TEDDY ROOSEVELT & SAM GOMPERS CLASH OVER EAST ST. LOUIS RIOTS
New York City (JFK+50) One hundred years ago tonight, July 6, 1917, at the welcoming ceremonies of the Russian war mission held at a packed Carnegie Hall, former President Theodore Roosevelt and Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, clashed on the subject of the recent East St. Louis riots*.
After a speech by new Russian ambassador Boris A. Bakhmetieff, both TR and Mr. Gompers addressed the audience. TR demanded the government "stop murder" while Mr. Gompers argued organized labor was "innocent" and that it was capital that was guilty.
*East St. Louis Riots of May & July 1917 was an outbreak of labor & race relations violence resulting in death & property damage. It is said to be the worst case of labor-related violence in 20th century U.S. history. A congressional investigation estimated 39 blacks & 8 whites died in the riots.
"Col. Roosevelt & Gompers Clash on Riot," The Chicago Daily Tribune, July 7, 1917.