You are herecontent / Hey SF! Come on out on March 17th at 4 PM! San Francisco's Bloody Thursday Landmark Is Threatened!
Hey SF! Come on out on March 17th at 4 PM! San Francisco's Bloody Thursday Landmark Is Threatened!
The landmark building that was ground zero for the 1934 San Francisco General Strike is targeted for demolition.
On Tuesday, March 17 at 4:00 pm, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has an opportunity to prevent this from happening. Your participation and support is essential. Please attend this session of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and send a message to Supervisor Chris Daly, in whose district the building is located, asking him to overturn the "Negative Determination" of the Planning Commission and save the ILA Hall at 113 Steuart Street, San Francisco.
From 1933 through 1935, the International Longshoremen's Association (now the ILWU) Local 38-79 Hall was located at 113 Steuart Street. The hall was the nerve center of the month-long 1934 Waterfront Maritime Strike. It was ground zero on Bloody Thursday (July 5, 1934) when police and deputies shot on orders scores of union members.
Brother Howard Sperry was martyred in front of the adjoining building, and Brother Nick Bordoise was killed in the next block. Sperry and Bordoise lay in state in the Hall for four days and the massive funeral procession of the ILA Martyrs on Monday, July 9th led from the Hall to Market Street and across the city.
This great silent march electrified working people around the world. It galvanized organized labor and the broadest support for the resulting General Strike.
SF's Bloody Thursday landmark threatened
Now one of the largest real estate organizations in the world, the Hines Interests Limited Partnership, plans to demolish this historic building and erect a 10-story office building. The developer's political consultant and lobbyist, David Looman, lobbied the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. The developer presented a "Historic Resource Analysis," that the Planning Commission accepted, asserting that "neither the building nor any of the early tenants contributed significantly to ... The development of the San Francisco waterfront."
We ask: Whose History - Theirs or Ours?
There is no time to lose. We must preserve our history. We must keep 113 Steuart Street from the wrecking-ball of rapacious developers.
Please distribute the attached information, attend this session of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and send a message to Supervisor Chris Daly, in whose district the building is located, asking him to overturn the "Negative Determination" of the Planning Commission and save the ILA Hall at 113 Steuart Street. Send your email to Chris.Daly@sfgov.org
The Big Strike of 1934 was nearly two months old when cops gunned down two strikers on the streets of San Francisco on July 5th. On that day, forever known as “Bloody Thursday,” 800 cops backed by the National Guard tried to open the port.
The battle raged on for most of the morning. Workers gathered quietly in front of the union hall on Steuart Street for lunch. Then cops pulled up and fired into the crowd.
Longshoreman Howard Sperry was hit in the back. Nick Bordoise, a union cook, went down; both men died. At least 32 people were wounded by gunfire that day—none of them were cops. Police seriously injured 75 others in beatings.
Maritime workers had struck the ports up and down the West Coast on May 9, demanding a union-run hiring hall, a Coastwise contract, a six-hour day and a pay increase. In San Francisco, 40,000 workers joined the murdered men’s funeral procession as it marched silently down
Market Street. The whole city closed down in a general strike and the port remained closed until the workers won their demands.
Charles Olsen also took a bullet with Sperry, but he survived. Workers placed flowers on the sidewalk where they fell, but the cops kicked them away.
Longshore workers permanently painted outlines of the Olsen and Speery’s bodies on the sidewalk in front of the Local 10 hall in San Francisco where nearly 400 people gathered seventy-three years later on this Bloody Thursday to remember them. “Indian Joe” Morris blew
“Taps” and segued into “Amazing Grace” to start the program. George Cobbs, Vice President of the Bay Area Pensioners, spoke to the crowd.
“There’s a motto,” he said: “that those who forget are condemned to repeat. You don’t want to be like these two guys lying down here,” as
he pointed to the silhouettes on the sidewalk. “Those men gave their lives for what they believed. It’s wonderful to think of the benefits,
the conditions we have today, but somebody had to pay. You don’t get this life for free."
Local 10 President Tommy Clark added, “On this Thursday we are not only here to remember our fallen brothers who were killed in 1934. We
are also here to celebrate and honor the extraordinary life of an honorary member of Local 10, Sam Kagel. No words spoken today can compare to the greatness of Sam Kagel and what he stood for in the ILWU.”
Local 10’s John Castanho presented a plaque to Jeanne Kagel, honoring her husband Sam. “We thank you and your family for all the efforts
and contributions you gave to our union and the maritime industry,” Castanho said.
Retiree Cleophas Williams, the first African-American president of Local 10, spoke on the difficulties that Black people had in the union.
“Struggle is the name of the game here,” he said. “Things didn’t come just because you were good looking. Things came because people had
the guts to do what had to be done. You said what had to be said. And some times you sang the songs people didn’t want to be sung. Have courage, brothers and sisters, if you want to keep this union going.”
Los Angeles dockers gave the first blood in the 1934 strike. Scabs worked while workers went hungry. Late in the night May 14, some 300 workers marched on the scab pen on the docks. Shots rang out from the scabs and cops, and when the air cleared, two strikers lay mortally wounded. Dickie Parker died in the arms of his union brothers and John Knudsen died later of his wounds. Outraged workers chased out the scabs. —Tom Price