Document 14: Mary B. Talbert, et. al., Minutes of the Executive Committee of the Anti-Lynching Crusaders , NAACP Papers, Part 7: The Anti-Lynching Campaign, 1912-1955, Series B: Anti-Lynching Legislative and Publicity Files, 1916-1955, Library of Congress (Microfilm, Reel 3, Frames 565-66).
In this document the Anti-Lynching Crusaders restated their objectives and described the goals they had accomplished when this third meeting of the Executive Committee was held sometime in 1922. The goal of ending lynching was articulated as a cause to aid the well being of the nation, not just a racial issue of concern to African Americans. The campaign against lynching was being carried out by the Anti-Lynching Crusaders under the umbrella of the NAACP in several ways, including publicity, investigation, and political and legislative action.
The Executive Committee of the Anti-Lynching Crusaders held their Third meeting in New York with 5 states represented. The chairman, Mrs. M. B. Talbert, reported that the movement was splendidly started with over 700 key women in 25 states hard at work. Ultimate success seemed assured.
The Committee made the following statement in answer to many inquiries:
A. The movement owes its origin to Mrs. Helen Curtis who was inspired by a public statement of Congressman L. C. Dyer, made at the Annual Conference of the N.A.A.C.P. at Newark, June 1922, in which he said: “If 1,000,000 people were united in the demand from the Senate that the Dyer Bill be passed, there would be no question of its passage."
A small committee met immediately and organized a campaign.
B. The committee does not believe in duplicating organizations. We have enough and more organizations already for all the work there is to do. What we need is concentrated effort for specific objects. The committee, therefore, is organized to raise money for one object and then to disband January 1, 1923.
C. The one object of the Anti-Lynching Crusaders is to stop lynching and mob violence. There is no division of opinion on the imperative need of this among decent people, black and white.
D. The one clear and practical program so far outlined for the accomplishment of this end is that of the N.A.A.C.P. viz to pass the Dyer Bill and enforce it. Whether we accept or not the whole program of the N.A.A.C.P. we have yet to meet a single intelligent person of any race who does not accept and endorse the anti-lynching program. Moreover, we know that all monies handled by the N.A.A.C.P. are honestly administered and publicity accounted for.
E. The Anti-Lynching Crusaders have, therefore, determined to raise $1,000,000 dollars or as much thereof as is possible by January 1st and to turn this sum over to the Anti-Lynching Fund of the N.A.A.C.P. in trust to be used to pass and enforce the Dyer Anti-Lynching and to put down mob violence.
F. Some have doubted if such a sum is necessary. It is; and we have asked the executive office of the N.A.A.C.P. to outline roughly how it could be effectively and economically expended.The statement follows:
An Anti-Lynching program demands:
2. Pressure upon Congress
3. Pressure upon state legislatures
5. Legal processes.
1. Publicity: The Negro has never given his cause proper publicity. We propose, if we can obtain the funds, a campaign of newspaper publicity patterned after the Red Cross and Child Welfare campaigns. A campaign where full page statements of the facts concerning lynching shall appear in every influential daily paper throughout the United States, and that this shall be repeated two, three or more times until not a single person who reads the daily papers shall be ignorant of the fact that we are the only country that burns human beings at the stake, that 3,436 people have been lynched, from 1888 to January 1, 1922 and that rape is not the primary cause of lynching. Such a campaign could be started for $10,000 and would, to be complete, cost $1,000,000.
2. Pressure upon Congress: The country must be aroused by letters, telegrams and articles to pour in upon the Senate a stream of requests for immediate action. Such a campaign throughout the United States cannot be completely inaugurated for less than $25,000.
3. Pressure upon State Legislatures: Our efforts to strengthen state laws must not for a moment lag. Three or four states have adequate anti-lynching laws. Campaigns must be inaugurated to secure the passage of such laws in other states. This should cost from $10,000 to $100,000. Moreover, if the Dyer Bill fails of passage before March, the present bill must be reintroduced in the next Congress. If the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill is passed, the campaign against lynching, mob violence and legal defense has just begun and we must immediately be ready for two things:
4. Investigation of every case of lynching and mob violence which occurs. These investigations must be far more thorough than in the past for on them we must be able to build court cases with facts and witnesses. This will mean the use of detective agencies, local investigators, documentary research, etc. It is safe to say that in the next few years from $50,000 to $250,000 could be wisely and economically spent on such investigations.
5. Legal processes: Finally, there are the actual law cases. The Federal Government will probably attend to the actual prosecutions but we must stand ready to help in the preparation of the cases, the gathering of witnesses, and the stimulation of the interest of public minds. From $100,000 to $250,000 is a small estimate of the cost of preparing such cases. This means that not less than $100,000 ought to be available this moment for the anti-lynching campaign and that it will take at least $1,000,000 to stop lynching and mob violence in United States and provide legal defense. These figures may seem large. They are not large. The difficulty with us is that our ideas of the cost of emancipation have always been too small.
G. The Executive Committee of the Anti-Lynching Crusaders accepts this program and will seek earnestly to raise the necessary funds. In the raising of these funds, no salaries are being paid, and no commissions of any sort. The work of the Crusaders, both officers and others, is entirely voluntary and uncompensated in any way. Only actual expenses are being met and these are being met by funds raised outside of money contributed to the anti-lynching fund is to be held in trust by the Guaranty Trust Company of New York City to be turned over as directed.
Mrs. Grace Nail Johnson Mrs. Mary B. Talbert Mrs. Alice Dunbar Nelson NATIONAL DIRECTOR Mrs. Lillian Alexander PUBLICITY COMMITTEE