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to get rid of the free Negroes because, so long as they continued to live here, their freedom was an inducement to the slaves to run away from slavery, and their accomplishments demonstrated to all white people that the Negro (contrary to the claims of the slave-holders) was capable of a higher human destiny than that of being chattels—and this was helping to make American slavery odious in the eyes of the civilized world.
Since that time the dismal farce of “friendship” has been played many times, by politicians, millionaires and their editorial adherents, who have been profuse in giving good advice to the Negro people. They have advised them to "go slow,” that “Rome was not built in a day," and that "half a loaf is better than no bread," that "respect could not be demanded," and, in a thousand different ways have advised them that if they would only follow the counsels of "the good white people” who really had their interests at heart, instead of following their own counsels (as the Irish and the Jews do), all would yet be well. Many Negroes who have a wish-bone where their back-bone ought to be have been doing this. It was as a representative of this class that Mitchell's man, Mr. Fred R. Moore, the editor of The Age, spoke, when in July he gave utterance to the owlish reflection that,
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 public sympathy from the cause of the oppressed.
It was as a fairly good representative of the class of “good white friends of the colored people” that Miss Mary White Ovington, the chairman of the New York Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, sent to The Voice the following bossy and dictatorial note:
My dear Mr. Harrison,
I don't see any reason for another organization, or another paper. If you printed straight socialism it might be different.
MARY W. OVINGTON.
These "good white people” must really forgive us for insisting that we are not children, and that, while we want all the friends we can get, we need no benevolent dictators. It is we, and not they, who must shape Negro policies. If they want to help in carrying them out we will appreciate their help.
Just now the white people even in the South—have felt the pressure of the new Negro's manhood demands, in spite of the fact that backward-looking Negroes like The Age's editor condemn the inflexible spirit of these demands. All over the South, the white papers, scared by the exodus of Negro laborers who are tired of begging for justice overdue, are saying that we are right, and friendlier legislation has begun to appear on Southern statute books. Mr. Mencken and other Southern writers are saying that the Negro is demanding, and that the South had better accede to his just demands, as it is only a matter of time when he will be in position to enforce them. One should think, then, that those who have been parading as our professional friends would be in the van of this manhood movement. But the movement seems to have left them in the rear. Now, that we are demanding the whole loaf, they are begging for half, and are angry at us for going further than they think “nice."
It was the N. A. A. C. P. which was urging us to compromise our manhood by begging eagerly for “Jim Crow" training camps. And the same group is asking, in the November Crisis, that we put a collective power-of-attorney into their hand and leave it to them to shape our national destiny. The N. A. A. C. P. has done much good work for Negroes—splendid work—in fighting lynching and segregation. For that we owe it more gratitude and good will than we owe to the entire Republican party for the last sixty years of its existence. But we cannot, even in this case, abdicate our right to shape more radical policies for ourselves. It was the realization of the need for a more radical policy than that of the N. A. A. C. P. that called into being the Liberty League of Negro Americans. And the N. A. A. C. P., as mother, must forgive its offspring for forging farther ahead.
Then, there is the case of the New York Evening Post, of which Mr. Villard is owner. This paper was known far and wide as “a friend to Negroes.” But its friendship has given way to indifference and worse. In the good old days every lynching received editorial condemnation. But the three great lynchings this year which preceded East St. Louis found no editorial of condemnation in the Post. It was more than luke-warm then. But, alack and alas ! As soon as the Negro soldiers in Houston, goaded to retaliation by gross indignities, did some shooting on their own account, the Evening Post, which had no condemnation of the conduct of the lynchers, joined the chorus of those who were screaming for "punishment” and death. Here is its brief editorial on August 25th:
As no provocation could justify the crimes committed by mutinous Negro soldiers at Houston, Texas, so no condemnation of their conduct can be too severe. It may be that the local authorities were not wholly blameless, and that the commanding officers were at fault in not foreseeing the trouble and taking steps to guard against it. But nothing can really palliate the offence of the soldiers. They were false to their uniform; they were false to their race. In one sense, this is the most deplorable aspect of the whole riotous outbreak. It will play straight into the hands of men like Senator Vardaman who have been saying that it was dangerous to draft colored men into the army. And the feeling against having colored troops encamped in the South will be intensified. The grievous harm which they might do to their own people should have been all along in the minds of the colored soldiers, and made them doubly circumspect. They were under special obligation, in addition to their military oath, to conduct themselves so as not to bring reproach upon the Negroes as a whole, of whom they were in a sort representative. Their criminal outrage will tend to make people forget the good work done by other Negro soldiers. After the rigid investigation which the War Department has ordered, the men found guilty should receive the severest punishment. As for the general army policy affecting colored troops, we are glad to see that Secretary Baker appears to intend no change in his recent orders.
We ourselves cannot forget that while the question of whether the Post's editor would get a diplomatic appointment (like some other editors) was under consideration during the first year of Woodrow Wilson's first administration, the Post pretended to believe that the President didn't know of the segregation practiced in the government departments. The N. A. A. C. P., whose letter sent out at the time is now before us, pretended to the same effect.
After viewing these expressions of frightful friendliness in our own times, we have reached the conclusion that the time has come when we should insist on being our own best friends. We may make mistakes, of course, but we ought to be allowed to make our own mistakesas other people are allowed to do. If friendship is to mean compulsory compromise foisted on us by kindly white people, or by cultured Negroes whose ideal is the imitation of the urbane acquiescence of these white friends, then we had better learn to look a gift horse in the mouth whenever we get the chance.- November, 1917.
Shillady Resigns Mr. John R. Shillady,ex-secretary of the N. A. A. C. P., states in his letter of resignation that “I am less confident than heretofore of the speedy success of the association's full program and of the probability of overcoming within a reasonable period the forces opposed to Negro equality by the means and methods which are within the association's power to employ.” In this one sentence Mr. Shillady, the worker on the inside, puts in suave and serenely diplomatic phrase the truth which people on the outside have long ago perceived, namely, that the N. A. A. C. P. makes a joke of itself when it affects to think that lynching and the other evils which beset the Negro in the South can be abolished by simple publicity. The great weakness of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been and is that, whereas it aims to secure certain results by affecting the minds of white people and making them friendly to it, it has no control over these minds and has absolutely no answer to the question, “What steps do you propose to take if these minds at which you are aiming remain unaffected? What do you propose to do to secure life and liberty for the Negro if the white Southerner persists, as he has persisted for sixty years, in refusing to grant guarantees of life and liberty?" The N. A. A. C. P. has done some good and worth-while work as an organization of protest. But the times call for something more effective than protests addressed to the