On August 1st, 1938 over two hundred men and women belonging to several different labor unions attempted to peacefully demonstrate against the arrival of the SS Waialeale in Hilo. They were met by a force of over seventy police officers who tear gassed, hosed and finally fired their riot guns into the crowd, hospitalizing fifty of the demonstrators. This is the story of that bloody confrontation and the events that led up to what has come to be known in the annals of Hawaiian labor history as the Hilo Massacre.
The account contained here is based largely on the press reports in the Hilo Tribune Herald and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, interviews with over a dozen survivors and eye-witnesses, and a new, critical evaluation of the report to Governor Poindexter by Attorney General Joseph V. Hodgson made possible by the author's recent discovery in the State Archives of Hodgson's original case files. [97 pages]