Social Upheaval in 1931

From the New York Times, January 31, 1931.

Food Rioters Raid Oklahoma City Store; 500 Dispersed by the Police With Tear Gas

OKLAHOMA CITY. Jan. 20 (AP)-A crowd of men and women, shouting that they were hungry and jobless, raided a grocery store near the City Hall today. Twenty-six of the men were arrested. Scores loitered near the city jail following the arrests, but kept well out of range of fire hoses made ready for use in case of another disturbance.

      The police tonight broke up a second meeting of about one hundred unemployed men and arrested Francis Owens, alleged head of the "Oklahoma City Unemployed Council," who was accused of instigating the raid.

      Before the grocery was entered, a delegation of unemployed, led by Owens, had demanded of City Manager E. M. Fry that the authorities furnish immediate relief. Owens rejected a request by Mr. Fry for the names and addresses of the "Unemployed Council," said to number 2500 men and women, both whites and Negroes.

      The raiders disregarded efforts of H. A. Shaw, the store manager, to quiet them.

      "It is too late to bargain with us," the leaders shouted, as they stripped the shelves.

      The police hastily assembled emergency squads and dispersed the crowd numbering 500 with tear gas. Only those who were trapped in the wrecked store were arrested. Five women among them were released. The windows of the store were smashed as the raiders attempted to flee.

      John Simmons was held on a charge of assault after he had leaped on the back of Lee Mullenix, a policeman, when the officer attempted to enter the crowded store.

      Floyd Phillips was charged with inciting a riot. The police said he was one of the speakers who harangued the crowd at the City Hall before they began the parade that ended at the store.

  From New York Times, February 26, 1931.



Minneapolis Crowd Smashes Windows to Get Food.

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 25 (AP)-Several hundred men and women in an unemployment demonstration late today stormed a grocery and meat market in the Gateway district, smashed plate glass windows and helped themselves to bacon and ham, fruit and canned goods.

      One of the store owners suffered a broken arm when he was attacked as he drew a revolver and attempted to keep out the first to enter.

      One hundred policemen were sent to the district and seven persons were arrested as the leaders.


ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 25 (AP)-A crowd, after attending a meeting to protest against unemployment, forced its way late today into a small store owned by George Baglio, near the downtown section, and took more than $50 worth of merchandise, mostly cigars, cigarettes, candy and apples. Police arrested three men and held them without charge.

  From New York Times, September 20, 1931.



Hundreds Are Sleeping Out Nightly In Chicago, Official Reports

CHICAGO, Sept. 19 (AP)-Several hundred homeless unemployed women sleep nightly in Chicago's parks, Mrs. Elizabeth Conkey, Commissioner of Public Welfare, reported today.

      She learned of the situation, she said, when women of good character appealed for shelter and protection, having nowhere to sleep but in the parks, where they feared that they would be molested.

      "We were informed that no fewer than 200 women were sleeping in Grant and Lincoln Parks, on the lake front, to say nothing of those in the other parks," said Mrs. Conkey, "I made a personal investigation, driving from park to park, at night, and verifying the reports."

      The commissioner said the approach of Winter made the problem more serious, with only one free women's lodging house existing, accommodating 100.


Rain Money in CROWD of Jobless

CHICAGO, Sept. 19 (AP).-Those who say money is scarce should have been in Chicago yesterday. It was raining money from a building at Market and Madison Streets. A cluster of unemployed had gathered in front of the building to apply for a job. Some one from a window above hurled handful of money into their midst. There was a wild scramble for the coins. Other tossers began to throw money down and men came running to the scene from all directions. One man in the crowd collected $2.

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