Friday, June 28, 2019

If You Don't Take Us; They Are Going to Kill Us

Sumner Courthouse in Tallahatchie County Courthouse
Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.  
On April 8, 1912, Jerry Weekly was seeking help to free his wife and children along with others who were held on Jerry Robinson Plantation in Swan Lake. The following letter is a reprint from the peonage files at the National Archives. 

We poor colored men here in the State of Mississippi and poor women does ask the Civil Government to please please send us someone here to take us out of this place our wives and children are naked and barefooted and we are the same they have here what is known as pennick slavery they go to work and beat poor negroes with sticks and shoot them and kill them juke like they were wild bears in the woods and we make big crops here and they won't settle with us they just work us like dogs and mules and they just take our labor if you think we are lying please send your men here and just let them see our little naked children and wives and come and question with the labor on the place. When you send someone please send them to carry us away if you don't they will shoot us down after they are gone, please come and take us away from here. They only give us half enough to eat. The man is Jerry Robinson and Harry Beaton Robinson of Albin, Mississippi and all down Swan Lake and had people whipped with straps weight about 6 pounds they whip here just like they do in Penitentiary if they hire us to work by the day they don't pay for that they don't pay for nothing and won't furnish clothes.  We are just forced to make some complaint to ask for help and if the Civil Law don't whip us we are bound to die for the need of help through written and signed by Sam Dromond and Jake Ricks, Harry Henry and Joe Herring and Joe Roundtree and Will Smith and Joe Carson and Jerry Weekly. 

Case Study: 

When was Jerry born? 1893. 

Was he married? He was married to Emma Weekly, 

Did he and Emma have children?  Jerry and Emma were the parents of; Isaiah, Son, James, Beatrice, Georgia, Wille and Esther Weekly.

What was his occupation? Farmer

Did he own or rent it home? He rented his home

Could he read or write? According to the 1920 United States Census, he couldn't read or write.

Are there other people living in the community with the surname Weekly? Yes, there are others who live in Charleston Community with the last name Weekly.

I want to point out that Jerry Weekly U.S. World War I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918 listed Jerry Robinson as his employer in Swan Lake, Mississippi. It also said that he was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. Jerry Robinson held Jerry Weekly and others in involuntary servitude on his plantation. 





Sunday, March 25, 2018

National Congress of Mothers Files a Pleas for Missing Girls 1921


Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia

Hons Warren. G. Harding
President of the United States,
Washington, D.C.


Dear Mr. President:


Warren Harding
The 29th President of the United States
You will be interested in the enclosed copy of the Columbia Sentinel, published at Thomson, Ga. the Junior Senator from Georgia is the editor of this paper.

Your particular attention is directed to the matter under the head: " Some Very Interesting Editorial Notes on state and national affairs. "which reads as follows:

The National Congress of Mothers, assembled at Washington, April 27th, filed a plea for "missing girls." We learn that sixty-five thousand girls disappeared from their homes last year, and nothing is known of their whereabouts.''

A great majority of these girls were captured by Catholic Priest and sentenced to slavery in House of the Good Shepherd, etc.  In Keiley's establishment, at Savannah, Ga., there may probably be a score or more of those missing girls.

The laws of Georgia require that Bishop Kelley's slave pen shall be inspected by officers of the courts of Chatham County, but the Bishop of Savannah informs us that he gets his law from Rome, and, therefore, he cannot recognize laws made in this country.

The question is, shall Bishop Kelly be permitted to continue to laugh at our laws? Catholic Priests have no right to lure innocent girls into captivity, where they become victims of Priestly immorality.
Woodrow Wilson
The 28th President of the United States
The Bishop of Savannah has no right to run a "peonage farm" within his jurisdiction.

Sixty-five thousand girls are lost in our big cities each year; they fall into traps set for them by Rome. Our laws owe them protection. Priests who are not permitted to marry, should not be allowed to capture young maidens and use them to satisfy lustful desires. 

You will observe that the leading article on this pages states that "it remains to be seen whether the people of this country be blinded by the hypocrisies and fault pretenses of Warren C. Harding, as they were by those of Woodrow Wilson, " and that "the Roman Catholic Church dictates to Harding, Just as it dictated to "Wilson."

According to the Black and Missing Foundation, 64,000 black women and girls were missing nationwide in 2014. Also according to the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person Files, there are over 88,040 active missing person records. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Permission Needed to Leave the Plantation in 1953

Whitney Plantation Record
I'll just call him Jerry to protect his identity. I met with Jordan Brewington and Ashley Rogers, employees at Whitney Plantation,  to analyze some new genealogical records and other records that indicated that peonage practices took place on the plantation.  In a letter that was written on February 23, 1953, from a man with the last name Andrews from Green & Gold Plantation. 

He was writing to the owner or manager of Whitney Plantation in Wallace, La., he was writing asking for permission for Jerry to get his belongings from the plantation. He also understood that Jerry owed a balance of about $25, and he has six days time to his credit. Andrews was asking Whitney Plantation to bill him the difference as soon as possible. 

Jerry is just one of the many people that worked on the plantation and could leave because they were indebted to the owners and plantation.  The letter clearly states that Jerry was going to work on Green & Gold Plantation. I can't imagine no one having on a plantation in 1953 and needed permission to move or get their belonging. Many of the files I reviewed said that people who were trying to leave the plantation couldn't get their belongings and some couldn't get their children or family. 


A disturbing letter I found in the files at the National Archives dated April 8, 1912, to the Civil Government of the United States: Gentlemen,

We poor colored men here in the State of Mississippi and poor women does ask the Civil Government to please, please send us someone here to take us out of this place our wives and children are naked and barefooted and we are the same, they have here what is known as pennick slavery, they go to work and beat poor negroes with sticks and shoot them and kill them just like they were shooting wild bears in the woods adn we have big crops here and they won't settle with us they just work us like dogs and mules, and they just take our labor if you think we are lying please send your men here and just let them see our little-naked children and wives adn come and question with the labor on the place. When you send someone, please send them to carry us away if you don't they will shoot us down after they are gone, please come and take us away from, here they only give us half enough to eat.  Jerry Robinson and Harry Seaton Robinson-Albin, Miss. and all down to Swan Lake and had people whipped with straps weigh about 6 pounds, they whip here just like they do in the Penitentiary if they hire us to work by the day they don't pay for that don't pay for nothing and won't furnish clothes. We are just forced to make some complaint to ask for help and if the Civil law don't help us we are bound to die for the need of help through written and signed by Sam Dromomd and Jake Hicks, and Harry Henry and Joe Herring and Joe Rountree and Wil Smith and Joe Carson and Jerry Weekly



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Veterans Said They Were Treated Like Slaves

Several years ago, I went to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to conduct research on the subject of peonage. I was looking at the Civil Rights index cards and I came across this card about a complaint a group of veterans was making to the Justice Department.

The complaint was filed on February 29, 1960. Victims unknowns, VA Hospital, Gulfport, Miss. Post card rec'd.dtd.2-21-60 signed by Group of veterans from said Hospital, alleging: They have been working us like slaves & don't want to let us go home, some of us have been here for many years. Some boys have died from beatings rec'd. in here. Req. investigation & set us free. Doctors, attendants & nurses act worst then criminals

enc.
civ rgts/gen lit
18-mjt 3-1-60
S Miss.
144-41-332




As we approach Veterans Day, I would like to remember the men who filed this complaint. I wish they would have written their names on this card.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

National Equal Rights League Federal Petitions Committee

The Honorable
The Attorney General of the United States
Washington, D.C., 

Sir:



The flooded sections of the Mississippi Valley in which Refugee Camps were established, have brought to light among many other deplorable things the existence of peonage. I have before me many newspaper clippings setting forth this state of affairs. While I feel confident that the matter has already been brought to the attention of your Department, the situation as revealed in these press reports is so grave that the National Equal Rights League is moved to make sure of the fact.

Mr. Walter White and intelligent and dependable representative of the the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, some situation in the flooded areas, and that report shows the existence of a condition which can be classified under no other criminal violation of the law except that of Peonage. Herewith you will please find a copy of Mr. White's reports. 

I have many other press articles on the situation, but desiring to put the Department of Justice is possession of facts which can easily be verified, I cite the White report alone.

The Peonage exists is other parts of the South has recently been revealed in the trial of Dr. King before one of the Georgia courts. He was acquitted but enough evidence was produced by Federal agents to have justified another verdict--according to press reports.

As the Chairman of the Federal Petitions Committee, National Equal Rights League, I most respectfully submit the request that a comprehensive investigation of industrial conditions in every Southern State be instituted by your Department to the end that this infamous relic of a by-gone age be lifted from the bodies and souls of a people whose ancestors were held in slavery from 1619 to 1863. 

Respectfully yours,

Tho H,R. Clarke

Mississippi Executive Department, Governor Earl Brewer

I have spent countless of hours conducting peonage research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.,  This is one of the letters I found in the peonage files was from Mississipi Governor Earl Brewer dates April 8th, 1915. 


April 8th, 1915


Hon. C.E. Lee,

U.S. District Attorney,  Jackson, Mississippi


Dear Mr. Lee:

I am handing you a letter from a darkey, which is rather difficult to read, but which refers to the forced detention of a family on the plantation of Mr. Sell Jones, at or near Sharkey, Miss. I will state that within the past month at least five negroes have been to me with pitiful tales as to the way they have been beaten up and the statement that they had to flee for their lives leaving their families on this place, One of them was caught aft3er having gotten some miles away and carried back there forcibly. It looks as if peonage was practiced on this place to quite an extent and if your department could make an investigation I believe you would unearth a bad condition there. I know it is a difficult matter to get evidence is such cases but that you will do all in the power I am confident.


Sincerely,

Governor





If You Don't Take Us; They Are Going to Kill Us

Sumner Courthouse in Tallahatchie County Courthouse Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.   On April 8, 1912, Jerry Weekly was seeking hel...