Mary McLeod Bethune to Eleanor Roosevelt
23 March 1946 [Washington, DC]
My dear Mrs. Roosevelt:
We are most deeply concerned about the Columbia Tennessee police terror. It is most timely, in my opinion, for the most efficient, united effort that can be welded together, to give all that we have in suppressing this situation, in order that it may not become a pattern for the entire country.
I am delighted that you have accepted the co-chairmanship with Dr. Tobias. You probably know that sixty odd organizations met in Washington to form a committee against this police terror in Columbia. This group formed a steering committee which chose Clark Foreman, as chairman and me as Vice-Chairman. Both Clark Foreman and I feel that you and Dr. Tobias can give the best and most influential direction to this drive, and we are prepared to subordinate our efforts to your leadership and to bring with us the sixty organizations which are already mobilizing their strength throughout the country.
We think it would be very unwise to have two organizations acting separately at the same time for the same purpose. We are all in agreement that the NAACP is the proper agency to handle the legal defense of the indicted Negroes. We however feel that the fight for democracy and decency, including the prosecution of the guilty state officials, cannot be the province of any one organization exclusively. In that fight we need the help of any existing organizations working with us.
In my judgement, we need an organization, in which all groups can unite for action and money raising, with you and Dr. Tobias the over-all chairmen. I hope, Mrs. Roosevelt, that you see that my main object is to prevent friction among the groups that must mobilize to make this an effective finished task.
TLS NAACP, DLC