July 4, 2022

Slavery in 20th Century California

The story of a woman held in slavery in Coronado, California. The couple who held her were tried in federal court in 1947. Interesting to me is that from shortly after WWI until 1946, the couple and the victim, Dora Jones, lived in Boston. The couple had retired in 1946 and all three of them moved to sunny California.

Neighbors and visitors to the house [in Boston] told federal investigators that she did all the chores during 16-hour days that sometimes ended with her sleeping on the floor in the kitchen. They saw her outside in the winter, shoveling snow without gloves or a jacket.

Here's a photo of the husband, Alfred Ingalls, from 1929. It seems he actually lived in Lynn, not Boston. He was a Republican member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives; a graduate of Brown University and Suffolk Law School.

75 years ago, slavery case in San Diego County riveted the nation

CORONADO, Calif. — Seventy-five years ago, in the summer of 1947, slavery was remembered vaguely as a Southern thing, vanquished by the Civil War nearly a century earlier and buried in the dust of Dixie.

Then Alfred and Elizabeth Ingalls got arrested in Coronado.

The white couple, both in their 60s and recently arrived from Boston, were charged with keeping their Black maid, Dora Jones, in involuntary servitude — forcing her for 30 years to perform menial tasks from morning to night, beating her when she complained, clothing her in rags, and paying her nothing.

It was believed to be one of the first federal anti-slavery cases since Reconstruction, a harbinger of a newly assertive Department of Justice seeking to expand the definition of civil rights, especially for African Americans and other marginalized groups. Newspapers and magazines from coast-to-coast paid attention to the trial.

In San Diego, it was routinely front-page news. Reporters for the morning Union and the evening Tribune-Sun provided gavel-to-gavel coverage almost every day for a month.

The public was engaged, too. On several occasions, hundreds of people hoping to sit in the courtroom got up at dawn and waited for hours in line. Frustrated would-be spectators chanted “Let us in! Let us in!”

It was, the Union declared after it was all over, “one of the most unusual lawsuits in the annals of American jurisprudence.”

The case resonates today in the ongoing work of a California task force exploring reparations for Black Californians whose ancestors were directly affected by slavery.

“Although progress has been made, Black workers continue to face discrimination today,” the group said in a preliminary report issued last month. “The badges and incidents of slavery have carried forward.”

Dora Jones knew that all too well.

Jones was born in 1890 in Athens, Ala., to parents who had been slaves. When she was around 12, she went to a missionary school not far from home and helped pay for her tuition by cleaning rooms. One of the rooms belonged to a teacher named Elizabeth Kimball.

A few years later, Jones was in the Washington, D.C., area, working for Kimball, now married and about to give birth. Later court testimony would disagree on whose idea the arrangement was, but Jones went voluntarily.

She was paid $8 per month, with half the money deducted in the early going by her boss — now named Elizabeth Harmon — as reimbursement for the train ticket purchased to bring Jones north.

Jones welcomed the work and enjoyed helping to raise the newborn. But in 1913 Jones became pregnant. The father? Harmon’s husband.

The way Jones described it under oath later, Walter Harmon forced himself on her regularly, a “kiss-less” relationship that went on for three years. “My part was just giving in to him,” she testified.

When a doctor suggested Jones go home to Alabama to have the child, Elizabeth Harmon objected. She didn’t want to lose her domestic worker. She suggested an abortion instead — illegal at the time — and made the arrangements.

After the operation, Jones remembered being told this: “You owe me your life now, because you have ruined mine.”

The Harmons soon divorced, and Elizabeth quickly got married again, to Alfred Ingalls, a lawyer, World War I veteran and future state legislator. They settled in the Boston area. Another daughter was born.

Jones continued to work for the family, now without pay. Neighbors and visitors to the house told federal investigators that she did all the chores during 16-hour days that sometimes ended with her sleeping on the floor in the kitchen. They saw her outside in the winter, shoveling snow without gloves or a jacket.

When she complained, she was beaten, the witnesses said. When she tried to run away, she was locked in the cellar.

In 1946, the Ingalls decided to retire and move to Coronado. They drove across the country in a new Packard and brought Jones with them.

They stopped in Berkeley, where their youngest daughter, Helen Roberts, lived. They stayed in a motel. When Roberts and her husband came by the motel for a visit, they found Jones sleeping in the car, crammed in among the suitcases in the backseat. She looked older than her 56 years, the daughter thought — frail, worn-out, neglected.

Police were called, and Jones left with Helen Roberts and her husband.

When the Ingallses discovered her missing the next day, they called police, too, and reported that she had been kidnapped.

Detectives brought everybody into the same room. Elizabeth Ingalls again told Jones how hard it would be for her to live on her own. She warned that Roberts and her husband wouldn’t have enough money to take her in.

One of the detectives asked Jones, if she was mistreated over the years, why hadn’t she left? “Because I came between Mrs. Ingalls and her first husband and I had caused her so much misery and trouble, I felt I should stay and make it up to her,” she said.

Police concluded this was a domestic dispute and let Jones decide what she wanted to do. She returned to the Ingallses, who continued on to Coronado, settling into the Hotel del Coronado for 30 days while they looked for a house to buy.

Jones slept in the Packard.

But the Ingallses’ troubles were just beginning. Someone had tipped off the FBI. A federal investigation ensued, one that fit into a broader campaign by the Department of Justice to expand constitutional protections.

On Feb. 24, 1947, FBI agents arrested the couple in Coronado and took the maid into protective custody.

A month later, the Ingallses were indicted by a grand jury and charged with violating the constitutional prohibition against slavery. They told reporters the case was absurd.

“Dora,” Elizabeth Ingalls said, “has always been very happy with us.”

A jury made up of nine men and three women was seated. None were Black. During opening arguments in late June 1947, the stage was set.

Lead prosecutor Ernest Tolin outlined 30 years of bondage, “a psychological chain of steel” forged in the aftermath of Jones’ pregnancy and abortion.

“Suffering another woman’s vengeance for 30 years was the price Dora Jones paid,” he said.

Defense lawyer Clifford Fitzpatrick said the Ingallses considered Jones a member of the family, “more of a protégé than a servant.” He blamed the case on overzealous FBI agents and prosecutors filling Jones’ mind with “scurrilous” allegations.

“This is not, as depicted by the government, a sword of Damocles hanging over the head of Dora Jones,” he said. “It has more suitably been a sword over the head of the Ingallses, hanging by the psychological thread of this primitive girl’s unstable mind.”

As the trial unfolded over four weeks, newspapers reported every detail of what was commonly known as “the slavery case,” often illustrating the articles with black-and-white photos of the key players.

Attorneys called some 40 witnesses to the stand, each offering a glimpse into the couple’s household. Daughters. Neighbors. Friends. Police. A postal worker. Psychologists.

Under questioning by prosecutor Betty Marshall Graydon, the first female U.S. Attorney in San Diego, Jones talked about how the “jail sentence hanging over me” kept her in the Ingalls household. She said she’d had one vacation in 30 years, a trip to Alabama paid for by her relatives there.

Graydon had Jones step off the witness stand to show jurors her gnarled and knotted fingers, encouraging the panelists to decide for themselves whether “they are hands of a person who was a member of the family, or whether they are the hands of a slave.”

Alfred Ingalls approached the jury box, too, smiling at Jones as he looked at her fingers. His wife stayed seated at the defense table, remarking out loud that she had already seen those hands for many years.

When it was her turn to testify, Elizabeth Ingalls was on the stand for parts of three days. The newspapers described her testimony as “exceedingly voluble.” Judge Jacob Weinberger admonished her several times to answer the questions without veering into soliloquies.

She’d already made an impression as emotional, openly sobbing when both her daughters testified against her. She’d followed another witness, a family friend, into a courthouse hallway, pushing her against the wall and calling her a “dirty, dirty, dirty little skunk.”

On the stand, Ingalls admitted that she “nearly dropped dead” when she learned that Jones was pregnant, and she was desperate to keep the information private lest it create a scandal. But she denied forcing the abortion. She said that was Jones’ idea, as was sleeping on the floor at home and in the car when they traveled.

The maid “had a heart of gold” and never cared about money, according to Ingalls. “Her main desire was to help,” she said. “Aside from bananas and candy, such as chocolate and gum drops, she really had no real wants.”

Ingalls blamed any beatings that happened on Jones, claiming that the maid taunted her about her first husband: “I know what men want and you don’t.”

She also blamed her daughters for the criminal case happening in the first place. “They had been working behind my back for six years to do this to me,” she said.

After likening Tolin, the prosecutor, to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, she said, “I hardly think the United States government ever intended that a citizen of my caliber should be treated this way.”

Her husband was more measured in his testimony, but he, too, blamed Jones for any mistreatment that occurred.

Jones was free to go whenever she wanted, Alfred Ingalls said, and her claims to the contrary during the trial were the result of “events, people and forces that entirely changed her. I’m sorry for her and I only hope we will be allowed to see her after this case is over.”

On July 18, 1947, after the lawyers on each side delivered three hours of closing arguments, Judge Weinberger denied a defense motion to dismiss the case and sent jurors off to begin their deliberations. His instructions included this definition of a slave:

“A slave is a person who is wholly subject to the will of another, one who has no freedom of action and whose person and services are wholly under the control of another, and who is in a state of enforced compulsory service to another.”

It took jurors 30 minutes to convict Elizabeth Ingalls. They deadlocked for acquittal on her husband, with a majority deciding over the course of several votes that he, too, had been unduly influenced by her.

Jones wasn’t there for the verdict. She’d already left for St. Louis to live with a brother. Reporters waited for her at the train station there and told her about the outcome.

“It’s kind of hard not to feel bad about Mrs. Ingalls,” she said. “I was with her such a long time.”

As prosecutors weighed whether to try Alfred Ingalls again — they ultimately opted not to — the judge faced his own dilemma: what to do with Elizabeth Ingalls while she awaited sentencing. She faced a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Her husband stood up in court, and with tears in his eyes said, “I urge it with every fiber of my being that this woman not be sent to jail. This is not the case of a hardened criminal, but a woman well past middle age.”

But prosecutors reminded Weinberger about testimony earlier in the trial from one of the Ingallses’ daughters. She said her father had told her that if they were convicted, he would kill his wife and then himself.

The judge put Elizabeth Ingalls in jail. The next day’s Union had a photo of her there, under this headline: “Steel Bars Cage Boston Socialite.”

She stayed incarcerated for 11 days, while reporters chronicled her fondness for fresh oranges and the details of a visit she had with her Episcopal priest from Coronado.

“Must I suffer until the day I die?” she was quoted as saying.

Weinberger fined her $2,500 and sentenced her to five years of probation with a requirement that she not harass any of the witnesses.

“She has been subjected to national disgrace because of the publicity and attention given to this trial,” he said.

He also did something unusual at the time, according to the constitutional scholars. He ordered the Ingallses to compensate Jones — back pay, in effect, to the tune of $6,000 (about $78,000 in today’s world). She reportedly took the money in an annuity.

Not long after the trial, the couple sold their home in Coronado and moved to Santa Barbara. Alfred died there in 1965. Elizabeth passed away in 1972.

Jones also died in 1972, in St. Louis. She was 82. She had resisted opportunities to capitalize on the notoriety of the trial, turning down paid speaking offers.

She told reporters she was glad to have her freedom, “but in many ways I’m not used to it.”

Filed under Politics,Public Safety | July 4, 2022 at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

Newsom's Florida Ad

The hate states, many of which (but not all) were part of the Confederacy, are setting themselves up for another Great Migration where their more intelligent, discerning and able residents will leave to go live in states that still preserve rights and democracy. The result will be the same as that of the Great Migration itself: greater economic and intellectual vitality for the receiving states (like California) and deeper impoverishment for the hate states.

Filed under Politics | July 4, 2022 at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

United We Win

United we win.  War Manpower Commission, Washington, D.C. (LOC)
A poster of the War Manpower Commission, 1943
; from the photo collection of the Library of Congress on Flickr.

Filed under History | July 4, 2022 at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2022

Four Architecture Shots On Slide Film

Construction of Copley Place (1)
Construction of Copley Place in Boston
, 1983, Agfachrome. The dome in the foreground is the backside of the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade.

Ornate Detail (1)
In Chicago, 1984.
I can't identify the building, but I'm sure someone else can.

World Trade Center, North Tower - 1985
The north tower of the World Trade Center
, 1985. This was my one trip to the top of the WTC. The roof deck was closed that day.

Citigroup Center (1)
Citigroup Center in NYC
, 1983.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | July 2, 2022 at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

"Right to Tranquility"

The Supreme Court’s chief security officer has written to authorities in Maryland and Virginia regarding the intolerable situation of citizens exercising their rights by protesting in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices, specifically citing a Maryland law that says a “person may not intentionally assemble with another in a manner that disrupts a person’s right to tranquility in the person’s home.” Clearly, there has never been a right to tranquility written in the Constitution. The Maryland law must be invalid. However, a law preventing a Supreme Court Justice from leaving Maryland to seek tranquility elsewhere is probably just fine.

Filed under Public Safety | July 2, 2022 at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)


Pete Arredondo has resigned from the Uvalde City Council. This is the first acknowledgement by any of the involved police that maybe, just maybe, they did something wrong and voters are at least somewhat disappointed in their behavior. Why did it take a month for this clueless lump to resign? Did he think people were going to forget? Did he need the health insurance benefits? Has he never had his head anywhere but up his own ass?

Is anybody running a betting pool on when he will also resign his position as police chief for the school district?

Filed under Public Safety | July 2, 2022 at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Kam Lun Chinese AGAIN!

There seem to be a lot of especially gross reports in this week's list of health department inspections in the Press-Enterprise, including this bit: "the inspector saw several dead cockroaches, including in a pot on the stove" [Pho TYC, Wildomar]. But there were only these three in the Coachella Valley.

Kam Lun Chinese Food, 66610 8th St., Desert Hot Springs
Closed: June 29
Grade: 81/B, failing
Reason: Failing an inspection while on probation. Among the 13 violations, the inspector saw rodent droppings in several areas including by the food-prep sink and a microwave; there were flies at the cook line; cooked meat was sitting at room temperature and an employee said the practice is to leave it on the counter until it’s ordered; shrimp, beef and eggs were at unsafe temperatures in a refrigerator that was impounded for not keeping cold; dishes weren’t being washed properly; raw and ready-to-eat foods weren’t adequately separated; and the floors, walls and ceilings needed cleaning. The restaurant has been on probation since last August after failing three inspections and being shut down twice for rodent infestations in a two-year span. This is its second failure and closure since going on probation. To reopen again, it would have to correct all violations and purchase a new health permit.
The restaurant at Desert Falls Country Club, at 1111 Desert Falls Parkway in Palm Desert, was inspected June 22 and received a failing grade of 80/B with one critical violation. Dishes and other surfaces weren’t being sanitized. Among the 11 other violations, the inspector saw a live cockroach in a walk-in cooler and two dead roaches in other locations, meat and cheese were at unsafe temperatures in a cook-line fridge, the bar area didn’t have hot water, the women’s restroom didn’t have cold water and there was a long list of items that needed cleaning and repair. On June 29, the restaurant passed a follow-up inspection with a 97/A.
The restaurant at Terra Lago Golf Club, at 84000 Terra Lago Parkway in Indio, was inspected June 20 and received a failing grade of 82/B with one critical violation. The inspector saw rodent droppings on top of the food prep sink, on the back of a unit for holding hot food and on the floors, and noted rodent and cockroach traps in the kitchen and bar areas, as well as dead flies in the bar area. Among the 10 other violations, some food wasn’t being kept hot, there was pink mold in the ice machine and equipment, floors and walls needed cleaning. On June 23, the restaurant passed a follow-up inspection with a 94/A.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Food and Drink,Health | July 2, 2022 at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2022

Five Republicans - One Brain

Filed under Politics | July 1, 2022 at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

Studebaker Golden Hawk Up For Auction

The Riverside Public Administrator Auction takes place on July 13 and will include this Studebaker Golden Hawk ("ignition does not work").
Studebaker Golden Hawk

Filed under Automotive | July 1, 2022 at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2022

Four From The 1980s

Snow on the Charles River (1)
Snow on the Charles River
, Agfachrome, 1985.

The Met Cloisters (1)
The Cloisters
, 1986. I don't even remember visiting the Cloisters or how I happened to be there, but no denying the photographic evidence.

Bush Lily (1147)

Canoe & Guitar
, Polaroid Polapan instant slide film. Late 1980s, but I don't recognize the location.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | June 29, 2022 at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2022

Million Dollar Theatre

LA World Naked Bike Ride in front of Million Dollar Theatre
A good shot of the Million Dollar Theatre while the Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride was passing by
. Photo by westwood1727.

Filed under Architecture,Cities/Urbanism,Cycling,Naturism-Nudism,Photography | June 28, 2022 at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2022

California Cannabis Cultivation Tax Headed For Repeal

A trailer bill in Sacramento would, among other things, repeal the cannabis cultivation tax which is currently assessed against cultivators at the rate of $10.08/ounce of dried flower.

Filed under California,Marijuana | June 27, 2022 at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

Herb Ritts Took A Photo In Desert Hot Springs?!

I had never heard of that before. "David with Lampshade, Desert Hot Springs, 1989".

Filed under Art,Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Photography | June 27, 2022 at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

Desert Recreation District in Cathedral City

The City of Cathedral City is considering joining the Desert Recreation District. Doing the same in Desert Hot Springs has been discussed occasionally. The main drawback for Desert Hot Springs is that some form of additional tax would have to be levied to pay for it. Cathedral City is considering a new property tax to pay for it, according to this article in The Desert Sun, but in keeping with the usual deadhead standards at the newspaper, the article doesn't really tell us what the tax rate would be.

Cathedral City is preparing to have voters decide whether to impose the tax — which would be 15 cents per square foot on single-family residential units — in the Nov. 8 election.

"15 cents per square foot on single-family residential units." Assuming this is a complete and accurate description of the tax, I would take that to mean SFRs would be taxed at 15¢/s.f. of inhabitable space (of course); and that in multi-family buildings it would be applied to the square footage of the residential units themselves, excluding common areas; and that commercial and industrial properties would be exempt. But that would be a difficult tax to sell and to assess. So I went digging into the agenda for the city council of Cathedral City and, quelle surprise, that is not how the tax would be assessed.

Here are the facts, which were just too, too difficult for a Desert Sun reporter to research:
Proposed tax rates for Desert Recreation District in Cathedral City
These actual proposed rates look to be more fair and palatable than the Desert Sun story led me to believe
. Now I wonder why a condo unit will have to pay $24 more than a rental unit. Do condo residents use more recreation facilities than residents of rented apartments?

TL;DR: The Desert Sun continues to suck badly. If you want to know what's happening in your city government, you need to watch your city council meetings (at least).

Filed under Coachella Valley | June 27, 2022 at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2022

Oh, The Brutality!

The NY Post uses the words "slapped" and "hit." Giuliani himself said "All of a sudden, I feel this, 'Bam!' on my back;" and goes on to say "I feel this tremendous pain in my back." Fortunately, there's video accompanying the NY Post article.

The "hit" was the same sort of gentle tap you might make on any friend's back, just to let him know you are there. The words spoken were a lot stronger than the touch, but the words are covered by the first amendment.

Filed under Politics | June 26, 2022 at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2022

Front Page Of The Onion Today

The Onion - June-25, 2022
The Onion.

Filed under Politics | June 25, 2022 at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Six

Supreme Court 6
The Supreme Court has already ruled that we have a constitutional right to do exactly this

Filed under Politics | June 25, 2022 at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

Ketchup Popsicle

In Canada, you can buy factory-made ketchup popsicles, but French's has also made the recipe available for those who just want to make their own:

  • 3¼ cups (810 milliliters) tomato juice
  • ½ cup (125 milliliters) French's® Tomato Ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) FRANK'S RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • Caesar Rim ["salt, spices (including red pepper), sugar, citric acid, corn maltodextrin, dehydrated onion, natural flavour (contains soy)"]
  1. WHISK tomato juice, Ketchup and RedHot sauce in large pitcher or measuring cup until well blended.
  2. POUR mixture into popsicle molds of your desired shape and size. Freeze at least 8 hours or until solid. Serve frozen, sprinkled lightly with Caesar Rim, if desired.

One undefined serving contains 11 grams carbohydrates and 658 mg sodium.

If you like to experiment, add some mayonnaise into the recipe and let us know how it turns out.

Filed under Food and Drink | June 25, 2022 at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2022

Old Stuff In Slides

Greg in Washington (1)
Greg in Washington DC
, Kodachrome, possibly 2001.

Atlas & St. Patrick's
St. Patrick's Cathedral and Atlas
, Agfachrome, 1983.

Two Wall Street (1)
Two Wall Street
, 1985.

Myself at Tanglewood
Myself at Tanglewood
, late 1980s.

Filed under Architecture,Photography | June 24, 2022 at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2022

Desert Hot Springs LGBTA+ Pride Proclamation Video

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Gay Issues | June 22, 2022 at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2022

First-Ever Pride Proclamation In Desert Hot Springs

Desert Hot Springs' first-ever proclamation recognizing LGBTQIA+ Pride was delivered at tonight's city council meeting by Mayor Scott Matas.
Mayor Matas Reading Pride Proclamation (1104)
Mayor Matas reading the proclamation

James Nindel Speaking On The Pride Proclamation (1110)
Planning Commissioner James Nindel speaking on the significance and need for the proclamation

Pride Proclamation by the City of Desert Hot Springs (1117)

And while I'm on the subject, you should check out GayDHS.com.

The City Council meeting tonight was a lot of the usual administrative items that they always have to handle at this time of year: landscape and lighting districts, putting DVD bills on the property tax bill, etc. But there was one significant item: approval of $3,172,000 to Onyx Paving Company and approval of a total project budget of $4,298,600 for a total redo of Palm Drive north of Pierson. This includes not just resurfacing, but bike lanes, sidewalks, additional street lighting, a 4-way stop at 12th Street and newly painted crosswalks. Palm Drive north of Pierson will be reduced to two lanes for motor vehicle traffic. The additional space gained will be used for the sidewalks and bike lanes. Councilmember Nuñez suggested the sidewalks should be 8 feet wide. Assistant City Manager Porras said that 8 foot sidewalks could be constructed where there are no sidewalks, but to tear out all sidewalks to rebuild them to an 8-foot width would really expand the size of this project [and I think it would probably need to be re-bid and, thus, delayed].

Mr. Nuñez's really bonehead suggestion was to retain the current four lanes for motor vehicles on Palm Drive, but WIDEN the road to be able to add sidewalks (16 feet) and bike lanes (maybe another 16 feet or so?). I'd suggest Mr. Nuñez actually go look at that segment of Palm Drive. It has the least traffic of any segment of Palm Drive. Residences north of 12th Street already suffer cramped front yards and driveways and no street parking is permitted. A narrowing of this part of Palm Drive has been under discussion for years. There are businesses along Palm Drive north of Pierson, including the new Dollar General, that are close to the roadway. The city couldn't add 16 feet to a side without the considerable expense of having to tear out or rebuild some commercial buildings.

And then there's the utter lack of need for a 4-lane road that far north in the city. The population won't grow much at that end of the city, unless someone is planning on building multi-family housing up the sides of the mountains. The growth in the city is all farther south, west or east.

The item was approved 3-1 with Mr. Nuñez voting against. Councilmember Betts was absent tonight.

Finally, there was this:
Red Curb Parking (2269)
It was okay because no conflagrations were on the schedule for tonight

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Gay Issues | June 21, 2022 at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)