On September 8, 1879, The Weekly Argus boasted that it was "Republican at all times and under all circumstances." Despite the Great Compromise with the South nearly two years earlier, John Edward Bruce, co-owner and associate editor of the paper, believed the destiny and welfare of African America was tied to the Republican Party. Bruce's conclusion was a mixture of political opportunism and Republican loyalty. The Weekly Argus, founded by Bruce to promote Republican candidates and party leaders, received financial support from the GOP during the 1880 campaign. Bruce sold his interest in this publication to a stock company in 1881, but his allegiance to the Republican Party remained unquestioned. This, however, would change in 1883.(2)
During the first fifteen months of Chester Arthur's administration, Black Republicans became disillusioned with the new President's policies. William E. Chandler, Secretary of the Navy and future Senator from New Hampshire, directed the administration's southern strategy, crafting a policy that gave lip service to protecting Black rights while supporting an assortment of lily-white independent Movements. The Arthur administration also fostered Black exclusion among southern Republicans. "Negro officials," the President declared, "do not help the party as much as white officials." But this challenge to Bourbon supremacy not only ignored respected African American leaders, but quickly diminished any hopes of Black patronage appointments.(3)
As the Republican establishment distanced itself from Black party loyalists, the national commitment to racial equality also eroded. After 1880, mob violence and lynching became alarmingly common throughout the South. Northerners and their elected representatives questioned any form of federal intervention in southern affairs. Radical Republicans were vilified by the country and sectional controversy over the race question avoided, as white public sentiment wanted to "bury the bloody shirt" and reconcile the differences between the North and South. In addition, during this period of a boom in the nation's railroad system and explosion in industrialization; America's energy concentrated on uniting the country and increasing its material welfare. The status of Black citizens became a negotiable factor in the reunification and economic advancement of the United States.(4)
By 1883 these developments fueled a thriving debate among Black leaders and intellectuals on the merits of political independence, the relationship of the Republican party to the African American community, and a demand for an equitable share of political patronage and leadership positions. For the next thirty-seven years, John Edward Bruce was an articulate and passionate participant in this dialogue. He authored myriad articles and speeches about the Republican Party while recording his observations on race relations and the American political scene. Bruce's struggle with Republican politics reflected a blend of personal ambition, and political vacillation, as well as an attempt to prevent the gradual deterioration of Black political power and the value of citizenship.(5)
What was the nature of Bruce's relationship with the Republican Party? How did he view the Democratic opposition? What was his interpretation of Black independent movements? How did he participate in the efforts to prevent the deterioration of Black political influence? What was the outcome of Bruce's quest for a patronage appointment? How did he use his journalistic skills to promote personal ambitions within the party? This article will address those questions and chart Bruce's long sojourn in the Republican Party.
Between 1874 and 1882, John Bruce entered Republican politics while carving out a career in journalism. A young and ambitious man in his twenties, Bruce had grown up listening to Black Republican partisans, such as Martin Delany and Henry Highland Garnet, debating public policy in his cousin's boarding house. He and his mother had been freed by Union troops, he had witnessed the frantic final hours of President Lincoln's life, and had worked for President Grant's father-in-law during his youth. He was part of a generation of African Americans who credited their emancipation to the party of Lincoln. All of these factors contributed to Bruce's early allegiance to the Republican Party. "For such individuals, psychological dependency on the Republican Party, acquired during the war and Reconstruction," historian Bess Beatty has observed, "was difficult to cast off, even after the party had largely abandoned the cause of black rights."(6)
While working as an assistant to Lorenzo Crouse, associate editor in the Washington office of the New York Times, and representing John Freeman's New York Progressive American, Bruce was exposed to two journalists who furthered his appreciation for politics before he was twenty years old. Crouse had supported his brother's successful campaign for governor of Nebraska and used these connections to strengthen his insider ties to the District's political establishment. Freeman had been an unyielding adversary of New York City's school board and an experienced political fighter for Black civil rights in the Empire state. Both men provided two different views of the political arena. Crouse covered the world of federal patronage and white power brokers who had mastered the skills of political survival. Freeman was an articulate voice for Black protest, an expert on community issues, and a veteran of Black organizations that had challenged the status quo. As Bruce matured, the qualities of both men influenced his goals and activities within the Republican Party.(7)
From 1877 to 1880, Bruce became a correspondent for Black papers based in St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago, Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia. His by-line was attracting readers while editors were eager to add his puissant views to their publications. In September 1979, Bruce teamed with Charles N. Otley to publish The Weekly Argus in Washington, D.C. At twenty-one years old, Bruce had made his first leap into Republican politics. Financed by party authorities, the Argus promoted the presidential candidacy of James Garfield and his running mate, Chester Arthur. Bruce had parlayed his political contacts gained through association with John Freeman and Lorenzo Crouse into party recognition and financial support. Since Garfield was a compromise candidate, there was some concern that "older and more independent" Black newspapers would not aggressively work for the Ohio congressman. While Bruce proclaimed that his paper would be "...a fearless advocate..." and "...use its best endeavors to make the party a success in 1880," the Topeka Tribune cautioned that the Republicans were "being either too weak or too cowardly to insure black safety and a fair ballot." Yet, on the eve of the election, the Tribune insisted that the Republicans should be supported not out of gratitude, but because "it was at the time the only progressive party in America." This was Bruce's first experience as a "hired gun" to firm up the Black vote for the Republican Party.(8)
While musical groups such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers worked for the Republican ticket, Bruce formed the District's only Black Republican Glee Club. In October, he solicited Garfield for funds to purchase uniforms for his vocal group. To impress the party leader, Bruce declared that he "preached the gospel of Republicanism to the children of darkness." After Garfield's inauguration, Bruce requested that his glee club sing for the president and his family. He assured Garfield that his group had "touched the souls of the disciples of money and strengthened the hearts of the stalwarts" on the campaign trail. Garfield refused, but Bruce persisted in his ambition to attract the attention of the party establishment.(9)
Throughout 1880 Bruce published editorials tracing the political history and "anti-Negro bias of the Democratic Party." He characterized the Republicans as the "champions" of African Americans while writing that southern Democrats practiced the "cowardice of disfranchisement." Bruce agreed with Carl Schurz, former Secretary of Interior, who predicted that the "Negro would be hindered and harassed in his struggle to be a man." Bruce also argued for federal intervention to "protect Southern Negro citizens who would pay with their blood" to vote in national elections. Nine years later, President Harrison would elevate Bruce's call for a "force bill" to a national debate when he endorsed a similar concept during his state of the union address."(10)
In addition to debating public issues, Bruce also monitored the private lives of Republican politicians. In 1880, Bruce wrote, the "political waters" of Washington were infested with "sharks" who employed a variety of devices to con unsuspecting members of congress. The best example is Bruce's observation about Senator Philetus Sawyer of Michigan. He became involved with a "lovely lady" who convinced him to donate $1,000.00 for "an orphan girls home." After investigation, Bruce concluded that the "orphan's home" was no more than her private whorehouse. Bruce also investigated the conduct of former Mississippi Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce whom he characterized as a "political and racial charlatan" whose performance as Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia was inferior compared to Black Democratic appointees James C. Matthews and James Monroe Trotter. Bruce charged that George C. Smith, Blanche Bruce's private secretary, actually ran the recorder's office for a fee of $100.00 a month."(11)
John Edward Bruce's description of a respected Black Republican as a "racial charlatan" also revealed his contempt for the District's mulatto aristocracy. After leaving the Senate in 1881, Blanch Kelso Bruce maintained both a privileged lifestyle and national prominence in the Black community for almost twenty years. He lectured throughout the country, usually traveling to cities such as New York, Chicago, Indianapolis, Memphis, or Boston. His contact with the Black masses, according to historian Willard B. Gatewood, was "largely limited to making addresses at public gatherings or `mass meetings.'" At the same time, while Bruce resided in Washington, D.C., he also maintained several plantations in the Mississippi Delta that were quite profitable. Bruce, however, had little affinity for his Black workers trapped in the sharecropping system. He had moved well beyond his slave roots into the world of the Black elite and his attitude toward his farm workers resembled that of the paternalistic white planters.(12)
The crowning achievement of Blanch Kelso Bruce's senatorial career was heading the investigation of the bankrupt Freemen's Savings and Trust Company in 1879. He handled a complicated assignment in an exceptional manner and saved three-fifths of the depositors' money. After 1881 Senator Roscoe Conkling of New York served as his primary advocate for presidential patronage appointments. Bruce believed that white America would always control the fate of African Americans, and his political philosophy was a mixture of patience, compromise, persuasion, moderation, and a repudiation of violence. These qualities and a steadfast belief in education, Bruce wrote, would ensure a "slow and painful" march toward equality. But Bruce's agenda and style actually produced "far more for himself and his friends," contends historian Samuel L. Shapiro, "than he did for great mass of southern Negroes."(13)
Bruce was a "representative colored man" whom whites designated as a racial spokesman. The historian Nell Irvin Painter has observed that Black and white newspapers of the late nineteenth century designated certain educated and acculturated Black individuals as "representative colored men." They spoke a language whites could understand, and they usually viewed the masses of unschooled Blacks as inferior to them. The irony of Bruce's designation as a racial leader was that he and wife, Josephine Wilson Bruce, had little social contact with Blacks. Their world, particularly after racial lines began to harden in 1883, consisted of a mulatto aristocracy positioned between the white and Black world. They glorified "Caucasian features" and prided themselves upon the distance they could maintain from members of the race. John Bruce had been a vocal critic of this mentality since he was twenty-one. He believed the former Senator practiced a form of racial dishonesty that allowed him to stand upon the backs of the rank and file, reap the rewards of profitable patronage appointments, while simultaneously maintaining a lifestyle that held the African American community in contempt.(14)
By 1883 Black Republicans were engaged in a thriving debate over the merits of political independence. As President Arthur courted an assortment of racial exclusive movements in the South, Black leaders were disgusted by the administration's display of racist attitudes. Arthur had less interest in the rights of African Americans than did James A. Garfield or Rutherford B. Hayes. Black disillusionment with what was perceived as the meager "crumbs" of political patronage also fueled the calls for Black political independence.(15)
Black politicians and intellectuals never reached a consensus on the meaning of "independence." For some, it meant "continued but critical allegiance to the Republican Party." Others called for "disavowal of the Republican Party in non-election years but support of the Party at the polls." A few independents encouraged the Black community to split their support among all parties. Independence could also mean complete withdrawal from the Republican Party. That position was denounced by Black Republicans as de facto support of the Democratic Party. John Edward Bruce was active in that debate. Republican indifference to African America challenged Bruce's loyalty but he was reluctant to abandon the Party.(16)
In April 1883, Bruce warned readers of the Washington Globe that there was "widespread discontent" among Blacks, and he predicted that "Republican leaders would soon answer for their indifference." Bruce's prophecy was realized with a series of Black conventions that met from July through December of 1883. During July, the South Carolina State Convention of Colored Men, meeting in Columbia, accused the Republican party of ignoring southern Blacks to recruit white voters. At the close of the convention, the Committee on Resolutions indicted the Republicans "for its omission[s]...in connection with our race."(17)
Following the South Carolina gathering, a national convention was scheduled for Washington, D.C. in September. The goal was to debate Republican neglect and further the race's political independence. Eventually pre-convention plans became too entangled and organizers moved the event to Louisville, Kentucky. Bruce suspected that the unspoken agenda was an effort by Black Democrats to solicit disillusioned Republican support. He believed that convention leaders were "not moved by any honest desire to benefit the great mass of my race but to benefit themselves...with presence and condition of the Negro as the argument to accomplish their purpose. These men want office...power..." and "...influence." Few agreements were recorded in Louisville, but the conference did register opposition to the continued violation of Black rights, the necessity for racial pride, and self-sufficiency.(18)
Shortly after the Louisville convention, the Republican-dominated Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional. This was the last major legislation passed by the Republican Party to ensure Black rights. Protest meetings were held throughout the United States to voice public disagreement with the court's action. In New York City 1500 African Americans assembled to challenge the legitimacy of the decision. During late October, the District of Columbia witnessed a series of meetings protesting the Court's action. Two thousand gathered at Lincoln Hall to hear Frederick Douglass denounce the Court's ruling as a "moral cyclone" sweeping across the land. Close to 1000 people gathered at the First Congregational Church as John Mercer Langston, United States minister to Haiti, predicted that the decision would make Blacks more politically self-reliant.(19)
John Edward Bruce joined the chorus of Black leaders speaking out against the Supreme Court's nullification of the Civil Rights Act of 1875. In an address before the Bethesda Literary Society in Georgetown, Bruce observed that there was "a class of half-educated people belonging to the superior race in this country, who are devoting all their energies, and what little intellect God has given them....to demonstrate that the Negro isn't as good as a white man."(20) He further declared:
The American people do not seem to be willing to give us a hearing and discuss the question of Civil Rights fairly, and honestly We have never asked for any more rights than other citizens enjoy. What we want and what we must and will have is the absolute equality of opportunity for every man, woman, and child without regard to racial distinctions. And we must go about securing this sovereign right intelligently, dispassionately, and determinedly.
Bruce next delivered a speech entitled "Is This Our Country," on November 7 in the District. He expressed his fury about the Supreme Court by focusing upon the condition of southern Blacks and the weaknesses of the American system of government. According to Bruce:
In this so-called land of the free and home of the brave it is a common thing for us to speak of it as "Our Country."...socially and politically it is not our country but simply our abiding place....we are permitted to exercise the right of citizenship only when the exercise of such right conforms to the ideas of the dominant race. "Our Country," boasting...of its free institutions, its impartial laws, its magnanimity, its glory, its greatness, its power and its influence abroad, is not powerful nor influential enough to secure to the humblest Negro citizen the fullest enjoyment of his civil and political rights....the horrors of Hell surround the unprotected Negroes in almost every Southern State in "Our Country."
The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, so far as they relate to the Negro..., are the blackest lies ever evolved.... And for more than a century America has lived a lie. The Fathers...never for once in my judgment contemplated the idea that the Negro was to enjoy in common with the white race the benefits and privileges which are proper and just observance of those papers sought to bestow.(21)
During the same speech, Bruce also suggested that African Americans must search for remedies in the difficult times that face the race. He contended that "Education...will unlock the door [of opportunity] and the Almighty dollar will push it open wide enough for any Negro to pass through with ease.... Let the Negroes of the United States become a unit...and present a solid front...the result will be astonishing to the most incredulous theorist among us."(22)
In January 1884, Bruce continued his criticism of President Arthur's "lack of backbone" in defending the rights of African Americans. During April, Black leaders sponsored a conference in Pittsburgh to organize for the 1884 presidential election. Bruce did not attend, but he was a close observer of the debate and proposed resolutions. Various combinations representing the Republican ticket were debated. In addition, vocal support, led by Indiana delegates, was expressed for backing a Democratic candidate. Due to the division among participants, the convention adjourned without endorsing a specific candidate or developing a campaign strategy. Strong opposition was raised against the nomination of Senator James G. Blaine. "Blaine's presidential ambitions," according to the historian Bess Beatty, "had prompted him to shift from support of black aspirations in the South to support of lily-white Republicans and reconciliation with southern Democrats."(23)
In May, Bruce continued his criticism of the Republicans asserting that they were "ungrateful to the negro." This shortcoming further confirmed to Bruce that the Party was "mean, corrupt, and narrow." In June the Republicans nominated Blaine for President and Illinois Senator John A. Logan as his running mate. Most Black leaders, including Bruce, rationalized their support of Blaine only because Logan was on the ticket. Logan's greatest asset was his sponsorship of a bill to investigate the condition of southern Blacks. After having criticized the Republicans since January, Bruce vowed his support for the party's ticket in June; and in August he announced that the Washington Grit had been made the "Official organ of the West End Blaine and Logan Club." Bruce also unsuccessfully solicited financial contributions for the Grit from Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts and the Republican National Committee. But presumably Bruce did receive financial assistance for his paper through other contacts with the Republican ticket.(24)
Bruce had known and admired Blaine and Logan before they were teamed in the 1884 campaign. Bruce's contact with Blaine dated back to Blaine's days as Speaker of the House. He quoted Blaine in his speeches and respected his pronouncements on protecting the "weakest...citizens in all their rights." Blaine was also a powerful political figure who could help to fulfill Bruce's patronage ambitions. Bruce had a closer relationship with "Black Jack" Logan and his wife. In later years, Bruce declared, "I took several delegations of colored men to see him and to urge his support of measures before the Senate in which colored men were interested...Mrs. Logan encouraged him to stand by us in the Senate."(25)
In September Bruce reported the "startling announcement" that "a large number of...Negroes in Ohio are breaking away from the Republican Party." He believed that "If this was true it would be a sad commentary upon" their "intelligence." Despite Bruce's disclaimer, the Democratic Party had gained support among disillusioned Black northern Republicans. Black Democrats in Ohio were led by Herbert Clark, publisher of the Afro-American, and his father, Peter Clark, a respected educator and reportedly "the first American Negro Socialist." Grover Cleveland's victory in the 1884 campaign installed the first Democratic president since emancipation. Frederick Douglass believed the Republicans had lost because they were "loud for the protection of things, but silent for the protection of men." Bruce had worked hard on behalf of Blaine and Logan, but a Republican defeat eliminated his possibilities of greater access to the White House and a patronage appointment.(26)
President Cleveland alleviated Black Republican fears by proclaiming in his inaugural address that, "There should be no pretext for anxiety touching the protection of the freedmen in their fights or their security." These remarks were widely praised by African America and created a favorable climate of optimism during the initial months of Cleveland's administration. Bruce sought to exploit this opportunity by establishing contact with the President. In August 1885, he requested that his glee club, the Sable Choristers, sing for the President. But Daniel Lamont, Cleveland's private secretary, informed Bruce that the "press of official business" prevented the President from accepting his offer.(27)
Bruce then mailed a copy of the Washington Grit to Lamont for the President's review. Cleveland found the name of Bruce's paper intriguing and invited him to the White House. During a brief meeting, Bruce explained the meaning of his paper's name and shared his experiences after slavery with the President. Cleveland, declaring that "he had great sympathy" for African Americans, explained that before the Civil War his family had been involved with abolitionist activities. The appointment concluded with the President wishing Bruce "all success" and donating $10.00 for the Grit.(28)
It is difficult to understand President Cleveland's motivations for inviting Bruce to the White House. The President's advisors knew not only that Bruce was a Republican partisan, but also that the Grit was financed by the GOP. Cleveland may have been trying to expand his influence among potential Black northern voters. Black leaders respected Cleveland's personal convictions, especially after he had supported James Matthews and then James Monroe Trotter for the position of Recorder of Deeds. Both of these Black Democrats faced stiff Republican opposition during the confirmation process, and most Black Republicans denounced Cleveland's passive southern policy for condoning "home rule" and failing to protect Black voting rights. The President's attention enhanced Bruce's reputation among Black journalists but it did not reduce his criticism of the Democrats. By the end of 1885, Bruce charged that Cleveland's "clean sweep and reform" administration had refused to enforce the constitutional rights of southern Blacks.(29)
Throughout 1886 and 1887, Black support for the Prohibition cause blossomed but few African Americans became formal members of the Prohibition Party. During this period, while John Bruce was the editor of the Baltimore Commonwealth, he endorsed the advocates of temperance in Maryland by declaring that he was tired of "cheap white politicians" and because the Prohibitionists acknowledged African Americans as legitimate citizens. Bruce's flirtation with the Prohibition Party was motivated by his frustration with the Republicans' failure to protect Black southern voters. There is no evidence that he actually joined the Party, and his vocal support was short-lived. By May 1888, Brace had returned to the GOP fold and was campaigning for General Russell A. Alger for President. He also was serving as Secretary of the Young Men's Negro Republican Club, a position that allowed him to develop a strategic relationship with Charles S. Clarkson, Chairman of the Republican National Committee.(30)
In May 1887, T. Thomas Fortune (1856-1927) began organizing the Afro-American League to create a national coalition of Black organizations. The Afro-American League was the latest incarnation of the convention movement and an ambitious example of late nineteenth century racial self-help and solidarity. Fortune, a leading journalist, was one of the most articulate advocates of Black political independence. He believed that African America had been forsaken by its white allies and that Blacks had to "...face the enemy...stand up like men...fight fire with fire..." and struggle "...inch by inch for every right he denies us." Bruce, who agreed with this political stand, had been an advocate of racial solidarity since 1875. He and Fortune were also colleagues and friends. They were the same age, both were the sons of slave parents, and they both shared a passion for journalism and a deep commitment to racial equality. Bruce published in the Globe, the Freedman, and the New York Age, all papers owned and edited by Fortune. Their friendship was probably sealed in the fall of 1875. Fortune, who had just moved to Washington, D.C., had enrolled in the Normal Department of Howard University. Bruce had launched his newspaper career and, according the historian I. Garland Penn, was known to audit classes at Howard University. Later, after failing health, becoming an alcoholic, and suffering a nervous breakdown in 1907, Fortune struggled with mental illness and spent several years living as a derelict without permanent employment. In 1923, Bruce arranged for his friend to be hired as an editor with Marcus Garvey's Negro World. This opportunity helped to stabilize Fortune's life during his final years.(31)
In 1887 Fortune defined the goals of the Afro-American League:
The objects of this league are to protest against taxation without representation; to secure a more equitable distribution of school funds; to insist upon fair and impartial by judge and jury of peers,...to resist by all legal and reasonable means mob and lynch law....and to insist upon the arrest and punishment of all such offenders against our legal fights; to resist the tyrannical usage of railroads and steamboats and other corporations, and the violent and insulting character of their employees in all instances where we are concerned, by prosecution of such corporations and their employees in state and federal courts; to labor for the reformation of our penal institutions, where barbarous, cruel, and unchristian treatment of convicts is practiced; and to insist on healthy emigration from terror ridden sections to other...law-abiding sections.(32)
From 1887 to 1890, Bruce assisted Fortune in organizing local chapters of the Afro-American League. Success was slow during the fall of 1887, but by 1889 the League's appeal had resulted in the establishment of more than forty chapters stretching from Boston to San Francisco.(33) Bruce was a leader in the Washington's local chapter. On April 4, 1890, at the Second Baptist Church, he delivered a powerful speech entitled "The Blot on the Eschutcheon," which not only captured the philosophical position of the League but also issued a challenge to its membership:
The solution of the problem is in our hands; talk won't solve it; promises and threats won't solve it; the assimilation of the races will not solve it. The Negro must preserve his race identity, must unite his energies, talent and money, and make common cause. He must, in order to get justice from white men, show them that he is entitled to it not as a privilege, but as a common right vouchsafed to all by Almighty God. Unity and harmony of sentiment and feeling...are the levers that must of necessity overturn American caste-prejudice. In organization, co-operation and agitation the Negro will come nearer to the solution of the white man's problem than by meekly submitting to injustice and wrong at the hands of those who are responsible for our condition; who murder our defenseless brethren, for daring to be men.(34)
The Afro-American League became defunct in 1893. Insufficient funds, internal bickering, declining mass support, and the opposition of such leaders as Frederick Douglass, John Mercer Langston, Blanche Kelso Bruce, and P.B.S. Pinchback contributed to its death. In 1898, remnants of the League resurfaced as the Afro-American Council led by Fortune and Bishop Alexander Walters; but Fortune resigned from the organization in March of 1904. Bruce's relationship with the Council never matched his enthusiasm for the League, which was under the domination of Booker T. Washington and his Tuskegee Machine. Southern Black conservatives effectively controlled the Council's agenda until its last meeting in October 1906 in New York City. Nonetheless, for the duration of his life, Bruce remained dedicated to the principles he summarized before the League's Washington branch in 1890.(35)
Shortly after Benjamin Harrison's inauguration in March 1889, Bruce restored his Republican ties and even secured a personal interview with the new President. His initial impression was positive, but three months later Bruce joined a contingent criticizing Harrison's poor record for dispensing federal patronage to Black Republicans. Bruce also deplored the violence and organized discrimination that was being unleashed upon southern Blacks. The historian Morgan Kousser has determined that the initial wave of voting limitations was institutionalized between 1888 and 1893. Mississippi served as a model for the South and led the drive to disfranchise southern Blacks. This state's approach included a combination of residence restrictions, poll tax, specific criminal convictions, a literacy test, and an understanding clause to allow illiterate whites to meet the literacy requirements. This package allowed Mississippi to nullify the Fifteen Amendment. Throughout the South, economic penalties, fraud, and constitutional restrictions drastically reduced the political force of African Americans. Bruce believed that these developments were encouraged by the neglect that northern Republicans had shown the problems faced by southern Blacks.(36)
As disfranchisement accelerated, lynching became a common experience and a form of ritual violence that underpinned the systematic oppression of Black southerners. From 1885 to 1889, the number of lynchings increased by 63.5 percent. In 1890 to 1894, there was another 60.4 percent increase, with an all-time high of 161 Blacks killed by lynch mobs in 1892. Lynchings were witnessed by hundreds of men, women, and children who participated in a ceremony of torture, mutilation, picture taking, and burning before the Black victim was killed. White lynch mobs cut across all class lines and often rationalized their actions by declaring that they were protecting white women from rape or an assortment of sexual improprieties committed by Black men. In reality, Blacks could become lynch victims as a result of the slightest challenge to the status quo.(37)
Bruce was a relentless critic of southern lynch mobs and one of the few African American leaders who advocated Black retaliatory violence. On October 5, 1889, he challenged a District audience with a carefully constructed speech that addressed the application of force as a "solution of the...Negro problem. I am not unmindful of the fact that there are those," Bruce announced, "...who are still pregnant with...fear...which had its origin in oppression...." But Blacks must realize that "The Man who will not fight for the protection of his wife and children is a coward and deserves to be ill treated. The man who takes his life in his hand and stands up for what he knows to be right will always command respect of his enemy."(38)
Bruce believed that "Under the present condition..., self-defense was "the only hope, the only salvation for the Negro...." This tactic had to be directed "with proper organization and intelligent leadership." Bruce declared that he hated "nambypambyism or anything that looks like temporizing." African Americans could not afford to be "rash or indiscreet...but must be...determined,...earnest, and of one mind...."(39) He concluded his speech by making a call for "organized resistance:"
Under the Mosaic dispensation, it was the custom to require "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Under no less Barbarous civilization than that which existed at that period of the world's history, let the Negro require at the hands of every white murderer in the South or elsewhere a life for a life. If they burn your houses, burn theirs. If they kill your wives and children, kill theirs. Pursue them relentlessly. Meet force with force, everywhere it is offered. If they demand blood, exchange with them until...they are satiated. By a Vigorous adherence to this course, the shedding of human blood by white men will soon become a thing of the past. Wherever and whenever the Negro shows himself to be a man he can always Command the respect even of a cutthroat. Organized resistance to organized resistance is the best remedy for the solution of the vexed problem of the century which to me seems practicable and feasible(40)
In March 1891, Bruce drafted an article that indicted white Christians for their refusal to publicly denounce Black oppression and compromising Christian teachings. Bruce felt that the "religion of the white man is steeped in prejudice and hate." It flourished "in indifference and hypocrisy" while maintaining a "clam-like silence" on "injustice."(41) Bruce contended:
Since the close of the late war of rebellion there has been going on in the South a systematic slaughter of innocent Negro men, women and children by white men, who control and direct the social and political affairs of that section of this country. It has been estimated that more than fifty thousand of such murders have been committed in the South within the past twenty-six years, and the cases are rare indeed where the guilty and bloody assassins have been apprehended when known, or punished for their crimes if apprehended.(42)
Bruce continued to hammer away at the "refinement" of the white Christian "humbuggery" for not "denouncing the shameless.... cowardly....and brutal murder" of African American lynch victims. "In a Christian country...abounding in bibles, prayer books," and "missionary societies," the white clergy are "deeply interested in the welfare" of certain foreign nations. But American Christian sentiment "shuts its holy eyes to the festering scab upon it own body and seeks to heal the sores of other nations."(43)
During the short life of the Afro-American League, Bruce used the resources and exposure of the organization to continue his crusade against lynchings and southern violence. While speaking to Branch Number One in Washington, D.C., Bruce asserted that the "modern barbarian" has been "dignified by the title of `White Citizen'."(44) Bruce further declared:
They now roast objectionable Negroes alive in certain portions of...our country. I have read of the deeds of cruelty committed by one religious faction against another, of how thirty thousand men were burned at stake in one day. How men, women and children were thrown from high eminences upon wagons filled with sharp pointed spikes which lacerated their bodies and destroyed their lives; how men were hung with their heads downward until life was extinct, of Nero the tyrant and bigot who fiddled while the seven hilled city burned. But this modern barbarism practiced upon the Negro in Christian America by white men who boast of high civilization makes me tremble for this country when I remember that God is just.(45)
In 1901 Bruce published a pamphlet entitled The Blood Red Record in which he reviewed the modern history of American lunching and documented the fourteen recorded burnings at the stake from February 1, 1893 to January 15, 1901. Bruce also listed the names of 117 individual Blacks lynched during 1900. Just eighteen were charged with rape, clearly disputing the contention by white southerners that this was the only crime for which Blacks were lynched.(46) Throughout this document Bruce identified northern indifference as a reason for the continued toleration of lynching:
The difference in the estimate of the white men of the South and the white men of the North, is that the former is frank, outspoken in the convention that the Negro is fundamentally inferior to the white men, and, therefore, can never be his equal, while the white men of the North, who almost believe the same thing, patronize him, and in a half-hearted manner call him brother. Yet when this black brother is burned at the stake by his white Southern brother, his white Northern Brother does not take on nearly so much, nor express himself with half the vigor, earnestness and bitterness that he does when Christian missionaries are massacred in China or when the serfs of Russia are brutally whipped with the knout in the salt mines of Siberia, or when the Armenian brethren are murdered by the hundred for Christ's sake by the unspeakable Turk. And yet its black citizens at home are subjected to...outrages, and no voice is raised in their defense....(47)
Bruce concluded that this situation must be blamed on the Republican Party, which, for reasons that were "largely commercial," had "suspended the work which first called it into being. It is no longer the party of human rights." He concluded that "the development of the commerce of the nation, the building of a great navy, the organization of a standing army, and ship subsidies...are all...far greater importance than the protection of the lives and property of Negroes, who wear the empty and meaningless title of American citizen."(48)
Bruce remained an anti-lynching advocate for the rest of his life. His published columns often reported neglected but persistent violence in the South. As late as 1919, he decried that the "propensity to rape was an entirely false charge against the Negro." Toward the end of his life in the 1920s, he supported the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill and still denounced the Republican party for turning its back on southern violence.(49)
In November 1896, William McKinley was elected President. During the same month, the Supreme Court gave judicial sanction to segregation when, in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, it declared that "separate but equal" treatment was constitutional. Black Republicans were disillusioned by this decision, but many viewed McKinley's election with "renewed hope that political rights would be restored" and Blacks would be granted a role in the new administration. In December 1896, Alexander Crummell warned Bruce that McKinley was "(negatively) a friend of the Negro" and nothing would be forthcoming from him to improve the quality of Black life and/or to increase Black participation in public life.(50)
Despite Crummell's warning, and what historian Rayford Logan termed the "calloused disregard" of the McKinley administration for African Americans, Bruce had great difficulty resolving his feelings about and relationship with the Republican party. In 1899 he drafted an article entitled "The Negro and His Future," which argued that African Americans had reached the limits of their political, social, and industrial progress in America. Whites had placed a wholesale embargo on Black aspirations, and the few leaders who were sympathetic to Black aspirations were passing from the scene. Further Black progress, Bruce predicted, would prove "only ephemeral....artificial- temporary -- unstable." Bruce also accused the Republican party of fostering a move to "eliminate all meaningful Negro representation." But then, less than a year later, he reversed his conclusions and encouraged "every thoughtful and intelligent Negro" to east his vote for the Republicans.(51)
Bruce's ambivalence over, and conflict with, the Republican Party was eminent throughout the two decades after the Compromise of 1876. But Bruce did not relinquish his ties to Republican politics until just after the First World War. Meanwhile in 1912, Bruce predicted a war between Japan and the United States, in a short Story entitled "The Call of a Nation." This tale envisioned Japan's defeat of America while "all citizens without regard to race or creed were called upon to come to the nation's defense and to the defense of their homes, their lives and liberties now threatened by an alien foe." At the brink of chaos, "race and color lines were...broken down," and Bruce wrote that as "white and black men fraternized...race prejudice was for the moment forgotten and black men for the first time in fifty years were actually enjoying the freedom and liberty...they had dreamed." Later, Bruce saw the First World War as the vehicle to trigger this fictional story into reality.(52)
The eruption of violence and racism during and after the First World War reached its peak during the "Red Summer" of 1919. Lynchings persisted in the South, and at least twenty-six race riots erupted in an assortment of cities including some that hosted thousands of southern Black migrants who had arrived in search of factory employment. Bruce interpreted these events, the rise of Black militancy, and calls for retaliatory violence by declaring that "What is inflaming...Negroes....especially those who have fought its battles, is the unjust and unfair and devilish treatment shown to those who bared their breasts to German bullets...to help save the white man's civilization." Bruce further asserted, "We are not through with war," and "let no man deceive himself about this" challenge. "There is yet to be a settlement between the white and darker races."(53)
The last Republican candidate Bruce supported for president was Charles Evans Hughes. He believed that Woodrow Wilson had "done nothing for Negroes," and blamed him for an influx of the "`racker'" element which "blighted Washington physically and politically." In the 1920s, Bruce also corresponded with the White House on issues he deemed important. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge responded to Bruce's concerns about a reverse migration of Blacks to the South. "You present a subject which interests me profoundly," declared the President. Although Coolidge believed that the government was unprepared to deal with this possibility, he hoped measures could be devised for bettering the position of "our colored citizens."(54)
Bruce's political vacillation reflected the larger straggle of African Americans to "maintain and restore citizenship rights." As the nation failed to address what Frederick Douglass called the administration of "equal justice to all varieties of the human race...," Blacks themselves were forced to assume all aspects of their fight to contain political retrogression, physical violence, and economic exploitation. This national dilemma forced African Americans to fight for the restoration of their citizenship. But there was disagreement over how best to do this. The appropriate course for race survival generated a lively debate, one that was influenced by color, class, region, political allegiance, and generation.(55)
Although political activism and the straggle for federal patronage were dominated by the Black elite, rural African Americans as well as some of the urban masses had a different agenda. They opted instead for emigration to Africa, the Kansas Exodus, involvement with the American Colonization Society, relocation to Indian Territory, and the Black town movement in Oklahoma. They also were more concerned with such issues as inferior educational facilities, disfranchisement, and violence rather than with the symbolic gesture of Black federal appointments.(56)
Bruce stood between these two streams of Black thought and activity. He rejected emigration but stayed faithful to self-help, economic cooperation, race pride and unification, and close ties to Africa. Although Bruce never cracked the elite that dominated Black Republicanism, he used his position as a journalist to influence Party politics. In addition, according to the historian Lewis Suggs, "Black newspapers were passed from family to family and read aloud in barber shops, pool halls, and informal civic and religious gatherings." Thus did Bruce's comments and ideas reach a significant portion of the Black masses, which may account for the popularity of the "Bruce Grit" byline throughout Black America.(57)
Bruce held a number of minor political appointments and patronage jobs throughout his life. These included director of the Black Republican Glee Club; Secretary of the Young Men's National Republican Club; New York Representative for Colored Citizens to the Nashville Exposition; Probation Officer, Court of Special Sessions, Yonkers, New York; Chairman, Sub-Committee on Public Comfort and Entertainment, Woodrow Wilson Inauguration; and Messenger, Federal Customs House of Westchester, New York. These positions supplemented his earnings from journalism and newspaper publishing. Some carried regular salaries, such as the probation officer and messenger positions; the other appointments entitled him to minor stipends. According to the Bruce Papers, it appears that Bruce received an appointment to the New York Federal Customs office in 1902 through the efforts of James Sullivan Clarkson (1842-1918), a white colleague and Surveyor Of Customs Of the Port of New York.(58)
During the post-Reconstruction years, the national Black Republican elite included P. B. S. Pinchback, Frederick Douglass, Robert Smalls, Blanche Kelso Bruce, John Langston, John R. Lynch, Norris Wright Cuney, Dr. James Townsend, John Francis Patty, and Charles B. Wilson. While Bruce probably knew all of these men, he developed the closest contact with Douglass. He was especially critical of former Senator Bruce because of his association with Washington's mulatto elite and the distance he maintained from masses of the Black community. Five years before his death, Robert Smalls promised to assist Bruce to get his textbook for Black youth, published in 1910, adopted for use in South Carolina schools. Bruce admired Pinchback's political career in the District and recognized him as "among the last of the Old Guard." Bruce also solicited a job recommendation from Townsend to Senator William E. Chandler of New Hampshire.(59)
Bruce's strongest Support for Republican patronage employment came from Charles S. Clarkson, Senator William E. Chandler, and Charles W. Anderson. Clarkson and Chandler were white politicians with considerable influence upon the appointment of Blacks. Anderson was probably the most powerful Black politician in the North during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Charles S. Clarkson has been described by the historian Louis Harlan as "a champion of the spoils system and opponent of the Civil Service Commission." Bruce considered him his "lifelong and truest white friend." Clarkson served as Postmaster of Des Moines, Iowa, from 1871 to 1877 and as a member and then chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1880-1896. For supporting Benjamin Harrison's successful presidential campaign and organizing important Black Republicans, Clarkson was rewarded with appointment as First Assistant Postmaster General in 1889. During his brief tenure in the Post Office, Clarkson was instrumental in the hiring of Blacks for postal positions. And although he only served in this position for a year, he proudly used the title of"General" for the rest of his life.(60)
Clarkson moved to New York City in 1891 and established a bridge construction company. In 1902 his former adversary, civil service reformer Theodore Roosevelt, appointed him to head the New York Customs office. Clarkson was also Roosevelt's liaison man for Black federal appointments and Black political strategy. Later, Booker T. Washington was able to force Clarkson into a lesser role in Black Republican affairs after Washington found out that he had conferred with Washington's enemies in 1904. Clarkson retired from public life after leaving the Customs office in 1910.(61)
Clarkson became friends with Bruce while serving on the Republican National Committee. During this period, Bruce was the Washington correspondent for the Cleveland Gazette. Clarkson was impressed with Bruce's articles and the paper's consistent Republican support. Since Ohio had a strong Black Democratic movement in the mid to late 1880s, Clarkson was looking for ways to firm up Black Republican support. In a letter dated March 21, 1891, Clarkson praised the "Negro race for patience, love of the South, and nearness to God." Agreeing that Black progress had been "a little delayed," he pledged to work hard to "redeem to the black race the convent made by the Union Army and Abraham Lincoln."(62)
Clarkson and Bruce maintained a lengthy correspondence from the early 1890s to the First World War, and he assisted Bruce in securing financial aid for publishing his newspapers during campaign periods. For example, The Weekly Argus received party support in the 1880 election, the Washington Grit had GOP backing during the 1884 campaign, and the Pilot received aid in 1892. For his part, Bruce encouraged Clarkson to speak out against lynch violence in 1893. After a Black man had been burned to death by a white mob in Texas, Bruce requested an interview with Clarkson. "If you will speak out on this subject," Bruce advised, "it will do good and move the chicken hearted representatives of my race to at least enter a protest against a continuance of these barbarities." Clarkson declined the interview, informing Bruce that "he had already spoken on behalf of Southern Negroes."(63)
Three months before the fall election of 1892, Clarkson lobbied successfully for a clerk's position for Bruce in the Patent Office of the Department of the Interior. His continued criticism of the Republican Party bureaucracy probably hindered his patronage prospects for higher-status jobs. For example, one year prior to this appointment, Bruce wrote a strong rebuttal to the the Government Official for a negative editorial on "Negro cooks." "You belong to that breed of Republicans," asserted Bruce, "who love the Negro in the abstract." He continued, "if the rank and file of the Republican Party were as narrow and bigoted and prejudiced against the Negro holding responsible positions -- then the Negro race would...join forces with the Democratic party and drive you all into merited obscurity."(64)
Bruce entered his new position with enthusiasm and a desire to serve his party's interests. He quickly helped organize a debating society among the Black employees of the Interior's Patent and Land Offices, and in September 1892, he established the National Capital House-Cleaning Bureau. This effort was one of Bruce's numerous short-lived business ventures which he pursued sporadically throughout his life. To secure clients, he depended upon his many contacts in the Black domestic world acquired during his youth as well as the assistance of prospective white employers such as Mrs. John A. Logan, editor, Home Magazine.(65)
Cleveland's election to his second term as President and the transition to a Democratic administration ended Bruce's employment in the Interior Department. He received his official notice of discharge from Hoke Smith, the new Secretary. Bruce considered Smith a "Georgia viper" and accepted his "walkin papers" as an eventual outcome of a political turnover.(66)
Bruce requested Clarkson's assistance again in July 1898. Clarkson, acknowledging Bruce's continued employment troubles, "promised help toward securing [a] suitable position." In June 1899 Clarkson approached Senator Thomas Collier Platt, New York's Republican boss, for a job for Bruce with the federal census. After this option failed, Clarkson reported to Bruce that a job under Republican state government would be the best possibility since "he doubted that the secretary of the [United States] Senate has any appointments." In 1902 Clarkson finally secured a patronage position for Bruce in the Port of New York after he was appointed Surveyor of New York Customs. When Bruce complained about the appointment of a co-worker in April 1903, Clarkson advised him to curtail his comments because people "kicked" him more over Bruce's appointment than any other. Clarkson probably touched upon the frustration and precarious nature of Bruce's career in journalism when he observed in a letter to Bruce: "You ought to be using your fine ability for the gain of a large income. I cannot understand why some newspaper or other people or associations needing such work as you can do do not employ you."(67)
Throughout Bruce's odyssey in search of a patronage appointment with the Republican Party, he also turned to Senator William E. Chandler and Charles W. Anderson. Chandler was a Senator from New Hampshire, a former Secretary of the Navy under President Arthur, "an expert on southern affairs," and considered "a friend to the Negro." From 1882-1885, he directed the Arthur administration's southern policy of supporting independent and fusion politics to overthrow Bourbon hegemony in the South.(68)
It is not clear how Chandler and Bruce became friends, but they doubtless knew of each other through Republican circles. Chandler's role in southern politics was critical to Blacks, and Bruce's articulate criticism of the Party was often read by white leaders. On April 1, 1890, Chandler informed Dr. James M. Townsend that "Your letter in reference to Mr. Bruce coincides with my notions. I shall not get another colored man a place until I can get a suitable one for...J. E. Bruce." Townsend, a prominent Black Republican, was a former member of the Indiana legislature and the District's current Recorder of the General Land Office. Bruce had solicited Townsend's assistance in persuading Chandler to secure an appointment for him. Seven days later, Bruce tried to sweeten his approach by informing Chandler he had dedicated a book to him. Both efforts failed to produce a government position.(69)
While Clarkson tried to secure Bruce an appointment in 1899, Bruce again requested Chandler's intervention in his search for employment. On December 20, 1899, Chandler told Bruce:
Suffice it to say that when the Senate reorganization takes place, I shall be very glad to help you get an appointment that will enable you to earn your living. As you do not live in New Hampshire, I shall want you to get all the support you can.,(70)
Bruce was unsuccessful in this bid for an appointment, and records do not exist to indicate how much support Senator Chandler actually delivered. They did continue to correspond up to the First World War. Clearly, Chandler admired Bruce's commitment to the Republican Party, while Bruce viewed Chandler as an important resource who could influence legislation related to the Black community.(71)
In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt appointed Charles W. Anderson "to what was," according to the historian Glibert Osofsky, "undoubtedly the most responsible and important federal office held by any Negro politician in the early twentieth century: Collector of Internal Revenue for the Second New York District---the Wall Street District." Anderson had arrived in New York in 1886 at the age of twenty, and had immediately become active in Republican politics. In 1890 he Was elected President of the Young Men's Colored Republican Club of New York County, a position which became a stepping stone to a series of political appointments: gauger in the Second District of New York (1890-1893); private secretary to New York State's Treasurer (1893-1895); Chief Clerk in the State Treasury (1895-1898), Supervisor of Accounts for the New York Racing Commission (1895-1905); Supervisory Agent of the State Agriculture Department in New York City (1916-1923); and Collector of Internal Revenue for the Twenty-third District---the Harlem District (1923-1927). Largely self-educated, Anderson was intensely loyal to Booker T. Washington, and he was considered a consummate politician and a tenacious adversary by all of his contemporaries.(72)
Bruce first came in contact with Anderson in 1886. Anderson was working with the Mail and Express, a New York newspaper, and writing to all "Associated Correspondents of Race Newspapers." He was recruiting support for the Republican Party and outlining strategy for the Congressional elections of 1886. Bruce maintained periodic contact with Anderson for the next thirty years. They worked together in New York, and Anderson appreciated Bruce's assertive voice on behalf of Republican politics in the Black press. Still, while Anderson did not oppose the minor party appointments held by Bruce, he did not aggressively push his white colleagues to allocate Bruce a fulltime position. Anderson did, however, provide financial assistance during difficult times and supplied Bruce with personal information for his newspaper columns.(73)
It is ironic that during the years of Bruce's greatest prestige as a journalist he had to struggle to find full-time employment. This was a humbling experience that could have broken his spirits. He stayed productive, however, and continued to contribute to a wide range of race publications. His desire for a patronage appointment fueled his participation in Republican politics. Through Charles S. Clarkson, Bruce finally secured a minor federal appointment with the Port of New York, and he worked in this capacity for over twenty years until poor health forced his retirement in 1921. At the same time, Bruce's long association with the Republican Party was severed during the First World War. After supporting the war effort, Bruce became disillusioned with the government's inability to translate the international rhetoric of democracy into a domestic reality for all Americans. He then committed his passion for politics and organizational struggle to the Garvey Movement.(74)
(2) John Edward Bruce, "Prospectus," The Weekly Argus, September 8, 1879, Bruce Papers, B. 8-26 (#923), Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, New York, New York (hereafter, SCRBC); Peter Gilbert, editor, The Selected Writings of John Edward Bruce: Militant Black Journalist (New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1971), 7; and Bess Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward: The Black Response to National Politics, 1876-1896 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1987), 36.
(3) Bess Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward: The Black Response to National Politics, 1876-1896, 46-47.
(4) William Cohen, At Freedom's Edge: Black Mobility and the Southern White Quest for Racial Control, 1861-1915 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991), 210-213; Herbert Shapiro, White Violence and Black Response: From Reconstruction to Montgomery (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1988), 5-29 and 30-63; and George Brown Tindall and David E. Shi, America: A Narrative History, Vol. Two (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992), 774-780.
(5) Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 53-59.
(6) Ibid., 174.
(7) Bruce, "Public Men I Have Met," n.d., Bruce Papers, B. 5-26 (#2130), SCRBC; I. Garland Penn, The Afro-American Press and Its Editors (Springfield, Massachusetts: Willey and Company, 1891; Reprint: New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1969), 111.
(8) Bruce, "Prospectus," The Weekly Argus, September 8, 1879, Bruce Papers, B. 8-126 (#923), Bruce Papers, SCRBC; and the Topeka Tribune, June 24 and September 9,16, 1880 quoted in Beatty, A Revolution gone Backward, 37.
(9) Bruce to Garfield, October 4, 1880; and March 17, 1881, James A. Garfield Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
(10) Bruce, "To Fellow Citizens," 1880, B. 6-43 (#925); "The Cowardice of Disfranchisement," 1880 B. 9-106 (#928); "The Federal Elections Bill," 1880B. 6-44 (#926), Bruce Papers, SCRBC; and Richard Welch, Jr., "The Federal Elections Bill of 1890: Postscripts and Prelude," Journal of American History, 52 (December, 1965), 511-526.
(11) Bruce, Article, 1880, B. 9-131 (#927), "People Talked About," 1895?, B. 9-128 (#1200); and Bruce, "The Man Revealed," 1881?, B. Misc. 13-40, Bruce Papers, SCRBC. "The Man Revealed" column was probably written in 1889 rather than the suggested date of 1881 since Blanche Kelso Bruce served as recorder of the deeds, District of Columbia, during the administration of President Harrison (1889-1893). Bruce collected $1.50 per transaction, employed as many clerks as he deemed necessary, paid them as little as possible, and pocketed the surplus funds. This was a well established tradition that made the recorder of deeds a desired political appointment for Black and white politicians. See Samuel L. Shapiro, "Blanche Kelso Bruce (1841-1898)," in Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, editors, Dictionary of American Negro Biography-Mew York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1982), 74-76.
(12) Willard B. Gatewood, Aristocrats of Color: The Black Elite, 1880-1920 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 35; and Brace Grit, "Character of B.K. Bruce," Washington Colored American, March 26, 1898.
(13) Shapiro, "Blanche Kelso Bruce (1841-1898)," 75-76.
(14) Nell Irvin Painter, Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1978), 14-16; Shapiro, "Blanche Kelso Bruce (1841-1898, 74-76; Gatewood, Aristocrats of Color, 33-38; and Bruce Grit, "Character of B.K. Bruce."
(15) Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 49.
(16) Bruce, New York Globe, April 21, 1883.
(17) Proceedings of the State Convention of Colored Men of South Carolina," pamphlet, John M. Langston Papers, Fisk University Library, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee quoted in Beatty,, 53-54.
(18) Bruce, "The Sixth Resolution," 1883, B. 9-60 (#942), Bruce Papers, SCRBC. Bruce re-endorsed this document with the notations "My sentiments still" in 1886, 1887, and 1909. Bruce was scheduled to attend the Louisville convention, according to letter from Joseph Horn. He did not file a post convention report among his papers. See Joseph Horn to Bruce, September 17, 1883, MS. 176 (#939), Bruce Papers, SCRBC; and Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 55.
(19) Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 56-57.
(20) Bruce, "Reflections on the Decision in the Civil Rights Cases," November 1, 1883, B.6-47 (#940), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(21) Bruce, "Is This Our Country," November 7, 1883, B.799 (#941), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(23) Bruce, editorial, Washington Grit, January 26, 1884, 4; and Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 64-65.
(24) Bruce, editorial, Washington Grit, May 5, June 7, and August 30, 1884; Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 64; H. C. Lodge to Bruce, August 1, IB83, Bruce 396 (#946); and B. J. Jones, Republican National Committee, to Bruce, August 22, 1883, Bruce 417 (#948), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(25) Bruce, Untitled article, N.d.B. 6-84 (#2132); "Reflections on the Decision in the Civil Rights Cases," November 1, 1883, B. 6-47 (#940); and "Public Men I Have Met and Known," N.d., B. 5-26 (#2130), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(26) Bruce, "The Democratic Party and the Negro," September 4, 1884, B.L. 4-10 (#949); Hubert Gutman, "Pioneer Negro Socialist," Journal of Negro Education, (Fall, 1965); Paul McStallworth, "Peter Humphries Clark (1829-1925)," in Logan and Winston, editors, Dictionary of American Negro Biography, 114-116; and Frederick Douglass quoted in Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 73-74.
(27) Grover Cleveland quoted in Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 74; and Daniel Lamont, Private Secretary to President Grover Cleveland, to Bruce, April 23, 1885, Bruce L. 1. (#956), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(28) Bruce, "Public Men I Have Met and Known."
(29) Beatty, A Revolution. Gone Backward, 85; and Bruce, Untitled article, 1885, B. 7-101 (#963), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(30) Bruce, New York Age, November 12 and 26, 1887; Editorial, May 21, 1888, B. 6-66 (#985), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(31) Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 90-91; T. Thomas Fortune, The New York Freedman, May 28, 1BB7 and New York Age, September 8, and October 5, and 9, 1887; Emma Lou Thornbrough, "The National Afro-American League, 1887-1908," Journal of Southern History, XXVII (1961), 494-499; Michael L. Gooldstein, "Preface to the Rise of Of Booker T. Washington: A View From New York City of the Demise of Independent Black Politics," Journal of Negro History, LXII (January, 1977), 84-86; August Meier, Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915: Racial Ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1966), 129; Bruce to Timothy T. Fortune, July 24, 1891, Bruce B. 14 (#1072); Alexander Crummell to Bruce, November 6, 1897, Bruce Papers, B.L. 4-42 (#1266), SCRBC; this 44 letter refers to Fortune's problems with alcohol well before 1907; Emma Lou Thornbrough, "T(imothy) Thomas Fortune, 18561927," in Logan and Winston, editors, Dictionary of American Negro Biography, 236-238; and I. Garland Penn, The Afro-American Press and Its Editors (Springfield, Massachusetts: Wiley and Company, 1891, Reprint, New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1969), 344. Fortune was best known for his articulate defense of political independence in his publications that included: Black and White: Land, Labor and Politics in the South (New York: Fards, Howard & Hulbert, 1884, Reprint; New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1968); and the pamphlet, The Negro in Politics (New York, 1886).
(32) Fortune, New York Freedman, May 28, 1887.
(33) Meier, Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915, 129; Thornbrough, "T(imothy) Thomas Fortune, 1856-1927," 236; and Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 90-91, and 130.
(34) Bruce, The Blot on the Eschutcheon (Washington, D.C: R. L. Pendleton, 1890), 18. The Washington, D.C. chapter was designated Branch No. 1. Peter Gilbert contends that the Washington convention was the largest of the League's meetings. Bruce was introduced by Rev. James Matthew Townsend, a leader of the Black Republicans in Indiana and a one term state legislator. See Gilbert, editor, The Selected Writings of John Edward Bruce, 33.
(35) Meier, Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915, 172-174; and Emma Lou Tharnbrough, "T(imothy) Thomas Fortune, 1856-1927," 236-237.
(36) J. Morgan Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974), 238-239; William Cohen, At Freedom's Edge: Black Mobility and the Southern White Quest for Racial Control, 1861-1915 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1991), 208-209; and Bruce, "The Application of Force," October 5, 1889, Bruce Papers, B. 7-82 (#1003), SCRBC.
(37) Cohen, At Freedom's Edge, 210-211; and Robert L. Zangrando, The NAACP and Crusade against Lynching, 1909-1950 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980. Zangrando reports that the overwhelming majority of lynchings took place in the South. From 1880 to 1968, the former Confederate states accounted for 3,099. See Zangrando, Table 2, 6-7; and Cohen, Table 9, 211.
(38) Bruce, "The Application of Force," 1.
(39) Ibid., 4-5.
(40) Ibid., 5.
(41) Bruce, "White Christianity," March, 1891, Bruce Papers, B. 9-73 (#1057), SCRBC.
(42) Ibid., 2.
(44) Bruce, "The Blot on the Escutcheon," 5.
(46) Bruce, The Blood Red Record: A Review of the Horrible Lynighings and Burning of Negroes by Civilized White Men in the United States (Albany, New York: The Argus Company, 1901), 3 and 7.
(47) Ibid., 25.
(48) Ibid., 26.
(49) Bruce, editorial, 1919, B.L. 4-4 (#1834); Senator William M. Calder to Bruce, September 10, 1922, B. Misc. 13-57 (#1966); "Not Reported By the Associated Press," N.d., B. 9-77 (#2136); and "Senator William M. Calder and the Negro," August 8, 1923, Bruce. C. 12 (#2005), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(50) Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 171-172; and Alexander Crummell to Bruce, December 5, 1896, Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(51) Logan, Betrayal of the Negro, 93; Bruce, "The Negro and His Future," 1899, Bruce Papers, B. 9-71 (#1373'), SCRBC; Gilbert, editor, The Selected Writings of John E. Bruce, 59-60; and Bruce, "Gotham Notes," Colored American, August 4, 1900.
(52) Bruce, "The Call of a Nation," 1912, Bruce. MS. F. 105 (Not listed in the the Calendar), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(53) William Tuttle, Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (New York: Atheneum, 1980), 208-241; Bruce, "Negro Militancy and the Race Riots of 1919," and "Bruce Grit's Column," 1919, quoted in Gilbert, editor, The Selected Writings of John E. Bruce, 7-8, and 154.
(54) Calvin Coolidge to Bruce, August 20, 1923, Bruce C. 12 (#2005); Warren G. Harding to Bruce, June 30, 1920, MS. 46 (#1859); Bruce, "Washington," 1916?, B. 9-130 (#1754); and "The Issues and the Negro," B. 9-4 (#1743), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(55) Philip Foner, editor, The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass (New York: International Publishers, 1945), 477.
(56) Nell Ervin Painter, Exodusters, 17-35; and Edwin Redkey, Black Exodus, 1-23.
(57) Henry Lewis Suggs, The Black Press in the South, 1865-1879 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1983), 7; also review Suggs, P. B. Young, Newspaperman: Race, Politics, and Journalism in the New South, 1910-1962 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1988).
(58) Robert A. Hill, editor, The Marcus Garvey Papers and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. 1 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 200; James S. Clarkson to Bruce, April 1, 1903, B.L. 4a-12 (#1433), Brace Papers, SCRBC; Clarkson was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt and served as Surveyor of New York Customs from 1902-1910. He was described in the Calendar of Manuscripts, Bruce Papers, 422, as a "life-long and truest white friend of John Edward Bruce." For additional information on Clarkson and Bruce see: Louis R. Harlan and Raymond W. Smock, editors, The Booker T. Washington Papers (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), Vol. 4, 114 and Vol. 7, 219.
(59) P.B.S. Pinchback (1837-1921) was appointed Surveyor of Customs, Port of New Orleans, by President Chester Arthur. He served from 1082 to 1885. Douglass was appointed Marshal of the District of Columbia in March, 1877, by President Hayes. He served as Recorder of Deeds under Presidents Garfield, Arthur, and Cleveland, from 1881 to 1886. He was appointed Minister-Resident and Consul-general to Haiti by President Harrison and served from 1890 to 1891.
Robert Smalls (1839-1915) was elected to Congress from South Carolina in 1874, 1876, 1880, and 1884. He was appointed Collector of Customs, Port of Beaufort, South Carolina, in April, 1889 by President Harrison. Smalls served in this position until 1912. Blanche Kelso Bruce (1841-1898) served as the U.S. Senator from Mississippi from 1875-1881. He was the Register of the Treasury (1881-1885) under Presidents Garfield and Arthur; Recorder of Deeds, District of Columbia, during the Harrison administration (1889-1893); and was appointed Register of the Treasury again by President McKinley. in 1897.
John Langston (1829-1897) served as Dean, Howard University Law School (1870-1873), and Vice-President and Acting President of Howard (1873-1875). He was appointed Resident-Minister and Consul-general to Haiti by President Hayes and served from 1877 to 1885. In 1890, he was elected to Congress from Virginia. John R. Lynch (1847-1939) was elected to Congress in 1872, 1874, 1880. He was appointed by President Harrison as the Fourth Auditor of the Treasury for the Navy Department (1889-1893). In 1898, President McKinley selected him as Paymaster of Volunteers in the Spanish-American War with a rank of Major in the Army.
Norris Wright Cuney (1846-1896) served as Collector of Customs, Galveston, Texas from 1889 to 1893 in the Harrison administration. Harrison also appointed Dr. James Townsend (1841-1905) Recorder of the General Land Office at Washington; John Francis Patty was named Naval Officer at New Orleans and Charles B. Wilson served as Surveyor General of Louisiana. It is interesting to note that all of these men excluding Townsend, Patty, and Wilson had white fathers and were former slaves. See: Bess Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 109; Emma Lou Thornbrough, "P[inckneyl BEenton] S[tewart] Pinchback (1837-1921);" Benjamin Quarles, "Frederick Douglass (1817-1895);" Philip Sterling, "Robert Smalls (1839-1915);" Samuel L. Shapiro, "Blanche Kelso Bruce (1842-1898);" Frank R. Levstik, "John Mercer Langston (1829-1897);" John Hope Franklin, "John Roy Lynch (1847-1939); and Rayford W. Logan, Norris Wright Cuney (1846-1896)," in Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, editors, Dictionary of American Negro Biography, 493-494; 181-186; 560-561; 74-76; 381-382; 407-409; and 151-152.
Anonymous (John E. Bruce), "The Man Revealed," 1881?, B. Misc. 13-40 (#933); Robert Smalls to Bruce, April 7, 1910, Bruce S. B. (#1557), John E. Bruce to Gentlemen of the Committee to Honor P.B.S. Pinchback on his 80th Birthday, 1917?, B. 5-29, (#1778); and Senator W. E. Chandler to J. M. Townsend, April 1, 1890, B-14 (#1012), Bruce Papers, SCRBC
(60) Harlan, editor, The Booker T. Washington Papers, Vol. 4, 114; Calendar of Manuscripts, 422, Bruce Papers, SCRBC; and Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 101-102.
(61) Harlan, editor, The Booker T. Washington Papers. Vol. 4, 114.
(62) In 1884, Bruce reported that Blacks in Ohio had planned to join the Democratic Party in large numbers. This was an alliance between disillusioned northern Black Democrats and white Mugwumps. John E. Bruce, "The Democratic Party and the Negro," September 4, 1884, B.L. 4-10 (#949), Bruce Papers, SCRBC; and Bruce, Cleveland Gazette, July 12, 1884; Bess Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 69; and James S. Clarkson to Bruce, March 21, 1891, B.L. 4a-61 (#1054).
(63) Bruce to James S. Clarkson, February 6, 1893, Bruce C. 8 (#1119); Clarkson to Bruce, February 8, 1893, Bruce C. 8 (#1120); Clarkson to Bruce, November 30, 1891, Bruce C. 19 (#1090), Brace Papers, SCRBC.
(64) James S. Clarkson to John E. Bruce, July 13, 1892, B.L. 4a-39 (#1101), Clarkson enclosed a copy of his letter to John W. Noble, Secretary, Department of the Interior. He informed Bruce that he requested Noble to "give you the place you desire." John E. Bruce to Editor, The Government Official, August 6, 1891, B.L. 4-5 (no journal entry), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(65) Thomas S. Lovett, John Edward Bruce, J.A. Roston, G. William Cole, Henry Green, Easan Williamsm, J. C. Smith, and Thomas L. Jones, Washington, D.C., Agreement to form debating society among employees of Patent Office and Land Office, Interior Department, 1892-1893?, B. 8-120 (#1117); Mrs. John A. Logan to Bruce, September 30, 1892, B.L. 4a-60 (#1103), and 1893, Bruce L. 2 (#1118), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(66) Hoke Smith, Secretary of the Interior, to John E. Bruce, May 10, 1893, Bruce 418 (#1130), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(67) James S. Clarkson to Edward Bruce, February 25, 1899, MS. 253 (#1325); Bruce initially requested Clarkson's assistance on July 18, 1898, Clarkson indicated that his response was "delayed due to illness;" Clarkson to Bruce, June 30, 1899, Bruce 309 (#1350); February 5, 1900, B.L. 4a-44 (#1380); April 1, 1903, B. 4-12 (#1433); December 12, 1904, B. 4-3 (not listed in the Calendar), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(68) Beatty, A Revolution Gone Backward, 46-47.
(69) Senator William E. Chandler to Dr. James M. Townsend, April 1, 1890, B.L. 4a-14 (#1012); Chandler to John E. Bruce, April 8, 1890, MS. 108 (#1013); Bruce Papers, SCRBC; and Calendar of Manuscripts, 455.(69)
(70) Chandler to Bruce, December 20, 1699, B.L. 4a-1 (#1369), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(71) Bruce to Chandler, April 30, 1909, B.L. 4-70 (#1520); and Chandler to Bruce, March 7, 1910, B.L. 9-10 (#1546), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(72) Gilbert Osofsky, Harlem: The Making of A Ghetto; Negro New York, 1890-1930 (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), 163; 166-168; and Barry A. Crouch, "Charles William Anderson (18661938)," in Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, editor, Dictionary of American Negro Biography, 14-15. Anderson served as Collector of the Internal Revenue's Second District until 1915; he was removed by President Woodrow Wilson along with most Black federal office holders.
(73) Charles William Anderson to John E. Bruce, 1886?, Bruce. 333 (#954), Bruce Papers, SCRBC. This correspondence was estimated to be drafted in 1884 by the Calendar of Manuscripts. The more probable date would be 1886, Anderson's first year in New York. Anderson to Bruce, June 21, 1909, MS. 271 (#1524); June 17, 1916, B.L. 4-61 (#1734); Anderson to Bruce, June 22, 1917, MS. 254 (#1771), Bruce Papers, SCRBC.
(74) Cornell, "The Life and Thought of John Edward Bruce," 59-60; John E. Bruce, "Anglo-Saxon Concepts of Justice," 1918, B. 9-13 (#1798), Bruce Papers, SCRBC; Ralph L. Crowder, "`Grand Old Man of the Movement': John Edward Bruce, Marcus Garvey, and the UNIA," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, forthcoming 2002.…