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Brooklyn Eagle, November 29, 1920


Source: Press Service of the NAACP, Press Release: "Senator France, Representative Dyer to Urge Federal Anti-Lynching [Law]," 29 November 1920, NAACP Papers, Part 7: The Anti-Lynching Campaign, 1912-1955, Series B: Anti-Lynching Legislative and Publicity Files, 1916-1955, Library of Congress (Microfilm, Reel 26, Frames 407-08).

Will Speak On December 9 Before Colored People of Brooklyn, In Academy of Music Opera House.

Passage of a federal anti-lynching law, which comes before Congress in the next session, will be urged before a mass meeting held by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House, on the evening of December 9. The speakers are to be Senator Joseph I. France of Maryland; Representative Leonidas C. Dyer of Missouri, who introduced the House bill; Mary B. Talbert, delegate to the International Council of Women in Christiania; James Weldon Johnson, Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Walter F. White, Assistant Secretary.

Fifty-four lynchings had occurred in the United States between January 1 and November 30, 1920, according to Mr. Johnson, who was seen today at the office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and evidence of these lynchings as well as of the failure of local authorities to punish the lynchers is to be laid before Congress. Mr. Johnson said the chances for passage of a federal anti-lynching bill were excellent as the Committee of the Judiciary had favorably reported on it.

"One of the most recent lynchings in the United States," said Mr. Johnson, "occurred in the State of Georgia, where two men and a woman, all colored, were shot down on unsupported accusations of having participated in a murder.

"The year’s list of American atrocities adds fifty-four, and there will doubtless be additional items, to the more than 3,500 lynchings which have occurred in the United States during the last thirty years.

"Rarely if ever are participants in lynching captured or prosecuted. Sheriffs and local officers often do not dare to make a stand against the lynching sentiment of their communities. Frequently state governors, as in the case of Governor Bilbo of Mississippi, encourage the mob spirit by publicly confessing their inability to cope with it.

"The answer to the growing murderous lawlessness in this country is to place the enforcement of anti-lynching measures in the hands of the federal government. The anti-lynching measure introduced in the Senate by Senator Charles Curtis of Kansas and in the House by Representative Dyer of Missouri, provides:

1. For a $10,000 fine to be paid by any county in which a lynching occurs;
2. For prosecution of negligent state and county officers in United States Courts;
3. For trial on charges of murder in a United States court of all participants in lynchings.

"The Brookly[n] meeting held by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is a step in a nation-wide campaign to end, by invoking the power of the federal government, the greatest shame in the United States."

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