Imágenes de páginas

soned discussion of the conference table for unrestrained emotionalism and agitation. It has eschewed violence as a method of racial betterment and has sought to integrate the Negro citizen into the life of America by raising his standards of living, reducing crime, increasing his efficiency and opportunities as a worker and building his racial pride and esteem. Throughout these years the National Urban League has been committed to the doctrine that only by interracial cooperation can the racial problems be solved.

STATEMENT OF GEORGE L. REYNOLDS, ATTORNEY, NASHVILLE, TENN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it would be presumptuous of me, after the exceedingly able and convincing arguments which have been presented to this committee, to attempt to discuss the constitutionality of the Costigan-Wagner bill.

However, there is a particularly appropriate and powerfully convincing state. ment relating to its constitutionality I would like to call to your attention. It is from the pen of M. Ashby Jones, a prominent southern Baptist minister for half a century, writing in the Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution. Dr. Jones is of a famous southern family, steeped in southern traditions, whose namesake General Ashby, was a famous Confederate cavalry leader and whose father was the personal chaplain of Robert E. Lee. Dr. Jones says:

“Nothing has been more deeply disappointing to the true patriot than the sudden increase during the past year of the number and the ferocity of the mob murders in the United States. Just when we thought we had succeeded in building a wholesome public opinion against this most barbarous form of lawlessness, it has not only increased in number but spread, in its deadly social infection, over a larger area of our body politic.

“ Most seriously significant, too, has been the increasing number of influential voices raised in every part of the Nation in sympathetic approval of this cowardly form of vengeance. And we must face the depressing truth that, though these crimes have been committed in the open, with literally thousands of witnesses in most cases, there has not been a single conviction. In most instances there has not been even a serious effort to bring the perpetrators to trial. In a few cases where the accused have been indicted despite the testimony of eyewitnesses who identified them, they have been quickly acquitted.

"A COMMUNITY CRIME “ The lesson which we are forced to learn is that lynching is a community crime, growing out of the local standards and the social attitudes of the community. So in a very real sense it means that the community commits the crime, and then the same community is called upon to be the judge of its own act. Of course, this does not mean that everybody in a community where a lynching takes place approves of it, but it does, with few exceptions, mean that the dominant opinion, which we call "public opinion”, permits the crime to be committed. This will be all the more apparent if one will study the lynching maps, which careful students of the history of this distinctly American crime have prepared. Those dark areas which mark the repetition of mob murders through the years reveal the startling truth that here are communities where public opinion is such that a mob may do its lawless work without fear of punishment.

" It is this essentially social and local element in the lynching crime which makes it such a delicate and difficult problem to deal with. These communities which we are considering are so intensely local in their consciousness that any attempt by the people of the rest of the Nation or even the rest of the State, to criticize or even to participate in their local affairs is resented as an invasion by aliens. This man whom they have put to death without any trial is not thought of as a citizen of the United States, nor do they think of themselves as citizens of this Republic.

** RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS ” " Just here we face a truth which is fundamental to the solution of this problem. The man who has been done to death, in violation of the fundamental principle of Anglo-Saxon justice, was a ritizen of the United States. The Government of the United States is under obligation to protect the lives of der var ystem of le-wraer. we hare sought to give to the postupne roorga a measure of local selfgovernment as pessible. This policy loaneiztoval value in dereloping in every community a sense of politi

vibility. So the funetion of Government is divided into State, muIain county governments, and the obligation of the protection of our

;**ses to a large estent upon these authorities.

Tre bare talked a great deal. especially in the South, about State rights.' Was the right of the State to covern within certain political areas. But bed rigut tu gorern carries with it tbe responsibility of government. The right parrainn and try a citizen aceased of a crime, carries with it the sacrel respeility to see that the citizen does secure a fair trial, and is only punislett by lue priness of law. It seems to me to be ethically clear that the failure to meet the responsibility of government forfeits the right to govern. Wher we are talking about the rights of a State, it will be fatal if we forget the rights of the citizen. Fundamental to our Ameriean doctrine of democracy is the prirciple, that the State exists for the benefit of the citizen, in contrast to the suriet trire. that t'ia citiz-n esi-ts for the benefit of the State.

"Whererer tle demani is made for a Federal law or the control of lruching, it is opposel on the ground that it is a violation of State rights' When we rail the long. Floods record of these mob murders, usually ignored by the State authorities and with scarcels à conviction recorded for this reroltins crime. We must raise the question, if the States bare not forfeited their right of jurisdiction, by their failure to meet their responsibility of juris. diction?"

We carry this question of responsibility further than this in our system of juris rudence. A child is taken frim the arms of its own mother, in a court of justice, when t'at curt decides that the mother uo longer justifies the trust and the it stwnsibility of motherhel. That sacred family right, more ancient than the Constititior itself, is violated, in the name of justice, and it is the just thing to do. because in the discretion of the court, that mother is no longer carable or fit to bear the responsibility this right carries with it as a natural (vrallars.

So, we say the States have forfeited their right of jurisdiction by their failure to meet their ress onsibility of jurisdietion.

And so, gentlemen. I plead for the passage of this bill, as a southerner who has seen the results of this brutal and inhuman crime from close range in my native State of Alabama and my adopted State of Tennessee; and as an American citizeli, believing in the flexibility of a Constitution which would guarantee that no citizen shall be deprired of life. liberty, or property withont clue process of law.



Senator Van Nuys. We have several other witnesses, and Senator Dieterich has kindly consented to remain.

Mr. Bernard Ades is here, and promises to take not more than 5 minutes. He may do so at this time.

State your name, residence, and whom you represent.

Mr. ADES. Bernard Ades. Baltimore, Md. I represent the International Labor Defense. I appear before you as the representative of the International Labor Defense to express to you the views of our organization on the necessity of Federal legislation guaranteeing the civil rights of national minorities, among whom are included the Negro people, and especially of Federal legislation directed against lynching. In the first place. it is necessary, to understand that lynching is the governmental policy of many States in the Union, including especially the southern agricultural States in the Black Belt whose ruling landlord-capitalist class fattens on the super-exploitation of the Negro people, but not excluding other States such as Maryland, California, and Missouri in which the Government pted the policy of " divide and rule"; in which


the State governments in the face of terrifically bad economic conditions are attempting to direct the anger of the working class inwardly against its own members instead of against the powers that deny them relief from unemployment and starvation. Under this policy of “divide and rule” the State of Maryland has attempted to turn the poor white farmers of the Eastern Shore against the Negroes there in order to head off and divert into “ safe " channels the impatience and temper of the people.

I want to deal especially with Maryland because you had here today the Attorney General of that State, who attempted to show that lynching is not the governmental policy of Maryland and I do not want you to draw from his statements the erroneous conclusion that Federal legislation is not necessary.

Senator Van Nuys. What do you mean by that statement?

Mr. ADES. I am afraid that you might conclude the State government was doing everything possible to avoid lynching.

Senator DIETERICH. I did not understand the attorney general to even intimate that a law of this kind would not be helpful.

Mr. Ades. He did not say it would, either.
Senator DIETERICH. He did not say it would not be.
Mr. Ades. No. That is why I am trying to make it clear.

Senator DIETERICH. I think if every public officer manifested the disposition shown by the attorney general, that evil would have probably been corrected.

Mr. ADES. But you draw that conclusion on the basis of the statement he made. I can show what his real attitude was, if you will permit me to continue.

The recent lynchings in Maryland were the result of an open policy of support of lynching by the State government. In Maryland as elsewhere, attempt at murder is a crime; but on the various occasions on which mobs, composed of and led by the best citizens of that State, attempted to lynch Negroes, the State authorities calmly ignores the demand of our organization and of others that the would-be lynchers be punished. In the case of Euel Lee, in that of George Davis, and in that of Page Jupiter, the intention of the State government to not punish lynchers was made so evident that it was quite natural that the same forces should result in the lynching of Matthew Williams and of George Armwood.

Senator Van Nuys. What do you mean when you refer to the State government. Do you refer to the local government or to the State government?

Mr. Ades. I do not separate the county from the State, and I don't believe the Congress can.

Senator Van Nuys. Oh, yes. It has been recognized ever since 1787, when the Constitution was adopted.

Mr. Ades. In any event, in the case of George Armwood, as I will proceed to show, there were definite duties on the part of State officers as distinguished from county officers.

Senator VAN Nuys. That has nothing to do with the merits of this bill. You told me you were going to speak on the merits of this bill and in favor of it. "Is that correct?

Mr. Apes. I thought I was.

Senator Van Nuys. I do not think so. It has been nothing but criticism.

Mr. ADES. I am trying to show you that it is necessary to pass Federal legislation on the question of lynching.

Senator Van Nuys. Can you not tell us that without reading that document?

Mr. Ades. I have gone through one third of it already.
Senator Van Nuys. I do not care about that. What do


have to suggest ?

Mr. ADES. Of course, it is quite possible for you to shut me up.

Senator Van Nuys. I do not want to shut anyone up. This committee has gone without lunch on 2 days in order to attend to duties on the floor of the Senate, and trying to be kind and courteous to everybody.

Mr. ADES. If you will explain what you object to, I will try to conform to your desires.

Senator Van Nuys. Did you prepare that paper yourself?
Mr. ADES. Yes.

Senator Van Nuys. Then, can you not tell us briefly what it is, or put it in the record.

Mr. Ades. If you object to my reading it, I can. I would like to have the same privilege that others have had.

Senator Van Nuys. All right. If you insist, you may read it.

Mr. Ades. The lynching of George Armwood is typical. He was arrested as a result of a quarrel with a Mrs. Denston which occurred in the presence of his white employer named Richardson. Both Armwood and Richardson were arrested. The only suggestion of any crime was the allegation that Armwood, during the argument and in the presence of Richardson had struck Mrs. Denston. Armwood was lodged in the Baltimore City jail and then, at a time when there was no possible excuse for taking him back to the Eastern Shore, when neither his arraignment nor his trial was yet in order, a plan was made to take him back and lynch him. Governor Ritchie was notified of what was to take place and refused to interefere.

Senator DIETERICH. You are making that accusation against the Governor of a sovereign State.

Mr. ADES. Yes, sir.

Senator DIETERICH. You say he was notified and refused to interfere?

Mr. ADES. Yes.
Senator DIETERICH. What evidence have you of that?

Mr. Ades. Mr. Milligan of the Baltimore Post, the superior officer of Mr. Louis Azrael, who appeared here today

Senator DIETERICH (interposing). What is that organization?

Mr. ADES. A Scripps-Howard newspaper. He called up the Governor twice and told him what was going to happen.

Senator DIETERICH. Were you present when he called him up!

Mr. Ades. If you will let me finish—he told the Governor about that, and he denied it, and Mr. Milligan published the entire conversation between himself and the Governor on the front page of the Post, and Governor Ritchie has never denied it.

After the lynching Governor Ritchie first laid the blame for it on Judge Duer and then put the investigation of it into the hands of Judge Duer. Later Attorney General Lane was ordered to investigate and after many delays a company of militia was sent to Salisbury and arrested four lynchers. The prisoners were lodged in the Baltimore city jail as the honored guests of the warden, eating at his table and receiving the sympathy of that government official. The next day, on a writ of habeas corpus, Judge Duer, the trusted agent of Governor Ritchie, released the men because the attorney general, Mr. Lane, did not appear with his evidence. Now the whole affair is officially closed and State officials have openly stated that lynching is necessary to protect Maryland women.


It may be that the attorney general is quite correct when he says that an indictment of the lynchers could be obtained in the Eastern Shore counties. But what the attorney general has carefully omitted to say, both here and elsewhere, is that under the constitution of Maryland the house of delegates of the general assembly constitutes the grand inquest for the State of Maryland and when it was recently in session all of our demands that the Governor and the attorney general present their evidence to that body were ignored. Moreover, by the Maryland constitution, the trial of the lynchers need not have been on the Eastern Shore, the State being entitled as a matter of absolute right, to a removal of the case.

Senator VAN NUYS. What has that to do with the merits of this bill?

Mr. Ades. I want to show you that under the Maryland law it is impossible to stop lynching, and it is necessary to enact Federal legislation. Senator Van Nuys. Are you in favor of the passage of this bill? Mr. Ades. I certainly am. Senator Van Nuys. Why do you not introduce evidence ?

Mr. Ades. Why don't you ask me to say yes or no, and settle it that way? You have consumed 2 days in having persons give reasons why it is necessary.

Senator DIETERICH. Are you in law practice?
Mr. ADES. Yes, sir.
Senator Van Nuys. How long have you been so engaged ?
Mr. Ades. Ten years.

Senator DIETERICH. From where did you come to Baltimore? Where did you originally live?

Mr. Ades. I was born in Baltimore.
Senator DIETERICH. You are in the law practice there?
Mr. ADES. Yes.
Senator DIETERICH. What is the nature of your practice?
Mr. Ades. Law practice.
Senator DIETERICH. What is this International Labor Defense?

Mr. Ades. The International Labor Defense is an organization of some hundreds of thousands of white and Negro people in the United States, whose purpose it is to aid the families of prisoners, as well as the prisoners themselves, and generally the working-class people.

Senator DIETERICH. Has it any relation to communistic organizations?

Mr. Ades. No other relation except that some of the members of the International Labor Defense, as myself, for instance, are Communists.

Senator DIETERICH. You are a Communist?
Mr. ADES. Yes.

« AnteriorContinuar »