Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 10, 1909 -- A Blot Upon the Fair Name of Chicago

October 10, 1909 – Former United States Assistant Secretary of State John Callan O’Laughlin, a Chicago Daily Tribune reporter, writes of the vice he finds in the heart of the city.  “I have been through the red light districts of Chicago,” O’Laughlin begins, “and I am filled with a great loathing.  I have seen your dance halls, where temptation to sin is offered in the form of lights, and music, and drink.  I have seen saloons which are but the ante-rooms to iniquity.  I have visited your vice quarters, and have been astounded at the open traffic that exists therein.  I have learned of how ‘white slavery’ is conducted in Chicago.  I have been told of women imprisoned behind bars and forced to do the will of their keepers.  I have learned of police service to prevent the escape of unfortunates.  The condition that exists is at once heart-rending and disgusting.  It is a blot upon the fair name of Chicago.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 10, 1909] O’Laughlin urges the new police chief to get to work, saying, “It is about time for action.”  He rails at the courts for the dollar or five-dollar fines they dole out, calling the fines “a small commission received by the city from the earnings of vice.”  He suggests that the city take a lesson from Japan, saying, “It can forbid dance halls to sell liquor and to be a rendezvous at all hours for young men and girls.  It can forbid the sale of liquor in any house where women are allowed.  It can forbid the sale of liquor in houses of ill repute.  It can punish as a vagrant or otherwise every man who runs such a house or who has any connection with it or with inducing women to become inmates.  It can stop the youth of the city, including messenger boys, from entering the districts.”

October 10, 1977 – Thousands of Chicagoans stand in the sunshine along a ten-block parade route as Vice-President Walter Mondale marches down State Street with Mayor Michael Bilandic and other officials in the city’s annual Columbus Day parade.  Clearly, the Vice-President has an eye toward moving one office higher as “Three times during the parade he distressed his Secret Service contingent by plunging into crowds to shake hands, trade pleasantries, and pat children on the head.”  [Chicago Tribune, October 11, 1977]  Before the parade Mondale attends a mass celebrated by John Cardinal Cody in Our Lady of Pompeii at 1224 West Lexington Avenue.  After a reception at the church, Mondale and other officials walk two blocks west on Lexington to place a wreath at the statue of Christopher Columbus.  Most importantly, Mondale announces on his arrival in the city that a bill signed earlier in the week by President Jimmy Carter will increase federal money for community development in the city from $69 million to $134 million. 

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