Worshiping the God of Dynamite

Dynamite img

May 5 – Dec 1, 2016

Special Collections Gallery, 4th floor

Mon.-Fri. 1-5, or by appointment.

San Francisco State University Library

1630 Holloway Ave.

San Francisco, CA

Worshiping the God of Dynamite is an exhibition of historic materials from the collections of the Labor Archives and Research Center to mark the 100th anniversary of a significant event in the city’s history that has long been forgotten – the 1916 Preparedness Day bombing.

Despite significant public opposition, the Preparedness Day Parade was organized by the city’s Chamber of Commerce to generate support for U.S. involvement in World War I.  During the course of the parade, a bomb exploded at the corner of Steuart and Market Streets; ten bystanders died and forty were injured as a result of the blast. Despite never being identified by witnesses and evidence proving they were not at the site of the bombing, labor organizers Tom Mooney and Warren K. Billings were found guilty of the crime; Mooney was sentenced to death, and Billings to life in prison.  Immediately after their trials, evidence came to light that exonerated them, but it took over two decades, and persistent international pressure, for them to secure their freedom by pardon.

The exhibition includes photography and film footage of the parade, materials related to Mooney’s arrest along with the photographic and documentary evidence used to exonerate him and Billings, materials from the national and international campaigns to free Mooney, and publications and other items related to anarchism, the Wobblies, and the Socialist Party in San Francisco during the period.

Organized by: 

Labor Archives and Research Center

Spotlight Exhibit Thursday, May 12, 2016