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"Mourning Pickets" Arrested Before Office Of John D., Jr.

Rocky Mountain News, 30 April 1914

New York, April 29. --Upton Sinclair, his wife and three women were arrested today after a demonstration in front of the offices of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in the Standard Oil building.

This demonstration was known as a "mourning picket," due to Rockefeller's refusal to arbitrate the situation in the Colorado coal field.

The prisoners were taken to the Old Slip police station, where Mrs. Sinclair was released. The other women, who were placed in cells, pending their arraignment in court, said they were Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman, an English suffragette, who has been in jail with Mrs. Emmaline Pankhurst; Mrs. Margaret Remington Charter and Mrs. Bonnie Leitner. All had been arrested on the sidewalk in front of 26 Broadway.

"I wasn't doing a thing but walking up and down the street with a piece of crepe on my arm," said Sinclair. "A policeman stopped me and said if I did not stop walking I would have to go along with him. I told the policeman I did not see any reason why I should stop walking, and he promptly placed me and my associates under arrest."

A woman, who said she was a Socialist, invaded the outer offices of Mr. Rockefeller and sought an interview with him in reference to the coal miners' strike in Colorado. Mr. Rockefeller's secretary told her he was busy at a conference.

The woman carried an American flag into the office and described herself as Mrs. Belle E. Zilverman. She was joined on the sidewalk by Upton Sinclair, who wore a bit of crepe on his arm in pursuance of a plan announced at a Socialist mass meeting last night, where it was agreed that "mourners" should gather in front of the Standard Oil building as a protest against the sacrifice of lives in Colorado. Mrs. Zilverman and Sinclair were the first to arrive on the scene.

Mrs. Zilverman sought to place this message before the younger Rockefeller:

"I am an American citizen, standing at your door, waiting for just a word with you. Will you grant me this request? My question will be brief and to the point."

When Mrs. Zilverman left the office, she, also, was arrested. She carried a white flag with a black border and a red heart in the center, meaning "the heart of the United States was against the workingmen."

While her husband still was locked up, Mrs. Sinclair returned to the scene of the streets and began pacing slowly in front of the big building, wearing on her sleeve a strip of crepe. Half a dozen men, sympathizers. all with crepe, walked with her.

Rockefeller remained secluded in his private office on the fourteenth floor of the building.



Upton Sinclair Pickets



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