“…Until Justice Rolls Down Like Waters and Righteousness Like a Mighty Stream”

Charles Moore, Martin Luther King arrest in Montgomery, Alabama, 1958 (2011.24.4)

Benedict J. Fernandez, Dr. King addresses the New Politics Convention at the Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, October 1967 (76.1990)

Unidentified photographer, [Rev. H. Ralph Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rev. Ralph Abernathy, at a civil rights march, Memphis], March 1968 (2012.97.2)

Abernathy Dies– The Rev. Ralph Abernathy, right and the Rev. H. Ralph Jackson, left, flank Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during a civil rights march in Memphis, Tenn., in March, 1968. Abernathy died Tuesday at a hotel in Atlanta. He was 64.

Ernest Withers, Sanitation Workers Assemble in Front of Clayborn Temple for a Solidarity March, Memphis, Tennessee, March 28, 1968 (2010.72.1)

“I Am A Man” was the theme for Community On The Move For Equality (C.O.M.E.) which spearheaded the Sanitation Workers’ Strike. This was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s last march.

Benedict J. Fernandez, Memphis, Tennessee, April 6, 1968 (68.1990)

Eli Reed, [Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Montgomery, Alabama], 1995 (2013.102.4)

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“Noon-day crowds were spectators at a wild melodrama of barking guns and sudden death”

Charles Hoff, [Police escorting Anthony Esposito from prison ward at Bellevue Hospital to a line-up at police headquarters, New York], January 16, 1941 (2012.16.2)

Charles Hoff, [Anthony Esposito leaving police headquarters for District Attorney’s office and then to his arraignment, New York], January 16, 1941 (2012.16.1)

New York Daily News, January 15, 1941, p. 1 (Photo by Max Peter Haas)

After sensational gun battle, passersby (rear) subdue William Esposito, killer-bandit. He has just fatally wounded Patrolman Maher (on sidewalk) and wounded hero cab driver (foreground). Scene 35th St. Fifth Ave. Killer’s brother was also captured.

After a spectacular sidewalk gun battle, passersby (rear) subdue William Esposito, killer-bandit, who struggles to get free although he is wounded. He had just shot Patrolman Maher (stretched out). Maher died. Struggling to rise (foreground) is cab driver Leonard Weisberg, shot in throat by William, when he came to the aid of Maher. Spectator at right holds one of the bandits guns. The killer’s partner-in-crime – his brother, Anthony – was also captured.

New York Daily News, January 15, 1941, pp. 30-31 (Photos by Max Peter Haas)

Noon-day crowds at 35th St. and Fifth Ave. yesterday were spectators at a wild melodrama of barking guns and sudden death as two brothers vainly tried to shoot their way to freedom after committing a $649 payroll robbery. They killed the possessor of the money, killed a policeman, and critically injured a heroic cab driver. Both were captured, one of them punctured by a cop’s bullet.

Life, January 27, 1941, pp. 28-29 (photos by Max Peter Haas)

Murder in Manhattan
Sicilian Killers Captured After Gun Battle in Fifth Avenue Shopping Area.

In January 14 two savage little men walked in the sun at noon with murder in their hearts… Next morning a tempest of revulsion swept New York. Police Commissioner Valentine branded the Esposito brothers “mad dogs.” A probation report disclosed their evil records of crime, truancy and utterly irresponsible and anti-social behavior. Their father, a Sicilian immigrant, had served time in prison. Two sisters were shoplifters. One brother lodged currently in jail. Their mother was a doting shiftless woman who had abetted from boyhood their hatred of the police and of law. In a prison ward, recovering from their wounds, the Espositos cursed, raged and wept in explosive orgies of self-pity. As officials moved to bring them to quick trial, they abruptly turned mute, stared blankly when people asked questions, hummed tunelessly. It was evident insanity would be their plea.
Life, January 27, 1941, pp. 28-29

PM, April 10, 1941, pp. 16-17 (photos by Max Peter Haas)

‘Mad Dog’ Trial Today Climax to These Photos

This may be the greatest series of crime pictures ever made. Taken by Max Peter Haas, it shows the “mad dog” shooting rampage near Fifth Ave. and 35th St., Jan 14.

Today the principals in this thriller William and Anthony Esposito, go on trial for murder in New York Supreme Court.

The Esposito brothers, who killed two men and seriously wounded a third in the running gun battle with the police, intend to base their defense on an insanity plea.

A main feature of the insanity defense was to have been the disheveled appearance of the killers, who have refused to shave or bathe for eleven weeks. Yesterday this setup was smashed, when, by court order, the two boys were barbered and washed…

12. Max Haas took 12 picturess. This is the first time all have been published in sequence. His last picture shows Leonard Weisberg, heroic taxi driver.
PM, April 10, 1941, p. 16

In the shadow of the Empire State Building the scene of the crime was the block around B. Altman & Co. The space between and the perimeter of 34th St., Madison Ave., 35th St., and Fifth Ave., Manhattan, New York City, New York. (Now home to CUNY Grad Centre and NYPL’s Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL), Oxford University Press, etc.)

Espositos Guilty of 5th Ave. Murder
Jury Deliberates a Minute – Brothers to Hear Death Sentences Wednesday
The New York Times, May 2, 1941

William and Anthony Esposito were convicted of first-degree murder on May 1, 1941. They were sentenced to death. A week later they were brought to Sing Sing to die. After a death stay and an appeal hearing, after hunger strikes and force feedings, after being bedridden for ten months, the Esposito brothers were brought to the execution chamber in wheel chairs on March 13, 1942. They “had to be lifted from the wheel chair to the electric chair.” Two guards lifted Anthony (who never fired a shot) into the electric chair at 11:03 and he was dead at 11:06. Two guards lifted William into the electric chair at 11:08 and he was dead at 11:11.

Feeble Espositos Carried To Chair
“Mad Killers,” Keeping Insanity Pose to End, are Wheeled to Death Chamber
Brothers, Weak From Refusal to Eat or Exercise, Die for Ruthless Crimes
The New York Times, March 13, 1942

People who risked their lives to assist the police were honored in a ceremony at City Hall on November 21, 1942. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia gave the main speech and the ceremony was broadcast on WNYC radio. Honorees included fifty-seven taxi drivers who received commendations, certificates, and $10 – compensation for losing a day of work to attend the ceremony. Forty civilians “received scrolls of honor,” including six people who helped capture William and Anthony Esposito just off Fifth Avenue and Thirty-fifth Street on January 14,1941. Crime doesn’t pay; selfless, good deeds do.

Police Honors Go To Civilians Today
Six Who Helped in Capture of Esposito Desperados to Receive Scrolls
The New York Times, November 21, 1942

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“He looked like a sullen, surly, snarling animal”

Bandit Killer Cringes Leaving Hospital
Extreme anguish was registered by Anthony Esposito today as city detectives, one handcuffed to each wrist and one at his collar, assisted the “mad-dog” gunman from Bellevue Hospital on his way to the police line-up. Doctors said Esposito really wasn’t in great pain. (Photo by Leo Lieb)

PM, January 16, 1941, pp.1 and 32 (Photos by Leo Lieb and Weegee)

Gunman Doesn’t Want His Picture Taken

For the first time since Bruno Richard Hauptmann, police today permitted photographers in the line-up room at headquarters. The subject was Anthony Esposito, under indictment with his brother, William, for the murder of a business man and a policeman in Tuesday’s tragic Battle of Fifth Ave. The angry gunman ducked after Weegee took the above.

The detectives, manacled to Esposito, didn’t want their names or pictures in the papers. They obliged by turning around, holding the gunman by head and arm so he couldn’t duck again. The yard-stick (top photo) on the line-up platform, where Esposito had stood, refusing to answer questions. “He looked like a sullen, surly, snarling animal,” Weegee reported. “He stumbled and sagged over to one side like a drunk.”
PM, January 16, 1941, p.32 (Photos by Weegee)

Weegee, [Anthony Esposito, booked on suspicion of killing a policeman, New York], January 16, 1941 (wn.2195)

Weegee, Naked City, 1945, pp.162-163

In the Line-Up Room
This guy killed a cop in a hold up. First he got a black eye… then the electric chair in Sing Sing prison…

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“The Homicidal ‘Corpse’ – A Bloody Melodrama Enacted on the Sidewalks of New York”

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle, gunman and crowd, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.2)

7. Baxter, the Altman doorman, continues to hold Esposito’s foot as police come up. He and the spectators are looking at the arrival of another squad car. The policeman watches Esposito.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle, Anthony Esposito and police, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.11)

9. Max Haas, photographer, swings his camera eye across the street where other police have grabbed snarling Anthony Esposito, Patrolman Cotter holds one of his three guns.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle, Anthony Esposito and police, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.4)

10. Swarthy Anthony. Police Commissioner Valentine called him and his brother “mad dogs.” They have long police records. Their father served time, their sisters were shoplifters.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle, Police and Anthony Esposito, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.6)

11. Anthony cursed and wept in an orgy of self-pity after police grabbed him. Later he and his brother turned mute, stared blankly when talked to and let their beards grow.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle, Leonard Weisberg, police, and Anthony Esposito, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.1)

12. Max Haas took 12 pictures. This is the first time all have been published in sequence. His last picture shows Leonard Weisberg, heroic taxi driver.

PM, January 15, pp. 18-19 (Photos by Irving Haberman and John Muller)

2 Killed, 3 Shot in 5th Ave. Holdup… Here’s How It Happened

PM’s story of crime-doesn’t-pay tragedy at Fifth Ave. and 34th St. is narrated herewith in pictures, diagram and captions.

Joseph [Anthony] and Angelo [William] Esposito, brothers who also called themselves Di Stefano, are in the prison ward at Bellevue, may die in the electric chair for the shooting spree that cost the lives of a linen merchant and a policeman, and struck at the foundations of serval law-abiding New York families.

These savage gunmen are the gunmen are the sons of an Italian immigrant, Vincenzo Esposito, who came from Casteltermini, an inland town in Sicily, when Joseph was a baby. Esposito opened a grocery store in First Ave., near 12th St., died in 1927, leaving three sons Joseph [Anthony], Angelo [William], Emanuel, and a stepson Nino.

All were bad, vicious movie-type Dead-End kids, gun-toters in their teens, problems for the police. Emanuel and Nino are now in Sing-Sing.

For journalism’s most vivid story of Death in Fifth Ave., PM recommends its readers to today’s Daily News. Max Peter Haas, German-born photographer, was filling his Leica camera in his office in the European Picture Service, 353 Fifth Ave., when he heard shooting.

When he reached the street, two men were stretched out on the sidewalk, citizens were struggling with a man they’d captured. Mr. Haas snapped 14 [or 12] shots, rushed back to his office and fainted from the excitement. He revived in time to sell his pictures to the News for $750.
PM, January 15, 1941, p. 18

He’s not dead

Angelo [William] Esposito lies on 35th St. after the battle has subsided. He’s not dead. He was shot in the Leg during the chase and kicked in the head and face by passersby. Cops arrived in time to rescue him from crowds, Photographer John Muller, who took this picture, was on his way to a camera repair shop when the shooting began. He ran to his 40th St. office, grabbed some equipment and got back in time to make this photo. Angelo [William] Esposito was removed to the prison ward of Bellevue in an ambulance with a woman surgeon (right). Both he and his brother, who’s also there. are doing well. Patrolman Maher, who Angelo [William] killed, was about to retire after 29 years. Leonard Weisberg, the cab driver, is in critical condition. Mueller, the bank guard, is expected to recover. The Esposito brothers are hardened criminals. Both served time in Sing Sing. At Bellevue, police say, one brother snarled at a priest: “Go away. I was through with you guys 30 years ago.”
PM, January 15, 1941, p. 19

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“The Greatest Series of Crime Pictures Ever Made”

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.7)

1. First picture of series was shot as crowd pulled William Esposito away from body of Patrolman Maher (in background). Close to camera is Leonard Weisberg, taxi driver, lying on sidewalk.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle; dead Edward Maher and injured Leonard Weisberg, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.8)

2. The wounded taxi driver and the dead policeman are momentarily forgotten by the men subduing Esposito. Most of them are friends of Maher and Weisberg.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.5)

3. Esposito has been pushed against the wall of Altman’s department store. the taxi driver standing beside the spectator opening the policeman’s coat has the gunman’s gun in his hand.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle; attending to Edward Maher, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.9)

4. This has happened within a few seconds. The spectators are just learning that Patrolman Maher is dead. Note the gun in his holster; he had shot Esposito but didn’t kill him.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle; crowd above injured William Esposito, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.10)

5. A closer shot under Altman’s windows: George Baxter, doorman, who helped overpower Esposito, is keeping his grip on the gunman’s leg. The spectator is holding another of Esposito’s guns.

Max Peter Haas, [Sidewalk gun battle, 35th St., New York], January 14, 1941 (2016.4.3)

6. The police have arrived and quickly cleared the crowd away from the tragic scene. The man covering the slain patrolman’s face, arranging the patrolman’s cap, is a plainclothes detective.

“2 Killed, 3 Shot in Fifth Ave. Holdup…”

The time: About 12:30 PM – lunchtime for millions of workers, shoppers, New Yorkers.
The date: Tuesday, January 14th 1941.
The place: The crowded block around B. Altman & Co. department store, bound by 34th St. to the south, Madison Ave. to the east, 35th St. to the north, Fifth Ave. to the west, in Manhattan, New York City, New York.
The weather: Fair and cold, about 25 degrees.

Alfred J. Klausman, an office manager, withdrew $649 dollars for payroll, from the Irving Trust Company, on Fifth Avenue near 34th St., below the Empire State Building, like he did every Tuesday. He put the cash in a brown paper bag. As he was returning to Kemp & Beatley, Inc., linen dealers, 6 East 34th St., Anthony and William Esposito followed closely behind. The Esposito brothers, wearing grey overcoats, followed Klausman into the elevator. They both pulled out their revolvers and told the elevator operator, George Greve, to stop between the second and third floor. They demanded money from Klausman. Hugging the money bag Klausman refused, saying “No! No!” William Esposito shot him in the head and grabbed the brown bag of money. Klausman’s dark red blood lingered on the light linoleum. The brothers ran across the street into the large, crowded, and increasingly chaotic B. Altman & Co. department store; they ran through the store to the exit on Madison Avenue. They got in a taxi but the taxi was stuck in noontime traffic. The brothers left the taxi, leaving behind a gun, and ran up Madison Ave., then west on 35th St. Patrolman Edward Maher chased them and shot William in the leg, near the corner of Fifth Ave. As William, “the wounded bandit,” lay on the sidewalk, “playing possum,” Maher went up to him, put his gun in his holster, and bent over him. William fired three times and killed the officer. Leonard Weisberg, one of many heroic civilians, jumped on William and tried to take his gun but William shot him in the throat. Anthony ran into a crowded Woolworth’s, five-and-ten-cent store, across Fifth Ave. and was apprehended (and beaten) by the police. The Esposito brothers were arrested and taken to the prison ward at Bellevue.

Alfred J. Klausman, 55, office manager, was shot dead. Edward F. Maher, 52, patrolman, was shot dead. Leonard Weisberg, 39, cab driver, was gravely injured. William Mueller, bank guard, was shot in the left shoulder. William Esposito, 33, alias Angelo Distefano, was the younger brother and did all the shooting. Anthony Esposito, 35, alias Joseph Distefano, was the older brother and never fired a shot.

Max Peter Haas, 33, photographer, was in the third floor office of the European Picture Service, 353 Fifth Avenue, just south of B. Altman’s, a little after noon, on Tuesday, January 14th, 1941. He heard gunshots, looked out a window, saw people running, and immediately rushed to the scene below with a 35mm “loaded Leica.” Being in the right place at the right time with a camera, he risked his life, not knowing if he was going to get shot while shooting. Max Peter Haas made 12 photographs in about four minutes. The photos were published widely, including The Daily News, PM, Life magazine, and distributed by European Picture Service. The Daily News bought them for $750 (approximately $13,363 today). This blog post (and the next one tomorrow) is presumably the second time all (almost all, except number 8) have been published in sequence. The Esposito brothers had six guns and over 115 bullets. The photographer had one camera and twelve shots. Crime doesn’t pay, photography does.

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Grand Canyon

Karl F. Struss, [Grand Canyon], 1919 (2014.56.7)

John Blaustein, Granite Falls on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, 1972 (340.1981)

Michael A. Smith, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 1984 (2009.93.5)

Patrick Nagatani, Mercedes, Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.A, 1994 (2013.108.31)

President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a United States National Monument on January 11, 1908. It became a National Park in 1919.

The Grand Canyon National Park roads, lookouts, and trails are accessible to the public during the partial government shutdown.

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Wartime in New York: Weegee’s Signs of War

Weegee, [Signs on car windshield, New York], January 11, 1943 (15314.1993)

Somebody had a leak in the mechanical refrigerator, so-o-o…

Weegee, [Sign on car windshield, New York], January 11, 1943 (15316.1993)

Coast Guard keeps sign on reverse side of adjustable sunshade.

Weegee, [Sign on plumber’s truck, New York], January 11, 1943 (15317.1993)

Plumber’s emergency service car, plainly identified.

Weegee, [Sign on car windshield, New York], January 11, 1943 (15315.1993)

Hand-made sign explains a service man’s situation.

Weegee, [Sign on car windshield, New York], January 11, 1943 (15318.1993)

Special dispensation for service men on leave.

PM, January 11, 1943, p.5

Wartime New York:
Pleasure Driving Ban Raises Crop of Windshield Excuses

The few automobiles that must be about on business or other legitimate errands attract eagle eyed cops and OPA [Office of Price Administration] investigators. To keep out of trouble, drivers decorate windshield with notes and signs. Examples on this page were found in the midtown district by Weegee.
PM, January 11, 1943, p.5

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