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Title: The Jim Crow Car - Denouncement of injustice meted out to the black race
Author: Coleman, J. C.
Language: English
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                            THE JIM CROW CAR;

                               BLACK RACE.

          Supreme Court Decision, by His Lordship Bishop H. M.
          Turner, Largely Quoted and Elucidated—Clippings from
           Miss Ida B. Wells Barnett’s “The Reason Why”—Grave
            State of Affairs in the Southern States—Incidents
               on Railroads—Public Conveyances—Employment,

                           REV. J. C. COLEMAN,

         Formerly Illustrating Lecturer on the “Progress of the
              Negro of the South,” “Bishop Taylor’s Mission
                to South Africa,” “Biblical Characters,”
                        “A Drunkard’s Doom,” Etc.

                             TORONTO, ONT.:


My opposition to injustice, imposition, discrimination and prejudice,
which have for many years existed against the colored people of the
South, has led to this little book. In many parts of America the press
has been furnished with “matter” for defending the colored people,
through the medium of “Coleman’s Illustrated Lectures.” By request of my
many auditors, some of whom being leading elements of the Northern States
and Canada, this volume is published. Many persons interested in the
welfare of the negro, have sought a more elaborate book on the Southern
horrors. Therefore, the manner in which the colored people are treated,
and the laws devised against them from time to time, are the chief

My endeavour to furnish those concerned in human welfare, with Southern
railroad affairs, lynchings, etc., so far as the so-called law governing
the white and black races is concerned, is evinced in the experience of
eight years touring on various lines throughout the South. My statements
being authentic and impartial, I have noted some incidents occurring
on roads which I have travelled, amid peculiar circumstances, which I
hope will prove serviceable to the reader. I have quoted Bishop Turner’s
“Supreme Court Decision,” and Mrs. Ida B. Wells Barnett’s “The Reason
Why,” largely because they contain facts _agreeing_ very much with my
experience and judgment. Opinions of leading Afro-American journals have
been expressed as a unanimous sentiment of the race, regarding their
loyalty to the flag under which they live and serve. The main object
of this book is to create within the hearts of those who may read it,
sympathy for the colored people of the South. So many unreasonable things
have been alleged against the negro, that he now demands a reasonable

The Southern press has made scores of enemies for the entire race, and
continues doing so. The “Rape” Bell has been sounded all over the world
to degrade the negro and impede his rapid progress. Why did the negro
not commit “rape” during his dark days of slavery? In slavery he was
not allowed to know A from B, or 1 from 2. This means that a slave was
esteemed a little higher than the cattle. Slavery is illiteracy. “God is
a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children
unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him.” “The people
of the Southern States have enslaved the colored people; for 250 years
held them a small degree above the dumb brute. To-day they lynch the
negro, burn him, and refuse him justice on railway cars. God will visit
the Americans. If not the 3rd generation, the 4th will be made repent,
and humiliate to the black man.”—_Rev. J. C. Tolmie, B.A._

The fact that there are in the South about 20,000 teachers, 238,000
scholars, 150 schools for advanced education, and seven colleges with
negro faculty, is sufficient proof itself that the current reports
of “rape” are not true. There are about 8,000,000 colored people in
the United States, and about half that number are Church goers, which
proportionately far exceeds their white brethren. The people who have
been prejudiced against the colored race by Southern newspapers, have
never considered that there are no daily papers managed by the colored
people to defend their side of the case. The weekly papers of colored
editorship are not read by the white race. Then how can the considerate
people who would know of the perpetual reports, arrive at a definite
conclusion as to whether they are right or wrong? There are two sides to
a case, and each side deserves scrutineering. No just judge will hear
the plaintiff, and drive the defendant from the Court room door. _Negro_
rights have been advocated, and are now being advocated by the British
press, and by true, sympathetic ministers of the gospel of both the
North and South. I pray that such a thirsting after righteousness will
emanate from the Churches in America that will cause the world to see
that Christianity predominates from the chilly plains of the North to the
smoky regions of the South.

    “Lord, while for all mankind we pray,
      Of every clime and coast,
    Oh, hear us for our precious race,
      The race we love the most.”

                       JOHN CLAY COLEMAN.

Toronto, Ont., Jan. 15th, 1898.


Rev. J. Clay Coleman was born 4 miles south of Durant, Holmes Co.,
Mississippi, Feb. 1st, 1876. Lived in Goodman, Holmes Co., Miss., until
1888. His parents were slaves on Tome Bigbee River, Alabama, a number of
years, and afterwards sold to Botus, at Lexington, Holmes Co., Miss.;
from Botus to Fletcher Harrington, at Goodman.

Peter Coleman, the father of J. C. Coleman, was very much devoted to his
family, and took care to see that each of his seven children was to some
extent educated. John Clay Coleman proceeded to the study of law; but
by divine providence he was led to the study of the Bible, and became a
minister and travelling Biblical illustrating lecturer. Mr. Coleman and
the bulk of his relatives are Methodists, the majority of whom being
members of the same Church at Georgeville, Miss. Mrs. Rowena Coleman,
the faithful mother of Mr. Coleman, prayed that his calling would be
to preach the gospel. Her fervent prayers are heard and answered. In
1887, J. C. Coleman had the management of the country mail route from
Goodman to Cocksburg, Miss. Began travelling as lecturer in 1888. In
1892 he travelled the south through; visited the Columbian Exposition
at Chicago in 1893, and appeared at the Turkish Panorama of the Holy
Land, in the interest of “Coleman’s Great Biblical Exhibition.” This
unique exhibition was methodized by Mr. Coleman in his youth, and had
developed at this crisis into the most instructive mode of illustrating
the Scriptures to Bible students. His liberality toward different
institutions the past eight years has marked him a philanthropist. He
has sacrificed time, talent, and “earthly store” to the advancement of
his people. When leaving the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, he
was fully determined to impart his remaining years to missionary work in
Africa. He entered Canada in the “power of the Holy Spirit,” was ordained
minister of the gospel at the Annual Conference of the A. M. E. Church,
by Bishop H. M. Turner, at Windsor, Ont., Sept. 1st, 1895. Married Miss
Hattie E. Johnson, of Halifax, N. S. Matrimony performed by Rev. James M.
Henderson, M.A., D.D., President of Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Ga.,
Jan. 17th, 1894.

His wife being a consistent Church woman, has added well to his success
in the ministry. He was educated for the ministry at Victoria University,
Toronto, Ont., being the first colored student in this great University
since its establishment in the City of Toronto. He was received with a
cordial cheering.

His fame as an illustrating lecturer is extensive. Having collected from
the Southern Horrors scenic views, and resplendently presented them by
use of stereopticons before immense audiences, chiefly white people, who
desired direct and accurate information of the condition of the “negro in
the South,” Mr. Coleman has caused a sensation everywhere seen and heard.
Persons have arose after his lectures and said, “Mr. Chairman, I move
that a vote of thanks be tendered Professor Coleman for his excellent
lecture and impressive views on the progress of the colored people in the
Southern States. He has indeed given us facts concerning the outrages
on the people of his nationality, illustrated by pictures taken from
natural life.” Voices could be heard exclaiming, “Hear! hear!!” in all
parts of the audience. Amid these demonstrations a unanimous vote would
be rendered, and an immediate protest against the unfair burdens lavished
upon the negro in the South would warmly ensue.

Mr. Coleman learned in his early public career, that the negro journals
were not read by white people, and it was his highest ambition to carry
the news to them. He is not, therefore, as prominent in his own race as
he would be had he confined himself solely to them. That the Rev. Mr.
Coleman is an original race man, is evidently seen in some notes on his
boyhood traits, and his continuous advancement to a renowned defender
of peace, prosperity, and race protection, both home and abroad. The
leading elements of Goodman attest these facts in a meeting held in
1888, in honor of his departure: “We the undersigned citizens of Goodman
know Prof. John C. Coleman to be a polite and inoffensive gentleman.
We further know him to be of religious and high moral character, and
trustworthy in all of his dealings. We hope his aim set forth, to achieve
greater victories for his people, will be successfully accomplished.
Signed, J. D. Powers, W. D. Waugh, L. W. Houghes, Robert Ford, A. S.
Brumby, M.D., Rev. J. L. Crawford, P. Ward, J. M. Moody, W. W. Crawford,
W. C. Graham, C. Davis.”

The reader of “THE JIM CROW CAR” will note that the author has not
tried to show the “dark side” of his race. Illustrations of the poor
unfortunate ex-slaves are not used, as in some books, touching the
subjects herein.

TORONTO, January 15, 1898.




During eight years’ travel on different railroads in the Southern States,
I strictly observed:

1. That it is the duty of employees to see that inferior accommodations
in every “colored” car, and in every “colored” waiting room be arranged.
This unjust measure is heretically endorsed by the white passengers of
all classes.

2. That Discrimination between the white and black races is designed by
“law,” and rigidly enforced on the colored passenger, and a mere sham to
the white passenger.

3. That Imposition upon the colored passenger, in the filthiest, smoky
and inferior cars is participated in by the “highest white gentleman”
and the lowest “ignoramus Hill Billy.”

4. That _Ignorance_ of Decency, politeness, modesty and morality of the
colored passenger is maintained.

5. That Prejudice against the negro race, regardless of characteristics,
prevails in general officers—brakemen and depot agents—and in case of a
law suit for that which is actually and properly due, it occupies the
highest seat in the Court room.

6. That a Christian minister is forced to smoke and associate with the
worst of humanity, by his white brother. Christianity in this respect is
inconsistent with that preached and practiced in India, China, Japan and


About one mile from the Coleman plantation lived Mrs. Covington, commonly
known as “the Widow Covington.” She owned about 300 acres of cultivated
and uncultivated land, left to her by her deceased husband. The land
being valued at from one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre to ten
dollars per acre, as most southern “sage” ground, placed her in poor
circumstances. Her surroundings put her in the estimation of her colored
neighbors nothing more than “poor white trash.” On account of her
declining condition, my father, who was extremely liberal, sent me to the
Widow Covington to assist her in gardening. It was a source of happiness
to be away from home, and more especially to visit a white person’s house
for the first time. Just as I left my father’s arms with a kiss and “good
bye,” he exclaimed, “Be a good boy!” As I walked along the rocky pathway,
ascending and descending the lofty hills, a constant voice, so tender and
penetrating, seemed to re-echo the words of my beloved father, “Be a good
boy.” Appearing at the widow’s gate, the customary salutation, “Hello,”
was yelled out. Being told to come in, I briskly attempted to step in at
the front door, when I was abruptly told, “Go around the back way.” This
I readily did, thinking that preparations were being made to entertain
the guest in the front room. I was given a seat in the kitchen, which was
both kitchen and dining room, being tosted over toward the north, leaving
several spaces large enough for the cook to have chicken visitors during
meal hours. When dinner was prepared, the little colored guest was left
to partake of the fragments on a separate table. This action being so
inhuman, I asked the widow why did she not ask me to the front room, and
before going to dinner send me to the toilet room, and let all sit at one
table, as there was so much vacancy at her table. The widow displayed no
small degree of madness in her response. “I want you to know that you are
a nigger, and you must stay in a nigger’s place.”

It is to be seen from this that a black man is thought to be inferior to
a white man, and should for this reason be treated as such. The widow’s
conception of a “nigger’s place” is a mouthpiece for the entire South.
You might ask, Why is it that Mr. A. is on board of train No. 3, en route
for New Orleans, occupying a car with all the modern accommodations;
and Mr. B. on the same train, en route for the same place, having paid
the same fare, and occupying a car with split bottomed seats? Tobacco
juice and smoke have given it a new coat of painting and deathly odor.
Mr. A. puts his valise in Mr. B.’s car; smoke, whistle, dance, drink
intoxicants, and then return to his pleasant, modernly furnished car. The
answer would be, Mr. A. is white and Mr. B. is black, for this reason the
employees have assigned Mr. B. to an inferior car, in order that Mr. B.
may remain in a “nigger’s place.”

Thirty-three years have passed since the gloomy clouds of slavery
banished, and made way for the negro to see his place—In the school room;
in the Legislature, Senate, Congress, Ministers to Republics, Registry
of Deeds, Registry of the Treasury, Law, Doctors, Ministers of the
Gospel, Bishopric, U. S. Chaplaincy, Editors, Authors, Merchants, and
Industry. Now let us see why is it that a dungeon is dug for a “nigger’s
place.” Certainly the negro has harmed no one. Not any more so than the
horse stolen from his master. The reason why the white man is at enmity
against the black man is, that the white man once owned the black man.
Millions of dollars were expended on the purchase of slaves when the war
of 1860-’65 began. The purchasers, it is claimed, had not then received
one-half expended on slavery. For this very cause the negro is regarded
as worthless property. The white boy has the example of thievishness and
slothfulness established by his parents. He is taught that swindling
his colored brother is the way his parents came in possession of their
wealth, and to work is taking the “nigger’s place.”



The Jim Crow Car, as the negro’s first grievance relative to the Southern
railroad system, is obviously seen in the foregoing observation. There we
see that the matter of being separated from the white passenger “cuts no
figure,” but the very fact that colored passenger is robbed out of the
worth of his well earned money, is the direct reason why the victimized
colored passenger appeals to the conscience of those who have power and
influence to abolish his present outraged condition.

To get the proper understanding of the cause of discrimination on
Southern railroad cars, let us read the following clippings from that
great Southern hero, statesman, and renowned Bishop H. M. Turner, D.D.,
LL.D., D.C.L. From this, we hope to reach a definite conclusion as to
whether the fundamental course of discrimination can be suppressed by the
enactment of “law.” First of all the Civil Rights Bill is before us for
consideration. It has blinded the most studious and philanthropic men
and women within the British Empire, and the civilized world. Those who
meditate on the negro’s condition, and sympathize with his environment,
and who would attempt to assist him, are led to doubt some of the
current reports against the race, believing that the Civil Rights Bill
has imparted privileges to all men alike, and therefore the black man has
a right to make use of equal enjoyment of citizenship.


    AN ACT to protect all citizens in their civil and legal rights.

    _Whereas_, It is essential to just government, we recognize the
    equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is the
    duty of government in its dealings with the people to mete out
    equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race,
    color or persuasion, religious or political; and it being the
    appropriate object of legislation to enact great fundamental
    principles into law; therefore,

    _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That
    all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States
    shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the
    accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of
    inns, public conveyances on land or water, theatres, and other
    places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions
    and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to
    citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous
    condition of servitude.

    SEC. 2. That any person who shall violate the foregoing section
    by denying to any citizen, except for reasons by law applicable
    to citizens of every race and color, and regardless of any
    previous condition of servitude, the full enjoyment of any
    of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges
    in said section enumerated, or by aiding or inciting such
    denial, shall, for every such offence, forfeit and pay the
    sum of five hundred dollars to the person aggrieved thereby,
    to be recovered in an action of debt, with full costs; and
    shall also, for every such offence, be deemed guilty of a
    misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not
    less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, or
    shall be imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than one
    year; _provided_, that all persons may elect to sue for the
    penalty aforesaid or to proceed under their rights at common
    law and by State statutes; and having so elected to proceed in
    the one mode or the other, their right to proceed in the other
    jurisdiction shall be barred. But this proviso shall not apply
    to criminal proceedings, either under this act or the criminal
    law of any State; _and provided further_, that a judgment for
    the penalty in favor of the party aggrieved, or a judgment
    upon an indictment, shall be a bar to either prosecution

    SEC. 3. That the district and circuit courts of the United
    States shall have, exclusively of the courts of the several
    States, cognizance of all crimes and offences against, and
    violations of, the provisions of this act; and actions for
    the penalty given by the preceding section may be prosecuted
    in the territorial, district, or circuit courts of the United
    States wherever the defendant may be found, without regard
    to the other party; and the district attorneys, marshals,
    and deputy marshals of the United States, and commissioners
    appointed by the circuit and territorial courts of the United
    States, with powers of arresting and imprisoning or bailing
    offenders against laws of the United States, are hereby
    specially authorized and required to institute proceedings
    against every person who shall violate the provisions of this
    act, and cause him to be arrested and imprisoned or bailed,
    as the case may be, for trial before such court of the United
    States, or territorial court, as by law has cognizance of the
    offence except in respect of the right of action accruing to
    the person aggrieved; and such district attorneys shall cause
    such proceedings to be prosecuted to their termination as in
    other cases; _provided_, that nothing contained in this section
    shall be construed to deny or defeat any right of civil action
    accruing to any person, whether by reason of this act or
    otherwise; and any district attorney who shall wilfully fail to
    institute and prosecute the proceedings herein required, shall,
    for every such offence, forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred
    dollars to the person aggrieved thereby, to be recovered by
    an action of debt, with full costs, and shall, on conviction
    thereof, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and be fined not
    less than one thousand nor more than five thousand dollars;
    _and provided further_, that a judgment for the penalty
    in favor of the party aggrieved against any such district
    attorney, or a judgment upon an indictment against any such
    district attorney, shall be a bar to either prosecution

    SEC. 4. That no citizen possessing all other qualifications
    which are or may be prescribed by law shall be disqualified
    for service as grand or petit juror in any court of the United
    States, or of any State, on account of race, color, or previous
    condition of servitude; and any officer or other person,
    charged with any duty in the selection or summoning of jurors,
    who shall exclude or fail to summon any citizen for the cause
    aforesaid shall, on conviction thereof, be deemed guilty of a
    misdemeanor, and be fined not more than five thousand dollars.

    SEC. 5. That all cases arising under the provisions of this act
    in the courts of the United States shall be reviewable by the
    Supreme Court of the United States, without regard to the sum
    in controversy, under the same provisions and regulations as
    are now provided by law for the review of other causes in said

    Approved March 1, 1875.

The “Civil Rights Bill” comes secondary to the emancipation. The bands of
an unappalled monster, and disgrace upon a civilized nation, gave way for
a better hope for the colored race in 1865. The life and conduct of the
once bonded slave proved within a few years to be equal with his white
brethren, and far better than some of his worst oppressors. The general
characteristics of the negro, his rapid progress, devotion to his Church,
and loyalty to the United States Government, and able achievements in
war, demanded a Civil Rights Bill. When slavery, which was death to the
colored race, was abolished, the Civil Rights Bill gave them a remedy to
LIVE. The following will prove conclusively that the present state of
discrimination has not only hereditary origin, but also sanctioned by the
Supreme Court:—


    VOL. 109.



    Syllabus. Civil Rights Cases.—UNITED STATES _v._ STANLEY
    (on Certificate of Division from the Circuit Court of the
    United States for the District of Kansas)—UNITED STATES _v._
    RYAN (in Error to the Circuit Court of the United States for
    the District of California)—UNITED STATES _v._ NICHOLS (on
    Certificate of Division from the Circuit Court of the United
    States for the Western District of Missouri)—UNITED STATES
    _v._ SINGLETON (on Certificate of Division from the Circuit
    Court of the United States for the Southern District of New
    COMPANY (in Error to the Circuit Court of the United States for
    the Western District of Tennessee).

    Submitted October Term, 1882.—Decided October 15, 1883.

    _Civil Rights—Constitution—District of Columbia—Inns—Places of
    Amusement—Public Conveyances—Slavery—Territories._

    1. The 1st and 2nd sections of the Civil Rights Act passed
    March 1st, 1875, are unconstitutional enactments as applied to
    the several States, not being authorized either by the XIIIth
    or XIVth Amendments of the Constitution.

    2. The XIVth Amendment is prohibitory upon the States only,
    and the legislation authorized to be adopted by Congress
    for enforcing it is not _direct_ legislation on the matters
    respecting which the States are prohibited from making or
    enforcing certain laws, or doing certain acts, but it is
    _corrective_ legislation, such as may be necessary or proper
    for counteracting and redressing the effects of such laws or

    3. The XIIIth Amendment relates to slavery and involuntary
    servitude (which it abolishes); and although, by its reflex
    action, it establishes universal freedom in the United States,
    and Congress may probably pass laws directly enforcing its
    provisions; yet such legislative power extends only to the
    subject of slavery and its incidents; and the denial of equal
    accommodations in inns, public conveyances and places of public
    amusement (which is forbidden by the sections in question),
    imposes no badge of slavery or involuntary servitude upon the
    party, but at most, infringes rights which are protected from
    State aggression by the XIVth Amendment.

    4. Whether the accommodations and privileges sought to be
    protected by the 1st and 2nd sections of the Civil Rights Act
    are, or are not rights constitutionally demandable; and if they
    are, in what form they are to be protected is not now decided.

    5. Nor is it decided whether the law as it stands is operative
    in the Territories and District of Columbia: the decision only
    relating to its validity as applied to States.

    6. Nor is it decided whether Congress, under the commercial
    power, may or may not pass a law securing to all persons equal
    accommodations on lines of public conveyance between two or
    more States.

These cases were all founded on the first and second sections of the
Act of Congress, known as the Civil Rights Act, passed March 1st,
1875, entitled, “An Act to protect all citizens in their civil and
legal rights.” 18 Stat. 335. Two of the cases, those against Stanley
and Nichols, were indictments for denying to persons of color the
accommodations and privileges of an inn or hotel; two of them, those
against Ryan and Singleton, were, one on information, the other an
indictment, for denying to individuals the privileges and accommodations
of a theatre, the information against Ryan being for refusing a colored
person a seat in the dress circle of Maguire’s theatre in San Francisco;
and the indictment against Singleton was for denying to another person,
whose color was not stated, the full enjoyment of the accommodations of
the theatre known as the Grand Opera House in New York, “said denial
not being made for any reasons by law applicable to citizens of every
race and color, and regardless of any previous condition of servitude.”
The case of Robinson and wife against the Memphis and Charleston R. R.
Company, was an action brought in the Circuit Court of the United States
for the Western District of Tennessee, to recover the penalty of five
hundred dollars given by the second section of the act; and the gravamen
was the refusal by the conductor of the railroad company to allow the
wife to ride in the ladies’ car, for the reason, as stated in one of the
counts, that she was a person of African descent. The jury rendered a
verdict for the defendants in this case upon the merits, under a charge
of the court, to which a bill of exceptions was taken by the plaintiffs.
The case was tried on the assumption by both parties of the validity of
the act of Congress; and the principal point made by the exceptions was,
that the judge allowed evidence to go to the jury tending to show that
the conductor had reason to suspect that the plaintiff, the wife, was
an improper person, because she was in company with a young man whom he
supposed to be a white man, and on that account inferred that there was
some improper connection between them; and the judge charged the jury,
in substance, that if this was the conductor’s _bona fide_ reason for
excluding the woman from the car, they might take it into consideration
on the question of the liability of the company. The case was brought
here by writ of error at the suit of the plaintiffs. The cases of
Stanley, Nichols, and Singleton came up on certificates of division of
opinion between the judges below as to the constitutionality of the first
and second sections of the act referred to; and the case of Ryan, on a
writ of error to the judgment of the Circuit Court for the District of
California sustaining a demurrer to the information.

The Stanley, Ryan, Nichols, and Singleton cases were submitted together
by the solicitor general at the last term of court, on the 7th day of
November, 1882. There were no appearances and no briefs filed for the

The Robinson case was submitted on the briefs at the last term, on the
29th day of March, 1883.

_Mr. Solicitor General Phillips_ for the United States.

After considering some objections in the forms of proceedings in the
different cases, the counsel reviewed the following decisions of the
court upon the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution
and on points cognate thereto, viz.: _The Slaughter-House Cases_, 16
Wall. 36; _Bradwell ~v.~ The State_, 16 Wall. 130; _Bartmeyer ~v.~
Iowa_, 18 Wall. 129; _Minor ~v.~ Happersett_, 21 Wall. 162; _Walker_
v. _Sauvinet_, 92 U. S. 90; _United States ~v.~ Reese_, 92 U. S. 214;
_Kennard ~v.~ Louisiana_, 92 U. S. 480; _United States ~v.~ Cruikshank_,
92 U. S. 542; _Munn ~v.~ Illinois_, 94 U. S. 113; _Chicago B. & C. R. R.
Co. ~v.~ Iowa_, 94 U. S. 155; _Blyew ~v.~ United States_, 13 Wall. 581;
_Railroad Co. ~v.~ Brown_, 17 Wall. 445; _Hall ~v.~ DeCuir_, 95 U. S.
485; _Strauder ~v.~ West Virginia_, 100 U. S. 303; _Ex parte Virginia_,
100 U. S. 339; _Missouri ~v.~ Lewis_, 101 U. S. 22; _Neal ~v.~ Delaware_,
103 U. S. 370.

Upon the whole, these cases decide that,

1. The Thirteenth Amendment forbids all sorts of involuntary personal
servitude except penal, as to all sorts of men, the word servitude
taking some color from the historical fact that the United States were
then engaged in dealing with African slavery, as well as from the
signification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which must be
construed as _advancing_ constitutional rights previously existing.

2. The Fourteenth Amendment expresses prohibitions (and consequently
implies corresponding positive immunities), _limiting State action
only_, including in such action, however, action by all State agencies
executive, legislative and judicial, of whatever degree.

3. The Fourteenth Amendment warrants legislation by Congress punishing
violations of the immunities thereby secured when committed by agents of
States in discharge of ministerial functions.

The right violated by Nichols, which is of the same class as that
violated by Stanley and by Hamilton, is the right of locomotion,
which Blackstone makes an element of personal liberty. Blackstone’s
Commentaries, Book I, ch. 1.

In violation of this right, Nichols did not act in an exclusively private
capacity, but in one devoted to public use, and so affected with a
public, _i. e._, a State interest. This phrase will be recognized as
taken from the _Elevator Cases_ in 94 U. S., already cited.

Restraint upon the right of locomotion was a well-known feature of the
slavery abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment. A first requisite of the
right to appropriate the use of another man was to become the master of
his natural power of motion, and by a mayhem therein of the common law to
require the whole community to be on the alert to restrain that power.
That this is not exaggeration is shown by the language of the court in
_Eaton ~v.~ Vaughan_, 9 Missouri, 734.

Granting that by _involuntary servitude_, as prohibited in the Thirteenth
Amendment, is intended some _institution_, viz., custom, etc., of that
sort, and not primarily mere scattered trespasses against liberty
committed by private persons, yet, considering what must be the social
tendency in at least large parts of the country, it is “appropriate
legislation” against such an institution to forbid any action by private
persons which in the light of our history may reasonably be apprehended
to tend, on account of its being incidental to quasi public occupations,
to create an _institution_.

Therefore the above act of 1875, in prohibiting persons from violating
the rights of other persons to the full and equal enjoyment of the
accommodations of inns and public conveyances, for any reason turning
merely upon the race or color of the latter, partakers of the specific
character of certain contemporaneous solemn and effective action by the
United States to which it was a sequel—and is constitutional.

_Mr. William M. Randolph_ for Robinson and wife, plaintiffs in error.

Where the constitution guarantees a right, Congress is empowered to
pass the legislation appropriate to give effect to that right. _Prigg_
v. _Pennsylvania_, 16 Peters, 539; _Ableman ~v.~ Booth_, 21 How. 506;
_United States ~v.~ Reese_, 92 U. S. 214.

Whether Mr. Robinson’s rights were created by the Constitution, or only
guaranteed by it, in either event the act of Congress, so far as it
protects them is within the Constitution. _Pensacola Telegraph Co. ~v.~
Western Union Tel. Co._, 96 U. S. 1; _The Passenger Cases_, 7 Howard,
283; _Crandall ~v.~ Nevada_, 6 Wall. 35.

In _Munn ~v.~ Illinois_, 94 U. S. 113 the following propositions were

“Under the powers inherent in every sovereignty, a government may
regulate the conduct of its citizens toward each other, and, when
necessary for the public good, the manner in which each shall use his own

“It has, in the exercise of these powers, been customary in England, from
time immemorial, and in this country from its first colonization, to
regulate ferries, common carriers, hackmen, bakers, millers, wharfingers,
innkeepers, etc.”

“When the owner of a property devotes it to a use in which the public has
an interest, he in effect grants to the public an interest in such use,
and must, to the extent of that interest, submit to be controlled by the
public, for the common good, as long as he maintains the use.”

Undoubtedly, if Congress could legislate on the subject at all, its
legislation, by the act of 1st March, 1875, was within the principles
thus announced.

The penalty denounced by the statute is incurred by denying to any
citizen “the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages,
facilities or privileges” enumerated in the first section, and it is
wholly immaterial whether the citizen whose rights are denied him belongs
to one race or class or another, or is of one complexion or another. And
again, the penalty follows every denial of the full enjoyment of any
of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges, except
and unless the denial was “_for reasons by law_ applicable to citizens
of every race and color, and regardless of any previous condition of

_Mr. William Y. C. Humes_ and _Mr. David Posten_ for the Memphis and
Charleston Railroad Co., defendants in error.


MR. JUSTICE BRADLEY delivered the opinion of the court. After stating the
facts in the above language, he continued:

It is obvious that the primary and important question in all the cases
is the constitutionality of the law; for if the law is unconstitutional,
none of the prosecutions can stand.

The sections of the law referred to provide as follows:

“SEC. 1. That all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States
shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations,
advantages, facilities and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land
or water, theatres and other places of public amusement; subject only to
the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike
to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition
of servitude.

“SEC. 2. That any person who shall violate the foregoing section by
denying to any citizen, except for reasons by law applicable to citizens
of every race and color, and regardless of any previous condition of
servitude, the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages,
facilities or privileges in said section enumerated, or by aiding or
inciting such denial, shall for every such offence forfeit and pay
the sum of five hundred dollars to the person aggrieved thereby, to
be recovered in an action of debt, with full costs; and shall also,
for every such offence, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon
conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five hundred nor more
than one thousand dollars, or shall be imprisoned not less than thirty
days nor more than one year: _Provided_, That all persons may elect to
sue for the penalty aforesaid, or to proceed under their rights at common
law and by State statutes; and having so elected to proceed in the one
mode or the other, their right to proceed in the other jurisdiction shall
be barred. But this provision shall not apply to criminal proceedings,
either under this act or the criminal law of any State; _And provided
further_, That a judgment for the penalty in favor of the party
aggrieved, or a judgment upon an indictment, shall be a bar to either
prosecution respectively.”

Are these sections constitutional? The first section, which is the
principal one, cannot be fairly understood without attending to the last
clause, which qualifies the preceding part.

The essence of the law is, not to declare broadly that all persons shall
be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations,
advantages, facilities and privileges of inns, public conveyances
and theatres; but that such enjoyment shall not be subject to any
conditions applicable only to citizens of a particular race or color,
or who had been in a previous condition of servitude. In other words,
it is the purpose of the law to declare that, in the enjoyment of the
accommodations and privileges of inns, public conveyances, theatres and
other places of public amusement, no distinction shall be made between
citizens of different race or color, or between those who have, and those
who have not, been slaves. Its effect is to declare, that in all inns,
public conveyances and places of amusement, colored citizens, whether
formerly slaves or not, and citizens of other races, shall have the same
accommodations and privileges in all inns, public conveyances and places
of amusement as are enjoyed by white citizens; and _vice versa_. The
second section makes it a penal offence in any person to deny to any
citizen of any race or color, regardless of previous servitude, any of
the accommodations or privileges mentioned in the first section.

Has Congress constitutional power to make such a law? Of course, no one
will contend that the power to pass it was contained in the Constitution
before the adoption of the last three amendments. The power is sought,
first, in the Fourteenth Amendment, and the views and arguments of
distinguished Senators, advanced whilst the law was under consideration,
claiming authority to pass it by virtue of that amendment, are the
principal arguments adduced in favor of the power. We have carefully
considered those arguments, as was due to the eminent ability of those
who put them forward, and have felt, in all its force, the weight of
authority which always invests a law that Congress deems itself competent
to pass. But the responsibility of an independent judgment is now thrown
upon this court; and we are bound to exercise it according to the best
lights we have.

The first section of the Fourteenth Amendment (which is the one relied
on), after declaring who shall be citizens of the United States, and of
the several States, is prohibitory in its character, and prohibitory upon
the States. It declares that:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall
any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due
process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal
protection of the laws.”

It is State action of a particular character that is prohibited.
Individual invasion of individual rights is not the subject-matter of
the amendment. It has a deeper and broader scope. It nullifies and makes
void all State legislation and State action of every kind which impairs
the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, or which
injures them in life, liberty or property without due process of law, or
which denies to any of them the equal protection of the laws. It not only
does this, but in order that the national will thus declared may not be a
mere _brutum fulmen_, the last section of the amendment invests Congress
with power to enforce it by appropriate legislation. To enforce what? To
enforce the prohibition. To adopt appropriate legislation for correcting
the effects of such prohibited State laws and State acts, and thus to
render them effectually null, void and innocuous. This is the legislative
power conferred upon Congress, and this is the whole of it. It does not
invest Congress with power to legislate upon subjects which are within
the domain of State legislation; but to provide modes of relief against
State legislation or State action of the kind referred to. It does not
authorize Congress to create a code of municipal law for the regulation
of private rights; but to provide modes of redress against the operation
of State laws, and the action of State officers, executive or judicial,
when these are subversive of the fundamental rights specified in the
amendment. Positive rights and privileges are undoubtedly secured by the
Fourteenth Amendment; but they are secured by way of prohibition against
State laws and State proceedings affecting those rights and privileges,
and by power given to Congress to legislate for the purpose of carrying
such prohibition into effect; and such legislation must necessarily
be predicated upon such supposed State laws or State proceedings, and
be directed to the correction of their operation and effect. A quite
full discussion of this aspect of the amendment may be found in _United
States ~v.~ Cruikshank_, 92 U. S. 542; _Virginia ~v.~ Rives_, 100 U. S.
313; and _Ex parte Virginia_, 100 U. S. 339.

An apt illustration of this distinction may be found in some of the
provisions of the original Constitution. Take the subject of contracts,
for example. The Constitution prohibited the States from passing any law
impairing any obligation of contracts. This did not give to Congress
power to provide laws for the general enforcement of contracts, nor
power to invest the courts of the United States with jurisdiction over
contracts so as to enable parties to sue upon them in those courts. It
did, however, give the power to provide remedies by which the impairment
of contracts by State legislation might be counteracted and corrected;
and this power was exercised. The remedy which Congress actually provided
was that contained in the 25th section of the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1
Stat. 85, giving to the Supreme Court of the United States jurisdiction
by writ of error to review the final decisions of State courts whenever
they should sustain the validity of a State statute or authority alleged
to be repugnant to the Constitution or laws of the United States. By this
means, if a State law was passed impairing the obligation of a contract,
and the State tribunals sustained the validity of the law, the mischief
could be corrected in this court. The legislation of Congress, and the
proceedings provided under it, were corrective in their character. No
attempt was made to draw into the United States courts the litigation of
contracts generally, and no such attempt would have been sustained. We do
not say that the remedy provided was the only one that might have been
provided in that case. Probably Congress had power to pass a law giving
to the courts of the United States direct jurisdiction over contracts
alleged to be impaired by a State law; and under the broad provisions of
the act of March 3rd, 1875, ch. 237, 18 Stat. 470, giving to the circuit
courts jurisdiction of all cases arising under the Constitution and laws
of the United States, it is possible that such jurisdiction now exists.
But under that, or any other law, it must appear as well by allegation,
as proof at the trial, that the Constitution had been violated by the
action of the State legislature. Some obnoxious State law passed, or
that might be passed, is necessary to be assumed in order to lay the
foundation of any federal remedy in the case, and for the very sufficient
reason, that the constitutional provision is against _State laws_
impairing the obligation of contracts.

And so in the present case, until some State law has been passed, or
some State action through its officers or agents has been taken adverse
to the rights of citizens sought to be protected by the Fourteenth
Amendment, no legislation of the United States under said amendment,
nor any proceeding under such legislation, can be called into activity,
for the prohibitions of the amendment are against State laws and acts
done under State authority. Of course, legislation may, and should be,
provided in advance to meet the exigency when it arises; but it should
be adapted to the mischief and wrong which the amendment was intended
to provide against, and that is State laws or State action of some
kind adverse to the rights of the citizen secured by the amendment.
Such legislation cannot properly cover the whole domain of rights
appertaining to life, liberty and property, defining them and providing
for their vindication. That would be to establish a code of municipal
law regulative of all private rights between man and man in society. It
would be to make Congress take the place of the State legislatures and to
supersede them. It is absurd to affirm that, because the rights of life,
liberty and property (which include all civil rights that men have) are
by the amendment sought to be protected against invasion on the part of
the State without due process of law, Congress may therefore provide due
process of law for their vindication in every case, and that, because
the denial by a State to any person of the equal protection of the laws
is prohibited by the amendment, therefore Congress may establish laws
for their equal protection. In fine, the legislation which Congress
is authorized to adopt in this behalf is not general legislation upon
the rights of the citizen, but corrective legislation, that is, such as
may be necessary and proper for counteracting such laws as the States
may adopt or enforce, and which, by the amendment, they are prohibited
from making or enforcing, or such acts and proceedings as the States may
commit or take, and which, by the amendment, they are prohibited from
committing or taking. It is not necessary for us to state, if we could,
what legislation would be proper for Congress to adopt. It is sufficient
for us to examine whether the law in question is of that character.

An inspection of the law shows that it makes no reference whatever to
any supposed or apprehended violation of the Fourteenth Amendment on the
part of the States. It is not predicated on an such view. It proceeds _ex
directo_ to declare that certain acts committed by individuals shall be
deemed offences, and shall be prosecuted and punished by proceedings in
the courts of the United States. It does not profess to be corrective of
any constitutional wrong committed by the States; it does not make its
operation to depend upon any such wrong committed. It applies equally
to cases arising in States which have the justest laws respecting the
personal rights of citizens, and whose authorities are ever ready to
enforce such laws, as to those which arise in States that may have
violated the prohibition of the amendment. In other words, it steps into
the domain of local jurisprudence, and lays down rules for the conduct
of individuals in society towards each other, and imposes sanctions for
the enforcement of those rules without referring in any manner to any
supposed action of the State or its authorities.

If this legislation is appropriate for enforcing the prohibitions of
the amendment, it is difficult to see where it is to stop. Why may
not Congress with equal show of authority enact a code of laws for
the enforcement and vindication of all rights of life, liberty and
property? If it is supposable that the States may deprive persons of
life, liberty and property without due process of law (and the amendment
itself does suppose this), why should not Congress proceed at once to
prescribe due process of law for the protection of every one of these
fundamental rights in every possible case, as well as to prescribe equal
privileges in inns, public conveyances and theatres? The truth is, that
the implication of a power to legislate in this manner is based upon
the assumption that if the States are forbidden to legislate or act
in a particular way on a particular subject, and power is conferred
upon Congress to enforce the prohibition, this gives Congress power to
legislate generally upon that subject, and not merely power to provide
modes of redress against such State legislation or action. The assumption
is certainly unsound. It is repugnant to the Tenth Amendment of the
Constitution, which declares that powers not delegated to the United
States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are
reserved to the States respectively or to the people.

We have not overlooked the fact that the fourth section of the
act now under consideration has been held by this court to be
constitutional. That section declares “that no citizen, possessing all
other qualifications which are or may be prescribed by law, shall be
disqualified for service as grand or petit juror in any court of the
United States, or of any State, on account of race, color, or previous
condition of servitude; and any officer or other person charged with
any duty in the selection or summoning of jurors, who shall exclude or
fail to summon any citizen for the cause aforesaid, shall, on conviction
thereof, be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and be fined not more than
five thousand dollars.” In _Ex parte Virginia_, 100 U. S. 339, it was
held that an indictment against a State officer under this section for
excluding persons of color from the jury list is sustainable. But a
moment’s attention to its terms will show that the section is entirely
corrective in its character. Disqualifications for service on juries are
only created by the law, and the first part of the section is aimed at
certain disqualifying laws, namely, those which make mere race or color
a disqualification, and the second clause is directed against those
who, assuming to use the authority of the State government, carry into
effect such a rule of disqualification. In the Virginia case, the State
through its officer enforced a rule of disqualification which the law
was intended to abrogate and counteract. Whether the statute book of
the State actually laid down any such rule of disqualification or not,
the State through its officer enforced such a rule; and it is against
such State action through its officers and agents that the last clause of
the section is directed. This aspect of the law was deemed sufficient to
divest it of any unconstitutional character, and makes it differ widely
from the first and second sections of the same act which we are now

These sections, in the objectionable features before referred to, are
different also from the law ordinarily called the “Civil Rights Bill,”
originally passed April 9, 1866, 14 Stat. 27, ch. 31, and re-enacted
with some modifications in sections 16, 17, 18, of the Enforcement Act
passed May 31st, 1870, 16 Stat. 140, ch. 114. That law, as re-enacted,
after declaring that all persons within the jurisdiction of the United
States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and
enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and
equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons
and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to
like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses and exactions of
every kind, and none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation
or custom to the contrary notwithstanding, proceeds to enact that any
person who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation or
custom, shall subject, or cause to be subjected, any inhabitant of any
State or Territory to the deprivation of any rights secured or protected
by the preceding section above quoted, or to different punishment,
pains or penalties on account of such person being an alien, or by
reason of his color or race, than is prescribed for the punishment of
citizens, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to fine
and imprisonment as specified in the act. This law is clearly corrective
in its character, intended to counteract and furnish redress against
State laws and proceedings and customs having the force of law which
sanction the wrongful acts specified. In the Revised Statutes, it is
true, a very important clause, to wit, the words “any law, statute,
ordinance, regulation or custom to the contrary notwithstanding,” which
gave the declaratory section its point and effect, are omitted; but the
penal part, by which the declaration is enforced, and which is really
the effective part of the law, retains the reference to state laws by
making the penalty apply only to those who should subject parties to
a deprivation of their rights under color of any statute, ordinance,
custom, etc., of any State or Territory, thus preserving the corrective
character of the legislation. Rev. St., §§ 1977, 1978, 1979, 5510. The
Civil Rights Bill here referred to is analogous in its character to
what a law would have been under the original Constitution, declaring
that the validity of contracts should not be impaired, and that if any
person bound by a contract should refuse to comply with it under color
or pretence that it had been rendered void or invalid by a State law,
he should be liable to an action upon it in the courts of the United
States, with the addition of a penalty for setting up such an unjust and
unconstitutional defence.

In this connection it is proper to state that civil rights, such as
are guaranteed by the Constitution against State aggression, cannot
be impaired by the wrongful acts of individuals unsupported by State
authority in the shape of laws, customs, or judicial or executive
proceedings. The wrongful act of an individual, unsupported by any such
authority, is simply a private wrong, or a crime of that individual—an
invasion of the rights of the injured party, it is true, whether they
affect his person, his property or his reputation; but if not sanctioned
in some way by the State, or not done under State authority, his rights
remain in full force, and may presumably be vindicated by resort to the
laws of the State for redress. An individual cannot deprive a man of his
right to vote, to hold property, to buy and sell, to sue in the courts,
or to be a witness or juror; he may, by force or fraud, interfere with
the enjoyment of the right in a particular case; he may commit an assault
against the person, or commit murder, or use ruffian violence at the
polls, or slander the good name of a fellow-citizen; but unless protected
in these wrongful acts by some shield of State law or State authority, he
cannot destroy or injure the right; he will only render himself amenable
to satisfaction or punishment, and amenable therefor to the laws of the
State where the wrongful acts are committed. Hence in all of those cases
where the Constitution seeks to protect the rights of the citizen against
discriminative and unjust laws of the State by prohibiting such laws, it
is not individual offences, but abrogation and denial of rights which it
denounces, and for which it clothes the Congress with power to provide a
remedy. This abrogation and denial of rights, for which the States alone
were or could be responsible, was the great seminal and fundamental wrong
which was intended to be remedied. And the remedy to be provided must
necessarily be predicated upon that wrong. It must assume that in the
cases provided for the evil or wrong actually committed rests upon some
State law or State authority for its excuse and perpetration.

Of course these remarks do not apply to those cases in which Congress
is clothed with direct and plenary powers of legislation over the whole
subject, accompanied with an express or implied denial of such power to
the States, as in the regulation of commerce with foreign nations, among
the several States, and with the Indian tribes, the coining of money,
the establishment of post offices and post roads, the declaring of war,
etc. In these cases Congress has power to pass laws for regulating the
subjects specified in every detail, and the conduct and transactions of
individuals in respect thereof. But where a subject is not submitted
to the general legislative power of Congress, but is only submitted
thereto for the purpose of rendering effective some prohibition against
particular State legislation or State action in reference to that
subject, the power given is limited by its object, and any legislation by
Congress in the matter must necessarily be corrective in its character,
adapted to counteract and redress the operation of such prohibited State
laws or proceedings of State officers.

If the principles of interpretation which we have laid down are correct,
as we deem them to be (and they are in accord with the principles laid
down in the cases before referred to, as well as in the recent case of
_United States ~v.~ Harris_, 106 U. S. 629), it is clear that the law in
question cannot be sustained by any grant of legislative power made to
Congress by the Fourteenth Amendment. That amendment prohibits the States
from denying to any person the equal protection of the laws, and declares
that Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation,
the provisions of the amendment. The law in question, without any
reference to adverse State legislation on the subject, declares that
all persons shall be entitled to equal accommodations and privileges of
inns, public conveyances and places of public amusement, and imposes a
penalty upon any individual who shall deny to any citizen such equal
accommodations and privileges. This is not corrective legislation; it is
primary and direct; it takes immediate and absolute possession of the
subject of the right of admission to inns, public conveyances and places
of amusement; it supersedes and displaces State legislation on the same
subject, or only allows it permissive force; it ignores such legislation,
and assumes that the matter is one that belongs to the domain of national
regulation. Whether it would not have been a more effective protection
of the rights of citizens to have clothed Congress with plenary power
over the whole subject is not now the question. What we have to decide
is, whether such plenary power has been conferred upon Congress by the
Fourteenth Amendment; and in our judgment it has not.

We have discussed the question presented by the law on the assumption
that a right to enjoy equal accommodations and privileges in all inns,
public conveyances and places of public amusements, is one of the
essential rights of the citizen which no State can abridge or interfere
with. Whether it is such a right or not, is a different question which,
in the view we have taken of the validity of the law on the ground
already stated, it is not necessary to examine.

We have also discussed the validity of the law in reference to cases
arising in the States only; and not in reference to cases arising in
the Territories or the District of Columbia, which are subject to the
plenary legislation of Congress in every branch of municipal regulation.
Whether the law would be a valid one as applied to the Territories and
the District is not a question for consideration in the cases before us;
they all being cases arising within the limits of States. And whether
Congress, in the exercise of its power to regulate commerce amongst the
several States, might or might not pass a law regulating rights in public
conveyances passing from one State to another, is also a question which
is not now before us, as the sections in question are not conceived in
any such view.

But the power of Congress to adopt direct and primary, as distinguished
from corrective legislation, on the subject in hand, is sought, in the
second place, from the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolishes slavery.
This amendment declares “that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to
their jurisdiction;” and it gives Congress power to enforce the amendment
by appropriate legislation.

This amendment, as well as the Fourteenth, is undoubtedly self-executing
without any ancillary legislation, so far as its terms are applicable
to any existing state of circumstances. By its own unaided force and
effect it abolished slavery, and established universal freedom. Still,
legislation may be necessary and proper to meet all the various cases
and circumstances to be affected by it, and to prescribe proper modes
of redress for its violation in letter or spirit. And such legislation
may be primary and direct in its character; for the amendment is not a
mere prohibition of State laws establishing or upholding slavery, but
an absolute declaration that slavery or involuntary servitude shall not
exist in any part of the United States.

It is true that slavery cannot exist without law, any more than property
in land and goods can exist without law: and, therefore, the Thirteenth
Amendment may be regarded as nullifying all State laws which establish
or uphold slavery. But it has a reflex character also, establishing
and decreeing universal civil and political freedom throughout the
United States; and it is assumed that the power vested in Congress to
enforce the article by appropriate legislation, clothes Congress with
power to pass all laws necessary and proper for abolishing all badges
and incidents of slavery in the United States; and upon this assumption
it is claimed that this is sufficient authority for declaring by law
that all persons shall have equal accommodations and privileges in all
inns, public conveyances and places of amusement; the argument being
that the denial of such equal accommodations and privileges is, in
itself, a subjection to a species of servitude within the meaning of the
amendment. Conceding the major proposition to be true, that Congress has
a right to enact all necessary and proper laws for the obliteration and
prevention of slavery with all its badges and incidents, is the minor
proposition also true, that the denial to any person of admission to the
accommodations and privileges of an inn, a public conveyance or a theatre
does subject that person to any form of servitude, or tend to fasten upon
him any badge of slavery? If it does not, then power to pass the law is
not found in the Thirteenth Amendment.

In a very able and learned presentation of the cognate question, as
to the extent of the rights, privileges and immunities of citizens
which cannot rightfully be abridged by State laws under the Fourteenth
Amendment, made in a former case, a long list of burdens and disabilities
of a servile character incident to feudal vassalage in France, and which
were abolished by the decrees of the National Assembly, was presented
for the purpose of showing that all inequalities and observances exacted
by one man from another were servitudes, or badges of slavery, which a
great nation, in its effort to establish universal liberty, made haste
to wipe out and destroy. But these were servitudes imposed by the old
law, or by long custom, which had the force of law, and exacted by one
man from another without the latter’s consent. Should any such servitudes
be imposed by a State law, there can be no doubt that the law would be
repugnant to the Fourteenth, no less than to the Thirteenth Amendment;
nor any greater doubt that Congress has adequate power to forbid any such
servitude from being exacted.

But is there any similarity between such servitudes and a denial by the
owner of an inn, a public conveyance or a theatre, of its accommodations
and privileges to an individual, even though the denial be founded on the
race or color of that individual? Where does any slavery or servitude,
or badge of either, arise from such an act of denial? Whether it might
not be a denial of a right which, if sanctioned by the State law, would
be obnoxious to the prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment is another
question. But what has it to do with the question of slavery?

It may be that by the Black Code (as it was called), in the times when
slavery prevailed, the proprietors of inns and public conveyances were
forbidden to receive persons of the African race, because it might assist
slaves to escape from the control of their masters. This was merely
a means of preventing such escapes, and was no part of the servitude
itself. A law of that kind could not have any such object now, however
justly it might be deemed an invasion of the party’s legal right as a
citizen and amenable to the prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The long existence of African slavery in this country gave us very
distinct notions of what it was, and what were its necessary incidents.
Compulsory service of the slave for the benefit of the master, restraint
of his movements except by his master’s will, disability to hold
property, to make contracts, to have a standing in court, to be a
witness against a white person, and such like burdens and incapacities
were the inseparable incidents of the institution. Severer punishments
for crimes were imposed on the slave than on free persons guilty of the
same offences Congress, as we have seen, by the Civil Rights Bill of
1866, passed in view of the Thirteenth Amendment, before the Fourteenth
was adopted, undertook to wipe out these burdens and disabilities, the
necessary incidents of slavery, constituting its substance and visible
form; and to secure to all citizens of every race and color, without
regard to previous servitude, those fundamental rights which are the
essence of civil freedom, namely, the same right to make and enforce
contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to inherit, purchase,
lease, sell and convey property, as is enjoyed by white citizens. Whether
this legislation was fully authorized by the Thirteenth Amendment alone
without the support which it afterward received from the Fourteenth
Amendment, after the adoption of which it was re-enacted with some
additions, it is not necessary to enquire. It is referred to for the
purpose of showing that at that time (in 1866) Congress did not assume,
under the authority given by the Thirteenth Amendment, to adjust what
may be called the social rights of men and races in the community, but
only to declare and vindicate those fundamental rights which appertain
to the essence of citizenship, and the enjoyment or deprivation of which
constitutes the essential distinction between freedom and slavery.

We must not forget that the province and scope of the Thirteenth and
Fourteenth Amendments are different; the former simply abolished slavery;
the latter prohibited the States from abridging the privileges or
immunities of citizens of the United States; from depriving them of life,
liberty or property without due process of law, and from denying to any
the equal protection of the laws. The amendments are different and the
powers of Congress under them are different. What Congress has power to
do under one, it may not have power to do under the other. Under the
Thirteenth Amendment, it has only to do with slavery and its incidents.
Under the Fourteenth Amendment, it has power to counteract and render
nugatory all State laws and proceedings which have the effect to abridge
any of the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, or
to deprive them of life, liberty or property without due process of law,
or to deny to any of them the equal protection of the laws. Under the
Thirteenth Amendment, the legislation, so far as necessary or proper to
eradicate all forms and incidents of slavery and involuntary servitude,
may be direct and primary, operating upon the acts of individuals,
whether sanctioned by State legislation or not; under the Fourteenth,
as we have already shown, it must necessarily be, and can only be,
corrective in its character, addressed to counteract and afford relief
against State regulations or proceedings.

The only question under the present head, therefore, is whether the
refusal to any persons of the accommodations of an inn, or a public
conveyance, or a place of public amusement, by an individual, and without
any sanction or support from the State law regulation, does inflict
upon such persons any manner of servitude, or form of slavery, as those
terms are understood in this country? Many wrongs may be obnoxious to
the prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment which are not, in any just
sense, incidents or elements of slavery. Such, for example, would be
the taking of private property without due process of law; or allowing
persons who have committed certain crimes (horse stealing for example)
to be seized and hung by the _posse comitatus_ without regular trial;
or denying to any person, or class of persons, the right to pursue any
peaceful avocations allowed to others. What is called class legislation
would belong to this category, and would be obnoxious to the prohibitions
of the Fourteenth Amendment, but would not necessarily be so to the
Thirteenth, when not involving the idea of any subjection of one man
to another. The Thirteenth Amendment has respect not to distinctions
of race, or class, or color, but to slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment
extends its protection to races and classes, and prohibits any State
legislation which has the effect of denying to any race or class, or to
any individual, the equal protection of the laws.

Now, conceding, for the sake of the argument, that the admission to an
inn, a public conveyance or a place of public amusement, on equal terms
with all other citizens, is the right of every man and all classes of
men, is it any more than one of those rights which the States by the
Fourteenth Amendment are forbidden to deny to any person? And is the
Constitution violated until the denial of the right has some State
sanction or authority? Can the act of a mere individual, the owner of
the inn, the public conveyance or place of amusement, refusing the
accommodation, be justly regarded as imposing any badge of slavery or
servitude upon the applicant, or only as inflicting an ordinary civil
injury, properly, cognizable by the laws of the State, and presumably
subject to redress by those laws until the contrary appears?

After giving to these questions all the consideration which their
importance demands, we are forced to the conclusion that such an act of
refusal has nothing to do with slavery or involuntary servitude, and
that if it is violative of any right of the party, his redress is to be
sought under the laws of the State; or if those laws are adverse to his
rights and do not protect him, his remedy will be found in the corrective
legislation which Congress has adopted, or may adopt for counteracting
the effect of State laws, or State action prohibited by the Fourteenth
Amendment. It would be running the slavery argument into the ground to
make it apply to every act of discrimination which a person may see fit
to make as to the guests he will entertain, or as to the people he will
take into his coach or cab or car, or admit to his concert or theatre,
or deal with in other matters of intercourse or business. Innkeepers
and public carriers, by the laws of all the States so far as we are
aware, are bound, to the extent of their facilities, to furnish proper
accommodation to all unobjectionable persons who in good faith apply for
them. If the laws themselves make any unjust discrimination, amenable to
the prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment, Congress has full power to
afford a remedy under that amendment and in accordance with it.

When a man has emerged from slavery, and by the aid of beneficent
legislation has shaken off the inseparable concomitants of that state,
there must be some stage in the progress of his elevation when he takes
the rank of a mere citizen, and ceases to be the special favorite of the
laws, and when his rights as a citizen, or a man, are to be protected in
the ordinary modes by which other men’s rights are protected. There were
thousands of free colored people in this country before the abolition of
slavery, enjoying all the essential rights of life, liberty and property
the same as white citizens; yet no one, at that time, thought that it
was any invasion of his personal status as a freeman because he was not
admitted to all the privileges enjoyed by white citizens, or because he
was subjected to discriminations in the enjoyment of accommodations in
inns, public conveyances and places of amusement. Mere discriminations
on account of race or color were not regarded as badges of slavery. If,
since that time, the enjoyment of equal rights in all these respects has
become established by constitutional enactment, it is not by force of the
Thirteenth Amendment (which merely abolishes slavery), but by force of
the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.

On the whole we are of opinion, that no countenance of authority for the
passage of the law in question can be found in either the Thirteenth
or Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution; and no other ground of
authority for its passage being suggested, it must necessarily be
declared void, at least so far as its operation in the several States is

This conclusion disposes of the cases now under consideration. In the
cases of the _United States ~v.~ Michael Ryan_, and of _Richard A.
Robinson and wife ~v.~ The Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company_,
the judgment must be affirmed. In the other cases, the answer to be
given will be that the first and second sections of the act of Congress
of March 1st, 1875, entitled “An Act to protect all citizens in their
civil and legal rights,” are unconstitutional and void, and that
judgment should be rendered upon the several indictments in those cases

                                                  _And it is so ordered_.


MR. JUSTICE HARLAN dissenting.

The opinion in these cases proceeds, it seems to me, upon grounds
entirely too narrow and artificial. I cannot resist the conclusion that
the substance and spirit of the recent amendments of the Constitution
have been sacrificed by a subtle and ingenius verbal criticism. “It is
not the words of the law, but the internal sense of it, that makes the
law: the letter of the law is the body; the sense and reason of the law
is the soul.” Constitutional provisions, adopted in the interest of
liberty, and for the purpose of securing, through national legislation,
if need be, rights inhering in a state of freedom, and belonging to
American citizenship, have been so construed as to defeat the ends the
people desired to accomplish, which they attempted to accomplish, and
which they supposed they had accomplished by changes in their fundamental
law. By this I do not mean that the determination of these cases should
have been materially controlled by considerations of mere expediency
or policy. I mean only in this form, to express an earnest conviction
that the court has departed from the familiar rule requiring, in the
interpretation of constitutional provisions, that full effect be given to
the intent with which they were adopted.

The purpose of the first section of the Act of Congress of March 1, 1875,
was to prevent _race_ discrimination in respect of the accommodations and
facilities of inns, public conveyances and places of public amusement.
It does not assume to define the general conditions and limitations
under which inns, public conveyances and places of public amusement may
be conducted but only declares that such conditions and limitations,
whatever they may be, shall not be applied so as to work a discrimination
solely because of race, color or previous condition of servitude. The
second section provides a penalty against any one denying, or aiding or
inciting the denial, to any citizen, of that equality of right given by
the first section, except for reasons by law applicable to citizens of
every race or color and regardless of any previous condition of servitude.

There seems to be no substantial difference between my brethren and
myself as to the purpose of Congress; for, they say that the essence of
the law is, not to declare broadly that all persons shall be entitled
to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages,
facilities and privileges of inns, public conveyances and theatres; but
that such enjoyment shall not be subject to conditions applicable only
to citizens of a particular race or color, or who had been in a previous
condition of servitude. The effect of the statute, the court says, is,
that colored citizens, whether formerly slaves or not, and citizens of
other races, shall have the same accommodations and privileges in all
inns, public conveyances and places of amusement as are enjoyed by white
persons; and _vice versa_.

The court adjudges, I think erroneously, that Congress is without power,
under either the Thirteenth or Fourteenth Amendments, to establish such
regulations, and that the first and second sections of the statute are,
in all their parts, unconstitutional and void.

Whether the legislative department of the government has transcended the
limits of its constitutional powers, “is at all times,” said the court
in _Fletcher ~v.~ Peck_, 6 Cr. 128, “a question of much delicacy, which
ought seldom, if ever, to be decided in the affirmative, in a doubtful
case.... The opposition between the Constitution and the law should
be such that the judge feels a clear and strong conviction of their
incompatibility with each other.” More recently in _Sinking Fund Cases_,
99 U. S., 718, we said: “It is our duty when required in the regular
course of judicial proceedings, to declare an Act of Congress void if not
within the legislative power of the United States; but this declaration
should never be made except in a clear case. Every possible presumption
is in favor of the validity of a statute, and this continues until the
contrary is shown beyond a rational doubt. One branch of the government
cannot encroach on the domain of another without danger. The safety of
our institutions depends in no small degree on a strict observance of
this salutary rule.”

Before considering the language and scope of these amendments, it will
be proper to recall the relations subsisting, prior to their adoption,
between the national government and the institution of slavery, as
indicated by the provisions of the Constitution, the legislation of
Congress, and the decisions of this court. In this mode we may obtain
keys with which to open the mind of the people, and discover the thought
intended to be expressed.

In section 2 of article IV. of the Constitution it was provided that “no
person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof,
escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation
therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered
up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” Under
authority of this clause Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793,
establishing a mode for the recovery of fugitive slaves, and prescribing
a penalty against any person who should knowingly and willingly obstruct
or hinder the master, his agent, or attorney, in seizing, and recovering
the fugitive, or who should rescue the fugitive from him, or who should
harbor or conceal the slave after notice that he was a fugitive.

In _Prigg ~v.~ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania_, 16 Pet. 539, this court
had occasion to define the powers and duties of Congress in reference to
fugitives from labor. Speaking by MR. JUSTICE STORY, it laid down these

That a clause of the Constitution conferring a right should not be so
construed as to make it shadowy, or unsubstantial, or leave the citizen
without a remedial power adequate for its protection, when another
construction equally accordant with the words and the sense in which they
were used, would enforce and protect the right granted:

That Congress is not restricted to legislation for the execution of its
expressly granted powers; but for the protection of rights guaranteed by
the Constitution, may employ such means, not prohibited, as are necessary
and proper, or such as are appropriate, to attain the ends proposed:

That the Constitution recognized the master’s right of property in his
fugitive slave, and, as incidental thereto, the right of seizing and
recovering him, regardless of any State law, or regulation, or local
custom whatsoever; and,

That the right of the master to have his slave, thus escaping, delivered
up on claim, being guaranteed by the Constitution, the fair implication
was that the national government was clothed with appropriate authority
and functions to enforce it.

The court said: “The fundamental principle, applicable to all cases of
this sort, would seem to be that when the end is required the means
are given, and when the duty is enjoined the ability to perform it is
contemplated to exist on the part of the functionary to whom it is
entrusted.” Again: “It would be a strange anomaly and forced construction
to suppose that the national government meant to rely for the due
fulfillment of its own proper duties, and the rights which it intended
to secure, upon state legislation, and not upon that of the Union. _A
fortiori_, it would be more objectionable to suppose that a power which
was to be the same throughout the Union, should be confided to State
sovereignty which could not rightfully act beyond its own territorial

The act of 1793 was, upon these grounds, adjudged to be a constitutional
exercise of the powers of Congress.

It is to be observed from the report of Prigg’s case that Pennsylvania,
by her attorney-general, pressed the argument that the obligation
to surrender fugitive slaves was on the States and for the States,
subject to the restriction that they should not pass laws or establish
regulations liberating such fugitives; that the Constitution did not
take from the States the right to determine the status of all persons
within their respective jurisdictions; that it was for the State in
which the alleged fugitive was found to determine, through her courts
or in such modes as she prescribed, whether the person arrested was, in
fact, a freeman or a fugitive slave; that the sole power of the general
government in the premises was, by judicial instrumentality, to restrain
and correct, not to forbid and prevent in the absence of hostile State
action; and that for the general government to assume primary authority
to legislate on the subject of fugitive slaves, to the exclusion of the
States, would be a dangerous encroachment on State sovereignty. But to
such suggestions this court turned a deaf ear, and adjudged that primary
legislation by Congress to enforce the master’s right was authorized by
the Constitution.

We next come to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the constitutionality
of which rested, as did that of 1793, solely upon the implied power of
Congress to enforce the master’s rights. The provisions of that act were
far in advance of previous legislation. They placed at the disposal of
the master seeking to recover his fugitive slave, substantially the whole
power of the nation. It invested commissioners, appointed under the act,
with power to summon the _posse comitatus_ for the enforcement of its
provisions, and commanded all good citizens to assist in its prompt and
efficient execution whenever their services were required as part of the
_posse comitatus_. Without going into the details of that act, it is
sufficient to say that Congress omitted from it nothing which the utmost
ingenuity could suggest as essential to the successful enforcement of
the master’s claim to recover his fugitive slave. And this court, in
_Ableman ~v.~ Booth_, 21 How. 506, adjudged it to be “in all of its
provisions fully authorized by the Constitution of the United States.”

The only other case, prior to the adoption of the recent amendments,
to which reference will be made, is that of _Dred Scott ~v.~ Sanford_,
19 How, 399. That case was instituted in a circuit court of the United
States by Dred Scott, claiming to be a citizen of Missouri, the defendant
being a citizen of another State. Its object was to assert the title of
himself and family to freedom. The defendant pleaded in abatement that
Scott—being of African descent, whose ancestors, of pure African blood,
were brought into this country and sold as slaves—was not a _citizen_.
The only matter in issue, said the court, was whether the descendants of
slaves thus imported and sold, when they should be emancipated, or who
were born of parents who had become free before their birth, are citizens
of a State in the sense in which the word “citizen” is used in the
Constitution of the United States.

In determining that question the court instituted an inquiry as to who
were citizens of the several States at the adoption of the Constitution,
and who, at that time, were recognized as the people whose rights and
liberties had been violated by the British Government. The result was a
declaration, by this court, speaking by Chief Justice Taney, that the
legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the
Declaration of Independence, showed “that neither the class of persons
who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had
become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor
intended to be included in the general words used in that instrument;”
that “they had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of
an inferior race, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race,
either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they
had no rights which the white man was bound to respect, and that the
negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit
that he was “bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of
merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it;” and,
that “this opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized
portion of the white race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well
as in politics, which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open
to dispute; and men in every grade and position in society daily and
habitually acted upon it in their private pursuits, as well as in matters
of public concern, without for a moment doubting the correctness of this

The judgment of the court was that the words “people of the United
States” and “citizens” meant the same thing, both describing “the
political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the
sovereignty and hold the power and conduct the government through their
representatives;” that “they are what we familiarly call the ‘sovereign
people,’ and ‘every citizen is one of this people and a constituent
member of this sovereignty;’” but, that the class of persons described in
the plea in abatement did not compose a portion of this people, were not
“included and were not intended to be included under the word ‘citizens’
in the Constitution;’” that, therefore, they could “claim none of the
rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to
citizens of the United States;” that, “on the contrary, they were at that
time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had
been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not,
yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges
but such as those who held the power and the government might choose to
grant them.”

Such were the relations which formerly existed between the government,
whether national or State, and the descendants, whether free or in
bondage, of those of African blood, who had been imported into this
country and sold as slaves.

The first section of the Thirteenth Amendment provides that “neither
slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime,
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the
United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Its second
section declares that “Congress shall have power to enforce this article
by appropriate legislation.” This amendment was followed by the Civil
Rights Act of April 9, 1866, which, among other things, provided that
“all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign
power, excluding Indians not taxed, and hereby declared to be citizens
of the United States.” 14 Stat. 27. The power of Congress, in this mode,
to elevate the enfranchised race to national citizenship, was maintained
by the supporters of the act of 1886 to be as full and complete as its
power, by general statute, to make the children, being of full age,
of persons naturalized in this country, citizens of the United States
without going through the process of naturalization. The act of 1866, in
this respect was also likened to that of 1843, in which Congress declared
“that the Stockbridge tribe of Indians, and each and every one of them,
shall be deemed to be and are hereby declared to be, citizens of the
United States to all intents and purposes, and shall be entitled to all
the rights, privileges, and immunities of such citizens, and shall in all
respects be subject to the laws of the United States.” If the act of 1866
was valid in conferring national citizenship upon all embraced by its
terms, then the colored race, enfranchised by the Thirteenth Amendment,
became citizens of the United States prior to the adoption of the
Fourteenth Amendment. But, in the view which I take of the present case,
it is not necessary to examine this question.

The terms of the Thirteenth Amendment are absolute and universal. They
embrace every race which then was, or might thereafter be, within the
United States. No race, as such, can be excluded from the benefits
or rights thereby conferred. Yet, it is historically true that that
amendment was suggested by the condition, in this country, of that race
which had been declared, by this court, to have had—according to the
opinion entertained by the most civilized portion of the white race, at
the time of the adoption of the Constitution—“no rights which the white
man was bound to respect,” none of the privileges or immunities secured
by that instrument to citizens of the United States. It had reference,
in a peculiar sense, to a people which (although the larger part of them
were in slavery) had been invited by an act of Congress to aid in saving
from overthrow a government which theretofore, by all of its departments,
had treated them as an inferior race, with no legal rights or privileges,
except such as the white race might choose to grant them.

These are the circumstances under which the Thirteenth Amendment was
proposed for adoption. They are now recalled only that we may better
understand what was in the minds of the people when that amendment was
considered, and what were the mischiefs to be remedied and the grievances
to be redressed by its adoption.

We have seen that the power of Congress, by legislation, to enforce the
master’s right to have his slave delivered up on claim was _implied_
from the recognition of that right in the national Constitution. But
the power conferred by the Thirteenth Amendment does not rest upon
implication or inference. Those who framed it were ignorant of the
discussion, covering many years of our country’s history, as to the
constitutional power of Congress to enact the Fugitive Slave Laws of
1793 and 1850. When, therefore, it was determined, by a change in the
fundamental law, to uproot the institution of slavery wherever it
existed in the land, and to establish universal freedom, there was a
fixed purpose to place the authority of Congress in the premise; beyond
the possibility of a doubt. Therefore, _ex industria_, power to enforce
the Thirteenth Amendment, by appropriate legislation, was expressly
granted. Legislation for that purpose, my brethren concede, may be direct
and primary. But to what specific ends may it be directed? This court
has uniformly held that the national government has the power, whether
expressly given or not, to secure and protect rights conferred or granted
by the Constitution. _United States ~v.~ Reese_, 92 U. S. 214; _Strauder_
v. _West Virginia_, 100 U. S. 303. That doctrine ought not now to be
abandoned when the inquiry is not as to an implied power to protect the
master’s rights, but what may Congress, under powers expressly granted,
do for the protection of freedom and the rights necessarily inhering in a
state of freedom.

The Thirteenth Amendment, it is conceded, did something more than to
prohibit slavery as an _institution_, resting upon distinction of race,
and upheld by positive law. My brethren admit that it established and
decreed universal _civil freedom_ throughout the United States. But did
the freedom thus established involve nothing more than exemption from
actual slavery? Was nothing more intended than to forbid one man from
owning another as property? Was it the purpose of the nation simply
to destroy the institution, and then remit the race, theretofore held
in bondage, to the several States for such protection, in their civil
rights, necessarily growing out of freedom, as those states in their
discretion, might choose to provide? Were the States against whose
protest the institution was destroyed, to be left free, as far as
national interference was concerned, to make or allow discriminations
against that race, as such, in the enjoyment of those fundamental rights
which by universal concession, inhere in a state of freedom? Had the
Thirteenth Amendment stopped with the sweeping declaration, in its first
section, against the existence of slavery and involuntary servitude,
except for crime, Congress would have had the power, by implication,
according to the doctrine of _Prigg ~v.~ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania_,
repeated in _Strauder ~v.~ West Virginia_, to protect the freedom
established, and consequently, to secure the enjoyment of such civil
rights as were fundamental in freedom. That it can exert its authority
to that extent is made clear, and was intended to be made clear, by the
express grant of power contained in the second section of the Amendment.

That there are burdens and disabilities which constitute badges of
slavery and servitude, and that the power to enforce by appropriate
legislation the Thirteenth Amendment may be exerted by legislation of
a direct and primary character, for the eradication, not simply of
the institution, but of its badges and incidents, are propositions
which ought to be deemed indisputable. They lie at the foundation of
the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Whether that act was authorized by the
Thirteenth Amendment alone, without the support which it subsequently
received from the Fourteenth Amendment, after the adoption of which
it was re-enacted with some additions, my brethren do not consider it
necessary, to inquire. But I submit, with all respect to them, that its
constitutionality is conclusively shown by their opinion. They admit,
as I have said, that the Thirteenth Amendment established freedom; that
there are burdens and disabilities, the necessary incidents of slavery,
which constitute its substance and visible form; that Congress, by
the act of 1866, passed in view of the Thirteenth Amendment, before
the Fourteenth was adopted, undertook to remove certain burdens and
disabilities, the necessary incidents of slavery, and to secure to
all citizens of every race and color, and without regard to previous
servitude, those fundamental rights which are the essence of civil
freedom, namely, the same right to make and enforce contracts, to
sue, be parties, give evidence, and to inherit, purchase, lease, sell
and convey property as is enjoyed by white citizens; that under the
Thirteenth Amendment, Congress has to do with slavery and its incidents;
and that legislation, so far as necessary or proper to eradicate all
forms and incidents of slavery and involuntary servitude, may be direct
and primary, operating upon the acts of individuals whether sanctioned
by State legislation or not. These propositions being conceded, it is
impossible, as it seems to me, to question the constitutional validity
of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. I do not contend that the Thirteenth
Amendment vests Congress with authority, by legislation, to define and
regulate the entire body of the civil rights which citizens enjoy, or
may enjoy, in the several States. But I hold that since slavery, as the
court has repeatedly declared, _Slaughter-house Cases_. 16 Wall. 36;
_Strauder ~v.~ West Virginia_, 100 U. S. 303, was the moving or principal
cause of the adoption of that amendment, and since that institution
rested wholly upon the inferiority as a race, of those held in bondage,
their freedom necessarily involved immunity from, and protection against
all discrimination against them _because of their race_, in respect
of such civil rights as belong to freemen of other races. Congress,
therefore, under its express power to enforce that amendment by
appropriate legislation, may enact laws to protect that people against
the deprivation, _because of their race_, of any civil rights granted to
other freemen in the same State; and such legislation may be of a direct
and primary character, operating upon States, their officers and agents,
and, also, upon, at least, such individuals and corporations as exercise
public functions and wield power and authority under the State.

To test the correctness of this position, let us suppose that, prior
to the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, a State had passed a
statute denying to freemen of African descent, resident within its
limits, the same right which was accorded to white persons, of making
and enforcing contracts, and of inheriting, purchasing, leasing, selling
and conveying property; or a statute subjecting colored people to
severer punishment for particular offences than was prescribed for white
persons, or excluding that race from the benefit of the laws exempting
homesteads from execution. Recall the legislation of 1865-6 in some of
the States, of which this court, in the _Slaughter-house Cases_, said,
that it imposed upon the colored race onerous disabilities and burdens;
curtailed their rights in the pursuits of life, liberty and property
to such an extent that their freedom was of little value; forbade them
to appear in the towns in any other character than menial servants;
required them to reside on and cultivate the soil, without the right to
purchase or own it; excluded them from many occupations of gain, and
denied them the privilege of giving testimony in the courts where a
white man was a party. 16 Wall. 57. Can there be any doubt that all such
enactments might have been reached by direct legislation upon the part
of Congress under its express power to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment?
Would any court have hesitated to declare that such legislation imposed
badges of servitude in conflict with the civil freedom ordained by that
amendment? That it would have been in conflict with the Fourteenth
Amendment, because inconsistent with the fundamental rights of American
citizenship, does not prove that it would have been consistent with the
Thirteenth Amendment.

What has been said is sufficient to show that the power of Congress under
the Thirteenth Amendment is not necessarily restricted to legislation
against slavery as an institution upheld by positive law, but may be
exerted to the extent, at least, of protecting the liberated race against
discrimination in respect of legal rights belonging to freemen, where
such discrimination is based upon race.

It remains now to inquire what are the legal rights of colored persons
in respect of the accommodations, privileges and facilities of public
conveyances, inns and places of public amusement?

_First_, as to public conveyances on land and water. In _New Jersey Steam
Navigation Co. ~v.~ Merchants’ Bank_, 6 How. 344, this court, speaking
by Mr. Justice Nelson, said that a common carrier is “in the exercise of
a sort of public office, and has public duties to perform, from which he
should not be permitted to exonerate himself without the assent of the
parties concerned.” To the same effect is _Munn ~v.~ Illinois_, 94 U.
S. 113. In _Olcott ~v.~ Supervisors_, 16 Wall. 678, it was ruled that
railroads are public highways, established by authority of the State
for public use; that they are none the less public highways, because
controlled and owned by private corporations; that it is a part of the
function of government to make and maintain highways for the convenience
of the public; that no matter who is the agent, or what is the agency,
the function performed is _that of the State_; that although the owners
may be private companies, they may be compelled to permit the public to
use these works in the manner in which they can be used; that, upon these
grounds alone, have the courts sustained the investiture of railroad
corporations with the State’s right of eminent domain, or the right of
municipal corporations, under legislative authority, to assess, levy and
collect taxes to aid in the construction of railroads. So in _Township
of Queensbury ~v.~ Culver_, 19 Wall. 83, it was said that a municipal
subscription of railroad stock was in aid of the construction and
maintenance of a public highway, and for the promotion of a public use.
Again, in _Township of Pine Grove ~v.~ Talcott_, 19 Wall. 666: “Though
the corporation [railroad] was private, its work was public, as much
so as if it were to be constructed by the State.” To the like effect
are numerous adjudications in this and the State courts with which the
profession is familiar, The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in
_Inhabitants of Worcester ~v.~ The Western R. R. Corporation_, 4 Met.
564, said in reference to a railroad:

“The establishment of that great thoroughfare is regarded as a public
work, established by public authority, intended for the public use
and benefit, the use of which is secured to the whole community, and
constitutes, therefore, like a canal, turn-pike, or highway, a public
easement.... It is true that the real and personal property, necessary
to the establishment and management of the railroad, is vested in the
corporation; but it is in trust for the public.” In _Erie, etc., R.
R. Co. ~v.~ Casey_, 26 Penn St. 287, the court, referring to an act
repealing the charter of a railroad, and under which the State took
possession of the road, said: “It is a public highway, solemnly devoted
to public use. When the lands were taken it was for such use, or they
could not have been taken at all.... Railroads established upon land
taken by the right of eminent domain by authority of the commonwealth,
created by her laws as thorough-fares for commerce, are her highways. No
corporation has property in them, though it may have franchises annexed
to and exercisable within them.”

In many courts it has been held that because of the public interest in
such a corporation the land of a railroad company cannot be levied on
and sold under execution by a creditor. The sum of the adjudged cases is
that a railroad corporation is a government agency, created primarily for
public purposes, and subject to be controlled for the public benefit.
Upon this ground the State, when unfettered by contract, may regulate,
in its discretion, the rates of fares of passengers and freight. And
upon this ground, too, the State may regulate the entire management
of railroads in all matters affecting the convenience and safety of
the public; as, for example, by regulating speed, compelling stops of
prescribed length at stations, and prohibiting discriminations and
favoritism. If the corporation neglect or refuse to discharge its duties
to the public, it may be coerced to do so by appropriate proceedings in
the name or in behalf of the State.

Such being the relations these corporations hold to the public, it
would seem that the right of a colored person to use an improved public
highway, upon the terms accorded to freemen of other races, is as
fundamental, in the state of freedom established in this country, as are
any of the rights which my brethren conceive to be so far fundamental as
to be deemed the essence of civil freedom. “Personal liberty consists,”
says Blackstone, “in the power of locomotion, of changing situation,
or removing one’s person to whatever places one’s own inclination may
direct, without restraint, unless by due course of law.” But of what
value is this right of locomotion, if it may be clogged by such burdens
as Congress intended by the act of 1875 to remove? They are burdens which
lay at the very foundation of the institution of slavery as it once
existed. They are not to be sustained, except upon the assumption that
there is, in this land of universal liberty, a class which may still
be discriminated against, even in respect of rights of a character so
necessary and supreme, that deprived of their employment in common with
others, a freeman is not only branded as one inferior and infected, but,
in the competitions of life, is robbed of some of the most essential
means of existence; and all this solely because they belong to a
particular race which the nation has liberated. The Thirteenth Amendment
alone obliterated the race line, so far as all rights fundamental in a
state of freedom are concerned.

_Second_, as to inns. The same general observations which have been made
as to railroads are applicable to inns. The word ‘inn’ has a technical
legal signification. It means, in the act of 1875, just what it meant
at common law. A mere private boarding-house is not an inn, nor is its
keeper subject to the responsibilities, or entitled to the privileges of
a common innkeeper. “To constitute one an innkeeper, within the legal
force of that term, he must keep a house of entertainment or lodging for
all travelers or wayfarers who might choose to accept the same, being of
good character or conduct.” Redfield on Carriers, etc., § 775.

The United States Government is divided into three co-ordinate
departments:—(1) Legislative, (2) Executive, (3) Judiciary. These
departments are an obscure deception to the negro. These departments
are upheld and supported by 8,000,000 black people, and scarcely one
escapes the dreadful discrimination which in all cases means respectable
accommodation for the white man and disrespectable accommodation for the
black man.


When the welfare of a race is evinced in the supreme law of the nation,
and that law disfranchises that race, then where shall the race appeal.
Certainly the colored race has appealed to Almighty God, to whom may
glory and praise be given for ever. As Abraham Lincoln was instrumental
in bringing about freedom of the black race, so will the Almighty plant
within the hearts of such heroes as John Brown and Fred. Douglas a seed
of right, and it will grow and ultimately overshadow the wrong. It is
noticeable that the evil forces rush on the negro with one accord: that
is, all the leaders of the American Government apparently have secret
consultation as to the treatment of a black man. Even merchants, hotel
men, livery stable men, news men, and train men, all drift conjointly
against the negro to uphold their own affairs, and especially do the
colored man out of his rights and earnings. The following clipping from
a Decatur daily newspaper will serve readily in support of the foregoing


“Nay Boggess was in Blue Mound yesterday to prosecute a case where J. C.
Coleman sues to recover $200 damages from Landlord Blair. Coleman is a
negro and declares that he was denied entertainment at Blair’s hostelry.
The case was to have been heard yesterday before Justice Tidd, but
Coleman telegraphed from McLean county that he was detained there by the
illness of his wife, and on this plea the case was continued until Monday
next. It is likely that the case will be dismissed at Blue Mound and be
re-instituted in the circuit court.”

The above article appeared in one of the Decatur, Ill., daily leading
newspapers in the summer of 1894. The editorial staff no doubt were
aware of the procedure and termination of all such cases, otherwise
the prediction that the “case would be dismissed in Blue Mound and
re-instituted in the circuit court,” could not have been so frankly
and authentically announced. The numerous disappointments attending my
struggle to obtain justice in this case are so multitudinous space cannot
just here be allotted for further explanation. Some incidents connected
with the travel during the summer of 1894 in the “great” State of
Illinois are of praiseworthy importance to the reader on other pages.



It may be conceded that the observations are synonymous, in that they
express the sum and substance of the first observation under the caption
INJUSTICE. In the preceding chapter we have brought out clearly the
Discriminating elements. The imposing forces expand as fast as the white
population increases in the Southern States, and has developed into many
Northern “quarters.” The great, the small, the rich and the poor, the
high and the low, white persons, all have their way of bantering their
colored brother. As a rule young white men and young colored men are at
variance with each other. The same may be said of young white and colored
women. The “whites” of both sexes avoid politeness with the colored to
show their superiority. Children are innocent. The poor boy, whose father
is the servant of a millionaire, can usually find room in the play yard
of the millionaire’s children; but this is not so in the case of the
white and colored boy. The white boy early learns that the colored boy
must eat last, drink last, pass through the gate last, and have the last
choice of the toys.

One of the most singular and inhuman habits the American white people
possess, is that of shirking the colored people during luncheon. Their
colored cook may have handled and even partaken of every piece in the
dish; but the most refined, decent—lady or gentleman alike—colored person
is extremely abhorred and debarred on this occasion. We note these facts
as local condition of affairs.

The general Imposition on the colored race are—(1) Lynching, (2) Discount
in wages, and (3) Immoral conduct with colored women. Before beginning
to elucidate these points, it is well to determine whether the black
man is worthy of any defence in this direction—is he qualified for a
neighbor? or does he intrude on the rights of the Government, or on the
municipal rights, or on individual rights? is he a subject of charity,
as many other foreign nationalities? These vital considerations and most
important questions are answered to some extent in the following clipping
from the Chicago _Inter-Ocean_, June 26, 1894:—

    “ONLY 46 OUT OF 4,200.

    “Some interesting statistics have been furnished by the
    secretary of the School Children’s Aid Society relative to the
    work done during the winter of 1893-94. As is generally known,
    the society is an outgrowth and under the direct patronage of
    the Chicago Women’s Club. It was organized after the enactment
    of the compulsory education law of Illinois for the purpose
    of clothing the children of the poor who otherwise would be
    able to attend school. The past season will long be remembered
    as one of unusual suffering, and the society expended a sum
    amounting to $8,521.29.

    “The money was chiefly spent in purchasing shoes, boys’
    clothing, and material for girls’ dresses, skirts, and aprons.
    The matter of nationality is a most interesting item in the
    report. Of those aided, 1,115 were Irish, 995 German, 572
    Americans, 328 Bohemians, 233 English, 184 Jews, 198 Italians,
    156 Norwegians, 180 Swedes, 68 Scotch, 57 Danish, 48 French, 46
    negroes, 6 Spanish, 6 Welsh, 5 Swiss. The Swiss, French, and
    Spanish form a comparatively small per cent. of the population
    of Chicago, while the thrifty and industrious Scotch and Danes
    are very numerous.

    “The most striking feature, however,” continued the _Daily
    Inter-Ocean_, June 26, 1894, “is that but forty-six negroes
    received assistance, and this in the face of the truth
    that our colored population numbers many thousands. Of the
    forty-six, six were discovered accidentally and sought out by
    the secretary, but who themselves made no appeal for relief.
    The mother had come to the rooms of the society for work, and
    when questioned said that her husband had been a janitor in a
    building which had been closed, but had hope of getting work in
    the spring. In the meantime, she said, the children could be
    kept at home until then, when they could buy shoes for them and
    send them to school. It is gratifying to know that they were
    not forced to wait, but that their wants were supplied at once.

    “Another virtue credited the negroes by the society is
    gratitude. Of all who were aided, with but few exceptions, they
    alone expressed any appreciation of what was done for them.

    “This testimony must be of interest to those who have always
    insisted that the negro is a chronic beggar and hopelessly
    dependent. Out of 4,200 cases assisted by the society during
    the entire winter, but forty six were negroes.”

Thousands of similar words to the above could be said of the black race.
There are no noted thieves in the race, such as bank robbers, train
robbers, and Government robbers—not traits of the race. We thank our God
that no Rŭb Burrows and Jesse James have arose in the race of African
descent. We may therefore say with propriety, The black man is worthy of
defence. He is worthy of being exonerated from his present imposed state.


With prefatory statements of our indebtedness to Mrs. Ida B. Wells
Barnett for her extensive _travels_ in Great Britain and America,
delivering expressive and impressive lectures against this horrible,
disgraceful, and king of all impositions upon a downtrodden people, we
write what we know of the subject, and supplement some cases denounced
in “The Reason Why,” by Mrs. Barnett. Lynching has grown to be an event
which elicits multitudes, composed of men, women and children, to
cheer the participants as though some renowned act of heroism is being
performed. The newspapers have given space to eulogize the lynchers
instead of condemning them. The journals of to-day have grown so high in
public favor that seven out of every ten readers will firmly believe the
current reports. Even some of the Northern black people themselves are to
some extent in sympathy with the lynchers, believing that their own men
are so vile and brutish that they deserve such heinous punishment.

The question is everywhere heard, “Why do they lynch the colored people
down South?” The general presumption is that colored men are “struck”
after the white women. Why were they not hankering after them during
slavery? Why did the master leave his slave to wait on his family during
the war of 1861-5, while he engaged in battle? Colored men were honest
in the dark days of slavery, and they are honest now. The ascension of
the colored people of the South to high seats of honor, and the fear that
they will ultimately predominate, have some “say so” in these lynches.
I have known blood-thirsty mobs to appoint one of their own men to
assault some young woman who would not yield to a member of the mob, to
black his face and fix like a “Nigger,” and remain in secrecy until a
chance presented itself, then suddenly light upon his prey armed with a
revolver. After reaching his highest point of ambition—the mob is called
to lynch some innocent black man for the outrageous deed of a man of
another color. The visit of Madame Barnett to England in behalf of the
black people of America, drew more favor for the race than Hon. Fred.
Douglass or some other distinguished colored man could have drawn. It was
not a man defending his own sex, but a young lady, having been educated
at Holly Springs, Miss., and labored with her own people and for her
own people in the South, who went to England in defence of the innocent
men falling victims to the mobs, and being deprived of legal hearing
or trial. “Rape” is the prevalent charge—the mob is the criterion.
This condition of things are grievous—and more so when we see other
accusations brought against men, women and children of the black race,
and lynchings being the result before proper course has been taken to
decide whether they are innocent or guilty, which will be further seen in
the following contribution, by Ida B. Wells Barnett:



“Lynch Law,” says the _Virginia Lancet_, “as known by that appellation,
had its origin in 1780 in a combination of citizens of Pittsylvania
County, Virginia, entered into for the purpose of suppressing a trained
band of horse-thieves and counterfeiters whose well concocted schemes
had bidden defiance to the ordinary laws of the land, and whose success
encouraged and emboldened them in their outrages upon the community. Col.
Wm. Lynch drafted the constitution for this combination of citizens,
and hence ‘Lynch Law’ has ever since been the name given to the summary
infliction of punishment by private and unauthorized citizens.”

This law continues in force to-day in some of the oldest states of the
Union, whose courts of justice have long been established, whose laws are
executed by white Americans. It flourishes most largely in the states
which foster the convict lease system, and is brought to bear mainly,
against the Negro. The first fifteen years of his freedom he was murdered
by masked mobs for trying to vote. Public opinion having made lynching
for that cause unpopular, a new reason is given to justify the murders of
the past 15 years. The Negro was first charged with attempting to rule
white people, and hundreds were murdered on that pretended supposition.
He is now charged with assaulting or attempting to assault white women.
This charge, as false as it is foul, robs us of the sympathy of the world
and is blasting the race’s good name.

The men who make these charges encourage or lead the mobs which do the
lynching. They belong to the race which holds Negro life cheap, which
owns the telegraph wires, newspapers, and all other communication
with the outside world. They write the reports which justify lynching
by painting the Negro as black as possible, and those reports are
accepted by the press associations and the world without question or
investigation. The mob spirit has increased with alarming frequency and
violence. Over a thousand black men, women and children have been thus
sacrificed the past ten years. Masks have long since been thrown aside
and the lynchings of the present day take place in broad daylight. The
sheriffs, police and state officials stand by and see the work well
done. The coroner’s jury is often formed among those who took part in
the lynching and a verdict, “Death at the hands of parties unknown to
the jury” is rendered. As the number of lynchings have increased, so has
the cruelty and barbarism of the lynchers. Three human beings was burned
alive in civilized America during the first six months of this year
(1893). Over one hundred have been lynched in this half year. They were
hanged, then cut, shot and burned.

The following table published by the Chicago _Tribune_, January, 1892, is
submitted for thoughtful consideration.

    1882,  52 Negroes murdered by mobs.
    1883,  39   ”        ”       ”
    1884,  53   ”        ”       ”
    1885,  77   ”        ”       ”
    1886,  73   ”        ”       ”
    1887,  70   ”        ”       ”
    1888,  72   ”        ”       ”
    1889,  95   ”        ”       ”
    1890, 100   ”        ”       ”
    1891, 169   ”        ”       ”

Of this number,

    269 were charged with rape.
    253  ”       ”     ”  murder.
     44  ”       ”     ”  robbery.
     37  ”       ”     ”  incendiarism.
      4  ”       ”     ”  burglary.
     27  ”       ”     ”  race prejudice.
     13  ”       ”     ”  quarrelling with white men.
     10  ”       ”     ”  making threats.
      7  ”       ”     ”  rioting.
      5  ”       ”     ”  miscegenation.
     32  ”       ”     ”  no reason given.

This table shows (1) that only one-third of nearly a thousand murdered
black persons have been even charged with the crime of outrage. This
crime is only so punished when white women accuse black men, which
accusation is never proven. The same crime committed by Negroes against
Negroes, or by white men against black women is ignored even in the law

(2) That nearly as many were lynched for murder as for the above crime,
which the world believes is the cause of all the lynchings. The world
affects to believe that _white_ womanhood and childhood, surrounded by
their lawful protectors, are not safe in the neighborhood of the black
man, who protected and cared for them during the four years of civil war.
The husbands, fathers and brothers of those white women were away for
four years, fighting to keep the Negro in slavery, yet not one case of
assault has ever been reported!

(3) That “robbery, incendiarism, race prejudice, quarrelling with white
men, making threats, rioting, miscegenation (marrying a white person),
and burglary,” are capital offences punishable by death when committed by
a black against a white person. Nearly as many blacks were lynched for
these charges (and unproven) as for the crime of rape.

(4) That for nearly fifty of these lynchings no reason is given. There
is no demand for reasons, or need of concealment for what no one is held
responsible. The simple word of any white person against a Negro is
sufficient to get a crowd of white men to lynch a negro. Investigation
as to the guilt or innocence of the accused is never made. Under these
conditions, white men have only to blacken their faces, commit crimes
against the peace of the community, accuse some Negro, nor rest till he
is killed by a mob. Will Lewis, an 18 year old Negro youth was lynched at
Tullahoma, Tennessee, August, 1891, for being “drunk and saucy to white

The women of the race have not escaped the fury of the mob. In Jackson,
Tennessee, in the summer of 1886, a white woman died of poisoning. Her
black cook was suspected, and as a box of rat poison was found in her
room, she was hurried away to jail. When the mob had worked itself to the
lynching pitch, she was dragged out of jail, every stitch of clothing
torn from her body, and she was hung in the public court-house square in
sight of everybody. Jackson is one of the oldest towns in the State, and
the State Supreme Court holds its sittings there; but no one was arrested
for the deed—not even a protest was uttered. The husband of the poisoned
woman has since died a raving maniac, and his ravings showed that he, and
not the poor black cook, was the poisoner of his wife. A fifteen year old
negro girl was hanged in Rayville, Louisiana, in the Spring of 1892, on
the same charge of poisoning white persons. There was no more proof or
investigation of this case than the one in Jackson. A negro woman, Lou
Stevens, was hanged from a railway bridge in Hollendale, Mississippi, in
1892. She was charged with being accessory to the murder of her white
paramour, who had shamefully abused her.

In 1892 there were 240 persons lynched. The entire number is divided
among the following States:

    Alabama        22
    Arkansas       25
    California      3
    Florida        11
    Georgia        17
    Idaho           8
    Montana         4
    New York        1
    North Carolina  5
    North Dakota    1
    Ohio            3
    South Carolina  5
    Illinois        1
    Kansas          3
    Kentucky        9
    Louisiana      29
    Maryland        1
    Mississippi    16
    Missouri        6
    Tennessee      28
    Texas          15
    Virginia        7
    West Virginia   5
    Wyoming         9
    Arizona Ter.    3
    Oklahoma        2

Of this number 160 were of Negro descent. Four of them were lynched in
New York, Ohio and Kansas; the remainder were murdered in the south. Five
of this number were females. The charges for which they were lynched
cover a wide range. They are as follows:

    Rape                            46
    Murder                          58
    Rioting                          3
    Race prejudice                   6
    No cause given                   4
    Incendiarism                     6
    Robbery                          6
    Assault and Battery              1
    Attempted Rape                  11
    Suspected Robbery                4
    Larceny                          1
    Self defense                     1
    Insulting women                  2
    Desperadoes                      6
    Fraud                            1
    Attempted murder                 2
    No offense stated, boy and girl  2

In the case of the boy and girl above referred to, their father, named
Hastings, was accused of the murder of a white man; his fourteen year old
daughter and sixteen year old son were hanged and their bodies filled
with bullets, then the father was also lynched. This was in November,
1892, at Jonesville, Louisiana.

A lynching equally as cold-blooded took place in Memphis, Tennessee,
March, 1892. Three young colored men in an altercation at their place
of business, fired on white men in self-defense. They were imprisoned
for three days, then taken out by the mob and horribly shot to death.
Thomas Moss, Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell, were energetic business
men who had built up a flourishing grocery business. This business had
prospered and that of a rival white grocer named Barrett had declined.
Barrett led the attack on their grocery which resulted in the wounding
of three white men. For this cause were three innocent men barbarously
lynched, and their families left without protectors. Memphis is one
of the leading cities of Tennessee, a town of seventy-five thousand
inhabitants! No effort whatever was made to punish the murderers of these
three men. It counted for nothing that the victims of this outrage were
three of the best known young men of a population of thirty thousand
colored people of Memphis. They were the officers of the company which
conducted the grocery. Moss being the President, Stewart the Secretary of
the Company and McDowell the Manager. Moss was in the Civil Service of
the United States as letter carrier, and all three were men of splendid
reputation for honesty, integrity and sobriety. But their murderers,
though well-known, have never been indicted, were not even troubled with
a preliminary examination.

With law held in such contempt, it is not a matter of surprise that the
same city—one of the so-called queen cities of the South, should again
give itself over to a display of almost indescribable barbarism. This
time the mob made no attempt to conceal its identity, but reveled in the
contemplation of its feast of crime. Lee Walker, a colored man was the
victim. Two white women complained that while driving to town, a colored
man jumped from a place of concealment and dragged one of the two women
from the wagon, but their screams frightened him away. Alarm was given
that a Negro had made an attempted assault upon the women and bands of
men set out to run him down. They shot a colored man who refused to stop
when called. It was fully ten days before Walker was caught. He admitted
that he did attack the women, but that he made no attempt to assault
them; that he offered them no indecency whatever, of which as a matter of
fact, they never accused him. He said he was hungry and he was determined
to have something to eat, but after throwing one of the women out of the
wagon, became frightened and ran away. He was duly arrested and taken to
the Memphis jail. The fact that he was in prison and could be promptly
tried and punished did not prevent the good citizens of Memphis from
taking the law in their own hands, and Walker was lynched.

The _Memphis Commercial_ of Saturday, July 23, contains a full account of
the tragedy from which the following extracts are made:

At 12 o’clock last night, Lee Walker, who attempted to outrage Miss
Mollie McCadden, last Tuesday morning, was taken from the county jail
and hanged to a telegraph pole just north of the prison. All day rumors
were afloat that with nightfall an attack would be made upon the jail,
and as everyone anticipated that a vigorous resistance would be made, a
conflict between the mob and the authorities was feared.

At 10 o’clock Capt. O’Haver, Sergt. Horan and several patrol men were on
hand, but they could do nothing with the crowd. An attack by the mob was
made on the door in the south wall and it yielded. Sheriff McLendon and
several of his men threw themselves into the breach, but two or three of
the storming party shoved by. They were seized by the police but were not
subdued, the officers refraining from using their clubs. The entire mob
might at first have been dispensed by ten policemen who would use their
clubs, but the sheriff insisted that no violence be done.

The mob got an iron rail and used it as a battering ram against the lobby
doors. Sheriff McLendon tried to stop them, and some one of the mob
knocked him down with a chair. Still he counseled moderation and would
not order his deputies and the police to disperse the crowd by force.
The pacific policy of the sheriff impressed the mob with the idea that
the officers were afraid, or at least would do them no harm, and they
redoubled their efforts, urged on by a big switchman. At 12 o’clock the
door of the prison was broken in with a rail.

As soon as the rapist was brought to the door, calls were heard for a
rope; then some one shouted “Burn him!” But there was no time to make a
fire. When Walker got into the lobby a dozen of the men began beating and
stabbing him. He was half dragged, half carried to the corner of Front
street and the alley between Sycamore and Mill, and hung to a telephone

Walker made a desperate resistance. Two men entered his cell first and
ordered him to come forth. He refused and they failing to drag him out
others entered. He scratched and bit his assailants, wounding several of
them severely with his teeth. The mob retaliated by striking and cutting
him with fists and knives. When he reached the steps leading down to the
door he made another stand and was stabbed again and again. By the time
he reached the lobby his power to resist was gone, and he was shoved
along through the mob of yelling, cursing men and boys, who beat, spat
upon and slashed the wretched-like demon. One of the leaders of the mob
fell, and the crowd walked ruthlessly over him. He was badly hurt—a
jawbone fractured and internal injuries inflicted. After the lynching
friends took charge of him.

The mob proceeded north on Front street with the victim, stopping at
Sycamore street to get a rope from a grocery. “Take him to the iron
bridge on Main street,” yelled several men. The men who had hold of the
Negro were in a hurry to finish the job, however, and when they reached
the telephone pole at the corner of Front street and the first alley
north of Sycamore they stopped. A hastily improvised noose was slipped
over the Negro’s head and several young men mounted a pile of lumber near
the pole and threw the rope over one of the iron stepping pins. The Negro
was lifted up until his feet were three feet above the ground, the rope
was made taut, and a corpse dangled in mid-air. A big fellow who helped
lead the mob pulled the Negro’s legs until his neck cracked. The wretch’s
clothes had been torn off, and as he swung, the man who pulled his legs
mutilated the corpse.

One or two knife cuts, more or less, made little difference in the
appearance of the dead rapist, however, for before the rope was around
his neck his skin was cut almost to ribbons. One pistol shot was fired
while the corpse was hanging. A dozen voices protested against the use of
firearms, and there was no more shooting. The body was permitted to hang
for half an hour, then it was cut down and the rope divided among those
who lingered around the scene of the tragedy. Then it was suggested that
the corpse be burned, and it was done. The entire performance, from the
assault on the jail to the burning of the dead Negro was witnessed by a
score or so of policemen and as many deputy sheriffs, but not a hand was
lifted to stop the proceedings after the jail door yielded.

As the body hung to the telegraph pole, blood streaming down from the
knife wounds in his neck, his hips and lower part of his legs also
slashed with knives, the crowd hurled expletives at him, swung his
body so that it was dashed against the pole, and, so far from the
ghastly sight proving trying to the nerves, the crowd looked on with
complaisance, if not with real pleasure. The Negro died hard. The neck
was not broken, as the body was drawn up without being given a fall, and
death came by strangulation. For fully ten minutes after he was strung up
the chest heaved occasionally and there were convulsive movements of the
limbs. Finally he was pronounced dead, and a few minutes later Detective
Richardson climbed on a pile of staves and cut the rope. The body fell in
a ghastly heap, and the crowd laughed at the sound and crowded around the
prostrate body, a few kicking the inanimate carcass.

Detective Richardson, who is also a deputy coroner, then proceeded to
impanel the following jury of inquest: J. S. Moody, A. C. Waldran, B. J.
Childs, J. N. House, Nelson Bills, T. L. Smith, and A. Newhouse. After
viewing the body the inquest was adjourned without any testimony being
taken until 9 o’clock this morning. The jury will meet at the coroner’s
office, 51 Beale street, upstairs, and decide on a verdict. If no
witnesses are forthcoming, the jury will be able to arrive at a verdict
just the same, as all members of it saw the lynching. Then some one
raised the cry of, “Burn him!” It was quickly taken up and soon resounded
from a hundred throats. Detective Richardson for a long time, single
handed, stood the crowd off. He talked and begged the men not to bring
disgrace on the city by burning the body, arguing that all the vengeance
possible had been wrought.

While this was going on a small crowd was busy starting a fire in the
middle of the street. The material was handy. Some bundles of staves
were taken from the adjoining lumber yard for kindling. Heavier wood was
obtained from the same source, and coal oil from a neighboring grocery.
Then the cries of “Burn him! Burn him!” were redoubled.

Half a dozen men seized the naked body. The crowd cheered. They marched
to the fire, and giving the body a swing, it was landed in the middle of
the fire. There was a cry for more wood, as the fire had begun to die,
owing to the long delay. Willing hands procured the wood, and it was
piled up on the Negro, almost, for a time, obscuring him from view. The
head was in plain view, as also were the limbs, and one arm which stood
out high above the body, the elbow crooked, held in that position by a
stick of wood. In a few moments the hands began to swell, then came great
blisters over all the exposed parts of the body; then in places the flesh
was burned away and the bones began to show through. It was a horrible
sight, one which perhaps none there had ever witnessed before. It proved
too much for a large part of the crowd, and the majority of the mob left
very shortly after the burning began.

But a large number stayed, and were not a bit set back by the sight of a
human body being burned to ashes. Two or three white women, accompanied
by their escorts, pushed to the front to obtain an unobstructed view,
and looked on with astonishing coolness and nonchalance. One man and
woman brought a little girl, not over 12 years old, apparently their
daughter, to view a scene which was calculated to drive sleep from the
child’s eyes for many nights, if not to produce a permanent injury to
her nervous system. The comments of the crowd were varied. Some remarked
on the efficacy of this style of cure for rapists, others rejoiced that
men’s wives and daughters were now safe from this wretch. Some laughed as
the flesh cracked and blistered, and while a large number pronounced the
burning of a dead body as a useless episode, not in all that throng was a
word of sympathy heard for the wretch himself.

The rope that was used to hang the Negro, and also that which was used to
lead him from the jail, were eagerly sought by relic hunters. They almost
fought for a chance to cut off a piece of rope, and in an incredibly
short time both ropes had disappeared and were scattered in the pockets
of the crowd in sections of from an inch to six inches long. Others of
the relic hunters remained until the ashes cooled to obtain such ghastly
relics as the teeth, nails and bits of charred skin of the immolated
victim of his own lust. After burning the body the mob tied a rope
around the charred trunk and dragged it down Main Street to the court
house, where it was hanged to a centre pole. The rope broke and the
corpse dropped with a thud, but it was again hoisted, the charred legs
barely touching the ground. The teeth were knocked out and the finger
nails cut off as souvenirs. The crowd made so much noise that the police
interfered. Undertaker Walsh was telephoned for, who took charge of the
body and carried it to his establishment, where it will be prepared for
burial in the potter’s field to-day.

A prelude to this exhibition of 19th century barbarism was the following
telegram received by the Chicago _Inter-Ocean_, at 2 o’clock, Saturday
afternoon—ten hours before the lynching:

               “MEMPHIS, TENN., July 22. To _Inter-Ocean_, Chicago.

    “Lee Walker, colored man, accused of raping white women, in
    jail here, will be taken out and burned by whites to-night. Can
    you send Miss Ida Wells to write it up? Answer. R. M. Martin,
    with _Public Ledger_.”

The _Public Ledger_ is one of the oldest evening daily papers in Memphis,
and this telegram shows that the intentions of the mob were well known
long before they were executed. The personnel of the mob is given by the
Memphis _Appeal-Avalanche_. It says, “At first it seemed as if a crowd of
roughs were the principals, but as it increased in size, men in all walks
of life figured as leaders, although the majority were young men.”

This was the punishment meted out to a Negro, charged, not with rape,
but attempted assault, and without any proof as to his guilt, for the
women were not given a chance to identify him. It was only a little less
horrible than the burning alive of Henry Smith, at Paris, Texas, February
1st, 1893, or that of Edward Coy, in Texarkana, Texas, February 20, 1892.
Both were charged with assault on white women, and both were tied to
the stake and burned while yet alive, in the presence of ten thousand
persons. In the case of Coy, the white woman in the case, applied the
match, even while the victim protested his innocence.

In some of these cases the mob affects to believe in the Negro’s guilt.
The world is told that the white woman in the case identifies him, or the
prisoner “confesses.” But in the lynching which took place in Barnwell
County, South Carolina, April 24, 1893, the mob’s victim, John Peterson,
escaped and placed himself under Governor Tillman’s protection; not only
did he declare his innocence, but offered to prove an alibi with white
witnesses. Before his witnesses could be brought, the mob arrived at
the Governor’s mansion and demanded the prisoner. He was given up, and
although the white woman in the case said he was _not_ the man, he was
hanged 24 hours after, and over a thousand bullets fired into his body,
on the declaration that “a crime had been committed, and some one had to
hang for it.”

The lynching of C. J. Miller, at Bardwell, Kentucky, July 7, 1893, was
on the same principle. Two white girls were found murdered near their
home on the morning of July 5th; their bodies were horribly mutilated.
Although their father had been instrumental in the prosecution and
conviction of one of his white neighbors for murder, that was not
considered as a motive. A hue and cry was raised that some Negro had
committed rape and murder, and a search was immediately begun for a
Negro. A blood hound was put on the trail which he followed to the river
and into the boat of a fisherman named Gordon. This fisherman said he had
rowed a white man, or a very fair mulatto across the river at six o’clock
the evening before. The bloodhound was carried across the river, took up
the trail on the Missouri side, and ran about two hundred yards to the
cottage of a white farmer, and there lay down refusing to go further.

Meanwhile a strange Negro had been arrested in Sikestown, Missouri,
and the authorities telegraphed that fact to Bardwell, Kentucky. The
sheriff, without requisition, escorted the prisoner to the Kentucky side
and turned him over to the authorities who accompanied the mob. The
prisoner was a man with dark brown skin; he said his name was Miller
and that he had never been in Kentucky. The fisherman who had said the
man he rowed over was white, when told by the sheriff that he would be
held responsible as knowing the guilty man, if he failed to identify the
prisoner, said Miller was the man. The mob wished to burn him then, about
ten o’clock in the morning, but Mr. Ray, the father of the girls, with
great difficulty urged them to wait till three o’clock that afternoon.
Confident of his innocence, Miller remained cool, while hundreds of
drunken, heavily armed men raged about him. He said: “My name is C. J.
Miller, I am from Springfield, Ill., my wife lives at 716 North Second
Street. I am here among you to-day looked upon as one of the most brutal
men before the people. I stand here surrounded by men who are excited;
men who are not willing to let the law take its course, and as far as the
law is concerned, I have committed no crime, and certainly no crime gross
enough to deprive me of my life or liberty to walk upon the green earth.
I had some rings which I bought in Bismarck of a Jew peddler. I paid him
$4.50 for them. I left Springfield on the first day of July and came
to Alton. From Alton I went to East St. Louis, from there to Jefferson
Barracks, thence to Desoto, thence to Bismarck; and to Piedmont, thence
to Poplar Bluff, thence to Hoxie, to Jonesboro, and then on a local
freight to Malden, from there to Sikeston. On the 5th day of July, the
day I was supposed to have committed the offense, I was at Bismarck.”

Failing in any way to connect Miller with the crime, the mob decided to
give him the benefit of the doubt and _hang, instead of burn him_, as
was first intended. At 3 o’clock, the hour set for the execution, the
mob rushed into the jail, tore off Miller’s clothing and tied his shirt
around his loins. Some one said the rope was “a white man’s death,” and
a log-chain nearly a hundred feet in length, weighing nearly a hundred
pounds was placed about his neck. He was led through the street in that
condition and hanged to a telegraph pole. After a photograph of him was
taken as he hung, his fingers and toes cut off, and his body otherwise
horribly mutilated, it was burned to ashes. This was done within twelve
hours after Miller was taken prisoner. Since his death, his assertions
regarding his movements have been proven true. But the mob refused the
necessary time for investigation.

No more appropriate close for this chapter can be given than an
editorial quotation from that most consistent and outspoken journal the
_Inter-Ocean_. Commenting on the many barbarous lynchings of these two
months (June and July) in its issue of August 5th, 1893, it says:

    “So long as it is known that there is one charge against a man
    which calls for no investigation before taking his life there
    will be mean men seeking revenge ready to make that charge.
    Such a condition would soon destroy all law. It would not be
    tolerated for a day by white men. But the Negroes have been so
    patient under all their trials that men who no longer feel that
    they can safely shoot a Negro for attempting to exercise his
    right as a citizen at the polls are ready to trump up any other
    charge that will give them the excuse for their crime. It is a
    singular coincidence that as public sentiment has been hurled
    against political murders there has been a corresponding
    increase in lynchings on the charge of attacking white women.
    The lynchings are conducted in much the same way that they were
    by the Ku-Klux Klans when Negroes were mobbed for attempting to
    vote. The one great difference is in the cause which the mob
    assigns for its action.

    “The real need is for a public sentiment in favor of enforcing
    the law and giving every man, white and black, a fair hearing
    before the lawful tribunals. If the plan suggested by the
    Charleston _News and Courier_ will do this let it be done at
    once. No one wants to shield a fiend guilty of these brutal
    attacks upon unprotected women. But the Negro has as good a
    right to a fair trial as the white man, and the South will not
    be free from these horrible crimes of mob law so long as the
    better class of citizens try to find excuse for recognizing
    Judge Lynch.”

The lynching of C. J. Miller at Bardwell, Ky., July 7, 1893, referred
to in Madam Barnett’s writings, has not only been declared barbarism,
outrageous, and outlawry, but a mistake by the lynchers themselves, as
stated in Madam Barnett’s comment.

While in Fulton, Ky., a few days after the horrible deed of lynching Mr.
Miller by the people of Bardwell and volunteers, the writer saw thousands
of bills posted, nullifying the action of the mob in the case of Mr.
Miller, and urging that some other “Nigger” be implicated in the crime,
and lynched to “make up” for the death of the two Ray sisters.

Fulton is situated on the Illinois Central R. R., about 28 miles south
of Bardwell. Every train from the South bound for the Chicago World’s
Columbian Exposition, bore a host of interested passengers to see the
ashes of the innocent man burned at Bardwell. Applications were made
to the conductors to stop long enough at Bardwell to see the “sight.”
The writer was the only one of his nationality on board the train which
stopped at the scene. On the morning of July 28th, 1893, in the business
part of the town of Bardwell, about 50 yards from the Illinois Central
station, the remains of one of the most uncivil deeds perpetrated upon
an innocent man in a Christian country and civil government, could be
pitifully viewed from the platform or window of the car.



Decatur has been mentioned elsewhere in this book. It is the third
railway centre in the 3rd productive State in the U. S. Its population
is 20,000. It is about 40 miles from Lincoln, where a log cabin, as a
relic of the martyred President, Abraham Lincoln, remains. There are
three Churches of color represented in Decatur. The first innocent blood
was drawn from the neck of a colored man in 1893, and shed upon the
city of Decatur by some of its “respectable” citizens, men and women. My
introduction to Decatur was in June, 1894, during my visit to a “colored
camp meeting.” I heard it noised around that a Mr. Jackson, waiter of
St Nickels Hotel, had been arrested and placed in jail on a charge of
attempted “rape.” The Lynch alarm had been sounded, which aroused the
sympathy of the colored population to protect Jackson. Those who showed
cowardice were invited to a speech delivered by the writer, urging the
colored men to consolidate their forces and preclude the mob from the
prisoner. Much enthusiasm was manifested while the speech was being made,
and at the conclusion preparation was immediately begun to resist the
murderers. Guns, revolvers, swords, knives and clubs of any dangerous
description were collected and laid by for battle. The municipal
authority showed no protection, _pro et con_, the movements. By 8 p.m.
on the evening appointed by the mob gang, the colored men and boys were
arranged in military form, being under command of general and captain,
etc. The army received cheers for management, courage and promptness from
the better classes of the white population.

The jail in which this prisoner was, was about four blocks from the main
part of the city. The white boys who usually follow shows and excitement,
had occupied the nearest seats to the jail at an early hour, anxiously
waiting to see the end of Jackson’s life. As I advanced accompanied by
my guard, one of the young spectators asked with a tone of delight,
“Are they going to lynch the nigger to-night?” I could but give the
answer, “No.” Having instructed all concerned to show no uncivility to
any person, but at the rise of war, put forth every exertion to save
the life of the prisoner. Orders were given to the band to surround
the prison. Just now I began to experience some of the actual “turns”
of the battle-field. 300 black faces at one signal dotted in separate
groups on all sides of the jail and court-house. At 9 o’clock a man of
low stature passed along the main street, smoking sumptuously, with a
rope which had been presented specially for the lynching of Jackson. The
rope-man was so completely absorbed in the occupation, he failed to see
those who had come to see justice meted out to the prisoner, who so well
deserved it. Some of his constituency within the court-rooms informed him
of the danger in store; he then accepted of a hard bed in the building
for the night. At this crisis absolute calmness seemed to prevail which
continued until between 1 and 2 a.m., when the watchmen were disturbed
by the yells of intoxicated men. Noises of teams, wagons, riders on
horse-back, and some “foolers,” all winding their way from country
villages and bush-towns into the “big town” to kill the old “nigger.”
The night policemen who finally showed some degree of courtesy to the
colored band, conveyed the information to the mob that “300 black men lie
in wait for you; if the mob attempts to take Jackson to-night, no small
number of lives will be lost”. With this intelligence the blood-thirsty
gang received orders from their captain on a sub-way bridge to “retreat
until the next night.” A reporter from the leading newspaper of the city,
who had taken in the general outlook of the affair, asked permission to
address the colored “boys.” Receiving permission from the proper source,
he then rode amid the cool headed body of men. Lighting from his horse
said, “Gentlemen, I understand that you have gathered to protect Mr.
Jackson. Now I wish to inform you that you need not fear any thing like a
mob from any person in Decatur.” “But they are coming from the country,”
came a voice from some person in the rear of the crowd. “Mr. Jackson is
known here as a gentleman,” continued the speaker. “The circumstances
in connection with this case I am fully acquainted with. Mr. Jackson
and this woman were intimate, and some business men in town can verify
the fact that Mr. Jackson gave her money two days ago. The story that
Mr. Jackson was found in her room on her bed with a revolver a few
evenings ago, is true. He was not there to force, but because she asked
him there, being afraid of a policeman just outside the door. She cried
out to secure herself from the law.” These words were received by the
company with profound respect. The Decatur papers verified the reporter’s

This is not, however, the end of the struggle for life. The spirit of
protection was intense, and grew parallel with the “lynch fever.” The
following evening a greater representation of the colored population
appeared on the scene. Those who failed to secure themselves with arms
the previous evening, came better fortified; but no further attempt
to enter the jail was made by the “outlawers.” The third night, the
municipal power intervened, and chastised the tumultousness. This was
begun by the arrest of one of the colored company, Mr. Artist, who had
occupied a seat in the park, which faces the front street, and who had
two shot guns, and was repeatedly told to leave. This he refused to do.
On this ground he was imprisoned. A committee composed of Mr. J. Artist,
Mr. Oliphant, and the writer called on the Mayor. His Honor cordially
received the committee, and assured the committee that “nothing to hinder
the colored citizens from standing for themselves will be done. Mr.
Artist will be released to-morrow morning.”

From these proceedings the reader is not to conclude that such an act
would stop the Southern lynchings. In a Northern city of so small a
population of colored people as Decatur, it is reasonable to suppose that
race war would not be tolerated, while such would be the case in the
South. That the city officials were friendly to the action of the colored
people is seen in the fact that there was no interference with them until
the third night of the warfare, and the releasement of Mr. Artist. It
should be remembered that the colored citizens were in every respect
submissive to the law, only that the condition of their surroundings had
grown to the doctrine, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.”

With an outstretched hand to fallen humanity, and uplifted voice to God,
accompanied by a painful heart, I must here appeal to Scripture facts.
“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to His purpose.” Rev. Mr. Mudd, a distinguished
divine, connected himself with the colored citizens of Decatur, striving
to uphold the right in the case of Mr. Jackson, who through the
instrumentality of his race was given a fair trial.



Scarcely any of the wealthy people of the North, and thinkers on vital
questions of the day in European nations, properly consider the salary
of colored laborers of the South, as a comparison to that of the white
laborer. It is universally admitted that the colored race has made rapid
progress—progress worthy of praise. But in the face of destitution,
educational endeavorment, exertions put forth to erect church edifices,
and imposition as described in the preceding chapter, thousands of good
people stand and say: “The negroes are allowed to work in nearly all the
branches of labor that are in the South, and why should we help them to
build their schools and churches, since they have been freed long enough
to look after themselves from a financial standpoint? and why should we
try to assist them in getting their rights at law, when they don’t try
to assist themselves when they are outraged by the lynchers, there being
as many or more colored people in some States than white people?” If the
negro was allowed the same chance or the same wages as his white brother,
then we could to some extent join with the above in asking, why? But few
of the many colleges and churches of the colored people are paid for.
Could colored millionaires be expected within 35 years of freedom? No.
There are some pursuing riches. In the State of Mississippi many colored
persons owned “plantations.” Only owned until some “heir” arise to force
them by “law” to disown their property. This course of defrauding the
colored people out of their stringent and honest earnings has existed
many years. In consideration of these things we must conclude that
donations amounting to enough to pay off debts of colored institutions,
such as that of Payne Theological Seminary should be given by those who
have received abundantly from the hands of a Father, who is rich in
houses and lands, and holdeth the wealth of the world in His hand.

In sustenance of what has been said as a proof of the Southern colored
labor being discounted, in that a minority of those who are fitted for
all departments of work are not employed, we give a clipping from the
_Detroit Evening News_:


    “The Chattanooga Tradesmen has made a statistical examination
    of the white and colored labor of the Southern States. From the
    reports received from employers of nearly 100,000 hands, 58 per
    cent. of the employees are white and 42 are colored. One-third
    of the whole number are termed skilled laborers, only 10 per
    cent. of whom are colored.

    “A remarkable fact brought out by this investigation is, that
    over 90 per cent. of these workmen are native born; 61 per
    cent. of the employers said all their help were natives of the
    south, and only 19 per cent. reported that they employed as
    many as half natives and half of northern or foreign birth.

    “The Tradesman says the reports show wages paid to skilled
    workmen average $2.51 to whites and $1.58 to colored. Unskilled
    whites average $1.14, and colored $1.02 per day. The highest
    rate per day reported was $4, paid to expert brickmakers.
    Foundrymen average $2.87 to whites and $1.62 to colored skilled
    workers. Carriage makers average $3.37; no skilled colored
    carriage makers are reported. In lumber making, white men
    average $2.78, and colored $1.62. Coal miners average $2.33
    for whites and $1.62 for colored. Stone workers average $2.87
    for whites and $1.42 for colored. Returns from a large number
    of miscellaneous occupations show that skilled white workers
    average $2.43, and skilled colored men $1.70 per day.

    “As compared with northern or foreign labor, 72 per cent. of
    the employers say their southern labor is as good; and 5 per
    cent. are in doubt.

    “As to the comparative value of white and colored skilled
    labor, 46 per cent. of the employers say that it is about
    equal, 43 per cent. say that negro labor is inferior, and 11
    per cent. are in doubt. As to common labor, 54 per cent. say
    the white and black are equal in efficiency, 29 per cent. that
    the colored labor is the better, and 17 per cent. that the
    colored men are inferior to whites.

    “As to whether white and colored common laborers are improving
    in skill, 35 per cent. of the employers say that they are,
    18 per cent. that they are not, 17 per cent. that the whites
    are improving more than the colored, and 2 per cent. that the
    colored are improving more than the whites. Twelve per cent.
    think that colored laborers are improving, 4 per cent. that the
    whites are retrograding, and 12 per cent. no improvement in the
    colored laborers.

    “That the white and colored laborers work together harmoniously
    is asserted by 58 per cent. of the employers, while 9 per
    cent. declare to the contrary. Twenty-one per cent. reply
    affirmatively, with qualifications, and 12 per cent. say that
    harmony exists because whites overrule the colored workers.”

Mr. Booker T. Washington advocates the cause of the race from an
industrial point of view. His idea is valuable, and a condition to which
many must concede, if high attainments in laborious circles are sought
for. While Mr. Washington opens this channel, his labors must be preceded
by a successful surveyor, so that the grounded implements may be put in
action. “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” will not then be asked.
Give positions suitable to the accomplishment of the colored men and
women, boys and girls, and do away with Discrimination and Imposition of
Injustice upon them. And then “let them alone.”

Bishop Benjamin F. Lee stands foremost in the educational career, but
always connects “work” with his platform. He is not satisfied with having
filled the souls of men with the glorious tidings of the truth, but may
very appropriately be called the “surveyor” for the physical wants of the

As to colored school teachers, etc., wages have been arranged to a low
price. Some second grade teachers receiving from 25 dollars to 30 dollars
per month; while some 3rd grade teachers receive a stipulated salary of
from 10 to 15 dollars per month. Such a reduction in these cases can only
be attributed to the unfair basis upon which the Boards of Education
conduct the matters to favor their people and impede the progress of the
colored race.



    The titles—Porters—Baggage-men—Coleman on the “G. P.”
    1892—Mississippi Delta.

Thus far we have seen that mal-treatment, deception in court, murdering,
etc., are associated with the “Jim Crow Car,” for the title itself means
fraud—and all debauchery and injustice meted out to the colored race are
material in the “Jim Crow Car.” If we are to see the state of things as
they are in various parts of the world, we are generally conveyed by “the
train,” as a preference when it is serviceable. In countries where there
is no R. R. locomotives, the stages of higher civilization have not yet
been reached. The first thing therefore, right or wrong, coming under our
notice by the way, is on the “front.”

The car in which the colored people are forced to ride is not marked
“Jim Crow Car.” Most every R. R. line has a different mark. As a rule
“Colored” just over the entrance is marked on the cars designed for the
colored people on the majority of roads. Other marks are: “For Colored
People,” “For Africans,” (L. R. & M. R. R.) “Negroes,” etc. Regular
colored passengers are so well acquainted with the style and inferiority
of their car, it is hardly necessary to read the sign. Carthage, Miss.,
is the county seat of Leake County, and 31 miles from the railroad lines.
Many of its inhabitants have never seen a train. Nevertheless, most of
the colored citizens have heard that the train is a pretty thing, but
the colored folks must pay as much to ride as white passengers, and yet
occupy an awful “Jim Crow Car.”

Two colored men having decided to go off, came to Goodman to “take” the
train. When the train arrived that they desired, the smoke prevented them
from seeing the “colored” car near the engine. The colored passengers
stood quite a distance from the site, refusing to board it, from the
very reason that they feared the smoke. They admired the cars for white
passengers. Although they had purchased their tickets, they decided
to wait for the colored car to come along. After the train made its
departure from the station, the two passengers went in hiding, being
afraid that they would be arrested for not going up to the engine to get
the car. Shortly a freight run in, and the two passengers fully concluded
“that must be that ‘Jim Crow Car’ for the colored folks that we have
heard so much talk about.” With this idea they aimed to board it, when
they were considered intruders, and were driven back to their homes.


The porters on the passenger trains are chiefly colored men. Their
politeness to passengers and distinct voices in calling stations, render
their appropriateness for the position. They assist in handling baggage,
but they are very rarely allowed to assist colored ladies on and off the
train. They must get off possibly with babies in their arms and valises.
The porter is allowed to help white ladies off by taking the packages and
valises to the platform of the depot, the brakeman and conductor being
too aristocratic to do such, like most southerners are.


There are white and colored employees in large baggage rooms. The bulk
of the white baggagemen abhor the idea of carrying a colored person’s
baggage to the baggage car, although it is checked. They sometimes order
our intelligent colored gentleman to convey his own baggage to the train,
especially if he looks like a “drummer” or travelling salesman.

A young man travelling for a colored Building and Loan firm was shot
and killed at a little town south of Jackson, Miss., by a baggageman,
who failed to compel him to carry his own baggage. The same style of
marking on the door of railway cars for colored people is on the doors of
waiting rooms. Colored department porters are employed to see that the
black people go to their room, but is not allowed to resist white people
putting packages and tying their dogs in the colored room. White convicts
are held in the colored waiting rooms.


Concluding my Southern tour in 1892, I left Birmingham, Ala., Nov. 1st,
1892, bound for Durant, Miss. A large number of passengers were on board
when we arrived at Coalsburg, a little town situated in the coal regions
of Alabama, about 15 miles from Birmingham. The depot agent having
flagged the train, ran to the conductor exclaiming:

“You can’t go under two hours!”

“Why can’t I?” asked the conductor. “Why that east-bound local have
jumped the track.”

A vast convict farm is under cultivation by colored convicts at
Coalsburg. To see men and women tied together and working under “Bull
whips” was a delightful scene to the white passengers, both men and
women. The farm is about 60 yards from the depot.

All sorts and conditions of humanity can be seen. Strange it may seem to
true man and womanhood, the fact remains that the brutalized state of
the colored men and women is the pride of the Southern white element.
The passengers stand with pleasure viewing the convicts as they are
lashed and forced to do excessive work. A man who had been on the farm
two years, charged with stealing a pair of boots, attempts to escape,
when four white men on mules and a train of hounds pursue him. An old
ex-slave holder, standing in an attitude to take fine view of the
proceedings, smilingly said: “That looks like old times.” Convicts are
treated more cruel than the slaves were during American slavery.

In fact the convict lease system is a method of revenge. There are
some ex-slave holders who think that the “nigger” should be “paid” for
fighting against the South for freedom, and now making it felt and known
that they are a main factor in the common wealth. The convict farms
have grown numerous in the Southern States as a means of binding the
Negro down to white masters. Ned Richardson may justly bear the blame
of causing more immorality and disgrace upon the colored race in his
dominion than the slave trade in Africa to-day. The convict lease system
is a satanic giant leading to degradation and ruin thousands of young men
and women, whom, if they had privilege of a house of correction, would
accomplish many good deeds for their country, and Christ, and the Church.

When Mr. D. L. Moody preached at Massey Music Hall, Wednesday, Oct. 13th,
1897, at 3 p.m., he elicited about 5,000 people. Before beginning his
sermon he made some interesting statements concerning the great work
which he had done in his efforts to supply the jails in the United States
with reading matter to be put in the hands of the prisoners. Concluding,
he asked his audience to contribute $500 to the same scheme in Canada.
During his fervent and explicit remarks the lamentable thought of the
Convict Lease system presented itself to me. Though recognizing the work
done by the speaker in the United States as a source of spiritual help
to the colored prisoners, as well as the white ones, I am convinced that
such influential ambassadors of God as Mr. Moody and Mr. Jones could
abate the intense evil in the promoters of working convicts, in a worse
way than any farmer would dare to work his horses in the north and in
many parts of the south.

At the close of Mr. Moody’s service I was profoundly touched with the
idea of asking the evangelist to protest against southern heathenism.
When the rush to shake hands with the speaker had ceased, I could not
refrain from simply asking Mr. Moody to preach against the convict lease
system when he returned south.

The Democratic party in the State of Alabama, during the State election
in 1892, made the convict lease system a plank in their platform,
declaring that the diabolical system would be annihilated if the party
gained the election. A political course in the pursuit of destroying such
an influence and extensive evil will not do the amount of durable good as
will the true Christian principles thoroughly stamped in the hearts of
the upholders of such an inhuman system. One political party may abolish
it, and another reinstate it. It is necessary, therefore, that the way
of convincing the heathen abroad be given to erroneous and barbaric
tendencies everywhere. About nine-tenths of the convicts in the United
States are colored. When I visited Fletz’s farm about 3 miles south of
Winona, Miss., in 1891, there were no whites. The convicts are not only
leased to work on farms, but to railway contractors and mining companies,
etc. The States tolerating the convict lease system receive a revenue.


Another incident noticeable on my journey to Durant, Nov. 1st, ’92, is
the fact that in the mountainous regions lying on both sides of the
Georgia Pacific Road, is rock suitable for railway bridges, etc. After
receiving orders to leave Coalsburg, the conductor gave the ordinary
notice, “All aboard.” I need not mention the various expressions of joy
to be leaving a place of sorrow and woe. We had not gone more than 40
miles when a company of colored men, directed by a white man, boarded
our train. The porter immediately gave the information that trouble was
awaiting the colored company, of which they were not aware. Just about 35
miles down the road is a path leading out to a rock den, they will have
to go about 18 miles back in the woods to find it, there they will be
worked. Some of them will be worked to death without a cent of pay, said
the porter. When they arrived at their destination, the ghostly “thicket”
at once attracted my attention. Like dumb driven cattle, the men, with
unbalanced luggage, over stepped the rugged mountain, some of whom will
never return.

The Georgia Pacific Railroad is systematized strictly on Southern
principles. Having roughly split bottom seats on the “colored car.” While
at the Union Station in Birmingham, Ala., en route for Atlanta, Ga., we
beheld such a pitiful condition of three colored ladies. Those who have
not in any way come in contact with such a state of human life as seen
in this car, can only marvel at our story, and question whether such
moral character exists amid such a tremendous flow of offensiveness and
pragmatical elements.

In the car with the three colored ladies were five convicts chained down
to their seats in a most ghastly condition, and 15 white men. The ladies
were compelled to hoist the windows in hope of shirking the profane
language and intense heat and smoke from 15 cigars. The ladies were
evidently professional ladies, and of no mean ability and character,
but their high attainments were depreciated, being told abruptly, “Go
in that car there, that’s the nigger car.” Many ministers and other
representative colored men are smokers per force. They must ride in cars
with the lowest smoking classes, but when the smokers are through, retire
to the “white car.” Many persons who would never smoke, are forced to
smoke to protect their system during their ride in a car filled with
deathly odor.


The real state of affairs in the Mississippi “Delta” or “Bottoms,” are
unknown to those who have not travelled the plantations and rivers,
viewing the situation of the people as they are. Indeed many parts of
that turbid valley are inhabited by a people whose object is to humiliate
the farmer as did the slave holder in his time. Newspapers and other
mediums of spreading the happenings abroad are not used. This dismal
section of country lies about 50 miles west of the Illinois Central
Railroad, separated from Arkansas by the Mississippi River. There are two
other smaller rivers, viz.: Yazoo and Tallahatchie. On the banks of these
rivers are colored immigrants from many southern States, with the hope of
bettering their condition.

Soon after slavery many men, women and children, exiled to the
Mississippi Delta, the employers, to curtail railroad expenses, put
the emigrants in freight box cars, after getting them a distance from
their homes. Their present condition is grievous and miserable, some
plantations having as many as 500 employees and a white family. The
agents are what the overseer has once been. The general environments
are such that even 500 persons must stoop to the command of 4 or 5 men.
Some laborers have not had a payment for their work. They are furnished
with pickled pork and corn bread for food, but few of them are allowed
to have money. Wooden cheques from five cents and upward are paid to
those who pay to the Church. In this case the cheques are only good
at the plantation store. That which 25 cents could profitably buy in
the Dominion of Canada or the northern States, costs one dollar at
the “plantation store.” Cotton is the chief product; and owing to the
unfavorable atmosphere the colored people are told that whiskey must be
used to prevent sickness. In this way many unfortunate persons are misled
to the degraded habit of drinking excessively.

East Mississippi is usually called the “Hills” by the inhabitants of
the swamp. When any one succeeds in making good his or her escape, it
is by the “underground railroads,” or a similar channel to that of the
abolitionist in securing colored men and women into Canada in the days of
slavery. Mr. Mark Coleman, brother of the author of these facts, has been
and is to this day operating the underground railway line on the Yazoo
River. His beginning of this movement was attended with many experiences
which attended the rugged way of the beloved white men and women who
sympathized for the black man to the extent of devising a road on which
he could reach the safe shores of Canada.

An investigation of the oppressed people in the Mississippi Delta is
necessary, and is solicited. The high water of 1897 revealed a part of
the destitute cases near the rivers and railroads, but “Wild Woods,” and
a host of other obscure islands have never been heard from. The ways
of right cannot be properly diffused among the people of color in the
Mississippi “bottoms.” The word of the Lord should have free course. Any
instruction leading up to higher morality and Christianity is impeded.
The Arkansas side of the valley is chiefly barren; especially that
being parallel with the Little Rock and Memphis railroad. The labor
record of the Negro has grown ever since the landing of 20 at Jamestown,
Va., in 1619. “He has made America what it is,” for this reason the
colored people of many Southern States have been solicited to settle
in this vast watery territory along the L. R & M. R. R. In view of the
hardships which befell those in Mississippi Delta, the Negro refuses the
offer. The refusal of the Negro to occupy the Arkansas desert is looked
upon by his enemies as being slothful. But this view of the Negro is
commonly taken when he is shrewd enough to shirk danger. The Oklahoma
movement in 1892 was upheld by the colored Southerners with a hope of
reaching a home where equal rights would be imparted to all. Since their
settlement in Oklahoma, they have fallen victims to the mob and rope
bands of white men, who have made it a famous event to enter the homes
of the black men and overpower them with war arms, and commit rape on
their wives and daughters. Bishop Turner, in defence of his race, gave
advice that they should protect themselves. This advice was given in the
Voice of Missions, missionary organ of the A. M. E. Church. Numerous
Northern newspapers endeavored to put the entire South against the godly
Bishop for attempting to protect _the ladies_ of his race from being
destroyed by night mobs. The Bishop’s _idea_ of family protection in
many _unfriendly_ localities is commendable. The Indians in the Oklahoma
regions and elsewhere have always protected their families. 25 white
citizens of Oklahoma were killed by Indians in Jan., 1898, by way of
race _protection_.



There can be no better method of emphasizing and clearly establishing the
facts which have been stated on the various subjects preceding _this_,
than to end syllogistically:

(1) It is obvious that the colored race equals the white race in decency.
They could not wash their white sister’s clothes without washing for
themselves. They could not cook decently for the white families’ hotels
and other public places, if they were not suitable for the position.
Thousands of young men and women graduating annually, in all the
professions and branches of labor, warrant the fact that the colored
people cope with the white people in intellectual and industrial progress.

(2) Although about one-half of the colored population of the United
States are followers to some denomination, yet the so-called Christian
white people of the south, both pulpit and pew, limit Christianity to
themselves and own house.

(3) In consideration of these things, we must conclude that eating,
riding and social gatherings among the white people is not a desire of
the colored race, and all previous conceptions of such are erroneous,
and will be rectified when our southern white brethren reach a higher
civilization and pure Christianity.

“For the President, Senate and Congress to stand still and allow
any State in the Union to incorporate laws conflicting with the
Constitutional rights of any of its citizens, is to me a fact that the
national government is too weak to last long.”—REV. S. T. TWIGLER,
Marion, S. C., Nov. 12, 1897.

An immense volume would be required to write one-fourth of the lynches in
1892-93—saying nothing of the other evil. The urgent demand for this book
has contracted it. Other volumes on the questions embodied in this book
may follow this agent of peace, equal rights, and prosperity.

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