Bill Haywood's Book: The Autobiography of William D. Haywood

By William D. Haywood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
THE WORLD WIDENS

MANY big offers of money came to me from different parts of the country, for lectures and vaudeville appearances after my acquittal at Boise. The Tuileries Gardens of Denver offered me seven thousand dollars for a week's appearance. Zick Abrams of California offered fifteen thousand dollars for forty lectures. The Star Circuit wanted to give me four thousand a week for eight weeks.

I talked over the various offers with my wife and my friends and while I could see that there was an opportunity to make a large sum of money, I told them that if I took these offers from capitalist concerns, the price would fall from month to month and my prestige would be lessened every day. If I limited my lectures to working class organizations every step I made would be upward in the estimation of the workers. In vaudeville I should be speaking to mixed audiences, not carrying the message to the working class.

I was called to meetings in Chicago and Milwaukee under the auspices of the labor organizations and Socialist Parties of these cities. In Chicago the first meeting was at Luna Park, where there were forty-five thousand paid admissions, before the crowd broke down the fence and filled the field where I spoke. Later there was a meeting at Riverside Park, arranged by the Socialist Party, where there were sixty thousand paid admissions. At Milwaukee there was an audience estimated at thirty-seven thousand, if I remember correctly; at any rate it was a vast assemblage.

I went back to Chicago and was for a few days the guest of Anton Johansen, organizer for the Wood Workers' Union. He and Matt Schmidt, who is now in San Quentin Penitentiary, took me for an automobile ride through the beautiful parks and boulevards. The monument of the policeman with his club was then still standing in Haymarket Square. I recall the revulsion of feeling that filled me when I looked at this symbol of working-class oppression. Then they drove me out to Waldheim Cemetery. When I realized that I was standing at the foot of the monument to the workers who

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