Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Edith Spurlock Sampson, America's first Black female Judge.

Edith Spurlock Sampson (c.1898-1979) became America's first Black female judge after succeeding as a social worker, a lawyer, and an international advocate for democracy and free market trade. As a representative of the State Department during the Cold War, Sampson traveled around the world, defending the United States against Soviet propaganda. As a judge, she was known as a compassionate, efficient, and powerful mediator.
Edith Spurlock Sampson
Sampson was born Edith Spurlock in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 13 1898. {{Note: the exact year is unknown. It was probably earlier than 1901, because some sources say her younger brother was born in 1900.}} She was one of eight children born to Louis Spurlock and Elizabeth McGruder Spurlock. Louis Spurlock was a shipping clerk in a cleaning and dying business. Elizabeth Spurlock worked at home making buckram hat frames and switches of false hair. The family worked hard, owned its own home, attended church, and obeyed the law. Sampson told Readers Digest, "I suppose we were poor, but we never knew it. We wore hand-me-down clothes, and we all worked."

At age 14, Sampson left school and got her first full-time job, cleaning and deboning fish in a fish market. She eventually resumed her education, earned good grades, and graduated from Peabody High School.

After Sampson graduated, her Sunday school teacher helped her get a job with Associated Charities, a New York social work organization. Associated Charities arranged for her to attend the New York School of Social Work. There, she excelled in a criminology class taught by George W. Kirchwey of Columbia University School of Law. He told her she would make a good attorney and advised her to enroll in law school. Instead, Sampson completed her social work degree.

After she graduated from college, Sampson married Rufus Sampson, a field agent for the Tuskegee Institute, and the couple moved to Chicago. Sampson worked with the Illinois Children's Home and Aid Society and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). She worked with neglected and abused children, placing them in foster and adoptive homes. When Kirchwey passed through Chicago to deliver a speech, her former instructor again encouraged her to pursue a law career. This time, she followed his advice and enrolled in the John Marshall Law School, attending classes at night while working full-time as a social worker. She excelled in law school and received a special dean's commendation for ranking highest among the 95 students in her jurisprudence class.

Eventually, her marriage to Rufus Sampson ended in divorce, but she retained his name throughout her life. She never had children of her own but raised her sister's two children after her sister died.

Sampson received her bachelor of law degree in 1925 and took the bar exam but failed. She attributed the failure to overconfidence and later said failing the exam was the best thing that could have happened because it motivated her to work harder. She enrolled at Loyola University law school and in 1927 became the first woman to earn a master of law degree from that university. That same year, she passed the bar exam and was admitted to the Illinois bar.

While in graduate school at Loyola, Sampson had worked as a probation officer. In 1927, she opened her own law firm on the south side of Chicago while also working as a referee for the Juvenile Court of Cook County. She said working with the court taught her the practical side of law. Her law firm specialized in criminal law and domestic relations, offering legal advice to many poor, African American people who could not otherwise afford it.

In 1934, Sampson was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was one of the first African American women to earn this distinction. In 1938, she and Georgia Jones Ellis became the first African Americans to join the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Women Lawyers. Sampson joined many other professional and civic organizations, including the League of Women Voters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the National Council of Negro Women. In 1947, Sampson was appointed assistant state's attorney of Cook County.

In 1934, Sampson married attorney Joseph Clayton. The couple worked as law partners for more than ten years. Clayton died in 1957.

During the late 1940s, when Sampson was serving as chairwoman of the executive committee of the National Council of Negro Women, she was selected to represent the group in a 72-day world lecture tour. The tour included representatives of various American groups who spoke out on current problems in radio broadcasts called "America's Town Meeting of the Air." Its purpose was to promote American democracy, countering Soviet Cold War propaganda.

Sampson overcame stage fright during the tour and spoke eloquently about democracy. She was often confronted with difficult questions about U.S. civil rights. The Soviet Union used America's record of racial discrimination as a tool against the United States. Sampson countered many misconceptions about African American people in America. She later commented that people seemed to think that African Americans were living behind barbed wire. Sampson pointed out the progress African Americans had made since emancipation and emphasized that she was a powerful example of a successful, educated African American.

When people criticized the United States for its civil rights record, she acknowledged problems, but defended democracy for what it offered African Americans. The New York Times reported that at one stop she quieted a heckler when she said, "You ask, do we get fair treatment? My answer is no. Just the same, I'd rather be a Negro in America than a citizen of any other country. In the past century we have made more progress than dark-skinned people anywhere else in the world."

During a speech Sampson made in Pakistan, the prime minister's wife collected $5,000 to offset Sampson's tour costs. Sampson graciously accepted the gift, then promptly donated it to the League of Pakistani Women for charitable work.
Portrait of Edith S. Sampson, photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1949.
When the tour ended in 1950, the World Town Hall Seminar became a permanent organization to promote democracy around the world, and Sampson was named its president. The trip changed her life. Although she still practiced law, it was no longer the sole focus of her career. She devoted herself to promoting peace and world unity.

Sampson's work with the World Town Hall Seminar caught the attention of President Harry S. Truman, who appointed her an alternate delegate to the fifth regular session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. She was the first African American woman to be named an official American representative to the U.N. She served on the U.N.'s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, which worked for land reform, reparation of prisoners, repatriation of Greek children, and efforts to stop governments' jamming of radio broadcasts. She was reappointed alternate delegate in 1952 and later was named member-at-large of the U.S. Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during President Dwight Eisenhower's administration.
Eleanor Roosevelt and Edith Sampson at United Nations in New York, 9/21/1950.
Sampson served as a spokesperson for the State Department throughout the 1950s. She visited Europe, the Middle East, and South America, addressing the status of African Americans. Ebony magazine called her "one of the country's most potent weapons against Communist distortion of the Negroes status in the U.S." Sampson strongly criticized Soviet distortions of the lives of African Americans. She once told Soviet U.N. delegate Andrei Vyshinsky, "We Negroes aren't interested in communism. We were slaves too long for that."

Sampson acknowledged racial discrimination in her speeches, but she chose to emphasize the positive aspects of democracy for African American people. She described a 1950 trip to Austria with Ebony magazine: "There were times when I had to bow my head in shame when talking about how some Negroes have been treated in the United States… . But I could truthfully point out that these cases, bad as they are, are the exceptions—the Negro got justice for every one where justice was denied. I could tell them that Negroes have a greater opportunity in America to work out their salvation than anywhere else in the world."

In 1961 and 1962, Sampson was appointed to serve on the United States Citizens Commission on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In 1964 and 1965, she was a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Private Enterprise in Foreign Aid.
Sampson was a friend and supporter of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. This relationship helped her when she ran for a judegship and Chicago African American leader William Dawson opposed her. In 1962, Sampson became the first African American female judge in the United States when she was elected associate to the Municipal Court of Chicago. She handled divorce, custody, and other domestic disputes. She was known as a mediator who tried at all times to preserve families.

In 1966, Sampson was elected to a seat on the Circuit Court of Cook County, where she heard landlord-tenant disputes. She was the first African American woman to hold this position. She served poor neighborhoods of Chicago and quickly moved to clear up a huge backlog on the court docket, hearing as many as 10,000 cases a year. Although she handled cases quickly, she took an interest in the parties, offering social services referrals when needed. She tried to avoid evicting tenants if it was clear that they could not afford to pay their rent.

Some civil rights leaders criticized Sampson, saying that she downplayed the barriers African Americans faced and did not sufficiently support the country's civil rights movement. Sampson described her philosophy in Reader's Digest: "Don't tear down the old homestead until you have a clear idea of what you'll build in its place. Just because you are impatient with moving at only five mile an hour, it doesn't follow that accelerating to 150 will solve your problems. We are beginning to move. We haven't reached cruising speed yet; but we are moving toward a better America at an ever-increasing pace."

Sampson received several honorary degrees, including a doctor of law degree from the John Marshall Law School. She retired from the bench in 1978. Her favorite pastimes included interior decorating, playing canasta, canning preserves, and making jelly. Although she had no children, she was very close to her nieces and nephews. Two of her nephews became judges: Oliver Spurlock of Chicago and Charles T. Spurlock of Boston. Sampson died on October 8, 1979, in Chicago.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Ancient Chicago Indian Mounds.

The Roe's Hill Indian Village Site.
A large hill named Roe's Hill, for the property owner Hirum Roe, who lived near it (just to the south in Bowmanville [1], Chicago) and kept whiskey at his house to sell in the early days.

Rosehill Cemetery opened in 1859. The entrance faced the North Western Railroad depot at Rosehill Drive, right at Hiram Roe's house/tavern, to encourage mourners and picnickers to make day-long outings to the area.
Rosehill is a neighborhood in the West Ridge community of Chicago.[2] Ancient artifacts from an "enormous" Indian settlement were uncovered along a gravel and sand ridge that passes through the land that has become a new city park near Rosehill Cemetery. The development of land, bought from Rosehill in 2011 for $7.7 million, has sat largely untouched for decades.

Phil Millhouse, an archeologist with the Illinois Archeological Survey, said he and his colleagues performed "shovel tests" on the site earlier this year when they came across fragments of arrow points, knives, ceramics, and possibly a cooking kit.

"It turned out there was a huge prehistoric village on that ridge of sand and gravel that runs off the lake," he said. The "enormous" site surrounded by wetlands had been occupied possibly thousands of years before Europeans settled the area.


Although the findings would "not in any way" affect the development of the West Ridge Nature Preserve, the much-anticipated 20-acre park at Peterson and Western avenues, the Chicago Park District plans to take special precautions when building pathways over historically significant land, said Brad Koldehoff, the chief archeologist with the Illinois Department of Transportation.


"We've already looked at avoiding and minimizing the impacts," he said. Koldehoff said the state conducted and reviewed the survey to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act. The ancient "trash dumps" and "living sites" believed to occupy the area were old enough that they could not be tied directly to any modern Indian tribe, he said.


There aren't many accounts of the prehistoric connection to Chicago—especially for the city's Bowmanville neighborhood, just south of the proposed park site—but for decades, neighbors have known of the area's prehistoric legacy.


"I was really fascinated to learn that our entire neighborhood had been a part of a native habitation," said 20-year Bowmanville resident Barry Kafka. "I’m frustrated that we don’t know more about it," Kafka said. Oral history in the neighborhood suggested that since the early 1900s, people had been digging up ancient artifacts in their back yards. But, unfortunately, history had never been properly recorded to help reconstruct the lives of humans who lived thousands of years ago in what is now modern Chicago.


"Some of these artifacts ended up hundreds of miles away in a collectors' personal belongings," he said. Some of the areas had been a part of the Budlong Pickle Farm in the early 1900s and were tilled. However, the portion of land formerly owned by Rosehill had been set aside for future gravesites and left largely untouched since 1859.


"Great quantities and varieties of Indian artifacts were found here, including utensils of copper," a report about Bowmanville read in the Chicago Daily Tribune newspaper on March 21, 1942. "The excavations uncovered an Indian grave in which 14 skeletons were arranged like spokes of a wheel, with feet together and heads forming a wide circle."

Looking north on California Avenue from just north of the Foster Avenue intersection. The burial spot would be about where the red highlighted section is.
The Indians were probably Potawatomi and were of the Bowmanville Indian Village. The prehistoric gravesite was located along California Avenue, 30 feet north of Foster Avenue.

Another Tribune report, dated March 24, 1958, told of Bowmanville resident Phillip C. Schupp, a retired florist who had amassed a collection of rare area artifacts, such as stone ax-heads, flint spear tips, arrowheads, knives, pottery, and trinkets. A museum curator was quoted as saying the trove was the "largest and most extensive collection existing anywhere of artifacts left by men who lived within the city limits of Chicago in prehistoric times." The collection was also referenced by researcher Albert Scharf, who compiled a history of Chicago-area tribes at the turn of the century.


Today, the collection's whereabouts are unknown.


"So much of our history has been lost through disruption," said George Strack, a historian for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, which in prehistoric times may have inhabited the Chicago area.


He said the artifacts uncovered by the state survey could have been left by Miami people in the 1700s.


"Chicago was a very cosmopolitan area in terms of tribes," he said. "It’s always been a place where it was the intersection of trade where people have come together for hundreds of years, maybe thousands of years."


He's really hoping officials will "reach out and consult with tribes. There are certainly family stories, individual stories. There’s not a lot of recognition of the native history of Chicago. I think that’s direly missing from the history of Chicago."


Millhouse, the archeologist, said he and his colleagues were compiling a report on the Rosehill site. They have yet to release photographs of the discovered artifacts.


At one time, the area had been visited by prominent researchers, he said, but since then, most written records have been lost. "Then what happened," he said, "is it passed into myth."


The Bowmanville Indian Village Site. (the Bowmanville neighborhood is in the Lincoln Square community of Chicago.)


It was once the largest aboriginal town in Chicago, with 150 cabins housing about 750 persons. As early as 1863, in the Chicago Historical Society's first and only report to the Governor of Illinois it was emphasized the importance of preserving the Indian mounds and their contents:

"The Society would urgently commend to the Legislature and the people of Illinois, the earliest provision for the recovery and safety of these sole traditions of a by-gone race, already fast disappearing under the plow, or becoming marred by idle or wanton bands. It would be a lasting reproach upon our intelligence and respect for the past, that these solemn mementoes, which time and the elements and human passions for ages have reverentially spared, should be permitted to disappear in an age of modern civilization, without one attempt to rescue them from premature obliteration and utter ruin.

The conservation movement that is arousing the entire country finds our community seriously behind others in preserving the natural beauties within our own county that are suitable for healthful recreation. Other communities have already shown their aggressiveness by establishing systems of country reservations. In Cook County there are available more than 25,000 acres of woodlands which are recommended for a forest preserve, as set forth in detail in the Metropolitan Park Report of 1904. Included are the forests of Palos, Mount Forest and the Calumet region, the Skokie Marsh with its woods, the beautiful, wooded valleys of the Desplaines River, the Sag and Salt Creek, etc. These woods, ravines, valleys, waterways and open spaces deserve preservation intact because of their great natural beauty and accessibility."
The Society's first Committee on Aboriginal History and Monuments was composed as follows: Messrs. J. V. Z. Blaney, W. B. Ogden, and J. H. Kinzie.

In 1863, there were two methods of doing this:

First:—By affording local archaeologists a safe and adequate place of exhibition for their collections, and a place for holding meetings;

Second:—By co-operating to some extent with the organizations which have as their object the preservation of our local forests and natural scenery. The reason for the latter will become apparent when it is known that the forest tracts embrace within their boundaries the monuments of the Mound Builders, Indian village sites, and in some instances well denned Indian trails still untouched by the ruthless march of civilization. In this connection the following extract from a circular, issued by The Forest Preserve District Association of Cook County, is pertinent, and might almost have been taken from one of the above mentioned appeals of the Secretary of this Society:

"The conservation movement that is arousing the entire country finds our community seriously behind others in preserving the natural beauties within our own county that are suitable for healthful recreation. Other communities have already shown their aggressiveness by establishing systems of country reservations. In Cook County there are available more than 25,000 acres of woodlands which are recommended for a forest preserve, as set forth in detail in the Metropolitan Park Report of 1904. Included are the forests of Palos, Mount Forest and the Calumet region, the Skokie Marsh with its woods, the beautiful, wooded valleys of the Desplaines River, the Sag and Salt Creek, etc. These woods, ravines, valleys, waterways and open spaces deserve preservation intact because of their great natural beauty and accessibility."
It will be remembered that the Kennicott Mounds on the Desplaines river were recommended for preservation after being visited by a Committee of this Society in 1862.

The Society already owns three extensive collections of Indian relics, two from the Chicago region and one from LaSalle County, besides numerous small groups from other localities in the state. These collections comprise stone and copper weapons, utensils and jewelry, pottery, bead-work, and bone ornaments. Among its mementos of individual Indians, the wampum-belt, tobacco-pouch and paint, once the property of Chief Black Hawk, are perhaps of first importance, besides these there are the war-club of Chief Aptakisic [pronounced: Op-ta-gu-shick] Halfda or Hafda - was translated as "Half Day," the portrait of Shabbona, painted from life, a bead necklace worn by the granddaughter of the latter, and a letter from Billy "
Sauganash" Caldwell testifying to the high character of Shabbona.

The Society owns an extensive series of manuscript maps, executed by Mr. Scharf, showing in great detail every Indian trail, village, and mound in this region. When funds shall be available to provide suitable cases and mountings for these interesting objects, now packed away in store-rooms, the Society will offer to the rising generation of school children, and to older students, an exhibition both instructive and picturesque.


In the present writer's opinion, there is no branch of the Society's work that will ensure this organization a more worthy and permanent hold upon the attention of the public than that of archaeology. This point does not require an argument, for who will ever become indifferent to the subject that has experienced the peculiar thrill that comes when one holds a beautiful flint arrow-point or spearhead in hand, or when in the woods he comes upon a blazed tree.


The resolutions prepared by Mr. Kerfoot at the request of the Executive Committee were adopted on May 22, 1910.


ADDITIONAL READING: 
What was found buried on Budlong Farm, the world's largest pickle farm in Bowmanville (Chicago), Illinois? 

Was Rosehill Cemetery Supposed to be named Roe’s Hill?

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.



[1] Bowmanville was developed in 1850 by a local innkeeper named Jesse Bowman. Not one to follow the rules, Bowman "made the wagon/cart paths and forest near present-day Foster and Ravenswood Avenues his own," laying claim to many of the plots of land in the area without actually owning them. "He then sold the land—that wasn't his—to unwitting buyers" and disappeared before the new "owners" discovered that they did not actually own the land that Bowman sold them.

[2] A primer about the difference between a Chicago community and a Chicago neighborhood. 

What was found buried on Budlong Farm, the world's largest pickle farm in Bowmanville (Chicago), Illinois?

Lyman Budlong (1829-1909) was a remarkable pioneer in the pickle industry. He built a massive farm and processing factory on 700 acres in Bowmanville, Jefferson Township, Illinois. The Budlong pickle factory was established in 1869.

He built a two-story frame house with a wagon shed attached and sheds for salting the pickles. It had been enlarged from time to time as the increase of the business required.

The area is known as Budlong Farm (now called Budlong Woods) and is a neighborhood in the Lincoln Square community of Chicago.

The farm's boundaries were Bryn Mawr Avenue on the north (5600 north); Foster Avenue on the south (5200 north); Western Avenue on the east (2400 west); and Kedzie to the west; (Budlong  Woods western boundary was changed a little to the east when the North Shore Channel was completed in 1910).

Budlong grew tomatoes, onions, carrots, and lettuce, but his huge money crop was cucumbers, which he processed on-site, becoming the largest supplier of premium pickles in the World. 
At the peak of his vegetable operation around 1900, he seasonally employed about 1500 women and children as well as 800 men harvesting 12,000 bushels of vegetables a day, 150,000 bushels of cucumbers per growing season. In later years he changed his crop to flowers, growing them in a huge number of greenhouses.

Lyman Budlong died on November 6, 1909, and was buried next to his wife, Louise Newton Budlong, in Rosehill Cemetery, just a stone's throw from his massive pickle empire.

The Budlong company was eventually absorbed by Dean Foods.
Overlooking the Budlong Farm Fields.
Field workers picking pickles.
Horse-drawn delivery wagons.
Budlong Farm growing flowers in a massive number of greenhouses.
BOWMANVILLE HISTORY
Bowmanville was developed in 1850 by a local innkeeper named Jesse Bowman. Not one to follow the rules, Bowman "made the wagon/cart paths and forest near present-day Foster and Ravenswood Avenues his own," laying claim to many of the plots of land in the area without actually owning them. "He then sold the land—that wasn't his—to unwitting buyers," and disappeared before the new "owners" discovered that they did not actually own the land that Bowman sold them.

A large hill just north of Bowmanville was named Roe's Hill[1] for property owner Hiram Roe. Roe lived in a cabin and ran the Jug TavernRosehill Cemetery opened in 1859. The entrance faced the North Western Railroad depot at Rosehill Drive, right at Hiram Roe's Tavern as an encouragement to mourners and picnickers to make day-long outings to the area.
CLICK FOR A FULL-SIZE MAP
The first business in Bowmanville, a tavern, was opened in 1868 by Christian Brudy. A short time later, Thomas Freestone built a tavern and hotel to serve the people visiting the Rosehill cemetery grounds.

LYMAN DISCOVERS A SMALL INDIAN BURIAL MOUND ON HIS PICKLE FARM
One fine day, Lyman was excavating for a gravel pit on the far west edge of his farm and found an Indian burial mound is in the middle of California Avenue, 165 feet north of Foster Avenue, at what today would be 5215 N. California Avenue.
Chicago, Tribune, Sunday, August 30, 1903 - page 41.
CLICK TO READ THE ARTICLE.
Fourteen skeletons were found arranged in a circle, with their feet pointing to the center of the circle. The Indian tribe was probably Potawatomi and lived in the Bowmanville Indian Village. The account further described the location as “when California Avenue is opened, the site will be on the highway.” Today this location is in the shadow of the Swedish Covenant Hospital complex.
Looking north on California Avenue from a few feet north of Foster Avenue. The burial mound would be located within the red highlighted section.
A second reference to this burial location is found in the book "Evanston, It's Land and Its People," published in 1928, on page 65, by Viola Crouch Reeling of the Fort Dearborn Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
"A gravel pit excavated on the Budlong farm in Bowmanville in 1904 disclosed to view a grave containing fourteen skeletons buried in a circle, with their feet toward the center. The bodies were apparently well preserved until exposed to the air, when they crumbled, leaving only the skeletons. This was probably a Potawatomi Indian burial mound."
There is no record that the 14 bodies were relocated. 

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


[1] Was Rosehill Cemetery Supposed to be named Roe’s Hill?