Primary Source

Newspaper Report on Pan-African Congress's Response to U.S. Lynchings

"U.S. Lynchings Shock World, Says White," The Chicago Whip, 19 November 1921

Annotation

This November 19, 1921 article comes from The Chicago Whip, a Chicago-based newspaper founded by William C. Linton, an African American editor and publisher originally from Atlanta, Georgia. The paper frequently reported on racial inequality in the United States. This article in particular covers a speech Walter F. White, then secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and American delegate to the Pan-African Congress, gave in the United States after returning from the 1921 Pan-African Congress in London, England. According to White, during this most recent meeting of the Pan-African Congress, European delegates to the Pan-African Congress in general, and British people in particular had expressed disgust and abhorrence at the rate at which whites lynched Black people in the United States. White further noted that an un-named delegate from South Africa not only drew a comparison between white-on-Black violence in the United States and South Africa but also suggested that there was a direct correlation between anti-Black racial violence in the United States and South Africa. According to the South African delegate, white South Africans felt emboldened to act on “racial hatred” because they saw how the U.S. federal government had taken no legislative steps to prevent lynching despite such anti-Black racial violence becoming the subject of international attention via international newspaper coverage. The author further notes that during this session of the Pan-African Congress, delegates framed anti-Black racism and racial inequality as an international problem and proposed these disparities be addressed through economic resources.  

Transcription

“U.S. Lynchings Shock the World, Says White” 

In an address at the Wendell Phillip’s High School Wednesday night.  Walter F. White, assistant secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, declared that the nations of Europe view 
Americans as Barbarians and look with horror and awe upon the orgy of lynching in this country. 
Mr. White, who has just returned to this country from Europe as a delegate to the Pan-African Congress, 
also told of the work of that body.  

Effect in Africa-- 
“A delegate from South Africa reported at the congress that the murder of South African colored people 
is becoming a common thing,” Mr. White sill e was convinced that the race hatred responsible is due to lynchings in the United States, to the fact that out Federal government has taken no decisive steps to wipe them out and to the wide publicity given the lynchings in foreign newspapers. "The British press, I was astonished to learn, is 'playing up' lynchings, whether from a deliberate desire to inflame the people of Great Britain I cannot say. Englishman after Englishman said to me: “Yours must bea barbarous country and your people a barbarous people, for none but a barbarous government and a barbarous people would permit unpunished the burning at the stake of human beings, no matter what their color.’ ” 

Seeks Race Betterment-- 
The Pan-African congress, Mr. White said, seeks to consolidate the forces working for the betterment of the colored race by the establishment of contact between world leaders to the end that '.ere may be a solution of the negro problem on economic principles. An International bureau, to be established In Paris, has been 
authorized, and arrangements are being made for a special division of the bureau of labor, league of nations to make a world inquiry into conditions surrounding colored labor, and eventually prevent its exploitation 
The problems of the colored race in Africa are being carefully weighed by the leaders of colored people in nations throughout the world. Africa, Mr. White said, will soon be a bone of contention among the powers. 
Future wars may be fought, he thinks, for the spoils of African resources. 

Credits

Library of Congress 

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers 

Link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86056950/1921-11-19/ed-1/seq-2/

How to Cite This Source

"Newspaper Report on Pan-African Congress's Response to U.S. Lynchings ," in World History Commons, https://worldhistorycommons.org/newspaper-report-pan-african-congresss-response-us-lynchings [accessed October 4, 2022]