PERSONAL AND CONHIDENTIAL
DO NOT PUBLISH
A MEMORIAL TO GOVERNOR T. W. BICKETT
To His Excellency, Govenor T. W. Bickett,
Raleigh, North Carolina.
As patriotic and law-abiding citizens to the State of North Carolina, we are taking this means of offering our appreciation for the heroic stand you have recently taken with regard to the attempt of certain unprincipled persons, said by Your Excellency to be "utterly unknown in North Carolina", who have sought to set in motion, in our fair State, dark forces of reaction and destruction which would disturb our peace and prosperity, undermine the confidence and good feeling between the races and turn our faces backward, instead of forward, as regards the future progress and happiness of the people of our State.
When, a few days ago, our eyes beheld in the columns of the leading newspapers of our State, the Skull and Cross Bones of the Ku Klux Klan, and it appeared that the Red Flag of Anarchy and Bolshevism would soon be spread over our State, instead of the Stars and Stripes, which we love and serve, our hearts bled in shame that there should still be persons so destitute in principle, so vicious in design and so un-American in their utter lack of loyalty to our State and Nation, that they would strive to place North Carolina beside those communities in which bomb-throwing terrorists and prophets of revolution have endeavored to undermine the established Government of the United States.
With a remarkable swiftness the dread news spread among the Negroes of the State that our people were to be plunged into orgies of blood and terror. This belief was accelerated and all the more easily accepted because of the widespread growth of the lynching evil and the apparent increase of race prejudice throughout the Nation, which are the rewards for the valor and patriotism of the Negro in the World War. Our leaders in all walks of life, who preached loyalty to the masses of our people during the War and sent their sturdy sons to battle for Democracy, and who, since the War, have done their utmost to promote good feeling and the spirit of cooperation between the races for the adjustment of our differences, set their faces in grim determination to be true to themselves and the Nation, by standing in the open in defense of unity and progress, and against disunity and devolution. They determined to stand side by side with the loyal white citizens and friends of the race against this new terror which Your Excellency has excoriated for its attempt to "take over and underwrite the Government of this State and the United States." They know that, as you have said, "There is no need for any secret order to enforce the law of this land, and the appeal to race prejudice is as silly as it is sinful."
But these words of yours do not sufficiently convey the wicked disloyalty of the evil ones who would destroy the economic fabric of our State by disturbing the laborers upon whom our industries depend. We have been endeavoring these many months, with your generous aid and with the solid support of the white employers and business men of the State, to reconstruct the economic life of our laboring masses and to establish as ideals for them efficiency, regularity, thrift and cooperation with their employers. You know how substantial our gains have been; how we have given heart and inspiration to thousands of workingmen and encouragement to liberal white employers who desire to cooperate in bettering the working and living conditions among Negro people. And yet, those who would capitalize race prejudice and terrorize our industrious and inoffensive masses are seeking to drive them away en masse to other industrial fields. With a labor shortage already existing throughout the State, these unscroupulous persons have not hesitated to devise methods to bankrupt our labor supply and to ruin the industries upon which all the people depend.
It should be remembered that the first decree of Bolshevism is the forfeiture of all proprietary interests of property owners. When persons who do not themselves own "any tangible property", but who promise to give schools, residences, hospitals, machine shops, factories, printing plants, canning factories, cement works, fireproof buildings, moving picture companies, parks, lagoons, drives, lakes, dairy farms, barns, etc, and who state in their published literature: "We furnish you with all the above ABSOLUTELY FREE to you", Negroes cannot be censured for believing that the only way this program can be accomplished is by terrorizing and driving Negro labor out of the State and ruining our industries which may then become a prey to the terrorists.
As great as was the alarm and resentment felt by our people all over the State because of these newspaper announcements, we have counselled them to put their trust in God and Governor Bickett! Both have befriended us. In Heaven and Earth God reigns supreme, defying all the forces of evil and destruction, withstanding all the onslaughts of Satan and his cohorts, establishing the majesty of his power and the eternal triumph of Justice and Right. In the State Capitol of North Carolina, the center of established government for the people of this Commonwealth, is T. W. BICKETT, Governor of ALL the people, black and white, rich and poor alike.
Your Excellency, we pronounce your name with reverence for, as a true servent of God and of His people, the day has never come when you did not fearlessly and in defiance of wrong lift your voice and cast your influence and influence of your great office in defense of those principles of Justice upon which the safety of our State and Nation depend.
North Carolina stands today before the Nation as a Commonwealth in which lynching is unsafe for the lyncher, in which the constitutional guarantee of life and liberty, to black citizens as well as to white citizens, is a living reality, in which intelligence and character count in the making of citizenship and in which the races are being drawn together in mutual sympathy and understanding as they are nowhere in the South. You have spoken for the Negroes of North Carolina when, in your wisdom and statesmanship, you said to the Klansmen:
"The man or order that encourages hatred or suspicions between the races in North Carolina is the mortal enemy of both races. Let us wipe out all feelings of envy, of suspicion, of ill will of every kind between the black man and the white man, and if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, let us think on these things."
We have the honor to be
Your obedient servants,
NAME, OCCUPATION, CITY
B. R. McRary, Real Estate, Lexington, N.C.
W. R. Hairston, Barber, Lexington, N.C.
A. S. Long, Pastor, Lexington, N.C.
J. E. Marshall, laborer, Lexington, N.C.
Nona Thomason, Teacher, Lexington, N.C.