Thousands of articles and perhaps at least two dozen books have been written about the man who was arguable the most influential labor leader in Irish history – James “Big Jim” Larkin. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml and http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html
Widely regarded as an Irish folk hero today, a statue of Larkin graces the center of O’Connell Street in Dublin. All history students in Ireland learn about Larkin’s work to build the union movement of he early 20th Century.
Far less is known, however, about the nine years Jim Larkin spent living in the United States. Larkin had fled to the U.S. to escape the aftermath of the massive failed strike he helped organize – the infamous 1913 Dublin Lockout.
One of the most fascinating and little-known chapters in Larkin’s American experience was a bizarre plot for him to be assassinated and replaced with an impostor! This Larkin substitute was to be sent back to Ireland where he was supposed to concoct a plan that would convince Larkin’s union and socialist associates to get more cozy with Sein Fein. Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia
The latter is a story in itself, but the plot to kill Larkin was foiled in an unusual way. Before the conspirators could get to him, Larkin was arrested by federal agents and thrown in jail on a charge of criminal anarchy. The charge would stick and Larkin was sent to prison – which probably saved his life.
To add intrigue to the story, the names of the four men plotting against Larkin are lost to history. That’s because their names have been redacted from a special report prepared by a federal agents.
The report was obtained by Claire Culleton, a professor of English at Kent State University. Culleton filed a Freedom of Information Request and received a 490-page document which details the intense investigation of Jim Larkin by U.S. authorities.
The original plan of the assassination scheme was to kill Larkin by poisoning. They never go their chance because federal authorities got to him first. After spending three years in New York’s maximum-security prison, Sing Sing, Larkin was pardoned and deported back to Ireland – very much alive.