Legislation of the 1920s>Walter White to Alice Robertson
Walter White to Alice M. Robertson (December 21, 1921)
NAACP Papers, Library of Congress
am taking the liberty of presenting certain facts to you for your
consideration in connection with the Dyer Anti-lynching Bill,
H. R. 13. I present these facts for your consideration with the
hope that they may enable you to see more clearly the necessity
for federal action against lynching. I have been informed that
you are at present opposed to the bill.
I first make clear to you the position of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People with reference to this legislation.
First, there is no sectional bias in our advocacy of federal action
against lynchings. We are as opposed to lynching in the North
as we are in the South and we condemn as uncompromisingly the
lynching of a white person as we do of a colored. I believe that
you will agree with me in the statement that a great deal of the
present disregard of and disrespect for law is due to the fact
that many states in America either could not or would not stamp
out lynching or punish lynchers. Last summer I was in England
and a number of times was forced to hang my head in shame when
a prominent Englishmen intimated that many of the citizens of
America must be barbarians with a thin veneer of civilization
since lynchings and burnings at the stake had been allowed to
go unchecked. It is
amazing the disrepute into which America has fallen because of
the practice of lynching.
1889 through December 19, 1921 there have been 2,434 know lynchings
in America. Of that number 570 or only 16.6 percent of the victims
have been lynched for rape. In each of these cases rape was alleged
to be the cause and both you and I know of many cases in which
it has been discovered after the lynching that the victim was
not guilty. Mobs have found that they can lynch American citizens
for any crime whatever and oftimes for no crime other that personal
unpopularity of the victim and them justify their actions by attributing
rape to a victim.
Of the 3.434 lynchings quoted above 64 of the victims, -53 white
and 11 colored-have been women. Certainly no charge of rape could
have been placed against them."