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, APRIL 5, 1917
There will be overcast and rainy skies over the region today. The high will reach 51° with the low about 40°. Over 50 motion picture theatres in this city have offered their screens to the Federal government for the showing of patriotic, educational or recruiting films on Saturdays and Sundays.
Orders have been issued to the soldiers guarding the bridges and piers of this city (like the one shown below guarding a bridge over the Schuylkill River) to shoot to kill anyone approaching such structures who refuses an order to stop and identify themselves. The order was issued by Colonel Millard Brown, Commander of the First Pennsylvania Infantry of the National Guard. The order is a result of an incident last night where suspicious looking men were loitering near a bridge and refused to leave when instructed by guards.
In Washington, D.C. last evening the Senate of the United States by a vote of 82 to 6 adopted the Flood-Martin resolution as it is formally known declaring war against Germany. Debate in the House of Representatives continued today. Pacifist and Socialist members of the House are continuing debate and using procedural tactics to stop or delay passage but the bill seems likely to pass tonight.
A separate debate is also taking place on the role of negroes in the military. Republicans in the House have submitted a bill calling negroes to service and training them the same as whites. Many southern representatives and senators are opposed to negroes being compelled to serve with whites or to receive equal training as whites. Representative Kahn, Republican of California, stated the no one can question that negroes make good soldiers and have always given a good account of themselves when facing the enemy. He cited their particular bravery at San Juan Hill. He also noted that the military service bill places negroes in segregated units.
On the sports beat, a number of colleges have announced they will cancel some or all of their sports programs if war comes. Yale announced today that they will disband their baseball team if war is declared. Other schools announcing cessation of sports include the University of Virginia, Washington and Lee and Virginia Polytechnic. None of the Philadelphia area colleges have as yet announced a position on the matter.
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