Does Organization Pay? (1914)

Does Organization Pay? (1914)

The colored Americans have not yet realized the strength or efficiency of organization. They continually complain of inability to co-operate, of disintegrating tendencies, of ineffective beginnings of union.

Yet even in the midst of complaints union has been accomplished, organization has become effective. We have passed those pitiable years of internal turmoil when half the race seemed to have their faces turned back toward slavery. We have entered an epoch when so great an enemy of the Negro race as Clarence Poe, of North Carolina, can write: “Everybody knows that the Negroes stand together!”

Having thus taken the first steps toward effective organization, let us go forward. Let us not halt and bicker and criticise, like Harry C. Smith in the Cleveland Gazette, because we have not in a few years undone the structure reared by prejudice in a half century. We have not, to be sure, even stirred the foundations of disfranchisement and “Jim Crow” legislation. But we are welding the hammers and we mean business.

But, reader, do you mean business? Do you realize what 10,000,000 united people can do? Have you joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and sent your dollar to do its duty?

Or are you drifting, with so many white Americans, under the excuse that “Nothing can be done.” “It’s no use.” “Let prejudice alone.” Nonsense! Weak and slow though our cause still may be, yet remember:

Not to the swift nor to the strong
The battles of the right belong,
For he who strikes for freedom wears The armor of the captive’s prayers. And Nature proffers to his cause The strength of her eternal laws. While she whose arm essays to bind And herd with common brutes, his kind, Strives evermore at fearful odds With Nature and the jealous gods, And dares the dread recoil which late Or soon, their right shall vindicate.

There are 36,000 copies of this issue of The Crisis being read this month. There are at least 100,000 readers. If every reader becomes a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the battle for Negro rights is won!

Citation: Du Bois, W.E.B. 1914. “Does Organization Pay?.” The Crisis. 7(6):285.