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THE enterprising colored community at Kowaliga, Ala., is threatened by the water-power trust. Kowaliga was founded forty years ago by John Benson, an ex-slave, and has been recently extended and developed along modern lines by his son, William E. Benson. Not only has Mr.Benson succeeded in concentrating here an investment in lands and industrial plant representing over $200,000, but he had actually begun the construction of twenty-eight miles of railway from the nearest connecting line through the heart of this settlement in order to transport and market valuable timber, until they were held up pending condemnation proceedings by the Interstate Power Company. This is an English company with millions back of it. It bought out extraordinary rights under a bill slipped through the Alabama legislature ten years ago, and is now proceeding to condemn 60,000 acres of farm land, including Kowaliga. The Montgomery [[italic]]Advertiser[[/italic]] is helping the steal by headlines like this:


Thus the Negro problem having served to put the South into political slavery is now being used to fasten the chains of a trust which, as a Congressman recently said, will make other trusts seem "as mere benevolent societies organized for the dissemination of Christian charity."
The Kowaliga community has taken the matter to court. 

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"I THINK Alabama has the worst labor laws of any in the States. A man can be sent to jail for hiring a worker away from another man. A striking workman, under the law, has no rights; no need for the employer to get out an injunction in the same troublous manner as the Northern employer has to do; the necessary law is on the statute books now which will send the obstreperous worker to the coal mines for speaking to a scab or picketing or lowering around the master's property.

"Out-of-works are picked up as vagrants by deputy sheriffs for the fees there are in them, and then railroaded to the coal mines or lumber camps for so much a head, where they are worked like slaves. In Clarke County, Ala., it is a common thing for planters to send out agents provocateurs, so it is stated, who get stout, husky-looking 'Niggers' into crap games, card games, or sell them a pistol cheap, or get them to bootleg whiskey; then report them to the sheriff, who promptly arrests them and a ready judge fines them heavily.

"Then the needy planter offers to pay their fine for them if they will make a court contract to work it out with him at from $5 to $10 a month.  Of course, the poor devils are eager to get out of a jail where they are helf starved by those who have the contract at so much per diem to feed them, and they agree.

"The planter then has what are practically, to all intents and purposes, slaves, more securely held than before the war because he does not even have to catch them if they run away.  The sheriff does that at so much per head, paid by the county, and if the man or the men die, then the planter ceases his monthly payments on the fine to the county.  Could anything be more diabolical?

"I could fill pages with perfectly true stores of convicts on the farms and in the mines and forests of Alabama which would make any real man's blood boil, but this does not seem to affect the Southerner."-New York [[italic]]Call[[/italic]].

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[[image - words "LETTERS" - mailman delivering mail to a mailbox titled "THE CRISIS"]]


To begin, I am a white woman, and have loved the colroed race from infancy.  I happened to pick up a copy of THE CRISIS and was truly shocked at its tendency; so far as I can see your book only creates discontent among your people.

If you had the least idea of the harm you are doing you would stop it.  Social equality you will never have, but there is chance to improve conditions of a race that can be magnificent without social equality.
(Signed) E. J. H.

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Many thanks, my dear CRISIS, for your prophetic monthly.  It started our way as a Christmas present a few years ago.  The bitterness of so many of my people toward the problem they themselves brought to this country fills me with sadness; but Love is Life-there is no other life.  It must win since God is.  god, who sees beneath all non-essentials, and the deeper the experience passed through the higher the heights attained.  Oh, I sorrow with you, almost I believe as one of you, in the insults my race heaps upon you.  But steady, brother mine, nothing can hurt us save our own wrongdoing.  There is no death.  covered in darkness for a day, it will be light for you [[italic]]forever[[/italic.

God bless you and keep you on the Heights.
Most gratefully and fraternally,

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Please discontinue my subscription to THE CRISIS.

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Dear Sir:

I wish to say to you that there is much truck grown in this section of North Carolina by the colored people, and the white man has been shipping it for us to the whites North, etc.  Now we are becoming restless about it somewhat and want to know if there are any colored commission merchants in New York.  If so, will you kindly put us in touch with them?  If not any there, can't some one come to the front and be one for a few months in the year in order that we may ship at least some of our truck to them.  I mean some good man who will deal fair with us and give us a living price for it.  There re many, many thousands of crates that are shipped from this point every year, such as peas, beans, cabbage, etc., and many thousands of dollars are made by the commission merchants who handle it, and it seems to me that there ought to be in New York, Philadelphia and Boston at least one colored firm of commission merchants who would or could handle a portion of the Southern colored produce.  There is money in it for the right man.  We will begin to ship about the 18th or 20th of April, and if, as I have said, you can put me in touch with someone whom you think would like to take up the matter with me, I will be very glad to hear from them.

Thanking you in advance and anxiously waiting to hear from you, I am, 
Yours respectfully,
* * *

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I have found truth and the bright side of the Negro in THE CRISIS, from the first time of its publication.
Wallingford, Conn.

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CRISIS bearing fruit here; one of most eagerly sought for of our magazines in college library.
Oberlin, O.

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