Jim Kershner’s this day in history

SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

Racial justice was under debate in a north Spokane restaurant, and the debate included fists as well as words.

It all began when some barbers sent their “Negro porter” to order some sandwiches from the restaurant across the street, at 708 N. Monroe. The porter walked to the counter and made the order, but the cook simply called his attention to a sign that announced “colored trade not solicited.”

So the porter walked out without any sandwiches.

However, some patrons of the restaurant apparently expressed their displeasure at the restaurant’s policy. Other patrons and the cook defended it. As The Spokesman-Review put it, a “discussion as to the merits of the case” ensued. The debate got so heated that “fists and any other convenient weapons were called into vigorous play.” Before it was over, “blood flowed freely” and the police were summoned.

Police arrested four men, including the cook. They were all booked for disorderly conduct.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1792: Kentucky became the 15th state of the union. … 1796: Tennessee became the 16th state. … 1968: Author-lecturer Helen Keller, who’d earned a college degree despite being blind and deaf almost all of her life, died in Westport, Connecticut, at age 87.

Click here to comment on this story »