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Ernest Jimms. William Crawford, and Clara Bell Peak which positively identify 16 members of the mob that lynched Norris Dendy. Governor Blackwood of South Carolina and his subordinates are making efforts to secure indictments or convictions. I have been informed by ? State detectives that a written confession has been secured from 1 of the lynchers. It is exceedingly doubtful, however, whether or not indictments will be returned despite the positiveness of the evidence, and even more doubtful that there will be convictions.
(The said affidarits of Ernest Mimms, William Crawford, and Clara Bell Peak are filed with the committee's records.)
A rast number of additional instances could be cited at this point in support of the contention that in many of the States there has been a complete break-lown of the machinery of Government in preventing lynchings or punishing lynchers.
In 19.20 the House of Reprezntatives passed by a rote of 230 to 119 the Dyer Anti-Lynching bill which was similar in many respects to the Costigan-Wagner bill. This bill was defeated by a long drawn out filibuster in the Senate, led by Senators from States which had the worst lynching records. Repeatedly during that filibuster the assertion was made with great rehemence that the States themselves could suppress lynching and that the Federal Government should not interfere what has been done since 1922: Only six States, according to Professor Chadbourn of the University of North Carolina, hare passed new laws or strengthened old ones against lynching. Three of these are in northern States where lyn hings are infrequent. Two of these are border States where lynchings have been few. Only one of these States is in the deep suth where the majority of lynchings take place. The states which have passed legislation since 1922 are: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nebraska, Virginia, Kentucky, and Alabama: But during the vears 1922-34 there have occurred 277 lynchings of whites and 349 of Negroes.
Full credit should be given to these States for this action. We urge enactment of the Costigan-Wagner Federal ball not only that it mar supplement this commendable State action, but to reach those States which will neither pas allequate State laws against Iynchir rer make genuine etfort to enforce them should they be passed This applies particularly to the states where luzhings are most freirert and where the majoritr of lynchings have curred.
But many far-reaching and subtle changes have taken place since 9. Particularly hare sure charges turrei aking thoughtful yltherner. The open at th:hearing of desirguished white vitaerners whe reprezent therhtful opinan of large elements of recreh, preluat:eral tit ami rartkularly of the ere curagnees rocth of the south of the age guibance.
Perhaps the most retirable eft has ren that of the gathern press Praktially prery important pager - Det enne, but repeat
serene Ivrthing in anusiti termin All with a few Ins and this crural, ha kuni arees hare samozreren Bertion of the usual crimes
Prynching. The majority rifyinkels well areas tas "šate night The which are "rertair of the window of Feral
ka 2 rely not on tate right let dels in the sa what we have already
seen, are equally, if not more fallacious and misleading in considering means of curbing lynching. A great many southern as well as northern papers have come out without reservation for Federal legislation and I wish here to introduce for the information of the Committee on the Judiciary and the Congress a few of these recent editorials.
I wish to leave the names of a number of these papers. I have editorials here from the Atlanta, Ga., Constitution; Brunswick, Ga., News; Norfolk, Va., Pilot; Bradenton, Fla., Herald; Lynchburg, Va., News, two editorials from that paper; Roanoke, Va., World; Macon, Ga., Telegram; Newport News, Va., Press; Winter Haven, Fla., Chief; Knoxville, Tenn., News Sentinel ; El Paso, Tex., Herald Post; Houston, Tex., Post, two from that paper; Charlottesville, Va., Progress; New Orleans, La., Item; Trenton, N.J., Times; Springfield, Mass., Republican; New York, N.Y., New Leader; Waterbury, Conn., Republican; Leavenworth, Kans., Times; Cleveland, Ohio, Press; Portland, Oreg., Oregonian; Portland, Maine, Evening News; Cincinnati, Ohio, Post; Indianapolis, Ind., Times; Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer; and an article by H. L. Mencken in the Baltimore Sun.
Many more could have been presented, but these, coming from every section of our country, will indicate the very widespread support by the press of this bill.
Senator COSTIGAN. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the gentleman a question ?
Senator Van Nuys. Certainly.
Senator COSTIGAN. May I ask whether the editorials referred to and the article by Mr. Mencken are of recent date?
Mr. WHITE. Yes, sir. Most of them have been written and published since January 1, 1934.
Senator COSTIGAN. Mr. Chairman, is there any objection to having them inserted in the record following the testimony of the witness?
Senator Van Nuys. With the consent of the committee that may be done. It is so ordered.
(The newspaper editorials and articles referred to are set forth in full at the close of the testimony of this witness.)
Senator KEAN. Have you not submitted a considerable number of newspapers, such as the Newark News, the Brooklyn Eagle, the New York Times, and various other New York papers, as well as numerous local papers throughout New Jersey ?
Mr. WHITE. Senator Kean, I was trying to follow the plan of the President for economy, and trying to save printing bills for the Senate. I just took these articles from all over the country. I could have furnished a very large number of them.
Senator Van Nuys. You may proceed.
Mr. WHITE.“ State rights “ should not and_must not be permitted to deter prompt passage of this bill. To those who may attempt to use this argument on the floor of either House of Congress I should like to point out that no “ State rights” arguments are ever raised when States seek financial aid for relief, public works, education, and other boons from the Federal Government. We hear such arguments in the main when the Federal powers are invoked
restrain sume element in the states with seeks so impose its will v zizoiker. ani sua atipiess. Hiement.
in poceny Up Fuera, action_diren tate shan. bave failed, zegiecteu. or reseti to act. tee Costin-Wagner to decises the States of no sirgie right sich they cow 125e. It's my profound nuje that the time wi ccme when the listigar-Wagner bul, if enacted into law, will nezer care to ve ecíür ei because ai of the States of the country where through tre enactment ani enforcement uf laws. act so speedily and effectiveiy to prevent lynchings and punish lynchers as to make it unnecessary to invoke the powers invested in the Sational Government by the Costigar-agner bill.
There are persons, sone of them quite Ernest in their opinions, who doubt the efficacy of the wisdog of Federal Legislation because they feel it wil cal..e the State to feel that they are thereby relieved of responsibilty. This arcurient is in my opinion, an unsound one. The Cost gan-Wagner blii shoriti serve and will serve to stimulate actiun by tie States themselves if only to prevent Federal artion.
The provision for a financial penalty upon the county which permuts a iyr.ching to take place within its borders will materially stimulate that frequently apathetic better element of property-owning citizens to take action to prevent lynchirgs in order that the financial penalty may not be imposed.
Lynching is no longer either a sectional or a racial issue. The United States tolay stands at the cruesroads. If Segroes can be lynched with impunity and without fear of punishment today, white people can be synched tomorrow-in fact, that is already occurring. Should there be continuance of physical suffering through unemployment and maladjustments of the economic, social, and political order, it is not at all impossible nor improbable that lynching mobs will extend their activities to Communists, Socialists, the foreign-born and members of whatsoever groups which happen to incur popular disfavor, whether justly or not, in any part of the country. This spirit of anarchy and of lawlessness is the gravest question facing the American people today. Passage by the Congress of the Costigan-Wagner bíll will add, in the words of President Roosevelt in his opening address to Congress, the strong arm of government for immediate suppression " and will help to replace orderly processes of the law for the present dangerous anarchy.
Lynching is but one of the manifestations of economic, political, and racial maladjustments. Enactment of the Costigan-Wagner bili will not solve all of these problems but it will be a step not only in as-uring to all citizens, regardless of race or color, in all parts of the country, the fair and impartial trial guaranteed by the laws and Constitution of the United States and the several States, but it will help toward saner and more just consideration of the evils from which lynching springs.
It wa- the hope of many of us that the gratifying decrease in the annual toll of lynchings since 1922 when Congress almost passed this legislation would be continued until lynching was eradicated from our national life. The increase of 180 percent in the known lynchings during 1933 when 28 persons were lynched, as compared with but 10 in 1996 evides all the argument necessary for passage of this bill.
There are lawyers who seem unaware of our expanding Constitution who maintain that no constitutional antilynching bill can be drafted. There are other lawyers equally eminent who believe that the present bill does meet the test of constitutionality. No lawyer or group of lawyers, however eminent, can, however, decide that a bill is or is not constitutional. Only the Supreme Court of the United States can make that decision. So critical is the situation that there is no other procedure which is honorable or humane for the Congress in this era of the “ new deal” to pursue than to pass this bill and place the responsibility for determination of its constitutionality before the only body which has the authority to pass upon this question—the United States Supreme Court.
Twelve million Negroes who have been the chief sufferers from this evil are today anxiously looking to this committee and to the Congress for speedy and favorable action on this bill. Energetic and long-continued efforts have been made by certain radical movements to convince the American Negro that his hope of justice under the present form of government is useless, and that he must lend his aid in helping to overthrow this Government and to establish a new one. This propaganda has not succeeded as well as it might have for two reasons only. The first of these is the ineptitude and lack of wisdom and honesty with which some of these radical movements have been led. The other reason is that a majority of American Negroes still hope, though with less assurance that in the past, that eventually justice and freedom from the mob may be possible under the present system. It is for this committee and for this Congress either to demonstrate that this hope is not a futile one, or else to give weight to those who contend that such a hope is idiotic. No longer is the Negro the carefree, happy-go-lucky, laughing individual pictured by minstrel shows and vaudeville comedians. Swift, deep currents of unrest, of bitter resentment against the lynching mob and every other form of proscription surge through the life of those who form one tenth of America's population. Refusal based upon figments of expediency or constitutionality to afford Federal aid against lynching will inevitably result in a deepening of this resentment which America would do well to consider. I urge prompt and favorable consideration by this subcommittee, by the full Committee on the Judiciary, and by both Houses of Congress of this sorely needed legislation.
Senatort Nan Nuys. Mr. White, I should like to ask you a question or two. Is it true that several States have similar statutes imposing penalties upon the counties under the conditions described in this bill!
Mr. WHITE. Yes, sir.
Senator VAN NUYS. Is it true that the courts of last resort in those States have upheld those statutes, have held them to be constitutional?
Mr. WHITE. In South Carolina they have a statute providing for a financial penalty upon the county, which is automatically placed Senator Van Nuys. And that has been held constitutional? Mr. WHITE. It has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
Senator Van Nuys. Is it not also the opinion of the best authorities that the State and Federal Governments have concurrent juris
diction, and that both Federal and State courts might enforce similar statutes at the same time?
Mr. WHITE. It is my impression that it is.
Senator DIETERICH. You have referred to the laws of some States that inflict a penalty upon the county. Do they do that regardless of whether or not the county officers have used diligence in the enforcement of the law ?
Mr. WHITE. Without regard to the actions of the officers?
Senator DIETERICH. I think we have a law in my own State of that kind, where property is destroyed by mob violence.
Mr. WHITE. Yes, sir.
Senator McCARRAN. Mr. Chairman, I have been interested in these discussions, both those by Senator Wagner and Senator Costigan and the witness now on the stand. But I want to hear sometime during the course of the hearing before this committee some argument or brief on the subject of the constitutionality of this law. I can see how a law enacted by a State would be held constitutional by the court of last resort of that State, but I must confess to you now that I am in doubt, and I want to remove that doubt, if possible, because I am in sympathy with the measure-I am in doubt as to a Federal law of this nature being held constitutional.
I make the assertion that, if a law of that nature can be held constitutional as coming from a Federal authority, which in itself transposes the Federal court into a novel situation, giring it a novel jurisdiction, and laying the hand of the Federal Government upon an individual State for the enforcement of a Feleral law, without any sanction in the organie law itself, I should be glad to be relieved of my doubt. I favor the principle, but I think that is the most questionable feature of the entire bill. I am willing to go further than that, as stated by Mr. White. I am willing to hand it up to the court of last resort and let it decide it, but I am not willing to lend myself to that position without first being advised as best I may be on the question of the constitutionality of such a law. I have very grave doubts on that subject and have had ever since the bill came before the Senate. I hope someone will derote himself to a study of the law on the subject as a question of utmost importance and present it before the committee.
Senator COSTIGAX. Mr. Chairman, may I ar to the able Senator from Nerada that there will be one or more witness at this hearing who will discuss the question of constitutionality. Furthermore, let me say that during the argument on the Drer bill in 1923 there was a more or less elaborate discussion of the law. The Senator from Nevada will find among the briefs presented in that connection ample citations of authority in support of the constitutionality of the measure. I venture to refer members of the committee to the report submitted in 19-22 on the Dyer bill by Repreventative Dyer, of Missouri, and Senator Shortridge, of California.
Senator Las Nues In that connection, Senator McCarran, I think the ment exhaustive brief was prepared by Hon. Guy D. Goff, then Assistant Attorney General.
Senator CSTIGAX. And later United States Senater from West Virginia.