RM Reese to George Livingstone




US National Archives and Records Administration 130/68/3/00 box #3 entry #5 “Negroes” folder


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum






Digital copy acquired from federal archives by previous WWPL Archivist, Heidi Hackford.


Mr. George Livingstone,
Chief, Bureau of Markets.

Dear Mr. Livingstone:

It seems desirable for the Department to undertake a special investigation of the operations of colored farmers in the United States. To conduct this investigation it is proposed to appoint as Special Agents two qualified, colored men who will devote their entire time to the work. They would be located in suitable quarters in the Main Building and provided with necessary equipment at the expense of the appropriation for Miscellaneous Expenses. Their salaries, probably fixed at $2500 and $2000 per annum respectively, would have to be carried upon lump funds of the several bureaus, the appropriation for Extra Labor and Miscellaneous Expenses ($12,480) made for the Office of the Secretary being inadequate for the entire cost, though this appropriation would be charged with its proportionate share. The Special Agents in question would be detailed to the Office of the Secretary. An appropriate name would be selected for the office, possibly “Section of Colored Farmers” or “Special Farm Investigation” or the like.

The investigation now under consideration would probably include an inquiry into the efficiency of operation of colored farmers; the credit facilities available to colored farmers; the present status and possibly improvement of organizations for cooperative buying and selling among colored farmers; and perhaps sanitary and social conditions among them. These are tentative suggestions, subject to amendment and to revision in the light of your better knowledge of the subject. Suggestions as to the direction or directions which such an investigation might most profitably take will be welcomed. The general idea is an investigation of farming as conducted by colored farmers.

Such an investigation would necessarily be more or less of a cooperative enterprise between the proposed new office and the Bureaus of the Department engaged in analogous work. Results would, of course, be scrutinized with care by competent authority before publication.

A copy of this note is being sent to the Chief of the Office of Farm Management and the Director of the States Relations Service. It will be appreciated if you will confer with these Bureau Chiefs and outline a plan or program of work which will be feasible and produce useful results if properly carried out.
Very truly yours,

Original Format





Reese, Robert Miller, “RM Reese to George Livingstone,” 1921 April 25, A041121D, Race and Segregation Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.