The Militant (logo) 
Vol.64/No.7      February 21, 2000 
25 and 50 years ago  

February 21, 1975

The United Auto Workers' national rally for jobs on Feb. 5 was more a preliminary signal of the pressures building up within the union movement than a model of what independent labor action can do.

The turnout of nearly 10,000 in Washington, D.C.--volunteers who had signed up for the long bus trip--was more than UAW officials had predicted, perhaps more than they wanted.

It was a militant, shouting, placard-waving, foot-stamping crowd that often broke into chants of "We want jobs!"

Speakers were caught up in the mood of the angry young workers, or at least wished to appear so. There were cheers for those who attacked military spending and tax breaks for the wealthy.

Desperation, anger, growing desire for action--it was a sign of the mood in the vast army of the unemployed. Just two days after the demonstration, the Labor Department announced that by its tally unemployment had surged to 7.5 million in January--8.2 percent of the total work force and 13.4 percent of Black workers.

When the "discouraged" workers and those forced to accept only part-time work are added in, the total of unemployed and underemployed surpasses 10 million. Some 1.8 million jobs have been wiped out just since September.  

February 20, 1950

AKRON, Feb. 12--Murder of an unarmed Negro veteran by a city policeman last Thursday night has produced a wave of revulsion against police violence in Akron and a demand that Policeman Robert Wilcox, admitted slayer of Ernest Fenner, be prosecuted on a charge of murder.

Ernest Fenner, 26, was discharged from the Army in 1944 suffering from nervous disorders. In the intervening years he had Veterans Administration medical care for his condition. Thursday night Fenner went berserk and began beating his wife. Neighbors called an ambulance and the police.

Before the arrival of the police a 17-year-old neighbor had succeeded in pulling Fenner away. When police arrived, Fenner was outside his house. They immediately opened fire, killing him with two bullets.

The police claim that Fenner attacked their cruiser with an ax or a club. The self-defense argument of the police was finally exploded today when the Coroner's autopsy report on Fenner's body was made public. The report revealed that the fatal bullet entered Fenner's body from the back.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home