Andrew S. Burt to Oswald Garrison Villard
#26 Vezey St.,
My dear Mr. Villard:
I desire to bring to your attention a Treasury Department Order, issued yesterday which confines the colored employees of the Treasury Department––in the main building as well as in its branches, in other buildings in this city to the use of specified toilets.
The colored civil service force is thus prohibited in the future from using these public toilets except those which have been designated for their exclusive use, and which is now being painted so I am informed this morning “For Colored Only.”In the main building of the Treasury Department there are about 3,500 employees, and not more than five or six colored women, and yet even this small number of colored women have also had a toilet set apart for them.
I am writing to request that you bring this matter forcibly to the attention of President Wilson and ask him if his administration intends to permit such an indignity to continue.
The colored employees of the civil service represent a very high average of intelligence, and their personal neatness and habits will compare very favorably with that of any class of people. This order implies much that is loathsome and is altogether the most infamous gratuitous insult that I have ever heard offered to any class of people.
In his Gettysburg address the President said: “And that other host which these set free of civil strife; without difference of class, or race or origin; and undivided in interest”.
It does seem to me that one with such a lofty sentiment surely can not know what is being done by those who are helping to make his administration whatever it shall be. With highest regards, I am, Sir,Very sincerely yours,Permit me to present to you my very kind personal regards & good wishes for your health happiness and well being.
Andrew S. Burt