Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2018  Vol. 17 No. 2
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Much Trouble Here
November 9, 1918

Many People Sick—Churches Reopen—Schools in Operation Again

The Spanish Influenza, as it is called for the reason that it was first brought to medical notice in Spain, has been raging in this city. As a result, the Administrative Board of Richmond exercised a power that few people believed that it possessed. It ordered that all of the Churches, schools, theatres and places of assembly, together with the soft drink fountains, be closed until further orders.

The order was obeyed without protest. John Marshall High School building was converted into an emergency hospital and Baker School building was used for a similar purpose, one being for the white patients and the other for the colored.

No Protest
The Church people were so surprised that they did not have the hardihood to voice a protest. The State Fair was closed also before it opened. It will never be known just how much money has been lost as a result of the experiment. When an effort was made to rescind the order last Saturday, the vote stood 2 to 2, although the Chief Health Officer, Dr. Roy K. Flannigan had given his opinion that it could be lifted with propriety and reasonable safety. The matter was tabled, but came up again on last Monday. As Hon. John Hirschberg has resigned to become Commissioner of Labor, only four members are now in service on the Board.

Mr. McCarthy’s Position
One of these, Mr. Carlton McCarthy had opposed the reopening of the places in view of the fact that the Academy of Medicine and Surgery had in an advisory capacity voted against the reopening at this time. Mr. McCarthy declined to vote and this made the vote 2 to 1, and Chairman Folkes declared the motion carried.

Baker School could not be gotten ready in time and for that reason, although the other schools opened Wednesday morning, the opening of that institution was delayed until it could be prepared for the occupancy of the pupils.  

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