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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

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From our archives, 100 years ago

Two unfortunate incidents marred Spokane’s “Traveling Men’s Carnival,” a big circus-like event sponsored by the United Commercial Travelers, a fraternal organization of traveling salesmen.

First, Caesar Wallace, the carnival’s untamed rogue lion, attacked trainer Albert Belger in front of a live audience. Belger fell down while trying to dodge the lion, which pounced, clawed him and bit him in the shoulder and neck. The lion probably would have killed Belger except for the quick action of the show’s announcer, who “shoved his revolver under the beast’s nose and fired three blank shots.”

Belger was taken to the hospital and was resting easily “under the influence of opiates.”

The second incident occurred when a group of visiting Southerners in the United Commercial Travelers refused to march in the parade because black soldiers from the 25th Infantry at Fort George Wright were marching. They said they “would not march behind a negro band.”

The Spokane members of the Travelers went ahead and marched without the Southerners.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1999: Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.



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