NEGRO WOMEN OFFER TO DIE TO STOP FILM
Mayor Curley and the photo-play "Birth of a Nation" shared unequally in condemnation and denunciation at a mass meeting of Negroes at the Twelfth Baptist Church, Shawmut Avenue, Roxbury, yesterday afternoon, called to express indignation against the continued exhibition of the play. The mayor received by far the larger share of the censure.
The mayor was stigmatized as "the most hypocritical mayor that the city of Boston has ever had;" … his name was hissed, and last but not least, the name of John F. Fitzgerald was cheered … when his action in forbidding the continued production of "The Clansman" was contrasted with Mayor Curley's failure to order "The Birth of a Nation" to quit business in Boston.
The meeting was called by Mrs. Olivia Ward Bush Banks and its announced purpose was to form a "protecting league of all colored women of Greater Boston for the maintenance and protection of their civil rights. Such an organization was formed, with Mrs. Banks as its president and Mrs. Minnie Wright as chairman of the "vigilance committee of 100."
…Mrs. Wright made an impassioned address. "What pride is it for me to say that I was born in Boston if I am put in bondage in my home?" she inquired. "Let me take back that I was born in this city until Boston clears her name. We are here to stay in the fight until God tells us to go home or until we lose our last drop of blood. The police are nothing more than brutes. They are low-down men wearing the uniform."
"We want 'The Birth of a Nation' removed from the city of Boston and we women of Boston propose to see that it goes. If we can't get rid of it by fair means it will be by foul means," said Dr. Alice W. McKane. "If there are men here who are afraid to die there are women who are not afraid. This play would not be tolerated if it affected any other race or people. If discrimination is made because we are black, soon there will be religious and racial discrimination and that would be very dangerous…They think us a poor helpless set of black people, but if this thing is humiliating to us it should be doubly humiliating to the white people…"
Boston Herald, April 26, 1915