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the meeting, the following resolutions were adopted and a petition to Congress was prepared and circulated. In addition the meeting sent a telegram to the Jews of Russia, congratulating them upon the acquisition of full political and civil rights and expressing the hope that the United States might soon follow the democratic example of Russia.
Resolutions Passed at the Liberty League Meeting Two thousand Negro-Americans assembled in mass-meeting at Bethel A. M. E. Church to protest against lynching in the land of liberty, and disfranchisement in the home of democracy have, after due deliberation, adopted the following resolutions and make them known to the world at large in the earnest hope that whenever the world shall be made safe for democracy our corner of that world will not be forgotten.
We believe that this world war will and must result in a larger measure of democracy for the peoples engaged thereinwhatever may be the secret ambitions of their several rulers.
We therefore ask, first, that when the war shall be ended and the council of peace shall meet to secure to every people the right to rule their own ancestral lands free from the domination of tyrants, domestic and foreign, the similar rights of the 250,000,000 Negroes of Africa be conceded. Not to concede them this is to lay the foundation for more wars in the future and to saddle the new democracies with the burden of a militarism greater than that under which the world now groans.
Secondly, we, as Negro-Americans who have poured out our blood freely in every war of the Republic, and upheld her flag with undivided loyalty, demand that since we have shared to the full measure of manhood in bearing the burdens of democracy we should also share in the rights and privileges of that democracy.
And we believe that the present time, when the hearts of ninety millions of our white fellow-citizens are aflame with the passionate ardor of democracy which has carried them into the greatest war of the age with the sole purpose of suppressing autocracy in Europe, is the best time to appeal to them to give to twelve millions of us the elementary rights of democracy at home.
For democracy, like charity, begins at home, and we find it hard to endure without murmur and with the acquiescence of our government the awful evils of lynching, which is a denial of the right to life; of segregation, Jim Crowism and peonage, which are a denial of the right to liberty; and disfranchisement, which is a denial of justice and democracy.
And since Imperial Russia, formerly the most tyrannous government in Europe, has been transformed into Republican Russia, whereby millions of political serfs have been lifted to the level of citizenship rights; since England is offering the meed of political manhood to the hitherto oppressed Irish and the down-trodden Hindu; and since these things have helped to make good the democratic assertions of these countries of the old world now engaged in war;
Therefore, be it resolved :
That we, the Negro people of the first republic of the New World, ask all true friends of democracy in this country to help us to win these same precious rights for ourselves and our children.
That we invite the government's attention to the great danger which threatens democracy through the continued violation of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, which is a denial of justice and the existence of mob-law for Negroes from Florida to New York;
That we intend to protest and to agitate by every legal means until we win these rights from the hands of our government and induce it to protect democracy from these dangers, and square the deeds of our nation with its declarations;
That we create adequate instruments for securing these ends and make our voice heard and heeded in the councils of our country, and
That copies of these resolutions be forwarded to the Congress of the United States and to such other public bodies as shall seem proper to us.
The Liberty League's Petition to the House of Representatives
of the United States, July 4, 1917
We, the Negro people of the United States, loyal to our country in every respect, and obedient to her laws, respectfully petition your honorable body for a redress of the specific grievances and 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. W ask his 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 denouncing 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