100 Years Ago a Child Was Born
The back of the photo reads: Junior ~ 10 months old.
‘Junior’? I’d only known he was called ‘Reds’ when young for the same reddish-goldish hair I inherited from him.
This is a photograph of my father; he was born in 1917 ~ 100 years ago.
As an infant he was listed in the Who’s Who of Medicine as the baby longest on a heart-lung machine, although he looks pretty healthy by the time of this photograph. His parents both smoked heavily, including in their home.
Also born in 1917 were singer Ella Fitzgerald, novelist Carson McCullers, jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and president John F. Kennedy.
“Buffalo Bill” Cody died in 1917.
President Woodrow Wilson took oath of office for the second time.
World War I was in its third year; in 1917 the U. S. entered, declaring war on Germany.
Czar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated, the Russian Revolution broke out.
In India, Gandhi sided with indigo farmers against British rulers over rights; after much unrest the British Government formally abolished the system of indentured labor across their colonies.
In Africa, only two countries, Liberia and Abyssinia (now Ethiopia), were independent in 1917, less than 5% of Africa’s landmass. The rest of the continent was under varying European colonial rule.
In Japan, an industrial boom aided in forming Mitsubishi and a thousand other companies still in existence today.
Charlie Chaplin’s film “The Immigrant” was released in 1917.
Ten suffragists were arrested picketing the White House for women’s right to vote (women’s right to vote was ratified in1920).
One of the bloodiest race riots in U.S. history occurred in East St. Louis, Illinois in 1917. Later that summer another major race riot occurred in Houston, Texas.
Also that summer, thousands of African-Americans marched down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan protesting lynchings, race riots, and denial of rights.
Thirty-six lynchings of Black Americans were known to occur in 1917, less than the fifty known lynchings in 1916, but in 1918, sixty known lynchings of Black Americans occurred. (Although over 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced over decades between late 1800s and early 1950s, no anti-lynching laws were ever passed or even brought to Senate vote).
In 1917 the Chicago White Sox won the World Series.
Dutch dancer Mata Hari was executed by firing squad for spying for Germany.
The first Pulitzer for a biography was awarded to Laura Richards in 1917, for her book on abolitionist, suffragist, poet, and author Julia Ward Howe.
In 1917, most Americans walked everywhere (or took a streetcar, if they lived in cities); they lived in three-generation homes that they rarely owned, ate almost as much lard as chicken, and many spent Friday nights dancing to player pianos. Half of all families lived on farms.
Just before my father’s first birthday, Houdini successfully performed the vanishing elephant illusion at the Hippodrome Theater in New York City…
And one month after my father’s first birthday, the Spanish Flu pandemic struck, raged around the globe for two years, and eventually killed over 50 million people (there were 10 million deaths in World War I).
100 years ago this year.