Document 19: James Weldon Johnson's Assistant Secretary to Mary B. Talbert, 21 Oct 1922, NAACP Papers, Part 7: The Anti-Lynching Campaign, 1912-1955, Series B: Anti-Lynching Legislative and Publicity Files, 1916-1955, Library of Congress (Microfilm, Reel 3, Frame 298).

Introduction

        The NAACP had promised to provide initial financial support to the Anti-Lynching Crusaders by way of a one thousand dollar loan (see Document 9). It is unknown whether the initial agreement for support was honored, but this letter to Mary Talbert, the Director of the Crusaders, reveals that the NAACP did restrict the financial aid it provided the Crusaders and suggests that the women fell far short of their $1,000,000 fundraising goal.

October 21, 1922.                     

Mrs. Mary B. Talbert
521 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, New York

My dear Mrs. Talbert:

       Mr. Johnson is trying to get a few days of rest before starting on a Western tour and I am, therefore, answering your letter of October 21. It was certainly a great stroke for you to secure the endorsement of those powerful women's organizations.

       I can realize exactly what your position is, handicapped as you are by lack of funds. It certainly does make me feel badly because we are so terribly handicapped that we cannot be of much assistance to you. As you know the board placed a definite limit and even if that had not been done we have the even more powerful handicap of a slim treasurer. Tomorrow afternoon we are having a staff conference and at that time we will take up your letter. I do not want to raise any false hopes but if we can do anything we will.

       I agree with you that the editorial written by Mrs. Ida Wells Barnett is a nasty and vicious thing for her to do. Mrs. Curtis brought me a copy over to my house on yesterday and I read it last night. Of course the final decision will have to be made by you, but I am of the opinion that the best thing to do is to ignore a woman of her type. She has had a grouch on for years because she has not secured the recognition which her great ability (in her own opinion) warrants. We have found that the best way to treat such attacks is to pass them by unnoticed.

        With regard to the drafts, it is my opinion that the best thing to do would be to send that directly to the Guaranty Trust Company.

With cordial and sincere wishes, I am

                     Very sincerely yours,

                                                 Assistant Secretary.

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