Taxation without Representation (1914)

Taxation without Representation (1914)

Negroes form 40 per cent. of the population of Memphis, Tenn. The city laid the following taxes during the year 1912:

For General Purposes

$1.32 on $100

For Public Schools

.25 on $100

Total City Rate


State Levy for Parks

.15 on $100

State Levy for Cossett Library

.03 on $100

Total Rate for City

$1.75 on $100

State and County Taxes


.35 on $100


.21 on $100


.32 on $100

High Schools

.01 on $100

Bolton College

.01 on $100

Industrial School

.01 on $100

Industrial School Apportionment

.01 $\frac{1}{2}$ on $100

M. & O.R.R. Sinking Fund

.01 on $100

County Bonds Sinking Fund

.01 on $100

Levee Bonds Sinking Fund

.01 on $100


.05 on $100


.08 on $100


.15 on $100

Normal School

.01 on $100

From this taxation the Negroes get less than half their proportionate share for public schools and not one-fourth their share of public improvements; they cannot enter the parks for which they paid, but in 1913 they were given a small plot of land for a park. They are denied all access whatsoever to the following places which they support by taxation:

The Cossett Library.

The high school.

Bolton College.

The industrial school.

The normal school.

And Negroes have not a single representative in the city government.

Not only this, but they are large renters of real estate. Everybody knows that the renter of real estate pays the taxes on it because the owner invariably charges him enough to pay the taxes and repairs and a reasonable (or unreasonable) return in addition.

Who is supporting Memphis?

Who is supporting the South?

Taxation without representation is tyranny.

Citation: Du Bois, W.E.B. 1914. “Taxation without Representation.” The Crisis. 7(5):240.