Need some (non-holiday) jazz? Here’s about an hour from Wynton Marsalis and friends, recorded live at the 2009 jazz festival in Marciac, France.
It was captured in brilliant and harrowing fashion by Woody Guthrie in his classic “1913 Massacre” (see below), but few may know the story of the actual tragedy, which took place on Christmas Eve of that year, at a party for striking miners and their families in Calumet, Michigan. Seventy-three died, including fifty-nine children.
The basic outline: someone shouted ‘Fire!’ at the crowded party in the Italian Hall. There was a rather inaccessible fire escape and the only real exit was down a narrow, steep flight of stairs, and dozens of kids got trampled to death. In Woody’s version, and many others, the ‘Fire!’ shouter was sent by the copper mine bosses to create just such an event. Woody added the twist (not claimed by others) that ‘thugs’ held the doors to the street shut from outside.
But despite official inquiries it’s stlll not known for certain (1) who shouted fire or (2) if the doors opened inward or outward. One academic even claims there was a small fire. Another writer, Steve Lehto in his book, says he has IDed the ‘Fire!’ shouter. In any case, a historic, tragic event in labor history.
- Please review our About Us page if you need a refresher on site rules, and
- We encourage you to use our flag system — if you see an abusive comment, user or post, please flag it rather than replying. We review every flag and take the best action available to us.
- If you have questions or concerns about Firedoglake-specific issues, please limit their discussion to Watercooler posts rather than starting new posts or making off-topic comments in others. But remember,
- Firedoglake editors and staff are not allowed to comment on any moderation decisions.
What’s on you mind tonight? Got questions? The watercooler is an open conversation.
Photo by Max Braun released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.