San Diego chronology

This note is open
The Emma Goldman Papers
Last updated
Oct. 19, 2010, 10:40 a.m. (view history)


December 5

In Los Angeles, John J. McNamara was sentenced to fifteen years and James B. McNamara to life imprisonment in San Quentin. Search continued for David Caplan and Matthew Schmidt, anarchists also suspected in the Los Angeles bombing. (David Caplan based himself near Home Colony, while Matthew Schmidt remained in New York.)

December 8

Aberdeen City Council passed resolution condemning action of citizen deputies but also disagreed with the Wobblies' tactics.

San Diego Grand Jury recommended that "Soapbox Row" (a local area historically used for street speaking by single-taxers, Salvation Army, and Wobblies) be cleared and that street speaking be prohibited in the downtown area.


January 7

In Washington, Aberdeen City Council passed ordinance setting aside five of the busiest streets for street meetings.

January 8

San Diego City Council passed ordinance creating a restricted district (49 block area in the center of town) where street meetings were prohibited, implying that street speaking could take place on its outskirts. 

January 18

IWW held mass victory meeting in Aberdeen, Washington.

February 8

San Diego city ordinance restricting street meetings in the central business district went into effect and immediately forty-one IWW members were arrested for violating the ordinance.

February 13

San Diego City Council passed ordinance giving police the right to control movement and disperse assemblies in any part of the city, to take effect March 28.

February 26

Recently formed California Free Speech League in San Diego staged a protest march to demand better treatment for the IWW members in jail.

March 10-11

IWW held protest meeting in front of San Diego city jail.  Police called in the fire department to disperse the crowd, spraying them with water from fire hoses.

March 28

San Diego police began enforcement of recently enacted "move-on" ordinance.

April 3

IWW attorneys Fred Moore and Marcus Robbins wired California governor Hiram Johnson in an attempt to enlist his intervention on behalf of the Wobblies.

April 5

San Diego newspaperman Abram Sauer, editor of the San Diego Herald, was kidnapped from his home by local vigilantes for printing affidavits of IWW men who had been beaten by local vigilante squads.

April 15

Harris Weinstock appointed by California Governor Hiram W. Johnson to investigate "charges of cruelty and all matters pertaining to the recent disturbances in the city of San Diego."

April 17

Harris Weinstock arrived in San Diego, California, met with local officials in the evening.

April 18-20

Harris Weinstock conducted public hearings on the official investigation into the brutalities in San Diego.

April 21

EG lectured in the afternoon on the "Possibilities of Human Nature" and in the evening on "Art and Revolution" to the Women's Club in Denver, Colorado. IWW organizers, on their way to San Diego, California to fight for free speech, attended EG's talk; collection made to support them.

May 3

In the morning, EG addressed several hundred members of the IWW at the IWW headquarters in Los Angeles, California; said she might visit San Diego, California to aid the free speech fight.

May 7

EG scheduled to lecture on "Art and Revolution," at Mammoth Hall in Los Angeles, California.

IWW member Joseph Mikolasek shot and mortally wounded by police in front of San Diego IWW headquarters.

May 11

EG scheduled to lecture  on "Socialism Caught in the Political Trap," at Mammoth Hall in Los Angeles, California.

Social and dance scheduled at Burbank Hall in Los Angeles, California in support of the San Diego free speech fight.

May 13

EG spoke in the morning at the funeral of Joseph Mikolasek at the IWW Headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

May 14-15

EG's lectures on "Ibsen's Enemy of the People" and "Brieux's Maternity" at the Socialist Hall in San Diego, California canceled following the capture and abuse of BR and EG's departure to Los Angeles, California on the 14th.

May 14

EG arrived by train in San Diego, California in the afternoon, driven by bus, accompanied by Attorney E.E. Kirk and his wife, and taken at once to the U.S. Grant Hotel, followed by an aggressive mob.

An angry crowd of 2,000 surrounded EG's hotel in San Diego, California; although she later admitted to fearing for her safety, she still refused police protection and declined to leave the city. BR, separated from EG by a ruse, was taken from the hotel by  vigilantes, under police protection, to La Penasquitos ranch, about twenty miles north of San Diego, tarred and "sagebrushed" with the letters IWW burned into his back-side with a cigar.  BR was also forced to kiss the American flag and sing the Star Spangled Banner. EG, finding BR gone and having been told that he had been sent ahead to Los Angeles, boarded a train for Los Angeles, California in the middle of the night.

May 15

EG arrived at the Santa Fe depot in Los Angeles, California. BR arrived at the Santa Fe depot a few hours later. Greeted by members of the IWW.

May 16

The Citizens' Committee of San Diego informed proprietors of all printing establishments that they were not to accept matter submitted for publication by the editors of the San Diego Herald and the Labor Leader, sympathetic to IWW and the Socialists, after which San Diego vigilantes destroyed their presses.

Protest meeting on the San Diego outrages called by EG that evening at the Walker Theater in Los Angeles, California.  Speakers included: Anton Johannsen, McKilvey (local sec. Of the IWW), Dr. Pandit, BR,  and Charles Sprading.

May 17

EG and BR left Los Angeles for San Francisco, California.

The summoning announced, by Assistant U.S. District Attorney Dudley W. Robinson, of EG and BR before the Federal Grand Jury, called to investigate the IWW.

May 18

EG and BR arrived in San Francisco, California. EG "greeted" upon her arrival by Mayor, reporters and cameras including two moving picture operators.

AB, Hippolyte Havel and Harry Kelly signed a letter, published in the New York World stating, "If the public sentiment of the country and the passive attitude of the press continue to encourage these outrages, we feel that the anarchists and other social rebels will be forced, as a matter of self-defense, to answer violence with violence."

A near-complete copy of Commissioner Weinstock=s report to Governor Johnson on the situation in San Diego, California printed in the San Francisco Bulletin.

May 19

EG gave the first of a series of lectures in the afternoon on "Anarchism, the Moving Spirit in the Labor Struggle," at Jefferson Square Hall in San Francisco, California; money was collected for the IWW members of San Diego and Los Angeles.

May 20

EG spoke on "Anarchism, the Moving Spirit in the Labor Struggle" at Jefferson Square Hall in San Francisco, California. Collection made for IWW members of San Diego and Los Angeles.

May 25

EG denied use of the socialist headquarters auditorium, Hamilton Hall in Oakland, California.

After recommendation of Harris Weinstock to Governor Johnson, U.S. Attorney General Webb, California's state attorney general  arrived in San Diego to investigate situation.

May 26

EG lectured on "Ibsen's An Enemy of the People" and on "Woman's Inhumanity to Man" at the Trades Council Hall in San Francisco, California; BR reviewed the history of the fight waged in San Diego, California against the IWW and declared his intention to return to San Diego. The meeting was presided over by Anton Johannsen and attended by 1,000.

May 30

EG and BR spoke at the Pythian Castle in Sacramento, California, about their recent experiences in San Diego.

The Sacramento Bee published an editorial the same day calling for the suppression of EG's speech and demanding her deportation from the U.S.

June 19

EG delivered three lectures at the IWW hall in Spokane, Washington, raised funds for free speech in San Diego, and for Ettor and Giovannitti.

June 30

EG scheduled to lecture about the San Diego free speech fight at Marble hall in Denver, Colorado.


May 19

EG lectured on "The Modern Drama" at Mammoth Hall in Los Angeles, California.

EG and BR left Los Angeles for San Diego, California.

The Webb Alien Land‑Holding Bill, excluding Japanese from ownership of land in California, signed by California Governor Hiram Johnson, despite objections by President Wilson and the Japanese government.

May 20

EG scheduled to lecture in the evening on "Ibsen's Play, An Enemy of the People" in San Diego, California. Arrested with BR upon arrival in San Diego at 4:40 am and taken to the police station under police protection, surrounded by a mob, and later escorted and placed aboard the afternoon train to Los Angeles, California "for their own safety."

May 22

EG spoke on the turn of events in San Diego, California at a rally against the "San Diego outrage" in Los Angeles, California. Speakers included C. T. Sprading and BR.

EG scheduled to speak on "The English Drama" at Mammoth Hall in Los Angeles, California.