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Title: Light Ahead for the Negro
Author: Johnson, Edward A. (Edward Austin)
Language: English
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Author of
_The School History of the Negro Race
Colored Soldiers in the Spanish American War
The Negro Almanac_


The Grafton Press
New York

Copyright 1904 by
E. A. Johnson.


The author dedicates this work to the thousands of sympathetic and well
wishing friends of the Negro race. He is trying to show how the Negro
problem can be solved in peace and good will rather than by brutality.
His idea is that the Golden Rule furnishes the only solution.

He believes that at the bottom of southern society there is a vein of
sympathy and helpfulness for the Negro and that this feeling should be
cultivated and nourished that it may grow stronger and finally supplant
harsher sentiments.

There are two factions striving for the mastery of the south to-day,
one seeking political power on the idea that Negro manhood is to be
crushed and serfdom established, and the other willing that the Negro
should have a freeman’s chance and work out his destiny as best he can
with the powers God has given him. This faction is ready to give its
sympathy and help, and it is the efforts of this class that the author
desires to endorse and encourage.

The story weaved into the work is subordinate to the discussion of
facts, and not paramount; it is intended to be mild, thus putting it
in keeping with the character of the heroine whose deeds it portrays;
and should the day ever come when America can arise to the height of
adopting and following her sentiments, it will then indeed be the
“Sweet land of liberty,” for the black as well as the white man.



  CHAPTER                                                 PAGE

    I. THE LOST AIRSHIP--UNCONSCIOUSNESS,                    1


  III. AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY WITH IRENE,                    13

   IV. NOW AND THEN,                                        21

    V. A VISIT TO PUBLIC BUILDINGS,                         99

   VI. A RIDE WITH IRENE,                                  107


  VIII. WITH IRENE AGAIN,                                  116

    IX. THE PRIZE ESSAY,                                   120

     X. SAD NEWS FOR IRENE,                                131

_Light Ahead for the Negro_



From my youth up I had been impressed with the idea of working among
the Negroes of the Southern states. My father was an abolitionist
before the war and afterward an ardent supporter of missionary
efforts in the South, and his children naturally imbibed his spirit
of readiness and willingness at all times to assist the cause of the

I concluded in the early years of my young manhood that I could render
the Negroes no greater service than by spending my life in their midst,
helping to fit them for the new citizenship that had developed as a
result of the war. My mind was made up throughout my college course at
Yale; and, while I did not disclose my purpose, I resolved to go South
as soon as I was through college and commence my chosen life-work.
In keeping with this design, I kept posted on every phase of the
so-called “Negro problem”; I made it my constant study. When I had
finished college I made application to the Union Missionary Association
for a position as teacher in one of their Negro schools in a town in
Georgia, and after the usual preliminaries I received my certificate of

It was June, 1906, the year that dirigible airships first came into
actual use, after the innumerable efforts of scores of inventors to
solve final problems, which for a long time seemed insurmountable. Up
to this time the automobile--now relegated to commercial uses, or,
like the bicycle, to the poorer classes--had been the favored toy
of the rich, and it was thought that the now common one hundred and
one hundred and fifty horse-power machines were something wonderful
and that their speed--a snail’s pace, compared with the airship--was
terrific. It will be remembered that inside of a few months after the
first really successful airships appeared a wealthy man in society
could hardly have hoped to retain his standing in the community without
owning one, or at least proving that he had placed an order for one
with a fashionable foreign manufacturer, so great was the craze for
them, and so widespread was the industry--thanks to the misfortune
of the poor devil who solved the problem and neglected to protect
his rights thoroughly. Through this fatal blunder on his part, their
manufacture and their use became world-wide, almost at once, in spite
of countless legal attempts to limit the production, in order to keep
up the cost.

A wealthy friend of mine had a ship of the finest Parisian make, the
American machines still being unfashionable, in which we had often made
trips together and which he ran himself. As I was ready to go to my
field of labor, he invited me to go with him to spend from Saturday to
Sunday in the City of Mexico, which I had never seen, and I accepted.

We started, as usual, from the new aërial pier at the foot of West
Fifty-ninth Street, New York City, then one of the wonders of the
world, about one o’clock, in the midst of a cloud of machines bound
for country places in different parts of the United States and we
were peacefully seated after dinner, enjoying the always exhilarating
sensation of being suspended in space without support--for my friend
had drawn the covering from the floor of clear glass in the car, which
was coming into use in some of the new machines--when there was a
terrific report. The motor had exploded!

We looked at each other in horror. This indeed was what made
air-travelling far-and-away the most exciting of sports. Human beings
had not yet come to regard with indifference accidents which occurred
in mid-air.

My friend picked his way through a tangled mass of machinery to the
instruments. We were rising rapidly and the apparatus for opening the
valve of the balloon was broken. Without saying a word, he started
to climb up the tangle of wire ropes to the valve itself; a very
dangerous proceeding, because many of the ropes were loosened from
their fastenings. We suddenly encountered a current of air that changed
our course directly east. (We had been steering south and had gone
about six hundred miles.) It drew us up higher and higher. I glanced
through the floor but the earth was almost indistinguishable, and was
disappearing rapidly. There was absolutely nothing that I could do. I
looked up again at my friend, who was clambering up rather clumsily, I
remember thinking at the moment. The tangle of ropes and wires looked
like a great grape vine. Just then the big ship gave a lurch. He
slipped and pitched forward, holding on by one hand. Involuntarily, I
closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them again, _he was gone_!

My feelings were indescribable. I commenced to lose consciousness,
owing to the altitude and the ship was ascending more rapidly every

Finally I became as one dead.



One day an archaic-looking flying machine, a curiosity, settled from
aërial heights on to the lawn of one Dr. Newell, of Phœnix, Georgia.

When found I was unconscious and even after I had revived I could tell
nothing of my whereabouts, as to whither I was going, or whence I had
come; I was simply there, “a stranger in a strange land,” without being
able to account for anything.

I noticed however that the people were not those I had formerly left or
that I expected to see. I was bewildered--my brain was in a whirl--I
lapsed again into a trance-like state.

When I regained my full consciousness I found myself comfortably
ensconced in a bed in an airy room apparently in the home of some
well-to-do person. The furniture and decorations in the room were of
a fashion I had never seen before, and the odd-looking books in the
bookcase near the bed were written by authors whose names I did not
know. I seemed to have awakened from a dream, a dream that had gone
from me, but that had changed my life.

Looking around in the room, I found that I was the only occupant. I
resolved to get up and test the matter. I might still be dreaming.
I arose, dressed myself--my suit case lay on a table, just as I had
packed it--and hurriedly went downstairs, wondering if I were a
somnambulist and thinking I had better be careful lest I fall and
injure myself. I heard voices and attempted to speak and found my voice
unlike any of those I heard in the house. I was just passing out of the
front door, intending to walk around on the large veranda that extended
on both sides of the house, when I came face to face with a very
attractive young lady who I subsequently learned was the niece of my
host and an expert trained nurse. She had taken charge of me ever since
my unexpected arrival on her uncle’s lawn.

She explained that she had been nursing me and seemed very much
mortified that I should have come to consciousness at a moment when
she was not present, and have gotten out of the room and downstairs
before she knew it. I could see chagrin in her countenance and to
reassure her I said, “You needn’t worry about your bird’s leaving the
cage, he shall not fly away, for in the first place he is quite unable
to, and in the second place why should he flee from congenial company?”

“I am glad you are growing better,” she said, “and I am sure we are all
very much interested in your speedy recovery, Mr.--What shall I call
you?” she said hesitatingly.

I attempted to tell her my name, but I could get no further than, “My
name is--” I did not know my own name!

She saw my embarrassment and said, “O, never mind the name, I’ll let
you be my anonymous friend. Tell me where you got that very old flying

Of course I knew, but I could not tell her. My memory on this point
had failed me also. She then remarked further that papers found in my
pocket indicated that a Mr. Gilbert Twitchell had been appointed to a
position as teacher in a Missionary School in the town of Ebenezer,
Georgia, in the year 1906, and inquired if these “old papers” would
help me in locating my friends. She left me for a moment and returned
with several papers, a diary and a large envelope containing a
certificate of appointment to said school.

She stated that inquiry had already been made and that “old records”
showed that a person by the name of Twitchell had been appointed in
1906, according to the reading of the certificate, and that while _en
route_ to his prospective field of labor in an air-ship he was supposed
to have come to an untimely death, as nothing had been seen or heard of
him since. Further than that the official records did not go.

“Now, we should be very glad to have you tell us how you came by that
certificate,” she suggested.

I was aghast. I was afraid to talk to her or to look about me. And the
more fully I came to myself the more I felt that I did not dare to ask
a question. The shock of one answer might kill me.

I summoned all my strength, and spoke hurriedly, more to prevent her
speaking again than to say anything.

“Perhaps I can tell you something later on,” I said hoarsely. “I find
my memory quite cloudy, in fact, I seem to be dreaming.”

She saw my misery and suggested that I go into “the room used to cure
nervousness” and that I remain as long as possible. I passed stupidly
through the door she held open for me and had hardly sat down before
I felt soothed. The only color visible was violet,--walls, ceiling,
furniture, carpet, all violet of different shades. An artificial light
of the same color filled the room. And the air!--What was there in it?

A desk was at the other end of the large apartment. As my eyes roved
about the strange looking place I saw on it an ordinary calendar pad,
the only thing in the room that closely resembled objects I had seen
before. The moment that I realized what it was I felt as though I was
about to have a nervous chill. I dared not look at it, even from that
distance. But the delicious air, the strength-giving light revived me
in spite of myself. For full five minutes I sat there, staring, before
starting over to look at it; for though I knew not who I was, and
though I had passed through only two rooms of the house, and had met
only one person, I had divined the truth a thousand times.

As I slowly neared it I saw the day of the month, the twenty-fourth.
Nearer and nearer I came, finally closing my eyes as the date of the
year in the corner became _almost_ legible--just as I had done in the
car of the air-ship, that awful moment. I moved a little nearer. I
could read it now! I opened my eyes and glanced, then wildly tore the
pads apart, to see if they were all alike--and fell to the floor once

It was the year _two thousand and six_, just one hundred years from the
date of my appointment to the position of a teacher in the South!

       *       *       *       *       *

In a short time I regained complete consciousness, and under the
influence of that wonderful room became almost myself again. I learned
that I had not really been left alone but had been observed, through a
device for that purpose, by both the doctor and his niece, and on her
return I related my whole story to her as far as I could then remember

The strangest and most unaccountable part was that though I had been
away from the earth about one hundred years, yet, here I was back again
still a young man, showing no traces of age and I had lived a hundred
years. This was afterward accounted for by the theory that at certain
aerial heights the atmosphere is of such a character that no physical
changes take place in bodies permitted to enter it.

The physical wants of my body seemed to have been suspended, and
animation arrested until the zone of atmosphere immediately surrounding
the earth was reached again, when gradually life and consciousness

I have no recollection of anything that transpired after I lost
consciousness and the most I can say of it all is that the experience
was that of one going to sleep at one end of his journey and waking up
at his destination.



The next time I met my nurse was by chance. I saw her at the public
library near Dr. Newell’s house, where I often went to sit and think
the first few days after my rebirth into the world. She had left the
Newell residence on the night of the day she had put me in the violet
room, being called to some special duty elsewhere. I approached her
with a kindly salutation which she reciprocated in a manner indicating
that she was pleased to meet me. In the meantime I had found out her
name--Irene Davis--and had also found out that an elective course in
a training school for scientific nursing was according to the custom
of the times, which regarded such a course as indispensable to the
education of a liberally trained young woman.

Our conversation drifted along as to my personal comforts until I told
her that I had heard that I was to be called upon to deliver a written
account of my recollections of the past, especially in reference to the
Negro question.

“I suppose Dr. Newell is at the bottom of that,” she remarked, “he is
so intensely interested in the Negro question that he would be the
first one to make the suggestion. I really believe that he refused
to allow you to be taken to the City Hospital when you were found on
his lawn because he almost divined that you might have a message from
another age for him on that subject. The city authorities yielded
to his wishes and assigned me to assist in caring for you at his
residence, instead of at the hospital.

“I found very little to do, however, but would like to recall to you
the beneficial effects of the violet room, which I see had the desired
results. It always does, and many people who can afford it, especially
physicians, are now installing these rooms in their houses for the
benefit of neurotic patients, on whom the violet rays of electricity,
coupled with neurium, a newly discovered chemical preparation, similar
to radium, has a most remarkable effect.”

I remarked that I had taken no medicine and really felt better than
ever in either of my lives. “Well,” said she, laughing, “I trust you
may be able to recall all about the past and give a most excellent
account of it in your paper for the Bureau of Public Utility--and don’t
fail to send me a copy!”

“Are you at all interested in the question,” I asked.

“All Southerners are interested in that question. I am a teacher in a
Sunday School for Negro children and a member of a Young Ladies’ Guild
which was organized expressly for reaching Negro children that may need
help. We visit the families and talk with the parents, impress on them
ideas of economy, direct them in caring for the sick, and instruct them
in the most scientific methods of sanitation. I am really fond of these
people and the happiest moments of my life are spent with them--they
are of a different temperament from us, so mild and good natured,--so
complacent and happy in their religious worship and their music is
simply enchanting!--Don’t you like to hear them sing, Mr. Twitchell?”

I remarked that I was very fond of their singing, and that I had been
delighted with a visit I had recently made to the Dvorak Conservatory,
where the Negro’s musical talent seemed to have been miraculously

I further remarked, to myself, “How congenial in tastes and sympathy we
seem to be, and how beautiful you are!” She moved me strangely as she
stood there with her black hair, rosy cheeks, large good-natured black
eyes, her Venus-like poise of neck and shoulders, and a mouth neither
large nor small but full of expression, and showing a wealth of pearls
when she laughed--and all this coupled with such noble aspirations, and
such deep womanly sympathy.

I said to her, “Miss Davis, I am certainly glad to learn that our
sentiments on the Negro question coincide so thoroughly and if any
encouragement were needed, I should certainly feel like offering it, as
a stimulus in your efforts.”

“All humanity needs encouragement,” she replied, “and I am human; and
so are these people around us who are of a different race. They need
encouragement and in my humble way I hope to be of some service to
them. Their chances have not been as favorable as ours, but they have
been faithful and true with the talents they have.”

“So I understand you are assisting in this work more from a sense of
duty than as a diversion?” I observed.

“Yes, that is true,” she said, “but nevertheless I really get
considerable recreation in it. I find these people worthy of assistance
and competent to fill many places that they otherwise could not but for
the help of our Guild.”

“So you have found that success does not always come to the worthy,”
I suggested, “if those who are worthy have no outside influence? I
can remember people who worked hard all their lives for promotion and
who not only did not get it, but often witnessed others less skilled
and deserving than themselves pushed forward ahead of them. This was
especially true of the Negro race in my time. The Negroes were told
that Negro ability would sell for as much in the market as white, but
while this was encouraging in some respects and true in many cases, it
could by no means be laid down as a rule.”

“I agree with you,” she said, “in part; for the feeling no doubt
prevails among some people that the lines of cleavage should move us
naturally to do more for our own than for a different race, and that
spirit occasionally crops out, but the spirit of helpfulness to Negroes
has now become so popular that it permeates all classes and there is
practically no opposition to them.”

“You are a long way removed from the South of the past,” said I, “where
to have done such work as you are engaged in would have disgraced you,
and have branded you for social ostracism.”

She replied that there was no criticism at all for engaging in such
work but only for doing more for one race than another.

“You Georgians had degenerated in my day,” I remarked. “The Southern
colonies under such men as Oglethorpe seemed to have higher ideals
than had their descendants of later times. Oglethorpe was opposed to
slavery and refused to allow it in the Colony of Georgia while he was
governor; he was also a friend to the Indians and to Whitfield in
his benevolent schemes, but the Georgian of my day was a different
character altogether from the Oglethorpe type. He justified slavery and
burned Negroes at the stake, and the ‘Cracker class’ were a long ways
removed from the Oglethorpe type of citizenship, both in appearance and
intelligence. I notice, too, Miss Davis, that you never use the words
‘colored people’ but say ‘Negro,’ instead.”

“That is because these people themselves prefer to be called Negroes.
They are proud of the term Negro and feel that you are compromising if
you refer to them as ‘colored people.’”

“That is quite a change, too,” said I, “from the past; for in my time
the race did not like the term Negro so well because it sounded so much
like ‘nigger,’ which was a term of derision. I notice that this term
also has become obsolete with you--another sign of progress. In fact,
I fear that the ideas I had in 1906, when I started on my trip to work
as a missionary among the Negroes, would be laughed at now, so far
have you progressed beyond me. Indeed, I am quite confused at times in
trying to conform to my new conditions.”

At this juncture she suggested that she had almost broken an engagement
by chatting with me so long, and would have to hurry off to meet
it. In taking her departure she remarked that perhaps it was worth
while to break an engagement to talk with one who had had so unusual
an experience. “I may be quite an unusual character,” said I, “but
probably too ancient to be of interest to so modern a person as

She did not reply to this, but left with a smile and a roguish twinkle
in her eye.

I found on inquiry at the library that Negroes in the South were now
allowed the use of the books, and that they were encouraged to read by
various prizes, offered especially for those who could give the best
written analyses of certain books which were suggested by the library



I had scarcely recovered my equilibrium and become able to give an
account of myself before I was formally called on by the “Chief of the
Bureau of Public Utility” of the country to make a statement about the
Negro problem in my time, Dr. Newell having informed him that I was
interested in that subject.

Here follows the substance of what I wrote as I read it over to Dr.
Newell before sending it:

“Many changes considered well nigh impossible one hundred years ago
have taken place in almost all phases of the so-called Negro problem.
One of the most noticeable instances to me is the absence of slurs at
individual Negroes and at the race as a whole in your newspapers. Such
headlines as ‘Another Coon Caught,’ ‘The Burly Black Brute Foiled,’ ‘A
Ham Colored Nigger in the Hen House’ and ‘This Coon Wants to be Called
Mister,’ are, to me, conspicuous by their absence. In the old days,
in referring to a Negro who had made a speech of some merit he was
called ‘Professor,’ but in making a reference to him as being connected
with politics the same person was dubbed ‘Jim’ or ‘Tom.’ Fights
between three white men and two Negroes were published, under glaring
headlines, as ‘Race Riots.’ The usual custom of dealing out the vices
of the Negro race as a morning sensation in the daily papers evidently
fell into ‘innocuous desuetude,’ and the daily papers having dropped
the custom, the weeklies, which were merely echoes of the dailies,
also left off the habit, so that now neither the city people nor
farmers have their prejudices daily and weekly inflamed by exaggerated
portrayals of the Negroes’ shortcomings.

“The character of no individual and in fact of no race can long endure
in America when under the persistent fire of its newspapers. Newspapers
mould public opinion. Your organization for the dissemination of news
has it in its power to either kill or make alive in this respect. Our
organization, called the News Distributing Bureau, was formerly in the
hands of people whose policy designedly necessitated the portrayal of
the Negro in his worst light before the people, in order that certain
schemes against the race might be fostered, and seemed to take special
delight in publishing every mean act of every bad Negro, and leaving
unrecorded the thousands of credible acts of the good ones.

“Like Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, this wholesale assassination
of Negro character in the newspapers was strictly a political ‘war
measure,’ intended for political use only. Its design was to prejudice
the race in the eyes of the world and thus enable the white supremacy
advocates, North and South, to perfect the political annihilation of
the Negro. The Negro farmer knew little about what was going on; he was
making corn and cotton, and to tell him in public assemblies would be
considered ‘incendiary,’ and ‘stirring up strife between the races,’
and the individual who might be thus charged would certainly have to
leave ‘between two suns,’ as the phrase was. However, the general
desire among leading Negroes was for peace at any sacrifice, and they
studiously labored to that end. The South ought to have thanked the
Negro preachers and the Negro school teachers for the reign of peace in
that section, because it was due almost wholly to their efforts.

“Then, too, the public schools, which were at that period the boast of
the South, in support of her contention of friendliness to the Negro,
served the purpose of quieting many a Negro who might otherwise have
been disposed to ‘talk too much.’[1] Be it remembered that at this
time it was considered virtually a social crime to employ a Negro as a
clerk in a store or elsewhere. This feeling extended from Delaware to
Texas, and the thousands of Negroes who were coming out of the various
public schools, and the institutions for higher training established
by Northern philanthropists, had practically no calling open to them,
as educated men and women, save that of teaching. The door of hope was
shut in their face and they were censured for not doing better under
such impossible handicaps. It was like closing the stable door and
whipping the horse for not going in! A few entered the professions of
law, pharmacy and medicine, some engaged in business, but no great
number for the following reasons:

“First--In the professions the white professional man was by habit
and custom very generally employed by the colored people, while the
colored professional man, by the conventional laws of society, was
rarely or never employed by white people.

“Second--The natural disposition of the colored people to patronize
white merchants and professional men in preference to their own was a
factor to be reckoned with in looking for the _causas rerum_--a kind of
one-sided arrangement whereby the whites got the Negroes’ money but the
Negroes could not get theirs--in the professions. In many of the small
lines of business, however, the Negro was patronized by the whites.

“So that--with the News Bureau making capital every morning of the
corruption in the race; with the efforts of Southern ministers who
had taken charge of Northern pulpits, to strew seeds of poison by
proclaiming, on the commission of every offense by a Negro, ‘We told
you that the Negro was not worth the freedom you gave him,’ ‘We told
you he wasn’t fit for citizenship and that the money you have spent for
his education is worse than wasted;’ with the constant assertions that
his only place is ‘behind a mule,’ that education made him a greater
criminal, that ‘the Southern people are his best friends’ because ‘we
overlook his follies’ and ‘treat him kindly if he will stay in his
place;’ with the money interests clamoring for the South ‘to be let
alone’ with the Negro question, for fear of unsettling business and
causing a slump in Southern securities; with the claims that, to keep
the railroads earning dividends, to keep the cotton market active, the
Negro must be handled according to the serfdom or shotgun plan, and
that the best task master so far found was the Southern white man, who
had proven himself wonderfully adept in getting good crops from Negro
labor--with these and many other excuses, the question of raising the
Negro in the scale of civilization was left to posterity.

“‘What is he worth to us now?’ That is the only question with which we
are concerned, was the ruling thought, if not the open confession.

“Let it be understood that statistics (which the Negro did not compile)
showed that the race at that time was, as a mass, the most illiterate,
the least thrifty, and the most shiftless and criminal of any class
of American citizens--dividing the population into natives--Irish
emigrants, German emigrants, Italians, Jews, and Poles. This was a
fact that hurt, regardless of who was responsible for it.

“Then the question of color cut no small figure in this problem. The
Negro’s color classified him; it rang the signal bell for drawing ‘the
color line’ as soon as he was seen, and it designated and pointed him
out as a marked man, belonging to that horrible criminal class whose
revolting deeds were revealed every day in the newspapers. No wonder
he was shunned, no wonder the children and women were afraid of him!
The great mass of the people took the newspaper reports as true.
They never read between the lines and seldom read the corrections of
errors[2] that had been made. In some cases the first report had been
that a Negro had committed a crime, and later it was discovered that
a white man with his face blacked had been the perpetrator. Some one
has said, ‘Let me write the songs of a people and I will control their
religious sentiments.’ In a country like America where the newspapers
are so plentiful and where people rely on them so implicitly, those who
control the newspapers may be said to control the views of the people
on almost any public question. With 30 per cent of the Negro population
illiterate, with a criminal record double that of any of the emigrant
classes above outlined, with the News Distributing Bureau against
it, with no political or social standing--pariahs in the land--with
Northern capital endorsing serfdom, with their inability to lose their
race identity, on account of their color--we realize how heavy the odds
were against the Negro race at that time.

“As a Negro orator once put it, ‘De Southern white man’s on top’er de
nigger and de Yankee white man’s on top er de Southern white man and de
bad nigger’s on top er dem bofe!’

“I now come to some of the proposed solutions of the problem. Various
meetings were held all over the country to discuss the Negro problem,
and many a mediocre white man who thirsted for a little newspaper
notoriety, or political preferment, in both the North and the South,
had his appetite in this direction satisfied by writing or saying
something on the Negro question. One Thomas Dixon tried to out Herod
Herod in taking up the exceptional cases of Negro criminality and using
them in an attempt to convince his readers of the Negro’s unfitness
for citizenship. A public speaker named John Temple Graves[3] made
lecture tours advocating deportation as the only solution of the
problem, rejecting as unsound the theories of Booker Washington, who
was advocating industrial education as the main factor in solving
the problem, because of the consequent clash that would arise between
white and colored mechanics--rejecting also as unsound the theory of
higher education; because that would develop in the Negro a longing for
equality which the white man would not give and was never known to
give an inferior race, a statement which all honest white people must
regard as a base slander upon their Christianity.

“Bishop Turner, senior bishop of the African Methodist-Episcopal
Church, one of the leading organizations of the Negro race, also
advocated emigration to Africa as the only solution of the problem, on
the grounds that the white people would never treat the Negro justly
and that history furnished no instance where a slave race had ever
become absolutely free in the land of its former owners, instancing
that to be free the Jews had to leave Egypt; that William the Conqueror
and his followers slaughtered the native Britons, rather than attempt
to carry out what seemed to them an impossible task, that of teaching
two races, a conquered race and a conquering one, to live side by side
in peace.

“One Professor Bassett made enemies of the Southern newspapers and
politicians by proposing _justice_ and _equality_ as a solution of the
problem. The ‘most unkindest cut of all’ of Professor Bassett’s saying
was that Booker Washington was ‘the greatest man, save Robert E.
Lee, that the South had produced in a hundred years.’ The politicians
and their sympathizers seized upon this statement as being a good
opportunity to keep up the discussion of the Negro issue, which many
better disposed people were hoping would be dropped, according to
promise, as soon as the Negroes had been deprived of the ballot by
the amendments then being added to the constitutions of the Southern
States. They rolled it over as a sweet morsel under their tongues.
‘Othello’s occupation,’ they realized, would be gone without the
‘nigger in the wood pile.’ The politicians disfranchised the Negro to
get rid of his vote, which was in their way, and they kept the Negro
scarecrow bolstered up for fear that the whites might divide and that
the Negro might then come back into possession of the ballot.

“The politicians proposed no measures of relief for the great mass
of ignorance and poverty in their midst. The modicum of school
appropriations was wrung from them, in some instances, by the threats
of the better element of the people. They were obstructionists rather
than constructionists. One Benjamin Tillman boasted on the floor of
the United States Senate that in his state he kept the Negroes ‘in
their place’ by the use of the shot-gun, in defiance of law and the
constitution, and that he expected to keep it up. If left alone, the
feeling against Negroes would have subsided to some extent and mutual
helpfulness prevailed, but the politicians had to have an issue,
even at the sacrifice of peace between the races and at the expense
of a loss of labor in many sections where it was once plentiful--as
many Negroes left for more liberal states, where they not only
received better wages but also better treatment. The Southern farmer
and business man was paying a dear price for office holders when he
stood by the politicians and allowed them to run off Negro labor, by
disfranchisement and political oppression. It was paying too much for a
whistle of that quality.

“Many Negroes thought, with Bishop Turner and John Temple Graves, that
emigration was the solution of the problem; not necessarily emigration
from the United States, but emigration individually to states where
public sentiment had not been wrought up against them. But the Negro,
owing to his ignorance, and also to his affection for the land of his
birth, and on account of a peculiar provincialism that narrowed his
scope of vision of the world and its opportunities, could not bring
himself to leave the South, so far as the great mass was concerned.
Then, too, he had been told that the Yankees would not treat him like
the Southerner, and Southern newspapers took especial pains to publish
full details of all the lynchings that occurred in the North and make
suggestive comments on them, in which they endeavored to show that the
whole country was down on the Negro, and that while in the South the
whites lynched only the one Negro against whom they had become enraged,
in the North they mobbed and sought to drive out _all_ the Negroes in
the community where the crime had been committed. (The two clippings
below occurred in the same issue of a Southern paper and showed how,
while the North was mobbing a Negro, the South was honoring one.)[4]

“Instances of white mechanics North who were refusing to work with
Negroes, and instances of Northern hotels refusing them shelter were
also made the most of and served the purpose of deterring Negro
emigration from the Southern States. Frequently some Negro was brought
home dead, or one who had contracted disease in the North came home
and died. These occurrences were also used as object lessons and had
their effect.

“In fact, the Southern white people did not want the Negroes to leave.
They wanted them as domestics, on the farm, and as mechanics. They knew
their value as such. ‘Be as intelligent, as capable as you may but
acknowledge my superiority,’ was the unspoken command.

“Many individual Negroes acted on this suggestion and by shrewd
foresight managed to accumulate considerable property, and so long as
they ‘minded their own business,’ and ‘stayed out of politics’ they did
well, and had strong personal friends among the white people. Their
property rights were recognized to a very large extent, in fact the
right of Negroes to hold property was very generally conceded. This was
true even to the extent, in several instances, of causing reimbursement
for those who were run away from their homes by mobs. In some states
laws were passed giving damages to the widows of those who were lynched
by mobs, said damages to be paid by the county in which the lynching
occurred. In fact the South had long since discovered the Negro’s
usefulness and the feeling against him partook more of political
persecution than race hatred. The paradoxical scheme of retaining six
million Negroes in the population with all the rights and duties of
citizenship, less social and political standing, was the onus of the
problem in the South. Such a scheme as this was bound to breed more or
less persecution and lawlessness, as did the slave system. It was a
makeshift at best, and though in the main, honestly undertaken, it was
impossible of performance.

“The Southern people seemed to have no objection to personal contact
with Negroes in a servile capacity. Many Negro women made their living
as ‘wet nurses,’ and the Southern ‘black mammy’ had become stereotyped.
Then, too, the large number of mulatto children everywhere was some
evidence of personal contact, on the part of the men. Negro servants
swarmed around the well-to-do Southern home, cooked the food and often
slept with the children; the Southerner shook hands with his servants
on his return home from a visit and was glad to see them; but if any
of these servants managed by industry and tact to rise to higher walks
of life, it became necessary, according to the unwritten law, to break
off close relations. Yet, in the great majority of cases, the interest
and good feeling remained, if the Negro did not become too active
politically--in which case he could expect ‘no quarter.’

“The subject of lynching became very serious. This evil custom, for a
while, seemed to threaten the whole nation. While Negroes were the most
common victims, yet the fever spread like a contagion to the lynching
of white criminals as well.

“At first it was confined to criminals who committed assaults on women,
and to brutal murderers, but it soon became customary to lynch for the
slightest offense, so that no man’s life was safe if he was unfortunate
enough to have had a difficulty with some individual, who had friends
enough to raise a mob at night who would go with him to the house of
his victim, call him out, and either shoot, or unmercifully beat him.
The refusal of the officers of the law to crush out this spirit in its
embryonic stage resulted in its growing to such enormous proportions
that they found, too late, that they could neither manage nor control
it. The officers themselves were afraid of the lynchers.

“The method of lynching Negroes was usually by hanging or by burning
at the stake, sometimes in the presence of thousands of people, who
came in on excursion trains to see the sight, and, possibly, carry
off a trophy consisting of a finger joint, a tooth or a portion of
the victim’s heart. If the lynching was for a crime committed against
a woman, and she could be secured, she was consigned to the task of
starting the flames with her own hands. This was supposed to add to the
novelty of the occasion.[5]

“‘Why did not the Negro offer some resistance to these outrages?’ you
may ask.

“That question, no doubt, is often propounded by those who read of the
horrors of this particular period. Different theories are advanced.
One is that the Negro was overawed by numbers and resources--that he
saw the uselessness of any such attempt. Another theory is that during
the whole history of Negro slavery in this country there occurred only
one or two rebellions worthy of the name. One was the ‘Nat Turner
Insurrection’ in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. This was
soon put down and the ringleader hung, together with several of his
misguided followers. So it must be concluded, since the Negro bore
two hundred and fifty years of slavery so patiently, and made only a
few feeble attempts to liberate himself, that he is not naturally of
a rebellious nature--that he easily fits into any place you put him,
and with the fatalistic tendency of all barbaric races, except the
Indian, makes the best of circumstances. It is possibly true that the
Negro would be a slave among us to-day if some one else had not freed
him. The sentiment, ‘He who would be free must first himself strike the
blow,’ did not appeal to him.

“Another reason cited for the Negro’s submission so long to oppression
both before and since the American Civil War of 1860 to 1865 was his
inability to organize. The white man learned this art by thousands of
years of experience and of necessary resistance for the protection of
those rights which he holds most dear. The Negroes were never able
to make any concerted movement in their own behalf. They clashed too
easily with one another and any individual would swamp the ship, as it
were, to further his own scheme. The ‘rule or ruin’ policy prevailed
and the necessity of the subordination of individuality for the good of
the whole was lost in a storm of personal aggrandizement whenever an
attempt was made at anything bordering on Negro national organization.
This was one of the fruits of slavery, which encouraged jealousy
and bickering. Several religious organizations had a successful
existence for some time and quite a number of business and benevolent
enterprises, but in politics all was chaos. The Negroes cast their
ballots one way all of the time; it was known just as well ten years
before an election how they would vote, as it was after the ballots
were counted. No people of political calibre like that could measure
arms with the white man politically; his rebelling in such a condition
would have been preposterous. The Negro took his cue in matters of race
policy from his white friends--he did not fight until the signal was
given by them. No Negro gained any national reputation without first
having been recognized by the white race, instead of his own. The
Negroes recognized their leaders after the whites picked them out--not

“The Negro nature at this time was still a pliable one, after many
years of drill training, but it was much more plastic in the days
of slavery, and for the first forty years after reconstruction. The
master labored to subordinate the will of the slave to his own, to
make him like clay in the hands of the potter. In this he had an eye
to business. The nearer the slave approached the horse, in following
his master’s guidance, the nearer perfect he was, and this lesson of
putting himself absolutely at the mercy of his master was thoroughly
learned, and it was learned easily because there seemed to exist a
natural instinctive awe on the part of the Negro for the white man. He
had that peculiar fondness for him that the mule has for the horse. You
can mount one horse and lead a thousand mules, without bit or bridle,
to the ends of the earth.

“The Negro sought to please his master in all things. He had a smile
for his frowns and a grin for his kicks. No task was too menial, if
done for a white master--he would dance if he was called upon and make
sport of the other Negroes, and even pray, if need be, so he could
laugh at him. He was trustworthy to the letter, and while occasionally
he might help himself to his master’s property on the theory of a
common ownership, yet woe be unto the other Negro that he caught
tampering with his master’s goods! He was a ‘tattler’ to perfection,
a born dissembler--a diplomat and a philosopher combined. He was
past grand master in the art of carrying his point when he wanted a
‘quarter’ or fifty cents. He knew the route to his master’s heart and
pocketbook and traveled it often. He simply made himself so obliging
that he could not be refused! It was this characteristic that won
him favor in the country from college president down to the lowest
scullion. Had he been resentful and vindictive, like the Indian, he
would have been deported or exterminated long since.

“The Negro’s usefulness had also bound him to the South. The affection
that the master and mistress had for the slave was transmitted in the
blood of their children.

    “As unto the bow the cord is,
     So unto the man is woman,
     Though she bends him, she obeys him,
     Though she draws him, yet she follows;
     Useless each without the other,”

applied to the relations between the Negro and his white master. In the
Civil War between the states, many a slave followed his master to the
front. Here he was often the only messenger to return home. He bore the
treasured watch, or ring, or sword, of the fallen soldier, and broke
the sad news to the family; and there were black tears as well as white
ones spilled on such occasions.

“The white males went to the war leaving the family and farm in charge
of the blacks thereon. They managed everything, plowed, sowed, reaped,
and sold, and turned over all returns to the mistress. They shared her
sorrows and were her protection. When Union soldiers came near, the
trusted blacks were diligent in hiding property from the thieves and
bummers of the army. They carried the horses to the woods and hid them
in the densest swamps, they buried the jewelry and silver and gold
plate; they secreted their young mistresses and the members of the
family where they could not be found, and not one instance was there
ever heard of improper conduct, out of a population of nearly four
million slaves; in spite of the fact that the war was being maintained
by their masters for the perpetuation of the shackles of slavery on
themselves! The Negro was too fond of his master’s family to mistreat
them, he felt almost a kinship to them. The brutes of later days came
from that class of Negroes who had been isolated from the whites, on
the quarters of large plantations.

“Was there ever a more glorious record? Did ever a race deserve more
fully the affection of another race than these southern Negroes,
and did not we owe it to their descendants to save them from both
deportation and serfdom?

“You ask, ‘Why was it that after the war there was so much race
prejudice, in the face of all these facts?’

“The answer to that question is fraught with much weight and bears
strongly on the final solution of the Negro problem. The friends of
the Negro had this question to battle with from the beginning, for the
enemies of the race used every weapon at hand in the long and terrible
fight against Negro citizenship.

“To begin with, I will state that after the war the Negro became a
free citizen and a voter--he was under no restraint. His new condition
gave him privileges that he had never had before; it was not unnatural
that he should desire to exercise them. His attempts to do so were
resisted by the native whites, but his vote was needed by the white
men who had recently come into the South to make it their home--and
to get office--and also for his own protection. It was necessary that
he should vote to save himself from many of the harsh laws that were
being proposed at the time. Some of them were that a Negro should not
own land, that a Negro’s testimony was incompetent in the courts, that
a Negro should not keep firearms for his defense, that he should not
engage in business without paying a high and almost prohibitive tax,
that he must hire himself out on a farm in January or be sold to the
highest bidder for a year, the former owner to have the preference in

“These laws were unwisely urged by those whites who did not desire to
accept the consequences of the war. To make the laws effective, it was
thought necessary by their advocates to suppress the Negro voters; for,
if they were allowed to vote, there were so many of them, and so many
of the whites had been disfranchised because of participation in the
war, that defeat was certain. Here is where the bitterness, which for
a long time seemed to curse our country, had its origin. The Negroes
and their friends were lined up on one side and their opponents on the

“The ‘Ku Klux Klan’ was a secret organization whose purpose was to
frighten and intimidate Negroes and thus prevent their voting. It
had branch organizations in the different Southern states during
the reconstruction period. When the members went out on raids, they
wore disguises; some had false heads with horns and long beards,
some represented his satanic majesty, some wore long gowns, others
wrapped themselves in sheets of different colors, and all sorts
of hideous shapes and forms, with masks representing the heads of
different animals, such as goats, cows and mules. They proceeded on
the principle of using mild means first, but when that failed, they
did not hesitate to resort to harsher methods. The object seemed to be
only to so frighten Negroes that they would not attempt to vote. But
in carrying out this scheme they often met resistance, whereupon many
outrages were perpetrated upon people who made a stand for their rights
under the law of the land. In obstinate cases and toward the end of
their careers “klans” would visit Negro cabins at night and terrify
the inmates by whipping them, hanging them up by their thumbs, and
sometimes killing them. Many Negroes who assumed to lead among their
people were run from one county into another. Some were run out of
their states, and even white men who led the Negroes in thickly settled
Negro counties were driven out.

“The story was told of one case where a white man named Stephens, the
recognized political leader of the Negroes as well as a few whites,
in one of the states, was invited into one of the lower rooms of the
courthouse of his county while a political meeting by his opponents was
in progress above, and there told he must agree to leave the county
and quit politics or be killed then and there. He refused to do
either, whereupon two physicians, with others who were present, tied
him, laid him on a table and opened his jugular veins and bled him to
death in buckets provided for the occasion. Meanwhile the stamping
of feet and the yelling above, where the speaking was going on, was
tremendous, being prearranged to deaden any outcry that he might make.
It is said that Stephens’s last words before he was put on the table
were a request that he might go to the window and take a final look
at his home, which was only a few rods away. This was granted, and
as he looked his wife passed out of the house and his children were
playing in the yard. Stephens’s dead body was found by a Negro man who
suspected something wrong and climbed to the window of the room in
search for him.

“Such acts as these spread terror among the Negro population, as well
as bad feeling, and dug a wide political pit between the Negro and the
Democratic party which organized these methods of intimidation.[6] The
‘Ku Klux Klan’ was finally annihilated by the strong hand of President
Grant, who filled the South with sufficient militia to suppress it.
A favorite means of evading the arrests made by the militia was to
have the prisoners released on _habeas corpus_ by the native judges.
To stop this the writ of _habeas corpus_ was suspended by some of the
provisional governors. One governor who did this was impeached by the
Democratic party when it returned to power and he died broken hearted,
without the removal of his disabilities. You can easily see from
these facts how the political differences between the Negro and the
Democratic party arose.”

Here my paper ended. When I had read it over to Dr. Newell, he rose and
went over to his desk, saying,

“While looking over some old papers belonging to my grandfather, I
found the following article inside of an old book. On it is a statement
that it was written in the year 1902 and republished in 1950. I have
often desired to get at the true status of this question, and when I
found this my interest was doubly aroused. The so-called Negro problem
was truly a most crucial test of the foundation principles of our
government a century ago, and I feel proud of my citizenship in so
great a country when I reflect that we have come through it all with
honor and that finally truth has won out and we are able at last to
treat the Negro with justice and humanity, according to the principles
of Christianity! This problem tested our faith as with fire.”

He handed me the article, and gave his attention to other matters until
I had read it:--


“In the ten years culminating with the decade ending in 1902, the
American Negroes have witnessed well nigh their every civil right
invaded. They commenced the struggle as freemen in 1865; at the close
of the civil war both races in the South began life anew, under changed
conditions--neither one the slave of the other, except in so far as he
who toils, as Carlyle says, is slave to him who thinks. Under the slave
system the white man had been the thinker and the Negro the toiler. The
idea that governed both master and slave was that the slave should have
no will but that of his master.

“The fruits of this system began to ripen in the first years of
freedom, when the Negro was _forced_ to think for himself. For two
hundred and forty years his education and training had been directed
towards the suppression of his will. He was fast becoming an automaton.
He was taught religion to some extent, but a thoughtless religion
is little better than mockery and this it must have been when even
to read the Bible in some states was a crime. It is, therefore, not
surprising that freedom’s new suit fitted the recently emancipated
slave uncomfortably close; he hardly knew which way to turn for fear he
would rend a seam. Consultation with his former owners was his natural
recourse in adjusting himself to new conditions.

“In North Carolina a meeting was called at the capital of the state
by the leading colored men, and their former masters, and the leading
white men were invited to come forward, to take the lead and to tell
them what was best for them to do. It is a lamentable fact that the
thinking white men did not embrace this opportunity to save their
state hundreds of lives that were afterwards sacrificed during
reconstruction. Many other evils of the period, might have been thus
averted. It was a fatal blunder that cost much in money and blood, and,
so far as North Carolina is concerned, if the Negroes in reconstruction
were misled it was the fault of those who were invited and refused
this opportunity to take hold and direct them properly.

“The Negro, turned from the Southern white man’s refusal, followed such
leaders as he could find. In some instances these proved to be corrupt
camp followers, in others ambitious and unscrupulous Southern men who
made the Negroes stepping stones to power or pelf. The Negroes of the
state received very little of the honor or harvest of reconstruction,
but very much of dishonor, and they are now charged with the sins both
of omission and commission of that period. A pliant tool he may have
been in the hands of demagogues, yet in the beginning he sought the
leadership of wise men. In this he showed a noble purpose which at
least relieves him--whatever was charged to his account afterwards--of
the charge of malicious intent.

“Here is a list of prominent white leaders in North Carolina who
controlled the ship of state for the first ten years after the war,
from 1869 to 1876:

“Wm. E. Rodman (Southern white), Judge Dick (Southern white), W. W.
Holden, Governor (Southern white), Byron Baffin (Southern white),
Henry Martindale (Ohio white), Gen’l Ames (Northern), G. Z. French,
legislator (Maine), Dr. Eugene Grissom, Superintendent Insane Asylum
Raleigh, North Carolina (Southern white), Tyre York, legislator and
party leader (Southern white), Governor Graham (Southern white), Judge
Brooks (Southern white), S. J. Carrow (Southern white).

“This list shows that those who had the reins of government in hand
were not Negroes. The truth is, that if the team went wrong the fault
was that of the white drivers and not that of the Negro passengers who,
to say the most, had only a back seat in the wagon of state.

“But the enemies of Negro suffrage and advocates of the mistakes of
reconstruction avow that the sway of reconstruction demagoguery could
never have prevailed but for Negro suffrage; that had the Negro not
been a voter he could never have been made the tool of demagogues.
This is obvious but the argument is sufficiently met by the fact that
the Negroes offered the brain and culture of the South the opportunity
of taking charge of affairs. Instead of doing so they stiffened their
necks against Negro suffrage, the Howard Amendment, and the other
propositions of the government at Washington, looking towards the
reconstruction of the lately seceded states. If there had been less
resistance there would have been less friction, but the South had its
own ideas of how the thing should be done and resisted any others
to the point of a revolution which had to be put down by government
troops. The government’s plans were carried finally at the point of the
bayonet, when they might have gone through smoothly, had the Negro’s
call for Southern leadership been heeded. Had this been done, the
‘Ku-Klux’ would never have developed. The South came back into the
Union, ‘overpowered,’ it said, ‘but not conquered.’ So far as the Negro
question is concerned that is true but in other matters the South is
essentially loyal. Although it came back pledged never to deprive any
citizen of his rights and privileges ‘on account of color or previous
condition of servitude,’ it is now engaged in a bold and boasting
attempt to do this very thing. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South
Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have all adopted amendments
to their constitutions which practically nullify the Fourteenth and
Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which the
honor of these states was pledged not to do when they were re-admitted
into the Union at the close of the war of secession! In Virginia
the amendment was established without submitting the question to the
popular vote. To secure these amendments in other states, fraud and
intimidation is alleged to have been used, and the Southern states that
have not amended their constitutions have effected the same results by
a system of political jugglery with the Negro’s ballots.

“The Southern states seem to live in mortal dread of the Negro with
a ballot. They imagine a Pandora’s box of evils will open upon them
if the Negro is allowed to vote. This feeling arises more from the
fact that the whites want the offices than from any other cause. Past
experience shows that Negroes have never attempted to claim all of the
offices, even where they did ninety-nine per cent. of the voting. It is
a notable fact that in North Carolina during the reconstruction times,
when few white men voted and Negroes had a monopoly of the ballot, that
white men were put forward for official positions. The same condition
existed in the period from 1894 to 1898, during the ‘Fusion Movement,’
when out of ninety-six counties, each of which had three commissioners
elected by the people, only four counties out of the ninety-six had
a Negro commissioner; and the commissioners in two-thirds of the
counties were elected principally by Negro votes--in many of the
eastern counties, almost wholly by them. Out of ninety-six counties the
Negroes never demanded a single sheriff or a mayor of a city, town or
village. There were a few Negro magistrates in the eastern counties,
but always more white ones near by and under a provision of a North
Carolina statute any defendant who thinks he cannot get justice before
the magistrate in whose court he is summoned for trial, can have his
case moved to some other justice.

“The evils of reconstruction were due to the general demoralization
which followed the Civil War, rather than to the Negro. War is ‘hell’
and so is its aftermath.

“Another pet assertion of the opponents of Negro suffrage is that
Negro government is expensive. Those who despair of reaching the
American conscience in any other way hope to do so through the pocket
argument, commercialism if you please. This argument, like the others,
has no facts for a basis. It is a phantom, a delusion and is intended
to affect the business element of the North, which people sometimes
mistakenly think has more respect for prices than principles. It will
not do, however, to listen to the siren of commercialism whose songs
are composed by advocates of Negro disfranchisement. There is method in
the spell she would bring upon you, and her story is literally nothing
but a song.

“The truth is that during the whole period of the ‘Fusion Movement’
North Carolina never had a more economical government--taxes then were
93c. on a hundred dollar valuation; taxes now are $1.23. North Carolina
six per cent. bonds then sold for $1.10; they now sell for $1.09.
The Fusion government made the state penitentiary self-supporting;
the white supremacy government has run it into debt to the amount of
$50,000. Under the Fusion government, most of the counties paid off
their debts and had a surplus in their treasuries for the first time
since the war. Under the Fusion government more miles of railroad
were built than in any period of the same length before or since,
more cotton factories were established; one of them being owned and
operated by Negroes. A silk mill operated entirely by Negro labor, from
foremen down, was also established. The fees of public officers were
cut down about one-third. These are some of the phases of the Fusion
government--a government based almost entirely on Negro votes--that the
enemies of Negro suffrage do not discuss.

“It is useless to refer to the period of reconstruction to disprove
the theory that Negro suffrage would entail an expensive government
on the South, when we have the recent experiment in North Carolina
before us. For the sake of argument, we might admit that the Negro was
unfit for suffrage forty years ago, but that by no means proves that
he is unfit now. Forty years of experience under American institutions
have taught him many lessons. He is no longer the ‘child-man,’ as the
white supremacy advocates call him. These people are as false in their
theories as were the pro-slavery advocates who maintained the absurd
proposition that if the Negro was emancipated he would soon perish,
for want of sufficient ability to feed and clothe himself. Forty years
after emancipation--about as long as Moses was in the wilderness--in
spite of these false prophecies, we can now find some of the sons
of the prophets fearing and foretelling, not that the Negroes will
perish, but that they will outstrip them in the race of life! So the
white man in the new constitution is to be allowed to vote on his
‘grand-daddy’s’[7] merits and the Negro must vote on his own.

“These politicians were afraid to base the right to vote on merit, as
they feared the Negro would win.[8] Among these people a Negro has to
be twice as smart as a white man to merit the same favors, yet in
a recent Civil Service examination in Atlanta 19 Negroes out of 40
passed, while only 26 whites out of 115 succeeded. In an examination
of law students by the Supreme Court of North Carolina only 40 per
cent. of the whites passed, while 100 per cent. of the colored got
licenses. A hundred other illustrations might be made showing the
speciousness of the arguments put forth as to Negro incompetency.
The fact is that there is no use in arguing such a proposition. The
effort made to suppress the Negro has no just basis. There has simply
been a determination to _do it_, right or wrong. The advocates of
white supremacy who watch the current of events, have seen that the
decitizenization of the Negro can be accomplished with the shot-gun,
without trouble to themselves, and they have accomplished the task.
They have asked to be let alone with the Negro problem; they _have_
been let alone since 1876, when the Republican party dropped the Negro
question as an issue. Since that time they have been politically
tying the Negroes’ hands. Realizing his industrial usefulness, the aim
has been to eliminate him from politics and at the same time use him
as a tax-payer and a producer. The paradoxical task of defining his
citizenship as that of one with all the burdens and duties, less the
rights and privileges thereof, has been quite successfully performed.

“The white supremacy advocates seem to have selected a propitious
period for this work--a time when the Negro’s friends in the Republican
party are occupied with similar problems in Cuba and the Philippines.
‘If the Republicans deny self-government to the Philippines, Porto Rico
and Cuba,’ inquire the Southerners, ‘why haven’t we the right to do
the same to Negroes? Why allow Negroes in the South to rule and deny
the same to Negroes in Hawaii?’ are questions they are asking with
some force. Whatever else the advocates of white supremacy may lack
they are not lacking in shrewdness. Their disfranchising schemes have
flaunted themselves under the very nose of the government, and bid it
defiance in the National Senate with unmistakable boldness, since the
Spanish-American War and the policy growing out of it. However there
seems to be a man in the White House who wants to set no example that
white supremacy can follow; so far as his indicated policy in dealing
with Cuba was concerned, President Roosevelt determined that the black
people of Cuba should be free.

“But the subordination of the Negro cannot last, there will always be
white people in this country who will believe in his equality before
the law. These principles are too firmly entrenched in the hearts of
Americans to be utterly subverted. They are the bed rock on which the
government was founded--on which the Civil War was maintained. Too
much of blood and treasure has been spent now to go backwards. These
principles have been established at too great a cost to abandon them
so soon. It is true that the white supremacy advocates seem now in
control of the situation, but that also seemed true of the advocates
of slavery before the war. While the enemies of liberty have always
been cunning, yet like all other advocates of false doctrines who get
power, they usually abuse it; the South might have held her slaves for
many years longer, had she not overstepped the mark by trying to force
the institution on the North. She attempted to extend slavery into new
territories, she even attempted to capture her slaves in the streets
of anti-slavery cities like Boston, by the Fugitive Slave Law--under
the very noses of the abolitionists! Had the pro-slavery people been
satisfied with restricted slavery, the abolitionists might have had
harder work in dethroning the institution.

“If the question of lynching had been confined to Negroes guilty of
assaults on females some justification might exist, but it has been
extended to all crimes; and not satisfied with hanging, burning by slow
fire has been substituted, accompanied by stabbing, the cutting off of
finger joints, the digging out of eyes, and other torture.

“On the question of civil equality, the ‘Jim-crow’ system has not
sufficed; like the horse leech, they continually call for more. If
practiced only in the South it might stand, but an attempt has been
made to cover the country, and the President himself must not treat
a colored gentleman otherwise than as a scullion--according to the
advocates of white supremacy. In their doctrine _all_ Negroes are to be
humiliated. This tendency to dictate to others and go to extremes is
characteristic, and it means that we may always depend on this class of
individuals to go too far, and by over-stepping the mark to turn the
country against them.

“If a fool has rope enough the end is easy to see.”

       *       *       *       *       *

After reading the article, I turned to the Doctor, and said, “These
statements are essentially correct, according to my recollection of
those times, and I will say further that there were grave doubts one
hundred years ago as to the permanency of our institutions under
the strain of the Negro problem; and no less prominent was the
labor agitation or the war between capital and labor. It is a happy
realization for me to return to my country and find these questions
peaceably adjusted and that the South, which was for a long time
considered obdurate on this subject, has led in bringing about this
happy solution, in spite of the prophecies of many writers like this
one. But the problem I have been laboring with ever since my second
advent, as it were, is, how was it all done?

“Well, we Southern people changed our leaders. We took men of noble
character; men who appealed to reason and humanity, rather than
pandered to the lowest passions of the people,” he said.

“Tell me, Dr. Newell, how the labor question was settled and how the
labor unions learned to leave off discriminating against Negroes.
According to my best recollections the American labor organizations,
almost without exception, excluded Negro members.”

“Yes,” replied Dr. Newell, “that is correct, as I have gleaned from
the history of your times, but--as all injustice must--this particular
instance followed the fixed rule and finally gave way to truth. Such
discriminations were incompatible with the spirit and trend of our
government. The labor leaders, however, yielded in the end more from a
sense of necessity than of justice to the Negro. As Lincoln said, the
nation could not exist half slave and half free, and as Blaine said, in
his famous Augusta speech, no imaginary line could continue to divide
free labor from serf labor. The labor leaders found, after serious
second thought, that it would be better to emancipate Negro labor than
to lend their efforts towards keeping it in serfdom. For a long time
the labor organizations desired the Negroes deported, as a solution
of the problem for themselves alone. They found various influences,
especially capital, opposed to this; as one writer put it, ‘the Dollar
was no respecter of persons and would as soon hop into the hands of
a black man, in consideration of the performance of a service, as in
those of a white one.’ Capital wanted the work done and the man who
could do it the cheapest and best was the man that got the Dollar every
time. This phase of the question was a constant menace to organized
labor, and finally caused a revolution in its tactics. White labor
began to see that it would be better to lift the Negro up to the same
scale with itself, by admitting him into their organization, than to
seek his debasement. If Negroes were in a condition to work for fifty
cents per day and would do so, and capital would employ them, then
white men must accept the same terms or get no work! This, followed to
its last analysis, meant that white laborers must provide for their
families and educate their children on fifty cents per day, if the
Negroes could do it.”

“Did not the South object to the organization of Negro labor?” I asked.

“The Southern people, at first, strongly objected.

“The laboring white people of the South have made serious blunders in
their position on the Negro problem, having acted all along on the
presumption that the proper solution was to ‘keep the Negro down.’
Towards this end, they bent their best energies, under the mistaken
idea of conserving their own interests, not realizing the all-important
fact that as long as there was a large number of Negroes in their
midst who would work for only fifty cents per day as above stated, and
capital was disposed to employ them, just so long would every laboring
white man have to accept the same wages as the Negro.

“The intelligent solution of the problem was found by making the Negro
see what his interests were, by taking him into the labor unions, where
he could be educated up to an intelligent appreciation of the value of
his labor; instead of seeking further to degrade him by oppression,
with the consequent result of lowering the white man’s scale of wages.
Further it has been found that oppression does not oppress when aimed
at the Negro--he rather thrives under it. In those communities where
he was most oppressed and the hand of every laboring white man seemed
to be against him, the Negro thrived and prospered to a marked degree.
Oppression simply drives negroes together, they concentrate their trade
in their own stores and spend their wages among themselves to a greater
extent than otherwise--and thus it more often than otherwise happened,
that Negro laborers as a mass, in such communities, lived in better
homes, and educated their children better than the white laborers. The
eyes of the Southern white laboring men began to see this point and a
change of base took place, and now they are and have been for a long
time, seeking to elevate the Negro laborer to their own standard to
keep him from pulling them down--a most intelligent view of the matter!

“The South had congratulated itself on being free from the strikes and
lock-outs caused by organized labor in the North. Their contention
was that the Negroes could not act intelligently in any organization,
and that serious consequences would certainly follow. But all such
predictions failed to materialize after the Negroes were organized. The
work of organizing did not stop with their admission into labor unions
but courses of instruction were mapped out and competent people were
employed to drill the members in the principles of the order; and, so
far as possible, in the advanced methods of handling tools. The result
was the creation of a much better class of workmen, better wages and
better living for all.

“The unions also opened their doors to women in separate meetings.
Schools of Domestic Science were established and those who employed
servants soon found that they could leave the household and kitchen
work to a master-hand. The wives and mothers of employers were
emancipated from constantly ‘overseeing.’ There was a vast difference
between the professional domestic servant, who needed only orders,
which would be carried out faithfully, and the ‘blunderbuss,’ who was
continually at sea in the absence of the directing hand and mind of her
mistress. The Southern people began to recognize the difference, and
soon became the firm champions of the new system, and welcomed the new
efforts of the labor unions as a blessing rather than a curse.”

“But, Doctor, am I to understand that there are no labor problems at
all in the country at present?”

“No, not exactly that; organized labor still has its problems, but you
must remember that they are not of the same character as those of a
hundred years ago. The essentials of life, such as coal, iron, oil and
other natural products are now handled by the National Government, and
the government is pledged to see to it that labor in the production of
these commodities is paid a fair share of the surplus accruing from
sales. No attempt at profit is allowed; the management is similar to
that of the Post Office Department, which has been conducted from the
beginning for the convenience of the people, and not for revenue to
the Government. The workmen are paid well and the cost to the consumer
is lessened by discarding the profits that formerly went into private
purses. We have no more strikes and lock-outs; the chief concern of the
labor unions now is to raise their less skillful members to a higher
standard (for a long time this effort was especially directed toward
the Negro members), and to assist those who, because of infirmity and
disease, find themselves incapacitated for further service. It may
be well said that the problem of ‘wherewithal shall we be clothed’
is solved in this country, so far as organized labor is concerned,
and more time is now left for the perfection of skill and individual

“A delightful situation, as compared with the past as I recollect it to
be,” I remarked--“when labor was paid barely enough to live on, while
enormous wealth was being accumulated in the hands of a few fortunate
people who happened to be born into opportunities--or, better still,
born rich.

“As I remember the past, the laboring people in coal and iron mines
earned barely enough for subsistence and their hours of toil were so
long that anything like self-improvement was impossible. They were in a
continual row with their employers, who revelled in luxury and rebelled
against a 10 per cent. increase in wages, and who in many instances,
rather than pay it, would close down the mines until their workmen
were starved into submission. I never could reconcile myself to the
logic of the principle that it was lawful for capital to thus oppress
labor. I think the legal maxim of _sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas_
(so use your own as not to injure another) applies with force in this
instance. The application of it is usually made in suits for damages,
where one person has injured another by negligence. But the force of
the maxim is applicable to capital as well, and he who would use money
(though in fact it be _legally_ his own) to oppress others has violated
both the letter and spirit of the maxim. In saying this I would not be
understood as indulging in that sickly sentimentality which despises
all rich people simply because they are rich, but rather to condemn
the illegitimate use of riches. A rich man can be a blessing as well
as a curse to his community, and I am indeed happy to learn and see
for myself that this is now the rule, rather than the exception, as

“There is another phase of the question that you have not yet referred
to. What is the condition of the farm laborers of the Southern States?”
I asked. “When I left they were working from sunrise to sunset, the men
earning fifty cents and the women thirty-five cents per day, and they
lived in huts with mud chimneys--often a family of six or eight in one
room. They had a three months’ school during the winter season, when
there were no crops, and these were not too often taught by skilled
teachers. Has their condition improved so that it is in keeping with
the times?”

At this juncture the Doctor was called out of the room before he could

While waiting for him to return, I had a surprise. His private
secretary came in and seated himself at a phonographic typewriter
which took down the words in shorthand, typewrote them on a sheet for
preservation in the office, and at the same time sent the letter by
telephone to its destination. But my surprise was awakened by the fact
that this private secretary was a Negro; not full black, but mixed
blood--in color, between an Indian and a Chinaman. I ascertained
from this young man that it was now “quite common” for Southern white
men of large affairs to employ Negroes for higher positions in their
offices, counting rooms, and stores. (They had a precedent for this
in the custom of the Romans, who used their educated Greek slaves in
this way.) He also told me that the matter of social equality was not
mentioned. He naturally associated with his own people. He simply
wanted to do his work faithfully, and neither expected nor asked to sit
by his employer’s fireside. In a word, he showed that to give the Negro
an education need not necessarily “turn his head.”[9]

The young man said, “Our theory has kept the two races pure and has
developed both the Saxon and the Negro types and preserved the best
traits of each.”

I noticed that the subdued look of the old time Negro was absent and
that, without any attempt at display, this man possessed “_le grande
air_” which is a coveted attribute in the highest walks of life. I
had already observed that an advance in civilization produced more
individuality and more personal freedom in choosing one’s associates.
It was not expected that a man was the social equal of another because
he worked at the same bench with him, or rode in the same car on the
railroad. That was now considered the postulate of an ignoramus.

Individuality is a marked development of advanced civilization--of this
I have always been aware, the more so since witnessing the changes
wrought during my absence. Individuality gives room for thought, out
of which is born invention and progress. When the individual is not
allowed to separate from the crowd in thought and action, the aggregate
will, the aggregate thought, is his master and he “dare not venture for
fear of a fall.” Progress is measured only by the degree of swiftness
made by the mass. Some individuals may be able to make better speed,
but the mass holds them back. Four horses are pulling a load; two may
be able to go faster than the others, but the speed of the team is
measured by the speed of the slowest horse.

This does not always appear apropos of the progress of communities, for
a community may be led by a few progressive spirits who seem to reflect
upon it their own standard and tone, but the less progressive members
of such a community have merely subordinated their wills for the time
being and may on any occasion see fit to exercise them; and at this
point the illustration becomes true again.

“Now,” said Doctor Newell, on his return, “I am sorry our conversation
was interrupted, but let us proceed. I believe you desired to ask me
some questions about the Negro farm laborers, did you not?”

I replied that I did, and recalled my statement as to their condition
when I last knew of them.

“Oh, it is very different from that now, Mr. Twitchell. Many changes;
many, many, have occurred! You will recall that, about the time you
left, the different Southern states were re-reconstructing themselves,
as it were, by making amendments to their constitutions which virtually
disfranchised a large proportion of the Negro voters--enough to put
the offices of the states absolutely into the hands of white men, as
outlined in the magazine article you have just read, and as you stated
in your brochure for the Bureau of Public Utility. Some passages from
a book I have on the subject may remind you of the discussion of this
question that was going on then.”

Signifying to his secretary what he wanted, he read to me the following
excerpts from the history of those times:



“In civil as in business affairs there is nothing so foolish as
injustice and oppression; there is nothing so wise as righteousness. By
the letter of the amended Constitution, by the spirit and aim of the
amendments, and by all the principles of our American democracy, the
Negro is in possession of the elective franchise. Men differ in their
views as to whether it was good policy to confer this right upon him
at the time and in the way, and especially to the extent to which it
was done; but the right was conferred, and it is now his. To deprive
him of this right, for no other reason than that he is a Negro, is to
nullify the fundamental law of the land, discredit one of the most
sacred results of Emancipation, and flaunt contempt in the face of
the idea of a government of the people and by the people and for the
people. To discourage the Negro from attempting to exercise the right
of the ballot is to belittle him in his own estimation, put him at a
serious disadvantage in the estimation of others, and by so much remand
him back to the old condition of servitude from which he was rescued at
such cost to the nation. Wrong done to the colored race involves the
white race in the catastrophe which must follow. To withhold justice is
worse than to suffer injustice. A people deprived of their rights by
the state will not long be faithful to their duties to the state.


“That the suppression of the Negro franchise by direct or indirect
means is in contravention of the spirit and intent of the Fifteenth
Amendment to the Constitution of the United States hardly admits of
doubt. The evident intent of the Constitution is that the colored
people shall have the right of suffrage on an equal footing with the
white people. The intent of the provisions of the State Constitutions
in question, as avowed by many Southern men, is that the colored people
shall not vote. However plausible it may be demonstrated by ingenious
argument that the provisions in the State Constitutions are not in
conflict with the National Constitution, or that if they were their
purpose could not be effectively thwarted by judicial decisions, yet
it remains true that by many, if not by all, of their authors they
were expressly designed to defeat the universally known and recognized
intent of a provision of the national Constitution. * * *

“The only plausible reason given for that curtailment of their rights
is that it is not in the interest of the Southern whites to permit
the blacks to vote. I will not discuss here the moral aspect of the
question whether A may deprive B of his rights if A thinks it in his
own interest to do so, and the further question, whether the general
admission of such a principle would not banish justice from the
earth and eventually carry human society back into barbarism. I will
rather discuss the question whether under existing circumstances it
would really be the true interest of the Southern whites generally to
disfranchise the colored people. * * *

“Negro suffrage is plausibly objected to on the ground that the great
bulk of the colored population of the South are very ignorant. This is
true. But the same is true of a large portion of the white population.
If the suffrage is dangerous in the hands of certain voters on account
of their ignorance, it is as dangerous in the hands of ignorant whites
as in the hands of ignorant blacks. To remedy this two things might be
done: To establish an educational test for admission to the suffrage,
excluding illiterates; and, secondly, to provide for systems of public
instruction so as to gradually do away with illiteracy--subjecting
whites and blacks alike to the same restrictions and opening to them
the same opportunities. * * *

“But most significant and of evil augury is the fact that with many of
the Southern whites a well-educated colored voter is as objectionable
as an ignorant one, or even more objectionable, simply on account of
his color. It is, therefore, not mere dread of ignorance in the voting
body that arouses the Southern whites against the colored voters. It
is race antagonism, and that race antagonism presents a problem more
complicated and perplexing than most others, because it is apt to be
unreasoning. It creates violent impulses which refuse to be argued with.

“The race antipathy now heating the Southern mind threatens again to
curtail the freedom of inquiry and discussion there--perhaps not to
the same extent, but sufficiently to produce infinite mischief by
preventing an open-minded consideration of one of the most important
interests. * * * And here is the crucial point: _There will be
a movement either in the direction of reducing the Negroes to a
permanent condition of serfdom--the condition of the mere plantation
hand, ‘alongside of the mule,’ practically without any rights of
citizenship--or a movement in the direction of recognizing him as a
citizen in the true sense of the term. One or the other will prevail._

“That there are in the South strenuous advocates of the establishment
of some sort of semi-slavery cannot be denied. Governor Vardaman,
of Mississippi, is their representative and most logical statesman.
His extreme utterances are greeted by many as the bugle-blasts of a
great leader. We constantly read articles in Southern newspapers
and reports of public speeches made by Southern men which bear a
striking resemblance to the pro-slavery arguments I remember to have
heard before the Civil War, and they are brought forth with the
same passionate heat and dogmatic assurance to which we were then
accustomed--the same assertion of the Negro’s predestination for
serfdom; the same certainty that he will not work without ‘physical
compulsion’; the same contemptuous rejection of Negro education as a
thing that will only unfit him for work; the same prediction that the
elevation of the Negro will be the degradation of the whites; the same
angry demand that any advocacy of the Negro’s rights should be put down
in the South as an attack upon the safety of Southern society and as
treason to the Southern cause. * * *

“Thus may it be said, without exaggeration, that by striving to keep up
in the Southern States a condition of things which cannot fail to bring
forth constant irritation and unrest; which threatens to burden the
South with another ‘peculiar institution,’ by making the bulk of its
laboring force again a clog to progressive development, and to put the
South once more in a position provokingly offensive to the moral sense
and the enlightened spirit of the world outside, the reactionists are
the worst enemies the Southern people have to fear. * * *

“A body of high-minded and enlightened Southerners may gradually
succeed in convincing even many of the most prejudiced of their people
that white ignorance and lawlessness are just as bad and dangerous as
black ignorance and lawlessness; that black patriotism, integrity,
ability, industry, usefulness, good citizenship and public spirit are
just as good and as much entitled to respect and reward as capabilities
and virtues of the same name among whites; that the rights of the white
man under the Constitution are no more sacred than those of the black
man; that neither white nor black can override the rights of the other
without eventually endangering his own; and that the Negro question
can finally be settled so as to stay settled only on the basis of
the fundamental law of the land as it stands, by fair observance of
that law and not by any tricky circumvention of it. Such a campaign
for truth and justice, carried on by the high-minded and enlightened
Southerners without any party spirit--rather favoring the view that
whites as well as blacks should divide their votes according to their
inclinations between different political parties--will promise the
desired result in the same measure as it is carried on with gentle,
patient and persuasive dignity, but also with that unflinching courage
which is, above all things, needed to assert that most important
freedom--the freedom of inquiry and discussion against traditional
and deep-rooted prejudice--a courage which can be daunted neither by
the hootings of the mob nor by the supercilious jeers of fashionable
society, but goes steadily on doing its work with indomitable tenacity
of purpose.


“This analysis of existing conditions and tendencies in the South is
one to which the South itself and the entire nation should give heed.
Mr. Schurz clearly perceives a dangerous drift. Slavery ideas are again
asserting themselves. The movement to extinguish the Negro’s political
rights is unconcealed. By craftily devised and inequitable laws the
suffrage is taken from him. With all this go naturally the desire and
purpose to keep him forever ‘alongside the mule.’ Negro education is
looked upon with increasing hostility. Every door of hope opening into
the professions is slammed in the face of black men merely because
they are black. The South works itself up into hysterics over the
President’s spontaneous recognition of manhood under a black skin.
While philanthropists and teachers are laboring to raise the Negro to
the full level of citizenship, an open and determined effort is making
at the South to thrust him back into serfdom. As Mr. Schurz says, the
issue is upon the country, for one tendency or the other must prevail.

“It is his view of the great urgency of the juncture which leads him to
address a moving appeal to the South’s best. He implores its leading
men to bestir themselves to prevent the lamentable injustice which is
threatened, and partly executed. By withstanding the mob; by upholding
the law; by ridding themselves of the silly dread of ‘social equality’;
by contending for Negro education of the broadest sort; by hailing
every step upward which the black man may take; by insisting upon
the equality of all men before the law, they can, Mr. Schurz argues
forcibly, do much to save the South and the country from the disgrace
and calamity of a new slavery. To this plea every humane patriot will
add his voice. Mr. Schurz’s paper is also a challenge to the mind and
conscience of the North. Unless they, too, respond to the cause of the
Negro--which to-day is the cause of simple justice--it will languish
and die.


“It must not be forgotten that the so-called race question is the only
capital which a small group of Southern politicians of the old school
still possess. They have no other questions or issues; they depend upon
the race question for a livelihood, and they use every occasion to say
the most extreme things and to set the match to all the inflammable
material in the South. To these politicians several occurrences which
have happened lately have been a great boon, and they are making the
most of them. But there is a large, influential and growing group of
Southern men, loyal to their section, equally loyal to the nation,
open-minded and high-minded, who are eager to give the South a new
policy, to rid it of sectionalism, to organize its spiritual, moral
and intellectual forces, to develop education, and to treat great
questions from a national rather than from a sectional point of view;
men like Governor Aycock, of North Carolina, and Governor Montague, of
Virginia. There is a whole group of educational leaders who represent
the best of the Old South and the best of the New. It is the duty of
wise, patriotic men in the North to cooperate with these new leaders;
to strengthen their hands; to recognize and aid the best sentiment in
the South, and to stimulate its activity. The Negro question can be
settled by cooperation of the North with the South, by sympathy, by
understanding; it can never be settled in any other way.


“I am proud of my state because we have solved the Negro problem,
which recently seems to have given you some trouble. We have taken
him out of politics, and have thereby secured good government under
any party, and laid foundations for the future development of both
races. We have secured peace and rendered prosperity a certainty. I
am inclined to give you our solution of this problem. It is, first,
as far as possible, under the Fifteenth Amendment, to disfranchise
him; after that, let him alone; quit writing about him; quit talking
about him; quit making him ‘the white man’s burden’; let him ‘tote
his own skillet’; quit coddling him; let him learn that no man, no
race, ever got anything worth the having that he did not himself earn;
that character is the outcome of sacrifice, and worth is the result of
toil; that, whatever his future may be, the present has in it for him
nothing that is not the product of industry, thrift, obedience to law
and uprightness; that he cannot, by resolution of council or league,
accomplish anything; that he can do much by work; that violence may
gratify his passions, but it cannot accomplish his ambition; that he
may rarely eat of the cooking equality, but he will always find when he
does that there is death in the pot. Let the white man determine that
no man shall by act or thought or speech cross this line, and the race
problem will be at an end.”

       *       *       *       *       *

After reading these the Doctor explained that, about the time I left,
the Negro population of the South began to drift towards the Northern
states, where better wages were offered, on account of the improvements
going on there.

“The farms were the first to be affected by this turn in affairs,”
said the Doctor. “In fact, the Negroes who had no land very generally
left the farms and this so crippled the cotton industry that within
ten years after the disfranchising acts were passed, there wasn’t a
‘ten horse’ farm (to quote the expression used in the records) to be
found in some of the Southern states for miles and miles. Every Negro
laborer who went North found times so much better that he wrote back
for his friends. The disfranchising acts seemed to give the disorderly
element in Southern society a free hand. The result was that Negroes
were mobbed with impunity for the slightest offences. In one instance
I read of a Negro who accidentally stepped on a white man’s foot. He
was promptly knocked down. As it occurred in a public place where a
small crowd had gathered to look at base-ball bulletins, seven or eight
of the white by-standers in the crowd took a kick and a knock at him.
A policeman appeared on the scene, who arrested the Negro and put him
under lock and key--because he got knocked down!--as my father used to
say in relating the story. Then, too, the newspapers continued to hold
the Negro up to ridicule and whereas he formerly had some of his race
on juries, they were now excluded.[10]

“You can imagine that it was getting very uncomfortable for the
Negroes in the South about that time. Many of them left for the North
and West. Quite a number went to Africa--and Bishop Smith of the
African Methodist Church induced many to go to Hayti. Vast tracts of
land in the Southwestern part of the United States were opened up to
the cultivation of cotton by a national system of irrigation, and
the Government employed Negroes on these improvements and also in
the cultivation of the plant itself, after the irrigation system was

“What happened to the Southern white farmers?” I inquired.

“They moved to the cities in large numbers and engaged in
manufacturing. As you will see when you begin to travel with me the
South is now a great manufacturing country. This, they found later, was
a mistake, as they lost race vitality and became virtually the slaves
of the manufacturers, on whom they had to depend for bread from week
to week. The National Government, however, came to the relief of the
South in quite a substantial way (at the same time that it assumed
control of all coal and iron mines, and oil wells) by buying up the
cotton lands and parcelling them out to young Negroes at a small price,
accompanied with means and assistance for the production of the crop.
This was an act of the highest statesmanship and a great help in the
solution of the Negro problem. It should have come immediately after
reconstruction, but the intervening interests of political parties and
ambitious men prevented it. A matter of serious moment for a long time
was how to eliminate party and personal interests from the equation
of politics. Too often good measures were opposed by the different
political parties with an eye singly to these interests. The great
work of General O. O. Howard in connection with what was known as
the Freedmen’s Bureau was greatly hampered and met an untimely end
because of the selfishness and partisanship of that period. In fact,
this one feature has stood in the way of progress in this Government
from its earliest existence. Example after example might be cited where
party policy and personal interest has blocked the wheels of useful

“Oxenstiern said, ‘See my son, with how little wisdom nations are

“It is wonderful how tolerant the people of the world have been in
respect to bad government. No group of business men would have allowed
its directors to spend the company’s earnings in the way the rulers
of the world have done from time immemorial. America has overlooked
many of these points because of the unlimited opportunities here for
money making--let the high tide of prosperity once ebb and then these
defects become apparent! There were usually in a government office
twice as many employed to do small tasks as any business organization
would have thought of hiring, and they were paid excellent salaries. In
other words, the more places a boss could fill with his constituents
or friends, the more public money he could cause to be spent in his
district, the more sinecures he could get for his constituents,
the more popular he became. In addition to all this, he wasted
the people’s money with long speeches which were often printed and
distributed at the Government’s expense. The National Congress formerly
was a most expensive institution. Its methods of business were highly
extravagant and very often the time consumed resulted in accomplishing
nothing more than a mere pittance, perhaps, of the work to be done;
and that was carried through because of party advantage or personal



The time had now arrived for our promised visit to some of the public
buildings of the city and we seated ourselves in an electric motor car
which the Doctor had summoned by touching a button. To my surprise,
it made the trip alone, by traversing a course made for this purpose,
somewhat on the order of the cash delivery systems formerly used in
our large stores, being elevated some twenty feet above the surface.
The coaches were arranged to come at a call from any number on certain

The Doctor suggested that we should first visit the “Administration
Building.” I was expecting to find Congress or some such body in
session, but to my surprise I was told by the Doctor that Congress had
been abolished, and that the country was run on what I had formerly
understood as the corporation plan; except that the salaries were not
so large. The business of the Government was entrusted to bureaus or
departments, and the officers in them were chosen for their fitness by
an improved system of civil service.

“Who is president now,” I inquired.

“President!” replied the Doctor, in surprise, “why we have none. I
never saw a president. We need none. We have an Executive Department
which fills his place.”

“What as to proposing new measures?” I asked. “Who writes the annual
messages suggesting them?”

“All this is left to a bureau chosen for that purpose, whose duties
are to keep the nation informed as to its needs, and to formulate new
plans, which are carried out along the idea of the _initiative_ and
_referendum_ system with which you are doubtless somewhat acquainted,
as I notice that it was discussed as early as 1890.”

I replied that I had a recollection of seeing the terms but I could not
give an intelligent definition of them. Whereupon the Doctor explained
the system.

“You see,” he said, “that the time wasted in Congressional debate
is saved and the chance to block needed legislation is reduced to a
minimum. There are no political offices to parcel out to henchmen,
and the ambitions of demagogues are not fostered at the expense of the
people. England, you will recollect, has had a king only in name for
four hundred years. The American people have found out there is no
necessity for either king, president, parliament or congress, and in
that respect we may be able sooner or later to teach the mother country
a lesson.”

“To say I am surprised at all this, Dr. Newell, is to express my
feelings but mildly,” said I, “but I can now see how the changes in
reference to the Negro have been brought about. Under our political
system, such as I knew it to be, these results could not have been
reached in a thousand years!”

“Yes, Mr. Twitchell,” replied the Doctor, “our new system, as it may be
called, has been a great help in settling, not only the Negro problem,
but many others; for instance the labor question, about which we have
already conversed,--and the end is not yet, the hey-day of our glory
is not reached and will not be until the principles of the Golden Rule
have become an actuality in this land.”

I here remarked that I always felt a misgiving as to our old system,
which left the Government and management of the people’s affairs
in the hands of politicians who had more personal interest than
statesmanship; but I could not conceive of any method of ridding the
country of this influence and power, and had about resolved to accept
the situation as a part of my common lot with humanity.

Doctor Newell stated that there was much opposition to the parcelling
out of land to Negro farmers. It was jeered at as “paternalism,” and
“socialistic,” and “creating a bad precedent.”

“But,” said he, “our Bureau of Public Utility carried out the idea with
the final endorsement of the people, who now appreciate the wisdom of
the experiment. The government could as well afford to spend public
money for the purpose of mitigating the results of race feeling as it
could to improve rivers and harbors. In both instances the public good
was served. If bad harbors were a curse so was public prejudice on the
race question. It was cheaper in the long run to remove the cause than
to patch up with palliatives. If the Negro was becoming vicious to a
large extent, and the cause of it was the intensity of race prejudice
in the land, which confined him to menial callings, and only a limited
number of those; and race prejudice could not be well prevented owing
to the misconception of things by those who fostered it; and if an
attempt at suppression would mean more bitterness toward the Negro and
danger to the country, then surely, looking at the question from the
distance at which we are to-day, the best solution was the one adopted
by our bureaus at the time. At least, we know the plan was successful,
and ‘nothing succeeds like success!’

“I am inclined to the opinion that the politicians, judging by the
magazine article I gave you,” said he, “were quite anxious to keep
the Negro question alive for the party advantage it brought. In the
North it served the purpose of solidifying the Negro vote for the
Republicans, and in the South the Democrats used it to their advantage;
neither party, therefore, was willing to remove the Negro issue by any
real substantial legislation. Enough legislation was generally proposed
_pro_ and _con_ to excite the voters desired to be reached, and there
the efforts ended.”

I could not but reflect that the triumph of reason over partisanship
and demagoguery had at last been reached, and that the American
people had resolved no longer to temporize with measures or men, but
were determined to have the government run according to the original
design of its founders, upon the principle of the greatest good to the
greatest number.

No President since Grant was ever more abused by a certain class of
newspapers and politicians than President Roosevelt, who adopted the
policy of appointing worthy men to office, regardless of color. He
said that fitness should be his rule and not color. In his efforts to
carry out this policy he met with the most stubborn resistance from
those politicians who hoped to make political capital out of the Negro
question. To his credit let it be said that he refused to bow the knee
to Baal but stood by his convictions to the end.

I found from the published reports of the Bureau of Statistics that the
Negro’s progress in one hundred years had been all that his friends
could have hoped for. I give below a comparative table showing the

                                 A. D. 1900         A. D. 2004
  Aggregate Negro Wealth        $890,000,000      $2,670,000,000
  Aggregate Negro population       8,840,789          21,907,079
  Per cent. of illiteracy       45 per cent.         2 per cent.
  Per cent. of crime            20 per cent.         1 per cent.
  Ratio of home owners              1 in 100            1 in 30.
  Ratio of insane                  1 in 1000           1 in 500.
  Death rate                       20 per M.            5 per M.
  Number of lawyers                      250               5,282
  Number of doctors                      800              11,823
  Number of pharmacists                  150               2,111
  Number of teachers                  30,000             200,603
  Number of preachers                 75,000             250,804
  Number of mechanics                 80,000             240,922

I noticed that Negroes had gained standing in the country as citizens
and were no longer objects for such protection as the whites thought
a Negro deserved. They stood on the same footing legally as other
people. It was a pet phrase in my time for certain communities to say
to the Negro that they “would protect him in his rights,” but what
the Negro wanted was that he should not have to be protected at all!
He wanted public sentiment to protect him just as it did a white man.
This proffered help was all very good, since it was the best the times
afforded, but it made the Negro’s rights depend upon what his white
neighbors said of him,--if these neighbors did not like him his rights
were _nil_. His was an ephemeral existence dependent on the whims and
caprices of friends or foes. True citizenship must be deeper than that
and be measured by the law of the land--not by the opinion of one’s

But the voice of the politician who wished to contort civil into
social equality was now hushed. He no more disgraced the land, and a
Negro could have a business talk with a white man on the street of a
Southern city without either party becoming subjects of criticism for
practicing “social equality.”



Soon after this talk Miss Davis and I visited prominent places in
the city of Phœnix. I had anxiously waited for this opportunity. An
uncontrollable desire to fulfill this engagement had grown on me, from
the day she informed me that she had planned the outing. We visited
McPherson’s monument, and standing with head uncovered in its shadow, I
said that I was glad to see that the cause he fought for was recognized
as a blessing to the South as well as to the North. She replied that
some of her relatives perished in defense of the South, but she had
been often told by her father that her ancestors considered slavery a
great wrong and liberated their slaves by will.

“In fact,” she remarked with womanly intuition, “I can see no reason
for their having had slaves at the outset. Why couldn’t the Negroes
have served us, from the first, as _freemen_, just as they did after
their emancipation? What was the necessity for adopting a system that
gave a chance for the brutal passions of bad men to vent themselves?
The whole country has suffered in its moral tone because of slavery,
and we are not as pure minded a nation to-day as we should have been
without it.”

I replied that it was commercialism that fixed slavery in the nation
and rooted and grounded it so deep that scarcely could it be eradicated
without destroying the nation itself. I noticed that she had none of
the Southern woman’s prejudice against “Yankees,” so prevalent in my
day, and that she was far enough removed from the events of the Civil
War to look at them dispassionately.

What a difference doth time make in people and nations. What is wisdom
to-day may be the grossest folly to-morrow, and the popular theme of
to-day maybe ridiculed later on. Ye “men of the hour” beware! The much
despised Yankee has taught the South many lessons in industry, in the
arts, sciences and literature, but none more valuable to her than to
forsake her prejudice against the evolution of the Negro.

We rode out to Chattahoochee farm, noted for its picturesqueness
and “up-to-dateness,” a paying institution entirely under the
management of Negroes. The superintendent was a graduate from the State
Agricultural College for Negroes, near Savannah.

“Are there any other farms of this kind in the state under Negro
management,” I asked.

She replied that there were many, that a majority of the landowners of
the state had found it profitable to turn vast tracts of land over to
these young Negro graduates, who were proving themselves adepts in the
art of scientific farming, making excellent salaries, and returning
good dividends on the investments.

I remarked that I used to wonder why this could not be done with the
young Negroes coming out from such schools--since their ante-bellum
fathers were so successful in this line--and I further said that this
movement might have been inaugurated in my day, but for the opposition
of the politicians, who approached the Negro question generally with no
sincere desire to get effective results, but to make political capital
for themselves.

She at once suggested, “And so you believe it was a good idea then to
dispense with the politicians?”

“Indeed,” said I, “they were horrible stumps in the road of progress.”

We ended our ride after a visit to the park, which was a beautiful
spot. It served not only as a place of recreation, but Musical,
Zoölogical, Botanical and Aquarian departments were open to the public,
and free lectures were given on the latest inventions and improvements,
thus coupling information with recreation, and elevating the thoughts
and ideas of the people. I noticed the absence of the old time signs
which I had heard once decorated the gates of this park, “Negroes
and dogs not allowed.” Of course Irene had never seen or heard of
such a thing and I therefore did not mention my thoughts to her. She
was a creature of the new era and knew the past only from books and
tradition. I had the misfortune, or pleasure, as the case may be, of
having lived in two ages and incidents of the past would continually
rise before me in comparison with the present.

On reaching my room that evening I felt that my trip with Miss Davis
had been very agreeable and very instructive, but still there was an
aching void--for what I did not know. Was it that we did not converse
on some desired subject?



“These Guilds,” said Dr. Newell, taking my arm as we left the dinner
table one afternoon, “are most excellent institutions. Nothing has done
more to facilitate a happy solution of the so-called Negro problem of
the past than they, and their history is a most fascinating story, as
it pictures their origin by a a young Southern heroine of wealth and
standing with philanthropic motives, who while on her way to church one
Sunday morning was moved by the sight of a couple of barefooted Negro
children playing in the street. Her heart went out to them. She thought
of the efforts being made for the heathen abroad, when the needy at our
very doors were neglected. Moved towards the work as if by inspiration,
she gave her whole time and attention and considerable of her vast
wealth to organizing these guilds all over the country. She met with
much opposition and was ridiculed as the ‘nigger angel,’ but this did
not deter her and she lived to see the work she organized planted and
growing in all the Southland. Cecelia was her name and the incorporated
name of these organizations is the Cecilian Guild.”

“I should be glad to read the history of this movement,” said I,
“for all I have learned about it through Miss Davis and yourself is
exceedingly interesting.”

“One of the problems met with in the outset was that of the fallen
woman,” said the Doctor, “although the Negroes were never so immoral
as was alleged of them. You will recall that after the Civil War many
of the slave marriages were declared illegal and remarriage became
necessary. Twenty-five cents was the license fee. Thousands showed
their faithfulness to each other by complying with this law--a most
emphatic argument of the Negro’s faithfulness to the marriage vows.
Day after day long files of these sons of Africa stood in line waiting
with their ‘quarters’ in hand to renew their vows to the wife of their
youth. Many were old and infirm--a number were young and vigorous,
there was no compulsion and the former relations might have been
severed and other selections made; but not so, they were renewing the
old vows and making legal in freedom that which was illegal now because
of slavery. Would the 500,000 white divorcees in America in your time
have done this?” the doctor asked.

“Let me relate to you a story connected with the work of one of the
Cecilian Guilds,” said the doctor. “A bright faced octoroon girl living
in one of our best Southern homes became peculiarly attractive to a
brother of her mistress, a young woman of much character, who loved her
maid and loved her brother. The situation grew acute; heroic treatment
became necessary as the octoroon related to her mistress in great
distress every approach and insinuation made by the young Lothario, his
avowals of love, his promises to die for her, his readiness to renounce
all conventionalities and flee with her to another state. To all this
the octoroon was like ice. Her mother had been trained in the same
household and was honored and beloved. Her father was an octoroon--and
the girl was a chip of both old blocks. The mistress remonstrated,
threatened and begged her brother to no avail, and finally decided to
send the girl North, as a last resort, a decision which pleased the
maid, who desired to be rid of her tormentor.

“But the trip North only made matters worse. Two years after Eva
had made her home with a family in Connecticut, John Guilford turns
up. He had been married to his cousin, whom he didn’t love, and
while practising medicine in one of the leading cities had become
distinguished in his profession. He met Eva during a professional
visit to her new home in Connecticut. The old flame was rekindled. He
concealed the fact of his marriage and offered her his hand, stating
that he must take her to another town and keep her incognito, to avoid
ruining his practice by the gossip which his marriage to a servant
girl would naturally create. Fair promises--which generally do ‘butter
parsnips,’ in love affairs, at least--overcame the fair Eva; she
consented to marry the young physician. She lived in another town, she
bore him children, he loved her. Finally the real wife, who had borne
him no offspring, ascertained the truth. Her husband pleaded hard with
her, told her of his love for the girl and how, under the spell of his
fondness for children, and following the example of the great Zola, he
had yielded to the tempter. ‘But,’ he begged, ‘forgive me because of
your love--save my name and our fortune.’ This she finally did. Poor
Eva, when her second child was four years old, died, never knowing but
that she was the true wife of her deceiver. Her children were adopted
by the Guilfords as their own, grew up and entered society under the
Guilford name and no one to-day will charge them with their father’s



I frequently saw Irene during the few weeks of my sojourn at the Newell
residence, but hers was a busy life and there was not much time for
_tête-à-tête_. One evening, however, she seated herself by my side on
the veranda and amid the fragrance of the flowers and the songs of
the birds we had an hour alone which passed so swiftly that it seemed
but a moment. Time hangs heavy only on the hands of those who are not
enjoying it. I had noticed her anxiety for a letter and her evident
disappointment in the morning when the pneumatic tube in the Newell
residence did not deliver it.

Not purposely, but unavoidably, I saw a few days later an envelope
postmarked, “Philippines.” I ventured to say, with an attempt at
teasing, that I trusted she was in good humor to-day since her letter
had come, and surmised that it bore “a message of friendship or love”
for her. She adroitly avoided the subject, which was all the evidence I
wanted to assure me of the truth of my theory as to its contents. The
clue was given which I intended to establish in asking the question.
Love may be blind but it has ways for trailing its game.

Finding no encouragement for pursuing this subject further, I turned
to the discussion of books and finally asked if she had read an old
book which in my day used to be referred to as, “Tom Dixon’s Leopard’s
Spots.” She said she had not, but had seen it instanced as a good
example of that class of writers who misrepresented the best Southern
sentiment and opinion. She stated that her information was that there
was not a godly character in the book, that it represented the Southern
people as justifying prejudice, and ill treatment of a weaker race,
whose faults were admittedly forgivable by reason of circumstances. She
also stated that “the culture of the present time places such writers
in the same class with that English Lord who once predicted that a
steamer could never cross the Atlantic for the reason that she could
never carry enough fuel to make the voyage.”

“And probably in such cases the wish was father to the thought,” I

She also had heard of those false prophets whom history had not
forgotten, but who lived only in ridicule and as examples of error.
She seemed to be ashamed of the ideas once advocated by these men, and
charitably dismissed them with the remark that, “It would have been
better for the cause of true Christianity had they never been listened
to by so large a number of our people, as they represented brute force
rather than the Golden Rule.”

I heard with rapt attention. Although I had already seen much to
convince me of the evolution of sentiment in the South, these words
sank deeper than all else. Here was a woman of aristocratic Southern
blood, cradled under the hills of secession and yet vehement in
denunciation of those whom I had learned to recognize as the beacon
lights of Southern thought and purpose! And when I reflected that her
views were then the views of the whole South, I indeed began to realize
the wonderful transformation I was being permitted to see. I silently
prayed, “God bless the New South!” My heart was full, I felt that I had
met a soul that was a counterpart of my own,--“Each heart shall seek
its kindred heart, and cling to it, as close as ever.”

The pent-up feelings of my breast must find some expression of
admiration for her lofty ideals of joy, for the triumph I had been
permitted to see of truth over error in the subjugation of America’s
greatest curse, _prejudice_, and finally of the meeting with a
congenial spirit in flesh and blood, and of the opposite sex; which
alone creates for man a halo peculiarly its own.

I was hardly myself, and I burst forth with, “Irene, are you engaged to
the man in the ‘Philippines’?”

I was rather presumptuous, but the gentle reply was, “I will tell you
some other time”--and we parted.



In looking for the cause of so many improvements I found that the
Bureau of Public Utility had been of great service to the country in
bringing about such a happy solution of the Negro problem. Among other
novel methods adopted I found they had established public boarding
schools. I was astonished to learn that they were based on some
suggestions made by a Negro of my own times, in an essay which had won
a prize of $100 offered by a Northern philanthropist. The writer was a
Southern Negro from the state of North Carolina. His ideas were carried
out in a general scheme of education for the Negro.

The good results of this course have proved their wisdom; in fact the
results were of such importance as to warrant my reproducing part of
what he wrote:


“I have noticed a growing tendency in the writings of those whites who
discuss the racial question, in the newspapers, towards helpfulness and
kindness to the Negro race. Some articles are very bitter, abusive, and
unfair, the writers seeming to be either playing to the galleries of a
maudlin sentiment or venting personal spleen--but in the main this is
not so. The Negroes, who withal had rather love than hate white people,
are generally thankful for all expressions favorable to themselves.
They realize as a mass that there has grown up within the last thirty
years an idle, vicious class of Negroes whose acts and habits are of
such a nature as to make them objectionable to their own race, as
well as to the whites. What to do with this class is a problem that
perplexes the better element of Negroes, more, possibly, than it does
the whites; since their shortcomings are generally credited to the
whole Negro race, which is wrong as a fact and unjust in theory.

“This vicious element in the race is a constant subject of discussion
in Negro churches and in private conversation. It is a mistake to say
that crime is not condemned by the better class of Negroes. There may
be a class that attend the courts when their ‘pals’ are in jeopardy
and who rejoice to see them exonerated, but the real substantial Negro
man is seldom seen ‘warming the benches’ of court rooms. Unlike the
white spectators, who are men of leisure and spend their time there
out of interest in what is going on, and often to earn a _per diem_ as
jurors,--the leisure class in the Negro race is generally composed of
those who have ‘served time’ in prison or of their associates.

“The Negro problem, as now considered, seems, so far as the discussion
of it is concerned, to be entirely in the hands of white people for
solution, and the Negro himself is supposed to have no part in it,
other than to ‘wait and tend’ on the bidding of those engaged at the
job. He is ‘a looker on in Venice.’ I therefore offer my suggestion as
to method or plan with fear of being asked to stand aside. Yet, in my
zeal for the work and in my anxiety to have it accomplished as speedily
and correctly as possible, I venture a few suggestions, the result of
twenty years’ observation and experience in teaching, which appear to
my mind as the best way to go at this Herculean task.

“In the first place I suggest that the boarding school is the only
one fitted for the final needs of the young of the race--a school
where culture and civility would be taught hand in hand with labor
and letters. The main object in education is training for usefulness.
‘Leading out’ is the meaning of the term education, and what the young
of the race needs is to be lead out, and kept out of vice, until the
danger period is passed. The public schools turn out the child just at
that period when temptations are most alluring. From the age of puberty
to twenty-one is the danger time, and the time of forming character.
The kind of character then formed remains. If the child can be steered
over this period, under right influences and associations, the problem
of his future is comparatively settled for good, otherwise for bad. Too
much is expected of the public schools as now constituted, if it is
presumed that they can mould both the mind and the heart of the child;
when they usually drop him just at the period that he begins to learn
he has a heart and a mind! He is mostly an animal during the period
allotted to him in the public schools. Many are fortunate enough to
have parents who have the leisure and ability to train them properly.
Some follow up the course in the public schools with a season in a
boarding school--these are fortunate, but where is the great mass? They
became boot-blacks, runaways, ‘dudes,’ or temporary domestics, in which
calling they earn money more to satisfy their youthful propensities
than for any settled purpose for the future of their lives.

“Out of six hundred pupils who had left one public school in Virginia
I found only 85 who had settled down with any seemingly fixed purpose.
I counted 196 who had become domestics, and, either married or single,
are making orderly citizens. The rest have become mere bilge water and
are unknown. Among the girls fourteen are of the _demirep_ order. The
public schools are doing some work it is true--a great work, all things
considered--but their ‘reach’ is not far enough. What the young of the
Negro race needs, beyond all things, is training--not only of the head,
but of the heart and hand as well. The boarding school would meet the
requirements, if properly conducted. The girl and boy should remain at
useful employment under refined influences until the habit of doing
things right and acting right is formed. How can the public schools
mould character in a child whom they have for five hours, while the
street gamins have him for the rest of the day? And further, as before
stated, when the child leaves the public schools at the time when most
of all he is likely to get into bad habits?

“Good home training is the salvation of any people. Many Negro children
are necessarily lacking in this respect, for the reason that their
parents are called off to their places of labor during the day and the
children are left to shift for themselves. Too often when the parents
are at home the influence is not of the most wholesome, thus there is
a double necessity for the inauguration of a system of training that
will eliminate this evil. The majority of working people do not earn
sufficient wages to hire governesses for their children,--if they
should quit work and attempt the task for themselves the children
would suffer for bread, and soon the state would be called upon to
support them as paupers. The state is unable in the present condition
of public sentiment to pass upon the sufficiency of wages from employer
to employee, but it _can_ dictate the policy of the school system.
All selfish or partisan scruples should be eliminated and the subject
should be approached with wisdom and foresight, looking solely to
accomplishing the best results possible.

“My idea is to supplement the term of the public schools, which might
be reduced to four years, by a three years’ term in a public boarding
school in which the pupil could do all the work and produce enough in
vacation to make the school self-sustaining; except the item of the
salaries of the teachers, who would be employed by the state. Make
three years in these schools compulsory on all who are not able to or
do not, select a school of their own choice. Three years’ military
service is demanded of the adults in most of the European states, which
is time almost thrown away so far as the individual is concerned, but a
three years’ service in schools of this kind would be of the greatest
advantage of the child and state as well.

“_How it can be done_

“There is idle land enough to be used for the establishment of such
schools in every township in the South, and with the proper training
in them, the pupils from such institutions would come out and build up
hundreds of places that are now going to waste for lack of attention.
The solution of the race problem cannot be effected by talk alone,
nor by a reckless expenditure of public funds, but if the state is
to undertake the education of its children with good citizenship in
view--thus becoming as it were the _parens patriæ_, then let the job
be undertaken as a parent would be likely to go at it for his own
children. In well regulated communities wayward children are placed in
homes which the wisdom of experience has found to be the best place for
them, and they come out useful citizens. If the youth of the colored
race is incorrigible because of instinct or environment, or both, the
place for them is in some kind of home where they can be protected
against themselves and society, and trained and developed. Let them
have four years of training in the public schools and emerge from these
into ‘a boarding and working school.’ This would be far better than
furnishing a chain gang system for them to go into after bad character
has been formed.

“‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ right here, and is
a cheaper and a more substantial investment. Experience shows that
the vicious become _more vicious_ by confinement in the chain gangs,
and it not infrequently happens that individuals, after having been
degraded by a first sentence, become outcasts and spend from a half
to two-thirds of their lives thereafter in prison. The chain gang
system can hardly be urged in any sense as a reformatory, and from the
frequent returns thereto of the criminal class can be hardly styled as
a first-class preventive of crime. It is simply an institution in which
criminals can be kept out of their usual occupations. While they are so
confined crime is that much decreased, but it opens up again on their

“The value of the boarding school idea as a supplement to the public
school system is borne out by the statistics of the boarding schools
already established for colored people by private funds. The pupils
turned out by these schools are a credit to the race and the state.
They are good citizens, they accumulate property, they are industrious
and upright. There is not one case in a thousand where you find them on
the court records. They are the genuine ‘salt of the earth,’ so far as
the product of the schools for the freedmen is concerned. The public
schools have been the feeders in a large measure of these private
schools, but only a small percentage of those who leave the public
schools ever reach private schools. Under the plan above suggested all
pupils will spend three years in a private school, or a school of that
nature which will accomplish the same end.

“If the Negro has a greater native tendency to crime than the other
races, as is urged by some, then it is necessary to take more care
in protecting him against it. If his disease is of a more malignant
type than ordinary when it attacks him, then the more heroic should
be the remedy. It is as illogical to apply a system of education to
a child who is not prepared for it as it would be to treat a patient
for appendicitis when he has the eczema. _Results_ are what the state
wants, and if the schools now established are not giving them, the
system should be changed to one that for thirty years has been a
success. The money sent South by Northern charity has not been wasted.
Some people think it has destroyed some farm hands--this may be true,
but it has created larger producers in other lines fully as beneficial
to the state as farming.

“The state is suffering because of its criminal class both white and
black, and it will continue to do so until this cloud is removed, and
in undertaking the education of its citizens, the state is not working
for the farmers especially (as some seem to imply by their arguments on
this subject) but for a higher type of citizenship along _all_ lines.
‘More intelligence in farming, mining, manufacturing, and business’ is
the motto, a general uplift in which all shall be benefited. Neither
the farmer, the miner nor the manufacturer can hope to build up a
serf class for his special benefit. The state has not established the
school system for that purpose, and should the theory once obtain that
it was so established, the handwriting would at once appear on the
wall. The ideal school system is that in which each citizen claims his
part with all the rest. No line should be drawn in the division of the
funds to the schools, and as a fit corollary to this, they should not
be established to foster the financial interests of any one class of
citizens as against another. _Pro bono publico_ is their motto and may
it ever remain so!”

       *       *       *       *       *

I might add that as a substantial proof of the great success of the new
system of Negro education the Southern states have joined in preparing
a great Negro Exposition, open to Negroes all over the world, in which,
it is expected, a fine showing will be made by members of the race in
almost every field of human endeavor.



Two years have passed since Irene promised, on the veranda of the
Newell residence, to tell Gilbert Twitchell if her hand was pledged to
the man in the Philippines from whom she had received a letter. Other
and sadder news had come since that time. The young officer (Kennesaw
Malvern) was dead. He was accidentally shot during a target practice on
a U. S. vessel cruising in the Philippines, where by the way peace and
independence have long prevailed. Irene was now in black for him. She
saw Gilbert Twitchell not quite so often as before, but her mourning
robes made it unnecessary that she should answer the question he
propounded to her on the veranda.

At the first opportunity, however, Gilbert told her that he loved her,
but that he would not ask her hand in marriage till such a time as
she thought proper. Her reply was that her whole soul was a complete
wreck. She felt as if the world had no further charm, and that death
would be welcome if she knew she would be with _him_.

But time works many changes, even in such a constant and abiding force
as a true woman’s love. God made them sincere, it may be said, but few
there are that stand the test of time, and the assaults of a persistent
man’s devotion. Many would freeze their hearts if they could, but the
manly temperature is too high in most cases and they melt sooner or
later under its radiations. Sometimes in her despair, in her dilemma,
in her war between the heart force and the will, she resolves to marry
her beseecher “to be rid of him,” too considerate of his feelings to
say “no,” and too true to former pledges to say “yes.” What tunes
indeed may “mere man” play on such heart-strings!

All this was not the case with Irene exactly, but it was true in some
particulars, for Irene was a _woman_, and the only important truth to
Gilbert was that the year 2007 saw them husband and wife and that the
love that once went to the Philippines was bestowed on the man she
helped rescue from his trip in an air ship.


[1] The white supremacy people accomplished this by employing them as
teachers. If they continued to talk too much, they lost their jobs.

[2] “Errors” like the following, for instance: “A special dispatch
from Charleston, S. C., to the Atlanta Journal, reads: ‘While dying in
Colleton county, former Section Foreman Jones, of the Atlantic Coast
Line Road, has confessed being the murderer of his wife at Ravenel,
S. C., fourteen miles from Charleston, in May, 1902, for which crime
three Negroes were lynched. The crime which was charged to the Negroes
was one of the most brutal ever committed in this State, and after the
capture of the Negroes quick work was made of them by the mob.’

“Comment is certainly superfluous. What must be the feelings of those
who participated in the lynching.” (_Raleigh, N. C., Morning Post._)

[3] The following were the views of Mr. Noah W. Cooper, a Nashville
lawyer, on one of Mr. Graves’ addresses:

“John Temple Graves’ address in Chicago contains more errors and
inconsistencies about the so-called Negro problem than any recent
utterance on the subject.

“He says that God has established the ‘metes and bounds’ of the Negro’s
habitation, but he never pointed out a single mete nor a single bound.
He says, ‘Let us put the Negro kindly and humanely out of the way;’ but
his vision again faded and he never told us where to put the darkey.

“If Mr. Graves’ inspiration had not been as short as a clam’s ear and
he had gone on and given us the particular spot on the globe to which
we should ‘kindly and humanely’ kick the darkey ‘out of the way,’ then
we might have asked, who will take the darkey’s place in the South? Who
will plow and hoe and pick out 12,000,000 bales of cotton? Who will
sing in the rice fields? Who will raise the sugar cane? Who will make
our ’lasses and syrup? Who will box and dip our turpentine? Who will
cut and saw the logs, and on his body bear away the planks from our
thousands of sawmills? Who will get down into the mud and swamps and
build railroads for rich contractors? Who will work out their lives in
our phosphate mines and factories, and in iron and coal mines? Who will
be roustabouts on our rivers and on our wharves to be conscripted when
too hot for whites to work? Who will fill the darkey’s place in the
Southern home?

“Oh, I suppose Mr. Graves would say, we will get Dutch and Poles, and
Hungarians, Swedes or other foreigners; or we will ourselves do all the
work of the Negro. To me this is neither possible nor desirable.

“The South don’t want to kick the Negro out, as I understand
it. The separation of the Negro from us now--his exile, _nolens
volens_--would be a greater calamity to us than his emancipation or his
enfranchisement ever has been. We need him and he needs us.

“Mr. Graves says that God never did intend that ‘opposite and
antagonistic races should live together.’

“That seems to me to be as wild as to say that God intended all dogs to
stay on one island; all sheep on another; all lions on another; or to
say that all corn should grow in America and all wheat in Russia.

“Mr. Graves cites no ‘thus saith the Lord’ to back up his new
revelation that antagonistic races must live separated.

“What God is it whose mind Mr. Graves is thus revealing? Surely it
can’t be the God of the Bible--for He allowed the Jews to live 400
years among the Egyptians; then over 500 years in and out of captivity
among the Canaanites; then in captivity nearly 100 years in Babylon;
then under the Romans; then sold by the Romans; and from then to now
the Jews--the most separate and exclusive of peoples--God’s chosen
people of the Old Covenant--they have lived anywhere, among all
people. Surely Mr. Graves is not revealing the mind of the God to whom
the original thirteen colonies bowed down in prayer; the God of the
Declaration of Independence and the God of George Washington and Thomas
Jefferson. For how many different races were planted in this new world?
English, Dutch, Swedes, Quakers, Puritans, Catholics, French Huguenots,
the poor, the rich--more antagonism than you can find between ‘Buckra’
and the ‘nigger.’ Yet all these antagonisms, such as they were, did not
prevent our forefathers from uniting in one country, under one flag,
in the common desire for political freedom, moral intelligence and
individual nobility of character.

“Under Mr. Graves’ God every colony would have become a petty nation,
with a Chinese wall around it. Mr. Graves’ inconsistencies reached a
climax when he said in one breath, ‘I appeal for the imperial destiny
of our mighty race,’ and then in the next breath says, ‘let us put the
Negro out.’ Is it any more imperial to boss the Filipino abroad than it
is to boss the Negro at home?

“The God of the Bible commands peace among races and nations, not war;
friendship, not antagonism and hatred. Did not Paul, a Jew, become a
messenger to the Gentiles? Did he not write the greater part of the New
Testament of Christianity while living in Gentile and pagan Rome? Did
not Christ set example to the world when He, a Jew, at Jacob’s well,
preached His most beautiful sermon to a poor Samaritan woman? Winding
up that great sermon by telling the woman and the world that not the
place of his abode and worship, but the good character of man--‘in
spirit and in truth’--was the only true worship. And that is the only
exclusive place whose metes and bounds God has set for any man to live,
‘in spirit and in truth.’

“How idle to talk of shutting off each race, as it were, into pens like
pigs to fatten them. This penning process will neither fatten their
bodies, enlighten their minds nor ennoble their souls. Can Mr. Graves
tell us how much good the great Chinese wall has done for man? If he
can, he can tell us how much good will come to us by putting the darkey
out, and locking the door. Mr. Graves’ idea would reverse all the
maxims of Christianity. It would be much better for Mr. Graves’ idea
of the separation of antagonisms to be applied to different classes
of occupations, of persons that are antagonistic. For instance, the
dram-seller is antagonistic to all homes and boys and girls; therefore,
put all dram-sellers and dram-shops on one island, and all the homes
and boys and girls on another island, far, far away! Now there is your
idea, Mr. Graves! Then, again, all horse thieves, bank breakers, train
robbers, forgers, counterfeiters are antagonistic to honest men; so
here, we will put them all in the District of Columbia and all the
honest men in Ohio, and build a high wall between. All the bad boys we
would put in a pen; and all us good boys, we will go to the park and
have a picnic and laugh at the nincompoop bad boys whose destiny we
have penned up! Ah, Mr. Graves could no more teach us this error than
could he reverse the decree of Christ to let the wheat and tares grow
together until harvest. The seclusion or isolation of an individual
or a race is not the road that God has blazed out for the highest
attainments. The Levite of the great parable drew his robes close about
him and ‘passed by on the other side’--like Mr. Graves would have us
do the Negro, except that instead of passing him by we would ‘put him
behind us’--a mere difference of words. But the good Samaritan got down
and nursed the dirty, wounded bleeding Jew; sacrificed his time and
money to heal his wounds. Now that Levite must be Mr. Graves’ ideal
Southerner! He says the Negro is an unwilling, blameless, unwholesome,
unwelcome element. So was the robbed and bleeding Jew to the Levite;
but did that excuse the Levite’s wrong? Ought the Levite to have put
the groaning man ‘out of the way’ of his ‘imperial destiny’ by kicking
him out of the road?

“Nay, verily. By the time that Mr. Graves gets all of the antagonistic
races and all the antagonistic occupations and people of the world
cornered off and fenced up in their God-prescribed ‘metes and bounds,’
and fences them each up, with stakes and riders to hold them in--by
that time I am sure he will envy the job of Sysiphus. But there is a
grain of sober truth in one thing Mr. Graves says--that the Negro is



  (_By the Associated Press._)

Springfield, Ohio, March 7, 1904.--Richard Dixon, a Negro, was shot
to death here to-night by a mob for the killing of Policeman Charles
Collis, who died to-day from wounds received at the hands of Dixon on

Collis had gone to Dixon’s room on the Negro’s request. Dixon said
his mistress had his clothes in her possession. Collis accompanied
Dixon to the room, and in a short time the man and woman engaged in a
quarrel, which resulted in Dixon shooting the woman, who is variously
known as Anna or Mamie Corbin, in the left breast just over the heart.
She fell unconscious at the first shot and Collis jumped towards the
Negro to prevent his escape from the room. Dixon then fired four balls
into Collis, the last of which penetrated his abdomen. Dixon went
immediately to police headquarters and gave himself up. He was taken to

As soon as Collis’ death became known talk of lynching the Negro was
heard and to-night a crowd began to gather about the jail.

The mob forced an entrance to the jail by breaking in the east doors
with a railroad iron.

At 10:30 the mob melted rapidly and it was the general opinion that no
more attempts would be made to force an entrance. Small groups of men,
however, could be seen in the shadows of the court house, two adjacent
livery stables and several dwelling houses. At 10:45 o’clock the police
were satisfied that there was nothing more to fear and they with other
officials and newspaper men passed freely in and out of the jail.

Shortly before 11 o’clock a diversion was made by a small crowd moving
from the east doors around to the south entrance. The police followed
and a bluff was made at jostling them off the steps leading up to the
south entrance.

The crowd at this point kept growing, while yells of “hold the police,”
“smash the doors,” “lynch the nigger” were made, interspersed with
revolver shots.

All this time the party with the heavy railroad iron was beating at
the east door, which shortly yielded to the battering ram, as did the
inner lattice iron doors. The mob then surged through the east door,
overpowered the sheriff, turnkey and handful of deputies and began the
assault on the iron turnstile leading to the cells. The police from the
south door were called inside to keep the mob from the cells and in
five minutes the south door had shared the fate of the east one.

In an incredibly short time the jail was filled with a mob of 250 men
with all the entrances and yard gates blocked by fully 2,500 men, thus
making it impossible for the militia to have prevented access to the
Negro, had it been on the scene.

The heavy iron partition leading to the cells resisted the mob
effectually until cold chisels and sledge hammers arrived, which
were only two or three minutes late in arriving. The padlock to the
turnstile was broken and the mob soon filled the corridors leading to
the cells.

Seeing that further resistance was useless and to avoid the killing of
innocent prisoners the authorities consented to the demand of the mob
for the right man. He was dragged from his cell to the jail door and
thence down the stone steps to a court in the jail yard.

Fearing an attempt on the part of the police to rescue him, the leaders
formed a hollow square. Some one knocked the Negro to the ground and
those near to him fell back four or five feet. Nine shots were fired
into his prostrate body, and satisfied that he was dead, a dozen
men grabbed the lifeless body, and with a triumphant cheer the mob
surged into Columbia street and marched to Fountain Avenue, one of the
principal streets of the town. From here they marched south to the
intersection of Main street, and a rope was tied around Dixon’s neck.
Two men climbed the pole and threw the rope over the topmost crosstie
and drew the body about eighteen feet above the street. They then
descended and their work was greeted with a cheer.

The fusillade then began and for thirty minutes the body was kept
swaying back and forth, from the force of the rain of bullets which
was poured into it. Frequently the arms would fly up convulsively
when a muscle was struck, and the mob went fairly wild with delight.
Throughout it all perfect order was maintained and everyone seemed in
the best of humor, joking with his nearest neighbor while re-loading
his revolver.



  (_By the Associated Press._)

Macon, Ga., March 9, 1902.--A Columbus, Ga., dispatch to the Telegraph
says a marble monument has been erected by the city to the memory of
Bragg Smith, the Negro laborer who lost his life last September in a
heroic but fruitless effort to rescue City Engineer Robert L. Johnson
from a street excavation. On one side is an inscription setting forth
the fact, while on the other side is chiseled,

    “Honor and shame from no condition rise;
     Act well thy part, there all the honor lies.”


Birmingham, Ala., Special.--The Age-Herald recently published the
following letter from Booker T. Washington:

“Within the last fortnight three members of my race have been burned at
the stake; of these one was a woman. Not one of the three was charged
with any crime even remotely connected with the abuse of a white woman.
In every case murder was the sole accusation. All of these burnings
took place in broad daylight, and two of them occurred on Sunday
afternoon in sight of a Christian church.

“In the midst of the nation’s prosperous life, few, I fear, take time
to consider whither these brutal and inhuman practices are leading us.
The custom of burning human beings has become so common as scarcely to
attract interest or unusual attention. I have always been among those
who condemned in the strongest terms crimes of whatever character
committed by members of my race, and I condemn them now with equal
severity, but I maintain that the only protection to our civilization
is a fair and calm trial of all people charged with crime, and in their
legal punishment, if proved guilty. There is no excuse to depart from
legal methods. The laws are, as a rule, made by the white people, and
their execution is by the hands of the white people so that there is
little probability of any guilty colored man escaping. These burnings
without trial are in the deepest sense unjust to my race, but it is
not this injustice alone which stirs my heart. These barbarous scenes,
followed as they are by the publication of the shocking details,
are more disgraceful and degrading to the people who influence the
punishment than to those who receive it.

“If the law is disregarded when a negro is concerned, will it not soon
also be disregarded in the case of the white man? And besides the rule
of the mob destroys the friendly relations which should exist between
the races and injures and interferes with the material prosperity of
the communities concerned.

“Worst of all, these outrages take place in communities where there
are Christian churches; in the midst of people who have their Sunday
schools, their Christian Endeavor Societies and Young Men’s Christian
Associations; collections are taken up to send missionaries to Africa
and China and the rest of the so-called heathen world.

“Is it not possible for pulpit and press to speak out against these
burnings in a manner that will arouse a sentiment that shall compel
the mob to cease insulting our courts, our governors and our legal
authority, to cease bringing shame and ridicule upon our Christian


“Tuskegee, Ala.”

[6] Tourgée relates this incident in “A Fool’s Errand.”

[7] The grandfather clause in the North Carolina constitution, as
recently amended, gives illiterate whites the right to vote if their
grandfathers voted _prior to_ 1867. The negroes were enfranchised in
1867 and their grandfathers therefore could not have voted prior to
that time. So, while all negroes must be able to read and write the
constitution, in order to vote, the illiterate white man may do so
because his “grand-daddy” voted prior to 1867.

[8] As Mr. A. V. Dockery, who is a competent authority, so tersely said
in the New York Age, June 23, 1904, the Negro has been practically the
only natural Republican in the South. That a considerable number of
soldiers were furnished by the South to the Union army during the Civil
War is not contested, and proves little as to political conditions
then and for several decades later. It is well known that the mountain
section of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia sent many
soldiers to the Northern army; it may not be so well known that Madison
county, North Carolina, the home of Judge Pritchard, contributed more
soldiers to the Union cause, in proportion to population, than any
other county in the whole United States.

It was not asserted that all those soldiers were then, or afterwards
became, Republicans. Before the emancipation, there were some
Republicans in this sparsely settled section, it is true, but
aggressive Republicanism in the South _got its impetus and had its
birth_ in the actual emancipation, not necessarily the enfranchisement,
of the Negro.

Yet when this remnant of white Republicans could no longer protect
the Negro in his right to vote, and successive Congresses supinely
consented to his disfranchisement, the South’s contribution to Congress
consisted of less than half a dozen Republican congressmen, and these
only from the aforesaid mountain district.

The Negro, being held up as a terrible hobgoblin to political white
folks, it was necessary to destroy his citizenship; which was
accomplished by wily and cruel means. About one and a half million
citizens were disfranchised and yet we have a paradox. This vast mass
of manhood is represented in Congress--in what way? By arbitrarily
nullifying the constitution of the Nation. It was the boast in 1861
that one Southern man could whip ten Yankees. May not this same class
of Southern politicians now proudly and truly boast that one Southern
vote is equal to ten Yankee votes?

Have the ten million American Negroes any more direct representation in
Congress than the ten million Filipinos?

In 1896 there was only one party in the South and its primaries elected
the congressmen. Seven congressional districts in South Carolina cast
a total of less than 40,000 votes for the seven congressmen elected to
the Fifty-seventh Congress.

For the same Congress, Minnesota cast a total of 276,000 votes for
seven congressmen, an average of 39,428 votes each; whereas the average
in South Carolina was less than 6,000 votes per congressman. In
other words, one South Carolina congressman is equal to seven of the
Minnesota article.

If every “lily white” Democrat in the old fighting South during the
last decade of the twentieth century (the “lily white” age) had
received an office, no benefit for the so-called Negro party would have
been attained, and the South would have remained as solid as ever. The
men there who amassed fortunes as a result of the Republican policy
of protection, remained Democrats, notwithstanding the elimination of
the Negro as a political factor. The “lily white” party had no other
principle except greed for office. It was a delicious sham and the
people knew it, white and blacks alike. It was distinctly proven that
as long, and no longer, as there was any Federal office in the South to
be filled there was a Democrat or a “lily white” handy and anxious to
fill it and willing to keep his mouth shut only during the occupation.

It is not surprising, therefore, that President Roosevelt early in his
administration gave the “lily-white” party to understand that it was
_persona non grata_ at the White House. As a true patriot and an honest
man he could not have done less.

[9] A. A. Gunby, Esq., a member of the Louisiana bar, in a recently
published address on Negro education, read before the Southern
Educational Association, which met in Atlanta, 1892, took diametrically
opposite ground to those who oppose higher education because it will
lead to the amalgamation of the races. Mr. Gunby said: “The idea
that white supremacy will be endangered by Negro education does not
deserve an answer. The claim that their enlightenment will lead to
social equality and amalgamation is equally untenable. The more
intelligent the Negro becomes the better he understands the true
relations and divergences of the races, the less he is inclined to
social intermingling with the whites. Education will really emphasize
and widen the social gulf between the whites and blacks to the
great advantage of the State, for it is a heterogeneous, and not a
homogeneous, people that make a republic strong and progressive.”



(_Charlotte, N. C., News._)

The Charlotte Observer makes the sweeping statement regarding the
Negro: “He is not ill-treated nor improperly discriminated against
except in the courts, and for the injustice done him there, there seems
to be no remedy.”


(_Charlotte, N. C., Observer._)

We always feel sorry for a North Carolina jury which gets hold of a
case in which a black man is the plaintiff and the Southern Railway
Company the defendant. A jury in Rowan superior court last week had
such a case and must have been greatly perplexed about which party
to the suit to decide against. After due deliberation, however, it
decided--how do you suppose--Why, against the railroad. But the problem
was one which called for fasting and prayer.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.

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