Negro Policeman Kicked by Roosevelt’s Secretary. [caption title]


Unrecorded 1940 Republican U.S. Presidential campaign handbill or small broadside enlisting the Black vote issued in the aftermath of a “shocking ” and, as suggested here, racially motivated attack on an African American policeman who had been assaulted by the White House press secretary to Democratic candidate and incumbent, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The illustrated handbill, depicting the hospitalized policeman, Patrolman James Sloane, was reprinted from an article in the October 30, 1940 Chicago Daily Tribune. The closing line of the handbill is itself rather in the mode of the purported assault:  “New Dealers Have Been Kicking Negroes in the Groin for the Past 8 Years, but This Time We Have Caught Them.”

The article details an incident that occurred between President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s press secretary, Stephen T. Early, and James Sloane—one of the few African American policemen on the New York Police Department at the time—as Early and 35 members of the press attempted to catch a train in New York City’s Penn Station that FDR had already boarded. Early, who may or may not have shown his credentials, and who may or may not have been shoved back as he tried to muscle his way past the group of police officers guarding the train—later reports vary—but who definitely was known for having a volatile temper, kneed Sloane in the groin, hard, during the scuffle; Sloane had recently been operated on for a hernia and was put on bed rest for a week following the attack.

Republicans leapt at the chance to use the incident to try to sway the Black vote just days before the November election, as this flyer attests. The handbill characterized the assault as a “display of racial antagonism” and published condemnations of the incident: “I deplore this unpardonable action by one who is so highly placed in the Roosevelt administration and who is a southerner, as I am,” said John W. Hanes, trustee of Hampton Institute, Virginia and former New Deal undersecretary of the treasury. William J. Schlieffelin, chairman of the board of trustees of Tuskegee Institute declared: “Such a display of racial antagonism must arouse the indignation of white as well as colored citizens.”

Not located in OCLC.


Description: Negro Policeman Kicked by Roosevelt’s Secretary. [caption title]

[San Francisco Bay Area:] Distributed by Republican National Committee [1940]. [1]p. Small Broadside or Handbill. Approx. 11 x 8½ inches. Tan paper; printed in black. Two half tone illustrations. “East Bay Cities” union printing label or “bug” at lower right. Fold lines; toning; light creasing; Very Good.

[3729798]

Price: $150.00