B. Reports of Big Ben Parker's
and eye-witness accounts of Parker's acts
1. In an article written
in the Los Angeles Times by George Reasons and Sam Patrick:
"A gigantic negro waiter from the Plaza had been standing
behind Czolgosz awaiting an opportunity in joyous expectation
to shake the president's hand. He stood there, 6 feet 4 inches
tall with 250 pounds of muscular enthusiasm, grinning happily
until he heard the pistol shoot.
With one quick shift of his clenched fist, he knocked the pistol
from the assassin's hand. With another, he spun the man around
like a top and with a third, he broke Czolgosz's nose. A fourth
split the assassin's lip and knocked out several teeth."
2. In the
Sunday 8, 1901 Atlanta Constitution in article entitled "Staggering
From Bullet He Was Calm" with a sub-head reading, "Story
of the Shooting Told By Eyewitness", reported the statement
of the eyewitness,
" I saw the flash followed by the report and then heard
the second shot. Instantly, James Parker, the colored man and
Secret Service Agent Foster were upon Czolgosz and they bore
him to the floor."
3. In the Buffalo
Times September 10, 1901, report came from two Syracuse women,
Mollie A. Jacquin and Miss Elizabeth Mahley tell of the shooting
"The first man to take hold of Czolgosz was the Negro
x Parker. He pushed his way through the crown and struck the
man several times. The Negro seemed infuriated and I believe
he would have killed Czolgosz it he would not have been taken
4. Parker's own remembrance of the event as
told to a reporter from the Buffalo Times began:
" I heard the shots. I did what every citizen of this
country should have done. I am told that I broke his nose- I
wish it had been his neck. I am sorry I did not see him four
seconds before. I don's say that I would have thrown myself before
the bullets. But I do say that the life of the head of this country
is worth more than that of an ordinary citizen and I should have
caught the bullets in my body rather than the President should
get them. I can't tell you what I would have done and I don't
like to have it understood that I want to talk of the matter.
I tried to do my duty. That's all any man can do."
Parker said, " I went to the Temple of Music to hear
what speeches might be made. I got in line and saw the President.
I turned to go away as soon as I learned that there was to be
only a handshaking. The crowd was so thick that I could not leave.
I was startled by the shots. My fist shot out and I hit the man
on the nose and fell upon him, grasping him about the throat.
I believe that if he had not been suffering pain he would have
shot again. I know that his revolver was close to my head. I
did not think about that then though. Then came Mr. Foster, Mr.
Ireland and Mr. Gallagher. There was that marine, too. I struck
the man, threw up his arm and then went for his throat. It all
happened so quickly I can hardly say what happen, except that
the secret service man came right up. Czolgosz is very strong.
I am glad that I am a strong man also or perhaps the result might
not have been what it was."
"I am a Negro, and am glad that the Ethiopian race has
what ever credit comes with what I did. If I did anything, the
colored people should get the credit."
scanned in from the Buffalo Courier.
a scanned in hard copy of news report "He Saved McKinley's
Life" from the Cleveland Gazette, September 14, 1901:
Please note that Parker is misnamed George
Parker in the article below.
Ohio Historical Society
Life after the event was difficult for the hero, also see What happened to Big Ben Parker?