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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Sun., Feb. 27, 2011

From our archives, 100 years ago

Two Spokane residents received threatening “Black Hand”-style letters – Black Hand being the name of a secret Sicilian terrorist society.

One letter was received by Wong Gye, a “wealthy, Americanized” native of China. The letter ordered him to leave $25 in a paper sack beneath the Stevens Street bridge – or else.

Gye showed up at the bridge while his friends watched from a hiding place, in an attempt to catch the letter writer. But no one showed up.

The second letter was sent to a woman being held in the city jail on a vagrancy charge. The letter said, “You had better make yourself scarce around Spokane, for I will hound you day and night until I get you, and I’ll get you right, kid.”

The letters had “symbolic signs” suggestive of the Black Hand. But police suspected that these letters only “tried to leave the impression” that they were from the Black Hand. The woman prisoner thought her letter was from a jealous woman who thought she was trying to steal her mate.

Also on this date

From the Associated Press

1973: Members of the American Indian Movement occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the site of the 1890 massacre of at least 150 Sioux men, women and children. (The occupation lasted until May.)

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