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TWENTIETH CENTURY NEGRO LITERATURE
A CYCLOPEDIA OF THOUGHT ON THE VITAL TOPICS RELATING TO THE AMERICAN NEGRO
BY ONE HUNDRED OF AMERICA'S GREATEST NEGROES
EDITED AND ARRANGED BY D. W. CULP, A. M., M. D. AN AUTHOR AND LECTURER, ETC.
COPIOUSLY ILLUSTRATED WITH One Hundred Fine Photo Engravings
PUBLISHED BY J. L. NICHOLS & CO. MANUFACTURING PUBLISHERS ON THE EXCLUSIVE TERRITORY PLAN
TORONTO, CAN. NAPERVILLE, ILL. ATLANTA, GA.
COPYRIGHT 1902 BY J. L. NICHOLS & CO.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
SOLD ONLY ON SUBSCRIPTION THROUGH OUR AUTHORIZED AGENTS AND NOT TO BE HAD IN BOOKSTORES. ANY ONE DESIRING A COPY SHOULD ADDRESS THE PUBLISHERS.
To all persons of whatever race and of whatever section of our country, who in any way contributed, in the Nineteenth Century, to the financial, intellectual, moral and spiritual elevation of the Negro, the editor dedicates this book with the ardent hope, that before this century shall have ended, the Negro, through his own manly efforts, aided by his friends, shall reach that point in the American civilization, where he will be recognized and treated as any other American citizen.
The idea of putting this book on the market originated in the following considerations:
First. There is considerable ignorance, on the part of the white people of this country, of the intellectual ability of the Negro, and, as a consequence, the educated Negro does not receive, at the hands of the whites, that respectful consideration to which his education entitles him.
Second. At this time, when the attainments made in the nineteenth century by the other races and nationalities are being paraded, the friends of the Negro are particularly interested to know something of the attainments made by him in that century.
Third. There is a strong desire, on the part of those white people who are deeply interested in the American race problem, to know what the educated Negroes are thinking on the topics touching this problem, since it is believed that, if this problem is to be correctly solved, it will be solved by the combined efforts of the intelligent elements of both races.
Fourth. A book, in which the aspiring Negro youth of the land can study the character sketches and the literary productions of the scholarly men of their own race along with their study of the character sketches and the choice literary productions of the scholarly white men of the country, is a desideratum.
Fifth. The majority of the Negroes need to be enlightened on those vital topics relating to themselves, and on those questions touching their development in civilization.
The object of this book is, therefore: (1) To enlighten the uninformed white people on the intellectual ability of the Negro. (2) To give to those, who are interested in the Negro race, a better idea of the extent to which he contributed to the promotion of America's civilization, and of the intellectual attainments made by him in the nineteenth century. (3) To reflect the views of the most scholarly and prominent Negroes of America on those topics, touching the Negro, that are now engaging the attention of the civilized world. (4) To point out, to the aspiring Negro youth, those men and women of their own race who, by their scholarship, by their integrity of character, and by their earnest efforts in the work of uplifting their own race, have made themselves illustrious; also, to enlighten such youth on those ethical, political, and sociological questions, touching the Negro that will sooner or later engage their attention. (5) To enlighten the Negroes on that perplexing problem, commonly called the "Race Problem," that has necessarily grown out of their contact with their ex-masters and their descendants; and also to stimulate them to make greater efforts to ascend to that plane of civilization occupied by the other enlightened peoples of the world.
Now, among all the books on the Negro, there is none whose object is so worthy, comprehensive, and specific as that above set forth. In this the superiority of this book to all others, on the Negro, may be seen. And the superior value of this book is also apparent from the following considerations: (1) This is the only book in which there is such a magnificent array of Negro talent. Other Negro books of a biographical character are objected to, by the intelligent people who have read them, on the ground that they contain too few sketches of scholarly Negroes, and too many of Negroes of ordinary ability. But such a criticism cannot be made on this book since, as a matter of fact, all of the one hundred men and women, appearing in it, are among the best educated Negroes in the world. (2) This is the only book from which one can get anything like a definite and correct idea of the progress made by the Negro since his Emancipation along all lines. (3) There is no book but this one in which there can be found expressed the thoughts of any considerable number of educated Negroes on so many political, religious, civil, moral and sociological problems touching the Negro, which are interesting alike to the politician, the moralist and the sociologist.
But it is not to be understood that the one hundred men and women mentioned in this book are the only Negro scholars in this country. So far from this, there are hundreds of other Negroes who are as scholarly, as prominent and as active in the work of uplifting their race as the one hundred herein given. These one hundred appear here, rather than others, for no other reason than that they are better known to the editor. Now, in sending forth this book, the editor ardently hopes that it will not only accomplish the objects herein set forth, but that it will also do much towards bringing about a better understanding between the two races in the South.
D. W. CULP, Palatka, Fla.
PROF. W. H. CROGMAN, A. M.
Prof. W. H. Crogman, A. M., who occupies the chair of Greek and Latin in Clark University, Atlanta, in Christian character, scholarship in his department, literary ability, general culture and distinguished services stands, it is safe to say, among the first four, if not at the head of the Negro race. In all the particulars mentioned, he would honor a professorship in any college in the land.
Prof. Crogman was born on the island of St. Martin, May 5, 1841. In 1855, Mr. B. L. Boomer, chief mate of the vessel, visiting the island, became interested in the boy, then an orphan, and induced him to come to the United States. Mr. Boomer took him to his home in Middleboro, Mass., sent him to district school in the winter, and always took great interest in him. Mr. Boomer's brothers were all seafaring men, captains or officers of vessels. With one of these the boy, Willie, began to follow the sea. This beginning afterward led to a life of eleven years on the ocean. He visited many lands, and observant and thoughtful, obtained a wide knowledge of various nationalities and parts of the world. His visits included especially England, various points on the Continent of Europe, Calcutta and Bombay in Asia, various places in South America and Australia.
In 1866, at the suggestion of Mr. Boomer, that an academic education would make him useful, Prof. Crogman, then at the age of twenty-five, began to earn means to attend an academy. He worked and laid by money till two years later in 1868, he entered Pierce Academy, in Middleboro, Mass. He remained there two years, taking an English course with French and bookkeeping.
After completing his academic course, in the Fall of 1870, Prof. Crogman started for the South to give his life to the Christian education and elevation of his race. He was recommended by the Boston Preachers' Meeting to the work in South Carolina, and was employed by Rev. T. W. Lewis as instructor in English branches, at Claflin University, Orangeburg, S. C. Here he remained three years. In this work he became impressed with the need of a knowledge of Greek and Latin and began the study of Latin by himself. To gain a knowledge of these branches he went to Atlanta University in the Fall of 1873. This resulted in his completing there the full classical course in 1876. Prof. Francis, of Atlanta University, who was one of his teachers there, was present at the reception and in a most happy speech paid a high tribute to Prof. Crogman's manhood, industry, thorough scholarship and rapid advancement during his college life, completing as he did the four years' course in three years. He spoke also of Prof. Crogman's carrying off as his bride one of their noblest and most gifted and cultured young ladies, Miss Lavinia C. Mott, of Charlotte, N. C. Immediately on his graduating from Atlanta University, Prof. Crogman was called to a position on the faculty of Clark University, where he has been ever since, having occupied his present chair since 1880. Letters expressive of their highest appreciation of him and his work were read from several of his students, who now themselves occupy prominent positions.
Prof. Crogman is author of "Talks for the Times," a book in which almost every phase of the Race Problem is discussed in a very practical and fascinating style. Speaking of this book, the "Independent" says:
"We notice this collection of 'Talks for the Times' with unusual pleasure. They are worthy of the strong and cultivated gentleman who is their author. They deal largely with Negro education, educational institutions and educators, but occasionally deal with general topics, such as 'Life's Deeper Meanings.' The author speaks of his race and speaks in strong, polished English, full of nerve and rich in the music of good English prose."
The "California Christian Advocate" says:
"We are minded to say, 'here is a volume that must be intensely interesting to all who are interested in the culture and continued advancement of the Negro.' But why should we thus write? It would be nearer our deliberate estimate to say, 'Here is a book made up of manly and vigorous addresses by a vigorous, scholarly and independent thinker.' Whoever values the result of scholarly investigation will be interested in this volume. We do not hesitate to say that but for the noble identification of the author with his own people in such addresses as 'The Negro's Need,' 'The Negro's Claims,' and 'The Negro Problem,' no one who reads this book would guess that Professor Crogman was other than a vigorous minded Anglo-Saxon. And yet to our thinking, it is much to say that 'Talks for the Times' is the production of a ripe scholar who is of almost pure African blood—a man who almost entirely by his own exertion has climbed steadily up the ladder of scholarship until he is no mean exponent of the culture of our day."
BY PROF. W. H. CROGMAN.
I am requested to write an introduction to this volume of essays, written by representative men and women of the Negro race and touching almost every phase of the Negro question. Certainly it is a hopeful sign that the Negro is beginning, with some degree of seriousness, to turn his eyes inward, to study himself, and try to discover what are his possibilities, and what the obstructions that lie in the way to his larger development. Undoubtedly this is a rational method of procedure, and the one most likely to reward his effort; for it is only in proportion as we become interested in ourselves that we enlist the interest of others, and only in proportion as we respect ourselves that we command the respect of others. The story is told of a Negro who, at some time during the War of the Rebellion, being asked why he did not enlist in the army, replied: "De Norf and de Souf am two dogs fightin' over a bone. De nigger am de bone and takes no part in de conflict." That this is not the language of an intelligent Negro is quite evident, if, indeed, it be the language of a Negro at all. So common has it been in this country to caricature the black man, to represent him as a driveler in speech and a buffoon in action, that I am always loath to accept as his those many would-be-witty sayings which, too often, originating with others, have been attributed to him. But be the author of that remark whosoever he may, one thing now is perfectly apparent—the Negro has reached beyond the "bone" stage. He is no longer content with being a passive observer, a quiet looker-on, while his character and interests are under discussion. He is now disposed to speak for himself, to "take part in the conflict." Any one desiring evidence of this will find it in the following pages of "Twentieth Century Negro Literature."
This book will do good. It will enlighten many of both races on topics respecting which they seem to be profoundly ignorant. Not very long ago a Negro delivered an address in one of the largest churches in Atlanta. It was an occasion in which a goodly number of white people was present. They expressed themselves as being delighted. One man said to a colored bishop that he didn't know there was a Negro in the state that could have delivered such an address. The fact is, both the good bishop and the writer of these lines might have found him twenty who could, at least, deliver an address as good, and ten, probably, who could deliver a better. Well, we don't know each other—we white and black folk. We are neighbors, yet strangers. Our thoughts, our motives, our desires are unknown to each other. Between the best white and black people, in whom alone vests the possibility of a rational and peaceful solution of the race question, there is absolutely no communication, no opportunity for exchange of views. Herein lies the danger; for both people, as a consequence, are suspicious, the one of the other. Not infrequently, with much uncharitableness, we attribute wrong motives to those who are truly our friends. Were we acquainted with one another, as we ought to be, we would doubtless be surprised to discover how little we differ in our thinking with reference to many of the vexed questions confronting us. Indeed, it has always been the belief of the writer, frequently expressed, that neither of the races is as bad as it appears to the other. May we not hope, then, that "Twentieth Century Negro Literature" may have the good fortune of falling into the hands of many white friends.
On the other hand, the book must be stimulating to the Negro people, especially to those of the younger generation, now blessed with large educational privilege. It must awaken in them self-respect, self-reliance, and the ambition to be and to do. By the perusal of its pages they will be led to see more clearly the path of duty, and to feel more sensibly the weight of responsibility resting upon them. The first generation of Negroes after emancipation exhibited to a painful degree the spirit of dependence, an inclination to lean on something and on somebody—now on the politician, now on the philanthropist. The reason for this, of course, is not far to fetch. The spirit of dependence is invariably a characteristic of weakness. It was not to be expected that the first generation emerging from slavery would possess all the heroic qualities. Gradually, however, the Negro is realizing the importance of self-help. Good books, among other agencies, will deepen this impression, and ultimately lead him to imbibe in all its fulness the sentiment of the poet,
"Destiny is not about thee, but within; Thyself must make thyself."
The contributors to this volume are worthy of notice. They are among the best we have. Some of them are personally known to the writer. They are men of experience, scholarly men, shunning rather than courting notoriety—just the class of men to guide a people, alas, too easily led astray by pretentious ignorance. From a number so large and so meritorious it would seem invidious to select any for special mention. It may not be out of place, however, to say a few words with reference to the editor and compiler, Dr. D. W. Culp. Born a slave in Union County, South Carolina, like many a black boy, he has had to forge his way to the front. In 1876 we find him graduating in a class of one from Biddle University—the first college graduate from that school. In the fall of the same year he entered Princeton Theological Seminary, and at the same time pursued studies in philosophy, history, and psychology in the university under the eminent Doctor McCosh. His first appearance in the university was the signal for a display of race prejudice. To the Southern students especially his presence was very obnoxious. Several of them immediately left the college and went home. To the credit of their parents, it should be said, they were led to return. Before the expiration of three years Mr. Culp, by exemplary conduct and good scholarship, won the respect and friendship of the students in both university and seminary, the Southerners included. He was graduated from the seminary in 1879, and immediately found work as pastor under the Freedmen's Board of the Northern Presbyterian Church. He served in the pastorate several years in different states, was for a time principal of a school in Jacksonville, Florida, the largest school in the state. Becoming, however, more and more interested in the physical salvation of his race, he entered upon the study of medicine in the University of Michigan; but was finally graduated with honor from the Ohio Medical University, in 1891, since which time he has followed the practice of medicine. For a passionate love of knowledge, and for persistent effort in trying to secure it, Dr. Culp is a noble and inspiring example to the young and aspiring Negro.
Clark University, South Atlanta, Georgia, December 16, 1901.
ALPHABETICAL LIST OF WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
The writers of this book are one hundred (one for each year in the century) of the most scholarly and prominent Negroes of America.
PAGE ANDERSON, J. H., D. D., Pastor of the A. M. E. Zion Church, Wllkesbarre, Pa. 323 ATKINS, REV. S. G., President of the State Normal and Industrial College of North Carolina 80 BAKER, HON. H. E., Washington, D. C. 399 BIBB, PROF. J. D., A. M., Atlanta, Ga. 449 BLACKSHEAR, MR. E. L., President of Texas Normal and Industrial College, Prairie View, Texas 334 BOWEN, MRS. ARIEL, S. H., Atlanta, Ga. 264 BOWEN, REV. J. W. E, Professor in Gammon Theological Seminary 29 BOWSER, MRS. ROSA D., Teacher in Richmond, Va. 177 BOYD, DR. R. F., Physician and Surgeon, Nashville, Tenn. 215 BRAWLEY, REV. E. M., D. D., Secretary and Expositor of the National Baptist Publishing Company 254 BRAGGS, REV. GEO. F. JR., Rector of Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Md. 356 BROOKS, REV. W. H., D. D., Pastor Nineteenth St. Baptist Church, Washington, D. C. 315 BROWN, REV. S. N., Pastor of Congregational Church, Washington, D.C. 68 BUTLER, HENRY R., A. M., M. D., Atlanta, Ga. 221 CARVER, GEO. W., Professor of Agriculture, Tuskegee Institute 388 CHAPPELLE, REV. W. D., Secretary of Sabbath School Department of the A. M. E. Church 63 CHEATHAM, HON. H. P., Recorder of Deeds, of the District of Columbia 57 CLINTON, BISHOP G. W., A. M. E. Zion Church, Charlotte, N. C. 115 COOPER, E. E. Editor of the Colored American 464 COUNCIL, PROF. W. H., President of Alabama Normal and Mechanical College, Normal, Ala. 325 COX, PROF. J. M., President of the Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Ark. 295 CROMWELL, J. W., Washington, D. C. 291 CROGMAN, W. H., Professor of Greek and Latin, Clark University 7 DAVIS, REV. D. W., Pastor of Baptist Church, Manchester, Va. 38 DAVIS, REV. I. D., Pastor Presbyterian Church, Goodwill, S. C. 124 DUNBAR, MRS. PAUL LAURENCE, Washington, D. C. 139 ELLERSON, REV. L. B., Pastor Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Fla. 313 FLIPPER, REV. J. S., D. D., Presiding Elder of North Georgia Conference, Atlanta, Ga. 257 FORTUNE, T. T., Editor of The Age, New York City 227 FRANCIS, DR. J. R., Physician and Surgeon, Washington, D. C. 204 FRIERSON, A. U., Professor of Greek, of Biddle University 241 GILBERT, J. W., Professor of Greek in Paine College 190 GILBERT, REV. M. W. D. D., Pastor of Baptist Church, Charleston, S. C. 287 GOODWIN, G. A., Professor in Atlanta Baptist College 132 GREEN, HON. JOHN P., Government Position, Washington, D. C. 89 GRIMKE, REV. F. J., D. D., Pastor of Presbyterian Church, Washington, D. C. 427 HARLLEE, PROF. N. W., Principal of High School, Dallas, Tex. 299 HAWKINS, PROF. J. R., Secretary of Educational Department of the A. M. E. Church 153 HEARD, REV. W. H., D. D., Pastor of Allen Temple, Atlanta, Ga. 442 HEWIN, J. T., Attorney, Richmond, Va. 110 HILYER, ANDREW F., Washington, D. C. 375 HOLSEY, BISHOP L. H., C. M. E. Church, Atlanta, Ga. 46 HOOD, BISHOP J. W., of A. M. E. Zion Church, Fayetteville, N. C. 51 HUNT, H. A., Principal of Industrial Department of Biddle University 394 JACKSON, MISS LENA T., Teacher of Latin in High School, Nashville, Tenn. 304 JOHNSON, REV. J. Q., D. D. 270 JOHNSON, PROF. J. W., Principal of Grammar School, Jacksonville, Fla. 72 JOHNSON, REV. H. T., D. D., Editor of Christian Recorder 186 JONES, PROF. J. H., President of Wilberforce University 83 JONES, T. W., Prominent business man, Chicago, Ill. 370 JORDAN, D. J., Professor in Morris Brown College 129 KERR, REV. S., Rector of Episcopal Church, Key West, Fla. 320 KNOX, GEO. L., Editor of the Freeman 454 LEWIS, PROF. W. I., Reporter for Evening Metropolis, Jacksonville, Fla. 272 LOGAN, MRS. WARREN, Tuskegee Institute 199 LOVINGGOOD, PROF. R. S., President of Samuel Houston College, Austin, Tex. 48 MASON, MRS. LENA, The Evangelist, Hannibal, Mo. 445 MASON, REV. M. C. B., Secretary of the Freemen Board of the M. E. Church 34 McCLELLAN, PROF. G. M., Teacher in High School, Louisville, Ky. 275 MILLER, KELLY, Professor of Mathematics in Howard University 158 MORGAN, REV. J. H., Minister, Bordentown, N. J. 383 MORRIS, REV. E. C., D. D., Editor of National Baptist Publishing Co., Helena, Ark. 259 MURRAY, HON. G. W., Providence, S. C. 231 ONLEY, D. W., D. D., Dentist, Washington, D. C. 347 PARTEE, REV. W. E., D. D., Pastor of Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Va. 309 PETERSON, B. H., Professor at Tuskegee Institute 236 PETTIFORD, W. R., President Alabama Penny Savings and Loan Co., Birmingham, Ala. 468 PETTEY, MRS. BISHOP C. C., Newbern, N. C. 182 PORTER, J. R., D. D. S., Atlanta, Ga. 191 PROCTOR, REV. H. H., Pastor of Congregational Church., Atlanta, Ga. 317 PURCELL, I. L., Attorney, Pensacola, Fla. 104 RICHARDSON, PROF. A. ST. GEORGE, President of Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Fla. 330 ROBINSON, G. T., Attorney, Nashville, Tenn. 108 ROBINSON, PROF. R. G., Principal of LaGrange Academy 302 RUCKER, HON. H. A., Internal Revenue Collector for Georgia, Atlanta, Ga. 202 SCARBOROUGH, W. S., Professor of Greek of Wilberforce University 414 SMITH, MRS. M. E. C., Teacher in Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Fla. 246 SMITH, R. S., Attorney, Washington, D. C. 92 SMYTH, PROF. J. H., President of Reformatory School of Virginia, Hanover, Va. 434 SPRAGUE, MRS. ROSETTA DOUGLASS, Washington, D. C. 167 STORUM, PROF. JAMES, Teacher in High School, Washington, D. C. 75 TALBERT, MARY B., Buffalo, N. Y. 17 TALLEY, T. W., Professor of Science, Tuskegee Institute 338 TERRELL, MRS. MARY CHURCH, Washington, D. C. 172 THOMPSON, R. W., Associate Editor of the Colored American 351 TUCKER, PROF. T. de S., Baltimore, Md. 418 TURNER, BISHOP H. M., D. D., LL. D., A. M. E. Church, Atlanta, Ga. 42 TURNER, PROF. C. H., Professor of Science in Clark University 162 WALLACE, W. W., Editor of Colored American Magazine 349 WALLER, REV. O. M., Rector of Episcopal Church, Washington, D. C. 363 WALKER, PROF. H. L., Principal High School, Augusta, Ga. 342 WASHINGTON, PROF. BOOKER T., President of Tuskegee Institute 142 WHITAKER, REV. J. W., Traveling Agent for Tuskegee Institute 359 WHITE, HON. GEO. H., Washington, D. C. 224 WILDER, DR. J. R., Physician and Surgeon, Washington, D. C. 210 WILLIAMS, REV. J. B. L., D. D., Pastor of M. E. Church, Fernandina, Fla. 120 WYCHE, REV. R. P., Pastor of Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, N. C. 123 YATES, MRS. JOSEPHINE S., Kansas City, Mo. 21 YOUNG, PROF. N. B., President of Florida State Normal and Industrial College 125
THE FOLLOWING TOPICS ARE DISCUSSED IN THIS BOOK BY ONE HUNDRED WRITERS:
I. DID THE AMERICAN NEGRO MAKE, IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, ACHIEVEMENTS ALONG THE LINES OF WEALTH, MORALITY, EDUCATION, ETC., COMMENSURATE WITH HIS OPPORTUNITIES? IF SO, WHAT ACHIEVEMENTS DID HE MAKE? 17
II. WILL IT BE POSSIBLE FOR THE NEGRO TO ATTAIN, IN THIS COUNTRY, UNTO THE AMERICAN TYPE OF CIVILIZATION? 42
III. HOW CAN THE FRIENDLY RELATIONS NOW EXISTING BETWEEN THE TWO RACES IN THE SOUTH BE STRENGTHENED AND MAINTAINED? 57
IV. SHOULD THE NEGRO BE GIVEN AN EDUCATION DIFFERENT FROM THAT GIVEN TO THE WHITE? 72
V. SHOULD THE IGNORANT AND NON-PROPERTY HOLDING NEGRO BE ALLOWED TO VOTE? 89
VI. IS THE CRIMINAL NEGRO JUSTLY DEALT WITH IN THE COURTS OF THE SOUTH? 92
VII. TO WHAT EXTENT IS THE NEGRO PULPIT UPLIFTING THE RACE? 115
VIII. IS IT TIME FOR THE NEGRO COLLEGES IN THE SOUTH TO BE PUT INTO THE HANDS OF NEGRO TEACHERS? 125
IX. WILL THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO SOLVE THE RACE PROBLEM? 142
X. WHAT ROLE IS THE EDUCATED NEGRO WOMAN TO PLAY IN THE UPLIFTING OF HER RACE? 167
XI. HOW CAN THE NEGROES BE INDUCED TO RALLY MORE TO NEGRO BUSINESS ENTERPRISES AND TO THEIR PROFESSIONAL MEN? 186
XII. WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF THE GREAT MORTALITY AMONG THE NEGROES IN THE CITIES OF THE SOUTH AND HOW IS THAT MORTALITY TO BE LESSENED? 199
XIII. WHAT SHOULD BE THE NEGRO'S ATTITUDE IN POLITICS? 224
XIV. IS THE NEGRO AS MORALLY DEPRAVED AS HE IS REPUTED TO BE? 236
XV. IS THE YOUNG NEGRO AN IMPROVEMENT MORALLY ON HIS FATHER? 254
XVI. THE NEGRO AS A WRITER 270
XVII. DID THE AMERICAN NEGRO PROVE, IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, THAT HE IS INTELLECTUALLY EQUAL TO THE WHITE MAN? 287
XVIII. WHAT PROGRESS DID THE AMERICAN WHITE MAN MAKE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY ALONG THE LINE OF CONCEDING TO THE NEGRO HIS RELIGIOUS, POLITICAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS? 291
XIX. THE NEGRO AS A LABORER 299
XX. THE NEGRO AS A CHRISTIAN 309
XXI. DOES THE NORTH AFFORD TO THE NEGRO BETTER OPPORTUNITIES OF MAKING A LIVING THAN THE SOUTH? 323
XXII. WHAT IS THE NEGRO TEACHER DOING IN THE MATTER OF UPLIFTING HIS RACE? 330
XXIII. IS THE NEGRO NEWSPAPER AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE ELEVATION OF THE NEGRO? 347
XXIV. ARE OTHER THAN BAPTIST AND METHODIST CHURCHES ADAPTED TO THE PRESENT NEGRO? 356
XXV. THE NEGRO AS A BUSINESS MAN 370
XXVI. THE NEGRO AS A FARMER 388
XXVII. THE NEGRO AS AN INVENTOR 399
XXVIII. WHAT THE OMEN? 414
XXIX. WHY THE NEGRO RACE SURVIVES 418
XXX. THE SIGNS OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR THE AMERICAN NEGRO 427
XXXI. NEGRO CRIMINALITY 434
XXXII. THE AMERICAN NEGRO'S OPPORTUNITIES IN AFRICA 442
XXXIII. THE NEGRO AND EDUCATION 445
XXXIV. A NEGRO IN IT 447
XXXV. THE NEGRO'S ADVERSITIES HELP HIM 449
XXXVI. THE AMERICAN NEGRO AND HIS POSSIBILITIES 454
XXXVII. IMPORTANT LESSONS FROM THE AWFUL TRAGEDY 464
XXXVIII. HOW TO HELP THE NEGRO TO HELP HIMSELF 468
THE EDITOR'S BIOGRAPHY, BY WALTER I. LEWIS.
Daniel Wallace Culp, compiler and editor of this book, was born about forty-seven years ago, of slave parents, four miles from Union Court House in South Carolina. His mother, Marilla by name, was an excellent type of the devout Christian woman of her day; she believed firmly in that God, whose inscrutable wisdom directed the ways of her race through paths that were truly hard. She hesitated not to teach her son Daniel to love, fear and obey the God in whom she trusted, using whatever light she had.
Christopher Brandon, to whom Daniel and his mother belonged, was one of those slave-holders in South Carolina who did not believe in the institution of slavery, but being uncertain as to whether his slaves would be better off if he freed them, he held them, establishing a sort of patrimony in which his slaves were allowed such superior opportunities and advantages that the less favored neighbors styled them "Brandon's free Negroes." This distinction carried with it its disadvantages as well, for on account of the ease and comfort allowed them, they were despised alike by the hard-hearted slave-owners and the less fortunate slaves. Brandon was kind to his slaves, who were made to work enough to keep a plenty at home to live upon. He also protected them against whatever ill treatment begrudging neighbors might be prompted to offer.
Brandon was a bachelor. He made a favorite and close companion of Daniel to the extent of having him occupy the same bed with him. This affection of the bachelor master lasted until his death, which occurred several years after the emancipation.
It is said that in his expiring moments this good man, Brandon, called for young Daniel, who was then too far away to be on hand in time to hear what was to have been said before death ensued. Thus died a man who was brave enough, in the midst of environments that were exacting to the extent of active ostracism for his assertion of his belief that the Negro is a real human being, possessed of a mind, soul and rights to happiness, and should share in the community of responsibilities.
At an early age Daniel became anxious to know what is in books. This ambition was fed by his former master, who became his first teacher. This make-shift tutelage continued until 1869, when this rapid little learner caught a sight of better intellectual food. Accordingly he left his rural home, his soul charged with greater things, and entered Biddle Memorial Institute, now Biddle University, at Charlotte, N. C.
As a student Daniel did not attract any special attention until he had passed the preparatory and entered the regular classical course of that institution. It was here that he won great distinction in his faculty for acquiring a ready knowledge of the languages and the higher mathematics. So rapidly did he advance in these studies that it was found necessary to place him in a class alone, none of his mates being able to keep up with him. This separation was from a class of about twenty young men from the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. For five years he studied, making an advancement that was frequently a marvel to the teachers, some of whom were at times puzzled to sustain their place of superiority over him.
In 1876 Daniel Wallace Culp graduated from Biddle University, being the first graduate from the classical department of that institution, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
Having decided to study theology, he, in the fall of the same year in which he graduated from Biddle, entered Princeton Theological Seminary. At the same time he entered Princeton College to study the History of Philosophy and Psychology under the great Dr. McCosh.
The presence of a colored student in the classes at Princeton College (which has no connection with the Theological Seminary) was particularly obnoxious to the young men of the South, of whom there were several then in attendance. This brought on a crisis. The young white men of the South packed their trunks and left for their homes, declaring with much emphasis that they would not sit in the lecture room with a "nigger." But, strange to relate, their parents showed better sense by requiring them to promptly return. In the meanwhile efforts were made to have Dr. Culp discontinue his attendance at these lectures, all of which he positively refused to do. The young men from the South finally became friendly, and things moved on smoothly, Dr. Culp winning the respect of all the students by his gentlemanly conduct and scholarship.
In the Theological Seminary he was regarded as one of the brightest students in his class, excelling in the study of the Hebrew language and theology. He graduated from this seminary in the spring of 1879.
Now came the most trying time in the life of the young man who had been sated with frequent conquests while in the pursuit of knowledge. Dr. Culp was assigned to an humble Presbyterian Church at Laurens, S. C., under the auspices of the Freedman's Board of the Northern Presbyterian Church. His work was to preach and teach at that place. He remained at Laurens one year, when he was called to the pastorate of Laura Street Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
In the fall of 1881 he was appointed principal of Stanton Institute, the largest colored college in the state of Florida. For a while he filled both the pastorate of the church and the principalship of Stanton, but finding it impracticable to hold both he finally resigned the pastorate, after having served the church for five years. He was principal of Stanton four years. Rev. F. J. Grimke, D. D., succeeded Dr. Culp as pastor of Laura Street Presbyterian Church.
Desiring to help his people in what is known as the "black belt" of Florida, he severed his connection with the Stanton Institute and went to Lake City and established the Florida Normal and Industrial Institute. There he prepared many young men and women to teach in the district schools. This school was operated under the General Congregational Association of Florida, of which Dr. Culp is a member.
In 1886 he accepted an appointment from the American Missionary Association to take charge of the church and school at Florence, Ala. He did not remain there long before the same board appointed him to the pastorate of the First Congregational Church in Nashville, Tenn. It was here that Dr. Culp became deeply concerned about the physical salvation of his race. To fit himself to do actual work along this line, he resigned his pastorate over the strongest protests of his members, and entered the Medical School of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor. After remaining in this college for some time, studying with the avidity and success of former years, he left and entered the Ohio Medical College, where he could enjoy the advantages of the study of the superior hospital facilities. Here he graduated with honors in 1891, and again came South, locating in Augusta, Ga.
Shortly after his arrival in Augusta, Dr. Culp having demonstrated his high capabilities and fitness, was elected by the City Council to be superintendent and resident physician of the Freedmen's Hospital in that city. This position was coveted by several white physicians, hence the election of Dr. Culp created no small stir. The excitement was great for some time. Finally it became apparent that to continue to hold this position would be hazardous in a number of ways, and upon the advice of his wife and friends Dr. Culp resigned, after serving one year.
Afterwards he built up an excellent practice of medicine in the city of Augusta, but owing to the fast failing health of his family he moved to Palatka, Fla., and after two years of successful practice he moved to Jacksonville to give his children, a promising girl and boy, the advantages of the schools.
After remaining in Jacksonville for about seven years, Dr. Culp yielded to the entreaties of the people of Palatka and returned to that city, where he now is, having won the fullest confidence of the people as a successful physician.
Dr. Culp married Mrs. Mary Emily Jefferson, of Jacksonville, in 1884. She was at that time a prominent teacher in the public schools of that city. His union has been blessed with two children, a girl, Charlotte Marilla, fourteen years old, and Julian McKenzie, twelve years old.
Dr. and Mrs. Culp are both profoundly interested in the education of these children, hoping to fit them to be useful to their race.
Dr. Culp is classed as a thorough race man. Freed from the monstrous visions which many delight to parade as arguments, he abides by a strong faith in the destiny of the valuable elements of his race. That his people are destined to reach a high point in civilization has been his private conviction for years, not being very free, however, to say that this will be attained in America.
Dr. Culp also seriously believes that if the race problem is ever solved in this country, it will be done by the combined efforts of the intelligent elements of both races. His great interest in the physical salvation of his race has moved him to both lecture extensively and write books and pamphlets on health topics during the past seven years. Notable among these are his books on smallpox and vaccination, consumption, etc., all of which have done good among the people whose means of information on the proper care of health are the poorest.
Dr. Culp has good standing with the editors of the leading magazines. By these he has been invited repeatedly to write articles on the Race Problem. This invitation he has accepted more than once, and when he writes, he displays a degree of literary ability that is striking. His purpose in compiling and editing this book is but one of the several great plans he has in reserve to publicly demonstrate what he regards as actual service for the inspiration of his day and generation.
TWENTIETH CENTURY NEGRO LITERATURE.
DID THE AMERICAN NEGRO MAKE, IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, ACHIEVEMENTS ALONG THE LINES OF WEALTH, MORALITY, EDUCATION, ETC., COMMENSURATE WITH HIS OPPORTUNITIES? IF SO, WHAT ACHIEVEMENTS DID HE MAKE?
BY MARY B. TALBERT.
MRS. MARY B. TALBERT.
Mary Burnett Talbert was born at Oberlin, Ohio, in 1866, her father's family having gone there from Chapel Hill, N. C. She is descended on her maternal side from Richard Nichols, who compelled Peter Stuyvesant to surrender New Amsterdam and who for a short while was Governor of the State of New York.
She graduated at the early age of sixteen from the Oberlin High School, and through the generosity of Ex-President James H. Fairchild was enabled to attend Oberlin College.
When applying for admission to the class in trigonometry, the instructor doubtfully admitted her, as so many of the High School pupils had found the subject very hard and preferred a review of other mathematics. She entered the class, however, on trial, and made a term's record of 5 per cent, with an examination of 5.5 per cent, 6 per cent being the highest mark for lessons in college.
During the next term she entered the class of mechanics, and made a perfect record for term's work and examination.
While attending school she was well liked by her classmates, being made Treasurer of Aeolian, one of the two college societies for young women, and was also one of six representatives chosen for Class Day Exercises. She was given the place of honor upon the programme, and recited an original poem, "The Lament of the Old College Bell, Once First, Now Second."
Mrs. Talbert graduated from Oberlin at the early age of nineteen, being the only colored member of her class after the withdrawal of the late Lieutenant John Alexander.
She started out in life equipped not only with a great love of learning but with all the encouragement which made it possible for her to follow the inclinations of her mind.
In 1886 she accepted a position in Bethel University, Little Rock, Ark.
Some women make themselves teachers, but Mrs. Talbert was a born teacher. The late Professor John M. Ellis, in writing of her, said: "She is a lady of Christian character and pleasing address. As a student she has an excellent record and standing in her class, showing good abilities and industry and fidelity in her work. She has the qualities natural and acquired to make a superior teacher."
In January, 1887, she was elected Assistant Principal of the Little Rock High School, the highest position held by any woman in the State of Arkansas, and the only colored woman who has ever held the position. Mrs. Talbert resigned her place after her marriage to Mr. William H. Talbert, one of Buffalo's leading colored young men, and was urged after marriage to reconsider her resignation and take up her work again.
Leading educators and literary men, such as Charles Dudley Warner, Samuel A. Greene of Boston, L. S. Holden of St. Louis, and others who visited her classes, and, having seen them at work, registered their names with written comments.
Professor Albert A. Wright of Oberlin writes as follows: "Mary Burnett received her education in the public schools and college of this place, where her parents have resided for many years. She has won the respect and approval of her teachers by her successful accomplishments of the tasks set before her." Mrs. Talbert received the degree granted to students of the Literary Course in 1894, and is a member of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, being the only colored woman in the city of Buffalo eligible.
As the hand upon the dial of the nineteenth, century clock pointed to its last figure, it showed that the American Negro had ceased to be a thing, a commodity that could be bought and sold, a mere animal; but was indeed a human being possessing all the qualities of mind and heart that belong to the rest of mankind, capable of receiving education and imparting it to his fellow man, able to think, act, feel, and develop those intellectual and moral qualities, such as characterize mankind generally.
Let us glance at the intellectual Negro and see if he has made any progress commensurate with his opportunities during the nineteenth century.
Intuitively we turn to that great historian of our race—who for seven years worked with such care and zeal to write a thoroughly trustworthy history of the American Negro, and to-day stands as our first and greatest historian—George W. Williams. In prefacing his second volume, he says: "I have tracked my bleeding countrymen through widely scattered documents of American history; I have listened to their groans, their clanking chains, and melting prayers, until the woes of a race and the agonies of centuries seem to crowd upon my soul as a bitter reality. Many pages of this history have been blistered with my tears; and although having lived but a little more than a generation my mind feels as if it were cycles old.
"A short time ago the schools of the entire North were shut in his face; and the few separate schools accorded him were given grudgingly. They were usually held in the lecture room of some colored church or thrust off to one side in a portion of the city or town toward which aristocratic ambition would never turn. These schools were generally poorly equipped; and the teachers were either colored persons whose opportunities of securing an education had been poor, or white persons whose mental qualifications would not encourage them to make an honest living among their own race."
It will not be necessary to enumerate the various insults and discouragements which faced the noble pioneers of our race who, seeing their fellow men denied the opportunities and privileges of securing an education, scorned by the press and pulpit, in public and private gatherings for their ignorance, set about to lift the Negro from his low social and mental condition.
The Negro turned his attention to the education of himself and his children; schools were commenced, churches organized, and a new era of self-culture and general improvement began.
In Boston we see Thomas Paul, Leonard A. Grimes, John T. Raymond, Robert Morris and John V. DeGrasse.
In 1854 John V. DeGrasse was admitted to the Massachusetts Medical Society, being the first instance of such an honor being conferred upon a colored man in this country.
In New York we find Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, Dr. Charles B. Ray, Charles L. Reason and Jacob Day doing what they could to elevate the Negro and place him on a higher intellectual plane.
Philadelphia also added her quota to the list of noble men who were striving to show to the world that the American Negro, although enslaved, was a human being. We find such men as Robert Purvis, William Still and Stephen Smith.
In Western Pennsylvania and New York were John Peck, John B. Vashon and Peyton Harris and all through the North, each state held colored men who were anxious to do what they could to elevate the race, and it seems as if God gave each one a special duty to perform, which combined, made one mighty stimulus to the young colored youth to do what he could to build up the Negro race.
Do you ask if the Negro has advanced intellectually, I need only to refer you to the showing made by the men and women of our race to-day. The works of Frederick Douglass, John M. Langston, Blanche K. Bruce, J. C. Price, are living testimonials of what the Negro accomplished a generation ago.
When we consider the fact that the Negro was of such import that laws were made making it a misdemeanor to educate the Negro, both before and after the Civil War; when we consider the Greek text books of Professor Scarborough of Wilberforce used by one of the oldest Colleges in America; when we consider the Presidents and Principals of various Negro schools in our country, such as Livingston, N. C.; Spellman Seminary, Atlanta, Ga.; Wilberforce, Ohio; Virginia Normal and Collegiate; Shaw University; when we consider the place that our honored clergy occupy among the intellectual men of the world; when we consider the work of Booker T. Washington, we must admit that the love of knowledge seems to be intuitive. No people ever learned more in so short a time.
Every year since the Civil War the American Negro has been taking on better and purer traits of character.
The Negro of to-day is materially different from the Negro of yesterday. He delights in the education of his children, and from every section of our Southland come letters asking for competent colored teachers and educated ministers. The young man and woman who educate themselves in our Northern colleges and normal schools do not always have to turn their attention to the far South to seek fields of labor, but in an honest competition, gain places of honor and trust in the North.
Think of the scores of young colored women all over our Northern states teaching the "young idea how to shoot," and not a black face in the class. We find colored women with large classes of white pupils in St. Paul, Minn.; Chicago, Ill.; Detroit, Mich.; Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, N. Y.; and other Northern cities. "From the state of semi-civilization," says Williams, "in which he cared only for the comforts of the present, his desires and wants have swept outward and upward into the years to come and toward the Mysterious Future."
Several hundred weekly newspapers, a dozen monthly magazines, conducted by Negroes, are feeding the mind of the race, binding communities together by the cords of common interest and racial sympathy. The conditions around which the Negro was surrounded years ago have disappeared and the Negro is as proud of his own society as the whites are of theirs. Sociological study and laws have given to our present generation the will power and tenacity to establish and maintain a social standing equal with any of the races of the world. Without a question of doubt he has shown moral qualities far in advance of those which dominated in slave history and under which he was constantly subjected.
Has the Negro made any achievements along the lines of wealth? needs only a review of statistics to answer the above question, for where once was the rude cabin, and one-room hut, we now see the beautiful homes with well kept stock and farm, hygienic stables as well as artistic lawns. The first experiment the general masses of negroes had in the saving of money was under that institution known as "The Freedman's Saving and Trust Company." The institution started out under the most favorable auspices. The depositors numbered among its rank and file, day laborers, farmers, mechanics, house-servants, barbers and washerwomen; thus showing to the entire country that the emancipated Negro was not only working but by industry and economy was saving his earnings. We know too well of the misplaced confidence in that bank and how after a short time the bank failed and thousands of colored men and women lost their earnings. During the brief period of its existence $57,000,000 were deposited. Although the Freedman's Bank caused many a colored person to shrink from any banking institution, yet some were hopeful and again began to save money. Throughout the entire South we find scores of colored men who have excellent farms, elegant homes and small fortunes.
"In Baltimore a company of colored men own a ship-dock and transact a large business. Some of the largest orange plantations in Florida are owned by colored men. On most of the plantations, and in many of the large towns and cities colored mechanics are quite numerous."
The total amount of property owned by the colored people in all the states is rated at over $400,000,000.
In the North, East and West we see many colored men with handsome estates run high into the hundred thousands. Almost every large city and town will show among her population a Negro here and there whose wealth is rated between five and ten thousand dollars or more.
Rev. A. G. Davis of Raleigh, N. C., in an address at the North Carolina Agricultural Fair, said, "Scan, if you will, the long line of eight million Negroes as they march slowly but surely up the road of progress, and you will find in her ranks such men as Granville T. Woods, of Ohio, the electrician, mechanical engineer, manufacturer of telephones, telegraph and electrical instruments; William Still, of Philadelphia, the coal dealer; Henry Tanner, the artist; John W. Terry, foreman of the iron and fitting department of the Chicago West Division Street Car Company; J. D. Baltimore, engineer, machinist, and inventor, of Washington, D. C.; Wiley Jones, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the owner of a street car railroad, race track and park; Richard Hancock, foreman of the pattern shops of the Eagle Works and Manufacturing Company, and draughtsman; John Beack, the inventor, whose inventions are worth tens of thousands of dollars; W. C. Atwood, the lumber merchant and capitalist."
And now in review let me add that the social conditions of the American Negro are such that he has shown to the world his aptitude for study and general improvement.
Before character, education and wealth, all barriers will melt, and these are necessary to develop the growth of the race.
From abject serfdom and pauperism he has risen to a plane far above the masses of any race of people.
By his industry and frugality he has made himself master of any situation into which he has been placed, and none will deny that his achievements along all lines have been commensurate with his opportunities.
DID THE AMERICAN NEGRO MAKE, IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, ACHIEVEMENTS ALONG THE LINES OF WEALTH, MORALITY, EDUCATION, ETC., COMMENSURATE WITH HIS OPPORTUNITIES? IF SO, WHAT ACHIEVEMENTS DID HE MAKE?
BY JOSEPHINE SILONE YATES.
MRS. JOSEPHINE SILONE YATES.
Mrs. Josephine Yates, youngest daughter of Alexander and Parthenia Reeve-Silone, was born in Mattiluck, Suffolk County, N. Y., where her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were long and favorably known as individuals of sterling worth, morally, intellectually and physically speaking. On the maternal side Mrs. Yates is a niece of the Rev. J. B. Reeve, D. D., of Philadelphia.
Mrs. Silone, a woman of education and great refinement of character, began the work of educating this daughter in her quiet, Christian home, and both parents hoping that she might develop into a useful woman spared no pains in endeavoring to secure for her the education the child very early showed a desire to obtain; and with this end in view she was sent to Newport, R. I., in her fourteenth year, having already spent one year at the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia, and Mrs. Coppin, then Miss Fannie Jackson, with her vigorous intellect, aided the inspiration the mother had begun. In 1877 Miss Silone graduated as valedictorian of a large class from Rogers High School of Newport; and although the only Colored member of her class, and the first graduate of color, invariably she was treated with the utmost courtesy by teachers, scholars and such members of the School Board as Thomas Wentworth Higginson, T. Coggeshall, and others.
Two years later she graduated from the Rhode Island State Normal School in Providence, and soon began her life work as a teacher. During the eight years spent in Lincoln Institute, Jefferson City, Mo., she had charge of the Department of Natural Science, and was the first woman to be elected to a professorship in that institution.
In 1889 Miss Silone was married to Prof. W. W. Yates, principal of Phillips School, Kansas City, Mo., and removed to that city, where since she has been engaged in either public or private school work.
From the age of nine years she has been writing for the press, and her articles have appeared in many leading periodicals—for a long time under the signature "R. K. Potter." Mrs. Yates has long been a zealous club worker and is well known as a lecturer East and West. She was one of the organizers and the first President of the Kansas City Woman's League; and in the summer of 1901 was elected President of the National Association of Colored Women, which organization she had already served as Treasurer for a period of four years.
Mrs. Yates is the mother of two children, whose education she carefully superintends, and is ever ready to comfort the sick or to stop her round of duties to give counsel or render help along any line possible to the many young people and others who seek her door.
The measure of the success of a race is the depths from which it has come, and the condition under which it has developed. To know what the Negro actually accomplished in the nineteenth century, one must know something of his life and habitat previous to the year 1619, when against his will or wish, he was brought to the Virginian coast; must also know his life as a slave, and his opportunities since emancipation.
History shows that the Negroes brought from Africa to this country to be sold into slavery were at the time in a more or less primitive stage of uncivilized life; while the methods used to capture and transport them to this "land of the free and home of the brave," recently revived through the vivid pen pictures and other illustrations running in serial form in Scribner's, Pearson's and other reliable periodicals (accounts which bear the impress of truth, and are hardly liable to the charge of having been written within too close range of time and space, or vice versa, to be strictly truthful), indicate the demoralizing and debasing effects of the "system" from its initial period, this followed up by the blighting influences of slave life, even under the most favorable conditions, for nearly two hundred and fifty years, left upon Negro life and character just the traits it would have left upon any other people subjected to similar conditions for the same length of time.
It may be said, and with truth, that slavery gave to the Negro some of the arts of civilized life; but it must be added, that, denying him the inalienable rights of manhood, denying him the right to the product of his labor, it left him no noble incentive to labor at these arts, and thus tended to render him improvident, careless, shiftless, in short, to demoralize his entire nature.
It is further stated that the system gave him Christianity. Did it give him piety? Could it give him morality in the highest sense of these terms?
Constantine could march the refractory Saxons to the banks of a stream and give them their option between Christianity and the sword, but the haughty monarch soon found that a religion forced in this peremptory and wholesale fashion did not change the moral nature of the soldier; and we submit that Christianity, language, and the arts of civilized life, absorbed amidst the debasing influences of a cruel and infamous bondage could not be productive of a harmonious development of body, mind and soul; of strong moral and intellectual fiber; or of ideas of the dignity of labor; of habits of thrift, economy, the careful expenditure of time and money; or knowledge of the intimate relationship of these two great factors in the process of civilization. These are results attained only where the rights of manhood and womanhood are acknowledged and respected. The lack of these results or basic impulses to advancement represent defects in the Negro character, preventing a more rapid development in the nineteenth century and directly traceable to his enslaved state; and the origin or cause, the growth and subsequent development of these, and other defects, must be taken into consideration before the Negro is stamped as the greatest criminal on earth, wholly irredeemable; before he is condemned in wholesale manner for not having made more rapid strides toward advanced civilization in little more than one generation of freedom. Indeed, it speaks well for the intrinsic merit of the race, that although public opinion freely admits that the natural outcome of bondage is a cowardly, thieving, brutal, or abject specimen of humanity, even in the darkest hours of slavery, there were many, many, high-born souls who, if necessary, at the price of life itself, maintained their integrity, rose superior to their surroundings, taught these same lofty sentiments to others.
Emancipation and certain constitutional amendments brought freedom to the material body of the erstwhile slave, but the soul, the higher self, could not be so easily freed from the evils that slavery had fastened upon it through centuries of debasement; and because of this soul degradation the Negro, no less than the South, needed to be physically, mentally and morally reconstructed.
Reconstruction, the eradication of former characteristics, the growth and development of new and more favorable ones, is with any race the work of time. Generations must pass, and still it need not be expected that the process will be full and complete; meanwhile, what measure of success is the Negro achieving? Were his achievements in the nineteenth century, educationally, morally, financially and otherwise at all commensurate with his opportunities?
The year 1863 saw four million Negroes come forth from a state of cruel bondage with little of this world's goods that constitute capital; with few of those incentives to labor that universally are requisites to the full and free development of labor and capital. The knowledge the Negro had of agriculture, of domestic life, and in some cases, his high-grade mechanical skill, gave him something of a vantage ground, but for nearly two hundred and fifty years he had been so "worked" that it would be expecting too much to demand that he at once comprehend the true dignity of labor. Nor was it to be expected that to his untutored mind freedom and work were terms to be intimately associated. Then there was a certain amount of constitutional inertia to be overcome, a natural heritage of the native of a tropical or semi-tropical climate, but quite incompatible with the fierce competition of American civilization, or with the material conditions of a people who owned in the entire country forty years ago, only a few thousand dollars; and among whom education was limited to the favored few whose previous estate either of freedom, or by other propitious circumstance, had rendered its acquisition possible. Organizations for business enterprise or any purpose of reform and advancement, outside of the Northern cities, was practically unknown.
Evidently one of the first things to be done by which the Negro could be reconstructed and become an intelligent member of society was to educate him; teach him to provide for himself; making him more provident and painstaking; teaching him self-reliance and self-control; teaching him the value of time, of money, and the intimate relationship of the two. Certainly not a light task. These lessons could only be learned in the practical school of experience, then, not in a day. And what has been accomplished? Forty years ago there was not in the entire Southland a single Negro school; before the close of the nineteenth century there were twenty thousand Negro school houses, thirty thousand Negro teachers, and three million Negro school children happily wending their way to the "Pierian Spring."
Under the "system," generally speaking, it had been considered a crime to teach the Negro to read or write; and the census of 1870 shows that only two-tenths of all the Negroes of the United States, over ten years of age, could write. Ten years later, the proportion had increased to three-tenths of the whole number; while in 1890 only a generation after emancipation, forty-three per cent of those ten years and over were able to read and write; this proportion before the close of the century reached forty-five per cent.
To wipe out forty-five per cent of illiteracy in less than forty years; to find millions of children in the common schools; to find twenty thousand Negroes learning trades under the soul inspiring banner of free labor; to find other thousands successfully operating many commercial enterprises; among these, several banks, one cotton mill, and one silk mill; to find Negroes performing four-fifths of the free labor of the South, thus becoming a strong industrial factor of the section is to furnish proof of achievements in the nineteenth century of which we need not be ashamed; and considering the restrictions of labor unions, the fields or classes of labor from which the Negro is practically barred regardless of section, quite commensurate with the opportunities afforded him during the period in question.
Within forty years the system of instruction in the American schools has undergone some radical changes for the better; and if the system in vogue at the beginning of this period, with the study of the classics as the pivotal point, did not fit the practical needs of the average Anglo-Saxon youth, with his heritage of centuries of culture, it is not strange if some blunders were made in attempting to shape this same classical education into a working basis for a people emerging from a state of bondage in which to impart even the elements of education, was considered a crime, generally speaking.
Industrial, manual, or technical training had not, forty years ago, taken firm hold upon the educational system, and school courses for Negroes were planned after classical models, perhaps better suited in many instances for students of a more advanced mentality and civilization; for humanity at large can scarcely hope to escape the slow and inevitable stages and processes of evolution. Individual genius, however, bound by no law, may leap and bound from stage to stage; and we point with pride to Negroes whose classic education in the early decades of freedom served not only to prove their own individual ability, but the capacity of the race for, and susceptibility to, a high degree of culture at a time when such demonstration was a prime necessity.
We do not consider that any mistake was made in at once providing for the classical or higher education of those who were mentally able to receive it, and as brilliant achievements of the nineteenth century from an educational standpoint, we refer with a keen sense of gratification to the two thousand five hundred and twenty-five or more college graduates who are helping to raise the standard of the race from all points of view; to the real genius of the race that has given us Douglass, Langston, Bruce, Washington, Tanner, Scarborough, Page, Grisham, Miller, Dubois, Wright, Bowen, Crogman, Johnson, Dunbar, Chestnutt and others too numerous to mention, whose names should be enshrined in the hearts of present and future generations; to the forty thousand Negro students pursuing courses in higher institutions of learning; to the twelve thousand pursuing classical courses; to the one hundred and twenty thousand taking scientific courses; to the one hundred and fifty-six institutions for the higher education of Negroes; to the two thousand practicing physicians; to the three hundred newspapers and the five hundred books written and published by Negroes; to a gradually increasing discrimination in all those matters of taste and form which mark the social status of a people, and give to the individual, or the mass, the, perhaps, indefinable, but at the same time, distinctive, stamp of culture.
These achievements, alone, within less than forty years of freedom, serve to demonstrate our fitness for civilization, and also, that as the years pass there is a still greater necessity for Negroes who possess a broad, a liberal, a well balanced education; and at the same time a similar need for Negroes possessing shrewd, business ability; a high degree of mechanical skill; extensive knowledge of industrial arts and sciences, and of profitably invested capital.
From the early years of freedom a few leaders, as at Hampton, realized, that the great mass of Negroes needed first of all experimental knowledge of the dignity of labor such as could never result from labor performed under the conditions of slavery; that they needed to know more of skilled labor in order to be able to meet and enter the fierce competition of American industrial life, or even to live upon the plane of American civilization; and in spite of adverse criticism, these leaders proceeded to establish industrial and manual training schools for the Negro, with such elementary training as from their point of view seemed most beneficial. That the methods chosen have been rich in results, it is only necessary to know something of the deep and extensive influence of Hampton, Tuskegee, Normal, and other industrial schools, in directly, or indirectly, improving the environment and daily life of the masses.
The insidious and ultimate effect of slavery upon the normal and spiritual nature of the enslaved is to blunt, to entirely efface the finer instincts and sensibilities, to take away those germs of manhood and womanhood that distinguish the lowest savage from the beasts of the field. Continue this soul-debasement for centuries, deny the slave the right to home, the right to family—ties which universally prove the greatest stimulus to courage, patriotism, morality, civilization—then declare the emancipated slave a brute, for whom education does nothing, because in little more than a generation he has not wiped out all of the degradation that the conditions of generations instilled and intensified!
Criminologists, discussing the apparent increase of crime in this country, assert that this apparent increase is largely due to the more complete records kept of criminals within the last forty years than formerly, and the better facilities for ferreting out crime and for subjecting offenders to the penalty of the law; and it may be added, in the Negro's case, as recently stated by a Kansas City judge, a native of Georgia, noted for his unprejudiced views and fair dealing, "It takes less evidence to convict a Negro than it does a white man; and a longer term in the penitentiary will be given a Negro for the same offense than will be given a white offender. That is why I have been so frequently compelled to cut down the sentence of Negroes." The entire history of the chain-gang system corroborates these statements—a system that helps to increase the reported number of criminals; and although race riots, lynchings and massacres may seem to indicate the opposite to the uninitiated, the Negro is not a lawless element of society. In the United States a natural restlessness has possessed him since emancipation, and it requires time to work out and adjust conditions under which he can develop normally from the standpoint of morality as well as from other points of view. Meanwhile, the prime necessity to raise the moral status is the development and upbuilding of that which in its highest embodiment, was denied him in the days of bondage—the home. We need homes, homes, homes, where intelligence and morality rule. And what was accomplished in this line in the nineteenth century? From owning comparatively few homes forty years ago, the Negro advanced before the close of the century to the position of occupying one million five hundred thousand farms and homes; and of owning two hundred and seventy-five thousand of these; many of them, as shown by views, forming a part of the exhibit at the Paris Exposition and elsewhere, compare favorably with the homes of any people.
As to the intelligence and morality that constitute the environment of the great mass of these homes owned by Negroes, the statistics of education and of crime show that Negro criminals do not, as a rule, come from the refined and educated classes, but from the most illiterate, the stupid, and the besotted element; from the class that has not been reached by the moral side of education, if at all. Says the compiler of the eleventh census: "Of juvenile criminals the smallest ratio is found among Negroes." This speaks well for the general atmosphere of the home life of our youth; while the bravery displayed by the colored man in every war of American independence has demonstrated his ability to risk life fearlessly "in defense of a country in which too many states permit his exclusion from the rights of citizenship." Such sacrifice presupposes a moral ideal of the highest type.
The position of the women of the race, always an index to the real progress of a people, in spite of slanderous attacks from unscrupulous members of her own and other races, is gradually improving, and was materially aided and abetted by the liberal ideas that especially obtained in the latter half of the century with reference to the development of women—irrespective of race or color—along the line of education, the professions, the industrial arts, etc.
As to the advancement of the Negro from a financial standpoint, it is possible that his achievements during the period in question might have been greater; yet both from within and without there have been many hindrances to overcome in the matter of accumulating wealth.
One of the greatest crimes of the slave system was that in practically denying to the slave the right to the product of his labor or any part thereof; it, to all intents and purposes destroyed his acquisitive faculty; thus he had small incentive to labor when free; and as the years went by, accumulated little in the shape of capital; showed little interest in profitable investment of his savings, if he were so fortunate as to have any. The great number of secret orders, and other schemes for the unwary, the main object of which apparently was to "bury the people" with great pomp and show, drained his pockets of most of the surplus change.
The Freedmen's Bureau sought to establish Negroes as peasant proprietors of the soil on the farms and plantations of the stricken South, and dreams of "forty acres and a mule" for a long time possessed the more ambitious only, in many instances, to meet a rude awakening; but notwithstanding the fact that the system of renting land, combined with the credit system of obtaining the necessities of life while waiting for the production and sale of the crop, is not conducive to the ownership of land on the part of the tenant; notwithstanding the very natural tendency on the part of the Negro to disassociate ideas of freedom and of tilling the soil, added to a desire to segregate in large cities in place of branching out to the sparsely settled districts of the great West and Northwest, there to take up rich farming lands and by a pioneer life to mend his fortunes in company with the peasants of other nations who are thus acquiring a firm foothold and a competence for their descendants; we repeat—in spite of the facts mentioned—before the close of the century the Negro had accumulated farms and homes valued in the neighborhood of seven hundred and fifty million dollars; personal property valued at one hundred and seventy millions; and had raised eleven millions for educational purposes. From these, and such other statistics as are available, relative to the achievements of the Negro in the United States during the nineteenth century, bearing in mind our first proposition—the measure of the success of a people is the depths from which it has come—we conclude that educationally, morally, financially, the Negro has accomplished by means of the opportunities at his command about all that could be expected of him or any other race under similar conditions.
That the Negro has made mistakes goes without saying. All races as well as all individuals have made them, but—"Let the dead past bury its dead."
The great problem confronting this and future generations is and will be, how to surpass or even equal our ancestors in bringing about results that make for the upbuilding of sterling character; how with our superior advantages to make the second forty years of freedom and the entire future life proportionally worthy of honorable mention.
"Build to-day, then strong and sure, With a firm and ample base, And ascending and secure Shall to-morrow find its place. Thus alone can we attain To those turrets, where the eye Sees the world as one vast plain, And one boundless reach of sky."
DID THE AMERICAN NEGRO MAKE, IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, ACHIEVEMENTS ALONG THE LINES OF WEALTH, MORALITY, EDUCATION, ETC., COMMENSURATE WITH HIS OPPORTUNITIES? IF SO, WHAT ACHIEVEMENTS DID HE MAKE?
BY REV. J. W. E. BOWEN, D. D.
J. W. E. BOWEN, A. M., PH. D., D. D.
Dr. John Wesley Edward Bowen was born in New Orleans. His father, Edward Bowen, went to New Orleans from Washington, D. C. He was a free man, a boss carpenter and builder by trade, and able to read, write and cipher. He was highly esteemed, was prosperous in business, accumulated some money and lived in comfort. Dr. Bowen's mother, Rose Bowen, he says, was the grand-daughter of an African Princess of the Jolloffer tribe, on the west coast of Africa. When he was three years old his father bought him and his mother out of slavery. When he was thirteen he went to the preparatory school of New Orleans University for colored people, established after the war by the Methodist Episcopal church. When he was seventeen he entered the University proper, and five years later he was graduated with the degree of A. B. At the age of seventeen he was converted in a Methodist revival meeting, and nine months later was licensed as a local preacher, and has been preaching ever since.
Soon after his graduation Dr. Bowen became Professor of Latin and Greek in the Central Tennessee College, at Nashville, in which position he remained for four years. In 1882 he resigned his professorship and entered Boston University, where he studied four years, taking the degree of B. D. in 1885; and the degree of Ph. D. in 1887 from the school of all sciences of Boston University. He also did special advanced work in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic and German, and in Metaphysics and Psychology.
He was the first colored man in the Methodist church to take the degree of Ph. D. and the second colored man to take the degree in any university in this country.
Soon after leaving the university, Dr. Bowen joined the New England Methodist Conference, and was appointed pastor of the Revere Street Church. While in New England he also preached acceptably in many white churches—serving one for a month, and was asked to become their pastor after this period. After serving St. John's colored church in Newark three years, he became pastor of the Centennial Methodist Episcopal church in Baltimore, and at the same time professor of church history in the Morgan college for colored people in that city. During this pastorate he conducted a phenomenal revival in which there were 735 conversions.
Dr. Bowen next was the pastor of Asbury Methodist Episcopal church in Washington for three years, and at the same time Professor of Hebrew in Howard University for colored people in that city. He here acquired a national fame as a scholar, orator and thinker. During this pastorate he pursued the study of the Semitic languages in the school of correspondence of Dr. W. R. Harper, then at Yale University. When he resigned his positions at Washington, he became for one year a Field Secretary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal church, retaining his Washington residence.
Dr. Bowen was next elected Professor of Historical Theology in Gammon Theological Seminary for colored people at Atlanta, Ga., which position he still holds. In consequence of the resignation of the president, the Rev. Dr. Thierkield, he has been for several months the chairman of the faculty, and the executive officer of the institution. He is also the Secretary of the Stewart Foundation for Africa, a member of the American Negro Academy, and a member of the American Historical Association, which last society numbers among its members some of the most learned men in this and other countries. Dr. Bowen received the degree of A. M. from the University of New Orleans in 1886, and that of D. D. from Gammon Theological Seminary in 1892.
Amid all these engrossing occupations, Dr. Bowen has been a voluminous writer and an indefatigable lecturer. His publications include a volume of sermons and addresses, "Plain Talks to the Colored People of America," "Appeal to the King," "The Comparative Status of the Negro at the Close of the War and To-day," "The Struggle for Supremacy Between Church and State in the Middle Ages," and "The American and the African Negro." He has now ready for the press a volume of "University Addresses" and a volume of "Discussions in Philosophy and Theory;" also "The History of the Education of the Negro Race."
Dr. Bowen was voted for at the last General Conference for Bishop. He stood second on first ballot. His friends predict that he will be elected at the forthcoming General Conference.
Inference and conjecture are the stock methods of argument of the unintelligent or the superficially informed. Such indisposition or incapacity leads to erroneous conclusions. Nothing but an appeal to facts involving careful and painstaking labor and a wise sifting of facts, that myth and legend be eliminated, should claim the attention of thinking men. It must be confessed, however, that in any discussion that relates to the comparative status of the Negro over against his standing in slavery full and accurate data are lacking. The statistical science of to-day was unknown then, and it is next to the impossible to affirm positively the relative superiority or inferiority of present day growth over those of that day. This statement is not made to deny the truth of the immense stride of the latter times, but it is made as a reasonable off-set to those prejudicial and dogmatic declarations of the superior conditions of slavery over those of freedom. Dogmatism is the argument of the bigot. It is not wide of the truth, to say that the claims of certain writers that the Negro has retrograded physically, morally and socially, lacks the confirmation of veritable data. It is admitted that the modern diseases of civilized life have made inroads into his hardy nature, but the universal declaration of inferiority is not proved. It is also true that in isolated cases physicians of that day noted the comparative freedom of the blacks from the maladies of ennui and bacchanalian feastings, but no half-kept record of that day is before us to justify the statement that the Negro of to-day is superior to his mighty sire of ante-bellum fame that stood between the plow handles all day and danced or shouted all night. The increase of zymotic diseases is admitted, but there has been a corresponding increase of power in many lines that will more than counteract this baleful growth.
Again, over against this admission may be placed another statement of fact, not to minify the truth already alluded to, but to illustrate the futility of basing an entire argument upon one arm of a syllogism, viz.: the Negro's numerical growth since freedom sung in his ears, is a clear evidence of physical vitality. This growth has kept pace with the glowing prophecies of statisticians.
Let us subdivide the subject, that the facts may be grouped in a logical order. Let us study the growth of the race under three heads: Numerical growth, material growth, moral and social growth.
Growth in numbers is growth in power of resistance, and this is basal in the life of any people. If there be not found in a people a power to resist the forces of death and to reproduce itself by the natural laws of race increase, then such a people should not be counted in the struggle of races. In other words, race fecundity contains the germs of intellectual and national existence.
At the distance of forty years from slavery, the declarations of the early extinction of the Negro, under the conditions of freedom, are comical and absurd. It was affirmed with all the authority of divine prophecy that the Negro race could not exist under any other condition than slavery, and this concern became a basis for contending for his continued enslavement.
The unvarnished facts brought to light by cold mathematicians are now before us, and a few interesting and startling discoveries are placed before us. In the next place growth in material productions and the possession of the fruits of civilized life deserve attention.
The story of the burdens and disadvantages of the Negro at the beginning of his days of freedom has not yet been committed to paper. It will require a black writer to perform this deed. But it is within the limits of truth to affirm that history can furnish no burdens upon a race's shoulders parallel to those upon the shoulders of the untutored black man when he was shot out of the mouth of the cannon into freedom's arena. A Hindoo poet, of English blood, has written a beautiful poem upon the "White Man's Burden," but it is poetry. "The Black Man's Burden" is a burden that rests upon his heart, and, like the deepest feelings of the human heart, it cannot be reduced to cold type. Thomas Nelson Page describes the untoward beginnings of the race:
"No other people ever had more disadvantages to contend with on their issue into freedom. They were seduced, deceived, misled. Their habits of industry were destroyed, and they were fooled into believing that they could be legislated into immediate equality with a race that, without mentioning superiority of ability and education, had a thousand years' start of them. They were made to believe that their only salvation lay in aligning themselves against the other race, and following blindly the adventurers who came to lead them to a new promised land. It is no wonder that they committed great blunders and great excesses. For nearly a generation they have been pushed along the wrong road. But now, in place of political leaders, who were simply firebrands, is arising a new class of leaders, which, with a wider horizon, a deeper sagacity and a truer patriotism, are endeavoring to establish a foundation of morality, industry and knowledge, and to build upon them a race that shall be capable of availing itself of every opportunity that the future may present, and worthy of whatever fortune it may bring."
Slavery did not teach him economy; on the contrary, it taught him profligacy, and, where he learned to economize, it was in spite of the system. His wastefulness is not yet a thing of the past, but he has made commendable advance in learning how to save. What are the facts? In the state of Georgia alone, the Negro has dug out of the hills more than $30,000,000 of taxable property. This amount represents more than five times the entire wealth of all the Negroes of the United States, North and South, bond and free, taxable and personal, at the birth of freedom. But when we collect together the wealth of the entire race, the figures read like romance.
Some facts for reflection:
Four millions of slaves were valued at $3,500,000,000. Negroes own 87 per cent of their homes in fee simple; 89 per cent of their farms are unencumbered.
They own, Banks 3 Magazines 5 Newspapers 400
Value of Libraries $ 500,000 Drug stores 500,000 School property 20,000,000 Church property 42,000,000 160,000 farms 400,000,000 150,000 homes 350,000,000 Personal property 200,000,000
With these facts undisputed, the question, Has the Negro kept pace with his opportunities? contains its own affirmative answer. It is an incomparable achievement that the Negro should have accumulated and saved this vast amount of wealth within the short space of forty years.
In the social and intellectual life the Negro has surpassed all hopes. There can be furnished by the race a thoroughly equipped man for any chair of learning for a university. He began with the blue-back spelling book and has steadily grown in learning and power until he now occupies a respectable position in the literary world.
But the pivotal point that is determinative in this discussion, and that which is considered the conclusion of the whole matter, is the moral and social question, as well as the domestic virtues of which woman is the queen. The accumulation of property, and the achievements in the world of letters, admirable as they are in themselves, and for purposes of civilization, are secondary and valueless in the final analysis, if there is no corresponding moral development and social power. The evolution of the family, based upon monogamy, is one of the chief glories of Christianity over against the libertinism and polygamous practices of paganism.
Speaking of the women of our race, we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. With Dr. Crummell, "In her girlhood all the delicate tenderness of her sex has been rudely outraged. In the field, in the rude cabin, in the press-room and in the factory, she was thrown into the companionship of coarse and ignorant men. No chance was given her for delicate reserve or tender modesty. From her girlhood she was the doomed victim of the grossest passions. All the virtues of her sex were utterly ignored. If the instinct of chastity asserted itself, then she had to fight like a tigress for the ownership and possession of her own person, and oftentimes had to suffer pains and lacerations for her virtuous self assertion. When she reached maturity all the tender instincts of her womanhood were ruthlessly violated. At the age of marriage, always prematurely anticipated under slavery, she was mated as the stock of the plantation were mated, not to be the companion of a loved and chosen husband, but to be the breeder of human cattle for the field or auction block."
Has this condition of affairs changed? I answer unequivocally, yea, a thousand times, yea. A negative answer would be the quintessence of ignorance. From a recent careful survey of every Southern state through nearly one hundred trusty observers, I have the testimony that the young women are pure in large numbers, and are rapidly increasing in an intense desire and determination to preserve themselves chaste and pure from the lustful approaches of the sinner, and that the number of legally and lovingly married families, purely preserved in the domestic and social virtues among husbands and wives, sons and daughters, is so far beyond the days of slavery that a comparison would minify the difference.
The marvel is, that the Negro has sufficient moral vitality left to cut his way through the whirlpool of licentiousness to the solid rock of Christian character. From the harem life of promiscuous and unnameable sins of slavery, some of which were the natural and fatal growth of pagan vices, others the fruit of prostitution, to the making of one clean, beautiful, noble and divine family and home, covers a period of intense, moral, spiritual and intellectual development, more significant than the geologic transformation of ages. Be it known that this one family can be duplicated by a hundred thousand and more.
The moral and social darkness has not been increased either in quality or intensity. The splendid results of philanthropic effort have served only as a small tallow candle which has been brought into the darkness of this Egyptian night, and the darkness has thickened relatively only because the light has been brought in. That faint and flickering light reveals how great the darkness has been, and is. Some think that the shadows are lengthening into eternal night for the Negro, but that flickering light within has upon it the breath of God which will some day fan it into the white and penetrating blazes of the electro-carbon searchlight, that shall chase away the curse of slavery. Thus, from every point of view, the growth of the Negro has more than kept pace with his opportunities.