A correspondent of the New York Age reports on an Atlanta Evening Journal article recounting the expulsion of Reverend T. H. Lee from a Georgia Railroad Company coach.


Treatment Accorded Colored People on Railroads…

To the Editor of THE NEW YORK AGE:

The Atlanta Evening Journal, a bitter Democratic paper, of the 17 inst., came out with an article headed: "A Colored Divine Hustled Out of the Sleeping Car on the Georgia Railroad and made to Travel with His own Color." The person was Rev. T.H. Lee, a refined and well dressed man and an instructor in Lincoln University, Oxford, Pa., who was invited by the colored Presbyterian Church of Augusta, Ga., to preach at that church Sunday with a view of calling him to the church. Rev. Mr. Lee entered the sleeper on the Georgia Railroad at Atlanta. After arranging his valise and other things, he settled himself for a pleasant ride to Augusta. He rode unmolested until the train reached a place called Decatur. "Some of the boys living near Conyers," as the Evening Journal said, "heard that a Negro was riding in the sleeper and at once began making preparations for his removal. A young man from a place called Covington passed through two coaches, bending over each man with whom he was acquainted, and whispered 'Nigger in the sleeper.' As the words reached the ears of those to whom they were addressed, they arose and followed the first young toward the sleeper. When the sleeper was reached there were about ten young men led by the young man from Covington. The Negro looked up as they approached and gathered about him. The leader stepped up and touching the Negro on the shoulder, said: 'See here, you must excuse us, but you can't ride in this car. There's a car for your sort of people in the front, and you will have to go there.' 'All right sir' was all the Negro said, and gathering up his baggage he went forward and took a seat in the colored people's car. 'I always ride in first class coaches in the North, but of course if it is against the rules here I shall submit to it, as I am a law-abiding citizen.'"

The above statement is an exact quotation from the Evening Journal. This is an example of the treatment of colored people that is of almost daily occurrence. Whenever a colored man enters a first-class coach on the Georgia Railroad he is either asked out or a telegram is sent to the next station for men to take him out by force. A young colored man left Boston a few weeks ago to take charge of a church in a certain town in Georgia. He entered the first-class car at a town called Dalton, Ga., on the Western & Atlantic Railroad. Soon after entering the brakesman passed through the car, looked very closely at him and hurried through. In a short time he returned with the conductor, who came up to the young man, collected his ticket, looked intently at him for some time, but not knowing whether he was a foreigner or a colored man, passed on and left him to mediate on his narrow escape from rough treatment.

Dirty and half-clad white men and women may ride in these first-class coaches, but never mind how neatly dressed colored persons may be, they are not permitted to enter if it is known that they have a drop of colored blood in their veins.

About this Document

  • Source: The New York Age
  • Published: City
  • Date: January 5, 1889