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The Economics of Negro Emancipation
 in the United States
  — By W.E.B. Du Bois

Du Bois, W.E.B. "The Economics of Negro Emancipation in the United States." The Sociological Review, v.4,n.3 (October 1911): 303-313.

Online Source:
The article is viewable online at the Hathi Trust Digital Library: start page.

Robert Williams' Notes:
1. Du Bois was in England attending the First Universal Races Congress in the summer of 1911. He read a paper at a meeting of the Sociological Society (London) on 18 July 1911; the paper was subsequently published in the organization's Sociological Review.

2. Baudry Rocquin provides details on the Sociological Society in his thesis for a Master of Studies in Historical Research, entitled "'The Floating discipline': British sociology and the failure of institutional attachment (1911-1938)"  (unpublished M.St. Thesis, Oxford University, 2006), which is available at via a PDF file (~309 KB).

3. The American Journal of Sociology (January 1912) printed a summary of Du Bois's article as synopsized by "E.W.B." —probably Scott E. W. Bedford, an editor of the journal (as per its masthead). The summary was printed in the "Notes and Abstracts" portion of the "Recent Literature" section of the journal. It is presented below in its entirety and verbatim:
    The Economics of Negro Emancipation in the United States.—The economic status of the black freedman was the result of his lack of land and capital and of the high price of cotton. But Negro suffrage, in spite of its failures, made impos­sible the re-establishment of the old slavery, provided the begin­ning of education for the freedmen's sons and permitted the Negro to take the first steps toward economic freedom. The new disfran­chisement and the recent enactment of unfair labor laws has been engineered by the merchant class in order to secure its position as a middle exploiting class between landlord and laborer. At present, three classes of Negroes are to be dis­tin­guished: the semi-submerged group of 2,000,000 laborers, the emerging group of 1,200,000 workingmen, and the leading group of 250,000 independent farmers and merchants and professional men. Hope for the future lies in the perception by the intelligent American laborer of his common industrial cause with the Negro, in the physical virility, hard work, and dogged determination of the Amer­i­can Negro, as well as in the sympathetic attitude of the better class of Amer­i­cans.—W. E. B. du Bois [sic], The Socio­logical Review, October, 1911.
E. W. B.
Citation: E.W.B. "The Economics of Negro Emancipation in the United States." [Summary of W.E.B. Du Bois's article]. American Journal of Sociology, 17:4 (January 1912): p.565 [accessible at Google Books].

4. While attending the Universal Races Congress Du Bois delivered a speech at the Lyceum Club in June 1911. A transcription and further information are available on this website.
— Robert W. Williams, Ph.D.  [Bio]  


*A paper read before the Sociological Society, July 18, 1911. [— as the footnote indicated on p.303]
Few of us realise how much a visual image influences our thought even when we know the image to be fanciful or misleading. I take it that large numbers of people quite involuntarily visualize some sudden dramatic movement in the freeing of the American slave—the rattle of broken shackles, the trooping forth of myriads of singing men, and the like. There was, to be sure, something of the sudden and dramatic in the events of 1861-64, but they had little to do with the real movement. The real emancipation of the Negro slave was a slow, sombre course of events, beginning before the war and not yet ended; and its main points it is my task briefly to recapitulate here.
The main question of emancipation is, of course, not legal but economic; not the question as to when by enactment a certain organisation of human labour became illegal, but the deeper question as to the slow development of that organisation of labour from a primitive to a more advanced form. To follow this development we must first find a convenient starting point. This calls for a word as to what American slavery was, despite the triteness of the subject.
Foreigners, and even Americans themselves; are puzzled at the apparent contradictions of Southern slavery. We hear on the one hand of the staid and gentle patriarchy and the wide and sleepy plantations with lord and retainers, ease and happiness; we hear on the other hand of barbarous cruelty and unbridled power and wide oppression of men. Which is the true picture? The answer is simple: both are true. They are not opposite sides of the same shield; they are different shields. They are pictures on the one hand of house service in the great country-seats and in the towns, and on the other hand of the field labourers who raised the great tobacco, rice, and cotton crops. We have thus not only carelessly mixed pictures of what were really different kinds of slavery, but of that which represented different degrees in the development of the economic system. House service was the older feudal idea of personal retainership developed in Virginia and Carolina in the 17th and 18th centuries. It had all the advantages and disadvantages of such systems—the advantage of the strong personal tie, the disadvantage of unyielding caste distinctions with the resultant immoralities. At its worst, however, it was a matter primarily of human relationships.
Out of this older type of slavery in the northern South, there developed in the 18th and 19th century in the southern South the type of slavery which corresponds to the modern factory-system in its worst conceivable form. lt represented production of a staple product on a larger and larger scale; between the owner and labourer were interposed the overseer and the drivers. The slaves were whipped and driven to a mechanical task system. Greater and greater distance separated the master's home and the work fields, until at last absentee landlordship was common. It was this latter type of slavery that marked the cotton kingdom, and the extension of the area of the system South and West marked the aggressive world-conquering visions of the Slave Barons. On the other hand, it was the mild er and far different Virginia house service and the personal retainership of the town life, in which most white children grew up; it was this that impressed their imaginations and which they have so vividly portrayed. The Negroes, however, knew the other side, for it was under the harsher heartless driving of the fields that fully nine-tenths of them lived.
When the legal edict of emancipation fell suddenly on these two different forms of slavery; it found two tendencies. The house servant had been pushing steadily upward. He was often a blood relative of the master; he had in some cases learned to read and write despite the law; he managed to get hold of a little money as peculium, and he pursued such of the skilled trades as a simple agriculture and the rarer town life required. This class of men were a selected class and tended to gain their ends through the subtle cajolery of their masters; while the surplus children and those who revolted against slavery were sent to join the field hands in the lower South, to be beaten into submission and brutalised for the sake of a larger cotton crop.
So far as the great mass of people in the United States were concerned, the war had begun with no thought of emancipation. lt was the Negro himself who forced the issue in two ways. As black men had gained freedom before the war by running away to the North and Canada, now in larger and larger hordes they escaped to the nearer refuge of the invading armies. The armies did not know what to do with them. At first they sent them back, then they protected them. From this rose the second reason for emancipation, the use of the Negroes as soldiers. The northern free Negroes kept offering their services only to be told that this was a white man's war. But after about two years of this the white men were glad to accept 200,000 Black bodies to stop bullets. After these two developments emancipation was only a matter of time and appropriate excuse.
The Edict of Emancipation in 1863 led to three lines of development which we may designate as (a) the political result of the war; (b ) the economic status of the labourers; and (c ) the action of the landowner and capitalist. These lines of development were largely simultaneous in their action, but I am convinced that in the past much confusion has arisen by a failure to recognise clearly certain distinct lines of causation.
Much attention has in the past been given to the political results of the war. They were, of course, the more dramatic, and they caught particularly the world's attention because of the enfranchisement of the slaves. This phase of the economic situation need not hold us long, but it is necessary to seek to clear up certain persistent misapprehensions. Quite unexpectedly and without forethought the nation had crnancipated four million slaves. Once the deed was done, the whole nation was glad, and recognised that this was after all the only result of a fearful four years' war which in any degree justified it. But how was the result to be secured for all time? There were three possibilities: (1) to declare the slave free and leave him at the mercy of his former masters; (2) to establish a careful government guardianship designed to guide the slave from legal to real economic freedom; (3) to give the Negro the political power to guard himself during this development.
We are apt to forget that the United States Government tried each one of these in succession, and were literally forced to adopt the third because the first had utterly failed and they thought the second too costly. To leave the Negroes helpless after a paper verdict of emancipation was manifestly impossible. It meant that the war had been fought in vain. Yet under Lincoln's successor. the experiment was tried, and the result was a code of laws in nearly every southern State which granted the Negro nominal freedom but made economic freedom impossible by hindering his access to the land, curtailing his right to change employers and to freedom of wage contract, and by establishing a distinct labouring caste with restricted rights and privileges of all sorts and no prospect of any political rights at any future time. Even a slave trade was not impossible under the guardianship and vagrancy flaws. It needed but short experience of this so-called Reconstruction under Johnson to convince the nation that if the Negro was to have a chance to work out his freedom he must have protection. If the form of that protection had been worked out by Charles Sumner to-day instead of 50 years ago it would have been regarded as a proposal far less revolutionary than the state insurance of England and Europe. A half-century ago, however, and in a country which gave the laisser-faire economics their extremest trial, the Freedmen's Bureau struck the whole nation as unthinkable, save as a very temporary expedient and to relieve the more pointed forms of distress following war. Yet the proposals of the Bureau were both sirnple and sensible:—
1. To oversee the making and enforcement of wage contracts.
2. To appear in the courts as the freedmen's best friend.
3. To furnish the freedmen with a minimum of land and of
4. To establish schools.
5. To furnish such institutions of relief as hospitals, outdoor
  relief stations, &c.
How a sensible people could expect really to conduct a slave into freedom with less than this it is hard to see. Even with such tutelage, extending over a period of two or three decades, the ultimate end had to be enfranchisement and political and social freedom for those freedmen who attained a certain set standard. Otherwise the whole training had neither object nor guarantee. Precisely on this account the former masters opposed the Freedmen's Bureau with all their influence. They did not want the Negro trained or really freed and they criticised mercilessly the many mistakes of the new bureau. The friends of the freedmen found themselves between the devil and the deep sea. Their own doctrinaire democracy disposed them to look with suspicion on so socialistic an experiment, and here they found uncomfortable allies in the white South. It soon began to occur to many that the preliminary guardianship and training of the slave need not be done at public expense, but could be done by the Negro himself and by his friends as private enterprise. Four considerations impelled to this course:—
(a) The rapid advance of the house servant.
(b) The growth of private schools.
(c) The cost of the Freedrnen's Bureau.
(d) The difficulty of reconstructing the political South without
  friendly votes.
The house servant had started toward emancipation even before the war. He showed the possibilities of the mass of slaves so vividly that he was easily mistaken for the mass; leading on the one hand to expectations of rapid development much too sanguine for the mass of freedmen, and leading on the other hand in after years to quick and unjust condemnation for every failure. The North at first thought to pay for the main cost of the Freedmen's Bureau by confiscating the property of former slave owners; but finding this not in accordance with law they realised that they were embarking on an enterprise which bade fair to add many millions to the already staggering cost of the war. Meantime private philanthropy was pouring millions into the South and schools were starting everywhere. Finally, when they realised that the abolition of slavery could not be left to the white South and could not be done by the North without time and money, they determined to put the responsibility on the Negro himself.
It was without doubt a tremendous experiment but with all its manifest failure it succeeded to an astounding degree; it made the immediate re-establishment of the old slavery impossible, and it was probably the only quick method of doing this; it gave the freedmen's sons a chance to begin their education. It diverted the energy of the White South from economic development to the recovery of political power, and in this interval—small as it was—the Negro took his first steps toward economic freedom.
Much has been written which makes it appear that the enfranchised Negro threatened at first the whole fabric of civilization. It was certainly no fault of his training that, he did not, but as a matter of fact black legislators (to quote Judge Albion Tourgée, a white Northern man who worked with them) obeyed the Constitution of the United States:—
  They instituted a public school system in a realm where public schools had been unknown. They opened the ballot box and jury box to thousands of white men who had been debarred from them by a lack of earthly possessions. They introduced home rule into the South. They abolished the whipping post, the branding iron, the stocks, and other barbarous forms of punishment which had up to that time prevailed. They reduced capital felonies from about twenty to two or three. In an age of extravagance they were extravagant in the sums appropriated for public works. In all of that time no man's rights of person were invaded under the forms of law. Every Democrat's life, home, fireside, and business were safe. No man obstructed any white man's way to the ballot box, interefered [sic] with his freedom of speech, or boycotted him on account of his political faith.
The greatest tribute to their work is the fact that the main fabric of their legislation is still on the statute books of the southern States to-day. Moreover, the outsider must ask if the objection to the Negro voter was in the main to his ignorance why is he being disfranchised to-day when that illiteracy has been reduced from over 90 per cent. to less than 40 per cent. and when he has accumulated large amounts of property? The answer to this paradox lies, I think, in the study of the too other lines of development I have mentioned—the change in the status of the black labourer and the question of land and capital.

Du Bois cited this same quotation from Tourgee in several works: e.g., in his "Reconstruction and Its Benefits" [RAIB](American Historical Review; 15:4, July 1910; pp.781-799) and his Black Reconstruction in America (NY: Russell & Russell, 1962 [orig. 1935])[at p.621, n.559]. DuBois's source for Tourgee seems to be John. L. Love's "The Disenfranchisement of the Negro", which Du Bois's cited when using the quotation in RAIB as: "Occasional Papers of the American Negro Academy, no. 6, p. 10. Chicago Weekly Inter Ocean, December 26, 1890."[–As published orginally in RAIB at p.796]. John Love's essay is viewable at the Hathi Trust Digital Library (passage at pp.10-11) or can be accessed at Project Gutenberg (download page).
Secondary sources on Tourgée include:
1. Otto H. Olsen's "Albion Winegar Tourgée, 1838-1905" from William S. Powell (ed.), Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (U.N.C. Press, 1979-1996), a bio at the "Documenting the American South" website;
2. Russell Nye's "Judge Tourgée and Recon­struc­tion," Ohio State Archae­o­log­i­cal and His­tor­i­cal Quarterly, 50 (April-June 1941): 101-114;
3. Ted N. Weissbuch's "Albion W. Tourgee: Propagandist and Critic of Reconstruction," Ohio Historical Quarterly, v.70 (January 1961): 27-44.
In considering the status of the black freedmen there are two main considerations: the high price of cotton, and the fact that the slave was emancipated without being given a foot of land or a cent of capital. To be sure, a few received bounty money as soldiers in the war, and others as labourers in the camps. Then, too, the house servants and artisans in the town had some scanty accumulations and could sell their services for cash. But nine-tenths of the freedmen did not own the clothes on their backs and did not know where the next meal was coming from. Had the former master simply waited then he could easily have starved the black man into slavery. But he himself was hard pushed; his wealth had been largely destroyed by war, and the high price of cotton offered a chance of relieving his fortunes if he acted quickly. Before the war the economic organisation had been as follows: the master owned the land, the labourer, and the tools. Once a week he furnished the labourer with food and at other intervals with clothes, medical attendance, etc. Under the new régime the master had still the land and the tools. He contracted with the labourer to furnish him with food and clothes as usual, and also a certain wage. But the food, etc., was to be "advanced" to the labourer and charged against him at a certain price in the master's books. Moreover, no wages were to be paid him until the crop was harvested. To realise how a contract like this was carried out one must remember the mental attitude of the master. He regarded himself as defrauded, the contract as a makeshift to keep his labour from running away, and the whole intolerable situation as forced upon him by an enemy at the point of the bayonet. He felt under no moral obligation to keep the terms of the contract so long as he could keep the labourer at work. Fully two-thirds of the freed hands found themselves therefore working on the same plantations as before under practically the same conditions. They got their advances of food, etc., once a week, and at the end of the year they usually found that they had consumed all the wages due them and perhaps more, and stood naked to sign for another year's slavery.
There was naturally wide dissatisfaction, especially as the field hands saw the servants and soldiers beginning to buy land and become independent farmers. They began to leave their employers and runaway to town, and the employers complained bitterly of the instability and laziness of free Negro labour. In this way a further concession was forced from the landowner, and the cropper appeared. The cropper's contract made his wage depend on the size of the crop which he raised, the owner still furnishing land and tools, and advancing food and clothes. But here again every advantage was in the hands of the owner: he handled the crop and sold it and made all calculations, and the result was, naturally, that the cropper was little better off than the labourer, Still some of the Negroes by this method and by working as day labourers in town gained some little capital. Many bought mules, the regulation beast of burden, and approached the landlords as share tenants. The landlord apparently yielded, and by 1880 the whole face of the labour contract in the South was in process of change from a wage contract to a system of tenantry. The great plantations were apparently broken up into 70 and 80 acre farms with black farmers. To many it seemed that emancipation was accomplished, and the black folk especially were filled with joy and hope.
It soon was evident, however, that the change was chiefly in name, not in reality. In theory the landlord was now furnishing the land and the tenant furnishing the capital and labour, and the crop was to be divided half and half. As a matter of fact, the tenant was still much too poor and too unacquainted with business to furnish all the capital save in exceptional cases. He therefore borrowed the capital necessary from the landlord at rates of interest amounting to anywhere from 10 per cent. to 100 per cent., and to secure this advance executed a mortgage to the landlord, or to a third person. But what could the mortgage be given on? It was not enough to mortgage the mule and the few tools, for in that case the landlord was not sure of his exorbitant interest, and the mule might die. To cover this difficulty the crop lien was invented. This meant that a blanket mortgage was executed covering the whole crop. But the crop was not yet in existence when the mortgage was given. Nevertheless the law was so manipulated as to allow the mortgage of a non-existent property, and to-day hundreds of thousands of such mortgages are written each year. Not only this, but the crop-lien mortgage was adroitly turned into a labour contract. It usually stipulates for the labour of the tenant and all his family, does not allow any subsidiary occupations, even school attendance in harvest time, prohibits practically all diversification of crop by requiring an all-cotton scheme of culture, and puts the whole sale and settlement of the crop in the owner's hands; above all it makes the owner the sole judge as to whether the tenant is living up to his contract.
Such an arrangement was of course harking straight back to slavery, and it was only the wisdom of Negro enfranchisement that saved the day. The Negro voter was not wise or skilled enough to protect himself against such atrocities as the crop lien and vagrancy laws, but he did protect and extend his school system, and he kept open the door, for a fairly free movement of labour from the slavery-dominated country districts to the free-labour towns. This meant that a group of black men was slowly but surely growing in intelligence and getting some ready money. The result was that between 1880 and 1890 a larger and larger number of share tenants were able really to furnish their our capital, and to insist that the rent be fixed at so many bales of cotton or so much money and that the tenant be allowed to sell his own crop. Thus appeared the real Negro renter as contrasted with the share tenant, and to-day among the landless Negroes fully one half have reached this stage. No sooner are they reaching it, however, than new hindrances are being invented in the shape of concentration of land ownership and capital and new labour laws.
This brings us to the third line of development in the South—Land and Capital. It has usually been assumed that the new movement toward disfranchisement and racial segregation in the South is simply the natural recoil against a too wide granting of the suffrage in the past. This is only partially true. The new disfranchisement is in the main a master stroke of concentrated capital against labour and an attempt under the cover of racial prejudice to take a backward step in the organization of labour such as no modern nation would dare to take in the broad daylight of present economic thought. Slavery was made profitable in the 19th century by free rich land in America. This land was ruthlessly exploited and impoverished and the resultant land famine brought war and emancipation. Already before the war the land was widely mortgaged and landlords indebted to the large wholesale houses in Richmond, Montgomery, and New Orleans for supplies advanced. The war left a lot of nearly bankrupt landholders seeking to take advantage of the high price of cotton. It was natural that the first fixed idea of the landlord should be to force the labourer under cover of law. This he attempted through the courts with far-reaching consequences. In the old plantations the master was judge and jury in practically 9 out of 10 of all offences. After emancipation nearly all the judicial offices fell to him and his friends, and they proceeded to indict the Negro for petty offences in large numbers; it looked for a time as though a sort of slavery of the State was going to replace individual slavery. The short-lived Freedmen's Bureau and Negro suffrage interfered with this for a time, and later, after the Bureau had expired and the Negro political power had been curbed, crime peonage was revived under another form. Negroes were systematically arrested on the slightest pretext and then their labour, leased to private individuals, or single individuals convicted of crime were paroled to any owner who paid his fine. This system is still widely prevalent, but the abuses of the convict-leave system became so outrageous that it has been greatly modified, while the U.S. government has set its law officers to uproot individual peonage. This renewed slavery by force and use of the courts had disastrous effects on the courts themselves and is the cause of the present difficulty of getting Southern courts to perform their normal functions. Meantime a newer and subtler method of controlling labour was arising by the labour contracts which I have described.
Finally a new man appeared on the scene—the retail merchant, He was a third party, owning a small provision shop in a county town. Gradually he insinuated himself between the landowner and the labourer. He guaranteed the landowner his rent and relieved him of details by taking over the furnishing of supplies to the labourer. He tempted the labourer by a larger stock of more attractive goods, and made a direct labour contract with him or crop-lien mortgage. Thus he soon became the middlem-man to whom all profits of the transaction flowed, and he began to get rich. Being a shrewd businessman, he soon saw that while he could easily fleece the mass of Negro labourers and make them toil year in and year out for board and clothes, there was a certain minority too intelligent and pushing to make this policy safe. Some of these were helped by the former master's family, some had saved the wages earned in town, and more and more a group of Negro small landowners arose, who now amount to twenty-five per cent. of the Negro group. In 1900 the Census said: "We find that the total owned land of coloured farmers in continental United States in 1900 amounted to 14,964,214 acres, or 23,382 square miles—an area nearly as large as Holland and Belgium— and constituted 35.8 per cent. of all the land operated by coloured farmers." Of the proportion of farm ownership the Census says that between 1890 and 1900, while the number of Negro farmers probably increased by about 36 or 38 per cent., the number of Negro owners increased over 57 per cent., and the percentage of ownership by 3.5 per cent. So that 187,799 Negro farms, or 25.2 per cent. of all Negro farms were owned. The rapid increase of this group between 1890 and 1900 alarmed the merchants. They complained of scarcity of labour and they began systematically to scheme for some method by which Negro ambition could be kept from soaring too high, and by which the black man could be kept from benefiting [sic] from the new economic development of the South. The result was that the merchant class became the new politicians and they sought two ends:—
1. To break the political power of the Black labourers in the
2. To put forward a series of labour laws which should make
  the exploitation of Negro labour secure.
Both these things they were able to do under the cry of race prejudice. No method of inflaming the darkest passions of men was unused. The lynching mob was given its glut of blood, and egged on by purposely exaggerated and often wholly invented tales of crime on the part of perhaps the most peaceful and sweet-tempered race the world has ever known. Under the flame of this outward noise went the more subtle and dangerous works. Laws were passed, in the States where three-fourths of the Negroes live, so ingeniously framed that a black university graduate could be prevented from voting and the most ignorant white hoodlum could be admitted to the polls. Labour laws were so arranged that imprisonment for debt was possible, and leaving an employer could be made a penitentiary offence. Negro schools were cut off with small appropriations, or wholly neglected, and a determined effort, was made, with wide success, to see that no Negro had any voice in either the making or administration of local, state or national law.
In order to accomplish this it was, of course, necessary to secure the white labour vote of the South and the neutrality of the North. The former was accomplished by throwing white and black labourers so far as possible into rival competing groups and making each feel that the one was the cause of the other's troubles. To-day the white labourer regards the Negro artisan as a "scab" working for low wages, and the Negro regards the white workman as a tyrant who keeps him out of the Union and forces him to work for low wages. Meantime the neutrality of the North has been secured through their fear for the safety of large investments in the South, and through the fatalistic attitude common both in America and Europe toward the possibility of real advance on the part of the darker nations. Taking the 9,000,000 Negroes in the U.S. in 1900 we may roughly classify 3½ million of their workers about as follows:—
   1,250,000 farm labourers.
2,000,000 labourers -       350,000 farmers.
      250,000 washerwomen.

These are a semi-submerged class, some held in debt peonage, all paid small wages, and kept largely in ignorance.
Note that the right-angled braces in these tables replace the curly braces that are found in the originals.
   250,000 skilled artisans.
1,200,000 labourers -    575,000 semi-skilled workers.
   500,000 servants.

This is the emerging group. They are handicapped by poor training and race prejudice, but they are pushing forward, saying something, and educating their children as far as possible.
   200,000   farmers.
250,000 independents -     40,000   professional men.
    10,000   merchants.

This is the leading group of Negro-Americans. The mass of them have common school training, and there are some 5,000 college-trained men. They are accumulating property and educating their children. Their advance is opposed by a bitter and growing race prejudice.
What of the outlook? There are, economically speaking, three rays of hope.
1st. The white labourer; unless the American labourer is a bigger fool than he has been in the past he is going to realise that the degradation of a great group of competing labourers means his own degradation and the loss of much of the ground gained in the great battles of this country.
2nd. The American Negro himself cannot be kept down; for physical virility, hard work, and dogged determination to force the gates of civilisation, there are few such examples in modern history, and in the long run it must tell.
Finally, there is a large and growing feeling among the better class of Americans that the American stand on the colour question is retrograde and reactionary and is putting America in a false light before the world and spoiling its ideals. Such men and women include Jane Addams, O. G. Villard, Moorfield, Story, [sic: Moorfield Storey ] Jacob Schiff, Charles Edward Russell, Francis J. Harrison, [sic: Garrison] John E. Milholland, and John Dewey. They and prominent Negroes have formed an Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, with a two-fold object: first, to study this problem of racial contact and publish the results; and secondly, to spread a broader and higher view of the duties of groups and races of men toward each other. We recognise that the problem of completely emancipating the black labour in the Southern United States and giving to coloured Americans their full rights as citizens according to individual merit, [sic: comma in original] is but a local phase of the vastest and most insistent problem which the world faces to-day—the problem of humanity. How far is the world composed of an aristocracy of races, unalterable and unmoveable, by which certain peoples have a right to rule and exploit all others, with no hope of equal rights and privileges among men within any reasonable time? It seems to us in America of unusual significance that almost simultaneously with our movement arose the idea of a Universal Races Congress where humanity face to face should at least state its burning problems. In all these problems we cannot doubt lies the economic core, the old slavery which is determined to reduce human labour to the lowest depth in order to derive the greatest personal profit. Against this world-old tendency the black men of America are fighting a battle on the frontiers of the world—and for their success they ask the active sympathy of all right-thinking men.
W. E. B. DUBOIS.      

[End of the original text.]
Jane Addams (1860-1935): bio at
Oswald Garrison Villard (1872-1949): "Oswald Villard, the NAACP and The Nation" By Flint Kellogg (Originally published in The Nation, 14 February 1959): start page.
Moorfield Storey (1845-1929): "The Moorfield Storey-Louis Marshall Memorial Campaign" by H.J.S. (The Crisis,v.37,n.3 (March 1930): pp.86,103 [start page at Google Books].
Jacob Schiff (1847-1920): "Jacob Henry Schiff: A Biographical Sketch" by Cyrus Adler; pp.21-64 in Harry Schneiderman (ed.), American Jewish Year Book 5682, v.23 (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publica­tion Society of America, 1921): start page at Google Books.
Charles Edward Russell (1860-1941): bio at SUNY, New Paltz.
Francis J. Garrison, the son of William Lloyd Garrison, is mentioned in a short "In Memoriam" piece in The Crisis, 13:4 (February 1917) at p.169.
John E. Milholland: "Address of John T. Milhol­land of the Constitution League, New York". Pp.127-130 in Proceedings of the National Negro Conference 1909: New York, May 31 and June 1 (s.l.:s.n., [?1909: LOC]): download page for entire Proceedings at the Internet Archive.
John Dewey (1859-1952): bio at
For overviews of the creation of the N.A.A.C.P. that mention several of the names cited herein, read:
* Mary White Ovington's "How NAACP Began" (originally written in 1914), accessible at the NAACP website;
* August Meier's "Booker T. Washington and the Rise of the NAACP" (The Crisis, 61:2 (February 1954): pp.69-77, 117-123 [start page at Google Books].

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