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THE FIGHT AGAINST LYNCHING***


E-text prepared by David Edwards, Keith Edkins, and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made
available by Villanova University Digital Library
(http://digital.library.villanova.edu)



Note:
Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

The spelling of the U.S. state name as "Louisana" has
not been corrected as it is consistently used for all 5
references to the state.





THE FIGHT AGAINST LYNCHING

Anti-Lynching Work of the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People for the Year Nineteen Eighteen







Reprinted from the Ninth Annual Report
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
70 Fifth Avenue, New York

April, 1919

Price Ten Cents


* * * * * *


LYNCHING PAMPHLETS*


PRESIDENT WILSON'S LYNCHING AND MOB VIOLENCE PRONOUNCEMENT (of July 26,
1918).

LYNCHINGS OF MAY, 1918, IN BROOKS AND LOWNDES COUNTIES, GEORGIA; an
investigation by the N. A. A. C. P.; 8 pages.

THE MASSACRE OF EAST ST. LOUIS; an account of an Investigation by W. E.
BURGHARDT DU BOIS and MARTHA GRUENING, for the N. A. A. C. P.,
illustrated, 20 pages, reprinted from _The Crisis_ for September, 1917.

THE BURNING OF ELL PERSON AT MEMPHIS, TENN.; an account taken from the
Memphis daily papers of May 22, 23, 24 and June 3, 1917; 4 pages.

THE BURNING OF ELL PERSON AT MEMPHIS, TENN.; an investigation by James
Weldon Johnson for the N. A. A. C. P.; reprinted from _The Crisis_ for
July, 1917; 8 pages.

THE LYNCHING OF ANTHONY CRAWFORD (at Abbeville, S. C., October 21, 1916).
Article by ROY NASH (then) Secretary, N. A. A. C. P.; reprinted from the
_Independent_ for December, 1916; 4 pages, large size.

NOTES ON LYNCHING IN THE UNITED STATES, compiled from _The Crisis_, 1912;
16 pages.

THIRTY YEARS OF LYNCHING IN THE UNITED STATES, 1889-1918, April, 1919;
circa 100 pages, fifteen cents.

* Copies of the pamphlets listed may be obtained from the Secretary
of the Association.

* * * * * *



ANTI-LYNCHING COMMITTEE

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT
OF COLORED PEOPLE


WILLIAM ENGLISH WALLING, _Chairman_
JOHN R. SHILLADY, _Secretary_
PHILIP G. PEABODY
MOORFIELD STOREY
ARCHIBALD H. GRIMK√Č
W. E. B. DU BOIS
MARY WHITE OVINGTON

FOREWORD


The anti-lynching work of the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People is carried on as a part of the activities of the Association
under the direction of the Association's Anti-Lynching Committee, whose
names appear elsewhere.

This work was made possible in the beginning through an initial
contribution of $1,000 made by Mr. Philip G. Peabody, of Boston, Mass., in
the fall of 1916, toward a fund of $10,000 to be used in a vigorous
campaign against the lynching evil. The Association's president, Mr.
Moorfield Storey, contributed a second $1,000 and as the result of a
wide-spread appeal an amount slightly in excess of $10,000 over and above
the cost of the appeal was subscribed. The Association is endeavoring to
raise approximately $10,000 annually to carry on this work.

The principal activities of the anti-lynching campaign include:

Investigation of as many of the lynchings as possible.

Publication and distribution of the investigator's findings and of other
data concerning lynching.

Inquiries and protests whenever lynchings occur, to governors, sheriffs
and other state and local authorities by telegraph and letter, and, in
selected cases, amounting in the aggregate to a considerable number,
appeals to leading chambers of commerce urging them to demand that their
governors and other officials take legal action against lynchers.

Press publicity of such inquiries and protests and of the results of the
Association's investigations and other matter of current "news" interest
in order thus to create public sentiment against lynching.

Research into the facts regarding past lynchings.

Collection of press and editorial comment on lynching in general and on
particular lynchings.

Study of causes and remedies for lynching.

Efforts to secure specific legislation to prevent lynching.

Continuous agitation of the subject through the columns of the
Association's organ, _The Crisis_ and through meetings and addresses upon
every appropriate occasion.

Generally to keep the evil of lynching before the American people as a
live issue and to offer a constructive program for its abolition.

The Association, through its president and secretary, acting for the
Anti-Lynching Committee, took the initiative in promoting a National
Conference on Lynching which will be held in New York City on the fifth and
sixth of May, 1919, for the purpose of focusing the attention of the nation
on this blot upon America's fair name and of working out an effective,
constructive program for its abolition. This conference has been called by
one hundred and twenty leaders of American opinion, it being judged best
that the conference be called by distinguished Americans rather than by the
Association itself, or the Anti-Lynching Committee, in order that the
appeal might not be hampered in the minds of anyone by its association with
the work of an organization devoted to the interests of the Negro, and to
which there might be opposition on that account.

Among the signers of this call are the attorney general of the United
States, five governors, one of them, Governor Hugh M. Dorsey of Georgia, a
southern governor, four ex-governors, one of these, Hon. Emmet O'Neal of
Alabama, from the South, two ex-attorney generals of the United States,
nine university presidents, the president of the American Bar Association,
a number of leading lawyers of national reputation of the country,
including Elihu Root and Charles Evans Hughes, Cardinal Gibbons and leading
churchmen and representative colored leaders. Nineteen of the signers of
the call are representatives leaders of southern white liberal opinion.

The Association urgently appeals for financial support in its constructive
efforts to stamp out lynching in the United States.

JOHN R. SHILLADY, _Secretary_

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT
OF COLORED PEOPLE




THE FIGHT AGAINST LYNCHING

"I therefore very earnestly and solemnly beg that the governors of all
the states, the law officers of every community, and above all, the men
and women of every community in the United States, all who revere America
and wish to keep her name without stain or reproach, will co-operate, not
passively merely, but actively and watchfully to make an end of this
disgraceful evil. It cannot live where the community does not countenance
it."

July 26, 1918. WOODROW WILSON.


COMMENT BY THE WAY

An increased executive and clerical staff has permitted the Association to
devote more time and thought to its Anti-Lynching work and to conduct a
more energetic campaign for legal trial of Negro alleged offenders, than in
any previous year of the Association's history. Lynching is rapidly
becoming a national issue. Under the stress of war time, mob violence has
menaced communities heretofore relatively immune. Four white men were
lynched in 1918. And yet, when all the facts are summed up, and we would be
the last to minimize the evil of mob violence or to excuse it in the least
degree, _the lynching of Negroes by whites_ is the outstanding fact in the
situation.

Sixty-three Negroes are known to have died at the hands of white mobs
during 1918, as we point out in succeeding pages. These lynchings might
well be regarded as evidences of civil war were it not that _up to this
time_ the Negroes have not retaliated in kind. In the absence of combined
action by Negroes forcibly to protect members of their race, the lynching
of black men and women by white men for all causes and no cause, so far as
crimes are concerned, can only be compared, although in lesser degree, to
Russian pogroms against Jews under the Tzarist regime, or to Turkish
attacks upon the Armenians.

We would deeply deplore the forcible defense of Negroes by other Negroes,
since it would perhaps lead to sanguinary conflicts between the lower
element of whites and the Negroes, but no sane observer can fail to reflect
that either white men, who make and enforce the laws, must stop mob attacks
upon black men, no matter what reason may be given for the attacks, or
confess themselves unable to maintain law and order and protect _all_
citizens from unlawful attack. No class of citizens can be denied the
protection of the law with impunity.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People fights this
evil, as others in its program, with spiritual and legal weapons. Its
appeal is to the heart, the mind, the conscience of America. It insists
upon "ordered law and humane justice," to quote a phrase used by President
Wilson in his appeal to the country against lynching. It has hoped that the
better South would rouse itself and wipe out this terrible blot upon its
honor. But the wait has been a long one. Can the Negro depend upon securing
_his day in court_ so long as he has no say as to who sits upon the bench,
in the jury box, or who becomes the sheriff or chief of police? Think it
over in the light of experience, ye voters and students of history and
politics!


EXTENT OF THE LYNCHING EVIL[1]

_Previous to 1918_

The records show that from 1885 to 1917, both inclusive, approximately
3,740 lynchings have occurred in the United States. Two thousand seven
hundred and forty-three (2,743) of this number have had colored persons as
victims and nine hundred and ninety-seven (997) have been white. The
relative percentages of white and colored victims for the 33 years covered
is 26 per cent, white; 74 per cent, colored.

Assuming that the record for the earlier years is less accurate than for
the later period, because of many factors (all lynching figures are
probably minimum), the figures for the 18 years, 1900 to 1917, both
inclusive, are given. Fourteen hundred and twenty-seven (1,427) lynchings
are recorded for the period named. Twelve hundred and forty-one (1,241) of
these (86.7 per cent) were Negroes; 186 (13.3 per cent) were white. The
relative decrease of white victims is marked.

The victims of the East St. Louis mob riots of July, 1917, are excluded, as
are those of the mob riot at Chester, Pa. The number of victims at East St.
Louis has been estimated at as many as 175. In the report of the
Congressional Investigating Committee (House Document No. 1,231, 65th
Congress, 2nd Session) the Committee says that "at least 39 Negroes and 8
white people were killed outright, and hundreds of Negroes were wounded and
maimed."[2]


_During 1918_

During 1918, 63 Negroes and 4 white persons were lynched, as established by
well authenticated evidence.[3] The Executive Office has been advised of a
probable increase of this figure by 12 cases of which it is said that
confirmation of lynching can be obtained, but, as the Executive Office has
been unable to investigate these cases, they have, of course, been excluded
from our figures.

An Association staff member, while in the South studying special problems,
was informed by reliable colored people in Georgia that twelve unreported
cases (in the press or elsewhere) have occurred since the Association
investigated the Brooks and Lowndes Counties, Georgia, lynching orgy of
May, 1918, and that the only apparent effect in Georgia of the President's
lynching pronouncement of July 26th last, has been an apparently concerted
agreement on the part of press and authorities to keep all news regarding
lynchings out of the Georgia press. Lending some color to this charge, is
the fact that, so far as we are aware, no Georgia daily has at any time
since May, 1918, published any account of the investigation made by the
Association or of the fact that 17 names of mob leaders were put in the
hands of Governor Dorsey, despite the considerable press comment in the
press of other states.

One of our Texas branches (Houston) reported the case of one alleged victim
of a mob who was buried secretly and no publicity given to the facts. The
branch's president had written to the acting-governor requesting an
investigation of the circumstances.[4] Finally, some lynchings which do not
get into the press, are not carried beyond the immediate neighborhood,
sometimes a very small one, unless there is some unusual feature to
distinguish the event.


DISTRIBUTION OF THE 1918 LYNCHINGS

During 1918 lynchings have occurred in the following states:[5]

Alabama 3
Arkansas 3
California 1
Florida 2
Georgia 19
Kentucky 1
Louisana 9
Illinois 1
Mississippi 7
North Carolina 2
Oklahoma 1
South Carolina 1
Tennessee 4
Texas 11[6]
Virginia 1
Wyoming 1
- -
67

OFFENSES CHARGED AGAINST THE 1918 VICTIMS[7]

_Negroes_
"Attacks on white women" 13
"Attacks on colored women" 1
"Living with white woman" 1
"Too revolting to publish" 2
"Shooting and killing officer of law" 10
"Murder of civilian" 14
"Shooting and wounding" 4
"Conspiracy to avenge killing of relative" 6
"Accomplice in murder" 3
"Aiding mob victim in attempt to escape" 1
"Intent to rob and kidnap" 1
"Quarrel with employer" 1
"Creating disturbance" 1
"Stealing hogs" 3
"Unknown" 2
- -
63

_Whites_
"Disloyal utterances" 2
"Murder" 2
- -
4


SPECIAL FEATURES OF LYNCHINGS

Five of the Negro victims have been women. Two colored men were burned at
the stake before death; four Negroes were burned after death; three
Negroes, aside from those burned at the stake, were tortured before death;
in one case the victim's dead body was carried into town on the running
board of an automobile and thrown into a public park where "it was viewed
by thousands;" one Negro victim was captured and handed to the officers of
the law by Negroes themselves. A mother and her five children were lynched
by a Texas mob, the mother having been shot as she was attempting to drag
the bodies of her four dead sons from their burning home at daybreak, the
house (only a cabin) having been fired by the mob. The crime in this case
was "alleged conspiracy to avenge" the killing of another son by officers
who had come to arrest him for "evading the draft law." This latter case
has not been classified as a lynching.

Most atrocious of all, so far as the community was concerned, was the five
days' orgy in Brooks and Lowndes Counties, which has been made the occasion
for special publicity and special efforts by the Association, to which
reference is made on page 9 of this report. In that case the particularly
vicious brutality of the mob went beyond what one is prepared to expect
from Georgia mobs - and one expects a good deal in the way of "cruel and
unusual punishments" from them. The horrible cruelties visited upon Mary
Turner, an eight month's pregnant woman, are recited in the investigation
published of our investigator's findings.[8]

In two cases the lynchings were carried out in the court house yard and in
one of these picture post card photos were sold on the streets at 25 cents
each.


TAKEN FROM PEACE OFFICERS AND JAILS

Our records show the following number of cases of lynchings of Negroes in
which the victim was taken from officers or jails:

Alabama 2
Georgia 4
Louisana 2
Mississippi 1
North Carolina 1
Oklahoma 1
South Carolina 1
Tennessee 1
- -
13


INNOCENCE ADMITTED PUBLICLY

In three cases of which we have record the press has spoken of the
innocence of victims; one of these involved three persons, another the ten
victims of Brooks and Lowndes Counties mobs (aside from the one person who
shot the white farmer which was the incentive to the lynchings). In another
case it is the common belief in the community in which a Negro was lynched
for "killing a white woman" that the husband of the woman was himself the
murderer. No charge has been brought against him, however, by the
authorities. In such cases, Negroes are usually too fearful of danger and
too hopeless of anything being done, to initiate legal action. In an
additional case a bank cashier declared in an interview in an Alabama
paper, that a certain lynching victim had committed no offense, that there
had been a mistake made in the man the mob was after.


LEGAL ACTION TAKEN BY PUBLIC OFFICIALS

Governor Thomas W. Bickett of North Carolina ordered the sheriff to
investigate one case, but the sheriff reported that the "guilty parties
could not be ascertained." The Governor in another case personally appealed
to a mob at midnight and prevented the lynching of a man who was later
hanged. The same Governor in November appealed to the Federal authorities
and secured the support of a tank corps of 250 Federal army men to assist
the authorities of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in holding the local jail
against a mob which was attempting to get a Negro prisoner to lynch him.

The Mayor and "Home Guards" of Winston-Salem, aided by the Federal soldiers
alluded to, protected the aforementioned prisoner at the cost of the lives
of some of the "Home Guards," for which public service, so unusual where
Negro-hunting mobs are concerned, they should receive the tributes of all
good citizens. (The Association's appreciation was made known to all
concerned by a public commendation).[9]

Governor Richard I. Manning of South Carolina ordered a sheriff to arrest
17 prominent farmers who had participated in a lynching. Bail was fixed at
a total of $97,500, in February. From the Judge who placed the men under
bail we learn that no indictments were found by the grand jury. "Lack of
evidence," is given as the reason.

Governor Charles Henderson of Alabama, in November, actively supported the
attorney general of the state, who, at the instance of the Governor,
personally took charge of an investigation of two lynchings which occurred
in that state on the 10th and 12th of that month.

When a regular grand jury then in session failed to indict, a prominent
detective agency was engaged and upon the evidence secured by them, a
special grand jury, headed by a local clergyman, brought in 24 indictments.
Seventeen men were lodged in jail without bail.[10]


SPECIFIC ACTION BY THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE

The following tables summarize the action taken in specific cases by the
Association:

=======================================================================
Telegrams and Letters
of Protest, Inquiry and Acknowledgments Press
Commendation Stories
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Chamb. Other
State Gov. of Official Gov. C. of C. Other
Com. Persons
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alabama 2 10 .. .. 2 .. 1
Arkansas 1 .. .. .. .. .. 1
Georgia 5 2 .. 2 .. .. 8
Kentucky 1 .. .. .. .. .. 1
Louisana 7 11 .. .. 2 .. 9
Mississippi 2 .. .. .. .. 1 2
North Carolina 3 1 1 2 1 1 3
Oklahoma 1 .. .. 1 .. .. 2
South Carolina 1 .. .. .. .. .. 1
Tennessee 5 9 7 2 3 2 9
Texas 3 .. 1 1 .. .. 3
Wyoming 1 .. .. 1 .. .. 1
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
32 33 9 9 8 4 40*
=======================================================================

* In listing by states there are duplications in cases where a single
press story includes matter affecting more than one state. The total 40
is the actual number of press stories, eliminating the duplicate count
by states.

Special investigations by a member of the staff have been made of lynchings
at Fayetteville, Ga., Brooks and Lowndes Counties, Ga., Estill Springs,
Tenn., Blackshear, Ga., and of race riots and disturbances at Camp Merritt,
N. J., Brooklyn, N. Y. and Philadelphia, Pa.[11]

Memoranda were prepared and sent to the President of the United States, to
the Attorney General of the United States and to the executive committees
of the American Bar Association, on the general subject of lynching, but
with reference to immediate practical action desired by the Association.
Letters requesting editorial interest in the fight against lynching were
addressed to the leading papers of the country on several occasions and
matter has been prepared for specific use by individual papers.

Publicity in the press was secured for the memorandum to the President and
to the Attorney General. Mr. Storey's address to the Wisconsin Bar
Association, June, 1918, on "The Negro Question," which contains much
reference to lynching, was sent to all the members of the Cabinet and of
the Congress, to Governors of all the states, mayors of cities, to
newspapers, periodicals, and to leading citizens and will be given wider
circulation during the early part of 1919.[12]

The members of the executive staff have made reference to lynching in
addresses in many cities to both white and colored audiences. Certain of
Field Secretary Johnson's addresses before white audiences have met with
notable responses.

The offer of the publishers of the _San Antonio Express_, San Antonio,
Texas, made in April, to pay rewards of $1,000, for each conviction and
punishment of the lynchers of a Negro (and $500, if white), has been given
wide publicity among the branches and the colored press. (No one has
claimed a reward from this fund as yet, however).


ILLUSTRATION OF RESULTS FOLLOWING THE ASSOCIATION'S PUBLICITY WORK

The following examples of results following publicity sent out by the
Association and telegrams addressed to Governors and Chambers of Commerce
are reviewed:

On November 9, telegrams of inquiry and appeal for legal action in the case
of the lynching of George Taylor at Rolesville, near Raleigh, N. C., were
sent to Governor Bickett of North Carolina, to the County Solicitor of Wake
County and to the Chamber of Commerce of Raleigh, of which that to the
Governor was acknowledged. The Governor said that he agreed with the points
made in the telegram and would back the County Solicitor in efforts to fix
the blame for the affair. The Solicitor carried on an investigation for two


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