Today in Labor and Writing History July 10, 1806: The Vellore Mutiny occurred, when Indian sepoys first mutinied against the British East India Company. The mutineers seized the Vellore Fort, killing or wounding 200 British troops. The rebellion lasted for one day, and was ultimately subdued by cavalry and artillery. 350 mutineers died. The authorities summarily executed another 100. English poet Sir Henry Newbolt wrote a poem about it called, “Gillespie.” And George Shipway wrote a novel about it called“Strangers in the Land” (1976).
Today in Labor History July 10, 1894: 14,000 federal and state troops put down the Pullman strike. Over the course of the strike, federal troops killed 34 American Railway Union members in the Chicago area. The authorities imprisoned Eugene Debs and many others for violating injunctions.
Today in Labor History July 10, 1902: A coal mine explosion in Johnstown, Pennsylvania killed 112 workers.
Today in Labor and Writing History July 10, 1917: The Jerome Deportation occurred in Arizona. On July 5, IWW workers struck at Phelps Dodge mines, in Jerome, Az. Mine supervisors, along with a hastily formed “Citizens Committee” made up of local business leaders, rounded up and deported over 100 Wobblies (IWW members) to Needles, CA, and told them to never return. Two days later, after seeing how successful they had been in Jerome, they launched an even bigger deportation in Bisbee, Az. This time, they rounded up roughly 2,000 Wobblies from the Phelps Dodge mines in Bisbee, Az, and deported them to New Mexico.
“Bisbee ‘17,” (1999) by Robert Houston, is a historical novel based on the Bisbee deportations. There was also a really interesting film of the same name that came out in 2018. In the film, the town’s inhabitants reenact the events 100 years later. It also includes interviews with current residents.
Irish War of Independence
Today in Labor History July 10, 1921: Bloody Sunday: Seventeen people died and 200 houses were destroyed during rioting and gun battles in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The violence erupted the day before the beginning of a truce that was supposed to end the Irish War of Independence. As the truce approached, police launched a raid against republicans. However, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ambushed them, killing an officer.
In retaliation, Protestant loyalists attacked Catholic enclaves in west Belfast. As a result, Protestants and Catholics paramilitaries battled each other in the streets. There were also gun battles between republicans and the police. And police also fired indiscriminately at Catholic civilians. Belfast saw almost 500 people killed from 1920–22 in political and sectarian violence related to the Irish War of Independence.
The Irish War of Independence has been portrayed in the play “The Shadow of a Gunman,” by Seán O’Casey, the 1929 novel, “The Last September,” by Elizabeth Bowen, the 1931 short story, “Guests of the Nation,” by Frank O’Connor and the more recent novels: “Troubles,” by J. G. Farrell (1970), “The Old Jest,” (1979) by Jennifer Johnston, and “The Soldier’s Song,” (2010) by Alan Monaghan.
Scopes Monkey Trial
Today in Labor and Writing History July 10, 1925: The Scopes “Monkey Trial” Trial began in Dayton, Tennessee. John T. Scopes was a high school science teacher accused of violating the Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality. Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee wrote about it in their play “Inherit the Wind” (1955). However, they said that their play was a response to the McCarthy anticommunist witch hunt and a statement in support of free speech. Ronald Kidd’s 2006 novel, “Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial,” was also based on the Scopes Trial.
Today in Writing History July 10, 1931: Alice Munro, Canadian short story writer and Nobel Prize laureate was born.