Viewing page 12 of 27



[[caption]] Life Members pay $500. Debris pay $100, sustaining members $25, and contributing $10, $5 or $2 per year. Associate members pay$1 per year. The subscription to THE CRISIS is $1 extra, except to members paying %5 or more, who signify their wish that $1 of their dues be considered a CRISIS subscription.
Chechs should be made payable to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 26 Vesey Street, New York City. All members in good standing have the privilege of attending and of voting at the annual conference of the association. [[/caption]]

pany saw no escape, and having no defense promptly came to terms by paying the Bolins $300 cash for damages, and giving the family

[[caption]] THE BANNER OF VICTORY [[/caption]]

a free pass for the season. If there is any further color discrimination at Palisades Park we should be glad to hear of it. 

At the National Conference of Charities and Correction at Cleveland our association occupied an afternoon. Engineers' Hall was filled with 500 listeners who heard President Thwing, of Western Reserve University, Judge Mack, president of the conference, Mr. Charles W. Chesnutt, Miss Ovington and Dr. Du Bois. There seems to be a good chance of starting a branch of the association in Cleveland. 

We have brought the clock this month from our advertising pages to our association notes that all may see our progress in securing new members and the road we have to travel before January 1, 1913. Will not our friends throughout the United States help our minute hand to move more rapidly from month to month?

After this, the look for the clock in the advertising section. 

On May 8 the chairman of the board of directors sent the following telegram to the governor of Louisiana:
New York evening prayers report that Negro flood refugees are being compelled to work on the levees by your order without pay. May we ask you to confirm, deny or explain this report? If true, will you explain under what law this action is taken? 


Oswald Garrison Villard, Chairman of the Board of Directors. 

127   THE N.A.A.C.P.

The governor replied as follows:
Baton Rouge, La., May 9, 1912.
Oswald Garrison Villard, Chairman Board of Directors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 20 Vesay Street, New York:
In reply to your telegram of eighth, all able-bodied men in refugee camps, regardless of color, are given the option of working and eating or doing neither.  Thousands of citizens, including myself, are working day and night, actually on the levees, voluntarily without pay, trying to hold the flood area down to a minimum.  The resources of the State are being strained to their utmost to save lives and property and care for the refugees, nine-tenths of whom are Negroes.  New Homes are being provided for all refugees' families who care to take advantage of the opportunity.
J. E. Sanders,
Governor of Louisiana.

Considerable publicity was given the two communications, and the chairman of the board received some severe censure from the Southern press. The Houston (Tex.) Daily Post says:
The situation in Louisiana is one that is taxing all the resources of the people to save the State from further disaster. Already the property and crop losses are tens of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of people are rendered homeless. The majority of these are Negroes. Their homes are gone, they are without money and they are dependent upon public funds and charity for food. In the strenuous effort to save the State from additional loss, the governor and those in charge of the work have the right to expect and demand the aid of every able-bodied man, and the able-bodied Negro or white man who refuses to work ought to be compelled to work under the circumstances.

There are times when men must work with no thought of pay. Immediately following the Galveston disaster there was work to be done which involved the lives of the men, women and children who survived the flood, and the men who were being cared for were required to so it, just as able-bodied refugees are required to work in Louisiana in a crisis, just as acute.

Under the circumstances, we think Mr. Villard's inquiry of the governor of Louisiana was insolent.

The New Orleans State gives the following account of Baton Rouge conditions:

Baton Rouge has been confronted with a flood of unprecedented proportions and has been making a supreme struggle to hold the river within bounds. All the available convicts of the State have concentrated there to aid in it. But the task has been of such magnitude that the university cadets, public officials and citizens of every station in life have also had to contribute their services, both day and night, and have done so cheerfully and enthusiastically. Many of the refugees have gladly taken their posts for the good of all. It would be a mockery if others, of a thriftless character, were permitted to enjoy the hospitality of the community without rendering some service in the crisis or if they were put on payrolls while the great bulk of the people worked for nothing.

The governor is well within the bounds of truth when he says that nine-tenths of the refugees are of the colored race. The submerged sections of the State are chiefly those of cotton and sugar plantations on which large forces of Negroes are employed, parishes in which the colored population is many times that of the white, and most of Federal and local relief has been to relieve the distress of the race Mr. Villard is seeking to advance.

Louisiana has made no distinction of color in its relief or rescue work. When Selma levee broke 5,600 people were rescued in a few days by the expeditions organized by leading citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi. Many were in great peril. Unusual heroism was, in many instances, displayed by the rescuers. Yet, over 5,000 of the number who were removed to safety in the first few days and then clothes and fed were colored people.

Any attempt, therefore, to represent Louisiana as harsh or unjust to the unfortunate Negro victims of these flood conditions is slanderous, and local members of the race ought to take it upon themselves to present the true facts to Mr. Oswald Garrison Villard and his perturbed associates so that the American people may know the true facts.

On the other hand, information of a different character has come to the association from colored people. We quote in part three letters:


I shall do my best to furnish you with all the information I can gather about the flood situation, and if it is possible I shall secure pictures of the refugee camps of both the white and colored sufferers. I fear, however, it will not be an easy task, in view of the fact that the Louisiana authorities are discouraging, if not actually by order forbidding, the giving out of the whole truth of the situation, especially as concerns the colored people. * * * The authorities do not like the idea of letting the outside world know what the Mississippi floods do at times to people living in the delta of the State - it being regards as "bad advertisement."

And a later letter of May 15, from the same correspondent, goes on to say:

There are probably 50,000 people driven from their homes by the Torras crevasse, and the refugees of the flooded lands, from all accounts received from trustworthy sources, are, in the cases of the colored people, a piteous lot. In the camps of the colored flood sufferers in the city of Baton Rouge, where there are in the neighborhood of 6,000 of them, in many cases without enough clothes on to present themselves in public, the shame and suffering of the refugees cannot be described. They are camped in the colored churches, colored halls and, in a

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact