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A Soldier Reports on Filipino Grievances

This anonymous letter, to the Wisconsin Weekly Advocate by a black soldier, probably from the 24th or 25th infantry, denounces the behavior of Americans in the Philippines following its acquisition from the Spanish. He states that having seen the abuses first hand, the grievances against the American occupiers are justified.

Editor, New York Age

I have mingled freely with the natives and have had talks with American colored men here in business and who have lived here for years, in order to learn of them the cause of their (Filipino) dissatisfaction and the reason for this insurrection, and I must confess they have a just grievance. All this never would have occurred if the army of occupation would have treated them as people. The Spaniards, even if their laws were hard, were polite and treated them with some consideration; but the Americans, as soon as they saw that the native troops were desirous of sharing in the glories as well as the hardships of the hard-won battles with the Americans, began to apply home treatment for colored peoples: cursed them as damned niggers, steal [from] and ravish them, rob them on the street of their small change, take from the fruit vendors whatever suited their fancy, and kick the poor unfortunate if he complained, desecrate their church property, and after fighting began, looted everything in sight, burning, robbing the graves.

This may seem a little tall-but I have seen with my own eyes carcasses lying bare in the boiling sun, the results of raids on receptacles for the dead in search of diamonds.
Source | Anonymous letter to the editor, Wisconsin Weekly Advocate (Milwaukee), 17 May 1900; in Williard B. Gatewood, Jr., "Smoked Yankees" and the Struggle for Empire: Letters from Negro Soldiers, 1898-1902 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1971).  
Creator | Anonymous
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | Anonymous, “A Soldier Reports on Filipino Grievances,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed February 23, 2024,

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