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ment to the State at which the legislation is primarily aimed that this condition exists, this reaction to Rolphism. For the United States Government ought not to find it necessary further to supplant State rights on a question such as this. There appears a need for Federal machinery to insure the proper action against lynching in extreme cases. Let us hope, however, that it will never need to be invoked, if the Costigan-Wagner legislation passes.

(From the Houston (Tex.) Post, Dec. 11, 1933)


That the demand for Federal legislation designed to suppress lynching will be pushed with new vigor in the coming session of Congress is certain. The wave of mob action that has swept over the country in recent weeks cannot fail to revive the agitation for Federal action. And it may as well be admitted now that such legislation will have a good chance of passing, if the people of the States do not make their opposition to it definitely known.

Several years ago a strong effort was made in Congress to pass an antilynching bill. The measure was not passed, largely because of opposition to it on the ground that it brought the Federal Government into a realm of law enforcement that should lie exclusively with the States.

Since that time the powers of the Federal Government have been greatly expanded. The Federal Government now takes cognizance of some phases of kidnaping. There is a greater tendency to look to the central Government for action in suppressing certain crimes. Notwithstanding a Democratic administration is in power, the chances of an antilynch law to pass Congress now are greater than they were a few years ago, both because of the recent violent outbreaks of mob violence, and because of a growing custom of looking to Washington to solve serious problems.

Passage of a Federal antilynch law would constitute a serious new invasion of the domain of the States, and as such should be resisted by adherents of the principles of State's rights and local self-government. Federal interference in such matters is not desirable. But, it should be remembered, if it is the right of the States to have jurisdiction over lynchers, it is the responsibility of the States to suppress lynching. If they fail to meet that responsibility, they may expect to see it transferred to the Federal Government. Most of the rights the States have lost slipped away because the States dodged a responsibility.

They now have fair warning. It is either assume the responsibility of suppressing mob murder, or step aside and permit the Federal Government to take on the task. In simpler words, it is a case of put up or shut up.

[From the Houston (Tex.) Post, Jan. 6, 1934]


Opponents of Federal antilynch legislation will have to step lively if they succeed in heading off passage of the bill that has been introduced in the Senate to make lynching a Federal offense.

Opponents of such proposed legislation in the past have prevented its enactment by pressing the plea that giving the Federal Government jurisdiction over mob murder would be an inexcusable invasion of the rights of the States and by contending that it was partisan legislation aimed at humiliation of the South, where, admittedly, many lynchings have occurred.

The plea against a Federal antilynch law on the ground of invasion of the rights of the States is as sound today as ever, but conditions in and out of Congress have changed. This must be obvious to everyone.

The antilynch bill that claimed attention several years ago was introduced by a Republican. The bill of similar nature introduced in the Senate of this Congress has for its authors two outstanding Democratic Senators, Wagner, of New York, and Costigan, of Colorado. both rated as liberals. Democrats are in control of both branches of Congress, but many of the influential leaders are from sections outside the South where the State rights doctrine is held lightly.

President Roosevelt has taken cognizance of the crime of lynching in recent utterances and condemned it in scathing terms. In his message to ('ongress Wednesday he included it among the crimes that must be suppressed by the strong arm of the law. He did not say the Federal law. But his statement naturally is an encouragement to those pushing the Wagner-Costigan bill.

The wave of lynching last fall, and the increase in cases of mob violence to 28 in 1933, the highest number in many years, has aroused public sentiment against this form of lawlessness to a high pitch. It is logical that this popular indignation should find expression in the national lawmaking body.

The Wagner-Costigan bill makes a concession to the State rights adherents by providing that the Federal Government shall act in lynching cases where the State governments fail to act. That clause may facilitate passage of the proposed law. It leaves it up to the States to say whether they shall have Federal action when lynching occurs within their borders. It gives them a chance to ward off an invasion of the province of criminal law enforcement. Under the terms of this bill there need never be any Federal interference. The question would be, however, what Federal authorities considered adequate effort on the part of the States to apprehend and punish lynchers.

In practice, the probability is that in many of the States, suppression of lynchi would be left to the Federal Government if the sort of arrangement provided for in the Costigan-Wagner bill were to become law. Some of the States, unfortunately, have not been excessively diligent in their efforts to suppress mob violence. This measure would offer them a chance to shift their responsibility. It will be recalled that under the eighteenth amendment the Federal and State Governments were given concurrent jurisdiction over violation of liquor laws, but the States quite generally left enforcement up to the Federal Government. The same situation likely would develop in the event of the enactment of a Federal law to bring lynching under Federal jurisdiction.

[From the Charlottesville (Va.) Progress, Dec. 13, 1933]

Two INSTANCES OF FALLACIOUS REASONING Discussing the recent outbreaks of lynching, the Washington Post very aptly draws a comparison between the advocates of a Federal lynch law and those who insisted upon, and got, a national prohibition act. Such things, the Post concludes, cannot be shifted totally upon the Federal Government with hope of successfully eradicating them. They are local in their inception and consequently should be disposed of through local effort. The saneness of the following observations cannot fail to be plain :

"Those who are advocating a Federal lynch law upon the contention that Federal power alone is sufficient to control mob outbreaks, are falling into the same fallacious line of reasoning as that which produced the National Prohibition Act *

" To enact a Federal lynch law and shift the responsibility to the National Government would be to relax that strong cordon of sentiment that has been built up and to break down the sense of local responsibility and local shame that attach to lynchings. It would be making the same sort of fictitious expediency that the advocates of temperance made when they persuaded themselves that the Federal Government should undertake to enforce prohibition."

All this is true, but the people in their sane moments very generally have the same abhorrence to lynching. This terrible act of lawlessness occurs when temperate thought has been swamped in a stampede of indignation. It is a time when the sense of local responsibility and shame have been thrown to the winds. There must then be help—particularly help for what follows. The responsibility for such occurrences, however, is no less a burden upon localities, but their ability to bring mob leaders to justice needs the able assistance of the National Government's forces. A properly constituted Federal law, which the people should regard as supplementary and supporting, would be of the greatest aid in putting down the evil of lynching as such a one has already operated upon that of kidnaping.

But, as the Post says, the real remedy is contained in the local sense of justice and law observance.


(From the New Orleans (La.) Item, Jan. 6, 1934)


An ugly record is complete-lynchings rose 180 percent in this country last year. The 1932 total was 10, that for 1933 was 28. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People reports for 1933 " a surprisingly large number of instances of apparent collusion between law officers and mobs." In this it sees “an ominous tendency likely to grow to threatening proportions unless curbed by drastic legislative action."

Immediately following the San Jose outrage we heard much talk of a national antilynch law. Passage of such legislation may be advisable. It must not be forgotten, however, that the final responsibility for extirpating lynching rests upon the people of our individual American communities.

In the era before prohibition many communities decided that they would have done with the liquor traffic. By local option they put it outside their town and city limits. This undoubtedly has been the most effective ban upon intoxi. cants ever applied in America. State prohibition was less effective, national prohibition abjectly failed.

This same scale of diminishing returns upon governmental edicts is likely to hold true with lynching. Any county, village, or town which the leaders of thought and government determine shall be guiltless of lynching will usually be free of it, whether State or Federal Government act toward that end or not.

The lowbrows and roughnecks almost invariably do all the lynching. But the better class of citizens can usually control them if they really try. Occasional exceptions appear. But the intelligent elements control most communities.

[From the Trenton (N.J.) Times, Dec. 8, 1933]


Mob crimes in Maryland, California, and Missouri have accentuated the need for a Federal antilynching law. There have been 27 lynchings in the various States this year, an increase of 17 over the number recorded in 1932.

Twelve years ago, the Dyer antilynching bill almost passed Congress. It was favored in the House by a vote of 230 to 119, but was filibustered out of existence in the Senate.

Vigorous enforcement of the criminal code would make a Federal law unnecessary. But the trouble is that there are all too many State officials disposed to condone lynchers. A national statute, accordingly, looms as a vital necessity.

People are properly protesting against laxity and inefficiency in criminal procedure. They rightly demand that kidnapers, murderers and other violators be treated to swift, sure justice and adequate punishment.

Virtually all sensible persons are agreed, however, that orderly processes of law are preferable to mob action. A Federal antilynching law would be alto. gether beyond criticism if it were accompanied by the kind of relentless justice to which the Nation is entitled.

[From the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, Jan. 7, 1934)


The Federal antilynching bill, sponsored by two Democrats, Wagner, of New York, and Costigan, of Colorado, would put a governor like Governor Rolph, of California, in jail for a term of not less than 5 years. At least, this seems a reasonable inference from the section providing such a penalty for any State officer who affirmatively countenances a lynching. Governor Rolph did all that and more.

The bill is an attempt to avoid constitutional obstacles inherent in States' rights and, therefore, provides for Federal intervention only when a State has failed to safeguard its system of criminal administration from the violence of the mob. That failure might be due either to feebleness amounting to inability

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to function, or to actual unwillingness. Penalties not exceeding 5 years imprisonment or $5,000 fine, or both, could be imposed on any State officer who had failed to exercise due diligence in protecting prisoners from mobs.

If States through their own fault fail to safeguard within their jurisdiction a person's right under the fourteenth amendment to "life, liberty, or property without due process of law "-in this case, life itself—after having enjoyed ample opportunity to enforce the guaranty of “the equal protection of the laws,” nothing stands between society and anarchy but Federal intervention. The enactment of the Wagner-Costigan bill and its practical application would at least serve as an offensive against the national lynching disgrace on a new front.

[From the New York City New Leader, Jan. 20, 1934)


An increase in the number of recorded lynchings from 10 in 1932 to 28 in 1933 is excessively alarming. Moreover, the lynchings were pecliarly outrageous. At Tuscaloosa, Ala., and in California they implied a vicious collusion between authorities and the mob. No mere change of law can deal with a situation deep rooted in national passions and prejudices of the social structure. Nevertheless, a Federal antilynching law would be of help. The Federal Government through the income-tax law has been able to reach racketeers who have gone untouched by local authorities. It has also made a better record in regard to kidnaping. In dealing with lynching, the Government would have a support from a widely spread public opinion, whereas local authorities are dependent upon the very regions in which the mobs have operated. Even in the South it is encouraging to observe a growth of feeling that the Federal Government ought to have some power in this connection. Such power certainly could be set up under the fourteenth amendment.

[From the Waterbury (Conn.) Republican, Jan. 9, 1934]


Following the adoption by the House at Washington of the Dyer antilynching bill several years ago, there was a marked downward tendency in the number of lynchings. In 1932 there were only 8. But last year the number rose to 28. The downward tendency vanished in a wave of mob criminality that reached its apex in California, where the Governor of the State was found taking a lynching mob to his bosom. Hence Senator Wagner and Senator Costigan have introduced a new Federal antilynching bill, designed to make good the constitutional guaranty of the equal protection of the law to all persons.

The bill would expose to a 5-year jail term or a $5,000 fine, or both, any State officer who failed properly to protect prisoners against mobs, or neglected to do his part in arresting and convicting members of mobs. It would also allow a sentence of from 5 years to life to be imposed on any State officer who abetted a mob outrage. Finally, it would allow the United States to recover $10,000 from any county in which a lynching was begun or consummated, this sum to be used for the dependents of the victim, if any, and otherwise for the use of the United States.

If the threat of the Dyer bill, which failed of enactment only because of a filibuster in the Senate, had the deterrent effect upon lynching attributed to it, it would seem that the actual enactment of a Federal antilynching law would have a more powerful, as well as a permanent, deterrent effect. The great drawback to waiting for the States to wipe out lynching lies in their failure to punish either officials who weekly permit lynchings or members of mobs who perpetrate them. If there is any deterrent value in punishment it is lost with respect to lynching. A few convictions under a Federal antilynching law might well open a new and better chapter in the history of lynching in this country.

[From the St. Louis (Mo.) Star, Jan. 2, 1934)

How SHALL LIXCHINGS BE STOPPED It has been more than 10 years since an antilynching law was agitated in Congress. Today it is to the fore again, and for the same reason-an epidemic of lynhings with the public authorities either helpless, or, as in the case of the Governor of California, encouraging mob murder. Gorernor Rolph, by his Incitement of the San Jose killing and his publie defense of the killers, has done more than any other individual in the United States to create a necessity for Federal legislation.

A law such as Senator Costigan proposes, requiring a county where lynching occurs to pay a heavy indemnity to the victim's family, would, if enforceable, practically put an end to lynching. Of course, that means “another law." But those who object to “another law " will have to show how lynching can be stopped without it.

[From the Leavenworth (Kans.) Times, Dec. 4, 1933)

FEDERAL ANTILYXCHING Law When Congress meets next month the country will hear further discussion of the subject of lynching which will be brought to the surface through the introduction in the Senate of a Federal antilynching bill, sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The association is now drafting the bill, which will be introduced by Senator Edward P. Costigan, of Colorado. Support is expected from several Senators who have urged passage of the bill.

Recent lynchings will react in favor of passage of the measure. An aroused publie opinion will have much to do with favorable reaction throughout the country. A similar bill introduced in the House in 1922 by Representative Dyer, of Missouri, was passed by that body, only to be killed in the Senate.

It can be pointed out that a Federal antilynching law would go much further in stamping out mob murders than any power the State can bring against such lawlessness. States rarely go even so far as to indict members of lynching parties and seldom, if ever, are those taking part in lynchings convicted. Local politics control actions of the State judicial machinery.

With the Federal Government conducting prosecutions against those who take part in lynchings, this obstacle would be removed. Federal power is something altogether different from State power. It is held in greater fear for the reason that it functions without any local or political angle being injected.

A case in point is the fewer number of kidnapings following enactment of the so-called “Lindbergh kidnaping law" and the promptness with which the Federal Government ferreted out the Urschel and other kidnapers and prosecuted their trials.

Fear of this powerful hand would do more to end lynch law than any other agency.

[From the Cleveland (Ohio) Press, Jan. 17, 1934]

FIGHTING MOB RULE Lynching is not the lynching of men merely, but the lynching of law and justice. You have either law or anarchy. There is no middle road.

Thus Rabbi A. H. Silver sums up strongly against a historic blight on the Nation, a peril to the whole system of government as we know it.

Rabbi Silver told an audience of more than 500, meeting under auspices of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, that "it is given very often to a minority to point the way for the majority."

These are the views of leaders on thought in all fields. They are the views, strongly expressed, of President Roosevelt.

We are happy that Rabbi Silver found a new opportunity to express these views. And that the Rev. Fr. Michael L. Moriarty, director of Catholic chari

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