W.E.B. Du Bois


November 1, 1927

WE have grave suspicions that the colored committee recently appointed by Mr. Hoover to investigate flood conditions and peonage in the Mississippi Valley will be sorely tempted to whitewash the whole situation, to pat Mr. Hoover loudly on the back, and to make no real effort to investigate the desperate and evil conditions of that section of our country. Slavery still exists in the Mississippi Valley and this Committee knows it. Will they dare say so? The 13th Amendment is not enforced, much less the 14th and 15th. This Committee has the chance of a generation to make a thorough investigation and tell the truth or to stand up and let it be known that they are not permitted to make an investigation. The one fatal thing for them to do, and the thing for which the American Negro will never forgive them, is spineless surrender to the Administration and flattery for the guilty Red Cross.

P.S.: This was written in August. Friends said: “Don’t prejudge. Wait. Give them a chance.” We have waited. Next month we shall have more to say.


For attribution, please cite this work as:
Du Bois, W.E.B. 1927. “Peonage.” The Crisis 34 (9): 311.