Wobbly, the Rough-And-Tumble Story of An American Radical

By Ralph Chaplin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 21. WE FACE JUDGE LANDIS.
"TWENTY YEARS IN LEAVENWORTH"

FROM the troubled shadows of the Cook County Jail I stepped out into full early summer sunshine on familiar Austin Avenue. It was stifling hot in the streetcar I took to the general office, and the jail odor followed me like my shadow.

Each of us released from the "bastille" found at least ten men's work awaiting us at headquarters. Bill Haywood was back of his big desk again, and things were starting to hum once more in the office and printshop. The General Defense Committee had launched a campaign to raise a million and a half dollars and was scouring the country for cash, real estate, and Liberty Bonds to be used for bail. All defense groups in Chicago were being unified and co-ordinated for the big drive. The same thing was going on in every large city. From San Francisco to New York "Free Political Prisoners!" became the slogan of a movement that soon assumed crusade proportions. I was dated up for months in advance to speak to Chicago audiences. So was each of the other members released on bail. And still there weren't enough of us to go around.

Bill told me all this and much more in a little restaurant not far from headquarters the first morning I was released. Edith and Vonnie were there to meet me. I couldn't keep my eyes off my wife and son. The visit was all too short. Bill and I had important business before Judge Landis. Edith had to take Vonnie back to school and then go to the studio.

A few days later we asked Dad and Ida to have dinner with us at a small downtown restaurant. Ida, immaculately dressed as always, seemed to have shrunk together somehow, like a little old woman. But her observations were spirited enough. "What all of you boys are trying to do," she said, "is to get people to under

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