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Title: Papers of the American Negro Academy. (The American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers, No. 18-19.)
Author: Hershaw, Lafayette M., 1863-1945, Cromwell, John W., Grimké, Archibald H., Steward, Theophilus G., Schomburg, Arthur A., Pickens, William
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Papers of the American Negro Academy. (The American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers, No. 18-19.)" ***

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ACADEMY. (THE AMERICAN NEGRO ACADEMY. OCCASIONAL PAPERS, NO. 18-19.) ***



The Sex Question and Race Segregation

BY ARCHIBALD H. GRIMKÉ, President.

Message of San Domingo to the African Race

BY THEOPHILUS G. STEWARD, U. S. A. (Retired)

Status of the Free Negro Prior to 1860

BY LAFAYETTE M. HERSHAW.

Economic Contribution by the Negro to America

BY ARTHUR A. SCHOMBURG.

The Status of the Free Negro from 1860 to 1870

BY WILLIAM PICKENS.

American Negro Bibliography of the Year

BY JOHN W. CROMWELL.

The above Papers were all read at the Nineteenth Annual Meeting

of the American Negro Academy, held in the Y.M.C.A.

Building, 12th Street Branch, Washington, D.C.

December 28th and 29th, 1915.

PRICE: 25 CTS.



Table of Contents


  · Archibald H. Grimké. The Sex Question and Race Segregation
  · Theophilus G. Steward. The Message of San Domingo to the African
    Race
  · Lafayette M. Hershaw. The Status of the Free Negro Prior to 1860
  · Arthur A. Schomburg. The Economic Contribution by the Negro to
    America
  · William Pickens. The Constitutional Status of the Negro from
    1860-1870
  · John W. Cromwell. The American Negro Bibliography of the Year



Archibald H. Grimké. The Sex Question and Race Segregation


One wrong produces other wrongs as surely and as naturally as the seed
of the thorn produces other thorns. Men do not in the moral world gather
figs from a thorn-bush any more than they do in the vegetable world.
What they sow in either world, that they reap. Such is the law. The
earth is bound under all circumstances and conditions of time and place
to reproduce life, action, conduct, character, each after its own kind.
Men cannot make what is bad bring forth what is good. Truth does not
come out of error, light out of darkness, love out of hate, justice out
of injustice, liberty out of slavery. No, error produces more error,
darkness more darkness, hate more hate, injustice more injustice,
slavery more slavery. That which we do is that which we are, and that
which we shall be.

The great law of reproduction which applies without shadow of change to
individual life, applies equally to the life of that aggregation of
individuals called a race or nation. Not any more than an individual can
they do wrong with impunity, can they commit a bad deed without reaping
in return the result in kind. There is nothing more certain than the
wrong done by a people shall reappear to plague them, if not in one
generation, then in another. For the consummation of a bad thought in a
bad act puts what is bad in the act beyond the control of the actor. The
evil thus escapes out of the Pandora-box of the heart, of the mind, to
reproduce and to multiply itself a hundredfold and in a hundred ways in
the complex relationships of men within human society. And then it
returns not as it issued singly, but with its related brood of ill
consequences:

      "But in these cases,
    We still have judgment here; that we but teach
    Bloody instructions, which being taught return
    To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
    Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
    To our own lips."

The ship which landed at Jamestown in 1619 with a cargo of African
slaves for Virginia plantations, imported at the same time into America
with its slave-cargo certain seed-principles of wrong. As the slaves
reproduced after their kind, so did these seed-principles of wrong
reproduce likewise after their kind. Wherever slavery rooted itself,
they rooted themselves also. The one followed the other with the
regularity of a law of nature, the invariability of the law of cause and
effect. As slavery grew and multiplied and spread itself over the land,
the evils begotten of slavery grew, and multiplied, and spread
themselves over the life of the people, black and white alike. The winds
which blew North carried the seeds, and the winds which blew South, and
wherever they went, wherever they fell, whether East or West, they
sprang up to bear fruit in the characters of men, in the conduct of a
growing people.

The enslavement of one race by another necessarily produces certain
moral effects upon both races, moral deterioration of the masters, moral
degradation of the slaves. The deeper the degradation of the one, the
greater will be the deterioration of the other, and vice versa. Indeed,
slavery is a breeding-bed, a sort of compost heap, where the best
qualities of both races decay and become food for the worst. The brute
appetites and passions of the two act and react on the moral nature of
each race with demoralizing effects. The subjection of the will of one
race under such circumstances to the will of another begets in the race
that rules cruelty and tyranny, and in the one that is ruled, fear,
cunning and deceit. The lust, the passions of the master-class, act
powerfully on the lust, the passions of the slave-class, and those of
the slave-class react not less powerfully on the master-class. The
greater the cruelty, tyranny and lust of the one, the greater will be
the cunning, deceit and lust of the other. And there is no help for this
so long as the one race rules and the other race is ruled, so long as
there exists between them in the state inequality of rights, of
conditions, based solely on the race-hood of each.

If two races live together on the same land and under the same
government as master and slave, or as superior and inferior, there will
grow up in time two moral standards in consequence of the two races
living together under such conditions. The master or superior race will
have one standard to regulate the conduct of individuals belonging to it
in respect to one another, and another standard to regulate the conduct
of those self-same individuals in respect to individuals of the slave or
inferior race. Action which would be considered bad if done by an
individual of the former race to another individual of the same race,
would not be regarded as bad at all, or at least in anything like the
same degree, if done to an individual of the latter race. On the other
hand, if the same offense were committed by an individual of the slave
or inferior race against an individual of the master or superior race,
it would not only be deemed bad, but treated as very bad.

With the evolution of the double moral standard and its application to
the conduct of these two sets of individuals in the state, there grows
up in the life of both classes no little confusion in respect to moral
ideas, no little confusion in respect to ideas of right and wrong. Nor
is this surprising. The results of such a double standard of morals
could not possibly be different so long as human nature is what it is.
The natural man takes instinctively to the double standard, to any
scheme of morals which makes it easy for him to sin, and difficult for a
brother or enemy to do likewise. And this is exactly what our American
double standard does practically in the South for both races, but
especially for the dominant race, for example, in regard to all that
group of actions, which grows out of the relation of the sexes in
Southern society.

What relations do the Southern males of the white race sustain to the
females of both races? Are these relations confined strictly to the
females of their own race? Or do they extend to the females of the black
race? Speaking frankly, we all know what the instinct of the male animal
is, and man after all, is physically a male animal. He is by nature one
of the most polygamous of male animals. There goes on in some form among
the human males, as among other males, a constant struggle for the
females. In polygamous countries each man obtains as many wives as he
can purchase and support. In monogamous countries he is limited by law
to one wife, whether he is able to maintain a plurality of wives or not.
When he marries this one woman the law defines his relations to her and
also to the children who may issue from such a union. But the man—I am
talking broadly—is at heart a polygamist still. The mere animal instinct
in his blood inclines him to run after, to obtain possession of other
wives. To give way to this inclination in monogamous countries he knows
to be attended with danger, to be fraught with sundry grievous
consequences to himself. He is liable to his wife, for example, to an
action for divorce on the ground of adultery. He is liable to be
prosecuted criminally on the same charge by the state, and to be sent to
prison for a term of years. But this is not the end of his troubles.
Public opinion, society, falls foul of him also in consequence of his
misconduct. He loses social recognition, the respect of his fellows,
becomes in common parlance a disgraced man. The one-wife country is
grounded on the inviolability of the Seventh Commandment. All the
sanctions of law, of morals, and of religion conspire to protect the
wife against the roving propensities of the husband, combine to curb his
male instinct to run after many women, to practice plural marriages.
There thus grows up in the breast of the race, is transmitted to each
man with the accumulated strength of social heredity, a feeling of
personal fear, a sense of moral obligation, which together war against
his male instinct for promiscuous sexual intercourse, and make for male
purity, for male fidelity to the one-wife idea, to the one-wife
institution. The birth of this wholesome fear in society is the
beginning of wisdom in monogamous countries. And unless this sense of
moral obligation is able to maintain its ascendancy in those countries,
the male sexual instinct to practice plural marriages will reassert
itself, will revert, if not openly, then secretly, to a state of nature,
to illicit relations. But every tendency to such reassertion, or
reversion, is effectively checked in a land where national morals are
sound, are pure, by wise laws which a strong, an uncompromising public
sentiment makes and executes impartially against all offenders.

This is the case in respect to monogamous countries inhabited by a
homogeneous population. In such countries where there exist no
differences of race, where there is no such thing as a dominant and a
subject race, the national standard of morals is single, the sexual
problem is accordingly simple and yields readily, uniformly, to the
single standard regulation or treatment. The "Thou shalt not" of the law
applies equally to all males in their relations to all females in
general, and to the one female in particular. No confusion ensues in law
or in fact in respect to the subject, to the practical application of
the rule to the moral conduct of individuals. Fornication, adultery,
marriage and concubinage are not interpreted by public sentiment to mean
one thing for one class of individuals, and another thing for another
class under the same law. There are no legal double standards, no moral
double standards. The moral eye of society, under these circumstances,
is single, the legal eye of the state is likewise single, and the eye of
the whole people becomes, in consequence, full of moral light. Marriage
is held to be sacred by the state, by society, and adultery or the
breach of the marriage-vow or obligation is held accordingly to be
sacrilege, one of the greatest of crimes.

The man who seduces another man’s wife in such a society, in such a
state, is regarded as an enemy by society, by the state, and is dealt
with as such. Likewise the man who seduces another man’s daughter. For
this crime the law has provided penalties which the wrong-doer may not
escape. And it matters not whether the seducer be rich and powerful, or
the girl poor and ignorant, the state, society respects not his wealth
nor his power. His status in respect to her is fixed by law, and hers
also in respect to him. While in the event of issue arising from such a
union, the law establishes certain relations between the child and the
putative father. It enables the mother to procure a writ against him,
and in case of her success he will be thereupon bound to support the
child during a certain number of years. The state, society, does not yet
compel him to give his name to the innocent offspring of his illicit
act, but it does compel him to provide for it proper maintenance. Thus
has the state, society, in monogamous countries restrained within bounds
the sexual activity of the human male, evolving in the process a code of
laws and one of morals for this purpose. These codes are administered
impartially, equally, by the state, by society, over all of the males in
their relation to all of the females.

In monogamous countries where two races live side by side, one dominant,
the other subject, the single legal standard, the single moral standard,
yields in practice if not in theory to the double standard in law and
morals in respect to the sexual question. In the ensuing confusion of
moral ideas, of moral obligations, the male instinct gains in freedom
from restraints of law, of social conventions, and reverts in
consequence and to that extent to a state of nature, of natural
marriage. The legal and moral codes which regulate the relations of the
males of one race with the females of the same race are not applicable
in regulating the relations of those self-same males with the females of
the other race. Marriage in such a country has regard to the males and
females of the same race, not to those of different races. The crime of
adultery or of fornication undergoes the same gross modification. For in
such a land the one-wife idea, the one-wife institution has reference to
the individuals of the same race only, not to individuals of opposite
races. The "Thou shalt not" of the law, public opinion interprets to
refer to the sexual conduct of the males and females of the same race in
respect to one another, _i. e._, a male member of the dominant race must
limit his roving propensities wherever the females of his own race are
concerned. He need not under this same law, interpreted by this same
public opinion, curb to the same extent those roving propensities where
the females of the other race are concerned. He may live in licit
intercourse with a woman of his own race and at the same time live in
illicit intercourse with a woman of the other race, _i. e._, without
incurring the pains and penalties made by the state, by society, against
such an offense in case the second woman be of his own race. Neither the
law nor public opinion puts an equal value on the chastity of the women
of the two races. Female chastity in the so-called superior race is
rated above that in the so-called inferior race. Hence the greater
protection accorded to the woman of the first class over that accorded
to the woman of the second class. The first class has well-defined legal
and moral rights which the men of that class are bound to respect,
rights which may not be violated with impunity. Here we encounter one of
the greatest dangers attendant upon race segregation, where the two
races are not equal before the law, where public opinion makes and
enforces one law for the upper race, and practically another law for the
under race.

Under these circumstances a male member of the dominant race may seduce
the wife of a member of the subject race, or a daughter, without
incurring any punishment except at the hands of the man wronged by him.
Such a wrong-doer would not be indicted or tried for adultery or
seduction, nor could the wronged husband or father recover from him
damages in a suit at law, nor yet could a bastardy suit be brought by
the girl against him with any show of success for the support of his
child, were issue to be born to her from such illicit union. The men of
the dominant race find themselves thus in a situation where the law,
public opinion, provides for their exclusive possession the women of
their own race, and permits them at the same time to share with the men
of the subject race possession of the women of that race. The sexual
activity of the men of the first class approaches in these conditions to
a state of nature in respect to the women of the second class. They are
enabled, therefore, to select wives from the stronger race, and
mistresses from the weaker one. The natural law of sexual selection
determines the mating in the one case as truly as in the other, _i. e._,
in the case of concubinage as in that of marriage. The men of the upper
class fall in love with the women whom they have elected to become their
wives, they also fall in love with the women they have elected to become
their concubines. They go through all those erotic attentions to the
women of each class, which are called courtship in the language of
sexual love. Only in the case of women of the first class this courtship
is open, visible to the eye of the upper world of the dominant race,
while in the case of the women of the second class it is secret,
conducted in a corner of the lower world of the subject race.

These men build homes in the upper world where are installed their
wives, who beget them children in lawful wedlock; they likewise build
homes in the lower world, where are installed their concubines, who
beget them children in unlawful wedlock. The wives move, have their
being in the upper world and sustain to their husbands certain
well-defined rights and relations, social and legal. The children of
this union sustain to those fathers equally clear and definite rights
and relations in the eye of the law, in the eye of society. The law,
society, imposes on them, these husbands and fathers, certain
well-defined duties and obligations in respect to these children, these
wives, which may not be evaded or violated with impunity. These men
cannot therefore disown or desert their wives and children at will.
Whereas, such is not the case, is not the situation, in respect to the
unlawful wives hidden away in a corner of the under-world, or of that of
the children begotten to those men by these unlawful wives, but quite
the contrary. For them the law, society, does not intervene, does not
establish any binding relations, any reciprocal rights between those
women and children and the men, any more than if the men and the women
were living together in a state of nature and having children born to
them in such a state, where the will of the natural man is law, where
his sexual passion measures exactly the extent and the duration of his
duties and obligations in respect to his offspring and the mother of
them. When he grows weary of the mother he goes elsewhere, and forgets
that he ever had children by her.

This is the case, is the situation, in the under-world of the under
race. For down there, there is no law, no public opinion, to curb the
gratification of the sexual instinct of the men of the upper world, such
as exists and operates so effectively to curb those instincts in that
upper world. In the upper world these men may have but one wife each,
but in the lower one they may have as many concubines as they like, and
a different set of children by each concubine. They may have these women
and children in succession, or they may have them at the same time. For
there is in that under-world no law, no effective power to say to those
men, to their lust of the flesh: "Thus far and no farther." In the upper
world they are members of a civilized society, amenable to its codes of
law and morals; in the lower one, they are merely male animals
struggling with other male animals for the possession of the females. On
the dim stage of the under-world this is the one part that they play. In
this one sensual role they make their entrances and their exits. They
may have in the upper world achieved distinction along other lines of
human endeavor, but in the lower one, they achieve the single
distinction of being successful male animals in pursuit of the females.

So much for the males of the dominant race. Now for those of the subject
race. How do they conduct themselves at this morally chaotic
meeting-place of the two races? What effect does this sexual freedom,
spawned under such conditions, produce on their life, on their actions?
Like the men of the upper race, they, too, live in a monogamous country.
But unlike their male rivals, these men of the under-world are not free
to seek their mates from the women of both races. The law restricts
them, public opinion restricts them, the men of the dominant race
restrict them in this regard to the women of their own race. Around the
women of the dominant race, law, public opinion, the men of that race,
have erected a high wall which the men of the other race are forbidden
to climb. What do these men see in respect to themselves in view of this
triply-built wall? They see that while they share the women of their own
race with the men of the other race, that these same men enjoy exclusive
possession of their own women, thanks to the high wall, built by law, by
public opinion, and the strong arms of these self-same men. What do the
men of the under world? Do they struggle against this sexual supremacy
of the men of the upper world, or do they succumb to circumstances,
surrender unconditionally to the high wall? We shall presently see.

This racial inequality generates heat in masculine breasts in the under
world. And with this heat there ensues that fermentation of thought and
feeling which men call passion. Those submerged men begin to think
sullenly on the subject, they try to grasp the equities of the
situation. As thought spreads among them, feeling spreads among them
also. About their own women they see no fence, about the women of the
other race they see that high wall. They cannot think out to any
satisfactory conclusion the justice of that arrangement, cannot
understand why the women of the upper race should belong exclusively to
the men of that race, and why these self-same men should share jointly
with the men of the lower race the women of this race.

The more they strike their heads against this one-sided arrangement, the
less they like it, the more they rebel against it. And so they come to
grope dimly for some means to oust their rivals from this
joint-ownership of the women of the lower race. And when they fail,
feeling kindles into anger, and anger into resentment. Against this
inequality of conditions a deepening sense of wrong burns hotly within
them. Dark questionings assail their rude understandings. Have the men
of the upper race their exclusive preserves, then ought not the men of
the lower race to have their exclusive preserves also? Is it a crime,
has law, public opinion, the men of the upper race made it a crime for
the men of the lower race to poach on those preserves? Then the law,
public opinion, the men of the lower race ought to make it equally a
crime for the men of the upper race to poach on the preserves of the
other race. But law, public opinion, refuses to make the two acts equal
in criminality and the men of the lower race are powerless to do so
without the help of equal laws and administration, and a just public
sentiment. Baffled of their purpose to establish equality of conditions
between them and their rivals, they thereupon watch the ways of these
rivals. They see them descending into the lower world in pursuit of the
women of that world by means that are crooked and ways that are dark. A
few of the men in that lower world profiting by that villainous
instruction, endeavor to ascend into the upper world by the same crooked
means, by the same dark ways. For they affect to believe that what is
sauce for one race’s goose is sauce for the other race’s gander. Thus it
is attempted craftily, but, in the main, futilely, to strike a sort of
primitive balance between the men of the two races in respect to the
women of the two races.

Now no such balance can be struck by the unaided acts of the men of the
lower race. Without the co-operation of the women of the upper race
these men are helpless to scale the high wall, or to make the slightest
breach in it. The law, public opinion, the men of the upper race, render
such co-operation very difficult, well-nigh impossible, did there exist
any disposition on the part of the women of the upper race to give aid
and comfort for such a purpose to the men of the lower race. But as a
matter of fact, and speaking broadly, there exists no such disposition.
The law of sexual selection does not operate under the circumstances to
make the men of the lower race sufficiently attractive to the women of
the upper race. It is possible that in a state of nature, and under
other circumstances, the case might be different. But under present
conditions the sexual gravitation of the women of the upper world toward
the men of the lower world may be set down as infinitesimally small,
practically a negligible quantity. Everything in the state, in society,
in deep-rooted racial prejudices, in the vastly inferior social and
economic standing of the lower race and the ineffaceable dishonor which
attaches to such unions in the public mind, together with the actual
peril to life which attends them, all combine to discourage, to destroy
almost any inclination in that direction on the part of the women of the
upper race.

Now, while this is true, speaking broadly, it is not altogether so. For
in scattered individual cases, in spite of the difficulties and dangers,
the law of sexual selection has been known to operate between those two
worlds. A few women of the upper world, on the right side of the high
wall have been drawn to a few men in the lower world, on the wrong side
of that wall. By the connivance, or co-operation of such women the men
of their choice have climbed into the upper world, climbed into it over
the high wall by means that were secret and ways that were dark. As one
swallow does not, however, make summer, neither can these scattered
instances, few and far between, be cited to establish any general
affinity between the women of the upper race and the men of the lower
race. On examination they will be seen to be exceptions, which only
prove the rule of a want of sexual affinity between them under existing
conditions at least. Practically a well-nigh impassable gulf, to change
the figure, separates the men of the lower world from the women of the
upper one. The men as a class can not bridge that gulf, and the women as
a class have no desire to do so. This, then, is the actual situation:
the men of the upper world enjoy practically exclusive possession of the
women of that world, while the men of the lower world do not enjoy
exclusive possession of the women of their world, but share this
possession with the men of the upper world.

The effect that is produced in consequence of this state of things on
the morals of the men of the lower world, is distinctly and decidedly
bad. Such conditions, such a situation, could not possibly produce a
different effect so long as human nature is what it is. And the human
nature of each race is essentially the same. The morals of the men of
the two worlds will be found at any given time to be almost exactly
alike in almost every particular. For the morals of the men of the lower
world are in truth a close imitation of those of the men of the upper
world—closest not where those morals are at their best, but where they
are at their worst. This will be found to be the case every time. So
that it happens that where the morals of the men of the upper world are
bad, those of the men of the lower world will not be merely bad, but
very bad. There follows naturally, inevitably, under these circumstances
and in consequence of these conditions, widespread debauchery of the
morals of the women of the lower race. And for this there is absolutely
no help, no remedy, just so long as the law and public opinion maintain
such a demoralizing state of things.

If there exists no affinity between the men of the lower world and the
women of the upper world, there does then exist a vital connection
between the masculine morals of the two worlds. These morals are in
constant interaction, one upon the other. When the moral barometer falls
in the upper world, it falls directly in the lower one also. And as the
storm of sensuality passes over both worlds simultaneously, its
devastating effects will always fall heaviest on the lower one where the
women of that world form the center of its greatest activity. Whatever
figure the moral barometer registers in the lower world, it will
register a corresponding one in the upper, and this whether the
barometer be rising or falling. If the moral movement be downward in the
lower world, it will be downward in the upper, and if it be upward in
the upper, it will be upward in the lower and vice versa.

In view of the vital connection then between the morals of the two races
the moral regeneration of either must of necessity include both. At one
and the same time the work ought to start in each and proceed along
parallel lines in both. The starting-point for each is the abolition of
the double moral standard, and the substitution in law and in public
opinion of a single one, applicable alike to the conduct of both.
Otherwise every reformatory movement is from the beginning doomed to
failure, to come to naught in the end. For the roots of the moral evil
which exists under present conditions and by virtue of them cannot be
extirpated without first changing those conditions.

The morals of the two races in default of such change of conditions must
sink in consequence from bad to worse. They cannot possibly rise in
spite of such conditions.

I have now discussed the subject of the contact of two races living
together on the same land and on terms of inequality, in its relations
to the morals of the men of those races. It yet remains to consider the
same subject in its relations to the conduct of the women. What is the
effect of such contact, to be specific, on the women of the two races in
the South? And first, what is it on white women? Do these women know of
the existence of the criminal commerce which goes on between the world
of the white man and that of the colored woman? And if so, are they
cognizant of its extent and magnitude. They do perceive, without doubt,
what it must have been in the past from the multitude of the mixed
bloods who came down to the South from the period before the war, or the
abolition of slavery. Such visible evidence not even a fool could refuse
to accept at its full face value. And the white women of the South are
not fools. Far from it. They have eyes like other women, and ears, and
with them they see and hear what goes on about them. Their intelligence
is not deceived in respect to appearance and underlying causes.
Certainly they are not ignorant of the fact that a Negro can no more
change his skin than a leopard his spots. When therefore they see black
mothers with light-colored children, they need not ask the meaning of
it, the cause of such apparent wonder. For they know to their sorrow its
natural explanation, and whence have come all the mulattoes and
quadroons and octoroons of the South. And to these women this knowledge
has been bitterer than death. The poisoned arrow of it long ago entered
deep into their souls. And the hurt, cruel and immedicable, rankles in
the breasts of those women today, as it rankled in the breasts of their
mothers of a past long vanished.

What, pray, is engendered by all of this widespread but suppressed
suffering transmitted, as a bitter heritage for generations, by Southern
mothers to Southern daughters? What but bitter hatred of the black woman
of the South by the white woman of the South. How is this hatred
expressed? In a hundred ways and by a hundred means. One cannot keep
down a feeling of pity for a large class of women in the South who
cannot meet in street, or store, or car, a well-dressed and comely
colored girl without experiencing a pang of suspicion, a spasm of fear.
For there arises unbidden, unavoidably, in the minds of such women the
ugly question, whose daughter is she, and whose mistress is she to be?
For in the girl’s veins may flow the proudest blood of the South. And
this possibility, aye, probability, so shameful to both races, no one in
the South knows better than the Southern white woman. What happens? The
most natural thing in the world, but not the wisest. The hatred, the
suspicion, the fear of these women find expression in scorn, in active
ill-will, not only toward that particular girl, but toward her whole
class as well. They are all put under the ban of this accumulated
hatred, suspicion and fear.

A hostility, deep-seated and passionate as that which proceeds from
white women as a class toward black women as a class, shoots beyond the
mark and attacks indiscriminately all colored women without regard to
character, without regard to standing or respectability. It is enough
that they belong to the black race; ergo, they are bad, ergo, they are
dangerous. All this bitter hatred of the women of one race by the women
of the other race has borne bitter fruit in the South in merciless class
distinctions, in hard and fast caste-lines, designed to limit contact of
the races there to the single point where they come together as superior
and inferior. Hence the South has its laws against intermarriage, and
for separating the races in schools, in public libraries, in churches,
in hotels, in cars, in waiting rooms, on steamboats, in hospitals, in
poorhouses, in prisons, in graveyards. Thus it is intended to reduce the
contact of the races to a minimum, to glut at the same time the hatred
of the white women of the South toward the black women of the South, and
to shut the men of each race from the women of the other race. But how
foolish are all these laws, how futile are all these class distinctions!
Do they really effect the separation of the races? They do not, they
cannot under existing conditions. What then do they? They do indeed
separate the world of the white man and woman from the colored man and
woman, but they fail utterly to separate the world of the colored woman
from the white man.

The joint fear of the white woman and the white man is incorporated
today in every State of the South in laws interdicting marriage between
the races. But do these laws put an end to the sexual commerce which
goes on between the world of the white man and that of the colored
woman? Have they checked perceptibly this vile traffic between these two
worlds? They have not nor can they diminish or extinguish this evil. On
the contrary, because they divide the two worlds, because they uphold
this legal separation of the races, they provide a secret door, a dark
way between the two worlds, between the two races, which the men of the
upper world open at will and travel at pleasure. For they hold the key
to this secret door, the clue to this dark way. Such preventive measures
are in truth but a repetition of the fatal folly of the ostrich when it
is afraid. For then while this powerful bird takes infinite pains to
cover its insignificant front lines, it leaves unprotected its widely
extended rear ones, and falls accordingly an easy victim to the enemy
which pursues it. The real peril of an admixture of the races in the
South lies not in intermarriage, but in concubinage, lies through that
secret door which connects the races, the key to which is in the hands
of the white men of the South. It is they who first opened it, and it is
they who continue to keep it open. Were it not for the folly of the
white women of the South, it might yet be closed and sealed. The folly
of the white women of the South is their hatred, their fear of the
colored women of the South. They first think to rid themselves of the
rivalry of the second class by excluding them from the upper world, by
shutting them securely within the limits of the lower one. But these
women forget the existence of that secret door, of the hidden way. They
forget also the hand that holds the key to the one and the clue to the
other. That hand is the hand of the white man; it is certainly not the
hand of the colored woman.

Is it not the white woman of the South more than any other agency, or
than all other agencies put together, who are responsible for the
existence of a public sentiment in the South which makes it legally
impossible for a colored girl to obtain redress from the white man who
betrayed her, or support from him for his bastard child? The white woman
of the South thus outlaws, thus punishes her black rival. But what does
such outlawry accomplish, what such punishment? What do they but add
immensely to the strength of the white man’s temptation by making such
illicit intercourse safe for him to indulge in? Thanks to the white
woman’s mad hatred of the colored woman, to her insane fear of her
colored rival, the white man of the South is enabled to practice with
singular impunity this species of polygamy. For the penalties against
the adulterer, against the fornicator, which the law provides, which
public opinion provides, for him in the upper world, he well knows will
not be called down on his head were the acts of adultery or fornication
committed by him in the lower world. It is a sad fact and a terrible
one, sad for both races and terrible for the women of both races in the
actual and potential wickedness of it. No colored girl, however, cruelly
wronged by a white man in the South will be able to obtain an iota of
justice at the hands of that man in any court of law in any Southern
State, or to get the slightest hearing or sympathy for her cause at the
bar of Southern public opinion. Were she to enter the upper world of the
white woman with such a case against some white man, who but the
Southern white woman would be the first to drive her back into her
world? But unless she is not only allowed but encouraged to emerge out
of her world with the shameful fruit of her guilty life and love, and so
to confront her white paramour or betrayer in his world, how is the
lower world ever to rid itself of such as she, or the upper one of such
as he? In the segregation and outlawry of the black woman under such
conditions lie the white woman’s greatest danger, lie the white race’s
greatest danger from admixture of the races, lies the South’s greatest
danger to its morals. For through such segregation and outlawry run the
white man’s way to the black woman’s world, and therefore to
miscegenation of the races, to their widespread moral degradation and
corruption. Amalgamation is not therefore made hard, but appallingly
easy.

But there is another aspect to this side of the subject which must not
be entirely ignored, and that is the existence in a few instances of
illicit relations between some white women and some colored men in the
South. That such relations have existed in the past and do actually
exist there at the present time, there is absolutely no doubt whatever.
In certain localities these relations, although known or suspected, have
been tolerated, while in general as soon as they are discovered or
suspected they have been broken up by mobs who murder the black
participants when they are caught, sometimes on trumped-up charges of
having committed the "usual crime." The existence of such relations is
not so strange or incredible as may be supposed at first hearing of
them. For it is a fact hardly less curious, if not so strange, that
there are men who while they would not think of marrying into a class
beneath them would nevertheless live readily enough in a state of
concubinage with women of that class. And in this upper class there are
women, not many, it is true, who would do the same thing. They care
enough for the men in the class beneath them to enter into illicit
relations in secret with them, but not enough to enter into licit
relations with these same men in the open, in the gaze of a scornful and
horrified world. Has it ever been seriously considered that like father
may occasionally produce like daughter in the South? And that such moral
lapses by a few white women of that section may be accounted for in part
at least by that mysterious law of atavism? The sons are like their
fathers in respect to their fondness for colored women, why may not one
daughter in, say, ten thousand, resemble those fathers in that same
shameful, though not altogether unnatural respect? Do not such
instances, few and far between at present though they be, furnish matter
for thoughtful people of the South regardless of sex, race or color?

Have the white women of the South considered that under existing
conditions they are deprived of effective influence, of effective power,
to reform the morals of the men of their race? And that unless the
morals of the men are reformed the morals of the whole white race will
eventually decline? If the women fail to lift the level of the moral
life of their men to their own higher plane, the lower morals of the men
will drag downward ultimately to their level that of the women. From
this inevitable conclusion and consequence there is no possible escape.
But the white women of the South are powerless to lift the morals of
their men without lifting at the same time the morals of the women of
the black race. If, however, they steadily refuse to do so in the
future, as they have refused to do so in the past, and as they refuse to
do so today by the only sure means which can and will contribute
mightily to effect such a purpose, viz., by making the black women their
equals before the law, and at the bar of an enlightened public
sentiment, and these women remain in consequence where they are today, a
snare to the feet of white men, when these men trip over this snare into
the hell of the senses, they will drag downward slowly but surely with
them toward the level of these self-same black women the moral ideals if
not the moral life of the white women of the South.

And now a final word about the black woman of the South: She holds in
her keeping the moral weal or woe, not only of her own race, but of the
white race also. As she stands today in respect to the white man of the
South, her situation is full of peril to both races. For she lives in a
world where the white man may work his will on her without let or
hindrance, outside of law, outside of the social code and moral
restraints which protect the white woman. This black woman’s extra-legal
position in the South, and her extra-social status there, render her a
safe quarry for the white man’s lust. And she is pursued by him for
immoral ends without dread of ill consequences to himself, either legal
or social. If she resists his advances, and in many cases she does
resist them, he does not abate his pursuit, but redoubles it. Her
respectability, her very virtue, makes her all the more attractive to
him, spurs the more his sensual desire to get possession of her person.
He tracks her, endeavors to snare her in a hundred dark ways and by a
hundred crooked means. On the street, in stores, in cars, going to and
from church, she encounters this man, bent on her ruin. Into her very
home his secret emissaries may attack her with their temptation, with
their vile solicitation. Nowhere is she safe, free from his pursuit,
because no law protects her, no moral sentiment casts about her person
the aegis of its power. And when haply dazed by the insignia of his
superior class, or his wealth, or the magic of his skin, or the creature
comforts which he is able to offer her, she succumbs to his embrace and
enters the home to which he invites her, she becomes from that time
outlawed in both worlds, a moral plague-spot in the midst of both races.
For she begins then to reproduce herself, her wretched history, her sad
fate, in the more wretched history, in the sadder fate of her daughters.
And so in her world of the senses, of the passions, she enacts in a sort
of vicious circle the moral tragedy of two races. If the white man works
the moral ruin of her and hers, she and they in turn work upon him and
his a moral ruin no less sure and terrible.

What is the remedy? It is certainly not the segregation of the races in
a state of inequality before the law. For such segregation exists today.
It has existed to the hurt of both races in the past. It is the fruitful
parent of fearful woes at the present time, and will be the breeder of
incalculable mischief for both races, for the South, and for the nation
itself, in the future. The remedy lies not then in racial segregation
and inequality, for that is the disease, but in interracial comity and
equality. The double moral standard has to be got rid of as quickly as
possible, and a single one erected in its stead, applicable alike to the
men and women of both races. The moral world of the white man and that
of the black woman must be merged into one by the ministers of law and
religion, by an awakened public conscience, and by an enlightened and
impartial public sentiment, which is the great promoter and upholder of
individual and national righteousness. The black woman of the South must
be as sacredly guarded as a woman by Southern law and public opinion
against the sexual passion and pursuit of the Southern white man as is
the Southern white woman. Such equality of condition, of protection, in
the South is indispensable to any lasting improvement in the morals of
its people, white or black. If that section persists in sowing
inequality instead of equality between the races, it must continue to
gather the bitter fruits of it in the darkened moral life, in the low
moral standard of both races. For what the South sows, whether it be
cotton or character, that it will surely reap.



Theophilus G. Steward. The Message of San Domingo to the African Race


    "The mention of that name, San Domingo," says McMaster, "calls
    up the recollection of one of the finest colonies, of one of the
    noblest struggles for liberty, of one of the grandest men, and
    of one of the foulest deeds in the history of revolutionary
    France."¹


   ¹ History of the American People, John Bach McMaster Vol. III, p.
     215.

The part that the inhabitants of that island took in our war of
independence, I have related previously in a paper read before this
body. (No. 5.) I may quote in substance from that paper the following
facts.

The record given by Minister Rush secured in Paris in 1849, and
preserved in the Pennsylvania Historical Society states that a legion of
colored troops from San Domingo saved the American army from
annihilation by bravely covering its retreat in the disastrous repulse
which it met in Savannah in 1779. This legion was composed of about 800
freedmen, black and mulatto, and was known as Fontages’ Legion. They had
freely volunteered, and had accompanied D’Estaing from Port-au-Prince,
and as the Haitian historians say, they came to our shores and covered
themselves with glory in the cause of freedom. Among the men named as
winning distinction in that critical action were: André Rigaud,
Beauvais, Villatte, Beauregard, Lambert and Christophe. How many of the
brave men of that legion gave up their lives in the cause of American
independence is not known; but we do know that some colored martyrs from
San Domingo, poured out their blood along with that of the colored
patriots of our own country as a libation to American freedom. The
meagre record states that Christophe received a dangerous gunshot wound;
how many others were wounded or even slain we do not know.

A few years later, and after the revolution in their own island, a
strong contingent went forth from there to the aid of Bolivar in
Venezuela, and by their timely and effective co-operation converted
Bolivar’s overwhelming defeat into victory. But for the modesty and
state policy of Petion, his own name would have been associated with
that of Bolivar in the liberation of South America.² During Cuba’s
recent struggles the Haitian people manifested the liveliest interest
and sympathy in the efforts of the Cuban patriots.

   ² A monument to Petion has been set up in the public square of
     Caracas.

These glimpses are sufficient to show that from some cause and by some
means, the colored people of San Domingo had acquired an appreciation of
freedom including more than the mere desire to be free from slavery. The
revolt against slavery, however, was their most notable manifestation of
their love of liberty. Petion in his consultation with Bolivar after the
latter’s defeat before mentioned, insisted that on renewing his efforts
he should proclaim the freedom of all the slaves as a first step.
Bolivar in his letter to Petion replying to this suggestion said: "In my
proclamation to the inhabitants of Venezuela, and in the decree that I
shall issue announcing liberty to the slaves, I do not know that it will
be permitted to me to demonstrate the real sentiment of my heart toward
Your Excellency, and to leave to posterity an undying monument to your
philanthropy." He then asked if he might make known the fact that wise
counsel and material aid had been furnished him by the infant black
Republic.

Petion’s reply was as follows: "You know, general, my sentiments toward
the cause that you have the valor to defend and also toward yourself
personally. You surely must feel how ardently I desire to see the
oppressed delivered from the yoke of bondage; but because of certain
diplomatic obligations which I am under toward a nation that has not as
yet taken an offensive attitude toward the republic, I am obliged to ask
you not to make public the aid I have given you, nor to mention my name
in any of your official documents."

Toussaint L’Ouverture in his first proclamation to the self-emancipated
slaves of his country, and to those still in bondage, says: "It is my
desire that liberty and equality shall reign in Saint Domingo. I am
striving to this end. Come and unite with us, Brothers, and combat with
us for the same cause."

Liberty and equality then reigned in the French mind and however vague
the idea which had found lodgment in the brain of the San Domingo blacks
and mulattos, it was nevertheless sufficiently entrancing to call them
from the depths of the inferno in which they were cast and to tempt them
to essay the dizziest heights. At a later period this most remarkable
man in explaining the object for which he was contending, defined his
idea of liberty in words worthy of that greatest statesman, soldier and
patriot that has adorned the Negro Race in modern times.³ He said: "It
is not a liberty of circumstance, conceded to us alone, that we wish; it
is the adoption of the principle absolute that no man, born red, black
or white, can be the property of his fellow man."

   ³ "But Bonaparte’s plans were doomed to encounter an obstacle in the
     most remarkable man of negro blood known to modern history.
     Toussaint L’Ouverture was the descendant, he claimed, of an African
     chieftain. Highly endowed by nature, he had obtained an excellent
     education, and had gradually, though born a slave, cultivated his
     innate power of leadership until all the blacks of San Domingo
     regarded him with affection and awe."—Sloan’s Napoleon, Vol. II,
     pages 236-237.

Thus spoke Toussaint L’Ouverture, the man of whom Lamartine says: "After
God, this man was a nation;" thus he spoke in 1799, a time when all the
nations of the earth were themselves slaves to slavery. To this black
man was given to see the truth; to them it was not given.

We are now, I trust, prepared to estimate that thirteen years’ struggle
which went on in that island, during which the tidal wave of
destruction, torture, and death, swept the land from side to side, and
from end to end, inundating everything except the indomitable spirit of
the humble people to whom the heavens of freedom had been opened. Truly
does MacMaster class it among the noblest struggles for liberty. I
cannot detail that mighty struggle here. For the history of those
thirteen eventful years, for the instructive and thrilling story of
those heroic black men who garlanded our race, I must refer you to my
book on the Haitian Revolution from 1791 to 1804.

We may pause here at the close of this awful period and stand in the
proud presence of these triumphant black heroes, as the last of their
enemies sail slowly away as prisoners of war. With the new flag floating
over the fortresses of the Cape, and the victorious army well-equipped
and intact, it is Dessalines, the intrepid Dessalines, never beaten in
battle, never surprised in camp, who in the name of the black people and
Men of Color of Saint Domingo announces:

"The Independence of Saint Domingo is Proclaimed.
       "Restored to our primitive dignity, we have asserted⁴ our rights;
       we swear never to yield them to any power on earth."

These were the words of war-worn veterans with swords still unsheathed.

   ⁴ "Asserting their liberties as men, he (Toussaint L’Ouverture) and
     his fellow slaves rose against their masters and a servile War
     insued." Sloan, ibid.

They have proclaimed independence, they must now take up the task of
government. For this work their training hitherto had been the worst
possible, while their anthropological and sociological condition was
most unfavorable. Among them were represented fourteen different African
tribes,—coming from widely separated territory in their native land and
differing in customs and language.⁵ Besides these diversities there was
also a positive and assertive element of mulattos, some of whom had been
slaveholders, and, what was worse still, the country had but recently
emerged from a war of caste, a war between blacks and mulattos, more
cruel than the war between the Lancastrians and Yorkists in England, and
much more pernicious in the hates it bequeathed.

   ⁵ "C’étaient des hommes tirés de régiones fort différentes de
     l’Afrique équatoriale ou équinoxiale. En partant du nord du
     continent noir, des Sénégalais, des Yolofs, des Foulahs, des
     Bambaras, des Mandingoes, des Bissagots, des Sofas se
     rencontraient, pêle mêle, dans les marchés à esclaves de la
     colonie. Au sud de Sierra-Leone, on embarquait pour Saint-Domingue
     des négres de la Côte d’Or, dont les Aradas, les Socos, les
     Fantins, les Caplaous, les Mines et les Agoñés. De la Côte des
     Esclaves on a tiré les Cotocolis, les Popos, les Fidas ou Fœdas.
     Viennet ensuite les Haousas, les Ibos, les Nagos; les Congos tirés
     de la côte du Congo ou d’Angola, partagés en sous-divisions de
     Congos-May youmbés, Congos-Moussombés et Mondongues. De l’Afrique
     orientale ont été tirés les négres de la côte de Mosambique, dont
     les Mosambiques proprement dits, les Quiriams et les Quilos, Quilos
     et les Montifiats."

     "M. Roosevelt, président des états-Unis et la République d’Haïti,"
     par A. Firmin, published 1905, p. 232-233.

     "Here in Haiti, there are recognizable traces of fourteen different
     African tribes." Bishop Holly. "Haitian Revolution," T. A. Steward,
     p. 282.

The government set up could but be a military oligarchy. It is well
known that there can be no such thing as personal liberty unless there
is what may be termed a sovereignty apart from, behind and above the
government.⁶ With us that power behind the government, that sovereignty,
is the people; but in Haiti in 1804 and for many years thereafter there
was no such thing as people in a political sense. There were population,
army, government, but not people. Their condition was like that of the
Europeans generally during the Middle ages. In Europe there were
populations, subjects, governments, vassals, tenants, serfs, slaves,
soldiers, knights and lords, but not people. By people politically, we
mean a body held together by some internal bond, by a spiritual
consensus. Perhaps to this extent the Haitian population of 1804 might
be vaguely called a people. But the idea of people politically includes
also that this body must have a common consciousness of fundamental
right, and a common sense of necessary duty; and then possess force of
character adequate to the attainment of these rights and the fulfilment
of this duty. Rights precede duty; and not vice versa. When complete the
idea of people is that body which holds in its hands the sovereignty.
Governments are divine, but are created by evolution, coming to us as
comes our daily bread, through divinely appointed processes. Rights like
the ground, are a natural endowment; government like bread is a
production. It is no reflection upon Haiti to state the historic fact
that in 1804 and for many years thereafter there was no such thing on
her soil as people, in a political sense. The idea and the love of
liberty were there and the frequent revolutions that have beset her
pathway during the century of her existence attest the continued
presence of that spirit. The problem of reconciling government with
liberty is still unsolved. Even our own country which in this respect is
in advance of all others is at this moment, according to Professor
Burgess, stumbling in this process.

   ⁶ "The Reconciliation of Government with Liberty" by John Burgess,
     1915. The whole volume, Especially pp. 148-149.

The Haitian "people," then, employing the word in the popular sense were
but recently from barbarism, and the little education they had received
politically had been obtained through war; an excellent school perhaps
for the training of leaders in the mere matters of preservation and
order, but of almost no benefit in the development of the common people;
although it is related by St. Remy, that Rigaud established schools in
his army to have his soldiers taught to read and write. This ex-slave
population of half a million souls, had been replaced during the later
period of its existence as slaves, about every twenty years with fresh
arrivals from Africa.⁷

   ⁷ "Roosevelt et Haiti." A. Firmin p. 245.

No one expected the self-liberated people of Haiti to set up and
maintain a stable government. All history was against such a phenomenon.
If it required for England, the most fortunately situated of all the
modern nations a period of nearly ten centuries to reach stable
government, how could Haiti with its population of ex-barbarians and
ex-slaves be expected to perform at once so brilliant a feat? Is Haiti,
because it is black, expected to do the impossible? Firmin says at the
time of which we speak, there was scarcely a person who did not ridicule
the idea that Dessalines and his associates should even think they could
create a country and govern it independent of foreign control. The
statesmen of France were so sure that these people would fail, simply
because of racial weakness, that they confidently expected the colony to
return to France. They had not given up this hope ten years later; for
in 1814 when the island was divided in government, these statesmen
proposed to both Christophe who governed in the North, and to Petion who
governed in the West that they should return the island to the mother
country. They offered to these two colored rulers the highest grades in
the French army and large sums of money; but neither Christophe nor
Petion could be bought.⁸ In this connection, I may remark on the
authority of Professor Sloan (his standard work—Life of Napoleon) that
it was the heroic resistance of Toussaint L’Ouverture and his
compatriots that defeated Bonaparte’s plan for the Western Hemisphere
and gave us Louisiana. In a letter written by Robert G. Harper in March
1799,⁹ which has just reached my hands through the American Historical
Society, I find the following: "Last summer, while Mr. Gerry was still
in Paris, and the Directory was employing every artifice to keep him
there, Hedouville was preparing to invade the southern states from St.
Domingo, with an army of blacks; which was to be landed with a large
supply of officers, arms and ammunition, to excite an insurrection among
the Negroes by means of missionaries previously sent, and first to
subjugate the country by their assistance, then plunder and lay it
waste. For the execution of this scheme, he waited only till the English
should evacuate a certain port in the island which lay most convenient
for the expedition; but he was interrupted by a black general of the
name of Toussaint, who drove him from the island, compelled him to
embark for France and took the whole authority into his own hands."

   ⁸ "The West Indies and Louisiana in one hemisphere, in the other the
     Cape of Good Hope, Egypt and a portion of India, with St. Helena
     and Malta as ports of call—of this he dreamed, but the failure to
     secure San Domingo and England’s evident intention to keep Malta,
     combined to topple the whole cloud castle into ruins?"

     "The magnificent French plan of American colonization having lost
     the supports of both San Domingo and Louisiana, collapsed leaving
     no trace."

     —Page 289 et seq.

   ⁹ American Historical Magazine. December, 1915.

The independence of Haiti has been maintained as we have seen for one
hundred and eleven years. In 1873 while visiting that country and
looking upon her lofty hills, and upon the toiling people at their base,
I fancied an appealing cry coming from these masses and I interpreted
that cry in the following lines:

    "The cry of souls for bread;
    The cry of men and woman who
    Have done great deeds and
    Whose guiding star is liberty.
    Who strong in their right arms,
    Have won a name, a place,
    And who with valor true will dare defend
    That place and sooner die
    Than wear the badge of slave."

On Sunday, June 15, 1873, I witnessed, in Port-au-Prince a great
religious procession to pray against a return of fire upon their city.
This is no unusual thing in a Roman Catholic city, although to an
American it seems a waste of piety. Mr. Douglass in his graphic way in a
private letter to me thus describes one of their outpourings of
religious enthusiasm which occurred while he served in Port-au-Prince as
United States Minister: "Yesterday," he says, "all over town, a great
racket was heard of people driving the devil out of their houses by
beating on their doors. On one account I was glad of their efforts to
get rid of the devil although I was aware that the devil would laugh at
this method of ridding the city of his presence. This is Holy week here
and I must say that on account of the stillness, the absence of the tom
tom and the apparent serenity of the people, I could wish holy week
continued indefinitely."

With the impression of that religious procession upon my young and
inexperienced mind I wrote then in my journal: "Poor, poor Haiti! As a
nation it is the veriest humbug; and yet there is something splendid
about it." Fourteen days later I was able to write differently. I was
riding on the road leading from L’Arcahai to St. Mark in company with
some young friends. "On both sides of the road were luxuriant fields of
sweet potatoes, bananas and sugar cane. Mountain streams were sending
down their pure waters by which the plains below were irrigated. It was
the fête of St. Pierre at the bourg, and on the road we met hundreds of
people, some on foot, some on donkeys, and many on beautiful horses with
most magnificent saddles and trappings, all going to the bourg. Fine
country gentlemen, mounted on these steeds and riding as though born on
horseback, pass us very frequently, every one of whom lifts his hat
entirely off his head and gives the Bon jour, monsieur. Ladies dressed
in snowy white dash by us at full galop, but never so fast, but they
have time to say in the sweetest voice: Bon jour, monsieur."

The constitution of Haiti contains a very complete Bill of Rights
bearing testimony to the idea of liberty, but unfortunately there is
nowhere any adequate defense of these rights against the encroachment of
government. There is no check and balance system between executive and
legislative departments; nor can the courts guarantee the rights of
individuals. Governments we know are ever ready to encroach; typo
demagogues ever ready to arise in professed defense of constitutional
rights; hence revolutions. The soul of Haiti is military. General
Legitime speaking before the Universal Races Congress in London in 1911
said: "Born in troublous time, Haiti is essentially a military state;
and though he cannot entertain ideas of conquest, its head must
nevertheless retain the character of a noble gendarme, the guardian of
its institutions." Still there is another side. The great statesman
Firmin was not a devotee of militarism. He deplored the existence of so
much of it which he described as a burden falling heavily upon the rural
classes. He says the "only thing the soldier learns by his long military
apprenticeship is passive obedience, the absence of all moral
initiative, of all exercise of personal volition, with the complete
annullment of the view of human liberty struggling against injustice and
wrong. When a Haitian wearing epaulettes says to you, I am a soldier,
that means that he is ready to commit the most horrible crimes, to rob,
to burn, to kill, just so he has the order to do so from his immediate
chief." There is in fact a decidedly brilliant literary element in
Haiti, including editors, authors and lawyers who are not so thoroughly
military as the general trend of her history would lead us to believe.
It is now time to inquire in what light Haiti regards herself in
relation to the whole Negro Race. What is her mission as she understands
it?

The first man I shall call upon in this respect will be our author
Antenor Firmin. The following facts will show that he is entitled to a
hearing. He was born in Haiti in 1851. Received all of his education
there; a lawyer by profession, in 1889 he was a member of their
Constitutional Convention, was Minister of Finance and of Foreign
relations 1889-1891, as Mr. Blaine had good reason to know; was Minister
to Paris 1900-1902; a profound scholar and a very respectable writer,
possessed of a large share of common sense philosophy. He says in the
preface of his book on Roosevelt and Haiti, written while in exile at
Saint Thomas: "No people any more than the individual can live, make
progress, and advance with sustained ardor in the walks of civilization,
without an end, an ideal, which leads them onward in all the wanderings
of their existence. The end is ordinarily more evident, more clear,
before the will of the individual; for nations, it is some times veiled
in indefinite form; but it exists always, and acts imperiously, like
magnetism terrestrial impressing an irresistible direction upon the
magnetic needle in spite of the fog which conceals on the horizon the
point of orientation. This ideal for Haiti is the sublime effort of a
little people striving for the rehabilitation of whole race of men, an
effort so noble and so worthy that each one of those who participates in
it may justly regard himself as an apostle." Edmund Paul, another
brilliant Haitian whose life went out too soon, wrote that the end or
goal of this young nation is to prove the aptitude of the whole African
race to the present civilization, "An end he says, powerful,
gigantesque, capable of devouring generations, ever worthy to demand and
to employ all of our activity."

"In Haiti," says the late Minister Price, "the black man is in
possession of national responsibility. In Haiti he is called upon to
form his character, and to conduct his movements at his own risk; he
receives directly the consequences, and suffers the deplorable results,
of his own errors and passions. He is not being _led along_ in
civilization; he moves on the road by his own efforts. He is marching
without any support on which to lean; without any other force than his
own. And when he shall become sufficiently advanced to remove all doubt;
when he shall become sufficiently free from his errors, and shall have
sufficiently conquered his passions which now retard his steps, it will
be evident that he has accomplished this result because he willed it,
and because he had within his being the necessary force for its
accomplishment." According to Mr. Price there will be no one who can say
of the Haitians: "We civilized and educated you; none who can say:
without us you would soon have relapsed into African barbarism." Haiti’s
mission as he understood it is to rehabilitate the Negro race. His dying
gift to mankind was his splendid work on the Rehabilitation of the Black
Race by the Republic of Haiti.

It is Price who says: "The Negro who shows his dainty hands and his
little feet, and is piqued because, with adornments the aristocrats, who
are also adorned with little hands little feet do not open their doors
to him is an ignoramus and a poltroon, and is still a slave."

I shall close this paper with the counsel of Haiti to the African Race
as voiced by the same author.

"As to the children of the African race, I could wish to see them
everywhere, disdain public offices, in order that they might enter into
civilization not by the door that the slaveocrats and politicians point
out, but by that door through which has passed the real white
democracy—knowledge and industry. When one is the son of a serf, who but
yesterday was beaten and cuffed without mercy, and aspires to manhood,
it is the workman’s blouse that he must put on. The blouse leads to the
conventional black and white gloves. But he who wishes to commence by a
black suit, ought to put a napkin on his arm, and place himself as a
servant, behind the man who wears a blouse.

"Haitians, all, and Negro of the continent of America and of all the
adjacent islands; My Brethren! Learn it at once, and never forget it.
The free man is the one who takes the responsibility? of his own proper
well-being. He has nothing to ask, nothing to solicit, neither from the
pity nor the generosity of his fellows. He is bound to count upon
himself, and upon himself alone, to turn aside or to overcome, whatever
obstacles that lie in the way of his happiness. Strength and skill are
for the free man absolute necessities."

Thus has Haiti spoken by her actions and in the words of her eminent
statesmen given to us a message of lofty purpose, of sorrowful struggle,
of hardy endurance, and we trust of willingness to learn from events.



Lafayette M. Hershaw. The Status of the Free Negro Prior to 1860


The difficulty surrounding a proper understanding of any question
consists in the fact that self-interest is more than likely to enter to
darken the vision. It is seldom that men differ about matters or have a
difficulty in understanding matters which do not affect their vanity,
their pride, their ambition or their material belongings. The truth
concerning any matter which is the subject of controversy can be reached
with accuracy in proportion as it is free from these matters. A question
of justice, opportunity and humane consideration for persons wholly or
partly of African origin is influenced entirely by considerations of the
kind just mentioned. If men were not obsessed by the phantom of race
superiority and of local vanity and group consciousness, and more than
all by the propensity to make gain out of the misfortunes and injustices
of conditions, what is known as the Negro question would vanish into
thin air. All forms of oppression, caste, proscription and distinction
have their origin in the desire and purpose of a man or set of men to
improve their condition at the expense of others. If it had not been
believed and indeed demonstrated that the subjection of the black man
would prove economically profitable to the white man or that he would
gain some other fancied advantage from the degradation of the black man
we should never have had African slavery together with its attendant
chain of ills which afflict the body politic even unto this hour.

That oppression and tyranny wrong both those who practice them and those
upon whom they are inflicted is proved by illustrations taken both from
the field of economics and the field of intellectual and moral
consciousness. In all those parts of the world where all the people
approach most nearly a common standard of economic, intellectual and
moral excellence there we find the greatest advance in that which we
call civilization, for the want of a better term to describe human
progress and advance. Wherever we find any considerable group of people
residing in the same or contiguous territory who do not enjoy equality
of right and opportunity in those things which governments are
instituted to conserve, we find that the greater group which denies them
these inalienable rights paralyzed in its economic, intellectual and
moral growth. On no other ground can we account for the emphatic
differences in achievement, in literature, art, science, invention, and
economic progress between the white people of the North and the white
people of the South. Reasoning from analogy and from the examples which
history gives of the achievement of the white race in the world it would
be the most reasonable thing to expect that due to variety of soil,
favorableness of climate, and the general beneficence of nature, that
the white people living in the zone comprising what is commonly
designated as the Southern States would excel their Northern brethren in
all the arts and achievements of civilization. We should naturally
expect to find there the poets, the painters, the sculptors, the
inventors and the great organizers of enterprise. Elsewhere in the world
in the midst of similar conditions of soil and climate, we find the
white race excelling and leading the world in these particulars. The
white people inhabiting the South are of the same ethnic type, and have
in general the same group consciousness and aspiration. How else can we
account for the fact that they have contributed less than their kinsmen
in proportion to numbers to the sum of human knowledge, happiness and
liberty, if not by the fact that they have suffered the inevitable
handicap incident to an environment in which large numbers of human
beings suffer inequality and subordination?

But for the difference which has been historically accentuated in North
America between white and black which difference has inflicted much of
suffering upon both races, it would not be necessary to consider such a
subject as the citizenship status of the free Negro prior to 1860.
Before the Constitution of the United States was amended by the addition
thereto of the Fourteenth Amendment the statement that "The citizens of
each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of
citizens in the several States" was the only definite deliverance to be
found in that instrument in relation to the subject of citizenship. In
other words there was no national definition of citizenship, and up to
the time of the deliverance of the Dred Scott Decision in 1857, there
had been no comprehensive treatment of the subject in adjudications by
the Supreme Court of the United States. The mention of the term
"citizens" in the Constitution in the quotation just given indicates
that it had a meaning of such generally accepted significance that
definition was not necessary. Presumably citizenship conveyed then, as
it conveys now, an idea exactly the opposite of that conveyed by the
term slavery. A slave everywhere in the world was understood to be a
person who was absolved from allegiance, and was not due protection as
that term is ordinarily understood, and who could not invoke ordinary
legal process nor own property; a citizen was a person who owed
allegiance, was entitled to protection, had the right to invoke all the
processes of the law, could become the owner of property, and possibly,
if not a woman or a child, exercise the right of the elective franchise.
Such was the common understanding of the term citizen at the adoption of
the Constitution, and such is substantially the understanding of that
term at the present date. However, due to the presence of the Negro in
the body politic, the exigencies of the situation suggested an
interpretation of the term citizen which might not otherwise have
existed, but for the presence of the Negro. The exigency grew out of the
fact that toward the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of
the nineteenth there

grew into the minds of men the conception that slavery was a condition
appertaining to black men alone, that color was an unmistakable proof of
the condition of a slave, and that the fact that one was of African
descent carried with it this inevitable social degradation. In the
decisions of the courts of a number of the States we find this principle
enunciated. In North Carolina the Supreme Court of that State, in 1828,
decided that "The presumption of slavery arises from a black African
complexion." In 1839, the Supreme Court of Indiana, in passing upon the
constitutionality of the law entitled: "An act concerning free Negroes
and Mulattoes and slaves," held that where a Negro laid claim to freedom
the burden of proof was on him to show it inasmuch as persons of the
African race were presumed to be slaves. In 1842, the Supreme Court of
Ohio decided that under the law of that State "Color alone is sufficient
to indicate a Negro’s inability to testify against a white man. It has
always been admitted that our political institutions embrace the white
population only. Persons of color were not recognized as having any
political existence; they had no agency in our political organizations,
and possessed no political rights under it. Two or three of the States
form exceptions. The constitutions of fourteen expressly exclude persons
of color; and in the balance of the States they are excluded on the
grounds that they were never recognized as part of the body politic."
(Thatcher vs. Hawk, 4th Ohio, Rep., 351.) While this opinion expressed a
widely prevalent sentiment at that time I have been unable to find a
decision of any court in any of the original thirteen States north of
Maryland, except Connecticut, which expresses this view. In their moral
and intellectual nature the inhabitants of Connecticut exhibit many wide
differences from the inhabitants of the rest of New England. These
citations show how thoroughly the conception of the difference arising
from the difference of color was imbedded in the mind at that time. Such
instances of judicial interpretation were to be found in all of the
slave States, and in those States which were carved out of the northwest
territory, which Virginia ceded to the general government in 1787. In
this connection it is pertinent to observe that it is the most natural
thing in the world that the States carved out of this northwest
territory should have followed not only the legal system of the parent
State, but should have adopted many of its practices and modes of
thought, and passed them on to succeeding generations.

From the quotations already made it can be seen that to be a colored
person was to suffer from the presumption of being a slave, and that to
be a free colored person was to be in a condition not of freedom, but of
lessened servitude. To be a free colored person was not to possess the
citizenship of the world any more than to be a Christian today is
evidence that one is an imitator of Christ. In actual practice the term
"free colored person" embraced the idea of freedom from personal service
to a specified owner and little else, particularly in the slave-holding
States. The attitude of these States is well expressed in the following
quotation from John C. Calhoun: "I hold that in the present state of
civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by
color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are
brought together the relation now existing in the slave-holding States
between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good—a positive good. I
fearlessly assert that the existing relations between the two races in
the South forms the most solid and durable foundation on which to rear
free and stable political institutions (Works of Calhoun, Vol. 2, p.
630)." Thus by legal enactment, judicial interpretation and orderly
expressed public opinion, race if it be African was the badge of
inferiority and slavery. This was generally true throughout the country
and yet a careful and somewhat thorough examination of the statutes,
legal decisions, and systematic treatises relating to the law of slavery
will convince any fair-minded person that the term free colored person
carried with it less of negation of right in the Northern States where
slavery had ceased to exist than in the Southern States where it still
flourished.

At the close of the revolution, slavery existed in most of the colonies,
if not all, and their statute books contained laws relating to that
condition, and to the condition of "free persons of color." However, as
time passed and the institution of slavery disappeared, we find these
laws disappearing or becoming greatly modified or mitigated in their
provisions. For instance, March 26, 1783, Massachusetts passed a law
forbidding an African or Negro to tarry within the commonwealth for a
longer time than two months unless such person could produce a
certificate from the secretary of State of which such person claimed to
be a citizen, showing that he was such, and that where such persons did
not have the required certificate they should be ordered to depart from
the State, and upon failure to do so be committed to any house of
correction, and that such punishment should be repeated whenever and as
often as the order to depart was disobeyed. This law was repealed,
however, in 1786. It seems that slavery was abolished in Massachusetts
by operation of the constitution of 1780, which declares that "All men
are born free and equal." Harry St. George Tucker, president of the
Virginia Court of Appeals, said in 1833, speaking of this constitutional
utterance, that "We should be disposed to take this declaration less as
an abstraction than we regard that which is contained in our own bill of
rights" (5th Leigh Rep., 622). By 1786, it appears that Massachusetts
had abolished all distinctions in law based on race except that in
relation to marriage, which appears to have been repealed in 1843. In
1833, Connecticut enacted a law forbidding the setting up or
establishment of any school, academy or literary institution for the
instruction or education of colored persons who were not inhabitants of
the State. This law was repealed in 1838. The constitution of Rhode
Island of 1843, conferred the elective franchise on persons of the male
sex qualified by residence and property without distinction of color. In
New Hampshire the constitution of 1783 contains the principle that all
men are born equally free, and no distinction on account of color is
found in any of her statutes except in a law of 1792, which specified
that enlistment in the militia should be confined to white people. In
the law of 1857, relating to the subject of militia, color is not
mentioned. Neither in the constitution nor laws of Vermont does one find
for this period any distinction based on color, so that in Vermont the
term "free colored person" had no existence and consequently no meaning.
In Maine no distinctions based on color are to be found for the period
under consideration either in the constitution or the statutes. In
Pennsylvania colored people exercised the elective franchise and enjoyed
full citizenship with the whites up to 1838, when the elective
franchise, by the constitution of that year, was confined to whites.
Presumably free colored people exercised the suffrage in New Jersey up
to 1844, as there appears no limitation of suffrage on account of color
prior to its mention in the constitution of that year. New York, in an
act of the legislature of 1799, provided for gradual emancipation of the
slaves, and by an act of 1811 it required "free colored people" to carry
certificates of their freedom as proofs of their claim thereto. In 1814
the legislature of the State authorized the raising of two regiments of
colored soldiers to be officered by white men. In 1823, Negroes who
resided in the State three years and possessed a free-hold estate of the
assessed value of two hundred and fifty dollars were entitled to
exercise the elective franchise, a requirement not imposed upon white
people.

It is interesting to note that up to 1723, free colored people appear to
have exercised the elective franchise equally with the whites in
Virginia. The colonial constitution of that year limited its exercise to
white people, and the free colored people never voted again until the
adoption of the Underwood or reconstruction constitution. Besides this,
contrary to conditions above described in the Northern States the laws
in relation to free colored people grew harsher and harsher until 1831,
when we find a statute prohibiting meetings for teaching free Negroes or
mulattoes reading or writing. In 1832, free Negroes were forbidden to
preach the gospel. In 1834 free Negroes were forbidden to immigrate into
the State. In 1838 free Negroes leaving the State to be educated were
forbidden to return. In 1851, the constitution of Virginia of that year,
in Sec. 5, Art. 19, provided: That slaves hereafter emancipated shall
forfeit their freedom by remaining in the commonwealth more than twelve
months, and in 1856, the legislature of Virginia passed an act providing
that free Negroes might voluntarily make agreements to become slaves and
that such agreement should be binding.

In North Carolina free colored people seem to have exercised most of the
rights of white people including that of voting, until 1835, when the
right to vote was confined to persons of the white race. In all of the
slave States the free colored man was hampered by legislative provisions
exactly like or very similar to those just cited as existing in
Virginia. In none of these States could free colored people hold the
legal title to real property, in none of them did they have the right of
public assembly, the right to bear arms or the right to carry on
collectively the work of education. In few of them did they even have
the right to preach the gospel, and where they did preach it was by
favor and permission, and not by right. Of all these Southern
slave-holding States Maryland ruled its free colored people with
something suggestive of humanity.

It will be seen from this hasty and unsatisfactory review of a great
mass of statutes, decisions, and treatises that the condition of the
free colored man north of Mason and Dixon’s line improved in the main
from the close of the revolution to 1860, and that south of Mason and
Dixon’s line his condition grew worse from the close of the revolution
down to 1860.

In the West, where new States were forming, there was, of course, the
distinction of race. The settlers who went into these new communities
went there to establish white communities and they passed laws
forbidding the immigration of free colored people into them. We find
statutes in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, and Oregon,
forbidding the immigration of free Negroes. It seems, however, that
there was never a very strong public sentiment insisting upon the
enforcement of these laws. As a matter of fact there was a small active
and effective sentiment which practically nullified the existence of
them, for in all of these States we find, especially after the enactment
of the fugitive slave law of 1850, a most friendly sentiment toward the
unfortunate colored man whether slave or free.

The study of the statutes and conditions of more than a half century ago
is not only a matter of curiosity, but a matter of very practical
concern, since in these latter days another body of laws, and legal
decisions based upon distinction of race have come into existence, and
yet others are threatened.



Arthur A. Schomburg. The Economic Contribution by the Negro to America


The services rendered by Negroes in America from the discovery of the
islands beyond the Pillars of Hercules by Christopher Columbus to the
end of the eighteenth century, make a chapter of history transcending in
importance anything which has taken place in the old world. The quaint
times and scarcity of willing men among the aboriginal Indians to help
the Spaniards to despoil their lands in the rapacious quest of gold
brought about the early ruin of flourishing communities of aboriginal
tribes in the several islands. So alarming was this state of affairs
that Father Las Casas, known as the Apostle of the Indians, interceded
in their behalf at the Spanish court in order to ameliorate their
unfortunate condition. He pleaded for Negroes to take their places as
the blacks were a very hardy and robust race; to this plea the great and
humanitarian Cardinal Ximenes was opposed; for he could not justify the
substitution of one race for another in what was in itself a wrong. The
Cardinal having been overruled, the Slave Trade was instituted and the
first Negroes were brought to Santo Domingo. They were not the untutored
savages we are expected to believe from modern histories. There existed
in Sevilla, Spain, as early as 1475, a large number of Negro slaves, who
had been brought from the coasts of North Africa and Guinea, and their
one-fifth tribute to the coffers of the state formed a very nice sum of
money. This practice of importing Negroes, which had been in vogue
during the Arab dominion of Spain, continued to increase to such an
extent that when in the year of 1474 a royal decree still extant
chronicles the appointment of a Negro known as Juan de Valladolid as
mayor of the Negro colony situated in the outskirts of the said city.
From this colony of Negroes who could speak the Spanish language, and
were familiar with their customs, came the first batch of slaves shipped
to Santo Domingo. It must also be borne in mind that 45 years before, in
1370, King Henry of Portugal had commenced his explorations, the
Catalans and Normans had frequented the coasts of Africa as far as the
Tropic of Cancer, and according to Diego Ortiz de Zuniga, it is known
that from the times of Archbishop Gonzalo de Mena (1400) there existed
Negro slaves in Sevilla. There is no reason to doubt that a large number
of their descendants had already been born in Europe prior to 1500,
because the royal dispensations in that year state that the immigration
of Negro slaves to Santo Domingo was prohibited except in case of those
who were born while in possession of Christians. These historical facts
induce us to believe that during that period there was in Europe a
larger number of Negroes than we generally suppose or care to believe.

At the time that the slave trade had commenced to occupy the mind of the
Hawkins malefactors and the British nation under Queen Elizabeth,
Barbarossa had already subjected the mulatto King of Morocco to the
payment of a tribute of $1,000,000 in gold dust—and 40 Negro merchants
without any hesitation helped the king out of the dangers that
confronted his people. When the Moor Zegri was humiliated by the Spanish
Commander Cisneros in 1499 and the Arab books destroyed in Granada,
Marmol states that less than 1,025,000 tomes on religion, politics,
jurisprudence, manuscripts illuminated and worked in silver and gold
were consigned to the fires. There remained 3,000 Moorish soldiers under
command of a Negro captain whose intrepid heroism and valor was shown by
the charges and counter charges he was able to repel. When unable to
prevent the utter annihilation of his band by superior forces under
Cifuentes, the Negro captain refused to surrender and jumped headlong
from a fort. (Alcatara’s History, Granada, pp. 165-6.) And this happened
seven years after the discovery of America by Columbus.

The conditions of the new world were such that the Spaniards who had
spent most of their wealth in the unprofitable civil and Arab wars, lost
no time after hearing wonderful stories of untold wealth to requisition
not only the Negroes of Seville, but to embark in the lucrative
enterprise of human Negroes from the West Coast of Africa, and ships
which were engaged in man-hunting poured their human freight into
Hispaniola. It was not long after that the Spanish Negroes belonging to
Diego Columbus, revolted, and the first insurrection, taking place among
the very property of the discoverer’s offspring, was suppressed by the
military after killing the leaders. The prosperity of the colonies soon
became apparent in the enormous number of Spanish ships with their
precious cargoes arriving in the Spanish ports. The Spanish people were
wild and in an ecstasy of joy to engage in the colonial enterprise, and
as ships entered upon the perilous voyages of discovery the Africans
were gathered to do the work for which no historian or economist has
given them the credit which is their due for blazing the path of wealth
into which the nations of Europe have ridden upon the lucrative backs of
the Africans. The clearing of the forests from dangerous animals and
poisonous insects, making with the awakening of each succeeding spring
the virgin earth a paradise that has supported millions of European
parasites; the working of the mines for precious metals that fed the
envy of other powerful nations which questioned the right of the
Spaniards to conquest under the banner of the Christian Church, and
induced them to scramble and fight for their colonial honors.

No sooner than Santo Domingo was found to be a paradise of wealth than
the other islands were made ready for the unwilling African. He was
carried to the mainland of Panama, where Balboa was surprised to find a
colony of Negroes whose origin has baffled the mind of the most learned
men of that age. To this day no solution has been found for the problem
of the coming of these Negroes of Quareca. Gomora says, "That
Conquistador entered the Province of Quareca; he found no gold, but some
blacks who were slaves of the lord of the place. He asked this lord
whence he had received them, who replied that men of that color lived
near the place, with whom they were constantly at war. "These Negroes,"
adds Gomora, "exactly resemble those of the Guinea; and no others have
since been seen in America. It may be stated here that every hypothesis
has been advanced to show that these men must have been people other
than Negroes, but since the natives of the kingdoms of Congo and Guinea
were known to have enjoyed friendly relations with each other and sailed
the rivers in large oared boats, it is very probable that some of them
crossed the Atlantic in like manner as the Caribs in their piraguas
traveled from the islands to the mainland and vice versa. The nearest
distance from Brazil to Africa is along the Tropic of Cancer, and any
number of large boats may have lost their bearing in a storm and got
ship-wrecked on the American mainland. This hypothesis is well within
the range of probability in view of the fact that the trade winds blow
from east to west and the Gulf Stream flows rapidly, and is noted for
periodical variation in its course.

The Negroes that were originally carried into Santo Domingo from Spain
became devoted to the early priests, for it must be conceded that the
Jesuits were the friends who maintained a benevolent attitude toward
these outcast sons of men. One of these Negroes, known as Estevanico,
was the discoverer of the Seven Cities of Cibola, and what is known as
Arizona and New Mexico. Negroes were in Mexico with the vanguard of the
Spaniards, and to that country must be credited one of the earliest
Negro poets. He lived in Mexico City, and was, by trade, a carpenter and
maker of artificial flowers, and was always sought by the elite, because
of his ready wit and quickness to rhyme on any theme given him.

Wherever the English ruled we have had to combat a very prejudiced and
arrogant system of oppression. In the Spanish and French colonies the
rule was milder, in consequence of a system of judicial laws which
predicated a better understanding as a solution of the complex relations
between master and slave. The English have shown by their rule in the
Island of Trinidad how much regard they have had for the rights of
others guaranteed by treaty. For a case in point we may refer to the
treaty of capitulation between the Spaniards and the English that took
place February 18th, 1797. Article 12 of this treaty reads: "The colored
people, who have been acknowledged as such by the laws of Spain, shall
be protected in their liberty, persons and property, like other
inhabitants; they taking the oath of allegiance, meaning themselves as
becomes good and peaceable subjects of His Britanic Majesty" (16). The
way the British respected this "Scrap of Paper" is shown in a book
written by a free mulatto, a graduate of the Edinburgh University, and
printed in London in 1824. Says this anonymous author: "And even the
Spanish governor saw his country about to be divested of a possession
she had held ever since the third voyage of Columbus, he did not forget
the faith she had plighted to the colored population, but exacted from
the invaders security for the continuance of the equality of rights and
privileges with the whites by the 12th article of the capitulation" (p.
16).

It would have been a glory to Britain to have emulated in those days the
benevolent plan of France and Spain in improving the condition of their
slaves; and to open a way for the admission of reason, religion, liberty
and law among creatures of our kind who were deprived of every
advantage, of every privilege, which as partakers of our common nature
they were capable of and entitled to (Ramsay).

We have been instructed to look at the Negro as "idle, worthless,
indolent and disloyal," but a careful examination of the West Indies and
South America does not show this to be true. Many instances of
advancement by hard industry can be noted in any of the many spots of
the New World. There is not a single field of industrial activity in
which the descendants of the African have not contributed their mite
toward an improvement of the conditions which the gold seekers and
pleasure hunters were wont to overlook. The commercial activities, the
irrigation of fields, the working of the mines where the labor of Negro
slaves and free men was paramount, the untold number of ships loaded
down with merchandise and precious metals wending their way to Europe to
support monarchies and provide pleasure for parasites, all this depended
upon the unrequited toil of Negroes, which cannot be computed in dollars
and cents because it would form a ladder, like Jacob’s, which would
reach to the very gates of Heaven.

Under the institution of slavery which curbed the aspirations of the
Negro, it was not possible to expect the race to have shown any capacity
except for hard labor in the fields which the lash accelerated. In most
islands there was nothing else but agriculture fields to be cleared and
developed with religion to mitigate and console the workers. The profits
which were uppermost in the minds of the masters were gathered regularly
and yielded handsomely.

The African people have been one of the earliest acquainted with cotton.
A careful examination of available historical material shows that while
Europe was still dressing in goat skins and grass goods the Negro
peoples of Africa had been using cotton goods. Miss Kingsley relates
that the cloth loom was invented by natives of the Eboe tribe, but many
varieties of looms were common to the people of the Soudan. The
prevailing color of the cloth from Guinea is blue and it is distinctly
quaint, so enduring and pleasing that it has been handed down from the
hoary ages to the present day. The dyes of the natives obtained from
vegetable matter and other unknown primitive processes, have always won
the admiration of the appreciative world. Europeans have admired the
quality and durability of these cloths. The work of African looms in
their primitive frames can be seen in the Museums of Natural History in
London, Paris, Berlin and New York. They are indeed fine specimens of
African handiwork and authorities have said that they would do credit to
any Manchester or Birmingham looms.

It is said that native cloth manufactured at Kano is not very old and
that it probably came from the Songhay country, but according to El
Bekri, the Arab historian, and other ancient geographers, the art of
weaving was very flourishing on the Upper Nile, especially in the town
of Silla from very ancient times and as early as the eleventh century,
the cotton cloth was called in this region by the same name it bears to
this day, namely, "shigge."

The English West Indies exported to Britain during the year 1760
9,535,010 pounds of cotton. By 1787 this amount had increased to
18,716,445 pounds; in 1801 to 42,090,765, and in 1811 it was 41,735,555,
according to William Irving, Inspector General of the London
Customhouse.

It has been stated that just before the war of American independence the
slaves in the sugar colonies did not exceed the fortieth part of the
inhabitants of the British Empire, yet they contributed in that
neglected state perhaps a sixth part of the revenue. The British Isles
contained a population of nearly 11,500,000; North America, 2,600,000
with 400,000 slaves, which made 3,000,000; the West Indies 82,000
freemen and 418,000 slaves.

The Negroes under the terrifying and debasing influence of slavery were
able to improve their condition by that cheerful spirit which holds them
together even in these days of dark clouds, with a silver lining. The
cheerfulness of these sons of Africa has been their redeeming quality
through all their privations and sufferings; their chants and songs,
whether in the hearing of their masters or among themselves, were full
of soul and feeling. They kept body and soul together after the arduous
day’s labor under the torrid rays of the sun. Whereas the Indians gave
way under the milder system of slavery, the Negroes grew stronger under
its despotism. They were able in the production of sugar cane to become
experts in the tempering of the cane juice for the various degrees of
sugar, which today require analytical chemists to supervise its improved
manufacture and Negroes were in charge of this delicate branch of the
industry on many plantations. In the distillation of rum they were
proficient and many were excellent mechanics.

In the production of cocoa, in Venezuela, Suriname and Trinidad, the
labor of Negroes gave it such an impetus and stability that the eminent
Humboldt, in his travels through South America could not but speak in
the highest terms of those plantations that devoted their time to the
improvement of this industry.

Since the bringing of the Mocha coffee into Santo Domingo as an
experiment, with the brawny arm of the black son of toil the production
of coffee has reached the incredible amount of 100 millions of pounds,
and, in Brazil, where to balance the supply and demand the government
provides an excellent system which permits the exportation of only the
amount necessary for the world’s consumption each year.

The pearl fisheries of America lost their commercial importance with the
wave of Emancipation by the nations whose souls were steeped in
ignominious sin. But in the earliest days it was one of the most
lucrative industries. The work was done exclusively by Negroes who were
expert swimmers and divers, capable of holding their breath a long time
in ten or fifteen fathoms of briny water, while searching for
pearl-bearing shells. There was always great danger from man-eating
sharks and the octopus, which killed and mangled many expert divers. In
numberless Spanish galleons were carried the riches which have been
reported from time to time in official papers as having paid the fifths
to the coffers of the state. For instance, Southey says that "a fleet
that sailed from Hispaniola in 1526 carried to Spain 501,082 gold
dollars, 350 marks of ordinary pearls, 183 Cubagua pearls and 5 gold
stones."

In the field of arms there is no question whatever in the mind of the
present generation whether the Negroes have added any glory to the
respective nations under which they fought, or, when for their
self-preservation it was necessary to fight against Spain, Holland,
France and Britain. One of the earliest successful insurrections was
that of Chief Araby in the year 16— and in 1772-7, before the American
war of independence, the Negroes of Suriname took to the hills and
fought the Hollanders tooth and nail for five consecutive years. The
Spaniards in Santo Domingo were defeated, Great Britain was humiliated
and obtained success only when she followed General Abercrombie and Sir
John Moore’s advice, and employed Negro troops under promises of
manumission as is shown in the St. Lucia campaign. The first attempt to
employ these troops brought about a fierce outcry of protest in which
the several island legislatures, especially those of Barbadoes and
Jamaica "poured forth the most prophetic declaration of innumerable
evils to come if the British government persisted in its purpose to
substitute even in part, black for white soldiers."

The formation of the First West India Regiment under the British was the
aftermath of the Savannah war in 1779. "It was made up of white
loyalists and Negro slaves" and "so well entertained that in the year
1816 there were eight regiments in existence. In Jamaica there were
stationed the 2d Regiment, with 198 sergeants and 3,050 blacks, and the
5th Regiment was stationed at Bahamas with rank and file of 4,526 during
the year 1816. Their formation was due to the ravages of disease among
the European forces, for during the years 1796-1802 were lost 17,173 men
of the original force of 19,676 under Major General Sir John Moore,
which sailed from England to put down the Negro spirit that had its
birth in Haiti.

But it was not only Haiti that was worrying the British. Jamaica with
the Maroons was another problem without a radical solution until Major
General Walpole promised them protection under a secret treaty which was
moderate in its language, but painful in the method of its application,
just as the British have always been when dealing with the Negro race.
It must be said in fairness to General Walpole that he was opposed to
the cruelties practiced on the Maroons after they had surrendered their
arms and confided in his good faith for a strict compliance with the
terms of the treaty. Walpole said he "felt that a treaty even with
savages should be observed" (p. 236). But notwithstanding the evil
spirit towards the Maroons their uprising has brought about a better
feeling and respect to the black people of Jamaica and, because of this
material spirit, it must be admitted they enjoy to this day a larger
measure of freedom and economic privileges than the other West Indian
islands under the British rule.

The name of Haiti will always stimulate us to revere the memory of men
who have stamped their names on the scroll of time, for not only did
that island strike the first effective blow for the liberation of the
black slave, but, having accomplished this purpose, the Haitians aided
in the liberation of all America from the yoke of Europe. The service
rendered by President Petion to Simon Bolivar in making possible the
freedom and independence of South America is splendidly shown in the
granite and bronze monument which adorns the square in Caracas dedicated
to the memory of the ablest Haitian president by the people of
Venezuela.

Music found expression in the vibrating chord tempered with the dull
thumping of drums in their characteristic rhythm which could be heard
for miles during the night and in the peculiar songs and chants of the
Negroes. To the white man who could not understand their customs it was
barbaric and rude and was treated with indifference and at times with
contempt. But it has been shown by Mrs. Kemble, who was a keen observer
during her residence in Georgia, that the Negro songs had merit and that
there was something mystic which could not easily open itself—its
peculiar musical charm—to the white man. This music and chants were
common to every part of America where the sons of Africa had been
carried by the slave hunters, and even to this day musical instruments,
peculiar to the original tribes, are extant in many of the islands
beyond the seas.

During the evening slave seances took place when the master thought
everything was silent and calm, because the field work had been
satisfactorily performed and the harvest had been gathered and there was
a profit which would carry him to Europe to squander it in riotous
living. But at night, like the firefly, the Negro was recreated and
refreshed in song his soul, and dreamed of a future freedom from the
involuntary thraldom of which he was a victim.

The story tellers gathered a motley crowd around them and the hours of
eventide were spent in instructive recitals of the Uncle Remus, Brer
Rabbit and other folk-lore stories, the heritage of African minds. These
stories are known in every vale and dale of joy and tears in America;
they have soothed the hours of toil and consoled the broken-hearted.
"They have been called the traditional literature of Africa. Some of the
Uncle Remus stories would form no bad addition to the fairy stories of
the world. But the race of old mammies or nurses who used to tell them
to delighted youthful audiences is fast passing away"—in fact, have
passed away—and we are satisfied, not knowing any better, to read them
in the modern reconstructed form as given by Joel Chandler Harris and
other poor imitators who have won fame and honor in the field of
literature without incurring the onerous charge of imitation. Bosman
refers to the Old Mammy or Anancy stories in his work on Africa, and it
is said that in Accra "there are men who have a repertoire almost as
copious as the Arabian Nights, and to which Europeans listen with
curiosity and wonder, if not with admiration." Richard Burton was a
great man and a distinguished writer, who agrees with Koelle, who says,
"I was amongst them in their native land, on the soil which the feet of
their fathers have trod, and heard them deliver in their own native
tongue stirring extempore speeches, adorned with beautiful imagery, of
half an hour or an hour’s duration; or when I was writing from their
dictation, sometimes two hours in succession, without having to correct
a word or alter a construction in twenty or thirty pages; or when in
Sierre Leone I attended examinations of the sons of liberated slaves
(from America) in algebra, geometry, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, etc.—then, I
confess, any other idea never entered my mind but that I had to do with
_real men_". (Wit and Wisdom from West Africa.")

In Brazil, the Negro chieftain, Henrique Diaz, is revered for the able
assistance which he rendered in checking the incursions of the Dutch,
and Koster in his travels through that country speaks of Negro and
mulatto regiments known as the Henrique regiments in memory of so worthy
and capable a leader.

In the city of Paramaribo the Negro Gramman Quacy had the good fortune
in 1730 to discover the valuable properties of the root known by the
name of Quacie bitter. In 1761 it was made known to Linnaeus by
d’Ahlbergand, the Swedish naturalist who had written a treatise upon it.

During the years 1811-12 the British government had reports from their
various possessions in America exclusive of Jamaica, showing a slave
population of 343,859 and 27,259 free men of color, so that about eight
per cent of the total colored population were free. When we consider the
handicap that slaves had under English law with its intricate and
involved questions of entail we can appreciate the efforts of these
reputed savages to have been able not only to achieve their freedom but
to succeed in becoming an integral part of the country, with an eagle’s
foothold in agriculture.

Porto Bello and Cartagena in Colombia were the ports of entry for the
slave trade, the channel by which not only Panama was supplied with
Negroes but from whence the traders were allowed to bring with them such
quantity of provisions as was thought necessary both for their own use
and that of their slaves of both sexes. Here was the Appian road through
which the Spaniards carried the slaves into Peru to work the gold mines;
and they became so useful that in the celebrated Sanabria mines Negroes
were used exclusively during the night and Indians in the day time.
Ulloa, during his visit to Lima, found that people of African descent
formed the greater part of the population of Lima, and they were, as a
rule, mechanics and worked side by side with the Europeans who did not
consider the contact disgraceful to them, since cleanliness was the
ruling passion of the Negroes.

General Pelage, "an agricultural slave" when General Moore stormed St.
Lucia, was Governor of Guadeloupe until 1803, when he resigned and
returned to France to lead his soldiers against Spain, where he was
killed at the head of his regiment.

It is a remarkable fact that the first native American to be consecrated
a Bishop was a Negro. He was Right Reverend Francisco Xavier de Luna y
Victoria, Bishop of Panama, of which see he took possession in August,
1751. He founded and maintained the cathedral at his own expense, and
was later removed to the see of Trujillo in Peru. His mother, who had
been a slave devoted her time to the sale of charcoal in order to attain
her ambition to see her son become an eminent man. This devotion has
been characteristic of the African woman and every reward and praise won
on the new continent has been due to her sacrifices.

In the Spanish countries under the more liberal manumission laws a very
much higher proportion of free people of color existed from the very
earliest times. In Cuba of the total population in 1811 about 274,000
were whites, 212,000 slaves and 114,000 free persons of color, rather
less than two slaves to one freeman. In the United States at the same
time the slave population of 1,191,364 is more than six times the free
population of 186,446 (total U. S., 7,239,814). The conditions in Cuba
were characteristic of the Spanish and Portuguese countries and
explained the total abolition of slavery as well as the more rapid
assimilation of the colored people in the economic and political life of
those countries.

With the records such as this the Negro found himself at the close of
the eighteenth century a vital factor in every phase of the development
of Latin America. I have not attempted to treat his services in the
Southern States of the North American Union for the facts here are too
well known to require discussion within the limits of the present
article. Suffice it to say that the position which the Negro and his
mixed progeny of European or Indian blood had won in South America, they
have also earned, if even they have not as yet received, due recognition
therefore in North America.

With a firm faith in our ability and the consciousness of our
inalienable title to a worthy share in the development of the New World.
We may look forward with confidence to the inevitable reward of industry
sustained by the courage which demands that an honest toiler shall not
be despoiled of the fruits of his labor. We may expect therefore that as
Negro slavery began in the West Indies and South America and crept
northward, so also will come to the United States the gradual
dissolution of the problem of color in the general problems of a
progressing human race.



William Pickens. The Constitutional Status of the Negro from 1860-1870


The second decade of the latter half of the nineteenth century was the
most epochal period in American legal history since the time of the
national constitution. So far as the American Negro is concerned, this
period marks the greatest possible changes in legal and constitutional
status. Three years before the opening of this decade the highest court
of the nation had declared the Negro to have only the status of the
lower animals, while at the close of the decade the Negro had acquired a
status in the organic law of the land which entitled him to membership
in the Supreme Court itself. In this period the Negro changed from a
chattel to a person, from an animal to a man, from a slave to a
citizen,—so far as the supreme law of the land is concerned.

This period also contains the two extremes on the scale of
discriminations against the American Negro in statute law. Before this
period there were comparatively few statutory discriminations against
the black race in the Southern States. For in that section the Negro had
no personal rights at law, and discriminatory statutes were not
necessary. When a discrimination is made against a class in statute law,
it is thereby implied that this class has at least some rights based on
the fundamental law of the land. Therefore the legislative
discriminations against black people before this period were found
chiefly in the border states and in the "free" states against "free"
Negroes,—a strange contradiction of terms.—But this decade, from 1860 to
1870, also contains the extremes of the Negro’s legal status in the
South: at the opening of the decade stood the Negro slave, at the close
stood the Negro senator; after the middle of this period the South
passed the extreme "Black Laws," intended to nullify the effect of the
Thirteenth Amendment as far as possible, while at the end of the decade
came the Fifteenth Amendment, marking an epoch. These "Black Laws" of
the South were enacted between 1865 and 1868 and were inspired by the
ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. They had for their models, it
is said, the similar laws that had been passed in previous decades
against the helpless "free" Negroes of the North and the border states.
But they outdid the models.

These "Black Laws" are worth considering, for in them are found a
sufficient cause and a very cogent reason for the Fourteenth and the
Fifteenth Amendments. There is really no need for the charge that these
two Amendments were the inspiration of revenge or of the desire for
political advantage of the party in power. At any rate, such great
products of statesmanship should stand on their merits, and not be
condemned, even if it could be shown that they were originally based in
unworthy motives. It does not lessen the beauty of the rose if the plant
was sprouted in manure. But the argument of ultra-motive is unnecessary,
for the "Black Laws" of the South were the immediate occasion, and
doubtless the only efficient cause, of the Fourteenth Amendment. After
the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, if the former slave states had
accorded the ex-slaves even half justice, it is very likely that the
Negro’s friends in Congress would have quickly forgotten him,—as they
have since done in the face of the worst injustices. But it was not
unnatural for the South, after the ratification of the Thirteenth
Amendment which gave the Negro only the lowest degree of freedom, to try
to pass systems of laws that would cause the Negro’s freedom to make as
little change as possible in the social organism and in his relation to
the white race. Not to have done so would have been evidence of
superhuman foresight and self-control. From the standpoint of the
Negro’s interests, however, these laws were "black," not only in name
and aim but in their very nature. Instead of being the property of a
personally interested master, the Negro was to be converted into the
slave of a much less sympathetic society in general. The "free" Negro’s
lot was to be much harder than that of the slave had been; for altho no
longer entitled to "board and keep" from his employer, yet he was to be
forbidden by law to move or to change his employment. This would have
left his wages at the mercy of the employer. It is a law of economics
that the mobility of labor is necessary to the normal regulation of
wages. Some states absolutely forbade the freedmen to engage in skilled
work, leaving for them only the most menial and least profitable
occupations. In the famous old state of South Carolina the employer was
to be allowed to inflict corporal punishment, or as the euphemism of the
law put it, to "moderately correct" the servants. "Master" and "servant"
were the terms used in these laws,—not employer and employee. The
vagrancy laws and laws of apprenticeship were all of a nature to entrap
the ignorant and take advantage of the weak. Famous old South Carolina
even sought to regulate the amount of "politeness" due from the
"servant" to the "master’s family."

In the face of all these stereotyped facts, why should any honest
student of history have to resort to any intangible and indefinite thing
like a feeling of revenge or a desire for political and party advantage
as an explanation of the motives of those who conceived and passed by
the Fourteenth Amendment? This Amendment was passed by the friends of
freedom to keep the Thirteenth Amendment from being a mere farce. They
sought thereby to secure for the Negro the protecting power of the
ballot, as the only effective means of influencing his civil and
political interests in a government like this. There was no thought or
hope of making him dominant in a country that was predominantly white.
But the backers of the Amendment sought to lead the state governments to
this reasonable end by inducing rather than by compelling them. The
effect of this amendment was to be based on impartial mathematics, and
the choice was to be left to the majority of voters of the state. The
state was simply not to have a power in the national government based on
a population which the state itself did not recognize as a part of its
own citizenry.

Up to 1865 nearly all the states of the Union had restricted the right
to vote to white men. After the Negro was freed some Northern states
voluntarily removed this restriction. The friends of freedom hoped that
the Fourteenth Amendment would induce others to do so, by making it to
the advantage of their national representative power. But from the
ratification of the Amendment in 1868 to 1870 not a single state, with
the sole exception of Minnesota, heeded the warning or yielded to the
inducement of the suffrage clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. And it
might be noted in passing that there were not enough Negroes in
Minnesota to make any difference either way. Up to 1870 fourteen states
still restricted the suffrage to white men. This obstinacy on the part
of the reactionaries caused the friends of freedom in 1870 to ratify the
Fifteenth Amendment, which substituted _must_ for persuasion and
virtually penalized discriminations against any race in the matter of
the suffrage. What evidence is there that any of these steps were taken
in a spirit of revenge? Revenge usually acts in haste and without
waiting on the development of other sufficient causes. The persuasion of
the Fourteenth Amendment was not resorted to till three years after the
close of the war, and when there had risen the plainest need for even
more than persuasion in the interests of justice and humanity. And the
Fifteenth Amendment did not appear till five years after the war, when
even the Fourteenth Amendment had failed to persuade. Why should revenge
wait so long and advance so reluctantly? It seems that the friends of
freedom, who had the political power in their hands, were slow to anger
and plenteous in hope.

This suffrage amendment was to be a bulwark to the liberties not only of
black men but of all men in America; it was directed not only against
the "Black Laws" of the South but against political and civil slavery
everywhere in the nation. It is interesting to note that of the states
who were members of the Union up to 1865, only five can be listed in the
honor roll of those who have never discriminated against the Negro
voter: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The constant question raised by these discriminating laws is: What is a
Negro? When are we are going to discriminate against a fellow, we must
be careful and definite in pointing him out. And so each set of
discriminating laws contains its own definition of the word _Negro_, and
the definitions have differed widely. At first in some parts of the
North the Negro was defined as any person who was _visibly_ colored. It
is plain, however, that if the matter is left to the eyes, millions of
American "Negroes" will have to be taken into the Caucasian race,—and so
most of the state legislatures reduced their definition to the finer
discriminations of mathematics. These mathematical definitions vary all
the way from one fourth of the blood of the black man to a mere one
sixteenth; but some laws of the gallant South go so far as to say that
if one has even one drop of Negro blood in his veins he is a Negro. Thus
it is seen that "the Negro," so far as the United States are concerned,
is an arbitrary creature of law and includes within its scope hundreds
of thousands of people who by every law of God and nature and reason are
members of the Caucasian race, principally Anglo-Saxons. For whatever
the legal definition, it is the common practice in the United States to
class as Negroes all persons known to have any part of Negro blood. The
white American therefore ascribes the same potency to Negro blood which
he ascribes to the blood of Jesus Christ,—that it only takes one drop
"to make you whole." The statement needs no proof that there are
thousands of people in America who are related to the Negro and do not
know it, and others who know it but also know that its acknowledgment
would not increase their comforts in life.

It was especially necessary to define the term _Negro_ when the
intermarriage laws were being considered. These queer laws have always
had the support of the vast majority of white people, wherever the Negro
has become a considerable part of the population, and especially after
the Negro was freed. I call them "queer laws" because they always, in
spirit and in effect if not in letter, tend to make the naturally
honorable relation of marriage a worse crime than the naturally
dishonorable practice of illicit intercourse,—which abuse, however, is
practiced chiefly by the men of the stronger against the women of the
weaker group. For this illicitness there is in practice no punishment,
while the sure penalties of intermarriage range all the way from a fine
of one hundred dollars to ten years in the penitentiary,—and the danger
of still more horrible extra-legal penalties. There could be but one
result of thus outlawing decency and tolerating indecency,—of putting
honor under the foot of dishonor,—and that result has been attained in
the United States: namely, millions of interracial illegitimates, and
some admixture of Caucasian blood in at least nine-tenths of the
American Negro group.

Such is the American group against which these discriminating laws have
directly and indirectly aimed. In the historic decade (1860 to 1870)
many forms of discrimination and distinction began to appear in the laws
of the South: in public travel, in the courts and in the matter of the
suffrage. In 1865 and 1866 "Jim Crow" laws were passed in Florida,
Mississippi and Texas, but not in the other states until 1881 when
Tennessee started the new era of "Jim Crow," which has since overrun the
whole South and threatens, as did slavery itself, to invade the North.
Is it not queer that this passion should have gained such headway so
long after slavery? It would seem that the more the Negro advances in
education and refinement, the less acceptable he becomes to a large
number of white people. In North Carolina or South Carolina a Negro may
be taken into the white people’s car if he be a criminal or a lunatic;
but if he be a gentleman and a scholar, it will be a serious offense
against earth and heaven, subject to heavy fines,—and when his train
reaches Georgia, even the conductor may be fined one thousand dollars!
This race distinction on the cars serves no useful, honorable purpose
which classified passenger tickets would not serve. But of all the
humiliation, wrong and robbery possible against a free people, the devil
and the Sicilian tyrants working together could never have devised a
more ingenious scheme than the "Jim Crow" car.

As to the courts. Until 1870 the laws of Iowa forbade the Negro to
practice law; many states sought to invalidate or restrict the testimony
of a Negro witness against a white person; and most reluctantly of all
has any state conceded the Negro the right to be a juror, even where
both parties to the suit are Negroes. In law and in theory the Fifteenth
Amendment, March 30, 1870, repealed all statutes and nullified all
constitutional clauses discriminating against people on account of race,
color, or previous condition of servitude, but in practice in the United
States the Negro is still handicapped as a lawyer, discredited as a
witness and almost universally excluded from juries. This is queer again
in the face of the almost unanimous testimony of the courts to the
effect that the Negro juryman is more inclined to convict a real Negro
criminal than is the white juryman.

The Reconstruction constitutions of the South, in 1868 and 1869,
following the Fourteenth Amendment, gave the Negroes the ballot. It is
needless to say that this was not the will of the white majority. And it
must always be said of these Reconstruction governments that, whatever
faults they may have had, they made the first, and up to the present
time the _last_ serious and straight-going efforts to establish real
democratic-republican organization in the South. In this era the
Congress of the United States was in the hands of the friends of
freedom, and in 1866 the Negro was given the ballot in all the
territories of the United States. On June 8, 1867, the Congress gave the
ballot to the Negroes of the District of Columbia, over the President’s
veto and against the will of the white inhabitants. In a popular vote on
the proposition the city of Washington returned 6521 votes against
enfranchising the blacks and 35 votes for it; while Georgetown returned
the interesting figures of 812 votes against the proposition, and for it
one vote. This record of fifty years ago is sufficient to indicate what
would be the conditions in Washington, D. C., if it were left to its own
devices.

Such are the facts of obstinate resistance to the Negro’s actual
freedom, which brought the friends of freedom in Congress rather slowly
around to the necessity of adopting the Fourteenth, and when that
failed, the Fifteenth Amendment. I repeat that if, after the passage of
the Thirteenth Amendment, the legislatures and courts and other
creatures of the popular suffrage had shown a genius for doing justice
to the Negro, it is likely that his friends in Congress would have
forgotten him entirely, that the two subsequent Amendments would not
have been proposed and that he would have been left outside of the
Constitutional pale of citizenship indefinitely. The Thirteenth,
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments put the enemies of freedom
successively on trial and each time they failed. Yea, even against the
decree of the Fifteenth Amendment have they defeated democracy by
indirection and duplicity. If the aim of the Fifteenth Amendment should
be finally defeated, it would be the ultimate failure of democracy,—but
there are late indications that in the end it will not fail. And of all
the many-angled struggles which the colored people are supporting in
this country for their advancement and ultimate security, the central
aim of every fighting line should be full-fledged citizenship.

There is no doubt about the truth of the plain statement that the Negro
race in the United States of America does not get a "square deal." But
we observe frequent efforts to minimize the appearance of the great
wrong by the ambiguous statement that it is "natural" under the
circumstances. I call the statement ambiguous, because in one sense of
the word every fact of life and history is _natural_: all virtue and
vice, lust and love are natural. Many natural things are very
undesirable, and fortunately some of them are not indestructible or
unalterable. It may be natural for the white race to disfranchise,
"Jim-Crow" and burn Negroes, but the Negro is _naturally_ opposed to
that procedure. Is it not natural for the victim to be uncomfortable
under these things, to complain against them, to organize and fight
them? The naturalness of injustice, if it be natural, does not make it
one whit more just. It is natural, or at least it is historic, that men
will rob and commit murder and bastardy—but there seems to be something
in man which is higher than nature and which fights against these
things.

The same sort of fallacy in reasoning is resorted to when the effort is
made to palliate the wrongs done in one section by stating the fact that
the same or similar wrongs have been done, are being done or will be
done to the Negro in other sections or eventually in all sections of the
United States. What on earth has this to do with the wrong, except to
make it more horrible? Does it justify wrong to show that other people
did it, do it or may do it? If so, then sin itself ought to be the
fairest thing in the world, for all men in all ages and all countries
have committed it. The poor sinning South pains-takingly points out and
tabulates every single instance of its own wrongs against black men
which can be found repeated in the North,—and when the North slips from
virtue in the same path, it cries out Pharisaically that such horrors
are common or even popular in the South. If mere ubiquity justifies,
remember that the devil’s work is ubiquitous, too.

Again, I have read books and arguments that sought to minimize the
importance of industrial, civic and political discriminations against
the Negro by saying not only that these practices are "not confined to
any section of the country," but also that such-and-such an evil did not
even "originate" in the South. We are told with great unction that
Philadelphia and San Francisco once excluded Negroes from street cars
altogether, that slavery originated in the commerce of the North, and
that Jim-Crowism was first met in Massachusetts. I have heard that the
devil was first met in the Garden of Eden, but he is none the less the
devil. And as to origin, who cares where the smallpox or the yellow
fever originated? It is their nature, not their origin, which makes them
horrible.

There is really no room for one section to boast or to proudly accuse
the other. So far as the Negro’s experiences go, both sections need to
improve perhaps in their ideals but certainly in their practices
respecting democratic liberties and human brotherhood. Let the Negro and
his friends realize that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution represent not a backward step but a stride
forward in civilization, and that they were fostered and ratified, not
for the sake of the temporary burden which they may have put upon the
white race in the South, but for the benefit of all races, at all times,
in all America.



John W. Cromwell. The American Negro Bibliography of the Year


The following resolution adopted at the last meeting is
self-explanatory: "That the Academy publish a list of books, pamphlets,
magazines and newspaper articles bearing on the Negro Question, with
appropriate comment." A letter sent to the Library of Congress brought
from the Chief Bibliographer the following reply: "Titles of books
relating to the Negro may be found by means of the Cumulative Book
Index, published monthly; articles in magazines, etc., are listed in the
Readers’ Guide to periodical literature and its supplements, and in the
annual magazine subject index; legal literature is indexed in the index
to legal periodicals and the literature of medicine in the Index
Medicus. These publications are all subject indexes and to approach the
matter from the side of Negro authorship it would be necessary to start
with some such book as "Who’s Who of the Colored Race," which would
enable the compiler to pick out the Negro authors. It would then be
necessary to go through the indexes to see whether these authors had
published anything during the current year. A source of additional
titles," continues the letter, "would be the periodicals devoted to the
interests of the Negro race. These frequently note pamphlets, privately
or obscurely printed books which do not get into the regular lists."

This reference to "Who’s Who," a book just issued, shows that the
Academy is beginning this work at a very propitious time. One year ago
"Who’s Who" was only a prospect; now it is a realization, the most
important this year in this field of bibliography. Its price, $6.00, may
restrict its circulation to public libraries, colleges and universities
until some worthier publication appears to take its place by the side of
similarly named publications which include leaders of thought and action
the world over.

Scarcely less important is the Negro Year Book, by Monroe N. Work, in
charge of Division of Records and Research at Tuskegee. This is an
annual encyclopedia of the Negro, for its scope includes the population
of the earth by races, the periodicals published by Africans, "where
black men govern," Negroes and Spanish Explorers, Negro Slavery in
Colonies and in States, Abolition, Agitation, Slavery and Religious
Denominations, Slave Insurrections, the Underground Railroad, Civil
Status, Civil and Political Rights, Negro Soldiers, The Church,
Education Before and Since the Civil War, Arts, Occupations, Inventions,
Agriculture, Crime, Health, Population, National and Fraternal
Organizations, Social Settlements, Periodical publications and
bibliographies pertaining to the Negro. In no other publication of more
than four hundred pages is so much information assembled. The price, 35
cents, should warrant its circulation wherever there is found school,
college or church, student or professional man who affects a serious
study of our relative conditions and their adaptation to the broader
ones of country and civilization.

"The Negro," by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, Ph. D., No. 91 in the Home
University Library of H. Holt & Co., New York, traces in twelve chapters
the evolution of the race from Ethiopia and Egypt, from its original
habitat, from the Cross and the Crescent to the period when the power
and the influence of the race were generally recognized, up to the rise
of the slave trade, with its blighting effect on conditions in the New
World, and the introduction of the Negro Problem in the United States.
Suggestions for further reading follow. An index and maps add to its
adaptation and value.

"Education of the Negro Before 1860," by Carter G. Woodson, Ph. D.
(Macmillan), embraces the results of an intensive study of educational
conditions prevalent in the United States from Colonial days to the
Civil War. The influence of the Quaker, the Jesuit and the Abolitionist
is traced to its fruitage, contributory to the laws which gave the
public school system in the South. This book deserves to be consulted by
the investigator and the student.

"The Black Man’s Burden," by William H. Holtzclaw, principal of the
Utica (Miss.) N & I. Institute for the training of colored young men and
women, is also a book of the year. The introduction is written by Booker
T. Washington. It tells the story of the establishment of a school in
the black belt of Mississippi hardly less thrilling though on a smaller
scale than that of Tuskegee itself, of which the author is a graduate.

Among publications of a sociological nature are "Colored People of
Chicago, Ill.," L. H. Bowen; "Industries Among Negroes in St. Louis," by
W. A. Crossland; "The Negro as a Dependent, Defective and Delinquent,"
by C. H. McChord; "Urban Conditions in Harlem," by E. F. Dycloff
(Outlook, 108:949-54); ditto, by E. D. Jones (Outlook, 109:597); "Manual
of Freedmen’s Progress," by Francis H. Warren, Secretary of Freedmen’s
Progress Commission. This volume of 372 pages was authorized by Act 47,
Public Acts of Michigan, 1915.

Political conditions of the Negro Problem are discussed in the
"Aftermath of the Civil War," by Powell Clayton; "Political History of
Slavery," by J. Z. George; "Studies in South: Parties and Politics of
Georgia," by C. M. Thompson; "President Lincoln’s Attitude," by H. W.
Wilbur; "Police Control in South Carolina," by H. M. Henry; "Slavery
Early Heritage of the South"; "America’s Greatest Problem," R. W.
Shufeldt. Though all these are white authors, they are in an objective
sense inclusive in an American Negro Bibliography.

"Negro Wit and Humor," by. M. F. Harmon; "Mexico as an Asylum for the
Negro," by O. M. Donaldson; "Morals and Manners Among Negro Americans,"
by Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois are other titles that reflect current thought.

When we invade the realm of the magazine, the newspaper or other
periodical we find a variety of topics and different, phases of the same
general subject. The range discussed in the magazine intensifies popular
thought to a greater degree than the reading of books by the relatively
smaller number of individuals.

"Thinking White Down South," in Outlook 111:9-10, does not on its face
suggest its pertinence to this question.

"My View of Segregation Laws," by Booker T. Washington, in New Republic,
51:113-14.

The Negro Exposition at Richmond is given greater prestige in the Review
of Reviews (52:85-8) than elsewhere. "The Country’s Attitude Towards the
Negro," by Oswald G. Villard, in Nation (99:788-40), and the same
publication (100:187-8); the conferring of the Spingarn medal to E. E.
Just, member of this Academy; "The Education of the Mind of the Negro
Child in School and Society" (1:357-60), and "The Southern Tribute to a
Negro," in Dial (59:409-10).

"Segregation and the Vote" embraces more than a third of fifty titles
not otherwise mentioned. The recent opinion of the United States Supreme
Court dealing with what is popularly known as the Grandfather clauses of
Southern constitutions and statutes, is discussed in 8 Law and
Bankruptcy, 8:236-6. The Literary Digest (Vol. 15:5) gives a symposium
on the subject. The Nation prophesies the end of the Negro politically
in 100 years (100:443 of April 12, 1915). The Independent on the other
hand (Vol. 88:3-4), sees the wrong of these clauses righted. The Outlook
in 110:486-7 (June 30, 1915), gives another view.

Other ways of discrimination by which the purpose of the Fifteenth
Amendment may yet be defeated will be found in "Everybody" (33:251-2).
"The South and the Negro Vote" forms the title of an elaborate article
in the North American Review, by J. C. Hemphill (202:213-19), while "Our
Debt to the Negro" is the theme in Miss. R. 38:772. Sociological
features, Homes and Housing, as a general proposition, is considered in
Survey, 34:67, 158-9; Business Men, in 34:550; and Loosening of
Louisiana, in 34:266-9. Titustown, a new community near Norfolk, Va., is
given special notice in 34:531, and B. T. Washington, in Conference,
Charities and Correction, 1914:121-7.

The Separate Coach Statutes and Their Constitutionality are discussed in
Central Law Journal, 43:44 (January 15, 1915); 18 Law Notes, 182 213
(January 7, 1915); 20 Va. Law Register, 781-785 (February 15, 1915).
These will tend to such race discrimination as to affect Civil Rights,
and as such are treated in 50 Nat. Cor. Reg., 595.

"The Saloon as a Place of Public Amusement" is brought under review in
49 Amer. Law Review, 131. "Segregation: A Burning Question in Southern
Social Adjustments," is made the subject of an article by Philip A.
Bruce, the well-known Southern author, in Hibberts Journal, 13 V.
867-86. B. F. Benson, in Va. L. Reg. n. s. 330-356, treats the local
segregation ordinances. Their application to rural Southern communities
is the theme in Survey, 33:375-7. The constitutionality of these
ordinances is briefly considered in 13 Mich. Rev., 599-600; in Harper’s
Weekly, 59:620, 1D. and in New Republic, November 22-29, 1915. "The
Roots of the War in the Race Question" is a very illuminating article by
W. E. B. Du Bois in the Atlantic Monthly for May.

Three notable books, the product of the year 1915, are deserving of
special mention. They are all devoted to Negroes of the Eighteenth
Century, and are the outcome of the activities, the enterprise and the
research of the Twentieth Century, and that by white Americans. The
titles are (1) "Phillis Wheatley (Phillis Peters) Poems and Letters:
First Collected Edition," edited by Charles Fred Heartman, with an
appreciation by Arthur A. Schomburg, 112 pages. Ben Day paper, 50 on
Fabriano hand-made paper, and 10 on Japan vellum.

(2) "Phillis Wheatley (Phillis Peters): A Critical Attempt and a
Bibliography of Her Writings," by Charles Fred Heartman; 99 copies of
this were printed by the author on Alexandra Japan paper. There are 50
pages in this bibliography, from which we learn that there are 43 titles
of different editions of Phillis Wheatley’s poems. The forty-third is
that of six broadsides relating to Phillis Wheatley, with portrait and
fac-simile of her handwritings; 25 copies of this were printed for the
same publisher. They consist of four pages and eight productions on
eight leaves.

The last (3) item is certainly the most interesting. It flashes the name
of Jupiter Hammon, a Negro belonging to Joseph Lloyd, of Queen’s
Village, on Long Island, now in Hartford. The title is "Jupiter Hammon:
American Negro Poet. Selections From His Writings and a Bibliography."
By Oscar Wegelin, with five fac-similes; 99 copies were printed for
Charles Fred Heartman, New York, 1915. Jupiter Hammon was the first
member of his race to write and publish poetry in this country. One of
his poems was printed before Phillis Wheatley had written her first
poem.

This bibliography is slightly connected with that of books issued before
the present year, such as "Negro Culture in West Africa," by George W.
Ellis, 290 pages; "The Haitian Revolution From 1791 to 1804," by T. G.
Steward, 292 pages; "The Facts of Reconstruction," by John R. Lynch, 326
pages; "Out of the House of Bondage," by Kelly Miller, and "The Negro in
American History," by John W. Cromwell, 296 pp. which have found places
in some of the principal public libraries of the country.

"Redder Blood," by William M. Ashby, published by the Neale Publishing
Company, is described as a novel which, written in literary English and
not in the jargon known as Negro dialect; a story told for the sake of
the story and not a treatise under disguise. Its author, a Negro, is a
graduate of Yale College.



Transcriber’s Note


Original spelling varieties have been maintained; footnotes were
renumbered.





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