Document 22: "Why the Million Dollars?" Editorial, The Pittsburgh Courier, 28 October 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 430).
Fundraising was crucial to the NAACP's campaign in support of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, but as the following document indicates, the fundraising goals of the NAACP and of the Anti-Lynching Crusaders came under attack in the press. Even some African-American newspapers, like the Pittsburgh Courier, challenged the movement's integrity. While the Anti-Lynching Crusaders were not mentioned by name, the article below suggests that their object of raising one million dollars was excessive and could be put to questionable use. The Anti-Lynching Crusaders had anticipated such criticisms and had structured their organization in such a way as to ensure that all money raised for the anti-lynching cause would go directly to the NAACP All members of the Crusaders were to be unpaid and the organization was to have only a small operating fund (see Document 8). Despite these precautions some newspapers accused the Crusaders of having unreasonable fundraising objectives.
WHY THE MILLION DOLLARS?
Mr. Dyer, now nationally known as the father of the Anti-lynching Bill, said, in the course of an address, that if a million people get back of the Anti-lynching Bill, it would pass.
Any reasonable person who knows anything, knows that Mr. Dyer has not authority to commit the United States Senate. He has no authority to say to any audience what will be necessary to pass any proposed Bill. Indeed, his remarks were made casually, if we understand the context, and were not intended to be taken literally.
Yet as soon as some one heard his words, immediately a new drive was launched. The slogan was to get a million women back of the Dyer Bill. The slogan was soon changed to include a Million Dollars with the million women.
Let us be sane, if not intelligent. What can be done with a Million Dollars? Is it proposed to buy up a few Senators and their votes? If it will take a Million, why not Two Million? Where will the figures stop? Who will accept the money and guarantee the passage of the Dyer Bill? Who will spend the money when it is raised? Who will make a report of the expenditures?
And further. The Courier has seen a letter from New York, in which it was stated that a certain speaker, proposed for a mass meeting, should be given ONE-HALF of the GROSS receipts taken at the door, and the local organization should receive the other half.
This is too much for us. We can never lend ourselves to any such scheme to raise a Million Dollars to be divided that way. Then what becomes of the Dyer Bill, if the Million is to be divided half and half as indicated in the letter we saw from New York?
A Million women. Why not a Million Men? What is the difference? Is it thought that the dear women would fall for the BUNK, and the men would not? Get a million people interested in the Bill, if you please. Let them be white people, men and women; colored people, men and women, but we can not see the necessity of raising a Million Dollars. Our Senators will never fall for that BUNK. It sounds like an attempt to bribe. We can not subscribe to the Million Dollar idea.
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