Clothes (1920)

Clothes (1920)

It was in a Southern city and the white people were on the one and favorite subject—the “Nig-ra.” This time it was health, a safe and absorbing subject. They were told of the horrible danger of having their clothes washed in Negro cabins and of their consequent personal interest in the Negroes’ health.

There ensued that succession of little purrs and squeals which some ladies consider evidence of the highest breeding.

But one Southern white woman rose and said calmly, “Yes, there is danger, but there’s more danger to the Negroes in your dirty clothes than to you from the clean and sterilized washing which they return.”

Then followed the eloquent silence that does not need words.

Citation: Du Bois, W.E.B. 1920. “Clothes.” The Crisis. 20(4):166.