Слике страница
PDF
ePub

The copy of credential was as follows:

[Copy.]

Office Of The Secretary Of
The National Equal Rights League Democracy Congress,

906 T Street NW.,

Washington, D. C. This Is to certify that the National Equal Rights League Democracy Congress, representing the 14,000,000 colored Americans in the United States, in convention assembled, did on December 18, 1918, elect and commission William Monroe Trotter, of Boston, Mass., as one of the nine delegates elected for similar purpose, to present the petition of said congress to the world peace conference, asking for the abolition of discrimination, proscription, and restricted democracy based on race or color in all countries where such discrimination, proscription, and restricted democracy are practiced, and thus hasten the ushering in among the peoples of the world the time when every man shall see in every other man his brother and in God the Father of us all.

Done by order of the National Equal Rights League Democracy Congress, at Washington, D. C, this 27th day of January, A. D. 1919.

James L. Neill, Recording Secretary. Herein and herewith is heard the voice of this portion' of the American people, in number more than one-tenth of the population, ever loyal, and giving men and money freely for the Entente Allies, now petitioning for guarantee in the world peace agreement of share in the promised world democracy for " Liberty, Egalite. Fraternity."

William Trotter, 36 Rue Saintc-Anne. Paris, May 2Jj, 1919.

An Open Appeal To The Council Ok Five.

To the supreme council of the five great powers of the allied and associated nations, M. Georges Clemcuceau, France, president; Wodrwc Wilson, United States of America; Hon. Lloyd-George, British Empire; M. Orlando, Italy; Baron Makino, Empire of Japan.

Honorable Sirs: Greetings to the victors from the National Equal Rights League of the United States of America.

In the name of the colored millions of America we address you in this an open letter and appeal, and for the cause of world democracy and permanent world peace.

From the official records of the Congress of the United States of America, the House of Representatives, published in the Congressional Record, June 29, 1918, we quote governmental conditions for 14.000,000 Americans.

First. We are the victims of civil proscription, solely because of race and color, in three-fourths of States and in the National Capital (Federal territory), barred from places of public accommodation, recreation, and resorts—yes. from such places within Government buildings.

Second. We are the victims of class distinctions based solely on our race and color in public carriers in one-third of the States, segregated even when passengers in interstate travel and with the railroads under the control of the Federal Government.

Third. We are the victims of caste and race prejudice in Government, military, and naval schools and in officer schools with other citizens solely on the basis of race and color, and in the Navy itself, except in the service below deck.

Fourth. We are the victims of proscriptive discrimination, based on our race and color, in the executive departments of the Federal Government, refused employment in many after appointment through the civil service, segregated at work, in the appointments of health and comfort.

Fifth. We are the victims of political proscription in one-third of the States, even in the election of Federal official, in violation of the Federal Constitution, both Indirectly by congressional representation based on disfranchisement and directly through intimidation, trickery, or State statutes and constitutions.

Sixth. We are the victims in many States, as consequence of the foregoing civil and political proscriptions of Imposition, robbery, ravishing, mob violence, murder, and massacres, because of our race and color, denied protection of police, of sheriffs: denied trial by court and jury, rendered impotent to protect our daughters, wives, or mothers from violation by white men or murder by the mob.

All these conditions, thus declared by the National Colored Liberty Congress, assembled at Washington, and presented to the Congress by the present Speaker of the House of Representatives, are still facts.

We quote further from the same Record: "Our President. Woodrow Wilson, now the moral leader and spokesman of the allied nations who are resisting German aggression, having officially declared that our country has 'entered the fight for the purpose of democratizing the nations of the world and liberating free peoples everywhere'; that 'we are embarked upon an enterprise which is to release the spirits of the world from bondage'; that we are 'fighting for the rights of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own govrnment,' to 'make the world at last free,' for 'security for life and liberty,' to 'make the world safe for democracy.'"

To this add President Wilson's message to his country when the war was won: "The armistice was signed this morning. Everything for which America fought has been accomplished. It will now be our fortunate duty to assist by example, by sober, friendly counsel, and by material aid in the establishment of just democracy throughout the world," with his words to the French nation in January, 1910:

"America in coming into this war thought that all the world had now become conscious that there was a single cause of justice and of liberty for men of every kind and place."

Add, also, the words in the message of congratulation to President Wilson on the victory won by the Prime Minister of Great Britain:

"I feel sure that at the peace conference we shall be able to cooperate faithfully to promote the reign of peace, with liberty and true democracy throughout the world."

Then add the noble words of the Premier of France, Monsieur Clemenceau, to President Wilson on Memorial Day for the dead soldiers:

"Those sons of America who succumbed in our common battle for justice and for right repose in our fields where the liberty of the world was won.''

Oh. honorable plenipotentiaries of an agreement for democracy for all, shut not your eyes to this awful disgrace of democracy.

Honorable commissioners of perpetual peace, imagine not that with such a scandal on humanity untouched your peace is just or will endure. There will be no peace secure until the color line in rights is effaced.

Hear ye our petition that the same protection of equal rights and life for the ethnical minorities which you require for the Jews in vanquished Austria and restored Poland you agree in your compact and league of nations shall be vouchsafed to the citizens respectively of the allied and associated [lowers.

For so long as a woman advanced in holy pregnancy can be hung with impunity, by her heels, to the limb of a tree by the mob, her abdomen ripped open, and the head of the babe crushed under heels of the lynchers, as suffered the late Mary Turner, in Georgia, in the last year of this world war, the world has not been made a " fit place to live in." nor has frlghtfulness vanished from the earth with the Prussian empire.

Hear ye the petition of colored America.

Secretary And Delegates To Paris.

10 Place de la Bourse, Paris.

June 21, 1919.

Mr. Trotter. I would .also like to have included in the record the petition of the liberty congress which will be found in the Congressional Record of June 29, 1918, and which gives the desires and the pleas and the demands of the colored Americans.

These, Mr. Chairman, are the discriminations and the denials of democracy of which we especially complain, and for the abolition of which we ask this amendment to the peace treaty. (Reading):

First. We are the victims of civil proscription, solely because of race and color, in three-fourths of the States and in the National Capital (Federal territory), burred from places of public accommodation, recreation, and resort; yes, from such places within Government buildings.

Second. We are the victims of class distinction, based solely on our race and color, in public carriers in one-third of the States, segregated even when passengers in interstate travel and with the railroads under the control of the Federal Government.

Third. We are the victims of caste and race prejudice in Government military and naval schools and in officer schools with other citizens solely on the basis of race and color, and In the Navy itself, except as to the service below deck.

Fourth. We are the victims of prescriptive discrimination, based on our race and color, in the executive departments of the Federal Government, refused employment in many after appointment through the civil service, segregated at work, in the appointments of health and comfort.

Fifth. We are the victims of political proscription in one-third of the States, even in the election of Federal officials, in violation of the Federal Constitution, both indirectly by congressional representation based on disfranchisement and directly through intimidation, trickery, or State statutes and constitutions.

Sixth. We are the victims in many States, as a consequence of the foregoing civil and political proscriptions of imposition, robbery, ravishing, mob violence, murder, and massacre, because of our race and color, denied protection of police or sheriffs; denied trial by court or jury, rendered impotent to protect our daughters, wives, or mothers from violation by white men or murder by the mob.

Inasmuch as our country is now engaged in the most gigantic war in recorded history, going to Europe to fight, our President, Wroodrow Wilson, now the moral leader and spokesman of the allied nations which are resisting Germanic aggression having officially declared that our country has entered the fight for the purpose of democratizing the nations of the world and liberating the free people everywhere, that we are embarked upon "an enterprise which is to release the spirits of the world from bondage," that we are "fighting for the rights of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own government." to "make the world at last free" for "security for life and liberty," to "make the world safe for democracy" which, meaning rule of all people, necessarily carries the presumption of the same public rights for all without difference or distinction because of the accidents of race or creed, thereby not creating class privilege, which means autocracy.

Inasmuch as American citizens irrespective of race or color are subject to draft, or are drafted into fighting, while all citizens regardless of race are ex> pected to aid the Government by moral support, by propaganda, by sacrifice at home to help the Government, all of which our racial element is now doing with a loyalty unsurpnssed by citizens of any race or color in every war, and, even now, under present treatment, morally greater than that of others because the only vicarious loyalty;

In order that our country may not be weakened in moral position, prestige and power by violations here of the noble pronouncements of its President;

In order that the morale and esprit de corps in this war, both of the soldier and of the civilian part of an element of the American, nearly one-eighth, may not be weakened by the consciousness of the present denials to it at home of those conditions and ideals which they are sacrificing or are risking life to secure for others, with their soldiers witnessing the continuance of indignities, oppressions, and killing of their kin ere they leave for the battle front abroad, and without assurance of protection of their family, their sisters, wives, mothers from the lynching mob;

In order that, when this awful World War Is over and victory comes to the Entente Allies, the condition of life of 12,000,000 human beings in the United States of America may not prevent the awful sacrifice from accomplishing the war's moral purpose—democratizing of the nations of the world—and that our own Republic may not be a part of the world not safe for democracy;

We do now petition you, the Congress of the United States of America, as an act of justice, of moral consistency, and to help win the war for world democracy:

First. To abolish and forbid all distinctions, segregations, and discriminations based upon race or color In places of public accommodation, recreation, and resort in Federal buildings and in Federal territory.

Second. To abolish and forbid all distinctions, segregations, and discriminations based upon our race and color or upon prejudice of race or color in the emoluments, the rating, the promotions, the placement of employees in the facilities provided by the Government for eating, rest, recreating, health for Government employees, or for others in Federal Government buildings or in Federal hospitals.

Third. To abolish and forbid any distinction, separation, or discrimination based on race or color in any couch of any public carrier operated by the Federal Government.

Fourth. To open the doors of all schools of the Federal Government and all branches of the Army and Navy to citizens on the same basis, without distinction or discrimination based on race or color.

Fifth. To exercise the mandatory powers of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth articles of the Federal Constitution, to the end that there shall be no involuntary servitude, no denial of the equal protection of law, no denial of the exercise of suffrage because of race, color, or previous condition.

Sixth. To pass legislation extending the protection of the Federal Government to all citizens of the United States of America at home by enacting that mob murders shall be a crime against the Federal Government, subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, for in the words of President Wilson, "Democracy means, first of all, that we can govern ourselves."

Herewith endeth the petition of the colored Americans asking that the words of the President of the United States of America be applied to all at home:

"As July 4, 1776, was the dawn of democracy for this Nation, let us on July 4, 1918, celebrate the birth of a new and greater spirit of democracy, by whose Influence we hope and believe that what the signers of the Declaration of Independence dreamed of for themselves and their fellow countrymen shall be fulfilled for all mankind."'

Mr. Chairman, we ask this amendment to the peace treaty not only for the protection of our own racial minority, but from the standpoint of patriotic Americans. This amendment, Mr. Chairman, is in accord with the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the principles of the Federal Constitution. In effect it means that they both shall be carried out in letter and in spirit.

Mr. Chairman, we also ask this amendment in behalf of the security of lasting peace. We hate to say it, Mr. Chairman. We are a peace-loving race of people, the most peaceable, the most longsuffering on the face of the earth. But, Mr. Chairman, the oppression of colored Americans by their fellow white Americans is getting to the point where unless the governmental authorities, State and National, take hold of the situation and put their feet down firmly against this continuance, you nor I nor none of us can be assured that our own dear land shall be the land of peace, shall be without violence, shall be without insurrection, and shall be without war.

Mr. Chairman, that is true for two reasons. Now, when people all over the earth are getting respect, are getting liberty, and are getting equality, it becomes harder for any one race which is singled out alone for repression and inequality to endure in tranquillity that humiliation and that repression.

Not only is that so, Mr. Chairman, but the very fact that for everyone else there exist liberty and equality, increases the contempt of those who have their rights for this one element who are without their rights; and those two forces-—an increasing contempt which is accompanied by an increasing aggression and an increasing inability of any race or class of people to endure humiliation and degradation—must, Mr. Chairman, unless the best men and women of this country, unless the Government itself, takes a stand against it, lead to something in this country which will be a breach of the peace of the world: and therefore, Mr. Chairman, our final plea for this amendment is in the interest of everlasting world peace and the security of the law-abiding citizen in his home and property and possessions, everywhere.

Mr. Chairman, we wish to thank you for this hearing.

The Chairman. Those gentlemen who are here, who have come in with regard to the disposition of the German-African colonies, we will hear. The first name on the list given me is that of Dr. Joe T. Thomas, of Cleveland, Ohio.

STATEMENT OF MR. JOE T. THOMAS, OF CLEVELAND, OHIO.

Mr. Thomas. Mr. Chairman, as a representative of the National Race Congress of America, I feel greatly honored by you allowing me to discuss with you, in whose hands rests the destiny of our Nation, the disposition of the German colonies in Africa.

I shall not touch German East nor German Southwest Africa, but I am here asking you to throw the strong arm of Uncle Sam around Kamerun, for I know our Government is the best prepared Nation to assume mandatory over this particular territory of 191,000 square miles and 4,500,000 natives.

The American Negro *proved, as he has, that he is 100 per cent American in this world's war. He did his duty, fought, bled, and died for our country. He owes a duty to his African brothers in Africa. America, the light of civilization, can by assuming mandatory over Kamerun land, open a new world for the educated American Negro, under the direction of trained white American statesmen, soldiers, and diplomats.

We can start with, enforce national prohibition over the African mandatory, which will give us a sober territory of black wards, whose territory we need never to annex, nor whose subjects need we ever to accept as citizens of these United States. Ten or fifteen thousand American negroes could be recruited to police this mandatory and the trained American negro officers just out of the trenches can be utilized there under higher white officers.

Ten thousand American teachers under our civil service could be sent there to teach and instill American civilization in their minds. Then the American white and black man can work to make the principles of our Government paramount in that country of 200,000.000 blacks, which will ultimately give us commercial supremacy in Africa and open a new world for our merchants, manufacturers, farmers, and laborers.

These blacks will wear our cotton goods and thousands of mills will spring up all over our country to manufacture goods to meet the wants of these people, which will cause every available acre of cotton land in the South to be utilized to produce that staple, and this will cause labor in the field, mine, and factory to continue to be paid a high wage, causing living conditions among the poor in our country to advance to a higher state of perfection.

We have>*not touched the treasures hidden in the hills nor the caoutchouc oozing from the trees of the Kamerun. We will have a free port to this vast, rich, undeveloped country. With our trained American blacks we can capture the trade for our flag and country

« ПретходнаНастави »