. Pledger then called upon Supt. McBee of the Central, and had a conference with him. He said he had secured a sufficient number of men from Georgia and North and South Carolina to carry on the work on the wharves without any further delay to business and is now in position to furnish hands to the warehouse men and other lines of business interfered with by the strike.
PLENTY OF WORK
A great many of the new laborers, Supt. McBee said, are railroad section hands brought here temporarily until a settlement of the troubles. He says he has no ill feeling against the strikers, because he believes they were misled by bad advisers, and as far as it is in his power he will see that the strikers are not discriminated against in accepting workmen. Supt. McBee said that the scale of wages adopted by the conference committee will be strictly adhered to.
The Central railroad brought in 500 men yesterday, and 400 more are on their way and will arrive today. These hands are mostly from South and North Carolina. No doubt all the strikers will be taken back, because an immense force will be required to relieve the blockade at the wharves and warehouses. The declaring off of the strike means that the draymen and others who have struck will resume work today.
THE FEELING ON THE BAY
The condition of things along the Bay yesterday presented a much more animated and improved appearance. It was evident by 10 o’clock that the backbone of the strike had been broken, and it was only a question of a few hours when the strikers would surrender. This made the merchants more cheerful, and men who have carried serious countenances since Monday were smiling and shaking hands.
700 MEN AT WORK
The scenes at the Ocean Steamship wharves yesterday to a person not acquainted with the situation would never indicate that there had been a strike. Over 700 hands, white and black, were at work moving freight, unloading cars and loading the Nacoochee and City of Macon, and three big lighters with cotton for the tramp steamships.
The Macon got out at 6:30 o’clock with a fairly good cargo, and the Nacoochee will sail this morning. The unloading of the Birmingham was commenced at 4 o’clock and progressed fairly well with the green hands. The new men are a little slow in their movements yet, but it won’t take them long to learn the knack of handling freight.
The Central brought in about 500 men during the day from along the line of road. The most of them are roadway hands brought temporarily until the settlement of the trouble.
Agent Wilkinson was in excellent humor when seen by a MORNING NEWS reporter, he felt so good over the turn affairs had taken that he really didn’t know exactly how many men he had at work.
THE TIRED POLICE
The policemen had a more jaunty air about them, and carried their rifles in a more soldierly fashion. The removal of the Sunday appearance from the wharves seemed to loosen their joints, and they moved around with a better step than at any day since the inauguration of the strike.
The only work they had to do besides walking around and feeling like soldiers was to make two arrests, one of the walking delegates who by some means had got on the wharves and was trying to induce the new men to quit work, and the other a header who threatened to shoot one of the country contingent. A white man who had been employed on the wharves for several months was discharged on suspicion of being in league with the strikers and helping to run the new men off.
The Central adopted a new scheme to hold the men. Long tables are spread and when the meal bell is sounded the scene is of an amusing character. The hands drop the trucks in every direction and rush pell mell over each other to get to the tables, and eat as if they never before had a square meal.
The Merchants and Miners’ company added to its force yesterday thirty-two white men and three colored men bringing up its total to seventy-five. The Allegheny sailed yesterday morning and the Wm. Lawrence arrived shortly afterward. The work of unloading her was begun at once. Last night she was pretty well relieved of freight and she will be reloaded and got off some time tonight.
The majority of the hands brought here by the Savannah, Florida and Western railroad are white.
The swearing in of special policemen was stopped last night by Mayor McDonough, because the necessity for them having practically passed. Between 75 and 100 specials were on duty yesterday and last night along the wharves and through the eastern and western portions of the city. They were armed with Winchester rifles and pistols. The larger portion of them will be dismissed today.
There was great improvement in the situation on all the wharves below the city. About fifty white men and a few negroes were at work at the Baltimore steamship wharf unloading the Wm. Lawrence. The lower press was running as usual with all the men needed. A large number of men were at work in the warehouses which were not there the day before.
THE DRAYS RUNNING
A number of drays were hauling in cotton. All of Ryals’ drays were running and a large number of the drays of the other firms in the business in the city. Some of the drays were manned by white men, but most of them were manned by negroes.
Alderman Harmon had a large and better force at work than the day before. On the Savannah, Florida and Western wharves nearly the full force was at work. Nearly 100 white men were among the workers. The Savannah, Florida and Western brought in sixty or seventy white men from along its line yesterday morning and put them to work.
“De railroad is bringing all dem white folks down from Jesup,” said a colored striker eyeing the crowd suspiciously as it embarked from the train. Jesup is a kind of Georgia Edgefield to the mind of the average South Georgia negro.
The white men were doing good work, despite their inexperience. They receive the same pay that was offered the colored hands. Supt. Fleming said that the men would be retained as long as they cared to work, whether the strike ended or not.
COST OF THE STRIKE
Now that the strike is at an end, the losses to the railroads, steamship companies and business of the city will be begun to be footed up. It will run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and maybe higher. The steamships have been kept twenty-four and thirty-six hours later than their sailing time, and their schedules have been broken into so that it may take weeks to straighten them out. The railroads have had every switch within 200 miles of Savannah filled with loaded freight cars, and the losses to shippers and others by delay will be no small item. Taken from any point of view, the strike has been a disastrous one all around, and has entailed the city with an enormous loss.
ADVISING THE STRIKERS
The early settlement of the strike is largely due to the efforts of the more conservative and intelligent of the colored people. A number of them have been at work using their influence with the strikers to have them return to work at the wages offered, telling them they were injuring themselves by holding out and the city as well.
D. B. Morris, a colored carpenter served as foreman of the carpenters at work upon Dr. R. G. Norton’s house, at Barnard and Anderson streets, called at the MORNING NEWS office last night. Morris said he had just had a very lively discussion with a member of the strikers in front of their hall on Duffy street. He has been telling them ever since they refused the offer of the joint committee that they had committed a great mistake, and were rapidly losing the sympathy of the community by their obstinacy.
Morris is not a member of the Labor Union and Protective Association, but he is president of the Archery Club and also of the Mystic Tie of Arabs, of which societies a number of the strikers are members. He is well-known and has some influence among his people. He said a number of threats were made against him because of his action, but he paid no attention to them. The more intelligent portion of the strikers were willing to listen to reason, he said, but the ignorant element seemed to be in control.
Last night as Morris was passing by the Odd Fellows’ hall on his way home from his work he was approached by a number of the strikers who make the hall their headquarters and the discussion about accepting the offer of the committee was renewed.
BETTER GO BACK TO WORK
Morris told them they were making fools of themselves by their conduct, that they were injuring themselves by staying away from work and at the same time injuring the city, and that it was impossible for them to force the railroads to terms. Some of the strikers replied that they would “starve the railroads out.” Morris told them that they would starve themselves out first. Some replied that they would stay out till Christmas or get their demands. Morris told them that while they were staying away from work the railroads were filling up with hands from other places, and would soon have no use for them and the city would be full of idle negroes with the prospect of starvation or the chain-gan before them. He told them they had taken large numbers of strange negroes, who had come here to work, away from their work and were keeping them idle on the town. He thought if they had persuaded them away from their work they ought to spend some of the money in the treasury to send them back to their homes.
A CARD TO THE STRIKERS
Morris came to the MORNING NEWS office with a card addressed to the strikers which he submitted for publication. The card is as follows:
My Dear Friends of Color:
I hope you will all look before it is too late or I am afraid you will do yourselves a great injury. Remember, if we do anything against the interests of this city we do it against ourselves. We should not think that this is the only shipping port in the country, because the companies that we are at war with, continue the shipping to other ports, and then we will have worse times to contend with than when we were getting 12-1/2 cents to 25 cents an hour. The company that we are contending with, has already carried a great deal of capital from amongst us by removing their head offices to Atlanta.
All of these people we are stopping here will make it harder for all of us, and our streets will be filled with idlers that will go to swell the chain-gangs. What injures this city injures us, so let us concede to this offer at present and try to cultivate a more perfect peace among our home people. It will be better for us to restore peace now, or it will be too late.
Morris told all that wanted to go to work to meet him at Barnard and Anderson streets this morning, and go with him to the railroad. He expects about 300.
Savannah Morning News, October 3, 1891.
The strikers are being badly advised. The understanding on Friday night was that they had decided to accept the wages offered by the transportation companies and return to work yesterday morning. They did not return to work, however, because they learned that the transportation companies would not recognize their union and allow them to dictate who should be employed. The transportation companies can get along without them. They have a sufficient number of men to handle their freights and can get more if they need them. And all the other places which have been deserted will soon be filled, because the labor to fill them is obtainable. The desire to favor the old hands is the chief reason why new ones have not been sought.
If the strikers persist in their obstinate course they will soon find themselves without a chance to obtain work. Their first great mistake after the strike was inaugurated was in refusing the liberal and very fair offer of an increase of wages. They would have acted wisely had they accepted it promptly.
Their second great mistake was in not going to work when they had finally decided to accept the wages offered. All of them might not have found places at once, but the most of them would, and eventually all of them would have obtained employment.
Every day they remain idle increases the difficulties of their position, because of the new men who are all the time coming in to fill the deserted places many are likely to remain permanently.
The rank and file of the strikers should think for themselves. They should look at the situation as it is. If they should do that they would see that their leaders are not safe advisers, and that there is no possible chance for gaining anything more than has been already willingly conceded to them. If they listen to reason, they will seek employment on Monday morning and take the places that are still open to them. That is better advice than they are now acting upon.
Savannah Morning News, October 4, 1891.
THE UNION DEMANDS TO BE RECOGNIZED
The Railroads Refuse
A part of the Strikers Ready to Go Back, but the Union Will Not Come to Terms—It wants the Railroads to Sign an Agreement Guaranteeing the Schedule of Wages Recommended by the Conference Committee—the Railroads Getting all the Hands They Want and are Independent of the Strikers—Everything Going Smoothly on the Wharves.
The wharf laborers strike is still on.
It was understood might before last that it was virtually at an end, and that the men would return to work yesterday morning. This information was furnished by the disinterested colored mediators, whose advice the strikers had agreed to follow. They said the strikers’ committee had agreed to declare the strike off, and would urge the men to go back to work on the basis of the proposition offered by the conference committee. It transpired yesterday morning that the strikers would not resume work unless the transportation companies would agree to take them back as members of the Labor Union and Protective Association. It is understood they also insist on the signing of a contract guaranteeing the scale of wages agreed upon by the conference, the agreement to be witnessed by the members of the cotton exchange and the board of trade committees, who had been instrumental in getting the concessions.
WILL NOT RECOGNIZE THE UNION
The railroad and steamship companies will not agree to recognize the union. They hire the men as individuals, and not as members of any organization. If they want to go back to work they must do so as when employed before the strike. The strikers are not asked to sever their connection with the union, but will not be recognized as union men in being taken back. Neither will the signing of any contract be agreed to. The commercial bodies will not recognize the union in the matter or agree to witness any contracts.
A committee of the strikers called upon a prominent cotton man to see what the prospects were for the recognition of the union. It was promptly informed that recognition of the organization was out of the question entirely. There was no use, he said, in discussing such a matter. The strikers must resume work as individuals or not at all. A fair proposition for settlement had been made and it had been rejected. That proposition was still open without any entailments about recognition of the union or anything else. The cotton men advised the committee to go back and urge the strikers to declare the strike off.
ADVISED A RETURN TO WORK
Attorney John H. Kinckle and Walking Delegate John Williams were members of the committee, and they went at once to the Duffy street hall, where the strikers were meeting and began to urging an acceptance of the transportation companies’ terms. The strikers refused to listen to them, and said they wanted nothing now, more or less, than 20 cents an hour.
Samuel Connolly, James Williams, Newton Oliver, Isaac Brown and Joe Collier, who were members of the strikers committee which conferred with the commercial bodies, announced last night they they had cut them from the strike and will return to work tomorrow morning if they can get it. They also said that they will endeavor to get the strikers to do likewise.
NO MORE HANDS NEEDED
The Central has brought to the city over 1,000 hands and yesterday stopped a crowd on the way there because a sufficient number had been secured. Up to night before last carloads of extra hands continued coming in to take the places of the strikers.
Friday night in the neighborhood of seventy-five able bodied negroes came to Macon from along the Georgia Southern and other roads bound for Savannah, and fifty more were brought in on the Southwestern train.
The train from Atlanta brought in a tremendous body, numbering over 200. This makes a total of nearly 500 who have passed through Macon.
WORK ON THE WHARVES
The work at the Ocean Steamship wharves was moving nicely, and things were getting along almost as well as before the strike. Over 100 cars were sent out loaded, and nearly as many unloaded. Supt. McBee said last night that he will never agree to take back the strikers as members of a union. The idea that because a considerable number of the new hands are roadway men their stay here is only temporary, Supt. McBee said, is wrong.
The portion of the men who are roadway hands are extra gangs and can easily be spared from the roadway. Even after the settlement of the strike as many as feel so disposed can remain. The strikers will not be taken back in a body, nor will the new men be discharged to make room for them. They will be re-employed as they are needed. Supt. McBee thinks that the reason the strike didn’t end yesterday was that some white adviser told the strikers that the roadway hands would have to be returned to their work in a few days, and if they held out for awhile longer they would be bound to win. If this is the theory they are working on, he said, they will find temselves badly mistaken.
DON’T NEED THE STRIKERS
There is now a sufficient number of men in the city to do all the work, and it makes little difference whether the strikers agree to go back to work or not. The backbone is broken, and by day after tomorrow the strike will be a part of the history of the past, as far as the transportation companies are concerned.
Supt. McBee furnished all the warehousemen with hands yesterday and sent fifty to Agent Carolan of the Merchants and Miners’ company.
ALL THE HELP IT NEEDS
Supt. Fleming of the Savannah, Florida and Western said that his road had all the men needed at work on the wharves, about half white and half black, and besides was able to furnish several white to the Merchants and Miners’ Transportation Company. The Savannah, Florida and Western brought in about a dozen white men yesterday morning from along its line and put them to work. Supt. Fleming said he could have brought a great many more, but they were not needed. He says the Savannah, Florida and Western now has all the men it needs and is not worrying about the strikers. They are hampered somewhat by the merchants and others, who are not able to take their freight as delivered, but Supt. Fleming said he expects to see everything in shipshape by tomorrow. There was a general increase in forces all along the lower wharves yesterday.
Supt. Fleming said he will refuse to recognize any union in taking men back. In fact he isn’t paying any further attention to either the strikers or their demands because he has all the laborers required by the Savannah, Florida and Western. He furnished the Merchants and Miners’ with thirty-five men.
BUSINESS ON THE BAY
Business is lightening up, and yesterday things were moving along the Bay in a spirited manner. The draymen secured quite a number of drivers, and the delivery of cotton was quite large. The longshoremen are all back to work, because cotton is being lightered to the tramps from the Ocean Steamship wharves in large quantities. In the neighborhood of 1,000 bales were transferred in this way yesterday.
The men employed at McDonough & Co.’s mill have also joined the strike. There were about fifteen, and some of them had been in the firm’s employ for over ten years. Mayor McDonough received a communication from the men reading: “Wese want enuff muney to pay our honest debts. Wese all the mill hands and wese all belong the union.” They didn’t stipulate what rate of increase they desired and never waited for an answer, but quit work. Their places were promptly filled, and Mayor McDonough said he will never take the strikers back under any circumstances.
STRIKE OF THE CITY HANDS
The scavenger, dry culture and board of health departments of the city have secured all the hands necessary to fill the strikers’ places, and things are moving as if no trouble ever existed. It is the same story in all lines of business where the colored laborers struck. Their places have been filled and now they are not wanted.
The report was current on Bay street yesterday that if the strike is not declared off tomorrow a general meeting of the business men of the city will be held and resolutions adopted agreeing that hereafter no members of the Labor Union and Protective Association will be employed by them. The business community’s patience is about exhausted. Every fair means were resorted to for a settlement of the troubles, but as the strikers refuse to listen to reason, or the merchants are getting tired, and will adopt a boycott to protect themselves in the future.
SHIPS SAILING ON TIME
General Manager Sorrell announces that the Ocean Steamship Company’s vessels are sailing on their regular schedules without delay, and that freight is being promptly handled. The company, the officials say, is not being interfered with in the sailing of vessels either from Savannah or New York.
Attorney Kinckle and Walking Delegate John Williams are in a bad fix, judging from their stories. They say that they have been charged by some people with instigating the strike, and now the strikers claim that they have been trying to sell them out to the corporations.
Williams said that Wednesday he spoke at the Duffy street hall, urging the strikers to accept the compromise. They refused, and said they wanted 20 cents an hour or nothing. He went back Thursday and again endeavored to persuade the men to go to work. They promptly branded him as a traitor and Williams claims that they fired him out of the hall. He tried to talk to them yesterday and was charged with having Central railroad money his pocket for talking compromise. He said he has resigned from the committee and the organization and will go back to work tomorrow.
NOT BACKING THE STRIKERS
Lawyer Kinckle said he heard it rumored that he was at the bottom of the strike, but there is not a word of truth in the report. He is not so blinded to the interests of the colored people or the interests of the city to do such a thing. He said he has done everything in his power to bring about a settlement of the difficulty without avail. The only recompense be received for his trouble was to be charged with treachery and trying to sell out the labor union. Lawyer Kinckle said last night that he had washed his hands entirely of the matter and would let the strikers settle matters to suit themselves. He had tried to reason with them and show them that they are blind to their own interests in remaining on strike, but they have displayed a high degree of obstinacy and will listen to no argument.
COL. PLEDGER’S EXPLANATION
W. A. Pledger, one of the mediators who thought that the strike was settled night before last, was seen yesterday by a MORNING NEWS reporter and asked for an explanation of the statement that the strikers would give up.
“Yesterday, said he, “a number of colored men met individual members of the strikers’ committee, as well as the attorney and president, and discussed the situation. I know that assurance was given that the committee, except Lowry, was in favor, and so were the attorney and president of declaring the strike off and permitting the men to go to work. These leaders led myself and others to believe (and we now believe) that they had the power to declare the strike off, since they represented the real intelligence of the organization. Today they are attempting to deny that they were in favor of declaring the strike off. In the presence of Mr. H. M. Comer, Lowry and other members indicated their desire to declare the strike off and to accept the propositions of the committes appointed by the board of trade and cotton exchange.
“It seems to me,” continued Pledger, “that there is some one powerful for evil behind these men, and it may be that he is not a colored man. The little that I have done is due to the fact that I hated to see hundreds of women and children breadless and without homes. To have accepted the proposed proposition was to win and cover themselves with the glory that would naturally grow out of the universal sympathy extended by all classes of all colors. As it is, those that can must hustle to find a place in the ranks of laborers. To gain the applause of the ill-advised striking populace is nothing when we think of the suffering that will follow this folly. The strike is, of course off, yet the folly of the deceptive leader will haunt the few who could have aided the rank and file in joining thd merchants on Wednesday in a peaceable solution of the matter.”
NO STOPPAGE OF NAVAL STORES
The strike on the Savannah, Florida and Western wharf did not impair the working of the naval stores department in the least during last week, which was due, in a great measure, to the admirable management of Wharfinger Harris. There was not a single delay in the deliveries to vessels except that caused by the wet weather. As a matter of fact, the outward movement of rosin was the heaviest had in several weeks. Stevedore Frank Bergman, who loaded the bulk of the foreign vessels clearing last week, says he had no difficulty whatever with his labor, and that he worked all of his men on full time. The vessels were dispatched without any delay or demurrage according to charter. He says that there was no exhibition on the part of his men of discontent or a desire to strike, but seemingly worked right along cheerfully, they being apparently satisfied with the wages paid them.
The new hands will be worked at the wharves today for the purpose of catching up and getting business in thorough shape.
The scenes around the colored Odd Fellows’ hall, where the strikers hold their meetings, resemble those of a political convention. The streets in the vicinity are filled with the strikers.
Savannah Morning News, October 4, 1891.
THE UNION INSISTS ON BEING RECOGNIZED
The Railroads Provided With All the Hands They Need Now and are Ind-dependent of the Strikers—The Work On the Wharves Going On Without Interruption or Delay—The Strikers’ Card—What Some of Them Say
The strike has not yet been declared off, though there are evidences of dissatisfaction in the ranks of the strikers.
The strikers held a big meeting yesterday afternoon at the longshoremens’ hall, at East Broad and Anderson streets, and discussed the situation.
Chairman H. M. Lowery and Isaac Brown of the strikers’ committee urged the men to give up the fight and seek employment this morning.
A. L. Coleman, president of the union, told the men, it is said, to remain firm. This advice was accepted by the majority of the strikers, who announced their intention to stand firm.
It is not likely that the transportation companies will trouble themselves as to the course the strikers may pursue. They have all the hands they need, and their freights are being handled expeditiously.
THE MEN DOING WELL
The new men are rapidly catching on to the handling of freight, and are rapidly becoming as proficient as the strikers were. Work was carried on all day yesterday at the Ocean Steamship wharves and Merchants’ and Miners’ wharf. The City of Birmingham sailed yesterday fully loaded at 6:30 o’clock. The Wm. Lawrence went out between 5 and 6 o’clock with a big cargo. The City of Augusta will sail today on schedule time. By tomorrow all traces of the strike will have about disappeared from the wharves, and the dray men expect to get sufficient drivers today to run all the cotton trucks and drays.
A meeting of the merchants to pass resolutions refusing hereafter to employ any one connected with the Labor Union and Protective Association will, it is expected to be held today if the strike is not declared off by noon. This will mean that the strikers will be out in the cold entirely.
Dissatisfaction has broken out in the ranks of the union and a number of the members have announced their intention of applying for work today at the wharves. If this is done the strike will most likely die a natural death without the necessity of any declaration of its being off.
A CARD FROM THE STRIKERS
A. J. Coleman, M. J. Christopher, A. O. Pierrieaeu, G. W. Shaw, E. D. Lynch, R. Jones and J. Youngblood sent a communication to the MORNING NEWS last night giving official information that the strike has not been declared off. “It is not because we have not the interest of the city at heart, nor because of stubbornness,” says the communication, “that it has not been declared off. The association promptly accepted the recommendation of its committee, and agreed to return to work for the advance named. But before doing so, the association wanted to know if its members would be given their places in a reasonable time, and not discharged because of membership in the union. Our committee has not been able to get this informationand it is for this reason that the strike has not been declared off. We make this announcement because the public has been led to believe that we have no grievance, and as it was erroneously stated that we did not accept the advance offered.”
A LATE ANNOUNCEMENT
It is rather a late day that the association determined to make such an announcement. It is a matter of record that at first the proposition of the conference was rejected without any question about the union. The strikers then thought they had things their own way and intended to dictate everything to suit themselves. Since they awakened to the fact that they made a grievous mistake they have raised the question about the union. The transportation companies knew nothing about the union before the strike was inaugurated, and they are not taking it into account now. All they say is that their laborers left them and new men have been obtained to fill their places. They are willing to employ other men as they need them, whether they belong to the union or not. They are not asking questions about the union, as that organization does not appear to be one with which they have anything to do. And the committee of the trade bodies through whose efforts the advance in wages was secured, having been dissolved when the increase in wages was rejected, there doesn’t appear to be anybody authorized to give any guarantee about matters relating to the union. The thing for the strikers to do is to apply for work and if they are needed they will be employed. The longer they hold off the worse their chances for getting work will be.
THE MEDIATORS DONE
Those who have acted as mediators have washed their hands altogether of the affair, and say it is now a matter of as little difference to them as to the transportation companies whether or not the strike is declared off. They reasoned with the strikers until they were tired, endeavoring to show them that they are injuring themselves and families more than anyone else in remaining away from work. Obstinacy, however, held a higher hand than intelligence and reason, and their efforts to bring about a settlement were put down as sure evidence of treachery and an attempt to sell the strikers out to the corporations.
The men brought here to take the strikers’ places are delighted with their treatment. A dollar a day was about all they averaged in the country, and now they are averaging $1.75 per day.
WANTED TO OBSERVE SUNDAY
Nearly all the white men and quite a number of the negroes brought here during the week objected to working yesterday because of its being Sunday. The transportation companies didn’t insist and the religiously inclined individuals spent a quiet day.
What good it is doing the strikers to hold out now no one can understand, as the backbone of it has been broken by the bringing in of new hands.
Savannah Morning News, October 5, 1891.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNION DECLARES IT OFF
The Strikers Returning to Work as Fast as They Can Get Places—The Railroads Have All the Hands They Want and Business Moving With Renewed Activity—The Strikers to Be Taken Back Whenever There Are Vacancies
The wharf laborers’ strike was declared off last night by the president and chairman of the Labor Union and Protective Association.
Dissatisfaction arose in the ranks of the union, and hundreds broke away yesterday morning and applied to the transportation companies to be reinstated. About fifty were taken back by the Central railroad.
When the ex-strikers started to cross the bridge to apply for work they were stopped by the police. The police had no instructions to allow them to cross even if they asked for work, and they were kept waiting a short time. Then as many as there were places for were taken back. The others were told to apply from day to day, and as they are needed they will be reinstated. The Savannah, Florida and Western railway and Merchants and Miners’ company also took back what old hands they had places for.
The drivers of trucks and drays applied for their old positions, and as many as were needed were taken back. Quite a number of the places had been filled.
THE STRIKE DECLARED OFF
The futility of the strike became apparent to the leaders and after a prolonged meeting last night the strike was declared off.
The new hands didn’t take long to get onto the knack of handling freight and are now as proficient at the work almost, as the men who had quit work. The majority of those brought here have come to stay. Some of the roadway hands will be sent back and the strikers will be given work in their places, but it won’t do for them to count on too heavy an exodus, because the most of them belonged to extra gangs, and if they want to stay the railroads will keep them.
EVERYTHING MOVING ON TIME
The steamship City of Augusta sailed last night on schedule time with a full cargo. Several hundred bales of cotton were lightered and freight cars were loaded and unloaded as before the strike. Everything on the Ocean steamship wharves is moving briskly. The Deshong arrived yesterday and the work of discharging her cargo was begun at once. She will sail tomorrow.
The Berkshire, of the Merchants and Miners’ company, also arrived yesterday and a full force of over 150 hands began unloading her. She will be reloaded and will sail tomorrow on time.
A strike of rather small proportions took place yesterday at Dale, Dixon & Co.’s lumber wharf. The laborers employed there demanded the discharge of the fireman, a colored man named Jones, for some imaginary grievances. The firm refused and the men said unless their demand was granted they would quit work. Mr. Merritt Dixon promptly ran the men off the wharf and secured others to replace them.
Alderman Wm. F. Reid and Mrs. Reid celebrated the 10th anniversary of their marriage last night with a tin-wedding at their home at South Broad and East Broad streets. A large party of friends were invited and several hours were spent in singing, dancing, etc. An elegant supper was partaken of at midnight. Alderman and Mrs. Reid were the recipients of numerous presents in the tin line.
ON THE LOWER WHARVES
The effects of the break in the ranks of the strikers was plainly persceptible on the lower wharves. A long procession of drays, loaded and unloaded, moved continously up and down the east end of Bay street leading to the warehouses. The warehousemen seemed to have all the men they could use and cotton was moving in and out rapidly.
At the lower press about 140 hands were at work. About half of these were strikers, who returned to work in the morning. They worked with a vim and seemed be anxious to make up for lost time. The clerks said the men were glad to get back to work, and that some of them were extremely penitent on account of their part in the strike.
All of the strikers who returned to work yesterday morning, were taken back without question and no mention was made of the strike.
THE PRESS HANDS GO BACK
The press laborers made no demands when they went out and asked for no increase when they went back. Only one of the lower presses was running yesterday but both could have been run as easily as one. Both the presses will probably be running tomorrow.
Full forces were found at work on the Savannah, Florida and Western and on all the other lower wharves. The stevedores all had full gangs, composed almost entirely of the strikers. The naval stores inspectors also had full gangs and were at work as usual for the first time since the inauguration of the strike.
Supt. Fleming said last night that the Savannah, Florida and Western has all the men at work that are wanted. A number of the strikers were taken back yesterday, and a number more were refused because they were not needed. Supt. Fleming said that the white men now at work on the wharves will be retained as long as they care to work and will not be displaced to make room for the strikers.
Savannah Morning News, October 6, 1891.
The wharf laborers’ strike is over. It virtually ended Saturday, but those who saw the mistake they had made did not then dare antagonize the leaders of the movement. Yesterday morning hundreds of laborers returned to work and many more would have done so could they have obtained employment. The leaders, however, were unwilling to give in and fought against the inevitable until last night, when the president and chairman of the labor union officially declared the strike off.
The ill-advised movement has made a break between the business men and their colored laborers which it will take time to mend. It will be difficult to forget that men who had for years been faithful to their trusts deserted their posts at the dictates of those of whose very names even they were ignorant. Those who were true to the best interests of the community, however, will not be forgotten.
Were it not for the strong commercial position which Savannah has established for itself the strike would have done much injury to the city’s business interests. Yesterday business resumed its former activity, and today every trace of the recent troubles caused by the derangement of labor will doubtless disappear.
While the MORNING NEWS, as usual, has kept abreast of the news every day, its conservatism in handling the grave issue did much to allay the antagonism which the strike engendered. A single Indiscreet paragraph would have inflamed the minds of either side, and might have brought about a collision. In the interest of law and order much that was talked about by the strikers and the thousands of wild rumors, was suppressed. The trouble is over, and it is hoped that such a state of affairs will never again be known in Savannah.
Savannah Morning News, October 6, 1891.
General Manager Green on the Strike and Other Matters
General Manager Green of the Richmond and Danville is on a general tour of inspection of the system. He spent yesterday in looking over the Central’s properties here and will leave this morning for Columbia, S.C. He reports everything in fine condition. He said the wharves here will be extended and improved after the busy season.
While the Central’s terminals are now of an extended character, General Manager Green said they are not large enough to accommodate the business of the great railway system. Freights are increasing rapidly and things will be rather crowded at the wharves this season.
In speaking of the strike, General Manager Green said the strikers didn’t seem to take into consideration the fact that the Richmond and Danville system controlled over 5,000 miles of road and has many states to draw from.
“We could have put 10,000 men here as easily as 1,000,” said the general manager. “There are hundreds of negroes in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia waiting now for the Savannah trains anxious to come here for work, and the company’s representatives have hard work telling them that the strike is at an end and their services are not wanted.
“If we had acceded to the demands of the strikers,” continued General Manager Green, “the situation would have been made worse. In less than a year they would have been demanding higher wages. It would have caused trouble at all the southern ports. The men at these points would have demanded an increase of wages to the Savannah standard and as soon as it was granted the laborers here would have wanted to go higher. The strike never worried us. We knew we could get all the labor we wanted to take the places of the strikers, and all the aid we asked from Savannah was the protection of our properties.”
Mr. Green spoke in highly complimentary terms of the manner in which General Superintendent McBee has handled the strike, and said he was glad that no violence had occurred.
“Have you many more office changes in view here?” was asked.
“Well, don’t you think we’ve changed about all that could be changed. No there’s none in view now.”
The general manager was asked what he proposed to do about the change of the Augusta schedule, which is causing so much dissatisfaction.
“I was speaking to Supt. McBee about the matter today,” he said, “and the trouble will be remedied. A schedule of close connections at Millen will be arranged at an early day. I know it’s pretty hard on travelers to have to lay over at Millen for several hours.”
General Manager Green, General Superintendent McBee, General Manager Sorrel of the Ocean Steamship Company, General Superintendent Fleming of the Savannah, Florida and Western, and Mayor McDonough spent about three-quarters of an hour in the sun parlor of the De Soto last night discussing the events of the past week.
Savannah Morning News, October 7, 1891.
THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION TO AID SAVANNAH IN GETTING DEEP WATER
Deep water has been given a great boom. The National Farmers’ Alliance has wheeled into line and the powerful influence of that organization will be exerted to secure from Congress, sufficient appropriation to deepen the Savannah river and make this port one of the greatest of the Atlantic.
Capt. D. D. Purse, who returned from Atlanta yesterday brought the news. It was mainly through his efforts that the alliance took up the fight. He first got the state alliance interested, and through it the national body.
The following is a copy of the official document sent out by the national alliance on the subject:
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 3, 1891.
To Whom it May Concern:
Believing that unity of interest begets unity of sentiment, and that by the establishment of close commercial relations between the south and west we can more thoroughly establish that sense of mutual and more effectually eradicate the lines of sectional prejudice, we deem it but right that everything looking to these great ends should be encouraged.
And, since the state of Georgia by her legislature and through her state alliance is appealing to congress for a sufficient appropriation to deepen the channel to the city of Savannah; and, since this port is one of the natural outlets for the produce of the south and what to the trade of the world, and will establish for our people direct trade with foreign ports and furnish a competitive market for all our products as against markets of the northeast, which now monopolize our commerce, we earnestly recommend that our alliance brethren of the western and southern states examine into the question thoroughly and see how greatly they will be benefited by shorter routes to the sea and competitive seaports; and, when convinced of all these facts, that they make their wishes known to their congressmen, by petitions urging them to do all in their power to secure for the port of Savannah ample appropriations to meet the desired ends.
J. H. TURNER, N.F.A. AND I.V.
J. F. TILLMAN, Sec. Natl. Ex. Board of N.F.A. AND I.V.
C. W. MACUNE, Chairman Executive Board.
Harry C. Brown, who has been engaged to speak before the alliance of the country on the deep water scheme, has begun his work. He has letters of introduction from President Polk, C. W. Macune and N. A. Dunning. President Polk’s letter reads:
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 1, 1891
This introduces Brother H. C. Brown of Atlanta, Ga. (formerly editor of the Southern Alliance Farmers, who visits your section in the interest of improved water facilities at the city of Savannah, Ga.
In view of the growth and development of the south and west, whose interests demand the cheapest and most accessible outlets to the world for their products, and in view of the superior advantages, geographical and otherwise, offered by the port of Savannah, I heartily commend Brother Brown and the worthy enterprise he represents to your most favorable consideration.
L. L. POLK,
President National F.A. and I.U.
Dr. Macune’s letter is as follows: WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 3, 1891
To the Brethren:
This is to introduce Brother H. C. Brown of Atlanta, Ga., who has for several years been editor of the Southern. Alliance Farmer, the official organ of the Georgia state alliance. Brother Brown is a perfect gentleman, in whom I have great confidence. He is a thoroughly devoted allianceman and worthy of the confidence and esteem of the brotherhood . Any courtesies extended him are worthily bestowed.
C. W. MACUNE
N. A. Dunning’s letter reads:
WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 3, 1891
To the Brotherhood:
I am personally and well acquainted with the bearer of this, Brother H. C. Brown of Atlanta, Ga., and know him to be a man of honor and integrity. I have examined to some extent that project in which he is interested and believe it would aid materially in the equitable distribution of the fruits of labor.
Sincerely and fraternally,
N. A. DUNNING
Savannah Morning News, October 7, 1891.
BLACK AND WHITE UNITY: THE CHICAGO CULLINARY ALLIANCE70
The limited sphere in which the Afro-American has been compelled to work, has confined him almost exclusively to the choice of being a waiter or a barber, unless he has had the advantage of a collegiate education, in which case he becomes a minister or a lawyer. This limited sphere of action in the avenues of employment had compelled the Afro-American to work for wages not near as good as the “white brother” gets. Since the [Chicago Cullinary] Alliance, the way points fair to an adjustment of all differences and it is said that the scales will be brought to an equilibrium.
Cleveland Gazette, May 31, 1890.
On May 1st, 30,000 toilers representing nearly every association of organized labor in the city turned out. This was one of the largest and most orderly demonstrations ever held in Chicago. Their object is the eight-hour movement with ten-hours pay, and extra pay for overtime. There are many men idle, and if their demands are not acceded to their will, undoubtedly be much suffering. The waiters were to have walked out Saturday last at noon. Their main grievance was that the union should be recognized, and that the leading large restaurants here employing white waiters should work nothing but union men, recommended by the unions. The bosses acceded to their demand and a general strike was averted among the white waiters.
The Freeman (Indianapolis), May 31, 1890 .
Table-waiting has grown to be an art, and is recognized as a legitimate business. As long as people can afford to take life easy, they must have this kind of service, and somebody must follow it. It is to the interest of the professional waiter to do all he can to elevate his business, and bring to it all the respect that its importances entitles it. The waiters of Chicago have caught the idea very thoroughly, as indicated in their manly conduct in the strike for right. In accord with the spirit of the times, they have organized a union, and by so doing have made themselves a power in the hotel world. Every man in Chicago who must support himself and family by this calling, should ally himself with the union, and aid the struggle for fair play. Strikes are always a last resort, but when other means fail, they are justified in defending their interest in anyway that promises victory. In union there is strength, and by joining hands and dignifying their labor, the waiters of Chicago will be the pioneers of a great reform.
The Freeman (Indianapolis), May 31, 1890.
The Freeman takes pleasure in presenting to its many thousands of readers a brief history of the Union Waiters’ strike in Chicago. It is the largest and most important movement ever inaugurated among waiters. As the results will depend much upon any future movement here by waiters, the object is one well worth long and due consideration.
The Chicago Cullinary Alliance is one of the largest and strongest organizations of the kind in existence, having many branch unions, and controlling many hundreds of waiters in many sections of the country. It was organized January 3, 1889, with a membership of only sixteen and was composed of German waiters, meat and pastry cooks and bartenders. It was organized for the mutual protection in all the trades followed by its members. No prejudice as to color or nationality existed, and its books and doors were thrown open.
Among the organizations in Chicago, it controls Chicago Waiters’ Assembly, No. 7475, E. J. Parker secretary; German Bartenders and Waiter’s Assembly, Otto Stritter secretary; Chicago Waiter’s Union No. 1, E. J. Wheeler, secretary; Chicago Waiter’s League Branch, No. 100, B. of U.L., E. B. Maurice, secretary; Meat and Pastry Cook’s Union, Jas. J. Gilligan, secretary; Columbus waiters and bartender’s association, Ben Rosenbaum, secretary. Colored: Wm. Lloyd Garrison Assembly, 8286, K. of L., J. W. Cable, secretary; Chas. Sumner Waiter’s Union, J. B. Hart, president. Officers of the Cullinary Alliance: Thos. M. Lambs, president; Wm. C. Pomeroy, secretary; Theo. Birr, treasurer. Directors: J. J. Gilligan, E. J. Wheeler, Wm. C. Pomeroy, John Estein, Wm. Langhenry.
The strike was first inaugurated by the white brother waiters. For the following universal scale of wages, shorter hours, and better treatment in many of the places where they were exclusively employed.
SCALE OF WAGES OF FIRST-CLASS OYSTER HOUSES AND RESTAURANTS
Steady men per week, $10; dinner men, over three hours work, per week, $5; dinner men, three hours work or less per day, 75₵; extra men evenings, $1.25; overtime, per hour or less, 25₵.
RESTAURANT AND LUNCH COUNTERS
Six and one-half days to constitute a week’s work, the half day to be worked on Sunday. Steady men all night, per week, $10; steady men, day time per week $9; extra men Sundays, $2; special dinner men, $1; overtime per hour or less, 25₵; dinner men, same scale as Oyster Houses; hotels, per month, $30.
Sunday work, waiters, per day, $3; evenings, week day, $1.50; concert halls, 7 to 12 p.m., per week, $8; extra men per week, $8; extra men Sundays, $3.
BALLS, BANQUETS, EXCURSIONS AND PICNICS
Bartenders, lunch and $5; waiters. lunch and $3.50; waiters on commission, 24 checks for $1.
RESTAURANTS WHICH ARE CLOSED SUNDAYS
No scale is made for steady or night men. Dinner and extra men, same as Oyster Houses.
SUPPERS FOR CATERERS
The halls or club houses: Waiters, with dress coats, $3; weddings and banquets, $2.50.
Public halls: 50₵ suppers, waiters, 75₵ and $1 suppers, waiters, $3.50.
Waiters, $5; waiters for caterers $4.
The employers asked for time to consider their request and demands. It is a little scheme of their own and while in the pretense of considering, rather than accede to their demands, they endeavored to secure and employ other help or substitute Afro-Americans. But this was anticipated and communicated to No. 8286, K. of L. The officers and leaders, Messrs. R. B. Cabel, R. S. Bryan, B. A. Lewis, Dr. Bubbins, and J. B. Hart proceeded at once to overcome any such outrage on a brother knight, and was successful, even though large salaries were offered some of the colored head-waiters to take charge of some of the places with colored crews.
WHY THE STRIKE WAS SO VIGOROUS AND SUCCESSFUL
The loyalty and manhood of the colored head-waiters at once, aroused the anxiety of the Cullinary Alliance and the advisability of consolidating all the waiter’s unions and make war for the demands, was discussed and adopted, the contracts to last one year, and in that time a proprietor cannot change a white crew for a colored crew, or a colored crew for a white crew, even if they have gone out on a strike, and should sign the Union contract, they are duty bound and can only have back the old crew. While the strike is and may be prolonged, they will take anything in the shape of a man from the streets to assist through a meal, and for bums and mimic men who will do anything for two bits, a drink, a meal, or a place to sleep. Second consideration, Chicago can challenge any city. There is an ignorant class of men that can only be reasoned with by the proprietor. Some even go so far as to refuse to join the Union, when the house has signed the scale, but when he understands that he must join or get, he will send his name and tuition.
Many of the leading hotel and dining hall proprietors have formed an association as they term it, to protect themselves against the dictations of the Union or any set of men, or Negroes led by white men, and ask for police protection which is laughed at. In no instance have there been any demonstration on the part of a single waiter. Everything has been conducted quietly, successfully and creditably to any set of men or race. Some of the proprietors say their men are well enough paid, especially those who only pay their men $6 and $7 per week, and expect just as much of them and if not more, than the men getting $9 and $10. As they are colored, they must look as neat, work as long, and be fed worse. Let every man fare alike—get the same wages—have the same hours and pay and many other necessary advantages in the demands of the Union.
We solicit the consideration of the general public. Among us are many men of families, whom much responsibility rests upon, and any financial assistance will be thankfully received, and given credit for, by sending the same with amount and address, they will be published from week to week in THE FREEMAN.
We are ready to receive into our association, or organized Unions and for any information of the same, address Wm. C. Pomeroy, 127 La Salle Street, Chicago, Ill.
Letters and communications appertaining to the Union and for publication, will be answered through THE FREEMAN. Address such to R. B. Cabell, 127 La Salle Street, Chicago, Ill. Representatives of THE FREEMAN, 166 Wells Street, or 2443 State Street.
The Freeman (Indianapolis), May 31, 1890.
WILLIAM C. POMEROY
William C. Pomeroy, the Secretary of the Cullinary Alliance, is the Central figure in the strike. He is the recognized leader in the movement and the entire membership relies upon his prudence, ability and energy to help them win.
Mr. Pomeroy is quite a young man hailing from the good state of Kentucky, where he was born in 1862. His early years were spent in school at St. Mary’s Institution in Dayton, O., where he received a liberal education. Having the misfortune to lose both parents, he was early compelled to leave the city and hunt for work. Thus he visited New Orleans, Wheeling, W. Va., St. Louis and Chicago, arriving in the latter city in 1883.
While in St. Louis, Mr. Pomeroy began the agitation which has since gained for him a national reputation. He found the waiters there poorly treated, subjected to numerous impositions and miserably paid for their work. He organized a flourishing Union, secured its recognition, secured comfortable accommodations, and a raise of forty per cent in salary. . . .
E. E. Byram was born in New York City of German parents, has been a resident of Chicago six years and is a member of Chicago Waiters’ League, head secretary of the Labor Beam and one of the hardest workers in the interest of the present cause.
B. A. LEWIS
B. A. Lewis, the colored leader was born in Oglethorp, Macon Co., Ga., and is the youngest of four children of Berry and Martha Lewis, who gave him the benefit of the best district schools in those days. His father died in 1871, leaving his mother, one sister and two elder brothers with a small farm. The entire family with the exception of Mr. Lewis are still remaining on the old farm. Mr. Lewis remained at home about eighteen months after the father’s death as he had to leave to accept a position as clerk in a grocery in Albany, Ga. After a short experience in the business the successively held positions as coachman, barber, brakeman, newsboy and waiter, in which last vocation he was engaged for five years in Exchange.
He first organized the white waiters and put their Union upon substantial basis. Having secured contracts and recognition with advance in pay he turned his attention to the colored waiters.
In this movement he has been fair and honorable. He was in favor of good men receiving good pay, and contended that proprietors should treat their men fairly. He maintained that the interests of colored waiters and white waiters were common and that both classes of workers should join in a common contest. He declared in giving colored waiters the same wages as white waiters, and in fact abolishing all odious discriminations against the colored men. His energy, tact and fairness enabled him to win his way and the result was the splendid success of the Alliance. His work has won him great prestige and he well deserves the reputation he enjoys.
R. B. CABBELL
R. B. Cabbell, the well-known newspaper correspondent, is the colored representative in the Cullinary Alliance, being one of the secretaries. He has shown active and intelligent interest in the strike, faithfully serving the Alliance, but at the same time prudent and conservative in his dealings with employers. To him much credit is due for securing to the colored waiter the co-operation from the white members. He is very popular with the Alliance also among the Knights of Labor, in which order he is a prominent member. He is one of the most enterprising young men in Chicago, a thorough businessman. He was once connected with the Chicago staff of THE FREEMAN but is now city editor of the Methodist Advocate, a weekly paper, and is also secretary of the Charles Sumner Waiter’s Union. He is considered one of the shrewdest engineers of the strike and is agent for one of the largest jewelry establishments in Chicago.
W. B. WARWICK
W. B. Warwick was born at Richmond, Virginia, Oct. 12th 1867. At the age of eight years he, with his parents moved to Baltimore where he was educated in the public school. At the age of fifteen he went to work in the dry goods business serving two years and came to Chicago on July 11th 1876, engaged in the waiter business a month later and has followed it ever since, joined the Knights of Labor June 6, 1886, was elected two terms as Master Workman, together with Wm. C. Pomeroy drew up the first scale of wages ever written up for waiters and was successfully adopted by the restaurant proprietors of Chicago. Seeing the necessity of having the colored waiters combined with us to benefit our line of business they organized them together and fought the only successful fight of its kind ever known.
R. S. BRYAN
R. S. Bryan, has done much to make the strike successful. He is well-known in the Knights of Labor and very highly esteemed. He was the Knight of Labor candidate for the Legislature two years ago, and received a large vote. Mr. Bryan is proprietor of the Estella Cafe and is a successful business man. President of the R. S. Bryan Association of the First Ward, representative union man. He has been elected a delegate to the Labor District of Knights of Labor for a term of three years, also a delegate to the Labor Councils for one year. Mr. Lewis is never better satisfied than when he is at work in the Councils of his Labor organization, grappling with the various economic and social problems of the days. He is a good, practical, forcible speaker, uses apt illustrations and has a fund of humor at hand to make his talks enjoyable. He is a power in the Alliance, and well deserves the prominence he has attained.
Henry John was born in Germany and came to this country in May, 1880, had followed the business in the old country and so resumed it here. He first associated with the K. of L. 9620, but severed his connection some two years ago and joined the German Waiters and Bartenders Benefit Association, a part of the Cullinary Alliance, and has been twice elected a delegate to the Alliance and was appointed as one of the Executive Committee, and has been one of the most efficient and hard working members of that body, both in clerical and manual work in the successful movement almost finished.
J. B. HART
He was born at Charlottesville, Va., where he received his early training at the Jefferson school. He left home in 1880, and lived in Washington, D.C., a short while, from whence he went to New York, Pittsburg, Memphis, St. Louis, and Louisville, stopping only a short time in each of the cities mentioned. He came to Chicago, December 1885, following various pursuits in business. He was a member of Wm. Lloyd Garrison, L.A., No. 8286, K. of L., and was its Worthy Foreman. He was delegate to District 24, K. of L., also delegate to the Central Council K. of L. Mr. Hart was a representative at the Labor Men’s Worlds Fair Committee. He was one of the nine proxy holders elected by that committee, and was the only colored delegate present. He was temporary president of the Chas. Sumner Waiters Union, and also delegate to the C.C.A. from No. 8286, K. of L.
DR. J. B. BUBBINS
Dr. Bubbins was born at College Point, La., but his home was in New Orleans. He began life upon a sugar plantation, but at the age of 14 he went to steam boating, serving from deckhand to steward. He has navigated the principle rivers, lakes, gulfs, and oceans and visited many parts of the world. He came to Chicago in 1884. Returning to New Orleans for a brief stay to finish his profession, he returned to Chicago and opened up his office and laboratory at 1471 State St., and enjoys a large white and colored practice. He is well known throughout the country as a Knight, being a Past Grand Master Workingman. He is also compounder of an original French oil for internal and external use for all chronic pains and rheumatism, also a special kidney and bladder remedy, all of which have effected permanent cures. Dr. Bubbins is also a French scholar and speaks that language fluently, and is one of the financial backers of 8286 K. of L.
The Freeman (Indianapolis), May 31, 1890.