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Mexican citizens were lynched in one State in this Union and not one of the persons who lynched them was ever indicted ?
Mr. HUSTED. Has there been a lynching case or an attenpt at lynching in the State of New York in the past 30 years, so far as you know?
Mr. SPINGARN. There have been attempts at lynching in the State of New York.
Mr. HUSTED. In the State of New York ?
Mr. SPINGARN. It depends, sir, on what you mean by an attempt at lynching. There have been numerous cases where groups of rioters have attempted to visit direct action on the colored people but the police have always interfered and no such lynchings have been perpetrated. Lynchings can be prevented when the executives honestly desire to do so.
Mr. HUSTED. As a matter of fact, there has not been a lynching, so far as you know, in the State of New York, for which I speak? Mr. SPINGARN. I know of none since Civil War days.
That lynching is a wrong, no one can possibly deny, and it is the proud boast of our law that wherever there is a wrong there is a remedy. It is quite evident the States either can not or will not remedy; the executive power has been unable to remedy. The only power left to act is the legislative power, this body. The only power that is capable of stopping lynching is the Congress of the United States. No question has ever been raised as to the propriety of attaining the objects that appear in the Dyer bill or the Moores bill or the Dallinger bill. The only question that has ever been raised is as to their constitutionality. Personally, I believe they are constitutional, and a brief has been submitted to that effect.
But I am not concerned with the fact as to whether they are constitutional or not. Here is the greatest cancer eating at the vitals of American civilization, which makes America sneered at all over the world. Personally, I have myself seen our civilization sneered at in Europe, in South America, in Mexico, and even in Turkey. In Turkey, I heard a lecture delivered by a Turk, and he showed pictures of American lynchings to show that America was
Not only the civilization, but the good faith of republican government is at stake, as to whether you gentlemen pass a law. It is absolutely immaterial whether this thing is constitutional or is not constitutional. If this is not the best law, then let us have a better one; but here is a wrong and we must have a remedy.
Mr. IGOE. Do you mean to say that if this committee or the Congress thought the thing was unconstitutional, they ought to pass it anyhow?
Mr. SPINGARN. No; not if they were certain it was unconstitu
opinion, where lawyers of the standing of Mr. Pillsbury and similar lawyers believe it is constitutional, it is quite proper, in my belief, for Congress to pass such an act. The Government of this country is very wisely divided into the executive, the judicial, and the legislative body and it is not for the legislative body to determine, ultimately, whether a bill is constitutional or not. If it is probably
constitutional, there is one proper way of finding it out by putting it up to the body whose business it is to find out whether it is constitutional.
One of the principal evils we have to-day is the feeling of unrest,
forms but which many of us fear may possilby take the form of direct action. You gentlemen realize there is not one single thing in the United States that is so apt to breed discontent, to breed a belief that the present laws are incapable of taking care of the evils, as quibbling about such a proposition as this, as to whether a law, which is necessary, can be passed because it is constitutional or is not constitutional. If the law should be passed, let us pass one we think is the best law and, if it is not constitutional, then for Heaven's sake let us change the Constitution. The American people are not afraid to change the Constitution; we have changed the Constitution three times in the last few years and there is another change pending which will probably go through.
If the American people can stop long enough to change the Constitution to decide whether the American people shall drink, or not, or 6,000,000 people shall vote, they can at least stop long enough to change the Constitution to say whether 12,000,000 people can live in safety.
Further than that, how can you expect to breed an orderly, lawabiding citizenry when 12,000,000 of its people live continually in fear of bodily violence, when they see yearly from 75 to 100 of their own people burned and murdered by mobs—mobs often led by the whole community—and no organized effort on the part of the body politic to correct it. And the effect is not only on those 12,000,000 people, but the effect is as bad and worse on the mobbists. You can not train people for 30 years, unrestrained, to take the law in their own hands and then expect them to wait the orderly processes of the law.
And I beg you, gentlemen, not as a friend of the Negro, but as a friend and lover of democracy in America, to prove to our people and the world that there is no wrong that we won't remedy and we are not going to quibble about little things in correcting one of the greatest evils of our times.
Mr. HUSTED. Do your statistics show that lynchings in the United States are on the decrease or increase, or practically stationary?
Mr. SPINGARN. Mr. Johnson knows more about that than myself. I believe it was on the decrease for a certain period, but for the last five or six years it has been decidedly on the increase. We have had during the last year, as I have said, 82 lynchings, 14 where they were burned at the stake. And among those 82 lynchings there have been nine Negro soldiers who have been lynched, some of them for the crime of wearing the American uniform.
Mr. DYER. How many lynchings did you say there have been in the last few years?
Mr. SPINGARN. Since 1889 there have been 3,224 lynchings recorded and we have the name and address, so to speak, of the person lynched. We have a pamphlet giving their actual names and addresses and the crime or alleged crime or absence of crime for which they were lynched. In addition to that, there doubtless were probably a number of other persons lynched. In fact, one of the persons
who kept track of the lynchings says there were two or three hundred more.
Mr. Boies. Where were these negroes lynched for wearing the uniform?
Mr. SPINGARN. One in Georgia, I believe. It is in this pamphlet.
Mr. TROTTER. I remember one in Missouri when I was over in Paris.
Mr. SPINGARN. There was one in Georgia and one in Mississippi.
Mr. DYER. I think the gentleman is mistaken about any lynchings in Missouri for wearing the uniform. I think it was in some other State.
Mr. TROTTER. I do not say for wearing the uniform, but he had the uniform on.
Mr. SPINGARN. I have not the 1919 list. It is in the 1919 list.
Mr. THOMAS. I might answer that question personally and say the first soldier was lynched just a few weeks after signing the armistice, and it was because he resisted the attack of some officer or deputy sheriff who was sent to arrest him.
Mr. BOIES. If this statement is going into the record that several negroes were lynched for wearing uniforms, we ought to know where it was done.
Mr. IGOE. Do I understand you to say that these men were lynched because they wore the uniform?
Mr. SPINGARN. Because they wore the uniform. It has been repeatedly said in editorials and by public officials that the great menace to the South to-day is the uniform-wearing colored soldier. And a great deal of embitterment and animosity has been directed to the Negro soldier. I speak of my own knowledge of that. In the A. E. F. I had charge of a large group of colored soldiers and of one of the problems connected with the colored troops, and I hate to say again and again, not once, but hundreds of thousands of times, it was said that the South was going to show the negro who had been in the Army a lesson.
Mr. SUMNERS. Let me ask you a question. Is the prejudice due to the fact that the soldier has the uniform on, or do they mean by that statement, if the statement is made, that the reason underlying is that the soldier who now wears the uniform has been in Europe, and, under the conditions that obtain in France, associated with white women there?
dignity of an American citizen and realized it when he put on that uniform, and he realized, when he served his country, the country owed something to him. And I think the South realized that must be the inevitable consequence and resented it for that reason,
Mr. NEVAL H. THOMAS. There was one camp devoted to the training of negro officers, the camp at: Des Moines. One black soldier from Mississippi won his spurs, came home to Mississippi right after the camp as a first lieutenant, waiting to go overseas, and while he was waiting to go overseas, before he had ever had this contact with people who are above colored caste, he was ordered to leave his community immediately. The New York Herald had editorials upon it. The South simply hated him because at camp he won the dignity of an American citizen and had won honor of dying for all Americans.
Mr. SUMNERS. What is his name?
STATEMENT OF MISS ESTHER M. SMITH, OF PHILADELPHIA,
PA., REPRESENTING THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
Miss Smith. I want to say but a very few words, but I want to say with great vehemence that my society is deeply interested in the welfare of our whole beloved country, black and white, and in her good name, and that we stand for and encourage any wise legislation which is preventive of mob violence and which is for the upholding of law and order the country over. I thank you.
STATEMENT OF MR. WILLIAM TROTTER, BOSTON, MASS.,
SECRETARY OF THE NATIONAL EQUAL RIGHTS LEAGUE.
Mr. TROTTER. Mr. Chairman, I am glad I am here to-day. Mr. Spingarn said he did not speak as a friend of the colored American, and of course he could not speak as a colored American I came alí the way here that you might hear on this question from the colored people themselves. I am the executive secretary of the National Equal Rights League, which is an organization of the colored people and for the colored people and led by the colored people.
We colored people too, like Mr. Spingarn, who are second to no one in our loyalty and patriotism, are opposed to lynching, because it is a discredit to our country. But we are the victims, and I came here to tell you the colored people feel their National Government owes it to them to protect them after all these years of mob murder from a continuance of this evil and intolerable outrage, especially at the close of a world war for world democracy, where everybody - was promised humanity and protection of their lives if the victory was won over the German forces of autocracy.
The colored American people claim that they have done enough ever since they have been in this country—and they have been in it from the very beginning—that they have shown themselves willing to sacrifice enough, shown themselves loyal enough and peaceable enough to have this mob murdering of their race, done to them simply because of their race, stopped by the Federal Government–because no one else has been able or seems able to stop it. All we know is that we are the victims of mob murdering, mob murdering to a terrible extent, and mob murdering carried to such an extent that truly it is a disgrace to our country before the civilized world.
Now, gentlemen of the committee, whenever the outraging of citizens is carried on to such an extent that it becomes a disgrace even to the citizens of the race who are guilty of the outrage, you can realize how intolerable the condition must be for those people who are the victims of the outrage. And that is our position.
I came here to reiterate the position taken on this matter by the Rev. J. G. Robinson, organizer of the National Equal Rights League, before the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary of which Senator Dillingham was chairman, when he said—and our white friend has said the same thing-since there are some competent