Saturday, April 17

Churchman Reformer

Charles Henry Parkhurst was born on this day in 1842. He would eventually become the pastor of the prominent Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York City. But his greatest renown came when he dared to expose the graft and corruption of Tammany Hall, the powerful political machine that ran the city. He proved his charges of a government-sponsored protection racket by hiring a private detective to accompany him as he went undercover penetrating the city's notorious brothels, gambling halls, and bootleg bars in places like Hell’s Kitchen and the Bowery. Later he combined his efforts with the young Theodore Roosevelt, the city’s novice police commissioner. Together they brought about the first significant reforms in city politics and the administration of justice.

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