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THE CASE OF THE NEGRO







by: Booker T. Washington
All attempts to settle the question of the Negro in the South by
his removal from this country have so far failed, and I think that
they are likely to fail. The next census will probably show that
we have nearly ten million black people in the United States,
about eight millions of whom are in the Southern states. In fact,
we have almost a nation within a nation. The Negro population in
the United States lacks but two millions of being as large as the
whole population of Mexico, and is nearly twice as large as that
of Canada. Our black people equal in number the combined
populations of Switzerland, Greece, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba,
Uraguay [sic], Santo Domingo, Paraguay, and Costa Rica. When we
consider, in connection with these facts, that the race has
doubled itself since its freedom, and is still increasing, it
hardly seems possible for any one to take seriously any scheme of
emigration from America as a method of solution. At most, even if
the government were to provide the means, but a few hundred
thousand could be transported each year. The yearly increase in
population would more than likely overbalance the number
transported. Even if it did not, the time required to get rid of
the Negro by this method would perhaps be fifty or seventy-five
years.

Some have advised that the Negro leave the South, and take up his
residence in the Northern states. I question whether this would
make him any better off than he is in the South, when all things
are considered. It has been my privilege to study the condition
of our people in nearly every part of America; and I say without
hesitation that, with some exceptional cases, the Negro is at his
best in the Southern states. While he enjoys certain privileges
in the North that he does not have in the South, when it comes to
the matter of securing property, enjoying business advantages and
employment, the South presents a far better opportunity than the
North. Few colored men from the South are as yet able to stand up
against the severe and increasing competition that exists in the
North, to say nothing of the unfriendly influence of labor
organizations, which in some way prevents black men in the North,
as a rule, from securing occupation in the line of skilled labor.

Another point of great danger for the colored man who goes North
is the matter of morals, owing to the numerous temptations by
which he finds himself surrounded. More ways offer in which he
can spend money than in the South, but fewer avenues of employment
for earning money are open to him. The fact that at the North the
Negro is almost confined to one line of occupation often tends to
discourage and demoralize the strongest who go from the South, and
makes them an easy prey for temptation. A few years ago, I made
an examination into the condition of a settlement of Negroes who
left the South and went into Kansas about twenty years since, when
there was a good deal of excitement in the South concerning
emigration from the West, and found it much below the standard of
that of similar communities in the South. The only conclusion
which any one can reach, from this and like instances, is that the
Negroes are to remain in the Southern states. As a race they do
not want to leave the South, and the Southern white people do not
want them to leave. We must therefore find some basis of
settlement that will be constitutional, just, manly; that will be
fair to both races in the South and to the whole country. This
cannot be done in a day, a year, or any short period of time. We
can, however, with the present light, decide upon a reasonably
safe method of solving the problem, and turn our strength and
effort in that direction. In doing this, I would not have the
Negro deprived of any privilege guaranteed to him by the
Constitution of the United States. It is not best for the Negro
that he relinquish any of his constitutional rights; it is not
best for the Southern white man that he should, as I shall attempt
to show in this article.

In order that we may concentrate our forces upon a wise object,
without loss of time or effort, I want to suggest what seems to me
and many others the wisest policy to be pursued. I have reached
these conclusions not only by reason of my own observations and
experience, but after eighteen years of direct contact with
leading and influential colored and white men in most parts of our
country. But I wish first to mention some elements of danger in
the present situation, which all who desire the permanent welfare
of both races in the South should carefully take into account.

First. There is danger that a certain class of impatient
extremists among the Negroes in the North, who have little
knowledge of the actual conditions in the South, may do the entire
race injury by attempting to advise their brethren in the South to
resort to armed resistance or the use of the torch, in order to
secure justice. All intelligent and well-considered discussion of
any important question, or condemnation of any wrong, whether in
the North or the South, from the public platform and through the
press, is to be commended and encouraged; but ill-considered and
incendiary utterances from black men in the North will tend to add
to the burdens of our people in the South rather than to relieve
them. We must not fall into the temptation of believing that we
can raise ourselves by abusing some one else.

Second. Another danger in the South which should be guarded
against is that the whole white South, including the wise,
conservative, law-abiding element, may find itself represented
before the bar of public opinion by the mob or lawless element,
which gives expression to its feelings and tendency in a manner
that advertises the South throughout the world; while too often
those who have no sympathy with such disregard of law are either
silent, or fail to speak in a sufficiently emphatic manner to
offset in any large degree the unfortunate reputation which the
lawless have made for many portions of the South.

Third. No race or people ever got upon its feet without severe
and constant struggle, often in the face of the greatest
discouragement. While passing through the present trying period
of its history, there is danger that a large and valuable element
of the Negro race may become discouraged in the effort to better
its condition. Every possible influence should be exerted to
prevent this.

Fourth. There is a possibility that harm may be done to the South
and to the Negro by exaggerated newspaper articles which are
written near the scene or in the midst of specially aggravating
occurrences. Often these reports are written by newspaper men,
who give the impression that there is a race conflict throughout
the South, and that all Southern white people are opposed to the
Negro's progress; overlooking the fact that though in some
sections there is trouble, in most parts of the South, if matters
are not yet in all respects as we would have them, there is
nevertheless a very large measure of peace, good will, and mutual
helpfulness. In the same relation, much can be done to retard the
progress of the Negro by a certain class of Southern white people,
who in the midst of excitement speak or write in a manner that
gives the impression that all Negroes are lawless, untrustworthy,
and shiftless. For example, a Southern writer said, not long ago,
in a communication to the New York Independent: "Even in small
towns the husband cannot venture to leave his wife alone for an
hour at night. At no time, in no place, is the white woman safe
from the insults and assaults of these creatures." These
statements, I presume, represented the feelings and the conditions
that existed, at the time of the writing, in one community or
county in the South; but thousands of Southern white men and women
would be ready to testify that this is not the condition
throughout the South, nor throughout any Southern state.

Fifth. Owing to the lack of school opportunities for the Negro in
the rural districts of the South, there is danger that ignorance
and idleness may increase to the extent of giving the Negro race a
reputation for crime, and that immorality may eat its way into the
fibre of the race so as to retard its progress for many years. In
judging the Negro we must not be too harsh. We must remember that
it has been only within the last thirty-four years that the black
father and mother have had the responsibility, and consequently
the experience, of training their own children. That perfection
has not been reached in one generation, with the obstacles that
the parents have been compelled to overcome, is not to be wondered
at.

Sixth. Finally, I would mention my fear that some of the white
people of the South may be led to feel that the way to settle the
race problem is to repress the aspirations of the Negro by
legislation of a kind that confers certain legal or political
privileges upon an ignorant and poor white man, and withholds the
same privileges from a black man in a similar condition. Such
legislation injures and retards the progress of both races. It is
an injustice to the poor white man, because it takes from him
incentive to secure education and property as prerequisites for
voting. He feels that because he is a white man, regardless of
his possessions, a way will be found for him to vote. I would
label all such measures "laws to keep the poor white man in
ignorance and poverty."

The Talladega News Reporter, a Democratic newspaper of Alabama,
recently said: "But it is a weak cry when the white man asks odds
on intelligence over the Negro. When nature has already so
handicapped the African in the race for knowledge, the cry of the
boasted Anglo-Saxon for still further odds seems babyish. What
wonder that the world looks on in surprise, if not disgust? It
cannot help but say, If our contention be true that the Negro is
an inferior race, then the odds ought to be on the other side, if
any are to be given. And why not? No; the thing to do--the only
thing that will stand the test of time--is to do right, exactly
right, let come what will. And that right thing, as it seems to
us, is to place a fair educational qualification before every
citizen,--one that is self-testing, and not dependent on the
wishes of weak men,--letting all who pass the test stand in the
proud ranks of American voters, whose votes shall be counted as
cast, and whose sovereign will shall be maintained as law by all
the powers that be. Nothing short of this will do. Every
exemption, on whatsoever ground, is an outrage that can only rob
some legitimate voter of his rights."

Such laws have been made,--in Mississippi, for example,--with the
"understanding" clause, hold out a temptation for the election
officer to perjure and degrade himself by too often deciding that
the ignorant white man does understand the Constitution when it is
read to him, and that the ignorant black man does not. By such a
law, the state not only commits a wrong against its black
citizens; it injures the morals of its white citizens by
conferring such a power upon any white man who may happen to be a
judge of elections.

Such laws are hurtful, again, because they keep alive in the heart
of the black man the feeling that the white man means to oppress
him. The only safe way out is to set a high standard as a test of
citizenship, and require blacks and whites alike to come up to it.
When this is done, both will have a higher respect for the
election laws, and for those who make them. I do not believe
that, with his centuries of advantage over the Negro in the
opportunity to acquire property and education as prerequisites for
voting, the average white man in the South desires that any
special law be passed to give him further advantage over one who
has had but a little more than thirty years in which to prepare
himself for citizenship. In this relation, another point of
danger is that the Negro has been made to feel that it is his duty
continually to oppose the Southern white man in politics, even in
matters where no principle is involved; and that he is only loyal
to his own race and acting in a manly way in thus opposing the
white man. Such a policy has proved very hurtful to both races.
Where it is a matter of principle, where a question of right or
wrong is involved, I would advise the Negro to stand by principle
at all hazards. A Southern white man has no respect for or
confidence in a Negro who acts merely for policy's sake; but there
are many cases, and the number is growing, where the Negro has
nothing to gain, and much to lose, by opposing the Southern white
man in matters that relate to government.

Under the foregoing six heads I believe I have stated some of the
main points which, all high-minded white men and black men, North
and South, will agree, need our most earnest and thoughtful
consideration, if we would hasten, and not hinder, the progress of
our country.

Now as to the policy that should be pursued. On this subject I
claim to possess no superior wisdom or unusual insight. I may be
wrong; I may be in some degree right.

In the future we want to impress upon the Negro, more than we have
done in the past, the importance of identifying himself more
closely with the interests of the South; of making himself part of
the South, and at home in it. Heretofore, for reasons which were
natural, and for which no one is especially to blame, the colored
people have been too much like a foreign nation residing in the
midst of another nation. If William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell
Phillips, or George L. Stearns were alive to-day, I feel sure that
he would advise the Negroes to identify their interests as closely
as possible with those of their white neighbors,--always
understanding that no question of right and wrong is involved. In
no other way, it seems to me, can we get a foundation for peace
and progress. He who advises against this policy will advise the
Negro to do that which no people in history, who have succeeded,
have done. The white man, North or South, who advises the Negro
against it advises him to do that which he himself has not done.
The bed rock upon which every individual rests his chances for
success in life is the friendship, the confidence, the respect, of
his next-door neighbor in the little community in which he lives.
The problem of the Negro in the South turns on whether he can make
himself of such indispensable service to his neighbor and the
community that no one can fill his place better in the body
politic. There is at present no other safe course for the black
man to pursue. If the Negro in the South has a friend in his
white neighbor, and a still larger number of friends in his own
community, he has a protection and a guarantee of his rights that
will be more potent and more lasting than any our Federal Congress
or any outside power can confer.

The London Times, in a recent editorial discussing affairs in the
Transvaal, where Englishmen have been denied certain privileges by
the Boers, says: "England is too sagacious not to prefer a gradual
reform from within, even should it be less rapid than most of us
might wish, to the most sweeping redress of grievances imposed
from without. Our object is to obtain fair play for the
Outlanders, but the best way to do it is to enable them to help
themselves." This policy, I think, is equally safe when applied
to conditions in the South. The foreigner who comes to America
identifies himself as soon as possible, in business, education,
and politics, with the community in which he settles. We have a
conspicuous example of this in the case of the Jews, who in the
South, as well as in other parts of our country, have not always
been justly treated; but the Jews have so woven themselves into
the business and patriotic interests of the communities in which
they live, have made themselves so valuable as citizens, that they
have won a place in the South which they could have obtained in no
other way. The Negro in Cuba has practically settled the race
question there, because he has made himself a part of Cuba in
thought and action.

What I have tried to indicate cannot be accomplished by any sudden
revolution of methods, but it does seem that the tendency should
be more and more in this direction. Let me emphasize this by a
practical example. The North sends thousands of dollars into the
South every year for the education of the Negro. The teachers in
most of the Southern schools supported by the North are Northern
men and women of the highest Christian culture and most unselfish
devotion. The Negro owes them a debt of gratitude which can never
be paid. The various missionary societies in the North have done
a work which to a large degree has proved the salvation of the
South, and the results of it will appear more in future
generations than in this. We have now reached the point, in the
South, where, I believe, great good could be accomplished in
changing the attitude of the white people toward the Negro, and of
the Negro toward the whites, if a few Southern white teachers, of
high character, would take an active interest in the work of our
higher schools. Can this be done? Yes. The medical school
connected with Shaw University at Raleigh, North Carolina, has
from the first had as instructors and professors almost
exclusively Southern white doctors who reside in Raleigh, and they
have given the highest satisfaction. This gives the people of
Raleigh the feeling that the school is theirs, and not something
located in, but not a part of, the South. In Augusta, Georgia,
the Payne Institute, one of the best colleges for our people, is
officered and taught almost wholly by Southern white men and
women. The Presbyterian Theological School at Tuscaloosa,
Alabama, has only Southern white men as instructors. Some time
ago, at the Calhoun School in Alabama, one of the leading white
men in the county was given an important position; since then the
feeling of the white people in the county has greatly changed
toward the school.

We must admit the stern fact that at present the Negro, through no
choice of his own, is living in the midst of another race, which
is far ahead of him in education, property, and experience; and
further, that the Negro's present condition makes him dependent
upon the white people for most of the things necessary to sustain
life, as well as, in a large measure, for his education. In all
history, those who have possessed the property and intelligence
have exercised the greatest control in government, regardless of
color, race, or geographical location. This being the case, how
can the black man in the South improve his estate? And does the
Southern white man want him to improve it? The latter part of
this question I shall attempt to answer later in this article.

The Negro in the South has it within his power, if he properly
utilizes the forces at land, to make of himself such a valuable
factor in the life of the South that for the most part he need not
seek privileges, but they will be conferred upon him. To bring
this about, the Negro must begin at the bottom and lay a sure
foundation, and not be lured by any temptation into trying to rise
on a false footing. While the Negro is laying this foundation, he
will need help and sympathy and justice from the law. Progress by
any other method will be but temporary and superficial, and the
end of it will be worse than the beginning. American slavery was
a great curse to both races, and I should be the last to apologize
for it; but in the providence of God I believe that slavery laid
the foundation for the solution of the problem that is now before
us in the South. Under slavery, the Negro was taught every trade,
every industry, that furnishes the means of earning a living. Now
if on this foundation, laid in a rather crude way, it is true, but
a foundation nevertheless, we can gradually grow and improve, the
future for us is bright. Let me be more specific. Agriculture is
or has been the basic industry of nearly every race or nation that
has succeeded. The Negro got a knowledge of this under slavery:
hence in a large measure he is in possession of this industry in
the South to-day. Taking the whole South, I should say that
eighty per cent of the Negroes live by agriculture in some form,
though it is often a very primitive and crude form. The Negro can
buy land in the South, as a rule, wherever the white man can buy
it, and at very low prices. Now, since the bulk of our people
already have a foundation in agriculture, are at their best when
living in the country engaged in agricultural pursuits, plainly,
the best thing, the logical thing, is to turn the larger part of
our strength in a direction that will put the Negroes among the
most skilled agricultural people in the world. The man who has
learned to do something better than any one else, has learned to
do a common thing in an uncommon manner, has power and influence
which no adverse surroundings can take from him. It is better to
show a man how to make a place for himself than to put him in one
that some one else has made for him. The Negro who can make
himself so conspicuous as a successful farmer, a large taxpayer, a
wise helper of his fellow men, as to be placed in a position of
trust and honor by natural selection, whether the position be
political or not, is a hundredfold more secure in that position
than one placed there by mere outside force or pressure. I know a
Negro, Hon. Isaiah T. Montgomery, in Mississippi, who is mayor of
a town; it is true that the town is composed almost wholly of
Negroes. Mr. Montgomery is mayor of this town because his genius,
thrift, and foresight have created it; and he is held and
supported in his office by a charter granted by the state of
Mississippi, and by the vote and public sentiment of the community
in which he lives.

Let us help the Negro by every means possible to acquire such an
education in farming, dairying, stock-raising, horticulture, etc.,
as will place him near the top in these industries, and the race
problem will in a large part be settled, or at least stripped of
many of its most perplexing elements. This policy would also tend
to keep the Negro in the country and smaller towns, where he
succeeds best, and stop the influx into the large cities, where he
does not succeed so well. The race, like the individual, which
produces something of superior worth that has a common human
interest, wins a permanent place, and is bound to be recognized.

At a county fair in the South, not long ago, I saw a Negro awarded
the first prize, by a jury of white men, over white competitors,
for the production of the best specimen of Indian corn. Every
white man at the fair seemed to be proud of the achievement of the
Negro, because it was apparent that he had done something that
would add to the wealth and comfort of the people of both races in
that county. At the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, in
Alabama, we have a department devoted to training men along the
lines of agriculture that I have named; but what we are doing is
small when compared with what should be done in Tuskegee, and at
other educational centres. In a material sense the South is still
an undeveloped country. While in some other affairs race
prejudice is strongly marked, in the matter of business, of
commercial and industrial development, there are few obstacles in
the Negro's way. A Negro who produces or has for sale something
that the community wants finds customers among white people as
well as black. Upon equal security, a Negro can borrow money at
the bank as readily as a white man can. A bank in Birmingham,
Alabama, which has existed ten years, is officered and controlled
wholly by Negroes. This bank has white borrowers and white
depositors. A graduate of the Tuskegee Institute keeps a well-
appointed grocery store in Tuskegee, and he tells me that he sells
about as many goods to one race as to the other. What I have said
of the opening that awaits the Negro in the business of
agriculture is almost equally true of mechanics, manufacturing,
and all the domestic arts. The field is before him and right
about him. Will he seize upon it? Will he "cast down his bucket
where he is"? Will his friends, North and South, encourage him
and prepare him to occupy it? Every city in the South, for
example, would give support to a first-class architect or
housebuilder or contractor of our race. The architect or
contractor would not only receive support, but through his example
numbers of young colored men would learn such trades as carpentry,
brickmasonry, plastering, painting, etc., and the race would be
put into a position to hold on to many of the industries which it
is now in danger of losing, because in too many cases brain,
skill, and dignity are not imparted to the common occupations.
Any individual or race that does not fit itself to occupy in the
best manner the field or service that is right about it will
sooner or later be asked to move on and let another take it.

But I may be asked, Would you confine the Negro to agriculture,
mechanics, the domestic arts, etc.? Not at all; but just now and
for a number of years the stress should be laid along the lines
that I have mentioned. We shall need and must have many teachers
and ministers, some doctors and lawyers and statesmen, but these
professional men will have a constituency or a foundation from
which to draw support just in proportion as the race prospers
along the economic lines that I have pointed out. During the
first fifty or one hundred years of the life of any people, are
not the economic occupations always given the greater attention?
This is not only the historic, but, I think, the common-sense
view. If this generation will lay the material foundation, it
will be the quickest and surest way for enabling later generations
to succeed in the cultivation of the fine arts, and to surround
themselves with some of the luxuries of life, if desired. What
the race most needs now, in my opinion, is a whole army of men and
women well-trained to lead, and at the same time devote
themselves to agriculture, mechanics, domestic employment, and
business. As to the mental training that these educated leaders
should be equipped with, I should say, give them all the mental
training and culture that the circumstances of individuals will
allow,--the more the better. No race can permanently succeed
until its mind is awakened and strengthened by the ripest thought.
But I would constantly have it kept in the minds of those who are
educated in books that a large proportion of those who are
educated should be so trained in hand that they can bring this
mental strength and knowledge to bear upon the physical conditions
in the South, which I have tried to emphasize.

Frederick Douglass, of sainted memory, once, in addressing his
race, used these words: "We are to prove that we can better our
own condition. One way to do this is to accumulate property.
This may sound to you like a new gospel. You have been accustomed
to hear that money is the root of all evil, etc.; on the other
hand, property, money, if you please, will purchase for us the
only condition by which any people can rise to the dignity of
genuine manhood; for without property there can be no leisure,
without leisure there can be no thought, without thought there can
be no invention, without invention there can be no progress."

The Negro should be taught that material development is not an
end, but merely a means to an end. As professor W. E. B. Du Bois
puts it, the idea should not be simply to make men carpenters, but
to make carpenters men. The Negro has a highly religious
temperament; but what he needs more and more is to be convinced of
the importance of weaving his religion and morality into the
practical affairs of daily life. Equally does he need to be
taught to put so much intelligence into his labor that he will see
dignity and beauty in the occupation, and love it for its own
sake. The Negro needs to be taught to apply more of the religion
that manifests itself in his happiness in prayer meeting to the
performance of his daily task. The man who owns a home, and is in
the possession of the elements by which he is sure of a daily
living, has a great aid to a moral and religious life. What
bearing will all this have upon the Negro's place in the South, as
a citizen and in the enjoyment of the privileges which our
government confers?

To state in detail just what place the black man will occupy in
the South as a citizen, when he has developed in the direction
named, is beyond the wisdom of any one. Much will depend upon the
sense of justice which can be kept alive in the breast of the
American people; almost as much will depend upon the good sense of
the Negro himself. That question, I confess, does not give me the
most concern just now. The important and pressing question is,
Will the Negro, with his own help and that of his friends, take
advantage of the opportunities that surround him? When he has
done this, I believe, speaking of his future in general terms,
that he will be treated with justice, be given the protection of
the law and the recognition which his usefulness and ability
warrant. If, fifty years ago, one had predicted that the Negro
would receive the recognition and honor which individuals have
already received, he would have been laughed at as an idle
dreamer. Time, patience, and constant achievement are great
factors in the rise of a race.

I do not believe that the world ever takes a race seriously, in
its desire to share in the government of a nation, until a large
number of individual members of that race have demonstrated beyond
question their ability to control and develop their own business
enterprises. Once a number of Negroes rise to the point where
they own and operate the most successful farms, are among the
largest taxpayers in their county, are moral and intelligent, I do
not believe that in many portions of the South such men need long
be denied the right of saying by their votes how they prefer their
property to be taxed, and who are to make and administer the laws.

I was walking the street of a certain town in the South lately in
company with the most prominent Negro there. While we were
together, the mayor of the town sought out the black man, and
said, "Next week we are going to vote on the question of issuing
bonds to secure water-works; you must be sure to vote on the day
of election." The mayor did not suggest whether he should vote
yes or no; but he knew that the very fact of this Negro's owning
nearly a block of the most valuable property in the town was a
guarantee that he would cast a safe, wise vote on this important
proposition. The white man knew that because of this Negro's
property interests he would cast his vote in the way he thought
would benefit every white and black citizen in the town, and not
be controlled by influences a thousand miles away. But a short
time ago I read letters from nearly every prominent white man in
Birmingham, Alabama, asking that the Rev. W. R. Pettiford, a
Negro, be appointed to a certain important federal office. What
is the explanation of this? For nine years Mr. Pettiford has been
the president of the Negro bank in Birmingham, to which I have
alluded. During these nine years, the white citizens have had the
opportunity of seeing that Mr. Pettiford can manage successfully a
private business, and that he has proved himself a conservative,
thoughtful citizen, and they are willing to trust him in a public
office. Such individual examples will have to be multiplied, till
they become more nearly the rule than the exception they now are.
While we are multiplying these examples, the Negro must keep a
strong and courageous heart. He cannot improve his condition by
any short-cut course or by artificial methods. Above all, he must
not be deluded into believing that his condition can be
permanently bettered by a mere battledoor [sic] and shuttlecock of
words, or by any process of mere mental gymnastics or oratory.
What is desired along with a logical defense of his cause are
deeds, results,--continued results, in the direction of building
himself up, so as to leave no doubt in the mind of any one of his
ability to succeed.

An important question often asked is, Does the white man in the
South want the Negro to improve his present condition? I say yes.
From the Montgomery (Alabama) Daily Advertiser I clip the
following in reference to the closing of a colored school in a
town in Alabama:--

"EUFALA, May 25, 1899. The closing exercises of the city colored
public school were held at St. Luke's A. M. E. Church last night,
and were witnessed by a large gathering, including many whites.
The recitations by the pupils were excellent, and the music was
also an interesting feature. Rev. R. T. Pollard delivered the
address, which was quite an able one, and the certificates were
presented by Professor T. L. McCoy, white, of the Sanford Street
School. The success of the exercises reflects great credit on
Professor S. M. Murphy, the principal, who enjoys a deserved good
reputation as a capable and efficient educator."

I quote this report, not because it is the exception, but because
such marks of interest in the education of the Negro on the part
of the Southern white people may be seen almost every day in the
local papers. Why should white people, by their presence, words,
and actions, encourage the black man to get education, if they do
not desire him to improve his condition?

The Payne Institute, an excellent college, to which I have already
referred, is supported almost wholly by the Southern white
Methodist church. The Southern white Presbyterians support a
theological school for Negroes at Tuscaloosa. For a number of
years the Southern white Baptists have contributed toward Negro
education. Other denominations have done the same. If these
people do not want the Negro educated to a higher standard, there
is no reason why they should pretend they do.

Though some of the lynchings in the South have indicated a
barbarous feeling toward Negroes, Southern white men here and
there, as well as newspapers, have spoken out strongly against
lynching. I quote from the address of the Rev. Mr. Vance, of
Nashville, Tennessee, delivered before the National Sunday School
Union, in Atlanta, not long since, as an example:--

"And yet, as I stand here to-night, a Southerner speaking for my
section and addressing an audience from all sections, there is one
foul blot upon the fair fame of the South, at the bare mention of
which the heart turns sick and the cheek is crimsoned with shame.
I want to lift my voice to-night in loud and long and indignant
protest against the awful horror of mob violence, which the other
day reached the climax of its madness and infamy in a deed as
black and brutal and barbarous as can be found in the annals of
human crime.

"I have a right to speak on the subject, and I propose to be
heard. The time has come for every lover of the South to set the
might of an angered and resolute manhood against the shame and
peril of the lynch demon. These people whose fiendish glee taunts
their victim as his flesh crackles in the flames do not represent
the South. I have not a syllable of apology for the sickening
crime they meant to avenge. But it is high time we were learning
that lawlessness is no remedy for crime. For one, I dare to
believe that the people of my section are able to cope with crime,
however treacherous and defiant, through their courts of justice;
and I plead for the masterful sway of a righteous and exalted
public sentiment that shall class lynch law in the category with
crime."

It is a notable and encouraging fact that no Negro educated in any
of our larger institutions of learning in the South has been
charged with any of the recent crimes connected with assaults upon
women.

If we go on making progress in the directions that I have tried to
indicate, more and more the South will be drawn to one course. As
I have already said, it is not to the best interests of the white
race of the South that the Negro be deprived of any privilege
guaranteed him by the Constitution of the United States. This
would put upon the South a burden under which no government could
stand and prosper. Every article in our Federal Constitution was
placed there with a view of stimulating and encouraging the
highest type of citizenship. To continue to tax the Negro without
giving him the right to vote, as fast as he qualifies himself in
education and property for voting, would insure the alienation of
the affections of the Negro from the state in which he lives, and
would be the reversal of the fundamental principles of government
for which our states have stood. In other ways than this the
injury would be as great to the white man as to the Negro.
Taxation without the hope of becoming voters would take away from
one third of the citizens of the Gulf states their interest in
government, and a stimulus to become taxpayers or to secure
education, and thus be able and willing to bear their share of the
cost of education and government, which now rests so heavily upon
the white taxpayers of the South. The more the Negro is
stimulated and encouraged, the sooner will he be able to bear a
larger share of the burdens of the South. We have recently had
before us an example, in the case of Spain, of a government that
left a large portion of its citizens in ignorance, and neglected
their highest interests.

As I have said elsewhere: "There is no escape, through law of man
or God, from the inevitable.


'The laws of changeless justice bind
Oppressor with oppressed;
And close as sin and suffering joined
We march to fate abreast.'


Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load
upwards, or they will pull the load downwards against you. We
shall constitute one third and more of the ignorance and crime of
the South, or one third of its intelligence and progress; we shall
contribute one third to the business and industrial prosperity of
the South, or we shall prove a veritable body of death,
stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body
politic."

My own feeling is that the South will gradually reach the point
where it will see the wisdom and the justice of enacting an
educational or property qualification, or both, for voting, that
shall be made to apply honestly to both races. The industrial
development of the Negro in connection with education and
Christian character will help to hasten this end. When this is
done, we shall have a foundation, in my opinion, upon which to
build a government that is honest, and that will be in a high
degree satisfactory to both races.

I do not suffer myself to take too optimistic a view of the
conditions in the South. The problem is a large and serious one,
and will require the patient help, sympathy, and advice of our
most patriotic citizens, North and South, for years to come. But
I believe that if the principles which I have tried to indicate
are followed, a solution of the question will come. So long as
the Negro is permitted to get education, acquire property, and
secure employment, and is treated with respect in the business
world, as is now true in the greater part of the South, I shall
have the greatest faith in his working out his own destiny in our
Southern states. The education and preparation for citizenship of
nearly eight millions of people is a tremendous task, and every
lover of humanity should count it a privilege to help in the
solution of a problem for which our whole country is responsible.





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