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loyalty to the letter and spirit of the President's war-aims. To say that it isn't is to presume to accuse the President of having war-aims other than those which he has set forth in the face of Europe.
Besides, no one can deny that freedom from lynching and disfranchisement and the ending of discriminationby the Red Cross for instance—will strengthen the hand of the administration right now by strengthening its hold on the hearts of the Negro masses and will make all Negroes-soldiers as well as civilians-more competent to give effective aid in winning the war.
Let us assume that we consent to being lynched—“during the war"--and submit tamely and with commendable weakness to being Jim-crowed and disfranchised. Very well. Will not that be the proof of our spirit and of its quality? Of course. And what you call that spirit won't alter its quality, will it? Now, ask all the peoples of all the world what they call a people who smilingly consent to their own degradation and destruction. They call such a people cowards—because they are cowards. In America we call such people "niggers.
Is anyone unpatriotic enough to pretend that “cowards” can lick “Huns”? No, this great world-task can be accomplished only by men-English men, French men, Italian men, American men. Our country needs men now more than it ever did before. And those who multiply its reserve of men are adding to its strength. That is why the true patriots who really love America and want it to win the war are asking America to change its Negroes from “niggers” into men. Surely this is a patriotic request; and any one who says that it isn't must be prepared to maintain that lynching, Jim-crow and disfranchisement are consistent with patriotism and ought to be preserved. Reading the President's proclamations in a reverent spirit, we deny both of these monstrous conclusions; and we believe that we have on our side the President of America, the world's foremost champion of democracy who defined it as "the right of all those who submit to authority to have a VOICE in their
wn government”—whether it be in Germany or in Georgia. And we believe that the splendid spirit of our common country, which has buckled on its sword in support of "democracy” will support us in this reasonable contention. -July, 1918.
Why Is the Red Cross ?
The Red Cross, or Geneva Association, was the product of a Swiss infidel. He saw how cruel to man were those who loved God most—the Christians—and, out of his large humanity and loving kindness, he evolved an organization which should bring the charity of service to lessen the lurid horrors of Christian battlefields.
A love that rose above the love of country—the love of human kind: this was the proud principle of the Red Cross. Its nurses and its surgeons, stretcher-bearers and assistants were supposed to bring relief to those who were in pain, regardless of whether they were “friends" or “enemies.” Discrimination was a word which did not exist for them: and it is not supposed to exist now even as against the wounded German aviator who has bombed a Red Cross hospital.
But, alack and alas! The splendid spirit of the Swiss infidel is seemingly too high for Christian race-prejudice to reach. Where he would not discriminate even against enemies, the American branch of his international society is discriminating against most loyal friends and willing helpers—when they are Negroes. Up to date the Ameri
can Red Cross Society, which receives government aid and co-operation to help win the war, cannot cite the name of a single Negro woman as a nurse. True, it says that it has “enrolled” some. This we refuse to believe. But even if that were true, a nurse "enrolled” cannot save the life of any of our soldiers in France.
The Red Cross says that it wants to win the war. What war? A white people's war, or America's and the world's? It this were a white people's war, as some seem to think, colored troops from Senegal, India, Egypt, America and the West Indies would have been kept out of it. But they were not, and we are driven to conclude that this is a world war. Then why doesn't the American Red Cross meet it in the spirit of the President-of world democracy? The cry goes up for nurses to save the lives of soldiers; yet here are thousands of Negro nurses whom the Red Cross won't accept. They must want to give Europe a "rotten” opinion of American democracy. For we may be sure that these things are known in Europe—even as our lynchings are. And anyone who would give Europe a "rotten" opinion of America at this time is no friend of America.
The American Red Cross must be compelled to do America's work in the spirit in which America has entered the war. There need be no biting of tongues : it must be compelled to forego Race Prejudice. If the N. A. A, C. P. were truly what it pretends instead of a
National Association for the Advancement of Certain People, it would put its high-class lawyers on the job and bring the case into the United States courts. It would charge the American Red Cross with disloyalty to the war-aims of America. And if it does not (in spite of the money which it got from the "silent" protest parade and other moneys and legal talent at its disposal) then it will merit the name which one of its own members gave it—the National Association for the Acceptance of Color Proscription. Get busy, “friends of the colored people"! For we are not disposed to regard the camouflage of those who want nurses but do not want Negro nurses in any other light than that of Bret Harte's Truthful James :
Which I wish to remark
And my language is plain-
And for tricks that are vain
Which the same I am free to maintain.
A Hint of Our Repard" The wisdom of our contemporary ancestors, having decided that “We Negroes must make every sacrifice to help win the war and lay aside our just demands for the present that we may win a shining place on the pages of history,” it must be cold comfort to learn that the first after-the-war schoolbook of American history is out, that it is written by Reuben Gold Thwaites and Calvin Noyes Kendall, that it devotes thirty-one pages to the war and America's part in the war, and that not one word is said of the Negro's part therein.
Of course, sensible men should feel no surprise at this, for they will realize how little the part played by the Negro in the Civil War is known by the millions of white school children who read the school histories. Yet, if there is a spark of manhood left in the bosoms of our "white men's niggers" who sold us out during the war they must feel pained and humiliated when the flood of after-the-war school histories, of which this is the first,
quietly sink the Negro's contributions (as chronicled by Mr. Emmet Scott and others) into the back waters of forgetfulness.
The times change, but we don't change with them.
The Negro at the Peace Congress Now that they have helped to win the war against Germany, the Negro people in these United States feel the absurdity of the situation in which they find themselves. They have given lavishly of their blood and treasure. They have sent their young men overseas as soldiers, and were willing to send their young women overseas as nurses ; but the innate race-prejudice of the American Red Cross prevented them. They have contributed millions of dollars to the funds of this same Red Cross and scores of millions to the four Liberty Loans; and they have done all this to help make the world "safe for democracy" even while in sixteen States of the south in which nine-tenths of them reside, they have no voice in their own government. Naturally they expect that something will have to be done to remove their civil and other disabilities. This expectation of theirs is a just and reasonable one. But-
Now that the world is getting ready for the Peace Congress which is expected to settle the questions about which the war was fought our Negroes want to know if the Peace Congress will settle such questions as those of lynching, disfranchisement and segregation. IT WILL NOT! And why? Simply because the war was not fought over these questions. Even a fool can see that. Lynching, disfranchisement and Jim-crowing in America are questions of American domestic policy and can be regulated only by American law-making and administra