Black History Month: “Negro Subversion”

March 8, 1918

From: Chief, Military Intelligence Branch, Executive Division

To: Captain Roy F. Britton, Boatmen’s Bank Bldg., St Louis, Mo.

Subject: Charlie Williams (colored)

1. The above is employed as a porter-janitor at St Louis Union Station, 18th and Market St., St. Louis, Mo.

2.   About 45 years old, very black, about 5 feet 4 inches, weight about 175 pounds.   He cleans and sweeps floors in Union Station, always on second floor, west wing of building, between the hours of 7 and 8:30 A.M.

3.  Reported to be decidedly pro-German.   Reticent in speaking freely except with those he thinks he can trust.  Boasts taht the German army will “take care” of the American soldiers.  Also that the American Army will lose the war and the Germans win.

4.  Believed to be prejudiced against American Army on account of the execution of negro soldiers in the Houston riots.

5.   Is not considered a dangerous character but might be susceptible to  German influence, and is too free in his speech.

6.  An immediate invesigation and report on the above is requested.

R.H. Van Dorman,

Colonel, General Staff.


Henry T.  Hunt,

Captain,  Inf., U.S.N.A.

Transcription of letter found in files of Military Intelligence Division
Publication Title: Correspondence of the Military Intelligence Division Relating to “Negro Subversion”, 1917-1941
Content Source: NARA
Content Partner: NARA
Source Publication Year: 1986
Footnote Publication Year: 2009
Record Group: 165
Footnote Job Number: 09-007
Language: English
Country: United States
File Number: 10218
Case Number Range: 101-150
Case Number: 10218-110
Date: March 5, 1918
Description: AV Burr, Supt. Pullman Co., St. Louis, MO to C, MIB. Re: Charlie Williams.

See the letter at

Part of the joint Archives Black History project, at


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