Monday, May 2, 2016

Federal Government Segregates Offices, May 1914

“The Republic’s Shame” from the May 9, 1914 issue of The Appeal, Minneapolis, St. Paul
For the first time in the history of the United States, the machinery of the government of 90,000,000 people is being used to humiliate and degrade 10,000,000 of its loyal and law-abiding citizens.
In some of the departments of the Federal Government at Washington Afro-American employees have been segregated from their former associates and fellow workers and ordered to use separate retiring rooms. In some instances cages have been built to separate Afro-American and white government clerks. No other class is obliged to bear this badge of degradation.
There is no warrant in law for these orders of subordinate officials. The facts have been brought to the attention of the Department heads and thousands of petitions, memorials and letters have been sent to President Wilson, but up to this writing he has not seen fit to rescind this infamous un-American policy.
The clerks who have been humiliated by the segregation orders are in no sense wards of the government. They have won their places by examination and the government which they have so faithfully and efficiently served has no right to place upon them this badge of dishonor.
It is not a question of social equality that chimera which so many Caucasians claim to fear, but of civil equality which is the right of every citizen.
Heretofore the attempts to degrade the citizenry have been the work of individual states in the Southern tier; the Federal Government must be held responsible for this new attempt to establish that impossible thing, caste in a Republic.
We believe President Wilson will carefully consider the many protests which have been made and give the word which a Christian Statesman should give, that during his administration there shall be no segregation or discrimination on account of race, creed or color among the servants of the government.
Honest fair minded Americans feel that the fair fame of our country is being trailed in the dust. They hang their heads in shame. It is the Nation’s shame.
We hold President Wilson responsible because in the final analysis the acts of his subordinate officials are his and he has the power to end this injustice by a word.

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