Flowing black ties and wavy hair to match

Ben ReitmanThis post begins a series of documents on Chicago open forums in honor of the annual Bughouse Square Debates.

Chicago Daily Tribune, November 12, 1916, p. 4


Meeting at East End Hall Attended by Anarchists Big and Little.

Flowing black ties and wavy hair to match were in evidence at East End Hall, 635 North Clark street, last night when the anarchists of Chicago met in a social gathering to commemorate the twenty-ninth anniversary of the Haymarket riot which resulted in the hanging of four anarchists. Speakers of nationalist and internationalist renown in anarchist circles told of brethren now in jails in various parts of the country for breaking the capitalists’ law.

Four and 5 year old anarchists toddled about the hall claiming fierce eyed men for fathers and mild eyed women for mothers. Sprinkled here and there in the audience were university students gathering material for themes.

Ben Reitman Presides.

Ben Reitman presided, and his heavy voice resounded throughout the hall despite the many arguments and discussions, in as many different languages, which sometimes discouraged the speechmakers. In turn, Miss Emma Goldman, anarchist; Mrs. Albert J. Parsons, “wife of the anarchist murdered in the county jail”; William Haywood general organizer for the I.W.W., and Edward J. Morgan, representing the street car workers of San Francisco, were introduced amid handclapping and arguments.

A little girl spoke a piece and a German singing society sang some songs.

Stenographer on Job.

A stenographer took down every word uttered to forestall the police department, which always has a stenographer present. The hope is that some day the two stenographers will disagree.

Following the announcement of a number of meetings Sunday morning, Ben Reitman said: “Every one of you should attend these meetings. There is no excuse now for any of you to go to church Sunday.”


Photo credit: Dr. Ben L. Reitman, 1908, DN-0052268, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.

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