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

Homefront During World War II

northern_pump

December 1941 to September 1945
Like “Rosie the Riveter” of the popular song, thousands of Minnesota women don coveralls and take manufacturing jobs to support the war effort. From the home to the field to the factory, everyone pitches in.

As the wartime government promotes women in the workforce, companies distribute brochures offering “Equal Pay for Equal Work.” By 1944, 31.5% of eligible women are employed nationwide; in Saint Paul so many women work the late shift that the YWCA organizes dances that begin at 1:00 in the morning.

Minnesota companies transition as well: Munsingwear makes military garments; Crown Iron Works makes portable bridges and pontoons; Andersen Corporation makes prefab huts; Honeywell makes precision instruments like gunsights; and the Northern Pump Company builds a new plant in 3 months—”the finest machine shop on the globe”—and with 7,000 employees becomes the largest supplier of munitions for the navy.

Children also participate. Minnesota Memo to Women reports in 1943 that “twelve year old Mary Helen Spillane of Backus has purchased a $25.00 War Bond each month since Pearl Harbor. War Bonds will put Helen through college. (Lucky Helen!)” *

Can we stop a moment and ponder how World War II changed those who remained at home with You, dear Father? Before we enter the gates of that question, let’s consider the complexity and immensity of Your thoughts on Justice throughout the ages. We thank You that though You may be perceived by some to be a Vengeful G-d of War and ordainer of the battles of Israel and the Church, that You are also known as the Prince of Peace.

How can this be? We can fail to recognize the paradoxical truths of Your nature though surrounded by examples of them everyday. We can relate to You as parents who strive to live peaceful lives, yet robustly defend and discipline of our children from evil. We may defend them from violent external attacks, offer them a new perspective in their self-imposed accusations, and teach them to reject lies and practice emotional discipline in their thinking.

Do we categorize ourselves as “Humans of Vengeance” as often as we mislabel You as the “Old Testament G-d of Vengeance”? Do we recognize that love can vigorously defend innocence from the vile, and the kind-hearted from the cruel? You know us Lord; we do both. Our love is too soft at times, and our “tough love” can be too tough. Have mercy as we contemplate Your Nature below:
“’The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ “ ** NLT Numbers 14:18
In an age consumed with the virtues of non-judgment and denial of good and evil, we give You honor as the only Judge who Brings Eternal Justice. With the prophet Isaiah, we remember Your promise to: “shew from the beginning the things that shall be at last, and from ancient times the things that as yet are not done, saying: ‘My counsel shall stand, and all my will shall be done’… *** Douay-Rheims Bible Isaiah 46:10
And that seems to expose the root of our human problems that lead to war: we want our will to be done, not Yours. The leaders of a society reflect the beliefs and misbeliefs of that society. States and nations that have rejected Your prudential will necessarily reject the image of G-d in their neighbor. Will You forgive us when and where we have longed for the destruction of our enemies as individuals, and collectively as families, tribes, peoples, and nations?
For the men who served; Your will be done.
For the men who remained at home; Your will be done.
For the women who stepped up and built our war materiel; Your will be done.
For the children who lost time with their mothers and fathers as Minnesota participated in WWII; Your will be done.
For the children who took leadership to defend our Republic in ways large and small; Your will be done.
For Minnesota’s companies, large and small, who offered their skills: Munsingwear, Crown Iron Works, Andersen Corporation, Honeywell, Northern Pump Company, and many others unnamed, yet worthy; Your will be done.
For those who bought War Bonds, or financially contributed to the defense of our unalienable rights; Your will be done.

For the ways and practices of separation and sin we have learned from our participation in World War II, we confess our wrongs, and ask that You remove the curses of these sins in the present. May we bless the future, where we aligned with Your will in standing against the ideals of Fascism, Stalinism, and the defiance of Your Dominion over humanity.
May we reject the mantra of the Enemy in Minnesota; “My will be done” that leads to evil and death!
May we say together presently and beyond; “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done” so that we may have peace and life!
* 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://biblehub.com/numbers/14-18.htm
*** https://biblehub.com/isaiah/46-10.htm

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20th Century, education, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized, World War II

Military Intelligence Service Language School

250px-Instructions_to_japanese

Nov 1, 1941 to 1946
The Military Intelligence Service Language School comes to Savage. The school trains Nisei (children of Japanese immigrants) for intelligence and translation work with the Pacific forces. By the time it closes in 1946, more than 6,000 students will have graduated.

The school had been established in 1941 in San Francisco but moved east when Japanese-Americans were forcibly relocated outside of California. Minnesota was chosen as the new site partly because the army “pinpointed Minnesota as the geographic area with the best record of racial amity.” Graduates of the program translated documents intercepted at the front, monitored Japanese radio broadcasts, and interrogated captured enemy soldiers.*

To give more context, after the United States went to war with Japan, as a means of curbing spying and sabotage, President Roosevelt issued the infamous Executive Order 9066 which removed Japanese-Americans from their homes to concentration camps. Categories were made to sort these people based on risk-factors.** For example, “Kibei” were those who grew up in U.S., but for mostly cultural and linguistic reasons were sent back to Japan to receive their university education. The “Nisei”, or second generation Japanese-Americans who raised here were not trusted by the public.***

One wonders how this group reacted to the indignities and real losses of property at the hands of our government. Below is an excerpt from the Minnesota Historical Society based on witnesses and primary source evidence.
“The Nisei who attended the school faced unique personal challenges when deciding to join the military. Many parents of Nisei felt uncomfortable with their children’s participation in the war. After being discriminated against by the federal government, some Japanese Americans found the idea of military service problematic. The US intelligence service feared that after Executive Order 9066, recruits would be hard to find. However, Nisei volunteered in the hundreds, and those who enlisted did so to prove their loyalty to the United States.” ****

This loyalty expressed by the Nisei changed the results of World War II. Although their stories were mostly unknown until decades later, these volunteer linguists did a tremendous service to our state and nation. “The Nisei linguists were credited with shortening the war in the East by two years, saving nearly a million lives and billions of dollars.” ****

What say You, Prince of Peace? Will You bring insight into this page of our history? We are grateful for Your loyalty to each of us. “Know that the LORD your G-d is G-d, the faithful G-d who keeps his gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love him and keep his commands.” CSB Deuteronomy 7:9

We begin by walking thankfully through Your front door. We praise You for your masterful and chess-like precision in positioning us to do Your will. We are grateful for the receptivity of Governor Stassen to bring this school to Minnesota. We remember and are grateful for the gracious spirit You have put into Minnesotans towards their fellow Japanese-Americans. We still benefit from their wise, benevolent, and forbearing heart towards outsiders. Will You continue this attitude in us today, and enable us to be a harbor for the displaced?

Conversely, we recognize the judgments of our Federal government and some of the public. We, as a people, took actions to dehumanize the Nisei and the Kibei. We literally and figuratively committed acts of institutional racism. We tolerated our neighbors being stripped of their unalienable rights, dignity, and property because of fear in the time of war. Will You have mercy on this judgment of Your people; the Japanese-American?

We remember to You the successes and failures of President Roosevelt in this era. Granted, his leadership helped us ultimately gain victory over our enemies, but his legacy is a mixture of both good and rotten fruit. As a candidate, he ran on peace, but reversed his position and declared war. “I am asking the American people to support a continuance of this type of affirmative, realistic fight for peace.” ****** FDR at Madison Square Garden, NYC October 28, 1940 In the the run up to W.W. II, his policies shifted between pacifying the threats of Hitler and Stalin, and enraging Japanese leadership through blocking their sea lanes and ability to trade. ****** These actions seem contradictory to his public persona, and call the sincerity of his motives into question. Ironically, the man who, arguably, did the most for the American common man also committed the most racist act on the American common man in the 20th century with Executive Order 9066?!

Lord, we are no better or worse than F.D.R. With one hand we build up, and with the other we tear down. However, we come and ask Your forgiveness and mercy on the internment of American people based solely on their Japanese ancestry; will You forgive us? Will You forgive the judgments documented in EO 9066, and the corresponding counter-judgments by the Nisei and the Kibei? Will You forgive our common American culture its fear, suspicion, and prejudice towards the Nisei and Kibei? Will You forgive the counter-judgments of the Nisei and Kibei towards their government and fellow citizens?

Today we give You thanks for the thousands of Japanese-Americans who rose above the prejudice of our government! We thank You that they did not take the bait of offense straight from the only truly common enemy of humankind; Lucifer. We thank You that they saw the greater threat to humanity in the aggressive prejudices of Tojo. Will You bless their figurative and literal ancestors to also de-escalate war and solidify peace and good-will through knowing language and culture? 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9066
*** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisei
**** http://www.mnopedia.org/group/military-intelligence-service-language-school-misls
*****
****** http://www.rationalrevolution.net/war/fdr_provoked_the_japanese_attack.htm

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

Stassen Becomes Governor

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Jan 2, 1939
Harold E. Stassen takes office as the state’s 25th governor. At the age of 31, Stassen was the youngest governor in the state’s history. He goes on to be re-elected governor in 1940 and again in 1942. Four months into his third term Stassen resigns and enlists in the Navy (April 27, 1943). *

Governor Stassen was raised as a Republican in Saint Paul, Minnesota in the early 20th century. This city had a bifurcated population of laborers from predominantly Catholic regions of Europe, and business owners often with a Protestant work ethic. Perhaps this dichotomy helps explain why he had empathy for laborers, and had awareness of crime and civic corruption? He gained his law degree at the University of Minnesota graduating in 1929, and was ready to battle injustice. **

PamphletFrontPageProgressivePartyPlatform1912

Soon thereafter, he found a home in the Progressive political platform of Theodore Roosevelt founded ca. 1912. For clarity’s sake, the Progressive Party was founded:

“To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.” ***

‘To that end, the platform called for:
Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
Registration of lobbyists
Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings

In the social sphere, the platform called for:
A national health service to include all existing government medical agencies.
Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
Limited the ability of judges to order injunctions to limit labor strikes.
A minimum wage law for women
An eight-hour workday
A federal securities commission
Farm relief
Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries
An inheritance tax
The political reforms proposed included:
Women’s suffrage
Direct election of Senators
Primary elections for state and federal nominations
Easier amending of the United States Constitution

The platform also urged states to adopt measures for “direct democracy”, including:
The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)
The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)
The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)
Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote)’**** Ibid.

Stassen adapted and simplified this platform to suit the specific needs of Minnesota. Again, his overarching goal was to rid the Minnesota’s government of corruption and cronyism. His secondary goals were to: reform all positions of civil service, create better relationships with labor, provide for the public’s welfare, and restructure the government to make it work more efficiently.

Shall we pray? G-d of All Justice, we remember gratefully that You are perfect in authority, unchangeable, and incorruptible! What comfort to know that You offer wisdom and discernment so freely to those who humbly bow and ask! We remember today that our Messiah laid down his life, spilling His blood to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, and rising again to conclusively prove that He is “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords”!

We recognize, along with Governor Stassen, that we have broken faith with You in the acceptance of corruption and cronyism of his era. We have bent the laws of Minnesota for our gain, and have inwardly failed to love You or Your Laws. Will You forgive us our enticement to bow to the idols of nepotism, parti pris, and partisanship? We have seen evils, and have agreed with our enemy to “look the other way” and “just play ball”! Have mercy.

Will You bless and keep the heritage of Harold Stassen? Will You give us civic leaders who are immune to the diseases of lobbyists? Will You give us lobbyists who love Your laws? Will You give grace to our leaders of government, finance, business, and industries? Though they have the power to force the changes of laws they desire, may they foster changes in law within the framework of persuasive wisdom and humility. May we progress towards chesed!

* 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://www.mnopedia.org/person/stassen-harold-1907-2001
*** Patricia OToole (June 25, 2006). “”The War of 1912,” Time in partnership with CNN, Jun. 25, 2006″. Time.com. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
**** Ibid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_(United_States,_1912)

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20th Century, Climate, History, Minnesota, Prayer, Uncategorized

Heat Setting Record

Beards1

July 16, 1936
A temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Moorhead ties a record set in Beardsley in 1917 for the highest ever recorded in the state.*

Beardsley, Minnesota is a town of 233 people. It sits in the little “elbow” of Minnesota’s western border in Big Stone county. It’s name came from W.W. Beardsley who homesteaded its first farm and platted it ca. 1880.**

Another little snippet about the history of Big Stone county:
“Scientists declare that men lived on the shores of Big Stone Lake and Lake Traverse nearly twelve thousand years ago. A skeleton, thought by some investigators to be that of one of these people, was exhumed from a gravel pit in Browns Valley Village a few miles north of the Big Stone County line, in 1934. It is known as “The Browns Valley Man”. With the skeletons, were six beautiful flint artifacts of the oldest type that has been classified in America.

Evidences of a more recent prehistoric occupancy of Big Stone County by an Indian-like race are plentiful. Overlooking the lower part of Big Stone Lake, scattered along the Minnesota River below the foot of the lake, and on a prominence near Artichoke Lake, are a number of artificial mounds of earth which have been scientifically surveyed and mapped. Most of these mounds are round and of considerable size and some are flat-topped. Features of the fortified site 60 feet above the river at Odessa are an embankment 722 feet long and 20 feet wide with a height of 1½ to 2 feet, and a diamond-shaped mound varying from 42 to 54 feet in diameter, with a flat top, 20 X 28 feet.”***

Ok G-d, I don’t know a lot about this place other than it’s small, farming-oriented, and contains some ancient history. Oh, and it’s the site of the hottest recorded heat in my home state. Where do You want to lead me in prayer today?

I begin with giving thanks for this small town. You care about each and every place in this universe, and so I commend You for being so watchful over it today. We remember You as the Observant One of All today!

Next, I want to express gratitude for Your creation of weather, and how You masterfully control the climate of the world for the benefit of all creation, and for Your greatest purposes. We do not ponder enough how exactly You limit the range of high temperatures within the fairly narrow bandwidth that we can survive. Thank You, dear Father, that our high temperature record is only 115 degrees Fahrenheit!

However, we can be so fickle as a people because of the yearly swings we endure in our weather. Few places on the earth have a larger average yearly temperature swing. Where else on earth can it feel like 115 degrees in the summer, and down to minus 30 degrees in the winter?**** Forgive our offense to You in cursing the summer heat, and grumbling about the most frigid times in winter.

In sum, we thank You for the extremes of our climate, and for how they shape our character as a people. We are somewhat forced to relent and remember that we can’t control all the variables of our lives, and that is a good realization. We invite Your continued blessings on the weather over Beardsley, Big Stone, and the entire North Star State. Well done! You are the peace when we can’t take the heat!

* 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://lakesnwoods.com/Beardsley.htm
*** http://www.bigstonecounty.org/county_history/ancient_civilization.php
**** http://www.fox9.com/news/an-earth-rarity-minnesotas-large-temp-swings

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20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Dillinger Escapes!

200px-gangster055

placeography.org

Mar 31, 1934
Notorious bank robber John Dillinger escapes authorities by blasting his way out of a Lexington Avenue apartment house in Saint Paul. Four months later “Public Enemy No. 1” is killed by federal agents in a gun battle outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.*

“What made them do it?” This is a common question that the law-abiding portion of society has of the criminally minded. To better investigate, let us lay out some of what is known in the days leading up to this infamous Dillinger event.

03/03/34 – Dillinger escapes from jail using a wooden gun, and steals a Sheriff’s car.**

03/06/34 – Dillinger robs bank in Sioux Falls, SD. with Baby Face Nelson and others. The heist nets them approximately $49,500.**

03/07/34 – The Department of Investigation, (FBI), because in stealing and transporting a sheriff’s car he commits a Federal crime.**

03/13/34 – Dillinger robs bank in Mason City, IA. with gang, and is injured in shoulder. The theft yields about $52,000.**
03/14/34 – Dillinger is treated at home of Dr. Nels Mortenson at 2522 Fairmount Av. St. Paul, MN.**

03/16/34 – Dillinger arrives in Chicago and attempts to obtain divorce from the husband of his girlfriend Billie Frechette.**

03/19/34 – Frechette delivers sums of money and wooden gun to Audrey Hancock and Dillinger’s father.**

03/20/34 – Dillinger and Frechette rent apartment together in St. Paul, MN.**

03/30/34 – Dillinger and Frechette host a raucous party at the Lincoln Court apartments which lasts most of the night.**

03/31/34 – The caretaker tips off the Department of Investigation, (FBI), and Dillinger and Frechette escape after shoot-out. Dillinger receives wound in the left calf.**

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 ESV ***

What shall we pray for this tragic event, and the transgressions of John Dillinger? Lord, we give You thanks that You are the author of the law of life that has set us free from separation and death. You are the Good Father that waits for all prodigal sons and daughters to stop rebelling, turn around, and come back home.

You are the only proper Judge of all humanity, whether those who do justly, or those who live in defiance. Your character is not defiled by our hatreds, or limited to our finite vantage point of our neighbor’s life. Give us humility and wisdom to watch this event with You, and to receive Your Rhema Word for ourselves and our state.

To open, Your Word tells us that we become both what we practice, and what we think about.
“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to the one who searches for it.” **** Proverbs 11:27 NIV
“As someone thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7

Dillinger’s calendar is a portrayal of some of his thoughts and actions just for the month of March 1934. His actions betray a mind almost singularly set on crime, and personal gain. He thinks of self and worships self. He even steals a “marriage” with Billie from her husband in prison?!

Will You forgive any in our society in his day that idolized him as a folk hero? Will You forgive those who capitalized on his notorious contempt for for the law; even using him to sell their brand of cars? Will You forgive the press of his day for their greedily hyping and sensationalizing his story to sell more newspapers? We traded our scruples to be participants in his defiling story; they sold it, and we, the public bought it. Why are we such passive thinkers and indirect participants in crime? Have mercy on us!

Will You release us from the curse of worshipping an antihero like Dillinger in Saint Paul, and throughout Minnesota in the present? We idolize thugs in the music business, and our youths have become more cruel. We venerate icons of technology, though they betray our privacy for gain, and have become voyeurs. We steal from our neighbors and employers with liberality, and vote for politicians who steal our liberty. By the Authority of Jesus Christ, we break the spirit of the Antihero over our society!

Show us a better way in the future! Bless us to report crime in ways that do not honor or popularize or capitalize on the worst actors in our culture. Bless us to receive Your thinking about those committed to lawless thinking that leads them to lawless actions. May we practice “meditating on Your laws day and night” like King David! May we agree with Your thoughts, spoken through the prophet Micah;
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” *****

* 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://www.johndillinger.com/index.php/timeline/march-1934
*** https://biblehub.com/romans/8-2.htm
**** https://biblehub.com/proverbs/11-27.htm
***** https://biblehub.com/micah/6-8.htm

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20th Century, Business, History, Unions

1st Sit-Down Strike in U.S.

history-1926-george-jay.1498491076

hormelfoods.com

1933
Workers at George A. Hormel and Company stage the first sit-down strike in the U.S., taking over the Austin meat-packing plant for three days. The tactic works; Hormel agrees to submit wage demands to binding arbitration. The success of this strike re-invigorates the labor movement, which had been in decline through the 1920s.*

To offer a backstory, we must look at the character and practices of a father and son.
George A. Hormel founded the company in 1891, and survived the Panic of the 1893-1897 by setting the standards for success himself. “People talked of Hormel’s passion for efficiency and quality and of his eagerness to work in the plant beside his employees.” Hormel often insisted on doing the key butchering operations himself.**

Jay Hormel was the only son, actually the only child of the G.A. Hormels’. He had an excellent education at Shattuck School for Boys and Princeton University. After schooling he pursued a career as a jazz pianist with some modicum of success.

Though trained by his father through two years of work at the plant, perhaps he did not retain the personal identity with the town of Austin, his staff, or the business. He married a foreigner, and moved his family out of Austin to a large French style estate.

Fast forward to the landmark strike. A group of workers at the hog killing floor were unsuccessfully persuaded to join the “voluntary” insurance program being pushed by management. At issue were the further loss of wages, 20 cents per week, and the expectation that those who didn’t join could be fired. The incensed workers shut down the killing floor for only 10 minutes, yet their exasperations had a ripple effect.

In response, hundreds of employees joined the newly formed International Union of All Workers (IUAW), and contributed $600 to achieve its aims. These are out lined below:

“1. An increase in the hourly rate for all workers who are members of the union of 20 cents an hour over and above the rate of November 1, 1933.
2. An increase in pay for those workers on a scale other than the hourly rates so they might receive an increase in pay equal to those on the hourly basis.
3. The abolition of the bonus system and the rate of those affected by the abolition be set by an hourly rate plus a bonus.
4. That when females replace males in the plant, the rate of compensation be the same as that paid to the male workers.
5. An agreement whereby either company or union may present each other with formal requests in writing, the receiving party acknowledging receipt of the request and arranging provisions for a conference within 24 hours of receiving it.” **

The occupation of the plant pushed Hormel into reaching out to both FDR and Governor Floyd Olson for help. Neither of these politicians were in the mood to enact a strike bust, but rather approaching the issue as mediators. Ultimately Governor Olson, without security, calmed the situation and led to the writing of an agreed plan between workers and management.

Hormel’s attitude towards his employees did a complete u-turn. Instead of seeing workers as his opponents, he saw them as his team. His “Master Plan” was putting out fires before they start; a system of anticipatory welfare capitalism. This plan gained acceptance and trust of laborers so throughly that it pre-empted the necessity of union actions in most cases. When asked by other business men how to deal with labor, Jay Hormel replied; “labor troubles would not occur if business could understand labor.” **

Shall we pray? We give thanks to You, Lord of All Workers, because You truly understand the backstory of everyone who works. We thank You for Your intimate knowledge of each human’s psyche, work ethic, and motives. Will You enhance our watching of this event in history, and bring revelation to Your people everywhere?

Initially we see an example of a father and son, and their differing approaches to the same task of owning and managing a business. We thank you for the leadership style of George Hormel who: lived locally, married a girl from town, and was an active participant in all stages of his company. Will You bless Him, the Hormel family, and those like him in Minnesota’s food processing businesses? It is hard to fault one who leads by practical example.

We also thank You for the leadership style of Jay Hormel who: thought outside his own town, loved music, and married outside his culture. We thank You that though he originally was known for his weakness to relate to his labor, he discovered that he could change. We give thanks that he was humble enough to learn from his failures in this strike, and grow as a businessman and human being. Will You bless his family and companions in the food trade, both past, present, and future?

We give thanks for the workers and strikers of this event. We recognize their pains and fears in this era. Will You remember those tasks that were done at an immediate and personal loss to them? Will You remember the days and years where they did not complain though they were increasingly chafed at the increase of employer demands with lack of job security? Will You remember how they were faithful to Hormel, and forgive the ways they weren’t? Will You bless them, their families, and generations in their labor to “do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”? ***

We remember the insufficient nature of the “isms” at play in this event. Will You temper our collectivists to remember the individuals in their ranks? Will You protect our unions from judgments that can chain them to a permanent state of envy? Will You give the capitalist the humility to see that money doesn’t solve the problems of workers hearts and needs for respect? Have mercy on our business. Have mercy on our strikes. May we receive Your contentment whether on the killing floor on making a killing? 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!
** Conatz, Juan (2014, July 21)https://libcom.org/history/we-were-poor-people-hormel-strike-1933-larry-d-engelmann
*** Colossians 3:23

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20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Gangster Kidnappings

unknown

Jun 15, 1933 to Jan 17, 1934
The brazen kidnappings of prominent businessmen William Hamm (June 15, 1933)and Edward Bremer (January 17, 1934) by the “Ma” Barker gang put an end to Chief O’Connor’s hands-off crime policy in Saint Paul. Both men are returned unhurt after large ransoms are paid.*

In the Prohibition Era of our largely blue-collar city of Saint Paul, there was an empathy and a real motive to look the other way at bootlegging. Physically, the city is located on the Mississippi River, and is the first big stop downstream from Canada. There’s a plethora of natural caves, which made effective stealth warehouses for the product. One also wonders if its populace, mostly of the Catholic regions of Europe, did not share the same moral objections to beer and whiskey of their dry Protestant counterparts in Minneapolis?

To continue the narrative, its people were comfortable with playing dumb to Johnny Law if it meant lucrative cash jobs working for the gangs, and if it kept St. Paul a “wet” city. Civic leadership, allegedly, were on the payrolls of major gangsters from Chicago, and were apt to play it cool if the gangsters kept a low profile. Apparently, this unspoken agreement between Chicago crime and St. Paul police began decades before the Volstead Act.

“This collaboration began in 1900 with the Layover Agreement, an unofficial contract between criminals and Chief of Police John O’Connor.
In exchange for tip-offs about FBI raids and protection during their “layover” in the city, the gangsters first agreed to check in with the St. Paul police when they were in town. Second, they gave a portion of their gains to the police department. Finally, they agreed to commit no crimes within the city limits, though Minneapolis was fair game.”**

unknown-1

During the era of the Great Depression, Hamm and Bremer would likely stand out as targets for kidnapping. Mr. Bremer was affiliated with banking, and Mr. Hamm with brewing. Though very different personalities, Hamm being an affable sort and Bremer more shielded type, both men were visible leaders from noteworthy families in Saint Paul.

Ma Barker also led a prominent family known as the Barker-Karpis Gang. “Though her children were undoubtedly murderers and their Barker-Karpis Gang committed a spree of robberies, kidnappings, and other crimes between 1931 and 1935, there is no evidence that “Ma” was their leader or was even significantly involved.” What is apparent, however, is that she stuck by her sons and their associates throughout their criminal careers.

Alvin Karpis, the probable real leader of the gang, later said that Ma was just “an old-fashioned homebody from the Ozarks … superstitious, gullible, simple, cantankerous and, well, generally law abiding”.**** He concluded that,
‘The most ridiculous story in the annals of crime is that Ma Barker was the mastermind behind the Karpis-Barker gang. … She wasn’t a leader of criminals or even a criminal herself. There is not one police photograph of her or set of fingerprints taken while she was alive … she knew we were criminals but her participation in our careers was limited to one function: when we traveled together, we moved as a mother and her sons. What could look more innocent?’ *****

So we come to You, Jesus, to watch and pray over this event. What do you want to reveal to us today through it? What blessing can come from an enabling mother, this gang, the corruption of police, and the crime of kidnapping?

We ask forgiveness for these past offenses to You in our city and state. Will You forgive Ma Barker for being an enabler of her criminal sons, and the impact of their crimes to our city? Will You forgive us today of similar co-dependence within the families of Minnesota? Give us grace to face our failures as parents, commitment to stand by our kids going the wrong way, and love that affirms them, yet calls out their sin. Will You bless our present and future mothers of Minnesota, and especially the relationships with their sons?

We acknowledge to You the damage done to innocent lives through the willful actions of the Karpis-Barker Gang. Will You bring restitution to all who suffered their crimes, as well as the heritage of the Bremer and Hamm families? Conversely, will You cut off the curses passed down to any generation of the Karpis or Barker clans?

How we need Your healing for our men, and especially our men enticed into gang life!
We acknowledge to You that we have not followed Your laws to honor our fathers and mothers, or practiced proper diligence in the raising of some of our sons. We have driven them away at times: from our families, from schools or job training, from the Church, and, most painfully, from You! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!

Though we try, we have failed them somehow as: sons, husbands, fathers, and friends. Protect and shield our sons from the enticement of a life of crime, and the arms of surrogate families in the underworld. May these vulnerable boys find a good man to call out their holy masculinity. May they forgive their fathers’ offenses, and break with the spirit of vengeance.

We remember to You how we have subtly yielded to the Enemy in St. Paul, by looking the other way. Our police, it seems, were corruptible because they were internally incomplete. It is hard to bribe a content man. You have said, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.”******* Have mercy on these policemen past, and free those similarly tempted in the present. We ask Your protections over Minnesota’s police both now and forever; be their shield and very great reward!

We end by thanking You for Your eternal justice! You are our advocate within our broken families, though they may seem beyond hope. You bring us back to our Everlasting Father, no matter our state of lawlessness. You used the Catholic priest Lucien Galtier to rename the city of L’oeil de Cochon, so named for the alleged bootlegger and first resident of St. Paul, Minnesota; Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant. “Pig’s Eye, converted thou shalt be, like Saul; Arise, and be, henceforth, Saint Paul!”
*******

* 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!
** Sharon Park “Gangster Era in St. Paul, 1900–1936”. http://www.mnopedia.org/gangster-era-st-paul-1900-1936
***, **** Paul Maccabee, John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936, Minnesota Historical Society, 1995, p.105.
***** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Barker
****** https://biblehub.com/luke/3-14.htm
******* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Parrant

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