Monday, June 29, 2020

The History of Mrs. Japp's Potato Chips (Jays Foods, Inc.) of Chicago.

In 1927, Leonard Japp Sr. and his friend George Gavora put $5 down on a rickety Ford delivery truck and bought $22.50 worth of pretzels, nuts, cigarettes, and what saloons needed for sandwiches.

When Japp began in 1927 (the Great Depression didn't start until August 1929), his Japp & Gavora Food Co. took off almost immediately by delivering snacks to saloons, some owned by Al Capone. Al was a hands-off owner and had managers running his businesses. All these drinking establishments needed smokes and something to nosh on. 

According to legend, When Al Capone came home after a trip to Saratoga Springs, New York—the potato chip's birthplace—and requested that Japp bring the salty potato snacks to Chicago. (Salty snacks resulted in more beer sales.) In December of 1927, Capone moved to the property he owned in Saint Petersburg, Florida, to escape the heat, no, not that heat, coming down on him in Chicago.

The 'Urban Legend' is that Al Capone gave Leonard Japp enough money to start his potato chip business is not true.
I sent a text message to my friend, Deirdre Marie Capone, Al Capone's Grandniece. 
Deirdre called me:
"I heard that also," said Deirdre, "My family helped lots of people start reputable businesses, some  that are still going," but she had no knowledge or had ever heard the name or product called, "Mr. Japp."

Within two and a half years, Japp had built frying vats, assembled a fleet of 15 new trucks, and peddled a full line of snack products. But the bubble burst when the Great Depression struck in August of 1929. When they went broke, everyone went broke with them.
During the Depression, Japp, an all-state football and basketball player, sparred with Buddy Baer, the heavyweight who twice lost to Joe Louis for the championship, to pick up a little spare money. But then Japp got back into the snack business.

''I got an old vagabond truck, and I can't tell you how. Started buying chips, taffy apples, pretzels.'' Japp was buying chips from Mrs. Fletcher's Potato Chip Co. In 1934, he said, he began putting his name on Fletcher's Potato Chips.

In 1938, he partnered with George Johnson, a salesman for Kraft. Their firm, Special Foods Co., peddled potato chips, noodles, popcorn, spaghetti, jelly, salad dressing, and Rival dog food. ''The grocery stores were all Ma and Pa then and only a few A&Ps. You could park the truck and make three deliveries at once,'' Japp said.

But Japp and Johnson weren't happy with how Mrs. Fletcher ran her plant. Around the same time, the partners heard about a new automatic plant that produced a better chip in Madison, Wisconsin.

''It was nice and light, 1000% better than what we were selling. We decided to go that route, and we were doing great in no time at all,'' Japp said.

The Madison operation went out of business, and the partners began buying a similar product from Blue Star Foods Inc. in Rockford. But as the business grew, Blue Star said the partners would have to go elsewhere because they were gobbling up too much of Blue Star's chips.

''We had been adding trucks, going like crazy and concentrating on chips, getting rid of other items like dog food, jellies, and candy,'' he said.

Forced into manufacturing, the partners bought an $18,000 automatic potato chip maker and installed it at 40th Street and Princeton Avenue in Chicago.

''That's how it got started in 1940. We called it Mrs. Japp's. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, during WWII, the grocers started calling us immediately, demanding that we remove our Japp chips from their stores,'' said Leonard.
So they sat down and, within a week, came up with more than 30 names to submit for trademark registration. ''We wanted Jax, but it was taken by a brewing company. The name 'Jays' was available, and we renamed the company Jays Foods, Incorporated. It took a couple of weeks, but we started putting tags on plain bags with the Jays name on them,'' he said.
''We had to buy second-hand cartons during the war. Without stamps, you couldn't buy anything. My wife, Eugenia, and I would travel all over the MidwestNebraska, the Dakotas—to barter and exchange gas and oil for cooking. We'd buy up all the nylons and trade with those,'' he said.

Some family members changed their last names during or after WWII from Japp to Jepp.

Mrs. Japp, a vice president when she died in 1983 at age 72, was also responsible for starting a practice embraced by the food industry. She began putting recipes on the potato chip packages.

''My wife had run a chain of bakeries and was a fine cook. She kept telling us we had a fine product but had to tell people how to use it. She came up with a recipe for tuna fish casserole with potato chips,'' he said.

Japp was hard to convince, and so was Blue Star in Rockford. But, as Blue Star's biggest customer, Japp talked them into it, as he put it, ''to get my wife off my back.'' Then everyone put recipes on potato chip bags.

''About 18 potato chip companies were in Chicago when the war began. The ones that didn't wheel and deal fell by the wayside,'' he said.

Just before D-Day, Johnson and Japp agreed that they would make a bid to buy the other one out.

''We wrote our bids on paper and agreed the higher one would win. I wanted to bid $120,000, but Eugenia said that if we wanted to keep the company, we should bid $150,000. When we turned over the bids, George had bid $145,000,'' Japp said.

At that time, Jays was doing about $750,000 in business a year, only in the Chicago area. They changed the name to Jays Foods and continued expanding its distribution for the next five years.

The leading chipmaker at the time was Mrs. Klein's, Japp said. ''Mrs. Klein's only worked the main streets, and we worked the side streets. One day, Mrs. Klein's walked out and found we were at her front door. By 1950, we were the top potato chip company in Chicago,'' Japp said.

At about this time, Jays came up with the slogan for which it is almost as famous as Schlitz was for ''The beer that made Milwaukee famous.''

''At food shows, people would write their comments about our potato chips. The most frequent comment was, 'Can't stop eating 'em.' So we began using that,'' he said. Arch rival Frito-Lay, now a subsidiary of giant PepsiCo. Inc. liked the sentiment so much that it started daring the public in 1963: ''Bet you can't eat just one.''

Flushed with success and demand, Jays expanded throughout the 1950s. In 1957, Japp's son, Leonard Jr., joined the firm after six years in the Marine Corps.

''I had always worked at the plant at various jobs, and I started when I was 13,'' said Leonard Jr., the firm's president. When he was in the Marines, he said he would work at the company on his leaves.

In the 1960s, Jays switched from tin cans of potato chips to less expensive boxes.

''They used to deliver those cans to the back door, and we'd fill 'em and load 'em out the front door. There's no way you can store that many cans, and they just became too expensive,'' the younger Japp said.

Over the years, Jays has added to its snack foods, but potato chips constitute 70% of its sales. Pretzels, corn chips, cheese dips, and other products are made elsewhere. Only potato chips and popcorn were made at the South Side plant, at 825 E. 99th Street, But that keeps Jays' 400 employees busy on three shifts a day. The company grew to 850 workers.

''We make potato chips and popcorn for the first two shifts. Then the whole place is scrubbed down during the last shift. We like to say that the place is clean enough to eat off the floor. One television reporter did,'' Leonard Jr. said.

Besides the Chicago plant, the firm has 14 distribution plants and 5 distributors in Illinois and parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana.

Jays constantly battled to get the right amount of shelf space at grocery stores. ''I don't want more shelf space than I can sell in a store, but I want it where I can be representative. Generally speaking, I think we could do more. If you have too much, you have too much spoilage,'' said Leonard Jr.

Competition always is lurking. Years ago, General Mills Inc. introduced Bugles and Whistles; Procter & Gamble Co. served up Pringles.

''We fought them by stressing that our potato chips are all-natural ingredients, made with no preservatives. We use pure polyunsaturated corn oil,'' said Leonard Jr.

John Cady, the Potato Chip/Snack Food Association president, an Alexandria, Va.-based trade group of snack firms, knows Jay's story.

''Jays had expanded its original markets into other states to increase its growth and set up distribution centers outside Chicago to reach out farther than if it was in the Chicago market,'' Cady said. And it's working, he said. ''Overall, consumers must think they've got a pretty good product because they have grown. There's a certain amount of brand loyalty, and people are apparently loyal to Jays, grown up with Jays, and keep buying that brand.''

  • Japp & Gavora Food Co. 1927-1929
  • Leonard Japp's Depression 1929-1934
  • Selling Rebranded Fletcher's Potato Chips 1934-1938
  • Special Foods Company 1938-1940
  • Mrs. Japp's Potato Chips 1940-1941
  • Jays Foods, Inc. 1941-1986
  • Borden, Inc - Jays Foods 1986-1994
  • The Japp Family Reacquired Jays Foods 1994-2004
  • Purchased by Ubiquity Brands - Jays Foods 2004-2007
  • Snyder's-Lance of Hanover - Jays Foods 2007-Present
Snyder's-Lance of Hanover bought Jays in 2007 and promised not to change Jays Foods' methods for manufacturing their snacks, and so far—so good!

Leonard Japp (1904-2000) was buried at Oakridge-Glen Oak Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois.
Irene Day Japp (1905-1938), the 1st wife, died 11 years after marriage in 1927. Irene is buried at Oakridge-Glen Oak Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois.
Eugenia Peszynski Japp  2nd, wife married in 1939 - died in 1983.
Janice M Japp - 3rd wife (Dates unknown)

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

[1] Deirdre Marie Capone is a writer and producer known for Al Capone, the Untold Story, Capone: The Man That Knew Too Much, and The Making of the Mob (2015) IMDb.

Deirdre Marie Capone authored; "Uncle Al Capone: The Untold Story from Inside His Family."

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Holocaust Memorial Statue Vandalized in Skokie, Illinois, Early Monday Morning on June 3, 1987.

In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM introduces present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. Presentism is a form of cultural bias that creates a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. Historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present fact-based and well-researched articles.

Facts don't require one's approval or acceptance.

I present [PG-13] articles without regard to race, color, political party, or religious beliefs, including Atheism, national origin, citizenship status, gender, LGBTQ+ status, disability, military status, or educational level. What I present are facts — NOT Alternative Facts — about the subject. You won't find articles or readers' comments that spread rumors, lies, hateful statements, and people instigating arguments or fights.

When I write about the INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, I follow this historical terminology:
  • The use of old commonly used terms, disrespectful today, i.e., REDMAN or REDMEN, SAVAGES, and HALF-BREED are explained in this article.
Writing about AFRICAN-AMERICAN history, I follow these race terms:
  • "NEGRO" was the term used until the mid-1960s.
  • "BLACK" started being used in the mid-1960s.
  • "AFRICAN-AMERICAN" [Afro-American] began usage in the late 1980s.


Completed Memorial.
SKOKIE, Ill. — Less than a day after residents of Skokie and others reverently dedicated a bronze monument to victims of the Nazi Holocaust on June 2, 1987, they returned Monday to the village green to ponder why the sculpture had been defaced with anti-Semitic symbols.

The monument—which includes a bronze sculpture of a Jewish resistance fighter, a mother holding her slain child, and a little boy clinging to an elderly rabbi—was sprayed with silver-painted swastikas and the words ''Liars'' and ''Jews Lie.''

Police said vandals sprayed the graffiti on the statue and its black marble base between 4 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., barely 12 hours after hundreds of Holocaust survivors, their relatives, neighbors, and elected officials had unveiled the monument in the green space between the public library and the village hall.

Shortly after radio stations started reporting the vandalism Monday morning, people began to visit the park. Others stopped by to see the monument because they had read about its dedication, only to find it had been defaced. Some cursed under their breaths, some touched the monument trying to rub the paint away. Many wept. Light rain did not keep away a constant stream of old and young people of all religions.
Tema Bauer, who lost her right arm in the Auschwitz concentration camp, weeps in front of the defaced Holocaust monument.
Charles Lipshitz, chairman of the Holocaust Monument Committee, said he visited the scene, and “the whole monument was defaced with swastikas.”

The monument`s sculptor, Ed Chesney, was just turning his blue van into the library parking lot when he saw the paint on the statue he had spent the last year creating. ''I didn`t believe it,'' said Chesney, 65, of Detroit. ''I had planned a morning of photo-shooting. Inside, I am just torn apart. I didn`t cry, but it is like giving birth to a child. It took an entire year. And to see what has been done to it, it makes me sick.'' Chesney took a can of paste wax and a ladder from his van and climbed high on the memorial to begin removing some of the paint. But he stopped after a number of people told him not to, suggesting that the symbols should remain for at least a day to remind people that anti-Semitism exists in the U.S.

''Let the people know that we have Nazis right here,'' said Avram Szwajger, president of Sheerit Hapleitah (Remnant of the Holocaust), the Chicago area Holocaust survivors` organization that raised $150,000 ($342,000 today) for the monument.

''This is nothing new to us,'' Szwajger said. ''We have seen it in Europe.''

Harvey Schiller, another Skokie resident, said, ''I think they should leave it for a few days. Otherwise, people will say it really did not happen. I want to bring my children here to see this, so they`ll know these things can happen.''

The entire Skokie police force had been on duty during the dedication, and the monument area had been patrolled by squad cars on Sunday night and Monday morning, as well as during the week before the unveiling, said Officer Ron Baran, of the Skokie police crime-prevention unit. Still, he said, vandals ''had plenty of cover from the trees and bushes around the statue.'' A police officer discovered the graffiti first, Baran said.
Details of the Memorial Figures
A police technician sent to the scene could find no paint cans or evidence linking the defacing to a specific person or organization, Baran said, and no one had called the department to threaten the action or to claim responsibility for it later.

Skokie Mayor Albert J. Smith—a Catholic who had been praised Sunday for his opposition to a planned neo-Nazi march on the green in 1978—was visibly shaken by the overnight events. ''Everything that we have learned about this type of event says we should clean it up as quickly as possible,'' he told several dozen people near the monument.

When a number of people objected to the immediate removal of the paint, Smith called a meeting for Monday afternoon with local leaders involved in the monument project as well as the village manager, the police chief, and federal authorities to decide what should be done.

''We are talking about a couple of idiots, a couple of punks who come out only in the middle of the night,'' Smith said. ''Look what happened yesterday. It was a beautiful brotherhood. What happened overnight was terrible.''

Bert Gast, 62, an Evanston artist who drew the original designs for the monument, said Skokie should install lights around the statue as a preventive measure. ''People who would do this are like rats and cockroaches,'' he said. ''They only come out in the dark, they run from the light.''

''This action demonstrates that the attitudes that led to the Holocaust are not dead,'' said Michael Kotzin, Chicago regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of B`nai B`rith. ''This monument was highly visible and well-publicized. It was a target, and [the vandalism] was an easy act to commit. It is an effective way to upset people.'' Kotzin said similar vandalism had been committed to Holocaust monuments in San Francisco, Denver, and other cities.

Rev. Daniel Montalbano, who represented the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago at Sunday`s dedication ceremony, said, ''We can only express anger and horror that the monument was defaced and desecrated so soon after its dedication.

''Cardinal [Joseph] Bernardin, on behalf of the Catholic people of Chicagoland, grieves with our Jewish brothers and sisters at this offense,'' said Father Montalbano, assistant director of the archdiocesan Office of Human Relations and Ecumenism (promoting unity among the world's Christian Churches).

Those upset most may have been the people who lived through the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II. Village officials estimate that 7,000 of Skokie`s 69,000 residents are Holocaust survivors. They and their relatives made up the majority of the dedication audience Sunday.

Chicago Tribune, June 3, 1987
Edited by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

VISIT - Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
9603 Woods Drive
Skokie, Illinois, 60077

Friday, June 26, 2020

National Peace Jubilee in Chicago, IL. October 16-22, 1898, Commemorating the End of the Spanish-American War.

The whole downtown district was brilliantly illuminated every evening during the week. Double arches of electric lights spaned State Street at intervals of 100 feet from Randolph Street to Congress street. All the streetcars were gayly decorated in bunting and red, white, and blue lights. The retail stores and wholesale houses, clubs, and offices competed with each other in donning brilliant and handsome attire. One State street firm spent $2,500 ($77,750 today) in decorating the outside of its store building. Strings of handsome flags were interspersed with the electric arches across the streets.
The National Peace Jubilee "Rear Admiral Sampson Arch" was located at the intersection of La Salle and Monroe Streets in Chicago, October 16-22, 1898.
Sixteen monumental arches are among the most beautiful and showiest of the decorations which were prepared for the peace jubilee. These huge spans were placed in various locations in the downtown district, bounded by Randolph and Congress streets and Michigan avenue and Franklin street. At night the electric lights of red, white, and blue were impressive. In the daytime came the opportunity to study the form, color, and general outline of these artistic symbols of triumph. Looking down State street from Randolph street one may catch a glimpse of the greatest retail street in the world in gala attire, through six arches, sixty feet high, and extending from one curb to the other. The whole street was a panorama of flags, of national emblems, and of symbols of victory gloriously won.
The text on the side of the "Rear Admiral Sampson Arch" reads: "Chicago Salutes the Heroes of the Army and Swells the Hallelujah that Hails Their Return from Camp and Trench and Field. Heroes, whose Valor in Action and Fortitude in Hardship Have Won Tributes from Every Land. Hurrah for the American Soldier, the Young and The Old, the Blue and the Grey, who shouted 'Ready' when the Nation Called."
A couple of these arches have a double significance. General Wesley Merritt, for example, was remembered by a handsome portrait and suitable design on one side of some of the arches named. As a rule, the decorations on the top of each arch will be almost alike on each side. There was a great variety of varied designs for the four sides of each column. Every arch commemorated some victory in the war with Spain, as well as the deeds of the officers and plain privates who contributed to it.
The National Peace Jubilee commemorated the end of the Spanish-American War (April 21, 1898 – August 13, 1898) and the return to peace.
The arches were made of pine boards and canvas. The arches vary in size according to the width of the different streets, the average being fifty-six feet wide from one supporting column to the other. They were from thirty-two feet to fifty feet in height and made in sections, which were assembled before leaving the shop, and then covered the painted canvas, representing various scenes in the war with Spain. 

1898 Chicago Peace Jubilee Admiral George Dewey Medal. The face includes Admiral Dewey, Rear Admirals Sampson and Schley, and General Shafter. On the reverse is the McKinley Arch.
Dewey - State street, corner Monroe street.
The battle of Manila Bay, with Admiral Dewey and his flagship well in the foreground, will be the striking features of the Dewey arch.

Eighth Infantry and Fort Sheridan - Randolph street, corner State street.
The outlines of Fort Sheridan are followed in the arch erected in honor of the Eighth infantry and Fort Sheridan.

Evans - Clark street, corner Adams street.
The Evans, Rear Admiral Schley, and Rear Admiral Sampson arches all represent different scenes of the naval victory at Santiago.

First & Second Regiments, Illinois Volunteers - Michigan ave., corner Van Buren st.
The First and Second regiment arches reproduce the Armory, with Colonel Turner and the boys of the "dandy First" on one side and Colonel Moulton and his brave boys of the Second on the other.

First Illinois Cavalry - Jackson street, corner Dearborn street.
The First Illinois Cavalry arch shows Colonel Young and his men against a background representing their headquarters.

Fitzhugh Lee - Jackson street, corner Michigan avenue.
The Fitzhugh Lee arch represents scenes in the diplomatic and military career of the great Southerner.

Hobson - Jackson street, corner Dearborn street.
The Hobson arch shows that hero in the act of sinking the Merrimac in Santiago Harbor, and in another scene as raising Spain's sunken ships, and again as rowing away from Morro castle with his comrades.

McKinley - State street, corner Washington street.
The McKinley arch shows the gilded dome of the capitol as a background for the portrait of America's second great war President.

Miles - State street, corner Adams street.
The Miles arch shows a large portrait of General nelson A. Miles against a background representing United States troops in Porto Rico.

Municipal Arch - Washington street, corner Clark street.
The Municipal arch is the largest and most costly of the sixteen arches, molded closely after the famous Arc de Triomphe of Paris.

Roosevelt - State street, corner Madison street.
The Roosevelt Arch gives a vivid picture of the "Rough Riders" fight.

Sampson - La Salle street, corner Monroe street.
The Rear Admiral Sampson, General Schley, and Evans arches all represent different scenes of the naval victory at Santiago.

Schley - Dearborn street, corner Madison street.
The Rear Admiral Schley, Rear Admiral Sampson, and Evans arches all represent different scenes of the naval victory at Santiago.

Shafter - Franklin street, corner Monroe street.
General Shafter and Wheeler are both remembered by arches commemorating the battle of San Juan and representing the American troops in the thick of that fight.
Sigsbee - State street, corner Jackson street.
The Sigsbee arch shows the battleship Maine and Havana harbor at midday and Havana harbor on the evening of the blowing up the Maine.

Wheeler - Jackson street, east of Franklin street.
General Wheeler and Shafter are both remembered by arches commemorating the battle of San Juan and representing the American troops in the thick of that fight.

Sunday, Oct. 16 - 11am special Thanksgiving services in 700 Chicago churches; 4pm, sacred concerts in all of the parks; 8pm, general services at the Auditorium, Studebaker Hall, and First Methodist Episcopal church.

Monday, Oct. 17 - Welcome by citizens' committees to distinguished guests. Mayor Harrison will deliver the welcome address. In the evening a parade by Associated Cycling Clubs.

Tuesday, Oct. 18 - Noon meeting at the Auditorium for the benefit of families of the soldiers and sailors in the war with Spain. The grand benefit ball at the Auditorium in the evening will be the most brilliant affair of the kind ever celebrated in Chicago.

Wednesday, Oct. 19 - A Military and naval parade in the afternoon. The Auditorium has never seen such a gathering of distinguished guests as brought together at this evening banquet. The Theodore Thomas Orchestra will furnish music for dancers, while President McKinley, with Mrs. Potter Palmer, will lead the grand march. Ten thousand people were present. The proceeds of the ball were used for the benefit of the families of the Illinois soldiers and sailors in the war with Spain. Tickets were sold at $10 ($310 today) each, and the boxes were auctioned off to the highest bidders. Mrs. Potter Palmer as chairman and Mrs. Henry M. Shepard as Vice-chairman of the ball committee ensure an assembly even more splendid than that which marked the opening of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

Thursday, Oct, 20 - Civic Parade, Fireworks, and Illuminations in the evening.

Friday, Oct. 21 - Exercises in the public schools.

Official Program of the National Peace Jubilee in Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 16-22, 1898, (pdf)


When the Spanish-American war closed there was great rejoicing throughout the country, and many cities vied with each other in their effort to celebrate the return of peace on a scale that would command the attention of the whole country. The city of Chicago, however, seemed to have been the most successful in these celebrations. Chicago was fortunate in securing the President of the United States, together with nearly all the members of his cabinet, and various foreign ministers and other important officials. This gave the celebration in Chicago national importance such as attached to the celebration held by no other city.

I was asked by President William R. Harper, of the University of Chicago, chairman of the committee on invitations, to deliver one of the addresses in Chicago. I accepted the invitation and delivered, in fact, two addresses, during the jubilee week in Chicago. The principal address which I delivered on this occasion was on Sunday evening, October 16. The meeting was held in the Auditorium and was the largest audience that I have ever spoken to in any part of the country. Besides speaking in the main Auditorium, I addressed, on the same evening, two overflow audiences held in different portions of the city. It is said there were 16,000 people in the Auditorium, and it seems to me there were at least 16,000 on the outside trying to get into the building. In fact, without the aid of a policeman, it was impossible for anyone to get anywhere near the entrance. The meeting was attended by President William McKinley (1897 until his assassination on Sept. 14, 1901), the members of his cabinet, foreign ministers, and a large number of army and navy officers, many of whom had distinguished themselves during the Spanish-American war. The speakers, besides myself, on Sunday evening, were Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, Father Thomas P. Hodnett, and Dr. John H. Barrows.
Booker T. Washington's Speech at the Chicago Peace Jubilee at the Auditorium Theater on October 16, 1898.
The speech which I delivered on Sunday evening was as follows:
"Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen:On an important occasion in the life of the Master, when it fell to Him to pronounce judgment on two courses of action, these memorable words fell from his lips: 'And Mary hath chosen the better part.' This was the supreme test in the case of an individual. It is the highest test in the case of a race or nation. Let us apply the test to the American Negro.

In the life of our Republic, when he has had the opportunity to choose, has it been the better or worse part? When in the childhood of this nation the Negro was asked to submit to slavery or choose death and extinction, as did the aborigines, he chose the better part, which perpetuated the race.

When in 1776 the Negro was asked to decide between British oppression and American independence, we find him choosing the better part, and Crispus Attucks, a Negro, was the first to shed his blood on State street, Boston, that the white American might enjoy liberty forever, though his race remained in slavery.

When in 1814, at New Orleans, the test of patriotism came again, we find the Negro choosing the better part, and Gen. Andrew Jackson himself testifying that no heart was more loyal and no arm more strong and useful in defense of righteousness.

When the long and memorable struggle came between union and separation, when we knew that victory on one hand meant freedom, and defeat on the other his continued enslavement, with full knowledge of the portentous meaning of it all, when the suggestion and temptation came to burn the home and massacre wife and children during the absence of the master in battle, and thus ensure his liberty, we find him choosing the better part, and for four long years protecting and supporting the helpless, defenseless ones entrusted to his care.

When in 1863 the cause of the union seemed to quiver in the balance, and there were doubt and distrust, the Negro was asked to come to the rescue in arms, and the valor displayed at Fort Wagner and Port Hudson and Fort Pillow testifies most eloquently again that the Negro chose the better part.

When a few months ago the safety and honor of the republic were threatened by a foreign foe, when the wail and anguish of the oppressed from a distant isle reached his ears, we find the Negro forgetting his own wrongs, forgetting the laws and customs that discriminated against him in his own country, again choosing the better part—the part of honor and humanity. And if you would know how he deported himself in the field at Santiago, apply for an answer to Shafter and Roosevelt and Wheeler. Let them tell how the Negro faced death and laid down his life in defense of honor and humanity, and when you have gotten the full story of the heroic conduct of the Negro in the Spanish-American warheard it from the lips of Northern soldiers, and Southern soldiers, from ex-abolitionists and ex-masters
then decide within yourselves whether a race that is thus willing to die for its country should not be given the highest opportunity to live for its country.
In the midst of all the complaints of suffering in the camp and field, suffering from fever and hunger, where is the official or citizen that has heard a word of complaint from the lips of a black soldier? The only request that has come from the Negro soldier has been that he might be permitted to replace the white soldier when heat and malaria began to decimate the ranks of the white regiment and to occupy at the same time the post of greatest danger.

This country has been most fortunate in her victories. She has twice measured arms with England and has won. She has met the spirit of rebellion within her borders and was victorious. She has met the proud Spaniard, and he lays prostrate at her feet. All this is well, it is magnificent. But there remains one other victory for Americans to win—a victory as far-reaching and important as any that has occupied our army and navy. We have succeeded in every conflict, except the effort to conquer ourselves in the blotting out of racial prejudices. We can celebrate the era of peace in no more effectual way than by a firm resolve on the part of Northern men and Southern men, black men and white men, that the trenches that we together dug around Santiago shall be the eternal burial place of all that which separates us in our business and civil relations. Let us be as generous in peace as we have been brave in battle. Until we thus conquer ourselves, I make no empty statement when I say that we shall have a cancer gnawing at the heart of the republic that shall one day prove as dangerous as an attack from an army without or within.

In this presentation and on this auspicious occasion, I want to present the deep gratitude of nearly ten millions of my people to our wise, patient and brave Chief Executive for the generous manner in which my race has been recognized during this conflict
a recognition that has done more to blot out sectional and racial lines than any event since the dawn of our freedom.
I know how vain and impotent is all abstract talk on this subject. In your efforts to 'rise on stepping stones of your dead selves,' we of the black race shall not leave you unaided. We shall make the task easier for you by acquiring property, habits of thrift, economy, intelligence, and character, by each making himself of individual worth in his own community. We shall aid you in this as we did a few days ago at El Caney and Santiago when we helped you to hasten the peace we here celebrate. You know us; you are not afraid of us. When the crucial test comes, you are not ashamed of us. We have never betrayed or deceived you. You know that as it has been, so it will be. Whether in war or in peace, whether in slavery or in freedom, we have always been loyal to the Stars and Stripes."
I shall not attempt to burden the reader with newspaper comments on this address, but shall content myself with giving a description that appeared at the time in the Chicago Times-Herald:
"Booker T. Washington's address at the Jubilee Thanksgiving services at the Auditorium contained one of the most eloquent tributes ever paid to the loyalty and valor of the colored race, and at the same time, was one of the most powerful appeals for justice to a race which has always chosen the better part.

The speaker, who is the recognized leader of the colored race, reviewed the history of his people from the childhood of the nation to the present day. He pictured the Negro choosing slavery rather than extinction; recalled Crispus Attucks, shedding his blood at the beginning of the American revolution that white Americans might be free, while black Americans remained in slavery; rehearsed the conduct of the Negroes with Jackson at New Orleans; drew a vivid and pathetic picture of the Southern slaves protecting and supporting the families of their masters while the latter was fighting to perpetuate black slavery; recounted the bravery of colored troops at Port Hudson and Forts Wagner and Pillow, and praised the heroism of the black regiments that stormed El Caney and Santiago to give freedom to the enslaved people of Cuba, forgetting for the time being the unjust discrimination that law and custom make against them in their own country.

In all of these things, the speaker declared that his race had chosen the better part. And then he made his eloquent appeal to the consciences of white Americans: 'When you have gotten the full story of the heroic conduct of the Negro in the Spanish-American war, heard it from the lips of Northern soldier and Southern soldier, from ex-abolitionists and ex-masters, then decide within yourselves whether a race that is thus willing to die for its country, should not be given the highest opportunity to live for its country.'

When Americans conquer race prejudice, the speaker declared, they will have won a victory greater than can be obtained through the achievements of arms. He likened the effect of race discrimination, especially in the Southern States, to a cancer gnawing at the heart of the republic, 'as dangerous as an attack from an army within or without.'

This is not a threat, but a warning, and one to which the white race should give heed. The only solution of the 'Negro problem' which will remove all menace to the tranquillity and interest of the country, is universal recognition of the Negro's civil rights. When law and custom cease to degrade him and place obstacles in the way of his advancement; when we cease by unjust discrimination to fill his heart with despair and hatred, but instead, give him hope and aid in his efforts to fully emancipate himself, he will solve the problem now fraught with vexation and danger.

The race is fortunate in having a Booker T. Washington and other comparatively great men as living evidence of what education and the development of natural faculties have accomplished for the colored man, as well as what can be accomplished in the future.

Only through the defeat of race prejudice can the colored man hope to acquire his full proportions as a citizen. And in conquering race prejudice, the white race will achieve a greater victory than both races won in the late war. They will be choosing the better part."
The portion of the speech which seemed to raise the wildest and most sensational enthusiasm was the part where I thanked the President for his recognition of the Negro in his appointments during the Spanish-American war. The President occupied a seat in a box to the right of the platform. When I addressed the President I turned toward him, and as I closed the sentence thanking him for his generosity, the whole audience rose and cheered for some time. The cheering continued with waving of hats, handkerchiefs, and canes until the President himself arose in his box and bowed to me two or three times. This kindled anew the enthusiasm and the demonstration was almost beyond description.

I shall not go into all the details relating to the attention which was shown me during my three days' visit to Chicago. I would say that from the Mayor of the city down, every official connected with the Peace Jubilee seemed to give me the greatest attention, and completely put me at my ease on every occasion. I was given a position on the President's stand during the review of the parade and dined twice with the President's party.

My address was reported in all portions of the country through the associated press dispatches. One portion of it seemed to have been misunderstood, however, by the Southern press, and some of the Southern newspapers took exception to some things that I said and criticized me rather strongly for what seemed to them a reflection upon the South. These criticisms continued for several weeks when I received a letter from the editor of the Age-Herald, published in Birmingham, Alabama, asking me if I would say just what I meant to say in my address. I replied in the following letter, which seemed to put an end to all criticism on the part of the Southern press, and to satisfy the South:
"To the Editor of the 'Age-Herald:'
Replying to your communication of recent date regarding my Chicago speech, I would say that I have made no change whatever in my attitude towards the South or in my idea of the elevation of the colored man. I have always made it a rule to say nothing before a Northern audience that I would not say before a Southern audience. I do not think it necessary to go into any extended explanation of what my position is, for if my seventeen years of work here in the heart of the South is not a sufficient explanation, I do not see how mere words can explain. Each year more and more confirms me in the wisdom of what I have advocated and tried to do.

In Chicago, at the Peace Jubilee, in discussing the relations of the races, I made practically the same plea that I did in Nashville this summer the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, where I spoke almost wholly to a Southern white audience. In Chicago, I made the same plea that I did in a portion of my address at the opening of the Atlanta Exposition, for the blotting out of race prejudice in 'commercial and civil relations.' What is termed social recognition a question I never discuss. As I said in my Atlanta address, 'The wisest among my race understand that the agitations of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing.'

God knows that both—we, of the black race and the white race—have enough problems pressing upon us for a solution without obtruding a social question, out of which nothing but harm would come.

In my addresses, I very seldom refer to the question of prejudice, because I realize that it is something to be lived down, not talked down, but at that great meeting which marked, in a large measure, the end of all sectional feeling, I thought it an opportune time to ask for the blotting out of racial prejudice as far as possible in 'business and civil relations.'

In a portion of my address which was not sent out by the Associated Press, I made the request that the Negro be given every opportunity in proportion as he makes himself worthy. At Chicago, I did not refer wholly to the South or to the Southern white people. All who are acquainted with the subject will agree that prejudice exists in the North as well as in the South. I naturally laid emphasis upon the South, because, as we all know, owing to the large proportion of blacks to whites in the South, it is in the South mainly that the problem is to be worked out. Whenever I discuss the question of race prejudice I never do so solely in the interest of the Negro; I always take the higher ground. If a black man hates a white man, it narrows and degrades his soul. If a white man hates a black man it narrows and degrades his soul.

Both races will grow stronger in morals, and prosper in business, just in proportion as in every manly way they cultivate the confidence and friendship of each other. Outbreaks of race feelings and strained relations not only injure business but retard the moral and religious growth of both races; and it is the duty among the intelligence of both races to cultivate patience and moderation.

Each day convinces me that the salvation of the Negro in this country will be in his cultivation of habits of thrift, economy, honesty, the acquiring of education, Christian character, property, and industrial skill."
I have always made it a rule never to say anything in an address in the North that I would not say in the South. I have no sympathy for any policy which would leave one to suppose that he can help matters in the South by merely abusing the Southern white man. What the South wants is help and not abuse. Of course, when individuals, communities, or states in the South do a wrong thing, they should be criticized, but it should be done in a dignified, generous manner. Mere abuse of a man because he is white or because he is black amounts to nothing and ends in harm. I have said more than once, and I here repeat, that I can sympathize as much with a white man as with a black man; I can sympathize as much with a Southern white man as with a Northern white man. I do not propose that my nature shall be lowered by my yielding to the temptation to hate a man because he is white or because he happens to live in the South. The Negro who hates a white man is usually little and narrow. The white man who hates a Negro is usually little and narrow. Both races will grow strong, useful, and generous in proportion as they learn to love each other instead of hating each other. The Negro race, of all races in the world, should be the last to cultivate the habit of hating an individual on account of his race. He will gain more by being generous than by being narrow. If I can do anything to assist a member of the white race I feel just as happy as if I had done something to assist a member of the Negro race. I think I have learned that the best way to lift one's self up is to help someone else.

While writing upon this subject, it is a pleasure for me to add that in all my contact with the white people of the South, I have never received a single personal insult. The white people in and near Tuskegee, to an especial degree, seem to count it a privilege to show me all the respect within their power, and often go out of their way to do this.

Edited by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

The Sacramento Daily Union Newspaper Article; October 19, 1898

The Opening of the Ceremonies Was a Brilliant Success,

Despite the Fact That the Day Was Cold and a Drizzling Rain Falling.

President McKinley Accorded an Enthusiastic Reception When He Entered the Auditorium, Where the Exercises Were Held.

Official Program of the National Peace Jubilee in Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 16-22, 1898, (pdf)

CHICAGO, Oct. 18—Five thousand people packed within the walls of the Auditorium witnessed the formal launching of the Peace Jubilee today. It required the uncorking of six vials of eloquence to make the launching a distinct success, and no vessel that ever slid down the ways was dumped into more dampness than the Peace Jubilee. A heavy drizzle that changed into rain, and then back into a drizzle, was falling; the streets were filled with puddles of water, and the cold wind blew off Lake Michigan and made walking unpleasant. Notwithstanding these obstacles, the opening of the jubilee proper was a distinct and brilliant success.

It was announced that the ceremonies would commence at 10:30, and fully an hour prior to that time the street in front of the Auditorium was packed with an immense crowd. After the doors had been thrown open there was a long wait for the speakers. Owing to a misunderstanding, in which the President had no part, it was past 11 o'clock before the President entered the hall. Upon his entrance, he was escorted by the Chicago Hussars and mounted police. As the President entered the hall his appearance was the signal for an outburst of cheers that lasted for several minutes. With the President were ex-Governor Richard J. Oglesby of Illinois, Lafayette McWilliams, President Harper of the Chicago University, and Thomas B. Bryan of Chicago. The party composing Mrs. and Miss McWilliams and Miss Duncar were in the box adjoining that of th< President. In the first box at the ft of the stage was General Miles and in the boxes next to him were the members of the various diplomatic corps. Secretary Gage was in the second tier, almost directly opposite to the box of the President. Almost immediately after the Presidential party had taken their seats, the Rev. Frank W. Gunsaulus, Chaplain of the meeting, offered prayer. 

Chairman Charles Truax, on behalf of the Jubilee Committee, then made a short opening address and introduced George H. Peck as the presiding officer. 

Mr. Peck's address, which was greeted with great applause, was as follows: 
"Fellow-citizens: This great assemblage of citizens is profoundly significant of the feeling which pervades American hearts, here and everywhere. It means something more than the mere pride of conquest, for beneath the joyous exultation of victory is the deeper joy that with it has come, or is coming, a just, honorable, and therefore glorious peace. The triumphal arches that span our streets, the flags blending their colors in pictures of infinite beauty, are more eloquent than words to tell us that we live in heroic days. What lessons have come to us in the brief space that separates today from the spring months of this eventful year? We have learned that our own kindred can be trusted to keep unsullied their heritage from the fathers. We have learned that courage and faith can still lead men up slippery hights if only their country's flag and their country's honor go with them. We have learned that under a tropical sun, fighting against all the elements that make up the unspeakable savagery of war in the jungle, American valor still rests serenely upon its own undaunted heart. We have learned that the American soldier, regular and volunteer—white and black—is worthy of the uniform he wears and the cause that was given into his keeping.

We have heard, and all the world has heard, how Dewey saluted the morning in the far-off Orient and lighted up the hazy waters of Manila with such a sunrise as they had never seen before. We have known a Fourth of July made more glorious by the tidings that came, telling us how Sampson and Schley, and Clark and Evans, and Philip and Wainwright, and the brave sailors behind the guns and on the decks and down where the furnace fires were fiercely burning, fell upon the leviathans of Spain and sent them to their doom almost in the twinkling of an eye. The army and navy, two arms of that mighty giant, the American nation, have in equal measures struck unceasingly for the honor of their country, and the cause of humanity, which, in its highest sense, means universal justice.

One name, in the midst of all this pageantry, is in your thoughts and your hearts speak out before my lips can utter it: William McKinley, our President. You know him for what he is, wise, patient, kindly, generous, calmly judging what is right, and the highest statesmanship. Now he surely knows, as he meets his countrymen face to face, that the people always trust the leader who trusts his own conscience and theirs. We cannot yet say that all dangers are passed. Some storms may come, some waves roll high about. But we know a brave, strong hand -will hold the rudder true.

Six months ago we welcomed war in the thoughtful, solemn spirit which befits an appeal to the sword. today we welcome peace and all its blessings. We have given good lives for it, and every life makes it more precious. Victory has come to us in fullest measure. We have won ships and cannon and forts and arsenals. Cities have opened their gates and islands and both hemispheres have welcomed the arms and institutions of freedom. But the greatest prize we have won, in its consequences to us as a people, is the supreme victory which North and South have won over each other. Long ago all sensible and patriotic people in both sections knew that the hour would come. Today we hail it in the assured faith that henceforth we march together to the same music under the same flag and to the same destiny. Verily, this is the year of jubilee.”
After Mr. Peck had finished he introduced Mayor Harrison, who delivered the formal address of welcome to President McKinley and the strangers who had come to Chicago to witness the ceremonies of jubilee week. The President, who received a most enthusiastic welcome as he entered the building, made no formal reply to the address of welcome notwithstanding loud calls for a speech.

Following the address of Mayor Harrison Archbishop Ireland of St. Paul spoke. 

Judge Emory Speer of Georgia followed with the' closing address. At the conclusion of Judge Speer's address, which concluded the program, there were loud calls of "McKinley, McKinley!" The President had turned and was just about to leave the box, but he turned and came back to the front. He waited for a moment until ex-Governor Oglesby brought the assemblage to something resembling quiet.

Then the President spoke as follows:
"My fellow citizens:I have been deeply moved by this demonstration. I have been deeply touched by the words of patriotism that have been uttered by the distinguished gentlemen so eloquently in your presence. It is gratifying to all of us to know that this has never ceased to be a war of humanity. The last ship that went out of the harbor of Havana before war was declared was an American ship that had taken to the suffering people of Cuba the supplies furnished by American charity. (Applause.) And the first ship to sail into the harbor of Santiago was another American ship bearing food supplies to the suffering Cubans (applause), and I am sure it Is the universal prayer of American citizens that justice and humanity and civilization shall characterize the final settlement of peace as they have distinguished the progress of the war (applause). 

My countrymen, the currents of destiny flow through the hearts of the people. Who will check them; who will divert them; who will stop them? and the movements of men, planned and designed by the Master of men, will never be interrupted by the American people."
During the afternoon five meetings were held in different parts of the city. A large meeting at Studebaker Hall was addressed by Albert J. Beverldge of Indianapolis and President Cyrus Northrup of the University of Minnesota. At the Columbia Theater General Miles, General Henry M. Duffield of Detroit and Booker T. Washington addressed an audience limited only by the size of the theater. 

At the First Regiment Armory Secretary Wilson and Major David S. Rose of Milwaukee comprised the list of speakers. 

Samuel Gompers spoke at the Second Regiment Armory, and Charles Emory Smith delivered an address at North Side Turner Hall. The public schools, all of which were profusely decorated, devoted the day to jubilee exercises and to hearing addresses by prominent educators and orators. 

In the course of his speech at the Columbia Theater General Miles said: 
"Our Government has carried us through all the vicissitudes of one of the most destructive civil wars and has given us an unbroken chapter of victories in all our wars with foreign countries. Shall the era of prosperity continue? Are there greater -fields to yet be developed? Are there loftier heights to ascend in the march of civilization? Shall our nation continue to grow strong in moral power, in purity, and be strong and just in our political relations with other nations, or shall the national. State and municipal affairs be contaminated by mercenary influences or partisan or personal considerations? The future alone can answer these questions, and it will depend entirely upon the interest and devotion our people have for the welfare for the government, not as a whole, but in each and every one of these, its component parts. 

We may have thought lightly of our relations with other Governments and of the army and navy, which constitute the physical force of our nation, yet during the last few months, we have witnessed such a grand uprising of the stalwart, patriotic, noble, the very flower of the splendid manhood, crowdIng the avenue of war, as to a festival; seeking the front rank of danger, privation and all that belongs to a good soldier. 

The white race was accompanied by the gallantry of the black as they swept over entrenched lines and later volunteered to succor the sick, nursed the dying, and buried the dead in the yellow fever hospitals and the Cuban camps. 

The navy and army of the United States have written upon the pages of history a chapter that is glided with glory, and to which every American can point with pride." 
The remarks of the Commanding General of the army met with great favor, and he was again and again compelled to bow his acknowledgments. 

At the Armory of the First Infantry crowds that filled the immense structure to the doors gathered to hear General Shafter, who said in part.
"There is nothing that is so dear to the heart of a soldier of this glorious country as to know that he is approved by the people. I accept your welcome so far as I am concerned as the commander of the army which so recently, by its successful campaign in Santiago, lowered the standard of Spain, which for 400 years had floated on this continent, never to be raised. But In thus recognizing me I wish you to know that it is not to me, except in a very small degree, that this credit is due. It is to the gallant army I commanded. At the close of the war they had the advantage that they had been tried by fire and knew what practical war was. This army of mine, while perfect in discipline, thoroughly drilled, were deficient that they had never been under fire. It is to their heroism. indomitable pluck and strength that the country is indebted for that victory, for I tell you, my old comrades, that even after undergoing four years of war. as I did in my youth, having with me men who fought against us. and some of the aldermen who served through the war of the rebellion, I say, and their unanimous verdict was, that American soldiers never suffered before, or were in a campaign that so severely tried them as did this."
Edited by Neil Gale, Ph.D.