Our Uncrowned Hero
From the New York Journal.
A Negro is a National hero today.
He is James Parker, the giant who
hurled himself on the would-be assassin at Buffalo and kept him
from firing a third shot that might have proved fatal.
All America is eager to know about
him. At the Executive Department, Washington, it is suggested that
the people reward him.
Savannah, Ga., where he was once a
constable, with a fine record, is proud of him.
All of the colored people are elated
that one of their race should have saved the President.
For the first time, Parker today gives
to the world, through the Evening Journal, a detailed account of
the thrilling scene.
His story was modestly told, but it
gives a most vivid description of the historic scene. Here is his
version of the shooting:
I believe that I saved President
McKinley’s life in preventing the third shot from Czolgosz’s smoking
I do not make this statement for glory,
but because I believe it is best for the public to know and for
any small honor that may come to the race to which I belong.
I would have tried to save any man’s
life, but I would have given my life for that of the President and
truly believe that if the third shot had been fired it would have
lodged in my heart instead of the President’s. 
As it is I am glad beyond description
that I was placed in such a position and at such a time. I can’t
tell the feeling that comes over me whenever I think that it was
I who stood behind the assassin and that I was the first to strangle
his uncompleted crime.
To the Evening Journal I make this
statement, believing it will present matters in their proper light.
I seek no popularity nor wealth; it is sufficient that I did what
The deed was done so quickly that
it blinds me when I think of it, and I am surprised at myself that
I did not lose my nerve. I acted on the moment and I believe to
the best effect.
I was curious and anxious to shake
hands with the first man in the land. I admired him and was glad
of the chance to show my deep feeling for him. The Temple of Music
was crowded and it was with great difficulty that I pressed my way
through the throng. I noticed no one until I passed single file.
Here for the first time I noticed
There was a woman with a little girl
close beside me, and in the struggle she shoved me aside to let
this man between us. I do not mention this as of any moment, but
as I remember the incident.
I was as anxious as Czolgosz to see
the President, and I crowded forward, but he slipped in front of
me and so we passed up the line.
We were close together, I can’t say
now whether I noticed the bandage over his hand, but I saw that
he was nervous, as he kept tramping on my toes and brushing his
right arm against me.
The President was now but a few feet
away from me. The woman shook his hand, and the little girl paused
a moment, smiled, then hurried on to catch up with her mother.
The President looked at Czolgosz with
a sympathetic eye, and at the same moment my eye caught sight of
the bandaged hand. Almost instantly there were two reports like
the explosion of a firecracker under a tin can. Bang! Bang!
Like a flash the realization went
over me, and the last report had hardly time to die away when I
snatched Czolgosz on his right shoulder with my right hand and flung
him half facing me, at the same time endeavoring with my left hand
to knock the smoking pistol from his hand.
“You scoundrel!” I cried, “you’ve
shot the President!”
I saw nothing then but the wild look
in the face of the assassin. I closed upon him, my right hand clawing
at his throat. His head went back and his eyes protruded.
I tore at him like a wild beast. Tighter
and tighter my fingers worked into the soft skin of his throat.
His tongue stuck out. There was a low gurgling in his throat. His
lips moved. I thought I heard him mutter, “I did my duty.”
Some one was snatching the revolver
and handkerchief from his hand, but I saw nor heard nothing but
the terrorized face before me and the furor of those about me.
Down we went in a death struggle for
he was as strong as an ox and had I been a smaller man he would
have overpowered me. As it was I clung on to his throat while the
crowd closed in around.
In such scenes one’s mind sometimes
runs blank. Mine went blank for a moment, and was not myself until
I looked about and saw Czolgosz pinned to the floor, the blood streaming
from his nose, and heard the wild cries of the women.
I looked up and saw the President
sinking into a chair. His face was like a sheet and he struggled
for breath. My heart sank within me, for I thought he was dying.
But it was soon over and I found myself
alone in that terror-stricken crowd. The next day I heard that the
newspapers said a Negro had dropped down on the assassin as if he
had fallen from the dome.
That Negro was I. But I have said
nothing, and do not care to commit my- 
self except the story I have told. The truth will come out on the
That President McKinley is still
alive is due first to the quick heroic conduct of James Parker,
a colored man, and second to the prompt action of experienced surgeons
who operated carefully and successfully. A third shot from the assassin’s
pistol would have penetrated the person of the President if Jim
Parker had not hit the hand that held the pistol a blow, throwing
it upward, grabbing the assassin by the neck with the other hand,
and hurling him to the floor of the Exposition Temple of Music.
There was danger in this act of Jim
Parker, but he did not hesitate on that account. With characteristic
fearlessness, with dare-devil recklessness, he stretched out his
brawny arms to save the President of the nation.
Secret service men, soldiers, detectives
were standing all around, but it was Jim Parker whose timely blow
saved the President’s life. It was Jim Parker who thrust his burly
form right in the teeth of danger, thinking of nothing, caring for
nothing except to preserve the President’s life.
Jim Parker was born in slavery. He
was emancipated by Abraham Lincoln. 
In Buffalo he was a waiter in one of the exposition restaurants,
receiving the munificent sum of $5 a week for his services.
When Roosevelt climbed the hill at
San Juan those who followed most closely his leadership were men
of the colored race. In writing of that experience, Roosevelt says:
“Those colored boys seemed to fear no danger. The hotter the fight
the quicker they hurried toward the enemy. Men were being shot down
all around them. Many of their companions lay upon the ground in
Nobody saw the back of a black man
in that fight at San Juan hill unless he approached from a direction
opposite to that from which the enemy came.
No wonder the people of this country
are talking of performing some act that will show to the world their
appreciation of Jim Parker’s brave conduct at Buffalo. That man
deserves the applause of the nation and he also deserves a more
substantial recognition than mere applause can give him.
This miserable assassin was allowed
the full privilege of citizenship in Cleveland, the city in which
he resided. His vote counted for as much as that of any other citizen,
but Jim Parker’s brothers, uncles and cousins in the South are disfranchised.
They are not allowed to 
vote, and before the right to vote was denied them their ballots
were not counted.
When Jim Parker lived down South with
the other members of the Parker family his vote wasn’t counted,
if he was allowed to deposit it, and on several occasions he was
personally driven from the polls.
Anarchists in this country are received
into full citizenship, and exercise freely and without obstruction
the rights of the ballot. But the blacks in the South, thousands
of them born in the United States, are denied the right of suffrage.
This is not the time to extensively
discuss the race question, or the conditions which prevail in the
South, but it is a good time to remember that when a black man is
in a position requiring brave allegiance to the best principles
of government, when he is in a position where his strength is needed
to protect the people of this country from bodily harm, he is never