Document 23: Press Service of the NAACP, Excerpts from Press Release, "Rabbi Stephen Wise Defies K.K.K. at Annual Meeting of N.A.A.C.P.," 5 January 1923, NAACP Papers, Part 1: Meetings of the Board of Directors, Records of Annual Conferences, Major Speeches, and Special Reports, 1909-1950, Library of Congress (Microfilm, Reel 13, Frames 401-02).
In accordance with their founding objectives, the Anti-Lynching Crusaders dissolved in early January 1923, handing over all funds raised to the NAACP fund for anti-lynching legislation. The press release below describes Mary Talbert's presence at the NAACP annual conference where she officially turned over the Crusaders' funds to the NAACP. While the Crusaders no longer existed in 1923, the campaign for the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill continued--albeit in a more limited form. The proceedings of the NAACP annual conference of January 1923 reveal that many prominent supporters recognized that the campaign had already failed by that date. As James Weldon Johnson stated in his address at the conference in 1923, the bill was largely defeated, though would not be "officially dead until the fourth of March." Yet he felt that the "fight for the Dyer Bill was not a defeat; it was not a loss; a great deal had been accomplished." The Dyer Bill campaign had publicized lynching, which Johnson argued was "well worth the effort." He ascribed the ultimate failure of the bill to "apathy and cowardice" on the part of Republican Senators and "antagonism" from Southern Democrats. The Dyer bill campaign passed into history as one part of a lengthy campaign waged by the NAACP to educate the public about the horrors of lynching and bring about the end of lynching altogether.
Immediate Release January 5, 1923.
RABBI STEPHEN WISE DEFIES K. K. K.
AT ANNUAL MEETING OF N. A. A. C. P.
-------------------------- HERBERT K. STOCKTON ADDED TO N. A. A. C. P. BOARD OF DIRECTORS -------------------------- MARY B. TALBERT REPORTS ON WORK OF ANTI-LYNCHING CRUSADERS -------------------------- PHILIP G. PEABODY GIVES $1,000 TO ASSOCIATION --------------------------
Culminating in a night mass meeting in the Town Hall, New York City, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, held its Annual Meeting on January 2, 1923. In the election, a new member was added to the N.A.A.C.P. Board of Directors, Mr. Herbert K. Stockton of the law firm of Haight, Smith, Griffin, and Deming, whose brief on the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill was instrumental in procuring a favorable report on the measure by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
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At the night mass meeting the speakers were Mrs. Mary B. Talbert, Spingarn Medalist for 1922 and leader of the Anti-Lynching Crusaders; Rabbi Stephen S. Wise; Dan Kelly, a white Texan, who was sent to Kirvin, Texas, by the N.A.A.C.P. to investigate the burning to death of three Negroes; and James Weldon Johnson, who reported on the fight for the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill and asserted a renewed fight for its enactment would be carried on.
* * *
Mrs. Mary B. Talbert announced for the Anti-Lynching Crusaders, that all of their work had been done without drawing of any of the funds contributed and that those funds were to be turned over intact and entire to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the anti-lynching campaign.
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