Viewing page 4 of 7

[[underlined]] By George S. Schuyler [[/underlined]]
Views and Reviews

[[image - black and white photo of Mr. Schuyler]]

Mary Ovington Lived Long Enough to See Her Work Bear Fruit

Life is transient and death is inevitable, and yet this writer felt a deep madness and sense of perpetual loss when the word came [[strikethrough]] [[?]]'t [[/strikethrough]] that Mary White Ovington had died.

For nearly fifty years she labored in the vineyard of race relations and she lived long enough to see her work bring forth wondrous fruit. A bold and uncompromising champion, a diligent laborer and a wise counselor, she was a pioneer whom none of us should ever forget. Although a member of the so-called white race, no one in America gave more freely of her time and talents to further the advancement of colored people. Now at the ripe age of 85 she has gone to join Joel Spingarn, Oswald Garrison Willard, William English, Walling and others of the small group that met in a small New York apartment back in early  1909[[?]] and founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

* * * 
When this pleasant, white-haired New Yorker first interested herself in the Negro, back when this century was young, she was a well-educated, liberal, sprightly, courageous woman in her prime who knew what needed to be done and, what is more important, how to go about doing it.

New York was then a big jim-crow town which had only abolished its separate schools a decade before. There was no hotel in which Negroes might stay, no first-class restaurants in which they might dine, no theatre orchestras in which they might sit, and the nearest civil rights law was years away.

Miss Ovington broke the ice in the restaurants by staging the first interracial dinner, and what a sensation it created! Two elephants walking along Fifth Avenue on their hind legs could not have won more space in the daily press. Here was something revolutionary and there was much cluck-clucking about "What's the world coming to?"

*   *   *

It is a far cry from those days. Stores where Negro patrons could not try on a garment now have colored salesman. Negroes are staying in every big hotel in town. The help in find restaurants in no longer paralyzed when a bronze patron enters the door.

Where Negroes were once hired almost exclusively as porters, red caps, waiters and longshoremen, they are now scattered in hundreds of occupations.

*  *  *

Unquestionably much of this change can be attributed to the relentless efforts of the NAACP and for thirty-eight years Mary White Ovington sat on its board of strategy. This little group of liberal whites along with Dr. W.E.B. DuBois and later William Pickens, James Weldon Johnson and Walter White, was a bitter foe of bias in all forms. They wisely held from the beginning that the association should be interracial.
I think this influence restrained the NAACP from becoming too racially chauvinistic and kept its eye on the true goal of national homogeneity. Without this aid and counsel of such dedicated white people through the years, the gains which have been made would not have been possible and we would have been trapped in a deadend of bitterness and frustration. 

*  *  *

Go to your library and get her books "Half a Man" "Portraits in Color" and "The Walls Came Tumbling Down" to see what Mary White Ovington did and what her contribution meant to you. Of course, only those who were on the inside and know the difficulties faced and surmounted by the association can truly appreciate her unselfish gifts to a group that had determination and courage but at first lacked the "know how."

Alas, one by one, these noble souls passed on and some day they will all be gone. But, the association and the group have been helped to maturity by them and now possess the experience and resources to carry on. Little more can be said here without perhaps excusable redundancy but having known almost all of them, I am sure that nothing would please them more than to have everyone become a paid-up member of the association they founded and nursed through adolescence to its present power and authority.

Rogers Says: Born in a 'White Man's World, He Was Delivered Into a 'Crazy House'

By J. A. Rogers

[[image - black and white photograph of Mr. Rogers]]

[[byline blurry]]

THE LONGER I live the more I see to understand color predjustice one must abandon logic and common sense and sink to the level of a moron. Or at least, an unthinking irresponsible mutant.

Of course, I'm not thinking of certain politicians like Byrnes, Talmadge and Rankin, nor of certain exploiters of labor and income of Negro ghettos who may in well on it but of those who get nothing and are mere 

Transcription Notes:
I cannot read the line underneath the line beginning with "Mary Ovington Lives Long Enough..."; it is too small and blurry. (Not copleted)

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact