FREEDOM ROAD--CLOSED

And so the problem of the South today--with its denial of economic, political, and racial democracy--has been handed down to us directly from that post-Civil War birth of damnation. Because the United States reneged on its obligations to the freedmen, because it made a soft peace with the Southern slavocracy, not only Southern Negroes but Southern whites and all Americans are suffering under the yoke; for the Southern slavocracy not only rules the South; it has long been in the congressional saddle, sawing savagely on the reins to hold back the nation.

But those who suffer most under the new order of slavocracy are those Southerners who are actually held in involuntary servitude. In probing further the problem of the South, these peons are certainly entitled to prime consideration.

Testifying to the existence of the old-yet-new slavocracy we have none other than the Georgia Baptists, who are well known for taking their text directly from the record. Recently in convention assembled these deeply Southern folk said: "Peonage or debt slavery has by no means disappeared from our land. There are more white people involved in this diabolical practice than there were slaveholders. There are more Negroes held by these debtslavers than were actually owned as slaves before the War Between the States. The method is the only thing which has changed."

The method of enslavement to which the Georgia Baptists refer is the company commissary system of getting workers in debt and

-48-

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