Wiberforce Alumni Letter
Written by Rev. G. Lincoln Caddell
St. Paul A M E Church
West Park, Cleveland, Ohio
October 22, 1940
The full text of the letter was transcribed December 6, 1995
As an alumnus of Wilberforce University, I am taking the liberty to write to you, along with other graduates and supporters of Wiberforce University, to call your attention to some facts that are matters of record relating both to the action and the attitude of Governor John W. Bricker adversely affecting the interest of Wiberforce University.
Among the first acts of Mr. Bricker on assuming the governorship was his approval of a "Ripper Bill," designed to pack the Trustee Board of the Combined Normal and Industrial Department of Wiberforce University with a State appointed board so large as to render futile any action, or influence, of the minority University-appointed trustees. Thus he destroyed a relationship that had existed for fifty years. The avowed purpose of this action was to get rid of the President of the University because he was a Democrat and had opposed the Governor's election.
Would Governor Bricker dare to take such action in regard to any other State educational institution: No, but this was a negro institution and he would play upon the jealousies and rivalries among the Negroes by the age-old method of using one group of Negroes to kill off another group of Negroes who were "distasteful to him" and toward whom "he felt vey bitter."
After the passage of the "Ripper Bill," the State Director of Finance telephoned the President and informed him that if certain teachers who had been dropped were not reinstated, reprisals would be taken. To emphasize this threat, the State Director held up the check for nearly one month to coerce the President into submission.
Both the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the State Senate and the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the House of Representatives called Bishop Ransom to Columbus and requested that he take steps to secure the dismissal of Dr. D. O. Walker as President, on the grounds that "Governor Bricker felt very bitter toward him." They promised if he would do this, they would take steps to restore $15,000 that had been diverted from the budget voted to Wilberforce University.
The trustees appointed by Governor Bricker voted such changes in the personnel of the heads of some departments that the University is now facing the risk of suspension by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The effort of more than twenty-five years of labor to get Wilberforce University accredited has now been put in jeopardy by the action of the Bricker controlled Board of Trustees, which completely dominates the academic personnel of the Combined Normal and Industrial Department.
You ought to know, moreover, if you have not already been informed, that when the appropriations were set up for the State universities for the 1939-40 biennium, the Bricker administration slashed the amount set aside for Wilberforce by the large sum of $44,462.02 less than was appropriated during the preceding biennium of 1937-38 under Governor Martin L. Davey.
Actions speak louder than words. Hence, I feel free to remind you that we should remember the facts in this letter when we go to the polls to vote on November 5, for we know that we in the future count on the fair treatment that we received in the past if Martin L. Davey is re-elected Governor.
[signed] G. Lincoln Caddell