The Hopeful Figure

The Evening World (New York)/June 3, 1921

RACE RIOTS in Omaha, East St. Louis, Chicago and now in Tulsa have occurred under all degrees of segregation of negroes. In Tulsa the segregation was unusually sharp. Obviously, race segregation is not an adequate preventive of trouble.

Richard Lloyd Jones, a trained observer on the spot, who described conditions in The World yesterday, attributed the disgraceful riots to the failure of the police to act at the psychological moment, when the “bad black men” might have been arrested and disarmed before serious trouble started. Just one hopeful and encouraging paragraph differentiates dispatches from Tulsa from accounts of similar disturbances in other cities:

“Only one negro walks the streets of Tulsa to-night unhampered. He is Barney Cleaver, negro Deputy Sheriff, and well regarded by both whites and negroes. Not one of the rioters has turned a hand against the peace-loving negro, and he is the only one of his race who ventures on the street without an armed guard.”

If America is ever to solve her race question, Barney Cleaver points the way. There must be many “peace-loving” men, black and white, “well regarded by both whites and negroes.” They must stand guard always and prevent race war.

They must provide centres of mobilization for moderate public opinion wherever and whenever race war threatens.