1930 November 25

Anti-Lynching Congress Delivers Protest to President Herbert Hoover


A delegation from the Anti-Lynching Congress, which was meeting in Washington, D.C., delivered a protest to President Herbert Hoover, demanding that he take action to end the lynching of African-Americans. The group was led by Maurice W. Spencer, president of the National Equal Rights League and Race Congress. President Hoover did not respond.

Herbert Hoover was basically sympathetic to the needs of African-Americans in American society, but was not willing to expend any political capital on civil rights. He was very upset, for example, when Southern bigots protested when First Lady Lou Henry Hoover invited the wife of African-American Congressman Oscar DePriest to the White House for tea (along with all the other Congressional wives), on June 12, 1929. He responded by inviting Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee University, to the White House in a symbolic gesture.

The first anti-lynching bill, the Dyer Bill, named for Rep Leonidas Dyer, a Republican from Missouri, was introduced in Congress on April 1, 1918, and the first national anti-lynching conference was held in New York City on May 5, 1919. Despite a decades-long lobbying effort by the NAACP, Congress never passed an anti-lynching bill. On June 13, 2005, the Senate apologized for never passing a bill.

Learn more about the NAACP anti-lynching campaign: http://www.naacp.org/pages/naacp-history-anti-lynching-bill

And more about the Dyer anti-lynching bill: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/dyer-anti-lynching-bill-1922

Read the 2015 report: Equal  Justice Initiative, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror (2015)

Learn more about Herbert Hoover’s record on civil rights and civil liberties: Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties From Wilson to Obama (2012)

On the anti-lynching campaign read: Robert Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 1900–1950 (1980)

Watch a documentary on the history of lynching in America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYFqv_mRMPI

See the horrors of lynching: Dora Apel and Shawn Smith, Lynching Photographs (2007)

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