Document 22: Letter from Alice Paul to Miss Katherine Fisher, 30 August 1924, National Woman's Party Papers, 1913-1974, Library of Congress (Microfilm (1979), reel 28).
Some white women within the National Woman's Party were displeased by the party's treatment of black women. Katherine Fisher, a long-time member of the National Woman's Party expressed her disappointment at the exclusion of black women from their activities. Alice Paul responded with a vigorous defense of the National Woman's Party in its treatment of African American women. Still, it is clear from this letter that race prejudice on the part of southern NWP members was a significant factor in Paul's thinking. Paul welcomed the opportunity to improve the Party's public image through notices in African American newspapers.
National Woman's Party
NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, CAPITOL HILL
TELEPHONE LINCOLN 1366
BALTIMORE HEADQUARTERS, 19 WEST CHASE ST.
CHICAGO HEADQUARTERS, AUDITORIUM HOTEL
NEW YORK CITY HEADQUARTERS, ALLERTON HOTEL
698 LEXINGTON AVE.
August 30th, 1924.
Miss Katherine Fisher,
4590 Oakwald Ave.,
Dear Miss. Fisher:
I have just received your letter in which you suggest that at our "next demonstration, or affair of any kind, that the colored women be asked to take part, before they have a chance to demand it."
We have always asked Negro women equally with white women to participate in everything that we have ever organized. All of our Negro members received an invitation to attend the "Women for Congress" Conference, the pilgrimage to the grave of Inez Milholland and the pageant. They were also invited to all of the social affairs connected with the conference. We entertained one of the Negro women who was a visitor at the conference, at a cottage where a number of our workers were staying and she was treated in the same way as our other guests. We had no servants in the cottage and our workers themselves prepared her meals for her. An especial effort was made to make her feel at home and I myself motored over twenty miles to take her to an evening meeting when she did not seem able to make arrangements to get to the meeting herself.
We have been criticised a great deal by many of our Southern members for insisting upon there being no discrimination between the whites and the Negroes in our organization. For instance, our entire North Carolina delegation withdrew from our last convention because we had Negro delegates at our social functions. It is astonishing, therefore, to have criticism of the Woman's Party on the ground of discrimination against Negroes.
In your letter you suggest that you ask Mrs. Snowden Porter to make a statement concerning the attitude of the Woman's Party on the Negro question. I wish very much that you would do this and that you would secure any publicity you can in Negro papers concerning our position.
While writing I want to ask whether you would have time to write up your notes on the Barbers for "Equal Rights". I think this would be a most useful article for us to have.