Items of potential interest to government documents librarians or government information managers in Michigan. For more information contact Jon Harrison at email@example.com.
On September 1, 1939, the nation's first degrees in Automotive Engineering were conferred at the Lawrence Institute of Technology. Founded in 1932, the school is now known as Lawrence Technological University.
Source : Detroit Historical Society
Look up the Sept. 1, 1924 Lansing State Journal on microfilm at the downtown main library, and you will see a notice: "Pages Missing." That day, the Michigan Ku Klux Klan held its biggest "Klonvocation" ever, drawing an estimated 50,000 people to Lansing to watch 15,000 white-robed Klansmen (and women) from all over the state march down Michigan Avenue. David Votta, local history expert at the downtown library, said the pages were torn from the library's copy and hundreds of others. He's never seen the front page, but he guesses that somebody didn't like a picture of Ingham County Kleagle Lawrence H. Nichols getting a new Reo sedan -- perhaps minions of R. E. Olds himself, staving off a P.R. disaster. The next day's coverage of the parade in the LSJ is shockingly anodyne. "Colorful parade here is seen by thousands," reads the jumpline.
The parade started at 2 p.m., headed west on Michigan Avenue and took an hour to pass in review "before huge crowds." Judge Charles J. Orbinson of Indianapolis gave a speech, urging Americans not to let the country become "a dumping ground for other nations." The other speakers were designated by Klan numbers, not by name. Among the floats was a huge birthday cake honoring the first birthday of the Women's KKK of Michigan. At the height of the festivities, a small airplane buzzed Michigan Avenue with a big flaming cross. The Klan was particularly active in the Lansing area that year, going so far as to circulate a petition opposing Michigan State College's football game with (Catholic) Notre Dame.
Source : Lawrence Cosentino, Lansing's Parades, Lansing City Pulse, May 13, 2009.
For more information, see Craig Fox, Everyday Klansfolk: White Protestant Life and the KKK in 1920s Michigan, Michigan State University Press, 2011. Although the picture of the Ku Klux Klan as a small, fanatical organization bent on racial violence and based primarily in the American South is certainly accurate in terms of the organization's history during the 1860s and the 1960s, according to Fox (PhD, history, U. of York), there was another Klan that existed all over the United States in the 1920s which relied more upon "wide-ranging popular appeals to Protestant morality, prohibition, and law enforcement, rather than overt reliance upon vigilantism." This "second" Klan achieved a membership of millions by the middle of the decade and spread all across the United States, including to rural Newaygo County, Michigan, where a previously unknown cache of organizational documents and paraphernalia of the 1920s Klan was discovered in 1992, providing an unprecedented opportunity for a case study of the organizational life of "Newaygo County Klan No. 29" from its inception in the summer of 1923, through its 1925 peak, official chartering, and subsequent decline, presented here and placed in its regional context.
Ku Klux Klan Collection available in the MSU Main Library Special Collections unit.
The last Passenger Pigeon, named Martha, died alone at the Cincinnati Zoo at about 1:00 pm on September 1, 1914. Who could have dreamed that within a few decades, the once most numerous bird on Earth would be forever gone?
Despite such incredible abundance in the past, the Passenger Pigeon is now extinct. 2014 marks the 100th year of their disappearance, and it is perhaps better known today as a cautionary tale prompting a call-to-action for environmental awareness.
The MSU Museum presents They Passed Like a Cloud: Extinction and the Passenger Pigeon, open now through Jan. 25. The title comes from Chief Pokagon, last chief of the Michigan Potawatomi people, in 1850 as he observed their massive presence, passing through the skies and tree branches.
Easy to hunt and harvest in large numbers, the birds were pushed to the brink. The last documented mighty colony of Passenger Pigeons was in Northern Michigan.
"This exhibit provides a great opportunity to get people to think about our impact on the environment, said MSU Museum assistant curator of ornithology and assistant professor in the Department of Zoology Pamela C. Rasmussen. This cautionary tale about our ancestors eliminating one of the world's most abundant birds in a few decades is more relevant now than ever. We tend to take the natural world for granted, but we really can't. Hopefully this exhibit will help create awareness that translates into positive action.
Exhibitions like this mark the anniversary, promote the conservation of species and habitat, strengthen the relationship between people and nature and foster the sustainable use of natural resources.
A special part of the exhibit is a soundscape Rasmussen is creating to replicate the sound of Passenger Pigeon colonies in flight. Rasmussen developed and maintains a worldwide database of bird vocalizations -- http://avocet.zoology.msu.edu -- as distinctive bird songs are one of the primary ways ornithologists can identify and distinguish species.
Walter P. Reuther, one of America’s great labor leaders and president the United Automobile Workers union (UAW) between 1946 and 1970, was born on this day.
No Greater Calling : The Life of Walter P. Reuther, courtesy of the Reuther Library at Wayne State University.
For more information, see Irving Bluestone, "Walter Reuther : Working-Class Hero, Time, December 7, 1998.
Also see Nelson Lichtenstein, The Most Dangerous Man in America, Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1997?].
On September 1, 1886, the first electric streetcars to begin operating within the city of Detroit began along Dix Avenue (now known as West Vernor), from 24th Street (where it connected with the Congress and Baker horsecar line)l west to Livernois Avenue (which became the new western city limits in 1885). The line continued west into Springwells Township to Woodmere Cemetery. This new company, known as the Detroit Electric Railway Company, operated its cars by using an electrical system developed by a Detroit immigrant named Charles J. Van Depoele. The Van Depoele system, which utilized double overhead wires, was capable of pulling a train of up to three cars. Even though the system operated quite successfully across the country, it met opposition here in Detroit. Public fear, coupled with complaints over the objectionable rumbling noises and electric arching the system initially produced from its overhead connection, prompted the common council — citing irregular service concerns — to order the electric cars withdrawn in 1889. As a result, the city's first electric line had to be converted into a horsecar line. In 1892, the line would become part of the newly formed Detroit Suburban Railway Company, which was created by consolidating the area's suburban railway companies.
Around that same time, Detroit's second electric line began operation on September 18, 1886, after Greenfield Township (along with the city of Detroit) granted a franchise to the Highland Park Railway Company. The line began at the six-mile-line marker within the unincorporated village of Highland Park (just north of what is now Manchester), and operated along the west side of Woodward Avenue, southward through Greenfield Township, across the Detroit border at Pallister Avenue, to the Grand Trunk Railroad crossing just south of Baltimore Avenue in Detroit. There, passengers could make connections with the Woodward horsecar line. This line initially operated utilizing a slotted third rail type system, but was later converted to an overhead trolley operation in 1889.l The line later became part of the Detroit Suburban Railway Company in 1893.
Meanwhile, the technology in the use of overhead electric trolley operation would improve, and despite a reluctance by some, the use of electric power to propel streetcars in Detroit would prevail. On August 22, 1892, the electric streetcars would finally begin on the city-based lines, with electric service beginning on Jefferson Avenue. Conversion to electric power on other lines would eventually follow. The last of the horsecars would be removed in November of 1895.
The Streetcar Companies vs. Mayor Pingree (1890—1900), Detroit Transit History, Part Two.
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