Source type: newspaper
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “Letter from Buffalo”
Author(s): Cozart, W. Forrest
City of publication: Indianapolis, Indiana
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 14
Issue number: 39
|Cozart, W. Forrest. “Letter from Buffalo.” Freeman 28 Sept. 1901 v14n39: p. .|
|James B. Parker; McKinley assassination (African American response); James B. Parker (rewards, expressions of gratitude, etc.).|
|Crispus Attucks; W. Forrest Cozart; William McKinley; James B. Parker [middle initial wrong below]; L. J. Rice.|
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.
W. FC .
Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 8.