Bygones of Monroe:
ADDRESS IS GIVEN BY NEGRO LEADER
National Association Called Bulwark Against Red Propaganda Among His Race
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was given its first public interpretation on Maundy Thursday ?.
In a meeting at the high school auditorium, Robert W. Bagnall of New York, a national officer, explained its purposes and detailed some of its accomplishments. A dozen white persons were in the audience of a hundred persons.
After referring to the activities of red agitators among Negroes, Mr. Bagnall stated that the association was the strongest bulwark between Negroes and Communism.
"So long at Negroes feel they can obtain their rights and protect themselves from discrimination through the lawful institutions of this country," he said, "they are not going to be misled by Communism."
"The National Association is the agency by which Negroes are today securing their Constitutional rights, but our work is not for the Negro alone. Every minority group benefits."
Mayor Jacob Martin and J. C. Lehr, attorney, were on the platform. Mayor Martin expressed the official good will of the city for the Negroes, and Mr. Lehr spoke his approval of the way in which Monroe Negroes are assuming the burdens of good citizenship.
There are 675 Negroes in Monroe, 300 of whom are registered voters.
Mr. Bagnall, who was for ten years rector of a Negro Episcopal church in Detroit, has charge of organization of local units of the National Association.
Equality of opportunity he said was the purpose of the association, and he asserted this aim means as much for the white races as it does for the black. Quoting Booker T. Washington, he said "You can't keep a man down in the ditch except by staying there with him. When you get up higher, he will follow you."
Distressed working conditions in the South today, he said, are due in part to the low standards of living forced on the Negro.
As accomplishments of the association, he referred first to a scientific study of lynching and the correction of popular misconceptions as to its cause and extent. "From 175 lynchings a year 20 years ago, the number has dropped to 14. America is erasing this blot," he said.
The association has been successful in Supreme Court decisions setting aside ordinances compelling Negroes to live in slums; and state laws denying them the vote through "grandfather clauses" and other methods.
"The vote is precious," he said. "It is our most important weapon to ward off attacks and secure our rights. In seven states, in normal elections, Negroes hold the balance of power if they only knew it. The seven are Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania."
Mr. Bagnall referred to the fight in the Senate against Judge Parker of North Carolina, nominated by President Hoover for the Supreme Court. Judge Parker had stated publicly that Negroes were unfit to take part in government. The National Association, and organized labor, which attacked him for a decision on a "yellow dog" contract, were active in preventing the conformation of Judge Parker. His name was withdrawn by the President
"We have not forgotten those who defied us in that fight," Mr. Bagnall said, "and in New Jersey 75,000 Negroes voted against David J. Baird when he ran for governor after voting for Parker. Baird was defeated. So was Senator Arthur Capper of Kansas, when he ran for reelection."
Mr. Bagnall urged his Negro listeners to make sacrifices so that their children might have advantages of culture and education denied their parents.
Linold Chappelle, president of the Monroe unit of the association now being formed, presided at the meeting. C. W. Covington, Negro law graduate from Howard University at Washington, spoke briefly. He plans to practice law in Monroe.
(Monroe Evening News, March 25 th , '32.)