Harrison J. Pinkett to Jane Addams, May 12, 1908


OMAHA, NEB.,  May 12, 1908.

My dear Miss Addams: --

I have just finished reading an article by you in "Charities" of May 2nd in which you have given an exposition of the excitement of the American public toward the foreign elements in our country from whose ranks there are supposed to come men who proclaim anarchistic doctrines and commit deeds of violence.

Your interpretation of the state of mind of the residents of your settlements toward American "excitement" when some offense has been committed somewhere by one of them, and your lofty rebuke to narrowness and hate and prejudice, constitute a complete defense of the cause of my race in this country.

What the Jews of Chicago have recently experienced my race has been experiencing for forty years, and I am most grateful to you for having given the point of view of the oppressed elements which, like those of my race, seldom have anyone to speak for them who will be heard.

It is a terrible thing to belong to an oppressed class and to shudder when one of your class commits a wrong, knowing that you are forced to bear a part of the blame and be sneered at on the streets, have the finger of scorn pointed at you and be called "Particeps Criminis". [page 2]

Those of you who live beyond the veil can never know the horrors we have to suffer and how we fight within the group to avoid the commission of wrongs by our own. Nor can you ever know how greatly we regret the existence of the policy of our country which forces so many of our weaker brothers down to the level of the beast.

What you have said for the settlement over which you have presided with such distinction and benevolence for so many years you have said for the humble children of my race.

Thanking you for the most needed word you have spoken in this great human cause, which is the cause of mankind the world over, I am,

Gratefully & sincerely yours,

H. J. Pinkett [signed]

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House, Chicago, Ill.

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