Caribbean Series Sample Documents
Volume XII: ?--August 1941
Dorris Francis, Secretary, UNIA
Ladies' Division, Colon, to the Dispatch
[Colon, Sept. 15, 1919]]
Dear Mr. Editor---
I beg to thank you for a corner in your widely read journal to return thanks to the tender sex of my race for their support in the Universal Negro
Through the st[r]enuous efforts of Dr. S. P. Radway, Messrs. Gregwaw and B. N. Serjeant, one of the most
enthusiastic meetings of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, was held at their hall to form a Ladies Division
of the association.
Circulars and special invitations were sent to professional ladies and gentlemen of the race as well as the lay.
Dr. P. McD. Millard only responded, but had to return as the meeting did not commence at the precise hour given. From 3 o'clock,
coming from different angles were to be seen ladies and gentlemen of the race, and in less than no time the hall was crowded to its utmost capacity.
The meeting was then called to order by the chairman of the evening, Mr. B. N. Serjeant. After the singing of a hymn well chosen for
the occasion, a short prayer was offered, and Mr. J. H. Seymour, the local organizer, was called upon to give the opening address. In
a laudable way he told those present the business of the race towards the association and the interest they should all take in the Black Star Line.
Several other speakers gave flashes and dashes on the question of the Race's progress.
There were over forty ladies present whose names will appear in another issue of this paper, when they shall have formed themselves into their
One hour and a half elapsed in discourses, when it was made known by Dr. Radway, Chairman and Director for the Universal Association, that
there were some refreshments by way of ice cream and cool drinks prepared for the ladies; the scene was then changed. From the very broad smiles of
the gentlemen, one could observe that they think much of their Ladies' Division.
Dr. Radway asked that a collection in honor of the ladies be taken up from the gentlemen to show their appreciation, which was responded
On the resumption for business the ladies were called to order and the director briefly outlined the why and the wherefore of the division and the
manner of its working, and asked the expected members to avoid "grumbling" and stick to "harmony" in all their workings, as
grumbling is the great stumbling block in the way of many organizations, and that they must show to the male division that they can get along without
grumbling. Mrs. Crooks was then appointed pro tem for the chair. She made no hesitation in appointing Miss Dorris Francis as
Secretary; Miss Effie Smith, Ladies' Chaplain; Mrs. F. Keene, Treasurer; and Mrs. Ethel M. Goodall,
Vice-chairman. Other appointments would take place, but it was late, and as many of these ladies had to go home, the business of the evening came to
a close until Monday, the 15th inst., at 8 o'clock sharp, when other nominations and appointments were made for the division.
The introduction and shaking of hands of all, together with the smiling faces of the ladies, will remain long on the hearts of the stronger sex. I
hope we will continue to grow until we make ourselves an impregnable race of people.
In closing I beg to thank the public again for their support, and hope for a continuation of same for the future. Wishing the Ladies Division
success, I beg to remain, Mr. Editor, Yours truly,
MISS DORRIS FRANC[I]S
Secretary, Ladies' Division
Reproduced from NW, 11 October 1919. Headlines omitted.
Henry D. Baker, American Consul, British
West Indies, to Robert Lansing, U.S. Secretary of State
Trinidad, B.W.I., Oct. 5, 1919
Subject: Anarchistic Propaganda in Trinidad,
Through "The Negro World," of New York
I have the honor to state that thousands of copies of a paper published in New York, called "The Negro World" (at 56 West 135th Street),
are coming to Trinidad by every mail, and altho the local Postal Authorities burn every copy they can find of this publication, which is obviously
intended as prop[a]ganda to cause race troubles, and general anarchy, nevertheless it is believed that many copies escape destruction, and are
circulated in a surrepti[t]ious way throughout this Colony.
The local authorities here are much concerned as to the possible result the circulations of this paper may have here in tending to cause revolt of
the negro population, and general disorder.
My attention has been especially called to a paragraph appearing in the issue of August 2nd 1919, in an article signed by Marcus Garvey, wherein
I may say that as there was a Waterloo for the French in Europe, there shall be a Waterloo for the white man in Africa, for which I ask
all negroes to prepare[.] Steel shall match steel, and right shall trample might, and then, and not till then, will the savage who kills and burns
men all over the world because they are black realize that the life of a black man is a costly proposition. If we must be killed then let us also
kill all over the world. The millions of us in Africa and the West Indies ought to realize that men are killed in America simply because they are
black. We may not be able to kill back successfully, but we can kill /the/ hideous animal in Africa and the West Indies, following the doctrine that
any Chinaman is a Chinaman.
I enclose portions of the addressed and stamped wrappings in which this paper comes here, which show how the United States mails are being used
for the purpose of forwarding to a friendly country, papers directly inciting the negro population to acts of murder and anarchy. I have the honor to
be, Sir, Your obedient servant,
HENRY D. BAKER
Enclosures: Portions of wrappings.
DNA, RG 59, 811.918/133. TLS, recipient's copy. On consulate letterhead.
H. S. Blair, Manager, Panama Division,
United Fruit Company, to G. P. Chittenden, Manager,
United Fruit Company, Limon, Costa Rica
December nineteenth, Nineteen Nineteen
Referring to the Black Star Line steamer "Frederick Douglas" [Douglass] now in Colon and the representatives who may come here, I cabled
you yesterday afternoon as follows:---
Impossible to offer effective opposition representatives (Black Star Line). Assistance from Government cannot be expected. Have conferred
with local agents. Propose receiving them in friendly spirit as was done Cristobal. Very confident of better results (by this plan) than from
Mr. Peck reports that these people were given a free hand in Cristobal. Special trains were placed at their service at a minimum rate to bring the
people from Panama along the line. The dock to which the steamer was tied was open to passage without restriction. They are collecting a great deal
of money and there is for the present, great enthusiasm for the Black Star Line.
It is not likely that the "Frederick Douglas" will come here, tho we will be advised of that. We will also be advised if the
[r]epresentatives, including Henrietta Vinton Davis are coming here and when.
In view of the reception they had in Cristobal, it is useless for us to oppose them here. The only way we could do that effectively would be thro
the Government and the Government will do nothing.
I have conferred with the Black Star agent here, Sanders, and he assures me that when the representatives come the[y] will attend to Black Star
business only and will in no way create disturbances or interfere with the Company's business. He furthermore stated that they would stop from
now on all scurrilous publications in the Bocas Express. He said he would bring Miss Davis and the representatives direct to me for a conference
as soon as they came here and before anything was done. All this if I would facilitate them with some train service and allow a meeting in the
station house at Almirante.
All these promises may not be worth much, but I much prefer to take a chance on that plan than to offer opposition which I know will act as a
boomerang. Certainly if we had any scheme to ditch the whole thing we should do it. Since we can't, I prefer to be unconcerned and make all I can
out of their coming.
I have also talked to the Rev. Surgeon, the most influential colored minister here now and he quite agrees and will help.
Of course you understand we will work every line possible while showing a neutral to friendly attitude. It is well known here that I do not
consider the Black Star stock a good risk, but I have no doubt they will collect a good deal of money. That is what they are after and the more they
take away the better. My idea is that the more rope they are given the sooner they will hang themselves. The dupes who buy shares will be the losers,
but we cannot help that.
Capt. Birkes says the "Frederick Douglas" has a white First Officer and White Chief Engineer and that she brought fifteen white
passengers out of New York. As you may know she is the old Yarmouth, built in '82, 1452 tons gross, 725 tons net; was constructed for short trips
passenger trade and plied between Boston and Nova Scotia. She is good for 17 knots and to make longdistance trips such as the present, must fill up
with coal to the exclusion of almost all freight. She cannot therefore, be a big money maker.
What I am desirous of doing, is to get all of our laborers safely over Christmas and New Year and into the month of January without any break. If
we can do that I believe we will be in the clear. We are working up a big celebration for January third and pulling all lines to tide us over into
I am writing you at length to give you my view and diagnosis of the situation. There is just a chance that the representatives may not come here
at all. From present appearances I rather wish they would come. I will keep you fully advised of what occurs. Very truly yours,
[H. S. BLAIR]
UFC. TL, carbon copy.