Thanks to the hard work of the good folks at the IWW, the Black Rose Historical and Mutual Aid Society, some solid local comrades, and caring anarchists from around the world, Rafael Adames, killed by the LAPD back in 1913 during what came to be known as the Christmas Day Riot, finally has a marker for his grave.
A simple but touching commemoration was held today at Odd Fellows Cemetery in Boyle Heights to acknowledge this fallen comrade. A bit of history of the incident in 1913 was discussed, some of the details about the challenge to actually find the grave site were shared, and a poem from Pluma Roja about Rafael Adames was read.
Police proceeded to hit others in the crowd as they began to disperse. At first the crowd did not fight back. However, angered, the crowd began to respond by pelting the police officers with rocks. Police then began to open fire into the crowd.
The disturbance moved from the fountain in the center of the Plaza to the top of Sanchez Street on the south side of the Plaza near the Pico House. During the commotion, a Mexican anarchist and member of the IWW, Rafael Adames, was shot. The officer that shot him, Alfred Koenigheim, claimed that Adames was pointing a “vicious-looking .38” at a fellow officer. It was for this reason that he claimed he opened fire at Adames. However, no gun was ever found.
Raphael Adames was taken across the street to the IWW headquarters on Los Angeles Street in Chinatown. They laid him down on a bench underneath a picture of Karl Marx, where he soon passed.
Nothing ever changes.
In this current era where the people that run Los Angeles and shape its identity have found it easy to ignore the working class, dismissed the needs of the poor in order to gain favor with tourists and those that benefit from the shitty job industry, it is important to remember that we don’t have to put up with this BS.
One hundred years in our past or in the just-as-ugly present, the same struggles exist, only slightly different. It’s important that we acknowledge Rafael Adames and his part in Los Angeles history. Even if just to remember that we can still write a new page into the books.
If you would like to pay your respects, head over to the Odd Fellows Cemetery on Whittier near Indiana. Click on the link below to guide you to it.
The grave is near the bend of the one road into the cemetery. Where you see the black dot.
Near the guy with the Carta Blanca bottles.