Изображения страниц

this mighty statesman.

This colossal loss was as great to the black man as to the white, the greater to the South than to the North; for it was not only in accord with the longings of the great soul of Lincoln, but likewise his expressed desire and purpose, to calm the storm and smooth the paths of amity and industry for the two races, so widely separated by nature, but who were to work out their own salvation, side by side but separate, throughout the great Southland, which lay in waste and ruin at the feet of the great President.

When Johnson came into the office made vacant by the death of his superior officer, he attempted to execute the policies which he found so wisely planned, but the distracted Congress usurped the authority and entered upon that unreasoned programme of folly and retaliation.

The entire responsibility of solving the ugly problem then devolved upon the dominant Anglo-Saxon race of the South.



The Beginning of the End

T IS not the purpose of this work to offer such a solution of the Negro problem as we would like to see consummated, but to discern what

under the law of causation-is most likely to come of it. Our method of finding out what all passed ages and influences have foreordained, in this particular instance, is the careful consideration of all available evidence, or the application of the principle of induction and deduction. As we have stated in substance in one of the early chapters there would be no limit to human knowledge if it were possible to know perfectly all antecedent causes and the innumerable relations of their combinations and effects. This, however, is by no means possible, even in this isolated case; but we do entertain a strong belief that we can and do know enough— barring the intervention of some very great and totally unknown and unknowable future cause or influence to presage the passing of the Negro race question as a pressing National sociological riddle.

Some have said that miscegenation with a more or less complete amalgamation is the only possible solution of the unique condition of two separate races -both in great numbers-occupying the same territory at the same time. Others have held that the mutual race hatred and conflict of interests would result in the violent extermination of the weaker by the stronger. Still others there are who believe that the wholesale deportation and colonization must,

and will, sooner or later, be resorted to by the whites through the national government. While others yet believe that segregation in our midst-just as we have done the Amerind-is the tendency of the times.

All such propositions for one cause or another seem to us alike ill founded; and in due season each of these theories will be taken up and considered.

As a preparation for the work in hand we have made a careful and systematic study of all available influences—both past and present-that operate to produce their effects upon the two races concerned in this problem. As a result of this study we shall attempt to offer the solution of the question, and the destiny of the Afro-American race. In other words, we put the questions involved to natural law, and sociological conditions, and strive to interpret aright their answers. The application of the science of philosophy to the study and right interpretation of facts is the method we employ.

When the war had become past history, and the Reconstruction period was over, the situation assumed a simpler and more natural aspect. Then it is that we catch the first glimpse of the natural beginning of the end of this Negro problem. Up to this time the artificial condition of slavery and mighty governmental influences and edicts had intervened to subvert the course of nature. Now this element of uncertainty had passed away. The white man was to exercise his constitutional rights of life,

*In this undertaking we are ever mindful of the fatal error of trying to conform facts to personal bias or pet theories, and at all times endeavor to rigidly exclude and evade this pitfall. Likewise we labor with a determination equally as vigilant not to refrain from stating the whole truth on any phase of the subject because its declaration may be displeasing in one quarter or another.

liberty and the pursuit of happiness, unmolested by the government, so long as he did not grossly interfere with his fellow-man in his rights to do the same. Likewise the Negro was free to pursue similar ends. Under these circumstances rapid and mutually beneficial adjustments of relations followed close upon one another, and, pleasing to relate, the ill-will ̄engendered by the cruel Reconstruction misdeeds and abominable teachings has been steadily improving and rapidly disappearing ever since. But what was the really significant truth about this new situation? Happily enough the mutual relations of the races were to improve as regards ill-will and acts of violence; but the natural law of a struggle for existence and the consequent survival of the fittest were to be the determining factors from this time forward, and its inevitable consequences began to manifest themselves at once.

The Negro has never been able to compete successfully with the white man, and, for reasons already given he never can. As shown later, in a chapter devoted largely to statistics, the rate of Negro mortality doubled at once, as a consequence of his inability to conform to the laws of hygiene, even if he had known the meaning of that word and the simplest application of its law-which he did notfor the white man took for himself the lion's share of the fruits of the soil and required the Negro to consume his physical resources for a wage which would not supply him with a proper variety of food, and purchase for him comfortable clothing and hygienic lodgings. These and many other hardships have contributed to maintain the high rate of mortality inaugurated with this period of competition. We have it directly from one of the most expert statisticians in this country that after a careful inves

tigation it is his deliberate conclusion that the time will come when the remainder of this Afro-American race will occupy a position among us similar to that of the American Indian and the European Gypsies-protected and preserved from absolute extermination; and we are fully prepared to concur in this conviction.

The Negro has not even had a fair chance to test his capacities. He has not been able to demand for himself a fair share of the higher mechanical arts and agricultural occupations, but has been shoved out, little by little, and forced to confine himself largely to the employments which the white man does not want-unskilled manual labor and poorly remunerative positions of drudgery; and there he will be kept if human nature remains what it now is, and has been, in all historic times.

There were a myriad of minor causes set in motion to militate against the numerical strength of the Negro by that series of events which placed him in active competition with one of the most resourceful races the world has yet produced. That he cannot long survive in anything like the relative proportions that existed at the close of the Reconstruction period is quite as certain as the assertion that two and two make four. This unequal contest is like a game of chess with a fully developed giant intellect, skilled in all the science and art of the game, sitting on the one side, and a child on the other, that scarcely knows a pawn from a king or queen. For the struggle for supremacy and financial gain, under a system of at least theoretical equality before the law, (in practice Negroes are not equal before the law) is verily a game between all who enter the contest. If the Negro had the same mental endowment as his adversary he could not even hope to win his share of

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »