May 17, 2012 in City

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

By Correspondent

From our archives, 100 years ago

The American flag and the “red flag” of the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) were creating controversy in Spokane in two different ways.

First, a Wobbly writer – pen name, Stumpy – was in trouble for writing a story that referred to the American flag as a “dirty rag.” The story, printed in the Industrial Worker, which was published in Spokane, contained a line about how a man was forced to “kneel before a dirty rag called a flag of the United States and kiss it in a token of loyalty.” 

A grand jury in Los Angeles was looking into possible charges of sedition.

Meanwhile, the red flag, denoting socialism, became a political issue in Spokane after the Grand Army of the Republic, a war veterans’ group, demanded that the red flag be banned from all Spokane street parades and that all organizations be required to carry the American flag.

Public Safety commissioner Hayden said the Wobblies had already promised not to carry the red flag in an upcoming parade and that “they have kept every promise they have made.” Hayden said he was no Wobbly sympathizer, but he believed in treating them fairly.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1792: The New York Stock Exchange had its origins as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street.

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