Wilson's Approach

 

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In 1912 the Democratic Party played upon African Americans’ frustration with the Republican Party, presenting itself as the best available option. Presidential candidate Woodrow Wilson, a Southerner, made mild overtures to W. E. B. DuBois and other black leaders. Wilson argued that, if elected, he would be president of an entire nation and not just one section or race.

The following report comes from an African American group which had met with candidate Wilson before September, 1912.

Several delegations of colored men have waited on Govervor Wilson, the Democratic nominee for President. The first delegation reports the result of their interview as follows: "Mr. Wilson. assured us, first of all, that if elected he intended to be a President of the whole nation-to know no white or  black, no North, South, East or West, and no home-born or foreign-born, but that he would treat every citizen according to the law--not only the letter, but according to the spirit of the. law-and that he would discharge his obligations, his duties of office, in the spirit of Christ, and with justice and fairness to all.

In the second place, even if the President and both houses of Congress should be Democratic, he did not believe that any measures inimical to colored people would be passed. He said that it was the understanding with the party leaders that this should be the case, but if by any accident such a measure or measures should be passed he would veto them.

In the third place, he gave us to understand that so far as patronage was concerned he could assure us that the colored people would fare as  well under his administration as President as they had fared under Republican administrations.

In the fourth place, he promised as soon after his formal notification as possible he would get out a statement over his own name to the entire country refuting the falsehoods which are being so indiscriminately circulated against him by most of the colored newspapers and by many of the white papers and magazines of the country relative to his enmity to and hatred of the colored man. We called the governor's attention to the fact that it had already been repeatedly stated that if he became President he would use his power to spread 'Jim Crow' and disfranchisement acts against the colored man and to abolish the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. He said that these were false statements, that be had no intention of doing any such thing and would frown upon the efforts of any who undertook to promote such acts. In short, he expressed himself as feeling the need of and desiring the colored vote and stated that he was willing to do anything that was right and legal to secure that vote, and that if elected President of the United, States the colored people would have no occasion to regret having voted for him"

Dissatisfaction ]