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CHAPTER XIX

The Natural Solution of the Problem

ENTRED about the primary fact of mental inferiority of the Negro, natural forces are, apparently, busily at work, solving the American race problem; not by preparing the way for any sudden catastrophe, or breach of comity between the races, nor by developing any condition necessitating sudden and drastic action on the part of the white population; but by a gradual and orderly elimination of the Negro through certain sociological disadvantages and his own lack of natural fitness; with a concomitant appropriation to itself, on the part of the white race, of a progressively larger share of accumulated wealth and desirable branches of industry.

The various influences combining to effect this solution have been systematically presented in each succeeding chapter of this work. The whole question hinges on racial qualities,—which includes racial advantages and we believe the proof of greater natural fitness and greater social, political and economical advantages of the white race is implicit in the context.

Some have contended that the Negro is destined to dominate the field of agricultural labor in the South-in the future, as in the past-but we have shown that he is being rapidly crowded out here as elsewhere.

Mr. Alfred Holt Stone, of Mississippi, (in his "Studies in the American Race Problem") has given reliable evidence in substantiation of the fact that in

certain cotton districts of the South, Italian immigrants have supplanted the Negro, almost without a contention of the ground, on the part of the latter. He produces the figures in substantiation of his statement that these immigrants can accomplish a great deal more work from the start by virtue of such qualities as industry, forethought, and regularity. He also shows that they can live better on less

money.

It is not, however, contended that the time is come, or is even close at hand, when the Southern Negro will no longer be able to find employment of some sort in this field. His elimination will come to pass so far as it is to take place-through a gradual re-adjustment. He is now being supplanted as an agricultural laborer, but his dull faculties are scarcely able to detect either the fact or the cause. Each decade will witness a larger proportionate number of white laborers in the South and the great body of Negroes will find it increasingly difficult to earn sufficient money to meet their necessities—an economic condition tending slowly, but surely, to marked reduction in relative numerical strength of the Negro. This will finally result in his elimination as a serious race problem, but not, we believe, in absolute extermination.

While the Negro does not migrate in great numbers from one country to another, he is a natural rover within certain narrow limits, and as he finds his old position in the South occupied by the white man he will immigrate in increasing numbers into other states, seeking profitable employment; there, in many cases, to sicken and die because, in the first place, of his constitutional unfitness for climatic changes, (especially from hot to colder climates), in the second place, because of his lack of means to

properly provide against the dangers of his new conditions.

The immigrant and the Northern settler in the South are in active competition with the Negro in the field of manual labor of every kind; while the Southern white man is rapidly passing from under the influence of the silly ante-bellum sentiment, that agricultural labor is disgraceful. There are of course occupations more highly thought of, and more remunerative, but none more honorable and respectable than useful manual labor. A man best fitted for physical labor, but who persistently refuses to pursue it, and, instead, leads a life of idle poverty, is an undesirable citizen. He cannot command the respect and high regard which all entertain for the honest laborer. This the Southern people are fast coming to appreciate, and consequently entering more and more into active and successful competition with the unreliable Negro in this field.

By reason of his inability, or unwillingness, to successfully resist these new and adverse influences the Negro is fast losing ground and losing his former position of practical monopoly of Southern farm labor.

man.

Another important cause of Negro racial decline is volitional segregation, which has gone on steadily and progressively from the time he became a freeAs he comes to live more to himself there is observed a marked retrogression, with a decided increase in his death-rate; while the absence of close contact of the two races improves the hygienic condition of the whites, and materially lessens its mortality rate.

Both Baltimore, Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia, have their Africa (a community composed almost exclusively of Negroes), and a similar ten

dency is observed in all cities having a Negro population-whether large or small. In addition to this natural segregation the white man has been forcing the Negro back, by systematic regulations, ever since emancipation. Both of the above named cities have very recently adopted what is known as segregating ordinances, by which the Negro is forbidden to move into city districts having a majority of white residents, or districts exclusively inhabited by whites. Other cities will later take similar action. By these means we have a progressive segregation movement supported and encouraged by the Negro himself on the one hand and demanded and exacted by the whites on the other.

It is important in connection with the marked tendency of the American Negro to segregate into distinctively Negro communities, to note the natural tendency-under such conditions-of a race or variety to return to former customs and habits of life. The natural consequences of Negro segregation have been more fully brought out in earlier chapters, but it may be further stated in connection with this important phase of natural solution of the Negro problem, that the Negro is known to be neglectful of hygienic surroundings when disassociated with the white man, and that under such conditions he shows a strong tendency toward a resumption of his former rude habits of life. In exclusively Negro communities that race is largely bereft of the encouraging example and uplifting precept afforded by closer contact with the superior race.

Ethnologists and anthropologists are agreed that under present conditions of life there is a marked tendency toward a much closer approach to a common type of man, which implies a corresponding elimination of the unfit varieties. The keen compe

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tition and excessive activities of modern life leave little place for the thriftless sluggish Negro type. This tendency serves to maintain a much higher death-rate for our Negro population and can have no other meaning than that the Negro is being crowded out by existing sociologic and economic conditions.

In this process of natural selection (in the broadest usage of that term) there are certain types among the highest race that are to be gradually eliminated as the unfit, but with the passing of this white element, a much greater part of the Negro race is doomed to certain elimination. This elimination will be marked by a continual lowering of relative Negro increase, and finally by an actual decrease in numbers.

As we have repeatedly said the primary cause of this natural solution of the Negro problem is to be sought and found in the established fact of his mental inferiority. Other causes which have been mentioned, as well as those contained in the remainder of this chapter are but natural sequences of this fundamental truth.

Canada is now complaining of the number of Negroes annually crossing her border from the United States; but if she knew better the deeper causes of this migration, and the stress of circumstances compelling that element of our population to exchange a favorable for a most unfavorable climate, and the natural consequences to the Negro race of such climatic changes, she would have no fears of a serious future Negro problem.

When the Negro crosses the Mason and Dixon line as many are now doing-it is in desperate search of some locality where competition is less keen and where race prejudice no longer militates

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