July 21, 1899: “Newsboys Still on Strike.”

Newsboys Still on Strike.

Meeting Under the Bridge—To “Holt Out to de End.”

At a meeting held under the bridge this morning of the Newsboys’ Union, B I Z No. 1, “Jo” Mulligan, aged fifteen, of the Sixth Ward, Brooklyn, “Irish Mike,” aged fourteen, and “Mouthy” Sullivan, who says he is ten—three newsboys who came into prominence in yesterday’s twenty-four hours of strike against the Evening World and Journal were admitted into the council of the leaders.

“We’se going to holt out to de end—till de last drop of blood! Is dat right?” said “Mouthy,” as the meeting drew to a close.

“Youse got it true!” declared the rest in chorus, and the leaders separated, each to his squad, or “gang,” as they call it.

The effect of the strike is noticeable from up town and down town, everywhere about the city in fact, except at the larger newsstands, where the proprietors rest secure under the protecting eye of the policeman on the corner.

There were several small riots in Union Square last night, and early this morning a crowd of some fifty boys made an attack on the newsstand at Chatham Square. The “gang” separated into two parties, one led by “Jo” Mulligan and the other by the boy called “Irish Mike.”

The boys were evidently not strangers to the man who kept the stand, for picking up a stick, he charged Mulligan’s guard and it scattered, but as it broke and ran the flankers, led by “Irish Mike,” swooped down on the stand and demolished it, papers and all. Forming again, the band marched with cheers of victory up the Bowery to Canal Street, where it pounced on an unsuspecting Jew and wrecked his stand.

Down town the newsboys paraded Nassau, Wall, and Broad Streets in squads throughout the day, with banners marked “We don’t sell no Worlds or Journals.” Occupants of the office buildings on either sides of the streets crowded to the windows and threw nickels, dimes, quarters, and even fifty-cent pieces, down upon the boys. Instantly lines were broken, and rough-and-tumble fights took place for the coins.

It was said at South Ferry this morning that the newsboys all along the river front were organizing a “protective association.”

A few minutes before twelve o’clock there was a fight on Nassau Street near Park Row, between the strikers and “scab” newsboys which attracted a crowd that blocked the street. A big boy called “Greenhorn” was given fifty Evening Journals to sell by the office, and started down Nassau Street. The pickets of the strikers stopped him and gave the alarm, which drew fifty boys about the big boy in less than a minute. They took his papers away, tearing them into pieces. “Greenhorn” returned to the office and got seventy-five more papers and a table leg, with which he started out a second time only to meet with the same opposition.

“Kid” Blink, who says he is the leader of the gang, attacked the big boy and took both table leg and papers away, after which the gang chased him back to the office. Here he was reinforced by seven other boys, and each was given a bundle of papers. Watching their change, they tried to get away unobserved, but the strikers were after them and drove “Greenhorn’s” seven assistants back.

“Den,” said “Kid” Blinks, telling the story of the fight, “‘Mike, de Greaser,’ another scab, started out t’ sell papers. He had a whip, and we started in t’ do him up. I grabbed de lash and de gang closed in, and den de guy, seeing it all up wid him, drew a gun. De boys scattered, but a cop seen the gun and de ‘Greaser’ got pinched. He was took to de Oaks Street station. Dat’s a victory fer us! Say, we don’t care anywya. We can make more money on a three-cent paper than a one cent, and we’d rather sell ’em. We ain’t kickin’.”

“Kid” Blinks announced that there will be a parade of the strikers at 3:30 o’clock this afternoon, led by himself. His lieutenants will be four boys known as “Big Nose,” “Scabootss,” “Jim” Grady and “One Leg” Morris. The line of march, Blink says, will be from Park Row to Broadway, to Houston Street, to Mulberry, to Mulberry Row, to Bleecker, to Park Row, to Waverly Place, to University, up Fifth Avenue, to Thirty-sixth Street.

Those interested in the movement now in progress to organize and uniform the newsboys of New York, with a view to the promotion of their future welfare, will hold a preliminary meeting in the parlors of the Broadway Central Hotel on Tuesday, July 25, at eight o’clock. The work so far done, and now being carried on, in behalf of newsboys by existing local organizations will be reviewed, and the general plan of the work to be done under the auspices of the new organization will be explained. Finally, committees on organization and for other purposes will be appointed.

Source: “Newsboys Still on Strike.” Evening Post, 21 July 1899, p. 3.