Archer had been inundated with messages of goodwill from all over the world,
but he was shocked by the intense hostility his election also attracted
at home. At a meeting one month later at the Town Hall, his tone
is plaintive and angry -
"Do you know that I have had letters since I have been Mayor calling
my mother some of the foulest names that it is possible for a mother
to be called. ("Shame"). Before I was Mayor I received no opposition
on the Council. I have been made to feel my position more than any
man who has ever occupied this chair, not because I am a member
of the Council, but because I am a man of colour. My dead mother
has been called in question because she married a coloured man.
("Shame") Am I not a man, the same as any other man? Have I not
got feelings the same as any other? I may be wrong when I come here
and meet this opposition, but would not any other man in my position
think the opposition was because of his colour? If it's not then
I say, as a man, I apologise to you."
The hostility did not deflect Archer, however. By 1919 he had become an insider and a stalwart in the brew of local politics, and at the same time he was taking part in a spurt of black political activity. The African Progress Union was formed in 1918, to promote "the general welfare of Africans and Afro-Peoples", and on 16 June, in his capacity as President, he led a deputation to Liverpool to discuss the recent race riots in the city, and managed the Union's contribution to the fees of the Guyanese lawyer Edward Nelson, who defended the black men arrested in the Liverpool riots.
Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips
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