20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Humphrey Elected Mayor

images

1945
Hubert H. Humphrey is elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1945. For two terms he works hard to clean up city politics and extend civil rights. Minneapolis enacts the nation’s first fair-employment-practices law while he is in office.*

Minneapolis circa 1945 had its problems; many of them were already decades old. The Prohibition of alcohol through the 18th Amendment, in effect, became the graduate school for its street-level criminals, and seducer of many straight-appearing politicians from both major parties. For example, Kid Cann, a.k.a. Isadore Blumenfeld, went from pimping to becoming a godfather allied with Chicago and Genovese organized crime families. Kid Cann found his rivals in David Berman, “Big Ed” Morgan, and Deuce Casper. In the process, Minneapolis became a major center of bootlegged booze, gambling, brothels and unbridled corruption within its political class.**

Indirectly, one could argue that Socialists, Unionists, and Communists were tied to this process through their control over transportation and manufacturing. To demonstrate, the Teamster Trucking Strike of 1934 was the first time a sitting U.S. president, in this case, Franklin D. Roosevelt, openly took the side of a trade union in a labor dispute. His favorable view of Teamsters Local 574 and aggressive policing of union protests tipped the scales of public opinion away from the anti-unionist group Citizens Alliance and the business owners.**

Granted, being a trade union member did not necessarily make one corrupt. Yet, only a few strategically placed or bribed union leaders could, in effect, control the Port of Minneapolis and the lion’s share of traffic on the Mississippi. Highly organized unions lessened or eliminated competitors, and some of these competitors may or may not have succumbed to the influence of corruption from above through politicians, or from below through the mob.
Politically, the city hall of Minneapolis had been corrupted since 1900 irregardless which party was in power. Humphrey sought to resist the corrosive infiltration of Communists there, and even oust Communists from the DFL party during his tenure as mayor.** In 1947, he helped found the ideologically liberal, anti-communist Americans for Democratic Action. Perhaps his greatest accomplishments as mayor were in the sphere of on-the job civil rights. He started the Council on Human Relations prohibiting racial discrimination in the workplace, which seeded the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.*****

Lord, now we move with You from eternity past into Your eternal present. Will you direct us to ponder and gain insights into this window of time? Will You guide our thoughts as to how this history has broken with You?

As the Living Word of G-d, we ask You, Jesus, to guide us into a study of Your thoughts on corruptions past before we deal with the corruptions of Humphrey’s day. In Your conversation with Jeremiah about the Temple You point, like always, to the root problem.
“They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me.”
And…
“You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me, declares the LORD.” ****** Jeremiah 9:3,6

Just as You were waiting for the people of Jerusalem to recognize You as their ultimate source, we have failed to acknowledge You in the Minneapolis of the 1940’s. Will You have mercy on this offense towards You? Where it applies, will You forgive our attempt to get life out of the lies of: organized crime, unionism, liberalism, socialism, communism, and the defilement of our legal system, police, and local government?

Some of us believed the mafia was a superior provider, protector, and keeper than You. We today acknowledge that the crimes of the dons of Minnesota: Kid Cann, Berman, Morgan, the Baldy Gang and other organized criminal operation were against You, and Your family; will You forgive? Will You restore the heritage of their victims, and bring restitution to the innocent? We gangsters believed loyalty was the highest virtue, but didn’t see our own betrayal of the persons, places and things of the Almighty! Let’s listen again to Your words spoken through the mouth of Hosea over 2700 years before our crimes.
“I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely.” ******* Hosea 14:4 NIV

Some of us believed that the deck was stacked against us as laborers, that we had no power, and that we needed the collective bargaining of the union to make things right. We today acknowledge these beliefs and misbeliefs as sins. Where we failed to call on the Shop Steward of the Universe, we will never know what resolutions You had in mind for us. Will You forgive us this slight to Your omnipotence?
“Be merciful to those who doubt.” ******** Jude 22 NIV

Some of us believed that we could be saved through the arms of our political “ism”, and failed to acknowledge You as “I AM”. We have verbally maligned our neighbor, for whom Christ died and rose again, and have no fear or are even consciously aware of this incredible insult to You. We have played our neighbor’s judge, over and over again, to the tune of “the ends justify the means.” We were both cognizant, and not cognizant of this affront to Your Justice. We have let our political enemy live in our heads, and our well-being and physical bodies have paid the price. I AM, will You forgive us these and other unnamed offenses to You in this era?

We give thanks for the efforts of Humphrey to end an age of destruction and corruption. He pointed to a higher ideal, and at least a partial recognition that our value is more than skin-deep. For this, we commend HHH and his physical and figurative children. Will You bless them to complete the work of civil rights by recognizing the G-d of Civil rights? Will You bless us to acknowledge You so that human rights won’t be as corruptible as human beings? Maranatha!

* 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/Organized_crime_in_Minneapolis
*** https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/07/remembering-truckers-strike-1934/
**** Iric Nathanson (May 23, 2011). “‘Into the bright sunshine’ — Hubert Humphrey’s civil-rights agenda”. minnpost.com.
***** Delton, Jennifer A. (2002). Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights And The Transformation Of The Democratic Party. 978-0816639229. p. 103.
****** https://biblehub.com/jeremiah/9-1.htm
******* https://biblehub.com/hosea/14-1.htm
******** https://biblehub.com/jude/1-22.htm

Advertisements
Standard
20th Century, Climate, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Armistice Day Blizzard

iu

Nov 11, 1940
A surprise blizzard drops up to 27 inches of snow on the state, resulting in the deaths of 49 civilians and 59 sailors. Many of the dead are duck hunters who were caught unprepared after the day’s mild weather changed suddenly.*

In every region of the United States, if you stay there long enough, you come to know a bit of its character. As one raised in the Midwest, the author can attest to the regional character of its people. More specifically, Minnesotans develop a kind of resilience or resignation that comes from adjusting one’s life to the whims of our environment.

We are subject to the “Continental Effect” which means that we experience some of the largest shifts in temperature of any inhabitable climate on earth. We are at the mercy of prevailing winds, fronts, or jet streams bringing in a completely different type of weather. We do not have oceans to moderate the chill from the Canadian Rockies or the North Pole. To be Minnesotan is to accept that, some days, we just don’t have a choice.**

Please take a peek at this excerpt on this infamous blizzard from the National Weather Service:

“The People
Hunters taking advantage of the holiday and extremely mild weather were rewarded with an overabundance of waterfowl. Many would later comment that they had never seen so many birds, but the birds knew something most of the hunters didn’t. They were getting out of the way of an approaching storm.
Across the Midwest hundreds of duck hunters, not dressed for the cold, were overtaken by the storm. Winds came suddenly then masses of ducks arrived flying low to the ground (Washburn, 2008). Hunters, awed by the site of unending flocks of birds, failed to recognize the impending weather signs that a change was in process. Rain started and temperatures fell rapidly. By the time the rain, sleet, then heavy snow reduced the visibility to zero, hunters lost their opportunities to return safely to shore. Hundreds of duck hunters lost boats, gear and guns as 15 foot swells and 70 -80 mph winds swept down channels and marshy backwaters. Some hunters drowned, others froze to death when the near 60 degree temperatures plummeted, first to freezing, then into the single digits (Knarr, 1941; Swails, 2005; Washburn, 2008).
During the next few days search parties retrieved frozen hunters from islands and the icy waters. Some of those lucky enough be stranded on islands survived the storm, but lost hands or feet due to severe frost bite.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Across the upper Midwest drifts up to 20 feet high buried cars and rescuers had to force long probes into the rock hard drifts in their search for missing people. Passenger trains were stranded, and roads and highways remained closed for days. Newspaper deliveries were halted; telephone and power lines were damaged as were homes, barns, and outbuildings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan.
Historians note storms were responsible for many shipwrecks, and November storms were known to strike with incredible fury (Oosting, 2008). In spite of this there was a tremendous incentive for ships to go out during the most dangerous season for their cargoes of coal, grain, and crops were in great demand (Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, 2009). Food supplies were needed to get through the winter, and coal was essential for heating. Mariners, aware of the dangers on the Great Lakes, paid close attention to the weather. But during the Armistice Day storm many of the crews were unaware that the winds would shift until their ships were struck broadside by the full force of the wind. During the storm three large ships sank near Pentwater, Michigan and 58 lives were lost. Survivors on ships that ran aground waited for days on their damaged vessels until winds subsided and rescue boats could be launched from shore. Communities expecting the cargos for their winter supplies were significantly impacted by the loss of food and fuel (Oosting, 2008).
The Destruction of an Industry
Before the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 the state of Iowa was a leading fruit growing region, second only to Michigan in apple production. As the storm’s center passed near Winterset Iowa, a ferocious ice storm delivered a devastating blow to the apple industry. Icy winds killed hundreds of apple trees, and planting a new orchard was expensive. In 1940 the threat of war was growing and the nation was preparing for hard times. If trees were planted it would be years before they would be capable of producing fruit. The economic impacts to apple growers were so significant that the landscape across Iowa was permanently changed when orchards were transformed into fields of faster growing crops like corn and soybeans (Friese, 2008).” ***

Vi skall be? Lord, we are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture. We give You thanks that You are the capable creator of the weather, and King of the Universe! We acknowledge that we cannot control the climate, but must learn to respect it and live with it.

We remember the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 to You, dear Father! We see the suffering and even deaths and ask, “Why?” It is so human of us. In reality, we should ask, “Dad, why are we so detached from nature that we anticipate and even expect to get our way?”

We have detached from our senses and instincts that You have given humanity for survival. We listen to the weather report, check weather on our phones or devices, but do not look out the window, smell the air, or step outside. We go straight from our homes, to the car, to the parking ramp, to our work; inside, inside, inside!

We mourn, in retrospect, the deaths of these hunters. Even those who are attuned to their instincts and the outdoors can fail. We humbly remember their tragic endings, and our judgments towards Your wisdom in allowing them. Have mercy!

We recall the terror of these Great Lakes sailors who, duty-bound, showed up and did their job. They had no reason to anticipate it was their last day, but it was. We judged You, and can’t make sense of it. We have taken the deaths of these sailors very personally, but is that Your intent? Will Your forgive our judgments of Your intentions?

We think of the indirect suffering caused by this storm to all; the wise and the foolish. We have judged the sufferings of the unteachable to be just, but tragic when it happens to the hard-working and honorable. We cannot understand if there is any meaning in suffering when it’s detached from cause and effect. We reckon falsely, again, that You don’t care that there is no coal to warm us, no food in the store, and no medicine to heal us. We have judged You as an arbiter of justice, that You play with our lives; will You show mercy on these?

We approach You today in the spirit of Armistice Day: to make peace, to ask for a cease-fire, to offer a truce. Will You teach us the meaning of weather? Will You show us the impact far beyond the grasp of our detuned senses and instant gratification mindset?

We don’t see Your Heart of Mercy in extreme climate events, maybe, because we are not paying attention or being present to You long enough. What if, for example, You ordained this storm to shift Iowa from apples to corn production? What if You knew that this big freeze plus Norman Borlaug’s research decades later would feed continents of people? What if this temporary and local tragedy meant alleviating suffering across the globe?

We do not imagine how You inspire imagination within us. We let our kids try doing things their way and failing because failure is a good teacher. If we shield them from every preconceived obstacle, how do their brains develop or their psyches’ know that they can overcome challenges in life? Yet we don’t judge ourselves for being cruel for allowing them space to become problem solvers.

What if this storm on the Great Lakes of November 11, 1940 is just part of Your universal clock? Not many of us think of our climate as being subject to the gravity of the cosmos. What if our shipwreck means the survival of another earth somewhere in Your galaxy?

Or taking things inwardly, what if You tolerate a certain amount of suffering so that we see how desperately we need You, and each other to survive? Pain, it seems, is not a first cause, but a signal that we must change to better survive. May we offer this truce to our neighbors when bad weather threatens us internally or externally: “I need you. You need me. We’re all a part His body. Stand with me, agree with me. We’re all a part of G-d’s body. It is his will, that every need be supplied. You are important to me, I need you to survive. I pray for you, you pray for me. I love you, I need you to survive. I won’t harm you with words from my mouth. I love you, I need you to survive.” **** Hezekiah Walker

* 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/Continental_climate
***https://www.weather.gov/dvn/armistice_day_blizzard
**** Walker, Hezekiah “I Need You to Survive”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnaHTOUigJM

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

Stassen Becomes Governor

225360

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)

Standard
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

Standard
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

Standard
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

Standard
20th Century, authors, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Lewis Receives Nobel Prize

image001

Dec 10, 1930
Sauk Centre’s Sinclair Lewis, who satirized small-town complacency and back-slapping boosterism in such novels as Main Street, Babbitt, and Elmer Gantry, becomes the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930.*

Sinclair Lewis may well have had great insight into small-town Midwestern life, but did he have a great outlook? Help me ponder this man and the impact of the Nobel prize on Minnesota and the outside world. What is the blessing of this event, and how could this impact future generations of those outside the immediate influence of cities and suburbs?

We give You thanks today for the life and writings of Mr. Lewis! We remember what he got right about the Midwest, and the authenticity of his observations. We commend to You the fact that his characters, even heroes, were a balanced with positive and negative characteristics; human just like us! Maybe even the boring middle of “Main Street” could have been a stylistic choice to emulate the stillness of a remote village.
We give You thanks that, though critical, he still put the spotlight on the burgs, settlements, and unincorporated townships across Minnesota and the greater Midwest.

Conversely, we observe with You the things he may have overlooked, or gotten wrong. His critics find that “Main Street” is one of the most merciless novels in American history, and posit that it was motivated by revenge. Surely, he latched onto all that he saw as negative in Midwestern life in this story: narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy, and resistance to change.

Will You forgive his bitterness, and his literal and figurative children that chafe against a simple, small-town life? Will You forgive his judgments based`on his intellectual intelligence that could not recognize the practical intelligence of farmers, housewives, and tradesmen? Truth be told, the Midwestern farmer, both then and now, cannot be a pushover in the brains department. He needs to know: agriculture, machines, weather, sales, and transportation. But further, he needs a tremendous work ethic and energy to get it all done!

Did he misconstrue the common sense libertarianism of Main Street because he spent too many hours in the salons pondering Fabian Society versions of utopia with H.G. Wells? What if these folks were resistant to change simply because they were content? Is it wrong to desire autonomy after being pushed, prodded, and starved out of Europe? What if the greater hypocrisy was on his part, and he was agitated by their inner peace? Forgive us all, Lord, where we have judged, or disrespected another’s pursuit of happiness.

Will You be the balance of 61 Petty France, K Street, Wall Street, and Main Street? Will You temper our designs for contentment and advancement? Will You help us love and understand our small-town neighbor? Will You take the judgments rooted in the false gods of education, culture, and elitism up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You remove their counter-judgments coming from outstate towards the cities of Minnesota?

We thank You for the Nobel Prize of Sinclair Lewis. We thank You for all future writers that dare to go against the grain, to speak the truth as they see it. Will You give them a sense of humility with their opportunity to be a louder voice in society? Will You bless the contentment of our citizens, wherever they live? We are all the recipients of Your eternal noblesse oblige!

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:14-16 NIV **

* 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://biblehub.com/romans/12-16.htm

Standard