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Judge Lynch's Court
THE NUMBER OF NEGRO CONVICTS IN
PRISON IN AMERICA, AND OTHER
INJUSTICE DONE TO THE
NEGRO IN AMERICA
By REV. ELIJAH CLARENCE BRANCH,
Judge Lynch's Court
THE NUMBER OF NEGRO CONVICTS IN
PRISON IN AMERICA, AND OTHER
INJUSTICE DONE TO THE
NEGRO IN AMERICA
By REV. ELIJAH CLARENCE BRANCH.
IJDGE LYNCH'S IN AMERiC
pmriP 60 CENTS
HELP ME fO PUT OUT 40,000 COPIES
REV. ELIJAH C BRANCH, Autiior
By tracer er
The White House.
Rev. ELIJAH CLARENCE BRANCH
JUDGE LYNCH'S COURT
The national condition that confronts us as a race is
alarming, and I have become so impressed until I am com-
pelled to write a story of it, record the facts and statistics
of the same for a period of six months, especially of Judge
Lynch's court, on the Negro in the United States, I feel it
a Godsent work that devolves upon me. However, as it is
known that I am not a college man, and my ability may be
questioned as to whether I can merit the attention of the
learned men of America, both white and black, I only wish
and demand a fair chance to prove that I am a man of
thought, if not of letters. The busy world cares nothing about
a man's college diploma, but crowns a man truly great for
what he can do. A simpleton may be armed with a college
diploma with many degrees of honor and yet he may not
be able to do anything. Just to be smart is not enough for
this busy world. A man must do something. He must let
the nation know he is in it by something put forth. The first
thing I wish to discuss :_The progress of our race financially
for these fifty years of freedom is phenomenal and unparal-
leled in the annals of time.
Consisting of the following: Farm lands, ranches, fine
blooded stock, grist mills, cotton gins, drug stores, dry goods
stores, undertaking establishments, State banks, grocery
stores, real estate concerns and high institutions of learning.
All of which are owned and operated by Negroes. This
progress within itself under unfavorable conditions has chal-
lenged the attention of the civilized world. The educational
progress has been the same, in a large degree. But however,
under the most favorable educational conditions in America
for our race, we have too many who have failed to grasp
the opportunity. .There are too many young Negroes under
twenty years old, who cannot read and write. Too many lit-
tle boys and girls in the villages, towns and cities, who do
not attend the public schools, ages ranging from eight to six-
teen, and it goes without saying they do not attend Sunday
school or church. Ignorance gets a strong hold on them.
It is this class that becomes the property of Judge Lynch's
Court and the property of the State prison by a legal trial.
It is this class of Negroes that ignorant, malignant, self-con-
stituted mob violence court always gets, consisting of uncivil-
ized white men, who are uneducated, who have a disregard
for law, and no regard for human life. The ignorant white
man will join a mob in the absence of any facts or evidence
of the guilt of the accused. Since ignorance is dangerous,
let the race "get busy" in trying to encourage education of
the, masses. In the city of Houston, Texas, there are night
schools conducted free for young and old. It will take edu-
cation and Christianity to bring about a change of conditions
affecting crime among our race. The school room and pulpit
are the hope of civilization of the race. I mean school rooms
with strong educated moral teachers in them. I mean pulpits
with converted men in them, not educated men, not a home
destroyer, nor virtue miner, but a clean Christian man of
high standard, destined to lift up the race to higher and
nobler ideals in life.
I have little faith in a teacher who has an opportunity for
two or three years to impress a boy or girl for good and fails
to do so, unless the boy or girl is exceptionally bad and
doomed to degradation. The teacher ought to be able to in-
spire his pupils, pointing them to higher aims in life, thus
setting their very souls on fire of inspiration/ When once a
boy gets it into his head that he wants to be somebody he is
pretty well safe, and there is little danger of him ever be-
coming among the debased class.
<- The fireside training in our Christian homes is the place
where the right conduct of our boys and girls must be well
laid. There is no need of so many boys and girls going to
ruin. In a large degree the parents are to blame, on account
of negligence on their part. As late as 8 p. m. some parents
can't tell you where their children are from eight to twpWe
years old. You might ask: Where are your children? Oh,
they are out on the streets. You can just count on about 95
per cent of all such children being among the number des-
tined to reach the lowest hellhole or the State prison. The
good families who are trying all they can to raise o-ood chil-
dren are greatly handicapped in this way : They take all the
pains with their children to properly raise them, and at
school the well-raised children come in contact with the
children whose parents have turned them loose to the world.
They grow up without home training. These uncultured
children are naturally to a decent set of children what a
mad dog would be to a fine set of dogs, which have no dis-
ease. Then you can readily see what effect these uncultured
children will have on society. To check mob violence we
must raise better children. To thoroughly accomplish this
sole remedy we must have better mothers and fathers. This
brings to our mind the 3d chapter of St. John, Nicodemus'
question to Jesus. Some might ask: How can we make
them better mothers and fathers after they become old ? The
surest way is to raise them. But for immediate results
there must be a general crusade on the part of the public to
organize the mothers into a union ; to take under considera-
tion the best method how to successfully rescue the boys
and girls of our race who are on the very eve of degrada-
tion. Much good could be realized by the organizing of a
mothers' union or club. The preachers are organized for the
best method. The teachers are organized for the purpose
of discussing the best method in teaching and management.
The great railroads qf the country are organized to discuss
the best methods of handling the great amount of traffic
and the best system of so doing. The laboring men are or-
ganizing for the best way or method of getting higher wages,
so they say. I am in sympathy with the laboring man. I
believe he has a right to organize to better enable him to
take care of himself and family. So long as he obeys the law
and lives up to the golden rule, I believe he has a right to
strike, but not to dictate, unless he owns some stock in the
concern which caused the strike. However, there are but
few union men among the Negroes, and in a large degree
they conduct this affair and grievance in a legitimate way
and satisfactorily to all concerned. I must let it be known
now that I have no prejudice against the white man. Preju-
dice without a real cause is only due to ignorance and un-
cultured malignant spirit. I rather like the unprejudiced
people who are willing to give justice to my race. However,
there are very few poor white men free from race pre-
judice, possibly due to the fireside training. In this connec-
tion, we will make special mention of one, Hon. C. W. Rob-
inson, District Judge of Harris County, Houston, Texas, who
said some time ago that "A man's color had nothing to
with him giving justice, if a white man was being tried for
killing a Negro." This is true of this good man. I don't
know whether or not he is a Christian, but I do believe this
is God's hand working in him.
The Southern Pacific Railroad Company has for its presi-
dent another good man who lives now in New York. He is
not unfriendly to any class of law-abiding people. It must
be said that he is the Negro's best friend. God intended
him to be a great man in creation. I believe He saw him
coming up from the South and his motto being, "Justice to
the strong and weak alike," and he had the reins in his
hands that operated, governed and controlled millions of
dollars, and his power from ocean to ocean. The Negro can
depend upon the better classes of whites as their friends. It
is unfair to say we have no friends among the white people.
It is unfair also for the white people to class all the Negroes
alike. I have been in towns in this State (Texas) where a
colored man could not visit certain houses of our race after
night unless he did so at his own peril, and did not think
all the white men were getting on our side of the fence, be-
cause these white men would not allow Negroes to call on
their own colored girls. It will be better for all concerned
when the country white boy is better educated. The edu-
cated white man has less use for his gun than the ignorant
white man. This is, no doubt, the cause of the police killing
so many Negroes. The position from a financial viewpoint
is not very inviting, and the educated white man wants
something better ; therefore, the cities are compelled to take
mostly uneducated men as policemen. There are some who
learn by practicing on the Negro.
However, we look for better conditions here in the City
of Houston. There is already a great improvement and at
this writing there is a greater improvement in sight. I have
had occasion to personate only one white man, and he is
Judge C. W. Robinson, whom I would like to see on the Su-
preme bench. He never allows a white man who kills a Negro
in cold blood to be set free if it is in his power to prevent it.
Honorable R. S. Lovett, president of the Southern Pacific
Railroad Company, stood by the Negro switchmen of the
Houston & Texas Central yards some years ago when a very
able white Methodist preacher went all the way from Hous-
ton to New York to persuade him (Mr. Lovett) to discharge
all these Negro switchmen and place white men in their po-
sitions. Mr. Lovett consulted the car damage records in the
United States and discovered that the Houston & Texas Cen-
tral had less drawheads broken than any other road in Amer-
ica. And Mr. Lovett told this good minister who used the
high church office to aid him in attempting to take from
these poor Negroes their bread and butter, "The Negroes are
eligible and the Southern Pacific will make no changes." Pos-
sibly he didn't think the golden rule applied to the Negro.
The Negro's only salvation is to trust God. He created us,
and will protect us against all hurt, harm or danger. The
Negro as a whole has no special race prejudice against the
white man, without some special cause. Notwithstanding,
he is not treated right, in rural districts. White men run
over some of our best girls and the Negroes are powerless
to help themselves. The Negro girl stands alone in the
world. The Federal Government has thrown around the
white girl its strong arms. She is protected by the white
slave law. There is no black or colored slave law. She has
no legal protection against white men. The object of this lit-
tle book is to plead for better homes and pure homes. I have
shown that the hope of our race depends upon the fireside
training, school rooms and pulpits. We need better teachers
and preachers in some sections of this country. We need
teachers that will teach morality and live it. Any teacher who
has a wife and flirts with women is unfit to teach. The same
rule applies to the preacher; yes, more so, he promised to
live Christlike. And any church supporting an immoral,
ignorant preacher is equally guilty, knowing it, and possibly
not in heavenly fellowship. If a preacher is ignorant, he
must be clean for my respect. But if he is both ignorant
and immoral, too, I have nothing but contempt for him.
He can not do the race any good. He can not instruct the
public. The world has no confidence in him.
Rev. Dr. E. W. D. Isaacs, once, when speaking about the
little preachers, said that "The longer the coats the less
they know." What we need is able preachers, teachers and
leaders to help raise the standard of citizenship. We only
have one Dr. Booker T. Washington. He is a brave leader,
a fact that all must confess. The greatest preacher in the
world, in the person of Dr. C. T. Walker, said his name was
written upon future time. Dr. J. W. E. Bowen and Dr. M.
C. B. Mason are also among the race's shining lights.
There is indeed a problem to be solved by the race leaders,
"How to save the boys and girls of our race." The good
families are handicapped on account of various environ-
ments that confront the youth. The opera and moving pic-
ture shows are no longer an intellectual benefit. They are
indeed very harmful to both church and society. The red
light song is sung on the stage of today ; it is worded "Every-
body's Doing It." It contradicts the virtuous life of our best
girls, and causes many weak girls to accept it for the truth,
the vulgar poet's song, while many would accept it for an
excuse only to do bad. Decent homes must not allow this
dangerous song in them if they wish to raise any good girls.
The pulpit must take a stand against it. Evil environments
are catching and our young girls will be the greatest suffer-
ers. Are the mothers trying to raise wives for the young
men of tomorrow? If so, without great preparation, what
have they to offer the cultured young man of tomorrow? The
same thing holds good of the young man.
There must be an improvement in our society or else we
cannot suppress crime nor the ill-fame house.
If we have law-abiding citizens, possibly there will be no
lynching ; however, all victims are not guilty of rape nor at-
tempt to rape. Some have been lynched for trying to pro-
tect themselves in a fight. We are created in God's own
image; He will make all things right in due time. Let the
young Negro stay out of bad company. Ofttimes bad com-
pany gets an innocent person in trouble.
The better class of white people must stop the lynch law.
They may shoot the Negro down at will ; they may burn him
at the stake for the least provocation, but there is certainly
to follow the Negro's blood some big railroad wreck, a steam-
ship disaster, or the burning of some big hotel, causing the
loss of many lives. It may be a serious question to accept
as a fact, but as a rule, these disasters do not catch this poor
class that constitutes mob violence very often. But God
would have them know that "You are your brother's keeper."
For the benefit of the law have they ever tried to stop mob
violence? Have they ever spent or offered to spend any part
of those millions to protect the Negro? The strong must
protect the weak.
We are weak because we are few in number, slavery only
fifty years behind us. Notwithstanding, in many backwood
places slavery still exists in the South. Ignorant Negroes
are caught, locked in jail and worked free without a chance
to get away. But first and last the United States will catch
them all for the slave system act. God is in heaven ; we must
tell Him all about our troubles.
In the first chapter I had occasion to say that the police
system would improve. I note with appreciation the won-
derful improvement in Denver, Colo., in the police system.
(From the Houston Press.)
Denver, Oct. 28. â€” Take away the policeman's club.
Prevent him from using a revolver unless his own life is
Keep fat men off the police force.
Apply plain, Christian teachings to police problems.
These constiute the platform of George Creel, newspaper
writer, turned police commissioner of Denver, who has in-
stituted a campaign to prove his contention that clubs and re-
volvers are not necessary to the enforcement of the law.
The first step in the commissioner's campaign has been the
enforcement of an order abolishing the carrying of clubs
by policemen. His second is contained in the following
"Any officer who beats or otherwise maltreats a prisoner
must be prepared to show justification of absolute self-de-
fense under the penalty of discharge and future prosecution
under the State law.
"Any officer who discharges a revolver at one whose
crime is not known or any case where the known crime is
less than a serious felony or in the event his own life is not
in peril, will be dismissed from the force."
To back up these orders, Creel has accomplished the sum-
mary dismissal of Sergeant Dooley and Patrolman Joessel
who recently shot and wounded an alleged "masher" named
Fike. The latter shot Fike as he was running away in
fright and the former beat the man as he lay prostrate on
"I am taking away clubs because they invite brutality and
are of no real use," said Creel today. "In case of assault,
the officer does not rely on his club but upon his revolver.
I have always believed also that the police should not carry
revolvers, but I am loathe to eliminate them until we get
an effective law against gun selling and gun-toting.
"As it is now, every pawnshop and hardware store finds
profit in the sale of revolvers, dirks and blackjacks, and be-
cause of this profit, these men killed a bill in the last Colo-
rado legislature that would have done away with the evil
and lifted from the city the menace of frontier lawlessness.
"I mean to stop this thing of police brutality and reck-
less shooting if I have to discharge every man on the force.
I shall proceed to a reorganization of the Denver force that
will result in the dismissal of the brutal, the stupid, the
crooked and the inefficient.
"The reason so many fugitives are fired at is because the
officers are too fat to give chase. The reason so many offi-
cers beat prisoners generally is because they were appointed
for political reasons and have developed the autocratic sense.
The reason they protect gamblers and law breakers gener-
ally is because they are accustomed to a frank partnership
with vice and crime."
To take the gun away from the police is a good thing. I
say this from personal experience. About twelve years ago,
a big policeman "snapped a forty-five" in my face twice be-
cause I did not get to my office in time to get the ice up as
soon as the ice man put the ice out for me. The gun did not
go off and I protected myself as best I could. This man is
still on the force in Houston, Texas, at this writing.
In Houston we have not more than three policemen of the
Negro race on the force and I, personally, make no kick. Too
often it makes a good man a bad man, a church man a black-
hearted sinner and murderer, a moral sinner an immoral
grafter and thief. However, there are some exceptions to
this rule. Some months ago, our law-abiding citizens feared
the police in getting over the city at night more than they
feared the highwayman, because the highwayman has no
protection from the city and State; a policeman trying to
hold up a citizen may be killed, and the citizen who kills
him must be convicted for having killed an officer. I see
no reason why the standard of the policemen can not be
raised. The city of New York has undergone a police dis-
grace which belongs to history.
If all is true which has been said about the chief of police
the City of Houston has a good man now. I have said that
I do not care much about Negro police. I do not see any
good they can do. We need more leaders and better leaders.
They must come from the school room and from the pulpit.
Jack Johnson is a member of our race, but what good
can he do our cause, being a sporting character, without
culture or race pride?
I have never thought that any amount of progress in
civilization depended upon Jack Johnson's type of charac-
ter. In the same sense, I do not see how his misconduct
should affect our race as a whole. The race cannot point to
him with any degree of pride. I shall present some articles
from the Houston Press and shall for the present dismiss
his case without further comment.
(From The Houston Press, Oct. 28.)
Chicago, Oct. 28. â€” "The black man who becomes wealthy
or influential is now doing what he can to retaliate against
the conditions of servitude in which he was previously held."
This statement was made today by Mrs. Alice Phillips
Aldrich, head of the Chicago Law and Order League, who
has been interested in the investigation of the case of Jack
Johnson, the Negro pugilist, who is charged with abducting
pretty Lucile Cameron, the Minneapolis white girl.
Mrs. Aldrich predicted that the free intermingling of the
black and white race would result early in the degradation
of both races and that it will never result in elevating the
"The problem of intermarriage and intermingling of black
and white persons is a very serious one," said Mrs. Aldrich.
"The fad for Negro men to have white wives and sweet-
hearts is growing in every large city north of the Ohio. As-
sociation of Negroes with white girls is thriving under po-
lice protection in Chicago and several other large cities. In
the Chicago tenderloin there were â€” until recently closed â€”
many resorts housing white girls that catered to Negro men.
"Race purity in this country is nowhere maintained except
in the South. Race barriers are first broken down in the
public schools where the races and the sexes mingle indis-
criminately in the classroom and in the schoolyard.
"From that period in her life, a white girl is in danger
from Negro men, the danger being increased by the degree
of her poverty. If the girl is poor and works as a domestic
in homes of wealthy persons, hotels or other places, she is
forced to mingle on terms of social equality in a majority
of cases with Negro butlers, porters, chauffeurs, coachmen
or other male Negro help.
"Sex intermingling is the most natural outcome of such
a situation. Any employer who hires a white girl to share
a common condition with a black man, as a fellow employe,
contributes to this peril to our race purity. The elevation
in many instances of Negroes to positions as head waiters,
foremen, assistants to managers, and even in some cases
managers, suddenly reverses the race relation and subordin-
ates the white woman, servant to the black man, master.
"In the East, almost without exception, the only girls to
fall into the hands of Negroes are from poor families. The
Eastern Negro is not as wealthy as his Western brother, and
he cannot attract girls from the better homes with gifts of
diamonds and other costly presents. But there are ^hun-
dreds of wealthy Negroes in the West who can and do."
(From The Houston Press, Oct. 29, 1912.)
New York, Oct. 29. â€” "If the suicide of my daughter might
be taken as a warning to other white girls ; if I thought it
might save someone else from a similar fate, my own crush-
ing burden of sorrow would be easier to bear, and I would