Tag Archives: Chicago

LEARN SOMETHING – The Great Pullman Strike of 1894 and the History of Labor Day

In the late 1800’s, the state of labor was grim as U.S. workers toiled under bleak conditions: 12 or more hour workdays; hazardous work environments; meager pay. Children, some as young as 5, were often permanent workers at plants and factories working to help their families to barely make ends meet.

The dismal livelihoods fueled the formation of the country’s first labor unions, which began to organize strikes and protests and pushed employers for better hours and pay. Many of the rallies often turned violent.

On Sept. 5, 1882 — a Tuesday — 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march in a parade from City Hall to Union Square in New York City as a tribute to American workers. Organized by New York’s Central Labor Union, It was the country’s first unofficial Labor Day parade. Three years later, some city ordinances marked the first government recognition, and legislation soon followed in a number of states.

Then came May 11, 1894, and a strike that shook an Illinois town founded by George Pullman, an engineer and industrialist who created the railroad sleeping car. The community, located on the Southside of Chicago, was designed as a “company town” in which most of the factory workers who built Pullman cars lived.

When his company laid off workers and lowered wages, it did not reduce rents, and the workers called for a strike. Among the reasons for the strike were the absence of democracy within the town of Pullman and its politics, the rigid paternalistic control of the workers by the company, excessive water and gas rates, and a refusal by the company to allow workers to buy and own houses

When wage cuts hit, 4,000 workers staged a strike that pitted the American Railway Union vs. the Pullman Company and the federal government. The strike and boycott against trains triggered a nationwide transportation nightmare for freight and passenger traffic.

In June 1894, the ARU called for a national boycott of Pullman cars for its union members, who managed the flow of railway traffic west of Chicago. The Pullman Company called Debs’ bluff, and by late June, at least 125,000 ARU members had walked off the job in support of the Pullman workers.

President Grover Cleveland, citing the now delayed mail system, declared the strike illegal and sent 12,000 troops to break it. Two men were killed in the violence that erupted near Chicago. Debs was sent to prison, and the ARU was disbanded, and Pullman employees henceforth were required to sign a pledge that they would never again unionize.

U.S. Attorney General Richard Olney nd his specially appointed deputy, an attorney for one of the struck railroads, quickly won a court injunction ordering strikers back to work, on grounds that they had conspired to illegally restrain trade. 

The court order was issued, ironically, under the anti-trust law that originally was aimed at keeping corporations from joining together to exercise monopoly control. That, of course, was precisely what the railroads did in determining pay rates and working conditions, and in trying to destroy the strikers’ union. 

But that was ignored, while federal officials and the press thundered out warnings that Eugene Debs was leading a conspiracy aimed at forcibly overthrowing the government. 

When he and the strikers refused to comply with the injunction, in came federal troops, and with them the strike’s first serious violence. 

The worst of many incidents broke out in Chicago when soldiers fired into a crowd of some 10,000 people who, spurred on by agents provocateurs from the railroads, had gathered to set fire to boxcars and otherwise violently protest the movement of trains by the Army. Twenty-five people were killed, 60 badly injured. 

In other incidents, strikers and their supporters also were fired on by special deputy marshals whom government investigators later identified as “thugs, thieves and ex-convicts” armed and paid for by the railroads. 

Hundreds of union officials and members were cited for violating the injunction, which prohibited anyone from even suggesting that railroad employees refuse to work. Debs and other key leaders were jailed for three to six months and government agents raided and ransacked ARU offices . 

The union couldn’t even hold rallies in support of the strike, and though the Pullman strikers themselves held out for a few months, the massive railroad strike launched in their behalf was over after 19 days. 

A national Labor Day holiday was then declared within months.

Some experts say Grover Cleveland supported the idea of such a holiday, which already existed in several states, in an effort to make peace with the unions before he ran for re-election. (He would lose anyway.) But perhaps one of the most eloquent explanations of why the federal government saw fit to declare the holiday can be found in a Congressional committee report on the matter.

Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced a bill, S. 730, to Congress shortly after the Pullman strike, proposing Labor Day be the first Monday in September. Here’s how Rep. Lawrence McGann (D-IL), who sat on the Committee on Labor, argued for the holiday in a report submitted on May 15, 1894:

The use of national holidays is to emphasize some great event or principle in the minds of the people by giving them a day of rest and recreation, a day of enjoyment, in commemoration of it. By making one day in each year a public holiday for the benefit of workingmen the equality and dignity of labor is emphasized. Nothing is more important to the public weal than that the nobility of labor be maintained. So long as the laboring man can feel that he holds an honorable as well as useful place in the body politic, so long will he be a loyal and faithful citizen.

The celebration of Labor Day as a national holiday will in time naturally lead to an honorable emulation among the different crafts beneficial to them and to the whole public. It will tend to increase the feeling of common brotherhood among men of all crafts and callings, and at the same time kindle an honorable desire in each craft to surpass the rest.

There can be no substantial objection to making one day in the year a national holiday for the benefit of labor. The labor organizations of the whole country, representing the great body of our artisan population, request it. They are the ones most interested. They desire it and should have it. If the farmers, manufacturers, and professional men are indifferent to the measure, or even oppose it, which there is no reason to believe, that still would constitute no good objection, for their work can be continued on holidays as well as on other days if they so desire it. Workingmen should have one day in the year peculiarly their own. Nor will their employers lose anything by it. Workingmen are benefited by a reasonable amount of rest and recreation. Whatever makes a workingman more of a man makes him more useful as a craftsman.

Grover Cleveland signed the bill into law on June 28, 1894.

And that is how Labor Day came to be

Gay History – July 23, 1909: The Secret Gay Historian Samuel Steward (aka Phil Andros) Born

Samuel Steward

Legendary  poet, novelist, and university professor Samuel Morris Steward also known as Phil Andros  and Phil Sparrow was born on this day in Woodsfield, Ohio.  

Born into a Methodist household, Steward converted to Catholicism during his university years, but by the time he accepted his teaching position at Loyola University he had long since abandoned the Catholic Church.

Steward led one of the most extraordinary (and unknown) gay  lives of the twentieth century.  Steward maintained a secret sex life from childhood on, and documented these experiences in brilliantly vivid (and often very funny) detail.  He was also was an intimate friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Thornton Wilder,

After leaving the world of academe to become Phil Sparrow, a tattoo artist on Chicago’s notorious South State Street, Steward met famed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in late 1949 and subsequently became an unofficial collaborator with Kinsey’s Institute for Sex Research. During his years of work with the Institute, Steward collected and donated sexually themed materials to the Kinsey archive, gave Kinsey access to his lifelong sexual records, introduced him to large numbers of sexually active men in the Chicago area, and provided him with large numbers of early sex Polaroid photographs which he took during the frequent all-male sex parties he held in his Chicago apartment. He also allowed Kinsey to take detailed photographs of that sexually-themed apartment. He ultimately donated a large numbers of drawings, paintings and decorative objects that he himself had created to the Institute.

In spring of 1950, at Kinsey’s invitation, he was filmed engaging in BDSM sex with Mike Miksche, an erotic artist from New York also known as Steve Masters.

After Gertrude Stein, Kinsey was Steward’s most important mentor; he later described Kinsey not only “as approachable as a park bench” but also as a god-like bringer of enlightenment to mankind, thus giving him the nickname, “Doctor Prometheus.”

During the early 1960s, Steward changed his name and identity once again, this time to write exceptionally literate, upbeat pro-homosexual pornography under the name of Phil Andros.  Initially he wrote for the Danish magazine Eos/Amigo. Some of his early works described his fascination with rough trade and sadomasochistic sex; others focused on the power dynamics of interracial sexual encounters between men. In 1966, thanks to changes in American publishing laws, he was able to publish his story collection Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade""“>Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade” states so eloquently:  “He paid the price for being himself, but at least he got to be himself.”

Chicago's Gay Historic "Boystown' Neighborhood Now To Called "Northalstead" To Be More Inclusive

Chicago’s Historic Gay Neighborhood “Boystown’ Now To Called “Northalstead” To Be More Inclusive

Boystown, the historic gay neighborhood in Chicago will now be known as Northalsted after calls from certain groups that it should be named something more inclusive.

The Northalsted Business Alliance announced Wednesday it was eliminating the use of “Boystown” in its marketing campaigns to be more inclusive of all genders despite the fact that most of the area’s businesses are gay male orientated.

Local non-binary queer activist Devlyn Camp launched a petition in July to push for a new neighborhood name.

The NBA launched a three-month survey to get more feedback. They opted for the name change even though the majority of people who responded said they supported keeping the Boystown name.

Of the nearly 7,900 people who responded, 58 percent favored keeping the Boystown moniker and 80 percent said they don’t feel unwelcome by the name.

As culture and language change and develop over time, we must listen to the community to support inclusivity, and this survey is a step towards gaining valuable insight,” NBA President Ramesh Ariyanayakam said in a press release.

Response to the name change so far has been overwhelmingly negative:

Marc Roger I’ll stop calling it Boystown just like I stopped calling the Sears Tower the Sears Tower and the Hancock building the Hancock.
So, never.

Dillon David If you feel unwelcome in Boystown, you will still feel unwelcome even with the name change… it’s not a neighborhood name issue, it’s a much bigger issue of the discrimination that occurs within the community… it’s an issue that needs to be addressed with business owners and how the neighborhood runs its events… the name change won’t change squat and everyone is still going to call it Boystown.

Josh Kanode And the New Stupid just keeps rolling in Chicago.

Jamie Henderson North Halsted is a direction, Boystown is an identity.

How do you feel about the change? Sound off below.

Chicago's Gay Historic "Boystown' Neighborhood Now To Called "Northalstead" To Be More Inclusive

Activists Demand Chicago’s Gay Neighborhood “Boystown” Name Be Changed To Be More Inclusive

A petition, created by local “queer” non-binary activist Devlyn Camp is demanding that the historic Chicago gay neighborhood of “Boystown” change it’s name claiming it perpetuates sexism and other discrimination in the neighborhood.

The petition posted on Change.org reads in part:

The Castro, Greenwich Village, West Hollywood, and many more. LGBTQ neighborhoods exist for all intersections of queer identity. Chicago’s is the only gendered nickname. Systemic transphobia, racism, and sexism have plagued our neighborhood for decades, and it begins at the top, with the all-male board of the Northalsted Business Alliance. It begins with the BOYSTOWN signs down our street announcing that this neighborhood is “for the boys,” though the signs hang above our diverse Legacy Walk of several LGBTQ icons in our history.”

(SNIP)

“Many of our transgender siblings must visit the Center on Halsted to utilize necessary resources. Many of them have experienced transphobia in the North Halsted area. Our LGBTQ siblings of color looking for inclusive bars have been met with racism. Many women frequenting and working in North Halsted businesses have been met with sexism. When police shut down the bars early after Pride in 2018, many on the Northalsted Business Alliance praised the police.”

Northalsted Business Alliance board said in a written statement that it had formed a committee to begin outreach to businesses and community members, with the goal of gaining “important perspective” on a possible name change.

“This process will likely take a few months, as we listen to the community feedback and engage in broad-based efforts beyond just a possible name change, but a commitment to learning how to ensure the neighborhood moves forward as an inclusive and welcoming neighborhood for all,” the statement said.

The boundaries of the neighborhood stretches from about 3100 to 3800 North Halsted. The unofficial designation of Boys Town as an area dates back 50 years to 1970’s The neighborhood has always been predominantly populated by gay men and lesbians.

At the time of this post 1300 people have signed the petition. But blowback by many who live and work in the neighborhood have been equally strong against the name change.

Do you think the name change of Boystown to something more inclusive is justified or is it really much ado about nothing?

Sound off in the comments below.

WATCH: The Merry Murderesses of COVID-19 Perform the "Zoom Block Tango" - [VIDEO]

WATCH: The Merry Murderesses of COVID-19 Perform the “Zoom Block Tango” – [VIDEO]

Has the quarantine and video meetings been working your last gay nerve?  Well the team at Socia(lites) Comedy have created the brilliantly hysterical “Zoom Block Tango”, a riff on “Chicago”’s “Cell Block Tango”. It’s fucking brilliant.

Watch the video below!

H/T to my old and lovely RHPS friend Ms. Michelle Cublinsky Beach

Chicago PD Lets Killer Of Gay Man Walk After Claiming Self Defense

Chicago PD Lets Killer Of Gay Man Walk After Claiming Self Defense

The Chicago Police Department has come under fire for releasing a man who hurled slurs and stabbed a gay man to death because he claimed it was self-defense despite the fact that witnesses claim otherwise.

Kenneth Paterimos, a 23-year-old barista, was stabbed to death with a box-cutter following an altercation last Friday night at Richard’s Bar on the city’s west side.

“I don’t believe for one second this guy [thought he] was ever in danger,” Paterimos’ brother, Santiago “Julian” Bueno, told BlockClubChicago.org.

Bueno, a professional MMA fighter who was with Paterimos at Richard’s Bar, tackled the intoxicated suspect and held him down when he tried to flee after stabbing the victim eight times in the head, chest, arm, collarbone and ear.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office ruled Paterimos’ death a homicide, and police recovered the murder weapon.

Paterimos’ killer was hospitalized after suffering extensive injuries, but Bueno said they occurred when he pinned the man down and beat him while waiting for police. Bueno said the suspect, a 220-pound military veteran, also tried to stab him.

Kenneth Paterimos weighed only 125 pounds.

Chicago police said the 30-year-old suspect was released from custody after he claimed he stabbed Paterimos in self-defense.

“This is not a declination of charges. This is not any type of movement towards that end,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “Our investigation continues.”

Justice for Kenny website has been launched calling for authorities to charge Paterimos’ killer, and a fundraising page has been set up to help his family with funeral expenses

EMPIRE Star Jussie Smollett Assaulted in Anti-Gay, Racial Hate Crime in Chicago

Empire Star Jussie Smollett Assaulted in Anti-Gay, Racial Hate Crime in Chicago

According to TMZ, two white in ski masks reportedly approached the 35-year-old, EMPIRE actor Jessie Smollett late Monday, yelled out racial and homophobic slurs (“Aren’t you that faggot Empire nigger?”)

Deadline Hollywood reports:

Empire star Jussie Smollett was attacked early this morning in Chicago in what police are saying is a possible hate crime, Deadline has confirmed. Chicago PD released the following statement on Twitter: “Overnight the Chicago Police Department received a report of a possible racially charged assault and battery against a cast member of the television show Empire. Given the severity of the allegations, we are taking this investigation very seriously and treating it as a possible hate crime.”

According to police, the actor was exiting a restaurant in the 300 block of East Lower Water Street when two suspects began yelling racial and homophobic slurs towards him. They then proceeded to attack Smollett, punching him before pouring an unknown chemical substance over him. At some point during the attack, one of the suspects wrapped a rope around Smollett’s neck. The attackers then fled the scene.

Another source cites that the assailants yelled “This is MAGA country.” during the assault. (Chicago PD is disputing this.)

Sources via ThatGrapeJuice.net also claim the Empire actor recently received a threatening letter in the mail with “You will die black fag,” written in disturbing ransom-style cutout letters.

Empire co-executive producer Danny Strong issued an official statement: “The terror of racism and homophobia has no place in our society, it is the most indecent way to live,” Strong tweeted on Tuesday. “Whoever did this, do not forget that you are nothing but hate filled cowards while Jussie’s talent and activism will continue to shine a bright light on to the world for decades to come.”

Chicago Priest Who Burned Rainbow Banner Says “Homosexualists” Have Driven Him Into Hiding

Chicago Priest Who Burned Rainbow Banner Says “Homosexualists” Have Driven Him Into Hiding

NBC News Chicago reports:

In his first interview since he was forced out of his church following the burning of a rainbow pride flag, Father Paul Kalchik reveals that he’s been in hiding since the incident took place. Kalchik spoke to the conservative Catholic website Church Militant this week after he was removed from Resurrection Parish following the burning of the flag, which once hung in the church’s sanctuary.

In the interview, Kalchik told the website that he was initially told he would be sent to St. Luke’s Institute, a psychiatric center in Maryland that focuses on mental health care for priests. The pastor was told not to destroy the flag, but insists that he never received verbal instructions not to do so. “Cardinal (Blasé) Cupich doesn’t operate in a written format,” he said. “Nobody said to not destroy it.”

When describing the ceremony in which he burned the banner, Kalchik said, “Evil needs to be dealt” with and claims that after the news broke of what he did that he received death threats from “homosexualists from the north side of Chicago.”

Watch the video below and if Kalchik’s speech and mannerisms don’t explode your gaydar, you need a really need a tuneup.

 

Cardinal Removes Chicago Priest Who Exorcised and Burned Rainbow Flag

Cardinal Removes Chicago Priest Who Exorcised and Burned Rainbow Flag

Last week we reported on the Chicago priest the Rev. Paul Kalchik who burnt an LGBT church banner after performing an exorcism on it. 

Well the Chicago Archdiocese was not amused. 

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

The priest who ignited controversy last week by burning an LGBT-friendly flag on church grounds against the orders of Cardinal Blase Cupich [photo] has been removed from his Avondale parish. Cupich sent two of his top deputies to Resurrection Catholic Church on Friday to notify the Rev. Paul Kalchik that he was being removed as pastor, according to two sources close to the priest.

In a letter to parishioners and staff released Saturday evening by the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cupich wrote that he has “become increasingly concerned about a number of issues at Resurrection Parish. “It has become clear to me that Fr. Kalchik must take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support so his needs can be assessed,” Cupich wrote.

“I have a responsibility to be supportive of our priests when they have difficulties, but I also have a duty to ensure that those who serve our faithful are fully able to minister to them in the way the Church expects,” Cupich wrote.

From the looks of his picture above of Rev. Paul Kalchik , that rainbow banner isn’t the only thing that was flaming

 

 

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Cardinal Removes Chicago Priest Who Exorcised and Burned Rainbow Flag

Chicago Priest Defies Archdiocese, Burns Rainbow GLBT Banner

A North Side Chicago Catholic priest burned a gay-friendly flag rainbow flag outside his Avondale church last week — against the wishes of the cardinal and the archdiocese claiming that he is trying to minimize the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

The priest, Father Paul Kalchik said the banner, featuring a cross superimposed over a rainbow, had been featured prominently in the sanctuary at Resurrection Catholic Church but had been taken down and was forgotten in storage at the parish at 3043 N. Francisco for more than a decade.

Kalchik retrieved the banner from storage and then led seven parishioners in a prayer of exorcism Friday, and the flag was burned inside a portable fire pit placed the schoolyard next to the church.

 “That banner and what it stood for doesn’t belong to the Archdiocese or Cardinal Cupich. It belongs to the people of this parish who paid for it,” Kalchik said. “What have we done wrong other than destroy a piece of propaganda that was used to put out a message other than what the church is about?”

Kalchik— who claims he was sexually abused by a neighbor as a child, and again by a priest when he began working for the church at 19 — says the sex-abuse crisis plaguing the church is “definitely a gay thing.”

In a church bulletin dated Sept. 2, Kalchik announced that he planned to burn the flag Sept. 29 for “the Feast of Saint Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.” But a few days later, the archdiocese told him to stop the action after officials were notified of his plans. Kalchik was thretened with  “canonical penalties” if he went through with the flag burning.

 As of Tuesday night, the archdiocese has not contacted Kalchik.