The expected attempt to “reach” Max Bornstein, the only Harlem business man with enough courage to testify in court against Sufi Abdul Hamid, Harlem’s so-called “black Hitler,” has materialized, it was learned yesterday.
Hamid, who according to his own declaration is a man of the utmost integrity, on Monday declared he would take no step to halt court action. Six hours later one of his agents blustered into Bornstein’s clothing shop at 2545 Eighth avenue.
Last Sunday, at an organization meeting of the Merchants Association of Harlem, formed to combat alleged coercive activities of Hamid in forcing Harlem Jewish business to hire members of his Negro Industrial Clerical Alliance, Bornstein was the only one to offer himself as a witness against Hamid.
The Bulletin reported the fact Monday, and a reporter called on the black fuehrer to learn his reaction.
“Are you going to make any attempt to ‘reach’ Bornstein?” the reporter asked.
“Of course not,” drawled Hamid, in his deep baritone. “Why should I be afraid of a court action? I’m a law-abiding citizen. I won’t do anything until I’m called into court. After all, what grounds would they have for action against me?”
“Attempted intimidation,” suggested the reporter.
“Don’t be silly,” said Hamid.
The same night, it was learned yesterday, one of Hamid’s burliest “representatives” came to the door of Bornstein’s shop and shouted, “Is Bornstein here?”
“I ignored him,” said Bornstein, who recently distinguished himself by capturing single-handed three armed bandits and who carries a revolver.
“Where’s Bornstein?” the Negro again shouted, entering the store.
“I’m Bornstein,” the storekeeper replied, “but you’ll have to speak like a gentleman if you want to talk to me.”
The man identified himself as George Boston and presented credentials signed by Hamid. He slapped down a copy of the Jewish Daily Bulletin and asked if the story of the intended court action was true.
“Sure it is,” Bornstein replied. “What about it?”
According to the merchant’s story, the Negro was a bit taken aback by his aggressive attitude, and his manner became meeker. He explained, Bornstein said, that Hamid had sent him around to “see about that court action.” After a long argument, Boston left, with Bornstein still firmly resolved to take action against Hamid.
Asked yesterday what charge would be invoked against the “black Hitler,” Bornstein said he could not divulge this until next week when he intends to swear out a warrant for Hamid’s arrest.
He said he is in daily conference with the officers of the Merchants Association and that he will make a complete statement as soon as all the evidence is collected.
A committee headed by Irving Waldman, a Harlem shoe-store owner, has been appointed by the Merchants Association to handle Harlem merchants’ complaints of picketing and intimidation to force employment of Negroes.
Mr. Waldman said arbitration will be attempted before court action is taken. The committee will meet a delegation of the Citizens Committee for Fair Play, Negro organization interested in obtaining the employment of Negroes in Harlem shops, to see to what extent Negroes can be employed.