As the U.S. Congress began to awaken to the dire snares that had entrapped the nation, Dennis became a frequent witness at publicitydrenched hearings, where his words were often transfixing. Seligman had lost money by not listening to him, he thought. “I broke with them or they fired me before the crash” and “after that I was just living a free life. I began to do considerable speaking. I got a lot of invitations to speak” since “after the crash my prestige went up” as the nation reached out desperately for answers, any answers. “I also helped to build up my reputation in '29 before the crash,” he remarked, “when I wrote a series of articles—they were my first articles—for the New Republic…. I came out against the financing of Wall Street. I attacked Wall Street. The crash came along and corroborated everything I had said. Then for three years I went around the country speaking and lecturing.”1
Consequently, on a briskly chilly morning in January 1932, the welltraveled Dennis trooped to the Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. to address the sensitive subject of “sale of foreign bonds or securities in the United States.” This subject was deemed beyond the jurisdiction of Negroes and though Dennis had spent a considerable time in the blackest precincts of this heavily black town, there is no evidence that he returned to his old neighborhood to bask in the admiration of those who knew him when and would be overjoyed by his basking in the spotlight. Instead, dressed conservatively as usual in suit and tie and sensible shoes, he came before the man whose very name came to symbolize a hawkish protectionism—Congressman Reed Smoot. Of course, if Dennis had unveiled himself as a Negro, it is doubtful if he would have had the opportunity to address this question of the nation's lifeblood—not to mention even being in a position to accumulate the experience that had made him an expert in this otherwise arcane field of endeavor.