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128   THE CRISIS

Major Spingarn has advocated, is not to be organized and that the Government is not to have, in that particular section, the benefit of your counsel and advice.

To me it has been strange indeed, as well as very disappointing, to note the false interpretations that have been placed upon Major Spingarn's offer to you, as well as upon certain of your recent editorial expressions. I sincerely regret the unfortunate and unjust attitude taken by so many of our friends with reference to matters of your coming to Washington and what I consider your sensible and patriotic utterances.

It seems to me inconceivable how any sane, true-hearted American could take exception to your expressions of loyalty to the Government at a time like this. It is equally inconceivable that any fair-minded person could misconstrue such patriotic expressions as you have been making during this period of national emergency and need.
 
With all good wishes, I am, as ever, 
Sincerely yours,
(Signed) EMMETT J. SCOTT
Special Assistant,
Office of the Secretary of War.

On December 1, the editor of THE CRISIS went to France. Within a month after landing he was utterly amazed and dumbfounded at the revelations poured upon him. He heard of conditions, acts, conspiracies, wholesale oppression and cruelty of which he had had no previous inkling. 

He did not expect to find that the black soldiers had been altogether happy. War is war. The soldier, black or white, must endure cold and heat, rain and mud, hunger and hurt. Moreover, the editor knew that the colored soldier in addition to all this would feel the sting of prejudice and discrimination.

But the editor of THE CRISIS and, we are persuaded, not one other American Negro in a million knew or dreamed of conditions like this: 

1. Wholesale dismissal and transfer of Negro officers regardless of merit.

2. Wide and continuous distribution of printed and spoken propaganda against an "inferior" race.

3. Open reiteration of unfounded charges of cowardice and infamous crime.

4. Deliberate attempts to discourage morale, withhold equipment and put unequipped units into battle.

5. Mistreating, overworking and almost enslaving many of the stevedore laborers.

6. Dismissing and demoting white officers who refused to join the anti-Negro campaign.

7. Organizing one of the bitterest and most stinging campaigns of personal affront and insult ever attempted in a civilized land against civilized people.

For four long months story after story and document after document poured into the editor's hands substantiating the above charges. For four months the editor was helpless. Every step he took was heralded by the Intelligence Service of the American Expeditionary Force, as follows:

HEADQUARTERS, NINETY-SECOND DIVISION, AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES, A. P. O, 766

1 January, 1919.

SECRET

EMO:
To Intelligence Officers -

1. A man by name of DuBois, with visitor's pass, reported on his way to visit this Division. His presence at station of any unit will be immediately reported in secret enclosure to 

OPINION 129


Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, these headquarters. Likewise, prompt report will be made to G-2 of all his moves and actions while at station of any unit.

2. The fact of this inquiry as to DuBois and his moves will not be disclosed to any person outside the Intelligence Service.

By command of
Brigadier-General ERWIN.
F. P. SCHOONMAKER,
Major, General Staff,
A. C. of S., G-2

He was compelled to sign the following pledge as to his correspondence with America:

"To avoid criticism of all Allied Forces; to avoid any observation tending to aid the enemy or to injure morale of the Allies, and not to publish any written statements, or give out any interviews, except through the censorship of the Intelligence Section of the General Staff."

He landed in America, March 31, and in the ensuing issue of THE CRISIS he felt it his duty to ask Mr. Scott, our special representative in the War Department, three simple questions of fact.

THE CRISIS dislikes and avoids personal controversy. THE CRISIS knows that it is easier to criticise than to do. THE CRISIS is eager to give Mr. Scott every credit due and to make every allowance for the singular difficulty of his position. But THE CRISIS in its position as public mentor and adviser and newspaper absolutely refuses to be turned one moment from its determination to know why it was that in this the most critical period of the existence of the Negro race, 200,000 of the best blood of our young manhood - men who offered their lives for their people and their country, could be crucified, insulted, degraded and maltreated while their fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers had no adequate knowledge of the real truth.

It is not simply a question of what Mr. Scott personally could or could not accomplish - God knows we are all of us helpless enough in this bitter fight - it is the vaster question of the right of concealing fatal knowledge; if Mr. Scott could do nothing, how did he know that others were equally helpless? How did he know that all of us together would be equally helpless?

Why could he not have reassembled the editor's conference or even some larger meeting of influential men and said to them in confidence: "Hell is loose in France, and our boys are dying in soul and body - what can be done?" If he could not act publicly, could he not have passed the word quietly to his friends? Was his only recourse silence and the repeated assurance to inquiry and that everything was going well?

Suppose we discovered that some colored official was concealing the knowledge of lynchings on the ground that he could not stop them; shall we not try the power of every one - the vast, combined power of all before we surrender? No concealment is ever a cure for crime.

Did Mr. Scott's position depend on his not revealing the desperate conditions in France? We do not believe it. We believe that Secretary Baker would have halted the anti-Negro campaign had he known its lengths. We believe that the colored press, even with the limitations of the Espionage Law, could have worked up a public opinion that would have brought Greer and his compeers home ; and even granted that absolutely nothing could have been done, we ought at least to have known the truth.

But it is not true that nothing could

Transcription Notes:
Shocking.

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