July 22, 1899: “Newsboys’ Strike Goes On”



There was a called meeting of the striking newsboys in Frankfort-st. yesterday morning for the purpose of repeating their defiance of the boycotted newspapers and to arrange further means for carrying the strike to a successful issue. Grand Master Workman “Kid” Blink, alias “Mug Magee,” called the meeting to order, and, amid cheers spoke in past as follows:

“Fr’en’s, Brudders and Feller Citerzens: We is unitered in a patriotic cuase. The time has cum when we mus’ eder make a stan’ or be downtridden by the decypils of acrice and greed’ness. Dey wants it all, and when we cums to ’em dey sez we must take the papes at der own price or leave ’em. Dis ain’t no time to temporize. Is ye all still wid us in de cause?”

“Sure! Sure!” came from a chorus of throats.

“Well, den,” continued the chairman, “we’ll go ahead wid de warfare, same as we done yistiday. Let no guilty man escape. Lay fer ’em and give it to ’em hot.”

As a result of the meeting many of the incidents of the preceding day were repeated yesterday. Whenever a boy appeared with the papers in his hand he was immediately surrounded and his stock was torn to shreds. The boys did not confine themselves to the street sellers, but in a number of cases attacked stands where papers are sold and made havoc with the extras which had been placed there. In their hats the newsboys wore placards asking the public to refrain from buying the papers, and in Brooklyn, where the strike is also on, printed circulars to the same effect were passed around. The strike has also spread to Harlem.

A little before noon a crowd of several hundred newsboys swarmed through the Bowery, and for some time made things lively in the neighborhood. They carried placards announcing the strike, and visited the stationary stands all along the route. Wherever the two papers were found summary vengeance was dealt out.

At Rivington-st. they found an Italian who was taking advantage of the boycott to sell the two papers. The boys first threatened him, and then began playing tricks on him. He seized a big stick and started after one of the boys, who had thrown something at him. The boy ran, taunting him, and he, forgetting everything else, followed.

In a minute his stand was overturned and his papers were divided among the crowd and thrown into the air, after being torn to bits. The police saw the trouble and charged on the crowd, but the Bowery newsboys are trained for that kind of an emergency, and they escaped easily.

Early yesterday afternoon “Kid” Blink caused the arrest of “Mike, the Greaser,” on a charge of having attempted to choke him with a revolver. It is said that in a learned argument on the subject of “scabs,” which the two boys held at the Bridge entrance, “the Greaser” attempted to force a loaded revolver down the throat of Mr. Blink. “The Greaser” was locked up in the Oak-st. police station.

According to a story told by the same Mr. Blink, one of the newspapers sent out a number of “scabs” armed with table legs to make havoc in the ranks of the strikers.

Source: “Newsboys’ Strike Goes On.” New-York Daily Tribune, 22 July 1899, p. 3.