Mary Church Terrell

Remarks Made at Mass Meeting - 13 November 1921

Mary Church Terrell
November 13, 1921
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Remarks Made at Mass Meeting, Nov. 13, 1921.

Since I am the only person on the platform this afternoon who has a drop of African blood in her veins. I represent not only the colore women of the United States but [those] of the whole continent of Africa as well. If it had been possible [for] me to bring you a message directly from the thousands of African women whose men have fallen bravely fighting in war waged by white men, often for causes [which] those black men did not understand they would say, Implore our white sisters not only to work not only for the limitation of armaments, [but] beseech them to do everything they can to wipe bloody, blighting blasting war entirely from the face of the earth.

Of the 400,000 colored men called to the colors in this country more than 200,000 of our fathers, husbands, borthers and sons were sent across the sea to fight to make the world safe for Democracy as rhey fondly believed. Manu a dusky hero lies under the sod in France to day and many have returned to this country horribly crippled and maimed. God grant that neither white nor colored women [will] ever have to pass thru this Gethsemane again. We are not selfish in expressing this desire for we look with horror and dismay upon the wholesale manner in which men are slauhtering each other with the death-dealing engines of War and by the most diabolical contrivances of Science which man’s evil genius can invent.

While colored women loathe and abhor War they are proud of the [military] record which their men have made. Colored men have never shirked the duty and responsibility of protecting the American flag In every war which this country has waged in the past colored men have fought with a patriotism and have died with a courage surpassed by none. It would be a melancholy comfort to African women [also] if they knew that at the battle of the Marne, when defeat and ruin the Allies seemed on the verge of defeat and ruin. it was the incomparable African soldiers fighting under the French flag that stoppped the onrush of white barbarism and saved civilization for the [world]

Colored women know they can do little to compass the end for which this meeting was called. We know we have little influence and power, bearing as we do a double burden- handicapped not only [because] of sex but on account of our race as well. But in our weak and humble way we promise to do everything we can to put a stop to War, noy on;y for the sake of our own race but for the sake of humanity as a whole. For we believe that when white men are no longer forced to spend so much money, energy, and time to planning the whole sale destruction of each other in bloody wars, they will think more and work harder to bring about the realization of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man

Terrell, Mary Church. “Remarks Made at Mass Meeting [on the Subject of War].” Mary Church Terrell Papers. Library of Congress. 13 November 1921.