A 1926 letter from William E. Borah to W. E. B. Du Bois about the Fifteenth Amendment.
This is a letter from Senator William E. Borah of Idaho, who was part of the progressive movement, to W.E.B. Du Bois, a scholar, civil rights leader, and one of the founders of the NAACP. Senator Borah expresses his disapproval of the Fifteenth Amendment, yet believes it should be carried out in good faith. He maintains to Du Bois that the American South had done, and was doing, all it could to help the “negro.” This letter demonstrates deep-seated racism that the legislative process failed to erase. For example, the senator attempts to convince Du Bois that anti-lynching legislation was unfounded and based on falsehoods. This letter comes fifty-six years after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, at a time of widespread disenfranchisement.