Microfilm Reel 231, File 152a, "Segregation"

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All the microfilm scans concerning file number 152a, "Segregation," of file number 152, "African Americans," on reel 231 from the Executive Office files of the Woodrow Wilson Papers, series 4 in the Library of Congress finding aid.

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152a

SEGREGATION OF CLERKS AND EMPLOYEES IN CIVIL SERVICE. 15

Mr. EDWARDS. I would.

Mr. DIES. We had white officers for colored troops, but we never had colored officers for white troops.

Mr. EDWARDS. I think that is true.

Mr. MADDEN. Is it your contention that if a man with a black skin passes an examination for a Government place and his examination shows that he has a better standing than another man who may not have a black skin, that because he has a black skin he ought not to be given a high place?

Mr. EDWARDS. My contention is, in the first place, that the civil service is lacking in that when an examination is held it ought to disclose whether the applicant is black or white. There are a great many people on the civil service rolls of the Government and you can not learn from the Blue Book or registers just who they are, what race they belong to. I do not think it would be any discrimination to disclose what race they belong to, because in taking the census we take the census of the different nationalities and colors.

Mr. DIES. We could get the information if we wanted it.

Mr. EDWARDS. I think so.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you anyone else to be heard on this?

Mr. EDWARDS. No, sir.

Mr. BARTON. I would like to know what basis there is for this bill.

Mr. EDWARDS. The gentleman came in after I started. I suppose you did not hear Mr. Aswells remarks?

Mr. BARTON. I did, and I did not hear any different proposition as to the extent of this bill.

Mr. EDWARDS. In reply to Mr. Dies's question awhile ago, I would say I have not the figures, but it is my information there is a great number of colored people in the various departments, and certainly, so far as the white people are concerned, they want the condition relieved and I think it would be best for both races.

Mr. MADDEN. Mr. Aswell stated that God had decreed the black man should not occupy a place equal to the white man. Do you believe that is a good reason for discrimination against the black man?

Mr. DIES. I do not think he made it that broad.

Mr. MADDEN. It is in his written statement.

The CHAIRMAN. His statement is in writing; he filed it.

Mr. MADDEN. I just wanted to follow what he said.

Mr. EDWARDS. I believe, Mr. Madden, the two races are as separate and distinct, by the decree of nature, as day is from night. There may be weak men and strong men in both races, but I believe the two races are as distinct and separate for all time as the East is from the West.

Mr. MADDEN. Do you believe in the provision of the Constitution which declares that all men shall be accorded equal political rights under the law? We have no right to pass any legislation here that is discriminatory of the rights of the black man?

Mr. EDWARDS. The purpose in framing this bill as it is framed is to obviate the very point that the gentleman raises about the Constitution. I do not set myself up as a great constitutional lawyer, but I would like to see the purpose accomplished, and I would like to see, if it were necessary, this matter passed upon by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. LOBECK. Up in the Burean of Engraving there are a great many colored and white people working side by side. Have you had any complaints from there?

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16 SEGREGATION OF CLERKS AND EMPLOYEES IN CIVIL SERVICE.

Mr. EDWARDS. I do not recall that I have, except in a general way.

Mr. MADDEN. A great number work side by side. Is there any objection to that? If a man does his work right?

Mr. EDWARDS. I have a great number of communications and complaints from nearly all the departments.

Mr. MADDEN. If a man is a citizen of the United States, subject to all the laws of the United States, compelled to pay his taxes to the Government of the United States and to all the local governments, is there any reason why he should not be entitled to all the privileges of citizenship whether he is black or white?

Mr. DIES. How does that arise in your billl?

Mr. EDWARDS. It does not arise under this bill, and it argues back to the viewpoint. I would like to say that I know the viewpoint of Mr. Madden and myself are as different as they possibly could be. I accord to him that courtesy which I am sure he accords to me; that is, sincerity of purpose.

Mr MADDEN. I certainly do that.

Mr. EDWARDS. Because I do not know a man in Congress I have a higher regard for than I do for Mr. Madden. I have served on committees with him and I know he is a man of strong convictions. We who have had to deal with this question have pretty well-defined views on it, and we may at times not consider the constitutionality of the thing as carefully as does the gentleman from Ilinois. But I do not think the question of "constitutionality" arises here. I believe it would relieve a condition that would in no way hurt the African race and would in many respects benefit both races.

Mr. MADDEN. What about the humanitarian side of it?

Mr. EDWARDS. I do not see that enters into it, except to relieve the humiliation of our own race.

The CHAIRMAN. I do not understand there is anything in this bill except segregation?

Mr. EDWARDS. That is all. But if I could prepare and secure the passage of a bill that would stand the test, I would like to see the negroes disqualified, so that they could not hold office. I think white people should hold the offices. The right to vote should never have been given to the colored race. It was a great mistake. It will be a great mistake if this bill of mine is not enacted into law.

COMMITTEE ON RIVERS AND HARBORS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Washington, D. C., March 11, 1914.

Hon. H. L. GODWIN, Chairman Committee on Reform in the Civil Service, Washington, D. C.

DEAR MR. GODWIN: Herewith inclosed you will find a copy of an affidavit made by E. Grace Timberlake, relating to conditions in the office of the recorder of deeds and in other branches of the Government service in Washington. This affidavit was made on the 30th day of April, 1913. I sincerely hope conditions have changed since the date of the affidavit.

I am inclosing you this affidavit with the request that it be included and printed as a part of the data furnished recently by me, on my bill H. R. 13772, which seeks to segregate the colored race from the white race in the Government service.

You will please acknowledge receipt of this affidavit.

I beg, too, that this letter be printed in the hearings and preceding the affidavit.

Thanking you, I am, yours, truly,

CHAS. G. EDWARDS.

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SEGREGATION OF CLERKS AND EMPLOYEES IN CIVIL SERVICE. 17

Affidavit.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Waskington, D. C., ss.

Before me, a notary public within and for the District of Columbia, this day personally appeared E. Grace Timberlake, of lawful age, whom I certify is worthy and entitled to credit, and who being by me duly sworn, upon her oath deposes and says.

That she is and has for several years been an employee in the office of recorder of deeds, Washington, D. C.; that there is now employed in said department negroes aggregating 21 in number, as follows: Henry Lincoln Johnson, J. Frank Blackburn, Mina Scott, Mary V. Malvin, Lizzie Lee, Bertie Mason, Minnie Smith, Pearl Denny, Mariah Cooper, Lucy White, Noble Thomas, Dan Brooks, Min Brooks, Lizzie Jones, Katie Alexander, Ida Jenkins, Gussie Tignor, Lillie Wright, Mona Jackson, Mary Pove, Ida Maxfield, and others, extra, from time to time.

That the recorder, Henry Lincoln Johnson, a negro, absents himself from his office sometimes for nearly a month at a time, and when he is here stays only a few days, or perhaps a week, then leaves again to be gone until next pay day; that the time actually spent in his office during past 3 years would not exceed 6 months at labor out of 36 months; that his knowledge of the office and the way it is conducted is principally gathered from his deputy and from reports, as the major part of his time is devoted to his private business in the State of Georgia, so I am informed, or elsewhere, to the neglect of said office, for which duties he is supposed to draw a salary of $4,000 or $4,500 per annum.

That it is reported and generally understood by the employees of said recorders office that on or about April 25, 1913, one Mary V. Malvin, a negro woman, weighing about 225 pounds (and reputed to be married to one Judson Malvin, a negro employed in War Department of the Government), said to and in the hearing of Maud B. Woodard, a white employee of said office, "If Ralph W. Tyler (a negro) was removed by President Wilson, that he (said President Wilson) was a __________."

That on April 29, 1913, it is understood by the employees of said office that the said Mary V. Malvin, a negro, said to and in the presence and hearing of Miss Irene Monroe, a reputable white girl, that "She (Malvin) was glad Bryan failed in California, and she hoped that Japan, China, and Mexico would go together and wipe the United States off of the map."

That the said Mary V. Malvin, a negro, is what is known or called among departmental employees, as a "10-per-center," meaning that she loans money to other employees at usurious rates, charging 10 per cent per month for the use of money so loaned; (and in the manner and fashion as is reported of one Whitefield McKinlay, a negro, collector of customs at Georgetown, who practiced said system); that the said Mary V. Malvin successfully practices said money-loaning system among the employees, one instance being where she loaned Mrs. Kate McDaniels $5 and collected 50 cents per month as interest on said loan.

That said Mary V. Malvin has supervisory control over white girls and employees of said office, in connection with other negro men, and under which she inspects, examines, checks, and grades the work of white girls; and many instances are known where she has arbitrarily marked with low grade the work of white girls when they should have a higher grade or better than given; and several other instances are known where she favors negro women and negro men in said office with higher grades than they were entitled to, the reason being they had either borrowed money from her or she desired to push said negroes ahead of the whites working together in the same office.

That by reason of her "stand in" with the heads or managers of this office, the said Mary V. Malvin is tyrannical and abusive to white girls employed therein, and upon one occasion during the summer of 1912 the said Mary Malvin did, without provocation or excuse, threaten to strike me for calling her attention to a low grade she gave me when it should have been the highest, as the work was extraordinarily well performed and the deputy recorder had pronounced it of the first grade; and at said time the said Malvin, threatening me, said, "I will smash your face; I will wipe up the floor with you," and for fear of personal violence I gave her a wide berth for several weeks and months; that thereupon I reported same to the chief, who reprimanded me for making a report of the improper conduct of the said Malvin.

That Gussie Tignor (another negro woman, whose husband is an employee in the Post Office Department of the Government), I am informed, is very abusive in her language and conduct toward white girls, and is what is called in our office a disturber; and she spends a great portion of her time lying around, talking to and with the other employees, stirring them up on different matters, to the detriment of and interference with the business of said office; and only a short time ago she called Miss Gertrude

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18 SEGREGATION OF CLERKS AND EMPLOYEES IN CIVIL SERVICE.

Moore, a white girl who was temporarily left in charge of the office, "an ignorant 2-cent, white fool"; that said Gussie Tignor, like her negro associate and intimate, Mary V. Malvin, often gets mad, rants, and raves around the office, abusing white employees, greatly to the disturbance of the business and affairs of said office; and upon complaint being made or filed with the managers, also negroes, the said negro women are sustained or upheld, to the annoyance, distress, and humiliation of white girls and employees.

That there are more negroes employed in this office than there is any use for, in order to give some one a job; these extra negroes are practically in the way of other employees and often prevent the performance of duty; these said extra or surplus negroes virtually do no work, but stand around in the rooms, halls, or corridors, talk, read newspapers, books, get in the way and obstruct the labor of others; that among this class of "pets" are the following: Noble Thomas, Scott, Jones, Brooks, Maxfield, and Pope, and others at times; that their acts and conduct have been branded by lawyers and others visiting said office on business as a great "nuisance," and a great number of people have complained thereof, but the same continues without reprimand from the recorder.

That I make the above and foregoing statements of my own free will and accord, for the purpose of informing the proper authorities or officials of the misconduct of this office, that the same may be remedied without delay, and that something may be done to relieve white girls and white women from suffering the humiliation and disgrace which they are compelled to undergo at the hands of overbearing negro men and negro women.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this the 30th day of April, A. D. 1913.

E. GRACE TIMBERLAKE.

Witness—

ERNEST D. MASTERS. ROY M. HARROP.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, D. C., ss:

E. Grace Timberlake, being duly sworn by the officer who attests this instrument, states that she has read the above and foregoing, that she is familiar with the contents, that she recognizes the seriousness of the charges, that the said statements and declarations therein made as of her knowledge are true, and the statements and declarations therein made as of her information and belief are true to the best of her knowledge and belief.

E. GRACE TIMBERLAKE.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 30th day of April, 1913. I further certify that the said E. Grace Timberlake, the person who executed the above and foregoing affidavit, acknowledged that she executed same of her own free will and accord, for the purposes therein mentioned, and that she affixed her signature in my presence.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal, this the day and year last above written.

(SEAL.)

MRS. PAULINE M. WITHERS, Notary Public, Washington, D. C.

STATEMENT OF MR. ARCHIBALD H. GRIMKE.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you represent any organization?

Mr. GRIMKE. The organization of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The CHAIRMAN. You can be heard on either of these bills or both.

Mr. GRIMKE. It is the principle I wish to be heard on.

The CHAIRMAN. You can proceed.

Mr. GRIMKE. I wish to enter a protest against the passage of these bills or any favorable report on them. I think it is most unfortunate, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, that the colored people are obliged to come before a committee and ask you not to humiliate them. You can not separate the colored people in the Government service without humiliating them. They are among the most faithful, and I think, on record, among the most efficient. They have been so ever since they have been in the Government service, and

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March-20-14. Washington, D.C.

152 + 41E

Mrs. President Wilson

Dear Madam:-

We appeal to you for assistance, as conditions as the New bureau of Engraving and Printing, are anything but pleasant. We have the following complaints to make: The negro women use our stationary wash-stands, hang their wraps among ours and use the same toilets as we. Now, is that proper?

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