Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here.

Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Over 200 unemployed men marched through downtown to demand help

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 15, 2021

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

A parade of more than 200 unemployed men marched through downtown to City Hall, demanding relief.

Specifically, they asked that a public works sewer project be launched to provide work.

One of the city commissioners expressed some sympathy, but even more frustration.

“You men must appreciate the position we are in,” commissioner Maurice Smith said. “The city officials cannot create jobs where they wish. The taxpayers pay the money. We have no money at this time which can be used for sewer and other work needed to supply you men with work. We will open new work just as soon as we can.”

He asked the men to “put their case” before the commissioners at the regular afternoon council session.

Spokane Daily Chronicle described them as “200 married men of Spokane, many of whom claim to be destitute and unable to furnish food for their children.” This seemed to be the Chronicle’s way of signaling that they were not vagrants or Wobblies. They had been organized by J.C. Brooks, an “unemployed head of a family.”

“There is surely some way for them to be able to feed their families without depending on charity,” Brooks said. “We are not IWW’s (Wobblies), but we must eat and can’t let our families starve.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1977: Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, 36, was shot by a firing squad at Utah State Prison in the first U.S. execution in a decade.

More from this author