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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: YMCA launches ‘campaign of Americanization’

The group intended to “work among the foreign-born and carry the message of Americanism to them, instead of trying to have them come to us.” (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
The group intended to “work among the foreign-born and carry the message of Americanism to them, instead of trying to have them come to us.” (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

The local YMCA launched a “campaign of Americanization” in Spokane, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported.

The plan was to recruit ex-servicemen of foreign birth to “appear among their people and preach the spirit of good citizenship.”

The program would also teach the reading and writing of English, help people obtain their naturalization papers, and teach American history and government.

The group intended to “work among the foreign-born and carry the message of Americanism to them, instead of trying to have them come to us.”

Meanwhile, the Spokane post of the American Legion was given credit for helping launch a different kind of Americanism campaign: the congressional legislation against radical aliens.

The Spokane post “drew up the first resolutions and took steps against the reds before any action was taken by the governor of the state.”

From the labor beat: A total of 41 union barbers from 13 shops in Spokane went on strike because their employers refused to give them a 5% raise.

Other shop owners agreed to the raise, and they were hiring more barbers to meet the new demand.

One defiant shop owner predicted that at least five big barber shops would close before they would grant the raise.

“Hereafter, I am going to run my shop on the American plan,” he said. “That means my place will be open shop from now on.”

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