“If They Fought As We Work”


“If They Fought As We Work” (January 24, 1964)
by Burris A. Jenkins, Jr. (1897-1966)
11.25 x 15.25 in, ink and crayon on board

Burris Jenkins Jr. was the son of a prominent Kansas City minister, war correspondent and newspaper editor. Jenkins Jr. was a popular sports cartoonist, whose work appeared in the New York Journal-American from 1931. His humorous published verses were also popular. Although best known for his sports themes, Jenkins was also a skilled courtroom illustrator and editorial cartoonist.

Jenkins was not afraid to provoke, and he has some strong WW2 examples, including one of the rare direct commentaries on concentration (death) camps. Among his best-remembered cartoons are his angry piece on the discovery of the dead Lindbergh baby, and his sentimental image of Babe Ruth’s farewell to Yankee Stadium.

He was fired from his first job at the Kansas City Post for a series of pessimistic Christmas cartoons, a firing that prompted his father’s resignation from the same newspaper.

His father was an interesting guy. Jenkins, Sr (1968-1945) was ordained in 1891 and served as a pastor in Indianapolis. He received advanced degrees from Harvard and went on to serve as a professor and president of the University of Indianapolis and president of Kentucky University. He left Kentucky to return to Kansas City as pastor of the Linwood Boulevard Christian Church. The church burned in 1939, and Jenkins chose Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect for the church’s new home overlooking the Country Club Plaza.

Jenkins served as editor of the Kansas City Post from 1919 to 1921, hoping to fight for the establishment of the League of Nations. The Jenkins, Sr., biography tells the story about his leaving the Post slightly differently that for the son: “After two years, it became necessary for him to choose between the newspaper and his pulpit and, without hesitation, he resigned from the Post.”

“Live dangerously!” Jenkins would thunder from the pulpit, embracing his own philosophy against all adversaries. Unconventional in nearly every aspect of his chosen field, Jenkins often preached from non-Biblical texts, such as the latest book or his travels abroad. The church frequently hosted motion pictures, dances, card games, and fundraising boxing matches. These activities led to opposition to Jenkins and his Community Church from other churches in the city.

Rifles Mutiny in Tanganyika

In January 1964, trouble broke out in all four East African territories that had just won independence from Britain.

Tanganyika had been independent for two years, Uganda and Kenya for less, and Zanzibar for only six weeks.

A bloody revolution broke out in Zanzibar on January 11. A week later, it was Tanganyika’s turn when the 1st Battalion Tanganyika Rifles mutinied at Colito Barracks, just outside Dar es Salaam.

On January 24, Ugandan soldiers defied their officers at Jinja barracks. The mutiny in Tanganyika was the result of well-intentioned but muddled policies, as well as failure to detect the resentments of disillusioned troops and the opportunism of activists.

The mutineers at Dar es Salaam had two main grievances. They resented the fact that there were still almost fifty British officers and NCOs employed by the Tanganyikan government to run the fledgling army that had evolved out of the East Africa-wide King’s African Rifles (KAR). The problem was that the British still commanded the new Tanganyika Rifles. This pattern had been successfully followed after the independence of India, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria: but in this case, it had not been clearly enough explained that the presence of these white officers would come to an end in the next year or two.

There was also a pay-dispute. Although the KAR had not been badly paid in comparison with the general population, since independence, the Tanganyika Rifles had fallen behind. The well-planned mutiny succeeded. The British officers and NCOs were bundled out of the country at once; and the Tanganyikan government promptly caved in, awarding a major pay increase, as well as accepting the nominations for new officer appointments decided by the mutineers.

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