A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

African Americans in the Matawan Journal - 2 March 1928

According to a front page news story in The Matawan Journal, William Heron of Atlantic Street in Keyport was cutting lath in preparation for plasterwork in the basement of the Salz Building back in 1928 when Christian Jensen, the electrician on the project, arrived on the scene. Mr Heron had begun to seal the wall before the electrical inspection had been completed, prompting Mr Jensen to begin ripping the lathing from the walls, presumably in a rage. It was just the two of them down in that basement, so what happened next is up to you to decide. Mr Heron says the electrician was so angry that he began to choke him, prompting Mr Heron to pull a woodworking tool from his belt and hit him with it across the back of the head to get free. Mr Jensen says he leaned down to pick something up off the ground and the lath worker hit him with a hatchet across the back of his head because he was so angry about his lath work being ripped down. While Mr Jensen was being tended to and removed to a hospital in Perth Amboy, Mr Heron fled the scene, ran home, then went to the home of a judge to get an escort to the police station. Mr Heron was taken into custody and held without bail. A medical officer at the jail found no indications of choking on Mr Heron.

Unfortrunately, the Journal doesn't give a very balanced account of the circumstances. I suspect it is because one of the men was an African American. You'll want to read the newspaper's account in Negro Strikes Keyport Man With Hatchet. It would be interesting to see how the case turned out.

BTW, I understand that the Salz Building is where McDonagh's Pub is currently located.


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