Information Wanted


W.E.B. Du Bois


March 1, 1920

Last summer, Negro farmers in Arkansas organized the “Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America,” to better their condition. Robert L. Hill, a farmer, was one of the chief organizers, and the Union was incorporated under state law. When the trouble occurred in Phillips County, a thousand Negroes were arrested, over twenty-five murdered, twelve sentenced to death, and scores to the penitentiary. Among the victims were four of the most prominent professional colored men in Helena.

Hill was accused of “instigating” this riot. He fled, protesting his innocence. Recently he was arrested in Kansas. The N.A.A.C.P., which is straining every sinew to secure justice in Arkansas, immediately protested by wire, asserting that Hill could not be fairly tried in Arkansas. Governor Allen of Kansas is a progressive, humane man, and listened willingly to the attorneys whom we put on the case—


The sheriff produced a petition signed by three prominent black leaders of Arkansas, asking that Hill be returned to Arkansas!

These men are:

BISHOP J. M. CONNER, African Methodist Church; J.M. COX, President, Philander Smith College; JOSEPH A. BOOKER, President, Arkansas Baptist College.

The Crisis wishes to do no man an injustice, and, therefore, we pause one month to ask:

Bishop Conner, President Cox, and President Booker—did you sign that petition?

If you did—why did you?


For attribution, please cite this work as:
Du Bois, W.E.B. 1920. “Information Wanted.” The Crisis 19 (5): 235.