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Title: Following the Color Line - an account of Negro citizenship in the American democracy
Author: Baker, Ray Stannard, 1870-1946 [Adapter]
Language: English
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  Following the Color Line




  New York
  Doubleday, Page & Company







--_De Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"_ (1835)


My purpose in writing this book has been to make a clear statement of the
exact present conditions and relationships of the Negro in American life.
I am not vain enough to imagine that I have seen all the truth, nor that I
have always placed the proper emphasis upon the facts that I here present.
Every investigator necessarily has his personal equation or point of view.
The best he can do is to set down the truth as he sees it, without bating
a jot or adding a tittle, and this I have done.

I have endeavoured to see every problem, not as a Northerner, nor as a
Southerner, but as an American. And I have looked at the Negro, not merely
as a menial, as he is commonly regarded in the South, nor as a curiosity,
as he is often seen in the North, but as a plain human being, animated
with his own hopes, depressed by his own fears, meeting his own problems
with failure or success.

I have accepted no statement of fact, however generally made, until I was
fully persuaded from my own personal investigation that what I heard was
really a fact and not a rumour.

Wherever I have ventured upon conclusions, I claim for them neither
infallibility nor originality. They are offered frankly as my own latest
and clearest thoughts upon the various subjects discussed. If any man can
give me better evidence for the error of my conclusions than I have for
the truth of them I am prepared to go with him, and gladly, as far as he
can prove his way. And I have offered my conclusions, not in a spirit of
controversy, nor in behalf of any party or section of the country, but in
the hope that, by inspiring a broader outlook, they may lead, finally, to
other conclusions more nearly approximating the truth than mine.

While these chapters were being published in the _American Magazine_ (one
chapter, that on lynching, in _McClure's Magazine_) I received many
hundreds of letters from all parts of the country. I acknowledge them
gratefully. Many of them contained friendly criticisms, suggestions, and
corrections, which I have profited by in the revision of the chapters for
book publication. Especially have the letters from the South, describing
local conditions and expressing local points of view, been valuable to me.
I wish here, also, to thank the many men and women, South and North, white
and coloured, who have given me personal assistance in my inquiries.


  CHAPTER                                               PAGE

  PREFACE                                                vii



     I. A Race Riot and After                              3

    II. Following the Colour Line in the South: A
        Superficial View of Conditions                    26

   III. The Southern City Negro                           45

    IV. In the Black Belt: The Negro Farmer               66

     V. Race Relationships in the Country Districts       87



    VI. Following the Colour Line in the North           109

   VII. The Negroes' Struggle for Survival in Northern
        Cities                                           130



  VIII. The Mulatto: The Problem of Race Mixture         151

    IX. Lynching, South and North                        175

     X. An Ostracised Race in Ferment: The Conflict of
        Negro Parties and Negro Leaders over Methods
        of Dealing with Their Own Problem                216

    XI. The Negro in Politics                            233

   XII. The Black Man's Silent Power                     252

  XIII. The New Southern Statesmanship                   271

   XIV. What to Do About the Negro--A Few Conclusions    292

  Index                                                  311


  An Old Black "Mammy" with White Child      _Frontispiece_

                                                 FACING PAGE

  Fac-similes of Certain Atlanta Newspapers of
  September 22, 1906                                       7

  James H. Wallace                                        10

  R. R. Wright                                            10

  H. O. Tanner                                            10

  Rev. H. H. Proctor                                      10

  Dr. W. F. Penn                                          10

  George W. Cable                                         10

  Showing how the Colour Line Was Drawn by the Saloons
  at Atlanta, Georgia                                     35

  Interior of a Negro Working-man's Home, Atlanta,
  Georgia                                                 46

  Interior of a Negro Home of the Poorest Sort in
  Indianapolis                                            46

  Map Showing the Black Belt                              66

  Where White Mill Hands Live in Atlanta, Georgia         71

  Where some of the Poorer Negroes Live in Atlanta,
  Georgia                                                 71

  A "Poor White" Family                                   74

  A Model Negro School                                    74

  Old and New Cabins for Negro Tenants on the Brown
  Plantation                                              85

  Cane Syrup Kettle                                       92

  Chain-gang Workers on the Roads                         92

  A Type of the Country Chain-gang Negro                  99

  A Negro Cabin with Evidences of Abundance              110

  Off for the Cotton Fields                              110

  Ward in a Negro Hospital at Philadelphia               135

  Studio of a Negro Sculptress                           135

  A Negro Magazine Editor's Office in Philadelphia       138

  A "Broom Squad" of Negro Boys                          138

  A Type of Negro Girl Typesetter in Atlanta             164

  Mulatto Girl Student                                   164

  Miss Cecelia Johnson                                   164

  Mrs. Booker T. Washington                              173

  Mrs. Robert H. Terrell                                 173

  Negroes Lynched by Being Burned Alive at Statesboro,
  Georgia                                                179

  Negroes of the Criminal Type                           179

  Court House and Bank in the Public Square at
  Huntsville, Alabama                                    190

  Charles W. Chesnutt                                    215

  Dr. Booker T. Washington                               218

  Dr. W. E. B. DuBois                                    225

  Colonel James Lewis                                    240

  W. T. Vernon                                           240

  Ralph W. Tyler                                         240

  J. Pope Brown                                          252

  James K. Vardaman                                      252

  Senator Jeff Davis                                     252

  Governor Hoke Smith                                    252

  Senator B. R. Tillman                                  252

  Ex-Governor W. J. Northen                              252

  James H. Dillard                                       275

  Edwin A. Alderman                                      275

  A. M. Soule                                            275

  D. F. Houston                                          275

  George Foster Peabody                                  275

  P. P. Claxton                                          275

  S. C. Mitchell                                         286

  Judge Emory Speer                                      286

  Edgar Gardner Murphy                                   286

  Dr. H. B. Frissell                                     286

  R. C. Ogden                                            286

  J. Y. Joyner                                           286





Upon the ocean, of antagonism between the white and Negro races in this
country, there arises occasionally a wave, stormy in its appearance, but
soon subsiding into quietude. Such a wave was the Atlanta riot. Its
ominous size, greater by far than the ordinary race disturbances which
express themselves in lynchings, alarmed the entire country and awakened
in the South a new sense of the dangers which threatened it. A description
of that spectacular though superficial disturbance, the disaster incident
to its fury, and the remarkable efforts at reconstruction will lead the
way naturally--as human nature is best interpreted in moments of
passion--to a clearer understanding, in future chapters, of the deep and
complex race feeling which exists in this country.

On the twenty-second day of September, 1906, Atlanta had become a
veritable social tinder-box. For months the relation of the races had been
growing more strained. The entire South had been sharply annoyed by a
shortage of labour accompanied by high wages and, paradoxically, by an
increasing number of idle Negroes. In Atlanta the lower class--the
"worthless Negro"--had been increasing in numbers: it showed itself too
evidently among the swarming saloons, dives, and "clubs" which a
complaisant city administration allowed to exist in the very heart of the
city. Crime had increased to an alarming extent; an insufficient and
ineffective police force seemed unable to cope with it. With a population
of 115,000 Atlanta had over 17,000 arrests in 1905; in 1906 the number
increased to 21,602. Atlanta had many more arrests than New Orleans with
nearly three times the population and twice as many Negroes; and almost
four times as many as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a city nearly three times as
large. Race feeling had been sharpened through a long and bitter
political campaign, Negro disfranchisement being one of the chief issues
under discussion. An inflammatory play called "The Clansman," though
forbidden by public sentiment in many Southern cities, had been given in
Atlanta and other places with the effect of increasing the prejudice of
both races. Certain newspapers in Atlanta, taking advantage of popular
feeling, kept the race issue constantly agitated, emphasising Negro crimes
with startling headlines. One newspaper even recommended the formation of
organisations of citizens in imitation of the Ku Klux movement of
reconstruction days. In the clamour of this growing agitation, the voice
of the right-minded white people and industrious, self-respecting Negroes
was almost unheard. A few ministers of both races saw the impending storm
and sounded a warning--to no effect; and within the week before the riot
the citizens, the city administration and the courts all woke up together.
There were calls for mass-meetings, the police began to investigate the
conditions of the low saloons and dives, the country constabulary was
increased in numbers, the grand jury was called to meet in special session
on Monday the 24th.

_Prosperity and Lawlessness_

But the awakening of moral sentiment in the city, unfortunately, came too
late. Crime, made more lurid by agitation, had so kindled the fires of
hatred that they could not be extinguished by ordinary methods. The best
people of Atlanta were like the citizens of prosperous Northern cities,
too busy with money-making to pay attention to public affairs. For Atlanta
is growing rapidly. Its bank clearings jumped from ninety millions in 1900
to two hundred and twenty-two millions in 1906, its streets are well paved
and well lighted, its street-car service is good, its sky-scrapers are
comparable with the best in the North. In other words, it was
progressive--few cities I know of more so--but it had forgotten its public

Within a few months before the riot there had been a number of crimes of
worthless Negroes against white women. Leading Negroes, while not one of
them with whom I talked wished to protect any Negro who was really
guilty, asserted that the number of these crimes had been greatly
exaggerated and that in special instances the details had been
over-emphasised because the criminal was black; that they had been used to
further inflame race hatred. I had a personal investigation made of every
crime against a white woman committed in the few months before and after
the riot. Three, charged to white men, attracted comparatively little
attention in the newspapers, although one, the offence of a white man
named Turnadge, was shocking in its details. Of twelve such charges
against Negroes in the six months preceding the riot two were cases of
rape, horrible in their details, three were aggravated attempts at rape,
three may have been attempts, three were pure cases of fright on the part
of the white woman, and in one the white woman, first asserting that a
Negro had assaulted her, finally confessed attempted suicide.

The facts of two of these cases I will narrate--and without excuse for the
horror of the details. If we are to understand the true conditions in the
South, these things _must_ be told.

_Story of One Negro's Crime_

One of the cases was that of Mrs. Knowles Etheleen Kimmel, twenty-five
years old, wife of a farmer living near Atlanta. A mile beyond the end of
the street-car line stands a small green bungalow-like house in a lonely
spot near the edge of the pine woods. The Kimmels who lived there were not
Southerners by birth but of Pennsylvania Dutch stock. They had been in the
South four or five years, renting their lonesome farm, raising cotton and
corn and hopefully getting a little ahead. On the day before the riot a
strange rough-looking Negro called at the back door of the Kimmel home. He
wore a soldier's cast-off khaki uniform. He asked a foolish question and
went away. Mrs. Kimmel was worried and told her husband. He, too, was
worried--the fear of this crime is everywhere present in the South--and
when he went away in the afternoon he asked his nearest neighbour to look
out for the strange Negro. When he came back a few hours later, he found
fifty white men in his yard. He knew what had happened without being told:
his wife was under medical attendance in the house. She had been able to
give a clear description of the Negro: bloodhounds were brought, but the
pursuing white men had so obliterated the criminal's tracks that he could
not be traced. Through information given by a Negro a suspect was arrested
and nearly lynched before he could be brought to Mrs. Kimmel for
identification; when she saw him she said: "He is not the man." The real
criminal was never apprehended.

One day, weeks afterward, I found the husband working alone in his field;
his wife, to whom the surroundings had become unbearable, had gone away to
visit friends. He told me the story hesitatingly. His prospects, he said,
were ruined: his neighbours had been sympathetic but he could not continue
to live there with the feeling that they all knew. He was preparing to
give up his home and lose himself where people did not know his story. I
asked him if he favoured lynching, and his answer surprised me.

"I've thought about that," he said. "You see, I'm a Christian man, or I
try to be. My wife is a Christian woman. We've talked about it. What good
would it do? We should make criminals of ourselves, shouldn't we? No, let
the law take its course. When I came here, I tried to help the Negroes as
much as I could. But many of them won't work even when the wages are high:
they won't come when they agree to and when they get a few dollars ahead
they go down to the saloons in Atlanta. Everyone is troubled about getting
labour and everyone is afraid of prowling idle Negroes. Now, the thing has
come to me, and it's just about ruined my life."

When I came away the poor lonesome fellow followed me half-way up the
hill, asking: "Now, what would you do?"

One more case. One of the prominent florists in Atlanta is W. C. Lawrence.
He is an Englishman, whose home is in the outskirts of the city. On the
morning of August 20th his daughter Mabel, fourteen years old, and his
sister Ethel, twenty-five years old, a trained nurse who had recently come
from England, went out into the nearby woods to pick ferns. Being in broad
daylight and within sight of houses, they had no fear. Returning along an
old Confederate breastworks, they were met by a brutal-looking Negro with
a club in one hand and a stone in the other. He first knocked the little
girl down, then her aunt. When the child "came to" she found herself
partially bound with a rope. "Honey," said the Negro, "I want you to come
with me." With remarkable presence of mind the child said: "I can't, my
leg is broken," and she let it swing limp from the knee. Deceived, the
Negro went back to bind the aunt. Mabel, instantly untying the rope,
jumped up and ran for help. When he saw the child escaping the Negro ran


Showing the sensational news headings]

"When I got there," said Mr. Lawrence, "my sister was lying against the
bank, face down. The back of her head had been beaten bloody. The bridge
of her nose was cut open, one eye had been gouged out of its socket. My
daughter had three bad cuts on her head--thank God, nothing worse to
either. But my sister, who was just beginning her life, will be totally
blind in one eye, probably in both. Her life is ruined."

About a month later, through the information of a Negro, the criminal was
caught, identified by the Misses Lawrence, and sent to the penitentiary
for forty years (two cases), the limit of punishment for attempted
criminal assault.

In both of these cases arrests were made on the information of Negroes.

_Terror of Both White and Coloured People_

The effect of a few such crimes as these may be more easily imagined than
described. They produced a feeling of alarm which no one who has not lived
in such a community can in any wise appreciate. I was astonished in
travelling in the South to discover how widely prevalent this dread has
become. Many white women in Atlanta dare not leave their homes alone after
dark; many white men carry arms to protect themselves and their families.
And even these precautions do not always prevent attacks.

But this is not the whole story. Everywhere I went in Atlanta I heard of
the fear of the white people, but not much was said of the terror which
the Negroes also felt. And yet every Negro I met voiced in some way that
fear. It is difficult here in the North for us to understand what such a
condition means: a whole community namelessly afraid!

The better-class Negroes have two sources of fear: one of the criminals of
their own race--such attacks are rarely given much space in the
newspapers--and the other the fear of the white people. My very first
impression of what this fear of the Negroes might be came, curiously
enough, not from Negroes but from a fine white woman on whom I called
shortly after going South. She told this story:

"I had a really terrible experience one evening a few days ago. I was
walking along ---- Street when I saw a rather good-looking young Negro
come out of a hallway to the sidewalk. He was in a great hurry, and, in
turning suddenly, as a person sometimes will do, he accidentally brushed
my shoulder with his arm. He had not seen me before. When he turned and
found it was a white woman he had touched, such a look of abject terror
and fear came into his face as I hope never again to see on a human
countenance. He knew what it meant if I was frightened, called for help,
and accused him of insulting or attacking me. He stood still a moment,
then turned and ran down the street, dodging into the first alley he came
to. It shows, doesn't it, how little it might take to bring punishment
upon an innocent man!"

The next view I got was through the eyes of one of the able Negroes of the
South, Bishop Gaines of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is now
an old man, but of imposing presence. Of wide attainments, he has
travelled in Europe, he owns much property, and rents houses to white
tenants. He told me of services he had held some time before in south
Georgia. Approaching the church one day through the trees, he suddenly
encountered a white woman carrying water from a spring. She dropped her
pail instantly, screamed, and ran up the path toward her house.

"If I had been some Negroes," said Bishop Gaines, "I should have turned
and fled in terror; the alarm would have been given, and it is not
unlikely that I should have had a posse of white men with bloodhounds on
my trail. If I had been caught what would my life have been worth? The
woman would have identified me--and what could I have said? But I did not
run. I stepped out in the path, held up one hand and said:

"'Don't worry, madam, I am Bishop Gaines, and I am holding services here
in this church.' So she stopped running and I apologised for having
startled her."

The Negro knows he has little chance to explain, if by accident or
ignorance he insults a white woman or offends a white man. An educated
Negro, one of the ablest of his race, telling me of how a friend of his
who by merest chance had provoked a number of half-drunken white men, had
been set upon and frightfully beaten, remarked: "It might have been me!"

Now, I am telling these things just as they look to the Negro; it is quite
as important, as a problem in human nature, to know how the Negro feels
and what he says, as it is to know how the white man feels.

_How the Newspapers Fomented the Riot_

On the afternoon of the riot the newspapers in flaming headlines
chronicled four assaults by Negroes on white women. I had a personal
investigation made of each of those cases. Two of them may have been
attempts at assaults, but two palpably were nothing more than fright on
the part of both the white woman and the Negro. As an instance, in one
case an elderly woman, Mrs. Martha Holcombe, going to close her blinds in
the evening, saw a Negro on the sidewalk. In a terrible fright she
screamed. The news was telephoned to the police station, but before the
officials could respond, Mrs. Holcombe telephoned them not to come out.
And yet this was one of the "assaults" chronicled in letters five inches
high in a newspaper extra.

And finally on this hot Saturday half-holiday, when the country people had
come in by hundreds, when everyone was out of doors, when the streets were
crowded, when the saloons had been filled since early morning with white
men and Negroes, both drinking--certain newspapers in Atlanta began to
print extras with big headings announcing new assaults on white women by
Negroes. The Atlanta News published five such extras, and newsboys cried
them through the city:

"Third assault."

"Fourth assault."

The whole city, already deeply agitated, was thrown into a veritable
state of panic. The news in the extras was taken as truthful; for the city
was not in a mood then for cool investigation. Calls began to come in from
every direction for police protection. A loafing Negro in a backyard, who
in ordinary times would not have been noticed, became an object of real
terror. The police force, too small at best, was thus distracted and

In Atlanta the proportion of men who go armed continually is very large;
the pawnshops of Decatur and Peters Streets, with windows like arsenals,
furnish the low class of Negroes and whites with cheap revolvers and
knives. Every possible element was here, then, for a murderous outbreak.
The good citizens, white and black, were far away in their homes; the bad
men had been drinking in the dives permitted to exist by the respectable
people of Atlanta; and here they were gathered, by night, in the heart of
the city.

_The Mob Gathers_

And, finally, a trivial incident fired the tinder. Fear and vengeance
generated it: it was marked at first by a sort of rough, half-drunken
horseplay, but when once blood was shed, the brute, which is none too well
controlled in the best city, came out and gorged itself. Once permit the
shackles of law and order to be cast off, and men, white or black,
Christian or pagan, revert to primordial savagery. There is no such thing
as an orderly mob.

Crime had been committed by Negroes, but this mob made no attempt to find
the criminals: it expressed its blind, unreasoning, uncontrolled race
hatred by attacking every man, woman, or boy it saw who had a black face.
A lame boot-black, an inoffensive, industrious Negro boy, at that moment
actually at work shining a man's shoes, was dragged out and cuffed, kicked
and beaten to death in the street. Another young Negro was chased and
stabbed to death with jack-knives in the most unspeakably horrible manner.
The mob entered barber shops where respectable Negro men were at work
shaving white customers, pulled them away from their chairs and beat them.
Cars were stopped and inoffensive Negroes were thrown through the windows
or dragged out and beaten. They did not stop with killing and maiming;
they broke into hardware stores and armed themselves, they demolished not
only Negro barber shops and restaurants, but they robbed stores kept by
white men.

[Illustration: JAMES H. WALLACE

"The asphalt workers are nearly all coloured. In New York ... the chosen
representative who sits with the Central Federated Union of the city is
James H. Wallace, a coloured man."]

[Illustration: R. R. WRIGHT

Organiser of the Negro State Fair in Georgia. Of full-blooded African
descent, his grandmother, who reared him, being an African Negro of the
Mandingo tribe.]

[Illustration: H. O. TANNER

One of whose pictures hangs in the Luxembourg; winner N. W. Harris prize
for the best American painting at Chicago.]

[Illustration: REV. H. H. PROCTOR

Pastor of the First Congregational Church (coloured), to which belong many
of the best coloured families of Atlanta.]

[Illustration: DR. W. F. PENN

This prosperous Negro physician's home in Atlanta was visited by the mob.]

[Illustration: GEORGE W. CABLE

Chairman of the coloured probation officers of the Juvenile Court,

Photograph by Sexton & Maxwell]

Of course the Mayor came out, and the police force and the fire
department, and finally the Governor ordered out the militia--to apply
that pound of cure which should have been an ounce of prevention.

It is highly significant of Southern conditions--which the North does not
understand--that the first instinct of thousands of Negroes in Atlanta,
when the riot broke out, was not to run away from the white people but to
run to them. The white man who takes the most radical position in
opposition to the Negro race will often be found loaning money to
individual Negroes, feeding them and their families from his kitchen, or
defending "his Negroes" in court or elsewhere. All of the more prominent
white citizens of Atlanta, during the riot, protected and fed many
coloured families who ran to them in their terror. Even Hoke Smith,
Governor-elect of Georgia, who is more distrusted by the Negroes as a race
probably than any other white man in Georgia, protected many Negroes in
his house during the disturbance. In many cases white friends armed
Negroes and told them to protect themselves. One widow I know of who had a
single black servant, placed a shot-gun in his hands and told him to fire
on any mob that tried to get him. She trusted him absolutely. Southern
people possess a real liking, wholly unknown in the North, for individual
Negroes whom they know.

So much for Saturday night. Sunday was quiescent but nervous--the
atmosphere full of the electricity of apprehension. Monday night, after a
day of alarm and of prowling crowds of men, which might at any moment
develop into mobs, the riot broke forth again--in a suburb of Atlanta
called Brownsville.

_Story of the Mob's Work in a Southern Negro Town_

When I went out to Brownsville, knowing of its bloody part in the riot, I
expected to find a typical Negro slum. I looked for squalour, ignorance,
vice. And I was surprised to find a large settlement of Negroes
practically every one of whom owned his own home, some of the houses being
as attractive without and as well furnished within as the ordinary homes
of middle-class white people. Near at hand, surrounded by beautiful
grounds, were two Negro colleges--Clark University and Gammon Theological
Seminary. The post-office was kept by a Negro. There were several stores
owned by Negroes. The school-house, though supplied with teachers by the
county, was built wholly with money personally contributed by the Negroes
of the neighbourhood, in order that there might be adequate educational
facilities for their children. They had three churches and not a saloon.
The residents were all of the industrious, property-owning sort, bearing
the best reputation among white people who knew them.

Think, then, of the situation in Brownsville during the riot in Atlanta.
All sorts of exaggerated rumours came from the city. _The Negroes of
Atlanta were being slaughtered wholesale._ A condition of panic fear
developed. Many of the people of the little town sought refuge in Gammon
Theological Seminary, where, packed together, they sat up all one night
praying. President Bowen did not have his clothes off for days, expecting
the mob every moment. He telephoned for police protection on Sunday, but
none was provided. Terror also existed among the families which remained
in Brownsville; most of the men were armed, and they had decided, should
the mob appear, to make a stand in defence of their homes.

At last, on Monday evening, just at dark, a squad of the county police,
led by Officer Poole, marched into the settlement at Brownsville. Here,
although there had been not the slightest sign of disturbance, they began
arresting Negroes for being armed. Several armed white citizens, who were
not officers, joined them.

Finally, looking up a little street they saw dimly in the next block a
group of Negro men. Part of the officers were left with the prisoners and
part went up the street. As they approached the group of Negroes, the
officers began firing: the Negroes responded. Officer Heard was shot dead;
another officer was wounded, and several Negroes were killed or injured.

The police went back to town with their prisoners. On the way two of the
Negroes in their charge were shot. A white man's wife, who saw the
outrage, being with child, dropped dead of fright.

The Negroes (all of this is now a matter of court record) declared that
they were expecting the mob; that the police--not mounted as usual, not
armed as usual, and accompanied by citizens--looked to them in the
darkness like a mob. In their fright the firing began.

The wildest reports, of course, were circulated. One sent broadcast was
that five hundred students of Clark University, all armed, had decoyed the
police in order to shoot them down. As a matter of fact, the university
did not open its fall session until October 3d, over a week later--and on
this night there were just two students on the grounds. The next morning
the police and the troops appeared and arrested a very large proportion of
the male inhabitants of the town. Police officers accompanied by white
citizens, entered one Negro home, where lay a man named Lewis, badly
wounded the night before. He was in bed; they opened his shirt, placed
their revolvers at his breast, and in cold blood shot him through the body
several times in the presence of his relatives. They left him for dead,
but he has since recovered.

President Bowen, of Gammon Theological Seminary, one of the able Negroes
in Atlanta, who had nothing whatever to do with the riot, was beaten over
the head by one of the police with his rifle-butt. The Negroes were all
disarmed, and about sixty of them were finally taken to Atlanta and locked
up charged with the murder of Officer Heard.

In the Brownsville riot four Negroes were killed. One was a decent,
industrious, though loud-talking, citizen named Fambro, who kept a small
grocery store and owned two houses besides, which he rented. He had a
comfortable home, a wife and one child. Another was an inoffensive Negro
named Wilder, seventy years old, a pensioner as a soldier of the Civil
War, who was well spoken of by all who knew him. He was found--not shot,
but murdered by a knife-cut in the abdomen--lying in a woodshed back of
Fambro's store. McGruder, a brick mason, who earned $4 a day at his trade,
and who had laid aside enough to earn his own home, was killed while under
arrest by the police; and Robinson, an industrious Negro carpenter, was
shot to death on his way to work Tuesday morning after the riot.

_Results of the Riot_

And after the riot in Brownsville, what? Here was a self-respecting
community of hard-working Negroes, disturbing no one, getting an honest
living. How did the riot affect them? Well, it demoralised them, set them
back for years. Not only were four men killed and several wounded, but
sixty of their citizens were in jail. Nearly every family had to go to the
lawyers, who would not take their cases without money in hand. Hence the
little homes had to be sold or mortgaged, or money borrowed in some other
way to defend those arrested, doctors' bills were to be paid, the
undertaker must be settled with. A riot is not over when the shooting
stops! And when the cases finally came up in court and all the evidence
was brought out every Negro went free; but two of the county policemen who
had taken part in the shooting, were punished. George Muse, one of the
foremost merchants of Atlanta, who was foreman of the jury which tried the
Brownsville Negroes, said:

"We think the Negroes were gathered just as white people were in other
parts of the town, for the purpose of defending their homes. We were
shocked by the conduct which the evidence showed some of the county police
had been guilty of."

After the riot was over many Negro families, terrified and feeling
themselves unprotected, sold out for what they could get--I heard a good
many pitiful stories of such sudden and costly sacrifices--and left the
country, some going to California, some to Northern cities. The best and
most enterprising are those who go: the worst remain. Not only did the
Negroes leave Brownsville, but they left the city itself in considerable
numbers. Labour was thus still scarcer and wages higher in Atlanta because
of the riot.

_Report of a White Committee on the Riot_

It is significant that not one of the Negroes killed and wounded in the
riot was of the criminal class. Every one was industrious, respectable
and law-abiding. A white committee, composed of W. G. Cooper, Secretary of
the Chamber of Commerce, and George Muse, a prominent merchant, backed by
the sober citizenship of the town, made an honest investigation and issued
a brave and truthful report. Here are a few of its conclusions:

     1. Among the victims of the mob there was not a single vagrant.

     2. They were earning wages in useful work up to the time of the riot.

     3. They were supporting themselves and their families or dependent

     4. Most of the dead left small children and widows, mothers or
     sisters with practically no means and very small earning capacity.

     5. The wounded lost from one to eight weeks' time, at 50 cents to $4
     a day each.

     6. About seventy persons were wounded, and among these there was an
     immense amount of suffering. In some cases it was prolonged and
     excruciating pain.

     7. Many of the wounded are disfigured, and several are permanently

     8. Most of them were in humble circumstances, but they were honest,
     industrious and law-abiding citizens and useful members of society.

     9. These statements are true of both white and coloured.

     10. Of the wounded, ten are white and sixty are coloured. Of the
     dead, two are white and ten are coloured; two female, and ten male.
     This includes three killed at Brownsville.

     11. Wild rumours of a larger number killed have no foundation that we
     can discover. As the city was paying the funeral expenses of victims
     and relief was given their families, they had every motive to make
     known their loss. In one case relatives of a man killed in a broil
     made fruitless efforts to secure relief.

     12. Two persons reported as victims of the riot had no connection
     with it. One, a Negro man, was killed in a broil over a crap game;
     and another, a Negro woman, was killed by her paramour. Both
     homicides occurred at some distance from the scene of the riot.

The men who made this brave report did not mince matters. They called
murder, murder; and robbery, robbery. Read this:

     13. As twelve persons were killed and seventy were murderously
     assaulted, and as, by all accounts, a number took part in each
     assault, it is clear that several hundred murderers or would-be
     murderers are at large in this community.

At first, after the riot, there was an inclination in some quarters to

"Well, at any rate, the riot cleared the atmosphere. The Negroes have had
their lesson. There won't be any more trouble soon."

But read the sober conclusions in the Committee's report. The riot did not
prevent further crime.

     14. Although less than three months have passed since the riot,
     events have already demonstrated that the slaughter of the innocent
     does not deter the criminal class from committing more crimes. Rapes
     and robbery have been committed in the city during that time.

     15. The slaughter of the innocent does drive away good citizens. From
     one small neighbourhood twenty-five families have gone. A great many
     of them were buying homes on the instalment plan.

     16. The crimes of the mob include robbery as well as murder. In a
     number of cases the property of innocent and unoffending people was
     taken. Furniture was destroyed, small shops were looted, windows were
     smashed, trunks were burst open, money was taken from the small
     hoard, and articles of value were appropriated. In the commission of
     these crimes the victims, both men and women, were treated with
     unspeakable brutality.

     17. As a result of four days of lawlessness there are in this glad
     Christmas-time widows of both races mourning their husbands, and
     husbands of both races mourning for their wives; there are orphan
     children of both races who cry out in vain for faces they will see no
     more; there are grown men of both races disabled for life, and all
     this sorrow has come to people who are absolutely innocent of any

In trying to find out exactly the point of view and the feeling of the
Negroes--which is most important in any honest consideration of
conditions--I was handed the following letter, written by a young coloured
man, a former resident in Atlanta now a student in the North. He is
writing frankly to a friend. It is valuable as showing a _real_ point of
view--the bitterness, the hopelessness, the distrust.

"... It is possible that you have formed at least a good idea of how we
feel as the result of the horrible eruption in Georgia. I have not spoken
to a Caucasian on the subject since then. But, listen: How would you feel,
if with our history, there came a time when, after speeches and papers and
teachings you acquired property and were educated, and were a fairly good
man, it were impossible for you to walk the street (for whose maintenance
you were taxed) with your sister without being in mortal fear of death if
you resented any insult offered to her? How would you feel if you saw a
governor, a mayor, a sheriff, whom you could not oppose at the polls,
encourage by deed or word or both, a mob of 'best' and worst citizens to
slaughter your people in the streets and in their own homes and in their
places of business? Do you think that you could resist the same wrath that
caused God to slay the Philistines and the Russians to throw bombs? I can
resist it, but with each new outrage I am less able to resist it. And yet
if I gave way to my feelings I should become just like other men ... of
the mob! But I do not ... not quite, and I must hurry through the only
life I shall live on earth, tortured by these experiences and these
horrible impulses, with no hope of ever getting away from them. They are
ever present, like the just God, the devil, and my conscience.

"If there were no such thing as Christianity we should be hopeless."

Besides this effect on the Negroes the riot for a week or more practically
paralysed the city of Atlanta. Factories were closed, railroad cars were
left unloaded in the yards, the street-car system was crippled, and there
was no cab-service (cab-drivers being Negroes), hundreds of servants
deserted their places, the bank clearings slumped by hundreds of thousands
of dollars, the state fair, then just opening, was a failure. It was,
indeed, weeks before confidence was fully restored and the city returned
to its normal condition.

_Who Made Up the Mob?_

One more point I wish to make before taking up the extraordinary
reconstructive work which followed the riot. I have not spoken of the men
who made up the mob. We know the dangerous Negro class--after all a very
small proportion of the entire Negro population. There is a corresponding
low class of whites quite as illiterate as the Negroes.

The poor white hates the Negro, and the Negro dislikes the poor white. It
is in these lower strata of society, where the races rub together in
unclean streets, that the fire is generated. Decatur and Peters streets,
with their swarming saloons and dives, furnish the point of contact. I
talked with many people who saw the mobs at different times, and the
universal testimony was that it was made up largely of boys and young men,
and of the low criminal and semi-criminal class. The ignorant Negro and
the uneducated white; there lies the trouble!

This idea that 115,000 people of Atlanta--respectable, law-abiding, good
citizens, white and black--should be disgraced before the world by a few
hundred criminals was what aroused the strong, honest citizenship of
Atlanta to vigorous action.

The riot brought out all that was worst in human nature; the
reconstruction brought out all that was best and finest.

Almost the first act of the authorities was to close every saloon in the
city, afterward revoking all the licences--and for two weeks no liquor was
sold in the city. The police, at first accused of not having done their
best in dealing with the mob, arrested a good many white rioters, and
Judge Broyles, to show that the authorities had no sympathy with such
disturbers of the peace, sent every man brought before him, twenty-four in
all, to the chain gang for the largest possible sentence, without the
alternative of a fine. The grand jury met and boldly denounced the mob;
its report said in part:

"That the sensationalism of the afternoon papers in the presentation of
the criminal news to the public prior to the riots of Saturday night,
especially in the case of the Atlanta _News_, deserves our severest

But the most important and far-reaching effect of the riot was in arousing
the strong men of the city. It struck at the pride of those men of the
South, it struck at their sense of law and order, it struck at their
business interests. On Sunday following the first riot a number of
prominent men gathered at the Piedmont Hotel, and had a brief discussion;
but it was not until Tuesday afternoon, when the worst of the news from
Brownsville had come in, that they gathered in the court-house with the
serious intent of stopping the riot at all costs. Most of the prominent
men of Atlanta were present. Sam D. Jones, president of the Chamber of
Commerce, presided. One of the first speeches was made by Charles T.
Hopkins, who had been the leading spirit in the meetings on Sunday and
Monday. He expressed with eloquence the humiliation which Atlanta felt.

"Saturday evening at eight o'clock," he said, "the credit of Atlanta was
good for any number of millions of dollars in New York or Boston or any
financial centre; to-day we couldn't borrow fifty cents. The reputation we
have been building up so arduously for years has been swept away in two
short hours. Not by men who have made and make Atlanta, not by men who
represent the character and strength of our city, but by hoodlums,
understrappers and white criminals. Innocent Negro men have been struck
down for no crime whatever, while peacefully enjoying the life and liberty
guaranteed to every American citizen. The Negro race is a child race. We
are a strong race, their guardians. We have boasted of our superiority and
we have now sunk to this level--we have shed the blood of our helpless
wards. Christianity and humanity demand that we treat the Negro fairly. He
is here, and here to stay. He only knows how to do those things we teach
him to do; it is our Christian duty to protect him. I for one, and I
believe I voice the best sentiment of this city, am willing to lay down my
life rather than to have the scenes of the last few days repeated."

_The Plea of a Negro Physician_

In the midst of the meeting a coloured man arose rather doubtfully. He
was, however, promptly recognized as Dr. W. F. Penn, one of the foremost
coloured physicians of Atlanta, a graduate of Yale College--a man of much
influence among his people. He said that he had come to ask the protection
of the white men of Atlanta. He said that on the day before a mob had come
to his home; that ten white men, some of whose families he knew and had
treated professionally, had been sent into his house to look for concealed
arms; that his little girl had run to them, one after another, and begged
them not to shoot her father; that his life and the lives of his family
had afterward been threatened, so that he had had to leave his home; that
he had been saved from a gathering mob by a white man in an automobile.

"What shall we do?" he asked the meeting--and those who heard his speech
said that the silence was profound. "We have been disarmed: how shall we
protect our lives and property? If living a sober, industrious, upright
life, accumulating property and educating his children as best he knows
how, is not the standard by which a coloured man can live and be protected
in the South, what is to become of him? If the kind of life I have lived
isn't the kind you want, shall I leave and go North?

"When we aspire to be decent and industrious we are told that we are bad
examples to other coloured men. Tell us what your standards are for
coloured men. What are the requirements under which we may live and be
protected? What shall we do?"

When he had finished, Colonel A. J. McBride, a real estate owner and a
Confederate veteran, arose and said with much feeling that he knew Dr.
Penn and that he was a good man, and that Atlanta meant to protect such

"If necessary," said Colonel McBride, "I will go out and sit on his porch
with a rifle."

Such was the spirit of this remarkable meeting. Mr. Hopkins proposed that
the white people of the city express their deep regret for the riot and
show their sympathy for the Negroes who had suffered at the hands of the
mob by raising a fund of money for their assistance. Then and there $4,423
was subscribed, to which the city afterward added $1,000.

But this was not all. These men, once thoroughly aroused, began looking to
the future, to find some new way of preventing the recurrence of such

A committee of ten, appointed to work with the public officials in
restoring order and confidence, consisted of some of the foremost citizens
of Atlanta:

Charles T. Hopkins, Sam D. Jones, President of the Chamber of Commerce; L.
Z. Rosser, president of the Board of Education; J. W. English, president
of the Fourth National Bank; Forrest Adair, a leading real estate owner;
Captain W. D. Ellis, a prominent lawyer; A. B. Steele, a wealthy lumber
merchant; M. L. Collier, a railroad man; John E. Murphy, capitalist; and
H. Y. McCord, president of a wholesale grocery house.

One of the first and most unexpected things that this committee did was to
send for several of the leading Negro citizens of Atlanta: the Rev. H. H.
Proctor, B. J. Davis, editor of the _Independent_, a Negro journal, the
Rev. E. P. Johnson, the Rev. E. R. Carter, the Rev. J. A. Rush, and Bishop

_Committees of the Two Races Meet_

This was the first important occasion in the South upon which an attempt
was made to get the two races together for any serious consideration of
their differences.

They held a meeting. The white men asked the Negroes, "What shall we do to
relieve the irritation?" The Negroes said that they thought that coloured
men were treated with unnecessary roughness on the street-cars and by the
police. The white members of the committee admitted that this was so and
promised to take the matter up immediately with the street-car company and
the police department, which was done. The discussion was harmonious.
After the meeting Mr. Hopkins said:

"I believe those Negroes understood the situation better than we did. I
was astonished at their intelligence and diplomacy. They never referred to
the riot: they were looking to the future. I didn't know that there were
such Negroes in Atlanta."

Out of this beginning grew the Atlanta Civic League. Knowing that race
prejudice was strong, Mr. Hopkins sent out 2,000 cards, inviting the most
prominent men in the city to become members. To his surprise 1,500
immediately accepted, only two refused, and those anonymously; 500 men not
formally invited were also taken as members. The league thus had the great
body of the best citizens of Atlanta behind it. At the same time Mr.
Proctor and his committee of Negroes had organised a Coloured Co-operative
Civic League, which secured a membership of 1,500 of the best coloured men
in the city. A small committee of Negroes met a small committee of the
white league.

Fear was expressed that there would be another riotous outbreak during the
Christmas holidays, and the league proceeded with vigour to prevent it.
New policemen were put on, and the committee worked with Judge Broyles and
Judge Roan in issuing statements warning the people against lawlessness.
They secured an agreement among the newspapers not to publish sensational
news; the sheriff agreed, if necessary, to swear in some of the best men
in town as extra deputies; they asked that saloons be closed at four
o'clock on Christmas Eve; and through the Negro committee, they brought
influence to bear to keep all coloured people off the streets. When two
county police got drunk at Brownsville and threatened Mrs. Fambro, the
wife of one of the Negroes killed in the riot, a member of the committee,
Mr. Seeley, publisher of the _Georgian_, informed the sheriff and sent
his automobile to Brownsville, where the policemen were arrested and
afterward discharged from the force. As a result, it was the quietest
Christmas Atlanta had had in years.

But the most important of all the work done, because of the spectacular
interest it aroused, was the defence of a Negro charged with an assault
upon a white woman. It is an extraordinary and dramatic story.

_Does a Riot Prevent Further Crime?_

Although many people said that the riot would prevent any more Negro
crime, several attacks on white women occurred within a few weeks
afterward. On November 13th Mrs. J. D. Camp, living in the suburbs of
Atlanta, was attacked in broad daylight in her home and brutally assaulted
by a Negro, who afterward robbed the house and escaped. Though the crime
was treated with great moderation by the newspapers, public feeling was
intense. A Negro was arrested, charged with the crime. Mr. Hopkins and his
associates believed that the best way to secure justice and prevent
lynchings was to have a prompt trial. Accordingly, they held a conference
with Judge Roan, as a result of which three lawyers in the city, Mr.
Hopkins, L. Z. Rosser, and J. E. McClelland, were appointed to defend the
accused Negro, serving without pay. A trial-jury, composed of twelve
citizens, among the most prominent in Atlanta, was called--one of the
ablest juries ever drawn in Georgia. There was a determination to have
immediate and complete justice.

The Negro arrested, one Joe Glenn, had been completely identified by Mrs.
Camp as her assailant. Although having no doubt of his guilt, the
attorneys went at the case thoroughly. The first thing they did was to
call in two members of the Negro committee, Mr. Davis and Mr. Carter.
These men went to the jail and talked with Glenn, and afterward they all
visited the scene of the crime. They found that Glenn, who was a man fifty
years old with grandchildren, bore an excellent reputation. He rented a
small farm about two miles from Mrs. Camp's home and had some property; he
was sober and industrious. After making a thorough examination and
getting all the evidence they could, they came back to Atlanta, persuaded,
in spite of the fact that the Negro had been positively identified by Mrs.
Camp--which in these cases is usually considered conclusive--that Glenn
was not guilty. It was a most dramatic trial; at first, when Mrs. Camp was
placed on the stand she failed to identify Glenn; afterward, reversing
herself she broke forth into a passionate denunciation of him. But after
the evidence was all in, the jury retired, and reported two minutes later
with a verdict "Not guilty." Remarkably enough, just before the trial was
over the police informed the court that another Negro, named Will Johnson,
answering Mrs. Camp's description, had been arrested, charged with the
crime. He was subsequently identified by Mrs. Camp.

Without this energetic defence, an innocent, industrious Negro would
certainly have been hanged--or if the mob had been ahead of the police, as
it usually is, he would have been lynched.

But what of Glenn afterward?

When the jury left the box Mr. Hopkins turned to Glenn and said:

"Well, Joe, what do you think of the case?"

He replied: "Boss I 'spec's they will hang me, for that lady said I was
the man, but they won't hang me, will they, 'fore I sees my wife and
chilluns again?"

He was kept in the tower that night and the following day for protection
against a possible lynching. Plans were made by his attorneys to send him
secretly out of the city to the home of a farmer in Alabama, whom they
could trust with the story. Glenn's wife was brought to visit the jail and
Glenn was told of the plans for his safety, and instructed to change his
name and keep quiet until the feeling of the community could be

A ticket was purchased by his attorneys, with a new suit of clothes, hat,
and shoes. He was taken out of jail about midnight under a strong guard,
and safely placed on the train. From that day to this he has never been
heard of. He did not go to Alabama. The poor creature, with the instinct
of a hunted animal, did not dare after all to trust the white men who had
befriended him. He is a fugitive, away from his family, not daring,
though innocent, to return to his home.

_Other Reconstruction Movements_

Another strong movement also sprung into existence. Its inspiration was
religious. Ministers wrote a series of letters to the Atlanta
_Constitution_. Clark Howell, its editor, responded with an editorial
entitled "Shall We Blaze the Trail?" W. J. Northen, Ex-Governor of
Georgia, and one of the most highly respected men in the state, took up
the work, asking himself, as he says:

"What am I to do, who have to pray every night?"

He answered that question by calling a meeting at the Coloured Y. M. C. A.
building, where some twenty white men met an equal number of Negroes,
mostly preachers, and held a prayer meeting.

The South still looks to its ministers for leadership--and they really
lead. The sermons of men like the Rev. John E. White, the Rev. C. B.
Wilmer, the Rev. W. W. Landrum, who have spoken with power and ability
against lawlessness and injustice to the Negro, have had a large influence
in the reconstruction movement.

Ex-Governor Northen travelled through the state of Georgia, made a notable
series of speeches, urged the establishment of law and order
organisations, and met support wherever he went. He talked against mob-law
and lynching in plain language. Here are some of the things he said:

"We shall never settle this until we give absolute justice to the Negro.
We are not now doing justice to the Negro in Georgia.

"Get into contact with the best Negroes; there are plenty of good Negroes
in Georgia. What we must do is to get the good white folks to leaven the
bad white folks and the good Negroes to leaven the bad Negroes."

"There must be no aristocracy of crime: a white fiend is as much to be
dreaded as a black brute."

These movements did not cover specifically, it will be observed, the
enormously difficult problems of politics, and the political relationships
of the races, nor the subject of Negro education, nor the most
exasperating of all the provocatives--those problems which arise from
human contact in street cars, railroad trains, and in life generally.

That they had to meet the greatest difficulties in their work is shown by
such an editorial as the following, published December 12th by the Atlanta
_Evening News_:

     No law of God or man can hold back the vengeance of our white men
     upon such a criminal [the Negro who attacks a white woman]. If
     necessary, we will double and treble and quadruple the law of Moses,
     and hang off-hand the criminal, or failing to find that a remedy, we
     will hang two, three, or four of the Negroes nearest to the crime,
     until the crime is no longer done or feared in all this Southern land
     that we inhabit and love.

On January 31, 1907, the newspaper which published this editorial went
into the hands of a receiver--its failure being due largely to the strong
public sentiment against its course before and during the riot.

After the excitement of the riot and the evil results which followed it
began to disappear it was natural that the reconstruction movements should
quiet down. Ex-Governor Northen continued his work for many months and is
indeed, still continuing it: and there is no doubt that his campaigns have
had a wide influence. The feeling that the saloons and dives of Atlanta
were partly responsible for the riot was a powerful factor in the
anti-saloon campaign which took place in 1907 and resulted in closing
every saloon in the state of Georgia on January 1, 1908. And the riot and
the revulsion which followed it will combine to make a recurrence of such
a disturbance next to impossible.



Before entering upon a discussion of the more serious aspects of the Negro
question in the South, it may prove illuminating if I set down, briefly,
some of the more superficial evidences of colour line distinctions in the
South as they impress the investigator. The present chapter consists of a
series of sketches from my note-books giving the earliest and freshest
impressions of my studies in the South.

When I first went South I expected to find people talking about the Negro,
but I was not at all prepared to find the subject occupying such an
overshadowing place in Southern affairs. In the North we have nothing at
all like it; no question which so touches every act of life, in which
everyone, white or black, is so profoundly interested. In the North we are
mildly concerned in many things; the South is overwhelmingly concerned in
this one thing.

And this is not surprising, for the Negro in the South is both the labour
problem and the servant question; he is preëminently the political issue,
and his place, socially, is of daily and hourly discussion. A Negro
minister I met told me a story of a boy who went as a sort of butler's
assistant in the home of a prominent family in Atlanta. His people were
naturally curious about what went on in the white man's house. One day
they asked him:

"What do they talk about when they're eating?"

The boy thought a moment; then he said:

"Mostly they discusses us culled folks."

_What Negroes Talk About_

The same consuming interest exists among the Negroes. A very large part of
their conversation deals with the race question. I had been at the
Piedmont Hotel only a day or two when my Negro waiter began to take
especially good care of me. He flecked off imaginary crumbs and gave me
unnecessary spoons. Finally, when no one was at hand, he leaned over and

"I understand you're down here to study the Negro problem."

"Yes," I said, a good deal surprised. "How did you know it?"

"Well, sir," he replied, "we've got ways of knowing things."

He told me that the Negroes had been much disturbed ever since the riot
and that he knew many of them who wanted to go North. "The South," he
said, "is getting to be too dangerous for coloured people." His language
and pronunciation were surprisingly good. I found that he was a college
student, and that he expected to study for the ministry.

"Do you talk much about these things among yourselves?" I asked.

"We don't talk about much else," he said. "It's sort of life and death
with us."

Another curious thing happened not long afterward. I was lunching with
several fine Southern men, and they talked, as usual, with the greatest
freedom in the full hearing of the Negro waiters. Somehow, I could not
help watching to see if the Negroes took any notice of what was said. I
wondered if they were sensitive. Finally, I put the question to one of my

"Oh," he said, "we never mind them; they don't care."

One of the waiters instantly spoke up:

"No, don't mind me; I'm only a block of wood."

_First Views of the Negroes_

I set out from the hotel on the morning of my arrival to trace the colour
line as it appears, outwardly, in the life of such a town.

Atlanta is a singularly attractive place, as bright and new as any Western
city. Sherman left it in ashes at the close of the war; the old buildings
and narrow streets were swept away and a new city was built, which is now
growing in a manner not short of astonishing. It has 115,000 to 125,000
inhabitants, about a third of whom are Negroes, living in more or less
detached quarters in various parts of the city, and giving an
individuality to the life interesting enough to the unfamiliar Northerner.
A great many of them are always on the streets far better dressed and
better-appearing than I had expected to see--having in mind, perhaps, the
tattered country specimens of the penny postal cards. Crowds of Negroes
were at work mending the pavement, for the Italian and Slav have not yet
appeared in Atlanta, nor indeed to any extent anywhere in the South. I
stopped to watch a group of them. A good deal of conversation was going
on, here and there a Negro would laugh with great good humour, and several
times I heard a snatch of a song: much jollier workers than our grim
foreigners, but evidently not working so hard. A fire had been built to
heat some of the tools, and a black circle of Negroes were gathered around
it like flies around a drop of molasses and they were all talking while
they warmed their shins--evidently having plenty of leisure.

As I continued down the street, I found that all the drivers of waggons
and cabs were Negroes; I saw Negro newsboys, Negro porters, Negro barbers,
and it being a bright day, many of them were in the street--on the sunny

I commented that evening to some Southern people I met, on the impression,
almost of jollity, given by the Negro workers I had seen. One of the older
ladies made what seemed to me a very significant remark.

"They don't sing as they used to," she said. "You should have known the
old darkeys of the plantation. Every year, it seems to me, they have been
losing more and more of their care-free good humour. I sometimes feel that
I don't know them any more. Since the riot they have grown so glum and
serious that I'm free to say I'm scared of them!"

One of my early errands that morning led me into several of the great new
office buildings, which bear testimony to the extraordinary progress of
the city. And here I found one of the first evidences of the colour line
for which I was looking. In both buildings, I found a separate elevator
for coloured people. In one building, signs were placed reading:


In another I copied this sign:


Curiously enough, as giving an interesting point of view, an intelligent
Negro with whom I was talking a few days later asked me:

"Have you seen the elevator sign in the Century Building?"

I said I had.

"How would you like to be classed with 'freight, express and packages'?"

I found that no Negro ever went into an elevator devoted to white people,
but that white people often rode in cars set apart for coloured people. In
some cases the car for Negroes is operated by a white man, and in other
cases, all the elevators in a building are operated by coloured men. This
is one of the curious points of industrial contact in the South which
somewhat surprise the Northern visitor. In the North a white workman will
often refuse to work with a Negro; in the South, while the social
prejudice is strong, Negroes and whites work together side by side in many
kinds of employment.

I had an illustration in point not long afterward. Passing the post
office, I saw several mail-carriers coming out, some white, some black,
talking and laughing, with no evidence, at first, of the existence of any
colour line. Interested to see what the real condition was, I went in and
made inquiries. A most interesting and significant condition developed. I
found that the postmaster, who is a wise man, sent Negro carriers up
Peachtree and other fashionable streets, occupied by wealthy white people,
while white carriers were assigned to beats in the mill districts and
other parts of town inhabited by the poorer classes of white people.

"You see," said my informant, "the Peachtree people know how to treat
Negroes. They really prefer a Negro carrier to a white one; it's natural
for them to have a Negro doing such service. But if we sent Negro carriers
down into the mill district they might get their heads knocked off."

Then he made a philosophical observation:

"If we had only the best class of white folks down here and the
industrious Negroes, there wouldn't be any trouble."

_The Jim Crow Car_

One of the points in which I was especially interested was the "Jim Crow"
regulations, that is, the system of separation of the races in street cars
and railroad trains. Next to the question of Negro suffrage, I think the
people of the North have heard more of the Jim Crow legislation than of
anything else connected with the Negro problem. The street car is an
excellent place for observing the points of human contact between the
races, betraying as it does every shade of feeling upon the part of both.
In almost no other relationship do the races come together, physically, on
anything like a common footing. In their homes and in ordinary employment,
they meet as master and servant; but in the street cars they touch as free
citizens, each paying for the right to ride, the white not in a place of
command, the Negro without an obligation of servitude. Street-car
relationships are, therefore, symbolic of the new conditions. A few years
ago the Negro came and went in the street cars in most cities and sat
where he pleased, but gradually Jim Crow laws or local regulations were
passed, forcing him into certain seats at the back of the car.

While I was in Atlanta, the newspapers reported two significant new
developments in the policy of separation. In Savannah Jim Crow ordinances
have gone into effect for the first time, causing violent protestations on
the part of the Negroes and a refusal by many of them to use the cars at
all. Montgomery, Ala., about the same time, went one step further and
demanded, not separate seats in the same car, but entirely separate cars
for whites and blacks. There could be no better visible evidence of the
increasing separation of the races, and of the determination of the white
man to make the Negro "keep his place," than the evolution of the Jim Crow

I was curious to see how the system worked out in Atlanta. Over the door
of each car, I found this sign:


Sure enough, I found the white people in front and the Negroes behind. As
the sign indicates, there is no definite line of division between the
white seats and the black seats, as in many other Southern cities. This
very absence of a clear demarcation is significant of many relationships
in the South. The colour line is drawn, but neither race knows just where
it is. Indeed, it can hardly be definitely drawn in many relationships,
because it is constantly changing. This uncertainty is a fertile source of
friction and bitterness. The very first time I was on a car in Atlanta, I
saw the conductor--all conductors are white--ask a Negro woman to get up
and take a seat farther back in order to make a place for a white man. I
have also seen white men requested to leave the Negro section of the car.

At one time, when I was on a car the conductor shouted: "Heh, you nigger,
get back there," which the Negro, who had taken a seat too far forward,
proceeded hastily to do.

No other one point of race contact is so much and so bitterly discussed
among the Negroes as the Jim Crow car. I don't know how many Negroes
replied to my question: "What is the chief cause of friction down here?"
with a complaint of their treatment on street cars and in railroad trains.

_Why the Negro Objects to the Jim Crow Car_

Fundamentally, of course they object to any separation which gives them
inferior accommodations. This point of view--and I am trying to set down
every point of view, both coloured and white, exactly as I find it, is
expressed in many ways.

"We pay first-class fare," said one of the leading Negroes in Atlanta,
"exactly as the white man does, but we don't get first-class service. I
say it isn't fair."

In answer to this complaint, the white man says: "The Negro is inferior,
he must be made to keep his place. Give him a chance and he assumes social
equality, and that will lead to an effort at intermarriage and
amalgamation of the races. The Anglo-Saxon will never stand for that."

One of the first complaints made by the Negroes after the riot, was of
rough and unfair treatment on the street cars.

The committee admitted that the Negroes were not always well treated on
the cars, and promised to improve conditions. Charles T. Hopkins, a leader
in the Civic League and one of the prominent lawyers of the city, told me
that he believed the Negroes should be given their definite seats in every
car; he said that he personally made it a practice to stand up rather than
to take any one of the four back seats, which he considered as belonging
to the Negroes. Two other leading men, on a different occasion, told me
the same thing.

One result of the friction over the Jim Crow regulations is that many
Negroes ride on the cars as little as possible. One prominent Negro I met
said he never entered a car, and that he had many friends who pursued the
same policy; he said that Negro street car excursions, familiar a few
years ago, had entirely ceased. It is significant of the feeling that one
of the features of the Atlanta riot was an attack on the street cars in
which all Negroes were driven out of their seats. One Negro woman was
pushed through an open window, and, after falling to the pavement, she was
dragged by the leg across the sidewalk and thrown through a shop window.
In another case when the mob stopped a car the motorman, instead of
protecting his passengers, went inside and beat down a Negro with his
brass control-lever.

_Story of an Encounter on a Street Car_

I heard innumerable stories from both white people and Negroes of
encounters in the street cars. Dr. W. F. Penn, one of the foremost Negro
physicians of the city, himself partly white, a graduate of Yale College,
told me of one occasion in which he entered a car and found there Mrs.
Crogman, wife of the coloured president of Clark University. Mrs. Crogman
is a mulatto so light of complexion as to be practically undistinguishable
from white people. Dr. Penn, who knew her well, sat down beside her and
began talking. A white man who occupied a seat in front with his wife
turned and said:

"Here, you nigger, get out of that seat. What do you mean by sitting down
with a white woman?"

Dr. Penn replied somewhat angrily:

"It's come to a pretty pass when a coloured man cannot sit with a woman of
his own race in his own part of the car."

The white man turned to his wife and said:

"Here, take these bundles. I'm going to thrash that nigger."

In half a minute the car was in an uproar, the two men struggling.
Fortunately the conductor and motorman were quickly at hand, and Dr. Penn
slipped off the car.

Conditions on the railroad trains, while not resulting so often in
personal encounters, are also the cause of constant irritation. When I
came South, I took particular pains to observe the arrangement on the
trains. In some cases Negroes are given entire cars at the front of the
train, at other times they occupy the rear end of a combination coach and
baggage car, which is used in the North as a smoking compartment. The
complaint here is that, while the Negro is required to pay first-class
fare, he is provided with second-class accommodations. Well-to-do Negroes
who can afford to travel, also complain that they are not permitted to
engage sleeping-car berths. Booker T. Washington usually takes a
compartment where he is entirely cut off from the white passengers. Some
other Negroes do the same thing, although they are often refused even this
expensive privilege. Railroad officials with whom I talked, and it is
important to hear what they say, said that it was not only a question of
public opinion--which was absolutely opposed to any intermingling of the
races in the cars--but that Negro travel in most places was small compared
with white travel, that the ordinary Negro was unclean and careless, and
that it was impractical to furnish them the same accommodations, even
though it did come hard on a few educated Negroes. They said that when
there was a delegation of Negroes, enough to fill an entire sleeping car,
they could always get accommodations. All of which gives a glimpse of the
enormous difficulties accompanying the separation of the races in the

Another interesting point significant of tendencies came early to my
attention. They had recently finished at Atlanta one of the finest
railroad stations in this country. The ordinary depot in the South has two
waiting-rooms of about the same size, one for whites and one for Negroes.
But when this new station was built the whole front was given up to white
people, and the Negroes were assigned a side entrance, and a small
waiting-room. Prominent coloured men regarded it as a new evidence of the
crowding out of the Negro, the further attempt to give him unequal
accommodations, to handicap him in his struggle for survival. A delegation
was sent to the railroad people to protest, but to no purpose. Result:
further bitterness. There are in the station two lunch-rooms, one for
whites, one for Negroes.

A leading coloured man said to me:

"No Negro goes to the lunch-room in the station who can help it. We don't
like the way we have been treated."

_A Negro Boycott_

Of course this was an unusually intelligent coloured man, and he spoke for
his own sort; how far the same feeling of a race consciousness strong
enough to carry out such a boycott as this--and it is like the boycott of
a labour union--actuates the masses of ignorant Negroes is a question upon
which I hope to get more light as I proceed. I have already heard more
than one coloured leader complain that Negroes do not stand together. And
a white planter, whom I met in the hotel, said a significant thing along
this very line:

"If once the Negroes got together and saved their money, they'd soon own
the country, but they can't do it, and they never will."

After I had begun to trace the colour line I found evidences of it
everywhere--literally in every department of life. In the theatres,
Negroes never sit downstairs, but the galleries are black with them. Of
course, white hotels and restaurants are entirely barred to Negroes, with
the result that coloured people have their own eating and sleeping places,
many of them inexpressibly dilapidated and unclean. "Sleepers wanted" is a
familiar sign in Atlanta, giving notice of places where for a few cents a
Negro can find a bed or a mattress on the floor, often in a room where
there are many other sleepers, sometimes both men and women in the same
room crowded together in a manner both unsanitary and immoral. No good
public accommodations exist for the educated or well-to-do Negro in
Atlanta, although other cities are developing good Negro hotels. Indeed
one cannot long remain in the South without being impressed with extreme
difficulties which beset the exceptional coloured man.


Showing how the colour line was drawn by the saloons at Atlanta, Georgia.
Many of the saloons for Negroes were kept by foreigners, usually Jews.]

In slavery time many Negroes attended white churches and Negro children
were often taught by white women. Now, a Negro is never (or very rarely)
seen in a white man's church. Once since I have been in the South, I saw a
very old Negro woman, some much-loved mammy, perhaps--sitting down in
front near the pulpit, but that is the only exception to the rule that has
come to my attention. Negroes are not wanted in white churches.
Consequently the coloured people have some sixty churches of their own in
Atlanta. Of course, the schools are separate, and have been ever since the
Civil War.

In one of the parks of Atlanta I saw this sign:


_Colour Line in the Public Library_

A story significant of the growing separation of the races is told about
the public library at Atlanta, which no Negro is permitted to enter.
Carnegie gave the money for building it, and when the question came up as
to the support of it by the city, the inevitable colour question arose.
Leading Negroes asserted that their people should be allowed admittance,
that they needed such an educational advantage even more than white
people, and that they were to be taxed their share--even though it was
small--for buying the books and maintaining the building. They did not win
their point of course, but Mr. Carnegie proposed a solution of the
difficulty by offering more money to build a Negro branch library,
provided the city would give the land and provide for its support. The
city said to the Negroes:

"You contribute the land and we will support the library."

Influential Negroes at once arranged for buying and contributing a site
for the library. Then the question of control arose. The Negroes thought
that inasmuch as they gave the land and the building was to be used
entirely for coloured people, they should have one or two members on the
board of control. This the city officials, who had charge of the matter,
would not hear of; result, the Negroes would not give the land, and the
branch library has never been built.

Right in this connection: while I was in Atlanta, the Art School, which in
the past has often used Negro models, decided to draw the colour line
there, too, and no longer employ them.

Formerly Negroes and white men went to the same saloons, and drank at the
same bars, as they do now, I am told, in some parts of the South. In a few
instances, in Atlanta, there were Negro saloon-keepers, and many Negro
bartenders. The first step toward separation was to divide the bar, the
upper end for white men, the lower for Negroes. After the riot, by a new
ordinance no saloon was permitted to serve both white and coloured men.

Consequently, going along Decatur Street, one sees the saloons designated
by conspicuous signs:[1]


And when the Negro suffers the ordinary consequences of a prolonged visit
to Decatur Street, and finds himself in the city prison, he is separated
there, too, from the whites. And afterward in court, if he comes to trial,
two Bibles are provided; he may take his oath on one; the other is for the
white man. When he dies he is buried in a separate cemetery.

One curious and enlightening example of the infinite ramifications of the
colour line was given me by Mr. Logan, secretary of the Atlanta Associated
Charities, which is supported by voluntary contributions. One day, after
the riot, a subscriber called Mr. Logan on the telephone and said: "Do you
help Negroes in your society?"

"Why, yes, occasionally," said Mr. Logan.

"What do you do that for?"

"A Negro gets hungry and cold like anybody else," answered Mr. Logan.

"Well, you can strike my name from your subscription list. I won't give
any of my money to a society that helps Negroes."

_Psychology of the South_

Now, this sounds rather brutal, but behind it lies the peculiar psychology
of the South. This very man who refused to contribute to the associated
charities, may have fed several Negroes from his kitchen and had a number
of Negro pensioners who came to him regularly for help. It was simply
amazing to me, considering the bitterness of racial feeling, to see how
lavish many white families are in giving food, clothing, and money to
individual Negroes whom they know. A Negro cook often supports her whole
family, including a lazy husband, on what she gets daily from the white
man's kitchen. In some old families the "basket habit" of the Negroes is
taken for granted; in the newer ones, it is, significantly, beginning to
be called stealing, showing that the old order is passing and that the
Negro is being held more and more strictly to account, not as a dependent
vassal, but as a moral being, who must rest upon his own responsibility.

And often a Negro of the old sort will literally bulldoze his hereditary
white protector into the loan of quarters and half dollars, which both
know will never be paid back.

Mr. Brittain, superintendent of schools in Fulton County, gave me an
incident in point. A big Negro with whom he was wholly unacquainted came
to his office one day, and demanded--he did not ask, but demanded--a job.

"What's your name?" asked the superintendent.

"Marion Luther Brittain," was the reply.

"That sounds familiar," said Mr. Brittain--it being, indeed, his own name.

"Yas, sah. Ah'm the son of yo' ol' mammy."

In short, Marion Luther had grown up on the old plantation; it was the
spirit of the hereditary vassal demanding the protection and support of
the hereditary baron, and he got it, of course.

The Negro who makes his appeal on the basis of this old relationship
finds no more indulgent or generous friend than the Southern white man,
indulgent to the point of excusing thievery and other petty offences, but
the moment he assumes or demands any other relationship or stands up as an
independent citizen, the white men--at least some white men--turn upon him
with the fiercest hostility. The incident of the associated charities may
now be understood. It was not necessarily cruelty to a cold or hungry
Negro that inspired the demand of the irate subscriber, but the feeling
that the associated charities helped Negroes and whites on the same basis,
as men; that, therefore, it encouraged "social equality," and that,
therefore, it was to be stopped.

Most of the examples so far given are along the line of social contact,
where, of course, the repulsion is intense. Negroes and whites can go to
different schools, churches, and saloons, and sit in different street
cars, and still live pretty comfortably. But the longer I remain in the
South, the more clearly I come to understand how wide and deep, in other,
less easily discernible ways, the chasm between the races is becoming.

_The New Racial Consciousness Among Negroes_

One of the natural and inevitable results of the effort of the white man
to set the Negro off, as a race, by himself, is to awaken in him a new
consciousness--a sort of racial consciousness. It drives the Negroes
together for defence and offence. Many able Negroes, some largely of white
blood, cut off from all opportunity of success in the greater life of the
white man, become of necessity leaders of their own people. And one of
their chief efforts consists in urging Negroes to work together and to
stand together. In this they are only developing the instinct of defence
against the white man which has always been latent in the race. This
instinct exhibits itself in the way in which the mass of Negroes sometimes
refuse to turn over a criminal of their colour to white justice; it is
like the instinctive clannishness of the Highland Scotch or the peasant
Irish. I don't know how many Southern people have told me in different
ways of how extremely difficult it is to get at the real feeling of a
Negro, to make him tell what goes on in his clubs and churches or in his
innumerable societies.

A Southern woman told me of a cook who had been in her service for
nineteen years. The whole family really loved the old servant: her
mistress made her a confidant, in the way of the old South, in the most
intimate private and family matters, the daughters told her their love
affairs; they all petted her and even submitted to many small tyrannies
upon her part.

"But do you know," said my hostess, "Susie never tells us a thing about
her life or her friends, and we couldn't, if we tried, make her tell what
goes on in the society she belongs to."

The Negro has long been defensively secretive. Slavery made him that. In
the past, the instinct was passive and defensive; but with growing
education and intelligent leadership it is rapidly becoming conscious,
self-directive and offensive. And right there, it seems to me, lies the
great cause of the increased strain in the South.

Let me illustrate. In the People's Tabernacle in Atlanta, where thousands
of Negroes meet every Sunday, I saw this sign in huge letters:


The old-fashioned Negro preferred to go to the white man for everything;
he didn't trust his own people; the new Negro, with growing race
consciousness, and feeling that the white man is against him, urges his
friends to patronise Negro doctors and dentists, and to trade with Negro
storekeepers. The extent to which this movement has gone was one of the
most surprising things that I, as an unfamiliar Northerner, found in
Atlanta. In other words, the struggle of the races is becoming more and
more rapidly economic.

_Story of a Negro Shoe-store_

One day, walking in Broad Street, I passed a Negro shoe-store. I did not
know that there was such a thing in the country. I went in to make
inquiries. It was neat, well kept, and evidently prosperous. I found that
it was owned by a stock company, organised and controlled wholly by
Negroes; the manager was a brisk young mulatto named Harper, a graduate of
Atlanta University. I found him dictating to a Negro girl stenographer.
There were two reasons, he said, why the store had been opened; one was
because the promoters thought it a good business opportunity, and the
other was because many Negroes of the better class felt that they did not
get fair treatment at white stores. At some places--not all, he said--when
a Negro woman went to buy a pair of shoes, the clerk would hand them to
her without offering to help her try them on; and a Negro was always kept
waiting until all the white people in the store had been served. Since the
new business was opened, he said, it had attracted much of the Negro
trade; all the leaders advising their people to patronise him. I was much
interested to find out how this young man looked upon the race question.
His first answer struck me forcibly, for it was the universal and typical
answer of the business man the world over whether white, yellow, or black:

"All I want," he said, "is to be protected and let alone, so that I can
build up this business."

"What do you mean by protection?" I asked.

"Well, justice between the races. That doesn't mean social equality. We
have a society of our own, and that is all we want. If he can have justice
in the courts, and fair protection, we can learn to compete with the white
stores and get along all right."

Such an enterprise as this indicates the new, economic separation between
the races.

"Here is business," says the Negro, "which I am going to do."

Considering the fact that only a few years ago, the Negro did no business
at all, and had no professional men, it is really surprising to a
Northerner to see what progress he has made. One of the first lines he
took up was--not unnaturally--the undertaking business. Some of the most
prosperous Negroes in every Southern city are undertakers, doing work
exclusively, of course, for coloured people. Other early enterprises,
growing naturally out of a history of personal service, were barbering
and tailoring. Atlanta has many small Negro tailor and clothes-cleaning

_Wealthiest Negro in Atlanta_

The wealthiest Negro in Atlanta, A. F. Herndon, operates the largest
barber shop in the city; he is the president of a Negro insurance company
(of which there are four in the city) and he owns and rents some fifty
dwelling houses. He is said to be worth $80,000, all made, of course,
since slavery.

Another occupation developing naturally from the industrial training of
slavery was the business of the building contractor. Several such Negroes,
notably Alexander Hamilton, do a considerable business in Atlanta, and
have made money. They are employed by white men, and they hire for their
jobs both white and Negro workmen.

Small groceries and other stores are of later appearance; I saw at least a
score of them in various parts of Atlanta. For the most part they are very
small, many are exceedingly dirty and ill-kept; usually much poorer than
corresponding places kept by foreigners, indiscriminately called "Dagoes"
down here, who are in reality mostly Russian Jews and Greeks. But there
are a few Negro grocery stores in Atlanta which are highly creditable.
Other business enterprises include restaurants (for Negroes), printing
establishments, two newspapers, and several drug-stores. In other words,
the Negro is rapidly building up his own business enterprises, tending to
make himself independent as a race.

The appearance of Negro drug-stores was the natural result of the
increasing practice of Negro doctors and dentists. Time was when all
Negroes preferred to go to white practitioners, but since educated
coloured doctors became common, they have taken a very large
part--practically all, I am told--of the practice in Atlanta. Several of
them have had degrees from Northern universities, two from Yale; and one
of them, at least, has some little practice among white people. The
doctors are leaders among their people. Naturally they give prescriptions
to be filled by druggists of their own race; hence the growth of the drug
business among Negroes everywhere in the South. The first store to be
established in Atlanta occupies an old wooden building in Auburn Avenue.
It is operated by Moses Amos, a mulatto, and enjoys, I understand, a high
degree of prosperity. I visited it. A post-office occupies one corner of
the room; and it is a familiar gathering place for coloured men. Moses
Amos told me his story, and I found it so interesting, and so significant
of the way in which Negro business men have come up, that I am setting it
down briefly here.

_Rise of a Negro Druggist_

"I never shall forget," he said, "my first day in the drug business. It
was in 1876. I remember I was with a crowd of boys in Peachtree Street,
where Dr. Huss, a Southern white man, kept a drug-store. The old doctor
was sitting out in front smoking his pipe. He called one little Negro
after another, and finally chose me. He said:

"'I want you to live with me, work in the store, and look after my horse.'

"He sent me to his house and told me to tell his wife to give me some
breakfast, and I certainly delivered the first message correctly. His
wife, who was a noble lady, not only fed me, but made me take a bath in a
sure enough porcelain tub, the first I had ever seen. When I went back to
the store, I was so regenerated that the doctor had to adjust his
spectacles before he knew me. He said to me:

"'You can wash bottles, put up castor oil, salts and turpentine, sell
anything you _know_ and put the money in the drawer.'

"He showed me how to work the keys of the cash drawer. 'I am going to
trust you,' he said. 'Don't steal from me; if you want anything ask for
it, and you can have it. And don't lie; I hate a liar. A boy who will lie
will steal, too.'

"I remained with Dr. Huss thirteen years. He sent me to school and paid my
tuition out of his own pocket; he trusted me fully, often leaving me in
charge of his business for weeks at a time. When he died I formed a
partnership with Dr. Butler, Dr. Slater, and others, and bought the store.
Our business grew and prospered, so that within a few years we had a stock
worth $3,000, and cash of $800. That made us ambitious. We bought land,
built a new store, and went into debt to do it. We didn't know much about
business--that's the Negro's chief trouble--and we lost trade by changing
our location, so that in spite of all we could do, we failed and lost
everything, though we finally paid our creditors every cent. After many
trials we started again in 1896 in our present store; to-day we are doing
a good business; we can get all the credit we want from wholesale houses,
we employ six clerks, and pay good interest on the capital invested."

_Greatest Difficulties Met by Negro Business Men_

I asked him what was the greatest difficulty he had to meet. He said it
was the credit system; the fact that many Negroes have not learned
financial responsibility. Once, he said, he nearly stopped business on
this account.

"I remember," he said, "the last time we got into trouble. We needed $400
to pay our bills. I picked out some of our best customers and gave them a
heart-to-heart talk and told them what trouble we were in. They all
promised to pay; but on the day set for payment, out of $1,680 which they
owed us we collected just $8.25. After that experience we came down to a
cash basis. We trust no one, and since then we have been doing well."

He said he thought the best opportunity for Negro development was in the
South where he had his whole race behind him. He said he had once been
tempted to go North looking for an opening.

"How did you make out?" I asked.

"Well, I'll tell you," he said, "when I got there I wanted a shave; I
walked the streets two hours visiting barber shops, and they all turned me
away with some excuse. I finally had to buy a razor and shave myself! That
was just a sample. I came home disgusted and decided to fight it out down
here where I understood conditions."

Of course only a comparatively few Negroes are able to get ahead in
business. They must depend almost exclusively on the trade of their own
race, and they must meet the highly organised competition of white men.
But it is certainly significant that even a few are able to make progress
along these unfamiliar lines. Many Southern men I met had little or no
idea of the remarkable extent of this advancement among the better class
of Negroes. Here is a strange thing. I don't know how many Southern men
have prefaced their talks with me with words something like this:

"You can't expect to know the Negro after a short visit. You must live
down here like we do. Now, I know the Negroes like a book. I was brought
up with them. I know what they'll do and what they won't do. I have had
Negroes in my house all my life."

But curiously enough I found that these men rarely knew anything about the
better class of Negroes--those who were in business, or in independent
occupations, those who owned their own homes. They _did_ come into contact
with the servant Negro, the field hand, the common labourer, who make up,
of course, the great mass of the race. On the other hand, the best class
of Negroes did not know the higher class of white people, and based their
suspicion and hatred upon the acts of the poorer sort of whites with whom
they naturally came into contact. The best elements of the two races are
as far apart as though they lived in different continents; and that is one
of the chief causes of the growing danger of the Southern situation. It is
a striking fact that one of the first--almost instinctive--efforts at
reconstruction after the Atlanta riot was to bring the best elements of
both races together, so that they might, by becoming acquainted and
gaining confidence in each other, allay suspicion and bring influence to
bear upon the lawless elements of both white people and coloured.

Many Southerners look back wistfully to the faithful, simple, ignorant,
obedient, cheerful, old plantation Negro and deplore his disappearance.
They want the New South, but the old Negro. That Negro is disappearing
forever along with the old feudalism and the old-time exclusively
agricultural life.

A new Negro is not less inevitable than a new white man and a new South.
And the new Negro, as my clever friend says, doesn't laugh as much as the
old one. It is grim business he is in, this being free, this new, fierce
struggle in the open competitive field for the daily loaf. Many go down to
vagrancy and crime in that struggle; a few will rise. The more rapid the
progress (with the trained white man setting the pace), the more frightful
the mortality.



After my arrival in Atlanta, and when I had begun to understand some of
the more superficial ramifications of the colour line (as I related in the
last chapter,) I asked several Southern men whose acquaintance I had made
where I could best see the poorer or criminal class of Negroes. So much
has been said of the danger arising from this element of Southern
population and it plays such a part in every discussion of the race
question that I was anxious to learn all I could about it.

"Go down any morning to Judge Broyles's court," they said to me, "and
you'll see the lowest of the low."

So I went down--the first of many visits I made to police and justice
courts. I chose a Monday morning that I might see to the best advantage
the accumulation of the arrests of Saturday and Sunday.

The police station stands in Decatur Street, in the midst of the very
worst section of the city, surrounded by low saloons, dives, and
pawn-shops. The court occupies a great room upstairs, and it was crowded
that morning to its capacity. Besides the police, lawyers, court officers,
and white witnesses, at least one hundred and fifty spectators filled the
seats behind the rail, nearly all of them Negroes. The ordinary Negro
loves nothing better than to sit and watch the proceedings of a court.
Judge Broyles kindly invited me to a seat on the platform at his side
where I could look into the faces of the prisoners and hear all that was

_In a Southern Police Court_

It was a profoundly interesting and significant spectacle. In the first
place the very number of cases was staggering. The docket that morning
carried over one hundred names--men, women, and children, white and
black; the court worked hard, but it was nearly two o'clock in the
afternoon before the room was cleared. Atlanta, as I showed in a former
chapter, has the largest number of arrests, considering the population, of
any important city in the United States. I found that 13,511 of the total
of 21,702 persons arrested in 1906 were Negroes, or 62 per cent., whereas
the coloured population of the city is only 40 per cent. of the total.[2]

A very large proportion of the arrests that Monday morning were Negroes,
with a surprising proportion of women and of mere children. In 1906 3,194
Negro women were arrested in Atlanta. It was altogether a pitiful and
disheartening exhibition, a spectacle of sodden ignorance, reckless vice,
dissipation. Most of the cases, ravelled out, led back to the saloon.

"Where's your home?" the judge would ask, and in a number of cases the
answer was:

"Ah come here fum de country."

Over and over again it was the story of the country Negro, or the Negro
who had been working on the railroad, in the cotton fields or in the
sawmills, who had entered upon the more complex life of the city. Most of
the country districts of the South prohibit the sale of liquor; and
Negroes, especially, have comparatively little temptation of this nature,
nor are they subjected to the many other glittering pitfalls of city life.
But of late years the opportunities of the city have attracted the black
people, just as they have the whites, in large numbers. Atlanta had many
saloons and other places of vice; and the results are to be seen in Judge
Broyles's court any morning. And not only Negroes, but the "poor whites"
who have come in from the mountains and the small farms to work in the
mills: they, too, suffer fully as much as the Negroes.

_Negro Cocaine Victims_

Not a few of the cases both black and white showed evidences of cocaine or
morphine poisoning--the blear eyes, the unsteady nerves.



"What's the trouble here?" asked the judge.

"Coke," said the officer.

"Ten-seventy-five," said the judge, naming the amount of the fine.

They buy the "coke" in the form of a powder and snuff it up the nose; a
certain patent catarrh medicine which is nearly all cocaine is sometimes
used; ten cents will purchase enough to make a man wholly irresponsible
for his acts, and capable of any crime. The cocaine habit, which seems to
be spreading, for there are always druggists who will break the law, has
been a curse to the Negro and has resulted, directly, as the police told
me, in much crime. I was told of two cases in particular, of offences
against women, in which the Negro was a victim of the drug habit.

So society, in pursuit of wealth, South and North, preys upon the ignorant
and weak--and then wonders why crime is prevalent!

One has only to visit police courts in the South to see in how many
curious ways the contact of the races generates fire.

"What's the trouble here?" inquires the judge.

The white complainant--a boy--says:

"This nigger insulted me!" and he tells the epithet the Negro applied.

"Did you call him that?"

"No sah, I never called him no such name."

"Three-seventy-five--you mustn't insult white people."

And here is the report of the case of a six-year-old Negro boy from the

     Because Robert Lee Buster, a six-year-old Negro boy, insulted Maggie
     McDermott, a little girl, who lives at 507 Simpson Street, Wednesday
     afternoon, he was given a whipping in the police station Thursday
     morning that will make him remember to be good.

     The case was heard in the juvenile court before Judge Broyles. It was
     shown that the little Negro had made an insulting remark to the
     little girl.

_Story of a Negro Arrest_

The very suspicion and fear that exist give rise to many difficulties. One
illuminating case came up that morning. A strapping Negro man was brought
before the judge. He showed no marks of dissipation and was respectably
dressed. Confronting him were two plain-clothes policemen, one with his
neck wrapped up, one with a bandage around his arm. Both said they had
been stabbed by the Negro with a jack-knife. The Negro said he was a hotel
porter and he had the white manager of the hotel in court to testify to
his good character, sobriety, and industry. It seems that he was going
home from work at nine o'clock in the evening, and it was dark. He said he
was afraid and had been afraid since the riot. At the same time the two
policemen were looking for a burglar. They saw the Negro porter and
ordered him to stop. Not being in uniform the Negro said he thought the
officers were "jes' plain white men" who were going to attack him. When he
started to run the officers tried to arrest him, and he drew his
jack-knife and began to fight. And here he was in court! The judge said:

"You mustn't attack officers," and bound him over to trial in the higher

_A White Man and a Negro Woman_

Another case shows one of the strange relationships which grow out of
Southern conditions. An old white man, much agitated and very pale, was
brought before the judge. With him came a much younger, comely appearing
woman. Both were well dressed and looked respectable--so much so, indeed,
that there was a stir of interest and curiosity among the spectators. Why
had they been arrested? As they stood in front of the judge's desk, the
old man hung his head, but the woman looked up with such an expression,
tearless and tragic, as I hope I shall not have to see again.

"What's the charge?" asked the judge.

"Adultery," said the officer.

The woman winced, the old man did not look up.

The judge glanced from one to the other in surprise.

"Why don't you get married?" he asked.

"The woman," said the officer, "is a nigger."

She was as white as I am, probably an octoroon; I could not have
distinguished her from a white person, and she deceived even the
experienced eye of the judge.

"Is that so?" asked the judge.

The man continued to hang his head, the woman looked up; neither said a
word. It then came out that they had lived together as man and wife for
many years and that they had children nearly grown. One of the girls--and
a very bright, ambitious girl--as I learned later, was a student in
Atlanta University, a Negro college, where she was supported by her
father, who made good wages as a telegraph operator. Some neighbour had
complained and the man and woman were arrested.

"Is this all true?" asked the judge.

Neither said a word.

"You can't marry under the Georgia law," said the judge; "I'll have to
bind you over for trial in the county court."

They were led back to the prisoners' rooms. A few minutes later the
bailiff came out quickly and said to the judge:

"The old man has fallen in a faint."

Not long afterward they half led, half carried him out across the court

One thing impressed me especially, not only in this court but in all
others I have visited: a Negro brought in for drunkenness, for example,
was punished much more severely than a white man arrested for the same
offence. The injustice which the weak everywhere suffer--North and
South--is in the South visited upon the Negro. The white man sometimes
escaped with a reprimand, he was sometimes fined three dollars and costs,
but the Negro, especially if he had no white man to intercede for him, was
usually punished with a ten or fifteen dollar fine, which often meant that
he must go to the chain-gang. One of the chief causes of complaint by the
Negroes of Atlanta has been of the rough treatment of the police and of
unjust arrests. After the riot, when the Civic League, composed of the
foremost white citizens of Atlanta, was organised, one of the first
subjects that came up was that of justice to the Negro. Mr. Hopkins, the
leader of the League, said to me: "We complain that the Negroes will not
help to bring the criminals of their race to justice. One reason for that
is that the Negro has too little confidence in our courts. We must give
him that, above all things."

In accordance with this plan, the Civic League, heartily supported by
Judge Broyles, employed a young lawyer, Mr. Underwood, to appear
regularly in court and look after the interests of Negroes.

_Convicts Making a Profit for Georgia_

One reason for the very large number of arrests--in Georgia
particularly--lies in the fact that the state and the counties make a
profit out of their prison system. No attempt is ever made to reform a
criminal, either white or coloured. Convicts are hired out to private
contractors or worked on the public roads. Last year the net profit to
Georgia from its chain-gangs, to which the prison commission refers with
pride, reached the great sum of $354,853.55.

Of course a very large proportion of the prisoners are Negroes. The demand
for convicts by rich sawmill operators, owners of brick-yards, large
farmers, and others is far in advance of the supply. The natural tendency
is to convict as many men as possible--it furnishes steady, cheap labour
to the contractors and a profit to the state. Undoubtedly this explains in
some degree the very large number of criminals, especially Negroes, in
Georgia. One of the leading political forces in Atlanta is a very
prominent banker who is a dominant member of the city police board. He is
also the owner of extensive brick-yards near Atlanta, where many convicts
are employed. Some of the large fortunes in Atlanta have come chiefly from
the labour of chain-gangs of convicts leased from the state.

_Fate of the Black Boy_

As I have already suggested, one of the things that impressed me strongly
in visiting Judge Broyles's court--and others like it--was the astonishing
number of children, especially Negroes, arrested. Some of them were very
young and often exceedingly bright-looking. From the records I find that
in 1906 1 boy six years old, 7 of seven years, 33 of eight years, 69 of
nine years, 107 of ten years, 142 of eleven years, and 219 of twelve years
were arrested and brought into court--in other words, 578 boys and girls,
mostly Negroes, under twelve years of age!

"I should think," I said to a police officer, "you would have trouble in
taking care of all these children in your reformatories."

"Reformatories!" he said, "there aren't any."

"What do you do with them?"

"Well, if they're bad we put 'em in the stockade or the chain-gang,
otherwise they're turned loose."

I found, however, that a new state juvenile reformatory was just being
opened at Milledgeville--which may accommodate a few Negro boys. An
attempt is also being made in Atlanta to get hold of some of the children
through a new probation system. I talked with the excellent officer, Mr.
Gloer, who works in conjunction with Judge Broyles. He reaches a good many
white boys, but very few Negroes. Of 1,011 boys and girls under sixteen,
arrested in 1905, 819 were black, but of those given the advantage of the
probation system, 50 were white and only 7 coloured. In other words, out
of 819 arrests of Negro children only 7 enjoyed the benefit of the
probation system.

Mr. Gloer has endeavoured to secure a coloured assistant who would help
look after the swarming Negro children who are becoming criminals. The
city refused to appropriate money for that purpose, but some of the
leading coloured citizens agreed to contribute one dollar a month each,
and a Negro woman was employed to help with the coloured children brought
into court. Excellent work was done, but owing to the feeling after the
riot the Negro assistant discontinued her work.

_Care of Negro Orphans_

With many hundreds of Negro orphans, waifs, and foundlings, the state or
city does very little to help them. If it were not for the fact that the
Negroes, something like the Jews, are wonderfully helpful to one another,
adopting orphan children with the greatest willingness, there would be
much suffering. Several orphanages in the state are conducted by the
coloured people themselves, either through their churches or by private
subscription. In Atlanta the Carrie Steele orphanage, which is managed by
Negroes, has received an appropriation yearly from the city, and has taken
children sent by the city charities department. After the riot the
appropriation was suddenly cut off without explanation, but through the
activities of the new Civic League, it was, I understand, restored.

Without proper reformatories or asylums, with small advantage of the
probation system, hundreds of Negro children are on the streets of Atlanta
every day--shooting craps, stealing, learning to drink. A few, shut up in
the stockade, or in chain-gangs, without any attempt to reform them or
teach them, take lessons in crime from older offenders and come out worse
than they went in. They spread abroad the lawlessness they learn and
finally commit some frightful crime and get back into the chain-gang for
life--where they make a profit for the state!

Every child, white or coloured, is getting an education somewhere. If that
education is not in schools, or at home, or, in cases of incorrigibility,
in proper reformatories, then it is on the streets or in chain-gangs.

_Why Negro Children Are Not in School_

My curiosity, aroused by the very large number of young prisoners, led me
next to inquire why these children were not in school. I visited a number
of schools and I talked with L. M. Landrum, the assistant superintendent.
Compulsory education is not enforced anywhere in the South, so that
children may run the streets unless their parents insist upon sending them
to school. I found more than this, however, that Atlanta did not begin to
have enough school facilities for the children who wanted to go. Like many
rapidly growing cities, both South and North, it has been difficult to
keep up with the demand. Just as in the North the tenement classes are
often neglected, so in the South the lowest class--which is the Negro--is
neglected. Several new schools have been built for white children, but
there has been no new school for coloured children in fifteen or twenty
years (though one Negro private school has been taken over within the last
few years by the city). So crowded are the coloured schools that they have
two sessions a day, one squad of children coming in the forenoon, another
in the afternoon. The coloured teachers, therefore, do double work, for
which they receive about two-thirds as much salary as the white teachers.

Though many Southern cities have instituted industrial training in the
public schools, Atlanta so far has done nothing. The president of the
board of education in his last published report (1903) calls attention to
this fact, and says also:

     While on the subject of Negro schools, permit me to call your
     attention to their overcrowded condition. In every Negro school many
     teachers teach two sets of pupils, each set for one-half of a school

     The last bond election was carried by a majority of only thirty-three
     votes. To my personal knowledge more than thirty-three Negroes voted
     for the bonds on the solemn assurance that by the passage of the
     bonds the Negro children would receive more school accommodations.

The eagerness of the coloured people for a chance to send their children
to school is something astonishing and pathetic. They will submit to all
sorts of inconveniences in order that their children may get an education.
One day I visited the mill neighbourhood of Atlanta to see how the poorer
classes of white people lived. I found one very comfortable home occupied
by a family of mill employees. They hired a Negro woman to cook for them,
and while they sent their children to the mill to work, the cook sent her
children to school!

_How Negroes Educate Themselves_

Here is a curious and significant thing I found in Atlanta. Because there
is not enough room for Negro children in public schools, the coloured
people maintain many private schools. The largest of these, called Morris
Brown College, has nearly 1,000 pupils. Some of them are boarders from the
country, but the greater proportion are day pupils from seven years old up
who come in from the neighbourhood. This "college," in reality a grammar
school, is managed and largely supported by tuition and contributions from
Negroes, though some subscriptions are obtained in the North. Besides this
"college" there are many small private schools conducted by Negro women
and supported wholly by the tuition paid--the Negroes thus voluntarily
taxing themselves heavily for their educational opportunities. One
afternoon in Atlanta I passed a small, rather dilapidated home. Just as I
reached the gate I heard a great cackling of voices and much laughter.
Coloured children began to pour out of the house. "What's this?" I said,
and I turned in to see. I found a Negro woman, the teacher, standing in
the doorway. She had just dismissed her pupils for recess. She was holding
school in two little rooms where some fifty children must have been
crowded to suffocation. Everything was very primitive and
inconvenient--but it was a school! She collected, she told me, a dollar a
month tuition for each child. Mollie McCue's school, perhaps the best
known private school for Negroes in the city, has 250 pupils.

Many children also find educational opportunities in the Negro colleges of
the city--Clark University, Atlanta University and Spellman Seminary,
which are supported partly by the Negroes themselves but mostly by
Northern philanthropy.

Mr. Landrum gave me a copy of the last statistical report of the school
board (1903), from which these facts appear:

               School     No. of             With   Without
             Population  Schools  Teachers  Seats    Seats

  White        14,465      20       200     10,052   4,413
  Coloured      8,118       5        49      2,445   5,673

Even with a double daily session for coloured pupils nearly half of the
Negro children in Atlanta, even in 1903, were barred from the public
schools from lack of facilities, and the number has increased largely in
the last four years. Some of these are accommodated in the private schools
and colleges which I have mentioned, but there still remain hundreds, even
thousands, who are getting no schooling of any kind, but who are
nevertheless being educated--on the streets, and for criminal lives.

_White Instruction for Black Children_

I made a good many inquiries to find out what was being done outside of
the public schools by the white people toward training the Negro either
morally, industrially or intellectually--and I was astonished to find that
it was next to nothing. The Negro is, of course, not welcome at the white
churches or Sunday schools, and the sentiment is so strong against
teaching the Negro that it is a brave Southern man or woman, indeed, who
dares attempt anything of the sort. I did find, however, that the Central
Presbyterian Church of Atlanta conducted a Negro Sunday School. Of this
Dr. Theron H. Rice, the pastor, said:

"The Sunday School conducted in Atlanta by my church is the outcome of the
effort of some of the most earnest and thoughtful of our people to give
careful religious training to the Negroes of this generation and thus to
conserve the influence begun with the fathers and mothers and the
grandfathers and grandmothers of these coloured children when they were
taught personally by their devoted Christian masters and mistresses. The
work is small in point of the number reached, but it has been productive
of sturdy character and law-abiding citizenship."

A white man or woman, and especially a Northern white man or woman, in
Atlanta who teaches Negroes is rigorously ostracised by white society. I
visited one of the Negro colleges where there are a number of white
teachers from the North. We had quite a talk. When I came to leave one of
the teachers said to me:

"You don't know how good it seems to talk with some one from the outside
world. We work here year in and year out without a white visitor, except
those who have some necessary business with the institution."

Explaining the attitude toward these Northern teachers (and we must
understand just how the Southern people feel in this matter), a prominent
clergyman said that a lady who made a social call upon a teacher in that
institution would not feel secure against having to meet Negroes socially
and that when the call was returned a similar embarrassing situation might
be created.

_Apologising for Helping Negroes_

Just in this connection: I found a very remarkable and significant letter
published in the Orangeburg, S. C., _News_, signed by a well-to-do white
citizen who thus apologises for a kind act to a Negro school:

     I had left my place of business here on a business trip a few miles
     below, on returning I came by the above-mentioned school (the Prince
     Institute, coloured), and was held up by the teacher and begged to
     make a few remarks to the children. Very reluctantly I did so, not
     thinking that publicity would be given to it or that I was doing
     anything that would offend anyone. I wish to say here and now that I
     am heartily sorry for what I did, and I hope after this humble
     confession and expression of regret that all whom I have offended
     will forgive me.

The sentiment indicated by this letter, while widely prevalent, is by no
means universal. I have seen Southern white men address Negro schools and
Negro gatherings many times since I have been down here. Some of the
foremost men in the South have accepted Booker T. Washington's invitations
to speak at Tuskegee. And concerning the very letter that I reproduce
above, the _Charlotte Observer_, a strong Southern newspaper, which copied
it, said:

     A man would better be dead than to thus abase himself. This man did
     right to address the pupils of a coloured school, but has spoiled all
     by apologising for it. Few people have conceived that race prejudice
     went so far, even in South Carolina, as is here indicated. Logically
     it is to be assumed that this jelly-fish was about to be put under
     the ban, and to secure exemption from this, published this abject
     card. To it was appended a certificate from certain citizens, saying
     they 'are as anxious to see the coloured race elevated as any people,
     but by all means let it be done inside the colour line.'... The
     narrowness and malignity betrayed in this Orangeburg incident is
     exceedingly unworthy, and those guilty of it should be ashamed of

The Rev. H. S. Bradley, for a long time one of the leading clergymen of
Atlanta, now of St. Louis, said in a sermon published in the Atlanta

     ... We have not been wholly lacking in our effort to help. There are
     a few schools and churches supported by Southern whites for the
     Negroes. Here and there a man like George Williams Walker, of the
     aristocracy of South Carolina, and a woman like Miss Belle H.
     Bennett, of the blue blood of Kentucky, goes as teacher to the Negro
     youth, and seeks in a Christly spirit of fraternity to bring them to
     a higher plane of civil and moral manhood, but the number like them
     can almost be counted on fingers of both hands.

     Our Southern churches have spent probably a hundred times as much
     money since the Civil War in an effort to evangelise the people of
     China, Japan, India, South America, Africa, Mexico, and Cuba, as they
     have spent to give the Gospel to the Negroes at our doors. It is
     often true that opportunity is overlooked because it lies at our

_Concerning the Vagrant Negro_

Before I get away from observations of the low-class Negro, I must speak
of the subject of vagrancy. Many white men have told me with impatience of
the great number of idle or partly idle Negroes--idle while every industry
and most of the farming districts of Georgia are crying for more labour.
And from my observation in Atlanta, I should say that there were good many
idle or partly idle Negroes--even after the riot, which served, I
understand, to drive many of them away. Five days before the riot of last
September, a committee of the city council visited some forty saloons one
afternoon, and by actual count found 2,455 Negroes (and 152 white men)
drinking at the bars or lounging around the doorways. In some of these
saloons--conducted by white men and permitted to exist by the city
authorities--pictures of nude white women were displayed as an added
attraction. Has this anything to do with Negro crimes against white women?
After the riot these conditions in Atlanta were much improved and in
January, 1908, all the saloons were closed.

Increased Negro idleness is the result, in large measure, of the
marvellous and rapid changes in Southern conditions. The South has been
and is to-day dependent on a single labour supply--the Negro. Now Negroes,
though recruited by a high birth rate, have not been increasing in any
degree as rapidly as the demand for labour incident to the development of
every sort of industry, railroads, lumbering, mines, to say nothing of the
increased farm area and the added requirements of growing cities. With
this enormous increased demand for labour the Negro supply has,
relatively, been decreasing. Many have gone North and West, many have
bought farms of their own, thousands, by education, have became
professional men, teachers, preachers, and even merchants and
bankers--always draining away the best and most industrious men of the
race and reducing by so much the available supply of common labour. In
short, those Negroes who were capable have been going the same way as the
unskilled Irishman and German in the North--upward through the door of
education--but, unlike the North, there have been no other labourers
coming in to take their places.

What has been the result? Naturally a fierce contest between agriculture
and industry for the limited and dwindling supply of the only labour they

_Negro Monopoly on Labour_

So they bid against one another--it was as though the Negro had a monopoly
on labour--and within the last few years day wages for Negro workers have
jumped from fifty or sixty cents to $1.25 and $1.50, often more--a pure
matter of competition. A similar advance has affected all sorts of servant
labour--cooks, waiters, maids, porters.

High wages, scarcity of labour, and the consequent loss of opportunity for
taking advantage of the prevailing prosperity would, in any community,
South or North, whether the labour was white or black, produce a spirit of
impatience and annoyance on the part of the employing class. I found it
evident enough last summer in Kansas where the farmers were unable to get
workers to save their crops; and the servant problem is not more
provoking, certainly, in the South than in the North and West. Indeed, it
is the labour problem more than any other one cause, that has held the
South back and is holding it back to-day.

But the South has an added cause of annoyance. Higher wages, instead of
producing more and better labour, as they would naturally be expected to
do, have actually served to reduce the supply. This may, at first, seem
paradoxical: but it is easily explainable and it lies deep down beneath
many of the perplexities which surround the race problem.

Most Negroes, as I have said, were (and still are, of course)
farm-dwellers, and farm-dwellers in the hitherto wasteful Southern way.
Their living is easy to get and very simple. In that warm climate they
need few clothes; a shack for a home. Their living standards are low; they
have not learned to save; there has not been time since slavery for them
to attain the sense of responsibility which would encourage them to get
ahead. And moreover they have been and are to-day largely under the
discipline of white land owners.

What was the effect, then, of a rapid advance in wages? The poorer class
of Negroes, naturally indolent and happy-go-lucky, found that they could
make as much money in two or three days as they had formerly earned in a
whole week. It was enough to live on as well as they had ever lived: why,
then, work more than two days a week? It was the logic of a child, but it
was the logic used. Everywhere I went in the South I heard the same story:
high wages coupled with the difficulty of getting anything like continuous
work from this class of coloured men.

On the other hand the better and more industrious Negroes, who would work
continuously--and there are unnumbered thousands of them, as faithful as
any workers--occasionally saved their surplus, bought little farms or
businesses of their own and began to live on a better scale. One of the
first things they did after getting their footing was to take their wives
and daughters out of the white man's kitchen, and to send their children
from the cotton fields (where the white man needed them) to the
school-house where the tendency (exactly as with white children) was to
educate them away from farm employment. With the development of ambition
and a higher standard of living, the Negro follows the steps of the rising
Irishman or Italian: he has a better home, he wants his wife to take care
of it, and he insists upon the education of his children.

In this way higher wages have tended to cut down the already limited
supply of labour, producing annoyance, placing greater obstacles in the
way of that material development of which the Southerner is so justly
proud. And this, not at all unnaturally, has given rise on the one hand to
complaints against the lazy Negro who will work only two days in the week
that he may loaf the other five; and on the other hand it has found
expression in blind and bitter hostility to the education which enables
the better sort of Negro to rise above the unskilled employment and the
domestic service of which the South is so keenly in need. It is human
nature to blame men, not conditions. Here is unlimited work to do: here is
the Negro who has been for centuries and is to-day depended upon to do it;
it is not done. The natural result is to throw the blame wholly upon the
Negro, and not upon the deep economic conditions and tendencies which have
actually caused the scarcity of labour.

_Immigrants to Take the Negroes' Places_

But within the last year or two thinking men in the South have begun to
see this particular root of the difficulty and a great new movement
looking to the encouragement of immigration from foreign countries has
been started. In November, 1906, the first shipload of immigrants ever
brought from Europe directly to a South Carolina port were landed at
Charleston with great ceremony and rejoicing. If a steady stream of
immigrants can be secured and if they can be employed on satisfactory
terms with the Negro it will go far toward relieving race tension in the

Of course idleness leads to crime, and one of the present efforts in the
South is toward a more rigid enforcement of laws against vagrancy. In this
the white people have the sympathy of the leading Negroes. I was struck
with one passage in the discussion at the last Workers' Conference at
Tuskegee. William E. Holmes, president of a coloured college at Macon,
Georgia, was speaking. Some one interrupted him:

"I would like to ask if you think the Negro is any more disposed to become
a loafer or vagrant than any other people under the same conditions?"

"Well," said Mr. Holmes, taking a deep breath, "we cannot afford to do
what other races do. We haven't a single, solitary man or woman among us
we can afford to support as an idler. It may be that other races have made
so much progress that they can afford to support loafers. But we are not
yet in that condition. Some of us have the impression that the world owes
us a living. That is a misfortune. I must confess that I have become
convinced that at the present time we furnish a larger number of loafers
than any other race of people on this continent."

These frank remarks did not meet with the entire approval of the members
of the conference, but the discussion seemed to indicate that there was a
great deal more of truth in them than the leaders and teachers of the
Negro are disposed to admit.

_The Worthless Negro_

I tried to see as much as I could of this "worthless Negro," who is about
the lowest stratum of humanity, it seems to me, of any in our American
life. He is usually densely ignorant, often a wanderer, working to-day
with a railroad gang, to-morrow on some city works, the next day picking
cotton. He has lost his white friends--his "white folks," as he calls
them--and he has not attained the training or self-direction to stand
alone. He works only when he is hungry, and he is as much a criminal as he
dares to be. Many such Negroes are supported by their wives or by women
with whom they live--for morality and the home virtues among this class
are unknown. A woman who works as a cook in a white family will often take
enough from the kitchen to feed a worthless vagabond of a man and keep him
in idleness--or worse. A Negro song exactly expresses this state of

  "I doan has to work so ha'd
  I's got a gal in a white man's ya'd;
  Ebery night 'bout half pas' eight
  I goes 'round to the white man's gate:
  She brings me butter and she brings me la'd--
  I doan has to work so ha'd!"

This worthless Negro, without training or education, grown up from the
neglected children I have already spoken of, evident in his idleness
around saloons and depots--this Negro provokes the just wrath of the
people, and gives a bad name to the entire Negro race. In numbers he is,
of course, small, compared with the 8,000,000 Negroes in the South, who
perform the enormous bulk of hard manual labour upon which rests Southern

_How the Working Negro Lives_

Above this low stratum of criminal or semi-criminal Negroes is a middle
class, comprising the great body of the race--the workers. They are
crowded into straggling settlements like Darktown and Jackson Row, a few
owning their homes, but the majority renting precariously, earning good
wages, harmless for the most part, but often falling into petty crime.
Poverty here, however, lacks the tragic note that it strikes in the
crowded sections of Northern cities. The temperament of the Negro is
irrepressibly cheerful, he overflows from his small home and sings and
laughs in his streets; no matter how ragged or forlorn he may be good
humour sits upon his countenance, and his squalour is not unpicturesque. A
banjo, a mullet supper from time to time, an exciting revival, give him
real joys. Most of the families of this middle class, some of whom are
deserted wives with children, have their "white folks" for whom they do
washing, cooking, gardening, or other service, and all have church
connections, so that they have a real place in the social fabric and a
certain code of self-respect.

I tried to see all I could of this phase of life. I visited many of the
poorer Negro homes and I was often received in squalid rooms with a
dignity of politeness which would have done credit to a society woman. For
the Negro, naturally, is a sort of Frenchman. And if I can sum up the many
visits I made in a single conclusion I should say, I think, that I was
chiefly impressed by the tragic punishment meted out to ignorance and
weakness by our complex society. I would find a home of one or two rooms
meanly furnished, but having in one corner a glittering cottage organ, or
on the mantel shelf a glorified gilt clock; crayon portraits,
inexpressibly crude and ugly, but framed gorgeously, are not uncommon--the
first uncertain, primitive (not unpitiful) reachings out after some of the
graces of a broader life. Many of these things are bought from agents and
the prices paid are extortionate. Often a Negro family will pay monthly
for a year or so on some showy clock or chromo or music-box or decorated
mirror--paying the value of it a dozen times over, only to have it seized
when through sickness, or lack of foresight, they fail to meet a single
note. Installment houses prey upon them, pawnbrokers suck their blood, and
they are infinitely the victims of patent medicines. It is rare, indeed,
that I entered a Negro cabin, even the poorest, without seeing one or more
bottles of some abominable cure-all. The amount yearly expended by Negroes
for patent medicines, which are glaringly advertised in all Southern
newspapers, must be enormous--millions of dollars. I had an interesting
side light on conditions one day while walking in one of the most
fashionable residence districts of Atlanta. I saw a magnificent gray-stone
residence standing somewhat back from the street. I said to my companion,
who was a resident of the city:

"That's a fine home."

"Yes; stop a minute," he said, "I want to tell you about that. The
anti-kink man lives there."

"Anti-kink?" I asked in surprise.

"Yes; the man who occupies that house is one of the wealthiest men here.
He made his money by selling to Negroes a preparation to smooth the kinks
out of their wool. They're simply crazy on that subject."

"Does it work?"

"You haven't seen any straight-haired Negroes, have you?" he asked.

Ignorance carries a big burden and climbs a rocky road!

_Old Mammies and Nurses_

The mass of coloured people still maintain, as I have said, a more or less
intimate connection with white families--frequently a very beautiful and
sympathetic relationship like that of the old mammies or nurses. To one
who has heard so much of racial hatred as I have since I have been down
here, a little incident that I observed the other day comes with a charm
hardly describable. I saw a carriage stop in front of a home. The expected
daughter had arrived--a very pretty girl indeed. She stepped out eagerly.
Her father was halfway down to the gate; but ahead of him was a very old
Negro woman in the cleanest of clean starched dresses.

"Honey," she said eagerly.

"Mammy!" exclaimed the girl, and the two rushed into each other's arms,
clasping and kissing--the white girl and the old black woman.

I thought to myself: "There's no Negro problem there: that's just plain
human love!"

_"Master" Superseded by "Boss"_

Often I have heard Negroes refer to "my white folks" and similarly the
white man still speaks of "my Negroes." The old term of slavery, the use
of the word "master," has wholly disappeared, and in its place has arisen,
not without significance, the round term "Boss," or sometimes "Cap," or
"Cap'n." To this the white man responds with the first name of the Negro,
"Jim" or "Susie"--or if the Negro is old or especially respected: "Uncle
Jim" or "Aunt Susan."

To an unfamiliar Northerner one of the very interesting and somewhat
amusing phases of conditions down here is the panic fear displayed over
the use of the word "Mr." or "Mrs." No Negro is ever called Mr. or Mrs. by
a white man; that would indicate social equality. A Southern white man
told me with humour of his difficulties:

"Now I admire Booker Washington. I regard him as a great man, and yet I
couldn't call him Mr. Washington. We were all in a quandary until a
doctor's degree was given him. That saved our lives! we all call him 'Dr.'
Washington now."

Sure enough! I don't think I have heard him called Mr. Washington since I
came down here. It is always "Dr." or just "Booker." They are ready to
call a Negro "Professor" or "Bishop" or "The Reverend"--but not "Mr."

In the same way a Negro may call Miss Mary Smith by the familiar "Miss
Mary," but if he called her Miss Smith she would be deeply incensed. The
formal "Miss Smith" would imply social equality.

I digress: but I have wanted to impress these relationships. There are all
gradations of Negroes between the wholly dependent old family servant and
the new, educated Negro professional or business man, and,
correspondingly, every degree of treatment from indulgence to intense

I must tell, in spite of lack of room, one beautiful story I heard at
Atlanta, which so well illustrates the old relationship. There is in the
family of Dr. J. S. Todd, a well-known citizen of Atlanta, an old, old
servant called, affectionately, Uncle Billy. He has been so long in the
family that in reality he is served as much as he serves. During the riot
last September he was terrified: he did not dare to go home at night. So
Miss Louise, the doctor's daughter, took Uncle Billy home through the dark
streets. When she was returning one of her friends met her and was much
alarmed that she should venture out in a time of so much danger.

"What are you doing out here this time of night?" he asked.

"Why," she replied, as if it were the most natural answer in the world, "I
had to take Uncle Billy safely home."

Over against this story I want to reproduce a report from a Kentucky
newspaper which will show quite the other extreme:

     _Tennessee Farmer Has Negro Bishop and His Wife Ejected from a
     Sleeping Car_

     Irvine McGraw, a Tennessee farmer, brought Kentucky's Jim Crow law
     into prominent notice yesterday on an Illinois Central Pullman car.
     When McGraw entered the car he saw the coloured divine, Rev. Dr. C.
     H. Phillips, bishop of the coloured Methodist Episcopal Churches in
     Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas and a portion of Arizona and New
     Mexico, and his wife preparing to retire for the night. He demanded
     that the conductor order them out of the car, but the conductor

     After he entered Kentucky he hunted for an officer at every station
     and finally at Hopkinsville Policeman Bryant Baker agreed to
     undertake the task of ejecting the Negroes from the car. The train
     was held nine minutes while they dressed and repaired to the coloured

I have now described two of the three great classes of Negroes: First, the
worthless and idle Negro, often a criminal, comparatively small in numbers
but perniciously evident. Second, the great middle class of Negroes who do
the manual work of the South. Above these, a third class, few in numbers,
but most influential in their race, are the progressive, property-owning
Negroes, who have wholly severed their old intimate ties with the white
people--and who have been getting further and further away from them.

_A White Man's Problem_

It keeps coming to me that this is more a white man's problem than it is a
Negro problem. The white man as well as the black is being tried by fire.
The white man is in full control of the South, politically, socially,
industrially: the Negro, as ex-Governor Northen points out, is his
helpless ward. What will he do with him? Speaking of the education of the
Negro, and in direct reference to the conditions in Atlanta which I have
already described, many men have said to me:

"Think of the large sums that the South has spent and is spending on the
education of the Negro. The Negro does not begin to pay for his education
in taxes."

Neither do the swarming Slavs, Italians, and Poles in our Northern cities.
They pay little in taxes and yet enormous sums are expended in their
improvement. For their benefit? Of course, but chiefly for ours. It is
better to educate men in school than to let them so educate themselves as
to become a menace to society. The present _kind_ of education in the
South may possibly be wrong; but for the protection of society it is as
necessary to train every Negro as it is every white man.

When I saw the crowds of young Negroes being made criminal--through lack
of proper training--I could not help thinking how pitilessly ignorance
finally revenges itself upon that society which neglects or exploits it.



The cotton picking season was drawing to its close when I left for the
black belt of Georgia. So many friends in Atlanta had said:

"The city Negro isn't the real Negro. You must go out on the cotton
plantations in the country; there you'll see the genuine black African in
all his primitive glory."

It is quite true that the typical Negro is a farmer. The great mass of the
race in the South dwells in the country. According to the last census, out
of 8,000,000 Negroes in the Southern states 6,558,173, or 83 per cent.,
lived on the farms or in rural villages. The crowded city life which I
have already described represents not the common condition of the masses
of the Negro race but the newer development which accompanies the growth
of industrial and urban life. In the city the races are forced more
violently together, socially and economically, than in the country,
producing acute crises, but it is in the old agricultural regions where
the Negro is in such masses, where ideas change slowly, and old
institutions persist, that the problem really presents the greatest

There is no better time of year to see the South than November; for then
it wears the smile of abundance. The country I went through--rolling red
hills, or black bottoms, pine-clad in places, with pleasant farm openings
dotted with cabins, often dilapidated but picturesque, and the busy little
towns--wore somehow an air of brisk comfort. The fields were lively with
Negro cotton pickers; I saw bursting loads of the new lint drawn by mules
or oxen, trailing along the country roads; all the gins were puffing
busily; at each station platform cotton bales by scores or hundreds stood
ready for shipment and the towns were cheerful with farmers white and
black, who now had money to spend. The heat of the summer had gone, the
air bore the tang of a brisk autumn coolness. It was a good time of the
year--and everybody seemed to feel it. Many Negroes got on or off at every
station with laughter and snouted good-byes.

_What Is the Black Belt?_

[Illustration: THE BLACK BELT

In the region shaded more than half of the inhabitants are Negroes.]

And so, just at evening, after a really interesting journey, I reached
Hawkinsville, a thriving town of some 3,000 people just south of the
centre of Georgia. Pulaski County, of which Hawkinsville is the seat, with
an ambitious new court-house, is a typical county of the black belt. A
census map which is here reproduced well shows the region of largest
proportionate Negro population, extending from South Carolina through
central Georgia and Alabama to Mississippi. More than half the inhabitants
of all this broad belt, including also the Atlantic coastal counties and
the lower Mississippi Valley (as shaded on the map), are Negroes, chiefly
farm Negroes. There the race question, though perhaps not so immediately
difficult as in cities like Atlanta, is with both white and coloured
people the imminent problem of daily existence. Several times while in
the black belt I was amused at the ardent response of people to whom I
mentioned the fact that I had already seen something of conditions in
Kentucky, Maryland, and Virginia:

"Why, they haven't any Negro problem. They're _North_."

In Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas the problem is a sharp irritant--as it
is, for that matter, in Ohio, in Indianapolis, and on the west side of New
York City--but it is not the life and death question that it is in the
black belt or in the Yazoo delta.

All the country of Central Georgia has been long settled. Pulaski County
was laid out in 1808; and yet the population to-day may be considered
sparse. The entire county has only 8,000 white people, a large proportion
of whom live in the towns of Hawkinsville and Cochran, and 12,000 Negroes,
leaving not inconsiderable areas of forest and uncultivated land which
will some day become immensely valuable.

_A Southern Country Gentleman_

At Hawkinsville I met J. Pope Brown, the leading citizen of the county. In
many ways he is an example of the best type of the new Southerner. In
every way open to him, and with energy, he is devoting himself to the
improvement of his community. For five years he was president of the State
Agricultural Society; he has been a member of the legislature and chairman
of the Georgia Railroad Commission, and he represents all that is best in
the new progressive movement in the South.

One of the unpleasant features of the villages in the South are the poor
hotels. In accounting for this condition I heard a story illustrating the
attitude of the old South toward public accommodations. A number of years
ago, before the death of Robert Toombs, who, as a member of Jefferson
Davis's cabinet was called the "backbone of the confederacy," the spirit
of progress reached the town where Toombs lived. The thing most needed was
a new hotel. The business men got together and subscribed money with
enthusiasm, counting upon Toombs, who was their richest man, for the
largest subscription. But when they finally went to him, he said:

"What do we want of a hotel? When a gentleman comes to town I will
entertain him myself; those who are not gentlemen we don't want!"

That was the old spirit of aristocratic individualism; the town did not
get its hotel.

One of the public enterprises of Mr. Brown at Hawkinsville is a good
hotel; and what is rarer still, North and South, he has made his hotel
building really worthy architecturally.

Mr. Brown took me out to his plantation--a drive of some eight miles. In
common with most of the larger plantation owners, as I found not only in
Georgia, but in other Southern states which I afterward visited, Mr. Brown
makes his home in the city. After a while I came to feel a reasonable
confidence in assuming that almost any prominent merchant, banker, lawyer,
or politician whom I met in the towns owned a plantation in the country.
From a great many stories of the fortunes of families that I heard I
concluded that the movement of white owners from the land to nearby towns
was increasing every year. High prices for cotton and consequent
prosperity seem to have accelerated rather than retarded the movement.
White planters can now afford to live in town where they can have the
comforts and conveniences, where the servant question is not impossibly
difficult, and where there are good schools for the children. Another
potent reason for the movement is the growing fear of the whites, and
especially the women and children, at living alone on great farms where
white neighbours are distant. Statistics show that less crime is committed
in the black belt than in other parts of the South. I found that the fear
was not absent even among these people.

I have a letter from a white man, P. S. George, of Greenwood, Mississippi,
which expresses the country white point of view with singular earnestness:

     I live in a country of large plantations; if there are 40,000 people
     in that country, at least 30,000 are Negroes, and we never have any
     friction between the races. I have been here as a man for twenty
     years and I never heard of but one case of attempted assault by a
     Negro on a white woman. That Negro was taken out and hanged. I said
     that we never had any trouble with Negroes, but it's because we never
     take our eyes off the gun. You may wager that I never leave my wife
     and daughter at home without a man in the house after ten o'clock at
     night--because I am afraid.

As a result of these various influences a traveller in the black belt sees
many plantation houses, even those built in recent years, standing vacant
and forlorn or else occupied by white overseers, who are in many parts of
the South almost as difficult to keep as the Negro tenants.

Thousands of small white farmers, both owners and renters, of course,
remain, but when the leading planters leave the country, these men, too,
grow discontented and get away at the first opportunity. Going to town,
they find ready employment for the whole family in the cotton mill or in
other industries where they make more money and live with a degree of
comfort that they never before imagined possible.

_Story of the Mill People_

Many cotton mills, indeed, employ agents whose business it is to go out
through the country urging the white farmers to come to town and painting
glowing pictures of the possibilities of life there. I have visited a
number of mill neighbourhoods and talked with the operatives. I found the
older men sometimes homesick for free life of the farm. One lanky old
fellow said rather pathetically:

"When it comes to cotton picking time and I know that they are grinding
cane and hunting possums, I jest naturally get lonesome for the country."

But nothing would persuade the women and children to go back to the old
hard life. Hawkinsville has a small cotton mill and just such a community
of white workers around it. Owing to the scarcity of labour, wages in the
mills have been going up rapidly all over the South, during the last two
or three years, furnishing a still more potent attraction for country

All these various tendencies are uniting to produce some very remarkable
conditions in the South. A natural segregation of the races is apparently
taking place. I saw it everywhere I went in the black belt. The white
people were gravitating toward the towns or into white neighbourhoods and
leaving the land, even though still owned by white men, more and more to
the exclusive occupation of Negroes. Many black counties are growing
blacker while not a few white counties are growing whiter.




to show that there is comparatively little difference in the material
comfort of the two classes]

Take, for example, Pulaski County, through which I drove that November
morning with Mr. Brown. In 1870 the coloured and white population were
almost exactly equal--about 6,000 for each. In 1880 the Negroes had
increased to 8,225 while the whites showed a loss. By 1890 the towns had
begun to improve and the white population grew by about 700, but the
Negroes increased nearly 2,000. And, finally, here are the figures for
1900: Negroes 11,029; Whites 7,460.

I have not wished to darken our observations with too many statistics, but
this tendency is so remarkable that I wish to set down for comparison the
figures of a "white county" in northern Georgia--Polk County--which is
growing whiter every year.

         Negroes    Whites

  1880    4,147      7,805
  1890    4,654     10,289
  1900    4,916     12,940

_Driving out Negroes_

One of the most active causes of this movement is downright fear--or race
repulsion expressing itself in fear. White people dislike and fear to live
in dense coloured neighbourhoods, while Negroes are often terrorised in
white neighbourhoods--and not in the South only but in parts of Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, as I shall show when I come to treat of Northern race
conditions. I have accumulated many instances showing how Negroes are
expelled from white neighbourhoods. There is a significant report from
Little Rock, Arkansas:

     (_Special to the Georgian._)

     Little Rock, Ark., Jan. 1.--Practically every Negro in Evening Shade,
     Sharp County, in this state, has left town as the result of threats
     which have been made against the Negroes. For several years a small
     colony of Negroes has lived just on the outskirts of the town. A
     short time ago notices were posted warning the Negroes to leave the
     town at once. About the same time Joe Brooks, a Negro who lived with
     his family two miles north of town, was called to his door and fired
     upon by unknown persons. A load of shot struck the house close by his
     side and some of the shot entered his arm. Brooks and his family have
     left the country, and practically every member of the Negro colony
     has gone. They have abandoned their property or disposed of it for
     whatever they could get.

From the New Orleans _Times Democrat_ of March 20, 1907, I cut the
following dispatch showing one method pursued by the whites of Oklahoma:


     Lawton, Okla., March 20.--"Negroes, beware the cappers. We, the Sixty
     Sons of Waurika, demand the Negroes to leave here at once. We mean
     Go! Leave in twenty-four hours, or after that your life is
     uncertain." These were the words on placards which the eighty Negroes
     of the town of Waurika, forty miles south of Lawton, saw posted
     conspicuously in a number of public places this morning.

     Dispatches from here to-night stated that the whites are in earnest,
     and that the Negroes will be killed if they do not leave town.

Not a few students of Southern conditions like John Temple Graves among
the whites and Bishop Turner among the coloured people have argued that
actual physical separation of the races (either by deportation of the
Negroes to Africa or elsewhere, or by giving them certain reservation-like
parts of the South to live in) is the only solution. But here is, in
actuality, a natural segregation going forward in certain parts of the
South, though in a very different way from that recommended by Mr. Graves
and Bishop Turner; for even in the blackest counties the white people own
most of the land, occupy the towns, and dominate everywhere politically,
socially, and industrially.

Mr. Brown's plantation contains about 5,000 acres, of which some 3,500
acres are in cultivation, a beautiful rolling country, well watered, with
here and there clumps of pines, and dotted with the small homes of the

As we drove along the country road we met or passed many Negroes who bowed
with the greatest deference. Some were walking, but many drove horses or
mules and rode not infrequently in top buggies, looking most prosperous,
as indeed, Mr. Brown informed me that they were. He knew them all, and
sometimes stopped to ask them how they were getting along. The outward
relationships between the races in the country seem to me to be smoother
than it is in the city.

Cotton, as in all this country, is almost the exclusive crop. In spite of
the constant preaching of agricultural reformers, like Mr. Brown himself,
hardly enough corn is raised to supply the people with food, and I was
surprised here and elsewhere at seeing so few cattle and hogs. Sheep are
non-existent. In Hawkinsville, though the country round about raises
excellent grass, I saw in front of a supply store bales of hay which had
been shipped in 400 miles--from Tennessee. Enough sugar cane is raised,
mostly in small patches, to supply syrup for domestic uses. At the time of
my visit the Negroes were in the cane-fields with their long knives,
getting in the crop. We saw several little one-horse grinding mills
pressing the juice from the cane, while near at hand, sheltered by a
shanty-like roof, was the great simmering syrup kettle, with an expert
Negro at work stirring and skimming. And always there were Negroes round
about, all the boys and girls with jolly smeared faces--and the older ones
peeling and sucking the fresh cane.

It was a great time of year!

How does the landlord--and a lord he is in a very true sense--manage his
great estate? The same system is in use with slight variations everywhere
in the cotton country and a description of Mr. Brown's methods, with
references here and there to what I have seen or heard elsewhere, will
give an excellent idea of the common procedure.

_A Country of Great Plantations_

The black belt is a country of great plantations, some owners having as
high as 30,000 acres, interspersed with smaller farms owned by the poorer
white families or Negroes. In one way the conditions are similar to those
prevailing in Ireland; great landlords and a poor tenantry or peasantry,
the tenants here being very largely black.

It requires about 100 families, or 600 people, to operate Mr. Brown's
plantation. Of these, 90 per cent. are coloured and 10 per cent. white. I
was much interested in what Mr. Brown said about his Negro tenants, which
varies somewhat from the impression I had in the city of the younger Negro

"I would much rather have young Negroes for tenants," he said, "because
they work better and seem more disposed to take care of their farms. The
old Negroes ordinarily will shirk--a habit of slavery."

Besides the residence of the overseer and the homes of the tenants there
is on the plantation a supply store owned by Mr. Brown, a blacksmith shop
and a Negro church, which is also used as a school-house. This is, I found
all through the black belt, a common equipment.

Three different methods are pursued by the landlord in getting his land
cultivated. First, the better class of tenants rent the land for cash, a
"standing rent" of some $3 an acre, though in many places in Mississippi
it ranges as high as $6 and $8 an acre. Second, a share-crop rental, in
which the landlord and the tenant divide the cotton and corn produced.
Third, the ordinary wage system; that is, the landlord hires workers at so
much a month and puts in his own crop. All three of these methods are
usually employed on the larger plantations. Mr. Brown rents 2,500 acres
for cash, 400 on shares, and farms 600 himself with wage workers.

All the methods of land measurement are very different here from what they
are in the North. The plantation is irregularly divided up into what are
called one-mule or one-plough farms--just that amount of land which a
family can cultivate with one mule--usually about thirty acres. Some
ambitious tenants will take a two-mule or even a four-mule farm.

_The Negro Tenant_

Most of the tenants, especially the Negroes, are very poor, and wholly
dependent upon the landlord. Many Negro families possess practically
nothing of their own, save their ragged clothing, and a few dollars' worth
of household furniture, cooking utensils and a gun. The landlord must
therefore supply them not only with enough to live on while they are
making their crop, but with the entire farming outfit. Let us say that a
Negro comes in November to rent a one-mule farm from the landlord for the
coming year.

"What have you got?" asks the landlord.

"Noting', boss," he is quite likely to say.

The "boss" furnishes him with a cabin to live in--which goes with the land
rented--a mule, a plough, possibly a one-horse waggon and a few tools.
He is often given a few dollars in cash near Christmas time which
(ordinarily) he immediately spends--wastes. He is then allowed to draw
upon the plantation supply store a regular amount of corn to feed his
mule, and meat, bread, and tobacco, and some clothing for his family. The
cost of the entire outfit and supplies for a year is in the neighbourhood
of $300, upon which the tenant pays interest at from 10 to 30 per cent.
from the time of signing the contract in November, although most of the
supplies are not taken out until the next summer. Besides this interest
the planter also makes a large profit on all the groceries and other
necessaries furnished by his supply store. Having made his contract the
Negro goes to work with his whole family and keeps at it until the next
fall when the cotton is all picked and ginned. Then he comes in for his
"settlement"--a great time of year. The settlements were going forward
while I was in the black belt. The Negro is credited with the amount of
cotton he brings in and he is charged with all the supplies he has had,
and interest, together with the rent of his thirty acres of land. If the
season has been good and he has been industrious, he will often have a
nice profit in cash, but sometimes he not only does not come out even, but
closes his year of work actually in deeper debt to the landlord.

[Illustration: A "POOR WHITE" FAMILY

"Among them is a spirit of pride and independence which, rightly directed,
would uplift and make them prosperous, but which, misguided and blind, as
it sometimes is, keeps them in poverty."]


Inspired by Tuskegee; different, indeed, from the ordinary country Negro
school in the South]

Some Negroes, nowadays usually of the poorer sort, work for wages. They
get from $12 to $15 a month (against $5 to $8 a few years ago) with a
cabin to live in. They are allowed a garden patch, where they can, if they
are industrious and their families help, raise enough vegetables to feed
them comfortably, or part of a bale of cotton, which is their own. But it
is sadly to be commented upon that few Negro tenants, or whites either, as
far as I could see, do anything with their gardens save perhaps to raise a
few collards, peanuts, and peppers--and possibly a few sweet potatoes.
This is due in part to indolence and lack of ambition, and in part to the
steady work required by the planter. The wife and children of an
industrious wage-working Negro nearly always help in the fields, earning
an additional income from chopping cotton in spring and picking the lint
in the fall.

This is the system as it is in theory; but the interest for us lies not in
the plan, but in the actual practice. How does it all work out for good
or for evil, for landlord and for tenant?

Tenantry in the South is a very different thing from what it is in the
North. In the North, a man who rents a farm is nearly as free to do as he
pleases as if he were the owner. But in the South, the present tenant
system is much nearer the condition that prevailed in slavery times than
it is to the present Northern tenant system. This grows naturally out of
slavery; the white man had learned to operate big plantations with
ignorant help; and the Negro on his part had no training for any other
system. The white man was the natural master and the Negro the natural
dependent and a mere Emancipation Proclamation did not at once change the
_spirit_ of the relationship.

To-day a white overseer resides on every large plantation and he or the
owner himself looks after and disciplines the tenants. The tenant is in
debt to him (in some cases reaching a veritable condition of debt slavery
or peonage) and he _must_ see that the crop is made. Hence he watches the
work of every Negro (and indeed that of the white tenants as well) sees
that the land is properly fertilised, and that the dikes (to prevent
washing) are kept up, that the cotton is properly chopped (thinned) and
regularly cultivated. Some of the greater landowners employ assistant
overseers or "riders" who are constantly travelling from farm to farm. On
one plantation I saw four such riders start out one day, each with a rifle
on his saddle. And on a South Carolina plantation I had a glimpse of one
method of discipline. A planter was telling me of his difficulties--how a
spirit of unruliness sometimes swept abroad through a plantation, inspired
by some "bigoty nigger."

"Do you know what I do with such cases?" he said. "Come with me, I'll show

He took me back through his house to the broad porch and reaching up to a
shelf over the door he took down a hickory waggon spoke, as long as my

"When there's trouble," he said, "I just go down with that and lay one or
two of 'em out. That ends the trouble. We've got to do it; they're like
children and once in a while they simply have to be punished. It's far
better for them to take it this way, from a white man who is their
friend, than to be arrested and taken to court and sent to the

_Troubles of the Landlord_

Planters told me of all sorts of difficulties they had to meet with their
tenants. One of them, after he had spent a whole evening telling me of the
troubles which confronted any man who tried to work Negroes, summed it all
up with the remark:

"You've just got to make up your mind that you are dealing with children,
and handle them as firmly and kindly as you know how."

He told me how hard it was to get a Negro tenant even in the busy season
to work a full week--and it was often only by withholding the weekly food
allowance that it could be done. Saturday afternoon (or "evening," as they
say in the South) the Negro goes to town or visits his friends. Often he
spends all day Sunday driving about the country and his mule comes back so
worn out that it cannot be used on Monday. There are often furious
religious revivals which break into the work, to say nothing of "frolics"
and fish suppers at which the Negroes often remain all night long. Many of
them are careless with their tools, wasteful of supplies, irresponsible in
their promises. One planter told me how he had built neat fences around
the homes of his Negroes, and fixed up their houses to encourage them in
thrift and give them more comfort, only to have the fences and even parts
of the houses used for firewood.

Toward fall, if the season has been bad, and the crop of cotton is short,
so short that a Negro knows that he will not be able to "pay out" and have
anything left for himself, he will sometimes desert the plantation
entirely, leaving the cotton unpicked and a large debt to the landlord. If
he attempts that, however, he must get entirely away, else the planter
will chase him down and bring him back to his work. Illiterate, without
discipline or training, with little ambition and much indolence, a large
proportion of Negro tenants are looked after and driven like children or
slaves. I say "a large proportion"--but there are thousands of industrious
Negro landowners and tenants who are rapidly getting ahead--as I shall
show in my next chapter.

In this connection it is a noteworthy fact that a considerable number of
the white tenants require almost as much attention as the Negroes, though
they are, of course, treated in an entirely different way. One planter in
Alabama said to me:

"Give me Negroes every time. I wouldn't have a low-down white tenant on my
place. You can get work out of any Negro if you know how to handle him;
but there are some white men who won't work and can't be driven, because
they are white."

_Race Troubles in the Country_

In short, when slavery was abolished it gave place to a sort of feudal
tenantry system which continues widely to-day. And it has worked with
comparative satisfaction, at least to the landlords, until within the last
few years, when the next step in the usual evolution of human
society--industrial and urban development--began seriously to disturb the
feudal equilibrium of the cotton country. It was a curious idea--human
enough--that men should attempt to legislate slaves immediately into
freedom. But nature takes her own methods of freeing slaves; they are
slower than men's ways, but more certain.

The change now going on in the South from the feudal agricultural life to
sharpened modern conditions has brought difficulties for the planter
compared with which all others pale into insignificance. I mean the
scarcity of labour. Industry is competing with agriculture for the limited
supply of Negro workers. Negroes, responding to exactly the same natural
laws that control the white farmers, have been moving cityward, entering
other occupations, migrating west or north--where more money is to be
made. Agricultural wages have therefore gone up and rents, relatively,
have gone down, and had the South not been blessed for several years with
wonderful returns from its monopoly crop, there might have been a more
serious crisis.

_Cry of the South: "More Labour"_

If the South to-day could articulate its chief need, we should hear a
single great shout:

"More labour!"

Out of this struggle for tenants, servants, and workers has grown the
chief complications of the Negro problem--and I am not forgetting race
prejudice, or the crimes against women. Indeed, it has seemed to me that
the chief difficulty in understanding the Negro problem lies in showing
how much of the complication in the South is due to economic readjustments
and how much to instinctive race repulsion or race prejudice.

_A Tenant Stealer_

In one town I visited--not Hawkinsville--I was standing talking with some
gentlemen in the street when I saw a man drive by in a buggy.

"Do you see that man?" they asked me. I nodded.

"Well, he is the greatest tenant-stealer in this country."

I heard a good deal about these "tenant stealers." A whole neighbourhood
will execrate one planter who, to keep his land cultivated, will lure away
his neighbours' Negroes. Sometimes he will offer more wages, sometimes he
will give the tenants better houses to live in, and sometimes he succeeds
by that sheer force of a masterful personality which easily controls an
ignorant tenantry.

I found, moreover, that there was not only a struggle between individual
planters for Negro tenants, but between states and sections. Many of the
old farms in South Carolina and Alabama have been used so long that they
require a steady and heavy annual treatment of fertiliser, with the result
that cotton growing costs more than it does in the rich alluvial lands of
Mississippi, or the newer regions of Arkansas and Texas. The result is
that the planters of the West, being able to pay more wages and give the
tenants better terms, lure away the Negroes of the East. Georgia and other
states have met this competitive disadvantage in the usual way in which
such disadvantages, when first felt but not fully understood, are met, by
counteracting legislation. Georgia has made the most stringent laws to
keep her Negroes on the land. The Georgian code (Section 601) says:

     Any person who shall solicit or procure emigrants, or shall attempt
     to do so, without first procuring a licence as required by law, shall
     be guilty of a misdemeanour.

Ex-Congressman William H. Fleming, one of the ablest statesmen of Georgia,

"Land and other forms of capital cannot spare the Negro and will not give
him up until a substitute is found. His labour is worth millions upon
millions. In Georgia we now make it a crime for anyone to solicit
emigrants without taking out a licence, and then we make the licence as
nearly prohibitive as possible. One of the most dangerous occupations for
any one to follow in this state would be that of an emigrant agent--as
some have found by experience."

In this connection I have an account published in April, 1907, in an
Augusta newspaper of just such a case:

     The heaviest fine given in the city court of Richmond County within
     the last two years was imposed upon E. F. Arnett yesterday morning.
     He was sentenced to pay a fine of one thousand dollars or serve six
     months in the county jail.

     Arnett was convicted of violating the state emigration laws regarding
     the carrying of labour out of the state. He was alleged to have
     employed thirteen Negroes to work on the Georgia and Atlantic
     Railroad, which operates in this state and Alabama. The jury on the
     case returned a verdict of guilty when court convened yesterday,
     although it had been reported that a mistrial was probable.

_"Peg Leg" Williams_

A famous railroad emigration agent called "Peg Leg" Williams, who promoted
Negro emigration from Georgia to Mississippi and Texas a few years ago,
was repeatedly prosecuted and finally driven out of business. In a letter
which he wrote some time ago to the Atlanta _Constitution_ he said:

     I know of several counties not a hundred miles from Atlanta where
     it's more than a man's life is worth to go in to get Negroes to move
     to some other state. There are farmers that would not hesitate to
     shoot their brother were he to come from Mississippi to get "his
     niggers," as he calls them, even though he had no contract with them.
     I know personally numbers of Negro men who have moved West and after
     accumulating a little, return to get a brother, sister, or an old
     father or mother, and they were compelled to return without them,
     their lives being imperilled; they had to leave and leave quick.

In view of such a feeling it may be imagined how futile is the talk of the
deportation of the Negro race. What the Southern planter wants to-day is
not fewer Negroes but more Negroes--Negroes who will "keep their place."

_Laws to Make the Negro Work_

Many other laws have been passed in the Southern states which are designed
to keep the Negro on the land, and having him there, to make him work.
The contract law, the abuses of which lead to peonage and debt slavery, is
an excellent example--which I shall discuss more fully in the next
chapter. The criminal laws, the chain-gang system, and the hiring of Negro
convicts to private individuals are all, in one way or another, devices to
keep the Negro at work on farms, in brick-yards and in mines. The vagrancy
laws, not unlike those of the North and excellent in their purpose, are
here sometimes executed with great severity. In Alabama the last
legislature passed a law under which a Negro arrested for vagrancy must
prove that he is not a vagrant. In short, the old rule of law that a man
is innocent until proved guilty is here reversed for the Negro so that the
burden of proving that he is not guilty of vagrancy rests upon him, not
upon the state. The last Alabama legislature also passed a stringent game
law, one argument in its favour being that by preventing the Negro from
pot-hunting it would force him to work more steadily in the cotton fields.

_Race Hatred Versus Economic Necessity_

One of the most significant things I saw in the South--and I saw it
everywhere--was the way in which the white people were torn between their
feeling of race prejudice and their downright economic needs. Hating and
fearing the Negro as a race (though often loving individual Negroes), they
yet want him to work for them; they can't get along without him. In one
impulse a community will rise to mob Negroes or to drive them out of the
country because of Negro crime or Negro vagrancy, or because the Negro is
becoming educated, acquiring property and "getting out of his place"; and
in the next impulse laws are passed or other remarkable measures taken to
keep him at work--because the South can't get along without him. From the
Atlanta _Georgian_ I cut recently a letter which well illustrates the way
in which racial hatred clashes with economic necessity.


     But aren't there two sides to every question? Here we are out here in
     the country, right in the midst of hundreds of Negroes, and do you
     know, sir, that all this talk about lynching and ku-kluxing is
     frightening the farm hands to such an extent we begin to fear that
     soon the farmers will sustain a great loss of labour, by their
     running away? Already it is beginning to have its effect. After night
     the Negroes are afraid to leave their farm to go anywhere on errands
     of business. Why, sir, two miles from this town, the Negroes are
     afraid to come here to trade at night. The country merchants are
     feeling the force of it very sorely, and if this foolishness isn't
     stopped their losses in fall trade will be very heavy.

     Even some of the ladies of our community are complaining of this
     rashness. That it is demoralising the labour in the home department.
     So in conclusion, in behalf of my community and other country
     communities, I feel it my duty to raise a warning voice against all
     such new foolish ku-kluxism.

     Mableton, Ga.

          T. J. LOWE.

While I was in Georgia a case came up which threw a flood of light upon
the inner complexities of this problem. In the county of Habersham in
North Georgia the population is largely of the type known as "poor
white"--the famous mountain folk who were never slave-owners and many of
whom fought in the Union army during the Civil War. Habersham is one of
the "white counties" which is growing whiter. It has about 2,000 Negroes
and 12,000 whites--many of the latter having come in from the North to
grow peaches and raise sheep. One of the Negroes of Habersham County was
Frank Grant, described by a white neighbour as "a Negro of good character,
a property owner, setting an example of thrift and honesty that ought to
have made his example a benefit to any community."

Grant had saved money from his labour and bought a home. He was such a
good worker that people were willing sometimes to pay him twice the wages
of the average labourer, white or black. On the night of December 16,
1906, the Negro's house was fired into by a party of white men who then
went to the house of his tenant, Henry Scism, also a Negro, and shot
promiscuously around Scism's house, and warned him to leave the country in
one week, threatening him with severe penalties if he did not go. As a
result Grant had to sell out his little home, won after such hard work,
and he and his tenant Scism with their families both fled the county.

"In Grant," said his white neighbour, "the county lost a capable
labourer--in its present situation, a most valuable asset--and a good

Here, then, we have race hatred versus economic necessity. The important
citizens and employers of Habersham County came to Atlanta and presented
a petition to Governor Terrell, January 18, 1907, as follows:


     Whereas, on the night of December 16, 1906, parties unknown came to
     the quiet home of one Frank Grant, coloured, a citizen of this
     county, and shot into his residence, and then went to the home of
     Henry Scism, coloured, a tenant of said Frank Grant, and shot
     promiscuously around his (the said Scism's) house, and demanded of
     him to leave the county under severe penalty.

     This has caused the tenant, Henry Scism, to leave, and Frank Grant to
     sell his little house at a sacrifice and leave. It comes to us that
     Frank Grant is a quiet, innocent, hard-working citizen. Therefore,
     we, the undersigned officers and citizens of Habersham County,
     Georgia, pray you to offer a liberal reward for the arrest and
     conviction or these unknown parties--say $100 for the first and $50
     for each succeeding one.

          (Signed) C. W. GRANT,
              _County School Commissioner_.
                  J. A. ERWIN CLERK, S. C.,
                  M. FRANKLIN, Ordinary
                  J. D. HILL, T. C. H. C.

But, of course, nothing could be done that would keep the Negroes on the
land under such conditions.

_Why Negroes Are Driven Out_

What does it all mean? Listen to the explanation given by a prominent
white man of Habersham County--not to me--but to the Atlanta _Georgian_,
where it was published:

"It is not a problem of Negro labour, because there is little of that kind
there. The white labour will not work for the fruit growers at prices they
can afford, even when it is a good fruit year. Often they decline to work
at any price. They have many admirable qualities; among them is a spirit
of pride and independence, which, rightly directed, would uplift and make
them prosperous, but which misguided and blind, as it sometimes is, keeps
them in poverty and puts the region in which they live at great

"Landowners and employers, native, and new, are indignant but helpless.
They are in the power of the shiftless element of the whites, who say, 'I
will work or not, as I please, and when I please, and at my own price; and
I will not have Negroes taking my work away from me.' This is not a race
question, pure and simple; it is an industrial question, a labour issue,
not confined to one part of the country."

Here, it will be observed, the same complaint is made against the "poor
white" as against the Negro--that he is shiftless and that he won't work
even for high wages.

Generally speaking, the race hatred in the South comes chiefly from the
poorer class of whites who either own land which they work themselves or
are tenant farmers in competition with Negroes and from politicians who
seek to win the votes of this class of white men. The larger landowners
and employers of labour, while they do not love the Negro, want him to
work and work steadily, and will do almost anything to keep him on the
land--so long as he is a faithful, obedient, unambitious worker. When he
becomes prosperous, or educated, or owns land, many white people no longer
"have any use for him" and turn upon him with hostility, but the best type
of the Southern white men is not only glad to see the Negro become a
prosperous and independent farmer but will do much to help him.

_Vivid Illustration of Race Feeling_

I have had innumerable illustrations of the extremes to which race feeling
reaches among a certain class of Southerners. In a letter to the Atlanta
_Constitution_, November 5, 1906, a writer who signs himself Mark Johnson,

     The only use we have for the Negro is as a labourer. It is only as
     such that we need him; it is only as such that we can use him. If the
     North wants to take him and educate him we will bid him godspeed and
     contribute to his education if schools are located on the other side
     of the line.

And here are extracts from a remarkable letter from a Southern white
working man signing himself Forrest Pope and published in the Atlanta
_Georgian_, October 22, 1906:

     When the skilled negro appears and begins to elbow the white man in
     the struggle for existence, don't you know the white man rebels and
     won't have it so? If you don't it won't take you long to find it out;
     just go out and ask a few of them, those who tell you the whole
     truth, and see what you will find out about it.

_What Is the Negro's Place?_

     All the genuine Southern people like the Negro as a servant, and so
     long as he remains the hewer of wood and carrier of water, and
     remains strictly in what we choose to call his place, everything is
     all right, but when ambition, prompted by real education, causes
     the Negro to grow restless and he bestir himself to get out of that
     servile condition, then there is, or at least there will be, trouble,
     sure enough trouble, that all the great editors, parsons and
     philosophers can no more check than they can now state the whole
     truth and nothing but the truth, about this all-absorbing,
     far-reaching miserable race question. There are those among Southern
     editors and other public men who have been shouting into the ears of
     the North for twenty-five years that education would solve the Negro
     question; there is not an honest, fearless, thinking man in the South
     but who knows that to be a bare-faced lie. Take a young Negro of
     little more than ordinary intelligence, even, get hold of him in
     time, train him thoroughly as to books, and finish him up with a good
     industrial education, send him out into the South with ever so good
     intentions both on the part of his benefactor and himself, send him
     to take my work away from me and I will kill him.


Old and new cabins for Negro tenants on the Brown plantation]

The writer says in another part of this remarkable letter, giving as it
does a glimpse of the bare bones of the economic struggle for existence:

     I am, I believe, a typical Southern white workingman of the skilled
     variety, and I'll tell the whole world, including Drs. Abbott and
     Eliot, that I don't want any educated property-owning Negro around
     me. The Negro would be desirable to me for what I could get out of
     him in the way of labour that I don't want to have to perform myself,
     and I have no other uses for him.

_Who Will Do the Dirty Work?_

One illustration more and I am through. I met at Montgomery, Alabama, a
lawyer named Gustav Frederick Mertins. We were discussing the "problem,"
and Mr. Mertins finally made a striking remark, not at all expressing the
view that I heard from some of the strongest citizens of Montgomery, but
excellently voicing the position of many Southerners.

"It's a question," he said, "who will do the dirty work. In this country
the white man won't: the Negro must. There's got to be a mudsill
somewhere. If you educate the Negroes they won't stay where they belong;
and you must consider them as a race, because if you let a few rise it
makes the others discontented."

Mr. Mertins presented me with a copy of his novel called "The Storm
Signal," in which he further develops the idea (p. 342):

     The Negro is the mudsill of the social and industrial South to-day.
     Upon his labour in the field, in the forest, and in the mine, the
     whole structure rests. Slip the mudsill out and the system must be
     reorganised.... Educate him and he quits the field. Instruct him in
     the trades and sciences and he enters into active competition with
     the white man in what are called the higher planes of life. That
     competition brings on friction, and that friction in the end means
     the Negroe's undoing.

Is not this mudsill stirring to-day, and is not that the deep reason for
many of the troubles in the South--and in the North as well, where the
Negro has appeared in large numbers? The friction of competition has
arrived, and despite the demand for justice by many of the best class of
the Southern whites, the struggle is certainly of growing intensity.

And out of this economic struggle of whites and blacks grows an ethical
struggle far more significant. It is the struggle of the white man with
himself. How shall he, who is supreme in the South as in the North, treat
the Negro? That is the _real_ struggle!




Generally speaking, the sharpest race prejudice in the South is exhibited
by the poorer class of white people, whether farmers, artisans, or
unskilled workers, who come into active competition with the Negroes, or
from politicians who are seeking the votes of this class of people. It is
this element which has driven the Negroes out of more than one community
in the South and it commonly forms the lynching mobs. A similar antagonism
of the working classes exists in the North wherever the Negro has appeared
in large numbers--as I shall show when I come to write of the treatment of
the Northern Negro.

On the other hand, the larger landowners and employers of the South, and
all professional and business men who hire servants, while they dislike
and fear the Negro as a race (though often loving and protecting
individual Negroes), want the black man to work for them. More than that,
they _must have him_: for he has a practical monopoly on labour in the
South. White men of the employing class will do almost anything to keep
the Negro on the land and his wife in the kitchen--so long as they are
obedient and unambitious workers.

_"Good" and "Bad" Landlords_

But I had not been very long in the black belt before I began to see that
the large planters--the big employers of labour--often pursued very
different methods in dealing with the Negro. In the feudal middle ages
there were good and bad barons; so in the South to-day there are "good"
and "bad" landlords (for lack of a better designation) and every gradation
between them.

The good landlord, generally speaking, is the one who knows by inheritance
how a feudal system should be operated. In other words, he is the old
slave-owner or his descendant, who not only feels the ancient
responsibility of slavery times, but believes that the good treatment of
tenants, as a policy, will produce better results than harshness and

The bad landlord represents the degeneration of the feudal system: he is
in farming to make all he can out of it this year and next, without
reference to human life.

I have already told something of J. Pope Brown's plantation near
Hawkinsville. On the November day, when we drove out through it, I was
impressed with the fact that nearly all the houses used by the Negro
tenants were new, and much superior to the old log cabins built either
before or after the war, some of which I saw still standing, vacant and
dilapidated, in various parts of the plantation. I asked the reason why he
had built new houses:

"Well," he answered, "I find I can keep a better class of tenants, if the
accommodations are good."

_Liquor and "the Resulting Trouble"_

Mr. Brown has other methods for keeping the tenantry on his plantation
satisfied. Every year he gives a barbecue and "frolic" for his Negroes,
with music and speaking and plenty to eat. A big watermelon patch is also
a feature of the plantation, and during all the year the tenants are
looked after, not only to see that the work is properly done, but in more
intimate and sympathetic ways. On one trip through the plantation we
stopped in front of a Negro cabin. Inside lay a Negro boy close to death
from a bullet wound in the head. He had been at a Negro party a few nights
before where there was liquor. Someone had overturned the lamp: shooting
began, and the young fellow was taken out for dead. Such accidents or
crimes are all too familiar in the plantation country. Although Pulaski
County, Georgia, prohibits the sale or purchase of liquor (most of the
South, indeed, is prohibition in its sentiment), the Negroes are able from
time to time to get jugs of liquor--and, as one Southerner put it to me,
"enjoy the resulting trouble."

The boy's father came out of the field and told us with real eloquence of
sorrow of the patient's condition.

"Las' night," he said, "we done thought he was a-crossin' de ribbah."

Mr. Brown had already sent the doctor out from the city; he now made
arrangements to transport the boy to a hospital in Macon where he could be
properly treated.

_Use of Cocaine Among Negroes_

As I have said before, the white landlord who really tries to treat his
Negroes well, often has a hard time of it. Many of those (not all) he
deals with are densely ignorant, irresponsible, indolent--and often
rendered more careless from knowing that the white man must have labour.
Many of them will not keep up the fences, or take care of their tools, or
pick the cotton even after it is ready, without steady attention. A
prominent Mississippi planter gave me an illustration of one of the
troubles he just then had to meet. An eighteen-year-old Negro left his
plantation to work in a railroad camp. There he learned to use cocaine,
and when he came back to the plantation he taught the habit to a dozen of
the best Negroes there, to their complete ruin. The planter had the entire
crowd arrested, searched for cocaine and kept in jail until the habit was
broken. Then he prosecuted the white druggist who sold the cocaine.

Some Southern planters, to prevent the Negroes from leaving, have built
churches for them, and in one instance I heard of a school-house as well.

Another point of the utmost importance--for it strikes at the selfish
interest of the landlord--lies in the treatment of the Negro, who, by
industry or ability, can "get ahead." A good landlord not only places no
obstacles in the way of such tenants, but takes a real pride in their
successes. Mr. Brown said:

"If a tenant sees that other Negroes on the same plantation have been able
to save money and get land of their own, it tends to make them more
industrious. It pays the planter to treat his tenants well."

_Negro with $1,000 in the Bank_

The result is that a number of Mr. Brown's tenants have bought and own
good farms near the greater plantation. The plantation, indeed, becomes a
sort of central sun around which revolves like planets the lesser life of
the Negro landowner. Mr. Brown told me with no little pride of the
successes of several Negroes. We met one farmer driving to town in a top
buggy with a Negro school-teacher. His name was Robert Polhill--a good
type of the self-respecting, vigorous, industrious Negro. Afterward we
visited his farm. He had an excellent house with four rooms. In front
there were vines and decorative "chicken-corn"; a fence surrounded the
place and it was really in good repair. Inside the house everything was
scrupulously neat, from the clean rag rugs to the huge post beds with
their gay coverlets. The wife evidently had some Indian blood in her
veins; she could read and write, but Polhill himself was a full black
Negro, intelligent, but illiterate. The children, and there were a lot of
them, are growing up practically without opportunity for education because
the school held in the Negro church is not only very poor, but it is in
session only a short time every year. Near the house was a one-horse
syrup-mill then in operation, grinding cane brought in by neighbouring
farmers--white as well as black--the whites thus patronising the
enterprise of their energetic Negro neighbour.

"I first noticed Polhill when he began work on the plantation," said Mr.
Brown, "because he was the only Negro on the place whom I could depend
upon to stop hog-cracks in the fences."

His history is the common history of the Negro farmer who "gets ahead."
Starting as a wages' hand, he worked hard and steadily, saving enough
finally to buy a mule--the Negro's first purchase; then he rented land,
and by hard work and close calculating made money steadily. With his first
$75 he started out to see the world, travelling by railroad to Florida,
and finally back home again. The "moving about" instinct is strong in all
Negroes--sometimes to their destruction. Then he bought 100 acres of land
on credit and having good crops, paid for it in six or seven years. Now he
has a comfortable home, he is out of debt, and has money in the bank, a
painted house, a top buggy and a cabinet organ! These are the values of
his property:

  His farm is worth    $2,000
  Two mules               300
  Horse                   150
  Other equipment         550
  Money in the bank     1,000

_Negro Who Owns 1,000 Acres of Land_

All of this shows what a Negro who is industrious, and who comes up on a
plantation where the landlord is not oppressive, can do. And despite the
fact that much is heard on the one hand of the lazy and worthless Negro,
and on the other of the landlord who holds his Negroes in practical
slavery--it is significant that many Negroes are able to get ahead. In
Pulaski County there are Negroes who own as high as 1,000 acres of land.
Ben Gordon is one of them, his brother Charles has 500 acres, John Nelson
has 400 acres worth $20 an acre, the Miller family has 1,000 acres,
January Lawson, another of Mr. Brown's former tenants, has 500 acres; Jack
Daniel 200 acres, Tom Whelan 600 acres. A mulatto merchant in
Hawkinsville, whose creditable store I visited, also owns his plantation
in the country and rents it to Negro tenants on the same system employed
by the white landowners. Indeed, a few Negroes in the South are coming to
be not inconsiderable landlords, and have many tenants.

Hawkinsville also has a Negro blacksmith, Negro barbers and Negro
builders--and like the white man, the Negro also develops his own
financial sharks. One educated coloured man in Hawkinsville is a "note
shaver"; he "stands for" other Negroes and signs their notes--at a
frightful commission.

Statistics will give some idea of how the industrious Negro in a black
belt county like Pulaski has been succeeding.

                     Total Assessed
          Acres of      Value of
         Land Owned     Property

  1875     4,490       $ 43,230
  1880     5,988         60,760
  1885     6,901         59,022
  1890    12,294        122,926
  1895    14,145        144,158
  1900    13,205        138,800

It is surprising to an unfamiliar visitor to find out that the Negroes in
the South have acquired so much land. In Georgia alone in 1906 coloured
people owned 1,400,000 acres and were assessed for over $28,000,000 worth
of property, practically all of which, of course, has been acquired in the
forty years since slavery.

Negro farmers in some instances have made a genuine reputation for
ability. John Roberts, a Richmond County Negro, won first prize over many
white exhibitors in the fall of 1906 at the Georgia-Carolina fair at
Augusta for the best bale of cotton raised.

_Little Coloured Boy's Famous Speech_

I was at Macon while the first State fair ever held by Negroes in Georgia
was in progress. In spite of the fact that racial relationships, owing to
the recent riot at Atlanta, were acute, the fair was largely attended, and
not only by Negroes, but by many white visitors. The brunt of the work of
organisation fell upon R. R. Wright, president of the Georgia State
Industrial College (coloured) of Savannah. President Wright is of
full-blooded African descent, his grandmother, who reared him, being an
African Negro of the Mandingo tribe. Just at the close of the war he was a
boy in a freedman's school at Atlanta. One Sunday General O. O. Howard
came to address the pupils. When he had finished, he expressed a desire to
take a message back to the people of the North.

"What shall I tell them for you?" he asked.

A little black boy in front stood up quickly, and said:

"Tell 'em, massa, we is rising."

Upon this incident John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a famous poem: and at the
Negro fair, crowning the charts which had been prepared to show the
progress of the Negroes of Georgia, I saw this motto:


The little black boy grew up, was graduated at Atlanta University, studied
at Harvard, travelled in Europe, served in the Spanish-American War, and
is now seeking to help his race to get an industrial training in the
college which he organised in 1891. The attendance at the fair in Macon
was between 25,000 and 30,000, the Negroes raised $11,000 and spent
$7,000, and planned for a greater fair the next year. In this enterprise
they had the sympathy and approval of the best white people. A vivid
glimpse of what the fair meant is given by the _Daily News_ of Macon--a
white newspaper:

     The fair shows what progress can be accomplished by the industrious
     and thrifty Negro, who casts aside the belief that he is a dependent,
     and sails right in to make a living and a home for himself. Some of
     the agricultural exhibits of black farmers have never been surpassed
     in Macon. On the whole, the exposition just simply astounded folks
     who did not know what the Negro is doing for himself.

     Another significant feature about the fair was the excellent
     behaviour of the great throngs of coloured people who poured into the
     city during its progress. There was not an arrest on the fair grounds
     and very few in the city.



The better class of Negro farmers, indeed, have shown not only a capacity
for getting ahead individually, but for organising for self-advancement,
and even for working with corresponding associations of white farmers. The
great cotton and tobacco associations of the South, which aim to direct
the marketing of the product of the farms, have found it not only wise,
but necessary to enlist the cöoperation of Negro farmers. At the annual
rally of the dark-tobacco growers at Guthrie, Kentucky, last September,
many Negro planters were in the line of parade with the whites. The
farmers' conferences held at Hampton, Tuskegee, Calhoun, and at similar
schools, illustrate in other ways the possibilities of advancement which
grow out of landownership by the Negroes.

_The Penalties of Being Free_

So much for the sunny side of the picture: the broad-gauge landlord and
the prosperous tenantry. Conditions in the black belt are in one respect
much as they were in slavery times, or as they would be under any feudal
system: if the master or lord is "good," the Negro prospers; if he is
harsh, grasping, unkind, the Negro suffers bitterly. It gets back finally
to the white man. In assuming supreme rights in the South--political,
social, and industrial, the white man also assumes heavy duties and
responsibilities; he cannot have the one without the other: and he takes
to himself the pain and suffering which goes with power and

Of course, scarcity of labour and high wages have given the really
ambitious and industrious Negro his opportunity, and many thousands of
them are becoming more and more independent of the favour or the ill-will
of the whites. And therein lies a profound danger, not only to the Negro,
but to the South. Gradually losing the support and advice of the best type
of white man, the independent Negro finds himself in competition with the
poorer type of white man, whose jealousy he must meet. He takes the
penalties of being really free. Escaping the exactions of a feudal life,
he finds he must meet the sharper difficulties of a free industrial
system. And being without the political rights of his poor white
competitor and wholly without social recognition, discredited by the
bestial crimes of the lower class of his own race, he has, indeed, a hard
struggle before him. In many neighbourhoods he is peculiarly at the mercy
of this lower class white electorate, and the self-seeking politicians
whose stock in trade consists in playing upon the passions of race-hatred.


I come now to the reverse of the picture. When the Negro tenant takes up
land or hires out to the landlord, he ordinarily signs a contract, or if
he cannot sign (about half the Negro tenants of the black belt are wholly
illiterate) he makes his mark. He often has no way of knowing certainly
what is in the contract, though the arrangement is usually clearly
understood, and he must depend on the landlord to keep both the rent and
the supply-store accounts. In other words, he is wholly at the planter's
mercy--a temptation as dangerous for the landlord as the possibilities
which it presents are for the tenant. It is so easy to make large profits
by charging immense interest percentages or outrageous prices for supplies
to tenants who are too ignorant or too weak to protect themselves, that
the stories of the oppressive landlord in the South are scarcely
surprising. It is easy, when the tenant brings in his cotton in the fall
not only to underweigh it, but to credit it at the lowest prices of the
week; and this dealing of the strong with the weak is not Southern, it is
human. Such a system has encouraged dishonesty, and wastefulness; it has
made many landlords cruel and greedy, it has increased the helplessness,
hopelessness and shiftlessness of the Negro. In many cases it has meant
downright degeneration, not only to the Negro, but to the white man. These
are strong words, but no one can travel in the black belt without seeing
enough to convince him of the terrible consequences growing out of these

_The Story of a Negro Tenant_

A case which came to my attention at Montgomery, Alabama, throws a vivid
light on one method of dealing with the Negro tenant. Some nine miles from
Montgomery lives a planter named T. L. McCullough. In December, 1903, he
made a contract with a Negro named Jim Thomas to work for him. According
to this contract, a copy of which I have, the landlord agreed to furnish
Jim the Negro with a ration of 14 lbs. of meat and one bushel of meal a
month, and to pay him besides $96 for an entire year's labour.

On his part Jim agreed to "do good and faithful labour for the said T. L.
McCullough." "Good and faithful labour" means from sunrise to sunset every
day but Sunday, and excepting Saturday afternoon.

A payment of five dollars was made to bind the bargain--just before
Christmas. Jim probably spent it the next day. It is customary to furnish
a cabin for the worker to live in; no such place was furnished, and Jim
had to walk three or four miles morning and evening to a house on another
plantation. He worked faithfully until May 15th. Then he ran away, but
when he heard that the landlord was after him, threatening punishment, he
came back and agreed to work twenty days for the ten he had been away. Jim
stayed some time, but he was not only given no cabin and paid no money,
but his food ration was cut off! So he ran away again, claiming that he
could not work unless he had a place to live. The landlord went after him
and had him arrested, and although the Negro had worked nearly half a
year, McCullough prosecuted him for fraud because he had got $5 in cash at
the signing of the contract. In such a case the Alabama law gives the
landlord every advantage; it says that when a person receives money under
a contract and stops work, the presumption is that he intended to defraud
the landowner and that therefore he is criminally punishable. The
practical effect of the law is to permit imprisonment for debt, for it
places a burden of proof on the Negro that he can hardly overturn. The law
is defended on the ground that Negroes will get money any way they can,
sign any sort of paper for it, and then run off--if there is not a
stringent law to punish them. But it may be imagined how this law could be
used, and is used, in the hands of unscrupulous men to keep the Negro in a
sort of debt-slavery. When the case came up before Judge William H. Thomas
of Montgomery, the constitutionality of the law was brought into question,
and the Negro was finally discharged.

Often an unscrupulous landlord will deliberately give a Negro a little
money before Christmas, knowing that he will promptly waste it in a
"celebration" thus getting him into debt so that he dare not leave the
plantation for fear of arrest and criminal prosecution. If he attempts to
leave he is arrested and taken before a friendly justice of the peace, and
fined or threatened with imprisonment. If he is not in debt, it sometimes
happens that the landlord will have him arrested on the charge of stealing
a bridle or a few potatoes (for it is easy to find something against
almost any Negro), and he is brought into court. In several cases I know
of the escaping Negro has even been chased down with bloodhounds. On
appearing in court the Negro is naturally badly frightened. The white man
is there and offers as a special favour to take him back and let him work
out the fine--which sometimes requires six months, often a whole year. In
this way Negroes are kept in debt--so-called debt-slavery or peonage--year
after year, they and their whole family. One of the things that I couldn't
at first understand in some of the courts I visited was the presence of so
many white men to stand sponsor for Negroes who had committed various
offences. Often this grows out of the feudal protective instinct which the
landlord feels for the tenant or servant of whom he is fond; but often it
is merely the desire of the white man to get another Negro worker. In one
case in particular, I saw a Negro brought into court charged with stealing

"Does anybody know this Negro?" asked the judge.

Two white men stepped up and both said they did.

The judge fined the Negro $20 and costs, and there was a real contest
between the two white men as to who should pay it--and get the Negro. They
argued for some minutes, but finally the judge said to the prisoner:

"Who do you want to work for, George?"

The Negro chose his employer, and agreed to work four months to pay off
his $20 fine and costs.

Sometimes a man who has a debt against a Negro will sell the claim--which
is practically selling the Negro--to some farmer who wants more labour.

A case of this sort came up in the winter of 1907 in Rankin County,
Mississippi--the facts of which are all in testimony. A Negro named Dan
January was in debt to a white farmer named Levi Carter. Carter agreed to
sell the Negro and his entire family to another white farmer named
Patrick. January refused to be sold. According to the testimony Carter and
some of his companions seized January, bound him hand and foot and beat
him most brutally, taking turns in doing the whipping until they were
exhausted and the victim unconscious.

January's children removed him to his home, but the white men returned the
next day, produced a rope and threatened to hang him unless he consented
to go to the purchaser of the debt. The case came into court but the white
men were never punished. January was in Jackson, Miss., when I was there;
he still showed the awful effects of his beating.

_Keeping Negroes Poor_

This system has many bad results. It encourages the Negro in crime. He
knows that unless he does something pretty bad, he will not be prosecuted
because the landlord doesn't want to lose the work of a single hand; he
knows that if he _is_ prosecuted, the white man will, if possible, "pay
him out." It disorganises justice and confuses the ignorant Negro mind as
to what is a crime and what is not. A Negro will often do things that he
would not do if he thought he were really to be punished. He comes to the
belief that if the white man wants him arrested, he will be arrested, and
if he protects him, he won't suffer, no matter what he does. Thousands of
Negroes, ignorant, weak, indolent, to-day work under this system. There
are even landlords and employers who will trade upon the Negro's worst
instincts--his love for liquor, for example--in order to keep him at work.
An instance of this sort came to my attention at Hawkinsville while I was
there. The white people of the town were making a strong fight for
prohibition; the women held meetings, and on the day of the election
marched in the streets singing and speaking. But the largest employer of
Negro labor in the county had registered several hundred of his Negroes
and declared his intention of voting them against prohibition. He said
bluntly: "If my niggers can't get whisky they won't stay with me; you've
got to keep a nigger poor or he won't work."

This employer actually voted sixty of his Negroes against prohibition, but
the excitement was so great that he dared vote no more--and prohibition

A step further brings the Negro to the chain-gang. If there is no white
man to pay him out, or if his crime is too serious to be paid out, he goes
to the chain-gang--and in several states he is then hired out to private
contractors. The private employer thus gets him sooner or later. Some of
the largest farms in the South are operated by chain-gang labour. The
demand for more convicts by white employers is exceedingly strong. In the
Montgomery _Advertiser_ for April 10, 1907, I find an account of the
sentencing of fifty-four prisoners in the city court, fifty-two of whom
were Negroes. The _Advertiser_ says:

     The demand for their labour is probably greater now than it ever has
     been before. Numerous labour agents of companies employing convict
     labour reached Montgomery yesterday, and were busily engaged in
     manoeuvring to secure part or even all of the convicts for their
     respective companies. The competition for labour of all kinds, it
     seems, is keener than ever before known.

The natural tendency of this demand, and from the further fact that the
convict system makes yearly a huge profit for the State, is to convict as
many Negroes as possible, and to punish the offences charged as severely
as possible. From the Atlanta _Constitution_ of October 13, 1906, I have
this clipping:


     COLUMBUS, GA., October 12 (Special)

     In the city court yesterday Charley Carter, a Negro, was sentenced to
     six months on the chain-gang or to pay a fine of $25 for stealing a
     potato valued at 5 cents.

Serious crimes are sometimes compromised. In a newspaper dispatch, October
6, 1906, from Eaton Ga., I find a report of the trial of six Negroes
charged with assault with the intent to kill. All were found guilty, but
upon a recommendation of mercy they were sentenced as having committed
misdemeanours rather than felonies. They could therefore have their fines
paid, and five were immediately released by farmers who wanted their
labour. The report says that of thirty-one misdemeanours during the month
it is expected that "none will reach the chain-gang," since there are
"three farmers to every convict ready to pay the fine."


Still other methods are pursued by certain landlords to keep their tenants
on the land. In one extreme case a Negro tenant, after years of work,
decided to leave the planter. He had had a place offered him where he
could make more money. There was nothing against him; he simply wanted to
move. But the landlord informed him that no waggon would be permitted to
cross his (the planter's) land to get his household belongings. The Negro,
being ignorant, supposed he could thus be prevented from moving, and
although the friend who was trying to help him assured him that the
landlord could not prevent his moving, he dared not go. In another
instance--also extreme--a planter refused to let his tenants raise hogs,
because he wanted them to buy salt pork at his store. It is, indeed,
through the plantation store (which corresponds to the company or "truck"
store of Northern mining regions) that the unscrupulous planter reaps his
most exorbitant profits. Negroes on some plantations, whether they work
hard or not, come out at the end of the year with nothing. Part of this is
due, of course, to their own improvidence; but part, in too many cases, is
due to exploitation by the landlord.

_One Biscuit to Eat and no Place to Sleep_

Booker T. Washington, in a letter to the Montgomery _Advertiser_ on the
Negro labour problem, tells this story:

     I recall that some years ago a certain white farmer asked me to
     secure for him a young coloured man to work about the house and to
     work in the field. The young man was secured, a bargain was entered
     into to the effect that he was to be paid a certain sum monthly and
     his board and lodging furnished as well. At the end of the coloured
     boy's first day on the farm he returned. I asked the reason, and he
     said that after working all the afternoon he was handed a buttered
     biscuit for his supper, and no place was provided for him to sleep.

     At night he was told he could find a place to sleep in the fodder
     loft. This white farmer, whom I know well, is not a cruel man and
     seeks generally to do the right thing; but in this case he simply
     overlooked the fact that it would have paid him in dollars and cents
     to give some thought and attention to the comfort of his helper.

     This case is more or less typical. Had this boy been well cared for,
     he would have advertised the place that others would have sought work

Such methods mean, of course, the lowest possible efficiency of
labour--ignorant, hopeless, shiftless. The harsh planter naturally opposes
Negro education in the bitterest terms and prevents it wherever possible;
for education means the doom of the system by which he thrives.

_Negro with Nineteen Children_

Life for the tenants is often not a pleasant thing to contemplate. I spent
much time driving about on the great plantations and went into many of the
cabins. Usually they were very poor, of logs or shacks, sometimes only one
room, sometimes a room and a sort of lean-to. At one side there was a
fireplace, often two beds opposite, with a few broken chairs or boxes, and
a table. Sometimes the cabin was set up on posts and had a floor,
sometimes it was on the ground and had no floor at all. The people are
usually densely ignorant and superstitious; the preachers they follow are
often the worst sort of characters, dishonest and immoral; the schools, if
there are any, are practically worthless. The whole family works from
sunrise to sunset in the fields. Even children of six and seven years old
will drop seed or carry water. Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, himself a Negro, who
has made many valuable and scholarly studies of Negro life, gives this
vivid glimpse into a home where the Negro and his wife had nineteen
children. He says:

     This family of twenty-one is a poverty stricken, reckless, dirty set.
     The children are stupid and repulsive, and fight for their food at
     the table. They are poorly dressed, sickly and cross. The table
     dishes stand from one meal to another unwashed, and the house is in
     perpetual disorder. Now and then the father and mother engage in a
     hand-to-hand fight.

_Never Heard the Name of Roosevelt_

It would be impossible to over-emphasise the ignorance of many Negro
farmers. It seems almost unbelievable, but after some good-humoured talk
with a group of old Negroes I tried to find out how much they knew of the
outside world. I finally asked them if they knew Theodore Roosevelt. They
looked puzzled, and finally one old fellow scratched his head and said:

"Whah you say dis yere man libes?"

"In Washington," I said; "you've heard of the President of the United

"I reckon I dunno," he said.

And yet this old man gave me a first-class religious exhortation; and one
in the group had heard of Booker T. Washington, whom he described as a
"pow'ful big nigger."

_Why Negroes Go to Cities_

I made inquiries among the Negroes as to why they wanted to leave the
farms and go to cities. The answer I got from all sorts of sources was
first, the lack of schooling in the country, and second, the lack of

And I heard also many stories of ill-treatment of various sorts, the
distrust of the tenant of the landlord in keeping his accounts--all of
which, dimly recognised, tends to make many Negroes escape the country, if
they can. Indeed, it is growing harder and harder on the great
plantations, especially where the management is by overseers, to keep a
sufficient labour supply. In some places the white landlords have begun to
break up their plantations, selling small farms to ambitious Negroes--a
significant sign, indeed, of the passing of the feudal system. An instance
of this is found near Thomaston, Ga., where Dr. C. B. Thomas has long been
selling land to Negroes, and encouraging them to buy by offering easy
terms. Near Dayton, Messrs. Price and Allen have broken up their "Lockhart
Plantation" and are selling it out to Negroes. I found similar instances
in many places I visited. Commenting on this tendency, the Thomaston
_Post_ says:

     This is, in part, a solution of the so-called Negro problem, for
     those of the race who have property interests at stake cannot afford
     to antagonise their white neighbours or transgress the laws. The
     ownership of land tends to make them better citizens in every way,
     more thoughtful of the right of others, and more ambitious for their
     own advancement.

     At this place a number of neat and comfortable homes, a commodious
     high school, and a large lodge building, besides a number of
     churches, testify to the enterprise and thrift the best class of our
     coloured population.... The tendency towards cutting up the large
     plantations is beginning to show itself, and when all of them are so
     divided, there will be no agricultural labour problem, except,
     perhaps, in the gathering of an especially large crop.


I have endeavoured thus to give a picture of both sides of conditions in
the black belt exactly as I saw them. I can now do no better in further
illumination of the conditions I have described than by looking at them
through the eyes and experiences of two exceptionally able white men of
the South, both leaders in their respective walks of life, neither of them
politicians and both, incidentally, planters.

At Jackson, Miss., I met Major R. W. Millsaps, a leading citizen of the
state. He comes of a family with the best Southern traditions behind it;
he was born in Mississippi, graduated before the war at Harvard College,
and although his father, a slave owner, had opposed secession, the son
fought four years in the Confederate army, rising to the rank of Major. He
came out of the war, as he says, "with no earthly possessions but a jacket
and a pair of pants, with a hole in them." But he was young and energetic;
he began hauling cotton from Jackson to Natchez when cotton was worth
almost its weight in gold. He received $10 a bale for doing it and made
$4,000 in three months. He is now the president of one of the leading
banks in Mississippi, interested in many important Southern enterprises,
and the founder of Millsaps College at Jackson: a modest, useful,
Christian gentleman.

_An Experiment in Trusting Negroes_

Near Greenville, Miss., Major Millsaps owns a plantation of 500 acres,
occupied by 20 tenants, some 75 people in all. It is in one of the richest
agricultural sections--the Mississippi bottoms--in the United States. Up
to 1890 he had a white overseer and he was constantly in trouble of one
kind or another with his tenants. When the price of cotton dropped, he
decided to dispense with the overseer entirely and try a rather daring
experiment. In short, he planned to trust the Negroes. He got them
together and said:

"I am going to try you. I'm going to give you every possible opportunity;
if you don't make out, I will go back to the overseer system."

In the sixteen years since then no white man has been on that plantation
except as a visitor. The land was rented direct to the Negroes on terms
that would give both landlord and tenant a reasonable profit.

"Did it work?" I asked.

"I have never lost one cent," said Major Millsaps, "no Negro has ever
failed to pay up and you couldn't drive them off the place. When other
farmers complain of shortage of labour and tenants, I never have had any

Every Negro on the place owns his own mules and waggons and is out of
debt. Nearly every family has bought or is buying a home in the little
town of Leland, nearby, some of which are comfortably furnished. They are
all prosperous and contented.

"How do you do it?" I asked.

"The secret," he said, "is to treat the Negro well and give him a chance.
I have found that a Negro, like a white man, is most responsive to good
treatment. Even a dog responds to kindness! The trouble is that most
planters want to make too much money out of the Negro; they charge him too
much rent; they make too large profits on the supplies they furnish. I
know merchants who expect a return of 50 per cent. on supplies alone. The
best Negroes I have known are those who are educated; Negroes need more
education of the right kind--not less--and it will repay us well if we
give it to them. It makes better, not worse, workers."

I asked him about the servant problem.

"We never have any trouble," he said. "I apply the same rule to servants
as to the farmers. Treat them well, don't talk insultingly of their people
before them, don't expect them to do too much work. I believe in treating
a Negro with respect. That doesn't mean to make equals of them. You people
in the North don't make social equals of your white servants."

_Jefferson Davis's Way with Negroes_

Then he told a striking story of Jefferson Davis.

"I got a lesson in the treatment of Negroes when I was a young man
returning South from Harvard. I stopped in Washington and called on
Jefferson Davis, then United States Senator from Mississippi. We walked
down Pennsylvania Avenue. Many Negroes bowed to Mr. Davis and he returned
the bow. He was a very polite man. I finally said to him that I thought he
must have a good many friends among the Negroes. He replied:

"'I can't allow any Negro to outdo me in courtesy.'"

_Plain Words from a White Man_

A few days later on my way North I met at Clarksdale, Miss., Walter Clark,
one of the well-known citizens of the state and President of the
Mississippi Cotton Association. In the interests of his organisation he
has been speaking in different parts of the state on court-days and at
fairs. And the burden of his talks has been, not only organisation by the
farmers, but a more intelligent and progressive treatment of Negro labour.
Recognising the instability of the ordinary Negro, the crime he commits,
the great difficulties which the best-intentioned Southern planters have
to meet, Mr. Clark yet tells his Southern audiences some vigorous truths.
He said in a recent speech:

"Every dollar I own those Negroes made for me. Our ancestors chased them
down and brought them here. They are just what we make them. By our own
greed and extravagance we have spoiled a good many of them. It has been
popular here--now happily growing less so--to exploit the Negro by high
store-prices and by encouraging him to get into debt. It has often made
him hopeless. We have a low element of white people who are largely
responsible for the Negro's condition. They sell him whiskey and cocaine;
they corrupt Negro women. A white man who shoots craps with Negroes or who
consorts with Negro women is worse than the meanest Negro that ever

At Coffeeville, where Mr. Clark talked somewhat to this effect, an old man
who sat in front suddenly jumped up and said: "That's the truth! Bully for
you; bully for you!"

In his talk with me, Mr. Clark said other significant things:

"Our people have treated the Negroes as helpless children all their days.
The Negro has not been encouraged to develop even the capacities he has.
He must be made to use his own brains, not ours; put him on his
responsibility and he will become more efficient. A Negro came to me not
long ago complaining that the farmer for whom he worked would not give him
an itemised account of his charges at the store. I met the planter and
asked him about it. He said to me:

"'The black nigger! What does he know about it? He can't read it.'

"'But he is entitled to it, isn't he?' I asked him--and the Negro got it.

"The credit system has been the ruin of many Negroes. It keeps them in
hopeless debt and it encourages the planter to exploit them. That's the
truth. My plan is to put the Negro on a strict cash basis; give him an
idea of what money is by letting him use it. Three years ago I started it
on my plantation. A Negro would come to me and say: 'Boss, I want a pair
of shoes.' 'All right,' I'd say. 'I'll pay you spot cash every night and
you can buy your own shoes.' In the same way I made up my mind that we
must stop paying Negroes' fines when they got into trouble. I know
planters who expect regularly every Monday to come into court and pay out
about so many Negroes. It encourages the Negroes to do things they would
not think of doing if they knew they would be regularly punished. I've
quit paying fines; my Negroes, if they get into trouble, have got to
recognise their own responsibility for it and take what follows. That's
the only way to make men of them.

"What we need in the South is intelligent labour, more efficient labour. I
believe in the education of the Negro. Industrial training is needed, not
only for the Negro, but for the whites as well. The white people down here
have simply got to take the Negro and make a man of him; in the long run
it will make him more valuable to us."





Having followed the colour line in the South, it is of extraordinary
interest and significance to learn how the Negro fares in the North. Is he
treated better or worse? Is Boston a more favourable location for him than
Atlanta or New Orleans? A comparison of the "Southern attitude" and the
"Northern attitude" throws a flood of light upon the Negro as a national
problem in this country.

Most of the perplexing questions in the North pertain to the city, but in
the South the great problems are still agricultural. In the South the
masses of Negroes live on the land; they are a part of the cotton, sugar,
lumber and turpentine industries; but in the North the Negro is
essentially a problem of the great cities. He has taken his place in the
babel of the tenements; already he occupies extensive neighbourhoods like
the San Juan Hill district in New York and Bucktown in Indianapolis, and,
by virtue of an increasing volume of immigration from the South, he is
overflowing his boundaries in all directions, expanding more rapidly,
perhaps, than any other single element of urban population. In every
important Northern city, a distinct race-problem already exists, which
must, in a few years, assume serious proportions.

Country districts and the smaller cities in the North for the most part
have no Negro question. A few Negroes are found in almost all localities,
but an examination of the statistics of rural counties and of the lesser
cities shows that the Negro population is diminishing in some localities,
increasing slightly in others. In distinctly agricultural districts in the
North the census exhibits an actual falling off of Negro population of 10
per cent. between 1880 and 1900. Cass County in Michigan, which has a
famous Negro agricultural colony--one of the few in the North--shows a
distinct loss in population. From 1,837 inhabitants in 1880 it dropped to
1,568 in 1900. A few Negro farmers have done well in the North (at
Wilberforce, Ohio, I met two or three who had fine large farms and were
prosperous), but the rural population is so small as to be negligible.

_Negroes of Small Northern Towns_

Most of the Negroes in the smaller towns and cities of the North are of
the stock which came by way of the underground railroad just before the
Civil War or during the period of philanthropic enthusiasm which followed
it. They have come to fit naturally into the life of the communities where
they live, and no one thinks especially of their colour. There is, indeed,
no more a problem with the Negro than with the Greek or Italian. In one
community (Lansing, Mich.) with which I have been long familiar, the
Negroes are mostly mulattoes and their numbers have remained practically
stationary for thirty years, while the white population has increased
rapidly. At present there are only about 500 Negroes in a city of 25,000

As a whole the coloured people of Lansing are peaceful and industrious, a
natural part of the wage-working population. Individuals have become
highly prosperous and are much respected. A few of the younger generation
are idle and worthless.

So far as comfortable conditions of life are concerned, where there is
little friction or discrimination and a good opportunity for earning a
respectable livelihood, I have found no places anywhere which seemed so
favourable to Negroes as these smaller towns and cities in the North and
West where the coloured population is not increasing. But the moment there
is new immigration from the South the conditions cease to be Utopian--as I
shall show.

The great cities of the North present a wholly different aspect; the
increases of population there are not short of extraordinary. In 1880
Chicago had only 6,480 coloured people; at present (1908) it has about
45,000, an increase of some 600 per cent. The census of 1900 gives the
Negro population of New York as 60,666. It is now (1908) probably not less
than 80,000. Between 1890 and 1900 the Negroes of Philadelphia
increased by 59 per cent., while the Caucasians added only 22 per cent.,
and the growth since 1900 has been even more rapid, the coloured
population now exceeding 80,000.



It is difficult to realise the significance of these masses of coloured
population. The city of Washington to-day has a greater community of
Negroes (some 100,000) than were ever before gathered together in one
community in any part of the world, so far as we know. New York and
Philadelphia both now probably have as many Negroes as any Southern city
(except Washington, if that be called a Southern city). Nor must it be
forgotten that about a ninth of the Negro population of the United States
is in the North and West. Crowded communities of Negroes in Northern
latitudes have never before existed anywhere. Northern city conditions
therefore present unique and interesting problems.

I went first to Indianapolis because I had heard so much of the political
power of the Negroes there; afterward I visited Cincinnati, Philadelphia,
New York, Boston, Chicago and several smaller cities and country
neighbourhoods. In every large city both white and coloured people told me
that race feeling and discrimination were rapidly increasing: that new and
more difficult problems were constantly arising.

Generally speaking, the more Negroes the sharper the expression of

While the Negroes were an inconsequential part of the population, they
passed unnoticed, but with increasing numbers (especially of the lower
sort of Negroes and black Negroes), accompanied by competition for the
work of the city and active political power, they are inevitably kindling
the fires of race-feeling. Prejudice has been incited also by echoes of
the constant agitation in the South, the hatred-breeding speeches of
Tillman and Vardaman, the incendiary and cruel books and plays of Dixon,
and by the increased immigration of Southern white people with their
strong Southern point of view.

_Pathetic Expectations of the Negro_

One finds something unspeakably pathetic in the spectacle of these untold
thousands of Negroes who are coming North. To many of them, oppressed
within the limitations set up by the South, it is indeed the promised
land. I shall never forget the wistful eagerness of a Negro I met in
Mississippi. He told me he was planning to move to Indianapolis. I asked
him why he wanted to leave the South.

"They're Jim Crowin' us down here too much," he said; "there's no chance
for a coloured man who has any self-respect."

"But," I said, "do you know that you will be better off when you get to

"I hear they don't make no difference up there between white folks and
coloured, and that a hard-working man can get two dollars a day. Is that
all so?"

"Yes, that's pretty nearly so," I said--but as I looked at the fairly
comfortable home he lived in, among his own people, I felt somehow that he
would not find the promised land all that he anticipated.

And after that I visited Indianapolis and other cities and saw hundreds of
just such eager Negroes after they had reached the promised land. Two
classes of coloured people came North: the worthless, ignorant,
semi-criminal sort who find in the intermittent, high-paid day labour in
the North, accompanied by the glittering excitements of city life, just
the conditions they love best. Two or three years ago the Governor of
Arkansas, Jeff Davis, pardoned a Negro criminal on condition that he would
go to Boston and stay there! The other class is composed of
self-respecting, hard-working people who are really seeking better
conditions of life, a better chance for their children.

And what do Negroes find when they reach the promised land?

In the first place the poorer sort find in Indianapolis the alley home, in
New York the deadly tenement. Landowners in Indianapolis have been
building long rows of cheap one-story frame tenements in back streets and
alleys. The apartments have two or three rooms each. When new they are
brightly painted and papered and to many Negroes from the South,
accustomed to the primitive cabin, they are beautiful indeed.

Even the older buildings are more pretentious if not really better than
anything they have known in the rural South; and how the city life, nearly
as free to the coloured man as to the white, stirs their pulses! No
people, either black or white, are really free until they feel free. And
to many Negroes the first few weeks in a Northern city give them the first
glimpses they have ever had of what they consider to be liberty.

A striking illustration of this feeling came to my notice at Columbia,
South Carolina. One of the most respected Negro men there--respected by
both races--was a prosperous tailor who owned a building on the main
street of the city. He was well to do, had a family, and his trade came
from both races. I heard that he was planning to leave the South and I
went to see him.

"Yes," he said, "I am going away. It's getting to be too dangerous for a
coloured man down here."

It was just after the Atlanta riot.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"I think I shall go to Washington," he said.

"Why Washington?"

"Well, you see, I want to be as near the flag as I can."

_What the Negro Really Finds in the Promised Land_

But they soon begin to learn things! It is true that the workingman can
get high wages, and the domestic servant is paid an amount which
astonishes her, but on the other hand--a fact that somehow never occurs to
many of these people, or indeed to the foreigners who come flocking to our
shores--the living cost is higher. For his gaudy tenements the landlord
extorts exorbitant rentals. Ignorance is ever roundly and mercilessly
taxed! I saw a double house built for white people just on the edge of a
Negro neighbourhood and held at a rental of $18 a month, but not being
able to secure white tenants the landlord rented to Negroes for $25 a

When he came North the Negro (even though he had lived in cities in the
South, as many of the immigrants have) never dreamed that it would require
such an amount of fuel to keep him through the long Northern winter, or
that his bill for lights, water, and everything else would be so high. And
in the South many Negro families of the poorer sort are greatly assisted
by baskets of food brought from the white man's kitchen and the gift of
cast-off clothes and shoes, to say nothing of tobacco, and even money--a
lingering loose survival of the relationships of slavery. But in the
North the Negro finds himself in an intense industrial atmosphere where
relationships are more strictly impersonal and businesslike. What he gets
he must pay for. Charity exists on a large scale, as I shall show later,
but it is the sharp, inquiring, organised charity of the North.

In short, coming North to find a place where he will be treated more like
a man and less like a serf, the Negro discovers that he must meet the
competitive struggle to which men of the working class are subjected in
the highly developed industrial system of the North.

_Sufferings of the Northern Negro_

In the South the great mass of Negroes have lived with their doors open,
fireplaces have kept their homes ventilated, they could leave the matter
of sanitation to fresh air and sunshine. And the Negro's very lack of
training for such an environment as that of the North causes him untold
suffering. To save fuel, and because he loves to be warm and sociable, he
and his family and friends crowd into one close room, which is kept at
fever temperature, not by a healthful fireplace, but by a tight stove.
This, with the lack of proper sanitary conveniences, often becomes a
hotbed of disease. Even in mild weather I have been in Negro houses in the
North where the air was almost unendurably warm and impure.

I know of nothing more tragic than the condition of the swarming newer
Negro populations of Northern cities--the more tragic because the Negro is
so cheerful and patient about it all. I looked into the statistics closely
in several of them, and in no instance does the birth-rate keep pace with
the death-rate. Even allowing for the fact that birth statistics are not
very accurately kept in most cities it is probable that if it were not for
the immigration constantly rolling upward from the South the Negro
population in Northern cities would show a falling off. Consumption and
the diseases of vice ravage their numbers. One of the ablest Negro
physicians I have met, Dr. S. A. Furniss, who has practised among his
people in Indianapolis for many years, has made a careful study of
conditions. In a paper read before a medical association Dr. Furniss

"The reports of the Indianapolis Board of Health show that for no month in
the last ten years has the birth-rate among Negroes equalled the

Here are the statistics from 1901 to 1905:

         Deaths    Births

  1901    332       279
  1902    329       280
  1903    448       283
  1904    399       327
  1905    443       384

_"Race Suicide" Among Negroes_

From inquiries that I have made everywhere in the North there would seem,
indeed, to be a tendency to "race suicide" among Negroes as among the old
American white stock. Especially is this true among the better class
Negroes. The ignorant Negro in Southern agricultural districts is
exceedingly prolific, but his Northern city brother has comparatively few
children. I have saved the record from personal inquiry of perhaps two
hundred Northern Negro families of the better class. Many have no children
at all, many have one or two, and the largest family I found (in Boston)
was seven children. I found one Negro family in the South with twenty-one
children! Industrialism, of course, is not favourable to a large
birth-rate. All Northern cities show a notable surplus, according to the
statistics, of Negro women over Negro men. Many of these are house
servants and, like the large class of roving single men who do day labour
on the streets and railroads, they are without family ties and have no

Dr. Furniss finds that the deaths of Negroes from tuberculosis constitute
over half the total deaths from that cause in the city of Indianapolis,
whereas, in proportion to Negro population, they should constitute only

His observations upon these startling facts are of great interest:

"I believe the reason for these conditions is plain. First of all it is
due to Negroes leaving the country and crowding into the larger cities,
especially in the North, where they live in a climate totally different
from that with which they have been familiar. They occupy unsanitary
homes; they are frequently compelled to labour with insufficient food and
clothing and without proper rest. Of necessity they follow the hardest
and most exposed occupations in order to make a livelihood. I regret to
say that intemperance and immorality play a part in making these figures
what they are. They easily fall victim to the unusual vices of the city.

"Another reason for increased mortality is improper medical attention. Not
only among the ignorant but among the intelligent we find too much trust
put in patent medicines; the belief, latent it is true in many cases, but
still existing among the ignorant, in the hoodoo militates against the
close following of the doctor's orders.

"What shall we do about it?" asks Dr. Furniss. "We must urge those around
us to more personal cleanliness, insist on a pure home life, and less
dissipation and intemperance: to have fewer picnics and save more money
for a rainy day. Tell the young people in the South not to come to
Northern cities, but to go to the smaller towns of the West, where they
can have a fair chance. Unless something is done to change existing
conditions, to stop this movement to our Northern cities, to provide
proper habitations and surroundings for those who are already here, it
will be only a question of time until the problem of the American Negro
will reach a solution not at all desirable from our point of view."

Of course a doctor always sees the pathological side of life and his view
is likely to be pessimistic. I saw much of the tragedy of the slum Negroes
in the cities of the North, and yet many Negroes have been able to
survive, many have learned how to live in towns and are making a success
of their lives--as I shall show more particularly in the next chapter. It
must not be forgotten that Negro families in Boston and Philadelphia
(mostly mulattoes, it is true) as well as in Charleston, Savannah, and New
Orleans, have lived and thrived under city conditions for many
generations. Not a few Negroes in Indianapolis whose homes I visited are
housed better than the average of white families.

_Sickness Among Northern Negroes_

Not only is the death-rate high in the North, but the Negro is hampered by
sickness to a much greater degree than white people. Hospital records in
Philadelphia show an excess of Negro patients over whites, according to
population, of 125 per cent. About 5,000 Negroes passed through the
hospitals of Philadelphia last year, averaging a confinement of three
weeks each. Mr. Warner, in _American Charities_, makes sickness the chief
cause of poverty among coloured people in New York, Boston, New Haven, and
Baltimore. The percentage of sickness was twice or more as high as that of
Germans, Irish, or white Americans.

Such are the pains of readjustment which the Negroes are having to bear in
the North.

A question arises whether they can ever become a large factor of the
population in Northern latitudes. They are certainly not holding their own
in the country or in the smaller cities, and in the large cities they are
increasing at present, not by the birth-rate, but by constant immigration.

Hostile physical conditions of life in the North are not the only
difficulties that the Negro has to meet. He thought he left prejudice
behind in the South, but he finds it also showing its teeth here in the
North. And, as in the South, a wide difference is apparent between the
attitude of the best class of white men and the lower class.

_How Northerners Regard the Negro_

One of the first things that struck me when I began studying race
conditions in the North was the position of the better class of white
people with regard to the Negro. In the South every white man and woman
has a vigorous and vital opinion on the race question. You have only to
apply the match, the explosion is sure to follow. It is not so in the
North. A few of the older people still preserve something of the war-time
sentiment for the Negro; but the people one ordinarily meets don't know
anything about the Negro, don't discuss him, and don't care about him. In
Indianapolis, and indeed in other cities, the only white people I could
find who were much interested in the Negroes were a few politicians,
mostly of the lower sort, the charity workers and the police. But that, of
course, is equally true of the Russian Jews or the Italians. One of the
first white men with whom I talked (at Indianapolis) said to me with some

"There are too many Negroes up here; they hurt the city."

Another told me of the increasing presence of Negroes in the parks, on the
streets, and in the street cars. He said:

"I suppose sooner or later we shall have to adopt some of the restrictions
of the South."

He said it without heat, but as a sort of tentative conclusion, he hadn't
fully made up his mind.

_Race Prejudice in Boston_

In Boston, of all places, I expected to find much of the old sentiment. It
does exist among some of the older men and women, but I was surprised at
the general attitude which I encountered. It was one of hesitation and
withdrawal. Summed up, I think the feeling of the better class of people
in Boston (and elsewhere in Northern cities) might be thus stated:

We have helped the Negro to liberty; we have helped to educate him; we
have encouraged him to stand on his own feet. Now let's see what he can do
for himself. After all, he must survive or perish by his own efforts.

In short, they have "cast the bantling on the rocks."

Though they still preserve the form of encouraging the Negro, the spirit
seems to have fled. Not long ago the Negroes of Boston organised a concert
at which Theodore Drury, a coloured musician of really notable
accomplishments, was to appear. Aristocratic white people were appealed to
and bought a considerable number of tickets; but on the evening of the
concert the large block of seats purchased by white people was
conspicuously vacant. Northern white people would seem to be more
interested in the distant Southern Negro than in the Negro at their doors.

Before I take up the cruder and more violent expressions of prejudice on
the part of the lower class of white men in the North I want to show the
beginnings of cold-shouldering as it exists in varying degrees in Northern
cities, and especially in Boston, the old centre of abolitionism.

Superficially, at least, the Negro in Boston still enjoys the widest
freedom; but after one gets down to real conditions he finds much
complaint and alarm on the part of Negroes over growing restrictions.

Boston exercises no discrimination on the street cars, on railroads, or in
theatres or other places of public gathering. The schools are absolutely
free. A coloured woman, Miss Maria Baldwin, is the principal of the
Agassiz school, of Cambridge, attended by 600 white children. I heard her
spoken of in the highest terms by the white people. Eight Negro teachers,
chosen through the ordinary channels of competitive examination, teach in
the public schools. There are Negro policemen, Negro firemen, Negro
officeholders--fully as many of them as the proportion of Negro population
in Boston would warrant. A Negro has served as commander of a white post
of the Grand Army.

_Prosperous Negroes in Boston_

Several prosperous Negro business men have won a large white patronage.
One of the chief merchant-tailoring stores of Boston, with a location on
Washington Street which rents for $10,000 a year, is owned by J. H. Lewis.
He has been in business many years. He employs both white and Negro
workmen and clerks and he has some of the best white trade in Boston. Not
long ago he went to North Carolina and bought the old plantation where his
father was a slave, and he even talks of going there to spend his old age.
Another Negro, Gilbert H. Harris, conducts the largest wig-making
establishment in New England. I visited his place. He employs coloured
girls and his trade is exclusively white. Another Negro has a school of
pharmacy in which all the students are white; another, George Hamm, has a
prosperous news and stationery store. A dentist, Dr. Grant, who has a
reputation in his profession for a cement which he invented, was formerly
in the faculty of the Harvard dentistry school and now enjoys a good
practice among white people. The real estate dealer who has the most
extensive business in Cambridge, T. H. Raymond, is a Negro. He employs
white clerks and his business is chiefly with white people. Two or three
Negro lawyers, Butler Wilson in particular, have many white clients. Dr.
Courtney, a coloured physician from the Harvard Medical School, was for a
time house physician of the Boston Lying-in-Hospital, in which the
patients were practically all white, and has now a practice which includes
both white and coloured patients. Dr. Courtney has also served on the
School Board of Boston, an important elective office. The Negro poet,
William Stanley Braithwaite, whose father took a degree at Oxford
(England), is a member of the Authors' Club of Boston. His poems have
appeared in various magazines, he has written a volume of poems, a
standard anthology of Elizabethan verse, and he is about to publish a
critical study of the works of William Dean Howells. Several of these men
meet white people socially more or less.

I give these examples to show the place occupied by the better and older
class of Boston Negroes. Most of those I have mentioned are mulattoes,
some very light. It shows what intelligent Negroes can do for themselves
in a community where there has been little or no prejudice against them.

But with crowding new immigration, and incited by all the other causes I
have mentioned, these conditions are rapidly changing.

A few years ago no hotel or restaurant in Boston refused Negro guests; now
several hotels, restaurants, and especially confectionery stores, will not
serve Negroes, even the best of them. The discrimination is not made
openly, but a Negro who goes to such places is informed that there are no
accommodations, or he is overlooked and otherwise slighted, so that he
does not come again. A strong prejudice exists against renting flats and
houses in many white neighbourhoods to coloured people. The Negro in
Boston, as in other cities, is building up "quarters," which he occupies
to the increasing exclusion of other classes of people. The great Negro
centre is now in the South End, a locality once occupied by some of the
most aristocratic families of Boston. And yet, as elsewhere, they struggle
for the right to live where they please. A case in point is that of Mrs.
Mattie A. McAdoo, an educated coloured woman, almost white, who has
travelled abroad, and is a woman of refinement. She had a flat in an
apartment house among white friends. One of the renters, a Southern woman,
finding out that Mrs. McAdoo had coloured blood, objected. The landlord
refused to cancel Mrs. McAdoo's lease and the white woman left, but the
next year Mrs. McAdoo found that she could not re-rent her apartment. The
landlord in this instance was the son of an abolitionist. He said to her:

"You know I have no prejudice against coloured people. I will rent you an
apartment in the building where I myself live if you want it, but I can't
let you into my other buildings, because the tenants object."

An attempt was even made a year or so ago by white women to force Miss
Baldwin, the coloured school principal to whom I have referred, and who is
almost one of the institutions of Boston, to leave Franklin House, where
she was living. No one incident, perhaps, awakened Boston to the existence
of race prejudice more sharply than this.

_Churches Draw the Colour Line_

One would think that the last harbour of prejudice would be the churches,
and yet I found strange things in Boston. There are, and have been for a
long time, numerous coloured churches in Boston, but many Negroes,
especially those of the old families, have belonged to the white churches.
In the last two years increased Negro attendance, especially at the
Episcopal churches, has become a serious problem. A quarter of the
congregation of the Church of the Ascension is coloured and the vicar has
had to refuse any further coloured attendance at the Sunday School. St.
Peter's and St. Philip's Churches in Cambridge have also been confronted
with the colour problem.

A proposition is now afoot to establish a Negro mission which shall
gradually grow into a separate coloured Episcopal Church, a movement which
causes much bitterness among the coloured people. I shall not soon forget
the expression of hopelessness in the face of a prominent white church
leader as he exclaimed:

"What _shall_ we do with these Negroes! I for one would like to have them
stay. I believe it is in accordance with the doctrine of Christ, but the
proportion is growing so large that white people are drifting away from
us. Strangers avoid us. Our organisation is expensive to keep up and the
Negroes are able to contribute very little in proportion to their
numbers. Think about it yourself: What shall we do? If we allow the
Negroes to attend freely it means that eventually all the white people
will leave and we shall have a Negro church whether we want it or not."

In no other city are there any considerable number of Negroes who attend
white churches--except a few Catholic churches. At New Orleans, I have
seen white and coloured people worshipping together at the cathedrals.
White ministers sometimes have spasms of conscience that they are not
doing all they should for the Negro.

Let me tell two significant incidents from Philadelphia. The worst Negro
slum in that city is completely surrounded by business houses and the
homes of wealthy white people. Within a few blocks of it stand several of
the most aristocratic churches of Philadelphia. Miss Bartholomew conducts
a neighbourhood settlement in the very centre of this social bog. Twice
during the many years she has been there white ministers have ventured
down from their churches. One of them said he had been troubled by the
growing masses of ignorant coloured people.

"Can't I do something to help?"

Miss Bartholomew was greatly pleased and cheered.

"Of course you can," she said heartily. "We're trying to keep some of the
Negro children off the streets. There is plenty of opportunity for helping
with our boys' and girls' clubs and classes."

"Oh, I didn't mean that," said the minister; "I thought, in cases of death
in their families, we might offer to read the burial service."

And he went away and did not see the humour of it!

Another minister made a similar proposition: he wanted to establish a
Sunday School for coloured people. He asked Miss Bartholomew anxiously
where he could hold it.

"Why not in your church in the afternoon?"

"Why, we couldn't do that!" he exclaimed; "we should have to air all the
cushions afterward!"

But to return to Boston. A proposition was recently made to organise for
coloured people a separate Y. M. C. A., but the white members voted
against any such discrimination. Yet a coloured man said to me

"It's only delayed. Next time we shall be put off with a separate

_Colour Line at Harvard_

Even at Harvard where the Negro has always enjoyed exceptional
opportunities, conditions are undergoing a marked change. A few years ago
a large class of white students voluntarily chose a brilliant Negro
student, R. C. Bruce, as valedictorian. But last year a Negro baseball
player was the cause of so much discussion and embarrassment to the
athletic association that there will probably never be another coloured
boy on the university teams. The line has already been drawn, indeed, in
the medical department. Although a coloured doctor only a few years ago
was house physician at the Boston Lying-in-Hospital, coloured students are
no longer admitted to that institution. One of them, Dr. Welker (an Iowa
coloured man), cannot secure his degree because he hasn't had six
obstetrical cases, and he can't get the six cases because he isn't
admitted with his white classmates to the Lying-in-Hospital. It is a
curious fact that not only the white patients but some Negro patients
object to the coloured doctors. In a recent address which has awakened
much sharp comment among Boston Negroes, President Eliot of Harvard
indicated his sympathy with the general policy of separate education in
the South by remarking that if Negro students were in the majority at
Harvard, or formed a large proportion of the total number, some separation
of the races might follow.

And this feeling is growing, notwithstanding the fact that no Negro
student has ever disgraced Harvard and that no students are more orderly
or law-abiding than the Negroes. On the other hand, Negro students have
frequently made distinguished records for scholarship: last year one of
them, Alain Leroy Locke, who took the course in three years, won the first
of the three Bowdoin prizes (the most important bestowed at Harvard) for a
literary essay, and passed for his degree with a _magna cum laude_. Since
then he has been accepted, after a brilliant competitive examination, for
the Rhodes scholarship from the state of Pennsylvania.

Such feeling as that which is developing in the North comes hard, indeed,
upon the intelligent, educated, ambitious Negro--especially if he happens
to have, as a large proportion of these Negroes do have, no little white
blood. Many coloured people in Boston are so white that they cannot be
told from white people, yet they are classed as Negroes.

Accompanying this change of attitude, this hesitation and withdrawal of
the better class of white men, one finds crude sporadic outbreaks on the
part of the rougher element of white men--who have merely a different way
of expressing themselves.

_White Gangs Attack Negroes_

In Indianapolis the Negro comes in contact with the "bungaloo gangs,"
crowds of rough and lawless white boys who set upon Negroes and beat them
frightfully, often wholly without provocation. Although no law prevents
Negroes from entering any park in Indianapolis, they are practically
excluded from at least one of them by the danger of being assaulted by
these gangs.

The street cars are free in all Northern cities, but the Negro
nevertheless sometimes finds it dangerous to ride with white people.
Professor R. R. Wright, Jr., himself a Negro, and an acute observer of
Negro conditions, tells this personal experience:

"I came out on the car from the University of Pennsylvania one evening in
May about eight o'clock. Just as the car turned off Twenty-seventh to
Lombard Street, a crowd of about one hundred little white boys from six to
about fourteen years of age attacked it. The car was crowded, but there
were only about a dozen Negroes on it, about half of them women. The mob
of boys got control of the car by pulling off the trolley. They threw
stones into the car, and finally some of them boarded the car and began to
beat the Negroes with sticks, shouting as they did so, 'Kill the nigger!'
'Lynch 'em!' 'Hit that nigger!' etc. This all happened in Philadelphia.
Doubtless these urchins had been reading in the daily papers the cry 'Kill
the Negro!' and they were trying to carry out the injunction."

While I was in Indianapolis a clash of enough importance to be reported in
the newspapers occurred between the races on a street car; and in New
York, in the San Juan Hill district, one Sunday evening I saw an incident
which illustrates the almost instinctive race antagonism which exists in
Northern cities. The street was crowded. Several Negro boys were playing
on the pavement. Stones were thrown. Instantly several white boys sided
together and began to advance on the Negroes. In less time than it takes
to tell it thirty or forty white boys and young men were chasing the
Negroes down the street. At the next corner the Negroes were joined by
dozens of their own race. Stones and sticks began to fly everywhere, and
if it hadn't been for the prompt action of two policemen there would have
been a riot similar to those which have occurred not once but many times
in New York City during the past two years. Of course these instances are
exceptional, but none the less significant.

_Bumptiousness as a Cause of Hatred_

Some of the disturbances grow out of a characteristic of a certain sort of
Negro, the expression of which seems to stir the deepest animosity in the
city white boy. And that is the bumptiousness, the airiness, of the
half-ignorant young Negro, who, feeling that he has rights, wants to be
occupied constantly in using them. He mistakes liberty for licence.
Although few in numbers among thousands of quiet coloured people, he makes
a large showing. In the South they call him the "smart Negro," and an
almost irresistible instinct exists among white boys of a certain class to
take him down. I remember walking in Indianapolis with an educated
Northern white man. We met a young Negro immaculately dressed; his
hat-band was blue and white; his shoes were patent leather with white
tops; he wore a flowered waistcoat, and his tread as he walked was
something to see.

"Do you know," said my companion, "I never see that young fellow without
wanting to step up and knock his head off. I know something about him. He
is absolutely worthless: he does no work, but lives on the wages of a
hard-working coloured woman and spends all he can get on his clothes. I
know the instinct is childish, but I am just telling you how I feel. I'm
not sure it is racial prejudice; I presume I should feel much the same way
toward a Frenchman if he did the same thing. And somehow I can't help
believing that a good thrashing would improve that boy's character."

I'm telling this incident just as it happened, to throw a side-light on
one of the manifestations of the growing prejudice. One more illustration:
Miss Eaton conducts a social settlement for Negroes in Boston. One day a
teacher said to one of the little Negro boys in her class:

"Please pick up my handkerchief."

The boy did not stir; she again requested him to pick up the handkerchief;
then she asked him why he refused.

"The days of slavery are over," he said.

Now, this spirit is not common, but it exists, and it injures the Negro
people out of all proportion to its real seriousness.

In certain towns in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, on the borders of the old
South, the feeling has reached a stage still more acute. At Springfield,
O., two race riots have occurred, in the first of which a Negro was
lynched and in the second many Negroes were driven out of town and a row
of coloured tenements was burned. There are counties and towns where no
Negro is permitted to stop over night. At Syracuse, O., Lawrenceburg,
Ellwood, and Salem, Ind., for example, Negroes have not been permitted to
live for years. If a Negro appears he is warned of conditions, and if he
does not leave immediately, he is visited by a crowd of boys and men and
forced to leave. A farmer who lives within a few miles of Indianapolis
told me of a meeting, held only a short time ago by thirty-five farmers in
his neighbourhood, in which an agreement was passed to hire no Negroes,
nor to permit Negroes to live anywhere in the region.

_Story of a Northern Race Riot_

I stopped at Greensburg, Ind., on my way East and found there a remarkable
illustration showing just how feeling arises in the North. Greensburg is a
comfortable, well-to-do, conservative, church-going old town in eastern
Indiana. Many of the residents are retired farmers. The population of
7,000 is mostly of pure American stock, largely of Northern origin. And
yet last April this quiet old town was shaken by a race riot. I made
careful inquiries as to conditions there and I was amazed to discover how
closely this small disturbance paralleled the greater riot at Atlanta
which I have already written about. Negroes had lived in Greensburg for
many years, a group of self-respecting, decent, prosperous men and women.
They were known to and highly regarded by their white neighbours. One of
them, named Brooks, owned a barber shop and was janitor for the
Presbyterian Church and for one of the banks. Another, George W. Edwards,
whom I met, has been for years an employee in the Garland Mills.

"There isn't a better citizen in town than Edwards," a white lawyer told
me; and I heard the same thing from other white men.

Another Negro, George Guess, is an engineer in the electric light plant.
Of the local Negro boys, Robert Lewis, the first coloured graduate of the
local schools, is now teaching engineering at Hampton Institute. Oscar
Langston, another Negro boy, is a dentist in Indianapolis. These and other
Negroes live in good homes, support a church and have a respectable
society of their own. I found just such a body of good coloured people in

Well, progress brought an electric railroad to Greensburg. To work on this
and on improvements made by the railroad hundreds of labourers were
required. And they were Negroes of the ignorant, wandering, unlooked-after
sort so common in similar occupations in the South. When the work was
finished a considerable number of them remained in Greensburg. Now
Greensburg, like other American cities, was governed by a mayor who was a
"good fellow," and who depended on two influences to elect him: party
loyalty and the saloon vote. He allowed a Negro dive to exist in one part
of the town, where the idle and worthless Negroes congregated, where a
murder was committed about a year before the riot. Exactly like Decatur
Street in Atlanta! A rotten spot always causes trouble sooner or later.
Good citizens protested and objected--to no purpose. They even organised a
Good Citizenship League, the purpose of which was to secure a better
enforcement of law. But the saloon interests were strong and wanted to
sell whiskey and beer to the Negroes, and the city authorities were

"Who cares," one of them asked, "about a few worthless Negroes?"

But in a democracy people _must_ care for one another.

_A Negro Crime in the North_

One day last April a Negro labourer who had been working for Mrs. Sefton,
a highly respected widow who lived alone, appeared in the house in broad
daylight and criminally assaulted her. His name was John Green, a Kentucky
Negro; he was not only ignorant, but half-witted; he had already committed
a burglary and had not been punished. He was easily caught, convicted, and
sentenced. But the town was angry. On April 30th a crowd of men and boys
gathered, beat two or three Negroes, and drove many out of town. They
never thought of mobbing the city officials who had allowed the Negro
dives to exist. And, as in Atlanta, the decent Negroes suffered with the
criminals: a crowd broke windows in the home of George Edwards, and
threatened other respectable coloured men. As in Atlanta, the better white
people were horrified and scandalised; but, as in Atlanta, the white men
who made up the mob went unpunished (though Atlanta did mildly discipline
a few rioters). As in Atlanta, the newspaper reports that were sent out
made no distinction between the different sorts of Negroes. The entire
Negro population of Greensburg was blamed for the crime of a single
ignorant and neglected man. I have several different newspaper reports of
the affair from outside papers, and nearly all indicate in the headlines
that all the Negroes in Greensburg were concerned in the riot and were
driven out of town, which was not, of course, true. As a matter of fact
the respectable Negroes are still living in Greensburg on friendly terms
with the white people.

_Human Nature North and South_

In fact, the more I see of conditions North and South, the more I see that
human nature north of Mason and Dixon's line is not different from human
nature south of the line.

Different degrees of prejudice, it is true, are apparent in the two
sections. In the South the social and political prejudice the natural
result of the memories of slavery and reconstruction, of the greater mass
of Negro population and of the backward economic development, is stronger.
In the North, on the other hand, comparatively little social and political
prejudice is apparent; but the Negro has a hard fight to get anything but
the most subservient place in the economic machine.

Over and over again, while I was in the South, I heard remarks like this:

"Down here we make the Negro keep his place socially, but in the North you
won't let him work."

This leads me to one of the most important phases of race-relationship in
the North--that is, the economic struggle of the Negro, suddenly thrown,
as he has been, into the swift-moving, competitive conditions of Northern
cities. Does he, or can he, survive? Do the masses of Negroes now coming
North realise their ambitions? Is it true that the North will not let the
Negro work?

These questions must, perforce, be discussed in another chapter.



One of the questions I asked of Negroes whom I met both North and South
was this:

"What is your chief cause of complaint?"

In the South the first answer nearly always referred to the Jim Crow cars
or the Jim Crow railroad stations; after that, the complaint was of
political disfranchisement, the difficulty of getting justice in the
courts, the lack of good school facilities, and in some localities, of the
danger of actual physical violence.

But in the North the first answer invariably referred to working

"The Negro isn't given a fair opportunity to get employment. He is
discriminated against because he is coloured."

Professor Kelly Miller, one of the acutest of Negro writers, has said:

"The Negro (in the North) is compelled to loiter around the edges of

Southern white men are fond of meeting Northern criticism of Southern
treatment of the Negro with the response:

"But the North closes the doors of industrial opportunity to the Negro."

And yet, in spite of this complaint of conditions in the North, one who
looks Southward can almost see the army of Negroes gathering from out of
the cities, villages and farms, bringing nothing with them but a buoyant
hope in a distant freedom, but tramping always Northward. And they come
not alone from the old South, but from the West Indies, where the coloured
population looks wistfully toward the heralded opportunities of America. A
few are even coming from South Africa and South America. In New York,
Boston, and Philadelphia, thousands of such foreign Negroes know nothing
of America traditions; some of them do not even speak the English

And why do they come if their difficulties are so great? Is it true that
there is no chance for them in industry? Are they better or worse off in
the North than in the South?

In the first place, in most of the smaller Northern cities where the Negro
population is not increasing rapidly, discrimination is hardly noticeable.
Negroes enter the trades, find places in the shops, or even follow
competitive business callings and still maintain friendly relationships
with the white people.

But the small towns are not typical of the new race conditions in the
North; the situation in the greater centres of population where Negro
immigration is increasing largely, is decidedly different.

As I travelled in the North, I heard many stories of the difficulties
which the coloured man had to meet in getting employment. Of course, as a
Negro said to me, "there are always places for the coloured man at the
bottom." He can always get work at unskilled manual labour, or personal or
domestic service--in other words, at menial employment. He has had that in
plenty in the South. But what he seeks as he becomes educated is an
opportunity for better grades of employment. He wants to rise.

It is not, then, his complaint that he cannot get work in the North, but
that he is limited in his opportunities to rise, to get positions which
his capabilities (if it were not for his colour) would entitle him to. He
is looking for a place where he will be judged at his worth as a man, not
as a Negro: this he came to the North to find, and he meets difficulties
of which he had not dreamed in the South.

At Indianapolis I found a great discussion going on over what to do with
the large number of idle young coloured people, some of whom had been
through the public schools, but who could not, apparently, find any work
to do. As an able coloured man said to me: "What shall we do? Here are our
young people educated in the schools, capable of doing good work in many
occupations where skill and intelligence are required--and yet with few
opportunities opening for them. They don't want to dig ditches or become
porters or valets any more than intelligent white boys: they are human.
The result is that some of them drop back into idle discouragement--or

In New York I had a talk with William L. Bulkley, the coloured principal
of Public School No. 80, attended chiefly by coloured children, who told
me of the great difficulties and discouragements which confronted the
Negro boy who wanted to earn his living. He relates this story:

"I received a communication the other day from an electric company stating
that they could use some bright, clean, industrious boys in their
business, starting them at so much a week and aiding them to learn the
business. I suspected that they did not comprehend coloured boys under the
generic term 'boys,' but thought to try. So I wrote asking if they would
give employment to a coloured boy who could answer to the qualifications
stated. The next mail brought the expected reply that no coloured boy,
however promising, was wanted. I heaved a sigh and went on.

"The saddest thing that faces me in my work is the small opportunity for a
coloured boy or girl to find proper employment. A boy comes to my office
and asks for his working papers. He may be well up in the school, possibly
with graduation only a few months off. I question him somewhat as follows:
'Well, my boy, you want to go to work, do you? What are you going to do?'
'I am going to be a door-boy, sir.' 'Well, you will get $2.50 or $3 a
week, but after a while that will not be enough; what then?' After a
moment's pause he will reply: 'I should like to be an office boy.' 'Well,
what next?' A moment's silence, and, 'I should try to get a position as
bell-boy.' 'Well, then, what next?' A rather contemplative mood, and then,
'I should like to climb to the position of head bell-boy.' He has now
arrived at the top; further than this he sees no hope. He must face the
bald fact that he must enter business as a boy and wind up as a boy."

And yet in spite of these difficulties, Negroes come North every year in
increasing numbers, they find living expensive, they suffer an unusual
amount of sickness and death, they meet more prejudice than they expected
to meet, and yet they keep coming. Much as Negroes complain of the
hardship of Northern conditions, and though they are sometimes pitifully
homesick for the old life in the South, I have yet to find one who wanted
to go back--unless he had accumulated enough money to buy land.

"Why do they come?" I asked a Negro minister in Philadelphia.

"Well, they're treated more like men up here in the North," he said,
"that's the secret of it. There's prejudice here, too, but the colour line
isn't drawn in their faces at every turn as it is in the South. It all
gets back to a question of manhood."

In the North prejudice is more purely economic than it is in the South--an
incident of industrial competition.

In the South the Negro still has the field of manual labour largely to
himself, he is unsharpened by competition; but when he reaches the
Northern city, he not only finds the work different and more highly
organised and specialised, but he finds that he must meet the fierce
competition of half a dozen eager, struggling, ambitious groups of
foreigners, who are willing and able to work long hours at low pay in
order to get a foothold. He has to meet often for the first time the
Italian, the Russian Jew, the Slav, to say nothing of the white American
labourer. He finds the pace set by competitive industry immensely harder
than in most parts of the South. No life in the world, perhaps, requires
as much in brain and muscle of all classes of men as that of the vast
Northern cities in the United States. I have talked with many coloured
workmen and I am convinced that not a few of them fail, not because of
their colour, nor because they are lazy (Negroes in the North are of the
most part hard workers--they _must_ be, else they starve or freeze), but
for simple lack of speed and skill; they haven't learned to keep the pace
set by the white man.

A contractor in New York who employs large numbers of men, said to me:

"It isn't colour so much as plain efficiency. I haven't any sentiment in
the matter at all. It's business. As a general rule the ordinary coloured
man can't do as much work nor do it as well as the ordinary white man. The
result, is, I don't take coloured men when I can get white men. Yet I have
several coloured men who have been with me for years, and I wouldn't part
with them for any white man I know. In the same way I would rather employ
Italians than Russian Jews: they're stronger workers."

Not unnaturally the Negro charges these competitive difficulties which he
has to meet in the North (as he has been accustomed to do in the South) to
the white man; he calls it colour prejudice, when as a matter of fact, it
is often only the cold businesslike requirement of an industrial life
which demands tremendous efficiency, which in many lines of activity has
little more feeling than a machine, that is willing to use Italians, or
Japanese, or Chinese, or Negroes, or Hindus, or any other people on the
face of the earth. On the other hand, no doubt exists that many labour
unions, especially in the skilled trades, are hostile to Negroes, even
though they may have no rules against their admission. I heard the
experiences of an expert Negro locomotive engineer named Burns who had a
run out of Indianapolis to the South. Though he was much in favour with
the company, and indeed with many trainmen who knew him personally, the
general feeling was so strong that by soaping the tracks, injuring his
engine, and in other ways making his work difficult and dangerous, he was
finally forced to abandon his run. If there were space I could give many
accounts of strikes against the employment of Negroes. The feeling among
union labour men has undoubtedly been growing more intense in the last few
years owing to the common use of Negroes as strike breakers. With a few
thousand Negroes the employers broke the great stockyards strike in
Chicago in 1904, and the teamsters' strike in the following year. Colour
prejudice is used like any other weapon for strengthening the monopoly of
the labour union. I know several unions which are practically monopolistic
corporations into which any outsider, white, yellow, or black, penetrates
with the greatest difficulty. Such closely organised unions keep the
Negroes out in the South exactly as they do in the North. A Negro
tile-setter, steam-fitter or plumber can no more get into a union in
Atlanta than in New York. Of course these unions, like any other closely
organised group of men, employ every weapon to further their cause. They
use prejudice as a competitive fighting weapon, they seize upon the colour
of the Negro, or the pig-tail and curious habits of the Chinaman, or
the low-living standard of the Hindu, to fight competition and protect
them in their labour monopoly.



And yet, although I expected to find the Negro wholly ostracised by union
labour, I discovered that where the Negro becomes numerous or skilful
enough, he, like the Italian or the Russian Jew, begins to force his way
into the unions. The very first Negro carpenter I chanced to meet in the
North (from whom I had expected a complaint of discrimination) said to me:

"I'm all right. I'm a member of the union and get union wages."

And I found after inquiry that there are a few Negroes in most of the
unions of skilled workers, carpenters, masons, iron-workers, even in the
exclusive typographical union and in the railroad organisations--a few
here and there, mostly mulattoes. They have got in just as the Italians
get in, not because they are wanted, or because they are liked, but
because by being prepared, skilled, and energetic, the unions have had to
take them in as a matter of self-protection. In the South the Negro is
more readily accepted as a carpenter, blacksmith, or bricklayer than in
the North not because he is more highly regarded but because (unlike the
North) the South has almost no other labour supply.

In several great industries North and South, indeed, the Negro is as much
a part of labour unionism as the white man. Thousands of Negroes are
members of the United Mine-Workers, John Mitchell's great organisation,
and they stand on an exact industrial equality with the whites. Other
thousands are in the cigar-makers' union, where, by virtue of economic
pressure, they have forced recognition.

Indeed, in the North, in spite of the complaint of discrimination, I found
Negroes working and making a good living in all sorts of industries--union
or no union. A considerable number of Negro firemen have good positions in
New York, a contracting Negro plumber in Indianapolis who uses coloured
help has been able to maintain himself, not only against white
competition, but against the opposition of organised white labour. I know
of Negro paper-hangers and painters, not union men, but making a living at
their trade and gradually getting hold. A good many Negro printers,
pressmen, and the like are now found in Negro offices (over 200
newspapers and magazines are published by Negroes in this country) who
are getting their training. I know of several girls (all mulattoes) who
occupy responsible positions in offices in New York and Chicago. Not a few
coloured nurses, seamstresses and milliners have found places in the life
of the North which they seem capable of holding. It is not easy for them
to make progress: each coloured man who takes a step ahead must prove, for
his race, that a coloured man can after all, do his special work as well
as a white man. The presumption is always against him.

Here is a little newspaper account of a successful skilled pattern maker
in Chicago:

     A few days ago a large box containing twenty-one large and small
     patterns was shipped to the Jamestown Exhibition by the McGuire Car
     Company of Paris, Illinois, one of the largest car companies in the
     West. Before the box was shipped scores of newspaper men, engineers
     and business men were permitted to inspect what is said to be the
     most complete and most valuable exhibit of the kind ever sent to an
     exhibition in this country. The contents of this precious box is
     entirely the work of a coloured man named George A. Harrison. Mr.
     Harrison is one of the highest salaried men on the pay-roll of the
     company. He makes all the patterns for all of the steel, brass, and
     iron castings for every kind of car made by this company. He
     graduated at the head of his class of sixty members in a pattern
     making establishment in Chicago.

Cases of this sort are exceptional among the vast masses of untrained
Negro population in the cities, and yet it shows what can be done--and the
very possibility of such advancement encourages Negroes to come North.

_Trades Which Negroes Dominate_

So much for the higher branches of industry. In some of the less skilled
occupations, on the other hand, the Negro is not only getting hold, but
actually becoming dominant.

The asphalt workers are nearly all coloured. In New York they have a
strong union and although part of the membership is white (chiefly
Italian), the chosen representative who sits with the Central Federated
Union of the city is James H. Wallace, a coloured man.

In Indianapolis I found that the hod-carriers' industry was almost wholly
in the hands of Negroes who have a strong union, with a large strike fund
put aside. So successful have they been that they now propose erecting a
building of their own as a club house. Although there are white men in the
union the officers are all coloured. Not long ago some of the coloured
members began to "rush" a white man at his work. It was reported to the
union and hotly discussed. The coloured members finally decided that there
should be no discrimination against white men, and fined one of the Negro
offenders for his conduct. He couldn't pay and had to leave town.

Where the Negro workman gets a foothold in the North, he often does very
well indeed. R. R. Wright, Jr., calls attention to conditions in the
Midvale Steel Company, which is one of the largest, if not the largest
employer of Negro labour in Philadelphia. Charles J. Harrah, the president
of this company, said before the United States Industrial Commission in

"We have fully 800 or 1,000 coloured men. The balance are Americans, Irish
and Germans. The coloured labour we have is excellent.... They are lusty
fellows; we have some with shoulders twice as broad as mine, and with
chests twice as deep as mine. The men come up here ignorant and untutored.
We teach them the benefit of discipline. We teach the coloured man the
benefit of thrift, and coax him to open a bank account; and he generally
does it, and in a short time has money in it, and nothing can stop him
from adding money to that bank account. We have no coloured men who

Asked as to the friction between the white and black workmen, Mr. Harrah

"Not a bit of it. They work cheek by jowl with Irish, and when the
Irishman has a festivity at home he has coloured men invited. We did it
with trepidation. We introduced one man at first to sweep up the yard, and
we noticed the Irish and Germans looked at him askance. Then we put in
another. Then we put them in the boiler-room, and then we got them in the
open hearth and in the forge, and gradually we got them everywhere. They
are intelligent and docile, and when they come in as labourers, unskilled,
they gradually become skilled, and in the course of time we will make
excellent foremen out of them."

Mr. Harrah added that there was absolutely no difference in wages of
Negroes and whites in the same grade of work.

I have pointed out especially in my last article how and where prejudice
was growing in Northern cities, as it certainly is. On the other hand,
where one gets down under the surface there are to be found many
counteracting influences--those quiet constructive forces, which, not
being sensational or threatening, attract too little attention. Northern
people are able to help Negroes where Southern people are deterred by the
intensity of social prejudice: for in most places in the South the
teaching of Negroes still means social ostracism.

_Help for Negroes in the North_

Settlement work, in one form or another, has been instituted in most
Northern cities, centres of enlightenment and hope. I have visited a
number of these settlements and have seen their work. They are doing much,
especially in giving a moral tone to a slum community: they help to keep
the children off the streets by means of clubs and classes; they open the
avenues of sympathy between the busy upper world and the struggling lower
world. Such is the work of Miss Bartholomew, Miss Hancock, Miss Wharton in
Philadelphia, Miss Eaton in Boston, Mrs. Celia Parker Woolley in Chicago,
Miss Ovington in New York. Miss Hancock, a busy, hopeful Quaker woman, has
a "broom squad" of Negro boys which makes a regular business of sweeping
several of the streets in the very worst slum district in Philadelphia; it
gives them employment and it teaches them civic responsibility and pride.

But perhaps I can give the best idea of these movements by telling of the
different forms of work in a single city--Indianapolis. In the first
place, the Flanner Guild, projected by Mr. Flanner, a white man, is
maintained largely by white contributions, but it is controlled wholly by
coloured people. Millinery classes were opened for girls (of which there
are now many practising graduates, eight of whom are giving lessons in
Indianapolis and in other cities), and there are clubs and social
gatherings of all sorts: it has been, indeed, a helpful social centre of



Which makes a regular business of sweeping several of the streets in the
very worst slum district in Philadelphia; it gives them employment and it
teaches them civic responsibility and pride. Miss Hancock at the right.]

In the South, as I have shown, Negroes receive much off-hand individual
charity--food from the kitchen, gifts of old clothes and money; but it is
largely personal and unorganised. In the North there is comparatively
little indiscriminate giving, but an effort to reach and help Negro
families by making them help themselves. One of the difficulties of the
Negro is improvidence; but once given a start on the road to money saving,
it is often astonishing to see him try to live up to cash in the bank. The
Charity Organisation Society of Indianapolis has long maintained a dime
savings and loan association which employs six women collectors, one
coloured, who visit hundreds of homes every week. These form indeed a
corps of friendly visitors, the work of collecting the savings furnishing
them an opportunity of getting into the homes and so winning the
confidence of the people that they can help them in many ways. Last year
over 6,000 depositors were registered in the association, two-thirds of
whom were Negroes, and over $25,000 was on deposit. Not less than
twenty-five cents a week is accepted, but many Negroes save much more. As
soon as they get into the habit of saving they usually transfer their
accounts to the savings bank--and once with a bank book, they are on the
road to genuine improvement.

Another work of great value which Mr. Grout of the Charity Organisation
Society has organised is vacant lot cultivation. By securing the use of
vacant land in and around the city many Negro families have been
encouraged to make gardens, thus furnishing healthful and self-respecting
occupation for the old or very young members of many Negro families, who
otherwise might become public charges. The plots are ploughed and seeds
are provided: the Negroes do their own work and take the crop. The work is
supported by voluntary contributions from white people. A number of Negro
women have raised enough vegetables not only to supply themselves but have
had some to sell.

Negro children are closely looked after in Indianapolis. Compulsory
education applies equally to both races. Every family thus comes also
under the more or less active attention of the school authorities. An
officer, Miss Sarah Colton Smith, is employed exclusively to visit and
keep watch of the Negro children. Her work also is largely that of the
friendly visitor, helping the various overworked mothers with
suggestions, taking an interest in Negro organisations. For example, the
Coloured Woman's Club, working with Miss Smith, has organised a day
nursery which cares for some of the very young children of working Negro
women, thereby allowing the older ones to go to school. Indianapolis
(which has one of the most progressive and intelligent school systems,
wholly non-political, in the country) is also thoroughly alive to the
necessity of industrial education--for both races. Significantly enough,
the Negro schools were first fitted with industrial departments, so that
for a time the cost of education per capita in Indianapolis was higher for
coloured children than for white. When I expressed my surprise at this
unusual condition I was told:

"Of course, the immediate need of the Negro was greater."

Night schools are also held in the public school buildings from November
to April--two schools for Negroes especially, where coloured people of all
ages are at liberty to attend. It is a remarkable sight: Negroes fifty and
sixty years old mingle there with mere children. The girls are taught
sewing and cooking, the men carpentry--besides the ordinary branches. One
old man from the South was found crying with joy over his ability to write
his name. For the very young children, Negro equally with white, there is
Mrs. Eliza Blaker's Kindergarten. For the aged coloured women a home is
now supported principally by the coloured people themselves.

_The Morals of Negro Women_

I saw a good deal of these various lines of activity and talked with the
people who come close in touch with the struggling masses of the Negro
poor. I wish I had room to tell some of the stories I heard: the black
masses of poverty, disease, hopeless ignorance, and yet everywhere shot
through with hopeful tendencies and individual uplift and success. In
Indianapolis, as in other Northern cities, I heard much to the credit of
the Negro women.

"If the Negro is saved here in the North," Miss Smith told me, "it will be
due to the women."

They gave me many illustrations showing how hard the Negro women
worked--taking in washing or going out every day to work, raising their
families, keeping the home, sometimes supporting worthless husbands.

"A Negro woman of the lower class," one visitor said to me, "rarely
expects her husband to support her. She takes the whole burden herself."

And the women, so the loan association visitors told me, are the chief
savers: they are the ones who get and keep the bank accounts. I have heard
a great deal South and North about the immorality of Negro women. Much
immorality no doubt exists, but no honest observer can go into any of the
crowded coloured communities of Northern cities and study the life without
coming away with a new respect for the Negro women.

Another hopeful work in Indianapolis is the juvenile court. A boy who
commits a crime is not immediately cast off to become a more desperate
criminal and ultimately to take his revenge upon the society which
neglected him. He comes into a specially organised court, where he meets
not violence, but friendliness and encouragement. Mrs. Helen W. Rogers is
at the head of the probation work in Indianapolis, and she has under her
supervision a large corps of voluntary probation officers, thirty of whom
are coloured men and women--the best in town. These coloured probation
officers have an organisation of which George W. Cable, who is the foreman
of the distributing department of the Indianapolis post-office, is the
chairman. A Negro boy charged with an offence is turned over to one of
these leading Negro men or women, required to report regularly, and helped
until he gets on his feet again. Thus far the system has worked with great
success. Boys whose offences are too serious for probation are sent, not
to a jail or chain-gang, where they become habitual criminals, but to a
reform school, where they are taught regular habits of work.

_Why the Negro Often Fails_

As I continued my inquiries I found that the leading coloured men in most
cities, though they might be ever so discouraged over the condition of the
ignorant, reckless masses of their people, were awakening to the fact
that the Negro's difficulty in the North was not all racial, not all due
to mere colour prejudice, but also in large measure to lack of training,
lack of aggressiveness and efficiency, lack of organisation. In New York a
"Committee for Improving the Industrial Condition of Negroes" has been
formed. It is composed of both white and coloured men, and the secretary
is S. R. Scottron, an able coloured man. The object of the committee is to
study the condition of the Negroes in New York City, find out the causes
of idleness, and try to help the Negro to better employment.

This committee has experienced difficulty not so much in finding openings
for Negroes, as in getting reliable Negroes to fill them. Boys and girls,
though educated in the public schools, come out without knowing how to do
anything that will earn them a living. Although the advantages of Cooper
Institute and other industrial training schools are open to Negroes, they
have been little used, either from lack of knowledge of the opportunity,
or because the Negroes preferred the regular literary courses of the
schools. So many unskilled and untrained Negroes, both old and young, have
discouraged many employers from trying any sort of Negro help. I shall not
forget the significant remark of a white employer I met in Indianapolis: a
broad-gauge man, known for his philanthropies.

"I've tried Negro help over and over again, hoping to help out the
condition of Negro idleness we have here. I have had two or three good
Negro workers, but so many of them have been wholly undisciplined,
irresponsible, and sometimes actually dishonest, that I've given up
trying. When I hear that an applicant is coloured, I don't employ him."

Upon this very point Professor Bulkley said to me:

"The great need of the young coloured people is practical training in
industry. A Negro boy can't expect to get hold in a trade unless he has
had training."

R. R. Wright, Jr., who has made a study of conditions in Philadelphia,

"It is in the skilled trades that the Negroes are at the greatest
disadvantage. Negroes have been largely shut out of mechanical trades
partly because of indifference and occasional active hostility of labour
unions, partly because it has been difficult to overcome the traditional
notion that a 'Negro's place' is in domestic service, but chiefly because
there have been practically no opportunities for Negroes to learn trades.
Those Negroes who know skilled trades and follow them are principally men
from the South, who learned their trades there. The poorest of them fall
into domestic service; the best have found places at their trades. For the
Negro boy who is born in this city it is difficult to acquire a trade, and
here, I say, the system has been weakest."

With the idea of giving more practical training School No. 80 in New York,
of which Professor Bulkley is principal, is now opened in the evenings for
industrial instruction. Last year 1,300 coloured people, young and old,
were registered. In short, there is a recognition in the North as in the
South of the need of training the Negro to work. And not only the Negro,
but the white boy and girl as well--as Germany and other European
countries have learned.

_The Road from Slavery to Freedom_

At Indianapolis I found an organisation of Negro women, called the Woman's
Improvement Club. The president, Mrs. Lillian T. Fox, told me what the
club was doing to solve the problem of the coloured girl and boy who could
not get work. She found that, after all, white prejudice was not so much a
bugaboo as she had imagined. The newspapers gave publicity to the work;
the Commercial Club, the foremost business men's organisation of the city,
offered to lend its assistance; several white employers agreed to try
coloured help, and one, the Van Camp Packing Company, one of the great
concerns of its kind in the country, even fitted up a new plant to be
operated wholly by coloured people. Last fall, after the season's work was
over, one of the officers of the company told me that the Negro plant had
been a great success, that the girls had done their work faithfully and
with great intelligence.

Just recently a meeting of coloured carpenters was held in New York to
organise for self-help, and they found that, by bringing pressure to bear,
the Brotherhood of Carpenters was perfectly willing to accept them as
members of the union, on exactly the same basis as any other carpenters.

In short, the Negro is beginning to awaken to the fact that if he is to
survive and succeed in Northern cities, it must be by his own skill,
energy, and organisation. For, like any individual or any race, striving
for a place in industry or in modern commercial life, the Negro must, in
order to succeed, not only equal his competitor, but become more
efficient. A Negro contractor said to me:

"Yes, I can get any amount of work, but they expect me to do it a little
better and a little cheaper than my white competitors." Then he added:

"And I can do it, too!"

Those are the only terms on which success can be won.

For so long a time the Negro has been driven or forced to work, as in the
South, that he learns only slowly, in an intense, impersonal, competitive
life like that of the North, where work is at a premium, that he himself,
not the white man, must do the driving. It is the lesson that raises any
man from slavery into freedom.

_Pullman Porters_

So much for industry. The Negro in the North has also been going into
business and into other and varied employment. The very difficulty of
getting hold in the trades and in salaried employment has driven many
coloured people into small business enterprises: grocery stores, tailor
shops, real estate or renting agencies. If they are being driven out by
white men as waiters and barbers, they enjoy, on the other hand, growing
opportunities as railroad and Pullman porters and waiters--places which
are often highly profitable, and lead, if the Negro saves his money, to
better openings. A Negro banker whom I met in the South told me that he
got his start as a Pullman porter. He had a good run, and by being active
and accommodating, often made from $150 to $200 a month from his wages and

But the same change is going on in the North that I found everywhere in
the South. I mean a growing race consciousness among Negroes--the building
up of a more or less independent Negro community life within the greater
white civilisation. Every force seems to be working in that direction.

_Business Among Boston and Philadelphia Negroes_

As I have showed many Negroes in Boston (and indeed in other cities) have
made a success in business enterprises which are patronised by white
people--or rather by both races. Coloured doctors and lawyers in Boston
have more or less white practice. Of course, coloured men who can succeed
without reference to their colour and do business with both races, wish to
continue to do so--but the tendency in the North, as in the South, is all
against such development and toward Negro enterprises for the Negro
population. Even in Boston numerous enterprises are conducted by Negroes
for Negroes. I visited several small but prosperous grocery stores. A
Negro named Basil F. Hutchins has built up a thriving undertaking and
livery establishment for Negro trade. Charles W. Alexander has a
print-shop with coloured workmen and publishes _Alexander's Magazine_. A
new hotel called the Astor House, conducted by Negroes for Negroes, has
250 rooms with telephone service in each room, a large restaurant and many
of the other attractions of a good hotel. But in this growth the North is
far behind the South. Scores of Negro banks are to be found in the South,
not one in the North. Cities like Richmond, Va., Jackson, Miss.,
Nashville, Tenn., have a really remarkable development of Negro business

Perhaps I can convey a clearer idea of the great variety of employment of
Negroes in Northern cities by outlining the condition in a single city,
Philadelphia--information for which I am indebted to R. R. Wright, Jr. The
census of 1900 shows that out of 28,940 Negro males (boys and men), 21,128
were at work, and out of 33,673 girls and women, 14,095 were wage-earners.
Here are some of the more numerous occupations of Negro men:

  Common labourers                 7,690
  Servants and waiters             4,378
  Teamsters and hackmen            1,957
  Porters and helpers in stores      921
  Barbers and hairdressers           444
  Messengers and errand boys         346
  Brick and stone masons             308

Most of these are, of course, low-class occupations--the hard wage-work of
the city in which the men often sink below the poverty line. On the other
hand the census gives these figures:

  Negro professional men (415) and women (170)
  including doctors, clergymen, dentists, teachers,
  electricians, architects, artists, musicians,
  lawyers, journalists, civil engineers, actors,
  literary and scientific persons, etc.                585

  Retail merchants, men (297), women (22).             319

  Hotel keepers                                         13

One Negro runs a men's furnishing store; another, a drug store; others,
groceries, meats, etc. The beneficial society has grown to a regular
insurance company, the renting agent has become a real estate dealer.
Within the past twelve months Negroes have incorporated two realty
companies, one land investment company, four building and loan
associations, one manufacturing company, one insurance company, besides a
number of other smaller concerns.

The civil service has proved of advantage to the Negro of Philadelphia, as
of every other large Northern city. In the post-office there are about 150
clerks, carriers and other employees, on the police force about 70
patrolmen, and 40 school-teachers and about 200 persons in other municipal

_Wherein Lies Success for Negroes_

I have thus endeavoured to present the conditions of the Negro in the
North and show his relationship with white people. I have tried to exhibit
every factor, good or bad, which plays a part in racial conditions. Many
sinister influences exist: the large increase of ignorant and unskilled
Negroes from the South; the growing prejudice in the North, both social
and industrial, against the Negro; the high death-rate and low birth-rate
among the Negro population, which is due to poverty, ignorance, crime, and
an unfriendly climate. On the other hand, many encouraging and hopeful
tendencies are perceptible. Individual Negroes are forcing recognition in
nearly all branches of human activity, entering business life and the
professions. A new racial consciousness is growing up leading to
organisations for self-help; and while white prejudice is increasing, so
is white helpfulness as manifested in social settlements, industrial
schools, and other useful philanthropies.

All these forces and counter forces--economic, social, religious,
political--are at work. We can all see them plainly, but we cannot judge
of their respective strength. It is a tremendous struggle that is going
on--the struggle of a backward race for survival within the swift-moving
civilisation of an advanced race. No one can look upon it without the most
profound fascination for its interests as a human spectacle, nor without
the deepest sympathy for the efforts of 10,000,000 human beings to
surmount the obstacles which beset them on every hand.

And what a struggle it is! As I look out upon it and see this dark horde
of men and women coming up, coming up, a few white men here and there
cheering them on, a few bitterly holding them back, I feel that Port
Arthur and the battles of Manchuria, bloody as they were, are not to be
compared with such a conflict as this, for this is the silent, dogged,
sanguinary, modern struggle in which the combatants never rest upon their
arms. But the object is much the same: the effort of a backward race for a
foothold upon this earth, for civilised respect and an opportunity to
expand. And the Negro is not fighting Russians, but Americans, Germans,
Irish, English, Italians, Jews, Slavs--all those mingling white races
(each, indeed, engaged in the same sort of a struggle) which make up the
nation we call America.

The more I see of the conflict the more I seem to see that victory or
defeat lies with the Negro himself. As a wise Negro put it to me:

"Forty years ago the white man emancipated us: but we are only just now
discovering that we must emancipate ourselves."

Whether the Negro can survive the conflict, how it will all come out, no
man knows. For this is the making of life itself.





I had not been long engaged in the study of the race problem when I found
myself face to face with a curious and seemingly absurd question:

"What is a Negro?"

I saw plenty of men and women who were unquestionably Negroes, Negroes in
every physical characteristic, black of countenance with thick lips and
kinky hair, but I also met men and women as white as I am, whose assertion
that they were really Negroes I accepted in defiance of the evidence of my
own senses. I have seen blue-eyed Negroes and golden-haired Negroes; one
Negro girl I met had an abundance of soft straight red hair. I have seen
Negroes I could not easily distinguish from the Jewish or French types; I
once talked with a man I took at first to be a Chinaman but who told me he
was a Negro. And I have met several people, passing everywhere for white,
who, I knew, had Negro blood.

Nothing, indeed, is more difficult to define than this curious physical
colour line in the individual human being. Legislatures have repeatedly
attempted to define where black leaves off and white begins, especially in
connection with laws prohibiting marriage between the races. Some of the
statutes define a Negro as a "person with one-eighth or more of Negro
blood." Southern people, who take pride in their ability to distinguish
the drop of dark blood in the white face, are themselves frequently
deceived. Several times I have heard police judges in the South ask
concerning a man brought before them:

"Is this man coloured or white?"

Just recently a case has arisen at Norfolk, Va., in which a Mrs. Rosa
Stone sued the Norfolk & Western Railroad Company for being compelled by
the white conductor, who thought her a Negro, to ride in a "Jim Crow" car.
Having been forced into the Negro compartment, it remained for a real
coloured woman, who knew her personally, to draw the line against her.
This coloured woman is reported as saying:

"Lor, Miss Rosa, this ain't no place for you; you b'long in the cars back

It appears that Mrs. Stone was tanned.

_Curious Story of a White Man Who Was Expelled as a Negro_

Here is a story well illustrating the difficulties sometimes encountered
by Southerners in deciding who is white and who is coloured. On March 6,
1907, the Atlanta _Georgian_ published this account of how a man who, it
was said, was a Negro passing for a white man, was expelled by a crowd of
white men from the town of Albany, Ga.:

     Peter Zeigler, a Negro, was last night escorted out of town by a
     crowd of white men. Zeigler had been here for a month and palmed
     himself off as a white man. He has been boarding with one of the best
     white families in the city and has been associating with some of
     Albany's best people. A visiting lady recognised him as being a Negro
     who formerly lived in her city, and her assertion was investigated
     and found to be correct. Last night he was carried to Forester's
     Station, a few miles north of here, and ordered to board an outgoing

     Zeigler has a fair education and polished manners, and his colour was
     such that he could easily pass for a white man where he was not

Immediately after suffering the indignity of being expelled from Albany,
Mr. Zeigler communicated with his friends and relatives, a delegation of
whom came from Charleston, Orangeburg, and Summerville, S. C. and proved
to the satisfaction of everyone that Mr. Zeigler was, in reality, a white
man connected with several old families of South Carolina. Of this return
of Mr. Zeigler the Albany _Herald_ says:

     The _Herald_ yesterday contained the account of the return to Albany
     of Peter B. Zeigler, the young man who was forced to leave Albany
     between suns on the night of March 4th. The young man upon his return
     was accompanied by a party composed of relatives and influential
     friends from his native state of South Carolina.

Nothing surely could throw a more vivid light on colour line confusions in
the South than this story.

Another extraordinary case is that of Mrs. Elsie Massey, decided in Tipton
County, Tenn., after years of litigation, in which one side tried to prove
that Mrs. Massey was a Negro, the daughter of a cotton planter named "Ed"
Barrow, and a quadroon slave, and the other side tried to prove that she
was of pure Caucasian blood. On June 13, 1907, a jury of white men finally
declared that Mrs. Massey was white and that she and her children might
inherit $250,000 worth of property. Such instances as these, a few among
almost innumerable cases, will indicate how difficult it often is to
decide who is and who is not a Negro--the definition of Negro here being
that used in the South, a person having any Negro blood, no matter how

_How Many Mulattoes There Are_

Few people realise how large a proportion of the so-called Negro race in
this country is not really Negro at all, but mulatto or mixed blood,
either half white, or quadroon, or octoroon, or some other combination. In
the last census (1900) the government gave up the attempt in
discouragement of trying to enumerate the mulattoes at all, and counted
all persons as Negroes who were so classed in the communities where they
resided. The census of 1870 showed that one-eighth (roughly) of the Negro
population was mulatto, that of 1890 showed that the proportion had
increased to more than one-seventh. But these statistics are confessedly
inaccurate: the census report itself says:

"These figures are of little value. Indeed, as an indication of the extent
to which the races have mingled, they are misleading."

From my own observation, and from talking and corresponding with many men
who have had superior opportunities for investigation, I think it safe to
say that between one-fourth and one-third of the Negroes in this country
at the present time have a _visible_ admixture of white blood. At least
the proportion is greater than the census figures of 1870 and 1890 would
indicate. It is probable that 3,000,000 persons out of the 10,000,000
population are visibly mulattoes. It will be seen, then, how very
important a matter it is, in any careful survey of the race problem, to
consider the influence of the mixed blood. In the North, indeed, the race
problem may almost be called a mulatto problem rather than a Negro
problem, for in not a few places the mixed bloods are in excess of the
darker types.

Many mulattoes have a mixed ancestry reaching back to the beginning of
civilisation in North America; for the Negro slave appeared practically as
soon as the white colonist. Many Negroes mixed (and are still mixing in
Oklahoma) with the Indians, and one is to-day often astonished to see
distinct Indian types among them. I shall never forget a woman I saw in
Georgia--as perfect of line as any Greek statue--erect, lithe, strong,
with sleek straight hair, the high cheekbones of the Indian, but the lips
of the Negro. She was plainly an Indian type--but had no memory of
anything but Negro ancestry. A strain of Arab blood from Africa runs in
the veins of many Negroes, in others flows the blood of the Portuguese
slave-traders or of the early Spanish adventurers or of the French who
settled in New Orleans, to say nothing of every sort of American white
blood. In my classification I have estimated 3,000,000 persons who are
"visibly" mulattoes: the actual number who have some strain of
blood--Arab, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Indian--other than Negro, must
be considerably larger.

It is a curious problem, this of colour. Several times, in different parts
of the country, I have been told by both white and coloured observers that
Negroes, even without the admixture of white blood, were gradually growing
lighter--the effect of a cold climate, clothing and other causes. A
tendency toward such a change, an adaptation to new environment, is
certainly in accord with the best scientific beliefs, but whether a mere
century or two in America has really operated to whiten the blackness of
thousands of years of jungle life, must be left for the careful scientist
to decide. It is certain that the darkest American Negro is far superior
to the native African Negro.

_Story of a Real African Woman_

At Montgomery, Ala., Mr. Craik took me to see a real African woman, one of
the very few left who were captured in Africa and brought to this country
as slaves. She came in the _Wanderer_, long after the slave trade was
forbidden by law, and was secretly landed at Mobile about 1858. She is a
stocky, vigorous old woman. She speaks very little English, and I could
not understand even that little. She asserts, I am told, that she is the
daughter of a king in Africa, and she tells yet of the hardships and
alarms of the ocean voyage. Her daughter is married to a
respectable-looking Negro farmer. Mr. Craik succeeded, in spite of her
superstitious terrors, in getting her to submit to having a picture taken.

And yet all these strange-blooded people are classed roughly together as
Negroes. I remember sitting once on the platform at a great meeting at the
People's Tabernacle in Atlanta. An audience of some 1,200 coloured people
was present. A prominent white man gave a brief address in which he urged
the Negroes present to accept with humility the limitations imposed upon
them by their heredity, that they were Negroes and that therefore they
should accept with grace the place of inferiority. Now as I looked out
over that audience, which included the best class of coloured people in
Atlanta, I could not help asking myself:

"What is this blood he is appealing to, anyway?"

For I saw comparatively few men and women who could really be called
Negroes at all. Some were so light as to be indistinguishable from
Caucasians. A bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church who sat
near me on the platform was a nephew of Robert Toombs, one of the great
men of the South, a leader of the Confederacy. Another man present was a
grandson of a famous senator of South Carolina. Several others that I knew
of were half-brothers or sisters or cousins of more or less well-known
white men. And I could not hear this appeal to heredity without thinking
of the not at all humble Southern blood which flowed in the veins of some
of these men and women. How futile such advice really was, and how little
it got into the hearts of the audience, was forcibly impressed on me
afterward by the remark of a mulatto I met.

"They've given us their blood, whether we wanted it or not," he said, "and
now they ask us not to respond to the same ambitions and hopes that they
have. They have given us fighting blood and expect us not to struggle."

_Attitude of the Mixed Blood Toward the Black Negroes_

In the cities of the South no inconsiderable communities of mulattoes have
long existed, many of them highly prosperous. Even before the war
thousands of "free persons of colour" resided in Charleston, Richmond, and
New Orleans. In places like Charleston they had (and still have to some
extent) an exclusive society of their own which looked down on the black
Negro with a prejudice equal to that of the white man. The census of 1860
shows a population of 3,441 "free persons of colour" in Charleston alone,
of whom 2,554 were mulattoes. In New Orleans in the same year lived 9,084
free Negroes, of whom 7,357 were mulattoes; and they were so far distant
in sympathy from the slave population that they even tendered their
support to the Confederacy at the beginning of the war.

But with the Emancipation Proclamation the aristocratic "free person of
colour" who had formed a sort of third class as between the white above
and the black below, lost his unique position: the line was drawn against
him. When I went South I expected to find a good deal of aloofness between
the mulatto and the black man. It does exist, but really less to-day in
the South than in Boston! The very first mulatto, a preacher in Atlanta,
with whom I raised the question, surprised me by denying that the mulatto
was in any degree potentially superior to the real Negro: that if the
black man were given the same advantages and environment as the mulatto,
he would do as well, that the prominence of the mulatto is the result of
the superior advantages he has long enjoyed, being the house servant in
slavery times, with opportunities for education and discipline that the
black man never possessed. This was his argument, and to support it he
gave me a long list of black Negroes who had achieved success or
leadership. I found Booker T. Washington and Professor Du Bois (themselves
both mulattoes) arguing along the same lines. In other words, the
prejudice of white people has forced all coloured people, light or dark,
together, and has awakened in many ostracised men and women who are nearly
white a spirit which expresses itself in the passionate defence of
everything that is Negro.

And yet, with what pathos! What is this race? The spirit and the ideals
are not Negro: for the people are not Negro, even the darkest of them, in
the sense that the inhabitants of the jungles of Africa are Negroes. The
blackest of black American Negroes is far ahead of his naked cousin in
Africa. But neither are they white!

One evening last summer I attended a performance at Philadelphia of a
Negro play called the "Shoo-Fly Regiment." It was written, both words and
music, by two clever mulattoes, Cole and Johnson; and it was wholly
presented by Negroes. The audience was large, mostly composed of coloured
people, and the laughter was unstinted. The point that impressed me was
this, that the writers had chosen a distinct Negro subject. The play dealt
with two questions of much interest among coloured people: the matter of
industrial education, and the Negro soldier. That, it seemed to me, was
significant: it was an effort to appeal to the class consciousness of the

And yet as I sat and watched the play I could not help being impressed
with the essential tragedy of the so-called Negro people. The players of
the company were of every colour, from the black African type to the
mulatto with fair hair and blue eyes. In spite of this valiant effort to
emphasise certain racial interests, one who saw the play could not help

"What, after all, is this Negro race? What is the Negro spirit? Is it in
this black African or in this white American with the drop of dark blood?"

In a recent address a coloured minister of San Francisco, J. Hugh Kelley,

"My father's father was a Black Hawk Indian, seven feet tall. My father's
mother was an Irishwoman. My mother's father was an American white man.
Her mother was a full-blooded African woman. What am I?"

_Pathetic Desire of Negroes to Be Like White Men_

Even among those Negroes who are most emphatic in defence of the race
there is, deep down, the pathetic desire to be like the dominant white
man. It is not unreasonable, nor unnatural, for all outward opportunity of
development lies open to the white man. To be coloured is to be
handicapped in the race for those things in life which men call desirable.
I remember discussing the race question one evening with a group of
intelligent coloured men. They had made a strong case for the Negro
spirit, and the need of the race to stand for itself, but one of them said
in a passing remark (what the investigator overhears is often of greater
significance than what he hears), speaking of a mulatto friend of his:

"His hair is _better_ than mine."

He meant _straighter_, more like that of the white man.

The same evening, another Negro, referring to a light-complexioned
coloured man, said:

"Thank God, he is passing now for white."

At Philadelphia a dark Negro made this comment on one of the coloured
churches where mulattoes are in the ascendancy:

"You can't have a good time when you go there unless you have straight

This remark indicated not only the ideal held by the speaker, but showed
the line drawn by the light-coloured man against his darker brother.

In the same way it is almost a universal desire of Negroes to "marry
whiter;" that is, a dark man will, if possible, marry a mulatto woman, the
lighter the better. The ideal is whiteness: for whiteness stands for
opportunity, power, progress.

Give a coloured man or woman white blood, educate him until he has
glimpses of the greater possibilities of life and then lock him forever
within the bars of colour, and you have all the elements of tragedy. Dr.
DuBois in his remarkable book, "The Souls of Black Folk," has expressed
more vividly than any other writer the essential significance of this
tragedy. I read the book before I went South and I thought it certainly
overdrawn, the expression of a highly cultivated and exceptional Mulatto,
but after meeting many Negroes I have been surprised to find how truly it
voices a wide experience.

_Experience of a Highly Educated Mulatto_

DuBois tells in this book how he first came to realise that he was really
a Negro. He was a boy in school near his home in Massachusetts.

"Something," he writes, "put it into the boys' and girls' heads to buy
gorgeous visiting cards--ten cents a package--and exchange. The exchange
was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card--refused it
peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain
suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart
and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had
thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all
beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky
and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my
mates at examination time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their
stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade;
for the worlds I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were
theirs not mine.... With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely
sunny; their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy or into silent hatred
of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or
wasted itself in a bitter cry, Why did God make me an outcast and a
stranger in mine own house? The shades of the prison-house closed round
about us all: walls strait and stubborn to the whitest, but relentlessly
narrow, tall and unscalable to sons of night who must plod darkly on in
resignation, or beat unavailing palms against the stone, or steadily,
half-hopelessly, watch the streak of blue above."

If space permitted I could tell many stories illustrative of the daily
tragedy which many mulattoes are meeting in this country, struggles that
are none the less tragic for being inarticulate. Here is a letter which I
received not long ago from a mulatto professor in a Western Negro college:

"I wonder how you will treat that point to which you have thus far only
referred in your studies, 'Where does the colour line really begin?' What
is to become of that large class of which I am a part, that class which is
neither white nor black and yet both? There are millions of us who have
the blood of both races, and, if heredity means anything, who have the
traditions, feelings, and passions of both. Yet we are black in name, in
law, in station, in everything save face and figure, despite the
overwhelming white blood. And why? Certainly not because we have to be.
America is a big country: it is easy to get lost, even in a neighbouring
state. Some of us do, and the process has been going on so long in certain
large cities of the North until we cease to think about it. But the
majority of us stay and live and work out our destiny among the people
into whom we were born, living ofttimes side by side with our white
brothers and sisters. When I go back to Atlanta after an absence of two
years, I can, if I wish, go back in a Pullman, go out of the main entrance
of the station, get my dinner at the Piedmont Hotel, and when I am tired
of being Mr. Hyde, I can stroll down Auburn Avenue with my friends in the
full glory of Dr. Jekyll. As a matter of fact I shall doubtless avail
myself of the privilege of a sleeper, sneak out the side entrance, get on
the last seat of the car, despite the conductor's remonstrance, go on to
my friends at once and be myself all the time I am there. I wouldn't be a
white man if I had to. I want to be black. I want to love those who love
me. I want to help those who need my help. And I know hundreds just like
me: I know others who are not.

"I wonder if you can decide: 'Where does the colour line really--end?'"

_A Negro Who Lived First as a White Man, Then as a Negro_

When I was in Philadelphia I met an intelligent Negro named A. L. Manley,
who is at present the janitor of a large apartment house. He has been
connected with the good-government movement in Philadelphia, being the
leader of a club of coloured men who have supported the reform party. When
I first met him I should not have known him for a Negro, he is so white.
His white grandfather was a famous governor of North Carolina--Charles
Manley. He was educated at Wilmington, N. C., and at Hampton Institute.
For a time he published a Negro newspaper at Wilmington, but during the
race riot in that city a number of years ago he was driven out and his
property was destroyed, his office being burned to the ground. After a
year or two in Washington he came to Philadelphia, where he endeavoured to
get work at his trade as a painter and decorator, but the moment he
informed employers that he was a coloured man they refused to hire
him--usually excusing themselves on the ground that union labour would
refuse to work with him.

"So I tried being white," he said: "that is, I did not reveal the fact
that I had coloured blood, and I immediately got work in some of the best
shops in Philadelphia. I joined the union and had no trouble at all."

But during all this time he had to live, as he says, "the life of a
sneak." He had to sneak out of his home in the morning and return to it
only after nightfall, lest someone discover that his family (he has a wife
and two children) was coloured.

"The thing finally became unbearable," he said; "no decent man could stand
it. I preferred to be a Negro and hold up my head rather than to be a

So he dropped his trade and became a janitor. In other words, he stepped
back, as so many Negroes in the North are forced to do, into a form of
domestic service, although in his case the position is one of
responsibility and good pay.

Such stories of the problem of the mulatto are innumerable; and yet I do
not wish to imply that the life is all shadow, for it isn't. The Negro
blood, wherever it is, supplies an element of light-heartedness which will
not be wholly crushed. It is this element, indeed, that accounts in no
small degree for the survival of the Negro in this country. Where the
Indian perished for want of adaptability, the Negro has survived by sheer
elasticity of temperament: it is perhaps the highest natural gift of the
Negro race. One hears much of the unfavourable traits of the Negro, but
certainly, judging from any point of view, the power of adaptability
displayed by the Negro in a wholly foreign environment, under the harshest
conditions, and his ability to thrive and increase in numbers, even
meeting the competition of the dominant race, and to keep on laughing at
his work, is a power which in any race would be regarded as notable.

_Why Some Light Mulattoes do not "Cross over to White"_

I once asked a very light mulatto why he did not "cross the line," as they
call it (or "go over to white") and quit his people. His answer surprised
me; it was so distinctly an unexpected point of view.

"Why," he said, "white people don't begin to have the good times that
Negroes do. They're stiff and cold. They aren't sociable. They don't

Here certainly was a criticism of the white man! And it was corroborated
by a curious story I heard at Memphis, of a mulatto well known among the
coloured people of Tennessee. A number of years ago it came to him
suddenly one day that he was white enough to pass anywhere for white, and
he acted instantly on the inspiration. He went to Memphis and bought a
first-class ticket on a Mississippi River boat to Cincinnati. No one
suspected that he was coloured; he sat at the table with white people and
even occupied a state-room with a white man. At first he said he could
hardly restrain his exultation, but after a time, although he said he
talked and smoked with the white men, he began to be lonesome.

"It grew colder and colder," he said.

In the evening he sat on the upper deck and as he looked over the railing
he could see, down below, the Negro passengers and deck hands talking and
laughing. After a time, when it grew darker, they began to sing--the
inimitable Negro songs.

"That finished me," he said, "I got up and went downstairs and took my
place among them. I've been a Negro ever since."

An ordinary community of middle or working class white people is often
singularly barren of any social or intellectual interest: it is often
sombre, sodden, uninteresting. Not so the Negro community. In several
cities I have tried to trace out the social life of various cliques,
especially among the mulattoes, and I have been astonished to find how
many societies there are, often with high-sounding names, how many church
affairs must be attended to, how many suppers and picnics are constantly
under way, how many clubs and secret societies are supported.

Forced upon themselves, every point of contact with the white race becomes
to the Negro a story of peculiar human interest. The view they get from
the outside or underneath of white civilisation is not, to say the least,
altogether our view. Once, in a gathering of mulattoes I heard the
discussion turn to the stories of those who had "gone over to
white"--friends or acquaintances of those who were present. Few such cases
are known to white people, but the Negroes know many of them. It developed
from this conversation (and afterward I got the same impression many
times) that there is a sort of conspiracy of silence to protect the Negro
who "crosses the line" and takes his place as a white man. Such cases even
awaken glee among them, as though the Negro, thus, in some way, was
getting even with the dominant white man.

_Stories of Negroes Who Have Crossed the Colour Line_

I don't know how many times I have heard mulattoes speak of the French
novelist Dumas as having Negro blood, and they also claim Robert Browning
and Alexander Hamilton (how truly I do not know). But the cases which
interest them most are those in this country; and there must be far more
of them than white people imagine. I know of scores of them. A well-known
white actress, whose name, of course, I cannot give, when she goes to
Boston, secretly visits her coloured relatives. A New York man who holds a
prominent political appointment under the state government and who has
become an authority in his line, is a Negro. Not long ago he entered a
hotel in Baltimore and the Negro porter who ran to take his bag said

"Hello, Bob."

As boys they had gone to the same Negro school.

"Let me carry your bag," said the porter, "I won't give you away."

In Philadelphia there lives a coloured woman who married a rich white man.
Of course, no white people know she is coloured, but the Negroes do, and
do not tell. Occasionally she drives down to a certain store, dismisses
her carriage and walks on foot to the home of her mother and sisters.

Only a few years ago the newspapers were filled for a day or two with the
story of a girl who had been at Vassar College, and upon graduation by
merest accident it was discovered that she was a Negro. A similar case
arose last year at Chicago University, that of Miss Cecelia Johnson, who
had been a leader in her class, a member of the Pi Delta Phi Sorority and
president of Englewood House, an exclusive girls' club. She was the sister
of a well-known Negro politician of Chicago.

The Chicago _Tribune_, after publishing a story to the effect that Miss
Johnson had kept her parentage secret apologised for the publicity in
these words:

     The Tribune makes this reparation spontaneously and as a simple act
     of justice.

     There is not the slightest mystery about Miss Johnson. Her life has
     been an open book. She has won distinction at high school, and
     university, and her career appears to have been free from any blemish
     that should lessen the love of her intimate friends or the respect in
     which she is held by her acquaintances.

Some mulattoes I know of, one a prominent Wall Street broker, have
"crossed the line" by declaring that they are Mexicans, Brazilians,
Spanish or French; one says he is an Armenian. Under a foreign name they
are readily accepted among white people where, as Negroes, they would be
instantly rejected. No one, of course, can estimate the number of men and
women with Negro blood who have thus "gone over to white"; but it must be

_Does Race Amalgamation Still Continue?_

One of the first questions that always arises concerning the mulatto is
whether or not the mixture of blood still continues and whether it is
increasing or decreasing. In other words, is the amalgamation of the races
still going on and to what extent?

Intermarriage between the races is forbidden by law in all the Southern
states and also in the following Northern and Western states: Arizona,
California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska,
Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah. In all other Northern and Western
states marriage between the races is lawful.

And yet, the marriage laws, so far as they affect the actual problem of
amalgamation, mean next to nothing at all. No legal marriage existed
between the races in slavery times and yet there was a widespread mixture
of blood. Concubinage was a common practice: a mulatto was worth more in
cash than a black man. The great body of mulattoes now in the country
trace their origin to such relationships.

And such practice of slavery days no more ceased instantly with a paper
Emancipation Proclamation than many other customs and habits which had
grown up out of centuries of slave relationships. It is a slow process,
working out of slavery, both for white men and black.

I made inquiries widely in every part of the South among both white and
coloured people and I found a strong and rapidly growing sentiment
against what the South calls "miscegenation." For years white men in many
communities, often prominent judges, governors, wealthy planters, made
little or no secret of the fact that they had a Negro family as well as a
white family.

[Illustration: A TYPE OF NEGRO GIRL

Typesetter in Atlanta. Many Negro girls are entering stenography,
bookkeeping, dressmaking, millinery and other occupations.]


At Clark University, Atlanta. At the completion of her studies this young
woman will take up missionary work in Africa.]


A mulatto who could be easily taken for a white person. She was a leader
in her class in Chicago University.]

And the practice is far from dead yet. Every Southern town knows of such
cases, often many of them: and a large number of mulatto children to-day
are the sons and daughters of Southern white men, often men of decided
importance in their communities. In one town I visited I heard a white man
expressing with great bitterness his feeling against the Negro race,
arguing that the Negro must be kept down, else it would lead to the
mongrelisation of the white race. The next morning as chance would have
it, another white man with whom I was walking pointed out to me a neat
cottage, the home of the Negro family of the white man who had talked with
me on the previous evening. And I saw this man's coloured children in the

The better class of Southern people know perfectly well of these
conditions and are beginning to attack them boldly. At a meeting in the
Court Street Methodist Church in Montgomery, Ala., in 1907, Dr. J. A.
Rice, the pastor, made this statement, significant in its very
fearlessness, of changing sentiment:

"I hesitate before I make another statement which is all too true. I
hesitate, because I fear that in saying it I shall be charged with
sensationalism. But even at the risk of such a charge I will say, for it
must be said, that there are in the city of Montgomery, four hundred Negro
women supported by white men."

The next morning this statement was reported in the Montgomery

It may be said also, that these 400 cases in a city of 35,000 people do
not represent a condition of mere vice. Many of the women are comfortably
provided for and have families of children. Vice is wholly distinct from
this system of concubinage; for there are in Montgomery thirty-two Negro
dives operated for white patronage--also the statement of Dr. Rice, quoted
in the Montgomery _Advertiser_.

The proportion of such cases in some of the less progressive Southern
towns even to-day, is almost appalling: and at the same time that speakers
and writers are railing at the mulatto for his disturbing race leadership
and his restless desire for political and other rights, and while they are
declaiming against amalgamation and mongrelisation, the mulatto population
is increasing. Striving to keep the Negro in his place as a Negro, the
South is making him more and more a white man.

_Attempt to Stop Miscegenation_

Among Southern women, not unnaturally, the feeling aroused by these
practices has been especially bitter. Here is a remarkable plea, published
in the _Times-Democrat_ on June 21, 1907, signed "A woman."

     Will you kindly publish the following without attaching my signature
     or divulging it in any way? I have several brothers who are
     old-maidish enough to have nervous prostration if they should see my
     name signed to such an unmaidenly, immodest letter, but I do my
     thinking without any assistance from them, and hope for the sake of
     peace in my family that they will not recognise me in print.

     I am a resident of a large town in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, where
     miscegenation is common--where, if a man isolates himself from
     feminine society, the first and only conclusion reached is, "he has a
     woman of his own" in saddle, of duskier shade. This conclusion is
     almost without exception true. If some daring woman, not afraid of
     being dubbed a Carrie Nation, were to canvass the delta counties of
     Mississippi taking the census, she would find so many cases of
     miscegenation, and their resultant mongrel families, that she would
     bow her head in shame for the "flower of Southern chivalry"--gone to

Awakened by a sense of the fearfulness of these conditions, such a strong
paper as the New Orleans _Times-Democrat_ has been conducting a campaign
for laws which shall punish the white man who maintains illicit relations
with Negroes. For years attempts have been made in the legislatures of
several states (in part successfully) to enact such legislation, but the
practice has been so firmly entrenched that many of the efforts have

On February 15, 1906, the _Times-Democrat_ put the case in stronger
language than I would dare to do:

     It is a public scandal that there should be no law of this kind
     (against miscegenation) on the statute book of Louisiana, and that it
     should be left to mobs to break up the miscegenatious couples. The
     failure to pass a law of this kind is attributed to white
     degenerates, men who denounce social equality yet practice it, men
     who are more dangerous to their own race than the most inflammatory
     Negro orator and social equality preacher, and who have succeeded by
     some sort of legislative trickery in pigeon-holing or killing the
     bills intended to protect Louisiana from a possible danger. Such men
     should be exposed before the people of the state in their true

It will thus be seen how deep-seated the difficulty is. And yet, as I have
followed the editorial expression of many Southern newspapers, I have been
astonished to see how people are beginning to talk out. Here is an
editorial from the _Star_ of Monroe, La.:


     There can be no greater wrong done the people of any community than
     for public sentiment to permit and tolerate this growing and
     destructive crime of miscegenation, yet in many towns and cities of
     Louisiana, especially, there are to-day white men cohabiting with
     Negro women, who have sweet and lovable families. This is a crime
     that becomes almost unbearable, and should bring the blush of shame
     to every man's cheek who dares to flaunt his debased and degrading
     conceptions of morality in the eyes of self-respecting men and women.

In January, 1907, District Attorney J. H. Currie, in Judge Cochran's court
at Meridian, Miss., addressed a jury on what he called "the curse of
miscegenation." In the course of his speech he said:

"The accursed shadow of miscegenation hangs over the South to-day like a
pall of hell. We talk much of the Negro question and all of its possible
ramifications and consequences, but, gentlemen, the trouble is not far
afield. Our own people, our white men with their black concubines, are
destroying the integrity of the Negro race, raising up a menace to the
white race, lowering the standard of both races and preparing the way for
riot, mob, criminal assaults, and, finally, a death struggle for racial
supremacy. The trouble is at our own door. We have tolerated this crime
long enough, and if our country is not run by policy rather than by law,
then it is time to rise up and denounce this sin of the earth."

_Anti-Miscegenation League is Formed_

Strong men and women, indeed, in several states have begun to organise
against the evil. At Francisville, La., in May (1907), a meeting was
called to organise against what one of the speakers, Mr. Wickliffe, called
the "yellow peril" of the South. He said that "every man familiar with
conditions in our midst knows that the enormous increase in persons of
mixed blood is due to men of the white race openly keeping Negro women as
concubines." Out of this meeting grew an organisation to help stamp out
the evil. About the same time, a mass meeting was held in Vicksburg,
Miss., and an Anti-Miscegenation League was formed.

The hatred and fear of such relationships have grown most rapidly, of
course, among the better classes of white people. The class of white men
who consort with Negro women at the present time is of a much lower sort
than it was five or ten years ago, or than it was in slavery times.

And the Negroes on their part are also awakening to the seriousness of
this problem. I found in several Negro communities women's clubs and other
organisations which are trying, feebly enough, but significantly trying,
to stem the evil from their side. It is a terrible slough to get out of.
Negro women, and especially the more comely and intelligent of them, are
surrounded by temptations difficult indeed to meet. It has been and is a
struggle in Negro communities, especially village communities, to get a
moral standard established which will make such relationships with white
men unpopular. In some places to-day, the Negro concubines of white men
are received in the Negro churches and among the Negroes generally, and
honoured rather than ostracised. They are often among the most intelligent
of the Negro women, they often have the best homes and the most money to
contribute to their churches. They are proud of their light-coloured
children. And yet, as the Negroes begin to be educated, they develop an
intense hatred of these conditions: and the utter withdrawal of the best
sort of Negro families from any white associations is due in part to the
dread of such temptations. I shall never forget the bitterness in the
reply of a coloured blacksmith who had a number of good-looking girls. I
said to him jokingly:

"I suppose you are going to send them to college."

"Why should I?" he asked. "What good will it do? Educate them to live with
some white man!"

_The Tragedy of the Negro Girl_

A friend of mine, Southern by birth, told me a story of an experience he
had at Nashville, where he went to deliver an address at Fisk University,
a Negro college. On his way home in the dark, he chanced to walk close
behind two mulatto girls who had been at the lecture. They were discussing
it. One of them said:

"Well, it's no use. There is no chance down here for a yellow girl. It's
either get away from the South--or the usual thing."

In that remark lay a world of bitter knowledge of conditions.

It is remarkable, indeed, that the Negroes should have begun to develop
moral standards as rapidly as they have. For in the South few people
_expect_ the coloured girl to be moral: everything is against her
morality. In the first place, the home life of the great mass of Negroes
is still primitive. They are crowded together in one or two rooms, they
get no ideas of privacy, or of decency. The girls are the prey not only of
white men but of men of their own race. The highest ideal before their
eyes in many cases is the finely dressed, prosperous concubine of a white
man. Moreover, in nearly all Southern towns, houses of prostitution are
relegated to the Negro quarter. At Montgomery, Ala., I saw such places in
respectable Negro neighbourhoods, against which the Negro people had
repeatedly and bitterly objected to the city authorities, to no purpose.
The example of such places of vice on Negro children is exactly what it
would be on white children. In the same way, although it seems
unbelievable, Negro schools in several cities have been built in vice
districts. I saw a fine new brick school for coloured children at
Louisville placed in one of the very nastiest streets of the city. The
same conditions surround at least one coloured school which I saw at New

And yet the South, permitting such training in vice, wonders at Negro
immorality and is convulsed over the crime of rape. Demanding that the
Negro be self-restrained, white men set the example in every way from
concubinage down, of immorality and lack of restraint. They sow the
whirlwind and look for no crop!

When the coloured girl grows up, she goes to service in a white family,
where she either sleeps in an outbuilding (the survival of the old system
of Negro "quarters") or goes home at night. In either event the mistress
rarely pays the slightest attention to her conduct in this particular. I
talked with a woman, a fine type of the old gentlefolk, who expressed
with frankness a common conviction in the South.

"We don't consider," she said, "that the Negroes have any morals. Up North
where I was visiting this summer I was amazed to find women with coloured
servants looking after them, trying to keep them in at night and prevent
mischief. We never do that; we know it isn't any use."

It may be imagined how difficult it is in such an atmosphere for Negroes
to build up moral standards, or to live decently. If there ever was a
human tragedy in this world it is the tragedy of the Negro girl.

_Relations Between White Men and Negro Women_

Illicit relationships between the races have not gone on without causing
many a troubled conscience. Nor has a difference in colour always deadened
the deeper feelings of the human heart. In spite of laws and colour lines,
human nature, wherever found, is profoundly alike. In making my inquiries
among coloured colleges I found to my astonishment that in nearly all of
them mulatto boys and girls are being educated, and well educated, by
their white fathers. A number of them are at Atlanta University, Tuskegee,
Hampton, Fisk--indeed, at all of the colleges. And Wilberforce College,
next after Lincoln University of Chester County, Pa., the oldest Negro
institution of learning in the country, founded in 1856, was largely
supported in slavery times by Southern white men who felt a moral
obligation to educate their coloured sons and daughters. Large farms
around Wilberforce (near Xenia) which I have visited were originally
bought by Southern slave-owners for their mulatto children, where they
could get away from the South and grow up in a free state. Some of these
mulatto children, educated in Latin and Greek, with too much money and
little to do, went straight to the devil, while others conserved their
property, and it is to-day in the hands of their descendants.

Thus the relations between white men and Negro women even to-day, though
marriage is forbidden by law, are sometimes remarkable in their expression
of the deepest emotions of the human heart. I shall never forget the story
of one such case among many that I heard in the South. I withhold the
names in this case although the story is widely known among the people in
that part of Alabama. At ---- lives a planter of prominence who was
formerly on the staff of the governor of the state. He had no white
family, but everyone knew that he lived with a mulatto woman and was
raising a coloured family. When the boys and girls were old enough, he
sent them to Atlanta University, to Tuskegee, and to Spellman Seminary,
providing them plentifully with money. He also paid for his wife's
sister's schooling.

A year or so ago his mulatto "wife" died; and he was heart-broken. He sent
for his boys to come from college and let it be known that he would have
something to say at the funeral. Many white and coloured people,
therefore, attended and followed the body of the Negro woman to the
cemetery. At the grave, General ---- stepped forward and raised his hand.

"I have just one word to say here to-day. These children who are here have
always gone by their mother's name. I want to acknowledge them now in
front of all these people as my children; and henceforth they will bear my
name. I wish also to say that this woman who lies here was my wife, not by
law, but in the sight of God. I here acknowledge her. This is a duty I
have to do not only to this woman but to God. When I leave my property I
shall leave it to those children, and shall see that they get it."

_Intermarriage of the Races in the North_

So much for Southern conditions. How is it in the North where
intermarriage is not forbidden by law?

In 1903, during a heated political campaign in Mississippi, United States
Senator Money repeatedly made the assertion that in Massachusetts in the
previous year, because there were no laws to separate the Negro and
prevent intermarriage, 2,000 white women had married Negro men. I heard
echoes of Senator Money's statistics in several places in the South.

I have made a careful investigation of the facts in several northern
cities, and I have been surprised to discover how little intermarriage
there really is.

If intermarriage in the North were increasing largely, Boston, being the
city where the least race prejudice exists and where the proportion of
mulattoes is largest, would show it most plainly. As a matter of fact, in
the year 1902, when according to Senator Money, 2,000 white women married
coloured men, there were in Boston, which contains the great bulk of the
Negro population of Massachusetts, just twenty-nine inter-racial

Although the Negro population of Boston has been steadily increasing, the
number of marriages between the races, which remained about stationary
from 1875 to 1890, has since 1900 been rapidly decreasing. Here are the
exact figures as given by the registry department:


           Groom       Groom
          Coloured     White        Total
           Bride       Bride        Mixed
           White      Coloured    Marriages

  1900      32           3           35
  1901      30           1           31
  1902      25           4           29
  1903      27           2           29
  1904      27           1           28
  1905      17           2           19

At Boston and in other Northern towns I made inquiries in regard to the
actual specific instances of intermarriage.

There are two classes of cases, first, what may be called the
intellectuals; highly educated mulattoes who marry educated white women. I
have the history of a number of such intermarriages, but there is not
space here to relate the really interesting life stories which have grown
out of them. One of the best-known Negro professors in the country has a
white wife. I saw the home where they live under almost ideal
surroundings. A mulatto doctor of a Southern town married a white girl who
was a graduate of Wellesley College; they had trouble in the South and
have "gone over to white" and are now living in the North. They have two
children. A Negro business man of Boston has a white wife; they celebrated
recently the twenty-fifth anniversary of their marriage.


MRS. ROBERT H. TERRELL Photograph by Clinedinst


But such cases as these are rare. In the great majority of intermarriages
the white women belong to the lower walks of life. They are German, Irish,
or other foreign women, respectable, but ignorant. As far as I can see
from investigating a number of such cases, the home life is as happy as
that of other people in the same stratum of life. But the white woman
who thus marries a Negro is speedily declassed: she is ostracised by the
white people, and while she finds a certain place among the Negroes, she
is not even readily accepted as a Negro. In short, she is cut off from
both races. When I was at Xenia, O., I was told of a case of a white man
who was arrested for living with a Negro woman. The magistrate compelled
him to marry the Negro woman as the worst punishment he could invent!

For this reason, although there are no laws in most Northern states
against mixed marriages, and although the Negro population has been
increasing, the number of intermarriages is not only not increasing, but
in many cities, as in Boston, it is decreasing. It is an unpopular

No one phase of the race question has aroused more acrimonious discussion
than that of the Mulatto, especially as to the comparative physical
strength and intelligence of the black Negro and the mulatto, a subject
which cannot be here entered into.

_Most Leaders of the Negro Race are Mulattoes_

This much I know from my own observation: most of the leading men of the
race to-day in every line of activity are mulattoes. Both Booker T.
Washington and Dr. DuBois are mulattoes. Frederick Douglass was a mulatto.
The foremost literary men, Charles W. Chesnutt and William Stanley
Braithwaite, are mulattoes; the foremost painter of the race, H. O.
Tanner, whose pictures have been in the Luxembourg, and who has been an
honour to American art, is a mulatto. Both Judge Terrell and his wife,
Mary Church Terrell, who is a member of the School Board of Washington,
are mulattoes. On the other hand, there are notable exceptions to the
rule. W. T. Vernon, Register of the United States Treasury, and Professor
Kelly Miller of Washington, D. C., one of the ablest men of his race, both
have the appearance of being full-blooded Negroes. Paul Lawrence Dunbar,
the poet, was an undoubted Negro; so was J. C. Price, a brilliant orator;
so is M. C. B. Mason, secretary of the Southern Aid Society of the
Methodist Church.

Full-blooded Negroes often make brilliant school and college records, even
in comparison with white boys. It is the judgment of Hampton Institute,
after years of careful observation, that there is no difference in ability
between light and dark Negroes. I quote from the _Southern Workman_,
published at Hampton:

     The question as to the comparative intelligence of light and dark
     Negroes is one that is not easily settled. After long years of
     observation Hampton's records show that about an equal number of
     mulattoes and pure blacks have made advancement in their studies and
     at their work. While it is probable that the lighter students are
     possessed of a certain quickness which does not belong to the darker,
     there is a power of endurance among the blacks that does not belong
     to their lighter brethren.

As to the comparative accomplishment of light and dark Negroes after
leaving school, the evidence is so confusing that I would not dare to
enter upon a generalisation: that question must be left to the great
scientific sociologist who will devote a lifetime to this most interesting
problem in human life.



Most of the studies for this book were made in 1906, 1907, and 1908, but I
investigated the subject of lynching, South and North, in the fall of
1904. Since that time the feeling against mob-vengeance has been gaining
strength throughout the country and the number of lynchings has been
steadily decreasing. But the number is still appalling and many recent
cases, especially in the black belt, have been accompanied by brutal
excesses. My studies made four years ago are typical of present
conditions; I have, indeed, confirmed them by a somewhat careful
examination made last year (1907) of two or three recent cases.

Lynch-law reached its height in the late eighties and early nineties. In
the sixteen years from 1884 to 1900 the number of persons lynched in the
United States was 2,516. Of these 2,080 were in the Southern states and
436 in the North; 1,678 were Negroes and 801 were white men; 2,465 were
men and 51 were women. I am here using the accepted (indeed the only)
statistics--those collected by the Chicago _Tribune_. As showing the
gradual growth of the sentiment against mob-law I can do no better than to
give the record of lynchings for a number of successive years:

  1891    192
  1892    235
  1893    200
  1894    190
  1895    171
  1896    131
  1897    166
  1898    127
  1899    107
  1900    116
  1901    135
  1902     96
  1903    104
  1904     87
  1905     66
  1906     73
  1907     56

Before I take up the account of specific cases an analysis of the
lynchings for the years 1906 and 1907 will help to show in what states mob
rule is most often invoked and for what offences lynchings are most
common. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia--the black belt
states--are thus seen to have the worst records, and the figures here
given do not include the men killed in the Atlanta riot which would add
twelve to the Georgia record for 1906:

Following is the comparative number of lynchings for the two years.

  State               1907    1906

  Alabama              13       5
  Arkansas              3       4
  Colorado             --       1
  Florida              --       6
  Georgia               6       9
  Indian Territory      2       1
  Iowa                  1      --
  Kentucky              1       3
  Louisiana             8       9
  Maryland              2       1
  Mississippi          12      13
  Missouri             --       3
  Nebraska              1      --
  North Carolina       --       5
  Oklahoma              2      --
  South Carolina        1       2
  Tennessee             1       5
  Texas                 3       6
                       --      --
      Totals           56      73

Of those lynched in 1907, 49 were Negro men, three Negro women and four
white men. By methods:

  Hanging            31
  Shot to death      17
  Hanged and shot     3
  Shot and burned     2
  Beaten to death     1
  Kicked to death     1

The offences for which these men and woman were lynched range from
stealing seventy-five cents and talking with white girls over the
telephone, to rape and murder. Here is the list:

  For being father of boy who jostled white women     1
  For being victor over white man in fight            1
  Attempted murder                                    5
  Murder of wife                                      1
  Murder of husband and wife                          1
  Murder of wife and stepson                          1
  Murder of mistress                                  1
  Manslaughter                                       10
  Accessory to murder                                 1
  Rape                                                8
  Attempted rape                                     11
  Raping own stepdaughter                             1
  For being wife and son of a raper                   2
  Protecting fugitive from posse                      1
  Talking to white girls over telephone               1
  Expressing sympathy for mob's victim                3
  Three-dollar debt                                   2
  Stealing seventy-five cents                         1
  Insulting white man                                 1
  Store burglary                                      3

In making my study I visited four towns where lynchings had taken place,
two in the South, Statesboro in Ga. and Huntsville in Ala.; and two in the
North, Springfield, O., and Danville, Ill.


Statesboro, Ga., where two Negroes were burned alive under the most
shocking circumstances, on August 16, 1904, is a thrifty county seat
located about seventy miles from Savannah.

For a hundred years a settlement has existed there, but it was not until
the people discovered the wealth of the turpentine forests and of the
sea-island cotton industry that the town became highly prosperous. Since
1890 it has doubled in population every five years, having in 1904 some
2,500 people. Most of the town is newly built. A fine, new court-house
stands in the city square, and there are new churches, a large, new
academy, a new water-works system and telephones, electric lights, rural
free delivery--everywhere the signs of improvement and progress. It is
distinctly a town of the New South, developed almost exclusively by the
energy of Southerners and with Southern money. Its population is pure
American, mostly of old Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia stock. Fully 70
per cent. of the inhabitants are church members--Baptists, Presbyterians,
and Methodists--and the town has not had a saloon in twenty-five years and
rarely has a case of drunkenness. There are no beggars and practically no
tramps. A poorhouse, built several years ago, had to be sold because no
one would go to it. The farms are small, for the most part, and owned by
the farmers themselves; only 8 per cent. of them are mortgaged. There are
schools for both white and coloured children, though the school year is
short and education not compulsory.

In short, this is a healthy, temperate, progressive American town--a
country city, self-respecting, ambitious, with a good future before
it--the future of the New South.

_Character of the Negro Population_

About 40 per cent. of the population of the county consists of Negroes.
Here as elsewhere there are to be found two very distinct kinds of
Negroes--as distinct as the classes of white men. The first of these is
the self-respecting, resident Negro. Sometimes he is a land-owner, more
often a renter; he is known to the white people, employed by them, and
trusted by them. In Statesboro, as in most of the South, a large
proportion of the Negroes are of this better class. On the other hand, one
finds everywhere many of the so-called "worthless Negroes," perhaps a
growing class, who float from town to town, doing rough work, having no
permanent place of abode, not known to the white population generally. The
turpentine industry has brought many such Negroes to the neighbourhood of
Statesboro. Living in the forest near the turpentine-stills, and usually
ignorant and lazy, they and all their kind, both in the country districts
and in the city, are doubly unfortunate in coming into contact chiefly
with the poorer class of white people, whom they often meet as industrial

_Danger from the Floating Negro_

In all the towns I visited, South as well as North, I found that this
floating, worthless Negro caused most of the trouble. He prowls the roads
by day and by night; he steals; he makes it unsafe for women to travel
alone. Sometimes he has gone to school long enough to enable him to read a
little and to write his name, enough education to make him hate the hard
work of the fields and aspire to better things, without giving him the
determination to earn them. He has little or no regard for the family
relations or home life, and when he commits a crime or is tired of one
locality, he sets out, unencumbered, to seek new fields, leaving his wife
and children without the slightest compunction.

[Illustration: PAUL REED


Negroes lynched by being burned alive at Statesboro, Georgia]


Pictures taken in the Atlanta Jail

Will Johnson, arrested, charged with the Camp assault.

Lucius Frazier, who entered a home in the residence district of Atlanta.]

About six miles from the city of Statesboro lived Henry Hodges, a
well-to-do planter. He had a good farm, he ran three ploughs, as they say
in the cotton country, and rumour reported that he had money laid by.
Coming of an old family, he was widely related in Bullock County, and his
friendliness and kindness had given him and his family a large circle of
acquaintances. Family ties and friendships, in old-settled communities
like those in the South, are influences of much greater importance in
fixing public opinion and deciding political and social questions than
they are in the new and heterogeneous communities of the North.

The South is still, so far as the white population is concerned, a
sparsely settled country. The farmers often live far apart; the roads are
none too good. The Hodges home was in a lonely place, the nearest
neighbours being Negroes, nearly half a mile distant. No white people
lived within three-quarters of a mile. Hodges had been brought up among
Negroes, he employed them, he was kind to them. To one of the Negroes
suspected of complicity in the subsequent murder, he had loaned his
shot-gun; another, afterward lynched, called at his home the very night
before the murder, intending then to rob him, and Hodges gave him a bottle
of turpentine to cure a "snake-graze."

_Story of the Murder_

On the afternoon of July 29, 1904, Mr. Hodges drove to a neighbour's house
to bring his nine-year-old girl home from school. No Southern white
farmer, especially in thinly settled regions like Bulloch County, dares
permit any woman or girl of his family to go out anywhere alone, for fear
of the criminal Negro.

"You don't know and you can't know," a Georgian said to me, "what it means
down here to live in constant fear lest your wife or daughter be attacked
on the road, or even in her home. Many women in the city of Statesboro
dare not go into their backyards after dark. Every white planter knows
that there is always danger for his daughters to visit even the nearest
neighbour, or for his wife to go to church without a man to protect her."

It is absolutely necessary to understand this point of view before one can
form a true judgment upon conditions in the South.

When Hodges arrived at his home that night, it was already dark. The
little girl ran to join her mother; the father drove to the barn. Two
Negroes--perhaps more--met him there and beat his brains out with a stone
and a buggy brace. Hearing the noise, Mrs. Hodges ran out with a lamp and
set it on the gate-post. The Negroes crept up--as nearly as can be
gathered from the contradictory stories and confessions--and murdered her
there in her doorway with peculiar brutality. Many of the crimes committed
by Negroes are marked with almost animal-like ferocity. Once aroused to
murderous rage, the Negro does not stop with mere killing; he bruises and
batters his victim out of all semblance to humanity. For the moment, under
stress of passion, he seems to revert wholly to savagery.

The Negroes went into the house and ransacked it for money. The little
girl, who must have been terror-stricken beyond belief, hid behind a
trunk; the two younger children, one a child of two years, the other a
mere baby, lay on the bed. Finding no money, the Negroes returned to their
homes. Here they evidently began to dread the consequences of their deed,
for toward midnight they returned to the Hodges home. During all this time
the little girl had been hiding there in darkness, with the bodies of her
father and mother in the doorway. When the Negroes appeared, she either
came out voluntarily, hoping that friends had arrived, or she was dragged

"Where's the money?" demanded the Negroes.

The child got out all she had, a precious five-cent piece, and offered it
to them on condition that they would not hurt her. One of them seized her
and beat her to death.

I make no excuse for telling these details; they _must be told_, else we
shall not see the depths or the lengths of this problem.

_Burning of the Hodges Home_

The Negroes then dragged the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Hodges into their home
and set the house afire. As nearly as can be made out from the subsequent
confessions, the two younger children were burned alive.

When the neighbours reached the scene of the crime, the house was wholly
consumed, only the great end chimney left standing, and the lamp still
burning on the gate-post.

Well, these Southerners are warm-hearted, home-loving people. Everybody
knew and respected the Hodges--their friends in the church, their many
relatives in the county--and the effect of this frightful crime described
in all its details, may possibly be imagined by Northern people living
quietly and peacefully in their homes. When two of the prominent citizens
of the town told me, weeks afterward, of the death of the little girl,
they could not keep back their tears.

The murder took place on Friday night; on Saturday the Negroes, Paul Reed
and Will Cato, were arrested with several other suspects, including two
Negro preachers. Both Reed and Cato were of the illiterate class; both had
been turpentine workers, living in the forest, far from contact with white
people. Cato was a floater from South Carolina. Reed was born in the
county, but he was a good type of the worthless and densely ignorant

It is a somewhat common impression that a whole town loses itself in a
passion of anarchy, and is not satisfied until the criminals are killed.
But in spite of the terrible provocation and the intense feeling, there
yet existed in Statesboro exactly such a feeling for the sacredness of
law, such intelligent Americanism, as exists in your town or mine. Not
within the present generation had a lynching taken place in the town, and
the people were deeply concerned to preserve the honour and good name of
their community. In the midst of intense excitement a meeting of good
citizens, both white and black, was called in the court-house. It was
presided over by J. A. Brannan, one of the foremost citizens. Speeches
were made by Mayor Johnstone, by the ministers of the town, and by other
citizens, including a Negro, all calling for good order and the calm and
proper enforcement of the law.

_Attempts to Prevent the Lynching_

And the regular machinery of justice was put in motion with commendable
rapidity. Fearing a lynching, the Negroes who had been arrested were sent
to Savannah and there lodged in jail. A grand jury was immediately called,
indictments were found, and in two weeks--the shortest possible time under
the law--the Negroes were brought back from Savannah for trial. To protect
them, two military companies, one from Statesboro, one from Savannah, were
called out. The proof of guilt was absolutely conclusive, and, although
the Negroes were given every advantage to which they were entitled under
the law, several prominent attorneys having been appointed to defend them,
they were promptly convicted and sentenced to be hanged.

In the meantime great excitement prevailed. The town was crowded for days
with farmers who came flocking in from every direction. The crime was
discussed and magnified; it was common talk that the "niggers of Madison
County are getting too bigoty"--that they wouldn't "keep their places."
Fuel was added to the flame by the common report that the murderers of the
Hodges family were members of a Negro society known as the "Before Day
Club," and wild stories were told of other murders that had been planned,
the names of intended victims even being reported.

On the Sunday night before the trial, two Negro women, walking down the
street are said to have crowded two respectable white girls off the
sidewalk. A crowd dragged the women from a church where they had gone,
took them to the outskirts of the town, whipped them both violently, and
ordered them to leave the county.

"Let the law take its course," urged the good citizen. "The Negroes have
been sentenced to be hanged, let them be hanged legally; we want no
disgrace to fall on the town."

_How the Lynchers Themselves Defend a Lynching_

But as the trial progressed and the crowd increased, there were louder and
louder expressions of the belief that hanging was too good for such a
crime. I heard intelligent citizens argue that a Negro criminal, in order
to be a hero in the eyes of his people, does not mind being hanged!

Another distinct feeling developed--a feeling that I found in other
lynching towns: that somehow the courts and the law were not to be
trusted to punish the criminals properly. Although Reed and Cato were
sentenced to be hanged, the crowd argued that "the lawyers would get them
off," that "the case would be appealed, and they would go free."

Members of the mob tried to get Sheriff Kendrick to promise not to remove
the Negroes to Savannah, fearing that in some way they would be taken
beyond the reach of justice.

In other words, there existed a deep-seated conviction that justice too
often miscarried in Bulloch County and that murderers commonly escaped
punishment through the delays and technicalities of the law.

_A Habit of Man-killing_

And there is, unfortunately, a foundation for this belief. In every
lynching town I visited I made especial inquiry as to the prevalence of
crime, particularly as to the degree of certainty of punishment for crime.
In all of them property is safe; laws looking to the protection of goods
and chattels are executed with a fair degree of precision; for we are a
business-worshipping people. But I was astounded by the extraordinary
prevalence in all these lynching counties, North as well as South, of
crimes of violence, especially homicide, accompanied in every case by a
poor enforcement of the law. Bulloch County, with barely twenty-five
thousand inhabitants, had thirty-two homicides in a little more than five
years before the lynching--an annual average of one to every four thousand
five hundred people (the average in the entire United States being one to
nine thousand). Within eight months prior to the Hodges lynching, no fewer
than ten persons (including the Hodges family) were murdered in Bulloch
County. In twenty-eight years, notwithstanding the high rate of homicides,
only three men, all Negroes, have been legally hanged, while four
men--three Negroes and one white man--have been lynched.

It is well understood that if the murderer has friends or a little money
to hire lawyers, he can, especially if he happens to be white, nearly
always escape with a nominal punishment. These facts are widely known and
generally commented upon. In his subsequent charge to the grand jury,
Judge Daley said that the mob was due in part to "delays in the execution
of law and to the people becoming impatient."

I am not telling these things with any idea of excusing or palliating the
crime of lynching, but with the earnest intent of setting forth all the
facts, so that we may understand just what the feelings and impulses of a
lynching town really are, good as well as bad. Unless we diagnose the case
accurately, we cannot hope to discover effective remedies.

_Psychology of the Mob_

In the intense, excited crowd gathered around the court-house on this
Tuesday, the 16th of August, other influences were also at work,
influences operating in a greater or less degree in every lynching mob. We
are accustomed to look upon a mob as an entity, the expression of a single
concrete feeling; it is not; it is itself torn with dissensions and
compunctions, swayed by conflicting emotions. Similarly, we look upon a
militia company as a sort of machine, which, set in operation,
automatically performs a certain definite service. But it is not. It is
made up of young men, each with his own intense feelings, prejudices,
ideals; and it requires unusual discipline to inculcate such a sense of
duty that the individual soldier will rise superior to the emotions of the
hour. Most of these young men of Statesboro and Savannah really
sympathised with the mob; among the crowd the Statesboro men saw their
relatives and friends. Some of the officers were ambitious men, hoping to
stand for political office. What would happen if they ordered the troops
to fire on their neighbours?

And "the nigger deserved hanging," and "why should good white blood be
shed for nigger brutes?" At a moment of this sort the clear perception of
solemn abstract principles and great civic duties fades away in tumultuous
excitement. Yet these soldier boys were not cowards; they have a fighting
history; their fathers made good soldiers; they themselves would serve
bravely against a foreign enemy, but when called upon for mob service they
failed utterly, as they have failed repeatedly, both North and South.

Up to the last moment, although the crowd believed in lynching and wanted
to lynch, there seemed to be no real and general determination to
forestall the law. The mob had no centre, no fixed purpose, no real plan
of action. One determined man, knowing his duty (as I shall show in
another story), and doing it with common sense, could have prevented
trouble, but there was no such man. Captain Hitch, of the Savannah
Company, a vacillating commander, allowed the crowd to pack the
court-house, to stream in and out among his soldiers; he laid the
responsibility (afterward) on the sheriff, and the sheriff shouldered it
back upon him. In nearly all the cases I investigated, I found the same
attempt to shift responsibility, the same lack of a responsible head. Our
system too often fails when mob stress is laid upon it--unless it happens
that some strong man stands out, assumes responsibility, and becomes a
momentary despot.

_How the Soldiers Were Overpowered_

A mob, no matter how deeply inflamed, is always cowardly. This mob was no
exception. It crowded up, crowded up, testing authority. It joked with the
soldiers, and when it found that the jokes were appreciated, it took
further liberties; it jostled the soldiers--good-humouredly. "You don't
dare fire," it said, and the soldiers made no reply. "Your guns aren't
loaded," it said, and some soldier confessed that they were not. In tender
consideration for the feelings of the mob, the officers had ordered the
men not to load their rifles. The next step was easy enough; the mob
playfully wrenched away a few of the guns, those behind pushed
forward--those behind always do push forward, knowing they will not be
hurt--and in a moment the whole mob was swarming up the stairs, yelling
and cheering.

In the court-room, sentence had been passed on Reed and Cato, and the
judge had just congratulated the people on "their splendid regard for the
law under very trying conditions." Then the mob broke in. A brother of the
murdered Hodges, a minister from Texas, rose magnificently to the
occasion. With tears streaming down his face, he begged the mob to let the
law take its course.

"We don't want religion, we want blood," yelled a voice.

The mob was now thoroughly stirred; it ceased to hesitate; it was
controlled wholly by its emotions. The leaders plunged down the court-room
and into the witness chamber, where the Negroes sat with their wives,
Reed's wife with a young baby. The officers of the law accommodatingly
indicated the right Negroes, and the mob dragged them out. Hanging was at
first proposed, and a man even climbed a telegraph-pole just outside the
court-house, but the mob, growing more ferocious as it gathered volume and
excitement, yelled its determination:

"Burn them! burn them!"

They rushed up the road, intending to take the Negroes to the scene of the
crime. But it was midday in August, with a broiling hot sun overhead and a
dusty road underfoot. A mile from town the mob swerved into a turpentine
forest, pausing first to let the Negroes kneel and confess. Calmer spirits
again counselled hanging, but some one began to recite in a high-keyed
voice the awful details of the crime, dwelling especially on the death of
the little girl. It worked the mob into a frenzy of ferocity.

"They burned the Hodges and gave them no choice; burn the niggers!"

"Please don't burn me," pleaded Cato. And again: "Hang me or shoot me;
please don't burn me!"

_Burning of the Negroes_

Some one referred the question to the father-in-law of Hodges. He said
Hodges's mother wished the men burned. That settled it. Men were sent into
town for kerosene oil and chains, and finally the Negroes were bound to an
old stump, fagots were heaped around them, and each was drenched with oil.
Then the crowd stood back accommodatingly, while a photographer, standing
there in the bright sunshine, took pictures of the chained Negroes.
Citizens crowded up behind the stump and got their faces into the
photograph. When the fagots were lighted, the crowd yelled wildly. Cato,
the less stolid of the two Negroes, partly of white blood, screamed with
agony; but Reed, black and stolid, bore it like a block of wood. They
threw knots and sticks at the writhing creatures, but always left room
for the photographer to take more pictures.

And when it was all over, they began, in common with all mobs, to fight
for souvenirs. They scrambled for the chains before they were cold, and
the precious links were divided among the populace. Pieces of the stump
were hacked off, and finally one young man--it must be told--gathered up a
few charred remnants of bone, carried them uptown, and actually tried to
give them to the judge who presided at the trial of the Negroes, to the
utter disgust of that official.

_After Effects of Mob-law_

This is the law of the mob, that it never stops with the thing it sets out
to do. It is exactly like any other manifestation of uncontrolled human
passion--given licence it takes more licence, it releases that which is
ugly, violent, revengeful in the community as in the individual human
heart. I have heard often of a "quiet mob," an "orderly mob," which "went
about its business and hanged the nigger," but in all the cases I have
known about, and I made special inquiries upon this particular point, not
one single mob stopped when the immediate work was done, unless under
compulsion. Even good citizens of Statesboro will tell you that "the
niggers got only what they deserved," and "it was all right if the mob had
only stopped there." But it did not stop there; it never does.

All the stored-up racial animosity came seething to the surface; all the
personal grudges and spite. As I have already related, two Negro women
were whipped on the Sunday night before the lynching. On the day following
the lynching the father of the women was found seeking legal punishment
for the men who whipped his daughters, and he himself was taken out and
frightfully beaten. On the same day two other young Negroes, of the
especially hated "smart nigger" type, were caught and whipped--one for
riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, the other, as several citizens told me,
"on general principles." But this was not the worst. On Wednesday night an
old Negro man and his son--Negroes of the better class--were sitting in
their cabin some miles from Statesboro, when they were both shot at
through the window and badly wounded. Another respectable Negro, named
McBride, was visited in his home by a white mob, which first whipped his
wife, who was confined with a baby three days old, and then beat, kicked,
and shot McBride himself so horribly that he died the next day. The better
class of citizens, the same men who would, perhaps, condone the burning of
Reed and Cato, had no sympathy with this sort of thing. Some of them took
McBride's dying statement, and four white men were arrested and charged
with the murder; but never punished.

Indeed, the mob led directly to a general increase of crime in Bulloch
County. As Judge Daley said in his charge to a subsequent grand jury:

"Mob violence begets crime. Crime has been more prevalent since this
lynching than ever before. In the middle circuit the courts have been so
badly crowded with murder trials that it has been almost impossible to
attend to civil business."

Another evil result of the lynching was that it destroyed valuable
evidence. The prosecutors had hoped to learn from the convicted Reed and
Cato whether or not they had any companions and thereby bring to justice
all the other Negroes suspected of complicity in the murder of the Hodges.
If the Before Day Club ever existed and had a criminal purpose (which is
doubtful) most of the members who composed it were left at large, awaiting
the next opportunity to rob and murder.

_Mob Justice and the Cotton Crop_

Mob-law has not only represented a moral collapse in this community, but
it struck, also, at the sensitive pocket of the business interests of the
county. Frightened by the threatening attitude of the whites, the Negroes
began to leave the county. It was just at the beginning of the
cotton-picking season, when labour of every sort was much needed, Negro
labour especially. It would not do to frighten away all the Negroes. On
Thursday some of the officials and citizens of Statesboro got together,
appointed extra marshals, and gave notice that there were to be no more
whippings, and the mob spirit disappeared--until next time.

But what of the large Negro population of Statesboro during all this
excitement? The citizens told the "decent Negroes": "We don't want to hurt
you; we know you; you are all right; go home and you won't be hurt." Go
home they did, and there was not a Negro to be seen during all the time of
the lynching. From inquiry among the Negroes themselves, I found that many
of them had no voice to raise against the burning of Reed and Cato. This
was the grim, primitive eye-for-an-eye logic that they used, in common
with many white men:

"Reed and Cato burned the Hodges; they ought to be burned."

Even Cato's wife used this logic.

But all the Negroes were bitter over the indiscriminate whippings which
followed the lynching. These whippings widened the breach between the
races, led to deeper suspicion and hatred, fertilised the soil for future
outbreaks. In the same week that I visited Statesboro, no fewer than three
cotton-gins in various parts of Bulloch County were mysteriously burned at
night, and while no one knew the exact origin of the fires, it was openly
charged that they were caused by revengeful Negroes. None of these
terrible after-effects would have taken place if the law had been allowed
to follow its course.

_A Fighting Parson_

The overwhelming majority of the people of Bulloch County undoubtedly
condoned the lynching, even believed in it heartily and completely. And
yet, as I have said, there was a strong dissenting opposition among the
really thoughtful, better-class citizens. All the churches of Statesboro
came out strongly for law and order. The Methodist church, led by a
fighting parson, the Rev. Whitely Langston, expelled two members who had
been in the mob--an act so unpopular that the church lost twenty-five
members of its congregation. Of course, the members of the mob were known,
but none of them was ever punished. The judge especially charged the grand
jury to investigate the lynching, and this was its report:

"We deplore the recent lawlessness in our city and community, specially
referred to by his Honour, Judge A. F. Daley, in his able charge. We have
investigated the matter in the light of information coming under our
personal knowledge and obtained by the examination of a number of
witnesses, but we have been unable to find sufficient evidence to warrant
indictments. We tender thanks to his Honour, Judge Daley, for his able and
comprehensive charge."

A feeble attempt was made to discipline the military officers who allowed
the populace to walk over them and take away their guns. A court-martial
sat for days in Savannah and finally recommended the dismissal of Captain
Hitch from the service of the state; but the Governor let him off with
half the penalty suggested. Two lieutenants were also disciplined.

In the state election which followed the lynching, numerous voters in
Bulloch County actually scratched the name of Governor Terrell, of
Georgia, because he ordered the troops to Statesboro, and substituted the
name of Captain Hitch. Sheriff Kendrick, who failed to protect Reed and
Cato, was re-elected without opposition.

It was in a tone of deep discouragement that Mayor G. S. Johnstone, of
Statesboro, said to me:

"If our grand jury won't indict these lynchers, if our petit juries won't
convict, and if our soldiers won't shoot, what are we coming to?"

_Revolution of Opinion in the South on Lynching_

Conditions at Statesboro are, perhaps, typical of those in most Southern
towns. In most Southern towns a lynching would be conducted much as it was
in Statesboro; there would be the same objecting but ineffective minority
of good citizens, the troops would refuse their duty, and the lynchers
would escape in much the same way. And yet, if we were to stop with the
account of the Statesboro affair, we should overlook some of the greatest
influences now affecting the lynching problem in the South. No one who
visits the South can escape the conviction that, with its intensified
industrial life, and the marvelous development and enrichment of the whole
country, other equally momentous, if less tangible, changes are taking
place. Public opinion is developing along new lines, old, set prejudices
are breaking up, and there is, among other evident influences, a marked
revolution in the attitude of the Southern people and the Southern
newspapers on the lynching question. I turn now to the lynching at
Huntsville, Ala., which reveals in a striking manner some of the features
of the new revolt in the South against mob-law.


The Negro, Maples, was lynched by being hung to the elm tree at the corner
of the court house, near the extreme right of the picture.

Photographed by Collins & Son]

_A Negro Crime at Huntsville, Ala._

One evening in September, 1904, a Negro of Huntsville, Ala., asked an old
peddler named Waldrop for a ride. Waldrop was a kindly old man, well known
and respected throughout Madison County; he drove into the city two or
three times a week with vegetables and chickens to sell, and returned with
the small product of his trade in his pocket.

Waldrop knew the Negro, Maples, and, although Maples was of the worthless
sort, and even then under indictment for thieving, the peddler made room
for him in his waggon, and they rode out of the town together. They drove
into a lonely road. They crossed a little bridge. Tall trees shaded and
darkened the place. Night was falling. The Negro picked up a stone and
beat out the brains of the inoffensive old man, robbed him, and left him
lying there at the roadside, while the horse wandered homeward.

How a murder cries out! The murderer fled in the darkness but it was as if
he left great footprints. The next day, in Huntsville, the law laid its
hand on his shoulder.

Now, Huntsville is one of the best cities in Alabama. No other city,
perhaps, preserves more of the aristocratic habiliments of the older
South. It was the first capital of the state. Seven governors lie buried
in its cemetery; its county house, its bank, some of its residences are
noble examples of the architecture of the ante-bellum South. And while
preserving these evidences of the wealth and refinement of an older
civilisation, few cities in the South have responded more vigorously to
the new impulses of progress and development. Its growth during the last
few years has been little short of amazing. Northern capital has come in;
nine cotton-mills have been built, drawing a large increase of population,
and stimulating the development of the country in every direction. It is
a fine, orderly, progressive city--intensely American, ambitious,

_Relation of Lynching to Business Success_

Huntsville has had its share of lynchings in the past. Within twenty years
seven Negroes and one white man had been the victims of mobs in Madison
County. The best citizens knew what a lynching meant; they knew how the
mob began, and what invariably followed its excesses, and they wanted no
more such horrors. But this revolt was not wholly moral. With awakening
industrial ambition the people realised that disorder had a tendency to
frighten away capital, stop immigration, and retard development generally.
Good business demands good order. This feeling has been expressed in
various forms and through many channels. It existed in Statesboro, but it
was by no means as vigorous as in this manufacturing city of Huntsville.
We find, for instance, Congressman Richardson of Alabama, a citizen of
Huntsville, saying in a speech on the floor of the House of

"Why, Mr. Chairman, we have more reason in the South to observe the law
and do what is right than any other section of this Union."

The Atlanta _Constitution_ presents the same view in vigorous language:

     Aside entirely from the consideration of the evil effects of the mob
     spirit in breeding general disrespect for the law, and aside from the
     question of the inevitable brutalising effect of lynching upon those
     who are spectators--and the effect goes even further--the practical
     question arises: Can we at the South afford it?

     Is there any use blinding ourselves to the fact, patent to everybody,
     that it is this sort of thing that has kept hundreds of thousands of
     desirable immigrants from coming to the Southern states?

_Story of a Bold Judge_

When the murderer of the peddler Waldrop was arrested, therefore, the
thoughtful and progressive people of the city--the kind who are creating
the New South--took immediate steps to prevent mob disturbance. The city
was fortunate in having an able, energetic young man as its circuit
judge--a judge, the son of a judge, who saw his duty clearly, and who was
not afraid to act, even though it might ruin his immediate political
future, as, indeed, it did. Rare qualities in these days! The murder was
committed Tuesday, September 6th, the Negro was arrested Wednesday, Judge
Speake impanelled a special grand jury without waiting a moment, and that
very afternoon, within six hours after the Negro's arrest and within
twenty hours after the crime was committed, the Negro was formally
indicted. Arrangements were then made to call a special trial jury within
a week, in the hope that the prospect of immediate punishment would
prevent the gathering of a mob.

_A Record of Homicide as a Cause of Lynching_

But, unfortunately, we find here in Madison County not only a history of
lynching--a habit, it may be called--but there existed the same disregard
for the sacredness of human life which is the common characteristic of
most lynching communities, South or North. I made a careful examination of
the records of the county. In the five years preceding this lynching, no
fewer than thirty-three murder and homicide cases were tried in the
courts, besides eight murderers indicted, but not arrested. This is the
record of a single county of about forty thousand people. Notwithstanding
this record of crime, there had not been a legal hanging in the county,
even of a Negro, for nineteen years. It was a fact--well known to
everybody in the county--that it was next to impossible to convict a white
man for killing. Murderers employed good lawyers, they appealed their
cases, they brought political friendships to bear, and the relationships
between the old families were so far extended that they reached even into
the jury room. As a consequence, nearly every white murderer went free.
Only a short time before the lynching, Fred Stevens a white man, who shot
a white man in a quarrel over a bucket of water, was let out with a fine
of $50, costs, and thirty days in jail. This for a _killing_. And the
attorney for Stevens actually went into court afterward and asked to have
the costs cut down.

Negroes who committed homicide, though more vigorously punished than white
murderers, yet frequently escaped with five or ten years in the
penitentiary--especially if they had money or a few white friends. All
this had induced a contempt of the courts of justice--a fear that, after
all, through the delays and technicalities of the law and the compassion
of the jury, the murderer of Waldrop would not be punished as he deserved.
This was the substance of the reasoning I heard repeatedly: "That Negro,
Maples, ought to have been hanged; we were not sure the jury would hang
him; we hanged him to protect ourselves."

I met an intelligent farmer during a drive through Madison County. Here
are some of the things he said, and they voiced closely what I heard in
one form or another from many people in all walks of life:

"Life is cheap in Madison County. If you have a grudge against a man, kill
him; don't wound him. If you wound him, you'll likely be sent up; if you
kill him, you can go free. They often punish more severely for carrying
concealed weapons or even for chicken stealing in Madison County than they
do for murder."

So strong was the evidence in one murder case in an adjoining circuit that
Judge Kyle instructed the jury to find the murderer guilty; the jury
deliberately returned a verdict, "Not guilty." The Alabama system of
justice is cursed by the professional juror chosen by politicians, and
often open to political influences. This, with the unlimited right of
appeal and the great number of peremptory challenges allowed to the
defence in accepting jurymen, gives such power to the lawyers for the
defendant that convictions are exceedingly difficult. Oftentimes, also,
the prosecuting attorney is a young, inexperienced lawyer, ill-paid, who
is no match for the able attorneys employed by the defendant.

No, it is not all race prejudice that causes lynchings, even in the South.
One man in every six lynched in this country in 1903--the year before the
lynching I am describing--was a white man. It is true that a Negro is
often the victim of mob-law where a white man would not be, but the chief
cause certainly seems to lie deeper, in the widespread contempt of the
courts, and the unpunished subversion of the law in this country, both
South and North. This, indeed, would probably be the sole cause of
lynching, were it not for the crime of rape, of which I wish to speak
again a little later.

_Composition of the Mob at Huntsville_

Well, a mob began gathering in Huntsville before the grand jury had ceased
its labours. It was chiefly composed of the workmen from the
cotton-mills. These are of a peculiar class--pure American stock,
naturally of high intelligence, but almost wholly illiterate--men from the
hills, the descendants of the "poor white trash," who never owned slaves,
and who have always hated the Negroes. The poor whites are and have been
for a long time in certain lines the industrial competitors of the
Negroes, and the jealousy thus engendered accounts in no small degree for
the intensity of the race feeling.

Anticipating trouble, Judge Speake ordered the closing of all the
saloons--there were then only fifteen to a population of some twenty-one
thousand--and called out the local military company. But the mob ran over
the militiamen as though they were not there, broke into the jail, built a
fire in the hallway, and added sulphur and cayenne pepper. Fearing that
the jail would be burned and all the prisoners suffocated, the sheriff
released the Negro, Maples, and he jumped out of a second-story window
into the mob. They dragged him up the street to the square in the heart of
the city. Here, on the pleasant lawn, the Daughters of America were
holding a festival, and the place was brilliant with Japanese lanterns.
Scattering the women and children, the mob jostled the Negro under the
glare of an electric light, just in front of the stately old court-house.

Here impassioned addresses were made by several prominent young
lawyers--J. H. Wallace, Jr., W. B. Bankhead, and Solicitor Pettus--urging
the observance of law and order. A showing of hands afterward revealed the
fact that a large proportion of those present favoured a legal
administration of justice. But it was too late now.

A peculiarly dramatic incident fired the mob anew. The Negro was suddenly
confronted by the son of the murdered peddler. "Horace," he demanded, "did
you kill my old dad?"

Quivering with fright, the Negro is said to have confessed the crime. He
was instantly dragged around the corner, where they hanged him to an
elm-tree, and while he dangled there in the light of the gala lanterns,
they shot him full of holes. Then they cut off one of his little fingers
and parts of his trousers for souvenirs. So he hung until daylight, and
crowds of people came out to see.

_Effort to Punish the Lynchers_

But the forces of law and order here had vigour and energy. Judge Speake,
communicating with the Governor, had troops sent from Birmingham, and
then, without shilly-shallying or delaying or endeavouring to shift
responsibility, he ordered a special grand jury to indict the lynchers the
very next day and he saw to it that it was composed of the best citizens
in town. When it met, so deep and solemn was its feeling of responsibility
that it was opened with prayer, an extraordinary evidence of the awakened
conscience of the people. More than this, the citizens generally were so
aroused that they held a mass meeting, and denounced the lynching as a
"blot upon our civilisation," and declared that "each and every man taking
part" with the mob was "guilty of murder." Bold words, but no bolder than
the editorials of the newspapers of the town or of the state. Every force
of decency and good order was at work. Such strong newspapers as the
Birmingham _Age-Herald_, the _Ledger_, and the _News_, the Montgomery
_Advertiser_, the Chattanooga _News_, and, indeed, prominent newspapers
all over the South united strongly in their condemnation of the lynchers
and in their support of the efforts to bring the mob to justice.

_Southern Newspapers on Lynching_

The Huntsville _Mercury_ spoke of the "deep sense of shame felt by our
good citizens in being run over by a few lawless spirits."

"There is no justification," said the Birmingham _News_, "for the mob who,
in punishing one murderer, made many more."

"This lynching," said the Birmingham _Ledger_, "is a disgrace to our
state. The _Ledger_ doesn't put its ear to the ground to hear from the
North, nor does it care what Northern papers say. The crime is our own,
and the disgrace falls on us."

"Where, in fact," said the _Age-Herald_, "does such business lead to? The
answer is summed up in a word--anarchy!"

It would be well if every community in this country could read the full
report of Judge Speake's grand jury. It is a work of the sort struck off
only by men stirred to high things by what they feel to be a great
crisis; it is of the same metal as the Declaration of Independence. Here
is a single paragraph:

     Realising that this is a supreme moment in our history; that we must
     either take a stand for the law to-day or surrender to the mob and to
     the anarchists for all time; that our actions shall make for good or
     evil in future generations; forgetting our personal friendships and
     affiliations, and with malice toward none, but acting only as sworn
     officers of the state of Alabama, we, the grand jury of Madison
     County, state of Alabama, find----

Ten members of the mob were indicted--and not for mere rioting or for
breaking into the jail, but for _murder_. The jury also charged Sheriff
Rodgers, Mayor Smith, and Chief of Police Overton with wilful neglect and
incompetence, and advised their impeachment. No one not understanding the
far-reaching family and political relationships in these old-settled
Southern communities, and the deep-seated feeling against punishment for
the crime of lynching, can form any adequate idea of what a sensation was
caused by the charges of the grand jury against the foremost officials of
the city. It came like a bolt from a clear sky; it was altogether an
astonishing procedure, at first not fully credited. When the utter
seriousness of Judge Speake came to be fully recognised, a good many men
hurriedly left town. The Birmingham soldiers, led by a captain with
backbone, arrested a number of those who remained. Judge Speake ordered a
special trial jury, and appointed an able lawyer to assist Prosecutor
Pettus in bringing the lynchers to justice. The very next week the trials
were begun.

_Difficulty of Breaking the Lynching Habit_

By this time, however, the usual influences had begun to work; the moral
revulsion had carried far, and the rebound had come. The energetic judge
and his solicitors found themselves face to face with the bad old jury
system, with the deep-seated distrust of the courts, with the rooted habit
of non-punishment for lynchers. Moreover, it was found that certain wild
young men, with good family connections, had been mixed up in the mob--and
all the strong family and political machinery of the country began to
array itself against conviction. A community has exactly as hard a road to
travel in breaking a bad habit as an individual. The New South is having
a struggle to break the habits of the Old South. It was found, also, that
the great mass of people in the country, as well as the millworkers in the
city, were still strongly in favour of punishment by lynching. One hundred
and ten veniremen examined for jurors to try the lynchers were asked this
question; "If you were satisfied from the evidence beyond a reasonable
doubt that the defendant took part with or abetted the mob in murdering a
Negro, would you favour his conviction?" And seventy-six of them answered,

In other words, a large majority believed that a white man should not be
punished for lynching a Negro. And when the juries were finally obtained,
although the evidence was conclusive, they acquitted the lynchers, one
after another. Only one man in one jury stood out for conviction--a young
clerk named S. M. Blair, a pretty good type of the modern hero. He hung
the jury, and so bitter was the feeling against him among the millworkers
that they threatened to boycott his employer.

_Relation of Lynching to the "Usual Crime"_

This is the reasoning of many of the men chosen as jurors; I heard it over
and over again, not only in Huntsville but, in substance, everywhere that
I stopped in the South:

"If we convict these men for lynching the Negro, Maples, we shall
establish a precedent that will prevent us from lynching for the crime of

Every argument on lynching in the South gets back sooner or later to this
question of rape. Ask any high-class citizen--the very highest--if he
believes in lynching, and he will tell you roundly, "No." Ask him about
lynching for rape, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred he will
instantly weaken.

"If my sister or my daughter--look here, if your sister or your

Lynching, he says, is absolutely necessary to keep down this crime. You
ask him why the law cannot be depended upon, and he replies:

"It is too great an ordeal for the self-respecting white woman to go into
court and accuse the Negro ravisher and withstand a public
cross-examination. It is intolerable. No woman will do it. And, besides,
the courts are uncertain. Lynching is the only remedy."

Yet the South is deeply stirred over the prevalence of lynching. The mob
spirit, invoked to punish such a crime as rape, is defended by some people
in the North as well as in the South; but once invoked, it spreads and
spreads, until to-day lynching for rape forms only a very small proportion
of the total number of mob hangings. It spreads until a Negro is lynched
for chicken stealing, or for mere "obnoxiousness." In the year 1903, out
of 103 lynchings, only 11 were for rape and 10 for attempted rape, while
47 were for murder, 15 for complicity in murderous assault, 4 for arson, 5
for mere "race prejudice," 2 for insults to whites, 1 for making threats,
5 for unknown offenses, 1 for refusing to give information, and 3 were
wholly innocent Negroes, lynched because their identity was mistaken. It
is probable that lynching in the South would immediately be wiped out, if
it were not for the question of rape. You will hear the problem put by
thinking Southerners very much in this fashion:

"We must stop mob-law; every month we recognise that fact more clearly.
But can we stop mob-law unless we go to the heart of the matter and stop
lynching for rape? Is there not a way of changing our methods of legal
procedure so that the offender in this crime can be punished without
subjecting the victim to the horrible publicity of the courts?"

_Governor Cunningham--A Real Leader_

But I have wandered from my story. In Acting-Governor Cunningham, the
people of Alabama had a leader who was not afraid to handle a dangerous
subject like lynching. He sent a court of inquiry to Huntsville, which
found the local military company "worthless and inefficient," because it
had failed to protect the jail. Immediately, upon the receipt of this
report, the Governor dismissed the Huntsville company from the service,
every man in it. Quite a contrast from the action at Statesboro! The
Governor then went a step further: he ordered the impeachment of the
sheriff. A little later Federal Judge Jones took up the case, charged his
jury vigorously, and some of the mob rioters were indicted in the federal

Governor Cunningham took a bold stand against mob-law everywhere and
anywhere in the state:

"I am opposed to mob-law," he said, "of whatsoever kind, for any and all
causes. If lynching is to be justified or extenuated for any crime, be it
ever so serious, it will lead to the same method of punishment for other
crimes of a less degree of depravity, and through the operation of the
process of evolution, will enlarge more and more the field of operation
for this form of lawlessness."

It means something also when citizens, in support of their institutions
and out of love of their city, rise above politics. Judge Speake had been
nominated by the Democrats to succeed himself. A Democratic nomination in
Alabama means election. After his vigorous campaign against the lynchers,
he became exceedingly unpopular among the majority of the people. They
resolved to defeat him. A committee waited on Shelby Pleasants, a
prominent Republican lawyer, and asked him to run against Judge Speake,
assuring him a certain election.

"I will not be a mob's candidate," he said. "I indorse every action of
Judge Speake."

The committee approached several other lawyers, but not one of them would
run against the judge, and the Republican newspaper of the town came out
strongly in support of Judge Speake, even publishing his name at the head
of its editorial columns. Before he could be elected, however, a decision
of the State Supreme Court, unconnected in any way with the lynching,
followed like fate, and deprived Madison County of his services. He was
now a private citizen, and even if he had come up for nomination to any
political office, he would undoubtedly have been defeated. The New South
is not yet strong enough to defy the Old South politically.

_Influences Tending to Prevent Future Lynchings in the South_

The influences against lynching in the South are constantly growing
stronger. With most (not all) of the newspapers, the preachers and the
best citizens united against it, the outlook is full of hope. And rural
free delivery and country telephones, spreading in every direction, are
inestimable influences in the quickening of public opinion. Better roads
are being built, the country is settling up with white people, schools are
improving and the population generally, after a series of profitable
cotton crops, is highly prosperous--all influences working toward the
solution of this problem.

When I went South I shared the impression of many Northerners that the
South was lawless and did not care--an impression that arises from the
wide publication of the horrible details of every lynching that occurs,
and the utter silence regarding those deep, quiet, and yet powerful moral
and industrial forces which are at the work of rejuvenation beneath the
surface--an account of which I have given. I came away from the South
deeply impressed with two things:

That the South is making fully as good progress in overcoming its peculiar
forms of lawlessness as the North is making in overcoming _its_ peculiar


Having looked, into two Southern lynching towns, let us now see what a
Northern lynching is like. The comparison is highly interesting and

Springfield, O., is one of the most prosperous of the smaller cities of
the state. It is a beautiful town having, in 1904, some 41,000 people. It
has fine streets, fine buildings, busy factories, churches, an imposing
library. Some of the older families have resided there for nearly a
century. It is the seat of government of one of the most fertile and
attractive counties in the state: an altogether progressive, enlightened
city. Of its population in 1904 over 6,000 were Negroes (about
one-seventh), a considerable proportion of whom are recent settlers. Large
numbers of Negroes, as I have shown in former chapters, have been
migrating from the South, and crowding into Northern towns located along
the Ohio or in those portions of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Kansas, and other states, which border on the Old South. Many of the
Negroes in Springfield came from Kentucky. We discover in these Northern
towns exactly as in the South, the two classes of Negroes: the steady,
resident class, more or less known to the whites, and a restless,
unstable, ignorant class, coming to one neighbourhood to-day to help build
a bridge, and going elsewhere to-morrow to dig a canal. For years no such
thing as race prejudice existed in Springfield; but with the growth of
Negro population it increased with rapidity. For instance, a druggist in
Springfield refused to sell soda-water to a Negro college professor, the
typesetters in a publishing house compelled the discharge of Negro
workmen, a Negro physician visited the high-school, found the half-dozen
Negro pupils sitting by themselves and, angrily charging discrimination,
ordered his child to sit among the white children. This feeling of race
repulsion was especially noticeable between the working class of white men
and the Negroes who come more or less into industrial competition with
them. The use of Negroes for breaking strikes in the coalfields and
elsewhere has been a fertile source of discord, kindling the fire of race
prejudice in places where it never before existed.

_How the Negroes Sold Their Votes_

In Springfield there were about 1,500 Negro voters, many of whom were
bought at every election. The Democrats and the Republicans were so evenly
divided that the city administration was Democratic and the county
administration Republican. The venal Negro vote went to the highest
bidder, carried the elections, and, with the whiskey influence, governed
the town. Springfield, enlightened, educated, progressive, highly
American, had 145 saloons--or one to every 285 people. Before the
lynching, nine of these were Negro saloons--some of them indescribably
vile. A row of houses along the railroad tracks, not three blocks from the
heart of the city, was known as the Levee. It was a Negro row composed of
saloons and disorderly houses, where the lowest of the low, Negro men and
both Negro and white women, made a general rendezvous. Just back of it was
one of the foremost Catholic churches in town; hardly a block away were
the post-office, the public library, and the foremost club of the city,
and within three or four hundred yards were the back doors of some of the
city's most aristocratic residences. For years, the ineffective good
citizen had protested against these abominable resorts, but when the
Republicans wanted to win they needed the votes from these places, and
when the Democrats wanted to win _they_ needed them. Burnett, the
Democratic boss, said in a tone of real injury to a gentleman--a
Democrat--who protested against the protection of the Levee:

"Don't you want the party to win? We've got to have those sixty or eighty
votes from Hurley"--Hurley being the notorious Negro proprietor of a dive
called the Honky Tonk.

_Corrupt Politics and the Negro Question_

So these vile places remained open, protected by the police, breeding
crime, and encouraging arrogance, idleness, and vice among the Negroes.

And yet one will hear good citizens of Springfield complaining that the
Negroes make themselves conspicuous and obnoxious at primaries and
elections, standing around, waiting, and refusing to vote until they
receive money in hand.

"To my mind," one of these citizens said to me, "the conspicuousness of
the Negro at elections is one of the chief causes of race prejudice."

But who is to blame? The Negro who accepts the bribe, or the white
politician who is eager to give it, or the white business man who,
desiring special privileges, stands behind the white politician, or the
ordinary citizen who doesn't care? Talk with these politicians on the one
hand, and the impractical reformers on the other, and they will tell you
in all seriousness of the sins of the South in disfranchising the Negro.

"Every Negro in Springfield," I was told, "exercises his right to vote."

If you were to tell these men that the Negroes of Springfield are
disfranchised as absolutely as they are anywhere in the South, they would
stare at you in amazement. But a purchased voter is a disfranchised voter.
The Negroes have no more real voice in the government of Springfield than
they have in the government of Savannah or New Orleans. In the South the
Negro has been disfranchised by law or by intimidation: in the North by
cash. Which is worse?

_Story of the Crime that Led to the Lynching_

A few months before the lynching a Negro named Dixon arrived in
Springfield from Kentucky. He was one of the illiterate, idle, floating
sort. He had with him a woman not his wife, with whom he quarrelled. He
was arrested and brought into court.

I am profoundly conscious of the seriousness of any charge which touches
upon our courts, the last resort of justice, and yet it was a matter of
common report that "justice was easy" in Clark County, that laws were not
enforced, that criminals were allowed to escape on suspended sentence. I
heard this talk everywhere, often coupled with personal accusations
against the judges, but I could not discover that the judges were more
remiss than other officials. They were afflicted with no other disease.

Even in a serious sociological study of Clark County by Professor E. S.
Tood, I find this statement:

     In Springfield, one of the chief faults of the municipal system has
     been and is the laxity and discrimination in the enforcement of the
     law. Many of the municipal ordinances have been shelved for years.
     The saloon closing ordinances are enforced intermittently, as are
     those concerning gambling.

When the Negro Dixon was brought into court he was convicted and let out
on suspended sentence. He got drunk immediately and was again arrested,
this time serving several weeks in jail. The moment he was free he began
quarrelling with his "wife," in a house directly across the street from
police headquarters. An officer named Collis tried to make peace and Dixon
deliberately shot him through the stomach, also wounding the woman.

This was on Sunday. Dixon was immediately placed in the county jail.
Collis died the next morning.

_Human Life Cheap in Clark County_

I have called attention to the fact that the lynching town nearly always
has a previous bad record of homicide. Disregard for the sacredness of
human life seems to be in the air of these places. Springfield was no
exception. Between January 1, 1902, and March 7, 1904, the day of the
lynching, a little more than two years, no fewer than ten homicides were
committed in the city of Springfield. White men committed five of these
crimes and Negroes five. Three of the cases were decided within a short
time before the lynching and the punishment administered was widely
criticised. Bishop, a coloured man who had killed a coloured man, was
fined $200 and sentenced to six months in the workhouse. This was for
_killing a man_. O'Brien, a white man, who killed a white man, got one
year in the penitentiary. And only a week before the lynching,
Schocknessy, a white man who killed a white man, but who had influential
political friends, went scott-free!

On the morning after the Collis murder, the _Daily Sun_ published a list
of the recent homicides in Springfield in big type on its first page and
asked editorially:

"What are you going to do about it?"

It then answered its own question:


The following morning, after the lynching, the same paper printed in its


     _They Have Temporised With the Criminal Classes Until Patience was

I cite these facts to show the underlying conditions in Springfield; a
soil richly prepared for an outbreak of mob law--with corrupt politics,
vile saloons, the law paralysed by non-enforcement against vice, a large
venal Negro vote, lax courts of justice.

_Gathering of the Lynching Mob_

Well, on Monday afternoon the mob began to gather. At first it was an
absurd, ineffectual crowd, made up largely of lawless boys of sixteen to
twenty--a pronounced feature of every mob--with a wide fringe of more
respectable citizens, their hands in their pockets and no convictions in
their souls, looking on curiously, helplessly. They gathered hooting
around the jail, cowardly, at first, as all mobs are, but growing bolder
as darkness came on and no move was made to check them. The murder of
Collis was not a horrible, soul-rending crime like that at Statesboro,
Ga.; these men in the mob were not personal friends of the murdered man;
it was a mob from the back rooms of the swarming saloons of Springfield;
and it included also the sort of idle boys "who hang around cigar stores,"
as one observer told me. The newspaper reports are fond of describing
lynching mobs as "made up of the foremost citizens of the town." In few
cases that I know of, either South or North, except in back country
neighbourhoods, has a mob been made up of what may be called the best
citizens; but the best citizens have often stood afar off "decrying the
mob"--as a Springfield man told me--and letting it go on. A mob is the
method by which good citizens turn over the law and the government to the
criminal or irresponsible classes.

And no official in direct authority in Springfield that evening,
apparently, had so much as an ounce of grit within him. The sheriff came
out and made a weak speech in which he said he "didn't want to hurt
anybody." They threw stones at him and broke his windows. The chief of
police sent eighteen men to the jail but did not go near himself. All of
these policemen undoubtedly sympathised with the mob in its efforts to get
at the slayer of their brother officer; at least, they did nothing
effective to prevent the lynching. An appeal was made to the Mayor to
order out the engine companies that water might be turned on the mob. He
said he didn't like to; _the hose might be cut_. The local militia company
was called to its barracks, but the officer in charge hesitated,
vacillated, doubted his authority, and objected finally because he had no
ammunition _except_ Krag-Jorgenson cartridges, which, if fired into a mob,
would kill too many people! The soldiers did not stir that night from the
safe and comfortable precincts of their armoury.

A sort of dry rot, a moral paralysis, seems to strike the administrators
of law in a town like Springfield. What can be expected of officers who
are not accustomed to enforce the law, or of a people not accustomed to
obey it--or who make reservations and exceptions when they do enforce it
or obey it?

_Threats to Lynch the Judges_

When the sheriff made his speech to the mob, urging them to let the law
take its course they jeered him. The law! When, in the past, had the law
taken its proper course in Clark County? Some one shouted, referring to

"He'll only get fined for shooting in the city limits."

"He'll get ten days in jail and suspended sentence."

Then there were voices:

"Let's go hang Mower and Miller"--the two judges.

This threat indeed, was frequently repeated both on the night of the
lynching and on the day following.

So the mob came finally, and cracked the door of the jail with a railroad
rail. This jail is said to be the strongest in Ohio, and having seen it, I
can well believe that the report is true. But steel bars have never yet
kept out a mob; it takes something a good deal stronger: human courage
backed up by the consciousness of being right.

They murdered the Negro in cold blood in the jail doorway; then they
dragged him to the principal business street and hung him to a
telegraph-pole, afterward riddling his lifeless body with revolver shots.

_Lesson of a Hanging Negro_

That was the end of that! Mob justice administered! And there the Negro
hung until daylight the next morning--an unspeakably grizzly, dangling
horror, advertising the shame of the town. His head was shockingly crooked
to one side, his ragged clothing, cut for souvenirs, exposed in places his
bare body: he dripped blood. And, with the crowds of men both here and at
the morgue where the body was publicly exhibited, came young boys in
knickerbockers, and little girls and women by scores, horrified but
curious. They came even with baby carriages! Men made jokes: "A dead
nigger is a good nigger." And the purblind, dollars-and-cents man, most
despicable of all, was congratulating the public:

"It'll save the county a lot of money!"

Significant lessons, these, for the young!

But the mob wasn't through with its work. Easy people imagine that, having
hanged a Negro, the mob goes quietly about its business; but that is never
the way of the mob. Once released, the spirit of anarchy spreads and
spreads, not subsiding until it has accomplished its full measure of evil.

_Mob Burning of Negro Saloons_

All the following day a rumbling, angry crowd filled the streets of
Springfield, threatening to burn out the notorious Levee, threatening
Judges Mower and Miller, threatening the "niggers." The local troops--to
say nothing of the police force--which might easily have broken up the
mob, remained sedulously in their armouries, vacillating, doubtful of
authority, knowing that there were threats to burn and destroy, and making
not one move toward the protection of the public. One of the captains was
even permitted to go to a neighbouring city to a dance! At the very same
time the panic-stricken officials were summoning troops from other towns.
So night came on, the mob gathered around the notorious dives, some one
touched a match, and the places of crime suddenly disgorged their foul
inhabitants. Black and white, they came pouring out and vanished into the
darkness where they belonged--from whence they did not return. Eight
buildings went up in smoke, the fire department
deliberating--intentionally, it is said--until the flames could not be
controlled. The troops, almost driven out by the county prosecutor,
McGrew, appeared after the mob had completed its work.

Good work, badly done, a living demonstration of the inevitability of
law--if not orderly, decent law, then of mob-law.

For days following the troops filled Springfield, costing the state large
sums of money, costing the county large sums of money. They chiefly
guarded the public fountain; the mob had gone home--until next time.

_Efforts to Punish the Mob_

What happened after that? A perfunctory court-martial, that did absolutely
nothing. A grand jury of really good citizens that sat for weeks, off and
on; and like the mountain that was in travail and brought forth a mouse,
they indicted two boys and two men out of all that mob, not for murder,
but for "breaking into jail." And, curiously enough, it developed--how do
such things develop?--that every man on the grand jury was a Republican,
chosen by Republican county officers, and in their report they severely
censured the police force (Democratic), and the mayor (Democratic), and
had not one word of disapproval for the sheriff (Republican). Curiously
enough, also, the public did not become enthusiastic over the report of
that grand jury.

But the worst feature of all in this Springfield lynching was the apathy
of the public. No one really seemed to care. A "nigger" had been hanged:
what of it? But the law itself had been lynched. What of that? I had just
come from the South, where I had found the people of several lynching
towns in a state of deep excitement--moral excitement if you like,
thinking about this problem, quarrelling about it, expelling men from the
church, impeaching sheriffs, dishonourably discharging whole militia
companies. Here in Springfield, I found cold apathy, except for a few fine
citizens, one of whom, City Solicitor Stewart L. Tatum, promptly offered
his services to the sheriff and assisted in a vain effort to remove the
Negro in a closed carriage and afterward at the risk of personal assault
earnestly attempted to defeat the purposes of the mob. Another of these
citizens, the Rev. Father Cogan, pleaded with the mob on the second night
of the rioting at risk to himself; another withdrew from the militia
company because it had not done its duty. And afterward the city officials
were stirred by the faintest of faint spasms of righteousness: some of the
Negro saloons were closed up, but within a month, the most notorious of
all the dive-keepers, Hurley, the Negro political boss, was permitted to
open an establishment--through the medium of a brother-in-law!

If there ever was an example of good citizenship lying flat on its back
with political corruption squatting on its neck, Springfield furnished an
example of that condition. There was no reconstructive movement, no rising
and organisation of the better sort of citizens. Negro dives gradually
reopened, the same corrupt politics continued: and the result was logical
and inevitable. About two years later, in February, 1906, another race
riot broke out in Springfield--worse in some ways than the first. On
February 26th, Martin M. Davis, a white brakeman, was shot in the railroad
yards near a row of notorious Negro houses, by Edward Dean, a coloured
man. The Negro was at once removed from the city and a mob which had
gathered in anticipation of another lynching, when it was cheated of its
victim, set fire to a number of houses in the Negro settlement. The
militia was at once called out, but the following night the mob gathered
as before and visiting the Negro settlement, tried to set fire to other

It is significant that on the very night that this riot occurred the city
council had under consideration an ordinance prohibiting the use of
screens or other obstructions to the view of the interior of saloons after
closing hours on week days or during Sundays. A committee of the council,
favourable to the saloon interests, had recommended that the ordinance be
not acted upon by council but referred to the people at a distant
election, a proposition wholly illegal. While Stewart L. Tatum the city
solicitor to whom I have already referred, argued to the council the
illegality of the proposal made by the committee the noise of the mob
reached the council chamber and the friends of the ordinance seized the
opportunity to adjourn and delay action that would evidently result in the
defeat of the ordinance.

Finally, as a result of both these riots, the city was mildly stirred; a
Civic League was formed by prominent citizens and the _attack on property_
vigorously deprecated; the passage of the screen ordinance was recommended
and at the next meeting of the council this ordinance, which had been
vetoed by the mayor of the previous administration and had excited
considerable public interest during a period of two years, was passed and
has proved of great assistance to the police department in controlling the
low saloons where the riot spirit is bred.

I turn with pleasure from the story of this lynching to another Northern
town, where I found as satisfying an example of how to deal with a mob as
this country has known.

In Springfield we had an exhibition of nearly complete supineness and
apathy before the mob; in Statesboro, Ga., we discovered a decided
law-and-order element, not strong enough, however, to do much; in
Huntsville, Ala., we had a tremendous moral awakening. In Danville, Ill.,
we find an example of law vindicated, magnificently and completely,
through the heroism of a single man, backed up later by wholesome public

_Character of Danville, Ill._

Danville presented many of the characteristics of Springfield, O. It had a
growing Negro population and there had been an awakening race prejudice
between the white workingmen and the Negroes, especially in the
neighbouring coal mines.

As in other places where lynchings have occurred, I found that Vermilion
County, of which Danville is the seat, had also a heavy record of homicide
and other crime. They counted there on a homicide every sixty days; at the
term of court preceding the lynching seven murder trials were on the
docket; and in all its history the county never had had a legal hanging,
though it had suffered two lynchings. The criminal record of Vermilion
County was exceeded at that time only by Cook County (Chicago), and St.
Clair County (East St. Louis), where the horrible lynching of a Negro
schoolmaster took place (at Belleville) in the preceding summer.

_Story of a Starved Negro_

The crime which caused the rioting was committed by the familiar vagrant
Negro from the South--in this case a Kentucky Negro named Wilson--a
miserable, illiterate, half-starved creature who had been following a
circus. He had begged along the road in Indiana and no one would feed him.
He came across the line into Illinois, found a farmhouse door open, saw
food on the table, and darted in to steal it. As he was leaving, the woman
of the house appeared. In an animal-like panic, the Negro darted for the
door, knocking the woman down as he escaped. Immediately the cry went up
that there had been an attempted criminal assault, but the sheriff told me
that the woman never made any such charge and the Negro bore all the
evidence of the truthfulness of the assertion that he was starving; he was
so emaciated with hunger that even after his arrest the sheriff dared not
allow him a full meal.

_Hot Weather and Mobs_

But it was enough to stir up the mob spirit. It was Saturday night, July
25th, and the usual crowd from all over the county had gathered in the
town. Among the crowd were many coal miners, who had just been paid off
and were drinking. As in Springfield, the town had a very large number of
saloons, ninety-one within a radius of five miles, to a population of
some 25,000. Most Northern towns are far worse in this respect than the
average Southern town. It was a hot night; mobs work best in hot weather.
Statistics, indeed, show that the great majority of lynchings take place
in the summer, particularly in July and August.

It was known that the sheriff had brought his Negro prisoner to the jail,
and the crime was widely discussed. The whole city was a sort of human
tinder-box, ready to flare up at a spark of violence.

Well, the spark came--in a saloon. Metcalf, a Negro, had words with a
well-known white butcher named Henry Gatterman. Both had been drinking.
The Negro drew a revolver and shot Gatterman dead. Instantly the city was
in a furor of excitement. The police appeared and arrested Metcalf, and
got him finally with great difficulty to the police station, where he was
locked up. A mob formed instantly. It was led, at first, by a crowd of
lawless boys from sixteen to eighteen years old. Rapidly gathering
strength, it rushed into the city hall, and although the mayor, the chief
of police, and nearly the entire police force were present, they got the
Negro out and hanged him to a telegraph-pole in the main street of the
town, afterward shooting his body full of holes.

Intoxicated by their swift success and, mob-like, growing in recklessness
and bloodthirstiness, they now turned upon the jail determined to lynch
the Negro Wilson. It was a much uglier mob than any I have hitherto
described; it was a drunken mob, and it had already tasted blood. It
swarmed around the jail, yelling, shooting, and breaking the windows with

_A "Strict" Sheriff_

Sheriff Hardy H. Whitlock of Vermilion County had never been looked upon
as an especially remarkable man--except, as I was told everywhere, he had
a record as _a strict sheriff_, as a man who did his best to enforce the
law in times of peace. He and the state's attorney were so industrious
that they caught and punished four times as many criminals in proportion
to population as were convicted in Chicago. The sheriff was a big, solid,
deliberate man with gray eyes. He was born in Tennessee. His father was an
itinerant Presbyterian preacher, always poor, doing good for everybody
but himself, and stern in his conceptions of right and wrong. His mother,
as the sheriff related, made him obey the law with peach-tree switches.
His history was the commonest of the common; not much education, had to
make his living, worked in a livery stable. He was faithful at that,
temperate, friendly. They elected him constable, an office that he held
for seven years. He was faithful at that. They elected him sheriff of the
county. He went at the new task as he had at all his other work, with no
especial brilliancy, but steadily doing his duty, catching criminals. He
found a great deal to learn and he learned. The extradition laws of the
states troubled him when he wanted to bring prisoners home. There was no
compilation of the laws on the subject. Here was work to be done. Although
no lawyer, he went at it laboriously and compiled a book of five hundred
pages, containing all the extradition laws of the country, and had it
published at his own expense.

_Defending a Jail With a Riot-gun_

And when the crisis came that night with the mob howling around his jail,
Hardy Whitlock had become so accustomed to doing his duty that he didn't
know how to do anything else. Here was the jail to be protected: he
intended to protect it. He sent for no troops--there was no time
anyhow--nor for the police. He had a couple of deputies and his wife.
Though the mob was breaking the windows of the house and the children were
there, his wife said:

"Give me a gun, Hardy, and I'll stay by you."

The sheriff went out on the porch, unarmed, in his shirt-sleeves, and made
them a little speech. They yelled at him, threw stones, fired revolvers.
They brought a railroad rail to break in the door. He went out among them,
called them Bill, and Jim, and Dick, and persuaded them to put it down;
but others took it up willingly.

"Are you going to open the door?" they yelled.

"No!" said the sheriff.

Then he went in and got his riot-gun, well loaded with duck-shot. He was
one man against two thousand. They began battering on the iron door,
yelling and shooting. It was not an especially strong door, and it began
to give at the bottom, and finally bent inward enough to admit a man's
body. The crucial moment had come: and the sheriff was there to meet it.
He stuck his riot-gun out of the opening and began firing. The mob fell
back but came charging forward again, wild with passion. The sheriff fired
again, seven times in all, and one of his deputies opened with a revolver.
For a time pandemonium reigned; they attempted the house entrance of the
jail; the sheriff was there also with his riot-gun; they threatened
dynamite and fire. They cut down the Negro, Metcalf, brought him in front
of the jail, piled straw on the body and attempted to burn it. Part of the
time they were incited to greater violence by a woman who stood in a
waggon-box across the street. So they raged all night, firing at the jail,
but not daring to come too near the man with the riot-gun.

"On Sunday," the sheriff told me, "I realised I was up against it. I knew
the tough element in town had it in for me."

_How a Real Sheriff Punished a Mob_

They even threatened him on the street. A large number of men had been
wounded by the firing, some dangerously, though no one, fortunately, was
killed. The sheriff stood alone in the town. A lesser man might still have
failed ignominiously. But Whitlock went about the nearest duty: punishing
the rioters. He had warrants issued and arrested every man he could find
who was streaked or speckled with shot--indubitable evidence of his
presence in the mob at the jail door. Many fled the city, but he got
twenty or thirty.

Vermilion County also had a prosecuting attorney who knew his duty--J. W.
Keeslar. Judge Thompson called a grand jury, Attorney Keeslar pushed the
cases with great vigour, and this was the result: thirteen men and one
woman (the disorderly woman of the waggon-box) were sent to the
penitentiary, eight others were heavily fined. At the same time the Negro,
Wilson, came up for trial, pleaded guilty, and was legally punished by a
term in the penitentiary.

[Illustration: CHARLES W. CHESNUTT

The well-known novelist, author of "The Colonel's Dream," "The House
Behind the Cedars," "The Conjure Woman," etc. Mr. Chesnutt is a lawyer in
Cleveland, Ohio.

Photograph by Edmondson]

And the people came strongly to the support of their officers. Hardy
Whitlock became one of the most popular men in the county. Keeslar, coming
up for reëlection the following fall, with mob-law for the essential
issue, was returned to his office with an overwhelming majority. The
sheriff told me that, in his opinion, the success of the officers in
convicting the lynchers was due largely to a thoroughly awakened public
opinion, the strong attitude of the newspapers, especially those of
Chicago, the help of the governor, and the feeling, somehow, that the best
sentiment of the county was behind them.

_Conclusions Regarding Lynching in This Country_

And finally, we may, perhaps venture upon a few general conclusions.

Lynching in this country is peculiarly the white man's burden. The white
man has taken all the responsibility of government; he really governs in
the North as well as in the South, in the North disfranchising the Negro
with cash, in the South by law or by intimidation. All the machinery of
justice is in his hands. How keen is the need, then, of calmness and
strict justice in dealing with the Negro! Nothing more surely tends to
bring the white man down to the lowest level of the criminal Negro than
yielding to those blind instincts of savagery which find expression in the
mob. The man who joins a mob, by his very acts, puts himself on a level
with the Negro criminal: both have given way wholly to brute passion. For,
if civilisation means anything, it means self-restraint; casting away
self-restraint the white man becomes as savage as the criminal Negro.

If the white man sets an example of non-obedience to law, of
non-enforcement of law, and of unequal justice, what can be expected of
the Negro? A criminal father is a poor preacher of homilies to a wayward
son. The Negro sees a man, white or black, commit murder and go free, over
and over again in all these lynching counties. Why should he fear to
murder? Every passion of the white man is reflected and emphasised in the
criminal Negro.




One of the things that has interested me most of all in studying Negro
communities, especially in the North, has been to find them so torn by
cliques and divided by such wide differences of opinion.

No other element of our population presents a similar condition; the
Italians, the Jews, the Germans and especially the Chinese and Japanese
are held together not only by a different language, but by ingrained and
ancient national habits. They group themselves naturally. But the Negro is
an American in language and customs; he knows no other traditions and he
has no other conscious history; a large proportion, indeed, possess
varying degrees of white American blood (restless blood!) and yet the
Negro is not accepted as an American. Instead of losing himself gradually
in the dominant race, as the Germans, Irish, and Italians are doing,
adding those traits or qualities with which Time fashions and modifies
this human mosaic called the American nation, the Negro is set apart as a
peculiar people.

With every Negro, then, an essential question is: "How shall I meet this
attempt to put me off by myself?"

That question in one form or another--politically, industrially,
socially--is being met daily, almost hourly, by every Negro in this
country. It colours his very life.

"You don't know, and you can't know," a Negro said to me, "what it is to
be a problem, to understand that everyone is watching you and studying
you, to have your mind constantly on your own actions. It has made us
think and talk about ourselves more than other people do. It has made us
self-conscious and sensitive."

It is scarcely surprising, then, that upon such a vital question there
should be wide differences of opinion among Negroes. As a matter of fact,
there are almost innumerable points of view and suggested modes of
conduct, but they all group themselves into two great parties which are
growing more distinct in outline and purpose every day. Both parties exist
in every part of the country, but it is in the North that the struggle
between them is most evident. I have found a sharper feeling and a
bitterer discussion of race relationships among the Negroes of the North
than among those of the South. If you want to hear the race question
discussed with fire and fervour, go to Boston!

For two hundred and fifty years the Negro had no thought, no leadership,
no parties; then suddenly he was set free, and became, so far as law could
make him, an integral and indistinguishable part of the American people.
But it was only in a few places in the North and among comparatively few
individuals that he ever approximately reached the position of a free
citizen, that he ever really enjoyed the rights granted to him under the
law. In the South he was never free politically, socially, and
industrially, in the sense that the white man is free, and is not so

But in Boston, and in other Northern cities in lesser degree, a group of
Negroes reached essentially equal citizenship. A few families trace their
lineage back to the very beginnings of civilisation in this country,
others were freemen long before the war, a few had revolutionary war
records of which their descendants are intensely and justly proud. Some of
the families have far more white blood than black; though the census shows
that only about 40 per cent. of the Negroes of Boston are mulattoes, the
real proportion is undoubtedly very much higher.

In abolition times these Negroes were much regarded. Many of them attained
and kept a certain real position among the whites; they were even accorded
unusual opportunities and favours. They found such a place as an educated
Negro might find to-day (or at least as he found a few years ago) in
Germany. In some instances they became wealthy. At a time when the North
was passionately concerned in the abolition of slavery the colour of his
skin sometimes gave the Negro special advantages, even honours.

For years after the war this condition continued; then a stream of
immigration of Southern Negroes began to appear, at first a mere rivulet,
but latterly increasing in volume, until to-day all of our Northern cities
have swarming coloured colonies. Owing to the increase of the Negro
population and for other causes which I have already mentioned, sentiment
in the North toward the Negro has been undergoing a swift change.

_How Colour Lines Are Drawn_

Now the tragedy of the Negro is the colour of his skin: he is easily
recognisable. The human tendency is to class people together by outward
appearances. When the line began to be drawn it was drawn not alone
against the unworthy Negro, but against the Negro. It was not so much
drawn by the highly intelligent white man as by the white man. And the
white man alone has not drawn it, but the Negroes themselves are drawing
it--and more and more every day. So we draw the line in this country
against the Chinese, the Japanese, and in some measure against the Jews
(and they help to draw it). So we speak with disparagement of "dagoes" and
"square heads." Right or wrong, these lines, in our present state of
civilisation, are drawn. They are here; they must be noted and dealt with.

What was the result? The Northern Negro who has been enjoying the free
life of Boston and Philadelphia has protested passionately against the
drawing of a colour line: he wishes to be looked upon, and not at all
unnaturally, for he possesses human ambitions and desires, solely for his
worth as a man, not as a Negro.

In Philadelphia I heard of the old Philadelphia Negroes, in Indianapolis
of the old Indianapolis families, in Boston a sharp distinction was drawn
between the "Boston Negroes" and the recent Southern importation. Even in
Chicago, where there is nothing old, I found the same spirit.

In short, it is the protest against separation, against being deprived of
the advantages and opportunities of a free life. In the South the most
intelligent and best educated Negroes are, generally speaking, the leaders
of their race, but in Northern cities some of the ablest Negroes will have
nothing to do with the masses of their own people or with racial
movements; they hold themselves aloof, asserting that there is no
colour line, and if there is, there should not be. Their associations and
their business are largely with white people and they cling passionately
to the fuller life.


Photograph by Dimock]

"When I am sick," one of them said to me, "I don't go to a Negro doctor,
but to a doctor. Colour has nothing to do with it."

In the South the same general setting apart of Negroes as Negroes is going
on, of course, on an immeasurably wider scale. By disfranchisement they
are being separated politically, the Jim Crow laws set them apart socially
and physically, the hostility of white labour in some callings pushes them
aside in the industrial activities. But the South presents no such
striking contrasts as the North, because no Southern Negroes were ever
really accorded a high degree of citizenship.

_Two Great Negro Parties_

Now, the Negroes of the country are meeting the growing discrimination
against them in two ways, out of which have grown the two great parties to
which I have referred. One party has sprung, naturally, from the thought
of the Northern Negro and is a product of the freedom which the Northern
Negro has enjoyed; although, of course, it finds many followers in the

The other is the natural product of the far different conditions in the
South, where the Negro cannot speak his mind, where he has never realised
any large degree of free citizenship. Both are led by able men, and both
are backed by newspapers and magazines. It has come, indeed, to the point
where most Negroes of any intelligence at all have taken their place on
one side or the other.

The second-named party, which may best, perhaps, be considered first, is
made up of the great mass of the coloured people both South and North; its
undisputed leader is Booker T. Washington.

_The Rise of Booker T. Washington_

Nothing has been more remarkable in the recent history of the Negro than
Washington's rise to influence as a leader, and the spread of his ideals
of education and progress. It is noteworthy that he was born in the South,
a slave, that he knew intimately the common struggling life of his people
and the attitude of the white race toward them. He worked his way to
education in Southern schools and was graduated at Hampton--a story which
he tells best himself in his book, "Up From Slavery." He was and is
Southern in feeling and point of view. When he began to think how he could
best help his people the same question came to him that comes to every

"What shall we do about this discrimination and separation?"

And his was the type of character which answered, "Make the best of it;
overcome it with self-development."

The very essence of his doctrine is this:

"Get yourself right, and the world will be all right."

His whole work and his life have said to the white man:

"You've set us apart. You don't want us. All right; we'll be apart. We can
succeed as Negroes."

It is the doctrine of the opportunist and optimist: peculiarly, indeed,
the doctrine of the man of the soil, who has come up fighting, dealing
with the world, not as he would like to have it, but as it overtakes him.
Many great leaders have been like that: Lincoln was one. They have the
simplicity and patience of the soil, and the immense courage and faith. To
prevent being crushed by circumstances they develop humour; they laugh off
their troubles. Washington has all of these qualities of the common life:
he possesses in high degree what some one has called "great commonness."
And finally he has a simple faith in humanity, and in the just purposes of
the Creator of humanity.

Being a hopeful opportunist Washington takes the Negro as he finds him,
often ignorant, weak, timid, surrounded by hostile forces, and tells him
to go to work at anything, anywhere, but go to work, learn how to work
better, save money, have a better home, raise a better family.

_What Washington Teaches the Negro_

The central idea of his doctrine, indeed, is work. He teaches that if the
Negro wins by real worth a strong economic position in the country, other
rights and privileges will come to him naturally. He should get his
rights, not by gift of the white man, but by earning them himself.

"I noticed," he says, "when I first went to Tuskegee to start the Tuskegee
Normal and Industrial Institute, that some of the white people about there
looked rather doubtfully at me. I thought I could get their influence by
telling them how much algebra and history and science and all those things
I had in my head, but they treated me about the same as they did before.
They didn't seem to care about the algebra, history, and science that were
in my head only. Those people never even began to have confidence in me
until we commenced to build a large three-story brick building; and then
another and another, until now we have eighty-six buildings which have
been erected largely by the labour of our students, and to-day we have the
respect and confidence of all the white people in that section.

"There is an unmistakable influence that comes over a white man when he
sees a black man living in a two-story brick house that has been paid

In another place he has given his ideas of what education should be:

"How I wish that, from the most cultured and highly endowed university in
the great North to the humblest log cabin schoolhouse in Alabama, we could
burn, as it were, into the hearts and heads of all that usefulness, that
service to our brother is the supreme end of education."

It is, indeed, to the teaching of service in the highest sense that
Washington's life has been devoted. While he urges every Negro to reach as
high a place as he can, he believes that the great masses of the Negroes
are best fitted to-day for manual labour; his doctrine is that they should
be taught to do that labour better: that when the foundations have been
laid in sound industry and in business enterprise, the higher callings and
honours will come of themselves.

His emphasis is rather upon duties than upon rights. He does not advise
the Negro to surrender a single right: on the other hand, he urges his
people to use fully every right they have or can get--for example, to vote
wherever possible, and vote thoughtfully. But he believes that some of the
rights given the Negro have been lost because the Negro had neither the
wisdom nor the strength to use them properly.

_Washington's Influence on His People_

I have not said much thus far in these articles about Booker T.
Washington, but as I have been travelling over this country, South and
North, studying Negro communities, I have found the mark of him everywhere
in happier human lives. Wherever I found a prosperous Negro enterprise, a
thriving business place, a good home, there I was almost sure to find
Booker T. Washington's picture over the fireplace or a little framed motto
expressing his gospel of work and service. I have heard bitter things said
about Mr. Washington by both coloured people and white. I have waited and
investigated many of these stories, and I am telling here what I have seen
and known of his influence among thousands of common, struggling human
beings. Many highly educated Negroes, especially, in the North, dislike
him and oppose him, but he has brought new hope and given new courage to
the masses of his race. He has given them a working plan of life. And is
there a higher test of usefulness? Measured by any standard, white or
black, Washington must be regarded to-day as one of the great men of this
country: and in the future he will be so honoured.

_Dr. Du Bois and the Negro_

The party led by Washington is made up of the masses of the common people;
the radical party, on the other hand, represents what may be called the
intellectuals. The leading exponent of its point of view is unquestionably
Professor W. E. B. Du Bois of Atlanta University--though, like all
minority parties, it is torn with dissension and discontent. Dr. Du Bois
was born in Massachusetts of a family that had no history of Southern
slavery. He has a large intermixture of white blood. Broadly educated at
Harvard and in the universities of Germany, he is to-day one of the able
sociologists of this country. His economic studies of the Negro made for
the United States Government and for the Atlanta University conference
(which he organised) are works of sound scholarship and furnish the
student with the best single source of accurate information regarding the
Negro at present obtainable in this country. And no book gives a deeper
insight into the inner life of the Negro, his struggles and his
aspirations, than "The Souls of Black Folk."

Dr. Du Bois has the temperament of the scholar and idealist--critical,
sensitive, unhumorous, impatient, often covering its deep feeling with
sarcasm and cynicism. When the question came to him:

"What shall the Negro do about discrimination?" his answer was the exact
reverse of Washington's: it was the voice of Massachusetts:

"Do not submit! agitate, object, fight."

Where Washington reaches the hearts of his people, Du Bois appeals to
their heads. Du Bois is not a leader of men, as Washington is: he is
rather a promulgator of ideas. While Washington is building a great
educational institution and organising the practical activities of the
race, Du Bois is the lonely critic holding up distant ideals. Where
Washington cultivates friendly human relationships with the white people
among whom the lot of the Negro is cast, Du Bois, sensitive to rebuffs,
draws more and more away from white people.

_A Negro Declaration of Independence_

Several years ago Du Bois organised the Niagara movement for the purpose
of protesting against the drawing of the colour line. It is important, not
so much for the extent of its membership, which is small, but because it
represents, genuinely, a more or less prevalent point of view among many
coloured people.

Its declaration of principles says:

     We refuse to allow the impression to remain that the Negro-American
     assents to inferiority, is submissive under oppression and apologetic
     before insults. Through helplessness we may submit, but the voice of
     protest of ten million Americans must never cease to assail the ears
     of their fellows, so long as America is unjust.

     Any discrimination based simply on race or colour is barbarous, we
     care not how hallowed it be by custom, expediency, or prejudice.
     Differences made on account of ignorance, immorality, or disease are
     legitimate methods of fighting evil, and against them we have no word
     of protest, but discriminations based simply and solely on physical
     peculiarities, place of birth, colour of skin, are relics of that
     unreasoning human savagery of which the world is, and ought to be,
     thoroughly ashamed.

The object of the movement is to protest against disfranchisement and Jim
Crow laws and to demand equal rights of education, equal civil rights,
equal economic opportunities, and justice in the courts. Taking the ballot
from the Negro they declare to be only a step to economic slavery; that it
leaves the Negro defenceless before his competitor--that the
disfranchisement laws in the South are being followed by all manner of
other discriminations which interfere with the progress of the Negro.

"Persistent manly agitation is the way to liberty," says the declaration,
"and toward this goal the Niagara movement has started."

The annual meeting of the movement was held last August in Boston, the
chief gathering being in Faneuil Hall. Every reference in the speeches to
Garrison, Phillips, and Sumner was cheered to the echo. "It seemed," said
one newspaper report, "like a revival of the old spirit of
abolitionism--with the white man left out."

Several organisations in the country, like the New England Suffrage
League, the Equal Rights League of Georgia, and others, take much the same
position as the Niagara movement.

The party led by Dr. Du Bois is, in short, a party of protest which
endeavours to prevent Negro separation and discrimination against Negroes
by agitation and political influence.

_Two Negro Parties Compared_

These two points of view, of course, are not peculiar to Negroes; they
divide all human thought. The opportunist and optimist on the one hand
does his great work with the world as he finds it: he is resourceful,
constructive, familiar. On the other hand, the idealist, the agitator, who
is also a pessimist, performs the function of the critic, he sees the
world as it should be and cries out to have it instantly changed.

Thus with these two great Negro parties. Each is working for essentially
the same end--better conditions of life for the Negro--each contains brave
and honest men, and each is sure, humanly enough, that the other side is
not only wrong, but venally wrong, whereas both parties are needed and
both perform a useful function.

[Illustration: DR. W. E. B. DU BOIS of Atlanta University

Photograph by Purdy]

The chief, and at present almost the only, newspaper exponent of the
radical Negro point of view is the Boston _Guardian_, published by William
Monroe Trotter. Mr. Trotter is a mulatto who was graduated a few years ago
with high honours from Harvard. His wife, who is active with him in his
work, has so little Negro blood that she would ordinarily pass for white.
Mr. Trotter's father fought in the Civil War and rose to be a lieutenant
in Colonel Hallowell's Massachusetts regiment. He was one of the leaders
of the Negro soldiers who refused to accept $8 a month as servants when
white soldiers received $13. He argued that if a Negro soldier stood up
and stopped a bullet, he was as valuable to the country as the white
soldier. Though his family suffered, he served without pay rather than
accept the money. It was the uncompromising spirit of Garrison and

_A Negro Newspaper of Agitation_

The _Guardian_ is as violent and bitter in some of its denunciations as
the most reactionary white paper in the South. It would have the North
take up arms again and punish the South for its position on the Negro
question! It breathes the spirit of prejudice. Reading it sometimes, I am
reminded of Senator Tillman's speeches. It answers the white publicity
given in the South to black crime against white women by long accounts of
similar crimes of white men. One of its chief points of conflict is the
position of President Roosevelt regarding the Brownsville riot and the
discharge of Negro soldiers; the attack on Roosevelt is unceasing, and in
this viewpoint, at least, it is supported undoubtedly by no small
proportion of the Negroes of the country. Another leading activity is its
fight on Booker T. Washington and his work. Denouncing Washington as a
"notorious and incorrigible Jim Crowist," it says that he "dares to assert
that the best way to get rights is not to oppose their being taken away,
but to get money." Two or three years ago, when Mr. Washington went to
Boston to address a coloured audience in Zion Church, Mr. Trotter and his
friends scattered cayenne pepper on the rostrum and created a disturbance
which broke up the meeting. Mr. Trotter went to jail for the offence. From
the _Guardian_ of September 2d I cut part of the leading editorial which
will show its attitude:


     As another mark of the treacherous character of Booker Washington in
     matters concerning the race, come his discordant notes in support of
     Secretary Taft for President of the United States in spite of the
     fact that every Negro organisation of any note devoted to the cause
     of equal rights and justice have condemned President Roosevelt for
     his unpardonable treatment of the soldiers of the 25th Infantry, U.
     S. A., and Secretary Taft for his duplicity, and declared their
     determination to seek the defeat of either if nominated for the
     office of President of these United States, or anyone named by them
     for said office. Booker Washington, ever concerned for his own
     selfish ambitions, indifferent to the cries of the race so long as he
     wins the approval of white men who do not believe in the Negro,
     defies the absolutely unanimous call of all factions of the race for
     Foraker. Leader of the self-seekers, he has persistently, but thank
     heaven unsuccessfully, sought to entangle the whole race in the
     meshes of subordination. Knowing the race could only be saved by
     fighting cowardice, we have just as persistently resisted every
     attempt he has made to plant his white flag on the domains of equal
     manhood rights and our efforts have been rewarded by the universal
     denunciation of his doctrines of submission and his utter elimination
     as a possible leader of his race.

Generally speaking, the radical party has fought every movement of any
sort that tends to draw a colour line.

_Boston Hotel for Coloured People_

One of the enterprises of Boston which interested me deeply was a Negro
hotel, the Astor House, which is operated by Negroes for Negro guests. It
has 200 rooms, with a telephone in each room, a restaurant, and other
accommodations. It struck me that it was a good example of Negro self-help
that Negroes should be proud of. But upon mentioning it to a coloured man
I met I found that he was violently opposed to it.

"Why hotels for coloured men?" he asked. "I believe in hotels for men. The
coloured man must not draw the line himself if he doesn't want the white
man to do it. He must demand and insist constantly upon his rights as an
American citizen."

I found in Boston and in other Northern cities many Negroes who took this
position. A white woman, who sought to establish a help and rescue mission
for coloured girls similar to those conducted for the Jews, Italians, and
other nationalities in other cities, was violently opposed, on the ground
that it set up a precedent for discrimination. In the same way separate
settlement work (though there is a separate settlement for Jews in Boston)
and the proposed separate Y. M. C. A. have met with strong protests.
Everything that tends to set the Negro off as a Negro, whether the white
man does it or the Negro does it, is bitterly opposed by this party of
coloured people.

They fought the Jamestown Exposition because it had a Negro Building,
which they called the "Jim Crow Annex," and they fought the National
Christian Endeavour Convention because the leaders could not assure Negro
delegates exactly equal facilities in the hotels and restaurants. Of
course the denunciation of the white South is continuous and bitter. It is
noteworthy, however, that even the leaders of the movement not only
recognise and conduct separate newspapers and ask Negroes to support them,
but that they urge Negroes to stand together politically.

_Boston Negroes Seen by a New York Negro Newspaper_

But the large proportion of coloured newspapers in the country, the
strongest and ablest of which is perhaps the New York _Age_, are
supporters of Washington and his ideals. The Boston correspondent of the
_Age_ said recently:

     It is unfortunate in Boston that we have a hall which we can get free
     of charge: we refer to Faneuil Hall. They work Faneuil Hall for all
     it is worth. Scarcely a month ever passes by that does not see a
     crowd of Afro-Americans in Faneuil Hall throwing up their hats,
     yelling and going into hysterics over some subject usually relating
     to somebody a thousand miles away, never in relation to conditions
     right at home. The better element of Negroes and the majority of our
     white friends in this city have become disgusted over the policy that
     is being pursued and has been pursued for several months in Boston.
     Your correspondent can give you no better evidence of the disgust
     than to state that a few days ago there was one of these hysterical
     meetings held in Faneuil Hall and our people yelled and cried and
     agitated for two hours and more. The next day not one of the leading
     papers, such as the _Herald_ and the _Transcript_, had a single line
     concerning this meeting. A few years ago had a meeting been held in
     Faneuil Hall under the leadership of safe and conservative
     Afro-Americans, both of these newspapers and papers of similar
     character would have devoted from two to three columns to a
     discussion of it. Now, in Boston, they let such meetings completely

     If there ever was a place where the Negro seems to have more freedom
     than he seems to know what to do with, it is in this city.

In spite of the agitation against drawing the colour line by the radical
party, however, the separation is still going on. And it is not merely
the demand of the white man that the Negro step aside by himself, for the
Negro himself is drawing the colour line, and drawing it with as much
enthusiasm as the white man. A genuine race-spirit or race-consciousness
is developing. Negroes are meeting prejudice with self-development.

It is a significant thing to find that many Negroes who a few years ago
called themselves "Afro-Americans," or "Coloured Americans," and who
winced at the name Negro, now use Negro as the race name with pride. While
in Indianapolis I went to a Negro church to hear a speech by W. T. Vernon,
one of the leading coloured men of the country, who was appointed Register
of the United States Treasury by President Roosevelt. On the walls of the
church hung the pictures of coloured men who had accomplished something
for their race, and the essence of the speaker's address was an appeal to
racial pride and the demand that the race stand up for itself, encourage
Negro business and patronise Negro industry. All of which, surely, is

_How Negroes Themselves Draw the Colour Line_

The pressure for separation among the Negroes themselves is growing
rapidly stronger. Where there are mixed schools in the North there is
often pressure by Negroes for separate schools. The Philadelphia
_Courant_, a Negro newspaper, in objecting to this new feeling, says:

     Public sentiment, so far as the white people are concerned, does not
     object to the mixed school system in vogue in our city half as much
     as the Afro-American people seem to be doing themselves. We find them
     the chief objectors.

One reason why the South to-day has a better development of Negro
enterprise, one reason why Booker T. Washington believes that the South is
a better place for the Negro than the North, and advises him to remain
there, is this more advanced racial spirit. Prejudice there, being
sharper, has forced the Negro back upon his own resources.

Dr. Frissell of Hampton is always talking to his students of the
"advantages of disadvantages."

I was much struck with the remark of a Negro business man I met in

"The trouble here is," he said, "that there is not enough prejudice
against us."

"How is that?" I inquired.

"Well, you see we are still clinging too much to the skirts of the white
man. When you hate us more it will drive us together and make us support
coloured enterprises."

When in Chicago I heard of an interesting illustration of this idea. With
the increasing number of Negro students prejudice has increased in the
Chicago medical schools, until recently some of them have, by agreement,
been closed to coloured graduate students. Concerning this condition, the
Chicago _Conservator_, a Negro newspaper, says: "The cause of this
extraordinary announcement is that the Southern students object to the
presence of Negroes in the classes. Now it is up to the Negro doctors of
the country to meet this insult by establishing a post-graduate school of
their own. They can do it if they have the manhood, self-respect, and
push. Let Doctors Hall, Williams, Boyd and others get busy."

To this the New York _Age_ adds:

"Yes; let us have a school of that sort of our own."

And this is no idle suggestion. Few people have any conception of the
growing progress of Negroes in the medical profession. In August, 1907,
the Coloured National Medical Association held its ninth annual session at
Baltimore. Over three hundred delegates and members were in attendance
from thirty different states. Graduates were there not only from Harvard,
Yale, and other white colleges, but from coloured medical schools like
Meharry and Howard University. Negro hospitals have been opened and are
well supported in several cities.

_National Negro Business League_

All over the country the Negro is organised in business leagues and these
leagues have formed a National Business League which met last August in
Topeka, Kansas. I can do no better in interpreting the spirit of this
work, which is indeed the practical spirit of the Southern party, than in
quoting briefly from the address of Booker T. Washington, who is the
president of the league:

     Despite much talk, the Negro is not discouraged, but is going
     forward. The race owns to-day an acreage equal to the combined
     acreage of Holland and Belgium. The Negro owns more land, more
     houses, more stores, more banks, than has ever been true in his
     history. We are learning that no race can occupy a soil unless it
     gets as much out of it as any other race gets out of it. Soil,
     sunshine, rain, and the laws of trade have no regard for race or
     colour. We are learning that we must be builders if we would succeed.
     As we learn this lesson we shall find help at the South and at the
     North. We must not be content to be tolerated in communities, we must
     make ourselves needed. The law that governs the universe knows no
     race or colour. The force of nature will respond as readily to the
     hand of the Chinaman, the Italian, or the Negro as to any other race.
     Man may discriminate, but nature and the laws that control the
     affairs of men will not and cannot. Nature does not hide her wealth
     from a black hand.

All along the line one finds this spirit of hopeful progress. A vivid
picture of conditions, showing frankly both the weakness and strength of
the Negro, is given by a coloured correspondent of the Indianapolis
_Freeman_. He begins by telling of the organisation at Carbondale, Ill.,
of a joint stock company composed of thirty-nine coloured men to operate a
dry goods store. The correspondent writes:

     The question is, "Will the coloured people support this enterprise
     with their patronage?" It is a general cry all over the country that
     coloured people pass by the doors of our merchants and trade with any
     other concerns--Jews, Dagoes, Polacks, and what not. This is a very
     unfortunate fact which stands before us as a living shame. The very
     people who preach "race union, race support, race enterprise," are
     often the first to pass our own mercantile establishments by. The
     only places where coloured men can prosper in business are where our
     people are driven out of other people's places of business and
     actually forced to patronise our own. A certain cigar manufacturer in
     St. Louis, a first-class business man, putting out the very best
     classes of cigars, said, a few days ago, that some of the hardest
     work he ever did was to get a few of our own dealers to handle his
     goods. If but one-third of the stores and stands that sell cigars and
     tobacco in St. Louis alone would buy their goods of him he could in a
     few more years employ one or two dozen more men and women in his
     factory. A dry goods company in the same city is suffering from the
     same trouble. Our people will condescend to look in, but more often
     their purchases are made at a neighbouring Jew store. There are also
     in that neighbourhood several first-class, up-to-date, clean and
     tasty-looking coloured restaurants: but twice as many Negroes take
     their meals at the cheap-John, filthy, fourth-class chop counters run
     by other people near by. But, after all, my people are doing better
     in these matters than they did some time past. It was a most pleasant
     surprise to learn, the other day, that the coloured undertakers in
     St. Louis do every dollar's worth of business for our people in that
     line. This information was given by a reliable white undertaker and
     substantiated by the coloured undertakers. The white man was asked
     what he thought of it. He said he thought it was a remarkable
     illustration of the loyalty of the Negro to his own people and that
     they should be commended for it. And then there are two sides to
     every question. It is too often true that our people run their
     business on a low order--noisy, uncleanly, questionable, dive-like
     concerns--therefore do not deserve the patronage of decent people.
     Too many of our men do not know anything about business. They don't
     believe in investing their money in advertising their business in
     good first-class periodicals. We must not expect everybody to know
     where we are or what we have to sell unless we advertise. Many of our
     nickels would find their way to the cash drawer of a coloured man if
     we just knew where to find the store, restaurant or hotel.

_Remarkable Development of Negroes_

It is not short of astonishing, indeed, to discover how far the Negro has
been able to develop in the forty-odd years since slavery a distinct race
spirit and position. It is pretty well known that he has been going into
business, that he is acquiring much land, that he has many professional
men, that he worships in his own churches and has many schools which he
conducts--but in other lines of activity he is also getting a foothold.
Just as an illustration: I was surprised at finding so many Negro theatres
in the country--theatres not only owned or operated by Negroes, but
presenting plays written and acted by Negroes. I saw a fine new Negro
theatre in New Orleans; I visited a smaller coloured theatre in Jackson,
Miss., and in Chicago the Pekin Theatre is an enterprise wholly conducted
by Negroes. Williams and Walker, Negro comedians, have long amused large
audiences, both white and coloured. Their latest production, "Bandanna
Land," written and produced wholly by Negroes, is not only funny, but

Many other illustrations could be given to show how the Negro is
developing in one way or another--but especially along racial lines. The
extensive organisation of Negro lodges of Elks and Masons and other secret
orders, many of them with clubhouses, might be mentioned. Attention might
be called to the almost innumerable insurance societies and companies
maintained by Negroes, the largest of which, the True Reformers, of
Richmond, has over 50,000 members, and to the growth of Negro newspapers
and magazines (there are now over two hundred in the country), but enough
has been said, perhaps, to make the point that there has been a real
development of a Negro spirit and self-consciousness. Of course these
signal successes loom large among the ten million of the country and yet
they show the possibilities: there is this hopeful side of Negro
conditions in this country as well as the dark and evil aspects of which
we hear all too much.

Out of this ferment of racial self-consciousness and readjustment has
grown, as I have shown, the two great Negro parties. Between them and
within them lie the destinies of the race in this country, and to no small
extent also the destiny of the dominant white race. It is, therefore, of
the highest importance for white men to understand the real tendencies of
thought and organisation among these ten million Americans. For here is
vigour and ability, and whatever may be the white man's attitude toward
the Negro, the contempt of mere ignorance of what the Negro is doing is
not only short-sighted but positively foolish. Only by a complete
understanding can the white man who has assumed the entire responsibility
of government in this country meet the crises, like that of the Atlanta
riot, which are constantly arising between the races.



The discussion of the Negro in politics will of necessity deal chiefly
with conditions in the South; for it is there, and there only, that the
Negro is, at the present time, a great political problem. Negroes in the
North are indeed beginning to play a conscious part in politics; but they
are only one element among many. They take their place with the "Irish
vote," the "German vote," the "Polish vote," the "labour vote," each of
which must be courted or placated by the politicians. I have looked into
Negro political conditions in several cities, notably Indianapolis and
Philadelphia, and I cannot see that they are in any marked way different
from the condition of any other class of our population which through
ignorance, or fear, or ambition, votes more or less _en masse_. Many
Negroes do not vote at all; some are as conscientious and incorruptible as
any white citizen; but a large proportion, ignorant and short-sighted, are
disfranchised by the use of money in one form or another at every
election. One of the broadest observers in Indianapolis said to me:

"The Negro voters are no worse and no better than our foreign voting

Mayor Tom Johnson, himself Southern by birth, writes me regarding the
Negro vote of Cleveland:

"I do not believe there is any larger percentage of unintelligent or
dishonest votes among the coloured voters than among the white voters in
the same walks of life."

_Negro a National Problem_

I wish here to emphasise again the fact that the Negro is not a sectional
but a _national_ problem. Anything that affects the South favourably or
unfavourably reacts upon the whole country. And the same latent race
feeling exists in the North that exists in the South (for it is human,
not Southern). The North, indeed, as I have shown in previous chapters,
confronted with a large influx of Negroes, is coming more and more to
understand and sympathise with the heart-breaking problems which beset the
South. Nothing short of the patient coöperation of the entire country,
North and South, white and black, will ever solve the race question.

In this country, as elsewhere, political thought divides itself into two
opposing forces, two great parties or points of view.

Whatever their momentary names have been, whether Federalist, Democratic,
Whig, Republican, Populist, or Socialist, one of these parties has been an
Aristocratic or conservative party, the other a democratic or progressive
party. The political struggle in this country (and the world over) has
been between the aristocratic idea that a few men (or one man) should
control the country and supervise the division of labour and the products
of labour and the democratic idea that more people should have a hand in

The abolition of slavery in the South was an incident in this struggle.
Slavery was not abolished because the North agitated, or because John
Brown raided or Mrs. Stowe wrote a book, or for any other sentimental or
superficial reason, but because it was undemocratic.

_What Slavery Did_

This is what slavery did: It enabled a comparatively few men (only about
one in ten of the white men of the South was a slave-owner or
slave-renter) to control eleven states of the Union, to monopolise
learning, to hold all the political offices, to own most of the good land
and nearly all of the wealth. Not only did it keep the Negro in slavery,
but nine-tenths of the white people (the so-called "poor whites," whom
even the Negroes despised) were hardly more than peasants or serfs. It was
in many ways a charming aristocracy, but it was doomed from the beginning.
If there had been no North, slavery in the South would have disappeared
just as inevitably. It was the restless yeast of democracy, spreading
abroad upon the earth (in Europe as well as America) that killed slavery
and liberated both Negro and poor white men.

Revolutions such as the Civil War change names: they do not at once change
human relationships. Mankind is reconstructed not by proclamations or
legislation or military occupation, but by time, growth, education,
religion, thought.

When the South got on its feet again after Reconstruction and took account
of itself, what did it find? It found 4,000,000 ignorant Negroes changed
in name from "slave" to "freeman," but not changed in nature. It found the
poor whites still poor whites; and the aristocrats, although they had lost
both property and position, were still aristocrats. For values, after all,
are not outward, but inward: not material, but spiritual. It was as
impossible for the Negro at that time to be less than a slave as it was
for the aristocrat to be less than an aristocrat. And this is what so many
legal-minded men will not or cannot see.

What happened?

Exactly what might have been predicted. Southern society had been turned
wrong side up by force, and it righted itself again by force. The Ku Klux
Klan, the Patrollers, the Bloody Shirt movement, were the agencies
(violent and cruel indeed, but inevitable) which readjusted the
relationships, put the aristocrats on top, the poor whites in the middle,
and the Negroes at the bottom. In short, society instinctively reverted to
its old human relationships. I once saw a man shot through the body in a
street riot. Mortally wounded, he stumbled and rolled over in the dust,
but sprung up again as though uninjured and ran a hundred yards before he
finally fell dead. Thus the Old South, though mortally wounded, sprung up
and ran again.

_The Struggle in South Carolina_

The political reactions after Reconstruction varied, of course, in the
different states, being most violent in states like South Carolina, where
the old aristocratic régime was most firmly entrenched, and least violent
in North Carolina, which has always been the most democratic of Southern

In South Carolina then, for example, the aristocrats in 1875 returned to
political supremacy.

General Wade Hampton, who represented all that was highest in the old
régime, became governor of the state. A similar tendency developed, of
course, in the other Southern states, and a notable group of statesmen
(and they _were_ statesmen) appeared in politics--Hill and Gordon of
Georgia, Lamar and George of Mississippi, Butler of South Carolina, Morgan
of Alabama, all aristocrats of the old school.

Apparently the ancient order was restored; apparently the wounded man ran
as well as ever. But the Old South, after all, had received its mortal
wound. There _had_ been a revolution; society _had_ been overturned. The
institution on which it had reared its ancient splendour was gone: for the
aristocrat no longer enjoyed the special privilege, the enormous economic
advantage of _owning_ his labourers. He was reduced to an economic
equality with other white men, and even with the Negro, either of whom
could _hire_ labour as easily and cheaply as he could. And the baronial
plantation which had been the mark of his grandeur before the war was now
the millstone of his doom.

Special privilege, always the bulwark of aristocracy, being thus removed,
the germ of democracy began to work among the poor whites. The
disappearance of competitive slave labour made them unexpectedly
prosperous; it secured a more equable division of wealth. With prosperity
came more book-reading, more schooling, a greater _feeling_ of
independence. And this feeling animated the poor white with a new sense of
freedom and power.

Enter now, when the time was fully ripe for a leader, the rude man of the

How often he appears in the pages of history, the sure product of
revolutions, bursting upward like some devastating force, not at all
silken-handed or subtle-minded, but crude, virile, direct, truthful.

_Tillman, the Prophet_

So Tillman came in South Carolina. I can see him as he rode to the
farmers' fairs and court days in the middle eighties, a sallow-faced,
shaggy-haired man with one gleaming, restless, angry eye. He had been long
preparing in silence for his task--struggling upward in the
poverty-stricken days of the war and through the Reconstruction, without
schooling, or chance of schooling, but endowed with a virile-mindedness
which fed eagerly upon certain fermentative books of an inherited library.
Lying on his back in the evening on the porch of his farmhouse, he read
Carlyle's "French Revolution" and Gibbon's "Rome." He had in him, indeed,
the veritable spirit of the revolutionist: in the days of the Patrollers,
he, too, had ridden and hunted Negroes. He had seen the aristocracy come
again into power; he had heard the whisperings of discontent among the
poor whites. And at fairs and on court days in the eighties I hear him
screaming his speeches of defiance, raucous, immoderate, denouncing all
gentlemen, denouncing government by gentlemen, demanding that government
be restored to the "plain people!" On one of the transparencies of those
days he himself had printed the words (strange reminder of the Commune!):

"Awake! arise! or be forever fallen."

He spoke not only to the farmers, but he flung defiance at the aristocrats
in the heart of the aristocracy. At Charleston, one of the proudest of
Southern cities, he said:

"Men of Charleston, I have always heard that you were the most
self-idolatrous people that ever lived; but I want to say to you that the
sun does not rise in the Cooper and set in the Ashley. It shines all over
the state.... If the tales that have been told me or the reports which
have come to me are one-tenth true, you are the most arrant set of cowards
God ever made."

And everywhere he went he closed his speeches with this appeal:

"Organise, organise, organise. With organisation you will become free once
more. Without it, you will remain slaves."

Once, upon an historic occasion on the floor of the United States Senate,
Tillman paused in the heat of a debate to explain (not to excuse) his
fiery utterances.

"I am a rude man," he said, "and don't care."

That is Tillman. They tried to keep him and his followers out of the
political conventions; but he would not be kept out, nor kept down. Years
later he himself expressed the spirit of revolt in the United States
Senate. Zach McGhee tells how he had been making one of his fierce
attacks, an ebullition in general against things as they are. A senator
arose to snuff him out in the genial senatorial way.

"I would like to ask, Mr. President, what is before the Senate?"

"_I_ am before the Senate," screamed Tillman.

In 1890 Tillman was elected governor of South Carolina: the poor white, at
last, was in power.

The same change was going on all over the South. In Mississippi the rise
of the people (no longer poor) was represented by Vardaman, in Arkansas by
Jeff Davis, and Georgia and Alabama have experienced the same overturn in
a more complicated form. It has become a matter of pride to many of the
new leaders of the "plain people" that they do not belong to the "old
families" or to the "aristocracy." Governor Comer told me that he was a
"doodle-blower"--a name applied to the poor white dwellers on the sand
hills of Alabama. Governor Swanson of Virginia is proud of the fact that
he is the first governor of the state wholly educated in the public
schools and colleges. Call these men demagogues if you will, and some of
them certainly are open to the charge of appealing to the prejudices and
passions of the people, they yet represent a genuine movement for a more
democratic government in the South.

The old aristocrats gibe at the new leaders even to the point of bitter
hatred (in South Carolina at least one murder has grown out of the
hostility of the factions); they see (how acutely!) the blunders of
untrained administrators, their pride in their states is rubbed blood-raw
by the unblushing crudities of the Tillmans, the Vardamans, the Jeff
Davises. Go South and talk with any of these men of the ancient order and
you will come away feeling that conditions in the South are without hope.

_"High Men" of the Old South_

And those old aristocrats had their virtues. One loves to hear the names
still applied at Richmond, Montgomery, Macon, and Charleston to the men of
the old type, by other men of the old type. How often I have heard the
terms a "high man," an "incorruptible man." Beautiful names! For there was
a personal honour, a personal devotion to public duties among many of
these ante-bellum slave-owners that made them indeed "high men."

When they were in power their reign was usually skilful and honest: the
reign of a beneficent oligarchy. But it was selfish: it reigned for
itself--with nine-tenths of the people serfs or slaves. Its luxuries, its
culture, its gentleness, like that of all aristocracies, was enjoyed at
the fearful cost of poverty, ignorance, and slavery of millions of human
beings. It had no sympathy, therefore it perished from off the earth.

The new men of the Tillman type made glaring, even violent mistakes, but
for the most part honest mistakes; they saw clearly what they wanted: they
wanted more power in the hands of the people, more democracy, and they
went crudely at the work of getting it. In spite of the bitterness against
Vardaman among some of the best people of Mississippi I heard no one
accuse him of corruption in any department of his administration. On the
whole, they said he had directed the business of the state with judgment.
And Tillman, in spite of the dire predictions of the aristocrats, did not
ruin the state. Quite to the contrary, he performed a notable service in
extending popular education, establishing an agricultural college,
regulating the liquor traffic (even though the system he established has
since degenerated). Never before, indeed, has South Carolina, and the
South generally, been more prosperous than it has since these men went
into power, never has wealth increased so rapidly, never has education
been so general nor the percentage of illiteracy so low. The "highest
citizen" may not be so high (if it can be called high) in luxury and
culture as he was before the war, but the average citizen is decidedly

Having thus acquired a proper historical perspective, we may now consider
the part which the Negro has played in the politics of the South. Where
does _he_ come in?

_Where the Negro Comes In_

Though it may seem a sweeping generalisation, it is none the less
literally true that up to the present time the Negro's real influence in
politics in the South has been almost negligible. He has been an _issue_,
but not an _actor_ in politics. In the ante-bellum slavery agitation no
Negroes appeared; they were an inert lump of humanity possessing no power
of inner direction; the leaders on both sides were white men. The Negroes
did not even follow poor old John Brown. And since the war, as I have
shown, the struggle has been between the aristocrats and the poor whites.
They have talked _about_ the Negro, but they have not let _him_ talk. Even
in Reconstruction times, and I am not forgetting exceptional Negroes like
Bruce, Revels, Pinchback, and others, the Negro was in politics by virtue
of the power of the North. As a class, the Negroes were not self-directed
but used by Northern carpetbaggers and political Southerners who took most
of the offices and nearly all of the stealings.

In short, the Negro in times past has never been in politics in the South
in any positive sense. And that is not in the least surprising. Coming out
of slavery, the Negro had no power of intelligent self-direction,
practically no leaders who knew anything. He was still a slave in
everything except name, and slaves have never yet ruled, or helped rule.

The XV Amendment to the Constitution could not really enfranchise the
Negro slaves. Men must enfranchise themselves.

And this political equality by decree, not by growth and development,
caused many of the woes of Reconstruction.

Two distinct impulses mark the effort of the South to disfranchise the
Negro. The first was the blind revolt of Reconstruction times, in which
force and fraud were frankly and openly applied. The effort to eliminate
the Negro brought the white people together in one dominant party and the
"Solid South" was born. For years this method sufficed; but in the
meantime the Negro was getting a little education, acquiring
self-consciousness, and developing leaders of more or less ability. It
became necessary, therefore, both because the Negro was becoming more
restive, less easily controlled by force, and because the awakening white
man disliked and feared the basis of fraud on which his elections rested,
to establish legal sanction for disfranchisement, to define the political
status of the Negro by law.

Now, the truth is that the mass of Southerners have _never believed that
the Negro has or should have any political rights_. The South as a whole
does not now approve and never has approved of the voting Negro. A few
Negroes vote everywhere, "but not enough," as a Southerner said to me, "to
do any hurt."

The South, then, has been placed in the position of _providing by law for
something that it did not really believe in_.

[Illustration: COLONEL JAMES LEWIS United States Receiver at New Orleans]

[Illustration: W. T. VERNON Register of the United States Treasury

Photograph by G. V. Buck]

[Illustration: RALPH W. TYLER An auditor of the Government at Washington]

It was prophesied that when the Negro was disfranchised by law and
"eliminated from politics" the South would immediately stop discussing the
Negro question and divide politically along new lines. But this has not
happened. Though disfranchisement laws have been in force in Mississippi
for years there is less division in the white party of that state than
ever before.

Why is this so? Because the Negro, through gradual education and the
acquisition of property, is becoming more and more a real as well as a
potential factor in politics. For he is just beginning to be _really_
free. And the South has not yet decided how to deal with a Negro who owns
property and is self-respecting and intelligent and who demands rights.
The South is suspicious of this new Negro: it dreads him; and the
politicians in power are quick to play upon this sentiment in order that
the South may remain solid and the present political leadership remain

For the South, however much it may talk of the ignorant masses of Negroes,
does not really fear them; it wants to keep them, and keep them ignorant.
It loves the ignorant, submissive old Negroes, the "mammies" and "uncles";
it wants Negroes who, as one Southerner put it to me, "will do the dirty
work and not fuss about it." It wants Negroes who are really inferior and
who _feel_ inferior. The Negro that the South fears and dislikes is the
educated, property-owning Negro who is beginning to demand rights, to take
his place among men as a citizen. This is not an unsupported statement of
mine, but has been expressed over and over again by speakers and writers
in every part of the South. I have before me a letter from Charles P.
Lane, editor of the Huntsville (Alabama) _Daily Tribune_, written to
Governor Comer. It was published in the Atlanta _Constitution_. The writer
is arguing that the Negro disfranchisement laws in Alabama are too
lenient, that they permit too many Negroes to vote. He says:

     We thought then (in 1901, when the new Alabama Constitution
     disfranchising the Negro was under discussion), as we do now, that
     the menace to peace, the danger to society and white supremacy was
     not in the illiterate Negro, but in the upper branches of Negro
     society, the educated, the man who, after ascertaining his political
     rights, forced the way to assert them.

He continues:

     We, the Southern people, entertain no prejudice toward the ignorant
     per se inoffensive Negro. It is because we know him and for him we
     entertain a compassion. But our blood boils when the educated Negro
     asserts himself politically. We regard each assertion as an
     unfriendly encroachment upon our native superior rights, and a
     dare-devil menace to our control of the affairs of the state.

     In this are we not speaking the truth? Does not every Southern
     Caucasian "to the manor born" bear witness to this version? Hence we
     present that the way to dampen racial prejudice, avert the impending
     horrors, is to emasculate the Negro politically by repealing the XV
     Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

I use this statement of Mr. Lane's not because it represents the broadest
and freest thought in the South, for it does not, but because it
undoubtedly states frankly and clearly the point of view of the _majority_
of Southern people. It is the point of view which, talked all over Georgia
last year, helped to elect Hoke Smith governor of the state, as it has
elected other governors. Hoke Smith's argument was essentially this:

_Hoke Smith's Views_

The uneducated Negro is a good Negro; "he is contented to occupy the
natural status of his race, the position of inferiority." The educated and
intelligent Negro, who wants to vote, is a disturbing and threatening
influence. We don't want him down here; let him go North.

This feeling regarding the educated Negro, who, as Mr. Lane says,
"ascertains his rights and forces his way to assert them," is the basic
fact in Southern politics. It is what keeps the white people welded
together in a single party; it is what sternly checks revolts and
discourages independence.

Keeping this fact in mind, let us look more intimately into Southern

Following ordinary usage I have spoken of the Solid South. As a matter of
fact the South is not solid, nor is there a single party. The very
existence of one strong party presupposes another, potentially as strong.
In the South to-day there are, as inevitably as human nature, two parties
and two political points of view. And one is aristocratic and the other is

It is noteworthy in the pages of history that parties which were once
democratic become in time aristocratic. We are accustomed for example, to
look back upon Magna Charta as a mighty instrument of democracy; which it
was; but it was not democracy according to our understanding of the word.
It merely substituted a baronial oligarchy for the divine-right rule of
one man, King John. It did not touch the downtrodden slaves, serfs and
peasants of England. And yet that struggle of the barons was of profound
moment in history, for it started the spirit of democracy on its way
downward, it was the seed from which sprung English constitutionalism,
which finally flowered in the American republic.

Tillman, as I have shown, wrung democracy from the old slave-owning
oligarchy. He conquered: he established a democracy in South Carolina
which included poor whites as well as aristocrats. But Tillman in his
fiery pleas for the rights of men no more considered the Negro than the
old barons considered the serfs of their day in the struggle against King
John. It was and is incomprehensible to him that the Negro "has any rights
which the white man is bound to respect."

In short we have in the South the familiar and ancient division of social
forces, but instead of two white parties, we now see a white aristocratic
party, which seeks to control the government, monopolise learning, and
supervise the division of labour and the products of labour, struggling
with a democratic party consisting of a few white and many coloured
people, which clamours for a part in the government. That, in plain words,
is the true situation in the South to-day.

_Has the Spirit of Democracy Crossed the Colour Line?_

For democracy is like this: once its ferment begins to work in a nation it
does not stop until it reaches and animates the uttermost man. Though
Tillman's hatred and contempt of the Negro who has aspirations is without
bounds, the spirit which he voiced in his wild campaigns does not stop at
the colour line. Movements are so much greater than men, often going so
much further than men intend. A prophet who stands out for truth as
Tillman did cannot, having uttered it, thereafter limit it nor recall it.
As I have been travelling about the country, how often I have heard the
same animating whisper from the Negroes that Tillman heard in older days
among the poor whites:

"We are free; we are free."

Yes, Tillman and Vardaman are right; education, newspapers, books,
commercial prosperity, are working in the Negro too; he, too, has the
world-old disease of restlessness, ambition, hope. And many a Negro leader
and many a Negro organisation--and that is what is causing the turmoil in
the South, the fear of the white aristocracy--are voicing the equivalent
of Tillman's bold words:

"Awake! arise! or be forever fallen."

Now we may talk all we like about the situation, we may say that the Negro
is wrong in entertaining such ambitions, that his hopes can never be
gratified, that he is doomed forever to menial and inferior
occupations--the plain fact remains (as Tillman himself testifies), that
the democratic spirit _has_ crossed the colour line irrespective of laws
and conventions, that the Negro is restless with the ambition to rise, to
enjoy all that is best, finest, most complete in this world. How humanly
the ancient struggle between aristocracy seeking to maintain its
"superiority" and democracy fighting for "equality" is repeating itself!
And this struggle in the South is complicated, deeply and variously, by
the fact that the lower people are black and of a different race. They
wear on their faces the badge of their position.

What is being done about it?

As every student of history is well aware, no aristocracy ever lets go
until it is compelled to. How bitterly King John fought his barons; how
bitterly the South Carolina gentlemen fought the rude Tillman! Having
control of the government, the newspapers, the political parties, the
schools, an aristocracy surrounds and fortifies itself with every possible
safeguard. It maintains itself at any cost. And that is both human and
natural; that is what is happening in the South to-day. Exactly the same
conflict occurred before the war when the old slave-owning aristocracy
(which everyone now acknowledges to have been wrong) was defending itself
and the institution upon which its existence depended. The old
slave-owning aristocrats believed that they were made of finer clay than
the "poor whites," that their rule was peculiarly beneficent, that if
anything should happen to depose them the country would go to ruin and
destruction. It was the old, old conviction, common to kings and
oligarchies, that they were possessed of a divine right, a special and
perpetual franchise from God.

_The White South Defends Itself_

The present white aristocratic party in the South is defending itself
exactly after the manner of all aristocracies.

In the first place, having control of the government it has entrenched
itself with laws. The moment, for example, that the Negro began to develop
any real intelligence and leadership, the disfranchisement process was
instituted. Laws were so worded that every possible white man be admitted
to the franchise and every possible Negro (regardless of his intelligence)
be excluded. These laws now exist in nearly all the Southern states.
Although the XV Amendment to the Federal Constitution declares that the
right to vote shall not be "denied or abridged ... on account of race or
colour or previous condition of servitude," the South, in defence of its
white aristocracy, has practically nullified this amendment. Governor Hoke
Smith of Georgia, for example, said (June 9, 1906):

     Legislation can be passed which will ... not interfere with the right
     of any white man to vote, and get rid of 95 per cent. of the Negro

Not only do the enacted laws disfranchise all possible Negroes, but many
other Negroes who have enough property or education to qualify, are
further disfranchised by the dishonest administration of those laws. For
the machinery of government, being wholly in white hands, the registers
and judges of election have power to keep out any Negro, however fit he
may be. I know personally of many instances in which educated and
well-to-do Negroes have been refused the right to register where ignorant
white men were readily admitted.

The law, after all, in this matter, plays very little figure. The white
majority has determined to control the government utterly and to give the
Negro, whether educated or not, no political influence. That is the plain
truth of the matter. Listen to Hoke Smith in his campaign pledge of last

"I favour, and if elected will urge with all my power, the elimination of
the Negro from politics."

Let us also quote the plain-speaking Vardaman in his address of April,
1907, at Poplarville, Miss.:

     How is the white man going to control the government? The way we do
     it is to pass laws to fit the white man and make the other people
     (Negroes) come to them.... If it is necessary every Negro in the
     state will be lynched; it will be done to maintain white
     supremacy.... The XV Amendment ought to be wiped out. We all agree on
     that. Then why don't we do it?

It may be argued that this violent expression does not represent the best
sentiment of the South. It does not; and yet Vardaman, Tillman, Jeff
Davis, Hoke Smith, and others of the type are _elected_, the _majority_ in
their states support them. And I am talking here of politics, which deals
with majorities. In a following chapter I shall hope to deal with the
reconstructive and progressive minority in the South as it expresses
itself especially in the more democratic border states like North

Thus the spirit of democracy has really escaped among the coloured people
and it is running abroad like a prairie fire. Tillman, the prophet, sees

"Every man," he says, "who can look before his nose can see that with
Negroes constantly going to school, the increasing number of people who
can read and write among the coloured race ... will in time encroach upon
our white men."

_Demand Repeal of XV Amendment_

In order, then, to prevent the Negro getting into politics, the Tillmans,
Vardamans, and others declare that the South must strike at the foundation
of his political liberty: the XV Amendment must be repealed. In short, the
moment the Negro meets one test of citizenship, these political leaders
advance a more difficult one: now proposing to take away entirely every
hope of ultimate citizenship. In the recent campaign for the United States
senatorship in Mississippi, Vardaman and John Sharp Williams were quite in
accord on this point, though they disagreed on methods of accomplishing
the purpose. When the political liberty of the Negro has thus been finally
removed, the South, say these men, will again have two parties, and will
be able to take the place it should occupy in the counsels of the nation.

Take the next point in the logic of the political leaders. It is a fact
of common knowledge in history that aristocracies cannot long survive when
free education is permitted among all classes of people. Education is more
potent against oligarchies and aristocracies than dynamite bombs. Every
aristocracy that has survived has had to monopolise learning more or less
completely--else it went to the wall. It is not surprising that there
should have been no effective public-school system in the South before the
war where the poor whites could get an education, or that the teaching of
Negroes was in many states a crime punishable by law. Education enables
the Negro, as Mr. Lane says, to "ascertain his rights and force his way to
assert them." Therefore to prevent his ascertaining his rights he must not
be educated. The undivided supremacy of the white party, it is clearly
discerned, is bound up with Negro ignorance. Therefore we have seen and
are now seeing in certain parts of the South continuous agitation against
the education of Negroes. That is one reason for the feeling in the South
against "Northern philanthropy" which is contributing money to support
Negro schools and colleges.

"What the North is sending South is not money," says Vardaman, "but
dynamite; this education is ruining our Negroes. They're demanding

_A Southern View of Negro Education_

When I was in Montgomery, Ala., a letter was published in one of the
newspapers from Alexander Troy, a well-known lawyer. It did not express
the view of the most thoughtful men of that city, but I am convinced that
it represented with directness and force the belief of a large proportion
of the white people of Alabama. The letter says:

     All the millions which have been spent by the state since the war in
     Negro education ... have been worse than wasted. Should anyone ask
     "Has not Booker Washington's school been of benefit to the Negro?"
     the so-called philanthropists of the North would say "yes," but a
     hundred thousand white people of Alabama would say "no."... Ask any
     gentleman from the country what he thinks of the matter, and a very
     large majority of them will tell you that they never saw a Negro
     benefited by education, but hundreds ruined. He ceases to be a hewer
     of wood and a drawer of water....

     Exclude the air and a man will die, keep away the moisture and the
     flower will wither. Stop the appropriations for Negro education, by
     amendment to the Constitution if necessary, and the school-house in
     which it is taught will decay. Not only that, but the Negro will
     take the place the Creator intended he should take in the economy of
     the world--a dutiful, faithful, and law-abiding servant.

These are Mr. Troy's words and they found reflection in the discussions of
the Alabama legislature then in session. A compulsory education bill had
been introduced; the problem was to pass a law that would apply to white
people, not to Negroes. In this connection I heard a significant
discussion in the state senate. I use the report of it, for accuracy, as
given the next morning in the _Advertiser_:

     Senator Thomas said ... he would oppose any bills that would compel
     Negroes to educate their children, for it had come to his knowledge
     that Negroes would give the clothing off their backs to send their
     children to school, while too often the white man, secure in his
     supremacy, would be indifferent to his duty.

     At this point Senator Lusk arose excitedly to his feet and said:

     "Does the Senator from Barbour mean to say that the Negro race is
     more ambitious and has more aspirations than the white race?"

     "The question of the gentleman ... is an insult to the senate of
     Alabama," replied Senator Thomas deliberately. "It is an insult to
     the great Caucasian race, the father of all the arts and sciences, to
     compare it to that black and kinky race which lived in a state of
     black and ignorant savagery until the white race seized it and lifted
     it to its present position."

The result of this feeling against Negro education has shown itself in an
actual reduction of Negro schooling in many localities, especially in
Louisiana, and little recent progress anywhere else, compared with the
rapid educational development among the whites, except through the work of
the Negroes themselves, or by Northern initiative.

In cutting off an $8,000 appropriation for Alcorn College (coloured)
Governor Vardaman, as a member of the board of trustees, said:

"I am not anxious even to see the Negro turned into a skilled mechanic.
God Almighty intended him to till the soil under the direction of the
white man and that is what we are going to teach him down there at Alcorn

Without arguing the rights or wrongs or necessities of their position, I
have thus endeavoured to set down the purposes of the present political
leadership in the South.

_Economic Cause for White Supremacy_

Now the chief object of any aristocracy, the reason why it wishes to
monopolise government and learning, is because it wishes to supervise the
division of labour and the products of labour. That is the bottom fact.

In slavery times, of course, the white man supervised labour absolutely
and took _all_ the profits. In some cases to-day, by a system of peonage,
he still controls the labourer and takes all the profits. But as the Negro
has grown in education and property he not only wishes to supervise his
own labour, but demands a larger share in the returns of labour. He is no
longer willing to be an abject "hewer of wood and a drawer of water" as he
was in slavery times; he has an ambition to own his own farm, do his own
business, employ his own professional men, and so on. He will not "keep
his place" as a servant. And that is the basis of all the trouble.

Many of the utterances of white political leaders resolve themselves into
a statement of this position.

At the American Bankers' Association last fall Governor Swanson of
Virginia said:

"At last the offices, the business houses, and the financial institutions
are all in the hands of intelligent Anglo-Saxons, and with God's help and
our own good right hand we will hold him (the Negro) where he is."

In other words, the white man will by force hold all political, business
and financial positions; he will be boss, and the Negro must do the menial
work; he must be a servant.

Hoke Smith says in his speech (the italics are mine):

"Those Negroes who are contented to occupy the natural status of their
race, the position of inferiority, _all competition being eliminated
between the whites and the blacks_, will be treated with greater

In other words, if the Negro will be contented to keep himself inferior
and not compete with the white man, everything will be all right. And
thus, curiously enough, while Hoke Smith in his campaign was thundering
against railroad corporations for destroying competition, while he was
glorifying the principle of "free and unrestricted trade," he was
advocating the formation of a monopoly of all white men by the elimination
of the competition of all coloured men.

Indeed, we find sporadic attempts to pass laws to compel the Negro to
engage only in certain sorts of menial work. In Texas not long ago a bill
was introduced in the legislature "to confine coloured labour to the farm
whenever it was found in city and town communities to be competing with
white labour." In the last session of the Arkansas legislature Senator
McKnight introduced a bill providing that Negroes be forbidden "from
waiting on white persons in hotels, restaurants, or becoming barbers, or
porters on trains, and to prevent any white man from working for any

In a number of towns respectable, educated, and prosperous Negro doctors,
grocers, and others have been forcibly driven out. I visited Monroe, La.,
where two Negro doctors had been forced to leave town because they were
taking the practice of white physicians. In the same town a Negro grocer
was burned out, because he was encroaching on the trade of white grocers.

Neither of the laws above referred to, of course, was passed; and the
instances of violence I have given are sporadic and unusual. For the South
has not followed the dominant political leaders to the extremes of their
logic. Human nature never, finally, goes to extremes: it is forever
compromising, never wholly logical. While perhaps a large proportion of
Southerners would agree perfectly with Hoke Smith or Tillman in his
_theory_ of a complete supremacy of all white men in all respects, as a
matter of fact nearly every white Southerner is encouraging some practical
exception which quite overturns the theory. Tens of thousands of white
Southerners swear by Booker T. Washington, and though doubtful about Negro
education, the South is expending millions of dollars every year on
coloured schools. Vardaman, declaiming violently against Negro colleges,
has actually, in specific instances, given them help and encouragement. I
told how he had cut off an $8,000 appropriation from Alcorn College
because he did not believe in Negro education: but he turned around and
gave Alcorn College $14,000 for a new lighting system, _because he had
come in personal contact with the Negro president of Alcorn College, and
liked him_.

And though the politicians may talk about complete Negro disfranchisement,
the Negro has nowhere been completely disfranchised: a few Negroes vote in
every part of the South.

I once heard a Southerner argue for an hour against the participation of
the Negro in politics, and then ten minutes later tell me with pride of a
certain Negro banker in his city whom we both knew.

"Dr. ----'s all right," he said. "He's a sensible Negro. I went with him
myself when he registered. He ought to vote."

So personal relationships, the solving touch of human nature, play havoc
with political theories and generalities. Mankind develops not by rules
but by exceptions to rules. While the white aristocracy has indeed
succeeded in controlling local government in the South almost completely,
it has not been able to dominate the federal political organisations,
which include many Negroes. And though often opposing education for the
Negro, the aristocracy has not, after all, monopolised education; and the
Negro, in spite of Jim Crow laws and occasional violence, has actually
been pushing ahead, getting a foothold in landownership, entering the
professions, even competing in some lines of business with white men. So
democracy, though black, is encroaching in the world-old way on
aristocracy; how far Negroes can go toward real democratic citizenship in
the various lines--industrial, political, social--no man knows. We can see
the fight; we do not know how the spoils of war will finally be divided.




At present the point of view of a large proportion of Southern white
people on the Negro question is adequately expressed by such men as
Tillman, Jeff Davis, and Hoke Smith. They are the political leaders. Their
policies are, in general, the policies adopted; they are the men elected
to office. Even in the border states, where the coloured population is not
so dense as in the black belt, the attitude of the politicians is much the
same as it is in the black belt. So far as the Negro question is
concerned, Governor Swanson of Virginia stands on practically the same
platform as Tillman and Hoke Smith--though he has not found it necessary
to express his views as vigorously. And the position of the black-belt
states in regard to the disfranchisement of the Negro and the extension of
"Jim Crow" laws is being accepted by the border state of Maryland and the
Western state of Oklahoma.

But there also exists, and particularly in Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, and Georgia, a vigorous minority point of view, which I have
referred to in a former chapter as the "broadest and freest thought of the
South." Although it has not yet attained political position, it is a party
of ideas, force, convictions, with a definite constructive programme. To
this constructive point of view I have been able, thus far, to refer only

In the present chapter I wish to consider some of the effects upon
Southern life of the domination of the Negro as a political issue, and the
result of the continued supremacy of leaders like Tillman.

[Illustration: J. POPE BROWN of Pulaski County, Georgia]

[Illustration: EX-GOVERNOR JAMES K. VARDAMAN of Mississippi]

[Illustration: SENATOR JEFF DAVIS of Arkansas

Photograph by Harris-Ewing]

[Illustration: GOVERNOR HOKE SMITH of Georgia

Copyright, 1906, by Hallen Studios]

[Illustration: SENATOR B. R. TILLMAN of South Carolina

Photograph by F. B. Johnston]

[Illustration: EX-GOVERNOR W. J. NORTHEN of Georgia]

In the next chapter, under the title "The New Southern Statesmanship," I
shall outline the programme and recount the activities of the new Southern

_The Most Sinister Form of Negro Domination_

Travelling in the South one hears much of the "threat of Negro
domination," by which is generally meant political control by Negro voters
or the election of Negro officeholders. But there already exists a far
more real and sinister form of Negro domination. For the Negro still
dominates the _thought_ of the South. For over eighty years, until quite
recently, few great or serious issues have occupied the attention of the
South save those growing out of slavery and the Negro problem. Though the
very existence of our nation is due largely to the courage, wisdom, and
political genius of Southern statesmanship--to Washington, Jefferson,
Marshall, Patrick Henry, and their compatriots--the South, since the
enunciation of the Monroe doctrine in 1823, has played practically no
constructive part in national affairs. As Professor Mitchell of Richmond
well points out, the great, vitalising influences which swept over the
entire civilised world during the first half of the nineteenth century,
the liberalising, nationalising, industrialising influences, left the
South untouched. For it was chained in common slavery with the Negro.
Instead of expanding with the new thought, it clung to slavery in
opposition to the liberal tendency of the age, it insisted upon states'
rights in opposition to nationality, it contented itself with agriculture
alone, instead of embracing the rising industrialism. "It was an
instance," as Professor Mitchell says, "of arrested development."

Dr. John E. White of Atlanta has ably expressed the ethical result upon a
people of confining their thought to a single selfish interest:

"As long as we struggled for that which was good for everybody
everywhere," he says, "we moved with Providence and the South led the van.
There were great human concerns in the building up of the Republic. The
whole world was interested in it. It was a work ennobling to a people--the
inspiration of a great national usefulness. The disaster began when the
South began to think only for and of itself--began to have only one

Thus the South, owing to the presence of the Negro, dropped behind in the
progress of the world. And while the new and vitalising world influences
are now spreading abroad throughout the South, manifesting themselves in
factories, mines, mills, better schools, and more railroads, the old, ugly
Negro problem still shackles political thought and cripples freedom of
action. In other words, the South is being rapidly industrialised, but not
so rapidly liberalised and nationalised, though these developments are
certainly following.

_Exploiting Negro Prejudice_

The cause of this dominance of thought by the Negro lies chiefly with a
certain group of politicians whose interest it is to maintain their party
control and to keep the South solid. And they do this by harping
perpetually on the Negro problem. I observed, wherever I went in the South
and found busy and prosperous industries, that the Negro problem was
little discussed. One manufacturer in New Orleans said to me, when I asked
him about the Negro question:

"Why, I'm so busy I never think about it."

And that is the attitude of the progressive, constructive Southerner: he
is impatient with the talk about the Negro and the Negro problem. He wants
to forget it.

But there remains a body of men in the South who, not prosperous in other
industries, still make the Negro a sort of industry: they live by
exploiting Negro prejudice. They prevent the expression of new ideas and
force a great people to confine its political genius to a worn-out issue.

_Roosevelt Democrats Down South_

Talking with all classes of white men in the South, I was amazed to
discover how many of them had ceased to be Democrats (in the party sense)
at all, and were followers in their beliefs of Roosevelt and the
Republican party. Many of them told me that they wished they could break
away and express themselves openly and freely, but they did not dare. A
considerable number have ventured to vote the Republican ticket in
national elections (especially on the free-silver issue), but few indeed
have had the courage to declare their independence in state or local
affairs. For the instant a rift appears in the harmony of the white party
(and that is a better name for it than Democratic) the leaders talk Negro,
and the would-be independents are driven back into the fold. Over and over
again leaders with new issues have endeavoured to get a hearing. A number
of years ago the Populist movement spread widely throughout the South. Tom
Watson of Georgia, Kolb of Alabama, Butler of North Carolina, led revolts
against the old Democratic party. By fusion with the Republicans the
Populists carried North Carolina. But the old political leaders
immediately raised the Negro issue, declared that the Populists were
encouraging the Negro vote, and defeated the insurgents, driving most of
their leaders into political obscurity. Now, I am not arguing that
Populism was an ideal movement, nor that its leaders were ideal men; I am
merely trying to show the cost of independence in the South. A number of
years ago Emory Speer, of Georgia, now Federal Judge, ran for Congress on
an independent ticket. His platform was "The Union and the Constitution, a
free ballot and a fair count." The inevitable Negro issue was raised
against him, it was insisted that there must be no division among white
people lest the Negro secure the balance of political power, and Speer was
finally defeated. He became a Republican and has since had no influence in
state politics.

Upon this point an able Southern writer, Professor Edwin Mims of Trinity
College, N. C., has said:

"The independents in the South have to face the same state of affairs that
the independents of the North did in the '80's--all the better traditions
connected with one party, and most of the respectable people belonging to
the same party. Just as George William Curtis and his followers were
accused of being Democrats in disguise and of being traitors to the 'grand
old party' that had saved the Union and freed the slaves, and deserters to
a party of Copperheads, so the Southern independent is said to be a
Republican in disguise, and is told of the awful crimes of the
Reconstruction era. When all other arguments have failed, there is the
inevitable appeal to the threatened domination of an inferior race which
is not now even a remote possibility."

As a result of this domination of a worn-out issue, political contests in
the South have ordinarily concerned themselves not with stimulating public
questions, but with the personal qualifications of the candidates. The
South has not dared to face real problems lest the white party be split
and the Negro voter somehow slip into influence. A campaign was fought
last year in Mississippi. Of course the candidates all belonged to the
white party; all therefore subscribed to identically the same
platform--which had been prepared by the party leaders--so that the only
issue was the personality of the candidates. Let me quote from the
Mississippi correspondent of the New Orleans _Times-Democrat_, April 29,

     The only "issue" ... is the personality of the candidate himself. The
     voter may take the speeches of each candidate and analyse them from
     start to finish, and he will fail to find where there is any
     difference of opinion between the candidates on any of the live
     questions of the day which are likely to affect Mississippi. He must,
     therefore, turn from the speeches to the candidate himself for an
     "issue" and must take his choice of the several candidates as men,
     and decide which of them will do most good to the state and be the
     safest man to entrust with the helm.

_Negro Holds Democratic Party Together_

I am speaking here, of course, of the Negro as a dominant issue, the
essential element which holds the Democratic party together and without
which other policies could not be carried or candidates elected. Vigorous
divisions on other issues have taken place locally within the lines of the
Democratic party, especially during the last two or three years. The
railroad and trust questions have been prominently before the people in
most of the Southern states. During his long campaign for governor Hoke
Smith talked railroads and railroad influence in politics constantly, but
in order to be elected he raised the Negro question and talked it
vigorously, especially in all of his country addresses. It is also highly
significant that the South should have taken so strong a lead in the
prohibition movement, although even this question has been more or less
connected with the Negro problem, the argument being that the South must
forbid the liquor traffic because of its influence on the Negro. No states
in the Union, indeed, have been more radical in dealing with the trust
question than Texas and Arkansas; and Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina
have been the scenes of some of the hottest fights in the country on the
railroad question. All this goes to show that, once freed from the incubus
of the Negro on Southern thought, the South would instantly become a great
factor in national questions. And being almost exclusively American in its
population, with few rich men and ideals of life not yet so subservient to
the dollar as those of the North, it would become a powerful factor in the
progressive and constructive movements of the country. The influence of a
single bold man like Tillman in the Senate has been notable. In the future
the country has much to look for from the idealism of Southern

_Stifling Free Speech_

But the unfortunate result of the dominance of the single idea of the
Negro upon politics has been to benumb the South intellectually; to stifle
free thought and free speech. Let a man advance a new issue and if the
party leaders do not favour it they have only to cry out "Negro," twisting
the issue so as to emphasise its Negro side (and every question in the
South has a Negro side), and the independent thinker is crushed. I once
talked with the editor of a newspaper in the South who said to me, "such
and such is my belief."

"But," I said, "you take just the opposite position in your paper."

"Yes--but I can't talk out; it would kill my business."

This timorousness has touched not only politics, but has reached the
schools and the churches--and still shackles the freest speech. George W.
Cable, the novelist, was practically forced to leave the South because he
advocated the "continual and diligent elevation of that lower man which
human society is constantly precipitating," because he advocated justice
for the Negro.

Professor Andrew Slade was compelled to resign from Emory College in
Georgia because he published an article in the _Atlantic Monthly_ taking a
point of view not supported by the majority in Southern sentiment!
Professor John Spencer Bassett was saved from a forced resignation from
Trinity College in North Carolina for a similar offence after a lively
fight in the Board of Trustees which left Trinity with the reputation of
being one of the freest institutions in the South.

The situation in the South has made people afraid of the truth. Political
oratory, particularly, often gets away entirely from the wholesome and
regenerative world of actual facts. I quoted in the last chapter from a
speech of Governor Swanson of Virginia, in which he said: "The business
houses and financial institutions are in the hands of intelligent
Anglo-Saxons, and with God's help and our own good right hand we will hold
him (the Negro) where he is."

_Negro's Progress in Richmond_

What a curious thing oratory is! Right in Governor Swanson's own city of
Richmond there are four banks owned and operated by Negroes; one of the
Negro bankers sat in the convention to which Governor Swanson was at that
moment speaking. There is a Negro insurance company, "The True Reformers,"
in which I saw eighty Negro clerks and stenographers at work. It has a
surplus of $300,000, with a business in thirty states. Negroes also own
and operate in Richmond four clothing stores, five drug stores, many
grocery stores (some very small, of course), two hotels, four livery
stables, five printing establishments, eight fraternal insurance
companies, seven meat markets, fifty eating-places, and many other sorts
of business enterprises, small, of course, but growing rapidly. In
Richmond also, there are ten Negro lawyers, fifteen physicians, three
dentists, two photographers, eighty-five school teachers, forty-six Negro

_Southerners Who See the Danger_

When I make the assertion regarding "free speech" and the fear of truth in
the South, I am making no statement which has not been far more forcibly
put by thoughtful and fearless Southerners who see and dread this sinister

The late Chancellor Hill, of the University of Georgia, spoke of the
"deadly paralysis of intellect caused by the enforced uniformity of
thought within the lines of one party." He said:

"Before the war the South was in opposition to the rest of civilisation
on the question of slavery. It defended itself: its thinking, its
political science, even its religion was not directed toward a search for
truth, but it was concentrated on the defence of a civil and political
order of things. These conditions made impossible a vigorous intellectual

William Preston Few, dean of Trinity College, North Carolina, writes
(_South Atlantic Quarterly_, January, 1905):

"This prevalent lack of first hand thinking and of courage to speak out
has brought about an unfortunate scarcity of intellectual honesty."

An excellent illustration of this condition grew out of the statement of
Dr. Edwin A. Alderman, president of the University of Virginia, at a
dinner a year or so ago, in which he compared the recent political
leadership of the South somewhat unfavourably with the statesmanship of
the Old South. Upon hearing of this remark Senator Bailey of Texas angrily
resigned from the alumni committee of the University. Chancellor Hill
said, concerning the incident:

"The question whether Dr. Alderman was right or wrong becomes
insignificant beside the larger question whether Senator Bailey was right
or wrong in his method of dealing with a difference of opinion. And this
leads to the question: Have we freedom of opinion in the South? Must every
man who thinks above a whisper do so at the peril of his reputation and
his influence, or at the deadlier risk of having an injury inflicted upon
the institution which he represents?"

In giving so much space to the words and position of Vardaman, Tillman,
Hoke Smith, and others, I have not yet sufficiently emphasised the work
and influence of the thoughtful and constructive men of the South. But it
must be borne in mind that I am writing of politics, of majorities: and
politicians of the Tillman type are still the political forces in the
South. They are in control: they are elected. Yet there is the growing
class of new statesmen whose work I shall recount in the next chapter.

_Whites Disfranchised as Well as Blacks_

But the limitation of intellectual freedom has not been the only result of
the political dominance of the Negro issue. It is curious to observe that
when one class of men in any society is forced downward politically,
another is forced up: for so mankind keeps its balances and averages. A
significant phase of the movement in the South to eliminate the Negro is
the sure return to government by a white aristocracy. For disfranchisement
of the Negro has also served to disfranchise a very large proportion of
the white people as well. In every Southern state where Negro
disfranchisement has been forced, the white vote also has been steadily
dwindling. To-day in Alabama not half the white males of voting age are
qualified voters. In Mississippi the proportion is still lower.

In the last Presidential election the state of Mississippi was carried by
Parker with a total vote of only 58,383, out of a total of 349,177
citizens (both white and coloured) of voting age. Only one-third of the
white men voted. It has been found, indeed, in several counties in
Mississippi, that while the number of white eligibles has been decreasing,
the number of Negroes on the registration lists has been increasing. In
the city of Jackson, Miss., last year, 1,200 voters were registered out of
a population of 32,000 people.

To show the dwindling process, take the single country of Tallapoosa in
Alabama. The last census shows 4,203 whites and 2,036 blacks of voting
age, 6,259 in all. After the adoption of the new constitution
disfranchising the Negro in 1901, the total registration was 4,008. Last
fall, although the important question of prohibition had arisen and an
especial effort was made to get voters out, an investigation showed there
were only 1,700 qualified voters in the country.

This astonishing condition is due primarily to the fact that there is no
vital party division on new issues in the South; but it is also due to the
franchise tests, which, having been made severe to keep the Negro out,
operate also to disfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor and ignorant
white men. I spent much time talking with white workingmen, both in the
cities and in the country. I asked them why so many workingmen and farmers
did not vote. Here is one comprehensive reply of a labour leader:

"What's the use? We have to pay two dollars a year poll-tax, and pay it
nearly a year before election. And why vote? There are no real issues at
stake. An election is merely a personal quarrel in the clique of men who
control the Democratic party. Why should we pay two dollars a year and go
to the bother of satisfying the personal ambition of some man we are not
interested in?"

_A White Oligarchy_

So the white vote is dwindling; the political power is being gathered into
the hands of fewer and fewer men. And there is actually springing up a
large class of non-voting white men not unlike the powerless "poor whites"
of ante-bellum times. The white politicians, indeed, in some places do not
encourage the poorer white men to qualify, for the fewer voters, the more
certain their control.

Of course the chief fights in Mississippi and elsewhere are not at the
elections, but in the Democratic (white) primaries; but this fact only
accentuates the point I wish to make: the limitation of political
independence of action. Such conditions are deeply concerning the
thoughtful men of the South; but while they think, few dare to brave
political extinction by speaking out. One would think that the Republican
party, which ostensibly stands for the opposition in the South, would cry
out about conditions. But it does not. The fact is, the Republican party,
as now constituted in the South, is even a more restricted white oligarchy
than the Democratic party. In nearly all parts of the South, indeed, it is
a close corporation which controls or seeks to control all the federal
offices. Speak out? Of course not. It, too, is attempting to eliminate the
Negro (in some places it calls itself "lily white"), and it works not
inharmoniously with the Democratic politicians. For the Republican machine
in the South really has no quarrel with the Democratic machine; it takes
the federal offices which the Democrats cannot get, and the Democrats take
local offices which the Republicans know they cannot get.

_The South a Weapon in National Conventions_

The Republican Presidents at Washington have, unfortunately, played into
the hands of the Southern office-holding machine. Why? Partly because
Republicans are few in the South and partly because a solid Republican
delegation from the South, easily handled and controlled and favouring
the administration, is a powerful weapon in national conventions. McKinley
played almost absolutely into the hands of this Southern Republican
machine, and Hanna operated it. Indeed, McKinley's nomination was probably
due to the skill with which Hanna marshaled this solid phalanx of Southern
delegates. Roosevelt has made a number of first-class appointments outside
of the machine, even appointing a few Democrats of the high type of Judge
Jones of Alabama.

Over and over in this book I have spoken of the Negro as a national, not a
Southern issue; and in politics this is peculiarly true. Though having few
Republicans, the South, through its office-holding Republican delegations,
has largely influenced the choice of more than one Republican president.
The "Solid South" is as useful to the Republican party as to the
Democratic party. Why the certainty expressed by Republican politicians of
the nomination of Taft? Because the national organisation felt sure it
could control the Southern delegations. It counted on the "Solid South."

Thus in a very real sense the government of this entire nation turns upon
the despised black man--whether he votes or not!

_The Negro's Political Power in the North_

In another way the Southern attitude toward the Negro affects the nation.
Owing to disfranchisement and "Jim Crow" laws, thousands of Negroes have
moved northward and settled in the great cities, until to-day Negro
voters, though they may not (as has been claimed) hold the balance of
power, yet wield a great influence in the politics of at least four
states--Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, and Rhode Island--and are also
considerable factors in the political destiny of Illinois, Pennsylvania,
New York, and Delaware. The potential influence of the Negro voter in the
North is excellently illustrated in the recent campaign for the Republican
nomination to the Presidency, especially in the fight in Ohio between
Foraker and Taft and in the eagerness displayed by Taft to placate the
Negro vote.

In still another way the Negro affects the entire nation. Through its
attitude of exclusion the South exercises an influence on national
legislation out of all proportion to its voting population. Though nearly
all Negroes are disfranchised, as well as a large number of white voters,
all these disfranchised voters are counted in the allotment of Congressmen
to Southern states.

Out of this has grown a curious condition. In 1904 Alabama, Arkansas,
Georgia, and Mississippi, which have thirty-five members in Congress, cast
413,516 votes, while Massachusetts alone, with only fourteen Congressmen,
cast 445,098 votes.

Here, for example, is the record of South Carolina:

  Total population of voting age, both white and coloured (1900)   283,325
  Total white voting population                                    130,375
  Total actual vote in 1902 for Congressmen                         32,185
  Total Democratic vote which elected seven Congressmen             29,343

Thus in South Carolina in 1902 an average of about 4,600 voters voted at
the election for each Congressman (in 1904, a Presidential year, the
average was about 8,100) while in New York State over 40,000 votes are
cast in each Congressional district and in Pennsylvania about 38,000.

Now, I am not here criticising this condition; I am merely endeavouring to
set down the facts as I find them. My purpose is to illustrate the
profound and far-reaching effects of the Negro issue upon the nation. And
is it not curious, when all is said, to observe how this rejected black
man, whom the South has attempted to eliminate utterly from politics, has
been for years changing and warping the entire government of this nation
in the most fundamental ways! Did he not cause a civil war, the results of
which still curse the country? And though excluded in large measure from
the polls, does he not in reality cast his mighty vote for Presidents,
Congressmen, Governors?

Often, looking out across the South, it appears to the observer that the
Negro has a more far-reaching and real influence on our national life for
being excluded from the polls than he would have if he were frankly and
justly admitted to the franchise on the same basis as white men.

All the real thinkers and statesmen of the South have looked and longed
for the hour when the South, free of this dominance of an ugly issue,
should again take its great place in national affairs. In 1875, at the
close of Reconstruction, Senator Lamar of Mississippi predicted in a
speech at Jackson that the South, having eliminated the Negro from
politics, would now divide on new economic issues and become politically
healthy. But that has not happened; less division on real issues probably
exists in Mississippi to-day than in 1875. Why? Is it not possible that
the manner of the elimination of the Negro from politics is wrong? Has it
occurred to leaders and statesmen that Negroes who are qualified can be
eliminated _into_ politics; that the present method in reality makes the
Negro a more dangerous political factor than he would be if he were
allowed to vote regularly and quietly?

_Southerners Who Are Speaking Out_

In spite of the domination of both parties in the South by narrowing
groups of leaders there are not wanting men to fight for a new alignment.
On the Republican side one of these men is Joseph C. Manning, of Alexander
City, Ala., who publishes a paper called the _Southern American_. He has
shown how white men are being disfranchised as well as Negroes, how the
South is controlled by a "Bourbon oligarchy" in the Democratic party and a
"federal-for-revenue" Republican party--as he calls them. His paper
appears every week with his denunciations in big letters, urging the
Republican party to reform and become a party of truth and progress.

He says:


     The great body of the people of the white South, the masses of the
     white people of Alabama, are to-day suppressed by the strategy of a
     political autocracy dominating under the guise and pretence of a

     Why not throw off the yoke and get in the fight?

     Rise up above this petty delegate getting, patronage manipulating,
     state chairman squabbling, until this small politics shall become
     lost in the great and the supreme issue.

     Stop this "lily-white" nonsense. Quit being sidetracked by this
     Bourbon wail of Negro. Recognise this vital force of the immovable
     truth that an injustice to one American citizen will react upon all.
     You can't have one law for the white man and another for the Negro in
     our form of government. You know that those who have the most talked
     of suppressing blacks have really suppressed you, white Republicans,
     and the most of the Southern whites.

     The outcry of Negro and social equality and the like is the very
     essence of political moonshine.

A number of men inside the Democratic party are not afraid to speak out.
Ex-Congressman Fleming of Georgia said in a notable address at Athens,

"Those whose stock in trade is 'hating the nigger' may easily gain some
temporary advantage for themselves in our white primaries, where it
requires no courage, either physical or moral, to strike those who have no
power to strike back--not even with a paper ballot. But these men will
achieve nothing permanent for the good of the state or of the nation by
stirring up race passion and prejudice. Injustice and persecution will not
solve any of the problems of the ages. God did not so ordain his universe.

"Justly proud of our race, we refuse to amalgamate with the Negro, but the
Negro is an American citizen, and is protected as such by guarantees of
the Constitution that are as irrepealable almost as the Bill of Rights
itself. Nor, if such a thing as repealing these guarantees were possible,
would it be wise for the South. Suppose we admit the oft-reiterated
proposition that no two races so distinct as the Caucasian and the Negro
can live together on terms of perfect equality; yet it is equally true
that without some access to the ballot, present or prospective, some
participation in the government, no inferior race in an elective republic
could long protect itself against reduction to slavery in many of its
substantial forms--and God knows the South wants no more of that curse."

Men of the type of Mr. Fleming are far in the minority in the South; they
are so few as yet as to count, politically speaking, for little or
nothing. But the fact that they are there, that they are not afraid to
speak out, even though it ruins them politically, is significant and

_Ante-bellum Aggression_

Now it is this way with a party having only one issue: when attacked, it
can only become more and more violent and vociferous upon that issue. And
this is what we discover in the South: an increasing bitterness of leaders
like Tillman and Vardaman, for they know that their own existence and that
of the party which they represent depends upon keeping the Negro issue
prominent. The very fact that they are violent is significant: it shows
that they recognise powerful and growing new elements in the South, which,
though not yet apparent politically, are getting hold of the people.

In other words, the present group of autocratic leaders is seeking at any
length to defend itself. And its work is not only defensive, it is also
offensive. It must be. The institution of slavery might have lasted many
years longer if the Southern leaders had been content with the slave
territory they already held. But they were not so content. They tried to
extend slavery to the new territories of the Union, and it was this
aggression that was the chief immediate cause of the Civil War. It was the
struggle over Missouri and Kansas, and the policy of the country regarding
the new West, whether it should be admitted slave or free, which
precipitated hostilities.

"Continual aggression," John Hay once said, "is the necessity of a false
position." The ante-bellum Southern leaders saw that they must either
extend their institution or else face its ultimate extinction.

At the present time we have a repetition of the ante-bellum aggression. As
it happened then, we have speakers like Tillman and others coming North
urging the validity of the Southern treatment of the Negro. Writers like
Thomas Dixon rekindle old fires of hatred. At the same moment that Tillman
is abusing the North for its interest in Southern education, he himself is
speaking from Northern platforms to make sentiment for the Southern
position. So we have the extension of disfranchisement and "Jim Crow" laws
to the new Western state of Oklahoma and the agitation for
disfranchisement in Maryland. So we have the advancing demand by
Southerners in Congress for the repeal of the XV Amendment. And just
recently Congressman Heflin of Alabama has introduced a bill seeking to
provide for "Jim Crow" distinctions upon the street-cars of Washington.
How all this recalls the efforts of the ante-bellum Southern Congressmen
to force the United States Government to take the Southern position on the
slavery question!

_Fighting to Put the Negro Down_

I have recently read some of the voluminous discussions upon the subject
of slavery which took place before the Civil War, and I have been
astonished to find the arguments of the Southern political leaders of
to-day almost identical in substance (though changed somewhat in form)
with the reasoning of the old slave-owning class. One hears the same
arguments regarding the physiological and ethnological inferiority of all
coloured men to all white men: the argument that "one drop of Negro blood
makes a Negro," and even that the Negro is not a human being at all, but a

I have before me a book recently published by a Bible house (of all
places!) in St. Louis and widely circulated in the South. It is entitled
"Is the Negro a Beast?" and it goes on to prove by Biblical quotation that
he has no soul! Being a beast, it becomes a small matter to kill him.

One also hears the argument now, as in slavery times, of the divine right
of the white man to rule the Negro. "God intended the white man to rule,"
says Vardaman, "and the Negro to be a humble servant." And finally there
is the frank argument of physical force; that the white man, being strong,
will and must rule the Negro.

Hoke Smith to-day is supporting much the same position that Robert Toombs
held before the war. Of course Hoke Smith has receded from the belief in
the chattel slavery of the Negro for which Toombs contended; but in many
other respects he evidently believes that the Negro should be reduced (as
Ex-Congressman Fleming of Georgia says in the quotation given above) "to
slavery in many of its substantial forms." In order to validate its
position and keep its place (and make the Negro keep his) the white
aristocracy has been forced to defend the doctrine of all monarchies and
aristocracies--the inequality of men in all respects. Hoke Smith states
the fundamental assumption thus plainly in his address (June 9, 1906):

"I believe the wise course is to plant ourselves squarely upon the
proposition in Georgia that the Negro is in no respect the equal of the
white man, and that he cannot in the future in this state occupy a
position of equality."

_Both the South and the North Undemocratic_

Thus I have attempted to present the political situation in the South and
the reasoning which underlies it. It possesses a large significance for
the entire country.

Here is the fact: the war and the emancipation proclamation did not make
the South completely democratic; it merely cut away one bulwark of
aristocracy--slavery. The South is still dominated by the aristocratic
idea, and more or less frankly so. The South has admitted only grudgingly,
and not yet fully, the "poor white" man to democratic political
fellowship. There are, as I have shown, hundreds of thousands of
disfranchised white Americans in the South. Moreover many white leaders
look askance on the new Italian immigrants, though they, too, are white
men. The extreme point of view in regard to the foreigner was expressed in
a speech by the Hon. Jeff Truly, candidate for governor of Mississippi, at
Magnolia in that state on March 18, 1907:

"I am opposed to any inferior race. The Italian immigration scheme does
not settle the labour question; Italians are a threat and a danger to our
racial, industrial, and commercial supremacy. Mississippi needs no such
immigration. Leave your lands to your own children. As governor of the
state, I promise that not one dollar of the state shall be spent for the
immigration of any such."

As for the Negro, of course, the South has never believed in a democracy
which really includes him.

But neither does the North. When we get right down to it, the controlling
white men in the North do not believe in an inclusive democracy much more
than the South. I have talked with many Northerners who go South, and it
is astonishing to see how quickly most of them adopt the Southern point of
view. For it is the doctrine which many of them, down in their hearts,
really believe.

In reality the North also has an aristocratic government, an oligarchy
based upon wealth and property, which dominates politics and governs the
country more or less completely. Roosevelt has been fighting some of the
more boisterous aspects of the rule of this oligarchy--and has showed the
country how powerful it is!

_The Underman Fighting All Over the World_

It is curious, indeed, when one's attention is awakened to the facts, how
strong the parallel is between the South and the North. I mean here a
parallel not in laws or even in customs, but in spirit, in the living
reality which lies down deep under institutions, which is, after all, the
only thing that really counts.

The cause of all the trouble in the North is similar to what it is in the
South: the underman will not keep his place. He is restless, ambitious, he
wants civil, political, and industrial equality. Thus we see the growth of
labour organisations, and the spread of populists and socialists, who
demand new rights and a greater share in the products of labour. They will
not, as Hoke Smith says of the Negroes, "content themselves with the place
of inferiority." The essential feature of the history of the last five
years in this country, and it will go down in history as the beginning of
great things, has been the vague, crudely powerful effort of the underman
(half his strength wasted because he is blind) to limit in some degree the
power of this moneyed aristocracy. Such is the meaning of the demand for
trust and railroad legislation, such the significance of the insurance
investigation, such the effort to curb the power of men like Rockefeller,
Harriman, Morgan.

So the North, in spirit, also disfranchises its lower class. It does it by
the purchase at elections in one form or another of its "poor whites" and
its Negroes. What else is the meaning of Tammany Hall and the boss and
machine system in other cities? Tammany Hall is our method of
disfranchisement: it is our cunning machine for nullifying the fourteenth
and fifteenth amendments. While the South is disfranchising by
legislation, the North is doing it by cash.

_The Question We Are Coming To_

I have spoken of the lack of free speech in the South; but that is not
peculiar to the South. Though there is undoubtedly a far greater
intellectual freedom to-day in the North than in the South, yet the North
has disciplined more than one professor for his utterances on the trust or
railroad questions. South or North, it is dangerous to attack the
entrenched privilege of those in control.

We criticise the frankness of Vardaman in advocating different standards
of justice for white men and Negroes, but do we not have the same custom
in the North? How extremely difficult it is sometimes to get a rich
criminal into jail in the North!

In short, we are coming again face to face in this country with the same
tremendous (even revolutionary) question which presents itself in every
crisis of the world's history:

"What is democracy? What does democracy include? Does democracy really
include Negroes as well as white men? Does it include Russian Jews,
Italians, Japanese? Does it include Rockefeller and the Slavonian
street-sweeper? And Tillman and the Negro farmhand?"



"Democracy is the progress of all through all, under the leadership of
the best and the wisest."--_Mazzini._

In former chapters I have had much to tell that was unpleasant and perhaps
discouraging; but it had to be told, for it is there, and must be honestly
met and reckoned with.

But the chief pleasure of the present task has been the opportunity it has
given me to meet the working idealists of the South, and to see the
courageous and unselfish way in which they are meeting the obstacles which
confront them. If any man would brighten his faith in human nature, if he
would attain a deeper and truer grasp upon the best things of life, let
him attend one of the educational rallies of Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, Georgia, or Texas, and hear the talks of Dr. S. C. Mitchell,
President Alderman, J. Y. Joyner, P. P. Claxton, Chancellor Barrow,
President Houston, and others; or let him spend a few days at Hampton with
Dr. Frissell, or at Tuskegee with Dr. Washington, or at Calhoun with Miss
Thorne. Coming away from a meeting one night at Tuskegee after there had
been speaking in the chapel by both white and coloured men, I could not
help saying to myself:

"The Negro problem is not unsolvable; it is being solved, here and now, as
fast as any human problem can be solved."

Men may be found straining their vision to see some distant and complex
solution to the question (have we not heard talk of deportation,
extermination, amalgamation, segregation, and the like?) when the real
solution is under their very eyes, going forward naturally and simply.

It is this quiet, constructive movement among the white people in the
South which I wish to consider here.

In a former chapter I showed how the Negroes of the country are divided
into two parties or points of view, the greater led by Booker T.
Washington, the lesser by W. E. B. DuBois. Washington's party is the party
of the opportunist and optimist, which deals with the world as it is: it
is a constructive, practical, cheerful party. It emphasises duties rather
than rights. Dr. DuBois's party, on the other hand, represents the
critical point of view. It is idealistic and pessimistic: a party of
agitation, emphasising rights rather than duties.

But these two points of view are by no means peculiar to Negroes: they
divide all human thought; and the action and reaction between them is the
mode of human progress.

_Division of White Leadership in the South_

White leadership in the South, then, is divided along similar lines with
Negro leadership--a party of rights and a party of duties. But with this
wide difference: among the Negroes as I showed, the party of agitation and
criticism led by DuBois is far inferior both numerically and in influence
to the party of opportunity and duties led by Washington. For the Negroes
have been forced to concede the futility of trying to progress by
political action and legislation, by rights specified but not earned.
Washington's preaching has been:

"Stop thinking about your rights and get down to work. Get yourself right
and the world will be all right."

But among the white people of the South the party of agitation and the
emphasis of rights rather than duties is still far in the ascendency. Led
by such men as Tillman, Vardaman, Jeff Davis, Hoke Smith, and others, it
controls, for the present, the policies of the entire South. It has much
to say of the rights of the white man, very little about his duties. It
is, indeed, doing for the whites by agitation and legislation (often a
kind of force) exactly what Dr. DuBois would like to do for the Negro, if
he could.

"Agitate, object, fight," say both Tillman and DuBois.

"Work," says Washington.

Now, the same logic of circumstances which produced Booker T. Washington
and his significant movement among the Negroes has produced a group of new
and highly able white leaders. These new leaders saw that agitation
(while most necessary in its place) would not, after all, build up the
South; they saw that although the sort of leader typified by Tillman and
Vardaman was passing laws and winning elections, he was not, after all,
getting anywhere; that race feeling was growing more bitter, often to the
injury of Southern prosperty; that progress is not built upon stump
speeches. The answer to all this was plain enough.

"Let us stop talking, forget the race problem, and get to work. It does
not matter where we take hold, but let us go to work."

And the doctrine of work in the South has become a great propaganda,
almost, indeed, a passion. It has found expression in a remarkable growth
of industrial activities, cotton-mills, coal-mines, iron and steel
industries; in new methods of farming; in spreading railroads. But more
than all else, perhaps, it has developed a new enthusiasm for education,
not only for education of the old classical sort, but for industrial and
agricultural education--the training of workers. All this, indeed,
represents the rebound from years of agitation in which the Negro has been
"cussed and discussed," as one Southerner put it to me, beyond the limit
of endurance. Wherever I went in the South among the new industrial and
educational leaders I found an active distaste for the discussion of the
Negro problem. These men were too busy with fine new enterprises to be
bothered with ancient and unprofitable issues.

_New Prescriptions for Solving the Negro Problem_

When I asked Professor Dillard of New Orleans how he thought the Negro
question should be treated, he replied:

"With silence."

"My prescription," says President Alderman in his address on "Southern
Idealism," "is 'silence and slow time,' faith in the South, and wise
training for both white and black."

Edgar Gardner Murphy of Alabama, himself one of the new leaders, has thus
outlined the position of the rising Southern leadership:

"The South is growing weary of extremists and of sensational
problem-solvers.... Our coming leadership will have a sense of proportion
which will involve a steady refusal to be stampeded by antique nightmares
and ethnological melodrama. It will possess an increasing passion for
getting hold of the real things in a real world. And it will ... deal with
one task at a time. It will subordinate paper schemes of distant
amelioration to duties that will help right now."

Emphasis here is laid upon "real things in a real world" and "duties that
will help right now"; and that is the voice everywhere of the new

But let us be clear upon one point at the start. The platforms of these
parties are matters of emphasis. One emphasises rights; the other
emphasises duties. I have no doubt that Booker T. Washington believes as
firmly in the rights of the Negro as any leader of his race; he has merely
ceased to emphasise these rights by agitation until his people have gained
more education and more property, until by honest achievement they are
prepared to exercise their rights with intelligence.

In the same way, the views of many of the new Southern white leaders of
whom I shall speak in this article have not radically changed, so far as
the Negro is concerned; some of them, I have found, do not differ from
Tillman upon essential points; but, like Washington, they have decided not
to emphasise controversial matters, and go to work and develop the South,
and the people of the South, for the good of the whole country. If the
test has to come in the long run between white men and coloured men, as it
will have to come and is coming all the time, they want it to be an honest
test of efficiency. The fittest here, too, will survive (there is no
escaping the great law!), but these new thinkers wish the test of fitness
to be, not mere physical force, not mere brute power, whether expressed in
lynching or politics, but the higher test of real capacity. They have
supreme confidence that the white man is superior on his merits in any
contest; and Washington, on his side, is willing to (indeed, he must) take
up the gauntlet thus thrown down.

[Illustration: JAMES H. DILLARD of New Orleans, President Jeanes Fund

Photograph by Hitchler]

[Illustration: EDWIN A. ALDERMAN President of the University of Virginia.

Photograph by Pach Bros.]

[Illustration: A. M. SOULE President Georgia State College of

[Illustration: D. F. HOUSTON President of the University of Texas.

Photograph by The Elliotts]

[Illustration: GEORGE FOSTER PEABODY of New York, member of the Southern
Education and Jeanes Fund Boards.

Photograph by Pach Bros.]

[Illustration: P. P. CLAXTON of the University of Tennessee, leader of the
educational campaign in Tennessee.

Photograph by Knafft & Bro.]

The condition in the South may be likened to a battle in which the
contestants, weary of profitless and wordy warfare, are turning homeward
to gather up new ammunition. Each side is passionately getting
education, acquiring land, developing wealth and industry, preparing for
the struggles of the future. And it is a fine and wholesome tendency. In a
large sense, indeed, this movement typifies the progressive thought of the
entire country for it means a sincere attempt to change the plane of
battle (for battle there must be) from one of crude, primitive force,
whether physical, political, or, indeed, industrial, to one of
intellectual efficiency or usefulness to society.

And these working idealists of both races understand one another better
than most people think. Dr. Mitchell and President Alderman understand
Booker T. Washington, and he understands them. This is not saying that
they agree. But agreement upon every abstract principle is not necessary
where both parties are hard at work at practical, definite, and immediate

_Self-Criticism in the South_

The new Southern statesmanship began (as all new movements begin) with
self-criticism. Henry W. Grady, a real statesman, by criticising the old
order of things, announced the beginning of the "New South"--an active,
working, hopeful South.

He saw the faults of the old exclusive agricultural life and the danger of
low-class, uneducated labour, and he urged industrial development and a
better school system. R. H. Edmonds of Baltimore, through the
_Manufacturers' Record_, and many other able business leaders have done
much to bring about the new industrial order: the day of new railroads,
cotton-mills, and coal-mines; the day of cities.

But it is in the educational field that the development of the new
statesmanship has been most remarkable. Although it was unfortunate in one
way that so much of the political leadership of the South should have
fallen to men of the type of Vardaman, Jeff Davis, and Heflin, it is
highly fortunate in another way. For it has driven the broadest and ablest
minds in the South to seek expression in other lines of activity, in
industry and in the church, but particularly in educational leadership. It
is not without profound significance that the great American, General
Lee, turned his attention and gave his highest energies after Appomattox,
not to politics, but to education. The South to-day has a group of
schoolmen who are leaders of extraordinary force and courage. The ministry
has also attained an influence in the South which it does not possess in
most parts of the North. The influence of Bishop Galloway of Mississippi,
Dr. John E. White and Dr. C. B. Wilmer of Atlanta, and many others has
been notable.

For many years after the war the South was passive with exhaustion. Young
men, who were not afraid, had to grow up to the task of reconstruction.
And no one who has not traced the history of the South since the war can
form any conception of the magnitude of that task. It was essentially the
building of a new civilisation. The leaders were compelled not only to
face abject poverty, but they have had to deal constantly with the problem
of a labouring class just released from slavery. At every turn, in
politics, in industry, in education, they were confronted with the Negro
and the problem of what to do with him. Where one school-house would do in
the North, they were compelled to build two school-houses, one for white
children, one for black. It took from twenty-five to forty years of hard
work after the war before the valuation of wealth in the South had again
reached the figures of 1860. The valuations in the year 1890 for several
of the states were less than in 1860. South Carolina in 1900--forty years
after the beginning of the war--had only just caught up with the record of
1860. Since 1890, however, the increase everywhere has been swift and

_Courage and Vision of New Leaders_

Well, it required courage and vision in the earlier days to go before a
poverty-stricken people, who had not yet enough means for living
comfortably, and to demand of them that they build up and support two
systems of education in the South. And yet that was exactly the task of
the educational pioneers. Statesmanship, as I have said, begins with
self-criticism. While the mere politician is flattering his followers and
confirming them in their errors, the true statesman is criticising them
and spurring them to new beliefs and stronger activities. While the
politician is pleading rights, the statesman also dares to emphasise
duties. While the politicians in the South (not all, but many of them)
have been harping on race prejudice and getting themselves elected to
office by reviving ancient hatred, these new statesmen have been facing
courageously forward, telling the people boldly of the conditions of
illiteracy which surround them, and demanding that schools be built and
every child, white and black, be educated. In many cases they have had to
overcome a settled prejudice against education, especially education of
Negroes; and after that was overcome they have had to build up a sense of
social responsibility for universal education before they could count on
getting the money they needed for their work.

After the war the North, in one form or another, poured much money into
the South for teaching the Negroes; lesser sums, like those coming from
the Peabody fund, were contributed toward white schools. But in the long
run there can be no real education which is not self-education; outside
influences may help (or indeed hurt), but until a state--like a man--is
inspired with a desire for education and a willingness to make sacrifices
to get it, the people will not become enlightened.

In the middle eighties the fire of this inspiration began to blaze up in
many parts of the South. Various combustible elements were present: a
sense of the appalling condition of illiteracy existing in the South; a
pride and independence of character which was hurt by the gifts of money
from the North; a feeling that the Negroes in some instances were getting
better educational opportunities than the white children; and, finally,
the splendid idealism of young men who saw clearly that the only sure
foundation for democracy is universal education.

_Inspiration of Democracy in North Carolina_

Not unnaturally the movement found its earliest expression in North
Carolina, which has been the most instinctively democratic of Southern
states. From the beginning of the country North Carolina, with its
population of Scotch-Presbyterians and Quakers, has been inspired with a
peculiar spirit of independence. When I was in Charlotte I went to see the
monument which commemorates the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence:
the work of a group of stout-hearted citizens who decided, before the
country at large was ready for it, to declare their independence of
British rule. North Carolina was among the last of the Southern states to
secede from the Union, and its treatment of its Negroes all along has been
singularly liberal. For example, in several Southern states little or no
provision is made for the Negro defective classes, but at Raleigh I
visited a large asylum for Negro deaf, dumb, and blind which is conducted
according to the most improved methods. And to-day North Carolina is freer
politically, the state is nearer a new and healthy party alignment, than
any other Southern state except Tennessee and possibly Kentucky.

Such a soil was fertile for new ideas and new movements. In 1885 two young
men, Charles D. McIver and Edwin A. Alderman, now president of the
University of Virginia, began a series of educational campaigns under the
supervision of the state. They spoke in every county, rousing the people
to build better school-houses and to send legislators to Raleigh who
should be more liberal in educational appropriations. In many cases their
rallies were comparable with the most enthusiastic political
meetings--only no one was asking to be elected to office, and the only
object was public service. As Alderman has said:

"It was an effort to move the centre of gravity from the court-house to
the school-house."

And it really moved; the state took fire and has been afire ever since.
Governor Aycock made the educational movement a part of his campaign;
Governor Glenn has been hardly less enthusiastic; and the development of
the school system has been little short of amazing. When I was in Raleigh
last spring J. Y. Joyner, State Superintendent of Schools, who was also
one of the pioneer campaigners, told me that a new school-house was being
built for every day in the year, and new school libraries established at
the same rate. Between 1900 and 1906 the total amount of money expended
for schools in North Carolina more than doubled, and while the school
population in the same years had increased only 6 per cent., the daily
attendance had increased 28 per cent.

_North Carolina Compared with Massachusetts_

To give a graphic idea of the progress in education, I can do no better
than to show the increase in public expenditures since 1872:

  1872 Total school expenditures    $   42,856
  1880 Total school expenditures       349,831
  1890 Total school expenditures       787,145
  1900 Total school expenditures     1,091,610
  1906 Total school expenditures     2,291,053

I have looked into the statistics and I find that North Carolina spends
more per hundred dollars of taxable property for school purposes than
Massachusetts, which is perhaps the leading American state in educational
expenditures. In 1906 North Carolina raised $.40 on every one hundred
dollars, while Massachusetts raised $.387. But this does not mean, of
course, that North Carolina has reached the standard of Massachusetts; it
only shows how the people, though not rich, have been willing to tax
themselves. And they have only just begun; the rate of illiteracy of the
state, as in all the South, is still excessive among both white and
coloured people. According to the last census, North Carolina has more
illiterate white people than any other state in the Union, a condition
due, of course, to its large population of mountaineers. While the
progress already made is notable the leaders still have a stupendous task
before them. At the present time, although taxing itself more per hundred
dollars' worth of property than Massachusetts, North Carolina pays only
$2.63 each year for the education of each child, whereas Massachusetts
expends $24.89--nearly ten times as much.

I do not wish to over-emphasise the work in North Carolina; I am merely
using conditions there as a convenient illustration of what is going on in
greater or less degree all over the South. One of the group of early
enthusiasts in North Carolina was P. P. Claxton, who is now in charge of
the educational campaign in Tennessee. With President Dabney, formerly of
the University of Tennessee and State Superintendent Mynders, Mr. Claxton
has conducted a state-wide campaign for education. Every available
occasion has been utilised: picnics, court-days, Decoration Days: and
often the audiences have been larger and more enthusiastic than political
rallies. Indeed, the meetings have been carried on much like a political
campaign. At one time over one hundred speakers were in the field. Every
county in the state was stumped, and in two years it was estimated that
over half of the entire population of the state actually attended the
meetings. Labour unions and women's clubs were stirred to activity,
resolutions were passed, politicians were called upon to declare
themselves, and teachers' organisations were formed. The result was most
notable. In 1902 the state expended $1,800,000 for educational purposes;
in 1908--six years later--the total will exceed $4,000,000.

A similar campaign has been going on in Virginia, under the auspices of
the Coöperative Educational Association, in which the leaders have been
Dr. S. C. Mitchell, Professor Bruce Payne, President Alderman, and others.
In this work Ex-Governor Montague has also been a force for good, both
while he was governor and since, and Governor Swanson at present is
actively interested. Local leagues were formed in every part of the state
to the number of 324. Negroes have also organised along the same line and
now have ten local associations in five counties.

_How the South Is Taxing Itself_

One of the most striking features of the movement has been the development
of the system of local taxation for school purposes--which is a long step
in the direction of democracy. In the past the people have looked more or
less to some outside source for help--to state or national funds, or the
private gifts of philanthropists, or they have depended upon private
schools--but now they are voting to take the burden themselves. In other
words, with the building up of a popular school system, supported by local
taxation, education in the South is becoming, for the first time,
democratic. It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of this
movement in stimulating the local pride and self-reliance of the people,
or in inspiring each community with educational enthusiasm.

Another development of profound influence has been going on in the South.
As I have already pointed out, the so-called "Northern philanthropist" has
long been interested in Southern education, especially Negro education.
For years his activities awakened, and indeed still awaken, a good deal of
hostility in some parts of the South. Many Southerners have felt that the
Northerners, however good their intentions, did not understand Southern
conditions, and that some of the money was expended in a way that did not
help the cause of progress in the South.

_South and North Work Together_

But both the Northerners (whatever their mistakes in method may have been)
and the new Southern leaders were intensely and sincerely interested in
the same thing: namely, better education and better conditions in the
South. It was natural that these two groups of earnest and reasonable men
should finally come together in a spirit of coöperation; and this is,
indeed, what has happened. Out of a series of quiet conferences held in
the South grew what has been called the "Ogden movement" and the Southern
Education Board. This organisation was made up of three different classes
of men: first, a group of the Southern leaders of whom I have
spoken--Mitchell, Alderman, Dabney, Curry, Houston, Hill, McIver, Claxton,
Edgar Gardner Murphy, Sydney J. Bowie, and Henry E. Fries; second,
Southern men who, living in the North, were yet deeply interested in the
progress of the South--men like Walter H. Page, George Foster Peabody, and
Frank R. Chambers; and, finally, the Northerners--Robert C. Ogden, who was
president of the board, William H. Baldwin, H. H. Hanna, Dr. Wallace
Buttrick, Albert Shaw, and Dr. G. S. Dickerman.

One of the inspirers of the movement, also a member of the board, was Dr.
H. B. Frissell, who followed General Armstrong as principal of Hampton

Each year conferences have been held in the South, a feature of which has
been the "Ogden Special"--a special train from the North bringing Northern
citizens to Southern institutions and encouraging a more intimate
acquaintanceship on both sides. No one influence has been more potent
than this in developing a spirit of nationalisation in the Southern
educational movement.

So far in this chapter I have had very little to say about the Negro, and
especially Negro education. It is important to know the view of the new
leadership on this question. I have shown in previous articles that the
majority view in the South was more or less hostile to the education of
the Negro, or, at least, to his education beyond the bare rudiments.

The new leaders have recognised this feeling, and while without exception
they believe that the Negro must be educated and most of them have said so
openly, the general policy has been to emphasise white education and unite
the people on that.

"In education," one of the leaders said to me, "it doesn't matter much
where we begin. If we can arouse the spirit of the school, the people are
going to see that it is as important to the state to have a trained Negro
as it is to have a trained white man."

One of the troubles in the South, one of the reasons for the prejudice
against education, and particularly Negro education, has arisen from the
fact that what has been called education was not really education at all.
In the first place many of the schools have been so poor and the teachers
so inefficient that the "education" acquired was next to worthless. There
was not enough of it, nor was it of a kind to give the Negro any real hold
upon life, and it often hurt him far more than it helped. Much of the
prejudice in the South against Negro education is unquestionably due to
the wretched school system, which in many places has not really educated
anybody. But, deeper than all this, the old conception in the South of a
school was for a long time the old aristocratic conception--what some one
has called "useless culture"--of educating a class of men, not to work,
but to despise work. That idea of education has wrought much evil,
especially among the Negroes. It has taught both white and coloured men,
not the doctrine of service, which is necessary to democracy, but it has
given them a desire for artificial superiority, which is the
characteristic of aristocracies. It has made the Negro "uppish" and
"bumptious"; it has caused some white men to argue their superiority when
they had no basis of accomplishment or usefulness to make them really

_The Inspiration of Hampton Institute_

But when the idea of education began to be democratic, when men began to
think more of their duties than of their rights, a wholly new sort of
school appeared; and it appeared first among the Negroes. The country has
not yet begun to realise the debt of gratitude which it owes to the
promoters of Hampton Institute--to the genius of General Armstrong, its
founder and to the organising ability of Dr. H. B. Frissell who followed
him. These men will be more highly honoured a hundred years from now than
they are to-day, for Americans will then appreciate more fully their
service to the democracy.

The "Hampton idea" is the teaching of work--of service, of humility, of
duties to God and to man. It is in the highest sense the democratic idea
in education. And it has come, as most great movements have come, from the
needs and the struggles of those who are downtrodden and outcast. And how
wonderfully the idea has spread! Out of Hampton sprung Tuskegee and
Calhoun and Kowaliga and scores of other Negro schools, until to-day
nearly all Negro institutions for higher training in the South have
industrial or agricultural departments.

The best Southern white people were and are friendly to schools of this
new type. They thought at first that Hampton and Tuskegee were going to
train servants in the old personal sense of servants who become only
cooks, butlers, and farmers, and many still have that aristocratic
conception of service. But the "Hampton idea" of servants is a much
greater one, for it is the democratic idea of training men who will serve
their own people and thereby serve the country. Men who graduate from
Hampton and Tuskegee become leaders of their race. They buy and cultivate
land, they set up business establishments--in short, they become producers
and state-builders in the largest sense.

_New World Idea of Education_

The idea of Hampton is the new world idea of education, and white people
in the South (and in the North as well) are now applying it everywhere in
their educational movements. Agricultural and industrial schools for white
boys and girls are spreading throughout the South: schools to teach work,
just as Hampton teaches it. Only last year the state of Georgia provided
for eleven new agricultural schools in various parts of the state, and
there is already talk in the South, as in the North, of agricultural
training in high schools. These men, white and black, who are educated for
democratic service will in time become masters of the state.

The new leaders, then, of whom I have spoken, do not oppose Negro
education: they favour it and will go forward steadily with the task of
bring it about. So far, the Negro public schools have felt little of the
new impulse; in some states and localities, as I have shown in other
chapters, the Negro schools have actually retrograded, where the white
schools have been improving rapidly. But that is the continuing influence
of the old leadership; the new men have not yet come fully into their own.

I could quote indefinitely from the real statesmen of the South regarding
Negro education, but I have too little space. Senator Lamar of Mississippi
once said:

"The problem of race, in a large part, is a problem of illiteracy. Most of
the evils which have grown up out of the problem have arisen from a
condition of ignorance, prejudice and superstition. Remove these and the
simpler elements of the question will come into play.... I will go with
those who will go furthest in this matter."

No higher note has been struck in educational ideals than in the
Declaration of Principles adopted last winter (1907) at the meeting of the
Southern Educational Association at Lexington, Ky., an exclusively
Southern gathering of white men and women. Their resolutions, which for
lack of space cannot be here printed in full, should be read by every man
and woman in the country who is interested in the future of democratic
institutions. I copy here only a few of the declarations:

     1. All children, regardless of race, creed, sex, or the social
     station or economic condition of their parents, have equal right to,
     and should have equal opportunity for, such education as will develop
     to the fullest possible degree all that is best in their individual
     natures, and fit them for the duties of life and citizenship in the
     age and community in which they live.

     2. To secure this right and provide this opportunity to all children
     is the first and highest duty of the modern democratic state, and the
     highest economic wisdom of an industrial age and community. Without
     universal education of the best and highest type, there can be no
     real democracy, either political or social; nor can agriculture,
     manufactures, or commerce ever attain their highest development.

     3. Education in all grades and in all legitimate directions, being
     for the public good, the public should bear the burden of it. The
     most just taxes levied by the state, or with the authority of the
     state, by any smaller political division, are those levied for the
     support of education. No expenditures can possibly produce greater
     returns and none should be more liberal.

_The New South on Negro Education_

Concerning Negro education, I am publishing the resolutions in full,
because they voice the present thought of the best leadership in the

     1. We endorse the accepted policy of the states of the South in
     providing educational facilities for the youth of the Negro race,
     believing that whatever the ultimate solution of this grievous
     problem may be, education must be an important factor in that

     2. We believe that the education of the Negro in the elementary
     branches of education should be made thorough, and should include
     specific instruction in hygiene and home sanitation, for the better
     protection of both races.

     3. We believe that in the secondary education of Negro youth emphasis
     should be placed upon agriculture and the industrial occupations,
     including nurse training, domestic science, and home economics.

     4. We believe that for practical, economical and psychological
     reasons Negro teachers should be provided for Negro schools.

     5. We advise instruction in normal schools and normal institutions by
     white teachers, whenever possible, and closer supervision of courses
     of study and methods of teaching in Negro normal schools by the State
     Department of Education.

     6. We recommend that in urban and rural Negro schools there should be
     closer and more thorough supervision, not only by city and county
     superintendents, but also by directors of music, drawing, manual
     training, and other special topics.

     7. We urge upon school authorities everywhere the importance of
     adequate buildings, comfortable seating, and sanitary accommodations
     for Negro youth.

     8. We deplore the isolation of many Negro schools, established
     through motives of philanthropy, from the life and the sympathies of
     the communities in which they are located. We recommend the
     supervision of all such schools by the state, and urge that their
     work and their methods be adjusted to the civilisation in which they
     exist, in order that the maximum good of the race and of the
     community may be thereby attained.

     9. On account of economic and psychological differences in the two
     races, we believe that there should be a difference in courses of
     study and methods of teaching, and that there should be such an
     adjustment of school curricula as shall meet the evident needs of
     Negro youth.

     10. We insist upon such an equitable distribution of the school funds
     that all the youth of the Negro race shall have at least an
     opportunity to receive the elementary education provided by the
     state, and in the administration of state laws, and in the execution
     of this educational policy, we urge patience, toleration, and

     (Signed) G. R. GLENN, P. P. CLAXTON, J. H. PHILLIPS, C. B. GIBSON,


In this connection also let me call attention to the reports of J. Y.
Joyner, Superintendent of Education, and Charles L. Coon of North
Carolina, for a broad view of Negro education.

I have already shown how the South and the North came together in
educational relationships in the Southern Education Board. I have pointed
it out as a tendency toward nationalisation in educational interests. But
the Southern Education Board, while it contained both Northern and
Southern white men, was primarily interested in white education and
contained no Negro members. At the time the board was organised, an active
interest in the Negro would have defeated, in part at least, its declared

[Illustration: S. C. MITCHELL of Richmond College; President of the
Coöperative Education Association of Virginia.]

[Illustration: JUDGE EMORY SPEER of Georgia. After two terms in Congress
he was appointed to the Federal bench.

Photograph by Curtiss Studio]

[Illustration: EDGAR GARDNER MURPHY of Alabama, member Southern Education
Board; author "Problems of the Present South."

Photograph by Sol. Young]

[Illustration: DR. H. B. FRISSELL Principal Hampton Institute and member
of Southern Education and Jeanes Fund Boards.

Photograph by Rockwood]

[Illustration: R. C. OGDEN of New York, President of the Southern
Education Board.

Copyright, 1907, by Pach Bros.]

[Illustration: J. Y. JOYNER Superintendent of Public Instruction of North

Photograph by Wharton & Tyree]

_The South, the North, and the Negro at Last Work Together_

Since that time another highly significant movement has arisen. In 1907
Miss Jeanes, a wealthy Quakeress of Philadelphia, gave $1,000,000 for the
encouragement of Negro primary education. She placed it in the hands of
Dr. H. B. Frissell of Hampton and Dr. Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee. In
the organisation of the board for the control of this fund and its work, a
further step forward in nationalisation and, indeed, in the direction of
democracy, was made. It marks a new development in the coöperation of all
the forces for good in the solution of this difficult national problem.
The membership of the board includes not only Southern and Northern white
men, but also several leading Negroes. The president and general director
is a Southern white man, coming of an old family, James H. Dillard, dean
of Tulane University of New Orleans. It will be of interest to publish
here a full list of the members, because they represent, in more ways
than one, the new leadership not only in the South, but in the nation:

Southern white men:

  James H. Dillard, President.
  David C. Barrow, chancellor University of Georgia.
  Belton Gilreath, manufacturer and mine-owner, Alabama.
  Dr. S. C. Mitchell, of Richmond College, Richmond, Va.

Northern white men:

  Robert C. Ogden, of New York.
  Andrew Carnegie, of New York.
  Talcott Williams, of Philadelphia.
  George McAneny, president of the City Club of New York.
  William H. Taft, of Ohio.

To these must be added:

     Dr. H. B. Frissell, of Hampton Institute, a Northerner, whose work
     and residence has long been in the South.

     George Foster Peabody, treasurer, a Georgian, trustee of the
     University of Georgia, who resides in the North.

     Walter H. Page, the editor of the _World's Work_, a North Carolinian
     who has long lived in the North.

Negro membership:

  Booker T. Washington.
  Bishop Abraham Grant, of Kan.
  R. R. Moton, of Hampton Institute, secretary of the board.
  J. C. Napier, a banker of Nashville, Tenn.
  R. D. Smith, a farmer of Paris, Tex.

In a true sense the Southern Education Board and the Jeanes Fund Board
represent organisations of working idealists. Such coöperation as this,
between reasonable, broad-minded, and unselfish men of the entire country,
is, at the present moment, the real solution of our problems. It is the
solution of the Negro problem--all the solution there ever will be. For
there is no finality in human endeavour: there is only activity; and when
that activity is informed with the truth and inspired with faith and
courage, it is not otherwise than success, for it is the best that human
nature at any given time can do.

In making this statement, I do not, of course wish to infer that
conditions are as good as can be expected, and that nothing remains to be
done. As a matter of fact, the struggle is just beginning; as I have shown
in previous chapters, all the forces of entrenched prejudice and ignorance
are against the movement, the political leaders who still dominate the
South are as hostile as they dare to be. The task is, indeed, too big for
the South alone, or the North alone, or the white man alone: it will
require all the strength and courage the nation possesses.

_Universities Feel the New Impulse_

Besides the campaign for better common schools, the educational revival
has also renewed and revivified all the higher institutions of learning in
the South. The state universities, especially, have been making
extraordinary progress. I shall not soon forget my visit to the University
of Georgia, at Athens, nor the impression I received while there of strong
men at work, not merely erecting buildings of mortar and brick, but
establishing a new sort of university system, which shall unify and direct
to one common end all of the educational activities of the state:
beginning with the common school and reaching upward to the university
itself; including the agricultural and industrial schools, and even the
Negro college of agriculture. The University of Georgia is one of the
oldest state colleges in America, and the ambition of its leaders is to
make it one of the greatest. Mr. Hodgson drove me around the campus, which
has recently been extended until it contains nearly 1,000 acres. He showed
me where the new buildings are to be, the drives and the bridges. Much of
it is yet a vision of the future, but it is the sort of vision that comes
true. I spent a day with President Soule of the Agricultural College, on
his special educational train, which covered a considerable part of the
state of Georgia, stopping at scores of towns where the speakers appeared
before great audiences of farmers and made practical addresses on cotton
and corn and cattle-raising, and on education generally. And everywhere
the practical work of these public educators was greeted with enthusiasm.

I heard from Professor Stewart of his work in organising rural high
schools, in encouraging local taxation, and in bringing the work of the
public schools into closer correlation with that of the university.

Seeing the educational work of states like Georgia, North Carolina,
Virginia, and others, one cannot but feel that the time is coming shortly
when the North will be going South for new ideas and new inspiration in

In a brief review like this, I have been able, of course, to give only the
barest outline of a very great work, and I have mentioned only a few among
hundreds of leaders; the work I have described is only illustrative of
what is going on in greater or less degree everywhere in the South.

Many important developments have come from these campaigns for education.
The actual building of new school-houses and the expenditure of more money
for the struggle with illiteracy is only one of many results. For the
crusade for education, supplemented by the new industrial impulse in the
South, has awakened a new spirit of self-help. The success with which the
public was aroused in the educational campaign has inspired leaders in all
lines of activity with new courage and faith. It is a spirit of
youthfulness which is not afraid to attempt anything.

Much printers' ink has been expended in trying to account for the spread
of the anti-saloon movement throughout the South. But there is nothing
strange about it: it is, indeed, only another manifestation of the new
Southern spirit, the desire to get things right in the South. And this
movement will further stir men's minds, develop self-criticism, and reveal
to the people their power of concerted action whether the politicians are
with them or not. It is, indeed, significant that the women of the South,
perhaps for the first time, have become a powerful influence in public
affairs. Their organisations have helped, in some instances led, in both
the educational and the anti-saloon movement. No leaders in the Virginia
educational movement have been more useful than Mrs. L. R. Dashiell and
Mrs. B. B. Munford of Richmond.

Practically all the progress of the South, both industrial and
educational, has been made by non-political movements and non-political
leaders--often in opposition to the political leaders. Indeed, nearly
every one of the hopeful movements of the South has had to capture some
entrenched stronghold of the old political captains. In several states,
for example, the school systems a few years ago were crippled by political
domination and nepotism. Superintendents, principals, and teachers were
frequently appointed not for their ability, but because they were good
members of the party or because they were related to politicians.

_New Statesmen Against Old Politicians_

In Alabama I found prominent men attacking the fee system of payment of
lesser magistrates. The evil in this system lies in the encouragement it
gives to trivial litigation and the arrest of citizens for petty offences.
Let me give a single example. A Negro had another Negro arrested for
"'sault and battery." Both appeared in court. The accused Negro was tried,
and finally sent to the chain-gang. The justice suggested to the convicted
man that if he wanted satisfaction he should turn around and have his
accuser arrested; which he did, promptly accusing him of "'busive
language." Another trial was held; and in the end both Negroes found
themselves side by side in the chain-gang; the magistrate, the constable,
the sheriff, had all drawn liberal fees, and the private contractor who
hired the chain-gang, and who also "stood in" with the politicians, had
obtained another cheap labourer for his work. It is a vicious circle,
which has enabled the politicians and their backers to profit at every
turn from the weakness and evil of both Negro and low-class white man.

In attacking the fee system and the old, evil chain-gang system as the new
leaders are doing in many parts of the South, in closing the saloons
(always a bulwark of low politics), in building up a new school system
free from selfish control, the new leaders are striking squarely at the
roots of the old political aristocracy, undermining it and cutting it
away. It is sure to fall; and in its place the South will rear a splendid
new leadership of constructive ability and unselfish patriotism. There
will be a division on matters of vital concern, and a turning from ancient
and worn-out issues to new interests and activities. When that time comes
the whole nation will again profit by the genius of Southern statesmanship
and we shall again have Southern Presidents.

Already the old type of politician sees the handwriting of fate. He knows
not which way to turn. At one moment he harps more fiercely and bitterly
than ever before on the issue which has maintained him so long in power,
the Negro; and at the next moment he seizes frantically on some one of the
new issues--education, prohibition, anti-railroad--hoping thereby to
maintain himself and his old party control. But he cannot do it; every
force in the South is already making for new things, for more democracy,
for more nationalisation.



The deeper one delves into the problem of race, the humbler he becomes
concerning his own views. Studying a black man, he discovers that he must
study human nature. The best he can do, then, is to present his latest and
clearest thought, knowing that newer light and deeper knowledge may modify
his conclusions. It is out of such expressions of individual thought (no
one man has or can have all the truth) and the kindly discussion which
follows it (and why shouldn't it be kindly?) that arises finally that
power of social action which we call public opinion. Together--not
otherwise--we may approach the truth.

The world to-day is just beginning to meet new phases of the problem of
race difference. Improved transportation and communication are yearly
making the earth smaller. As Americans we are being brought every year
into closer contact with black and yellow people. We are already disturbed
not only by a Negro race problem, but on our Pacific coast and in Hawaii
we have a Japanese and Chinese problem. In the Philippine Islands we have
a tangle of race problems in comparison with which our Southern situation
seems simple. Other nations are facing complexities equally various and
difficult. England's problems in both South Africa and India are largely
racial. The great issue in Australia, where Chinese labour has become a
political question, is expressed in the campaign slogan: "A white

_What Is the Race Problem?_

Essentially, then, what is the race problem?

The race problem is the problem of living with human beings who are not
like us, whether they are, in our estimation, our "superiors" or
"inferiors," whether they have kinky hair or pigtails, whether they are
slant-eyed, hook-nosed, or thick-lipped. In its essence it is the same
problem, magnified, which besets every neighbourhood, even every family.

In our own country we have 10,000,000 Negroes distributed among 75,000,000
white people. They did not come here to invade us, or because they wanted
to come. We brought them by force, and at a fearful and cruel sacrifice of
life. We brought them, not to do them good, but selfishly, that they might
be compelled to do the hard work and let us live lazily, eat richly, sleep
softly. We treated them as beasts of burden. I say "we," for the North
owned slaves, too, at first, and emancipated them (by selling them to the
South) because it did not pay to keep them. Nor was the anti-slavery
sentiment peculiar to the North; voices were raised against the
institution of slavery by many Southern statesmen from Jefferson down--men
who knew by familiar observation of the evil of slavery, especially for
the white man.

_Differences Between Southern and Northern Attitudes Toward the Race

But differences are apparent in the outlook of the South and North which
must be pointed out before we can arrive at any general conclusions. By
understanding the reasons for race feeling we shall be the better able to
judge of the remedies proposed.

In the first place, the South is still clouded with bitter memories of the
war, and especially of the Reconstruction period. The North cannot
understand how deep and real this feeling is, how it has been warped into
the souls of even the third generation. The North, victorious, forgot; but
the South, broken and defeated, remembered. Until I had been a good while
in the South and talked with many people I had no idea what a social
cataclysm like the Civil War really meant to those who are defeated, how
long it echoes in the hearts of men and women. The Negro has indeed
suffered--suffered on his way upward; but the white man, with his higher
cultivation, his keener sensibilities, his memories of a departed glory,
has suffered far more. I have tried, as I have listened to the stories of
struggle which only the South knows, to put myself in the place of these
Anglo-Saxon men and women, and I think I can understand a little at least
of what it must have meant to meet defeat, loss of relatives and friends,
grinding poverty, the chaos of reconstruction--and after all that to have,
always at elbow-touch, the unconscious cause of all their trouble, the
millions of inert, largely helpless Negroes who, imbued with a sharp sense
of their rights, are attaining only slowly a corresponding appreciation of
their duties and responsibilities.

The ruin of the war left the South poor, and it has provided itself slowly
with educational advantages. It is a long step behind the North in the
average of education among white people not less than coloured. But more
than all else, perhaps, the South is in the throes of vast economic
changes. It is in the transition stage between the old wasteful,
semi-feudal civilisation and the sharp new city and industrial life. It is
suffering the common pains of readjustment; and, being hurt, it is not
wholly conscious of the real reason.

For example, many of the troubles between the races attributed to the
perversity of the Negro are often only the common difficulties which arise
out of the relationship of employer and employee. In other words,
difficulties in the South are often attributed to the race problem which
in the North we know as the labour problem. For the South even yet has not
fully established itself on the wage system. Payment of Negroes in the
country is still often a matter of old clothes, baskets from the white
man's kitchen or store, with occasionally a little money, which is often
looked upon as an indulgence rather than a right. No race ever yet has
sprung directly from slavery into the freedom of a full-fledged wage
system, no matter what the laws were. It is not insignificant of progress
that the "basket habit" is coming to be looked upon as thievery, organised
charity in the cities is taking the place of indiscriminate personal
gifts, wages are more regularly paid and measure more accurately the value
of the service rendered.

But the relationships between the races still smack in no small degree,
especially in matters of social contact (which are always the last to
change), of the old feudal character; they are personal and sentimental.
They express themselves in the personal liking for the old "mammies," in
the personal contempt for the "smart Negro."

A large part of the South still believes that the Negro was created to
serve the white man, and for no other purpose. This is especially the
belief in the conservative country districts.

"If these Negroes become doctors and merchants or buy their own farms," a
Southern woman said to me as a clinching argument against Negro education,
"what shall we do for servants?"

Another reason for the feeling in the South against the Negro is that the
South has never had any other labouring class of people (to speak of) with
which to compare the Negro. All the employers have been white; most of the
workers have been black. The North, on the other hand, has had a constant
procession of ignorant working people of various sorts. The North is
familiar with the progress of alien people, wherein the workingman of
to-day becomes the employer of to-morrow--which has not happened in the

_Confusion of Labour and Race Problems_

An illustration of the confusion between the race problem and the labour
problem is presented in certain Southern neighbourhoods by the influx of
European immigrants. Because the Italian does the work of the Negro, a
tendency exists to treat him like a Negro. In Louisiana on the sugar
plantations Italian white women sometimes work under Negro foremen and no
objection is made. A movement is actually under way in Mississippi to keep
the children of Italian immigrants out of the white schools. In not a few
instances white workmen have been held in peonage like Negroes; several
such cases are now pending in the courts. Here is a dispatch showing how
new Italian immigrants were treated in one part of Mississippi--only the
Italians, unlike the Negroes, have an active government behind them:

     MOBILE, ALA., October 3.--The Italian Government has taken notice of
     the situation at Sumrall, Miss., where the native whites are
     endeavouring to keep Italian children out of the schools and where a
     leader of the Italians was taken to the woods and whipped.

     The Italian Consul at New Orleans, Count G. Morroni, reached Mobile
     this afternoon and began an investigation of the situation. He to-day
     heard the story of Frank Seaglioni, the leader of the Italian colony
     at Sumrall, who was a few days ago decoyed from his home at night
     with a bogus message from New Orleans and unmercifully whipped by a
     mob of white men.

A decided tendency also exists to charge up to the Negro, because he is a
Negro, all the crimes which are commonly committed by any ignorant,
neglected, poverty-stricken people. Only last summer we had in New York
what the newspaper reporters called a "crime wave." The crime in that case
was what is designated in the South as the "usual crime" (offences against
women) for which Negroes are lynched. But in New York not a Negro was

I was struck while in Philadelphia by a presentment of a grand jury in
Judge Kinsey's court upon the subject of a "crime wave" which read thus:

     In closing our duties as jurymen, we wish to call to the attention of
     this court the large proportion of cases presented to us for action
     wherein the offences were charged to either persons of foreign birth
     or those of the coloured race, and we feel that some measures should
     be taken to the end that our city should be relieved of both the
     burden of the undesirable alien and the irresponsible coloured

Here, it will be seen, the "undesirable alien" and "irresponsible coloured
person" are classed together, although it is significant of the greater
prejudice against the coloured man that the newspaper report of the action
of the grand jury should be headed "Negro Crime Abnormal," without
referring to the alien at all. When I inquired at the prosecutor's office
about the presentiment, I was told:

"Oh, the dagoes are just as bad as the Negroes."

And both are bad, not because they are Negroes or Italians, but because
they are ignorant, neglected, poverty-stricken.

Thus in the dust and confusion of the vast readjustments now going on in
the South, the discomfort of which both races feel but neither quite
understands, we have the white man blindly blaming the Negro and the Negro
blindly hating the white. When they both understand that many of the
troubles they are having are only the common gall-spots of the new
industrial harness there will be a better living together.

I do not wish to imply, of course, that an industrial age or the wage
system furnishes an ideal condition for race relationships; for in the
North the Negro's struggle for survival in the competitive field is
accompanied, as I have shown elsewhere, by the severest suffering. The
condition of Negroes in Indianapolis, New York, and Philadelphia is in
some ways worse than it is anywhere in the South. But, say what we will,
the wage system is one step upward from the old feudalism. The Negro is
treated less like a slave and more like a man in the North. It is for this
reason that Negroes, no matter what their difficulties of making a living
in the North, rarely wish to go back to the South. And as the South
develops industrially it will approximate more nearly to Northern
conditions. In Southern cities to-day, because of industrial development,
the Negro is treated more like a man than he is in the country; and this
is one reason why Negroes crowd into the cities and can rarely be
persuaded to go back into the country--unless they can own their own land.

But the South is rapidly shaking off the remnants of the old feudalism.
Development of mines and forests, the extension of manufacturing, the
introduction of European immigrants, the inflow of white Northerners,
better schools, more railroads and telephones, are all helping to bring
the South up to the economic standard of the North. There will be a
further break-up of baronial tenant farming, the plantation store will
disappear, the ruinous credit system will be abolished, and there will be
a widespread appearance of independent farm-owners, both white and black.
This will all tend to remove the personal and sentimental attitude of the
old Southern life; the Negro will of necessity be judged more and more as
a man, not as a slave or dependent. In short, the country, South and
North, will become economically more homogeneous.

But even when the South reaches the industrial development of the North
the Negro problem will not be solved; it is certainly not solved in New
York or Philadelphia, where industrial development has reached its highest
form. The prejudice in those cities, as I have shown, has been growing
more intense as Negro population increased. What, then, will happen?

_Two Elements in Every Race Problem_

Two elements appear in every race problem: the first, race prejudice--the
repulsion of the unlike; second, economic or competitive jealousy. Both
operate, for example, in the case of the Irishman or Italian, but with the
Negro and Chinaman race prejudice is greater because the difference is
greater. The difficulty of the Negro in this country is the colour of his
skin, the symbol of his difference. In China the difficulty of the white
trader is his whiteness, his difference. Race lines, in short, are drawn
by white men, not because the other race is inferior (the Japanese and
Chinese are in many ways our superiors), nor because of criminality
(certain classes of foreigners are more criminal in our large cities than
the Negroes), nor because of laziness, but because of discernible physical
differences--black skin, almond eyes, pigtails, hook noses, a peculiar
bodily odour, or small stature. That dislike of a different people is more
or less instinctive in all men.

A tendency has existed on the part of Northern students who have no
first-hand knowledge of the masses of Negroes to underestimate the force
of race repulsion; on the other hand, the Southern student who is
confronted with the Negroes themselves is likely to overestimate racial
repulsion and underestimate economic competition as a cause of the
difficulty. The profoundest question, indeed, is to decide how much of the
so-called problem is due to race repulsion and how much to economic

This leads us to the most sinister phase of the race problem. As I have
shown, we have the two elements of conflict: instinctive race repulsion
and competitive jealousy. What is easier for the race in power, the white
race in this country (the yellow race in Asia) than to play upon race
instinct in order to serve selfish ends? How shrewdly the labour union,
whether in San Francisco or Atlanta, seizes upon that race hatred to keep
the black or yellow man out of the union and thereby control all the work
for its members! Race prejudice played upon becomes a tool in clinching
the power of the labour monopoly.

How the politician in the South excites race hatred in order that he may
be elected to office! Vardaman governed because he could make men hate one
another more bitterly than his opponent. The Rev. Thomas Dixon has
appealed in his books and plays to the same passion.

In several places in this country Negroes have been driven out by
mobs--not because they were criminal, or because they were bad citizens,
but because they were going into the grocery and drug business, they were
becoming doctors, dentists, and the like, and taking away the trade of
their white competitors. So the stores and restaurants of highly
efficient Japanese were wrecked in San Francisco.

What is easier or cruder to use as a weapon for crushing a rival than the
instinctive dislike of man for man? And that usage is not peculiar to the
white man. In Africa the black man wastes no time with the
different-looking white man; he kills him, if he dares, on the spot. And
how ably the Chinaman has employed the instinctive hatred of his
countrymen for "foreign devils" in order to fight American trade and
traders! We hate the Chinaman and drive him out, and he hates us and
drives us out.

_Chief Danger of Race Prejudice_

And this is one of the dangers of the race problem in this country--the
fostering of such an instinct to make money or to get political office.
Such a basis of personal prosperty is all the more dangerous because the
white man is in undisputed power in this country; the Negro has no great
navy behind him; he is like a child in the house of a harsh parent. All
that stands between him and destruction is the ethical sense of the white
man. Will the white man's sense of justice and virtue be robust enough to
cause him to withhold the hand of unlimited power? Will he see, as Booker
T. Washington says, that if he keeps the Negro in the gutter he must stay
there with him? The white man and his civilisation, not alone the Negro,
will rise or fall by that ethical test.

The Negro, on his part, as I have shown repeatedly in former chapters,
employs the same methods as the white man, for Negro nature is not
different from human nature. He argues: "The white man hates you; hate
him. Trade with Negro storekeepers; employ Negro doctors; don't go to
white dentists and lawyers."

Out of this condition proceed two tendencies. The first is the natural
result of mutual fear and suspicion, and that is, a rapid flying apart of
the races. All through my former chapters I have been showing how the
Negroes are being segregated. So are the Chinese segregated, and the
blacks in South Africa, and certain classes in India. Parts of the South
are growing blacker. Negroes crowd into "coloured quarters" in the
cities. More and more they are becoming a people wholly apart--separate in
their churches, separate in their schools, separate in cars, conveyances,
hotels, restaurants, with separate professional men. In short, we discover
tendencies in this country toward the development of a caste system.

Now, one of the most striking facts in our recent history is the progress
of the former slave. And this finds its world parallel in the progress of
people whom the vainglorious Anglo-Saxon once despised: the Japanese,
Chinese, and East Indians. In forty years the Negro has advanced a
distance that would have been surprising in almost any race. In the bare
accomplishments--area of land owned, crops raised, professional men
supported, business enterprises conducted, books and poetry written, music
composed, pictures painted--the slaves of forty years ago have made the
most astonishing progress. This leads to the second tendency, which
proceeds slowly out of the growing conviction that hatred and suspicion
and fear as motives in either national or individual progress will not
work; that there must be some other way for different people to work side
by side in peace and justice. And thus we discover a tendency toward a
friendly living together under the new relationship, in which the Negro is
not a slave or a dependent, but a man and a citizen. Booker T. Washington
preaches the gospel of this new life. And gradually as race prejudice
becomes inconvenient, threatens financial adversity, ruffles the smooth
current of comfortable daily existence, the impulse grows to set it aside.
Men don't keep on fighting when it is no longer profitable to fight.

And thus, side by side, these two impulses exist--the one pointing toward
the development of a hard caste system which would ultimately petrify our
civilisation as it has petrified that of India; and the other looking to a
reasonable, kindly, and honourable working together of the races.

_What Are the Remedies for the Evil Conditions?_

So much for conditions; what of remedies?

I have heard the most extraordinary remedies proposed. Serious men
actually talk of the deportation of the entire Negro population to
Africa, not stopping to inquire whether we have any right to deport them,
or calculating the economic revolution and bankruptcy which the
deportation of the entire labouring class would cause in the South,
without stopping to think that even if we could find a spot in the world
for 10,000,000 Negroes, and they all wanted to go, that all the ships
flying the American flag, if constantly employed, could probably not
transport the natural increase of the Negro population, let alone the
10,000,000 present inhabitants. I have heard talk of segregation in
reservations, like the Indians--segregation out of existence! I have even
heard unspeakable talk of the wholesale extinction of the race by
preventing the breeding of children! All quack remedies and based upon
hatred, not upon justice.

There is no sudden or cut-and-dried solution of the Negro problem, or of
any other problem. Men are forever demanding formulæ which will enable
them to progress without effort. They seek to do quickly by medication
what can only be accomplished by deliberate hygiene. A problem that has
been growing for two hundred and fifty years in America, and for thousands
of years before that in Africa, warping the very lives of the people
concerned, changing their currents of thought as well as their conduct,
cannot be solved in forty years. Why expect it?

And yet there are definite things that can be done which, while working no
immediate miracles, will set our faces to the light and keep us trudging
toward the true goal.

Down at the bottom--it will seem trite, but it is eternally true--the
cause of the race "problem" and most other social problems is simply lack
of understanding and sympathy between man and man. And the remedy is
equally simple--a gradual substitution of understanding and sympathy for
blind repulsion and hatred.

Consider, for example, the Atlanta riot. Increasing misunderstanding and
hatred caused a dreadful explosion and bloodshed. What happened? Instantly
the wisest white men in Atlanta invited the wisest coloured men to meet
them. They got together: general explanations followed. They found that
there had been error on both sides; they found that there were reasonable
human beings on both sides. One of the leading white men said: "I did not
know there were any such broad-minded Negroes in the South." In other
words, they tried to understand and sympathise with one another. Over and
over again men will be found hating Negroes, or Chinamen, or "dagoes," and
yet liking some individual Negro, or Chinaman, or "dago." When they get
acquainted they see that the Negro or Chinaman is a human being like
themselves, full of faults, but not devoid of good qualities.

As a fundamental proposition, then, it will be found that the solution of
the Negro problem lies in treating the Negro more and more as a human
being like ourselves. Treating the Negro as a human being, we must judge
him, not by his colour, or by any other outward symbol, but upon his worth
as a man. Nothing that fails of that full honesty and fairness of judgment
in the smallest particular will suffice. We disgrace and injure ourselves
more than we do the Negro when we are not willing to admit virtue or
learning or power in another human being because his face happens to be
yellow or black.

Of the soundness of this fundamental standard of judgment there can be no
doubt; the difficulty lies in applying it practically to society as it is
to-day. In the suggestions which I offer here I am trying to do two
things: to outline the present programme, and to keep open a clear view to
the future goal.

_Shall the Negro Vote?_

Let us approach, then, without fear the first of the three groups of
problems--political, industrial, and social--which confront us.

Shall the Negro vote?

Thousands of Negroes in this country are fully as well equipped, fully as
patriotic, as the average white citizen. Moreover, they are as much
concerned in the real welfare of the country. The principle that our
forefathers fought for, "taxation only with representation," is as true
to-day as it ever was.

On the other hand, the vast majority of Negroes (and many foreigners and
"poor whites") are still densely ignorant, and have little or no
appreciation of the duties of citizenship. It seems right that they should
be required to wait before being allowed to vote until they are prepared.
A wise parent hedges his son about with restrictions; he does not
authorise his signature at the bank or allow him to run a locomotive; and
until he is twenty-one years old he is disfranchised and has no part in
the government. But the parent restricts his son because it seems the
wisest course for him, for the family, and for the state that he should
grow to manhood before he is burdened with grave responsibilities. So the
state limits suffrage; and rightly limits it, so long as it accompanies
that limitation with a determined policy of education. But the suffrage
law is so executed in the South to-day as to keep many capable Negroes
from the exercise of their rights, to prevent recognition of honest merit,
and it is executed unjustly as between white men and coloured. It is no
condonement of the Southern position to say that the North also
disfranchises a large part of the Negro vote by bribery, which it does; it
is only saying that the North is also wrong.

As for the agitation for the repeal of the Fifteenth Amendment to the
Federal Constitution, which gives the right of suffrage to the coloured
man, it must be met by every lover of justice and democracy with a face of
adamant. If there were only one Negro in the country capable of
citizenship, the way for him must, at least, be kept open. No doubt full
suffrage was given to the mass of Negroes before they were prepared for
it, while yet they were slaves in everything except bodily shackles, and
the result during the Reconstruction period was disastrous. But the
principle of a free franchise--fortunately, as I believe, for this
country--has been forever established. If the white man is not willing to
meet the Negro in any contest whatsoever without plugging the dice, then
he is not the superior but the inferior of the Negro.

_What Shall Be the Industrial Relation of the Races?_

So much for the political relationships of the races. How about the
industrial relationships?

The same test of inherent worth must here also apply, and the question
will not be settled until it does apply. A carpenter must be asked, not
"What colour are you?" but "How cunningly and efficiently can you build a
house?" Of all absurdities, the judgment of the skill of a surgeon by the
kink of his hair will certainly one day be looked upon as the most absurd.
The same observation applies broadly to the attempt to confine a whole
people, regardless of their capabilities, to menial occupations because
they are dark-coloured. No, the place of the Negro is the place he can
fill most efficiently and the longer we attempt to draw artificial lines
the longer we shall delay the solution of the race problem. On the other
hand, the Negro must not clamour for places he cannot yet fill.

"The trouble with the Negro," says Booker T. Washington, "is that he is
all the time trying to get recognition, whereas what he should do is to
get something to recognise."

Negroes as a class are to-day far inferior in education, intelligence, and
efficiency to the white people as a class. Here and there an able Negro
will develop superior abilities; but the mass of Negroes for years to come
must find their activities mostly in physical and more or less menial
labour. Like any race, they must first prove themselves in these simple
lines of work before they can expect larger opportunities.

There must always be men like Dr. DuBois who agitate for rights; their
service is an important one, but at the present time it would seem that
the thing most needed was the teaching of such men as Dr. Washington,
emphasising duties and responsibilities, urging the Negro to prepare
himself for his rights.

_Social Contact_

We come now, having considered the political and industrial relationships
of the races, to the most difficult and perplexing of all the phases of
the Negro question--that of social contact. Political and industrial
relationships are more or less outward, but social contact turns upon the
delicate and deep questions of home life, personal inclinations, and of
privileges rather than rights. It is always in the relationships of oldest
developments, like those that cling around the home, that human nature is
slowest to change. Indeed, much of the complexity of the Negro problem
has arisen from a confusion in people's minds between rights and

Everyone recalls the excitement caused--it became almost a national
issue--when President Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to luncheon
at the White House. Well, that feeling is deep in the South, as deep
almost as human nature. Many Northern people who go South to live come to
share it; indeed, it is the gravest question in ethics to decide at what
point natural instincts should be curbed.

Social contact is a privilege, not a right; it is not a subject for
legislation or for any other sort of force. "Social questions," as Colonel
Watterson of Kentucky says, "create their own laws and settle themselves.
They cannot be forced." All such relationships will work themselves out
gradually, naturally, quietly, in the long course of the years: and the
less they are talked about the better.

_Jim Crow Laws_

As for the Jim Crow laws in the South, many of them, at least, are at
present necessary to avoid the danger of clashes between the ignorant of
both race. They are the inevitable scaffolding of progress. As a matter of
fact, the Negro has profited in one way by such laws. For the white man
has thus driven the Negroes together, forced ability to find its outlet in
racial leadership, and by his severity produced a spirit of self-reliance
which would not otherwise have existed. Dr. Frissell of Hampton is always
talking to his students of the "advantages of disadvantages."

As for laws against the intermarriage of the races, they do not prevent
what they are designed to prevent: the mixing of white and coloured blood.
In many parts of the South, despite the existence of such laws,
miscegenation, though decreasing rapidly, still continues. On the other
hand, in the North, where Negroes and whites may marry, there is actually
very little marriage and practically no concubinage. The solution of this
question, too, lies far more in education than in law. As a matter of
fact, the more education both races receive, the less the amalgamation. In
the South, as in the North, the present tendency of the educated and
prosperous Negroes is to build up a society of their own, entirely apart
from and independent of white people. As I have shown in a former chapter,
a white woman in the North who marries a Negro is declassed--ostracised by
both races. The danger of amalgamation lies with ignorant and vicious
people, black or white, not with educated and sensitive people.

As in the case of the Jim Crow laws, separate schools in the South are
necessary, and in one way I believe them to be of great advantage to the
Negroes themselves. In Northern cities like Indianapolis and New York,
where there are no separation laws of any kind, separate schools have
appeared, naturally and quietly, in districts where the Negro population
is dense. That the pupils in each should be treated with exact justice in
the matter of expenditures by the state is axiomatic. And the Negro boy
should have the same unbounded opportunity for any sort of education he is
capable of using as the white boy; nothing less will suffice.

One influence at present growing rapidly will have its profound effect on
the separation laws. Though a tendency exists toward local segregation of
Negroes to which I have already referred, there is also a counter-tendency
toward a scattering of Negroes throughout the entire country. The white
population in the South, now 20,000,000 against 9,000,000 Negroes, is
increasing much more rapidly than the Negro population. The death-rate of
Negroes is exceedingly high; and the sharper the conditions of competition
with white workers, the greater will probably be the limitation of
increase of the more inefficient Negro population.

As for the predictions of "amalgamation," "a mongrel people," "black
domination," and other bogies of prophecy, we must not, as I see it, give
them any weight whatsoever. We cannot regulate our short lives by the fear
of something far in the future which will probably never happen at all.
All we can do is to be right at this moment and let the future take care
of itself; it will anyway. There is no other sane method of procedure.
Much as we may desire it, the future arrangement of this universe is not
in our hands. As to the matter of "superiority" or "inferiority," it is
not a subject of argument at all; nor can we keep or attain "superiority"
by laws or colour lines, or in any other way, except by being superior.
If we are right, absolutely right, in the eternal principles, we can rest
in peace that the matter of our superiority will take care of itself.

_The Real Solution of the Negro Problem_

I remember asking a wise Southern man I met what, in his opinion, was the
chief factor in the solution of the Negro problem.

"Time," he said, "and patience."

But time must be occupied with discipline and education--more and more
education, not less education, education that will teach first of all the
dignity of service not only for Negroes but for white men. The white man,
South and North, needs it quite as much as the coloured man. And this is
exactly the programme of the new Southern statesmanship of which I spoke
in a former chapter. These wise Southerners have resolved to forget the
discouragements and complexities of the Negro problem, forget even their
disagreements, and go to work on present problems: the development of
education and industry.

Whether we like it or not the whole nation (indeed, the whole world) is
tied by unbreakable bonds to its Negroes, its Chinamen, its slum-dwellers,
its thieves, its murderers, its prostitutes. We cannot elevate ourselves
by driving them back either with hatred or violence or neglect; but only
by bringing them forward: by service.

For good comes to men, not as they work alone, but as they work together
with that sympathy and understanding which is the only true Democracy. The
Great Teacher never preached the flat equality of men, social or
otherwise. He gave mankind a working principle by means of which, being so
different, some white, some black, some yellow, some old, some young, some
men, some women, some accomplished, some stupid--mankind could, after all,
live together in harmony and develop itself to the utmost possibility. And
that principle was the Golden Rule. It is the least sentimental, the most
profoundly practical teaching known to men.




  Alcorn College, 248.

  Alderman, President Edwin A., 259, 271, 273, 278.

  Amalgamation of Races, 153, 164, 171.

  Amos, Moses, 42.

  Atlanta, colour line in, 27.
    riot, 3.

  Atlanta University, 40, 49, 54, 92, 170.


  Barrow, Chancellor D. C., 271, 287.

  Bassett, Professor John Spencer, 257.

  Black Belt, 67.

  Boston, race prejudice in, 118.
    prosperous Negroes in, 119.

  Bowie, Sydney J., 281.

  Boycott by Negroes, 34.

  Bradley, Rev. H. S., quoted, 56.

  Brittain, M. L., quoted, 37.

  Brown, J. Pope, 68.

  Broyles, Judge, 18, 45.

  Bulkley, William L., quoted, 131, 142.

  "Bumptiousness," 125.

  Buttrick, Dr. Wallace, 281.


  Cable, George W., 141.

  Cable, George W., the novelist, 257.

  Carnegie, Andrew, 35, 287.

  Chain-gang, 50, 96, 98, 290.

  Chambers, Frank R., 281.

  Charities, attitude toward Negroes, 35, 114, 138.

  Churches, Negro, 89, 168.

  Civil Service, Negroes in, 146.

  "Clansman, The," 4.

  Clark University, 12.

  Clark, Walter, President Mississippi Cotton Association, quoted, 104.

  Claxton, P. P., 271, 279.

  Cocaine, use of by Negroes, 46, 89, 104.

  Colour line, drawn by Negroes, 226.

  Concubinage, a case of, 48.

  Convicts, Negro, make profits for Georgia, 50.

  Cooper, W. G., report on Atlanta riot, 15.

  Cotton mill workers, 53, 70.

  Courts and the Negro, 45, 96, 141, 185, 205.

  Credit system, influence on Negro, 105.

  Crime against women, 5, 128, 296.
    as incentive to riot, 3, 4, 46, 183, 193, 204.
    condoned to keep Negro on farms, 98.
    juvenile, 51, 141.

  "Crossing the Line," 161.

  Cunningham, Acting Governor, 199.

  Currie, J. H., District Attorney, quoted, 167.


  Danville, Ill., lynching, 212.

  Davis, Jefferson, way with Negroes, 103, 275.

  Davis, Senator Jeff, 112, 238, 252.

  Death rate among Negroes, 115.

  Dickerman, Dr. G. S., 281.

  Dillard, Professor James H., 273, 286.

  Dixon, Rev. Thomas, 111, 266, 298.

  DuBois, Dr. W. E. B., 100, 156, 158, 173, 222, 272, 304.


  Edmonds, R. H., 275.

  Education, 65, 139.
    Booker T. Washington on, 221.
    in South, 271, 273.
    Negro, 282.
    "New South" on Negro, 285.


  Farmer, Negro, 6, 100.
    in the North, 109, 170.
    organization among, 93.

  Fear of Negroes, 8.
    prevalence of, in the South, 7.

  Few, Dean William Preston, 259.

  Fifteenth Amendment, 245, 246.

  Fisk University, 170.

  Fleming, Ex-Congressman William H., 264.

  Fraternal Orders, 231.

  "Free Persons of Colour" 156.

  Free Speech, 257.

  Fries, Henry E., 281.

  Frissell, Dr. H. B., of Hampton, 228, 271, 281, 286.

  Furniss, Dr. S. A., quoted, 114.


  Gaines, Bishop, J. W., 8.

  Galloway, Bishop C. B., 276.

  Gammon Theological Seminary, 12, 13.

  George, P. S., letter, 69.

  Gilreath, Belton, 287.

  Grady, Henry W., 275.

  Grant, Bishop Abram, 287.

  Graves, John Temple, 72.


  Hampton Institute, 170, 283.

  Hampton, General Wade, 235.

  Hanna, H. H., 281.

  Harrah, Charles J., President Midvale Steel Company, quoted, 137.

  Harvard University, colour line at, 123.

  Hill, Walter B., Chancellor, 258.

  Hopkins, Charles T., 18, 32, 49.

  Houston, President D. F., 271.

  Howell, Clark, Editor Atlanta _Constitution_, 24.

  Huntsville, Alabama, lynching, 191.


  Immigrants in the South, 28, 268, 295.
    take Negroes' places, 59.

  Intermarriage of races, 164, 171, 305.


  Jeanes Fund, 286.

  "Jim Crow," laws, 30, 112, 130, 151, 219, 224, 251, 252, 262, 266, 305.

  Johnson, Mayor Tom, 233.

  Joyner, J. Y., 271, 278, 286.


  Ku Klux Klan, 4, 235.


  Labour problems in North, 130.
    in South, 57, 78, 83, 249, 294.

  Labour unions, attitude toward Negroes, 135, 143, 160.

  Lamar, Senator J. Q., 263, 284.

  Landrum, Rev. W. W., 24.

  Lane, Charles P., letter, 241.

  Lawlessness, as incentive to riot, 4, 183, 193, 204.

  Leaders of Negro race, 216.

  Legislation against Negroes, 249.

  Lynching, 175.


  McAneny, George, 287.

  McIver, Charles D., 278.

  Manley, Charles quoted, 160.

  Manning, Joseph C., 264.

  Medicines, patent and the Negro, 62, 116.

  Mertins, George Frederick, quoted, 85.

  Miller, Professor Kelley, quoted, 130.

  Millsaps, Major R. W., 102.

  Mims, Professor Edwin, 255.

  Miscegenation, 165, 305.

  Mitchell, Professor S. C., 253, 271, 280, 281.

  Mob, psychology of, 10, 184.

  Mob, rule results of, 13.

  Money, United States Senator, H. D., 171.

  Moton, R. R., 287.

  Mulattoes, 149.
    leaders of the race, 173.

  Murphy, Edgar Gardner, 273.


  Napier, J. C., 287.

  Negroes, boycott by, 34.
    domination of, 252.
    driven out, 71.
    in Government service, 29.
    in Northern cities, 113.
    in street cars, 30.
    labour unions, 135.
    land ownership among, 91.
    private schools, 53.
    racial consciousness among, 38.
    what they talk about, 26.
    why they go to cities, 101.
    with white blood, 149.
    worthless, 60. (_See_ Vagrants)

  Negro business enterprises, 39.
    business league, 229.
    dramatic efforts, 157, 231.
    in Boston, 119, 145.
    story of Negro druggist, 42.
    story of successful farmer, 90.

  Newspapers, influence of sensational, 9, 25.
    Negro, 225.

  Niagara Movement, 223.

  Northen, Ex-Governor W. J., 24, 25, 65.


  "Ogden Movement," 281.

  Ogden, Robert C., 281, 287.

  Organised Labour and the Negro, 135.

  Orphans, Negro, 51.


  Page, Walter H., 281, 287.

  Parties among Negroes, 216.

  Peabody, George Foster, 281, 287.

  Penn, Dr. W. F., 19, 33.

  Peonage, 96.

  Politics, Negro in, 98, 160, 233, 252, 262.
    and lynching, 203, 224.

  Populism in South, 255.

  Porters, Pullman, 144.

  Prejudice, race, in North, 111, 117, 125, 133, 138.
    in churches, 121.
    Negro, 226.

  Prejudice, race, and economic necessity, 81.
    cases of, 55, 82.
    superficial manifestations, 26, 296.

  Prohibition movement, 256.

  Psychology of the South, 37;
    mob, 184.


  Race, world problems of, 292.

  Rape, investigation of cases, 5.
    trial of Negro for, 22.
    a northern case, 128.

  Reconstruction, 235.

  Rice, Dr. J. A., quoted, 165.

  Rice, Rev. Theron H., quoted, 54.

  Richardson, Congressman William, quoted, 192.

  Riot, Atlanta, 3.

  Riots, effect on crime, 22;
    in Northern cities, 124, 126;
    Wilmington, 160;
    lynching riot at Danville, 211;
    at Huntsville, Ala., 191;
    at Springfield, O., 201;
    at Statesboro, Ga., 186.


  Saloons, 10, 18, 21, 25, 36, 46, 49, 88, 98, 104, 127, 207, 266,
        289, 290.

  Schools, appropriations for, 248.
    in Atlanta, 53.
    in bad neighbourhoods, 169.
    in North, 132, 139.
    industrial, 140, 143.
    North Carolina, 279.
    private for Negroes, 53.
    retrogression of Negro, 284.
    separate, 306.
    why Negroes are not in, 52.

  Secret Societies among Negroes, 231.

  Segregation of races, 300;
    natural going on, 70.

  Settlement work among Negroes, 122, 126, 138.

  Shaw, Albert, 281.

  Sickness among Negroes, 116.

  Slade, Professor Andrew, 257.

  Slavery, evils of, 234.

  Smith, Governor Hoke, 11, 242, 245, 249, 250, 252, 256, 267.

  Smith, R. D., 287.

  Social contact of races, 304.

  Solution of race problems, 300.

  Soule, President A. M., 288.

  "Souls of Black Folk, The," 158.

  South Carolina, political struggles in, 235.

  Southern Education Board, 281, 286.

  Speake, Judge Paul, 195.

  Speer, Judge Emory, 255.

  Springfield, O., lynching, 191.
    and riot, 201.

  Statesboro, Ga., lynching, 177.

  Stewart, Professor J. B., 288.

  Strikes and Negroes, 134.

  Swanson, Governor Claude A., 249, 252, 258, 280.


  Taft, William H., 287.

  Tatum, Stewart L., 209.

  Tenant System, 74, 87, 100.

  Thomas, Judge William H., 96.

  Tillman, Senator B. R., 111, 236, 246, 250, 252, 259, 265.

  Trades, Negroes in, 135, 145.

  Trinity College, 258.

  Troy, Alexander, letter, 247.

  Tuberculosis among Negroes, 114.

  Tuskegee, 60, 170, 221, 283.


  University of Georgia, 288.


  Vagrants among Negroes, 57, 60, 81, 178, 211.

  Vardaman, Governor J. K., 111, 238, 246, 265, 267, 275, 298.

  Vernon, W. T., Register of Treasury, 228.

  Vice among Negroes, 165, 169.

  Vote, shall the Negro? 202.


  Washington, Booker T., 33, 56, 64, 99, 156, 173, 219, 250, 271, 274,
        286, 299, 300, 304.

  Watterson, Henry, 305.

  Weather and mobs, 211.

  White, Rev. John E., 24, 253, 276.

  Whitlock, Hardy H., sheriff, 212.

  Wilberforce College, 170.

  Williams, "Pegleg," 80.

  Williams, Talcott, 287.

  Wilmer, Rev. C. B., 24, 276.

  Women, Negro, arrested in Atlanta, 46.
    clubs, 143, 168.
    morals of, 140, 169.

  Wright, President R. R., 92.

  Wright, Professor R. R., Jr., quoted, 124, 137, 142, 145.


[1] Since these notes were made, in 1907, the prohibition movement has
abolished all the saloons in Georgia.

[2] Since the closing of the saloons on January 1, 1908, the number of
arrests has largely decreased, but the observations here made still apply
to a large number of Southern cities.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

The following misprints have been addressed:
  "he" corrected to "be" (page 5)
  "Thelogical" corrected to "Theological" (page 13)
  "take" corrected to "takes" (page 33)
  "Childern" corrected to "Children" (page 52)
  "on" corrected to "no" (page 57)
  "o-morrow" corrected to "to-morrow" (page 60)
  "negroes" corrected to "Negroes" (page 67)
  "whould" corrected to "would" (page 85)
  "wont" corrected to "won't" (page 98)
  missing "and" added (page 188)
  "typsetters" corrected to "typesetters" (page 202)
  "be" corrected to "he" (page 204)
  "weeks" corrected to "week" (page 210)
  "anothern" corrected to "another" (page 210)
  "hightly" corrected to "highly" (page 275)
  "declaractions" corrected to "declarations" (page 284)
  "familar" corrected to "familiar" (page 295)
  "is" corrected to "it" (page 300)
  "Govenor" corrected to "Governor" (Index)

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