Booker T. Washington to Oswald Garrison Villard


Booker T. Washington to Oswald Garrison Villard


Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915




1913 August 10


Booker T. Washington writes to Oswald Garrison Villard about the recent acts of segregation in the federal government.


Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence




Mr. Oswald Garrison Villard, Editor
The Evening Post,
New York City.

Dear Mr. Villard:—

You do not know how very glad I am to see your recent editorial on the racial discimination in the departments at Washington. It shows a fine spirit and I am sure will do good. I am glad to note that a number of newspapers, especially those in Western New York, have already based editorials on the Evening Post editorial. They all speak in the same tone that you do.
I cannot believe that either President Wilson or Mr. Tumulty realizes what harm is being done to both races on account of the recent policy of racial discrimination in the departments. I have recently spent several days in Washington, and I have never seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they are at the present time. I am sure that President Wilson does not realize to what extent a lot of narrow little people in Washington are taking advantage of these orders and are overriding and persecuting the colored people in ways that the President doesnot know about.
I have always had great faith in President Wilson. Soon after his inauguration I gave out an interview in which I stated that I believed he would be just to the colored people.
As I have come into contact with President Wilson and read his addressed, his whole heart seems to be centered in trying to give every man a chance especially the man who [is] down. Surely the Negro in this country is the man whho needs encouragement from the hands of President Wilson.
I believe that your editorial and a good frank talk with the President and his secretary will result in changing this hurtful policy before it goes further.
The colored people are especially embittered and discouraged over the fact that an Indian was made Register of the Treasury instead of a colored man. Added to this, it seems that a white man has been nominated for Minister to Haiti instead of a black man.
I think that the President ought to know that one of the most hurtful and harmful organizations in Washington is one called the “Democratif Fair Play Association,” composed of a lot of white clerks in the various departments. This organization is constantly seeking to stir up strife between the races and to embarrass the colored people. If the President or somebody else could suggest that they ought to attend to their own business in the departments and let matters alone the President run the government it would help immensely.
I think and hope that before President Wilson is in office much longer that he will demonstrate to the world that he is a firm true friend of both races.

Booker T. Washington

Original Format



Villard, Oswald Garrison, 1872-1949



Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915, “Booker T. Washington to Oswald Garrison Villard,” 1913 August 10, WWP17925, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.