No Jim-Crow Government


No Jim-Crow Government


The World




1914 November 13


Library of Congress
Wilson Papers, Series 4, 152A Reel 231, Manuscript Division


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum




Althea Cupo
Maria Matlock



Is Part Of



Digital copy acquired from federal archives by previous WWPL Archivist, Heidi Hackford.


No Jim-Crow Government.

No President ever suffered more from the foolish indiscretions of members of his Cabinet than has Mr. Wilson. He had a further illustration of it yesterday in his unfortunate interview with a delegation of negroes who called at the White House to protest against the segregation of races in Government departments.

The bad manners of the Chairman of the delegation, however deplorable, are no justification of the policy of Jim-Crow government which certain members of the Cabinet have established in their departments; and, as the President well knows, insolent conduct is not confined to the members of one particular race.

The President should have foreseen this unfortunate issue when Mr. McAdoo and Mr. Burleson were carrying their color-lone theories into democratic government. Mr. Wilson told the committee that there had been no discrimination in the comforts and surroundings of the negro clerks, but explained that “he had been informed by officials that the segregation had been started to avoid friction between the races, and not with the object of injuring the negroes.” The President failed to explain, nevertheless, why not such rule had been considered necessary until Mr. Burleson and Mr. McAdoo got into the Cabinet.

For nearly half a century white clerks and negro clerks have worked side by side in the departments of Washington under Republican and under Democratic Presidents. The World keeps itself fairly well informed about Washington affairs, but the first it ever heard of this alleged friction to which Mr. Wilson refers was when Mr. McAdoo began his Jim-Crow proceedings in the Treasury Department.

The President thinks that this is not a political question but he is wrong. Anything that is unjust, discriminating and u-American in government is certain to be a political question. Servants of the United States Government are servants of the United States Government, regardless of race or color. For several years a negro has been Collector of Internal Revenue in New York. He never found it necessary to segregate the white employees of his department so prevent “friction;” yet he would have had quite as much right to do so as Mr. McAdoo had to segregate the negro employees of the Treasury in Washington.

While the Democrats of the country have been trying to solve certain great problems of government, a few Southern members of the Cabinet have been allowed to exploit their petty local prejudice at the expense of the party’s reputation for exact justice.

Whether the President thinks so or not, the segregation rule was promulgated as a deliberate discrimination against negro employees.

Worse still, it is a small, mean, petty discrimination, and Mr. Wilson ought to have set his heel upon this presumptuous Jim-Crow government the moment it was established. He ought to set his heel upon it now. It is a reproach to his Administration and to the great political principles which he represents.

Original Format

Newspaper Article


Tumulty, Joseph P. (Joseph Patrick)



The World, “No Jim-Crow Government,” 1914 November 13, CS66A, Race and Segregation Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.