On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – THURSDAY JULY 26, 1917
Today’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and continued warm temperatures. The high will reach 89° with the low only 73°. Roman Catholics today celebrate the feast day of St. Ann, the mother of the Virgin Mary. Each year on this day at St. Ann’s Church, Lehigh Avenue & Memphis Street, a relic of the Saint, said to be three small bones from her wrist, is exhibited by the priests for the congregation to kiss. St. Ann is the patron saint of the weak and the maimed. At the church today many of the worshippers were blind, crippled or infirmed who were praying to the Saint for the alleviation of their suffering.
Race riots broke out in Chester last night. As of this morning the police had restored order but three companies of the National Guard are stationed in the city and ready if needed. Fifty men were arrested and are awaiting arraignment in the courthouse.
The riots are the result of a buildup of bad feelings between 6000 men who have come to the city from the south to work in the war industries and at the shipyard. About half the newcomers are white and half are black. The Mayor of Chester, Wesley McDowell, explained that the two groups never intermingled or associated in any way. But the mayor also said that until last night there had been no violence between the groups. Apparently the spark for the violence was the killing of William McKinney, a white man, by a negro. Arthur Thomas and 3 other negroes have been arrested for the murder.
Last night hundreds of whites rampaged through the center of the city screaming and fighting with any negro they found. Five men, 3 negroes and 2 whites, are in the hospital today. Their injuries are not considered life threatening. The Mayor said it is a miracle no one was killed. Mr. McKinney’s burial is tomorrow and the Mayor and police fear that could spark more rioting. To prevent that, the police intend to have a heavy presence at the funeral and on patrol throughout the city.
In sports today, out in Cincinnati the Phillies lost their 5th game in a row and are now sitting in 4th place in the National League. The A’s played two against the Tigers at Shibe Park. The A’s lost the first contest 6 to 2 but won the second 4 to 2. In the big fight under the stars last night at Shibe Park, 15,000 fans saw Benny Leonard beat Johnny Kilbane by TKO in the 3rd round.
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