I saw it at the Museum few weeks ago, and I didn’t realize it was going to be over so soon.  But if you happen to be in Santa Rosa today, it’s your last chance.  It provides a fascinating history of communists in Sonoma County, including the Jewish immigrants who started the Petaluma chicken industry, the Apple Pickers Strike of 1935, vigilante responses such as the one reported in the Press Democrat image here, the Sonoma County residents who were hauled up before investigation committees in Congress, and of course Jack London’s time in the county, during which time he wrote The Iron Heel.

The vigilante episode was particularly chilling.  A group of socialists was kidnapped and brought to City Hall where they were instructed to kiss the flag.  Three of the five refused, and they were tarred and feathered and paraded around the city.  But they continued to organize, or try to anyway, afterward.

I know Eureka has a history of socialists, not necessarily communists, being elected early in the 20th century.  I wonder what else would turn up in a Humboldt County exhibit.  It would probably include something about Jack London who got into a bar fight in Eureka with one of the logger barons.  Somebody around here made a post about it, but I can’t find it.

Addendum: I found the reference to Jack London in this Times Standard article about Old Town’s history containing this paragraph:

“In the early days of Eureka there was a favorite little drinking bistro across from the Vance Hotel named The Oberon,” Waters wrote. “Marble floors, tapestries, pictures of beautiful girls in the raw, etc. Writer Jack London, a confirmed Socialist and Stanwood Murphy, a conservative Republican met in the Oberon. They argued over politics and started throwing punches. The bartenders locked the doors and they fought for over an hour. After the fight they were both in the hospital for a couple of days licking their wounds.”

About these ads