Source: New York Herald
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “New York Negro Aided President”
City of publication: New York, New York
Date of publication: 8 September 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: 23757
|“New York Negro Aided President.” New York Herald 8 Sept. 1901 n23757: sect. 2, p. 5.|
|James B. Parker; McKinley assassination (African American response); McKinley assassination.|
|Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; James B. Parker.|
New York Negro Aided President
“Big Jim” Parker, Well Known in Tenderloin, First to Strike Down Czolgosz.
Because he preserved his presence of mind at
a crucial moment, preventing thereby the possible firing of a thirty calibre
shot at President McKinley, James B. Parker, a negro waiter, of this city, is
the hero of Buffalo.
His friends here, and they number nearly all the negroes in the Tenderloin, are rejoicing because one of their number, as they think, saved the President’s life, and because it was “Big Jim” Parker.
His courage and quickness in striking the revolver from the hand of Czolgosz, as it was raised to fire a third shot, is regarded by them as worthy of remembrance.
“Big Jim,” as he is familiarly known, was “sure to do something great,” they said yesterday, “for he was a man who did not know the meaning of fear and who could fight like a tiger.”
Measuring more than six feet in height and of proportionate build, Parker is regarded as a modern gladiator. Forty-four years of age, he is of a quiet disposition, never seeks a fight and is always cool of head when in a tight corner.
These characteristics stood him in good stead when he saw Czolgosz attempt to shoot the third time. Of all the men who were near President McKinley when he was shot, “Big Jim” was the first to act. He had just shaken hands with the President for the first time in his life, and he felt so proud that he paused a moment to watch the Chief Executive as he greeted others in the long line waiting to be received.
In that brief period the shots were fired. Parker l[e]aped upon the assassin before the last report had died away.
In the hands of the powerful negro the anarchist was as a child. Parker rained blow after blow on the man’s fa[c]e. Fortunately the detectives stepped in at this moment and rescued Czolgosz or he might have been killed.
Parker begged that he might be allowed to “finish his job,” and his friends here say they wish he had been allowed “to proceed.”
When in this city Parker lived at No. 117 West Twenty-ninth street [sic]. An excellent penman, he was accustomed, when not engaged as a waiter, to write cards. He was born in Savannah, Ga., and served as a letter carrier in that city.
About six years ago Parker was run down by a Sixth avenue [sic] car and seriously injured. Recently, it is said, he recovered $1,500 damages by suit.