I'm always upgrading my car.
Not because I need to, because I want to. Today it's custom rims for my ride. Tomorrow, it might be a new driver's side seat cushion. And eBayMotors.com always has what I need.
They've got over 122 million car parts, all at the right price. That's perfect for me, because I'm a car guy. Are you still in the garage? It's two in the morning. Almost done. Okay, I'm a car fanatic.
eBay Motors. Let's ride. Vanguard is owned by our investors, so we all sit on the same side of the table. As an advisor, you look out for your clients.
We look out for both of you. That's the value of ownership. Visit vanguard.com and discover ownership. Fund shareholders own the funds that own Vanguard.
Vanguard Marketing Corporation distributor. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories. And we tell stories about everything here on this show, including your story. Send them to OurAmericanStories.com.
That's OurAmericanStories.com. And today we're talking to Eric Motley. We've heard from Eric before about his life. Eric, you talk about how one of the most pivotal stories happened while you were at Samford University, involving your pledging at a fraternity. It was a moment that displayed both the best and the worst in people. Tell us about that. I was too naive to really know what a fraternity was.
I arrived. Samford was predominantly a white university in as much as the majority of the students there were people not of color. Maybe there was four or five percent of a colored population, people of color.
And that's minorities, Hispanic and African-Americans. And but I was in a wonderful Christian community and people embraced me and they seemed to be interested in me. And as much as I was interested in them and for sure, maybe I was a bit eccentric. And I was so intense on getting an education that everyone in the university knew that I was the first in the library in the morning and the last to leave the library.
And and that became a bit of a joke, but a wonderful joke, an endearing joke. And then there were a group of upperclassmen who became friends and they encouraged me to go through rush. Because they thought it was a wonderful opportunity for me to meet more people and to be a part of a club that they were a part of, to experience something they felt fulfilling.
And so I went through this experience with this fraternity and I felt really good about the people that I had met and their encouragement. But unbeknownst to me, underneath all of this, there were parents who were greatly disturbed by the concept of this fraternity being integrated, let alone at Sanford, but in the state of Alabama, because it had yet to be integrated in Alabama. And so those parents and parents have wonderful influence, as well as oftentimes not so great influence on us, greatly expressed their concerns to their kids and encouraged them to oppose me. And to make a very long story short, but interesting, on the very night that a vote was to be taken, I was going to be blackballed. And there were a group of students who had organized themselves and their arguments around all the reasons that I should not be a member of this fraternity.
And they were not really sound reasons. And one student found a group of them singing a song using not so great lyrics or words that are not great or words that we're told not to use now about people of color. And that student and a group of other students did what they believed was right. There were a group of about six or seven students who had gone to the final four up in Atlanta, Georgia. And someone wrote them, called them and said, it doesn't look like it's going to be promising for Eric. And I know that you wanted to be here for the vote and that you were going to get here at the end of the meeting, but it might require you're getting here as soon as possible.
And they left the final four. Could you believe that these college seniors leaving the final four basketball competitions and driving some five to six hours back to Birmingham in order to be at a fraternity meeting at the start of it so they could address their fellow fraternity members? And they challenged them and they said, you know, the reasons that you're given are not the reasons why. And we are aware that a good number of your parents have reached out to others to encourage them to vote against Eric.
But there is no way that we can graduate after four years of being here and after the experience of getting to know this guy and not believing in doing what is right and really stepping up. And to me, it's a wonderful reminder that from time to time, we're all called to challenge the moral complacency of a leisure and secular society, that we're all called to do what's right. And in that same letter that we referenced about Martin Luther King, there's a line that disturbs me. He said, it's not the people who are overtly doing wrong.
It is the deafening silence of the good people that disturb me most. And in that one moment, the seven, eight young men decided that they would take off their fraternity pins and lay them on a table and to say that we feel so strongly about doing what is right that we're willing to give up our membership in this group. And in that one quiet, unheralded act, they influenced all of the members of that fraternity, save one, to vote for my membership. Now, what is beautiful and profound about that story is not just that unheralded act of heroism, but the fact that I did not learn until I moved here to Washington, DC.
So that's from 1996 to 2001. I did not learn the narrative that took place. And it took place because one friend of mine who had had too much to drink one night phoned me and ended up telling me more than he ever planned on telling me about what actually transpired. And what I learned was that those same group of students organized themselves and paid my fraternity dues for those two years. They never wanted me to know the story.
They never wanted me to know the names of the students who opposed me. They only wanted me to experience the community that they believed could be realized when good people do what is right and encourage other people who are good to overcome their prejudices. And that is Eric Motley and one heck of a story about so much. Madison Park is the name of the book. It's filled with stories like this, a remarkable place, a remarkable upbringing, a remarkable community. Madison Park, a place of hope.
Go to Amazon.com and get it. Eric Motley's story, his fraternity story, not like the rest of the pledges. But my goodness, what lessons learned about life and about courage here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of seventeen dollars and seventy six cents is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American stories dot com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.
That's our American stories dot com. Doing household chores can be time consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles of laundry that needs to be done. It can be so overwhelming. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to doing the things you enjoy, try all free clear mega packs. All free clear mega packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack. So you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also 100 percent free of perfumes and dyes and gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs. So the next time you come home from vacation or the kids get back from summer camp and you're faced with a giant pile of laundry. Just know that all free clear mega packs have your back.
Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenny with the 9021 OMG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by nerd tech ODT.
We recorded it at I heart radio's 10th pole event. Wingo Tango. Did you know that nerd tech ODT remejipants 75 milligrams can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wingo Tango?
It's true. I had one that night and I took my nerd tech ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by nerd tech ODT remejipants 75 milligrams. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.
But thankfully, nerd tech ODT remejipants 75 milligrams is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wingo Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.
If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. And we return to our American stories.
And now it's time for another rule of law story as a part of our rule of law series where we show you the absence or presence of the rule of law in our lives. Here's our own Monty Montgomery with a story. Danielle Michelson story begins in Ralla, North Dakota. So I'm a North Dakota native. I grew up about 30 miles from where I currently live. I married my high school sweetheart. I went to the University of North Dakota to be a high school English teacher, which I immediately started doing when I graduated in 1994. So I was an English teacher for 22 years. But the entire time that I was doing that and raising my kids, I was always gardening.
It was in my blood. My grandmother was a gardener. My mom and dad were gardeners.
I just seemed like the thing people did. You know, you had to have a garden. You had to produce your own food.
You had to save it for the winter. You had to can and process and then, of course, cook homemade meals. So we were always food producers, but food producers just for our family.
In 2014, I was still teaching and still gardening. And my sons, who were then 14 and 12, wanted to make a little money to go visit their grandparents who live in Las Vegas in the wintertime. And I told them they could sell all of our extra vegetables at our farmer's market.
We set up a card table and the bowls from my kitchen, and they sold green beans and potatoes and some onions, and they made $72. And they were beyond excited at how great they were at it. And over the course of the next few years, we grew, our tables grew, our tents grew. We started canning everything from pickles to sulfas to jams and jellies, and it became an intense passion. This growth of this business became a passion. And all of a sudden, I realized that my heart needed to be in that garden and not in a classroom anymore. And that was the year that I decided that was the last time that I would leave my garden at the end of August, that the next August I would be there with it, and I would no longer be in the classroom. I quit teaching.
My world and my passion had changed, and I needed to chase it. And Danielle would name her business Michelson Tiny Plants. But why? So our business is called Michelson Tiny Plants because when our kids were really little, they were tiny, tiny humans. I mean, even as they grew, they were still little, little people. And we always referred to them as tiny pants.
Come here, tiny pants. And I feel like I feel like it every time that when I start my tiny plants growing in the spring, it's like growing your children. There's this attachment to this life that's coming out of the ground and it's ground that belongs to me and is nurtured by me.
And I watched them. I watched the plants grow and I watched them produce food. And I remember one of the years, first years I was teaching, I'd been reading an article about food security and how people often don't have food security in their life. And I was standing in the middle of my garden and I realized that I was it was my food security and I could help make it food security for my community.
Which is important to Rala. She's providing a service nobody else does in her city and giving people options such as healthy food. North Dakota is a very long distance from where the majority of fruits and vegetables are grown that end up in our grocery store.
The average time from when a vegetable is picked till it gets to Rala, North Dakota, is between 10 and 14 days. And if you take a look at the science of food, the minute you pick a fresh vegetable, it starts to lose nutrients. And I started thinking about, you know, that that loss of nutrients by the time it gets to the grocery store and how I could provide to our community food that had been picked literally the day before.
You know, we also have a practice that we believe in no waste. And we just decided to start using our what we were growing in products that had a little bit longer shelf life. So some of the overage goes into jars and we just started putting a few out on the on the table with our vegetables and realized that we had a following.
People were coming back and asking for more. We made 1950 jars last year of dill pickles. And from there, we started looking at what you couldn't get in Rala, North Dakota. Like, what can't you get in Rala, North Dakota? One thing was sourdough bread. There's no way to get fresh sourdough bread.
We don't even have a bakery in Rala. We do tomato juice. We do a spicy tomato juice.
And so we use our peppers and our onions and our jalapenos and our tomatoes and we make a cold pressed juice that we can. And then one day the Food Freedom Bill was passed that allowed us to start processing food into other things. Otherwise known as House Bill 1433, the Cottage Food Act was passed by elected officials in the North Dakota House and Senate and opened the door for Danielle's business to expand even more. You see, before the bill passed, things like pizza and French onion soup could only be sold out of somewhere with a commercial kitchen. But now Danielle and others could sell out of their home kitchens directly to their customers.
People have been doing this forever, right? You bake muffins and take them over to your neighbor and and give them to them and they enjoy them. Then your neighbor says, can you make me four dozen?
I want them for my family. And you couldn't at that point sell them to them. You could give them to them, but you couldn't sell them, which seems kind of strange to me. So the cottage food law actually freed that up as long as the transaction is person to person, as long as the producer of the food is handing the food to the consumer and the consumer can ask the questions and take a look at the product and decide if they trust you. And inherently, that's what these small businesses are about, right?
Friendships and trust. Then you can sell to them. And it really made a huge difference for people who wanted to try starting a small business. You know, biting the bullet and putting in one hundred thousand dollar commercial kitchen because you think you might be good at something is a little scary. But you could actually do a test market. You know, you could you can have your own test market now.
You can try selling things. How did I know that so many people were going to love my dill pickles like my family loves them? But does that mean that everyone who tries them actually will come back to buy more? We didn't know. And so as our business grew, that was a big deal with the cottage food law allowed was for people to start to expand.
And for us, that's exactly what it meant. Our business grew. I think it was, you know, it was this. So I quit teaching in June twenty seventeen and the cottage food law passed in August twenty seventeen. So it was just this immense excitement that when I had trans, you know, when I quit teaching to become a small food producer, this was like another door opened in front of me again and I could just envision where my business could go. It was just it was a real reinforcing my decision to be a small food producer and a businesswoman. And it was it was, you know, like the stars aligned.
Right. I quit teaching. I put all my energy into this and then this magical door opened and I could use all my creativity and all my planning and thoughts to grow my business.
Literally straightforward. At least that's what Danielle thought would happen with the new lawn place. She didn't expect the face of lawlessness from her own government. And you're listening to Danielle Michelson tell the story of her own freedom to pursue her passion. It turned out that passion was in the garden. When we come back, more of this story from Rolla, North Dakota.
Daniel Michelson story, a freedom story and a rule of law story here on our American story. Doing household chores can be time consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles of laundry that need to be done. It can be so overwhelming. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to doing the things you enjoy, try all free clear mega packs. All free clear mega packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack.
So you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs. So the next time you come home from vacation, or the kids get back from summer camp and you're faced with a giant pile of laundry, just know that all free clear mega packs have your back.
Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenny with the 90210MG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTechODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th poll event, Wango Tango.
It's true. I had one that night and I took my NerdTechODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTechODT Remedipant 75mg.
Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family, but thankfully NerdTechODT Remedipant 75mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. And we continue with our American stories and the story of Danielle Michelson. When we last left off, Danielle was growing her business and was lent a massive helping hand by the passage of the cottage food laws, but the smooth sailing wouldn't last much longer. Let's continue with her story. Everything seemed to be going well for Danielle Michelson, but the North Dakota Department of Health had other ideas and tried to get rid of the cottage food laws, which allowed Danielle to sell food she otherwise couldn't. I mean, it was a whirlwind of craziness, right?
We weren't even sure how this could possibly be happening. But the health department decided that they were worried about the safety of these foods, even though there was no foodborne illness in farmers market produced cottage foods produced foods since the passing of the law. And they tried to have the law changed, and they failed. They failed because the North Dakota legislature refused to make the changes to the law that the health department wanted. But after this, the health department did it anyways, which is a violation of the rule of law because administrative bodies can't pass laws on their own.
They can only carry out laws that the legislature passed. I suddenly had to stop selling my soup. I suddenly had to put all of my ideas on hold. And I was, I was just shocked.
I was shocked that this is where we had gone because like I said, I was elated with what could come. And then it was just stopped dead over this fear for food safety, and I'm not faulting them for that. But the one thing I stressed over and over again is when you buy a jar of salsa from me, or you buy a quart of soup from me. I actually take what I feed my family from the exact same supply. And I'm going to be above and beyond careful about what I am providing to people for sale, because that's the exact same food that I'm feeding my family. And that's how cottage food producers feel. Also, in a business model, the reality is, is you make one person sick and your business is done. So small business can't ride out an E. coli outbreak on Romaine like we've seen across the nation.
Small business has to be on top of their game and specific in particular and perfect at all times. That's why we were surprised when these rules came out because we felt like we were, we were the best of the best, right? And suddenly we're the ones that are suffering under the administrative rules. It almost makes you feel like you're not intelligent enough to know better. That's offensive, right?
I'm good at this. And my customers were just heartbroken that they couldn't get the soup that they had learned to depend on. And they're so funny because all of the people that live in my community are, they all have the ability to cook and cook well. But French onion soup takes a very long time to caramelize all those onions. And they always like to say, you know, I could make this myself, but I'd much rather you did it because yours is so good and I don't have to, you know, do all the work. And they come to market and they want to buy soup.
And I have to say, I'm sorry, but the health department made rules and I can't sell you soup anymore. And then the crazy part is, is if you're, if you are, you know, an English teacher from a town of 1400, you don't even know what you can do to fight it. I had no clue. I didn't have the resources to hire an attorney to fight.
I wasn't even sure what the fight would be. And for the most part, you know, we're just rule-following, law-abiding, happy people. And we don't get put in places where we're suddenly fighting against administrative rules. I'd never even heard that term before. Oh, probably when I was in high school, I heard that term before, but I'd never thought about it since high school. And so I didn't even know what to do. And that's why I said that, you know, my business segmented in my, and my hopes and dreams sort of died for a second. I just buckled down and went back to work. You know, I guess we'll just sell fresh foods and vegetables and the things that we can bake and, and can, and we'll give up soup.
And that's just how it will go. You just sort of resign yourself. And I think that's a terrible thing to say about what happened to me. Thankfully, she would be approached by the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that stands up for Americans when their rights are violated at no cost to people like Danielle. So thankful for the Institute for Justice, because I didn't even know we could fight it. And suddenly they showed up, you know, like they're your knight in shining armor and they're like, we can help you. And I'm like, you've got to be kidding me.
And they're like, no, we can help you. You just have to be willing to stand up and be, you know, the plaintiff in the case. And here we go. You know, they explained to me that it was unconstitutional and I hadn't even thought of it on that level. What they did unilaterally with the, with the administrative rules was circumvent what the entire House and Senate had, you know, they had spoken. We're not changing the law. They circumvented that entire process when they had already voted it down.
There was also a second violation of the rule of law. The North Dakota Constitution states that people have to be treated equally under the law. But the rules created by the health department didn't do that. You see, the regulations allow a farmer to sell uninspected raw poultry while banning a home cook like Danielle from selling chicken noodle soup. That makes no sense.
It's completely arbitrary. And thankfully, the court saw it that way, too, and ruled in Danielle's favor. They, they won. And we just got this email that said you won your case. And that was it. It was over. And all of a sudden, my brain just spun thinking about all of the ways that this had opened this door for me again. And it was time to not worry about being stopped and just barrel forward. And we have new goals now.
And the goals are super funny or super interesting or super ironic, however you want to see it. But our next goal is to build a large scale indoor market that will actually have a commercial kitchen and commercial kitchens will allow us to ship. And so even though my fight was for cottage food, which means I can cook it in my kitchen, my long term goal gets me a commercial kitchen and then I'm, you know, on the other side, you know, that have crossed over. But the reality is, without the cottage food ability, I would have never been able to build my teeny tiny business that started in 2014 to a place where I'm ready to build a facility and have a commercial kitchen. So maybe in one more year, we will be looking at building a new facility right on our main street.
Now watch me now. This business is going to grow like crazy. And great job as always to Monty Montgomery and a special thanks to the folks at the Institute for Justice, who represented Danielle Michelson and represented her freedom to sell food on an equal playing field. And also for the people of North Dakota. It allowed them to get this kind of food and not have it blocked by people who weren't represented in their state legislature.
These rules were passed and promulgated by people at the Department of Health and the Department of Health doesn't have the right in North Dakota to do such things. What was fascinating was listening to Danielle's sheer frustration. She said, I didn't know what to do. I didn't even know what the fight was or who it was with and what she could do about it. And in came the Institute for Justice and well did what they do, which is represent mostly small businesses in rule of law and property right cases.
The story of Daniel Michelson, the story of Michelson tiny plants, and about so much more, but particularly the rule of law here on Our American Stories. Doing household chores can be time consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles of laundry that needs to be done. It can be so overwhelming. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to doing the things you enjoy, try All-Free Clear Mega Packs. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack, so you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All-Free Clear Mega Packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs. So the next time you come home from vacation or the kids get back from summer camp and you're faced with a giant pile of laundry, just know that All-Free Clear Mega Packs have your back.
Purchase All-Free Clear Mega Packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Hey you guys, this is Tori and Jenni with the 902.1 OMG Podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTech ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th poll event, Wango Tango. Did you know that NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango? It's true! I had one that night and I took my NerdTech ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams.
Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family, but thankfully NerdTech ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So, lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.
If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. And we continue with our American stories. And up next comes a man who's simply known as the History Guy.
His videos are watched by hundreds of thousands of people of all ages on YouTube. The History Guy is also heard here at Our American Stories. Today, the History Guy shares the story about an escape attempt in the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco, California that led to a standoff. The penitentiary the inmates called The Rock was supposed to be escape proof, but that did not keep some prisoners from trying. Here's the History Guy with the story of the 1946 Battle of Alcatraz. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, built on an island in San Francisco Bay, was opened in 1934 to house America's most dangerous criminals. Built literally on an island surrounded by shark-infested waters, the prison was considered to be escape proof, but that didn't keep the prisoners from attempting to escape from the infamous prison that was most often called simply The Rock. There were 14 escape attempts in the 29 years that the prison was in operation, and among those one was particularly notable both for its daring and for its violence. The 1946 Battle of Alcatraz deserves to be remembered. 46-year-old Bernard Barney Coy had been convicted by a federal jury for robbing the Bank of New Haven, Kentucky in March of 1937.
He and a cousin held a bank teller at gunpoint with a sawed-off shotgun made off with $2,175. Sentenced to 25 years, he was transferred from Atlanta to Alcatraz in 1938. Nonetheless, Coy had by 1946 earned the position of sellhouse orderly, a prison janitor, a position that allowed him relative access around the prison. From that position he had observed lapses in the security of the notoriously strict prison that he thought he could exploit, and he became the ringleader of a group determined to escape the escape proof prison. Coy had a plan to overwhelm one guard and gain access to a weapons locker, but he needed help to overwhelm another guard who he thought would have the keys that he needed to escape.
It was a daring plan, and it required more men. His list of accomplices started with 33-year-old Marvin Franklin Hubbard. At Alcatraz, he was a kitchen orderly, and late cleanup in the prison kitchen made him a crucial part of Coy's plan.
But Coy figured that he would also need some muscle for his plan to work, and so he recruited some other prisoners to his plan. 29-year-old Mirren Buddy Thompson was an armed robber who showed skill at both getting caught and at escaping. In March of 1945 he was arrested by an Amarillo, Texas police detective.
Thompson had hidden a gun and shot the detective. Clarence Carnes was just 19 years old, the youngest man in Alcatraz. A Choctaw from Oklahoma, he was known as the Choctaw Kid. He had been given a life sentence at just the age of 16 after killing a garage attendant during an attempted holdup. 35-year-old Dutch Kretzer had done his first stint in prison at the age of 16. In the 1930s he had been part of a gang of West Coast bank robbers called the Kretzer-Kyle gang that had earned him a spot as number four on the FBI Most Wanted list. Kretzer then demanded that another prisoner, a friend of his, be included. 37-year-old Sam Shockley had been sentenced to life imprisonment for bank robbery and kidnapping.
Sent to the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, he was found to have an IQ of just 54 and be prone to violent outbursts and an unstable personality. Coy's plan started with guard Burt Burch. Burch patrolled an elevated gun platform that overlooked the C and D blocks.
Burch was armed with a Springfield rifle and a.45 caliber pistol. But Burch had a routine so precise it could be timed. He would leave the C block for a few minutes at specific times and then go look over D block.
That meant that there were a few minutes when C block was not observed. Coy had fabricated a bar spreader, a device that would push two bars apart by turning a screw with a pair of pliers. His plan was to use the time when Burch went to D block to strip off his clothes, shimmy up the bars, use the bar spreader to make a gap big enough to slip through, and waylay Burch as he came back in, taking his guns and getting access to D block to release his co-conspirators.
Coy had been starving himself for weeks in order to make it easier to slip through the gap in the bars. But he also needed to waylay guard William Miller, who watched the C block door, because Miller had a key to the prison yard. By prison rules he wasn't supposed to keep the key but pass it to the guard in the gun cage every time he used it. That was intended to make it impossible for the prisoners to take the key that would let them out into the yard, exactly what Coy hoped to do. But Coy noticed that Miller often did not follow the rule because keeping the key allowed him to let out the kitchen staff without disturbing the gallery guard during lunch. As Hubbard worked in the kitchen, he would have to overpower Miller when he let him out of the kitchen, thus getting the key that Coy hoped would allow them to escape the yard and get to the prison dock, where, using the guns from the locker, they would hijack the boat that carried supplies to the prison and make their escape.
It was a convoluted plan and much could go wrong, but men serving life sentences are desperate men. They made their move on May 2nd, 1946. Coy was in the main block, sweeping up. When Miller opened the door until it hovered out, having finished his kitchen duties, he and Coy jumped Miller, clubbing him over the head. Miller had no gun but he did have a gas billy, a billy club that could also dispense tear gas.
They threw Miller in a cell. They then hurried to where they had stashed the bar spreader and pliers. When Birch made his normal trip to D Block, Coy managed to strip down, shimmy up the bars and use the bar spreader to make a gap wide enough to slip into the gun gallery. Coy attacked Birch immediately as he opened the door. Caught by surprise, Birch was quickly subdued. Coy yanked the rifle from his hands and beat him unconscious with it.
The plan was working so far. Coy went along to the gun gallery to D Block and threatened guard Cecil Corwin with his rifle. He forced Corwin to open the door to the main block, letting in Carnes, Hubbard and Kretzer. They then opened the D Block doors and freed Thompson and Shockley. Other D Block prisoners were also released, but they wisely decided to stay in their cells. The prisoners were convinced their desperate plan was working, but in fact it was already doomed. Guard Miller had figured out what they wanted and had managed to slip the key to the cell yard off the ring and hide it. The gang had no way to get out of the cell block.
The escape attempt had failed. Now it was a hostage situation. The group slowly waylaid other guards as they came in for regular duties or was sent to check on the other missing guards. Eventually they had nine guards stashed in two cells.
But prison authorities were now well aware of what was going on. The group decided that if there was no means for escape, they would go down fighting. The groups started arguing with the guards that they had waylaid. When one of the officers told them they had no chance of escape and would die if they tried, Kretzer told them that the guards would die as well. He shot into the cell. Then Shockley yelled to kill all the hostages, saying they wouldn't have anyone to testify against them.
Kretzer emptied the.45 into the two cells. Six of the officers were injured. Officer Bill Miller later died of his wounds. The guards, playing dead, were terrified that Kretzer would come in and finish the job, but he walked away. Desperately, one of the guards managed to write the names of the six prisoners involved on a cell wall. Warden James Johnson sent in a large and heavily armed force in the afternoon. He managed to drive the prisoners back and rescue the hostages, but a second guard, Harold Stiles, was killed and three more wounded in the melee. The warden now shut off the power and water to the block, which was surrounded with floodlights and wailing sirens. Guards shot tear gas through the windows to keep the men pinned down. Carnes, Shockley and Thompson decided the jig was up and went back to their cells, hoping their involvement would be missed.
But Coy, Hubbard and Kretzer decided to fight to the death. Then Johnston took it up a notch and called in the United States Marine Corps. The Marines used tactics developed to the Pacific against Japanese soldiers in bunkers, drilling holes in the roof and dropping in hand grenades to drive the prisoners to a spot where they could be captured. Three boxes of rifle grenades and 150 hand grenades later, the three prisoners found a phone and called asking about terms for surrender.
Johnston told them that the only terms would be to throw out their guns and give up. When a guard peeked into C block, they shot at him. That was their answer to the warden's demand for surrender. Guards moved in and fired a dozen shots into the utility corridor where the three were thought to be hiding.
In response, they heard three shots. After the last shots of the Battle of Alcatraz, Coy, Hubbard and Kretzer had chosen suicide over capture. In an odd twist, Marvin Hubbard had filed an appeal to his conviction and the hearing for that appeal was held the Monday after he had committed suicide.
A prosecutor in the case said that Hubbard had a fair chance that his conviction would be overturned. Clarence Carnes, Mirren Thompson and Sam Shockley had gone back to their cells, hoping to remain anonymous. Their hope was that Kretzer had killed the hostages, who could identify them as being part of the attempt. But all but one of the hostages had survived. Thompson and Shockley were executed in the gas chamber of nearby San Quentin Prison, December 3rd, 1948.
A judge found sympathy for Clarence Carnes, owing to his age and the fact that the hostages reported that at one point he had refused an order by Kretzer to shoot them. His death sentence was commuted, but another life sentence was added to his term. Despite that, he did manage to eventually earn release in 1973, but he couldn't make it on the outside and violated the terms of his parole. He died in 1988 in the federal penitentiary in Springfield, Missouri. Alcatraz Prison would see several more escape attempts, including the famous incident in June of 1962, where prisoners Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin escaped and were never found. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary closed March 21st, 1963. The buildings were simply rotting due to all the exposure to the salt air and was too expensive to repair, but was already the most expensive prison in the federal system to operate. The former prison was turned into a tourist attraction and today attracts more than one and a half million visitors a year. And great job as always by Greg Hengler. And again, thanks to the History Guy for being a regular and featured contributor here on Our American Stories. The story of the 1946 Battle of Alcatraz, here on Our American Stories.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-16 18:07:59 / 2023-02-16 18:25:01 / 17