The Negro, by W.E.B. Du Bois, , at sacred-texts.com
There were half a million slaves in the confines of the United States when the Declaration of Independence declared "that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The land that thus magniloquently heralded its advent into the family of nations had supported the institution of human slavery for one hundred and fifty-seven years and was destined to cling to it eighty-seven years longer.
The greatest experiment in Negro slavery as a modern industrial system was made on the mainland of North America and in the confines of the present United States. And this experiment was on such a scale and so long-continued that it is profitable for study and reflection. There were in the United States in its dependencies, in 1910, 9,828,294 persons of acknowledged Negro descent, not including the considerable infiltration of Negro blood which is not acknowledged and often not known. To-day the number of persons called Negroes is probably about ten and a quarter million. These persons are almost entirely descendants of African slaves, brought to America in the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.
The importation of Negroes to the mainland of North America was small until the British got the coveted privilege of the Asiento in 1713. Before that Northern States like New York had received some slaves from the Dutch, and New England had early developed a trade by which she imported a number of house servants. Ships went out to the African coast with rum, sold the rum, and brought the slaves to the West Indies; there they exchanged the slaves for sugar and molasses and brought the molasses back to New England, to be made into rum for further exploits. After the Asiento treaty
the Negro population increased in the eighteenth century from about 50,000 in 1710 to 220,000 in 1750 and to 462,000 in 1770. When the colonies became independent, the foreign slave trade was soon made illegal; but illicit trade, annexation of territory and natural increase enlarged the Negro population from a little over a million at the beginning of the nineteenth century to four and a half millions at the outbreak of the Civil War and to about ten and a quarter millions in 1914.
The present so-called Negro population of the United States is:
1. A mixture of the various African populations, Bantu, Sudanese, west-coast Negroes, some dwarfs, and some traces of Arab, Berber, and Semitic blood.
2. A mixture of these strains with the blood of white Americans through a system of concubinage of colored women in slavery days, together with some legal intermarriage,
The figures as to mulattoes 1 have been from time to time officially acknowledged to be understatements. Probably one-third of the Negroes of the United States have distinct traces of white blood. This blending of the races has led to interesting human types, but racial prejudice has hitherto prevented any scientific study of the matter. In general the Negro population in the United States is brown in color, darkening to almost black and shading off in the other direction to yellow and white, and is indistinguishable in some cases from the white population.
Much has been written of the black man in America, but most of this has been from the point of view of the whites, so that we know of the effect of Negro slavery on the whites, the strife among the whites for and against abolition, and the consequent problem of the Negro so far as the white population is concerned.
This chapter, however, is dealing with the matter more from the point of view of the Negro group itself, and seeking to show what slavery meant to them, how they reacted against it, what they did to secure their freedom, and what they are doing with their partial freedom to-day.
The slaves landing from 1619 onward were received by the colonies at first as laborers, on the same plane as other laborers. For a long time there was in law no distinction between the indented white servant from England and the black servant from Africa, except in the term of their service. Even here the distinction was not always observed, some of the whites being kept beyond term of their service and Negroes now and then securing their freedom. Gradually the planters realized the advantage of laborers held for life, but they were met by certain moral difficulties. The opposition to slavery had from the first been largely stilled when it was stated that this was a method of converting the heathen to Christianity. The corollary was that when a slave was converted he became free. Up to 1660 or thereabouts it seemed accepted in most colonies and in the English West Indies that baptism into a Christian church would free a Negro slave. Masters therefore, were reluctant in the seventeenth century to have their slaves receive Christian instruction. Massachusetts first apparently legislated on this matter by enacting in 1641 that slavery should be confined to captives in just wars "and such strangers as willingly sell themselves or are sold to us," 1 meaning by "strangers" apparently heathen, but saying nothing as to the effect of conversion. Connecticut adopted similar legislation in 1650, and Virginia declared in 1661 that Negroes "are incapable of making satisfaction" for time lost in running away by lengthening their time of services, thus implying that they were slaves for life. Maryland declared in 1663 that Negro slaves should serve durante vita, but it was not until 1667 that Virginia finally plucked up courage to attack the issue squarely and declared by law: "Baptism doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedom, in order that diverse masters freed from this doubt may more carefully endeavor the propagation of Christianity." 2
The transplanting of the Negro from his African clan life to the West Indian plantation was a social revolution. Marriage became
geographical and transient, while women and girls were without protection.
The private home as a self-protective, independent unit did not exist. That powerful institution, the polygamous African home, was almost completely destroyed, and in its place in America arose sexual promiscuity, a weak community life, with common dwelling, meals, and child nurseries. The internal slave trade tended further to weaken natural ties. A small number of favored house servants and artisans were raised above this--had their private homes, came in contact with the culture of the master class, and assimilated much of American civilization. This was, however, exceptional; broadly speaking, the greatest social effect of American slavery was to substitute for the polygamous Negro home a new polygamy less guarded, less effective, and less civilized.
At first sight it would seem that slavery completely destroyed every vestige of spontaneous movement among the Negroes. This is not strictly true. The vast power of the priest in the African state is well known; his realm alone--the province of religion and medicine--remained largely unaffected by the plantation system. The Negro priest, therefore, early became an important figure on the plantation and found his function as the interpreter of the supernatural, the comforter of the sorrowing, and as the one who expressed, rudely but picturesquely, the longing and disappointment and resentment of a stolen people. From such beginnings arose and spread with marvelous rapidity the Negro church, the first distinctively Negro American social institution. It was not at first by any means a Christian church, but a mere adaptation of those rites of fetish which in America is termed obe worship, or "voodooism." 1 Association and missionary effort soon gave these rites a veneer of Christianity and gradually, after two centuries, the church became Christian, with a simple Calvinistic creed, but with many of the old customs still clinging to the services. It is this historic fact, that the Negro church of to-day bases itself upon the sole surviving social institution of the
[paragraph continues] African fatherland, that accounts for its extraordinary growth and vitality.
The slave codes at first were really labor codes based on an attempt to reëstablish in America the waning feudalism of Europe. The laborers were mainly black and were held for life. Above them came the artisans, free whites with a few blacks, and above them the master class. The feudalism called for the plantation system' and the plantation system as developed in America, and particularly in Virginia, was at first a feudal domain. On these plantations the master was practically supreme. The slave codes in early days were but moderately harsh, allowing punishment by the master, but restraining him in extreme cases and providing for care of the slaves and of the aged. With the power, however, solely in the bands of the master class, and with the master supreme on his own plantation, his power over the slave was practically what he wished it to be. In some cases the cruelty was as great as on the worst West Indian plantations. In other cases the rule was mild and paternal.
Up through this American feudalism the Negro began to rise. He learned in the eighteenth century the English language, be began to be identified with the Christian church, he mingled his blood to a considerable extent with the master class. The house servants particularly were favored, in some cases receiving education, and the number of free Negroes gradually increased.
Present-day students are often puzzled at the apparent contradictions of Southern slavery. One hears, on the one hand, of the staid and gentle patriarchy, the wide and sleepy plantations with lord and retainers, ease and happiness; on the other hand one hears of barbarous cruelty and unbridled power and wide oppression of men. Which is the true picture? The answer is simple: both are true. They are not opposite sides of the same shield; they are different shields. They are pictures, on the one hand, of house service in the great country seats and in the towns, and on the other hand of the field laborers who raised the great tobacco, rice, and cotton crops. We have thus not only carelessly mixed pictures of what were really different kinds of slavery, but of that which represented different degrees in the development of the economic system. House service was the older feudal idea of personal retainership, developed in Virginia and Carolina in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It had all the advantages and disadvantages of such a system; the advantage
of the strong personal tie and disadvantage of unyielding caste distinctions, with the resultant immoralities. At its worst, however, it was a matter primarily of human relationships.
Out of this older type of slavery in the northern South there developed, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in the southern South the type of slavery which corresponds to the modern factory system in its worst conceivable form. It represented production of a staple product on a large scale; between the owner and laborer were interposed the overseer and the drivers. The slaves were whipped and driven to a mechanical task system. Wide territory was needed, so that at last absentee landlordship was common. It was this latter type of slavery that marked the cotton kingdom, and the extension of the area of this system southward and westward marked the aggressive world-conquering visions of the slave barons. On the other hand it was the milder and far different Virginia house service and the personal retainership of town life in which most white children grew up; it was this that impressed their imaginations and which they have so vividly portrayed. The Negroes, however, knew the other side, for it was under the harsher, heartless driving of the fields that fully nine-tenths of them lived.
There early began to be some internal development and growth of self-consciousness among the Negroes: for instance, in New England towns Negro "governors" were elected. This was partly an African custom transplanted and partly an endeavor to put the regulation of the slaves into their own hands. Negroes voted in those days: for instance, in North Carolina until 1835 the Constitution extended the franchise to every freeman, and when Negroes were disfranchised in 1835, several hundred colored men were deprived of the vote. In fact, as Albert Bushnell Hart says, "In the colonies freed Negroes, like freed indentured white servants, acquired property, founded families, and came into the political community if they had the energy, thrift, and fortune to get the necessary property." 1
The humanitarian movement of the eighteenth century was active toward Negroes, because of the part which they played in the Revolutionary War. Negro regiments and companies were raised in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and a large number of Negroes were members of the continental armies elsewhere. Individual Negroes
distinguished themselves. It is estimated that five thousand Negroes fought in the American armies.
The mass of the Americans considered at the time of the adoption of the Constitution that Negro slavery was doomed. There soon came a series of laws emancipating slaves in the North: Vermont began in 1779, followed by judicial decision in Massachusetts in 1780 and gradual emancipation in Pennsylvania beginning the same year; emancipation was accomplished in New Hampshire in 1783, and in Connecticut and Rhode Island in 1784. The momentous exclusion of slavery in the Northwest Territory took place in 1787, and gradual emancipation began in New York and New Jersey in 1799 and 1804.
Beneficial and insurance societies began to appear among colored people. Nearly every town of any size in Virginia in the early eighteenth century had Negro organizations for caring for the sick and burying the dead. As the number of free Negroes increased, particularly in the North, these financial societies began to be openly formed. One of the earliest was the Free African Society of Philadelphia. This eventually became the present African Methodist Church, which has to-day half a million members and over eleven million dollars' worth of property.
Negroes began to be received into the white church bodies in separate congregations, and before 1807 there is the record of the formation of eight such Negro churches. This brought forth leaders who were usually preachers in these churches. Richard Allen, the founder of the African Methodist Church, was one; Lot Carey, one of the founders of Liberia, was another. In the South there was John Chavis, who passed through a regular course of studies at what is now Washington and Lee University. He started a school for young white men in North Carolina and had among his pupils a United States senator, sons of a chief justice of North Carolina, a governor of the state, and many others. He was a full-blooded Negro, but a Southern writer says that "all accounts agree that John Chavis was a gentleman. He was received socially among the best whites and asked to table." 1
In the war of 1812 thirty-three hundred Negroes helped Jackson win the battle of New Orleans, and numbers fought in New York State and in the navy under Perry, Charming, and others. Phyllis
[paragraph continues] Wheatley, a Negro girl, wrote poetry, and the mulatto, Benjamin Banneker, published one of the first American series of almanacs.
In fine, it seemed in the early years of the nineteenth century that slavery in the United States would gradually disappear and that the Negro would have, in time, a man's chance. A change came, however, between 1820 and 1830, and it is directly traceable to the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century.
Between 1738 and 1830 there had come a remarkable series of inventions which revolutionized the methods of making cloth. This series included the invention of the fly shuttle, the carding machine, the steam engine, and the power loom. The world began to look about for a cheaper and larger supply of fiber for weaving. It was found in the cotton plant, and the southern United States was especially adapted to its culture. The invention of the cotton gin removed the last difficulties. The South now had a crop which could be attended to by unskilled labor and for which there was practically unlimited demand. There was land, and rich land, in plenty. The result was that the cotton crop in the United States increased from 8,000 bales in 1790 to 650,000 bales in 1820, to 2,500,000 bales in 1850, and to 4,000,000 bales in 1860.
In this growth one sees the economic foundation of the new slavery in the United States, which rose in the second decade of the nineteenth century. Manifestly the fatal procrastination in dealing with slavery in the eighteenth century received in the nineteenth century its terrible reward. The change in the attitude toward slavery was manifest in various ways. The South no longer excused slavery, but began to defend it as an economic system. The enforcement of the slave trade laws became notoriously lax and there was a tendency to make slave codes harsher.
This led to retaliation on the part of the Negroes. There had not been in the United States before this many attempts at insurrection. The slaves were distributed over a wide territory, and before they became intelligent enough to coöperate the chance of emancipation was held before them. Several small insurrections are alluded to in South Carolina early in the eighteenth century, and one by Cato at Stono in 1740 caused widespread alarm. The Negro plot in New York in 1712 put the city into hysterics. There was no further plotting on any scale until the Haytian revolt, when Gabriel in Virginia made an abortive attempt. In 1822 a free Negro, Denmark Vesey, in South Carolina, failed in a well-laid plot, and ten years after that,
in 1831, Nat Turner led his insurrection in Virginia and killed fifty-one persons. The result of this insurrection was to crystallize tendencies toward harshness which the economic revolution was making advisable.
A wave of legislation passed over the South, prohibiting the slaves from learning to read and write, forbidding Negroes to preach, and interfering with Negro religious meetings. Virginia declared in 1831 that neither slaves nor free Negroes, might preach, nor could they attend religious service at night without permission. In North Carolina slaves and free Negroes were forbidden to preach, exhort, or teach "in any prayer meeting or other association for worship where slaves of different families are collected together" on penalty of not more than thirty-nine lashes. Maryland and Georgia and other states had similar laws.
The real effective revolt of the Negro against slavery was not, however, by fighting, but by running away, usually to the North, which had been recently freed from slavery. From the beginning of the nineteenth century slaves began to escape in considerable numbers. Four geographical paths were chiefly followed: one, leading southward, was the line of swamps along the coast from Norfolk, Virginia, to the northern border of Florida. This gave rise to the Negro element among the Indians in Florida and led to the two Seminole wars of 1817 and 1835. These wars were really slave raids to make the Indians give up the Negro and half-breed slaves domiciled among them. The wars cost the United States ten million dollars and two thousand lives.
The great Appalachian range, with its abutting mountains, was the safest path northward. Through Tennessee and Kentucky and the heart of the Cumberland Mountains, using the limestone caverns, was the third route, and the valley of the Mississippi was the western tunnel.
These runaways and the freedmen of the North soon began to form a group of people who sought to consider the problem of slavery and the destiny of the Negro in America. They passed through many psychological changes of attitude in the years from 1700 to 1850. At first, in the early part of the eighteenth century, there was but one thought: revolt and revenge. The development of the latter half of the century brought an attitude of hope and adjustment and emphasized the differences between the slave and the free Negro. The first part of the nineteenth century brought two movements: among the free Negroes an effort at self-development
and protection through organization; among slaves and recent fugitives a distinct reversion to the older idea of revolt.
As the new industrial slavery, following the rise of the cotton kingdom, began to press harder, a period of storm and stress ensued in the black world, and in 1829 came the first full-voiced, almost hysterical protest of a Negro against slavery and the color line in David Walker's Appeal, which aroused Southern legislatures to action.
The decade 1830-40 was a severe period of trial. Not only were the chains of slavery tighter in the South, but in the North the free Negro was beginning to feel the ostracism and competition of white workingmen, native and foreign. In Philadelphia, between 1829 and 1849, six mobs of hoodlums and foreigners murdered and maltreated Negroes. In the Middle West harsh black laws which had been enacted in earlier days were hauled from their hiding places and put into effect. No Negro was allowed to settle in Ohio unless he gave bond within twenty days to the amount of five thousand dollars to guarantee his good behavior and support. Harboring or concealing fugitives was heavily fined, and no Negro could give evidence in any case where a white man was party. These. laws began to be enforced in 1829 and for three days riots went on in Cincinnati and Negroes were shot and killed. Aroused, the Negroes sent a deputation to Canada where they were offered asylum. Fully two thousand migrated from Ohio. Later large numbers from other parts of the United States joined them.
In 1830-31 the first Negro conventions were called in Philadelphia to consider the desperate condition of the Negro population, and in 1833 the convention met again and local societies were formed. The first Negro paper was issued in New York in 1827, while later emancipation in the British West Indies brought some cheer in the darkness.
A system of separate Negro schools was established and the little band of abolitionists led by Garrison and others appeared. In spite of all the untoward circumstances, therefore, the internal development of the free Negro in the North went on. The Negro population increased twenty-three per cent between 1830 and 1840; Philadelphia had, in 1838, one hundred small beneficial societies, while Ohio Negroes had ten thousand acres of land. The slave mutiny on the Creole, the establishment of the Negro Odd Fellows, and the growth of the Negro churches all indicated advancement.
Between 1830 and 1850 the concerted coöperation to assist fugitives
came to be known as the Underground Railroad. It was an organization not simply of white philanthropists, but the coöperation of Negroes in the most difficult part of the work made it possible. Hundreds of Negroes visited the slave states to entice the slaves away, and the list of Underground Railroad operators given by Siebert contains one hundred and twenty-eight names of Negroes. In Canada and in the northern United States there was a secret society, known as the League of Freedom, which especially worked to help slaves run away. Harriet Tubman was one of the most energetic of these slave conductors and brought away several thousand slaves. William Lambert, a colored man, was reputed between 1829 and 1862 to have aided in the escape of thirty thousand.
The decade 1840-50 was a period of hope and uplift for the Negro group, with clear evidences of distinct self-assertion and advance. A few well-trained lawyers and physicians appeared, and colored men took their place among the abolition orators. The catering business in Philadelphia and other cities fell largely into their hands, and some small merchants arose here and there. Above all, Frederick Douglass made his first speech in 1841 and thereafter became one of the most prominent figures in the abolition crusade. A new series of national conventions began to assemble late in the forties, and the delegates were drawn from the artisans and higher servants, showing a great increase of efficiency in the rank and file of the free Negroes.
By 1850 the Negroes had increased to three and a half million. Those in Canada were being organized in settlements and were accumulating property. The escape of fugitive slaves was systematized and some of the most representative conventions met. One particularly, in 1854, grappled frankly with the problem of emigration. It looked as though it was going to be impossible for Negroes to remain in the United States and be free. As early as 1788 a Negro union of Newport, Rhode Island, had proposed a general exodus to Africa. John and Paul Cuffe, after petitioning for the right to vote in 1780, started in 1815 for Africa, organizing an expedition at their own expense which cost four thousand dollars. Lot Carey organized the African Mission Society in 1813, and the first Negro college graduate went to Liberia in 1829 and became superintendent of public schools. The Colonization Society encouraged this migration, and the Negroes themselves had organized the Canadian exodus.
The Rochester Negro convention in 1853 pronounced against migration, but nevertheless emissaries were sent in various directions to see what inducements could be offered. One went to the Niger valley, one to Central America, and one to Hayti. The Haytian trip was successful and about two thousand black emigrants eventually settled in Hayti.
Delaney, who went to Africa, concluded a treaty with eight kings offering inducements to Negroes, but nothing came of it. In 1853 Negroes like Purvis and Barbadoes helped in the formation of the American Anti-slavery society, and for a while colored men coöperated with John Brown and probably would have given him considerable help if they had thoroughly known his plans. As it was, six or seven of his twenty-two followers were Negroes.
Meantime the slave power was impelled by the high price of slaves and the exhaustion of cotton land to make increased demands. Slavery was forced north of Mason and Dixon's line in 1820; a new slave empire with thousands of slaves was annexed in 1850, and a fugitive slave law was passed which endangered the liberty of every free Negro; finally a determined attempt was made to force slavery into the Northwest in competition with free white labor, and less effective but powerful movements arose to annex more slave territory to the south and to reopen the African slave trade.
It looked like a triumphal march for the slave barons, but each step cost more than the last. Missouri gave rise to the early abolitionist movement. Mexico and the fugitive slave law aroused deep opposition in the North, and Kansas developed an attack upon the free labor system, not simply of the North, but of the civilized world. The result was war; but the war was not against slavery. It was fought to protect free white laborers against the competition of slaves, and it was thought possible to do this by segregating slavery.
The first thing that vexed the Northern armies on Southern soil during the war was the question of the disposition of the fugitive slaves, who immediately began to arrive in increasing numbers. Butler confiscated them, Fremont freed them, and Halleck caught and returned them; but their numbers swelled to such large proportions that the mere economic problem of their presence overshadowed everything else, especially after the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln was glad to have them come after once he realized their strength to the Confederacy.
The Emancipation Proclamation was forced, not simply by the
necessity of paralyzing industry in the South, but also by the necessity of employing Negro soldiers. During the first two years of the war no one wanted Negro soldiers. It was declared to be a "white man's war." General Hunter tried to raise a regiment in South Carolina, but the War Department disavowed the act. In Louisiana the Negroes were anxious to enlist, but were held off. In the meantime the war did not go as well as the North had hoped, and on the twenty-sixth of January, 1863, the Secretary of War authorized the Governor of Massachusetts to raise two regiments of Negro troops. Frederick Douglass and others began the work with enthusiasm, and in the end one hundred and eighty-seven thousand Negroes enlisted in the Northern armies, of whom seventy thousand were killed and wounded. The conduct of these troops was exemplary. They were indispensable in camp duties and brave on the field, where they fought in two hundred and thirteen battles. General Banks wrote, "Their conduct was heroic. No troops could be more determined or more daring." 1
The assault on Fort Wagner, led by a thousand black soldiers under the white Colonel Shaw, is one of the greatest deeds of desperate bravery on record. On the other hand the treatment of Negro soldiers when captured by the Confederates was barbarous. At Fort Pillow, after the surrender of the federal troops, the colored regiment was indiscriminately butchered and some of them were buried alive.
Abraham Lincoln said, "The slightest knowledge of arithmetic will prove to any man that the rebel armies cannot be destroyed with Democratic strategy. It would sacrifice all the white men of the North to do it. There are now in the service of the United States near two hundred thousand able-bodied colored men, most of them under arms, defending and acquiring Union territory. . . . Abandon all the posts now garrisoned by black men; take two hundred thousand men from our side and put them in the battlefield or cornfield against us, and we would be compelled to abandon the war in three weeks." 2 Emancipation thus came as a war measure to break the power of the Confederacy, preserve the Union, and gain the sympathy of the civilized world.
However, two hundred and forty-four years of slavery could not be
stopped by edict. There were legal difficulties, the whole slow problem of economic readjustment, and the subtle and far-reaching questions of future race relations.
The peculiar circumstances of emancipation forced the legal and political difficulties to the front, and these were so striking that they have since obscured the others in the eyes of students. Quite unexpectedly and without forethought the nation had emancipated four million slaves. Once the deed was done, the majority of the nation was glad and recognized that this was, after all, the only result of a fearful four years' war which in any degree justified it. But how was the result to be secured for all time? There were three possibilities: (1) to declare the slave free and leave him at the mercy of his former masters; (2) to establish a careful government guardianship designed to guide the slave from legal to real economic freedom; (3) to give the Negro the political power to guard himself as well as he could during this development. It is very easy to forget that the United States government tried each one of these in succession and was literally forced to adopt the third, because the first had utterly failed and the second was thought too "paternal" and especially too costly. To leave the Negroes helpless after a paper edict of emancipation was manifestly impossible. It would have meant that the war had been fought in vain.
Carl Schurz, who traversed the South just after the war, said, "A veritable reign of terror prevailed in many parts of the South. The Negro found scant justice in the local courts against the white man. He could look for protection only to the military forces of the United States still garrisoning the states lately in rebellion and to the Freedmen's Bureau." 1 This Freedmen's Bureau was proposed by Charles Sumner. If it had been presented to-day instead of fifty years ago, it would have been regarded as a proposal far less revolutionary than the state insurance of England and Germany. A half century ago, however, and in a country which gave the laisser faire economics their extremest trial, the Freedmen's Bureau struck the whole nation as unthinkable, save as a very temporary expedient and to relieve the more pointed forms of distress following war. Yet the proposals of the Bureau were both simple and sensible:
1. To oversee the making and enforcement of wage contracts for freedmen.
2. To appear in the courts as the freedmen's best friend.
3. To furnish the freedmen with a minimum of land and of capital.
4. To establish schools.
5. To furnish such institutions of relief as hospitals, outdoor relief stations, etc.
How a sensible people could expect really to conduct a slave into freedom with less than this it is hard to see. Even with such tutelage extending over a period of two or three decades, the ultimate end had to be enfranchisement and political and social freedom for those freedmen who attained a certain set standard. Otherwise the whole training had neither object nor guarantee. Precisely on this account the former masters opposed the Freedmen's Bureau with all their influence. They did not want the Negro trained or really freed, and they criticized mercilessly the many mistakes of the new Bureau.
The North at first thought to pay for the main cost of the Freedmen's Bureau by confiscating the property of former slave owners; but finding this not in accordance with law, they realized that they were embarking on an enterprise which bade fair to add many millions to the already staggering cost of the war. When, therefore, they saw that the abolition of slavery could not be left to the white South and could not be done by the North without time and money, they determined to put the responsibility on the Negro himself. This was without a doubt a tremendous experiment, but with all its manifest mistakes it succeeded to an astonishing degree. It made the immediate reëstablisbment of the old slavery impossible, and it was probably the only quick method of doing this. It gave the freedmen's sons a chance to begin their education. It diverted the energy of the white South slavery to the recovery of political power, and in this interval, small as it was, the Negro took his first steps toward economic freedom.
The difficulties that stared reconstruction politicians in the face were these: (1) They must act quickly. (2) Emancipation had increased the political power of the South by one-sixth. Could this increased political power be put in the hands of those who, in defense of slavery, had disrupted the Union? (3) How was the abolition of slavery to be made effective? (4) What was to be the political position of the freedmen?
The Freedmen's Bureau in its short life accomplished a great task.
[paragraph continues] Carl Schurz, in 1865, felt warranted in saying that "not half of the labor that has been done in the South this year, or will be done there next year, would have been or would be done but for the exertions of the Freedmen's Bureau. . . . No other agency except one placed there by the national government could have wielded that moral power whose interposition was so necessary to prevent Southern society from falling at once into the chaos of a general collision between its different elements." 1 Notwithstanding this the Bureau was temporary, was regarded as a makeshift, and soon abandoned.
Meantime partial Negro suffrage seemed not only just, but almost inevitable. Lincoln, in 1864, "cautiously" suggested to Louisiana's private consideration "whether some of the colored people may not be let in as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who fought gallantly in our ranks. They would pro ably help in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty in the family of freedom." Indeed, the "family of freedom" in Louisiana being somewhat small just then, who else was to be intrusted with the "jewel"? Later and for different reasons Johnson, in 1865, wrote to Mississippi, "If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons of color who can read the Constitution of the United States in English and write their name, and to all persons of color who own real estate valued at not less than two hundred and fifty dollars, and pay taxes thereon, you would completely disarm the adversary and set an example the other states will follow. This you can do with perfect safety, and you thus place the Southern States, in reference to free persons of color, upon the same basis with the free states. I hope and trust your convention will do this."
The Negroes themselves began to ask for the suffrage. The Georgia convention in Augusta (1866) advocated "a proposition to give those who could write and read well and possessed a certain property qualification the right of suffrage." The reply of the South to these suggestions was decisive. In Tennessee alone was any action attempted that even suggested possible Negro suffrage in the future, and that failed. In all other states the "Black Codes" adopted were certainly not reassuring to the friends of freedom. To be sure, it was not a time to look for calm, cool, thoughtful action on the part of the white South. Their economic condition was pitiable, their fear of Negro freedom genuine. Yet it was reasonable to expect from them something less than repression and utter reaction toward
slavery. To some extent this expectation was fulfilled. The abolition of slavery was recognized on the statute book, and the civil rights of owning property and appearing as a witness in cases in which he was a party were generally granted the Negro; yet with these in many cases went harsh and unbearable regulations which largely neutralized the concessions and certainly gave ground for an assumption that, once free, the South would virtually reenslave the Negro. The colored people themselves naturally feared this, protesting, as in Mississippi, "against the reactionary policy prevailing and expressing the fear that the legislature will pass such proscriptive laws as will drive the freedmen from the state, or practically reënslave them."
The codes spoke for themselves. As Burgess says, "Almost every act, word, or gesture of the Negro, not consonant with good taste and good manners as well as good morals, was made a crime or misdemeanor for which he could first be fined by the magistrates and then be consigned to a condition of almost slavery for an indefinite time, if he could not pay the bill." 1
All things considered, it seems probable that, if the South had been permitted to have its way in 1865, the harshness of Negro slavery would have been mitigated so as to make slave trading difficult, and so as to make it possible for a Negro to hold property and appear in some cases in court; but that in most other respects the blacks would have remained in slavery.
What could prevent this? A Freedmen's Bureau established for ten, twenty, or forty years, with a careful distribution of land and capital and a system of education for the children, might have prevented such an extension of slavery. But the country would not listen to such a comprehensive plan. A restricted grant of the suffrage voluntarily made by the states would have been a reassuring proof of a desire to treat the freedmen fairly and would have balanced in part, at least, the increased political power of the South. There was no such disposition evident.
In Louisiana, for instance, under the proposed reconstruction "not one Negro was allowed to vote, though at that very time the wealthy intelligent free colored people of the state paid taxes on property assessed at fifteen million dollars and many of them were well known for their patriotic zeal and love for the Union." 2
Thus the arguments for universal Negro suffrage from the start
were strong and are still strong, and no one would question their strength were it not for the assumption that the experiment failed. Frederick Douglass said to President Johnson, "Your noble and humane predecessor placed in our hands the sword to assist in saving the nation, and we do hope that you, his able successor, will favorably regard the placing in our bands the ballot with which to save ourselves." 1
Carl Schurz wrote, "It is idle to say that it will be time to speak of Negro suffrage when the whole colored race will be educated, for the ballot may be necessary to him to secure his education." 2
The granting of full Negro suffrage meant one of two alternatives to the South: (1) The uplift of the Negro for sheer self-preservation. This is what Schurz and the saner North expected. As one Southern school superintendent said, "The elevation of this class is a matter of prime importance, since a ballot in the hands of a black citizen is quite as potent as in the bands of a white one." Or (2) Negro suffrage meant a determined concentration of Southern effort by actual force to deprive the Negro of the ballot or nullify its use. This last is what really happened. But even in this case, so much energy was taken in keeping the Negro from voting that the plan for keeping him in virtual slavery and denying him education partially failed. It took ten years to nullify Negro suffrage in part and twenty years to escape the fear of federal intervention. In these twenty years a vast number of Negroes had arisen so far as to escape slavery forever. Debt peonage could be fastened on part of the rural South and was; but even here the new Negro landholder appeared. Thus despite everything the Fifteenth Amendment, and that alone, struck the death knell of slavery.
The steps toward the Fifteenth Amendment were taken slowly. First Negroes were allowed to take part in reconstructing the state governments. This was inevitable if loyal governments were to be obtained. Next the restored state governments were directed to enfranchise all citizens, black or white, or have their representation in Congress cut down proportionately. Finally the United States said the last word of simple justice: the states may regulate the suffrage, but no state may deprive a person of the right to vote simply because he is a Negro or has been a slave.
For such reasons the Negro was enfranchised. What was the result?
[paragraph continues] No language has been spared to describe these results as the worst imaginable. This is not true. There were bad results, and bad results arising from Negro suffrage; but those results were not so bad as usually painted, nor was Negro suffrage the prime cause of many of them. Let us not forget that the white South believed it to be of vital interest to its welfare that the experiment of Negro suffrage should fail ignominiously and that almost to a man the whites were willing to insure this failure either by active force or passive acquiescence; that besides this there were, as might be expected, men, black and white, Northern and Southern, only too eager to take advantage of such a situation for feathering their own nests. Much evil must result in such case; but to charge the evil to Negro suffrage is unfair. It may be charged to anger, poverty, venality, and ignorance, but the anger and poverty were the almost inevitable aftermath of war; the venality was much greater among whites than Negroes both North and South, and while ignorance was the curse of Negroes, the fault was not theirs and they took the initiative to correct it.
The chief charges against the Negro governments are extravagance, theft, and incompetency of officials. There is no serious charge that these governments threatened civilization or the foundations of social order. The charge is that they threatened property and that they were inefficient. These charges are in part undoubtedly true, but they are often exaggerated. The South had been terribly impoverished and saddled with new social burdens. In other words, states with smaller resources were asked not only to do a work of restoration, but a larger social work. The property holders were aghast. They not only demurred, but, predicting ruin and revolution, they appealed to secret societies, to intimidation, force, and murder. They refused to believe that these novices in government and their friends were aught but scamps and fools. Under the circumstances occurring directly after the war, the wisest statesman would have been compelled to resort to increased taxation and would have, in turn, been execrated as extravagant, dishonest, and incompetent. It is easy, therefore, to see what flaming and incredible stories of Reconstruction governments could gain wide currency and belief. In fact the extravagance, although great, was not universal, and much of it was due to the extravagant spirit pervading the whole country in a day of inflated currency and speculation.
That the Negroes led by the astute thieves, became at first tools
and received some small share of the spoils is true. But two considerations must be added: much of the legislation which resulted in fraud was represented to the Negroes as good legislation, and thus their votes were secured by deliberate misrepresentation. Take, for instance, the land frauds of South Carolina. A wise Negro leader of that state, advocating the state purchase of farm lands, said, "One of the greatest of slavery bulwarks was the infernal plantation system, one man owning his thousand, another his twenty, another fifty thousand acres of land. This is the only way by which we will break up that system, and I maintain that our freedom will be of no effect if we allow it to continue. What is the main cause of the prosperity of the North? It is because every man has his own farm and is free and independent. Let the lands of the South be similarly divided." 1
From such arguments the Negroes were induced to aid a scheme to buy land and distribute it. Yet a large part of eight hundred thousand dollars appropriated was wasted and went to the white landholders' pockets.
The most inexcusable cheating of the Negroes took place through the Freedmen's Bank. This bank was incorporated by Congress in 1865 and had in its list of incorporators some of the greatest names in America including Peter Cooper, William Cullen Bryan and John Jay. Yet the bank was allowed to fail in 1874 owing the freedmen their first savings of over three millions of dollars. They have never been reimbursed.
Many Negroes were undoubtedly venal, but more were ignorant and deceived. The question is: Did they show any signs of a disposition to learn to better things? The theory of democratic government is not that the will of the people is always right, but rather that normal human beings of average intelligence will, if given a chance, learn the right and best course by bitter experience. This is precisely what the Negro voters showed indubitable signs of doing. First they strove for schools to abolish ignorance, and second, a large and growing number of them revolted against the extravagance and stealing that marred the beginning of Reconstruction, and joined with the best elements to institute reform. The greatest stigma on the white South is not that it opposed Negro' suffrage and resented theft and incompetence, but that, when it saw the reform movements growing and even in some cases triumphing, and a larger
and larger number of black voters learning to vote for honesty and ability, it still preferred a Reign of Terror to a campaign of education and disfranchised Negroes instead of punishing rascals.
No one has expressed this more convincingly than a Negro who was himself a member of the Reconstruction legislature of South Carolina, and who spoke at the convention which disfranchised him against one of the onslaughts of Tillman. "We were eight years in power. We had built school houses, established charitable institutions, built and maintained the penitentiary system, provided for the education of the deaf and dumb, rebuilt the jails and court houses, rebuilt the bridges, and reëstablished the ferries. In short, we had reconstructed the state and placed it upon the road to prosperity, and at the same time, by our acts of financial reform, transmitted to the Hampton government an indebtedness not greater by more than two and a half million dollars than was the bonded debt of the state in 1868, before the Republican Negroes and their white allies came into power." 1
So, too, in Louisiana in 1872, and in Mississippi later, the better element of the Republicans triumphed at the polls and, joining with the Democrats, instituted reforms, repudiated the worst extravagance, and started toward better things. Unfortunately there was one thing that the white South feared more than Negro dishonesty, ignorance, and incompetency, and that was Negro honesty, knowledge, and efficiency.
In the midst of all these difficulties the Negro governments in the South accomplished much of positive good. We may recognize three things which Negro rule gave to the South: (1) democratic government, (2) free public schools, (3) new social legislation.
In general, the words of Judge Albion W. Tourgee, a white "carpet bagger," are true when he says of the Negro governments, "They obeyed the Constitution of the United States and annulled the bonds of states, counties, and cities which had been issued to carry on the War of Rebellion and maintain armies in the field against the Union. They instituted a public school system in a realm where public schools had been unknown. They opened the ballot box and the jury box to thousands of white men who had been debarred from them by a lack of earthly possessions. They introduced home rule into the South. They abolished the whipping post, the branding iron, the stocks, and other barbarous forms of punishment
which had up to that time prevailed. They reduced capital felonies from about twenty to two or three. In an age of extravagance they were extravagant in the sums appropriated for public works. In all of that time no man's rights of persons were invaded under the forms of law. Every Democrat's life, home, fireside, and business were safe. No man obstructed any white man's way to the ballot box, interfered with his freedom of speech, or boycotted him on account of his political faith." 1
A thorough study of the legislation accompanying these constitutions and its changes since shows the comparatively small amount of change in law and government which the overthrow of Negro rule brought about. There were sharp and often hurtful economies introduced, marking the return of property to power; there was a sweeping change of officials, but the main body of Reconstruction legislation stood. The Reconstruction democracy brought forth new leaders and definitely overthrew the old Southern aristocracy. Among these new men were Negroes of worth and ability. John R. Lynch, when Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, was given a public testimonial by Republicans and Democrats, and the leading white paper said, "His bearing in office had been so proper, and his rulings in such marked contrasts to the partisan conduct of the ignoble whites of his party who have aspired to be leaders of the blacks, that the conservatives cheerfully joined in the testimonial." 2
Of the colored treasurer of South Carolina the white Governor Chamberlain said, "I have never heard one word or seen one act of Mr. Cardoza's which did not confirm my confidence in his personal integrity and his political honor and zeal for the honest administration of the state government. On every occasion, and under all circumstances, he has been against fraud and robbery and in favor of good measures and good men." 3
Jonathan C. Gibbs, a colored man and the first state superintendent of instruction in Florida, was a graduate of Dartmouth. He established the system and brought it to success, dying in harness in 1874. Such men--and there were others--ought not to be forgotten or confounded with other types of colored and white Reconstruction leaders.
There is no doubt that the thirst of the black man for knowledge,
a thirst which has been too persistent and durable to be mere curiosity or whim, gave birth to the public school system of the South. It was the question upon which black voters and legislators insisted more than anything else, and while it is possible to find some vestiges of free schools in some of the Southern States before the war, yet a universal, well-established system dates from the day that the black man got political power.
Finally, in legislation covering property, the wider functions Of the state, the punishment of crime and the like, it is sufficient to say that the laws on these points established by Reconstruction legislatures were not only different from and even revolutionary to the laws in the older South, but they were so wise and so well suited to the needs of the new South that, in spite of a retrogressive movement following the overthrow of the Negro governments, the mass of this legislation, with elaborations and development, still stands on the statute books of the South. 1
The triumph of reaction in the South inaugurated a new era in which we may distinguish three phases: the renewed attempt to reduce the Negroes to serfdom, the rise of the Negro metayer, and the economic disfranchisement of the Southern working class.
The attempt to replace individual slavery had been frustrated by the Freedmen's Bureau and the Fifteenth Amendment. The disfranchisement of 1876 was followed by the widespread rise of "crime" peonage. Stringent laws on vagrancy, guardianship, and labor contracts were enacted and large discretion given judge and jury in cases of petty crime. As a result Negroes were systematically arrested on the slightest pretext and the labor of convicts leased to private parties. This "convict lease system" was almost universal in the South until about 1890, when its outrageous abuses and cruelties aroused the whole country. It still survives over wide areas, and is not only responsible for the impression that the Negro is a natural criminal, but also for the inability of the Southern courts to perform their normal functions after so long a prostitution to ends far removed from justice.
In more normal economic lines the employers began with the labor contract system. Before the war they owned labor, land, and subsistence. After the war they still held the land and subsistence.
[paragraph continues] The laborer was hired and the subsistence "advanced" to him while the crop was growing. The fall of the Freedmen's Bureau hindered the transmutation of this system into a modern wage system, and allowed the laborers to be cheated by high interest charges on the subsistence advanced and actual cheating often in book accounts.
The black laborers became deeply dissatisfied under this system and began to migrate from the country to the cities, where there was an increasing demand for labor. The employing farmers complained bitterly of the scarcity of labor and of Negro "laziness," and secured the enactment of harsher vagrancy and labor contract laws, and statutes against the "enticement" of laborers. So severe were these laws that it was often impossible for a laborer to stop work without committing a felony. Nevertheless competition compelled the landholders to offer more inducements to the farm hand. The result was the rise of the black share tenant: the laborer securing better wages saved a little capital and began to hire land in parcels of forty to eighty acres, furnishing his own tools and seed and practically raising his own subsistence. In this way the whole face of the labor contract in the South was, in the decade 1880-90, in process of change from a nominal wage contract to a system of tenantry. The great plantations were apparently broken up into forty and eighty acre farms with black farmers. To many it seemed that emancipation was accomplished, and the black folk were especially filled with joy and hope.
It soon was evident, however, that the change was only partial. The landlord still held the land in large parcels. He rented this in small farms to tenants, but retained direct control. In theory the laborer was furnishing capital, but in the majority of cases he was borrowing at least a part of this capital from some merchant.
The retail merchant in this way entered on the scene as middle man between landlord and laborer. He guaranteed the landowner his rent and relieved him of details by taking over the furnishing of supplies to the laborer. He tempted the laborer by a larger stock of more attractive goods, made a direct contract with him, and took a mortgage on the growing crop. Thus he soon became the middle man to whom the profit of the transaction largely flowed, and he began to get rich.
If the new system benefited the merchant and the landlord, it also brought some benefits to the black laborers. Numbers of these were still held in peonage, and the mass were laborers working for scant
board and clothes; but above these began to rise a large number of independent tenants and farm owners.
In 1890, therefore, the South was faced by this question: Are we willing to allow the Negro to advance as a free worker, peasant farmer, metayer, and small capitalist, with only such handicaps as naturally impede the poor and ignorant, or is it necessary to erect further artificial barriers to restrain the advance of the Negroes? The answer was clear and unmistakable. The advance of the freedmen had been too rapid and the South feared it; every effort must be made to "keep the Negro in his place" as a servile caste.
To this end the South strove to make the disfranchisement of the Negroes effective and final. Up to this time disfranchisement was illegal and based on intimidation. The new laws passed between 1890 and 1910 sought on their face to base the right to vote on property and education in such a way as to exclude poor and illiterate Negroes and admit all whites. In fact they could be administered so as to exclude nearly all Negroes. To this was added a series of laws designed publicly to humiliate and stigmatize Negro blood: as, for example, separate railway cars; separate seats in street cars, and the like; these things were added to the separation in schools and churches, and the denial of redress to seduced colored women, which had long been the custom in the South. All these new enactments meant not simply separation, but subordination, caste, humiliation, and flagrant injustice.
To all this was added a series of labor laws making the exploitation of Negro labor more secure. All this legislation had to be accomplished in the face of the labor movement throughout the world, and particularly in the South, where it was beginning to enter among the white workers. This was accomplished easily, however, by an appeal to race prejudice. No method of inflaming the darkest passions of men was unused. The lynching mob was given its glut of blood and egged on by purposely exaggerated and often wholly invented tales of crime on the part of perhaps the most peaceful and sweet-tempered race the world has ever known. Under the flame of this outward noise went the more subtle and dangerous work. The election laws passed in the states where three-fourths of the Negroes live, were so ingeniously framed that a black university graduate could be prevented from voting and the most ignorant white hoodlum could be admitted to the polls. Labor laws were so arranged that imprisonment for debt was possible and leaving an
employer could be made a penitentiary offense. Negro schools were cut off with small appropriations or wholly neglected, and a determined effort was made with wide success to see that no Negro had any voice either in the making or the administration of local, state, or national law.
The acquiescence of the white labor vote of the South was further insured by throwing white and black laborers, so far as possible, into rival competing groups and making each feel that the one was the cause of the other's troubles. The neutrality of the white people of the North was secured through their fear for the safety of large investments in the South, and through the fatalistic attitude common both in America and Europe toward the possibility of real advance on the part of the darker nations.
The reaction of the Negro Americans upon this wholesale and open attempt to reduce them to serfdom has been interesting. Naturally they began to organize and protest and in some cases to appeal to the courts. Then, to their astonishment, there arose a colored leader, Mr. Booker T. Washington, who advised them to yield to disfranchisement and caste and wait for greater economic strength and general efficiency before demanding full rights as American citizens. The white South naturally agreed with Mr. Washington, and the white North thought they saw here a chance for peace in the racial conflict and safety for their Southern investments.
For a time the colored people hesitated. They respected Mr. Washington for shrewdness and recognized the wisdom of his homely insistence on thrift and hard work; but gradually they came to see more and more clearly that, stripped of political power and emasculated by caste, they could never gain sufficient economic strength to take their place as modern men. They also realized that any lull in their protests would be taken advantage of by Negro haters to push their caste program. They began, therefore, with renewed persistence to fight for their fundamental rights as American citizens. The struggle tended at first to bitter personal dissension within the group. But wiser counsels and the advice of white friends eventually prevailed and raised it to the broad level of a fight for the fundamental principles of democracy. The launching of the "Niagara Movement" by twenty-nine daring colored men in 1905, followed by the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1910, marked an epoch in the advance of the Negro. This latter organization, with its monthly organ, The
[paragraph continues] Crisis, is now waging a nation-wide fight for justice to Negroes. Other organizations, and a number of strong Negro weekly papers are aiding in this fight. What has been the net result of this struggle of half a century?
In 1863 there were about five million persons of Negro descent in the United States. Of these, four million and more were just being released from slavery. These slaves could be bought and sold, could move from place to place only with permission, were forbidden to learn to read or write, and legally could never hold property or marry. Ninety per cent were totally illiterate, and only one adult in six was a nominal Christian.
Fifty years later, in 1913, there were in the United States ten and a quarter million persons of Negro descent, an increase of one hundred and five per cent. Legal slavery has been abolished leaving, however, vestiges in debt slavery, peonage, and the convict lease system. The mass of the freedmen and their sons have
1. Earned a living as free and partially free laborers.
2. Shared the responsibilities of government.
3. Developed the internal organization of their race.
4. Aspired to spiritual self-expression.
The Negro was freed as a penniless, landless, naked, ignorant laborer. There were a few free Negroes who owned property in the South, and a larger number who owned property in the North; but ninety-nine per cent of the race in the South were penniless field hands and servants.
To-day there are two and a half million laborers, the majority of whom are efficient wage earners. Above these are more than a million servants and tenant farmers; skilled and semi-skilled workers make another million and at the top of the economic column are 600,000 owners and managers of farms and businesses, cash tenants, officials, and professional men. This makes a total of 5,192,535 colored breadwinners in 1910.
More specifically these breadwinners include 218,972 farm owners and 319,346 cash farm tenants and managers. There were in all 62,755 miners, 288,141 in the building and hand trades; 28,515 workers in clay, glass, and stone; 41,739 iron and steel workers; 134,102 employees on railways; 62,822 draymen, cab drivers, and liverymen; 133,245 in wholesale and retail trade; 32,170 in the public service; and 69,471 in professional service, including 29,750 teachers, 17,495 clergymen, and 4,546 physicians, dentists, trained
nurses, etc. Finally, we must not forget 2,175,000 Negro homes, with their housewives, and 1,620,000 children in school.
Fifty years ago the overwhelming mass of these people were not only penniless, but were themselves assessed as real estate. By 1875 the Negroes probably had gotten hold of something between 2,000,000 and 4,000,000 acres of land through their bounties as soldiers and the low price of land after the war. By 1880 this was increased to about 6,000,000 acres; in 1890 to about 8,000,000 acres; in 1900 to over 12,000,000 acres. In 1910 this land had increased to nearly 20,000,000 acres, a realm as large as Ireland.
The 120,738 farms owned by Negroes in 1890 increased to 218,972 in 1910, or eighty-one per cent. The value of these farms increased from $179,796,639 in 1900 to $440,992,439 in 1910; Negroes owned in 1910 about 500,000 homes out of a total of 2,175,000. Their total property in 1900 was estimated at $300,000,000 by the American Economic Association. On the same basis of calculation it would be worth to-day not less than $860,000,000.
Despite the disfranchisement of three-fourths of his voting population, the Negro to-day is a recognized part of the American government. He holds 7,500 offices in the executive service of the nation, besides furnishing four regiments in the army and a large number of sailors. In the state and municipal service be holds nearly 20,000 other offices, and he furnishes 500,000 of the votes which rule the Union.
In these same years the Negro has relearned the lost art of organization. Slavery was the almost absolute denial of initiative and responsibility. To-day Negroes have nearly 40,000 churches, with edifices worth at least $75,000,000 and controlling nearly 4,000,000 members. They raise themselves $7,500,000 a year for these churches.
There are 200 private schools and colleges managed and almost entirely supported by Negroes, and these and other public and private Negro schools have received in 40 years $45,000,000 of Negro money in taxes and donations. Five millions a year are raised by Negro secret and beneficial societies which hold at least $6,000,000 in real estate. Negroes support wholly or in part over 100 old folks' homes and orphanages, 30 hospitals, and 500 cemeteries. Their organized commercial life is extending rapidly and includes over 22,000 small retail businesses and 40 banks.
Above and beyond this material growth has gone the spiritual
uplift of a great human race. From contempt and amusement they have passed to the pity, perplexity, and fear on the part of their neighbors, while within their own souls they have arisen from apathy and timid complaint to open protest and more and more manly self-assertion. Where nine-tenths of them could not read or write in 1860, to-day over two-thirds can; they have 300 papers and periodicals, and their voice and expression are compelling attention.
Already in poetry, literature, music, and painting the work of Americans of Negro descent has gained notable recognition. Instead of being led and defended by others, as in the past, American Negroes are gaining their own leaders, their own voices, their own ideals. Self-realization is thus coming slowly but surely to another of the world's great races, and they are to-day girding themselves to fight in the van of progress, not simply for their own rights as men, but for the ideals of the greater world in which they live: the emancipation of women, universal peace, democratic government, the socialization of wealth, and human brotherhood.
111:1 The figures given by the census are as follows:
1850, mulattoes formed 11.2 per cent of the total Negro population.
1860, mulattoes formed 13.2 per cent of the total Negro population.
18 70, mulattoes formed 12 per cent of the total Negro population.
1890, mulattoes formed 15.2 per cent of the total Negro population.
1910, mulattoes formed 20.9 per cent of the total Negro population.
Or in actual numbers:
1850, 405,751 mulattoes.
1860, 588,352 mulattoes.
1870, 585,601 mulattoes.
1890, 1,132,060 mulattoes.
1910, 2,050,686 mulattoes.
112:1 Cf. "The Spanish Jurist Solorzaris," quoted in Helps: Spanish Conquest, IV, 381.
112:2 Hurd: Law of Freedom and Bondage.
113:1 "Obi (Obeah, Obiah, or Obia) is the adjective; Obe or Obi, the noun. It is of African origin, probably connected with Egyptian Ob, Aub, or Obron, meaning 'serpent.' Moses forbids Israelites ever to consult the demon Ob, i.e., 'Charmer, Wizard.' The Witch of Endor is called Oub or Ob. Oubaois is the name of the Baselisk al Serpent, emblem of the Sun, and, according to Horns. Appollo, 'the Ancient Deity of Africa.'"-Edwards: West Indies, ed. 1819, II, 106-119. Cf. Johnston: Negro in the New World, pp. 65-66; also Atlanta University Publications, No. 8, pp. 5-6.
115:1 Boston Transcript, March 24, 1906.
116:1 Bassett: North Carolina, pp. 73-76.
122:1 Cf. Wilson: The Black Phalanx.
122:2 Wilson: The Black Phalanx, p. 108.
123:1 American Historical Review, Vol. XV.
125:1 Report to President Johnson.
126:1 Reconstruction and the Constitution.
126:2 Brewster: Sketches, etc.
127:1 McPherson: Reconstruction, p. 52.
127:2 Report to the President, 1865.
129:1 American Historical Review, Vol. XV, No. 4.
130:1 Occasional Papers, American Negro Academy, No. 6.
131:1 Occasional Papers, American Negro Academy, No. 6.
131:2 Jackson (Miss.) Clarion, April 24, 1873.
131:3 Allen: Governor Chamberlain's Administration, p. 82.
132:1 Reconstruction Constitutions, practically unaltered, were kept in Florida, 1868-85, seventeen years; Virginia, 1870-1902, thirty-two years; South Carolina, 1868-95, twenty-seven years; Mississippi, 1868-90, twenty-two years.