JF Ptak Science Books Post 2288
This truly is an appeal "to the world" for there to be an understanding about what was happening to African Americans in the United States in 1920--and this appeal wasn't about unequal access to education or jobs or Jim Crow laws or any of the social assaults made on those people; it was more basic than that. It was a statement of how thousands of African Americans were being lynched, and murdered, and burned. The appeal was extremely basic--to let it be known that these horrors were being committed against a class of people with little capacity to defend itself legally.
It is a roll call of terror, listing "barbarous" practices against "colored Americans", citing 84 persons "murdered or 'lynched' .
Warning: Graphic material below
The pamphlet publishes in full an infamous photograph of the burning of William Brown, of Omaha, Nebraska (September 28, 1919). (When the Chicago Tribune ran the picture it cropped out the burned body, saying it was "too horrendous" for publication.) This evidently was the first photograph of a lynching/burning in progress--the photographer asked the crowd to allow him to make the image, and then the murderers and accomplices got back to business, stoking the fire to consume what was left of Brown's body.
Thge extraordinary headline is an example of other presented by the NAACP--this one extraordinarily announcing the planned burning of an African American, and also how many people would probably attend.
Then there are these incredible lists:
It was a very bleak record, an enormous stain on the country, to be presented with information like this, a horror. But lynching continued for years to come (with 5,000 more lynchings from 1921 to 1931), and the first federal anti-lynching legislation did not appear for another 15 years.
(My copy was once owned by H.L. Mencken; Mr. Mencken spoke at the Van Nuys hearings in 1935, and said that he knew of no civilized person in favor of lynching, and that the legislation was needed whether it was a "good" law or not. He took a strong anti-lynching stand at the Baltimore Sun, and kept it up for years--an unpopular thing to do at the time, though Mencken pursued it in spite of his other rather astringent racial views.)
Evidently the NAACP sent this pamphlet "to 100 leading newspapers in England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany...and reported in May 1920 that the foreign appeal had received considerable comment in the press."--Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State, Megan Francis, pp 50-1.
The bibliographic part: An Appeal to the Conscience of the Civilized World. Published by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and printed in New York City in 1920. It is 15 pages long (31cm tall).