The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Countdown to Watts

Paul Coates, Dec. 13, 1960

  Dec. 13, 1960, Mirror Cover  

Dec. 13, 1960: Paul Coates has an update on the story of John Howard Griffin, whose book “Black Like Me,” about his experiences pretending to be African American, shocked many white readers.

Notice Paul Weeks' byline out of Washington. He will remain there after the demise of the Mirror in January 1961.

The high-strung Marilyn Monroe has some problems while filming “Bus Stop” in Maurice Zolotow’s biography “The Real Marilyn Monroe.”


“Black Like Me” on the Daily Mirror
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Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood, Nov. 16, 1940


  Nov. 16, 1940, Paul Robeson  

Nov. 16, 1940: Clark Gable and Carole Lombard are packing for a trailer trek to Nebraska, where they'll visit her relatives, Jimmie Fidler says.

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Matt Weinstock, Oct. 18, 1960


Oct. 18, 1960: Matt Weinstock has an item on Robert Nathan’s satire “The Weans.”

CONFIDENTIAL TO 'SICK INSIDE': Tell your husband you found the letter. He owes you an explanation.
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Paul Coates, Aug. 17, 1960

Aug. 17, 2010, Mirror

Aug. 17, 1960: Paul Coates writes about an economic boycott against African Americans in the South who register to vote.

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Burned Bones Indicate Grim Fate of Missing Family

Aug. 4, 1910: The San Francisco Call. Isn’t that a great font? And two kinds of “Ms.”

Aug. 4, 1910, Kendall Murder

image Aug. 4-5, 1910: The Kendall family disappears from a ranch outside Santa Rosa and investigators find grisly evidence that they were slaughtered. Police are seeking a man identified in news stories as Harry or Henry Yamuchi, Yamagachi, Yamaguchi or Yamaguichi.

According to the San Francisco Call, the Kendall family were troublesome tenants and ranch owner Margaret Starbuck had taken them to court.

Yamaguchi was named as the killer at a coroner’s inquest, but it’s unclear whether he was ever caught or charged.

Results from the Library of Congress Chronicling America newspaper archive are here.

At right, Mrs. J.E. Givens, an African American missionary returning from a conference in Edinburgh, causes a stir on a transatlantic voyage by insisting on dining with white passengers. She refused to eat for two days until she was granted the amenities guaranteed by her ticket.
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Lynchings in Florida


Aug. 2, 1910, Alexandria Gazette.

Aug. 2, 1910: Alexandria (Va.) Gazette.

Aug. 4, 1910, Lynching
The Times, Aug. 4, 1910.

Aug. 5, 1910, Mahoning Dispatch
Aug. 5, 1910: Mahoning (Ohio) Dispatch.

Aug. 9, 1910: Bisbee (Ariz.) Daily Review.

Aug. 2-9, 1910: It’s a bit difficult to track down the original story about Bessie Morrison (possibly Bessie Mae Morrison), who was evidently killed in Florida. In trying to find further information, I stumbled across a book titled “100 Years of Lynchings,” which seems to be a compilation of news stories.

According to this transcription from the Holmes County (Fla.) Advertiser, three blacks were lynched but there were no further hangings, despite news stories to the contrary. 

The Protests

July 11, 1960, Protest
Photograph by R.L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times

Photographer R.L. Oliver wrote: “The Rev. Maurice A. Dawkins, minister of the People's Independent Church of Christ, started at midnight Sunday in a 24-hour vigil of prayer and fasting, advocating a liberal civil rights platform. In the rear are Freedom Marchers.”

Interestingly enough, the photo evidently appeared in the earlier editions of The Times but wasn't published in the final, microfilmed version.

On July 10, 1960, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a civil rights demonstration called the March on the Convention Movement for Freedom Now.  Activists marched from Shrine Auditorium to the Sports Arena and back to the auditorium, where Democratic officials addressed them.

Many of the speakers were booed by the crowd despite pleas from Clarence Mitchell, an official of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People: "This is not the NAACP way. We do not boo our invited guests."
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Fight of the Century Touches Off Race Riots

JUuly 7, 1910, Editorial Cartoon

July 5, 1910, Race Riots

July 7, 1910: Times cartoonist Edmund Waller “Ted” Gale comments on the race riots that followed Jack Johnson’s defeat of James Jeffries in the Fight of the Century. Many cities barred theaters from showing film of the fight for fear of more violence.

On the jump, The Times draws parallels between Independence Day and “Industrial Freedom,” its term for the open shop.

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Missouri Mob Lynches Two Blacks

July 4, 1910, Lynching

July 4, 1910: Charleston, Mo. -- "Those in the yard -- the women and children -- could hear the sounds of a sledge hammer as the lock was knocked off the cell door. In a few moments a shout announced that the lock had been broken and immediately a file of men ran from the jail pulling at a long rope.

"At the end of the rope was a Negro, Bob Coleman, kicked, cuffed and knocked down by the men who struggled to get near him. The Negro was dragged to the southwest corner of the courthouse yard and hanged.

"While Coleman dangled, another body of men rushed from the jail, dragging and pulling the other Negro, Sam Fields. A rope was placed around his neck and the mob, yelling, hanged him.

"A mob was bent upon burning the Negro section of Charleston but cooler counsel prevailed and quiet was restored late tonight."

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The Fight of the Century

July 1, 1910, JackJohnson

Jeffries to Win

July 3, 1910, Pray for Johnson

July 5, 1910, Great White Hope

July 5, 1910, Jack London

July 1-5, 1910: The Times’ Harry Carr writes from Reno: "The 'battle of the century' made me think of nothing so much as the butchery of an old bull.

"When, at the end of the 15th round, old Jeff lay, half through the ropes, smeared with blood, the light all gone out of his eyes, stricken and helpless, I half expected him to give the 'moo' of a dying bull.

"When the moving pictures are shown I think you will see a strange thing -- that Jeffries lay in the exact attitude of the statue ‘The Dying Gladiator,' as he was being counted out, with this addition: The group will have another figure, a tigerish, fierce black giant standing over the bleeding gladiator, his terrible fists waiting.

"I felt sorry for poor, old Jeff, but most of my pity went out to the black man.

"I never before saw any human soul so shaken with fear.

"When the fight began Johnson was so frightened that his face was a deathly, ashen gray. His lips were dry and his eyes were staring with a sort of horrified terror. He seemed utterly friendless.

"Out of that enormous pack of humanity I saw only one face that turned up to him in sympathy. That was the drawn, tragically beautiful face of the white woman who is Johnson's wife."

Here's Johnson's 1931 account of the fight.

On the jump, stories by Jack London and Harry Carr.
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The Times’ Court Reporter Files a Story in Dialect

June 3, 1910, Krakauer Piano

June 3, 1910: The Times’ court reporter files a story in dialect about two African American women who are charged with fighting. Ouch.

And police arrest newsboys shooting dice behind the offices of Los Angeles Record (1886-1931).
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Matt Weinstock, April 20, 1960

 April 20, 1960, Nashville Protest

Plane Bomb Jokers

Matt Weinstock     Persons who go airplane riding had better get used to the idea that authorities don't think wisecracks about bombs are funny.  A story from Chicago a few days ago stated that nine persons have been grabbed by FBI agents there this month for saying, in jest, that they had bombs in their bags.  One is under sentence of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, the maximum penalty.  Another paid a $100 fine, another $50.  The charge is making a false bomb report concerning a public carrier in intestate commerce.
    When such bomb reports are made flights are delayed while baggage is taken off and inspected.  If the plane is in the air the pilot is instructed to land at the nearest airport while  a search is made.  Airlines estimate the cost of this delay at $850 an hour.
    A Long Beach youth named Brian is wiser as a result of an incident a few days ago at San Francisco's airport.  He was departing from home and a schoolmate was heading from Boise.  As the Boise boy checked in his stuff he told the clerk he would carry his briefcase.
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