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Full text of "Light ahead for the Negro"

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LIGHT AHEAD FOE THE NEGEO 



LIGHT AHEAD 
FOR THE NEGRO 



BY 

E. A JOHNSON 



AUTHOR OF 



The School History of the Negro Race 

Colored Soldiers in the Spanish American War 

The Negro Almanac 




THE GRAFTON PRESS 
NEW YORK 



Copyright 1904 by 
E. A. JOHNSON. 



PREFACE 

THE author dedicates this work to the thou 
sands of sympathetic and well wishing 
friends of the Negro race. He is trying 
to show how the Negro problem can be solved in 
peace and good will rather than by brutality. 
His idea is that the Golden Rule furnishes the 
only solution. 

He believes that at the bottom of southern 
society there is a vein of sympathy and helpful 
ness for the Negro and that this feeling should be 
cultivated and nourished that it may grow stronger 
and finally supplant harsher sentiments. 

There are two factions striving for the mastery 
of the south to-day, one seeking political power on 
the idea that Negro manhood is to be crushed and 
serfdom established, and the other willing that the 
Negro should have a freeman's chance and work 
out his destiny as best he can with the powers 
God has given him. This faction is ready to give 
its sympathy and help, and it is the efforts of this 



vi Preface 

class that the author desires to endorse and en 
courage. 

The story weaved into the work is subordinate 
to the discussion of facts, and not paramount ; it 
is intended to be mild, thus putting it in keeping 
with the character of the heroine whose deeds it 
portrays; and should the day ever come when 
America can arise to the height of adopting and 
following her sentiments, it will then indeed be 
the " Sweet land of liberty," for the black as well 
as the white man. 

E. A. JOHNSON. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. THE LOST AIRSHIP UNCONSCIOUSNESS, . ; ' 1 
II. TO EARTH AGAIN ONE HUNDRED YEARS 

LATER, . . . . 6 

III. AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY WITH IRENE, . 13 

IV. NOW AND THEN, 21 

Y. A VISIT TO PUBLIC BUILDINGS, ... 99 

VI. A RIDE WITH IRENE, , . . . . . 10? 
VII. DR. NEWELL AND WORK OF THE YOUNG LA 
DIES' GUILD, . Ill 

VIII. WITH IRENE AGAIN, 116 

IX. THE PRIZE ESSAY, 120 

X. SAD NEWS FOR IRENE, 1S1 



Light Ahead for the Negro 



CHAPTER I 

THE LOST AIRSHIP UNCONSCIOUSNESS 

FROM my youth up I had been impressed 
with the idea of working among the Ne 
groes of the Southern states. My father 
was an abolitionist before the war and afterward 
an ardent supporter of missionary efforts in the 
South, and his children naturally imbibed his 
spirit of readiness and willingness at all times to 
assist the cause of the freedmen. 

I concluded in the early years of my young 
manhood that I could render the Negroes no 
greater service than by spending my life in their 
midst, helping to fit them for the new citizenship 
that had developed as a result of the war. My 
mind was made up throughout my college course 
at Yale ; and, while I did not disclose my purpose, 
I resolved to go South as soon as I was through 
college and commence my chosen life-work. In 
keeping with this design, I kept posted on every 

A 1 



Light Ahead for the Negro 



phase of the so-called " Negro problem " ; I made 
it my constant study. When I had finished col 
lege I made application to the Union Missionary 
Association for a position as teacher in one of their 
Negro schools in a town in Georgia, and after the 
usual preliminaries I received my certificate of 
appointment. 

It was June, 1906, the year that dirigible air 
ships first came into actual use, after the innumer 
able efforts of scores of inventors to solve final 
problems, which for a long time seemed insur 
mountable. Up to this time the automobile 
now relegated to commercial uses, or, like the 
bicycle, to the poorer classes had been the favored 
toy of the rich, and it was thought that the now 
common one hundred and one hundred and fifty 
horse-power machines were something wonderful 
and that their speed a snail's pace, compared 
with the airship was terrific. It will be remem 
bered that inside of a few months after the first 
really successful airships appeared a wealthy man 
in society could hardly have hoped to retain his 
standing in the community without owning one, 
or at least proving that he had placed an order for 
one with a fashionable foreign manufacturer, so 
great was the craze for them, and so widespread 



The Lost Airship Unconsciousness 3 

was the industry thanks to the misfortune of the 
poor devil who solved the problem and neglected 
to protect his rights thoroughly. Through this 
fatal blunder on his part, their manufacture and 
their use became world-wide, almost at once, in 
spite of countless legal attempts to limit the pro 
duction, in order to keep up the cost. 

A wealthy friend of mine had a ship of the 
finest Parisian make, the American machines still 
being unfashionable, in which we had often made 
trips together and which he ran himself. As 
I was ready to go to my field of labor, he invited 
me to go with him to spend from Saturday to Sun 
day in the City of Mexico, which I had never seen, 
and I accepted. 

We started, as usual, from the new aerial pier at 
the foot of West Fifty-ninth Street, New York 
City, then one of the wonders of the world, about 
one o'clock, in the midst of a cloud of machines 
bound for country places in different parts of the 
United States and we were peacefully seated after 
dinner, enjoying the always exhilarating sen 
sation of being suspended in space without sup 
port for my friend had drawn the covering from 
the floor of clear glass in the car, which was com 
ing into use in some of the new machines when 



Light Ahead for the Negro 



there was a terrific report. The motor had ex 
ploded ! 

We looked at each other in horror. This indeed 
was what made air-travelling far-and-away the 
most exciting of sports. Human beings had not 
yet come to regard with indifference accidents 
which occurred in mid-air. 

My friend picked his way through a tangled 
mass of machinery to the instruments. We were 
rising rapidly and the apparatus for opening the 
valve of the balloon was broken. Without say 
ing a word, he started to climb up the tangle of 
wire ropes to the valve itself ; a very dangerous 
proceeding, because many of the ropes were 
loosened from their fastenings. We suddenly en 
countered a current of air that changed our course 
directly east. (We had been steering south and 
had gone about six hundred miles.) It drew us 
up higher and higher. I glanced through the floor 
but the earth was almost indistinguishable, and 
was disappearing rapidly. There was absolutely 
nothing that I could do. I looked up again at my 
friend, who was clambering up rather clumsily, 
I remember thinking at the moment. The tangle 
of ropes and wires looked like a great grape vine. 
Just then the big ship gave a lurch. He slipped 



The Lost Airship Unconsciousness 5 

and pitched forward, holding on by one hand. 
Involuntarily, I closed my eyes for a moment. 
When I opened them again, he was gone ! 

My feelings were indescribable. I commenced 
to lose consciousness, owing to the altitude and 
the ship was ascending more rapidly every mo 
ment. 

Finally I became as one dead. 



CHAPTER II 

TO EARTH AGAIN ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER 

ONE day an archaic-looking flying machine, 
a curiosity, settled from aerial heights on 
to the lawn of one Dr. Newell, of Phoenix, 
Georgia. 

When found I was unconscious and even after 
I had revived I could tell nothing of my where 
abouts, as to whither I was going, or whence I had 
come ; I was simply there, " a stranger in a strange 
land," without being able to account for any 
thing. 

I noticed however that the people were not those 
I had formerly left or that I expected to see. 
I was bewildered my brain was in a whirl I 
lapsed again into a trance-like state. 

When I regained my full consciousness I found 
myself comfortably ensconced in a bed in an airy 
room apparently in the home of some well-to-do 
person. The furniture and decorations in the 

6 



One Hundred Years Later 



room were of a fashion I had never seen before, 
and the odd-looking books in the bookcase near 
the bed were written by authors whose names I 
did not know. I seemed to have awakened from 
a dream, a dream that had gone from me, but that 
had changed my life. 

Looking around in the room, I found that I was 
the only occupant. I resolved to get up and test 
the matter. I might still be dreaming. I arose, 
dressed myself my suit case lay on a table, just 
as I had packed it and hurriedly went downstairs, 
wondering if I were a somnambulist and thinking 
I had better be careful lest I fall and injure my 
self. I heard voices and attempted to speak and 
found my voice unlike any of those I heard in the 
house. I was just passing out of the front door, 
intending to walk around on the large veranda 
that extended on both sides of the house, when I 
came face to face with a very attractive young 
lady who I subsequently learned was the niece of 
my host and an expert trained nurse. She had 
taken charge of me ever since my unexpected 
arrival on her uncle's lawn. 

She explained that she had been nursing me 
and seemed very much mortified that I should 
have come to consciousness at a moment when 



8 Light Ahead for the Negro 

she was not present, and have gotten out of the 
room and downstairs before she knew it. I could 
see chagrin in her countenance and to reassure 
her I said, " You need n't worry about your bird's 
leaving the cage, he shall not fly away, for in the 
first place he is quite unable to, and in the sec 
ond place why should he flee from congenial com 
pany ? " 

"I am glad you are growing better," she said, 
" and I am sure we are all very much interested 
in your speedy recovery, Mr. What shall I call 
you ? " she said hesitatingly. 

I attempted to tell her my name, but I could 
get no further than, " My name is " I did not 
know my own name ! 

She saw my embarrassment and said, " 0, never 
mind the name, I '11 let you be my anonymous 
friend. Tell me where you got that very old fly 
ing machine ? " 

Of course I knew, but I could not tell her. My 
memory on this point had failed me also. She 
then remarked further that papers found in my 
pocket indicated that a Mr. Gilbert Twitchell had 
been appointed to a position as teacher in a Mis 
sionary School in the town of Ebenezer, Georgia, 
in the year 1906, and inquired if these "old 



One Hundred Years Later 9 

papers " would help me in locating my friends. 
She left me for a moment and returned with sev 
eral papers, a diary and a large envelope contain 
ing a certificate of appointment to said school. 

She stated that inquiry had already been made 
and that " old records " showed that a person by 
the name of Twitchell had been appointed in 1906, 
according to the reading of the certificate, and 
that while en route to his prospective field of labor 
in an air-ship he was supposed to have come to an 
untimely death, as nothing had been seen or heard 
of him since. Further than that the official rec 
ords did not go. 

" Now, we should be very glad to have you tell 
us how you came by that certificate," she sug 
gested. 

I was aghast. I was afraid to talk to her or to 
look about me. And the more fully I came to 
myself the more I felt that I did not dare to ask a 
question. The shock of one answer might kill me. 

I summoned all my strength, and spoke hur 
riedly, more to prevent her speaking again than 
to say anything. 

" Perhaps I can tell you something later on," 
I said hoarsely. " I find my memory quite cloudy, 
in fact, I seem to be dreaming." 



10 Light Ahead for the Negro 

She saw my misery and suggested that I go 
into " the room used to cure nervousness " and 
that I remain as long as possible. I passed stu 
pidly through the door she held open for me and 
had hardly sat down before I felt soothed. The 
only color visible was violet, walls, ceiling, furni 
ture, carpet, all violet of different shades. An 
artificial light of the same color filled the room. 
And the air ! What was there in it ? 

A desk was at the other end of the large apart 
ment. As my eyes roved about the strange look 
ing place I saw on it an ordinary calendar pad, 
the only thing in the room that closely resembled 
objects I had seen before. The moment that I 
realized what it was I felt as though I was about 
to have a nervous chill. I dared not look at it, 
even from that distance. But the delicious air, 
the strength-giving light revived me in spite of 
myself. For full five minutes I sat there, staring, 
before starting over to look at it; for though I 
knew not who I was, and though I had passed 
through only two rooms of the house, and had 
met only one person, I had divined the truth a 
thousand times. 

As I slowly neared it I saw the day of the 
month, the twenty-fourth. Nearer and nearer I 



One Hundred Years Later 11 

came, finally closing my eyes as the date of the 
year in the corner became almost legible just as 
I had done in the car 'of the air-ship, that awful 
moment. I moved a little nearer. I could read it 
now ! I opened my eyes and glanced, then 
wildly tore the pads apart, to see if they were all 
alike and fell to the floor once more. 

It was the year two thousand and six, just one 
hundred years from the date of my appointment 
to the position of a teacher in the South ! 

In a short time I regained complete conscious 
ness, and under the influence of that wonderful 
room became almost myself again. I learned that 
I had not really been left alone but had been ob 
served, through a device for that purpose, by both 
the doctor and his niece, and on her return I re 
lated my whole story to her as far as I could then 
remember it. 

The strangest and most unaccountable part 
was that though I had been away from the earth 
about one hundred years, yet, here I was back 
again still a young man, showing no traces of age 
and I had lived a hundred years. This was after 
ward accounted for by the theory that at certain 
aerial heights the atmosphere is of such a char- 



12 Light Ahead for the Negro 

acter that no physical changes take place in bodies 
permitted to enter it. 

The physical wants of my body seemed to have 
been suspended, and animation arrested until the 
zone of atmosphere immediately surrounding the 
earth was reached again, when gradually life and 
consciousness returned. 

I have no recollection of anything that tran 
spired after I lost consciousness and the most I 
can say of it all is that the experience was that of 
one going to sleep at one end of his journey and 
waking up at his destination. 



CHAPTER III 

AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY WITH IRENE 

THE next time I met my nurse was by 
chance. I saw her at the public library 
near Dr. Ne well's house, where I often went 
to sit and think the first few days after my re 
birth into the world. She had left the Newell 
residence on the night of the day she had put me 
in the violet room, being called to some special 
duty elsewhere. I approached her with a kindly 
salutation which she reciprocated in a manner indi 
cating that she was pleased to meet me. In the 
meantime I had found out her name Irene Davis 
and had also found out that an elective course in 
a training school for scientific nursing was accord 
ing to the custom of the times, which regarded 
such a course as indispensable to the education 
of a liberally trained young woman. 

Our conversation drifted along as to my per 
sonal comforts until I told her that I had heard 

13 



14 Light Ahead for the Negro 

that I was to be called upon to deliver a written 
account of my recollections of the past, especially 
in reference to the Negro question. 

"I suppose Dr. Newell is at the bottom of that/' 
she remarked, "he is so intensely interested in 
the Negro question that he would be the first one 
to make the suggestion. I really believe that he 
refused to allow you to be taken to the City Hos 
pital when you were found on his lawn because 
he almost divined that you might have a message 
from another age for him on that subject. The 
city authorities yielded to his wishes and assigned 
me to assist in caring for you at his residence, in 
stead of at the hospital. 

" I found very little to do, however, but would 
like to recall to you the beneficial effects of the 
violet room, which I see had the desired results. 
It always does, and many people who can afford 
it, especially physicians, are now installing these 
rooms in their houses for the benefit of neurotic 
patients, on whom the violet rays of electricity, 
coupled with neurium, a newly discovered chemical 
preparation, similar to radium, has a most remark 
able effect." 

I remarked that I had taken no medicine and 
really felt better than ever in either of my lives. 



At the Public Library with Irene 15 

" Well/' said she, laughing, " I trust you may be 
able to recall all about the past and give a most 
excellent account of it in your paper for the 
Bureau of Public Utility and don't fail to send me 
a copy ! " 

" Are you at all interested in the question," I 
asked. 

" All Southerners are interested in that question. 
I am a teacher in a Sunday School for Negro 
children and a member of a Young Ladies Guild 
which was organized expressly for reaching 
Negro children that may need help. We visit 
the families and talk with the parents, impress 
on them ideas of economy, direct them in caring 
for the sick, and instruct them in the most 
scientific methods of sanitation. I am really fond 
of these people and the happiest moments of my 
life are spent with them they are of a differ 
ent temperament from us, so mild and good na- 
tured, so complacent and happy in their religious 
worship and their music is simply enchanting ! 
Don't you like to hear them sing, Mr. Twitch- 
ell?" 

I remarked that I was very fond of their sing 
ing, and that I had been delighted with a visit I 
had recently made to the Dvorak Conservatory, 



16 Light Ahead for the Negro 

where the Negro's musical talent seemed to have 
been miraculously developed. 

I further remarked, to myself, " How congenial 
in tastes and sympathy we seem to be, and how 
beautiful you are ! " She moved me strangely as 
she stood there with her black hair, rosy cheeks, 
large good-natured black eyes, her Venus-like 
poise of neck and shoulders, and a mouth neither 
large nor small but full of expression, and show 
ing a wealth of pearls when she laughed and all 
this coupled with such noble aspirations, and 
such deep womanly sympathy. 

I said to her, " Miss Davis, I am certainly glad 
to learn that our sentiments on the Negro question 
coincide so thoroughly and if any encouragement 
were needed, I should certainly feel like offering 
it, as a stimulus in your efforts." 

" All humanity needs encouragement," she re 
plied, " and I am human ; and so are these people 
around us who are of a different race. They 
need encouragement and in my humble way I 
hope to be of some service to them. Their 
chances have not been as favorable as ours, but 
they have been faithful and true with the talents 
they have." 

" So I understand you are assisting in this work 



At the Public Library with Irene 17 

more from a sense of duty than as a diversion ? " 
I observed. 

" Yes, that is true/' she said, " but nevertheless 
I really get considerable recreation in it. I find 
these people worthy of assistance and competent 
to fill many places that they otherwise could not 
but for the help of our Guild." 

" So you have found that success does not al 
ways come to the worthy," I suggested, " if those 
who are worthy have no outside influence ? I can 
remember people who worked hard all their lives 
for promotion and who not only did not get it, 
but often witnessed others less skilled and deserv 
ing than themselves pushed forward ahead of them. 
This was especially true of the Negro race in my 
time. The Negroes were told that Negro ability 
would sell for as much in the market as white, but 
while this was encouraging in some respects and 
true in many cases, it could by no means be laid 
down as a rule." 

" I agree with you," she said, " in part ; for the 
feeling no doubt prevails among some people that 
the lines of cleavage should move us naturally to 
do more for our own than for a different race, and 
that spirit occasionally crops out, but the spirit 
of helpfulness to Negroes has now become so 
B 



18 Light Ahead for the Negro 

popular that it permeates all classes and there is 
practically no opposition to them." 

" You are a long way removed from the South 
of the past/' said I, " where to have done such 
work as you are engaged in would have disgraced 
you, and have branded you for social ostracism." 

She replied that there was no criticism at all for 
engaging in such work but only for doing more 
for one race than another. 

" You Georgians had degenerated in my day/' 
I remarked. " The Southern colonies under such 
men as Oglethorpe seemed to have higher ideals 
than had their descendants of later times. Ogle 
thorpe was opposed to slavery and refused to al 
low it in the Colony of Georgia while he was 
governor ; he was also a friend to the Indians and 
to Whitfield in his benevolent schemes, but the 
Georgian of my day was a different character al 
together from the Oglethorpe type. He justified 
slavery and burned Negroes at the stake, and the 
6 Cracker class ' were a long ways removed from 
the Oglethorpe type of citizenship, both in ap 
pearance and intelligence. I notice, too, Miss 
Davis, that you never use the words ' colored peo 
ple ' but say ' Negro/ instead." 

" That is because these people themselves pre- 



At the Public Library with Irene 19 

fer to be called Negroes. They are proud of the 
term Negro and feel that you are compromising 
if you refer to them as ' colored people/ ' 

" That is quite a change, too," said I, " from the 
past ; for in my time the race did not like the term 
Negro so well because it sounded so much like ' nig 
ger/ which was a term of derision. I notice that 
this term also has become obsolete with you an 
other sign of progress. In fact, I fear that the 
ideas I had in 1906, when I started on my trip to 
work as a missionary among the Negroes, would 
be laughed at now, so far have you progressed 
beyond me. Indeed, I am quite confused at times 
in trying to conform to my new conditions." 

At this juncture she suggested that she had al 
most broken an engagement by chatting with me 
so long, and would have to hurry off to meet it. 
In taking her departure she remarked that per 
haps it was worth while to break an engagement 
to talk with one who had had so unusual an expe 
rience. " I may be quite an unusual character," 
said I, " but probably too ancient to be of interest 
to so modern a person as yourself." 

She did not reply to this, but left with a smile 
and a roguish twinkle in her eye. 

I found on inquiry at the library that Negroes 



20 Light Ahead for the Negro 

in the South were now allowed the use of the 
books, and that they were encouraged to read by 
various prizes, offered especially for those who 
could give the best written analyses of certain 
books which were suggested by the library com 
mittee. 



CHAPTER IV 

NOW AND THEN 



I HAD scarcely recovered my equilibrium and 
become able to give an account of myself be 
fore I was formally called on by the " Chief 
of the Bureau of Public Utility " of the country 
to make a statement about the Negro problem in 
my time, Dr. Newell having informed him that I 
was interested in that subject. 

Here follows the substance of what I wrote as 
I read it over to Dr. Newell before sending it : 

" Many changes considered well nigh impossible 
one hundred years ago have taken place in al 
most all phases of the so-called Negro problem. 
One of the most noticeable instances to me is 
the absence of slurs at individual Negroes and 
at the race as a whole in your newspapers. Such 
headlines as ' Another Coon Caught/ ' The Burly 
Black Brute Foiled/ ' A Ham Colored Nigger in 
the Hen House ' and ' This Coon Wants to be 

21 



22 Light Ahead for the Negro 

Called Mister/ are, to me, conspicuous by their 
absence. In the old days, in referring to a Negro 
who had made a speech of some merit he was 
called ' Professor/ but in making a reference to 
him as being connected with politics the same per 
son was dubbed ( Jim ' or < Tom.' Fights between 
three white men and two Negroes were published, 
under glaring headlines, as ' Race Riots.' The 
usual custom of dealing out the vices of the Ne 
gro race as a morning sensation in the daily papers 
evidently fell into ' innocuous desuetude/ and the 
daily papers having dropped the custom, the week 
lies, which were merely echoes of the dailies, also 
left off the habit, so that now neither the city 
people nor farmers have their prejudices daily and 
weekly inflamed by exaggerated portrayals of the 
Negroes' shortcomings. 

" The character of no individual and in fact of 
no race can long endure in America when under 
the persistent fire of its newspapers. Newspapers 
mould public opinion. Your organization for the 
dissemination of news has it in its power to either 
kill or make alive in this respect. Our organiza 
tion, called the News Distributing Bureau, was 
formerly in the hands of people whose policy de 
signedly necessitated the portrayal of the Negro 



Now and Then 23 

in his worst light before the people, in order that 
certain schemes against the race might be fostered, 
and seemed to take special delight in publishing 
every mean act of every bad Negro, and leaving 
unrecorded the thousands of credible acts of the 
good ones. 

" Like Lincoln's emancipation proclamation, this 
wholesale assassination of Negro character in the 
newspapers was strictly a political ' war measure/ 
intended for political use only. Its design was to 
prejudice the race in the eyes of the world and 
thus enable the white supremacy advocates, North 
and South, to perfect the political annihilation of 
the Negro. The Negro farmer knew little about 
what was going on ; he was making corn and cot 
ton, and to tell him in public assemblies would be 
considered ' incendiary/ and ' stirring up strife be 
tween the races/ and the individual who might be 
thus charged would certainly have to leave ' be 
tween two suns/ as the phrase was. However, 
the general desire among leading Negroes was for 
peace at any sacrifice, and they studiously labored 
to that end. The South ought to have thanked 
the Negro preachers and the Negro school teach 
ers for the reign of peace in that section, because 
it was due almost wholly to their efforts. 



24 Light Ahead for the Negro 

" Then, too, the public schools, which were at 
that period the boast of the South, in support of 
her contention of friendliness to the Negro, served 
the purpose of quieting many a Negro who might 
otherwise have been disposed to ' talk too much.' * 
Be it remembered that at this time it was consid 
ered virtually a social crime to employ a Negro as a 
clerk in a store or elsewhere. This feeling ex 
tended from Delaware to Texas, and the thousands 
of Negroes who were coming out of the various 
public schools, and the institutions for higher 
training established by Northern philanthropists, 
had practically no calling open to them, as edu 
cated men and women, save that of teaching. 
The door of hope was shut in their face and they 
were censured for not doing better under such im 
possible handicaps. It was like closing the stable 
door and whipping the horse for not going in ! A 
few entered the professions of law, pharmacy and 
medicine, some engaged in business, but no great 
number for the following reasons : 

" First In the professions the white profes 
sional man was by habit and custom very gener- 

* The white supremacy people accomplished this by employing 
them as teachers. If they continued to talk too much, they lost 
their jobs. 



Now and Then 25 

ally employed by the colored people, while the 
colored professional man, by the conventional 
laws of society, was rarely or never employed by 
white people. 

" Second The natural disposition of the col 
ored people to patronize white merchants and pro 
fessional men in preference to their own was a 
factor to be reckoned with in looking for the 
causas rerum a kind of one-sided arrangement 
whereby the whites got the Negroes' money but 
the Negroes could not get theirs in the profes 
sions. In many of the small lines of business, 
however, the Negro was patronized by the 
whites. 

" So that with the News Bureau making 
capital every morning of the corruption in the 
race ; with the efforts of Southern ministers who 
had taken charge of Northern pulpits, to strew 
seeds of poison by proclaiming, on the commission 
of every offense by a Negro, ' We told you that 
the Negro was not worth the freedom you gave 
him,' ' We told you he was n't fit for citizenship 
and that the money you have spent for his educa 
tion is worse than wasted ; ' with the constant 
assertions that his only place is ' behind a mule,' 
that education made him a greater criminal, that 



26 Light Ahead for the Negro 

' the Southern people are his best friends ' because 
c we overlook his follies ' and ' treat him kindly 
if he will stay in his place ; ' with the money 
interests clamoring for the South Ho be let 
alone ' with the Negro question, for fear of un 
settling business and causing a slump in Southern 
securities ; with the claims that, to keep the rail 
roads earning dividends, to keep the cotton mar 
ket active, the Negro must be handled according 
to the serfdom or shotgun plan, and that the best 
task master so far found was the Southern white 
man, who had proven himself wonderfully adept in 
getting good crops from Negro labor with these 
and many other excuses, the question of raising 
the Negro in the scale of civilization was left to 
posterity. 

" ' What is he worth to us now ? ' That is the 
only question with which we are concerned, was 
the ruling thought, if not the open confession. 

" Let it be understood that statistics (which the 
Negro did not compile) showed that the race at 
that time was, as a mass, the most illiterate, the 
least thrifty, and the most shiftless and criminal 
of any class of American citizens dividing the 
population into natives Irish emigrants, German 
emigrants, Italians, Jews, and Poles. This was a 



Now and Then 27 

fact that hurt, regardless of who was responsible 
for it. 

" Then the question of color cut no small figure 
in this problem. The Negro's color classified him ; 
it rang the signal bell for drawing ( the color line ' 
as soon as he was seen, and it designated and 
pointed him out as a marked man, belonging to 
that horrible criminal class whose revolting deeds 
were revealed every day in the newspapers. No 
wonder he was shunned, no wonder the children 
and women were afraid of him ! The great mass 
of the people took the newspaper reports as true. 
They never read between the lines and seldom 
read the corrections of errors * that had been made. 
In some cases the first report had been that a 
Negro had committed a crime, and later it was 
discovered that a white man with his face blacked 

* " Errors " like the following, for instance: " A special dispatch 
from Charleston, S. C., to the Atlanta Journal, reads: ' While dy 
ing in Colleton county, former Section Foreman Jones, of the At 
lantic Coast Line Road, has confessed being the murderer of his 
wife at Ravenel, S.C., fourteen miles from Charleston, in May, 1902, 
for which crime three Negroes were lynched. The crime which 
was charged to the Negroes was one of the most brutal ever com 
mitted in this State, and after the capture of the Negroes quick 
work was made of them by the mob.' 

" Comment is certainly superfluous. What must be the feelings 
of those who participated in the lynching." (Raleigh, N. C., Morn 
ing Post.) 



28 Light Ahead for the Negro 

had been the perpetrator. Some one has said, 
' Let me write the songs of a people and I will 
control their religious sentiments/ In a country 
like America where the newspapers are so plenti 
ful and where people rely on them so implicitly, 
those who control the newspapers may be said to 
control the views of the people on almost any 
public question. With 30 per cent of the Negro 
population illiterate, with a criminal record double 
that of any of the emigrant classes above outlined, 
with the News Distributing Bureau against it, 
with no political or social standing pariahs in the 
land with Northern capital endorsing serfdom, 
with their inability to lose their race identity, on 
account of their color we realize how heavy the 
odds were against the Negro race at that time. 

" As a Negro orator once put it, ' De Southern 
white man's on top'er de nigger and de Yankee 
white man 's on top er de Southern white man and 
de bad nigger 's on top er dem bofe ! ' 

" I now come to some of the proposed solutions 
of the problem. Various meetings were held all 
over the country to discuss the Negro problem, 
and many a mediocre white man who thirsted for 
a little newspaper notoriety, or political prefer 
ment, in both the North and the South, had his 



Now and Then 29 

appetite in this direction satisfied by writing or 
saying something on the Negro question. One 
Thomas Dixon tried to out Herod Herod in taking 
up the exceptional cases of Negro criminality and 
using them in an attempt to convince his readers 
of the Negro's unfitness for citizenship. A public 
speaker named John Temple Graves * made lecture 



* The following were the views of Mr. Noah W. Cooper, a Nash 
ville lawyer, on one of Mr. Graves' addresses: 

"John Temple Graves' address in Chicago contains more errors 
and inconsistencies about the so-called Negro problem than any 
recent utterance on the subject. 

" He says that God has established the ' metes and bounds ' of 
the Negro's habitation, but he never pointed out a single mete nor 
a single bound He says, ' Let us put the Negro kindly and hu 
manely out of the way ; ' but his vision again faded and he never 
told us where to put the darkey. 

" If Mr. Graves' inspiration had not been as short as a clam's 
ear and he had gone on and given us the particular spot on the 
globe to which we should * kindly and humanely ' kick the darkey 
'out of the way,' then we might have asked, who will take the 
darkey's place in the South? Who will plow and hoe and pick out 
12,000,000 bales of cotton? Who will sing in the rice fields? Who 
will raise the sugar cane ? Who will make our 'lasses and syrup ? 
Who will box and dip our turpentine ? Who will cut and saw the 
logs, and on his body bear away the planks from our thousands 
of sawmills ? Who will get down into the mud and swamps and 
build railroads for rich contractors ? Who will work out their lives 
in our phosphate mines and factories, and in iron and coal mines? 
Who will be roustabouts on our rivers and on our wharves to be 
conscripted when too hot for whites to work ? Who will fill the 
darkey's place in the Southern home ? 



30 Light Ahead for the Negro 

tours advocating deportation as the only solution 
of the problem, rejecting as unsound the theories 
of Booker Washington, who was advocating in- 

" Oh, I suppose Mr. Graves would say, we will get Dutch and 
Poles, and Hungarians, Swedes or other foreigners ; or we will our 
selves do all the work of the Negro. To me this is neither possi 
ble nor desirable. 

" The South don't want to kick the Negro out, as I understand 
it. The separation of the Negro from us now his exile, nolens 
volens would be a greater calamity to us than his emancipation or 
his enfranchisement ever has been. We need him and he needs us. 

"Mr. Graves says that God never did intend that 'opposite and 
antagonistic races should live together.' 

"That seems to me to be as wild as to say that God intended all 
dogs to stay on one island; all sheep on another; all lions on an 
other; or to say that all corn should grow in America and all wheat 
in Russia. 

" Mr Graves cites no 'thus saith the Lord ' to back up his new 
revelation that antagonistic races must live separated. 

"What God is it whose mind Mr. Graves is thus revealing? 
Surely it can't be the God of the Bible for He allowed the Jews 
to live 400 years among the Egyptians; then over 500 years in and 
out of captivity among the Canaanites; then in captivity nearly 
100 years in Babylon; then under the Romans; then sold by the 
Romans; and from then to now the Jews the most separate and 
exclusive of peoples God's chosen people of the Old Covenant 
they have lived anywhere, among all people. Surely Mr Graves is 
not revealing the mind of the God to whom the original thirteen 
colonies bowed down in prayer; the God of the Declaration of In 
dependence and the God of George Washington and Thomas 
Jefferson. For how many different races were planted in this new 
world? English, Dutch, Swedes, Quakers, Puritans, Catholics, 
French Huguenots, the poor, the rich more antagonism than you 
can find between 'Buckra' and the 'nigger.' Yet all these an- 



Now and Then 31 

dustrial education as the main factor in solving 
the problem, because of the consequent clash that 
would arise between white and colored mechanics 

tagonisms, such as they were, did not prevent our forefathers from 
uniting in one country, under one flag, in the common desire for 
political freedom, moral intelligence and individual nobility of 
character. 

"Under Mr. Graves' God every colony would have become a 
petty nation, with a Chinese wall around it. Mr. Graves' incon 
sistencies reached a climax when he said in one breath, ' I appeal 
for the imperial destiny of our mighty race, ' and then in the next 
breath says, 'let us put the Negro out.' Is it any more imperial 
to boss the Filipino abroad than it is to boss the Negro at home? 

"The God of the Bible commands peace among races and na 
tions, not war; friendship, not antagonism and hatred. Did not 
Paul, a Jew, become a messenger to the Gentiles? Did he not 
write the greater part of the New Testament of Christianity while 
living in Gentile and pagan Rome ? Did not Christ set example 
to the world when He, a Jew, at Jacob's well, preached His most 
beautiful sermon to a poor Samaritan woman ? Winding up that 
great sermon by telling the woman and the world that not the place 
of his abode and worship, but the good character of man 'in 
spirit and in truth ' was the only true worship. And that is the 
only exclusive place whose metes and bounds God has set for any 
man to live, 'in spirit and in truth.' 

"How idle to talk of shutting off each race, as it were, into 
pens like pigs to fatten them. This penning process will neither 
fatten their bodies, enlighten their minds nor ennoble their souls. 
Can Mr. Graves tell us how much good the great Chinese wall has 
done for man ? If he can, he can tell us how much good will 
come to us by putting the darkey out, and locking the door. Mr. 
Graves' idea would reverse all the maxims of Christianity. It 
would be much better for Mr. Graves' idea of the separation of 
antagonisms to be applied to different classes of occupations, of 



32 Light Ahead for the Negro 

rejecting also as unsound the theory of higher 
education ; because that would develop in the 
Negro a longing for equality which the white man 

persons that are antagonistic. For instance, the dram-seller is an 
tagonistic to all homes and boys and girls; therefore, put all dram- 
sellers and dram-shops on one island, and all the homes and boys 
and girls on another island, far, far away ! Now there is your 
idea, Mr. Graves ! Then, again, all horse thieves, bank breakers, 
train robbers, forgers, counterfeiters are antagonistic to honest 
men; so here, we will put them all in the District of Columbia and 
all the honest men in Ohio, and build a high wall between. All 
the bad boys we would put in a pen; and all us good boys, we will go 
to the park and have a picnic and laugh at the nincompoop bad boys 
whose destiny we have penned up! Ah, Mr. Graves could no more 
teach us this error than could he reverse the decree of Christ to let 
the wheat and tares grow together until harvest. The seclusion or 
isolation of an individual or a race is not the road that God has 
blazed out for the highest attainments. The Levite of the great 
parable drew his robes close about him and 'passed by on the 
other side ' like Mr. Graves would have us do the Negro, except 
that instead of passing him by we would ' put him behind us ' a 
mere difference of words. But the good Samaritan got down and 
nursed the dirty, wounded bleeding Jew; sacrificed his time and 
money to heal his wounds. Now that Levite must be Mr. Graves' 
ideal Southerner! He says the Negro is an unwilling, blameless, 
unwholesome, unwelcome element. So was the robbed and bleed 
ing Jew to the Levite; but did that excuse the Levite 's wrong? 
Ought the Levite to have put the groaning man ' out of the 
way ' of his ' imperial destiny ' by kicking him out of the road ? 

" Nay, verily. By the time that Mr. Graves gets all of the an 
tagonistic races and all the antagonistic occupations and people of 
the world cornered off and fenced up in their God-prescribed 'metes 
and bounds, ' and fences them each up, with stakes and riders to 
hold them in by that time I am sure he will envy the job of Sysi- 



Now and Then 33 

would not give and was never known to give an 
inferior race, a statement which all honest white 
people must regard as a base slander upon their 
Christianity. 

" Bishop Turner, senior bishop of the African 
Methodist-Episcopal Church, one of the leading 
organizations of the Negro race, also advocated 
emigration to Africa as the only solution of the 
problem, on the grounds that the white people 
would never treat the Negro justly and that his 
tory furnished no instance where a slave race had 
ever become absolutely free in the land of its for 
mer owners, instancing that to be free the Jews 
had to leave Egypt ; that William the Conqueror 
and his followers slaughtered the native Britons, 
rather than attempt to carry out what seemed to 
them an impossible task, that of teaching two 
races, a conquered race and a conquering one, to 
live side by side in peace. 

" One Professor Bassett made enemies of the 
Southern newspapers and politicians by proposing 
justice and equality as a solution of the problem. 
The ' most unkindest cut of all ' of Professor Bass- 
ett's saying was that Booker Washington was 

phus. But there is a grain of sober truth in one thing Mr. Graves 
says that the Negro is blameless." 
C 



34 Light Ahead for the Negro 

' the greatest man, save Robert E. Lee, that the 
South had produced in a hundred years.' The 
politicians and their sympathizers seized upon this 
statement as being a good opportunity to keep up 
the discussion of the Negro issue, which many 
better disposed people were hoping would be 
dropped, according to promise, as soon as the 
Negroes had been deprived of the ballot by the 
amendments then being added to the constitutions 
of the Southern States. They rolled it over as a 
sweet morsel under their tongues. < Othello's 
occupation/ they realized, would be gone without 
the ' nigger in the wood pile.' The politicians 
disfranchised the Negro to get rid of his vote, 
which was in their way, and they kept the Negro 
scarecrow bolstered up for fear that the whites 
might divide and that the Negro might then come 
back into possession of the ballot. 

" The politicians proposed no measures of relief 
for the great mass of ignorance and poverty in 
their midst. The modicum of school appropria 
tions was wrung from them, in some instances, by 
the threats of the better element of the people. 
They were obstructionists rather than construc- 
tionists. One Benjamin Tillman boasted on the 
floor of the United States Senate that in his state 



Now and Then 35 

he kept the Negroes ' in their place ' by the use 
of the shot-gun, in defiance of law and the consti 
tution, and that he expected to keep it up. If 
left alone, the feeling against Negroes would have 
subsided to some extent and mutual helpfulness 
prevailed, but the politicians had to have an issue, 
even at the sacrifice of peace between the races 
and at the expense of a loss of labor in many sec 
tions where it was once plentiful as many Negroes 
left for more liberal states, where they not only 
received better wages but also better treatment. 
The Southern farmer and business man was pay 
ing a dear price for office holders when he stood 
by the politicians and allowed them to run off 
Negro labor, by disfranchisement and political op 
pression. It was paying too much for a whistle of 
that quality. 

" Many Negroes thought, with Bishop Turner 
and John Temple Graves, that emigration was the 
solution of the problem ; not necessarily emigra 
tion from the United States, but emigration indi 
vidually to states where public sentiment had not 
been wrought up against them. But the Negro, 
owing to his ignorance, and also to his affection 
for the land of his birth, and on account of a pe 
culiar provincialism that narrowed his scope of 



36 Light Ahead for the Negro 

vision of the world and its opportunities, could not 
bring himself to leave the South, so far as the 
great mass was concerned. Then, too, he had 
been told that the Yankees would not treat him 
like the Southerner, and Southern newspapers took 
especial pains to publish full details of all the 
lynchings that occurred in the North and make 
suggestive comments on them, in which they en 
deavored to show that the whole country was 
down on the Negro, and that while in the South 
the whites lynched only the one Negro against 
whom they had become enraged, in the North 
they mobbed and sought to drive out all the Ne 
groes in the community where the crime had 
been committed. (The two clippings below oc 
curred in the same issue of a Southern paper and 
showed how, while the North was mobbing a Ne 
gro, the South was honoring one.)* 

* NEGRO TORN FROM JAIL BY AN OHIO MOB. 

SHOT DEAD ON THE GROUND, THEN HANGED FROM TELEGRAPH POLE 
TELLS OF LAUGHTER FOR HALF AN HOUR THE SWINGING 
CORPSE SERVES AS A TARGET FOR THE MOB WHICH POURS LEAD 
INTO IT, SHRIEKING WITH DELIGHT. 

(By the Associated Press.} 

Springfield, Ohio, March 7, 1904. Richard Dixon, a Negro, was 
shot to death here to-night by a mob for the killing of Policeman 
Charles Collis, who died to-day from wounds received at the hands 
of Dixon on Sunday. 



Now and Then 37 

" Instances of white mechanics North who were 
refusing to work with Negroes, and instances of 
Northern hotels refusing them shelter were also 

Collis had gone to Dixon 's room on the Negro's request. Dixon 
said his mistress had his clothes in her possession. Collis accom 
panied Dixon to the room, and in a short time the man and woman 
engaged in a quarrel, which resulted in Dixon shooting the woman, 
who is variously known as Anna or Mamie Corbin, in the left breast 
just over the heart. She fell unconscious at the first shot and Collis 
jumped towards the Negro to prevent his escape from the room. 
Dixon then fired four balls into Collis, the last of which penetrated 
his abdomen. Dixon went immediately to police headquarters and 
gave himself up. He was taken to jail. 

As soon as Collis' death became known talk of lynching the Ne 
gro was heard and to-night a crowd began to gather about the 
jail. 

The mob forced an entrance to the jail by breaking in the east 
doors with a railroad iron. 

At 10 : 30 the mob melted rapidly and it was the general opinion 
that no more attempts would be made to force an entrance. Small 
groups of men, however, could be seen in the shadows of the court 
house, two adjacent livery stables and several dwelling houses. At 
10: 45 o'clock the police were satisfied that there was nothing more 
to fear and they with other officials and newspaper men passed 
freely in and out of the jail. 

Shortly before 11 o'clock a diversion was made by a small crowd 
moving from the east doors around to the south entrance. The 
police followed and a bluff was made at jostling them off the steps 
leading up to the south entrance. 

The crowd at this point kept growing, while yells of " hold the 
police," " smash the doors," " lynch the nigger " were made, inter 
spersed with revolver shots. 

All this time the party with the heavy railroad iron was beating 
at the east door, which shortly yielded to the battering ram, as did 



38 Light Ahead for the Negro 

made the most of and served the purpose of deter 
ring Negro emigration from the Southern States. 
Frequently some Negro was brought home dead, 

the inner lattice iron doors. The mob then surged through the 
east door, overpowered the sheriff, turnkey and handful of deputies 
and began the assault on the iron turnstile leading to the cells. The 
police from the south door were called inside to keep the mob from 
the cells and in five minutes the south door had shared the fate of 
the east one. 

In an incredibly short time the jail was filled with a mob of 250 
men with all the entrances and yard gates blocked by fully 2,500 
men, thus making it impossible for the militia to have prevented 
access to the Negro, had it been on the scene. 

The heavy iron partition leading to the cells resisted the mob ef 
fectually until cold chisels and sledge hammers arrived, which were 
only two or three minutes late in arriving. The padlock to the 
turnstile was broken and the mob soon filled the corridors leading 
to the cells. 

Seeing that further resistance was useless and to avoid the killing 
of innocent prisoners the authorities consented to the demand of 
the mob for the right man. He was dragged from his cell to the 
jail door and thence down the stone steps to a court in the jail yard. 

Fearing an attempt on the part of the police to rescue him, the 
leaders formed a hollow square. Some one knocked the Negro to 
the ground and those near to him fell back four or five feet. Nine 
shots were fired into his prostrate body, and satisfied that he was 
dead, a dozen men grabbed the lifeless body, and with a triumphant 
cheer the mob surged into Columbia street and marched to Foun 
tain Avenue, one of the principal streets of the town. From here 
they marched south to the intersection of Main street, and a rope 
was tied around Dixon's neck. Two men climbed the pole and 
threw the rope over the topmost crosstie and drew the body about 
eighteen feet above the street. They then descended and their 
work was greeted with a cheer. 



Now and Then 39 

or one who had contracted disease in the North 
came home and died. These occurrences were 
also used as object lessons and had their effect. 

" In fact, the Southern white people did not want 
the Negroes to leave. They wanted them as 
domestics, on the farm, and as mechanics. They 
knew their value as such. ' Be as intelligent, as 
capable as you may but acknowledge my superior 
ity,' was the unspoken command. 

" Many individual Negroes acted on this sugges 
tion and by shrewd foresight managed to accumu- 

The fusillade then began and for thirty minutes the body was 
kept swaying back and forth, from the force of the rain of bullets 
which was poured into it. Frequently the arms would fly up con 
vulsively when a muscle was struck, and the mob went fairly wild 
with delight. Throughout it all perfect order was maintained and 
everyone seemed in the best of humor, joking with his nearest 
neighbor while re-loading his revolver. 

A NEGRO HONORED. 

COLUMBUS, GEORGIA, ERECTS A MONUMENT TO A HEROIC LABORER. 

(By the Associated Press.) 

Macon, Ga., March 9, 1902. A Columbus, Ga., dispatch to the 
Telegraph says a marble monument has been erected by the city to 
the memory of Bragg Smith, the Negro laborer who lost his life last 
September in a heroic but fruitless effort to rescue City Engineer 
Robert L. Johnson from a street excavation. On one side is an 
inscription setting forth the fact, while on the other side is chiseled, 

" Honor and shame from no condition rise; 
Act well thy part, there all the honor lies." 



40 Light Ahead for the Negro 

late considerable property, and so long as they 
6 minded their own business/ and ' stayed out of 
polities' they did well, and had strong personal 
friends among the white people. Their property 
rights were recognized to a very large extent, in 
fact the right of Negroes to hold property was 
very generally conceded. This was true even to 
the extent, in several instances, of causing reim 
bursement for those who were run away from their 
homes by mobs. In some states laws were passed 
giving damages to the widows of those who were 
lynched by mobs, said damages to be paid by the 
county in which the lynching occurred. In fact 
the South had long since discovered the Negro's 
usefulness and the feeling against him partook 
more of political persecution than race hatred. 
The paradoxical scheme of retaining six million 
Negroes in the population with all the rights and 
duties of citizenship, less social and political stand 
ing, was the onus of the problem in the South. 
Such a scheme as this was bound to breed more or 
less persecution and lawlessness, as did the slave 
system. It was a makeshift at best, and though 
in the main, honestly undertaken, it was impossible 
of performance. 

" The Southern people seemed to have no objec- 



Now and Then 41 

tion to personal contact with Negroes in a servile 
capacity. Many Negro women made their liv 
ing as ' wet nurses/ and the Southern ' black 
mammy' had become stereotyped. Then, too, 
the large number of mulatto children everywhere 
was some evidence of personal contact, on the 
part of the men. Negro servants swarmed around 
the well-to-do Southern home, cooked the food 
and often slept with the children ; the South 
erner shook hands with his servants on his return 
home from a visit and was glad to see them ; but 
if any of these servants managed by industry and 
tact to rise to higher walks of life, it became nec 
essary, according to the unwritten law, to break 
off close relations. Yet, in the great majority of 
cases, the interest and good feeling remained, if 
the Negro did not become too active politically 
in which case he could expect ( no quarter.' 

" The subject of lynching became very serious. 
This evil custom, for a while, seemed to threaten 
the whole nation. While Negroes were the most 
common victims, yet the fever spread like a con 
tagion to the lynching of white criminals as well. 

" At first it was confined to criminals who com 
mitted assaults on women, and to brutal murderers, 
but it soon became customary to lynch for the 



42 Light Ahead for the Negro 

slightest offense, so that no man's life was safe if 
he was unfortunate enough to have had a difficulty 
with some individual, who had friends enough to 
raise a mob at night who would go with him to 
the house of his victim, call him out, and either 
shoot, or unmercifully beat him. The refusal of 
the officers of the law to crush out this spirit in 
its embryonic stage resulted in its growing to such 
enormous proportions that they found, too late, that 
they could neither manage nor control it. The 
officers themselves were afraid of the lynchers. 

" The method of lynching Negroes was usually 
by hanging or by burning at the stake, sometimes 
in the presence of thousands of people, who came 
in on excursion trains to see the sight, and, pos 
sibly, carry off a trophy consisting of a finger joint, 
a tooth or a portion of the victim's heart. If the 
lynching was for a crime committed against a 
woman, and she could be secured, she was con 
signed to the task of starting the flames with her 
own hands. - This was supposed to add to the nov 
elty of the occasion.* 

* BURNING OF NEGROES. 

Birmingham, Ala., Special The Age- Herald recently published 
the following letter from Booker T. Washington: 

" Within the last fortnight three members of my race have been 



Now and Then 43 

" ' Why did not the Negro offer some resistance 
to these outrages ? ' you may ask. 

" That question, no doubt, is often propounded 
by those who read of the horrors of this particular 
period. Different theories are advanced. One is 
that the Negro was overawed by numbers and re 
sources that he saw the uselessness of any such 
attempt. Another theory is that during the whole 
history of Negro slavery in this country there oc 
curred only one or two rebellions worthy of the 

burned at the stake; of these one was a woman. Not one of the 
three was charged with any crime even remotely connected with 
the abuse of a white woman. In every case murder was the sole 
accusation. All of these burnings took place in broad daylight, and 
two of them occurred on Sunday afternoon in sight of a Christian 
church. 

" In the midst of the nation's prosperous life, few, I fear, take 
time to consider whither these brutal and inhuman practices are 
leading us. The custom of burning human beings has become so 
common as scarcely to attract interest or unusual attention. I 
have always been among those who condemned in the strongest 
terms crimes of whatever character committed by members of my 
race, and I condemn them now with equal severity, but I main 
tain that the only protection to our civilization is a fair and calm 
trial of all people charged with crime, and in their legal punish 
ment, if proved guilty. There is no excuse to depart from legal 
methods. The laws are, as a rule, made by the white people, and 
their execution is by the hands of the white people so that there is 
little probability of any guilty colored man escaping. These burn 
ings without trial are in the deepest sense unjust to my race, but 
it is not this injustice alone which stirs my heart. These barbar- 



44 Light Ahead for the Negro 

name. One was the ' Nat Turner Insurrection ' in 
Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. This 
was soon put down and the ringleader hung, to 
gether with several of his misguided followers. 
So it must be concluded, since the Negro bore two 
hundred and fifty years of slavery so patiently, 
and made only a few feeble attempts to liberate 
himself, that he is not naturally of a rebellious 
nature that he easily fits into any place you put 
him, and with the fatalistic tendency of all bar- 

ous scenes, followed as they are by the publication of the shocking 
details, are more disgraceful and degrading to the people who in 
fluence the punishment than to those who receive it. 

" If the law is disregarded when a negro is concerned, will it not 
soon also be disregarded in the case of the white man? And besides 
the rule of the mob destroys the friendly relations which should 
exist between the races and injures and interferes with the mate 
rial prosperity of the communities concerned. 

" Worst of all, these outrages take place in communities where 
there are Christian churches; in the midst of people who have their 
Sunday schools, their Christian Endeavor Societies and Young 
Men's Christian Associations; collections are taken up to send mis 
sionaries to Africa and China and the rest of the so-called heathen 
world. 

" Is it not possible for pulpit and press to speak out against 
these burnings in a manner that will arouse a sentiment that shall 
compel the mob to cease insulting our courts, our governors and 
our legal authority, to cease bringing shame and ridicule upon our 
Christian civilization. 

" BOOKER T. WASHINGTON. 

"Tuskegee, Ala." 



Now and Then 45 

baric races, except the Indian, makes the best of 
circumstances. It is possibly true that the Negro 
would be a slave among us to-day if some one else 
had not freed him. The sentiment, 'He who 
would be free must first himself strike the blow/ 
did not appeal to him. 

" Another reason cited for the Negro's submis 
sion so long to oppression both before and since the 
American Civil War of 1860 to 1865 was his inabil 
ity to organize. The white man learned this art by 
thousands of years of experience and of necessary 
resistance for the protection of those rights which 
he holds most dear. The Negroes were never able 
to make any concerted movement in their own be 
half. They clashed too easily with one another 
and any individual would swamp the ship, as it 
were, to further his own scheme. The ' rule or 
ruin' policy prevailed and the necessity of the 
subordination of individuality for the good of the 
whole was lost in a storm of personal aggrandize 
ment whenever an attempt was made at anything 
bordering on Negro national organization. This 
was one of the fruits of slavery, which encouraged 
jealousy and bickering. Several religious organi 
zations had a successful existence for some time 
and quite a number of business and benevolent 



46 Light Ahead for the Negro 

enterprises, but in politics all was chaos. The 
Negroes cast their ballots one way all of the time ; 
it was known just as well ten years before an elec 
tion how they would vote, as it was after the bal 
lots were counted. No people of political calibre 
like that could measure arms with the white man 
politically ; his rebelling in such a condition would 
have been preposterous. The Negro took his cue 
in matters of race policy from his white friends 
he did not fight until the signal was given by them. 
No Negro gained any national reputation without 
first having been recognized by the white race, 
instead of his own. The Negroes recognized their 
leaders after the whites picked them out not be 
fore. 

" The Negro nature at this time was still a pliable 
one, after many years of drill training, but it was 
much more plastic in the days of slavery, and for the 
first forty years after reconstruction. The master 
labored to subordinate the will of the slave to his 
own, to make him like clay in the hands of the 
potter. In this he had an eye to business. The 
nearer the slave approached the horse, in follow 
ing his master's guidance, the nearer perfect he 
was, and this lesson of putting himself absolutely 
at the mercy of his master was thoroughly learned, 



Now and Then 47 

and it was learned easily because there seemed to 
exist a natural instinctive awe on the part of the 
Negro for the white man. He had that peculiar 
fondness for him that the mule has for the horse. 
You can mount one horse and lead a thousand 
mules, without bit or bridle, to the ends of the 
earth. 

" The Negro sought to please his master in all 
things. He had a smile for his frowns and a grin 
for his kicks. No task was too menial, if done 
for a white master he would dance if he was 
called upon and make sport of the other Negroes, 
and even pray, if need be, so he could laugh at 
him. He was trustworthy to the letter, and while 
occasionally he might help himself to his master's 
property on the theory of a common ownership, 
yet woe be unto the other Negro that he caught 
tampering with his master's goods ! He was a 
( tattler ' to perfection, a born dissembler a dip 
lomat and a philosopher combined. He was past 
grand master in the art of carrying his point when 
he wanted a ' quarter ' or fifty cents. He 
knew the route to his master's heart and pocket- 
book and traveled it often. He simply made him 
self so obliging that he could not be refused ! It 
was this characteristic that won him favor in the 



48 Light Ahead for the Negro 

country from college president down to the lowest 
scullion. Had he been resentful and vindictive, 
like the Indian, he would have been deported or 
exterminated long since. 

" The Negro's usefulness had also bound him to 
the South. The affection that the master and 
mistress had for the slave was transmitted in the 
blood of their children. 

" As unto the bow the cord is, 
So unto the man is woman, 
Though she bends him, she obeys him, 
Though she draws him, yet she follows ; 
Useless each without the other," 

applied to the relations between the Negro and 
his white master. In the Civil War between the 
states, many a slave followed his master to the 
front. Here he was often the only messenger to 
return home. He bore the treasured watch, or 
ring, or sword, of the fallen soldier, and broke the 
sad news to the family ; and there were black tears 
as well as white ones spilled on such occasions. 

" The white males went to the war leaving the 
family and farm in charge of the blacks thereon. 
They managed everything, plowed, sowed, reaped, 
and sold, and turned over all returns to the mis 
tress. They shared her sorrows and were her pro- 



Now and Then 49 

tection. When Union soldiers came near, the 
trusted blacks were diligent in hiding property 
from the thieves and bummers of the army. They 
carried the horses to the woods and hid them in 
the densest swamps, they buried the jewelry and 
silver and gold plate ; they secreted their young 
mistresses and the members of the family where 
they could not be found, and not one instance was 
there ever heard of improper conduct, out of a 
population of nearly four million slaves ; in spite 
of the fact that the war was being maintained by 
their masters for the perpetuation of the shackles 
of slavery on themselves ! The Negro was too 
fond of his master's family to mistreat them, he 
felt almost a kinship to them. The brutes of later 
days came from that class of Negroes who had 
been isolated from the whites, on the quarters of 
large plantations. 

" Was there ever a more glorious record ? Did 
ever a race deserve more fully the affection of 
another race than these southern Negroes, and did 
not we owe it to their descendants to save them 
from both deportation and serfdom ? 

" You ask, ' Why was it that after the war there 
was so much race prejudice, in the face of all these 
facts ? ' 



50 Light Ahead for the Negro 

" The answer to that question is fraught with 
much weight and bears strongly on the final solu 
tion of the Negro problem. The friends of the 
Negro had this question to battle with from the 
beginning, for the enemies of the race used every 
weapon at hand in the long and terrible fight 
against Negro citizenship. 

" To begin with, I will state that after the war 
the Negro became a free citizen and a voter he 
was under no restraint. His new condition gave 
him privileges that he had never had before ; it 
was not unnatural that he should desire to exer 
cise them. His attempts to do so were resisted 
by the native whites, but his vote was needed by 
the white men who had recently come into the South 
to make it their home and to get office and also 
for his own protection. It was necessary that 
he should vote to save himself from many of the 
harsh laws that were being proposed at the time. 
Some of them were that a Negro should not own 
land, that a Negro's testimony was incompetent in 
the courts, that a Negro should not keep firearms 
for his defense, that he should not engage in busi 
ness without paying a high and almost prohibitive 
tax, that he must hire himself out on a farm in 
January or be sold to the highest bidder for a 



Now and Then 51 

year, the former owner to have the preference in 
bidding. 

" These laws were unwisely urged by those 
whites who did not desire to accept the conse 
quences of the war. To make the laws effective, 
it was thought necessary by their advocates to 
suppress the Negro voters ; for, if they were al 
lowed to vote, there were so many of them, and 
so many of the whites had been disfranchised be 
cause of participation in the war, that defeat was 
certain. Here is where the bitterness, which for 
a long time seemed to curse our country, had its 
origin. The Negroes and their friends were lined 
up on one side and their opponents on the other. 

" The < Ku Klux Klan ' was a secret organization 
whose purpose was to frighten and intimidate 
Negroes and thus prevent their voting. It had 
branch organizations in the different Southern 
states during the reconstruction period. When 
the members went out on raids, they wore dis 
guises ; some had false heads with horns and long 
beards, some represented his satanic majesty, some 
wore long gowns, others wrapped themselves in 
sheets of different colors, and all sorts of hideous 
shapes and forms, with masks representing the 
heads of different animals, such as goats, cows 



52 Light Ahead for the Negro 

and mules. They proceeded on the principle of 
using mild means first, but when that failed, they 
did not hesitate to resort to harsher methods. The 
object seemed to be only to so frighten Negroes 
that they would not attempt to vote. But in car 
rying out this scheme they often met resistance, 
whereupon many outrages were perpetrated upon 
people who made a stand for their rights under 
the law of the land. In obstinate cases and toward 
the end of their careers " klans " would visit Ne 
gro cabins at night and terrify the inmates by 
whipping them, hanging them up by their thumbs, 
and sometimes killing them. Many Negroes who 
assumed to lead among their people were run from 
one county into another. Some were run out of 
their states, and even white men who led the Ne 
groes in thickly settled Negro counties were driven 
out. 

" The story was told of one case where a white 
man named Stephens, the recognized political 
leader of the Negroes as well as a few whites, in 
one of the states, was invited into one of the lower 
rooms of the courthouse of his county while a po 
litical meeting by his opponents was in progress 
above, and there told he must agree to leave the 
county and quit politics or be killed then and there. 



Now and Then 53 

He refused to do either, whereupon two physicians, 
with others who were present, tied him, laid him 
on a table and opened his jugular veins and bled 
him to death in buckets provided for the occasion. 
Meanwhile the stamping of feet and the yelling 
above, where the speaking was going on, was tre 
mendous, being prearranged to deaden any outcry 
that he might make. It is said that Stephens' s last 
words before he was put on the table were a re 
quest that he might go to the window and take a 
final look at his home, which was only a few rods 
away. This was granted, and as he looked his 
wife passed out of the house and his children 
were playing in the yard. Stephens' s dead body 
was found by a Negro man who suspected some 
thing wrong and climbed to the window of the 
room in search for him. 

" Such acts as these spread terror among the 
Negro population, as well as bad feeling, and dug 
a wide political pit between the Negro and the 
Democratic party which organized these methods 
of intimidation.* The ' Ku Klux Klan ' was 
finally annihilated by the strong hand of President 
Grant, who filled the South with sufficient militia 
to suppress it. A favorite means of evading the 

*Tourgee relates this incident in "A Fool's Errand." 



54 Light Ahead for the Negro 

arrests made by the militia was to have the pris 
oners released on habeas corpus by the native 
judges. To stop this the writ of habeas corpus 
was suspended by some of the provisional gov- 
erners. One governor who did this was impeached 
by the Democratic party when it returned to power 
and he died broken hearted, without the removal 
of his disabilities. You can easily see from these 
facts how the political differences between the 
Negro and the Democratic party arose." 

Here my paper ended. When I had read it 
over to Dr. Newell, he rose and went over to his 
desk, saying, 

" While looking over some old papers belong 
ing to my grandfather, I found the following arti 
cle inside of an old book. On it is a statement 
that it was written in the year 1902 and republished 
in 1950. I have often desired to get at the true 
status of this question, and when I found this 
my interest was doubly aroused. The so-called 
Negro problem was truly a most crucial test of 
the foundation principles of our government a 
century ago, and I feel proud of my citizenship 
in so great a country when I reflect that we have 
come through it all with honor and that finally 
truth has won out and we are able at last to treat 



Now and Then 55 

the Negro with justice and humanity, according to 
the principles of Christianity ! This problem tested 
our faith as with fire." 

He handed me the article, and gave his attention 
to other matters until I had read it : 

RECONSTRUCTION AND NEGRO GOVERN 
MENT. 

" In the ten years culminating with the decade 
ending in 1902, the American Negroes have wit 
nessed well nigh their every civil right invaded. 
They commenced the struggle as freemen in 1865 ; 
at the close of the civil war both races in the 
South began life anew, under changed conditions 
neither one the slave of the other, except in so 
far as he who toils, as Carlyle says, is slave to him 
who thinks. Under the slave system the white 
man had been the thinker and the Negro the toiler. 
The idea that governed both master and slave 
was that the slave should have no will but that of 
his master. 

" The fruits of this system began to ripen in the 
first years of freedom, when the Negro was forced 
to think for himself. For two hundred and forty 
years his education and training had been directed 



56 Light Ahead for the Negro 

towards the suppression of his will. He was fast 
becoming an automaton. He was taught religion 
to some extent, but a thoughtless religion is little 
better than mockery and this it must have been 
when even to read the Bible in some states was a 
crime. It is, therefore, not suprising that free 
dom's new suit fitted the recently emancipated 
slave uncomfortably close ; he hardly knew which 
way to turn for fear he would rend a seam. 
Consultation with his former owners was his 
natural recourse in adjusting himself to new 
conditions. 

"In North Carolina a meeting was called at the 
capital of the state by the leading colored men, and 
their former masters, and the leading white men 
were invited to come forward, to take the lead and 
to tell them what was best for them to do. It is a 
lamentable fact that the thinking white men did not 
embrace this opportunity to save their state hun 
dreds of lives that were afterwards sacrificed dur 
ing reconstruction. Many other evils of the 
period, might have been thus averted. It was a 
fatal blunder that cost much in money and blood, 
and, so far as North Carolina is concerned, if 
the Negroes in reconstruction were misled it was 
the fault of those who were invited and refused 



Now and Then 57 

this opportunity to take hold and direct them 
properly. 

" The Negro, turned from the Southern white 
man's refusal, followed such leaders as he could 
find. In some instances these proved to be corrupt 
camp followers, in others ambitious and unscrupu 
lous Southern men who made the Negroes step 
ping stones to power or pelf. The Negroes of the 
state received very little of the honor or harvest 
of reconstruction, but very much of dishonor, and 
they are now charged with the sins both of omis 
sion and commission of that period. A pliant tool 
he may have been in the hands of demagogues, 
yet in the beginning he sought the leadership of 
wise men. In this he showed a noble purpose 
which at least relieves him whatever was charged 
to his account afterwards of the charge of mali 
cious intent. 

" Here is a list of prominent white leaders in 
North Carolina who controlled the ship of state 
for the first ten years after the war, from 1869 to 
1876: 

" Wm. E. Rodman (Southern white), Judge Dick 
(Southern white), W. "W. Holden, Governor 
(Southern white), Byron Laflin (Southern white), 
Henry Martindale (Ohio white), Gen'l Ames 



58 Light Ahead for the Negro 

(Northern), G. Z. French, legislator (Maine), Dr. 
Eugene Grissom, Superintendent Insane Asylum 
Kaleigh, North Carolina (Southern white), Tyre 
York, legislator and party leader (Southern white), 
Governor Graham (Southern white), Judge Brooks 
(Southern white), S. J. Carrow (Southern white). 

" This list shows that those who had the reins of 
government in hand were not Negroes. The truth 
is, that if the team went wrong the fault was that 
of the white drivers and not that of the Negro 
passengers who, to say the most, had only a back 
seat in the wagon of state. 

" But the enemies of Negro suffrage and advo 
cates of the mistakes of reconstruction avow that 
the sway of reconstruction demagogery could never 
have prevailed but for Negro suffrage ; that had 
the Negro not been a voter he could never have 
been made the tool of demagogues. This is ob 
vious but the argument is sufficiently met by the 
fact that the Negroes offered the brain and cul 
ture of the South the opportunity of taking charge 
of affairs. Instead of doing so they stiffened their 
necks against Negro suffrage, the Howard Amend 
ment, and the other propositions of the government 
at Washington, looking towards the reconstruction 
of the lately seceded states. If there had been less 



Now and Then 59 

resistance there would have been less friction, but 
the South had its own ideas of how the thing 
should be done and resisted any others to the point 
of a revolution which had to be put down by 
government troops. The government's plans 
were carried finally at the point of the bayonet, 
when they might have gone through smoothly, 
had the Negro's call for Southern leadership been 
heeded. Had this been done, the <Ku-Klux' 
would never have developed. The South came 
back into the Union, ' overpowered/ it said, 
' but not conquered.' So far as the Negro ques 
tion is concerned that is true but in other matters 
the South is essentially loyal. Although it came 
back pledged never to deprive any citizen of his 
rights and privileges ' on account of color or pre 
vious condition of servitude,' it is now engaged in 
a bold and boasting attempt to do this very thing. 
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, 
North Carolina and Virginia have all adopted 
amendments to their constitutions which prac 
tically nullify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth 
Amendments to the United States Constitution, 
which the honor of these states was pledged not 
to do when they were re-admitted into the Union 
at the close of the war of secession ! In Virginia 



60 Light Ahead for the Negro 

the amendment was established without submit 
ting the question to the popular vote. To 
secure these amendments in other states, fraud 
and intimidation is alleged to have been used, 
and the Southern states that have not amended 
their constitutions have effected the same results 
by a system of political jugglery with the Negro's 
ballots. 

"The Southern states seem to live in mortal 
dread of the Negro with a ballot. They imagine 
a Pandora's box of evils will open upon them if 
the Negro is allowed to vote. This feeling arises 
more from the fact that the whites want the of 
fices than from any other cause. Past experience 
shows that Negroes have never attempted to claim 
all of the offices, even where they did ninety-nine 
per cent, of the voting. It is a notable fact that 
in North Carolina during the reconstruction times, 
when few white men voted and Negroes had a 
monopoly of the ballot, that white men were put 
forward for official positions. The same condi 
tion existed in the period from 1894 to 1898, dur 
ing the ' Fusion Movement,' when out of ninety- 
six counties, each of which had three commissioners 
elected by the people, only four counties out of 
the ninety-six had a Negro commissioner ; and the 



Now and Then 61 

commissioners in two-thirds of the counties were 
elected principally by Negro votes in many of 
the eastern counties, almost wholly by them. Out 
of ninety-six counties the Negroes never demanded 
a single sheriff or a mayor of a city, town or vil 
lage. There were a few Negro magistrates in the 
eastern counties, but always more white ones near 
by and under a provision of a North Carolina 
statute any defendant who thinks he cannot get 
justice before the magistrate in whose court he is 
summoned for trial, can have his case moved to 
some other justice. 

" The evils of reconstruction were due to the 
general demoralization which followed the Civil 
War, rather than to the Negro. War is ' hell ' 
and so is its aftermath. 

" Another pet assertion of the opponents of 
Negro suffrage is that Negro government is ex 
pensive. Those who despair of reaching the 
American conscience in any other way hope to do 
so through the pocket argument, commercialism 
if you please. This argument, like the others, 
has no facts for a basis. It is a phantom, a delu 
sion and is intended to affect the business element 
of the North, which people sometimes mistakenly 
think has more respect for prices than princi- 



62 Light Ahead for the Negro 

pies. It will not do, however, to listen to the 
siren of commercialism whose songs are composed 
by advocates of Negro disfranchised en t. There 
is method in the spell she would bring upon 
you, and her story is literally nothing but a 
song. 

" The truth is that during the whole period of 
the ' Fusion Movement ' North Carolina never 
had a more economical government taxes then 
were 93c. on a hundred dollar valuation; taxes 
now are $1.23. North Carolina six per cent, 
bonds then sold for $1.10 ; they now sell for 
$1.09. The Fusion government made the state 
penitentiary self-supporting ; the white supremacy 
government has run it into debt to the amount of 
$50,000. Under the Fusion government, most of 
the counties paid off their debts and had a surplus 
in their treasuries for the first time since the war. 
Under the Fusion government more miles of rail 
road were built than in any period of the same 
length before or since, more cotton factories were 
established ; one of them being owned and oper 
ated by Negroes. A silk mill operated entirely by 
Negro labor, from foremen down, was also estab 
lished. The fees of public officers were cut down 
about one-third. These are some of the phases of 



Now and Then 63 

the Fusion government a government based al 
most entirely on Negro votes that the enemies 
of Negro suffrage do not discuss. 

" It is useless to refer to the period of reconstruc 
tion to disprove the theory that Negro suffrage 
would entail an expensive government on the 
South, when we have the recent experiment in 
North Carolina before us. For the sake of ar 
gument, we might admit that the Negro was unfit 
for suffrage forty years ago, but that by no means 
proves that he is unfit now. Forty years of ex 
perience under American institutions have taught 
him many lessons. He is no longer the ( child- 
man/ as the white supremacy advocates call him. 
These people are as false in their theories as were 
the pro-slavery advocates who maintained the ab 
surd proposition that if the Negro was emancipated 
he would soon perish, for want of sufficient ability 
to feed and clothe himself. Forty years after 
emancipation about as long as Moses was in the 
wilderness in spite of these false prophecies, we 
can now find some of the sons of the prophets 
fearing and foretelling, not that the Negroes will 
perish, but that they will outstrip them in the 
race of life ! So the white man in the new con 
stitution is to be allowed to vote on his c grand- 



64 Light Ahead for the Negro 

daddy's ' * merits and the Negro must vote on his 
own. 

" These politicians were afraid to base the right 
to vote on merit, as they feared the Negro would 
win.f Among these people a Negro has to be 

* The grandfather clause in the North Carolina constitution, as 
recently amended, gives illiterate whites the right to vote if their 
grandfathers voted prior to 1867. The negroes were enfranchised 
in 1867 and their grandfathers therefore could not have voted 
prior to that time. So, while all negroes must be able to read and 
write the constitution, in order to vote, the illiterate white man 
may do so because his " grand-daddy " voted prior to 1867. 

tAs Mr. A. V. Dockery, who is a competent authority, so 
tersely said in the New York Age, June 23 ; 1904, the Negro has 
been practically the only natural Republican in the South. That 
a considerable number of soldiers were furnished by the South to 
the Union army during the Civil War is not contested, and proves 
little as to political conditions then and for several decades later. 
It is well known that the mountain section of North Carolina, 
Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia sent many soldiers to the North 
ern army; it may not be so well known that Madison county, North 
Carolina, the home of Judge Pritchard, contributed more soldiers 
to the Union cause, in proportion to population, than any other 
county in the whole United States. 

It was not asserted that all those soldiers were then, or after 
wards became, Republicans. Before the emancipation, there were 
some Republicans in this sparsely settled section, it is true, but 
aggressive Republicanism in the South got its impetus and had its 
birth in the actual emancipation, not necessarily the enfranchise 
ment, of the Negro. 

Yet when this remnant of white Republicans could no longer 
protect the Negro in his right to vote, and successive Congresses 
supinely consented to his disfranchisement, the South 's contribu- 



Now and Then 65 

twice as smart as a white man to merit the same 
favors, yet in a recent Civil Service examination 
in Atlanta 19 Negroes out of 40 passed, while only 
26 whites out of 115 succeeded. In an examina 
tion of law students by the Supreme Court of 
North Carolina only 40 per cent, of the whites 
passed, while 100 per cent, of the colored got 
licenses. A hundred other illustrations might be 
made showing the speciousness of the arguments 
put forth as to Negro incompetency. The fact is 
that there is no use in arguing such a proposition. 

tion to Congress consisted of less than half a dozen Republican 
congressmen, and these only from the aforesaid mountain district. 

The Negro, being held up as a terrible hobgoblin to political 
white folks, it was necessary to destroy his citizenship; which was 
accomplished by wily and cruel means. About one and a half 
million citizens were disfranchised and yet we have a paradox. 
This vast mass of manhood is represented in Congress in what 
way ? By arbitrarily nullifying the constitution of the Nation. 
It was the boast in 1861 that one Southern man could whip ten 
Yankees. May not this same class of Southern politicians now 
proudly and truly boast that one Southern vote is equal to ten 
Yankee votes ? 

Have the ten million American Negroes any more direct repre 
sentation in Congress than the ten million Filipinos ? 

In 1896 there was only one party in the South and its primaries 
elected the congressmen. Seven congressional districts in South 
Carolina cast a total of less than 40,000 votes for the seven con 
gressmen elected to the Fifty-seventh Congress. 

For the same Congress, Minnesota cast a total of 276,000 votes 
for seven congressmen, an average of 39,428 votes each; whereas 
E 



66 Light Ahead for the Negro 

The effort made to suppress the Negro has no just 
basis. There has simply been a determination to 
do it, right or wrong. The advocates of white 
supremacy who watch the current of events, have 
seen that the decitizenization of the Negro can be 
accomplished with the shot-gun, without trouble to 
themselves, and they have accomplished the task. 
They have asked to be let alone with the Negro 
problem; they have been let alone since 1876, 
when the Republican party dropped the Negro 
question as an issue. Since that time they have 

the average in South Carolina was less than 6,000 votes per con 
gressman. In other words, one South Carolina congressman is 
equal to seven of the Minnesota article. 

If every " lily white " Democrat in the old fighting South during 
the last decade of the twentieth century (the " lily white " age) 
had received an office, no benefit for the so-called Negro party 
would have been attained, and the South would have remained as 
solid as ever. The men there who amassed fortunes as a result of 
the Republican policy of protection, remained Democrats, not 
withstanding the elimination of the Negro as a political factor. 
The " lily white " party had no other principle except greed for 
office. It was a delicious sham and the people knew it, white and 
blacks alike. It was distinctly proven that as long, and no longer, 
as there was any Federal office in the South to be filled there was 
a Democrat or a " lily white " handy and anxious to fill it and 
willing to keep his mouth shut only during the occupation. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that President Roosevelt early in 
his administration gave the " lily-white" party to understand that 
it was persona non grata at the White House. As a true patriot 
and an honest man he could not have done less. 



Now and Then 67 

been politically tying the Negroes' hands. Real 
izing his industrial usefulness, the aim has been to 
eliminate him from politics and at the same time 
use him as a tax-payer and a producer. The para 
doxical task of defining his citizenship as that of 
one with all the burdens and duties, less the rights 
and privileges thereof, has been quite successfully 
performed. 

" The white supremacy advocates seem to have 
selected a propitious period for this work a time 
when the Negro's friends in the Republican party 
are occupied with similar problems in Cuba and 
the Philippines. ' If the Republicans deny self- 
government to the Philippines, Porto Rico and 
Cuba,' inquire the Southerners, ( why have n't we 
the right to do the same to Negroes ? Why allow 
Negroes in the South to rule and deny the same 
to Negroes in Hawaii ? ' are questions they are 
asking with some force. Whatever else the ad 
vocates of white supremacy may lack they are not 
lacking in shrewdness. Their disfranchising 
schemes have flaunted themselves under the very 
nose of the government, and bid it defiance in the 
National Senate with unmistakable boldness, since 
the Spanish- American War and the policy grow 
ing out of it. However there seems to be a man 



68 Light Ahead for the Negro 

in the White House who wants to set no example 
that white supremacy can follow ; so far as his in 
dicated policy in dealing with Cuba was concerned, 
President Roosevelt determined that the black 
people of Cuba should be free. 

" But the subordination of the Negro cannot last, 
there will always be white people in this country 
who will believe in his equality before the law. 
These principles are too firmly entrenched in the 
hearts of Americans to be utterly subverted. 
They are the bed rock on which the government 
was founded on which the Civil War was main 
tained. Too much of blood and treasure has been 
spent now to go backwards. These principles 
have been established at too great a cost to 
abandon them so soon. It is true that the white 
supremacy advocates seem now in control of the 
situation, but that also seemed true of the advo 
cates of slavery before the war. While the 
enemies of liberty have always been cunning, yet 
like all other advocates of false doctrines who get 
power, they usually abuse it ; the South might 
have held her slaves for many years longer, had 
she not overstepped the mark by trying to force 
the institution on the North. She attempted to 
extend slavery into new territories, she even at- 



Now and Then 69 

tempted to capture her slaves in the streets of 
anti-slavery cities like Boston, by the Fugitive 
Slave Law under the very noses of the abolition 
ists ! Had the pro-slavery people been satisfied 
with restricted slavery, the abolitionists might 
have had harder work in dethroning the institu 
tion. 

" If the question of lynching had been con 
fined to Negroes guilty of assaults on females some 
justification might exist, but it has been extended 
to all crimes ; and not satisfied with hanging, burn 
ing by slow fire has been substituted, accompanied 
by stabbing, the cutting off of finger joints, the 
digging out of eyes, and other torture. 

" On the question of civil equality, the ' jim- 
crow ' system has not sufficed ; like the horse leech, 
they continually call for more. If practiced only 
in the South it might stand, but an attempt has 
been made to cover the country, and the Pres 
ident himself must not treat a colored gentleman 
otherwise than as a scullion according to the ad 
vocates of white supremacy. In their doctrine all 
Negroes are to be humiliated. This tendency to 
dictate to others and go to extremes is character 
istic, and it means that we may always depend on 
this class of individuals to go too far, and by over- 



70 Light Ahead for the Negro 

stepping the mark to turn the country against 
them. 

" If a fool has rope enough the end is easy to 



see." 



After reading the article, I turned to the Doctor, 
and said, " These statements are essentially correct, 
according to my recollection of those times, and I 
will say further that there were grave doubts one 
hundred years ago as to the permanency of our 
institutions under the strain of the Negro problem ; 
and no less prominent was the labor agitation or 
the war between capital and labor. It is a happy 
realization for me to return to my country and 
find these questions peaceably adjusted and that 
the South, which was for a long time considered 
obdurate on this subject, has led in bringing 
about this happy solution, in spite of the proph 
ecies of many writers like this one. But the 
problem I have been laboring with ever since my 
second advent, as it were, is, how was it all done ? 

" Well, we Southern people changed our leaders. 
We took men of noble character; men who ap 
pealed to reason and humanity, rather than pan 
dered to the lowest passions of the people," he said. 

" Tell me, Dr. Newell, how the labor question 



Now and Then 71 

was settled and how the labor unions learned to 
leave off discriminating against Negroes. Accord 
ing to my best recollections the American labor 
organizations, almost without exception, excluded 
Negro members." 

" Yes/' replied Dr. Newell, " that is correct, as 
I have gleaned from the history of your times, but 
as all injustice must this particular instance fol 
lowed the fixed rule and finally gave way to truth. 
Such discriminations were incompatible with the 
spirit and trend of our government. The labor 
leaders, however, yielded in the end more from a 
sense of necessity than of justice to the Negro. As 
Lincoln said, the nation could not exist half slave 
and half free, and as Elaine said, in his famous 
Augusta speech, no imaginary line could continue 
to divide free labor from serf labor. The labor 
leaders found, after serious second thought, that it 
would be better to emancipate Negro labor than 
to lend their efforts towards keeping it in serfdom. 
For a long time the labor organizations desired 
the Negroes deported, as a solution of the problem 
for themselves alone. They found various in 
fluences, especially capital, opposed to this ; as one 
writer put it, ' the Dollar was no respector of per 
sons and would as soon hop into the hands of a 



72 Light Ahead for the Negro 

black man, in consideration of the performance of 
a service, as in those of a white one.' Capital 
wanted the work done and the man who could do 
it the cheapest and best was the man that got the 
Dollar every time. This phase of the question 
was a constant menace to organized labor, and 
finally caused a revolution in its tactics. White 
labor began to see that it would be better to lift 
the Negro up to the same scale with itself, by ad 
mitting him into their organization, than to seek 
his debasement. If Negroes were in a condition 
to work for fifty cents per day and would do so, 
and capital would employ them, then white men 
must accept the same terms or get no work ! This, 
followed to its last analysis, meant that white 
laborers must provide for their families and educate 
their children on fifty cents per day, if the Negroes 
could do it." 

" Did not the South object to the organization 
of Negro labor?" I asked. 

"The Southern people, at first, strongly ob 
jected. 

" The laboring white people of the South have 
made serious blunders in their position on the Ne 
gro problem, having acted all along on the pre 
sumption that the proper solution was to ' keep 



Now and Then 73 

the Negro down.' Towards this end, they bent 
their best energies, under the mistaken idea of 
conserving their own interests, not realizing the 
all-important fact that as long as there was a large 
number of Negroes in their midst who would work 
for only fifty cents per day as above stated, and 
capital was disposed to employ them, just so long 
would every laboring white man have to accept 
the same wages as the Negro. 

" The intelligent solution of the problem was 
found by making the Negro see what his interests 
were, by taking him into the labor unions, where 
he could be educated up to an intelligent appre 
ciation of the value of his labor ; instead of seek 
ing further to degrade him by oppression, with the 
consequent result of lowering the white man's 
scale of wages. Further it has been found that 
oppression does not oppress when aimed at the 
Negro he rather thrives under it. In those 
communities where he was most oppressed and the 
hand of every laboring white man seemed to be 
against him, the Negro thrived and prospered to a 
marked degree. Oppression simply drives negroes 
together, they concentrate their trade in their 
own stores and spend their wages among them 
selves to a greater extent than otherwise and 



74 Light Ahead for the Negro 

thus it more often than otherwise happened, that 
Negro laborers as a mass, in such communities, 
lived in better homes, and educated their children 
better than the white laborers. The eyes of the 
Southern white laboring men began to see this 
point and a change of base took place, and now 
they are and have been for a long time, seeking 
to elevate the Negro laborer to their own standard 
to keep him from pulling them down a most in 
telligent view of the matter ! 

"The South had congratulated itself on being 
free from the strikes and lock-outs caused by or 
ganized labor in the North. Their contention was 
that the Negroes could not act intelligently in any 
organization, and that serious consequences would 
certainly follow. But all such predictions failed 
to materialize after the Negroes were organized. 
The work of organizing did not stop with their 
admission into labor unions but courses of in 
struction were mapped out and competent people 
were employed to drill the members in the princi 
ples of the order ; and, so far as possible, in the 
advanced methods of handling tools. The result 
was the creation of a much better class of work 
men, better wages and better living for all. 

" The unions also opened their doors to women 



Now and Then 75 

in separate meetings. Schools of Domestic 
Science were established and those who employed 
servants soon found that they could leave the 
household and kitchen work to a master-hand. 
The wives and mothers of employers were eman 
cipated from constantly ' overseeing.' There was 
a vast difference between the professional domestic 
servant, who needed only orders, which would be 
carried out faithfully, and the 'blunderbuss/ 
who was continually at sea in the absence of the 
directing hand and mind of her mistress. The 
Southern people began to recognize the difference, 
and soon became the firm champions of the new 
system, and welcomed the new efforts of the labor 
unions as a blessing rather than a curse." 

" But, Doctor, am I to understand that there are 
no labor problems at all in the country at present ? " 

"No, not exactly that; organized labor still 
has its problems, but you must remember that 
they are not of the same character as those of a 
hundred years ago. The essentials of life, such as 
coal, iron, oil and other natural products are now 
handled by the National Government, and the 
government is pledged to see to it that labor in 
the production of these commodities is paid a fair 
share of the surplus accruing from sales. No at- 



76 Light Ahead for the Negro 

tempt at profit is allowed ; the management is 
similar to that of the Post Office Department, 
which has been conducted from the beginning for 
the convenience of the people, and not for revenue 
to the Government. The workmen are paid well 
and the cost to the consumer is lessened by dis 
carding the profits that formerly went into private 
purses. We have no more strikes and lock-outs ; 
the chief concern of the labor unions now is to 
raise their less skillful members to a higher stand 
ard (for a long time this effort was especially 
directed toward the Negro members), and to assist 
those who, because of infirmity and disease, find 
themselves incapacitated for further service. It 
may be well said that the problem of ' wherewithal 
shall we be clothed ' is solved in this country, so 
far as organized labor is concerned, and more time 
is now left for the perfection of skill and individ 
ual improvement." 

" A delightful situation, as compared with the 
past as I recollect it to be," I remarked " when 
labor was paid barely enough to live on, while 
enormous wealth was being accumulated in the 
hands of a few fortunate people who happened to 
be born into opportunities or, better still, born 
rich. 



Now and Then 77 

" As I remember the past, the laboring people 
in coal and iron mines earned barely enough for 
subsistence and their hours of toil were so long 
that anything like self -improvement was impos 
sible. They were in a continual row with their 
employers, who revelled in luxury and rebelled 
against a 10 per cent, increase in wages, and who 
in many instances, rather than pay it, would close 
down the mines until their workmen were starved 
into submission. I never could reconcile myself 
to the logic of the principle that it was lawful for 
capital to thus oppress labor. I think the legal 
maxim of sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas (so 
use your own as not to injure another) applies 
with force in this instance. The application of it 
is usually made in suits for damages, where one 
person has injured another by negligence. But 
the force of the maxim is applicable to capital as 
well, and he who would use money (though in 
fact it be legally his own) to oppress others has 
violated both the letter and spirit of the maxim. 
In saying this I would not be understood as in 
dulging in that sickly sentimentality which de 
spises all rich people simply because they are 
rich, but rather to condemn the illegitimate use of 
riches. A rich man can be a blessing as well as 



78 Light Ahead for the Negro 

a curse to his community, and I am indeed happy 
to learn and see for myself that this is now the 
rule, rather than the exception, as formerly. 

"There is another phase of the question that 
you have not yet referred to. What is the con 
dition of the farm laborers of the Southern States ? " 
I asked. "When I left they were working from 
sunrise to sunset, the men earning fifty cents and 
the women thirty-five cents per day, and they lived 
in huts with mud chimneys often a family of six 
or eight in one room. They had a three months' 
school during the winter season, when there were 
no crops, and these were not too often taught by 
skilled teachers. Has their condition improved so 
that it is in keeping with the times ? " 

At this juncture the Doctor was called out of 
the room before he could reply. 

While waiting for him to return, I had a sur 
prise. His private secretary came in and seated 
himself at a phonographic typewriter which 
took down the words in shorthand, typewrote 
them on a sheet for preservation in the office, and 
at the same time sent the letter by telephone to 
its destination. But my surprise was awakened 
by the fact that this private secretary was a 
Negro -, not full black, but mixed blood in color, 



Now and Then 79 

between an Indian and a Chinaman. I ascer 
tained from this young man that it was now " quite 
common " for Southern white men of large affairs 
to employ Negroes for higher positions in their 
offices, counting rooms, and stores. (They had a 
precedent for this in the custom of the Romans, 
who used their educated Greek slaves in this 
way.) He also told me that the matter of social 
equality was not mentioned. He naturally as 
sociated with his own people. He simply wanted 
to do his work faithfully, and neither expected 
nor asked to sit by his employer's fireside. In a 
word, he showed that to give the Negro an edu 
cation need not necessarily " turn his head."* 
The young man said, " Our theory has kept the 

* A. A. Gunby, Esq., a member of the Louisiana bar, in a recently 
published address on Negro education, read before the Southern 
Educational Association, which met in Atlanta, 1892, took diamet 
rically opposite ground to those who oppose higher education be 
cause it will lead to the amalgamation of the races. Mr. Gunby 
said : " The idea that white supremacy will be endangered by Ne 
gro education does not deserve an answer. The claim that their 
enlightenment will lead to social equality and amalgamation is 
equally untenable. The more intelligent the Negro becomes the 
better he understands the true relations and divergencies of the 
races, the less he is inclined to social intermingling with the whites. 
Education will really emphasize and widen the social gulf between 
the whites and blacks to the great advantage of the State, for it is 
a heterogeneous, and not a homogeneous, people that make a re 
public strong and progressive." 



80 Light Ahead for the Negro 

two races pure and has developed both the Saxon 
and the Negro types and preserved the best traits 
of each." 

I noticed that the subdued look of the old time 
Negro was absent and that, without any attempt 
at display, this man possessed " le grande air " 
which is a coveted attribute in the highest walks 
of life. I had already observed that an advance 
in civilization produced more individuality and 
more personal freedom in choosing one's associ 
ates. It was not expected that a man was the 
social equal of another because he worked at the 
same bench with him, or rode in the same car on 
the railroad. That was now considered the postu 
late of an ignoramus. 

Individuality is a marked development of ad 
vanced civilization of this I have always been 
aware, the more so since witnessing the changes 
wrought during my absence. Individuality gives 
room for thought, out of which is born invention 
and progress. When the individual is not al 
lowed to separate from the crowd in thought and 
action, the aggregate will, the aggregate thought, 
is his master and he " dare not venture for fear 
of a fall." Progress is measured only by the de 
gree of swiftness made by the mass. Some indi- 



Now and Then 81 

viduals may be able to make better speed, but the 
mass holds them back. Four horses are pulling a 
load; two may be able to go faster than the 
others, but the speed of the team is measured by 
the speed of the slowest horse. 

This does not always appear apropos of the 
progress of communities, for a community may 
be led by a few progressive spirits who seem to 
reflect upon it their own standard and tone, but 
the less progressive members of such a community 
have merely subordinated their wills for the time 
being and may on any occasion see fit to exercise 
them; and at this point the illustration becomes 
true again. 

"Now," said Doctor Newell, on his return, "I 
am sorry our conversation was interrupted, but 
let us proceed. I believe you desired to ask me 
some questions about the Negro farm laborers, did 
you not?' 1 

I replied that I did, and recalled my state 
ment as to their condition when I last knew of 
them. 

" Oh, it is very different from that now, Mr. 
Twitchell. Many changes ; many, many, have oc 
curred ! You will recall that, about the time you 
left, the different Southern states were re-recon- 
F 



82 Light Ahead for the Negro 

structing themselves, as it were, by making amend 
ments to their constitutions which virtually dis 
franchised a large proportion of the Negro voters 
enough to put the offices of the states absolutely 
into the hands of white men, as outlined in the 
magazine article you have just read, and as you 
stated in your brochure for the Bureau of Public 
Utility. Some passages from a book I have on 
the subject may remind you of the discussion of 
this question that was going on then." 

Signifying to his secretary what he wanted, he 
read to me the following excerpts from the history 
of those times : 



"NEGRO DISFRANCHISEMENT 

"WHAT DR. F. A. NOBLE THINKS 

"In civil as in business affairs there is nothing 
so foolish as injustice and oppression; there is 
nothing so wise as righteousness. By the letter 
of the amended Constitution, by the spirit and aim 
of the amendments, and by all the principles of 
our American democracy, the Negro is in posses 
sion of the elective franchise. Men differ in their 
views as to whether it was good policy to confer 



Now and Then 83 

this right upon him at the time and in the way, 
and especially to the extent to which it was done ; 
but the right was conferred, and it is now his. To 
deprive him of this right, for no other reason than 
that he is a Negro, is to nullify the fundamental 
law of the land, discredit one of the most sacred 
results of Emancipation, and flaunt contempt in 
the face of the idea of a government of the people 
and by the people and for the people. To dis 
courage the Negro from attempting to exercise 
the right of the ballot is to belittle him in his own 
estimation, put him at a serious disadvantage in the 
estimation of others, and by so much remand him 
back to the old condition of servitude from which 
he was rescued at such cost to the nation. Wrong 
done to the colored race involves the white race in 
the catastrophe which must follow. To withhold 
justice is worse than to suffer injustice. A people 
deprived of their rights by the state will not long 
be faithful to their duties to the state. 

"WHAT HON. CARL SCHURZ THINKS 

" That the suppression of the Negro franchise 

by direct or indirect means is in contravention of 

the spirit and intent of the Fifteenth Amendment 

to the Constitution of the United States hardly 



84 Light Ahead for the Negro 

admits of doubt. The evident intent of the Con 
stitution is that the colored people shall have the 
right of suffrage on an equal footing with the 
white people. The intent of the provisions of 
the State Constitutions in question, as avowed by 
many Southern men, is that the colored people 
shall not vote. However plausible it may be 
demonstrated by ingenious argument that the 
provisions in the State Constitutions are not in 
conflict with the National Constitution, or that if 
they were their purpose could not be effectively 
thwarted by judicial decisions, yet it remains true 
that by many, if not by all, of their authors they 
were expressly designed to defeat the universally 
known and recognized intent of a provision of 
the national Constitution. * * * 

" The only plausible reason given for that cur 
tailment of their rights is that it is not in the in 
terest of the Southern whites to permit the blacks 
to vote. I will not discuss here the moral aspect 
of the question whether A may deprive B of his 
rights if A thinks it in his own interest to do so, 
and the further question, whether the general ad 
mission of such a principle would not banish jus 
tice from the earth and eventually carry human 
society back into barbarism. I will rather discuss 



Now and Then 85 

the question whether under existing circumstances 
it would really be the true interest of the South 
ern whites generally to disfranchise the colored 
people. * * * . 

" Negro suffrage is plausibly objected to on the 
ground that the great bulk of the colored popula 
tion of the South are very ignorant. This is true. 
But the same is true of a large portion of the white 
population. If the suffrage is dangerous in the 
hands of certain voters on account of their igno 
rance, it is as dangerous in the hands of ignorant 
whites as in the hands of ignorant blacks. To 
remedy this two things might be done : To estab 
lish an educational test for admission to the suf 
frage, excluding illiterates; and, secondly, to 
provide for systems of public instruction so as 
to gradually do away with illiteracy subjecting 
whites and blacks alike to the same restrictions and 
opening to them the same opportunities. * * * 

" But most significant and of evil augury is the 
fact that with many of the Southern whites a well- 
educated colored voter is as objectionable as an 
ignorant one, or even more objectionable, simply 
on account of his color. It is, therefore, not mere 
dread of ignorance in the voting body that arouses 
the Southern whites against the colored voters. It 



86 Light Ahead for the Negro 

is race antagonism, and that race antagonism pre 
sents a problem more complicated and perplexing 
than most others, because it is apt to be unreason 
ing. It creates violent impulses which refuse to 
be argued with. 

" The race antipathy now heating the Southern 
mind threatens again to curtail the freedom of in 
quiry and discussion there perhaps not to the 
same extent, but sufficiently to produce infinite 
mischief by preventing an open-minded consid 
eration of one of the most important interests. 
* * * And here is the crucial point : There 
will be a movement either in the direction of re 
ducing the Negroes to a permanent condition of 
serfdom the condition of the mere plantation 
handy ' alongside of the mule,' practically without 
any rights of citizenship or a movement in the 
direction of recognizing him as a citizen in the 
true sense of the term. One or the other will 
prevail. 

" That there are in the South strenuous advo 
cates of the establishment of some sort of semi- 
slavery cannot be denied. Governor Vardaman, 
of Mississippi, is their representative and most 
logical statesman. His extreme utterances are 
greeted by many as the bugle-blasts of a great 



Now and Then/ 87 

leader. We constantly read articles in Southern 
newspapers and reports of public speeches made 
by Southern men which bear a striking resem 
blance to the pro-slavery arguments I remember 
to have heard before the Civil War, and they are 
brought forth with the same passionate heat and 
dogmatic assurance to which we were then accus 
tomed the same assertion of the Negro's predes 
tination for serfdom ; the same certainty that he 
will not work without ' physical compulsion ' ; 
the same contemptuous rejection of Negro educa 
tion as a thing that will only unfit him for work ; 
the same prediction that the elevation of the Ne 
gro will be the degradation of the whites; the 
same angry demand that any advocacy of the Ne 
gro's rights should be put down in the South as 
an attack upon the safety of Southern society and 
as treason to the Southern cause. * * * 

" Thus may it be said, without exaggeration, 
that by striving to keep up in the Southern States 
a condition of things which cannot fail to bring 
forth constant irritation and unrest ; which threat 
ens to burden the South with another ' peculiar 
institution,' by making the bulk of its laboring 
force again a clog to progressive development, and 
to put the South once more in a position provok- 



Light Ahead for the Negro 



ingly offensive to the moral sense and the enlight 
ened spirit of the world outside, the reactionists 
are the worst enemies the Southern people have 
to fear. * * * 

"A body of high-minded and enlightened 
Southerners may gradually succeed in convincing 
even many of the most prejudiced of their people 
that white ignorance and lawlessness are just as 
bad and dangerous as black ignorance and law 
lessness ; that black patriotism, integrity, ability, 
industry, usefulness, good citizenship and public 
spirit are just as good and as much entitled to 
respect and reward as capabilities and virtues of 
the same name among whites ; that the rights of 
the white man under the Constitution are no more 
sacred than those of the black man ; that neither 
white nor black can override the rights of the 
other without eventually endangering his own ; 
and that the Negro question can finally be settled 
so as to stay settled only on the basis of the fun 
damental law of the land as it stands, by fair ob 
servance of that law and not by any tricky cir 
cumvention of it. Such a campaign for truth and 
justice, carried on by the high-minded and en 
lightened Southerners without any party spirit 
rather favoring the view that whites as well as 



Now and Then 89 

blacks should divide their votes according to their 
inclinations between different political parties 
will promise the desired result in the same meas 
ure as it is carried on with gentle, patient and 
persuasive dignity, but also with that unflinching 
courage which is, above all things, needed to 
assert that most important freedom the freedom 
of inquiry and discussion against traditional and 
deep-rooted prejudice a courage which can be 
daunted neither by the hootings of the mob nor 
by the supercilious jeers of fashionable society, 
but goes steadily on doing its work with indomit 
able tenacity of purpose. 

" WHAT THE ' NEW YORK EVENING POST ' THINKS 

" This analysis of existing conditions and ten 
dencies in the South is one to which the South 
itself and the entire nation should give heed. 
Mr. Schurz clearly perceives a dangerous drift. 
Slavery ideas are again asserting themselves. The 
movement to extinguish the Negro's political 
rights is unconcealed. By craftily devised and 
inequitable laws the suffrage is taken from him. 
With all this go naturally the desire and purpose 
to keep him forever ' alongside the mule/ Negro 
education is looked upon with increasing hostility. 



90 Light Ahead for the Negro 

Every door of hope opening into the professions 
is slammed in the face of black men merely be 
cause they are black. The South works itself up 
into hysterics over the President's spontaneous 
recognition of manhood under a black skin. 
While philanthropists and teachers are laboring to 
raise the Negro to the full level of citizenship, an 
open and determined effort is making at the South 
to thrust him back into serfdom. As Mr. Schurz 
says, the issue is upon the country, for one ten 
dency or the other must prevail. 

"It is his view of the great urgency of the 
juncture which leads him to address a moving ap 
peal to the South' s best. He implores its leading 
men to bestir themselves to prevent the lament 
able injustice which is threatened, and partly ex 
ecuted. By withstanding the mob ; by upholding 
the law ; by ridding themselves of the silly dread 
of ' social equality ' ; by contending for Negro 
education of the broadest sort ; by hailing every 
step upward which the black man may take ; by 
insisting upon the equality of all men before the 
law, they can, Mr. Schurz argues forcibly, do 
much to save the South and the country from the 
disgrace and calamity of a new slavery. To this 
plea every humane patriot will add his voice. 



Now and Then 91 

Mr. Schurz's paper is also a challenge to the mind 
and conscience of the North. Unless they, too, 
respond to the cause of the Negro which to-day 
is the cause of simple justice it will languish and 
die. 

" WHAT ' THE OUTLOOK ' THINKS 

"It must not be forgotten that the so-called 
race question is the only capital which a small 
group of Southern politicians of the old school 
still possess. They have no other questions or is 
sues ; they depend upon the race question for a 
livelihood, and they use every occasion to say the 
most extreme things and to set the match to all 
the imflammable material in the South. To these 
politicians several occurrences which have hap 
pened lately have been a great boon, and they are 
making the most of them. But there is a large, 
influential and growing group of Southern men, 
loyal to their section, equally loyal to the nation, 
open-minded and high-minded, who are eager to 
give the South a new policy, to rid it of section 
alism, to organize its spiritual, moral and intellect 
ual forces, to develop education, and to treat great 
questions from a national rather than from a sec 
tional point of view ; men like Governor Aycock, 



92 Light Ahead for the Negro 

of North Carolina, and Governor Montague, of 
Virginia. There is a whole group of educational 
leaders who represent the best of the Old South 
and the best of the New. It is the duty of wise, 
patriotic men in the North to cooperate with these 
new leaders ; to strengthen their hands ; to recog 
nize and aid the best sentiment in the South, and 
to stimulate its activity. The Negro question can 
be settled by cooperation of the North with the 
South, by sympathy, by understanding ; it can 
never be settled in any other way. 

" WHAT GOV. ATCOCK, OF NORTH CAROLINA, THINKS 

" I am proud of my state because we have solved 
the Negro problem, which recently seems to have 
given you some trouble. We have taken him out 
of politics, and have thereby secured good gov 
ernment under any party, and laid foundations 
for the future development of both races. We 
have secured peace and rendered prosperity a cer 
tainty. I am inclined to give you our solution of 
this problem. It is, first, as far as possible, under 
the Fifteenth Amendment, to disfranchise him ; 
after that, let him alone ; quit writing about him ; 
quit talking about him ; quit making him ' the 
white man's burden ' ; let him ' tote his own skil- 



Now and Then 93 

let ' ; quit coddling him ; let him learn that no 
man, no race, ever got anything worth the having 
that he did not himself earn ; that character is the 
outcome of sacrifice, and worth is the result of 
toil ; that, whatever his future may be, the pres 
ent has in it for him nothing that is not the prod 
uct of industry, thrift, obedience to law and up 
rightness ; that he cannot, by resolution of council 
or league, accomplish anything ; that he can do 
much by work ; that violence may gratify his pas 
sions, but it cannot accomplish his ambition ; that 
he may rarely eat of the cooking equality, but he 
will always find when he does that there is death in 
the pot. Let the white man determine that no 
man shall by act or thought or speech cross this 
line, and the race problem will be at an end." 

After reading these the Doctor explained that, 
about the time I left, the Negro population of the 
South began to drift towards the Northern states, 
where better wages were offered, on account of 
the improvements going on there. 

" The farms were the first to be affected by this 
turn in affairs," said the Doctor. "In fact, the 
Negroes who had no land very generally left the 
farms and this so crippled the cotton industry that 



94 Light Ahead for the Negro 

within ten years after the disfranchising acts were 
passed, there was n't a ' ten horse ' farm (to quote 
the expression used in the records) to be found in 
some of the Southern states for miles and miles. 
Every Negro laborer who went North found times 
so much better that he wrote back for his friends. 
The disfranchising acts seemed to give the dis 
orderly element in Southern society a free hand. 
The result was that Negroes were mobbed with 
impunity for the slightest offences. In one in 
stance I read of a Negro who accidentally stepped 
on a white man's foot. He was promptly knocked 
down. As it occurred in a public place where a 
small crowd had gathered to look at base-ball bul 
letins, seven or eight of the white by-standers in 
the crowd took a kick and a knock at him. A 
policeman appeared on the scene, who arrested 
the Negro and put him under lock and key be 
cause he got knocked down ! as my father used 
to say in relating the story. Then, too, the news 
papers continued to hold the Negro up to ridicule 
and whereas he formerly had some of his race on 
juries, they were now excluded.* 

* DOES THE NEGRO GET JUSTICE IN OUR COURTS ? 

(Charlotte, N. C., News.) 
The Charlotte Observer makes the sweeping statement regarding 



Now and Then 95 

" You can imagine that it was getting very un 
comfortable for the Negroes in the South about 
that time. Many of them left for the North and 
West. Quite a number went to Africa and Bishop 
Smith of the African Methodist Church induced 
many to go to Hayti. Vast tracts of land in the 
Southwestern part of the United States were 
opened up to the cultivation of cotton by a na 
tional system of irrigation, and the Government 
employed Negroes on these improvements and 
also in the cultivation of the plant itself, after the 
irrigation system was perfected." 

" What happened to the Southern white farm 
ers ? " I inquired. 

" They moved to the cities in large numbers and 

the Negro: " He is not ill-treated nor improperly discriminated 
against except in the courts, and for the injustice done him there, 
there seems to be no remedy." 

A CLOSE CONTEST. 

(Charlotte, N. C., Observer.) 

We always feel sorry for a North Carolina jury which gets hold 
of a case in which a black man is the plaintiff and the Southern 
Railway Company the defendant. A jury in Rowan superior court 
last week had such a case and must have been greatly perplexed 
about which party to the suit to decide against. After due deli 
beration, however, it decided how do you suppose Why, against 
the railroad. But the problem was one which called for fasting 
and prayer. 



96 Light Ahead for the Negro 

engaged in manufacturing. As you will see when 
you begin to travel with me the South is now a 
great manufacturing country. This, they found 
later, was a mistake, as they lost race vitality and 
became virtually the slaves of the manufacturers, 
on whom they had to depend for bread from week 
to week. The National Government, however, 
came to the relief of the South in quite a sub 
stantial way (at the same time that it assumed con 
trol of all coal and iron mines, and oil wells) by 
buying up the cotton lands and parcelling them 
out to young Negroes at a small price, accom 
panied with means and assistance for the produc 
tion of the crop. This was an act of the highest 
statesmanship and a great help in the solution 
of the Negro problem. It should have come im 
mediately after reconstruction, but the intervening 
interests of political parties and ambitious men 
prevented it. A matter of serious moment for a 
long time was how to eliminate party and personal 
interests from the equation of politics. Too often 
good measures were opposed by the different polit 
ical parties with an eye singly to these interests. 
The great work of General 0. 0. Howard in con 
nection with what was known as the Freedmen's 
Bureau was greatly hampered and met an untimely 



Now and Then 97 

end because of the selfishness and partisanship of 
that period. In fact, this one feature has stood in 
the way of progress in this Government from its 
earliest existence. Example after example might 
be cited where party policy and personal interest 
has blocked the wheels of useful legislation. 

" Oxenstiern said, ' See my son, with how little 
wisdom nations are governed.' 

" It is wonderful how tolerant the people of the 
world have been in respect to bad government. 
No group of business men would have allowed its 
directors to spend the company's earnings in the 
way the rulers of the world have done from time 
immemorial. America has overlooked many of 
these points because of the unlimited opportunities 
here for money making let the high tide of pros 
perity once ebb and then these defects become 
apparent ! There were usually in a government 
office twice as many employed to do small tasks 
as any business organization would have thought 
of hiring, and they were paid excellent salaries. In 
other words, the more places a boss could fill with 
his constituents or friends, the more public money 
he could cause to be spent in his district, the more 
sinecures he could get for his constituents, the 
more popular he became. In addition to all this, 
a 



98 Light Ahead for the Negro 

he wasted the people's money with long speeches 
which were often printed and distributed at the 
Government's expense. The National Congress 
formerly was a most expensive institution. Its 
methods of business were highly extravagant and 
very often the time consumed resulted in accom 
plishing nothing more than a mere pittance, per 
haps, of the work to be done ; and that was carried 
through because of party advantage or personal in 
terest." 



CHAPTER V 

A VISIT TO PUBLIC BUILDINGS 



THE time had now arrived for our promised 
visit to some of the public buildings of the 
city and we seated ourselves in an electric 
motor car which the Doctor had summoned by 
touching a botton. To my surprise, it made the 
trip alone, by traversing a course made for this 
purpose, somewhat on the order of the cash de 
livery systems formerly used in our large stores, 
being elevated some twenty feet above the sur 
face. The coaches were arranged to come at a 
call from any number on certain streets. 

The Doctor suggested that we should first visit 
the " Administration Building." I was expecting 
to find Congress or some such body in session, but 
to my surprise I was told by the Doctor that Con 
gress had been abolished, and that the country 
was run on what I had formerly understood as the 
corporation plan ; except that the salaries were 

99 



100 Light Ahead for the Negro 

not so large. The business of the Government 
was entrusted to bureaus or departments, and the 
officers in them were chosen for their fitness by an 
improved system of civil service. 

"Who is president now," I inquired. 

"President!" replied the Doctor, in surprise, 
" why we have none. I never saw a president. 
We need none. We have an Executive Depart 
ment which fills his place." 

"What as to proposing new measures ? " I asked. 
" Who writes the annual messages suggesting 
them?" 

" All this is left to a bureau chosen for that pur 
pose, whose duties are to keep the nation informed 
as to its needs, and to formulate new plans, which 
are carried out along the idea of the initiative and 
referendum system with which you are doubtless 
somewhat acquainted, as I notice that it was dis 
cussed as early as 1890." 

I replied that I had a recollection of seeing the 
terms but I could not give an intelligent defini 
tion of them. Whereupon the Doctor explained 
the system. 

" You see," he said, " that the time wasted in 
Congressional debate is saved and the chance to 
block needed legislation is reduced to a minimum. 



A Visit to Public Buildings 101 

There are no political offices to parcel out to 
henchmen, and the ambitions of demagogues are 
not fostered at the expense of the people. Eng 
land, you will recollect, has had a king only in 
name for four hundred years. The American 
people have found out there is no necessity for 
either king, president, parliament or congress, 
and in that respect we may be able sooner or 
later to teach the mother country a lesson." 

" To say I am surprised at all this, Dr. 
Newell, is to express my feelings but mildly," 
said I, " but I can now see how the changes in 
reference to the Negro have been brought about. 
Under our political system, such as I knew it to 
be, these results could not have been reached in a 
thousand years ! " 

" Yes, Mr. Twitchell," replied the Doctor, " our 
new system, as it may be called, has been a great 
help in settling, not only the Negro problem, but 
many others; for instance the labor question, 
about which we have already conversed, and the 
end is not yet, the hey-day of our glory is not 
reached and will not be until the principles of the 
Golden Rule have become an actuality in this land." 

I here remarked that I always felt a misgiving 
as to our old system, which left the Government 



102 Light Ahead for the Negro 

and management of the people's affairs in the 
hands of politicians who had more personal interest 
than statesmanship ; but I could not conceive of 
any method of ridding the country of this in 
fluence and power, and had about resolved to ac 
cept the situation as a part of my common lot 
with humanity. 

Doctor Newell stated that there was much op 
position to the parcelling out of land to Negro 
farmers. It was jeered at as " paternalism/' and 
" socialistic/' and " creating a bad precedent." 

" But/' said he, our Bureau of Public Utility 
carried out the idea with the final endorsement 
of the people, who now appreciate the wisdom of 
the experiment. The government could as well 
afford to spend public money for the purpose of 
mitigating the results of race feeling as it could to 
improve rivers and harbors. In both instances 
the public good was served. If bad harbors were 
a curse so was public prejudice on the race ques 
tion. It was cheaper in the long run to remove 
the cause than to patch up with palliatives. If 
the Negro was becoming vicious to a large extent, 
and the cause of it was the intensity of race prej 
udice in the land, which confined him to menial 
callings, and only a limited number of those ; and 



A Visit to Public Buildings 103 

race prejudice could not be well prevented owing 
to the misconception of things by those who fos 
tered it ; and if an attempt at suppression would 
mean more bitterness toward the Negro and 
danger to the country, then surely, looking at the 
question from the distance at which we are to 
day, the best solution was the one adopted by our 
bureaus at the time. At least, we know the plan 
was successful, and ' nothing succeeds like suc 
cess ! ' 

" I am inclined to the opinion that the politi 
cians, judging by the magazine article I gave you," 
said he, " were quite anxious to keep the Negro 
question alive for the party advantage it brought. 
In the North it served the purpose of solidifying 
the Negro vote for the Republicans, and in the 
South the Democrats used it to their advantage ; 
neither party, therefore, was willing to remove 
the Negro issue by any real substantial legisla 
tion. Enough legislation was generally proposed 
pro and con to excite the voters desired to be 
reached, and there the efforts ended." 

I could not but reflect that the triumph of 
reason over partisanship and demagoguery had at 
last been reached, and that the American people 
had resolved no longer to temporize with measures 



104 Light Ahead for the Negro 

or men, but were determined to have the govern 
ment run according to the original design of its 
founders, upon the principle of the greatest good 
to the greatest number. 

No President since Grant was ever more abused 
by a certain class of newspapers and politicians 
than President Roosevelt, who adopted the policy 
of appointing worthy men to office, regardless of 
color. He said that fitness should be his rule and 
not color. In his efforts to carry out this policy 
he met with the most stubborn resistance from 
those politicians who hoped to make political cap 
ital out of the Negro question. To his credit let 
it be said that he refused to bow the knee to Baal 
but stood by his convictions to the end. 

I found from the published reports of the 
Bureau of Statistics that the Negro's progress in 
one hundred years had been all that his friends 
could have hoped for. I give below a compara 
tive table showing the difference : 

A. D. 1900 A. D. 2004 

Aggregate Negro Wealth $890,000,000. . . $2,670,000,000 

Aggregate Negro population. . . 8,840,780. . . 21,907,079 

Per cent, of illiteracy 45 per cent.. . . 2 per cent. 

Per cent, of crime 20 per cent 1 per cent. 

Ratio of home owners 1 in 100 ... 1 in 30. 

Ratio of insane 1 in 1000 ... 1 in 500 

Death rate 20 per M . . . 5 per M. 



A Visit to Public Buildings 105 



Number of lawyers 


A. D. 1900 
250 


A. D. 2004 
5 282 


Number of doctors . 


800 .... 


11 823 




150 


2,111 


Number of teachers 


30,000 


200 603 


Number of preachers 
Number of mechanics . . 


75,000 .... 
80.000.. 


250,804 
240.922 



I noticed that Negroes had gained standing in 
the country as citizens and were no longer objects 
for such protection as the whites thought a Negro 
deserved. They stood on the same footing legally 
as other people. It was a pet phrase in my time 
for certain communities to say to the Negro that 
they " would protect him in his rights/' but what 
the Negro wanted was that he should not have to 
be protected at all ! He wanted public sentiment 
to protect him just as it did a white man. This 
proffered help was all very good, since it was the 
best the times afforded, but it made the Negro's 
rights depend upon what his white neighbors said 
of him, if these neighbors did not like him his 
rights were nil. His was an ephemeral existence 
dependent on the whims and caprices of friends or 
foes. True citizenship must be deeper than that 
and be measured by the law of the land not by 
the opinion of one's neighbors. 

But the voice of the politician who wished to 



106 Light Ahead for the Negro 

contort civil into social equality was now hushed. 
He no more disgraced the land, and a Negro could 
have a business talk with a white man on the 
street of a Southern city without either party be 
coming subjects of criticism for practicing " social 
equality." 



CHAPTER YI 

A RIDE WITH IRENE 



SOON after this talk Miss Davis and I visited 
prominent places in the city of Phoenix. I 
had anxiously waited for this opportunity. 
An uncontrollable desire to fulfill this engagement 
had grown on me, from the day she informed me 
that she had planned the outing. We visited Mc- 
Pherson's monument, and standing with head un 
covered in its shadow, I said that I was glad to see 
that the cause he fought for was recognized as a 
blessing to the South as well as to the North. 
She replied that some of her relatives perished in 
defense of the South, but she had been often told 
by her father that her ancestors considered slavery 
a great wrong and liberated their slaves by will. 
" In fact," she remarked with womanly intui 
tion, " I can see no reason for their having had 
slaves at the outset. Why could n't the Negroes 
have served us, from the first, as freemen, just as 

107 



108 Light Ahead for the Negro 

they did after their emancipation ? What was the 
necessity for adopting a system that gave a chance 
for the brutal passions of bad men to vent them 
selves? The whole country has suffered in its 
moral tone because of slavery, and we are not as 
pure minded a nation to-day as we should have 
been without it." 

I replied that it was commercialism that fixed 
slavery in the nation and rooted and grounded it 
so deep that scarcely could it be eradicated with 
out destroying the nation itself. I noticed that 
she had none of the Southern woman's prejudice 
against " Yankees," so prevalent in my day, and 
that she was far enough removed from the events 
of the Civil War to look at them dispassionately. 

What a difference doth time make in people 
and nations. What is wisdom to-day may be the 
grossest folly to-morrow, and the popular theme 
of to-day may be ridiculed later on. Ye " men 
of the hour " beware ! The much despised Yankee 
has taught the South many lessons in industry, in 
the arts, sciences and literature, but none more 
valuable to her than to forsake her prejudice 
against the evolution of the Negro. 

We rode out to Chattahoochee farm, noted for 
its picturesqueness and " up-to-dateness," a paying 



A Ride with Irene 109 

institution entirely under the management of Ne 
groes. The superintendent was a graduate from 
the State Agricultural College for Negroes, near 
Savannah. 

" Are there any other farms of this kind in the 
state under Negro management," I asked. 

She replied that there were many, that a ma 
jority of the landowners of the state had found 
it profitable to turn vast tracts of land over to 
these young Negro graduates, who were proving 
themselves adepts in the art of scientific farming, 
making excellent salaries, and returning good div 
idends on the investments. 

I remarked that I used to wonder why this 
could not be done with the young Negroes com 
ing out from such schools since their ante-bellum 
fathers were so successful in this line and I 
further said that this movement might have been 
inaugurated in my day, but for the opposition of 
the politicians, who approached the Negro ques 
tion generally with no sincere desire to get ef 
fective results, but to make political capital for 
themselves. 

She at once suggested, " And so you believe it 
was a good idea then to dispense with the poli 
ticians ? " 



110 Light Ahead for the Negro 

" Indeed," said I, " they were horrible stumps 
in the road of progress." 

We ended our ride after a visit to the park, 
which was a beautiful spot. It served not only 
as a place of recreation, but Musical, Zoological, 
Botanical and Aquarian departments were open 
to the public, and free lectures were given on the 
latest inventions and improvements, thus coupling 
information with recreation, and elevating the 
thoughts and ideas of the people. I noticed the 
absence of the old time signs which I had heard 
once decorated the gates of this park, " Negroes 
and dogs not allowed." Of course Irene had never 
seen or heard of such a thing and I therefore did 
not mention my thoughts to her. She was a 
creature of the new era and knew the past only 
from books and tradition. I had the misfortune, 
or pleasure, as the case may be, of having 
lived in two ages and incidents of the past would 
continually rise before me in comparison with the 
present. 

On reaching my room that evening I felt that 
my trip with Miss Davis had been very agreeable 
and very instructive, but still there was an aching 
void for what I did not know. Was it that we 
did not converse on some desired subject ? 



CHAPTER VII 

DR. NEWELL AND WORK OF THE YOUNG LADIES' 
GUILDS 

"rTIHESE Guilds," said Dr. Newell, taking 
my arm as we left the dinner table one 
afternoon, " are most excellent institu 
tions. Nothing has done more to facilitate a 
happy solution of the so-called Negro problem of 
the past than they, and their history is a most 
fascinating story, as it pictures their origin by a 
a young Southern heroine of wealth and standing 
with philanthropic motives, who while on her way 
to church one Sunday morning was moved by the 
sight of a couple of barefooted Negro children 
playing in the street. Her heart went out to 
them. She thought of the efforts being made for 
the heathen abroad, when the needy at our very 
doors were neglected. Moved towards the work 
as if by inspiration, she gave her whole time and 
attention and considerable of her vast wealth to 
organizing these guilds all over the country. She 

111 



112 Light Ahead for the Negro 

met with much opposition and was ridiculed as the 
' nigger angel/ but this did not deter her and she 
lived to see the work she organized planted and 
growing in all the Southland. Cecelia was her 
name and the incorporated name of these organ 
izations is the Cecilian Guild." 

" I should be glad to read the history of this 
movement/ ' said I, " for all I have learned about 
it through Miss Davis and yourself is exceedingly 
interesting." 

" One of the problems met with in the outset 
was that of the fallen woman/' said the Doctor, 
" although the Negroes were never so immoral as 
was alleged of them. You will recall that after 
the Civil War many of the slave marriages were 
declared illegal and remarriage became necessary. 
Twenty-five cents was the license fee. Thousands 
showed their faithfulness to each other by com 
plying with this law a most emphatic argument 
of the Negro's faithfulness to the marriage vows. 
Day after day long files of these sons of Africa 
stood in line waiting with their ' quarters ' in 
hand to renew their vows to the wife of their 
youth. Many were old and infirm a number 
were young and vigorous, there was no compul 
sion and the former relations might have been 



Dr. Newell 113 



severed and other selections made ; but not so, 
they were renewing the old vows and making legal 
in freedom that which was illegal now because of 
slavery. Would the 500,000 white divorcees in 
America in your time have done this ? " the doctor 
asked. 

" Let me relate to you a story connected with 
the work of one of the Cecilian Guilds," said the 
doctor. " A bright faced octoroon girl living in 
one of our best Southern homes became peculiarly 
attractive to a brother of her mistress, a young 
woman of much character, who loved her maid 
and loved her brother. The situation grew acute ; 
heroic treatment became necessary as the octoroon 
related to her mistress in great distress every ap 
proach and insinuation made by the young Lotha 
rio, his avowals of love, his promises to die for 
her, his readiness to renounce all conventionali 
ties and flee with her to another state. To all 
this the octoroon was like ice. Her mother had 
been trained in the same household and was hon 
ored and beloved. Her father was an octoroon 
and the girl was a chip of both old blocks. The 
mistress remonstrated, threatened and begged her 
brother to no avail, and finally decided to send 
the girl North, as a last resort, a decision which 
H 



114 Light Ahead for the Negro 

pleased the maid, who desired to be rid of her tor 
mentor. 

" But the trip North only made matters worse. 
Two years after Eva had made her home with a 
family in Connecticut, John Guilford turns up. 
He had been married to his cousin, whom he 
did n't love, and while practising medicine in one 
of the leading cities had become distinguished in 
his profession. He met Eva during a professional 
visit to her new home in Connecticut. The old 
flame was rekindled. He concealed the fact of 
his marriage and offered her his hand, stating that 
he must take her to another town and keep her 
incognito, to avoid ruining his practice by the 
gossip which his marriage to a servant girl would 
naturally create. Fair promises which generally 
do ( butter parsnips/ in love affairs, at least 
overcame the fair Eva; she consented to marry 
the young physician. She lived in another town, 
she bore him children, he loved her. Finally the 
real wife, who had borne him no offspring, ascer 
tained the truth. Her husband pleaded hard with 
her, told her of his love for the girl and how, un 
der the spell of his fondness for children, and fol 
lowing the example of the great Zola, he had 
yielded to the tempter. ' But/ he begged, ' for- 



Dr. Newell 115 



give me because of your love save my name and 
our fortune.' This she finally did. Poor Eva, 
when her second child was four years old, died, 
never knowing but that she was the true wife of 
her deceiver. Her children were adopted by the 
Guilfords as their own, grew up and entered so 
ciety under the Guilford name and no one to-day 
will charge them with their father's sin." 



CHAPTER VIII 

WITH IRENE AGAIN 



I FREQUENTLY saw Irene during the few 
weeks of my sojourn at the Newell residence, 
but hers was a busy life and there was not 
much time for tete-a-tete. One evening, however, 
she seated herself by my side on the veranda and 
amid the fragrance of the flowers and the songs of 
the birds we had an hour alone which passed so 
swiftly that it seemed but a moment. Time hangs 
heavy only on the hands of those who are not en 
joying it. I had noticed her anxiety for a letter 
and her evident disappointment in the morning 
when the pneumatic tube in the Newell residence 
did not deliver it. 

Not purposely, but unavoidably, I saw a few 
days later an envelope postmarked, " Philippines." 
I ventured to say, with an attempt at teasing, that 
I trusted she was in good humor to-day since her 
letter had come, and surmised that it bore " a mes- 
116 



With Irene Again 117 

sage of friendship or love " for her. She adroitly 
avoided the subject, which was all the evidence I 
wanted to assure me of the truth of my theory as 
to its contents. The clue was given which I in 
tended to establish in asking the question. Love 
may be blind but it has ways for trailing its game. 

Finding no encouragement for pursuing this 
subject further, I turned to the discussion of books 
and finally asked if she had read an old book which 
in my day used to be referred to as, " Tom Dixon's 
Leopard's Spots." She said she had not, but had 
seen it instanced as a good example of that class 
of writers who misrepresented the best Southern 
sentiment and opinion. She stated that her in 
formation was that there was not a godly character 
in the book, that it represented the Southern people 
as justifying prejudice, and ill treatment of a weaker 
race, whose faults were admittedly forgivable 
by reason of circumstances. She also stated that 
" the culture of the present time places such writ 
ers in the same class with that English Lord who 
once predicted that a steamer could never cross 
the Atlantic for the reason that she could never 
carry enough fuel to make the voyage." 

" And probably in such cases the wish was father 
to the thought," I added. 



118 Light Ahead for the Negro 

She also had heard of those false prophets whom 
history had not forgotten, but who lived only in 
ridicule and as examples of error. She seemed to 
be ashamed of the ideas once advocated by these 
men, and charitably dismissed them with the re 
mark that, "It would have been better for the 
cause of true Christianity had they never been lis 
tened to by so large a number of our people, as 
they represented brute force rather than the 
Golden Rule." 

I heard with rapt attention. Although I had 
already seen much to convince me of the evolu 
tion of sentiment in the South, these words sank 
deeper than all else. Here was a woman of aris 
tocratic Southern blood, cradled under the hills of 
secession and yet vehement in denunciation of 
those whom I had learned to recognize as the 
beacon lights of Southern thought and purpose ! 
And when I reflected that her views were then 
the views of the whole South, I indeed began to 
realize the wonderful transformation I was being 
permitted to see. I silently prayed, " God bless 
the New South ! " My heart was full, I felt that 
I had met a soul that was a counterpart of my 
own, " Each heart shall seek its kindred heart, 
and cling to it, as close as ever." 



With Irene Again 119 

The pent-up feelings of my breast must find 
some expression of admiration for her lofty ideals 
of joy, for the triumph I had been permitted to 
see of truth over error in the subjugation of Amer 
ica's greatest curse, prejudice, and finally of the 
meeting with a congenial spirit in flesh and blood, 
and of the opposite sex ; which alone creates for 
man a halo peculiarly its own. 

I was hardly myself, and I burst forth with, 
" Irene, are you engaged to the man in the ' Philip 
pines '?" 

I was rather presumptuous, but the gentle re 
ply was, " I will tell you some other time " and 
we parted. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE PRIZE ESSAY 



IN looking for the cause of so many improve 
ments I found that the Bureau of Public Util 
ity had been of great service to the country 
in bringing about such a happy solution of the 
Negro problem. Among other novel methods 
adopted I found they had established public board 
ing schools. I was astonished to learn that they 
were based on some suggestions made by a Negro 
of my own times, in an essay which had won a 
prize of $100 offered by a Northern philanthropist 
The writer was a Southern Negro from the state of 
North Carolina. His ideas were carried out in a 
general scheme of education for the Negro. 

The good results of this course have proved 
their wisdom; in fact the results were of such 
importance as to warrant my reproducing part of 
what he wrote : 
120 



The Prize Essay 121 

THE KIND OF EDUCATION THE NEGKO NEEDS 

"I have noticed a growing tendency in the 
writings of those whites who discuss the racial 
question, in the newspapers, towards helpfulness 
and kindness to the Negro race. Some articles 
are very bitter, abusive, and unfair, the writers 
seeming to be either playing to the galleries of a 
maudlin sentiment or venting personal spleen 
but in the main this is not so. The Negroes, who 
withal had rather love than hate white people, 
are generally thankful for all expressions favor 
able to themselves. They realize as a mass that 
there has grown up within the last thirty years an 
idle, vicious class of Negroes whose acts and habits 
are of such a nature as to make them objection 
able to their own race, as well as to the whites. 
What to do with this class is a problem that per 
plexes the better element of Negroes, more, 
possibly, than it does the whites ; since their 
shortcomings are generally credited to the whole 
Negro race, which is wrong as a fact and unjust 
in theory. 

" This vicious element in the race is a constant 
subject of discussion in Negro churches and in 
private conversation. It is a mistake to say that 
crime is not condemned by the better class of Ne- 



122 Light Ahead for the Negro 

groes. There may be a class that attend the 
courts when their ' pals ' are in jeopardy and who 
rejoice to see them exonerated, but the real sub 
stantial Negro man is seldom seen ' warming the 
benches ' of court rooms. Unlike the white spec 
tators, who are men of leisure and spend their 
time there out of interest in what is going on, and 
often to earn a per diem as jurors, the leisure 
class in the Negro race is generally composed of 
those who have ' served time ' in prison or of their 
associates. 

" The Negro problem, as now considered, seems, 
so far as the discussion of it is concerned, to be 
entirely in the hands of white people for solution, 
and the Negro himself is supposed to have no part 
in it, other than to ' wait and tend ' on the bid 
ding of those engaged at the job. He is ' a looker 
on in Venice/ I therefore offer my suggestion 
as to method or plan with fear of being asked to 
stand aside. Yet, in my zeal for the work and in 
my anxiety to have it accomplished as speedily 
and correctly as possible, I venture a few sugges 
tions, the result of twenty years' observation and 
experience in teaching, which appear to my mind 
as the best way to go at this Herculean task. 

" In the first place I suggest that the boarding 



The Prize Essay 123 

school is the only one fitted for the final needs of 
the young of the race a school where culture and 
civility would be taught hand in hand with labor 
and letters. The main object in education is 
training for usefulness. ' Leading out ' is the mean 
ing of the term education, and what the young of 
the race needs is to be lead out, and kept out of 
vice, until the danger period is passed. The pub 
lic schools turn out the child just at that period 
when temptations are most alluring. From the age 
of puberty to twenty-one is the danger time, and 
the time of forming character. The kind of 
character then formed remains. If the child can 
be steered over this period, under right influences 
and associations, the problem of his future is com 
paratively settled for good, otherwise for bad. 
Too much is expected of the public schools as 
now constituted, if it is presumed that they can 
mould both the mind and the heart of the child ; 
when they usually drop him just at the period 
that he begins to learn he has a heart and a mind ! 
He is mostly an animal during the period allotted 
to him in the public schools. Many are fortunate 
enough to have parents who have the leisure and 
ability to train them properly. Some follow up 
the course in the public schools with a season in a 



124 Light Ahead for the Negro 

boarding school these are fortunate, but where 
is the great mass? They became boot-blacks, 
runaways, ' dudes,' or temporary domestics, in 
which calling they earn money more to satisfy 
their youthful propensities than for any settled 
purpose for the future of their lives. 

" Out of six hundred pupils who had left one 
public school in Virginia I found only 85 who had 
settled down with any seemingly fixed purpose. 
I counted 196 who had become domestics, and, 
either married or single, are making orderly citi 
zens. The rest have become mere bilge water 
and are unknown. Among the girls fourteen are 
of the demirep order. The public schools are do 
ing some work it is true a great work, all things 
considered but their ' reach ' is not far enough. 
What the young of the Negro race needs, beyond 
all things, is training not only of the head, but 
of the heart and hand as well. The boarding 
school would meet the requirements, if properly 
conducted- The girl and boy should remain at 
useful employment under refined influences until 
the habit of doing things right and acting right is 
formed. How can the public schools mould char 
acter in a child whom they have for five hours, 
while the street gamins have him for the rest of 



The Prize Essay 125 

the day ? And further, as before stated, when the 
child leaves the public schools at the time when 
most of all he is likely to get into bad habits ? 

" Good home training is the salvation of any 
people. Many Negro children are necessarily 
lacking in this respect, for the reason that their 
parents are called off to their places of labor dur 
ing the day and the children are left to shift for 
themselves. Too often when the parents are at 
home the influence is not of the most wholesome, 
thus there is a double necessity for the inaugura 
tion of a system of training that will eliminate this 
evil. The majority of working people do not earn 
sufficient wages to hire governesses for their 
children, if they should quit work and attempt 
the task for themselves the children would suffer 
for bread, and soon the state would be called upon 
to support them as paupers. The state is unable 
in the present condition of public sentiment to 
pass upon the sufficiency of wages from employer 
to employee, but it can dictate the policy of the 
school system. All selfish or partisan scruples 
should be eliminated and the subject should be ap 
proached with wisdom and foresight, looking solely 
to accomplishing the best results possible. 

" My idea is to supplement the term of the public 



126 Light Ahead for the Negro 

schools, which might be reduced to four years, by 
a three years' term in a public boarding school in 
which the pupil could do all the work and produce 
enough in vacation to make the school self-sus 
taining ; except the item of the salaries of the 
teachers, who would be employed by the state. 
Make three years in these schools compulsory on 
all who are not able to or do not, select a school 
of their own choice. Three years' military service 
is demanded of the adults in most of the European 
states, which is time almost thrown away so far as 
the individual is concerned, but a three years' serv 
ice in schools of this kind would be of the great 
est advantage of the child and state as well. 

"How it can be done 

" There is idle land enough to be used for the es 
tablishment of such schools in every township in 
the South, and with the proper training in them, 
the pupils from such institutions would come out 
and build up hundreds of places that are now go 
ing to waste for lack of attention. The solution 
of the race problem cannot be effected by talk 
alone, nor by a reckless expenditure of public 
funds, but if the state is to undertake the educa 
tion of its children with good citizenship in view 



The Prize Essay 127 

thus becoming as it were the parens patrice, 
then let the job be undertaken as a parent would 
be likely to go at it for his own children. In 
well regulated communities wayward children are 
placed in homes which the wisdom of experience 
has found to be the best place for them, and they 
come out useful citizens. If the youth of the 
colored race is incorrigible because of instinct or 
environment, or both, the place for them is in 
some kind of home where they can be protected 
against themselves and society, and trained and 
developed. Let them have four years of training 
in the public schools and emerge from these into 
' a boarding and working school/ This would 
be far better than furnishing a chain gang system 
for them to go into after bad character has been 
formed. 

" ( An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of 
cure' right here, and is a cheaper and a more 
substantial investment. Experience shows that 
the vicious become more vicious by confinement 
in the chain gangs, and it not infrequently hap 
pens that individuals, after having been degraded 
by a first sentence, become outcasts and spend 
from a half to two-thirds of their lives thereafter 
in prison. The chain gang system can hardly be 



128 Light Ahead for the Negro 

urged in any sense as a reformatory, and from the 
frequent returns thereto of the criminal class can 
be hardly styled as a first-class preventive of crime. 
It is simply an institution in which criminals can 
be kept out of their usual occupations. While 
they are so confined crime is that much decreased, 
but it opens up again on their exit. 

" The value of the boarding school idea as a sup 
plement to the public school system is borne out 
by the statistics of the boarding schools already 
established for colored people by private funds. 
The pupils turned out by these schools are a credit 
to the race and the state. They are good citizens, 
they accumulate property, they are industrious 
and upright. There is not one case in a thousand 
where you find them on the court records. They 
are the genuine ' salt of the earth,' so far as the 
product of the schools for the freedmen is con 
cerned. The public schools have been the feeders 
in a large measure of these private schools, but 
only a small percentage of those who leave the 
public schools ever reach private schools. Under 
the plan above suggested all pupils will spend 
three years in a private school, or a school of that 
nature which will accomplish the same end. 

" If the Negro has a greater native tendency to 



The Prize Essay 129 

crime than the other races, as is urged by some, 
then it is necessary to take more care in protect 
ing him against it. If his disease is of a more 
malignant type than ordinary when it attacks him, 
then the more heroic should be the remedy. It 
is as illogical to apply a system of education to a 
child who is not prepared for it as it would be to 
treat a patient for appendicitis when he has the 
eczema. Results are what the state wants, and 
if the schools now established are not giving them, 
the system should be changed to one that for 
thirty years has been a success. The money sent 
South by Northern charity has not been wasted. 
Some people think it has destroyed some farm 
hands this may be true, but it has created larger 
producers in other lines fully as beneficial to the 
state as farming. 

"The state is suffering because of its criminal 
class both white and black, and it will continue to 
do so until this cloud is removed, and in under 
taking the education of its citizens, the state is not 
working for the farmers especially (as some seem 
to imply by their arguments on this subject) but 
for a higher type of citizenship along all lines. 
' More intelligence in farming, mining, manufac 
turing, and business ' is the motto, a general up- 
i 



130 Light Ahead for the Negro 

lift in which all shall be benefited. Neither the 
farmer, the miner nor the manufacturer can hope 
to build up a serf class for his special benefit. 
The state has not established the school system 
for that purpose, and should the theory once ob 
tain that it was so established, the handwriting 
would at once appear on the wall. The ideal 
school system is that in which each citizen claims 
his part with all the rest. No line should be 
drawn in the division of the funds to the schools, 
and as a fit corollary to this, they should not be 
established to foster the financial interests of any 
one class of citizens as against another. Pro 
bono publico is their motto and may it ever re 
main so ! " 

I might add that as a substantial proof of the 
great success of the new system of Negro educa 
tion the Southern states have joined in preparing a 
great Negro Exposition, open to Negroes all over 
the world, in which, it is expected, a fine showing 
will be made by members of the race in almost 
every field of human endeavor. 



CHAPTER X 

SAD NEWS FOR IRENE 



TWO years have passed since Irene promised, 
on the veranda of the Newell residence, to 
tell Gilbert Twitchell if her hand was 
pledged to the man in the Philippines from whom 
she had received a letter. Other and sadder news 
had come since that time. The young officer 
(Kennesaw Malvern) was dead. He was accident 
ally shot during a target practice on a U. S. vessel 
cruising in the Philippines, where by the way peace 
and independence have long prevailed. Irene was 
now in black for' him. She saw Gilbert Twitchell 
not quite so often as before, but her mourning 
robes made it unnecessary that she should answer 
the question he propounded to her on the ve 
randa. 

At the first opportunity, however, Gilbert told 
her that he loved her, but that he would not ask 
her hand in marriage till such a time as she thought 

131 



132 Light Ahead for the Negro 

proper. Her reply was that her whole soul was 
a complete wreck. She felt as if the world had 
no further charm, and that death would be wel 
come if she knew she would be with him. 

But time works many changes, even in such a 
constant and abiding force as a true woman's love. 
God made them sincere, it may be said, but few 
there are that stand the test of time, and the as 
saults of a persistent man's devotion. Many would 
freeze their hearts if they could, but the manly 
temperature is too high in most cases and they 
melt sooner or later under its radiations. Some 
times in her despair, in her dilemma, in her war 
between the heart force and the will, she resolves 
to marry her beseecher " to be rid of him," too 
considerate of his feelings to say " no," and too true 
to former pledges to say " yes." What tunes in 
deed may " mere man " play on such heart-strings ! 

All this was not the case with Irene exactly, 
but it was true in some particulars, for Irene was 
a woman, and the only important truth to Gilbert 
was that the year 2007 saw them husband and 
wife and that the love that once went to the 
Philippines was bestowed on the man she helped 
rescue from his trip in an air ship.