20th Century, African American, History, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Humphrey on Civil Rights

Unknown

1948
Hubert Humphrey makes an impassioned plea for civil rights at the Democratic National Convention. His speech offends Southern Democrats, who walk out of the convention, but sets the party on a course toward the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“To those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights–I say to them, we are 172 years late!” -Hubert H. Humphrey at the Democratic National Convention*

Hubert H. Humphrey saw the United States as the emerging leader of the free world after World War II, but dared to question its authenticity. The specters of fascism, communism, and racial balkanization were very real in the aftermath of WWII. It also underscored the dichotomy of winning liberties for those outside the US while ignoring the racial injustices at home. What did he see as the root cause and motive for the Civil Rights movement?
“For us to play our part effectively, we must be in a morally sound position.” ***

Yet, by what means would America redefine itself and reclaim this “morally sound position”? Humphrey posited our need to lead by example of a consistent standard, not a double standard on rights. Humphrey proposed the notion in this address that human rights exceeded the value of states’ rights.
“To those who say that this civil-rights program is an infringement on states’ rights, I say this: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.” ***,****

Further, he willingly threw down the gauntlet of human rights with the full knowledge of its opposition within his own party. The locus of this opposition were Southern Democrats concerned that the Civil Rights movement made our Supreme Court stronger than State law. Their debate over the next decade centered on the Declaration of Constitutional Principles, also known as the “Southern Manifesto”, arguing that the Tenth Amendment limited the Supreme Court from overreach into their State law. See Tenth Amendment below:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Humphrey’s address rang the bell on a sixteen year, tag-team wrestling match of our national conscience. Most legislators agreed that something must be done about racial injustices, but disagreed as to the proper method Constitutionally. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, it had more Republican than Democratic support. The roll call tally of June 19, 1964 shows that 82% Republican “Yeas” and 18% “Nays”, and 69% Democratic “Yeas” and 31% “Nays”. ***** Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona embodied the position of Republican critics. He voted to end segregation, and was an active member of the NAACP, yet objected to Title II and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Why? He felt they could interfere with the rights of a business to do business with or employ whomever they chose. Additionally, he had reservations that these Titles could be misused to usurp States’ rights and free speech of the individual. ******

In all, this riveting oratory decries the courageous heart of Hubert Humphrey. Though viewed as emotional grandstanding to his detractors, he willingly spoke his conscience, and the conscience of millions. He dared ask the question, “What is to be done when America’s head conflicts with our heart?”

So we seek You in this moment, Father. We come to You asking insight and wisdom as to Humphrey’s rhetorical line in the sand. How did this speech affect You?

First, we ask forgiveness for the racism of Humphrey’s era. We have offended You first in our legal, cultural, and personal false assessments of African-Americans. Granted, Minnesota’s culture was less legally overt and more free than many states, but we acknowledge the subtle and quiet prejudices that hurt these brothers and sisters: we tolerated red-lining in housing, we tolerated discriminatory lending practices, in many ways, we zoned African-Americans away from us. We have practiced associating crime with a color, and negated the noble contributions of many minorities. Will You forgive our misbeliefs and unbeliefs? We have denied You when we deny Your Image in our African-American brothers and sisters. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!

Next, we thank You for the life of Hubert H. Humphrey, and the gift You placed in his heart of having the courage of his convictions. Clearly, he was willing to be misunderstood, even by his own, for daring to call out injustice. We commend him in his intense moments at the Democratic National Convention held at Philadelphia Convention Hall on July 12-14, 1948. Will You continue to give us leaders like him who are willing to speak the raw truth in love and respect?

We acknowledge to You the pains of betrayal at the hands of our beloved! WE acknowledge to You the oceans of these judgment’s past. Will You forgive the judgments’ of Democrats towards those of their own, mostly but not limited to Southerners who expressed dissent at Humphrey’s take on civil rights? Will You forgive Democratic dissenters of Humphrey’s vision their counter judgments’ and bitterness? Will You forgive Republicans their judgments’ of those within their party who voiced dissent to the Civil Rights Act? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of those led by Goldwater towards those who supported Humphrey’s ideals?

In this, we may have judged our political opinions to be more sacrosanct than the relationship with the beloved human being in front of us. We have closed our ears to their objections, because it is easier to break relationship than listen to honest criticism of our political and personal doctrines and dogmas. We have feared our detractors, and closed our minds to the wisdom to be gained in real dialogue and debate. You have said, “Come now, let us reason together…” ******* We have turned it to “Come now, you are unreasonable!”

We have offended You in our failure to listen to our friends, and hear out our opposition in our zeal for our rights. We have attempted to gain a more just America, too often, by too much political and legal force. We have attempted to heal the bitter judgments towards African-Americans through bitterly judging those who disagree with our version of justice for African-Americans. Will You forgive and heal us then, free us in the present, and bless the future of Civil Rights? May we come to agree with Our Creator as to the worthiness and inherent value of every human being made in Your Image. We have failed to learn our lesson from the world’s first sibling rivalry where Cain hated and murdered his brother Abel over doing a good thing; an offering of thanks?!? In this we are 5778 years too late!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Photo credit: smithsonianmag.com
*** See transcript of this famous speech. (1948) Blackpast. “Hubert Humphry, Speech at the Democratic National Convention” December 14, 2010. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/1948-hubert-humphrey-speech-democratic-national-convention/
**** See HHH give this speech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xQZX5ZvcnY
***** See a photo of the official roll call vote. The Center for Legislative Archives “Roll Call Tally on Civil Rights Act 1964, June 19, 1964” On June 19, 1964, the Senate passed the Civil Right Act of 1964; 73 to 27. The House passed the amended bill on July 2; 289 to 126. https://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/civil-rights-1964/senate-roll-call.html
****** Mooney, Kevin J. “The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Conservative Movement”, November 14, 2013. https://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-1964-civil-rights-act-and-the-conservative-movement
******* https://www.biblehub.com/isaiah/1-18.htm

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20th Century, farming, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Prisoners of War

Moorhead

September 4, 1943 to 1946
One hundred fifty German POWs sit out the war at Camp Number One near Moorhead, a branch camp of the base camp at Algona, Iowa. Farmers short of help pay the government 40 cents an hour for their labor.

Camps were located in or near Ada, Bena, Bird Island, Crookston, Deer River, Fairmont, Faribault, Grand Rapids, Hollandale, Howard Lake, Montgomery, Moorhead, New Ulm, Olivia, Ortonville, Owatonna, Remer, Saint Charles, Warren, and Wells.*

During the span of World War II, approximately 425,000 German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers were taken as prisoners of war and held in the United States. Once in the U.S., the prisoners were disbursed to about 700 camps in 46 states. The prison network had roughly 150 larger base camps, and 500 smaller branch camps.** The vast majority of these POWs were Germans who surrendered in the battlefields of Italy or North Africa. Camp Algona, in Iowa, held about 10,000 of these German prisoners who were contracted to do agricultural labor in the Midwest.***

“It was all about farm labor. Because so many young American men were overseas fighting in the war, there was a severe worker shortage. That was particularly true for agriculture, which was not considered a high-priority industry. The government offered to supply POWs on a contract basis. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, the labor could not directly help the war effort or be dangerous. Many agriculture areas took advantage, including the Red River Valley.
So, farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn contracted for 150 POWs to work their vegetable farms. Army inspectors at first wanted to house the prisoners in a barn near the Red River on 12th Avenue south in Moorhead, but neighbors objected and so an onion warehouse on 21st Street near 4th Avenue North was selected.”****

Algona Branch Camp Number One was created in the spring of 1944 to accommodate Minnesota farmers Henry Peterson and Paul Horn. This area, known as the Red River Valley, was renowned for its’ potato and beet production. Regional historian Kenneth Dawes said, “Local growers were in a near panic” as to how to get the crop in, and also stated that POWs “literally saved the potato and beet harvest” in the wartime years.**

Many efforts were made to protect the humanity of these detainees at Camp One. They had a plethora of recreational activities to choose from: sports, woodworking and carving, art supplies, and books. The musically inclined even gave concerts of German music to their captors. They were granted the right to attend worship services or not as they saw fit.***

Though some locals thought that POWs were being “molly-coddled”, the general consensus was that our fair treatment of Germans would be passed on to American POWs in Europe.** Yet one wonders; “What was the response of these prisoners of war to their years of captivity in America? Hartmut Lang, the Boston consulate general of the Federal Republic of Germany, gives us an astonishing testimony; ”To a German soldier then, being taken prisoner by U.S. troops amounted to winning a ticket to peace and fair treatment.”**

Now we turn to You, the Emancipator of the Human Race, and Giver of All Human Rights and ponder these stories. We humbly recall Your words that reflect Your benevolence to all; including those in prison.

“Blessed is he whose help is the G-d of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his G-d, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever, your G-d, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.” Psalm 146:5-10 NIV *****

We thank You today for these words of King David so long ago, and that they are forever true!

We confess to You today that we, as Americans and Minnesotans, were unable to avoid war with Nazi Germany in this era, and therefore, may have participated in the deaths of both enemies and innocents. Will You have mercy on this offense?

We confess to You today that we, as Your Church, may have failed to stand prayerfully with our brothers and sisters in Europe in spite of their subjugation and conscription to an evil Fascist dictatorship. Have we righteously hated, rejected, and opposed their government as American citizens, and somehow missed that many of the citizens of Germany were already spiritual captives of Giovanni Gentile; the father of the fascist ideology? ******

Conversely, we confess the judgments of Your Church in Europe towards the United States. Did they fail to see us also as members of Your Kingdom, or only as subjects of the political dominion of America?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and its common political and socio-economic idolatry?
Will You have mercy on Your Church and our shared misbeliefs towards each other during World War II, and taking the bait of self-righteousness held out by our common Deceiver?
Will You set us free from the pride that can assert itself within patriotism, and give make us an unpretentious United States and demütig Deutschland?

Lord, we thank You for this testimony of the character of Your human beings; whether a German POW or an American Minnesotan farmer! We are thankful for the example of Algona Camp Number One and the Peterson and Horn families. Somehow, they simultaneously held up the cause of justice as to the actions of their enemies while not judging their humanity. Yes, they were prisoners, but they were prisoners made in Your Image!

O, dear Father, we so desperately need this kind wise discernment; both here in the North Star state and abroad! Will You continue to bless us to be people who love their enemies and do good for them? Will You give us strong resolve to oppose evil and love what is good and life-giving?

Will You give Your Church the gift of recognizing our dual citizenship? Though we may experience varying degrees of captivity as citizens of our nation of origin, we are also the emancipated subjects of Your Heavenly State. We were all POWs of the Accuser of Humanity, yet You served our sentence for us so we could walk free! Hallelujah! Whether engaged in a outward political war or inward spiritual battle, give us Your eyes, sweet Jesus, to see You inside every POW until war is no more!

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 ESV ******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.grandforksherald.com/news/3953177-how-wwii-german-pows-fared-grand-forks
*** http://www.mnopedia.org/place/german-prisoners-war-camp-moorhead-1944-1946
**** https://www.inforum.com/opinion/columns/2725100-McFeely-German-POWs-right-here-in-Moorhead citing Piehl, Mark. “POWs work at Moorhead Truck Farm”. Clay County Historical Society, 1991, pp.15-17.
***** https://biblehub.com/psalms/146-1.htm
****** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Gentile
******* https://biblehub.com/proverbs/16-7.htm

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20th Century, History, Intercession, Minnesota, State Government, war

Charles Lindbergh Sr. Against War

Unknown

1916-1918
Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh Sr., father of the famed aviator, argues that America should stay out of a war from which only the arms merchants will profit. The isolationist Lindbergh is jailed, shot at, and hanged in effigy during his losing campaign for governor.*

Lord, You have said, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. I Timothy 6:10*** Will You help us search our heart motives in this era, and give us sound judgment? Will You let us ponder, without fear, the heartfelt warnings of Minnesota Congressman Charles Lindbergh Sr. today as to our participation in the Great War?

“Below is Lindbergh’s powerful Congressional speech from his 1917 book ‘Why is Your Country at War’?, page 156, that alleges the Money Trust created the privately-owned Federal Reserve banking system to maximize their own profits. This speech is as strong and accurate a message that can be communicated. It is fully worth your investment of under 5 minutes’ attention.
“…I shall now quote the main important parts of my speech of July 5, 1916—in the Congressional Record of that date:
“No matter what individual professions and party claims may be to the contrary, it is apparent to anyone who has been a Member of Congress, and to anyone else who examines, that the will of the people in regard to legislation is seldom consulted. The price of leadership here is exactly the opposite of carrying out, in good faith, the will of those we are elected to serve.
Wholesale deception of the voters has been, and is now, the means used most successfully to secure office and remain in public life.
…Every one here knows that these things are true. But the public gets no information from the press about it, but anyone who dares to uncover the system and expose the schemes for deceiving the public finds that a certain part of the press will attack him and call him a radical and obstructionist, and excoriate him in every way possible. If to tell the truth about things makes one a radical, then radicals ought to be at a premium. But they have not been so far politically.
…There is a sinister influence at work in our country, which, if it is not checked, intends to completely undermine the original purpose of the formation of our Government—change it from the purposes of a democracy, and instead make it of a monarchical and plutocratic system, and to bring all the world into one control and one system, which for purposes of deception of the plain people, they would call a “world’s democracy,” but which in fact it is their plan to make the rule of the wealth grabbers, maintained by simple organization of themselves and disorganization of the masses pitting the masses against each other. It would be the privilege of a few to rule in splendor, and the fate of the many to spend their lives in unrequited toil and that hopeless condition of servitude which millions came here to escape from. The few now desire to cut off every possible avenue of escape from industrial slavery for the masses.
…The plain truth is that neither of these great parties, as at present led and manipulated by an ‘invisible government’ is fit to manage the destinies of a great people. Their rules of regulation must be changed before they will be, and it is doubtful if their rules will be materially changed. If they shall be, it will be because the voters themselves force it.
…Early in my service here I observed that there was some power outside the Government itself which was insidiously, but none the less effectively dictating the course of legislation in reference to finance, currency and the creation and control of credit throughout the country; that it was in a position to dictate and did dictate to an extent almost unlimited, to whom credit should be extended and from whom it should be withheld, and that it largely controlled the political action and influence of most of the banking and other corporations of the country. I saw that such a power of control existed here in Congress.
I introduced a resolution setting forth the facts, naming this insidious and well nigh invincible power, the Money Trust, source of all the trusts and calling for an investigation of its activities. The “big business” press, ridiculed the resolution and especially the idea that the Money Trust had an existence. (The facts about this appears elsewhere in this volume. See Index: Money Trust.) In this case the Committee reported out my resolution under a different name, and in order to prevent me from serving on the committee to be appointed, the resolution was referred to the Banking and Currency Committee which was composed almost entirely of bankers and lawyers for some of the banks. By keeping me off the committee I could not cross examine the witnesses.
The committee, nevertheless, had to report that there was a Money Trust and that its activities were as I had stated, and that its existence and the power it yielded were a menace to the institutions of the country, but took no action to deprive it of its power.
Woodrow Wilson, however, took notice of the proceedings and of the existence of the Money Trust.
This was before he became president. He promised to exercise his influence if elected, to curb its power and influence. But I have no hesitation in saying that this promise has not been kept, but on the contrary the principal result of financial legislation during this administration has been to legalize and more firmly entrench the Money Trust in its control of business, credit and politics of this vast country than ever before, and in order to conceal that fact the Money Trust has bought the services of many prominent financial writers for the purpose of running articles in the press praising the Federal Reserve system which in less than six years the people will rise in rebellion against because of its intolerable and unjust burden (Editor’s note: Lindbergh was off by seven years. It took 13 years from this speech for the Money Trust to simultaneously call-in loans in October 1929, crash the Stock Market, and begin the Great Depression).
Profiting from my observation of the Money Trust inquiry by a committee nearly all the members of which were interested in limiting its activities as much as possible, I introduced a resolution declaring it should be the policy of the House Membership that no banker or any one who was financially interested in a bank should be a member of the banking and currency committee.
I also introduced a resolution calling on Members to declare the extent of their affiliations with banks, if they had any.
Neither of these resolutions came out of the Committee on Rules to which they were referred, so we must take it for granted that a majority of the Rules Committee believe that it is right for bankers to frame legislation for Congress to pass for the bankers personal benefit, as all financial legislation shows has been done. Personally I do not believe that a banker should be on that Committee, any more than that if some one sued a judge that he, the sued judge, should sit as the presiding judge to decide his own lawsuit.
My Democratic friends, you have the vain hope that special privilege, having obtained enormous benefits at your hands, is going to be grateful for the past favors that you have showered upon it and assist you in retaining control of the Government. They will furnish you campaign funds, as they do to both the dominant parties, but it makes little difference to them which of you have the power as long as it remains with either under present conditions. You are to learn, having done all you could for it, that you are no longer necessary to its business, except that now that you have passed the most important laws that it wanted, you are forced to follow it up, and are stopped from complaining through your portion of the press and on the stump or from entering any protest whatever when the time comes that your eyes will be open to the oppression the plain people are surely destined to suffer because of your falsely so-called ‘beneficial legislation.’
You have missed the opportunity of your lifetime; one not likely to ever come to you again. The time will come when no Democrat who boasts of the achievements of this administration will be considered worthy to hold any public office. You have gone “cross-roads” with some of the most vital principles laid down by the great Thomas Jefferson. You may boast of him as a great Democrat, but none of you who have been active in fastening some of the hardships of this administration upon the people can boast of yourselves.” “

Eternal Father, as surely as You live forever, there is not a single monolithic motive for why any peoples of any era or time commit themselves to go to war. We yield and bend to its call as the voices of our leaders are translated by our inward being. Most of us obey a call to arms, but we fight for different reasons. Do we fight because someone has touched our security? Do we fight because of a real or imagined great moral cause? Do we fight for our material, land, or economic assets and interests? Do we fight because we treasure loyalty?

In any case, we take note of Lindbergh’s assertions that we were being led to the Great War primarily for the benefit of those selling loans, war materiel, and a political class that benefitted from globalization. We observe that both Democrats and Republicans were pitted against each other by the Money Trust to create laws beneficial to their purposes. In general, Lindbergh warns of the power of leadership within leadership; of an “invisible government” that has the potential to usurp representative democracy.

In response to this speech, let us remember the eternal call of Your word. You have given us the right and responsibility to defend ourselves, yet not commit murder. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” Genesis 9:6 NIV***
An attack on an individual is an attack on the image of G-d, therefore, not to be taken rashly! Further directions are clearly stated in Your Ten Commandments; “You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13 NIV***

How then, do these individual principles translate into terms of tribes, city-states, or nation states regarding war? In his post “Every Battle in the Bible”, author Mike Southon cites approximately 90 battles in the Old Testament, as well as listing enemies of the Patriarchs and Israel, outcome, and acts of Divine Intervention. While very comprehensive, even a brief perusal makes clear that G-d ordained or directed wars were also limited by His precepts of justice and mercy. The victories listed were within the framework of His plan and purpose. Those remembered as defeats were initiated and conducted without His consultation. In reflection, Southon posits “I argue that the Old Testament history shows that war was part of God’s gift of the land to Israel.”****

So we begin to intercede, under Your authority, for this moment of time! We remember first that price is paid for all human separation through the risen Messiah; Jesus Christ! Through Him, all sin, throughout all time, can be lifted up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ.

We give thanks for the life of Congressman Charles Lindbergh Senior, and his wariness of our entrance to the Great War. Will You forgive all the judgments made against him whether by constituent, his elected peers, or the unelected “Money Trust”? Will You lift this weight from him, his ancestry, and his figurative children who question our State and Nation where it has rushed to war?

Will You forgive Lindbergh his judgments of his constituents’ dissent to his positions? Will You forgive the Congressman for the judgments of his peers, their words, their parties, and motives? Will You forgive his false assessments of his enemies within the “Money Trust”: manufacturers, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve?

This Great War, as all our warfare, gives testimony to the failure of our relationships: nation to nation, city to city, tribe to tribe, family to family, and individually as human to human! We have offended Your image in the Great War through the destruction of our enemies. We have amplified our offenses in this war where we failed to consult You. We have failed the spirit of self-defense with acts motivated by the spirit of conquest. We have failed our countrymen, their property and lands, where Your laws of grace and truth, justice and mercy, good and evil were broken in World War I.

Will You have mercy on both our intentional, and unintentional blindness Father? At times, we are no better than Adam and Eve, who were enticed by the promise of being “like G-d” by the Serpent. Where we were enticed into WWI by the Money Trust, will you forgive us those specific acts of conquest? Will You forgive us for following those seeking G-d like power in a post-war Europe? Will you change our will-to-power?

It is possible that we are no different than Cain and Abel; an unrighteous brother murdering his innocent brother. While defensive warfare is not murder, there are real atrocities, abominations, and warcrimes. Your sons have killed Your sons! It’s unthinkable to imagine the pain that Cain caused his parents. Yet, when we scale it up to the size of the Great War, we cannot fathom the pain caused to our Eternal Father!

Will You bless us to retain Your goodness when we oppose and defeat evil in our time, and into the future? Will You make us exhaustive in our diplomacy towards peace, yet resolute in commitment to not appease evil? Will You expose the real Enemy of mankind within war propaganda and the unearned wealth of conquest? As your children, We ask You to uproot the Money Trust: in this era, at present, and until You come! We know that You are All-Knowing and Faithful and True to bring justice to those who specifically and intentionally have sown the seeds of the Great War, while blessing those whose talents were used in good faith. We declare over Minnesota; “In G-d we trust!”

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**Primary source cited in the following blog http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/03/charles-lindbergh-sr-86-of-great-depression-economists-on-monetary-reform.html
***http://biblehub.com
****Author Mike Southon makes a compelling case for Christian pacifism in his blog “Constantly Reforming”. Cited here is his study from Every Battle in the Bible https://constantlyreforming.wordpress.com/every-battle-in-the-bible/

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20th Century, History, Logging, Minnesota

Sawmill Workers Strike

Unknown

1917
Workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company sawmill, the largest in the world, strike for higher pay and safer working conditions. Organizers from the radical International Workers of the World spread the strike to the logging camps before police break it up with arrests and force.*

Minnesota’s history of logging in this era is rife with irony. On one hand, it is a shining example of cooperation and productivity.
“The VRL Lumber Co. was the largest on earth producing on average a million board feet of lumber a day seven days a week. Production on such a vast scale required an enormous supply of virgin white and red pine harvesting a total of four billion board feet over a 20 year period.**

On the other hand it was pitifully negligent in its care for its workers’ health and well-being.
“Toilet facilities were primitive in the extreme. Privies were no more than shallow, open pits with a roof and some poles for seats. Excrement was only rarely treated with lime or even covered with dirt. State inspectors repeatedly and despairingly observed that “there seems to prevail an idea that toilet facilities in a camp are superfluous.””
Safety precautions were ignored, too. Engaged in strenuous manual labor with lethal tools in frigid weather, lumberjacks had an extremely high accident rate. Although immediate first aid was therefore the jacks’ greatest medical need, a survey of logging
camps several years before the strike revealed that “in none . . . were there any facilities for giving first aid to the injured.”**

Below is the an eye-witness testimony regarding the ‘jacks accommodations.
“Prospects of a major IWW walkout were enhanced, however, by the working and living conditions of the lumberjacks. Typically, jacks lived in rough-cut lumber shanties. A bunkhouse 30 feet by 80 feet by 11 feet would house anywhere from 60 to 90 men in rows of double-decked wooden bunks lining each wall. Each individual bed with its mattress of loose straw slept two men. Each jack received two or three woolen blankets from the camp (sheets were unknown). The turnover was so high that four or five men might easily use the same blankets each season.

Virtually all the beds, blankets, and men were infested with lice. In 1914 inspectors from the State Department of Labor and Industries observed that “the conditions under which the men were housed made it impossible for men to keep their bodies free from vermin.”

Bunkhouses were ventilated only by doors at each cud and one or two small skylights in the roof. One or perhaps two iron stoves, kept fired all night, provided heat. The poor ventilation compounded sanitary problems.

The men worked 11-hour days in the cold northern Minnesota winter and generally wore two or three sets of underwear in addition to their outer garments. The combination of wet snow and hard labor soaked the jacks’ clothes every day, but the men were without washing facilities either for themselves or what they wore.

Since most of them put on all the clothing they owned, dozens of sets of wet-from-sweat clothes hung near the stove every night to dry for the next day. The steam from the clothing joined the stench of tightly-packed, unwashed bodies in the bunkhouse, prompting one Wobbly to comment that “the bunk houses in which the lumber jacks sleep are enough to gag a skunk.” Testimony of Jay Hall; Sixteenth Biennial Report, p. 117; Boose, in International Socialist Review, 14:414**

“Chronology
December 24, 1916
Timber mill workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company draw up a list of demands.
December 26, 1916
Workers present their demands to the superintendent of manufacturing, Chester R. Rogers.
December 27, 1916
Mill workers decide to go ahead with the strike.
December 28, 1916
Pickets begin at the company’s gates. One thousand workers go on strike. Flying squads (IWW messengers) head north to lumber camps.
January 1, 1917
One thousand lumberjacks walk out of the camps.
January 2, 1917
A thousand more lumberjacks strike. Lumberjacks are banished from Virginia, Minnesota.
February 1, 1917
The lumber strike is officially called off.”***

So, what was the aftermath of this strike, and how did it improve the lives of lumberjacks and those that worked the sawmill? Below is an excerpt from Wobbly (IWW) records:

“The mill workers returned to their jobs in the last week of January. The lumberjacks held on a bit longer and neither the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company nor the International Lumber Company was able to reopen logging operations until February. What remained of the Wobbly lumber strike leadership gathered in Duluth. On February 1 the leaders called off the strike, claiming a partial victory by way of improved conditions.
Most companies did attend to their camps better after the strike. The ILC bought new blankets for the men and raised slightly the base pay. The quality of food seems to have been improved, too, in most camps. In 1917 the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company spent nearly 20 per cent more per man for food than earlier. Wartime price inflation accounted for part, but not most, of the increase.”****

What say You of this event and the broken relationships between loggers, their representatives in the IWW, and the V.R.L. company managers and International Lumber Company (ILC) owners? We invite Your timeless knowledge, and graceful judgment into their circumstance Ruach Ha Kodesh. How do we begin to make right this wrong from Your perspective? How have we offended You and the principles of Your kingdom?

You have said clearly through the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians:
“Do I say this from a human perspective? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Isn’t He actually speaking on our behalf? Indeed, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they should also expect to share in the harvest.” I Corinthians 9:8-10

We acknowledge, first, our offense to You through the judgments of Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company and the ILC. We offend You as employers when we do not provide a Sabbath rest. We offend You when do not provide for the lives and safety of Your workers. We offend You when we fail to provide food, clothing, and adequate shelter for those in our care. We offend You when profit becomes an idol that forgets the contributions of the employees to the health of the corporation. Will You forgive VRL Co. and the International Lumber Company in this era, and create right relationships that lead to blessing in our timber industry’s management both in the present and future?

Similarly, we have offended You through the judgments of the lumberjacks and sawmill workers towards the VRL Company’s owners and ILC managers. We offend You when we do not take a Sabbath where it is offered. We offend You when we expect our employer to solve our unmentioned problems, and fail to be proactive in our own needs. We offend You as workers through the misbelief that profit is a given, therefore, the company has unlimited resources to spend on labor. Will You forgive the lumberjacks and millworkers of VRL Co. and ILC of this era, and create new
interconnections between laborers, labor unions, and executives of our logging industry that lead to present and future blessings for all?

Above all, we especially ask for the release of the victims of the injustices of this era from the prisons of their counter-judgments. We know that there are those who lost life and limb. We know that there are those who were circumstantially hemmed in who felt they had no choice but to submit to abusive work conditions to survive.

Will You forgive those who were ensnared through the maintenance of offense towards the abuses of Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company and the ILC? Will You give them gifts of grace that look to You for justice, while not resubmitting themselves to abuse? Will You take these judgments and counter-judgments up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You remove the log from the eyes of all in the logging industry?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://monarchtreepublishing.com/Ilets/1916-Lumbering-Strike.pdf

***Chronology and an excellent brief summary by Anja Witek can be viewed at this MNopedia link. http://www.mnopedia.org/event/iww-lumber-strike-1916-1917

****https://iww.org/node/1524

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20th Century, History, Minnesota, Politics, Prayer, State Government, Uncategorized

Burnquist Becomes Governor

J.A.A. Burnquist

Dec 30, 1915
J. A. A. Burnquist takes office as the states’ 19th governor upon the death of Governor Winfield S. Hammond.*

Below are a few tidbits from our state’s archive underscoring the career of Governor Jospeh Alfred Arner Burnquist’s career as a statesman.
“When Governor Hammond died on December 30, 1915, Burnquist
became the 19th governor of Minnesota. Although many people referred to 36-year-old Burnquist as “just a youngster,” he was the successful candidate for governor in 1916, and was continued in office until 1921. Governor Burnquist recommended and worked for many important laws which are still extant.”**
Let it be also noted that he had the second longest career as Attorney General at sixteen years and one day. He listened to dissent and “always respected the right of each member of his staff to have an opinion and to hold to it” resulting in “many sound opinions.”**
So we remember these characteristics to You, Eternal Governor. We give thanks for Burnquist’s leadership, especially the example of listening to objections. Thank You that we are blessed by leaders who will listen and consider voices of objections. Thank You that his leadership, spanning the breadth of WWI, gave solidity to the peoples of Minnesota during the trials of war.
We ask forgiveness of our failures, then and today, of hearing our neighbors’ voice, and more importantly, Your voice, that is prompting us to reconsider our position. Will You forgive us making an idol of our opinion? We have failed You and our neighbors by breaking relationship by closing our ears! Have mercy!
Will You remake us to be both an opinionated and considerate State? Will You bless our leaders to grow in discernment? May we neither betray our heart, or the hearts of those we lead. May our future be blessed with: accommodating, magnanimus, sympathetic, complaisant, and kindly decisions and judgments. Amen!

 

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/LegDB/Articles/11509LMTribute.pdf

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20th Century, Business, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Labor, Mining, Minnesota

Johnson Becomes Governor

Unknown

Jan 4, 1905
John A. Johnson takes office as the state’s 16th governor. Johnson became the first Minnesota-born governor, the first to serve a full term in the present state capitol, and the first to die in office. He also was the first Minnesota governor to bask, fleetingly, in the national spotlight when he sought the 1908 Democratic presidential nomination, but lost to William Jennings Bryan.*

G-d, it is so difficult to prayerfully write about politicians; there’s so much to know about these individuals, and mere facts do not often give one a grasp of their character and motivations. Will You guide me to information that tells the story You most want me to record? Will You give insight to my dullness today?

After a quick hunt on the internet, I found this excellent source at google e-books. It was published in 1910, so the information would be a recent memory of the authors. This is what they had to say,

“As an executive the most spectacular achievement of his career was his handling of the strike on the Minnesota iron range in the summer of 1907.”
“Led by Italian socialist Teofilo Petriella…”
“Needed only a spark to explode this magazine of hatred and fancied wrong…”
“Without guard or escort, he sought out the leaders of the strike…”
“The leaders of the other side were seen in the same personal manner.”
“And the peace was kept without the use of a single soldier or the firing of a single shot-at the cost to the state only of the Governor’s trip to the Range.”

Frank Day and Theodore Macfarlane,Life of John Albert Johnson, Three Times Governor of Minnesota., Forbes and Company, 1910. pp.161-163.
http://books.google.com/books?id=iVxAAAAAYAAJ&dq=john+albert+Johnson+taxation&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Lord, I want to acknowledge this memory to You. Thank you for the peacemaking abilities of Governor Johnson. Thank You for the power of listening intently he showed those in this disagreement. Thank You for the gifts of wisdom this Governor exercised to avert hostility.
However, absence of war alone does not mean peace. Those who followed Petriella to the precipice of revolt suggest that their grievances were deep and unresolved. Lord, will You forgive their bitterness towards their employers? Will You forgive their employers’ judgments towards them?
As a man who did physical labor for years, I may understand part of their pleas for relief. We are human beings, not machines, and sometimes we simply cannot work more without rest. It is very hard to hear criticism from a boss when you have worked yourself to the point of exhaustion day after day. Will You remember the cross of physical exhaustion these men bore? Will You hear their yearnings for their labor to be valued and respected by their bosses and society?
Conversely, hear the voices of their leaders, foremen, and employers! So few of us know the loneliness of being a leader, or of having extremely high pressure decisions on our plate day after day. Often these leaders have no one to confer with, or have insufficient time and data to make informed choices. They just have to “man up” and make the call.
Will You hear their longings for appreciation? Will You heal their feelings of beings hated and punished for creating jobs? Will You be with them in their lonely decisions?
It is easy to look back on this situation and see how these two groups, labor and employer, may have misbeliefs towards each other. Each group has real needs and wants and limitations that should be heard and considered. In light of that, I bless these two groups of Minnesotans that have, are, or will work on the Iron Range; the laborer and the employer. Jesus Christ, will You overcome all their obstacles to a symbiotic relationship? Will You provide mediators like Governor Johnson who can skillfully deal with any crisis? Will You give us Your imagination, and offer new and creative means to repair rifts long before they erupt?
Finally, forgive us, both then, now, and into perpetuity, of failing to see that judgements of our sister, brother, or boss are judgments of You. Who are we to judge Your laborers’ intents rather than actions? Didn’t You make them strong and skilled and able to withstand the elements? Who are we to judge Your employers? Didn’t You give them the ideas to create useful products, to manufacture those products, and sell those products to the world for a profit that enables the cycle to continue? Didn’t You make some who are born leaders? “Blessed are the peacemakers, for the will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**Excellent summary of this strike by Jack Lynch of the Hibbing Daily Tribune. http://www.hibbingmn.com/news/years_of_yore/petreila-brains-of-strike/article_9a2d9290-ee82-5421-b481-92b4012fef38.html

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20th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Life, Minnesota

Wonderland Park

Unknown

1905
Wonderland Park in Minneapolis draws visitors with a 120-foot-high electric tower. Before going out of business in 1912, the park offers a carousel, a dance pavilion, a scenic railway, and a “House of Nonsense.”*

In Your creation, You ordained a day of rest, and have established a pattern for us. You worked six days, and then took a break on the seventh day. Thank You for showing us a plan for a happy life-balance.
Thank You for the creation of Wonderland Park in Minneapolis! Thank You for those who saw some land, and envisioned: a tower of lights for docking airships (dirigibles), a carousel, a scenic railway (rollercoaster), an Infant Incubator Institute for free treatment of pre-mature babies, a place where anyone could afford to ride a horse, and a place to meet and dance!
I particularly think You must have taken delight in the “House of Nonsense”! What good grandpa doesn’t relish the laughter, silly jokes, and just plain goofing off with his grandkids? You made a universe of discovery for us, and today I want to acknowledge and thank You for that.

Further, I want to acknowledge the burden of this amusement park on its’ neighbors.* The heavy traffic and noise caused a local church to sue for interfering with worship services. Thankfully, they settled out of court, and rebuilt further away.
In response, I find myself cringing in judgment of the Church of missing Your moments. Granted, the trash, glaring lights, and melismatic din of a permanent carnival could grow very tiring in an era where open doors and windows were the primary means to cool off. Yet, what opportunities to know and serve its patrons were missed in this transplant?
Will You forgive Elim Presbyterian for passing up the opportunity to demonstrate love to Wonderland Park? Will You forgive the same for the Church Universal? We get too caught up in the execution of religious ceremony to notice the chance for relationship with Your people outside it. Christ have mercy!

Will You bless those who experienced this park, and their generations? Will You grant us the grace to be a people who love the Sabbath rest? Will You give us the gift of having fun? Will You help us see the Wonderland just outside our doors?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**A nice article by Ben Welter of the StarTribune newspaper, and a bonus reprint of the opening day article from May 15, 1905. http://www.startribune.com/may-15-1905-wonderland-amusement-park-opens/142547735/

***Lawsuit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonderland_Amusement_Park_(Minneapolis)

 

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