April 9, 1917
Negroes of Durham in Mass Meeting Affirm Their Allegiance to the Flag and Pledge Hearty Cooperation to State and National Governments.
Statements that Negroes are being influenced by German agents are branded as false.
At a mass meeting held in White Rock Baptist Church Monday night, April 9th, with Rev. W. T. H. Woodward acting as chairman and C. C. Spaulding, Manager of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association, acting as secretary, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted as outlining the Negro’s attitude toward the American Government in the present crisis:
Whereas, various papers are publishing sensational and untrue statements regarding the loyalty of the Negro to the government of the United States.
And whereas, further statements that there are German agents seeking to incite the Negroes in the South to insurrection and that Negroes are listening to the inducements of these agents,
And whereas, such statements case reflection upon a race, whose glowing deeds of valor in the war of Independence in which Crispus Attucks, a Negro, was the first to fall; whose loyalty to the Flag has never been questioned; and a race, whose deeds of patriotism in all subsequent wars have proven their loyalty, patriotism and bravery.
And whereas, such false statements give a wrong impression to those who do not know the Negro as he really is, --patient under tribulations, long suffering under wrongs, and loyal to the Flag under all circumstances.
Therefore, we, the Negroes of the city of Durham, in mass meeting assembled re-affirm our allegiance to the Flag and pledge our hearty cooperation to the State and National governments in sustaining the government at home and abroad.
Resolved further: That any suggestion of disloyalty is an insult to the memory of those in the past, who have left to the race such a glorious heritage of devotion, of loyalty, which has been the admiration of the world, and a further insult to the race now, which has never been guilty of a single act of treason or disloyalty.
The Negro is an American pure and simple, without any mixture. He knows no other country and he knows no other Flag.
Resolved further: That he deplores as he has always done, the fact that he is not accorded all the rights of citizenship to which he is justly entitled as a tax payer, and deplores the fact further, that in many instances he is unjustly discriminated against. He is ready now, as ever, to fight for his government with a zeal and patriotic devotion as shall be excelled by none.
Resolved further: That we admonish every Negro tenant and land owner to plant every inch of ground, which he can cultivate, paying particular attention to the planting of corn and other articles of produce for the sustenance of the body, that every family, which can, purchase a pig. The Negro at this particular time can show his loyalty as much by being a successful farmer and raising produce as in shouldering a musket and fighting on the battle field, for the armies at home and abroad must be sustained.
Resolved further: That we discourage particularly at this time migration to the North and we ask that those who employ Negro labor that they give them wages sufficient to feed and clothe them, as they should, and provide the necessities of home.
Resolved further: That we admonish and caution our people everywhere to be peaceful, law-abiding, to be clean in habits and see to it that everything around them is in a clean and sanitary condition.
Resolved further: That we ask every Negro to show his loyalty by raising the Flag at this home and in his public place of business.
Resolved further: That a copy of these resolutions be given to the press, sent to the Governor of the State, and President of the United States, and be as widely circulated as possible.
A. M. Moore, Chairman,
J. E. Shepard,
C. C. Spaulding, Secretary,
E. M. Brawley,
W. M. Ashby,
A. S. Hunter,
W. G. Pearson,
W. T. H. Woodward,
A. J. Byrd,