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A Prohibited Protest - September 1, 1934

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.

April 26, 1935 Newspaper Clipping

Young Communist Ordered to Jail
Musmanno Rules Riot Inciters Must Serve Term

     A youthful Communist leader, Carolyn Hart, today awaits removal to the Muncy, Pa., women's home as a result of the order of Judge M.A. Musmanno yesterday.
     When Miss Hart and two male defendants, all convicted in May, 1935, of inciting to riot at Fifth and Locust Sts., McKeesport, Sept. 1, 1934, appeared before him, Judge Musmanno cited the fact that superior Court had denied their appeal and directed the sentences begin.  Miss Hart is to serve 18 months to three years.
     Gus Safis, 45, was taken immediately to the County Workhouse to start serving three months, while George Alexander, 18, will be removed to Morganza.
     In the trial of the three before visiting Judge J. Frank Graff, Mayor George H. Lysle of McKeesport, told of refusing a permit for the meeting which led to the trio's arrest.  He informed the applicants they might meet at Water and Market Sts. instead.  Traffic Inspector Milton Rankin later told of having found Miss Hart self-chained to a telegraph pole shouting, "Down with Mayor Lysle's cossacks and the American Flag and up with the Soviet."

October 6, 1936 Newspaper Clipping

State 'Excuses' Miss Hart For Chaining Self to Pole

     The long, drawn-out case of Carolyn Hart, the 4-year-old girl who wore a red dress and chained herself to a pole at a police-banned McKeesport Communist gathering had ended today.
     Miss Hart has received a pardon after serving seven months of an indefinite term in the Women's Industrial Home at Muncy.
     Culminating in a sentence, Jan. 9, 1936, by Judge J. Frank Graff in Criminal Court, the Hart case had been fought bitterly by the Pittsburgh Civil Liberties Union and other liberal groups.
     The charges grew out of a so-called riot at McKeesport, Sept. 1, 1934, at which time the Young Communist League insisted on holding a meeting which police had banned.
     The meeting was to be a protest against war and Fascism.  Miss Hart chained herself to a pole in the midst of a crowd of 5000 and began to speak.
     She had got no further than "Fellow workers," when police rushed in and dispersed the crowd with clubs and tear gas.
     In all, 25 persons were arrested, but not all were convicted when the trials were held.
     Attq. Benjamin Sigal of the Civil Liberties Union received a copy of the pardon granted Miss Hart today.  She received the news that she was free early this morning and made immediate plans to leave the institution.

May 28, 1937 Newspaper Clipping

Chained-to-the-Pole Girl Loses Fight to Regain Job

January 28, 1941 Newspaper Clipping - The Pittsburgh Press