July 25, 1899: “Boys Forsee A Victory”

Boys Foresee A Victory

Their Mass Meeting Proves A “Howling” Success

Many of the “Newsies” Unable to Gain Admittance to the Hall—Glowing Flights of Youthful Oratory Cheer the Strikers

The newsboys’ strike gathered new strength last night in a monster mass meeting held at New Irving Hall, No 214 Broome-st. The meeting was a howling success. It was likewise a shrieking, screaming success, and any one who has heard the cry of “Uxtra!” as it is given in the streets of this city can realize, in a measure, what the coming together of several hundred of these boys meant. They were full of enthusiasm and brimming with earnestness, and they made the welkin ring with their defiance of the newspapers that they are fighting.

Most of the newsboy speakers, however, took occasion to deprecate personal violence, and “Kid” Blink, who has been made Grand Master Workman of the union, led the procession for a peaceful and dignified “fight to a finish.” The unbiassed [sic] spectator last evening could not fail to be impressed with the resolute, manly fight the little fellows are making, and their zeal in following up the force of their convictions indicates clearly that the small American boy is truly the father of the big American man, and everybody know what the later is like. He is able to take care of himself in any clime.

All sizes, shades and condition of boy filled the hall long before the meeting was called to order, and a delegation of several hundred from Brooklyn was unable to get in, though their leader managed to force a passage and was heard from in the course of the evening.

“Dave” Simons, the president of the union, announced that “Nick” Meyers would preside and the latter, after a short address, in which he ordered “Hats off!” and “No smoking!” introduced Leonard A. Snitken, the first speaker of the evening. Mr. Snitken said that he came as the representative of the newsboys’ old friend, “Charlie” Adler, and, after some well meant advice, gave way to Frank B. Wood, who is known at the baseball grounds as the “Well, well man.” The “Well, well man” said some things about the two papers, and then Philip Wissing, the ex-Assemblyman, told the boys about his own career.

At this point a large floral horseshoe, which had been sent from an admirer of the newsboys, was borne to the platform amid terrific cheering.


A speech which gave the newsboys considerable satisfaction was made by Mr. Brennan, of Chambers-st. and West Broadway, a member of the Newsdealers’ Association, who was introduced as “the oldest war horse in the business.” Mr. Brennan said in part:

“I am ready to admit that you boys have already brought shame to the faces of the older newsdealers. You have accomplished more in a few days that the newsdealers have been able to do in years. I was afraid that you boys had undertaken too big a contract, but now I don’t think you have. I cannot speak for the Newsdealers’ Association and am here in my personal capacity only, but I hope the newsdealers will get together to-morrow night in a big hall where you can all come and listen to good advice.”

Several other well known newsdealers then addressed the meeting, after which a set of resolutions was presented asking the public to refrain from buying or advertising in the two evening papers.

It was at this point that the most interesting feature of the meeting developed. The chairman arose and stated: “You’se has all listened to our friends from outside–now we’ll have some words from our own speakers. You’se all knows ‘Bob Indian,’ don’t you’se?”

“Sure!” “Sure!”

“Well, he’s de first speaker from de union.”

“Bob Indian,” whose real name is Stone, and who gets his nickname from the war cry used in selling his wares, spoke in part as follows:

“Say, boys, I ain’t much on de talk. Bu I’m wid yer to de end. We’se got a strike on ‘De Evenin’ Woild’ and ‘De Evenin’ Joinal.’ Dey knows it, you bet, and I reckon about now dey’d like to quit. Well, if we stick togedder we’ll win dis fight. And say, will we stick? I tinks we will–radder.”

“Just tink wot dey makes on der ads. And dey wants our 10 cents profert, too. I went to see Mister Hearst, and he just s good as trun me outen his offiz. Let’s not do nuthin’ wrong. Let’s tend to business, and not trow no sticks and stones, and not hit nobody over de head. Just let’s sell does papers wot treats us right.” And the speaker retired amid cheers which were prolonged for full five minutes as Master Workman “Kid” Blink came forward.

“You all know who ‘Kid’ Blink is?” said the chairman.

“You bet your sweet life we do!” “He’s a bully boy wid a glass eye!” “He ought to be named Dewey!” and other approving remarks greeted him.


Then “Kid” Blink raised his hand and began amid impressive silence.

Friens and feller workers: Dis is a time which tries de hearts of men–dis is de time when we’re got to stick togedder like glue! But der’s one ting I want ter say before I goes any furder. I don’t believe in gettin’ no feller’s papers from him and tearin’ ’em up. I know I done it. (Cries of “You bet you did!”) But I’m sorry fer it. No! der ain’t nuttin in dat. We know wot we wants and we’ll git it, even if we is blind. Dem 10 cents is as good ter us as to de millionaires–maybe better. I shouldn’t be surprised but that it’s as good as a quarter is to dem. Anyway, we wants it. And we’ll strike and restrike until we get it. Won’t we boys? (Cries of “Yes! Yes!”) But don’t lets stop no more poor driver and dump over der wagons, like we done in Madison st. de odder day. I know I was one. (“You bet you was!”) Let’s not do it no more. Say, will we, boys? (“No! No!”) Say, you remember dat day in Wall-st., when the gents trun money to us and tole us to buy decent papers? You remember, say, don’t you boys? (“Yes! Yes!”) Dat’s all right, but, say, don’t lets hurt no more poor drivers. We won de fight in 1893. We ought to win in 1899. Oughtn’t we, boys? (“Yes! Yes!”) Youse all know me, boys, don’t you? We’ll stick togedder like plaster, won’t we, boys?

The boys answered that they would, and Mr. Blink retired. The next speaker was Fitzgibbons, the uptown leader, and then Mrs. Annie, familiarly known as “Slobbie,” rose and said she was sure the boys would win.


“Race Track” Higgins, who led the Brooklyn strikers, was the next speaker. He began:

“Say, we’se bin carryin’ overweight long ‘nough, and it’s just about time we wus gettin’ some ur de odds in de bettin’. Der was a 75 to 1 shot dat we’se goin’ to win dis here fight. And we can do it hands down an’ no whippin’ if we keep our eyes skinned, and w’en de newsboys comes in furst under de wire some ur dem guys sittin’ in de gran’stan’ wid shiny kicks and ‘lectric lighs on der fronts ‘ll wish dey had gone to de trubble to do a little arbitratin’.

But I want ter tell yer about dat Chief Devery. I goes to him to-day and I says, just as perlite as I knows how: “Mr. Devery, I wants to get a permit, please, to have a brass band lead me Brooklyn men to de meetin’, to-night.”

“Go way, you slob!” he says–dats what de Chief says to me. And I told him I wasn’t no slob, and some day I might be where he is.

Speeches were also made by “Fishbone” Skinneys, “Cheek” Gruber, “Friedman Frockets,” “Kid” Fish, “Blind” Dimond [sic], “Young” Monix and “Little” Kikie. “Coon” Reese, who sells lemonade in Park Row, was master at arms. The floral horseshoe for the best speech went to “Kid” Blink.

A new phase was developed in the strike yesterday when a loarge force of men who had been hired to sell extras appeared in the field. In most cases a robust policeman was necessary to protect the newcomers, and whenever the bluecoat’s vigilance was relaxed the strikers made things lively for their opponents. The effects of the fight the boys are making is more general than they themselves could have anticipated at the start. At most of the newspaper stands about town the two boycotted papers cannot be found, and on the elevated stations they are by no means conspicuous. At the office of the Manhattan News Company it was said yesterday that the company is not interested in the fight, and that the same number of “Evening Worlds” and “Evening Journals” as heretofore are sent regularly to the “L” news stands. As a matter of fact, inquiry at a number of these stands failed to find the papers.


The newsboys in the neighborhood of Twenty-third-st. and Fifth-ave. had a barrel of fun yesterday morning when the first of the hired men appeared on the scene. The man had about fifty papers under his arm, and he took his stand confidently enough. One of the strikers approached.

“You’re a Spanyer!” he shouted, and the man carefully deposited his bundle on the sidewalk and made a rush for the newsboy.

The latter dodged and whistled, and quick as a flash half a dozen lads turned the corner and grabbed the “extras.”

A policeman hurried up, but was too late to save the man’s property, which was being whirled up the streets like a theatrical snowstorm. The same trick was repeated in various parts of the city.

A number of boys were arrested, but nearly all escaped with light fines.

Source: “Boys Foresee a Victory.” New-York Daily Tribune, 25 July 1899, p. 1.