« TrướcTiếp tục »
flagrant violations of your own laws as set forth in this statement. We beg to call your attention to the discrepancy which exists between the public profession of the government that we are lavishing our resources of men and money in this war in order to make the world safe for democracy, and the just as public performances of lynching-bees, Jim-crowism and disfranchisement in which our common country abounds.
We should like to believe in our government's professions of democracy, but find it hard to do so in the presence of the facts; and we judge that millions of other people outside of the country will find it just as hard.
Desirous, therefore, of squaring our country's profession with her performance, that she may not appear morally contemptible in the eyes of friends and foes alike, we, the Negro people of the United States, who have never been guilty of any disloyalty or treason to our government, demand that the nation shall justify to the world her assertions of democracy by setting free the millions of Negroes in the South from political and civil slavery through the enactment of laws which will either take the Negroes under the direct protection of the U. S. Congress by making lynching a Federal crime, or (by legislative mandate) compelling the several States which now deprive the Negroes of their right to self-government, to give them the suffrage as Russia has done for her Jews. We ask this in the name of the American declaration that the world shall be made safe for democracy and fervently pray that your honorable body will not go back upon democracy.
DEMOCRACY AND RACE FRICTION.
The East St. Louis Horror
This nation is now at war to make the world "safe for democracy," but the Negro's contention in the court of public opinion is that until this nation itself is made safe for twelve million of its subjects the Negro, at least, will refuse to believe in the democratic assertions of the country. The East St. Louis pogrom gives point to this contention. Here, on the eve of the celebration of the Nation's birthday of freedom and equality, the white people, who are denoueing the Germans as Huns and barbarians, break loose in an orgy of unprovoked and villainous barbarism which neither Germans nor any other civilized people have ever equalled.
How can America hold up its hands in hypocritical horror at foreign barbarism while the red blood of the Negro is clinging to those hands? so long as the President and Congress of the United States remain dumb in the presence of barbarities in their own land which would tip their tongues with righteous indignation if they had been done in Belgium, Ireland or Galicia?
And what are the Negroes to do? Are they expected to re-echo with enthusiasm the patriotic protestations of the boot-licking leaders whose pockets and positions testify to the power of the white man's gold? Let there be no mistake. Whatever the Negroes may be compelled by law to do and say, the resentment in their hearts will
not down. Unbeknown to the white people of this land a temper is being developed among Negroes with which the American people will have to reckon.
At the present moment it takes this form: If white men are to kill unoffending Negroes, Negroes must kill white men in defense of their lives and property. This is the lesson of the East St. Louis massacre.
The press reports declare that, "the troops who were on duty during the most serious disturbances were ordered not to shoot." The civil and military authorities are evidently winking at the work of the mobs-horrible as that was-and the Negroes of the city need not look to them for protection. They must protect themselves. And even the United States Supreme Court concedes them this right.
There is, in addition, a method of retaliation which we urge upon them. It is one which will hit those white men who have the power to prevent lawlessness just where they will feel it most, in the place where they keep their consciences--the pocket-book. Let every Negro in East St. Louis and the other cities where race rioting occurs draw his money from the savings-bank and either bank it in the other cities or in the postal savings bank. The only part of the news reports with which we are well pleased is that which states that the property loss is already estimated at a million and a half of dollars.
Another reassuring feature is the one suppressed in most of the news dispatches. We refer to the evidences that the East St. Louis Negroes organized themselves during the riots and fought back under some kind of leadership. We Negroes will never know, perhaps, how many whites were killed by our enraged brothers in East St. Louis. It isn't the news-policy of the white newspapers (whether friendly or unfriendly) to spread such news...
broadcast. It might tench Negroes too much. But we will hope for the best.
The occurrence should serve to enlarge rapidly the membership of The Liberts League of Negro Americans which was organized to take practical steps to help our people all over the land in the protection of their lives and liberties. July 4th, 1917.
"Arms and the Man"
In its editorial on "The East St. Louis Horror" The Voice said:
How can America hold up its hands in hypocritical horror at foreign barbarism while the red blood of the Negro is clinging to those hands? So long as the President and Congress of the United States remain dumb in the presence of barbarities in their own land which would tip their tongues with righteous indignation if they had been done in Belgium, Ireland or Galicia?
And what are the Negroes to do? Are they expected to re-echo with enthusiasm the patriotic protestations of the boot-lieking leaders whose pockets and positions testify to the power of the white man's gold? Let there be no mistake. Whatever the Negroes may be compelled by law to do and say, the resentment In their hearts will not down. Unbeknown to the white people of this land a temper is being developed among Negroes with which the American people will have to reckon.
At the present moment it takes this form: If white men are to kill unoffending Negroes, Negroes must kill white men in defence of their lives and property. This is the lesson of the East St. Louis massacre.
To this, the New York Age makes reply in two ways. Its editor, in an interview given to the Tribune, declares that:
The representative Negro does not approve of radical socialistic outbursts, such as calling upon the Negroes to defend themselves against the whites.
And in its editorial of last week it insists that:
No man, or woman either, for that matter, is a friend to the race, who publicly advises a resort to violence to redress the wrongs and injustices to which members of the race are subJected in various sections of the country at the present time.
The Negro race is afflicted with many individuals whose wagging tongues are apt to lead them into indiscreet utterances that reflect upon the whole race. The unruly tongues should not be allowed to alienate publie sympathy from the cause of the oppressed.
Now, although The Voice seeks no quarrel with The Ipe, we are forced to dissent from this cringing, ohsequious view which it champions. And we do this on the ground that cringing has gone out of date, that The Age's view does not now represent any influential or important section of Negro opinion. The group which once held that view went to pieces when Dr. Washington died. The white papers in their news items of last week gave instance after instance showing that Negroes not only counselled self-defense, but actually practiced it. (And The Age, by the way, was the only Negro paper in New York City which excluded these items from its news columns.) If the press reports are correct, then The Polce told the simple truth when it spoke of the new temper which was being developed "unbeknown to the white people of this land.” And an outsider might conclude that The Voice was a better friend to the white people by letting them know this, than The Age was by trying to lie about it.
But the controversy goes much deeper than the question of candor and truthfulness. The Age and The Voice join issue on this double question: Have Negroes a right to defend themselves against whites? Should they defend themselves? (And this, of course, means violence.) The Voice answers, "Yes!" The Age answers "No!" Who is to decide? Let us appeal to the courts. Every law-book