April 28, 1914
REBA EDELSON FREED FROM JAIL ON BOND
Anarchist Alexander Berkman Puts Up $300 When Appeal Is Granted.
Reba Edelson, who says she isn’t an I.W.W. agitator, but an anarchist, was released late yesterday afternoon from the Queens county jail in Long Island City. Judge Mulqueen in General Sessions decided that the young woman might appeal from her conviction by Magistrate Simms on a charge of disorderly conduct, arising out of her verbal attack on the American flag under the shadow of old Ben Franklin in Park Row. The motion for the appeal was made by Lawyer Justus Sheffield, who contended Miss Edelson had not been legally convicted. There was no opposition by the District Attorney.
Bail was fixed at $300 pending the appeal, and Alexander Berkman, the anarchist, deposited that sum with the City Chamberlain. Then he went to Long Island City with Benjamin Benn, presented his papers at the jail and took Miss Edelson away. Before leaving the young woman thanked Warden Henry Schleth for his kindness after her transfer to his care from the Blackwell’s Island workhouse on Saturday afternoon. It was shortly after she was introduced to the warden that Miss Edelson declared off her hunger strike.
“Not until my friends had assured me that I was going to have a rehearing did I consent to eat,” said Miss Edelson last night. “My attitude was to protest against Magistrate Simm’s decision, and when that object was removed I was willing to eat. If the sentence is not revised I will surely continue the strike when they put me back in jail.
“The workhouse on Blackwell’s Island is an awful place. I was taken there in a dirty boat and had to submit to the indignity of undressing before a lot of women. I was forced to take a bath with no privacy and had to put on ill fitting and torn clothes.
“My cell was in bad condition and I was given blankets that anybody might have used. The State is assuming a great responsibility in this matter. They are really taking your life in their hands when they send you there. The workhouse is only fit to be burned. It is a blot on civilization.
The young woman was sentenced to three months imprisonment because of her point blank refusal to furnish a $300 bond as a guarantee of peaceful behavior.