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The CHAIRMAN. We will ask you not to take up too much time with the witnesses. Of course, we want to let you make
your statement within a reasonable time, but daylight will be coming after a while and, of course, we want you to be as brief as possible.
Reverend DEVAUGHN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, and you honorable gentlemen of the committee The CHAIRMAN (interposing). You have previously affirmed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth before this committee, and what you are about to say is under oath.
Reverend DEVAUGHN. Mr. Chairman and you honorable genlemen of the committee, I first want to say that Dr. Waldron's secretary called me up at 3.30 this afternoon and said that he had forwarded his statement, and I would like to hear that statement read.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to state that it will not be necessary for people who have filed statements to repeat here what may be in those statements. If they have anything additional, of course we shall be glad to hear them, but we do not want repetition.
Reverend DeVaughn, I might say, Mr. Chairman, I overlooked something.
Now, Mr. Chairman and you honorable gentlemen of the committee, I represent 3,786 residents of the courts and alleys, and I am here to represent them legally, morally and religiously. In addition to that. I represent 2,825 of my race who live on the streets of the District, and I hope that the representatives of the papers, the various presses here in the District of Columbia, will quote me in what I am saying,
I am here without prejudice, without feeling, and I am here in the interest of honest humanity. That is what I am here for. There is not a nickel behind me. I paid $1.70 to be driven up here Monday night, and I got out of my sick bed to get here. I have not recorered from the grip, the influenza. I have the same thing to-night, but I called up my doctor and asked him whether it was advisable for me to be here; and he told me to be careful.
I want to start off first, as I said, without prejudice and without feeling. I am here in the interest at honest humanity, which God command. That is all I am here for.
Secondly, I want to say that I know 15 real-estate men in Washington that are as honest as a good timepiece. I want that to be known. And I know, on the other hand, that we have had since 1914 a lot of inexperienced, theoretical fellows that have got into the real-estate business that have served notice on our pockets that we must become paupers. I want to say that.
Now, let us see if we can not find out whether this is true or not. We have Snow Row, in my immediate neighborhood, about two blocks from me, where the rents have been raised since June, 1924, from $7 to $25, and not $7 worth of improvements have been made. That is the condition we are having. That is Snow Row, bound by K and I Streets and between Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth.
Then we have Phillips Court, bound by Twenty-fifth and Twentyfourth Streets and N and M, and I wish, Mr. Chairman, and you honorable gentlemen of the committee, that you would have an opportunity to go in there and look at those God-forsaken shacks they are asking $14 a month for.
And yet they rise up and say, “We are fair and impartial.”
Now, this is a fifth-grade scholar talking to you gentlemen, but I thank God that I am graduated from a common sense college, which is the capital of all education. Don't forget that.
Then, let us go into Johnson's Court. We have Johnson's Court, where the rents have been increased from $8.50 to $15.58, and one tenant there they made pay the water rent when they are charging him 50 cents a month for the water rent.
Then they say, “We are impartial and fair. We are not doing
Then we come to South Capitol Street and M, with the God-forsaken frames on the southeast side, cold as an iceberg, ranging anywhere from $22 to $25.50, and the wife has got to put on a wrap to go out in the kitchen.
And they say, “We are fair and we are impartial.”
Then, on N Street, between Second and Third SW., Mrs. Whistle was set out of doors because she failed to sign an agreement for an increased rent, and her furniture remained outside on the pavement for 10 days and nights. There are not 15 houses in the District of Columbia, covering the old-fashioned border line from Florida Avenue to the Potomac, bound by Georgetown and P Street bridge going down to Potomac Park, that are for rent to any laboring negro or any poor man.
And yet they say, “ There are plenty of houses-plenty of houses." I hope they are here to hear me.
I called up Boss & Phelps. “Have you any houses for rent for colored people?
“ We have one."
I called up Caywood Bros. & Garrett. “Have you any houses for colored people?"
"We haven't any for colored people, except two flats at the extreme end of A Street SE.”
Which is way down there on the marsh, by the jail, a mile from any street car, $27.50.
I called up Moore & Hill. “I have not a thing."
Now, Mr. Chairman and you honorable gentlemen of the committee, all of these calls of which mention is made here now under oath were made from 5 minutes to 3 to 3.45, repeatedly, over my phone, West 2738. “What have you?”
“I have not a thing for colored people,” or “ The property I now have for colored people is held by tenants of many years. I do not know when I will have any."
A lot of testimony, Mr. Chairman and you honorable gentlemen of the committee, has been placed before you in reference to apartment houses by school teachers, Government clerks, and others, and I am with them, and I want to call your attention right here to one of the most important facts, and you watch me and see if I do not bring it to a point.
When a man, Mr. Chairman and you honorable gentlemen of the committee, has grown for many years and has come up through prosperity and unlawfully and maliciously takes the life of a citizen, when he finds that the grand jury of the community holds him for murder in the first degree, he resorts to every reputable citizen with whom he has come in contact before as a character witness to bring his crime down at least to second degree murder.
Now, the Tenants' League of the District of Columbia has indicted two-thirds of the real-estate men of Washington, and have brought in these charges against them of murder in the first degree, and they have resorted to every State in the Union to come to their rescue before you in order to bring that crime down at least to second degree of murder to save themselves from the gallows.
I am a Southern-bred boy and born a slave. Let us see what is the result. What are we charging them with?
I charge them with first-degree murder on the pockets of the poor people, white and black, of the District of Columbia. They are guilty and indicted on those three questions. They are guilty of first-degree murder on our purses.
Now, I see where you have testimony here that there are 3,772 apartments and houses for rent in Washington. There is not a poor white man that can rent one of them. There is not a railroad man that works for the Capitol Traction Co. or that works for Swift & Co. that can rent one of those apartments, and you know it.
But that same man that is living in the house that he ought not to pay more than $15 a month for you are charging $30, to bring up the rear end of your vacant apartment houses in order that you might have a nice increase to pay your servants and your automobile and
your gas bill at the end of the month at the expense of the poor people.
I want you to hear me this evening; I am able to figure this thing out. The Congressman and the Senators, the judges and their surroundings, buy porterhouse steak and pay 75 cents for it, and the butcher gets back the price of his beef and a good profit on his money, and we buy the pigs' tails and pay for his wagon and the rent of his store and the taxes on his property.
Did you ever stop to think of it? The poor man brings up the rear end. And yet, “We are fair, and we are impartial. Where?
There is not a thing in the world to laugh at. These are facts.
Now, let me pay my respects to the landlords. Then I want to say something about a certain real-estate man in this city and I am going to put a witness on the stand in a few minutes. That man is using a negro, one of my own race, to dispose of his own color, to say that he has bought the house. That shows you another piece of robbery and we are going to put that fellow in jail. We are on his tracks and he will go to jail just as sure as heaven is high.
Now, Mr. Chairman and honorable gentlemen of the committee, I was raised of a Virginia family not of class, not of kind, but of quality. You may imagine I am colored inside and always, but I want you just to look at me. Now, we have three classes of people--quality, class, and kind. The real-estate people make up the kind with the exception of a few. Their attitude places them in that class.
Now, let me call your attention to 2622 Twenty-sixth Street. The distinguished honorable Senator invited me back here to-night on this statement as to whether or not there was any prejudice on the part of the real-estate men in renting property to colored people in this city. I want to say to you, Mr. Chairman and you honorable gentlemen of the committee, that there is, and I am in a position to prove every word I say.
Nos. 2622, 2624, 2626, and 2628 covers property that was in the hands of one of the most clean white men that ever walked this globe. When I wanted to buy it he sold it. The assessor's value on the property was $2,250 in the District Building, and I went and got it myself from the tax office. Mr. King sold it for $3,000, each house. His address is 1442 Rhode Island Avenue, as clean a white man as ever walked the face of God's earth.
Do you hear what I say!
One of the representatives from that office came to my apartment. 2620 K Street, the DeVaughn Apartment House, although I do not own it, but is is named after me. He said to me, since the 14th of September, 1924, "If you will get the tenants that you put in that house eight years ago to agree to pay $3,700 for it, you will make $200 for yourself." “No, sir; nothing doing; ain't a thing doing. I am not in the
That is just the answer that I made him. Just previous to that I am a little hasty-I made him an offer on it for a colored home for a colored institution. I made him an offer of $3,150. He dare not take it, and he sold it for the same price, plus $56, that he bought it for, and in November there was a sign on it that it was to be sold at auction, and I made an inquiry and they said that th're was a $2,000 trust on it, and the same representative came back to me and asked me to get $4,500 for it and I would make $300 on the deal.
Yet they say, “We are not taking advantage of anybody; everything is all honest."
Now, let us, if you please, and I believe my son will correct me if I am wrong, take No. 2612. Mr. Johnson lives there, and the tenant in that house for two years has been asking to have improvements made. Finally the mother of the son decid d to get married on the 18th of November, and he borrowed my tools and plastered and papered the house, and when he went down to pay the rent he told the landlord concerning it and the house was sold over his head and ho was forced to move winter before last, and I got the evidence to-day from the colored woman that is in the house and was supposed to have bought it, and they agreed to pay $40 a month for it. This was done through a colored man who is supposed to be the owner and who the real-estate men are using as a monkey to pull the chestnuts from the fire.
I will soon be through, g ntlemen. But we are going to put him in jail.
I think one of the gentlemen said I should have a half hour, and I am going to hold you to your terms and use my half hour.
I hope before you go behind your executive doors into executive session I may be at your leisure. Any time you want me, I will be glad to com: and if I do not show you some of the most disgraceful
things in the way of property in the city of Washington that is rented to colored people and what you call, with all due respect to them, poor white folks, I will make the tears run down your cheeks. Outdoor lavatories, sewers busted—I wish you could go out and see these things since last night. Cellars have water in them as high as this chair, where the water has run down. I willø take you to 520 E Street, beginning at 520 and going to 521, on the south side of the street, and show you where they pay $35 a month and not a decent latrobe in it and not a range in it. If you do not sign, “Get out”—and yet they say, “We are partial: we are nice.” but God help you when you strike your dying bed.
The Bible has said, I want to say to you gentlemen, “He that measures out a quarter of a peck to his brother of his labor, it shall come back to him by hogsheads.".
It is coming back to you, too. I am quoting the Scripture. You told me to go to school, and you prepared the school and I am reading to you the stuff that you printed. We did not print it. You printed it and it is up to you.
Now, we have another Scripture, Mr. Chairman and you honorable gentlemen of the committee:
“ Except you turn back to your first works and do them over again, you can no wise see the kingdom of God."
Taking communion, that will not help you, nor going to church. “Not every one shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father."
You had better do the will of your Father and help these people out.
Let us get back to Logan Place. I wish you could go over there. Praise God, I wish I could take this committee over to see Logan Place. You would not think it was named after General Logan. If somebody would go to him and tell him that the place was named after him, he would say, “Lord Jesus, let me come back to heaven." The rents have been raised from $7.50 as high as $25.50 and not $25 worth of improvements have been done.
Now, let me go back and pay my respects to the constitutional rights; then I will close with another speech. Now, here is a house, 1000 Twenty-sixth Street NW., which I have been trying to buy for three months for the colored courts of the District of Columbia. They say, “We are fair and we are impartial.” The commissioners set the rent on that house in 1924 at $50. John T. Allen, from North Carolina, rented it, and it was sold one month later to an unknown Jew in the Bond Building. A lady who was represented as his clerk reported in his absence that the A. P, had bought the building and desired the lower part for a store. Please make note of this, you men on the papers. If I should be arrested, you would make note of the fact that I was arrested, so please quote just what I am saying:
He was notified-Mr. Allen-by the unknown Jew to move up everything he had to the second floor, and the third floor would be his.
66 What about the rent?"