Monday, November 5, 2018

Amanuensis Monday: A Protest Against Agitation Against Japanese Farmers - 1919

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I transcribe a newspaper transcript of a protest my maternal grandmother's father lodged with the agricultural department of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce against any agitation to keep Japanese farmers out of the El Paso valley. It's not clear if the newspaper included the entire text of the protest. Some of the language makes me cringe, but giving some leeway for the year, I am glad my great grandfather didn't fall victim to the xenophobia of his times.

Tue, Nov 18, 1919 – 8 · El Paso Times (El Paso, El Paso, Texas, United States of America) ·

A protest against any agitation to keep Japanese farmers out of the El Paso Valley has been lodged with the agricultural department of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce by M.E. Van Every, a farmer of the lower valley.

Is For Americans

“I want to say that I am an American and believe in America for Americans, or those who wish to become Americans,” he writes, “and believe in the uplifting of my own race. But when this race degenerates so that it fears that another race will crowd them to the wall as farmers, I say move to town and start an oil company and sell stock to the little yellow fellow while he tills the soil.”

Mr. Van Every declares that there is a great deal of room for improvement in the farming methods in the lower valley. He praises the work done by the Japanese in California, saying:

Likes Japs in California

“Take the Japs out of California and you have killed the goose that lays the golden egg. They have made farming in California what it is, and they have caused land values to go higher than ever before.

“’When the Japanese come the whites go.’ It is about as well to go if we can’t compete with another race. Perhaps if we whites, who depend on Mexican labor and our country merchant for a living, were to leave and give a class of people who will work their own farms a chance, not so many country merchants would go broke, and our valley would have the appearance of the valleys in California, and our own land would sell for what it is worth, and not for what we can get for it.

Hits at Birth Rate.

“It is an appalling fact that the birth rate among Americans is not what it should be, and I am glad to note that the Japanese as a race are not afraid of their birthrate. If we cannot compete with the Japs I for one am willing to throw up the sponge and leave it with them.”

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