Atlanta paper highlights DePriest Jim Crow resolution: 1934
The Atlanta Daily World headline from March 27, 1934 blazes news about Rep. Oscar DePriest’s resolution for a committee to investigate the authority of the House Accounts committee to issue an order barring African Americans at the House of Representatives public restaurant.
The impetus to the resolution occurred when DePriest’s confidential secretary, Morris Lewis, was barred from the House public restaurant along with his son.
Another instance of Jim Crow occurred when Mabel Byrd was forcibly removed from the Senate public restaurant in February.
The enforcement of Jim Crow in the Capitol building led to 10 days of small parties of interracial diners seeking service in the restaurants—sometimes successfully—in an attempt to desegregate the restaurants.
Approximately 30 Howard University students came to the Capitol on March 17th attempting to gain service in the House and Senate restaurants but were barred by police. One was arrested at the Capitol and four others at the precinct house where they went to bail out their fellow student. Charges were all dropped later.
This series of protests marked the first sit-in demonstrations for civil rights in the nation’s capital and perhaps the country.
DePriest’s resolution for an investigation passed the House, but the investigating committee, the majority appointed by the Democratic Speaker of the House, found that the restaurant was a private one operated for the members of the House and their guests and therefore no discrimination occurred.
This was despite the white public being admitted without a member of Congress and African Americans barred.
Jim Crow continued in the Capitol for nearly 20 more years.
For a detailed blog post on the fight against Jim Crow in the U.S. Capitol restaurants, see washingtonspark.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/origins-of-the-c...
For related images, see flic.kr/s/aHsmcArGZz
The image is the Atlanta Daily World front page from March 27, 1934.