Imágenes de páginas

Mr. Krox. Whether or not it is negligent.

Senator DIETERICH. As a minister, you could not be in favor of punishing those who are innocent any more than you could be in favor of lynching. You could not be in favor of a law that would inflict an unjust punishment. What you want to do is to prevent crime, give the colored man, or any man in the United States, the full protection of the law as to his life and liberty and property.

Mr. Knox. Certainly.
Senator DIETERICH. That is what I want.
Mr. Kxox. But I am not agreeing with all your statements.

Senator DIETERICH. I am not trying to argue with you. I am in sympathy with the spirit of this bill, and I want to see a bill finally written by this Congress, whose duty it is to write a bill, that will achieve the things that you are talking about, and will correct these abuses; but I am also in favor of writing a bill, that while it will correct one evil, will not perpetrate another.

Mr. Kxox. There is a very old principle, I think, that the innocent must pay for the wrongdoing of the guilty. It is in the nature of things. I think it is true everywhere that, in the very nature of things, the good have to suffer for the wrongs of the evil.

Senator DIETERICH. Providing the good are in any way responsible. The bill seeks to prosecute those who are charged by the law with protecting people.

Mr. Knox. The practical consideration that occurs to me is that in most southern communities, if the people as a whole were opposed to lynching, it would not happen.

Senator DIETERICH. You would not want this provision left in thc bill that you could levy on the property of the county, which is held by every court in every jurisdiction to be against public policy? You would not want to sell a court house for a moving picture show, to satisfy a judgment? You would want it collected or satisfied in the ordinary process of law, would you not!

Mr. Knox. Well, I presume so.

Senator DIETERICH. You would want that correction made in the bill?

Mr. Knox. I don't object to any small correction. I do think the spirit of that provision is thoroughly sound and appropriate.

Senator DIETERICH. I agree with you that it is thoroughly sound and appropriate as against those who have negligently failed to protect the lives or the liberty of the people. I further agree with you that under certain conditions it would be most unjust. I am getting completely away from south of the Mason and Dixon line and confining my remarks to the Northern States, where this bill would be applied not solely to the colored people but to everybody alike.

Mr. Knox. Of course, as to how you would feel about that would depend upon yourself. I cannot help but feel as I do as the result of my experience. [Applause.]

Senator Van Nuys. I am very glad, after these 2 days of trying sessions, we can be as happy as we are.

I have been handed a note that says " Miss Juanita Jackson is the only Negro woman who has aprear: 1. Will you be kind enough to hear her?” We certainly shail.




Senator Van Nuys. Where do you live?
Miss JACKSON. Baltimore, Md.
Senator Van Nuys. What organization, if any, do you represent?
Miss JACKSON. The City-wide Young People's Forum.
Senator Van Nuys. Very well. You may proceed.

Miss Jackson. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I have come to you in the interest of youth, of the Negro youth, of America and especially in the interest of the young citizens of my State, the so-called “ Free State of Maryland.”

Recently, after a period of 20 years, during which there was no lynching to blot the record of justice in Maryland, in the short space of 2 years, on the Eastern Shore, two Negro youths were taken by mobs and horribly lynched and burned upon mere suspicion of guilt. So complete was the disregard for local law and order that in one case the victim was lynched and burned on the courthouse lawn and the other in sight of the judge's home.

In the last mentioned case, that of the Armwood lynching, there was a complete breakdown of law, and a complete overthrow of State powers. The local authorities consistently refused to make arrests of lynch suspects. The Government gets State troops to bring the lynch suspects to the Baltimore city jail. Immediately, in complete defiance of State power and control, local authorities promptly issue habeas corpus writs and the four lynch suspects are immediately taken back to a hearing in the First Judicial Court of Princess Anne, where they are dismissed on the ground of insufficient evidence.

What a complete travesty of justice; the Government and attorney general had collided with legal impossibilities. Here we are confronted with a complete paralysis of the State before mob rule.

Had there been a law such as the Costigan-Wagner antilynch bill, which provides for the prosecution in Federal courts of delinquent and negligent officers of the law, the cases would have been removed from the hands of local authorities who, with their eyes on the next election, have proved that in nearly every case they are only too willing to cover up the evidence.

The chances of securing convictions from authorities devoid of lynch patterns of thought, and having no local votes to worry about, would have been much better than they were on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where a local State's attorney successfully defied the sovereign authority of the State of Maryland.

This case shows us that if the matter is left in the hands of local authorities, popular passion prevent effective action.

Lynching can only be reduced to the minimum when conniving officers come to know that they will be liable, not to a local court which is sure to support them, but the Federal law. Federal intervention is the only power that local communities fear. Thus the only effective force in stamping out lynching in the United States must be provided by an adequate, antilynching law.

Had there been a law such as the Costigan-Wagner bill, which provides a fine of $5,000, or imprisonment for not more than 5 years,

42640—34-PT 1-11

or both, which throws responsibility directly on the local enforcement, punishing severely all who fail to make all diligent efforts to protect an individual against lynching.

If such had been the case

The local State's attorney would not have evaded his duty, and would not have made a more determined effort to resist the mob or to have brought the mob members to trial.

The deputy sheriff would not have left the jail and his prisoner, from early in the afternoon until the night of the lynching, in the hands of a few troopers. What is more, he, the official jailer of Princess Anne, could not have testified under oath that he could not recognize or name a member of the mob.

The local judge would not have fulfilled his dinner engagement, and would have more quickly jailed mob members.

The Governor of the State would have been more cautious and would not have been so ready to take the word of the local authorities and would have sent down adequate military protection for the prisoner.

Obviously this bill gets at the root of the lynchings; the apathy, indifference, negligence, delinquency of officials in failing to protect the lynched victim or in failing to apprehend and convict mob members.

North Carolina has a law which provides fines against lynchers who break into jail; a loophole. The lynch gangs simply seize their victims before they are imprisoned, and thus evade the law.

Professor Chadbourn, associate professor of law, University of North Carolina, in his book Lynching and the Law, found through careful study that in the nine States which made provisions for the removal of peace officers who failed, the statistics show a sharp decline in lynchings, especially after an ouster.

The argument has been advanced that it is unfair to make all the taxpayers of a county bear the financial burden of a group of its members as is provided in the Costigan-Wagner antilynching bill, which stipulates that $10,000 damages be paid to the heirs of the lynched victim, collectible by a proceeding in the nearest Federal court against the offending county.

However, I do firmly believe that if there had been a CostiganWagner antilynching law the people of Princess Anne, Md., who are not lynchers but who are forced to pay, would have gotten busy themselves to prevent others from lynching. Lynching will never be stopped until public opinion stops it. The respectable element in the community must be moved to action, and the facts show that such action is quicker when delay costs money. The common good demands positive action, and a negative action is deserving of a penalty. More than that, when so moved the citizenry will elect the kind of local officials who will use all their powers to prevent lynching.

A further argument has been proposed--that all communities don't need this law; that it would be all very well for certain barbaric States, but would be superfluous in enlightened commonwealths where lynching is not a habit.

But the very happenings in California : yes, in Maryland, show that no community is immune from the danger of lynching, and good citizens everywhere should be on guard against it. According

[ocr errors]

to the study of the Southern Commission on Interracial Cooperation, in 1930, 11 of the 21 lynchings took place in counties in which there had been none for 30 years.

Many of 1930's lynchings, the Commission declares, could have been easily prevented this way.

In conclusion, permit me to say that lynching is an evidence of stagnant societies, backward rural communities, illiteracy. Of course, education is needed as well as an aroused public opinion.

Certainly lynching in most cases is an evidence of poverty, of once prosperous communities that have started on the down grade. And a sharing of economic profits among all men is needed.

But lynching is something more. It is an evidence of and means that unauthorized persons have taken the law into their own hands; an evidence of mob murder; a temporary overthrow of the State as in Maryland; more than that, it is an evidence that the States, thus far, though able to deal adequately with simple murder, are unable to cope with and powerless against mob law.

Thus, a Federal antilynch law is needed to help the States cope with mob violence. It has been said that this bill infringes on State rights, is unconstitutional in that the Constitution, although it provides for the equal protection of the laws, contains no mandatory provision requiring Congress to accord that protection by legislation.

But lynching is not simple murder—it is lawlessness. The Government has assumed enormous responsibility in combating the crime of kidnaping. The pursuit of kidnapers is relentless. The percentage of convictions is rather high. And yet of all the crimes of kidnapers, gunmen, racketeers, nene are worse than those of the lynchers. Indeed, of all this brand, lynchers are the most destructive of civilization. We can never hope to have a republican Government under brutal mob rule. Not only that, the failure to punish lynchers has heretofore always meant another lynching. On the Eastern Shore lawless ones know that there is no firm determination to prevent lynching. State police are too polite to shoot at would-be lynchers. State administration twice has proved completely impotent to deal with lynchers. Why, then, should they hesitate to stage another lynching? As a result, law and order degenerate. Honest men becoming disgusted, resign, leaving the Government in corrupt, lawless, brutal men's hands.

As President Wilson said in 1918: Every one of the lynchings has been a blow at the heart of ordered law and humane justice. No man who loves America, no mau who really cares for her fame and character, or is truly loyal to her institutions, can justify mob action while the courts of justice are open, and the Governments of the States and the Nation, are ready and able to do their duty.

Therefore, in the name of youth, not only black youth, but the youth of America, whom the call of justice stirs, “ like the cry of bugles going by", who would gladly and with abandon fling itself into the cause of making this a better world, as it was meant to be, a land where every man, regardless of race, color, and creed can live safe, happy, and free, we urge you, therefore, gentlemen, to lend your support to the passing of the Costigan-Wagner bill.


Mr. Chairman, at the meeting of the commission on missions, at Evanston, last week, the following vote was passed :

** Voted that the Commission on Missions of the Congregational and Christian Churches express its approval of the Costigan-Wagner antilynching bill now before the Senate, and that we urge its enactment into law, and that the Reverend Russell J. Clinchy, of Washington, be authorized to represent this commission at the hearing on this bill."



As secretary of children's work of the Board of Missions of the Southern Methodist Church, I have been helping children to develop friendly relations with persons of various races and nations. Though interested in all peoples, as southern children, they have been particularly concerned with those closest to them—the Negroes. Through experiments in good will, they have taken a leng step forward in racial cooperation and understanding.

Recent increases in lynchings threaten to destroy the effects of this construcrire work. Negro was lynched in Florida. The next morning a friend of mine, walking near the spot of the crime, met a group of boys and girls going along to school who said, “Say, Mister, did you see the big show last night! Gee, it was fun." For the sake of the children something must be done. If State laws are not effective a Federal law must take their place.

As a member of the bureau of Christian social relations of the woman's missionary council of our church, I wish to state that southern women wish men who lynch to take the responsibility upon themselves, and not make the excuse that they do it for the sake of southern white women. We are not concerned with State's rights, we want effective government.

I wish to speak also from another angle. For several years I lived in Europe and Asia. Over and over pride in my country was forced to fall before questions on lynching. When foreigners think of the United States they almost invariably think of lynching. I have here a poster from Soviet Russia which states that the lynching of Negroes, which in their opinion is the basest and most abominable form of expression of race hatred, is in the United States the highest expression of culture and Christian morals, an act pleasing in the sight of God. This is what they say happens in “the land of God Almighty. the United States of America."

STATEMENT OF L. II. Wood, CHAIRMAN NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE It is the considered opinion of the executive board of the National Urban League that the most effective immediate deterrent to the crime of lynching will be the passage of the Wagner ('ostigan antilynching bill.

The number of lynchings in the past quarter of a century constitutes overwhelming evidence that State authorities alone cannot eradicate this evil which is a reproach to America.

If the rule of the mob is permitted to continue to usurp the orderly process of law, then the efforts of those who are attempting to build harmonious relations between the races will become enormously handicapped and will ultimately fail.

Without mutual trust and good will interracial cooperation is impossible, and anything that tends to destroy the faith of our Negro citizens in the agencies of government must inevitably lead to increasing antagonism between flip two races.

That such a condition is the result of mob rule is vividly illustrated in The Tragedy of Lynching, a study by Arthur Raper, published under the auspices of the Southern Commission on the Study of Lynching, in which Mr. Raper, after an exhaustive investigation, says: “Lynching makes a mockery of court Alle otizenship. The State itself has been lynched."

For 23 mari the National Urban League for Social Service Among Negroes has been engaged in an effort to improve race relations in America. Administered by an interracial board it has sought to substitute the calm and rea

« AnteriorContinuar »