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Title: A Social History of the American Negro
 - Being a History of the Negro Problem in the United States. Including A History and Study of the Republic of Liberia
Author: Brawley, Benjamin Griffith
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Social History of the American Negro
 - Being a History of the Negro Problem in the United States. Including A History and Study of the Republic of Liberia" ***

American Negro






       *       *       *       *       *

  _These all died in faith, not having received
  the promises, but having seen them afar off_.

Norwood Penrose Hallowell was born in Philadelphia April 13, 1839. He
inherited the tradition of the Quakers and grew to manhood in a
strong anti-slavery atmosphere. The home of his father, Morris L.
Hallowell--the "House called Beautiful," in the phrase of Oliver Wendell
Holmes--was a haven of rest and refreshment for wounded soldiers of the
Union Army, and hither also, after the assault upon him in the Senate,
Charles Sumner had come for succor and peace. Three brothers in one
way or another served the cause of the Union, one of them, Edward
N. Hallowell, succeeding Robert Gould Shaw in the Command of the
Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers. Norwood Penrose
Hallowell himself, a natural leader of men, was Harvard class orator in
1861; twenty-five years later he was the marshal of his class; and in
1896 he delivered the Memorial Day address in Sanders Theater. Entering
the Union Army with promptness in April, 1861, he served first in
the New England Guards, then as First Lieutenant in the Twentieth
Massachusetts, won a Captain's commission in November, and within the
next year took part in numerous engagements, being wounded at Glendale
and even more severely at Antietam. On April 17, 1863, he became
Lieutenant-Colonel of the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts, and on May 30
Colonel of the newly organized Fifty-Fifth. Serving in the investment
of Fort Wagner, he was one of the first to enter the fort after its
evacuation. His wounds ultimately forced him to resign his commission,
and in November, 1863, he retired from the service. He engaged in
business in New York, but after a few years removed to Boston, where he
became eminent for his public spirit. He was one of God's noblemen, and
to the last he preserved his faith in the Negro whom he had been among
the first to lead toward the full heritage of American citizenship. He
died April 11, 1914.



1. African Origins
2. The Negro in Spanish Exploration
3. Development of the Slave-Trade
4. Planting of Slavery in the Colonies
5. The Wake of the Slave-Ship


1. Servitude and Slavery
2. The Indian, the Mulatto, and the Free Negro
3. First Effort toward Social Betterment
4. Early Insurrections


1. Sentiment in England and America
2. The Negro in the War
3. The Northwest Territory and the Constitution
4. Early Steps toward Abolition
5. Beginning of Racial Consciousness


1. The Cotton-Gin, the New Southwest, and the First Fugitive Slave Law
2. Toussaint L'Ouverture, Louisiana, and the Formal Closing of the
3. Gabriel's Insurrection and the Rise of the Negro Problem


1. Creek, Seminole, and Negro to 1817: The War of 1812
2. First Seminole War and the Treaties of Indian Spring and Fort Moultrie
3. From the Treaty of Fort Moultrie to the Treaty of Payne's Landing
4. Osceola and the Second Seminole War


1. The Ultimate Problem and the Missouri Compromise
2. Colonization
3. Slavery


1. Denmark Vesey's Insurrection
2. Nat Turner's Insurrection
3. The _Amistad_ and _Creole_ Cases


1. Walker's "Appeal"
2. The Convention Movement
3. Sojourner Truth and Woman Suffrage


1. The Place and the People
2. History
  (a) Colonization and Settlement
  (b) The Commonwealth of Liberia
  (c) The Republic of Liberia
3. International Relations
4. Economic and Social Conditions


1. Current Tendencies
2. The Challenge of the Abolitionists
3. The Contest






1. The Problem
2. Meeting the Problem
3. Reaction: The Ku-Klux Klan
4. Counter-Reaction: The Negro Exodus
5. A Postscript on the War and Reconstruction


1. Political Life: Disfranchisement
2. Economic Life: Peonage
3. Social Life: Proscription, Lynching


"THE VALE OF TEARS," 1890-1910
1. Current Opinion and Tendencies
2. Industrial Education: Booker T. Washington
3. Individual Achievement: The Spanish-American War
4. Mob Violence; Election Troubles; The Atlanta Massacre
5. The Question of Labor
6. Defamation; Brownsville
7. The Dawn of a To-morrow


1. Character of the Period
2. Migration; East St. Louis
3. The Great War
4. High Tension: Washington, Chicago, Elaine
5. The Widening Problem


1. World Aspect
2. The Negro in American Life
3. Face to Face


In the following pages an effort is made to give fresh treatment to the
history of the Negro people in the United States, and to present this
from a distinct point of view, the social. It is now forty years since
George W. Williams completed his _History of the Negro Race in America_,
and while there have been many brilliant studies of periods or episodes
since that important work appeared, no one book has again attempted to
treat the subject comprehensively, and meanwhile the race has passed
through some of its most critical years in America. The more outstanding
political phases of the subject, especially in the period before the
Civil War, have been frequently considered; and in any account of
the Negro people themselves the emphasis has almost always been upon
political and military features. Williams emphasizes this point of view,
and his study of legal aspects is not likely soon to be superseded. A
noteworthy point about the history of the Negro, however, is that laws
on the statute-books have not necessarily been regarded, public opinion
and sentiment almost always insisting on being considered. It is
necessary accordingly to study the actual life of the Negro people in
itself and in connection with that of the nation, and something like
this the present work endeavors to do. It thus becomes not only a Social
History of the race, but also the first formal effort toward a History
of the Negro Problem in America.

With this aim in mind, in view of the enormous amount of material,
we have found it necessary to confine ourselves within very definite
limits. A thorough study of all the questions relating to the Negro in
the United States would fill volumes, for sooner or later it would touch
upon all the great problems of American life. No attempt is made to
perform such a task; rather is it intended to fix attention upon the
race itself as definitely as possible. Even with this limitation there
are some topics that might be treated at length, but that have already
been studied so thoroughly that no very great modification is now likely
to be made of the results obtained. Such are many of the questions
revolving around the general subject of slavery. Wars are studied not so
much to take note of the achievement of Negro soldiers, vital as that
is, as to record the effect of these events on the life of the great
body of people. Both wars and slavery thus become not more than
incidents in the history of the ultimate problem.

In view of what has been said, it is natural that the method of
treatment should vary with the different chapters. Sometimes it is
general, as when we touch upon the highways of American history.
Sometimes it is intensive, as in the consideration of insurrections and
early effort for social progress; and Liberia, as a distinct and much
criticized experiment in government by American Negroes, receives very
special attention. For the first time also an effort is now made to
treat consecutively the life of the Negro people in America for the last
fifty years.

This work is the result of studies on which I have been engaged for
a number of years and which have already seen some light in _A Short
History of the American Negro_ and _The Negro in Literature and Art_;
and acquaintance with the elementary facts contained in such books as
these is in the present work very largely taken for granted. I feel
under a special debt of gratitude to the New York State Colonization
Society, which, coöperating with the American Colonization Society and
the Board of Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia, in 1920
gave me opportunity for some study at first hand of educational and
social conditions on the West Coast of Africa; and most of all do I
remember the courtesy and helpfulness of Dr. E.C. Sage and Dr. J.H.
Dillard in this connection. In general I have worked independently
of Williams, but any student of the subject must be grateful to that
pioneer, as well as to Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, who has made contributions in
so many ways. My obligations to such scholarly dissertations as those
by Turner and Russell are manifest, while to Mary Stoughton Locke's
_Anti-Slavery in America_--a model monograph--I feel indebted more than
to any other thesis. Within the last few years, of course, the _Crisis_,
the _Journal of Negro History_, and the _Negro Year-Book_ have in their
special fields become indispensable, and to Dr. Carter G. Woodson and
Professor M.N. Work much credit is due for the faith which has prompted
their respective ventures. I take this occasion also to thank Professor
W.E. Dodd, of the University of Chicago, who from the time of my
entrance upon this field has generously placed at my disposal his
unrivaled knowledge of the history of the South; and as always I must
be grateful to my father, Rev. E.M. Brawley, for that stimulation and
criticism which all my life have been most valuable to me. Finally, the
work has been dedicated to the memory of a distinguished soldier, who,
in his youth, in the nation's darkest hour, helped to lead a struggling
people to freedom and his country to victory. It is now submitted to the
consideration of all who are interested in the nation's problems, and
indeed in any effort that tries to keep in mind the highest welfare of
the country itself.

BENJAMIN BRAWLEY. Cambridge, January 1, 1921.




1. _African Origins_

An outstanding characteristic of recent years has been an increasing
recognition of the cultural importance of Africa to the world. From all
that has been written three facts are prominent: (1) That at some time
early in the Middle Ages, perhaps about the seventh century, there was
a considerable infiltration of Arabian culture into the tribes living
below the Sahara, something of which may to-day most easily be seen
among such people as the Haussas in the Soudan and the Mandingoes along
the West Coast; (2) That, whatever influences came in from the outside,
there developed in Africa an independent culture which must not be
underestimated; and (3) That, perhaps vastly more than has been
supposed, this African culture had to do with early exploration and
colonization in America. The first of these three facts is very
important, but is now generally accepted and need not here detain us.
For the present purpose the second and third demand more attention.

The development of native African art is a theme of never-ending
fascination for the ethnologist. Especially have striking resemblances
between Negro and Oceanian culture been pointed out. In political
organization as well as certain forms of artistic endeavor the Negro
people have achieved creditable results, and especially have they been
honored as the originators of the iron technique.[1] It has further been
shown that fetichism, which is especially well developed along the
West Coast and its hinterland, is at heart not very different from the
manitou beliefs of the American Indians; and it is this connection that
furnishes the key to some of the most striking results of the researches
of the latest and most profound student of this and related problems.[2]

[Footnote 1: Note article "Africa" in _New International Encyclopedia_,
referring especially to the studies of Von Luschan.]

[Footnote 2: Leo Wiener: _Africa and the Discovery of America_, Vol. I,
Innes & Sons, Philadelphia, 1920.]

From the Soudan radiated a culture that was destined to affect Europe
and in course of time to extend its influence even beyond the Atlantic
Ocean. It is important to remember that throughout the early history of
Europe and up to the close of the fifteenth century the approach to the
home of the Negro was by land. The Soudan was thought to be the edge of
the then known world; Homer speaks of the Ethiopians as "the farthest
removed of men, and separated into two divisions." Later Greek writers
carry the description still further and speak of the two divisions as
Eastern and Western--the Eastern occupying the countries eastward of the
Nile, and the Western stretching from the western shores of that river
to the Atlantic Coast. "One of these divisions," says Lady Lugard, "we
have to acknowledge, was perhaps itself the original source of the
civilization which has through Egypt permeated the Western world....
When the history of Negroland comes to be written in detail, it may be
found that the kingdoms lying toward the eastern end of the Soudan were
the home of races who inspired, rather than of races who received, the
traditions of civilization associated for us with the name of ancient

[Footnote 1: _A Tropical Dependency_, James Nisbet & Co., Ltd., London,
1906, p. 17.]

If now we come to America, we find the Negro influence upon the Indian
to be so strong as to call in question all current conceptions of
American archæology and so early as to suggest the coming of men from
the Guinea Coast perhaps even before the coming of Columbus.[1] The
first natives of Africa to come were Mandingoes; many of the words
used by the Indians in their daily life appear to be not more than
corruptions or adaptations of words used by the tribes of Africa; and
the more we study the remains of those who lived in America before 1492,
and the far-reaching influence of African products and habits, the more
must we acknowledge the strength of the position of the latest thesis.
This whole subject will doubtless receive much more attention from
scholars, but in any case it is evident that the demands of Negro
culture can no longer be lightly regarded or brushed aside, and that as
a scholarly contribution to the subject Wiener's work is of the very
highest importance.

[Footnote 1: See Wiener, I, 178.]

2. _The Negro in Spanish Exploration_

When we come to Columbus himself, the accuracy of whose accounts has so
recently been questioned, we find a Negro, Pedro Alonso Niño, as the
pilot of one of the famous three vessels. In 1496 Niño sailed to Santo
Domingo and he was also with Columbus on his third voyage. With two men,
Cristóbal de la Guerra, who served as pilot, and Luís de la Guerra,
a Spanish merchant, in 1499 he planned what proved to be the first
successful commercial voyage to the New World.

The revival of slavery at the close of the Middle Ages and the beginning
of the system of Negro slavery were due to the commercial expansion of
Portugal in the fifteenth century. The very word _Negro_ is the modern
Spanish and Portuguese form of the Latin _niger_. In 1441 Prince Henry
sent out one Gonzales, who captured three Moors on the African coast.
These men offered as ransom ten Negroes whom they had taken. The Negroes
were taken to Lisbon in 1442, and in 1444 Prince Henry regularly began
the European trade from the Guinea Coast. For fifty years his country
enjoyed a monopoly of the traffic. By 1474 Negroes were numerous in
Spain, and special interest attaches to Juan de Valladolid, probably the
first of many Negroes who in time came to have influence and power over
their people under the authority of a greater state. He was addressed as
"judge of all the Negroes and mulattoes, free or slaves, which are in
the very loyal and noble city of Seville, and throughout the whole
archbishopric thereof." After 1500 there are frequent references to
Negroes, especially in the Spanish West Indies. Instructions to Ovando,
governor of Hispaniola, in 1501, prohibited the passage to the Indies of
Jews, Moors, or recent converts, but authorized him to take over Negro
slaves who had been born in the power of Christians. These orders were
actually put in force the next year. Even the restricted importation
Ovando found inadvisable, and he very soon requested that Negroes be not
sent, as they ran away to the Indians, with whom they soon made friends.
Isabella accordingly withdrew her permission, but after her death
Ferdinand reverted to the old plan and in 1505 sent to Ovando seventeen
Negro slaves for work in the copper-mines, where the severity of the
labor was rapidly destroying the Indians. In 1510 Ferdinand directed
that fifty Negroes be sent immediately, and that more be sent later; and
in April of this year over a hundred were bought in the Lisbon market.
This, says Bourne,[1] was the real beginning of the African slave-trade
to America. Already, however, as early as 1504, a considerable number
of Negroes had been introduced from Guinea because, as we are informed,
"the work of one Negro was worth more than that of four Indians." In
1513 thirty Negroes assisted Balboa in building the first ships made on
the Pacific Coast of America. In 1517 Spain formally entered upon the
traffic, Charles V on his accession to the throne granting "license
for the introduction of Negroes to the number of four hundred," and
thereafter importation to the West Indies became a thriving industry.
Those who came in these early years were sometimes men of considerable
intelligence, having been trained as Mohammedans or Catholics. By 1518
Negroes were at work in the sugar-mills in Hispaniola, where they seem
to have suffered from indulgence in drinks made from sugarcane. In 1521
it was ordered that Negro slaves should not be employed on errands as
in general these tended to cultivate too close acquaintance with the
Indians. In 1522 there was a rebellion on the sugar plantations in
Hispaniola, primarily because the services of certain Indians were
discontinued. Twenty Negroes from the Admiral's mill, uniting with
twenty others who spoke the same language, killed a number of
Christians. They fled and nine leagues away they killed another Spaniard
and sacked a house. One Negro, assisted by twelve Indian slaves, also
killed nine other Christians. After much trouble the Negroes were
apprehended and several of them hanged. It was about 1526 that Negroes
were first introduced within the present limits of the United States,
being brought to a colony near what later became Jamestown, Va. Here the
Negroes were harshly treated and in course of time they rose against
their oppressors and fired their houses. The settlement was broken up,
and the Negroes and their Spanish companions returned to Hispaniola,
whence they had come. In 1540, in Quivira, in Mexico, there was a
Negro who had taken holy orders; and in 1542 there were established at
Guamanga three brotherhoods of the True Cross of Spaniards, one being
for Indians and one for Negroes.

[Footnote 1: _Spain in America_, Vol. 3 in American Nation Series, p.

The outstanding instance of a Negro's heading in exploration is that of
Estévanico (or Estévanillo, or Estévan, that is, Stephen), one of the
four survivors of the ill-fated expedition of De Narvaez, who sailed
from Spain, June 17, 1527. Having returned to Spain after many years of
service in the New World, Pamfilo de Narvaez petitioned for a grant, and
accordingly the right to conquer and colonize the country between the
Rio de las Palmas, in eastern Mexico, and Florida was accorded him.[1]
His force originally consisted of six hundred soldiers and
colonists. The whole conduct of the expedition--incompetent in the
extreme--furnished one of the most appalling tragedies of early
exploration in America. The original number of men was reduced by half
by storms and hurricanes and desertions in Santo Domingo and Cuba, and
those who were left landed in April, 1528, near the entrance to Tampa
Bay, on the west coast of Florida. One disaster followed another in the
vicinity of Pensacola Bay and the mouth of the Mississippi until at
length only four men survived. These were Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca;
Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, a captain of infantry; Alonzo del Castillo
Maldonado; and Estévanico, who had originally come from the west
coast of Morocco and who was a slave of Dorantes. These men had most
remarkable adventures in the years between 1528 and 1536, and as a
narrative of suffering and privation Cabeza de Vaca's _Journal_ has
hardly an equal in the annals of the continent. Both Dorantes and
Estévanico were captured, and indeed for a season or two all four men
were forced to sojourn among the Indians. They treated the sick, and
with such success did they work that their fame spread far and wide
among the tribes. Crowds followed them from place to place, showering
presents upon them. With Alonzo de Castillo, Estévanico sojourned for
a while with the Yguazes, a very savage tribe that killed its own male
children and bought those of strangers. He at length escaped from these
people and spent several months with the Avavares. He afterwards went
with De Vaca to the Maliacones, only a short distance from the Avavares,
and still later he accompanied Alonzo de Castillo in exploring the
country toward the Rio Grande. He was unexcelled as a guide who could
make his way through new territory. In 1539 he went with Fray Marcos of
Nice, the Father Provincial of the Franciscan order in New Spain, as a
guide to the Seven Cities of Cibola, the villages of the ancestors of
the present Zuñi Indians in western New Mexico. Preceding Fray Marcos
by a few days and accompanied by natives who joined him on the way, he
reached Háwikuh, the southern-most of the seven towns. Here he and all
but three of his Indian followers were killed.

[Footnote 1: Frederick W. Hodge, 3, in _Spanish Explorers in the
Southern United States_, 1528-1543, in "Original Narratives of Early
American History," Scribner's, New York, 1907. Both the Narrative of
Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and the Narrative of the Expedition of
Coronado, by Pedro de Casteñada, are edited by Hodge, with illuminating

3. _Development of the Slave-Trade_

Portugal and Spain having demonstrated that the slave-trade was
profitable, England also determined to engage in the traffic; and as
early as 1530 William Hawkins, a merchant of Plymouth, visited the
Guinea Coast and took away a few slaves. England really entered the
field, however, with the voyage in 1562 of Captain John Hawkins, son of
William, who in October of this year also went to the coast of Guinea.
He had a fleet of three ships and one hundred men, and partly by the
sword and partly by other means he took three hundred or more Negroes,
whom he took to Santo Domingo and sold profitably.[1] He was richly
laden going homeward and some of his stores were seized by Spanish
vessels. Hawkins made two other voyages, one in 1564, and another,
with Drake, in 1567. On his second voyage he had four armed ships, the
largest being the _Jesus_, a vessel of seven hundred tons, and a force
of one hundred and seventy men. December and January (1564-5) he spent
in picking up freight, and by sickness and fights with the Negroes he
lost many of his men. Then at the end of January he set out for the
West Indies. He was becalmed for twenty-one days, but he arrived at the
Island of Dominica March 9. He traded along the Spanish coasts and on
his return to England he touched at various points in the West Indies
and sailed along the coast of Florida. On his third voyage he had five
ships. He himself was again in command of the _Jesus_, while Drake
was in charge of the _Judith_, a little vessel of fifty tons. He got
together between four and five hundred Negroes and again went to
Dominica. He had various adventures and at last was thrown by a storm on
the coast of Mexico. Here after three days he was attacked by a Spanish
fleet of twelve vessels, and all of his ships were destroyed except the
_Judith_ and another small vessel, the _Minion_, which was so crowded
that one hundred men risked the dangers on land rather than go to
sea with her. On this last voyage Hawkins and Drake had among their
companions the Earls of Pembroke and Leicester, who were then, like
other young Elizabethans, seeking fame and fortune. It is noteworthy
that in all that he did Hawkins seems to have had no sense of cruelty or
wrong. He held religious services morning and evening, and in the spirit
of the later Cromwell he enjoined upon his men to "serve God daily, love
one another, preserve their victuals, beware of fire, and keep good
company." Queen Elizabeth evidently regarded the opening of the
slave-trade as a worthy achievement, for after his second voyage she
made Hawkins a knight, giving him for a crest the device of a Negro's
head and bust with the arms securely bound.

[Footnote 1: Edward E. Hale in Justin Winsor's _Narrative and Critical
History of America_, III, 60.]

France joined in the traffic in 1624, and then Holland and Denmark, and
the rivalry soon became intense. England, with her usual aggressiveness,
assumed a commanding position, and, much more than has commonly been
supposed, the Navigation Ordinance of 1651 and the two wars with the
Dutch in the seventeenth century had as their basis the struggle for
supremacy in the slave-trade. The English trade proper began with the
granting of rights to special companies, to one in 1618, to another in
1631, and in 1662 to the "Company of Royal Adventurers," rechartered
in 1672 as the "Royal African Company," to which in 1687 was given the
exclusive right to trade between the Gold Coast and the British colonies
in America. James, Duke of York, was interested in this last company,
and it agreed to supply the West Indies with three thousand slaves
annually. In 1698, on account of the incessant clamor of English
merchants, the trade was opened generally, and any vessel carrying the
British flag was by act of Parliament permitted to engage in it on
payment of a duty of 10 per cent on English goods exported to Africa.
New England immediately engaged in the traffic, and vessels from Boston
and Newport went forth to the Gold Coast laden with hogsheads of rum. In
course of time there developed a three-cornered trade by which molasses
was brought from the West Indies to New England, made into rum to be
taken to Africa and exchanged for slaves, the slaves in turn being
brought to the West Indies or the Southern colonies.[1] A slave
purchased for one hundred gallons of rum worth £10 brought from £20 to
£50 when offered for sale in America.[2] Newport soon had twenty-two
still houses, and even these could not satisfy the demand. England
regarded the slave-trade as of such importance that when in 1713 she
accepted the Peace of Utrecht she insisted on having awarded to her for
thirty years the exclusive right to transport slaves to the Spanish
colonies in America. When in the course of the eighteenth century the
trade became fully developed, scores of vessels went forth each year
to engage in it; but just how many slaves were brought to the present
United States and how many were taken to the West Indies or South
America, it is impossible to say. In 1726 the three cities of London,
Bristol, and Liverpool alone had 171 ships engaged in the traffic, and
the profits were said to warrant a thousand more, though such a number
was probably never reached so far as England alone was concerned.[3]

[Footnote 1: Bogart: _Economic History_, 72.]

[Footnote 2: Coman: _Industrial History_, 78.]

[Footnote 3: Ballagh: _Slavery in Virginia, 12_.]

4. _Planting of Slavery in the Colonies_

It is only for Virginia that we can state with definiteness the year
in which Negro slaves were first brought to an English colony on the
mainland. When legislation on the subject of slavery first appears
elsewhere, slaves are already present. "About the last of August
(1619)," says John Rolfe in John Smith's _Generall Historie_, "came in a
Dutch man of warre, that sold us twenty Negars." These Negroes were
sold into servitude, and Virginia did not give statutory recognition to
slavery as a system until 1661, the importations being too small to make
the matter one of importance. In this year, however, an act of assembly
stated that Negroes were "incapable of making satisfaction for the time
lost in running away by addition of time"; [1] and thus slavery gained a
firm place in the oldest of the colonies.

[Footnote 1: Hening: _Statutes_, II, _26_.]

Negroes were first imported into Massachusetts from Barbadoes a year or
two before 1638, but in John Winthrop's _Journal_, under date February
26 of this year, we have positive evidence on the subject as follows:
"Mr. Pierce in the Salem ship, the _Desire_, returned from the West
Indies after seven months. He had been at Providence, and brought some
cotton, and tobacco, and Negroes, etc., from thence, and salt from
Tertugos. Dry fish and strong liquors are the only commodities for those
parts. He met there two men-of-war, sent forth by the lords, etc., of
Providence with letters of mart, who had taken divers prizes from the
Spaniard and many Negroes." It was in 1641 that there was passed in
Massachusetts the first act on the subject of slavery, and this was the
first positive statement in any of the colonies with reference to
the matter. Said this act: "There shall never be any bond slavery,
villeinage, nor captivity among us, unless it be lawful captives, taken
in just wars, and such strangers as willingly sell themselves or are
sold to us, and these shall have all the liberties and Christian usages
which the law of God established in Israel requires." This article
clearly sanctioned slavery. Of the three classes of persons referred to,
the first was made up of Indians, the second of white people under the
system of indenture, and the third of Negroes. In this whole matter, as
in many others, Massachusetts moved in advance of the other colonies.
The first definitely to legalize slavery, in course of time she became
also the foremost representative of sentiment against the system. In
1646 one John Smith brought home two Negroes from the Guinea Coast,
where we are told he "had been the means of killing near a hundred
more." The General Court, "conceiving themselves bound by the first
opportunity to bear witness against the heinous and crying sin of
man-stealing," ordered that the Negroes be sent at public expense to
their native country.[1] In later cases, however, Massachusetts did not
find herself able to follow this precedent. In general in these early
years New England was more concerned about Indians than about Negroes,
as the presence of the former in large numbers was a constant menace,
while Negro slavery had not yet assumed its most serious aspects.

[Footnote 1: Coffin: _Slave Insurrections_, 8.]

In New York slavery began under the Dutch rule and continued under the
English. Before or about 1650 the Dutch West India Company brought some
Negroes to New Netherland. Most of these continued to belong to the
company, though after a period of labor (under the common system of
indenture) some of the more trusty were permitted to have small farms,
from the produce of which they made return to the company. Their
children, however, continued to be slaves. In 1664 New Netherland became
New York. The next year, in the code of English laws that was drawn
up, it was enacted that "no Christian shall be kept in bond slavery,
villeinage, or captivity, except who shall be judged thereunto by
authority, or such as willingly have sold or shall sell themselves." As
at first there was some hesitancy about making Negroes Christians, this
act, like the one in Massachusetts, by implication permitted slavery.

It was in 1632 that the grant including what is now the states of
Maryland and Delaware was made to George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore.
Though slaves are mentioned earlier, it was in 1663-4 that the Maryland
Legislature passed its first enactment on the subject of slavery. It was
declared that "all Negroes and other slaves within this province, and
all Negroes and other slaves to be hereinafter imported into this
province, shall serve during life; and all children born of any Negro
or other slave, shall be slaves as their fathers were, for the term of
their lives."

In Delaware and New Jersey the real beginnings of slavery are unusually
hazy. The Dutch introduced the system in both of these colonies. In the
laws of New Jersey the word _slaves_ occurs as early as 1664, and acts
for the regulation of the conduct of those in bondage began with the
practical union of the colony with New York in 1702. The lot of the
slave was somewhat better here than in most of the colonies. Although
the system was in existence in Delaware almost from the beginning of the
colony, it did not receive legal recognition until 1721, when there was
passed an act providing for the trial of slaves in a special court with
two justices and six freeholders.

As early as 1639 there are incidental reference to Negroes in
Pennsylvania, and there are frequent references after this date.[1] In
this colony there were strong objections to the importing of Negroes in
spite of the demand for them. Penn in his charter to the Free Society of
Traders in 1682 enjoined upon the members of this company that if they
held black slaves these should be free at the end of fourteen years,
the Negroes then to become the company's tenants.[2] In 1688 there
originated in Germantown a protest against Negro slavery that was "the
first formal action ever taken against the barter in human flesh within
the boundaries of the United States." [3] Here a small company of
Germans was assembled April 18, 1688, and there was drawn up a document
signed by Garret Hendericks, Franz Daniel Pastorius, Dirck Op den
Graeff, and Abraham Op den Graeff. The protest was addressed to the
monthly meeting of the Quakers about to take place in Lower Dublin.
The monthly meeting on April 30 felt that it could not pretend to take
action on such an important matter and referred it to the quarterly
meeting in June. This in turn passed it on to the yearly meeting, the
highest tribunal of the Quakers. Here it was laid on the table, and
for the next few years nothing resulted from it. About 1696, however,
opposition to slavery on the part of the Quakers began to be active. In
the colony at large before 1700 the lot of the Negro was regularly
one of servitude. Laws were made for servants, white or black, and
regulations and restrictions were largely identical. In 1700, however,
legislation began more definitely to fix the status of the slave. In
this year an act of the legislature forbade the selling of Negroes out
of the province without their consent, but in other ways it denied the
personality of the slave. This act met further formal approval in 1705,
when special courts were ordained for the trial and punishment of
slaves, and when importation from Carolina was forbidden on the ground
that it made trouble with the Indians nearer home. In 1700 a maximum
duty of 20s. was placed on each Negro imported, and in 1705 this was
doubled, there being already some competition with white labor. In 1712
the Assembly sought to prevent importation altogether by a duty of £20
a head. This act was repealed in England, and a duty of £5 in 1715 was
also repealed. In 1729, however, the duty was fixed at £2, at which
figure it remained for a generation.

[Footnote 1: Turner: _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, 1.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., 21.]

[Footnote 3: Faust: _The German Element in the United States_, Boston,
1909, I, 45.]

It was almost by accident that slavery was officially recognized in
Connecticut in 1650. The code of laws compiled for the colony in this
year was especially harsh on the Indians. It was enacted that certain of
them who incurred the displeasure of the colony might be made to serve
the person injured or "be shipped out and exchanged for Negroes." In
1680 the governor of the colony informed the Board of Trade that "as for
blacks there came sometimes three or four in a year from Barbadoes, and
they are usually sold at the rate of £22 apiece." These people were
regarded rather as servants than as slaves, and early legislation was
mainly in the line of police regulations designed to prevent their
running away.

In 1652 it was enacted in Rhode Island that all slaves brought into the
colony should be set free after ten years of service. This law was not
designed, as might be supposed, to restrict slavery. It was really a
step in the evolution of the system, and the limit of ten years was by
no means observed. "The only legal recognition of the law was in the
series of acts beginning January 4, 1703, to control the wandering of
African slaves and servants, and another beginning in April, 1708, in
which the slave-trade was indirectly legalized by being taxed."[1] "In
course of time Rhode Island became the greatest slave-trader in the
country, becoming a sort of clearing-house for the other colonies."[2]

[Footnote 1: William T. Alexander: History of the Colored Race in
America, New Orleans, 1887, p. 136.]

[Footnote 2: DuBois: Suppression of the Slave-Trade, 34.]

New Hampshire, profiting by the experience of the neighboring colony of
Massachusetts, deemed it best from the beginning to discourage
slavery. There were so few Negroes in the colony as to form a quantity
practically negligible. The system was recognized, however, an act being
passed in 1714 to regulate the conduct of slaves, and another four years
later to regulate that of masters.

In North Carolina, even more than in most of the colonies, the system
of Negro slavery was long controlled by custom rather than by legal
enactment. It was recognized by law in 1715, however, and police
regulations to govern the slaves were enacted. In South Carolina the
history of slavery is particularly noteworthy. The natural resources
of this colony offered a ready home for the system, and the laws here
formulated were as explicit as any ever enacted. Slaves were first
imported from Barbadoes, and their status received official confirmation
in 1682. By 1720 the number had increased to 12,000, the white people
numbering only 9,000. By 1698 such was the fear from the preponderance
of the Negro population that a special act was passed to encourage white
immigration. Legislation "for the better ordering of slaves" was passed
in 1690, and in 1712 the first regular slave law was enacted. Once
before 1713, the year of the Assiento Contract of the Peace of Utrecht,
and several times after this date, prohibitive duties were placed on
Negroes to guard against their too rapid increase. By 1734, however,
importation had again reached large proportions; and in 1740, in
consequence of recent insurrectionary efforts, a prohibitive duty
several times larger than the previous one was placed upon Negroes
brought into the province.

The colony of Georgia was chartered in 1732 and actually founded the
next year. Oglethorpe's idea was that the colony should be a refuge for
persecuted Christians and the debtor classes of England. Slavery was
forbidden on the ground that Georgia was to defend the other English
colonies from the Spaniards on the South, and that it would not be able
to do this if like South Carolina it dissipated its energies in guarding
Negro slaves. For years the development of Georgia was slow, and the
prosperous condition of South Carolina constantly suggested to the
planters that "the one thing needful" for their highest welfare was
slavery. Again and again were petitions addressed to the trustees,
George Whitefield being among those who most urgently advocated the
innovation. Moreover, Negroes from South Carolina were sometimes hired
for life, and purchases were openly made in Savannah. It was not until
1749, however, that the trustees yielded to the request. In 1755 the
legislature passed an act that regulated the conduct of the slaves, and
in 1765 a more regular code was adopted. Thus did slavery finally gain a
foothold in what was destined to become one of the most important of the
Southern states.

For the first fifty or sixty years of the life of the colonies the
introduction of Negroes was slow; the system of white servitude
furnished most of the labor needed, and England had not yet won
supremacy in the slave-trade. It was in the last quarter of the
seventeenth century that importations began to be large, and in the
course of the eighteenth century the numbers grew by leaps and bounds.
In 1625, six years after the first Negroes were brought to the colony,
there were in Virginia only 23 Negroes, 12 male, 11 female. [1] In 1659
there were 300; but in 1683 there were 3,000 and in 1708, 12,000. In
1680 Governor Simon Bradstreet reported to England with reference to
Massachusetts that "no company of blacks or slaves" had been brought
into the province since its beginning, for the space of fifty years,
with the exception of a small vessel that two years previously, after a
twenty months' voyage to Madagascar, had brought hither between forty
and fifty Negroes, mainly women and children, who were sold for £10,
£15, and £20 apiece; occasionally two or three Negroes were brought from
Barbadoes or other islands, and altogether there were in Massachusetts
at the time not more than 100 or 120.

[Footnote 1: _Virginia Magazine of History_, VII, 364.]

The colonists were at first largely opposed to the introduction of
slavery, and numerous acts were passed prohibiting it in Virginia,
Massachusetts, and elsewhere; and in Georgia, as we have seen, it had at
first been expressly forbidden. English business men, however, had no
scruples about the matter. About 1663 a British Committee on
Foreign Plantations declared that "black slaves are the most useful
appurtenances of a plantation," [1] and twenty years later the Lords
Commissioners of Trade stated that "the colonists could not possibly
subsist" without an adequate supply of slaves. Laws passed in the
colonies were regularly disallowed by the crown, and royal governors
were warned that the colonists would not be permitted to "discourage a
traffic so beneficial to the nation." Before 1772 Virginia passed not
less than thirty-three acts looking toward the prohibition of the
importation of slaves, but in every instance the act was annulled by
England. In the far South, especially in South Carolina, we have seen
that there were increasingly heavy duties. In spite of all such efforts
for restriction, however, the system of Negro slavery, once well
started, developed apace.

[Footnote 1: Bogart: _Economic History_, 73.]

In two colonies not among the original thirteen but important in the
later history of the United States, Negroes were present at a very early
date, in the Spanish colony of Florida from the very first, and in the
French colony of Louisiana as soon as New Orleans really began to grow.
Negroes accompanied the Spaniards in their voyages along the South
Atlantic coast early in the sixteenth century, and specially trained
Spanish slaves assisted in the founding of St. Augustine in 1565. The
ambitious schemes in France of the great adventurer, John Law, and
especially the design of the Mississippi Company (chartered 1717)
included an agreement for the importation into Louisiana of six thousand
white persons and three thousand Negroes, the Company having secured
among other privileges the exclusive right to trade with the colony for
twenty-five years and the absolute ownership of all mines in it. The
sufferings of some of the white emigrants from France--the kidnapping,
the revenge, and the chicanery that played so large a part--all make
a story complete in itself. As for the Negroes, it was definitely
stipulated that these should not come from another French colony without
the consent of the governor of that colony. The contract had only begun
to be carried out when Law's bubble burst. However, in June, 1721, there
were 600 Negroes in Louisiana; in 1745 the number had increased to
2020. The stories connected with these people are as tragic and wildly
romantic as are most of the stories in the history of Louisiana. In
fact, this colony from the very first owed not a little of its abandon
and its fascination to the mysticism that the Negroes themselves brought
from Africa. In the midst of much that is apocryphal one or two events
or episodes stand out with distinctness. In 1729, Perier, governor at
the time, testified with reference to a small company of Negroes who
had been sent against the Indians as follows: "Fifteen Negroes in whose
hands we had put weapons, performed prodigies of valor. If the blacks
did not cost so much, and if their labors were not so necessary to the
colony, it would be better to turn them into soldiers, and to dismiss
those we have, who are so bad and so cowardly that they seem to have
been manufactured purposely for this colony[1]." Not always, however,
did the Negroes fight against the Indians. In 1730 some representatives
of the powerful Banbaras had an understanding with the Chickasaws by
which the latter were to help them in exterminating all the white people
and in setting up an independent republic[2]. They were led by a strong
and desperate Negro named Samba. As a result of this effort for freedom
Samba and seven of his companions were broken on the wheel and a woman
was hanged. Already, however, there had been given the suggestion of the
possible alliance in the future of the Indian and the Negro. From the
very first also, because of the freedom from restraint of all the
elements of population that entered into the life of the colony, there
was the beginning of that mixture of the races which was later to tell
so vitally on the social life of Louisiana and whose effects are so
readily apparent even to-day.

[Footnote 1: Gayarré: _History of Louisiana_, I, 435.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., I, 440.]

5. The Wake of the Slave-Ship

Thus it was that Negroes came to America. Thus it was also, we might
say, that the Negro Problem came, though it was not for decades, not
until the budding years of American nationality, that the ultimate
reaches of the problem were realized. Those who came were by no means
all of exactly the same race stock and language. Plantations frequently
exhibited a variety of customs, and sometimes traditional enemies became
brothers in servitude. The center of the colonial slave-trade was the
African coast for about two hundred miles east of the great Niger River.
From this comparatively small region came as many slaves as from all the
rest of Africa together. A number of those who came were of entirely
different race stock from the Negroes; some were Moors, and a very few
were Malays from Madagascar.

The actual procuring of the slaves was by no means as easy a process as
is sometimes supposed. In general the slave mart brought out the most
vicious passions of all who were in any way connected with the traffic.
The captain of a vessel had to resort to various expedients to get his
cargo. His commonest method was to bring with him a variety of gay
cloth, cheap ornaments, and whiskey, which he would give in exchange for
slaves brought to him. His task was most simple when a chieftain of
one tribe brought to him several hundred prisoners of war. Ordinarily,
however, the work was more toilsome, and kidnapping a favorite method,
though individuals were sometimes enticed on vessels. The work was
always dangerous, for the natives along the slave-coast soon became
suspicious. After they had seen some of their tribesmen taken away, they
learned not to go unarmed while a slave-vessel was on the coast, and
very often there were hand-to-hand encounters. It was not long before it
began to be impressed upon those interested in the trade that it was not
good business to place upon the captain of a vessel the responsibility
of getting together three or four hundred slaves, and that it would be
better if he could find his cargo waiting for him when he came. Thus
arose the so-called factories, which were nothing more than warehouses.
Along the coast were placed small settlements of Europeans, whose
business it was to stimulate slave-hunting expeditions, negotiate for
slaves brought in, and see that they were kept until the arrival of the
ships. Practically every nation engaged in the traffic planted factories
of this kind along the West Coast from Cape Verde to the equator; and
thus it was that this part of Africa began to be the most flagrantly
exploited region in the world; thus whiskey and all the other vices of
civilization began to come to a simple and home-loving people.

Once on board the slaves were put in chains two by two. When the ship
was ready to start, the hold of the vessel was crowded with moody and
unhappy wretches who most often were made to crouch so that their knees
touched their chins, but who also were frequently made to lie on their
sides "spoon-fashion." Sometimes the space between floor and ceiling
was still further diminished by the water-barrels; on the top of these
barrels boards were placed, on the boards the slaves had to lie, and
in the little space that remained they had to subsist as well as they
could. There was generally only one entrance to the hold, and provision
for only the smallest amount of air through the gratings on the sides.
The clothing of a captive, if there was any at all, consisted of only
a rag about the loins. The food was half-rotten rice, yams, beans, or
soup, and sometimes bread and meat; the cooking was not good, nor was
any care taken to see that all were fed. Water was always limited, a
pint a day being a generous allowance; frequently no more than a gill
could be had. The rule was to bring the slaves from the hold twice a
day for an airing, about eight o'clock in the morning and four in the
afternoon; but this plan was not always followed. On deck they were made
to dance by the lash, and they were also forced to sing. Thus were born
the sorrow-songs, the last cry of those who saw their homeland vanish
behind them--forever.

Sometimes there were stern fights on board. Sometimes food was refused
in order that death might be hastened. When opportunity served, some
leaped overboard in the hope of being taken back to Africa. Throughout
the night the hold resounded with the moans of those who awoke from
dreams of home to find themselves in bonds. Women became hysterical, and
both men and women became insane. Fearful and contagious diseases broke
out. Smallpox was one of these. More common was ophthalmia, a frightful
inflammation of the eyes. A blind, and hence a worthless, slave was
thrown to the sharks. The putrid atmosphere, the melancholy, and the
sudden transition from heat to cold greatly increased the mortality,
and frequently when morning came a dead and a living slave were found
shackled together. A captain always counted on losing one-fourth of his
cargo. Sometimes he lost a great deal more.

Back on the shore a gray figure with strained gaze watched the ship fade
away--an old woman sadly typical of the great African mother. With her
vision she better than any one else perceived the meaning of it all. The
men with hard faces who came to buy and sell might deceive others, but
not her. In a great vague way she felt that something wrong had attacked
the very heart of her people. She saw men wild with the whiskey of the
Christian nations commit crimes undreamed of before. She did not like
the coast towns; the girl who went thither came not home again, and a
young man was lost to all that Africa held dear. In course of time she
saw every native craft despised, and instead of the fabric that her own
fingers wove her children yearned for the tinsel and the gewgaws of the
trader. She cursed this man, and she called upon all her spirits
to banish the evil. But when at last all was of no avail--when the
strongest youth or the dearest maiden had gone--she went back to her hut
and ate her heart out in the darkness. She wept for her children and
would not be comforted because they were not. Then slowly to the
untutored mind somehow came the promise: "These are they which came out
of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in
the blood of the Lamb.... They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any
more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb
which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them
unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes."



The Negroes who were brought from Africa to America were brought hither
to work, and to work under compulsion; hence any study of their social
life in the colonial era must be primarily a study of their life under
the system of slavery, and of the efforts of individuals to break away
from the same.

1. _Servitude and Slavery_

For the antecedents of Negro slavery in America one must go back to the
system of indentured labor known as servitude. This has been defined
as "a legalized status of Indian, white, and Negro servants preceding
slavery in most, if not all, of the English mainland colonies."[1] A
study of servitude will explain many of the acts with reference to
Negroes, especially those about intermarriage with white people. For the
origins of the system one must go back to social conditions in England
in the seventeenth century. While villeinage had been formally abolished
in England at the middle of the fourteenth century, it still lingered in
remote places, and even if men were not technically villeins they might
be subjected to long periods of service. By the middle of the fifteenth
century the demand for wool had led to the enclosure of many farms
for sheep-raising, and accordingly to distress on the part of many
agricultural laborers. Conditions were not improved early in the
sixteenth century, and they were in fact made more acute, the abolition
of the monasteries doing away with many of the sources of relief. Men
out of work were thrown upon the highways and thus became a menace to
society. In 1564 the price of wheat was 19s. a quarter and wages were
7d. a day. The situation steadily grew worse, and in 1610, while wages
were still the same, wheat was 35s. a quarter. Rents were constantly
rising, moreover, and many persons died from starvation. In the course
of the seventeenth century paupers and dissolute persons more and more
filled the jails and workhouses.

[Footnote 1: _New International Encyclopædia_, Article "Slavery."]

Meanwhile in the young colonies across the sea labor was scarce, and it
seemed to many an act of benevolence to bring from England persons who
could not possibly make a living at home and give them some chance in
the New World. From the very first, children, and especially young
people between the ages of twelve and twenty, were the most desired. The
London Company undertook to meet half of the cost of the transportation
and maintenance of children sent out by parish authorities, the
understanding being that it would have the service of the same until
they were of age.[1] The Company was to teach each boy a trade and when
his freedom year arrived was to give to each one fifty acres, a cow,
some seed corn, tools, and firearms. He then became the Company's
tenant, for seven years more giving to it one-half of his produce, at
the end of which time he came into full possession of twenty-five acres.
After the Company collapsed individuals took up the idea. Children under
twelve years of age might be bound for seven years, and persons over
twenty-one for no more than four; but the common term was five years.

[Footnote 1: Coman: _Industrial History_, 42.]

Under this system fell servants voluntary and involuntary. Hundreds of
people, too poor to pay for their transportation, sold themselves for
a number of years to pay for the transfer. Some who were known as
"freewillers" had some days in which to dispose of themselves to the
best advantage in America; if they could not make satisfactory terms,
they too were sold to pay for the passage. More important from the
standpoint of the system itself, however, was the number of involuntary
servants brought hither. Political offenders, vagrants, and other
criminals were thus sent to the colonies, and many persons, especially
boys and girls, were kidnapped in the streets of London and "spirited"
away. Thus came Irishmen or Scotchmen who had incurred the ire of the
crown, Cavaliers or Roundheads according as one party or the other was
out of power, and farmers who had engaged in Monmouth's rebellion; and
in the year 1680 alone it was estimated that not less than ten thousand
persons were "spirited" away from England. It is easy to see how such
a system became a highly profitable one for shipmasters and those in
connivance with them. Virginia objected to the criminals, and in 1671
the House of Burgesses passed a law against the importing of such
persons, and the same was approved by the governor. Seven years later,
however, it was set aside for the transportation of political offenders.

As having the status of an apprentice the servant could sue in court and
he was regularly allowed "freedom dues" at the expiration of his term.
He could not vote, however, could not bear weapons, and of course
could not hold office. In some cases, especially where the system was
voluntary, servants sustained kindly relations with their masters, a few
even becoming secretaries or tutors. More commonly, however, the lot of
the indentured laborer was a hard one, his food often being only coarse
Indian meal, and water mixed with molasses. The moral effect of the
system was bad in the fate to which it subjected woman and in the
evils resulting from the sale of the labor of children. In this whole
connection, however, it is to be remembered that the standards of the
day were very different from those of our own. The modern humanitarian
impulse had not yet moved the heart of England, and flogging was still
common for soldiers and sailors, criminals and children alike.

The first Negroes brought to the colonies were technically servants, and
generally as Negro slavery advanced white servitude declined. James II,
in fact, did whatever he could to hasten the end of servitude in order
that slavery might become more profitable. Economic forces were with
him, for while a slave varied in price from £10 to £50, the mere cost
of transporting a servant was from £6 to £10. "Servitude became slavery
when to such incidents as alienation, disfranchisement, whipping, and
limited marriage were added those of perpetual service and a denial of
civil, juridical, marital and property rights as well as the denial of
the possession of children."[1] Even after slavery was well established,
however, white men and women were frequently retained as domestic
servants, and the system of servitude did not finally pass in all of its
phases before the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

[Footnote 1: _New International Encyclopædia_, Article "Slavery."]

Negro slavery was thus distinctively an evolution. As the first Negroes
were taken by pirates, the rights of ownership could not legally be
given to those who purchased them; hence slavery by custom preceded
slavery by statute. Little by little the colonies drifted into the
sterner system. The transition was marked by such an act as that in
Rhode Island, which in 1652 permitted a Negro to be bound for ten years.
We have already referred to the Act of Assembly in Virginia in 1661 to
the effect that Negroes were incapable of making satisfaction for time
lost in running away by addition of time. Even before it had become
generally enacted or understood in the colonies, however, that a child
born of slave parents should serve for life, a new question had arisen,
that of the issue of a free person and a slave. This led Virginia in
1662 to lead the way with an act declaring that the status of a child
should be determined by that of the mother,[1] which act both gave to
slavery the sanction of law and made it hereditary. From this time
forth Virginia took a commanding lead in legislation; and it is to be
remembered that when we refer to this province we by no means have
reference to the comparatively small state of to-day, but to the richest
and most populous of the colonies. This position Virginia maintained
until after the Revolutionary War, and not only the present West
Virginia but the great Northwest Territory were included in her domain.

[Footnote 1: Hening: _Statutes_, II, 170.]

The slave had none of the ordinary rights of citizenship; in a criminal
case he could be arrested, tried, and condemned with but one witness
against him, and he could be sentenced without a jury. In Virginia
in 1630 one Hugh Davis was ordered to be "soundly whipped before an
assembly of Negroes and others, for abusing himself to the dishonor of
God and the shame of Christians, by defiling his body in lying with a
Negro."[1] Just ten years afterwards, in 1640, one Robert Sweet was
ordered "to do penance in church, according to the laws of England, for
getting a Negro woman with child, and the woman to be whipped."[2] Thus
from the very beginning the intermixture of the races was frowned upon
and went on all the same. By the time, moreover, that the important acts
of 1661 and 1662 had formally sanctioned slavery, doubt had arisen
in the minds of some Virginians as to whether one Christian could
legitimately hold another in bondage; and in 1667 it was definitely
stated that the conferring of baptism did not alter the condition of a
person as to his bondage or freedom, so that masters, freed from
this doubt, could now "more carefully endeavor the propagation of
Christianity." In 1669 an "act about the casual killing of slaves"
provided that if any slave resisted his master and under the extremity
of punishment chanced to die, his death was not to be considered a
felony and the master was to be acquitted. In 1670 it was made clear
that none but freeholders and housekeepers should vote in the election
of burgesses, and in the same year provision was taken against the
possible ownership of a white servant by a free Negro, who nevertheless
"was not debarred from buying any of his own nation." In 1692 there
was legislation "for the more speedy prosecution of slaves committing
capital crimes"; and this was reënacted in 1705, when some provision was
made for the compensation of owners and when it was further declared
that Negro, mulatto, and Indian slaves within the dominion were "real
estate" and "incapable in law to be witnesses in any cases whatsoever";
and in 1723 there was an elaborate and detailed act "directing the
trial of slaves committing capital crimes, and for the more effectual
punishing conspiracies and insurrections of them, and for the better
government of Negroes, mulattoes, and Indians, bond or free." This
last act specifically stated that no slave should be set free upon
any pretense whatsoever "except for some meritorious services, to be
adjudged and allowed by the governor and council." All this legislation
was soon found to be too drastic and too difficult to enforce, and
modification was inevitable. This came in 1732, when it was made
possible for a slave to be a witness when another slave was on trial
for a capital offense, and in 1744 this provision was extended to civil
cases as well. In 1748 there was a general revision of all existing
legislation, with special provision against attempted insurrections.

[Footnote 1: Hening: _Statutes_, I, 146.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., I, 552.]

Thus did Virginia pave the way, and more and more slave codes took on
some degree of definiteness and uniformity. Very important was the
act of 1705, which provided that a slave might be inventoried as real
estate. As property henceforth there was nothing to prevent his being
separated from his family. Before the law he was no longer a person but
a thing.

2. 737 _The Indian, the Mulatto, and the Free Negro_

All along, it is to be observed, the problem of the Negro was
complicated by that of the Indian. At first there was a feeling that
Indians were to be treated not as Negroes but as on the same basis as
Englishmen. An act in Virginia of 1661-2 summed up this feeling in the
provision that they were not to be sold as servants for any longer time
than English people of the same age, and injuries done to them were to
be duly remedied by the laws of England. About the same time a Powhatan
Indian sold for life was ordered to be set free. An interesting
enactment of 1670 attempted to give the Indian an intermediate status
between that of the Englishman and the Negro slave, as "servants not
being Christians, imported into the colony by shipping" (i.e., Negroes)
were to be slaves for their lives, but those that came by land were to
serve "if boys or girls until thirty years of age; if men or women,
twelve years and no longer." All such legislation, however, was
radically changed as a result of Nathaniel Bacon's rebellion of 1676, in
which the aid of the natives was invoked against the English governor.
Henceforth Indians taken in war became the slaves for life of their
captors. An elaborate act of 1682 summed up the new status, and Indians
sold by other Indians were to be "adjudged, deemed, and taken to be
slaves, to all intents and purposes, any law, usage, or custom to the
contrary notwithstanding." Indian women were to be "tithables,"[1] and
they were required to pay levies just as Negro women. From this time
forth enactments generally included Indians along with Negroes, but of
course the laws placed on the statute books did not always bear close
relation to what was actually enforced, and in general the Indian was
destined to be a vanishing rather than a growing problem. Very early in
the eighteenth century, in connection with the wars between the English
and the Spanish in Florida, hundreds of Indians were shipped to the West
Indies and some to New England. Massachusetts in 1712 prohibited
such importation, as the Indians were "malicious, surly, and very
ungovernable," and she was followed to similar effect by Pennsylvania in
1712, by New Hampshire in 1714, and by Connecticut and Rhode Island in

[Footnote 1: Hurd, commenting on an act of 1649 declaring all imported
male servants to be tithables, speaks as follows (230): "_Tithables_
were persons assessed for a poll-tax, otherwise called the 'county
levies.' At first, only free white persons were tithable. The law of
1645 provided for a tax on property and tithable persons. By 1648
property was released and taxes levied only on the tithables, at
a specified poll-tax. Therefore by classing servants or slaves as
tithables, the law attributes to them legal personality, or a membership
in the social state inconsistent with the condition of a chattel or

If the Indian was destined to be a vanishing factor, the mulatto and the
free Negro most certainly were not. In spite of all the laws to prevent
it, the intermixture of the races increased, and manumission somehow
also increased. Sometimes a master in his will provided that several of
his slaves should be given their freedom. Occasionally a slave became
free by reason of what was regarded as an act of service to the
commonwealth, as in the case of one Will, slave belonging to Robert
Ruffin, of the county of Surry in Virginia, who in 1710 divulged a
conspiracy.[1] There is, moreover, on record a case of an indentured
Negro servant, John Geaween, who by his unusual thrift in the matter of
some hogs which he raised on the share system with his master, was able
as early as 1641 to purchase his own son from another master, to the
perfect satisfaction of all concerned.[2] Of special importance for
some years were those persons who were descendants of Negro fathers and
indentured white mothers, and who at first were of course legally free.
By 1691 the problem had become acute in Virginia. In this year "for
prevention of that abominable mixture and spurious issue, which
hereafter may increase in this dominion, as well by Negroes, mulattoes
and Indians intermarrying with English or other white women, as by their
unlawful accompanying with one another," it was enacted that "for the
time to come whatsoever English or other white man or woman being free
shall intermarry with a Negro, mulatto, or Indian man or woman, bond
or free, shall within three months after such marriage be banished
and removed from this dominion forever, and that the justices of each
respective county within this dominion make it their particular care
that this act be put in effectual execution."[3] A white woman who
became the mother of a child by a Negro or mulatto was to be fined £15
sterling, in default of payment was to be sold for five years, while the
child was to be bound in servitude to the church wardens until thirty
years of age. It was further provided that if any Negro or mulatto was
set free, he was to be transported from the country within six months
of his manumission (which enactment is typical of those that it was
difficult to enforce and that after a while were only irregularly
observed). In 1705 it was enacted that no "Negro, mulatto, or Indian
shall from and after the publication of this act bear any office
ecclesiastical, civil or military, or be in any place of public trust or
power, within this her majesty's colony and dominion of Virginia"; and
to clear any doubt that might arise as to who should be accounted a
mulatto, it was provided that "the child of an Indian, and the child,
grandchild, or great-grandchild of a Negro shall be deemed, accounted,
held, and taken to be a mulatto." It will be observed that while the act
of 1670 said that "none but freeholders and housekeepers" could vote,
this act of 1705 did not specifically legislate against voting by a
mulatto or a free Negro, and that some such privilege was exercised for
a while appears from the definite provision in 1723 that "no free Negro,
mulatto, or Indian, whatsoever, shall hereafter have any vote at the
election of burgesses, or any other election whatsoever." In the same
year it was provided that free Negroes and mulattoes might be employed
as drummers or trumpeters in servile labor, but that they were not to
bear arms; and all free Negroes above sixteen years of age were declared
tithable. In 1769, however, all free Negro and mulatto women were
exempted from levies as tithables, such levies having proved to be
burdensome and "derogatory to the rights of freeborn subjects."

[Footnote 1: Hening: _Statutes_, III, 537.]

[Footnote 2: _Virginia Magazine of History_, X, 281.]

[Footnote 3: The penalty was so ineffective that in 1705 it was changed
simply to imprisonment for six months "without bail or mainprise."]

More than other colonies Maryland seems to have been troubled about the
intermixture of the races; certainly no other phase of slavery here
received so much attention. This was due to the unusual emphasis on
white servitude in the colony. In 1663 it was enacted that any freeborn
woman intermarrying with a slave should serve the master of the slave
during the life of her husband and that any children resulting from
the union were also to be slaves. This act was evidently intended to
frighten the indentured woman from such a marriage. It had a very
different effect. Many masters, in order to prolong the indenture of
their white female servants, encouraged them to marry Negro slaves.
Accordingly a new law in 1681 threw the responsibility not on the
indentured woman but on the master or mistress; in case a marriage took
place between a white woman-servant and a slave, the woman was to be
free at once, any possible issue was to be free, and the minister
performing the ceremony and the master or mistress were to be fined ten
thousand pounds of tobacco. This did not finally dispose of the problem,
however, and in 1715, in response to a slightly different situation, it
was enacted that a white woman who became the mother of a child by a
free Negro father should become a servant for seven years, the father
also a servant for seven years, and the child a servant until thirty-one
years of age. Any white man who begot a Negro woman with child, whether
a free woman or a slave, was to undergo the same penalty as a white
woman--a provision that in course of time was notoriously disregarded.
In 1717 the problem was still unsettled, and in this year it was enacted
that Negroes or mulattoes of either sex intermarrying with white people
were to be slaves for life, except mulattoes born of white women, who
were to serve for seven years, and the white person so intermarrying
also for seven years. It is needless to say that with all these changing
and contradictory provisions many servants and Negroes did not even
know what the law was. In 1728, however, free mulatto women having
illegitimate children by Negroes and other slaves, and free Negro
women having illegitimate children by white men, and their issue, were
subjected to the same penalties as in the former act were provided
against white women. Thus vainly did the colony of Maryland struggle
with the problem of race intermixture. Generally throughout the South
the rule in the matter of the child of the Negro father and the
indentured white mother was that the child should be bound in servitude
for thirty or thirty-one years.

In the North as well as in the South the intermingling of the blood of
the races was discountenanced. In Pennsylvania as early as 1677 a white
servant was indicted for cohabiting with a Negro. In 1698 the Chester
County court laid it down as a principle that the mingling of the races
was not to be allowed. In 1722 a woman was punished for promoting a
secret marriage between a white woman and a Negro; a little later the
Assembly received from the inhabitants of the province a petition
inveighing against cohabiting; and in 1725-6 a law was passed positively
forbidding the mixture of the races.[1] In Massachusetts as early as
1705 and 1708 restraining acts to prevent a "spurious and mixt issue"
ordered the sale of offending Negroes and mulattoes out of the colony's
jurisdiction, and punished Christians who intermarried with them by a
fine of £50. After the Revolutionary War such marriages were declared
void and the penalty of £50 was still exacted, and not until 1843 was
this act repealed. Thus was the color-line, with its social and legal
distinctions, extended beyond the conditions of servitude and slavery,
and thus early was an important phase of the ultimate Negro Problem

[Footnote 1: Turner: _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, 29-30.]

Generally then, in the South, in the colonial period, the free Negro
could not vote, could not hold civil office, could not give testimony in
cases involving white men, and could be employed only for fatigue
duty in the militia. He could not purchase white servants, could not
intermarry with white people, and had to be very circumspect in his
relations with slaves. No deprivation of privilege, however, relieved
him of the obligation to pay taxes. Such advantages as he possessed were
mainly economic. The money gained from his labor was his own; he might
become skilled at a trade; he might buy land; he might buy slaves;[1] he
might even buy his wife and child if, as most frequently happened,
they were slaves; and he might have one gun with which to protect his
home.[2] Once in a long while he might even find some opportunity
for education, as when the church became the legal warden of Negro
apprentices. Frequently he found a place in such a trade as that of
the barber or in other personal service, and such work accounted very
largely for the fact that he was generally permitted to remain in
communities where technically he had no right to be. In the North his
situation was little better than in the South, and along economic lines
even harder. Everywhere his position was a difficult one. He was most
frequently regarded as idle and shiftless, and as a breeder of mischief;
but if he showed unusual thrift he might even be forced to leave his
home and go elsewhere. Liberty, the boon of every citizen, the free
Negro did not possess. For all the finer things of life--the things that
make life worth living--the lot that was his was only less hard than
that of the slave.

[Footnote 1: Russell: _The Free Negro in Virginia_, 32-33, cites from
the court records of Northampton County, 1651-1654 and 1655-1658, the
noteworthy case of a free negro, Anthony Johnson, who had come to
Virginia not later than 1622 and who by 1650 owned a large tract of land
on the Eastern Shore. To him belonged a Negro, John Casor. After several
years of labor Casor demanded his freedom on the ground that from the
first he had been an indentured servant and not a slave. When the case
came up in court, however, not only did Johnson win the verdict that
Casor was his slave, but he also won his suit against Robert Parker, a
white man, who he asserted had illegally detained Casor.]

[Footnote 2: Hening: _Statutes_, IV, 131.]

3. _First Effort for Social Betterment_

If now we turn aside from laws and statutes and consider the ordinary
life and social intercourse of the Negro, we shall find more than one
contradiction, for in the colonial era codes affecting slaves and free
Negroes had to grope their way to uniformity. Especially is it necessary
to distinguish between the earlier and the later years of the period,
for as early as 1760 the liberalism of the Revolutionary era began to be
felt. If we consider what was strictly the colonial epoch, we may find
it necessary to make a division about the year 1705. Before this date
the status of the Negro was complicated by the incidents of the system
of servitude; after it, however, in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and
Massachusetts alike, special discrimination against him on account of
race was given formal recognition.

By 1715 there were in Virginia 23,000 Negroes, and in all the colonies
58,850, or 14 per cent of the total population.[1] By 1756, however,
the Negroes in Virginia numbered 120,156 and the white people but
173,316.[2] Thirty-eight of the forty-nine counties had more Negro than
white tithables, and eleven of the counties had a Negro population
varying from one-fourth to one-half more than the white. A great many of
the Negroes had only recently been imported from Africa, and they were
especially baffling to their masters of course when they conversed in
their native tongues. At first only men were brought, but soon women
came also, and the treatment accorded these people varied all the way
from occasional indulgence to the utmost cruelty. The hours of work
regularly extended from sunrise to sunset, though corn-husking and
rice-beating were sometimes continued after dark, and overseers were
almost invariably ruthless, often having a share in the crops. Those who
were house-servants would go about only partially clad, and the slave
might be marked or branded like one of the lower animals; he was not
thought to have a soul, and the law sought to deprive him of all human
attributes. Holiday amusement consisted largely of the dances that the
Negroes had brought with them, these being accompanied by the beating of
drums and the blowing of horns; and funeral ceremonies featured African
mummeries. For those who were criminal offenders simple execution was
not always considered severe enough; the right hand might first be
amputated, the criminal then hanged and his head cut off, and his body
quartered and the parts suspended in public places. Sometimes the
hanging was in chains, and several instances of burning are on record.
A master was regularly reimbursed by the government for a slave legally
executed, and in 1714 there was a complaint in South Carolina that
the treasury had become almost exhausted by such reimbursements. In
Massachusetts hanging was the worst legal penalty, but the obsolete
common-law punishment was revived in 1755 to burn alive a slave-woman
who had killed her master in Cambridge.[3]

[Footnote 1: Blake: _History of Slavery and the Slave-Trade_, 378.]

[Footnote 2: Ballagh: _Slavery in Virginia_, 12.]

[Footnote 3: Edward Eggleston: "Social Conditions in the Colonies," in
_Century Magazine_, October, 1884, p. 863.]

The relations between the free Negro and the slave might well have given
cause for concern. Above what was after all only an artificial barrier
spoke the call of race and frequently of kindred. Sometimes at a later
date jealousy arose when a master employed a free Negro to work with
his slaves, the one receiving pay and the others laboring without
compensation. In general, however, the two groups worked like brothers,
each giving the other the benefit of any temporary advantage that it
possessed. Sometimes the free Negro could serve by reason of the greater
freedom of movement that he had, and if no one would employ him, or if,
as frequently happened, he was browbeaten and cheated out of the reward
of his labor, the slave might somehow see that he got something to eat.
In a state of society in which the relation of master and slave was the
rule, there was of course little place for either the free Negro or the
poor white man. When the pressure became too great the white man moved
away; the Negro, finding himself everywhere buffeted, in the colonial
era at least had little choice but to work out his salvation at home as
well as he could. More and more character told, and if a man had made
himself known for his industry and usefulness, a legislative act might
even be passed permitting him to remain in the face of a hostile law.
Even before 1700 there were in Virginia families in which both parents
were free colored persons and in which every effort was made to bring up
the children in honesty and morality. When some prosperous Negroes found
themselves able to do so, they occasionally purchased Negroes, who might
be their own children or brothers, in order to give them that protection
without which on account of recent manumission they might be required to
leave the colony in which they were born. Thus, whatever the motive, the
tie that bound the free Negro and the slave was a strong one; and in
spite of the fact that Negroes who owned slaves were generally known
as hard masters, as soon as any men of the race began to be really
prominent their best endeavor was devoted to the advancement of their
people. It was not until immediately after the Revolutionary War,
however, that leaders of vision and statesmanship began to be developed.

It was only the materialism of the eighteenth century that accounted for
the amazing development of the system of Negro slavery, and only this
that defeated the benevolence of Oglethorpe's scheme for the founding
of Georgia. As yet there was no united protest--no general movement for
freedom; and as Von Holst said long afterwards, "If the agitation had
been wholly left to the churches, it would have been long before men
could have rightly spoken of 'a slavery question.'" The Puritans,
however, were not wholly unmindful of the evil, and the Quakers were
untiring in their opposition, though it was Roger Williams who in 1637
made the first protest that appears in the colonies.[1] Both John Eliot
and Cotton Mather were somewhat generally concerned about the harsh
treatment of the Negro and the neglect of his spiritual welfare.
Somewhat more to the point was Richard Baxter, the eminent English
nonconformist, who was a contemporary of both of these men. "Remember,"
said he, in speaking of Negroes and other slaves, "that they are of as
good a kind as you; that is, they are reasonable creatures as well as
you, and born to as much natural liberty. If their sin have enslaved
them to you, yet Nature made them your equals." On the subject of
man-stealing he is even stronger: "To go as pirates and catch up poor
Negroes or people of another land, that never forfeited life or liberty,
and to make them slaves, and sell them, is one of the worst kinds of
thievery in the world." Such statements, however, were not more than the
voice of individual opinion. The principles of the Quakers carried them
far beyond the Puritans, and their history shows what might have been
accomplished if other denominations had been as sincere and as unselfish
as the Society of Friends. The Germantown protest of 1688 has already
been remarked. In 1693 George Keith, in speaking of fugitives, quoted
with telling effect the text, "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master
the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee" (Deut. 23.15).
In 1696 the Yearly Meeting in Pennsylvania first took definite action
in giving as its advice "that Friends be careful not to encourage the
bringing in of any more Negroes; and that such that have Negroes, be
careful of them, bring them to meetings, have meetings with them in
their families, and restrain them from loose and lewd living as much as
in them lies, and from rambling abroad on First-days or other times."[2]
As early as 1713 the Quakers had in mind a scheme for freeing the
Negroes and returning them to Africa, and by 1715 their efforts
against importation had seriously impaired the market for slaves
in Philadelphia. Within a century after the Germantown protest the
abolition of slavery among the Quakers was practically accomplished.

[Footnote 1: For this and the references immediately following note
Locke: _Anti-Slavery in America_, 11-45.]

[Footnote 2: _Brief Statement of the Rise and Progress of the
Testimony of the Religious Society of Friends against Slavery and the
Slave-Trade_, 8.]

In the very early period there seems to have been little objection to
giving a free Negro not only religious but also secular instruction;
indeed he might be entitled to this, as in Virginia, where in 1691 the
church became the agency through which the laws of Negro apprenticeship
were carried out; thus in 1727 it was ordered that David James, a free
Negro boy, be bound to Mr. James Isdel, who was to "teach him to read
the Bible distinctly, also the trade of a gunsmith" and "carry him to
the clerk's office and take indenture to that purpose."[1] In general
the English church did a good deal to provide for the religious
instruction of the free Negro; "the reports made in 1724 to the English
bishop by the Virginia parish ministers are evidence that the few free
Negroes in the parishes were permitted to be baptized, and were received
into the church when they had been taught the catechism."[2] Among
Negroes, moreover, as well as others in the colonies the Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was active. As early as 1705,
in Goose Creek Parish in South Carolina, among a population largely
recently imported from Africa, a missionary had among his communicants
twenty blacks who well understood the English tongue.[3] The most
effective work of the Society, however, was in New York, where as early
as 1704 a school was opened by Elias Neau, a Frenchman who after several
years of imprisonment because of his Protestant faith had come to New
York to try his fortune as a trader. In 1703 he had called the attention
of the Society to the Negroes who were "without God in the world, and of
whose souls there was no manner of care taken," and had suggested the
appointment of a catechist. He himself was prevailed upon to take up the
work and he accordingly resigned his position as an elder in the French
church and conformed to the Church of England. He worked with success
for a number of years, but in 1712 was embarrassed by the charge that
his school fomented the insurrection that was planned in that year. He
finally showed, however, that only one of his students was in any way
connected with the uprising.

[Footnote 1: Russell: _The Free Negro in Virginia_, 138-9.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., 138.]

[Footnote 3: C.E. Pierre, in _Journal of Negro History_, October, 1916,
p. 350.]

From slave advertisements of the eighteenth century[1] we may gain many
sidelights not only on the education of Negroes in the colonial era,
but on their environment and suffering as well. One slave "can write a
pretty good hand; plays on the fife extremely well." Another "can both
read and write and is a good fiddler." Still others speak "Dutch and
good English," "good English and High Dutch," or "Swede and English
well." Charles Thomas of Delaware bore the following remarkable
characterization: "Very black, has white teeth ... has had his left leg
broke ... speaks both French and English, and is a very great rogue."
One man who came from the West Indies "was born in Dominica and speaks
French, but very little English; he is a very ill-natured fellow and has
been much cut in his back by often whipping." A Negro named Simon who in
1740 ran away in Pennsylvania "could bleed and draw teeth pretending to
be a great doctor." Worst of all the incidents of slavery, however, was
the lack of regard for home ties, and this situation of course obtained
in the North as well as the South. In the early part of the eighteenth
century marriages in New York were by mutual consent only, without the
blessing of the church, and burial was in a common field without any
Christian office. In Massachusetts in 1710 Rev. Samuel Phillips drew up
a marriage formulary especially designed for slaves and concluding as
follows: "For you must both of you bear in mind that you remain still,
as really and truly as ever, your master's property, and therefore
it will be justly expected, both by God and man, that you behave
and conduct yourselves as obedient and faithful servants."[2] In
Massachusetts, however, as in New York, marriage was most often by
common consent simply, without the office of ministers.

[Footnote 1: See documents, "Eighteenth Century Slave Advertisements,"
_Journal of Negro History_, April, 1916, 163-216.]

[Footnote 2: Quoted from Williams: Centennial Oration, "The American
Negro from 1776 to 1876," 10.]

As yet there was no racial consciousness, no church, no business
organization, and the chief coöperative effort was in insurrection.
Until the great chain of slavery was thrown off, little independent
effort could be put forth. Even in the state of servitude or slavery,
however, the social spirit of the race yearned to assert itself, and
such an event as a funeral was attractive primarily because of the
social features that it developed. As early as 1693 there is record of
the formation of a distinct society by Negroes. In one of his manuscript
diaries, preserved in the library of the Massachusetts Historical
Society,[1] Cotton Mather in October of this year wrote as follows:
"Besides the other praying and pious meetings which I have been
continually serving in our neighborhood, a little after this period
a company of poor Negroes, of their own accord, addressed me, for my
countenance to a design which they had, of erecting such a meeting for
the welfare of their miserable nation, that were servants among us. I
allowed their design and went one evening and prayed and preached (on
Ps. 68.31) with them; and gave them the following orders, which I insert
duly for the curiosity of the occasion." The Rules to which Mather here
refers are noteworthy as containing not one suggestion of anti-slavery
sentiment, and as portraying the altogether abject situation of the
Negro at the time he wrote; nevertheless the text used was an inspiring
one, and in any case the document must have historical importance as
the earliest thing that has come down to us in the nature of the
constitution or by-laws for a distinctively Negro organization. It is
herewith given entire:

    Rules for the Society of Negroes. 1693.

    We the Miserable Children of Adam, and of Noah, thankfully Admiring
    and Accepting the Free-Grace of GOD, that Offers to Save us from our
    Miseries, by the Lord Jesus Christ, freely Resolve, with His Help,
    to become the Servants of that Glorious LORD.

    And that we may be Assisted in the Service of our Heavenly Master,
    we now join together in a SOCIETY, wherein the following RULES are
    to be observed.

    I. It shall be our Endeavor, to Meet in the _Evening_ after the
    _Sabbath_; and Pray together by Turns, one to Begin, and another to
    Conclude the Meeting; And between the two _Prayers_, a _Psalm_ shall
    be sung, and a _Sermon_ Repeated.

    II. Our coming to the Meeting, shall never be without the _Leave_ of
    such as have Power over us: And we will be Careful, that our Meeting
    may Begin and Conclude between the Hours of _Seven_ and _Nine_; and
    that we may not be _unseasonably Absent_ from the Families whereto
    we pertain.

    III. As we will, with the help of God, at all Times avoid all
    _Wicked Company_, so we will Receive none into our Meeting, but
    such as have sensibly _Reformed_ their lives from all manner of
    Wickedness. And, therefore, None shall be Admitted, without the
    Knowledge and Consent of the _Minister_ of God in this place; unto
    whom we will also carry every Person, that seeks for _Admission_
    among us; to be by Him Examined, Instructed and Exhorted.

    IV. We will, as often as may be, Obtain some Wise and Good Man, of
    the English in the Neighborhood, and especially the Officers of the
    Church, to look in upon us, and by their Presence and Counsel, do
    what they think fitting for us.

    V. If any of our Number fall into the Sin of _Drunkenness_, or
    _Swearing_, or _Cursing_, or _Lying_, or _Stealing_, or notorious
    _Disobedience_ or _Unfaithfulness_ unto their Masters, we will
    Admonish him of his Miscarriage, and Forbid his coming to the
    Meeting, for at least _one Fortnight_; And except he then come with
    great Signs and Hopes of his _Repentance_, we will utterly Exclude
    him, with Blotting his _Name_ out of our list.

    VI. If any of our Society Defile himself with _Fornication_, we will
    give him our _Admonition_; and so, debar him from the Meeting, at
    least half a Year: Nor shall he Return to it, ever any more, without
    Exemplary Testimonies of his becoming a _New Creature_.

    VII. We will, as we have Opportunity, set ourselves to do all the
    Good we can, to the other _Negro-Servants_ in the Town; And if any
    of them should, at unfit Hours, be _Abroad_, much more, if any of
    them should _Run away_ from their Masters, we will afford them
    _no Shelter_: But we will do what in us lies, that they may be
    discovered, and punished. And if any of _us_ are found Faulty in
    this matter, they shall be no longer of _us_.

    VIII. None of our Society shall be _Absent_ from our Meeting,
    without giving a Reason of the Absence; and if it be found, that any
    have pretended unto their _Owners_, that they came unto the Meeting,
    when they were otherwise and elsewhere Employed, we will faithfully
    _Inform_ their Owners, and also do what we can to Reclaim such
    Person from all such Evil Courses for the Future:

    IX. It shall be expected from every one in the Society, that he
    learn the Catechism; And therefore, it shall be one of our usual
    Exercises, for one of us, to ask the _Questions_, and for all the
    rest in their Order, to say the _Answers_ in the Catechism; Either,
    The _New English_ Catechism, or the _Assemblies_ Catechism, or the
    Catechism in the _Negro Christianised_.

[Footnote 1: See _Rules for the Society of Negroes_, 1693, by Cotton
Mather, reprinted, New York, 1888, by George H. Moore.]

4. Early Insurrections

The Negroes who came to America directly from Africa in the eighteenth
century were strikingly different from those whom generations of
servitude later made comparatively docile. They were wild and turbulent
in disposition and were likely at any moment to take revenge for the
great wrong that had been inflicted upon them. The planters in the South
knew this and lived in constant fear of uprisings. When the situation
became too threatening, they placed prohibitive duties on importations,
and they also sought to keep their slaves in subjection by barbarous and
cruel modes of punishment, both crucifixion and burning being legalized
in some early codes. On sea as well as on land Negroes frequently rose
upon those who held them in bondage, and sometimes they actually
won their freedom. More and more, however, in any study of Negro
insurrections it becomes difficult to distinguish between a clearly
organized revolt and what might be regarded as simply a personal crime,
so that those uprisings considered in the following discussion can only
be construed as the more representative of the many attempts for freedom
made by Negro slaves in the colonial era.

In 1687 there was in Virginia a conspiracy among the Negroes in the
Northern Neck that was detected just in time to prevent slaughter, and
in Surry County in 1710 there was a similar plot, betrayed by one of the
conspirators. In 1711, in South Carolina, several Negroes ran away from
their masters and "kept out, armed, robbing and plundering houses and
plantations, and putting the inhabitants of the province in great
fear and terror";[1] and Governor Gibbes more than once wrote to the
legislature about amending the Negro Act, as the one already in
force did "not reach up to some of the crimes" that were daily being
committed. For one Sebastian, "a Spanish Negro," alive or dead, a reward
of £50 was offered, and he was at length brought in by the Indians and
taken in triumph to Charleston. In 1712 in New York occurred an outbreak
that occasioned greater excitement than any uprising that had preceded
it in the colonies. Early in the morning of April 7 some slaves of the
Carmantee and Pappa tribes who had suffered ill-usage, set on fire the
house of Peter van Tilburgh, and, armed with guns and knives, killed and
wounded several persons who came to extinguish the flames. They fled,
however, when the Governor ordered the cannon to be fired to alarm the
town, and they got away to the woods as well as they could, but
not before they had killed several more of the citizens. Some shot
themselves in the woods and others were captured. Altogether eight or
ten white persons were killed, and, aside from those Negroes who had
committed suicide, eighteen or more were executed, several others being
transported. Of those executed one was hanged alive in chains, some were
burned at the stake, and one was left to die a lingering death before
the gaze of the town.

[Footnote 1: Holland: _A Refutation of Calumnies_, 63.]

In May, 1720, some Negroes in South Carolina were fairly well organized
and killed a man named Benjamin Cattle, one white woman, and a little
Negro boy. They were pursued and twenty-three taken and six convicted.
Three of the latter were executed, the other three escaping. In October,
1722, the Negroes near the mouth of the Rappahannock in Virginia
undertook to kill the white people while the latter were assembled in
church, but were discovered and put to flight. On this occasion, as on
most others, Sunday was the day chosen for the outbreak, the Negroes
then being best able to get together. In April, 1723, it was thought
that some fires in Boston had been started by Negroes, and the selectmen
recommended that if more than two Negroes were found "lurking together"
on the streets they should be put in the house of correction. In 1728
there was a well organized attempt in Savannah, then a place of three
thousand white people and two thousand seven hundred Negroes. The plan
to kill all the white people failed because of disagreement as to the
exact method; but the body of Negroes had to be, fired on more than
once before it dispersed. In 1730 there was in Williamsburg, Va., an
insurrection that grew out of a report that Colonel Spotswood had orders
from the king to free all baptized persons on his arrival; men from all
the surrounding counties had to be called in before it could be put

The first open rebellion in South Carolina in which Negroes were
"actually armed and embodied"[1] took place in 1730. The plan was for
each Negro to kill his master in the dead of night, then for all to
assemble supposedly for a dancing-bout, rush upon the heart of the city,
take possession of the arms, and kill any white man they saw. The plot
was discovered and the leaders executed. In this same colony three
formidable insurrections broke out within the one year 1739--one in St.
Paul's Parish, one in St. John's, and one in Charleston. To some extent
these seem to have been fomented by the Spaniards in the South, and in
one of them six houses were burned and as many as twenty-five white
people killed. The Negroes were pursued and fourteen killed. Within two
days "twenty more were killed, and forty were taken, some of whom
were shot, some hanged, and some gibbeted alive."[2] This "examplary
punishment," as Governor Gibbes called it, was by no means effective,
for in the very next year, 1740, there broke out what might be
considered the most formidable insurrection in the South in the whole
colonial period. A number of Negroes, having assembled at Stono, first
surprised, and killed two young men in a warehouse, from which they then
took guns and ammunition.[3] They then elected as captain one of their
own number named Cato, whom they agreed to follow, and they marched
towards the southwest, with drums beating and colors flying, like a
disciplined company. They entered the home of a man named Godfrey, and
having murdered him and his wife and children, they took all the arms he
had, set fire to the house, and proceeded towards Jonesboro. On their
way they plundered and burned every house to which they came, killing
every white person they found and compelling the Negroes to join them.
Governor Bull, who happened to be returning to Charleston from the
southward, met them, and observing them armed, spread the alarm, which
soon reached the Presbyterian Church at Wilton, where a number of
planters was assembled. The women were left in the church trembling with
fear, while the militia formed and marched in quest of the Negroes, who
by this time had become formidable from the number that had joined them.
They had marched twelve miles and spread desolation through all the
plantations on their way. They had then halted in an open field and too
soon had begun to sing and drink and dance by way of triumph. During
these rejoicings the militia discovered them and stationed themselves
in different places around them to prevent their escape. One party then
advanced into the open field and attacked the Negroes. Some were
killed and the others were forced to the woods. Many ran back to the
plantations, hoping thus to avoid suspicion, but most of them were taken
and tried. Such as had been forced to join the uprising against their
will were pardoned, but all of the chosen leaders and the first
insurgents were put to death. All Carolina, we are told, was struck with
terror and consternation by this insurrection, in which more than twenty
white persons were killed. It was followed immediately by the famous and
severe Negro Act of 1740, which among other provisions imposed a duty of
£100 on Africans and £150 on colonial Negroes. This remained technically
in force until 1822, and yet as soon as security and confidence were
restored, there was a relaxation in the execution of the provisions
of the act and the Negroes little by little regained confidence in
themselves and again began to plan and act in concert.

[Footnote 1: Holland: _A Refutation of Calumnies_, 68.]

[Footnote 2: Coffin.]

[Footnote 3: The following account follows mainly Holland, quoting

About the time of Cato's insurrection there were also several uprisings
at sea. In 1731, on a ship returning to Rhode Island from Guinea with a
cargo of slaves, the Negroes rose and killed three of the crew, all the
members of which died soon afterwards with the exception of the captain
and his boy. The next year Captain John Major of Portsmouth, N.H., was
murdered with all his crew, his schooner and cargo being seized by the
slaves. In 1735 the captives on the _Dolphin_ of London, while still on
the coast of Africa, overpowered the crew, broke into the powder room,
and finally in the course of their effort for freedom blew up both
themselves and the crew.

A most remarkable design--as an insurrection perhaps not as formidable
as that of Cato, but in some ways the most important single event in the
history of the Negro in the colonial period--was the plot in the city
of New York in 1741. New York was at the time a thriving town of
twelve thousand inhabitants, and the calamity that now befell it was
unfortunate in every way. It was not only a Negro insurrection, though
the Negro finally suffered most bitterly. It was also a strange compound
of the effects of whiskey and gambling, of the designs of abandoned
white people, and of prejudice against the Catholics.

Prominent in the remarkable drama were John Hughson, a shoemaker and
alehouse keeper; Sarah Hughson, his wife; John Romme, also a shoemaker
and alehouse keeper; Margaret Kerry, alias Salinburgh, commonly known
as Peggy; John Ury, a priest; and a number of Negroes, chief among whom
were Cæsar, Prince, Cuffee, and Quack.[1] Prominent among those who
helped to work out the plot were Mary Burton, a white servant of
Hughson's, sixteen years of age; Arthur Price, a young white man who
at the time of the proceedings happened to be in prison on a charge of
stealing; a young seaman named Wilson; and two white women, Mrs. Earle
and Mrs. Hogg, the latter of whom assisted in the store kept by her
husband, Robert Hogg. Hughson's house on the outskirts of the town was a
resort for Negroes, and Hughson himself aided and abetted the Negro men
in any crime that they might commit. Romme was of similar quality. Peggy
was a prostitute, and it was Cæsar who paid for her board with the
Hughsons. In the previous summer she had found lodging with these
people, a little later she had removed to Romme's, and just before
Christmas she had come back to Hughson's, and a few weeks thereafter she
became a mother. At both the public houses the Negroes would engage in
drinking and gambling; and importance also attaches to an organization
of theirs known as the Geneva Society, which had angered some of the
white citizens by its imitation of the rites and forms of freemasonry.

[Footnote 1: The sole authority on the plot is "A Journal of the
Proceedings in the Detection of the Conspiracy formed by Some White
People, in Conjunction with Negro and other Slaves, for Burning the City
of New York in America, and Murdering the Inhabitants (by Judge Daniel
Horsemanden). New York, 1744."]

Events really began on the night of Saturday, February 28, 1741, with
a robbery in the house of Hogg, the merchant, from which were taken
various pieces of linen and other goods, several silver coins, chiefly
Spanish, and medals, to the value of about £60. On the day before, in
the course of a simple purchase by Wilson, Mrs. Hogg had revealed to the
young seaman her treasure. He soon spoke of the same to Cæsar, Prince,
and Cuffee, with whom he was acquainted; he gave them the plan of the
house, and they in turn spoke of the matter to Hughson. Wilson, however,
when later told of the robbery by Mrs. Hogg, at once turned suspicion
upon the Negroes, especially Cæsar; and Mary Burton testified that she
saw some of the speckled linen in question in Peggy's room after Cæsar
had gone thither.

On Wednesday, March 18, a fire broke out on the roof of His Majesty's
House at Fort George. One week later, on March 25, there was a fire at
the home of Captain Warren in the southwest end of the city, and the
circumstances pointed to incendiary origin. One week later, on April
1, there was a fire in the storehouse of a man named Van Zant; on the
following Saturday evening there was another fire, and while the people
were returning from this there was still another; and on the next day,
Sunday, there was another alarm, and by this time the whole town had
been worked up to the highest pitch of excitement. As yet there was
nothing to point to any connection between the stealing and the fires.
On the day of the last one, however, Mrs. Earle happened to overhear
remarks by three Negroes that caused suspicion to light upon them; Mary
Burton was insisting that stolen goods had been brought by Prince and
Cæsar to the house of her master; and although a search of the home of
Hughson failed to produce a great deal, arrests were made right and
left. The case was finally taken to the Supreme Court, and because of
the white persons implicated, the summary methods ordinarily used in
dealing with Negroes were waived for the time being.

Peggy at first withstood all questioning, denying any knowledge of the
events that had taken place. One day in prison, however, she remarked
to Arthur Price that she was afraid the Negroes would tell but that she
would not forswear herself unless they brought her into the matter. "How
forswear?" asked Price. "There are fourteen sworn," she said. "What,
is it about Mr. Hogg's goods?" he asked. "No," she replied, "about the
fire." "What, Peggy," asked Price, "were you going to set the town on
fire?" "No," she replied, "but since I knew of it they made me swear."
She also remarked that she had faith in Prince, Cuff, and Cæsar. All
the while she used the vilest possible language, and at last, thinking
suddenly that she had revealed too much, she turned upon Price and with
an oath warned him that he had better keep his counsel. That afternoon
she said further to him that she could not eat because Mary had brought
her into the case.

A little later Peggy, much afraid, voluntarily confessed that early in
May she was at the home of John Romme, where in the course of December
the Negroes had had several meetings; among other things they had
conspired to burn the fort first of all, then the city, then to get all
the goods they could and kill anybody who had money. One evening just
about Christmas, she said, Romme and his wife and ten or eleven Negroes
had been together in a room. Romme had talked about how rich some people
were, gradually working on the feelings of the Negroes and promising
them that if they did not succeed in their designs he would take them
to a strange country and set them free, meanwhile giving them the
impression that he bore a charmed life. A little later, it appeared,
Cæsar gave to Hughson £12; Hughson was then absent for three days,
and when he came again he brought with him seven or eight guns, some
pistols, and some swords.

As a result of these and other disclosures it was seen that not only
Hughson and Romme but also Ury, who was not so much a priest as an
adventurer, had instigated the plots of the Negroes; and Quack testified
that Hughson was the first contriver of the plot to burn the houses of
the town and kill the people, though he himself, he confessed, did fire
the fort with a lighted stick. The punishment was terrible. Quack and
Cuffee, the first to be executed, were burned at the stake on May
30. All through the summer the trials and the executions continued,
harassing New York and indeed the whole country. Altogether twenty white
persons were arrested; four--Hughson, his wife, Peggy, and Ury--were
executed, and some of their acquaintances were forced to leave the
province. One hundred and fifty-four Negroes were arrested. Thirteen
were burned, eighteen were hanged, and seventy-one transported.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is evident from these events and from the legislation of the era
that, except for the earnest work of such a sect as the Quakers, there
was little genuine effort for the improvement of the social condition
of the Negro people in the colonies. They were not even regarded as
potential citizens, and both in and out of the system of slavery were
subjected to the harshest regulations. Towards amicable relations with
the other racial elements that were coming to build up a new country
only the slightest measure of progress was made. Instead, insurrection
after insurrection revealed the sharpest antagonism, and any outbreak
promptly called forth the severest and frequently the most cruel



1. _Sentiment in England and America_

The materialism of the eighteenth century, with all of its evils, at
length produced a liberalism of thought that was to shake to their very
foundations old systems of life in both Europe and America. The progress
of the cause of the Negro in this period is to be explained by the
general diffusion of ideas that made for the rights of man everywhere.
Cowper wrote his humanitarian poems; in close association with the
romanticism of the day the missionary movement in religion began to
gather force; and the same impulse which in England began the agitation
for a free press and for parliamentary reform, and which in France
accounted for the French Revolution, in America led to the revolt from
Great Britain. No patriot could come under the influence of any one
of these movements without having his heart and his sense of justice
stirred to some degree in behalf of the slave. At the same time it must
be remembered that the contest of the Americans was primarily for the
definite legal rights of Englishmen rather than for the more abstract
rights of mankind which formed the platform of the French Revolution;
hence arose the great inconsistency in the position of men who were
engaged in a stern struggle for liberty at the same time that they
themselves were holding human beings in bondage.

In England the new era was formally signalized by an epoch-making
decision. In November, 1769, Charles Stewart, once a merchant in Norfolk
and later receiver general of the customs of North America, took to
England his Negro slave, James Somerset, who, being sick, was turned
adrift by his master. Later Somerset recovered and Stewart seized him,
intending to have him borne out of the country and sold in Jamaica.
Somerset objected to this and in so doing raised the important legal
question, Did a slave by being brought to England become free? The case
received an extraordinary amount of attention, for everybody realized
that the decision would be far-reaching in its consequences. After it
was argued at three different sittings, Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of
England, in 1772 handed down from the Court of King's Bench the judgment
that as soon as ever any slave set his foot upon the soil of England he
became free.

This decision may be taken as fairly representative of the general
advance that the cause of the Negro was making in England at the time.
Early in the century sentiment against the slave-trade had begun to
develop, many pamphlets on the evils of slavery were circulated, and as
early as 1776 a motion for the abolition of the trade was made in the
House of Commons. John Wesley preached against the system, Adam Smith
showed its ultimate expensiveness, and Burke declared that the slavery
endured by the Negroes in the English settlements was worse than that
ever suffered by any other people. Foremost in the work of protest were
Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce, the one being the leader in
investigation and in the organization of the movement against slavery
while the other was the parliamentary champion of the cause. For
years, assisted by such debaters as Burke, Fox, and the younger Pitt,
Wilberforce worked until on March 25, 1807, the bill for the abolition
of the slave-trade received the royal assent, and still later until
slavery itself was abolished in the English dominions (1833).

This high thought in England necessarily found some reflection in
America, where the logic of the position of the patriots frequently
forced them to take up the cause of the slave. As early as 1751 Benjamin
Franklin, in his _Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind_,
pointed out the evil effects of slavery upon population and the
production of wealth; and in 1761 James Otis, in his argument against
the Writs of Assistance, spoke so vigorously of the rights of black men
as to leave no doubt as to his own position. To Patrick Henry slavery
was a practice "totally repugnant to the first impressions of right and
wrong," and in 1777 he was interested in a plan for gradual emancipation
received from his friend, Robert Pleasants. Washington desired nothing
more than "to see some plan adopted by which slavery might be abolished
by law"; while Joel Barlow in his _Columbiad_ gave significant warning
to Columbia of the ills that she was heaping up for herself.

Two of the expressions of sentiment of the day, by reason of their deep
yearning and philosophic calm, somehow stand apart from others. Thomas
Jefferson in his _Notes on Virginia_ wrote: "The whole commerce between
master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous
passions; the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading
submission on the other.... The man must be a prodigy who can retain his
manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances.... I tremble for my
country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice can not sleep
forever; that considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a
revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is
among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural
interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us
in such a contest."[1] Henry Laurens, that fine patriot whose business
sense was excelled only by his idealism, was harassed by the problem and
wrote to his son, Colonel John Laurens, as follows: "You know, my dear
son, I abhor slavery. I was born in a country where slavery had been
established by British kings and parliaments, as well as by the laws of
that country ages before my existence. I found the Christian religion
and slavery growing under the same authority and cultivation. I
nevertheless disliked it. In former days there was no combating the
prejudices of men supported by interest; the day I hope is approaching
when, from principles of gratitude as well as justice, every man will
strive to be foremost in showing his readiness to comply with the golden
rule. Not less than twenty thousand pounds sterling would all my Negroes
produce if sold at public auction to-morrow. I am not the man who
enslaved them; they are indebted to Englishmen for that favor;
nevertheless I am devising means for manumitting many of them, and for
cutting off the entail of slavery. Great powers oppose me--the laws and
customs of my country, my own and the avarice of my countrymen. What
will my children say if I deprive them of so much estate? These are
difficulties, but not insuperable. I will do as much as I can in my
time, and leave the rest to a better hand."[2] Stronger than all else,
however, were the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence: "We
hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal;
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Within the years to come these words were to be denied and assailed as
perhaps no others in the language; but in spite of all they were to
stand firm and justify the faith of 1776 before Jefferson himself and
others had become submerged in a gilded opportunism.

[Footnote 1: "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, issued under the
auspices of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association," 20 vols.,
Washington, 1903, II, 226-227.]

[Footnote 2: "A South Carolina Protest against Slavery (being a letter
written from Henry Laurens, second president of the Continental
Congress, to his son, Colonel John Laurens; dated Charleston, S.C.,
August 14th, 1776)." Reprinted by G.P. Putnam, New York, 1861.]

It is not to be supposed that such sentiments were by any means general;
nevertheless these instances alone show that some men at least in
the colonies were willing to carry their principles to their logical
conclusion. Naturally opinion crystallized in formal resolutions or
enactments. Unfortunately most of these were in one way or another
rendered ineffectual after the war; nevertheless the main impulse that
they represented continued to live. In 1769 Virginia declared that the
discriminatory tax levied on free Negroes and mulattoes since 1668 was
"derogatory to the rights of freeborn subjects" and accordingly should
be repealed. In October, 1774, the First Continental Congress declared
in its Articles of Association that the united colonies would "neither
import nor purchase any slave imported after the first day of December
next" and that they would "wholly discontinue the trade." On April 16,
1776, the Congress further resolved that "no slaves be imported into any
of the thirteen colonies"; and the first draft of the Declaration of
Independence contained a strong passage censuring the King of England
for bringing slaves into the country and then inciting them to rise
against their masters. On April 14, 1775, the first abolition society in
the country was organized in Pennsylvania; in 1778 Virginia once more
passed an act prohibiting the slave-trade; and the Methodist Conference
in Baltimore in 1780 strongly expressed its disapproval of slavery.

2. _The Negro in the War_

As in all the greater wars in which the country has engaged, the
position of the Negro was generally improved by the American Revolution.
It was not by reason of any definite plan that this was so, for in
general the disposition of the government was to keep him out of the
conflict. Nevertheless between the hesitating policy of America and the
overtures of England the Negro made considerable advance.

The American cause in truth presented a strange and embarrassing
dilemma, as we have remarked. In the war itself, moreover, began the
stern cleavage between the North and the South. At the moment the rift
was not clearly discerned, but afterwards it was to widen into a chasm.
Massachusetts bore more than her share of the struggle, and in the South
the combination of Tory sentiment and the aristocratic social system
made enlistment especially difficult. In this latter section, moreover,
there was always the lurking fear of an uprising of the slaves, and
before the end of the war came South Carolina and Georgia were very
nearly demoralized. In the course of the conflict South Carolina lost
not less than 25,000 slaves,[1] about one-fifth of all she had. Georgia
did not lose so many, but proportionally suffered even more. Some of the
Negroes went into the British army, some went away with the loyalists,
and some took advantage of the confusion and escaped to the Indians.
In Virginia, until they were stopped at least, some slaves entered the
Continental Army as free Negroes.

[Footnote 1: Historical Notes on the Employment of Negroes in the
American Army of the Revolution, by G.H. Moore, New York, 1862, p. 15.]

Three or four facts are outstanding. The formal policy of Congress and
of Washington and his officers was against the enlistment of Negroes and
especially of slaves; nevertheless, while things were still uncertain,
some Negroes entered the regular units. The inducements offered by the
English, moreover, forced a modification of the American policy in
actual operation; and before the war was over the colonists were so hard
pressed that in more ways than one they were willing to receive the
assistance of Negroes. Throughout the North Negroes served in the
regular units; but while in the South especially there was much thought
given to the training of slaves, in only one of all the colonies was
there a distinctively Negro military organization, and that one was
Rhode Island. In general it was understood that if a slave served in the
war he was to be given his freedom, and it is worthy of note that many
slaves served in the field instead of their masters.

In Massachusetts on May 29, 1775, the Committee of Safety passed an act
against the enlistment of slaves as "inconsistent with the principles
that are to be supported." Another resolution of June 6 dealing with the
same matter was laid on the table. Washington took command of the forces
in and about Boston July 3, 1775, and on July 10 issued instructions
to the recruiting officers in Massachusetts against the enlisting of
Negroes. Toward the end of September there was a spirited debate in
Congress over a letter to go to Washington, the Southern delegates, led
by Rutledge of South Carolina, endeavoring to force instructions to the
commander-in-chief to discharge all slaves and free Negroes in the
army. A motion to this effect failed to win a majority; nevertheless, a
council of Washington and his generals on October 8 "agreed unanimously
to reject all slaves, and, by a great majority, to reject Negroes
altogether," and in his general orders of November 12 Washington acted
on this understanding. Meanwhile, however, Lord Dunmore issued his
proclamation declaring free those indentured servants and Negroes who
would join the English army, and in great numbers the slaves in Virginia
flocked to the British standard. Then on December 14--somewhat to the
amusement of both the Negroes and the English--the Virginia Convention
issued a proclamation offering pardon to those slaves who returned to
their duty within ten days. On December 30 Washington gave instructions
for the enlistment of free Negroes, promising later to lay the matter
before Congress; and a congressional committee on January 16, 1776,
reported that those free Negroes who had already served faithfully in
the army at Cambridge might reënlist but no others, the debate in this
connection having drawn very sharply the line between the North and the
South. Henceforth for all practical purposes the matter was left in the
hands of the individual colonies. Massachusetts on January 6, 1777,
passed a resolution drafting every seventh man to complete her quota
"without any exception, save the people called Quakers," and this was as
near as she came at any time in the war to the formal recognition of the
Negro. The Rhode Island Assembly in 1778 resolved to raise a regiment
of slaves, who were to be freed at enlistment, their owners in no case
being paid more than £120. In the Battle of Rhode Island August 29,
1778, the Negro regiment under Colonel Greene distinguished itself by
deeds of desperate valor, repelling three times the assaults of an
overwhelming force of Hessian troops. A little later, when Greene was
about to be murdered, some of these same soldiers had to be cut to
pieces before he could be secured. Maryland employed Negroes as soldiers
and sent them into regiments along with white men, and it is to be
remembered that at the time the Negro population of Maryland was
exceeded only by that of Virginia and South Carolina. For the far South
there was the famous Laurens plan for the raising of Negro regiments.

In a letter to Washington of March 16, 1779, Henry Laurens suggested
the raising and training of three thousand Negroes in South Carolina.
Washington was rather conservative about the plan, having in mind the
ever-present fear of the arming of Negroes and wondering about the
effect on those slaves who were not given a chance for freedom. On June
30, 1779, however, Sir Henry Clinton issued a proclamation only less
far-reaching than Dunmore's, threatening Negroes if they joined the
"rebel" army and offering them security if they came within the British
lines. This was effective; assistance of any kind that the Continental
Army could now get was acceptable; and the plan for the raising of
several battalions of Negroes in the South was entrusted to Colonel John
Laurens, a member of Washington's staff. In his own way Colonel Laurens
was a man of parts quite as well as his father; he was thoroughly
devoted to the American cause and Washington said of him that his only
fault was a courage that bordered on rashness. He eagerly pursued his
favorite project; able-bodied slaves were to be paid for by Congress at
the rate of $1,000 each, and one who served to the end of the war was
to receive his freedom and $50 in addition. In South Carolina, however,
Laurens received little encouragement, and in 1780 he was called upon
to go to France on a patriotic mission. He had not forgotten the matter
when he returned in 1782; but by that time Cornwallis had surrendered
and the country had entered upon the critical period of adjustment to
the new conditions. Washington now wrote to Laurens: "I must confess
that I am not at all astonished at the failure of your plan. That spirit
of freedom which, at the commencement of this contest, would have gladly
sacrificed everything to the attainment of its object, has long since
subsided, and every selfish passion has taken its place. It is not the
public but private interest which influences the generality of mankind;
nor can the Americans any longer boast an exception. Under these
circumstances, it would rather have been surprising if you had
succeeded; nor will you, I fear, have better success in Georgia."[1]

[Footnote 1: Sparks's _Washington_, VIII, 322-323.]

From this brief survey we may at least see something of the anomalous
position occupied by the Negro in the American Revolution. Altogether
not less than three thousand, and probably more, members of the race
served in the Continental army. At the close of the conflict New York,
Rhode Island, and Virginia freed their slave soldiers. In general,
however, the system of slavery was not affected, and the English were
bound by the treaty of peace not to carry away any Negroes. As late as
1786, it is nevertheless interesting to note, a band of Negroes calling
themselves "The King of England's soldiers" harassed and alarmed the
people on both sides of the Savannah River.

Slavery remained; but people could not forget the valor of the Negro
regiment in Rhode Island, or the courage of individual soldiers. They
could not forget that it was a Negro, Crispus Attucks, who had been the
patriot leader in the Boston Massacre, or the scene when he and one of
his companions, Jonas Caldwell, lay in Faneuil Hall. Those who were at
Bunker Hill could not fail to remember Peter Salem, who, when Major
Pitcairn of the British army was exulting in his expected triumph,
rushed forward, shot him in the breast, and killed him; or Samuel Poor,
whose officers testified that he performed so many brave deeds that "to
set forth particulars of his conduct would be tedious." These and many
more, some with very humble names, in a dark day worked for a better
country. They died in faith, not having received the promises, but
having seen them afar off.

3. _The Northwest Territory and the Constitution_

The materialism and selfishness which rose in the course of the war to
oppose the liberal tendencies of the period, and which Washington felt
did so much to embarrass the government, became pronounced in the
debates on the Northwest Territory and the Constitution. At the outbreak
of the Revolutionary War the region west of Pennsylvania, east of the
Mississippi River, north of the Ohio River, and south of Canada, was
claimed by Virginia, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. This
territory afforded to these states a source of revenue not possessed by
the others for the payment of debts incurred in the war, and Maryland
and other seaboard states insisted that in order to equalize matters
these claimants should cede their rights to the general government. The
formal cessions were made and accepted in the years 1782-6. In April,
1784, after Virginia had made her cession, the most important, Congress
adopted a temporary form of government drawn up by Thomas Jefferson for
the territory south as well as north of the Ohio River. Jefferson's most
significant provision, however, was rejected. This declared that "after
the year 1800 there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude
in any of the said states other than in the punishment of crimes whereof
the party shall have been duly convicted to have been personally
guilty." This early ordinance, although it did not go into effect, is
interesting as an attempt to exclude slavery from the great West that
was beginning to be opened up. On March 3, 1786, moreover, the Ohio
Company was formed in Boston by a group of New England business men for
the purpose of purchasing land in the West and promoting settlement; and
early in June, 1787, Dr. Manasseh Cutler, one of the chief promoters of
the company, appeared in New York, where the last Continental Congress
was sitting, for the concrete purpose of buying land. He doubtless
did much to hasten action by Congress, and on July 13 was passed "An
Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States,
Northwest of the Ohio," the Southern states not having ceded the area
south of the river. It was declared that "There shall be neither slavery
nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in
punishment of crimes, whereof the parties shall be duly convicted." To
this was added the stipulation (soon afterwards embodied in the Federal
Constitution) for the return of any person escaping into the territory
from whom labor or service was "lawfully claimed in any one of the
original states." In this shape the ordinance was adopted, even South
Carolina and Georgia concurring; and thus was paved the way for the
first fugitive slave law.

Slavery, already looming up as a dominating issue, was the cause of
two of the three great compromises that entered into the making of the
Constitution of the United States (the third, which was the first made,
being the concession to the smaller states of equal representation in
the Senate). These were the first but not the last of the compromises
that were to mark the history of the subject; and, as some clear-headed
men of the time perceived, it would have been better and cheaper to
settle the question at once on the high plane of right rather than to
leave it indefinitely to the future. South Carolina, however, with able
representation, largely controlled the thought of the convention, and
she and Georgia made the most extreme demands, threatening not to accept
the Constitution if there was not compliance with them. An important
question was that of representation, the Southern states advocating
representation according to numbers, slave and free, while the Northern
states were in favor of the representation of free persons only.
Williamson of North Carolina advocated the counting of three-fifths of
the slaves, but this motion was at first defeated, and there was little
real progress until Gouverneur Morris suggested that representation be
according to the principle of wealth. Mason of Virginia pointed out
practical difficulties which caused the resolution to be made to apply
to direct taxation only, and in this form it began to be generally
acceptable. By this time, however, the deeper feelings of the delegates
on the subject of slavery had been stirred, and they began to speak
plainly. Davie of North Carolina declared that his state would never
enter the Union on any terms that did not provide for counting at least
three-fifths of the slaves and that "if the Eastern states meant to
exclude them altogether the business was at an end." It was finally
agreed to reckon three-fifths of the slaves in estimating taxes and to
make taxation the basis of representation. The whole discussion was
renewed, however, in connection with the question of importation. There
were more threats from the far South, and some of the men from New
England, prompted by commercial interest, even if they did not favor
the sentiments expressed, were at least disposed to give them passive
acquiescence. From Maryland and Virginia, however, came earnest protest.
Luther Martin declared unqualifiedly that to have a clause in the
Constitution permitting the importation of slaves was inconsistent
with the principles of the Revolution and dishonorable to the American
character, and George Mason could foresee only a future in which a just
Providence would punish such a national sin as slavery by national
calamities. Such utterances were not to dominate the convention,
however; it was a day of expediency, not of morality. A bargain was made
between the commercial interests of the North and the slave-holding
interests of the South, the granting to Congress of unrestricted power
to enact navigation laws being conceded in exchange for twenty years'
continuance of the slave-trade. The main agreements on the subject
of slavery were thus finally expressed in the Constitution:
"Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several
states which may be included within this Union, according to their
respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole
number of free persons, including those bound to servitude for a term
of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other
persons" (Art. I, Sec. 2); "The migration or importation of such persons
as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not
be prohibited by the congress prior to the year 1808; but a tax or duty
may be imposed, not exceeding ten dollars on each person" (Art. I, Sec.
9); "No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws
thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or
regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall
be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may
be due" (Art. IV, Sec. 2). With such provisions, though without the use
of the question-begging word _slaves_, the institution of human bondage
received formal recognition in the organic law of the new republic of
the United States.

"Just what is the light in which we are to regard the slaves?" wondered
James Wilson in the course of the debate. "Are they admitted as
citizens?" he asked; "then why are they not admitted on an equality with
white citizens? Are they admitted as property? then why is not other
property admitted into the computation?" Such questions and others to
which they gave rise were to trouble more heads than his in the course
of the coming years, and all because a great nation did not have the
courage to do the right thing at the right time.

4. Early Steps toward Abolition

In spite, however, of the power crystallized in the Constitution, the
moral movement that had set in against slavery still held its ground,
and it was destined never wholly to languish until slavery ceased
altogether to exist in the United States. Throughout the century the
Quakers continued their good work; in the generation before the war John
Woolman of New Jersey traveled in the Southern colonies preaching that
"the practice of continuing slavery is not right"; and Anthony Benezet
opened in Philadelphia a school for Negroes which he himself taught
without remuneration, and otherwise influenced Pennsylvania to begin the
work of emancipation. In general the Quakers conducted their campaign
along the lines on which they were most likely to succeed, attacking
the slave-trade first of all but more and more making an appeal to
the central government; and the first Abolition Society, organized in
Pennsylvania in 1775 and consisting mainly of Quakers, had for its
original object merely the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in
bondage.[1] The organization was forced to suspend its work in the
course of the war, but in 1784 it renewed its meetings, and men of other
denominations than the Quakers now joined in greater numbers. In 1787
the society was formally reorganized as "The Pennsylvania Society
for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the Relief of Free Negroes
unlawfully held in Bondage, and for Improving the Condition of the
African Race." Benjamin Franklin was elected president and there was
adopted a constitution which was more and more to serve as a model for
similar societies in the neighboring states.

[Footnote 1: Locke: _Anti-Slavery in America_, 97.]

Four years later, by 1791, there were in the country as many as
twelve abolition societies, and these represented all the states from
Massachusetts to Virginia, with the exception of New Jersey, where a
society was formed the following year. That of New York, formed in 1785
with John Jay as president, took the name of the Manumission Society,
limiting its aims at first to promoting manumission and protecting those
Negroes who had already been set free. All of the societies had very
clear ideas as to their mission. The prevalence of kidnaping made them
emphasize "the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage,"
and in general each one in addition to its executive committee had
committees for inspection, advice, and protection; for the guardianship
of children; for the superintending of education, and for employment.
While the societies were originally formed to attend to local matters,
their efforts naturally extended in course of time to national affairs,
and on December 8, 1791, nine of them prepared petitions to Congress for
the limitation of the slave-trade. These petitions were referred to a
special committee and nothing more was heard of them at the time. After
two years accordingly the organizations decided that a more vigorous
plan of action was necessary, and on January 1, 1794, delegates from
nine societies organized in Philadelphia the American Convention of
Abolition Societies. The object of the Convention was twofold, "to
increase the zeal and efficiency of the individual societies by
its advice and encouragement ... and to take upon itself the chief
responsibility in regard to national affairs." It prepared an address to
the country and presented to Congress a memorial against the fitting out
of vessels in the United States to engage in the slave-trade, and it had
the satisfaction of seeing Congress in the same year pass a bill to this

Some of the organizations were very active and one as far South as that
in Maryland was at first very powerful. Always were they interested
in suits in courts of law. In 1797 the New York Society reported 90
complaints, 36 persons freed, 21 cases still in suit, and 19 under
consideration. The Pennsylvania Society reported simply that it had
been instrumental in the liberation of "many hundreds" of persons. The
different branches, however, did not rest with mere liberation; they
endeavored generally to improve the condition of the Negroes in their
respective communities, each one being expected to report to the
Convention on the number of freedmen in its state and on their property,
employment, and conduct. From time to time also the Convention prepared
addresses to these people, and something of the spirit of its work and
also of the social condition of the Negro at the time may be seen from
the following address of 1796:

    To the Free Africans and Other Free People of Color in the United

    The Convention of Deputies from the Abolition Societies in the
    United States, assembled at Philadelphia, have undertaken to address
    you upon subjects highly interesting to your prosperity.

    They wish to see you act worthily of the rank you have acquired as
    freemen, and thereby to do credit to yourselves, and to justify the
    friends and advocates of your color in the eyes of the world.

    As the result of our united reflections, we have concluded to call
    your attention to the following articles of advice. We trust they
    are dictated by the purest regard for your welfare, for we view you
    as Friends and Brethren.

    _In the first place_, We earnestly recommend to you, a regular
    attention to the important duty of public worship; by which means
    you will evince gratitude to your Creator, and, at the same time,
    promote knowledge, union, friendship, and proper conduct among

    _Secondly_, We advise such of you, as have not been taught reading,
    writing, and the first principles of arithmetic, to acquire them
    as early as possible. Carefully attend to the instruction of your
    children in the same simple and useful branches of education. Cause
    them, likewise, early and frequently to read the holy Scriptures;
    these contain, amongst other great discoveries, the precious record
    of the original equality of mankind, and of the obligations of
    universal justice and benevolence, which are derived from the
    relation of the human race to each other in a common Father.

    _Thirdly_, Teach your children useful trades, or to labor with their
    hands in cultivating the earth. These employments are favorable to
    health and virtue. In the choice of masters, who are to instruct
    them in the above branches of business, prefer those who will work
    with them; by this means they will acquire habits of industry, and
    be better preserved from vice than if they worked alone, or under
    the eye of persons less interested in their welfare. In forming
    contracts, for yourselves or children, with masters, it may be
    useful to consult such persons as are capable of giving you the best
    advice, and who are known to be your friends, in order to prevent
    advantages being taken of your ignorance of the laws and customs of
    our country.

    _Fourthly_, Be diligent in your respective callings, and faithful in
    all the relations you bear in society, whether as husbands, wives,
    fathers, children or hired servants. Be just in all your dealings.
    Be simple in your dress and furniture, and frugal in your family
    expenses. Thus you will act like Christians as well as freemen, and,
    by these means, you will provide for the distresses and wants of
    sickness and old age.

    _Fifthly_, Refrain from the use of spirituous liquors; the
    experience of many thousands of the citizens of the United States
    has proved that these liquors are not necessary to lessen the
    fatigue of labor, nor to obviate the effects of heat or cold; nor
    can they, in any degree, add to the innocent pleasures of society.

    _Sixthly_, Avoid frolicking, and amusements which lead to expense
    and idleness; they beget habits of dissipation and vice, and thus
    expose you to deserved reproach amongst your white neighbors.

    _Seventhly_, We wish to impress upon your minds the moral and
    religious necessity of having your marriages legally performed; also
    to have exact registers preserved of all the births and deaths which
    occur in your respective families.

    _Eighthly_, Endeavor to lay up as much as possible of your earnings
    for the benefit of your children, in case you should die before they
    are able to maintain themselves--your money will be safest and most
    beneficial when laid out in lots, houses, or small farms.

    _Ninthly_, We recommend to you, at all times and upon all occasions,
    to behave yourselves to all persons in a civil and respectful
    manner, by which you may prevent contention and remove every just
    occasion of complaint. We beseech you to reflect, that it is by your
    good conduct alone that you can refute the objections which have
    been made against you as rational and moral creatures, and remove
    many of the difficulties which have occurred in the general
    emancipation of such of your brethren as are yet in bondage.

    With hearts anxious for your welfare, we commend you to the guidance
    and protection of that _Being_ who is able to keep you from all
    evil, and who is the common Father and Friend of the whole family of

    Theodore Foster, President. Philadelphia, January 6th, 1796.
    Thomas P. Cope, Secretary.

The general impulse for liberty which prompted the Revolution and the
early Abolition societies naturally found some reflection in formal
legislation. The declarations of the central government under the
Confederation were not very effective, and for more definite enactments
we have to turn to the individual states. The honor of being the first
actually to prohibit and abolish slavery really belongs to Vermont,
whose constitution, adopted in 1777, even before she had come into the
Union, declared very positively against the system. In 1782 the old
Virginia statute forbidding emancipation except for meritorious services
was repealed. The repeal was in force ten years, and in this time
manumissions were numerous. Maryland soon afterwards passed acts similar
to those in Virginia prohibiting the further introduction of slaves and
removing restraints on emancipation, and New York and New Jersey also
prohibited the further introduction of slaves from Africa or from other
states. In 1780, in spite of considerable opposition because of the
course of the war, the Pennsylvania Assembly passed an act forbidding
the further introduction of slaves and giving freedom to all persons
thereafter born in the state. Similar provisions were enacted in
Connecticut and Rhode Island in 1784. Meanwhile Massachusetts was much
agitated, and beginning in 1766 there were before the courts several
cases in which Negroes sued for their freedom.[1] Their general argument
was that the royal charter declared that all persons residing in the
province were to be as free as the king's subjects in Great Britain,
that by Magna Carta no subject could be deprived of liberty except by
the judgment of his peers, and that any laws that may have been passed
in the province to mitigate or regulate the evil of slavery did not
authorize it. Sometimes the decisions were favorable, but at the
beginning of the Revolution Massachusetts still recognized the system
by the decision that no slave could be enlisted in the army. In 1777,
however, some slaves brought from Jamaica were ordered to be set at
liberty, and it was finally decided in 1783 that the declaration in the
Massachusetts Bill of Rights to the effect that "all men are born
free and equal" prohibited slavery. In this same year New Hampshire
incorporated in her constitution a prohibitive article. By the time the
convention for the framing of the Constitution of the United States
met in Philadelphia in 1787, two of the original thirteen states
(Massachusetts and New Hampshire) had positively prohibited slavery, and
in three others (Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) gradual
abolition was in progress.

[Footnote 1: See Williams: _History of the Negro Race in America_, I,

The next decade was largely one of the settlement of new territory, and
by its close the pendulum seemed to have swung decidedly backward. In
1799, however, after much effort and debating, New York at last declared
for gradual abolition, and New Jersey did likewise in 1804. In general,
gradual emancipation was the result of the work of people who were
humane but also conservative and who questioned the wisdom of thrusting
upon the social organism a large number of Negroes suddenly emancipated.
Sometimes, however, a gradual emancipation act was later followed by one
for immediate manumission, as in New York in 1817. At first those who
favored gradual emancipation were numerous in the South as well as in
the North, but in general after Gabriel's insurrection in 1800, though
some individuals were still outstanding, the South was quiescent. The
character of the acts that were really put in force can hardly be better
stated than has already been done by the specialist in the subject.[1]
We read:

[Footnote 1: Locke, 124-126.]

    Gradual emancipation is defined as the extinction of slavery by
    depriving it of its hereditary quality. In distinction from the
    clauses in the constitutions of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New
    Hampshire, which directly or indirectly affected the condition of
    slavery as already existing, the gradual emancipation acts left this
    condition unchanged and affected only the children born after
    the passage of the act or after a fixed date. Most of these acts
    followed that of Pennsylvania in providing that the children of a
    slave mother should remain with her owner as servants until they
    reached a certain age, of from twenty-one to twenty-eight years, as
    stated in the various enactments. In Pennsylvania, however, they
    were to be regarded as free. In Connecticut, on the other hand, they
    were to be "held in servitude" until twenty-five years of age and
    after that to be free. The most liberal policy was that of Rhode
    Island, where the children were pronounced free but were to be
    supported by the town and educated in reading, writing, and
    arithmetic, morality and religion. The latter clauses, however, were
    repealed the following year, leaving the children to be supported by
    the owner of the mother until twenty-one years of age, and only if
    he abandoned his claims to the mother to become a charge to the
    town. In New York and New Jersey they were to remain as servants
    until a certain age, but were regarded as free, and liberal
    opportunities were given the master for the abandonment of his
    claims, the children in such cases to be supported at the common
    charge.... The manumission and emancipation acts were naturally
    followed, as in the case of the constitutional provision in Vermont,
    by the attempts of some of the slave-owners to dispose of their
    property outside the State. Amendments to the laws were found
    necessary, and the Abolition Societies found plenty of occasion for
    their exertions in protecting free blacks from seizure and illegal
    sale and in looking after the execution and amendment of the laws.
    The process of gradual emancipation was also unsatisfactory on
    account of the length of time it would require, and in Pennsylvania
    and Connecticut attempts were made to obtain acts for immediate

5. _Beginning of Racial Consciousness_

Of supreme importance in this momentous period, more important perhaps
in its ultimate effect than even the work of the Abolition Societies,
was what the Negro was doing for himself. In the era of the Revolution
began that racial consciousness on which almost all later effort for
social betterment has been based.

By 1700 the only coöperative effort on the part of the Negro was such as
that in the isolated society to which Cotton Mather gave rules, or in a
spasmodic insurrection, or a rather crude development of native African
worship. As yet there was no genuine basis of racial self-respect. In
one way or another, however, in the eighteenth century the idea of
association developed, and especially in Boston about the time of the
Revolution Negroes began definitely to work together; thus they assisted
individuals in test cases in the courts, and when James Swan in his
_Dissuasion from the Slave Trade_ made such a statement as that "no
country can be called free where there is one slave," it was "at the
earnest desire of the Negroes in Boston" that the revised edition of the
pamphlet was published.

From the very beginning the Christian Church was the race's foremost
form of social organization. It was but natural that the first
distinctively Negro churches should belong to the democratic Baptist
denomination. There has been much discussion as to which was the very
first Negro Baptist church, and good claims have been put forth by the
Harrison Street Baptist Church of Petersburg, Va., and for a church
in Williamsburg, Va., organization in each case going back to 1776.
A student of the subject, however, has shown that there was a Negro
Baptist church at Silver Bluff, "on the South Carolina side of the
Savannah River, in Aiken County, just twelve miles from Augusta, Ga.,"
founded not earlier than 1773, not later than 1775.[1] In any case
special interest attaches to the First Bryan Baptist Church, of
Savannah, founded in January, 1788. The origin of this body goes back to
George Liele, a Negro born in Virginia, who might justly lay claim to
being America's first foreign missionary. Converted by a Georgia Baptist
minister, he was licensed as a probationer and was known to preach soon
afterwards at a white quarterly meeting.[2] In 1783 he preached in the
vicinity of Savannah, and one of those who came to hear him was Andrew
Bryan, a slave of Jonathan Bryan. Liele then went to Jamaica and in 1784
began to preach in Kingston, where with four brethren from America he
formed a church. At first he was subjected to persecution; nevertheless
by 1791 he had baptized over four hundred persons. Eight or nine months
after he left for Jamaica, Andrew Bryan began to preach, and at first he
was permitted to use a building at Yamacraw, in the suburbs of Savannah.
Of this, however, he was in course of time dispossessed, the place being
a rendezvous for those Negroes who had been taken away from their homes
by the British. Many of these men were taken before the magistrates
from time to time, and some were whipped and others imprisoned.
Bryan himself, having incurred the ire of the authorities, was twice
imprisoned and once publicly whipped, being so cut that he "bled
abundantly"; but he told his persecutors that he "would freely suffer
death for the cause of Jesus Christ," and after a while he was permitted
to go on with his work. For some time he used a barn, being assisted
by his brother Sampson; then for £50 he purchased his freedom, and
afterwards he began to use for worship a house that Sampson had been
permitted to erect. By 1791 his church had two hundred members, but over
a hundred more had been received as converted members though they
had not won their masters' permission to be baptized. An interesting
sidelight on these people is furnished by the statement that probably
fifty of them could read though only three could write. Years
afterwards, in 1832, when the church had grown to great numbers, a large
part of the congregation left the Bryan Church and formed what is now
the First African Baptist Church of Savannah. Both congregations,
however, remembered their early leader as one "clear in the grand
doctrines of the Gospel, truly pious, and the instrument of doing more
good among the poor slaves than all the learned doctors in America."

[Footnote 1: Walter H. Brooks: _The Silver Bluff Church_.]

[Footnote 2: See letters in Journal of Negro History, January, 1916,

While Bryan was working in Savannah, in Richmond, Va., rose Lott Cary, a
man of massive and erect frame and of great personality. Born a slave in
1780, Cary worked for a number of years in a tobacco factory, leading a
wicked life. Converted in 1807, he made rapid advance in education and
he was licensed as a Baptist preacher. He purchased his own freedom
and that of his children (his first wife having died), organized a
missionary society, and then in 1821 himself went as a missionary to the
new colony of Liberia, in whose interest he worked heroically until his
death in 1828.

More clearly defined than the origin of Negro Baptist churches are
the beginnings of African Methodism. Almost from the time of its
introduction in the country Methodism made converts among the Negroes
and in 1786 there were nearly two thousand Negroes in the regular
churches of the denomination, which, like the Baptist denomination, it
must be remembered, was before the Revolution largely overshadowed
in official circles by the Protestant Episcopal Church. The general
embarrassment of the Episcopal Church in America in connection with the
war, and the departure of many loyalist ministers, gave opportunity to
other denominations as well as to certain bodies of Negroes. The white
members of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia,
however, determined to set apart its Negro membership and to segregate
it in the gallery. Then in 1787 came a day when the Negroes, choosing
not to be insulted, and led by Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, left the
edifice, and with these two men as overseers on April 17 organized
the Free African Society. This was intended to be "without regard to
religious tenets," the members being banded together "to support one
another in sickness and for the benefit of their widows and fatherless
children." The society was in the strictest sense fraternal, there being
only eight charter members: Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, Samuel Boston,
Joseph Johnson, Cato Freeman, Cæsar Cranchell, James Potter, and William
White. By 1790 the society had on deposit in the Bank of North America
£42 9s. id., and that it generally stood for racial enterprise may be
seen from the fact that in 1788 an organization in Newport known as
the Negro Union, in which Paul Cuffe was prominent, wrote proposing a
general exodus of the Negroes to Africa. Nothing came of the suggestion
at the time, but at least it shows that representative Negroes of the
day were beginning to think together about matters of general policy.

In course of time the Free African Society of Philadelphia resolved into
an "African Church," and this became affiliated with the Protestant
Episcopal Church, whose bishop had exercised an interest in it. Out of
this organization developed St. Thomas's Episcopal Church, organized in
1791 and formally opened for service July 17, 1794. Allen was at first
selected for ordination, but he decided to remain a Methodist and Jones
was chosen in his stead and thus became the first Negro rector in the
United States. Meanwhile, however, in 1791, Allen himself had purchased
a lot at the corner of Sixth and Lombard Streets; he at once set about
arranging for the building that became Bethel Church; and in 1794 he
formally sold the lot to the church and the new house of worship was
dedicated by Bishop Asbury of the Methodist Episcopal Church. With
this general body Allen and his people for a number of years remained
affiliated, but difficulties arose and separate churches having come
into being in other places, a convention of Negro Methodists was at
length called to meet in Philadelphia April 9, 1816. To this came
sixteen delegates--Richard Allen, Jacob Tapsico, Clayton Durham, James
Champion, Thomas Webster, of Philadelphia; Daniel Coker, Richard
Williams, Henry Harden, Stephen Hill, Edward Williamson, Nicholas
Gailliard, of Baltimore: Jacob Marsh, Edward Jackson, William Andrew,
of Attleborough, Penn.; Peter Spencer, of Wilmington, Del., and Peter
Cuffe, of Salem, N.J.--and these were the men who founded the African
Methodist Episcopal Church. Coker, of whom we shall hear more in
connection with Liberia, was elected bishop, but resigned in favor of
Allen, who served until his death in 1831.

In 1796 a congregation in New York consisting of James Varick and others
also withdrew from the main body of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and
in 1800 dedicated a house of worship. For a number of years it had the
oversight of the older organization, but after preliminary steps in
1820, on June 21, 1821, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
was formally organized. To the first conference came 19 preachers
representing 6 churches and 1,426 members. Varick was elected district
chairman, but soon afterwards was made bishop. The polity of this church
from the first differed somewhat from that of the A.M.E. denomination in
that representation of the laity was a prominent feature and there was
no bar to the ordination of women.

Of denominations other than the Baptist and the Methodist, the most
prominent in the earlier years was the Presbyterian, whose first Negro
ministers were John Gloucester and John Chavis. Gloucester owed his
training to the liberal tendencies that about 1800 were still strong in
eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, and in 1810 took charge of the African
Presbyterian Church which in 1807 had been established in Philadelphia.
He was distinguished by a rich musical voice and the general dignity
of his life, and he himself became the father of four Presbyterian
ministers. Chavis had a very unusual career. After passing "through
a regular course of academic studies" at Washington Academy, now
Washington and Lee University, in 1801 he was commissioned by the
General Assembly of the Presbyterians as a missionary to the Negroes. He
worked with increasing reputation until Nat Turner's insurrection caused
the North Carolina legislature in 1832 to pass an act silencing all
Negro preachers. Then in Wake County and elsewhere he conducted schools
for white boys until his death in 1838. In these early years distinction
also attaches to Lemuel Haynes, a Revolutionary patriot and the first
Negro preacher of the Congregational denomination. In 1785 he became the
pastor of a white congregation in Torrington, Conn., and in 1818 began
to serve another in Manchester, N.H.

After the church the strongest organization among Negroes has
undoubtedly been that of secret societies commonly known as "lodges."
The benefit societies were not necessarily secret and call for separate
consideration. On March 6, 1775, an army lodge attached to one of the
regiments stationed under General Gage in or near Boston initiated
Prince Hall and fourteen other colored men into the mysteries of
Freemasonry.[1] These fifteen men on March 2, 1784, applied to the Grand
Lodge of England for a warrant. This was issued to "African Lodge, No.
459," with Prince Hall as master, September 29, 1784. Various delays and
misadventures befell the warrant, however, so that it was not actually
received before April 29, 1787. The lodge was then duly organized May 6.
From this beginning developed the idea of Masonry among the Negroes of
America. As early as 1792 Hall was formally styled Grand Master, and in
1797 he issued a license to thirteen Negroes to "assemble and work" as
a lodge in Philadelphia; and there was also at this time a lodge in
Providence. Thus developed in 1808 the "African Grand Lodge" of Boston,
afterwards known as "Prince Hall Lodge of Massachusetts"; the second
Grand Lodge, called the "First Independent African Grand Lodge of North
America in and for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," organized in 1815;
and the "Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania."

[Footnote 1: William H. Upton: Negro Masonry, Cambridge, 1899, 10.]

Something of the interest of the Masons in their people, and the calm
judgment that characterized their procedure, may be seen from the words
of their leader, Prince Hall.[1] Speaking in 1797, and having in mind
the revolution in Hayti and recent indignities inflicted upon the race
in Boston, he said:

[Footnote 1: "A Charge Delivered to the African Lodge, June 24, 1797, at
Menotomy. By the Right Worshipful Prince Hall." (Boston?) 1797.]

    When we hear of the bloody wars which are now in the world, and
    thousands of our fellowmen slain; fathers and mothers bewailing the
    loss of their sons; wives for the loss of their husbands; towns and
    cities burnt and destroyed; what must be the heartfelt sorrow and
    distress of these poor and unhappy people! Though we can not help
    them, the distance being so great, yet we may sympathize with them
    in their troubles, and mingle a tear of sorrow with them, and do as
    we are exhorted to--weep with those that weep....

    Now, my brethren, as we see and experience that all things here are
    frail and changeable and nothing here to be depended upon: Let us
    seek those things which are above, which are sure and steadfast,
    and unchangeable, and at the same time let us pray to Almighty God,
    while we remain in the tabernacle, that he would give us the grace
    and patience and strength to bear up under all our troubles, which
    at this day God knows we have our share. Patience I say, for were we
    not possessed of a great measure of it you could not bear up under
    the daily insults you meet with in the streets of Boston; much more
    on public days of recreation, how are you shamefully abused, and
    that at such a degree, that you may truly be said to carry your
    lives in your hands; and the arrows of death are flying about your
    heads; helpless old women have their clothes torn off their backs,
    even to the exposing of their nakedness; and by whom are these
    disgraceful and abusive actions committed? Not by the men born and
    bred in Boston, for they are better bred; but by a mob or horde of
    shameless, low-lived, envious, spiteful persons, some of them not
    long since, servants in gentlemen's kitchens, scouring knives,
    tending horses, and driving chaise. 'Twas said by a gentleman who
    saw that filthy behavior in the Common, that in all the places he
    had been in he never saw so cruel behavior in all his life, and that
    a slave in the West Indies, on Sundays or holidays, enjoys himself
    and friends without molestation. Not only this man, but many in
    town who have seen their behavior to you, and that without any
    provocations twenty or thirty cowards fall upon one man, have
    wondered at the patience of the blacks; 'tis not for want of courage
    in you, for they know that they dare not face you man for man, but
    in a mob, which we despise, and had rather suffer wrong than do
    wrong, to the disturbance of the community and the disgrace of our
    reputation; for every good citizen does honor to the laws of the
    State where he resides....

    My brethren, let us not be cast down under these and many other
    abuses we at present labor under: for the darkest is before the
    break of day. My brethren, let us remember what a dark day it was
    with our African brethren six years ago, in the French West Indies.
    Nothing but the snap of the whip was heard from morning to evening;
    hanging, breaking on the wheel, burning, and all manner of tortures
    inflicted on those unhappy people, for nothing else but to gratify
    their masters' pride, wantonness, and cruelty: but blessed be God,
    the scene is changed; they now confess that God hath no respect of
    persons, and therefore receive them as their friends, and treat them
    as brothers. Thus doth Ethiopia begin to stretch forth her hand,
    from a sink of slavery to freedom and equality.

An African Society was organized in New York in 1808 and chartered
in 1810, and out of it grew in course of time three or four other
organizations. Generally close to the social aim of the church and
sometimes directly fathered by the secret societies were the benefit
organizations, which even in the days of slavery existed for aid in
sickness or at death; in fact, it was the hopelessness of the general
situation coupled with the yearning for care when helpless that largely
called these societies into being. Their origin has been explained
somewhat as follows:

Although it was unlawful for Negroes to assemble without the presence
of a white man, and so unlawful to allow a congregation of slaves on
a plantation without the consent of the master, these organizations
existed and held these meetings on the "lots" of some of the law-makers
themselves. The general plan seems to have been to select some one who
could read and write and make him the secretary. The meeting-place
having been selected, the members would come by ones and twos, make
their payments to the secretary, and quietly withdraw. The book of the
secretary was often kept covered up on the bed. In many of the societies
each member was known by number and in paying simply announced his
number. The president of such a society was usually a privileged slave
who had the confidence of his or her master and could go and come at
will. Thus a form of communication could be kept up between all members.
In event of death of a member, provision was made for decent burial,
and all the members as far as possible obtained permits to attend the
funeral. Here and again their plan of getting together was brought into
play. In Richmond they would go to the church by ones and twos and there
sit as near together as convenient. At the close of the service a line
of march would be formed when sufficiently far from the church to make
it safe to do so. It is reported that the members were faithful to each
other and that every obligation was faithfully carried out. This was
the first form of insurance known to the Negro from which his family
received a benefit.[1]

[Footnote 1: Hampton Conference Report, No. 8]

All along of course a determining factor in the Negro's social progress
was the service that he was able to render to any community in which he
found himself as well as to his own people. Sometimes he was called upon
to do very hard work, sometimes very unpleasant or dangerous work;
but if he answered the call of duty and met an actual human need, his
service had to receive recognition. An example of such work was found in
his conduct in the course of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia
in 1793. Knowing that fever in general was not quite as severe in
its ravages upon Negroes as upon white people, the daily papers of
Philadelphia called upon the colored people in the town to come forward
and assist with the sick. The Negroes consented, and Absalom Jones and
William Gray were appointed to superintend the operations, though as
usual it was upon Richard Allen that much of the real responsibility
fell. In September the fever increased and upon the Negroes devolved
also the duty of removing corpses. In the course of their work they
encountered much opposition; thus Jones said that a white man threatened
to shoot him if he passed his house with a corpse. This man himself the
Negroes had to bury three days afterwards. When the epidemic was over,
under date January 23, 1794, Matthew Clarkson, the mayor, wrote the
following testimonial: "Having, during the prevalence of the late
malignant disorder, had almost daily opportunities of seeing the conduct
of Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, and the people employed by them to
bury the dead, I with cheerfulness give this testimony of my approbation
of their proceedings, as far as the same came under my notice. Their
diligence, attention, and decency of deportment, afforded me, at the
time, much satisfaction." After the lapse of years it is with something
of the pathos of martyrdom that we are impressed by the service of
these struggling people, who by their self-abnegation and patriotism
endeavored to win and deserve the privileges of American citizenship.

All the while, in one way or another, the Negro was making advance in
education. As early as 1704 we have seen that Neau opened a school
in New York; there was Benezet's school in Philadelphia before the
Revolutionary War, and in 1798 one for Negroes was established in
Boston. In the first part of the century, we remember also, some Negroes
were apprenticed in Virginia under the oversight of the church. In 1764
the editor of a paper in Williamsburg, Va., established a school for
Negroes, and we have seen that as many as one-sixth of the members of
Andrew Bryan's congregation in the far Southern city of Savannah could
read by 1790. Exceptional men, like Gloucester and Chavis, of course
availed themselves of such opportunities as came their way. All told,
by 1800 the Negro had received much more education than is commonly

Two persons--one in science and one in literature--because of their
unusual attainments attracted much attention. The first was Benjamin
Banneker of Maryland, and the second Phillis Wheatley of Boston.
Banneker in 1770 constructed the first clock striking the hours that was
made in America, and from 1792 to 1806 published an almanac adapted to
Maryland and the neighboring states. He was thoroughly scholarly in
mathematics and astronomy, and by his achievements won a reputation
for himself in Europe as well as in America. Phillis Wheatley, after a
romantic girlhood of transition from Africa to a favorable environment
in Boston, in 1773 published her _Poems on Various Subjects_, which
volume she followed with several interesting occasional poems.[1] For
the summer of this year she was the guest in England of the Countess of
Huntingdon, whose patronage she had won by an elegiac poem on George
Whitefield; in conversation even more than in verse-making she exhibited
her refined taste and accomplishment, and presents were showered upon
her, one of them being a copy of the magnificent 1770 Glasgow folio
edition of _Paradise Lost_, which was given by Brook Watson, Lord
Mayor of London, and which is now preserved in the library of Harvard
University. In the earlier years of the next century her poems
found their way into the common school readers. One of those in her
representative volume was addressed to Scipio Moorhead, a young Negro of
Boston who had shown some talent for painting. Thus even in a dark day
there were those who were trying to struggle upward to the light.

[Footnote 1: For a full study see Chapter II of _The Negro in Literature
and Art_.]



The twenty years of the administrations of the first three presidents of
the United States--or, we might say, the three decades between 1790
and 1820--constitute what might be considered the "Dark Ages" of Negro
history; and yet, as with most "Dark Ages," at even a glance below the
surface these years will be found to be throbbing with life, and we have
already seen that in them the Negro was doing what he could on his own
account to move forward. After the high moral stand of the Revolution,
however, the period seems quiescent, and it was indeed a time of
definite reaction. This was attributable to three great events: the
opening of the Southwest with the consequent demand for slaves, the
Haytian revolution beginning in 1791, and Gabriel's insurrection in

In no way was the reaction to be seen more clearly than in the decline
of the work of the American Convention of Delegates from the Abolition
Societies. After 1798 neither Connecticut nor Rhode Island sent
delegates; the Southern states all fell away by 1803; and while from New
England came the excuse that local conditions hardly made aggressive
effort any longer necessary, the lack of zeal in this section was also
due to some extent to a growing question as to the wisdom of interfering
with slavery in the South. In Virginia, that just a few years before
had been so active, a statute was now passed imposing a penalty of one
hundred dollars on any person who assisted a slave in asserting his
freedom, provided he failed to establish the claim; and another
provision enjoined that no member of an abolition society should serve
as a juror in a freedom suit. Even the Pennsylvania society showed signs
of faintheartedness, and in 1806 the Convention decided upon triennial
rather than annual meetings. It did not again become really vigorous
until after the War of 1812.

1. _The Cotton-Gin, the New Southwest, and the First Fugitive Slave Law_

Of incalculable significance in the history of the Negro in America
was the series of inventions in England by Arkwright, Hargreaves, and
Crompton in the years 1768-79. In the same period came the discovery
of the power of steam by James Watt of Glasgow and its application to
cotton manufacture, and improvements followed quickly in printing and
bleaching. There yet remained one final invention of importance for the
cultivation of cotton on a large scale. Eli Whitney, a graduate of Yale,
went to Georgia and was employed as a teacher by the widow of General
Greene on her plantation. Seeing the need of some machine for the more
rapid separating of cotton-seed from the fiber, he labored until in 1793
he succeeded in making his cotton-gin of practical value. The tradition
is persistent, however, that the real credit of the invention belongs
to a Negro on the plantation. The cotton-gin created great excitement
throughout the South and began to be utilized everywhere. The
cultivation and exporting of the staple grew by leaps and bounds. In
1791 only thirty-eight bales of standard size were exported from the
United States; in 1816, however, the cotton sent out of the country was
worth $24,106,000 and was by far the most valuable article of export.
The current price was 28 cents a pound. Thus at the very time that the
Northern states were abolishing slavery, an industry that had slumbered
became supreme, and the fate of hundreds of thousands of Negroes was

Meanwhile the opening of the West went forward, and from Maine and
Massachusetts, Carolina and Georgia journeyed the pioneers to lay the
foundations of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and Alabama and Mississippi.
It was an eager, restless caravan that moved, and sometimes more than a
hundred persons in a score of wagons were to be seen going from a single
town in the East--"Baptists and Methodists and Democrats." The careers
of Boone and Sevier and those who went with them, and the story of their
fights with the Indians, are now a part of the romance of American
history. In 1790 a cluster of log huts on the Ohio River was named in
honor of the Society of the Cincinnati. In 1792 Kentucky was admitted to
the Union, the article on slavery in her constitution encouraging the
system and discouraging emancipation, and Tennessee also entered as a
slave state in 1796.

Of tremendous import to the Negro were the questions relating to the
Mississippi Territory. After the Revolution Georgia laid claim to great
tracts of land now comprising the states of Alabama and Mississippi,
with the exception of the strip along the coast claimed by Spain
in connection with Florida. This territory became a rich field for
speculation, and its history in its entirety makes a complicated story.
A series of sales to what were known as the Yazoo Companies, especially
in that part of the present states whose northern boundary would be a
line drawn from the mouth of the Yazoo to the Chattahoochee, resulted in
conflicting claims, the last grant sale being made in 1795 by a corrupt
legislature at the price of a cent and a half an acre. James Jackson
now raised the cry of bribery and corruption, resigned from the United
States Senate, secured a seat in the state legislature, and on February
13, 1796, carried through a bill rescinding the action of the previous
year,[1] and the legislature burned the documents concerned with the
Yazoo sale in token of its complete repudiation of them. The purchasers
to whom the companies had sold lands now began to bombard Congress with
petitions and President Adams helped to arrive at a settlement by which
Georgia transferred the lands in question to the Federal Government,
which undertook to form of them the Mississippi Territory and to pay
any damages involved. In 1802 Georgia threw the whole burden upon the
central government by transferring to it _all_ of her land beyond her
present boundaries, though for this she exacted an article favorable
to slavery. All was now made into the Mississippi Territory, to which
Congress held out the promise that it would be admitted as a state as
soon as its population numbered 60,000; but Alabama was separated from
Mississippi in 1816. The old matter of claims was not finally disposed
of until an act of 1814 appropriated $5,000,000 for the purpose. In
the same year Andrew Jackson's decisive victories over the Creeks at
Talladega and Horseshoe Bend--of which more must be said--resulted in
the cession of a vast tract of the land of that unhappy nation and thus
finally opened for settlement three-fourths of the present state of

[Footnote 1: Phillips in _The South in the Building of the Nation_, II,

It was in line with the advance that slavery was making in new territory
that there was passed the first Fugitive Slave Act (1793). This grew out
of the discussion incident to the seizure in 1791 at Washington, Penn.,
of a Negro named John, who was taken to Virginia, and the correspondence
between the Governor of Pennsylvania and the Governor of Virginia with
reference to the case. The important third section of the act read as

    _And be it also enacted_, That when a person held to labor in any of
    the United States, or in either of the territories on the northwest
    or south of the river Ohio, under the laws thereof, shall escape
    into any other of the said states or territory, the person to whom
    such labor or service may be due, his agent or attorney, is hereby
    empowered to seize or arrest such fugitive from labor, and to take
    him or her before any judge of the circuit or district courts of the
    United States, residing or being within the state, or before any
    magistrate of a county, city or town corporate, wherein such seizure
    or arrest shall be made, and upon proof to the satisfaction of such
    judge or magistrate, either by oral testimony or affidavit taken
    before and certified by a magistrate of any such state or territory,
    that the person so seized or arrested, doth, under the laws of the
    state or territory from which he or she fled, owe service or labor
    to the person claiming him or her, it shall be the duty of such
    judge or magistrate to give a certificate thereof to such claimant,
    his agent or attorney, which shall be sufficient warrant for
    removing the said fugitive from labor, to the state or territory
    from which he or she fled.

It will be observed that by the terms of this enactment a master had
the right to recover a fugitive slave by proving his ownership before a
magistrate without a jury or any other of the ordinary forms of law. A
human being was thus placed at the disposal of the lowest of courts and
subjected to such procedure as was not allowed even in petty property
suits. A great field for the bribery of magistrates was opened up, and
opportunity was given for committing to slavery Negro men about whose
freedom there should have been no question.

By the close of the decade 1790-1800 the fear occasioned by the Haytian
revolution had led to a general movement against the importation of
Negroes, especially of those from the West Indies. Even Georgia in 1798
prohibited the importation of all slaves, and this provision, although
very loosely enforced, was never repealed. In South Carolina, however,
to the utter chagrin and dismay of the other states, importation,
prohibited in 1787, was again legalized in 1803; and in the four years
immediately following 39,075 Negroes were brought to Charleston, most of
these going to the territories.[1] When in 1803 Ohio was carved out of
the Northwest Territory as a free state, an attempt was made to
claim the rest of the territory for slavery, but this failed. In the
congressional session of 1804-5 the matter of slavery in the newly
acquired territory of Louisiana was brought up, and slaves were allowed
to be imported if they had come to the United States before 1798, the
purpose of this provision being to guard against the consequences of
South Carolina's recent act, although such a clause never received rigid
enforcement. The mention of Louisiana, however, brings us concretely to
Toussaint L'Ouverture, the greatest Negro in the New World in the period
and one of the greatest of all time.

[Footnote 1: DuBois: _Suppression of the Slave-Trade_, 90.]

_2. Toussaint L'Ouverture, Louisiana, and the Formal Closing of the

When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, it was not long before its
general effects were felt in the West Indies. Of special importance was
Santo Domingo because of the commercial interests centered there. The
eastern end of the island was Spanish, but the western portion was
French, and in this latter part was a population of 600,000, of which
number 50,000 were French Creoles, 50,000 mulattoes, and 500,000 pure
Negroes. All political and social privileges were monopolized by the
Creoles, while the Negroes were agricultural laborers and slaves; and
between the two groups floated the restless element of the free people
of color.

When the General Assembly in France decreed equality of rights to
all citizens, the mulattoes of Santo Domingo made a petition for the
enjoyment of the same political privileges as the white people--to the
unbounded consternation of the latter. They were rewarded with a
decree which was so ambiguously worded that it was open to different
interpretations and which simply heightened the animosity that for years
had been smoldering. A new petition to the Assembly in 1791 primarily
for an interpretation brought forth on May 15 the explicit decree that
the people of color were to have all the rights and privileges of
citizens, provided they had been born of free parents on both sides. The
white people were enraged by the decision, turned royalist, and trampled
the national cockade underfoot; and throughout the summer armed strife
and conflagration were the rule. To add to the confusion the black
slaves struck for freedom and on the night of August 23, 1791, drenched
the island in blood. In the face of these events the Conventional
Assembly rescinded its order, then announced that the original decree
must be obeyed, and it sent three commissioners with troops to Santo
Domingo, real authority being invested in Santhonax and Polverel.

On June 20, 1793, at Cape François trouble was renewed by a quarrel
between a mulatto and a white officer in the marines. The seamen came
ashore and loaned their assistance to the white people, and the Negroes
now joined forces with the mulattoes. In the battle of two days that
followed the arsenal was taken and plundered, thousands were killed
in the streets, and more than half of the town was burned. The French
commissioners were the unhappy witnesses of the scene, but they were
practically helpless, having only about a thousand troops. Santhonax,
however, issued a proclamation offering freedom to all slaves who were
willing to range themselves under the banner of the Republic. This was
the first proclamation for the freeing of slaves in Santo Domingo, and
as a result of it many of the Negroes came in and were enfranchised.

Soon after this proclamation Polverel left his colleague at the Cape and
went to Port au Prince, the capital of the West. Here things were quiet
and the cultivation of the crops was going forward as usual. The slaves
were soon unsettled, however, by the news of what was being done
elsewhere, and Polverel was convinced that emancipation could not be
delayed and that for the safety of the planters themselves it was
necessary to extend it to the whole island. In September (1793) he set
in circulation from Aux Cayes a proclamation to this effect, and at the
same time he exhorted all the planters in the vicinity who concurred in
his work to register their names. This almost all of them did, as they
were convinced of the need of measures for their personal safety; and on
February 4, 1794, the Conventional Assembly in Paris formally approved
all that had been done by decreeing the abolition of slavery in all the
colonies of France.

All the while the Spanish and the English had been looking on with
interest and had even come to the French part of the island as if to aid
in the restoration of order. Among the former, at first in charge of
a little royalist band, was the Negro, Toussaint, later called
L'Ouverture. He was then a man in the prime of life, forty-eight years
old, and already his experience had given him the wisdom that was needed
to bring peace in Santo Domingo. In April, 1794, impressed by the decree
of the Assembly, he returned to the jurisdiction of France and took
service under the Republic. In 1796 he became a general of brigade; in
1797 general-in-chief, with the military command of the whole colony.

He at once compelled the surrender of the English who had invaded his
country. With the aid of a commercial agreement with the United States,
he next starved out the garrison of his rival, the mulatto Rigaud, whom
he forced to consent to leave the country. He then imprisoned Roume, the
agent of the Directory, and assumed civil as well as military authority.
He also seized the Spanish part of the island, which had been ceded to
France some years before but had not been actually surrendered. He then,
in May, 1801, gave to Santo Domingo a constitution by which he not only
assumed power for life but gave to himself the right of naming his
successor; and all the while he was awakening the admiration of the
world by his bravery, his moderation, and his genuine instinct for

Across the ocean, however, a jealous man was watching with interest the
career of the "gilded African." None knew better than Napoleon that
it was because he did not trust France that Toussaint had sought the
friendship of the United States, and none read better than he the logic
of events. As Adams says, "Bonaparte's acts as well as his professions
showed that he was bent on crushing democratic ideas, and that he
regarded St. Domingo as an outpost of American republicanism, although
Toussaint had made a rule as arbitrary as that of Bonaparte himself....
By a strange confusion of events, Toussaint L'Ouverture, because he was
a Negro, became the champion of republican principles, with which he
had nothing but the instinct of personal freedom in common. Toussaint's
government was less republican than that of Bonaparte; he was doing
by necessity in St. Domingo what Bonaparte was doing by choice in

[Footnote 1: _History of the United States_, I, 391-392.]

This was the man to whom the United States ultimately owes the purchase
of Louisiana. On October 1, 1801, Bonaparte gave orders to General Le
Clerc for a great expedition against Santo Domingo. In January, 1802, Le
Clerc appeared and war followed. In the course of this, Toussaint--who
was ordinarily so wise and who certainly knew that from Napoleon he had
most to fear--made the great mistake of his life and permitted himself
to be led into a conference on a French vessel. He was betrayed and
taken to France, where within the year he died of pneumonia in the
dungeon of Joux. Immediately there was a proclamation annulling the
decree of 1794 giving freedom to the slaves. Bonaparte, however, had not
estimated the force of Toussaint's work, and to assist the Negroes in
their struggle now came a stalwart ally, yellow fever. By the end of the
summer only one-seventh of Le Clerc's army remained, and he himself died
in November. At once Bonaparte planned a new expedition. While he was
arranging for the leadership of this, however, the European war broke
out again. Meanwhile the treaty for the retrocession of the territory
of Louisiana had not yet received the signature of the Spanish king,
because Godoy, the Spanish representative, would not permit the
signature to be affixed until all the conditions were fulfilled; and
toward the end of 1802 the civil officer at New Orleans closed the
Mississippi to the United States. Jefferson, at length moved by the plea
of the South, sent a special envoy, no less a man than James Monroe, to
France to negotiate the purchase; Bonaparte, disgusted by the failure
of his Egyptian expedition and his project for reaching India, and
especially by his failure in Santo Domingo, in need also of ready money,
listened to the offer; and the people of the United States--who within
the last few years have witnessed the spoliation of Hayti--have not yet
realized how much they owe to the courage of 500,000 Haytian Negroes who
refused to be slaves.

The slavery question in the new territory was a critical one. It was
on account of it that the Federalists had opposed the acquisition; the
American Convention endeavored to secure a provision like that of the
Northwest Ordinance; and the Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends in
Philadelphia in 1805 prayed "that effectual measures may be adopted
by Congress to prevent the introduction of slavery into any of the
territories of the United States." Nevertheless the whole territory
without regard to latitude was thrown open to the system March 2, 1805.

In spite of this victory for slavery, however, the general force of the
events in Hayti was such as to make more certain the formal closing
of the slave-trade at the end of the twenty-year period for which the
Constitution had permitted it to run. The conscience of the North had
been profoundly stirred, and in the far South was the ever-present fear
of a reproduction of the events in Hayti. The agitation in England
moreover was at last about to bear fruit in the act of 1807 forbidding
the slave-trade. In America it seems from the first to have been an
understood thing, especially by the Southern representatives, that even
if such an act passed it would be only irregularly enforced, and the
debates were concerned rather with the disposal of illegally imported
Africans and with the punishment of those concerned in the importation
than with the proper limitation of the traffic by water.[1] On March 2,
1807, the act was passed forbidding the slave-trade after the close of
the year. In course of time it came very near to being a dead letter,
as may be seen from presidential messages, reports of cabinet officers,
letters of collectors of revenue, letters of district attorneys, reports
of committees of Congress, reports of naval commanders, statements
on the floor of Congress, the testimony of eye-witnesses, and the
complaints of home and foreign anti-slavery societies. Fernandina and
Galveston were only two of the most notorious ports for smuggling. A
regular chain of posts was established from the head of St. Mary's River
to the upper country, and through the Indian nation, by means of which
the Negroes were transferred to every part of the country.[2] If dealers
wished to form a caravan they would give an Indian alarm, so that the
woods might be less frequented, and if pursued in Georgia they would
escape into Florida. One small schooner contained one hundred and thirty
souls. "They were almost packed into a small space, between a floor laid
over the water-casks and the deck--not near three feet--insufficient for
them to sit upright--and so close that chafing against each other their
bones pierced the skin and became galled and ulcerated by the motion
of the vessel." Many American vessels were engaged in the trade under
Spanish colors, and the traffic to Africa was pursued with uncommon
vigor at Havana, the crews of vessels being made up of men of all
nations, who were tempted by the high wages to be earned. Evidently
officials were negligent in the discharge of their duty, but even if
offenders were apprehended it did not necessarily follow that they
would receive effective punishment. President Madison in his message
of December 5, 1810, said, "It appears that American citizens are
instrumental in carrying on a traffic in enslaved Africans, equally in
violation of the laws of humanity, and in defiance of those of their own
country"; and on January 7, 1819, the Register of the Treasury made
to the House the amazing report that "it doth not appear, from an
examination of the records of this office, and particularly of the
accounts (to the date of their last settlement) of the collectors of
the customs, and of the several marshals of the United States, that any
forfeitures had been incurred under the said act." A supplementary and
compromising and ineffective act of 1818 sought to concentrate efforts
against smuggling by encouraging informers; and one of the following
year that authorized the President to "make such regulations and
arrangements as he may deem expedient for the safe keeping, support, and
removal beyond the limits of the United States" of recaptured Africans,
and that bore somewhat more fruit, was in large measure due to the
colonization movement and of importance in connection with the founding
of Liberia.

[Footnote 1: See DuBois, 95, ff.]

[Footnote 2: Niles's _Register_, XIV, 176 (May 2, 1818).]

Thus, while the formal closing of the slave-trade might seem to be a
great step forward, the laxness with which the decree was enforced
places it definitely in the period of reaction.

3. _Gabriel's Insurrection and the Rise of the Negro Problem_

Gabriel's insurrection of 1800 was by no means the most formidable
revolt that the Southern states witnessed. In design it certainly did
not surpass the scope of the plot of Denmark Vesey twenty-two years
later, and in actual achievement it was insignificant when compared not
only with Nat Turner's insurrection but even with the uprisings sixty
years before. At the last moment in fact a great storm that came up made
the attempt to execute the plan a miserable failure. Nevertheless coming
as it did so soon after the revolution in Hayti, and giving evidence
of young and unselfish leadership, the plot was regarded as of
extraordinary significance.

Gabriel himself[1] was an intelligent slave only twenty-four years old,
and his chief assistant was Jack Bowler, aged twenty-eight. Throughout
the summer of 1800 he matured his plan, holding meetings at which a
brother named Martin interpreted various texts from Scripture as bearing
on the situation of the Negroes. His insurrection was finally set for
the first day of September. It was well planned. The rendezvous was to
be a brook six miles from Richmond. Under cover of night the force of
1,100 was to march in three columns on the city, then a town of 8,000
inhabitants, the right wing to seize the penitentiary building which had
just been converted into an arsenal, while the left took possession of
the powder-house. These two columns were to be armed with clubs, and
while they were doing their work the central force, armed with muskets,
knives, and pikes, was to begin the carnage, none being spared except
the French, whom it is significant that the Negroes favored. In Richmond
at the time there were not more than four or five hundred men with about
thirty muskets; but in the arsenal were several thousand guns, and the
powder-house was well stocked. Seizure of the mills was to guarantee the
insurrectionists a food supply; and meanwhile in the country districts
were the new harvests of corn, and flocks and herds were fat in the

[Footnote 1: His full name was Gabriel Prosser.]

On the day appointed for the uprising Virginia witnessed such a storm
as she had not seen in years. Bridges were carried away, and roads and
plantations completely submerged. Brook Swamp, the strategic point for
the Negroes, was inundated; and the country Negroes could not get
into the city, nor could those in the city get out to the place of
rendezvous. The force of more than a thousand dwindled to three hundred,
and these, almost paralyzed by fear and superstition, were dismissed.
Meanwhile a slave who did not wish to see his master killed divulged the
plot, and all Richmond was soon in arms.

A troop of United States cavalry was ordered to the city and arrests
followed quickly. Three hundred dollars was offered by Governor Monroe
for the arrest of Gabriel, and as much more for Jack Bowler. Bowler
surrendered, but it took weeks to find Gabriel. Six men were convicted
and condemned to be executed on September 12, and five more on September
18. Gabriel was finally captured on September 24 at Norfolk on a vessel
that had come from Richmond; he was convicted on October 3 and executed
on October 7. He showed no disposition to dissemble as to his own plan;
at the same time he said not one word that incriminated anybody else.
After him twenty-four more men were executed; then it began to appear
that some "mistakes" had been made and the killing ceased. About the
time of this uprising some Negroes were also assembled for an outbreak
in Suffolk County; there were alarms in Petersburg and in the country
near Edenton, N.C.; and as far away as Charleston the excitement was

There were at least three other Negro insurrections of importance in the
period 1790-1820. When news came of the uprising of the slaves in Santo
Domingo in 1791, the Negroes in Louisiana planned a similar effort.[1]
They might have succeeded better if they had not disagreed as to the
hour of the outbreak, when one of them informed the commandant. As a
punishment twenty-three of the slaves were hanged along the banks of the
river and their corpses left dangling for days; but three white men who
assisted them and who were really the most guilty of all, were simply
sent out of the colony. In Camden, S. C, on July 4, 1816, some other
Negroes risked all for independence.[2] On various pretexts men from the
country districts were invited to the town on the appointed night, and
different commands were assigned, all except that of commander-in-chief,
which position was to be given to him who first forced the gates of the
arsenal. Again the plot was divulged by "a favorite and confidential
slave," of whom we are told that the state legislature purchased the
freedom, settling upon him a pension for life. About six of the leaders
were executed. On or about May 1, 1819, there was a plot to destroy the
city of Augusta, Ga.[3] The insurrectionists were to assemble at Beach
Island, proceed to Augusta, set fire to the place, and then destroy the
inhabitants. Guards were posted, and a white man who did not answer when
hailed was shot and fatally wounded. A Negro named Coot was tried as
being at the head of the conspiracy and sentenced to be executed a few
days later. Other trials followed his. Not a muscle moved when the
verdict was pronounced upon him.

[Footnote 1: Gayarré: _History of Louisiana_, III, 355.]

[Footnote 2: Holland: _Refutation of Calumnies_.]

[Footnote 3: Niles's _Register_, XVI, 213 (May 22, 1819).]

The deeper meaning of such events as these could not escape the
discerning. More than one patriot had to wonder just whither the
country was drifting. Already it was evident that the ultimate problem
transcended the mere question of slavery, and many knew that human
beings could not always be confined to an artificial status. Throughout
the period the slave-trade seemed to flourish without any real check,
and it was even accentuated by the return to power of the old royalist
houses of Europe after the fall of Napoleon. Meanwhile it was observed
that slave labor was driving out of the South the white man of small
means, and antagonism between the men of the "up-country" and the
seaboard capitalists was brewing. The ordinary social life of the Negro
in the South left much to be desired, and conditions were not improved
by the rapid increase. As for slavery itself, no one could tell when or
where or how the system would end; all only knew that it was developing
apace: and meanwhile there was the sinister possibility of the alliance
of the Negro and the Indian. Sincere plans of gradual abolition were
advanced in the South as well as the North, but in the lower section
they seldom got more than a respectful hearing. In his "Dissertation on
Slavery, with a Proposal for the Gradual Abolition of it in the State of
Virginia," St. George Tucker, a professor of law in the University
of William and Mary, and one of the judges of the General Court of
Virginia, in 1796 advanced a plan by which he figured that after sixty
years there would be only one-third as many slaves as at first. At
this distance his proposal seems extremely conservative; at the time,
however, it was laid on the table by the Virginia House of Delegates,
and from the Senate the author received merely "a civil acknowledgment."

Two men of the period--widely different in temper and tone, but
both earnest seekers after truth--looked forward to the future with
foreboding, one with the eye of the scientist, the other with the vision
of the seer. Hezekiah Niles had full sympathy with the groping and
striving of the South; but he insisted that slavery must ultimately be
abolished throughout the country, that the minds of the slaves should
be exalted, and that reasonable encouragement should be given free
Negroes.[1] Said he: "_We are ashamed of the thing we practice_;...
there is no attribute of heaven that takes part with us, and _we know
it_. And in the contest that must come and _will come_, there will be a
heap of sorrows such as the world has rarely seen."[2]

[Footnote 1: _Register_, XVI, 177 (May 8, 1819).]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., XVI, 213 (May 22, 1819).]

On the other hand rose Lorenzo Dow, the foremost itinerant preacher of
the time, the first Protestant who expounded the gospel in Alabama and
Mississippi, and a reformer who at the very moment that cotton was
beginning to be supreme, presumed to tell the South that slavery was
wrong.[1] Everywhere he arrested attention--with his long hair, his
harsh voice, and his wild gesticulation startling all conservative
hearers. But he was made in the mold of heroes. In his lifetime he
traveled not less than two hundred thousand miles, preaching to more
people than any other man of his time. Several times he went to Canada,
once to the West Indies, and three times to England, everywhere drawing
great crowds about him. In _A Cry from the Wilderness_ he more than
once clothed his thought in enigmatic garb, but the meaning was always
ultimately clear. At this distance, when slavery and the Civil War are
alike viewed in the perspective, the words of the oracle are almost
uncanny: "In the rest of the Southern states the influence of these
Foreigners will be known and felt in its time, and the seeds from the
HORY ALLIANCE and the DECAPIGANDI, who have a hand in those grades of
Generals, from the Inquisitor to the Vicar General and down...!!! The
STRUGGLE will be DREADFUL! the CUP will be BITTER! and when the agony is
over, those who survive may see better days! FAREWELL!"

[Footnote 1: For full study see article "Lorenzo Dow," in _Methodist
Review_ and _Journal of Negro History_, July, 1916, the same being
included in _Africa and the War_, New York, 1918.]



It is not the purpose of the present chapter to give a history of the
Seminole Wars, or even to trace fully the connection of the Negro with
these contests. We do hope to show at least, however, that the Negro was
more important than anything else as an immediate cause of controversy,
though the general pressure of the white man upon the Indian would
in time of course have made trouble in any case. Strange parallels
constantly present themselves, and incidentally it may be seen that the
policy of the Government in force in other and even later years with
reference to the Negro was at this time also very largely applied in the
case of the Indian.

1. _Creek, Seminole, and Negro to 1817: The War of 1812_

On August 7, 1786, the Continental Congress by a definite and
far-reaching ordinance sought to regulate for the future the whole
conduct of Indian affairs. Two great districts were formed, one
including the territory north of the Ohio and west of the Hudson, and
the other including that south of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi;
and for anything pertaining to the Indian in each of these two great
tracts a superintendent was appointed. As affecting the Negro the
southern district was naturally of vastly more importance than the
northern. In the eastern portion of this, mainly in what are now
Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and eastern Alabama, were the Cherokees
and the great confederacy of the Creeks, while toward the west, in the
present Mississippi and western Alabama, were the Chickasaws and the
Choctaws. Of Muskhogean stock, and originally a part of the Creeks, were
the Seminoles ("runaways"), who about 1750, under the leadership of a
great chieftain, Secoffee, separated from the main confederacy, which
had its center in southwest Georgia just a little south of Columbus, and
overran the peninsula of Florida. In 1808 came another band under Micco
Hadjo to the present site of Tallahassee. The Mickasukie tribe was
already on the ground in the vicinity of this town, and at first its
members objected to the newcomers, who threatened to take their lands
from them; but at length all abode peaceably together under the general
name of Seminoles. About 1810 these people had twenty towns, the chief
ones being Mikasuki and Tallahassee. From the very first they had
received occasional additions from the Yemassee, who had been driven out
of South Carolina, and of fugitive Negroes.

By the close of the eighteenth century all along the frontier the Indian
had begun to feel keenly the pressure of the white man, and in his
struggle with the invader he recognized in the oppressed Negro a natural
ally. Those Negroes who by any chance became free were welcomed by the
Indians, fugitives from bondage found refuge with them, and while
Indian chiefs commonly owned slaves, the variety of servitude was very
different from that under the white man. The Negroes were comparatively
free, and intermarriage was frequent; thus a mulatto woman who fled
from bondage married a chief and became the mother of a daughter who in
course of time became the wife of the famous Osceola. This very close
connection of the Negro with the family life of the Indian was the
determining factor in the resistance of the Seminoles to the demands of
the agents of the United States, and a reason, stronger even than his
love for his old hunting-ground, for his objection to removal to new
lands beyond the Mississippi. Very frequently the Indian could not give
up his Negroes without seeing his own wife and children led away into
bondage; and thus to native courage and pride was added the instinct of
a father for the preservation of his own.

In the two wars between the Americans and the English it was but natural
that the Indian should side with the English, and it was in some measure
but a part of the game that he should receive little consideration at
the hands of the victor. In the politics played by the English and the
French, the English and the Spaniards, and finally between the Americans
and all Europeans, the Indian was ever the loser. In the very early
years of the Carolina colonies, some effort was made to enslave the
Indians; but such servants soon made their way to the Indian country,
and it was not long before they taught the Negroes to do likewise. This
constant escape of slaves, with its attendant difficulties, largely
accounted for the establishing of the free colony of Georgia between
South Carolina and the Spanish possession, Florida. It was soon evident,
however, that the problem had been aggravated rather than settled. When
Congress met in 1776 it received from Georgia a communication setting
forth the need of "preventing slaves from deserting their masters"; and
as soon as the Federal Government was organized in 1789 it received also
from Georgia an urgent request for protection from the Creeks, who were
charged with various ravages, and among other documents presented was
a list of one hundred and ten Negroes who were said to have left their
masters during the Revolution and to have found refuge among the Creeks.
Meanwhile by various treaties, written and unwritten, the Creeks were
being forced toward the western line of the state, and in any agreement
the outstanding stipulation was always for the return of fugitive
slaves. For a number of years the Creeks retreated without definitely
organized resistance. In the course of the War of 1812, however, moved
by the English and by a visit from Tecumseh, they suddenly rose, and on
August 30, 1813, under the leadership of Weathersford, they attacked
Fort Mims, a stockade thirty-five miles north of Mobile. The five
hundred and fifty-three men, women, and children in this place were
almost completely massacred. Only fifteen white persons escaped by
hiding in the woods, a number of Negroes being taken prisoner. This
occurrence spurred the whole Southwest to action. Volunteers were called
for, and the Tennessee legislature resolved to exterminate the whole
tribe. Andrew Jackson with Colonel Coffee administered decisive defeats
at Talladega and Tohopeka or Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River, and
the Creeks were forced to sue for peace. By the treaty of Fort Jackson
(August 9, 1814) the future president, now a major general in the
regular army and in command at Mobile, demanded that the unhappy nation
give up more than half of its land as indemnity for the cost of the war,
that it hold no communication with a Spanish garrison or town, that it
permit the necessary roads to be made or forts to be built in any part
of the territory, and that it surrender the prophets who had instigated
the war. This last demand was ridiculous, or only for moral effect,
for the so-called prophets had already been left dead on the field of
battle. The Creeks were quite broken, however, and Jackson passed on to
fame and destiny at the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815. In April
of this year he was made commander-in-chief of the Southern Division.[1]
It soon developed that his chief task in this capacity was to reckon
with the Seminoles.

[Footnote 1: In his official capacity Jackson issued two addresses which
have an important place in the history of the Negro soldier. From his
headquarters at Mobile, September 21, 1814, he issued an appeal "To the
Free Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana," offering them an honorable part
in the war, and this was later followed by a "Proclamation to the
Free People of Color" congratulating them on their achievement. Both
addresses are accessible in many books.]

On the Appalachicola River the British had rebuilt an old fort, calling
it the British Post on the Appalachicola. Early in the summer of 1815
the commander, Nicholls, had occasion to go to London, and he took with
him his troops, the chief Francis, and several Creeks, leaving in the
fort seven hundred and sixty-three barrels of cannon powder, twenty-five
hundred muskets, and numerous pistols and other weapons of war. The
Negroes from Georgia who had come to the vicinity, who numbered not less
than a thousand, and who had some well kept farms up and down the
banks of the river, now took charge of the fort and made it their
headquarters. They were joined by some Creeks, and the so-called Negro
Fort soon caused itself to be greatly feared by any white people
who happened to live near. Demands on the Spanish governor for its
suppression were followed by threats of the use of the soldiery of the
United States; and General Gaines, under orders in the section, wrote to
Jackson asking authority to build near the boundary another post that
might be used as the base for any movement that had as its aim to
overawe the Negroes. Jackson readily complied with the request, saying,
"I have no doubt that this fort has been established by some villains
for the purpose of murder, rapine, and plunder, and that it ought to be
blown up regardless of the ground it stands on. If you have come to the
same conclusion, destroy it, and restore the stolen Negroes and property
to their rightful owners." Gaines accordingly built Fort Scott not
far from where the Flint and the Chattahoochee join to form the
Appalachicola. It was necessary for Gaines to pass the Negro Fort in
bringing supplies to his own men; and on July 17, 1816, the boats of the
Americans were within range of the fort and opened fire. There was some
preliminary shooting, and then, since the walls were too stubborn to be
battered down by a light fire, "a ball made red-hot in the cook's
galley was put in the gun and sent screaming over the wall and into the
magazine. The roar, the shock, the scene that followed, may be imagined,
but not described. Seven hundred barrels of gunpowder tore the earth,
the fort, and all the wretched creatures in it to fragments. Two hundred
and seventy men, women, and children died on the spot. Of sixty-four
taken out alive, the greater number died soon after."[1]

[Footnote 1: McMaster, IV, 431.]

The Seminoles--in the West more and more identified with the
Creeks--were angered by their failure to recover the lands lost by the
treaty of Fort Jackson and also by the building of Fort Scott. One
settlement, Fowltown, fifteen miles east of Fort Scott, was especially
excited and in the fall of 1817 sent a warning to the Americans "not
to cross or cut a stick of timber on the east side of the Flint." The
warning was regarded as a challenge; Fowltown was taken on a morning in
November, and the Seminole Wars had begun.

2. _First Seminole War and the Treaties of Indian Spring and Fort

In the course of the First Seminole War (1817-18) Jackson ruthlessly
laid waste the towns of the Indians; he also took Pensacola, and he
awakened international difficulties by his rather summary execution of
two British subjects, Arbuthnot and Ambrister, who were traders to the
Indians and sustained generally pleasant relations with them. For his
conduct, especially in this last instance, he was severely criticized in
Congress, but it is significant of his rising popularity that no formal
vote of censure could pass against him. On the cession of Florida to the
United States he was appointed territorial governor; but he served for a
brief term only. As early as 1822 he was nominated for the presidency
by the legislature of Tennessee, and in 1823 he was sent to the United
States Senate.

Of special importance in the history of the Creeks about this time was
the treaty of Indian Spring, of January 8, 1821, an iniquitous agreement
in the signing of which bribery and firewater were more than usually
present. By this the Creeks ceded to the United States, for the benefit
of Georgia, five million acres of their most valuable land. In cash they
were to receive $200,000, in payments extending over fourteen years. The
United States Government moreover was to hold $250,000 as a fund from
which the citizens of Georgia were to be reimbursed for any "claims"
(for runaway slaves of course) that the citizens of the state had
against the Creeks prior to the year 1802.[1] In the actual execution of
this agreement a slave was frequently estimated at two or three times
his real value, and the Creeks were expected to pay whether the fugitive
was with them or not. All possible claims, however, amounted to
$101,000. This left $149,000 of the money in the hands of the
Government. This sum was not turned over to the Indians, as one might
have expected, but retained until 1834, when the Georgia citizens
interested petitioned for a division. The request was referred to the
Commission on Indian Affairs, and the chairman, Gilmer of Georgia, was
in favor of dividing the money among the petitioners as compensation for
"the offspring which the slaves would have borne had they remained in
bondage." This suggestion was rejected at the time, but afterwards the
division was made nevertheless; and history records few more flagrant
violations of all principles of honor and justice.

[Footnote 1: See J.R. Giddings: _The Exiles of Florida_, 63-66; also
speech in House of Representatives February 9, 1841.]

The First Seminole War, while in some ways disastrous to the Indians,
was in fact not much more than the preliminary skirmish of a conflict
that was not to cease until 1842. In general the Indians, mindful of the
ravages of the War of 1812, did not fully commit themselves and bided
their time. They were in fact so much under cover that they led the
Americans to underestimate their real numbers. When the cession of
Florida was formally completed, however (July 17, 1821), they were found
to be on the very best spots of land in the territory. On May 20, 1822,
Colonel Gad Humphreys was appointed agent to them, William P. Duval as
governor of the territory being ex-officio superintendent of Indian
affairs. Altogether the Indians at this time, according to the official
count, numbered 1,594 men, 1,357 women, and 993 children, a total of
3,944, with 150 Negro men and 650 Negro women and children.[1] In the
interest of these people Humphreys labored faithfully for eight years,
and not a little of the comparative quiet in his period of service is to
be credited to his own sympathy, good sense, and patience.

[Footnote 1: Sprague, 19.]

In the spring of 1823 the Indians were surprised by the suggestion of a
treaty that would definitely limit their boundaries and outline their
future relations with the white man. The representative chiefs had
no desire for a conference, were exceedingly reluctant to meet the
commissioners, and finally came to the meeting prompted only by the hope
that such terms might be arrived at as would permanently guarantee them
in the peaceable possession of their homes. Over the very strong protest
of some of them a treaty was signed at Fort Moultrie, on the coast five
miles below St. Augustine, September 18, 1823, William P. Duval, James
Gadsden, and Bernard Segui being the representatives of the United
States. By this treaty we learn that the Indians, in view of the fact
that they have "thrown themselves on, and have promised to continue
under, the protection of the United States, and of no other nation,
power, or sovereignty; and in consideration of the promises and
stipulations hereinafter made, do cede and relinquish all claim or title
which they have to the whole territory of Florida, with the exception of
such district of country as shall herein be allotted to them." They are
to have restricted boundaries, the extreme point of which is nowhere to
be nearer than fifteen miles to the Gulf of Mexico. The United States
promises to distribute, as soon as the Indians are settled on their new
land, under the direction of their agent, "implements of husbandry, and
stock of cattle and hogs to the amount of six thousand dollars, and an
annual sum of five thousand dollars a year for twenty successive years";
and "to restrain and prevent all white persons from hunting, settling,
or otherwise intruding" upon the land set apart for the Indians, though
any American citizen, lawfully authorized, is to pass and repass
within the said district and navigate the waters thereof "without any
hindrance, toll or exactions from said tribes." For facilitating removal
and as compensation for any losses or inconvenience sustained, the
United States is to furnish rations of corn, meat, and salt for twelve
months, with a special appropriation of $4,500 for those who have made
improvements, and $2,000 more for the facilitating of transportation.
The agent, sub-agent, and interpreter are to reside within the Indian
boundary "to watch over the interests of said tribes"; and the United
States further undertake "as an evidence of their humane policy
towards said tribes" to allow $1,000 a year for twenty years for the
establishment of a school and $1,000 a year for the same period for the
support of a gun- and blacksmith. Of supreme importance is Article 7:
"The chiefs and warriors aforesaid, for themselves and tribes, stipulate
to be active and vigilant in the preventing the retreating to, or
passing through, the district of country assigned them, of any
absconding slaves, or fugitives from justice; and further agree to use
all necessary exertions to apprehend and deliver the same to the agent,
who shall receive orders to compensate them agreeably to the trouble and
expense incurred." We have dwelt at length upon the provisions of this
treaty because it contained all the seeds of future trouble between the
white man and the Indian. Six prominent chiefs--Nea Mathla, John Blunt,
Tuski Hajo, Mulatto King, Emathlochee, and Econchattimico--refused
absolutely to sign, and their marks were not won until each was given
a special reservation of from two to four square miles outside the
Seminole boundaries. Old Nea Mathla in fact never did accept the treaty
in good faith, and when the time came for the execution of the agreement
he summoned his warriors to resistance. Governor Duval broke in upon his
war council, deposed the war leaders, and elevated those who favored
peaceful removal. The Seminoles now retired to their new lands, but Nea
Mathla was driven into practical exile. He retired to the Creeks, by
whom he was raised to the dignity of a chief. It was soon realized by
the Seminoles that they had been restricted to some pine woods by no
means as fertile as their old lands, nor were matters made better by one
or two seasons of drought. To allay their discontent twenty square miles
more, to the north, was given them, but to offset this new cession their
rations were immediately reduced.

3. _From the Treaty of Fort Moultrie to the Treaty of Payne's Landing_

Now succeeded ten years of trespassing, of insult, and of increasing
enmity. Kidnapers constantly lurked near the Indian possessions, and
instances of injury unredressed increased the bitterness and rancor.
Under date May 20, 1825, Humphreys[1] wrote to the Indian Bureau that
the white settlers were already thronging to the vicinity of the Indian
reservation and were likely to become troublesome. As to some recent
disturbances, writing from St. Augustine February 9, 1825, he said:
"From all I can learn here there is little doubt that the disturbances
near Tallahassee, which have of late occasioned so much clamor, were
brought about by a course of unjustifiable conduct on the part of
the whites, similar to that which it appears to be the object of the
territorial legislature to legalize. In fact, it is stated that one
Indian had been so severely whipped by the head of the family which was
destroyed in these disturbances, as to cause his death; if such be the
fact, the subsequent act of the Indians, however lamentable, must be
considered as one of retaliation, and I can not but think it is to
be deplored that they were afterwards 'hunted' with so unrelenting a
revenge." The word _hunted_ was used advisedly by Humphreys, for, as
we shall see later, when war was renewed one of the common means of
fighting employed by the American officers was the use of bloodhounds.
Sometimes guns were taken from the Indians so that they had nothing with
which to pursue the chase. On one occasion, when some Indians were being
marched to headquarters, a woman far advanced in pregnancy was forced
onward with such precipitancy as to produce a premature delivery, which
almost terminated her life. More far-reaching than anything else,
however, was the constant denial of the rights of the Indian in court
in cases involving white men. As Humphreys said, the great disadvantage
under which the Seminoles labored as witnesses "destroyed everything
like equality of rights." Some of the Negroes that they had, had been
born among them, and some others had been purchased from white men
and duly paid for. No receipts were given, however, and efforts were
frequently made to recapture the Negroes by force. The Indian, conscious
of his rights, protested earnestly against such attempts and naturally
determined to resist all efforts to wrest from him his rightfully
acquired property.

[Footnote 1: The correspondence is readily accessible in Sprague,

By 1827, however, the territorial legislature had begun to memorialize
Congress and to ask for the complete removal of the Indians. Meanwhile
the Negro question was becoming more prominent, and orders from the
Department of War, increasingly peremptory, were made on Humphreys for
the return of definite Negroes. For Duval and Humphreys, however, who
had actually to execute the commissions, the task was not always so
easy. Under date March 20, 1827, the former wrote to the latter: "Many
of the slaves belonging to the whites are now in the possession of the
white people; these slaves can not be obtained for their Indian owners
without a lawsuit, and I see no reason why the Indians shall be
compelled to surrender all slaves claimed by our citizens when this
surrender is not mutual." Meanwhile the annuity began to be withheld
from the Indians in order to force them to return Negroes, and a
friendly chief, Hicks, constantly waited upon Humphreys only to find the
agent little more powerful than himself. Thus matters continued through
1829 and 1830. In violation of all legal procedure, the Indians were
constantly _required to relinquish beforehand property in their
possession to settle a question of claim_. On March 21, 1830, Humphreys
was informed that he was no longer agent for the Indians. He had been
honestly devoted to the interest of these people, but his efforts were
not in harmony with the policy of the new administration.

Just what that policy was may be seen from Jackson's special message
on Indian affairs of February 22, 1831. The Senate had asked for
information as to the conduct of the Government in connection with the
act of March 30, 1802, "to regulate trade and intercourse with the
Indian tribes and to preserve peace on the frontiers." The Nullification
controversy was in everybody's mind, and already friction had arisen
between the new President and the abolitionists. In spite of Jackson's
attitude toward South Carolina, his message in the present instance was
a careful defense of the whole theory of state rights. Nothing in the
conduct of the Federal Government toward the Indian tribes, he insisted,
had ever been intended to attack or even to call in question the rights
of a sovereign state. In one way the Southern states had seemed to be an
exception. "As early as 1784 the settlements within the limits of North
Carolina were advanced farther to the west than the authority of the
state to enforce an obedience of its laws." After the Revolution the
tribes desolated the frontiers. "Under these circumstances the first
treaties, in 1785 and 1790, with the Cherokees, were concluded by the
Government of the United States." Nothing of all this, said Jackson, had
in any way affected the relation of any Indians to the state in which
they happened to reside, and he concluded as follows: "Toward this race
of people I entertain the kindest feelings, and am not sensible that the
views which I have taken of their true interests are less favorable to
them than those which oppose their emigration to the West. Years since I
stated to them my belief that if the States chose to extend their laws
over them it would not be in the power of the Federal Government to
prevent it. My opinion remains the same, and I can see no alternative
for them but that of their removal to the West or a quiet submission to
the state laws. If they prefer to remove, the United States agree to
defray their expenses, to supply them the means of transportation and a
year's support after they reach their new homes--a provision too liberal
and kind to bear the stamp of injustice. Either course promises them
peace and happiness, whilst an obstinate perseverance in the effort to
maintain their possessions independent of the state authority can not
fail to render their condition still more helpless and miserable. Such
an effort ought, therefore, to be discountenanced by all who sincerely
sympathize in the fortunes of this peculiar people, and especially by
the political bodies of the Union, as calculated to disturb the harmony
of the two Governments and to endanger the safety of the many blessings
which they enable us to enjoy."

The policy thus formally enunciated was already in practical operation.
In the closing days of the administration of John Quincy Adams a
delegation came to Washington to present to the administration the
grievances of the Cherokee nation. The formal reception of the
delegation fell to the lot of Eaton, the new Secretary of War. The
Cherokees asserted that not only did they have no rights in the Georgia
courts in cases involving white men, but that they had been notified by
Georgia that all laws, usages, and agreements in force in the Indian
country would be null and void after June 1, 1830; and naturally they
wanted the interposition of the Federal Government. Eaton replied at
great length, reminding the Cherokees that they had taken sides with
England in the War of 1812, that they were now on American soil only by
sufferance, and that the central government could not violate the rights
of the state of Georgia; and he strongly advised immediate removal to
the West. The Cherokees, quite broken, acted in accord with this advice;
and so in 1832 did the Creeks, to whom Jackson had sent a special talk
urging removal as the only basis of Federal protection.

To the Seminoles as early as 1827 overtures for removal had been made;
but before the treaty of Fort Moultrie had really become effective they
had been intruded upon and they in turn had become more slow about
returning runaway slaves. From some of the clauses in the treaty of
Fort Moultrie, as some of the chiefs were quick to point out, the
understanding was that the same was to be in force for twenty years; and
they felt that any slowness on their part about the return of Negroes
was fully nullified by the efforts of the professional Negro stealers
with whom they had to deal.

Early in 1832, however, Colonel James Gadsden of Florida was directed
by Lewis Cass, the Secretary of War, to enter into negotiation for the
removal of the Indians of Florida. There was great opposition to a
conference, but the Indians were finally brought together at Payne's
Landing on the Ocklawaha River just seventeen miles from Fort King.
Here on May 9, 1832, was wrested from them a treaty which is of supreme
importance in the history of the Seminoles. The full text was as


MAY 9, 1832

    Whereas, a treaty between the United States and the Seminole nation
    of Indians was made and concluded at Payne's Landing, on the
    Ocklawaha River, on the 9th of May, one thousand eight hundred and
    thirty-two, by James Gadsden, commissioner on the part of the United
    States, and the chiefs and headmen of said Seminole nation of
    Indians, on the part of said nation; which treaty is in the words
    following, to wit:

    The Seminole Indians, regarding with just respect the solicitude
    manifested by the President of the United States for the improvement
    of their condition, by recommending a removal to the country more
    suitable to their habits and wants than the one they at present
    occupy in the territory of Florida, are willing that their
    confidential chiefs, Jumper, Fuch-a-lus-to-had-jo, Charley Emathla,
    Coi-had-jo, Holati-Emathla, Ya-ha-had-jo, Sam Jones, accompanied
    by their agent, Major John Phagan, and their faithful interpreter,
    Abraham, should be sent, at the expense of the United States, as
    early as convenient, to examine the country assigned to the Creeks,
    west of the Mississippi River, and should they be satisfied with the
    character of the country, and of the favorable disposition of the
    Creeks to re-unite with the Seminoles as one people; the articles of
    the compact and agreement herein stipulated, at Payne's Landing,
    on the Ocklawaha River, this ninth day of May, one thousand eight
    hundred and thirty-two, between James Gadsden, for and in behalf of
    the government of the United States, and the undersigned chiefs and
    headmen, for and in behalf of the Seminole Indians, shall be binding
    on the respective parties.

    Article I. The Seminole Indians relinquish to the United States
    all claim to the land they at present occupy in the territory of
    Florida, and agree to emigrate to the country assigned to the
    Creeks, west of the Mississippi River, it being understood that an
    additional extent of country, proportioned to their numbers, will
    be added to the Creek territory, and that the Seminoles will be
    received as a constituent part of the Creek nation, and be
    re-admitted to all the privileges as a member of the same.

    Article II. For and in consideration of the relinquishment of claim
    in the first article of this agreement, and in full compensation for
    all the improvements which may have been made on the lands thereby
    ceded, the United States stipulate to pay to the Seminole Indians
    fifteen thousand four hundred ($15,400) dollars, to be divided
    among the chiefs and warriors of the several towns, in a ratio
    proportioned to their population, the respective proportions of each
    to be paid on their arrival in the country they consent to remove
    to; it being understood that their faithful interpreters, Abraham
    and Cudjo, shall receive two hundred dollars each, of the above sum,
    in full remuneration of the improvements to be abandoned on the
    lands now cultivated by them.

    Article III. The United States agree to distribute, as they arrive
    at their new homes in the Creek territory, west of the Mississippi
    River, a blanket and a homespun frock to each of the warriors, women
    and children, of the Seminole tribe of Indians.

    Article IV. The United States agree to extend the annuity for the
    support of a blacksmith, provided for in the sixth article of the
    treaty at Camp Moultrie, for ten (10) years beyond the period
    therein stipulated, and in addition to the other annuities secured
    under that treaty, the United States agree to pay the sum of three
    thousand ($3,000) dollars a year for fifteen (15) years, commencing
    after the removal of the whole tribe; these sums to be added to the
    Creek annuities, and the whole amount to be so divided that the
    chiefs and warriors of the Seminole Indians may receive their
    equitable proportion of the same, as members of the Creek

    Article V. The United States will take the cattle belonging to the
    Seminoles, at the valuation of some discreet person, to be appointed
    by the President, and the same shall be paid for in money to the
    respective owners, after their arrival at their new homes; or other
    cattle, such as may be desired, will be furnished them; notice being
    given through their agent, of their wishes upon this subject, before
    their removal, that time may be afforded to supply the demand.

    Article VI. The Seminoles being anxious to be relieved from the
    repeated vexatious demands for slaves, and other property, alleged
    to have been stolen and destroyed by them, so that they may remove
    unembarrassed to their new homes, the United States stipulate to
    have the same property (properly) investigated, and to liquidate
    such as may be satisfactorily established, provided the amount does
    not exceed seven thousand ($7,000) dollars.

    Article VII. The Seminole Indians will remove within three (3) years
    after the ratification of this agreement, and the expenses of their
    removal shall be defrayed by the United States, and such subsistence
    shall also be furnished them, for a term not exceeding twelve (12)
    months after their arrival at their new residence, as in the opinion
    of the President their numbers and circumstances may require; the
    emigration to commence as early as practicable in the year eighteen
    hundred and thirty-three (1833), and with those Indians at present
    occupying the Big Swamp, and other parts of the country beyond the
    limits, as defined in the second article of the treaty concluded at
    Camp Moultrie Creek, so that the whole of that proportion of
    the Seminoles may be removed within the year aforesaid, and the
    remainder of the tribe, in about equal proportions, during the
    subsequent years of eighteen hundred and thirty-four and five (1834
    and 1835).

    In testimony whereof, the commissioner, James Gadsden, and the
    undersigned chiefs and head-men of the Seminole Indians, have
    hereunto subscribed their names and affixed their seals.

    Done at camp, at Payne's Landing, on the Ocklawaha River, in the
    territory of Florida, on this ninth day of May, one thousand eight
    hundred and thirty-two, and of the independence of the United States
    of America, the fifty-sixth.

    (Signed) James Gadsden. L.S.
    Holati Emathlar, his X mark.
    Jumper, his X mark.
    Cudjo, Interpreter, his X mark.
    Erastus Rodgers.
    B. Joscan.
    Holati Emathlar, his X mark.
    Jumper, his X mark.
    Fuch-ta-lus-ta-Hadjo, his X mark.
    Charley Emathla, his X mark.
    Coi Hadjo, his X mark.
    Ar-pi-uck-i, or Sam
    Jones, his X mark.
    Ya-ha-Hadjo, his X mark.
    Mico-Noha, his X mark.
    Tokose Emathla, or
    John Hicks, his X mark.
    Cat-sha-Tustenuggee, his X mark.
    Holat-a-Micco, his X mark.
    Hitch-it-i-Micco, his X mark.
    E-na-hah, his X mark.
    Ya-ha-Emathla-Chopco, his X mark.
    Moki-his-she-lar-ni, his X mark.

    Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Jackson, President of the
    United States of America, having seen and considered said treaty,
    do, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, as expressed
    by their resolution of the eighth day of April, one thousand eight
    hundred and thirty-four, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and
    every clause and article thereof.

    In witness whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States to
    be hereunto affixed, having signed the same with my hand. Done at
    the city of Washington, this twelfth day of April, in the year of
    our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four, and of the
    independence of the United States of America, the fifty-eighth.

    (Signed) ANDREW JACKSON. By the President,
    LOUIS MCLANE, Secretary of State.

It will be seen that by the terms of this document seven chiefs were to
go and examine the country assigned to the Creeks, and that they were to
be accompanied by Major John Phagan, the successor of Humphreys, and the
Negro interpreter Abraham. The character of Phagan may be seen from the
facts that he was soon in debt to different ones of the Indians and to
Abraham, and that he was found to be short in his accounts. While the
Indian chiefs were in the West, three United States commissioners
conferred with them as to the suitability of the country for a future
home, and at Fort Gibson, Arkansas, March 28, 1833, they were beguiled
into signing an additional treaty in which occurred the following
sentence: "And the undersigned Seminole chiefs, delegated as aforesaid,
on behalf of their nation, hereby declare themselves well satisfied with
the location provided for them by the commissioners, and agree that
their nation shall commence the removal to their new home as soon as the
government will make arrangements for their emigration, satisfactory to
the Seminole nation." They of course had no authority to act on their
own initiative, and when all returned in April, 1833, and Phagan
explained what had happened, the Seminoles expressed themselves in no
uncertain terms. The chiefs who had gone West denied strenuously that
they had signed away any rights to land, but they were nevertheless
upbraided as the agents of deception. Some of the old chiefs, of whom
Micanopy was the highest authority, resolved to resist the efforts to
dispossess them; and John Hicks, who seems to have been substituted for
Sam Jones on the commission, was killed because he argued too strongly
for migration. Meanwhile the treaty of Payne's Landing was ratified by
the Senate of the United States and proclaimed as in force by President
Jackson April 12, 1834, and in connection with it the supplementary
treaty of Fort Gibson was also ratified. The Seminoles, however, were
not showing any haste about removing, and ninety of the white citizens
of Alachua County sent a protest to the President alleging that the
Indians were not returning their fugitive slaves. Jackson was made
angry, and without even waiting for the formal ratification of the
treaties, he sent the document to the Secretary of War, with an
endorsement on the back directing him "to inquire into the alleged
facts, and if found to be true, to direct the Seminoles to prepare to
remove West and join the Creeks." General Wiley Thompson was appointed
to succeed Phagan as agent, and General Duncan L. Clinch was placed in
command of the troops whose services it was thought might be needed. It
was at this juncture that Osceola stepped forward as the leading spirit
of his people.

4. _Osceola and the Second Seminole War_

Osceola (Asseola, or As-se-he-ho-lar, sometimes called Powell because
after his father's death his mother married a white man of that name[1])
was not more than thirty years of age. He was slender, of only
average height, and slightly round-shouldered; but he was also well
proportioned, muscular, and capable of enduring great fatigue. He had
light, deep, restless eyes, and a shrill voice, and he was a great
admirer of order and technique. He excelled in athletic contests and in
his earlier years had taken delight in engaging in military practice
with the white men. As he was neither by descent nor formal election a
chief, he was not expected to have a voice in important deliberations;
but he was a natural leader and he did more than any other man to
organize the Seminoles to resistance. It is hardly too much to say
that to his single influence was due a contest that ultimately cost
$10,000,000 and the loss of thousands of lives. Never did a patriot
fight more valiantly for his own, and it stands to the eternal disgrace
of the American arms that he was captured under a flag of truce.

[Footnote 1: Hodge's _Handbook of American Indians_, II, 159.]

It is well to pause for a moment and reflect upon some of the deeper
motives that entered into the impending contest. A distinguished
congressman,[1] speaking in the House of Representatives a few years
later, touched eloquently upon some of the events of these troublous
years. Let us remember that this was the time of the formation of
anti-slavery societies, of pronounced activity on the part of the
abolitionists, and recall also that Nat Turner's insurrection was still
fresh in the public mind. Giddings stated clearly the issue as it
appeared to the people of the North when he said, "I hold that if the
slaves of Georgia or any other state leave their masters, the Federal
Government has no constitutional authority to employ our army or navy
for their recapture, or to apply the national treasure to repurchase
them." There could be no question of the fact that the war was very
largely one over fugitive slaves. Under date October 28, 1834, General
Thompson wrote to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: "There are many
very likely Negroes in this nation [the Seminole]. Some of the whites in
the adjacent settlements manifest a restless desire to obtain them, and
I have no doubt that Indian raised Negroes are now in the possession
of the whites." In a letter dated January 20, 1834, Governor Duval had
already said to the same official: "The slaves belonging to the Indians
have a controlling influence over the minds of their masters, and are
entirely opposed to any change of residence." Six days later he wrote:
"The slaves belonging to the Indians must be made to fear for themselves
before they will cease to influence the minds of their masters.... The
first step towards the emigration of these Indians must be the breaking
up of the runaway slaves and the outlaw Indians." And the New Orleans
_Courier_ of July 27, 1839, revealed all the fears of the period when it
said, "Every day's delay in subduing the Seminoles increases the danger
of a rising among the serviles."

[Footnote 1: Joshua R. Giddings, of Ohio. His exhaustive speech on the
Florida War was made February 9, 1841.]

All the while injustice and injury to the Indians continued.
Econchattimico, well known as one of those chiefs to whom special
reservations had been given by the treaty of Fort Moultrie, was the
owner of twenty slaves valued at $15,000. Observing Negro stealers
hovering around his estate, he armed himself and his men. The kidnapers
then furthered their designs by circulating the report that the Indians
were arming themselves for union with the main body of Seminoles for the
general purpose of massacring the white people. Face to face with
this charge Econchattimico gave up his arms and threw himself on the
protection of the government; and his Negroes were at once taken and
sold into bondage.

A similar case was that of John Walker, an Appalachicola chief, who
wrote to Thompson under date July 28, 1835: "I am induced to write you
in consequence of the depredations making and attempted to be made upon
my property, by a company of Negro stealers, some of whom are from
Columbus, Ga., and have connected themselves with Brown and Douglass....
I should like your advice how I am to act. I dislike to make or to have
any difficulty with the white people. But if they trespass upon my
premises and my rights, I must defend myself the best way I can. If they
do make this attempt, and I have no doubt they will, they must bear the
consequences. _But is there no civil law to protect me_? Are the free
Negroes and the Negroes belonging to this town to be stolen away
publicly, and in the face of law and justice, carried off and sold to
fill the pockets of these worse than land pirates? Douglass and his
company hired a man who has two large trained dogs for the purpose to
come down and take Billy. He is from Mobile and follows for a livelihood
catching runaway Negroes."

Such were the motives, fears and incidents in the years immediately
after the treaty of Payne's Landing. Beginning at the close of 1834 and
continuing through April, 1835, Thompson had a series of conferences
with the Seminole chiefs. At these meetings Micanopy, influenced by
Osceola and other young Seminoles, took a more definite stand than he
might otherwise have assumed. Especially did he insist with reference
to the treaty that he understood that the chiefs who went West were to
_examine_ the country, and for his part he knew that when they returned
they would report unfavorably. Thompson then, becoming angry, delivered
an ultimatum to the effect that if the treaty was not observed the
annuity from the great father in Washington would cease. To this,
Osceola, stepping forward, replied that he and his warriors did not care
if they never received another dollar from the great father, and drawing
his knife, he plunged it in the table and said, "The only treaty I will
execute is with this." Henceforward there was deadly enmity between the
young Seminole and Thompson. More and more Osceola made his personality
felt, constantly asserting to the men of his nation that whoever
recommended emigration was an enemy of the Seminoles, and he finally
arrived at an understanding with many of them that the treaty would be
resisted with their very lives. Thompson, however, on April 23, 1835,
had a sort of secret conference with sixteen of the chiefs who seemed
favorably disposed toward migration, and he persuaded them to sign a
document "freely and fully" assenting to the treaties of Payne's Landing
and Fort Gibson. The next day there was a formal meeting at which the
agent, backed up by Clinch and his soldiers, upbraided the Indians in a
very harsh manner. His words were met by groans, angry gesticulations,
and only half-muffled imprecations. Clinch endeavored to appeal to the
Indians and to advise them that resistance was both unwise and useless.
Thompson, however, with his usual lack of tact, rushed onward in his
course, and learning that five chiefs were unalterably opposed to the
treaty, he arbitrarily struck their names off the roll of chiefs, an
action the highhandedness of which was not lost on the Seminoles.
Immediately after the conference moreover he forbade the sale of
any more arms and powder to the Indians. To the friendly chiefs the
understanding had been given that the nation might have until January
1, 1836, to make preparation for removal, by which time all were to
assemble at Fort Brooke, Tampa Bay, for emigration.

About the first of June Osceola was one day on a quiet errand of trading
at Fort King. With him was his wife, the daughter of a mulatto slave
woman who had run away years before and married an Indian chief. By
Southern law this woman followed the condition of her mother, and
when the mother's former owner appeared on the scene and claimed the
daughter, Thompson, who desired to teach Occeola a lesson, readily
agreed that she should be remanded into captivity.[1] Osceola was highly
enraged, and this time it was his turn to upbraid the agent. Thompson
now had him overpowered and put in irons, in which situation he remained
for the better part of two days. In this period of captivity his soul
plotted revenge and at length he too planned a "_ruse de guerre_."
Feigning assent to the treaty he told Thompson that if he was released
not only would he sign himself but he would also bring his people to
sign. The agent was completely deceived by Osceola's tactics. "True to
his professions," wrote Thompson on June 3, "he this day appeared with
seventy-nine of his people, men, women, and children, including some who
had joined him since his conversion, and redeemed his promise. He told
me many of his friends were out hunting, whom he could and would bring
over on their return. I have now no doubt of his sincerity, and as
little, that the greatest difficulty is surmounted."

[Footnote 1: This highly important incident, which was really the spark
that started the war, is absolutely ignored even by such well informed
writers as Drake and Sprague. Drake simply gives the impression that
the quarrel between Osceola and Thompson was over the old matter of
emigration, saying (413), "Remonstrance soon grew into altercation,
which ended in a _ruse de guerre_, by which Osceola was made prisoner by
the agent, and put in irons, in which situation he was kept one night
and part of two days." The story is told by McMaster, however. Also note
M.M. Cohen as quoted in _Quarterly Anti-Slavery Magazine_, Vol. II, p.
419 (July, 1837).]

Osceola now rapidly urged forward preparations for war, which, however,
he did not wish actually started until after the crops were gathered.
By the fall he was ready, and one day in October when he and some other
warriors met Charley Emathla, who had upon him the gold and silver that
he had received from the sale of his cattle preparatory to migration,
they killed this chief, and Osceola threw the money in every direction,
saying that no one was to touch it, as it was the price of the red man's
blood. The true drift of events became even more apparent to Thompson
and Clinch in November, when five chiefs friendly to migration with five
hundred of their people suddenly appeared at Fort Brooke to ask for
protection. When in December Thompson sent final word to the Seminoles
that they must bring in their horses and cattle, the Indians did not
come on the appointed day; on the contrary they sent their women and
children to the interior and girded themselves for battle. To Osceola
late in the month a runner brought word that some troops under the
command of Major Dade were to leave Fort Brooke on the 25th and on the
night of the 27th were to be attacked by some Seminoles in the Wahoo
Swamp. Osceola himself, with some of his men, was meanwhile lying in the
woods near Fort King, waiting for an opportunity to kill Thompson. On
the afternoon of the 28th the agent dined not far from the fort at the
home of the sutler, a man named Rogers, and after dinner he walked
with Lieutenant Smith to the crest of a neighboring hill. Here he was
surprised by the Indians, and both he and Smith fell pierced by numerous
bullets. The Indians then pressed on to the home of the sutler and
killed Rogers, his two clerks, and a little boy. On the same day the
command of Major Dade, including seven officers and one hundred and ten
men, was almost completely annihilated, only three men escaping. Dade
and his horse were killed at the first onset. These two attacks began
the actual fighting of the Second Seminole War. That the Negroes were
working shoulder to shoulder with the Indians in these encounters may
be seen from the report of Captain Belton,[1] who said, "Lieut. Keays,
third artillery, had both arms broken from the first shot; was unable
to act, and was tomahawked the latter part of the second attack, by a
Negro"; and further: "A Negro named Harry controls the Pea Band of about
a hundred warriors, forty miles southeast of us, who have done most
of the mischief, and keep this post constantly observed." Osceola now
joined forces with those Indians who had attacked Dade, and in the
early morning of the last day of the year occurred the Battle of
Ouithlecoochee, a desperate encounter in which both Osceola and Clinch
gave good accounts of themselves. Clinch had two hundred regulars and
five or six hundred volunteers. The latter fled early in the contest and
looked on from a distance; and Clinch had to work desperately to keep
from duplicating the experience of Dade. Osceola himself was conspicuous
in a red belt and three long feathers, but although twice wounded he
seemed to bear a charmed life. He posted himself behind a tree, from
which station he constantly sallied forth to kill or wound an enemy with
almost infallible aim.

[Footnote 1: Accessible in Drake, 416-418.]

After these early encounters the fighting became more and more bitter
and the contest more prolonged. Early in the war the disbursing agent
reported that there were only three thousand Indians, including Negroes,
to be considered; but this was clearly an understatement. Within the
next year and a half the Indians were hard pressed, and before the end
of this period the notorious Thomas S. Jessup had appeared on the scene
as commanding major general. This man seems to have determined never to
use honorable means of warfare if some ignoble instrument could serve
his purpose. In a letter sent to Colonel Harvey from Tampa Bay under
date May 25, 1837, he said: "If you see Powell (Osceola), tell him I
shall send out and take all the Negroes who belong to the white people.
And he must not allow the Indian Negroes to mix with them. Tell him I
am sending to Cuba for bloodhounds to trail them; and I intend to hang
every one of them who does not come in." And it might be remarked that
for his bloodhounds Jessup spent--or said he spent--as much as $5,000, a
fact which thoroughly aroused Giddings and other persons from the North,
who by no means cared to see such an investment of public funds. By
order No. 160, dated August 3, 1837, Jessup invited his soldiers to
plunder and rapine, saying, "All Indian property captured from this date
will belong to the corps or detachment making it." From St. Augustine,
under date October 20, 1837, in a "confidential" communication he said
to one of his lieutenants: "Should Powell and his warriors come within
the fort, seize him and the whole party. It is important that he, Wild
Cat, John Cowagee, and Tustenuggee, be secured. Hold them until you have
my orders in relation to them."[1] Two days later he was able to write
to the Secretary of War that Osceola was actually taken. Said he: "That
chief came into the vicinity of Fort Peyton on the 20th, and sent a
messenger to General Hernandez, desiring to see and converse with him.
The sickly season being over, and there being no further necessity to
temporize, I sent a party of mounted men, and seized the entire body,
and now have them securely lodged in the fort." Osceola, Wild Cat,
and others thus captured were marched to St. Augustine; but Wild Cat
escaped. Osceola was ultimately taken to Fort Moultrie, in the harbor of
Charleston, where in January (1838) he died.

[Footnote 1: This correspondence, and much more bearing on the point,
may be found in House Document 327 of the Second Session of the
Twenty-fifth Congress.]

Important in this general connection was the fate of the deputation that
the influential John Ross, chief of the Cherokees, was persuaded to
send from his nation to induce the Seminoles to think more favorably of
migration. Micanopy, twelve other chieftains, and a number of warriors
accompanied the Cherokee deputation to the headquarters of the United
States Army at Fort Mellon, where they were to discuss the matter. These
warriors also Jessup seized, and Ross wrote to the Secretary of War
a dignified but bitter letter protesting against this "unprecedented
violation of that sacred rule which has ever been recognized by every
nation, civilized and uncivilized, of treating with all due respect
those who had ever presented themselves under a flag of truce before the
enemy, for the purpose of proposing the termination of warfare." He had
indeed been most basely used as the agent of deception.

This chapter, we trust, has shown something of the real nature of the
points at issue in the Seminole Wars. In the course of these contests
the rights of Indian and Negro alike were ruthlessly disregarded. There
was redress for neither before the courts, and at the end in dealing
with them every honorable principle of men and nations was violated. It
is interesting that the three representatives of colored peoples who
in the course of the nineteenth century it was most difficult to
capture--Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Negro, Osceola, the Indian, and
Aguinaldo, the Filipino--were all taken through treachery; and on two of
the three occasions this treachery was practiced by responsible officers
of the United States Army.



1. The Ultimate Problem and the Missouri Compromise

In a previous chapter[1] we have already indicated the rise of the Negro
Problem in the last decade of the eighteenth and the first two decades
of the nineteenth century. And what was the Negro Problem? It was
certainly not merely a question of slavery; in the last analysis this
institution was hardly more than an incident. Slavery has ceased to
exist, but even to-day the Problem is with us. The question was rather
what was to be the final place in the American body politic of the
Negro population that was so rapidly increasing in the country. In the
answering of this question supreme importance attached to the Negro
himself; but the problem soon transcended the race. Ultimately it was
the destiny of the United States rather than of the Negro that was to be
considered, and all the ideals on which the country was based came to
the testing. If one studied those ideals he soon realized that they were
based on Teutonic or at least English foundations. By 1820, however, the
young American republic was already beginning to be the hope of all
of the oppressed people of Europe, and Greeks and Italians as well as
Germans and Swedes were turning their faces toward the Promised Land.
The whole background of Latin culture was different from the Teutonic,
and yet the people of Southern as well as of Northern Europe somehow
became a part of the life of the United States. In this life was it also
possible for the children of Africa to have a permanent and an honorable
place? With their special tradition and gifts, with their shortcomings,
above all with their distinctive color, could they, too, become genuine
American citizens? Some said No, but in taking this position they denied
not only the ideals on which the country was founded but also the
possibilities of human nature itself. In any case the answer to the
first question at once suggested another, What shall we do with the
Negro? About this there was very great difference of opinion, it not
always being supposed that the Negro himself had anything whatever to
say about the matter. Some said send the Negro away, get rid of him by
any means whatsoever; others said if he must stay, keep him in slavery;
still others said not to keep him permanently in slavery, but emancipate
him only gradually; and already there were beginning to be persons who
felt that the Negro should be emancipated everywhere immediately, and
that after this great event had taken place he and the nation together
should work out his salvation on the broadest possible plane.

[Footnote 1: IV, Section 3.]

Into the agitation was suddenly thrust the application of Missouri for
entrance into the Union as a slave state. The struggle that followed
for two years was primarily a political one, but in the course of the
discussion the evils of slavery were fully considered. Meanwhile, in
1819, Alabama and Maine also applied for admission. Alabama was allowed
to enter without much discussion, as she made equal the number of slave
and free states. Maine, however, brought forth more talk. The Southern
congressmen would have been perfectly willing to admit this as a free
state if Missouri had been admitted as a slave state; but the North felt
that this would have been to concede altogether too much, as Missouri
from the first gave promise of being unusually important. At length,
largely through the influence of Henry Clay, there was adopted a
compromise whose main provisions were (1) that Maine was to be admitted
as a free state; (2) that in Missouri there was to be no prohibition of
slavery; but (3) that slavery was to be prohibited in any other states
that might be formed out of the Louisiana Purchase north of the line of
36° 30'.

By this agreement the strife was allayed for some years; but it is now
evident that the Missouri Compromise was only a postponement of the
ultimate contest and that the social questions involved were hardly
touched. Certainly the significance of the first clear drawing of the
line between the sections was not lost upon thoughtful men. Jefferson
wrote from Monticello in 1820: "This momentous question, like a
fire-bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered
it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the
moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence.... I can
say, with conscious truth, that there is not a man on earth who would
sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach, in
any _practicable_ way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it
is misnamed, is a bagatelle that would not cost me a second thought,
if, in that way, a general emancipation and _expatriation_ could be
effected; and, gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might
be."[1] For the time being, however, the South was concerned mainly
about immediate dangers; nor was this section placed more at ease by
Denmark Vesey's attempted insurrection in 1822.[2] A representative
South Carolinian,[3] writing after this event, said, "We regard our
Negroes as the _Jacobins_ of the country, against whom we should always
be upon our guard, and who, although we fear no permanent effects from
any insurrectionary movements on their part, should be watched with an
eye of steady and unremitted observation." Meanwhile from a ratio of
43.72 to 56.28 in 1790 the total Negro population in South Carolina had
by 1820 come to outnumber the white 52.77 to 47.23, and the tendency
was increasingly in favor of the Negro. The South, the whole country in
fact, was more and more being forced to consider not only slavery but
the ultimate reaches of the problem.

[Footnote 1: _Writings_, XV, 249.]

[Footnote 2: See Chapter VII, Section 1.]

[Footnote 3: Holland: _A Refutation of Calumnies_, 61.]

Whatever one might think of the conclusion--and in this case the speaker
was pleading for colonization--no statement of the problem as it
impressed men about 1820 or 1830 was clearer than that of Rev. Dr. Nott,
President of Union College, at Albany in 1829.[1] The question, said he,
was by no means local. Slavery was once legalized in New England; and
New England built slave-ships and manned these with New England seamen.
In 1820 the slave population in the country amounted to 1,500,000. The
number doubled every twenty years, and it was easy to see how it would
progress from 1,500,000 to 3,000,000; to 6,000,000; to 12,000,000; to
24,000,000. "Twenty-four millions of slaves! What a drawback from our
strength; what a tax on our resources; what a hindrance to our growth;
what a stain on our character; and what an impediment to the fulfillment
of our destiny! Could our worst enemies or the worst enemies of
republics, wish us a severer judgment?" How could one know that wakeful
and sagacious enemies without would not discover the vulnerable point
and use it for the country's overthrow? Or was there not danger that
among a people goaded from age to age there might at length arise some
second Toussaint L'Ouverture, who, reckless of consequences, would array
a force and cause a movement throughout the zone of bondage, leaving
behind him plantations waste and mansions desolate? Who could believe
that such a tremendous physical force would remain forever spell-bound
and quiescent? After all, however, slavery was doomed; public opinion
had already pronounced upon it, and the moral energy of the nation would
sooner or later effect its overthrow. "But," continued Nott, "the solemn
question here arises--in what condition will this momentous change place
us? The freed men of other countries have long since disappeared, having
been amalgamated in the general mass. Here there can be no amalgamation.
Our manumitted bondmen have remained already to the third and fourth, as
they will to the thousandth generation--a distinct, a degraded, and a
wretched race." After this sweeping statement, which has certainly not
been justified by time, Nott proceeded to argue the expediency of his
organization. Gerrit Smith, who later drifted away from colonization,
said frankly on the same occasion that the ultimate solution was either
amalgamation or colonization, and that of the two courses he preferred
to choose the latter. Others felt as he did. We shall now accordingly
proceed to consider at somewhat greater length the two solutions that
about 1820 had the clearest advocates--Colonization and Slavery.

[Footnote 1: See "African Colonization. Proceedings of the Formation of
the New York State Colonization Society." Albany, 1829.]

2. _Colonization_

Early in 1773, Rev. Samuel Hopkins, of Newport, called on his friend,
Rev. Ezra Stiles, afterwards President of Yale College, and suggested
the possibility of educating Negro students, perhaps two at first, who
would later go as missionaries to Africa. Stiles thought that for the
plan to be worth while there should be a colony on the coast of Africa,
that at least thirty or forty persons should go, and that the enterprise
should not be private but should have the formal backing of a society
organized for the purpose. In harmony with the original plan two young
Negro men sailed from New York for Africa, November 12, 1774; but the
Revolutionary War followed and nothing more was done at the time. In
1784, however, and again in 1787, Hopkins tried to induce different
merchants to fit out a vessel to convey a few emigrants, and in the
latter year he talked with a young man from the West Indies, Dr. William
Thornton, who expressed a willingness to take charge of the company.
The enterprise failed for lack of funds, though Thornton kept up his
interest and afterwards became a member of the first Board of Managers
of the American Colonization Society. Hopkins in 1791 spoke before the
Connecticut Emancipation Society, which he wished to see incorporated as
a colonization society, and in a sermon before the Providence society in
1793 he reverted to his favorite theme. Meanwhile, as a result of the
efforts of Wilberforce, Clarkson, and Granville Sharp in England, in
May, 1787, some four hundred Negroes and sixty white persons were landed
at Sierra Leone. Some of the Negroes in England had gained their freedom
in consequence of Lord Mansfield's decision in 1772, others had been
discharged from the British Army after the American Revolution, and all
were leading in England a more or less precarious existence. The sixty
white persons sent along were abandoned women, and why Sierra Leone
should have had this weight placed upon it at the start history has not
yet told. It is not surprising to learn that "disease and disorder were
rife, and by 1791 a mere handful survived."[1] As early as in his _Notes
on Virginia_, privately printed in 1781, Thomas Jefferson had suggested
a colony for Negroes, perhaps in the new territory of Ohio. The
suggestion was not acted upon, but it is evident that by 1800 several
persons had thought of the possibility of removing the Negroes in the
South to some other place either within or without the country.

[Footnote 1: McPherson, 15. (See bibliography on Liberia.)]

Gabriel's insurrection in 1800 again forced the idea concretely forward.
Virginia was visibly disturbed by this outbreak, and _in secret
session_, on December 21, the House of Delegates passed the following
resolution: "That the Governor[1] be requested to correspond with the
President of the United States,[2] on the subject of purchasing land
without the limits of this state, whither persons obnoxious to the laws,
or dangerous to the peace of society may be removed." The real purpose
of this resolution was to get rid of those Negroes who had had some part
in the insurrection and had not been executed; but not in 1800, or in
1802 or 1804, was the General Assembly thus able to banish those whom
it was afraid to hang. Monroe, however, acted in accordance with his
instructions, and Jefferson replied to him under date November 24, 1801.
He was not now favorable to deportation to some place within the United
States, and thought that the West Indies, probably Santo Domingo, might
be better. There was little real danger that the exiles would stimulate
vindictive or predatory descents on the American coasts, and in any case
such a possibility was "overweighed by the humanity of the measures
proposed." "Africa would offer a last and undoubted resort," thought
Jefferson, "if all others more desirable should fail."[3] Six months
later, on July 13, 1802, the President wrote about the matter to Rufus
King, then minister in London. The course of events in the West Indies,
he said, had given an impulse to the minds of Negroes in the United
States; there was a disposition to insurgency, and it now seemed that if
there was to be colonization, Africa was by all means the best place. An
African company might also engage in commercial operations, and if there
was coöperation with Sierra Leone, there was the possibility of "one
strong, rather than two weak colonies." Would King accordingly enter
into conference with the English officials with reference to disposing
of any Negroes who might be sent? "It is material to observe," remarked
Jefferson, "that they are not felons, or common malefactors, but persons
guilty of what the safety of society, under actual circumstances,
obliges us to treat as a crime, but which their feelings may represent
in a far different shape. They are such as will be a valuable
acquisition to the settlement already existing there, and well
calculated to coöperate in the plan of civilization."[4] King
accordingly opened correspondence with Thornton and Wedderbourne, the
secretaries of the company having charge of Sierra Leone, but was
informed that the colony was in a languishing condition and that funds
were likely to fail, and that in no event would they be willing to
receive more people from the United States, as these were the very ones
who had already made most trouble in the settlement.[5] On January 22,
1805, the General Assembly of Virginia passed a resolution that embodied
a request to the United States Government to set aside a portion of
territory in the new Louisiana Purchase "to be appropriated to
the residence of such people of color as have been, or shall be,
emancipated, or may hereafter become dangerous to the public safety."
Nothing came of this. By the close then of Jefferson's second
administration the Northwest, the Southwest, the West Indies, and Sierra
Leone had all been thought of as possible fields for colonization, but
from the consideration nothing visible had resulted.

[Footnote 1: Monroe.]

[Footnote 2: Jefferson.]

[Footnote 3: _Writings_, X, 297.]

[Footnote 4: _Writings_, X, 327-328.]

[Footnote 5: _Ibid_., XIII, 11.]

Now followed the period of Southern expansion and of increasing
materialism, and before long came the War of 1812. By 1811 a note of
doubt had crept into Jefferson's dealing with the subject. Said he:
"Nothing is more to be wished than that the United States would
themselves undertake to make such an establishment on the coast of
Africa ... But for this the national mind is not yet prepared. It may
perhaps be doubted whether many of these people would voluntarily
consent to such an exchange of situation, and very certain that few of
those advanced to a certain age in habits of slavery, would be capable
of self-government. This should not, however, discourage the experiment,
nor the early trial of it; and the proposition should be made with all
the prudent cautions and attentions requisite to reconcile it to the
interests, the safety, and the prejudices of all parties."[1]

[Footnote 1: _Writings_, XIII, 11.]

From an entirely different source, however, and prompted not by
expediency but the purest altruism, came an impulse that finally told in
the founding of Liberia. The heart of a young man reached out across
the sea. Samuel J. Mills, an undergraduate of Williams College, in 1808
formed among his fellow-students a missionary society whose work later
told in the formation of the American Bible Society and the Board of
Foreign Missions. Mills continued his theological studies at Andover and
then at Princeton; and while at the latter place he established a school
for Negroes at Parsippany, thirty miles away. He also interested in
his work and hopes Rev. Robert Finley, of Basking Ridge, N.J., who
"succeeded in assembling at Princeton the first meeting ever called to
consider the project of sending Negro colonists to Africa,"[1] and who
in a letter to John P. Mumford, of New York, under date February 14,
1815, expressed his interest by saying, "We should send to Africa a
population partly civilized and christianized for its benefit; and our
blacks themselves would be put in a better condition."

[Footnote 1: McPherson, 18.]

In this same year, 1815, the country was startled by the unselfish
enterprise of a Negro who had long thought of the unfortunate situation
of his people in America and who himself shouldered the obligation to
do something definite in their behalf. Paul Cuffe had been born in May,
1759, on one of the Elizabeth Islands near New Bedford, Mass., the son
of a father who was once a slave from Africa and of an Indian mother.[1]
Interested in navigation, he made voyages to Russia, England, Africa,
the West Indies, and the South; and in time he commanded his own vessel,
became generally respected, and by his wisdom rose to a fair degree of
opulence. For twenty years he had thought especially about Africa,
and in 1815 he took to Sierra Leone a total of nine families and
thirty-eight persons at an expense to himself of nearly $4000. The
people that he brought were well received at Sierra Leone, and Cuffe
himself had greater and more far-reaching plans when he died September
7, 1817. He left an estate valued at $20,000.

[Footnote 1: First Annual Report of American Colonization Society.]

Dr. Finley's meeting at Princeton was not very well attended and hence
not a great success. Nevertheless he felt sufficiently encouraged to go
to Washington in December, 1816, to use his effort for the formation of
a national colonization society. It happened that in February of this
same year, 1816, General Charles Fenton Mercer, member of the House of
Delegates, came upon the secret journals of the legislature for the
period 1801-5 and saw the correspondence between Monroe and Jefferson.
Interested in the colonization project, on December 14 (Monroe
then being President-elect) he presented in the House of Delegates
resolutions embodying the previous enactments; and these passed 132 to
14. Finley was generally helped by the effort of Mercer, and on December
21, 1816, there was held in Washington a meeting of public men
and interested citizens, Henry Clay, then Speaker of the House of
Representatives, presiding. A constitution was adopted at an adjourned
meeting on December 28; and on January 1, 1817, were formally chosen
the officers of "The American Society for Colonizing the Free People
of Color of the United States." At this last meeting Henry Clay, again
presiding, spoke in glowing terms of the possibilities of the movement;
Elias B. Caldwell, a brother-in-law of Finley, made the leading
argument; and John Randolph, of Roanoke, Va., and Robert Wright, of
Maryland, spoke of the advantages to accrue from the removal of the free
Negroes from the country (which remarks were very soon to awaken
much discussion and criticism, especially on the part of the Negroes
themselves). It is interesting to note that Mercer had no part at all in
the meeting of January 1, not even being present; he did not feel that
any but Southern men should be enrolled in the organization. However,
Bushrod Washington, the president, was a Southern man; twelve of the
seventeen vice-presidents were Southern men, among them being Andrew
Jackson and William Crawford; and all of the twelve managers were

Membership in the American Colonization Society originally consisted,
first, of such as sincerely desired to afford the free Negroes an asylum
from oppression and who hoped through them to extend to Africa the
blessings of civilization and Christianity; second, of such as sought to
enhance the value of their own slaves by removing the free Negroes; and
third, of such as desired to be relieved of any responsibility whatever
for free Negroes. The movement was widely advertised as "an effort
for the benefit of the blacks in which all parts of the country could
unite," it being understood that it was "not to have the abolition of
slavery for its immediate object," nor was it to "aim directly at the
instruction of the great body of the blacks." Such points as the last
were to prove in course of time hardly less than a direct challenge to
the different abolitionist organizations in the North, and more and more
the Society was denounced as a movement on the part of slaveholders for
perpetuating their institutions by doing away with the free people of
color. It is not to be supposed, however, that the South, with its usual
religious fervor, did not put much genuine feeling into the colonization
scheme. One man in Georgia named Tubman freed his slaves, thirty in all,
and placed them in charge of the Society with a gift of $10,000; Thomas
Hunt, a young Virginian, afterwards a chaplain in the Union Army, sent
to Liberia the slaves he had inherited, paying the entire cost of the
journey; and others acted in a similar spirit of benevolence. It was
but natural, however, for the public to be somewhat uncertain as to the
tendencies of the organization when the utterances of representative
men were sometimes directly contradictory. On January 20, 1827, for
instance, Henry Clay, then Secretary of State, speaking in the hall of
the House of Representatives at the annual meeting of the Society, said:
"Of all classes of our population, the most vicious is that of the free
colored. It is the inevitable result of their moral, political, and
civil degradation. Contaminated themselves, they extend their vices to
all around them, to the slaves and to the whites." Just a moment later
he said: "Every emigrant to Africa is a missionary carrying with him
credentials in the holy cause of civilization, religion, and free
institutions." How persons contaminated and vicious could be
missionaries of civilization and religion was something possible only in
the logic of Henry Clay. In the course of the next month Robert Y. Hayne
gave a Southern criticism in two addresses on a memorial presented in
the United States Senate by the Colonization Society.[1] The first
of these speeches was a clever one characterized by much wit and
good-humored raillery; the second was a sober arraignment. Hayne
emphasized the tremendous cost involved and the physical impossibility
of the whole undertaking, estimating that at least sixty thousand
persons a year would have to be transported to accomplish anything like
the desired result. At the close of his brilliant attack, still making
a veiled plea for the continuance of slavery, he nevertheless rose to
genuine statesmanship in dealing with the problem of the Negro, saying,
"While this process is going on the colored classes are gradually
diffusing themselves throughout the country and are making steady
advances in intelligence and refinement, and if half the zeal were
displayed in bettering their condition that is now wasted in the vain
and fruitless effort of sending them abroad, their intellectual and
moral improvement would be steady and rapid." William Lloyd Garrison was
untiring and merciless in flaying the inconsistencies and selfishness of
the colonization organization. In an editorial in the _Liberator_, July
9, 1831, he charged the Society, first, with persecution in compelling
free people to emigrate against their will and in discouraging their
education at home; second, with falsehood in saying that the Negroes
were natives of Africa when they were no more so than white Americans
were natives of Great Britain; third, with cowardice in asserting that
the continuance of the Negro population in the country involved dangers;
and finally, with infidelity in denying that the Gospel has full power
to reach the hatred in the hearts of men. In _Thoughts on African
Colonisation_ (1832) he developed exhaustively ten points as follows:
That the American Colonization Society was pledged not to oppose the
system of slavery, that it apologized for slavery and slaveholders, that
it recognized slaves as property, that by deporting Negroes it increased
the value of slaves, that it was the enemy of immediate abolition, that
it was nourished by fear and selfishness, that it aimed at the utter
expulsion of the blacks, that it was the disparager of free Negroes,
that it denied the possibility of elevating the black people of the
country, and that it deceived and misled the nation. Other criticisms
were numerous. A broadside, "The Shields of American Slavery" ("Broad
enough to hide the wrongs of two millions of stolen men") placed side by
side conflicting utterances of members of the Society; and in August,
1830, Kendall, fourth auditor, in his report to the Secretary of the
Navy, wondered why the resources of the government should be used "to
colonize recaptured Africans, to build homes for them, to furnish them
with farming utensils, to pay instructors to teach them, to purchase
ships for their convenience, to build forts for their protection, to
supply them with arms and munitions of war, to enlist troops to guard
them, and to employ the army and navy in their defense."[2] Criticism of
the American Colonization Society was prompted by a variety of motives;
but the organization made itself vulnerable at many points. The movement
attracted extraordinary attention, but has had practically no effect
whatever on the position of the Negro in the United States. Its work
in connection with the founding of Liberia, however, is of the highest
importance, and must later receive detailed attention.

[Footnote 1: See Jervey: _Robert Y. Hayne and His Times_, 207-8.]

[Footnote 2: Cited by McPherson, 22.]

3. _Slavery_

We have seen that from the beginning there were liberal-minded men in
the South who opposed the system of slavery, and if we actually take
note of all the utterances of different men and of the proposals for
doing away with the system, we shall find that about the turn of the
century there was in this section considerable anti-slavery sentiment.
Between 1800 and 1820, however, the opening of new lands in the
Southwest, the increasing emphasis on cotton, and the rapidly growing
Negro population, gave force to the argument of expediency; and the
Missouri Compromise drew sharply the lines of the contest. The South now
came to regard slavery as its peculiar heritage; public men were forced
to defend the institution; and in general the best thought of the
section began to be obsessed and dominated by the Negro, just as it is
to-day in large measure. In taking this position the South deliberately
committed intellectual suicide. In such matters as freedom of speech and
literary achievement, and in genuine statesmanship if not for the time
being in political influence, this part of the country declined, and
before long the difference between it and New England was appalling.
Calhoun and Hayne were strong; but between 1820 and 1860 the South had
no names to compare with Longfellow and Emerson in literature, or with
Morse and Hoe in invention. The foremost college professor, Dew, of
William and Mary, and even the outstanding divines, Furman, the Baptist,
of South Carolina, in the twenties, and Palmer, the Presbyterian of New
Orleans, in the fifties, are all now remembered mainly because they
defended their section in keeping the Negro in bonds. William and Mary
College, and even the University of Virginia, as compared with Harvard
and Yale, became provincial institutions; and instead of the Washington
or Jefferson of an earlier day now began to be nourished such a leader
as "Bob" Toombs, who for all of his fire and eloquence was a demagogue.
In making its choice the South could not and did not blame the Negro
per se, for it was freely recognized that upon slave labor rested such
economic stability as the section possessed. The tragedy was simply that
thousands of intelligent Americans deliberately turned their faces to
the past, and preferred to read the novels of Walter Scott and live in
the Middle Ages rather than study the French Revolution and live in the
nineteenth century. One hundred years after we find that the chains are
still forged, that thought is not yet free. Thus the Negro Problem began
to be, and still is, very largely the problem of the white man of the
South. The era of capitalism had not yet dawned, and still far in the
future was the day when the poor white man and the Negro were slowly to
realize that their interests were largely identical.

The argument with which the South came to support its position and to
defend slavery need not here detain us at length. It was formally stated
by Dew and others[1] and it was to be heard on every hand. One could
hardly go to church, to say nothing of going to a public meeting,
without hearing echoes of it. In general it was maintained that slavery
had made for the civilization of the world in that it had mitigated
the evils of war, had made labor profitable, had changed the nature of
savages, and elevated woman. The slave-trade was of course horrible and
unjust, but the great advantages of the system more than outweighed a
few attendant evils. Emancipation and deportation were alike impossible.
Even if practicable, they would not be expedient measures, for they
meant the loss to Virginia of one-third of her property. As for
morality, it was not to be expected that the Negro should have the
sensibilities of the white man. Moreover the system had the advantage of
cultivating a republican spirit among the white people. In short, said
Dew, the slaves, in both the economic and the moral point of view, were
"entirely unfit for a state of freedom among the whites." Holland,
already cited, in 1822 maintained five points, as follows: 1. That the
United States are one for national purposes, but separate for their
internal regulation and government; 2. That the people of the North and
East "always exhibited an unfriendly feeling on subjects affecting the
interests of the South and West"; 3. That the institution of slavery
was not an institution of the South's voluntary choosing; 4. That the
Southern sections of the Union, both before and after the Declaration
of Independence, "had uniformly exhibited a disposition to restrict
the extension of the evil--and had always manifested as cordial a
disposition to ameliorate it as those of the North and East"; and 5.
That the actual state and condition of the slave population "reflected
no disgrace whatever on the character of the country--as the slaves were
infinitely better provided for than the laboring poor of other countries
of the world, and were generally happier than millions of white people
in the world." Such arguments the clergy supported and endeavored to
reconcile with Christian precept. Rev. Dr. Richard Furman, president
of the Baptist Convention of South Carolina,[2] after much inquiry and
reasoning, arrived at the conclusion that "the holding of slaves is
justifiable by the doctrine and example contained in Holy Writ; and is,
therefore, consistent with Christian uprightness both in sentiment and
conduct." Said he further: "The Christian golden rule, of doing
to others as we would they should do to us, has been urged as an
unanswerable argument against holding slaves. But surely this rule
is never to be urged against that order of things which the Divine
government has established; nor do our desires become a standard to us,
under this rule, unless they have a due regard to justice, propriety,
and the general good.... A father may very naturally desire that his son
should be obedient to his orders: Is he therefore to obey the orders of
his son? A man might be pleased to be exonerated from his debts by the
generosity of his creditors; or that his rich neighbor should equally
divide his property with him; and in certain circumstances might desire
these to be done: Would the mere existence of this desire oblige him
to exonerate his debtors, and to make such division of his property?"
Calhoun in 1837 formally accepted slavery, saying that the South should
no longer apologize for it; and the whole argument from the standpoint
of expediency received eloquent expression in the Senate of the United
States from no less a man than Henry Clay, who more and more appears in
the perspective as a pro-Southern advocate. Said he: "I am no friend of
slavery. But I prefer the liberty of my own country to that of any other
people; and the liberty of my own race to that of any other race.
The liberty of the descendants of Africa in the United States is
incompatible with the safety and liberty of the European descendants.
Their slavery forms an exception--an exception resulting from a
stern and inexorable necessity--to the general liberty in the United
States."[3] After the lapse of years the pro-slavery argument is pitiful
in its numerous fallacies. It was in line with much of the discussion of
the day that questioned whether the Negro was actually a human being,
and but serves to show to what extremes economic interest will sometimes
drive men otherwise of high intelligence and honor.

[Footnote 1: _The Pro-Slavery Argument_ (as maintained by the most
distinguished writers of the Southern states). Charleston, 1852.]

[Footnote 2: "Rev. Dr. Richard Furman's Exposition of the Views of the
Baptists relative to the Coloured Population in the United States, in
a Communication to the Governor of South Carolina." Second edition,
Charleston, 1833 (letter bears original date, December 24, 1822).]

[Footnote 3: Address "On Abolition," February 7, 1839.]



We have already seen that on several occasions in colonial times the
Negroes in bondage made a bid for freedom, many men risking their all
and losing their lives in consequence. In general these early attempts
failed completely to realize their aim, organization being feeble and
the leadership untrained and exerting only an emotional hold over
adherents. In Charleston, S.C., in 1822, however, there was planned an
insurrection about whose scope there could be no question. The leader,
Denmark Vesey, is interesting as an intellectual insurrectionist just as
the more famous Nat Turner is typical of the more fervent sort. It is
the purpose of the present chapter to study the attempts for freedom
made by these two men, and also those of two daring groups of captives
who revolted at sea.

1. _Denmark Vesey's Insurrection_

Denmark Vesey is first seen as one of the three hundred and ninety
slaves on the ship of Captain Vesey, who commanded a vessel trading
between St. Thomas and Cape François (Santo Domingo), and who was
engaged in supplying the French of the latter place with slaves. At the
time, the boy was fourteen years old, and of unusual personal beauty,
alertness, and magnetism. He was shown considerable favoritism, and
was called Télémaque (afterwards corrupted to _Telmak_, and then to
_Denmark_). On his arrival at Cape François, Denmark was sold with
others of the slaves to a planter who owned a considerable estate. On
his next trip, however, Captain Vesey learned that the boy was to be
returned to him as unsound and subject to epileptic fits. The laws of
the place permitted the return of a slave in such a case, and while it
has been thought that Denmark's fits may have been feigned in order that
he might have some change of estate, there was quite enough proof in the
matter to impress the king's physician. Captain Vesey never had reason
to regret having to take the boy back. They made several voyages
together, and Denmark served until 1800 as his faithful personal
attendant. In this year the young man, now thirty-three years of age and
living in Charleston, won $1,500 in an East Bay Street lottery, $600 of
which he devoted immediately to the purchase of his freedom. The sum was
much less than he was really worth, but Captain Vesey liked him and had
no reason to drive a hard bargain with him.

In the early years of his full manhood accordingly Denmark Vesey found
himself a free man in his own right and possessed of the means for a
little real start in life. He improved his time and proceeded to win
greater standing and recognition by regular and industrious work at his
trade, that of a carpenter. Over the slaves he came to have unbounded
influence. Among them, in accordance with the standards of the day, he
had several wives and children (none of whom could he call his own), and
he understood perfectly the fervor and faith and superstition of the
Negroes with whom he had to deal. To his remarkable personal magnetism
moreover he added just the strong passion and the domineering temper
that were needed to make his conquest complete.

Thus for twenty years he worked on. He already knew French as well
as English, but he now studied and reflected upon as wide a range of
subjects as possible. It was not expected at the time that there would
be religious classes or congregations of Negroes apart from the white
people; but the law was not strictly observed, and for a number of
years a Negro congregation had a church in Hampstead in the suburbs
of Charleston. At the meetings here and elsewhere Vesey found his
opportunity, and he drew interesting parallels between the experiences
of the Jews and the Negroes. He would rebuke a companion on the street
for bowing to a white person; and if such a man replied, "We are
slaves," he would say, "You deserve to be." If the man then asked
what he could do to better his condition, he would say, "Go and buy a
spelling-book and read the fable of Hercules and the wagoner."[1] At the
same time if he happened to engage in conversation with white people in
the presence of Negroes, he would often take occasion to introduce some
striking remark on slavery. He regularly held up to emulation the work
of the Negroes of Santo Domingo; and either he or one of his chief
lieutenants clandestinely sent a letter to the President of Santo
Domingo to ask if the people there would help the Negroes of Charleston
if the latter made an effort to free themselves.[2] About 1820 moreover,
when he heard of the African Colonization scheme and the opportunity
came to him to go, he put this by, waiting for something better. This
was the period of the Missouri Compromise. Reports of the agitation and
of the debates in Congress were eagerly scanned by those Negroes in
Charleston who could read; rumor exaggerated them; and some of the more
credulous of the slaves came to believe that the efforts of Northern
friends had actually emancipated them and that they were being illegally
held in bondage. Nor was the situation improved when the city marshal,
John J. Lafar, on January 15, 1821, reminded those ministers or other
persons who kept night and Sunday schools for Negroes that the law
forbade the education of such persons and would have to be enforced.
Meanwhile Vesey was very patient. After a few months, however, he ceased
to work at his trade in order that all the more he might devote
himself to the mission of his life. This was, as he conceived it, an
insurrection that would do nothing less than totally annihilate the
white population of Charleston.

[Footnote 1: Official Report, 19.]

[Footnote 2: Official Report, 96-97, and Higginson, 232-3.]

In the prosecution of such a plan the greatest secrecy and faithfulness
were of course necessary, and Vesey waited until about Christmas, 1821,
to begin active recruiting. He first sounded Ned and Rolla Bennett,
slaves of Governor Thomas Bennett, and then Peter Poyas and Jack
Purcell. After Christmas he spoke to Gullah Jack and Monday Gell;
and Lot Forrester and Frank Ferguson became his chief agents for the
plantations outside of Charleston.[1] In the whole matter of the choice
of his chief assistants he showed remarkable judgment of character. His
penetration was almost uncanny. "Rolla was plausible, and possessed
uncommon self-possession; bold and ardent, he was not to be deterred
from his purpose by danger. Ned's appearance indicated that he was a man
of firm nerves and desperate courage. Peter was intrepid and resolute,
true to his engagements, and cautious in observing secrecy when it was
necessary; he was not to be daunted or impeded by difficulties, and
though confident of success, was careful in providing against any
obstacles or casualties which might arise, and intent upon discovering
every means which might be in their power if thought of beforehand.
Gullah Jack was regarded as a sorcerer, and as such feared by the
natives of Africa, who believe in witchcraft. He was not only considered
invulnerable, but that he could make others so by his charms; and that
he could and certainly would provide all his followers with arms....
His influence amongst the Africans was inconceivable. Monday was firm,
resolute, discreet, and intelligent."[2] He was also daring and active,
a harness-maker in the prime of life, and he could read and write with
facility; but he was also the only man of prominence in the conspiracy
whose courage failed him in court and who turned traitor. To these names
must be added that of Batteau Bennett, who was only eighteen years old
and who brought to the plan all the ardor and devotion of youth. In
general Vesey sought to bring into the plan those Negroes, such as
stevedores and mechanics, who worked away from home and who had some
free time. He would not use men who were known to become intoxicated,
and one talkative man named George he excluded from his meetings. Nor
did he use women, not because he did not trust them, but because in case
of mishap he wanted the children to be properly cared for. "Take care,"
said Peter Poyas, in speaking about the plan to one of the recruits,
"and don't mention it to those waiting men who receive presents of old
coats, etc., from their masters, or they'll betray us; I will speak to

[Footnote 1: Official Report, 20. Note that Higginson, who was so
untiring in his research, strangely confuses Jack Purcell and Gullah
Jack (p. 230). The men were quite distinct, as appears throughout the
report and from the list of those executed. The name of Gullah Jack's
owner was Pritchard.]

[Footnote 2: Official Report, 24. Note that this remarkable
characterization was given by the judges, Kennedy and Parker, who
afterwards condemned the men to death.]

With his lieutenants Vesey finally brought into the plan the Negroes for
seventy or eighty miles around Charleston. The second Monday in July,
1822, or Sunday, July 14, was the time originally set for the attack.
July was chosen because in midsummer many of the white people were
away at different resorts; and Sunday received favorable consideration
because on that day the slaves from the outlying plantations were
frequently permitted to come to the city. Lists of the recruits were
kept. Peter Poyas is said to have gathered as many as six hundred names,
chiefly from that part of Charleston known as South Bay in which he
lived; and it is a mark of his care and discretion that of all of those
afterwards arrested and tried, not one belonged to his company. Monday
Gell, who joined late and was very prudent, had forty-two names. All
such lists, however, were in course of time destroyed. "During the
period that these enlistments were carrying on, Vesey held frequent
meetings of the conspirators at his house; and as arms were necessary to
their success, each night a hat was handed round, and collections made,
for the purpose of purchasing them, and also to defray other necessary
expenses. A Negro who was a blacksmith and had been accustomed to make
edged tools, was employed to make pike-heads and bayonets with sockets,
to be fixed at the ends of long poles and used as pikes. Of these
pike-heads and bayonets, one hundred were said to have been made at an
early day, and by the 16th June as many as two or three hundred, and
between three and four hundred daggers."[1] A bundle containing some of
the poles, neatly trimmed and smoothed off, and nine or ten feet long,
was afterwards found concealed on a farm on Charleston Neck, where
several of the meetings were held, having been carried there to have the
pike-heads and bayonets fixed in place. Governor Bennett stated that the
number of poles thus found was thirteen, but so wary were the Negroes
that he and other prominent men underestimated the means of attack. It
was thought that the Negroes in Charleston might use their masters'
arms, while those from the country were to bring hoes, hatchets, and
axes. For their main supply of arms, however, Vesey and Peter Poyas
depended upon the magazines and storehouses in the city. They planned to
seize the Arsenal in Meeting Street opposite St. Michael's Church; it
was the key to the city, held the arms of the state, and had for some
time been neglected. Poyas at a given signal at midnight was to move
upon this point, killing the sentinel. Two large gun and powder stores
were by arrangement to be at the disposal of the insurrectionists; and
other leaders, coming from six different directions, were to seize
strategic points and thus aid the central work of Poyas. Meanwhile a
body of horse was to keep the streets clear. "Eat only dry food," said
Gullah Jack as the day approached, "parched corn and ground nuts, and
when you join us as we pass put this crab claw in your mouth and you
can't be wounded."

[Footnote 1: Official Report, 31-32.]

On May 25[1] a slave of Colonel Prioleau, while on an errand at the
wharf, was accosted by another slave, William Paul, who remarked: "I
have often seen a flag with the number 76, but never one with the number
96 upon it before." As this man showed no knowledge of what was going
on, Paul spoke to him further and quite frankly about the plot. The
slave afterwards spoke to a free man about what he had heard; this man
advised him to tell his master about it; and so he did on Prioleau's
return on May 30. Prioleau immediately informed the Intendant, or Mayor,
and by five o'clock in the afternoon both the slave and Paul were being
examined. Paul was placed in confinement, but not before his testimony
had implicated Peter Poyas and Mingo Harth, a man who had been appointed
to lead one of the companies of horse. Harth and Poyas were cool and
collected, however, they ridiculed the whole idea, and the wardens,
completely deceived, discharged them. In general at this time the
authorities were careful and endeavored not to act hastily. About June
8, however, Paul, greatly excited and fearing execution, confessed that
the plan was very extensive and said that it was led by an individual
who bore a charmed life. Ned Bennett, hearing that his name had been
mentioned, voluntarily went before the Intendant and asked to be
examined, thus again completely baffling the officials. All the while,
in the face of the greatest danger, Vesey continued to hold his
meetings. By Friday, June 14, however, another informant had spoken
to his master, and all too fully were Peter Poyas's fears about
"waiting-men" justified. This man said that the original plan had been
changed, for the night of Sunday, June 16, was now the time set for
the insurrection, and otherwise he was able to give all essential
information.[2] On Saturday night, June 15, Jesse Blackwood, an aid sent
into the country to prepare the slaves to enter the following day, while
he penetrated two lines of guards, was at the third line halted and sent
back into the city. Vesey now realized in a moment that all his plans
were disclosed, and immediately he destroyed any papers that might prove
to be incriminating. "On Sunday, June 16, at ten o'clock at night,
Captain Cattle's Corps of Hussars, Captain Miller's Light Infantry,
Captain Martindale's Neck Rangers, the Charleston Riflemen and the City
Guard were ordered to rendezvous for guard, the whole organized as a
detachment under command of Colonel R.Y. Hayne."[3] It was his work on
this occasion that gave Hayne that appeal to the public which was later
to help him to pass on to the governorship and then to the United States
Senate. On the fateful night twenty or thirty men from the outlying
districts who had not been able to get word of the progress of events,
came to the city in a small boat, but Vesey sent word to them to go back
as quickly as possible.

[Footnote 1: Higginson, 215.]

[Footnote 2: For reasons of policy the names of these informers were
withheld from publication, but they were well known, of course, to
the Negroes of Charleston. The published documents said of the chief
informer, "It would be a libel on the liberality and gratitude of this
community to suppose that this man can be overlooked among those who are
to be rewarded for their fidelity and principle." The author has been
informed that his reward for betraying his people was to be officially
and legally declared "a white man."]

[Footnote 3: Jervey: _Robert Y. Hayne and His Times_, 131-2.]

Two courts were formed for the trial of the conspirators. The first,
after a long session of five weeks, was dissolved July 20; a second was
convened, but after three days closed its investigation and adjourned
August 8.[1] All the while the public mind was greatly excited. The
first court, which speedily condemned thirty-four men to death, was
severely criticized. The New York _Daily Advertiser_ termed the
execution "a bloody sacrifice"; but Charleston replied with the reminder
of the Negroes who had been burned in New York in 1741.[2] Some of the
Negroes blamed the leaders for the trouble into which they had been
brought, but Vesey himself made no confession. He was by no means alone.
"Do not open your lips," said Poyas; "die silent as you shall see me
do." Something of the solicitude of owners for their slaves may be
seen from the request of Governor Bennett himself in behalf of Batteau
Bennett. He asked for a special review of the case of this young man,
who was among those condemned to death, "with a view to the mitigation
of his punishment." The court did review the case, but it did not change
its sentence. Throughout the proceedings the white people of Charleston
were impressed by the character of those who had taken part in the
insurrection; "many of them possessed the highest confidence of their
owners, and not one was of bad character."[3]

[Footnote 1: Bennett letter.]

[Footnote 2: See _City Gazette_, August 14, 1822, cited by Jervey.]

[Footnote 3: Official Report, 44.]

As a result of this effort for freedom one hundred and thirty-one
Negroes were arrested; thirty-five were executed and forty-three
banished.[1] Of those executed, Denmark Vesey, Peter Poyas, Ned Bennett,
Rolla Bennett, Batteau Bennett, and Jesse Blackwood were hanged July 2;
Gullah Jack and one more on July 12; twenty-two were hanged on a huge
gallows Friday, July 26; four more were hanged July 30, and one on
August 9. Of those banished, twelve had been sentenced for execution,
but were afterwards given banishment instead; twenty-one were to be
transported by their masters beyond the limits of the United States;
one, a free man, required to leave the state, satisfied the court by
offering to leave the United States, while nine others who were not
definitely sentenced were strongly recommended to their owners for
banishment. The others of the one hundred and thirty-one were acquitted.
The authorities at length felt that they had executed enough to teach
the Negroes a lesson, and the hanging ceased; but within the next
year or two Governor Bennett and others gave to the world most gloomy
reflections upon the whole proceeding and upon the grave problem at
their door. Thus closed the insurrection that for the ambitiousness of
its plan, the care with which it was matured, and the faithfulness of
the leaders to one another, was never equalled by a similar attempt for
freedom in the United States.

[Footnote 1: The figure is sometimes given as 37, but the lists total

_2. Nat Turner's Insurrection_

About noon on Sunday, August 21, 1831, on the plantation of Joseph
Travis at Cross Keys, in Southampton County, in Southeastern Virginia,
were gathered four Negroes, Henry Porter, Hark Travis, Nelson Williams,
and Sam Francis, evidently preparing for a barbecue. They were soon
joined by a gigantic and athletic Negro named Will Francis, and by
another named Jack Reese. Two hours later came a short, strong-looking
man who had a face of great resolution and at whom one would not
have needed to glance a second time to know that he was to be the
master-spirit of the company. Seeing Will and his companion he raised a
question as to their being present, to which Will replied that life was
worth no more to him than the others and that liberty was as dear to
him. This answer satisfied the latest comer, and Nat Turner now went
into conference with his most trusted friends. One can only imagine the
purpose, the eagerness, and the firmness on those dark faces throughout
that long summer afternoon and evening. When at last in the night the
low whispering ceased, the doom of nearly three-score white persons--and
it might be added, of twice as many Negroes--was sealed.

Cross Keys was seventy miles from Norfolk, just about as far from
Richmond, twenty-five miles from the Dismal Swamp, fifteen miles from
Murfreesboro in North Carolina, and also fifteen miles from Jerusalem,
the county seat of Southampton County. The community was settled
primarily by white people of modest means. Joseph Travis, the owner of
Nat Turner, had recently married the widow of one Putnam Moore.

Nat Turner, who originally belonged to one Benjamin Turner, was born
October 2, 1800. He was mentally precocious and had marks on his head
and breast which were interpreted by the Negroes who knew him as marking
him for some high calling. In his mature years he also had on his right
arm a knot which was the result of a blow which he had received. He
experimented in paper, gunpowder, and pottery, and it is recorded of him
that he was never known to swear an oath, to drink a drop of spirits,
or to commit a theft. Instead he cultivated fasting and prayer and the
reading of the Bible.

More and more Nat gave himself up to a life of the spirit and to
communion with the voices that he said he heard. He once ran away for
a month, but felt commanded by the spirit to return. About 1825 a
consciousness of his great mission came to him, and daily he labored
to make himself more worthy. As he worked in the field he saw drops
of blood on the corn, and he also saw white spirits and black spirits
contending in the skies. While he thus so largely lived in a religious
or mystical world and was immersed, he was not a professional Baptist
preacher. On May 12, 1828, he was left no longer in doubt. A great voice
said unto him that the Serpent was loosed, that Christ had laid down the
yoke, that he, Nat, was to take it up again, and that the time was fast
approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first.
An eclipse of the sun in February, 1831, was interpreted as the sign for
him to go forward. Yet he waited a little longer, until he had made sure
of his most important associates. It is worthy of note that when he
began his work, while he wanted the killing to be as effective and
widespread as possible, he commanded that no outrage be committed, and
he was obeyed.

When on the Sunday in August Nat and his companions finished their
conference, they went to find Austin, a brother-spirit; and then all
went to the cider-press and drank except Nat. It was understood that he
as the leader was to spill the first blood, and that he was to begin
with his own master, Joseph Travis. Going to the house, Hark placed
a ladder against the chimney. On this Nat ascended; then he went
downstairs, unbarred the doors, and removed the guns from their places.
He and Will together entered Travis's chamber, and the first blow was
given to the master of the house. The hatchet glanced off and Travis
called to his wife; but this was with his last breath, for Will at once
despatched him with his ax. The wife and the three children of the house
were also killed immediately. Then followed a drill of the company,
after which all went to the home of Salathiel Francis six hundred yards
away. Sam and Will knocked, and Francis asked who was there. Sam replied
that he had a letter, for him. The man came to the door, where he was
seized and killed by repeated blows over the head. He was the only white
person in the house. In silence all passed on to the home of Mrs.
Reese, who was killed while asleep in bed. Her son awoke, but was also
immediately killed. A mile away the insurrectionists came to the home of
Mrs. Turner, which they reached about sunrise on Monday morning. Henry,
Austin, and Sam went to the still, where they found and killed the
overseer, Peebles, Austin shooting him. Then all went to the house. The
family saw them coming and shut the door--to no avail, however, as Will
with one stroke of his ax opened it and entered to find Mrs. Turner and
Mrs. Newsome in the middle of the room almost frightened to death. Will
killed Mrs. Turner with one blow of his ax, and after Nat had struck
Mrs. Newsome over the head with his sword, Will turned and killed her
also. By this time the company amounted to fifteen. Nine went mounted to
the home of Mrs. Whitehead and six others went along a byway to the home
of Henry Bryant. As they neared the first house Richard Whitehead, the
son of the family, was standing in the cotton-patch near the fence.
Will killed him with his ax immediately. In the house he killed Mrs.
Whitehead, almost severing her head from her body with one blow.
Margaret, a daughter, tried to conceal herself and ran, but was killed
by Turner with a fence-rail. The men in this first company were now
joined by those in the second, the six who had gone to the Bryant home,
who informed them that they had done the work assigned, which was to
kill Henry Bryant himself, his wife and child, and his wife's mother. By
this time the killing had become fast and furious. The company divided
again; some would go ahead, and Nat would come up to find work already
accomplished. Generally fifteen or twenty of the best mounted were put
in front to strike terror and prevent escape, and Nat himself frequently
did not get to the houses where killing was done. More and more the
Negroes, now about forty in number, were getting drunken and noisy.
The alarm was given, and by nine or ten o'clock on Monday morning one
Captain Harris and his family had escaped. Prominent among the events of
the morning, however, was the killing at the home of Mrs. Waller of ten
children who were gathering for school.[1]

[Footnote 1: In "Horrid Massacre," or, to use the more formal title,
"Authentic and Impartial Narrative of the Tragical Scene which was
Witnessed in Southampton County (Virginia) on Monday the 22d of August
Last," the list below of the victims of Nat Turner's insurrection
is given. It must be said about this work, however, that it is not
altogether impeccable; it seems to have been prepared very hastily after
the event, its spelling of names is often arbitrary, and instead of the
fifty-five victims noted it appears that at least fifty-seven white
persons were killed:

  Joseph Travis, wife and three children                         5
  Mrs. Elizabeth Turner, Hartwell Peebles, and Sarah Newsum      3
  Mrs. Piety Reese and son, William                              2
  Trajan Doyal                                                   1
  Henry Briant, wife and child, and wife's mother                4
  Mrs. Catherine Whitehead, her son Richard, four daughters
      and a grandchild                                           7
  Salathael Francis                                              1
  Nathaniel Francis's overseer and two children                  3
  John T. Barrow and George Vaughan                              2
  Mrs. Levi Waller and ten children                             11
  Mr. William Williams, wife and two boys                        4
  Mrs. Caswell Worrell and child                                 2
  Mrs. Rebacca Vaughan, Ann Eliza Vaughan, and son Arthur        3
  Mrs. Jacob Williams and three children and Edwin Drewry        5
                                                                55  ]

As the men neared the home of James Parker, it was suggested that
they call there; but Turner objected, as this man had already gone to
Jerusalem and he himself wished to reach the county seat as soon as
possible. However, he and some of the men remained at the gate while
others went to the house half a mile away. This exploit proved to be the
turning-point of the events of the day. Uneasy at the delay of those who
went to the house, Turner went thither also. On his return he was met by
a company of white men who had fired on those Negroes left at the gate
and dispersed them. On discovering these men, Turner ordered his own men
to halt and form, as now they were beginning to be alarmed. The white
men, eighteen in number, approached and fired, but were forced to
retreat. Reënforcements for them from Jerusalem were already at hand,
however, and now the great pursuit of the Negro insurrectionists began.

Hark's horse was shot under him and five or six of the men were wounded.
Turner's force was largely dispersed, but on Monday night he stopped at
the home of Major Ridley, and his company again increased to forty. He
tried to sleep a little, but a sentinel gave the alarm; all were soon up
and the number was again reduced to twenty. Final resistance was offered
at the home of Dr. Blunt, but here still more of the men were put to
flight and were never again seen by Turner.

A little later, however, the leader found two of his men named Jacob and
Nat. These he sent with word to Henry, Hark, Nelson, and Sam to meet him
at the place where on Sunday they had taken dinner together. With what
thoughts Nat Turner returned alone to this place on Tuesday evening can
only be imagined. Throughout the night he remained, but no one joined
him and he presumed that his followers had all either been taken or had
deserted him. Nor did any one come on Wednesday, or on Thursday. On
Thursday night, having supplied himself with provisions from the Travis
home, he scratched a hole under a pile of fence-rails, and here he
remained for six weeks, leaving only at night to get water. All
the while of course he had no means of learning of the fate of his
companions or of anything else. Meanwhile not only the vicinity but
the whole South was being wrought up to an hysterical state of mind. A
reward of $500 for the capture of the man was offered by the Governor,
and other rewards were also offered. On September 30 a false account of
his capture appeared in the newspapers; on October 7 another; on October
8 still another. By this time Turner had begun to move about a little at
night, not speaking to any human being and returning always to his hole
before daybreak. Early on October 15 a dog smelt his provisions and led
thither two Negroes. Nat appealed to these men for protection, but they
at once began to run and excitedly spread the news. Turner fled in
another direction and for ten days more hid among the wheat-stacks on
the Francis plantation. All the while not less than five hundred men
were on the watch for him, and they found the stick that he had notched
from day to day. Once he thought of surrendering, and walked within two
miles of Jerusalem. Three times he tried to get away, and failed. On
October 25 he was discovered by Francis, who discharged at him a load of
buckshot, twelve of which passed through his hat, and he was at large
for five days more. On October 30 Benjamin Phipps, a member of the
patrol, passing a clearing in the woods noticed a motion among the
boughs. He paused, and gradually he saw Nat's head emerging from a hole
beneath. The fugitive now gave up as he knew that the woods were full of
men. He was taken to the nearest house, and the crowd was so great and
the excitement so intense that it was with difficulty that he was taken
to Jerusalem. For more than two months, from August 25 to October 30, he
had eluded his pursuers, remaining all the while in the vicinity of his

While Nat Turner was in prison, Thomas C. Gray, his counsel, received
from him what are known as his "Confessions." This pamphlet is now
almost inaccessible,[1] but it was in great demand at the time it
was printed and it is now the chief source for information about the
progress of the insurrection. Turner was tried November 5 and sentenced
to be hanged six days later. Asked in court by Gray if he still believed
in the providential nature of his mission, he asked, "Was not Christ
crucified?" Of his execution itself we read: "Nat Turner was executed
according to sentence, on Friday, the 11th of November, 1831, at
Jerusalem, between the hours of 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. He exhibited the
utmost composure throughout the whole ceremony; and, although assured
that he might, if he thought proper, address the immense crowd assembled
on the occasion, declined availing himself of the privilege; and, being
asked if he had any further confessions to make, replied that he had
nothing more than he had communicated; and told the sheriff in a firm
voice that he was ready. Not a limb or muscle was observed to move. His
body, after death, was given over to the surgeons for dissection."

[Footnote 1: The only copy that the author has seen is that in the
library of Harvard University.]

Of fifty-three Negroes arraigned in connection with the insurrection
"seventeen were executed and twelve transported. The rest were
discharged, except ... four free Negroes sent on to the Superior Court.
Three of the four were executed." [1] Such figures as these, however,
give no conception of the number of those who lost their lives in
connection with the insurrection. In general, if slaves were convicted
by legal process and executed or transported, or if they escaped before
trial, they were paid for by the commonwealth; if killed, they were not
paid for, and a man like Phipps might naturally desire to protect his
prisoner in order to get his reward. In spite of this, the Negroes were
slaughtered without trial and sometimes under circumstances of the
greatest barbarity. One man proudly boasted that he had killed between
ten and fifteen. A party went from Richmond with the intention of
killing every Negro in Southampton County. Approaching the cabin of a
free Negro they asked, "Is this Southampton County?" "Yes, sir," came
the reply, "you have just crossed the line by yonder tree." They shot
him dead and rode on. In general the period was one of terror, with
voluntary patrols, frequently drunk, going in all directions. These men
tortured, burned, or maimed the Negroes practically at will. Said one
old woman [2] of them: "The patrols were low drunken whites, and in
Nat's time, if they heard any of the colored folks prayin' or singin' a
hymn, they would fall upon 'em and abuse 'em, and sometimes kill 'em....
The brightest and best was killed in Nat's time. The whites always
suspect such ones. They killed a great many at a place called Duplon.
They killed Antonio, a slave of Mr. J. Stanley, whom they shot; then
they pointed their guns at him and told him to confess about
the insurrection. He told 'em he didn't know anything about any
insurrection. They shot several balls through him, quartered him, and
put his head on a pole at the fork of the road leading to the court....
It was there but a short time. He had no trial. They never do. In Nat's
time, the patrols would tie up the free colored people, flog 'em, and
try to make 'em lie against one another, and often killed them before
anybody could interfere. Mr. James Cole, High Sheriff, said if any of
the patrols came on his plantation, he would lose his life in defense of
his people. One day he heard a patroller boasting how many Negroes
he had killed. Mr. Cole said, 'If you don't pack up, as quick as God
Almighty will let you, and get out of this town, and never be seen in
it again, I'll put you where dogs won't bark at you.' He went off, and
wasn't seen in them parts again."

[Footnote 1: Drewry, 101.]

[Footnote 2: Charity Bowery, who gave testimony to L.M. Child, quoted by

The immediate panic created by the Nat Turner insurrection in Virginia
and the other states of the South it would be impossible to exaggerate.
When the news of what was happening at Cross Keys spread, two companies,
on horse and foot, came from Murfreesboro as quickly as possible. On
the Wednesday after the memorable Sunday night there came from Fortress
Monroe three companies and a piece of artillery. These commands were
reënforced from various sources until not less than eight hundred men
were in arms. Many of the Negroes fled to the Dismal Swamp, and the
wildest rumors were afloat. One was that Wilmington had been burned, and
in Raleigh and Fayetteville the wildest excitement prevailed. In the
latter place scores of white women and children fled to the swamps,
coming out two days afterwards muddy, chilled, and half-starved. Slaves
were imprisoned wholesale. In Wilmington four men were shot without
trial and their heads placed on poles at the four corners of the town.
In Macon, Ga., a report was circulated that an armed band of Negroes was
only five miles away, and within an hour the women and children were
assembled in the largest building in the town, with a military force in
front for protection.

The effects on legislation were immediate. Throughout the South the
slave codes became more harsh; and while it was clear that the uprising
had been one of slaves rather than of free Negroes, as usual special
disabilities fell upon the free people of color. Delaware, that only
recently had limited the franchise to white men, now forbade the use of
firearms by free Negroes and would not suffer any more to come within
the state. Tennessee also forbade such immigration, while Maryland
passed a law to the effect that all free Negroes must leave the state
and be colonized in Africa--a monstrous piece of legislation that it was
impossible to put into effect and that showed once for all the futility
of attempts at forcible emigration as a solution of the problem. In
general, however, the insurrection assisted the colonization scheme and
also made more certain the carrying out of the policy of the Jackson
administration to remove the Indians of the South to the West. It also
focussed the attention of the nation upon the status of the Negro,
crystallized opinion in the North, and thus helped with the formation of
anti-slavery organizations. By it for the time being the Negro lost; in
the long run he gained.

3. _The "Amistad" and "Creole" Cases_

On June 28, 1839, a schooner, the _Amistad_, sailed from Havana bound
for Guanaja in the vicinity of Puerto Principe. She was under the
command of her owner, Don Ramon Ferrer, was laden with merchandise, and
had on board fifty-three Negroes, forty-nine of whom supposedly belonged
to a Spaniard, Don Jose Ruiz, the other four belonging to Don Pedro
Montes. During the night of June 30 the slaves, under the lead of one
of their number named Cinque, rose upon the crew, killed the captain, a
slave of his, and two sailors, and while they permitted most of the crew
to escape, they took into close custody the two owners, Ruiz and Montes.
Montes, who had some knowledge of nautical affairs, was ordered to steer
the vessel back to Africa. So he did by day, when the Negroes would
watch him, but at night he tried to make his way to some land nearer at
hand. Other vessels passed from time to time, and from these the Negroes
bought provisions, but Montes and Ruiz were so closely watched that they
could not make known their plight. At length, on August 26, the schooner
reached Long Island Sound, where it was detained by the American
brig-of-war _Washington_, in command of Captain Gedney, who secured the
Negroes and took them to New London, Conn. It took a year and a half to
dispose of the issue thus raised. The case attracted the greatest amount
of attention, led to international complications, and was not really
disposed of until a former President had exhaustively argued the case
for the Negroes before the Supreme Court of the United States.

In a letter of September 6, 1839, to John Forsyth, the American
Secretary of State, Calderon, the Spanish minister, formally made four
demands: 1. That the _Amistad_ be immediately delivered up to her owner,
together with every article on board at the time of her capture; 2. That
it be declared that no tribunal in the United States had the right to
institute proceedings against, or to impose penalties upon, the subjects
of Spain, for crimes committed on board a Spanish vessel, and in the
waters of Spanish territory; 3. That the Negroes be conveyed to Havana
or otherwise placed at the disposal of the representatives of Spain; and
4. That if, in consequence of the intervention of the authorities in
Connecticut, there should be any delay in the desired delivery of the
vessel and the slaves, the owners both of the latter and of the former
be indemnified for the injury that might accrue to them. In support of
his demands Calderon invoked "the law of nations, the stipulations
of existing treaties, and those good feelings so necessary in the
maintenance of the friendly relations that subsist between the two
countries, and are so interesting to both." Forsyth asked for any papers
bearing on the question, and Calderon replied that he had none except
"the declaration on oath of Montes and Ruiz."

Meanwhile the abolitionists were insisting that protection had _not_
been afforded the African strangers cast on American soil and that in
no case did the executive arm of the Government have any authority to
interfere with the regular administration of justice. "These Africans,"
it was said, "are detained in jail, under process of the United States
courts, in a free state, after it has been decided by the District
Judge, on sufficient proof, that they are recently from Africa, were
never the lawful slaves of Ruiz and Montes," and "when it is clear as
noonday that there is no law or treaty stipulation that requires the
further detention of these Africans or their delivery to Spain or its

Writing on October 24 to the Spanish representative with reference to
the arrest of Ruiz and Montes, Forsyth informed him that the two Spanish
subjects had been arrested on process issuing from the superior court of
the city of New York upon affidavits of certain men, natives of Africa,
"for the purpose of securing their appearance before the proper
tribunal, to answer for wrongs alleged to have been inflicted by them
upon the persons of said Africans," that, consequently, the occurrence
constituted simply a "case of resort by individuals against others
to the judicial courts of the country, which are equally open to all
without distinction," and that the agency of the Government to obtain
the release of Messrs. Ruiz and Montes could not be afforded in the
manner requested. Further pressure was brought to bear by the Spanish
representative, however, and there was cited the case of Abraham
Wendell, captain of the brig _Franklin_, who was prosecuted at first by
Spanish officials for maltreatment of his mate, but with reference to
whom documents were afterwards sent from Havana to America. Much more
correspondence followed, and Felix Grundy, of Tennessee, Attorney
General of the United States, at length muddled everything by the
following opinion: "These Negroes deny that they are slaves; if they
should be delivered to the claimants, no opportunity may be afforded for
the assertion of their right to freedom. For these reasons, it seems to
me that a delivery to the Spanish minister is the only safe course for
this Government to pursue." The fallacy of all this was shown in a
letter dated November 18, 1839, from B.F. Butler, United States District
Attorney in New York, to Aaron Vail, acting Secretary of State. Said
Butler: "It does not appear to me that any question has yet arisen under
the treaty with Spain; because, although it is an admitted principle,
that neither the courts of this state, nor those of the United States,
can take jurisdiction of criminal offenses committed by foreigners
within the territory of a foreign state, yet it is equally settled in
this country, that our courts will take cognizance of _civil_ actions
between foreigners transiently within our jurisdiction, founded upon
contracts or other transactions made or had in a foreign state."
Southern influence was strong, however, and a few weeks afterwards an
order was given from the Department of State to have a vessel anchor
off New Haven, Conn., January 10, 1840, to receive the Negroes from
the United States marshal and take them to Cuba; and on January 7 the
President, Van Buren, issued the necessary warrant.

The rights of humanity, however, were not to be handled in this summary
fashion. The executive order was stayed, and the case went further
on its progress to the highest tribunal in the land. Meanwhile the
anti-slavery people were teaching the Africans the rudiments of English
in order that they might be better able to tell their own story. From
the first a committee had been appointed to look out for their interests
and while they were awaiting the final decision in their case they
cultivated a garden of fifteen acres.

The appearance of John Quincy Adams in behalf of these Negroes before
the Supreme Court of the United States February 24 and March 1, 1841, is
in every way one of the most beautiful acts in American history. In the
fullness of years, with his own administration as President twelve years
behind him, the "Old Man Eloquent" came once more to the tribunal that
he knew so well to make a last plea for the needy and oppressed. To the
task he brought all his talents--his profound knowledge of law, his
unrivaled experience, and his impressive personality; and his argument
covers 135 octavo pages. He gave an extended analysis of the demand of
the Spanish minister, who asked the President to do what he simply had
no constitutional right to do. "The President," said Adams, "has no
power to arrest either citizens or foreigners. But even that power is
almost insignificant compared with that of sending men beyond seas to
deliver them up to a foreign government." The Secretary of State had
"degraded the country, in the face of the whole civilized world, not
only by allowing these demands to remain unanswered, but by proceeding,
throughout the whole transaction, as if the Executive were earnestly
desirous to comply with every one of the demands." The Spanish minister
had naturally insisted in his demands because he had not been properly
met at first. The slave-trade was illegal by international agreement,
and the only thing to do under the circumstances was to release the
Negroes. Adams closed his plea with a magnificent review of his career
and of the labors of the distinguished jurists he had known in the court
for nearly forty years, and be it recorded wherever the name of Justice
is spoken, he won his case.

Lewis Tappan now accompanied the Africans on a tour through the states
to raise money for their passage home. The first meeting was in Boston.
Several members of the company interested the audience by their readings
from the New Testament or by their descriptions of their own country
and of the horrors of the voyage. Cinque gave the impression of great
dignity and of extraordinary ability; and Kali, a boy only eleven years
of age, also attracted unusual attention. Near the close of 1841,
accompanied by five missionaries and teachers, the Africans set sail
from New York, to make their way first to Sierra Leone and then to their
own homes as well as they could.

While this whole incident of the _Amistad_ was still engaging the
interest of the public, there occurred another that also occasioned
international friction and even more prolonged debate between the
slavery and anti-slavery forces. On October 25, 1841, the brig _Creole_,
Captain Ensor, of Richmond, Va., sailed from Richmond and on October 27
from Hampton Roads, with a cargo of tobacco and one hundred and thirty
slaves bound for New Orleans. On the vessel also, aside from the crew,
were the captain's wife and child, and three or four passengers, who
were chiefly in charge of the slaves, one man, John R. Hewell, being
directly in charge of those belonging to an owner named McCargo. About
9.30 on the night of Sunday, November 7, while out at sea, nineteen of
the slaves rose, cowed the others, wounded the captain, and generally
took command of the vessel. Madison Washington began the uprising by an
attack on Gifford, the first mate, and Ben Blacksmith, one of the most
aggressive of his assistants, killed Hewell. The insurgents seized the
arms of the vessel, permitted no conversation between members of the
crew except in their hearing, demanded and obtained the manifests of
slaves, and threatened that if they were not taken to Abaco or some
other British port they would throw the officers and crew overboard. The
_Creole_ reached Nassau, New Providence, on Tuesday, November 9, and the
arrival of the vessel at once occasioned intense excitement. Gifford
went ashore and reported the matter, and the American consul, John F.
Bacon, contended to the English authorities that the slaves on board the
brig were as much a part of the cargo as the tobacco and entitled to
the same protection from loss to the owners. The governor, Sir Francis
Cockburn, however, was uncertain whether to interfere in the business at
all. He liberated those slaves who were not concerned in the uprising,
spoke of all of the slaves as "passengers," and guaranteed to the
nineteen who were shown by an investigation to have been connected with
the uprising all the rights of prisoners called before an English court.
He told them further that the British Government would be communicated
with before their case was finally passed upon, that if they wished
copies of the informations these would be furnished them, and that they
were privileged to have witnesses examined in refutation of the charges
against them. From time to time Negroes who were natives of the island
crowded about the brig in small boats and intimidated the American crew,
but when on the morning of November 12 the Attorney General questioned
them as to their intentions they replied with transparent good humor
that they intended no violence and had assembled only for the purpose
of conveying to shore such of the persons on the _Creole_ as might be
permitted to leave and might need their assistance. The Attorney General
required, however, that they throw overboard a dozen stout cudgels that
they had. Here the whole case really rested. Daniel Webster as Secretary
of State aroused the anti-slavery element by making a strong demand
for the return of the slaves, basing his argument on the sacredness of
vessels flying the American flag; but the English authorities at Nassau
never returned any of them. On March 21, 1842, Joshua R. Giddings,
untiring defender of the rights of the Negro, offered in the House of
Representatives resolutions to the effect that slavery could exist only
by positive law of the different states; that the states had delegated
no control over slavery to the Federal Government, which alone had
jurisdiction on the high seas, and that, therefore, slaves on the high
seas became free and the coastwise trade was unconstitutional. The
House, strongly pro-Southern, replied with a vote of censure and
Giddings resigned, but he was immediately reëlected by his Ohio



It is not the purpose of the present chapter primarily to consider
social progress on the part of the Negro. A little later we shall
endeavor to treat this interesting subject for the period between the
Missouri Compromise and the Civil War. Just now we are concerned with
the attitude of the Negro himself toward the problem that seemed to
present itself to America and for which such different solutions were
proposed. So far as slavery was concerned, we have seen that the remedy
suggested by Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner was insurrection. It is only
to state an historical fact, however, to say that the great heart of the
Negro people in the South did not believe in violence, but rather hoped
and prayed for a better day to come by some other means. But what was
the attitude of those people, progressive citizens and thinking leaders,
who were not satisfied with the condition of the race and who had to
take a stand on the issues that confronted them? If we study the matter
from this point of view, we shall find an amount of ferment and unrest
and honest difference of opinion that is sometimes overlooked or
completely forgotten in the questions of a later day.

1. _Walker's "Appeal_"

The most widely discussed book written by a Negro in the period was one
that appeared in Boston in 1829. David Walker, the author, had been born
in North Carolina in 1785, of a free mother and a slave father, and he
was therefore free.[1] He received a fair education, traveled widely
over the United States, and by 1827 was living in Boston as the
proprietor of a second-hand clothing store on Brattle Street. He felt
very strongly on the subject of slavery and actually seems to have
contemplated leading an insurrection. In 1828 he addressed various
audiences of Negroes in Boston and elsewhere, and in 1829 he published
his _Appeal, in four articles; together with a Preamble to the Coloured
Citizens of the World, but in particular, and very expressly, to those
of the United States of America_. The book was remarkably successful.
Appearing in September, by March of the following year it had reached
its third edition; and in each successive edition the language was more
bold and vigorous. Walker's projected insurrection did not take place,
and he himself died in 1830. While there was no real proof of the fact,
among the Negro people there was a strong belief that he met with foul

[Footnote 1: Adams: _Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery_, 93.]

Article I Walker headed "Our Wretchedness in Consequence of Slavery." A
trip over the United States had convinced him that the Negroes of the
country were "the most degraded, wretched and abject set of beings that
ever lived since the world began." He quoted a South Carolina paper as
saying, "The Turks are the most barbarous people in the world--they
treat the Greeks more like brutes than human beings"; and then from the
same paper cited an advertisement of the sale of eight Negro men and
four women. "Are we men?" he exclaimed. "I ask you, O! my brothers, are
we men?... Have we any other master but Jesus Christ alone? Is He not
their master as well as ours? What right, then, have we to obey and call
any man master but Himself? How we could be so submissive to a gang of
men, whom we can not tell whether they are as good as ourselves, or not,
I never could conceive." "The whites," he asserted, "have always been an
unjust, jealous, unmerciful, avaricious and bloodthirsty set of beings,
always seeking after power and authority." As heathen the white people
had been cruel enough, but as Christians they were ten times more so. As
heathen "they were not quite so audacious as to go and take vessel loads
of men, women and children, and in cold blood, through devilishness,
throw them into the sea, and murder them in all kind of ways. But being
Christians, enlightened and sensible, they are completely prepared
for such hellish cruelties." Next was considered "Our Wretchedness in
Consequence of Ignorance." In general the writer maintained that his
people as a whole did not have intelligence enough to realize their own
degradation; even if boys studied books they did not master their texts,
nor did their information go sufficiently far to enable them actually to
meet the problems of life. If one would but go to the South or West,
he would see there a son take his mother, who bore almost the pains of
death to give him birth, and by the command of a tyrant, strip her as
naked as she came into the world and apply the cowhide to her until she
fell a victim to death in the road. He would see a husband take his dear
wife, not unfrequently in a pregnant state and perhaps far advanced, and
beat her for an unmerciful wretch, until her infant fell a lifeless lump
at her feet. Moreover, "there have been, and are this day, in Boston,
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, colored men who are in league
with tyrants and who receive a great portion of their daily bread of
the moneys which they acquire from the blood and tears of their more
miserable brethren, whom they scandalously deliver into the hands of our
natural enemies." In Article III Walker considered "Our Wretchedness in
Consequence of the Preachers of the Religion of Jesus Christ." Here was
a fertile field, which was only partially developed. Walker evidently
did not have at hand the utterances of Furman and others to serve as a
definite point of attack. He did point out, however, the general failure
of Christian ministers to live up to the teachings of Christ. "Even here
in Boston," we are informed, "pride and prejudice have got to such a
pitch, that in the very houses erected to the Lord they have built
little places for the reception of colored people, where they must sit
during meeting, or keep away from the house of God." Hypocrisy could
hardly go further than that of preachers who could not see the evils
at their door but could "send out missionaries to convert the heathen,
notwithstanding." Article IV was headed "Our Wretchedness in Consequence
of the Colonizing Plan." This was a bitter arraignment, especially
directed against Henry Clay. "I appeal and ask every citizen of these
United States," said Walker, "and of the world, both white and black,
who has any knowledge of Mr. Clay's public labors for these states--I
want you candidly to answer the Lord, who sees the secrets of your
hearts, Do you believe that Mr. Henry Clay, late Secretary of State, and
now in Kentucky, is a friend to the blacks further than his personal
interest extends?... Does he care a pinch of snuff about Africa--whether
it remains a land of pagans and of blood, or of Christians, so long as
he gets enough of her sons and daughters to dig up gold and silver for
him?... Was he not made by the Creator to sit in the shade, and make the
blacks work without remuneration for their services, to support him
and his family? I have been for some time taking notice of this man's
speeches and public writings, but never to my knowledge have I seen
anything in his writings which insisted on the emancipation of slavery,
which has almost ruined his country." Walker then paid his compliments
to Elias B. Caldwell and John Randolph, the former of whom had said,
"The more you improve the condition of these people, the more you
cultivate their minds, the more miserable you make them in their present
state." "Here," the work continues, "is a demonstrative proof of a plan
got up, by a gang of slaveholders, to select the free people of color
from among the slaves, that our more miserable brethren may be the
better secured in ignorance and wretchedness, to work their farms and
dig their mines, and thus go on enriching the Christians with their
blood and groans. What our brethren could have been thinking about, who
have left their native land and gone away to Africa, I am unable to
say.... The Americans may say or do as they please, but they have to
raise us from the condition of brutes to that of respectable men, and to
make a national acknowledgment to us for the wrongs they have inflicted
on us.... You may doubt it, if you please. I know that thousands will
doubt--they think they have us so well secured in wretchedness, to them
and their children, that it is impossible for such things to occur. So
did the antediluvians doubt Noah, until the day in which the flood came
and swept them away. So did the Sodomites doubt, until Lot had got out
of the city, and God rained down fire and brimstone from heaven upon
them and burnt them up. So did the king of Egypt doubt the very
existence of God, saying, 'Who is the Lord, that I should let Israel
go?' ... So did the Romans doubt.... But they got dreadfully deceived."

This document created the greatest consternation in the South. The Mayor
of Savannah wrote to Mayor Otis of Boston, demanding that Walker be
punished. Otis, in a widely published letter, replied expressing his
disapproval of the pamphlet, but saying that the author had done nothing
that made him "amenable" to the laws. In Virginia the legislature
considered passing an "extraordinary bill," not only forbidding the
circulation of such seditious publications but forbidding the education
of free Negroes. The bill passed the House of Delegates, but failed in
the Senate. The _Appeal_ even found its way to Louisiana, where there
were already rumors of an insurrection, and immediately a law was passed
expelling all free Negroes who had come to the state since 1825.

_2. The Convention Movement_

As may be inferred from Walker's attitude, the representative men of the
race were almost a unit in their opposition to colonization. They were
not always opposed to colonization itself, for some looked favorably
upon settlement in Canada, and a few hundred made their way to the West
Indies. They did object, however, to the plan offered by the American
Colonization Society, which more and more impressed them as a device on
the part of slaveholders to get free Negroes out of the country in order
that slave labor might be more valuable. Richard Allen, bishop of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the foremost Negro of the
period, said: "We were stolen from our mother country and brought here.
We have tilled the ground and made fortunes for thousands, and still
they are not weary of our services. _But they who stay to till the
ground must be slaves_. Is there not land enough in America, or 'corn
enough in Egypt'? Why should they send us into a far country to die? See
the thousands of foreigners emigrating to America every year: and if
there be ground sufficient for them to cultivate, and bread for them to
eat, why would they wish to send the _first tillers_ of the land away?
Africans have made fortunes for thousands, who are yet unwilling to
part with their services; but the free must be sent away, and those who
remain must be slaves. I have no doubt that there are many good men who
do not see as I do, and who are sending us to Liberia; but they have not
duly considered the subject--they are not men of color. This land
which we have watered with our tears and our blood is now our _mother
country_, and we are well satisfied to stay where wisdom abounds and the
gospel is free."[1] This point of view received popular expression in
a song which bore the cumbersome title, "The Colored Man's Opinion of
Colonization," and which was sung to the tune of "Home, Sweet Home." The
first stanza was as follows:

[Footnote 1: _Freedom's Journal_, November 2, 1827, quoted by Walker.]

  Great God, if the humble and weak are as dear
  To thy love as the proud, to thy children give ear!
  Our brethren would drive us in deserts to roam;
  Forgive them, O Father, and keep us at home.
  Home, sweet home!
  We have no other; this, this is our home.[1]

[Footnote 1: _Anti-Slavery Picknick_, 105-107.]

To this sentiment formal expression was given in the measures adopted at
various Negro meetings in the North. In 1817 the greatest excitement
was occasioned by a report that through the efforts of the newly-formed
Colonization Society all free Negroes were forcibly to be deported from
the country. Resolutions of protest were adopted, and these were widely
circulated.[1] Of special importance was the meeting in Philadelphia in
January, presided over by James Forten. Of this the full report is as

[Footnote 1: They are fully recorded in _Garrison's Thoughts on African

At a numerous meeting of the people of color, convened at Bethel Church,
to take into consideration the propriety of remonstrating against the
contemplated measure that is to exile us from the land of our nativity,
James Forten was called to the chair, and Russell Parrott appointed
secretary. The intent of the meeting having been stated by the chairman,
the following resolutions were adopted without one dissenting voice:

    WHEREAS, Our ancestors (not of choice) were the first successful
    cultivators of the wilds of America, we their descendants feel
    ourselves entitled to participate in the blessings of her luxuriant
    soil, which their blood and sweat manured; and that any measure or
    system of measures, having a tendency to banish us from her bosom,
    would not only be cruel, but in direct violation of those principles
    which have been the boast of this republic,

    _Resolved_, That we view with deep abhorrence the unmerited stigma
    attempted to be cast upon the reputation of the free people of
    color, by the promoters of this measure, "that they are a
    dangerous and useless part of the community," when in the state of
    disfranchisement in which they live, in the hour of danger they
    ceased to remember their wrongs, and rallied around the standard of
    their country.

    _Resolved_, That we never will separate ourselves voluntarily from
    the slave population of this country; they are our brethren by the
    ties of consanguinity, of suffering, and of wrong; and we feel that
    there is more virtue in suffering privations with them, than fancied
    advantages for a season.

    _Resolved_, That without arts, without science, without a proper
    knowledge of government to cast upon the savage wilds of Africa the
    free people of color, seems to us the circuitous route through which
    they must return to perpetual bondage.

    _Resolved_, That having the strongest confidence in the justice of
    God, and philanthropy of the free states, we cheerfully submit our
    destinies to the guidance of Him who suffers not a sparrow to fall
    without his special providence.

    _Resolved_, That a committee of eleven persons be appointed to open
    a correspondence with the honorable Joseph Hopkinson, member
    of Congress from this city, and likewise to inform him of the
    sentiments of this meeting, and that the following named persons
    constitute the committee, and that they have power to call a general
    meeting, when they, in their judgment, may deem it proper: Rev.
    Absalom Jones, Rev. Richard Allen, James Forten, Robert Douglass,
    Francis Perkins, Rev. John Gloucester, Robert Gorden, James Johnson,
    Quamoney Clarkson, John Summersett, Randall Shepherd.

    JAMES FORTEN, Chairman.

    RUSSELL PARROTT, Secretary.

In 1827, in New York, was begun the publication of _Freedom's Journal_,
the first Negro newspaper in the United States. The editors were John
B. Russwurm and Samuel E. Cornish. Russwurm was a recent graduate of
Bowdoin College and was later to become better known as the governor of
Maryland in Africa. By 1830 feeling was acute throughout the country,
especially in Ohio and Kentucky, and on the part of Negro men
had developed the conviction that the time had come for national
organization and protest.

In the spring of 1830 Hezekiah Grice of Baltimore, who had become
personally acquainted with the work of Lundy and Garrison, sent a letter
to prominent Negroes in the free states bringing in question the general
policy of emigration.[1] received no immediate response, but in August
he received from Richard Allen an urgent request to come at once to
Philadelphia. Arriving there he found in session a meeting discussing
the wisdom of emigration to Canada, and Allen "showed him a printed
circular signed by Peter Williams, rector of St. Philip's Church,
New York, Peter Vogelsang and Thomas L. Jennings of the same place,
approving the plan of convention."[2] The Philadelphians now issued a
call for a convention of the Negroes of the United States to be held in
their city September 15, 1830.

[Footnote 1: John W. Cromwell: _The Early Negro Convention Movement_.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., 5.]

This September meeting was held in Bethel A.M.E. Church. Bishop Richard
Allen was chosen president, Dr. Belfast Burton of Philadelphia and
Austin Steward of Rochester vice-presidents, Junius C. Morell of
Pennsylvania secretary, and Robert Cowley of Maryland assistant
secretary. There were accredited delegates from seven states. While this
meeting might really be considered the first national convention of
Negroes in the United States (aside of course from the gathering of
denominational bodies), it seems to have been regarded merely as
preliminary to a still more formal assembling, for the minutes of the
next year were printed as the "Minutes and Proceedings of the First
Annual Convention of the People of Color, held by adjournments in the
city of Philadelphia, from the sixth to the eleventh of June, inclusive,
1831. Philadelphia, 1831." The meetings of this convention were held in
the Wesleyan Church on Lombard Street. Richard Allen had died earlier in
the year and Grice was not present; not long afterwards he emigrated
to Hayti, where he became prominent as a contractor. Rev. James W.C.
Pennington of New York, however, now for the first time appeared on the
larger horizon of race affairs; and John Bowers of Philadelphia served
as president, Abraham D. Shadd of Delaware and William Duncan of
Virginia as vice-presidents, William Whipper of Philadelphia as
secretary, and Thomas L. Jennings of New York as assistant secretary.
Delegates from five states were present. The gathering was not large,
but it brought together some able men; moreover, the meeting had some
distinguished visitors, among them Benjamin Lundy, William Lloyd
Garrison, Rev. S.S. Jocelyn of New Haven, and Arthur Tappan of New York.

The very first motion of the convention resolved "That a committee be
appointed to institute an inquiry into the condition of the free people
of color throughout the United States, and report their views upon the
subject at a subsequent meeting." As a result of its work this committee
recommended that the work of organizations interested in settlement in
Canada be continued; that the free people of color be annually called to
assemble by delegation; and it submitted "the necessity of deliberate
reflection on the dissolute, intemperate, and ignorant condition of a
large portion of the colored population of the United States." "And,
lastly, your Committee view with unfeigned regret, and respectfully
submit to the wisdom of this Convention, the operations and
misrepresentations of the American Colonization Society in these United
States.... We feel sorrowful to see such an immense and wanton waste
of lives and property, not doubting the benevolent feelings of some
individuals engaged in that cause. But we can not for a moment doubt
but that the cause of many of our unconstitutional, unchristian, and
unheard-of sufferings emanate from that unhallowed source; and we would
call on Christians of every denomination firmly to resist it." The
report was unanimously received and adopted.

Jocelyn, Tappan, and Garrison addressed the convention with reference to
a proposed industrial college in New Haven, toward the $20,000 expense
of which one individual (Tappan himself) had subscribed $1000 with the
understanding that the remaining $19,000 be raised within a year; and
the convention approved the project, _provided_ the Negroes had a
majority of at least one on the board of trustees. An illuminating
address to the public called attention to the progress of emancipation
abroad, to the fact that it was American persecution that led to the
calling of the convention, and that it was this also that first induced
some members of the race to seek an asylum in Canada, where already
there were two hundred log houses, and five hundred acres under

In 1832 eight states were represented by a total of thirty delegates. By
this time we learn that a total of eight hundred acres had been secured
in Canada, that two thousand Negroes had gone thither, but that
considerable hostility had been manifested on the part of the Canadians.
Hesitant, the convention appointed an agent to investigate the
situation. It expressed itself as strongly opposed to any national aid
to the American Colonization Society and urged the abolition of slavery
in the District of Columbia--all of which activity, it is well to
remember, was a year before the American Anti-Slavery Society was

In 1833 there were fifty-eight delegates, and Abraham Shadd, now of
Washington, was chosen president. The convention again gave prominence
to the questions of Canada and colonization, and expressed itself with
reference to the new law in Connecticut prohibiting Negroes from other
states from attending schools within the state. The 1834 meeting was
held in New York. Prudence Crandall[1] was commended for her stand in
behalf of the race, and July 4 was set apart as a day for prayer and
addresses on the condition of the Negro throughout the country. By
this time we hear much of societies for temperance and moral reform,
especially of the so-called Phoenix Societies "for improvement in
general culture--literature, mechanic arts, and morals." Of these
organizations Rev. Christopher Rush, of the A.M.E. Zion Church, was
general president, and among the directors were Rev. Peter Williams,
Boston Crummell, the father of Alexander Crummell, and Rev. William Paul
Quinn, afterwards a well-known bishop of the A.M.E. Church. The 1835
and 1836 meetings were held in Philadelphia, and especially were the
students of Lane Seminary in Cincinnati commended for their zeal in
the cause of abolition. A committee was appointed to look into the
dissatisfaction of some emigrants to Liberia and generally to review the
work of the Colonization Society.

[Footnote 1: See Chapter X, Section 3.]

In the decade 1837-1847 Frederick Douglass was outstanding as a leader,
and other men who were now prominent were Dr. James McCune Smith, Rev.
James W.C. Pennington, Alexander Crummell, William C. Nell, and Martin
R. Delany. These are important names in the history of the period. These
were the men who bore the brunt of the contest in the furious days of
Texas annexation and the Compromise of 1850. About 1853 and 1854 there
was renewed interest in the idea of an industrial college; steps were
taken for the registry of Negro mechanics and artisans who were in
search of employment, and of the names of persons who were willing to
give them work; and there was also a committee on historical records and
statistics that was not only to compile studies in Negro biography but
also to reply to any assaults of note.[1]

[Footnote 1: We can not too much emphasize the fact that the leaders
of this period were by no means impractical theorists but men who were
scientifically approaching the social problem of their people. They not
only anticipated such ideas as those of industrial education and of the
National Urban League of the present day, but they also endeavored to
lay firmly the foundations of racial self-respect.]

Immediately after the last of the conventions just mentioned, those who
were interested in emigration and had not been able to get a hearing
in the regular convention issued a call for a National Emigration
Convention of Colored Men to take place in Cleveland, Ohio, August
24-26, 1854. The preliminary announcement said: "No person will be
admitted to a seat in the Convention who would introduce the subject
of emigration to the Eastern Hemisphere--either to Asia, Africa, or
Europe--as our object and determination are to consider our claims
to the West Indies, Central and South America, and the Canadas. This
restriction has no reference to personal preference, or individual
enterprise, but to the great question of national claims to come before
the Convention."[1] Douglass pronounced the call "uncalled for, unwise,
unfortunate and premature," and his position led him into a wordy
discussion in the press with James M. Whitfield, of Buffalo, prominent
at the time as a writer. Delany explained the call as follows: "It was
a mere policy on the part of the authors of these documents, to confine
their scheme to America (including the West Indies), whilst they
were the leading advocates of the regeneration of Africa, lest they
compromised themselves and their people to the avowed enemies of their
race."[2] At the secret sessions, he informs us, Africa was the topic of
greatest interest. In order to account for this position it is important
to take note of the changes that had taken place between 1817 and 1854.
When James Forten and others in Philadelphia in 1817 protested
against the American Colonization Society as the plan of a "gang of
slaveholders" to drive free people from their homes, they had abundant
ground for the feeling. By 1839, however, not only had the personnel
of the organization changed, but, largely through the influence of
Garrison, the purpose and aim had also changed, and not Virginia and
Maryland, but New York and Pennsylvania were now dominant in influence.
Colonization had at first been regarded as a possible solution of the
race problem; money was now given, however, "rather as an aid to the
establishment of a model Negro republic in Africa, whose effort would
be to discourage the slave-trade, and encourage energy and thrift among
those free Negroes from the United States who chose to emigrate, and
to give native Africans a demonstration of the advantages of
civilization."[3] In view of the changed conditions, Delany and others
who disagreed with Douglass felt that for the good of the race in the
United States the whole matter of emigration might receive further
consideration; at the same time, remembering old discussions, they
did not wish to be put in the light of betrayers of their people. The
Pittsburgh _Daily Morning Post_ of October 18, 1854, sneered at the new
plan as follows: "If Dr. Delany drafted this report it certainly does
him much credit for learning and ability; and can not fail to establish
for him a reputation for vigor and brilliancy of imagination never yet
surpassed. It is a vast conception of impossible birth. The Committee
seem to have entirely overlooked the strength of the 'powers on earth'
that would oppose the Africanization of more than half the Western
Hemisphere. We have no motive in noticing this gorgeous dream of 'the
Committee' except to show its fallacy--its impracticability, in fact,
its absurdity. No sensible man, whatever his color, should be for a
moment deceived by such impracticable theories." However, in spite of
all opposition, the Emigration Convention met. Upon Delany fell the real
brunt of the work of the organization. In 1855 Bishop James Theodore
Holly was commissioned to Faustin Soulouque, Emperor of Hayti; and he
received in his visit of a month much official attention with some
inducement to emigrate. Delany himself planned to go to Africa as the
head of a "Niger Valley Exploring Party." Of the misrepresentation and
difficulties that he encountered he himself has best told. He did get to
Africa, however, and he had some interesting and satisfactory interviews
with representative chiefs. The Civil War put an end to his project, he
himself accepting a major's commission from President Lincoln. Through
the influence of Holly about two thousand persons went to Hayti, but not
more than a third of these remained. A plan fostered by Whitfield for a
colony in Central America came to naught when this leading spirit died
in San Francisco on his way thither.[4]

[Footnote 1: Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party, by
M.R. Delany, Chief Commissioner to Africa, New York, 1861.]

[Footnote 2: Delany, 8.]

[Footnote 3: Fox: _The American Colonisation Society_, 177; also note
pp. 12, 120-2.]

[Footnote 4: For the progress of all the plans offered to the convention
note important letter written by Holly and given by Cromwell, 20-21.]

3. _Sojourner Truth and Woman Suffrage_

With its challenge to the moral consciousness it was but natural that
anti-slavery should soon become allied with temperance, woman suffrage,
and other reform movements that were beginning to appeal to the heart
of America. Especially were representative women quick to see that the
arguments used for their cause were very largely identical with those
used for the Negro. When the woman suffrage movement was launched at
Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1848, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and
their co-workers issued a Declaration of Sentiments which like
many similar documents copied the phrasing of the Declaration of
Independence. This said in part: "The history of mankind is a history
of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man towards woman,
having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over
her.... He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to
the elective franchise.... He has made her, if married, in the eye of
the law civilly dead.... He has denied her the facilities for obtaining
a thorough education, all colleges being closed to her." It mattered
not at the time that male suffrage was by no means universal, or that
amelioration of the condition of woman had already begun; the movement
stated its case clearly and strongly in order that it might fully be
brought to the attention of the American people. In 1850 the first
formal National Woman's Rights Convention assembled in Worcester, Mass.
To this meeting came a young Quaker woman who was already listed in the
cause of temperance. In fact, wherever she went Susan B. Anthony entered
into "causes." She possessed great virtues and abilities, and at the
same time was capable of very great devotion. "She not only sympathized
with the Negro; when an opportunity offered she drank tea with him, to
her own 'unspeakable satisfaction.'"[1] Lucy Stone, an Oberlin graduate,
was representative of those who came into the agitation by the
anti-slavery path. Beginning in 1848 to speak as an agent of the
Anti-Slavery Society, almost from the first she began to introduce the
matter of woman's rights in her speeches.

[Footnote 1: Ida M. Tarbell: "The American Woman: Her First Declaration
of Independence," _American Magazine_, February, 1910.]

To the second National Woman's Suffrage Convention, held in Akron, Ohio,
in 1852, and presided over by Mrs. Frances D. Gage, came Sojourner

The "Libyan Sibyl" was then in the fullness of her powers. She had been
born of slave parents about 1798 in Ulster County, New York. In her
later years she remembered vividly the cold, damp cellar-room in which
slept the slaves of the family to which she belonged, and where she was
taught by her mother to repeat the Lord's Prayer and to trust in God.
When in the course of gradual emancipation she became legally free in
1827, her master refused to comply with the law and kept her in bondage.
She left, but was pursued and found. Rather than have her go back, a
friend paid for her services for the rest of the year. Then came an
evening when, searching for one of her children who had been stolen and
sold, she found herself a homeless wanderer. A Quaker family gave her
lodging for the night. Subsequently she went to New York City, joined
a Methodist church, and worked hard to improve her condition. Later,
having decided to leave New York for a lecture tour through the East,
she made a small bundle of her belongings and informed a friend that
her name was no longer _Isabella_ but _Sojourner_. She went on her
way, speaking to people wherever she found them assembled and being
entertained in many aristocratic homes. She was entirely untaught in the
schools, but was witty, original, and always suggestive. By her tact and
her gift of song she kept down ridicule, and by her fervor and faith she
won many friends for the anti-slavery cause. As to her name she said:
"And the Lord gave me _Sojourner_ because I was to travel up an' down
the land showin' the people their sins an' bein' a sign unto them.
Afterwards I told the Lord I wanted another name, 'cause everybody else
had two names, an' the Lord gave me _Truth_, because I was to declare
the truth to the people."

On the second day of the convention in Akron, in a corner, crouched
against the wall, sat this woman of care, her elbows resting on her
knees, and her chin resting upon her broad, hard palms.[1] In the
intermission she was employed in selling "The Life of Sojourner Truth."
From time to time came to the presiding officer the request, "Don't let
her speak; it will ruin us. Every newspaper in the land will have
our cause mixed with abolition and niggers, and we shall be utterly
denounced." Gradually, however, the meeting waxed warm. Baptist,
Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and Universalist preachers had
come to hear and discuss the resolutions presented. One argued the
superiority of the male intellect, another the sin of Eve, and the
women, most of whom did not "speak in meeting," were becoming filled
with dismay. Then slowly from her seat in the corner rose Sojourner
Truth, who till now had scarcely lifted her head. Slowly and solemnly
to the front she moved, laid her old bonnet at her feet, and turned
her great, speaking eyes upon the chair. Mrs. Gage, quite equal to the
occasion, stepped forward and announced "Sojourner Truth," and begged
the audience to be silent a few minutes. "The tumult subsided at once,
and every eye was fixed on this almost Amazon form, which stood nearly
six feet high, head erect, and eye piercing the upper air, like one in a
dream." At her first word there was a profound hush. She spoke in deep
tones, which, though not loud, reached every ear in the house, and even
the throng at the doors and windows. To one man who had ridiculed the
general helplessness of woman, her needing to be assisted into carriages
and to be given the best place everywhere, she said, "Nobody eber helped
me into carriages, or ober mud puddles, or gibs me any best place"; and
raising herself to her full height, with a voice pitched like rolling
thunder, she asked, "And a'n't I a woman? Look at me. Look at my arm."
And she bared her right arm to the shoulder, showing her tremendous
muscular power. "I have plowed, and planted, and gathered into barns,
and no man could head me--and a'n't I a woman? I could work as much and
eat as much as a man, when I could get it, and bear de lash as well--and
a'n't I a woman? I have borne five chilern and seen 'em mos' all sold
off into slavery, and when I cried out with a mother's grief, none but
Jesus heard--and a'n't I a woman?... Dey talks 'bout dis ting in de
head--what dis dey call it?" "Intellect," said some one near. "Dat's it,
honey. What's dat got to do with women's rights or niggers' rights? If
my cup won't hold but a pint and yourn holds a quart, wouldn't ye be
mean not to let me have my little half-measure full?" And she pointed
her significant finger and sent a keen glance at the minister who had
made the argument. The cheering was long and loud. "Den dat little man
in black dar, he say women can't have as much rights as man, 'cause
Christ wa'n't a woman. But whar did Christ come from?" Rolling thunder
could not have stilled that crowd as did those deep, wonderful tones as
the woman stood there with her outstretched arms and her eyes of fire.
Raising her voice she repeated, "Whar did Christ come from? From God and
a woman. Man had nothing to do with Him." Turning to another objector,
she took up the defense of Eve. She was pointed and witty, solemn and
serious at will, and at almost every sentence awoke deafening applause;
and she ended by asserting, "If de fust woman God made was strong enough
to turn the world upside down, all alone, dese togedder,"--and she
glanced over the audience--"ought to be able to turn it back and get it
right side up again, and now dey is askin' to do it, de men better let

[Footnote 1: Reminiscences of the president, Mrs. Frances D. Gage, cited
by Tarbell.]

"Amid roars of applause," wrote Mrs. Gage, "she returned to her corner,
leaving more than one of us with streaming eyes and hearts beating with
gratitude." Thus, as so frequently happened, Sojourner Truth turned a
difficult situation into splendid victory. She not only made an eloquent
plea for the slave, but placing herself upon the broadest principles of
humanity, she saved the day for woman suffrage as well.



In a former chapter we have traced the early development of the American
Colonization Society, whose efforts culminated in the founding of the
colony of Liberia. The recent world war, with Africa as its prize, fixed
attention anew upon the little republic. This comparatively small tract
of land, just slightly more than one-three hundredth part of the surface
of Africa, is now of interest and strategic importance not only because
(if we except Abyssinia, which claims slightly different race origin,
and Hayti, which is now really under the government of the United
States) it represents the one distinctively Negro government in the
world, but also because it is the only tract of land on the great West
Coast of the continent that has survived, even through the war, the
aggression of great European powers. It is just at the bend of the
shoulder of Africa, and its history is as romantic as its situation is

Liberia has frequently been referred to as an outstanding example of
the incapacity of the Negro for self-government. Such a judgment is not
necessarily correct. It is indeed an open question if, in view of the
nature of its beginning, the history of the country proves anything one
way or the other with reference to the capacity of the race. The early
settlers were frequently only recently out of bondage, but upon them
were thrust all the problems of maintenance and government, and they
brought with them, moreover, the false ideas of life and work that
obtained in the Old South. Sometimes they suffered from neglect,
sometimes from excessive solicitude; never were they really left alone.
In spite of all, however, more than a score of native tribes have been
subdued by only a few thousand civilized men, the republic has preserved
its integrity, and there has been handed down through the years a
tradition of constitutional government.

1. _The Place and the People_

The resources of Liberia are as yet imperfectly known. There is no
question, however, about the fertility of the interior, or of its
capacity when properly developed. There are no rivers of the first rank,
but the longest streams are about three hundred miles in length, and at
convenient distances apart flow down to a coastline somewhat more than
three hundred miles long. Here in a tract of land only slightly larger
than our own state of Ohio are a civilized population between 30,000 and
100,000 in number, and a native population estimated at 2,000,000. Of
the civilized population the smaller figure, 30,000, is the more nearly
correct if we consider only those persons who are fully civilized, and
this number would be about evenly divided between Americo-Liberians and
natives. Especially in the towns along the coast, however, there are
many people who have received only some degree of civilization, and
most of the households in the larger towns have several native children
living in them. If all such elements are considered, the total might
approach 100,000. The natives in their different tribes fall into three
or four large divisions. In general they follow their native customs,
and the foremost tribes exhibit remarkable intelligence and skill in
industry. Outstanding are the dignified Mandingo, with a Mohammedan
tradition, and the Vai, distinguished for skill in the arts and with a
culture similar to that of the Mandingo. Also easily recognized are
the Kpwessi, skillful in weaving and ironwork; the Kru, intelligent,
sea-faring, and eager for learning; the Grebo, ambitious and aggressive,
and in language connection close to the Kru; the Bassa, with
characteristics somewhat similar to those of the Kru, but in general
not quite so ambitious; the Buzi, wild and highly tattooed; and the
cannibalistic Mano. By reason of numbers if nothing else, Liberia's
chief asset for the future consists in her native population.

2. _History_

(a) _Colonization and Settlement_

In pursuance of its plans for the founding of a permanent colony on the
coast of Africa, the American Colonization Society in November, 1817,
sent out two men, Samuel J. Mills and Ebenezer Burgess, who were
authorized to find a suitable place for a settlement. Going by way
of England, these men were cordially received by the officers of the
African Institution and given letters to responsible persons in Sierra
Leone. Arriving at the latter place in March, 1818, they met John
Kizell, a native and a man of influence, who had received some training
in America and had returned to his people, built a house of worship, and
become a preacher. Kizell undertook to accompany them on their journey
down the coast and led the way to Sherbro Island, a place long in
disputed territory but since included within the limits of Sierra Leone.
Here the agents were hospitably received; they fixed upon the island as
a permanent site, and in May turned their faces homeward. Mills died on
the voyage in June and was buried at sea; but Burgess made a favorable
report, though the island was afterwards to prove by no means healthy.
The Society was impressed, but efforts might have languished at this
important stage if Monroe, now President, had not found it possible to
bring the resources of the United States Government to assist in
the project. Smuggling, with the accompanying evil of the sale of
"recaptured Africans," had by 1818 become a national disgrace, and on
March 3, 1819, a bill designed to do away with the practice became a
law. This said in part: "The President of the United States is hereby
authorized to make such regulations and arrangements as he may deem
expedient for the safe-keeping, support, and removal beyond the limits
of the United States, of all such Negroes, mulattoes, or persons of
color as may be so delivered and brought within their jurisdiction; and
to appoint a proper person or persons residing upon the coast of Africa
as agent or agents for receiving the Negroes, mulattoes, or persons of
color, delivered from on board vessels seized in the prosecution of the
slave-trade by commanders of the United States armed vessels." For the
carrying out of the purpose of this act $100,000 was appropriated, and
Monroe was disposed to construe as broadly as necessary the powers given
him under it. In his message of December 20, he informed Congress
that he had appointed Rev. Samuel Bacon, of the American Colonization
Society, with John Bankson as assistant, to charter a vessel and take
the first group of emigrants to Africa, the understanding being that
he was to go to the place fixed upon by Mills and Burgess. Thus the
National Government and the Colonization Society, while technically
separate, began to work in practical coöperation. The ship _Elizabeth_
was made ready for the voyage; the Government informed the Society that
it would "receive on board such free blacks recommended by the Society
as might be required for the purpose of the agency"; $33,000 was placed
in the hands of Mr. Bacon; Rev. Samuel A. Crozer was appointed as the
Society's official representative; 88 emigrants were brought together
(33 men and 18 women, the rest being children); and on February 5, 1820,
convoyed by the war-sloop _Cyane_, the expedition set forth.

An interesting record of the voyage--important for the sidelights it
gives--was left by Daniel Coker, the respected minister of a large
Methodist congregation in Baltimore who was persuaded to accompany the
expedition for the sake of the moral influence that he might be able to
exert.[1] There was much bad weather at the start, and it was the icy
sea that on February 4 made it impossible to get under way until the
next day. On board, moreover, there was much distrust of the agents in
charge, with much questioning of their motives; nor were matters made
better by a fight between one of the emigrants and the captain of the
vessel. It was a restless company, uncertain as to the future, and
dissatisfied and peevish from day to day. Kizell afterwards remarked
that "some would not be governed by white men, and some would not be
governed by black men, and some would not be governed by mulattoes; but
the truth was they did not want to be governed by anybody." On March 3,
however, the ship sighted the Cape Verde Islands and six days afterwards
was anchored at Sierra Leone; and Coker rejoiced that at last he had
seen Africa. Kizell, however, whom the agents had counted on seeing,
was found to be away at Sherbro; accordingly, six days after their
arrival[2] they too were making efforts to go on to Sherbro, for they
were allowed at anchor only fifteen days and time was passing rapidly.
Meanwhile Bankson went to find Kizell. Captain Sebor was at first
decidedly unwilling to go further; but his reluctance was at length
overcome; Bacon purchased for $3,000 a British schooner that had
formerly been engaged in the slave-trade; and on March 17 both ship and
schooner got under way for Sherbro. The next day they met Bankson, who
informed them that he had seen Kizell. This man, although he had not
heard from America since the departure of Mills and Burgess, had already
erected some temporary houses against the rainy season. He permitted the
newcomers to stay in his little town until land could be obtained; sent
them twelve fowls and a bushel of rice; but he also, with both dignity
and pathos, warned Bankson that if he and his companions came with
Christ in their hearts, it was well that they had come; if not, it would
have been better if they had stayed in America.

[Footnote 1: "Journal of Daniel Coker, a descendant of Africa, from the
time of leaving New York, in the ship _Elizabeth_, Capt. Sebor, on a
voyage for Sherbro, in Africa. Baltimore, 1820."]

[Footnote 2: March 15. The narrative, page 26, says February 15, but
this is obviously a typographical error.]

Now followed much fruitless bargaining with the native chiefs, in all of
which Coker regretted that the slave-traders had so ruined the people
that it seemed impossible to make any progress in a "palaver" without
the offering of rum. Meanwhile a report was circulated through the
country that a number of Americans had come and turned Kizell out of his
own town and put some of his people in the hold of their ship. Disaster
followed disaster. The marsh, the bad water, and the malaria played
havoc with the colonists, and all three of the responsible agents died.
The few persons who remained alive made their way back to Sierra Leone.

Thus the first expedition failed. One year later, in March, 1821, a new
company of twenty-one emigrants, in charge of J.B. Winn and Ephraim
Bacon, arrived at Freetown in the brig _Nautilus_. It had been the
understanding that in return for their passage the members of the first
expedition would clear the way for others; but when the agents of the
new company saw the plight of those who remained alive, they brought all
of the colonists together at Fourah Bay, and Bacon went farther down the
coast to seek a more favorable site. A few persons who did not wish to
go to Fourah Bay remained in Sierra Leone and became British subjects.
Bacon found a promising tract about two hundred and fifty miles down the
coast at Cape Montserado; but the natives were not especially eager to
sell, as they did not wish to break up the slave traffic. Meanwhile Winn
and several more of the colonists died; and Bacon now returned to the
United States. The second expedition had thus proved to be little more
successful than the first; but the future site of Monrovia had at least
been suggested.

In November came Dr. Eli Ayres as agent of the Society, and in December
Captain Robert F. Stockton of the _Alligator_ with instructions to
coöperate. These two men explored the coast and on December 11 arrived
at Mesurado Bay. Through the jungle they made their way to a village and
engaged in a palaver with King Peter and five of his associates. The
negotiations were conducted in the presence of an excited crowd and with
imminent danger; but Stockton had great tact and at length, for the
equivalent of $300, he and Ayres purchased the mouth of the Mesurado
River, Cape Montserado, and the land for some distance in the interior.
There was also an understanding (for half a dozen gallons of rum and
some trade-cloth and tobacco) with King George, who "resided on the Cape
and claimed a sort of jurisdiction over the northern district of the
peninsula of Montserado, by virtue of which the settlers were permitted
to pass across the river and commence the laborious task of clearing
away the heavy forest which covered the site of their intended town."[1]
Then the agent returned to effect the removal of the colonists from
Fourah Bay, leaving a very small company as a sort of guard on
Perseverance (or Providence) Island at the mouth of the river. Some
of the colonists refused to leave, remained, and thus became British
subjects. For those who had remained on the island there was trouble at
once. A small vessel, the prize of an English cruiser, bound to Sierra
Leone with thirty liberated Africans, put into the roads for water, and
had the misfortune to part her cable and come ashore. "The natives claim
to a prescriptive right, which interest never fails to enforce to its
fullest extent, to seize and appropriate the wrecks and cargoes of
vessels stranded, under whatever circumstances, on their coast."[2] The
vessel in question drifted to the mainland one mile from the cape, a
small distance below George's town, and the natives proceeded to act in
accordance with tradition. They were fired on by the prize master and
forced to desist, and the captain appealed to the few colonists on the
island for assistance. They brought into play a brass field piece, and
two of the natives were killed and several more wounded. The English
officer, his crew, and the captured Africans escaped, though the small
vessel was lost; but the next day the Deys (the natives), feeling
outraged, made another attack, in the course of which some of them
and one of the colonists were killed. In the course of the operations
moreover, through the carelessness of some of the settlers themselves,
fire was communicated to the storehouse and $3000 worth of property
destroyed, though the powder and some of the provisions were saved. Thus
at the very beginning, by accident though it happened, the shadow of
England fell across the young colony, involving it in difficulties with
the natives. When then Ayres returned with the main crowd of settlers on
January 7, 1822--which arrival was the first real landing of settlers on
what is now Liberian soil--he found that the Deys wished to annul the
agreement previously made and to give back the articles paid. He himself
was seized in the course of a palaver, and he was able to arrive at no
better understanding than that the colonists might remain only until
they could make a new purchase elsewhere. Now appeared on the scene
Boatswain, a prominent chief from the interior who sometimes exercised
jurisdiction over the coast tribes and who, hearing that there was
trouble in the bay, had come hither, bringing with him a sufficient
following to enforce his decrees. Through this man shone something of
the high moral principle so often to be observed in responsible African
chiefs, and to him Ayres appealed. Hearing the story he decided in
favor of the colonists, saying to Peter, "Having sold your country and
accepted payment, you must take the consequences. Let the Americans
have their land immediately." To the agent he said, "I promise you
protection. If these people give you further disturbance, send for me;
and I swear, if they oblige me to come again to quiet them, I will do
it to purpose, by taking their heads from their shoulders, as I did old
king George's on my last visit to the coast to settle disputes." Thus on
the word of a native chief was the foundation of Liberia assured.

[Footnote 1: Ashmun: _History of the American Colony in Liberia, from
1821 to 1823_, 8.]

[Footnote 2: Ashmun, 9.]

By the end of April all of the colonists who were willing to move had
been brought from Sierra Leone to their new home. It was now decided
to remove from the low and unhealthy island to the higher land of
Cape Montserado only a few hundred feet away; on April 28 there was a
ceremony of possession and the American flag was raised. The advantages
of the new position were obvious, to the natives as well as the
colonists, and the removal was attended with great excitement. By July
the island was completely abandoned. Meanwhile, however, things had not
been going well. The Deys had been rendered very hostile, and from them
there was constant danger of attack. The rainy season moreover had set
in, shelter was inadequate, supplies were low, and the fever continually
claimed its victims. Ayres at length became discouraged. He proposed
that the enterprise be abandoned and that the settlers return to Sierra
Leone, and on June 4 he did actually leave with a few of them. It was
at this juncture that Elijah Johnson, one of the most heroic of the
colonists, stepped forth to fame.

The early life of the man is a blank. In 1789 he was taken to New
Jersey. He received some instruction and studied for the Methodist
ministry, took part in the War of 1812, and eagerly embraced the
opportunity to be among the first to come to the new colony. To the
suggestion that the enterprise be abandoned he replied, "Two years long
have I sought a home; here I have found it; here I remain." To him the
great heart of the colonists responded. Among the natives he was known
and respected as a valiant fighter. He lived until March 23, 1849.

Closely associated with Johnson, his colleague in many an effort and
the pioneer in mission work, was the Baptist minister, Lott Cary,
from Richmond, Va., who also had become one of the first permanent
settlers.[1] He was a man of most unusual versatility and force of
character. He died November 8, 1828, as the result of a powder explosion
that occurred while he was acting in defense of the colony against the

[Footnote 1: See Chapter III, Section 5.]

July (1822) was a hard month for the settlers. Not only were their
supplies almost exhausted, but they were on a rocky cape and the natives
would not permit any food to be brought to them. On August 8, however,
arrived Jehudi Ashmun, a young man from Vermont who had worked as a
teacher and as the editor of a religious publication for some years
before coming on this mission. He brought with him a company of
liberated Africans and emigrants to the number of fifty-five, and as he
did not intend to remain permanently he had yielded to the entreaty of
his wife and permitted her to accompany him on the voyage. He held no
formal commission from the American Colonization Society, but seeing the
situation he felt that it was his duty to do what he could to relieve
the distress; and he faced difficulties from the very first. On the day
after his arrival his own brig, the _Strong_, was in danger of being
lost; the vessel parted its cable, and on the following morning broke it
again and drifted until it was landlocked between Cape Montserado and
Cape Mount. A small anchor was found, however, and the brig was again
moored, but five miles from the settlement. The rainy season was now on
in full force; there was no proper place for the storing of provisions;
and even with the newcomers it soon developed that there were in the
colony only thirty-five men capable of bearing arms, so great had been
the number of deaths from the fever. Sometimes almost all of these
were sick; on September 10 only two were in condition for any kind of
service. Ashmun tried to make terms with the native chiefs, but their
malignity was only partially concealed. His wife languished before
his eyes and died September 15, just five weeks after her arrival. He
himself was incapacitated for several months, nor at the height of his
illness was he made better by the ministrations of a French charlatan.
He never really recovered from the great inroads made upon his strength
at this time.

As a protection from sudden attack a clearing around the settlement was
made. Defenses had to be erected without tools, and so great was the
anxiety that throughout the months of September and October a nightly
watch of twenty men was kept. On Sunday, November 10, the report was
circulated that the Deys were crossing the Mesurado River, and at night
it became known that seven or eight hundred were on the peninsula only
half a mile to the west. The attack came at early dawn on the 11th and
the colonists might have been annihilated if they had not brought
a field-piece into play. When this was turned against the natives
advancing in compact array, it literally tore through masses of living
flesh until scores of men were killed. Even so the Deys might have won
the engagement if they had not stopped too soon to gather plunder. As
it was, they were forced to retreat. Of the settlers three men and one
woman were killed, two men and two women injured, and several children
taken captive, though these were afterwards returned. At this time
the colonists suffered greatly from the lack of any supplies for the
treatment of wounds. Only medicines for the fever were on hand, and in
the hot climate those whose flesh had been torn by bullets suffered
terribly. In this first encounter, as often in these early years, the
real burden of conflict fell upon Cary and Johnson. After the battle
these men found that they had on hand ammunition sufficient for only one
hour's defense. All were placed on a special allowance of provisions and
November 23 was observed as a day of prayer. A passing vessel furnished
additional supplies and happily delayed for some days the inevitable
attack. This came from two sides very early in the morning of December
2. There was a desperate battle. Three bullets passed through Ashmun's
clothes, one of the gunners was killed, and repeated attacks were
resisted only with the most dogged determination. An accident, or, as
the colonists regarded it, a miracle, saved them from destruction. A
guard, hearing a noise, discharged a large gun and several muskets.
The schooner _Prince Regent_ was passing, with Major Laing, Midshipman
Gordon, and eleven specially trained men on board. The officers, hearing
the sound of guns, came ashore to see what was the trouble. Major Laing
offered assistance if ground was given for the erection of a British
flag, and generally attempted to bring about an adjustment of
difficulties on the basis of submitting these to the governor of Sierra
Leone. To these propositions Elijah Johnson replied, "We want no
flagstaff put up here that it will cost more to get down than it will
to whip the natives." However, Gordon and the men under him were left
behind for the protection of the colony until further help could arrive.
Within one month he and seven of the eleven were dead. He himself had
found a ready place in the hearts of the settlers, and to him and his
men Liberia owes much. They came in a needy hour and gave their lives
for the cause of freedom.

An American steamer passing in December, 1822, gave some temporary
relief. On March 31, 1823, the _Cyane_, with Capt. R.T. Spence in
charge, arrived from America with supplies. As many members of his crew
became ill after only a few days, Spence soon deemed it advisable to
leave. His chief clerk, however, Richard Seaton, heroically volunteered
to help with the work, remained behind, and died after only three
months. On May 24 came the _Oswego_ with sixty-one new colonists and
Dr. Ayres, who, already the Society's agent, now returned with the
additional authority of Government agent and surgeon. He made a survey
and attempted a new allotment of land, only to find that the colony was
soon in ferment, because some of those who possessed the best holdings
or who had already made the beginnings of homes, were now required to
give these up. There was so much rebellion that in December Ayres
again deemed it advisable to leave. The year 1823 was in fact chiefly
noteworthy for the misunderstandings that arose between the colonists
and Ashmun. This man had been placed in a most embarrassing situation by
the arrival of Dr. Ayres.[1] He not only found himself superseded in the
government, but had the additional misfortune to learn that his drafts
had been dishonored and that no provision had been made to remunerate
him for his past services or provide for his present needs. Finding his
services undervalued, and even the confidence of the Society withheld,
he was naturally indignant, though his attachment to the cause remained
steadfast. Seeing the authorized agent leaving the colony, and the
settlers themselves in a state of insubordination, with no formal
authority behind him he yet resolved to forget his own wrongs and to do
what he could to save from destruction that for which he had already
suffered so much. He was young and perhaps not always as tactful as he
might have been. On the other hand, the colonists had not yet learned
fully to appreciate the real greatness of the man with whom they were
dealing. As for the Society at home, not even so much can be said. The
real reason for the withholding of confidence from Ashmun was that many
of the members objected to his persistent attacks on the slave-trade.

[Footnote 1: Stockwell, 73.]

By the regulations that governed the colony at the time, each man who
received rations was required to contribute to the general welfare
two days of labor a week. Early in December twelve men cast off all
restraint, and on the 13th Ashmun published a notice in which he said:
"There are in the colony more than a dozen healthy persons who will
receive no more provisions out of the public store until they earn
them." On the 19th, in accordance with this notice, the provisions of
the recalcitrants were stopped. The next morning, however, the men went
to the storehouse, and while provisions were being issued, each seized
a portion and went to his home. Ashmun now issued a circular, reminding
the colonists of all of their struggles together and generally pointing
out to them how such a breach of discipline struck at the very heart of
the settlement. The colonists rallied to his support and the twelve men
returned to duty. The trouble, however, was not yet over. On March 19,
1824, Ashmun found it necessary to order a cut in provisions. He had
previously declared to the Board that in his opinion the evil was
"incurable by any of the remedies which fall within the existing
provisions"; and counter remonstrances had been sent by the colonists,
who charged him with oppression, neglect of duty, and the seizure of
public property. He now, seeing that his latest order was especially
unpopular, prepared new despatches, on March 22 reviewed the whole
course of his conduct in a strong and lengthy address, and by the last
of the month had left the colony.

Meanwhile the Society, having learned that things were not going well
with the colony, had appointed its secretary, Rev. R.R. Gurley, to
investigate conditions. Gurley met Ashmun at the Cape Verde Islands and
urgently requested that he return to Monrovia.[1] This Ashmun was not
unwilling to do, as he desired the fullest possible investigation into
his conduct. Gurley was in Liberia from August 13 to August 22, 1824,
only; but from the time of his visit conditions improved. Ashmun was
fully vindicated and remained for four years more until his strength
was all but spent. There was adopted what was known as the Gurley
Constitution. According to this the agent in charge was to have supreme
charge and preside at all public meetings. He was to be assisted,
however, by eleven officers annually chosen, the most important of whom
he was to appoint on nomination by the colonists. Among these were
a vice-agent, two councilors, two justices of the peace, and two
constables. There was to be a guard of twelve privates, two corporals,
and one sergeant.

[Footnote 1: This name, in honor of President Monroe, had recently been
adopted by the Society at the suggestion of Robert Goodloe Harper, of
Maryland, who also suggested the name _Liberia_ for the country. Harper
himself was afterwards honored by having the chief town in Maryland in
Africa named after him.]

For a long time it was the custom of the American Colonization Society
to send out two main shipments of settlers a year, one in the spring
and one in the fall. On February 13, 1824, arrived a little more than
a hundred emigrants, mainly from Petersburg, Va. These people were
unusually intelligent and industrious and received a hearty welcome.
Within a month practically all of them were sick with the fever. On
this occasion, as on many others, Lott Cary served as physician, and so
successful was he that only three of the sufferers died. Another company
of unusual interest was that which arrived early in 1826. It brought
along a printer, a press with the necessary supplies, and books sent by
friends in Boston. Unfortunately the printer was soon disabled by the

Sickness, however, and wars with the natives were not the only handicaps
that engaged the attention of the colony in these years. "At this period
the slave-trade was carried on extensively within sight of Monrovia.
Fifteen vessels were engaged in it at the same time, almost under the
guns of the settlement; and in July of this year a contract was existing
for eight hundred slaves to be furnished, in the short space of four
months, within eight miles of the cape. Four hundred of these were to be
purchased for two American traders."[1] Ashmun attacked the Spaniards
engaged in the traffic, and labored generally to break up slave
factories. On one occasion he received as many as one hundred and
sixteen slaves into the colony as freemen. He also adopted an attitude
of justice toward the native Krus. Of special importance was the attack
on Trade Town, a stronghold of French and Spanish traders about one
hundred miles below Monrovia. Here there were not less than three large
factories. On the day of the battle, April 10, there were three hundred
and fifty natives on shore under the direction of the traders, but the
colonists had the assistance of some American vessels, and a Liberian
officer, Captain Barbour, was of outstanding courage and ability. The
town was fired after eighty slaves had been surrendered. The flames
reached the ammunition of the enemy and over two hundred and fifty casks
of gunpowder exploded. By July, however, the traders had built a battery
at Trade Town and were prepared to give more trouble. All the same a
severe blow had been dealt to their work.

[Footnote 1: Stockwell, 79.]

In his report rendered at the close of 1825 Ashmun showed that the
settlers were living in neatness and comfort; two chapels had been
built, and the militia was well organized, equipped, and disciplined.
The need of some place for the temporary housing of immigrants having
more and more impressed itself upon the colony, before the end of 1826
a "receptacle" capable of holding one hundred and fifty persons was
erected. Ashmun himself served on until 1828, by which time his strength
was completely spent. He sailed for America early in the summer and
succeeded in reaching New Haven, only to die after a few weeks. No man
had given more for the founding of Liberia. The principal street in
Monrovia is named after him.

Aside from wars with the natives, the most noteworthy being the Dey-Gola
war of 1832, the most important feature of Liberian history in
the decade 1828-1838 was the development along the coast of other
settlements than Monrovia. These were largely the outgrowth of the
activity of local branch organizations of the American Colonization
Society, and they were originally supposed to have the oversight of the
central organization and of the colony of Monrovia. The circumstances
under which they were founded, however, gave them something of a feeling
of independence which did much to influence their history. Thus arose,
about seventy-five miles farther down the coast, under the auspices
especially of the New York and Pennsylvania societies, the Grand Bassa
settlements at the mouth of the St. John's River, the town Edina being
outstanding. Nearly a hundred miles farther south, at the mouth of
the Sino River, another colony developed as its most important town
Greenville; and as most of the settlers in this vicinity came from
Mississippi, their province became known as Mississippi in Africa. A
hundred miles farther, on Cape Palmas, just about twenty miles from the
Cavalla River marking the boundary of the French possessions, developed
the town of Harper in what became known as Maryland in Africa. This
colony was even more aloof than others from the parent settlement of
the American Colonization Society. When the first colonists arrived at
Monrovia in 1831, they were not very cordially received, there being
trouble about the allotment of land. They waited for some months for
reënforcements and then sailed down the coast to the vicinity of the
Cavalla River, where they secured land for their future home and where
their distance from the other colonists from America made it all the
more easy for them to cultivate their tradition of independence.[1]
These four ports are now popularly known as Monrovia, Grand Bassa, Sino,
and Cape Palmas; and to them for general prominence might now be added
Cape Mount, about fifty miles from Monrovia higher up the coast and just
a few miles from the Mano River, which now marks the boundary between
Sierra Leone and Liberia. In 1838, on a constitution drawn up by
Professor Greenleaf, of Harvard College, was organized the "Commonwealth
of Liberia," the government of which was vested in a Board of Directors
composed of delegates from the state societies, and which included all
the settlements except Maryland. This remote colony, whose seaport is
Cape Palmas, did not join with the others until 1857, ten years after
Liberia had become an independent republic. When a special company
of settlers arrived from Baltimore and formally occupied Cape Palmas
(1834), Dr. James Hall was governor and he served in this capacity
until 1836, when failing health forced him to return to America. He was
succeeded by John B. Russwurm, a young Negro who had come to Liberia
in 1829 for the purpose of superintending the system of education. The
country, however, was not yet ready for the kind of work he wanted
to do, and in course of time he went into politics. He served very
efficiently as Governor of Maryland from 1836 to 1851, especially
exerting himself to standardize the currency and to stabilize the
revenues. Five years after his death Maryland suffered greatly from an
attack by the Greboes, twenty-six colonists being killed. An appeal to
Monrovia for help led to the sending of a company of men and later to
the incorporation of the colony in the Republic.

[Footnote 1: McPherson is especially valuable for his study of the
Maryland colony.]

Of the events of the period special interest attaches to the murder of
I.F.C. Finley, Governor of Mississippi in Africa, to whose father, Rev.
Robert Finley, the organization of the American Colonization Society
had been very largely due. In September, 1838, Governor Finley left his
colony to go to Monrovia on business, and making a landing at Bassa
Cove, he was robbed and killed by the Krus. This unfortunate murder
led to a bitter conflict between the settlers in the vicinity and the
natives. This is sometimes known as the Fish War (from being waged
around Fishpoint) and did not really cease for a year.

(b) The Commonwealth of Liberia

The first governor of the newly formed Commonwealth was Thomas H.
Buchanan, a man of singular energy who represented the New York and
Pennsylvania societies and who had come in 1836 especially to take
charge of the Grand Bassa settlements. Becoming governor in 1838, he
found it necessary to proceed vigorously against the slave dealers at
Trade Town. He was also victorious in 1840 in a contest with the Gola
tribe led by Chief Gatumba. The Golas had defeated the Dey tribe so
severely that a mere remnant of the latter had taken refuge with the
colonists at Millsburg, a station a few miles up the St. Paul's River.
Thus, as happened more than once, a tribal war in time involved the very
existence of the new American colonies. Governor Buchanan's victory
greatly increased his prestige and made it possible for him to negotiate
more and more favorable treaties with the natives. A contest of
different sort was that with a Methodist missionary, John Seyes, who
held that all goods used by missionaries, including those sold to the
natives, should be admitted free of duty. The governor contended that
such privilege should be extended only to goods intended for the
personal use of missionaries; and the Colonization Society stood behind
him in this opinion. As early as 1840 moreover some shadow of future
events was cast by trouble made by English traders on the Mano River,
the Sierra Leone boundary. Buchanan sent an agent to England to
represent him in an inquiry into the matter; but in the midst of his
vigorous work he died in 1841. He was the last white man formally under
any auspices at the head of Liberian affairs. Happily his period of
service had given opportunity and training to an efficient helper, upon
whom now the burden fell and of whom it is hardly too much to say that
he is the foremost figure in Liberian history.

Joseph Jenkin Roberts was a mulatto born in Virginia in 1809. At the
age of twenty, with his widowed mother and younger brothers, he went to
Liberia and engaged in trade. In course of time he proved to be a man of
unusual tact and graciousness of manner, moving with ease among people
of widely different rank. His abilities soon demanded recognition, and
he was at the head of the force that defeated Gatumba. As governor he
realized the need of cultivating more far-reaching diplomacy than the
Commonwealth had yet known. He had the coöperation of the Maryland
governor, Russwurm, in such a matter as that of uniform customs duties;
and he visited the United States, where he made a very good impression.
He soon understood that he had to reckon primarily with the English and
the French. England had indeed assumed an attitude of opposition to
the slave-trade; but her traders did not scruple to sell rum to slave
dealers, and especially were they interested in the palm oil of Liberia.
When the Commonwealth sought to impose customs duties, England took the
position that as Liberia was not an independent government, she had no
right to do so; and the English attitude had some show of strength
from the fact that the American Colonization Society, an outside
organization, had a veto power over whatever Liberia might do. When in
1845 the Liberian Government seized the _Little Ben_, an English trading
vessel whose captain acted in defiance of the revenue laws, the British
in turn seized the _John Seyes_, belonging to a Liberian named Benson,
and sold the vessel for £8000. Liberia appealed to the United States;
but the Oregon boundary question as well as slavery had given the
American Government problems enough at home; and the Secretary of State,
Edward Everett, finally replied to Lord Aberdeen (1845) that America
was not "presuming to settle differences arising between Liberian and
British subjects, the Liberians being responsible for their own acts."
The Colonization Society, powerless to act except through its own
government, in January, 1846, resolved that "the time had arrived when
it was expedient for the people of the Commonwealth of Liberia to take
into their own hands the whole work of self-government including the
management of all their foreign relations." Forced to act for herself
Liberia called a constitutional convention and on July 26, 1847, issued
a Declaration of Independence and adopted the Constitution of the
Liberian Republic. In October, Joseph Jenkin Roberts, Governor of the
Commonwealth, was elected the first President of the Republic.

It may well be questioned if by 1847 Liberia had developed sufficiently
internally to be able to assume the duties and responsibilities of an
independent power. There were at the time not more than 4,500 civilized
people of American origin in the country; these were largely illiterate
and scattered along a coastline more than three hundred miles in length.
It is not to be supposed, however, that this consummation had been
attained without much yearning and heart-beat and high spiritual fervor.
There was something pathetic in the effort of this small company, most
of whose members had never seen Africa but for the sake of their race
had made their way back to the fatherland. The new seal of the Republic
bore the motto: THE LOVE OF LIBERTY BROUGHT US HERE. The flag, modeled
on that of the United States, had six red and five white stripes for
the eleven signers of the Declaration of Independence, and in the upper
corner next to the staff a lone white star in a field of blue. The
Declaration itself said in part:

    We, the people of the Republic of Liberia, were originally
    inhabitants of the United States of North America.

    In some parts of that country we were debarred by law from all the
    rights and privileges of men; in other parts public sentiment, more
    powerful than law, frowned us down.

    We were everywhere shut out from all civil office.

    We were excluded from all participation in the government.

    We were taxed without our consent.

    We were compelled to contribute to the resources of a country which
    gave us no protection.

    We were made a separate and distinct class, and against us every
    avenue of improvement was effectually closed. Strangers from all
    lands of a color different from ours were preferred before us.

    We uttered our complaints, but they were unattended to, or met only
    by alleging the peculiar institution of the country.

    All hope of a favorable change in our country was thus wholly
    extinguished in our bosom, and we looked with anxiety abroad for
    some asylum from the deep degradation.

    The Western coast of Africa was the place selected by American
    benevolence and philanthropy for our future home. Removed beyond
    those influences which depressed us in our native land, it was
    hoped we would be enabled to enjoy those rights and privileges, and
    exercise and improve those faculties, which the God of nature had
    given us in common with the rest of mankind.

(c) _The Republic of Liberia_

With the adoption of its constitution the Republic of Liberia formally
asked to be considered in the family of nations; and since 1847
the history of the country has naturally been very largely that of
international relations. In fact, preoccupation with the questions
raised by powerful neighbors has been at least one strong reason for the
comparatively slow internal development of the country. The Republic
was officially recognized by England in 1848, by France in 1852, but on
account of slavery not by the United States until 1862. Continuously
there has been an observance of the forms of order, and only one
president has been deposed. For a long time the presidential term was
two years in length; but by an act of 1907 it was lengthened to four
years. From time to time there have been two political parties, but not
always has such a division been emphasized.

It is well to pause and note exactly what was the task set before the
little country. A company of American Negroes suddenly found themselves
placed on an unhealthy and uncultivated coast which was thenceforth to
be their home. If we compare them with the Pilgrim Fathers, we find that
as the Pilgrims had to subdue the Indians, so they had to hold their own
against a score of aggressive tribes. The Pilgrims had the advantage of
a thousand years of culture and experience in government; the Negroes,
only recently out of bondage, had been deprived of any opportunity for
improvement whatsoever. Not only, however, did they have to contend
against native tribes and labor to improve their own shortcomings; on
every hand they had to meet the designs of nations supposedly more
enlightened and Christian. On the coast Spanish traders defied
international law; on one side the English, and on the other the French,
from the beginning showed a tendency toward arrogance and encroachment.
To crown the difficulty, the American Government, under whose auspices
the colony had largely been founded, became more and more halfhearted
in its efforts for protection and at length abandoned the enterprise
altogether. It did not cease, however, to regard the colony as the
dumping-ground of its own troubles, and whenever a vessel with slaves
from the Congo was captured on the high seas, it did not hesitate to
take these people to the Liberian coast and leave them there, nearly
dead though they might be from exposure or cramping. It is well for
one to remember such facts as these before he is quick to belittle or
criticize. To the credit of the "Congo men" be it said that from the
first they labored to make themselves a quiet and industrious element in
the body politic.

The early administrations of President Roberts (four terms, 1848-1855)
were mainly devoted to the quelling of the native tribes that continued
to give trouble and to the cultivating of friendly relations with
foreign powers. Soon after his inauguration Roberts made a visit to
England, the power from which there was most to fear; and on this
occasion as on several others England varied her arrogance with a rather
excessive friendliness toward the little republic. She presented to
Roberts the _Lark_, a ship with four guns, and sent the President home
on a war-vessel. Some years afteryards, when the _Lark_ was out of
repair, England sent instead a schooner, the _Quail_. Roberts made a
second visit to England in 1852 to adjust disputes with traders on the
western boundary. He also visited France, and Louis Napoleon, not to be
outdone by England, presented to him a vessel, the _Hirondelle_, and
also guns and uniforms for his soldiers. In general the administrations
of Roberts (we might better say his first series of administrations, for
he was later to be called again to office) made a period of constructive
statesmanship and solid development, and not a little of the respect
that the young republic won was due to the personal influence of its
first president. Roberts, however, happened to be very fair, and
generally successful though his administrations were, the desire on the
part of the people that the highest office in the country be held by a
black man seems to have been a determining factor in the choice of his
successor. There was an interesting campaign toward the close of his
last term. "There were about this time two political parties in the
country--the old Republicans and the 'True Liberians,' a party which had
been formed in opposition to Roberts's foreign policies. But during the
canvass the platform of this new party lost ground; the result was in
favor of the Republican candidate."[1]

[Footnote 1: Karnga, 28.]

Stephen Allen Benson (four terms, 1856-1863) was forced to meet in one
way or another almost all of the difficulties that have since played a
part in the life of the Liberian people. He had come to the country in
1822 at the age of six and had developed into a practical and efficient
merchant. To his high office he brought the same principles of sobriety
and good sense that had characterized him in business. On February 28,
1857, the independent colony of Maryland formally became a part of the
republic. This action followed immediately upon the struggle with the
Greboes in the vicinity of Cape Palmas in which assistance was rendered
by the Liberians under Ex-President Roberts. In 1858 an incident that
threatened complications with France but that was soon happily closed
arose from the fact that a French vessel which sought to carry away some
Kru laborers to the West Indies was attacked by these men when they had
reason to fear that they might be sold into slavery and not have to work
simply along the coast, as they at first supposed. The ship was seized
and all but one of the crew, the physician, were killed. Trouble
meanwhile continued with British smugglers in the West, and to this
whole matter we shall have to give further and special attention. In
1858 and a year or two thereafter the numerous arrivals from America,
especially of Congo men captured on the high seas, were such as to
present a serious social problem. Flagrant violation by the South of the
laws against the slave-trade led to the seizure by the United States
Government of many Africans. Hundreds of these people were detained at a
time at such a port as Key West. The Government then adopted the policy
of ordering commanders who seized slave-ships at sea to land the
Africans directly upon the coast of Liberia without first bringing them
to America, and appropriated $250,000 for the removal and care of those
at Key West. The suffering of many of these people is one of the most
tragic stories in the history of slavery. To Liberia came at one time
619, at another 867, and within two months as many as 4000. There was
very naturally consternation on the part of the people at this sudden
immigration, especially as many of the Africans arrived cramped or
paralyzed or otherwise ill from the conditions under which they had been
forced to travel. President Benson stated the problem to the American
Government; the United States sent some money to Liberia, the people of
the Republic helped in every way they could, and the whole situation was
finally adjusted without any permanently bad effects, though it is well
for students to remember just what Liberia had to face at this time.
Important toward the close of Benson's terms was the completion of the
building of the Liberia College, of which Joseph Jenkin Roberts became
the first president.

The administrations of Daniel Bashiel Warner (two terms, 1864-1867) and
the earlier one of James Spriggs Payne (1868-1869) were comparatively
uneventful. Both of these men were Republicans, but Warner represented
something of the shifting of political parties at the time. At first
a Republican, he went over to the Whig party devoted to the policy of
preserving Liberia from white invasion. Moved to distrust of English
merchants, who delighted in defrauding the little republic, he
established an important Ports-of-Entry Law in 1865, which it is hardly
necessary to say was very unpopular with the foreigners. Commerce was
restricted to six ports and a circle six miles in diameter around each
port. On account of the Civil War and the hopes that emancipation held
out to the Negroes in the United States, immigration from America ceased
rapidly; but a company of 346 came from Barbadoes at this time. The
Liberian Government assisted these people with $4000, set apart for each
man an allotment of twenty-five rather than the customary ten acres; the
Colonization Society appropriated $10,000, and after a pleasant voyage
of thirty-three days they arrived without the loss of a single life. In
the company was a little boy, Arthur Barclay, who was later to be known
as the President of the Republic. At the semi-centennial of the American
Colonization Society held in Washington in January, 1867, it was shown
that the Society and its auxiliaries had been directly responsible for
the sending of more than 12,000 persons to Africa. Of these 4541
had been born free, 344 had purchased their freedom, 5957 had been
emancipated to go to Africa, and 1227 had been settled by the Maryland
Society. In addition, 5722 captured Africans had been sent to Liberia.
The need of adequate study of the interior having more and more
impressed itself, Benjamin Anderson, an adventurous explorer, assisted
with funds by a citizen of New York, in 1869 studied the country for two
hundred miles from the coast. He found the land constantly rising, and
made his way to Musardu, the chief city of the western Mandingoes. He
summed up his work in his _Narrative of a Journey to Musardo_ and made
another journey of exploration in 1874.

Edward James Roye (1870-October 26, 1871), a Whig whose party was formed
out of the elements of the old True Liberian party, attracts attention
by reason of a notorious British loan to which further reference must
be made. Of the whole amount of £100,000 sums were wasted or
misappropriated until it has been estimated that the country really
reaped the benefit of little more than a quarter of the whole amount.
President Roye added to other difficulties by his seizure of a bank
building belonging to an Industrial Society of the St. Paul's River
settlements, and by attempting by proclamation to lengthen his term
of office. Twice a constitutional amendment for lengthening the
presidential term from two years to four had been considered and voted
down. Roye contested the last vote, insisted that his term ran to
January, 1874, and issued a proclamation forbidding the coming biennial
election. He was deposed, his house sacked, some of his cabinet officers
tried before a court of impeachment,[1] and he himself was drowned as he
was pursued while attempting to escape to a British ship in the harbor.
A committee of three was appointed to govern the country until a new
election could be held; and in this hour of storm and stress the people
turned once more to the guidance of their old leader, Joseph J. Roberts
(two terms, 1872-1875). His efforts were mainly devoted to restoring
order and confidence, though there was a new war with the Greboes to be
waged.[2] He was succeeded by another trusted leader, James S. Payne
(1876-1877), whose second administration was as devoid as the first of
striking incident. In fact, the whole generation succeeding the loan
of 1871 was a period of depression. The country not only suffered
financially, but faith in it was shaken both at home and abroad. Coffee
grown in Liberia fell as that produced at Brazil grew in favor, the
farmer witnessing a drop in value from 24 to 4 cents a pound. Farms were
abandoned, immigration from the United States ceased, and the country
entered upon a period of stagnation from which it has not yet fully

[Footnote 1: But not Hilary R.W. Johnson, the efficient Secretary of
State, later President.]

[Footnote 2: President Roberts died February 21, 1876, barely two months
after giving up office. He was caught in the rain while attending a
funeral, took a severe chill, and was not able to recover.]

Within just a few years after 1871, however, conditions in the United
States led to an interesting revival of the whole idea of colonization,
and to noteworthy effort on the part of the Negroes themselves to better
their condition. The withdrawal of Federal troops from the South,
and all the evils of the aftermath of reconstruction, led to such a
terrorizing of the Negroes and such a denial of civil rights that there
set in the movement that culminated in the great exodus from the South
in 1879. The movement extended all the way from North Carolina to
Louisiana and Arkansas. Insofar as it led to migration to Kansas and
other states in the West, it belongs to American history. However, there
was also interest in going to Africa. Applications by the thousands
poured in upon the American Colonization Society, and one organization
in Arkansas sent hundreds of its members to seek the help of the New
York State Colonization Society. In all such endeavor Negro Baptists
and Methodists joined hands, and especially prominent was Bishop H.M.
Turner, of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. By 1877 there was
organized in South Carolina the Liberian Exodus and Joint Stock Company;
in North Carolina there was the Freedmen's Emigration Aid Society; and
there were similar organizations in other states. The South Carolina
organization had the threefold purpose of emigration, missionary
activity, and commercial enterprise, and to these ends it purchased a
vessel, the _Azor_, at a cost of $7000. The white people of Charleston
unfortunately embarrassed the enterprise in every possible way, among
other things insisting when the _Azor_ was ready to sail that it was not
seaworthy and needed a new copper bottom (to cost $2000). The vessel at
length made one or two trips, however, on one voyage carrying as many as
274 emigrants. It was then stolen and sold in Liverpool, and one gets an
interesting sidelight on Southern conditions in the period when he knows
that even the United States Circuit Court in South Carolina refused to
entertain the suit brought by the Negroes.

In the administration of Anthony W. Gardiner (three terms, 1878-1883)
difficulties with England and Germany reached a crisis. Territory in
the northwest was seized; the British made a formal show of force at
Monrovia; and the looting of a German vessel along the Kru Coast and
personal indignities inflicted by the natives upon the shipwrecked
Germans, led to the bombardment of Nana Kru by a German warship and the
presentation at Monrovia of a claim for damages, payment of which was
forced by the threat of the bombardment of the capital. To the Liberian
people the outlook was seldom darker than in this period of calamities.
President Gardiner, very ill, resigned office in January of his last
year of service, being succeeded by the vice-president, Alfred F.
Russell. More and more was pressure brought to bear upon Liberian
officials for the granting of monopolies and concessions, especially to
Englishmen; and in his message of 1883 President Russell said, "Recent
events admonish us as to the serious responsibility of claims held
against us by foreigners, and we cannot tell what complications may
arise." In the midst of all this, however, Russell did not forget the
natives and the need of guarding them against liquor and exploitation.

Hilary Richard Wright Johnson (four terms, 1884-1891), the next
president, was a son of the distinguished Elijah Johnson and the first
man born in Liberia who had risen to the highest place in the republic.
Whigs and Republicans united in his election. Much of his time had
necessarily to be given to complications arising from the loan of 1871;
but the western boundary was adjusted (with great loss) with Great
Britain at the Mano River, though new difficulties arose with the
French, who were pressing their claim to territory as far as the Cavalla
River. In the course of the last term of President Johnson there was an
interesting grant (by act approved January 21, 1890) to F.F. Whittekin,
of Pennsylvania, of the right to "construct, maintain, and operate a
system of railroads, telegraph and telephone lines." Whittekin bought up
in England stock to the value of half a million dollars, but died on the
way to Liberia to fulfil his contract. His nephew, F.F. Whittekin, asked
for an extension of time, which was granted, but after a while the whole
project languished.[1]

[Footnote 1: See _Liberia_, Bulletin No. 5, November, 1894.]

Joseph James Cheeseman (1892-November 15, 1896) was a Whig. He conducted
what was known as the third Grebo War and labored especially for a sound
currency. He was a man of unusual ability and his devotion to his task
undoubtedly contributed toward his death in office near the middle
of his third term. As up to this time there had been no internal
improvement and little agricultural or industrial development in the
country, O.F. Cook, the agent of the New York State Colonization
Society, in 1894 signified to the legislature a desire to establish
a station where experiments could be made as to the best means of
introducing, receiving, and propagating beasts of burden, commercial
plants, etc. His request was approved and one thousand acres of land
granted for the purpose by act of January 20, 1894. Results, however,
were neither permanent nor far-reaching. In fact, by the close of the
century immigration had practically ceased and the activities of the
American Colonization Society had also ceased, many of the state
organizations having gone out of existence. In 1893 Julius C. Stevens,
of Goldsboro, N.C., went to Liberia and served for a nominal salary as
agent of the American Colonization Society, becoming also a teacher in
the Liberia College and in time Commissioner of Education, in connection
with which post he edited his _Liberian School Reader_; but he died in

[Footnote 1: Interest in Liberia by no means completely died.
Contributions for education were sometimes made by the representative
organizations, and individual students came to America from time
to time. When, however, the important commission representing the
Government came to America in 1908, the public was slightly startled as
having heard from something half-forgotten.]

William D. Coleman as vice-president finished the incomplete term of
President Cheeseman (to the end of 1897) and later was elected for
two terms in his own right. In the course of his last administration,
however, his interior policy became very unpopular, as he was thought to
be harsh in his dealing with the natives, and he resigned in December,
1900. As there was at the time no vice-president, he was succeeded
by the Secretary of State, Garretson W. Gibson, a man of scholarly
attainments, who was afterwards elected for a whole term (1902-1903).
The feature of this term was the discussion that arose over the proposal
to grant a concession to an English concern known as the West African
Gold Concessions, Ltd. This offered to the legislators a bonus of £1500,
and for this bribe it asked for the sole right to prospect for and
obtain gold, precious stones, and all other minerals over more than half
of Liberia. Specifically it asked for the right to acquire freehold
land and to take up leases for eighty years, in blocks of from ten to
a thousand acres; to import all mining machinery and all other things
necessary free of duty; to establish banks in connection with the mining
enterprises, these to have the power to issue notes; to construct
telegraphs and telephones; to organize auxiliary syndicates; and to
establish its own police. It would seem that English impudence could
hardly go further, though time was to prove that there were still other
things to be borne. The proposal was indignantly rejected.

Arthur Barclay (1904-1911) had already served in three cabinet positions
before coming to the presidency; he had also been a professor in the
Liberia College and for some years had been known as the leader of the
bar in Monrovia. It was near the close of his second term that the
president's term of office was lengthened from two to four years, and
he was the first incumbent to serve for the longer period. In his first
inaugural address President Barclay emphasized the need of developing
the resources of the hinterland and of attaching the native tribes to
the interests of the state. In his foreign policy he was generally
enlightened and broad-minded, but he had to deal with the arrogance of
England. In 1906 a new British loan was negotiated. This also was for
£100,000, more than two-thirds of which amount was to be turned over to
the Liberian Development Company, an English scheme for the development
of the interior. The Company was to work in coöperation with the
Liberian Government, and as security for the loan British officials were
to have charge of the customs revenue, the chief inspector acting as
financial adviser to the Republic. It afterwards developed that the
Company never had any resources except those it had raised on the credit
of the Republic, and the country was forced to realize that it had been
cheated a second time. Meanwhile the English officials who, on various
pretexts of reform, had taken charge of the barracks and the customs
in Monrovia, were carrying things with a high hand. The Liberian force
appeared with English insignia on the uniforms, and in various other
ways the commander sought to overawe the populace. At the climax of the
difficulties, on February 13, 1909, a British warship _happened_ to
appear in the waters of Monrovia, and a calamity was averted only by the
skillful diplomacy of the Liberians. Already, however, in 1908, Liberia
had sent a special commission to ask the aid of the United States.
This consisted of Garretson W. Gibson, former president; J.J. Dossen,
vice-president at the time, and Charles B. Dunbar. The commission was
received by President Roosevelt and by Secretary Taft just before the
latter was nominated for the presidency. On May 8, 1909, a return
commission consisting of Roland P. Falkner, George Sale, and Emmett J.
Scott, arrived in Monrovia. The work of this commission must receive
further and special attention.

President Barclay was succeeded by Daniel Edward Howard (two long
terms, 1912-1919), who at his inauguration began the policy of giving
prominence to the native chiefs. The feature of President Howard's
administrations was of course Liberia's connection with the Great War
in Europe. War against Germany having been declared, on the morning
of April 10, 1918, a submarine came to Monrovia and demanded that the
French wireless station be torn down. The request being refused, the
town was bombarded. The excitement of the day was such as has never been
duplicated in the history of Liberia. In one house two young girls were
instantly killed and an elderly woman and a little boy fatally wounded;
but except in this one home the actual damage was comparatively slight,
though there might have been more if a passing British steamer had not
put the submarine to flight. Suffering of another and more far-reaching
sort was that due to the economic situation. The comparative scarcity of
food in the world and the profiteering of foreign merchants in Liberia
by the summer of 1919 brought about a condition that threatened
starvation; nor was the situation better early in 1920, when butter
retailed at $1.25 a pound, sugar at 72 cents a pound, and oil at $1.00 a

President Howard was succeeded by Charles Dunbar Burgess King, who as
president-elect had visited Europe and America, and who was inaugurated
January 5, 1920. His address on this occasion was a comprehensive
presentation of the needs of Liberia, especially along the lines of
agriculture and education. He made a plea also for an enlightened native
policy. Said he: "We cannot afford to destroy the native institutions of
the country. Our true mission lies not in the building here in Africa
of a Negro state based solely on Western ideas, but rather a Negro
nationality indigenous to the soil, having its foundation rooted in the
institutions of Africa and purified by Western thought and development."

3. _International Relations_

Our study of the history of Liberia has suggested two or three matters
that call for special attention. Of prime importance is the country's
connection with world politics. Any consideration of Liberia's
international relations falls into three divisions: first, that of
titles to land; second, that of foreign loans; and third, that of
so-called internal reform.

In the very early years of the colony the raids of slave-traders gave
some excuse for the first aggression on the part of a European power.
"Driven from the Pongo Regions northwest of Sierra Leone, Pedro Blanco
settled in the Gallinhas territory northwest of the Liberian frontier,
and established elaborate headquarters for his mammoth slave-trading
operations in West Africa, with slave-trading sub-stations at Cape
Mount, St. Paul River, Bassa, and at other points of the Liberian coast,
employing numerous police, watchers, spies, and servants. To obtain
jurisdiction the colony of Liberia began to purchase from the lords of
the soil as early as 1824 the lands of the St. Paul Basin and the Grain
Coast from the Mafa River on the west to the Grand Sesters River on the
east; so that by 1845, twenty-four years after the establishment of the
colony, Liberia with the aid of Great Britain had destroyed throughout
these regions the baneful traffic in slaves and the slave barracoons,
and had driven the slave-trading leaders from the Liberian coast."[1]
The trade continued to flourish, however, in the Gallinhas territory,
and in course of time, as we have seen, the colony had also to reckon
with British merchants in this section, the Declaration of Independence
in 1847 being very largely a result of the defiance of Liberian
revenue-laws by Englishmen. While President Roberts was in England
not long after his inauguration, Lord Ashley, moved by motives of
philanthropy, undertook to raise £2000 with which he (Roberts) might
purchase the Gallinhas territory; and by 1856 Roberts had secured the
title and deeds to all of this territory from the Mafa River to Sherbro
Island. The whole transaction was thoroughly honorable, Roberts informed
England of his acquisition, and his right to the territory was not then
called in question. Trouble, however, developed out of the attitude of
John M. Harris, a British merchant, and in 1862, while President Benson
was in England, he was officially informed that the right of Liberia was
recognized _only_ to the land "east of Turner's Peninsula to the River
San Pedro." Harris now worked up a native war against the Vais; the
Liberians defended themselves; and in the end the British Government
demanded £8878.9.3 as damages for losses sustained by Harris, and
arbitrarily extended its territory from Sherbro Island to Cape Mount. In
the course of the discussion claims mounted up to £18,000. Great Britain
promised to submit this boundary question to the arbitration of the
United States, but when the time arrived at the meeting of one of the
commissions in Sierra Leone she firmly declined to do so. After this,
whenever she was ready to take more land she made a plausible pretext
and was ready to back up her demands with force. On March 20, 1882, four
British men-of-war came to Monrovia and Sir A.E. Havelock, Governor of
Sierra Leone, came ashore; and President Gardiner was forced to submit
to an agreement by which, in exchange for £4750 and the abandonment of
all further claims, the Liberian Government gave up all right to
the Gallinhas territory from Sherbro Island to the Mafa River. This
agreement was repudiated by the Liberian Senate, but when Havelock was
so informed he replied, "Her Majesty's Government can not in any case
recognize any rights on the part of Liberia to any portions of the
territories in dispute." Liberia now issued a protest to other great
powers; but this was without avail, even the United States counseling
acquiescence, though through the offices of America the agreement was
slightly modified and the boundary fixed at the Mano River. Trouble next
arose on the east. In 1846 the Maryland Colonization Society purchased
the lands of the Ivory Coast east of Cape Palmas as far as the San Pedro
River. These lands were formally transferred to Liberia in 1857, and
remained in the undisputed possession of the Republic for forty years.
France now, not to be outdone by England, on the pretext of title deeds
obtained by French naval commanders who visited the coast in 1890, in
1891 put forth a claim not only to the Ivory Coast, but to land as far
away as Grand Bassa and Cape Mount. The next year, under threat of
force, she compelled Liberia to accept a treaty which, for 25,000 francs
and the relinquishment of all other claims, permitted her to take all
the territory east of the Cavalla River. In 1904 Great Britain asked
permission to advance her troops into Liberian territory to suppress a
native war threatening her interests. She occupied at this time what
is known as the Kaure-Lahun section, which is very fertile and of easy
access to the Sierra Leone railway. This land she never gave up; instead
she offered Liberia £6000 or some poorer land for it. France after 1892
made no endeavor to delimit her boundary, and, roused by the action
of Great Britain, she made great advances in the hinterland, claiming
tracts of Maryland and Sino; and now France and England each threatened
to take more land if the other was not stopped. President Barclay
visited both countries; but by a treaty of 1907 his commission was
forced to permit France to occupy all the territory seized by force; and
as soon as this agreement was reached France began to move on to other
land in the basin of the St. Paul's and St. John's rivers. This is all
then simply one more story of the oppression of the weak by the strong.
For eighty years England has not ceased to intermeddle in Liberian
affairs, cajoling or browbeating as at the moment seemed advisable; and
France has been only less bad. Certainly no country on earth now has
better reason than Liberia to know that "they should get who have the
power, and they should keep who can."

[Footnote 1: Ellis in _Journal of Race Development_, January, 1911.]

The international loans and the attempts at reform must be considered
together. In 1871, at the rate of 7 per cent, there was authorized a
British loan of £100,000. _For their services_ the British negotiators
retained £30,000, and £20,000 more was deducted as the interest for
three years. President Roye ordered Mr. Chinery, a British subject and
the Liberian consul general in London, to supply the Liberian Secretary
of Treasury with goods and merchandise to the value of £10,000; and
other sums were misappropriated until the country itself actually
received the benefit of not more than £27,000, if so much. This whole
unfortunate matter was an embarrassment to Liberia for years; but in
1899 the Republic assumed responsibility for £80,000, the interest being
made a first charge on the customs revenue. In 1906, not yet having
learned the lesson of "Cavete Graecos dona ferentes," and moved by the
representations of Sir Harry H. Johnston, the country negotiated a
new loan of £100,000. £30,000 of this amount was to satisfy pressing
obligations; but the greater portion was to be turned over to the
Liberian Development Company, a great scheme by which the Government
and the company were to work hand in hand for the development of the
country. As security for the loan, British officials were to have charge
of the customs revenue, the chief inspector acting as financial adviser
to the Republic. When the Company had made a road of fifteen miles
in one district and made one or two other slight improvements, it
represented to the Liberian Government that its funds were exhausted.
When President Barclay asked for an accounting the managing director
expressed surprise that such a demand should be made upon him. The
Liberian people were chagrined, and at length they realized that they
had been cheated a second time, with all the bitter experiences of the
past to guide them. Meanwhile the English representatives in the country
were demanding that the judiciary be reformed, that the frontier force
be under British officers, and that Inspector Lamont as financial
adviser have a seat in the Liberian cabinet and a veto power over all
expenditures; and the independence of the country was threatened if
these demands were not complied with. Meanwhile also the construction
of barracks went forward under Major Cadell, a British officer, and the
organization of the frontier force was begun. Not less than a third of
this force was brought from Sierra Leone, and the whole Cadell fitted
out with suits and caps stamped with the emblems of His Britannic
Majesty's service. He also persuaded the Monrovia city government to let
him act without compensation as chief of police, and he likewise became
street commissioner, tax collector, and city treasurer. The Liberian
people naturally objected to the usurping of all these prerogatives, but
Cadell refused to resign and presented a large bill for his services. He
also threatened violence to the President if his demands were not met
within twenty-four hours. Then it was that the British warship, the
_Mutiny_, suddenly appeared at Monrovia (February 12, 1909). Happily
the Liberians rose to the emergency. They requested that any British
soldiers at the barracks be withdrawn in order that they might be free
to deal with the insurrectionary movement said to be there on the
part of Liberian soldiers; and thus tactfully they brought about the
withdrawal of Major Cadell.

By this time, however, the Liberian commission to the United States
had done its work, and just three months after Cadell's retirement the
return American commission came. After studying the situation it made
the following recommendations: That the United States extend its aid to
Liberia in the prompt settlement of pending boundary disputes; that
the United States enable Liberia to refund its debt by assuming as a
guarantee for the payment of obligations under such arrangement the
control and collection of the Liberian customs; that the United States
lend its assistance to the Liberian Government in the reform of its
internal finances; that the United States lend its aid to Liberia in
organizing and drilling an adequate constabulary or frontier police
force; that the United States establish and maintain a research
station at Liberia; and that the United States reopen the question of
establishing a coaling-station in Liberia. Under the fourth of these
recommendations Major (now Colonel) Charles Young went to Liberia,
where from time to time since he has rendered most efficient service.
Arrangements were also made for a new loan, one of $1,700,000, which was
to be floated by banking institutions in the United States, Germany,
France, and England; and in 1912 an American General Receiver of Customs
and Financial Adviser to the Republic of Liberia (with an assistant
from each of the other three countries mentioned) opened his office
in Monrovia. It will be observed that a complicated and expensive
receivership was imposed on the Liberian people when an arrangement
much more simple would have served. The loan of $1,700,000 soon proving
inadequate for any large development of the country, negotiations were
begun in 1918 for a new loan, one of $5,000,000. Among the things
proposed were improvements on the harbor of Monrovia, some good roads
through the country, a hospital, and the broadening of the work of
education. About the loan two facts were outstanding: first, any money
to be spent would be spent wholly under American and not under Liberian
auspices; and, second, to the Liberians acceptance of the terms
suggested meant practically a surrender of their sovereignty, as
American appointees were to be in most of the important positions in the
country, at the same time that upon themselves would fall the ultimate
burden of the interest of the loan. By the spring of 1920 (in Liberia,
the commencement of the rainy season) it was interesting to note that
although the necessary measures of approval had not yet been passed by
the Liberian Congress, perhaps as many as fifteen American officials had
come out to the country to begin work in education, engineering, and
sanitation. Just a little later in the year President King called an
extra session of the legislature to consider amendments. While it was in
session a cablegram from the United States was received saying that no
amendments to the plan would be accepted and that it must be accepted as
submitted, "or the friendly interest which has heretofore existed would
become lessened." The Liberians were not frightened, however, and stood
firm. Meanwhile a new presidential election took place in the United
States; there was to be a radical change in the government; and the
Liberians were disposed to try further to see if some changes could not
be made in the proposed arrangements. Most watchfully from month to
month, let it be remembered, England and France were waiting; and in
any case it could easily be seen that as the Republic approached its
centennial it was face to face with political problems of the very first

[Footnote 1: Early in 1921 President King headed a new commission to the
United States to take up the whole matter of Liberia with the incoming
Republican administration.]

4. _Economic and Social Conditions_

From what has been said, it is evident that there is still much to be
done in Liberia along economic lines. There has been some beginning
in coöperative effort; thus the Bassa Trading Association is an
organization for mutual betterment of perhaps as many as fifty
responsible merchants and farmers. The country has as yet (1921),
however, no railroads, no street cars, no public schools, and no genuine
newspapers; nor are there any manufacturing or other enterprises for
the employment of young men on a large scale. The most promising youth
accordingly look too largely to an outlet in politics; some come to
America to be educated and not always do they return. A few become
clerks in the stores, and a very few assistants in the customs offices.
There is some excellent agriculture in the interior, but as yet no means
of getting produce to market on a large scale. In 1919 the total customs
revenue at Monrovia, the largest port, amounted to $196,913.21. For the
whole country the figure has recently been just about half a million
dollars a year. Much of this amount goes to the maintenance of the
frontier force. Within the last few years also the annual income for
the city of Monrovia--for the payment of the mayor, the police, and all
other city officers--has averaged $6000.

In any consideration of social conditions the first question of all of
course is that of the character of the people themselves. Unfortunately
Liberia was begun with faulty ideals of life and work. The early
settlers, frequently only recently out of bondage, too often felt that
in a state of freedom they did not have to work, and accordingly they
imitated the habits of the old master class of the South. The real
burden of life then fell upon the native. There is still considerable
feeling between the native and the Americo-Liberian; but more and more
the wisest men of the country realize that the good of one is the good
of all, and they are endeavoring to make the native chiefs work for the
common welfare. From time to time the people of Liberia have given to
visitors an impression of arrogance, and perhaps no one thing had led to
more unfriendly criticism of this country than this. The fact is that
the Liberians, knowing that their country has various shortcomings
according to Western standards, are quick to assume the defensive, and
one method of protecting themselves is by erecting a barrier of dignity
and reserve. One has only to go beyond this, however, to find the real
heartbeat of the people. The comparative isolation of the Republic
moreover, and the general stress of living conditions have together
given to the everyday life an undue seriousness of tone, with a rather
excessive emphasis on the church, on politics, and on secret societies.
In such an atmosphere boys and girls too soon became mature, and for
them especially one might wish to see a little more wholesome outdoor
amusement. In school or college catalogues one still sees much of
jurisprudence and moral philosophy, but little of physics or biology.
Interestingly enough, this whole system of education and life has not
been without some elements of very genuine culture. Literature has been
mainly in the diction of Shakespeare and Milton; but Shakespeare and
Milton, though not of the twentieth century, are still good models,
and because the officials have had to compose many state documents and
deliver many formal addresses, there has been developed in the country
a tradition of good English speech. A service in any one of the
representative churches is dignified and impressive.

The churches and schools of Liberia have been most largely in the hands
of the Methodists and the Episcopalians, though the Baptists, the
Presbyterians, and the Lutherans are well represented. The Lutherans
have penetrated to a point in the interior beyond that attained by any
other denomination. The Episcopalians have excelled others, even the
Methodists, by having more constant and efficient oversight of their
work. The Episcopalians have in Liberia a little more than 40 schools,
nearly half of these being boarding-schools, with a total attendance
of 2000. The Methodists have slightly more than 30 schools, with 2500
pupils. The Lutherans in their five mission stations have 20 American
workers and 300 pupils. While it seems from these figures that the
number of those reached is small in proportion to the outlay, it must be
remembered that a mission school becomes a center from which influence
radiates in all directions.

While the enterprise of the denominational institutions can not be
doubted, it may well be asked if, in so largely relieving the people
of the burden of the education of their children, they are not unduly
cultivating a spirit of dependence rather than of self-help. Something
of this point of view was emphasized by the Secretary of Public
Instruction, Mr. Walter F. Walker, in an address, "Liberia and Her
Educational Problems," delivered in Chicago in 1916. Said he of the day
schools maintained by the churches: "These day schools did invaluable
service in the days of the Colony and Commonwealth, and, indeed, in the
early days of the Republic; but to their continuation must undoubtedly
be ascribed the tardy recognition of the government and people of the
fact that no agency for the education of the masses is as effective as
the public school.... There is not one public school building owned by
the government or by any city or township."

It might further be said that just now in Liberia there is no
institution that is primarily doing college work. Two schools in
Monrovia, however, call for special remark. The College of West Africa,
formerly Monrovia Seminary, was founded by the Methodist Church in 1839.
The institution does elementary and lower high school work, though some
years ago it placed a little more emphasis on college work than it has
been able to do within recent years. It was of this college that the
late Bishop A.P. Camphor served so ably as president for twelve years.
Within recent years it has recognized the importance of industrial work
and has had in all departments an average annual enrollment of 300. Not
quite so prominent within the last few years, but with more tradition
and theoretically at the head of the educational system of the Republic
is the Liberia College. In 1848 Simon Greenleaf of Boston, received from
John Payne, a missionary at Cape Palmas, a request for his assistance in
building a theological school. Out of this suggestion grew the Board
of Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia incorporated in
Massachusetts in March, 1850. The next year the Liberia legislature
incorporated the Liberia College, it being understood that the
institution would emphasize academic as well as theological subjects. In
1857 Ex-President J.J. Roberts was elected president; he superintended
the erection of a large building; and in 1862 the college was opened
for work. Since then it has had a very uneven existence, sometimes
enrolling, aside from its preparatory department, twenty or thirty
college students, then again having no college students at all. Within
the last few years, as the old building was completely out of repair,
the school has had to seek temporary quarters. It is too vital to the
country to be allowed to languish, however, and it is to be hoped that
it may soon be well started upon a new career of usefulness. In the
course of its history the Liberia College has had connected with it some
very distinguished men. Famous as teacher and lecturer, and president
from 1881 to 1885, was Edward Wilmot Blyden, generally regarded as the
foremost scholar that Western Africa has given to the world. Closely
associated with him in the early years, and well known in America as in
Africa, was Alexander Crummell, who brought to his teaching the richness
of English university training. A trustee for a number of years was
Samuel David Ferguson, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who served
with great dignity and resource as missionary bishop of the country
from 1884 until his death in 1916. A new president of the college, Rev.
Nathaniel H.B. Cassell, was elected in 1918, and it is expected that
under his efficient direction the school will go forward to still
greater years of service.

Important in connection with the study of the social conditions in
Liberia is that of health and living conditions. One who lives in
America and knows that Africa is a land of unbounded riches can hardly
understand the extent to which the West Coast has been exploited, or
the suffering that is there just now. The distress is most acute in the
English colonies, and as Liberia is so close to Sierra Leone and the
Gold Coast, much of the same situation prevails there. In Monrovia the
only bank is the branch of the Bank of British West Africa. In the
branches of this great institution all along the coast, as a result of
the war, gold disappeared, silver became very scarce, and the common
form of currency became paper notes, issued in denominations as low as
one and two shillings. These the natives have refused to accept. They go
even further: rather than bring their produce to the towns and receive
paper for it they will not come at all. In Monrovia an effort was made
to introduce the British West African paper currency, and while this
failed, more and more the merchants insisted on being paid in silver,
nor in an ordinary purchase would silver be given in change on an
English ten-shilling note. Prices accordingly became exorbitant;
children were not properly nourished and the infant mortality grew to
astonishing proportions. Nor were conditions made better by the lack of
sanitation and by the prevalence of disease. Happily relief for these
conditions--for some of them at least--seems to be in sight, and it is
expected that before very long a hospital will be erected in Monrovia.

One or two reflections suggest themselves. It has been said that the
circumstances under which Liberia was founded led to a despising of
industrial effort. The country is now quite awake, however, to the
advantages of industrial and agricultural enterprise. A matter of
supreme importance is that of the relation of the Americo-Liberian to
the native; this will work itself out, for the native is the country's
chief asset for the future. In general the Republic needs a few visible
evidences of twentieth century standards of progress; two or three high
schools and hospitals built on the American plan would work wonders.
Finally let it not be forgotten that upon the American Negro rests the
obligation to do whatever he can to help to develop the country. If he
will but firmly clasp hands with his brother across the sea, a new day
will dawn for American Negro and Liberian alike.



1. _Current Tendencies_

It is evident from what has been said already that the idea of the Negro
current about 1830 in the United States was not very exalted. It was
seriously questioned if he was really a human being, and doctors of
divinity learnedly expounded the "Cursed be Canaan" passage as applying
to him. A prominent physician of Mobile[1] gave it as his opinion that
"the brain of the Negro, when compared with the Caucasian, is smaller by
a tenth ... and the intellect is wanting in the same proportion," and
finally asserted that Negroes could not live in the North because "a
cold climate so freezes their brains as to make them insane." About
mulattoes, like many others, he stretched his imagination marvelously.
They were incapable of undergoing fatigue; the women were very delicate
and subject to all sorts of diseases, and they did not beget children
as readily as either black women or white women. In fact, said Nott,
between the ages of twenty-five and forty mulattoes died ten times as
fast as either white or black people; between forty and fifty-five fifty
times as fast, and between fifty-five and seventy one hundred times as

[Footnote 1: See "Two Lectures on the Natural History of the Caucasian
and Negro Races. By Josiah C. Nott, M.D., Mobile, 1844."]

To such opinions was now added one of the greatest misfortunes that have
befallen the Negro race in its entire history in America--burlesque on
the stage. When in 1696 Thomas Southerne adapted _Oroonoko_ from the
novel of Mrs. Aphra Behn and presented in London the story of the
African prince who was stolen from his native Angola, no one saw any
reason why the Negro should not be a subject for serious treatment on
the stage, and the play was a great success, lasting for decades. In
1768, however, was presented at Drury Lane a comic opera, _The Padlock_,
and a very prominent character was Mungo, the slave of a West Indian
planter, who got drunk in the second act and was profane throughout the
performance. In the course of the evening Mungo entertained the audience
with such lines as the following:

  Dear heart, what a terrible life I am led!
  A dog has a better, that's sheltered and fed.
       Night and day 'tis the same;
       My pain is deir game:
  Me wish to de Lord me was dead!
       Whate'er's to be done,
       Poor black must run.
       Mungo here, Mungo dere,
       Mungo everywhere:
       Above and below,
       Sirrah, come; sirrah, go;
       Do so, and do so,
            Oh! oh!
  Me wish to de Lord me was dead!

The depreciation of the race that Mungo started continued, and when in
1781 _Robinson Crusoe_ was given as a pantomime at Drury Lane, Friday
was represented as a Negro. The exact origins of Negro minstrelsy
are not altogether clear; there have been many claimants, and it is
interesting to note in passing that there was an "African Company"
playing in New York in the early twenties, though this was probably
nothing more than a small group of amateurs. Whatever may have been
the beginning, it was Thomas D. Rice who brought the form to genuine
popularity. In Louisville in the summer of 1828, looking from one of the
back windows of a theater, he was attracted by an old and decrepit slave
who did odd jobs about a livery stable. The slave's master was named
Crow and he called himself Jim Crow. His right shoulder was drawn up
high and his left leg was stiff at the knee, but he took his deformity
lightly, singing as he worked. He had one favorite tune to which he
had fitted words of his own, and at the end of each verse he made a
ludicrous step which in time came to be known as "rocking the heel." His
refrain consisted of the words:

  Wheel about, turn about,
  Do jis so,
  An' ebery time I wheel about
  I jump Jim Crow.

Rice, who was a clever and versatile performer, caught the air, made up
like the Negro, and in the course of the next season introduced Jim Crow
and his step to the stage, and so successful was he in his performance
that on his first night in the part he was encored twenty times.[1] Rice
had many imitators among the white comedians of the country, some of
whom indeed claimed priority in opening up the new field, and along with
their burlesque these men actually touched upon the possibilities of
plaintive Negro melodies, which they of course capitalized. In New York
late in 1842 four men--"Dan" Emmett, Frank Brower, "Billy" Whitlock, and
"Dick" Pelham--practiced together with fiddle and banjo, "bones"
and tambourine, and thus was born the first company, the "Virginia
Minstrels," which made its formal debut in New York February 17, 1843.
Its members produced in connection with their work all sorts of popular
songs, one of Emmett's being "Dixie," which, introduced by Mrs. John
Wood in a burlesque in New Orleans at the outbreak of the Civil War,
leaped into popularity and became the war-song of the Confederacy.
Companies multipled apace. "Christy's Minstrels" claimed priority to the
company already mentioned, but did not actually enter upon its New York
career until 1846. "Bryant's Minstrels" and Buckley's "New Orleans
Serenaders" were only two others of the most popular aggregations
featuring and burlesquing the Negro. In a social history of the Negro in
America, however, it is important to observe in passing that already,
even in burlesque, the Negro element was beginning to enthrall the
popular mind. About the same time as minstrelsy also developed the habit
of belittling the race by making the name of some prominent and worthy
Negro a term of contempt; thus "cuffy" (corrupted from Paul Cuffe) now
came into widespread use.

[Footnote 1: See Laurence Hutton: "The Negro on the Stage," in _Harper's
Magazine_, 79:137 (June, 1889), referring to article by Edmon S. Conner
in _New York Times_, June 5, 1881.]

This was not all. It was now that the sinister crime of lynching raised
its head in defiance of all law. At first used as a form of punishment
for outlaws and gamblers, it soon came to be applied especially to
Negroes. One was burned alive near Greenville, S.C., in 1825; in May,
1835, two were burned near Mobile for the murder of two children; and
for the years between 1823 and 1860 not less than fifty-six cases of the
lynching of Negroes have been ascertained, though no one will ever know
how many lost their lives without leaving any record. Certainly more men
were executed illegally than legally; thus of forty-six recorded murders
by Negroes of owners or overseers between 1850 and 1860 twenty resulted
in legal execution and twenty-six in lynching. Violent crimes against
white women were not relatively any more numerous than now; but those
that occurred or were attempted received swift punishment; thus of
seventeen cases of rape in the ten years last mentioned Negroes were
legally executed in five and lynched in twelve.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Hart: _Slavery and Abolition_, 11 and 117, citing
Cutler: _Lynch Law_, 98-100 and 126-128.]

Extraordinary attention was attracted by the burning in St. Louis in
1835 of a man named McIntosh, who had killed an officer who was trying
to arrest him.[1] This event came in the midst of a period of great
agitation, and it was for denouncing this lynching that Elijah P.
Lovejoy had his printing-office destroyed in St. Louis and was forced
to remove to Alton, Ill., where his press was three times destroyed and
where he finally met death at the hands of a mob while trying to protect
his property November 7, 1837. Judge Lawless defended the lynching and
even William Ellery Channing took a compromising view. Abraham Lincoln,
however, then a very young man, in an address on "The Perpetuation of
Our Political Institutions" at Springfield, January 27, 1837, said:
"Accounts of outrages committed by mobs form the everyday news of the
times. They have pervaded the country from New England to Louisiana;
they are neither peculiar to the eternal snows of the former nor the
burning suns of the latter; they are not the creatures of climate,
neither are they confined to the slaveholding or the nonslaveholding
states.... Turn to that horror-striking scene at St. Louis. A single
victim only was sacrificed there. This story is very short, and is
perhaps the most highly tragic of anything that has ever been witnessed
in real life. A mulatto man by the name of McIntosh was seized in the
street, dragged to the suburbs of the city, chained to a tree, and
actually burned to death; and all within a single hour from the time he
had been a free man attending to his own business and at peace with
the world.... Such are the effects of mob law, and such are the scenes
becoming more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of
law and order, and the stories of which have even now grown too familiar
to attract anything more than an idle remark."

[Footnote 1: Cutler: _Lynch Law_, 109, citing Niles's _Register_, June
4, 1836.]

All the while flagrant crimes were committed against Negro women and
girls, and free men in the border states were constantly being
dragged into slavery by kidnapers. Two typical cases will serve for
illustration. George Jones, a respectable man of New York, was in 1836
arrested on Broadway on the pretext that he had committed assault and
battery. He refused to go with his captors, for he knew that he had
done nothing to warrant such a charge; but he finally yielded on the
assurance of his employer that everything possible would be done for
him. He was placed in the Bridewell and a few minutes afterwards taken
before a magistrate, to whose satisfaction he was proved to be a slave.
Thus, in less than two hours after his arrest he was hurried away by the
kidnapers, whose word had been accepted as sufficient evidence, and he
had not been permitted to secure a single friendly witness. Solomon
Northrup, who afterwards wrote an account of his experiences, was a
free man who lived in Saratoga and made his living by working about the
hotels, where in the evenings he often played the violin at parties. One
day two men, supposedly managers of a traveling circus company, met him
and offered him good pay if he would go with them as a violinist to
Washington. He consented, and some mornings afterwards awoke to find
himself in a slave pen in the capital. How he got there was ever a
mystery to him, but evidently he had been drugged. He was taken South
and sold to a hard master, with whom he remained twelve years before
he was able to effect his release.[1] In the South any free Negro who
entertained a runaway might himself become a slave; thus in South
Carolina in 1827 a free woman with her three children suffered this
penalty because she gave succor to two homeless and fugitive children
six and nine years old.

[Footnote 1: McDougall: Fugitive Slaves, 36-37.]

Day by day, moreover, from the capital of the nation went on the
internal slave-trade. "When by one means and another a dealer had
gathered twenty or more likely young Negro men and girls, he would bring
them forth from their cells; would huddle the women and young children
into a cart or wagon; would handcuff the men in pairs, the right hand of
one to the left hand of another; make the handcuffs fast to a long chain
which passed between each pair of slaves, and would start his procession
southward."[1] It is not strange that several of the unfortunate people
committed suicide. One distracted mother, about to be separated from her
loved ones, dumbfounded the nation by hurling herself from the window
of a prison in the capital on the Sabbath day and dying in the street

[Footnote 1: McMaster, V, 219-220.]

Meanwhile even in the free states the disabilities of the Negro
continued. In general he was denied the elective franchise, the right of
petition, the right to enter public conveyances or places of amusement,
and he was driven into a status of contempt by being shut out from the
army and the militia. He had to face all sorts of impediments in getting
education or in pursuing honest industry; he had nothing whatever to
do with the administration of justice; and generally he was subject to
insult and outrage.

One might have supposed that on all this proscription and denial of the
ordinary rights of human beings the Christian Church would have taken a
positive stand. Unfortunately, as so often happens, it was on the side
of property and vested interest rather than on that of the oppressed. We
have already seen that Southern divines held slaves and countenanced
the system; and by 1840 James G. Birney had abundant material for his
indictment, "The American Churches the Bulwarks of American Slavery."
He showed among other things that while in 1780 the Methodist Episcopal
Church had opposed slavery and in 1784 had given a slaveholder one month
to repent or withdraw from its conferences, by 1836 it had so drifted
away from its original position as to disclaim "any right, wish, or
intention to interfere in the civil and political relation between
master and slave, as it existed in the slaveholding states of the
union." Meanwhile in the churches of the North there was the most
insulting discrimination; in the Baptist Church in Hartford the pews for
Negroes were boarded up in front, and in Stonington, Conn., the floor
was cut out of a Negro's pew by order of the church authorities. In
Boston, in a church that did not welcome and that made little provision
for Negroes, a consecrated deacon invited into his own pew some Negro
people, whereupon he lost the right to hold a pew in his church. He
decided that there should be some place where there might be more
freedom of thought and genuine Christianity, he brought others into the
plan, and the effort that he put forth resulted in what has since become
the Tremont Temple Baptist Church.

Into all this proscription, burlesque, and crime, and denial of the
fundamental principles of Christianity, suddenly came the program of the
Abolitionists; and it spoke with tongues of fire, and had all the vigor
and force of a crusade.

2. _The Challenge of the Abolitionists_

The great difference between the early abolition societies which
resulted in the American Convention and the later anti-slavery movement
of which Garrison was the representative figure was the difference
between a humanitarian impulse tempered by expediency and one that had
all the power of a direct challenge. Before 1831 "in the South the
societies were more numerous, the members no less earnest, and the
hatred of slavery no less bitter,... yet the conciliation and persuasion
so noticeable in the earlier period in twenty years accomplished
practically nothing either in legislation or in the education of public
sentiment; while gradual changes in economic conditions at the South
caused the question to grow more difficult."[1] Moreover, "the evidence
of open-mindedness can not stand against the many instances of absolute
refusal to permit argument against slavery. In the Colonial Congress,
in the Confederation, in the Constitutional Convention, in the state
ratifying conventions, in the early Congresses, there were many vehement
denunciations of anything which seemed to have an anti-slavery tendency,
and wholesale suspicion of the North at all times when the subject was
opened."[2] One can not forget the effort of James G. Birney, or that
Benjamin Lundy's work was most largely done in what we should now call
the South, or that between 1815 and 1828 at least four journals which
avowed the extinction of slavery as one, if not the chief one, of
their objects were published in the Southern states.[3] Only gradual
emancipation, however, found any real support in the South; and, as
compared with the work of Garrison, even that of Lundy appears in the
distance with something of the mildness of "sweetness and light." Even
before the rise of Garrison, Robert James Turnbull of South Carolina,
under the name of "Brutus," wrote a virulent attack on anti-slavery; and
Representative Drayton of the same state, speaking in Congress in 1828,
said, "Much as we love our country, we would rather see our cities in
flames, our plains drenched in blood--rather endure all the calamities
of civil war, than parley for an instant upon the right of any power,
than our own to interfere with the regulation of our slaves."[4] More
and more this was to be the real sentiment of the South, and in the
face of this kind of eloquence and passion mere academic discussion was

[Footnote 1: Adams: _The Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery, 1808-1831_,

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., 110.]

[Footnote 3: William Birney: _James G. Birney and His Times_, 85-86.]

[Footnote 4: Register of Debates, _4,975_, cited by Adams, 112-3.]

The _Liberator_ was begun January 1, 1831. The next year Garrison was
the leading spirit in the formation of the New England Anti-Slavery
Society; and in December, 1833, in Philadelphia, the American
Anti-Slavery Society was organized. In large measure these organizations
were an outgrowth of the great liberal and humanitarian spirit that by
1830 had become manifest in both Europe and America. Hugo and Mazzini,
Byron and Macaulay had all now appeared upon the scene, and romanticism
was regnant. James Montgomery and William Faber wrote their hymns,
and Reginald Heber went as a missionary bishop to India. Forty years
afterwards the French Revolution was bearing fruit. France herself had a
new revolution in 1830, and in this same year the kingdom of Belgium was
born. In England there was the remarkable reign of William IV, which
within the short space of seven years summed up in legislation reforms
that had been agitated for decades. In 1832 came the great Reform Bill,
in 1833 the abolition of slavery in English dominions, and in 1834 a
revision of factory legislation and the poor law. Charles Dickens and
Elizabeth Barrett Browning began to be heard, and in 1834 came to
America George Thompson, a powerful and refined speaker who had had much
to do with the English agitation against slavery. The young republic
of the United States, lusty and self-confident, was seething with new
thought. In New England the humanitarian movement that so largely began
with the Unitarianism of Channing "ran through its later phase in
transcendentalism, and spent its last strength in the anti-slavery
agitation and the enthusiasms of the Civil War."[1] The movement was
contemporary with the preaching of many novel gospels in religion, in
sociology, in science, education, and medicine. New sects were formed,
like the Universalists, the Spiritualists, the Second Adventists,
the Mormons, and the Shakers, some of which believed in trances and
miracles, others in the quick coming of Christ, and still others in the
reorganization of society; and the pseudo-sciences, like mesmerism and
phrenology, had numerous followers. The ferment has long since subsided,
and much that was then seething has since gone off in vapor; but when
all that was spurious has been rejected, we find that the
general impulse was but a new baptism of the old Puritan spirit.
Transcendentalism appealed to the private consciousness as the sole
standard of truth and right. With kindred movements it served to quicken
the ethical sense of a nation that was fast becoming materialistic and
to nerve it for the conflict that sooner or later had to come.

[Footnote 1: Henry A. Beers: _Initial Studies in American Letters_,
95-98 passim.]

In his salutatory editorial Garrison said with reference to his
position: "In Park Street Church, on the Fourth of July, 1829, in
an address on slavery, I unreflectingly assented to the popular but
pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition. I seize this opportunity to
make a full and unequivocal recantation, and thus publicly to ask pardon
of my God, of my country, and of my brethren, the poor slaves, for
having uttered a sentiment so full of timidity, injustice, and
absurdity.... I am aware that many object to the severity of my
language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as
truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish
to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose
house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately
rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to
gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen;
but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present! I am in
earnest. I will not equivocate--I will not excuse--I will not retreat a
single inch--AND I WILL BE HEARD." With something of the egotism
that comes of courage in a holy cause, he said: "On this question my
influence, humble as it is, is felt at this moment to a considerable
extent, and shall be felt in coming years--not perniciously, but
beneficially--not as a curse, but as a blessing; and POSTERITY WILL BEAR

All the while, in speaking to the Negro people themselves, Garrison
endeavored to beckon them to the highest possible ground of personal and
racial self-respect. Especially did he advise them to seek the virtues
of education and coöperation. Said he to them:[1] "Support each
other.... When I say 'support each other,' I mean, sell to each other,
and buy of each other, in preference to the whites. This is a duty: the
whites do not trade with you; why should you give them your patronage?
If one of your number opens a little shop, do not pass it by to give
your money to a white shopkeeper. If any has a trade, employ him as
often as possible. If any is a good teacher, send your children to him,
and be proud that he is one of your color.... Maintain your rights, in
all cases, and at whatever expense.... Wherever you are allowed to vote,
see that your names are put on the lists of voters, and go to the polls.
If you are not strong enough to choose a man of your own color, give
your votes to those who are friendly to your cause; but, if possible,
elect intelligent and respectable colored men. I do not despair of
seeing the time when our State and National Assemblies will contain a
fair proportion of colored representatives--especially if the proposed
college at New Haven goes into successful operation. Will you despair
now so many champions are coming to your help, and the trump of jubilee
is sounding long and loud; when is heard a voice from the East, a voice
from the West, a voice from the North, a voice from the South, crying,
_Liberty and Equality now, Liberty and Equality forever_! Will you
despair, seeing Truth, and Justice, and Mercy, and God, and Christ, and
the Holy Ghost, are on your side? Oh, no--never, never despair of the
complete attainment of your rights!"

[Footnote 1: "An Address delivered before the Free People of Color in
Philadelphia, New York, and other cities, during the month of June,
1831, by Wm. Lloyd Garrison. Boston, 1831," pp. 14-18.]

To second such sentiments rose a remarkable group of men and women,
among them Elijah P. Lovejoy, Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker, John
Greenleaf Whittier, Lydia Maria Child, Samuel J. May, William Jay,
Charles Sumner, Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John
Brown. Phillips, the "Plumed Knight" of the cause, closed his law
office because he was not willing to swear that he would support the
Constitution; he relinquished the franchise because he did not wish to
have any responsibility for a government that countenanced slavery; and
he lost sympathy with the Christian Church because of its compromising
attitude. Garrison himself termed the Constitution "a covenant with
death and an agreement with hell." Lydia Maria Child in 1833 published
an _Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans_,
and wrote or edited numerous other books for the cause, while the
anti-slavery poems of Whittier are now a part of the main stream of
American literature. The Abolitionists repelled many conservative men by
their refusal to countenance any laws that recognized slavery; but they
gained force when Congress denied them the right of petition and when
President Jackson refused them the use of the mails.

There could be no question as to the directness of their attack. They
held up the slaveholder to scorn. They gave thousands of examples of the
inhumanity of the system of slavery, publishing scores and even hundreds
of tracts and pamphlets. They called the attention of America to the
slave who for running away was for five days buried in the ground up
to his chin with his arms tied behind him; to women who were whipped
because they did not breed fast enough or would not yield to the lust of
planters or overseers; to men who were tied to be whipped and then left
bleeding, or who were branded with hot irons, or forced to wear iron
yokes and clogs and bells; to the Presbyterian preacher in Georgia who
tortured a slave until he died; to a woman in New Jersey who was "bound
to a log, and scored with a knife, in a shocking manner, across her
back, and the gashes stuffed with salt, after which she was tied to
a post in a cellar, where, after suffering three days, death kindly
terminated her misery"; and finally to the fact that even when slaves
were dead they were not left in peace, as the South Carolina Medical
College in Charleston advertised that the bodies were used for
dissection.[1] In the face of such an indictment the South appeared more
injured and innocent than ever, and said that evils had been greatly
exaggerated. Perhaps in some instances they were; but the South and
everybody also knew that no pen could nearly do justice to some of the
things that were possible under the iniquitous and abominable system of
American slavery.

[Footnote 1: See "American Slavery as it is: Testimony of a Thousand
Witnesses. By Theodore Dwight Weld. Published by the American
Anti-Slavery Society, New York, 1839"; but the account of the New Jersey
woman is from "A Portraiture of Domestic Slavery in the United States,
by Jesse Torrey, Ballston Spa, Penn., 1917," p. 67.]

The Abolitionists, however, did not stop with a mere attack on
slavery. Not satisfied with the mere enumeration of examples of Negro
achievement, they made even higher claims in behalf of the people now
oppressed. Said Alexander H. Everett:[1] "We are sometimes told that all
these efforts will be unavailing--that the African is a degraded member
of the human family--that a man with a dark skin and curled hair is
necessarily, as such, incapable of improvement and civilization, and
condemned by the vice of his physical conformation to vegetate forever
in a state of hopeless barbarism. I reject with contempt and indignation
this miserable heresy. In replying to it the friends of truth and
humanity have not hitherto done justice to the argument. In order to
prove that the blacks were capable of intellectual efforts, they have
painfully collected a few specimens of what some of them have done in
this way, even in the degraded condition which they occupy at present
in Christendom. This is not the way to treat the subject. Go back to an
earlier period in the history of our race. See what the blacks were and
what they did three thousand years ago, in the period of their
greatness and glory, when they occupied the forefront in the march of
civilization--when they constituted in fact the whole civilized world of
their time. Trace this very civilization, of which we are so proud, to
its origin, and see where you will find it. We received it from our
European ancestors: they had it from the Greeks and Romans, and the
Jews. But, sir, where did the Greeks and the Romans and the Jews get it?
They derived it from Ethiopia and Egypt--in one word, from Africa.[2]
... The ruins of the Egyptian temples laugh to scorn the architectural
monuments of any other part of the world. They will be what they are
now, the delight and admiration of travelers from all quarters, when the
grass is growing on the sites of St. Peter's and St. Paul's, the present
pride of Rome and London.... It seems, therefore, that for this very
civilization of which we are so proud, and which is the only ground of
our present claim of superiority, we are indebted to the ancestors
of these very blacks, whom we are pleased to consider as naturally
incapable of civilization."

[Footnote 1: See "The Anti-Slavery Picknick: a collection of Speeches,
Poems, Dialogues, and Songs, intended for use in schools and
anti-slavery meetings. By John A. Collins, Boston, 1842," 10-12.]

[Footnote 2: It is worthy of note that this argument, which was long
thought to be fallacious, is more and more coming to be substantiated by
the researches of scholars, and that not only as affecting Northern
but also Negro Africa. Note Lady Lugard (Flora L. Shaw): _A Tropical
Dependency_, London, 1906, pp. 16-18.]

In adherence to their convictions the Abolitionists were now to give
a demonstration of faith in humanity such as has never been surpassed
except by Jesus Christ himself. They believed in the Negro even before
the Negro had learned to believe in himself. Acting on their doctrine of
equal rights, they traveled with their Negro friends, "sat upon the same
platforms with them, ate with them, and one enthusiastic abolitionist
white couple adopted a Negro child."[1]

[Footnote 1: Hart: _Slavery and Abolition_, 245-6.]

Garrison appealed to posterity. He has most certainly been justified by
time. Compared with his high stand for the right, the opportunism of
such a man as Clay shrivels into nothingness. Within recent years a
distinguished American scholar,[1] writing of the principles for which
he and his co-workers stood, has said: "The race question transcends any
academic inquiry as to what ought to have been done in 1866. It affects
the North as well as the South; it touches the daily life of all of
our citizens, individually, politically, humanly. It molds the child's
conception of democracy. It tests the faith of the adult. It is by no
means an American problem only. What is going on in our states, North
and South, is only a local phase of a world-problem.... Now, Whittier's
opinions upon that world-problem are unmistakable. He believed, quite
literally, that all men are brothers; that oppression of one man or
one race degrades the whole human family; and that there should be the
fullest equality of opportunity. That a mere difference in color should
close the door of civil, industrial, and political hope upon any
individual was a hateful thing to the Quaker poet. The whole body of
his verse is a protest against the assertion of race pride, against the
emphasis upon racial differences. To Whittier there was no such thing
as a 'white man's civilization.' The only distinction was between
civilization and barbarism. He had faith in education, in equality
before the law, in freedom of opportunity, and in the ultimate triumph
of brotherhood.

      'They are rising,--
       All are rising,
    The black and white together.'

This faith is at once too sentimental and too dogmatic to suit those
persons who have exalted economic efficiency into a fetish and who
have talked loudly at times--though rather less loudly since the
Russo-Japanese War--about the white man's task of governing the backward
races. _But whatever progress has been made by the American Negro since
the Civil War, in self-respect, in moral and intellectual development,
and--for that matter--in economic efficiency, has been due to fidelity
to those principles which Whittier and other like-minded men and women
long ago enunciated_.[2] The immense tasks which still remain, alike for
'higher' as for 'lower' races, can be worked out by following Whittier's
program, if they can be worked out at all."

[Footnote 1: Bliss Perry: "Whittier for To-Day," _Atlantic Monthly_,
Vol. 100, 851-859 (December, 1907).]

[Footnote 2: The italics are our own.]

3. The Contest

Even before the Abolitionists became aggressive a test law had been
passed, the discussion of which did much to prepare for their coming.
Immediately after the Denmark Vesey insurrection the South Carolina
legislature voted that the moment that a vessel entered a port in the
state with a free Negro or person of color on board he should be seized,
even if he was the cook, the steward, or a mariner, or if he was a
citizen of another state or country.[1] The sheriff was to board the
vessel, take the Negro to jail and detain him there until the vessel was
actually ready to leave. The master of the ship was then to pay for the
detention of the Negro and take him away, or pay a fine of $1,000 and
see the Negro sold as a slave. Within a short time after this enactment
was passed, as many as forty-one vessels were deprived of one or more
hands, from one British trading vessel almost the entire crew being
taken. The captains appealed to the judge of the United States District
Court, who with alacrity turned the matter over to the state courts. Now
followed much legal proceeding, with an appeal to higher authorities, in
the course of which both Canning and Adams were forced to consider the
question, and it was generally recognized that the act violated both the
treaty with Great Britain and the power of Congress to regulate trade.
To all of this South Carolina replied that as a sovereign state she had
the right to interdict the entry of foreigners, that in fact she had
been a sovereign state at the time of her entrance into the Union and
that she never had surrendered the right to exclude free Negroes.
Finally she asserted that if a dissolution of the Union must be the
alternative she was quite prepared to abide by the result. Unusual
excitement arose soon afterwards when four free Negroes on a British
ship were seized by the sheriff and dragged from the deck. The captain
had to go to heavy expense to have these men released, and on reaching
Liverpool he appealed to the Board of Trade. The British minister now
sent a more vigorous protest, Adams referred the same to Wirt, the
Attorney General, and Wirt was forced to declare South Carolina's act
unconstitutional and void. His opinion with a copy of the British
protest Adams sent to the Governor of the state, who immediately
transmitted the same to the legislature. Each branch of the legislature
passed resolutions which the other would not accept, but neither voted
to repeal the law. In fact, it remained technically in force until the
Civil War. In 1844 Massachusetts sent Samuel Hoar as a commissioner to
Charleston to make a test case of a Negro who had been deprived of his
rights. Hoar cited Article II, Section 2, of the National Constitution
("The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and
immunities of citizens in the several states"), intending ultimately to
bring a case before the United States Supreme Court. When he appeared,
however, the South Carolina legislature voted that "this agent comes
here not as a citizen of the United States, but as an emissary of a
foreign Government hostile to our domestic institutions and with the
sole purpose of subverting our internal police." Hoar was at length
notified that his life was in danger and he was forced to leave the
state. Meanwhile Southern sentiment against the American Colonization
Society had crystallized, and the excitement raised by David Walker's
_Appeal_ was exceeded only by that occasioned by Nat Turner's

[Footnote 1: Note McMaster, V, 200-204.]

When, then, the Abolitionists began their campaign the country was
already ripe for a struggle, and in the North as well as the South there
was plenty of sentiment unfavorable to the Negro. In July, 1831, when an
attempt was made to start a manual training school for Negro youth in
New Haven, the citizens at a public meeting declared that "the founding
of colleges for educating colored people is an unwarrantable and
dangerous interference with the internal concerns of other states, and
ought to be discouraged"; and they ultimately forced the project to be
abandoned. At Canterbury in the same state Prudence Crandall, a young
Quaker woman twenty-nine years of age, was brought face to face with the
problem when she admitted a Negro girl, Sarah Harris, to her school.[1]
When she was boycotted she announced that she would receive Negro girls
only if no others would attend, and she advertised accordingly in the
Liberator. She was subjected to various indignities and efforts were
made to arrest her pupils as vagrants. As she was still undaunted, her
opponents, on May 24, 1833, procured a special act of the legislature
forbidding, under severe penalties, the instruction of any Negro from
outside the state without the consent of the town authorities. Under
this act Miss Crandall was arrested and imprisoned, being confined to a
cell which had just been vacated by a murderer. The Abolitionists came
to her defense, but she was convicted, and though the higher courts
quashed the proceedings on technicalities, the village shopkeepers
refused to sell her food, manure was thrown into her well, her house
was pelted with rotten eggs and at last demolished, and even the
meeting-house in the town was closed to her. The attempt to continue the
school was then abandoned. In 1834 an academy was built by subscription
in Canaan, N.H.; it was granted a charter by the legislature, and the
proprietors determined to admit all applicants having "suitable moral
and intellectual recommendations, without other distinctions." The
town-meeting "viewed with abhorrence" the attempt to establish the
school, but when it was opened twenty-eight white and fourteen Negro
scholars attended. The town-meeting then ordered that the academy be
forcibly removed and appointed a committee to execute the mandate.
Accordingly on August 10 three hundred men with two hundred oxen
assembled, took the edifice from its place, dragged it for some distance
and left it a ruin. From 1834 to 1836, in fact, throughout the country,
from east to west, swept a wave of violence. Not less than twenty-five
attempts were made to break up anti-slavery meetings. In New York in
October, 1833, there was a riot in Clinton Hall, and from July 7 to 11
of the next year a succession of riots led to the sacking of the house
of Lewis Tappan and the destruction of other houses and churches. When
George Thompson arrived from England in September, 1834, his meetings
were constantly disturbed, and Garrison himself was mobbed in Boston in
1835, being dragged through the streets with a rope around his body.

[Footnote 1: Note especially "Connecticut's Canterbury Tale; its
Heroine, Prudence Crandall, and its Moral for To-Day, by John C.
Kimball," Hartford (1886).]

In general the Abolitionists were charged by the South with promoting
both insurrection and the amalgamation of the races. There was no clear
proof of these charges; nevertheless, May said, "If we do not emancipate
our slaves by our own moral energy, they will emancipate themselves and
that by a process too horrible to contemplate";[1] and Channing said,
"Allowing that amalgamation is to be anticipated, then, I maintain, we
have no right to resist it. Then it is not unnatural."[2] While the
South grew hysterical at the thought, it was, as Hart remarks, a fair
inquiry, which the Abolitionists did not hesitate to put--Who was
responsible for the only amalgamation that had so far taken place? After
a few years there was a cleavage among the Abolitionists. Some of the
more practical men, like Birney, Gerrit Smith, and the Tappans, who
believed in fighting through governmental machinery, in 1838 broke away
from the others and prepared to take a part in Federal politics. This
was the beginning of the Liberty party, which nominated Birney for the
presidency in 1840 and again in 1844. In 1848 it became merged in the
Free Soil party and ultimately in the Republican party.

[Footnote 1: Hart, 221, citing _Liberator_, V, 59.]

[Footnote 2: Hart, 216, citing Channing, _Works_, V. 57.]

With the forties came division in the Church--a sort of prelude to the
great events that were to thunder through the country within the next
two decades. Could the Church really countenance slavery? Could a bishop
hold a slave? These were to become burning questions. In 1844-5 the
Baptists of the North and East refused to approve the sending out of
missionaries who owned slaves, and the Southern Baptist Convention
resulted. In 1844, when James O. Andrew came into the possession of
slaves by his marriage to a widow who had these as a legacy from her
former husband, the Northern Methodists refused to grant that one of
their bishops might hold a slave, and the Methodist Episcopal Church,
South, was formally organized in Louisville the following year. The
Presbyterians and the Episcopalians, more aristocratic in tone, did not

The great events of the annexation of Texas, with the Mexican War that
resulted, the Compromise of 1850, with the Fugitive Slave Law, the
Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854, and the Dred Scott decision of 1857
were all regarded in the North as successive steps in the campaign of
slavery, though now in the perspective they appear as vain efforts to
beat back a resistless tide. In the Mexican War it was freely urged by
the Mexicans that, should the American line break, their host would soon
find itself among the rich cities of the South, where perhaps it could
not only exact money, but free two million slaves as well, call to its
assistance the Indians, and even draw aid from the Abolitionists in the
North.[1] Nothing of all this was to be. Out of the academic shades
of Harvard, however, at last came a tongue of flame. In "The Present
Crisis" James Russell Lowell produced lines whose tremendous beat was
like a stern call of the whole country to duty:

[Footnote 1: Justin H. Smith: _The War with Mexico_, I, 107.]

  Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
  In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
  Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
  Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
  And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched crust,
  Ere her cause bring fame and profit and 'tis prosperous to be just;
  Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,
  Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified,
  And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.

       *       *       *       *       *

  New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
  They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
  Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
  Launch our _Mayflower_, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
  Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.

As "The Present Crisis" came after the Mexican War, so after the new
Fugitive Slave Law appeared _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ (1852). "When despairing
Hungarian fugitives make their way, against all the search-warrants and
authorities of their lawful governments, to America, press and political
cabinet ring with applause and welcome. When despairing African
fugitives do the same thing--it is--what _is_ it?" asked Harriet Beecher
Stowe; and in her remarkable book she proceeded to show the injustice of
the national position. _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ has frequently been termed
a piece of propaganda that gave an overdrawn picture of Southern
conditions. The author, however, had abundant proof for her incidents,
and she was quite aware of the fact that the problem of the Negro, North
as well as South, transcended the question of slavery. Said St. Clair
to Ophelia: "If we emancipate, are you willing to educate? How many
families of your town would take in a Negro man or woman, teach them,
bear with them, and seek to make them Christians? How many merchants
would take Adolph, if I wanted to make him a clerk; or mechanics, if I
wanted to teach him a trade? If I wanted to put Jane and Rosa to school,
how many schools are there in the Northern states that would take them
in?... We are in a bad position. We are the more _obvious_ oppressors of
the Negro; but the unchristian prejudice of the North is an oppressor
almost equally severe."

Meanwhile the thrilling work of the Underground Railroad was answered
by a practical reopening of the slave-trade. From 1820 to 1840, as the
result of the repressive measure of 1819, the traffic had declined;
between 1850 and 1860, however, it was greatly revived, and Southern
conventions resolved that all laws, state or Federal, prohibiting the
slave-trade, should be repealed. The traffic became more and more open
and defiant until, as Stephen A. Douglas computed, as many as 15,000
slaves were brought into the country in 1859. It was not until the
Lincoln government in 1862 hanged the first trader who ever suffered
the extreme penalty of the law, and made with Great Britain a treaty
embodying the principle of international right of search, that the
trade was effectually checked. By the end of the war it was entirely
suppressed, though as late as 1866 a squadron of ships patrolled the
slave coast.

The Kansas-Nebraska Bill, repealing the Missouri Compromise and
providing for "squatter sovereignty" in the territories in question,
outraged the North and led immediately to the forming of the Republican
party. It was not long before public sentiment began to make itself
felt, and the first demonstration took place in Boston. Anthony Burns
was a slave who escaped from Virginia and made his way to Boston, where
he was at work in the winter of 1853-4. He was discovered by a United
States marshal who presented a writ for his arrest just at the time
of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in May, 1854. Public feeling
became greatly aroused. Wendell Phillips and Theodore Parker delivered
strong addresses at a meeting in Faneuil Hall while an unsuccessful
attempt to rescue Burns from the Court House was made under the
leadership of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who with others of the
attacking party was wounded. It was finally decided in court that Burns
must be returned to his master. The law was obeyed; but Boston had been
made very angry, and generally her feeling had counted for something in
the history of the country. The people draped their houses in mourning,
hissed the procession that took Burns to his ship and at the wharf a
riot was averted only by a minister's call to prayer. This incident did
more to crystallize Northern sentiment against slavery than any other
except the exploit of John Brown, and this was the last time that a
fugitive slave was taken out of Boston. Burns himself was afterwards
bought by popular subscription, and ultimately became a Baptist minister
in Canada.

In 1834 Dr. Emerson, an army officer stationed in Missouri, removed to
Illinois, taking with him his slave, Dred Scott. Two years later, again
accompanied by Scott, he went to Minnesota. In Illinois slavery was
prohibited by state law and Minnesota was a free territory. In 1838
Emerson returned with Scott to Missouri. After a while the slave raised
the important question: Had not his residence outside of a slave state
made him a free man? Beaten by his master in 1848, with the aid of
anti-slavery lawyers Scott brought a suit against him for assault and
battery, the circuit court of St. Louis rendering a decision in his
favor. Emerson appealed and in 1852 the Supreme Court of the state
reversed the decision of the lower court. Not long after this Emerson
sold Scott to a citizen of New York named Sandford. Scott now brought
suit against Sandford, on the ground that they were citizens of
different states. The case finally reached the Supreme Court of the
United States, which in 1857 handed down the decision that Scott was not
a citizen of Missouri and had no standing in the Federal courts, that
a slave was only a piece of property, and that a master might take his
property with impunity to any place within the jurisdiction of the
United States. The ownership of Scott and his family soon passed to a
Massachusetts family by whom they were liberated; but the important
decision that the case had called forth aroused the most intense
excitement throughout the country, and somehow out of it all people
remembered more than anything else the amazing declaration of Chief
Justice Taney that "the Negroes were so far inferior that they had
no rights which the white man was bound to respect." The extra-legal
character and the general fallacy of his position were exposed by
Justice Curtis in a masterly dissenting opinion.

No one incident of the period showed more clearly the tension under
which the country was laboring than the assault on Charles Sumner by
Preston S. Brooks, a congressional representative from South Carolina.
As a result of this regrettable occurrence splendid canes with such
inscriptions as "Hit him again" and "Use knock-down arguments" were sent
to Brooks from different parts of the South and he was triumphantly
reëlected by his constituency, while on the other hand resolutions
denouncing him were passed all over the North, in Canada, and even in
Europe. More than ever the South was thrown on the defensive, and in
impassioned speeches Robert Toombs now glorified his state and his
section. Speaking at Emory College in 1853 he had already made an
extended apology for slavery;[1] speaking in the Georgia legislature on
the eve of secession he contended that the South had been driven to bay
by the Abolitionists and must now "expand or perish." A writer in the
_Southern Literary Messenger_,[2] in an article "The Black Race in North
America," made the astonishing statement that "the slavery of the black
race on this continent is the price America has paid for her liberty,
civil and religious, and, humanly speaking, these blessings would
have been unattainable without their aid." Benjamin M. Palmer, a
distinguished minister of New Orleans, in a widely quoted sermon in 1860
spoke of the peculiar trust that had been given to the South--to be the
guardians of the slaves, the conservers of the world's industry, and the
defenders of the cause of religion.[3] "The blooms upon Southern fields
gathered by black hands have fed the spindles and looms of Manchester
and Birmingham not less than of Lawrence and Lowell. Strike now a blow
at this system of labor and the world itself totters at the stroke.
Shall we permit that blow to fall? Do we not owe it to civilized man to
stand in the breach and stay the uplifted arm?... This trust we will
discharge in the face of the worst possible peril. Though war be the
aggregation of all evils, yet, should the madness of the hour appeal to
the arbitration of the sword, we will not shrink even from the baptism
of fire.... The position of the South is at this moment sublime. If
she has grace given her to know her hour, she will save herself, the
country, and the world."

[Footnote 1: See "An Oration delivered before the Few and Phi Gamma
Societies of Emory College: Slavery in the United States; its
consistency with republican institutions, and its effects upon the slave
and society. Augusta, Ga., 1853."]

[Footnote 2: November, 1855.]

[Footnote 3: "The Rights of the South defended in the Pulpits, by B.M.
Palmer, D.D., and W.T. Leacock, D.D., Mobile, 1860."]

All of this was very earnest and very eloquent, but also very mistaken,
and the general fallacy of the South's position was shown by no less a
man than he who afterwards became vice-president of the Confederacy.
Speaking in the Georgia legislature in opposition to the motion for
secession, Stephens said that the South had no reason to feel aggrieved,
for all along she had received more than her share of the nation's
privileges, and had almost always won in the main that which was
demanded. She had had sixty years of presidents to the North's
twenty-four; two-thirds of the clerkships and other appointments
although the white population in the section was only one-third that
of the country; fourteen attorneys general to the North's five;
and eighteen Supreme Court judges to the North's eleven, although
four-fifths of the business of the court originated in the free states.
"This," said Stephens in an astonishing declaration, "we have required
so as to guard against any interpretation of the Constitution
unfavorable to us."

Still another voice from the South, in a slightly different key,
attacked the tendencies in the section. _The Impending Crisis_ (1857),
by Hinton Rowan Helper, of North Carolina, was surpassed in sensational
interest by no other book of the period except _Uncle Tom's Cabin_. The
author did not place himself upon the broadest principles of humanity
and statesmanship; he had no concern for the Negro, and the great
planters of the South were to him simply the "whelps" and "curs" of
slavery. He spoke merely as the voice of the non-slaveholding white men
in the South. He set forth such unpleasant truths as that the personal
and real property, including slaves, of Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, and Texas, taken all together,
was less than the real and personal estate in the single state of New
York; that representation in Southern legislatures was unfair; that in
Congress a Southern planter was twice as powerful as a Northern man;
that slavery was to blame for the migration from the South to the West;
and that in short the system was in every way harmful to the man of
limited means. All of this was decidedly unpleasant to the ears of the
property owners of the South; Helper's book was proscribed, and the
author himself found it more advisable to live in New York than in his
native state. _The Impending Crisis_ was eagerly read, however, and it
succeeded as a book because it attempted to attack with some degree of
honesty a great economic problem.

The time for speeches and books, however, was over, and the time for
action had come. For years the slave had chanted, "I've been listenin'
all the night long"; and his prayer had reached the throne. On October
16, 1859, John Brown made his raid on Harper's Ferry and took his place
with the immortals. In the long and bitter contest on American slavery
the Abolitionists had won.


SOCIAL PROGRESS, 1820-1860[1]

[Footnote 1: This chapter follows closely upon Chapter III, Section 5,
and is largely complementary to Chapter VIII.]

So far in our study we have seen the Negro as the object of interest
on the part of the American people. Some were disposed to give him a
helping hand, some to keep him in bondage, and some thought that it
might be possible to dispose of any problem by sending him out of the
country. In all this period of agitation and ferment, aside from the
efforts of friends in his behalf, just what was the Negro doing to work
out his own salvation? If for the time being we can look primarily at
constructive effort rather than disabilities, just what do we find that
on his own account he was doing to rise to the full stature of manhood?

Naturally in the answer to such a question we shall have to be concerned
with those people who had already attained unto nominal freedom. We
shall indeed find many examples of industrious slaves who, working in
agreement with their owners, managed sometimes to purchase themselves
and even to secure ownership of their families. Such cases, while
considerable in the aggregate, were after all exceptional, and for the
ordinary slave on the plantation the outlook was hopeless enough.
In 1860 the free persons formed just one-ninth of the total Negro
population in the country, there being 487,970 of them to 3,953,760
slaves. It is a commonplace to remark the progress that the race has
made since emancipation. A study of the facts, however, will show that
with all their disadvantages less than half a million people had before
1860 not only made such progress as amasses a surprising total, but that
they had already entered every large field of endeavor in which the race
is engaged to-day.

When in course of time the status of the Negro in the American body
politic became a live issue, the possibility and the danger of an
_imperium in imperio_ were perceived; and Rev. James W.C. Pennington,
undoubtedly a leader, said in his lectures in London and Glasgow: "The
colored population of the United States have no destiny separate from
that of the nation in which they form an integral part. Our destiny is
bound up with that of America. Her ship is ours; her pilot is ours; her
storms are ours; her calms are ours. If she breaks upon any rock, we
break with her. If we, born in America, can not live upon the same soil
upon terms of equality with the descendants of Scotchmen, Englishmen,
Irishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, Hungarians, Greeks, and Poles, then the
fundamental theory of America fails and falls to the ground."[1] While
everybody was practically agreed upon this fundamental matter of the
relation of the race to the Federal Government, more and more there
developed two lines of thought, equally honest, as to the means by which
the race itself was to attain unto the highest things that American
civilization had to offer. The leader of one school of thought was
Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. When
this man and his friends found that in white churches they were not
treated with courtesy, they said, We shall have our own church; we shall
have our own bishop; we shall build up our own enterprises in any line
whatsoever; and even to-day the church that Allen founded remains as
the greatest single effort of the race in organization. The foremost
representative of the opposing line of thought was undoubtedly Frederick
Douglass, who in a speech in Rochester in 1848 said: "I am well aware of
the anti-Christian prejudices which have excluded many colored persons
from white churches, and the consequent necessity for erecting their own
places of worship. This evil I would charge upon its originators, and
not the colored people. But such a necessity does not now exist to the
extent of former years. There are societies where color is not regarded
as a test of membership, and such places I deem more appropriate for
colored persons than exclusive or isolated organizations." There is much
more difference between these two positions than can be accounted for by
the mere lapse of forty years between the height of the work of Allen
and that of Douglass. Allen certainly did not sanction segregation under
the law, and no man worked harder than he to relieve his people from
proscription. Douglass moreover, who did not formally approve of
organizations that represented any such distinction as that of race,
again and again presided over gatherings of Negro men. In the last
analysis, however, it was Allen who was foremost in laying the basis
of distinctively Negro enterprise, and Douglass who felt that the real
solution of any difficulty was for the race to lose itself as quickly as
possible in the general body politic.

[Footnote 1: Nell: _Colored Patriots of the American Revolution_, 356.]

We have seen that the Church was from the first the race's foremost form
of social organization, and that sometimes in very close touch with
it developed the early lodges of such a body as the Masons. By 1800
emancipation was well under way; then began emigration from the South
to the central West; emigration brought into being the Underground
Railroad; and finally all forces worked together for the development of
Negro business, the press, conventions, and other forms of activity. It
was natural that states so close to the border as Pennsylvania and Ohio
should be important in this early development.

The Church continued the growth that it had begun several decades
before. The A.M.E. denomination advanced rapidly from 7 churches and 400
members in 1816 to 286 churches and 73,000 members by the close of the
Civil War. Naturally such a distinctively Negro organization could
make little progress in the South before the war, but there were small
congregations in Charleston and New Orleans, and William Paul Quinn
blazed a path in the West, going from Pittsburgh to St. Louis.

In 1847 the Prince Hall Lodge of the Masons in Massachusetts, the First
Independent African Grand Lodge in Pennsylvania, and the Hiram Grand
Lodge of Pennsylvania formed a National Grand Lodge, and from one or
another of these all other Grand Lodges among Negroes have descended. In
1842 the members of the Philomathean Institute of New York and of the
Philadelphia Library Company and Debating Society applied for admission
to the International Order of Odd Fellows. They were refused on account
of their race. Thereupon Peter Ogden, a Negro, who had already joined
the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows of England, secured a charter for
the first Negro American lodge, Philomathean, No. 646, of New York,
which was set up March 1, 1843. It was followed within the next two
years by lodges in New York, Philadelphia, Albany, and Poughkeepsie. The
Knights of Pythias were not organized until 1864 in Washington; but the
Grand Order of Galilean Fishermen started on its career in Baltimore in

The benefit societies developed apace. At first they were small and
confined to a group of persons well known to each other, thus being
genuinely fraternal. Simple in form, they imposed an initiation fee of
hardly less than $2.50 or more than $5.00, a monthly fee of about 50
cents, and gave sick dues ranging from $1.50 to $5.00 a month, with
guarantee of payment of one's funeral expenses and subsequent help to
the widow. By 1838 there were in Philadelphia alone 100 such groups with
7,448 members. As bringing together spirits supposedly congenial, these
organizations largely took the place of clubs, and the meetings were
relished accordingly. Some drifted into secret societies, and after the
Civil War some that had not cultivated the idea of insurance were forced
to add this feature to their work.

In the sphere of civil rights the Negroes, in spite of circumstances,
were making progress, and that by their own efforts as well as those
of their friends the Abolitionists. Their papers helped decidedly. The
_Journal of Freedom_ (commonly known as _Freedom's Journal_), begun
March 30, 1827, ran for three years. It had numerous successors, but
no one of outstanding strength before the _North Star_ (later known as
_Frederick Douglass' Paper_) began publication in 1847, continuing
until the Civil War. Largely through the effort of Paul Cuffe for the
franchise, New Bedford, Mass., was generally prominent in all that made
for racial prosperity. Here even by 1850 the Negro voters held the
balance of power and accordingly exerted a potent influence on Election
day.[1] Under date March 6, 1840, there was brought up for repeal so
much of the Massachusetts Statutes as forbade intermarriage between
white persons and Negroes, mulattoes, or Indians, as "contrary to the
principles of Christianity and republicanism." The committee said that
it did not recommend a repeal in the expectation that the number of
connections, legal or illegal, between the races would be thereupon
increased; but its object rather was that wherever such connections were
found the usual civil liabilities and obligations should not fail to
attach to the contracting parties. The enactment was repealed. In the
same state, by January, 1843, an act forbidding discrimination
on railroads was passed. This grew out of separate petitions or
remonstrances from Francis Jackson and Joseph Nunn, each man being
supported by friends, and the petitioners based their request "not on
the supposition that the colored man is not as well treated as his white
fellow-citizen, but on the broad principle that the constitution allows
no distinction in public privileges among the different classes of
citizens in this commonwealth."[2] In New York City an interesting
case arose over the question of public conveyances. When about 1852
horse-cars began to supersede omnibuses on the streets, the Negro was
excluded from the use of them, and he continued to be excluded until
1855, when a decision of Judge Rockwell gave him the right to enter
them. The decision was ignored and the Negro continued to be excluded as
before. One Sunday in May, however, Rev. James W.C. Pennington, after
service, reminded his hearers of Judge Rockwell's decision, urged them
to stand up for their rights, and especially to inform any friends who
might visit the city during the coming anniversary week that Negroes
were no longer excluded from the street cars. He himself then boarded a
car on Sixth Avenue, refused to leave when requested to do so, and was
forcibly ejected. He brought suit against the company and won his case;
and thus the Negro made further advance toward full citizenship in New

[Footnote 1: Nell, III.]

[Footnote 2: Senate document 63 of 1842.]

[Footnote 3: McMaster, VIII, 74.]

Thus was the Negro developing in religious organization, in his benefit
societies, and toward his rights as a citizen. When we look at the
economic life upon which so much depended, we find that rather amazing
progress had been made. Doors were so often closed to the Negro,
competing white artisans were so often openly hostile, and he himself
labored under so many disadvantages generally that it has often been
thought that his economic advance before 1860 was negligible; but
nothing could be farther from the truth. It must not be forgotten that
for decades the South had depended upon Negro men for whatever was to
be done in all ordinary trades; some brick-masons, carpenters, and
shoemakers had served a long apprenticeship and were thoroughly
accomplished; and when some of the more enterprising of these men
removed to the North or West they took their training with them. Very
few persons became paupers. Certainly many were destitute, especially
those who had most recently made their way from slavery; and in general
the colored people cared for their own poor. In 1852, of 3500 Negroes in
Cincinnati, 200 were holders of property who paid taxes on their real
estate.[1] In 1855 the Negro per capita ownership of property compared
most favorably with that of the white people. Altogether the Negroes
owned $800,000 worth of property in the city and $5,000,000 worth in the
state. In the city there were among other workers three bank tellers,
a landscape artist who had visited Rome to complete his education, and
nine daguerreotypists, one of whom was the best in the entire West.[2]
Of 1696 Negroes at work in Philadelphia in 1856, some of the more
important occupations numbered workers as follows: tailors, dressmakers,
and shirtmakers, 615; barbers, 248; shoemakers, 66; brickmakers, 53;
carpenters, 49; milliners, 45; tanners, 24; cake-bakers, pastry-cooks,
or confectioners, 22; blacksmiths, 22. There were also 15 musicians or
music-teachers, 6 physicians, and 16 school-teachers.[3] The foremost
and the most wealthy man of business of the race in the country about
1850 was Stephen Smith, of the firm of Smith and Whipper, of Columbia,
Pa.[4] He and his partner were lumber merchants. Smith was a man of wide
interests. He invested his capital judiciously, engaging in real estate
and spending much of his time in Philadelphia, where he owned more than
fifty brick houses, while Whipper, a relative, attended to the business
of the firm. Together these men gave employment to a large number of
persons. Of similar quality was Samuel T. Wilcox, of Cincinnati, the
owner of a large grocery business who also engaged in real estate. Henry
Boyd, of Cincinnati, was the proprietor of a bedstead manufactory that
filled numerous orders from the South and West and that sometimes
employed as many as twenty-five men, half of whom were white. Sometimes
through an humble occupation a Negro rose to competence; thus one of the
eighteen hucksters in Cincinnati became the owner of $20,000 worth of
property. Here and there several caterers and tailors became known as
having the best places in their line of business in their respective
towns. John Julius, of Pittsburgh, was the proprietor of a brilliant
place known as Concert Hall. When President-elect William Henry Harrison
in 1840 visited the city it was here that his chief reception was held.
Cordovell became widely known as the name of the leading tailor and
originator of fashions in New Orleans. After several years of success in
business this merchant removed to France, where he enjoyed the fortune
that he had accumulated.

[Footnote 1: Clarke: _Condition of the Free Colored People of the United

[Footnote 2: Nell, 285.]

[Footnote 3: Bacon: _Statistics_, 13.]

[Footnote 4: Delany.]

Cordovell was representative of the advance of the people of mixed blood
in the South. The general status of these people was better in Louisiana
than anywhere else in the country, North or South; at the same time
their situation was such as to call for special consideration. In
Louisiana the "F.M.C." (Free Man of Color) formed a distinct and
anomalous class in society.[1] As a free man he had certain rights, and
sometimes his property holdings were very large.[2] In fact, in New
Orleans a few years before the Civil War not less than one-fifth of the
taxable property was in the hands of free people of color. At the same
time the lot of these people was one of endless humiliation. Among some
of them irregular household establishments were regularly maintained by
white men, and there were held the "quadroon balls" which in course of
time gave the city a distinct notoriety. Above the people of this group,
however, was a genuine aristocracy of free people of color who had a
long tradition of freedom, being descended from the early colonists,
and whose family life was most exemplary. In general they lived to
themselves. In fact, it was difficult for them to do otherwise. They
were often compelled to have papers filled out by white guardians, and
they were not allowed to be visited by slaves or to have companionship
with them, even when attending church or walking along the roads.
Sometimes free colored men owned their women and children in order that
the latter might escape the invidious law against Negroes recently
emancipated; or the situation was sometimes turned around, as in
Norfolk, Va., where several women owned their husbands. When the name
of a free man of color had to appear on any formal document--a deed of
conveyance, a marriage-license, a certificate of birth or death, or
even in a newspaper report--the initials F.M.C. had to be appended. In
Louisiana these people petitioned in vain for the suffrage, and at the
outbreak of the Civil War organized and splendidly equipped for the
Confederacy two battalions of five hundred men. For these they chose
two distinguished white commanders, and the governor accepted their
services, only to have to inform them later that the Confederacy
objected to the enrolling of Negro soldiers. In Charleston thirty-seven
men in a remarkable petition also formally offered their services to the
Confederacy.[3] What most readily found illustration in New Orleans or
Charleston was also true to some extent of other centers of free people
of color such as Mobile and Baltimore. In general the F.M.C.'s
were industrious and they almost monopolized one or two avenues of
employment; but as a group they had not yet learned to place themselves
upon the broad basis of racial aspiration.

[Footnote 1: See "The F.M.C.'s of Louisiana," by P.F. de Gournay,
_Lippincott's Magazine_, April, 1894; and "Black Masters," by Calvin
Dill Wilson, _North American Review_, November, 1905.]

[Footnote 2: See Stone: "The Negro in the South," in _The South in the
Building of the Nation_, X, 180.]

[Footnote 3: Note broadside (Charleston, 1861) accessible in Special
Library of Boston Public Library as Document No. 9 in 20th Cab. 3. 7.]

Whatever may have been the situation of special groups, however, it can
readily be seen that there were at least some Negroes in the country--a
good many in the aggregate--who by 1860 were maintaining a high standard
in their ordinary social life. It must not be forgotten that we are
dealing with a period when the general standard of American culture was
by no means what it is to-day. "Four-fifths of the people of the United
States of 1860 lived in the country, and it is perhaps fair to say that
half of these dwelt in log houses of one or two rooms. Comforts such
as most of us enjoy daily were as good as unknown.... For the workaday
world shirtsleeves, heavy brogan boots and shoes, and rough wool hats
were the rule."[1] In Philadelphia, a fairly representative city,
there were at this time a considerable number of Negroes of means or
professional standing. These people were regularly hospitable; they
visited frequently; and they entertained in well furnished parlors with
music and refreshments. In a day when many of their people had not
yet learned to get beyond showiness in dress, they were temperate and
self-restrained, they lived within their incomes, and they retired at a
seasonable hour.[2]

[Footnote 1: W.E. Dodd: _Expansion and Conflict_, Volume 3 of "Riverside
History of the United States," Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1915, p.

[Footnote 2: Turner: _The Negro in Pennsylvania_, 140.]

In spite moreover of all the laws and disadvantages that they had to
meet the Negroes also made general advance in education. In the South
efforts were of course sporadic, but Negroes received some teaching
through private or clandestine sources.[1] More than one slave learned
the alphabet while entertaining the son of his master. In Charleston
for a long time before the Civil War free Negroes could attend schools
especially designed for their benefit and kept by white people or other
Negroes. The course of study not infrequently embraced such subjects as
physiology, physics, and plane geometry. After John Brown's raid the
order went forth that no longer should any colored person teach Negroes.
This resulted in a white person's being brought to sit in the classroom,
though at the outbreak of the war schools were closed altogether. In the
North, in spite of all proscription, conditions were somewhat better. As
early as 1850 there were in the public schools in New York 3,393 Negro
children, these sustaining about the same proportion to the Negro
population that white children sustained to the total white population.
Two institutions for the higher education of the Negro were established
before the Civil War, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania (1854) and
Wilberforce University in Ohio (1856). Oberlin moreover was founded in
1833. In 1835 Professor Asa Mahan, of Lane Seminary, was offered the
presidency. As he was an Abolitionist he said that he would accept only
if Negroes were admitted on equal terms with other students. After a
warm session of the trustees the vote was in his favor. Though, before
this, individual Negroes had found their way into Northern institutions,
it was here at Oberlin that they first received a real welcome. By the
outbreak of the war nearly one-third of the students were of the Negro
race, and one of the graduates, John M. Langston, was soon to be
generally prominent in the affairs of the country.

[Footnote 1: For interesting examples see C.G. Woodson: _The Education
of the Negro prior to 1861_.]

It has been maintained that in their emphasis on education and on the
highest culture possible for the Negro the Abolitionists were mere
visionaries who had no practical knowledge whatever of the race's real
needs. This was neither true nor just. It was absolutely necessary first
of all to establish the Negro's right to enter any field occupied by any
other man, and time has vindicated this position. Even in 1850, however,
the needs of the majority of the Negro people for advance in their
economic life were not overlooked either by the Abolitionists or the
Negroes themselves. Said Martin V. Delany: "Our elevation must be the
result of _self-efforts_, and work of our _own hands_. No other human
power can accomplish it.... Let our young men and young women prepare
themselves for usefulness and business; that the men may enter into
merchandise, trading, and other things of importance; the young women
may become teachers of various kinds, and otherwise fill places of
usefulness. Parents must turn their attention more to the education of
their children. We mean, to educate them for useful practical business
purposes. Educate them for the store and counting-house--to do everyday
practical business. Consult the children's propensities, and direct
their education according to their inclinations. It may be that there
is too great a desire on the part of parents to give their children a
professional education, before the body of the people are ready for it.
A people must be a business people and have more to depend upon than
mere help in people's houses and hotels, before they are either able to
support or capable of properly appreciating the services of professional
men among them. This has been one of our great mistakes--we have gone
in advance of ourselves. We have commenced at the superstructure of the
building, instead of the foundation--at the top instead of the bottom.
We should first be mechanics and common tradesmen, and professions as a
matter of course would grow out of the wealth made thereby."[1]

[Footnote 1: _The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of
the Colored People of the United States, Politically Considered_,
Philadelphia, 1852, P. 45.]

In professional life the Negro had by 1860 made a noteworthy beginning.
Already he had been forced to give attention to the law, though as yet
little by way of actual practice had been done. In this field Robert
Morris, Jr., of Boston, was probably foremost. William C. Nell, of
Rochester and Boston, at the time prominent in newspaper work and
politics, is now best remembered for his study of the Negro in the early
wars of the country. About the middle of the century Samuel Ringgold
Ward, author of the _Autobiography of a Fugitive Negro_, and one of the
most eloquent men of the time, was for several years pastor of a white
Congregational church in Courtlandville, N.Y.; and Henry Highland
Garnett was the pastor of a white congregation in Troy, and well known
as a public-spirited citizen as well. Upon James W.C. Pennington the
degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred by Heidelberg, and generally
this man had a reputation in England and on the continent of Europe as
well as in America. About the same time Bishops Daniel A. Payne and
William Paul Quinn were adding to the dignity of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church.

Special interest attaches to the Negro physician. Even in colonial
times, though there was much emphasis on the control of diseases by
roots or charms, there was at least a beginning in work genuinely
scientific. As early as 1792 a Negro named Cæsar had gained such
distinction by his knowledge of curative herbs that the Assembly of
South Carolina purchased his freedom and gave him an annuity. In the
earlier years of the last century James Derham, of New Orleans, became
the first regularly recognized Negro physician of whom there is
a complete record. Born in Philadelphia in 1762, as a boy he was
transferred to a physician for whom he learned to perform minor duties.
Afterwards he was sold to a physician in New Orleans who used him as
an assistant. Two or three years later he won his freedom, he became
familiar with French and Spanish as well as English, and he soon
commanded general respect by his learning and skill. About the middle
of the century, in New York, James McCune Smith, a graduate of the
University of Glasgow, was prominent. He was the author of several
scientific papers, a man of wide interests, and universally held in high
esteem. "The first real impetus to bring Negroes in considerable numbers
into the professional world came from the American Colonization Society,
which in the early years flourished in the South as well as the North
... and undertook to prepare professional leaders of their race for the
Liberian colony. 'To execute this scheme, leaders of the colonization
movement endeavored to educate Negroes in mechanic arts, agriculture,
science, and Biblical literature. Especially bright or promising youths
were to be given special training as catechists, teachers, preachers,
and physicians. Not much was said about what they were doing, but now
and then appeared notices of Negroes who had been prepared privately in
the South or publicly in the North for service in Liberia. Dr. William
Taylor and Dr. Fleet were thus educated in the District of Columbia. In
the same way John V. De Grasse, of New York, and Thomas J. White, of
Brooklyn, were allowed to complete the medical course at Bowdoin
in 1849. In 1854 Dr. De Grasse was admitted as a member of the
Massachusetts Medical Society.'"[1] Martin V. Delany, more than once
referred to in these pages, after being refused admission at a number of
institutions, was admitted to the medical school at Harvard. He became
distinguished for his work in a cholera epidemic in Pittsburgh in 1854.
It was of course not until after the Civil War that medical departments
were established in connection with some of the new higher institutions
of learning for Negro students.

[Footnote 1: Kelly Miller: "The Background of the Negro Physician,"
_Journal of Negro History_, April, 1916, quoting in part Woodson: _The
Education of the Negro prior to 1861_.]

Before 1860 a situation that arose more than once took from Negroes the
real credit for inventions. If a slave made an invention he was not
permitted to take out a patent, for no slave could make a contract. At
the same time the slave's master could not take out a patent for him,
for the Government would not recognize the slave as having the legal
right to make the assignment to his master. It is certain that Negroes,
who did most of the mechanical work in the South before the Civil War,
made more than one suggestion for the improvement of machinery. We have
already referred to the strong claim put forth by a member of the race
for the real credit of the cotton-gin. The honor of being the first
Negro to be granted a patent belongs to Henry Blair, of Maryland, who in
1834 received official protection for a corn harvester.

Throughout the century there were numerous attempts at poetical
composition, and several booklets were published. Perhaps the most
promising was George Horton's _The Hope of Liberty_, which appeared in
1829. Unfortunately, Horton could not get the encouragement that he
needed and in course of time settled down to the life of a janitor at
the University of North Carolina.[1] Six years before the war Frances
Ellen Watkins (later Mrs. Harper) struck the popular note by readings
from her _Miscellaneous Poems_, which ran through several editions.
About the same time William Wells Brown was prominent, though he also
worked for several years after the war. He was a man of decided talent
and had traveled considerably. He wrote several books dealing with Negro
history and biography; and he also treated racial subjects in a novel,
_Clotel_, and in a drama, _The Escape_. The latter suffers from an
excess of moralizing, but several times it flashes out with the quality
of genuine drama, especially when it deals with the jealousy of a
mistress for a favorite slave and the escape of the latter with her
husband. In 1841 the first Negro magazine began to appear, this being
issued by the A.M.E. Church. There were numerous autobiographies, that
of Frederick Douglass, first appearing in 1845, running through edition
after edition. On the stage there was the astonishing success of Ira
Aldridge, a tragedian who in his earlier years went to Europe, where he
had the advantage of association with Edmund Kean. About 1857 he was
commonly regarded as one of the two or three greatest actors in the
world. He became a member of several of the continental academies of
arts and science, and received many decorations of crosses and medals,
the Emperors of Russia and Austria and the King of Prussia being among
those who honored him. In the great field of music there was much
excellent work both in composition and in the performance on different
instruments. Among the free people of color in Louisiana there were
several distinguished musicians, some of whom removed to Europe for the
sake of greater freedom.[2] The highest individual achievement was that
of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, of Philadelphia. This singer was of the
very first rank. Her voice was of remarkable sweetness and had a compass
of twenty-seven notes. She sang before many distinguished audiences in
both Europe and America and was frequently compared with Jenny Lind,
then at the height of her fame.

[Footnote 1: See "George Moses Horton: Slave Poet," by Stephen B. Weeks,
_Southern Workman_, October, 1914.]

[Footnote 2: See Washington: _The Story of the Negro_, II, 276-7.]

It is thus evident that honorable achievement on the part of Negroes
and general advance in social welfare by no means began with the
Emancipation Proclamation. In 1860 eight-ninths of the members of the
race were still slaves, but in the face of every possible handicap the
one-ninth that was free had entered practically every great field of
human endeavor. Many were respected citizens in their communities, and a
few had even laid the foundations of wealth. While there was as yet
no book of unquestioned genius or scholarship, there was considerable
intellectual activity, and only time and a little more freedom from
economic pressure were needed for the production of works of the first
order of merit.



At the outbreak of the Civil War two great questions affecting the Negro
overshadowed all others--his freedom and his employment as a soldier.
The North as a whole had no special enthusiasm about the Negro and
responded only to Lincoln's call to the duty of saving the Union. Among
both officers and men moreover there was great prejudice against the use
of the Negro as a soldier, the feeling being that he was disqualified
by slavery and ignorance. Privates objected to meeting black men on the
same footing as themselves and also felt that the arming of slaves to
fight for their former masters would increase the bitterness of the
conflict. If many men in the North felt thus, the South was furious at
the thought of the Negro as a possible opponent in arms.

The human problem, however, was not long in presenting itself and
forcing attention. As soon as the Northern soldiers appeared in the
South, thousands of Negroes--men, women, and children--flocked to their
camps, feeling only that they were going to their friends. In May, 1861,
while in command at Fortress Monroe, Major-General Benjamin F. Butler
came into national prominence by his policy of putting to work the men
who came within his lines and justifying their retention on the ground
that, being of service to the enemy for purposes of war, they were like
guns, powder, etc., "contraband of war," and could not be reclaimed. On
August 30th of this same year Major-General John C. Fremont, in command
in Missouri, placed the state under martial law and declared the slaves
there emancipated. The administration was embarrassed, Fremont's order
was annulled, and he was relieved of his command. On May 9, 1862,
Major-General David Hunter, in charge of the Department of the South
(South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida) issued his famous order freeing
the slaves in his department, and thus brought to general attention the
matter of the employment of Negro soldiers in the Union armies. The
Confederate government outlawed Hunter, Lincoln annulled his order,
and the grace of the nation was again saved; but in the meantime a new
situation had arisen. While Brigadier-General John W. Phelps was taking
part in the expedition against New Orleans, a large sugar-planter near
the city, disgusted with Federal interference with affairs on his
plantation, drove all his slaves away, telling them to go to their
friends, the Yankees. The Negroes came to Phelps in great numbers, and
for the sake of discipline he attempted to organize them into troops.
Accordingly he, too, was outlawed by the Confederates, and his act was
disavowed by the Union, that was not ready to take this step.

Meanwhile President Lincoln was debating the Emancipation Proclamation.
Pressure from radical anti-slavery sources was constantly being brought
to bear upon him, and Horace Greeley in his famous editorial, "The
Prayer of Twenty Millions," was only one of those who criticized what
seemed to be his lack of strength in handling the situation. After
McClellan's unsuccessful campaign against Richmond, however, he felt
that the freedom of the slaves was a military and moral necessity for
its effects upon both the North and the South; and Lee's defeat at
Antietam, September 17, 1862, furnished the opportunity for which he
had been waiting. Accordingly on September 22nd he issued a preliminary
declaration giving notice that on January 1, 1865, he would free all
slaves in the states still in rebellion, and asserting as before that
the object of the war was the preservation of the Union.

The Proclamation as finally issued January 1st is one of the most
important public documents in the history of the United States, ranking
only below the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself.
It full text is as follows:

    Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our
    Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was
    issued by the President of the United States containing among other
    things the following, to-wit:

    That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one
    thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves
    within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof
    shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then,
    thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the
    United States, including the military and naval authority thereof,
    will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will
    do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any
    efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

    That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by
    proclamation, designate the states and parts of states, if any, in
    which the people thereof shall then be in rebellion against the
    United States; and the fact that any state, or the people thereof,
    shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of
    the United States, by members chosen thereto at elections wherein
    a majority of the qualified voters of such state shall have
    participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing
    testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such state, and the
    people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.

    Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
    by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief of
    the Army and Navy of the United States, in time of actual armed
    rebellion against the authority and government of the United
    States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said
    rebellion, do on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord
    one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with
    my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of
    one hundred days from the date first above mentioned, order and
    designate as the states and parts of states wherein the people
    thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United
    States, the following to-wit:

    Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard,
    Plaquemine, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension,
    Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, Ste. Marie, St. Martin, and
    Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama,
    Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia
    (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and
    also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City,
    York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk
    and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are, for the present, left
    precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

    And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order
    and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated
    states and parts of states are and henceforward shall be free, and
    that the executive government of the United States, including the
    military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain
    the freedom of said persons.

    And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to
    abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and
    I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor
    faithfully for reasonable wages.

    And I further declare and make known that such persons, of suitable
    condition, will be received into the armed service of the United
    States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and
    to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

    And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice,
    warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the
    considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty

    In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my name, and caused the
    seal of the United States to be affixed.

    Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the
    year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of
    the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.

    By the President,

       Secretary of State.

It will be observed that the Proclamation was merely a war measure
resting on the constitutional power of the President. Its effects on the
legal status of the slaves gave rise to much discussion; and it is to
be noted that it did not apply to what is now West Virginia, to seven
counties in Virginia, and to thirteen parishes in Louisiana, which
districts had already come under Federal jurisdiction. All questions
raised by the measure, however, were finally settled by the Thirteenth
Amendment to the Constitution, and as a matter of fact freedom actually
followed the progress of the Union arms from 1863 to 1865.

Meanwhile from the very beginning of the war Negroes were used by the
Confederates in making redoubts and in doing other rough work, and even
before the Emancipation Proclamation there were many Northern officers
who said that definite enlistment was advisable. They felt that such a
course would help to destroy slavery and that as the Negroes had so much
at stake they should have some share in the overthrow of the rebellion.
They said also that the men would be proud to wear the national uniform.
Individuals moreover as officers' servants saw much of fighting and won
confidence in their ability; and as the war advanced and more and more
men were killed the conviction grew that a Negro could stop a bullet as
well as a white man and that in any case the use of Negroes for fatigue
work would release numbers of other men for the actual fighting.

At last--after a great many men had been killed and the Emancipation
Proclamation had changed the status of the Negro--enlistment was decided
on. The policy was that Negroes might be non-commissioned men while
white men who had seen service would be field and line officers. In
general it was expected that only those who had kindly feeling toward
the Negro would be used as officers, but in the pressure of military
routine this distinction was not always observed. Opinion for the race
gained force after the Draft Riot in New York (July, 1863), when Negroes
in the city were persecuted by the opponents of conscription. Soon a
distinct bureau was established in Washington for the recording of
all matters pertaining to Negro troops, a board was organized for the
examination of candidates, and recruiting stations were set up in
Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee. The Confederates were indignant at
the thought of having to meet black men on equal footing, and refused
to exchange Negro soldiers for white men. How such action was met by
Stanton, Secretary of War, may be seen from the fact that when he
learned that three Negro prisoners had been placed in close confinement,
he ordered three South Carolina men to be treated likewise, and the
Confederate leaders to be informed of his policy.

The economic advantage of enlistment was apparent. It gave work to
187,000 men who had been cast adrift by the war and who had found no
place of independent labor. It gave them food, clothing, wages, and
protection, but most of all the feeling of self-respect that comes from
profitable employment. To the men themselves the year of jubilee had
come. At one great step they had crossed the gulf that separates
chattels from men and they now had a chance to vindicate their manhood.
A common poster of the day represented a Negro soldier bearing the
flag, the shackles of a slave being broken, a young Negro boy reading
a newspaper, and several children going into a public school. Over
all were the words: "All Slaves were made Freemen by Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States, January 1st, 1863. Come, then,
able-bodied Colored Men, to the nearest United States Camp, and fight
for the Stars and Stripes."

To the credit of the men be it said that in their new position they
acted with dignity and sobriety. When they picketed lines through which
Southern citizens passed, they acted with courtesy at the same time that
they did their duty. They captured Southern men without insulting them,
and by their own self-respect won the respect of others. Meanwhile their
brothers in the South went about the day's work, caring for the widow
and the orphan; and a nation that still lynches the Negro has to
remember that in all these troublous years deeds of violence against
white women and girls were absolutely unknown.

Throughout the country the behavior of the black men under fire was
watched with the most intense interest. More and more in the baptism of
blood they justified the faith for which their friends had fought for
years. At Port Hudson, Fort Wagner, Fort Pillow, and Petersburg their
courage was most distinguished. Said the New York _Times_ of the battle
at Port Hudson (1863): "General Dwight, at least, must have had the idea
not only that they (the Negro troops) were men, but something more than
men, from the terrific test to which he put their valor.... Their colors
are torn to pieces by shot, and literally bespattered by blood and
brains." This was the occasion on which Color-Sergeant Anselmas
Planciancois said before a shell blew off his head, "Colonel, I will
bring back these colors to you on honor, or report to God the reason
why." On June 6 the Negroes again distinguished themselves and
won friends by their bravery at Milliken's Bend. The Fifty-fourth
Massachusetts, commanded by Robert Gould Shaw, was conspicuous in the
attempt to take Fort Wagner, on Morris Island near Charleston, July 18,
1863. The regiment had marched two days and two nights through swamps
and drenching rains in order to be in time for the assault. In the
engagement nearly all the officers of the regiment were killed, among
them Colonel Shaw. The picturesque deed was that of Sergeant William H.
Carney, who seized the regiment's colors from the hands of a falling
comrade, planted the flag on the works, and said when borne bleeding and
mangled from the field, "Boys, the old flag never touched the ground."
Fort Pillow, a position on the Mississippi, about fifty miles above
Memphis, was garrisoned by 557 men, 262 of whom were Negroes, when
it was attacked April 13, 1864. The fort was finally taken by the
Confederates, but the feature of the engagement was the stubborn
resistance offered by the Union troops in the face of great odds. In the
Mississippi Valley, and in the Department of the South, the Negro had
now done excellent work as a soldier. In the spring of 1864 he made his
appearance in the Army of the Potomac. In July there was around Richmond
and Petersburg considerable skirmishing between the Federal and the
Confederate forces. Burnside, commanding a corps composed partly of
Negroes, dug under a Confederate fort a trench a hundred and fifty yards
long. This was filled with explosives, and on July 30 the match was
applied and the famous crater formed. Just before the explosion the
Negroes had figured in a gallant charge on the Confederates. The plan
was to follow the eruption by a still more formidable assault, in which
Burnside wanted to give his Negro troops the lead. A dispute about this
and a settlement by lot resulted in the awarding of precedence to a New
Hampshire regiment. Said General Grant later of the whole unfortunate
episode: "General Burnside wanted to put his colored division in front;
I believe if he had done so it would have been a success." After the men
of a Negro regiment had charged and taken a battery at Decatur, Ala., in
October, 1864, and shown exceptional gallantry under fire, they received
an ovation from their white comrades "who by thousands sprang upon the
parapets and cheered the regiment as it reëntered the lines."[1]

[Footnote 1: General Thomas J. Morgan: "The Negroes in the Civil War,"
in the _Baptist Home Mission Monthly_, quoted in _Liberia_, Bulletin 12,
February, 1898. General Morgan in October, 1863, became a major in the
Fourteenth United States Colored Infantry. He organized the regiment and
became its colonel. He also organized the Forty-second and Forty-fourth
regiments of colored infantry.]

When all was over there was in the North a spontaneous recognition of
the right of such men to honorable and generous treatment at the hands
of the nation, and in Congress there was the feeling that if the South
could come back to the Union with its autonomy unimpaired, certainly
the Negro soldier should have the rights of citizenship. Before the war
closed, however, there was held in Syracuse, N.Y., a convention of Negro
men that threw interesting light on the problems and the feeling of
the period.[1] At this gathering John Mercer Langston was temporary
chairman, Frederick Douglass, president, and Henry Highland Garnett, of
Washington; James W.C. Pennington, of New York; George L. Ruffin, of
Boston, and Ebenezer D. Bassett, of Philadelphia, were among the more
prominent delegates. There was at the meeting a fear that some of the
things that seemed to have been gained by the war might not actually be
realized; and as Congress had not yet altered the Constitution so as to
abolish slavery, grave question was raised by a recent speech in which
no less a man than Seward, Secretary of State, had said: "When the
insurgents shall have abandoned their armies and laid down their arms,
the war will instantly cease; and all the war measures then existing,
including those which affect slavery, will cease also." The convention
thanked the President and the Thirty-Seventh Congress for revoking a
prohibitory law in regard to the carrying of mails by Negroes, for
abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, for recognizing Hayti
and Liberia, and for the military order retaliating for the unmilitary
treatment accorded Negro soldiers by the Confederate officers; and
especially it thanked Senator Sumner "for his noble efforts to cleanse
the statute-books of the nation from every stain of inequality against
colored men," and General Butler for the stand he had taken early in the
war. At the same time it resolved to send a petition to Congress to
ask that the rights of the country's Negro patriots in the field be
respected, and that the Government cease to set an example to those in
arms against it by making invidious distinctions, based upon color, as
to pay, labor, and promotion. It begged especially to be saved from
supposed friends: "When the _Anti-Slavery Standard_, representing the
American Anti-Slavery Society, denies that the society asks for the
enfranchisement of colored men, and the _Liberator_ apologizes for
excluding the colored men of Louisiana from the ballot-box, they injure
us more vitally than all the ribald jests of the whole pro-slavery
press." Finally the convention insisted that any such things as the
right to own real estate, to testify in courts of law, and to sue and
be sued, were mere privileges so long as general political liberty
was withheld, and asked frankly not only for the formal and complete
abolition of slavery in the United States, but also for the elective
franchise in all the states then in the Union and in all that might come
into the Union thereafter. On the whole this representative gathering
showed a very clear conception of the problems facing the Negro and the
country in 1864. Its reference to well-known anti-slavery publications
shows not only the increasing race consciousness that came through this
as through all other wars in which the country has engaged, but also the
great drift toward conservatism that had taken place in the North within
thirty years.

[Footnote 1: See Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored Men,
held in the city of Syracuse, N.Y., October 4, 5, 6, and 7, 1864, with
the Bill of Wrongs and Rights, and the Address to the American People.
Boston, 1864.]

Whatever might be the questions of the moment, however, about the
supreme blessing of freedom there could at last be no doubt. It had been
long delayed and had finally come merely as an incident to the war;
nevertheless a whole race of people had passed from death unto life.
Then, as before and since, they found a parallel for their experiences
in the story of the Jews in the Old Testament. They, too, had sojourned
in Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. What they could not then see, or only
dimly realize, was that they needed faith--faith in God and faith in
themselves--for the forty years in the wilderness. They did not yet
fully know that He who guided the children of Israel and drove out
before them the Amorite and the Hittite, would bring them also to the
Promised Land.

       *       *       *       *       *

To those who led the Negro in these wonderful years--to Robert Gould
Shaw, the young colonel of the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts, who
died leading his men at Fort Wagner; to Norwood Penrose Hallowell,
lieutenant-colonel of the Fifty-Fourth and then colonel of the
Fifty-Fifth; to his brother, Edward N. Hallowell, who succeeded Shaw
when he fell; and to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who commanded the first
regiment of freed slaves--no ordinary eulogy can apply. Their names are
written in letters of flame and their deeds live after them. On the Shaw
Monument in Boston are written these words:

    The White Officers

    Taking Life and Honor in their Hands--Cast their lot with Men of a
    Despised Race Unproved in War--and Risked Death as Inciters of a
    Servile Insurrection if Taken Prisoners, Besides Encountering all
    the Common Perils of Camp, March, and Battle.

    The Black Rank and File

    Volunteered when Disaster Clouded the Union Cause--Served without
    Pay for Eighteen Months till Given that of White Troops--Faced
    Threatened Enslavement if Captured--Were Brave in Action--Patient
    under Dangerous and Heavy Labors and Cheerful amid Hardships and


    They Gave to the Nation Undying Proof that Americans of African
    Descent Possess the Pride, Courage, and Devotion of the Patriot
    Soldier--One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Such Americans Enlisted
    under the Union Flag in MDCCCLXIII-MDCCCLXV.



1. _The Problem_

At the close of the Civil War the United States found itself face to
face with one of the gravest social problems of modern times. More and
more it became apparent that it was not only the technical question of
the restoration of the states to the Union that had to be considered,
but the whole adjustment for the future of the lives of three and a half
million Negroes and five and a half million white people in the South.
In its final analysis the question was one of race, and to add to the
difficulties of this problem it is to be regretted that there should
have been actually upon the scene politicians and speculators who sought
to capitalize for their own gain the public distress.

The South was thoroughly demoralized, and the women who had borne the
burden of the war at home were especially bitter. Slave property to the
amount of two billions of dollars had been swept away; several of the
chief cities had suffered bombardment; the railroads had largely run
down; and the confiscation of property was such as to lead to the
indemnification of thousands of claimants afterwards. The Negro was not
yet settled in new places of abode, and his death rate was appalling.
Throughout the first winter after the war the whole South was on the
verge of starvation.

Here undoubtedly was a difficult situation--one calling for the highest
quality of statesmanship, and of sportsmanship on the part of the
vanquished. Many Negroes, freed from the tradition of two hundred and
fifty years of slavery, took a holiday; some resolved not to work any
more as long as they lived, and some even appropriated to their own use
the produce of their neighbors. If they remained on the old plantations,
they feared that they might still be considered slaves; on the other
hand, if they took to the high road, they might be considered vagrants.
If one returned from a Federal camp to claim his wife and children,
he might be driven away. "Freedom cried out," and undoubtedly some
individuals did foolish things; but serious crime was noticeably absent.
On the whole the race bore the blessing of emancipation with remarkable
good sense and temper. Returning soldiers paraded, there were some
meetings and processions, sometimes a little regalia--and even a little
noise; then everybody went home. Unfortunately even so much the white
South regarded as insolence.

The example of how the South _might_ have met the situation was afforded
by no less a man than Robert E. Lee, about whose unselfishness and
standard of conduct as a gentleman there could be no question. One day
in Richmond a Negro from the street, intent on asserting his rights,
entered a representative church, pushed his way to the communion altar
and knelt. The congregation paused, and all fully realized the factors
that entered into the situation. Then General Lee rose and knelt beside
the Negro; the congregation did likewise, and the tension was over.
Furthermore, every one went home spiritually uplifted.

Could the handling of this incident have been multipled a thousand
times--could men have realized that mere accidents are fleeting but
that principles are eternal--both races would have been spared years
of agony, and our Southland would be a far different place to-day. The
Negro was at the heart of the problem, but to that problem the South
undoubtedly held the key. Of course the cry of "social equality" might
have been raised; _anything_ might have been said to keep the right
thing from being done. In this instance, as in many others, the final
question was not what somebody else did, but how one himself could act
most nobly.

Unfortunately Lee's method of approach was not to prevail. Passion and
prejudice and demagoguery were to have their day, and conservative and
broadly patriotic men were to be made to follow leaders whom they could
not possibly approve. Sixty years afterwards we still suffer from the
KuKlux solution of the problem.

2. _Meeting the Problem_

The story of reconstruction has been many times told, and it is not
our intention to tell that story again. We must content ourselves by
touching upon some of the salient points in the discussion.

Even before the close of the war the National Government had undertaken
to handle officially the thousands of Negroes who had crowded to the
Federal lines and not less than a million of whom were in the spring of
1865 dependent upon the National Government for support. The Bureau of
Refugee Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, created in connection with the
War Department by an act of March 3, 1865, was to remain in existence
throughout the war and for one year thereafter. Its powers were enlarged
July 16, 1866, and its chief work did not end until January 1, 1869, its
educational work continuing for a year and a half longer. The Freedmen's
Bureau was to have "the supervision and management of all abandoned
lands, and the control of all subjects relating to refugees and
freedmen." Of special importance was the provision in the creating act
that gave the freedmen to understand that each male refugee was to be
given forty acres with the guarantee of possession for three years.
Throughout the existence of the Bureau its chief commissioner was
General O.O. Howard. While the principal officers were undoubtedly men
of noble purpose, many of the minor officials were just as undoubtedly
corrupt and self-seeking. In the winter of 1865-6 one-third of its aid
was given to the white people of the South. For Negro pupils the Bureau
established altogether 4,239 schools, and these had 9,307 teachers and
247,333 students. Its real achievement has been thus ably summed up:
"The greatest success of the Freedmen's Bureau lay in the planting of
the free school among Negroes, and the idea of free elementary education
among all classes in the South.... For some fifteen million dollars,
beside the sum spent before 1865, and the dole of benevolent societies,
this bureau set going a system of free labor, established a beginning of
peasant proprietorship, secured the recognition of black freedmen before
courts of law, and founded the free common school in the South. On the
other hand, it failed to begin the establishment of good will between
ex-masters and freedmen, to guard its work wholly from paternalistic
methods, which discouraged self-reliance, and to carry out to any
considerable extent its implied promises to furnish the freedmen with
land."[1] To this tale of its shortcomings must be added also the
management of the Freedmen's Bank, which "was morally and practically
part of the Freedmen's Bureau, although it had no legal connection with
it." This institution made a really remarkable start in the development
of thrift among the Negroes, and its failure, involving the loss of the
first savings of hundreds of ex-slaves, was as disastrous in its moral
as in its immediate financial consequences.

[Footnote 1: DuBois: _The Souls of Black Folk_, 32-37.]

When the Freedmen's Bureau came to an end, it turned its educational
interests and some money over to the religious and benevolent societies
which had coöperated with it, especially to the American Missionary
Association. This society had been organized before the Civil War on
an interdenominational and strong anti-slavery basis; but with the
withdrawal of general interest the body passed in 1881 into the hands of
the Congregational Church. Other prominent agencies were the American
Baptist Home Mission Society (also the American Baptist Publication
Society), the Freedmen's Aid Society (representing the Northern
Methodists), and the Presbyterian Board of Missions. Actual work was
begun by the American Missionary Association. In 1861 Lewis Tappan,
treasurer of the organization, wrote to General Butler to ask just
what aid could be given. The result of the correspondence was that on
September 3 of this year Rev. L.C. Lockwood reached Hampton and on
September 17 opened the first day school among the freedmen. This school
was taught by Mrs. Mary S. Peake, a woman of the race who had had the
advantage of a free mother, and whose devotion to the work was such that
she soon died. However, she had helped to lay the foundations of Hampton
Institute. Soon there was a school at Norfolk, there were two at Newport
News, and by January schools at Hilton Head and Beaufort, S.C. Then came
the Emancipation Proclamation, throwing wide open the door of the great
need. Rev. John Eaton, army chaplain from Ohio, afterwards United States
Commissioner of Education, was placed in charge of the instruction of
the Negroes, and in one way or another by the close of the war probably
as many as one million in the South had learned to read and write. The
83 missionaries and teachers of the Association in 1863 increased to 250
in 1864. At the first day session of the school in Norfolk after the
Proclamation there were 350 scholars, with 300 others in the evening.
On the third day there were 550 in the day school and 500 others in the
evening. The school had to be divided, a part going to another church;
the assistants increased in number, and soon the day attendance was
1,200. For such schools the houses on abandoned plantations were used,
and even public buildings were called into commission. Afterwards arose
the higher institutions, Atlanta, Berea, Fisk, Talladega, Straight, with
numerous secondary schools. Similarly the Baptists founded the colleges
which, with some changes of name, have become Virginia Union, Hartshorn,
Shaw, Benedict, Morehouse, Spelman, Jackson, and Bishop, with numerous
affiliated institutions. The Methodists began to operate Clark (in South
Atlanta), Claflin, Rust, Wiley, and others; and the Presbyterians,
having already founded Lincoln in 1854, now founded Biddle and several
seminaries for young women; while the United Presbyterians founded
Knoxville. In course of time the distinctively Negro denominations--the
A.M.E., the A.M.E.Z., and the C.M.E. (which last represented a
withdrawal from the Southern Methodists in 1870)--also helped in
the work, and thus, in addition to Wilberforce in Ohio, arose such
institutions as Morris Brown University, Livingstone College, and Lane
College. In 1867, moreover, the Federal Government crowned its work for
the education of the Negro by the establishment at Washington of Howard

As these institutions have grown they have naturally developed some
differences or special emphasis. Hampton and Atlanta University are
now independent; and Berea has had a peculiar history, legislation in
Kentucky in 1903 restricting the privileges of the institution to white
students. Hampton, in the hands of General Armstrong, placed emphasis on
the idea of industrial and practical education which has since become
world-famous. In 1871 the Fisk Jubilee Singers began their memorable
progress through America and Europe, meeting at first with scorn and
sneers, but before long touching the heart of the world with their
strange music. Their later success was as remarkable as their mission
was unique. Meanwhile Spelman Seminary, in the record of her graduates
who have gone as missionaries to Africa, has also developed a glorious

To those heroic men and women who represented this idea of education at
its best, too much credit can not be given. Cravath at Fisk, Ware at
Atlanta, Armstrong at Hampton, Graves at Morehouse, Tupper at Shaw, and
Packard and Giles at Spelman, are names that should ever be recalled
with thanksgiving. These people had no enviable task. They were
ostracized and persecuted, and some of their co-workers even killed. It
is true that their idea of education founded on the New England college
was not very elastic; but their theory was that the young men and women
whom they taught, before they were Negroes, were human beings. They had
the key to the eternal verities, and time will more and more justify
their position.

To the Freedmen's Bureau the South objected because of the political
activity of some of its officials. To the schools founded by missionary
endeavor it objected primarily on the score of social equality. To both
the provisional Southern governments of 1865 replied with the so-called
Black Codes. The theory of these remarkable ordinances--most harsh in
Mississippi, South Carolina, and Louisiana--was that even if the Negro
was nominally free he was by no means able to take care of himself and
needed the tutelage and oversight of the white man. Hence developed what
was to be known as a system of "apprenticeship." South Carolina in her
act of December 21, 1865, said, "A child, over the age of two years,
born of a colored parent, may be bound by the father if he be living in
the district, or in case of his death or absence from the district, by
the mother, as an apprentice to any respectable white or colored person
who is competent to make a contract; a male until he shall attain the
age of twenty-one years, and a female until she shall attain the age of
eighteen.... Males of the age of twelve years, and females of the age
of ten years, shall sign the indenture of apprenticeship, and be bound
thereby.... The master shall receive to his own use the profits of the
labor of his apprentice." To this Mississippi added: "If any apprentice
shall leave the employment of his or her master or mistress, said master
or mistress may pursue and recapture said apprentice, and bring him or
her before any justice of peace of the county, whose duty it shall be to
remand said apprentice to the service of his or her master or mistress;
and in the event of a refusal on the part of said apprentice so to
return, then said justice shall commit said apprentice to the jail of
said county," etc., etc. In general by such legislation the Negro was
given the right to sue and be sued, to testify in court concerning
Negroes, and to have marriage and the responsibility for children
recognized. On the other hand, he could not serve on juries, could
not serve in the militia, and could not vote or hold office. He was
virtually forbidden to assemble, and his freedom of movement was
restricted. Within recent years the Black Codes have been more than once
defended as an honest effort to meet a difficult situation, but the old
slavery attitude peered through them and gave the impression that those
who framed them did not yet know that the old order had passed away.

Meanwhile the South was in a state of panic, and the provisional
governor of Mississippi asked of President Johnson permission to
organize the local militia. The request was granted and the patrols
immediately began to show their hostility to Northern people and the
freedmen. In the spring of 1866 there was a serious race riot in
Memphis. On July 30, while some Negroes were marching to a political
convention in New Orleans, they became engaged in brawls with the
white spectators. Shots were exchanged; the police, assisted by the
spectators, undertook to arrest the Negroes; the Negroes took refuge in
the convention hall; and their pursuers stormed the building and shot
down without mercy the Negroes and their white supporters. Altogether
not less than forty were killed and not less than one hundred wounded;
but not more than a dozen men were killed on the side of the police and
the white citizens. General Sheridan, who was in command at New Orleans,
characterized the affair as "an absolute massacre ... a murder which
the mayor and police of the city perpetrated without the shadow of a

In the face of such events and tendencies, and influenced to some extent
by a careful and illuminating but much criticized report of Carl Schurz,
Congress, led by Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens, proceeded to pass
legislation designed to protect the freedmen and to guarantee to
the country the fruits of the war. The Thirteenth Amendment to the
Constitution formally abolishing slavery was passed December 18, 1865.
In the following March Congress passed over the President's veto the
first Civil Rights Bill, guaranteeing to the freedmen all the ordinary
rights of citizenship, and it was about the same time that it enlarged
the powers of the Freedmen's Bureau. The Fourteenth Amendment (July
28, 1868) denied to the states the power to abridge the privileges or
immunities of citizens of the United States; and the Fifteenth Amendment
(March 30, 1870) sought to protect the Negro by giving to him the right
of suffrage instead of military protection. In 1875 was passed the
second Civil Rights act, designed to give Negroes equality of treatment
in theaters, railway cars, hotels, etc.; but this the Supreme Court
declared unconstitutional in 1883.

As a result of this legislation the Negro was placed in positions of
responsibility; within the next few years the race sent two senators
and thirteen representatives to Congress, and in some of the state
legislatures, as in South Carolina, Negroes were decidedly in the
majority. The attainments of some of these men were undoubtedly
remarkable; the two United States senators, Hiram R. Revels and Blanche
K. Bruce, both from Mississippi, were of unquestioned intelligence and
ability, and Robert B. Elliott, one of the representatives from South
Carolina, attracted unusual attention by his speech in reply to
Alexander Stephens on the constitutionality of the Civil Rights bill. At
the same time among the Negro legislators there was also considerable
ignorance, and there set in an era of extravagance and corruption from
which the "carpet-baggers" and the "scalawags" rather than the Negroes
themselves reaped the benefit. Accordingly within recent years it has
become more and more the fashion to lament the ills of the period, and
no representative American historian can now write of reconstruction
without a tone of apology. A few points, however, are to be observed.
In the first place the ignorance was by no means so vast as has been
supposed. Within the four years from 1861 to 1865, thanks to the army
schools and missionary agencies, not less than half a million Negroes in
the South had learned to read and write. Furthermore, the suffrage was
not immediately given to the emancipated Negroes; this was the
last rather than the first step in reconstruction. The provisional
legislatures formed at the close of the war were composed of white men
only; but the experiment failed because of the short-sighted laws that
were enacted. If the fruit of the Civil War was not to be lost, if all
the sacrifice was not to prove in vain, it became necessary for Congress
to see that the overthrow of slavery was final and complete. By the
Fourteenth Amendment the Negro was invested with the ordinary rights and
dignity of a citizen of the United States. He was not enfranchised, but
he could no longer be made the victim of state laws designed merely to
keep him in servile subjection. If the Southern states had accepted
this amendment, they might undoubtedly have reëntered the Union without
further conditions. They refused to do so; they refused to help the
National Government in any way whatsoever in its effort to guarantee
to the Negro the rights of manhood. Achilles sulked in his tent, and
whenever he sulks the world moves on--without him. The alternative
finally presented to Congress, if it was not to make an absolute
surrender, was either to hold the South indefinitely under military
subjection or to place the ballot in the hands of the Negro. The former
course was impossible; the latter was chosen, and the Union was really
restored--was really saved--by the force of the ballot in the hands of
black men.

It has been held that the Negro was primarily to blame for the
corruption of the day. Here again it is well to recall the tendencies of
the period. The decade succeeding the war was throughout the country
one of unparalleled political corruption. The Tweed ring, the Crédit
Mobilier, and the "salary grab" were only some of the more outstanding
signs of the times. In the South the Negroes were not the real leaders
in corruption; they simply followed the men who they supposed were their
friends. Surely in the face of such facts as these it is not just to fix
upon a people groping to the light the peculiar odium of the corruption
that followed in the wake of the war.

And we shall have to leave it to those better informed than we to say to
just what extent city and state politics in the South have been cleaned
up since the Negro ceased to be a factor. Many of the constitutions
framed by the reconstruction governments were really excellent models,
and the fact that they were overthrown seems to indicate that some other
spoilsmen were abroad. Take North Carolina, for example. In this state
in 1868 the reconstruction government by its new constitution introduced
the township system so favorably known in the North and West. When in
1875 the South regained control, with all the corruption it found as
excellent a form of republican state government as was to be found in
any state in the Union. "Every provision which any state enjoyed for the
protection of public society from its bad members and bad impulses was
either provided or easily procurable under the Constitution of the
state."[1] Yet within a year, in order to annul the power of their
opponents in every county in the state, the new party so amended
the Constitution as to take away from every county the power of
self-government and centralize everything in the legislature. Now was
realized an extent of power over elections and election returns so
great that no party could wholly clear itself of the idea of corrupt

[Footnote 1: George W. Cable: _The Southern Struggle for Pure
Government_: An Address. Boston, 1890, included in _The Negro Question_,
New York, 1890.]

At the heart of the whole question of course was race. As a matter of
fact much work of genuine statesmanship was accomplished or attempted by
the reconstruction governments. For one thing the idea of common school
education for all people was now for the first time fully impressed upon
the South. The Charleston _News and Courier_ of July 11, 1876, formally
granted that in the administration of Governor Chamberlain of South
Carolina the abuse of the pardoning power had been corrected; the
character of the officers appointed by the Executive had improved; the
floating indebtedness of the state had been provided for in such a way
that the rejection of fraudulent claims was assured and that valid
claims were scaled one-half; the tax laws had been so amended as to
secure substantial equality in the assessment of property; taxes had
been reduced to eleven mills on the dollar; the contingent fund of
the executive department had been reduced at a saving in two years of
$101,200; legislative expenses had also been reduced so as to save
in two years $350,000; legislative contingent expenses had also been
handled so as to save $355,000; and the public printing reduced from
$300,000 to $50,000 a year. There were, undoubtedly, at first, many
corrupt officials, white and black. Before they were through, however,
after only a few years of experimenting, the reconstruction governments
began to show signs of being quite able to handle the situation; and it
seems to have been primarily the fear on the part of the white South
_that they might not fail_ that prompted the determination to regain
power at whatever cost. Just how this was done we are now to see.

3. _Reaction: The KuKlux Klan_

Even before the Civil War a secret organization, the Knights of the
Golden Circle, had been formed to advance Southern interests. After the
war there were various organizations--Men of Justice, Home Guards, Pale
Faces, White Brotherhood, White Boys, Council of Safety, etc., and, with
headquarters at New Orleans, the thoroughly organized Knights of the
White Camelia. All of these had for their general aim the restoration
of power to the white men of the South, which aim they endeavored to
accomplish by regulating the conduct of the Negroes and their leaders
in the Republican organization, the Union League, especially by playing
upon the fears and superstitions of the Negroes. In general, especially
in the Southeast, everything else was surpassed or superseded by the
KuKlux Klan, which originated in Tennessee in the fall of 1865 as an
association of young men for amusement, but which soon developed into a
union for the purpose of whipping, banishing, terrorizing, and murdering
Negroes and Northern white men who encouraged them in the exercise of
their political rights. No Republican, no member of the Union League,
and no G.A.R. man could become a member. The costume of the Klan
was especially designed to strike terror in the uneducated Negroes.
Loose-flowing sleeves, hoods in which were apertures for the eyes, nose,
and mouth trimmed with red material, horns made of cotton-stuff standing
out on the front and sides, high cardboard hats covered with white
cloth decorated with stars or pictures of animals, long tongues of red
flannel, were all used as occasion demanded. The KuKlux Klan finally
extended over the whole South and greatly increased its operations on
the cessation of martial law in 1870. As it worked generally at night,
with its members in disguise, it was difficult for a grand jury to get
evidence on which to frame a bill, and almost impossible to get a jury
that would return a verdict for the state. Repeated measures against
the order were of little effect until an act of 1870 extended the
jurisdiction of the United States courts to all KuKlux cases. Even then
for some time the organization continued active.

Naturally there were serious clashes before government was restored to
the white South, especially as the KuKlux Klan grew bolder. At Colfax,
Grant Parish, Louisiana, in April, 1873, there was a pitched battle in
which several white men and more than fifty Negroes were killed; and
violence increased as the "red shirt" campaign of 1876 approached.

In connection with the events of this fateful year, and with reference
to South Carolina, where the Negro seemed most solidly in power, we
recall one episode, that of the Hamburg Massacre. We desire to give this
as fully as possible in all its incidents, because we know of nothing
that better illustrates the temper of the times, and because a most
important matter is regularly ignored or minimized by historians.[1]

[Footnote 1: Fleming, in his latest and most mature account of
reconstruction, _The Sequel of Appomattox_, has not one word to say
about the matter. Dunning, in _Reconstruction Political and Economic_
(306), speaks as follows: "July 6, 1876, an armed collision between
whites and blacks at Hamburg, Aiken County, resulted in the usual
slaughter of the blacks. Whether the original cause of the trouble
was the insolence and threats of a Negro militia company, or the
aggressiveness and violence of some young white men, was much discussed
throughout the state, and, indeed, the country at large. Chamberlain
took frankly and strongly the ground that the whites were at fault."
Such a statement we believe simply does not do justice to the facts.
The account given herewith is based upon the report of the matter in a
letter published in a Washington paper and submitted in connection with
the debate in the United States House of Representatives, July 15th and
18th, 1876, on the Massacre of Six Colored Citizens at Hamburg, S.C.,
July 4, 1876; and on "An Address to the People of the United States,
adopted at a Conference of Colored Citizens, held at Columbia, S.C.,
July 20th and 21st, 1876" (Republican Printing Co., Columbia, S.C.,
1876). The Address, a document most important for the Negro's side of
the story, was signed by no less than sixty representative men, among
them R.B. Elliott, R.H. Gleaves, F.L. Cardozo, D.A. Straker, T. McC.
Stewart, and H.N. Bouey.]

In South Carolina an act providing for the enrollment of the male
citizens of the state, who were by the terms of the said act made
subject to the performance of militia duty, was passed by the General
Assembly and approved by the Governor March 16, 1869. By virtue of this
act Negro citizens were regularly enrolled as a part of the National
Guard of the State of South Carolina, and as the white men, with very
few exceptions, failed or refused to become a part of the said force,
the active militia was composed almost wholly of Negro men. The County
of Edgefield, of which Hamburg was a part, was one of the military
districts of the state under the apportionment of the Adjutant-General,
one regiment being allotted to the district. One company of this
regiment was in Hamburg. In 1876 it had recently been reorganized with
Doc Adams as captain, Lewis Cartledge as first lieutenant, and A.T.
Attaway as second lieutenant. The ranks were recruited to the requisite
number of men, to whom arms and equipment were duly issued.

On Tuesday, July 4, the militia company assembled for drill and while
thus engaged paraded through one of the least frequented streets of the
town. This street was unusually wide, but while marching four abreast
the men were interrupted by a horse and buggy driven _into their ranks_
by Thomas Butler and Henry Getzen, white men who resided about two
miles from the town. At the time of this interference the company was
occupying a space covering a width of not more than eight feet, so that
on either side there was abundant room for vehicles. At the interruption
Captain Adams commanded a halt and, stepping to the head of his column,
said, "Mr. Getzen, I did not think that you would treat me this way; I
would not so act towards you." To this Getzen replied with curses,
and after a few more remarks on either side, Adams, in order to avoid
further trouble, commanded his men to break ranks and permit the buggy
to pass through. The company was then marched to the drill rooms and

On Wednesday, July 5, Robert J. Butler, father of Thomas Butler and
father-in-law of Getzen, appeared before P.R. Rivers, colored trial
justice, and made complaint that the militia company had on the previous
day obstructed one of the public streets of Hamburg and prevented his
son and son-in-law from passing through. Rivers accordingly issued a
summons for the officers to appear the next day, July 6. When Adams and
his two lieutenants appeared on Thursday, they found present Robert J.
Butler and several other white men heavily armed with revolvers. On the
calling of the case it was announced that the defendants were present
and that Henry Sparnick, a member of the circuit bar of the county, had
been retained to represent them. Butler angrily protested against such
representation and demanded that the hearing be postponed until he
could procure counsel from the city of Augusta; whereupon Adams and his
lieutenants, after consultation with their attorney, who informed them
that there were no legal grounds on which the case could be decided
against them, waived their constitutional right to be represented by
counsel and consented to go to trial. On this basis the case was opened
and proceeded with for some time, when on account of some disturbance
its progress was arrested, and it was adjourned for further hearing on
the following Saturday, July 8, at four o'clock in the afternoon.

On Saturday, between two and three o'clock, General M.C. Butler, of
Edgefield, formerly an officer in the Confederate army, arrived in
Hamburg, and he was followed by mounted men in squads of ten or fifteen
until the number was more than two hundred, the last to arrive being
Colonel A.P. Butler at the head of threescore men. Immediately after his
arrival General Butler sent for Attorney Sparnick, who was charged with
the request to Rivers and the officers of the militia company to confer
with him at once. There was more passing of messengers back and forth,
and it was at length deemed best for the men to confer with Butler. To
this two of the officers objected on the ground that the whole plan was
nothing more than a plot for their assassination. They sent to ask if
General Butler would meet them without the presence of his armed force.
He replied Yes, but before arrangements could be made for the interview
another messenger came to say that the hour for the trial had arrived,
that General Butler was at the court, and that he requested the presence
of the trial justice, Rivers. Rivers proceeded to court alone and found
Butler there waiting for him. He was about to proceed with the case when
Butler asked for more time, which request was granted. He went away and
never returned to the court. Instead he went to the council chamber,
being surrounded now by greater and greater numbers of armed men, and he
sent a committee to the officers asking that they come to the council
chamber to see him. The men again declined for the same reason as
before. Butler now sent an ultimatum demanding that the officers
apologize for what took place on July 4 and that they surrender to him
their arms, threatening that if the surrender was not made at once he
would take their guns and officers by force. Adams and his men now awoke
to a full sense of their danger, and they asked Rivers, who was not only
trial justice but also Major General of the division of the militia to
which they belonged, if he demanded their arms of them. Rivers replied
that he did not. Thereupon the officers refused the request of Butler on
the ground that he had no legal right to demand their arms or to receive
them if surrendered. At this point Butler let it be known that he
demanded the surrender of the arms within half an hour and that if he
did not receive them he would "lay the d---- town in ashes." Asked in an
interview whether, if his terms were complied with, he would guarantee
protection to the people of the town he answered that he did not know
and that that would depend altogether upon how they behaved themselves.

Butler now went with a companion to Augusta, returning in about thirty
minutes. A committee called upon him as soon as he got back. He had only
to say that he demanded the arms immediately. Asked if he would accept
the boxing up of the arms and the sending of them to the Governor, he
said, "D---- the Governor. I am not here to consult him, but am here as
Colonel Butler, and this won't stop until after November." Asked again
if he would guarantee general protection if the arms were surrendered,
he said, "I guarantee nothing."

All the while scores of mounted men were about the streets. Such members
of the militia company as were in town and their friends to the number
of thirty-eight repaired to their armory--a large brick building
about two hundred yards from the river--and barricaded themselves for
protection. Firing upon the armory was begun by the mounted men, and
after half an hour there were occasional shots from within. After a
while the men in the building heard an order to bring cannon from
Augusta, and they began to leave the building from the rear, concealing
themselves as well as they could in a cornfield. The cannon was brought
and discharged three or four times, those firing it not knowing that the
building had been evacuated. When they realized their mistake they made
a general search through lots and yards for the members of the company
and finally captured twenty-seven of them, after two had been killed.
The men, none of whom now had arms, were marched to a place near the
railroad station, where the sergeant of the company was ordered to call
the roll. Allan T. Attaway, whose name was first, was called out
and shot in cold blood. Twelve men fired upon him and he was killed
instantly. The men whose names were second, third, and fourth on the
list were called out and treated likewise. The fifth man made a dash for
liberty and escaped with a slight wound in the leg. All the others were
then required to hold up their right hands and swear that they would
never bear arms against the white people or give in court any testimony
whatsoever regarding the occurrence. They were then marched off two by
two and dispersed, but stray shots were fired after them as they went
away. In another portion of the town the chief of police, James Cook,
was taken from his home and brutally murdered. A marshal of the town was
shot through the body and mortally wounded. One of the men killed was
found with his tongue cut out. The members of Butler's party finally
entered the homes of most of the prominent Negroes in the town, smashed
the furniture, tore books to pieces, and cut pictures from their frames,
all amid the most heartrending distress on the part of the women and
children. That night the town was desolate, for all who could do so fled
to Aiken or Columbia.

Upon all of which our only comment is that while such a process might
seem for a time to give the white man power, it makes no progress
whatever toward the ultimate solution of the problem.

4. _Counter-Reaction: The Negro Exodus_

The Negro Exodus of 1879 was partially considered in connection with our
study of Liberia; but a few facts are in place here.

After the withdrawal of Federal troops conditions in the South were
changed so much that, especially in South Carolina, Mississippi,
Louisiana, and Texas, the state of affairs was no longer tolerable.
Between 1866 and 1879 more than three thousand Negroes were summarily
killed.[1] The race began to feel that a new slavery in the horrible
form of peonage was approaching, and that the disposition of the men in
power was to reduce the laborer to the minimum of advantages as a free
man and to none at all as a citizen. The fear, which soon developed into
a panic, rose especially in consequence of the work of political mobs
in 1874 and 1875, and it soon developed organization. About this the
outstanding fact was that the political leaders of the last few years
were regularly distrusted and ignored, the movement being secret in its
origin and committed either to the plantation laborers themselves or
their direct representatives. In North Carolina circulars about Nebraska
were distributed. In Tennessee Benjamin ("Pap") Singleton began about
1869 to induce Negroes to go to Kansas, and he really founded two
colonies with a total of 7432 Negroes from his state, paying of his own
money over $600 for circulars. In Louisiana alone 70,000 names were
taken of those who wished to better their condition by removal; and by
1878 98,000 persons in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas were
ready to go elsewhere. A convention to consider the whole matter of
migration was held in Nashville in 1879. At this the politician managed
to put in an appearance and there was much wordy discussion. At the same
time much of the difference of opinion was honest; the meeting was
on the whole constructive; and it expressed itself as favorable to
"reasonable migration." Already, however, thousands of Negroes were
leaving their homes in the South and going in greatest numbers to
Kansas, Missouri, and Indiana. Within twenty months Kansas alone
received in this way an addition to her population of 40,000 persons.
Many of these people arrived at their destination practically penniless
and without prospect of immediate employment; but help was afforded by
relief agencies in the North, and they themselves showed remarkable
sturdiness in adapting themselves to the new conditions.

[Footnote 1: Emmett J. Scott: Negro Migration during the War (in
Preliminary Economic Studies of the War--Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace: Division of Economics and History). Oxford
University Press, American Branch, New York, 1920.]

Many of the stories that the Negroes told were pathetic.[1] Sometimes
boats would not take them on, and they suffered from long exposure on
the river banks. Sometimes, while they were thus waiting, agents of
their own people employed by the planters tried to induce them to
remain. Frequently they were clubbed or whipped. Said one: "I saw nine
put in one pile, that had been killed, and the colored people had to
bury them; eight others were found killed in the woods.... It is done
this way: they arrest them for breach of contract and carry them to
jail. Their money is taken from them by the jailer and it is not
returned when they are let go." Said another: "If a colored man stays
away from the polls and does not vote, they spot him and make him vote.
If he votes their way, they treat him no better in business. They hire
the colored people to vote, and then take their pay away. I know a
man to whom they gave a cow and a calf for voting their ticket. After
election they came and told him that if he kept the cow he must pay for
it; and they took the cow and calf away." Another: "One man shook his
fist in my face and said, 'D---- you, sir, you are my property.' He said
that I owed him. He could not show it and then said, 'You sha'n't go
anyhow.' All we want is a living chance." Another: "There is a general
talk among the whites and colored people that Jeff Davis will run for
president of the Southern states, and the colored people are afraid they
will be made slaves again. They are already trying to prevent them from
going from one plantation to another without a pass." Another: "The
deputy sheriff came and took away from me a pair of mules. He had a
constable and twenty-five men with guns to back him." Another: "Last
year, after settling with my landlord, my share was four bales of
cotton. I shipped it to Richardson and May, 38 and 40 Perdido Street,
New Orleans, through W.E. Ringo & Co., merchants, at Mound Landing,
Miss. I lived four miles back of this landing. I received from Ringo a
ticket showing that my cotton was sold at nine and three-eighths cents,
but I could never get a settlement. He kept putting me off by saying
that the bill of lading had not come. Those bales averaged over four
hundred pounds. I did not owe him over twenty-five dollars. A man may
work there from Monday morning to Saturday night, and be as economical
as he pleases, and he will come out in debt. I am a close man, and I
work hard. I want to be honest in getting through the world. I came away
and left a crop of corn and cotton growing up. I left it because I did
not want to work twelve months for nothing. I have been trying it for
fifteen years, thinking every year that it would get better, and it gets
worse." Said still another: "I learned about Kansas from the newspapers
that I got hold of. They were Southern papers. I got a map, and found
out where Kansas was; and I got a History of the United States, and read
about it."

[Footnote 1: See _Negro Exodus_ (Report of Colonel Frank H. Fletcher).]

Query: Was it genuine statesmanship that permitted these people to feel
that they must leave the South?

       *       *       *       *       *

5. _A Postscript on the War and Reconstruction_

Of all of the stories of these epoch-making years we have chosen one--an
idyl of a woman with an alabaster box, of one who had a clear conception
of the human problem presented and who gave her life in the endeavor to
meet it.

In the fall of 1862 a young woman who was destined to be a great
missionary entered the Seminary at Rockford, Illinois. There was little
to distinguish her from the other students except that she was very
plainly dressed and seemed forced to spend most of her spare time at
work. Yes, there was one other difference. She was older than most of
the girls--already thirty, and rich in experience. When not yet fifteen
she had taught a country school in Pennsylvania. At twenty she was
considered capable of managing an unusually turbulent crowd of boys and
girls. When she was twenty-seven her father died, leaving upon her very
largely the care of her mother. At twenty-eight she already looked back
upon fourteen years as a teacher, upon some work for Christ incidentally
accomplished, but also upon a fading youth of wasted hopes and
unfulfilled desires.

Then came a great decision--not the first, not the last, but one of the
most important that marked her long career. Her education was by no
means complete, and, at whatever cost, she would go to school. That she
had no money, that her clothes were shabby, that her mother needed her,
made no difference; now or never she would realize her ambition. She
would do anything, however menial, if it was honest and would give her
food while she continued her studies. For one long day she walked the
streets of Belvidere looking for a home. Could any one use a young woman
who wanted to work for her board? Always the same reply. Nightfall
brought her to a farmhouse in the suburbs of the town. She timidly
knocked on the door. "No, we do not need any one," said the woman who
greeted her, "but wait until I see my husband." The man of the house
was very unwilling, but decided to give shelter for the night. The
next morning he thought differently about the matter, and a few days
afterwards the young woman entered school. The work was hard; fires
had to be made, breakfasts on cold mornings had to be prepared, and
sometimes the washing was heavy. Naturally the time for lessons was
frequently cut short or extended far into the night. But the woman of
the house was kind, and her daughter a helpful fellow-student.

The next summer came another season at school-teaching, and then the
term at Rockford. 1862! a great year that in American history, one more
famous for the defeat of the Union arms than for their success. But in
September came Antietam, and the heart of the North took courage. Then
with the new year came the Emancipation Proclamation.

The girls at Rockford, like the people everywhere, were interested
in the tremendous events that were shaking the nation. A new note of
seriousness crept into their work. Embroidery was laid aside; instead,
socks were knit and bandages prepared. On the night of January 1 a
jubilee meeting was held in the town.

To Joanna P. Moore, however, the news of freedom brought a strange
undertone of sadness. She could not help thinking of the spiritual and
intellectual condition of the millions now emancipated. Strange that she
should be possessed by this problem! She had thought of work in China,
or India, or even in Africa--but of this, never!

In February a man who had been on Island No. 10 came to the Seminary and
told the girls of the distress of the women and children there. Cabins
and tents were everywhere. As many as three families, with eight or
ten children each, cooked their food in the same pot on the same fire.
Sometimes the women were peevish or quarrelsome; always the children
were dirty. "What can a man do to help such a suffering mass of
humanity?" asked the speaker. "Nothing. A woman is needed; nobody else
will do." For the student listening so intently the cheery schoolrooms
with their sweet associations faded; the vision of foreign missions also
vanished; and in their stead stood only a pitiful black woman with a
baby in her arms.

She reached Island No. 10 in November. The outlook was dismal enough.
The Sunday school at Belvidere had pledged four dollars a month toward
her support, and this was all the money in sight, though the Government
provided transportation and soldiers' rations. That was in 1863, sixty
years ago; but every year since then, until 1916, in summer and winter,
in sunshine and rain, in the home and the church, with teaching and
praying, feeding and clothing, nursing and hoping and loving, Joanna P.
Moore in one way or another ministered to the Negro people of the South.

In April, 1864, her whole colony was removed to Helena, Arkansas. The
Home Farm was three miles from Helena. Here was gathered a great crowd
of women and children and helpless old men, all under the guard of a
company of soldiers in a fort nearby. Thither went the missionary alone,
except for her faith in God. She made an arbor with some rude seats,
nailed a blackboard to a tree, divided the people into four groups,
and began to teach school. In the twilight every evening a great crowd
gathered around her cabin for prayers. A verse of the Bible was read and
explained, petitions were offered, one of the sorrow-songs was chanted,
and then the service was over.

Some Quaker workers were her friends in Helena, and in 1868 she went to
Lauderdale, Mississippi, to help the Friends in an orphan asylum. Six
weeks after her arrival the superintendent's daughter died, and the
parents left to take their child back to their Indiana home to rest. The
lone woman was left in charge of the asylum. Cholera broke out. Eleven
children died within one week. Still she stood by her post. Often, she
said, those who were well and happy when they retired, ere daylight came
were in the grave, for they were buried the same hour they died. Night
after night she prayed to God in the dark, and at length the fury of the
plague was abated.

From time to time the failing health of her mother called her home, and
from 1870 to 1873 she once more taught school near Belvidere. The first
winter the school was in the country. "You can never have a Sunday
school in the winter," they told her. But she did; in spite of the snow,
the house was crowded every Sunday, whole families coming in sleighs.
Even at that the real work of the teacher was with the Negroes of the
South. In her prayers and public addresses they were always with her,
and in 1873 friends in Chicago made it possible for her to return to the
work of her choice. In 1877 the Woman's Baptist Home Mission Society
honored itself by giving to her its first commission.

Nine years she spent in the vicinity of New Orleans. Near Leland
University she found a small, one-room house. After buying a bed, a
table, two chairs, and a few cooking utensils, she began housekeeping.
Often she started out at six in the morning, not to return until
dark. Most frequently she read the Bible to those who could not read.
Sometimes she gave cheer to mothers busy over the washtub. Sometimes
she would teach the children to read or to sew. Often she would write
letters for those who had been separated from friends or kindred in the
dark days. She wrote hundreds and hundreds of such letters; and once in
a while, a very long while, came a response.

Most pitiful of all the objects she found in New Orleans were the old
women worn out with years of slavery. They were usually rag-pickers who
ate at night the scraps for which they had begged during the day. There
was in the city an Old Ladies' Home; but this was not for Negroes.
A house was secured and the women taken in, Joanna Moore and her
associates moving into the second story. Sometimes, very often, there
was real need; but sometimes, too, provisions came when it was not known
who sent them; money or boxes came from Northern friends who had never
seen the workers; and the little Negro children in the Sunday schools in
the city gave their pennies.

In 1878 the laborer in the Southwest started on a journey of
exploration. In Atlanta Dr. Robert at Atlanta Baptist Seminary (now
Morehouse College) gave her cheer; so did President Ware at Atlanta
University. At Benedict in Columbia she saw Dr. Goodspeed, President
Tupper at Shaw in Raleigh, and Dr. Corey in Richmond. In May she
appeared at the Baptist anniversaries, with fifteen years of missionary
achievement already behind her.

But each year brought its own sorrows and disappointments. She wanted
the Society to establish a training school for women; but to this
objection was raised. In Louisiana also it was not without danger that a
white woman attended a Negro association in 1877; and there were always
sneers and jeers. At length, however, a training school for mothers was
opened in Baton Rouge. All went well for two years; and then a notice
with skull and crossbones was placed on the gate. The woman who had
worked through the cholera still stood firm; but the students had gone.
Sick at heart and worn out with waiting, she at last left Baton Rouge
and the state in which so many of her best years had been spent.

"Bible Band" work was started in 1884, and _Hope_ in 1885. The little
paper, beginning with a circulation of five hundred, has now reached a
monthly issue of twenty thousand copies, and daily it brings its
lesson of cheer to thousands of mothers and children in the South. In
connection with it all has developed the Fireside School, than which few
agencies have been more potent in the salvation and uplift of the humble
Negro home.

What wisdom was gathered from the passing of fourscore years! On almost
every page of her tracts, her letters, her account of her life, one
finds quotations of proverbial pith:

The love of God gave me courage for myself and the rest of mankind;
therefore I concluded to invest in human souls. They surely are worth
more than anything else in the world.

Beloved friends, be hopeful, be courageous. God can not use discouraged

The good news spread, not by telling what we were going to do but by
praising God for what had been done.

So much singing in all our churches leaves too little time for the Bible
lesson. Do not misunderstand me. I do love music that impresses the
meaning of words. But no one climbs to heaven on musical scales.

I thoroughly believe that the only way to succeed with any vocation is
to make it a part of your very self and weave it into your every thought
and prayer.

You must love before you can comfort and help.

There is no place too lowly or dark for our feet to enter, and no place
so high and bright but it needs the touch of the light that we carry
from the Cross.

How shall we measure such a life? Who can weigh love and hope and
service, and the joy of answered prayer? "An annual report of what?" she
once asked the secretary of her organization. "Report of tears shed,
prayers offered, smiles scattered, lessons taught, steps taken, cheering
words, warning words--tender, patient words for the little ones, stern
but loving tones for the wayward--songs of hope and songs of sorrow,
wounded hearts healed, light and love poured into dark sad homes? Oh,
Miss Burdette, you might as well ask me to gather up the raindrops of
last year or the petals that fall from the flowers that bloomed. It is
true that I can send you a little stagnant water from the cistern, and a
few dried flowers; but if you want to know the freshness, the sweetness,
the glory, the grandeur, of our God-given work, then you must come
and keep step with us from early morn to night for three hundred and
sixty-five days in the year."

Until the very last she was on the roll of the active workers of the
Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society. In the fall of 1915 she
decided that she must once more see the schools in the South that meant
so much to her. In December she came again to her beloved Spelman. While
in Atlanta she met with an accident that still further weakened her.
After a few weeks, however, she went on to Jacksonville, and then to
Selma. There she passed.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels
with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.... Then shall
the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered,
and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a
stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we
thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer
and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.



1. _Political Life: Disfranchisement_

By 1876 the reconstruction governments had all but passed. A few days
after his inauguration in 1877 President Hayes sent to Louisiana a
commission to investigate the claims of rival governments there. The
decision was in favor of the Democrats. On April 9 the President ordered
the removal of Federal troops from public buildings in the South; and
in Columbia, S.C., within a few days the Democratic administration of
Governor Wade Hampton was formally recognized. The new governments at
once set about the abrogation of the election laws that had protected
the Negro in the exercise of suffrage, and, having by 1877 obtained
a majority in the national House of Representatives, the Democrats
resorted to the practice of attaching their repeal measures to
appropriation bills in the hope of compelling the President to sign
them. Men who had been prominently connected with the Confederacy were
being returned to Congress in increasing numbers, but in general the
Democrats were not able to carry their measures over the President's
veto. From the Supreme Court, however, they received practical
assistance, for while this body did not formally grant that the states
had full powers over elections, it nevertheless nullified many of the
most objectionable sections of the laws. Before the close of the decade,
by intimidation, the theft, suppression or exchange of the ballot boxes,
the removal of the polls to unknown places, false certifications, and
illegal arrests on the day before an election, the Negro vote had been
rendered ineffectual in every state of the South.

When Cleveland was elected in 1884 the Negroes of the South naturally
felt that the darkest hour of their political fortunes had come. It had,
for among many other things this election said that after twenty years
of discussion and tumult the Negro question was to be relegated to the
rear, and that the country was now to give main attention to other
problems. For the Negro the new era was signalized by one of the most
effective speeches ever delivered in this or any other country, all
the more forceful because the orator was a man of unusual nobility of
spirit. In 1886 Henry W. Grady, of Georgia, addressed the New England
Club in New York on "The New South." He spoke to practical men and he
knew his ground. He asked his hearers to bring their "full faith in
American fairness and frankness" to judgment upon what he had to say.
He pictured in brilliant language the Confederate soldier, "ragged,
half-starved, heavy-hearted, who wended his way homeward to find his
house in ruins and his farm devastated." He also spoke kindly of the
Negro: "Whenever he struck a blow for his own liberty he fought in open
battle, and when at last he raised his black and humble hands that the
shackles might be struck off, those hands were innocent of wrong against
his helpless charges." But Grady also implied that the Negro had
received too much attention and sympathy from the North. Said he: "To
liberty and enfranchisement is as far as law can carry the Negro.
The rest must be left to conscience and common sense." Hence on this
occasion and others he asked that the South be left alone in the
handling of her grave problem. The North, a little tired of the Negro
question, a little uncertain also as to the wisdom of the reconstruction
policy that it had forced on the South, and if concerned with this
section at all, interested primarily in such investments as it had
there, assented to this request; and in general the South now felt that
it might order its political life in its own way.

As yet, however, the Negro was not technically disfranchised, and at any
moment a sudden turn of events might call him into prominence. Formal
legislation really followed the rise of the Populist party, which
about 1890 in many places in the South waged an even contest with the
Democrats. It was evident that in such a struggle the Negro might still
hold the balance of power, and within the next few years a fusion of the
Republicans and the Populists in North Carolina sent a Negro, George H.
White, to Congress. This event finally served only to strengthen the
movement for disfranchisement which had already begun. In 1890 the
constitution of Mississippi was so amended as to exclude from the
suffrage any person who had not paid his poll-tax or who was unable to
read any section of the constitution, or understand it when read to
him, or to give a reasonable interpretation of it. The effect of the
administration of this provision was that in 1890 only 8615 Negroes out
of 147,000 of voting age became registered. South Carolina amended her
constitution with similar effect in 1895. In this state the population
was almost three-fifths Negro and two-fifths white. The franchise of
the Negro was already in practical abeyance; but the problem now was
to devise a means for the perpetuity of a government of white men.
Education was not popular as a test, for by it many white illiterates
would be disfranchised and in any case it would only postpone the race
issue. For some years the dominant party had been engaged in factional
controversies, with the populist wing led by Benjamin R. Tillman
prevailing over the conservatives. It was understood, however, that each
side would be given half of the membership of the convention, which
would exclude all Negro and Republican representation, and that the
constitution would go into effect without being submitted to the people.
Said the most important provision: "Any person who shall apply for
registration after January 1, 1898, if otherwise qualified, shall be
registered; provided that he can both read and write any section of this
constitution submitted to him by the registration officer or can show
that he owns and has paid all taxes collectible during the previous
year on property in this state assessed at three hundred dollars or
more"--clauses which it is hardly necessary to say the registrars
regularly interpreted in favor of white men and against the Negro. In
1898 Louisiana passed an amendment inventing the so-called "grandfather
clause." This excused from the operation of her disfranchising act all
descendants of men who had voted before the Civil War, thus admitting
to the suffrage all white men who were illiterate and without property.
North Carolina in 1900, Virginia and Alabama in 1901, Georgia in 1907,
and Oklahoma in 1910 in one way or another practically disfranchised the
Negro, care being taken in every instance to avoid any definite clash
with the Fifteenth Amendment. In Maryland there have been several
attempts to disfranchise the Negro by constitutional amendments, one in
1905, another in 1909, and still another in 1911, but all have failed.
About the intention of its disfranchising legislation the South, as
represented by more than one spokesman, was very frank. Unfortunately
the new order called forth a group of leaders--represented by Tillman
in South Carolina, Hoke Smith in Georgia, and James K. Vardaman in
Mississippi--who made a direct appeal to prejudice and thus capitalized
the racial feeling that already had been brought to too high tension.

Naturally all such legislation as that suggested had ultimately to be
brought before the highest tribunal in the country. The test came
over the following section from the Oklahoma law: "No person shall be
registered as an elector of this state or be allowed to vote in any
election herein unless he shall be able to read and write any section
of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma; but no person who was on
January 1, 1866, or at any time prior thereto, entitled to vote under
any form of government, or who at any time resided in some foreign
nation, and no lineal descendant of such person shall be denied the
right to register and vote because of his inability to so read and
write sections of such Constitution." This enactment the Supreme Court
declared unconstitutional in 1915. The decision exerted no great and
immediate effect on political conditions in the South; nevertheless as
the official recognition by the nation of the fact that the Negro
was not accorded his full political rights, it was destined to have
far-reaching effect on the whole political fabric of the section.

When the era of disfranchisement began it was in large measure expected
by the South that with the practical elimination of the Negro from
politics this section would become wider in its outlook and divide on
national issues. Such has not proved to be the case. Except for the
noteworthy deflection of Tennessee in the presidential election of 1920,
and Republican gains in some counties in other states, this section
remains just as "solid" as it was forty years ago, largely of course
because the Negro, through education and the acquisition of property, is
becoming more and more a potential factor in politics. Meanwhile it is
to be observed that the Negro is not wholly without a vote, even in the
South, and sometimes his power is used with telling effect, as in the
city of Atlanta in the spring of 1919, when he decided in the negative
the question of a bond issue. In the North moreover--especially in
Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York--he
has on more than one occasion proved the deciding factor in political
affairs. Even when not voting, however, he involuntarily wields
tremendous influence on the destinies of the nation, for even though men
may be disfranchised, all are nevertheless counted in the allotment of
congressmen to Southern states. This anomalous situation means that in
actual practice the vote of one white man in the South is four or six
or even eight times as strong as that of a man in the North;[1] and it
directly accounted for the victory of President Wilson and the Democrats
over the Republicans led by Charles E. Hughes in 1916. For remedying
it by the enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment bills have been
frequently presented in Congress, but on these no action has been taken.

[Footnote 1: In 1914 Kansas and Mississippi each elected eight members
of the House of Representatives, but Kansas cast 483,683 votes for
her members, while Mississippi cast only 37,185 for hers, less than
one-twelfth as many.]

2. _Economic Life: Peonage_

Within fifteen years after the close of the war it was clear that the
Emancipation Proclamation was a blessing to the poor white man of the
South as well as to the Negro. The break-up of the great plantation
system was ultimately to prove good for all men whose slender means had
given them little chance before the war. At the same time came also the
development of cotton-mills throughout the South, in which as early as
1880 not less than 16,000 white people were employed. With the decay of
the old system the average acreage of holdings in the South Atlantic
states decreased from 352.8 in 1860 to 108.4 in 1900. It was still
not easy for an independent Negro to own land on his own account;
nevertheless by as early a year as 1874 the Negro farmers had acquired
338,769 acres. After the war the planters first tried the wage system
for the Negroes. This was not satisfactory--from the planter's
standpoint because the Negro had not yet developed stability as a
laborer; from the Negro's standpoint because while the planter might
advance rations, he frequently postponed the payment of wages and
sometimes did not pay at all. Then land came to be rented; but
frequently the rental was from 80 to 100 pounds of lint cotton an acre
for land that produced only 200 to 400 pounds. In course of time
the share system came to be most widely used. Under this the tenant
frequently took his whole family into the cotton-field, and when the
crop was gathered and he and the landlord rode together to the nearest
town to sell it, he received one-third, one-half, or two-thirds of the
money according as he had or had not furnished his own food, implements,
and horses or mules. This system might have proved successful if he had
not had to pay exorbitant prices for his rations. As it was, if
the landlord did not directly furnish foodstuffs he might have an
understanding with the keeper of the country store, who frequently
charged for a commodity twice what it was worth in the open market. At
the close of the summer there was regularly a huge bill waiting for the
Negro at the store; this had to be disposed of first, _and he always
came out just a few dollars behind_. However, the landlord did not mind
such a small matter and in the joy of the harvest might even advance a
few dollars; but the understanding was always that the tenant was to
remain on the land the next year. Thus were the chains of peonage forged
about him.

At the same time there developed a still more vicious system.
Immediately after the war legislation enacted in the South made severe
provision with reference to vagrancy. Negroes were arrested on the
slightest pretexts and their labor as that of convicts leased to
landowners or other business men. When, a few years later, Negroes,
dissatisfied with the returns from their labor on the farms, began a
movement to the cities, there arose a tendency to make the vagrancy
legislation still more harsh, so that at last a man could not stop work
without technically committing a crime. Thus in all its hideousness
developed the convict lease system.

This institution and the accompanying chain-gang were at variance with
all the humanitarian impulses of the nineteenth century. Sometimes
prisoners were worked in remote parts of a state altogether away from
the oversight of responsible officials; if they stayed in a prison the
department for women was frequently in plain view and hearing of
the male convicts, and the number of cubic feet in a cell was only
one-fourth of what a scientific test would have required. Sometimes
there was no place for the dressing of the dead except in the presence
of the living. The system was worst when the lessee was given the entire
charge of the custody and discipline of the convicts, and even of their
medical or surgical care. Of real attention there frequently was none,
and reports had numerous blank spaces to indicate deaths from unknown
causes. The sturdiest man could hardly survive such conditions for more
than ten years. In Alabama in 1880 only three of the convicts had been
in confinement for eight years, and only one for nine. In Texas, from
1875 to 1880, the total number of prisoners discharged was 1651, while
the number of deaths and escapes for the same period totalled 1608. In
North Carolina the mortality was eight times as great as in Sing Sing.

At last the conscience of the nation began to be heard, and after 1883
there were remedial measures. However, the care of the prisoner still
left much to be desired; and as the Negro is greatly in the majority
among prisoners in the South, and as he is still sometimes arrested
illegally or on flimsy pretexts, the whole matter of judicial and penal
procedure becomes one of the first points of consideration in any final
settlement of the Negro Problem.[1]

[Footnote 1: Within recent years it has been thought that the convict
lease system and peonage had practically passed in the South. That this
was by no means the case was shown by the astonishing revelations from
Jasper County, Georgia, early in 1921, it being demonstrated in court
that a white farmer, John S. Williams, who had "bought out" Negroes from
the prisons of Atlanta and Macon, had not only held these people in
peonage, but had been directly responsible for the killing of not less
than eleven of them.

However, as the present work passes through the press, word comes of the
remarkable efforts of Governor Hugh M. Dorsey for a more enlightened
public conscience in his state. In addition to special endeavor for
justice in the Williams case, he has issued a booklet citing with detail
one hundred and thirty-five cases in which Negroes have suffered grave
wrong. He divides his cases into four divisions: (1) The Negro lynched,
(2) The Negro held in peonage, (3) The Negro driven out by organized
lawlessness, and (4) The Negro subject to individual acts of cruelty.
"In some counties," he says, "the Negro is being driven out as though he
were a wild beast. In others he is being held as a slave. In others no
Negroes remain.... In only two of the 135 cases cited is crime against
white women involved."

For the more recent history of peonage see pp. 306, 329, 344, 360-363.]

3. _Social Life: Proscription, Lynching_

Meanwhile proscription went forward. Separate and inferior traveling
accommodations, meager provision for the education of Negro children,
inadequate street, lighting and water facilities in most cities and
towns, and the general lack of protection of life and property, made
living increasingly harder for a struggling people. For the Negro of
aspiration or culture every day became a long train of indignities and
insults. On street cars he was crowded into a few seats, generally in
the rear; he entered a railway station by a side door; in a theater he
might occupy only a side, or more commonly the extreme rear, of the
second balcony; a house of ill fame might flourish next to his own
little home; and from public libraries he was shut out altogether,
except where a little branch was sometimes provided. Every opportunity
for such self-improvement as a city might be expected to afford him was
either denied him, or given on such terms as his self-respect forced him
to refuse.

Meanwhile--and worst of all--he failed to get justice in the courts.
Formally called before the bar he knew beforehand that the case was
probably already decided against him. A white boy might insult and pick
a quarrel with his son, but if the case reached the court room the white
boy would be freed and the Negro boy fined $25 or sent to jail for three
months. Some trivial incident involving no moral responsibility whatever
on the Negro's part might yet cost him his life.

Lynching grew apace. Generally this was said to be for the protection
of white womanhood; but statistics certainly did not give rape the
prominence that it held in the popular mind. Any cause of controversy,
however slight, that forced a Negro to defend himself against a white
man might result in a lynching, and possibly in a burning. In the period
of 1871-73 the number of Negroes lynched in the South is said to have
been not more than 11 a year. Between 1885 and 1915, however, the number
of persons lynched in the country amounted to 3500, the great majority
being Negroes in the South. For the year 1892 alone the figure was 235.

One fact was outstanding: astonishing progress was being made by the
Negro people, but in the face of increasing education and culture on
their part, there was no diminution of race feeling. Most Southerners
preferred still to deal with a Negro of the old type rather than with
one who was neatly dressed, simple and unaffected in manner, and
ambitious to have a good home. In any case, however, it was clear that
since the white man held the power, upon him rested primarily the
responsibility of any adjustment. Old schemes for deportation or
colonization in a separate state having proved ineffective or
chimerical, it was necessary to find a new platform on which both races
could stand. The Negro was still the outstanding factor in agriculture
and industry; in large numbers he had to live, and will live, in Georgia
and South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas; and there should have been
some plane on which he could reside in the South not only serviceably
but with justice to his self-respect. The wealth of the New South, it is
to be remembered, was won not only by the labor of black hands but also
that of little white boys and girls. As laborers and citizens, real or
potential, both of these groups deserved the most earnest solicitude of
the state, for it is not upon the riches of the few but the happiness of
the many that a nation's greatness depends. Moreover no state can build
permanently or surely by denying to a half or a third of those governed
any voice whatever in the government. If the Negro was ignorant, he was
also economically defenseless; and it is neither just nor wise to deny
to any man, however humble, any real power for his legal protection. If
these principles hold--and we think they are in line with enlightened
conceptions of society--the prosperity of the New South was by no means
as genuine as it appeared to be, and the disfranchisement of the Negro,
morally and politically, was nothing less than a crime.


"THE VALE OF TEARS," 1890-1910

1. _Current Opinion and Tendencies_

In the two decades that we are now to consider we find the working
out of all the large forces mentioned in our last chapter. After a
generation of striving the white South was once more thoroughly in
control, and the new program well under way. Predictions for both a
broader outlook for the section as a whole and greater care for the
Negro's moral and intellectual advancement were destined not to be
fulfilled; and the period became one of bitter social and economic

All of this was primarily due to the one great fallacy on which the
prosperity of the New South was built, and that was that the labor of
the Negro existed only for the good of the white man. To this one source
may be traced most of the ills borne by both white man and Negro during
the period. If the Negro's labor was to be exploited, it was necessary
that he be without the protection of political power and that he be
denied justice in court. If he was to be reduced to a peon, certainly
socially he must be given a peon's place. Accordingly there developed
everywhere--in schools, in places of public accommodation, in the
facilities of city life--the idea of inferior service for Negroes;
and an unenlightened prison system flourished in all its hideousness.
Furthermore, as a result of the vicious economic system, arose the
sinister form of the Negro criminal. Here again the South begged the
question, representative writers lamenting the passing of the dear dead
days of slavery, and pointing cynically to the effects of freedom on the
Negro. They failed to remember in the case of the Negro criminal that
from childhood to manhood--in education, in economic chance, in legal
power--they had by their own system deprived a human being of every
privilege that was due him, ruining him body and soul; and then they
stood aghast at the thing their hands had made. More than that, they
blamed the race itself for the character that now sometimes appeared,
and called upon thrifty, aspiring Negroes to find the criminal and give
him up to the law. Thrifty, aspiring Negroes wondered what was the
business of the police.

It was this pitiful failure to get down to fundamentals that
characterized the period and that made life all the more hard for those
Negroes who strove to advance. Every effort was made to brutalize a man,
and then he was blamed for not being a St. Bernard. Fortunately before
the period was over there arose not only clear-thinking men of the race
but also a few white men who realized that such a social order could not
last forever.

Early in the nineties, however, the pendulum had swung fully backward,
and the years from 1890 to 1895 were in some ways the darkest that the
race has experienced since emancipation. When in 1892 Cleveland was
elected for a second term and the Democrats were once more in power, it
seemed to the Southern rural Negro that the conditions of slavery had
all but come again. More and more the South formulated its creed; it
glorified the old aristocracy that had flourished and departed, and
definitely it began to ask the North if it had not been right after all.
It followed of course that if the Old South had the real key to the
problem, the proper place of the Negro was that of a slave.

Within two or three years there were so many important articles on the
Negro in prominent magazines and these were by such representative men
that taken together they formed a symposium. In December, 1891, James
Bryce wrote in the _North American Review_, pointing out that the
situation in the South was a standing breach of the Constitution, that
it suspended the growth of political parties and accustomed the section
to fraudulent evasions, and he emphasized education as a possible
remedy; he had quite made up his mind that the Negro had little or no
place in politics. In January, 1892, a distinguished classical scholar,
Basil L. Gildersleeve, turned aside from linguistics to write in the
_Atlantic_ "The Creed of the Old South," which article he afterwards
published as a special brochure, saying that it had been more widely
read than anything else he had ever written. In April, Thomas Nelson
Page in the _North American_ contended that in spite of the $5,000,000
spent on the education of the Negro in Virginia between 1870 and 1890
the race had retrograded or not greatly improved, and in fact that the
Negro "did not possess the qualities to raise himself above slavery."
Later in the same year he published _The Old South_. In the same month
Frederick L. Hoffman, writing in the _Arena_, contended that in view of
its mortality statistics the Negro race would soon die out.[1] Also in
April, 1892, Henry Watterson wrote of the Negro in the _Chautauquan_,
recalling the facts that the era of political turmoil had been succeeded
by one of reaction and violence, and that by one of exhaustion and
peace; but with all his insight he ventured no constructive suggestion,
thinking it best for everybody "simply to be quiet for a time." Early in
1893 John C. Wycliffe, a prominent lawyer of New Orleans, writing in
the _Forum_, voiced the desires of many in asking for a repeal of the
Fifteenth Amendment; and in October, Bishop Atticus G. Haygood, writing
in the same periodical of a recent and notorious lynching, said, "It
was horrible to torture the guilty wretch; the burning was an act of
insanity. But had the dismembered form of his victim been the dishonored
body of my baby, I might also have gone into an insanity that might have
ended never." Again and again was there the lament that the Negroes of
forty years after were both morally and intellectually inferior to
their antebellum ancestors; and if college professors and lawyers and
ministers of the Gospel wrote in this fashion one could not wonder that
the politician made capital of choice propaganda.

[Footnote 1: In 1896 this paper entered into an elaborate study, _Race
Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro_, a publication of the
American Economic Association. In this Hoffman contended at length that
the race was not only not holding its own in population, but that it was
also astonishingly criminal and was steadily losing economically. His
work was critically studied and its fallacies exposed in the _Nation_,
April 1, 1897.]

In this chorus of dispraise truth struggled for a hearing, but then as
now traveled more slowly than error. In the _North American_ for July,
1892, Frederick Douglass wrote vigorously of "Lynch Law in the South."
In the same month George W. Cable answered affirmatively and with
emphasis the question, "Does the Negro pay for his education?" He showed
that in Georgia in 1889-90 the colored schools did not really cost the
white citizens a cent, and that in the other Southern states the Negro
was also contributing his full share to the maintenance of the schools.
In June of the same year William T. Harris, Commissioner of Education,
wrote in truly statesmanlike fashion in the _Atlantic_ of "The Education
of the Negro." Said he: "With the colored people all educated in schools
and become a reading people interested in the daily newspaper; with all
forms of industrial training accessible to them, and the opportunity so
improved that every form of mechanical and manufacturing skill has its
quota of colored working men and women; with a colored ministry educated
in a Christian theology interpreted in a missionary spirit, and finding
its auxiliaries in modern science and modern literature; with these
educational essentials the Negro problem for the South will be solved
without recourse to violent measures of any kind, whether migration,
or disfranchisement, or ostracism." In December, 1893, Walter H. Page,
writing in the _Forum_ of lynching under the title, "The Last Hold of
the Southern Bully," said that "the great danger is not in the first
violation of law, nor in the crime itself, but in the danger that
Southern public sentiment under the stress of this phase of the race
problem will lose the true perspective of civilization"; and L.E.
Bleckley, Chief Justice of Georgia, spoke in similar vein. On the whole,
however, the country, while occasionally indignant at some atrocity, had
quite decided not to touch the Negro question for a while; and when in
the spring of 1892 some representative Negroes protested without avail
to President Harrison against the work of mobs, the _Review of Reviews_
but voiced the drift of current opinion when it said: "As for the
colored men themselves, their wisest course would be to cultivate the
best possible relations with the most upright and intelligent of their
white neighbors, and for some time to come to forget all about politics
and to strive mightily for industrial and educational progress."[1]

[Footnote 1: June, 1892, p. 526.]

It is not strange that under the circumstances we have now to record
such discrimination, crime, and mob violence as can hardly be paralleled
in the whole of American history. The Negro was already down; he was now
to be trampled upon. When in the spring of 1892 some members of the race
in the lowlands of Mississippi lost all they had by the floods and the
Federal Government was disposed to send relief, the state government
protested against such action on the ground that it would keep the
Negroes from accepting the terms offered by the white planters. In
Louisiana in 1895 a Negro presiding elder reported to the _Southwestern
Christian Advocate_ that he had lost a membership of a hundred souls,
the people being compelled to leave their crops and move away within ten

In 1891 the jail at Omaha was entered and a Negro taken out and hanged
to a lamp-post. On February 27, 1892, at Jackson, La., where there was
a pound party for the minister at the Negro Baptist church, a crowd of
white men gathered, shooting revolvers and halting the Negroes as they
passed. Most of the people were allowed to go on, but after a while the
sport became furious and two men were fatally shot. About the same time,
and in the same state, at Rayville, a Negro girl of fifteen was taken
from a jail by a mob and hanged to a tree. In Texarkana, Ark., a Negro
who had outraged a farmer's wife was captured and burned alive, the
injured woman herself being compelled to light the fire. Just a few days
later, in March, a constable in Memphis in attempting to arrest a Negro
was killed. Numerous arrests followed, and at night a mob went to the
jail, gained easy access, and, having seized three well-known Negroes
who were thought to have been leaders in the killing, lynched them, the
whole proceeding being such a flagrant violation of law that it has not
yet been forgotten by the older Negro citizens of this important city.
On February 1, 1893, at Paris, Texas, after one of the most brutal
crimes occurred one of the most horrible lynchings on record. Henry
Smith, the Negro, who seems to have harbored a resentment against a
policeman of the town because of ill-treatment that he had received,
seized the officer's three-year-old child, outraged her, and then tore
her body to pieces. He was tortured by the child's father, her uncles,
and her fifteen-year-old brother, his eyes being put out with hot irons
before he was burned. His stepson, who had refused to tell where he
could be found, was hanged and his body riddled with bullets. Thus the
lynchings went on, the victims sometimes being guilty of the gravest
crimes, but often also perfectly innocent people. In February, 1893, the
average was very nearly one a day. At the same time injuries inflicted
on the Negro were commonly disregarded altogether. Thus at Dickson,
Tenn., a young white man lost forty dollars. A fortune-teller told him
that the money had been taken by a woman and gave a description that
seemed to fit a young colored woman who had worked in the home of a
relative. Half a dozen men then went to the home of the young woman and
outraged her, her mother, and also another woman who was in the house.
At the very close of 1894, in Brooks County, Ga., after a Negro named
Pike had killed a white man with whom he had a quarrel, seven Negroes
were lynched after the real murderer had escaped. Any relative or other
Negro who, questioned, refused to tell of the whereabouts of Pike,
whether he knew of the same or not, was shot in his tracks, one man
being shot before he had chance to say anything at all. Meanwhile the
White Caps or "Regulators" took charge of the neighboring counties,
terrifying the Negroes everywhere; and in the trials that resulted the
state courts broke down altogether, one judge in despair giving up the
holding of court as useless.

Meanwhile discrimination of all sorts went forward. On May 29, 1895,
moved by the situation at the Orange Park Academy, the state of Florida
approved "An Act to Prohibit White and Colored Youth from being Taught
in the same Schools." Said one section: "It shall be a penal offense
for any individual body of inhabitants, corporation, or association to
conduct within this State any school of any grade, public, private, or
parochial, wherein white persons and Negroes shall be instructed or
boarded within the same building, or taught in the same class or at the
same time by the same teacher." Religious organizations were not to be
left behind in such action; and when before the meeting of the Baptist
Young People's Union in Baltimore a letter was sent to the secretary of
the organization and the editor of the _Baptist Union_, in behalf of the
Negroes, who the year before had not been well treated at Toronto, he
sent back an evasive answer, saying that the policy of his society was
to encourage local unions to affiliate with their own churches.

More grave than anything else was the formal denial of the Negro's
political rights. As we have seen, South Carolina in 1895 followed
Mississippi in the disfranchising program and within the next fifteen
years most of the other Southern states did likewise. With the Negro
thus deprived of any genuine political voice, all sorts of social and
economic injustice found greater license.

2. _Industrial Education: Booker T. Washington_

Such were the tendencies of life in the South as affecting the Negro
thirty years after emancipation. In September, 1895, a rising educator
of the race attracted national attention by a remarkable speech that
he made at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta. Said Booker T.
Washington: "To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition
in a foreign land, or who underestimate the importance of cultivating
friendly relations with the Southern white man who is their next door
neighbor, I would say, 'Cast down your bucket where you are'--cast it
down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by
whom we are surrounded.... To those of the white race who look to the
incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the
prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to
my own race, 'Cast down your bucket where you are.' Cast it down among
8,000,000 Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you
have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of
your fire-sides.... In all things that are purely social we can be as
separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to
mutual progress."

The message that Dr. Washington thus enunciated he had already given in
substance the previous spring in an address at Fisk University, and even
before then his work at Tuskegee Institute had attracted attention.[1]
The Atlanta Exposition simply gave him the great occasion that he
needed; and he was now to proclaim the new word throughout the length
and breadth of the land. Among the hundreds of addresses that he
afterwards delivered, especially important were those at Harvard
University in 1896, at the Chicago Peace Jubilee in 1898, and before the
National Education Association in St. Louis in 1904. Again and again in
these speeches one comes upon such striking sentences as the following:
"Freedom can never be given. It must be purchased."[2] "The race, like
the individual, that makes itself indispensable, has solved most of its
problems."[3] "As a race there are two things we must learn to do--one
is to put brains into the common occupations of life, and the other is
to dignify common labor."[4] "Ignorant and inexperienced, it is not
strange that in the first years of our new life we began at the
top instead of at the bottom; that a seat in Congress or the State
Legislature was worth more than real estate or industrial skill."[5]
"The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth
infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera
house."[6] "One of the most vital questions that touch our American life
is how to bring the strong, wealthy, and learned into helpful contact
with the poorest, most ignorant, and humblest, and at the same time
make the one appreciate the vitalizing, strengthening influence of the
other."[7] "There is no defense or security for any of us except in the
highest intelligence and development of all."[8]

[Footnote 1: See article by Albert Shaw, "Negro Progress on the Tuskegee
Plan," in _Review of Reviews_, April, 1894.]

[Footnote 2,3: Speech before N.E.A., in St. Louis, June 30, 1904.]

[Footnote 4: Speech at Fisk University, 1805.]

[Footnote 5,6,8: Speech at Atlanta Exposition, September 18, 1895.]

[Footnote 7: Speech at Harvard University, June 24, 1896.]

The time was ripe for a new leader. Frederick Douglass had died in
February, 1895. In his later years he had more than once lost hold on
the heart of his people, as when he opposed the Negro Exodus or seemed
not fully in sympathy with the religious convictions of those who looked
to him. At his passing, however, the race remembered only his early
service and his old magnificence, and to a striving people his death
seemed to make still darker the gathering gloom. Coming when he did,
Booker T. Washington was thoroughly in line with the materialism of his
age; he answered both an economic and an educational crisis. He also
satisfied the South of the new day by what he had to say about social

The story of his work reads like a romance, and he himself has told it
better than any one else ever can. He did not claim the credit for
the original idea of industrial education; that he gave to General
Armstrong, and it was at Hampton that he himself had been nurtured. What
was needed, however, was for some one to take the Hampton idea down to
the cotton belt, interpret the lesson for the men and women digging in
the ground, and generally to put the race in line with the country's
industrial development. This was what Booker T. Washington undertook to

He reached Tuskegee early in June, 1881. July 4 was the date set for the
opening of the school in the little shanty and church which had been
secured for its accommodation. On the morning of this day thirty
students reported for admission. The greater number were school-teachers
and some were nearly forty years of age. Just about three months
after the opening of the school there was offered for sale an old and
abandoned plantation a mile from Tuskegee on which the mansion had been
burned. All told the place seemed to be just the location needed to
make the work effective and permanent. The price asked was five hundred
dollars, the owner requiring the immediate payment of two hundred and
fifty dollars, the remaining two hundred and fifty to be paid within a
year. In his difficulty Mr. Washington wrote to General J.F.B. Marshall,
treasurer of Hampton Institute, placing the matter before him and asking
for the loan of two hundred and fifty dollars. General Marshall replied
that he had no authority to lend money belonging to Hampton Institute,
but that he would gladly advance the amount needed from his personal
funds. Toward the paying of this sum the assisting teacher, Olivia A.
Davidson (afterwards Mrs. Washington), helped heroically. Her first
effort was made by holding festivals and suppers, but she also canvassed
the families in the town of Tuskegee, and the white people as well as
the Negroes helped her. "It was often pathetic," said the principal, "to
note the gifts of the older colored people, many of whom had spent their
best days in slavery. Sometimes they would give five cents, sometimes
twenty-five cents. Sometimes the contribution was a quilt, or a quantity
of sugarcane. I recall one old colored woman, who was about seventy
years of age, who came to see me when we were raising money to pay for
the farm. She hobbled into the room where I was, leaning on a cane. She
was clad in rags, but they were clean. She said, 'Mr. Washington, God
knows I spent de bes' days of my life in slavery. God knows I's ignorant
an' poor; but I knows what you an' Miss Davidson is tryin' to do. I
knows you is tryin' to make better men an' better women for de colored
race. I ain't got no money, but I wants you to take dese six eggs,
what I's been savin' up, an' I wants you to put dese six eggs into de
eddication of dese boys an' gals.' Since the work at Tuskegee started,"
added the speaker, "it has been my privilege to receive many gifts for
the benefit of the institution, but never any, I think, that touched me
as deeply as this one."

It was early in the history of the school that Mr. Washington conceived
the idea of extension work. The Tuskegee Conferences began in February,
1892. To the first meeting came five hundred men, mainly farmers, and
many woman. Outstanding was the discussion of the actual terms on which
most of the men were living from year to year. A mortgage was given on
the cotton crop before it was planted, and to the mortgage was attached
a note which waived all right to exemptions under the constitution and
laws of the state of Alabama or of any other state to which the tenant
might move. Said one: "The mortgage ties you tighter than any rope and a
waive note is a consuming fire." Said another: "The waive note is good
for twenty years and when you sign one you must either pay out or die
out." Another: "When you sign a waive note you just cross your hands
behind you and go to the merchant and say, 'Here, tie me and take
all I've got.'" All agreed that the people mortgaged more than was
necessary, to buy sewing machines (which sometimes were not used),
expensive clocks, great family Bibles, or other things easily dispensed
with. Said one man: "My people want all they can get on credit, not
thinking of the day of settlement. We must learn to bore with a small
augur first. The black man totes a heavy bundle, and when he puts it
down there is a plow, a hoe, and ignorance."

It was to people such as these that Booker T. Washington brought hope,
and serving them he passed on to fame. Within a few years schools on the
plan of Tuskegee began to spring up all over the South, at Denmark, at
Snow Hill, at Utica, and elsewhere. In 1900 the National Negro Business
League began its sessions, giving great impetus to the establishment of
banks, stores, and industrial enterprises throughout the country, and
especially in the South. Much of this progress would certainly have been
realized if the Business League had never been organized; but every one
granted that in all the development the genius of the leader at
Tuskegee was the chief force. About his greatness and his very definite
contribution there could be no question.

3. _Individual Achievement: The Spanish-American War_

It happened that just at the time that Booker T. Washington was
advancing to great distinction, three or four other individuals were
reflecting special credit on the race. One of these was a young scholar,
W.E. Burghardt DuBois, who after a college career at Fisk continued
his studies at Harvard and Berlin and finally took the Ph.D. degree
at Harvard in 1895. There had been sound scholars in the race before
DuBois, but generally these had rested on attainment in the languages or
mathematics, and most frequently they had expressed themselves in rather
philosophical disquisition. Here, however, was a thorough student of
economics, and one who was able to attack the problems of his people and
meet opponents on the basis of modern science. He was destined to do
great good, and the race was proud of him.

In 1896 also an authentic young poet who had wrestled with poverty and
doubt at last gained a hearing. After completing the course at a high
school in Dayton, Paul Laurence Dunbar ran an elevator for four dollars
a week, and then he peddled from door to door two little volumes of
verse that had been privately printed. William Dean Howells at length
gave him a helping hand, and Dodd, Mead & Co. published _Lyrics of Lowly
Life_. Dunbar wrote both in classic English and in the dialect that
voiced the humor and the pathos of the life of those for whom he spoke.
What was not at the time especially observed was that in numerous poems
he suggested the discontent with the age in which he lived and thus
struck what later years were to prove an important keynote. After he had
waited and struggled so long, his success was so great that it became a
vogue, and imitators sprang up everywhere. He touched the heart of his
people and the race loved him.

By 1896 also word began to come of a Negro American painter, Henry O.
Tanner, who was winning laurels in Paris. At the same time a beautiful
singer, Mme. Sissieretta Jones, on the concert stage was giving new
proof of the possibilities of the Negro as an artist in song. In the
previous decade Mme. Marie Selika, a cultured vocalist of the first
rank, had delighted audiences in both America and Europe, and in 1887
had appeared Flora Batson, a ballad singer whose work at its best was of
the sort that sends an audience into the wildest enthusiasm. In 1894,
moreover, Harry T. Burleigh, competing against sixty candidates, became
baritone soloist at St. Georges's Episcopal Church, New York, and just a
few years later he was to be employed also at Temple Emanu-El, the Fifth
Avenue Jewish synagogue. From abroad also came word of a brilliant
musician, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who by his "Hiawatha's Wedding-Feast"
in 1898 leaped into the rank of the foremost living English composers.
On the more popular stage appeared light musical comedy, intermediate
between the old Negro minstrelsy and a genuine Negro drama, the
representative companies becoming within the next few years those of
Cole and Johnson, and Williams and Walker.

Especially outstanding in the course of the decade, however, was the
work of the Negro soldier in the Spanish-American War. There were at
the time four regiments of colored regulars in the Army of the United
States, the Twenty-fourth Infantry, the Twenty-fifth Infantry, the
Ninth Cavalry, and the Tenth Cavalry. When the war broke out President
McKinley sent to Congress a message recommending the enlistment of more
regiments of Negroes. Congress failed to act; nevertheless colored
troops enlisted in the volunteer service in Massachusetts, Indiana,
Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The
Eighth Illinois was officered throughout by Negroes, J.R. Marshall
commanding; and Major Charles E. Young, a West Point graduate, was in
charge of the Ohio battalion. The very first regiment ordered to the
front when the war broke out was the Twenty-fourth Infantry; and Negro
troops were conspicuous in the fighting around Santiago. They figured in
a brilliant charge at Las Quasimas on June 24, and in an attack on July
1 upon a garrison at El Caney (a position of importance for securing
possession of a line of hills along the San Juan River, a mile and a
half from Santiago) the First Volunteer Cavalry (Colonel Roosevelt's
"Rough Riders") was practically saved from annihilation by the gallant
work of the men of the Tenth Cavalry. Fully as patriotic, though in
another way, was a deed of the Twenty-fourth Infantry. Learning that
General Miles desired a regiment for the cleaning of a yellow
fever hospital and the nursing of some victims of the disease, the
Twenty-fourth volunteered its services and by one day's work so cleared
away the rubbish and cleaned the camp that the number of cases was
greatly reduced. Said the _Review of Reviews_ in editorial comment:[1]
"One of the most gratifying incidents of the Spanish War has been the
enthusiasm that the colored regiments of the regular army have
aroused throughout the whole country. Their fighting at Santiago was
magnificent. The Negro soldiers showed excellent discipline, the highest
qualities of personal bravery, very superior physical endurance,
unfailing good temper, and the most generous disposition toward all
comrades in arms, whether white or black. Roosevelt's Rough Riders have
come back singing the praises of the colored troops. There is not a
dissenting voice in the chorus of praise.... Men who can fight for their
country as did these colored troops ought to have their full share of
gratitude and honor."

[Footnote 1: October, 1898, p. 387.]

4. _Mob Violence; Election Troubles; The Atlanta Massacre_

After two or three years of comparative quiet--but only _comparative_
quiet--mob violence burst forth about the turn of the century with
redoubled intensity. In a large way this was simply a result of the
campaigns for disfranchisement that in some of the Southern states were
just now getting under way; but charges of assault and questions of
labor also played a part. In some places people who were innocent of any
charge whatever were attacked, and so many were killed that sometimes
it seemed that the law had broken down altogether. Not the least
interesting development of these troublous years was that in some cases
as never before Negroes began to fight with their backs to the wall, and
thus at the very close of the century--at the end of a bitter decade and
the beginning of one still more bitter--a new factor entered into the
problem, one that was destined more and more to demand consideration.

On one Sunday toward the close of October, 1898, the country recorded
two race wars, one lynching, two murders, one of which was expected to
lead to a lynching, with a total of ten Negroes killed and four wounded
and four white men killed and seven wounded. The most serious outbreak
was in the state of Mississippi, and it is worthy of note that in not
one single case was there any question of rape.

November was made red by election troubles in both North and South
Carolina. In the latter state, at Phoenix, in Greenwood County, on
November 8 and for some days thereafter, the Tolberts, a well-known
family of white Republicans, were attacked by mobs and barely escaped
alive. R.R. Tolbert was a candidate for Congress and also chairman of
the Republican state committee. John R. Tolbert, his father, collector
of the port of Charleston, had come home to vote and was at one of the
polling-places in the county. Thomas Tolbert at Phoenix was taking the
affidavits of the Negroes who were not permitted to vote for his brother
in order that later there might be ground on which to contest the
election. While thus engaged he was attacked by Etheridge, the
Democratic manager of another precinct. The Negroes came to Tolbert's
defense, and in the fight that followed Etheridge was killed and Tolbert
wounded. John Tolbert, coming up, was filled with buckshot, and a
younger member of the family was also hurt. The Negroes were at length
overpowered and the Tolberts forced to flee. All told it appears that
two white men and about twelve Negroes lost their lives in connection
with the trouble, six of the latter being lynched on account of the
death of Etheridge.

In North Carolina in 1894 the Republicans by combining with the
Populists had secured control of the state legislature. In 1896 the
Democrats were again outvoted, Governor Russell being elected by a
plurality of 9000. A considerable number of local offices was in the
hands of Negroes, who had the backing of the Governor, the legislature,
and the Supreme Court as well. Before the November elections in 1898 the
Democrats in Wilmington announced their determination to prevent Negroes
from holding office in the city. Especially had they been made angry by
an editorial in a local Negro paper, the _Record_, in which, under date
August 18, the editor, Alex. L. Manly, starting with a reference to a
speaker from Georgia, who at the Agricultural Society meeting at Tybee
had advocated lynching as an extreme measure, said that she "lost sight
of the basic principle of the religion of Christ in her plea for one
class of people as against another," and continued: "The papers are
filled with reports of rapes of white women, and the subsequent lynching
of the alleged rapists. The editors pour forth volleys of aspersions
against all Negroes because of the few who may be guilty. If the papers
and speakers of the other race would condemn the commission of crime
because it is crime and not try to make it appear that the Negroes
were the only criminals, they would find their strongest allies in the
intelligent Negroes themselves, and together the whites and blacks would
root the evil out of both races.... Our experience among poor white
people in the country teaches us that the women of that race are not any
more particular in the matter of clandestine meetings with colored men
than are the white men with colored women. Meetings of this kind go on
for some time until the woman's infatuation or the man's boldness brings
attention to them and the man is lynched for rape." In reply to this
the speaker quoted in a signed statement said: "When the Negro Manly
attributed the crime of rape to intimacy between Negro men and white
women of the South, the slanderer should be made to fear a lyncher's
rope rather than occupy a place in New York newspapers"--a method of
argument that was unfortunately all too common in the South. As election
day approached the Democrats sought generally to intimidate the Negroes,
the streets and roads being patrolled by men wearing red shirts.
Election day, however, passed without any disturbance; but on the next
day there was a mass meeting of white citizens, at which there were
adopted resolutions to employ white labor instead of Negro, to banish
the editor of the _Record_, and to send away from the city the
printing-press in the office of that paper; and a committee of
twenty-five was appointed to see that these resolutions were carried
into effect within twenty-four hours. In the course of the terrible
day that followed the printing office was destroyed, several white
Republicans were driven from the city, and nine Negroes were killed at
once, though no one could say with accuracy just how many more lost
their lives or were seriously wounded before the trouble was over.

Charles W. Chesnutt, in _The Marrow of Tradition_, has given a faithful
portrayal of these disgraceful events, the Wellington of the story being
Wilmington. Perhaps the best commentary on those who thus sought power
was afforded by their apologist, a Presbyterian minister and editor,
A.J. McKelway, who on this occasion and others wrote articles in the
_Independent_ and the _Outlook_ justifying the proceedings. Said he: "It
is difficult to speak of the Red Shirts without a smile. They victimized
the Negroes with a huge practical joke.... A dozen men would meet at a
crossroad, on horseback, clad in red shirts or calico, flannel or silk,
according to the taste of the owner and the enthusiasm of his womankind.
They would gallop through the country, and the Negro would quietly make
up his mind that his interest in political affairs was not a large one,
anyhow. It would be wise not to vote, and wiser not to register to
prevent being dragooned into voting on election day." It thus appears
that the forcible seizure of the political rights of people, the killing
and wounding of many, and the compelling of scores to leave their homes
amount in the end to not more than a "practical joke."

One part of the new program was the most intense opposition to Federal
Negro appointees anywhere in the South. On the morning of February 22,
1898, Frazer B. Baker, the colored postmaster at Lake City, S.C., awoke
to find his house in flames. Attempting to escape, he and his baby boy
were shot and killed and their bodies consumed in the burning house.
His wife and the other children were wounded but escaped. The
Postmaster-General was quite disposed to see that justice was done in
this case; but the men charged with the crime gave the most trivial
alibis, and on Saturday, April 22, 1899, the jury in the United States
Circuit Court at Charleston reported its failure to agree on a verdict.
Three years later the whole problem was presented strongly to President
Roosevelt. When Mrs. Minne Cox, who was serving efficiently as
postmistress at Indianola, Miss., was forced to resign because of
threats, he closed the office; and when there was protest against
the appointment of Dr. William D. Crum as collector of the port of
Charleston, he said, "I do not intend to appoint any unfit man to
office. So far as I legitimately can, I shall always endeavor to pay
regard to the wishes and feelings of the people of each locality; but I
can not consent to take the position that the door of hope--the door of
opportunity--is to be shut upon any man, no matter how worthy, purely
upon the grounds of race or color. Such an attitude would, according to
my convictions, be fundamentally wrong." These memorable words, coming
in a day of compromise and expediency in high places, greatly cheered
the heart of the race. Just the year before, the importance of the
incident of Booker T. Washington's taking lunch with President Roosevelt
was rather unnecessarily magnified by the South into all sorts of
discussion of social equality.

On Tuesday, January 24, 1899, a fire in the center of the town of
Palmetto, Ga., destroyed a hotel, two stores, and a storehouse, on which
property there was little insurance. The next Saturday there was another
fire and this destroyed a considerable part of the town. For some weeks
there was no clue as to the origin of these fires; but about the middle
of March something overheard by a white citizen led to the implicating
of nine Negroes. These men were arrested and confined for the night of
March 15 in a warehouse to await trial the next morning, a dummy guard
of six men being placed before the door. About midnight a mob came,
pushed open the door, and fired two volleys at the Negroes, killing four
immediately and fatally wounding four more. The circumstances of this
atrocious crime oppressed the Negro people of the state as few things
had done since the Civil War. That it did no good was evident, for in
its underlying psychology it was closely associated with a double crime
that was now to be committed. In April, Sam Hose, a Negro who had
brooded on the happenings at Palmetto, not many miles from the scene
killed a farmer, Alfred Cranford, who had been a leader of the mob, and
outraged his wife. For two weeks he was hunted like an animal, the white
people of the state meanwhile being almost unnerved and the Negroes
sickened by the pursuit. At last, however, he was found, and on Sunday,
April 23, at Newnan, Ga., he was burned, his execution being accompanied
by unspeakable mutilation; and on the same day Lige Strickland, a Negro
preacher whom Hose had accused of complicity in his crime, was hanged
near Palmetto. The nation stood aghast, for the recent events in Georgia
had shaken the very foundations of American civilization. Said the
_Charleston News and Courier_: "The chains which bound the citizen, Sam
Hose, to the stake at Newnan mean more for us and for his race than the
chains or bonds of slavery, which they supplanted. The flames that lit
the scene of his torture shed their baleful light throughout every
corner of our land, and exposed a state of things, actual and potential,
among us that should rouse the dullest mind to a sharp sense of our true
condition, and of our unchanged and unchangeable relations to the whole
race whom the tortured wretch represented."

Violence breeds violence, and two or three outstanding events are yet to
be recorded. On August 23, 1899, at Darien, Ga., hundreds of Negroes,
who for days had been aroused by rumors of a threatened lynching,
assembled at the ringing of the bell of a church opposite the jail and
by their presence prevented the removal of a prisoner. They were later
tried for insurrection and twenty-one sent to the convict farms for a
year. The general circumstances of the uprising excited great interest
throughout the country. In May, 1900, in Augusta, Ga., an unfortunate
street car incident resulted in the death of the aggressor, a young
white man named Whitney, and in the lynching of the colored man, Wilson,
who killed him. In this instance the victim was tortured and mutilated,
parts of his body and of the rope by which he was hanged being passed
around as souvenirs. A Negro organization at length recovered the body,
and so great was the excitement at the funeral that the coffin was not
allowed to be opened. Two months later, in New Orleans, there was a most
extraordinary occurrence, the same being important because the leading
figure was very frankly regarded by the Negroes as a hero and his fight
in his own defense a sign that the men of the race would not always be
shot down without some effort to protect themselves.

One night in July, an hour before midnight, two Negroes Robert Charles
and Leonard Pierce, who had recently come into the city from Mississippi
and whose movements had interested the police, were found by three
officers on the front steps of a house in Dryades Street. Being
questioned they replied that they had been in the town two or three days
and had secured work. In the course of the questioning the larger of
the Negroes, Charles, rose to his feet; he was seized by one of the
officers, Mora, who began to use his billet; and in the struggle that
resulted Charles escaped and Mora was wounded in each hand and the hip.
Charles now took refuge in a small house on Fourth Street, and when he
was surrounded, with deadly aim he shot and instantly killed the first
two officers who appeared.[1] The other men advancing, retreated and
waited until daylight for reënforcement, and Charles himself withdrew to
other quarters, and for some days his whereabouts were unknown. With the
new day, however, the city was wild with excitement and thousands of men
joined in the search, the newspapers all the while stirring the crowd
to greater fury. Mobs rushed up and down the streets assaulting Negroes
wherever they could be found, no effort to check them being made by the
police. On the second night a crowd of nearly a thousand was addressed
at the Lee Monument by a man from Kenner, a town a few miles above the
city. Said he: "Gentlemen, I am from Kenner, and I have come down here
to-night to assist you in teaching the blacks a lesson. I have killed a
Negro before and in revenge of the wrong wrought upon you and yours I am
willing to kill again. The only way you can teach these niggers a lesson
and put them in their place is to go out and lynch a few of them as
an object lesson. String up a few of them. That is the only thing to
do--kill them, string them up, lynch them. I will lead you. On to the
parish prison and lynch Pierce." The mob now rushed to the prison,
stores and pawnshops being plundered on the way. Within the next few
hours a Negro was taken from a street car on Canal Street, killed, and
his body thrown into the gutter. An old man of seventy going to work in
the morning was fatally shot. On Rousseau Street the mob fired into a
little cabin; the inmates were asleep and an old woman was killed in
bed. Another old woman who looked out from her home was beaten into
insensibility. A man sitting at his door was shot, beaten, and left for
dead. Such were the scenes that were enacted almost hourly from Monday
until Friday evening. One night the excellent school building given by
Thomy Lafon, a member of the race and a philanthropist, was burned.

[Footnote 1: From this time forth the wildest rumors were afloat and
the number of men that Charles had killed was greatly exaggerated. Some
reports said scores or even hundreds, and it is quite possible that any
figures given herewith are an understatement.]

About three o'clock on Friday afternoon Charles was found to be in
a two-story house at the corner of Saratoga and Clio Streets. Two
officers, Porteus and Lally, entered a lower room. The first fell dead
at the first shot, and the second was mortally wounded by the next. A
third, Bloomfield, waiting with gun in hand, was wounded at the first
shot and killed at the second. The crowd retreated, but bullets rained
upon the house, Charles all the while keeping watch in every direction
from four different windows. Every now and then he thrust his rifle
through one of the shattered windowpanes and fired, working with
incredible rapidity. He succeeded in killing two more of his assailants
and wounding two. At last he realized that the house was on fire, and
knowing that the end had come he rushed forth upon his foes, fired one
shot more and fell dead. He had killed eight men and mortally wounded
two or three more. His body was mutilated. In his room there was
afterwards found a copy of a religious publication, and it was known
that he had resented disfranchisement in Louisiana and had distributed
pamphlets to further a colonization scheme. No incriminating evidence,
however, was found.

In the same memorable year, 1900, on the night of Wednesday, August
15, there were serious riots in the city of New York. On the preceding
Sunday a policeman named Thorpe in attempting to arrest a colored woman
was stabbed by a Negro, Arthur Harris, so fatally that he died on
Monday. On Wednesday evening Negroes were dragged from the street cars
and beaten, and by midnight there were thousands of rioters between
25th and 35th Streets. On the next night the trouble was resumed. These
events were followed almost immediately by riots in Akron, Ohio. On the
last Sunday in October, 1901, while some Negroes were holding their
usual fall camp-meeting in a grove in Washington Parish, Louisiana, they
were attacked, and a number of people, not less than ten and perhaps
several more, were killed; and hundreds of men, women, and children felt
forced to move away from the vicinity. In the first week of March, 1904,
there was in Mississippi a lynching that exceeded even others of
the period in its horror and that became notorious for its use of a
corkscrew. A white planter of Doddsville was murdered, and a Negro,
Luther Holbert, was charged with the crime. Holbert fled, and his
innocent wife went with him. Further report we read in the Democratic
_Evening Post_ of Vicksburg as follows: "When the two Negroes were
captured, they were tied to trees, and while the funeral pyres were
being prepared they were forced to suffer the most fiendish tortures.
The blacks were forced to hold out their hands while one finger at a
time was chopped off. The fingers were distributed as souvenirs. The
ears of the murderers were cut off. Holbert was beaten severely, his
skull was fractured, and one of his eyes, knocked out with a stick, hung
by a shred from the socket.... The most excruciating form of punishment
consisted in the use of a large corkscrew in the hands of some of the
mob. This instrument was bored into the flesh of the man and the woman,
in the arms, legs, and body, and then pulled out, the spirals tearing
out big pieces of raw, quivering flesh every time it was withdrawn."
In the summer of this same year Georgia was once more the scene of a
horrible lynching, two Negroes, Paul Reed and Will Cato--because of the
murder of the Hodges family six miles from the town on July 20--being
burned at the stake at Statesville under unusually depressing
circumstances. In August, 1908, there were in Springfield, Illinois,
race riots of such a serious nature that a force of six thousand
soldiers was required to quell them. These riots were significant
not only because of the attitude of Northern laborers toward Negro
competition, but also because of the indiscriminate killing of Negroes
by people in the North, this indicating a genuine nationalization of the
Negro Problem. The real climax of violence within the period, however,
was the Atlanta Massacre of Saturday, September 22, 1906.

Throughout the summer the heated campaign of Hoke Smith for
the governorship capitalized the gathering sentiment for the
disfranchisement of the Negro in the state and at length raised the race
issue to such a high pitch that it leaped into flame. The feeling was
intensified by the report of assaults and attempted assaults by Negroes,
particularly as these were detailed and magnified or even invented by an
evening paper, the _Atlanta News_, against which the Fulton County Grand
Jury afterwards brought in an indictment as largely responsible for the
riot, and which was forced to suspend publication when the business men
of the city withdrew their support. Just how much foundation there was
to the rumors may be seen from the following report of the investigator:
"Three, charged to white men, attracted comparatively little attention
in the newspapers, although one, the offense of a man named Turnadge,
was shocking in its details. Of twelve such charges against Negroes in
the six months preceding the riot, two were cases of rape, horrible in
their details, three were aggravated attempts at rape, three may have
been attempts, three were pure cases of fright on the part of white
women, and in one the white woman, first asserting that a Negro had
assaulted her, finally confessed attempted suicide."[1] On Friday,
September 21, while a Negro was on trial, the father of the girl
concerned asked the recorder for permission to deal with the Negro with
his own hand, and an outbreak was barely averted in the open court.
On Saturday evening, however, some elements in the city and from
neighboring towns, heated by liquor and newspaper extras, became openly
riotous and until midnight defied all law and authority. Negroes
were assaulted wherever they appeared, for the most part being found
unsuspecting, as in the case of those who happened to be going home from
work and were on street cars passing through the heart of the city.
In one barber shop two workers were beaten to death and their bodies
mangled. A lame bootblack, innocent and industrious, was dragged from
his work and kicked and beaten to death. Another young Negro was stabbed
with jack-knives. Altogether very nearly a score of persons lost their
lives and two or three times as many were injured. After some time
Governor Terrell mobilized the militia, but the crowd did not take this
move seriously, and the real feeling of the Mayor, who turned on the
hose of the fire department, was shown by his statement that just so
long as the Negroes committed certain crimes just so long would they be
unceremoniously dealt with. Sunday dawned upon a city of astounded white
people and outraged and sullen Negroes. Throughout Monday and Tuesday
the tension continued, the Negroes endeavoring to defend themselves as
well as they could. On Monday night the union of some citizens with
policemen who were advancing in a suburb in which most of the homes were
those of Negroes, resulted in the death of James Heard, an officer, and
in the wounding of some of those who accompanied him. More Negroes were
also killed, and a white woman to whose front porch two men were chased
died of fright at seeing them shot to death. It was the disposition,
however, on the part of the Negroes to make armed resistance that really
put an end to the massacre. Now followed a procedure that is best
described in the words of the prominent apologist for such outbreaks.
Said A.J. McKelway: "Tuesday every house in the town (i.e., the suburb
referred to above) was entered by the soldiers, and some two hundred
and fifty Negroes temporarily held, while the search was proceeding and
inquiries being made. They were all disarmed, and those with concealed
weapons, or under suspicion of having been in the party firing on the
police, were sent to jail."[2] It is thus evident that in this case, as
in many others, the Negroes who had suffered most, not the white men who
killed a score of them, were disarmed, and that for the time being their
terrified women and children were left defenseless. McKelway also says
in this general connection: "Any Southern man would protect an innocent
Negro who appealed to him for help, with his own life if necessary."
This sounds like chivalry, but it is really the survival of the old
slavery attitude that begs the whole question. The Negro does not feel
that he should ask any other man to protect him. He has quite made up
his mind that he will defend his own home himself. He stands as a man
before the bar, and the one thing he wants to know is if the law and the
courts of America are able to give him justice--simple justice, nothing

[Footnote 1: R.S. Baker: _Following the Colour Line_, 3.]

[Footnote 2: _Outlook_, November 3, 1906, p. 561.]

5. _The Question of Labor_

From time to time, in connection with cases of violence, we have
referred to the matter of labor. Riots such as we have described are
primarily social in character, the call of race invariably being the
final appeal. The economic motive has accompanied this, however, and
has been found to be of increasing importance. Says DuBois: "The fatal
campaign in Georgia which culminated in the Atlanta Massacre was
an attempt, fathered by conscienceless politicians, to arouse the
prejudices of the rank and file of white laborers and farmers against
the growing competition of black men, so that black men by law could be
forced back to subserviency and serfdom."[1] The question was indeed
constantly recurrent, but even by the end of the period policies had
not yet been definitely decided upon, and for the time being there were
frequent armed clashes between the Negro and the white laborer. Both
capital and common sense were making it clear, however, that the
Negro was undoubtedly a labor asset and would have to be given place

[Footnote 1: _The Negro in the South_, 115.]

In March, 1895, there were bloody riots in New Orleans, these growing
out of the fact that white laborers who were beginning to be organized
objected to the employment Of Negro workers by the shipowners for the
unloading of vessels. When the trouble was at its height volley after
volley was poured upon the Negroes, and in turn two white men were
killed and several wounded. The commercial bodies of the city met,
blamed the Governor and the Mayor for the series of outbreaks, and
demanded that the outrages cease. Said they: "Forbearance has ceased to
be a virtue. We can no longer treat with men who, with arms in their
hands, are shooting down an inoffensive people because they will not
think and act with them. For these reasons we say to these people that,
cost what it may, we are determined that the commerce of this city must
and shall be protected; that every man who desires to perform honest
labor must and shall be permitted to do so regardless of race, color, or
previous condition." About August I of this same year, 1895, there were
sharp conflicts between the white and the black miners at Birmingham,
a number being killed on both sides before military authority could
intervene. Three years later, moreover, the invasion of the North by
Negro labor had begun, and about November 17, 1898, there was serious
trouble in the mines at Pana and Virden, Illinois. In the same month
the convention of railroad brotherhoods in Norfolk expressed strong
hostility to Negro labor, Grand Master Frank P. Sargent of the
Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen saying that one of the chief purposes
of the meeting of the brotherhoods was "to begin a campaign in advocacy
of white supremacy in the railway service." This November, it will be
recalled, was the fateful month of the election riots in North and South
Carolina. _The People_, the Socialist-Labor publication, commenting upon
a Negro indignation meeting at Cooper Union and upon the problem in
general, said that the Negro was essentially a wage-slave, that it was
the capitalism of the North and not humanity that in the first place had
demanded the freedom of the slave, that in the new day capital demanded
the subjugation of the working class--Negro or otherwise; and it blamed
the Negroes for not seeing the real issues at stake. It continued with
emphasis: "It is not the _Negro_ that was massacred in the Carolinas;
it was Carolina _workingmen_, Carolina _wage-slaves_ who happened to
be colored men. Not as Negroes must the race rise;... it is as
_workingmen_, as a branch of the _working class_, that the Negro must
denounce the Carolina felonies. Only by touching that chord can he
denounce to a purpose, because only then does he place himself upon that
elevation that will enable him to perceive the source of the specific
wrong complained of now." This point of view was destined more and more
to stimulate those interested in the problem, whether they accepted
it in its entirety or not. Another opinion, very different and also
important, was that given in 1899 by the editor of _Dixie_, a magazine
published in Atlanta and devoted to Southern industrial interests. Said
he: "The manufacturing center of the United States will one day be
located in the South; and this will come about, strange as it may seem,
for the reason that the Negro is a fixture here.... Organized labor,
as it exists to-day, is a menace to industry. The Negro stands as
a permanent and positive barrier against labor organization in the
South.... So the Negro, all unwittingly, is playing an important part in
the drama of Southern industrial development. His good nature defies the
Socialist." At the time this opinion seemed plausible, and yet the very
next two decades were to raise the question if it was not founded on
fallacious assumptions.

The real climax of labor trouble as of mob violence within the period
came in Georgia and in Atlanta, a city that now assumed outstanding
importance as a battleground of the problems of the New South. In April,
1909, it happened that ten white workers on the Georgia Railroad who had
been placed on the "extra list" were replaced by Negroes at lower wages.
Against this there was violent protest all along the route. A little
more than a month later the white Firemen's Union started a strike that
was intended to be the beginning of an effort to drive all Negro firemen
from Southern roads, and it was soon apparent that the real contest was
one occasioned by the progress in the South of organized labor on the
one hand and the progress of the Negro in efficiency on the other. The
essential motives that entered into the struggle were in fact the same
as those that characterized the trouble in New Orleans in 1895. Said
E.A. Ball, second vice-president of the Firemen's Union, in an address
to the public: "It will be up to you to determine whether the white
firemen now employed on the Georgia Railroad shall be accorded rights
and privileges over the Negro, or whether he shall be placed on the same
equality with the Negro. Also, it will be for you to determine whether
or not white firemen, supporting families in and around Atlanta on a pay
of $1.75 a day, shall be compelled to vacate their positions in Atlanta
joint terminals for Negroes, who are willing to do the same work for
$1.25." Some papers, like the Augusta _Herald_, said that it was a
mistaken policy to give preference to Negroes when white men would
ultimately have to be put in charge of trains and engines; but others,
like the Baltimore _News_, said, "If the Negro can be driven from one
skilled employment, he can be driven from another; but a country that
tries to do it is flying in the face of every economic law, and must
feel the evil effects of its policy if it could be carried out." At any
rate feeling ran very high; for a whole week about June I there were
very few trains between Atlanta and Augusta, and there were some acts of
violence; but in the face of the capital at stake and the fundamental
issues involved it was simply impossible for the railroad to give way.
The matter was at length referred to a board of arbitration which
decided that the Georgia Railroad was still to employ Negroes whenever
they were found qualified and that they were to receive the same wages
as white workers. Some thought that this decision would ultimately tell
against the Negro, but such was not the immediate effect at least, and
to all intents and purposes the white firemen had lost in the strike.
The whole matter was in fact fundamentally one of the most pathetic that
we have had to record. Humble white workers, desirous of improving the
economic condition of themselves and their families, instead of assuming
a statesmanlike and truly patriotic attitude toward their problem,
turned aside into the wilderness of racial hatred and were lost.

This review naturally prompts reflection as to the whole function of the
Negro laborer in the South. In the first place, what is he worth, and
especially what is he worth in honest Southern opinion? It was said
after the Civil War that he would not work except under compulsion; just
how had he come to be regarded in the industry of the New South? In 1894
a number of large employers were asked about this point. 50 per cent
said that in skilled labor they considered the Negro inferior to the
white worker, 46 per cent said that he was fairly equal, and 4 per cent
said that, all things considered, he was superior. As to common labor 54
per cent said that he was equal, 29 per cent superior, and 17 per cent
inferior to the white worker. At the time it appeared that wages
paid Negroes averaged 80 per cent of those paid white men. A similar
investigation by the Chattanooga _Tradesman_ in 1902 brought forth five
hundred replies. These were summarized as follows: "We find the Negro
more useful and skilled in the cotton-seed oil-mills, the lumber-mills,
the foundries, brick kilns, mines, and blast-furnaces. He is superior
to white labor and possibly superior to any other labor in these
establishments, but not in the capacity of skillful and ingenious
artisans." In this opinion, it is to be remembered, the Negro was
subjected to a severe test in which nothing whatever was given to him,
and at least it appears that in many lines of labor he is not less than
indispensable to the progress of the South. The question then arises:
Just what is the relation that he is finally to sustain to other
workingmen? It would seem that white worker and black worker would long
ago have realized their identity of interest and have come together. The
unions, however, have been slow to admit Negroes and give them the same
footing and backing as white men. Under the circumstances accordingly
there remained nothing else for the Negro to do except to work wherever
his services were desired and on the best terms that he was able to

6. _Defamation: Brownsville_

Crime demands justification, and it is not surprising that after such
violence as that which we have described, and after several states had
passed disfranchising acts, there appeared in the first years of the new
century several publications especially defamatory of the race. Some
books unfortunately descended to a coarseness in vilification such as
had not been reached since the Civil War. From a Bible House in St.
Louis in 1902 came _The Negro a Beast, or In the Image of God_, a book
that was destined to have an enormous circulation among the white people
of the poorer class in the South, and that of course promoted the
mob spirit.[1] Contemporary and of the same general tenor were R.W.
Shufeldt's _The Negro_ and W.B. Smith's _The Color Line_, while a member
of the race itself, William Hannibal Thomas, published a book, _The
American Negro_, that was without either faith or ideal and as a
denunciation of the Negro in America unparalleled in its vindictiveness
and exaggeration.[2]

[Footnote 1: Its fundamental assumptions were ably refuted by Edward
Atkinson in the _North American Review_, August, 1905.]

[Footnote 2: It was reviewed in the _Dial_, April 16, 1901, by W.E.B.
DuBois, who said in part: "Mr. Thomas's book is a sinister symptom--a
growth and development under American conditions of life which
illustrates peculiarly the anomalous position of black men, and the
terrific stress under which they struggle. And the struggle and the
fight of human beings against hard conditions of life always tends
to develop the criminal or the hypocrite, the cynic or the radical.
Wherever among a hard-pressed people these types begin to appear, it
is a visible sign of a burden that is threatening to overtax their
strength, and the foreshadowing of the age of revolt."]

In January, 1904, the new governor of Mississippi, J.K. Vardaman, in his
inaugural address went to the extreme of voicing the opinion of those
who were now contending that the education of the Negro was only
complicating the problem and intensifying its dangerous features. Said
he of the Negro people: "As a race, they are deteriorating morally every
day. Time has demonstrated that they are more criminal as freemen than
as slaves; that they are increasing in criminality with frightful
rapidity, being one-third more criminal in 1890 than in 1880." A
few weeks later Bishop Brown of Arkansas in a widely quoted address
contended that the Southern Negro was going backward both morally and
intellectually and could never be expected to take a helpful part in the
Government; and he also justified lynching. In the same year one of the
more advanced thinkers of the South, Edgar Gardner Murphy, in _Problems
of the Present South_ was not yet quite willing to receive the Negro on
the basis of citizenship; and Thomas Nelson Page, who had belittled the
Negro in such a collection of stories as _In Ole Virginia_ and in such a
novel as _Red Rock_[1] formally stated his theories in _The Negro: The
Southerner's Problem_. The worst, however--if there could be a worst in
such an array--was yet to appear. In 1905 Thomas Dixon added to a series
of high-keyed novels _The Clansman_, a glorification of the KuKlux Klan
that gave a malignant portrayal of the Negro and that was of such a
quality as to arouse the most intense prejudice and hatred. Within a
few months the work was put on the stage and again and again it threw
audiences into the wildest excitement. The production was to some
extent held to blame for the Atlanta Massacre. In several cities it was
proscribed. In Philadelphia on October 23, 1906, after the Negro
people had made an unavailing protest, three thousand of them made a
demonstration before the Walnut Street theater where the performance
was given, while the conduct of some within the playhouse almost
precipitated a riot; and in this city the play was suppressed the next
day. Throughout the South, however, and sometimes elsewhere it continued
to do its deadly work, and it was later to furnish the basis of "The
Birth of a Nation," an elaborate motion picture of the same general

[Footnote 1: For a general treatment of the matter of the Negro as dealt
with in American Literature, especially fiction, note "The Negro in
American Fiction," in the _Dial_, May 11, 1916, a paper included in
_The Negro in Literature and Art_. The thesis there is that imaginative
treatment of the Negro is still governed by outworn antebellum types,
or that in the search for burlesque some types of young and uncultured
Negroes of the present day are deliberately overdrawn, but that there is
not an honest or a serious facing of the characters and the situations
in the life of the Negro people in the United States to-day. Since the
paper first appeared it has received much further point; witness the
stories by E.K. Means and Octavius Roy Cohen.]

Still another line of attack was now to attempt to deprive the Negro of
any credit for initiative or for any independent achievement whatsoever.
In May, 1903, Alfred H. Stone contributed to the _Atlantic_ a paper,
"The Mulatto in the Negro Problem," which contended at the same time
that whatever meritorious work the race had accomplished was due to the
infusion of white blood and that it was the mulatto that was constantly
poisoning the mind of the Negro with "radical teachings and destructive
doctrines." These points found frequent iteration throughout the period,
and years afterwards, in 1917, the first found formal statement in the
_American Journal of Sociology_ in an article by Edward Byron Reuter,
"The Superiority of the Mulatto," which the next year was elaborated
into a volume, _The Mulatto in the United States_. To argue the
superiority of the mulatto of course is simply to argue once more the
inferiority of the Negro to the white man.

All of this dispraise together presented a formidable case and one from
which the race suffered immeasurably; nor was it entirely offset in the
same years by the appearance even of DuBois's remarkable book, _The
Souls of Black Folk_, or by the several uplift publications of Booker T.
Washington. In passing we wish to refer to three points: (1) The effect
of education on the Negro; (2) the matter of the Negro criminal (and of
mortality), and (3) the quality and function of the mulatto.

Education could certainly not be blamed for the difficulties of the
problem in the new day until it had been properly tried. In no one of
the Southern states within the period did the Negro child receive a fair
chance. He was frequently subjected to inferior teaching, dilapidated
accommodations, and short terms. In the representative city of Atlanta
in 1903 the white school population numbered 14,465 and the colored
8,118. The Negroes, however, while numbering 35 per cent of the whole,
received but 12 per cent of the school funds. The average white teacher
received $745 a year, and the Negro teacher $450. In the great reduction
of the percentage of illiteracy in the race from 70 in 1880 to 30.4
in 1910 the missionary colleges--those of the American Missionary
Association, the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and the
Freedmen's Aid Society--played a much larger part than they are
ordinarily given credit for; and it is a very, very rare occurrence that
a graduate of one of the institutions sustained by these agencies,
or even one who has attended them for any length of time, has to be
summoned before the courts. Their influence has most decidedly been on
the side of law and order. Undoubtedly some of those who have gone forth
from these schools have not been very practical, and some have not
gained a very firm sense of relative values in life--it would be a
miracle if all had; but as a group the young people who have attended
the colleges have most abundantly justified the expenditures made in
their behalf, expenditures for which their respective states were not
responsible but of which they reaped the benefit. From one standpoint,
however, the so-called higher education did most undoubtedly complicate
the problem. Those critics of the race who felt that the only function
of Negroes in life was that of hewers of wood and drawers of water quite
fully realized that Negroes who had been to college did not care to work
longer as field laborers. Some were to prove scientific students of
agriculture, but as a group they were out of the class of peons. In this
they were just like white people and all other people. No one who has
once seen the light chooses to live always on the plane of the "man with
the hoe." Nor need it be thought that these students are unduly crowding
into professional pursuits. While, for instance, the number of Negro
physicians and dentists has greatly increased within recent years, the
number would still have to be four or five times as great to sustain
to the total Negro population the same proportion as that borne by
the whole number of white physicians and dentists to the total white

The subjects of the criminality and the mortality of the race are in
their ultimate reaches closely related, both being mainly due, as we
have suggested, to the conditions under which Negroes have been forced
to live. In the country districts, until 1900 at least, there was little
provision for improvements in methods of cooking or in sanitation, while
in cities the effects of inferior housing, poor and unlighted streets,
and of the segregation of vice in Negro neighborhoods could not be
otherwise than obvious. Thus it happened in such a year as 1898 that in
Baltimore the Negro death rate was somewhat more and in Nashville just
a little less than twice that of the white people. Legal procedure,
moreover, emphasized a vicious circle; living conditions sent the
Negroes to the courts in increasing numbers, and the courts sent them
still farther down in the scale. There were undoubtedly some Negro
thieves, some Negro murderers, and some Negroes who were incontinent;
no race has yet appeared on the face of the earth that did not contain
members having such propensities, and all such people should be dealt
with justly by law. Our present contention is that throughout the period
of which we are now speaking the dominant social system was not only
such as to accentuate criminal elements but also such as even sought
to discourage aspiring men. A few illustrations, drawn from widely
different phases of life, must suffice. In the spring of 1903, and again
in 1904, Jackson W. Giles, of Montgomery County, Alabama, contended
before the Supreme Court of the United States that he and other Negroes
in his county were wrongfully excluded from the franchise by the new
Alabama constitution. Twice was his case thrown out on technicalities,
the first time it was said because he was petitioning for the right to
vote under a constitution whose validity he denied, and the second time
because the Federal right that he claimed had not been passed on in the
state court from whose decision he appealed. Thus the supreme tribunal
in the United States evaded at the time any formal judgment as to the
real validity of the new suffrage provisions. In 1903, moreover, in
Alabama, Negroes charged with petty offenses and sometimes with no
offense at all were still sent to convict farms or turned over to
contractors. They were sometimes compelled to work as peons for a length
of time; and they were flogged, starved, hunted with bloodhounds, and
sold from one contractor to another in direct violation of law. One
Joseph Patterson borrowed $1 on a Saturday, promising to pay the
amount on the following Tuesday morning. He did not get to town at the
appointed time, and he was arrested and carried before a justice of the
peace, who found him guilty of obtaining money under false pretenses. No
time whatever was given to the Negro to get witnesses or a lawyer, or to
get money with which to pay his fine and the costs of court. He was sold
for $25 to a man named Hardy, who worked him for a year and then sold
him for $40 to another man named Pace. Patterson tried to escape, but
was recaptured and given a sentence of six months more. He was then
required to serve for an additional year to pay a doctor's bill. When
the case at last attracted attention, it appeared that for $1 borrowed
in 1903 he was not finally to be released before 1906. Another case of
interest and importance was set in New York. In the spring of 1909
a pullman porter was arrested on the charge of stealing a card-case
containing $20. The next day he was discharged as innocent. He then
entered against his accuser a suit for $10,000 damages. The jury awarded
him $2,500, which amount the court reduced to $300, Justice P.H. Dugro
saying that a Negro when falsely imprisoned did not suffer the same
amount of injury that a white man would suffer--an opinion which the New
York _Age_ very naturally characterized as "one of the basest and most
offensive ever handed down by a New York judge."

In the history of the question of the mulatto two facts are outstanding.
One is that before the Civil War, as was very natural under the
circumstances, mulattoes became free much faster than pure Negroes;
thus the census of 1850 showed that 581 of every 1000 free Negroes
were mulattoes and only 83 of every 1000 slaves. Since the Civil War,
moreover, the mulatto element has rapidly increased, advancing from 11.2
per cent of the Negro population in 1850 to 20.9 per cent in 1910, or
from 126 to 264 per 1000. On the whole question of the function of this
mixed element the elaborate study, that of Reuter, is immediately thrown
out of court by its lack of accuracy. The fundamental facts on which
it rests its case are not always true, and if premises are false
conclusions are worthless. No work on the Negro that calls Toussaint
L'Ouverture and Sojourner Truth mulattoes and that will not give the
race credit for several well-known pure Negroes of the present day,
can long command the attention of scholars. This whole argument on the
mulatto goes back to the fallacy of degrading human beings by slavery
for two hundred years and then arguing that they have not the capacity
or the inclination to rise. In a country predominantly white the
quadroon has frequently been given some advantage that his black friend
did not have, from the time that one was a house-servant and the other a
field-hand; but no scientific test has ever demonstrated that the black
boy is intellectually inferior to the fair one. In America, however, it
is the fashion to place upon the Negro any blame or deficiency and
to claim for the white race any merit that an individual may show.
Furthermore--and this is a point not often remarked in discussions of
the problem--the element of genius that distinguishes the Negro artist
of mixed blood is most frequently one characteristically Negro rather
than Anglo-Saxon. Much has been made of the fact that within the society
of the race itself there have been lines of cleavage, a comparatively
few people, very fair in color, sometimes drawing off to themselves.
This is a fact, and it is simply one more heritage from slavery, most
tenacious in some conservative cities along the coast. Even there,
however, old lines are vanishing and the fusion of different groups
within the race rapidly going forward. Undoubtedly there has been some
snobbery, as there always is, and a few quadroons and octoroons have
crossed the color line and been lost to the race; but these cases are
after all comparatively few in number, and the younger generation is
more and more emphasizing the ideals of racial solidarity. In the future
there may continue to be lines of cleavage in society within the race,
but the standards governing these will primarily be character and merit.
On the whole, then, the mulatto has placed himself squarely on the side
of the difficulties, aspirations, and achievements of the Negro people
and it is simply an accident and not inherent quality that accounts for
the fact that he has been so prominent in the leadership of the race.

The final refutation of defamation, however, is to be found in the
actual achievement of members of the race themselves. The progress in
spite of handicaps continued to be amazing. Said the New York _Sun_
early in 1907 (copied by the _Times_) of "Negroes Who Have Made Good":
"Junius C. Groves of Kansas produces 75,000 bushels of potatoes every
year, the world's record. Alfred Smith received the blue ribbon at the
World's Fair and first prize in England for his Oklahoma-raised cotton.
Some of the thirty-five patented devices of Granville T. Woods, the
electrician, form part of the systems of the New York elevated railways
and the Bell Telephone Company. W. Sidney Pittman drew the design of
the Collis P. Huntington memorial building, the largest and finest at
Tuskegee. Daniel H. Williams, M.D., of Chicago, was the first surgeon to
sew up and heal a wounded human heart. Mary Church Terrell addressed in
three languages at Berlin recently the International Association for the
Advancement of Women. Edward H. Morris won his suit between Cook County
and the city of Chicago, and has a law practice worth $20,000 a year."

In one department of effort, that of sport, the Negro was especially
prominent. In pugilism, a diversion that has always been noteworthy for
its popular appeal, Peter Jackson was well known as a contemporary of
John L. Sullivan. George Dixon was, with the exception of one year,
either bantamweight or featherweight champion for the whole of the
period from 1890 to 1900; and Joe Gans was lightweight champion from
1902 to 1908. Joe Walcott was welterweight champion from 1901 to 1904,
and was succeeded by Dixie Kid, who held his place from 1904 to 1908. In
1908, to the chagrin of thousands and with a victory that occasioned
a score of racial conflicts throughout the South and West and that
resulted in several deaths, Jack Johnson became the heavyweight champion
of America, a position that he was destined to hold for seven years. In
professional baseball the Negro was proscribed, though occasionally
a member of the race played on teams of the second group. Of
semi-professional teams the American Giants and the Leland Giants of
Chicago, and the Lincoln Giants of New York, were popular favorites,
and frequently numbered on their rolls players of the first order of
ability. In intercollegiate baseball W.C. Matthews of Harvard was
outstanding for several years about 1904. In intercollegiate football
Lewis at Harvard in the earlier nineties and Bullock at Dartmouth a
decade later were unusually prominent, while Marshall of Minnesota in
1905 became an All-American end. Pollard of Brown, a half-back, in 1916,
and Robeson of Rutgers, an end, in 1918, also won All-American honors.
About the turn of the century Major Taylor was a champion bicycle rider,
and John B. Taylor of Pennsylvania was an intercollegiate champion in
track athletics. Similarly fifteen years later Binga Dismond of Howard
and Chicago, Sol Butler of Dubuque, and Howard P. Drew of Southern
California were destined to win national and even international honors
in track work. Drew broke numerous records as a runner and Butler was
the winner in the broad jump at the Inter-Allied Games in the Pershing
Stadium in Paris. In 1920 E. Gourdin of Harvard came prominently forward
as one of the best track athletes that institution had ever had.

In the face, then, of the Negro's unquestionable physical ability and
prowess the supreme criticism that he was called on to face within the
period was all the more hard to bear. In all nations and in all ages
courage under fire as a soldier has been regarded as the sterling test
of manhood, and by this standard we have seen that in war the Negro had
more than vindicated himself. His very honor as a soldier was now to be

In August, 1906, Companies B, C, and D of the Twenty-fifth Regiment,
United States Infantry, were stationed at Fort Brown, Brownsville,
Texas, where they were forced to exercise very great self-restraint in
the face of daily insults from the citizens. On the night of the 13th
occurred a riot in which one citizen of the town was killed, another
wounded, and the chief of police injured. The people of the town
accused the soldiers of causing the riot and demanded their removal.
Brigadier-General E.A. Garlington, Inspector General, was sent to find
the guilty men, and, failing in his mission, he recommended dishonorable
discharge for the regiment. On this recommendation President Roosevelt
on November 9 dismissed "without honor" the entire battalion,
disqualifying its members for service thereafter in either the military
or the civil employ of the United States. When Congress met in December
Senator J.B. Foraker of Ohio placed himself at the head of the critics
of the President's action, and in a ringing speech said of the
discharged men that "they asked no favors because they were Negroes, but
only justice because they were men." On January 22 the Senate authorized
a general investigation of the whole matter, a special message from
the President on the 14th having revoked the civil disability of the
discharged soldiers. The case was finally disposed of by a congressional
act approved March 3, 1909, which appointed a court of inquiry before
which any discharged man who wished to reënlist had the burden of
establishing his innocence--a procedure which clearly violated the
fundamental principle in law that a man is to be accounted innocent
until he is proved guilty.

In connection with the dishonored soldier of Brownsville, and indeed
with reference to the Negro throughout the period, we recall Edwin
Markham's poem, "Dreyfus,"[1] written for a far different occasion but
with fundamental principles of justice that are eternal:

[Footnote 1: It is here quoted with the permission of the author and
in the form in which it originally appeared in _McClure's Magazine_,
September, 1899.]


  A man stood stained; France was one Alp of hate,
  Pressing upon him with the whole world's weight;
  In all the circle of the ancient sun
  There was no voice to speak for him--not one;
  In all the world of men there was no sound
  But of a sword flung broken to the ground.

  Hell laughed its little hour; and then behold
  How one by one the guarded gates unfold!
  Swiftly a sword by Unseen Forces hurled,
  And now a man rising against the world!


  Oh, import deep as life is, deep as time!
  There is a Something sacred and sublime
  Moving behind the worlds, beyond our ken,
  Weighing the stars, weighing the deeds of men.

  Take heart, O soul of sorrow, and be strong!
  There is one greater than the whole world's wrong.
  Be hushed before the high Benignant Power
  That moves wool-shod through sepulcher and tower!
  No truth so low but He will give it crown;
  No wrong so high but He will hurl it down.
  O men that forge the fetter, it is vain;
  There is a Still Hand stronger than your chain.
  'Tis no avail to bargain, sneer, and nod,
  And shrug the shoulder for reply to God.

7. The Dawn of a To-morrow

The bitter period that we have been considering was not wholly without
its bright features, and with the new century new voices began to be
articulate. In May, 1900, there was in Montgomery a conference in
which Southern men undertook as never before to make a study of their
problems. That some who came had yet no real conception of the task and
its difficulties may be seen from the suggestion of one man that the
Negroes be deported to the West or to the islands of the sea. Several
men advocated the repeal of the Fifteenth Amendment. The position
outstanding for its statesmanship was that of ex-Governor William A.
McCorkle of West Virginia, who asserted that the right of franchise was
the vital and underlying principle of the life of the people of the
United States and must not be violated, that the remedy for present
conditions was an "honest and inflexible educational and property basis,
administered fairly for black and white," and finally that the Negro
Problem was not a local problem but one to be settled by the hearty
coöperation of all of the people of the United States.

Meanwhile the Southern Educational Congress continued its sittings from
year to year, and about 1901 there developed new and great interest in
education, the Southern Education Board acting in close coöperation with
the General Education Board, the medium of the philanthropy of John D.
Rockefeller, and frequently also with the Peabody and Slater funds.[1]
In 1907 came the announcement of the Jeanes Fund, established by Anna T.
Jeanes, a Quaker of Philadelphia, for the education of the Negro in the
rural districts of the South; and in 1911 that of the Phelps-Stokes
Fund, established by Caroline Phelps-Stokes with emphasis on the
education of the Negro in Africa and America. More and more these
agencies were to work in harmony and coöperation with the officials in
the different states concerned. In 1900 J.L.M. Curry, a Southern man of
great breadth of culture, was still in charge of the Peabody and Slater
funds, but he was soon to pass from the scene and in the work now to
be done were prominent Robert C. Ogden, Hollis B. Frissell, Wallace
Buttrick, George Foster Peabody, and James H. Dillard.

[Footnote 1: In 1867 George Peabody, an American merchant and patriot,
established the Peabody Educational Fund for the purpose of promoting
"intellectual, moral, and industrial education in the most destitute
portion of the Southern states." The John F. Slater Fund was established
in 1882 especially for the encouragement of the industrial education of

Along with the mob violence, moreover, that disgraced the opening years
of the century was an increasing number of officers who were disposed
to do their duty even under trying circumstances. Less than two
months after his notorious inaugural Governor Vardaman of Mississippi
interested the reading public by ordering out a company of militia when
a lynching was practically announced to take place, and by boarding a
special train to the scene to save the Negro. In this same state
in 1909, when the legislature passed a law levying a tax for the
establishment of agricultural schools for white students, and levied
this on the property of white people and Negroes alike, though only the
white people were to have schools, a Jasper County Negro contested
the matter before the Chancery Court, which declared the law
unconstitutional, and he was further supported by the Supreme Court of
the state. Such a decision was inspiring, but it was not the rule, and
already the problems of another decade were being foreshadowed. Already
also under the stress of conditions in the South many Negroes were
seeking a haven in the North. By 1900 there were as many Negroes in
Pennsylvania as in Missouri, whereas twenty years before there had been
twice as many in the latter state. There were in Massachusetts more than
in Delaware, whereas twenty years before Delaware had had 50 per cent
more than Massachusetts. Within twenty years Virginia gained 312,000
white people and only 29,000 Negroes, the latter having begun a steady
movement to New York. North Carolina gained 400,000 white people and
only 93,000 Negroes. South Carolina and Mississippi, however, were not
yet affected in large measure by the movement.

The race indeed was beginning to be possessed by a new consciousness.
After 1895 Booker T. Washington was a very genuine leader. From the
first, however, there was a distinct group of Negro men who honestly
questioned the ultimate wisdom of the so-called Atlanta Compromise,
and who felt that in seeming to be willing temporarily to accept
proscription and to waive political rights Dr. Washington had given up
too much. Sometimes also there was something in his illustrations of the
effects of current methods of education that provoked reply. Those
who were of the opposition, however, were not at first united and
constructive, and in their utterances they sometimes offended by
harshness of tone. Dr. Washington himself said of the extremists in this
group that they frequently understood theories but not things; that in
college they gave little thought to preparing for any definite task in
the world, but started out with the idea of preparing themselves to
solve the race problem; and that many of them made a business of keeping
the troubles, wrongs, and hardships of the Negro race before the
public.[1] There was ample ground for this criticism. More and more,
however, the opposition gained force; the _Guardian_, a weekly paper
edited in Boston by Monroe Trotter, was particularly outspoken, and in
Boston the real climax came in 1903 in an endeavor to break up a meeting
at which Dr. Washington was to speak. Then, beginning in January, 1904,
the _Voice of the Negro_, a magazine published in Atlanta for three
years, definitely helped toward the cultivation of racial ideals.
Publication of the periodical became irregular after the Atlanta
Massacre, and it finally expired in 1907. Some of the articles dealt
with older and more philosophical themes, but there were also bright and
illuminating studies in education and other social topics, as well as a
strong stand on political issues. The _Colored American_, published in
Boston just a few years before the _Voice_ began to appear, also did
inspiring work. Various local or state organizations, moreover, from
time to time showed the virtue of coöperation; thus the Georgia Equal
Rights Convention, assembled in Macon in February, 1906, at the call of
William J. White, the veteran editor of the _Georgia Baptist_, brought
together representative men from all over the state and considered such
topics as the unequal division of school taxes, the deprivation of the
jury rights of Negroes, the peonage system, and the penal system. In
1905 twenty-nine men of the race launched what was known as the Niagara
Movement. The aims of this organization were freedom of speech and
criticism, an unlettered and unsubsidized press, manhood suffrage, the
abolition of all caste distinctions based simply on race and color, the
recognition of the principle of human brotherhood as a practical present
creed, the recognition of the highest and best training as the monopoly
of no class or race, a belief in the dignity of labor, and united effort
to realize these ideals under wise and courageous leadership. The time
was not yet quite propitious, and the Niagara Movement as such died
after three or four years. Its principles lived on, however, and it
greatly helped toward the formation of a stronger and more permanent

[Footnote 1: See chapter "The Intellectuals," in _My Larger Education_.]

In 1909 a number of people who were interested in the general effect
of the Negro Problem on democracy in America organized in New York the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.[1] It was
felt that the situation had become so bad that the time had come for
a simple declaration of human rights. In 1910 Moorfield Storey, a
distinguished lawyer of Boston, became national president, and W.E.
Burghardt DuBois director of publicity and research, and editor of the
_Crisis_, which periodical began publication in November of this year.
The organization was successful from the first, and local branches were
formed all over the country, some years elapsing, however, before the
South was penetrated. Said the Director: "Of two things we Negroes have
dreamed for many years: An organization so effective and so powerful
that when discrimination and injustice touched one Negro, it would touch
12,000,000. We have not got this yet, but we have taken a great step
toward it. We have dreamed, too, of an organization that would work
ceaselessly to make Americans know that the so-called 'Negro problem' is
simply one phase of the vaster problem of democracy in America, and that
those who wish freedom and justice for their country must wish it for
every black citizen. This is the great and insistent message of the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."

[Footnote 1: For detailed statement of origin see pamphlet, "How the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Began," by
Mary White Ovington, published by the Association.]

This organization is outstanding as an effort in coöperation between
the races for the improvement of the condition of the Negro. Of special
interest along the line of economic betterment has been the National
League on Urban Conditions among Negroes, now known as the National
Urban League, which also has numerous branches with headquarters in New
York and through whose offices thousands of Negroes have been placed
in honorable employment. The National Urban League was also formally
organized in 1910; it represented a merging of the different agencies
working in New York City in behalf of the social betterment of the Negro
population, especially of the National League for the Protection
of Colored Women and of the Committee for Improving the Industrial
Conditions among Negroes in New York, both of which agencies had been
organized in 1906. As we shall see, the work of the League was to be
greatly expanded within the next decade by the conditions brought about
by the war; and under the direction of the executive secretary, Eugene
Kinckle Jones, with the assistance of alert and patriotic officers, its
work was to prove one of genuinely national service.

Interesting also was a new concern on the part of the young Southern
college man about the problems at his door. Within just a few years
after the close of the period now considered, Phelps-Stokes fellowships
for the study of problems relating to the Negro were founded at the
Universities of Virginia and Georgia; it was expected that similar
fellowships would be founded in other institutions; and there was
interest in the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Congress
and the University Commission on Southern Race Questions.

Thus from one direction and another at length broke upon a "vale of
tears" a new day of effort and of hope. For the real contest the forces
were gathering. The next decade was to be one of unending bitterness and
violence, but also one in which the Negro was to rise as never before to
the dignity of self-reliant and courageous manhood.



1. _Character of the Period_

The decade 1910-1920, momentous in the history of the world, in the
history of the Negro race in America must finally be regarded as the
period of a great spiritual uprising against the proscription, the
defamation, and the violence of the preceding twenty years. As never
before the Negro began to realize that the ultimate burden of his
salvation rested upon himself, and he learned to respect and to depend
upon himself accordingly.

The decade naturally divides into two parts, that before and that after
the beginning of the Great War in Europe. Even in the earlier years,
however, the tendencies that later were dominant were beginning to be
manifest. The greater part of the ten years was consumed by the two
administrations of President Woodrow Wilson; and not only did the
National Government in the course of these administrations discriminate
openly against persons of Negro descent in the Federal service and fail
to protect those who happened to live in the capital, but its policy
also gave encouragement to outrage in places technically said to be
beyond its jurisdiction. A great war was to give new occasion and
new opportunity for discrimination, defamatory propaganda was to be
circulated on a scale undreamed of before, and the close of the war was
to witness attempts for a new reign of terror in the South. Even beyond
the bounds of continental America the race was now to suffer by reason
of the national policy, and the little republic of Hayti to lift its
bleeding hands to the calm judgment of the world.

Both a cause and a result of the struggle through which the race was now
to pass was its astonishing progress. The fiftieth anniversary of the
Emancipation Proclamation--January 1, 1913--called to mind as did
nothing else the proscription and the mistakes, but also the successes
and the hopes of the Negro people in America. Throughout the South
disfranchisement seemed almost complete; and yet, after many attempts,
the movement finally failed in Maryland in 1911 and in Arkansas in 1912.
In 1915, moreover, the disfranchising act of Oklahoma was declared
unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, and henceforth the
Negro could feel that the highest legal authority was no longer on the
side of those who sought to deprive him of all political voice. Eleven
years before, the Court had taken refuge in technicalities. The year
1911 was also marked by the appointment of the first Negro policeman in
New York, by the election of the first Negro legislator in Pennsylvania,
and by the appointment of a man of the race, William H. Lewis, as
Assistant Attorney General of the United States; and several civil
rights suits were won in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Banks,
insurance companies, and commercial and industrial enterprises were
constantly being capitalized; churches erected more and more stately
edifices; and fraternal organizations constantly increased in membership
and wealth. By 1913 the Odd Fellows numbered very nearly half a million
members and owned property worth two and a half million dollars; in
1920 the Dunbar Amusement Corporation of Philadelphia erected a theater
costing $400,000; and the foremost business woman of the race in the
decade, Mme. C.J. Walker, on the simple business of toilet articles and
hair preparations built up an enterprise of national scope and conducted
in accordance with the principles regularly governing great American
commercial organizations. Fifty years after emancipation, moreover, very
nearly one-fourth of all the Negroes in the Southern states were living
in homes that they themselves owned; thus 430,449 of 1,917,391 houses
occupied in these states were reported in 1910 as owned, and 314,340
were free of all encumbrance. The percentage of illiteracy decreased
from 70 in 1880 to 30.4 in 1910, and movements were under way for the
still more rapid spread of elementary knowledge. Excellent high schools,
such as those in St. Louis, Washington, Kansas City (both cities of this
name), Louisville, Baltimore, and other cities and towns in the border
states and sometimes as far away as Texas, were setting a standard such
as was in accord with the best in the country; and in one year, 1917,
455 young people of the race received the degree of bachelor of arts,
while throughout the decade different ones received honors and took the
highest graduate degrees at the foremost institutions of learning in the
country. Early in the decade the General Education Board began actively
to assist in the work of the higher educational institutions, and an
outstanding gift was that of half a million dollars to Fisk University
in 1920. Meanwhile, through the National Urban League and hundreds of
local clubs and welfare organizations, social betterment went forward,
much impetus being given to the work by the National Association of
Colored Women's Clubs organized in 1896.

Along with its progress, throughout the decade the race had to meet
increasing bitterness and opposition, and this was intensified by the
motion picture, "The Birth of a Nation," built on lines similar to those
of _The Clansman_. Negro men standing high on civil service lists were
sometimes set aside; in 1913 the white railway mail clerks of the
South began an open campaign against Negroes in the service in direct
violation of the rules; and a little later in the same year segregation
in the different departments became notorious. In 1911 the American Bar
Association raised the question of the color-line; and efforts for the
restriction of Negroes to certain neighborhoods in different prominent
cities sometimes resulted in violence, as in the dynamiting of the homes
of Negroes in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1911. When the Progressive party
was organized in 1912 the Negro was given to understand that his support
was not sought, and in 1911 a strike of firemen on the Queen and
Crescent Railroad was in its main outlines similar to the trouble on
the Georgia Railroad two years before. Meanwhile in the South the race
received only 18 per cent of the total expenditures for education,
although it constituted more than 30 per cent of the population.

Worse than anything else, however, was the matter of lynching. In each
year the total number of victims of illegal execution continued to
number three- or fourscore; but no one could ever be sure that every
instance had been recorded. Between the opening of the decade and the
time of the entrance of the United States into the war, five cases were
attended by such unusual circumstances that the public could not soon
forget them. At Coatesville, Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia, on
August 12, 1911, a Negro laborer, Zach Walker, while drunk, fatally shot
a night watchman. He was pursued and attempted suicide. Wounded, he was
brought to town and placed in the hospital. From this place he was taken
chained to his cot, dragged for some miles, and then tortured and burned
to death in the presence of a great crowd of people, including many
women, and his bones and the links of the chain which bound him
distributed as souvenirs. At Monticello, Georgia, in January, 1915, when
a Negro family resisted an officer who was making an arrest, the father,
Dan Barbour, his young son, and his two daughters were all hanged to a
tree and their bodies riddled with bullets. Before the close of the year
there was serious trouble in the southwestern portion of the state, and
behind this lay all the evils of the system of peonage in the black
belt. Driven to desperation by the mistreatment accorded them in the
raising of cotton, the Negroes at last killed an overseer who had
whipped a Negro boy. A reign of terror was then instituted; churches,
society halls, and homes were burnt, and several individuals shot. On
December 30 there was a wholesale lynching of six Negroes in Early
County. Less than three weeks afterwards a sheriff who attempted to
arrest some more Negroes and who was accompanied by a mob was killed.
Then (January 20, 1916) five Negroes who had been taken from the jail in
Worth County were rushed in automobiles into Lee County adjoining, and
hanged and shot. On May 15, 1916, at Waco, Texas, Jesse Washington, a
sullen and overgrown boy of seventeen, who worked for a white farmer
named Fryar at the town of Robinson, six miles away, and who one week
before had criminally assaulted and killed Mrs. Fryar, after unspeakable
mutilation was burned in the heart of the town. A part of the torture
consisted in stabbing with knives and the cutting off of the boy's
fingers as he grabbed the chain by which he was bound. Finally, on
October 21, 1916, Anthony Crawford, a Negro farmer of Abbeville, South
Carolina, who owned four hundred and twenty-seven acres of the best
cotton land in his county and who was reported to be worth $20,000, was
lynched. He had come to town to the store of W.D. Barksdale to sell a
load of cotton-seed, and the two men had quarreled about the price,
although no blow was struck on either side. A little later, however,
Crawford was arrested by a local policeman and a crowd of idlers from
the public square rushed to give him a whipping for his "impudence." He
promptly knocked down the ringleader with a hammer. The mob then set
upon him, nearly killed him, and at length threw him into the jail. A
few hours later, fearing that the sheriff would secretly remove the
prisoner, it returned, dragged the wounded man forth, and then hanged
and shot him, after which proceedings warning was sent to his family to
leave the county by the middle of the next month.

It will be observed that in these five noteworthy occurrences, in only
one case was there any question of criminal assault. On the other hand,
in one case two young women were included among the victims; another was
really a series of lynchings emphasizing the lot of some Negroes under
a vicious economic system; and the last simply grew out of the jealousy
and hatred aroused by a Negro of independent means who knew how to stand
up for his rights.

Such was the progress, such also the violence that the Negro witnessed
during the decade. Along with his problems at home he now began to have
a new interest in those of his kin across the sea, and this feeling was
intensified by the world war. It raises questions of such far-reaching
importance, however, that it must receive separate and distinct

2. _Migration; East St. Louis_

Very soon after the beginning of the Great War in Europe there began
what will ultimately be known as the most remarkable migratory movement
in the history of the Negro in America. Migration had indeed at no time
ceased since the great movement of 1879, but for the most part it had
been merely personal and not in response to any great emergency. The
sudden ceasing of the stream of immigration from Europe, however,
created an unprecedented demand for labor in the great industrial
centers of the North, and business men were not long in realizing
the possibilities of a source that had as yet been used in only the
slightest degree. Special agents undoubtedly worked in some measure; but
the outstanding feature of the new migration was that it was primarily a
mass movement and not one organized or encouraged by any special group
of leaders. Labor was needed in railroad construction, in the steel
mills, in the tobacco farms of Connecticut, and in the packing-houses,
foundries, and automobile plants. In 1915 the New England tobacco
growers hastily got together in New York two hundred girls; but these
proved to be unsatisfactory, and it was realized that the labor supply
would have to be more carefully supervised. In January, 1916, the
management of the Continental Tobacco Corporation definitely decided on
the policy of importing workers from the South, and within the next year
not less than three thousand Negroes came to Hartford, several hundred
being students from the schools and colleges who went North to work for
the summer. In the same summer came also train-loads of Negroes from
Jacksonville and other points to work for the Erie and Pennsylvania

Those who left their homes in the South to find new ones in the North
thus worked first of all in response to a new economic demand.
Prominent in their thought to urge them on, however, were the generally
unsatisfactory conditions in the South from which they had so long
suffered and from which all too often there had seemed to be no escape.
As it was, they were sometimes greatly embarrassed in leaving. In
Jacksonville the city council passed an ordinance requiring that agents
who wished to recruit labor to be sent out of the state should pay
$1,000 for a license or suffer a fine of $600 and spend sixty days in
jail. Macon, Ga., raised the license fee to $25,000. In Savannah the
excitement was intense. When two trains did not move as it was expected
that they would, three hundred Negroes paid their own fares and went
North. Later, when the leaders of the movement could not be found, the
police arrested one hundred of the Negroes and sent them to the police
barracks, charging them with loitering. Similar scenes were enacted
elsewhere, the South being then as ever unwilling to be deprived of its
labor supply. Meanwhile wages for some men in such an industrial center
as Birmingham leaped to $9 and $10 a day. All told, hardly less than
three-fourths of a million Negroes went North within the four years

Naturally such a great shifting of population did not take place without
some inconvenience and hardship. Among the thousands who changed their
place of residence were many ignorant and improvident persons; but
sometimes it was the most skilled artisans and the most substantial
owners of homes in different communities who sold their property
and moved away. In the North they at once met congestion in housing
facilities. In Philadelphia and Pittsburgh this condition became so bad
as to demand immediate attention. In more than one place there were
outbreaks in which lives were lost. In East St. Louis, Ill., all of the
social problems raised by the movement were seen in their baldest guise.
The original population of this city had come for the most part from
Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It had long been an
important industrial center. It was also a very rough place, the scene
of prize-fights and cock-fights and a haven for escaped prisoners; and
there was very close connection between the saloons and politics. For
years the managers of the industrial plants had recruited their labor
supply from Ellis Island. When this failed they turned to the Negroes of
the South; and difficulties were aggravated by a series of strikes on
the part of the white workers. By the spring of 1917 not less than ten
thousand Negroes had recently arrived in the city, and the housing
situation was so acute that these people were more and more being forced
into the white localities. Sometimes Negroes who had recently arrived
wandered aimlessly about the streets, where they met the rougher
elements of the city; there were frequent fights and also much trouble
on the street cars. The Negroes interested themselves in politics and
even succeeded in placing in office several men of their choice. In
February, 1917, there was a strike of the white workers at the Aluminum
Ore Works. This was adjusted at the time, but the settlement was not
permanent, and meanwhile there were almost daily arrivals from the
South, and the East St. Louis _Journal_ was demanding: "Make East St.
Louis a Lily White Town." There were preliminary riots on May 27-30. On
the night of July I men in automobiles rode through the Negro section
and began firing promiscuously. The next day the massacre broke forth in
all its fury, and before it was over hundreds of thousands of dollars in
property had been destroyed, six thousand Negroes had been driven from
their homes, and about one hundred and fifty shot, burned, hanged, or
maimed for life. Officers of the law failed to do their duty, and the
testimony of victims as to the torture inflicted upon them was such as
to send a thrill of horror through the heart of the American people.
Later there was a congressional investigation, but from this nothing
very material resulted. In the last week of this same month, July, 1917,
there were also serious outbreaks in both Chester and Philadelphia,
Penn., the fundamental issues being the same as in East St. Louis.

Meanwhile welfare organizations earnestly labored to adjust the Negro in
his new environment. In Chicago the different state clubs helped nobly.
Greater than any other one agency, however, was the National Urban
League, whose work now witnessed an unprecedented expansion.
Representative was the work of the Detroit branch, which was not content
merely with finding vacant positions, but approached manufacturers of
all kinds through distribution of literature and by personal visits,
and within twelve months was successful in placing not less than one
thousand Negroes in employment other than unskilled labor. It also
established a bureau of investigation and information regarding housing
conditions, and generally aimed at the proper moral and social care of
those who needed its service. The whole problem of the Negro was of such
commanding importance after the United States entered the war as to lead
to the creation of a special Division of Negro Economics in the office
of the Secretary of Labor, to the directorship of which Dr. George E.
Haynes was called.

In January, 1918, a Conference of Migration was called in New York under
the auspices of the National Urban League, and this placed before the
American Federation of Labor resolutions asking that Negro labor be
considered on the same basis as white. The Federation had long been
debating the whole question of the Negro, and it had not seemed to be
able to arrive at a clearcut policy though its general attitude was
unfavorable. In 1919, however, it voted to take steps to recognize and
admit Negro unions. At last it seemed to realize the necessity of making
allies of Negro workers, and of course any such change of front on the
part of white workmen would menace some of the foundations of racial
strife in the South and indeed in the country at large. Just how
effective the new decision was to be in actual practice remained to be
seen, especially as the whole labor movement was thrown on the defensive
by the end of 1920. However, special interest attached to the events
in Bogalusa, La., in November, 1919. Here were the headquarters of the
Great Southern Lumber Company, whose sawmill in the place was said to be
the largest in the world. For some time it had made use of unorganized
Negro labor as against the white labor unions. The forces of labor,
however, began to organize the Negroes in the employ of the Company,
which held political as well as capitalistic control in the community.
The Company then began to have Negroes arrested on charges of vagrancy,
taking them before the city court and having them fined and turned over
to the Company to work out the fines under the guard of gunmen. In the
troubles that came to a head on November 22, three white men were shot
and killed, one of them being the district president of the American
Federation of Labor, who was helping to give protection to a colored
organizer. The full significance of this incident remained also to be
seen; but it is quite possible that in the final history of the Negro
problem the skirmish at Bogalusa will mark the beginning of the end of
the exploiting of Negro labor and the first recognition of the identity
of interest between white and black workmen in the South.

3. _The Great War_

Just on the eve of America's entrance into the war in Europe occurred
an incident that from the standpoint of the Negro at least must finally
appear simply as the prelude to the great contest to come. Once more,
at an unexpected moment, ten years after Brownsville, the loyalty
and heroism of the Negro soldier impressed the American people. The
expedition of the American forces into Mexico in 1916, with the
political events attending this, is a long story. The outstanding
incident, however, was that in which two troops of the Tenth Cavalry
engaged. About eighty men had been sent a long distance from the main
line of the American army, their errand being supposedly the pursuit of
a deserter. At or near the town of Carrizal the Americans seem to have
chosen to go through the town rather than around it, and the result was
a clash in which Captain Boyd, who commanded the detachment, and some
twenty of his men were killed, twenty-two others being captured by the
Mexicans. Under the circumstances the whole venture was rather imprudent
in the first place. As to the engagement itself, the Mexicans said that
the American troops made the attack, while the latter said that the
Mexicans themselves first opened fire. However this may have been,
all other phases of the Mexican problem seemed for the moment to be
forgotten at Washington in the demand for the release of the twenty-two
men who had been taken. There was no reason for holding them, and they
were brought up to El Paso within a few days and sent across the line.
Thus, though "some one had blundered," these Negro soldiers did their
duty; "theirs not to make reply; theirs but to do and die." So in the
face of odds they fought like heroes and twenty died beneath the Mexican

When the United States entered the war in Europe in April, 1917, the
question of overwhelming importance to the Negro people was naturally
that of their relation to the great conflict in which their country
had become engaged. Their response to the draft call set a noteworthy
example of loyalty to all other elements in the country. At the very
outset the race faced a terrible dilemma: If there were to be special
training camps for officers, and if the National Government would make
no provision otherwise, did it wish to have a special camp for Negroes,
such as would give formal approval to a policy of segregation, or did it
wish to have no camp at all on such terms and thus lose the opportunity
to have any men of the race specially trained as officers? The camp was
secured--Camp Dodge, near Des Moines, Iowa; and throughout the summer
of 1917 the work of training went forward, the heart of a harassed and
burdened people responding more and more with pride to the work of their
men. On October 15, 625 became commissioned officers, and all told 1200
received commissions. To the fighting forces of the United States the
race furnished altogether very nearly 400,000 men, of whom just a little
more than half actually saw service in Europe.

Negro men served in all branches of the military establishment and also
as surveyors and draftsmen. For the handling of many of the questions
relating to them Emmett J. Scott was on October 1, 1917, appointed
Special Assistant to the Secretary of War. Mr. Scott had for a number
of years assisted Dr. Booker T. Washington as secretary at Tuskegee
Institute, and in 1909 he was one of the three members of the special
commission appointed by President Taft for the investigation of Liberian
affairs. Negro nurses were authorized by the War Department for service
in base hospitals at six army camps, and women served also as canteen
workers in France and in charge of hostess houses in the United States.
Sixty Negro men served as chaplains; 350 as Y.M.C.A. secretaries; and
others in special capacities. Service of exceptional value was rendered
by Negro women in industry, and very largely also they maintained and
promoted the food supply through agriculture at the same time that they
released men for service at the front. Meanwhile the race invested
millions of dollars in Liberty Bonds and War Savings stamps and
contributed generously to the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A., and other relief
agencies. In the summer of 1918 interest naturally centered upon
the actual performance of Negro soldiers in France and upon the
establishment of units of the Students' Army Training Corps in twenty
leading educational institutions. When these units were demobilized in
December, 1918, provision was made in a number of the schools for the
formation of units of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

The remarkable record made by the Negro in the previous wars of the
country was fully equaled by that in the Great War. Negro soldiers
fought with special distinction in the Argonne Forest, at
Château-Thierry, in Belleau Wood, in the St. Mihiel district, in the
Champagne sector, at Vosges and Metz, winning often very high praise
from their commanders. Entire regiments of Negro troops were cited for
exceptional valor and decorated with the Croix de Guerre--the 369th, the
371st, and the 372nd; while groups of officers and men of the 365th, the
366th, the 368th, the 370th, and the first battalion of the 367th were
also decorated. At the close of the war the highest Negro officers in
the army were Lieutenant Colonel Otis B. Duncan, commander of the third
battalion of the 370th, formerly the Eighth Illinois, and the highest
ranking Negro officer in the American Expeditionary Forces; Colonel
Charles Young (retired), on special duty at Camp Grant, Ill.; Colonel
Franklin A. Dennison, of the 370th Infantry, and Lieutenant Colonel
Benjamin O. Davis, of the Ninth Cavalry. The 370th was the first
American regiment stationed in the St. Mihiel sector; it was one of the
three that occupied a sector at Verdun when a penetration there would
have been disastrous to the Allied cause; and it went direct from the
training camp to the firing-line. Noteworthy also was the record of
the 369th infantry, formerly the Fifteenth Regiment, New York National
Guard. This organization was under shellfire for 191 days, and it held
one trench for 91 days without relief. It was the first unit of Allied
fighters to reach the Rhine, going down as an advance guard of the
French army of occupation. A prominent hero in this regiment was
Sergeant Henry Johnson, who returned with the Croix de Guerre with one
star and one palm. He is credited with routing a party of Germans at
Bois-Hanzey in the Argonne on May 5, 1918, with singularly heavy losses
to the enemy. Many other men acted with similar bravery. Hardly less
heroic was the service of the stevedore regiments, or the thousands of
men in the army who did not go to France but who did their duty as they
were commanded at home. General Vincenden said of the men of the 370th:
"Fired by a noble ardor, they go at times even beyond the objectives
given them by the higher command; they have always wished to be in the
front line"; and General Coybet said of the 371st and 372nd: "The most
powerful defenses, the most strongly organized machine gun nests, the
heaviest artillery barrages--nothing could stop them. These crack
regiments overcame every obstacle with a most complete contempt for
danger.... They have shown us the way to victory."

In spite of his noble record--perhaps in some measure because of it--and
in the face of his loyal response to the call to duty, the Negro
unhappily became in the course of the war the victim of proscription and
propaganda probably without parallel in the history of the country. No
effort seems to have been spared to discredit him both as a man and as
a soldier. In both France and America the apparent object of the forces
working against him was the intention to prevent any feeling that the
war would make any change in the condition of the race at home. In the
South Negroes were sometimes forced into peonage and restrained in their
efforts to go North; and generally they had no representation on local
boards, the draft was frequently operated so as to be unfair to them,
and every man who registered found special provision for the indication
of his race in the corner of his card. Accordingly in many localities
Negroes contributed more than their quota, this being the result
of favoritism shown to white draftees. The first report of the
Provost-Marshal General showed that of every 100 Negroes called 36 were
certified for service, while of every 100 white men called only 25 were
certified. Of those summoned in Class I Negroes contributed 51.65 per
cent of their registrants as against 32.53 per cent of the white. In
France the work of defamation was manifest and flagrant. Slanders about
the Negro soldiers were deliberately circulated among the French people,
sometimes on very high authority, much of this propaganda growing out of
a jealous fear of any acquaintance whatsoever of the Negro men with the
French women. Especially insolent and sometimes brutal were the men
of the military police, who at times shot and killed on the slightest
provocation. Proprietors who sold to Negro soldiers were sometimes
boycotted, and offenses were magnified which in the case of white men
never saw publication. Negro officers were discriminated against in
hotel and traveling accommodations, while upon the ordinary men in
the service fell unduly any specially unpleasant duty such as that
of re-burying the dead. White women engaged in "Y" work, especially
Southern women, showed a disposition not to serve Negroes, though the
Red Cross and Salvation Army organizations were much better in this
respect; and finally the Negro soldier was not given any place in the
great victory parade in Paris. About the close of the war moreover a
great picture, or series of pictures, the "Pantheon de la Guerre," that
was on a mammoth scale and that attracted extraordinary attention, was
noteworthy as giving representation to all of the forces and divisions
of the Allied armies except the Negroes in the forces from the United
States.[1] Not unnaturally the Germans endeavored--though without
success--to capitalize the situation by circulating among the Negroes
insidious literature that sometimes made very strong points. All of
these things are to be considered by those people in the United States
who think that the Negro suffers unduly from a grievance.

[Footnote 1: On the whole subject of the actual life of the Negro
soldier unusual interest attaches to the forthcoming and authoritative
"Sidelights on Negro Soldiers," by Charles H. Williams, who as a special
and official investigator had unequaled opportunity to study the Negro
in camp and on the battle-line both in the United States and in France.]

While the Negro soldier abroad was thus facing unusual pressure in
addition to the ordinary hardships of war, at home occurred an incident
that was doubly depressing coming as it did just a few weeks after
the massacre at East St. Louis. In August, 1917, a battalion of the
Twenty-fourth Infantry, stationed at Houston, Texas, to assist in the
work of concentrating soldiers for the war in Europe, encountered the
ill-will of the town, and between the city police and the Negro military
police there was constant friction. At last when one of the Negroes had
been beaten, word was circulated among his comrades that he had been
shot, and a number of them set out for revenge. In the riot that
followed (August 23) two of the Negroes and seventeen white people of
the town were killed, the latter number including five policemen. As
a result of this encounter sixty-three members of the battalion were
court-martialed at Fort Sam Houston. Thirteen were hanged on December
11, 1917, five more were executed on September 13, 1918, fifty-one were
sentenced to life imprisonment and five to briefer terms; and the Negro
people of the country felt very keenly the fact that the condemned
men were hanged like common criminals rather than given the death of
soldiers. Thus for one reason or another the whole matter of the war and
the incidents connected therewith simply made the Negro question more
bitterly than ever the real disposition toward him of the government
under which he lived and which he had striven so long to serve.

4. _High Tension: Washington, Chicago, Elaine_

Such incidents abroad and such feeling at home as we have recorded not
only agitated the Negro people, but gave thousands of other citizens
concern, and when the armistice suddenly came on November 11, 1918, not
only in the South but in localities elsewhere in the country racial
feeling had been raised to the highest point. About the same time there
began to be spread abroad sinister rumors that the old KuKlux were
riding again; and within a few months parades at night in representative
cities in Alabama and Georgia left no doubt that the rumors were well
founded. The Negro people fully realized the significance of the new
movement, and they felt full well the pressure being brought to bear
upon them in view of the shortage of domestic servants in the South.
Still more did they sense the situation that would face their sons and
brothers when they returned from France. But they were not afraid; and
in all of the riots of the period the noteworthy fact stands out that
in some of the cities in which the situation was most tense--notably
Atlanta and Birmingham--no great race trouble was permitted to start.

In general, however, the violence that had characterized the year 1917
continued through 1918 and 1919. In the one state of Tennessee, within
less than a year and on separate occasions, three Negroes were burned at
the stake. On May 22, 1917, near Memphis, Ell T. Person, nearly fifty
years of age, was burned for the alleged assault and murder of a young
woman; and in this case the word "alleged" is used advisedly, for the
whole matter of the fixing of the blame for the crime and the fact that
the man was denied a legal trial left grave doubt as to the extent of
his guilt. On Sunday, December 2, 1917, at Dyersburg, immediately after
the adjournment of services in the churches of the town, Lation Scott,
guilty of criminal assault, was burned; his eyes were put out with
red-hot irons, a hot poker was rammed down his throat, and he was
mutilated in unmentionable ways. Two months later, on February 12, 1918,
at Estill Springs, Jim McIlheron, who had shot and killed two young
white men, was also burned at the stake. In Estill Springs it had for
some time been the sport of young white men in the community to throw
rocks at single Negroes and make them run. Late one afternoon McIlheron
went into a store to buy some candy. As he passed out, a remark was made
by one of three young men about his eating his candy. The rest of the
story is obvious.

As horrible as these burnings were, it is certain that they did not
grind the iron into the Negro's soul any more surely than the three
stories that follow. Hampton Smith was known as one of the harshest
employers of Negro labor in Brooks County, Ga. As it was difficult for
him to get help otherwise, he would go into the courts and whenever a
Negro was convicted and was unable to pay his fine or was sentenced to
a term on the chain-gang, he would pay the fine and secure the man for
work on his plantation. He thus secured the services of Sidney Johnson,
fined thirty dollars for gambling. After Johnson had more than worked
out the thirty dollars he asked pay for the additional time he served.
Smith refused to give this and a quarrel resulted. A few mornings later,
when Johnson, sick, did not come to work, Smith found him in his cabin
and beat him. A few evenings later, while Smith was sitting in his home,
he was shot through a window and killed instantly, and his wife was
wounded. As a result of this occurrence the Negroes of both Brooks and
Lowndes counties were terrorized for the week May 17-24, 1918, and not
less than eleven of them lynched. Into the bodies of two men lynched
together not less than seven hundred bullets are said to have been
fired. Johnson himself had been shot dead when he was found; but his
body was mutilated, dragged through the streets of Valdosta, and burned.
Mary Turner, the wife of one of the victims, said that her husband had
been unjustly treated and that if she knew who had killed him she would
have warrants sworn out against them. For saying this she too was
lynched, although she was in an advanced state of pregnancy. Her ankles
were tied together and she was hung to a tree, head downward. Gasoline
and oil from the automobiles near were thrown on her clothing and a
match applied. While she was yet alive her abdomen was cut open with a
large knife and her unborn babe fell to the ground. It gave two feeble
cries and then its head was crushed by a member of the mob with his
heel. Hundreds of bullets were then fired into the woman's body. As
a result of these events not less than five hundred Negroes left the
immediate vicinity of Valdosta immediately, and hundreds of others
prepared to leave as soon as they could dispose of their land, and
this they proceeded to do in the face of the threat that any Negro who
attempted to leave would be regarded as implicated in the murder of
Smith and dealt with accordingly. At the end of this same year--on
December 20, 1918--four young Negroes--Major Clark, aged twenty; Andrew
Clark, aged fifteen; Maggie Howze, aged twenty, and Alma Howze, aged
sixteen--were taken from the little jail at Shubuta, Mississippi, and
lynched on a bridge near the town. They were accused of the murder of
E.L. Johnston, a white dentist, though all protested their innocence.
The situation that preceded the lynching was significant. Major Clark
was in love with Maggie Howze and planned to marry her. This thought
enraged Johnston, who was soon to become the father of a child by the
young woman, and who told Clark to leave her alone. As the two sisters
were about to be killed, Maggie screamed and fought, crying, "I ain't
guilty of killing the doctor and you oughtn't to kill me"; and to
silence her cries one member of the mob struck her in the mouth with
a monkey wrench, knocking her teeth out. On May 24, 1919, at Milan,
Telfair County, Georgia, two young white men, Jim Dowdy and Lewis Evans,
went drunk late at night to the Negro section of the town and to the
home of a widow who had two daughters. They were refused admittance and
then fired into the house. The girls, frightened, ran to another home.
They were pursued, and Berry Washington, a respectable Negro seventy-two
years of age, seized a shotgun, intending to give them protection; and
in the course of the shooting that followed Dowdy was killed. The next
night, Saturday the 25th, Washington was taken to the place where Dowdy
was killed and his body shot to pieces.

It remained for the capital of the nation, however, largely to show the
real situation of the race in the aftermath of a great war conducted
by a Democratic administration. Heretofore the Federal Government had
declared itself powerless to act in the case of lawlessness in an
individual state; but it was now to have an opportunity to deal with
violence in Washington itself. On July 19, 1919, a series of lurid and
exaggerated stories in the daily papers of attempted assaults of Negroes
on white women resulted in an outbreak that was intended to terrorize
the popular Northwest section, in which lived a large proportion of
the Negroes in the District of Columbia. For three days the violence
continued intermittently, and as the constituted police authority did
practically nothing for the defense of the Negro citizens, the loss of
life might have been infinitely greater than it was if the colored men
of the city had not assumed their own defense. As it was they saved the
capital and earned the gratitude of the race and the nation. It appeared
that Negroes--educated, law-abiding Negroes--would not now run when
their lives and their homes were at stake, and before such determination
the mob retreated ingloriously.

Just a week afterwards--before the country had really caught its breath
after the events in Washington--there burst into flame in Chicago a race
war of the greatest bitterness and fierceness. For a number of years the
Western metropolis had been known as that city offering to the Negro
the best industrial and political opportunity in the country. When the
migration caused by the war was at its height, tens of thousands of
Negroes from the South passed through the city going elsewhere, but
thousands also remained to work in the stockyards or other places. With
all of the coming and going, the Negroes in the city must at any time in
1918 or 1919 have numbered not less than 150,000; and banks, coöperative
societies, and race newspapers flourished. There were also abundant
social problems awakened by the saloons and gambling dens, and by the
seamy side of politics. Those who had been longest in the city, however,
rallied to the needs of the newcomers, and in their homes, their
churches, and their places of work endeavored to get them adjusted in
their environment. The housing situation, in spite of all such effort,
became more and more acute, and when some Negroes were forced beyond the
bounds of the old "black belt" there were attempts to dynamite their new
residences. Meanwhile hundreds of young men who had gone to France or to
cantonments--1850 from the district of one draft board at State and 35th
Streets--returned to find again a place in the life of Chicago; and
daily from Washington or from the South came the great waves of social
unrest. Said Arnold Hill, secretary of the Chicago branch of the
National Urban League: "Every time a lynching takes place in a community
down South you can depend on it that colored people from that community
will arrive in Chicago inside of two weeks; we have seen it happen so
often that whenever we read newspaper dispatches of a public hanging
or burning in a Texas or a Mississippi town, we get ready to extend
greetings to the people from the immediate vicinity of the lynching."
Before the armistice was signed the League was each month finding work
for 1700 or 1800 men and women; in the following April the number fell
to 500, but with the coming of summer it rapidly rose again. Unskilled
work was plentiful, and jobs in foundries and steel mills, in building
and construction work, and in light factories and packing-houses kept up
a steady demand for laborers. Meanwhile trouble was brewing, and on the
streets there were occasional encounters.

Such was the situation when on a Sunday at the end of July a Negro boy
at a bathing beach near Twenty-sixth Street swam across an imaginary
segregation line. White boys threw rocks at him, knocked him off a raft,
and he was drowned. Colored people rushed to a policeman and asked him
to arrest the boys who threw the stones. He refused to do so, and as the
dead body of the Negro boy was being handled, more rocks were thrown
on both sides. The trouble thus engendered spread through the Negro
district on the South Side, and for a week it was impossible or
dangerous for people to go to work. Some employed at the stockyards
could not get to their work for some days further. At the end of three
days twenty Negroes were reported as dead, fourteen white men were dead,
scores of people were injured, and a number of houses of Negroes burned.

In the face of this disaster the great soul of Chicago rose above its
materialism. There were many conferences between representative people;
out of all the effort grew the determination to work for a nobler city;
and the sincerity was such as to give one hope not only for Chicago but
also for a new and better America.

The riots in Washington and Chicago were followed within a few weeks by
outbreaks in Knoxville and Omaha. In the latter place the fundamental
cause of the trouble was social and political corruption, and because he
strongly opposed the lynching of William Brown, the Negro, the mayor of
the city, Edward P. Smith, very nearly lost his life. As it was, the
county court house was burned, one man more was killed, and perhaps
as many as forty injured. More important even than this, however--and
indeed one of the two or three most far-reaching instances of racial
trouble in the history of the Negro in America--was the reign of terror
in and near Elaine, Phillips County, Arkansas, in the first week of
October, 1919. The causes of this were fundamental and reached the very
heart of the race problem and of the daily life of tens of thousands of

Many Negro tenants in eastern Arkansas, as in other states, were still
living under a share system by which the owner furnished the land
and the Negro the labor, and by which at the end of the year the two
supposedly got equal parts of the crop. Meanwhile throughout the
year the tenant would get his food, clothing, and other supplies at
exorbitant prices from a "commissary" operated by the planter or his
agent; and in actual practice the landowner and the tenant did not go
together to a city to dispose of the crop when it was gathered, as was
sometimes done elsewhere, but the landowner alone sold the crop and
settled with the tenant whenever and however he pleased; nor at the time
of settlement was any itemized statement of supplies given, only the
total amount owed being stated. Obviously the planter could regularly
pad his accounts, keep the Negro in debt, and be assured of his labor
supply from year to year.

In 1918 the price of cotton was constantly rising and at length reached
forty cents a pound. Even with the cheating to which the Negroes were
subjected, it became difficult to keep them in debt, and they became
more and more insistent in their demands for itemized statements.
Nevertheless some of those whose cotton was sold in October, 1918, did
not get any statement of any sort before July of the next year.

Seeing no other way out of their difficulty, sixty-eight of the Negroes
got together and decided to hire a lawyer who would help them to get
statements of their accounts and settlement at the right figures.
Feeling that the life of any Negro lawyer who took such a case would be
endangered, they employed the firm of Bratton and Bratton, of Little
Rock. They made contracts with this firm to handle the sixty-eight cases
at fifty dollars each in cash and a percentage of the moneys collected
from the white planters. Some of the Negroes also planned to go before
the Federal Grand Jury and charge certain planters with peonage. They
had secret meetings from time to time in order to collect the money to
be paid in advance and to collect the evidence which would enable them
successfully to prosecute their cases. Some Negro cotton-pickers about
the same time organized a union; and at Elaine many Negroes who worked
in the sawmills and who desired to protect their wives and daughters
from insult, refused to allow them to pick cotton or to work for a white
man at any price.

Such was the sentiment out of which developed the Progressive Farmers
and Household Union of America, which was an effort by legal means to
secure protection from unscrupulous landlords, but which did use the
form of a fraternal order with passwords and grips and insignia so as
the more forcefully to appeal to some of its members. About the first of
October the report was spread abroad in Phillips County that the Negroes
were plotting an insurrection and that they were rapidly preparing to
massacre the white people on a great scale. When the situation had
become tense, one Sunday John Clem, a white man from Helena, drunk, came
to Elaine and proceeded to terrorize the Negro population by gun play.
The colored people kept off the streets in order to avoid trouble and
telephoned the sheriff at Helena. This man failed to act. The next day
Clem was abroad again, but the Negroes still avoided trouble, thinking
that his acts were simply designed to start a race riot. On Tuesday
evening, October 1, however, W.D. Adkins, a special agent of the
Missouri Pacific Railroad, in company with Charles Pratt, a deputy
sheriff, was riding past a Negro church near Hoop Spur, a small
community just a few miles from Elaine. According to Pratt, persons in
the church fired without cause on the party, killing Adkins and wounding
himself. According to the Negroes, Adkins and Pratt fired into the
church, evidently to frighten the people there assembled. At any rate
word spread through the county that the massacre had started, and for
days there was murder and rioting, in the course of which not less
than five white men and twenty-five Negroes were killed, though some
estimates placed the number of fatalities a great deal higher. Negroes
were arrested and disarmed; some were shot on the highways; homes were
fired into; and at one time hundreds of men and women were in a stockade
under heavy guard and under the most unwholesome conditions, while
hundreds of white men, armed to the teeth, rushed to the vicinity from
neighboring cities and towns. Governor Charles H. Brough telegraphed to
Camp Pike for Federal troops, and five hundred were mobilized at once
"to repel the attack of the black army." Worse than any other feature
was the wanton slaying of the four Johnston brothers, whose father had
been a prominent Presbyterian minister and whose mother was formerly a
school-teacher. Dr. D.A.E. Johnston was a successful dentist and owned a
three-story building in Helena. Dr. Louis Johnston was a physician who
lived in Oklahoma and who had come home on a visit. A third brother had
served in France and been wounded and gassed at Château-Thierry.

Altogether one thousand Negroes were arrested and one hundred and
twenty-two indicted. A special committee of seven gathered evidence and
is charged with having used electric connections on the witness chair
in order to frighten the Negroes. Twelve men were sentenced to death
(though up to the end of 1920 execution had been stayed), and fifty-four
to penitentiary terms. The trials lasted from five to ten minutes each.
No witnesses for the defense were called; no Negroes were on the juries;
no change of venue was given. Meanwhile lawyers at Helena were preparing
to reap further harvest from Negroes who would be indicted and against
whom there was no evidence, but who had saved money and Liberty Bonds.

Governor Brough in a statement to the press blamed the _Crisis_ and the
Chicago _Defender_ for the trouble. He had served for a number of years
as a professor of economics before becoming governor and had even
identified himself with the forward-looking University Commission on
Southern Race Questions; and it is true that he postponed the executions
in order to allow appeals to be filed in behalf of the condemned men.
That he should thus attempt to shift the burden of blame and overlook
the facts when in a position of grave responsibility was a keen
disappointment to the lovers of progress.

Reference to the monthly periodical and the weekly paper just mentioned,
however, brings us to still another matter--the feeling on the part of
the Negro that, in addition to the outrages visited on the race, the
Government was now, under the cloak of wartime legislation, formally to
attempt to curtail its freedom of speech. For some days the issue of
the _Crisis_ for May, 1919, was held up in the mail; a South Carolina
representative in Congress quoted by way of denunciation from the
editorial "Returning Soldiers" in the same number of the periodical;
and a little later in the year the Department of Justice devoted
twenty-seven pages of the report of the investigation against "Persons
Advising Anarchy, Sedition, and the Forcible Overthrow of the
Government" to a report on "Radicalism and Sedition among the Negroes
as Reflected in Their Publications." Among other periodicals and papers
mentioned were the _Messenger_ and the _Negro World_ of New York; and by
the _Messenger_ indeed, frankly radical in its attitude not only on the
race question but also on fundamental economic principles, even the
_Crisis_ was regarded as conservative in tone. There could be no doubt
that a great spiritual change had come over the Negro people of the
United States. At the very time that their sons and brothers were making
the supreme sacrifice in France they were witnessing such events as
those at East St. Louis or Houston, or reading of three burnings within
a year in Tennessee. A new determination closely akin to consecration
possessed them. Fully to understand the new spirit one would read not
only such publications as those that have been mentioned, but also those
issued in the heart of the South. "Good-by, Black Mammy," said the
_Southwestern Christian Advocate_, taking as its theme the story of four
Southern white men who acted as honorary pallbearers at an old Negro
woman's funeral, but who under no circumstances would thus have served
for a thrifty, intelligent, well-educated man of the race. Said the
Houston _Informer_, voicing the feeling of thousands, "The black man
fought to make the world safe for democracy; he now demands that America
be made and maintained safe for black Americans." With hypocrisy in
the practice of the Christian religion there ceased to be any patience
whatsoever, as was shown by the treatment accorded a Y.M.C.A. "Call on
behalf of the young men and boys of the two great sister Anglo-Saxon
nations." "Read! Read! Read!" said the _Challenge Magazine_, "then
when the mob comes, whether with torch or with gun, let us stand at
Armageddon and battle for the Lord." "Protect your home," said the
gentle _Christian Recorder_, "protect your wife and children, with your
life if necessary. If a man crosses your threshold after you and your
family, the law allows you to protect your home even if you have to kill
the intruder." Perhaps nothing, however, better summed up the new spirit
than the following sonnet by Claude McKay:

  If we must die, let it not be like hogs
    Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
  While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
    Making their mock at our accursed lot.
  If we must die, let it not be like hogs
    So that our precious blood may not be shed
  In vain; then even the monsters we defy
    Shall be constrained to honor us, though dead!
  Oh, kinsman! We must meet the common foe;
    Though far outnumbered, let us still be brave,
  And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
    What though before us lies the open grave?
  Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack
    Pressed to the wall, dying, but--fighting back!

5. _The Widening Problem_

In view of the world war and the important part taken in it by French
colonial troops, especially those from Senegal, it is not surprising
that the heart of the Negro people in the United States broadened in a
new sympathy with the problems of their brothers the world over. Even
early in the decade that we are now considering, however, there was some
indication of this tendency, and the First Universal Races Congress in
London in 1911 attracted wide attention. In February, 1919, largely
through the personal effort of Dr. DuBois, a Pan-African Congress was
held in Paris, the chief aims of which were the hearing of statements
on the condition of Negroes throughout the world, the obtaining of
authoritative statements of policy toward the Negro race from the Great
Powers, the making of strong representations to the Peace Conference
then sitting in Paris in behalf of the Negroes throughout the world, and
the laying down of principles on which the future development of the
race must take place. Meanwhile the cession of the Virgin Islands had
fixed attention upon an interesting colored population at the very door
of the United States; and the American occupation of Hayti culminating
in the killing of many of the people in the course of President Wilson's
second administration gave a new feeling of kinship for the land of
Toussaint L'Ouverture. Among other things the evidence showed that on
June 12, 1918, under military pressure a new constitution was forced on
the Haytian people, one favoring the white man and the foreigner;
that by force and brutality innocent men and women, including native
preachers and members of their churches, had been taken, roped together,
and marched as slave-gangs to prison; and that in large numbers Haytians
had been taken from their homes and farms and made to work on new roads
for twenty cents a week, without being properly furnished with food--all
of this being done under the pretense of improving the social and
political condition of the country. The whole world now realized that
the Negro problem was no longer local in the United States or South
Africa, or the West Indies, but international in its scope and

Very early in the course of the conflict in Europe it was pointed out
that Africa was the real prize of the war, and it is now simply a
commonplace to say that the bases of the struggle were economic. Nothing
did Germany regret more than the forcible seizure of her African
possessions. One can not fail to observe, moreover, a tendency of
discussion of problems resultant from the war to shift the consideration
from that of pure politics to that of racial relations, and early in the
conflict students of society the world over realized that it was nothing
less than suicide on the part of the white race. After the close of the
war many books dealing with the issues at stake were written, and in the
year 1920 alone several of these appeared in the United States. Of all
of these publications, because of their different points of view, four
might call for special consideration--_The Republic of Liberia_, by
R.C.F. Maugham; _The Rising Tide of Color_, by Lothrop Stoddard;
_Darkwater_, by W.E. Burghardt DuBois, and _Empire and Commerce in
Africa: A Study in Economic Imperialism_, by Leonard Woolf. The position
of each of these books is clear and all bear directly upon the central

The _Republic of Liberia_ was written by one who some years ago was the
English consul at Monrovia and who afterwards was appointed to Dakar.
The supplementary preface also gives the information that the book was
really written two years before it appeared, publication being delayed
on account of the difficulties of printing at the time. Even up to 1918,
however, the account is incomplete, and the failure to touch upon recent
developments becomes serious; but it is of course impossible to record
the history of Liberia from 1847 to the present and reflect credit upon
England. There are some pages of value in the book, especially those in
which the author speaks of the labor situation in the little African
republic; but these are obviously intended primarily for consumption by
business men in London. "Liberians," we are informed, "tell you that,
whatever may be said to the contrary, the republic's most uncomfortable
neighbor has always been France." This is hardly true. France has
indeed on more than one occasion tried to equal her great rival in
aggrandizement, but she has never quite succeeded in so doing. As we
have already shown in connection with Liberia in the present work, from
the very first the shadow of Great Britain fell across the country. In
more recent years, by loans that were no more than clever plans for
thievery, by the forceful occupation of large tracts of land, and by
interference in the internal affairs of the country, England has again
and again proved herself the arch-enemy of the republic. The book so
recently written in the last analysis appears to be little more than the
basis of effort toward still further exploitation.

The very merit of _The Rising Tide of Color_ depends on its bias, and it
is significant that the book closes with a quotation from Kipling's "The
Heritage." To Dr. Stoddard the most disquieting feature of the recent
situation was not the war but the peace. Says he, "The white world's
inability to frame a constructive settlement, the perpetuation of
intestine hatreds and the menace of fresh civil wars complicated by the
specter of social revolution, evoke the dread thought that the late
war may be merely the first stage in a cycle of ruin." As for the war
itself, "As colored men realized the significance of it all, they looked
into each other's eyes and there saw the light of undreamed-of hopes.
The white world was tearing itself to pieces. White solidarity was
riven and shattered. And--fear of white power and respect for white
civilization together dropped away like garments outworn. Through the
bazaars of Asia ran the sibilant whisper: 'The East will see the West
to bed.'" At last comes the inevitable conclusion pleading for a better
understanding between England and Germany and for everything else that
would make for racial solidarity. The pitiful thing about this book
is that it is so thoroughly representative of the thing for which it
pleads. It is the very essence of jingoism; civilization does not exist
in and of itself, it is "white"; and the conclusions are directly at
variance with the ideals that have been supposed to guide England
and America. Incidentally the work speaks of the Negro and negroid
population of Africa as "estimated at about 120,000,000." This low
estimate has proved a common pitfall for writers. If we remember that
Africa is three and a half times as large as the United States, and that
while there are no cities as large as New York and Chicago, there are
many centers of very dense population; if we omit entirely from the
consideration the Desert of Sahara and make due allowance for some
heavily wooded tracts in which live no people at all; and if we then
take some fairly well-known region like Nigeria or Sierra Leone as the
basis of estimate, we shall arrive at some such figure as 450,000,000.
In order to satisfy any other points that might possibly be made, let us
reduce this by as much as a third, and we shall still have 300,000,000,
which figure we feel justified in advancing as the lowest possible
estimate for the population of Africa; and yet most books tell us that
there are only 140,000,000 people on the whole continent.

_Darkwater_ may be regarded as the reply to such a position as that
taken by Dr. Stoddard. If the white world conceives it to be its destiny
to exploit the darker races of mankind, then it simply remains for the
darker races to gird their loins for the contest. "What of the darker
world that watches? Most men belong to this world. With Negro and
Negroid, East Indian, Chinese, and Japanese they form two-thirds of the
population of the world. A belief in humanity is a belief in colored
men. If the uplift of mankind must be done by men, then the destinies of
this world will rest ultimately in the hands of darker nations. What,
then, is this dark world thinking? It is thinking that as wild and awful
as this shameful war was, it is nothing to compare with that fight for
freedom which black and brown and yellow men must and will make unless
their oppression and humiliation and insult at the hands of the White
World cease. The Dark World is going to submit to its present treatment
just as long as it must and not one moment longer."

Both of these books are strong, and both are materialistic; and
materialism, it must be granted, is a very important factor in the world
just now. Somewhat different in outlook, however, is the book that
labors under an economic subject, _Empire and Commerce in Africa_. In
general the inquiry is concerned with the question, What do we desire
to attain, particularly economically, in Africa, and how far is it
attainable through policy? The discussion is mainly confined to the
three powers: England, France, and Germany; and special merit attaches
to the chapter on Abyssinia, probably the best brief account of this
country ever written. Mr. Woolf announces such fundamental principles as
that the land in Africa should be reserved for the natives; that there
should be systematic education of the natives with a view to training
them to take part in, and eventually control, the government of the
country; that there should be a gradual expatriation of all Europeans
and their capitalistic enterprises; that all revenue raised in Africa
should be applied to the development of the country and the education
and health of the inhabitants; that alcohol should be absolutely
prohibited; and that Africa should be completely neutralized, that is,
in no case should any military operations between European states be
allowed. The difficulties of the enforcement of such a program are of
course apparent to the author; but with other such volumes as this to
guide and mold opinion, the time may indeed come at no distant date when
Africa will cease to exist solely for exploitation and no longer be the
rebuke of Christendom.

These four books then express fairly well the different opinions and
hopes with which Africa and the world problem that the continent raises
have recently been regarded. It remains simply to mention a conception
that after the close of the war found many adherents in the United
States and elsewhere, and whose operation was on a scale that forced
recognition. This was the idea of the Provisional Republic of Africa,
the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities
League of the World, the Black Star Line of steamships, and the Negro
Factories Corporation, all of which activities were centered in New
York, had as their organ the _Negro World_, and as their president and
leading spirit Marcus Garvey, who was originally from Jamaica. The
central thought that appealed to great crowds of people and won their
support was that of freedom for the race in every sense of the word.
Such freedom, it was declared, transcended the mere demand for the
enforcement of certain political and social rights and could finally be
realised only under a vast super-government guiding the destinies of the
race in Africa, the United States, the West Indies, and everywhere else
in the world. This was to control its people "just as the Pope and the
Catholic Church control its millions in every land." The related ideas
and activities were sometimes termed grandiose and they awakened
much opposition on the part of the old leaders, the clergy, while
conservative business stood aloof. At the same time the conception is
one that deserves to be considered on its merits.

It is quite possible that if promoted on a scale vast enough such a
Negro super-government as that proposed could be realized. It is true
that England and France seem to-day to have a firm grip on the continent
of Africa, but the experience of Germany has shown that even the mailèd
fist may lose its strength overnight. With England beset with problems
in Ireland and the West Indies, in India and Egypt, it is easy for the
millions in equatorial Africa to be made to know that even this great
power is not invincible and in time might rest with Nineveh and Tyre.
There are things in Africa that will forever baffle all Europeans, and
no foreign governor will ever know all that is at the back of the black
man's mind. Even now, without the aid of modern science, information
travels in a few hours throughout the length and breadth of the
continent; and those that slept are beginning to be awake and restless.
Let this restlessness increase, let intelligence also increase, let the
natives be aided by their fever, and all the armies of Europe could be
lost in Africa and this ancient mother still rise bloody but unbowed.
The realization of the vision, however, would call for capital on a
scale as vast as that of a modern war or an international industrial
enterprise. At the very outset it would engage England in nothing less
than a death-grapple, especially as regards the shipping on the West
Coast. If ships can not go from Liverpool to Seccondee and Lagos, then
England herself is doomed. The possible contest appalls the imagination.
At the same time the exploiting that now goes on in the world can not go
on forever.



It is probably clear from our study in the preceding pages that the
history of the Negro people in the United States falls into well defined
periods or epochs. First of all there was the colonial era, extending
from the time of the first coming of Negroes to the English colonies to
that of the Revolutionary War. This divides into two parts, with a line
coming at the year 1705. Before this date the exact status of the Negro
was more or less undefined; the system of servitude was only gradually
passing into the sterner one of slavery; and especially in the middle
colonies there was considerable intermixture of the races. By the year
1705, however, it had become generally established that the Negro was to
be regarded not as a person but as a thing; and the next seventy years
were a time of increasing numbers, but of no racial coherence or
spiritual outlook, only a spasmodic insurrection here and there
indicating the yearning for a better day. With the Revolution there came
a change, and the second period extends from this war to the Civil War.
This also divides into two parts, with a line at the year 1830. In the
years immediately succeeding the Revolution there was put forth
the first effective effort toward racial organization, this being
represented by the work of such men as Richard Allen and Prince Hall;
but, in spite of a new racial consciousness, the great mass of the Negro
people remained in much the same situation as before, the increase in
numbers incident to the invention of the cotton-gin only intensifying
the ultimate problem. About the year 1830, however, the very hatred and
ignominy that began to be visited upon the Negro indicated that at least
he was no longer a thing but a person. Lynching began to grow apace,
burlesque on the stage tended to depreciate and humiliate the race,
and the South became definitely united in its defense of the system of
slavery. On the other hand, the Abolitionists challenged the attitude
that was becoming popular; the Negroes themselves began to be prosperous
and to hold conventions; and Nat Turner's insurrection thrust baldly
before the American people the great moral and economic problem with
which they had to deal. With such divergent opinions, in spite of feeble
attempts at compromise, there could be no peace until the issue of
slavery at least was definitely settled. The third great period extends
from the Civil War to the opening of the Great War in Europe. Like the
others it also falls into two parts, the division coming at the year
1895. The thirty years from 1865 to 1895 may be regarded as an era
in which the race, now emancipated, was mainly under the guidance of
political ideals. Several men went to Congress and popular education
began to be emphasized; but the difficulties of Reconstruction and the
outrages of the KuKlux Klan were succeeded by an enveloping system of
peonage, and by 1890-1895 the pendulum had swung fully backward and in
the South disfranchisement had been arrived at as the concrete solution
of the political phase of the problem. The twenty years from 1895 to
1915 formed a period of unrest and violence, but also of solid economic
and social progress, the dominant influence being the work of Booker T.
Washington. With the world war the Negro people came face to face with
new and vast problems of economic adjustment and passed into an entirely
different period of their racial history in America.

This is not all, however. The race is not to be regarded simply as
existent unto itself. The most casual glance at any such account as we
have given emphasizes the importance of the Negro in the general history
of the United States. Other races have come, sometimes with great gifts
or in great numbers, but it is upon this one that the country's history
has turned as on a pivot. It is true that it has been despised and
rejected, but more and more it seems destined to give new proof that the
stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
In the colonial era it was the economic advantage of slavery over
servitude that caused it to displace this institution as a system of
labor. In the preliminary draft of the Declaration of Independence a
noteworthy passage arraigned the king of England for his insistence upon
the slave-trade, but this was later suppressed for reasons of policy.
The war itself revealed clearly the fallacy of the position of the
patriots, who fought for their rights as Englishmen but not for the
fundamental rights of man; and their attitude received formal expression
in the compromises that entered into the Constitution. The expansion of
the Southwest depended on the labor of the Negro, whose history became
inextricably bound up with that of the cotton-gin; and the question or
the excuse of fugitives was the real key to the Seminole Wars. The long
struggle culminating in the Civil War was simply to settle the status of
the Negro in the Republic; and the legislation after the war determined
for a generation the history not only of the South but very largely of
the nation as well. The later disfranchising acts have had overwhelming
importance, the unfair system of national representation controlling the
election of 1916 and thus the attitude of America in the world war.

This is an astonishing phenomenon--this vast influence of a people
oppressed, proscribed, and scorned. The Negro is so dominant in American
history not only because he tests the real meaning of democracy, not
only because he challenges the conscience of the nation, but also
because he calls in question one's final attitude toward human nature
itself. As we have seen, it is not necessarily the worker, not even
the criminal, who makes the ultimate problem, but the simple Negro of
whatever quality. If this man did not have to work at all, and if his
race did not include a single criminal, in American opinion he would
still raise a question. It is accordingly from the social standpoint
that we must finally consider the problem. Before we can do this we need
to study the race as an actual living factor in American life; and even
before we do that it might be in order to observe the general importance
of the Negro to-day in any discussion of the racial problems of the

1. _World Aspect_

Any consideration of the Negro Problem in its world aspect at the
present time must necessarily be very largely concerned with Africa as
the center of the Negro population. This in turn directs attention to
the great colonizing powers of Europe, and especially to Great Britain
as the chief of these; and the questions that result are of far-reaching
importance for the whole fabric of modern civilization. No one can
gainsay the tremendous contribution that England has made to the world;
every one must respect a nation that produced Wycliffe and Shakespeare
and Darwin, and that, standing for democratic principles, has so often
stayed the tide of absolutism and anarchy; and it is not without desert
that for three hundred years this country has held the moral leadership
of mankind. It may now not unreasonably be asked, however, if it has not
lost some of its old ideals, and if further insistence upon some of its
policies would not constitute a menace to all that the heart of humanity
holds dear.

As a preliminary to our discussion let us remark two men by way of
contrast. A little more than seventy years ago a great traveler set
out upon the first of three long journeys through central and southern
Africa. He was a renowned explorer, and yet to him "the end of the
geographical feat was only the beginning of the enterprise." Said Henry
Drummond of him: "Wherever David Livingstone's footsteps are crossed in
Africa the fragrance of his memory seems to remain." On one occasion
a hunter was impaled on the horn of a rhinoceros, and a messenger ran
eight miles for the physician. Although he himself had been wounded for
life by a lion and his friends said that he should not ride at night
through a wood infested with beasts, Livingstone insisted on his
Christian duty to go, only to find that the man had died and to be
obliged to retrace his footsteps. Again and again his party would
have been destroyed if it had not been for his own unbounded tact and
courage, and after his death at Chitambo's village Susi and Chuma
journeyed for nine months and over eight hundred miles to take his body
to the coast. "We work for a glorious future," said he, "which we are
not destined to see--the golden age which has not been, but will yet be.
We are only morning-stars shining in the dark, but the glorious morn
will break, the good time coming yet. For this time we work; may God
accept our imperfect service."

About the time that Livingstone was passing off the scene another strong
man, one of England's "empire builders," began his famous career. Going
first to South Africa as a young man in quest of health, Cecil Rhodes
soon made a huge fortune out of Kimberley diamonds and Transvaal gold,
and by 1890 had become the Prime Minister of Cape Colony. In the pursuit
of his aims he was absolutely unscrupulous. He refused to recognize any
rights of the Portuguese in Matabeleland and Mashonaland; he drove hard
bargains with the Germans and the French; he defied the Boers; and to
him the native Africans were simply so many tools for the heaping up of
gold. Nobody ever said of him that he left a "fragrant memory" behind
him; but thousands of bruised bodies and broken hearts bore witness to
his policy. According to the ideals of modern England, however, he was
a great man. What the Negro in the last analysis wonders is: Who was
right, Livingstone or Rhodes? And which is the world to choose, Christ
or Mammon?

There are two fundamental assumptions upon which all so-called Western
civilization is based--that of racial and that of religious superiority.
Sight has been lost of the fact that there is really no such thing as a
superior race, that only individuals are superior one to another, and a
popular English poet has sung of "the white man's burden" and of "lesser
breeds without the law." These two assumptions have accounted for all of
the misunderstanding that has arisen between the West and the East, for
China and Japan, India and Egypt can not see by what divine right men
from the West suppose that they have the only correct ancestry or by
what conceit they presume to have the only true faith. Let them but be
accepted, however, let a nation be led by them as guiding-stars, and
England becomes justified in forcing her system upon India, she finds it
necessary to send missionaries to Japan, and the lion's paw pounces upon
the very islands of the sea.

The whole world, however, is now rising as never before against any
semblance of selfishness on the part of great powers, and it is more
than ever clear that before there can be any genuine progress toward the
brotherhood of man, or toward comity among nations, one man will have
to give some consideration to the other man's point of view. One people
will have to respect another people's tradition. The Russo-Japanese War
gave men a new vision. The whole world gazed upon a new power in the
East--one that could be dealt with only upon equal terms. Meanwhile
there was unrest in India, and in Africa there were insurrections
of increasing bitterness and fierceness. Africa especially had been
misrepresented. The people were all said to be savages and cannibals,
almost hopelessly degraded. The traders and the politicians knew better.
They knew that there were tribes and tribes in Africa, that many of the
chiefs were upright and wise and proud of their tradition, and that the
land could not be seized any too quickly. Hence they made haste to get
into the game.

It is increasingly evident also that the real leadership of the world is
a matter not of race, not even of professed religion, but of principle.
Within the last hundred years, as science has flourished and
colonization grown, we have been led astray by materialism. The worship
of the dollar has become a fetish, and the man or the nation that had
the money felt that it was ordained of God to rule the universe. Germany
was led astray by this belief, but it is England, not Germany, that has
most thoroughly mastered the _Art of Colonization_. Crown colonies are
to be operated in the interest of the owners. Jingoism is king. It
matters not that the people in India and Africa, in Hayti and the
Philippines, object to our benevolence; _we_ know what is good for them
and therefore they should be satisfied.

In Jamaica to-day the poorer people can not get employment; and yet,
rather than accept the supply at hand, the powers of privilege import
"coolie" labor, a still cheaper supply. In Sierra Leone, where certainly
there has been time to see the working of the principle, native young
men crowd about the wharves and seize any chance to earn a penny, simply
because there is no work at hand to do--nothing that would genuinely
nourish independence and self-respect.

It is not strange that the worship of industrialism, with its attendant
competition, finally brought about the most disastrous war in history
and such a breakdown of all principles of morality as made the whole
world stand aghast. Womanhood was no longer sacred; old ideas of ethics
vanished; Christ himself was crucified again--everything holy and lovely
was given to the grasping demon of Wealth.

Suddenly men realized that England had lost the moral leadership of the
world. Lured by the ideals of Rhodes, the country that gave to mankind
_Magna Charta_ seemed now bent only on its own aggrandizement and
preservation. Germany's colonies were seized, and anything that
threatened the permanence of the dominant system, especially unrest on
the part of the native African, was throttled. Briton and Boer began
to feel an identity of interest, and especially was it made known that
American Negroes were not wanted.

Just what the situation is to-day may be illustrated by the simple
matter of foreign missions, the policy of missionary organizations in
both England and America being dictated by the political policy of the
empire. The appointing of Negroes by the great American denominations
for service in Africa has practically ceased, for American Negroes are
not to be admitted to any portion of the continent except Liberia,
which, after all, is a very small part of the whole. For the time being
the little republic seems to receive countenance from the great powers
as a sort of safety-valve through which the aspiration of the Negro
people might spend itself; but it is evident that the present
understanding is purely artificial and can not last. Even the Roman
Empire declined, and Germany lost her hold in Africa overnight. Of
course it may be contended that the British Empire to-day is not
decadent but stronger than ever. At the same time there can be no doubt
that Englishman and Boer alike regard these teeming millions of prolific
black people always with concern and sometimes with dismay. Natives of
the Congo still bear the marks of mutilation, and men in South Africa
chafe under unjust land acts and constant indignities in their daily

Here rises the question for our own country. To the United States at
last has come that moral leadership--that obligation to do the right
thing--that opportunity to exhibit the highest honor in all affairs
foreign or domestic--that is the ultimate test of greatness. Is America
to view this great problem in Africa sympathetically and find some place
for the groping for freedom of millions of human beings, or is she to be
simply a pawn in the game of English colonization? Is she to abide by
the principles that guided her in 1776, or simply seize her share of
the booty? The Negro either at home or abroad is only one of many
moral problems with which she has to deal. At the close of the war
extravagance reigned, crime was rampant, and against any one of three or
four races there was insidious propaganda. To add to the difficulties,
the government was still so dominated by politics and officialdom that
it was almost always impossible to get things done at the time they
needed to be done. At the same time every patriot knows that America is
truly the hope of the world. Into her civilization and her glory have
entered not one but many races. All go forth against a common enemy; all
should share the duties and the privileges of citizenship. In such
a country the law can know no difference of race or class or creed,
provided all are devoted to the general welfare. Such is the obligation
resting upon the United States--such the challenge of social, economic,
and moral questions such as never before faced the children of men. That
she be worthy of her opportunity all would pray; to the fulfilment of
her destiny all should help. The eyes of the world are upon her; the
scepter of the ages is in her hand.

2. _The Negro in American Life_

If now we come to the Negro in the United States, it is hardly an
exaggeration to say that no other race in the American body politic, not
even the Anglo-Saxon, has been studied more critically than this one,
and treatment has varied all the way from the celebration of virtues
to the bitterest hostility and malignity. It is clearly fundamentally
necessary to pay some attention to racial characteristics and gifts.
In recent years there has been much discussion from the standpoint
of biology, and special emphasis has been placed on the emotional
temperament of the race. The Negro, however, submits that in the United
States he has not been chiefly responsible for such miscegenation as has
taken place; but he is not content to rest simply upon a _tu quoque_.
He calls attention to the fact that whereas it has been charged that
lynchings find their excuse in rape, it has been shown again and again
that this crime is the excuse for only one-fourth or one-fifth of
the cases of violence. If for the moment we suppose that there is
no question about guilt in a fourth or a fifth of the cases, the
overwhelming fraction that remains indicates that there are other
factors of the highest importance that have to be considered in any
ultimate adjustment of the situation. In every case accordingly the
Negro asks only for a fair trial in court--not too hurried; and he knows
that in many instances a calm study of the facts will reveal nothing
more than fright or hysteria on the part of a woman or even other
circumstances not more incriminating.

Unfortunately the whole question of the Negro has been beclouded by
misrepresentation as has no other social question before the American
people, and the race asks simply first of all that the tissue of
depreciation raised by prejudice be done away with in order that it may
be judged and estimated for its quality. America can make no charges
against any element of her population while she denies the fundamental
right of citizenships--the protection of the individual person. Too
often mistakes are made, and no man is so humble or so low that he
should be deprived of his life without due process of law. The Negro
undoubtedly has faults. At the same time, in order that his gifts may
receive just consideration, the tradition of burlesque must for the time
being be forgotten. All stories about razors, chickens, and watermelons
must be relegated to the rear; and even the revered and beloved "black
mammy" must receive an affectionate but a long farewell.

The fact is that the Negro has such a contagious brand of humor that
many people never realize that this plays only on the surface. The real
background of the race is one of tragedy. It is not in current jest but
in the wail of the old melodies that the soul of this people is found.
There is something elemental about the heart of the race, something that
finds its origin in the forest and in the falling of the stars. There is
something grim about it too, something that speaks of the lash, of the
child torn from its mother's bosom, of the dead body swinging at night
by the roadside. The race has suffered, and in its suffering lies its
destiny and its contribution to America; and hereby hangs a tale.

If we study the real quality of the Negro we shall find that two things
are observable. One is that any distinction so far won by a member of
the race in America has been almost always in some one of the arts; and
the other is that any influence so far exerted by the Negro on American
civilization has been primarily in the field of æsthetics. The reason
is not far to seek, and is to be found in the artistic striving even of
untutored Negroes. The instinct for beauty insists upon an outlet, and
if one can find no better picture he will paste a circus poster or a
flaring advertisement on the wall. Very few homes have not at least a
geranium on the windowsill or a rosebush in the garden. If we look at
the matter conversely we shall find that those things which are most
picturesque make to the Negro the readiest appeal. Red is his favorite
color simply because it is the most pronounced of all colors. The
principle holds in the sphere of religion. In some of our communities
Negroes are known to "get happy" in church. It is, however, seldom a
sermon on the rule of faith or the plan of salvation that awakens such
ecstasy, but rather a vivid portrayal of the beauties of heaven, with
the walls of jasper, the feast of milk and honey, and the angels with
palms in their hands. The appeal is primarily sensuous, and it is hardly
too much to say that the Negro is thrilled not so much by the moral as
by the artistic and pictorial elements in religion. Every member of the
race is an incipient poet, and all are enthralled by music and oratory.

Illustrations are abundant. We might refer to the oratory of Douglass,
to the poetry of Dunbar, to the picturesque style of DuBois, to the
mysticism of the paintings of Tanner, to the tragic sculpture of Meta
Warrick Fuller, and to a long line of singers and musicians. Even
Booker Washington, most practical of Americans, proves the point, the
distinguishing qualities of his speeches being anecdote and vivid
illustration. It is best, however, to consider members of the race who
were entirely untaught in the schools. On one occasion Harriet Tubman,
famous for her work in the Underground Railroad, was addressing an
audience and describing a great battle in the Civil War. "And then,"
said she, "we saw the lightning, and that was the guns; and then we
heard the thunder, and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain
falling, and that was drops of blood falling; and when we came to git in
the craps, it was dead men that we reaped." Two decades after the war
John Jasper, of Richmond, Virginia, astonished the most intelligent
hearers by the power of his imagery. He preached not only that the "sun
do move," but also of "dry bones in the valley," the glories of the New
Jerusalem, and on many similar subjects that have been used by other
preachers, sometimes with hardly less effect, throughout the South. In
his own way Jasper was an artist. He was eminently imaginative; and it
is with this imaginative--this artistic--quality that America has yet to

The importance of the influence has begun to be recognized, and on the
principle that to him that hath shall be given, in increasing measure
the Negro is being blamed for the ills of American life, a ready excuse
being found in the perversion and debasement of Negro music. We have
seen discussions whose reasoning, condensed, was somewhat as follows:
The Negro element is daily becoming more potent in American society;
American society is daily becoming more immoral; therefore at the door
of the Negro may be laid the increase in divorce and all the other
evils of society. The most serious charge brought against the Negro
intellectually is that he has not yet developed the great creative or
organizing mind that points the way of civilization. He most certainly
has not, and in this he is not very unlike all the other people in
America. The whole country is still in only the earlier years of its
striving. While the United States has made great advance in applied
science, she has as yet produced no Shakespeare or Beethoven. If America
has not yet reached her height after three hundred years of striving,
she ought not to be impatient with the Negro after only sixty years
of opportunity. But all signs go to prove the assumption of limited
intellectual ability fundamentally false. Already some of the younger
men of the race have given the highest possible promise.

If all of this, however, is granted, and if the Negro's exemplification
of the principle of self-help is also recognized, the question still
remains: Just what is the race worth as a constructive factor in
American civilization? Is it finally to be an agency for the upbuilding
of the nation, or simply one of the forces that retard? What is its real
promise in American life?

In reply to this it might be worth while to consider first of all
the country's industrial life. The South, and very largely the whole
country, depends upon Negro men and women as the stable labor supply in
such occupations as farming, saw-milling, mining, cooking, and washing.
All of this is hard work, and necessary work. In 1910, of 3,178,554
Negro men at work, 981,922 were listed as farm laborers and 798,509 as
farmers. That is to say, 56 per cent of the whole number were engaged in
raising farm products either on their own account or by way of assisting
somebody else, and the great staples of course were the cotton and corn
of the Southern states. If along with the farmers we take those engaged
in the occupations employing the next greatest numbers of men--those of
the building and hand trades, saw and planing mills, as well as those
of railway firemen and porters, draymen, teamsters, and coal mine
operatives--we shall find a total of 71.2 per cent engaged in such work
as represents the very foundation of American industry. Of the women at
work, 1,047,146, or 52 per cent, were either farm laborers or farmers,
and 28 per cent more were either cooks or washerwomen. In other words, a
total of exactly 80 per cent were engaged in some of the hardest and at
the same time some of the most vital labor in our home and industrial
life. The new emphasis on the Negro as an industrial factor in the
course of the recent war is well known. When immigration ceased, upon
his shoulders very largely fell the task of keeping the country and the
army alive. Since the war closed he has been on the defensive in the
North; but a country that wishes to consider all of the factors that
enter into its gravest social problem could never forget his valiant
service in 1918. Let any one ask, moreover, even the most prejudiced
observer, if he would like to see every Negro in the country out of it,
and he will then decide whether economically the Negro is a liability or
an asset.

Again, consider the Negro soldier. In all our history there are no pages
more heroic, more pathetic, than those detailing the exploits of black
men. We remember the Negro, three thousand strong, fighting for the
liberties of America when his own race was still held in bondage. We
remember the deeds at Port Hudson, Fort Pillow, and Fort Wagner. We
remember Santiago and San Juan Hill, not only how Negro men went
gallantly to the charge, but how a black regiment faced pestilence that
the ranks of their white comrades might not be decimated. And then
Carrizal. Once more, at an unexpected moment, the heart of the nation
was thrilled by the troopers of the Tenth Cavalry. Once more, despite
Brownsville, the tradition of Fort Wagner was preserved and passed on.
And then came the greatest of all wars. Again was the Negro summoned to
the colors--summoned out of all proportion to his numbers. Others might
desert, but not he; others might be spies or strikers, but not he--not
he in the time of peril. In peace or war, in victory or danger, he has
always been loyal to the Stars and Stripes.

Not only, however, does the Negro give promise by reason of his economic
worth; not only does he deserve the fullest rights of citizenship on
the basis of his work as a soldier; he brings nothing less than a great
spiritual contribution to civilization in America. His is a race of
enthusiasm, imagination, and spiritual fervor; and after all the doubt
and fear through which it has passed there still rests with it an
abiding faith in God. Around us everywhere are commercialism, politics,
graft--sordidness, selfishness, cynicism. We need hope and love, a new
birth of idealism, a new faith in the unseen. Already the work of some
members of the race has pointed the way to great things in the realm of
conscious art; but above even art soars the great world of the spirit.
This it is that America most sadly needs; this it is that her most
fiercely persecuted children bring to her.

Obviously now if the Negro, if any race, is to make to America the
contribution of which it is capable, it must be free; and this raises
the whole question of relation to the rest of the body politic. One of
the interesting phenomena of society in America is that the more foreign
elements enter into the "melting pot" and advance in culture, the more
do they cling to their racial identity. Incorporation into American
life, instead of making the Greek or the Pole or the Irishman forget his
native country, makes him all the more jealous of its traditions. The
more a center of any one of these nationalities develops, the more
wealthy and cultured its members become, the more do we find them proud
of the source from which they sprang. The Irishman is now so much an
American that he controls whole wards in our large cities, and sometimes
the cities themselves. All the same he clings more tenaciously than ever
to the celebration of March 17. When an isolated Greek came years ago,
poor and friendless, nobody thought very much about him, and he
effaced himself as much as possible, taking advantage, however, of any
opportunity that offered for self-improvement or economic advance. When
thousands came and the newcomers could take inspiration from those of
their brothers who had preceded them and achieved success, nationality
asserted itself. Larger groups now talked about Venizelos and a greater
Greece; their chests expanded at the thought of Marathon and Plato; and
companies paraded amid applause as they went to fight in the Balkans. In
every case, with increasing intelligence and wealth, race pride asserted
itself. At the same time no one would think of denying to the Greek or
the Irishman or the Italian his full rights as an American citizen.

It is a paradox indeed, this thing of a race's holding its identity
at the same time that it is supposed to lose this in the larger
civilization. Apply the principle to the Negro. Very soon after the
Civil War, when conditions were chaotic and ignorance was rampant, the
ideals constantly held before the race were those of white people. Some
leaders indeed measured success primarily by the extent to which they
became merged in the white man's life. At the time this was very
natural. A struggling people wished to show that it could be judged by
the standards of the highest civilization within sight, and it did so.
To-day the tide has changed. The race now numbers a few millionaires. In
almost every city there are beautiful homes owned by Negroes. Some men
have reached high attainment in scholarship, and the promise grows
greater and greater in art and science. Accordingly the Negro now loves
his own, cherishes his own, teaches his boys about black heroes, and
honors and glorifies his own black women. Schools and churches and all
sorts of coöperative enterprises testify to the new racial self-respect,
while a genuine Negro drama has begun to flourish. A whole people has
been reborn; a whole race has found its soul.

3. _Face to Face_

Even when all that has been said is granted, it is still sometimes
maintained that the Negro is the one race that can not and will not
be permitted to enter into the full promise of American life. Other
elements, it is said, even if difficult to assimilate, may gradually be
brought into the body politic, but the Negro is the one element that
may be tolerated but not assimilated, utilized but not welcomed to the
fullness of the country's glory.

However, the Negro has no reason to be discouraged. If one will but
remember that after all slavery was but an incident and recall the
status of the Negro even in the free states ten years before the Civil
War, he will be able to see a steady line of progress forward. After the
great moral and economic awakening that gave the race its freedom, the
pendulum swung backward, and finally it reached its farthest point of
proscription, of lawlessness, and inhumanity. No obscuring of the vision
for the time being should blind us to the reading of the great movement
of history.

To-day in the whole question of the Negro problem there are some matters
of pressing and general importance. One that is constantly thrust
forward is that of the Negro criminal. On this the answer is clear. If a
man--Negro or otherwise--is a criminal, he is an enemy of society, and
society demands that he be placed where he will do the least harm. If
execution is necessary, this should take place in private; and in no
case should the criminal be so handled as to corrupt the morals or
arouse the morbid sensibilities of the populace. At the same time simple
patriotism would demand that by uplifting home surroundings, good
schools, and wholesome recreation everything possible be done for Negro
children as for other children of the Republic, so that just as few of
them as possible may graduate into the criminal class.

Another matter, closely akin to this, is that of the astonishing lust
for torture that more and more is actuating the American people. When in
1835 McIntosh was burned in St. Louis for the murder of an officer, the
American people stood aghast, and Abraham Lincoln, just coming into
local prominence, spoke as if the very foundations of the young republic
had been shaken. After the Civil War, however, horrible lynchings became
frequent; and within the last decade we have seen a Negro boy stabbed in
numberless places while on his way to the stake, we have seen the eyes
of a Negro man burned out with hot irons and pieces of his flesh cut
off, and a Negro woman--whose only offense was a word of protest against
the lynching of her husband--while in the state of advanced pregnancy
hanged head downwards, her clothing burned from her body, and herself so
disemboweled that her unborn babe fell to the ground. We submit that
any citizens who commit such deeds as these are deserving of the most
serious concern of their country; and when they bring their little
children to behold their acts--when baby fingers handle mutilated flesh
and baby eyes behold such pictures as we have suggested--a crime has
been committed against the very name of childhood. Most frequently it
will be found that the men who do these things have had only the most
meager educational advantages, and that generally--but not always--they
live in remote communities, away from centers of enlightenment, so that
their whole course of life is such as to cultivate provincialism. With
not the slightest touch of irony whatever we suggest that these men need
a crusade of education in books and in the fundamental obligations of
citizenship. At present their ignorance, their prejudice, and their lack
of moral sense constitute a national menace.

It is full time to pause. We have already gone too far. The Negro
problem is only an index to the ills of society in America. In our haste
to get rich or to meet new conditions we are in danger of losing all of
our old standards of conduct, of training, and of morality. Our courts
need to summon a new respect for themselves. The average citizen knows
only this about them, that he wants to keep away from them. So far we
have not been assured of justice. The poor man has not stood an equal
chance with the rich, nor the black with the white. Money has been
freely used, even for the changing of laws if need be; and the
sentencing of a man of means generally means only that he will have a
new trial. The murders in any American city average each year fifteen or
twenty times as many as in an English or French city of the same size.
Our churches need a new baptism; they have lost the faith. The same
principle applies in our home-life, in education, in literature. The
family altar is almost extinct; learning is more easy than sound; and
in literature as in other forms of art any passing fad is able to gain
followers and pose as worthy achievement. All along the line we need
more uprightness--more strength. Even when a man has committed a crime,
he must receive justice in court. Within recent years we have heard too
much about "speedy trials," which are often nothing more than legalized
lynchings. If it has been decreed that a man is to wait for a trial one
week or one year, the mob has nothing to do with the matter, and, if
need be, all the soldiery of the United States must be called forth to
prevent the storming of a jail. Fortunately the last few years have
shown us several sheriffs who had this conception of their duty.

In the last analysis this may mean that more responsibility and more
force will have to be lodged in the Federal Government. Within recent
years the dignity of the United States has been seriously impaired.
The time seems now to have come when the Government must make a new
assertion of its integrity and its authority. No power in the country
can be stronger than that of the United States of America.

For the time being, then, this is what we need--a stern adherence to
law. If men will not be good, they must at least be made to behave. No
one will pretend, however, that an adjustment on such a basis is finally
satisfactory. Above the law of the state--above all law of man--is the
law of God. It was given at Sinai thousands of years ago. It received
new meaning at Calvary. To it we must all yet come. The way may be hard,
and in the strife of the present the time may seem far distant; but some
day the Messiah will reign and man to man the world over shall brothers
be "for a' that."


Unless an adequate volume is to be devoted to the work, any bibliography
of the history of the Negro Problem in the United States must be
selective. No comprehensive work is in existence. Importance attaches to
_Select List of References on the Negro Question_, compiled under the
direction of A.P.C. Griffin, Library of Congress, Washington, 1903; _A
Select Bibliography of the Negro American_, edited by W.E.B. DuBois,
Atlanta, 1905, and _The Negro Problem: a Bibliography_, edited by Vera
Sieg, Free Library Commission, Madison, Wis., 1908; but all such lists
have to be supplemented for more recent years. Compilations on the
Abolition Movement, the early education of the Negro, and the literary
and artistic production of the race are to be found respectively in
Hart's _Slavery and Abolition_, Woodson's _The Education of the Negro
prior to 1861_, and Brawley's _The Negro in Literature and Art_, and the
_Journal of Negro History_ is constantly suggestive of good material.

The bibliography that follows is confined to the main question. First of
all are given general references, and then follows a list of individual
authors and books. Finally, there are special lists on topics on which
the study in the present work is most intensive. In a few instances
books that are superficial in method or prejudiced in tone have been
mentioned as it has seemed necessary to try to consider all shades of
opinion even if the expression was not always adequate. On the other
hand, not every source mentioned in the footnotes is included, for
sometimes these references are merely incidental; and especially does
this apply in the case of lectures or magazine articles, some of which
were later included in books. Nor is there any reference to works of
fiction. These are frequently important, and books of unusual interest
are sometimes considered in the body of the work; but in such a study as
the present imaginative literature can be hardly more than a secondary
and a debatable source of information.


I. General References

(Mainly in Collections, Sets, or Series)

Statutes at Large, being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia from
the first session of the Legislature, in the year 1619, by William
Waller Hening. Richmond, 1819-20.

Laws of the State of North Carolina, compiled by Henry Potter, J.L.
Taylor, and Bart. Yancey. Raleigh, 1821.

The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, edited by Thomas Cooper.
Columbia, 1837.

The Pro-Slavery Argument (as maintained by the most distinguished
writers of the Southern states). Charleston, 1852.

Files of such publications as Niles's _Weekly Register_, the _Genius
of Universal Emancipation_, the _Liberator_, and DeBow's _Commercial
Review_, in the period before the Civil War; and of the _Crisis_,
the _Journal of Negro History_, the _Negro Year-Book_, the _Virginia
Magazine of History_, the _Review of Reviews_, the _Literary Digest_,
the _Independent_, the _Outlook_, as well as representative newspapers
North and South and weekly Negro newspapers in later years.

Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science
(some numbers important for the present work noted below).

Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law edited by the Faculty of
Political Science of Columbia University (some numbers important for the
present work noted below).

Atlanta University Studies of Negro Problems (for unusually important
numbers note DuBois, editor, below, also Bigham).

Occasional Papers of the American Negro Academy (especially note
Cromwell in special list No. 1 below and Grimké in No. 3).

Census Reports of the United States; also Publications of the Bureau of

Annual Reports of the General Education Board, the John F. Slater Fund,
the Jeanes Fund; reports and pamphlets issued by American Missionary
Association, American Baptist Home Mission Society, Freedmen's Aid
Society, etc.; catalogues of representative educational institutions;
and a volume "From Servitude to Service" (the Old South lectures on
representative educational institutions for the Negro), Boston, 1905.

Pamphlets and reports of National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, the National Urban League, the Southern Sociological
Congress, the University Commission on Southern Race Questions, Hampton
Conference reports, 1897-1907, and Proceedings of the National Negro
Business League, annual since 1900.

The American Nation: A History from Original Sources by Associated
Scholars, edited by Albert Bushnell Hart. 27 vols. Harper & Bros., New
York, 1907. (Volumes important for the present work specially noted

The Chronicles of America. A Series of Historical Narratives edited
by Allen Johnson. 50 vols. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1918--.
(Volumes important for the present work specially noted below.)

The South in the Building of the Nation. 12 vols. The Southern
Publication Society. Richmond, Va., 1909.

Studies in Southern History and Politics. Columbia University Press, New
York, 1914.

New International and Americana Encyclopedias (especially on such topics
as Africa, the Negro, and Negro Education).


(Note pamphlets at end of list; also special lists under III below.)

Adams, Alice Dana: The Neglected Period of Anti-Slavery in
America (1808-1831), Radcliffe College Monograph No. 14.
Boston, 1908 (now handled by Harvard University Press).

Adams, Henry: History of the United States from 1801 to 1817. 9
vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1889-90.

Alexander, William T.: History of the Colored Race in America.
Palmetto Publishing Co., New Orleans, 1887.

Armistead, Wilson: A Tribute for the Negro, being a Vindication
of the Moral, Intellectual, and Religious Capabilities of the Colored
Portion of Mankind, with particular reference to the African
race, illustrated by numerous biographical sketches, facts,
anecdotes, etc., and many superior portraits and engravings.
Manchester, 1848.

Baker, Ray Stannard: Following the Color Line. Doubleday, Page
& Co., New York, 1908.

Ballagh, James Curtis: A History of Slavery in Virginia. Johns
Hopkins Studies, extra volume 24. Baltimore, 1902.

  White Servitude in the Colony of Virginia. Johns Hopkins Studies,
  Thirteenth Series, Nos. 6 and 7. Baltimore, 1895.

Bassett, John Spencer: Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina.
Sixth Series, No. 6. Baltimore, 1898.

  Slavery and Servitude in the Colony of North Carolina. Johns Hopkins
  Studies, Fourteenth Series, Nos. 4 and 5. Baltimore, 1896.

  Slavery in the State of North Carolina. Johns Hopkins Studies, XIV:
  179; XVII: 323.

Bigham, John Alvin (editor): Select Discussions of Race Problems,
No. 20, of Atlanta University Publications. Atlanta, 1916.

Birney, William: James G. Birney and His Times. D. Appleton &
Co., New York, 1890.

Blake, W.O.: The History of Slavery and the Slave-Trade. Columbus,
O., 1861.

Blyden, Edward W.: Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race. London,

Bogart, Ernest Ludlow: The Economic History of the United States.
Longmans, Green & Co., New York, 1918 edition.

Bourne, Edward Gaylord: Spain in America, 1450-1580. Vol. 3 of
American Nation Series.

Brackett, Jeffrey Richardson: The Negro in Maryland: A Study of
the Institution of Slavery. Johns Hopkins Studies, extra volume
6. Baltimore, 1889.

Bradford, Sarah H.: Harriet, the Moses of Her People. New York,

Brawley, Benjamin: A Short History of the American Negro. The
Macmillan Co., New York, 1913, revised 1919.

  History of Morehouse College. Atlanta, 1917.

  The Negro in Literature and Art. Duffield & Co., New York, 1918.

  Your Negro Neighbor (in Our National Problems series). The
  Macmillan Co., New York, 1918.

  Africa and the War. Duffield & Co., New York, 1918.

  Women of Achievement (written for the Fireside Schools under
  the auspices of the Woman's American Baptist Home Mission
  Society). Chicago and New York, 1919.

Brawley, Edward M.: The Negro Baptist Pulpit. American Baptist
Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1890.

Bruce, Philip Alexander: Economic History of Virginia in the
Seventeenth Century. 2 vols. The Macmillan Co., New York,

Cable, George Washington: The Negro Question. Charles Scribner's
Sons, New York, 1890.

Calhoun, William Patrick: The Caucasian and the Negro in the
United States. R.L. Bryan Co., Columbia, S. C, 1902.

Chamberlain, D.H.: Present Phases of Our So-Called Negro Problem
(open letter to the Rt. Hon. James Bryce of England), reprinted
from _News and Courier_, Charleston, of August 1, 1904.

Cheyney, Edward Potts: European Background of American History.
Vol. I of American Nation Series.

Child, Lydia Maria: An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans
Called Africans. Boston, 1833.

  The Oasis (edited). Boston, 1834.

Clayton, V.V.: White and Black under the Old Regimé. Milwaukee,

Clowes, W. Laird: Black America: A Study of the Ex-Slave and
His Late Master. Cassell & Co., London, 1891.

Coffin, Joshua: An Account of Some of the Principal Slave Insurrections,
and others, which have occurred, or been attempted, in the
United States and elsewhere, during the last two centuries,
with various remarks. American Anti-Slavery Society, New
York, 1860.

Collins, Winfield H.: The Domestic Slave Trade of the Southern
States. Broadway Publishing Co., New York, 1904.

Coman, Katherine: The Industrial History of the United States.
The Macmillan Co., New York, 1918 edition.

  The Negro as a Peasant Farmer. American Statistical Association
  Publications, 1904:39.

Commons, John R.: Races and Immigrants in America. The Macmillan
Co., 1907.

Coolidge, Archibald Cary: The United States as a World Power.
The Macmillan Co., New York, 1918.

Cooper, Anna Julia: A Voice from the South, by a black woman
of the South. Xenia, O., 1892.

Corey, Charles H.: A History of the Richmond Theological Seminary.
Richmond, 1895.

Cornish, Samuel E., and Wright, T.S.: The Colonization Scheme
Considered in Its Rejection by the Colored People. Newark,

Cromwell, John W.: The Negro in American History. The American
Negro Academy, Washington, 1914.

Culp, Daniel W. (editor): Twentieth Century Negro Literature.
Nichols & Co., Toronto, 1902.

Cutler, James E.: Lynch Law, an Investigation into the History of
Lynching in the United States. Longmans, Green & Co., New
York, 1905.

Daniels, John: In Freedom's Birthplace: A Study of the Boston
Negroes. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston and New York, 1914.

Dewey, Davis Rich: National Problems, 1885-1897. Vol. 24 in
American Nation Series.

Dill, Augustus Granville. See DuBois, editor Atlanta University

Dodd, William E.: The Cotton Kingdom. Vol. 27 of Chronicles of

  Expansion and Conflict. Vol. 3 of Riverside History of the United
  States. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1915.

Dow, Lorenzo ("Cosmopolite, a Listener"): A Cry from the Wilderness!
A Voice from the East, A Reply from the West--Trouble in the
North, Exemplifying in the South. Intended as a timely and
solemn warning to the People of the United States. Printed
for the Purchaser and the Public. United States, 1830.

DuBois, W.E. Burghardt: Suppression of the African Slave-Trade.
Longmans, Green & Co., New York, 1896 (now handled by Harvard
University Press).

DuBois, W.E. Burghardt: The Philadelphia Negro. University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1899.

  The Souls of Black Folk. A.C. McClurg & Co., Chicago, 1903.
  The Negro in the South (Booker T. Washington, co-author).

  George W. Jacobs & Co., Philadelphia, 1907.

  John Brown (in American Crisis Biographies). George W. Jacobs
  & Co., Philadelphia, 1909.

  The Negro (in Home University Library Series). Henry Holt &
  Co., New York, 1915.

  Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil. Harcourt, Brace &
  Co., New York, 1920.

  (Editor Atlanta University Publications).

  The Negro Church, No. 8.

  The Health and Physique of the Negro American, No. II.

  Economic Co-operation among Negro Americans, No. 12.

  The Negro American Family, No. 13.

  Efforts for Social Betterment among Negro Americans, No. 14.
  The College-Bred Negro American, No. 15. (A.G. Dill, co-editor.)

  The Negro American Artisan, No. 17. (A.G. Dill, co-editor.)

  Morals and Manners among Negro Americans, No. 18. (A.G.
  Dill, co-editor.)

Dunbar, Alice Ruth Moore: Masterpieces of Negro Eloquence. The
Bookery Publishing Co., New York, 1914.

Dunbar, Paul Laurence: Complete Poems. Dodd, Mead & Co., New
York, 1913.

Dunning, William Archibald: Reconstruction, Political and Economic.
Vol. 22 of American Nation Series.

Earnest, Joseph B., Jr.: The Religious Development of the Negro
in Virginia (Ph.D. thesis, Virginia). Charlottesville, 1914.

Eckenrode, Hamilton James: The Political History of Virginia
during the Reconstruction. Johns Hopkins Studies. Twenty-second
Series, Nos. 6, 7, and 8. Baltimore, 1904.

Ellis, George W.: Negro Culture in West Africa. The Neale Publishing
Co., New York, 1914.

Ellwood, Charles A.: Sociology and Modern Social Problems. American
Book Co., New York, 1910.

Elwang, William W.: The Negroes of Columbia, Mo. (A.M. thesis,
Missouri), 1904.

Epstein, Abraham: The Negro Migrant in Pittsburgh (in publications
of School of Economics of the University of Pittsburgh).

Evans, Maurice S.: Black and White in the Southern States: A
Study of the Race Problem in the United States from a South
African Point of View. Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1915.

Ferris, William Henry: The African Abroad. 2 vols. New Haven,

Fleming, Walter L.: Documentary History of Reconstruction. 2
vols. Arthur H. Clark Co., Cleveland, O., 1906.

  The Sequel of Appomattox. Vol. 32 of Chronicles of America.

Fletcher, Frank H.: Negro Exodus. Report of agent appointed by
the St. Louis Commission to visit Kansas for the purpose of
obtaining information in regard to colored emigration. No

Furman, Richard: Exposition of the Views of the Baptists Relative
to the Colored Population in the United States, in a communication
to the Governor of South Carolina. Second edition, Charleston,
1833. (Letter bears original date December 24, 1822; Furman
was president of State Baptist Convention.)

Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Garrison, Francis Jackson: William
Lloyd Garrison; Story of His Life Told by His Children. 4
vols. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1894.

Garrison, William Lloyd: Thoughts on African Colonization: or
An Impartial Exhibition of the Doctrines, Principles, and Purposes
of the American Colonization Society, together with the
Resolutions, Addresses, and Remonstrances of the Free People
of Color. Boston, 1832.

Gayarré, Charles E.A.: History of Louisiana. 4 vols. New Orleans,
1885 edition.

Grady, Henry W.: The New South and Other Addresses, with
biography, etc., by Edna H.L. Turpin. Maynard, Merrill & Co.,
New York, 1904.

Graham, Stephen: The Soul of John Brown. The Macmillan Co.,
New York, 1920.

Hallowell, Richard P.: Why the Negro was Enfranchised--Negro
Suffrage Justified. Boston, 1903. (Reprint of two letters in the
_Boston Herald_, March 11 and 26, 1903.)

Hammond, Lily Hardy: In Black and White: An Interpretation of
Southern Life. Fleming H. Revell Co., New York, 1914.

Harris, Norman Dwight: Intervention and Colonization in Africa.
Houghton, Mifflin Co., Boston, 1914.

Hart, Albert Bushnell: National Ideals Historically Traced. Vol.
26 in American Nation Series.

  Slavery and Abolition. Vol. 16 in American Nation Series.

  The Southern South. D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1910.

Hartshorn, W.N., and Penniman, George W.: An Era of Progress
and Promise, 1863-1910. The Priscilla Publishing Co., Boston,

Haworth, Paul Leland: America in Ferment. Bobbs-Merrill Co.,
Indianapolis, 1915.

Haynes, George E.: The Negro at Work in New York City Vol
49, No. 3, of Columbia Studies, 1912.

Helper, Hinton Rowan: The Impending Crisis of the South: How
to Meet It. New York, 1857.

Hickok, Charles T.: The Negro in Ohio, 1802-1870. (Western
Reserve thesis.) Cleveland, 1896.

Higginson, Thomas Wentworth: Army Life in a Black Regiment
Boston, 1870. (Latest edition, Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1900.)

Hoffman, Frederick L.: Race Traits and Tendencies of the American
Negro. American Economics Association Publications, XI,
Nos. 1-3, 1896.

Hodge, Frederick W. (editor): Spanish Explorers in the Southern
United States, 1528-1543 (in Original Narratives of Early American
History), esp. The Narrative of Alvar Nuñez Cabeça de Vaca.
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1907.

Holland, Edwin C.: A Refutation of the Calumnies circulated
against the Southern and Western States, respecting the institution
and existence of slavery among them; to which is added a minute
and particular account of the actual condition and state of
their Negro Population, together with Historical Notices of
all the Insurrections that have taken place since the settlement
of the country. By a South Carolinian. Charleston, 1822.

Horsemanden, Daniel (Judge): A Journal of the Proceedings in
the Detection of the Conspiracy Formed by Some White People,
in conjunction with Negro and Other Slaves, for Burning the
City of New York in America, and Murdering the Inhabitants.
New York, 1744.

Hosmer, James K.: The History of the Louisiana Purchase. D.
Appleton & Co., New York, 1902.

Hurd, John C.: The Law of Freedom and Bondage. 2 vols. Boston,

Jay, William: Inquiry into the Character and Tendency of the American
Colonization and Anti-Slavery Societies. New York, 1835.

Jefferson, Thomas: Writings, issued under the auspices of the
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association. 20 vols. Washington,

Jervey, Theodore D.: Robert Y. Hayne and His Times. The Macmillan
Co., New York, 1909.

Johnson, Allen: Union and Democracy. Vol. 2 of Riverside History
of the United States. Houghton, Mifflin Co., Boston, 1915.

Johnson, James W.: Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (published
anonymously). Sherman, French & Co., Boston, 1912.

  Fifty Years and Other Poems. The Cornhill Co., Boston, 1917.

  Hayti. Four articles reprinted from the _Nation_, New York, 1920.

Johnston, Sir Harry Hamilton: The Negro in the New World. The
Macmillan Co., New York, 1910.

Kelsey, Carl: The Negro Farmer (Ph.D. thesis, Pennsylvania).
Jennings & Pye, Chicago, 1903.

Kemble, Frances A.: Journal of Residence on a Georgia Plantation,
1838-1839. Harper & Bros., 1863.

Kerlin, Robert T. (editor): The Voice of the Negro, 1919. E.P.
Dutton & Co., New York, 1920.

Kimball, John C.: Connecticut's Canterbury Tale; Its Heroine Prudence
Crandall, and Its Moral for To-Day. Hartford, Conn. (1886).

Krehbiel, Henry E.: Afro-American Folk-Songs. G. Schirmer, New
York and London, 1914.

Lauber, Almon Wheeler: Indian Slavery in Colonial Times within
the Present Limits of the United States. Vol. 54, No. 3, of
Columbia University Studies, 1913.

Livermore, George: An Historical Research Respecting the Opinions
of the Founders of the Republic on Negroes as Slaves, as
Citizens, and as Soldiers. Boston, 1863.

Locke, Mary Stoughton: Anti-Slavery in America from the Introduction
of African Slaves to the Prohibition of the Slave-Trade,
1619-1808. Radcliffe College Monograph No. 11. Boston, 1901
(now handled by Harvard University Press).

Lonn, Ella: Reconstruction in Louisiana. G.P. Putnam's Sons,
New York, 1919.

Lugard, Lady (Flora L. Shaw): A Tropical Dependency. James
Nisbet & Co., Ltd., London, 1906.

Lynch, John R.: The Facts of Reconstruction: The Neale Publishing
Co., New York, 1913.

McConnell, John Preston: Negroes and Their Treatment in Virginia
from 1865 to 1867 (Ph.D. thesis, Virginia, 1905). Printed by
B.D. Smith & Bros., Pulaski, Va., 1910.

MacCorkle, William A.: Some Southern Questions. G.P. Putnam's
Sons, New York, 1908.

McCormac, E.I.: White Servitude in Maryland. Johns Hopkins
Studies, XXII, 119.

McDougall, Marion Gleason: Fugitive Slaves, 1619-1865. Fay
House (Radcliffe College) Monograph, No. 3. Boston, 1891
(now handled by Harvard University Press).

McLaughlin, Andrew Cunningham: The Confederation and the
Constitution, 1783-1789. Vol. 10 in American Nation Series.

McMaster, John Bach: A History of the People of the United States,
from the Revolution to the Civil War. 8 vols. D. Appleton &
Co., New York, 1883-1913.

Macy, Jesse: The Anti-Slavery Crusade. Vol. 28 in Chronicles of

Marsh, J.B.T.: The Story of the Jubilee Singers, with their songs.
Boston, 1880.

Miller, Kelly: Race Adjustment. The Neale Publishing Co., New
York and Washington, 1908.

  Out of the House of Bondage. The Neale Publishing Co., New
  York, 1914.

  Appeal to Conscience (in Our National Problems Series). The
  Macmillan Co., New York, 1913.

Moore, G.H.: Historical Notes on the Employment of Negroes in
the American Army of the Revolution. New York, 1862.

Morgan, Thomas J.: Reminiscences of Service with Colored Troops
in the Army of the Cumberland, 1863-65. Providence, 1885.

Moton, Robert Russa: Finding a Way Out: An Autobiography.
Doubleday, Page & Co., Garden City, N.Y., 1920.

Murphy, Edgar Gardner: The Basis of Ascendency. Longmans,
Green & Co., London, 1909.

Murray, Freeman H.M.: Emancipation and the Freed in American
Sculpture. Published by the author, 1733 Seventh St., N.W.,
Washington, 1916.

Odum, Howard W.: Social and Mental Traits of the Negro. Columbia
University Studies, Vol. 37, No. 3. New York, 1910.

Olmsted, Frederick Law: The Cotton Kingdom. 2 vols. New York,

  A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States. New York, 1856.

Page, Thomas Nelson: The Old South. Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York, 1892.

  The Negro: the Southerner's Problem. Charles Scribner's Sons,
  New York, 1904.

Palmer, B.M. (with W.T. Leacock): The Rights of the South
Defended in the Pulpits. Mobile, 1860.

Penniman, George W. See Hartshorn, W.N.

Phillips, Ulrich B.: American Negro Slavery. D. Appleton & Co.,
New York, 1918.

  Plantation and Frontier. Vols. I and II of Documentary History
  of American Industrial Society. Arthur H. Clark Co., Cleveland,

Pike, G.D.: The Jubilee Singers and Their Campaign for $20,000.
Boston, 1873.

Pike, J.S.: The Prostrate State: South Carolina under Negro Government.
New York, 1874.

Pipkin, James Jefferson: The Negro in Revelation, in History, and
in Citizenship. N.D. Thompson Publishing Co., St. Louis, 1902.

Platt, O.H.: Negro Governors. Papers of the New Haven Colony
Historical Society, Vol. 6. New Haven, 1900.

Reese, David M.: A Brief Review of the First Annual Report of
the American Anti-Slavery Society. New York, 1834.

Rhodes, James Ford: History of the United States from the Compromise
of 1850 (1850-1877 and 1877-1896). 8 vols. The Macmillan
Co., New York, 1893-1919.

Roman, Charles Victor: American Civilization and the Negro. F.A.
Davis Co., Philadelphia, 1916.

Russell, John H.: The Free Negro in Virginia, 1619-1865. Johns
Hopkins Studies, Series XXXI, No. 3. Baltimore, 1913.

Sandburg, Carl: The Chicago Race Riots, July, 1919. Harcourt,
Brace & Howe, New York, 1919.

Schurz, Carl: Speeches, Correspondence, and Political Papers, selected
and edited by Frederic Bancroft. 6 vols. G.P. Putnam's Sons,
New York and London, 1913.

Scott, Emmett J.: Negro Migration during the War (in Preliminary
Economic Studies of the War--Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace: Division of Economics and History). Oxford University
Press, American Branch. New York, 1920.

  Official History of the American Negro in the World War. Washington,

Seligman, Herbert J.: The Negro Faces America. Harper Bros.,
New York, 1920.

Shaler, Nathaniel Southgate: The Neighbor: the Natural History
of Human Contacts. Houghton, Mifflin Co., Boston, 1904.

Siebert, Wilbur H.: The Underground Railroad from Slavery to
Freedom. The Macmillan Co., New York, 1898.

Sinclair, William A.: The Aftermath of Slavery. Small, Maynard
& Co., Boston, 1905.

Smith, Justin H.: The War with Mexico. 2 vols. The Macmillan
Co., New York, 1919.

Smith, Theodore Clarke: Parties and Slavery. Vol. 18 of American
Nation Series.

Smith, T.W.: The Slave in Canada. Vol. 10 in Collections of the
Nova Scotia Historical Society. Halifax, N.S., 1889.

Stephenson, Gilbert Thomas: Race Distinctions in American Law.
D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1910.

Steward, T.G.: The Haitian Revolution, 1791-1804. Thomas Y.
Crowell Co., New York, 1914.

Stoddard, Lothrop: The Rising Tide of Color against White World-Supremacy,
with an Introduction by Madison Grant. Charles Scribner's Sons.
New York, 1920.

Stone, Alfred H.: Studies in the American Race Problem. Doubleday,
Page & Co., New York, 1908.

Storey, Moorfield: The Negro Question. An Address delivered
before the Wisconsin Bar Association. Boston, 1918. Problems
of To-Day. Houghton, Mifflin Co., Boston, 1920.

Thompson, Holland: The New South. Vol. 42 in Chronicles of

Tillinghast, Joseph Alexander: The Negro in Africa and America.
Publications of American Economics Association, Series 3 Vol 3,
No. 2. New York, 1902.

Toombs, Robert: Speech on The Crisis, delivered before the Georgia
Legislature, Dec. 7, 1860. Washington, 1860.

Tucker, St. George: A Dissertation on Slavery, with a Proposal for
the Gradual Abolition of it in the State of Virginia. Philadelphia,

Turner, Frederick Jackson: The Rise of the New West. Vol. 14
in American Nation Series.

Turner, Edward Raymond: The Negro in Pennsylvania, 1639-1861
(Justin Winsor Prize of American Historical Association, 1910).
Washington, 1911.

Washington, Booker T.: The Future of the American Negro. Small,
Maynard & Co., Boston, 1899.

  The Story of My Life and Work. Nichols & Co., Naperville, Ill.,

  Up from Slavery: An Autobiography. Doubleday, Page & Co.,
  New York, 1901.

  Character Building. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York, 1902.

  Working with the Hands. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York,

  Putting the Most into Life. Crowell & Co., New York, 1906.

  Frederick Douglass (in American Crisis Biographies). George W.
  Jacobs & Co., Philadelphia, 1906.

  The Negro in the South (with W.E.B. DuBois). George W.
  Jacobs & Co., Philadelphia, 1907.

  The Negro in Business. Hertel, Jenkins & Co., Chicago, 1907.

  The Story of the Negro. 2 vols. Doubleday, Page & Co., New
  York, 1909.

  My Larger Education. Doubleday, Page & Co., Garden City, N.Y.,

  The Man Farthest Down (with Robert Emory Park). Doubleday,
  Page & Co., Garden City, N.Y., 1912.

Weale, B.L. Putnam: The Conflict of Color. The Macmillan Co.,
New York, 1910.

Weatherford, W.D.: Present Forces in Negro Progress. Association
Press, New York, 1912.

Weld, Theodore Dwight: American Slavery as It Is: Testimony
of a Thousand Witnesses. Published by the American Anti-Slavery
Society, New York, 1839.

Wiener, Leo: Africa and the Discovery of America, Vol. I. Innes
& Sons, Philadelphia, 1920.

Williams, George Washington: History of the Negro Race in America
from 1619 to 1880. 2 vols. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York,

Wise, John S.: The End of an Era. Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1899.
Woodson, Carter G.: The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861.
G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1915.

  A Century of Negro Migration. Association for the Study of
  Negro Life and History, Washington, 1918.

Woolf, Leonard: Empire and Commerce in Africa: A Study in
Economic Imperialism. London, 1920. The Macmillan Co., New

Wright, Richard R.: Negro Companions of the Spanish Explorers.
(Reprinted from the _American Anthropologist_, Vol. 4, April-June,

Wright, Richard R., Jr.: The Negro in Pennsylvania: A Study in
Economic History. (Ph.D. thesis, Pennsylvania.) A.M.E. Book
Concern, Philadelphia.

Wright, T.S. See Cornish, Samuel E.

Zabriskie, Luther K.: The Virgin Islands of the United States of
America. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1918.

       *       *       *       *       *

An Address to the People of the United States, adopted at a Conference
of Colored Citizens, held at Columbia, S.C., July 20 and
21, 1876. Republican Printing Co., Columbia, S.C., 1876.

Paper (letter published in a Washington paper) submitted in connection
with the Debate in the United States House of Representatives,
July 15th and 18th, 1776, on the Massacre of Six Colored Citizens
at Hamburg, S.C., July 4, 1876.

Proceedings of the National Conference of Colored Men of the
United States, held in the State Capitol at Nashville, Tenn., May
6, 7, 8, and 9, 1879. Washington, D.C., 1879.

Story of the Riot. Persecution of Negroes by roughs and policemen
in the City of New York, August, 1900. Statement and Proofs
written and compiled by Frank Moss and issued by the Citizens'
Protective League. New York, 1900.

The Voice of the Carpet Bagger. Reconstruction Review No. 1, published
by the Anti-Lynching Bureau. Chicago, 1901.

III. Special Lists

1. On Chapter II, Section 3; Chapter III, Section 5; Chapter
VIII and Chapter XI, the general topic being the social
progress of the Negro before 1860. Titles are mainly in
the order of appearance of works.

Mather, Cotton: Rules for the Society of Negroes, 1693. Reprinted
by George H. Moore, Lenox Library, New York, 1888.

  The Negro Christianized. An Essay to excite and assist that good
  work, the instruction of Negro-servants in Christianity. Boston,

Allen, Richard. The Life, Experience and Gospel Labors of the Rt.
Rev. Richard Allen, written by himself. Philadelphia, 1793.

Hall, Prince. A Charge delivered to the African Lodge, June 24,
1797, at Menotomy, by the Right Worshipful Prince Hall. (Boston)

To the Free Africans and Other Free People of Color in the United
States. (Broadside) Philadelphia, 1797.

Walker, David: Appeal, in four articles, together with a Preamble
to the Colored Citizens of the World. Boston, 1829.

Garrison, William Lloyd: An Address delivered before the Free
People of Color in Philadelphia, New York, and other cities,
during the month of June, 1831. Boston, 1831.

  Thoughts on African Colonization (see list above).

Minutes and Proceedings of the First Annual Convention of the
People of Color, held by adjournments in the City of Philadelphia,
from the sixth to the eleventh of June, inclusive, 1831.
Philadelphia, 1831.

College for Colored Youth. An Account of the New Haven City
Meeting and Resolutions with Recommendations of the College,
and Strictures upon the Doings of New Haven. New York, 1831.

On the Condition of the Free People of Color in the United States.
New York, 1839. (_The Anti-Slavery Examiner_, No. 13.)

Condition of the People of Color in the State of Ohio, with interesting
anecdotes. Boston, 1839.

Armistead, Wilson: Memoir of Paul Cuffe. London, 1840.

Wilson, Joseph: Sketches of the Higher Classes of Colored Society
in Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 1841.

National Convention of Colored Men and Their Friends. Troy,
N.Y., 1847.

Garnet, Henry Highland: The Past and Present Condition and the
Destiny of the Colored Race. Troy, 1848.

Delany, Martin R.: The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny
of the Colored People of the United States, Politically Considered.
Philadelphia, 1852.

Cincinnati Convention of Colored Freedmen of Ohio. Proceedings,
Jan. 14-19, 1852. Cincinnati, 1852.

Proceedings of the Colored National Convention, held in Rochester,
July 6, 7, and 8, 1853. Rochester, 1853.

Cleveland National Emigration Convention of Colored People. Proceedings,
Aug. 22-24, 1854. Pittsburg, 1854.

Nell, William C.: The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution,
with sketches of several Distinguished Colored Persons: to which
is added a brief survey of the Condition and Prospects of Colored
Americans, with an Introduction by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Boston, 1855.

Stevens, Charles E.: Anthony Burns, a History. Boston, 1856.

Catto, William T.: A Semi-Centenary Discourse, delivered in the
First African Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, with a History
of the church from its first organization, including a brief notice
of Rev. John Gloucester, its first pastor. Philadelphia, 1857.

Bacon, Benjamin C.: Statistics of the Colored People of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia, 1856. Second edition, with statistics of crime,
Philadelphia, 1857.

Condition of the Free Colored People of the United States, by James
Freeman Clarke, in _Christian Examiner_, March, 1859, 246-265.
Reprinted as pamphlet by American Anti-Slavery Society, New
York, 1859.

Brown, William Wells: Clotel, or The President's Daughter (a narrative
of slave life in the United States). London, 1853.

  The Escape; or A Leap for Freedom, a Drama in five acts. Boston,

  The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements.
  New York, 1863.

  The Rising Son; or The Antecedents and Advancement of the
  Colored Race. Boston, 1874.

To Thomas J. Gantt, Esq. (Broadside), Charleston, 1861.

Douglass, William: Annals of St. Thomas's First African Church.
Philadelphia, 1862.

Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored Men, held in the city
of Syracuse, N.Y., October 4, 5, 6, and 7, 1864, with the Bill of Wrongs
and Rights and the Address to the American People. Boston, 1864.

The Budget, containing the Annual Reports of the General Officers of the
African M.E. Church of the United States of America, edited by Benjamin
W. Arnett. Xenia, O., 1881. Same for later years.

Simms, James M.: The First Colored Baptist Church in North America.
Printed by J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, 1888.

Upton, William H.: Negro Masonry, being a Critical Examination of
objections to the legitimacy of the Masonry existing among the Negroes
of America. Cambridge, 1899; second edition, 1902.

Brooks, Charles H.: The Official History and Manual of the Grand United
Order of Odd Fellows in America. Philadelphia, 1902.

Cromwell, John W.: The Early Convention Movement. Occasional Paper No. 9
of American Negro Academy, Washington, D.C., 1904.

Brooks, Walter H.: The Silver Bluff Church, Washington, 1910.

Crawford, George W.: Prince Hall and His Followers. New Haven, 1915.

Wright, Richard R., Jr. (Editor-in-Chief): Centennial Encyclopædia
of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. A.M.E. Book Concern,
Philadelphia, 1916.

Also note narratives or autobiographies of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner
Truth, Samuel Ringgold Ward, Solomon Northrup, Lunsford Lane, etc.; the
poems of Phillis Wheatley (first edition, London, 1773), and George M.
Horton; Williams's History for study of some more prominent characters;
Woodson's bibliography for the special subject of education; and
periodical literature, especially the articles remarked in Chapter XI in
connection with the free people of color in Louisiana.

2. On Chapter V (Indian and Negro)

A standard work on the Second Seminole War is The Origin, Progress, and
Conclusion of the Florida War, by John T. Sprague, D. Appleton & Co.,
New York, 1848; but also important as touching upon the topics of the
chapter are The Exiles of Florida, by Joshua R. Giddings, Columbus,
Ohio, 1858, and a speech by Giddings in the House of Representatives
February 9, 1841. Note also House Document No. 128 of the 1st session
of the 20th Congress, and Document 327 of the 2nd session of the 25th
Congress. The Aboriginal Races of North America, by Samuel G. Drake,
fifteenth edition, New York, 1880, is interesting and suggestive though
formless; and McMaster in different chapters gives careful brief
accounts of the general course of the Indian wars.

3. On Chapter VII (Insurrections)

(For insurrections before that of Denmark Vesey note especially Coffin,
Holland, and Horsemanden above. On Gabriel's Insurrection see article by
Higginson (_Atlantic_, X. 337), afterwards included in Travellers and

Denmark Vesey

1. An Official Report of the Trials of Sundry Negroes, charged with an
attempt to raise an Insurrection in the State of South Carolina. By
Lionel H. Kennedy and Thomas Parker (members of the Charleston Bar and
the Presiding Magistrates of the Court). Charleston, 1822.

2. An Account of the Late Intended Insurrection among a Portion of the
Black of this City. Published by the Authority of the Corporation of
Charleston. Charleston, 1822 (reprinted Boston, 1822, and again in
Boston and Charleston).

The above accounts, now exceedingly rare, are the real sources of all
later study of Vesey's insurrection. The two accounts are sometimes
identical; thus the list of those executed or banished is the same. The
first has a good introduction. The second was written by James Hamilton,
Intendant of Charleston.

3. Letter of Governor William Bennett, dated August 10, 1822. (This was
evidently a circular letter to the press. References are to Lundy's
_Genius of Universal Emancipation_, II, 42, Ninth month, 1822, and there
are reviews in the following issues, pages 81, 131, and 142. Higginson
notes letter as also in _Columbian Sentinel_, August 31, 1822;
_Connecticut Courant_, September 3, 1822; and _Worcester Spy_, September
18, 1822.)

Three secondary accounts in later years are important:

1. Article on Denmark Vesey by Higginson (_Atlantic_, VII. 728) included
in Travellers and Outlaws: Episodes in American History. Lee and
Shepard, Boston, 1889.

2. Right on the Scaffold, or the Martyrs of 1822, by Archibald H.
Grimké. No. 7 of the Papers of the American Negro Academy, Washington.

3. Book I, Chapter XII, "Denmark Vesey's Insurrection," in Robert Y.
Hayne and His Times, by Theodore D. Jervey, The Macmillan Co., New York,

Various pamphlets were written immediately after the insurrection not so
much to give detailed accounts as to discuss the general problem of the
Negro and the reaction of the white citizens of Charleston to the event.
Of these we may note the following:

1. Holland, Edwin C.: A Refutation of the Calumnies Circulated against
the Southern and Western States. (See main list above.)

2. Achates (General Thomas Pinckney): Reflections Occasioned by the Late
Disturbances in Charleston. Charleston, 1822.

3. Rev. Dr. Richard Furman's Exposition of the Views of the Baptists
Relative to the Colored Population in the United States. (See main list

4. Practical Considerations Founded on the Scriptures Relative to the
Slave Population of South Carolina. By a South Carolinian. Charleston,

Nat Turner

1. The Confessions of Nat Turner, Leader of the Late Insurrection in
Southampton, Va., as fully and voluntarily made to Thos. C. Gray, in the
prison where he was confined--and acknowledged by him to be such, when
read before the court at Southampton, convened at Jerusalem November 5,
1831, for his trial. (This is the main source. Thousands of copies of
the pamphlet are said to have been circulated, but it is now exceedingly
rare. Neither the Congressional Library nor the Boston Public has a
copy, and Cromwell notes that there is not even one in the State Library
in Richmond. The copy used by the author is in the library of Harvard

2. Horrid Massacre. Authentic and Impartial Narrative of the Tragical
Scene which was witnessed in Southampton County (Virginia) on Monday the
22nd of August last. New York, 1831. (This gives a table of victims and
has the advantage of nearness to the event. This very nearness, however,
has given credence to much hearsay and accounted for several instances
of inaccuracy.)

To the above may be added the periodicals of the day, such as the
Richmond _Enquirer_ and the _Liberator_; note _Genius of Universal
Emancipation_, September, 1831. Secondary accounts or studies would
include the following:

1. Nat Turner's Insurrection, exhaustive article by Higginson
(_Atlantic_, VIII. 173) later included in Travellers and Outlaws.

2. Drewry, William Sidney: Slave Insurrections in Virginia (1830-1865).
A Dissertation presented to the Board of University Studies of the Johns
Hopkins University for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The Neale
Company, Washington, 1900. (Unfortunately marred by a partisan tone.)

3. The Aftermath of Nat Turner's Insurrection, by John W. Cromwell, in
_Journal of Negro History_, April, 1920.

_Amistad and Creole_ Cases

1. Argument of John Quincy Adams before the Supreme Court of the United
States, in the case of the United States, Apellants, vs. Cinque, and
others, Africans, captured in the Schooner _Amistad_, by Lieut. Gedney,
delivered on the 24th of February and 1st of March, 1841. New York,

2. Africans Taken in the _Amistad_. Document No. 185 of the 1st session
of the 26th Congress, containing the correspondence in relation to the
captured Africans. (Reprinted by Anti-Slavery Depository, New York,

3. Senate Document 51 of the 2nd session of the 27th Congress.

4. On Chapter IX (Liberia)

Much has been written about Liberia, but the books and pamphlets have
been very uneven in quality. Original sources include the reports of
the American Colonization Society to 1825; _The African Repository_,
a compendium issued sometimes monthly, sometimes quarterly, by the
American Colonization Society from 1825 to 1892, and succeeded by the
periodical known as _Liberia_; the reports of the different state
organizations; J. Ashmun's History of the American Colony in Liberia
from December, 1821 to 1823, compiled from the authentic records of the
colony, Washington, 1826; Ralph Randolph Gurley's Life of Jehudi Ashmun,
Washington, 1835, second edition, New York, 1839; Gurley's report
on Liberia (a United States state paper), Washington, 1850; and the
Memorial of the Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the American Colonization
Society, celebrated at Washington, January 15, 1867, with documents
concerning Liberia, Washington, 1867; to all of which might be added
Journal of Daniel Coker, a descendant of Africa, from the time of
leaving New York, in the ship _Elisabeth_, Capt. Sebor, on a voyage for
Sherbro, in Africa, Baltimore, 1820. J.H.B. Latrobe, a president of the
American Colonization Society, is prominent in the Memorial volume of
1867, and after this date are credited to him Liberia: its Origin,
Rise, Progress, and Results, an address delivered before the American
Colonization Society, January 20, 1880, Washington, 1880, and Maryland
in Liberia, Baltimore, 1885. An early and interesting compilation is
G.S. Stockwell's The Republic of Liberia: Its Geography, Climate, Soil,
and Productions, with a history of its early settlement, New York, 1868;
a good handbook is Frederick Starr's Liberia, Chicago, 1913; mention
might also be made of T. McCants Stewart's Liberia, New York, 1886; and
George W. Ellis's Negro Culture in West Africa, Neale Publishing Co.,
New York, 1914, is outstanding in its special field. Two Johns Hopkins
theses have been written: John H.T. McPherson's History of Liberia
(Studies, IX, No. 10), 1891, and E.L. Fox's The American Colonization
Society 1817-1840 (Studies, XXXVII, 9-226), 1919; the first of these is
brief and clearcut and especially valuable for its study of the Maryland
colony. Magazine articles of unusual importance are George W. Ellis's
Dynamic Factors in the Liberian Situation and Emmett J. Scott's Is
Liberia Worth Saving? both in _Journal of Race Development_, January,
1911. Of English or continental works outstanding is the monumental but
not altogether unimpeachable Liberia, by Sir Harry H. Johnston, with an
appendix on the Flora of Liberia by Dr. Otto Stapf, 2 vols., Hutchinson
& Co., London, 1906; while with a strong English bias and incomplete and
unsatisfactory as a general treatise is R.C.F. Maughan's The Republic of
Liberia, London (1920?), Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Mention must
also be made of the following publications by residents of Liberia: The
Negro Republic on West Africa, by Abayomi Wilfrid Karnga, Monrovia,
1909; New National Fourth Reader, edited by Julius C. Stevens, Monrovia,
1903; Liberia and Her Educational Problems, by Walter F. Walker, an
address delivered before the Chicago Historical Society, October
23, 1916; and Catalogue of Liberia College for 1916, and Historical
Register, printed at the Riverdale Press, Brookline, Mass., 1919; while
Edward Wilmot Blyden's Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race is
representative of the best of the more philosophical dissertations.

Abbeville, S.C.
Aberdeen, Lord
Abolition, Abolitionists
Abraham, Negro interpreter
Adams, Doc
Adams, Henry
Adams, John
Adams, John Quincy
African Methodist Episcopal Church, and schools
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and schools
_Age, The New York_
Akron, Ohio
Aldridge, Ira
Allen, Richard
Alton, Ill.
Ambrister, Robert
Amendments to Constitution of United States
American Anti-Slavery Society
American Baptist Home Mission Society
American Baptist Publication Society
American Bar Association
American Colonization Society
American Convention of Abolition Societies
American Federation of Labor
American Giants
American Missionary Association
Amistad Case
Anderson, Benjamin
Andrew, John O.
Andrew, William
Anthony, Susan B.
Anti-Slavery societies
_Appeal_, David Walker's
Arbuthnot, Alexander
Arkwright, Richard
Armstrong, Samuel C.
Asbury, Bishop
Ashley, Lord
Ashmun, Jehudi
Assiento Contract
Atlanta, Ga.
Atlanta Compromise
Atlanta Massacre
Atlanta University
Attaway, A.T.
Attucks, Crispus
Augusta, Ga.
Ayres, Eli

Bacon, Ephraim
Bacon, John F.
Bacon, Samuel
Baker, F.B.
Bankson, John
Banneker, Benjamin
Baptists, churches and schools
Baptist Young People s Union
Barbour, Capt.
Barbour, Dan
Barclay, Arthur
Barlow, Joel
Bassa Trading Association
Bassa tribe
Bassett, Ebenezer
Batson, Flora
Baxter, Richard
Beecher, Henry Ward
Behn, Aphra
Belleau Wood
Benedict College
Benefit societies
Benezet, Anthony
Bennett, Batteau
Bennett, Gov., of South Carolina
Bennett, Ned
Bennett, Rolla
Benson, Stephen Allen
Berea College
Bethel Church, A.M.E., of Philadelphia
Birmingham, Ala.
Birney, James G.
"Birth of a Nation"
Bishop College
Black Codes
Black Star Line
Blacksmith, Ben
Blackwood, Jesse
Blair, Henry
Blanco, Pedro
Bleckley, L.E.
Blunt, John
Blyden, Edward Wilmot
Boatswain, African chief
Bogalusa, La.
Boston, Mass.
Boston Massacre
Boston, Samuel
Bouey, H.N.
Bourne, E.G.
Bowers, John
Bowler, Jack
Boyd, Henry
Brooks, Preston S.
Brooks County, Ga.
Brough, Charles H.
Brown, Bishop, of Arkansas
Brown, John
Brown, William
Brown, William Wells
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
Brownsville, Texas
Bruce, Blanche K.
Bryan, Andrew
Bryce, James
Buchanan, Thomas H.
Bull, Gov., of South Carolina
Bullock, M.W.
Burgess, Ebenezer
Burleigh, Harry T.
Burning of Negroes
Burns, Anthony
Burnside, Gen.
Burton, Belfast
Burton, Mary
Business, Negro
Butler, B.F., District Attorney in New York
Butler, B.F., Gen.
Butler, M.C.
Butler, Sol
Buttrick, Wallace
Buzi tribe
Byron, Lord

Cable, George W.
Cadell, Major
Cæsar, in New York
Calderon, Spanish minister
Caldwell, Elias B.
Calhoun, John C.
Calvert, George, Lord Baltimore
Camp Dodge
Camp Grant
Camphor, A.P.
Canaan, N.H., school at
Canning, George
Cape Palmas
Cardozo, F.L.
Carmantee tribe
Carney, William H.
Carranza, Andrés Dorantes de
Cartledge, Lewis
Cary, Lott
Cass, Lewis
Cassell, Nathaniel H.B.
Cato, insurrectionist
Cato, Will
_Challenge Magazine_
Chamberlain, Gov., of South Carolina
Champion, James
Channing, William Ellery
Charles V
Charles, Robert
Charleston, S.C.
Château Thierry
Chavis, John
Cheeseman, Joseph James
Chesnutt, Charles W.
Chester, Penn.
Chicago riot
Child, Lydia Maria
_Christian Recorder_
Cinque, Joseph
Civil Rights
Civil War
Claflin University
_Clansman, The_
Clark, Andrew
Clark, Major
Clark University
Clarkson, Matthew
Clarkson, Quamoney
Clarkson, Thomas
Clay, Henry
Cleveland, Grover
Cleveland, Ohio
Clinch, Duncan L.
Clinton, Sir Henry
Coatesville, Penn.
Cockburn, Sir Francis
Coker, Daniel
Cole and Johnson Company
Cole, James
Coleman, William D.
Coleridge-Taylor, Samuel
College graduates
College of West Africa
Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, and schools
Compromise of 1850
Constitution of the United States
Continental Congress
Convict Lease system. _See_ Peonage.
Cook, James
Cook, O.F.
Coot, insurrectionist
Cope, Thomas P.
Cordovell, of New Orleans
Corey, C.H.
"Corkscrew" lynching
Cornish, Samuel E.
Cowagee, John
Cowley, Robert
Cowper, William
Cox, Minnie
Coybet, Gen.
Cranchell, Cæsar
Crandall, Prudence
Cravath, E.M.
Crawford, Anthony
Crawford, William
Creole Case
Criminal, Negro
_Crisis, The_
Crompton, Samuel
Cross Keys, Va.
Crozer, Samuel A.
Crum, William D.
Crummell, Alexander
Cuffe, Paul
Cuffe, Peter
Cuffee, in New York
Curry, J.L.M.
Curtis, Justice
Cutler, Manasseh

Dade, Major
Darien, Ga.
Davis, Benjamin O.
Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence (Liberian)
_Defender, The_
De Grasse, John V.
Delany, Martin R.
Dennison, Franklin A.
Derham, James
Dew, T.R.
Deys, in Africa
Dickens, Charles
Dillard, James H.
Dismond, Binga
District of Columbia
Dixie Kid
Dixon, George
Dixon, Thomas
Dorsey, Hugh M.
Dossen, J.J.
Douglas, Stephen A.
Douglass, Frederick
Douglass, Robert
Dow, Lorenzo
Dowdy, Jim
Draft Riot in New York
Drake, Francis
Drayton, Congressman from South Carolina
Dred Scott Decision
Drew, Howard P.
"Dreyfus," poem by Edwin Markham
DuBois, W.E. Burghardt
Dugro, Justice P.H.
Dunbar, Charles B.
Dunbar, Paul L.
Dunbar Theater, in Philadelphia
Duncan, Otis B.
Duncan, William
Dunmore, Lord
Dunning, W.A.
Durham, Clayton
Duties on importation of slaves
Duval, William P.
Dwight, Gen.
Dyersburg, Tenn.

Early County, Ga.
East St. Louis
Eaton, John, Comm. of Education
Eaton, John H., Secretary of War
Elaine, Ark.
El Caney
Eliot, John
Elizabeth, Queen
Elliott, Robert B.
Emathla, Charley
Emerson, Dr.
_Empire and Commerce in Africa_
England (or Great Britain)
Erie Railroad
Estill Springs, Tenn.
Etheridge, at Phoenix, S.C.
Evans, Lewis
Everett, Alexander H.
Everett, Edward
Exodus, Negro. _See also_ Migration.

Faber, F.W.
Factories, slave
Falkner, Roland P.
Ferguson, Frank
Ferguson, Samuel D.
Fernandina, Fla.
Finley, I.F.C.
Finley, Robert
First African Baptist Church, in Savannah
First Bryan Baptist Church, in Savannah
Fish War
Fisk Jubilee Singers
Fisk University
Fleet, Dr.
Fleming, W.L.
Foraker, J.B.
Forrester, Lot
Forsyth, John
Fort Brooke
Fort Gibson, Ark.
Fort Jackson, treaty of
Fort King
Fort Mims
Fort Moultrie (near St. Augustine), treaty of
Fort Moultrie (near Charleston)
Fort Pillow
Fort Sam Houston
Fort Wagner
Forten, James
Fortress Monroe
Foster, Theodore
Francis, Sam
Francis, Will
Franklin, Benjamin
Free African Society
Freedmen's Aid Society
Freedmen's Bank
Freedmen's Bureau
_Freedom's Journal_
Freeman, Cato
Free Negroes
Free-Soil Party
Fremont, John C.
Friends, Society of. _See_ Quakers.
Frissell, Hollis B.
Fugitive Slave Laws
Fuller, Meta Warrick
Furman, Richard

Gabriel, insurrectionist
Gadsden, James
Gage, Frances D.
Gailliard, Nicholas
Gaines, Gen.
Galilean Fishermen
Gans, Joe
Gardiner, Anthony W.
Garlington, E.A.
Garnett, H.H.
Garrison, William Lloyd
Garvey, Marcus
Gatumba, Chief
Geaween, John
Gell, Monday
General Education Board
_Georgia Baptist_
Georgia Railroad labor trouble
Georgia, University of
Germans, Germany
Germantown protest
Gibbes, Gov., of South Carolina
Gibson, Garretson W.
Giddings, Joshua R.
Gildersleeve, Basil L.
Giles, Harriet E.
Giles, Jackson W.
Gilmer, Congressman, of Georgia
Gleaves, R.H.
Gloucester, John
Gola tribe
Gold Coast
Goodspeed, Dr., of Benedict College
Gorden, Robert
Gordon, Midshipman
Gourdin, E.
Gradual Emancipation
Grady, Henry W.
Graeff, Abraham Op den
Graeff, Dirck Op den
Grand Bassa
"Grandfather Clause,"
Grant, U.S.
Graves, Samuel
Gray, Thomas C.
Gray, William
Great War
Grebo tribe
Greeley, Horace
Greene, Col.
Greenfield, Elizabeth Taylor
Greenleaf, Prof.
Greenville, in Liberia
Grice, Hezekiah
Groves, Junius C.
Grundy, Felix
_Guardian, The_
Guerra, Christóbal de la
Guerra, Luís de la
Guinea Coast
Gullah Jack
Gurley, R.R.

Hadjo, Micco
Hajo, Tuski
Hall, James
Hall, Prince
Hallowell, Edward N.
Hallowell, N.P.
Hamburg Massacre
Hampton Institute
Hampton, Wade
Harden, Henry
Hargreaves, James
Harper, in Liberia
Harper, F.E.W.
Harper's Ferry
Harris, Arthur
Harris, John M.
Harris, William T.
Harrison, Benjamin
Harrison, William Henry
Harrison St. Baptist Church, of Petersburg, Va.
Harry, Negro in Seminole Wars
Hart, A.B.
Hartford, Conn.
Harth, Mingo
Hartshorn Memorial College
Harvard University
Havelock, A.E.
Hawkins, John
Hawkins, William
Hayes, R.B.
Haygood, Atticus G.
Hayne, Robert Y.
Haynes, George E.
Haynes, Lemuel
Heber, Reginald
Helper, Hinton Rowan
Hendericks, Garret
Henry, Prince, of Portugal
Henry, Patrick
Hewell, John R.
Hicks, John
Higginson, Thomas Wentworth
Hill, Arnold
Hill, Stephen
Hoar, Samuel
Hodge, F.W.
Hoffman, Frederick L.
Hogg, Robert, and Mrs. Hogg
Holbert, Luther
Holland, Edwin C.
Holly, James Theodore
Hopkins, Samuel
Horsemanden, Judge
Horseshoe Bend
Horton, George M.
Hose, Sam
Houston, Texas
Howard, Daniel Edward
Howard, O.O.
Howard University
Howells, William Dean
Howze, Alma
Howze, Maggie
Hughes, Charles E.
Hughson, John
Hughson, Sarah
Hugo, Victor
Humphreys, Gad
Hunter, David

_Impending Crisis, The_
Indenture. _See_ Servitude.
Indian Spring, treaty of
_Informer_, The Houston
Intermarriage, Racial intermixture

Jackson, Andrew
Jackson College
Jackson, Edward
Jackson, Francis
Jackson, James
Jackson, Peter
Jacksonville, Fla.
James, David
James, Duke of York
Jasper, John
Jay, John
Jay, William
Jeanes, Anna T.
Jeanes Fund
Jefferson, Thomas
Jennings, Thomas L.
Jessup, Thomas S.
"Jim Crow," origin of
Jocelyn, S.S.
John, in Fugitive Slave case
Johnson, Andrew
Johnson, Elijah
Johnson, Henry
Johnson, H.R.W.
Johnson, Jack
Johnson, James
Johnson, Joseph
Johnston brothers, of Arkansas
Johnston, E.L.
Johnston, Sir Harry H.
Jones, Abraham
Jones, Eugene K.
Jones, George
Jones, Sam
Jones, Sissieretta
Julius, John

Kali, in Amistad case
Kansas City, dynamiting of homes in
Kansas-Nebraska Bill
Kean, Edmund
Kerry, Margaret
King, C.D.B.
King, Mulatto
King, Rufus
Kizell, John
Knights of Pythias
Knights of the Golden Circle
Knoxville College
Knoxville riot
Kpwessi tribe
Kru tribe
KuKlux Klan

Lafar, John J.
Laing, Major
Lake City, S.C.
Lane College
Lane Seminary
Langston, John Mercer
Las Quasimas
Laurens, Henry
Laurens, John
Law, John
Lawless, Judge
Le Clerc, Gen.
Lee, Robert E.
Lee County, Ga.
Leicester, Earl of
Leland Giants
Lewis, William H.
_Liberator, The_
Liberia College
Liberian Exodus and Joint Stock Company
Liberty Party
Liele, George
Lincoln, Abraham
Lincoln Giants
Lincoln University
Livingstone College
Livingstone, David
Lockwood, L.C.
London Company
Louis Napoleon
Lovejoy, Elijah P.
Lowell, James R.
Lugard, Lady
Lundy, Benjamin

Macaulay, T.B.
Macon, Ga.
Madison, James
Mahan, Asa
Maldonado, Alonzo del Castillo
Manly, Alex. L.
Mano tribe
Mansfield, Lord
Marcos, Fray
Markham, Edwin
_Marrow of Tradition, The_
Marshall, J.F.B.
Marshall, J.R.
Marshall, of Univ. of Minnesota
Martin, Luther
Mason, George
Masons, Negro
Mather, Cotton
Matthews, W.C.
May, Samuel J.
Mazzini, G.
McCorkle, William A.
McIlheron, Jim
McIntosh, burned
McKay, Claude
McKelway, A.J.
Medicine, Negro in
Memphis, Tenn.
Mercer, Charles F.
_Messenger, The_
Methodists, churches and schools. _See also_ African Methodist.
Mexican War
Mickasukie tribe
Migration. _See also_ Exodus.
Milan, Ga.
Milliken's Bend
Mills, Samuel J.
Miscegenation. _See_ Intermarriage, Racial intermixture.
Mississippi Company
Missouri Compromise
Monroe, James
Montes, Pedro
Montgomery, Ala.
Montgomery, James
Monticello, Ga.
Montserado, Cape
Moore, Joanna P.
Moorhead, Scipio
Morehouse College
Morell, Junius C.
Morgan, Thomas J.
Morris Brown University
Morris, Edward H.
Morris, Gouverneur
Morris, Robert, Jr.
Mott, Lucretia
Mumford, John P.
"Mungo," in The Padlock
Murphy, Edgar G.

Napoleon Bonaparte
Narvaez, Pamfilo de
Nashville, Tenn.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Urban League
Navigation Ordinance
Nea Mathla
Neau, Elias
_Negro_, the word
Negro Union
_Negro World, The_
Nell, William C.
New Bedford, Mass.
New England Anti-Slavery Society
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Orleans
New Mexico
New York (city)
New York (state)
_News and Courier_, of Charleston, S.C.
Niagara Movement
Niles, Hezekiah
Niño, Pedro Alonso
Norfolk, Va.
North Carolina
Northrup, Solomon
_North Star_
Northwest Territory
Nott, Josiah C.
Nott, Dr., of Union College
Nunn, Joseph

Oberlin College
Odd Fellows
Ogden, Peter
Ogden, Robert C.
Oglethorpe, James
Orange Park Academy
Otis, James
Otis, Mayor, of Boston
Ouithlecoochee, Battle of

Packard, Sophia B.
Page, Thomas Nelson
Page, Walter H.
Palmer, B.M.
Palmetto, Ga.
Pan-African Congress
Pappa tribe
Parker, Theodore
Parrott, Russell
Pastorius, Francis Daniel
Patterson, Joseph
Paul, William
Payne, Daniel A.
Payne, James Spriggs
Payne's Landing, treaty of
Peabody Educational Fund
Peabody, George Foster
Pembroke, Earl of
Pennington, James W.C.
Pennsylvania Railroad
Perkins, Francis
Perry, Bliss
Person, Ell T.
Petersburg, Va.
Phagan, John
Phelps, John W.
Phelps-Stokes Fellowships
Phillips, Wendell
Phipps, Benjamin
Phoenix societies
Pierce, Leonard
Pike, in Brooks County, Ga.
Pittman, W. Sydney
Pittsburgh, Penn.
Plançiancois, Anselmas
Pleasants, Robert
Pollard, F.
Poor, Samuel
Poor white man, as related to Negro
Population, Negro
Populist Party
Port Hudson
Porter, Henry
Potter, James
Powell. See Osceola.
Poyas, Peter
Price, Arthur
Problem, Negro. See Table of Contents.
Progressive Party
Punishment. See also Lynching, Burning.
Purcell, Jack

Quack, in New York
Queen and Crescent Railroad trouble
Quinn, William Paul

Randolph, John
Reed, Paul
Reese, Jack
_Republic of Liberia, The_
Republican Party
Reuter, E.B.
Revels, Hiram R.
_Review of Reviews_, quoted
Revolutionary War
Revolution, French
Rhode Island
Rhodes, Cecil
Rice, Thomas D.
Richmond, Va.
_Rising Tide of Color, The_
Rivers, P.R.
Robert, Joseph T.
Roberts, Joseph Jenkin
Robeson, P.L.
Rockefeller, John D.
Romme, John
Roosevelt, Theodore
Ross, John
Royal African Company
Roye, Edward James
Ruffin, George L.
Ruiz, José
Rush, Christopher
Russell, Alfred F.
Russwurm, John B.
Rust University
Rutledge, John

St. Augustine, Fla.
St. Louis, Mo.
St. Mihiel
St. Philip's Church, in New York
St. Thomas's Episcopal Church, in Philadelphia
Sale, George
Salem, Peter
Samba, insurrectionist
Sandford (in Dred Scott Case)
San Juan Hill
Santo Domingo
Sargent, Frank P.
Savannah, Ga.
Schurz, Carl
Scott, Emmett J.
Scott, Lation
Scott, Walter
Seaton, Richard
Sebor, Capt
Secret societies
Segui, Bernard
Selika, Mme
Seminole Wars
Seward, William H.
Seyes, John
Shadd, Abraham
Sharp, Granville
Shaw, Robert Gould
Shaw Monument
Shaw University
Shepherd, Randall
Sheridan, Philip
Shubuta, Miss.
Shufeldt, R.W.
Sierra Leone
Silver Bluff Church
Singleton, Benjamin
Sino, in Liberia
Slater Fund
Slavery. _See_ Table of Contents.
Slave Ships
Smith, Adam
Smith, Alfred
Smith, Edward P.
Smith, Gerrit
Smith, Hampton
Smith, Henry
Smith, Hoke
Smith, James McCune
Smith, Stephen
Smith, W.B.
Social Progress
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts
Soldier, Negro
Somerset, James
Soulouque, Faustin
_Souls of Black Folk, The_
South Carolina
South Carolina Medical College
Southern Education Board
Southern Educational Congress
Southern Sociological Congress
Southerne, Thomas
_Southwestern Christian Advocate_
Spanish-American War
Spanish Exploration
Spelman Seminary
Spence, R.T.
Spencer, Peter
Springfield, Ill.
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady
Statesville, Ga.
Stephens, Alexander
Stevens, Julius C.
Stevens, Thaddeus
Steward, Austin
Stewart, Charles
Stewart, T. McC.
Stiles, Ezra
Stoddard, Lothrop
Stone, Lucy
Stockton, Robert F.
Stone, Alfred H.
Storey, Moorfield
Stowe, Harriet Beecher
Straight University
Straker, D.A.
Students' Army Training Corps
Summersett, John
Sumner, Charles
Supreme Court

Taft, W.H.
Talladega, Ala.
Talladega College
Tallahassee, Fla.
Taney, R.B.
Tanner, Henry O.
Tappan, Arthur
Tappan, Lewis
Tapsico, Jacob
Taney, Chief Justice
Taylor, John B.
Taylor, Major
Taylor, William
Terrell, Mary Church
Terrell, J.M.
Thomas, Charles
Thomas, W.H.
Thompson, George
Thompson, Wiley
Thornton, William
_Thoughts on African Colonisation_
Tillman, Benjamin R.
Tithables, defined
Tolbert, John R.
Tolbert, R.R.
Tolbert, Thomas
Toombs, Robert
Toussaint L'Ouverture
Travis, Hark
Travis, Joseph
Tremont Temple Baptist Church
Trotter, Monroe
Truth, Sojourner
Tubman, Harriet
Tucker, St. George
Tupper, Pres., of Shaw University
Turnbull, Robert James
Turner, H.M.
Turner, Mary
Turner, Nat, and his insurrection
Tuskegee Institute
Tustenuggee, 114

_Uncle Tom's Cabin_
Underground Railroad
Universal Negro Improvement Association
Universal Races Congress
University Commission on Southern Race Questions
Ury, John
Utrecht, Peace of

Vaca, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de
Vail, Aaron
Vai tribe
Valdosta, Ga.
Valladolid, Juan de
Van Buren, Martin
Vardaman, James K.
Varick, James
Vesey, Denmark, and his insurrection
Vincenden, Gen.
Virginia Union University
Virginia, University of
Virgin Islands
Vogelsang, Peter
_Voice of the Negro, The_

Waco, Texas
Walcott, Joe
Walker, John
Walker, Mme. C.J.
Walker, David
Walker, Walter F.
Walker, Zach
War of 1812
Ward, Samuel Ringgold
Ware, Asa
Warner, Daniel Bashiel
Washington, Berry
Washington, Booker T.
Washington, Bushrod
Washington, George
Washington, Jesse
Washington, Madison
Washington, D.C.
Watson, Brook
Watt, James
Watterson, Henry
Webster, Daniel
Webster, Thomas
Wendell, Abraham
Wesley, John
West Virginia
Wheatley, Phillis
Whipper, of Pennsylvania
Whipper, William
White, George H.
White, Thomas J.
White, William
White, William J.
Whitfield, James M.
Whittekin, F.F.
Whitney, Eli
Whittier, John G.
Wiener, Leo
Wilberforce University
Wilberforce, William
Wilcox, Samuel T.
Wild Cat
Wiley University
William and Mary College
Williams and Walker Company
Williams, Charles H.
Williams, Daniel H.
Williams, George W.
Williams, Nelson
Williams, Peter
Williams, Richard
Williamsburg, Va.
Williamson, Edward
Wilmington, N.C.
Wilson, James
Wilson, Woodrow
Winn, J.B.
Woman's American Baptist Home Mission Society
Woman Suffrage
Woods, Granville T.
Woodson, Carter G.
Woolf, Leonard
Woolman, John
Wright, Robert
Wycliffe, John C.

Yellow fever, in Philadelphia;
in Hayti
Young, Charles E.

Zuñi Indians

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 - Being a History of the Negro Problem in the United States. Including A History and Study of the Republic of Liberia" ***

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