Today in Labor History: The Palmer Raids

radicals waiting

Today in 1919 the infamous Palmer Raids began. The day was chosen by  J. Edgar Hoover who later became the head of the FBI to coincide with the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.  Hoover was then assistant to Alexander M. Palmer.

Several thousand anarchists, communists and socialists were jailed as a result. Immigrant workers of many nationalities were targeted. At the start of the raids Russian workers were singled out. Many were deported. Early on Hoover also focused on the Communist Party and devised a scheme for arresting workers without giving notice of the right to an attorney. All told some 10,000 were arrested.

(This article was corrected to indicate that Hoover was not head of the FBI when the Palmer Raids began.)

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