American Series Sample Documents

Volume II: 27 August 1919--31 August 1920

Report by Special Agent C-C

New York, N.Y. Aug. 27 [1919]

In re: Negro Radical Activities in New York City, N.Y.

Spent the morning [26 August] with Prof. W. H. Ferris, literary editor of The Negro World at the office discussing the Press story, from Washington, D.C., concerning the unAmerican influences which are at the bottom of the Negro's unrest. Prof. Ferris attributed the unrest to be due to the constant [ag]itation of the Southerner and that the hope of the Negro was in the Socialist Party. He was of the opinion that Marcus Garvey should not have made the statements which he made at the big meeting.^1

Had a friendly chat with the various officers at the Marcus Garvy^2 headquarters.

Had a talk with Dr. Shaw,^3 of Boston, stopping for a short time at 43 W. 132 St. He was of the opinion that Marcus Garvey was too radical in his talk at the Big Meeting.

Had a talk with I. B. Allen, office cor. 7th. Ave., and 133 W[.] Allen [had] been an associate of Marcus Garvy in his work and soon found that Marcus Garvy was a fake and he, Allen had got in trouble with the Dept. of Justice's men when he would not tell the truth concerning unAmerican remarks which Marcus Garvy had made. Allen thinks that all of the type of Garvy and his W[es]t Indian Friends are doing the Negro race harm by their actions. . . .

Investigation to be continued.


[Endorsement] EmR

DNA, RG 65, file OG 258421. TD. Final sentence and endorsement are handwritten.

1. A reference to the UNIA mass meeting in Carnegie Hall on 25 August 1919.

2. Special Agent C-C consistently misspelled Garvey's name.

3. Rev. Dr. Matthew A. N. Shaw.

W. E. B. Du Bois to James Burghardt

[New York] August 27, 1919

Dear Jim:

Don't under any circumstances invest any money on the Black Star Line.^1 The District Attorney of New York County has pronounced its methods fraudulent.

How are you and how is the family? I am hoping to run up your way in my car this fall. Very sincerely yours,

[W. E. B. Du Bois]

[Address] Mr. James Burghardt, 206 Putnam Street, Bennington, VT.

MU, WEBDB, reel 7, frame 687. TL, carbon copy.

1. James Burghardt had written the following to Du Bois on 21 August 1919: "Dear Sir: Do you consider money invested in the Black Star Line Inc. with offices in the Crescent Building 36 & 38 West 135 St. a safe investment? An early answer would relieve the minds of quite a number of people in this vicinity" (MU, WEBDB). Burghardt was the family name of Du Bois's mother, which, according to Du Bois, was the "black side" of his family (W. E. B. Du Bois, Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil [1920; reprint ed., New York: Schocken Books, 1969], pp. 5--9).

Report by Special Agent C-C

New York, N.Y. Aug. 28 [1919]

In re: Negro Radical Activities in New York City[,] N.Y.

Called at the office of The Negro World and visited the various officers there. I am to assist the Capt. of the Black Star Steamship Co., as a technical advisor., which has the approval of Marcus Garvy. I told Garvy of the expected presence, in the city, of the President elect of Liberia,^1 Africa, at the request of Garvy I am to find where he is stopping so that Garvey can invite him to speak at one of his meetings at Liberty Hall and to have a conference with him.^2

Had an appointment with Dr. M. A. N. Shaw which he failed to keep.

I met and spent the afternoon [27 August] with E. H. Armstrong, 234 W 53 St[.,] here on a vacation from Washington, D.C., where he works as a messenger. He is the president and organizer and founder of the National Association for the Consolidation of the Colored Race. He is a Negro and his parents are from the West Indies or Central America. His organization has for its purpose the combining of the Negro producers, as farmers, mechanics, etc., for commercial ends. The organization has a membership of 3[8?],000 which he claims to be mostly in the South. The secret purpose of the organization is for the demanding of their rights in this country. I knew him in Washington. I introduced him to Marcus Garvy. He is to speak at the Salem Church, West 133 Street near the corner of Lenox Ave., at 4 P.M. on Sunday, August the 31st. He invited me to speak with him at the same meeting[.] He invited me to 225 West 138 St. to meet Mrs. T. J. Ricks who had been associated with him in several organizations here when he lived here. His home is in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Garvy is to hold a Big Meeting in Philadelphia, Aug. 31, and in Boston, Mass. Sept. 4.


[Endorsement] EmR

DNA, RG 65, file OG 258421. TD. Handwritten endorsement.

1. Charles Dunbar Burgess King (1877--1961) was born in Monrovia, Liberia, received an LL.D. degree at Liberia College, and practiced law in Montserrando County, Liberia. In I906 he was appointed attorney general, and in 1912 he was selected as Liberian secretary of state. He was nominated for the presidency in January 1919 and was elected in May 1919, while attending the Paris Peace Conference. He visited the United States in August 1919 to negotiate a U.S. government loan of $5 million in order to pay off Liberia's debts to European bankers. King's visit, which ended in failure, was monitored by British intelligence; according to one report, "When asked what he thought of the agitation among the American Negroes, the coloured President of Liberia said that that was a matter entirely for the American Negroes; he was a Liberian and was concerned only with Liberian politics" (PRO, CAB. 24/89, G.T. 8289, "Unrest among the Negroes," special report no. 10, 7 October 1919, p. 10). King remained president until 1930, when a League of Nations' expose of" 'shocking' conditions of slavery in Liberia" led to his resignation (DNA, RG 59, file 882.51/1259; NYT, 5 September 1961; Philadelphia Tribune, 13 September 1919; Philadelphia Tribune, 20 September 1919; Nancy K. Forderhase, "The Plans That Failed: The United States and Liberia, 1920--1935," [Ph.D. diss., University of Missouri, 1971]; Lloyd N. Beecher, Jr., "The State Department and Liberia, 1908--1941: A Heterogeneous Record," [Ph.D. diss., University of Georgia, 1971]).

2. King neither conferred with Garvey nor spoke at any UNIA meetings during his American visit.

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