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SEPTEMBER 7, 1912
HAMILTON W. MABIE, Associate Editor
question as this ought not to be left for final decision by a committee, but should be acted upon by the whole body. We are glad to say that the Bar Association, in taking up this subject, confirmed the election of these three colored lawyers. By this action the Bar Association has rendered a service, not primarily to these particular lawyers, but to its own standing. If the Bar Association were merely a social club, there is no reason whatever why its members should not prefer to keep its membership confined exclusively to the white race. By recognizing the membership of Negroes, however, the Association has declared that it is not a club, but is a body of men organized in the interests of a great profession, and of the high ends to which that profession is dedicated. Incorporated in the resolutions recognizing these three men as members was a statement to the effect that, 66 as it has never been contemplated that members of the colored race should become members of this Association," recommendations of colored men for membership should hereafter be always accompanied with a statement of the candidate's We can see nothing objectionable in this statement concerning the practice hitherto of the Association, and none but good reasons for making it clear hereafter that such a misunderstanding as has raised this question this time should not occur again. One of the three colored lawyers, upon having his membership confirmed, immediately resigned from the Association. He did not withdraw until the fundamental question regarding race lines had been passed upon; but, that being settled, he, with great selfrespect, relinquished his membership, since it had been the product of a misunderstanding. A difficult question which might easily have resulted in a bitter and lasting controversy has thus, by the application of good sense, been settled with general credit. The Such a other question, that relating to the relation
of the Association to whom these three candidates were recommended accepted them as members of the Association. It then became known to the executive committee and members of the Association generally that these three lawyers were Negroes. Probably no general publicity would have been given to this matter if it had not been for the fact that one of the three has been appointed by the President of the United States as an Assistant Attorney-General. When the fact that he and the two others were Negroes became generally known, there was a protest from members of the Association. The reason for the objection was alleged to be that the Bar Association was primarily a social organization, and that the feeling for the social separation of the races was so strong, particularly in certain parts of the country, that it was unwise to admit colored men to membership. On the ground that the names of these men had been submitted without any statement that they were colored men, and that therefore their election was brought about under a misapprehension, the committee rescinded its own action and referred the whole matter to the Association itself. In doing this, it seems to us, the committee, if it was acting within its power, did wisely.