Southern Illinois University Carbondale Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
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Item IDegyptian 1943 1105vol 25 #7.tif
DescriptionIssues on race and politics
Original Publication SourceDaily Egyptian
Date1943 November 5
Digital File Format.TIF (Tagged Image Format)
Digital File PublisherSpecial Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Rights StatementAll copyrights held by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Phone: + 1 (618) 453-2516. Email:
CollectionDaily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)


If ANY group in America has a right to be cynical about democracy, it is the Negroes. For almost two centuries we have been the objects of discrimination, exploitation, and varied subtle and direct forms of persecution. Our employment has been restricted, our health neglected, our education thwarted, our aspirations derided. It is no more coincidence that shrewd Nazi propagandists cite the treatment of the Negro minority as proof that our "democracy" is a hypocritical sham and our "liberty" a meaningless word.
Germany's barbaric attitude toward the Jews has evoked self-righteous indignation on the part of Americans: England's enslavement of India has shocked and disappointed the advocates of democracy. Bu what of the unwritten laws against full Negro participation in American national life?
Are they less vicious because, from time to time, the Negroes have been given a new hospital to die in, or another school to teach them crafts they are not allowed to practice? History may write the answer to this, and it may not be pleasant to the "master race."
Edwin Embree, president of the Rosenwald Fund and a distinguished anthropologist and educator in the field of race relations, has written a book entitled AMERICAN NEGROES in which he strives to prove that the Negro is doing all he can to help win the war, as he has always done in past wars. Of all the racial and national strains in our country, the Negro's loyalty has been the least suspected—and his efforts least appreciated or rewarded.
Yet, Negroes continue to bear their load—if not cheerfully, at least philosophically—and make the best of a bad bargain, hoping that when the war has ended they will not be forgotten in this avowed crusade to free the world. Postwar planners, busy with China's rehabilitation, would do well to think also of America's 14, 000, 000 black people living in squalor and ignorance, unable to act in many states and unable to earn an adequate livelihood in most.
Not many white persons know or care if the deaths from tuberculosis are five times as high among Negroes as among whites, or if venereal diseases and mother-and-infant mortality rates are correspondingly higher. On the economic horizon, the Negro has been replaced in many fields by white workers, in the South and in agricultural regions. Some of the largest labor unions refuse admittance to colored workers, and some industrial plants have only recently opened their doors to Negroes under a presidential warning to cancel government war contracts.
Anyone who has traveled through Chicago's South Side with both eyes open has seen the sordid living conditions, the commercialized Vice and systemized racketeering that dominates Negro life, To say that these people enjoy or are satisfied with this status is to libel a race that gave us Marian Anderson, Booker Washington, Countee Cuilen, Katherine Dunham and countless other artists and thinkers. They are patient and uncomplaining, but they are not content in their imposed isolation.
Negroes are not anxious to mingle with the whites or to "pass" the color line or prejudice. We want only to live decently, to have a chance for health and happiness, and to cultivate our own talents and ambitions in a free and tolerant atmosphere. To deny us this is to deny the fundamental premise of America.
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