Wilberforce, Ohio, Nov. 5, 1917.
Mr. Arthur B. Spingarn,
Counsellor at Law,
55 Liberty Street,
New York, N.Y.
My dear Mr. Spingarn:
The importance of your letter prevented my answering
it by telegram/. You see me between the horne of a dilemma:
desiring to smrve my people by accepting the position as one
of the Directors of the N. A. A. C. P. and again and above all
desiring to serve my Country in helping to win the war, which
as you know is the main issue now.
Whether or not my position, which is that of "a Retired
Officer of the Army on active duty" or will permit me to ac-
cept the directorship offered depends upon the attitude of
the Association toward the General Government and its policies
looking toward the successful prosecution of the war before
us. If loyalth to the Government both in word and action
(and I believe this to be the right attitude) is to be fore-
most and paramount, then I want to be a director and help with
all my remaining might.
I hope you agree with me that during a war of one's
country, the Country and Government come first and the people
second; in time of peace the order should be reversed. At
this time, I am unwilling to consent to the grasping of any
advantage, however, great, even should it extend to the com-
plete rehabilitation of my race in the U.S., should it be
made to the disadvantage of or tying for one moment the hands
of the government by agitation of the Negro people because of
discriminations against them.
Absolute unity of all my people with all other good
Americans laying aside all racial differences until after the
war is what I favor. In short, duties not rights.
If you Committee with full understanding of this my
attitudecohooses to propose me as one of the directors of the
N. A. A. C. P. I accept the honor with thanks
For country and race always,
Colonel U. S. retd.