New York: National Civil Liberties Bureau, 1918. Handbill. 5.5x8.5 inch leaflet, "World War" penciled at top edge, old tape repair to an edge tear at right edge (tape no longer present, but it has left a yellowed residue).
The President's statement condemning lynching, reprinted and circulated by the predecessor to the American Civil Liberties Union. James Weldon Johnson had asked Wilson to formally condemn lynching, and he believed that this statement some time later was Wilson's fulfillment of that promise (see Johnson's 1933 autobiography "Along this way," pp. 324-325).
The statement begins, "My Fellow Countrymen: I take the liberty of addressing you upon a subject which so vitally affects the honor of the nation and the very character and integrity of our institutions that I trust you will think me justified in speaking very plainly about it. I allude to the mob spirit which has recently here and there very frequently shown its head among us, not in any single region, but in many and widely separated parts of the country. There have been many lynchings, and every one of them has been a blow at the heart of ordered law and humane justice. No man who loves America, no man who really cares for her fame and honor and character, or who is truly loyal to her institutions, can justify mob action while the courts of justice are open and the governments of the states and the nation are ready and able to do their duty. We are at this very moment fighting lawless passion."
Wilson goes on to say "We proudly claim to be the champions of democracy. If we really are, in deed and in truth, let us see to it that we do not discredit our own. I say plainly that every American who takes part in the action of a mob or gives it any sort of countenance is no true son of this great democracy, but its betrayer, and does more to discredit her by that single disloyalty to her standards of law and right than the words of her statesmen or the sacrifices of her heroic boys in the trenches can do to make suffering peoples believe her to be their savior."