Letter from Buffalo
Editor Freeman—I am now in charge
of the Hotel Gibbs. I put in a crew of twenty-five colored waiters
in the place of white waiters Sept. 4, and they are giving general
satisfaction to both employer and guests. The Gibbs is strictly
on the European plan. Mr. L. J. Rice, formerly of Dayton, Ohio,
is my second.
A pall of deep grief and sorrow has
hung heavily over our city since the dastardly assassination of
our beloved president, of which you have read the full account.
There is just one important incident connected with the assassination
that the newspapers and the eye witnesses of the deplorable affair
have endeavored to keep in the back ground. I refer to the colored
man, James P. Parker, a waiter, who was the first man to lay hands
on the assassin. James P. Parker is a waiter employed by the Bailey
Catering Company, and wore his waiter’s jacket and badge at the
time he saved the president’s life. Mr. Parker was just behind the
assassin, and when the second shot was fired he clinched the villain
around the neck and forced him to the floor before the third shot
could be fired. At this juncture the secret service men, etc., rushed
in. James P. Parker was born in or near Atlanta, Ga.
It seems to be a strange coinstance
that, whether in war or in peace, the colored man is the first to
raise his brawny arm in defense of the government and its officials.
This is true from the day that Crispus Attucks, the Boston hero,
led the attack on the British soldiers down to the day that James
P. Parker, the colored waiter, save the life of President William
McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition. At first some of the local
papers failed to take any notice of the part Parker played in the
tragedy, but they have been forced to at least make a feeble acknowledgemene
[sic] of Parker’s bravery, just as they were compelled to give credit
to the heroism of the 9th and 10th cavalry in their famous charge
up San Juan hill. As soon as it was known that Parker had tried
to save the president’s life the gracious and patriotic citizens
bought the buttons off his coat as souvenirs, paying as high as
one dollar per button.
James P. Parker is a hero, and reflects
great credit upon our race, and the race should appreciate the same
by presenting him a gold medal. The same is true in regard to the
colored waiters. They should feel proud of James P. Parker and should
present him a gold medal. It was the colored waiters of Chicago,
Ill., that stemmed the tide that would have caused McKinley’s defeat
in that city last November, and it was a colored waiter that tried
to save President McKinley’s life on the 6th day of September.
As The Freeman is the official organ
of the colored waiters I would suggest that The Freeman open a book
and receive donations from the colored waiters and other hotel employes
[sic], the same to be used to purchase a suitable medal or
gift of honor for James P. Parker commemorating the fact that he
did on the 6th day of Sept., 1901, tried to save the life of William
McKinley, President of the United States in the Temple of Music
at the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition. I also authorize you to
draw a check on me for the sum of one to five dollars for same.
Anything that I can do to assist you in raising the above fund will
be freely done.
Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 8.