Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Although the last war with Britain had ended more than a century before, some Americans apparently still held a grudge. Their cause was given front page coverage in The Post of Sept. 30, 1920. An excerpt:
Police were called to Carnegie Hall tonight to eject a crowd of men and women who forced their way into the building during the tercentenary celebration of the landing of the Pilgrims.
The intruders, carrying banners with anti-British inscriptions, created great disorder with shouts of "Hurrah for America! Down with England!"
The disturbance reached such proportions that it was impossible for the speakers to continue, and it was decided to adjourn the meeting without further attempt to complete the program.
A group of women who said they were members of an organization known as "The American Women Pickets for the Enforcement of America's War Aims," led the intruders. Some of the banners they carried bore the names of British delegates to the tercentenary celebration and characterized the delegates as "British spies."
The disturbance started when the British anthem, "God Save the King," was reached on the program. Several boys and girls in a chorus of the musical program left the stage, saying they would not sing the number and that they did not know it was on the program.
Two men, wearing United States army uniforms and carrying the American flag, also left the stage.
When the piano and organ that accompanied the chorus broke into the strains of the British anthem, shouts arose in various parts of the hall. The instruments continued, however, and parts of the chorus and audience started singing the words of "America." At the same time many of the chorus left the stage.
When the music stopped, Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, tried to speak, but his voice was drowned in the uproar and he gave up the attempt. The meeting then was called off. Immediately after several of the women went up to Mr. Gompers and apologized for interrupting his speech. They said the demonstration was not directed at him. Mr. Gompers made no reply.
Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby was scheduled to speak, but he had not yet arrived when the disturbance began.
Mrs. Gertrude Corliss, president of "The American Pickets," declared after the meeting broke up that "this organization knows there is a plot to make the United States part of the British Empire and that this Sulgrave Institution is a party to it."
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