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The CHAIRMAN. Continue, Mr. Trotter.
Mr. TROTTER. This World War was fought for a great human principle. The chief officials of this country announced from the housetops that the purpose of the war was to procure universal security of life and the protection of the weak from the strong.
When the United States for the first time in its history went to Europe for an offensive war, the welkin rang with the official clarion call, “ We are fighting for universal liberty, for world democracy, for humanity everywhere," and the banners bearing these mottoes filled the heavens.
Every part of the executive branch of the Government that had to do with furthering, prosecuting, or aiding the war and all semiofficial civilian agencies used these slogans freely and fully in seeking to further the cause of this world war.
Furthermore, no branch of the Government and no officials or functionaries of the Government of any consequence ever raised any objection, or ever questioned the right of the peace magistrates of the country in declaring world democracy, universal liberty, universal humanity, as being the official and accepted purposes of the war.
Not only that, but the other allied nations accepted the President of the United States as the official spokesman, and their prime ministers and leaders adopted the same purposes as the object of the world war. It was said on every hand by the magistrates of those countries, by the constituted authorities of those countries, and by the newspaper organs of those countries that if the forces that were fighting Germany won the victory we should have the establishment of a new order of things for the betterment of the condition of the individual, and especially for the rights of the weaker peoples. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, the Equal Rights League feels that it is fit and proper, and that it is imperative, in order that the purposes of this war may not fail of fulfillment, in order that those who died on the field of battle—and among them were soldiers of every race and color—may not have died in vain in the great struggle, and in order that we may truly have now the reign of world democracy and of universal liberty, that there should be an amendment to the peace treaty as it has come from the conference at Paris. To that end the Equal Rights League desires to submit two amendments for your consideration, as follows. [Reading:] RESERVATION TO ARTICLE 23 OF PART 1 OF THE PEACE TREATY IN THE FORM OF
AMENDMENT TO SECTION B OF AFORESAID ARTICLE, OFFERED BY THE NATIONAL
“ The members of the league undertake to secure just treatment of the native inhabitants of territories under their control."
The petitioners (the National Equal Rights League), representing and voicing the sentiments of the 14,000,000 colored Americans, earnestly hope and fervently pray that your honorable committee will give to the amendment (which we herewith offer to be incorporated in the peace treaty) the distinguished consideration which has characterized your dealing with the momentous subject. Your petitioners (the National Equal Rights League), profoundly grateful, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to be heard for their cause, in urging the consideration and adoption of this amendment, are pleading for the life, liberty, and labor of 14,000,000 colored Americans.
In Article 23, section B, of part 1, after the word “control” add the following words: “And agree to vouchsafe to their own citizens the possession of full liberty, rights of democracy, and protection of life, without restriction or distinction based on race, color, creed, or previous condition.”
In lieu thereof, if that be rejected, the following is offered as Part XVI.
The CHAIRMAN. Part XVI of article 1 ?
AMENDMENT TO THE PEACE TREATY, PART XVI, OFFERED BY THE NATIONAL EQUAL
RIGHTS LEAGUE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
In order to make the reign of peace universal and lasting, and to make the fruits of the war effective in the permanent establishment of true democracy everywhere, the allied and associated powers undertake, each in its own country, to assure full and complete protection of life and liberty to all their inhabitants, without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race, or religion, and agree that all their citizens, respectively, shall be equal before the law and shall enjoy the same civil and political rights without distinction as to race, language, or religion, and all citizens of the members of the league who belong to racial or religious minorities differing in race or religion from the majority of the population shall enjoy the same treatment and same security in law and in fact as all persons of the majority race or religion.
Senator Knox. Does this mean in their own country or in all countries?
Mr. TROTTER. This is for each one of the allied and associated powers to guarantee these things for their own citizens in their own country.
Senator Knox. Not for citizens of other countries?
Mr. Chairman, I think it is hardly necessary to go into the question of the great need of the protection of life and of equality of rights for the colored American minority. In the treaty with Austria, in the treaty with Poland, and with other countries there are clauses similar to this, for the protection of the racial minorities, adopted by the peace conference. There are none of those racial minorities who suffer the denials of democracy and the insecurity of life and liberty which are suffered by the colored American minority in this country; and we beg of the committee that they will adopt one or the other of these amendments, in order that the terrible condition, the deplorable condition, the cruel condition that exists in this country for colored Americans, 98 per cent of whom are native-born citizens, shall be discontinued, and that they, with all other nations on the earth, shall come into the enjoyment of full democracy, of full equality of rights, of full liberty, of full protection of life, and that they may have a chance for the pursuit of happiness,
The CHAIRMAN. The next name which you have given us here is that of Mr. Allen W. Whaley, of New York.
Mr. TROTTER. Yes.
STATEMENT OF MR. ALLEN W. WHALEY.
Mr. WHALEY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate, it would seem that my colleague has said sufficient upon this subject, and I simply want to emphasize the justice, practicability, and absolute necessity for an amendment of this kind if the purposes for which we fought in France and elsewhere were true.
I think the first reason why this amendment to the constitution of the league of nations should be written into that constitution is the gratitude that these signatory powers should show to those people who sustained them in the hour of dire distress; for without those black soldiers from all parts of the world helping England, helping France, and helping the United States, the outcome would have been doubtful. That statement has been made by many a critic, and I think everybody who is just will say so. I speak for AfroAmericans. I am not hyphenating the black man, because he is a real American. Most of the white Americans who are here can be hyphenated, but the black American can not be. He came here against his will in 1619, and just a little before that according to critical history, and he has been here ever since, and there has not been much immigration either, but he is here in much larger numbers than it was expected perhaps that he would be at this time.
In order that the United States may obliterate some of the disgrace which has been brought upon it by the maltreatment of the most loyal section of its citizenry, I think they should joyfully adopt this amendment to the constitution of the league and encourage the hearts of 15,000,000 Afro-Americans.
I think that this would be a sign that the country wants to put down mob violence and put down the lynching of black men, and black women, and black children in the Southland. I think that this would be a sign that she wants the escutcheon of America to be without a tarnish. The escutcheon of this country has been a reproach throughout the land on account of the awful, horrible treatment of black Americans here. And this adoption would show that the people who think well and the people who believe well mean business.
This is an age of reconstruction. Mr. Lloyd-George said that what is settled by the peace conference is settled in some particulars forever, and he said if not forever it will be for a long time, for an indefinite time to come, and that the peace conference was for the purpose of reconstructing the world, and that reconstruction was to be based upon fundamental justice. And just now the American Government in every way that it can should try to right all the wrongs of all the centuries toward the black American, because, of course, the black American has already given notice that what he suffered in the past he will not tolerate in the future. He means business now. There can be no compromise. They are going to hang the traitors among them and they are going to see that the right men and the right women are in front, and the battle is going to be fought for human liberty and for human rights.
The Declaration of Independence meant something to the white Americans, but it did not mean anything to the colored Americans. They were not included in that masterful parchment, but they are going to strive to make the Declaration of Independence a significant document for every citizen that breathes under the Stars and Stripes. And also the three war amendments, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments of the Constitution; we are going to have them effective in Mississippi as well as they are in Massachusetts. And I am sure that this amendment to the constitution of the league of nations would have a significance that would be an encouragement to our people everywhere.
I know I speak drastically, but with justice. We want in this country real justice, justice for all citizens, and we want our Constitution, beautiful as the language is, beautiful as the sentiments are, to be a real thing and not a mere sign of nothing.
We believe that this committee is willing to do what is right. I believe that this committee is hearing us to-day because it wants to know just what we want, and we are not representing only a few people here. We are representing 15,000,000 black Americans in the United States. You say, "Are there as many as that?" Oh, yes. We have done a little work in taking the census ourselves. We have not left it all to the United States Government. The Government has not found all the black people in this country. They never did get all of them. When the census was taken they were left out. I thank you.
STATEMENT OF MR. JOSEPH H. STEWART, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. STEWART. Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the committee, the Equal Rights League in coming before you on these two propositions have an object that is not only beneficial in its effect in the United States, but it will benefit the world. We are endeavoring as far as we possibly can to prevent the occurrence in other countries of what we have in this country, what we call the race problem. Now the race problem in this country resolves itself into this. It is nothing more or less than this. It simply means that our object at least is for the production of justice between the white man and the black man, whenever and wherever they come in touch one with the other. That is the problem, to produce justice between these two men. And we want that problem—that is the point that we are advocating, and that is what we want enforced through those nations that signed the treaty of peace with the league of nations. We know perfectly well what troubles we have had in this country. There has been a great deal of confusion about this problem. They call it a negro problem. It is not a negro problem at all. It is a problem of effecting justice between white men and black men whenever they come in touch one with the other. And, Mr. Chairman, we urge upon the committee to take this matter under serious consideration, considering this, that that is the object of the Equal Rights League in this country, and we hope and pray that you will see fit, after due consideration of the matter, that you will annex either one of these amendments to the treaty of peace which is to be signed by the league of nations. I thank you.
STATEMENT OF MR. J. H. NEILL, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. NEILL. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I have just one thought that I would like to give the committee on this subject and that is with reference to the universal unrest among our people in this country to-day. Now, for that there must be a cause, and the National Equal Rights League has endeavored to find out the cause of this unrest. I know that the gentlemen of the committee are conversant with some of the Negro publications, and they have been able to discover somewhat the trend of thought among the leaders of our people in this country. You will have noticed that some of them are advocating that we join various movements relative to labor, and social organizations, and other lines, but the Equal Rights League believes that primarily and fundamentally the real source of assistance and benefit to our people is the constituted authorities of this country, who have in their hands the enactment and enforcement of the laws by which we are governed.
Therefore we come before this honorable committee and we ask that the amendments proposed, one or the other, be adopted as being the most direct and easy way of effecting the results that we desire. We do not believe that by indirect methods we can accomplish what we can by direct methods, therefore we believe that if this committee, in its wisdom and foresightedness, will go into this matter and think of the colored citizens of this country as a part of the body politic and not as a separate race, or as separate individuals, but that it is a component part of this Nation, and that this Nation must rise or fall, nct by the advancement or achievement of a part of its citizenship, whether that part be black or white or whatnot, but it is by the united advancement of all the complex nationalities and racial units that compose the citizenship of this country.
We therefore ask the careful and earnest consideration of this committee of the propositions proposed, believing that if they go into this subject and looking at it not from the Negro's standpoint merely, not from the white man's standpoint, but from the standpoint of the universal good that will come to this country, if not the suggestions made by us then others, that will secure to us the things that we desire, they will be encouched in this document which you are considering. I thank you. Mr. TROTTER. Is there a moment?
The CHAIRMAN. I think there is, Mr. Trotter. Yes; you have 10 minutes.
Mr. TROTTER. I would like to submit as a part of our hearing these documents which were presented to the peace conference in Paris by the delegate from this country, the secretary of the league.
The CHAIRMAN. Would you like to have those inserted in the record ? Mr. TROTTER. Yes; included in the record.
(The documents referred to are here printed in the record, as follows:) NATIONAL EQUAL RIGHTS LEAGUE OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 36 RUE STE. ANNE, HÔTEL DU BON PASTEUR,
Paris, 15 May, 1919. HONORABLE Sir: As delegate to Paris of the National Equal Rights League of the United States of America and secretary of the delegation of petitioners of