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Repression of Civil Liberties 1923 and 1934

From the Annual Report, 1923, American Civil Liberties Union:

"The most serious situation arose in McKeesport, Pa., where the Workers' Party was forbidden to hold any meetings whatever. We therefore went in with a test meeting under the joint auspices of the Workers' Party and ourselves, held on September 9th [1923].  Robert W. Dunn, associate director of the Union, Fred Merrick and Jay Lovestone, arranged to speak in a private hall, which the police closed up. They then went to a vacant lot which had been rented, and started to hold the meeting there. The police arrested all the speakers and two local men on charges of disorderly conduct. They were tried in the local court and each fined $25.00 and costs. This was appealed to the Allegheny County Court where the whole issue was thrashed out. The mayor was brought into court where he maintained he had a right to stop meetings he did not like.  The fines were sustained. The case was again appealed to the State Superior Court.  The case is important as involving the right to hold meetings on private property without interference in the absence of any ordinance requiring permits.  The case presents a clear issue and may be carried to the Supreme Court of the state."

"Governor Pinchot, who was advised in advance of the situation in McKeesport, wrote the mayor a strong letter urging him not to interfere with constitutional rights.  The governor's letter was ignored. After the meeting in McKeesport, the employing companies there began to dismiss all employees who were known to have attended the meeting or to have been identified in any way with it or the Workers' Party."

(Source:  Annual Report, American Civil Liberties Union, 1923, p. 15)

A Prohibited Protest - September 1, 1934

April 26, 1935, Unidentified Pittsburgh Newspaper

- 21 Communists Found Guilty in
Tube City Riot -
- Girl Who Chained Self to Pole Tells Story of Radical Meeting -
- Lysle Ban Defied -
- 18 Year Old High School Student and Mother Among Defendants -

     Two women and 19 men Communists accused of rioting in McKeesport last Sept. 1, were found guilty today in Criminal Court in a verdict reached by a jury late last night.
     As the verdict was presented to Judge J. Frank Graff, more than 50 deputy sheriffs and county detectives were spread in a cordon about the defendants to halt any possible demonstration.
     Judge Graff fixed the prisoner's bonds at $1,000 each, pending their motion for a new trial, but delayed the time when the bail could be posted for an hour and a half so that the 21 could be fingerprinted.

Girl Among Group

     Four of the defendants were found guilty of inciting to riot, as well as riot.
     They were Carolyn Hart, 22, of 130 De Sota St., Oakland; George Alexander, 18, McKeesport High School student; Mrs Mary Alexander, his mother, and Gus Safis.
     The Hart girl and young Alexander chained themselves to poles at Locust St. and Fifth Ave., in the heart of McKeesport, to speak at an International Youth Day meeting which had been banned by Mayor George H. Lysle.

Tear Gas Thrown

     When they started their talks the police laid down a tear gas barrage to disperse 2,000 persons and arrested the 21 Communists.
     Others who were found guilty were:
     Pete Gallo, Charles Theis, Samuel Unchodick, Ted Cole, Jeff Washington, Pete Pejavic, Joe Maravich, Leroy Townsend, Mike Bartko, Stenko Skrenjaral, Mike Suterick, Gus Safis, Frank Folin__, Stanley Lendanski, Albert Asbury, Louis Sellers, Louie Torrell and Dick Avery.

Read More Articles Regarding Carolyn Hart

Synopsis of Interview with Rev. G.M. Fowles - December 3, 1919