Harding Voices Regret Over Tulsa Rioting

The New York Tribune/June 7, 1921

“God Grant We May Never Have Another Such Spectacle!” President Tells Students at Negro College

Colored Soldiers Praised

Fine Scene at Lincoln University Is Contrasted With Race Disturbances

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Pa., June 6—President and Mrs. Harding, motoring from Valley Forge, Pa., to Washington, stopped at Lincoln University shortly after 10 o’clock today and were cordially greeted by the Rev. John M. Rendall, president of the institution, and 400 negro students. In a brief speech the President expressed his pleasure at the reception.

Before speaking the President was shown the granite arch erected in memory of negro soldiers who died in the World War, and in his talk said the colored soldiers earned this honor by their efforts. The President spoke also of the great benefits of education in furthering the welfare of negroes, and contrasted the fine scene presented at the university with those enacted in race disturbances. He was cheered as his automobile left to cross the Maryland state line, preceded by three Pennsylvania state policemen on motorcycles.

The President in his address deplored the recent race riot at Tulsa, Okla., and all similar outbreaks of race feeling. “God grant,” he said in referring to the riot, “that we may never have another spectacle like it.”

“It is a very great pleasure,” said the President, “to stop for a few moments and offer a word of greeting to such an institution on such an occasion. The colored citizenship in the World War earned its right to be memorialized.

“Much is said about the problem of the races. There is nothing that the government can do which is akin to educational work in value. One of the great difficulties of popular government is that citizenship expects the government to do what it ought to do for itself. No government can wave a magic wand. The colored race, to come into its own, must do the great work itself; the government can only offer the opportunity.

“Nothing is so essential as education; I am glad to commend the work of such institutions as this. It is a fine contrast to the unhappy and distressing spectacle we saw the other day in one of the Western states. God grant that in the soberness, in the justice and in the fairness of this country we shall never see another such spectacle.”