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Historical studies journal, volume 12, number 1

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Historical studies journal, volume 12, number 1
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University of Colorado at Denver historical studies journal
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UCD historical studies journal
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Hist. stud. j.
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University of Colorado at Denver
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University of Colorado at Denver
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v. : ill. ; 26 cm.

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University of Colorado at Denver.

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Full Text
University of Colorado at Denver
Historical Studies Journal
Editorial Staff:
Judy Morley, Graduate Student, American History Richard Burden, Graduate Student, European History Eric Hammersmark, Undergraduate, Colorado History Robin Sharp, Graduate Student, European History
Mary S. Conroy, Ph.D., Faculty' Advisor Thomas J. Noel, Ph.D., Faculty Advisor
University of Colorado at Denver
Volume 12, Number 1
Spring 1995


University of Colorado at Denver Department of History
Thomas J. Noel, Ph.D., Department Chair American West, Colorado Studies, Public History
Frederick S. Allen, Ph.D.
Modern Europe, France, Germany
Ernest A. Andrade, Jr., Ph.D.
20th Century United States, U.S. Diplomatic and Military, Canada
Mary S. Conroy, Ph.D.
Russia, Soviet Union
Michael T. Ducey, Ph.D.
Mexico and the American Southwest
Mark S. Foster, Ph.D.
Recent United States Social and Intellectual, Urban, Business
Philip A. Hernandez, Ph.D.
19th Century United States, U.S. Southwest
Lionel M. Jensen, Ph.D.
China and Japan
Myra L. Rich, Ph.D.
Early United States, Womens Studies
James B. Wolf, Ph.D.
Africa, Modern England, 19th and 20th Century British Empire
University of Colorado at Denver
Department of History Phi Alpha Theta, Alpha Gamma Gamma Chapter Campus Box 182, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, Colorado 80217-3364
11


Table of Contents
Introduction v
Donald Worster and His Growing Assault on Capitalism 1
Jim Walsh
Irish Neutrality During the Second World War 21
Kathleen M. Larkin
Breaking Down Barriers: The Denver YWCA 35
and the Phyllis Wheatley Branch, 1940 to 1949 Marcia Tremmel Goldstein
A Social Liberal: J. A. Hobson and Imperialism: A Study 71
Richard Burden
On the Cover: Denvers YWCA during the 1940s was anxious to project a strong image of interracial harmony. As Marcia Tremmel Goldstein shows us in her work on the subject (page 35) the local chapter strove for racial integration two decades before the Civil Rights Movement. This 1949 publicity photo was on the cover of the "Ys" membership brochure. (Photo courtesy of Colorado Historical
Society)
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Introduction
The UCD Historical Studies Journal publishes student papers produced within the UCD Department of History. Department faculty members nominate deserving papers written during the previous calendar year, and the journal editors select the best of these based on criteria such as quality of research, historiographical approach, originality, readability, and organization. The journal contributes to the existing body of historical scholarship, but it is primarily designed to function as a learning tool students can look to the journal for outstanding examples of well-researched and well-written history papers.
The papers published in this edition are exemplary. Using an interview with the author as his main source, Jim Walsh writes a perceptive and original analysis of environmental historian Donald Worster. Jims timely narrative addresses the highly charged issue of Americas exploitation of natural resources and the current backlash against development. Kathleen Larkins paper on Irelands neutrality policy during World War II shows the difficult choices faced by the Irish Prime Minister in breaking with Great Britain. In her paper on the YWCA, Marcia Tremmel Goldstein discusses the trials and triumphs of Denver women in integrating the local Phyllis Wheatley Branch. As part of her M.A. thesis, Marcia shows that this important institution faced the question of integration long before the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Finally, Richard Burden analyzes the work of an important but often overlooked British historian, J.A. Hobson. Although Richard is an editor of this edition of the UCD Historical Studies Journal, his fellow editors agreed unanimously that his paper was worthy of inclusion. Richards scholarly prose highlights the influence of Hobsons work on his contemporaries. We congratulate all the authors and give them our sincere thanks for dedicating the time necessary to prepare their manuscripts for publication.
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Thanks also go to the people who made the preparation of this years journal a smooth and enjoyable process. Diedre Versluis, the president of Phi Alpha Theta, was extremely helpful and patient in securing the funds needed for publication. Sue Sethney provided much-needed office support. Micheline Davis, of UCDs Publication Department, designed the cover and helped streamline the production portion of the process. Dr. Mary Conroy and Dr. Tom Noel deserve special thanks for their guidance and insight throughout the project.
All the students who had their papers nominated this year deserve congratulations. As in the past, the competition for inclusion in the journal was fierce. All the papers nominated were exceptional, and we regret that we were only able to publish four. Nomination is itself an honor, and all the authors whose papers were considered should be proud of this accomplishment.
This is the twelfth year of publication for the journal, and we hope that this edition continues the tradition of excellence set by our predecessors. We also hope that readers find it informative and enjoyable. The UCD Department of History and the Alpha Gamma Gamma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta are responsible for publishing the journal each year, and we thank both organizations for letting us take part in this valuable and rewarding project.
Judy Morley Richard Burden Eric Hammersmark Robin Sharp
April, 1995
vi Introduction


Donald Worster and His Growing Assault on Capitalism
Jim Walsh
The emergence of environmental or ecological history has been a product of the recent fragmentation and revision of American history. This type of history argues that humanity cannot begin to understand itself until it integrates the environment, the various ecological cycles, and all of the planets life forms into its story. Donald Worster is one of the leading voices among environmental historians. His works not only advocate for the inclusion of an ecological framework in history; they also challenge the field to discover and consider the motivations behind humanitys uses and misuses of the environment.
Worster was born November 14, 1941, in Needles, California. While very young, his family moved to western Kansas and it was there that he grew up, eventually receiving his B.A. in 1963 from the University of Kansas. About these years Worster says, "Neither of my parents went to college, nor had any interest in academic or scholarly life. I managed to find an education on my own, through jobs, scholarships, and fellowships."1 Worster went on to Yale to complete his Masters degree in Philosophy in 1970 and Ph.D. in American Studies in 1971.
It was these years at Yale that Worster considers his most important in terms of academic growth. Worster had this to say about these influences:
Certainly, going to Yale to earn a Ph.D. was the formative intellectual experience in my life, and I was fortunate to do that
Jim Walsh graduated with a B.S. from Duke University in 1989. He is currently an M.A. candidate focusing on American Western History. He plans to graduate in 1 996. Jim works for the Denver Family Preservation and Reunification Program, part of the Mental Health Corporation of Denver. He wrote this paper for Historiography, taught by Dr. Mark Foster, in the fall of 1 994.
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during the environmental awakening of the later 1960s and early 70s. Living in New England generally, from 1964 to 1989, with a nine-year hiatus spent in Hawaii, California, and Kansas, opened my imagination to other environments and cultural values than those found in western Kansas, where I grew up.2
Worster went on to describe his influences at Yale, as well as his tendency to forge his own path, stating:
My major advisor was Sydney Ahlstrom, an historian of religion and ideas, most appreciated for his tolerance and catholic interests. I cannot say that he had too much direct influence on my research.
Other figures at Yale that I worked with included Howard Lamar, C.
Vann Woodward, Franklin Baumer, and Frederick Holmes (the latter in the history of science). But mainly, I was pretty self directed and find [sic] my own way into an area where there were no real mentors or precedents.3
Worsters career following Yale took him to all regions of the country, presumably broadening his perspective of this country and its ecology. From 1964 until 1966, he was an instructor in speech and drama at the University of Maine. His next teaching position was as an assistant professor of American studies at Brandeis University, where he taught from 1971 to 1974. Following this, from 1975 to 1983, he was a professor of American studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, before returning to Brandeis in 1984. Currently, he is the Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas, where he has taught for several years. Worster feels most at home on the Great Plains, where he, his wife of thirty years, and his two children enjoy a peaceful existence.
Worsters awards have been many and this paper will not attempt to list them. Suffice it to say that he is considered one of most widely read and well respected environmental historians of the late twentieth century. He has written and published six books, all falling into the category of environmental/ecological history. These are Natures Economy: The Roots of Ecology (\911)', Dust Bowl: The
Southern Plains in the 1930s(l919)\ Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West(1985); Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West(l992); The Wealth of Nature: Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination^1993); and An Unsettled Country: Changing Landscapes of the American West(1994). Worster is currently under contract by Oxford University Press to write a biography of John Wesley Powell.
Regarding Worsters changing thoughts and mindset, his writing represents a serious questioning of the adverse ecological effects of the free enterprise, capitalist economy. This questioning of capitalism has gradually intensified, evolving from the suggestion of a connection between capitalism and environmental adversity into a
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full-scale indictment of our free market society and the manipulation of nature for the personal gain that inevitably follows.
Examples of this gradual intensification can be found in Worsters books. His first book, Natures Economy, takes a more conventional approach in addressing its subject. This book concentrates more on the changing history of ecological thought than on any ramifications or consequences of that thought. By the time he began to write works such as Dust Bowl and Rivers of Empire, however, he was staring the free enterprise, profit-seeking ethos of the United States directly in the face and suggesting that changes at the core of the economic system are the only ways to stall the widespread mistreatment of the environment.
Worsters first book, Natures Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas, was his Ph.D. dissertation. Worster says of this book, "I think my first book, which was my dissertation, Natures Economy, is my best, and certainly it is my favorite book. It has been translated into four languages and outsold my other works considerably. Traditional American and Western U.S. historians dont know it, but in many ways it is the subject closest to my deep interests."4 The book traces ecological thought beginning with eighteenth century Europe and takes the reader right into the 1960s. In 1994, for the second edition, Worster added a final chapter that covered the years since the earlier edition.
In the preface, Worster explains how the explosion of interest in ecology in the 1960s and 1970s inspired him to write the book. "This peculiar field of study has been suddenly called on, in a manner unusual even in our science-impressed age, to play a central intellectual role."5 He later describes the newness of ecology, "Like a stranger blowing into town, ecology seems a presence without a past."6
Overall, the book traces the dominant mode of thinking among ecologists, naturalists, or whatever label the time period placed on the scholar, in relation to the role of humanity in nature. Two modes of thinking, Worster argues, have continually done battle over the course of the last two or three centuries. Worster shows how this ecological pendulum has swung between an imperial and a holistic camp. The imperialists, from Francis Bacon to the post-World War II nuclear scientists, constantly advocated the domination of humanity over nature. The killing of pests, building of nuclear weapons, shooting of predators, and management of water systems illustrate this school of thought. Worster labels the opposing mindset holistic or arcadian. Men such as Gilbert White and Henry David Thoreau were the pioneers of this mindset. This philosophy believed that humanity should work toward an understanding of the nature around them and, instead of forcing themselves upon nature, humans must consider that, "all nature is alive, and whatever is alive has a claim on mans moral affections."7
The last chapter, which Worster added to the 1994 edition, steers the reader away from this good vs. evil struggle and into a much more abstract discussion. The age of nuclear weapons, massive population growth, and a global environmental awakening have, in Worsters view, confused the issues. Uncertainty led to ideas such as the science of chaos. This science, arising from an inability of scientists
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to successfully predict events, is defined by Worster as, "...a single revolution rising up against all the principles, laws, models, and applications of classical science, the science ushered in by the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."8
This theme is much different from the rest of the book. The last chapter is a clear example of how Worsters thinking has grown increasingly radical as well as all-encompassing. The fact that it was written in the 1990s is no coincidence, as it parallels Worsters growing radical thought around the environmental values of western civilization. Regardless of the change in thought, however, Worster somehow manages to include this last chapter without seriously disrupting the books continuity. Perhaps it is Worsters three conclusions in his final chapter that save the harmony here, for they leave the reader pondering the future flow of human thought and activity in this realm. These conclusions are:
1. "...informed reason allows us to say that living nature, for all its private, individualistic strivings, works by the principle of interdependency."9
2. "...our study of the past has uncovered models of successful adaptation that we can learn from today. They are not values in themselves but rather are lessons drawn from nature, applicable to the values we have chosen. The natural world may not provide any overall, sufficient norm for us to follow, or any single transcendent good that we can discover, but it does provide a wealth of models, depending on what it is we want to achieve."10
3. "...history reveals not merely that change is real but also that change is various. All change is not the same, nor are changes equal...We can no more take any particular state as absolutely normative than we can take any particular state of equilibrium as normative."11
It seems that it is the territory and the perspectives that traditional historians tend to ignore that most penetrate Worsters writings. In Natures Economy, as in his other books, prominent historical figures such as Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin, and John Wesley Powell are praised for obscure or abstract reasons apart from their more traditionally glorified qualities. They are admired by Worster for traits or stances that have not been emphasized in the traditional historical accounts. For example, Worster virtually ignores Thoreaus writing and philosophizing and replaces it with an emphasis on his love of the outdoors and the wisdom that he found in nature. John Wesley Powells daring adventures in the American West are overlooked in favor of an obscure proposal that he made in favor of communal water use among the several water districts of the American West.
Natures Economy is certainly not without its critics. Reviewer Kier B. Sterling calls Worsters narrative "selective, episodic, and sometimes one-sided."12 Also, Choice magazine criticized the book for accepting the view that the roots of U.S.
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ecological perceptions are from European sources.13 Regardless of any specifics that Worster may have overlooked or where he stands in relation to the sources for U.S. ecological thinking, his insights into twentieth century thought and the questions that he raises in his conclusion cannot be trivialized or cast aside. This book successfully questions the roles of the ecologist, the scientist, and the public policy bureaucrat. It forces the reader to take a hard look at values that have been instilled from childhood; values and assumptions that may be hidden or unrecognized, such as human ownership of natural resources or the concept of nature being managed by humans.
In 1979, Worster published his second book, Dust Bowl. It won a Bancroft Prize and vaulted Worster into national prominence as an environmental historian. Worster states his reasons for writing the book in the preface.
This book was undertaken for a selfish and private reason: I wanted to see the plains again. After a decade and a half of living in other places, many of them exotic and distant, and of studying the ideas of a larger world, I thought it was time to come home for a while and take another look at the land and people who gave me so much to start with. Had I been a Wallace Stegner, I might have written a novel or an autobiography instead of a work of history. But in its own way, and despite the scholars footnotes, this book is the result of my coming to grips with my own past. It is the product of twenty-odd impressionable years spent growing up on the plains.14
Dust Bowl argues that the dust bowls were the result of the massive effort by the great plains farmers to turn as much land as possible into productive farmland. Worster compares the ecological consequences of this great plow-up to the 1929 collapse of Wall Street and its economic consequences. It was the optimism of the farmers and the refusal to admit that employing extremely risky techniques was unwise, that led to ecological disaster. This optimism, writes Worster:
...may be an essential response for survival in this sometimes treacherous world; it certainly brought many Western farmers through to greener days. But it also can be a form of lunacy. There is about the perennial optimist a dangerous naivete, a refusal to face the grim truths about oneself or others or nature. Optimism can also divert our attention from critical self-appraisal and substantive reforms, which is exactly what happened on the plains.15
The New Deal, according to Worster, was part of the problem rather than the solution. The aid that supported the farmers during these difficult, dirty, and dry times, Worster argues, simply prolonged a struggle that nature eventually won, but at the American taxpayers expense.
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The dust rolls in during the Dust Bowl.
(From: Donald Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979, p. 15.)
Dust Bowl goes on to discuss the great exodus of the Okies from Oklahoma to California as well as the importance of grass on the great plains, including the danger that cattlemen and wheat farmers pose to such a delicate equilibrium. Worster then focuses on two counties, one in the Oklahoma panhandle and one in southwestern Kansas. He closely examines the people of these counties and uses them as case studies for a discussion on the reactions, coping mechanisms, and survival techniques of these people.
In Dust Bowl Worster commences his sweeping questioning of American economics, values, and foresight. Here, he criticizes the capitalist system itself, its rigidity, selfishness, and predicted path toward self-destruction. For example, the following statements are contained on two pages alone.
"It was a well-organized and rationalistic system, supremely confident of its unending progress, unashamedly materialistic and utilitarian, critical of those who had failed in the race for spoils, and incredibly wasteful."
"The attitude of capitalismindustrial and pre-industrialtoward the earth was imperial and commercial; none of its ruling values taught environmental humility, reverence, or restraint."
"But it was here on the southern plains, where the grass had always struggled to hold the land against powerful winds and recurrent drought, that the self-seeking entrepreneur most clearly displayed his
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weaknesses."
"By the values they had been taught, they [the southern plains farmers] were justified in what they did; they were contributors, they assumed, to national growth and affluence."
"But as it turned out, the culture they had brought to the plainsthe culture that had brought them therewas ecologically among the most unadaptive ever devised."16
Beginning with Dust Bowl, Worsters writings represent a relentless and convincing rallying cry against the capitalist ethos. Simply put, his work took on a strong Marxist overtone, but with an ecological point of reference and with nature as the proletariat.
The reviews of Dust Bowl are, if nothing else, indicative of the ease with which Worsters arguments elicit debate. Without even going into the debates themselves, the intensity of responses that Worster provoked underscored their importance. Some critics felt that the explosion of ecological debate in the 1970s inspired Worster to write this book. This seems to be an attempt to minimize the books importance, categorizing it into an historiographic framework and thus labeling it a fad. For example, reviewer Gilbert C. Fite opens his review stating, "It has been long recognized that the felt issues and attitudes of the times influence historical writing. Donald Worsters book on the dust bowl confirms this fact."17 Clayton R. Koppes reacts by stating, "In an era beset by environmental and economic woes, the Dust Bowl is ripe for the reinterpretation provided in Donald Worsters Dust Bowl."1*
Worster seems to leave some critics feeling confused. In his discussion of the breakdowns and dangers of capitalism, Worster is clear and convincing. It is in his lack of clearly stated alternatives that the critics find fault. R. Douglas Hurt claims, "Worster writes that there was a need for a broad-gauged alternative to commercial farming. What that alternative might have been is not entirely clear."19 Koppes adds, "Worsters criticism of capitalism is heavily influenced by Marxism, and it hints at a noncapitalist alternative, but this remains at the level of implication."20 Finally, this impassioned critique by James W. Ware: "Worster does stretch his Marxist analysis a little thin in places and is a little too critical of the people of the plains. The Dust Bowls farmers were brave frontiersmen, no more or less foolish and greedy than any other Americans during the depression decade."21
Six years after Dust Bowl, Worster published Rivers of Empire. When this book was published, there were few doubts that he had spent those years wisely. Although Worster claims that Natures Economy has been his best selling book, it is usually Rivers of Empire that comes to mind among students and historians when they contemplate the works of Donald Worster.
Rivers of Empire represents Worsters assault on what he sees as a brutal system of dependence upon industry and technology. This system is seen by Worster
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Father and son head for cover during a dust storm, 1936.
(From: Worster, Dust Bowl, 1979, p.102.)
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to have bloated technocrats and politicians with more power than they could possibly use constructively. Worster effectively synthesizes the history of the American Wests slow development into what he calls an hydraulic empire. Beginning with a survey of similar attempts at river control in other parts of the world, Worster slowly leads the reader through the United States gradual development of the most technologically advanced water management bureaucracy the world has ever seen. Rivers of Empire is destined to inspire emotional debate on both sides of the issues.
Beginning with a touch of nostalgia, Worster discusses the ecologically safe methods of the early Anglo settlements of the American West that depended on irrigation, such as those of the Mormons around Salt Lake. Worster treats these people as having worked within reasonable bounds and with minimal effect upon the local ecosystems. From this nineteenth century focus, the control of water in this country grows, according to Worster, larger, more powerful, more destructive, more bureaucratized, and more distant.
Worster recalls a theory that was proposed by John Wesley Powell but rejected by the lawmakers. This proposal would have separated the American West into several water districts, each district being a discrete, self-contained, social, economic, and political system. These districts would then each control their own rivers or set of related rivers. Worster glorifies this proposal, but offers no solid reasons as to why it would have succeeded and held off all future economic pressures.
Worsters writing becomes most passionate when he delves into the rise of bureaucracies such as the Bureau of Reclamation. As the Wests water came more and more under the control of the powerful technocrats and politicians, initiatives such as the Newlands Act were created to entice settlers into the newly irrigated regions. This was to be Americas new frontier; a place where people with little or no hope for prosperity could start from scratch. Unfortunately, this is not how things worked out. Worster shows how the water and the power came to rest in the hands of the business elite of the West. With this immense power, a huge system of dependence over the newly diverted water came into being. Worster claims, "The result was rule by technocracy, and not surprisingly the chief beneficiaries of that rule were people of property and standing. Water had indeed made this desert bloom, and the crop was oligarchy."22
The important feature of Rivers of Empire is its powerful and moving prose. Indeed, if the reader is not careful Worster will softly float them along his stream of thought and deposit them into a mindset much more radical than the one they may remember leaving. Examples of this influential and provocative language are many. He begins a discussion of dams with:
It drips endlessly from the roof of North America, from the cordillera of the Rockies, down from its eaves and gables and ridges, its mossy slates and piney shingles, running this way and that, running whichever way offers the least resistance. Put a barrel
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The Glen Canyon Dam (top) and the Hoover Dam churn out America's hydroelectric
power.
(From: Allan H. Cullen, Rivers in Harness: The Story of Dams, Philadelphia: Chilton
Books, 1962, centerpiece.)
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where it drips, and a second next to that one, and so on until the yard is full of barrels. Call part of that dripping the Rio Grande and give the barrels names too: Road Canyon, Sanchez, La Jara,
Abiquiu, El Vado, Jemez, Elephant Butte, Caballo, Two Rivers, McMillan, Red Bluff, Amistad, and Falcon...Barrel after barrel, each with a colorful name but all looking alike, quickly becoming an industry in their manufacture, with industrial sameness in their idea and use. The big ones must all be made to federal specifications and paid for by federal funding, but a thousand little private kegs and rusty pots can be deployed too...Plink, plink, save, save. It would have been a crime simply to stand by and watch it drip and run away.23
The reader may be able to sense a type of enjoyment from the author, for here, moreso that in any other of his works, he begins to say, "I told you so." The hydraulic society is far from collapse. Nonetheless, its weaknesses cannot be ignored. The era of the great dam has passed and the United States finds itself frighteningly dependant upon a system of irrigation. Water salinization, sediment buildup against dam walls, and other side effects of water control began to signal an end to a very unnatural era.
Critics of this book all rave about the passion and feeling in Worsters writing. For example, one critique reads, "He has reflected with love, sadness, and anger. ,"24 Another adds, "... he takes his place in a tradition of awed, affectionate writing about the West. .',23 Gerald Nash points out Worsters lack of clear alternatives, but acknowledges the power of his position, writing:
Worsters vision evokes sympathy, but his suggested remedies are more difficult to embrace. Yet, who can fault an author who urges us to put faith in the goodness and rationality of humanity and in a new version of the American dream?26
Finally, an analysis by Larry Anderson reads, "Worster takes a certain grim delight in recounting such problems as collapsing dams, reservoir sedimentation, salinization, pollution, and aquifer depletion."27
Thus, just as Dust Bowl intensified Worsters tone from Natures Economy, so Rivers of Empire further vaulted Worster into a serious and somber interview with the values bred by a free market society. This book made no attempts at balance, objectivity, or inclusion. Emotional response, negative or positive, is what Worster sought from his readers.
Worsters most recent books, Under Western Skies, and An Unsettled Country> are very similar and can be considered together. Both are collections of relatively unrelated essays covering topics as varied as Sioux rights to the Black Hills and inclusion of animals and plants in our human-dominated histories. The fact that
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Worster has branched out to so many new areas may represent his desire to instill his ecological point of view onto more traditional turfs.
The Marxist influence also appears in much of this most recent writing. Aggressive exploitation by a greedy, unrelenting, shortsighted, capitalist state finds many more victims here than simply the working class. Predators, Native Americans, the air, and the fauna have joined the rivers and the soil as victims. Worster advocates for these victims, though, for different reasons than present day political correctness might dictate. For example, in his essay entitled, "The Black Hills: Sacred or Profane?", Worster rejects the notion that the Hills should be returned to the Sioux because they are in some ways sacred to them. He writes, "...the historian cannot find any evidence that in the nineteenth century the Hills were in fact regarded as sacred by the Lakota."28 Worster, in fact, criticizes the attempt by the Sioux to use the sacred argument to regain the land. He adds:
Because the claim of sacredness remains weak, and often seems contrived for white consumption, they go on rummaging through their reminiscences and back rooms, looking for old buffalo robes, as medieval Christians ransacked for the holy shroud. They rush into court waving the latest proof aloft, as though any amount of evidence would make much of a difference to a room full of white lawyers, who never heard about ethnoastronomy or mountain gods in law school.29
In the end, though, Worster stands firmly on the side of the Sioux. Just as he glorifies John Wesley Powell only on his own obscure terms, so does he defend the Sioux on terms that lack all of todays popular Native American nostalgia. It is not that the Sioux in some way have earned them, he argues, but that white America, through their misuse, has disearned them. The Hills could not possibly be in worse hands than those of the capitalist profit-making machine.
In this same book, Worster added two essays that touch upon the somber domination that came to be exemplified through projects such as the Hoover Dam and the Alaskan oil pipeline. In an essay entitled "Alaska: The Underworld Erupts," Worster chronicles the slow and continual overrunning of Alaska, leading to the exploitation of its natural resources. In a fine example of his passionate and moving writing, the essay reads:
Within present memory in Alaska a black force began erupting out of the interior of the earth, bringing to the surface all the power of an ancient underworld. A benign power in many ways, it brought a warmer, brighter, faster, freer life to people, and a readier access to the many wonders of the Great Land, one of the most sublime landscapes on earth. But it was also a dark, destructive power, and in retrospect we are able to see more clearly just how much it
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destroyed, ecologically and culturally, as it oozed across the country in a viscous, volatile flood of hydrocarbons.30
The inevitable control of the oil pipeline and the Hoover Dam led to ecological destruction and ultimate cultural dependence, all for the benefit of bureaucrats, technocrats, and the urban, industrial elite. These essays do not stray far from the thesis of Rivers of Empire.
Worster begins to reenter the realm of intellectual history, a history he hadnt written in any depth since Natures Economy, with some of these recent essays. His opening essay in Under Western Skies blasts the traditional history of the American West. Here, Worster sets the tone for a book full of what will inevitably be considered radical essays. He writes here with a bit of cynicism:
Dont reveal that there may be important ideals that have been violated or argue that there are new ones we must discover; if you do, you will be considered romantic, naive, biased, polemical, or ungrateful. You may even become "an ideologue" (a dreaded label which often is applied to any historian who doesnt take the dominant or official ideology for granted). In other words, keep western history, and the West itself, safe from controversy or radical challenge. Be sure to write in a style that is intellectually timid, long on footnotes and bibliography but short on original ideas, especially short on uncommon or unconventional ideas. If you have any such ideas, keep them to yourself or cover them over with a camouflage of dull gray prose so that no one will take them seriously.31
"Freedom and Want: The Western Paradox," asks the reader to consider how our country can quell its thirst for endless resources and find freedom from want in the American West, a land whose uniqueness is based upon its scarcity. Worster here introduces the dilemma involving the United States vision of the West. This vision requires aridity and therein lies the problem according to Worster.
If this vision of liberation is to endure, this western space must stay open, which is to say, it must stay dry. Freedom in our western vision requires aridity. It depends on a brilliance of light, an openness of terrain, a clean spaciousness that gives us plenty of room to spread out and look around, to get some distance from the crowd, to deal with our private selves, to renew hope. It requires the West as it naturally was and is. A little more water might spoil it all.32
"The Legacy of John Wesley Powell" leads off An Unsettled Country; Changing Landscapes of the American West. More than likely, this essay can be seen as a preview to Worsters upcoming biography of the man. Here, again,
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Adventurer John Wesley Powell, on horse, with a Paiute Indian.
(From: William Culp Darrah, Powell of the Colorado, Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press,
1951, centerpiece.)
Worster highlights Powells efforts at creating communal "hydrographic basins." 33 His next essay in Unsettled Country acts as a type of follow up to Rivers of Empire. The essay introduces what Worster calls the "Holy Trinity of modern water developmentan alliance of Science, State, and Capital."34 Worster uses this essay to claim that the irrigation monolith is doomed. He seems to take pleasure in writing of an end to resource manipulation:
Water imperialism is beginning at last to be discredited. Water development is an idea lying in moral ruins...We are, therefore, approaching the end of a long chapter in human history, the era of the unquestioned conquest of nature in the name of material progress. Yet the next chapter begins in deep uncertainty about its plot or outcome. The history of the past two centuries has left us in a trap that has no easy escape. Where will the water come from to support those urban masses of the present and the future? Will irrigation continue to use 70 percent of the available supply, and if it does not, how will the masses, a large portion of whom depend on irrigation, be fed?35
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With this question Worster leaves his readers pondering this fragile dependence on water supplies. He also excuses himself from the water theme for the foreseeable future.
As if his bout with traditional history was not fierce enough, Worster walks even further away from the mainstream in one of his final essays, "Other Peoples, Other Lives." Worster clearly states his intentions early in the piece, writing, ". .the life of the American West has always included the presence of animalsthe wild and the tameand that an adequate history of this region must give more attention to their presence and to the uses we have made of them. "36
In regards to his personal lifestyle, Worster once said, "I am interested in finding ways for myself, family, and others to live on this fragile planet with the least impact, the fullest humanity, and the greatest amount of personal freedom compatible with ecological integrity."3' Worster himself must live within this society whose values and desire for personal gain so move him. During the recent interview, he was asked if this created any dilemmas for him:
I do live within my society and dont know how to do otherwise. I hold a job in it and have raised a family in it, but I am not altogether of it. I use electricity, for example, but conserve energy with a kind of fanatical devotion to frugality. I heat my house with solar energy and drive an older car with no electric windows or air conditioning.
I could very easily afford to live a more luxurious life than I do.
Ones aim, however, should not be to reject modern technology, if that could even be done, but to scrutinize each innovation carefully, to look for those that do little environmental harm (and there are some), to seek limits and social regulations in society, to promote technologies that are frugal, local and non-intrusive, and meanwhile and most importantlyto look squarely and honestly at the costs that capitalism entails. We cannot get out of the modern capitalist system any time soon, unless we retreat to a country where its institutions are not present (do such places even exist anymore?).38
Worster agrees that his thinking has gradually become more radical, but also sees himself growing in different directions. He states:
I have definitely become more radical in my environmental thinking in some waysmore of a deep ecologist than I was twenty years ago.
At the same time I put more emphasis these days on the population issue than I did a while back. But in other ways I have become more aware of the immense difficulties in altering substantially the economic system we live under. I am, consequently, an evolutionist more than a revolutionist.39
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Finally, what of present day politics? Does Worster see his role as involving present day public policies? Worster went into some depth on his political self, explaining:
I am not much of a political activist, if that means one who testifies before political groups or organizes political campaigns. I live a rather reclusive, academic life. However, I do belong to several national environmental organizations and am somewhat active in local and state groups. I sit on the board of directors of the Kansas Land Trust, which seeks voluntary conservation easements on significant natural and agricultural lands; and I am chairman of the board of directors of the Land Institute, which aims to find a more ecologically informed agriculture. I have never set out to have a specific impact on policy makers, though I have spoken in public policy settings repeatedly. The other day I was surprised to read that Secretary Bruce Babbitt had based some of his grazing reform policy on one of my essays "Cowboy Ecology," though its not clear just what he took from it or whether it was what I had in mind. I did not write the piece with anyone like him in mind; in fact, it was originally written for a session at the American Historical Association, and even then it was more of an effort at personal enlightenment than anything else.40
With the recent growth of environmental history, it is likely that Worsters audience will be hearing much more from him. Also, if recent trends in American History continue, his insistence on viewing history from an ecological perspective will gain acceptance and advocates. His argument that the United States has become dependent upon a fragile, artificial system of environmental management that it cannot possibly hope to continue is convincing if one considers contemporary problems with the U.S., including its inability to continue to fund major environmental control projects.
It remains to be seen whether Worster will be comfortable in the role of a spokesman or a policy maker, an area into which his growing popularity may push him. To this point, he has been comfortable in the position of cultural critic and environmental advocate. Most likely, he will politely pass, just as he has in his books, on the puzzling question, "where to from here?"
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Endnotes
1. Donald Worster, interview via fax with author, 26 November 1994.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Donald Worster, Natures Economy. The Roots of Ecology (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1977), p. ix.
6. Ibid., p. vii.
7. Ibid., p.85.
8. Ibid, p.406.
9. Ibid., p.429.
10. Ibid., p. 430.
11. Ibid., p. 432.
12. Kier B. Sterling, review of Natures Economy, by Donald Worster, American Historical Review 85(June 1980):p. 602.
13. Choice 15(May 1978): p. 423.
14. Donald Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. vii.
15. Ibid., p. 26.
16. Ibid., pp. 96-97.
17. Gilbert C. Fite, review of Dust Bowl, by Donald Worster, American Historical Review 85(June 1980):p. 732.
18. Clayton R. Koppes, review of Dust Bowl, by Donald Worster, Reviews in American History 8(December 1980):p. 536.
19. R. Douglas Hurt, review of Dust Bowl, by Donald Worster, American West 17(January 1980):p. 54.
20. Koppes, p.536.
21. James W. Ware, review of Dust Bowl, by Donald Worster, Journal of American History 67(June 1980):p. 191.
22. Donald Worster, Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 206.
23. Ibid., p. 265.
24. The New Republic 203(October 22, 1990):p. 35.
25. New York Times Book Review 91( February 23, 1986):p. 7
26. Gerald Nash, review of Rivers of Empire, by Donald Worster, American Historical Review 92(February 1987):p. 214.
27. Larry Anderson, review of Rivers of Empire, by Donald Worster, Sierra 71(July/August 1972):p. 72.
28. Donald Worster, Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 142.
29. Ibid., p. 150.
30. Ibid., p. 176.
31. Ibid., p. 16.
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32. Ibid., p. 84.
33. Donald Worster, An Unsettled Country: Changing Landscapes of the American West (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994), p. 15.
34. Ibid., p. 41.
35. Ibid., p. 52.
36. Ibid., p. 60.
37. Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, 12: p. 517.
38. Worster interview.
39. Ibid.
40. Ibid.
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Bibliography
Worsters published works:
Worster, Donald. Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.
Natures Economy: The Roots of Ecology. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1977.
---------- Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
---------- Under Western Skies: Nature and History in the American West. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
---------- An Unsettled Country: Changing Landscapes of the American West.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.
The Wealth of Nature; Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Book Reviews:
Anderson, Larry. In Sierra 71(July/Aug 1972):p. 72.
Choice 15(May 1978):p. 423.
Fite, Gilbert C. In American Historical Review 85(June 1980):p. 732.
Hurt, R. Douglas. In American West 17(January 1980):p. 54.
Koppes, Clayton R. In Reviews in American History 8(December 1980):pp. 536-539. Nash, Gerald. In American Historical Review 92(February 1987):p. 214.
The New Republic 203(October 22, 1990):p. 35.
New York Times Book Review 91(February 23, 1986):p. 7.
Sterling, Kier B. In American Historical Review 85(June 1980):p. 602.
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Ware, James W. In Journal of American History 67(June 1980):p. 191. Miscellaneous:
Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series 12:517.
Worster, Donald. Interview via fax with author. 26 November 1994.
20 Donald Worster J. Walsh


Irish Neutrality During the Second World War
Kathleen M. Larkin
At the time the Second World War began, neutrality was an established and accepted policy in international relations.1 Indeed, many nations declared a neutral positionNorway, Switzerland, Sweden, Holland, and Belgium, to name a few. Even the United States declared itself neutral, and it was not until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war that the United States became a belligerent. Moreover, other nations, particularly in South America, declared war against the Axis powers only near the end of the war after victory was assured. Despite these instances of neutrality, however, the declaration of neutrality by the twenty-six counties making up the state of Ireland (or Eire in Irish)2 was a contentious issue. Eamon De Valera, the Taoiseach3 of Ireland who decided in favor of neutrality, has been both celebrated and condemned for this policy. He has been celebrated for successfully keeping his small nation out of the conflagration and condemned for not joining the fight against tyranny and evil. Although Ireland faced criticism and pressure for its neutral stance, it refused to abandon the policy.
While the policy of neutrality during the war was due in part to de Valeras commitment to the concept of neutrality, it was first and foremost in the national interests of Ireland. Neutrality served Irelands interests by providing Ireland with a means to demonstrate its independence, to exercise its sovereignty, to satisfy domestic considerations, and to demonstrate against Britain. Neutrality was also the most practical choice since it kept Ireland out of a war for which it was unprepared. Despite the many factors driving its wartime policy, Ireland was neutral in name only. Ireland betrayed its pro-Allied position by showing a decided preference for the Allies and by accepting their assistance. Regardless of Irelands "friendly neutrality" toward the Allies and against Germany, Irelands neutral stance during the Second World War had unfavorable international implications for Ireland in the postwar years. As for post-war domestic implications, they were mixed.
The policy of neutrality adopted by de Valera during the Second World War
Kathleen Larkin is a senior, graduating in May, 1 995, with a double major in History and Political Science. This paper was written in the fall of 1 994 for History 4200, History of Ireland, taught by Dr. Jim Wolf.
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Eamon de Valera addresses Ere.
(From: Joseph T. Carroll, Ireland in the War Years, Newton Abbot: David and Charles,
1975, p. 152.)
was due in part to his commitment to the concept of neutrality. Journalist and historian Robert Fisk explains that the notion of neutrality in Ireland was nothing new in 1939. Many in Ireland were opposed to the Boer War of 1900 and the First World War. Opposition to these wars centered on the belief that Irishmen should not be expected to fight in Britains wars and it contributed to the rise of Irish nationalism. Therefore, by the time hostilities broke out in 1939, "Irish nationalism-and Republicanismhad become associated with non-participation in war."4 Thus, the notion of and commitment to neutrality was deeply felt in Ireland and closely associated with patriotism and freedom.
According to historian T. Ryle Dwyer, de Valera initially advocated intervention in Manchuria after the 1931 Japanese invasion, in the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay in 1932, and in Ethiopia in 1935 just prior to Italys invasion.5 However, the League of Nations unwillingness to intervene in these incidents strengthened de Valeras belief in the desirability of neutrality. As Fisk explains, it was the failure of the League of Nations after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia that drove de Valera "into the isolationist camp."6
More important than a commitment to the notion of neutrality was de Valeras belief that a neutral policy would allow Ireland to establish its independence
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Map of Ireland and the Treaty Ports.
(From: Robert Fisk, In Time of War, Philadelphia: Univ. of Penn., 1986, p.4)
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and exercise its sovereignty. Ironically, it was an agreement with the British which facilitated Irelands neutrality policy. In 1938 Ireland and Britain made an arrangement whereby the three ports of Cobh, Berehaven, and Lough Swilly, which were retained by the British in the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty, would be returned to the Irish. As author and historian Kevin B. Nowlan puts it, "the British decision to give up the ports removed one of the most serious obstacles to effective Irish neutrality in time of war."7 It would have been difficult at best for Ireland to remain neutral with Britain using the ports in its war effort.
Regardless of how Ireland gained the ability to undertake a neutral stance, Ireland adhered to the policy of neutrality to assert its sovereignty and independence from Britain. Fisk points out that if Ireland joined the war, it would have been dependent on Britain for its security.8 In such circumstances, one would have to question whether Ireland was truly "independent" and also to what degree it had succeeded in severing itself from Britain.
Irelands commitment to establishing its independence and exercising its sovereignty was evident from occurrences during the war. One such incident involved the so-called "American Note." Early in 1943, the United States presented a note to de Valera requesting that he remove all Axis diplomats from Ireland. The United States believed that these diplomats posed a security risk to troops stationed in Northern Ireland and for plans to invade France.9 De Valera refused to comply with the American request on the grounds that it threatened Irelands ability to carry out an independent foreign policy.10 Another request from the United States prompted a similar response. Just prior to the German surrender in May of 1945, David Gray, the American representative in Ireland, requested that de Valera make assurances that he would not grant asylum to German war criminals. De Valera refused to make such assurances. According to Dwyer, although he was not likely to grant asylum to war criminals, de Valera "was not prepared to sacrifice his countrys freedom to do so by making a prior commitment."11 Thus, a policy of neutrality allowed de Valera to demonstrate Irish independence.
Aside from allowing de Valera to demonstrate Irish sovereignty, the policy of neutrality also provided de Valera with an opportunity to speak out against the partition of his nation. On the evening of September 3, 1939, the day Britain and France declared war on Germany, de Valera announced his decision to keep Ireland neutral. In that address to the nation, de Valera stated that "with part of our country still unjustly severed from us, we felt that no other decision and no other policy was possible."12 The injustice of partition was a recurring theme for de Valera. For example, Britain tried in vain to get de Valera to allow them to use the Treaty Ports which were returned to Irish control in 1938. De Valera explained that although he sympathized with the British situation, "the difficulties created by partition prevented him from giving open expression to his sympathies."13 The United States was given a similar explanation when de Valera turned down the American request to remove all Axis diplomats. De Valera explained that to comply with the request would violate Irish neutrality, which was "the logical consequence of Irish history and of
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by Illingworth.
Grave offence was taken in Dublin to this Daily Mail cartoon by Illingworth showing de Valera riding stubbornly on a donkey to disaster while the former neutrals, Norway,
Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Rumania, warn him from behind the barbed wire of a Nazi concentration camp of his folly. This cartoon was part of the strident British and American Press campaign attacking Irish neutrality which followed Churchills speech in the House of Commons on 5 November 1940 complaining at not having the use of the Irish ports.
(From: Joseph T. Carroll, Ireland in the War Years, 1975, p. 170.)
the forced partition of national territory."14
Although de Valera claimed that it was the partition of Ireland that prevented him from cooperating with the British or the Americans, partition actually made it easier for Ireland to maintain its neutrality. This was due to the fact that Britain had bases in Northern Ireland which it could and did use. If these bases were not available to the British, they may have been much more likely to infringe on Irish neutrality.15
Domestic concerns were another factor which motivated de Valeras decision for neutrality. According to Trevor C. Salmon, an international relations professor, there existed two factions in Ireland: those who wanted to join Germany, primarily the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and those who supported the Commonwealth. Salmon goes on to say that "in view of this divide and the recent civil war [1922], internal unity was a factor not to be underestimated, and there was widespread acceptance that neutrality was the course of action most likely to unite the people of Eire."16 Certainly, the memory of the 1916 Easter Uprising17 weighed heavily in de Valeras decision. Thus, de Valera chose the policy of neutrality to unite the nation.
Any decision de Valera made had to consider the IRA since it was a potentially disruptive force. Simply stated, the goals of the IRA were a complete
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British withdrawal from Ireland, reunification of Eire with the six counties in the north, and the right to self-determination. The IRA already demonstrated that it was willing and capable of using violence to achieve its aims. What is more, the IRA was not averse to cooperating with Germany if doing so would further its objectives. The author Joseph T. Carroll states that de Valera had to "neutralize the IRA who would naturally see in Englands difficulty, Irelands opportunity."18 Further, the IRA was a significant factor in de Valeras decision for neutrality since any perceived alliance with the British could quite possibly lead to another civil war. Accordingly, de Valera had to be careful that his actions toward Britain could not be construed by the IRA as a sell-out of the Catholics in the north.
These domestic considerations naturally affected Anglo-Irish relations. For instance, it was not feasible for de Valera to allow the British to use the Treaty Ports. Not only would such a move undermine Irelands neutrality and open it up to attack by Germany, but it would also undermine de Valera's domestic position vis-a-vis the IRA. In addition, Ireland and Britain had worked out a plan for Irelands defense in the event of a German attack. Britain proposed stationing troops in Ireland as a preventive measure; however, de Valera could not allow British troops on Irish soil until an attack had actually occurred without risking IRA unrest.19 Consequently, domestic concerns played a large role in both the formulation and implementation of war-time neutrality.
All other considerations aside, Ireland decided on the policy of neutrality during World War II because it was the most practical. Regardless of which side Ireland aligned itself with, the consequences would be severe. Ireland could not properly defend itself due to its small number of troops and its lack of military equipment. Furthermore, becoming a belligerent would have subjected Ireland to the bombing raids that non-neutral and occupied nations endured.
An alliance with Germany would have been foolish and reckless due to the proximity between Ireland and Britain. If Ireland had declared war on the Allies, Britain most likely would have occupied Ireland immediately. Also, Irelands entry into the war on the side of Germany would have further reinforced the belief among the British that the Irish could not be trusted. Such an event would have jeopardized any hopes Ireland had of establishing a united republic free from British interference.
Because Ireland was dependent on Britain for overseas trade, it was essential that Ireland remain on friendly terms with the British. As historian John P. Duggan states, Irelands "considerations were not given out of any special love for the Allies or any initial animosity towards the Third Reich. They arose from national self interest: they were essential for survival."20 Once again, practical necessity
influenced Irish foreign policy.
Once Ireland decided on neutrality, it had to implement the policy. A review of Irelands actions during the war illustrates that although technically a declared neutral, Ireland gave special consideration to the Allies. Historians have drawn a fine distinction regarding Irelands true position. Salmon states that Ireland was a non-belligerent rather than a neutral,21 and Dwyer contends that Irish neutrality
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"should more properly be called Irelands determined non-belligerence, seeing that the benevolent attitude adopted by the Irish towards the Allies went far beyond the bounds of real neutrality."22
One of the rights and duties of a neutral nation is to remain impartial, something Ireland clearly did not do.23 Ireland showed partiality in a variety of ways. For instance, Ireland implemented a coast-watching service. Although the information was sent, in theory, to the "world," in practice only the British were in a position to act on it.24 The Germans may have had access to this information, however, due to the distance of Germany from Ireland, they were unable to act on the information in a timely manner. Therefore, the coast-watching service really benefited the British.
In matters of intelligence, the Irish also showed a decided preference for the Allied cause. In 1942 the Irish demanded that the German legation in Ireland turn over its transmitter, which it did. Although it could be argued that the transmitter was being used for espionage which would have violated Irish neutrality, similar demands were not made on the British or the Americans. More significantly, Irish officials cooperated with American intelligence officers, particularly those of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. The Irish officials turned over information obtained from captured German spies, assisted the United States "by transporting information on bombing sites in Japan," and made an offer to the United States allowing agents to be stationed in Ireland.25
During the war, many allegations were made asserting that Ireland was a hotbed of German espionage. However, it must be noted that any collaboration with the Germans was carried out primarily by the IRA and was not sanctioned by the Irish government. De Valeras stern measures to suppress the IRA illustrates this point. In the war years, six IRA members were executed, three died on hunger strikes, hundreds were imprisoned on various charges and hundreds more were jailed without trial.26 Obviously, these actions hindered collusion between the IRA and Germany, providing further evidence of de Valeras preference for the Allies.
Irelands treatment of downed airmen, rescued seamen, and captured spies also favored the Allies. Initially, all downed airmen, both German and Allied, were interned in the Curragh.27 However, as the war progressed, the Irish began classifying airmen as being on either operational or non-operational missions.28 This classification scheme benefited the Allied airmen since it was plausible that they could be on training missions or some other type of non-operational mission, whereas the Germans, being so far from home, could only be on operational flights. In October of 1943, all but eleven interned Allied airmen were freed after it was determined that they were on non-operational flights at the time of their capture. Conversely, almost all German airmen were interned for the duration of the war.29 Irish officials also inspected the crashed German airplanes and gave information about the planes to the Allies.30
Airmen were not the only Germans interned in Ireland. In 1943 the Irish picked up about 150 German sailors from the Bay of Biscay. Dwyer asserts that
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"there was no question of their having violated Irish territory, [however,] under international law they should have been free to return home, as they were stranded seamen."31 The same questionable policy was applied to spies. American spies retained their freedom and were allowed to stay in Ireland once they were detected while German spies were jailed for the duration of the war.32
With regard to their own citizens, Ireland often ignored the practice of strict neutrality. Salmon points out that in many neutral states, it was illegal for the neutrals citizens to join the war effort on behalf of any belligerent.33 Although the estimates vary, as many as 40,000 Irishmen served in the British armed forces during the Second World War.34 What is more, many of these men served with distinction-eight Irishmen were awarded the Victoria Cross, Britains highest award for gallantry.35 Many more Irishmen contributed to the war effort by working in Britain in war-related industries. Again, this could be construed as showing partiality toward the Allies.
There were many other less significant incidents during the war which, nonetheless, illustrate how Ireland violated neutrality in favor ot the Allies. On April 15-16, 1941, Germany carried out a bombing raid against Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Eire sent fire engines to help put out the fires. Although this could be viewed as a humanitarian gesture, according to Carroll, "strictly speaking" this was a breach of neutrality.36 A more benign incident occurred in September of 1940. The Irish Press ran a picture of de Valera with Sir John Maffey, the British representative to Ireland, and David Gray, the American representative, at the all-Ireland hurling final. This does not appear to be a violation of neutrality, even "strictly speaking"; however, this was not an honor accorded the German minister.37 During the war, Ireland had a policy of censorship which required that Allied and Axis powers be treated equally. In light of this, a published picture of de Valera with representatives from the Allied nations betrayed a pro-Allied stance.
Statements de Valera made publicly are further evidence of his pro-Allied position. First, de Valera denounced the German invasion of the neutral countries of Holland and Belgium. Second, in a speech given in Cork on December 15, 1941, de Valera expressed his sympathy to the American people after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although he announced that there would be no change in his policy of neutrality, de Valera did state that he would be a "friendly neutral."38
Despite the partiality de Valera showed toward the Allies throughout the war, he did make some attempts to follow the protocol of neutrality. Perhaps the strangest example of this, and certainly the most controversial, was his statement of condolence upon Hitlers death. Of course, de Valera was following neutrality protocol, but so near the end of the war, many have questioned whether it was necessary to follow the protocol especially since news of Hitlers atrocities were already public knowledge.
According to Salmon, another of the rights and duties of a neutral nation is
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The rubble of central Belfast after the German raid on April 15, 1941.
(From: Robert Fisk, In Time of War, 1986, centerpiece.)
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the "disavowal of external help."39 Like the issue of impartiality, Irelands violation of this particular right and duty illustrated Irelands special consideration for the Allies. De Valera made numerous requests to the British for indirect military aid in the form of weapons and other equipment. The Irish Taoiseach wanted military assistance to protect itself from a potential German attack and "to prevent the Germans from establishing contact with the disaffected elements in Ireland."40 Irish officials requested weapons from the United States as well. As previously stated, the Irish also had worked out plans for the British to come to the assistance of Ireland should it be attacked by the Germans. Of course, the Irish would have also accepted assistance from the Germans in the event of a British invasion. In either event, the point is that as a neutral, Ireland should have disavowed all external help. Further, this disavowal of external help showed a proclivity toward the Allies. For instance, when Germany made offers of arms should the British invade and further hinted that Germany would support a united Ireland, de Valera was non-committal.41 However, the Irish were much more willing to accept arms from the British and Americans and also considered more seriously offers of entering the war on the side of Britain in exchange for unity. Several meetings and discussions took place between British and Irish officials regarding a plan to end partition after the war in exchange for Ireland abandoning neutrality in favor of Britain. Never fully trusting the British, de Valera rejected the proposal. In addition, Lord Craigavon, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, refused to support the plan.
As could be expected, the Irish policy of neutrality brought post-war implications, both domestic and international. On the domestic front, Irelands neutrality "put the seal on independence" and "established her full sovereignty."42 On a less tangible plane, Salmon explains that "the Irish experience in these years generated a powerful myth of Irish neutrality" and the myth "became an established part of Irish political culture."43
The policy of neutrality had international implications as well. According to Dwyer, de Valera had gained international prestige by the beginning of the Second World War, but his policy of neutrality "greatly damaged his international reputation."44 All neutral nations were excluded from the inauguration of the United Nations in San Francisco.45 Further, Ireland was prevented from joining the United Nations until 1955. The Soviet Union kept Ireland out of the U.N. with the use of its veto power, arguing that as a neutral, Ireland was "not a peace-loving nation."46 Exclusion from the new international organization must have been painful or at least disappointing to de Valera. He was, after all. President of the Council of the League of Nations in 1932, and in 1938 President of the Assembly of the League of Nations, and further was an early supporter of collective security.
Irelands policy of neutrality also affected post-war relations with Britain and America. According to history professor Paul Canning, the war changed the way Britain viewed Ireland. He states, "they no longer felt they owed Ireland anything. All guilt for the past was washed away by resentment at the present. Their sympathies were entirely with the Ulster Protestants."47 As Canning implies,
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neutrality also served to solidify partition. Fisk states, "if neutrality was contingent upon the maintenance of partition ... it had served to consolidate that state of affairs by the time the conflict ended."48 As for the Americans, David Gray succeeded in his original plan to discredit de Valera before the United States. In 1948 de Valera took his anti-partition campaign to the United States, but he was unable to gain much support from the American people. As Dwyer puts it, "they had little time for him because they had been led to believe that he had been at best indifferent to the Allied cause and at worst a Nazi sympathizer."49
Irish neutrality was both a risky and a practical policy. It was risky because Ireland opened herself up to the possibility of invasion by Britain and the United States or by Germany. Any of these powers could have successfully invaded Ireland. Although any invader would surely have faced determined resistance, Ireland would not have been able to resist for long. Neutrality was practical because Ireland was not in a position to defend itself adequately nor could it have contributed significantly to the war effort. It was also practical in that it served Irish national interests. In the end, Irish neutrality may have done more to serve the Allied cause than if Ireland had been a belligerent and it is clear that it served Irelands own concerns far more than direct involvement in the war ever could have.
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Endnotes
1. Robert Fisk, In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality 1939-45 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), p.64.
2. After the partition of Ireland in 1920, the twenty-six county area was referred to as the Free State. However, Eamon de Valeras government preferred the name Eire. In this paper the names Ireland and Eire are used interchangeably to refer to what is the present-day Republic of Ireland.
3. The term Taoiseach is the equivalent of Prime Minister. The architect of Irelands neutrality policy, Eamon de Valera (1882-1975) was active in the political life of Ireland from the early 1900s. In 1926 de Valera founded the Fianna Fail party, which remains one of Irelands prominent political parties, and he served as president of the Irish Republic from 1959 to 1973. Until his death, de Valera remained committed to the notion of a united and independent Ireland.
4. Fisk, p.64.
5. T. Ryle Dwyer, Strained Relations: Ireland at Peace and the USA at War 1941-45 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, Ltd., 1988), p.2
6. Fisk, p.58.
7. Kevin B. Nowlan and T. Desmond Williams, eds., Ireland in the
War Years and After, 1939-51 (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press,
1970), p.4.
8. Fisk, p.178.
9. Joseph T Carroll, Ireland in the War Years (Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1975), p.142.
10. T. Ryle Dwyer, Irish Neutrality and the USA, 1939-47 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, Ltd., 1977), p.186.
11. Dwyer, Strained Relations, p.157.
12. De Valera quoted in Carroll, p.12.
13. Dwyer, Irish Neutrality, p.18.
14. De Valera quoted in Dwyer, Irish Neutrality, p.149.
15. Nowlan, p.40.
16. Salmon, p.121.
17. Nationalists opposed to Irish involvement in the First World War rebelled against Britain in the 1916 Easter Uprising. The British quickly crushed the rebellion, which resulted in numerous arrests and imprisonments as well as 15 executions.
18. Carroll, p.14.
19. Fisk, p.160.
20. John P. Duggan, Neutral Ireland and the Third Reich (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Ltd, 1985), p.ix.
21. Salmon, p.154.
22. Dwyer, Strained Relations, p.x.
23. Salmon, p.79.
24. Dwyer, Irish Neutrality, p.18.
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25. Ibid., p.198.
26. Ibid., p.212.
27. The Curragh was a military base located on the eastern coast of Ireland with an on-site prison.
28. Dwyer, Strained Relations, p.88.
29. Dwyer, Irish Neutrality, p.221.
30. Dwyer, Strained Relations, p.88.
31. Ibid.
32. Ibid., p.73.
33. Salmon, p.129.
34. Ibid.
35. Dwyer, Strained Relations, p.171.
36. Carroll, p.9.
37. Dwyer, Irish Neutrality, p.83.
38. Carroll, p. 113.
39. Salmon, p.79.
40. Paul Canning, British Policy Towards Ireland, 1921-1441 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), pp.265-266.
41. Duggan, pp.132-133.
42. Nowlan, p.204.
43. Salmon, pp. 152-154.
44. Dwyer, Irish Neutrality, p.2.
45. Carroll, p.163.
46. Ibid., p.169.
47. Canning, p.311.
48. Fisk, p.469.
49. Dwyer, Strained Relations, p.172.
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Bibliography
Canning, Paul. British Policy Towards Ireland, 1921-1941. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975.
Carroll, Joseph T. Ireland in the War Years. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1975.
Duggan, John P. Neutral Ireland and the Third Reich. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Ltd, 1985.
Dwyer, T. Ryle. Irish Neutrality and the USA, 1939-47. Dublin: Gill and
Macmillan, Ltd., 1977.
--------- Strained Relations: Ireland at Peace and the USA at War 1941-45.
Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, Ltd., 1988.
Fisk, Robert. In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality 1939-45. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.
Nowlan, Kevin B. and T. Desmond Williams, eds. Ireland in the War Years and After, 1939-51. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1970.
Salmon, Trevor C. Unneutral Ireland: An Ambivalent and Unique Security Policy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989.
34 Irish Neutrality K. Larkin


Breaking Down Barriers: The Denver YWCA and the Phyllis Wheatley Branch, 1940 to 1949
Marcia Tremmel Goldstein
"... race should not be a barrier between women working toward a common goal."
YWCA National Board, 1949.1
Denvers "Phyllis Wheatley Colored YWCA Club" was founded in 1916 at Shorter A.M.E. Church. The club grew quickly, and became an official Branch of the Central Denver and National YWCA in 1920. The Phyllis Wheatley YWCA Branch, named after the 18th century slave poet, was the citys major center for young African-American working women and school-aged girls.2 For almost fifty years, the Phyllis Wheatley organization operated a residence hall, youth and camp programs, an employment bureau, and arts and recreation classes. They operated these programs out of their own building, supported a paid staff of four, and sustained a large and active volunteer support system. From 1920 until the early 1960s, the Branch was located at 2460 Welton Street, in the heart of Denvers Five Points neighborhood.3 It was one of the last traditionally black YWCA Branches to close its doors in the United States.4
This examination of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA Branch during the
Marcia Tremmel Goldstein is a Denver native. As an M.A. history student at UCD, she is focusing on western U.S. and Colorado women's history. She is a past UCD Historical Studies Journal editor and author. Breaking Down Barriers was written in 1991, under the direction of Dr. Myra Rich, and Dr. Tom Noel, both at the University of Colorado at Denver, and Dr. Lee Chambers-Schiller, University of Colorado at Boulder. The article has been updated, and is a chapter in Goldstein's M.A. Thesis on female race relations in Denver's YWCA.
The author would like to dedicate this paper to long time Phyllis Wheatley YWCA member and former Denver YWCA All-Association President Addye Lightner, now deceased, who graciously gave of her time and memories to assist in the research. Long time YWCA activists Ellen Moose and Sarah Sims also helped to bring the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA story back to life. They and many other former members still reside in Denver, where the Phyllis Wheatley Branch and the YWCA has fulfilled an integral part of their life.
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Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was the first African American and the second woman to publish a volume of verse in 1773. Born in Gambia, Africa, Wheatley was brought to the U.S. on the slave ship "Phillis" in 1761. She learned to read and write, and later became famous for her poetry. Many black YWCA branches took pride in Wheatley's accomplishments, naming their organizations after her.
(Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society)
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tumultuous World War II years of the 1940s provides a rare view of Denvers African-American women and their relationship to whites. The Branch thrived in the 1940s, with a large, active membership of over 500 who enjoyed popular community programs developed by a strong, relatively autonomous leadership core. Pressures to end segregation in the national and local YWCA, as well as in the Denver community at large, became primary during and after World War II. During this time, many Denver YWCA members idealistically believed that the struggle against segregation, for racial equality, and integration were synonymous. Branch leadership whole-heartedly favored de-segregation of YWCA programs. They began to worry, however, whether the effectiveness of the Phyllis Wheatley Branchs program in the black community would be curtailed by a strictly integrated approach. They repeatedly resisted proposals which might diffuse black YWCA leadership and programs, and shunned efforts to incorporate their Branch into the dominant white controlled Central YWCA. The Phyllis Wheatley Branch was constantly pressured to decide what was more importantthe need to break through racial barriers? or the need to serve African-American women and girls in their own community? Historical evidence suggests that during the 1940s, Denvers Phyllis Wheatley women searched for and found an intermediate position which allowed them to work on both goals simultaneously. This approach served to keep the doors of the Branch in Five Points open to the black community until 1964, when by mutual agreement, the YWCA organization in Denver sold the building and integrated all programs through its Central headquarters at 1545 Tremont Street.
Over 43 boxes of detailed organizational records, including meeting minutes, brochures, organizational histories, scrapbooks, interviews, and other documents of the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver are housed at the archives of the Colorado History Museum in Denver.5 This paper represents preliminary research into the rich and untapped history of interracial relations in Denvers YWCAone of the citys oldest and most influential womens organization.6 As historians search through the roots and branches of racial conflict in modern America, a closer look at little known experiences like the Phyllis Wheatley Branch in Denver sheds new light on the complexities of relationships between Denvers white and black women struggling for racial equality.7
The Young Womens Christian Association, founded in 1858 in the United States, is a large, world-wide womens organization which began as a Christian support organization for the new population of young working girls arriving in eastern U.S. cities. It has a long history of activism among working women and young girls of all races, and is deemed by YWCA historian Adrienne Lash Jones "the oldest and largest womens multiracial organization in the world."8 Its structure and program have thrived not only on a national level, but in a myriad of distinctly different local contexts. This variety provides historians with ample material with which to analyze female race relations in the YWCA.9
The earliest YWCAs each had an ambitious and well-respected program which included supervised residence halls, social clubs for working girls, womens
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employment bureaus, religious and practical educational classes, and youth programs nationwide. Black women sorely needed these services, but all-white YWCAs excluded blacks from their early programs. It was not until the World War I period that YWCAs began to actively reach out to black women.
Nationally, African-American groups found that rejection from white organizations could be turned to their advantage, and began providing services geared to the needs of the black community. As a byproduct, these early self-help efforts provided opportunities for the development of black leadership. Womens groups were no exception. For example, the National Federation of Afro-American Women was launched in 1895 by Margaret Murray Washington (Mrs. Booker T. Washington) and Rosetta Sprague, the daughter of Frederick Douglass.10 This group united with others, resulting in the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) organized by Mary Terrell, which held its first convention in 1896, and enlisted over 100 clubs nationwide by 1897.11 Under the NACW motto, "Lifting as We Climb," the Womans League of Denver was formed in 1894 by clubwoman Ida DePriest and "a few high-souled women."12
As with middle class white women of the day, black club women saw themselves as the "moral guardians" of their own community. But blacks also challenged their clubs to fight racism in the larger community. "The responsibility [is] on women [in] uplifting a downtrodden race above the rockies of prejudice," declared the Elizabeth Piper Ensley, President of the Colorado Association of Colored Womens Clubs (CACWC) in 1904.13 The motto of the CACWC, which consisted of clubs from Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver, was "To the Stars Through Difficulties."14 Between 1900 and 1925,.at least twenty-two clubs had formed in Denver alone. The most significant and enduring institution of the Association was the Negro Womens Club Home and Day Nursery, established in 1916 at 2357 Clarkson Street. It still operated in 1995 as the George Washington Carver Day Nursery in Denver.15
Club and church men and women participated in early anti-racism actions in the Denver community. In 1915, black attorney and Denver Star publisher George Ross and his wife Gertie, dentist Dr. Clarence F. Holmes, and George Gross formed the Denver chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, six years after the national NAACP was founded.16 The groups first major action was to lead Denver blacks in a protest against the showing of the pro-Ku Klux Klan film, Birth of a Nation. The states second civil rights law was enacted by the 21st general assembly in 1917, outlawing discriminatory advertising. Organized protests against rest room discrimination at the Denver Dry Goods took place in 1918, and an anti-lynching fund was set up in 1919.17
The turn-of-the-century black womens club movement was far more than a mimicking of white society. It was a direct response to changes for the worse for blacks in American society, including stepped up racial prejudice and segregation, lynch-mob violence, and rapid social upheaval due to increased urbanization and industrialization.18 As part of the national trend toward separate black womens
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clubs, the first YWCA chapter for black women was formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1893.19 By the turn of the century, YWCA-YMCA student chapters cropped up at most of the major black college campuses. In June 1907, the YWCA held a national conference on "Negro work." According to historian Dorothy Salem, "The decisions reached at this conference had a major impact on the form of race relations and black female participation for years to come."20 The right of black YWCA clubs to be official YWCA affiliates was affirmed, but they would remain "subsidiaries" of white-controlled central Ys. A policy approving separate black community programs also emanated from the conference, encouraging black self-help and leadership development based on what were called "natural groupings" (i.e. racial groups) within the YWCA constituency.21
In some cities, black women were reluctant to affiliate with the white-run YWCA, preferring to work with the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). The National Board of the YWCA was concerned about this trend, and so in January, 1913, a leading black organizer, Eva Bowles, was named National Secretary for Colored Work. Eva Bowles was college educated, and possessed "a personal ability of gaining and holding the best wishes of the white people as easily as she does the colored."22 She obtained NACW endorsement of the YWCA, and launched an effort to establish black YWCA affiliates at the grass-roots level in most major cities and campuses. Such was the case in Denver when Bowles met with black YWCA founders Isabel Chapman, Lydia Smith Ward, Gertie Ross, and others, together with white YWCA Board members Mrs. I. B. Perkins and President Jennie Hendrie at Shorter A.M.E. Church to form the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Club for Colored Women.23 The YWCA in Denver, which had been founded in 1886, thus became bi-racial in 1916.24
By 1920, the Denver Phyllis Wheatley Branch became an official affiliate of the national and local YWCA organization, and had established its own headquarters at 2460 Welton Street.25 Following the national pattern, an elected Committee of Management ran the day to day affairs of the Branch, overseen by the central YWCA Board of Directors. The Branchs first Chair of the Committee of Management was founder Gertie Ross, who later became the first African-American woman to serve on the central Board in 1923. The Branch was soon to become, according to historian Linda Dixon, "a major community support system."26 Addye Lightner, a young 18-year-old secretary at Woodmen Insurance, recalls starting her 75-year-long YWCA career by joining the "Business Girls Club" at Phyllis Wheatley in 1918. Like other local YWCA activists, Addye was young, energetic, single, and a college graduate (University of Denver School of Business Administration).27 During 1923, the Phyllis Wheatley Branch housed 310 women, placed over 300 in jobs, and was 53% self-supporting. Over 300 members had enrolled, forming five school-aged girls clubs, the Business and Industrial Girls Club, and had up to 60 volunteers carrying out community YWCA social events and programs.28
What most characterized the early work of Denvers Phyllis Wheatley Branch was its work with younger black school girls. Camp, school, and after-school
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40 Breaking Down Barriers M. Goldstein
The Girl Reserves, a popular YWCA club for adolescent girls during the 1930s and 1940s, pose in their 'Sunday best' with their adult counselors in the main dining room of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA Branch at
2460 Welton Street in Denver.
(Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society)
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programs were modelled after successful work nationwide. "The YWCA molded my life!" claims early member Sarah Sims. Sims was an active member of the "Yakawanna Club" of the Girl Reserves beginning in 1919 at age 11. Sarahs fondmemories of travelling to camp near Boulder in Lieutenant Earl Mann's car are as vivid as yesterday.29 "The girls learned to get along, to play fair. Nobody was a loser."30 Camp Nizhoni, a permanent summer mountain camp, was established at Lincoln Hills near Pinecliffe in the early 1920s. The site was donated by the developers of Colorados first all-black mountain resort.31 In 1928, the Denver Community Chest allotted $6,830.94 to the Phyllis Wheatley Branch for youth programs.32 The work continued to grow through the 1930s and 1940s. Addye Lightner later lamented that "no one has replaced what the Y did for girls. Perhaps if the YWCA could reach young women [now], maybe more of them could be saved" from the modern problems of teen-age pregnancy, drugs, and poverty.33
By 1940, the Colorado WPA Writers Program (a New Deal program for gathering community histories) credited the YWCA with reducing juvenile delinquency among Denvers black children. The same report described the Branch as "the only organization working with girls and women specifically and in a constructive manner."34 The conditions of the 1940s for Denvers minority women made the work of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch particularly vital. A flurry of war-related activity and population influx taxed the Branchs finances, facilities, and organizational structure. Membership was large and active at Phyllis Wheatley, and recruitment activities took place regularly. For example, a "YWCA Sunday" at Zion Baptist Church in 1940 brought out over 300 interested young women. "Intimate speeches," dramatic readings, and pep songs "stirred the women" into joining.35 "Adult work" of the Branch in 1940 consisted of Business and Professional Girls Club, the Industrial Club, the Young Married Womens Club, the Health Education Department, the Public Affairs Committee, and the Residence. Youth programs consisted of the Girl Reserves (grade school and high school), Young Employed Girls (post-high school), Boni Amici Club (high school graduates who were "intermittently employed"), and most importantly, Camp Nizhoni.36 Added to this crowded agenda was recruitment of female hostesses to work with the United Servicemens Organization (USO), which had established a soldiers recreational center for racial minorities at the Glenarm YMCA.
"Businesses notorious for their discrimination against minority groups are now discreet enough to make exceptions in the case of men in uniform, at least in Denver," claimed sociologist Henry Hough in a Works Progress Administration report in 1942.37 Yet racial prejudice and segregated policies held sway in the city, against a backdrop of war-time buildup of population, industry, and racial tensions. An estimated four million servicemen and women came through Denver during World War II.38 Black population doubled during the 1940s, swelling from 7,836 to 15,059 by 1950.39 Hispanics increased at a similar rate. Yet, by 1947 only two blacks and one Mexican-American were employed as policemen, with complaints of white police brutality against minorities on the increase. Blacks were at first barred
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Phyllis Wheatley members entertain servicemen with a game of "whist" at Denver's segregated Glenarm USO
during World War II.
(Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society)
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from defense jobs and agitated like their counterparts nationally to be included in the huge construction of the Remington factory. The Colorado Statesman, a black newspaper, reported that despite federal efforts, blacks and Mexican-Americans have "one chance out of a thousand" to get these jobs."40 Denver was not alone as it faced unprecedented social and racial upheaval during the 1940s. The national climate forced President Truman to establish a number of weak but path-breaking measures to force the nation to look more closely at issues of civil rights.41
Women were key to the defense industry in Denver. By 1944, Denver University professor Fitzhugh Charmichael estimated that women held one half of the estimated 206,000 defense related jobs in the metro area.42 D. U. had held special classes in laboratory training for women, and the Emily Griffith Opportunity School had crowded classes in welding, machine shop, machine maintenance, and sheet metal working for women. The local YWCA, including the Phyllis Wheatley Branch, had programs to support the influx of women into the work force, many of whom were new to the city as well.43
Predictably, black women were hired for the most menial and dangerous jobs, at lower pay. Local Phyllis Wheatley member Oleta Crain reported to YWCA officials in 1942 about her employment at the Remington Arms Denver Ordnance Plant:
There are only two jobs open to Negro girlsbeing a service operator, which is a maids job, or working in the lead shop. The foreman told me there was no chance for advancement but two weeks afterwards offered me a job in the lead plant because I had a college education and have been working on my masters degree.
The [white] girls whose job I took had just finished Gove Junior High School. They guard against lead poisoning by giving an examination every three weeks, and in the event we do get lead poisoning we can go back to sanitation. They like to have college girls because they feel all colored girls who have gone to college are honest. They want all girls to be good looking .
The colored girls work only with men and not with any white girls. We have to walk two blocks to the cafeteria and a rest room. We did not have a couch or chair or table and if we got tired had to walk two blocks to another building. Two or three times the forewoman found girls lying on the floor to rest, so after closing a rest room in another building they gave us one couch from there. In the cafeteria colored girls did the serving but they have been fired because white girls did not want to be served by them. There is quite a bit of discrimination.44
Against the backdrop of wartime social upheaval, there was an unprecedented push for more equitable racial policies in the National YWCA. "The tensions of the
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44 Breaking Down Barriers M. Goldstein
Denver's YWCA during the 1940s was anxious to project a strong image of interracial harmony. This 1949 publicity photo was on the cover of the "Y's" membership brochure and calendar of activities.
(Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society)
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present highlight the interracial life of the Association as never before now is the time to chart a clear course and to quicken the tempo of change in order to take up the lag between purpose and practices of the YWCA."45 Thus began Interracial Practices in Community YWCAs, the first of two studies on race relations published by the YWCA National Board in the 1940s. The 1944 investigation was mandated by the YWCA national convention, which had resolved to achieve "the ultimate elimination of all segregation and discrimination." There was sharp debate, especially in the southern branches, after the study commission travelled to every region. Denver was the only western location visited, and the book was read and discussed at length by the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management.46
A second national study, Toward Better Race Relations, was published in 1949. It analyzed progress in racial integration, and was designed as a "handbook" on promoting positive interracial relations.47 This report described "unexpected difficulties" in the YWCA integration process. First, some blacks didnt want to integrate. Second, there had been a significant loss of black membership in cities where black programs had been eliminated.48 The report discussed the urgency of developing more and stronger black leadership in the organization.
At the peak of the countrys involvement in World War II, the National Board proclaimed that the YWCA "is urgently needed in working for the elimination of the heavy injustices experienced by the Negro people. A world-wide struggle for freedom is meaningless, the sacrifice of life in the war will be of little avail, unless democracy is made real for all people."49 Local YWCAs, both white and black, were urged to "stick their neck out" in support of community-wide efforts to combat racist policies and practices. Fighting school segregation, challenging "whites-only" policies in public accommodations like restaurants, hotels, and theaters, and working with organized labor to eliminate barriers to black employment in the defense industry were all recommended as ways that the YWCAs could "set an interracial example" in their cities.50 Denvers Phyllis Wheatley YWCA and a group of white YWCA members did not need to be prodded into action. They were already in the thick of it.
Mrs. Cora Peters, speaking to the Branch Young Married Womens Club on "Women in Industry," declared that "this is the moment for Negroes to act in facing any barrier, economic or otherwise." She urged club members to "awaken and snatch each moment."51 Taking Ms. Peters advice to heart, YWCA Secretary Margaret "Peg" Stewart, and Phyllis Wheatley members Sarah Sims and Frances Cohron indeed "snatched" many moments. They formed a joint committee with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to "break discrimination in Denver restaurants, theaters and housing," according to Cohron.52 Historian James Atkins claims the group had over forty members, both black and white, at its peak. The tactic in restaurants was to "sit and wait" for service. Picketing and arrests were common.53 Sarah Sims remembers targeting the movie theaters, which had for years required blacks to sit in their own section in the far balcony. A group of five or more would meet every Wednesday at the YWCA and wait for instructions of where to go that
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evening. A white soldier sometimes came along for extra clout. "We were determined but not rude. We looked nice and acted nice," Sims emphasized. After the group entered the theater, a special "colored" bell rang to alert an usher to escort them upstairs to the balcony. But the group would quietly take seats on the first floor. When an usher would ask them to move, they would politely refuse. "Wed stay as long as we could," Sims recalled. Most theaters began to comply with requests to eliminate discriminatory seating arrangements as a result of these bold actions. A few had to be sued in order to comply. For many years, Sarah told all her friends they better sit on the first floor at the movies no matter what, "after all we went through to get them allowed there!"54
Other examples of blatant racism were acted upon by the YWCA as well. In March, 1944, Mrs. Estelle Massey Riddle of the Cadet Nurse Corps visited the Committee of Management meeting to report that Denver hospitals would not accept Negro nurses. She reported that while Colorado General Hospital had hired some and wanted more, Denver Generals "reception was not so cordial." A committee was formed to pressure Denver General, Denvers public hospital, to comply with fair employment standards.55
Facing housing shortages and discriminatory rental policies, Branch "Objectives for the Year-1945" listed "Housing" as its top priority, with a pledge to "get together with other groups ... to answer what will become to [sic] those whom the fence has been placed around and what becomes of those fenced in." Hattie Bush of the Branch was appointed as the Branch representative on Denvers Unity Council, an interracial anti-discrimination group.56
An incident in 1943 brought the issue of black access to public facilities home to the Denvers YWCA. Scheduled to sponsor a national YWCA Conference, the Central YWCA tried to arrange rooms for national officers who would be attending. The local hotel refused to allow black guests to stay there, and so the conference was called off. It was a national embarrassment, especially to the women of Phyllis Wheatley, who were angered that their access to national meetings would be hampered by the racist policies of Denver hotels.57
The Committee of Management suggested that the 1945 Phyllis Wheatley Annual Meeting should be held at a local hotel, instead of the traditional location at Shorter or Zion Church. The move, it was argued, "might be an opening wedge for Negro groups who had never taken a banquet to a hotel. ." Enthusiastic women insisted, "... we must learn to step forward for ourselves and not always leave new paths to be broken for us as a race by others."58
Equally challenging was the process of integrating the YWCAs own public accommodations, including residences, cafeterias, recreational facilities, and meeting rooms. Discriminatory practices in YWCA facilities were commonly accepted nationwide in the 1940s. These facilities served the general public, and were a great source of revenue through room rentals, club memberships, and recreation fees. "White only" policies at swimming pools and dining rooms were increasingly bothersome and embarrassing, for the YWCA was already famous in many
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communities for its advanced or liberal views on racial issues. National policy encouraged local efforts to desegregate as important steps which would prove exemplary to the community at large. But by 1949, the national studies reported only "gradual" progress with regard to pools and recreation centers.59
Three "excuses" were given by local associations for failing to desegregate: 1) fear of financial loss, 2) racial prejudice among non-YWCA users of the facilities, and 3) community health standards and policies which tended to exclude racial minorities in public facilities.60 Denvers experience integrating its residence, pool, and camps reflected all three obstacles.
Denver had two YWCA Residences in the 1940s: the large all-white facility at 18th and Sherman Street, and the smaller Phyllis Wheatley Residence for Negro Women (as it was listed in the City Directory). By 1950, both had adopted integrated policies, but the Phyllis Wheatley Residence led the way. The Branch had rented rooms since 1920, to provide young black working women with safe, comfortable housing at a time when most public accommodations barred blacks in Denver. By 1940, the place had become a veritable institution, under the direction of the beloved Hattie Starrdescribed as matron, housekeeper, mother, and big sister. Admirers asked, "What would Phyllis Wheatley be without her?"61 Hattie Starr reported in 1941 that there was "no other agency where Negro girls can find a home ..." Taxi drivers regularly dropped off girls without funds at the branch, where they knew the welcome mat would be extended.62
In the early 1940s, Starr recorded the story of a white girl from a small town in Colorado who came to Phyllis Wheatley "because she had felt that her appearance was such that she should be snubbed by the girls in her own group." Tension over the incident was politely described by Starr: "My problem began with influencing the girls in the house to accept her in a friendly way." Hattie took her in and even found her a job in a laundry for $12/week. Later she admitted she had to "influence" the white girl to leave "without any hint of prejudice."63
Desk workers in 1944 reported several instances of white women calling for rooms, fully aware that the residence was for "Negro girls." In an effort to encourage residence staff to extend a welcoming hand to non-Negro women, the Branch House Committee (charged with making policies and maintenance of the residence), vowed that "... we must first remove the bean from our own eye before we see the mote in our brothers eye." They established an official open-door policy, then went on to recommend to the Board that the downtown residence should be more accommodating as well: "[We] are looking forward to that day in the near future when all [emphasis added] facilities will be open in like manner to women and girls of all races."54 By November that same year, Executive Director Frances Gordon reported that the Wheatley Residence no longer listed itself for "Negro girls," and the Central YWCA had assured the House Committee that "race girls" were indeed permitted to stay at Sherman Street. By May, 1945, the Branch was so overwhelmed with housing requests from women of all races that a suggestion was made that "white persons living in our communities be asked to list their home for
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The beloved Phyllis Wheatley YWCA home stood at 2460 Welton Street in Denver's Five Points neighborhood. It was purchased in 1920 from the Barth family through a generous donation from Denver philanthropist Mrs. Vernor Z. Reed. The building was a major center for black women and young girls until 1964 when it was closed, sold and razed. An abandoned gas station stands at the site today.
(Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society)
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. persons of other races not wishing to live here or in Negro homes."65 By November, the Central and Branch Residence Committees were having joint meetings.
Black women and girls had long been barred from the Central YWCA swimming pool down town. Instead they swam at the smaller pool at the black Glenarm YMCA. The first known "colored girls" to swim at the downtown YWCA pool were members of the Phyllis Wheatley basketball team who were allowed to practice at the central gym in 1939. According to staff member Henrietta Ridley, "the basketball team set a precedent when the group enjoyed being a part of an interracial swimming party in the pool at central YWCA. .the occasion was acceptable to all groups."66 It was another five years before both whites and blacks declared that "its time for an interracial swimming program."67 But Central administrators complained that their hands were tied, since the citys health code required demeaning health exams before blacks could swim in white pools. The issue was referred to the local Interracial Practices Committee, which eventually led a successful effort to eliminate the discriminatory exams by 1946. The Interracial Practices report also complained that, "the dining room hostess refused to have a Negro, (1) Because the state law demands separate rest rooms for White and Negro. (2) All the other waitresses would quit." They pushed through a new policy allowing blacks to be hired in Centrals dining facilities.68
The National Interracial Practices Commission, which monitored racial practices at the "grass-roots" program level, observed that despite restrictive racial policies, YWCA camps, recreational programs, and clubs were especially popular among black youth. The commission called these programs a bridge to inclusive participation. By 1944, national statistics revealed that 42% of all cities reported having held integrated camps.69 Camp programs were reported in 1949 to be most frequently the first to experiment with integration, albeit with mostly symbolic results. All too often, "... the number of Negro girls attending camp was so few that during some periods all persons present in an interracial camp were white .
fi70
The Denver YWCAs experience integrating its summer camp program is illustrative of this national trend. Proximity to the Rocky Mountains made Denver one of the first cities to sponsor a black YWCA camp in the country, Camp Nizhoni, which had operated at Lincoln Hills since 1926. Camp Nizhoni was described in the 1941 Annual Report as "the only Negro Camp in Colorado," drawing girls from around the country, including city sponsored "underprivileged" campers.71 At the same time, the Central YWCA had been operating the all-white Camp Lookout since 1923. In 1942, the Central Board decided that an interracial session with reduced fees at Camp Lookout should be organized. In the summer of 1943, young Catherine Elliston, Henrietta Coleman, and Clarita Holmes became the first black girls to attend Camp Lookout. "The three Negro youngsters were well adjusted and rather easily fit into the camp program," reported the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management in September, 1943.72 Since Camp Nizhoni was deteriorating for lack
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Denver's Phyllis Wheatley YWCA Branch was nationally known for Camp Nizhoni, a mountain camp for black girls at Lincoln Hills near Pinecliffe, Colorado. This "camp family" posed among the summer wild flowers in the early 1940s. (Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society)
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of maintenance, and the integrated sessions were proving successful, the Committee of Management decided after much thought in February, 1945 "that Camp Nizhoni be closed and the Denver YWCA conduct an interracial camp with an interracial staff."73 The recommendation was accepted by the Central Board and the beloved Camp Nizhoni was sold. The next fall, the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management heard reports that the Interracial Camp was a great success. A total of 123 girls attended, including 29 Negro, 5 Japanese, and 3 "Spanish."
It was not long, however, before enthusiasm for the new arrangement had plummeted. By 1947, black recruitment for camp was at an all-time low, and only one black camp counselor worked that summer.74 One explanation for this turn of events was that black girls wanted to go to camp with girls they knew. They simply felt unwelcome or out of place in previously all-white camps, still staffed and attended primarily by whites. Evidence of this was apparent in April, 1948, when an All-Association (joint Central and Branch) Y-Teen Committee emphatically asserted that there was a "need for constant awareness that despite our desire and willingness to forward racial integration, opportunity must be provided for Negro girls to have a program which is primarily theirs." The same report called for increased recruitment of girls of all races, and the appointment of a black youth director.75 The 1949 national study verified the fact that many local black activists still felt that all program should still emanate from the branch, to keep the numbers of black memberships up, and address the needs of their own constituencies.
Desegregation of recreational programs thus became a catalyst which brought out deeper issues of race relations within the YWCA organization. No area of integration strategy was more controversial than that of breaking down barriers in the YWCAs internal decision-making structure. The question of what was to be the role of black leadership under a new integrated approach was important to Phyllis Wheatley women. The issue reflected upon their own self-worth as leaders, but also could impact the YWCAs ability to relate to and serve the black community.
The 1944 national study hoped to reveal "how barriers are broken down, how mutual understanding is built and how racial differences become elements of strength."76 The study used several internal measures of progress toward interracial decision-making: 1) the percentage of black members on the Central Board of
Directors, 2) white involvement with black community issues, 3) Central Board recognition of black contributions and expertise to the whole association, not just experts on their own peoples needs and program.77
Denver measured up favorably on the first criteria. The Chairwoman of the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management had been a member of the central Board since Gertie Ross held that position in 1923. The YWCA Board of Directors had required three representatives from the Phyllis Wheatley Branch as full Board members ever since an "Interracial Standards Study" in 1938 had recommended such an arrangement. In addition, one Phyllis Wheatley member was encouraged to sit on every major All-Association Committee.78 Frances Elliot, a leading Branch activist, had even been elected second Vice President of the Board in 1939.
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On the second national criteria (white involvement in black community issues), the evidence regarding Denver is more sketchy. One way to break down black/white mistrust suggested by the 1949 study was to "bring whites to the black branch."79 Additionally, locals were urged to break down "sorority" attitudes which had tended to exclude newcomers to long-standing committees or clubs. There is evidence that in Denver, numerous invitations were made by Branch leadership for whites to get more involved in the Wheatley Branch.80 There is little evidence that whites responded to any great degree. Another indicator observed by the 1944 commission was the existence and effectiveness of local "Integration Committees," advisory groups which were to "stimulate study and action by the [local] Board .
. that affect the relationships between those of different races."81 Addye Lightner was a member of Denvers "Interracial-Integration Committee" during the late 1930s and 1940s.
Where separate black branches existed, like Denver, the 1944 commission asked the question, "do colored branches tend toward inclusiveness or divisiveness?" The fact that cities with black branches had decisively more black members was also considered: "in order to integrate, you have to have people to be integrated."82 Fear of losing membership, black or white, was a common theme nationwide when integration experiments were contemplated. Locals were advised not to be "dissuaded by possible resignations" due to interracial policies, for others more supportive of YWCA goals would eventually replace them.83
The 1944 national commission was also cognizant of the fact that bi-racialism had afforded many more opportunities for black leadership development than in localities where no separate black branch had existed. It asked whether black women from the Branch were being brought into the mainstream of the Association. Had leadership opportunities been lost in that process? Was there an effort to identify and counter tokenism?84 Denvers Central Board seems to have drawn criticism on this score. By 1944, the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management expressed concern that appointments of Negro members of All-Association committees were being made without consultation from the Branch Committee of Management. Branch leadership made an official recommendation to the Board that all appointments be made by the Chairman of the Committee of Management in the future.
By the time of the 1949 national study, the problem of divided loyalties of local black leaders really came to a head nationally. "Integration is all one side," complained some local leaders, "Central is integrated but the Branch isnt."85 Pressure for black leaders to be representatives on the All-Association Board or committees drained Branch programs of their leadership resource. The problem of "not enough black leaders" was raised several times in the study, along with the caution that the organization needed more than "token" black representatives. In fact, the lack of black leadership in central decision-making was blamed by the report as the primary cause of problems in cities where the black branch had been dissolved.86 Black leaders were pressured to be full and active participants in allassociation business, while at the same time were under pressure to assist with local
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Branch program. The evidence suggests that black women in local leadership felt that the YWCAs work in the black community was actually becoming a sacrificial lamb on the white YWCA leaderships altar of "interracial integration." A covert form of racism was rearing its ugly head in the name of racial harmony.
Black resentment in Denver was as severe as it was nationally. In June, 1947, Branch Executive Director Frances Gordon openly complained that Branch program "has been sacrificed because of All-Association claims on Branch staff."87 Alice Papes, a well-liked "two-way interpreter" concurred, saying that Central staff should spend more time at the Branch: "the process of integration should work both ways."88 Talented leaders like Addye Lightner were busy full time with city-wide committees. The leadership model was impossible to fulfill.
Branch representatives on All-Association Committees also felt left out of important decision-making. In February, 1947, the Committee of Management heard complaints that Central committee and Board meetings were held at difficult hours, and representatives were not given sufficient information to intelligently answer questions. National Board member Mamie Davis reported some progress in this area nationwide in early 1948, but admitted that some joint committees had faltered as truly integrated decision-making bodies. She mentioned for example, that work on "Finance [Committees] seems more difficult because of the power aspects of dealing with money."89 Davis had another important message for Branch women who were feeling increasingly conflicted about the organizations experiments in integration: "While it is good to make things interracial, projects do not necessarily have to be organized with that as the primary purpose." Davis, according to the minutes, "questioned whether we can start to make the Denver Branch interracial?"90
The national studies reported more successful experiments when specially planned inter-racial meetings, conferences, or convention sessions were held. It seemed that blacks and whites were most comfortable with each other if they were brought together naturally out of common interest.91 This was true in Denver, where according to Addye Lightner, "it started with joint committees." Lightner was on the All-Association Business Girls Committee for years, serving as its president in the 1930s and 1940s. Asked if the black women felt comfortable at joint meetings and affairs, Addye was quick to point out, "It doesnt matter if you feel welcome or not. If you decide you're going to do something you do it!"92
Black women sometimes took the initiative in suggesting joint meetings. For example, in September, 1946, the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management asked, "Is there a need for two Annual Meetings?" As with many issues of this nature, a committee was set up to study the question.93 This "Committee on Aspects of Integration" met once and voted to disband, stating that an all-association committee be activated, "since Integration is a problem which can best be considered by the Association as a whole."94 It was not until three years later that the first All-Association Annual Dinner Meeting took place, celebrating the theme, "Progress Through Integration." Segregated dining was most often associated with the south, but activities like "eating together" were significant breakthroughs in Denver, too,
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Addye Lightner attends a YWCA club for adolescent girls during her tenure as Denver's All-Association President. In 1969, she was the first African-American to be elected to the post. Lightner, a professional businesswoman, had joined Denver's Phyllis Wheatley YWCA in 1918. She was one of the YWCA's most influential leaders. (Courtesy
Colorado Historical Society)
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as late as 1949.95
The integration of camps, residences, recreational programs, and organizational meetings was slowly progressing in Denvers YWCA throughout the 1940s. Such a process would inevitably lead to internal branch discussions about the future of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch itself. Committee of Management minutes reveal the full extent to which Phyllis Wheatley leaders were searching for safe ground from which to protect their future, while maintaining their ties to the black community. As early as 1943, Branch debates centered on the question of the impact of integration on the YWCAs community work. One meeting asked the question, "What about voluntary segregation? Minority leadership development? Have we outgrown the Branch? We must think!! Were working toward an interracial organization."96
Lengthy discussion in the Committee of Management took place in October, 1944, when the question, "what this transitional period means to us" was posed. Committee of Management member Ms. Fannie Gaskin was the first to chime in: "We need to take it little by little to be sure that we make the right step. We need to know what we are going to do now before we can know what we can do in the Post World War world."97 Gaskin and many others saw that the question of the future of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch was directly tied to the future of blacks in this country. Working toward full integration in a community that was not ready to recognize full economic, social, and political equality for blacks was a risky business.
By 1945, the Branch leaders sensed a need to combat complacency about its future. "IT IS YOURS TO DECIDE! THE FUTURE OF THE PHYLLIS WHEATLEY BRANCH" read a flyer distributed for the Annual Meeting and election. Committed Branch leaders were needed, the flyer went on, who were willing to face "many grave problems: employment, housing, race, taxation increasingly you will be called on to exercise your discretion in considering questions affecting the life of the Association."98
Several options were posed in hopes of warding off any suggestion of Branch closure. Yet another committee was set up to study the fundamental question: "Do we want a Branch setup or Central setup?"99 Many members felt the building and neighborhood were deteriorating into a slum, and so serious consideration of moving the Branch took place on a joint level in late 1948. Someone argued for a new location farther east, around 22nd and Gilpin, which "would not only be fairly accessible to many of the present Branch constituents but could very well have a positive effect on the housing situation which has reached a stalemate in that area."100 The suggestion of changing the name of the Branch to one less associated with blacks was first made during this year as well.101
Nervous members of the Committee of Management asked the Interracial Practices Committee whether the Branch leadership body itself would be required to become interracial in 1948. The consensus was that this was unlikely, since the Committee was elected, and was "likely to be representative of its constituency."102 Integrating the constituency itself was the key, advised the Interracial Practices
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Committee. "We must try to be more successful in developing an interracial constituency and to secure non-Negro volunteers."103 More discussion about ways to bring in whites, Japanese and Spanish-speaking volunteers followed. In an apparent move to protect its constituency, while still allowing for Board members of other races to join, the Committee of Management voted to enlarge its membership to 23 members by the end of 1948.104
Consolidation of Branch resolve to remain autonomous was displayed in December, 1948, when the Community Chest, the major funding agency for the Branch, recommended selling the Phyllis Wheatley facility. The plan called for a merger with the predominantly black Glenarm YMCA, a joint expansion program, and turning the revenues from the sale to funding for a joint YM-YW recreation building and residence.105 The proposal was greeted with extensive hostility from all sides. "One thing is assuredthe branch will not be absorbed by anyone, nor lose its identity," declared Phyllis Wheatley spokeswoman Lorna Tuttle in a press statement.106 The YM-YW merger idea was dropped immediately.
"Lets take a look at ourselves and see what the future holds," a Special Meeting of the Committee of Management called out in February, 1949. "If Program cannot be expanded, are we ready for absorption by Central?" The discussion heated up when Ms. Gaskin asserted that the Branchs community ties were threatened: "Leadership development for young people will not be possible if [we are] absorbed by Central." Frances Elliot suggested, "We must prove that the Branch is needed in this vicinity." Sara Johnson, a hard working volunteer reported that it was "increasingly difficult to get Negroes to join interracial clubs." The first interracial meeting of Y-Teens at the Branch "was not too successful as there were no Negroes in attendance." Former Branch Executive Mrs. Ellen Moose reported that her responsibilities to "Membership Chapter" (a purposely integrated group of women over 35), had left her no time to work on other Branch programs.107
The consensus of the 1949 discussion was that, "we must continue to have program [sic] at the Branch. The more people we have the more we will have to send into integrated groups at Central." But, "we need to work at Central in order to bring them into contact with educated Negroes." We also need this education .
. to get ready for interracial experience."108
Frances Elliot warned in October, 1949 that "many of the changes were causing the Branch to lose its identity. We should determine just where we are ultimately going!" Ellen Moose suggested that the Committee of Managements job was "to produce program and integrate in the area in which we are located and that becoming integrated was not to move Branch and activities to Central." [emphasis added] Ms. Gaskin warned on the other hand that in accordance with the National Boards Integration Charter, "we are moving toward final elimination of the Branch."109 At the meeting of November 1, 1949, the Committee of Management opened with the song, "Be Strong," and voted to re-institute a Branch Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting program was a round-table discussion, "To be or not to be a Branch."110
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The Phyllis Wheatley Branch and its Committee of Management indeed decided to be a branch. It remained intact throughout the next decade, operating as the "Welton Street YWCA Branch" to accommodate the integrationist trend. Youth programs, standing committees, and working womens services continued to operate uninterrupted. Sadly, changing neighborhood conditions and shifts in priorities in the mid-1960s led to growing doubts even among blacks about the viability of their program in the Five Points neighborhood. Thus the handsome, three-story YWCA home was sold, closed and razed in 1964.111
In 1969, the YWCA of Denver celebrated the election of its first black local All-Association president, Addye Lightner. During over fifty years of YWCA activism, Lightner had distinguished herself as a leader whose dedication to the YWCAs purpose of serving all of Denvers women and girls had never faltered.112 The historic Phyllis Wheatley Branch on Welton Street Addye had joined as a young girl in 1918 was now a cold, stark, abandoned gas station. Thousands of Denvers black working women, mothers, and girls had found warmth, support, and a home there for decades. If the building still stood, it would undoubtedly be designated a Denver Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It might have served as a black womens museum, or be reopened as a meeting house or community center serving the Five Points neighborhood, which is itself enjoying revitalization.113
Racial barriers and the complexities of integration that the YWCA faced in the 1940s still face our community today. Much can be learned from the experiences of women in interracial organizations like the YWCA. Black YWCA women developed strategies in the past which promoted equality and mutual understanding between the races, but guarded against white racism, no matter how covert. Denvers Phyllis Wheatley Branch founder Nelsine Howard Campbell said proudly of the sisterhood to which she had devoted her life, "Our heads are up!"114
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Endnotes
1. Dorothy Sabiston and the YWCA National Board, Toward Better Race Relations (New York: The Womans Press, 1949), p. 3.
2. John C. Shields, "Wheatley, Phillis (Peters)" in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, ed. Darlene Clark Hine (New York: Carlson Publishing, Inc., 1993), pp. 1251-1255. Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was the first African-American and second woman to publish a volume of verse. (1773). Born in 1753 in Gambia, Africa, Wheatley was brought to the U.S. on a slave ship named "Phillis" in 1761, and sold as a house slave to the Wheatley family. By 1773, her first poems, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, had been published. Her poem honoring George Washington earned her a special audience with him during the American Revolution. Wheatley died in 1784 at age 31 in dire poverty. See also Denver Area Welfare Council, "Study of the Place of the Welton Street Branch," 1955, p. 45; Papers of the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver, File 577, Collection No. 1254, Colorado Historical Society (hereafter CHS), Denver, Colorado. See also Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: the Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (New York: Bantam Books, 1984), p. 41.
3. Denver in the late 1910s and 1920s was the largest city in the western region outside of California. Its small black population was well-established, with families, businesses, and a strong, educated middle class. Many black men were employed by the railroads, while black women were domestics and laundry workers. A few black-owned stores and businesses provided more skilled employment. The citys blacks were concentrated in the so-called "Five-Points" district north of downtown, around 27th and Welton Streets, where in 1929 5,500 of the citys 7,000 blacks lived. Ira De A. Reid, The Negro Population in Denver, Colorado: A Survey of Its Economic and Social Status (Denver: Lincoln Press, 1929). See also Linda Dixon, "The Early Club Movement among Black Women in Denver: 1890-1925," (Ph. D. dissertation. University of Colorado, 1982), pp. 96-100.
4. There were 49 black YWCA branches in 1919. Giddings, 156. By 1943, the number had grown to 73. Phyllis Wheatley Scrapbook No. 23, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS. With the national YWCA thrust toward full integration in the 1940s and 1950s, most separate branches were merged with city-wide YWCA programs by the early 1960s. Adrienne Lash Jones, in Hine, p. 1302.
5. Colorado Historical Society, An Inventory of the Papers of the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver, finding aid written and compiled by Marcia T. Goldstein (Denver: Colorado Historical Society, 1991).
6. Sadly, in late 1994, the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver was forced into bankruptcy and closed its doors permanently after over a century of service to the citys women from all walks of life.
7. An early, little known attempt to present the citys rich racial and ethnic history was by black historian, James T. Atkins, Human Relations in Colorado: A Historical Record (Denver: Publishers Press, Inc., 1968). Steve Leonard and Thomas J. Noels comprehensive history, Denver: From Mining Camp to Metropolis (Niwot:
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University Press of Colorado, 1990) provides much new factual information on the racial climate of Denver over time. Neither book adequately explores Denvers minority women nor the complexities of race relations among women, however. A major breakthrough study about Denvers black club women is Linda Dixons Ph.D. 1982 dissertation, "The Early Club Movement among Black Women in Denver: 1890-1925." Dixons valuable work is about all-black organizations, therefore it doesnt explore the complexity of interracial relationships between Denvers women.
8. Adrienne Lash Jones in Hine, p. 1299.
9. Historians have recently begun to research racial interaction in the YWCA in
various local contexts. One study published by Sharlene Voogd Cochrane, "And the Pressure Never Let Up,: Black Women, White Women, and the Boston YWCA, 1918-1948," in Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and
Torchbearers, 1941-1965, Vicki L. Crawford, ed., Black Women in United States History, vol.16 (New York: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1990), traces the emergence of an integrated program and leadership in Boston. Cochrane attributes the progress to unrelenting pressure from Blacks, and claims that "by 1948, the Boston YWCA was a fully integrated organization." Historian Dorothy Salem focuses considerable attention on the early work of the YWCA in development of "colored" program and/or branches from World War I through the 1920s in the context of the general black reform movement among women begun before the turn of the century. It was precisely during this time that Denvers Phyllis Wheatley Club and branch was established. Dorothy Salem, To Better Our World: Black Women in Organized Reform, 1890-1920, Black Women in United States History, vol. 14 (New York: Carlson Publishers, Inc., 1990). Relations between the YWCA and its counterpart, the YMCA have been the subject of other recent studies. Historian Susan Lynn in "The Quest for Racial Equality in the YWCA, 1945 to the 1960s" (Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians, Louisville, Kentucky, April 1991) compares the YMCA and YWCA to show that privileged women are more likely than their male counterparts to take up the causes of outside the interests of their own class and race. See also Margaret Spratt, "Unity Within Diversity: The Issue of Race and the Pittsburgh YWCA, 1918-1946" (Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians, Louisville, Kentucky, April 1991). Another 1991 OAH paper focused on the national YWCA perspective: Adrienne Jones, "Struggle Among Saints: Black Women and the YWCA, 1946-1960" (Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians, Louisville, Kentucky, April 1991). Jones has also written an extensive biography of Jane Edna Hunter, founder of the independent Phillis Wheatley Association in Cleveland, Ohio. Adrienne Lash Jones, Jane Edna Hunter: A Case Study of Black Leadership, 1910-1950, Black Women in United States History, vol. 12 (New York: Carlson Publishers, Inc., 1990).
10. Dixon, p. 40. See also Giddings, p. 93.
11. Giddings, pp. 93-95. Giddings calls the organization of the NACW "a watershed in the history of Black women." Attendees at its founding convention included abolitionist Harriet Tubman and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells Barnett.
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12. Dixon, p. 136. Ida DePriest also founded the Colored Womens Republican Club also in 1894, the first year Colorado women were allowed to vote. DePriest and black suffragist Elizabeth Ensley were instrumental in the 1894 election of Joseph H. Stuart, the first black state legislator in Colorado. Dixon, pp. 134. Stuarts primary accomplishment during his two year term was the enactment in 1895 of a civil rights law outlawing discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of "race, creed, or color." The law provided for fines, imprisonment, and money damages, and was used as the basis for numerous civil rights law suits in ensuing decades. Atkins, pp. 38, 113.
13. Dixon, pp. 129, 131.
14. Dixon, p. 139.
15. Dixon, pp. 155, 195. See also Mary Anthes, "Lifting as We Climb," (unpublished paper, University of Colorado, Boulder, 1991). As of 1995, the George Washington Carver Day Nursery was listed in the telephone book at 2270 Humboldt Street in Denver. The organizational records of the Colorado Association of Colored Womens Clubs are housed at the Denver Public Library, Western History Department.
16. Gertie Ross (b. 1879 d. 1881), was an East High graduate, and one of Denvers leading black club women. She was the wife of noted civil rights lawyer George Ross. Together they published The Denver Star, the citys leading black newspaper. Gertie Ross was also the music director at Shorter Church. It is important to note that Gertie Ross, co-founder and active member of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, was also a leading activist in the CACWC. This suggests that cooperation rather than rivalry was the operating philosophy of Denvers black women leaders of the time. Dixon, p. 164. See also Federal WPA Writers Program, Colorado, "Negro Pioneers" Box 1, File 2, c. 1940, Colorado Historical Society.
17. Atkins, pp. 38, 114-115; Dixon, p. 180.
18. Salem, p. 1. See also Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Present (New York: Basic Books, 1985), p. 190.
19. Salem, p. 47; Giddings, p. 155. Adrienne Lash Jones states that the first Colored YWCA Club was formed in Philadelphia much earlier, in 1870. Jones in Hine, p. 1299.
20. Salem, p. 47.
21. Ibid., p. 48.
22. According to a YWCA publication in 1932, quoted in Salem, p. 132.
23. Early Denvers black churches were the first centers for community self-help efforts. Zion Baptist Church was established in 1865. Shorter African Methodist Episcopal (AME) was established in 1868. Their congregations were instrumental in opening black orphanages and old-age homes. Black churchmen founded the Glenarm YMCA, which opened in 1908. Dixon, pp. 115-116. Shorter Churchwomen, including Lydia Smith Ward, wife of pastor A. M. Ward, were instrumental in starting the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Club in 1916. Nelsine Howard
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Campbell, "History of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch, YWCA," unpublished, 1935, p. 3, File 1056, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
24. In large part due to Eva Bowies tireless efforts, there were 49 black YWCA branches and over 12,000 black girls enrolled as YWCA members nationwide by 1919. Giddings, p. 156.
25. The property was the former Barth residence. The down payment for the purchase of the building was paid through a generous $1000 donation from white philanthropist Mrs. Vernor Z. Reed, a friend of Gertie Ross and herself not a member of the YWCA. Campbell, p. 7. A $1000.00 infusion of funds from the YWCA War Work Council, a national support program for women in wartime industry, was approved by the Central Board as well. Denver YWCA Board Minutes, May, 1920, YWCA Papers, File 3, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
26. Dixon, p.117.
27. Addye Lightner, interview with author, Denver, Colorado, 26 March 1991. Addye became a steadfast leader and life-long YWCA member, serving as Denvers (and the nations) first black local all-association President in 1969-1971.
28. Campbell, p. 15; Dixon, p. 117.
29. Sarah Sims, interview with author, Denver, Colorado, 15 April 1991. Lt. Earl Mann was a highly regarded community leader for several decades before he was elected to the Colorado State Legislature in 1943. Atkins, p. 121.
30. Sims interview.
31. Campbell, p. 24.
32. Federal WPA Writers Program, Colorado, Life in Denver Series, 1936-1942, "Negroes," p. 153.
33. Addye Lightner, interview with author, Denver, Colorado, 15 April 1991.
34. Federal WPA Writers Program, Colorado, "Negroes," pp. 154, 167.
35. Report from Lula Lowe Weeden, Executive Secretary, Membership, November 22, 1940, File 462, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
36. Phyllis Wheatley Branch, "Historical Sketch," dated 1940, File 461, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
37. Henry Hough, Americans with Spanish Surnames (Denver: WPA Service Program, 1942), p. 17, quoted in Leonard/Noel, p. 222.
38. Denvers war industry, consisting of the Army Depot at 38th and York Street (10 buildings), Lowry Air Force Base, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Remington Arms Denver Ordnance Plant, Cabusco Steel, Continental Airlines, and others swelled the ranks of working citizens, both male and female. See Leonard/Noel, pp. 223-224.
39. Leonard/Noel, p. 368.
40. Paul Shriver, director, Federal Works Progress Administration, quoted in Leonard/Noel, p. 367.
41. Trumans Executive Order #9808 was signed on December 5, 1946 and established the Presidents Committee on Civil Rights. Executive Order #9981, signed on July 26, 1948, established a national commission to examine racial practices in the Armed Services. Atkins, p. 124.
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42. Leonard/Noel, p. 228.
43. At the wars close in 1945, massive layoffs impacted women severely nationwide. With over 14,000 Denver layoffs in 1945 alone, local government advisors warned that women "who have learned for the first time in their lives that they can do something real," would suffer from the dislocation. Vera Packard of the Denver Defense Council Advisory Board recommended that the city hire them to supervise delinquent children. Vera Packard quoted in Leonard/Noel, p. 234.
44. Transcript of YWCA Leadership Meeting, testimony of Oleta Crain, June
9, 1942, Employed Girls Group. File 416, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS. Oleta Crain was the first black enlistee from the Rocky Mountain region in the Womens Army Corps in 1943. She earned the rank of Major before retiring from the Army in 1963. As of 1995 Crain was the Regional Director of the United States Department of Labor, Federal Womens Bureau, in Denver, Colorado. Kathy Ediger, "Capitol Hill WACs Bring Back 50 Years of Fond Memories," Greater Capitol Hill Neighborhood News, vol. 1, no. 7, July, 1992, Denver, Colorado, p. 1.
45. YWCA National Board, Interracial Practices in Community YWCAs: A Study Under the Auspices of the Commission to Gather Interracial Experience as Requested by the 16th National Convention of the YWCAs of the United States (New York: The Womans Press, 1944), foreword.
46. An announcement was made about the release of Interracial Practices at the March 13, 1944 meeting of the Committee of Management, and the book was reviewed at two subsequent meetings, at which time discussion "brought out the strengths and weaknesses of the Denver Branch in relation to the Study." No details of the discussion were recorded. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, March 13, 1944, April 10, 1944, and May 15, 1944, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
47. The Denver Association was not included in the on-site visits of this study commission (only two western Associations were visited Oakland and Portland out of a total of 17), however data from all locations was supposedly used to formulate the studys findings. Sabiston, p. 191.
48. Sabiston, p. 21-22.
49. Statement of YWCA National Board, 1943, quoted in Interracial Practices, p.
10.
50. Sabiston, pp. 98, 102-103.
51. Report, Young Married Womens Club, Phyllis Wheatley Branch, February 1942, File 463, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS. This club had been organized by Lillian EuDailey on January 24, 1937, in order to "bring together young married women interested in developing their physical, mental, and spiritual lives." Constitution and By Laws, Phyllis Wheatley Young Married Womens Club, undated, File 463, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
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52. Addye Lightner was a good friend of Cohron and obtained this information from her. She recalled that Cohron worked for the WPA at the YWCA Recreation Department as a pianist in the 1930s. She played 3 days per week, once for a group of Spanish-speaking women, another day for Japanese, and a third day for whites. Lightner interview.
53. Atkins, p. 120.
54. Sims interview.
55. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management, March 13, 1944, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
56. The "Unity Council" was a citywide coalition of white and minority organizations and churches which lobbied tirelessly against discriminatory policies both public and private. Its letterhead reads, "Americanism is a matter of the mind and the heart, and not a matter of race, ancestry, or religion." Correspondence with the Unity Council on several occasions reflects monetary donations from the Branch on a regular basis. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management, October 8, 1945, File 467. YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
57. A conference entitled, "A New Society on a Christian Basis" was held at YWCA facilities instead of the canceled convention, with attendance of 50 total, 7 or 8 blacks, and 7 or 8 Japanese women. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management, January 11, 1943 and February 8, 1943, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
58. Apparently, no local hotel arrangements could be secured, for the meeting was held at Shorter Church after all. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management, November 12, 1945, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
59. Sabiston, p. 54.
60. Interracial Practices, p. 69.
61. Historical Sketch, Phyllis Wheatley Branch, circa 1940, File 461, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
62. Hattie Starr, "Matrons Report, Phyllis Wheatley Branch," undated, c. 1941, File 464, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
63. Ibid.
64. Minutes, House Committee, Phyllis Wheatley Branch, April 7, 1944, File 465, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
65. Phyllis Wheatley Branch House Committee Minutes, May 4, 1945, File 465, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
66. National Board Report, 1939, Report of Henrietta Ridley, Phyllis Wheatley Activities Secretary, File 378, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
67. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management, November 13, 1944, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
68. A local Branch report on October 26, 1946 listed certain improvements, including, "The Health Education Department has ceased exacting a discriminatory health examination for Negro girls desiring to swim," and changes in the central dining room. Report on Interracial Practices, October 26, 1946, Addye Lightner,
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personal papers.
69. Interracial Practices, p. 72.
70. Sabiston, pp. 115-116.
71. Annual Report, Phyllis Wheatley Branch, undated, c. 1941, File 464, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
72. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, September 1, 1943, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
73. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, February 12,
1945, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
74. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, June 9, 1947, and October 14, 1947, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
75. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, April 6, 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
76. Interracial Practices, p. 11.
77. Ibid., p. 33.
78. "Interracial Standards Study," 1938, File 461, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
79. Sabiston, p. 112.
80. Report of Interracial Practices Committee, October 26, 1946. The report lists future goals, including "Devise projects to draw more Caucasians to BranchFind common interests for activity or discussion groups" and "Develop ways for making it easy for interested but reluctant persons to come to Branch." Addye Lightner, personal papers.
81. Interracial Practices, p. 42.
82. Ibid., p. 46-47.
83. Ibid., p. 74.
84. Ibid., p. 47-50.
85. Sabiston, pp. 26, 35.
86. Ibid., p. 62.
87. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, June 9, 1947, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
88. Ibid.
89. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, February 9, 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
90. Ibid.
91. Interracial Practices, p. 65-68.
92. Lightner interview.
93. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management, September 23, 1946, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
94. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, November 11,
1946, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
95. Sabiston, pp. 69-70. See also Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, December 7, 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
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96. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, March 8, 1943, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
97. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, October 19, 1944, File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
98. Election flyer and roster, Phyllis Wheatley Branch, 1945, File 468, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
99. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, June 1, 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
100. At the time, Denver blacks were steadily pushing for breakthroughs in restrictive housing patterns. The neighborhood just east of Five Points was a major area of contention in the late 1940s. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, May 4, 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
101. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, March 2, 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS. The name was not changed immediately, but gradually from 1950 to 1952, to "Welton Street Branch." This was in order to accommodate growing opinion that the Branch should not just be associated with blacks. Populations of other minority groups, including Japanese-Americans and Mexican-Americans were moving into the neighborhood in increasing numbers, and at least symbolically, the YWCA wanted all races to feel welcome there.
102. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, April 6, 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
103. Ibid.
104. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, November 24, 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
105. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, December 7,
1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
106. "YMCA Denies Planning To Absorb Wheatley Branch," The Denver Post, December 22, 1948, clipping. The black community had long resented Central YMCAs insensitivity to their concerns in their dealings with the Glenarm YMCA, as evidenced by a letter dated December 20, 1948 from Reverend J. Russell Brown, Minister at Shorter Community A. M. E. Church. Russell states, "The present attitudes, policies and practices of the Central Y.M.C.A.s extreme separatism and lack of democratic practices and activities disqualify it for [sic] domination and supervision of the Phyllis Wheatley Y.W.C.A. by the latters absorption in the Glenarm Y." File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS. See also Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, January 4, 1949, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
107. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, February 15,
1949, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
108. Ibid.
109. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, October 4, 1949, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
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110. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, December 6, 1949, File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS.
111. The topic of the Branch closure in the 1960s is an important research topic in its own right. See Aimee Blagg, "Strains and Stresses: Race, Class, and Integration in the Denver YWCA, 1955-1964" (unpublished paper, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1991).
112. Arlynn Nelhaus, "Helmswoman of the YWCA," The Denver Post Contemporary Magazine, August 3, 1969, p. 18.
113. Robert Jackson, "Five Points, Making a Comeback: Neighborhood reaches for renewal," The Rocky Mountain News, April 17, 1991, pp. 1, 8, 30-31, 37.
114. Campbell, p. 35.
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Bibliography
Anthes, Mary. "Lifting as We Climb." Unpublished paper, University of Colorado at Boulder. 1991.
Atkins, James T. Human Relations in Colorado: A Historical Record. Denver: Publishers Press, Inc., 1968.
Blagg, Aimee. "Strains and Stresses: Race, Class, and Integration in the Denver YWCA, 1955-1964." Unpublished paper, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1991.
Campbell, Nelsine Howard. "History of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA." 1935. Unpublished typescript. File YWCA Collection No. 1254, Colorado Historical Society, Denver, Colorado.
Cochrane, Sharlene Voogd. "And the Pressure Never Let Up: Black Women, White Women and the Boston YWCA, 1918-1948." In Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers, 1941-1965, edited by
Vicki L. Crawford. Black Women in United States History, vol. 16. New York: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1990.
Colorado Association of Colored Womens Clubs. Manuscript Collection. Denver Public Library, Western History Department.
Colorado Historical Society. An Inventory of the Papers of the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver, finding aid written and compiled by Marcia T. Goldstein. Denver: Colorado Historical Society, 1991.
Denver Area Welfare Council. "Study of the Place of the Welton Street Branch." 1955. File 577, YWCA Collection No. 1254, Colorado Historical Society, Denver, Colorado.
Dixon, Linda. "The Early Club Movement Among Black Women in Denver: 1890-1925." Ph. D. dissertation, University of Colorado, 1982.
Ediger, Kathy. "Capitol Hill WACs Bring Back 50 Years of Fond Memories." Greater Capitol Hill Neighborhood News, vol. 1, no. 7, July 1992. Denver, Colorado.
Federal WPA Writers Program, Colorado. "Negro Pioneers." Box 1, File 2, c. 1940. Colorado Historical Society.
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--------------. "Negroes." Life in Denver Series. 1936-1942.
Giddings, Paula. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America. New York: Bantam Books, 1984.
Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. New York: Carlson Publishing, Inc., 1993.
Jackson, Robert. "Five Points, Making A Comeback: Neighborhood Reaches for Renewal." The Rocky Mountain News, April 17, 1991.
Jones, Adrienne Lash. Jane Edna Hunter: A Case Study of Black Leadership, 1910-
1950. Black Women in United States History, vol. 2. New York: Carlson Publishers, Inc., 1990.
--------------, "Struggle Among Saints: Black Women and the YWCA, 1946-
1960." Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians, Louisville, Kentucky, April 1991.
Jones, Jacqueline. Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family from Slavery to the Present. New York: Basic Books, 1985.
Leonard, Stephen J. and Thomas J. Noel. Denver: From Mining Camp to
Metropolis. Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1990.
Lightner, Addye. Interview with the author. Denver, Colorado. 26 March 1991 and 15 April 1991.
Lynn, Susan. "The Quest for Racial Equality in the YWCA, 1945 to the 1960s." Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians. Louisville, Kentucky, April 1991.
Nelhaus, Arlynn. "Helmswoman of the YWCA." The Denver Post Contemporary Magazine. August 3, 1969.
Reid, Ira De A. The Negro Population in Denver, Colorado: A Survey of Its Economic and Social Status. Denver: Lincoln Press, 1929.
Sabiston, Dorothy, and the YWCA National Board. Toward Better Race Relations. New York: The Womens Press, 1949.
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Salem, Dorothy. To Better Our World: Black Women in Organized Reform, 1890-1920. Black Women in United States History, vol. 14. New York: Carlson Publishers, Inc., 1990.
Sims, Sarah. Interview with author. Denver, Colorado. 15 April 1991.
Spratt, Margaret. "Unity with Diversity: The Issue of Race and the Pittsburgh YWCA, 1918-1946." Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians, Louisville, Kentucky, April 1991.
YWCA National Board. Interracial Practices in Community YWCAs: A Study Under the Auspices of the Commission to Gather Interracial Experience as Requested by the 16th National Convention of the YWCAs of the United States. New York: The Womens Press, 1944.
YWCA of Metropolitan Denver. Manuscript Collection No. 1254. Colorado Historical Society, Denver, Colorado.
Breaking Down Barriers M. Goldstein 69




A Social Liberal: J. A. Hobson and Imperialism: A Study
Richard Burden
Editors note: Although Richard is one of the editors of this years journal, the other three editors voted unanimously to include his paper in this edition. Richard had no influence on the final decision for inclusion.
"Amid the welter of vague political abstractions to lay ones finger accurately upon any ism so as to pin it down and mark it out by definition seems impossible."1 Yet, this is precisely what John Hobson set out to do when he began Imperialism: A Study. So too, to pin down and mark out the life and work of John Atkinson Hobson seems, at first, impossible. His collected works run to over thirty volumes, and cover a tremendous range of subjects, such as political and social theory: The Social Problem (1901), Work and Wealth (1914), Wealth and Life (1929), Towards Social Equality (1931); economics: The Problem of the Unemployed (1896), The Economics of Distribution (1900), Rationalism and Unemployment (1930); internationalism: The Evolution of Modern Capital (1906), Problems of a New World (1921), Democracy and a Changing Civilisation (1934); critical biographies of Thorstein Veblen, Richard Cobden, and John Ruskin, plus his autobiography, Confessions of an Economic Heretic (1938). Very few, however, remember that Hobson was so prolific; for many J. A. Hobson will always be inextricably linked with one thingImperialism.
Published in 1902, revised in 1905 and republished in 1938, Imperialism: A Study is Hobsons most influential work. Yet, it is set apart from the rest of his oeuvre more as an indication of the caliber of the people influenced by it, rather than because of any idea specific to the work itself. Theories of capitalism and
Richard Burden holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from Colorado State University. He is currently a Master's Degree Candidate at UCD. His area of focus is nineteenth and twentieth century British history with special emphasis on the nature of the relationship between England and its empire. This paper was written in the spring of 1 994 for History 5040, Modern European Intellectual History, under Dr. Frederick Allen.
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J.A. Hobson.
(From: Jules Townshend, J.A. Hobson, Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 1990.)
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imperialism were being seriously scrutinized by many thinkers at the end of the nineteenth century, but it was Imperialism that was read and digested by Rudolph Hilferding, Karl Johann Kautsky, Rosa Luxembourg, and Mikhail Bakunin. The nearest evolutionary relative to Hobson was Lenin; his Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism is commonly considered to be no more than a re-write of Hobsons thesis. Superficially this is true, but there are important differences. Lenin argued that imperialism was proof that the Communist revolution was imminent. For Hobson, imperialism was not the final stage of anything; it was the foil against which he set all his other theories. Consequently, his study should not be read in ignorance of them. As Michael Freeden points out in his introduction to Hobson,
[Imperialism has] frequently and narrowly been examined as a separate work instead of, as Lenin indicated, part of the general social and political framework Hobson set out to construct. Hobsons work on imperialism. .is not primarily a specific contribution to a theory of imperialism but a particular application of his social and economic thought.2
It is this particular application that I wish to address.
Hobson, like so many of his contemporaries, was a systems-maker. He believed the world was governed by natural laws, and consequently developed intricate theoretical systems that would at once explicate the natural systems, and rectify societys response to them. Imperialism was, for him, a brilliant example of all that was wrong with the present, and side by side with his devastating attack on it, he prescribed his solution for it. He utilized the prominent theorists of his day: Darwin, Veblen, Mill, and Mummery. He recalled Cobden, the much maligned Ruskin, and, unfortunately, Herbert Spencer. He combined them all with his own precise mind and described a system that influenced not only the above mentioned socialist thinkers, but also John Maynard Keynes, Woodrow Wilson, and countless others. Hobson provided a bridge between classical nineteenth century liberalism and the post-Keynesian, mixed-economy, evolutionary-socialist, twentieth-century brand with which we are familiar. Consequently, we must look at Imperialism: A Study not as a discrete work, but rather as the keystone in the span of Hobsons life and thought.
By his own admission, Hobsons early years "were cast in the calmest and most self-confident years of the mid-Victorian era, when peace, prosperity, and progress appeared to be the permanent possession of most civilized nations."3 England in 1858, when Hobson was born, was just such a place-calm, self confident, smug. Hobson lived to see the calm shattered and the confidence irrevocably shaken. The span of Hobsons life ended in 1940, shortly after the beginning of the most destructive war in history. He was "[b]orn and bred in the middle stratum of the middle class of a middle-sized industrial town in the Midlands."4 Specifically, he was the second of four children born to William
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Hobson of Derby. His father was twice mayor of the town, and founder and proprietor of the Derbyshire and North Stratfordshire Advertiser, one of the myriad local newspapers that saturated the English country-side in the last half of the nineteenth century. Consequently, his introduction to both journalism and Liberal Party politics came at an early age. His social position enabled him to attend Oxford, and to "engage in independent writing for the rest of his life."5
Born in "the middle" in virtually every respect, he stayed at the center of activity, even while re-defining the political left. By the turn of the century, he was a founder-member of the South Place Ethical Society, and the Rainbow Circle, a kind of liberal think-tank, whose members included J. Ramsay MacDonald, the future Labour Prime Minister. He wrote for the Manchester Guardian and the Nation, two of the most redoubtable Liberal papers in England. He kept close ties with acquaintances in the United States, where both capitalism and economic thought were undergoing vast and rapid changes. "Hence by the early years of this century Hobson was situated at the core of some of the most exciting intellectual, cultural and political developments of the period."6
Being interconnected with the prominent thoughts of the day, it was easy for Hobson to embark on his self-proclaimed "heresy." As others were of the same mind, the heretical elements in Hobson spring not so much from what he said, but rather from the way in which he put these commonly held ideas together. Hobsons system "insist[ed] on the indissoluble empirical interconnections among the fields that examine human activity."7 He advocated the paradigm of a single social science; he attempted to achieve this by placing all disciplines, including economics, in context by making them dependent on each other. For Hobson, like many of his contemporaries, the world was progressive, evolutionary, and organic. It is essential to understand Hobsons organicism, along with his theory of underconsumption, when approaching Imperialism, for they form the core of his argument. It is "what allowed him to cut loose from traditional liberal dogmas, and argue that new ideas and circumstances inevitably pointed to the need to remodel liberal principles."8
"The question whether we shall speak of a human society as an organism, is, of course, largely one of convenience in language,"9 Hobson said in Crisis of Liberalism. It was a convenience he consistently promoted. At the time Hobson was writing he and so many others were, as Jules Townshend so aptly points out, "caught up in the backwash of the Darwinian Revolution,"10 and it is evident in his writing. In his first attack on the "Scientific Defense of Imperialism," (chapter two of the second part of Imperialism), he stated, "It is only natural that the laws of individual and specific progress so clearly discerned in other parts of the animal kingdom should be rigorously applied to man."11 Echoing Spencer, Hobson saw evolution as more than a biological theory; it was the motor of society. Everything evolved: individuals, societies, governments, moralities, even economies. It was Hobsons conviction that, in addition to all these various evolutions being intertwined, they could all be studied and measured; moreover, they could be changed. Here is a crucial point wherein Hobson differs from Lenin. Hobsons absolute faith in the
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fungibility of his organicism did not allow him to become a revolutionary. Instead of a purgative revolution, Hobson hoped to re-center the ideology of the left to a point somewhere between laissez-faire liberalism and state controlled socialism. He wanted to reform liberalism and "foster a sense of citizenship and community, where social harmony would prevail, and communal individual self-realization would flourish."12 Hobsons attack on imperialism is very much in this vein. He condemned imperialism, but not capitalism. Instead he insisted that by re-applying certain liberal principles, and allowing others to wither away, not just capitalism, but all of society, could be reformed.
Hugh Dalton (Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1945-1951) pointed out that, "Mr. Hobson is somewhat obsessed by the organic."13 Hobsons obsession, while at times tedious, is easily understood; his world was a dynamic one. The period from 1858-1940 is virtually unparalleled in terms of exponential change. Evolution explained everything, because seemingly everything was evolving. Technologies were exploding, and industries were expanding at an alarming rate; progress was manifest. Hobsons organicism allowed him to soothe the Liberals, while at the same time altering many of their fundamental beliefs. Hobson argued that imperialism was atavistic, and capitalism was unreformed, but, "Collectivist measures did not have to be regarded as exceptions to laissez-faire. Instead, they could be seen as a natural outcome of human evolution."14 The age of competition, which had impelled Britain to the top of the economic ladder in the middle of the nineteenth century, rapidly gave way, in the 1870s, to the age of combinations. Hobson reasoned that this change was organic and although unavoidable, should be controlled and shaped; progress need not be random. He also saw in this change in capitalism the basis for most of societys ills, and for imperialism in particular. The poor worked harder for less, while the rich strove to find new markets for their surplus capital. This terribly redactive statement of Hobsons very complex theory, nevertheless contains the essence of his theory of underconsumption.
Townshend argued Hobsons theory of underconsumption was "only one element within his organic socio-economic philosophy;"15 while this is certainly true, it nevertheless forms the foundation of his economic arguments in Imperialism, and remains the basis for his heresy against nineteenth century economic orthodoxy. The theory first appeared with Hobsons name attached to it in 1889 when he published, along with A. F. Mummery, a tract entitled The Physiology of Industry. Contrary to Says Law, the dogma of nineteenth century economics, which stated that supply created its own demand, Hobson and Mummery argued that capitalism was not a self-equilibriating system. Hobson observed an imbalance between saving and spending. People were, he argued, in the "habit of saving" too much, thus reducing the demand for goods by taking expendable income out of circulation. Hobson further developed this theory in The Physiology of Industry and equated oversavings with a "maldistribution of surplus."16 Hobson claimed that where the price of labor was cheap and raw materials plentiful, profits went into the hands of the captains of industry who used them to open new markets instead of reinvesting them at home.
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Thus underconsumption, as characterized by Hobson, was both an open attack on the Protestant ethic of thrift, and because it was equated with a "maldistribution of surplus" was also responsible for poor wages and unemployment. In Hobsons view, capitalism, far from being self-equilibriating, was doomed to cycles of depression. For Hobson, underconsumption was as much a moral problem as an economic one, and fed what he called "the taproot of Imperialism."17
The most dynamic example of Hobsons theory of underconsumption was the United States, and many similar theories developed there. Predominant among the theorists was H. Gaylord Wilshire, a Marxist and an acquaintance of Hobsons. Hobson echoed Wilshires article "The Significance of the Trust,"18 when he wrote in Imperialism,
The United States, with her unrivaled natural resources, her immense resources of skilled and unskilled labour, her genius for invention and organisation, developed the best equipped and most productive manufacturing economy the world has yet seen. .Fostered by rigid protective tariffs her. .manufactures shot up in a single generation.
. .and, having passed through a period of intense competition, attained. .a power of production greater than has been attained in the most advanced industrial countries in Europe. .The power of production far outstripped the actual rate of consumption, and contrary to the older economic theory, was unable to force a corresponding increase of consumption by lowering prices.19
Tremendous growth in a very short time put a vast amount of wealth into the hands of a very few; what to do with it all? Here, Hobson contended was the maldistribution of surplus. Instead of pumping capital back into the home economy and lowering prices by raising real wages of workers, the captains of industry set out to force open new markets for their surplus goods and capital. "It was Messrs. Rockefeller, Pierpont Morgan, and their associates who needed Imperialism and who fastened in upon the shoulders of the great Republic of the West."20 It was also the increased competition from the United States and Germany that drove England away from free trade and into a frenzy of protectionism and imperialism. It is interesting to note that before Hobson wrote Imperialism, surplus capital was viewed as an argument in favor of imperialism. Both Cecil Rhodes and Joseph Chamberlain used it to muster support for their imperialist and protectionist policies. What Hobson did, then, was "counter the economic theory offered by the imperialists themselves."21 In other words, prove that home markets were infinitely expandable, and the imperial solution to surplus capital was fallacious and ultimately bad for business. Fortunately for Hobson, history provided a devastating example.
"The Boer War22 was both a turning-point in my career," Hobson said, "and an illumination to my understanding of the real relations between economics and politics which were to occupy so large a place in my future work."23 The Boer War
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Britain dances with her empire.
(From: Punch, or the London Charivari, December 25, 1901.)
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is one of the great watersheds of British history, viewed as a turning point for the Empire as much as for Hobson. It provided him the economic grist for his mill and acted as a catalyst for his attack on imperialism. In March 1899, Hobson wrote an article called "Imperialism" for the Contemporary Review, "which came before the eyes of L. T. Hobhouse, then chief political leader-writer for the Manchester Guardian."24 Hobhouse and the editor of the paper C. P. Scott sent Hobson to South Africa to observe the workings of imperialism first hand. The effect of this was two-fold; it gave Hobson "realistic support to economic opinions and plunged [him] for some years into the heated atmosphere of political controversy."25 Hobson compiled the articles he had written for the Guardian into two books: The South African War (1900), an attack on the political economy of the Boer War; and The Psychology of Jingoism (1901), a penetrating analysis of "warspirit" and mass psychology, the latter heavily influenced by LeBons The Crowd,26 The next year, Hobson combined both of these, along with his other theories, into Imperialism: A Study.
Although he claimed, "When I wrote my volume on Imperialism I had not yet gathered into clear perspective the nature of the interactions between, economics, politics, and ethics,"27 the beginnings are certainly there. Imperialism contains all of his organicism, his underconsumption theory, his work in South Africa, and some inchoate concepts of internationalism. Today, the work can seem disjointed because its various chapters were written at different times and compiled from separate articles; as Hobson said, he had not gathered into clear perspective the totality of his arguments. If the totality appears unfocused however, the specific arguments are clear and devastating.
While Imperialism is a full scale attack on contemporary policies, Hobson did not condemn all forms of imperialism; instead, he began by drawing a fine distinction between colonialism and imperialism. "Colonialism, where it consists in the migration of part of a nation to vacant or sparsely peopled foreign lands may be considered a genuine expansion of nationality ... a natural overflow of nationality;"28 whereas, imperialism was a bastardization of nationality, i.e. the migration of part of a nation to a more populated region for the sole purpose of conquest and domination, whether by economic, political, or in some cases educational or religious means. Populating North America and Australia with misfits and criminals was, according to Hobson, natural and right, but the assault on Africa and Asia was driven purely by dubious economic motives. He then offered the date 1870 as the dividing line between the old style colonialism and the "new imperialism."29 The figures he cites as proof of this are quite persuasive; "of the thirty-nine separate areas which were annexed by Great Britain after 1870," thirty-eight were listed as Crown colonies, where the entire control of legislation was carried out by the Home Government in London.30 These Crown colonies were not, Hobson contends, designed to ever achieve self rule, but rather to be dominated and controlled by the Imperial government in perpetuity. Hobson was accurate in his assessment of the changing nature of imperialism. The pace of imperial acquisition
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certainly picked up after 1870, as can be seen in Lord Sailsburys observation that "when he left the Foreign Office in 1880, no one gave a thought to Africa, when he returned in 1885, no one talked of anything else."31 The development of Combinations and Trusts in Germany and especially the United States increased their ability to challenge Great Britain for overseas markets, particularly after 1870. London viewed this increased competition as a serious threat to British power abroad; more markets had to be forced open, and Imperial tariffs employed in order to compete with the new continental giants, or so ran the thinking of many renegade Liberal party members. Hobson set about to counter this view.
Hobson agreed the nature of competition had changed, but the reasons for advocating imperialism, he contended, were still wrong. Imperialists argued that home market demands were fixed therefore, any excess must find foreign markets or go unsold. Hobson said, nonsense; there was no limit to home market demand, provided consumers had enough expendable income to support it. Furthermore, the rapid growth of the Empire had not paid off with increased foreign trade profits. Trade, both import and export, was relatively flat throughout the last quarter of the nineteenth century; Britain was in a recession most of that time. The vast majority of trade was still done with the United States, Germany (the very countries Great Britain was in direct competition with), and the self-governing colonies already in the Empire prior to 1870, i.e. Canada and Australia. The economic data that Hobson compiled simply did not justify the unprecedented expansion of Empire, and echoing Cobden, Hobson concluded that "there is no support to the dogma that Trade follows the Flag."32 Nor was there any substantiation to the imperialists argument that imperialism was an effective outlet for excess population. The figures Hobson compiled showed emigration declining slightly in the years 1884-1903; in addition, those who did leave were not going to the Crown Colonies, but to the United States, Canada and Australia. The first part of Imperialism: A Study, "The Economics of Imperialism," begins, as all other parts of the book do, by summarizing the imperialists theories and then systematically knocking them down. Backed by a wealth of economic data Hobson concludes,
Seeing that the Imperialism of the last six decades is clearly condemned as a business policy, in that at enormous expense it has procured a small, bad, unsafe, increase of markets, and has jeopardised the entire wealth of the nation in rousing the strong resentments of other nations, we may ask, "How is the British nation induced to embark upon such unsound business?"33
Obviously, someone was still making money from this "small, bad, unsafe" venture; these people Hobson labeled the "Economic Parasites of Imperialism.1,34
As Hobson saw it, "Certain definite business and professional interests [were] feeding upon imperial expenditure."35 The captains of industry, the Rockefellers, the Rhodeses, the members of what today would be called the military-industrial
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During Hobson's time. Great Britain was the most powerful empire in the world.
(From: Michael Jones, The Cartoon History of Britain, N. Y.: MacMillan and Co, 1971.)
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complex, the speculators and investors, were the ones profiting from imperialism, and consequently propagating it. Hobson claimed that the true motor of imperialism was the special interest investor; that "banking, broking, bill discounting, loan floating, company promoting, form[ed] the central ganglion of international capitalism,"36 and therefore, imperialism. It is the most open and damning attack Hobson makes in Imperialism', it is also, to readers in the late twentieth century, the most dismissable and disturbing. Many advocates of the left today would go along with Hobson in decrying speculators and special interest investors, the military-industrial complex, as their bete noir, but few would have the temerity to argue that the speculators were:
United by the strongest bonds of organisation, always in closest and quickest touch with one another, situated in the very heart of the business capital of every state, controlled ... by men of a single and peculiar race, who have behind them many centuries of financial experience.37 [emphasis added]
Anti-Semitism was certainly prevalent in Britain in 1901, but to have it stated as bluntly as,
Does anyone seriously suppose a great war could be undertaken by any European state, or great State loan subscribed, if the house of Rothschild and its connexions [sic] set their face against it?38
is shocking to our politically correct, late twentieth century sensibilities, and reminds us that we are reading a work written at the turn of the century. While the anti-Semitism of Hobsons argument can be viewed as an obviously historical element, it is the simplicity of his conspiracy theory that undercuts many of the solid arguments previous to it. Up to this point, Hobson consistently backs himself up with sound economic figures; here he only offers a common understandingeveryone "knows" that Jewish bankers are the real culprits. Anti-Semitism aside, it may still be appealing for some to agree with Hobson that many investors are "harpies who suck their gains from every new forced expenditure and every sudden disturbance of public credit;"39 we cannot conclude, based on the scanty evidence adduced by Hobson, that any kind of a conspiracy ever existed. It is simply inconceivable that a group has ever existed that works together to drive the foreign policies of huge bureaucratic countries like Britain and the United States; with only anti-Semitism as a foundation, the conspiracy theory offered by Hobson falls apart, and casts a pall of doubt over the more sound arguments in the book.
Nevertheless, Hobson realized that, while finance capitalists were the big villains of his piece, they retained tremendous popular support. In the second and longest part of Imperialism, "The Politics of Imperialism," Hobson set out to destroy the popular misconceptions of imperialism, then proceeded to prescribe solutions for
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the reformation of society. For Hobson, the Empire was an issue of quality versus quantity; drawing on Ruskins aphorism, "There is no wealth but life,"40 he set out to attack "the modern obsession with quantitative, as opposed to qualitative values."41 Despite his puerile conspiracy theory, the economics of imperialism remained indefensible; there was no need to force open new foreign markets when home markets could be expanded indefinitely, "provided that the income or power to demand commodities, [was] properly distributed."42 The sociological factors that contributed to imperialism were harder to address.
Social Darwinism had its effect on many areas of nineteenth century life, not the least of which was imperialism. The "natural history" explanation for imperialism, the notion that Darwins natural selection took place not only on a biological level but on a national level as well, was the first at which Hobson took aim. Imperialism, it was argued, was a natural extension of the phrase "survival of the fittest." The imperial countries were, by nature, more socially efficient, and morally superior, and therefore had a duty to subjugate other "lower races." Hobson summed up this natural history fallacy by writing, "In the history of man, as throughout nature, stronger races have continually trampled down, enslaved and exterminated other races."43 Further, he saw that, "This belief in a divine right of force, is primarily responsible for the transmutation of a natural history law into a moral enthusiasm."44 The fallacy of this transmutation was further pointed up by Hobson as he extended his argument contending the more evolved man was, the more rational he became, and the more rational he became, the less likely he was to start wars of conquest. Land and food were not things civilized people fought over because technology enabled man to "gain what they wanted by conquering nature instead of conquering their fellow men."45 If everything evolved, as Hobson believed it did, then surely morality was not exempt; an advanced morality should not tolerate unjust wars, whipped up by wicked finance capitalists to line their own pockets. Hobsons attack on this "Scientific Defense of Imperialism," contains the seeds of his later work on internationalism.
Similarly, the "Moral and Sentimental Factors" of imperialism were dragged into the light by Hobson, and shown for the cheap fabrications they were. Hobson attacked the Yellow Press for aiding the imperialists in their plans by floating the theory of imperialism "on a sea of vague, shifty, well-sounding phrases which areseldom tested by close contact with fact."46 He blamed the jingoistic imperialists for appealing to the basest emotions and for turning military debacles into points of honor. He attacked the so-called "Christian Imperialists," who believed the "education" of the "lower races" in the morally superior ways of modern civilization, to be their sacred duty. Hobson argued, "To step in and utilize natural resources which were left undeveloped [was] one thing, to compel the inhabitants to develop them [was] another,"47 [emphasis added]. Both were wrong and exploitative, but the second, Hobson argued, was tantamount to slavery. The methods used by the "Christian Imperialists" to bring the benefits of civilization to the "lower races" were highly suspect and morally repugnant to Hobson. Removing indigenous people from
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Great Britain performing her duty to the empire.
(From: Punch, or the London Charivari, May 2, 1900.)
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their tribal life and teaching (i.e., forcing) them to be wage earners, something Hobson had witnessed first-hand in the diamond mines of South Africa, or sending them away from their homes to work as "coolie" labor, and of course, the most pervasive and consequently the most invidious form of control the imperial government imposed upon the "lower races" was the elaborate system of imperial taxation, designed to make the natives pay for their own, unasked for, modernization. Hobson is brutal in his attack on these hypocrites. The finance capitalists may have been steering the ship of imperialism, but it floated on a vast sea of complicity.
Economic parasitism, encouraged by the elaborate apologetics of Social Darwinism, and fed by jingoistic fervor, had created, according to Hobson, a potentially volatile political situation. He argued, "What actually confronts us everywhere in modern history is selfish, materialistic, shortsighted, national competition, varied by occasional collusion."48 For Hobson, imperialism was economically disastrous, morally untenable, and politically very dangerous. The very notion of pax Britanmca was ridiculous to Hobson. This doctrine placed,
The entire military, political, and financial resources of this nation at the beck and call of any missionary society which considers it has a duty to attack the religious sentiments or observances of some savage people, or of some reckless explorer who chooses just those spots of earth known to be inhabited by hostile people ignorant of British power; the speculative trader or the mining prospector gravitates naturally towards dangerous and unexplored countries, where the gains of a successful venture will be quick and large...
Thus the most reckless and irresponsible individual members of our nation are permitted to direct our foreign policy.49
This, Hobson argued, was not only silly and illiberal, but dangerous. The doctrine of free trade held that individuals had the right to venture out and speculate on a quick return in foreign markets, but imperialism said that any one of those individuals could theoretically call on the British navy at any time to save them from their own personal folly. Consequently, imperialism became "the supreme danger of modern national states."50 It would be hard to argue that Hobson was not prescient in this regard.
Hobson believed the way out of imperialism was internationalism, an internationalism (some would argue a utopia) we have yet to see. Hobson was no utopian dreamer, but he did set his sights rather high. In his work in internationalism, we can see the melding of nineteenth century liberal thought and twentieth century socialism. Jules Townshend pointed out, "Hobsons alternative to imperialism was a world polity of independent, democratic self-governing states, based upon free trade, international arbitration and minimal intergovernmental relations."51 Genuine democracy was Hobsons path to this idealized internationalism, and that meant taking power out of the hands of the special interests
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and putting it in the hands of the people. He advocated "the direction of public policy by the people for the people through representatives over whom they exercise real control."32 He did not call for the end to the national state, or for the workers of the world to unite regardless of national boundaries; Hobson believed that nationalism was an a prion component of internationalism. "As individualism is essential to any sane form of national socialism, so nationalism is essential to internationalism: no organic conception of world politics can be framed on any other supposition.1,53 Here we begin to see the bridge Hobson organically built between Liberalism and Socialism. The economic freedom of the individual is still celebrated and essential, but a moral imperative has been cast over the myopic views of the free traders; Hobson invited his audience to imagine individual and community as something other than mutually exclusive. He called for a sane imperialism, what Townshend refers to as "a kind of international welfare state,"54 what Hobson saw as an "organized representation of civilized humanity."55 Hobsons vision, in many ways, prefigured the League of Nations mandate system. If his views on internationalism, just taking shape in Imperialism, seem naive yet somewhat draconian today (his descent into a defense of eugenics is as chilling as his lambasting of Jewish bankers), it must be remembered that he speaks to us from a previous century. Naive though some of his ideas may be, few others had attempted such a full scale attack on the pet ideologies of the nineteenth century, or on the very essence of British glory itself.
Today, Hobson has as many admirers as critics. The statistics he offered as proof of the economic sources of imperialism have come under intense scrutiny. D. K. Fieldhouse complained that Hobson did not give the figures for capital exported to other industrial nations or compare those figures with capital invested in new colonies. Fieldhouse felt that this essential element was conveniently missing from Imperialism, as its inclusion would have destroyed Hobsons case. That may be, but Hobson never tried to prove that all capitalists were imperialists, only that certain speculative capitalists were.56 Keynes criticisms, while not primarily concerned with Imperialism, were more far reaching. Keynes argued that Hobson had mistakenly equated saving with investment. In Hobsons theory, recessions were the result of underconsumption brought about by oversaving and/or overinvestment. Keynes countered this by showing that economic crises were frequently brought about by underinvestment, and could be alleviated by either increased consumption, concurring with Hobson, or, running counter to Hobson, by increased investment.57 To say that Hobson was directly responsible for the development of the Kenyesian economic models is to give far too much credit to Mr. Hobson and far too little to Mr. Keynes, truly one of the most brilliant minds of this century, but their similarities and their differences must have played off well against each other. The economics of Imperialism will always draw criticism, for it is relatively easy to tear down and rebuild economic models; what is less criticized is Hobsons attack on the moral and psychological aspects of imperialism. The sister work to "The Politics of Imperialism," The Psychology of Jingoism reads like some very contemporary
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theories of mass media and psychology. In both Imperialism and Jingoism, Hobson argued that information from the Yellow Press came in so fast, and in such quantities, that the average person was incapable of processing it. "Opinions took root merely from the fact of their constant repetition, and public opinion was formed on precisely the same sort of evidence as was the belief that Colemans is the best mustard."58 In this Hobson was well ahead of his time.
Hobsons prediction that imperialistic capitalism, left unreformed, would continue to cause bigger and more terrible wars was tragically realized. His economic theories were rejected by the collapsing Liberal Party, but taken up by the fledgling Labour Party, destined to replace the Liberals as the party of opposition in the twentieth century. His work on internationalism, although flawed, helped pave the way for the League of Nations and the United Nations. As a critic of empire, he has been superseded by more contemporary, more thorough and more inventive writers; he remains, however, one of the first. The power of his prose, the force of his arguments, and the courage of his moral convictions still persuade us today. Lenin, correctly, called him a "social liberal."59 He retained the beliefs in individualism and free trade that were the hallmarks of nineteenth century liberalism, and combined them with a growing faith in Labour principles, namely that work and profit should be of use, that capital should be re-invested in home markets in the form of wages and benefits,
Just in proportion as the substitution of true national governments for the existing oligarchies or sham democracies becomes possible will the apparent conflicts of national interests disappear, and fundamental co-operation upon which nineteenth-century Free Trade prematurely relied manifest itself.60
He urged people to broaden their concept of individual responsibility and to embrace social responsibility. He was a man both of and beyond his time; through his work he exhorted England to move from the "peace and prosperity" of the nineteenth century into the much more troublesome twentieth.
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Endnotes
1. J.A. Hobson, Imperialism: A Study (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965), p.3.
2. Michael Freeden, ed., J.A. Hobson: A Reader (London: Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1988), p.17.
3. J.A. Hobson, Confessions of an Economic Heretic (London: Allen Unwin,
1938), p.15.
4. Ibid.
5. Freeden, p.2.
6. Ibid., p.4.
7. Ibid., p.5.
8. Jules Townshend, J.A. Hobson (Manchester: Manchester University Press,
1990), p.23.
9. J.A. Hobson, Crisis of Liberalism, ed. Michael Freeden (London: Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1988), p.65.
10. Townshend, p.27.
11. Hobson, Imperialism, p.153.
12. Ibid., p.25.
13. Townshend, p.44.
14. Ibid., p.45.
15. Ibid., p.70.
16. Hobson, Physiology of Industry, quoted in Townshend, p.70.
17. Hobson, Imperialism, p.71.
18. For a direct comparison of the two texts, see Norman Etherington, Theories of Imperialism: War, Conquest, Capital (London: Croom Helm, 1984), p.40.
19. Hobson, Imperialism, p.74f.
20. Ibid., p.77.
21. Bernard Porter, Critics of Empire, quoted in John Allett, New Liberalism: The
Political Economy of J.A. Hobson (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1981),
p.148.
22. There were two Anglo-Boer wars, 1880-81 and 1899-1902. It is the second to which Hobson is referring.
23. Hobson, Confessions, p.59.
24. Ibid., p.60.
25. Ibid., p.62.
26. Gustav LeBon (1841-1931) was a French sociologist known for his study of the psychological characteristics of crowds and his elitist theories of social evolution. La Psychologie des Foules was published in 1895 and remains a pathbreaking book in the field of mass psychology. (Townshend, p.106).
27. Hobson, Confessions, p.60.
28. Hobson, Imperialism, p.6f.
29. Ibid., p.27.
30. Ibid., p.23.
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31. Muriel Chamberlain, Pax Britannica?' British Foreign Policy 1789-1914 (London: Longman, 1988), p.146.
32. Hobson, Imperialism, p.33.
33. Ibid., p.46.
34. Ibid.
35. Ibid., p.48.
36. Ibid., p.56.
37. Ibid., p.57.
38. Ibid.
39. Ibid., p.58.
40. John Ruskin, Unto This Last (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967),
p.88.
41. Townshend, p.104.
42. Hobson, Imperialism, p.88.
43. Ibid., p.156.
44. Ibid., p.157.
45. Ibid., p.184.
46. Ibid., p.206.
47. Ibid., p.228.
48. Ibid., p.241.
49. Ibid., p.356f.
50. Ibid., p.360.
51. Townshend, p.107.
52. Hobson, Imperialism, p.360.
53. Ibid., p.362.
54. Townshend, p.108.
55. Hobson, Imperialism, p.232.
56. Allett, p.151.
57. Townshend, p.73.
58. Allett, p.160.
59. Freeden, p.17.
60. Hobson, Imperialism, p.363.
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Bibliography
Allett, John. New Liberalism: The Political Economy of J. A. Hobson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981.
Chamberlain, Muriel E. Pax Britannica? British Foreign Policy 1789-1914. London: Longman, 1988.
Etherington, Norman. Theories of Imperialism: War, Conquest, and Capital. London: Croom Helm, 1984.
Freeden, Michael, ed. J. A. Hobson: A Reader. London: Unwin Hyman, 1988.
Hobson, J. A. Imperialism: A Study. London: George Allen Unwin, 1938; reprint, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1965.
_________. Confessions of an Economic Heretic. London: George Allen Unwin,
1938.
Ruskin, John. "Unto This Last." Cornhill Magazine (1860); reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967.
Townshend, Jules. J. A. Hobson. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990.
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University of Colorado at Denver Historical Studies Journal Editorial Staff: Judy Morley Graduate Student, American History Richard Burden, Graduate Student European History Eric Hammersmark Undergraduate Colorado History Robin Sharp Graduate Student, European History Mary S. Conroy Ph.D ., Faculty Advisor Thomas J. Noel Ph D ., Faculty Advisor University of Colorado at Denver Volume 12 Number 1 Spring 1995

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University of Colorado at Denver Department of History Thomas J Noel, Ph .D., Department Chair American West, Colorado Studies, Public History FrederickS. Allen, Ph D Modern Europe France, Germany Ernest A. Andrade Jr. Ph D 20th Century United States, U.S Diplomatic and Military Canada MaryS. Conroy Ph D. Russia Soviet Union Michael T Ducey Ph D. Mexico and the American Southwest MarkS. Foster Ph D. Recent United States Social and Intellectual Urban Business Philip A. Hernandez Ph D. 19th Century United States, U.S. Southwest Lionel M. Jensen Ph D China and Japan Myra L. Rich Ph.D Early United States Women's Studies James B. Wolf Ph D Africa, Modern England 19th and 20th Century British Empire University of Co lorad o at Denver Department of History Phi Alpha Theta Alpha Gamma Gamma C hapter C ampus Box 182 P .O. Box 173364 Denver Co lorado 80217-3364 ii

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Table of Contents Introduction Donald Worster and His Growing Assault on Capitalism Jim Walsh v 1 Irish Neutrality During the Second World War Kathleen M. Larkin 21 Breaking Down Barriers : The Denver YWCA and the Phyllis Wheatley Branch 1940 to 1949 Marcia Tremmel Goldstein A Social Liberal: J. A. Hobson and Imperialism: A Study Richard Burden 35 71 On the Cover: Denver s YWCA during the 1940s was anxious to project a strong image of interracial harmony As Marcia Tremmel Goldstein shows us in her work on the subject (page 35) the local chapter strove for racial integration two decades before the Civil Rights Movement This 1949 publicity photo was on the cover of the "Y's" membership brochure. (Photo courtesy of Colorado Historical Society) iii

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iv UCD Historical Studies Journal

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UCD Historical Studie s Journal I nt r oduc tion The UCD Historical Studies Journal publishes student papers produced within the UCD Department of History. Department faculty members nominate deserving papers written during the previous calendar year and the journal editors select the best of these based on criteria such as quality of research historiographical approach originality readability and organization The journal contributes to the existing body of historical scholarship, but it is primarily designed to function as a learning tool-students can look to the journal for outstanding examples of well-researched and well-written history papers The papers published in this edition are exemplary Using an interview with the author as his main source, Jim Walsh writes a perceptive and original analysis of environmental historian Donald Worster. Jim s timely narrative addresses the highly charged issue of America s exploitation of natural resources and the current backlash against development. Kathleen Larkin s paper on Ireland s neutrality policy during World War II shows the difficult choices faced by the Irish Prime Minister in breaking with Great Britain. In her paper on the YWCA, Marcia Tremmel Goldstein discusses the trials and triumphs of Denver women in integrating the local Phyllis Wheatley Branch As part of her M A. thesis Marcia shows that this important institution faced the question of integration long before the civil rights movement of the 1960s Finally Richard Burden analyzes the work of an important but often overlooked British historian J.A. Hobson Although Richard is an editor of this edition of the UCD Historical Studies Journal his fellow editors agreed unanimously that his paper was worthy of inclusion Richard s scholarly prose highlights the influence of Hobson s work on his contemporaries. We congratulate all the authors and give them our sincere thanks for dedicating the time necessary to prepare their manuscripts for publication UCD Historical Studies Journal v

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Thanks also go to the people who made the preparation of this year's journal a smooth and enjoyable process. Diedre Versluis the president of Phi Alpha Theta was extremely helpful and patient in securing the funds needed for publication. Sue Sethney provided much-needed office support. Micheline Davis of UCD s Publication Department designed the cover and helped streamline the production portion of the process Dr. Mary Conroy and Dr. Tom Noel deserve special thanks for their guidance and insight throughout the project. All the students who had their papers nominated this year deserve congratulations As in the past the competition for inclusion in the journal was fierce All the papers nominated were exceptional and we regret that we were only able to publish four Nomination is itself an honor and all the authors whose papers were considered should be proud of this accomplishment. This is the twelfth year of publication for the journal and we hope that this edition continues the tradition of excellence set by our predecessors We also hope that readers find it informative and enjoyable The UCD Department of History and the Alpha Gamma Gamma Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta are responsible for publishing the journal each year, and we thank both organizations for letting us take part in this valuable and rewarding project. vi Introduction Judy Morley Richard Burden Eric Hammersmark Robin Sharp April 1995

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Donald Worster and His Grow ing Assault on Capital ism Jim Walsh The emergence of environmental or ecological history has been a product of the recent fragmentation and revision of American history. This type of history argues that humanity cannot begin to understand itself until it integrates the environment, the various ecological cycles and all of the planet's life forms into its story. Donald Worster is one of the leading voices among environmental historians. His works not only advocate for the inclusion of an ecological framework in history ; they also challenge the field to discover and consider the motivations behind humanity's uses and misuses of the environment. Worster was born November 14 1941 in Needles California While very young, his family moved to western Kansas and it was there that he grew up, eventually receiving his B A. in 1963 from the University of Kansas. About these years Worster says, "Neither of my parents went to college nor had any interest in academic or scholarly life. I managed to find an education on my own, through jobs scholarships and fellowships. "1 Worster went on to Yale to complete his Masters degree in Philosophy in 1970 and Ph.D. in American Studies in 1971. It was these years at Yale that Worster considers his most important in terms of academic growth Worster had this to say about these influences: Certainly, going to Yale to earn a Ph D. was the formative intellectual experience in my life and I was fortunate to do that Jim Walsh graduated with a B.S. from Duke University in 1989. He is currently an M.A. candidate focusing on American Western History. He plans to graduate in 1996. Jim works for the Denver Family Preservation and Reunification Program, part of the Mental Health Corporation of Denver. He wrote this paper for Historiography, taught by Dr. Mark Foster, in the fall of 1994. UCD Historical Studies Journal 1

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UCD Historical Studies Journal during the environmental awakening of the later 1960s and early '70s. Living in New England generally, from 1964 to 1989, with a nine-year hiatus spent in Hawaii California, and Kansas opened my imagination to other environments and cultural values than those found in western Kansas where I grew up.2 Worster went on to describe his influences at Yale, as well as his tendency to forge his own path stating : My major advisor was Sydney Ahlstrom an historian of rel i g i on and ideas most appreciated for his tolerance and catholic interests. I cannot say that he had too much direct influence on my research. Other figures at Yale that I worked with included Howard Lamar, C. Vann Woodward Franklin Baumer, and Frederick Holmes (the latter in the history of science). But mainly, I was pretty self directed and find [sic] my own way into an area where there were no real mentors or precedents 3 Worster's career following Yale took him to all regions of the country, presumably broadening his perspective of this country and its ecology. From 1964 until 1966 he was an instructor in speech and drama at the University of Maine His next teaching position was as an assistant professor of American studies at Brandeis University, where he taught from 1971 to 1974 Following this, from 1975 to 1983, he was a professor of American studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa before returning to Brandeis in 1984. Currently, he is the Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas, where he has taught for several years Worster feels most at horne on the Great Plains where he, his wife of thirty years and his two children enjoy a peaceful existence. Worster s awards have been many and this paper will not attempt to list them Suffice it to say that he is considered one of most widely read and well respected environmental historians of the late twentieth century. He has written and published six books, all falling into the category of environmental / ecological history. These are Nature's Economy : The Roots of Ecology(1977); Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s(1979) ; Rivers of Empire : Water Aridity, and the Growth of the American West(1985); Under Western Skies : Nature and History in the American West(1992); The Wealth of Nature: Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination(1993) ; and An Unsettled Country : Changing Landscapes of the American West(1994). Worster is currently under contract by Oxford University Press to write a biography of John Wesley Powell. Regarding Worster's changing thoughts and rnindset, his writing represents a serious questioning of the adverse ecological effects of the free en t erprise, capitalist economy. This questioning of capitalism has gradually intensified evolving from the suggestion of a connection between capitalism and environmental adversity into a 2 Donald Worster 1 Walsh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal full-scale indictment of our free market society and the manipulation of nature for the personal gain that inevitably follows. Examples of this gradual intensification can be found in Worster's books. His first book Nature 's Economy takes a more conventional approach in addressing its subject. This book concentrates more on the changing history of ecological thought than on any ramifications or consequences of that thought. By the time he began to write works such as Dust Bowl and Riv ers of Empire however he was staring the free enterprise profit-seeking ethos of the United States directly in the face and suggesting that changes at the core of the economic system are the only ways to stall the widespread mistreatment of the environment. Worster s first book Nature s Economy : A History of Ecological Ideas was his Ph.D. dissertation Worster says of thi s book I think my first book which was my dissertation Nature s Economy is my best and certainly it is my favorite book It has been translated into four languages and outsold my other works considerably. Traditional American and Western U.S. historians don't know it but in many ways it is the subject closest to my deep interests "4 The book traces ecological thought beginning with eighteenth cent u ry Europe and takes the reader right into the 1960s. In 1994 for the second edition Worster added a final chapter that covered the years since the earlier edition In the preface Worster explains how the explosion of interest in ecology in the 1960s and 1970s inspired him to write the book This peculiar field of study has been suddenly called on, in a manner unusual even in our science-impressed age, to play a central intellectual role. "5 He later describes the newness of ecology "Like a stranger blowing into town ecology seems a presence without a past. "6 Overall the book traces the dominant mode of thinking among ecologists, naturalists or whatever label the time period placed on the scholar in relation to the role of humanity in nature Two modes of thinking Worster argues have continually done battle over the course of the last two or three centuries. Worster shows how this ecological pendulum has swung between an imperial and a holistic camp. The imperialists from Francis Bacon to the post-World War II nuclear scientists constantly advocated the domination of humanity over nature The killing of pests building of nuclear weapons shooting of predators and management of water systems illustrate this school of thought. Worster labels the opposing mindset holistic or 'arcadian'. Men such as Gilbert White and Henry David Thoreau were the pioneers of this mindset. This philosophy believed that humanity should work toward an understanding of the nature around them and, instead of forcing themselves upon nature humans must consider that "all nature is alive, and whatever is alive has a claim on man's moral affections. "7 The last chapter which Worster added to the 1994 edition steers the reader away from this 'good vs evil' struggle and into a much more abstract discussion The age of nuclear weapons massive population growth and a global environmental awakening have in Worster s view confused the issues Uncertainty led to ideas such as the science of chaos'. This science arising from an inability of scientists Do11ald Worster J Walsh 3

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UCD Historical Studies Journal to successfully predict events, is defined by Worster as a single revolution rising up against all the principles laws, models, and applications of classical science the science ushered in by the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. "8 This theme is much different from the rest of the book The last chapter is a clear example of how Worster's thinking has grown increasingly radical as well as all-encompassing. The fact that it was written in the 1990s is no coincidence, as it parallels Worster's growing radical thought around the environmental values of western civilization Regardless of the change in thought, however, Worster somehow manages to include this last chapter without seriously disrupting the book's continuity. Perhaps it is Worster's three conclusions in his final chapter that save the harmony here, for they leave the reader pondering the future flow of human thought and activity in this realm. These conclusions are: 1. .informed reason allows us to say that living nature, for all its private, individualistic strivings, works by the principle of interdependency "9 2 ... our study of the past has uncovered models of successful adaptation that we can learn from today. They are not values in themselves but rather are lessons drawn from nature applicable to the values we have chosen. The natural world may not provide any overall, sufficient norm for us to follow, or any single transcendent good that we can discover, but it does provide a wealth of models, depending on what it is we want to achieve "10 3. .. history reveals not merely that change is real but also that change is various. All change is not the same, nor are changes equal.. We can no more take any particular state as absolutely normative than we can take any particular state of equilibrium as normative. "11 It seems that it is the territory and the perspectives that traditional historians tend to ignore that most penetrate Worster's writings. In Nature 's Economy as in his other books, prominent historical figures such as Henry David Thoreau Charles Darwin, and John Wesley Powell are praised for obscure or abstract reasons apart from their more traditionally glorified qualities They are admired by Worster for traits or stances that have not been emphasized in the traditional historical accounts. For example Worster virtually ignores Thoreau s writing and philosophizing and replaces it with an emphasis on his Jove of the outdoors and the wisdom that he found in nature John Wesley Powell s daring adventures in the American West are overlooked in favor of an obscure proposal that he made in favor of communal water use among the several 'water districts of the American West. Nature s Economy is certainly not without its critics. Reviewer Kier B. Sterling calls Worster s narrative "selective, episodic, and sometimes one-sided. "1 2 Also, Choice magazine criticized the book for accepting the view that the roots of U.S. 4 Donald Worster 1. Walsh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal ecological perceptions are from European sources 13 Regardles s of any specifics that Worster may have overlooked or where he stands in relation t o the sources for U.S. ecological thinking his insights int o twentieth century thought and the questions that he raises in his conclusion cannot be trivialized or cast aside. This book successfully questions the roles of the ecologist the scientist and the public policy bureaucrat. It forces the reader to take a hard look at values that have been instilled from childhood ; values and assumptions that may be hidden or unrecognized such as human ownership of natural resources or the concept of natur e being managed by humans In 1979 Worster published his s econd book Dust Bowl It won a Bancroft Prize and vaulted Worster int o national prominence as an environmental historian Worster states his reasons for writing the book in the preface This book wa s undertaken for a selfish and private reason: I wanted to see the plain s again After a decade and a half of living in other places many of them exotic and distant and of studying the ideas o f a larger world I thought it was time to come home for a while and take another look at the land and people who gave me so much to start with. Had I been a Wallace Stegner I might have written a novel or an autobiography instead of a work of history. But in its own way and despite the scholar s footnotes this book is the result of my coming to grips with my own past. It is the product of twenty odd impressionable years spent growing up on the plains. 14 Dust Bowl argues that the dust bowls were the result of the massive effort by the great plains farmers to turn as much land as possible into productive farmland Worster compares the ecological consequences of this great plow up to the 1929 collapse of Wall Street and its economic consequences It was the optimism of the farmers and the refusal to admit that employing extremely risky techniques was unwise that led to ecological disaster Thi s optimism writes Worster: ... may be an essential response for survival in this sometimes treacherous world ; it certainly brought many Western farmers through to greener days But it also can be a form of lunacy. There is about the perennial optimist a dangerou s naivete, a refusal to face the grim truths about oneself or others or nature. Optimism can also divert our attention from critical self-appraisal and substantive reforms which i s exactly what happened on the plains 15 The New Deal according to Worster was part of the problem rather than the solution The aid that supported the farmers during these difficult dirty and dry times Worster argues simply prolonged a struggle that nature eventually won but at the American taxpayers expense Donald Worster J. Walsh 5

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UCD Historical Studies Journal The dust rolls in during the Dust Bowl. (From: Donald Worster, Dust Bowl : The Southern Plains in the 1930s New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979, p.15. ) Dust Bowl goes on to discuss the great exodus of the Okies from Oklahoma to California as well as the importance of grass on the great plain s, including the danger that cattlemen and wheat farmers pose to such a delicate equilibrium Worster then focuses on two counties, one in the Oklahoma panhandle and one in southwestern Kansas. He closely examines the people of these counties and uses them as case studies for a discussion on the reactions coping mechanisms and survival techniques of these people In Dust Bowl Worster commences his sweeping questioning of American economics, values, and foresight. Here he criticizes the capitalist system itself its rigidity, selfishness, and predicted path toward self-destruction. For example the following statements are contained on two pages alone. "It was a well-organized and rationalistic system, supremely confident of its unending progress unashamedly materialistic and utilitarian, critical of those who had failed in the race for spoils, and incredibly wasteful." "The attitude of capitalism--industrial and pre-industrial--t oward the earth was imperial and commercial; none of its ruling values taught environmental humility reverence or restraint." "But it was here on the southern plains where the grass had always struggled to hold the land against powerful winds and recurrent drought that the self-seeking entrepreneur most clearly displayed his 6 Donald Worster J. Walsh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal weaknesses "By the values they had been taught they [the southern plains farmers] were justified in what they did; they were contributors, they assumed to national growth and affluence. "But as it turned out the culture they had brought to the plains--the culture that had brought them there--was ecologically among the most unadaptive ever devised "16 Beginning with Dust Bowl Worster's wntmgs represent a relentless and convincing rallying cry against the capitalist ethos Simply put his work took on a strong Marxist overtone but with an ecological point of reference and with nature as the proletariat. The reviews of Dust Bowl are if nothing else indicative of the ease with which Worster s arguments elicit debate Without even going into the debates themselves the intensity of responses that Worster provoked underscored their importance Some critics felt that the explosion of ecological debate in the 1970s inspired Worster to write this book. This seems to be an attempt to minimize the book s importance categorizing it into an historiographic framework and thus labeling it a fad For example reviewer Gilbert C. Fite opens his review stating "It has been long recognized that the felt issues and attitudes of the times influence historical writing Donald Worster s book on the dust bowl confirms this fact. "1 7 Clayton R. Koppes reacts by stating "In an era beset by environmental and economic woes, the Dust Bowl is ripe for the reinterpretation provided in Donald Worster s Dust Bowl. "1 8 Worster seems to leave some critics feeling confused In his discussion of the breakdowns and dangers of capitalism Worster is clear and convincing. It is in his lack of clearly stated alternatives that the critics find fault. R Douglas Hurt claims "Worster writes that there was a need for a broad-gauged alternative to commercial farming. What that alternative might have been is not entirely clear. "19 Koppes adds "Worster s criticism of capitalism is heavily influenced by Marxism and it hints at a noncapitalist alternative but this remains at the level of implication "20 Finally, this impassioned critique by James W Ware : "Worster does stretch his Marxist analysis a little thin in places and is a little too critical of the people of the plains The Dust Bowl s farmers were brave frontiersmen no more or less foolish and greedy than any other Americans during the depression decade "21 Six years after Dust Bowl Worster published Rivers of Empire When thi s book was published there were few doubts that he had spent those years wisely Although Worster claims that Nature's Economy has been his best selling book it is usually Rivers of Empire that comes to mind among students and historians when they contemplate the works of Donald Worster Rivers of Empire represents Worster's assault on what he sees as a brutal system of dependence upon industry and technology. Thi s system is seen by Worster Donald Worster J. Walsh 7

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UCD Hi stor ical Studies Journal Father and son head for cover during a dust storm, 1936. (From : Worster Dust Bowl, 1979, p.102.) 8 Donald Worste r J. Wa l sh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal to have bloated technocrats and politicians with more power than they could possibly use constructively. Worster effectively synthesizes the history of the American West's slow development into what he calls an hydraulic empire Beginning with a survey of similar attempts at river control in other parts of the world Worster slowly leads the reader through the United States gradual development of the most technologically advanced water management bureaucracy the world has ever seen Rivers of Empire is destined to inspire emotional debate on both sides of the issues. Beginning with a touch of nostalgia Worster discusses the ecologically safe methods of the early Anglo settlements of the American West that depended on irrigation such as those of the Mormons around Salt Lake. Worster treats these people as having worked within reasonable bounds and with minimal effect upon the local ecosystems From this nineteenth century focus the control of water in this country grows according to Worster larger, more powerful more destructive more bureaucratized and more distant. Worster recalls a theory that was proposed by John Wesley Powell but rejected by the lawmakers. This proposal would have separated the American West into several water districts each district being a discrete self-contained social, economic and political system These districts would then each control their own rivers or set of related rivers. Worster glorifies this proposal but offers no solid reasons as to why it would have succeeded and held off all future economic pressures Worster's writing becomes most passionate when he delves into the rise of bureaucracies such as the Bureau of Reclamation. As the West's water came more and more under the control of the powerful technocrats and politicians initiatives such as the Newlands Act were created to entice settlers into the newly irrigated regions This was to be America's new frontier'; a place where people with little or no hope for prosperity could start from scratch Unfortunately, this is not how things worked out. Worster shows how the water and the power came to rest in the hands of the business elite of the West. With this immense power, a huge system of dependence over the newly diverted water came into being. Worster claims "The result was rule by technocracy, and not surprisingly the chief beneficiaries of that rule were people of property and standing Water had indeed made this desert bloom, and the crop was oligarchy. "22 The important feature of Rivers of Empire is its powerful and moving prose. Indeed if the reader is not careful Worster will softly float them along his stream of thought and deposit them into a mindset much more radical than the one they may remember leaving Examples of this influential and provocative language are many He begins a discussion of dams with: It drips endlessly from the roof of North America from the cordillera of the Rockies down from its eaves and gables and ridges its mossy slates and piney shingles running this way and that running whichever way offers the least resistance. Put a barrel Donald Worster J. Walsh 9

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UCD Historical Studies Journal l The Glen Canyon Dam {top) and the Hoover Dam churn out America's hydroelectric power. (From: Allan H. Cullen, Rivers in Harness : The Story of Dams, Philadelphia: Chilton Books, 1962, centerpiece.) 10 Donald Wor s ter 1 Walsh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal where it drips and a second next to that one, and so on until the yard is full of barrels. Call part of that dripping the Rio Grande and give the barrels names too : Road Canyon Sanchez La Jara Abiquiu El Vado Jemez Elephant Butte Caballo Two Rivers McMillan, Red Bluff Amistad and Falcon ... Barrel after barrel each with a colorful name but all looking alike, quickly becoming an industry in their manufacture with industrial sameness in their idea and use. The big ones must all be made to federal specifications and paid for by federal funding but a thousand little private kegs and rusty pots can be deployed too Plink plink save, save. It would have been a crime simply to stand by and watch it drip and run away .23 The reader may be able to sense a type of enjoyment from the author for here, moreso that in any other of his works, he begins to say, I told you so ." The hydraulic society is far from collapse Nonetheless its weaknesses cannot be ignored The era of the great dam has passed and the United States finds itself frighteningly dependant upon a system of irrigation Water salinization sediment buildup against dam walls and other side effects of water control began to signal an end to a very unnatural era. Critics of this book all rave about the passion and feeling in Worster's writing. For example one critique reads "He has reflected with love, sadness and anger. ... "24 Another adds, ... he takes his place in a tradition of awed, affectionate writing about the West. "25 Gerald Nash points out Worster's lack of clear alternatives but acknowledges the power of his position writing : Worster s vision evokes sympathy, but his suggested remedies are more difficult to embrace. Yet who can fault an author who urges us to put faith in the goodness and rationality of humanity and in a new version of the American dream?26 Finally an analysis by Larry Anderson reads "Worster takes a certain grim delight in recounting such problems as collapsing dams reservoir sedimentation, salinization, pollution, and aquifer depletion "27 Thus, just as Dust Bowl intensified Worster's tone from Nature 's Economy, so Rivers of Empire further vaulted Worster into a serious and somber interview with the values bred by a free market society This book made no attempts at balance objectivity or inclusion Emotional response, negative or positive is what Worster sought from his readers Worster s most recent books Under Western Skies andAn Unsettled Country are very similar and can be considered together. Both are collections of relatively unrelated essays covering topics as varied as Sioux rights to the Black Hill s and inclusion of animals and plants in our human-dominated histories The fact that Donald Worster J Walsh 11

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Worster has branched out to so many new areas may represent his desire to instill his ecological point of view onto more traditional turfs The Marxist influence also appears in much of this most recent writing Aggressive exploitation by a greedy, unrelenting, shortsighted, capitalist state finds many more victims here than simply the working class. Predators, Native Americans, the air, and the fauna have joined the rivers and the soil as victims Worster advocates for these victims though, for different reasons than present day political correctness might dictate For example in his essay entitled, "The Black Hills : Sacred or Profane?" Worster rejects the notion that the Hills should be returned to the Sioux because they are in some ways sacred to them He writes ... the historian cannot find any evidence that in the nineteenth century the Hills were in fact regarded as sacred by the Lakota."28 Worster in fact ) criticizes the attempt by the Sioux to use the sacred argument to regain the land. He adds : Because the claim of sacredness remains weak and often seems contrived for white consumption they go on rummaging through their reminiscences and back rooms looking for old buffalo robes, as medieval Christians ransacked for the holy shroud. They rush into court waving the latest proof aloft, as though any amount of evidence would make much of a difference to a room full of white lawyers, who never heard about ethnoastronomy or mountain gods in law school. 29 In the end, though Worster stands firmly on the side of the Sioux. Just as he glorifies John Wesley Powell only on his own obscure terms, so does he defend the Sioux on terms that lack all of today s popular Native American nostalgia It is not that the Sioux in some way have earned them, he argues, but that white America through their misuse, has disearned them. The Hills could not possibly be in worse hands than those of the capitalist profit-making machine. In this same book, Worster added two essays that touch upon the somber domination that came to be exemplified through projects such as the Hoover Dam and the Alaskan oil pipeline In an essay entitled "Alaska : The Underworld Erupts," Worster chronicles the slow and continual overrunning of Alaska l eading to the exploitation of its natural resources In a fine example of his passiona t e and moving writing, the essay reads: Within present memory in Alaska a black force began erupting out of the interior of the earth bringing to the surface all the power of an ancient underworld. A benign power in many ways, it brought a warmer, brighter, faster, freer life to people, and a readier access to the many wonders of the Great Land, one of the most sublime landscapes on earth. But it was also a dark, destructive power and in retrospect we are able to see more clearly just how much it 12 Donald Worster J Walsh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal destroyed ecologically and culturally as it oozed across the country in a viscous volatile flood of hydrocarbons 30 The inevitable control of the oil pipeline and the Hoover Dam led to ecological destruction and ultimate cultural dependence all for the benefit of bureaucrats technocrats, and the urban industrial elite These essays do not stray far from the thesis of Rivers of Empire Worster begins to reenter the realm of intellectual histor y, a history he hadn t written in any depth since Nature's Economy with some of these recent essays. His opening essay in Under Western Skie s blasts the traditional history of the American West. Here Worster sets the tone for a book full of what will inevitably be considered radical essays He writes here with a bit of cynicism: Don't reveal that there may be important ideals that have been violated or argue that there are new ones we must discover ; if you do you will be considered romantic naive biased polemical, or ungrateful. You may even become "an ideologue" (a dreaded label which often is applied to any historian who doesn't take the dominant or official ideology for granted). In other words keep western history and the West itself safe from controversy or radical challenge. Be sure to write in a style that is intellectually timid long on footnotes and bibliography but short on original ideas especially short on uncommon or unconventional ideas. If you have any such ideas keep them to yourself or cover them over with a camouflage of dull gray prose so that no one will take them seriously 3 1 "Freedom and Want : The Western Paradox asks the reader to consider how our country can quell its thirst for endless resources and find freedom from want in the American West a land whose uniqueness is based upon its scarcity Worster here introduces the dilemma involving the United State s vision of the West. This vision requires aridity and therein lies the problem according to Worster. If this vision of liberation is to endure, this western space must stay open which is to say it must stay dry. Freedom in our western vision requires aridity It depends on a brilliance of light an openness of terrain a clean spaciousness that gives us plenty of room to spread out and look around to get some distance from the crowd to deal with our private selves to renew hope It requires the West as it naturally was and is. A little more water might spoil it all Y "The Legacy of John Wesley Powell" leads off An Unsettled Country ; Changing Landscapes of the American West. More than likely this essay can be seen as a preview to Worster's upcoming biography of the man. Here again Donald Worster J Walsh 13

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Adventurer John Wesley Powell, on horse, with a Paiute Indian. (From: William Culp Darrah, Powell of the Colorado, Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1951, centerpiece ) Worster highlights Powell's efforts at creating communal "hydrog r aphic basins ." 33 His next essay in Unsettled Country acts as a type of follow up to Ri vers of Empire. The essay introduces what Worster calls the "Holy Trinity of modern water development--an alliance of Science State and Capital. "34 Worster uses this essay to claim that the irrigation monolith is doomed He seems to take pleasure in writing of an end to resource manipulation : Water imperialism is beginning at last to be discredited Water development is an idea lying in moral ruins ... We are, therefore approaching the end of a long chapter in human history, the era of the unquestioned conque s t of nature in the name of material progress Yet the next chapter beg i ns in deep uncertainty about its plot or outcome. The history of the past two centuries has left us in a trap that has no easy escape. Where will the water come from to support those urban masses of the present and the future? Will irrigation continue to use 70 percent of the available supply and if it does not how will the masses a large portion of whom depend on irrigation be fed?35 14 Donald Worster J. Wal sh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal With this question Worster leaves his readers pondering this fragile dependence on water supplies. He also excuses himself from the water theme for the foreseeable future As if his bout with traditional history was not fierce enough Worster walks even further away from the mainstream in one of his final essays "Other Peoples, Other Lives Worster clearly states his intentions early in the piece writing .. the life of the American West has always included the presence of animals--the wild and the tame--and that an adequate history of this region must give more attention to their presence and to the uses we have made of them. "36 In regards to his personal lifestyle Worster once said "I am interested in finding ways for myself family and others to live on this fragile planet with the least impact the fullest humanity and the greatest amount of personal freedom compatible with ecological integrity. "37 Worster himself must live within this society whose values and desire for personal gain so move him. During the recent interview he was asked if this created any dilemmas for him : I do live within my society and don t know how to do otherwise. I hold a job in it and have raised a family in it but I am not altogether of it. I use electricity, for example but conserve energy with a kind of fanatical devotion to frugality. I heat my house with solar energy and drive an older car with no electric windows or air conditioning I could very easily afford to live a more luxurious life than I do. One s aim, however should not be to reject modern technology if that could even be done, but to scrutinize each innovation carefully, to look for those that do little environmental harm (and there are some) to seek limits and social regulations in society to promote technologies that are frugal, local and non-intrusive and meanwhileand most importantly--to look squarely and honestly at the costs that capitalism entails We cannot get out of the modern capitalist system any time soon unless we retreat to a country where its institutions are not present (do such places even exist anymore?) 38 Worster agrees that his thinking has gradually become more radical. but also sees himself growing in different directions He states: I have definitely become more radical in my environmental thinking in some ways--more of a deep ecologist than I was twenty years ago. At the same time I put more emphasis these days on the population issue than I did a while back But in other ways I have become more aware of the immense difficulties in altering substantially the economic system we live under. I am consequently an evolutionist more than a revolutionist. 3 9 Donald Worster J Walsh 15

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Finally, what of present day politics? Does Worster see his role as involving present day public policies? Worster went into some depth on his political self explaining : I am not much of a political activist if that means one who testifies before political groups or organizes political campaigns. I live a rather reclusive, academic life. However I do belong to several national environmental organizations and am somewhat active in local and state groups I sit on the board of directors of the Kansas Land Trust, which seeks voluntary conservation easements on significant natural and agricultural lands ; and I am chairman of the board of directors of the Land Institute which aims to find a more ecologically informed agriculture I have never set out to have a specific impact on policy makers though I have spoken in public policy settings repeatedly The other day I was surprised to read that Secretary Bruce Babbitt had based some of his grazing reform policy on one of my essays "Cowboy Ecology though it s not clear just what be took from it or whether it was what I had in mind I did not write the piece with anyone like him in mind; in fact, it was originally written for a session at the American Historical Association and even then it was more of an effort at personal enlightenment than anything else. 40 With the recent growth of environmental history it is likely that Worster's audience will be hearing much more from him Also if recent trends in American History continue his insistence on viewing history from an ecological perspective will gain acceptance and advocates. His argument that the United States bas become dependent upon a fragile artificial system of environmental management that it cannot possibly hope to continue is convincing if one considers contemporary problems with the U S ., including its inability to continue to fund major environmental control projects. It remains to be seen whether Worster will be comfortable in the role of a spokesman or a policy maker, an area into which his growing popularity may push him. To this point be bas been comfortable in the position of cultural critic and environmental advocate Most likely, be will politely pass just a s be has in his books on the puzzling question, "where to from here?" 16 Donald Worster J Walsh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Endnotes 1. Donald Worster interview via fax with author 26 November 1994. 2 Ibid. 3. Ibid 4. Ibid 5 Donald Worster Nature's Economy: The Roots of Ecology (San Francisco : Sierra Club Books 1977), p ix 6. Ibid ., p vii. 7 Ibid ., p .8 5 8 Ibid p.406 9. Ibid ., p.429 10. Ibid ., p 430. 11. Ibid., p. 432. 12. Kier B. Sterling review of Nature 's Economy, by Don ald Worster American Historical Review 85(June 1980):p. 602 13. Choice 15(May 1978): p 423 14. Donald Worster Dust Bowl : The Southern Plains in the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press 1979) p vii. 15. Ibid. p 26. 16. Ibid ., pp 96-97. 17. Gilbert C Fite review of Dust Bowl by Donald Worster American Historical Review 85(June 1980):p 732. 18 Clayton R Koppes review of Dust Bowl by Donald Worster Reviews in American History 8(December 1980) : p. 536 19. R Douglas Hurt review of Dust Bowl by Donald Worster American West 17(January 1980):p. 54 20. Koppes p.536. 21. James W. Ware review of Dust Bowl by Donald Worster Journal of American History 67(June 1980):p. 191. 22. Donald Worster Rivers of Empire : Water Aridity and the Growth of the American West (New York: Oxford University Press 1985) p 206 23 Ibid ., p 265 24 The New Republic 203(0ctober 22 1990):p. 35 25 New York Times Book Review 91( February 23, 1986) : p. 7 26. Gerald Nash, review of River s of Empire by Donald Worster American Historical Review 92(February 1987) : p 214 27. Larry Anderson review of Rivers of Empire by Donald Worster Sierra 71(July/August 1972):p 72 28 Donald Worster Under Western Skies : Nature and History in the American West (New York : Oxford University Press 1992) p 142. 29 Ibid ., p. 150 30. Ibid ., p 176 31. Ibid ., p. 16. Donald Worster J. Walsh 17

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UCD Historical Studies Journal 32. Ibid. p 84. 33 Donald Worster An Unsettled Country: Changing Landscapes of the American West (Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press 1994), p 15. 34. Ibid. p 41. 35 Ibid ., p. 52 36. Ibid., p. 60. 37 Contemporary Authors New Revision Series 12: p. 517. 38. Worster interview 39 Ibid. 40. Ibid. 18 Donald Worster J Walsh

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Bibliography Worster's published works: Worster Donald Dust Bowl : The Southern Plains in the 1930 s. New York: Oxford University Press 1979. ---------Nature's Economy : The Roots of Ecology San Francisco: Sierra Club Books 1977 ----------. Rivers of Empire : Water Aridity, and the Growth of the American West. New York: Oxford University Press 1985 ---------Under Western Skies : Nature and History in the American West. New York : Oxford University Press 1992 ----------. An Unsettled Country : Changing lAndscapes of the American West. Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press 1994 ----------The Wealth of Nature ; Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination. New York : Oxford University Press, 1993 Book Reviews: Anderson Larry. In Sierra 71(July / Aug 1972):p 72. Choice 15(May 1978):p 423 Fite, Gilbert C In American Historical Review 85(June 1980):p 732. Hurt, R Douglas In American West 17(January 1980):p. 54 Koppes, Clayton R. In Reviews in American History 8(December 1980):pp. 536-539. Nash, Gerald In American Historical Review 92(February 1987):p. 214 The New Republic 203(0ctober 22, 1990):p. 35. New York Times Book Review 91(February 23 1986):p 7 Sterling Kier B In American Historical Review 85(June 1980):p. 602. Donald Worster 1 Walsh 19

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Ware, James W In Journal of American History 67(June 1980) : p. 191. Miscellaneous: Contemporary Authors New Revision Series 12:517. Worster Donald. Interview via fax with author. 26 November 1994. 20 Donald Worster 1 Walsh

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Irish Neutrality During the Second World War Kathleen M. Larkin At the time the Second World War began neutrality was an established and accepted policy in international relation s. 1 Indeed many nations declared a neutral position--Norway Switzerland Sweden Holland and Belgium to name a few Even the United States declared itself neutral and it was not until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war that the United States became a belligerent. Moreover other nation s, particularly in South America, declared war against the Axis powers only near the end of the war after victory was assured. Despite these instances of neutrality however the declaration of neutrality by the twenty-six counties making up the state of Ireland (or Eire in Irish)2 was a contentious issue Eamon De Valera the Taoiseach3 of Ireland who decided in favor of neutrality has been both celebrated and condemned for this policy. He has been celebrated for successfully keeping his small nation out of the conflagration and condemned for not joining the fight against tyranny and evil. Although Ireland faced criticism and pressure for its neutral stance, it refused to abandon the policy While the policy of neutrality during the war wa s due in part to de Valera s commitment to the concept of neutrality it was first and foremost in the national interests of Ireland. Neutrality served Ireland s interests by providing Ireland with a means to demonstrate its independence to exercise its sovereignty to satisfy domestic considerations and to demonstrate against Britain. Neutrality was also the most practical choice since it kept Ireland out of a war for which it was unprepared Despite the many factors driving its wartime policy Ireland was neutral in name only Ireland betrayed its pro-Allied position hy showing a decided preference for the Allies and by accepting their assistance. Regardless of Ireland s "friendly neutrality" toward the Allies and against Germany Ireland s neutral stance during the Second World War had unfavorable international implications for Ireland in the post war years. As for post-war domestic implications they were mixed The policy of neutrality adopted by de Valera during the Second World War Kathleen Larkin is a senior, graduating in May, 1995, with a double major in History and Political Science This paper was written in the fall of 1994 for History 4200, History of Ireland, taught by Dr. Jim Wolf. UCD Historical Studies Journal 21

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Eamon de Valera addresses Eire. (From: Joseph T. Carroll, Ireland in the War Years, Newton Abbot: Dav i d and Charles, 1975, p.152.) was due in part to his commitment to the concept of neutrality. J ournalist and historian Robert Fisk explains that the notion of neutrality in Ireland was nothing new in 1939. Many in Ireland were opposed to the Boer War of 19 00 and the First World War. Opposition to these wars centered on the belief that Irishmen should not be expected to fight in Britain's wars and it contributed to the rise of Irish nationalism. Therefore by the time hostilitie s broke out in 1939, "Irish nationalismand Republicanism--had become associated with non-participation in war. "4 Thus the notion of and commitment to neutrality was deeply felt in Ireland and clo se ly associated with patriotism and freedom According to historian T Ryle Dwyer de Valera initially advocated intervention in Manchuria after the 1931 Japanese invasion in the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay in 1932, and i n Ethiopia in 1935 just prior to Italy s invasion.5 However the League of Nations unwillingness to intervene in these incidents strengthened de Valera s belief in the desirability of neutrality As Fisk explains, it was the failure of the League of Nations after the Itali a n invasion of Ethiopia that drove de Valera "into the isolationist camp. "6 More important than a commitment to the notion of neutrality was de Valera s belief that a neutral policy would allow Ireland to establish i ts independence 22 Irish Neutrality K Larkin

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UCD Histori c al Studi es J o urnal REPUBLIC OF IRELAND Atlant ic Ocean Kilkennye 0 10 20 3 0 4 0 m11es Map of Ireland and the Treaty Ports. (From : Robert Fisk In Time of War Philadelphia: Univ of Penn 1986, p 4) Ir is h N e utrali ty K. Larkin 23

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UCD Historical Studies Journal and exercise its sovereignty Ironically it was an agreement with the British which facilitated Ireland's neutrality policy In 1938 Ireland and Britain made an arrangement whereby the three ports of Cobb, Berehaven and Lough Swilly which were retained by the British in the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty would be returned to the Irish. As author and historian Kevin B. Nowlan puts it, "the British decision to give up the ports removed one of the most serious obstacles to effect ive Irish neutrality in time of war. "7 lt would have been difficult at best for Ireland to remain neutral with Britain using the ports in its war effort. Regardless of how Ireland gained the ability to undertake a neutral stance, Ireland adhered to the policy of neutrality to assert its sovereignty and independence from Britain. Fisk points out that if Ireland joined the war it would have been dependent on Britain for its security. 8 In such circumstances, one would have to question whether Ireland was truly "independent" and also to what degree it had succeeded in severing itself from Britain. Ireland's commitment to establishing its independence and exercising its sovereignty was evident from occurrences during the war One such incident involved the so-called "American Note." Early in 1943 the United States presented a note to de Valera requesting that he remove all Axis diplomats from Ireland The United States believed that these diplomats posed a security risk to troops statio ned in Northern Ireland and for plans to invade France. 9 De Valera refused to comply with the American request on the grounds that it threatened Ireland's ability to carry out an independent foreign policy .10 Another request from the United States prompted a similar response. Just prior to the German surrender in May of 1945, David Gray the American representative in Ireland, requested that de Valera make assurances that he would not grant asylum to German war criminals. De Valera refused to make such assurances. According to Dwyer, although he was not likely to grant asylum to war criminals de Valera "was not prepared to sacrifice his country's freedom to do so by making a prior commitment. "11 Thus, a policy of neutrality allowed de Valera to demonstrate Irish independence Aside from allowing de Valera to demonstrate Irish sovereignty, the policy of neutrality also provided de Valera with an opportunity to speak out against the partition of his nation. On the evening of September 3 1939 the day Brita in and France declared war on Germany, de Valera announced his decision to keep Ireland neutral. In that address to the nation de Valera stated that "with part of our country still unjustly severed from us we felt that no other decision and no other policy was possible "12 The injustice of partition was a recurring theme for de Valera. For example Britain tried in vain to get de Valera to allow them to use the Treaty Ports which were returned to Irish control in 1938 De Valera explained that although he sympathized with the British situation "the difficulties created by partition prevented him from giving open expression to his sympathies. "1 3 The United States was given a similar explanation when de Valera turned down the American request to remove all Axis diplomats De Valera explained that to comply with the request wo uld violate Irish neutrality which was "the logical consequence of Irish history and of 24 Irish Neutrality K Larkin

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UCD Historical Studie s Journal 4u lllingiDOftll. Gravt offinct was taken in Dublin to this Daily Mail cartoon by Illingworth showing dt Valua riding stubbornly on a donkey to disastu whilt the former neutrals, Norway, Btlgium, Holland, Dmmark and Rumania, wam him from behind the barbed wirt of a Nazi concmtration camp of his folly. This cartoon was part of the strident British and Ammcan Pms campaign attacking Irish neutrality which followtd Churchilf s speech in the House of Commons on 5 Novembu 1940 complaining at not having the use of the Irish ports. (From: Joseph T Carroll, Ireland in the War Years, 1975, p.170.) the forced partition of national territory 14 Although de Valera claimed that it was the partition of Ireland that prevented him from cooperating with the British or the Americans partition actually made it easier for Ireland to maintain its neutrality This was due to the fact that Britain had bases in Northern Ireland which it could and did use If these bases were not available to the British they may have been much more likely to infringe on Irish neutrality 1 5 Domestic concerns were another factor which motivated de Valera s decision for neutrality According to Trevor C Salmon an international relations professor there existed two factions in Ireland : those who wanted to join Germany primarily the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and those who supported the Commonwealth Salmon goes on to say that in view of this divide and the recent civil war [1922] internal unity was a factor not to be underestimated and there was widespread acceptance that neutrality was the course of action most likely to unite the people of Eire "1 6 Certainly the memory of the 1916 Easter Uprising17 weighed heavily in de Valera s decision Thus, de Valera chose the policy of neutrality to unite the nation. Any decision de Valera made had to consider the IRA since it was a potentially disruptive force Simply stated, the goals of the IRA were a complete Iri s h Neutrality K. Larkin 25

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UCD Historical Studies Journal British withdrawal from Ireland reunification of Eire with the six counties i n the north and the right to self-determination. The IRA already demonstrated that i t was willing and capable of using violence to achieve its aims What is more the IRA was not averse to cooperating with Germany if doing so would furth e r its objectives The author Joseph T Carroll states that de Valera had to "neutralize the IRA who would naturally see in England s difficulty Ireland s opportunity "18 Further the IRA was a significant factor in de Valera s decision for neutrality s i nce any perceived alliance with the British could quite possibly lead to another civil war. Accordingly de Valera had to be careful that his actions toward Britain could not be construed by the IRA as a sell-out of the Catholics in the north These domestic considerations naturally affected Anglo-Irish relations For instance it was not feasible for de Valera to allow the British to use the Treaty Ports. Not only would such a move undermine Ireland s neutrality and open it up to attack by Germany but it would also undermine de Valera s domestic position vis-a-vis the IRA. In addition, Ireland and Britain had worked out a plan for Ireland s defense in the event of a German attack Britain proposed stationing truops in Ireland as a preventive measure ; however de Valera could not allow British troops on Irish soil until an attack had actually occurred without risking IRA unrest. 19 Consequently domestic concerns played a large role in both the formulation and implementation of war-time neutrality. All other considerations aside Ireland decided on the policy of neutrality during World War II because it was the most practical. Regardless of which side Ireland aligned itself with the consequences would be severe Ireland could not properly defend itself due to its small number of troops and its lack of military equipment. Furthermore becoming a belligerent would have subjected Ireland to the bombing raids that non-neutral and occupied nations endured. An alliance with Germany would have been foolish and reckless due to the proximity between Ireland and Britain. If Ireland had declared wa r on the Allies Britain most likely would have occupied Ireland immediately. Also, Ireland s entry into the war on the side of Germany would have further reinforced the belief among the British that the Irish could not be trusted Such an event would have jeopardized any hopes Ireland had of establishing a united republic free from British interference. Because Ireland was dependent on Britain for overseas trade it was essential that Ireland remain on friendly terms with the British As historian John P Duggan states, Ireland s "considerations were not given out of any special love for the Allies or any initial animosity towards the Third Reich They arose from national self interest: they were essential for survival. "20 Once again practical necessity influenced Irish foreign policy Once Ireland decided on neutrality it had to implement the policy A review of Ireland's actions during the war illustrates that although technically a declared neutral Ireland gave special consideration to the Allies Historians have drawn a fine distinction regarding Ireland s true position Salmon states that Ireland was a non-belligerent rather than a neutral /1 and Dwyer contends that Irish neutrality 26 Irish Neutrality K. Larkin

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UCD Historical Studies Journal "should more properly be called Ir e land's determined non-b e lligerence, seeing that the benevolent attitude adopted by the Irish towards the Allies ... went far beyond the bounds of real neutrality. "22 One of the rights and duties of a neutral nation is to remain impartial something Ireland clearly did not do 23 Ireland showed partiality in a variety of ways. For instance Ireland implemented a coast-watching service. Although the information was sent, in theory to the "wo rld ," in practice onl y the British were in a position to act on it. 24 The German s may have bad access to thi s information however due to the distance of Germany from Ireland they were unable to act on the information in a timely manner Therefore the coast-watching service really benefited the British In matters of intelligence the Irish also showed a decided preference for the Allied cause In 1942 the Irish demanded that the German legation in Ireland turn over its transmitter which it did Although it could be argued that the transmitter was being used for espionage which would have violated Irish neutrality similar demands were not made on the British or the Americans More significantly, Irish officials cooperated with American intelligence officers particularly those of the Office of Strategic Services the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency The Irish officials turned over information obtained from captured G e rman spies assisted the United States "by transporting information on bombing site s in Japan ," and made an offer to the United States allowing agents to be stationed in Ireland. 25 During the war many allegation s were made asserting that Ireland was a hot bed of German espionage. However it must be noted that any collaboration with the Germans was carried out primarily by the IRA and was not sanctioned by the Irish government. De Valera s stern measures to suppress the IRA illustrates this point. In the war years six IRA members were executed three died on hunger strikes hundreds were imprisoned on various charges and hundreds more were jailed without trial. 26 Obviously these actions hindered collusion between the IRA and Germany providing further evidence of de Valera s preference for the Allies Ireland's treatment of downed airmen rescued seamen and captured spies also favored the Allies. Initially all downed airmen both German and Allied were interned in the Curragb .27 However as the war progressed the Irish began classifying airmen as being on either operational or non-operational missions. 28 This classification scheme benefited the Allied airmen since it was plausible that they could be on training missions or some other type of non-operational mission whereas the Germans being so far from home could only be on operational flights In October of 1943 all but eleven interned Allied airmen were freed after it was determined that they were on non-operational flights at the time of their capture Conversely almost all German airmen were interned for the duration of the war. 29 Irish official s also inspected the crashed German airplanes and gave information about the planes to the Allies 30 Airmen were not the only Germans interned in Ireland In 1943 the Irish picked up about 150 German sailors fro m the Bay of Biscay Dwyer asserts that Irish Neutrality K. Larkin 27

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UCD Historical Studies Journal there was no question of their having violated Irish territory [however ] under international law they should have been free to return home as they were stranded s eamen. "31 The same questionable polic y was applied to spie s American spies retained their freedom and were allowed to stay in Ireland once t h e y were detected while German spies were jailed for the duration of the war. 32 With regard to their own citizens Ireland often ignored the practice of strict neutrality Salmon points out that in many neutral states it was illegal for the neutral s citizens to join the war effort on behalf of any belligerent. 33 Although the estimates v ary as man y as 40 000 Iri s hmen s erved in the British a r med forces during the Second World War. 34 What is more many of these men served with distinctioneight Irishmen were awarded the Vict oria Cross Britain s highest award for gallantry 35 Many more Irishmen contributed to the war effort by working in Britain in war-related industries. Again this could be construed as show i ng partiality toward the Allies. There were many other less significant incidents during the war which nonetheless illustrate how Ireland violated neutrality in favor oi the Allies On April 15-16 1941 Germany carried out a bomb i ng raid again s t Belfast Northern Ireland and Eire sent fire engines to help put out the fires Although this could be viewed as a humanitarian gesture according to Carroll "strictly speaking this was a breach o f neutralit y. 36 A more benign incident occurred in September o f 1940 The Irish Press ran a picture of de Valera with Sir John Maffey the British representative to Ireland and David Gray the American representative at the all-Irel a nd hurling final. This does not appear to be a violation of neutrality, even "s trictly speaking" ; however this was not an honor accorded the German minister 37 During the war Ireland had a policy of censorship which required that Allied and Axis powers be treated equally. In light of this a published picture of de Valera with representatives from the Allied nations betrayed a pro-Allied stance Statements de Valera made publicly are further evidence o f his pro-Allied position First de Valera denounced the German invasion of the n eutral countries of Holland and Belgium Second in a speech given in Cork on December 15 1 941, de Valera expressed hi s sympathy to the American people after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Although he announced that ther e would be no change in his policy of neutrality de Valera did state that he would be a "friendly neutral. "38 Despite the partiality de Valera s howed toward the Allies thr o ughout the war he did make some attempts to follow the protocol of neutrality. Perhaps the strangest example of this and certainly the most controversial wa s his statem e nt of condolence upon Hitler s death. Of course de Valera was following neutralit y protocol but so near the end of the war many have questioned whether it was necessary to follow the protocol especially since news of Hitler s atrocitie s were already public knowledge. According t o Salmon another of th e rights and dutie s of a neutral nation is 28 Iri s h Neutrali ty K. Larkin

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Irish Neutrality K. Larkin 29

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UCD Historical Studies Journal the "disavowal of external help "39 Like the issue of impartiality Ireland s violation of this particular right and duty illustrated Ireland s special cons i deration for the Allies. De Valera made numerous requests to the British for indirect military aid in the form of weapons and other equipment. The Irish Taoiseach wanted military assistance to protect itself from a potential German attack and "to prevent the Germans from establishing contact with the disaffected elements in Ireland. "40 Irish officials requested weapons from the United States as well As prev i ously stated, the Irish also had worked out plans for the British to come to the assistance of Ireland should it be attacked by the Germans. Of course the Irish would have also accepted assistance from the Germans in the event of a British invasion In either event, the point is that as a neutral Ireland should have disavowed all external help. Further this disavowal of external help showed a proclivity toward the Allies. For instance when Germany made offers of arms should the British invade and further hinted that Germany would support a united Ireland de Valera was non-committal. 41 However, the Irish were much more willing to accept arms from the British and Americans and also considered more seriously offers of entering the war on the side of Britain in exchange for unity Several meetings and discussions took place between British and Irish officials regarding a plan to end partition after the war in exchange for Ireland abandoning neutrality in favor of Britain. Never fully trusting the British, de Valera rejected the proposal. In addition Lord Craigavon, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, refused to support the plan. As could be expected, the Irish policy of neutrality brought post-war implications, both domestic and international. On the domestic front Ireland's neutrality "put the seal on independence" and "established her full sovereignty. "4 2 On a less tangible plane Salmon explains that "the Irish experience in these years generated a powerful myth of Irish neutrality" and the myth "became an established part of Irish political culture. "43 The policy of neutrality had international implications as well. According to Dwyer de Valera had gained international prestige by the beginning of the Second World War but his policy of neutrality "greatly damaged his international reputation. "44 All neutral nations were excluded from the inaugurat i on of the United Nations in San Francisco.45 Further Ireland was prevented from joining the United Nations until1955. The Soviet Union kept Ireland out of the U.N. with the use of its veto power arguing that as a neutral Ireland was "not a peace-loving nation. "46 Exclusion from the new international organization must have been painful or at least disappointing to de Valera. He was after all, President of the Council of the League of Nations in 1932 and in 1938 President of the Assembly of the League of Nations and further was an early supporter of collective security Ireland s policy of neutrality also affected post-war relations with Britain and America According to history professor Paul Canning the war changed the way Britain viewed Ireland He states "they no longer felt they owed Ireland anything All guilt for the past was washed away by resentment at the present. Their sympathies were entirely with the Ulster Protestants "4 7 As Canning implies 30 Irish Neutrality K Larkin

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UCD Historical Studies Journal neutrality also served to solidify partition. Fisk states "if neutrality was contingent upon the maintenance of partition it had served to consolidate that state of affairs by the time the conflict ended. "48 As for the Americans, David Gray succeeded in his original plan to discredit de Valera before the United States In 1948 de Valera took his anti-partition campaign to the United States but he was unable to gain much support from the American people. As Dwyer puts it "they had little time for him because they had been led to believe that he had been at best indifferent to the Allied cause and at worst a Nazi sympathizer. "4 9 Irish neutrality was both a risky and a practical policy. It was risky because Ireland opened herself up to the possibility of invasion by Britain and the United States or by Germany Any of these powers could have successfully invaded Ireland. Although any invader would surely have faced determined resistance Ireland would not have been able to resist for long Neutrality was practical because Ireland was not in a position to defend itself adequately nor could it have contributed significantly to the war effort. It was also practical in that it served Irish national interests In the end, Irish neutrality may have done more to serve the Allied cause than if Ireland had been a belligerent and it is clear that it served Ireland s own concerns far more than direct involvement in the war ever could have Irish Neutrality K. Larkin 31

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Endnotes 1. Robert Fisk In Time of War : Ireland Ulster and the Price of N e utrali ty 1939 45 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 19 8 3) p.64 2 After the partition of Ireland in 1920 th e twentys ix count y area wa s ref erred to as the Free State. However, Eamon de Valera's government preferred the name Eire In this paper the names Ireland and Eire are used interch a ngeably to r e fer to what is the present-day Republi c of Ireland 3 The term Taoiseach is the equivalent of Prim e Minister. The architect of Ireland s neutrality policy Eamon de Val e ra (188 2 1975) a cti v e in the political life of Ireland from the early 1900s In 1926 de Valera founded the Fi a nna Fail party wh i ch remain s one of Ireland s prominent political partie s, and he served as president of the Irish Republic from 1959 to 1973 Until his death de Valera remained committed to the notion of a united and independent Ireland. 4. Fisk p 64 5 T Ryle Dwyer Strained Relations: Ireland at Pea c e and the USA at War 1941 45 (Dublin : Gill and Macmillan Ltd ., 1988) p.2 6. Fisk p.58. 7 Kevin B. Nowlan and T Desmond Williams, eds ., Ireland in t he War Years and After 1939-51 (Notre Dame: University of N o tre Dame Pre s s 1970) p.4. 8 Fisk, p 178. 9 Joseph T Carroll Ireland in the War Years (Newton Abbot : David & Charles 1975) p.142. 10 T Ryle Dwyer Irish Neutrality and th e USA, 1939-47 ( Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Ltd ., 1977) p 186 11. Dwyer Strained Relations p 157 12. De Valera quoted in Carroll p.12. 13. Dwyer Irish Neutrality p 1 8. 14 De Valera quoted in Dwyer Irish Neutrality p 149 15. Nowlan p.40 16. Salmon p.121. 17 Nationalists opposed to Irish involvement in the First World War rebelled against Britain in the 1916 Easter Uprising The British quickly cru s h e d the rebellion which resulted in numerous arrests and imprisonm e n t s a s well as 15 e xecutions. 1 8. Carroll p.14 19 Fisk p.160 2 0 John P Duggan Neutral Ireland and the Third Reich (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Ltd 198 5 ), p.ix 21. Salmon p 154. 2 2. Dwyer Strained Relations p x 23. Salmon p.79 2 4 Dwyer Irish N e utrality p.1 8 3 2 Iri s h N e utrality K. Larkin

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UCD Historical Studie s Journal 25. Ibid. p 198. 26. Ibid. p 212 27 The Curragh wa s a military base located on the eastern coast of Ireland with an on-site prison 28. Dwyer Strained R el ations p .88. 29. Dwyer Irish Neutrality p.221. 30. Dwyer Strained R ela tions p. 88. 31. Ibid. 32. Ibid. p.73 33. Salmon p 129 34 Ibid 35. Dwyer Strained Relations p .171. 36 Carroll p 9 37. Dwyer Irish Neutrality p .8 3 38 Carroll p .l13. 39 Salmon p.79. 40. Paul Canning British Policy Towards Ireland 1921 1941 (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1975 ), pp 265-266 41. Duggan pp.l32-133. 42. Nowlan p 204. 43. Salmon pp 152-154 44. Dwyer ; Irish Neutrality p .2. 45. Carroll p.l63. 46. Ibid. p .l69. 47. Canning p.311. 4 8. Fisk p.469. 49 Dwyer Strained Relations p.l72. Irish Neutrali ty K. Larkin 33

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Bibliography Canning Paul. British Policy Towards Ireland, 1921-1941 Oxford: Clarendon Press 1975 Carroll Joseph T Ireland in the War Years. Newton Abbot : David & Charles, 1975. Duggan John P. Neutral Ireland and the Third Reich Dublin : Gill and Macmillan Ltd 1985 Dwyer T Ryle. Irish Neutrality and the USA, 1939-47. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Ltd. 1977. Strained Relations : Ireland at Peace and the USA at War 1941-45 Dublin: Gill and Macmillan Ltd. 1988 Fisk, Robert. In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality 1939-45. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press 1983. Nowlan, Kevin B. and T. Desmond Williams eds. Ireland in the War Years and After, 1939-51 Notre Dame : University of Notre Dame Press 1970. Salmon Trevor C Unneutrallreland: An Ambivalent and Uniqu e Security Policy. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1989 34 Irish Neutrality K. Larkin

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Breaking Down Barriers: The Denver YWCA and the Phyllis Wheatley Branch, 1940 to 1949 Marcia Tremmel Goldstein race should not be a barrier between women working toward a common goal YWCA National Board 1949.1 Denver s "Phyllis Wheatley Colored YWCA Club" was founded in 1916 at Shorter A.M.E. Church The club grew quickly and became an official Branch of the Central Denver and National YWCA in 1920 The Phylli s Wheatley YWCA Branch named after the 18th century slave poet was the city s major center for young African-American working women and school-aged girls.2 For almost fifty years the Phyllis Wheatley organization operated a residence hall youth and camp programs an employment bureau and arts and recreation classes They operated these programs out of their own building, supported a paid staff of four and sustained a large and active volunteer support system. From 1920 until the early 1960s the Branch was located at 2460 Welton Street in the heart of Denver's Five Points neighborhood 3 It was one of the last traditionally black YWCA Branches to close its doors in the United States.4 This examination of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA Branch during the Marcia Tremmel Goldstein is a Denver native As an M.A. history student at UCD, she is focusing on western U.S. and Colorado women's history She is a past UCD Historical Studies Journal editor and author Breaking Down Barriers was written in 1991, under the direction of Dr. Myra Rich, and Dr. Tom Noel, both at the University of Colorado at Denver, and Dr Lee Chambers-Schiller, University of Colorado at Boulder. The article has been updated, and is a chapter in Goldstein's M.A. Thesis on female race relations in Denver's YWCA. The author would like to dedicate this paper to long time Phyllis Wheatley YWCA member and former Denver YWCA All-Association President Addye Lightner now deceased, who graciously gave of her time and memories to assist in the research Long time YWCA activists Ellen Moose and Sarah Sims also helped to bring the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA story back to life They and many other former members still reside in Denver, where the Phyllis Wheatley Branch and the YWCA has fulfilled an integral part of their life. UCD Historical Studies Journal 35

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was the first African American and the second woman to publish a volume of verse in 1773. Born in Gambia, Africa, Wheatley was brought to the U.S. on the slave ship Phillis' in 1761. She learned to read and write, and later became famous for her poetry. Many black YWCA branches took pride in Wheatley's accomplishments, naming their organizations after her (Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society) 36 Breaking Down Barriers M. Goldstei n

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UCD Historical Studies Journal tumultuous World War II years of the 1940s provides a rare view of Denver s African-American women and their relationship to whites. The Branch thrived in the 1940s, with a large, active membership of over 500 who enjoyed popular community programs developed by a strong relatively autonomous leadership core Pressures to end segregation in the national and local YWCA, as well as in the Denver community at large, became primary during and after World War II During this time many Denver YWCA members idealistically believed that the struggle against segregation for racial equality and integration were synonymous Branch leadership whole-heartedly favored de-segregation of YWCA programs They began to worry however whether the effectiveness of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch s program in the black community would be curtailed by a strictly integrated approach They repeatedly resisted proposals which might diffuse black YWCA leadership and programs and shunned efforts to incorporate their Branch into the dominant white controlled Central YWCA. The Phyllis Wheatley Branch was constantly pressured to decide what was more important--the need to break through racial barriers ? or the need to serve African-American women and girls in their own community? Historical evidence suggests that during the 1940s, Denver s Phyllis Wheatley women searched for and found an intermediate position which allowed them to work on both goals simultaneously. This approach served to keep the doors of the Branch in Five Points open to the black community until 1964 when by mutual agreement the YWCA organization in Denver sold the building and integrated all programs through its Central headquarters at 1545 Tremont Street. Over 43 boxes of detailed organizational records including meeting minutes brochures, organizational histories scrapbooks interviews and other documents of the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver are housed at the archives of the Colorado History Museum in Denver. 5 This paper represents preliminary research into the rich and untapped history of interracial relations in Denver s YWCA--one of the city s oldest and most influential women s organization .6 As historians search through the roots and branches of racial conflict in modern America a closer look at little known experiences like the Phyllis Wheatley Branch in Denver sheds new light on the complexities of relationships between Denver's white and black women struggling for racial equality 7 The Young Women s Christian Association founded in 1858 in the United States is a large world-wide women s organization which began as a Christian support organization for the new population of young working girls arriving in eastern U.S. cities It has a long history of activism among working women and young girls of all races and is deemed by YWCA historian Adrienne Lash Jones the oldest and largest women s multiracial organization in the world "8 Its structure and program have thrived not only on a national level but in a myriad of distinctly different local contexts This variety provides historians with ample material with which to analyze female race relations in the YWCA. 9 The earliest YWCAs each had an ambitious and well-respected program which included supervised residence halls social clubs for working girls women s Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 37

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UCD Historical Studies Journal employment bureaus religious and practical educational classes and youth programs nationwide Black women sorely needed these services but a ll -white YWCAs excluded blacks from their early programs It was not until the World War I period that YWCA s began to actively reach out to black women. Nationally African-American groups found that rej e ction from white organizations could be turned to their advantage and began provi d ing services geared to the needs of the black community As a byproduct these e a rly self-help effort s provided opportunities for the development of black leadership Women's groups were no exception For example the National Federation of Afro-American Women was launched in 1895 by Margaret Murray Washington ( Mrs Booker T Washington) and Rosetta Sprague the daughter of Frederick Dougla s s 10 Thi s group united with others resulting in the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) organized by Mary Terrell, which held it s first convention in 1896 and enlisted over 100 clubs nationwide by 1897.11 Under the NACW motto "Lifting a s We Climb the Woman s League of Denver was formed in 1894 by clubwoman Id a DePriest and "a few high-souled women. "12 As with middle class white women of the day black club women saw themselves as the moral guardians" of their own community. But blacks also challenged their clubs to fight racism in the larger community The responsibility [is] on women [in] uplifting a downtrodden race above the rockies of prejudice declared the Elizabeth Piper Ensley President of the Color a do Association of Colored Women's Clubs (CACWC) in 1904.1 3 The motto of the CACWC which consisted of clubs from Colorado Spring s, Pueblo and Denver was "To the Stars Through Difficulties 14 Between 1900 and 1925 at least tw e nty-two clubs had formed in Denver alone Th e most significant and enduring i nstitution of the Association was the Negro Women s Club Home and Day Nurse r y established in 1916 at 2357 Clarkson Street. It still operated in 1 995 as the George Washington Carver Day Nursery in Denver.15 Club and church men and women participated in early anti-racism actions in the Denver community. In 1915 black attorney and Denver Star publisher George Ross and his wife Gertie dentist Dr Clarence F Holmes, and George Gross formed the Denver chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People six years after the nation a l NAACP was founded .16 The g r oup s first major a ction was to lead Denver black s in a protest against the showing of the pro-Ku Klux Klan film Birth of a Nation. The state s second civil r i ghts law was enacted by the 21st general assembly in 1917 outlawing discriminatory advertising Organized protests against rest room discrimination at the Denv e r Dry Goods took place in 1918 and an anti-lynching fund was set up in 1919 .17 The turn-of-the-century black women s club movement was far more than a mimicking of white society. It was a direct response to changes for the worse for blacks in American society, including stepped up racial prejudice and segregation lynch-mob violence and rapid social upheaval due to increased urbanization and industrialization. 1 8 As part of the national trend toward separate black women s 3 8 Br e aking Down Barri e rs M Gold s t e in

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UCD Historical Studies Journal clubs the first YWCA chapter for black women was formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1893 19 By the turn of the century YWCA-YMCA student chapters cropped up at most of the major black college campuses In June 1907 the YWCA held a national conference on "Negro work According to historian Dorothy Salem "The decisions reached at this conference had a major impact on the form of race relations and black female participation for years to come. "2 0 The right of black YWCA clubs to be official YWCA affiliates was affirmed but they would remain subsidiaries of white-controlled central Y s A policy approving separate black community programs also emanated from the conference encouraging black self-help and leadership development based on what were called natural groupings" (i.e racial groups) within the YWCA constituency 21 In some cities black women were reluctant to affiliate with the white-run YWCA, preferring to work with the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) The National Board of the YWCA was concerned about this trend and so in January, 1913 a leading black organizer Eva Bowles was named National Secretary for Colored Work. Eva Bowles was college educated and possessed "a personal ability of gaining and holding the best wishes of the white people as easily as she does the colored. "22 She obtained NACW endorsement of the YWCA, and launched an effort to establish black YWCA affiliates at the grass-roots level in most major cities and campuses. Such was the case in Denver when Bowles met with black YWCA founders Isabel Chapman, Lydia Smith Ward, Gertie Ross and others together with white YWCA Board members Mrs. I. B. Perkins and President Jennie Hendrie at Shorter A.M. E Church to form the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Club for Colored Women .23 The YWCA in Denver, which had been founded in 1886 thus became bi-racial in 1916.2 4 By 1920 the Denver Phyllis Wheatley Branch became an official affiliate of the national and local YWCA organization and had established its own headquarters at 2460 Welton Street. 25 Following the national pattern an elected Committee of Management ran the day to day affairs of the Branch overseen by the central YWCA Board of Directors The Branch's first Chair of the Committee of Management was founder Gertie Ross, who later became the first African-American woman to serve on the central Board in 1923 The Branch was soon to become according to historian Linda Dixon a major community support system "26 Addye Lightner a young 18-year-old secretary at Woodmen Insurance recalls starting her 75-year-long YWCA career by joining the "Business Girls Club" at Phyllis Wheatley in 1918 Like other local YWCA activists Addye was young energetic single, and a college graduate (University of Denver School of Business Administration) 27 During 1923 the Phyllis Wheatley Branch housed 310 women placed over 300 in jobs and was 53 % self-supporting. Over 300 members had enrolled forming five school-aged girls clubs the Business and Industrial Girls Club and had up to 60 volunteers carrying out community YWCA social events and programs. 2J! What most characterized the early work of Denver s Phyllis Wheatley Branch was its work with younger black school girls. Camp school and after-school Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 39

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""' 0 tl:l ., 15": ::s ()Q tl <::) ::s ., ., c;) <::) :: ... :><),. The Girl Reserves, a popular YWCA club for adolescent girls during the 1930s and 1940s, pose in their Sunday best with their adult counselors in the main dining room of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA Branch at 2460 Welton Street in Denver (Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society) g 0 c., ... c .., Fi' t::l -SQ ;:: ... ;:: t::l -

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UCD Historical Studies Journal programs were modelled after successful work nationwide "The YWCA molded my life!" claims early member Sarah Sims. Sims was an active member of the "Yakawanna Club" of the Girl Reserves beginning in 1919 at age 11. Sarah s fondrnernories of travelling to camp near Boulder in Lieutenant Earl Mann s car are as vivid as yesterday. :!9 "The girls learned to get along to play fair Nobody was a loser. "30 Camp Nizhoni a permanent summer mountain camp, was established at Lincoln Hills near Pinecliffe in the early 1920s The site was donated by the developers of Colorado s first all-black mountain resort. 31 In 1928 the Denver Community Chest allotted $6,830.94 to the Phyllis Wheatley Branch for youth prograrns .3 2 The work continued to grow through the 1930s and 1940s. Addye Lightner later lamented that "no one has replaced what the Y did for girls. Perhaps if the YWCA could reach young women [now], maybe more of them could be saved" from the modern problems of teen-age pregnancy drugs and poverty. 33 By 1940 the Colorado WPA Writer's Program (a New Deal program for gathering community histories) credited the YWCA with reducing juvenile delinquency among Denver s black children. The same report described the Branch as "the only organization working with girls and women specifically and in a constructive manner. "34 The conditions of the 1940s for Denver's minority women made the work of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch particularly vital. A flurry of war related activity and population influx taxed the Branch's finances facilities and organizational structure. Membership was large and active at Phyllis Wheatley, and recruitment activities took place regularly. For example, a "YWCA Sunday" at Zion Baptist Church in 1940 brought out over 300 interested young women "Intimate speeches dramatic readings, and pep songs "stirred the women" into joining. 35 "Adult work" of the Branch in 1940 consisted of Business and Professional Girls Club, the Industrial Club, the Young Married Women's Club the Health Education Department the Public Affairs Committee, and the Residence. Youth programs consisted of the Girl Reserves (grade school and high school), Young Employed Girls (post-high school), Boni Amici Club (high school graduates who were "intermittently employed"), and most importantly, Camp Nizhoni .36 Added to this crowded agenda was recruitment of female hostesses to work with the United Servicemen's Organization (USO), which had established a soldier's recreational center for racial minorities at the Glenarm YMCA. "Businesses notorious for their discrimination against minority groups are now discreet enough to make exceptions in the case of men in uniform at least in Denver," claimed sociologist Henry Hough in a Works Progress Administration report in 1942.3 7 Yet racial prejudice and segregated policies held sway in the city against a backdrop of war-time buildup of population industry, and racial tensions. An estimated four million servicemen and women carne through Denver during World War 11.3 8 Black population doubled during the 1940s, swelling from 7 836 to 15,059 by 1950.39 Hispanics increased at a similar rate. Yet by 1947 only two blacks and one Mexican-American were employed as policemen with complaints of white police brutality against minorities on the increase. Blacks were at first barred Breaking Down Barriers M. Goldstein 41

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N tll ..... roo tl oQ tJ 0 tll :::. 3 roo ;::: C') Phyllis Wheatley members entertain servicemen with a game of "whist at Denver's segregated Glenarm USO during World War II. (Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society) t:j ::s c., .... c ;::!. !) -1::: 1::: -

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UCD Historical Studies Journal from defense jobs and agitated like their counterparts nationally t o be included in the huge construction of the Remington factory. The Colorado Statesman a black newspaper, reported that despite federal efforts blacks and Mexican-Americans have "one chance out of a thousand" to get these jobs "40 Denver was not alone as it faced unprecedented social and racial upheaval during the 1940s The national climate forced President Truman to establish a number of weak hut path-breaking measures to force the nation to look more closely at issues o f civil rights .41 Women were key t o the defense industr y in Denver By 1944 Denver University professor Fitzhugh Charmichael estimated that women held one half of the estimated 206 000 defense related jobs in the metro area 42 D. U had held special classes in laboratory training for women and the Emily Griffith Opportunity School had crowded classes in welding machine shop machine maintenance and sheet metal working for women The local YWCA, including the Phyllis Wheatley Branch had programs to support the influx of women into the work force many of whom were new to the city as well. 43 Predictably black women were hired for the most menial and dangerous jobs, at lower pay Local Phyllis Wheatley member Oleta Crain reported to YWCA officials in 1942 about her employment at the Remington Arms Denver Ordnance Plant: There are only two jobs open to Negro girls--being a service operator which is a maid s job, or working in the lead shop The foreman told me there was no chance for advancement but two weeks afterwards offered me a job in the lead plant because I had a college education and have been working on my master s degree The [white] girls whose job I took had just finished Gove Junior High School. They guard against lead poisoning by giving an examination every three weeks and in the event we do get lead poisoning we can go back to sanitation They like to have college girls because they feel all colored girls who have gone to college are honest. They want all girls to be good looking ... The colored girls work only with men and not with any white girls. We have to walk two blocks to the cafeteria and a rest room. We did not have a couch or chair or table and if we got tired had to walk two blocks to another building Two or three times the forewoman found girls lying on the floor t o rest so after closing a rest room in another building they gave us one couch from there. In the cafeteria colored girls did the serving but they have been fired because white girls did not want to he served by them There is quite a bit of discrimination .44 Against the backdrop of wartime social upheaval there was an unprecedented push for more equitable racial policies in the National YWCA. "The tensions of the Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 43

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+ +- !;::, c IS' C') l I YouRY A CALEnDAR Denver's YWCA during the 1940s was anxious to project a strong Image of Interracial harmony. This 1949 publicity photo was on the cover of the 'Y's' membership brochure and calendar of activities. (Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society) R 0 ::;: c," ... c ""' f} -1::: -

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UCD Historical Studies Journal present highlight the interracial life of the Association as never before now is the time to chart a clear course and to quicken the tempo of change in order to take up the lag between purpose and practices of the YWCA. "45 Thus began Interracial Practices in Community YWCAs, the first of two studies on race relations published by the YWCA National Board in the 1940s. The 1944 investigation was mandated by the YWCA national convention which had resolved to achieve "the ultimate elimination of all segregation and discrimination There was sharp debate especially in the southern branches, after the study commission travelled to every region Denver was the only western location visited and the book was read and discussed at length by the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management. 46 A second national study Toward Better Race Relations was published in 1949. It analyzed progre ss in racial integration and was designed as a "handbook" on promoting positive interracial relations 47 Thi s report described "unexpected difficulties" in the YWCA integration process. First some blacks didn t want to integrate. Second there had been a significant lo ss of black membership in cities where black programs had been eliminated 48 The report discussed the urgency of developing more and stronger black leadership in the organization. At the peak of the country s involvement in World War II, the National Board proclaimed that the YWCA "is urgently needed in working for the elimination of the heavy injustices experienced by the Negro people. A world-wide struggle for freedom is meaningless the sacrifice of life in the war will he of little avail, unless democracy is made real for all people "4 9 Local YWCA<>, both white and black were urged to "stick their neck out" in support of community-wide efforts to combat racist policies and practices Fighting school segregation, challenging "whites-only" policies in public accommodations like restaurants hotels and theaters and working with organized labor to eliminate barriers to black employment in the defense industry were all recommended as ways that the YWCA<> could "se t an interracial example" in their cities 50 Denver's Phyllis Wheatley YWCA and a group of white YWCA members did not need to he prodded into action They were already in the thick of it. Mrs. Cora Peters speaking to the Branch Young Married Women s Club on Women in Industry," declared that "this is the moment for Negroes to act in facing any barrier economic or otherwise ." She urged club members to "awaken and snatch each moment. "5 1 Taking Ms Peters advice to heart YWCA Secretary Margaret "Peg" Stewart and Phyllis Wheatley member s Sarah Sims and Frances Cohron indeed "snatched" many moments They formed a joint committee with the Congress of Racial Equalit y (CORE) to "b reak discrimination in Denver restaurants theaters and housing," according to Cohron 52 Historian James Atkins claim s the group had over forty members both black and white, at its peak. The tactic in restaurants was to "sit and wait" for service Picketing and arrests were common. 5 3 Sarah Sims remembers targeting the movie theater s, which had for years required blacks to sit in their own section in the far balcony A group of five or more would meet every Wednesday at the YWCA and wait for instructions of where to go that Breaking Down Barriers M. Goldstein 45

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UCD Historical Studies Journal evening. A white soldier sometimes came along for extra clout. "We were determined but not rude. We looked nice and acted nice Sims emphasized After the group entered the theater, a special "colored" bell rang to alert a n usher to escort them upstairs to the balcony. But the group would quietly take seats on the first floor. When an usher would ask them to move, they would polite l y refuse "We d stay as long as we could," Sims recalled. Most theaters began to comply with requests to eliminate discriminatory seating arrangements as a result of these bold actions A few had to be sued in order to comply. For many years, Sarah told all her friends they better sit on the first floor at the movies no matter what after all we went through to get them allowed there! "54 Other examples of blatant racism were acted upon by the YWCA as well. In March 1944, Mrs. Estelle Massey Riddle of the Cadet Nurse Corps visited the Committee of Management meeting to report that Denver hospitals would not accept Negro nurses. She reported that while Colorado General Hospital had hired some and wanted more Denver General's "reception was not so cordia l. A committee was formed to pressure Denver General Denver s public hospital to comply with fair employment standards 55 Facing housing shortages and discriminatory rental policies Branch "Objectives for the Year--1945" listed "Housing" as its top priori t y with a pledge to "get together with other groups ... to answer what will become to [sic] those whom the fence has been placed around and what becomes of those fenced in Hattie Bush of the Branch was appointed as the Branch representative on Denver's Unity Council, an interracial anti-discrimination group 56 An incident in 1943 brought the issue of black access to public facilitie s home to the Denver s YWCA. Scheduled to sponsor a national YWCA Conference, the Central YWCA tried to arrange rooms for national officers who would be attending. The local hotel refused to allow black guests to stay there, and so the conference was called off. It was a national embarrassment especially to the women of Phyllis Wheatley who were angered that their access to national meetings would be hampered by the racist policies of Denver hotels. 57 The Committee of Management suggested that the 1945 Phyllis Wheatley Annual Meeting should be held at a local hotel instead of the traditional location at Shorter or Zion Church. The move, it was argued "might be an opening wedge for Negro groups who had never taken a banquet to a hotel. Enthusiastic women insisted ... we must learn to step forward for ourselves and not always leave new paths to be broken for us as a race by others. "5 8 Equally challenging was the process of integrating the YWCA's own public accommodations, including residences, cafeterias, recreational facilities and meeting rooms. Discriminatory practices in YWCA facilities were commonly accepted nationwide in the 1940s. These facilities served the general public and were a great source of revenue through room rentals club memberships and recreation fees. "White only" policies at swimming pools and dining rooms were increasingly bothersome and embarrassing for the YWCA was already famous in many 46 Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein

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VCD Historical Studies Journal commumhes for its advanced or liberal views on racial issues. National policy encouraged local efforts to desegregate as important steps which would prove exemplary to the community at large But by 1949 the national studies reported only "gradual" progress with regard to pools and recreation centers.59 Three "excuses" were given by local associations for failing to desegregate : 1) fear of financial loss 2) racial prejudice among non-YWCA users of the facilities and 3) community health standards and policies which tended to exclude racial minorities in public facilities 60 Denver s experience integrating its residence pool and camps reflected all three obstacles Denver had two YWCA Residences in the 1940s : the large all-white facility at 18th and Sherman Street and the smaller Phyllis Wheatley Residence for Negro Women (as it was listed in the Cit y Director y). By 1950 both had adopted integrated policies, but the Phyllis Wheatley Residence led the way The Branch had rented rooms since 1920 to provide young black working women with safe comfortable housing at a time when most public accommodations barred blacks in Denver. By 1940, the place had become a veritable institution under the direction of the beloved Hattie Starr--described as matron housekeeper mother and big sister Admirers asked, "What would Phyllis Wheatley be without her ? "6 1 Hattie Starr reported in 1941 that there was "no other agency where Negro girls can find a horne Taxi drivers regularly dropped off girls without funds at the branch where they knew the welcome mat would be extended 62 In the early 1940s Starr recorded the story of a white girl from a small town in Colorado who carne to Phyllis Wheatley "because she had felt that her appearance was such that she should be snubbed by the girls in her own group." Tension over the incident was politely described by Starr : "My problem began with influencing the girls in the house to accept her in a friendly way Hattie took her in and even found her a job in a laundry for $12 / week Later she admitted she had to "influence" the white girl to leave "without any hint of prejudice."6 3 Desk workers in 1944 reported several instance s of white women calling for rooms fully aware that the residence was for "Negro girls. In an effort to encourage residence staff to extend a welcoming hand to non-Negro women the Branch House Committee (charged with making policies and maintenance of the residence) vowed that ... we must first remove the bean from our own eye before we see the mote in our brother s eye They established an official open-door policy then went on to recommend to the Board that the downtown residence should be more accommodating as well : "[We] are looking forward to that day in the near future when all [emphasis added] facilities will be open in like manner to women and girls of all races "64 By November that same year Executive Director Frances Gordon reported that the Wheatley Residence no longer listed itself for "Negro girls ," and the Central YWCA had a s sured the House Committee that "race girls were indeed permitted to stay at Sherman Street. By May, 1945 the Branch was so overwhelmed with housing requests from women of all races that a suggestion was made that white persons living in our communities be asked to list their horne for Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 4 7

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()0 t::tl I:> o:q 0 c :: t::tl I:> 3 (1) f} it ::; The beloved Phyllis Wheatley YWCA home stood at 2460 Welton Street i n Denver s Five Points neighborhood It was purchased in 1920 from the Barth family through a generous donation from Denver philanthropist Mrs Vernor Z Reed. The building was a major center for black women and young girls until 1964 when it was closed, sold and razed. An abandoned gas station stands at the site today. (Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society) t;::j <::1 ;::! (") .._ ;::: $:l... ;::: -.

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UCD Histori c al Studies Journal persons of other races not wishing to live here or in Negro homes "65 By November, the Central and Bran ch Re s idence Committees were having joint meetings Black women and girls had long been barred from the Central YWCA swimming pool down town Instead they swa m at the smaller pool at the black Glenarm YMCA. The first known "colo red girls" to swim at the downtown YWCA pool were members of the Phyllis Wheatley basketball team who were allowed to practice at the central gym in 1939 According to staff member Henrietta Ridley the basketball team set a precedent when the group enjoyed being a part of an interracial swimming party in the pool at central YWCA. the occasion was acceptable to all groups "66 It was another five years before both whites and blacks declared that it's time for an interracial swimming program. "67 But Central administrators complained that their hands were tied, since the ci ty's health code required demeaning health exams bef ore blacks could swim in white pools. The issue was referred to the local Interracial Practice s Committee which eventually led a successful effort to eliminate the discriminatory exams by 1946. The Interracial Practices report also complained that "the dining room hostess refused to have a Negro, (1) Because the 'sta te law demands separate rest rooms for White and Negro.' (2) All the other waitresses would quit." They pushed through a new policy allowing blacks to be hired in Central's dining facilities 68 The National Interracial Practice s Commission which monitored racial practices at the "g rass-roots program level observed that despite restrictive racial policies YWCA camps recreational programs, and clubs were especially popular among black youth. The commission called these programs a bridge to inclusive participation By 1944, national statistics revealed that 42% of all cities reported having held integrated camps. 69 Camp programs were reported in 1949 to be most frequently the first to experiment with integration albeit with mostly symbolic results. All too often, ... the number of Negro girls attending camp was so few that during some periods all persons present in an interracial camp were white n70 The Denver YWCA' s experience integrating its summer camp program is illustrative of this national trend. Proximity to th e Rocky Mountains made Denver one of the first cities to sponsor a black YWCA camp in the country Camp Nizhoni, which had operated at Lincoln Hills since 1926 Camp Nizhoni was described in the 1941 Annual Report as "the only Negro Camp in Colorado," drawing girls from around the country including city sponsored "underprivileged" campers. 71 At the same time the Central YWCA had been operating the all-white Camp Lookout since 1923 In 1942 the Central Board decided that an interracial session with reduced fees at Camp Lookout should be organized. In the summer of 1943 young Catherine Elliston, Henrietta Coleman and Clarita Holmes became the first black girls to attend Camp Lookout. "The three Negro youngsters ... were well adjusted and rather easily fit into the camp program," reported the Phyllis Wheatley Committe e of Management in September 1943.72 Since Camp Nizhoni was deteriorating for lack Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 49

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-.. .. .. .. .. .. .. -----. ., A ,., \t..t Denver's Phyllis Wheatley YWCA Branch was nationally known for Camp Nizhoni, a mountain camp for black girls at Lincoln Hills near Pinecliffe, Colorado. This "camp family" posed among the summer wild flowers in the early 1940s. (Courtesy of Colorado Historical Society) -.. .. .. .. ..

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UCD Historical Studies Journal of maintenance and the integrated sessions were proving successful the Committee of Management decided after much thought in February 1945 "that Camp Nizhoni be closed ... and the Denver YWCA conduct an interracial camp with an interracial staff. "7 3 The recommendation was accepted by the Central Board and the beloved Camp Nizhoni was sold. The next fall the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management heard reports that the Interracial Camp was a great success A total of 123 girls attended including 29 Negr o, 5 Japanese, and 3 "Spanish ." It was not long however before enthusiasm for the new arrangement had plummeted By 1947 black recruitment for camp was at an all-time low and only one black camp counselor worked that summer. 74 One explanation for this turn of events was that black girls wanted to go to camp with girls they knew. They simply felt unwelcome or out of place in previously all-white camps, s till staffed and attended primarily by whites Evidence of this was apparent in April 1948 when an All-Association Goint Central and Branch) Y-Teen Committee emphatically asserted that there was a need for constant awareness that despite our desire and willingness to forward racial integration opportunity must be provided for Negro girls to have a program which is primarily theirs The same report called for increased recruitment of girls of all races and the appointment of a black youth director. 75 The 1949 national study verified the fact that many local black activists still felt that all program should still emanate from the branch to keep the numbers of black memberships up and address the needs of their own constituencies Desegregation of recreational programs thus became a catalyst which brought out deeper issues of race relations within the YWCA organization. No area of integration strategy was more controversial than that of breaking down barriers in the YWCA's internal decision-making structure The question of what was to be the role of black leadership under a new integrated approach was important to Phyllis Wheatley women The issue reflected upon their own self-worth as leaders but also could impact the YWCA s ability to relate to and serve the black community. The 1944 national study hoped to reveal "how barriers are broken down how mutual understanding is built and how racial differences become elements of strength. "76 The study used several internal measures of progress toward interracial decision-making: 1) the percentage of black members on the Central Board of Directors 2) white involvement with black community issues 3) Central Board recognition of black contributions and expertise to the whole association, not just experts on their own people s needs and program 77 Denver measured up favorably on the first criteria. The Chairwoman of the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management had been a member of the central Board since Gertie Ross held that position in 1923. The YWCA Board of Directors had required three representatives from the Phyllis Wheatley Branch as full Board members ever since an "Interracial Standards Study" in 1938 had recommended such an arrangement. In addition one Phyllis Wheatley member was encouraged to sit on every major All-Association Committee. 78 Frances Elliot a leading Branch activist had even been elected second Vice President of the Board in 1939. Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 51

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UCD Historical Studies Journal On the second national criteria (white involvement in black community issues), the evidence regarding Denver i s more sketchy One way to break down black / white mistrust suggested by the 1949 study was to "bring whites to the black branch. "7 9 Additionally locals were urged to break down "sorority" attitudes which had tended to exclude newcomers to long-standing committees or clubs There is evidence that in Denver numerous invitations were made by Branch leader s hip for whites to get more involved in the Wheatley Branch. 80 There is little evidence that whites responded to any great degree. Another indicator observed by the 1944 commission was the existence and effectiveness of local "Integr a tion Committees," advisory groups which were to "stimulate study and action by the [local] Board that affect the relationships between those of different races. "81 Addye Lightner was a member of Denver s "Interracial-Integration Committee" during the late 1930s and 1940s. Where separate black branches existed like Denver the 1944 commission asked the question "do colored branches tend toward inclusiveness or divisiveness?" The fact that cities with black branches had decisively more black members was also considered: "in order to integrate you have to have people to be i ntegrated "82 Fear of losing membership black or white was a common theme nationwide when integration experiments were contemplated. Locals were advised not to be "dissuaded by possible resignations" due to interracial policies for others more supportive of YWCA goals would eventually replace them 8 3 The 1944 national commission was also cognizant of the fact that hi-racialism had afforded many more opportunities for black leadership development than in localities where no separate black branch had existed It asked whether black women from the Branch were being brought into the mainstream of the Association Had leadership opportunities been lost in that process? Was there an effort to identify and counter tokenism?8 4 Denver s Central Board seems to have drawn criticism on this score. By 1944 the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management expressed concern that appointments of Negro members of Al l -Association committees were being made without consultation from the Branch Committee of Management. Branch leadership made an official recommendation to the Board that all appointments be made by the Chairman of the Committee of Management in the future. By the time of the 1949 national study the problem of divided loyalties of local black leaders really came to a head nationally "Integration is all one side," complained some local leaders "Central is integrated but the Branch isn't. "85 Pressure for black leaders to be representatives on the All-Association Board or committees drained Branch programs of their leadership resource. The problem of "not enough black leaders" was raised several times in the study along with the caution that the organization needed more than "token" black representatives. In fact the lack of black leadership in central decision-making was blamed by the report as the primary cause of problems in cities where the black branch had been dissolved.86 Black leaders were pressured to be full and active p a rticipants in all association business while at the same time were under pressure to assist with local 52 Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein

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UCD Histori c al Studies Journal Branch program. The evidence suggest s that black women in l o cal leadership felt that the YWCA's work in the black community was actually becoming a sacrificial lamb on the white YWCA leadership's altar of "interracial integration." A covert form of racism was rearing its ugly head in the name of racial harmony. Black resentment in Denver was a s severe as it wa s nationally In June 1947 Branch Executive Director France s Gordon openly complained that Branch program has been sacrificed because o f All-Association claim s on Branch staff. "87 Alice Papes a well-liked two-way interpreter" concurred saying that Central staff should spend more time at the Branch : the process of integration should work both ways "88 Talented leaders like Add ye Lightner were busy full time with city-wide committees The leadership model wa s impossible to fulfill Branch representatives on All-Association Committees als o felt left out of important decision-making In February 1947 the Committee of Management heard complaints that Central committee and Board meetings were held at difficult hours and representatives were not given sufficient information to intelligently answer questions National Board member Mamie Davis reported s ome progress in thi s area nationwide in early 194 8, but admitted that some joint committee s had faltered a s truly integrated decision-making bodies. She mentioned for example that work on Finance [Committees] seems more dif f icult because o f the power aspects of dealing with money "89 Davis had another important message for Branch women wh o were feeling increasingly conflicted about the organization s experiment s in integration : "While it is good to make things interracial projects do not necessarily have to be organized with that as the primary purpose." Davis according to the minutes questioned whether we can start to make the Denver Branch interracial?"90 The national studies reported more successful experiments when specially planned inter-racial meetings conferences or convention sessions were held It seemed that blacks and whites were most comfortable with each other if they were brought together naturally out of common interest. 91 This was true in Denver where according to Addye Lightner it started with joint committees. Lightner was on the All-Association Busines s Girls Committee for years serving as its president in the 1930s and 1940s. Asked if the black women felt comfortable at joint meetings and affairs Addye was quick to point out "It doesn t matter if you feel welcome or not. If you decide you 're going to do something you do it! "92 Black women sometimes took the initiative in suggesting joint meetings For example in September 1946 the Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management asked "Is there a need for two Annual Meetings? As with man y is s ues of this nature a committee was set up to study the question 93 This "C o mmittee on Aspects of Integration met once and voted to disband stating that an all association committee be activated since Integration i s a problem which can best be considered by the Association as a whole "94 It was not until three years later that the first All Association Annual Dinner Meeting took place celebrating the theme "Progress Through Integration Segregated dining was most often associated with the south but activities like "eating together" were significant breakthroughs in Denver too Br e aking Down Barrier s M. Goldstein 53

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UCD Historical Studie s Journal Addye Ughtner attends a YWCA club for adolescent girls during her tenure as Denver's All-Association President In 1969, she was the first African-American to be elected to the post. Ughtner, a professional businesswoman, had joined Denver s Phyllis Wheatley YWCA in 1918. She was one of the YWCA's most influential leaders. (Courtesy Colorado Historical Society) 5 4 Bre akin g Down Barrier s M Gold s tein

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UCD Historical Studies Journal as late as 1949.95 The integration of camps residences recreational programs and organizational meetings was slowly progressing in Denver's YWCA throughout the 1940s. Such a process would inevitably lead to internal branch discussions about the future of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch itself. Committee of Management minutes reveal the full extent to which Phyllis Wheatley leaders were searching for safe ground from which to protect their future while maintaining their ties to the black community As early as 1943 Branch debates centered on the question of the impact of integration on the YWCA' s community work One meeting asked the question "What about voluntary segregation? Minority leadership development? Have we outgrown the Branch ? We must think!! We 're working toward an interracial organization. "96 Lengthy discussion in the Committee of Management took place in October 1944, when the question "what this transitional period means to us" was posed Committee of Management member Ms Fannie Gaskin was the first to chime in: "We need to take it little by little to be sure that we make the right step. We need to know what we are going to do now before we can know what we can do in the Post World War world "97 Gaskin and many others saw that the question of the future of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch was directly tied to the future of blacks in this country. Working toward full integration in a community that was not ready to recognize full economic social and political equality for blacks was a risky business. By 1945, the Branch leaders sensed a need to combat complacency about its future. "IT IS YOURS TO D ECIDE! THE FUTURE OF THE PHYLLIS WHEATLEY BRANCH" read a flyer distributed for the Annual Meeting and election Committed Branch leaders were needed, the flyer went on who were willing to face "many grave problems: employment, housing race taxation ... increasingly you will be called on to exercise your discretion in considering questions affecting the life of the Association. "98 Several options were posed in hopes of warding off any suggestion of Branch closure Yet another committee was set up to study the fundamental question : "Do we want a Branch setup or Central setup?"99 Many members felt the building and neighborhood were deteriorating into a slum and so serious consideration of moving the Branch took place on a joint level in late 1948 Someone argued for a new location farther east around 22nd and Gilpin, which "would not only be fairly accessible to many of the present Branch constituents ... but could very well have a positive effect on the housing situation which has reached a stalemate in that area "100 The suggestion of changing the name of the Branch to one less associated with blacks was first made during this year as well.101 Nervous members of the Committee of Management asked the Interracial Practices Committee whether the Branch leadership body itself would be required to become interracial in 1948 The consensus was that this was unlike! y since the Committee was elected and was "likely to be representative of its constituency "1 02 Integrating the constituency itself was the key, advised the Interracial Practices Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 55

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Committee "We must try to be more successful in developing an interracial constituency and to secure non-Negro volunteers "1 03 More discussion about ways to bring in whites Japanese and Spanish-speaking volunteers followed In an apparent move to protect its constituency while still allowing for Board members of other races to join the Committee of Management voted to enlarge its membership to 23 members by the end of 1948. Hl4 Consolidation of Branch resolve to remain autonomous was displayed in December 1948, when the Community Chest the major funding agency for the Branch recommended selling the Phyllis Wheatley facility The plan called for a merger with the predominantly black Glenarm YMCA, a joint expa nsion program and turning the revenues from the sale to funding for a joint YM-YW recreation building and residence 105 The proposal was greeted with extensive hostility from all sides "One thing is assured--the branch will not be absorbed by anyone nor lose its identity declared Phylli s Wheatley spokeswoman Lorna T uttle in a press The YMYW merger idea was dropped i mmediat ely. "Let s take a look at ourselves and see what the future holds," a Special Meeting of the Committee of Management called out in February, 1949 "If Program cannot be expanded are we ready for absorption by Central?" The discussion heated up when Ms Gaskin asserted that the Branch s community ties were threatened: "Leadership development for young people ... will not be possible if [we are] absorbed by Central." Frances Elliot suggested "We must prove that the Branch is needed in this vicinity." Sara Johnson a hard working volunteer reported that it was "inc reasingly difficult to get Negroes to join interracial clubs." The first interracial meeting of YTeens at the Branch "was not too successful as there were no Negroes in attendance Former Branch Executive Mrs. Ellen Moose reported that her responsibilities to "Membership Chapter" (a purposely integrated group of women over 35) had left her no time to work on other Branch program s. 1 07 The consensus of the 1949 discussion was that "we must continue to have program [sic] at the Branch. The more people we have ... the more we will have to send into integrated groups at Central. But "we need to work a t Central in order to bring them into contact with educated Negroes We also need this education to get ready for interracial experience "1 08 Frances Elliot warned in October 1949 that "many o f the changes were causing the Branch to lose its identity We should determine just where we are ultimately going!" Ellen Moose suggested that the Committee of Management s job was "to produce program and integrate in the area in which we are located and that becoming integrated was not to move Branch and activities to Central [emphasis added] Ms. Gaskin warned on the other hand that in accordance with the National Board s Integration Charter, "we are moving toward final elimination of the Branch "109 At the meeting of November 1 1949 the Committee of Management opened with the song "Be Strong and voted to re-institute a Branch Annual Meeting The Annual Meeting program was a round-table discussion, "To be or not to be a Branch "110 56 Breaking Down Barriers M Gold s tein

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UCD Historical Studies Journal The Phyllis Wheatley Branch and its Committee of Management indeed decided to be a branch. It remained intact throughout the next decade operating as the "Welton Street YWCA Branch" to accommodate the integrationist trend Youth programs, standing committees and working women s services continued to operate uninterrupted. Sadly changing neighborhood conditions and shifts in priorities in the mid-1960s led to growing doubts even among blacks about the viability of their program in the Five Points neighborhood. Thus the handsome three-story YWCA home was sold closed and razed in 1964 .111 In 1969, the YWCA of Denver celebrated the election of its first black local All-Association president Addye Lightner. During over fifty years of YWCA activism Lightner had distinguished herself as a leader whose dedication to the YWCA' s purpose of serving all of Denver s women and girls had never faltered .112 The historic Phyllis Wheatley Branch on Welton Street Addye had joined as a young girl in 1918 was now a cold stark abandoned gas station Thousands of Denver s black working women, mothers, and girls had found warmth support, and a home there for decades If the building still stood, it would undoubtedly be designated a Denver Landmark and listed on the National Regi ster of Historic Places. It might have served as a black women's museum or be reopened as a meeting house or community center serving the Five Points neighborhood which is itself enjoying revitalization 113 Racial barriers and the complexities of integration that the YWCA faced in the 1940s still face our community today Much can be learned from the experiences of women in interracial organizations like the YWCA. Black YWCA women developed strategies in the past which promoted equality and mutual understanding between the races but guarded against white racism no matter how covert. Denver's Phyllis Wheatley Branch founder Nelsine Howard Campbell said proudly of the sisterhood to which she had devoted her life "Our heads are up!"114 Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 57

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Endnotes 1. Dorothy Sabiston and the YWCA National Board Toward Better Race Relations (New York: The Woman s Press 1949) p 3 2. John C. Shields, Wheatley Phillis (Peters)" in Black Women in America : An Historical Encyclopedia, ed Darlene Clark Hine (New York: Carlson Publishing, Inc ., 1993 ), pp. 1251-1255. Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) was the first African American and second woman to publish a volume of verse. (1773). Born in 1753 in Gambia Africa Wheatley was brought to the U.S. on a slave ship named "Phillis" in 1761 and sold as a house slave to the Wheatley family. By 1773 her first poems, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral had been published Her poem honoring George Washington earned her a special audience with him during the American Revolution Wheatley died in 1784 at age 31 in dire poverty. See also Denver Area Welfare Council "Study of the Place of the Welton Street Branch 1955, p. 45; Papers of the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver File 577 Collection No 1254 Colorado Historical Society (hereafter CHS), Denver, Colorado. See also Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: the Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (New York: Bantam Books 1984), p 41. 3. Denver in the late 1910s and 1920s was the largest city in the western region outside of California. Its small black population was well-established, with families, businesses and a strong, educated middle class. Many black men were employed by the railroads, while black women were domestics and laundry workers. A few black-owned stores and businesses provided more skilled employment. The city s blacks were concentrated in the so-called "Five-Points" district north of downtown, around 27th and Welton Streets where in 1929 5,500 of the city's 7 000 blacks lived. Ira De A. Reid The Negro Population in Denver Colorado : A Survey of Its Economic and Social Status (Denver: Lincoln Press 1929). See also Linda Dixon, "The Early Club Movement among Black Women in Denver : 1890-1925 (Ph. D. dissertation University of Colorado 1982) pp 96-100 4. There were 49 black YWCA branches in 1919 Giddings 156. By 1943 the number had grown to 73. Phyllis Wheatley Scrapbook No. 23 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS. With the national YWCA thrust toward full integration in the 1940s and 1950s, most separate branches were merged with city wide YWCA programs by the early 1960s. Adrienne Lash Jones, in Hine, p 1302. 5 Colorado Historical Society An Inventory of the Papers of the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver finding aid written and compiled by Marcia T. Goldstein (Denver : Colorado Historical Society, 1991). 6 Sadly in late 1994 the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver was forced into bankruptcy and closed its doors permanently after over a century of service to the city's women from all walks of life. 7. An early little known attempt to present the city's rich racial and ethnic history was by black historian James T Atkins Human Relations in Colorado: A Historical Record (Denver : Publisher's Press Inc. 1968). Steve Leonard and Thomas J. Noel's comprehensive history, Denver : From Mining Camp to Me t ropolis (Niwot: 58 Breaking Down Barriers M. Goldstein

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UCD Historical Studies Journal University Press of Colorado 1990) provides much new factual information on the racial climate of Denver over time. Neither book adequately explores Denver s minority women nor the complexities of race relations among women however. A major breakthrough study about Denver s black club women is Linda Dixon s Ph D. 1982 dissertation "The Early Club Movement among Black Women in Denver: 1890-1925 ." Dixon s valuable work is about all-black organizations therefore it doesn t explore the complexity of interracial relationships between Denver s women 8. Adrienne Lash Jones in Hine p 1299 9. Historians have recently begun to research racial interaction in the YWCA in various local contexts. One study published by Sharlene Voogd Cochrane And the Pressure Never Let Up,': Black Women White Women and the Boston YWCA 1918-1948, in Women in the Civil Rights Movement : Trailblazers and Torchbearers 1941-1965, Vicki L. Crawford, ed. Black Women in United States History, vol.16 (New York: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1990) traces the emergence of an integrated program and leadership in Boston. Cochrane attributes the progress to unrelenting pressure from Blacks and claims that "by 1948 the Boston YWCA was a fully integrated organization." Historian Dorothy Salem focuses considerable attention on the early work of the YWCA in development of "colored" program and /or branches from World War I through the 1920s in the context of the general black reform movement among women begun before the turn of the century It was precisely during this time that Denver s Phyllis Wheatley Club and branch was established. Dorothy Salem To Better Our World : Black Women in Organized Reform, 1890-1920 Black Women in United States History val. 14 (New York: Carlson Publishers, Inc 1990) Relations between the YWCA and its counterpart the YMCA have been the subject of other recent studies Historian Susan Lynn in "The Quest for Racial Equality in the YWCA, 1945 to the 1960s" (Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians Louisville Kentucky, April 1991) compares the YMCA and YWCA to show that privileged women are more likely than their male counterparts to take up the causes of outside the interests of their own class and race. See also Margaret Spratt "Unity Within Diversity: The Issue of Race and the Pittsburgh YWCA, 1918-1946" (Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians Louisville, Kentucky April 1991). Another 1991 OAH paper focused on the national YWCA perspective : Adrienne Jones, "Struggle Among Saints: Black Women and the YWCA, 1946-1960 (Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians Louisville, Kentucky, April 1991) Jones has also written an extensive biography of Jane Edna Hunter founder of the independent Phillis Wheatley Association in Cleveland Ohio. Adrienne Lash Jones Jane Edna Hunter: A Case Study of Black Leadership 1910-1950 Black Women in United States History val. 12 (New York : Carlson Publishers Inc. 1990) 10 Dixon p 40. See also Giddings p 93. 11. Giddings, pp. 93-95 Giddings calls the organization of the NACW "a watershed in the history of Black women." Attendees at its founding convention included abolitionist Harriet Tubman and anti-lynching activist Ida B Wells Barnett Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 59

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UCD Historical Studies Journal 12. Dixon p. 136. Ida DePriest also founded the Colored W o men s Republican Club also in 1894 the first year Colorado women were allowed to vote DePriest and black s uffragist Elizabeth Ensley were instrumental in the 1 8 94 e lection of Joseph H Stuart the first black state legislator in Colorado Dixon pp. 134 Stuart's primary accomplishment during his two year term was the enactment in 1 89 5 of a civil rights law outlawing discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of "r ace creed or color." The law provided for fines, imprisonment, and money damages and was used as the basis for numerous civil rights law suits in ens uing decades Atkins pp 38, 113. 13. Dixon pp 129 131. 14 Dixon p 139 15. Dixon pp 155 195 See also Mary Anthes "Lifting as We Climb ," ( unpublished paper University of Colorado Boulder 1991) As of 1995 the George Washington Carver Day Nursery was listed in the telephone book at 2270 Humboldt Street in Denver. The organizational records of the Colorado Association of Colored Women's Clubs are housed at the Denver Library Western History Department. 16. Gertie Ross (b 1879 d 1881) was an East High graduate and one of Denver s leading black club women. She was the wife of noted civil right s lawyer George Ross Together they published The Denver Star the city's leading black newspaper. Gertie Ross was also the music director at Shorter Church It is important to note that Gertie Ross co-founder and active member of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, wa s also a leading activist in the CACWC. This suggests that cooperation rather than rivalry was the operating philosophy of Denver s black women leaders of the time. Dixon p. 164. See also Federal WPA Writers Program Colorado "N egro Pioneers Box 1 File 2, c. 1940 Colorado Historical Society 17. Atkins pp 38 114-115; Dixon p. 180 18 Salem p. 1. See also Jacqueline Jone s, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family from Slavery to the Present (New Yo r k : Basic Books 1985) p 190 19. Salem p 47 ; Giddings p. 155. Adrienne Lash Jones states that the first Colored YWCA Club was formed in Philadelphia much earlier, i n 1870 Jones in Hine p 1299 20. Salem p 47. 21. Ibid ., p 48 22 According to a YWCA publication in 1932, quoted in Salem p. 132 23. Early Denver's black churches were the first centers for community self-help efforts. Zion Baptist Church wa s established in 1865. Shorter African Methodist Episcopal (AME) was established in 1868. Their congregations were instrumental in opening black orphanages and old age homes Black churchmen founded the Glenarm YMCA, which opened in 1908. Dixon pp. 115-116 Shorter Churchwomen including Lydia Smith Ward wife of pastor A. M. Ward were instrumental in starting the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Club in 1916. Nelsine Howard 60 Breakin g Down Barri e r s M Goldstein

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Campbell "History of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch YWCA," unpublished 1935, p. 3 File 1056 YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS. 24. In large part due to Eva Bowie's tireless efforts there were 49 black YWCA branches and over 12 000 black girls enrolled a s YWCA members nationwide by 1919. Giddings p. 156. 25 The property was the former Barth residence. The down payment for the purchase of the building was paid through a generous $1000 donation from white philanthropist Mrs. Vernor Z. Reed a friend of Gertie Ross and hersel f not a member of the YWCA. Campbell p 7. A $1000.00 infusion of funds from the YWCA War Work Council a national support program for women in wartime industry was approved by the Central Board as well. Denver YWCA Board Minutes May 1920 YWCA Papers File 3 YWCA Collection No. 1254 CHS 26 Dixon p.l17. 27 Addye Lightner interview with author, Denver Colorado 26 March 1991. Addye became a steadfast leader and life-long YWCA member serving as Denver s (and the nation s) first black local all association President in 1969-1971. 28 Campbell p 15 ; Dixon, p 117 29 Sarah Sims interview with author Denver Colorado 15 April 1991. Lt. Earl Mann was a highly regarded community leader for several decades before he was elected to the Colorado State Legislature in 1943 Atkins, p 121. 30. Sims interview. 31. Campbell p 24 32. Federal WPA Writer's Program Colorado Life in Denver Series 1936-1942 "Negroes ," p. 153. 33. Addye Lightner interview with author Denver Colorado 15 April 1991. 34. Federal WPA Writer's Program Colorado "Negroes," pp 154, 167 35 Report from Lula Lowe Weeden Executive Secretary Membership November 22 1940 File 462 YWCA Collection No. 1254 CHS 36 Phyllis Wheatley Branch, "Historical Sketch ," dated 1940 File 461 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 37. Henry Hough Americans with Spanish Surnames (Denver : WP A Service Program 1942) p 17 quoted in Leonard / Noel p 222 38. Denver's war industry consisting of the Army Depot at 38th and York Street (10 buildings) Lowry Air Force Base Rocky Mountain Arsenal Remington Arms Denver Ordnance Plant Cabusco Steel, Continental Airlines and others swelled the rank s of working citizens both male and female See Leonard / Noel pp. 223 -2 24. 39. Leonard / Noel, p 36 8. 40. Paul Shriver, director, Federal Works Progress Administration, quoted in Leonard / Noel p 367 41. Truman's Executive Order #9 808 was signed on December 5 1946 and established the President s Committee on Civil Rights. Executive Order #9981 signed on July 26 194 8, establi s hed a national commission to examine racial practices in the Armed Services. Atkin s p 124. Breaking Down Barri e r s M Goldstein 61

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UCD Historical Studies Journal 42. Leonard / Noel p. 228. 43 At the war's close in 1945, massive layoffs impacted women severely nationwide With over 14,000 Denver layoffs in 1945 alone local government advisors warned that women "who have learned for the first time in their lives that they can do something real would suffer from the dislocation. Vera Packard of the Denver Defense Council Advisory Board recommended that the city hire them to supervise delinquent children. Vera Packard quoted in Leonard / Noel, p 234 44 Transcript of YWCA Leadership Meeting testimony of Oleta Crain June 9 1942 Employed Girls Group. File 416 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS Oleta Crain was the first black enlistee from the Rocky Mountain region in the Women s Army Corps in 1943. She earned the rank of Major before retiring from the Army in 1963 As of 1995 Crain was the Regional Director of the United States Department of Labor, Federal Women s Bureau in Denver Colorado Kathy Ediger "Capitol Hill WACs Bring Back 50 Years of Fond Memories Greater Capitol Hill Neighborhood News vol. 1 no. 7 July 1992 Denver Colorado p 1. 45. YWCA National Board Interracial Practices in Community YWCAs: A Study Under the Auspices of the Commission to Gather Interracial Experience as Requested by the 16th National Convention of the YWCAs of the United States (New York : The Woman's Press 1944) foreword. 46. An announcement was made about the release of Interracial Practices at the March 13, 1944 meeting of the Committee of Management, and the book was reviewed at two subsequent meetings at which time discussion "brought out the strengths and weaknesses of the Denver Branch in relation to the S t udy." No details of the discussion were recorded. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management March 13, 1944 April10, 1944 and May 15, 1944 File 467 YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS. 47. The Denver Association was not included in the on-site visits of this study commission (only two western Associations were visitedO akland and Portlandout of a total of 17), however data from all locations wa s supposedly used to formulate the study's fin ding s Sabiston, p. 191. 48. Sabiston p 21-22. 49. Statement of YWCA National Board 1943 quoted in Interracial Practices p 10. 50 Sabiston pp 98 102-103 51. Report Young Married Women 's Club Phyllis Wheatley Branch February 1942 File 463, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS. This club had been organized by Lillian EuDailey on January 24 1937 in order to bring together young married women interested in developing their physical mental and spiritual lives." Constitution and By Laws Phyllis Wheatley Young Married Women's Club undated, File 463, YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 62 Breaking Down Barri e r s M Goldstein

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UCD Historical Studies Journal 52 Addye Lightner was a good friend of Cohron and obtained this information from her. She recalled that Cohron worked for the WP A at the YWCA Recreation Department as a pianist in the 1930s. She played 3 days per week once for a group of Spanish-speaking women another day for Japanese and a third day for whites. Lightner interview. 53. Atkins, p 120. 54. Sims interview. 55 Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management, March 13, 1944 File 467 YWCA Collection No. 1254 CHS 56 The "Unity Council" was a citywide coalition of white and minority organizations and churches which lobbied tirelessly against discriminatory policies both public and private Its letterhead reads, "Americanism is a matter of the mind and the heart and not a matter of race ancestry or religion." Correspondence with the Unity Council on several occasions reflects monetary donations from the Branch on a regular basis. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management October 8, 1945 File 467 YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS 57. A conference entitled, "A New Society on a Christian Basis" was held at YWCA facilities instead of the canceled convention with attendance of 50 total 7 or 8 blacks and 7 or 8 Japanese women Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management January 11, 1943 and February 8, 1943 File 467 YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS. 58 Apparently, no local hotel arrangements could be secured for the meeting was held at Shorter Church after all. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management November 12 1945 File 467 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 59. Sabiston, p. 54. 60 Interracial Practices p 69. 61. Historical Sketch Phyllis Wheatley Branch circa 1940 File 461 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS. 62 Hattie Starr, "Matron's Report Phyllis Wheatley Branch ," undated c 1941 File 464, YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS. 63. Ibid 64. Minutes, House Committee Phyllis Wheatley Branch, April 7, 1944 File 465 YWCA Collection No. 1254 CHS. 65. Phyllis Wheatley Branch House Committee Minutes May 4 1945 File 465 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS. 66 National Board Report 1939 Report of Henrietta Ridley Phyllis Wheatley Activities Secretary File 378, YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS 67. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management November 13, 1944 File 467, YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS. 68 A local Branch report on October 26 1946 listed certain improvements including, "The Health Education Department has ceased exacting a discriminatory health examination for Negro girls desiring to swim and changes in the central dining room Report on Interracial Practices October 26 1946 Addye Lightner Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 63

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UCD Historical Studie s Journal personal papers. 69. Interracial Practices p 72. 70 Sabiston pp 115 116 71. Annual Report Phyllis Wheatley Branch undated c 1941 File 464 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS. 72 Minutes Phylli s Wheatle y Branch Committee of Management September 1 1943 File 467 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS. 73 Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Managem e nt, February 12 1945 File 467 YWCA Collection No. 1254 CHS 74. Minutes Phylli s Wheatley Branch Committee of Management, June 9 1947 and October 14 1947 File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 75 Minutes Phylli s Wheatley Branch Committee of Management April 6 1948 File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 76 Interracial Practices, p. 11. 77. Ibid., p 33. 7 8. "Interracial Standards Study 193 8, File 461 YWCA C o ll e ction No 1254 CHS. 79 Sabiston p 112 8 0 Report of Interracial Practices Committee October 26 1946 The report list s future goals including "Devise projects to draw more Caucasian s to Branch--Find common interests for activity or di s cussi o n groups" and "Devel o p ways for making it easy for interested but reluctant persons to come to Branch ." Addye Lightner personal papers 8 1. Interracial Practi ce s p. 42 8 2 Ibid., p 46-47 8 3 Ibid. p 74 8 4. Ibid ., p. 47 50 8 5 Sabiston pp. 26 35. 8 6 Ibid ., p 62 8 7. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management June 9 1947 File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 88. Ibid 8 9 Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Managem e nt February 9 1948 File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 90. Ibid 91. Interracial Pra c tices p 65-6 8. 92. Lightner interview 93. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Committee of Management September 23 1946 File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 94 Minutes Phyllis Wheatle y Branch Committee of Management November 11, 1946 File 467, YWCA Collection No. 1 254 CHS 95. Sabiston pp. 69-70 See also Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee o f Management December 7 194 8, File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS. 64 Breaking Down Barrier s M. Goldstein

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UCD Historical Studies Journal 96. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management March 8, 1943, File 467, YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 97. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management October 19 1944 File 467 YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS 98. Election flyer and roster, Phyllis Wheatley Branch 1945 File 468 YWCA Collection No. 1254 CHS 99. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management June 1 1948 File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 100. At the time Denver blacks were steadily pushing for breakthroughs in restrictive housing patterns The neighborhood just east of Five Points was a maj or area of contention in the late 1940s Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management May 4 194 8, File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS 101. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management March 2 1948, File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS The name was not changed immediately, but graduall y from 1950 to 1952 to "Welton Street Branch This was in order to accommodate growing opinion that the Branch should not just be associated with blacks Populations of other minority groups including Japanese Americans and Mexican-Americans were moving into the neighborhood in increasing numbers, and at least symbolically, th e YWCA wanted all races to feel welcome there 102 Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management April 6 1948, File 469, YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 103 Ibid 104 Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management November 24 1948 File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS. 105 Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management December 7 1948 File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254 CHS 106 "YMCA Denies Planning To Absorb Wheatley Branch The Denver Post December 22 1948 clipping. The black community bad long resented Central YMCA s insensitivity to their concerns in their dealings with the Glenarm YMCA as evidenced by a letter dated December 20, 1948 from Reverend J Russell Brown Minister at Shorter Community A. M. E. Church. Russell states, "The present attitudes policies and practices of the Central Y M C.A. 's extreme separatism and lack of democratic practices and activities disqualify it for [sic] domination and supervision of the Phyllis Wheatley Y.W.C. A. by the latter's absorption in the Glenarm Y "' File 469 YWCA Collection No. 1254 CHS See also Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee o f Management January 4 1949 File 469 YWCA Collection No. 1254 CHS. 107. Minutes, Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management February 15, 1949, File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS 108 Ibid 109 Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management October 4, 1949, File 469 YWCA Collection No 1254, CHS Breaking Down Barriers M Goldstein 65

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UCD Historical Studies Journal 110. Minutes Phyllis Wheatley Branch Committee of Management December 6 1949 File 469, YWCA Collection No. 1254, CHS. 111. The topic of the Branch closure in the 1960s is an important research topic in its own right. See Aimee Blagg "Strains and Stresses : Race Class and Integration in the Denver YWCA 1955-1964" (unpublished paper University of Colorado at Boulder 1991). 112. Arlynn Nelhaus, "Helmswoman of the YWCA," The Denver Post Contemporary Magazine August 3 1969 p 18. 113. Robert Jackson "Five Points, Making a Comeback: Neighborhood reaches for renewal The Rocky Mountain News April17, 1991 pp 1 8, 30-31 37. 114 Campbell p. 35 66 Breaking Down Barriers M. Gold s t e in

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Bibliography Anthes Mary. "Lifting as We Climb Unpublished paper University of Colorado at Boulder. 1991 Atkins James T. Human Relations in Colorado : A Historical Record. Denver: Publisher's Press Inc. 1968 Blagg Aimee "Strains and Stresses: Race Class and Integration in the Denver YWCA, 1955-1964 ." Unpublished paper Universit y of Colorado at Boulder 1991. Campbell Nelsine Howard "History of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA." 1935 Unpublished typescript. File YWCA Collection No. 1254 Colorado Historical Society Denver, Colorado Cochrane, Sharlene Voogd. "'And the Pressure Never Let Up': Black Women White Women and the Boston YWCA 1918-1948." In Women in the Civil Rights Movement : Trailblazers and Torchbearers 1941-1965 edited by Vicki L. Crawford. Black Women in United States History vol. 16 New York: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1990 Colorado Association of Colored Women s Clubs. Manuscript Collection Denver Public Library, Western History Department. Colorado Historical Society. An Inventory of the Papers of the YWCA of Metropolitan Denver finding aid written and compiled by Marcia T Goldstein Denver : Colorado Historical Society 1991. Denver Area Welfare Council. "Study of the Place of the Welton Street Branch 1955. File 577 YWCA Collection No 1254 Colorado Historical Society Denver Colorado. Dixon Linda. "The Early Club Movement Among Black Women in Denver : 18901925." Ph D. dissertation University of Colorado 1982. Ediger Kathy "Capitol Hill WACs Bring Back 50 Years of Fond Memories ." Greater Capitol Hill Neighborhood News, vol. 1 no 7 July 1992. Denver, Colorado Federal WPA Writers Program Colorado "Negro Pioneers." Box 1 File 2, c 1940 Colorado Historical Society. Breaking Down Barriers M. Goldstein 67

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UCD Historical Studies Journal -----------------"Negroes." Life in Denver Series. 1936-1942 Giddings Paula When and Where I Enter : The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America. New York: Bantam Books, 1984 Hine Darlene Clark ed. Black Women in America: An Historical Ene-yclopedia. New York: Carlson Publishing, Inc ., 1993 Jackson Robert Five Points Making A Comeback : Neighborhood Reaches for Renewal." The Rocky Mountain News April 17 1991. Jones Adrienne Lash. Jane Edna Hunter: A Case Study of Black Leadership 1910 1950. Black Women in United States History val. 2 New York: Carlson Publishers, Inc., 1990 ------------------. "Struggle Among Saints : Black Women and the YWCA 19461960 Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians Louisville Kentucky, April 1991. Jones, Jacqueline. Labor of Love Labor of Sorrow : Black Women, Work and the Family from Slavery to the Present. New York: Basic Books 1985. Leonard Stephen J. and Thomas J Noel. Denver : From Mining Camp to Metropolis Niwot CO: University Press of Colorado 1990 Lightner Addye. Interview with the author Denver Colorado 26 March 1991 and 15 April 1991. Lynn Susan "The Quest for Racial Equality in the YWCA 1945 to the 1960s." Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians. Louisville Kentucky April 1991. Nelhaus, Arlynn "Helmswoman of the YWCA The Denver Post Contemporary Magazine August 3 1969 Reid, Ira De A. The Negro Population in Denver Colorado : A Survey of Its Economic and Social Status Denver: Lincoln Press 1929 Sabiston, Dorothy, and the YWCA National Board Toward Better Race Relations. New York : The Women's Press 1949. 6 8 Breaking Dow11 Barriers M. Goldstein

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Salem, Dorothy. To Better Our World: Black Women in Organized Reform 18901920 Black Women in United States History val. 14 New York: Carlson Publishers Inc ., 1990. Sims, Sarah Interview with author. Denver, Colorado 15 April 1991. Spratt Margaret. "Unity with Diversity : The Issue of Race and the Pittsburgh YWCA 1918-1946 Paper delivered to Organization of American Historians Louisville Kentucky April 1991. YWCA National Board Interracial Practices in Community YWCAs: A Study Under the Auspices of the Commission to Gather Interracial Experience as Requested by the 16th National Convention of the YWCAs of the United States New York : The Women s Press 1944 YWCA of Metropolitan Denver. Manuscript Collection No 1254. Colorado Historical Society, Denver Colorado Breaking Down Barriers M Go ldstein 69

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A Social Liberal: J. A. Hobson and Imperialism: A Study Richard Burden Editor s note: Although Richard is on e of the editor s of this year 's j ournal the other three editor s v oted unanimousl y to include his paper in this edition. Richard had no influence on the final decision for inclusion "Amid the welter of vague political abstractions to lay one s finger accurately upon any ism so as to pin it down and mark it out by definition seems impossible. "1 Yet this is precisely what John Hobson set out to do when he began Imperialism : A Study So too to pin down and mark out the life and work of John Atkinson Hobson seems at first impossible His collected works run to over thirty volumes and cover a tremendous range of subjects such as political and social theory : The Social Problem (1901) Work and Wealth (1914 ), Wealth and Life (1929 ), Towards Soc i al Equality (1931 ); economics : The Problem of the Unemployed (1896 ), The Economics of Distribution ( 1900) Rationalism and Unemployment ( 1930) ; internationalism : The Evolution of Modern Capital (1906) Problem s of a New World (1921) Democracy and a Changing Civilisation ( 1934) ; critical biographies of Thorstein Veblen Richard Cobden and John Ruskin plus his autobiography Confessions of an Economic Heretic (1938) Very few however remember that Hobson was so prolific ; for many J A. Hobson will always be inextricably linked with one thing--Imperialism Published in 1902 revised in 1905 and republished in 193 8, Imperialism : A Stud y is Hobson s most influential work. Yet it is set apart from the rest o f his oeuvre more as an indication of the caliber of the people influenced by it rather than because of any idea specific to the work itself. Theories of capitalism and Richard Burden holds a B A. in Theater Arts from Colorado State University He is currently a Master's Degree Candidate at UCD. His area of focus is nineteenth and twentieth century British history with special emphasis on the nature of the relationship between England and its empire. This paper was written in the spring of 1994 for History 5040, Modern European Intellectual History, under Dr. Frederick Allen UCD Historical Studi es Journal 71

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UCD Historical Studies Journal J.A. Hobson. (From: Jules Townshend, J A. Hobson, Manchester : Manchester Univ Press 1990.) 72 So cia l Liberal R. Burd e n

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UCD Historical Studies Journal imperialism were being seriously scrutinized by many thinkers at the end of the nineteenth century, but it was Imperialism that was read and digested by Rudolph Hilferding Karl Johann Kautsky Rosa Luxembourg, and Mikhail Bakunin The nearest evolutionary relative to Hobson was Lenin ; his Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism is commonly considered to be no more than a re-write of Hobson's thesis. Superficially this is true but there are important difference s. Lenin argued that imperialism was proof that the Communist revolution was imminent. For Hobson imperialism was not the final stage of anything ; it was the foil against which he set all his other theories. Consequently his study should not be read in ignorance of them. As Michael Freeden points out in his introduction to Hobson [Imperialism has] frequently and narrowly been examined as a separate work instead of, as Lenin indicated part of the general social and political framework Hobson set out to construct. Hobson's work on imperialism. .is not primarily a specific contribution to a theory of imperialism but a particular application of his social and economic thought. 2 It is this particular application that I wish to address Hobson, like so many of his contemporaries, was a systems-maker. He believed the world was governed by natural laws and consequently developed intricate theoretical systems that would at once explicate the natural systems and rectify society's response to them. Imperialism was for him, a brilliant example of all that was wrong with the present and side by side with his devastating attack on it, he prescribed his solution for it. He utilized the prominent theorists of his day : Darwin, Veblen Mill and Mummery. He recalled Cobden, the much maligned Ruskin, and unfortunately Herbert Spencer. He combined them all with his own precise mind and described a system that influenced not only the above mentioned socialist thinkers but also John Maynard Keynes, Woodrow Wilson and countless others. Hobson provided a bridge between classical nineteenth century liberalism and the post-Keynesian, mixed-economy evolutionary-socialist, twentieth-century brand with which we are familiar Consequently, we must look at Imperialism: A Study not as a discrete work, but rather as the keystone in the span of Hobson s life and thought. By his own admission Hobson s early years "were cast in the calmest and most self-confident years of the midVictorian era when peace prosperity and progress appeared to be the permanent possession of most civilized nations "3 England in 1858 when Hobson was born, was just such a place--calm self confident, smug. Hobson lived to see the calm shattered and the confidence irrevocably shaken The span of Hobson s life ended in 1940 shortly after the beginning of the most destructive war in history He was "[b ]orn and bred in the middle stratum of the middle class of a middle-sized industrial town in the Midlands "4 Specifically he was the second of four children born to William Social Liberal R Burden 73

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Hobson of Derby. His father was twice mayor of the town and founder and proprietor of the Derbyshire and North Stratfordshire Advertiser one of the myriad local newspapers that saturated the English country-side in the last half of the nineteenth century Consequently, his introduction to both journalism and Liberal Party politics carne at an early age. His social position enabled him to attend Oxford and to "engage in independent writing for the rest of his life "5 Born in "the middle" in virtually every respect he stayed at the center of activity, even while re-defining the political left. By the turn of the century he was a founder-member of the South Place Ethical Society and the Rainbow Circle, a kind of liberal think-tank', whose members included J Ramsay MacDonald the future Labour Prime Minister. He wrote for the Manchester Guardian and the Nation two of the most redoubtable Liberal papers in England. He kept close ties with acquaintances in the United States where both capitalism and economic thought were undergoing vast and rapid changes. "Hence by the early year s of this century Hobson was situated at the core of some of the most exciting intellectual, cultural and political developments of the period. "6 Being interconnected with the prominent thoughts of the day it was easy for Hobson to embark on his self-proclaimed "heresy As others were of the same mind the heretical elements in Hobson spring not so much from what he said, but rather from the way in which he put these commonly held ideas together. Hobson's system "insist[ed] on the indissoluble empirical interconnections among the fields that examine human activity. "7 He advocated the paradigm of a single social science ; he attempted to achieve this by placing all disciplines including economics, in context by making them dependent on each other. For Hobson like many of his contemporaries, the world was progressive evolutionary and organic. It is essential to understand Hobson s organicism along with his theory of underconsumption, when approaching Imperialism for they form the core of his argument. It is "what allowed him to cut loose from traditional liberal dogmas and argue that new ideas and circumstances inevitably pointed to the need to remodel liberal principles. "8 "The question whether we shall speak of a human society as an organism is, of course largely one of convenience in language "9 Hobson said in Crisis of Liberalism. It was a convenience he consistently promoted. At the time Hobson was writing he and so many others were as Jules Townshend so aptly points out "caught up in the backwash of the Darwinian Revolution 10 and it is evident in his writing In his first attack on the "Scientific Defense of Imperialism ," ( chapter two of the second part of Imperialism) he stated "It is only natural that the laws of individual and specific progress so clearly discerned in other parts of the animal kingdom should be rigorously applied to man "11 Echoing Spencer Hobson saw evolution as more than a biological theory; it was the motor of society Everything evolved: individuals societies governments moralities, even economies. It was Hobson s conviction that in addition to all these various evolutions being intertwined they could all be studied and measured; moreover they could be changed Here is a crucial point wherein Hobson differs from Lenin Hobson s absolute faith in the 74 Social Liberal R Burden

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UCD Historical Studies Journal fungibility of his organicism did not allow him to become a revolutionary Instead of a purgative revolution Hobson hoped to re-center the ideology of the left to a point somewhere between laissez-faire liberalism and state controlled socialism. He wanted to reform liberalism and "foster a sense of citizenship and community where social harmony would prevail and communal individual 'self-realization would flourish "12 Hobson's attack on imperialism is very much in this vein. He condemned imperialism but not capitalism Instead he insisted that by re-applying certain liberal principles and allowing others to wither away, not just capitalism but all of society could be reformed Hugh Dalton (Chancellor of the Exchequer 1945-1951 ) pointed out that "Mr. Hobson is somewhat obsessed by the organic "13 Hobson s obsession, while at times tedious is easily understood ; his world was a dynamic one The period from 1858-1940 is virtually unparalleled in terms of exponential change. Evolution explained everything because seemingly everything was evolving Technologies were exploding and industries were expanding at an alarming rate ; progress was manifest. Hobson s organicism allowed him to soothe the Liberals while at the same time altering many of their fundamental beliefs Hobson argued that imperialism was atavistic and capitalism was unreformed but "Collectivist measures did not have to be regarded as exceptions to laissez-faire Instead they could be seen as a natural' outcome of human evolution 14 The age of competition which had impelled Britain to the top of the economic ladder in the middle of the nineteenth century, rapidly gave way in the 1870s to the age of combinations Hobson reasoned that this change was organic and although unavoidable should be controlled and shaped ; progress need not be random. He also saw in this change in capitalism the basis for most of society's ills and for imperialism in particular. The poor worked harder for less while the rich strove to find new markets for their surplus capital This terribly redactive statement of Hobson s very complex theory nevertheless contains the essence of his theory of underconsumption Townshend argued Hobson's theory of underconsumption was "only one element within his organic socio-economic philosophy ; "1 5 while this is certainly true it nevertheless forms the foundation of his economic arguments in Imperialism and remains the basis for his heresy against nineteenth century economic orthodoxy. The theory first appeared with Hobson s name attached to it in 1889 when he published, along with A. F. Mummery a tract entitled The Physiology of Industry Contrary to Say's Law, the dogma of nineteenth century economics which stated that supply created its own demand Hobson and Mummery argued that capitalism was not a self-equilibriating system Hobson observed an imbalance between saving and spending People were he argued in the "habit of saving" too much thus reducing the demand for goods by taking expendable income out of circulation. Hobson further developed this theory in The Ph y siology of Industry and equated oversavings with a "maldistribution of surplus. "16 Hobson claimed that where the price of labor was cheap and raw materials plentiful profits went into the hands of the captains of industry who used them to open new markets instead of reinvesting them at home Social Liberal R Burden 75

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Thus underconsumption as characterized by Hobson was both an open attack on the Protestant ethic of thrift and because it was equated with a "maldistribution of surplus" was also responsible for poor wages and unemployment. In Hobson s view capitalism, far from being self-equilibriating was doomed to cycles of depression. For Hobson underconsumption was as much a moral problem a s an economic one and fed what he called "the taproot of Imperialism "1 7 The most dynamic example of Hobson s theory of underconsumption was the United States and many similar theories developed there. Predominant among the theorists was H Gaylord Wilshire a Marxist and an acquaintance of Hobson s Hobson echoed Wilshire s article "The Significance of the Trust "18 when he wrote in Imperialism The United States with her unrivaled natural resources her immense resources of skilled and unskilled labour her genius for invention and organisation developed the best equipped and most productive manufacturing economy the world has yet seen ... Fostt:red by rigid protective tariffs her ... manufactures shot up in a single generation. and, having passed through a period of intense competition attained a power of production greater than has been attained in the most advanced industrial countries in Europe The power of production far outstripped the actual rate of consumption and contrary to the older economic theory was unable to force a corresponding increase of consumption by lowering prices. 1 9 Tremendous growth in a very short time put a vast amount of wealth into the hands of a very few; what to do with it all? Here Hobson contended was the maldistribution of surplus. Instead of pumping capital back into the home economy and lowering prices by raising real wages of workers the captains of industry set out to force open new markets for their surplus goods and capital "It was Messrs. Rockefeller, Pierpont Morgan, and their associates who needed Imperialism and who fastened in upon the shoulders of the great Republic of the West. "20 It was also the increased competition from the United States and Germany that drove England away from free trade and into a frenzy of protectionism and imperialism. It is interesting to note that before Hobson wrote Imperialism, surplus capital was viewed as an argument in favor of imperialism. Both Cecil Rhodes and Joseph Chamberlain used it to muster support for their imperialist and protectionist policies What Hobson did then was "counter the economic theory offered by the imperialists themselves "2 1 In other words prove that home markets were infinitely expandable and the imperial solution to surplus capital was fallacious and ultimately bad for business Fortunately for Hobson history provided a devastating example "The Boer War22 was both a turning-point in my career Hobson said, "and an illumination to my understanding of the real relation s between economics and politics which were to occupy so large a place in my future work "23 The Boer War 76 Social Liberal R. Burdell

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Britain dances with her empire. (From: Punch, or the London Charivari, December 25, 1901.} Social Liberal R. Burden 77

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UCD Historical Studies Journal is one of the great watersheds of British history viewed as a turning point for the Empire as much as for Hobson It provided him the economic grist for his mill and acted as a catalyst for his attack on imperialism In March 1899 Hobson wrote an article called "Imperialism" for the Contemporary Review "which came before the eyes of L. T Hob house, then chief political leader-writer for the Manchester Guardian. "24 Hob house and the editor of the paper C P Scott sent Hobson to South Africa to observe the workings of imperialism first hand The effect of this was two-fold ; it gave Hobson "realistic support to economic opinions ... and plunged [him] for some years into the heated atmosphere of political controversy. "25 Hobson compiled the articles he had written for the Guardian into two books: The South African War (1900) an attack on the political economy of the B oer War; and The Psychology of Jingoism (1901), a penetrating analysis of "war s pirit" and mass psychology the latter heavily influenced by LeBon s The Crowd.'21> The next year Hobson combined both of these along with his other theories, into Imperialism: A Study. Although he claimed "When I wrote my volume on Imperialism I had not yet gathered into clear perspective the nature of the interactions between, economics politics and ethics "27 the beginnings are certainly there Imperialism contains all of his organicism, his underconsumption theory his work in South Africa and some inchoate concepts of internationalism Today the work can seem disjointed because its various chapters were written at different times and compiled from separate articles ; as Hobson said he had not gathered into clear perspective the totality of his arguments. If the totality appears unfocused however, the specif i c arguments are clear and devastating. While Imperialism is a full scale attack on contemporary policies Hobson did not condemn all forms of imperialism ; instead he began by drawing a fine distinction between colonialism and imperialism. "Colonialism where it consists in the migration of part of a nation to vacant or sparsely peopled foreign lands ... may be considered a genuine expansion of nationality a natural overflow of nationality ; "28 whereas imperialism was a bastardization of nationality i e the migration of part of a nation to a more populated region for the sole purpose of conquest and domination whether by economic political or in some cases educational or religious means Populating North America and Australia with misfits and criminals was according to Hobson natural and right but the assault on Africa and Asia was driven purely by dubious economic motives. He then offered the date 1870 as the dividing line between the old style colonialism and the "new imperialism. "29 The figures he cites as proof of this are quite persuasive ; "of the thirty-nine separate areas which were annexed by Great Britain after 1870 thirty-eight were listed as Crown colonies where the entire control of legislation was carried out by the Home Government in London. 30 These Crown colonies were not, Hobson contends, designed to ever achieve self rule but rather to be dominated and controlled by the Imperial government in perpetuity Hobson was accurate in his assessment of the changing nature of imperialism. The pace of imperial acquisition 7 8 Social Liberal R Burden

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UCD Historical Studies Journal certainly picked up after 1870 as can be seen in Lord Sailsbury's observation that "when he left the Foreign Office in 1880 no one gave a thought to Africa, when he returned in 1885, no one talked of anything else "31 The development of Combinations and Trusts in Germany and especially the United States increased their ability to challenge Great Britain for overseas markets particularly after 1870 London viewed this increased competition as a serious threat to British power abroad; more markets had to be forced open and Imperial tariffs employed in order to compete with the new continental giants or so ran the thinking of many renegade Liberal party members Hobson set about to counter this view Hobson agreed the nature of competition had changed but the reasons for advocating imperialism he contended were still wrong Imperialists argued that home market demands were fixed therefore any excess must find foreign markets or go unsold Hobson said nonsense ; there was no limit to home market demand, provided consumers had enough expendable income to support it. Furthermore the rapid growth of the Empire had not paid off with increased foreign trade profits. Trade both import and export was relatively flat throughout the last quarter of the nineteenth century; Britain was in a recession most of that time. The vast majority of trade was still done with the United States, Germany (the very countries Great Britain was in direct competition with) and the self-governing colonies already in the Empire prior to 1870 i e Canada and Australia The economic data that Hobson compiled simply did not justify the unprecedented expansion of Empire and echoing Cobden, Hobson concluded that "there is no support to the dogma that Trade follows the Flag'. "32 Nor was there any substantiation to the imperialist s argument that imperialism was an effective outlet for excess population. The figures Hobson compiled showed emigration declining slightly in the years 1884-1903 ; in addition, those who did leave were not going to the Crown Colonies but to the United States Canada and Australia. The first part of Imperialism : A Study "The Economics of Imperialism begins as all other parts of the hook do by summarizing the imperialists theories and then systematically knocking them down Backed by a wealth of economic data Hobson concludes Seeing that the Imperialism of the last six decades is clearly condemned as a business policy in that at enormous expense it has procured a small had unsafe increase of markets and has jeopardised the entire wealth of the nation in rousing the strong resentments of other nations we may ask, "How is the British nation induced to embark upon such unsound business?"33 Obviously someone was still making money from this "small, bad unsafe" venture; these people Hobson labeled the "Economic Parasites of Imperialism "34 As Hobson saw it "Certain definite business and professional interests [were] feeding upon imperial expenditure "35 The captains of industry the Rockefellers, the Rhodeses the members of what today would be called the military-industrial Social Liberal R Burden 79

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UCD His tori cal S tudi es Journal XHY -THB OR.BATEST SHOW ON F.A.RTR. .. --1llf: N .U..u:;t.Xtl(T ()f VJ.. rC:Ot
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UCD Historical Studies Journal complex the speculators and investors were the ones profiting from imperialism and consequently propagating it. Hobson claimed that the true motor of imperialism was the special interest investor ; that "banking braking bill discounting loan floating, company promoting form[ed] the central ganglion of international capitalism "3 6 and therefore imperialism It is the most open and damning attack Hobson makes in Imperialism; it is also to readers in the late twentieth century the most dismissable and disturbing Many advocates of the left today would go along with Hobson in decrying speculators and special interest investors the military-industrial complex, as their bete noir but few would have the temerity to argue that the speculators were : United by the strongest bonds of organisation always in closest and quickest touch with one another situated in the very heart of the business capital of every state controlled by men of a single and peculiar race who have behind them many centuries of financial experience.37 [emphasis added] Anti-Semitism was certainly prevalent in Britain m 1901 but to have it stated as bluntly as Does anyone seriously suppose a great war could be undertaken by any European state or great State loan subscribed if the house of Rothschild and its connexions [sic] set their face against it ?38 is shocking to our politically correct, late twentieth century sensibilities, and reminds us that we are reading a work written at the turn of the century While the anti-Semitism of Hobson s argument can be viewed as an obviously historical element, it is the simplicity of his conspiracy theory that undercuts many of the solid arguments previous to it. Up to this point Hobson consistently backs himself up with sound economic figures; here he only offers a common understanding--everyone "knows" that Jewish bankers are the real culprits. Anti-Semitism aside, it may still be appealing for some to agree with Hobson that many investors are "harpies who suck their gains from every new forced expenditure and every sudden disturbance of public credit ; "39 we cannot conclude based on the scanty evidence adduced by Hobson, that any kind of a conspiracy ever existed It is simply inconceivable that a group has ever existed that works together to drive the foreign policies of huge bureaucratic countries like Britain and the United States ; with only anti-Semitism as a foundation the conspiracy theory offered by Hobson falls apart and casts a pall of doubt over the more sound arguments in the book Nevertheless Hobson realized that while finance capitalists were the big villains of his piece, they retained tremendous popular support. In the second and longest part of Imperialism "The Politics of Imperialism," Hobson set out to destroy the popular misconceptions of imperialism then proceeded to prescribe solutions for Social Liberal R Burden 81

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UCD Historical Studies Journal the reformation of society. For Hobson, the Empire was an issue of quality versus quantity ; drawing on Ruskin's aphorism "There is no wealth but life, "40 he set out to attack "the modern obsession with quantitative as opposed to qualitative values. "4 1 Despite his puerile conspiracy theory the economics of imperialism remained indefensible; there was no need to force open new foreign ma r kets when home markets could be expanded indefinitely, "provided that the income' or power to demand commodities, [was] properly distributed. "42 The sociological factors that contributed to imperialism were harder to address. Social Darwinism had its effect on many areas of nineteenth century life not the least of which was imperialism. The "natural history" explanation for imperialism, the notion that Darwin s natural selection took place not only on a biological level but on a national level as well was the first at which Hobson took aim. Imperialism it was argued, was a natural extension of the phrase "survival of the fittest." The imperial countries were by nature more socially efficient and morally superior, and therefore had a duty to subjugate other "lower races." Hobson summed up this natural history fallacy by writing "In the history of man as throughout nature stronger races have continually trampled down, enslaved and exterminated other races "43 Further, he saw that, "This belief in a divine right' of force is primarily responsible for the transmutation of a natural history law into a moral enthusiasm. "44 The fallacy of this transmutation was further pointed up by Hobson as he extended his argument contending the more evolved man was the more rational he became and the more rational he became the less likely he was t o start wars of conquest. Land and food were not things civilized people fought over because technology enabled man to "gain what they wanted by conquering nature instead of conquering their fellow men. "4 5 If everything evolved as Hobson believed it did then surely morality was not exempt ; an advanced morality should not tolerate unjust wars, whipped up by wicked finance capitalists to line their own pockets. Hobson s attack on this "Scientific Defense of Imperialism," contains the seeds of his later work on internationalism. Similarly the "Moral and Sentimental Factors" of imperial i sm were dragged into the light by Hobson, and shown for the cheap fabrications they were. Hobson attacked the Yellow Press for aiding the imperialists in their plans by floating the theory of imperialism "on a sea of vague shifty well-sounding phrases which areseldom tested by close contact with fact. "46 He blamed the jingoistic imperialists for appealing to the basest emotions and for turning military debacles into points of honor. He attacked the so-called "Christian Imperialists who believed the "education" of the "lower races" in the morally superior ways of modern civilization to be their sacred duty Hobson argued "To step in and utilize natural resources which were left undeveloped [was] one thing to compel the inhabitants to develop them [was] another "4 7 [emphasis added]. Both were wrong and ex p loitative but the second Hobson argued was tantamount to slavery. The methods used by the Christian Imperialists" to bring the benefits of civilization to the "lower races" were highly suspect and morally repugnant to Hobson Removing indigenous people from 82 Social Liberal R Burden

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Great Britain performing her duty to the empire (From : Punch, or the London Charivari May 2, 1900.) Social Liberal R Burden 83

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UCD Historical Studies Journal their tribal life and teaching ( i.e. forcing) them to be wage earners s omething Hobson bad witnessed first-band in the diamond mines of South Africa or sending them away from their homes to work as "coolie" labor and o f course the most pervasive and consequently the most invidious form of control the imperial government imposed upon the "lower races" was the elaborate system of imperial taxation designed to make the natives pay for their own unasked for modernization Hobson is brutal in his attack on these hypocrites The finance c apitalists may have been steering the ship of imperialism but it floated on a vast sea of complicity. Economic parasitism encouraged by the elaborate apologetics of Social Darwinism and fed by jingoistic fervor bad created according to Hobson a potentially volatile political situation He argued "What actually confronts us everywhere in modern history is selfish materialistic, short s ighted national competition varied by occasional collusion. "48 For Hobson imperialism was economically disastrous morally untenable and politically very dangerous. The very notion of pax Britannica was ridiculous to Hobson This doctrine placed The entire military political and financial resources of this nation at the beck and call of any missionary society which considers it bas a duty to attack the religious sentiments or observances of some savage people or of some reckless explorer who choose s just those spots of earth known to be inhabited by hostile people ignorant of British power ; the speculative trader or the mining prospector gravitates naturally towards dangerous and unexplored countries where the gains of a successful venture will be quick and large .. Thus the most reckless and irresponsible individual members of our nation are permitted to direct our foreign policy. 4 9 This Hobson argued was not only silly and illiberal but dangerous. The doctrine of free trade held that individuals had the right to venture out and speculate on a quick return in foreign market s, but imperialism said that any one of those individuals could theoretically call on the British navy at any time to save them from their own personal folly Consequently imperialism became "the supreme danger of modern national states "5 0 It would be hard to argue that Hobson was not prescient in this regard Hobson believed the way out of imperialism was internationalism an i nternationalism (some would argue a utopia) we have yet to see. Hobson was no utopian dreamer but be did set his sights rather high. I n his work in internationalism, we can see the melding of nineteenth century liberal thought and twentieth century socialism Jules Townshend pointed out "Hobson s alternative to imperialism ... was a world polity of independent democratic self-governing states based upon free trade international arbitration and minimal intergovernmental relations "51 Genuine democracy was Hobson s path t o this idealized internationalism, and that meant taking power out of the bands of the special in t erests 84 Social Liberal R. Burden

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UCD Historical Studies Journal and putting it in the hands of the people. He advocated "the direction of public policy by the people for the people through representatives over whom they exercise real control. "52 He did not call for the end to the national state or for the workers of the world to unite regardless of national boundaries; Hobson believed that nationalism was an a priori component of internationalism "As individualism is essential to any sane form of national socialism so nationalism is essential to internationalism: no organic conception of world politics can be framed on any other supposition "53 Here we begin to see the bridge Hobson organically built between Liberalism and Socialism. The economic freedom of the individual is still celebrated and essential, but a moral imperative has been cast over the myopic views of the free traders; Hobson invited his audience to imagine individual and community as something other than mutually exclusive He called for a sane imperialism, what Townshend refers to as "a kind of internationa l welfare state, "54 what Hobson saw as an "organized representation of civilized h u manity. "5 5 Hobson s vision, in many ways, prefigured the League of Nations mandate system If his views on internationalism just taking shape in Imperialism seem naive yet somewhat draconian today (his descent into a defense of eugenics is as chilling as his lambasting of Jewish bankers) it must be remembered that he speaks to us from a previous century Naive though some of his ideas may be few others had attempted such a full sca l e attack on the pet ideologies of the nineteenth century or on the very essence of British glory itself. Today, Hobson has as many admirers as critics The statistics he offered as proof of the economic sources of imperialism have come under intense scrutiny. D. K Fieldhouse complained that Hobson did not give the figures for capital exported to other industrial nations or compare those figures with capital invested in new colonies. Fieldhouse felt that this essential element was conveniently missing from Imperialism as its inclusion would have destroyed Hobson s case That may be but Hobson never tried to prove that all capitalists were imperialists only that certain speculative capitalists were 56 Keynes' criticisms while not primarily concerned with Imperialism were more far reaching. Keynes argued that Hobson had mistakenly equated saving with investment. In Hobson's theory, recessions were the result of underconsumption brought about by oversaving and/or overinvestment. Keynes countered this by showing that economic crises were frequently brought about by underinvestment, and could be alleviated by either increased consumption concurring with Hobson or, running counter to Hobson by increased investment. 57 To say that Hobson was directly responsible for the development of the Kenyesian economic models is to give far too much credit to Mr. Hobson and far too little to Mr. Keynes truly one of the most brilliant minds of this century but their similarities and their differences must have played off well against each other The economics of Imperialism will always draw criticism for it is relatively easy to tear down and rebuild economic models ; what is less criticized is Hobson s attack on the moral and psychological aspects of imperialism. The sister work to "The Politics of Imperialism The Psychology of Jingoism reads like some very contemporary Social Liberal R. Burden 85

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UCD Historical Studies Journal theories of mass media and psychology In both Imperialism and Jingoism Hobson argued that information from the Yellow Press came in so fast, and in such quantities that the average person was incapable of processing it. "Opinions took root merely from the fact of their constant repetition, and public opinion was formed on precisely the same sort of evidence as was the belief that Colemans is the best mustard "58 In this Hobson was well ahead of his time. Hobson's prediction that imperialistic capitalism left unreformed would continue to cause bigger and more terrible wars was tragically realized His economic theories were rejected by the collapsing Liberal Party but taken up by the fledgling Labour Party destined to replace the Liberals as the party of opposition in the twentieth century His work on internationalism although flawed, helped pave the way for the League of Nations and the United Nations. As a critic of empire he has been superseded by more contemporary, more thorough and more inventive writers; he remains, however, one of the first. The power of his prose, the force of his arguments, and the courage of his moral convictions still persuade us today. Lenin, correctly, called him a "social liberal. "59 He retained the beliefs in individualism and free trade that were the hallmarks of nineteenth century liberalism, and combined them with a growing faith in Labour principles namely that work and profit should be of use, that capital should be re-invested in home markets in the form of wages and benefits, Just in proportion as the substitution of true national governments for the existing oligarchies or sham democracies becomes possible will the apparent conflicts of national interests disappear, and fundamental co-operation upon which nineteenth-century Free Trade prematurely relied manifest itself. 60 He urged people to broaden their concept of individual responsibility and to embrace social responsibility. He was a man both of and beyond his time; through his work he exhorted England to move from the "peace and prosperity" of the nineteenth century into the much more troublesome twentieth. 86 Social Liberal R. Burden

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Endnotes 1. J A. Hobson Imperialism: A Study (Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press 1965), p 3 2 Michael Freeden ed ., J.A. Hobson : A Reader (London: Unwin Hyman Ltd. 1988), p 17. 3. J.A. Hobson Confessions of an Economic Heretic (London : Allen Unwin, 1938), p.15 4 Ibid 5. Freeden p.2. 6. Ibid ., p.4 7 Ibid., p 5 8. Jules Townshend J A. Hobson (Manchester : Manchester University Press 1990), p.23 9. J .A. Hobson, Crisis of Liberalism ed. Michael Freeden (London : Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1988), p.65. 10. Townshend, p.27 11. Hobson Imperialism p.153 12 Ibid., p 25. 13. Townshend p.44 14 Ibid., p.45. 15. Ibid. p.70 16 Hobson Physiology of Industry quoted in Townshend, p 70 17. Hobson, Imperialism, p 71. 18 For a direct comparison of the two texts, see Norman Etherington, Theories of Imperialism : War, Conquest Capital (London: Croom Helm 1984) p.40 19 Hobson Imperialism p.74f. 20. Ibid. p 77. 21. Bernard Porter Critics of Empire quoted in John Allett, New Liberalism: The Political Economy of J A. Hobson (Toronto : Toronto University Press, 1981) p.148. 22. There were two Anglo-Boer wars 1880-81 and 1899-1902 It is the second to which Hobson is referring 23 Hobson, Confessions, p.59. 24. Ibid. p.60. 25 Ibid ., p 62 26 Gustav LeBon (1841-1931) was a French sociologist known for his study of the psychological characteristics of crowds and his elitist theories of social evolution La Psychologie des Fou/es was published in 1895 and remains a pathbreaking book in the field of mass psychology (Townshend p 106) 27. Hobson Confessions p.60 28 Hobson Imperialism p 6f. 29. Ibid., p 27 30 Ibid p.23 Social Liberal R Burden 87

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UCD Historical Studies Journal 31. Muriel Chamberlain 'Pax Britannica ?' British Foreign Policy 178 9 1914 (London: Longman 1988) p.l46. 32 Hobson Imperialism p 33. 33. Ibid. p.46 34. Ibid 35 Ibid ., p.48. 36 Ibid ., p.56 37. Ibid ., p.57. 38. Ibid. 39 Ibid ., p.58. 40. John Ruskin Unto This Last (Lincoln: University of Nebra s ka Pres s, 1967 ), p 88 41. Townshend, p.l04. 42. Hobson Imperialism p.8 8 43 Ibid ., p.l56. 44. Ibid. p.l57. 45. Ibid ., p.l84. 46 Ibid ., p.206. 47. Ibid ., p 228 4 8 Ibid. p.241. 49. Ibid. p.356f 50 Ibid. p.360 51. Townshend p 107 52 Hobson Imperialism p 360 53. Ibid ., p 362. 54. Townshend p 10 8. 55 Hobson Imperialism p 232. 56. Allett p l51. 57 Townshend, p.73 5 8. Allett p l60. 59 Freeden p .l7. 60. Hobson Imperialism p 363 88 Social L i beral R. Burden

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UCD Historical Studies Journal Bibliography Allett, John New Liberalism : The Political Econom y of J A. Hobson. Toronto : University of Toronto Press 1981. Chamberlain Muriel E. Pax Britannica?' British Foreign Policy 1789-1914. London: Longman 1988. Etherington Norman. Theories of Imperialism: War Conquest and Capital. London : Croom Helm 1984 Freeden, Michael, ed. J. A. Hobson : A Reader London : Unwin Hyman 1988 Hobson, J A. Imperialism: A Study. London : George Allen Unwin 1938; reprint Ann Arbor : University of Michigan 1965 ____ Confessions of an Economic Heretic London : George Allen Unwin 1938 Ruskin, John "Unto This Last." Cornhill Magazine (1860) ; reprint Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967. Townshend Jules J A. Hobson Manchester: Manchester University Press 1990. Social Liberal R Burden 89