To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Referring to your editorial of October 1 upon the question of a lynching recently perpetrated in Omaha, Neb., permit me to comment on the subject. The writer of this article has just finished his third year of connection with the Omaha Daily News as a reporter, and has recently returned from Omaha, after spending the summer there.
Omaha records show upon investigation by police reporters that there were 28 outrages and assaults upon white females, the youngest being a girl of 12 years and the oldest a gray-haired wom-of 62, within the period from July 15 to September 6 of this year. All assailants in being described to police were described as negroes, and three negroes caught were actually identified. Newspapers, at the request of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, refrained from commenting upon the situation, merely publishing the facts of the cases. One of the negroes, identified as the assailant of three women, including a 16-year-old girl, was sentenced to six months in prison. The others still await trial in the state penitentiary, while the colored association collects money for their defense.
The writer agrees with the CRIMSON editorial condemning lynching, but asks any man what he would have done were he a resident of an ordinarily well-conducted and prosperous community in which such crimes had been perpetuated. Emigration of negro labor from the South to the Omaha packing plants, which are the second largest in the world, has been exceedingly great since 1917, and the total number of negroes is estimated at more than 10,000. The negro problem in the South, and now, as never before, in the Middle West, is steadily advancing to the fore. With the perpetration in Omaha of the basest crimes by negroes, the escape of most of the criminals, in spite of police vigilance, and the mediocre and insufficient punishment administered by the courts, the outbreak of a lynching fever was only to be ex-expected. The writer does not apologize for the outbreak, but merely attempts to explain its cause.
Furthermore, when the mayor of any city appears before a raucous mob which had not yet commenced violence, carrying in his hand a revolver with which he menaces as he orders dispersal of the crowd, and when this official happens to be a leading member of the law firm which has been hired to defend a negro identified as assailant of a white girl, who can answer for the safety of the foolhardy man? No wonder he was about to have been lynched!
It is indeed a proud statement for the CRIMSON to make that New England has not witnessed a lynching for 22 years, but Omaha had not seen one either for a similar period. Also, New England, fortunately, has no real "negro problem" with which to deal. Sol A. Rosenblatt '22.