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Changes in Rural Organization 

and Population of the 

Cotton Belt 



Field Agent, Phelps-Stokes Fund. Sometime Phelps-Stokes 

Fellow in the University of Georgia, and Fellow of the 

American University in Columbia University. 



Faculty of Political Science 
Columbia University 


W. D. Gray, 106 Seventh Ave. 

Copyright, 1920 


T. J. Woofter, Jr. 


To My Father 
An Inspiring Teacher and True Companion 




Investigation of the conditions from which Negro migra- 
tions rise throws new light on the vexing questions of land 
tenure and rural organization in the South. Descriptions 
of the movements reveal interesting and important social 
processes. A full treatment of the effect of the migration 
necessitates a review of all of the important problems of 
Negro life, for migration places them against a new and 
changing background. 

The greater part of this work is devoted to the first two 
topics, namely: (1) The description of land tenure and the 
organization of farm life in the Cotton Belt. (2) How this 
organization results in the movements of population. One 
chapter is devoted to city movements and one to the effects 
of migration. While the writer is aware that the space 
of one chapter is entirely inadequate for a full treatment 
of the latter topic, it is not considered that the data are 
yet available for an exhaustive treatment. The principal 
effects are merely outlined so that students of special 
Negro problems may be warned that they will do well, after 
gathering their facts, to make allowance for population 
movement before drawing conclusions. 

Negro migration, like the movement of any people, may 
be associated with definite social and economic forces. 
It is desirable that the student retain, in proper perspective, 
this general significance of a population movement even 
while examining its interesting details. With this in view, 
the effort throughout the study has been to describe, in 
terms of current usage in social science, the movements 
of colored people in the United States, the conditions from 
which they arise, and the consequences which attend them. 





Chapter I. Agriculture and Prejudice 22 

Importance of Agriculture to the Negro 22 

The Extent of Prejudice 26 

Chapter II. The Ruin of the Old Regime 29 

Causes of the Breakdown 29 

Rapidity of the Breakdown 42 

Chaptfr III. The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 52 

The White Man's Aid and Competition 52 

Growth of Landownership 57 

Growth of Tenancy 63 

Chapter IV. . . The Life of the Tenant Classes 69 

Income 73 

Efficiency in Production — Yields per Acre, Size of 
Farm, Value of Land, Implements and Machinery, 

Work Animals, Depreciation and Waste, Summary. 76 

Abuses 85 

Standard of Living — Family Life, Food, Clothing, 

Housing 86 

Social Differences 88 


Chapter I. The Diversity of Migrations 92 

Country and City 93 

Rural Districts 95 

Direction of Rural Migration 98 

Chapter II. The Movements of Countrymen 105 

Movement Before 1910 106 

Movement Since 1910 117 

Contents i i 


Chapter III. City and Inter-State Migration 122 

Small Towns and Villages 123 

Large Southern Cities 131 

Inter-State Movements 132 

Classes Moving 135 

Causes — Housing Difficulties, Protection and Justice in 

the Courts, Churches, Schools 138 

Chapter IV. Results of Migration 148 

Population — Sex, Fecundity, Vitality, Defective Classes, 

Economic and Social Classes 149 

Organizations — Schools, Churches, Industry 156 

Race Relations — In Areas Gaining, and in Areas Losing. 166 

Conclusion 169 

Summary 169 

Constructive Measures 172 

Bibliography 181 

Appendix 187 


1. Cotton States: Increase in Negro Population and Negro 

Farms, 1900-1910 18 

2. Georgia: Farms by Size in Acres, 1860-1910 43 

3. Georgia: Land Proprietorships, by Size in Acres, 1873-1902 46 

4. Georgia : Farms According to Tenure, 1880-1910 49 

5. Georgia : Negro and White Proprietorships by Size in 

Acres, 1873-1902 58 

6. Selected Counties, Number and Size of Holdings, 1903 61 

7. Georgia: Farms by Tenure and Color of Farmer, 1900- 

1910 65 

8. Georgia: Percentage of all Farms Operated by Owners, 

Cash Tenants and Share Tenants 66 

9. Black Belt, Wiregrass and Upper Piedmont: White and 

Colored Farmers by Tenure 67 

10. Details of Tenant Contracts 72 

11. Georgia, and Selected Counties: Factors of Production 

and Yield, Negro Farmers by Tenure, 1909 78 

12. Georgia, Farmers by Term of Occupancy and Color, 1910. 89 

13. Georgia: Rural and Urban Population, 1890-1910 93 

14. Georgia : Village Population, 1910 96 

15. Georgia : Occupations of Negroes, 1910 97 

16. Georgia: Migration of Negroes by County Groups, 1900- 

1910 101 

12 Negro Migration 

17. Georgia: Relation of Migration of Negroes in Rural 

Counties to Increase in Farmers 109 

18. United States: Residence of Negroes Born in the South.. 133 

19. United States : Residence of Negroes Born in Georgia. . . 134 
For Unnumbered Text Statements of Figures on Sex 

Ratio, Conjugal Condition, Birth and Death Rates, 
Crime and Insanity Rates, see Part II, Chapter IV. 


1. United States : Increases in Negro Urban and Rural Pop- 

ulation, 1900-1910 16 

2. Georgia : Increases in Negro Rural Population by Counties 99 

3. Georgia: Increases in Negro Urban Population by Cities. 126 


1. Relation Increase in Negro Rural Population to Increase 

in Negro Farms 103 

2. Relation of Increase in Negro Rural Population to In- 

crease in the Tenure Classes (Correlation Coefficients). 114 

3. Correlation of Increase in Rural Population and Farms, 

100 Counties, Plotted by Counties 195 


The recent spectacular movement of Negroes northward 
awoke the people of the United States for the first time to 
the realization that the colored population is steadily shift- 
ing. In 1910 there were more than a million Negroes living 
"In the North and West, but it was not until the exodus of 
1916 and 1917 assumed such startling proportions that 
—Negro migration became a nation-wide topic of interest. < 
Southern planters now realize that they are confronted 
with a serious labor shortage, and that the future of their 
section is inextricably involved in the condition of the 
Negro population. The concentration of large numbers of 
Negroes in northern industries, the cessation of European 
immigration, and the increased apprehension concerning the 
reliability of many of the foreign groups now in industry, 
have made the Negro a very important factor in the national 
labor situation. Men in industry are looking to the black 
population as a reservoir of good and thoroughly "Amer- 
ican" labor to be drawn upon in the future. 
^-The social consequences of this shift in population are 
of no less significance than the economic. While Southern 
planters feel the pinch of the loss of labor, thoughtful peo- 
ple of the South are wondering just what changes they 
should make in race relations in order to make their section 
a better place for Negroes to live. While men in big busi- 
ness in the North welcome this increase in their labor force, 
social workers realize that this flow of large numbers of 
raw, village and small-town laborers into our most highly 
organized industrial communities, increases their problems 
\jit a rate all out of proportion to the increase in population. 
What has not been realized is that for the past fifty 
Qrears the forces underlying this movement have been oper- 

14 Negro Migration 

ating steadily, but in a less spectacular way.\ There has 
been a northward movement, and there have been other 
movements of more fundamental importance from one sec- 
tion of the South to another ever since the emancipation of 
' A study of these movements of Negroes from southern 
plantations is important because it throws light on some 
of the causes of the loss of population suffered by many 
other rural districts of the United States. Diminishing 
returns in agriculture, the effect of the opening of new 
lands in the neighborhood, and discontent with rural insti- 
tutions are underlying causes of movements of farmers 
not only in the United States but also the world over. Ex- 
c ept for race prejudice, which enters into most of the Negro 
problem s, the economic and social forces which d rive the 
Ne gro from one rural distr ict to another and from country 
to t own are the same as those operating in the wh ite popu- 
lation^ There are very few counties in the South where 
the colored and white people do not move in the same 
direction in response to the same situation. 

When the migration became rapid in 1916 and 1917, there 
was extended public discussion as to its causes. Numerous 
explanations were published, and there is some evidence 
that the very discussion stimulated many to go North who 
otherwise would not have reached the decision to move. 
There is also ample evidence that the movement itself, once 
begun, created a pressure towards further movement. This 
pressure arose because Negroes not only wrote back, but 
in many cases sent money back for their friends and rela- 
tives to make the trip. Recently, therefore, the situation 
has been complicated not only by abnormal war conditions 
but also by the very magnitude of the movement. 

Fortunately this study was inaugurated before the inten- 
sification of the migration made these abnormal factors 
prominent. In its first stages the study was an effort to deter- 
mine the significance of certain peculiarities of population 

Introduction 15 

increase and decrease within the South, which seemed to in- 
dicate well denned drifts in the colored population. A consid- 
erable amount of work had been done on the problem before 
the movement of 1916-17 was influenced by abnormal war 
conditions, the boll weevil, and the Northern labor agent, and 
before it extended discussion and complicated the normal 

This first study of a fairly simple set of causes revealed 
the underlying factors of rural organization from which 
the Negroes were moving. The only element changing the 
fundamental conditions from which they were shifting in 
Georgia during the years 1916-17 was the boll weevil, and 
this pest was not new in the more western portions of the 
Cotton Belt. The principal difference in the volume of the 
war migration and that of the earlier steady shift was an 
alteration in the proportions going North in response to the 
better wage conditions which were widely advertised by 
labor agents, discussion and correspondence. 

The causes of migration were worked out first. It was 
determined that the shift of predominating importan ce from 
l 1 865 to 1916 was from one rural district to ano ther, that 
th e chief cause of this shift was discontent wi th land tenure, 
and that after 1916 this discontent was only aggravated by 
the war conditions and the boll weevil. From this it was 
evident that a thorough understanding of the movement is 
dependent upon a clear idea of the importance of the com- 
plex social and economic conditions which are associated 
with the different systems of farming or land tenure. 

A real understanding of this institution necessitates a 
broader viewpoint than can be obtained from the study 
of the economic principles of farming alone. The system 
is basic in rural life. Upon the quality of the land, the 
number and quality of the people, and land tenure — the 
institutional tie between the land and the people — depends 
the whole organization of men who produce from the soil. 

The presentation of this material therefore embraces first 


Negro Migration 

a systematic treatment of land tenure and its importance 
in Negro life; second, a treatment of the relationship be- 
tween the changes in land tenure and farm population, with 
a brief statement concerning the migration from country to 
city and from South to North, and third, a summary of 
the effects of migration on colored population, institutions, 
and race relations, with recommendations for attacking 
those problems which are emphasized by the movement. 


In general it may be said that the conditions of agricul- 
ture, industry and population movement are distinctly dif- 
ferent in the Northern States, the Border States and the 
Cotton States. In the North the Negro rural population is 
almost negligible. The colored man is attracted almost 
wholly by city opportunities, and with one or two excep- 
tions, the great excess of females in Northern Cities in 
1910 indicated a predominance of domestic service oppor- 
tunity. The movement during the European war was, how- 
ever, industrial. The Border States — Maryland, Virginia, 

Map I. 


tflCflaiSJS OF K2GR0ES gy SJ4TJS. 190D-191* 

Shading lnfiloates lnorease In rural districts. 
Symbols Indicate increase In ofUes. 

Per oent lnorease. rural districts . rer cent Increase, cltlts . 
J"] Under 6 
§11 S to 12 1/2 

12 1/2 to 20 
20 and OTer. 

'O Under 20 
<E> 20 to 40 
40 to 60 
• 60 and over. 

Introduction 17 

Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri show a decreasing Negro 
farm population, and the increase in cities is small. The 
rural popualtion of West Virginia was increasing through 
mining rather than agricultural opportunities, and Texas 
and Oklahoma, though Southern States, do not belong to 
the old Cotton Belt. In the Cotton States, on the other 
hand, the rural districts seem to be holding their own, and 

/the increase in towns is rapid. 1 
typical of the group of States which lie along the Atlantic 
and Gulf Coasts from North Carolina to Louisiana. This 
map is shaded to show the rate of increase in Negro rural 
population of each of the States having a considerable num- 
ber of Negroes between 1900 and 1910, and a symbol is 
inserted in each State to show the rate of Negro increase 
in cities during the same period. 2 

In every Cotton State except Alabama, Louisiana and 
Texas the rural districts show increases ranging from 5 to 
9 per cent. In Florida the rural increase is 21 per cent. 
In the urban districts, or places whose population is over 
2,500, the per cent of increase in the colored population 
ranged from 20.6 in South Carolina to 80.3 in Florida. 
Georgia, therefore, with an increase of 9.0 per cent in rural 
Negroes and 39.6 per cent in urban Negroes may be con- 
J It appears from Map 1 (previous page) that Georgia is 

1 Jones, Thomas Jesse, Annals of the American Academy of 
Political and Social Science, September, 1913. "The study of 
the county population of the more southern South from South 
Carolina to Louisiana, presents a very different situation as re- 
gards the movement of the white and Negro population from 
that of the Border States. *** Each of the Cotton States with 
their large Negro population shows a stability of population and 
a prevalence of gains that contrasts quite strikingly with the 
losses and differences of the Border States. The population 
movements (of white and colored people) of these States seem 
to be governed by the same forces. At any rate the two classes 
of the population apparently move and increase together" 

2 Map 1 is based upon census figures quoted in Table 1. 

1 8 Negro Migration 

sidered as a fair sample of the Cotton States. The increase 
in total Negro population in Georgia, was 13.7 per cent, a 
rate only exceeded by Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and 
some of the Northern States with relatively small Negro 
populations. The rate of increase in Georgia was slightly 
higher than the rate of increase of Negroes in the country 
as a whole. 

As far as the rural population is concerned, one power- 
ful cause of increase is evident in the substantial growth 
in the number of farms operated by Negroes. The census 
classification of farm operators includes all persons cul- 
tivating the soil except laborers, consequently an increase 
in farms operated by Negroes indicates a passage from 
the status of laborer, occupied all Negro agricultural work- 
ers under the system of slavery, to the status of a farmer 
cultivating the land in a more or less independent manner. 
The increase in Negro farms and its relation to the increase 
in rural population is shown in the following table : 


Increases in Negro Rural Population and Negro Farms, 

Cotton States, 1900-1910 a 

Numerical Increase Percentage Increase 

Rural Rural 

State Population Farms Population Farms 

Florida 38,489 1,177 21.1 8.7 

Arkansas 54,059 16,600 16.3 35.3 

Georgia 78,409 39,732 9.0 48.0 

Mississippi 63,325 36,137 7 A 28.2 

N. Carolina 33,568 10,460 6.1 19.4 

S. Carolina 36,178 11,391 5.2 13.3 

Louisiana 19,179 —3,277 3.6 —5.6 

Alabama 22,526 16,318 3.1 17.3 

Texas 9,792 4,344 2.0 6.6 

3 Computed from U. S. Census of 1910, "Negro Population in 
the United States, 1790-1915," pp. 92 and 588. The words "com- 
puted from" as used here and in succeeding footnotes indicate 
that the figures given are not directly copied from the census, 
but are arrived at by subtractions or combinations of figures 
from the tables cited. 

Introduction 19 

The increase in farms operated by Negroes is greater 
in Georgia than in any other State. The rural districts of 
Florida and Arkansas show a faster rate of population in- 
crease, notwithstanding a slower rate of farm increase than 
Georgia, because large numbers of rural Negroes in Florida 
and Arkansas are farm laborers and laborers in turpentining 
and sawmilling. 

Oklahoma, on the edge of the Cotton Belt, increased 1 14.2 
per cent in Negro rural population and 107.9 in Negro farms. 
This was due to the opening of new government lands, and 
is the most striking instance of the effect of agricultural 
opportunity on Negro movements. 

The distribution of Negroes in Georgia also makes it an 
interesting State to study. In general the distribution of 
Negro population varies with definite geographical belts, and 
all of the geographical belts of importance in the South, 
except the delta lands are found in the State. The Blue 
Ridge and Appalachian Mountains extend into the northern 
section of the State, the Upper Piedmont Plateau lies just 
south of the mountains, the Black Belt includes the Lower 
Piedmont Plateau, extending somewhat past the fall line 
of the rivers, and south and east of the Black Belt is the 
Coastal Plain commonly known as the "Flatwoods" or 
"Wiregrass" region. 4 Within the State counties with all 
proportions of Negroes to white people are found. The 
percentage Negro in the total population ranges from less 
than 5 in some of the mountain counties in the North to 
over 85 in Lee County. Map II (page 98) shows these 
sections separated by heavy boundary lines. The white 
counties, with less than 10 per cent of their total popula- 
tion Negro, lie in the unproductive mountainous section of 
the North. The next belt of counties, ranging from 10 to 
25 per cent in Negro population, represents the Upper Pied- 

*See Atlas of American Agriculture, U. S. Department of 
Agriculture, 1919, Part V, Page 8. 

20 Negro Migration 

mont section, a rugged region, with excellent climate and 
land adapted to the raising of a great variety of farm crops, 
fruits, and cattle. Contrary to the usual impression that 
the whole South was divided into large plantations before 
1860, this section is, and always has been, the home of small 
farmers. Its soil did not make the large scale production of 
cotton as profitable as did the lands of the Black Belt. Con- 
sequently, slavery was not highly developed in the Upper 
Piedmont. The slaves owned were in small groups, rang- 
ing from 1 to 10 per owner, and in many cases the owner 
and slave worked side by side in tilling the land, whereas 
in the Black Belt the owner of the baronial estate was sep- 
arated from slaves by managers and overseers. 

The next area extending along the coast and arching 
across the State in the shape of a broad horse-shoe, con- 
stitutes what is commonly known as the Black Belt, in which 
the population is over 50 per cent Negro. This includes the 
Lower Piedmont region and extends south of the fall line 
of rivers into the Upper Coast Plain, stretching down the 
Savannah River to the East and the Chattahoochee to the 
South. In this section Negroes are found in overwhelming 
numbers in the open country. The county towns contain 
the white county officers, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and 
many of the landlords. Even in many of the towns of the 
Black Belt, however, the Negroes outnumber the white peo- 
ple. The coastal Black Belt is slightly different from the 
central Black Belt in that, originally this area was the rice 
and sea-island cotton area, and was divided into even larger 
plantations than the upland cotton area. Inclosed in the 
curve of the Black Belt is the region known as "Wiregrass." 
The counties of this region contain a Negro population 
which ranges from 25 to 50 per cent of the total. This is 
the level Coastal Plain with but slight elevation above the 
sea. The open country is occupied by both white and Negro 
farmers. The "Wiregrass," sparsely populated at the close 

Introduction 21 

of the Civil War, has since become a good farming and 
lumbering section, and the use of commercial fertilizers has 
attracted buyers of land which was formerly considered 
almost worthless. 

These differing proportions of white and colored people, 
and the differing farm opportunities in the geographical 
belts are marked in Georgia, and their details provide ex- 
cellent insight into the relation of the Negro agricultural 
worker to the land. 

The breakdown of plantations, described in Part I, with 
the attendant rise of a white and colored tenantry, applies to 
all the area of the old Cotton Belt or Black Belt. For the 
sake of defmiteness and because the State has previously 
received the attention of R. P. Brooks and E. M. Banks, 5 
the facts presented are confined to Georgia. They are al- 
most exactly paralleled in Alabama and South Carolina. 
In North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas the 
plantation system had a less firm hold than in Georgia, and 
suffered a faster decline. In Louisiana and Mississippi it 
was more firmly intrenched and has declined more slowly. 
Shifts in population from the old plantation areas and move- 
ment to towns, described in Part II, have likewise been in 
progress all over the Cotton Belt. 6 In describing these, 
however, attention is again centered largely on Georgia for 
the sake of definiteness. The effects of population move- 
ment described in Part II, Chapter IV, are, of course, more 
or less uniform throughout the South, varying only with 
the extent to which a locality is affected by migration. 

6 Brooks, R. P., "The Agrarian Revolution in Georgia, 1865- 
1912." University of Wisconsin, 1914, History Series, Vol. 3, 
No. 3. 

Banks, E. M., "Economics of Land Tenure in Georgia." Col- 
umbia University, Studies in History Economics and Public Law, 

6 See U. S. Census, Negro Population in U. S., 1790-1915, Chap. 




Since the agricultural interests of the South are so pre- 
dominant, by far the most pressing problems of the section 
relate to rural life. Recent efforts for the improvement of 
colored people have been centered on rural problems with a 
two- fold purpose. Merely from the standpoint of self- 
interest, improvement of rural conditions affecting Negroes 
means improvement in the general welfare of the South and 
the Nation. From an altruistic standpoint it seems that the 
greatest benefit to the Negro himself is to be derived from 
such efforts. 


The 3,000,000 Negroes engaged in agricultural pursuits 
constituted (in 1909) 30 per cent of the rural population of 
the South and 40 per cent of all southern agricultural work- 
ers. Their skill and industry govern, to a large degree, the 
prosperity of the southern farmer. The influence of Negro 
farmers on the general prosperity of the nation is indicated 
by the fact that they cultivate 41,500,000 acres of land, an 
area over twice the size of all the land in farms in the New 
England States. 1 From the standpoint of the Negro him- 
self the importance of agriculture is emphasized by the fact 
that 70 per cent of the Negro population lives in rural 
districts, and the largest numbers of Negroes who are mak- 
ing money and acquiring property are to be found among the 
farmers. The stable element of the congregations of rural 

1 U. S. Bureau of Education, "Negro Education in the United 
States," Bulletin 38, 1917, Page 103. 

Agriculture and Prejudice 23 

churches and the patronage of rural schools is composed of 
those Negroes who have been able to attach themselves to 
the land. s 

The masses of Negroes did not attain their stragetic posi- 
tion in agriculture through deliberate planning. They are 
farmers merely because they happen to have been born in 
the country and because the white land-owners can utilize 
their labor most profitably on the farm. In the past, agri- 
culture has been the method of obtaining a livelihood with 
which colored men were most familiar. Slavery was their 
school, rather a hard school at times, nevertheless a school 
where they learned the white man's lessons of thrift, religion 
and agriculture. The hoe, the plow and the cotton basket 
became friends and served them well after emancipation. 
The lesson that America, unlike Africa, demands continued 
labor if a man is to survive, was also a part of the program 
of slavery. These lessons were more or less imperfectly 
learned, yet, without some knowledge of them it is incon- 
ceivable that an African population could have survived in 
America under a system of free competition. 

But the passing of the plantation system has caused almost 
revolutionary changes in the South since the Civil war. The 
change in land tenure is to be noted chiefly in the develop- 
ment of radically new relations of the Negro to the land. 
From a condition of an absolutely dependent laborer, the 
Negro has advanced to the strategic position in agriculture 
outlined above. Still more radical has been the shift of a 
considerable number to northern industries. These changes 
have been accompanied by a remarkable set of social phe- 
nomena. The presence of varying degrees of agricultural 
opportunity in different sections has produced a start- 
ling amount of migration, a redistributiion of the popula- 
tion and changes in its density. Furthermore, the different 
degrees of opportunity have acted as a selective force on 
the Negro population. They are responsible for important 

24 Negro Migration 

reorganizations in family life, religious, educational and 
other rural institiutions. Consequently, in describing the 
changes in the agricultural system of the South, we are not 
only outlining the principal conditions from which popu- 
lation movements arise, but also presenting a systematic 
treatment of the much debated and fundamentally import- 
ant principles of land tenure. 

Such a presentation is particularly important at present 
since farm organizations and especially the National Board 
of Farm Organizations are characterizing tenancy as a 
great evil and an increasing menace. They have induced 
practically all the candidates in the race for the presidency 
of the United States for the 1920 term to endorse this state- 
ment. Such a broad generalization of the evils of tenancy 
is undoubtedly a perpetuated form of Henry George's error 
referred to in Chapter IV of this study, which arises from 
the a priori assumption that tenant conditions are the same 
in this country as they are in Europe. The_eyjdence pre- 
sented in Part I, aside from its particular bearing on popu- 
lation movement, would seem to indicate that increase in 
actual number of tenants in the United States is, in itself, 
neither an evil nor a menace, but an indication that larger 
and larger numbers of labor ers are mountin g to a very 
necessar y rung in the ladder whereby th e farmer boy climbs 
from th e landless laboring class into the Tarm proprietor 
class. It also indicates that inasmuch as the number of 
owners is constantly increasing, the increase in tenants is 
not recruited from ruined landowners, but rather from farm 
laborers. In other words, while tenancy, as it exists on 
many of the farms of the South and Middle West, has little 
to be said in its favor, still, as compared to the status of 
the farm laborer, it represents an advance. These observa- 
tions as to the general significance of the rise of land-tenure 
are fully developed in the last chapter of Part I. 

It appears that Booker T. Washington was right in urging 

Agriculture and Prejudice 25 

the soil of the South as the basis of racial improvement. 
That While the Negro should exert every effort to abate 
unjust discrimination, he should expend the greater portion 
of his energy in becoming a more efficient farmer. In a 
comparative study of the Negro in America with the Native 
of South Africa, Mr. Maurice S. Evans has said : 2 

"In travelling over the South land the impression the 
visitor gets is one of ample space for development. Even 
in the older States not one-third of the total area could be 
called improved and more than one-half is uncleared and 
uncultivated. A much greater proportion of the land than 
in South Africa can be put under the plough and the rain- 
fall is abundant and well distributed. It is true that much 
of the land has been distressingly abused and gone out of 
cultivation, but by modern methods of manuring, rotation 
of crops, and green-soiling it can be gradually built up 
again, possibly even beyond its original fertility. The cli- 
mate and soil are suitable for a great variety of crops, both 
those of the temperate and those of the sub-tropical zones. 
Timber for fuel and ordinary building is everywhere plenti- 
ful, and the country is well watered by many streams. When 
I compared it with the sun-stricken karoo of the Cape 
Colony, without fuel, water, or shelter, and the arid wastes 
of large extent in the interior of Australia, lacking in any 
of these, it seemed to me a land to which nature has given, 
as compared with many others, all that man requires to 
build up prosperous and happy homes. Judging by the 
standards of the producing British Colonies land is cheap; 
judged by its possibilities if is very cheap. This means that 
if he (the Negro) liked to take to agriculture he could at 
once purchase and stock a small improved farm or a larger 
unimproved one, and raise enough in a very few years to 
return the purchase price. Such a man need never be in 
debt. He could buy his requirements and sell his produce 
on the very best terms, as well as any white man, and yearly 
improve his holding and add to his possessions." 

It is this agricultural opportunity which is emphasized 

2 Evans, M. S., "Black and White in the Southern States." 
London: Longmans Green and Company, 1915, p. 248-249. 

26 Negro Migration 

throughout the remainder of this study. No matter what 
other forms of race discrim ination exist in tSe Sou th, there 
is no bar t o the i\ egro m tfie directionof buying land, as is 
the case with th e Japane se in California, and in so far as he 
makes effort to improve himself as a tenant, his interests 
and those of the white landlord are practically the same. 


To the mind unaccustomed to the intricacies of the race 
questions, the foregoing picture of Negro agricultural op- 
portunity may seem too bright. Accounts of discrimination 
and race prejudice probably play a larger part in the for- 
mation of the popular belief concerning the colored people 
than do statistics of improvement. To a large number of 
people the Negro appears a very much down-trodden in- 
dividual, the opportunity in the South wholly a white man's 
opportunity, and the life in the South an inter- racial strug- 
gle. Though this pessimistic view overemphasizes discrim- 
ination, it is to be remembered that along side of the stream 
of opportunity for the Negroes there is the parallel stream 
of phenomena which are loosely grouped under the terms 
race discrimination and race prejudice. These two, flowing 
side by side, sometimes act on one another, and create 
queer cross currents and eddies of policy which are ex- 
tremely difficult to understand. To describe one without 
describing the other is to give but one set of the complex 
factors of race problems. 

Therefore, as this study is to mainly be concerned with 
the agricultural opportunities of Negroes it may be well 
to emphasize in the beginning some of the other factors 
which are most widely known. For the past twenty years 
thinking Negroes and friends of the Negro have been di- 
vided into two schools, which agree fundamentally on the 
question of what is needed for the betterment of the race, 
and yet clash in their contentions as to the best methods to 

Agriculture and Prejudice 27 

pursue in obtaining these things. The school of militant 
protestors constantly holds before the public the 
sins committed against the Negro. They direct 
caustic criticism against lynching, injustice in the courts, 
the "Juri Crow" car, and other forms or discrim- 
tion," and their chief activity is litigation. On the other 
hand, the cooperative school headed by the late Booker T. 
Washington, and his successor R. R. Moton, emphasizes 
opportunity, training for citizenship, winning recognition 
through efficiency in agriculture and industry, and co- 
operation with the white race. 

Georgia is often cited as the foremost example of dis- 
crimination by the former school. Their chief organ, "The 
Crisis/' refers frequently to injustice in the courts. It has 
conducted investigations of the "Jim Crow" cars in the 
State. Not only The Crisis, but also the press of the coun- 
try as a whole, has awarded Georgia first place in number 
of lynchings during the past few years. Of the 228 lynch- 
ings during the years 1913, 1914 and 1915, immediately 
before migration started, The Crisis reports 42, or more 
than one-sixth, in Georgia. Of the 164 as reported to the 
Director of the Department of Records at Tuskegee, 30 
were in Georgia. Of the 3,389 lynchings in the United 
States between 1885 and 1919, 398 were in Georgia. 8 

It must be admitted that in the instances cited above race 
prejudice gives the appearance of an inter-racial struggle. 
The interests of the masses of Negroes, however, are the 

8 No official record of lynchings is kept. The three sources 
of unofficial information are, the Crisis; the Department of 
Records, Tuskegee Institute, Monroe N. Work, Director, and 
the Chicago Tribune. The difference in number noted above is 
due to the fact that the Crisis classes as lynching some cases of 
inter-racial violence resulting in death, though committed by 
individuals rather than by mobs. The most complete presenta- 
tion of the facts appears annually in 'The Negro Yearbook," 
Monroe N. Work, Editor. 

28 Negro Migration 

same as those of the white people. They work together 
amicably, a bad crop affects both races, and mutual aid is 
carried on to a remarkable extent in view of the funda- 
mental difference in their culture. It is interesting and per- 
haps confusing to note that between 1900 and 1910, despite 
discrimination, the Negro population of Georgia increased 
13.7 per cent, while the Negroes in the country as a whole 
increased by only 11.2 per cent; Negro illiteracy decreased 
in Georgia from 52.4 per cent to 36.5 per cent ; the number 
of city homes owned increased 51.3 per cent, and the num- 
ber of farms operated by Negro owners increased 48 per 
cent, a rate not exceeded by any State in the South. 4 

These steps toward improvement are hopeful but cannot 
in any sense be taken as an extenuation of the gruesome 
facts as to lynching. The contrast does, however, bring 
out the fact that there are two parallel and often conflict- 
ing sets of forces in the problem, and that there is a 
brighter side to the picture than that which appears in the 
public press, — the side in which constructive workers with 
Negro problems are primarily interested. 

* United States Census of 1910. Negro Population in the 
U. S., 1790-1915; pp. 37, 419, 465, 609. 


The immediate effect of the Civil War was a revolution 
in Southern agriculture. This revolution brought with it 
varied opportunities for the white and colored populations. 
For the ex-planters three options were open : The first was 
to abandon planting — few, however, could afford to do this. 
Their second option was to remain on the plantation and 
continue agricultural operations by following as nearly as 
possible the ante-bellum system of gang labor, merely sub- 
stituting freedmen for slaves. Their third choice was to 
move into town and adopt a share tenant system, relaxing 
somewhat their personal supervision of operations, or even 
renting their land outright. For the ex-slaves three options 
were also open^ First to remain and cultivate the land as 
laborers. Second to quit the plantations which clung to 
the gang labor system and seek more advantageous terms 
of cultivating the soil, as tenants or owners. Third to quit 
agriculture and move into town. > Like the planters few 
freedmen had the desire or initiative to move at first. Agri- 
cultural opportunity was opened to still a third group which 
had, up to the Civil War, been confined mostly to the Upper 
Piedmont. The small white farmer and the white tenant 
had the opportunity, for the first time, to gain a place. The 
slave system which enabled great plantations to absorb all 
the small holdings was no longer legal, and consequently the 
situation was most advantageous to the small farmer and 
the white tenant. 


Prior to the Civil War the plantations were localized in 
what has been described as the Black Belt (see Introduc- 
tion). This section was divided into large tracts of land 

30 Negro Migration 

and almost all of the available area was or had been used 
for agriculture. The land in the Wiregrass region was 
also held in large tracts, but only a small portion of it was 
cultivated. In 1860, 83.6 per cent of the cotton of the 
State was grown in the Black Belt; 13.7 per cent in the 
Upper Piedmont; 3 per cent in the Wiregrass, and a bare 
0.7 per cent in the mountains. 1 *The initial causes of 
the change from the regime of gang labor are therefore 
to be observed best in the situation of the Black Belt plant- 
ers after the war. Large landed estates and large scale 
production of cotton had become almost their religion. Nat- 
urally a strong effort was made to continue the cultivation 
of cotton by using the freedmen under the gang system, and 
in some parts of the State this system is still found. The 
supervision implied was, however, such a constant reminder 
of the physical restraint of slavery and offered such limited 
opportunity for making profits that the Negro was dis- 
contented with it. 

For several reasons many were in a position to make their 
own terms with the landlords and escape from this irksome 
supervision. The competition for labor was for a time in- 
tense. Many of the farms were ruined and idle, and, not- 
withstanding the high price of cotton, it was easy to acquire 
land. The system of allowing the merchant to hold a lien 
upon the growing crop in security for supplies advanced, 
gave laborers without capital further opportunity to acquire 
land on credit, or for a rental, and to stock it by securing 
advances from supply merchants, giving as security a mort- 
gage upon the crop which he promised to plant. | Thus the 
tenant could make the initial payment on a piece of cheap 
land, secure easy credit for tools, stock, and supplies, and 
depend upon future crops to pay him out of debt. / A de- 
tailed picture of the influence of these factors upon the 
plantation system can be presented in connection with the 

1 Brooks, R. P., opp. cite p. 124. 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 31 

following topics/: (1) The irksome supervision, (2) Com- 
petition and Wages, (3) Hard times and Cheap Lands, 
(4) The crop lien system. These were the general causes 
of the breakdown of large plantations. ) 

Irksome Supervision. When slavery, as a means of con- 
trolling labor was abolished, radical changes began to work 
in the Negro mind. The immediate result was the com- 
plete demoralizaation of the agricultural system. In describ- 
ing what took place in 1865-66, Brooks gives the following 
picture : 2 

"On many plantations operations went ahead with 
scarcely any interruption. Planters called informal meet- 
ings of the freedmen, explained in simple terms their new 
condition and offered employment at the current rate of 
wages to all who desired to remain. After wandering off a 
short distance simply to assert their freedom many Negroes 
returned to the plantations and took up their former labor. 
Those planters who had been most considerate of their 
slaves experienced the least trouble in employing them as 
freedmen. * * * 

"On the other hand, there was a large element of the 
freedmen who did not follow the course just outlined. The 
widespread belief that the plantations of their former own- 
ers would be divided among the ex-slaves at Christmas, 
1865, acted as a deterrent to steady industry. The Com- 
missioner of the Freedmen's Bureau found it necessary to 
send out special instruction to all officers and agents, direct- 
ing them to do what they could to dispel this delusion." 

In many sections of the State, the gang system of culti- 
vation was doomed. The close oversight reminded the Ne- 
groes too strongly of slavery days, and the sharp competi- 
tion for labor gave them the power to demand better terms 
or to move off. 

While the cultivation of cotton is not strenuous labor, it 
demands imperatively, at certain seasons, that a constant 
labor supply be available. Consequently, the landlords were 

2 Brooks, R. P., Agrarian Revolution, opp. cite p. 12-13. 

32 Negro Migration 

in dire straits when confronted by such uncertainties in 
labor supply. Some arrangement had to be made whereby 
the landlord could be assured that his crop would have 
constant attention. The metayer, or share tenant system, 
resulted. Under this system the landlords could move into 
the towns and have their places farmed by tenants on 
shares. The tenant, usually without capital, was advanced a 
year's supplies, given the use of a house, implements and a 
work animal. In return he was to plant and work the crop 
in accordance with the instructions of the landlord. The 
landlord received as rent a share of the crop. This share- 
tenancy in its turn was irksome to some of the Negroes who 
did not like the supervision which it implied. They desired 
a still more permanent and independent form of land tenure. 
It was then that cash tenancy arose. In the case of a cash 
tenant or renter, if the Negro were without capital his ad- 
vances for tools and supplies were made as a direct loan 
from the landlord or from a merchant, and a mortgage on 
his growing crop was taken to secure payment. In this way 
the tenant was responsible for part of the capital. Instead 
of having to pay the landlord half of the crop, he had to 
pay a stipulated "standing" rent, and all that remained 
after paying his rent and returning the money advanced, 
belonged to him. The cash tenant was on his own initiative. 
The more or less successful farmers managed to accumu- 
late a little money and buy land. The unsuccessful were 
involved in debt, lost their land and stock, and returned to 
the status of laborer or share tenant. That the successes 
have been, in the long run, slightly more numerous than the 
failures is illustrated by the slow increase in the number 
of Negroes found in these higher forms of tenancy. 

It is natural that the owners should be averse to a pass- 
age from laborer to share tenant and share tenant to cash 
tenant, because each step means a decreasing amount of 
supervision over the crop and care of the land. Many 
of these landlords who were experienced farmers and who 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 33 

could have enhanced the welfare of their tenants by lending 
their supervision to the operations were compelled to aban- 
don the supervision of tenants and adopt the rent system. 
In the case of shiftless tenants the resultants were, the use 
of less fertilizers and poorer methods, less care of the work 
animal and tools, and a consequent deterioration in the 
value of the land and implements. An interesting account 
of how the change came about step by step on a single 
large plantation in Georgia, is given by Chancellor D. C. 
arrow in Scribner's Magazine. 3 

"For several years following emancipation, the force of 
laborers was divided into two squads, the arrangement and 
method of cultivation was very much as in the ante-bellum 
period. Each squad was under an overseer, or foreman. 
The hands were given a share of the crop. As the time 
went on, the control of the foreman became irksome to the 
Negroes. As a consequence the squads were split up into 
smaller and smaller groups, still working for a part of the 
crop, and still using the owner's teams. The process of dis- 
integration continued until each laborer worked separately, 
without any oversight. The change involved great loss and 
trouble. Mules were ill-treated, the crop was badly worked, 
and often the tenant stole the landlord's share. It became 
necessary to abandon the sharing feature. The owner sold 
his mules to the tenants, thereby putting on them the burden 
of the loss incidental to the careless handling of stock. It 
became impracticable to keep the cabins grouped when each 
man worked on a separate farm, since some of the farms 
were at a distance from the "quarters." New cottages were 
therefore built scatteringly in convenient places near springs. 
The Negroes now planted what they pleased and worked 
when they liked, the landlord interfering only to require 
that enough cotton be planted to pay the rent." The author 
concluded, "The slight supervision which is exercised may 
surprise those ignorant of how completely the relations be- 
tween the races at the South have changed." 

Thus the plantation system in parts of the Black Belt was 
doomed. It will be noted from Barrow's description, how- 

» Barrow, D. C, Scribner's Magazine, April, 1881. 

34 Negro Migration 

ever, that the change did not take place in a day. In many 
instances the owners of land, in the endeavor to save its 
fertility and to increase their crops are still endeavoring to 
maintain the old gang system. In fact, most large farm 
units which remain today are "mixed," — the owner hires as 
many laborers as he can and farms the remaining land with 
tenants. The result is that only the lower types can be 
hired for wages. The higher types who are successful 
farmers, move up into share tenancy or renting. They do 
not like the labor system which makes them rise at the tap 
of the farm bell in the early dawn and work under close 
oversight until the evening. Only the marginal laborers, 
those least able to bargain for a farm, are left to work as 
laborers on the large plantations. 

Wages and Competition. One of the chief reasons why 
the Negro was able to assert his desire to escape from the 
supervision of the landlord is revealed by wage conditions 
and the sharp competition between landlords for competent 
laborers. During the period from 1865 to 1880 the action of 
supply and demand enforced more freedom for the Negro 
than any of the post-bellum amendments to the Constitu- 
tion of the United States. The main factors in supply and 
demand which enabled Negroes to pass from the status of 
laborer to tenant may be summed up as follows : First, the 
supply of laborers in the plantation area was reduced: 
(a) by the withdrawal of numbers of women from field 
work, and (b) by the movement of other laborers to cities 
and rural districts in which higher wages could be offered. 
Second, the demand was increased by (a) the high price 
which cotton brought immediately after the war, and (b) 
by the necessity of using the land, the only form of wealth 
that remained in the South. This decrease in supply and 
increase in demand led to competition for labor to which 
the Negro responded in various ways. For some the re- 
sponse was to seek the higher types of tenancy rather than 
to remain as laborers. For a large majority, however, the 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 35 

first response was merely an assertion of freedom from re- 
sponsibility which led them to work when they pleased and 
shift from plantation to plantation with such disregard for 
contracts that they earned the distrust of their former 
masters and disrupted many of the old plantations. 

Of the first factor in the decrease in supply of labor it is 
hardly necessary to speak at length. Under the slave system 
many of the women worked in the field and a very natural 
result of their release was to retire from agriculture, either 
in order to become home-keepers, subsisting upon "hand 
laundry" work, with occasional excursions to the fields, at 
cotton picking or chopping times; or to become domestics 
in the towns and larger cities. Inasmuch as this movement 
was one towards greater care of the children and the home, 
it was, of course, greatly to the advantage of the race. 

The movement of Negroes from the Black Belt in re- 
sponse to the higher wages offered in Western States and 
Southern Georgia, was of more grave consequence. The 
following table quoted by Brooks from the Year Book of 
the Department of Agriculture, 1876, gives the compara- 
tive money wages in Southern States. 4 

Comparative Wages Per Year for Farm Hands 
in Southern States 
State 1867 1868 

North Carolina $104 $89 

South Carolina 100 93 

Georgia 125 83 

Florida 139 97 

Alabama 117 87 

Mississippi 149 90 

Louisiana 150 104 

Texas 139 130 

Arkansas 158 115 

Tennessee 136 109 

* These averages quoted from the Department of Agriculture 
are based upon the reports of special agents, and while not exact 
are the best available indices of the conditions. In addition to 
these money wages food was furnished. 

36 Negro Migration 

It is evident from these figures that all the Cotton States 
except North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama were 
offering higher wages in both 1867 and 1868 than Qeorgia. 
In 1868 all the Cotton States were offering higher wages. 
Several reasons may be assigned for this difference in wage 
scale. In the first place, while land was plentiful in Geor- 
gia, it was still more plentiful in Alabama, Mississippi, 
Louisiana and Arkansas. The supply of free public land 
had not been exhausted in these States. Again, the States 
lying west of Sherman's line of march did not suffer any- 
thing like the loss of wealth which those in his line of 
march suffered. A still further factor is to be found in the 
fact that land, in the Western States, having been more 
recently put under cultivation, had not suffered as much 
deterioration from the wasteful cultivation of slave labor. 
It was more productive. In the long run, almost every 
other State could afford to pay more for Negro labor imme- 
diately after emancipation than Georgia. 

In addition South Georgia was competing against the old 
plantation area for labor. Brooks states that the agent of 
the Freedmen's Bureau in Southwest Georgia wrote to Gen- 
eral Tillson in January, 1866, that there was a demand for 
labor in Baker County, and asked that four or five hundred 
hands be sent. Three to five hundred, he said, were needed 
in Dougherty County. 

Not only were the planters confronted by this shrinkage 
in the labor supply, but they were also confronted by the 
imperative demand for labor. Without money or credit 
they returned to their homes in 1865 in dire need of the 
means of making their living from the soil. It has been 
said that few members of the army which surrendered at 
Appamatox did not toil with the plow during the next few 
years. The land was the only form of capital, and the 
Negro was the only supply of labor. These were the tools 
at hand for the rebuilding of the South. 

The high price of cotton was a spur to their efforts. The 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 37 

following prices were quoted for the years 1865-1870, by 
M. B. Hammond, in Cotton Industry: 5 1865, 83.38c; 
1866, 43.20c; 1867, 31.59c; 1868, 24.85c; 1869, 12.01c; 1870, 
23.98c. All during the five-year period the price of the 
crop was considerably higher than any level which it 
reached before the European War. For such reward, strong 
competition was set up among the planters. Thousands of 
Negroes were moved from the Black Belt in response to 
the demand, and every expedient was resorted to in order to 
obtain an adequate supply of labor. The following letter 
from General Howell Cobb indicates the difficulties of the 
situation : 6 

December , 1866. 

"I find a worse state of things with the Negroes than I 
expected, and am unable even to say what we shall be able 
to do. From Nathan Barwick's place every Negro has left. 
There is no one to feed the stock, and on the other places 
none have contracted as yet. I shall stay here until I see 
what can be done. By Tuesday we shall probably know 
what they will do. At all events I shall be on the lookout 
for other Negroes. I intend to send Nathan Barwick to 
Baldwin on Wednesday to see what hands can be got there, 
with the assistance of Wilkerson. I am offering them even 
better terms than I gave them last year, to- wit: one-third 
of the cotton and corn crop, and they feed and clothe them- 
selves, but nothing satisfies them. Grant them one thing and 
they demand something more, and there is no telling where 
they would stop. The truth is, I am thoroughly disgusted 
with the free Negro labor, and determined that the next 
year shall close my planting operations with them. There 
is no feeling of gratitude in their nature. Let any man 
offer them some little thing of no real value, but which looks 
a little more like freedom, and they catch at it with avidity, 
and would sacrifice their best friends without hesitation and 
without regret. That miserable creature Wilkes Flag sent 
old Ellick down to get the Negroes from Nathan Barwick's 

5 American Economic Association Publications, new Series, 
1897. The prices quoted represent the annual averages. 
8 Brooks, Agrarian Revolution, opp. cite p. 21. 

38 Negro Migration 

place. Old Ellick stayed out in the woods and sent for the 
Negroes and they were bargaining with him in the night and 
telling Barwick in the day that they were going to stay 
with him. The moment they got their money, they started 
for the railroad. This is but one instance, but it is the his- 
tory of all of them. Among the number was Anderson, 
son of Sye and Sentry, whom I am supporting at the Hur- 

This letter was from one of the highest types of planters 
in the State, who was operating several plantations. It indi- 
cates the great delimma in which planters found themselves 
immediately after the war. It also illustrates the immediate 
effect of emancipation upon the Negroes. Such keen com- 
petition for labor is not likely to increase the reliability 
of any body of laboring men, and there is small wonder that 
the Negro, having just emerged from slavery, without pre- 
vious experience in free contracting, was completely de- 
moralized for the time. 

Hard Times and Cheap Land. The circumstances were 
not only highly favorable to Neproqs, who desired to leave 
th e status of laborer and be come tena nts, but they were also 
favorable to those desiring to acquire land and become 
independent farmers. Although there were no free public 
lands in Georgia, private sales of land were numerous at the 
close of the war. Ruined farmers and large landholders 
desiring to reduce the size of their holdings in order that 
they might be cultivated more efficiently under the new sys- 
tem, were everywhere. Much of the old field land which 
had been abandoned during the plantation era was available 
for purchase, and the new "Wiregrass" section which had 
been considered unproductive during the plantation era was 
entered by farmers in their desire to obtain more land for 
cotton. Added to these causes was the crop failure of 1865, 
1866. Brooks writes that the "results of the operations in 
1865 and 1866 were a bitter disappointment. ,, In spite of 
the abnormal price of the staple heavy losses were sus- 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 39 

tained. Landlords became heavily involved in debt, and 
foreclosures were numerous. "One of the newspapers of 
the Black Belt in the years 1865 to 1872 was full of adver- 
tisements of land for sale. One issue in 1866 contained 
sixty-eight separate advertisements of land for sale aggre- 
gating 23,000 acres." Brooks cites two sales at public out- 
cry, one of 40Q acres in Appling County, which sold at 10 
cents per acre, and two entire tracts, one of 400 acres in 
Montgomery and one of 200 acres in Decatur County, which 
together, sold for the lump sum of $2.50. 7 

Of course the Negro emerged from slavery with no cap- 
ital, but with land selling for these low prices, only a little 
saving and foresight were necessary for making 
the initial payment on a small farm, and beginning the work 
of home building. Only a small number of Negroes, how- 
ever, availed themselves of this early opportunity to buy 
land. This group will be more fully discussed in the latter 
part of the next chapter which deals more specifically with 
Negro landowners. The majority of Negroes were too ig- 
norant, and too easily tempted to waste their wages, to make 
even these small payments. No previous training in thrift 
had prepared them for the exigency of the situation. But a 
small number of landholders did appear very soon after 
emancipation. This beginning was made possible by the 
cheapness of the land and the crop lien system. 

The Crop Lien System. Of importance both to the small 
owner and to the tenant was the system of credit which 
arose out of the conditions of agriculture. Since land values 
were so low and fluctuating, the few people with money in 
the South were unwilling to advance capital to the farmer 
with land as the security. The homestead exemption 
amendment to the Constitution added to the unwillingness 
to accept land as a security. This amendment was passed 
in order to prevent absolute ruin of farmers by the numer- 

7 Brooks, Agrarian Revolution, p. 38. 

40 Negro Migration 

ous foreclosures of mortgages. It was introduced in the 
State legislature of Georgia in 1866 and provided that in the 
case of mortgage foreclosure, "an exemption of realty to the 
value of $4,000 in specie, and of personal property to the 
value of $1,000 in specie, be set apart for each head of a 
family, or guardian or trustee of a family of minor chil- 

Since the agriculturalists of the State were unable to build 
a substantial system of credits on land at the time, an expe- 
dient had to be worked out. This expedient introduced a 
new factor into the agricultural situation, namely the supply 
merchant. Under the slavery regime, the planter was, to an 
extent, also a retail merchant, buying his supplies wholesale 
from the wholesale merchants in Savannah, Macon or 
Augusta. Under the post-bellum system the small land 
owner, and even the tenant, preferred to deal directly with 
the merchant. During the early years of the crop lien sys- 
tem (1866-1875) there was a struggle between the landlord 
and the merchant for the right to hold the lien upon the crop 
of the tenant. The landlords preferred to hold the lien be- 
cause they could regulate the expenditure of tenants and 
would be justified in exercising supervision over the culti- 
vation in order to protect themselves from loss. The mer- 
chants wanted to hold the lien because they were advancing 
the capital for tools, stock-feed and groceries. The final 
outcome was expressed in the Act of 1875, and was in the 
nature of a compromise. The landlord was given the right 
to a first lien upon the crop of a tenant for his rent, and the 
merchant was given a second lien for supplies advanced. 
The lien of the merchant was legalized by a transfer of the 
supply lien from the planter, in cases where the planter 
desired to shift the responsibility from his shoulders to 
those of the merchant. 

The advantages and disadvantages of this makeshift sys- 
tem of credit have received detailed study in several treat- 
ments of rural economics. 8 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 41 

The un certainty of the risk has, at times, led to exorbi- 
tant interest charges ^ and the ign orance of the tenants has 
given undu e advantage to the mer chant in the supply ac- 
c ounts. T he significant feature of the crop lien system is, 
however, th at it enabled the South to b ridge over the diffi- 
culty o f agricultural credits, and as far as the Negro was 
co ncerned, it provided the opportunity for those without 
capital to senm* credit for the stock, tools and year's pro- 
vi sions for farming operations. It was one m ore method by 
whic h the landless laborer could get a farm, m ortgaging 
his future crop in security for advances of food and imple- 
ments. W. E. B. DuBois sums its significance up in "The 
Negro Landholder in Georgia," as follows : 9 

A thrifty Negro in the hands of well disposed landlords 
and honest merchants early became an independent land- 
owner. A shiftless, ignorant Negro, in the hands of un- 
scrupulous landlords or shylocks, became something worse 
than a slave. The masses of Negroes between the two ex- 
tremes fared as chance and the weather let them." 

The crop lien system was of greatest aid to Negroes in 
passing from share to cash tenancy. As has been stated, the 
need of some cash to make a payment on land, deterred the 
vast majority from entering ownership. To those desiring 
to become independent renters, however, rather than share 
tenants, the crop lien system was a great help. For many 
Negroes the capital needed to make this step was, of course, 
not available. If, however, they could find a landlord who 
would rent them land and a house, they could apply to the 
merchant for the capital, become an independent renter and 
mortgage their future crops to repay the debt. Under fa- 

8 Banks, Economics of Land Tenure in Georgia, opp. cite; 
Brooks, The Agrarian Revolution, opp cite; DuBois, W. E. B., 
"The Negro Landholder in Georgia," U. S. Department of Labor, 
Bulletin No. 35, 1901. 

e DuBois, The Negro Landholder, opp. cite p. 668. 

42 Negro Migration 

vorable circumstances, and with thrift and foresight a ten- 
ant could free himself of debt in a year or two. 

It is apparent from the foregoing outline of unsettled 
agricultural conditions that many of the institutions which 
arose were makeshifts. Both the planters and the ex-slaves 
were confronted with an unprecedented situation, and the 
predominant interest of both was in working out some 
system of cultivation of the land. It early became evident 
that the old plantation system of labor was not practicable 
under free competition and contract. Smaller landowners 
began to increase in number, and the tenant system gained 
headway. The rapidity with which this change took place is 
indicated in the following section. 


The foregoing account of the struggle between planters in 
the endeavor to preserve their holdings, indicates that it 
was the landlord class which instituted the system of ten- 
ancy as a means of furthering their interests. There is little 
indication that, at first, the mass of Negroes felt the desire 
to become independent renters, except in as far as the irk- 
someness of supervision led them to wish to escape from 
share tenancy. As the tenant system became established, 
however, and the advantages of a more permanent tenure 
could be seen, more and more of the Negroes began to seek 
to become renters. 

The breakdown of the plantation system caused by the 
economic pressure of competition among landowners, and 
the desire of the laborers to gain a new status resulted in 
three radical changes indicated by (1) The reduction in 
number of large farms operated by laborers and consequent 
growth in number of small farms. (2) The resultant reduc- 
tion in number of owners of large tracts of land and the 
growth in number of owners of small tracts. (3) The in- 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 43 

crease in number of farms operated by tenants. The an- 
alyses of each of these three changes indicate that the plan- 
tation system is passing, but that it is still in vogue to some 

The Passing of Large Farms. The first indication of the 
disappearance of the plantation system is in the reduction in 
the size of farms cultivated as a unit. A reduction in aver- 
age size may indicate that the large farms are disappearing 
or that numerous new small farms are appearing, or that 
both of these things are happening. The census enumerates 
as one farm, any tract of land cultivated by one farmer, re- 
gardless of who owns it. In this way, a single plantation 
of 2,000 acres, if cultivated as a unit by the owner with 
laborers is enumerated as one farm, but if 1,000 acres are 
cultivated with laborers under the direction of the owner, 
or overseer, and the remaining 1,000 divided into twenty 
50-acre tenant farms, it would be enumerated as 21 farms, 
1 operated by an owner, and 20 operated by tenants. 

The passing of large farms as enumerated by the census, 
and increase of small farms is, therefore, the general index 
of the decay of the gang labor plantation system and the 
rise of a system of tenants or small land owners. The f ol^ 


Georgia Farms Classified by Size in Acres, 1860-1910. 

Size in Acres 1860 1880 1890 1900 1910 

Under 10 906 3,211 4,438 6,055 8,700 

10 to 20 2,803 8,694 10,868 13,301 20,929 

20 to 50 13,644 36,524 55,287 73,408 117,432 

50 to 100 14,129 26,054 32,316 52,251 68,510 

100 to 500 19,843 53,635 59,343 73,100 69,985 

500 to 1,000 7,076 7,017 6,061 4,718 3,950 

1,000 and over.... 3,608 3,491 2,758 1,858 1,521 

Total Farms 62,009 138,626 171,071 224,691 291,027 

Total Acres in 
thousands . 26,650 26,043 25,200 26,392 26,953 

Average size 430 188 147 118 97 

Median size 98 92 73 69 51 

44 Negro Migration 

lowi ng distribution of farms by size__ groups from 1860 to 
1910 gives a clear picture of the extent to which the pre- 
dominating type of farm has shifted from the large planta- 
tion to the smaller owner or_ tenant farm. 10 

Unfortunately the census does not subdivide the farms 
over 1,000 acres in size. The rapid decline of the average 
size of farms indicates the effect of these very large plan- 
tations in the grouping. This rapid decline in the average 
has been taken to mean the disappearance of large farms 
between 1860 and 1880. But the number of farms of over 
500 acres decreased by only 176 during the 20-year period 
It is therefore evident that the average is not an exact index 
of the subdivision. A better idea is gained from the differ- 
ence of this arithmetic average, which is affected by very 
large farms, and the median, which is the size of the farm 
above which half of the number of farms are found and 
below which half are found. Every large farm is evi- 
dently balanced against one small farm in determining the 
median. It will be noted that while the average declined 
from 430 to 188 acres during the period from 1860 to 1880, 
the median declined only from 98 to 92 acres. 

During the period, 1860 to 1880, plantations of over 1,000 
acres held their own in number but were being reduced 
nearer the 1,000 acre type by subdivision into tenant farms, 

10 United States Census of 1910, Agriculture, Vol. VI, p. 320, 
1890; Agriculture, p. 116. The figures for 1860 are estimates 
based on the census. As the census of 1860 enumerated 
only Improved Acreage in farms, the size published is too small 
to be comparable with the later years which included all acreage. 
This reduced the number of large farms tremendously. The 
estimate of Banks, Economics of Land Tenure, p. 20-21, was 
therefore accepted and applied to the 1860 figures. The estimate 
is close enough for purposes of comparison. The figures for 
1870 are omitted because they were enumerated on the same 
basis of improved acreage only, and because the notorious in- 
accuracies of this census made an estimate based upon them of 
little value. 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 45 

and as a consequence there was a rapid increase in farms 
of under 500 acres. The number of plantations of 500-1,000 
acres was about constant. Since 1880 the tracts over 500 
acres in size have decreased in number. While the 100 to 
500 acre farms have increased in number, their rate of in- 
crease has not equalled the rate of increase in the smaller 
groups. By 1880, 20 to 50 acre tenant farms had become 
widespread and since that date they have been steadily in- 
creasing in number and relative importance. This is to such 
an extent true that in 1910 this type was distinctly predom- 
inant in the State. There has also been a rapid increase in 
10 to 20 acre farms. It has truly been a wonderful oppor- 
tunity for the man who desired to obtain a tenure of land. 
These figures as to size of farm represent the total oppor- 
tunity to acquire land both as a tenant and as an owner, due 
to the disintegration of large operations. The opportunity 
in each has been ample. The remainder of this chapter 
is therefore devoted to a separate discussion of opportunities 
as owners and opportunities as tenants. 

Size of Land Holdings. The bad crop conditions imme- 
diately after the Civil War, and the difficulty of obtaining 
credit have been mentioned as having a tremendous effect 
on the price of land. There were many tracts available for 
purchasers. Much of this land was already "in farms" 
according to the use of that term made by the census. Much 
of it, however, consisted of woodland on the plantations and 
was useless to owners who could not even get a force of 
laborers adequate to cultivate their cleared land. Other 
tracts of this "land in farms" consisted of old fields which 
had been more or less worn out by the exhaustive cultiva- 
tion of slave labor. The planters were anxious to dispose 
of this surplus. In addition, the "wild" lands of the State 
provided another source of supply. The census of 1860 in- 
dicates 26,650,000 acres of land in farms, and a total land 
area of about 37,500,000 acres. The difference of approxi- 

46 Negro Migration 

mately 11,000,000 acres of land in the State was "wild" land 
which had never been brought within the scope of agricultu- 
ral operations. It is true that most of the 11,000,000 acres is 
in the mountainous sections of North Georgia or the pine 
barrens of the South, but it had value. It was not free land. 
In many cases it was held speculatively: As Banks 
states . X1 

"There is really very little or no land outside of the mar- 
gin of utilization in Georgia, although there is much land 
lying under such disadvantages, either of fertility or of sit- 
uation, that it is not actually cultivated, nor will it be culti- 
vated for many years to come." 

Table 2 indicates that by 1910, the census classified 26, 
950,000 acres as land in farms. This is an increase of 
300,000 acres over the 1860 figure. It is therefore evident 
that during the fifty year period, large tracts of this wild 
land were taken up for agricultural purposes. 

In the effort to trace the effect of the breakdown of plan 
tations on the size of tracts held by individual proprietors- 
Banks examined the original tax returns of 31 rural coun- 


Total Land Proprietorships in Georgia According to Size in 

Acres in 31 Typical Counties. 

(Compiled from Original Tax Returns.) 

Size of Proprietorship 

in acres 1873 1880 1890 1902 

Under 10 193 521 1,490 2,232 

10 to 20 116 341 748 1,288 

20 to 50 905 1,765 2,540 3,712 

50 to 100 2,113 3,535 4,816 6,134 

100 to 500 10,796 12,782 14,526 15,671 

500 to 1,000 2,309 2,344 2,270 2,094 

1,000 and over 1,337 1,302 1,178 1,047 

Total Proprietorships.. 17,769 22,590 27,568 32,178 
Total Acreage 6,792,954 7,211,476 7,315,975 7,474,802 

Average Acreage 382 319 265 232 

Median Acreage 308 261 218 170 

11 Banks, Economics of Land Tenure, pp. 31-32. 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 47 

ties in Georgia. These counties were selected from all sec- 
tions of the State and may therefore be considered fairly 
representative of the State as a whole. The above table (3) 
is a rearrangement of the results of Banks' study and indi- 
cates the distribution of land proprietorships according to 
size in acres^ 2 

This table indicates that the predominant type of holding, 
all during the period was 100 to 500 acres in size. In fact, 
this group contained more than fifty per cent of the holdings 
in 1873 and but slightly less than fifty per cent of the hold- 
ings in 1902, and all during the period both the average and 
median size of holding fell within the 100 to 500 acre group. 
The holdings of more than 500 acres have decreased slightly 
in number, while the holdings of less than 500 acres have 
increased rapidly. This policy of retaining their large 
tracts as long as possible was adhered to largely because, 
among the Black Belt planters, large landed estates have 
been and, to an extent, still are the basis of aristocracy. The 
proprietorship was held intact as long as possible. Some- 
times it was cultivated by laborers and sometimes rented out 
in small tracts to tenant farmers. Furthermore, 700,000 
acres of "new" land was included in proprietorships in these 
counties. (This is evident in the table from the increase 
in total acreage from 6,790,000 in 1873 to 7,470,000 in 
1902.) Much of this new land was taken up in large tracts 
in the southern part of the State and held speculatively. 
The greater part of it was not used for agriculture immedi- 
ately, and much of it has not up to the present been in- 
cluded (under the census definition) in farms. This is 
indicated by the fact that the census shows an increase of 
only 300,000 acres in "land in farms" in the whole State 
from 1860 to 1910. It thus appears that while some of the 
large proprietorships have been divided into a number of 
small farms, their disappearance has been almost balanced 

12 Banks, opp. cite, Appendix Table D. Distribution corrected. 

48 Negro Migration 

by the appearance of new large proprietorships with a 
resultant steady growth in the total number of farms. This 
is statistically indicated in the table by the fact that the aver- 
age and median size in acres declined so nearly propor- 
tionately. The arithmetic average was 382 in 1873 and 232 
in 1902. The median, or that middle sized farm which is 
larger than half the farms and smaller than half, was 308 in 
1873 and 170 in 1902. 

The Growth of Tenancy. Although the f oregoing section 
indicates tha t the increase of small proprietorships has not 
b een very rapid, the increase in small t enant tanris has been 
exceptional. While only a small part of the farm la nd of the 
State has been sold off from the original tracts, a lar^ e part 
of. these original tract s , though still owned as units r are no 
lo nger cultivated as units, but are subdivided in to small 
tenant tracts, and e numerated by thej c ensus , as separate 
f arms. ... Recognizing the fact that these plantations, com- 
prising many tenant farms, are different from the propri- 
etorships in other parts of the country, the Census of 1910 
conducted a special inquiry as to the extent of the planta- 
tion system of the South. In this investigation the term 
plantation was not used, as in ante-bellum days, to mean a 
tract owned and cultivated altogether by laborers, but 
merely a tract owned by one man, and cultivated by tenants 
or laborers. The inquiry covered 70 counties of Georgia, 
located in typical sections. It excluded tracts with less than 
five tenants as being too small to really be classed as plan- 
tations. 13 j 

The results of this inquiry indicate that in the 70 counties 
there are 6,627 plantations with five or more tenant farms. 
They include 6,627 landlord farms and 57,003 tenant farms. 
In other words each plantation is cultivated in part by the 
owner and in part by tenants. In the general statistics of 

18 United States Census of 1910, Agriculture, Vol. V. "Plan- 
tations in the South," pp. 877, 885 and 887. 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 


agriculture of the census they are, therefore, not enumerated 
as 6,627 farms, but as 63,030 farms. 

This picture shows that the plantations in 1910 were by 
no means" TiK*e"tHe ante-bellum plantations which consisted 
sol ely of: large tr acts culti vated by ffangs of laborers who 
rn seat the tap of the farm bell and _worked under the direc- 
tio n of the overseer. The extent of acreage still remaining 
in owner farms indicates that a considerable amount of 
land is still cultivated in this manner. In the plantations of 
Georgia the average size of owner farm, the part of the 
plantation still cultivated by hired laborers, is 316.9 acres. 
On the large plantations, those containing over fifty tenants, 
this average rises to 1,265.3 acres. On the other hand, the 
appearance of 57,007 tenant farms within the bounds of the 
plantation indicate a wholesale subdivision of the original 
farm into units varying in size from 35 to 65 acres. The 
inquiry indicates that of the 5,200,000 acres in all Georgia 
plantations, 3,100,000, or almost two-thirds of the acreage, 
is in tenant farms. 

Classification of Georgia Farms by Tenure. 

■Number operated by 

• — Per cent op. by — » 

























































Per cent 





76,451 | 

79,477 | 

90,131 | 

100,047 | 

23,596 | 

31.1 1 















50 Negro Migration 

The growth of tenancy is indicated by the following 
figures from the successive censuses of Agriculture : 14 

It thus appears that, during the first fifteen years after 
emancipation, i. e. 1865-1880, the tenant system had gotten 
well under way. By 1880 there had been a change from an 
ante-bellum system, in which practically all farms were op- 
erated on a large scale by owners, to a system under which 
only 55.2 per cent of the farms were operated *by owners. 
Cash tenancy had, however, made no great progress by 
1880, or even as late as 1890. According to the above 
table, only 29,413, or 17.2 per cent of the total farms were 
operated by cash tenants in 1890. Since 1880, however, 
both cash and share tenancy have been increasing at a 
greater rate than the ownership. From 1880 to 1910 there 
was an increase of 152,401 farms in the State. Of this 
increase only 23,596 was in new owner operated farms while 
63,830 was in cash tenant farms and 64,975 in share tenant 
farms. The rate of increase has been 31.0 among owners, 
148.9 among share tenants and 342.9 among renters or cash 
tenants. This greater rate of increase in the tenant groups and 
especially in the group of renters has changed the distribu- 
tion of farms so that only one-third of all farms were oper- 
ated by owners in 1910, whereas over one-half were oper- 
ated by owners in 1880. On account of the tremendous rate of 
increase of farms operated by cash tenants, 28.3 per cent of 
all farms were operated by this group in 1910 as against 
13.4 per cent in 1880. In other words, all classes of farms 
have increased rapidly in the past 30 years. The rate of 
increase has been fastest in the cash tenant group, next in 
the share tenant group, and while the owners have increased 
slightly in numbers, their rate of increase has been far ex- 
ceeded by the tenant classes. This differing rate of in- 
crease in the classes holds good throughout the period. 

14 United States Census of Agriculture, Vol. V., p. 126. Cen- 
sus figures do not seperate farms by tenure before 1880. 

The Ruin of the Old Regime 51 

The single exception is found in share tenancy between 
1890 and 1900. During this period, cash tenancy increased 
at such a tremendous rate that share tenancy lost a little 
ground relatively. 

In addit ion to provid ing g reat er opportun ity as an owner 
and tenant, the breakdown of the plantation sys tem has in- 
fluenced Ne gro life in another fundamental aspect. It has 
br ought competition with white men. White farm la bor is 
on the increase in Georgia, hnt in the coun ties in which 
Negroes constitute the majority, Negro farm lahorprq are 
almosf^exc lusively employed . Under the ante-bellum sys- 
tem this was true of the whole State. As long, therefore, 
as the Negro remained in the Black Belt, and the gang labor 
prevailed, he was the laborer and the white man the "boss" 
in all cases. The rise of white and Negro tenancy has, how- 
ever, thrown the Negro into competition with the white men 
for farms. 

The figures as to increase in tenancy cited above include 
both the white and the colored tenants. 

Since the whole labor force immediately after the Civil 
War was composed of Negroes, it is but natural that they 
should have participated to the greatest extent in this rise of 
tenancy. Of late, however, the increase in white tenants 
has been more rapid. Today it is not unusual even in the 
heart of the Black Belt to find a settlement of small white 
owners or tenants. Many mountaineers have moved down 
and availed themselves of this opportunity to cultivate the 
more fertile lands. The extent to which the colored man has 
held his place on the farm and entered the owner and tenant 
classes is indicated by the following chapter. 



All during the period of the change from the plantation 
system to a system of small owners and tenants the Negro 
has had exceptional agricultural opportunity. The previous 
chapter made it plain that many landlords were forced by 
circumstances to give up the labor system. The extent to 
which the Negro has been able to benefit himself by the 
situation has been dependent upon several factors. The 
chief considerations have been: The willingness or unwill- 
ingness of the landlords to rent their land to Negroes rather 
than cultivate it with laborers ; the extent to which they as 
tenants have been able to withstand white competition, and 
the limited capital and foresight which they had when eman- 


Though ignorance and lack of previous training in thrift 
and foresight have often made individual colored men easy 
victims of economic exploitation, the fundamental interests 
of the two races of the South have been one. Even during the 
period of reconstruction when race friction was greatly in- 
creased by efforts to secure political domination for the Ne- 
gro, it cannot be said that there was an inter-racial struggle 
for other than political existence in the South. The common 
interests were those arising from the necessity of rebuilding 
the agricultural system and establishing a system of rural 
credits, farm management, marketing, and social institu- 
tions which would enable the two races to work side by side 
for the welfare of Southern society with a minimum of fric- 
tion. It has involved competition between the members of 
the two races for tenure of land, but this is competition in its 

The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 53 

broadest sense, and has not been keen. The land has been 
too plentiful and the opportunity for all too ample for it to 
be a struggle. 

It is not unusual to find that whereas a Negro is compet- 
ing with one white man for a farm, another white man, the 
son or relative of the family who owned the Negro's family 
in slavery, is helping the colored man m his operations with 
advice, loans, or legal aid. Though these family or personal 
relations are lessening as the patriarchial contacts of slavery 
recede further into the past, many such bonds still exist. 
There is no doubt that much of the success attained by 
Negroes is due to this friendly aid by white people. The 
statement which Booker T. Washington made concerning 
his observation of this relation during a tour of South 
Carolina indicates the extent of the personal or family aid. 
"Everywhere I went," he said, "I found at least one white 
man who believed implicitly in one Negro, and one Negro 
who believed implicitly in one white man ; and so it goes all 
through the South." This relation between members of the 
two races is little understood elsewhere, mainly because the 
popular belief as to race relations is largely moulded by sen- 
sational accounts of indications of race friction, which make 
such readable "news stories." It has, however, been aptly 
summed up in the statement that the North believes in the 
Negro as a race and condemns him as an individual, while 
the South believes in him as an individual and condemns 
him as a race. 

As long as this personal relation holds, the race relations 
can in no wise be construed as involving an inter-racial 
struggle for existence. It is rather a bi- racial effort to meet 
the economic and social forces squarely. This effort often 
goes deeper than the personal relations of the parties to 
an action. 

It is a matter of future speculation as to just what will 
happen when the opportunity becomes less ample, the com- 
petition becomes sharper, and the family relations which 

54 Negro Migration 

now exist pass away with the generations which are close 
to slavery. There can hardly be a doubt that the inter- 
racial struggle will be intensified in some respects, especially 
in the cities where industrial competition springs up. In 
fact, in some city occupations the Negro is already begin- 
ning to feel the pressure of competition. To quote again 
from Booker Washington's speeches : "In some schools the 
Negro has been so busy studying Latin and Greek that the 
Greeks and Italians have come over to America and taken 
their jobs as waiters and bootblacks." 

The changes which took place in the past twelve years 
in the pressing establishments of Athens, Ga., illustrate the 
manner in which white competition operates. Less than 
twelve years ago all of the pressing shops of the town were 
operated by Negroes, who sometimes hired assistants. White 
capital, however, introduced better irons, more responsibil- 
ity, and delivery wagons, and now there is only one pressing 
establishment owned by a Negro, and it receives most of 
its revenue through tailoring done by its owner. There are 
five or six large pressing establishments owned and super- 
vised by white men, the actual labor being done by Negroes. 
Thus they have been driven downward in the same line of 
work from owners to hired helpers. A similar change has 
taken place in the barber shops. One can readily see 
by looking at the shops that it was not prejudice against 
the Negro in these lines which drove him from the field. 
It was inability to compete successfully. 

The chief question which confronts people who plan fu- 
ture programs for the Negro is: Will competition in the 
future drive the Negro downward in all lines, as it has in 
these business enterprises and in some trades in the city? 
This question will be one of nation wide importance when- 
ever the reaction from war conditions causes a contrac- 
tion in industry in some of the centers which have received 
many Negro migrants. As far as the rural Negro is con- 

The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 55 

cerned, two facts indicate that if competition affects him 
materially it will be at a distantly future date. One is 
that great masses of Negro agricultural laborers, concen- 
trated in Black Belt counties, have tended to make white 
labor seek other fields of employment. Only recently have 
white men begun to compete with the Negroes in this area. 
The second is that, while the Negroes in the cities have 
been driven downward from owners of small businesses 
into the ranks of employed help, the Negroes in the country 
districts, starting at the lowest rung in the ladder, that of 
laborer, have tended to climb into the ranks of tenant and 
owner. In fact it seems more likely that the disadvantages 
of his lot in the Black Belt will drive the Negro away from 
his farm opportunity before white competition exerts much 
pressure. If, in the face of increasing competition, there is 
to be a platform upon which the races can work together 
in the future as in the past, it will arise from the mutual 
interests of white and colored people. Since the South is 
so predominantly rural, it is probable that the majority of 
these interests will be found in the institutions of rural life 
and land tenure. 

In the meantime there is a growing group of colored 
people which will help work out these mutual interests. It 
consists of the land-holders, home-owners and tenants who 
become more or less attached to the land. The 
foregoing chapter indicates fully that the Negroes in Geor- 
gia can no longer be divided from white people by a sharp 
line of economic cleavage. In contrast with the conditions 
before the Civil War, whe n all Negroes were laborers and 
all white people were land-owners or overseers T t he condi- 
ti on now is that while the majority of the colo red people are 
l aborers, some colored people and some white people are 
tena nts, and som e of both races are land-ow ners. The im- 
perative econornTc~anT^ooMne^ the counties in which 
large numbers of Negroes have taken advantage of their 
opportunities to become owners and tenants is that they be 

56 Negro Migration 

efficient, productive and capable of contributing to the im- 
provement of the living conditions of the neighborhood. 
The extent to which race friction is allayed in the future 
will depend upon the success of the leaders of the two races 
in working out a system of institutions adapted to this end ; 
upon the length of time which elapses before the land is 
filled up and before competition becomes sharper ; and upon 
the degree to which Negroes avail themselves of their pres- 
ent opportunity to become attached to the land. 

During the past fifty years the Negro in Georgia, and 
all over the South for that matter, has certainly showed a 
marked tendency to become a more independent farmer. 
The extent to which he has availed himself of his oppor- 
tunity in agriculture has furnished grounds for op- 
timism from some people and for pessimism from others. 
Noting that he started as a landless slave, the optimists point 
to the acquisition of land and the entrance into the higher 
classes of tenure as indicating that no race on earth has 
made such progress, under such conditions, in fifty years. 
W. E. B. DuBois remarks in the Negro Landholder in 
Georgia (p. 648) that, 

"No such curious and reckless experiment in emancipation 
has been made in modern times. Certainly it would not 
have been unnatural to suspect that under the circumstances 
the Negroes would become a mass of poverty stricken vaga- 
bonds and criminals for many generations to come, and yet 
this has been far from the case." 

On the other hand pessimists note the almost unparalleled 
opportunity which the Negro has had to acquire a land 
tenure, and the aid which he has received in individual 
cases from white friends. From this they conclude that 
there have been fundamental racial traits which account for 
the fact that such a small proportion of the Negro popula- 
tion has availed itself of the opportunities. The truth prob- 
ably lies half way between the two. The Negro has 

The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 57 

made remarkable progress, that is to say a portion of the 
race has. This progress was aided by the favorable cir- 
cumstances which have been outlined. Nevertheless, lack 
of foresight and thrift, and absence of previous training 
has kept the masses of Negroes from participating in this 
advance. The significant fact is, however, that an increas- 
ing though small number of Negroes is passing from the 
status of laborer to that of tenant and owner. The degree 
to which this is taking place in Georgia is indicated in the 
following treatment of the growth of ownership and tenancy 
among the Negroes. 


1. Number of Holdings. — According to the census of 
1910, 15,815 farms were operated by Negro owners in 
Georgia. These owners represent only 3.6 per cent of the 
Negro rural population over 25 years of age, but it is sig- 
nificant that this number of land-holders has appeared in 
50 years from among a people who were, at the beginning 
of the period, almost entirely unlettered and characterized 
as lacking in any degree of foresight. The number of 
Negroes operating owned farms, as enumerated by the cen- 
sus, is somewhat less than the number owning land as re- 
ported on the books of the comptroller general of the State. 
This is due to the fact that the "improved land" reported 
to the comptroller general for taxation includes some tracts 
of rural land which are not operated as farms. In 1903, 
Banks worked out the number of Negro landholdings from 
the original tax digests of the State and concluded that 
there were 18,700 Negro landholdings as against 11,583 
Negroes reported as operating owned farms by the census 
of 1900. It is therefore probable that the actual number 
of tracts of land owned by Negroes was from two-fifths to 
two- thirds higher than the number of tracts reported by 
the census as utilized for agriculture by Negro owners 

58 Negro Migration 

operating farms, 1 and that in 1910 there were more than 
20,000 owners of rural land in Georgia. 

The growth of these land-holdings is indicated by the fol- 
lowing figures from Banks' study of land-ownership in 
Georgia : 2 

Georgia Land Owners Distributed According to Size of Tracts 
Owned in 31 Typical Counties. 
Acreage — Number of Tracts 

1873 1880 1890 1902 

Negro Land-owners — 

Under 10 57 231 950 1,450 

10 to 20 19 154 372 713 

20 to 50 88 434 678 1,068 

50 to 100 107 451 664 883 

100 to 500 237 576 802 1,048 

500 to 1,000 6 17 39 50 

1,000 and over a 2 5 9 

Total Land-owners... 514 1,865 3,510 5,221 

Total Acreage 58,556 174,940 249,469 336,216 

Average Acreage 114 94 71 64 

Median Acreage 93 63 49 33 

White Land-owners — 

Under 10 136 290 540 782 

10 to 20 97 187 376 575 

20 to 50 817 1,331 1,862 2,644 

50 to 100 2,006 3,084 4,152 5,251 

100 to 500 10,559 12,206 13,724 14,623 

500 to 1,000 2,303 2,327 2,231 2,044 

1,000 and over 1,337 1,300 1,173 1,038 

Total Land-owners... 17,255 20,725 24,058 26,957 
Total Acreage 6,734,398 7,036,536 7,066,506 7,138,586 

Average Acreage 389 340 294 265 

Median Acreage 311 279 249 216 

It is to be remembered (see ante p. 47) that these fig- 
ures cover somewhat less than one-third of the land-hold- 
ings of the State. They were gathered by examination of 
the tax digests of 31 typical counties, and are representa- 
tive of general tendencies to acquire land and typical size 
of holdings. The total number of land-holders in the State 

1 Banks, Economics of Land Tenure, p. 73. 

2 Banks, opp. cite, Appendix. Table B and C. 

The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 59 

is from three to four times the number in these 31 counties. 
This indicates that only about one proprietorship in six 
was, in 1902, a Negro proprietorship. At the same time, 
the increase from 514 Negro proprietorships in 1873 to 
5,221 in 1902 indicates that whi le the numb er of Negro 
prop rietorships is small r the rate of increase is extremely 
f ast. The white proprietorships are also increasing, but 
not at so great a rate. In 1902 they numbered 26,957, as 
against 17,255 in 1873, an increase of over 50 per cent. The 
old plantation area is therefore to some extent being re- 
distributed in smaller holdings. The Negro is acquiring a 
few of these parcels. 

2. Size of Holdings. — The chief point of difference in the 
Negro holdings and the white holdings is found in the dif- 
ference in size. All over the State the colored landlords 
own much smaller tracts than those of t he white landlords. 
Thg_ distributions of l andholdings in Table 5 indicates 
that the median size of Negro holding in 1902 w as 33 acres, 
while the median size of white holding was 216 acres. 
Alldunng the period trom 1873 to 1902, both the average 
and median size of white holding occurred in the 100 to 500 
acre group, the average size of Negro holding moved from 
the 100 to 500 acre to the 50 to 100 acre group in 1880, 
since that date it has decreased from 94 to 64 acres. 
The fact that the median size of Negro holding has de- 
creased by one-half, i. e., from 63 to 33, while the average 
size has decreased by only one-third, indicates the great 
effect which the few exceptional Negro land-holders owning 
over 500 acres have on the arithmetic average. One of 
these 1,000 acre holdings has more effect than 50 of the 
20 acre holdings, in the determination of the average. The 
median, on the other hand, is not affected by these excep- 
tional cases, and the rapid growth of the large number of 
small farms especially in the groups under 50 acres, lower 
the median rapidly. 

60 Negro Migration 

Another point of difference in the increase of white and 
colored ownership is found in the fact that the total acreage 
owned by Negroes increased from 58,000 in 1873 to 336,000 
in 1902, while the total acreage owned by whites increased 
from 6,700,000 to 7,100,000. This is an increase of 280,000 
acres owned by colored people and 400,000 owned by white 
people, but a percentage increase of about 600 in colored 
acreage as against 6 in white acreage. This is readily un- 
derstood when it is realized that the colored people in 1873 
owned a very small amount of land, and they could increase 
their holdings in two ways, first by buying farm land from 
white farmers, and second by taking up new "unimproved 
lands." The white people, on the other hand, owned practi- 
cally all of the land in cultivation in 1873, and the only way 
for them to increase their holdings was to take up new land. 
It is extremely doubtful if Negro holdings will at any early 
date approximate white holdings either in number, or in 
total amount of land owned. Such a state of affairs may 
come about in a few counties where the Negroes are massed 
and outnumber the whites. In a few of the Atlantic Coast 
counties the Negro owners have for years outnumbered the 
white owners. Even where they are in the large majority, 
the holdings of colored farmers are so much smaller than 
the holdings of white farmers that the total amount of their 
land is much less than that owned by whites. 

3. Localities of Negro Land-owners. — These Negro land- 
holdings were localized at first in two centers. The one 
began in the Coast Counties and extended eastward 
slightly into the Wiregrass. The second occupied the area 
about four counties square in the southwestern corner of 
the State. In the Coast Counties the breakdown of the plan- 
tations was rapid. This section was, before emancipation, 
the seat of the largest slave holders, and the Negroes were 
overwhelmingly in the majority. The rice plantations were 
located in this region. These and the sea island cotton plan- 
tations required ditching and banking, for which great gangs 

The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 6i 

of slaves were necessary. In 1860 the average slave-holding 
of the Coast section was 20, while the average for the rest 
of the State was 11. Emancipation, of course, brought the 
greatest disorganization to this region. 3 

After emancipation, the planters without capital were un- 
able to hold the ex-slaves in such large gangs. Some 
Negroes departed and took up holdings in the counties 
just westward where wild land was plentiful and the value 
of the rice land was so reduced that many of those remain- 
ing were able to buy parts of their original plantation in 
small tracts. Conditions in Mcintosh and Liberty, two 
typical counties in this region, are shown below : 4 


Landholdings in 1903. 

Mcintosh Liberty Decatur Mitchell 

County County County County 

Negro Holdings — 

Number 692 1,134 647 144 

Acres Owned... 13,854 48,675 50,930 22,249 

Average Acreage 20 43 77 155 

White Holdings — 

Number 237 861 1,824 955 

Acres Owned... 55,728 307,351 590,772 300,215 

Average Acreage 235 357 324 314 

It is evident that in this region a few white owners re- 
tain the greater portion of the land, but a large number of 
small tracts have been taken up by Negroes. 

Somewhat the same situation is found in the southwestern 
corner of the Black Belt, as is illustrated by Decatur and 
Mitchell counties in the above table. 

It appears that in these counties the Negro has acquired 
a large number of small holdings. Neither in number, nor 

3 Brooks, R. P., Agrarian Revolution, opp. cite, p. 110-111; 
Banks, E. M., Economics of Land Tenure, opp. cite, p. 65; 
Leigh, F. B., Ten Years on a Georgia Plantation Since the 
War. London, Richard Bentley & Son, 1883, pp. 263.264. 

4 Banks, Economics of Land Tenure, Appendix, Table A. 

62 Negro Migration 

in extent, however, do the holdings approximate those of the 
whites. These Negro holdings were made possible by the 
fact that the counties were, in 1860, just beginning to become 
plantation counties. The planters were pushing southward in 
search of new lands to replace the worn out lands of the 
Black Belt. Large tracts were available for their purposes 
in Southwest Georgia, and they moved in with their slaves, 
extending the old Black Belt area into this section. Upon 
emancipation, the Negroes found it possible to acquire tracts 
of uncleared land in the neighborhood of their old planta- 
tions. In recent years this movement of land-owners has 
extended westward from the coast and eastward and south- 
ward from the Black Belt into the Wiregrass section. In 
this latter section, in 1900, there were 7,322 farms operated 
by Negroes, of which 2,390 or 32.6 per cent were operated 
by owners. By 1910 the number of farms operated by 
Negroes increased to 16,643, of which 3,578 or 21.5 per 
cent were operated by owners. This is an increase of about 
one-half in the number of Negro farm owners for the 
decade of 1900-1910. 5 

There are a number of Negro owned farms in the Black 
Belt, outside of the coastal region, but in proportion to the 
Negro population in this, area the number is small. Here 
the larger part of the farms are operated by Ne- 
groes, but only 5,404 of the 58,776 Negro farms in this 
area in 1900 were operated by owners and the remainder 
were operated by tenants. That is to say only 9.2 per cent 
of Negroes in the Black Belt (including the southwest 
corner) who were operating farms owned them. This num- 
ber increased from 5,404 in 1900 to 7,648 in 1910. Since 
the tenant classes were increasing more rapidly, the percen- 
tage of farms in the Black Belt operated by owners fell 
from 9.2 to 9.13. The numerical increase of from 5,404 
to 7,648 indicates that Negroes are also beginning, to some 
extent, to acquire land in the Black Belt. 

5 Compiled from census of 1910. 

The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 63 

The same is true of ownership in the Upper Piedmont. 
In 1900 only 10 per cent of the Negro farms were operated 
by owners. The number of Negro farms was 12,781, and 
the number of owners was only 1,371. By 1910 the num- 
ber of farms operated by Negroes increased to 18,295, of 
which 2,053 were operated by owners. It is evident that 
while the number of owners in the Upper Piedmont was 
small up to 1900, since 1900 there has been a marked in- 

A summary of the foregoing facts indicates that land- 
ownership among Negroes has made some headway in the 
Coast and southwest counties of the Black Belt, but very 
little in other parts of the Black Belt. It has recently ex- 
tended into the Wiregrass and Upper Piedmont. In all 
parts of the State, however, the Negro holdings are small, 
and the tendency is toward still smaller holdings, which 
approximate in size the 20 to 50 acre, or one man farm. 


As tenant farmers the Negroes of Georgia operate over 
5,700,000 acres of land, or considerably more than one-fifth 
of all land in farms. More than 4,100,000 acres of this 
land is classed by the census as improved. The aggregate 
value of the land, buildings and farm implements and ma- 
chinery of Negro tenant farms is more than $115,000,000. 
In addition there were on their farms 79,000 dairy cows, 
20,000 work horses and 94,000 work mules. In 1909 their 
farms produced 827,000 bales of cotton and 5,880,000 bush- 
els of corn. Thus almost one-fourth of the agricultural 
capital of the State is used by Negro tenants, and a large 
share of the agricultural production is due to their labor. 
The interests of the State are vitally bound up with what 
these tenants do and how well they use the capital entrusted 
to them. The steps by which Negro tenants have attained 

64 Negro Migration 

this pre-eminant importance have been determined by the 
breakdown of the plantation system and the growth of ten- 
ancy which were outlined in the previous chapter. 

The growth in numbers of Negro tenants has naturally 
been much greater than the growth in number of owners. 
It requires no capital to become a share tenant, and very 
little capital to become a cash tenant. It is also less of a 
step toward independence for a laborer to cultivate the crop 
on shares, with the supervision Of the landlord, than to 
cultivate it without supervision as a cash tenant or the 
o wner. 3n evertheless, the foregoing chapte r indicates that 
betwee n 1880 and 1900 the cash tenant class showed a 
very great rate of incr ease! This is" due to the fact that 
the breakdown of plantations was very rapid, and that in 
their efforts to keep their plantations going, the landlords 
abandoned the share system. Then both white and colored 
men had ample opportunity to rent lands. Since 1900 the 
movement has slowed down somewhat, and the cash tenant 
class in the Black Belt has filled up. The tendency of share 
tenants to increase at a greater rate thaTrxa sh tenants has 
therefore* asserted itself again. Between 1900 and 1910 
cash tenancy increased 4U.2 per cent and share tenancy 43.2. 
As the land becomes less plentiful, and the standards of 
agriculture require better implements, and work animals, 
and hence more capital to stock a farm, the passage from 
laborer or share tenant to cash tenant becomes increasingly 
difficult. Therefore, while the system of tenure continues 
in a state of flux, and while laborers have the double 
opportunity to become share tenants or cash tenants it is to 
be expected that the majority will choose the easier step 
and enter share tenancy. In the case of the white 
man, the situation is slightly different. The Negro 
passes from laborer to tenant, but there are comparatively 
few white farm laborers. The white tenants, in numbers 
of cases become tenants with little previous experience as 

The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 65 

laborers except that gained on the parental farm. They are 
probably more keenly alive to the advantages of the per- 
manent forms of tenure, more of them have available cap- 
ital, and when they once become an independent renter 
they are less likely to fail and be forced back into the 
share or labor status. For these reasons the increase in 
white cash tenants is almost equal to the increase in share 

The United States Census did not before 1900 enumerate 
the number of tenants according to color. For the past 
two census periods, however, the distribution has been as 
follows : 6 


Georgia: Farms Classified by Tenure and Color of Farmer. 



Number of Farms 
Operated by 

co <u 





C r„ 


* S 


CO <V 


«- bo 


c G 


^ rt 








Per cent increase. . 
Per cent of all Farms 

operated 1910 


































It is therefore evident that all classes of farmers among 
both Negroes and white people are on the increase. The 
differential rate of increase is also to be noted. The colored 
share tenants show an increase of 55 per cent, the cash 
tenants of 46 per cent and the owners of 38 per cent. On 
the other hand the increase in all white farmers was not so 

8 Brooks, Agrarian Revolution, opp. cite p. 122, corrected with 
revised figures. Census 1910, Agriculture. Vol. V, p. 212. 


Negro Migration 

rapid. The white share tenants increased only 34 per cent, 
the cash tenants 33 per cent and the owners 6 per cent. 
The white cash tenants increased almost as rapidly as 
share tenants because of the tendencies mentioned above 
for the white tenants to be more desirous of the stable form 
of tenure, and to have the capital to set themselves up as 
renters. Landlords are also more willing to permit their 
land to be cultivated by white cash tenants, without super- 
vision, than They areTto permit this form of cultivation by 
Negro tenants. Nothin g short ot a revolutiona ry increase 
in the efficiency of~tEe Negro as a farmer will change this 
unwillingnes s, of the majority of resident landl ords to aban- 
do n share farming although there are disadv antages both to 
the landlord and to th e tenant in this unstable ,, form of ten- 
ureTTn^share tenancy, many landlords prefer Negro ten- 

ants since they are more tractable and amenable to super- 
vision, and since, in cases where the landlord combines mer- 
chandising with cropping, greater profit is made from Ne- 
groes because they spend their earnings more freely than do 
the white tenants. 7 

The following percentages worked out by Brooks (p. 


Percentage of all Farms Operated by Owners, Cash and Share 


—Black Belt(a)— 

Piedmont 1 

' Wiregrass* 


















































































21.6 | 32.3 


57.7| 5.6 









26.3 | 37.0 


47.3| 7.5 









39.5 | 28.4 


! 38.0 j 13.7 











1 34.1 1 17.2 







(a) Includes Coast Counties, tabulated separately by Brooks. 
7 Brooks, R. P., Agrarian Revolution. Opp. cite., p. 98. 

The Negro's Agricultural Opportunity 67 

122) indicate the character of tenancy in the Black Belt, 
Upper Piedmont and Wiregrass. The mountain counties 
are omitted because of their unimportant Negro population. 
The Black Belt naturally suffered a quicker decline in 
ownership and growth of tenancy because it was in this area 
that the old plantation system was prevalent, The percen- 
tage of tenants in the Black Belt is uniformly higher than 
in the other two sections from 1880 to 1910. It is also 
noticeable that between 1890 and 1900 there was tremen- 
dous increase in the proportion of cash tenants all over the 
State, but specially in the Black Belt. During this prolonged 
period of agricultural depression numbers of planters gave 
up the struggle to maintain supervision over their tenants 
and laborers and there was a great opportunity for laborers 
and share tenants to become independent renters. 


Farms Operated by Owners, Cash and Share Tenants. 

(Computed from U. S. Census, 1900 and 1910. Agricultural 

Tables Showing Tenure of Farmers by Color and Counties.) 


■■-Negro - 



























































Black Belt— 
1900.... I 27,476 I 15,029 
1910.... I 28,697 I 16,513 
Upper Piedmont — 
1900.... I 20,593 I 5,466 

1910 I 23,021 1 8,005 

Wiregrass — 

1900 I 17,335 I 3,204| 

1910.... I 20,802 I 6,379 I 

8,663 I 51,168 I 7,516 
10,087 I 55,297 | 9,809 

19,001 1 45,060 1 1,371 
24,219 I 55,245 | 2,053 

4,296 I 24,835 | 2,390 
9,314 I 36,495 | 3,578 

29,910 I 24,204 I 61,630 
41,044 I 35,524 1 86,377 

2,475| 8,935112,781 
4,607 I 11,635 1 18,295 

2,323 1 2,609 1 7,322 
4,757 J 8,308|16,643 

Between 1900 and 1910 white cash tenants increased 
about 15 per cent and white share tenants about 16 per cent. 
Up to 1900, it will be observed from table 9 that there 

68 Negro Migration 

were very few white tenants in this area. The filling up of 
farms with cash tenants, and the increase in white competi- 
tion, therefore, has recently limited the opportunity for the 
Negro to enter cash tenancy in the Black Belt. When the 
population movement in this section is examined it will 
appear that this condition is very significant. 

On the other hand, the Upper Piedmont and Wiregrass 
regions show remarkably active increases in Negro tenantry. 
Between 1890 and 1910 these areas show a marked increase 
in farms. New small farms were being taken up in the 
Upper Piedmont, and some of the large tracts in the Wire- 
grass, which had been cleared of timber, were opened for 
farming and subdivided into tenant farms. 

In these two areas all classes of farms have been rapidly 
increasing. New white and colored farmers are entering 
these regions, and the colored man moving in finds oppor- 
tunity as share tenant, cash tenant, or, if he has capital, as 

A summary of the farm opportunity for the Negro indi- 
cates that he has had the personal friendship of many white 
people, but the influence of this relation is lessening as 
slavery recedes into the past; that, in Georgia, some 15,000 
Neg roes have taken advant a ge of the opportunity to become 
land-own ing farmers , aasGffloc in7nf)Q_gfjg"> opportunity 
t o become tenants. That is to sa y, that one in each twenty- 
five Neg ro males in the country was a l andholder and one 
i n each four was a ten ant. Furthermore, that since the 
plantations of the Black Belt have broken down in large 
numbers, the opportunity in that section is no longer as 
ample in proportion to the number of Negroes living there 
as it is in the newer Wiregrass section, or in the Upper 



The foregoing description of the extent and rapidity of 
the breakdown of the gang labor plantation gives an in- 
sight into the rise of share tenancy, renting, and ownership 
among the Negroes. It does not, however, indicate the full 
extent of the revolution in southern rural life which this 
movement implies. This can be realized best by contrasting 
the condition of the freedmen in 1860 with that of the 
Negro to-day. In Georgia, the half million Negroes who 
emerged from slavery were a homogeneous group. There 
were comparatively few who held personal property and 
none who owned land. To-day, on the other hand, the 800,- 
000 rural Negroes are stratified. Laborers differ from ten- 
ants and tenants from owners. Tenant classes also differ 
from one another in such respects as method of renting the 
land, utilizing the land, value of land cultivated, work-stock 
and implements used, yield obtained, housing and income. 
In addition to these economic differences the social relation- 
ships such as home life, standard of living, general standing 
in the community, and contacts with the white people vary 
greatly. These fundamental differences cause the rural or- 
ganization of communities to vary with the relative numbers 
of the different kinds of tenants which compose it. These 
detailed effects of land tenure on rural organization may be 
realized best from a full description of the differences be- 
tween the tenant classes. 

Hitherto, only the general characteristics of the different 
tenant classes have been mentioned. In order to give these 
terms definiteness and precision the following definitions are 
quoted : * 

*"A Study of The Tenant Systems in the Yazoo-Mississippi 
Delta," Goldenweiser and Boeger, Bulletin 337, U. S. Dept. of 

70 Negro Migration 

Half and Half System, {Share Croppers). — Under this 
system which is true share tenancy or metayage, the tenant 
supplies the labor and one-half the fertilizers, when any 
are used, while the landlord furnishes the land, a cabin, a 
garden plot, all the tools, the work animals and their feed, 
the seed, one-half of the fertilizers used, and the tenant's 
fuel wood, which the tenant cuts from the nearest available 
woodland, using the landlord's mules for hauling. Each 
party, under this system receives half the crop, and each 
pays for half the ginning, bagging, and ties. If, as happens 
occassionally, another crop besides corn and cotton is grown, 
it is also divided equally between landlord and tenant. Cow- 
peas are frequently planted in the corn at the last cultiva- 
tion with the seed usually furnished by the landlord. The 
tenant is often allowed to pasture it if he has a cow or 
other stock. T he landlor ds exercise car^fuL_sup.ervision 
over the share x r n pp pr s w hr> are locally not considered as 
tenants at all, but as labojersjiired to do the work in return 
f or halt the crop an d the j ise_of_a^ cabin. 

Sometimes, under this system, the tenant pays cash for 
the use of the land not planted in cotton and for the use 
of the planter's equipment in working it. In such cases the 
tenant receives all the crops raised in this manner. 2 

Share Renting System (Third and fourth share tenants). 
— Under this system the tenant furnishes his own work 
stock and feeds it, and also supplies tools, seeds, and all 
labor, while the owner provides the land, the buildings and 
the fuel. If fertilizers are used under this system, they 
are paid for in the ratio of each party's share of the crop. 
The tenant pays as rent a share of the crop, one-fourth in 
some sections and one-third in others. The use of the land 

2 This latter arrangement is extremely rare in Georgia, as is 
evidenced by the fact that the census of 1910 reported only 1,795 
Negroes in the "Share-Cash" tenant class, i. e., just a trifle over 
one per cent of all Negro farmers. 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 71 

in corn is sometimes paid for in cash and the tenant then 
retains all the crop. Each party to this agreeemnt pays for 
ginning and bagging his part of the cotton. The landlord 
is interested in the crop and oversees the tenant's opera- 
tions, but is not so much concerned about the economical 
use of mules and machinery, since they belong to the tenant. 

Cash Renting System. — This system is similar to the share 
renting system r except that v in lieu of a sh are of the crop 
the, t enant p ays a fixe d rent per acre in cash or li nt cotton. 
Since the cotton is sold through the planter, he is sure of 
hi s rent, provided a crop is raised, but sinc e he cannot col- 
l ect the , rent if there is no crop, and since^also ti heTenant 
is jjsually indebted to him for supplies advance d, the land- 
lo rd exercises supervision over the cash renters, ex cept in 
t he case of renters whom he knows to be dep endable. 3 

•This statement of supervision applies only to cash renters 
on plantations of resident landlords-. In the case of absentee 
landlords, so prevalent, there is no supervision oTer the renters. 

The following table summarizes in convenient form the 
principal terms of the three systems of tenure : 


Negro Migration 

TABLE 10. 

Method of Renting 

Share Cropping 

Share Renting 
Landlord Furnishes 

Cash Renting 











One-fourth or one- 

Work stock 

third of fertilizers 

Feed for stock 


One-half of 


Tenant Furnishes 




One-half of 

Work stock 

Work stock 


Feed for stock 

Feed for stock 





Three-fourths or 


two-thirds of 


Landlord Receives 

One-half of 

One-fourth or one- 

Fixed amount in 


third of crop 
Tenant Receives 

cash or cotton 

One-half of 

Three-fourths or 

Entire crop less 


two-thirds of crop 

fixed amount 

Planters and tenants express a wide divergence of opinion 
as to which of these systems is "best for" them and the 
community. The writers on the economics of land tenure 
also differ as to which is most desirable from an economic 
standpoint. Henry George 4 tells us that "tenant farming 
is the intermediary stage through which the independent 
tillers of the soil have in other countries passed and in this 
country are beginning to pass to the condition of agricultural 
laborers and chronic paupers." E. R. A. Seligman 5 holds 
on the other hand, that "the increase in tenants has come 
not from previous farm owners, but from previous farm 

* North American Review, Vol. 142, p. 393. 

8 Seligman, E. R. A., Principles of Economics (1914, Ed.), p. 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 73 

hands or hired men. The growth of farm tenancy is, there- 
fore, a step forward, not a step backward in the condition 
of American agriculture." Taylor, Carver and other writers 
on rural economics hold substantially with the latter view. 
Certainly in the case of Negro tenancy, it is apparent that in 
1860 there were no Negro owners to pass through tenancy 
to labor. On the other hand there were many ex-slaves, 
who in the past fifty years have passed through the status 
of tenant to that of owner, and many Negroes, now in the 
cash and third and fourth tenant classes represent laborers 
who have accumulated some capital, and who with slightly 
more effort can become owners. 

There ar e still other writers and a considerable body 
of public opinion in the South w ith the v iew that, while 
tenancy is normally to be considered as a rung in the agri- 
cultural ladder wnereby young, inexperienced men climb 
from labor to own ership, still, m the ca se of the Negro, 
race characteristics nullify this principle. Brooks 6 states 
"Ca sh tenancy usually represents an economic advan ce over 
share tenancy. * * * The above considerations do not ap- 
ply in c ase of the Negro elements of t en ants in Geo rgia." 
Banks 7 on the basis of the examination of only two farm- 
er's budgets, concludes that share tenants would probably 
be better off as laborers, and that the plantation wages 
system offers such inducements as will "counteract the 
tendency of Negroes to leave the farms." 

In the midst of this tangle of general statements the first 
question we naturally ask is: "How much does each class 

INCOMES, 1913. 

The United States Bureau of Farm Management is con- 
ducting a series of detailed local studies of farming, all of 
which embrace this topic. The most illuminating, which 

6 Brooks, Agrarian Revolution, p. 59. 

7 Banks, Economics of Land Tenure in Georgia, pp. 112-115. 

74 Negro Migration 

has been published to date, is the Study of Farming in the 
Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, previously referred to. In this 
study it appeared: 

(a) That the income of the half share tenant is lower 
but steadier and less liable to ruinous fluc tuations than that 
of any of the other 'classes of farming population except 
t hat'nf iahnre rs^ In t his resj >e ct they are muc h like laborers. 
The number of failures among share tenants is very low. 
The average~Tncome is $633 (^1913). Only 2.9 per cent 
earned less than $100 and only 5.1 per cent earned over 

(b) That the income of the third and fourth renters 
averaged $398, but 8 per cent of this class failed to make 
as much as $100, and 19.2 per cent made over $600. 

(c) T hat the income of cash renters is still higher and 
still more liable to fluctuation s. This class averaged $478 
in income, but 9.8 per cent failed to make $100, while 28.2 
per cent made more than $600. 

As the authors point out, "This difference is probably 
influenced but not entirely accounted for by the size of 

From the point of view of the landlord the factor of in- 
come* is reversed. Hi s iricome from share tenant farms 
yield ed, "on an average, 13.6 per cent on his inv estment. 
Where the share tenant's income is less than $100, however, 
the landlord's return was only about 3 per cent on his invest- 
ment, but from share tenants with an income of over $1,000, 
the landlord's yield was over 25 per cent. 

In the case of third and fourth men the landlord's average 
return was 11.8 per cent, but in no case did it fall below 
7.1 per cent or rise above 18.8 per cent. 

In the case of cash renters, the landlord's return is prac- 
tically fi xed af6""br V per cent. The average is 6.6 per 
cent, the low range 5.7 per cent, and the upper range 8 per 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 75 

Balanced against these differences in income are the facts 
that in the case of third and fourth tenants and renters the 
landlord not only furnishes less capital, but assumes a 
smaller risk than in the case of the share tenant. 

Nevertheless, it is comparatively easy to understand, from 
this point of view, why, in practical ly all cases where land- 
lords can give personal supervision to their planting opera- 
tions,^th~ey de sire to~ luiiliiiue li re share cropping system as 
lon g as pos sible. On the other hand it is equally as^easy 
to "understand the natu ral desire of the ambitious tenants 
who have s aved a little money, to "get up in the world" 
hy chancing the greater gains of third and touruT cropping 
a nd renting, even at the risk of a great er loss. 3 

It is evident that several factors other than the propor- 
tion in which the shares are divided, determine this fluctu- 
ation of income. Figures indicating the relative efficiency 
in production and extent of the usage of land, animals and 
implements by the various Negro tenant classes were pub- 
lished for the first time from the census of 1910 8 by 

Unfortunately the half share and the third and fourth 
share tenants are all classed as "Share" tenants by the 
census, and as the following discussion of the factors of 
production is based on the census, the term "share tenant," 
as used, in the remainder of the chapter includes both these 
classes. Brooks found, from examination of the plantation 
schedules of the Census of 1911, that this third and fourth 
share system is largely confined to the Upper Piedmont 
section. A considerable number of these tenants were scat- 
tered throughout the State, however, in 1910. Hill®fo_und / 
th roughout the - State, how ege f, in 1910. — ffiHl^Jrouid^^- 
that 37.8 per cent of the Negroes of Clarke County, which 

« Negro Population, 1790-1915, U. S. Census, 1918, Table 73. 
9 Hill, W. B., The Negroes of Clarke County, Georgia, Bulle- 
tin University of Georgia, 1914. Vol. 15, No. 3, p. 19. 

76 Negro Migration 

is on the border of the Black Belt, were share tenants farm- 
ing on "other than half share" basis. 10 


As an index of efficiency the yield per acre is very re- 
liable. The share tenant obtains a slightly higher yield, 
both in cotton and in corn, than does the owner. The cash 
tenant is inferior to both. The following table (11) indi- 
cates that in 1909, for the State as a whole, the yield of 
cotton in bales per acre was, for share tenants, .39, for 
owners, .38, and for cash tenants, .36. The yield of corn 
in bushels per acre was, for share tenants, 10.8, for owners, 
10.5, and for cash tenants, 9.4. 

The difference between share tenants and owners in yield 
obtained is certainly not sufficient to warrant any sweeping 
statement as to difference in their efficiency. When the 
individual counties are examined it will be noted that in 
many sections the yield obtained by Negro owners was 
larger than that obtained by share tenants. In fact, the 
yield of cotton per acre for share tenants exceeded that 
for owners only in the older farming counties where the 
plantation system is still strongest. For example, there is a 
notable difference in the group of counties embracing the old 
Black Belt areas of Sumpter, Baldwin and Crawford and 
the edges of the Black Belt, Paulding and Dodge, on the one 
hand, and the group formed by the Piedmont, Wiregrass 
and newer Black Belt counties on the other hand. The 
yield obtained by cash tenants is, however, uniformly lower 
than that obtained by the other classes. 

10 The inclusion of third and fourth as well as half share ten- 
ants in the same class would tend to minimize such differences 
as tend to exist between cash and share tenants so grouped. 
Notwithstanding this fact, the tables which follow indicate some 
differences which are sufficiently marked to serve as a basis of 
definite contrast between these classes. 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 77 


There is little indication that the size of farm has much 
influence, except in special cases, in securing the larger 
income of the owners and renters. The large majority of 
Negro owners and renters, as well as of share tenants still 
cultivate the farm of "one man," one or two horse size. 
This is indicated by the average acreage tilled by each class. 
For the State as a whole share tenant's farms average 34.6 
improved acres, cash tenants, 43.4 acres, and owners, 41.3 
acres. Owing to the plantation organization, the share ten- 
ant is assigned land which is practically all in crops, the 
pasture and woodland being in common. Improved acreage 
of cash tenants and owners includes therefore much more 
land not actually in crops. Nevertheless, some of the larger 
income of cash tenants and owners is due to the fact that 
they can cultivate more ground. The share tenant is vir- 
tually bound to the one man farm. But the owner or renter 
who has a large family and can save enough for additional 
animal power and implements, can extend his operations 
by merely renting or buying a slightly larger piece of 
ground. In some cases Negro owners and renters cultivate 
so extensively as to require several laborers working for 

Inasm uch as nei ther the ef ficiency in pr oduction per acre, 
nor difference in size of jarm cultivate d indi cates very sig- 
ni ficant differences between the tena nEclasses we may turn 
to the other side of the picture , namely the itfrng_nf cos t. 
The questions of profit and efficiency involve not only the 
yield obtained, but the costs incurred in obtaining it. 


It is surprising to note that the most valuable land in the 
Cotton Belt is in the hands of share tenants. The plantation 
inquiry of the Census of 1910 n finds that the cheapest land 

11 Plantation Farming in the United States, U. S. Bureau of 
the Census Bulletin, 1916. 


Negro Migration 


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The Life of the Tenant Classes 79 

is in the hands of Negro owners and that again the cash 
tenants occupy an intermediate position. 

Table 11 (opposite page) indicates that for the State 
as a whole the per acre values of land occupied by Negro 
farmers are: share tenant farms, $17.77; cash tenant farms, 
$14.04; owner farms, $11.29. One may see by the uni- 
formity with which this relationship holds in the individual 
counties that this difference is not due to any concentration 
on particularly valuable lands in any one section of the 

The interesting exception to note is Liberty County. 
This county was mentioned in the previous chapter as the 
county containing the largest number of Negro land owners. 
It was pointed out that just after the Civil War, in the rice 
plantation counties immediately east of Liberty, there was 
complete disorganization. In Liberty and its adjoining coun- 
ties there were immense tracts of wild land. As a result 
the large slave population had the opportunity to buy very 
cheaply, and in some instances secured what is now the 
most valuable land. This is just the reverse of what has 
been true in the rest of the State, especially in the old Black 
Belt. In the counties where Negroes bought land already 
in farms rather than wild land, they could buy the cheaper 
land only. The same principle held good to a lesser degree 
with renting. The more productive lands have been held 
by landlords for cultivation with labor or share tenants. 

The cultivation of these more valuable lands is, in itself 
a great advantage to the share tenant in getting results, and, 
to some extent accounts for the fact that he obtains a larger 
yield per acre. 


The foregoing Table (11) indicates that the reverse is 
true of the value of implements and machinery used per 
farm. The census figures show a larger per farm value of 
implements for owners than for cash tenants and for cash 

80 Negro Migration 

tenants than for share tenants. The average values for the 
State as a whole are, owner farms, $66. Cash tenant farms, 
$44. Share tenant farms, $23. These figures are, to some 
extent, deceptive, in that the implements enumerated as "on 
the share tenant's farm" do not include all the implements 
which he may use during the year. In other words, the 
plantation, on which the share tenant farm is located, is a 
unit. These units differ in degree of organization, but the 
most efficient plantations are highly organized. On these 
plantations the expensive implements such as two horse cul- 
tivators and disc harrows are not furnished for each tenant, 
but are held by the landlord and apportioned out to the 
tenants as needed. Cash tenants on large plantations some- 
times have the same advantage of borrowing or renting 
the landlord's specialized equipment for short periods, but 
cash tenants on absentee landlord's places, or colored own- 
ers on their own farms must, of necessity, purchase prac- 
tically all the implements and machinery they use. This 
renders a group of share tenant farms on an organized 
plantation distinctly more efficient in the use of implements 
and machinery. 


Figures showing the number of work animals per farm 
indicate that the same factors determine the possession and 
use of work animals that determine the possession and use 
of implements. The average for work horses and mules per 
Negro farm for the State as a whole was : for share tenant 
farms, .8, for cash tenant farms, 1.3, and for owner farms, 
1.4. 12 

Owners and cash tenants have more animals per farm 
because their independent position renders the possession of 
at least one animal almost necessary. On plantations, how- 
ever, the landlord can control the use of animals from a 
central barn, apportioning them out to the labor and share 
tenant crops as they are needed. 
12 Negro Population in the U. S. Opp. cite., Table 73. 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 8i 

The share tenant, however, in using the white man's mule 
or horse, secures the labor of a more valuable animal. The 
Yazoo-Mississippi study indicated that the average value of 
mules used was: on share tenant farms, $187; on share 
renters (third and fourth) farms, $147; on cash renters 
farms, $150. Owners were not studied in this area. In 
Georgia, the census 13 figures show that the average value 
of the horse or mule used by owners was $128, by cash 
tenants, $137, and by share tenants was $157. 

Because he uses fewer animals per farm and more valu- 
able animals the share tenant cultivates more per mule. Re- 
duced to a ratio the census figures indicate that on the farms 
of Negro farmers in the State as a whole the acreage in 
cotton and corn per work animal was: for owners, 19.5, 
for cash tenants, 27.7, and for share tenants, 32.3. 

Co-operation among independent owners and cash tenants 
along the lines of the agricultural communities of Europe 
would give them the same advantages in conserving imple- 
ments and animal power that the share tenant has. The 
"latifondia," or collective leases of Sicily and some "co- 
operatives" of France are nothing more than groups of 
independent farmers which substitute a co-operative associ- 
ation for a landlord. The association performs the func- 
tions performed by the landlord of a plantation. It super- 
vises the purchase and co-operative use of fertilizers, seeds, 
animals and machinery. 

Both white and colored independent farmers in the South 
have a long distance to go before such co-operation can 
be brought about. There is no more intense individualist 
than the small farmer, and much of this individualism is re- 
flected in the independent Negro owners and renters. In- 
dividual opinions as to time of planting, quality of seed, ex- 
tent of fertilization and use of work animals are still too 
divergent to allow an association to run smoothly. The fact 

13 Negro Population in the U. S. opp. cite, Tables 69 and 73. 

82 Negro Migration 

that it can succeed is, however, indicated by the success 
of plantations. These, in many respects are co-operative 
units. This is especially evident in the co-operative use of 
the farm animals and implements on the plantation. 

One consideration which will militate greatly against the 
co-operative purchase and use of animals is that the farmer, 
being isolated, wishes to use the work animal at odd times 
for riding or driving. In fact this control of the work 
animals from a central barn and the denial of their use for 
riding or driving to laborers or share tenants is one of the 
most irksome features of the plantation system to the Negro. 

On the basis of income, yield obtained, and expense of 
land implements and animals used the case may be stated 
as follows : The share tenant, using the more valuable land 
and animals, and with the facility of making more efficient 
use of land animals and implements by reason of organiza- 
tion and supervision by the landlord, gets slightly better 
results per acre than the other classes, but his results per 
acre are not greatly different from those obtained by the 
owner class. The interest of the owner in the land he has 
paid for, ana 1 in the crop of which he reaps the full benefit, 
practically offsets the superiority of the land and super- 
vision of the share tenant. The cash tenant, occupying an 
intermediate position between the owner and share tenant 
with respect to value of land, implements and animals used, 
nevertheless falls below both the other classes in yield per 
acre. The incomes of share tenants are, therefore, less than 
those of owners and renters not so much through individual 
inefficiency in production, as through the differences in 
division of the product. 


Purely from the stand point of the landlord , wear and tear 
on the land is the most freq uent objection to Ne groes escap- 
ing from the supervision of the share tenant system. One 
of the most effective safeguards against this depreciation of 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 83 

la^H is the diversification of crops. Table 11, however, in- 
dicates that the farms of share tenants are the least diver- 
sified. There are almost 2 acres in cotton for each acre in 
corn on the farms of share tenants, slightly less on the farms 
of cash tenants, and only 1.3 acres in cotton for each acre 
in corn on the farms of owners. 

This is due to the fact that where the cropping and labor 
systems exist on the same plantation, the landlord prefers 
to raise the feed crops with wage labor, confining the share 
men to cotton as far as possible. This facilitates the par- 
tition of the two shares, and enables the landlord, who has 
to furnish feed, to raise it himself, rather than necessitating 
its purchase from the share tenant. The owner cannot be 
accused of allowing his land to depreciate faster than the 
share tenant through lack of diversification. Nor is the 
renter class open to this accusation to the extent believed 
by the general public in the South. The exhaustive one 
crop system of cotton culture has a much firmer hold on 
the share tenants. 

With regard to the items of maintenance for which less 
reliable figures a re obtainable, such as fertil izers used, in- 
ten sive cultivation, maintenance of terraces and drains, it 
is probable th at the share tenant class, wi th the more intel- 
ligent supervision of the lan dlord is slightly more efficient. 
That is, he is always directed in these matters b v a supervis- 
in g resident landlord. He is the refore compelled to adopt 
measures for maintaining the fer tili ty of the land to a 
gr eater extent than either of the other two classes^ In the 
case of resident landlords, however, cash tenants can also be 
required by written contract and by supervision to do as 
much in this respect as share tenants. In fact Brooks noted 
that in the Upper Piedmont, where absentee landlords are 
at a minimum, renting is not regarded as a great evil, on ac- 
count of the fact that written contracts covering the main- 
tenance of the fertility of the soil are entered into and en- 
forced by nearby landlords. Also because Negroes, who are 

84 Negro Migration 

more scattered among a majority white population, have 
more chance to observe progressive farming methods than 
they do in solid Negro Black Belt communities. As to own- 
ers, their individual interest in the land in which they have 
invested, plus such supervision as they can be given by 
county farm demonstration agents must be relied on to 
prompt them to take the necessary precautions against de- 

As a class, however, owners must be almost equally as ef- 
ficient in this respect as are share tenants, otherwise, start- 
ing with inferior land, the owners could hardly continue to 
so nearly equal the production per acre attained by share 

tenants. That rash tenants as a Hass are inferior in this 

respect is indicated by the fact that their yield per acre is 
not only less than that of share tenahls'^wKo oc cupy more 
valuable land, but ajso less than that o f owners who occupy 
les s valuable lan d. 

This very general survey of the factors of production and 
yield obtained, indicates the futility, purely from an eco- 
nomic standpoint of attempting a sweeping general state- 
ment as to which system is "better for the tenant" or "better 
for the landlord." Too much depends upon the individual 
tenant or landlord. The foregoing facts do, however, make 
it possible from the standpoint of the yield obtained and the 
factors of production used to give the following categorical 
statements : 

(1) If the tenant is young and without either capital, or 
sufficient experience to invest borrowed money wisely in 
animals and implements which will be efficiently used, there 
is but one place for him on the farm, outside the status of 
laborer, and that is share tenancy. 

(2) If the tenant has slightly more experience and has 
sufficient capital to buy animals, implements and machinery, 
he is better off as a cash tenant. From the landlord's point 
of view the existence of this class is not so desirable. Un- 
scrupulous landlords who enforce the share system rigor- 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 85 

ously, giving their tenants in return the minimum of con- 
cessions are enabled, as we noted at the beginning to make 
as high as 25 per cent on their investment. This, of course, 
can be called nothing short of exploitation through a sys- 
tem. The landlord cannot attain such a high return on his 
investment from the cash tenant. He is also in danger, if 
his contract is not written or if the tenant is lazy or dis- 
honest, of seeing his land deteriorate. 

(3) If the Negro has a family of any size, has farming 
experience and capital, the logical status for him is land 
ownership. As an owner nothing stands between him and 
the realization of rent for his land, interest for his capital 
invested, wages for his labor and that of his family, and, if 
he proves to be a successful farmer, profits on his enter- 
prise. There is no indication that the growth of a con- 
siderable owner class is a detriment to the economic life of 
the community either from the point of view of annual 
production or from the point of view of depreciation of 
land and capital used. On the other hand there is much 
evidence of the superior prosperity, self-interest and com- 
munity interest of the owners. 


Up to this point the different classes of tenants and own- 
ers have been contrasted with one fundamental assumption, 
namely, that the relationship is not abused by either the 
landlord or the tenant. But the economic and social gen- 
eralizations are often upset by the unscrupulous of one class 
or the ignorant and shiftless of the other. 

U nscrupulous landlords, w ith the aid of laws making it a 
cri minal offense to leave a contract while in debt, have cre- 
ated condition s on some plantations which amount to peon- 
ag e or practical re-enslaveme nt of share tenants. Un satis- 
f actory crop settlements at the end of jthe y^SLLJbave been at 
th eroot of m uch discontent with the sh are tenant stat us. 

The landlord has a legalized lien on the crop and, if 

86 Negro Migration 

he is also a merchant who encourages the reckless ex- 
tension of charge accounts during the year, upon which he 
charges a high rate of interest, and for which he submits a 
bill or verbal statement to a man who cannot read or add, 
then he keeps the Negro perpetually in debt. 

Investigations following the Arkansas riots of 1920 have 
shown that this condition, on some plantations, was a funda- 
mental factor in the discontent. 

On the other hand, landlords very justly complain that 
they HayejOi£yir^particular in renting their land outright 
because, as th e_rent Jsjto be paid out of the crop over which 
th ey do not ha ve mudLconlrol, and^-as-advances for food, 
fertilizer, and feed, with legitimate interest charges are 
often to be added to this rent T theyrisk loosing consider- 
able sums on shiftless, unsuccessful, and dishonest tenants, 
a nd thev afc^ r g k greater rteprpriafjnn nn their land. 

Such individual abuses of the tenant relationships whether 
by landlord or by tenant, are but additional reasons why 
landlords prefer to stick to share tenant cultivation and why 
Negroes prefer to escape from it. 


Family Life. — The chances of utilizing a large family as 
an economic asset are distinctly in favor of the owner and 
cash tenant, not only because they can extend their opera- 
tions merely by renting additional acres, but also for the 
reason that the share tenant is a dependent whose task is 
usually to raise the cotton crop. His food and clothing are 
obtained on the basis of credit advances, and the landlord 
therefore prefers to keep down his accounts by choosing 
single men, unless the tenant has several children of suf- 
ficient size to work in the fields. 

Food. — The census of 1910 indicated that in Georgia there 
were 1.6 cows per owner, .9 per cash tenant and only .6 
per share tenant. This successively larger number per cash 
tenant and owner holds good through the different sections 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 87 

of the State. Owners and cash tenants also return more 
pigs and poultry than the share tenants. More than 22,000 
share tenant farms in the State, or 40 per cent of the total, 
had no poultry. 14 Share tenants are not only usually 
without the capital to purchase these animals, but they are, 
in their very relationship to the farm not in a position advan- 
tageous for raising animals. Saddled as they are with the 
cotton crop, they are not in a position to raise the feed crops, 
as was previously shown by the diversification index. 

Negro share tenants are as backward about cultivating 
garden products as they are about domestic animals. There 
is space around almost every house for a small kitchen gar- 
den, but in t he absence of knowled ge or much encourage- 
ment to cultivate it, it goes unused, or supports only a few 
rowsoi ll coiiarq s. J ' UDservers ftave otten noted with sur- 
prise the purchases of food which Negro tenants make 
which could easily be grown at home in spare hours. 

During the summer of 1917, when the Negro Migration 
was at its height, the writer visited many plantations. The 
landlords who seemed to have been particularly successful 
in retaining their labor were all questioned as to how they 
had succeeded. A surprisingly large proportion emphasized 
the fact that they had encouraged the gardens and domestic 
animal breeding of their tenants. These items of home 
grown food add materially to the comfort and satisfaction 
of the farm dwellers. In this respect owners and cash ten- 
ants are better off than share tenants. 

In regard to food purchased there is also a distinct limi- 
tation on a number of share tenants. If they are without 
capital, as most of them are, they depend on the local mer- 
chant or the landlord to credit them for their food until 
*^*4he crop is harvested. In many cases there is an absolute 
limit beyond which the "one horse" farmer cannot go in 
book credit. During the plantation investigation of 1911, 
Brooks noted that in many cases this limit was $100. 
"Negro Population in the United States. 1790-1915, Table 69, 

88 Negro Migration 

Clothing. — No statistics are available for clothing bought, 
but the same limitations of credit are imposed on share 
tenants in this respect as in the purchase of food. 

Housing. — The figures in Table 11 above indicate that 
owners uniformly occupy the most valuable houses, cash 
tenants next and share tenants the poorest. The average 
values of buildings per farm i n the State as a who le were : 
for owner farms, $293, cash tenant farms, $189, and share 
tenant farmc, jfira Th ese values ap eak for themselves. 
Even the owner's, house at $295 is poor enough, but the 
h nii.qpg qj the share tenants are often unsp eaRable. Con- 
s tructed of green lumber and in ninety-nine cases ou t of a 
hundred unpainted, they warp , spring jcracks and Jsaks, and 
present a bare and uninviti ng appearance fromj vithout and 
within. . They are predominantly of the one room construc- 
tion^ sometimes with an 8' x 1CK lean-to addition. They 
seldom have more than one or two small windows with 
rough board shutters, and almost never more than one chim- 
ney, with migrated fireplace. It is in these cabins that 
families, sometimes large ones, with the added company 
of several dogs, live. 

The general significance of this low standard of living 
is more fully treated in the last chapter. It cannot, how- 
ever, be too frequently emphasized that all students of the 
race question agree that the most pressing problem of the 
Negro is his standard of living. Educating him to pro- 
duce more hinges on the ability of educating him to want 
more. As a passage from share tenant to cash tenant or 
cash tenant to owner, means an improvement in the stand- 
ard of living, it is a movement to be heartily encouraged. 


The share tenant, the renter, and the o wner are l ikewise 
successively more attached to tne land and less Hkely to 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 89 

mo ve ofte n. It is the latter landless, well nigh purposeless 
element which makes the tasks of economic improvement, 
social betterment and leadership among the Negroes so dif- 

The following table indicates the shifting tendency of the 
tenants and especially the share tenants: 

TABLE 12. 

Georgia: Percentage Distribution of Farmers by Term of 

Occupancy and Tenure. 

' All Farmers ' Negro Farmers——* 

Years on Cash Share Cash Share 

Farm Owners Ten'ts Ten'ts Owners Ten'ts Ten'ts 

Under 1 year.. 7.6 25.9 44.6 6.0 20.1 39.8 

1 year 6.5 15.7 17.5 5.5 14.2 17.8 

2 to 4 years. . . . 21.9 33.0 26.3 22.7 35.0 29.1 
5 to 9 years.... 20.5 15.1 7.7 22.8 17.8 8.8 
10 years & over 43.5 10.3 3.9 43.0 12.9 4.5 

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 

(Ratios computed from U. S. Census, 1910, Bulletin "Stability 
of Farm Operators.") 

Conside rably more than half of the share tenants had 
been occupying their farm for less than two years, and 
only 13.3 percent had been occupying their farm for more 
thanJL^ears. About one-third of the cash tenants had been 
occupying their farm less than two years, another third 
from two to five years, and another third more than five 
years. Of the owners only 11.5 per cent had been on their 
farm less than a year and considerably more than two- 
thirds had been there for over five years. This shifting is 
due more to the tenant system than to racial 'characteristics. 
This is indicated first by the fact that Negro owners change 
their residence sn my^h Ip^ fi^«««+1y +l ? r. s h are tenants, 
and by the fact that the shifting in all farmers, both 
white and colored, shown in the table, is slightly greater 
than the shifting of colored farmers. In other words there 
are proportionately more white than colored cash and share 
tenants who have been on their farm less than two years. 

Such restlessness is of necessity a tremendous stumbling 

90 Negro Migration 

block to programs inaugurated in order to foster greater 
interest in the farm and rural life. Inter-racial good will, 
or even the individual acquaintanceship which must precede 
inter-racial good will are well-nigh impossible. From the 
point of view of the development of a class of influential 
leaders, the shifting of the tenant classes is equally dis- 


There is no doubt that the backbone of the rural Negro 
population is the group of successful Negro owners and 
renters who have demonstrated their productivity and use- 
fulness to the community. The Negro race looks to this 
class for its leaders and supporters of rural institutions. 
The low incomes of wage-hands and tenants preclude their 
participation to any marked degree in the financing of insti- 
tutions and their initiative, undeveloped because of the 
dependency of their position, is not sufficient to make them 
successful leaders. 

In race relations, also, the existence of this class of farm- 
ers, permanently attached to the land, is very beneficial. 
The fact that they are taxpayers heightens the respect which 
members of the white race have for them. The fact that 
their occupancy is more permanent allows acquaintance- 
ship to grow and stimulates confidence in their activities. 


These complex differences among the tenant classes bring 
the realization that much more is involved in land tenure 
in the South than the mere technical details of farming. 
Tenure systems penetrate even deeper than the economic 
life of the rural districts. They are determinants also of 
the social structure. Figures on changes in land tenure 
are therefore convenient methods of measuring a whole 
series of very complex economic and social changes in rural 

The Life of the Tenant Classes 91 

On account of the mistaken apprehensions concerning the 
increase in tenancy in the United States, the fact that own- 
ership as well as tenancy is increasing cannot be too greatly 
emphasized. This indicates that the iijcxease of tenants is 
re cruited from the inferior labor class rather th an from 
the su perior owner class. Thinking in terms _of the individ- 
ual Negro, it is evi dent that he would prefer, if possible, 
to leave the^st atus of laborer and en ter any of the tenant 
clashes, to leave the statu s of share tenant and become renter 
or ow ner, and to leave W status of renter and become 
ow ner. _ The pressure of individual motive is in this direc- 
tion. Th e obstacles are, unwillingness of landlo rds to rent 
o r sell land, and inability of the individual, th rough mis- V' 
fortune or shiftlessness, to accumulate the necessary capital 
for t he transition . 

Such a powerful motive at play in the N egro population 
suggest s itself immediately as possibly a princip al factor in 
mig ration. In a region of static agricultural c onditions, 
wh ere plantations continue to follow, as closely as possible 
the^old w ay, it is evident that young Neg roes, as they grow 
u p, must move off the fa rm. There is no opportunity for 
them except as their parents die. In many sections, how- 
ever, the movement has gone so far as to cause an actual 
decrease in the acreage cultivated. Th e pla nters have in- 
sisted on conditio " 3 so uafagatahla +n, thf f orrr> popula- 
tion that their labor supply h ag gradually dwindled, or they 
have worn out their lands with exhaustive cotton culture 
a nd prefer to let them lie idle. The~frJegroes from these 
regions have mny p/ * 1 *" f " th* g^tion s where the agricultural 
opp ortunities are better T and many of them have become 
det ached from the soil and have gone to th e city. The fol- 
lowing chapters are devoted to the relationship between 
these changes in rural organization and the movement of 



One of the most evident ways in which the colored and 
white populations of Georgia have responded to these dif- 
fering opportunities in different sections of the State has 
been by migration. The land, or opportunity is localized, 
immovable, and more or less fixed in quantity. The labor, 
on the other hand is mobile, and may shift from place to 
place, increasing or decreasing in quantity with the changes 
in demand. It is the inter-action of the demands of the 
land with the supply of agricultural labor which has fur- 
nished the chief causes of migration. Urban opportunity 
has exerted some influence, but the Negroes in 1910 were 
still 80.9 per cent rural. 

Both Negro laborers and white laborers have shifted from 
certain sections into certain sections, and the movements of 
the two races have been in the same direction, differing only 
in the relative numbers of migrants furnished by each race. 
This, in itself is an indication that the same economic and 
social forces are at work among the two races, but of 
course, in differing degrees. The movements have their 
economic and social effects as well as causes. Social institu- 
tions are made unstable in the sections losing heavily by 
migration, and in sections gaining, race problems are more 
aggravated where white and colored people who are un- 
accustomed to one another are brought into competition. 
These effects of migration will be discussed more at length 
in the last chapter of this study. The present chapter will 
be devoted to a closer study of the areas which are losing 

The Diversity of Migrations 93 

and those which are gaining in Negro population. The suc- 
ceeding chapter shows concretely how important a part the 
tenant system plays in determining the population increase 
of rural areas. 

city and country. 
The urbanization of the Negro population has attracted 
much attention, especially since large groups have recently 
moved into northern cities. As the census makes no closer 
classification of the birthplace of persons than the State of 
birth, movement into cities cannot be obtained from this 
source. Increases and decreases of population, however, if 
marked, constitute a good measure of the movement. The 
following figures indicate the distinct drift cityward of both 
the white and the colored people of Georgia : 

TABLE 13. 
Georgia: Rural and Urban Population^ 1 ) 


Per cent 

— % 







Negro pop.* 

Urban . . 







Rural .. 







White pop.- 

Urban . . 







Rural .. 







Total pop.- 

Urban .. 







Rural .. 







These figures indicate the increasing importance of city 
life among Negroes. While still proportionately a small 
problem, the urban problem is a growing one. The Negro 
urban population increased from 14.4 per cent in 1890 to 
19.1 per cent in 1910. The greater part of this increase — 
from 15.5 to 19.1— was in the single decade 1900 to 1910. 
The rural Negroes, however, still constitute over four-fifths 
of the total population. While almost as large a proportion 
of the white population is living in rural districts, the white 
people too show a marked drift cityward. This tendency is 

1 United States Census of 1910, Population, Vol. II, p. 37. 

94 Negro Migration 

slightly greater than among the Negroes since the white 
urban population increased from 13.6 per cent in 1890 to 
21.9 per cent in 1910. 

These percentages may be misinterpreted if the actual 
numbers upon which they are based are not kept in mind. 
The percentage of increase indicates that an increasingly 
greater portion of the people are living in cities, but it does 
not indicate that the number of people in the country is 
decreasing. The rural population is growing, but the city 
population is growing faster. The first three columns of 
Table 13 show that city and country both are increasing in 
Georgia, and that the cities merely receive a part of the nat- 
ural increment of the country districts, a part remaining to 
swell the numbers of rural inhabitants. An examination 
of the numerical increases in the table bring this out 
more clearly. While the percentage of Negroes living in 
rural communities decreased from 85.6 in 1890 to 80.9 in 
1910, the number increased from 734,953 to 952,161, a nu- 
merical increase of 78,409 and a rate of increase of 9 per 
cent. On the other hand the cities increased at a faster 
rate, because of the fact that their population was in the 
beginning much smaller than that of the country districts. 
The cities increased from 123,862 in 1890 to 224,826 in 
1910, a percentage increase of 39.6 and a numerical in- 
crease of 63,765. 

When it is considered that some of the increase in city 
population is due to the extension of ^boundaries &nd 
some to the growth of new towns to such a size that they 
are included in the urban area, it is seen that the urban 
increase is by no means so significant as that in rural dis- 
tricts. In fact, about 15,000 of the urban increase was due 
to the growth of towns which were less than 2,500 in popu- 
lation in 1900 and greater than 2,500 in 1910. That is to 
say 14 incorporated places which were villages of less than 
2,500 in 1900 were for that reason enumerated as "rural," 

The Diversity of Migrations 95 

but on account of 10 years' growth they were enumerated 
as urban by the census of 1910. Such a change, of course, 
does not indicate as large a migration as might be assumed 
from the statistics of increase in urban population. It 
therefore appears that while there is a distinct trend toward 
urbanization, the movements of paramount importance in 
Georgia are those arising from the shifting of farm popula- 


1. Villages. — The census calls any town of less than 2,500 
inhabitants a rural community. In some sections of the 
country this renders their classification deceptive. Some 
unincorporated rural communities are very thickly popu- 
lated, while some towns, with wide limits of incorporation 
are thinly populated and concerned chiefly with agricultural 
interests rather than with manufacture and trade. They 
depend upon the surrounding agricultural areas for food 
and raw materials. It is obvious that in these cases the 
census classification would be inaccurate. In manufactur- 
ing sections it would include too much. Suburbs of cities, 
outside of corporate limits, and manufacturing villages of 
less than 2,500 inhabitants whose occupations are not in any 
sense rural, and whose homes are clustered city fashion, 
around a large manufacturing plant, are obviously not as 
rural as towns slightly over 2,500 which depend for the 
support of their activities on surrounding farming popula- 
tions. Such inaccuracies do not apply to any great extent to 
Georgia, or for that matter, to any part of the Cotton Belt. 

The following table indicates the proportion of the total 
population in 1910 which was living in villages of between 
250 and 2,500 inhabitants and which was classed as rural 
by the census. The "rural" counties are grouped accord- 
ing as they are losing by migration, gaining slowly or gain- 
ing rapidly. 2 (See shading of Map II.) 

2 Computed from U. S. Census of 1910, Population, Vol. II. 
Analysis for "Georgia," Table 1, giving population of "Minor 
Civil Divisions." 


Per cent Per cent 


in in open 


Villages Country 


12.5 87.5 


17.1 82.9 


19.1 80.9 

96 Negro Migration 

TABLE 14. 

Georgia: Percentage of Total Population Living in Villages 

of 250 to 2,500. 

(103 "Rural" Counties.) 


County P'opu- 

Group lation 

Decreasing in population. 460,449 

Increasing slowly 410,271 

Increasing rapidly 565,991 

Thus 83.6 per cent of all the population of these counties 
live in the open country. Even the 16.4 per cent in villages 
is largely concerned with rural affairs. In the cotton belt 
"these places consist merely of the merchandizing, ginning 
and marketing concerns with a sprinkling of professional 
men whose clients are nearly all farmers. 

In point of numbers these villages of less than 2,500 
are not very important. There were 516 in Georgia in 1910. 
Their aggregate population was 283,803, or only 1 1 per cent 
of the total population of the State. 3 

It is therefore evident that a study of population classed 
as "rural" by the Census, represents in Georgia a compara- 
tively accurate picture of conditions among the farming 
population even though the small population of villages is 
included as rural. 

2. The Open Country. — Travelers in the South frequently 
remark on the wide stretches of country and the separation 
of houses. It is not at all unusual to go several miles 
without seeing a house. The passing of the plantation sys- 
tem has done away with the "quarters" grouped around the 

■and lamWing, flnH in Northern Ce^x^A ^ ill lilt mountains' 

some lumbering is also done. The distribution of the 
Negroes of Georgia who are engaged in gainful occupations 
indicates that, outside of city and transportation trades, the 

8 United States Census of 1910, Population, See Note 2. 

The Diversity of Migrations 97 

great mass is engaged in agriculture.* Any movement of 
population in the rural districts is, therefore, closely related 
to the conditions of farm life. 

Table 15. 

Negroes of Georgia 10 Years of Age and Over Engaged in 
Gainful Occupations. 

Occupations Total Male Female 

Agriculture 410,266 257,974 152,292 

Manufacturing and Trades .... 43,933 39,309 4,624 

Domestic Service 100,809 14,615 86,194 

Transportation 22,869 22,865 4 

All other 37,659 31,849 5,810 

Total 615,536 366,612 248,924 

3. Local Migration. — One further fact is to be noted 
before the study of migration is made by counties, namely, 
that local movements, which are very hard to measure, and 
yet which are of importance, take place within counties. 
These cannot be measured by studying the increases and de- 
creases of the county as a whole. The change from the 
labor system to the tenant system of cultivating a single large 
plantation often involves a local increase of considerable sig- 
nificance. Usually the proportion who are young, single 
men is higher among laborers than among tenants. A 
change from laborers to tenants therefore means an increase 
in the plantation population proportionate to the size of the 
tenant families. On the other hand, the use of a large num- 
ber of tenant farms for orchards, or for pasture land would 
reduce the population of a local district. These local move- 
ments are bewildering in their number and effects. 

Some idea of local increses can be gained by the figures 
for the population of minor civil divisions of selected 
counties. 5 

* Compiled from Census of 1910, Occupations, p. 449-450. 
5 U. S. Census of 1900 and 1910. The census does not publish 

98 Negro Migration 

The irregularity of increases and decreases in local areas 
is marked. As a whole, the Negro population of Crawford 
County, decreased during the decade, by 15.4 per cent. The 
area represented by districts number 573 and 577, however, 
gained 50 Negroes, while the other distiicts showed losses in 
colored population ranging from — 50 to — 340. Greene 
County as a whole increased by 3.7 per cent. Six of its 
minor civil divisions, however, actually decreased, while the 
increases among Negroes in the others ranged from 9 to 
570. Jackson County as a whole increased 13.2 per cent. 
Five of its minor civil divisions, however, showed small de- 
creases, while the increases in the others ranged from 
25 to 508. 

These irregular increases are too divergent to be explained 
by differences in birth and death rates. There can be no 
essential difference in health conditions because the areas are 
small and contiguous. It therefore appears that there is a 
constant and widespread shifting of the Negro population 
which is too great to be measured accurately for many of 
these local areas. L,ocal studies of migration in limited areas 
would indicate minutely the exact causes for gain and loss in 
Negro population. This study is, however, confined to the 
presentation of increases and decreases in whole counties 
on which accurate data is available in the Census. As such 
it is representative of general conditions in the county, but 
it is to be remembered that these conditions may be concen- 
trated in local areas and not spread evenly over all of the 
rural districts. 


In order to determine the direction and extent of the 
movements of Negro population the best method is to study 
the increases in the towns and counties of Georgia, and com- 

the population of minor civil divisions by race, but these figures 
were obtained from an unpublished tabulation made in the Cen- 
sus Office under the direction of Dr. Thomas Jesse Jones, and 
loaned for this study. 

The Diversity of Migrations 


MA» It. 


y «W«n tnt of Increase In Hegro Rural Population. 

Urban and Mountain Counties. 


Percentage in Rural Counties 
Under 7$ (Losing by 

1 1 to 15 (Stationary^ 

«15 to 20 (Gaming slow- 
ly by Migration) 

20 and over (Gaining 
rapidly by Migration) 

ioo Negro Migration 

pare these local increases with the increase in the total Negro 
population of the United States during the decade 1900-1910. 
The rate of increase for the whole country, 11.2 per cent, 
may be taken as a rather accurate measure of the excess of 
Negro births over deaths for the 10 years, since the country 
as a whole was neither gaining nor losing perceptibly by in- 
ternational Negro migration. In order that this determin- 
ation might not be too arbitrary, however, a range from 7j^ 
to 15 per cent may be taken as indicative of excess of births 
over deaths. Any area whose increase in Negro population 
for the decade falls between these limits may be considered a 
stationary area as far as perceptible migration is concerned. 

Districts whose Negro population increased at a rate 
slower than 7j4 per cent may be considered as losing by 
migration and those increasing at a rate faster than 15 per 
cent considered as gaining by migration. Districts increas- 
ing at a rate of over 20 per cent can be said to be gaining 
rapidly by migration. 

Map II indicates these rates of increase for the rural dis- 
tricts of Georgia. 6 Of the 144 counties shown on the map 
the 16 mountain counties and 24 counties containing towns 
of over 2,500 are left unshaded. The remaining 104 rural 
counties are shaded to indicate their increase in Negroes. 
The shading shows that the 7 stationary counties are well 
scattered. Of the 97 other counties, 37 were losing, 24 
gaining slowly and 36 gaining rapidly. A glance at the map 
shows that the decreasing area corresponds closely to the 

6 Based on percentages of increase shown in U. S. Census 
"Negro Population in the United Slates, 1790-1915." Table II. 
Counties grouped at the end of this table under "Notes on 
Changes in Boundaries" are grouped in the Map and the in- 
crease figured for the whole area because changes in county 
lines make census figures deceptive as to increase or decrease 
of individual counties in the area. In case a city was located 
in such an area its population was deducted. Inasmuch as there 
was an adjustment between the Urban county of Clarke and the 
rural county of Oglethorpe, the latter was left unshaded. 

The Diversity of Migrations ioi 

ante-bellum Black Belt. This area contains 27 of the de- 
creasing counties, while the upper Piedmont contains only 
7 and the Wiregrass 3. The areas increasing slowly em- 
brace 25 counties, which lie mostly on the borders of the 
Black Belt. Two of these counties are on the border of the 
southwest Black Belt, only 7 on the edges of the central 
Black Belt, 8 in the Upper Piedmont and 7 in Wiregrass. 
Of the 36 rapidly increasing counties, 24 are in the 
Wiregrass and the adjacent southwest IBlack Belt sec- 
tion; 5 are in the Upper Piedmont 6 are on the borders 
of the Black Belt. 

It may therefore be said that the ante-bellum central 
and coast Black Belts are losing, the borders of the Black 
Belt, including most of the Upper Piedmont, gaining slowly, 
the Wiregrass and southwest Black Belt gaining rapidly. 

Numerically this migration may be calculated by grouping 
the counties according to their shading on Map II into the 
following table: 

TABLE 16. 
Migration of Negroes in Georgia,( 7 ) 1900-1910. 
Excess of 
Negro Births Actual Migration 
Popu- over Increase Indicated 
lation, Deaths at 1900- by Dif- 
Districts 1900 IS Per cent 1910 ference 
Mountain 10,017 1,503 —1,171 —2,674 

Areas losing... 249,659 37,449 —1,301 —38,750 

areas ....... 54,854 8,228 6,011 —2,217 

Areas gaining 

slowly 142,268 21,340 24,961 3,621 

Areas gaining 

rapidly 231,326 34,699 61,446 26,747 

Rural area of 
counties con- 
taining a city 185,628 27,844 —11,537 —39,381 
Cities 161,061 24,159 63,765 39,606 

TOTAL 1,034,813 155,222 142,174 —13,048 

T Computed from U. S. Census, 1910, Negro Population in the 
United States, 1790-1915, Table II. A check on this method 

102 Negro Migration 

The first column indicates the 1900 population of the 
various groups of counties. The second indicates the nat- 
ural increase which might have been expected in the popu- 
lation if there had been no movement and if the excess of 
births over deaths had caused an increase of 15 per cent dur- 
ing the decade. Although the Negroes of the country as a 
whole increased only 11.2 per cent, and the Negroes of Geor- 
gia 13.2 per cent, it is estimated that the excess of births over 
deaths in Georgia would have caused that State to increase 
by 15 per cent, had Georgia not suffered loss by migration. 
The third column is the actual increase in colored popula- 
tion between 1900 and 1910, as shown by the census. By 
subtracting the third from the second column, i. e., subtract- 
ing the actual increase from the expected increase of 15 per 
cent, we obtain a fairly good approximation of the extent to 
which the actual increase by excess of births over deaths is 
offset by population movement. This is shown in column 4. 
The Negro population of the State was 1,034,813 in 1900. If 
it had increased by 15 per cent (155,222) it would have been 
1,190,035 ; such, however, was not the case. The 1910 census 
showed only 1,176,987 Negroes, an increase of only 142,174. 
This leaves the difference between 115,222 and 142,174, or 
13,048, to be accounted for by migration from the State. 
As a matter of fact the figures as to birthplace confirm this 
assumption closely. (See footnote 7.) 

It will be noted from Table 16 that the mountain counties, 
decreasing rural counties, and stationary counties lost 

of estimating migration is provided by comparing totals with 
Table 19, Negro Population in the United States. Whereas, 
this estimate indicates that the State as a whole lost 13,048 
by migration, Table 19 indicates an increase of 19,004 Georgia- 
born Negroes outside the State, from this the increase of 1,257 
born elsewhere but living in the State should be deducted, 
leaving an excess of 17,747 in the increase of emigrants over the 
increase of immigrants. The estimate in Column 4, Table 16, is, 
therefore, conservative because it falls 4,700 below the actual 
figures in Table 19. 

The Diversity of Migrations 


about 43,641 Negroes by migration. The slowly 
increasing counties of the Piedmont and borders of the 
Black Belt gained about 3,621 and the rapidly increasing 
Wiregrass about 26,747. As a whole the urban counties 
gained only about 200. Within these urban counties there 
was a loss of the rural districts to the cities both by exten- 
sion of city boundaries to include rural areas, and by migra- 
ton, for while the total population of these counties was 
practically stationary, the population of the towns increased 
by 39,606, and the population of adjacent rural districts de- 
creased 39,387. 


(Counties grouped according to shading of Map 


Counties grouped ac- 
cording to movement 
of population. 

Losing (Mountains) 

Losing (Blaok Belt) 

Percentage of Increase In: 
Population ■■ Farmers V7A 


Gaining Slowly 

Gaining Rapidly 

The fact that the mountain counties included less than one 
per cent of the Negroes of the State in 1900 and that these 
small numbers are dwindling, warrants their exclusion from 
any further study of Negro migration. The Negroes in 
these counties are the descendants of the few slaves who 
were owned in this section. For the present, therefore, the 
migration from the Black Belt rural counties to the Piedmont 
and Wiregrass rural counties will be analyzed more closely. 

As to the causes of this movement : We may dismiss almost 

104 Negro Migration 

immediately any assumption that it is due to inherent race 
traits rather than to the environment, for the white popu- 
laton is moving in the same direction. It was previously 
noted that the increases in both white and colored popula- 
tion for the various counties are very similar. 8 

Using the increase in total number of farms as the best 
index of opportunity, we note that increase in farms corre- 
sponds closely with increase in population (see also Table 
17). This is shown graphically on Diagram I, which charts 
the percentage increase 1900-1910 in farms operated by Ne- 
groes and in the Negro population. The diagram is based 
on the total increase in the groups of counties as combined 
in Table 16. The fact that they vary so nearly together 
shows that the presence or absence of opportunity for farm- 
ers is a powerful factor in the rural population movement. 

8 See Footnote 1, Introduction. 


It is evident from the material already presented that 
migrations of Negroes are by no means new phenomena. The 
descriptions of the actions of f reedmen during the period of 
disorganization known as reconstruction, indicate that the 
movement started with emancipation. This very unstable 
condition soon settled down to a steady flow of Negroes from 
the old Black Belts. Examination of past censuses by the 
same methods used in the previous chapter indicates that 
mo s_t of the counties in the ante-bellu m Black Belt of Georgia 
h ave been stationary or decreasing almost continuously since 
1 880. Examination of birthplac e statistics of the Census 
indicates tha t there has also been a shift from the Border 
Stat es northward and from the old Cotton States westward 
fo r the past forty years. 

At this stage it should also be emphasized that the move- 
ment is by no means a simple phenomenon. It arises from 
complex social and economic conditions and is attended 
by complex social and economic changes. One of the most 
enlightening indications of the desire of the Negro to take 
advantage of his agricultural opportunity and the extent to 
which he is able to do so is found in a study of rural migra- 
tion. As previously indicated, the principal shift before 
1915 was from one rural district to another within the 
.S outh 1 — * movement from certain agricultu ral communities 
t o other agricultural communitie s. The number moving from 
coun try to city was relatively sm all. Since 1910, however, the 
entra nce of the boll weevil into Georgia and th e excep tional 
ind ustrial opportunities of the North have changed the cur- 
rent of migration. The boll weevil lessened opportunity in 
the soutnern portion of the State, slackened the immigration 


1 06 NJegro Migration 

, / *> CL ^ ji 

into the section, and,,' in some cases, caused planters « to cut - 

independent farmers/bec^ne discouraged and move^f away. 1 

j-i ridffipfnrlniat fnrmnn brrmrtff di iroura geH g rid m n vH away . - 

This emigration from the boll weevil section, with the 

normal amount of emigration from the Black Belt, gave a 

much greater impetus to the previously slow current moving 

to the North. The first part of this chapter is devoted to a 

closer analysis of the movement from 1900 to 1910, and the 

second part to a description of the movement since 1915 in so 

far as it affects rural districts. 


The more critical student will doubtless object that the 
method used in the previous chapter lacks sufficient defi- 
niteness in relating migration to farm conditions. Map II 
indicated the general movements in the geographical belts, 
but in these belts exceptional counties were noted whose 
population movement differs from that in the surrounding 
counties. It cannot be said, therefore, that population move- 
ment corresponds perfectly with any geographic section or 
with any grouping of counties based on the percentage which 
Negroes form of the total population. The next logical step 
is to search for a third condition whose variations corre- 
spond to the changes in population more closely than do 

1 In description of this movement it is felt that clearness and 
brevity demand that the detailed facts be largely based upon 
a study of Georgia. The States north of Georgia were not af- 
fected by the boll weevil and hence did not suffer nearly the 
same loss in Negro population. The States west of Georgia had 
been previously affected in a similar manner. The slight in- 
crease in Texas and the actual decrease in Louisiana, noted in 
Table 1, are, in a measure, due to the fact that these two States 
were affected by the weevil before 1910. Floods in Alabama, 
and tariff troubles with sugar in Louisiana, aggravated the con- 
ditions in these States. A good general idea of how the other 
States compare with Georgia in respect to the loss of Negroes 
can be gained from the report of the U. S. Department of 
Labor, "Negro Migration in 1916-17," Washington, Government 
Printing Office, 1919. 

The Movements of Countrymen 107 

variations in geographic location or percent Negro in the 
total population. 

In view of the importance of land tenure as outlined in 
Part I, this factor suggests itself immediately. For the 
benefit of those who may have a more scientific interest in 
the Negro population movements and social measurements, a 
more accurate statistical determination of the relation 
between changes in land tenure and rural population move- 
ment between 1900 and 1910 is given in the statistical appen- 

The previous chapter (Map II and Diagram I) indicated 
that increase in populatio n and increase in far ms are closely 
ron necte3. The, mere/presentation of the fart that farms 
and population show similar rates of increase in the coun- 
ties as grouped in Diagram I leaves two questions unsolved : 
first, the fact that the two fluctuate together does not 
show which is the cause and which the effect; second, it 
does not show the extent to which one is the cause of the 

The first difficulty is one which arises because so many 
social and economic phenomena may be now a cause and 
again an effect of other phenomena. This is the case 
with land tenure and population movement. In 
decreasing counties it is easy to see how both could be 
true. Worn out land, or landlords who would rather let 
their land lie idle than grant Negroes' demands to rent, 
would cause an exodus from the county. On the other hand, 
an exodus caused by some external factor such as higher 
wages could easily cause a decrease in farms cultivated. 
Unless, however, agricultural conditions remain less favor- 
able in the deserted section than in surrounding areas, 
laborers and share tenants will be brought back. Over a con- 
siderable period of time, therefore, even in decreasing coun- 
ties the cause-effect relationship seems to have been from 
farming conditions to population movement more than from 
population movement to farming conditions. In counties 

108 Negro Migration 

increasing rapidly by migration the relationship is clearer 
still. There is no way for population movement alone to 
increase the number of independent farmers unless oppor- 
tunity previously exists for them. In fact, when planters 
desire to hold to the labor or share tenant system, an influx of 
Negroes aids them because it increases the available labor 

If, therefore, it can be established that increase in inde- 
pendent Negro farmers is more closely associated with in- 
crease in population than is increase in Negro farm labor, 
then we will have shown that the lack of agricultural oppor- 
tunity leads to movement from a district while favorable 
opportunity for farmers leads to movement into a district or 
to such a condition that young men find places on farms as 
they grow up and the county does not lose them. 

To establish this point a quantitative statement of the 
relationship is desirable. This can be arrived at only by em- 
ploying a logical and exact method of measuring the relation- 
ship between such factors which vary in a number of cases. 2 

The following table is constructed so as to make these 
variations in Negro population and farm increase stand out 
for the counties in Georgia. 

In order that the comparisons might be accurate, all coun- 
ties were eliminated from consideration in which very small 
Negro rural population, or suburban populations rendered 

2 The method of correlation is presented in as popular a form 
as possible. Sufficient use has been made of it in measuring 
relationships in economics and biology to warrant the omission 
of the detailed mathematical proof of the assumptions under- 
lying it. These are given fully by G. U. Yule in "An Introduc- 
tion to the Theory of Statistics," and by H. L. Moore, in 
"Forecasting the Yield and Price of Cotton." The principal 
steps in the reasoning and abridged proof of the derivation of 
the Pearsonian co-efficient of correlation are given in the sta- 
tistical appendix. 

The Movements of Countrymen 
Table 17 

Negro Population and Farm Increases, Georgia, 1900-1910 

( — ) Minus sign denotes decrease. 









•Si I 






(Y 2 ) 























Douglas , 











Gwinnett .... 






Campbell .... 





























































































































































Negro Migration 
Table 17— Continued 












Warren . . 
Miller. . . . 


Pierce. . . . 

Clayton . . . 
Telfair... . 
Hancock . . 
Harris .... 

Spalding. . 


Henry .... 



Taliaferro. . 
Lincoln .... 
Meriwether . 


Jackson .... 

Madison . . . 





Dougherty , 
Monroe . . . 
Walton. .. 
Jefferson. . , 

Columbia. . 
Calhoun . . . 

Lowndes. . , 





Mitchell. . . 










































































— 1 


















































The Movements of Countrymen 
Table 17— Continued 











(Y 2 ) 




























Group I 

2 Counties 

Group II 

5 Counties 

Group III 

6 Counties 

Group IV. 

2 Counties 

Group V 

2 Counties 

















Totals divided by i 00 
Difference between 
guessed and true 
averages, their prod- 
ucts and squares, (a) 

Correct Total 




(a) Products and squares of difference are used to correct the product and 
square columns after dividing the totals by the number of cases (100.) Inas- 
much as 000 is omitted from the product and square columns, after dividing by 
100, only is omitted. The proper correction is indicated in the last line by 
dividing the sums of the products and squares by 100, i. e. by adding to the 
totals which omit 000, and subtracting the products and squares of the dif- 
ferences between guessed and true averages. 

onrl pinning tVmm i-mrfcf fhr fignrfl t n fe r mnrrtH' 

For fuller explanation of Guessed Average method, see appendix. 

Figures computed from U. S. Census, Negro Population in the U. S. Table 
II and 73, Census of 1900, Vol. V Agriculture, Table 10. 

The counties grouped at the end of the table make up areas in which new 
counties were created between 1900 and 1910, see foot note page 112. The 
number of counties indicated in each group is the number which composed the 
area in 1900. Their increases have been added to the population of the new 
counties created in the area. In the mathematical operations this group increase 
was divided by the number of counties in order that each county might be treated 
as a single case on the same basis with other counties in the table. For instance, 
in Group I, the group population increase was 911, of which 455.5 was assigned 
arbitrarily to each of the two counties which were in this area in 1900. Subtract 
the guessed average from 455.5, i. e. 455.5 — 700 and the result is — 244.5, which 
is the deviation of the population increase of each of the two counties. Multiply 
this by two and the result, — 489, is the deviation of the group from the popula- 
tion average. Multiply the square of — 244.5 by two and the result, 120,254 is 
the Y square for the group. Multiply — 244.5 by — 192.5, which is the deviation 
of each county from the average increase in farms, and the result, 47,066, when 
multiplied by two gives 94,132, which is the product of the two deviations for the 
group. This process has been followed with the five counties in Group II, the 
six in Group III, the two in Group IV and the two in Group V, thus giving to 
each group a weight corresponding to the number of counties which composed 
it in 1900. 

ii2 Negro Migration 

the Census figures on rural population increases in the 
county inexact. 3 

The 100 counties remaining after eliminations were made 
are arranged in the order of their increase in Negro popu- 
lation. This increase is shown in Column I. Column II 
shows the increase in farms operated by Negroes in each 
county. The average increase in Negro population and the 
average increase in independent Negro farmers was then 
obtained. By subtracting the average increase in population 
or farms from the increases of each individual county the 
extent to which the counties deviate from this average is 
obtained. Column III shows these deviations of the in- 
creases in population in every county from the average in- 
crease in population. Column IV shows the deviations of 
the increases in farms. 

In this table, especially the columns showing the devia- 
tions from the averages, the eye can easily follow the rela- 
tionship between the two movements. If, in a given county, 
both the farm increase and the population increase are below 
the average, then both deviations bear the minus sign. If 
both are above the average, they bear the plus sign. In either 
of these cases a positive relation is implied. If, however, the 
population increase, in a county, is less than the average for 

8 The counties omitted were: Mountain counties, with very 
small Negro populations (see Legend Map II) ; Clarke and 
Oglethorpe counties, on account of mutual adjustment of boun- 
daries and suburban areas; Bibb, Fulton, Richmond, Chatham, 
Sumpter, Muscogee, Elbert, Cobb, Dekalb, Troup, Colquitt, Car- 
roll, Newton, Houston and Brooks, on account of Urban and 
Suburban areas included as rural in one census or the other. 
Groups in which new counties were created between 1900 and 
1910 were treated as follows: Population for all counties in 
the area was figured in 1900 and 1910. The increase of the 
whole area was treated as uniform. That is to say it was 
divided equally among the counties which composed the area 
in 1900 and is carried that way in the table. These groups are 
listed as such at the foot of the table. 

The Movements of Countrymen 113 

the 100 rural counties, while the farm increase, in the same 
county, is more than the average, then the one deviation is 
plus and the other minus and a negative relationship is in- 
dicated. This degree of relationship between the pairs of 
observations is clearer still in the fifth column, which is ob- 
tained by multiplying the two deviations together. In the 
event that both population and farm increase are either 
above or below the average, the product of the deviations is 
a plus quantity. In the event, however, that the deviations 
are in opposite directions from their averages, as in Talbot 
(the fifth county in the table), their product is minus. In 
the event both deviations are large, the product is of course 
a large quantity, in the event one is large and the other 
small, the product is a smaller quantity, and in the event 
both deviations are small, the product is so small as to be 
relatively insignificant. Examination of Column V, which 
lists these products, reveals that there are only sixteen of the 
100 counties for which the deviations did not agree in sign, 
and for which the product is a minus quantity. Many of 
these are very small products, and the sum of all the minus 
products deducted from the sum of all the plus products 
leaves a very large postive number. 

This, in such a large number of cases, is indicative of a 
strong positive relationship between the two observations. 
But it may be given a more definite quantitative value by 
the method of correlation. By this method the relationship 
expressed in Table 17 is reduced to a coefficient which can- 
not be numerically greater than plus or minus 1. The closer 
the coefficient is to plus one, the greater the degree of posi- 
tive relationship between the phenomena observed. The 
closer it is to minus one the greater the degree of negative 
relationship, and the closer it is to zero, the more doubtful 
the relationship. 

In this case the coefficient arrived at as indicative of the 
relationship between increase in Negro population and in- 
crease in independent Negro farmers was .811. The rela- 

ii4 Negro Migration 



& U) 

Regression lines plotted from 

the means of the systems as 

zero, in units proportional, to <®r <£? 

the standard deviations. j\s $r 



t &*■-; t5) 

'Z. NO 


tionship is therefore very close. 

By comparing the coefficient showing the relation between 
increase in population and increase in farms, and that 
between increase in population and increase in farm laborers 4 
we see that while the relationship between increase in 
farmers and population is very high, the relationship be- 
tween increases in laborers and population is almost 

*This second correlation was worked out on the basis of 
census figures as to increase in improved acreage by counties. 
From this increase in improved acreage was subtracted the 
amount of increase attributable to new independent farmers on 
the basis of 25 acres each. The remainder was considered a 
fairly accurate index of the increases or decreases in the acreage 
operated by hired labor. 

The Movements of Countrymen 115 

negligible. These coefficients are compared graphically in 
Diagram II. 

The other factors which might be correlated with popu- 
lation increase in order to exhaust possible causes would 
be : Increase in rural laborers other than farmers. 2. Social 
causes such as lynching, injustice in the courts, jim crow 
cars, etc. As to other rural laborers, the largest groups 
in the State in 1900 were comprised of the 8,000 turpentine 
laborers, and the approximately 5,000 laborers in sawmills 
and lumber gangs. These numbers are insignificant in influ- 
encing the population, which contains 122,000 independent 
farmers and 110,000 farm laborers (not working on 
home farm). As to the social causes, such as 
lynching, injustices in the courts, jim crow cars. It must 
be said that there is no way of tracing a direct relation- 
ship of these causes to the movement from one rural dis- 
trict to another within the South. They operate to a larger 
extent in the movement from country to city. Inasmuch 
as lynching is sporadic and affects directly only a small 
proportion of the population over a short period of time, its 
effects are difficult to determine unless by first hand investi- 
gation immediately after the disturbance. This is more 
fully discussed in the latter part of this chapter devoted to 
the migration of 1916-17. Inasmuch as the attitude towards 
the Negro in the courts, and in public carriers and institu- 
tions, is uniform throughout Georgia, it cannot be counted 
among the causes of movement from one part of the State 
to another. Increase in number of Negro farmers, of all 
classes, therefore, stands out as the predominating' cause 
for movement from one rural district to another. 

But as noted in Part I, this number of Negro 
farmers is composed of three classes, share tenants, cash 
tenants, and owners. The third, fourth, and fifth correla- 
tion coefficients shown above were worked out to measure 
the relation between the increase in these three classes with 
the increase in population. 

n6 Negro Migration 

In interpreting these coefficients, which are population 
with share tenancy, .600, with cash tenancy .499, with owner- 
ship .462, it is to be remembered that these tenant classes 
may increase in four ways in a given area. 

1. Through the entrance into the class of a man who has 
previously been living in the area but who was in some 
other class of farm population, i. e., a change in tenure 
status without a movement. 

2. Through the entrance into one of the classes of a 
man from some other county who had either been an agri- 
cultural laborer or who had not been engaged in agriculture. 

3. Through the movement of men from one county to 
another without a change in their tenure status. 

4. Through the movement of men from one county to 
another in order to effect the change from one tenure class 
to another. 

The correlation coefficients showing the relation of tenure 
classes to population are disturbed by the first group, but 
with allowance made for this disturbance they measure 
factors 2, 3 and 4. 

From this it is expected that share tenant increases will 
exert the largest influence on population increases. 1. Be- 
cause in 1900 there were more Negroes in share tenancy 
than in any other class, and these tenants moved most fre- 
quently. Therefore share tenants moving from one county 
to another formed a considerable migrant population. 
Also share tenants increase more rapidly because change 
from laborer to share tenant is only nominal and requires no 

On the other hand, cash tenants were less numerous 
to begin with, they move less, and there are fewer who 
have ability to enter this class. The owners are still less 
numerous, move still less, and there are still fewer who have 
the ability to enter this class. These conditions are reflected 
in the regular descending order of the correlation coefficients. 

It would be a mistake, therefore, to attempt to interpret 

The Movements of Countrymen 117 

the coefficients as indices solely of the relative desire of the 
Negro to enter the different tenant classes, or solely of the 
ability to enter them. They represent a measure of the 
extent to which this desire and ability combined, work 
themselves out in population movement across county lines. 
To sum up the relationships between increases in farmers 
and the increases in population between 1900 and 1910, our 
coefficients indicate: 

1. Increases in total number of farms operated by Negroes 
are closely associated with increase in Negro population. 
So close is this relationship that it stands out as the prin- 
cipal cause of migration within the rural districts of the 
State. Th e superior far m opportunities of the Upper Pied- 
mont a nd Wiregras s have been drawing the population away 
fro m the old Black Be lt * 

2. Increases and decreases in number of farm laborers 
are almost unrelated to population movement. 

3. Owing to the large proportion of farms which are 
operated by share tenants who move from place to place 
frequently, and to the number of laborers who move to 
enter share tenancy, the relationship between increases in 
share tenants and increases in population is high. 

4. Owing to the smaller proportion of the rural Negroes 
who were renters in 1910, the relative stability of this class, 
and the difficulty of entering it, increases in the renter class 
have been less closely related to population movement. 

5. Owing to the fact that the owner class is the smallest 
numerically, the most stable, and the most difficult to enter, 
increases and decreases in ownership have had less effect 
on population movement than the other two classes of 


During this tremendous shifting around of rural popula- 
tion from 1870 to 1910 a few of the migrants became per- 
manently detached from the land and moved to the cities 

n8 Negro Migration 

of Georgia or to States West or North. The entrance 
of the United States into the war and the simultaneous en- 
trance of the boll weevil into Georgia set at work factors 
which had previously been of little relative importance and 
the city-ward movement was increased. 

The same currents in rural migration were, however, 
noticeable. The new currents were superposed on them 
and in some cases they offset the old currents. The results 
of the first hand investigation of migration during the 
summer of 1917, made for the U. S. Department of Labor, 
give a detailed picture of this movement. It is interesting 
to note, in connection with the boll weevil as a cause of 
migration, that this pest entered the very section of the State 
which had been gaining most heavily by migration, 
and that the labor agents from the North, who were 
probably aware of the disorganization caused by this pest, 
operated more extensively in the rural districts of south- 
west Georgia than anywhere else. The following quotation 
from the report based upon personal interviews with Georgia 
planters in 1917 indicates the new characteristics of the 

"The reports of plantation owners and farm demon- 
strators indicate that only about 300 farmers and farm 
laborers have migrated from the Piedmont section, 1,200 
from the central Black Belt, 3,200 to 3,500 from the 20 
counties in the southwest Black Belt and Wiregrass suffer- 
ing heavy and moderate damage from the boll weevil, and 
1,200 from the Wiregrass and Coast counties, This indi- 
cates a total of about 5,2 00 Negro fa rmers and farm 
laborers who left the .State during **"* y^ars 1Q1 / ; and 1917." 

"T heir replies indicated that the lin e of heavy movement 
correspo nded closely to the line of heavy dam age by the 
we evil The ho11 w ppvjI ran not, however, be take n as the 
onl vxause of the movement in this section. In this sec- 
ti on three of the worst lynchings ev er seen in Georgia 
occurred during 1915 and 1916. The planters in the imme- 

The Movements of Countrymen 119 

diate vicinity of these lynchings a ttributed the movement 
from t heir places to the fact that the lynching parties had 
terrori zed their Negroes. Some of the co unties remote from 
the lynchings, how ever, showed as heavy a m ovement as 
th e counties where the lynching took place. On th e whole, 
th e weevil, together with the simultane ous off ers of high 
wages, seemed to be the main determining factor in the 
m ovement from southwest Georgia. Z. R. Pettet, the State 
crop estimator, says in his annual report for 1916: "The 
Negro exodus has been greatest in the territory that has been 
infested [with the weevil] long enough to make it difficult 
to grow a paying crop of cotton. The reported acute labor- 
shortage line coincides closely with the line of third-year 
infestation, except along the southern State line." It 
appears from this study • that the planters inter- 
viewed in the heavily damaged counties sustained a loss 
of 13 per cent of their plow hands, and those in the counties 
with moderate damage sustained a loss of 9 per cent. 
These percentages are slightly higher than the percentage of 
loss in the areas as a whole, for the reason that points of 
heavy movement were selected for study. The loss for all 
10 heavily damaged weevil counties would probably be close 
to 10 per cent and for the 10 moderately damaged counties 
about 6 per cent. The rural districts of the Wiregrass 
showed slightly less disturbance in their farming population 
and the Central Black Belt and Upper Piedmont were prac- 
tically undisturbed. 

The foregoing percentages are based upon figures obtained 
from plantation owners. These owners, living in the county 
towns, usually supervise their plantations closely or provide a 
competent overseer. The majority of Negroes on their places 
are, therefore, wage hands or share croppers; a few rent 
land from the planter. These are supervised almost as close- 
ly as the wage hands and share croppers. Of the '4,831 plows 
operated by planters interviewed in the boll-weevil section, 

120 Negro Migration 

1,722 were operated by wage hands, 2,334 by share croppers, 
and 775 by renters. That is to say, 36 per cent of the Negro 
plow hands on these places were working for wages, 48 
for a share of the crop, and only 16 paid a fixed rental. 
T his indicates that the area infested by the w eevil happened 
to coincide with the areas w here the ojd jpjantation system 
is most firmly estab lished. As a consequence the great 
majority of the Negroes leaving were wage hands and 
share croppers. Of the 534 leaving the boll-weevil section 
only 20 or 30 were renters. Two classes of Negro farmers 
were not reached by this inquiry among plantation owners. 
They were ( 1 ) independent renters on the land of absentee 
landlords, and (2) negro landowners. Only a scattering 
number of these were reported by farm demonstrators and 
local merchants as having left ; but while these higher types 
of the Negro farmer constitute only a small part of the 
total movement, the few who have left are noteworthy for 
the reason that they point to causes other than economic for 
their movement. The new tendencies to move from South 
Georgia, therefore, at least for two or three years have 
more than offset the old tendency to move into this land of 
previous agricultural opportunity. It is interesting to note, 
however, that in the movement from South Georgia again 
the share tenant and the labor classes contributed the over- 
whelming majority of the migrants. The renters and owners 
held on and constituted the stable class. 

Thus the moYenien^of 1916-17 bears all the earmarks of 
the earlier move ment of freedmen. Discont ent with the old 
plant ation svstenTwhich still prevai ls on some of th e South- 
e rn farms wa s intensified by low wages in 1914 and 1915, and 
th e appearance of the bo ^ wfrfvi 1 *" *hp smith western 
c orner of the State. Higher wages were offe red in the 

northern rities apd artjfipal stimjilation wa^s provided by 

the, labor a^er^ rep resenting northern in dustry. The begin- 
ni ngs of the movement may T therefore, be c haracterized as 
an intensification of the shift of Negro population which 

The Movements of Countrymen 121 

has been taking place for the past 50 years, but which was 
a ccelerated by the boll weevil an d abnormal conditions of 
no rthern indust ry. 

S kuce the movement started, however, it has induced a 
great amount of dis cussion a m ong the N egroes . themselves. 
This discussion has emphasized the social grievances of 
Negroes in the South, and since a distinct pu blic opinion 
h as been created, even among the masses of Negroes, the 
s ocial causes have been playing a part in the migration. 

They are, briefly: Injustice in the courts, lynching, de- 
ni al of suffrage, discrimination in publi c conveyan ces, and 
inequalities in educational advanta ges. These are causes - \ 
which may be expected to become more and more influ- > 
ential in the future. 


The thousands of Negroes who have moved from Black 
Belt districts into other rural areas have constituted the 
great tide of migration. In the shift, however, a certain 
number have become detached from the land and have moved 
to nearby towns. Some have wandered still further into 
Northern cities. The very rapid rate of increase in urban 
areas indicates that the Negro population of towns and large 
cities is constantly receiving additions from the rural areas. 
It was noted in Chapter I, of this part, that the increase, 
between 1900 and 1910, of 63,765 Negroes in the towns of 
over 2,500 in Georgia was numerically less than the increase 
of 78,409 Negroes in rural districts, but on a percentage basis 
this means a rate of increase of 39.6 per cent in cities as 
against 9 per cent in rural districts. 

Part of this rapid rate of increase in urban population 
was due to the extension of city boundaries between 1900 
and 1910 to include new areas, part to the 14 places which 
were smaller than 2,500 in 1900 but larger than 2,500 in 
1910, and part to the natural increase by births over deaths. 
But fully 25,000 of the increase is attributable to migration 
from country town. Excluding the tov/ns added to the 
urban area between 1900 and 1910 because of their growth, 
and noting the increase only in towns which were considered 
urban in 1900, the growth shown is 46,00a 1 

Making due allowance for extension of corporate limits 
in these towns the following is a very close approximation 
of their true increase by migration : 

Negro Population 

Towns of 2,500 in 1900 161,061 

Estimate same area 1910 203,061 

Increase 1900-1910 42,000 

Per Cent Increase 1900-1910 26.0 

iU. S. Bureau of the Census. Negro Population, 1790-1915, 
p. 96. 

City and Inter-State Migration 123 

If these towns were increasing by excess of births over 
deaths at the rate of 15 per cent, this leaves them a gain 
by migration of some 18,000 colored people. Inasm uch 
as Georgia as a whole lost 18,500 2 Negroes to other States, . 
of whom fully 7,00 were migrants from Georgia to wns 4^ 
t he total number of Georgia country Negroes who moved 
intn f>nrfnfl frowns during the decade must ha ve been about 
3^ } (Dp f whom 7.000 took the places of the emigrants and 
18.000 accounted for the increase over a bove tha t which 
would have been expected on the basis of a 15 per ce nt ex- 
cess of births over deat hs. 


Villages. — The first move of a Negro from the open 
country is usua lly to a village Of small T6WTT ~ Extended ob- 
se rvation ot the movement indicates th at very few move 
direct ly from the open country to a larg e city. The process 
is thus a series of steps whereby the effi cient members of 
the rural population are taken by the small tow n, and the 
ejS jcient members of the small t own population are in turn 
ta ken by the cit y. This greatly emphasizes t ne strategic 
importa nce of the small town. 

The rural organizatiOn^oT the ante-bellum Black Belt 
did not embrace a unit comparable to the New England or 
Middle Western village which is merely an accumulation, 
in a convenient place, of the local administrative, mercan- 
tile, and professional servants of the surrounding rural area. 
In the ante-bellum South, even in the Upper Piedmont 
section, where a sprinkling of small farmers were located, 
plantations checked the growth of numerous small centers 
of non-farming rural population. The baronial estate ab- 
sorbed the functions of the village to such an extent that 
frequently only one such settlement was developed in each 
county. This was the county seat, with its local adminis- 
trative and judicial officers, a few merchants and profes- 

*U. S. Census, 1910, Negro Population, 1790-1915, p. 71. 

124 Negro Migration 

sional men. The large planters absorbed much of the retail 
mercantile function and did their wholesale buying in the 
scattered towns. Social life centered around the "big 
house" and the "quarters" of the plantation rather than 
around the county seats. 

An almost immediate effect of the disintegration of the 
plantations was the development of villages. A number of 
these have grown into small towns and all of the widely 
scattered towns of 1865 have now grown to be cities. By 
1880 there were 170 3 of these villages, and in the next 30 
years they showed a remarkable increase. They not only 
trebled in number but also increased in size. 

Number of Villages in Georgia, 1880 and 1910 

According to Size of Village 

Total Population Number of Number of 

of Village Villages, 1880 Villages, 1910 

Less than 500 104 344 

500 to 1,000 33 98 

1,000 to 1,500 11 38 

1,500 to 2,000 7 20 

2,000 to 2,500 5 16 

Size not enumerated 10 

Total 170 516 

The table above indicates a rapid increase in the number 
of villages of all sizes. This very significant growth came 
about as a by-product of the increase of the population of 
the surrounding country and the areas of increase have been 
largely dependent on the movement of the rural popu- 
lation. This is indicated by Table 14, whlclf showed 
that in counties decreasing by migration only 12.5 per cent 
of the population lives in villages ; in the counties increasing 

8 These figures as to increase in number of villages are taken 
from an actual count of villages shown in the table of popu- 
lation of Georgia by minor civil divisions, Census of 1890, Vol. I, 
Population, Census of 1910, Vol. II, Population. White and 
colored populations of these villages are not separately shown. 
They are the smallest subdivisions of a minor civil division 
tabulated by the census. 

City and Inter-State Migration 125 

slowly 17.1 per cent live in villages; and in the rapidly 
increasing section 19.1 per cent live in villages. 

This is to be expected from the nature of the factors 
underlying the rural population movement. With static 
agricultural conditions and continued concentration of land- 
ownership in the hands of a few, the growth of the small 
centers of population is naturally stunted. On the other 
hand, in actively progressive agricultural areas, with an in- 
creasing number of prosperous independent farmers and 
families attached to the land, the growth of the village and 
small town as the center of community life is naturally 

Towns Under 25,000. — The Census enumerates as Urban 
all towns of 2,500 and over in population. Many of the towns 
which were mere clusters of houses around a cross-road in 
1860 are now in this class. A striking example is States- 
boro, Georgia, which was incorporated with less than 50 
inhabitants between 1880 and 1890. It had grown, by 1910, 
to be a town of 2,529 inhabitants. Fourteen such new towns 
were included in the Urban area of 1910. These are indi- 
cated by an X on Map III. 

ffie growth of these small town s is largely dependent 
upon the agricultural conditions o f thfl g^rrnnnHinor rural 
areas. T his is graphically illustrated by comparing Map III 
with Map II. It will be seen that the increase in towns 
under 10,000 corresponds rather closely to the increase 
in the surrounding rural areas. The towns with the slow 
rates of increase are mostly in the Black Belt. The rapidly 
increasing towns are, for the most part, in the Upper Pied- 
mont and Wiregrass. 

The farming area immediately surrounding the small 
town, however, loses Negro population by the growth of the 
town. The Urban counties (those on Map III containing a 
circle) actually lost 11,537 in Negro population between 
1900 and 1910, whereas on the basis of excess of births over 
deaths in their population one would have expected an in- 


Negro Migration 



Percentage of Increase of Negroes in Cities • 1900-1910. 


*"'! £ t OILMER S. /— "' 

IchATTOOOa/) OOROON p^ .^ \j>-y^i 

/<§ 7"— -y— 4S555 ® U~T ( m \ Q 

FLOTp fl babtow j CHEROKEE [FORSYTH/ ^*' S V _^— ■< •""'\ 

-^J-C. j-.-^-A^ J\ \l f yMAOISONV ELBERT % ^ 

<;; AOLD1W) l «»/t\ yS^^M _~*7\ V in 1900, Over a, 500 

in 1910. 

Size of Circle indicates Size of 
City. Percentage Inoreaee indi- 
cated as follows: 

^j Under SO Peroent 

@ 20 to 40 Peroent 

40 to 60 Peroent 

60 Peroent and Over. 

fl M \ „ V&kU S \mmmU «« 

.<* I MONROE \ JONES • J..^ V ■. 

|/ S 1 /T^ >-*'"H WASHINQTOI. \ \ ^." 

"* j TALBOT / V V^ FOrf0 >.- i>,OOs\ ^^.^"^J \ 

[CHATTA (MARION | "" f MACON / S: .' \ 

LAURENS •"% f 


i i^feasT 




• t U._._-\_.._Vi. -j CR1S(> j \/ TELFA.R V A/ T -._JU / \ ^T* 

r-> ^ (TERRELL, L EE ; : V J-. W J X. T'\ APPLINO f X ST-T 

•' RANDOLPH \ | I I TURNER j""" . Jj , 1 ' j ' \^ A . ^ ff*>t 

v — ' ■» ' h s ~ S— C ,rw,n >■ x i ™»"' N \ i " s ■■ *** 

DOuSSeRTY • WORTH ; *-\, ,■ cotrttL ' f^\ 

.j. — / \ 

I / iS '^. WA,y " E 



j l. O j f V.LOWNOESf' 

j ORAOY 1 TM0MAS j BROOKS .) (S) r^-.^ 

i j i (< 

*\ j 

A 1 —? 

City and Inter-State Migration 127 

crease of at least 27,844. 4 Some 3,800 of this loss was due 
to encroachment of town limits on rural area, but this 
leaves a discrepancy of about 34,500 to be accounted for 
by the movement from the urban counties. 

The extent to which one of these small towns draws on 
its surrounding rural areas for Negro population is further 
illustrated by the following table compiled from a first 
hand investigation made by the writer in 1913 covering 
about 75 per cent of the population of a town. 5 

Birthplace of Heads of Negro Families. 

Athens & Clarke County 635 Jackson 31 

Oconee 77 Morgan 20 

Oglethorpe 55 Franklin 16 

Wilkes 51 Madison 14 

Greene 46 Distant Counties 200 

Elbert 34 

Total 1,179 

Thus 54 per cent of the heads of families in Athens were 
born in the town or in Clarke County. Twenty-nine per 
cent were born in the counties which cluster around Clarke 
and 17 per cent in more distant counties. 

This condition further reflects itself in the fact that in 
towns whose activities are predominantly for the surround- 
ing rural area the proportion of Negroes in the total popu- 
lation tends to vary with the proportion in the surrounding 
rural areas. White people form a higher proportion of the 
population in all towns than they form in the surround- 
ing rural areas, but the variations in this proportion depend 
on the variations in the surrounding rural areas. For in- 
stance, of the towns under 10,000 in population in Georgia, 
those located in very black counties — Albany, Americus, 
Bainbridge, Cordele, Cuthbert, Dawson, Fort Valley, Mil- 
ledgeville, Sandersville, Thomasville, Valdosta, Washington 
and Waynesboro, have marked Negro majorities. The 
towns of Barnesville, Covington, Griffin, LaGrange 

*See Table 16. 

5 The Negroes of Athens, Ga., p. 7. 

128 Negro Migration 

and Newnan, though located in counties slightly over 50 
per cent Negro, have a Negro population of from 35 to SO 
per cent of their total population. In these towns manu- 
facturing and educational enterprises have tended to change 
the proportion of white people in the population. The towns 
of the Piedmont and Wiregrass sections, — Carrollton, Car- 
tersville, Cedertown, Dublin, Douglas, East Point, Elberton, 
Fitzgerald, Gainesville, Marietta, Monroe, Quitman, States- 
boro, Summerville, and Toccoa, all have marked white 
majorities. With the exception of Savannah and Brunswick 
the larger towns, with relatively more opportunity for white 
men, have white majorities. 

In other words, just at the point where manufacturing 
and mercantile enterprise comes in and gives the town other 
activities than those of serving the surrounding rural areas, 
the white element in the population begins to increase much 
more rapidly than the colored element and the relative num- 
ber of Negroes to whites does not reflect so nearly the 
proportions in the surrounding rural areas. The reasons 
for this condition can be best illustrated by the following 
table of the occupations of the Negroes of Athens, from the 
study cited above (page 39) : 

Distribution of Negroes Gainfully Employed 

Per Cent 

Occupation Groups Number of Total 

Professions and Business 108 5. 

Clerical Work 18 1. 

Skilled Trades 181 8. 

Domestic Service (including Laundress) 1,102 51. 

Unskilled Labor 764 35. 

2,173 100. 

Athens had a white population of 8,597 and a colored 
population of 6,316, because the State University and a 
number of wholesale firms and factories attract a white popu- 
lation. Albany, on the other hand, had a white population 
of 3,378 and a Negro population of 4,812 because the pro- 
portionate need for domestic servants and common laborers 

City and Inter-State Migration 129 

is relatively the same in towns of all sizes, while, in towns 
such as Albany, which are surrounded by large Negro popu- 
lations there are relatively more colored men in the building 
trades and on odd jobs such as drivers and porters. There 
is also additional opportunity in these towns surrounded by 
large Negro majorities for Negro merchants and profes- 
sional men. In Upper Piedmont towns, such as Gaines- 
ville, surrounded by a majority white population, the odd 
jobs and skilled trades are occupied to a greater extent by 
white people and there are relatively fewer opportunities 
for Negro merchants and professional men. 

As the small town or village is the first stop ping place 
for many rural Negroes who eventually find their way in to 
t he larger towns and cities, th e sou ndness of the smal l town 
i nstitutions is of strategic influence in their training for 
cit y life. A s tne Ne groes in the small towns are the inter- 
medianes through which ideas and institutions from the 
pity {he large rural populating they are in a position 
t o exert an influence on the surroundin g rural gro ups all out 
of proportion to their number. This, intermediary function 
is theirs : 

1. Because the activities and institutions of Negroes in 
small towns are based on the surrounding rural areas and, 
a wisely governed town adds to its own prosperity by stim- 
ulating the general prosperity of the surrounding rural areas. 

2. Because colored people in small towns are in closer 
contact with the local white leaders and are, therefore, in a 
strategic position in race relations. 

3. Because the ideas, ideals, and institutional models, 
which for the most part, radiate from large centers, are 
transmitted to the rural Negro through the medium of the 
small town or village. 

I 4. Because, as a more compact and highly organized 
population group, towns are able to accomplish co-operative 
/ and institutional enterprises which are out of the reach of 
/ the scattered, unorganized rural communities. 

130 Negro Migration 

This ability of the village to serve the surrounding rural 
areas better than they could possibly serve themselves is 
clearly indicated by the development of two types of schools. 

(a) Negro Baptist Association Schools. — Throughout the 
South the Negro Baptists are organized into associations 
which embrace several counties. Many of the associations 
operate schools. Most of these are small elementary schools 
with a few high school pupils and rooms for boarders from 
outlying sections of the association. Though they draw 
many of their pupils from the country and send many 
graduates to teach and preach in surrounding rmc?l schools 
and churches, they are almost invariably located on the edge 
of the largest town or village in the association. The few 
that are in the open country, as a rule do not prosper with- 
out outside aid, because they are not located in a place 
central enough to hold the maximum interest of all the mem- 
bers of the association ; because they lose the interest of the 
most influential members, who live in town ; because country 
boys would much prefer going to town to school; and be- 
cause, being out of the current of ideas which flows froYu 
city to small town, they are more likely to be unprogres- 

(b) County Teacher Training Schools. — Another striking 
illustration of the superior ability of the small town to 
develop institutions is in the County Teacher Training School 
movement. The Negro rural schools are hampered by 
poorly-paid, under-trained teachers. The low salary makes 
it imperative to fill the schools with local talent. This means 
that year after year, many rural schools are taught by young 
girls who have had no training beyond that given in the 
school in which they teach. In many cases this is not 
even a full grammar school education. To meet this need 
the Slater Fund desired to stimulate the growth of local 
institutions which could take local pupils and give them 
greater advantages than were offered by the one room rural 

City and Inter-State Migration 131 

schools. The central idea was to develop some one of the 
rural schools to a point where it could offer high school 
courses, limited teacher training, industrial and agricultural 
work which would cultivate an appreciation of rural values. 
A small boarding department was planned in order to give 
the schools a wider clientele. 

Except where these schools were begun in connection with 
some private institution, previously established, they have, 
almost without exception, gravitated to villages, thereby 
gaining the advantage, both of rural surroundings and of the 
use of some public school which already had a better 
building and teaching staff than the one room schools of the 
open country. The village patrons together with the patrons 
in surrounding rural districts raise more money for addi- 
tional equipment and teachers than any one rural district 
could raise. 

Constructive workers in the race and other social prob- 
lems are too likely to neglect these extreme small towns of 
strategic importance for the more evident problems of the 
large city or the open country. It is apparent, however, 
especially in view of the rate at which rural Negroes sift 
through these places, that constructive programs would do 
well to take into account the possibilities of work in villages 
and small towns. By so doing they react on the city prob- 
lems through the migrants from the small towns and on the 
rural problems through the influence of the small town 
leaders and institutions on the rural population. The develop- 
ment of the automobile is giving even greater influence to the 
small towns. 


Before 1910 there was very little migration of Negroes 
from the Cot ton States to JNofthern c ities. There has been, 
however t considerable urban developm ent within the South. 

In Georgia, the four cities with a total population of over 
25,000 are: Atlanta, with 154,839; Savannah, with 65,064; 

132 Negro Migration 

Augusta, with 41,040, and Macon, with 40,665. All of these 
places except Augusta are increasing in Negro population 
at a fairly rapid rate. But they show a larger and larger 
proportion of white residents in each successive census. All 
have grown to their present size from small towns since the 
Civil War. 

While the continued growth in size and complexity of 
activity of these places offers a wider and wider range of 
opportunity to white mill workers, clerical workers and 
business men the only added attraction for Negroes in the 
large city, other than the proportionate increase in domestic 
service and common labor opportunities, is in the concen- 
tration, of purely Negro activities such as banks, large 
schools, church and lodge headquarters, and newspapers. 

The influence of domestic service opportunity is indicated 
by' the grea t predominance of voung femal es in the city 
Negropopulations. In lJie_£nuth. Atlantic- -States there were 
in 19T0only 862^ males per 1,000 jeirt?l p<; in cities of 25,000 
to^lUqU UU. "TiTcities e * im ,000 ar^ ™,»r .+w#> we re only 
835 males p er 1,0 00 females. In Atlanta the re were only 
810 ma les per 1,000 fem ales,' an excess oQ,464 females in 
the Negro pop ulation. Of this excess. 3.562 was in. the 15 to 
30 year age group.® 


One group of inter-state migrants may be classed as 
c ity mi grants. These are the Negroes who move North. 
They are attracted almost entirely by Urban opportunity. 
This #roup was o£j^Jiyj£l¥Jitlk Jmportance before 1910. 
The other group of in ter-state migrants is made up of those 
who move a short distance from one rural are a to another 
a cross S tafelines , or from one town to another jadihin the 
South. This group, before 1910, included the large ma- 
jority of the inter-state migrants in the Cotton Belt. Inas- 

« Negro Population, 1790-1915, opp. cite, pp. 154-201. 

City and Inter-State Migration 133 

much as the former move is Northward and the latter mainly 
Westward into the Gulf Coast- Wiregrass strip of territory, 
the general trend of the movement of Negro population may 
be said to be Northward and Westward. 

In the United States, in 1910, the Negroes reported their 
State of Birth as follows : 7 

TABLE 18. 
Residence of Negroes Born in the South 

Per Cent of 
Number Born Negroes Born 
Residing in in the South in the South 

The United States— 

1910 9,109,153 100.0 

1900 8,216,458 100.0 

Increase 892,695 

The South— 

1910 8,668,619 95.2 

1900 7,866,807 95.7 

Increase 801,812 

The North and West— 

1910 440,534 4.9 

1900 349,651 4.4 

Increase 90,883 

That is to say that, in 1900, 349,651 Southern born Ne- 
groes were living in the North and West, but this number 
represented only 4.4 per cent of all Southern born Negroes. 
The number of Southern born Negroes in the country in- 
creased almost 900,000 between 1900 and 1910, but the num- 
ber of Southern born Negroes living in the North increased 
only about 91,000. This means that for each southern-born 
increase the migrant group. But this number was hardly 
sufficient to materially alter the proportion of southern- 
born Negroes living in the North, because in 1900 only 4.5 
per cent of all southern-born Negroes lived in the North, 
and by 1910 this proportion had increased very slightly to 
4.9 per cent. 

Among Georgia-born Negroes the inter-state migration 
before 1910 is indicated as follows : 8 

7 Negro Population, 1790-1915, pp. 66-67. 

8 Negro Population in the U. S., 1790-1915, p. 81. Census of 
1900, Population, p. 702. 

134 Negro Migration 

TABLE 19. 
Residence of Negroes Born in Georgia. 

Number Number Increase Per cent 

in 1910 in 1900 1900-1910 Increase 

Total born in Georgia. 1,248,352 1,090,336 158,016 14.5 

Living in Georgia... 1,097,257 958,245 139,012 14.5 

" in other States 151,095 132,091 19,004 14.4 

" "Florida.... 45,699 27,744 17,955 64.7 

" "Alabama... 31,202 31,106 96 .3 

" "Tennessee.. 13,075 11,250 1,825 16.3 

" "Arkansas.. 10,013 11,495 —1,482 —13.1 

" " other South- 

" " em States 28,313 38,022 —9,709 —25.3 

Total So. States 128,302 1 19,617 8,685 7.4 

Living in N. Y 3,792 1,925 1,867 97.0 

" Illinois . . . 2,874 1,674 1,200 71.7 

" N. J 1,578 490 1,088 222.4 

All other 14,549 8,385 6,164 71.0 

Total Non-Southern 

States 22,793 12,474 10,319 82.7 

This indicates that in 1900 there were 132,091 Georgia 
born Negroes who had migrated to other States. Of these, 
however, only 12,474 lived in Northern and Western States 
and 119,617 in Southern States, i. e., only 1.1 per cent of the 
total Georgia-born Negroes had moved outside the South, 
and 10.9 per cent had moved to other States in the South. 
By 1910 the number of Georgia-born migrants outside of the 
South had increased to 22,793, an increase of 10,300. As- 
suming that the death rate of Georgia-born in the North was 
about 25 per thousand, per year, this means that some 13,000 
Georgia-born Negroes moved North during the decade. 
This is less than 1.3 per cent of the Georgia Negroes in 

Although the No rth wnrd moypm°nt has been gaining 
headway, it appears that the important shift b efore 1910 
wa_s to other Southern States. The earlier m igrations from 
Georgia were Southward int oJTlorida and the W iregrass 
lands ot Alabama, and Westward into M ^issippi, Louisi- 
ana, Texas and Arkan sas. The Census of 1890 showed 
12,993 Georgia-born Negroes in Mississippi, 11,736 in Texas, 

City and Inter-State Migration 135 

and 5,445 in Iyouisiana. By 1900 most of these had died 
and no more had moved in to take their place and in the 
table above these States are included in the 38,022 Georgia- 
born Negroes in other Southern States. It will be seen 
that there was a rapid increase in the movement to Florida 
between 1900 and 1910, just enough movement to Alabama 
to barely maintain the Georgia-born population, a slight 
movement to Tennessee and very slight movement to other 
Southern States, the Georgia-born Negroes in these States 
decreasing 11,091 either through deaths or further move- 

Between 1916 and 1917 the Western areas and parts 
of Northern Florida were disturbed by the boll weevil 
and floods. The boll weevil also entered Georgia and 
accelerated the movement from the State. The westward 
stream of migration was blocked by adverse conditions and 
this movement had, perforce, to turn northward. Thus at 
first it was not so much a change in the essential character 
of the forces as a change in their area of incidence and their 
intensity which caused the movement to change in direc- 
tion. Since the northern opportunity was predominantly 
urban this was an urban movement. 


Truthe first hand st udy of the mig ration of 1916-17 made 
for the Department of Labor, the writer 9 esti mated that 

Whereas a bout 6 T 000 Negro fa rmers anH farm laborers had 

moved North during the two years, there were fr om 5,000 to 
JL QQO laborers who moved from cities and towns in Geo rgia. 
The following extracts from the report made on the situa- 
tion at the time indicate the character of this movement : 

"The towns Iprated in ibfl rA^nnc where the farmers 
were disturbed have, nf ™^rse . suffered a gr eater loss than 
the towns of the Pi edm o nt and tho B l a ck Belt. Skilled 
iof.r>™>rc AcpA^ioiiy ko^A bf Ar> ^ ro wn from all towns ^B ecause 

9 See Footnote 1, Chapter II. The facts are as of the summer 
of 1917. 

136 Negro Migration 

wa ges of skilled labor run proportiona tely higher in the 
N orth than in the South. The mass of Mfi gro day, laborers 
has been disturbed only in Savannah. Macon r W avcross. 
Albany, Thomasville and smaller towns in Southern Georgia. 
Augusta and the smaller towns in Middle Georgia have lost 
Negroes, but recent attempts to secure laborers for canton- 
ment construction in three Middle Georgia cities were 
successful. * * * The towns of the Upper Piedmont 
have also suffered a relatively slight loss. 

]\^ seem.*? t hat the large majority of t he migrants from 
to wns have been drawn f rom the best and poor est elements. 
The unemployed an d sh,i ft1p<;<; wprp ta,ken up by . agents and 
(a fterward, some of) the property-owning .a nri money- 
sa ving class paid th ei r own wp y u p . 

*" Bricklayers. — I he bricklayers of Georgia are about 
equally divided between the two races. In Augusta the head 
of the Negro bricklayers' union reported that 12 out of 134 
had moved North and 4 had returned (June, 1917). Reports 
from other towns indicated that from 5 to 10 per cent of 
the Negro bricklayers had moved. Enough have ^remained, 
however, to carry on construction work without incon- 
venience. The head of the bricklayers' union of Augusta 
attributed the movement of these tradesmen entirely to the 
fact that increases in wages, ranging from 10 to 15 cents per 
hour, were offered in Northern cities. About the same con- 
ditions hold for the plastering trade. 

"Carpenters. — Although a sprinkling of Negro carpenters 
moved North from the towns, no great shortage has been 
felt. From 2,000 to 4,000 carpenters have been employed in 
Atlanta, 1,500 to 2,000 in Macon, and 1,000 or more in 
Augusta for the construction of Army cantonments. About 
half of these were Negroes. * * * Hitherto carpenters 
have been getting 30 and 35 cents per hour ; cantonment work 
pays 40 cents. 1 Ship carpenters are badly needed in Savan- 
nah, but this is a new trade for the South. 

"Day Labor. — Practically all of the day labor in Georgia,, 
outside of the Upper Piedmont and mountain towns, is done 
by Negroes. All through the Cotton Belt fertilizer works, 
oil mills, gins, and compresses employ Negroes, and in the 
larger towns employment is also furnished to Negroes as 
railway shop helpers, street laborers, porters, drivers, hod 
1 Carpenters in the North in 1920 were making about five times 
this amount and wages have also advanced in the South. 

City and Inter-State Migration 137 

carriers, etc. This class of labor is scarcer in Georgia than 
it probably ever has been before, and a number of employers 
complain of green and inexperienced hands. The fertilizer 
plants — one or more in every town of over 2,000 people — 
employ from 30 to 300 men. They take on about 25 per 
cent of their labor in the fall and reach their maximum in 
January and February. The managers of these plants, 
especially in the southern portion of the State, 
report that many of their hands have moved north 
since they were laid off in the spring. They are 
apprehensive that they will not be able to renew their force 
without considerable trouble. After the cotton picking sea- 
son is over, any shortage in these plants must eventually 
be made up from the surrounding rural districts, because 
the farmer can not compete with the town employer in the 
matter of wages. In 1916, when farm hands were getting 50 
and 75 cents a day, the oil mills and fertilizer works paid 
80 cents and $1 and $1.25 a day. During the latter part 
of the 1916 season many of these industries were paying 
$1.50 and $1.75 a day. 

Complaint of incompetent labor is especially prevalent 
among railway shop foremen and bosses of section gangs. 
Negroes who work for the railroads, however, are contin- 
ually shifting their employment, even in normal times. The 
Central of Georgia shops at Macon, the Atlanta, Birming- 
ham & Atlantic shops at Fitzgerald, and the Atlantic Coast 
Line shops at Waycross reported great disturbance last sum- 
mer and a continued shifting of their labor up to date. 
The Central of Georgia shops in Macon employ about 600 
Negroes, mostly unskilled, and they report that during the 
three months March-May, 1917, when a labor agent was 
active in Macon, they lost approximately 200 Negroes per 
month, or one-third of their normal force. In normal times 
their turnover was about 100 per month. The section gangs 
of the Georgia Southern & Florida ; Atlanta, Birmingham & 
Atlantic; and parts of the Central of Georgia and Coast 
Line are also reported short. In general, the movement 
of common laborers has been stopped by a rise in the scale 
of wages from 75 and 80 cents per day in 1916 to $1.25, 
$1.50, and $2 a day in the summer of 1917." 

Tt...tlmQ appears * W, corresponding to the .f arm owners 
a nd renters in the country the re is algn a stable "uppe rv. • 

138 Negro Migration 

tenth" among the Negro population of the towns, com- 
posed of the merchants, doctors, teachers and preachers. 
Just as the unattached agricultural laborers constitute the 
shifting class in the country districts, so the domestic and 
the common laborer is the migrant in the city. Home owner- 
ship is still proportionately small in the Negro population. 
Only 22 per cent of Negroes in the United States who 
occupy "other than farm" homes are owners. A fourth of 
these homes are mortgaged. The owners of other than 
farm homes, however, increased between 1890 and 1910 
from 143,500 to 285,000, or about 100 per cent. 10 

This growth of a stable, home-owning class in the town 
is fully as encouraging as the growth of landownership in 
the country. It is to the personal interest of these settled 
property-owning Negro leaders to keep their fellow towns- 
men from migrating. It is therefore very significant that 
these leaders did not oppose but rather encouraged the 
migration of 1916-17. Although their personal interest 
is in seeing their race stay in the South, the conditions from 
which they were moving were so patently undesirable that 
the leaders either did not discourage or actively encouraged 
the movement. 


The abnormal wage conditions of 1916-17 are so widely 
known that little need be said in connection with them as a 
principal cause of the movement. It has also been noted 
that the movement itself created a sort of a suction which 
drew others along. Dr. W. T. B. Williams, the colored 
investigator, on the Department of Labor survey, summed 
this up in the following keen observation : 

" The unusual amou n ts of money coming in, the glowing 
accounts f rom the North, and the excitement and stir of 
greafT Towcls leaving, work upon t he feelmgs__of many 
NeftfQesr Thev pull up and follow aTmo s F without-gnrason. 
they are stampeded into action. This accountsj njarge part 

10 Negro Population, 1790-1915, p. 460. 

City and Inter-State Migration 139 

fo r the apparently unreasonable doings of many who give 

up i-^nnri positions or sap-jti^; y^Jllf^Jhj™^^ Or good 

busi nesses to go No rth." 

In speaking of the more definite causes of the move- 
ment he continues: 

"The treatment acorded the Negro always stood second, 
whe n not' first, amuiig die leasons given by Negroes for 
leavin g the ijouth . 1 talked with all classes of colored peo- 
ple from Virginia to Louisiana, farm hands, tenants, farm- 
ers, hack drivers, porters, mechanics, barbers, merchants, 
insurance men, teachers, heads of schools, ministers, drug- 
gists, physicians, lawyers, and in every instance the matter 
of treatment came to the front voluntarily. This is the 
all-absorbing, burning question among the Negroes." 

It is this "treatment," which operates more and more 
as a cause for race movement as the Negro develops 
a fuller group consciousness. It demands the attention 
of the really constructive statesmen of the country. Although 
this is a topic which has as many angles as there are race 
contacts in the South, the most discussed phases are housing, 
protection and justice in the courts and various institutional 
provisions for colored people. These tend more to cause 
the movement to cities than to influence the movements 
from one country district to another. 

Ho using. — Negro rental property is notoriously a high 

yielding inv^mpn t in .^nntViAm tnwnc anH sanitary COn- 
HitJrmc Jn many nf the "NTpprrp, dJS,^^* "* thggp towns have 

b een properly termed atr ocious. 

A first hand study of a Piedmont town and educational 
center in Georgia revealed the following conditions i 11 

Rooms Occupied by Negro Families: 
Number of Families Number of Families 

Occupying Occupying 

1 room 148 5 rooms 43 

2 rooms 517 6 rooms 27 

3 rooms 313 7 rooms 9 

4 rooms 156 Over 7 rooms 11 

Less than 5 rooms 1,134 5 or more rooms 90 

11 See The Negroes of Athens, Ga., opp. cite, Chapter III. 

14° Negro Migration 

Thus it appears that the two-and three-room houses 
are the most usual and that 1,134 or 93 per cent of the 1,224 
families live in houses of fewer than five rooms. A more 
detailed examination of the premises surrounding these 
houses showed that the inmates of 1,008 of them use out- 
side privies in some form. Most of them have a small earth 
closet close to the house. A ^ ew have no p rivy at all on the 
prpmicpc, ..3^ 11 S ? t h at of a nei gh bor, In such cases the 
landlords build no fence between the houses and provide 
one joint privy for four or five houses. In one instance the 
inmates of five houses were using one small box-like house, 
six by four feet, and in another four large double houses 
were using one privy of the same dimensions. 

The soil is further polluted by the continued dumping 
of waste water and scraps in the back y ards. No Negro 
re nted house has a^si n k. The_ water is emptied on the 
ground. Among these privies and waste-water dumps are 
the 519 wpIIc frnm <af\j\fh t he Negro es~"bT the city get most 
of their water. Under such conditions the water must be 
unhealthy and typhoid breeding. The city bacteriologist has 
tested 47 wells in the years 1913-1914 and reported that 
most of them should be condemned. 

Such conditions are common throughout the Negro set- 
tlements in many towns. Mu nicipalities n eglect these dis- 
tricts in paving - , sewerage and water connections. Notwith- 
standing the undesirability of the houses and premises, the 
rents are comparatively high. From the same study of 
Athens ( p. 13-16) we note the following condition : 

The average rent (1913) in the two best settlements of 
the town was $1.77 per month or $6.00 per house averaging 
3.4 rooms, from 15 to 20 per cent return on the amount 
invested in the property. T here is so me evidence also that 
the rest of t hese hou ses is regulated to the price that the 
market will bear A Negro will rent a house and pay $6.50 
per month for it while his neighbor is paying $6.00 per 
month for a house which is as like it as one pea to another. 

City and Inter-State Migration 141 

While the rental was $1.77_per room per month in the best 
settlements, it was $2.04 per room pe r month for houses 
o£ similar construction and value in the worst settlements — 
the localities where the houses are crowded in rough and 
rocky streets, intersected by railroad spur tracks. .This sim- 
ply means t hat the Negro, occupying an inferi or bargain- 
ing^ jgosition^J^^^xrjbite^^ of this class of 
renta l proper ty. 

Such a condition adds to the discontent of the colored 
pe ople-arid undoubtedly oinTftbutes ""To* the "willingness to 
move!! The tenements of Northern cities, though often 
more^ congcotcd and in s ome -ways more unsanitary, are 
nevertheless, to he preferr ed t o these frame, hovels without 
l ight, water , sewerage or paving, yet costing a relatively 
high rent ! 

Rrntprtin n and Justice in the Coux is ■ Whipping as a 
form of maintaining discipline on tmny plantations con- 
ti nued lon ^ after t he rnlnreH mpn w^re frfH The superior 
protection offered by the city from this and other forms of 
rough handling for which the country Negro has little 
redress has been a powerful influence for discontent with 
rural protection. In the Southern city the Negro is prac- 
tically as well protected from these flagrant forms of 
violence and from mobs as in the Northern city. These in- 
fluences may, therefore, be said to operate* more as causes 
for movement from country to city than from South to 

There is evidence, however, that in friction which brings 
the N egro into court in th e^ftfMith n<a is in many instances 
likely to receiv e a summary t rial. This question of justice 
in the courts is one uppermost in the Negro mind and its 
constant discussion probably has as much effect in adding 
to the apprehension and discontent of the law-abiding Negro 
as to the increase of the criminal class. The subject is one 
which should be investigated much further than the scope 
of this study permits. 

142 Negro Migration 

Though about three times as many Negroes per 100,000 
are committed in the North as in the South, the crimes for 
which they are committed are about of the same nature. 
That is, 2,236.7 per 100,000, or 78.9 per cent of the total 
number of commitments in the North and 732.5, or 83.2 
per cent of the total number of commitments in the South 
are for minor offenses, — larceny, drunkenness and disorderly 
conduct, vagrancy, juvenile offenses and other minor offenses. 

Notwithstanding this virtual equality in the proportions 
committed for minor offenses, there is a striking inequality 
in the length of sentences which were served. The pro- 
portion of long sentences in the South seems unduly 
high. 12 

Per Cent Committed For: 

Over 1 month 1 month 

1 year to 1 year or less 
White Commitments: 

North 6.9 53.9 39.2 

South 33.8 37.8 28.4 

Negro Commitments: 

North 16.0 53.5 30.5 

South 42.3 40.4 17.4 

Thus 42.3 per cent of the Negroes in the South are 

committed for a year or more, while only 16 per cent are 

given such a long term in the North ; and only 17.4 per cent 

of the Southern Negroes are committed for 1 month or less, 

while 30.5 per cent of the Northern commitments are for 

this short period. The fact that the commitments are also 

longer for white people in the South indicates that some of 

this discrepancy in length of sentence is due to a sectional 

rather than a racial difference in administration of justice. 

The purely sectional tendency to impose longer sentences 

in the South on both races is not, however, sufficient to 

account for the tremendous proportion of Southern Negroes 

committed for over a year and the very small proportion 

committed for less than a month. 13 

12 Negro population in the U. S., opp. cite, p. 440. 
18 Relative ability to pay fines does not offset this conclusion 
since in the South 66.8 per cent of Negro commitments and 65.0 

City and Inter-State Migration 143 

y^per cent of white commitments were for non-payment of fines. 
J This seems rather to indicate that relatively more Negroes are 
\ to be found serving the short sentences through inability to pay 
/ fines, and yet it was noted that the percentage serving the short 
/S sentence is much smaller than the percentage of whites. In 
I J the North only 52.5 per cent of Negroes are serving through 
/ inability to pay fines imposed. This again indicates that a much 

^ larger proportion of Negroes committed in the South are serving 

through inability to pay fines than is the case in the North. 

These figures seem to indicate a definite tendency on the 
part of Southern courts to impose heavier sentences on 
the Negro than upon whites, and heavier sentences than 
those imposed by the Northern courts upon the Negro. 
The strikingly small number of commitments for less than 
a month is also indicative of a tendency on the part of 
Southern judges to condone or merely reprimand certain 
pecadillos of the Negro which are punished with short 
imprisonment in the North. 

In some districts the system of employing convicts on 
the roads of the county in which they are convicted, influ- 
ences judges in imposing heavy sentences, but in most 
instances there is an honest belief on the part of the judge 
that the best way to apply correction to the Negro is to 
follow somewhat the method applied to children, i. e., either 
merely to reprimand and warn, or to impose a heavy punish- 

This question of summary disposal of minor offenders 
is, however, but a part of the story. If adequate figures as 
to ratio of arrests to convictions could be secured, it would 
be noted that many officers are overzealous in arresting 
Ne groes. Th e following quotation from an editorial of a 
leading Georgia daily during the migration indicates that at 
least some of the Southern communities are awakening to 
this consideration: 


"Everybody seems to be asleep about what is going on 
right under our noses — that is, everybody but those farmers 
who waked up on mornings recently to find every Negro 

144 Negro Migration 

over 21 on their places gone. * * * And we go about 
our affairs as usual — our police raid pool rooms for "loaf- 
ing Negroes," bring in 12, keep them in the barracks all 
night, and next morning find that 10 of them have steady 
jobs and were there merely to spend an hour in the only 
indoor recreation they have; our county officers hear of a 
disturbance at a Negro resort and bring in fifty-odd men, 
women, boys and girls to spend the night in jail, to make 
a bond at 10 per cent, to hire lawyers, to mortgage half 
of two months' pay to get back to their jobs Monday morn- 
ing, although but half a dozen of them could have been 
guilty of disorderly conduct." 

Another Mississippi daily adds the following: 

"We allow petty officers of the law to harass and oppress 
our Negro labor, mulcting them of their wages, assessing 
stiff fines on trivial charges, and often they are convicted 
on charges, which if preferred against a white man would 
result in prompt acquittal." 14 

Whether this tendency is due to a mistaken sense of duty 
or to the operation of the system which provides a payment 
of a fixed sum per arrest to officers is immaterial. Re- 
gardless of its cause, it has a very disquieting effect even 
among the law-abiding Negroes. 

Aside from matters involving arrest, the Negro feels 
that in civil cases he does not always have an absolutely 
impartial verdict when he is involved in a dispute with a 
white man. No data are available on this point. But the 
main point of« interest in the study of migration is that 
regardless of the extent to which Negroes are right or 
wrong in their complaint against the administration of 
criminal and civil justice, it is a real factor in their dis- 
content, and as it is discussed more and more, it becomes a 
more important factor. As such it demands a much more 
thorough investigation at the hands of those who love 
justice and who desire to weaken the forces which contrib- 
ute to migration. 

"These two quotations are requoted from Negro Migration 
in 1916-17, opp. cite, p. 106. 


City and Inter-State Migration 145 

Churches. — The superior advantages to the colored people 
afforded by the institutions of the city and the institu- 
tions of the North are undoubtedly a great factor both in the 
movement from country to town and from South to North. 

A s. far as their c hurches are concerned, the Negroes 
ar e practically left tcTwofk out their own salvation. The 
bonds hfitwgen the Negro and white Met hod ist and Bap- 
ttato a re YfTy Ino.s* Denominationalism is so strong in 
the colored population that there is too rapid an increase 
of small, poorly-pastored, poorly-housed churches in the 
country. The ability of the city and town congregation to 
provide better church facilities is a factor in the urban 

Schools, — A thorough analysis of the school situation 
directed by Dr. Thomas Jesse Jones, and published as Bul- 
letins 38 and 39, U. S. Bureau of Education, 1917, pictures 
the _great inferi ority of the co lor e^ srhno ^and from this 

ptrtnro nnP ran readily rfl ^Kze why lack- ^of educational 

fac ilities should be urged by Npg™ ^arifjrff qo a reason 

for pOptllatiflin mew/^^ni- 

The report of the Bureau of Education (Vol. I, Chapter 
II) pointed out that per capita expenditures for teachers' 
salaries in Southern States for all children are much lower 
than expenditures in Northern States. In contrast with 
California, whose annual public expenditures for teachers' 
salaries is $36.30 per child, and New York, whose expen- 
diture is $25.40, the range in Southern States is from $12.36 
in Maryland to $4.16 in North Carolina. The public ex- 
penditure for colored children is much lower than this 
per capita for all children. In Southern States the per 
capita for Negro children ranged from $8.53 in Kentucky 
to $1.44 in South Carolina. In the Black Belt counties, the 
per capita for colored children is much lower than in coun- 
ties having a smaller Negro population. The report gives 
the following table of counties grouped according to per- 
centage of Negroes in their total population : 

146 Negro Migration 

Per Capita Expenditure for Teachers' Salaries in Southern 

Counties Grouped According to Percentage of 

Negroes in the Population. 

White Negro 
Per Capita Per Capita 

Counties under 10 per cent $7.96 $7.23 

Counties 10 to 25 per cent 9.55 5.55 

Counties 25 to 50 per cent 11.11 3.19 

Counties 50 to 75 per cent 12.53 1.77 

Counties 75 per cent and over 22.22 1.78 

This low per capita for both races is attributed to the 
fact that the South, with less wealth than other sections, 
has difficulty in securing adequate revenue for the school 
system, and that this revenue has to be divided between the 
two systems of schools. In the counties over 50 per cent 
Negro, the colored children are crowded into one-room 
country schools, while the more scattered white children 
are provided with a proportionately larger number of 

The first great problem to be solved is that of adequate 
space for pupils. In some of the Southern States the per- 
centage of colored children 6 to 14 years of age who attend 
school is as low as 35. In almost all the districts in the 
open country there are less than one-third of the children 
in attendance. The report points out that "Many communi- 
ties do not own school buildings for the colored children. In 
Alabama over 61 per cent of colored schools are taught 
in buildings not owned by the county and in Georgia 
such school houses form 63 per cent of the total. * * * 
A careful survey of three typical counties in Alabama, 
made by State supervisors of schools, disclosed the fact 
that whereas the seating capacity of the 80 colored schools 
was but 3,794 their enrollment was 6,391 and attendance 
5,832. In other words, these schools were called upon to 
accommodate, at the time of the survey, 2,038 more pupils 
than their normal capacity." 

City and Inter-State Migration 147 

The average annual salary for 1911-12 and 1912-13, for 
Negro teachers in public schools, ranged from $310.05 in 
Kentucky to $110.54 in South Carolina. The report con- 
tinues : "It is little wonder that 70 per cent of the teachers 
in the Black Belt States have less than six grades of ele- 
mentary education." 

Poor housing and poor teaching, coupled with a short 
school term of only five or six months, renders the ele- 
mentary instruction of those pupils who do attend schools 
very inadequate. The public high school facilities in the 
rural districts are very limited. Only 64 public high schools 
and 200 schools offering some secondary subjects for 
Negroes were listed by the report of the Bureau of Edu- 
cation. Practically all of these were located in cities or 
small towns. In the State of Georgia, the only full public 
high school was in Athens. The cities of Atlanta and 
Macon had no high school for Negroes in their public school 

Not only are the special institutions provided for Negroes 
progressively better in country districts with white majori- 
ties than in the Black Belt, better in towns than in the 
country and better in Northern than in Southern cities, but 
the public works used by both races, such as roads and 
streets, are also progressively better. 15 

Thus social caus es which seem to play but a small part 
in influencing the movement from one rural district to 
anot her are increasingly iml>oftant in c ity migrations. The 
influence of these socia l causes is also increasing as the 
Negr o develops an increasingly definite group conscious- 

15 This list includes all the principle grievances of the Negro 
except denial of the ballot and poor facilities in public convey- 
ances. While these grievances cause movement from South 
to North, they are not included in this list of causes of movement 
from country to city because within any state conditions of 
travel and of suffrage are the same for countrymen as for city 


Such a volume of movement as has been described in pre- 
ceding chapters can but have profound effects upon the 
Negro population and upon the communities gaining or 
losing by migration. Some description of these effects is 
necessary before the study is complete. 

Almost all of the so-called Negro problems are com- 
plicated by the fact that there are many migrants in the 
colored population. To trace fully the detailed results of 
migration would require a rather ambitious treatment of 
many different phases of the Negro question. The best 
that can be done in the remainder of this study is to out- 
line some of the most patent effects. Even these are not 
presented in detail. The brief treatment given, however, 
indicates that some abnormalities which are often said to 
be due to traits inherent in the Negro race may be largely 
explained by the abnormal number of migrants in the 
population. M any students of the ra ce problems have tended 
to attribute ab normalities in sex" distrib ution, fecundity, 
vitali ty, crim inality, insanit y, and evert in, Negro insti- 
tutions almost entirely to inherent traits of racial he redity. 

it is not withm the province Of this volume to determine 
the extent to which the Negro has a different racial heredity 
from the white man. In trying to do this we would be com- 
pelled to traverse too much debatable ground. Anthro- 
pologists, physiologists and psychologists have too many 
points to settle before this question can be answered 
with any degree of scientific accuracy. If, however, it 
appears that many of the peculiarities in population and 
institutions can, in a large measure, be accounted for by 

The Results of Migration 149 

conditions in the social environment such as migration, and 
that the same peculiarities also exist to some degree among 
other racial groups in the same circumstances, then the im- 
portance of determining whether or not the Negro has 
hereditary tendencies in these directions is greatly lessened. 
Much more practical value attaches to the study of how far 
these abnormalities are modified by the environment, and 
how the environment may be changed to minimize them. 


Sex and Age. — The outstanding peculiarity of the Negro 
migration before 1910 was that young women and young 
men furnished the predominant majority of the migrants 
from the Black Belt. Since the young men were moving 
mainly from one agricultural section to another, 1 and since 
the young women were moving both from one agricultural 
section to another and to the towns in response to domestic 
service opportunity, the women were leaving the rural dis- 
tricts faster. But even in increasing rural counties the in- 
crease in females is greater than the increase in males, 
mainly because of villages included in these counties. 

The following table gives the movement by sexes in the 
rural counties of Georgia grouped according to whether 
they are losing, gaining slowly or gaining rapidly in popu- 
lation. (See shading of Map II). 

Increase of Negroes by Sex 
Rural Districts of Georgia, 1900-1910 

County Group Increase Increase 

Males Females 

Counties Losing 115 — 550 

Counties Gaining Slowly 12,660 14,045 

Counties Gaining Rapidly 29,338 32,088 

It has previously been noted that this different move- 
ment of the two sexes has created a great excess of females 
in the cities. Where there are only from 800 to 900 males 
per 1,000 females the resultant disturbance in family life 

1 This statement applies to the pre-war migration. During 
the war males were moving to industrial cities of the North. 

150 Negro Migration 

and morality is necessarily great. The writer's study of 
Athens, Georgia, revealed the following condition of the 
women with children under 18 years of age: 

Athens, Georgia. 

Conjugal Condition of 742 Negro Women with Children 

Number single 30 or 4 per cent of total 

Number widowed 113 or 16 per cent of total 

Number separated S3 or 7 per cent of total 

Number living with husband 546 or 73 per cent of total 

The number of women with illegitimate children indi- 
cates' ulZioraIff)ra^^ and separated 

census does not tabulate separately the conjugal condition 
of Negro women rearing children, but in the total female 
population the following proportions prevailed in 1910: 

Conjugal Condition: Per Cent Female Population 15 Years of 
Age and Over— 1910 (p. 237)2 

Single Married Widowed Divorced 

Negro 26.6 57.2 14.8 1.1 

White 30.1 59.0 10.1 .6 

This indicates that there are proportionately fewer col- 
ored than white women single. This is probably due to 
earlier marriages. But a larger proportion of Negroes are 
widowed or divorced. The proportions in urban communi- 
ties, where migration has upset the ratio between the sexes, 
are quite different from the proportions in the population 

Conjugal Condition: Per Cent of Negro Female Population in 
Urban Communities--1910 (p. 270) 

Single Married Widowed Divorced 
Middle Atlantic States. 30.8 52.6 15.8 .5 

South Atlantic States.. 30.2 49.4 19.2 .9 

2 Inasmuch as this chapter is almost entirely based on data 
contained in "Negro Population in the United States, 1790-1915" 
U. S. Bureau of the Census, numerous footnotes are avoided by 
merely including page references to this volume in parentheses in 
the text. 

The Results of Migration 151 

as a whole. This table indicates that the proportion of single 
and widowed females is considerably higher in the cities of 
both the North and the South than in the total Negro pop- 
ulation. Much of the low morality and looseness of family 
tie s indicated bvthese figures is due to t he disturbance in the 
ratio of the tw a sexes throug h migration. 

Number of Children Born. — The census figures tabulated 
under the heading of "Fertility" need further interpreta- 
tion for several reasons. In the first place, they are a ratio 
of the number of children to the number of women 15 to 44 
years of age. This ratio depends on the proportion of 
women who are married, the number of children born and 
the proportion who survive. With this in mind the follow- 
ing figures from the Census of 1910 are suggestive (p. 288) : 
In the South there were 617 white children under 5 years of 
age per 1,000 white women of 15 to 44 years of age, while 
there were only 554 colored children per 1,000 colored 
women of 15 to 44 years of age. In other words, even in 
the South, where the Negro population increases most rap- 
idly, the disturbances in sex ratio, marriage rate and infant 
mortality have reduced the proportion of colored children 
below that of the native white children. In the North 
there were only 282 colored children per 1,000 col- 
ored women 15 to 44 years of age, whereas there were 
442 white children per 1,000 white women of the same 
age. This is in part due to the disturbance in the sex ratio 
and the consequent lowering of the marriage rate, and it 
is in part due to the rise in the standard of living in North- 
ern communities. The increased struggle for existence in 
the cities and increased living expenses causes a decrease 
in the birth rate. This is indicated by the fact when the 
ratio is based on married women instead of all females 
between the ages of 15 and 44 it is as follows: Children 
under 5 years per 1,000 married females in the South, 
749 white and 757 colored, in the North 539 white and 396 

152 Negro Migration 

Studies of the sex ratio of our immigrant population 
indicate that there is almost as much disturbance, in their 
birth rate, but that males predominate among the European 
immigrants while females predominate among the Negro 
migrants. Similar small proportions of children to the total 
foreign born population, and married males to the foreign 
born population may be noted. 

The migration since 1916 was at first so largely made up 
of male laborers that the inequality of sexes in the Eastern 
cities has tended to be reduced. In some of the industrial 
cities which had no appreciable Negro population before 
1916, there is now a great excess of males. 

Excess of Deaths Over Births and Vitality. — It is fairly 
well known that the Negro populations in Northern cities 
are not self-sustaining by excess of births over deaths. 
This is to be expected from the foregoing statement that 
there were in 1910 only 282 colored children to each 1,000 
colored women 15 to 44 years of age in the North and only 
396 for each 1,000 married women of that group. In a study 
of the Negroes of Boston, Massachusetts, John Daniels 
noted 3 that between 1900 and 1910 in Greater Boston, the 
birth rate and death rate among the Negroes were exactly 
equal, being 25.4 per 1,000 in each case. Among the whites 
the birth rate was 26.9 and the death rate 18.7. The birth 
rate has not even equalled the death rate except recently. 
Daniels points out that from 1870 to 1875 the Negro 
death rate was as high as 41.3 per thousand while the birth 
rate was only 30.9. "The excessive mortality and paucity 
of births have thus worked for the extinction of Boston's 
native Negro population." 

An examination of the annual reports of the Commis- 
sioner of Public Health of New York City, 4 indicates that 

s "In Freedom's Birthplace," John Daniels, pp. 471, 134, and 

4 "Annual Reports," Commissioner Public Health, New York 
City, 1906, 1916. Tables showing Total Births and Deaths for 
Colored in New York City. 

The Results of Migration 153 

in the 10-year period 1906-1916 there was an average ex- 
cess of deaths over births among the Negroes of New 
York amounting to about 400 per year, the total excess for 
the 10-year period being 3,964. In 1910 the death rate among 
the Negroes of New York was 25.1 and the birth rate 
22.2. This actual loss of about 3 per cent in ten 
years is in startling contrast with the gain of over 
15 per cent in Georgia between 1900 and 1910. In this 
respect migration from the Cotton Belt bids fair to reduce 
the rate of increase in the Negro population tremendously. 

This means that the increasing populations of these 
Northern cities are maintained by constant additions of 
migrants from the South. Unfortunately, no comparable 
statistics are available for the Southern States. Only a 
few large cities and two border States are included in the 
Census vital statistics registration area. Such figures as are 
available, however, seem to indicate that the differences 
in rates of increases of native-born Negroes in the North 
and in the South are due rather to a difference in birth 
rate than in the death rate. In fact, the Negro death rate 
for 24 Southern cities was 29.6 per thousand, and in 33 
Northern cities was 25.1. The large rural population of the 
South must then have a death rate of somewhere around 
20 to 25 per thonsand (p. 315), and a very high birth rate, 
for it is from these areas that the increases in the cities of 
the South as well as the North are drawn. 

A much more detailed study of the refined death rate 
(per 1,000 Negroes of different ages in the population), and 
of the rates from different diseases is necessary before 
exact conclusions are warranted as to what these figures 
indicate in regard to the vitality of the Negro. In the 
number of migrants in the population, however, we have 
an explanation for much of this irregularity in birth and 
death rates of different sections. It can be seen that in the 
country districts where the number of migrants form only 
a small proportion of the population, the ratio of sexes 

154 Negro Migration 

is comparatively undisturbed, the number of married 
women higher, the standard of living lower, and hence that 
there is a larger proportion of married women and more 
children per married woman. On the other hand, although 
deaths from malaria and typhoid are probably more fre- 
quent in the country, the Negro's chief foes, tuberculosis 
and pneumonia, are more deadly in the city, and especially 
in the colder climate of the North.. But the superior 
intelligence of migrants and the fact that they are in the 
more robust age group bring their general death rate in the 
North down slightly below the rate in Southern cities. 

A bnormal Social Classes. — T he high proportion of crim- 
inals, delinquents, a nd insane amonff Neg roes has also been 
attribut e hy many writern tft racial traits. Here again, 
however, are a grou p of p h enomena which may, to some 
gvten^ ha flvpantnH frntn the H^Qf^rb^re nf any population 

by migration . The available data a jso ind icate th e influence 
o£ migratio p on abnormal classes in the Negjo p opulation. 

The following figures are suggestive of the principal 
factors underlying the situation. (439) 

Prisoners and Juvenile Delinquents: Commitment Rates 
per 100,000 of Each Race, 1910. 

White Negro 

The North 503.2 2,836.0 

The West 815.7 3,667.4 

The South 258.1 880.3 

T he low commitment rate for white and colored in the 
South in due both to the predominance of the rural ele- 
m ent and tcr the small proportion of migrants in the South- 
ern populat ion. 

In the West North Central section, which approaches the 
South in its proportion of rural inhabitants, the com- 
mitment rate for native white people was only 296 per 

100.000, or only 38 more than the rate in the South. , Its 
commitment rate for fqrejgja,.boni whites was, however, 

550.1. That is, among the migrants the commitment rate 

The Results of Migration 155 

wa s_almost double that of the nft tivr whitr-rrrnplr This 
in fluence of city life and migration on the crime rate is 
fu rther evident from the rates in New England w ith 630.2 
commitments per 100,000 per native whites and 1,143.2 for 
the same number of foreign born. Due to th e concentration 
in citie s the commitment rate for both native and foreign 
born in New England is more than double that in the 
West~Nnrth Central States, whi le in both secti ons the rate 
foi L-foreign born migrants is double that of _t he native 
w hites. 

T his discussion indicates the e ffects of ^u rbanization and 
the disturbance of the fa mily life on crimeT This is espe- 
cia lly evirleiiL in the ngures on Negro commitmen ts since the 
r ate in the North is about ZY 2 times the r ates i n the S outh. 

Th e strain of urb an life and migration is also evident 
in the insanity rate a mong the Negroes (p p. 448-457). In 
1910 the number of insane admitted to asylums per 100,000 
of each racial class was: 59.7 among the whites of the 
South Atlantic States and 44.6 among the Negroes. In the 
Middle Atlantic States, on the other hand, the number was 
105.9 for whites and 153.8 for Negroes. Although these 
differences in rates reflect in part the differences in prac- 
tice of admitting insane and in the facilities for caring for 
them, still they also reflect the greater strain o f the urban 
Hf» nf tli a Mrn-fo rm fog rm^a^ ffrfa jc further empha- 
sized Jw the difference in urban and rural insanity rates in 
thAJM^rth a *H South The Negro insane admitted to hos- 
pitals in 1910 were as follows : Middle Atlantic States, 45.8 
per 100,000 rural Negroes and 115.6 for the same number 
of urban Negroes, South Atlantic States, 31.8 per 100,000 
rural Negroes, and 86.2 per 100,000 urban Negroes. 

Social and Economic Classes. — Migration also plays its 
part in forming and redistributing the social and economic 
classes. The Negro population was in 1860 subdivided only 
into farm laborers, artisans, domestics and free Negroes. 

156 Negro Migration 

But in the past sixty years the differing response to economic 
opportunity has created a wide range of Negro classes. In 
the rural districts the farm laborer, tenant and owner are 
on very different planes, and in the city the common laborer, 
the domestic, the skilled tradesman, the business man, and 
Negro leader are quite distinct types. 

As the more energetic atnd successful respond more 
quickly to opportunity and move toward it, many of the 
leaders of the race are now located in the city group. In 
fact, with the centralization of Negro churches, lodges, 
business, and newspapers in the city, the leadership of the 
colored people seems to be definitely centered in the urban 


Agricultural Organisation. — The constant shifting of the 
colored population also has deep rooted effects on the organ- 
izations in which the Negro participates. Throughout 
Part I the plantation and other forms of rural organization 
were considered as causes of migration, but the loss of 
population in turn has its reaction upon this rural organiza- 
tion. It was noted that in 1865-70, in the area from which 
the ex-slaves began to move, many planters began to aban- 
don the gang labor system, offering share tenancy as a basis 
for keeping the Negro contented with farm life. Simi- 
larly in 1916-17, the loss of labor and the boll weevil reacted 
upon the farmers of Georgia, and in order to meet the situ- 
ation, less cotton was planted per hand. With more diversi- 
fied food crops the farmers found that they could cultivate 
more land with much less labor. In fact the Negro migra- 
tion in this respec t is enfo rcin g the diye rsificatiQiuof agri- 
cultu re and the introduction of machinery, two of the most 
nee ded reforms in the Cotton Belt system of cu ltivation. 
Though the shortage of labor works a hardship during 
the transition period, in the long run its results will be bene- 
ficial, if it leads to the termination of the tyrannical rule 

The Results op Migration 157 

of King Cotton over the Black Belt, and the establishment 
of a large number of relatively prosperous small farmers 
in the place of the extensive gang labor system of exploiting 
the soil. 

But the change in farm life and in relations between 
tenant and landlord are even more significant. Labor 
troubles discourage many planters and they sell out or rent 
their lands. Those who wish to retain laborers and halvers 
must make concessions. The Report of the Department of 
Labor noted that the planters who were most successful 
in holding labor were those who accorded the best treat- 
ment. The movement seems to emphasize this treatment 
in the minds of planters and renders them more willing 
to democratize the plantation. 

Industry. — The most radical change caused by the move- 
ment since 1916 has been the entry of some 140,000 colored 
men in industry. These are, to a great extent concentrated 
in eleven large industrial cities. The cities of Boston, New 
York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, De- 
troit, Indianapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, include 
about 40 per cent of all Negroes living outside the South. 
In 1920, 230 plants employed some 115,000 of the 140,000 
in manufacturing industries. According to industry, colored 
laborers in the North were distributed about as follows: 
iron and steel, 40,000; automobile, 25,000; meat packing, 
15,000; Pullman shops and yards, 15,000; miscellaneous, 

Management has been only too glad to welcome this 
addition to the labor supply, and the majority of employ- 
ment managers interviewed in the spring of 1920 expressed 
themselves as well pleased with the results obtained with 
Negro labor. 

Progress in industry has, however, been made almost 
entirely outside the union, in open shops. 

Unskilled laborers predominate. Some plants have the 
definite policy of not admitting colored men except in the 

158 Negro Migration 

capacity of unskilled laborers, while others employ as many 
in skilled trades as apply qualified for the job, but state that 
the large majority are not qualified for skilled positions. 
Still others hold that there is no job in their shop which 
Negroes cannot fill after a reasonable apprenticeship. 

Since management is so pleased to have the Negro added 
to the labor supply, when Negroes are barred from jobs for 
which they are fitted it is almost always through the preju- 
dice of unions, foremen, or groups of employees who have 
been with the company for a long time. In the present 
active labor market, however, it seems that most colored 
men are eventually able to find a place in some open shop 
where they can employ all the skill that they possess. About 
10 per cent are now in semi-skilled jobs, such as furnace 
repair masons and tenders of almost automatic machinery. 
A bare five per cent are found in the skilled positions, such 
as truck drivers, stationary and hoisting engineers, foundry 
moulders, rolling mill miters and rollers, butchers, skilled 
auto body builders and heat finishers, and foremen. There 
is one Negro who has risen to the position of chief chemist 
of a large manufacturing plant and several who are heads 
of large trucking departments. 

There are numbers of skilled building tradesmen, car- 
penters, painters, plasterers, and plumbers, who come up 
from the South but are unable to ply their trade because of 
the stronger hold of the unions in these fields. Such men 
usually accept work as semi-skilled or unskilled laborers 
in industrial plants. 

Because progress in skilled occupations has been made 
almost entirely outside the unions, in open shops, labor 
leaders often accuse the Negro of favoring scab labor. In 
fact several plants used large numbers of Negroes during 
the recent steel strike. This, however, is not always due to 
a simple tendency to act as strike-breakers. 

In the first place, the colored laborer is more or less justi- 

The Results of Migration 159 

fied in feeling that a dispute between the American Federa- 
tion of L,abor and management is none of his affair because 
there are very few local unions which admit Negroes. Ex- 
ceptions to this are to be found in scattered trades such as 
the hod carriers, paving men's and teamster's locals. In 
these occupations there are so many Negroes that the union's 
hold on the trade is materially weakened if they are not in 
the organization. The longshoremen and packing-house em- 
ployees present the only cases of perfect unionization of 
colored labor, and their organization in these trades has been 
accomplished almost wholly under the War Labor Board 
rather than under peace time labor leadership. In other 
cases a few colored men are admitted to the union for the 
sake of appearances and these are the last to be sent out 
on jobs by master tradesmen. These complaints are wide- 
spread among colored men in close touch with the in- 
dustrial situation and among the laborers themselves. 

Just before many strikes there have been eleventh hour 
efforts to get colored tradesmen into the organization. In 
one or two instances it leaked out that the naive plan was 
to get the colored men in, call the strike, then make one of 
their demands that no more colored men be employed. 
This strategy has succeeded in several instances, notably 
in the strike of Chicago waiters in 1912. As a result, 
when white union men strike it means that by doing so 
they give the colored laborer the first opportunity which 
he has had to fill a job for which he is trained, but from 
which he has been previously barred by the very union 
which accuses him of being a scab. In other words, in case 
of a strike, the Negro is presented with the alternative of 
being loyal to an organization which has discriminated 
against him or of exercising his first and perhaps only op- 
portunity to employ His full degree of skill. This puts a 
different aspect on strikebreaking. 

But in cases where Negroes are in the union they play the 

160 Negro Migration 

game. Numerous instances of individual plant strikes have 
occurred and the large colored membership of the coastwise 
longshoremen's unions in New York struck with the others 
in 1920. This case is, however, complicated by the fact that 
Negroes are among the strikers and among the strikebreak- 
ers. The latter are of the strikebreaker element which 
exists among both white people and Negroes. The question 
which arises is: How are Negro leaders to reach this ele- 
ment and teach them that though they are justified in taking 
places from which they have been barred by discrimination, 
they have not so much ground for stepping into the places 
vacated by unions which they could have joined had they so 
desired ? The fact that white labor organizations have been 
so unsuccessful in reaching this element of their race after 
such long continued effort does not hold out much encour- 
agement to Negro leaders in seeking to answer this riddle. 
In the meantime the Negro strikebreaker, whether justified 
or unjustified in his moves, will continue to cause the maxi- 
mum amount of friction in the North. 

The best course would, therefore, seem to be for the col- 
ored man to stick to the open shop in industrial plants and 
to form the habit of depending upon his own leaders for 
aid in adjusting grievances ; and when this fails in industry 
to push for plant organizations of the type of the employees 
of the National Cash Register, and the Goodyear Rubber 
Company employees ; to enter locals in the building trades 
and similar occupations, when this course is possible, or to 
form his own locals and convince the white labor leaders 
that they can play the game as long as its decent rules are 
observed. Regardless of fair promises from the national 
labor leaders, as long as prejudice is so widespread among 
local unions, it would seem that the best plan is for the 
Negro to steer clear of them except in cases where he is 
convinced of the sincerity of their overtures or is in posi- 
tion, by sheer weight of numbers, to get a square deal. Even 

The Results of Migration 161 

in the latter case it would seem best for him to organize in 
separate locals, affiliated with the white organization. 

A measureable degree of success has already been attained 
by following their own leaders. An example of this is 
furnished by the Dining Car Cooks and Waiters' Associa- 
tion, in whose organization the National Negro Urban 
LTeague was influential. This association was^ at first, 
purely a Negro organization, but later it was affiliated with 
the white railway workers. Their policy has been to co- 
operate wherever possible with both labor organizations and 
the management. Their success in the former is indicated 
by their final affiliation with the white workers, in the 
latter by the fact that several of the railroads broke all 
precedents in 1^20 by allowing the members time off to 
attend the annual convention. 

Realizing the weakness of their past appeals to Negro 
labor, the 1920 meeting of the American Federation has 
fought for the abrogation of clauses restricting the member- 
ship to certain of their branches to white labor only. But 
removing this prescription in charters against Negro mem- 
bers and overcoming the prejudice oTthe membership to 
such an extent that colored men are actually admitted to the 
locals are, however, two entirely different matters. The 
Federation now proposes to take the "first step towards meet- 
ing this situation squarely by employing Negro organizers. 
It has passed resolutions to the effect that the number now 
used should be increased. If this is actually done and the 
men are wisely chosen they cannot only give local leaders 
valuable advice as to the proper policies for organizations 
to adopt, but can also cultivate that knowledge and sym- 
pathy against which prejudice cannot stand. 

Above all, in determining policies of leadership the col- 
ored laborer and the white union need to remember that 
the keynote must be cooperation — a philosophy of which the 
Principal of Tuskegee, R. R. Moton, is the strongest advo- 

1 62 Negro Migration 

cate. The leadership must be one which will determine poli- 
cies with due regard to the just claims of colored men, the 
worthy ends of the union and the peace and prosperity of 
the community at large. 

In a nut shell the problems of the Negro in industry, be- 
sides those of wages and hours are: 

(1) To extend the number of plants where he can work. 

(2) To overcome prejudice and extend the number of jobs 
within the plant which he can fill. 

(3) To increase his efficiency through study, and applica- 

(4) To develop his own organization and leadership, which 
will cooperate with the constructive elements in the 

Religious Institutions. — Colored churches are oft en com- 
pletely ^organized T>y the movement of population. On 
the othe r hand, during _Jhe nask~aoftfrwag4- in 1916-17, 
some of the citv churches were severely {axed to ca re for 
the rapid addition to their congregation s. In a survey of a 
typical county of Georgia, W. B. Hifl outlines the following 
conditions of the churches: 5 

."Two colored churches are practically dormant as one 
has no regular pastor and only occasional services, while 
the other has become a mission church with only a dozen 

"Practically all the Negroes claimed membership in some 
church, but when asked where their church was located, 
the investigator would often be told that it was 'way down 
in Ogelthorpe (County)/ The Negroes are very loath to 
change their membership from one church to another, so 
when they migrate to Clarke from other counties they keep 
their membership in the old church and attend services 
in the church near their new home." 

5 Hill, W. B., The Negroes of Clarke County, Georgia, Opp. 
Cit, pp 49-51. 

The Results of Migration 163 

"Of the 17 colored churches, five have pastors on half 
time, six have pastors serving 2 others or one-third time, 6 
have pastors with 3 others or one-fourth time. It will be 
noticed that while there is a large number of colored 
churches considering the size and the population of the 
county, four of them have less than 100 members. Some 
of these could be combined so as to have services three 
Sundays every month, if not four." 

The consideration of the Negro rural church therefore 
demands an appreciation of the shifts of the population of 
its surrounding area, — whether its congregation is drift- 
ing away or whether it is increasing through migration, 
whether its books are burdened with a number of mem* 
bers who have moved off and are attending church else- 
where, whether it has a large number of regular attend- 
ants who are members of distant churches, and whether, 
if it is shrinking up, it cannot be combined with some 
neighboring church which is also diminishing in impor- 

Educational Institutions. — One of the most noticeable 
effects of migration on Negro schools is in the disturbance 
of attendance. During the cotton chopping and picking 
months in the spring and fall, so many Negro children 
work in the fields that the attendance on rural schools 
dwindles to a minimum. Sometimes there is a temporary 
exodus from city to country during these periods. 

While a large proportion of migrants are young single 
Negroes, a large "number alsu move^in families. This 
means "Qiat In Some areas theYe is a wide fluctuation of 
school population " and attendance f ronfone year to the 
next£ In nve years, some counties lose as much as 3 per 

6 A study of the school censuses indicates that from 1908 
to 1913 the increase in population 6 to 18 years of age in the 
various counties corresponds rather closely to the rate of in- 
creas of the total population between 1900 and 1910. The in- 
creases between 1913 and 1918, however, show plainly the effects 

164 Negro Migration 

cent of their school population throu gh migration, while 
some-lncxeaging_counties, gain as much as 60 per cent in 
scho ol popul ation. Inasmuch as the State school report 
for 1918 showed that 2,480, or 85 per cent of the colored 
schools in Georgia, were in one room buildings, the tre- 
mendous burden which these rapid fluctuations of popu- 
lation puts on the school facilities will be readily under- 

There is evidence that the increase in colored school 
population and increase in appropriations for colored 
schools are in many counties almost unrelated. Exam- 
ining the 105 rural counties for which accurate records 
of expenditures are available as far back as 1908, 7 the 
following distribution of counties is obtained for the period 

Number of Counties 
Increasing Decreasing 
Negro School Expenditure Expenditure 

Population for Salaries for Salaries Total 

Counties Increasing .... 55 12 67 

Counties Decreasing ... 29 9 38 

Total 84 21 105 

It appears that there was a tendency all over the State 
towards increase both in school population and expenditure 
in colored schools, for 67 of the counties were increasing in 
population and 84 increasing in expenditures. It also ap- 
pears that the expenditures for Negro teachers' salaries was 
realized to be so low in 1908, that there was a tendency to 
increase them in many counties regardless of whether the 
Negro school population was increasing or decreasing. 

of the migration of 1916-17. Heavy losses in school population 
are evident in the sections of the State disturbed by the boll 
weevil and the labor agents. 

7 Annual School Reports, Georgia State Dep't. of Education, 
1908, 1913, and 1918. Tables showing colored school population 
and expenditure for colored teachers' salaries. 

The Results of Migration 165 

Twenty-nine of the counties, though decreasing in popula- 
tion, showed increases in teachers' salaries. To this extent 
the above figures are a distinct encouragement. But in the 
twelve counties which showed an increase in population with 
a decrease in expenditure for teachers' salaries the situation 
is reversed. That so many counties, with such a low original 
expenditure for Negro teachers' salaries, should decrease 
this amount, though the Negro children were increasing, 
seems unpardonable. 

If the later five-year period, from 1913 to 1918, is exam- 
ined the following distribution is obtained : 

Number of Counties 



Number of 




for Salaries 

for Salaries 


Counties Increasing . 

... 36 



Counties Decreasing. 

... 38 




... 74 



During this period the disturbance of the population in the 
movement of 1916-17 caused a few more counties to de- 
crease in colored children. Of the 53 counties decreasing in 
population, 38 continued to increase their provision for teach- 
ers' salaries in colored schools. But of the 52 counties in- 
creasing in colored school population 16 (decreased the 
amount provided for colored teachers. It is interesting to 
note, however, that none of the 12 counties which, during 
the period 1908-13, decreased their expenditures for colored 
schools despite an increase in colored population were still 
pursuing this policy during the period 1913-18. All of these 
12 counties began to make substantial increases in their col- 
ored teachers' salaries, even though 9 of them began to de- 
crease in colored population during the second period. The 
16 counties which, during the second period, were decreasing 
their expenditure for colored teachers' salaries though in- 
creasing in population, are a separate group from the 12 of 

1 66 Negro Migration 

the first period. All but 3 of these 28 counties, which 
during one of the two periods, pursued this policy, have 
substantial Negro majorities in their population. The pro- 
cess therefore seems to be one of subjecting the already 
overcrowded Negro rural schools of the Black Belt to fur- 
ther crowding in order to provide much needed facilities 
for the more scattered white population of these counties. 
The substantial number of counties which, during both 
periods, increased their expenditure for Negro schools re- 
gardless of decreases in the Negro population, may be said to 
indicate an increasing tendency in the majority of communi- 
ties to do justice to the Negro schools. The substantial in- 
creases in expenditure for Negro teachers' salaries after 
some counties had lost heavily by the migration of 1916-17, 
and after the Negro's complaint against his school facilities 
had been forcefully brought to the attention of County 
school boards, doubtless indicates the effort on the part of 
these boards to do their share towards checking the move- 
ment by rendering belated justice to the schools. 


Areas Losing by Migration. — In districts from which 
the Negro is moving the general effect seems to be a lessen- 
ing of race prejudice. People who do not go below the sur- 
face accuse the Negro of restlessness and unreliability, but 
the general effect on white people of the discussion which 
accompanies the movement seems to be to center their 
attention on the factors which make for the discontent of 
the colored population, and to emphasize the justice of 
some of the complaints of the Negro. Again race preju- 
dice seems to diminish as the proportion of the Negroes 
in the total population becomes smaller. The migration 
of Negroes from the Black Belt areas and the resultant 
increasing percentage of white people in the total population 
relieves the fear of Negro domination. Perhaps the passing 
of the old-fashioned demagogue, who could so easily make 

The Results of Migration 167 

political capital by playing upon this fear in the minds of 
the ignorant voters in very black districts, is, in part, due to 
the dispersion of Negro population and the increasing pro- 
portion of white people in almost every Southern com- 

A reas Gaining by Migration. — In areas gaining by migra- 
tion, prejudice seems, at least tempor arily, to assume its 
most aggravR^ forme Tl 1f M nfYirfirnpr>t f population since 
the Civil War has done much to brea k down that personal 
rplatmngm'p hptwppn fami %s Q f ex-sl ave owners and ex- 
slaves which has been such a pot pnt mflaCQCCi maintaining 
w hite sympathy for the Neg ro's problems and stimulating 
mutual-aid* Many of these Southern white people with the 
best ante-bellum traditions were the most understanding and 
sympathetic friends of the colored people. In areas gaining 
by mjgration, white people and c olored people who are 
stranger s to one another come togethe r without the ante- 
be llum traditions. More or less competitio n and race fric- 
tioiL jesults. In the most extreme casjj ^dll»*takes the form 
of riots suc h as those of Atlanta ^n 1908, oj the recent 
ri ots in Northern citie s. It also impears in^ fce increased 
tendency toward s segregation i" , Nor thern r.itipg. This is 
especially evident in the schools and social agencies of Phila- 
delphia, Chicago, St Louis and a number of Ohio cities. 

On the other hand, in moving out of the Black Belt into 
these "whit er" areas, the Negroes are m ore interspersed with 
a w hite population. They have more chance to observe pro- 
gressive farming and industrial methods and attain a higher 
standard ot living, and tney are~m"a position to benefit by 
the' better roads and piiblic"works of the areas which have 
a la rger population ot white people in the population, and a 
higher , per capita w ealth. 

This brief sketch of the effects of migration on Negro 
problems indicates its wide influence. The Negro popula- 
tion has changed so rapidly during the past 50 years, and bids 
fair to continue to change so rapidly, that the student of any 

1 68 Negro Migration 

problem of Negro population, institutions, or race relations 
would do well to bear in mind constantly the tendency to 
change and make allowance for this tendency in reaching 
his conclusions, otherwise the result of a study made at a 
stated time may lead to conclusions which are true enough 
for the time, but which are completely altered a few months 
afterward. This is to be considered in all surveys, for 
migration is not only constantly changing the distribution 
of Negro population, but as this chapter indicates, it is 
also constantly changing the sex composition, fecundity, 
vitality, crime and insanity rates, economic organization, 
religious and educational institutions, and relations with the 
white group. 

The effects of migration also vitiate comparisons between 
sections of the country unequally affected unless these effects 
are known and unless allowance is made for them. 



On the whole, there is no cause for pessimism regarding 
the shift of Negro population, nor can the recent rapid 
migration be said to indicate the influence of any essentially 
new forces. The movements arose in the Black Belt in 1865, 
precipitate d the breakdown of the old gang la bor plantations, 
and have continued in more or less s teady streams of mi- 
grants f rom the origina l Cottnn Kelt rnnn ties. The break- 
down of labor plantations has progressed with varying rap- 
idity in the different parts of the South. Though many of 
the old plantations are still owned by one man, most of them 
are subdivided into tenant farms and cultivated only in part 
by labor. The remainder are cultivated entirely by tenants. 
Many Negroes have also become independent owners of 

The only group of rising Negro farmers which is distinctly 
dangerous to the economic life of the community is the 
independent Negro renter on the land of absentee landlords. 
In farming efficiency there seems to be little difference be- 
tween the community of gang labor, or share tenant plan- 
tations, and the community of Negro owners or supervised 
renters. The social structure of the community is, on the 
other hand, greatly strengthened by the element of inde- 
pendent Negro farmers with their higher standard of living, 
greater attachment to the land, and greater ability to act 
as leaders. 

The movement of rural population before 1910 was pre- 
dominantly a shift from the plantation area to other rural 
districts of greater agricultural opportunity. Incident to this 
movement, however, there has been a growth of Negro 
town and city populations. The growth in villages and 

170 Negro Migration 

towns has been especially marked. These small centers are 
becoming more and more important in the colored population 
because of the rate at which Negroes move through them 
into the town or city and because of the influence of their 
leaders and institutions upon the Negroes in the open coun- 
try. Very recently a number ol cities in the Cotton Belt 
have grown rapidly. When a city begins to grow through 
manufacturing and distributing enterprises rather than by 
enterprises solely dependent upon the surrounding country 
districts, its white population increases much faster than its 
colored population. Still, the Negro is attracted to these 
places by the proportionate increase of domestic service and 
common labor opportunities on the one hand, and the pro- 
fessional, mercantile and race leadership opportunities on 
the other. These cities, therefore, have substantial and in- 
creasingly important Negro populations. 

Northern cities were increasing at a fairly rapid rate 
through mi gration of Negroes before 19 10. but the migrants 
ca me mostly from the Border States. The, Cotton States 
we re exchanging population among them selves. With the 
exception of the Southward movement into Florida, this 
movement among the Cotton States was Westward. After 
1910, however, and especially after the outbreak of the Euro- 
pean War, opportunity in the industrial sections of the North 
was not only greatly increased, but agricultural opportunity 
in the Gulf Coast States was nullified by poor crops, floods, 
and the cotton boll weevil. The movement since 1915, 
therefore, has been Northward. 

Desire for superior earning power, standard of living and 
standing in the community, enjoyed by the higher tenant 
classes has been the chief cause of movement from one rural 
district to another, but the superior advantages of the city 
have attracted large numbers to urban districts. These 
social advantages in the housing, protection, schools and 
churches of the city play an increasingly important part in 
the movement from country to city and from South to 

Summary 171 

North. The recent rapid movement has caused extended 
discussion among the Negroes of their social grievances, 
and, with the development of a distinct group feeling, these 
causes may be expected to play an even greater part in 
future movements. 

This disturbance of population aggravates many of the 
Negro problems and general community welfare problems. 
Domestic service opportunities attracting the females in one 
direction, and agricultural and industrial opportunities at- 
tracting the males in another, upset the normal ratio between 
the sexes in communities affected by migration. There re- 
sults a low marriage rate with its attendant low birth rate 
and increase in immorality. T he^ rise in the standard of 
living which f ollows the change from the si mple life of the 
c ountry to the complex life of the city al so reacts toward 
IpgQ^ning the size of family, especially in No rth cities. 
While the Negro escapes from some diseases to which he is 
subject in the South, he exposes himself to the rigors of 
the Northern climate, and probably suffers a slightly higher 
death rate in the North. This low birth rate and high 
death rate mean that northern Negro populations, under 
the present conditions, are not self-sustaining and in order 
to continue they must receive constant replacements from 
the South. The upset of families and the strain of city 
life also increase the crime, insanity, and dependency rates. 

Though migration creates conditions unfavorable to vi- 
tality and morality, the general trend of the movement is 
towards better institutions. Not only does the Negro obtain 
better schools and churches by leaving the Black Belt areas, 
but by moving he also calls the attention of the South to his 
complaints against the existing institutions and creates an 
additional interest in improving them. 

Ra ce relations, on the other hand, ar e very often badly 
strained in communities receiving- a rapid increase by migra- 
tion. It is H era thnt nre prpji| difg_has been manifested most 
cruelly^ But even in these communities the Negro finds 

172 Negro Migration 

b etter institutions and a fuller p articipation in the commu- 
nit y lif e. In the communities from which Negroes move 
the relief from the fear of race riots and the emphasis 
which the movement gives to the justice of many of the 
Negro's claims for better treatment lessens race prejudice. 
The dispersion of the Negro population brings larger oppor- 
tunities for learning the white man's methods and standard 
of living through observation. 


The complications arising from the movement of Negroes 
while serious are, therefore, not grounds for undue pessim- 
ism. In communities gaining by migration many of the 
difficulties can be alleviated by energetic measures to adjust 
the migrant in industry, to correct his abnormal health con- 
ditions and family life, and to develop a community ac- 
quaintanceship to take the place of the lost personal rela- 
tionship, which existed in the ante-bellum South. In the 
communities losing by migration the first need is to so or- 
ganize agriculture and industry that, where Negro labor is 
needed, high wage offers elsewhere may be met with pro- 
portionate increases. The second need is for a fuller reali- 
zation of the necessity of a more just policy towards the 
Negro in community relations and a more energetic pro- 
gram of fostering this justice. Unless effort is made to 
alleviate the social grievances of the Negro, no amount of 
effort to alleviate economic injustices is going to stop the 

This statement of the needs of communities is rather gen- 
eral. A number of very concrete constructive measures 
which have been tested and which seem to be meeting the 
actual needs in a very hopeful way may be cited. 

The movement of population has emphasized the fact that 
there are three factors to be considered in race relations — 
the Negro himself, the South and the North. The great need 
for sympathy, understanding and constructive leadership 

Constructive Measures 173 

among these three parties to race adjustment was urged by 
the report of Negro Education in the United States, even be- 
fore the great migration Northward. Now, since so many 
Negroes live in the North, their problems are more than ever 
national rather than sectional. 

Federal Government. — It is but natural and logical, with 
the passing of strong sectional feeling on the Negro question, 
that the Federal Government, through its various bureaus 
should inaugurate programs of research and Federal aid. 

( 1 ) The exhaustive first hand study of Negro Education, 
made cooperatively by the Bureau of Education and the 
Phelps-Stokes Fund, was a good beginning in the organiza- 
tion of nation-wide programs for increasing the efficiency of 
Negro education. This should be followed up by an appro- 
priation from Congress to the Bureau of Education for 
permanent work in Negro education with a staff of spe- 
cialists capable of research and helpful advice. 

(2) As a result of the interest of the Secretary of L,abor 
in the Negro migration of 1916-17, and of the survey of the 
movement made directly under the office of the Assistant 
Secretary, a Bureau of Negro Economics was established in 
the Department of L,abor. A staff of colored investigators 
has been maintained, both in Washington and in the field. 
These men did excellent work in keeping in touch with the 
wages, hours, living conditions and special problems of the 
Negro wage earners and were able to cooperate effectively 
with the various State Departments of Labor. This work, 
begun as a war measure, should without a doubt be con- 
tinued. A special significance attaches to this work be- 
cause it was begun by a Democratic administration on a 
non-partisan basis. 

(3) As a counterpart to this work among the Negroes in 
industry, the Federal Department of Agriculture should 
have similar research and advisory specialists concerned with 
the Negro in agriculture. Although all of the farm demon- 
stration work in the South, and all Southern problems 

174 Negro Migration 

worked on by the Office of Farm Management are vitally 
concerned with the Negro, there is nowhere, in the vast or- 
ganization of the Department of Agriculture, in Washington, 
a colored specialist who can concentrate on the problems of 
the 3,000,000 Negro farmers. 

In their chief need — that of so organizing agriculture that 
better wages can be paid and a profit still realized — com- 
munities are directly aided by the campaign of the States 
Relation Service of the Department of Agriculture, and its 
corps of farm demonstration agents in the field. Any pro- 
grams for rural improvement can be greatly aided by this 
force of earnest, technically trained, local agricultural lead- 
ers and the work they are doing to promote farming effi- 
ciency is of sterling character. The number of Negro 
farm demonstrators should be increased. There is, however, 
another phase of rural life to which as yet comparatively 
little attention has been paid. This is the field of contacts, 
other than the mere wage or rental relationship, between 
landlord and tenant. The need in this field is for demo- 
cratizing the plantation as some industries have been demo- 
cratized. Almost all close observers of the movement from 
rural districts testify to the ability of certain planters to hold 
their labor supply even in the midst of a much disturbed 
area. In a majority of instances these planters owe their 
success not only to satisfactory wages, but also to attention 
to items of tenant welfare. Housing, stimulation of fruit 
raising, gardening and animal husbandry, interest and advice 
in local leadership and family affairs, and aid for local 
churches and schools are among the methods used by land- 
lords to make their laborers and tenants feel that the rela- 
tionship is one more vital than a matter of dollars and cents. 
Above all these planters emphasize an attitude of even- 
handed justice in contracts and accounts rather than the 
paternalistic attitude of the past.' They have realized they 
are paying earned wages not giving gratuities. 

The plantation and the community of small independent 

Constructive Measures 175 

farmers have marvelous possibilities as social units — units of 
rural organization, which, with the aid and interest of the 
thoughtful local white leaders and landowners could, like the 
European cooperatives, develop their own credit system and 
by the exercise of thrift rid themselves of the crop mort- 
gage and high credit prices in a year or two. They could 
increase individual efficiency wonderfully by mutual aid in 
the purchase of the more expensive agricultural implements, 
and by cooperative culture and marketing. They would 
form the basis of a more healthy social life and could de- 
velop the local institutions to such a point that they would 
be really vital parts of the community life. In research along 
these lines, observation of the methods of the most success- 
ful communities and dissemination of knowledge of these 
methods among all communities, the Department of Agricul- 
ture has the opportunity to round out its program of farm 
demonstration, so efficiently begun, and to develop a rural 
organization which will allay much of the present discontent. 

(4) Industry. — Among the employers there is a need in 
industry for the same spirit of even-handed justice which 
is needed in agriculture. In addition, in the North there 
should be fairness in hiring and firing, especially during 
a period of unemployment. 

In the interests of industrial, as well as inter-racial peace, 
Negro leaders should do all in their power to reduce the 
numbers of the strikebreaker element in their race. 

If the American Federation of Labor is to live up to its 
claims of non-discrimination and do its part towards the 
problem of the Negro in industry, the policy of local unions 
of refusing to admit Negroes or to allow colored locals to 
be organized must be changed. Until this time it would 
seem that the best course for the Negro is to develop his 
own organization so as to approach the unions with a solid 
front. Some good work along this line has been done by 
the National Urban League. Movements of this type are 
to be highly commended. 

176 Negro Migration 

(5) Churches. — There is a great need for an approach 
to race relations in the Christian spirit of common human- 
ity. This spirit should pervade all phases of the activities 
of denominations. Tn organization, there is a need for a 
unified policy towards the colored people, for closer rela- 
tionship between the white and colored denominations in 
their governing councils and in the local federations of 
churches. Among the clergy there is need for a freer and 
more courageous expression of an enlightened viewpoint to- 
wards race relations, — a change from the policy of silence 
which, at present, renders it more than probable that people 
may be members of congregations in the South for years 
without ever hearing a word from the pulpit on this im- 
portant phase of community life. Among the laymen there 
is need for a keener and more active interest in the home 
mission activities for colored people. There is a general 
need throughout all churches for a return to the spirit of 
the old South, which manifested a real and active interest 
in the religious welfare of the colored people. 

Private Philanthropy. — (6) Private philanthropy will 
always have an important function to perform in race rela- 
tions. Democracies are always slow and have to be shown. 
Private initative must demonstrate the value of new mea- 
sures, before the majority adopts them. Just as the General 
Education Board experimented with and demonstrated the 
value of county farm demonstration agents before their work 
was taken over to the Department of Agriculture, and like- 
wise with expert supervisors of colored schools before these 
officers were included in Southern State Departments of 
Education, just as the Phelps-Stokes Fund could devote 
its energy and resources to a much needed nationwide sur- 
vey of Negro education, and just as the Jeanes and Slater 
Funds have so thoroughly demonstrated the need for indus- 
trial and teacher training work in public schools. The 
National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People for legal aid, and the National Urban League for 

Constructive Measures 177 

colored industrial relations worker and social workers, so, 
always, will there be experiments to make and trials to 
blaze, which will call for private initiative. The unselfish 
devotion of time as well as money to making programs 
"go" is especially needed in the local communities. 

State Governments. — The most pressing problems con- 
fronting Southern State Governments are those of sanita- 
tion, schools and protection from violence and injustice in 
the courts. 

(7) As a preliminary to intelligent improvement of health 
the registration of births and deaths should be enforced as 
strictly as possible, and State Departments of Health with 
administrative, as well as research, functions should be de- 
veloped. Among the Southern States only Virginia and 
North Carolina are approximating this ideal. Communities 
owe it not only to the Negro, but also to themselves to know 
more of the conditions which make for a high mortality rate 
and of the measures for eliminating these conditions. 

(8) Communities should cease allowing a few profiteer- 
ing landlords to endanger the lives of both white and black 
citizens. A full realization of the menace which the bad 
housing and congestion in Negro districts is to the health of 
the whole community should bring with it much stricter 
state and city laws regarding rental property, enforced by 
a Department of Health with powers of condemnation. 

(9) Almost all the Southern State Departments of Edu- 
cation, through the aid of the General Education Board, 
now have an efficient white school-man as supervisor of col- 
ored schools. So many of the ills of Negro schools are cur- 
able by efficient supervision that the work of these men has 
been of tremendous value to the South. Their influence 
should be extended by the provision of assistants and local 
supervisors, to work under their direction. The detailed 
needs of colored schools set forth in the Report of the 
the Bureau of Education and the Phelps Stokes Fund on 
Negro Education should be attended to as rapidly as pos- 
sible. The recommendations as to state aid for high schools, 

178 Negro Migration 

and for industrial and teacher training work are especially 

(10) Lynching has been scathingly condemned by organi- 
zations representing the woman's clubs, the universities, 
Inter-racial Committees, governor's conventions and the 
press of the Southern States. Certainly, if the opinion of 
the better classes is so outspoken in its disapproval of these 
outrages, the State governments should be empowered to 
quell the outbreaks of the more unruly elements of the 
population. Several states have passed laws in regard to 
lynching recently. Their success will depend upon the 
courage of State officials. This subject was not mentioned 
in connection with the federal government because it would 
seem necessary to change the constitutional powers of fed- 
eral courts rather radically before they could deal with this 

(11) Many of the complaints of the Negro against un- 
just arrests and convictions would be met by the abolition 
of the system of payment of fees to local officials on the 
basis of the number of arrests they make and the conse- 
quent cooling of their ardor for filling the local jails. A 
second evil which is said to contribute to lengthening sen- 
tences is the convict lease system, or the system of allowing 
counties to use their own convicts on their roads. Local 
judicial officers should be able to sentence men only to in- 
stitutions controlled by the State and operated in accord- 
ance with the modern methods of penology, and the practice 
of sentencing to county chain-gangs should be abolished. 

(12) Much of the high crime rate among Negroes is 
undoubtedly due to neglected or improperly handled juvenile 
delinquency. University of Georgia graduates in Atlanta 
and Savannah with colored assistants have inaugurated ex- 
cellent work with Negro juvenile offenders. As yet, how- 
ever, there is no State reformatory. Virginia, Maryland 
and South Carolina are the only States with State Colored 
Reform Schools worthy of the name. State reformatories 

Constructive Measures 179 

and city probation officers for colored juvenile offenders 
are greatly needed throughout the South. 

Local Communities. — Though the need is pressing for the 
adoption of these policies by the Federal Government, pri- 
vate philanthropic agencies, the State Governments, and 
industries, the crucial needs must be met by the patient and 
sympathetic effort of the white and colored leaders in local 
communities. Although successful programs of community 
welfare are more efficient with central organization and ex- 
pert supervisors, no amount of this overhead work can 
relieve the people of the local communities of the responsi- 
bility for the public opinion and local machinery through 
which these programs must be worked out. No amount of 
state supervision can give to a community sound institutions 
unless the community itself is alive to the need for them. 

(13) For this reason it is extremely unfortunate that so 
large a proportion of newspaper articles dealing with the 
Negro treat only criminal or humorous news. It is impos- 
sible for the Southern communities to know the real happen- 
ings among their colored population from reading the local 
papers and equally as impossible for them to know of 
progress of the larger movements for improvement of race 
relations. Nor is it possible under such conditions to de- 
velop an enlightened public opinion on the subject. Since 
the recent migration some of the northern papers have 
adopted this short-sighted policy. Even such a former 
staunch friend of the Negro as the Chicago Tribune is 
widely known as a trouble maker because of its sensational 
treatment of inter-racial matters. The Negroes are thrown 
back on papers published by members of their own race, 
and the larger and larger group of Negroes who read are 
almost entirely dependent upon more or less destructive 
newspapers for news. 

This anomaly of two groups living side by side in the 
same town, with different organs of group opinion and 
differences, which make for friction, or at least misunder- 

180 Negro Migration 

standing, could be in a measure corrected by local editors 
if they would give thought and effort to a Negro department 
in their paper. By treating seriously the local news among 
the colored population, the paper would form a real bond 
between the Negroes and the community. In noting the 
items of progress in race relations, keeping the constructive 
movements before the leaders of both races, and creating 
a sound public opinion on the various puzzling topics of race 
relations, they would do a genuine community service. 

(14) Every local community should learn of its own 
responsibility for sanitation in its Negro settlements, 
justice in its courts, law and order among its inhabitants, 
and a good school, good churches and recreation facilities 
for all its people, whether white or black. 

The first step towards accomplishing this is the founda- 
tion of a community committee such as has been formed in 
the counties of the South by the Southern Inter-Racial 
Committee. These committees are composed of white and 
colored leaders who can trust one another and who meet 
and work together on the problems involving race relations. 
These men not only are able to avoid inter-racial discord, 
but are in a position to forward constructive programs by 
modifying them so as to more nearly fit the needs of the 
colored population, and by arousing the interest of the col- 
ored population in their execution. In large cities, this 
inter-racial idea can be carried further to include placing 
colored workers on the staffs of the city associated chari- 
ties, visiting nurses associations, probation offices, etc. 
These workers are being trained in larger and larger num- 
bers, and are peculiarly capable of handling the special 
problems of case work among the members of their race. 

In meeting this responsibility, communities will not only 
create a saner community life, but will also share in the 
task of working out a program under which two races may 
live side by side without conflict — a task in which the dem- 
ocracy of the United States is being tested, while the civil- 
ized nations of the world who are "bearing the white man's 
burden" in Africa look on, hoping to be aided by our 

1. — General 

Bibliography of the Negro American. Atlanta University 
Publication No. 10, Atlanta, 1905. 

Bibliography of Negroes. U. S. Congr. L,ib. 324. 

The Negro Yearbook. A "World's Almanac" of the Negro 
in the United States, edited annually by Monroe N. 
Work, Department of Records and Research, Tuskegee 

Annual Reports of the Southern Sociological Congress, 
Jeanes Fund, Slater Fund, and General Education 
Board, contain valuable data. 

Atlanta University Publications. Bulletins of Atlanta Uni- 
versity. Valuable contributions to Negro problems ap- 
pearing annually as proceedings of the University Con- 
ference and researches of the Department of Sociology. 

Baker, Ray Stannard: Following the Color Line. New 
York : Doubleday, Page & Company, 1908. A sugges- 
tive description of race relations written in a popular 

Boas, Franz: The Mind of Primitive Man. New York: 
The MacMillan Co., 1911. A scientific analysis of the 
factor of racial heredity. 

Census, U. Si, 1900, Bulletin No. 8. Negroes in the U. S. 

Census, U. S., 1910, Bulletin 129. Negroes in the U. S. 

Census, U. S., 1919, Special Report, Negro Population in 
the U. S., 1790-1915. An extremely valuable compila- 
tion of data. It contains many tabulations not to be 
found elsewhere in the Census volumes. 

Cutler, J. E. : Lynch Law. New York : Longmans, Green 
& Co., 1905. The most complete treatment of this 

DuBois, W. E. B. : The Souls of Black Folk. Chicago : 
A. C. McClurg & Co., 1903 and Darkwater, New York : 
Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920. These give a side 
of race relations which should be known. They are 
remarkably written introspective accounts of the im- 
pressions of a colored man, but are extremely pessi- 

1 82 Bibliography 

Evans, Maurice S. : White and Black in the Southern 
States. L,ondon: L,ongmans Green & Co., 1915. Writ- 
ten by an Englishman with intimate knowledge of con- 
ditions in South Africa. Gives useful comparisons be- 
tween the South and South Africa, based on first hand 

Hammond, Mrs. L,. H. : In Black and White. New York : 
Fleming H. Revell, 1914. A sympathetic account of 
race relations as seen by a Southern woman. 

Southern Women and Race Adjustment. L,ynchburg, 

Va.: J. P. Bell & Co., 1917. 

Hart, A. B. : The Southern South. New York : D. Apple- 
ton & Co., 1912. A stimulating book full of intimate 
knowledge of the section. 

Hoffman, F. L,. : Race Traits and Tendencies of the Amer- 
ican Negro. American Economics Assn., 1896. Vol. 
XI, Nos. 1-3. A study in vital statistics. 

Jones, Thomas Jesse : The Negro and the Census of 1910. 
Hampton, Va. : Hampton Institute Press, 1912. 

Negro Population in the U. S. Annals Am. Acad., 

September, 1913. 

et al : Negro Education in the United States. Bulletins 

38, 39, U. S. Bureau of Education, 1917. Authorita- 
tive and comprehensive. 

Kerlin, Robt. T. The Voice of the Negro. New York : 
E. P. Dutton and Co., 1920. A keen analysis of recent 
trends in Negro public opinion through a study of the 
colored press. 

Mecklin, J. M. : Democracy and Race Friction. New 
York : The McMillan Company, 1914. Excellent dis- 
cussion of the philosophy of race relations. 

Miller, Kelly: Race Adjustment. New York: Neale 
Publishing Co., 1908. An illustration of the attitude 
of the cooperative group of colored thinkers. 

Moton, Robert Russa : Finding a Way Out. New York : 
Doubleday Page & Co., 1920. Autobiographical account 
of the life of the successor to Booker Washington. Full 
of the cooperative spirit of race relations. Well worth 

Murphy, Edgar Gardner: The Basis of Ascendancy. 
New York : The MacMillan Company, 1909. 

Bibliography 183 

The Present South. New York : The McMillan Com- 
pany, 1904. 

Two treatments of the philosophy of race relations 
which should by all means be read. 

Odum, Howard W. : Social and Mental Traits of the 
Negro. New York: Columbia University, Studies in 
History Economics and Public L,aw, 1910. A scholarly 
treatment of several phases of the Negro problem, 
especially psychology and folk-lore. 

Washington, B. T. : As leader of the cooperative school 
of colored thought and pioneer advocate of industrial 
education, all of his works are of importance, especially, 
Up From Slavery,, The Story of the Negro, and Char- 
acter Building. 

Weatherford, W. D. : Negro Life in the South. Nash- 
ville, 1911. 

Present Forces in the Uplift of the Negro. Nashville, 


Two books which are excellent reading for beginners. 

2. — Rural Organization 

App, Frank : New Jersey Agricultural Experimental Sta- 
tion Bulletins 294, 311 and 320. Studies of tenure in 
Monmouth and Sussex Counties, N. J. 

Atlas of American Agriculture, Advance Proof Sheets. 
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture (in press, 1920), Govt. 
Printing Office. 

Banks, E. M. : Economics of Land Tenure in Georgia. New 
York: Columbia University Press. Studies in His- 
tory Economics and Public Law, 1905. Out of date, 
but contains useful data for the student in this field. 

Bitting, Samuel T. : Rural Landownership Among Ne- 
groes in Virginia. Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Studies, 
No. 3, Univ. of Virginia, 1915. 

Brooks, R. P.: Race Relations in the Eastern Piedmont 
Section of Georgia. Political Science Quarterly, June, 

The Agrarian Revolution in Georgia, 1865-1912. Mad- 
ison, 1914, Univ. of Wisconsin, History Series. A 
scholarly and useful study of the plantation system. 

1 84 Bibliography 

Bruce, P. A. : The Plantation Negro as a Freeman. New 
York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1889. Historical view- 

Carver, T. N. : Selected Readings in Rural Economics. 
Boston: Ginn and Company, 1916. 

DuBois, W. E. B. : The Negro Landholder in Georgia, U. S. 
Dept. Labor Bui 35, 1901. A pioneer study of the 
Negro as a property owner, full of useful data, but 
needs bringing up to date. 

Galpin, C. J. : Rural Life. New York : The Century Co., 

Hill, W. B. : The Negroes of Clarke County, Georgia. 
Phelps-Stokes Studies No. 2, Univ. of Ga., 1914. 

Kelsey, Carl : The Negro Farmer. Univ. of Penn. Pub- 
lications. Philadelphia, 1902. 

L/EiGH, Frances B. : Ten Years on a Georgia Plantation. 
London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1883. 

Phillips, U. B. : Plantation and Frontier Documents. 
Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1909. A useful 
sourcebook on ante-bellum plantation system. 

History of American Slavery. New York : D. Apple- 
ton and Co., 1919. 

Rogers, W. M. : The Negroes of Oconee County, Georgia. 

Phelps-Stokes Studies, No. (in press), University 

of Georgia, 1920. 

Sims, N. L. : The Rural Community, Ancient and Modern. 
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920. A com- 
prehensive sourcebook. 

Spillman, W. D. : Land Classification and Land Tenure. 
American Ec. Review, March, 1918. 

and Goldenweiser : Farm Tenantry in the U. S. Year- 
book of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, 1916. 

Stone, A. H. : Studies in the American Race Problem. New 
York : Doubleday Page & Co., 1908. A planter's ex- 
periment with Negro and Italian labor. 

Taylor, H. C. : An Introduction to the Study of Agricul- 
tural Economics.. New York: The McMillan Com- 
pany, 1905. 

U. S. Office of Farm Management. Bulletins — Local Sur- 
veys of Yazoo Mississippi Delta, Sumter County, Geor- 
gia ; Brooks County, Georgia ; Anderson County, S. C. ; 
Ellis County, Texas. 

Bibliography 185 

3. — Local Studies 
(Other Than of Rural Organization) 

Daniels, John : In Freedom's Birthplace. Boston : Hough- 
ton, Mifflin & Co., 1914. study of Boston Negroes. 

Du Bois, W. E. B. : The Philadelphia Negro. Philadel- 
phia: Univ. of Pa. publication, 1899. A pioneer sur- 
vey of a large city. 

The Negroes of Farmville, Va. Bulletin U. S. Dept. of 

Labor, 1898. 

Epstein, A. The Negroes of Pittsburgh, Pa. University of 
Pittsburgh, 1918. 

El wang, W. W. : Negroes of St. Louis, Mo. Univ. of Mo., 

Haynes, George E. : The Negro at Work in New York 
City. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1912. An 
excellent analysis of a Northern city population. 

Johnson, M. K. : School Conditions in Clarke County, 
Georgia. Phelps-Stokes Studies No. 3, Univ. of Ga., 

Long, Frank Taylor: The Negroes of Athens and Clarke 
County, Georgia, in the Great War. Phelps-Stokes 
Studies No. 5, Univ. of Ga., 1919. 

Martin, A. E. : Our Negro Population. Kansas City : 1912. 
A study of the Negroes of Kansas City. 

Morton, R. L. : The History of Negro Suffrage in Virginia 
Since the Civil War. Phelps-Stokes Studies, Univ. of 
Va., 1918. 

O'Kelly, H. S. : Sanitary Conditions of the Negroes of 
Athens, Georgia. Phelps- Stokes Studies, No. 4, Univ. 
of Ga., 1917. 

Ovington, Mary: Half a Man. New York: Longmans 
Green & Co., 1911. 

The Negro in Trades Unions in New York City. An- 
nals Am. Acad. 27:551-558, 1906. 

Ramsay, D. Hiden: Negro Criminality. Phelps-Stokes 
Studies, Univ. of Va., 1914. (Published in "Lectures 
and Addresses on the Negro in the South.) 

Reed, Ruth : The Negro Women of Gainesville, Georgia. 

Phelps-Stokes Studies, Univ. of Ga., No. (in press, 


Snavely, Tipton Ray : The Taxation of Negroes in Vir- 

1 86 Bibliography 

ginia. Phelps-Stokes Studies, Univ. of Va., 1917. 
Thom, W. H. T. : The Negro of Litwalton, Va., and the 

Negro of Sandy Spring, Md. Bulletins, U. S. Dept. 

Labor, 1901. 
Woofter, T. J. Jr. : The Negroes of Athens, Georgia. 

Phelps-Stokes Studies, No. 1, Univ. of Ga., 1913. 

4. — Migration 

U. S. Department of Labor, Special Bulletin, 1919 — Negro 
Migration in 1916-17. A symposium of individual re- 
ports on conditions in different states, with descriptions 
Qof the movement and its causes. 
Carnegie Foundation : Preliminary Economic Studies of 
the War, No. 16. Negro Migration During the War. 
Compiled by Emmet J. Scott. New York, 1920. 
Woodson, Carter G. : A Century of Negro Migration. 
Assoc, for Study of Negro Life and History, 1918. A 
general historical study. 

5. — Statistics 

Moore, Henry L. : Forecasting the Yield and Price of Cot- 
ton. New York: The McMillan Company, 1917. 

Pearson, Karl : The Grammar of Science. London : A. C. 
Black, 1911. 

Yule, G. U. : An Introduction to the Theory of Statistics. 
London: C. Griffin and Co., 5th Ed., 1919. 

General Statistical Method 

The first objective of social science in accurately analyzing its 
problems is to state them in terms of definite forces which oper- 
ate in well defined groups and are associated with resultants 
which can be measured and counted. The next is to group these 
elements logically and determine the real importance of each. 
When this is accomplished it can give descriptions of the ele- 
ments of the problem which are as clear and significant as the 
diagram of a mechanical engineer. 

This often means an analysis of human motives, which, in 
many of their aspects are too intangible to be easily measured. 
A mixture of motives is always at play in the complex medium 
of society, and it is accordingly difficult to separate one from 
another or to measure their influence on individual behavior 
apart from the influence of the forces of the physical environ- 
ment. Motives are intangible and hard to measure because they 
are, to such a large extent, mental phenomena. From this point 
of view all motives are desires. But for any desire to become a 
motive there must be movement, effort aimed at satisfaction. 
Such reactions constitute human behavior. The number of 
times they manifest themselves, under certain conditions, can be 
measured and counted; and if, when a certain condition occurs 
in a number of areas, or, if when it recurrs a number of times, 
the same behavior manifests itself in the large majority of in- 
dividuals, the trait of behavior may be said to be associated with 
that condition. But, for the inference to be of scientific value, 
the condition must be as definite as the behavior. This definite- 
ness can be secured by describing conditions in terms of mea- 
surable elements, such as "increase in number of farms operated 
by independent owners of the land." The presence or absence 
of such an element can be verified by observation. In these 
terms, the problem of scientific social research is, to describe 
the true relationship between definite traits of group behavior 
and definite elements in the situations in which groups are 

1 88 Appendix 

A population movement, looked at as an effort to satisfy 
desires, renders this task somewhat easier than it is in most 
social problems. The movement itself is a very tangible, mea- 
surable trait, and, furthermore, two situations are involved, the 
one from which population shifts and the one into which it 
shifts. Certainly, if groups of men are so profoundly affected 
that they leave their residences and acquaintances and chance 
their future among strangers there must be some powerful mo- 
tive or complex of motives back of the move — some condition 
which is odious, some desire which cannot be satisfied in their 
old home. Given a sufficient number of more or less homo- 
geneous areas which are losing population, an observer can de- 
termine certain elements common to the situations in each, 
from which the movement seems to rise. Whether these con- 
ditions are fundamental and permanent causes of the movement 
or not, can be verified by observing the migrant in his new sur- 
roundings, and finding out if he escapes the conditions which 
were odious in his old surroundings — if he satisfies the desire 
which he could not satisfy before moving. This gives a double 
check on the causes of the movement which is based on con- 
crete, observable facts. 

But, in the midst of such complexity as organized social 
groups present, how is definite assurance to be obtained that 
observations are accurately made, or relationships correctly 
tested. The scientific method for obtaining this assurance was 
outlined by Durkheim in 1895 in his "Les Regies de la Methode 
Sociologique," as follows: 

The old logicians' methods are of very little value in social 
reasoning because they assume a science already advanced to 
such a stage as to offer incontestable laws from which logical 
reasoning may proceed by comparison of cases which agree 
or differ in one point only. Social groups are too complex to 
ever agree or differ in only one respect. The real social method 
is, therefore, a statistical method. The groups studied may be 
compared with respect to the phenomenon under investigation 
and a phenomenon which is thought to be its cause. When 
the extent to which the two are present or absent in the same 
group fluctuates, uniformly in the same direction, this simple 
parallelism of values constitutes, in itself, a proof of a relation- 
ship which may often be stated quantitatively, provided a suf- 
ficient number of cases are studied. 

This process of accurately measuring the quantitive relation- 
ship between a social force and a change in society is a great 

Appendix 189 

time-saver for the student. As Durkheim points out, it obviates 
the necessity of discussing minutely each of the possible causes. 
After their relative importance has been measured, attention can 
be centered on the forces which have the closest relationship 
to the change. 

The task of the Chapter on "Migrations of Countrymen" is 
of the kind which Durkheim had in mind when he outlined this 
method. At that time, however, the statistical method was 
relatively undeveloped. What he described was little more than 
a modification, by a more liberal use of mass data, of the logic- 
ians methods of reasoning. Since that date material contribu- 
tions have been made to the use of mathematical methods for 
attaining exactitude, and scientists have demonstrated the » value 
of the methods in Biology, Psychology, and Economics. Mod- 
ern sociologists are insistent that knowledge of the statistical 
method of induction is the most useful tool of the student of 
social science, but as yet, the application of statistics to social 
problems is in its infancy. 

Since the chapter on Movements of Countrymen demonstrates 
the practical use of correlation in measuring social relationships, 
it was thought advisable to include the fundamental steps in 
the logic of this method and a condensed mathematical deriva- 
tion of the Pearsonian coefficient in this appendix. 


General Measures — A method of measuring the relation be- 
tween two variables, or, to keep the terminology of the previous 
section, — of measuring the extent to which the presence or ab- 
sence of a certain element of a situation is coincident with cer- 
tain changes in the population, is herewith outlined. (For more 
technical treatments of the mathematics of correlation, see bib- 

1. The most widely known measure of a variable series is 
the arithmetic average, which is the sum of the individual mem- 
bers of the series divided by the number of cases. In Table 
17, the method of guessing the average was used. This is 
valid because the sum of a series of deviations from any quan- 
tity which we may guess, when divided by the number of cases 
in the series and added to the quantity guessed is equal to the 
true average. This makes it possible to guess a round number 
which greatly facilitates the calculation of deviations, and later 

1 88 Appendix 

A population movement, looked at as an effort to satisfy 
desires, renders this task somewhat easier than it is in most 
social problems. The movement itself is a very tangible, mea- 
surable trait, and, furthermore, two situations are involved, the 
one from which population shifts and the one into which it 
shifts. Certainly, if groups of men are so profoundly affected 
that they leave their residences and acquaintances and chance 
their future among strangers there must be some powerful mo- 
tive or complex of motives back of the move — some condition 
which is odious, some desire which cannot be satisfied in their 
old home. Given a sufficient number of more or less homo- 
geneous areas which are losing population, an observer can de- 
termine certain elements common to the situations in each, 
from which the movement seems to rise. Whether these con- 
ditions are fundamental and permanent causes of the movement 
or not, can be verified by observing the migrant in his new sur- 
roundings, and finding out if he escapes the conditions which 
were odious in his old surroundings — if he satisfies the desire 
which he could not satisfy before moving. This gives a double 
check on the causes of the movement which is based on con- 
crete, observable facts. 

But, in the midst of such complexity as organized social 
groups present, how is definite assurance to be obtained that 
observations are accurately made, or relationships correctly 
tested. The scientific method for obtaining this assurance was 
outlined by Durkheim in 1895 in his "Les Regies de la Methode 
Sociologique," as follows: 

The old logicians' methods are of very little value in social 
reasoning because they assume a science already advanced to 
such a stage as to offer incontestable laws from which logical 
reasoning may proceed by comparison of cases which agree 
or differ in one point only. Social groups are too complex to 
ever agree or differ in only one respect. The real social method 
is, therefore, a statistical method. The groups studied may be 
compared with respect to the phenomenon under investigation 
and a phenomenon which is thought to be its cause. When 
the extent to which the two are present or absent in the same 
group fluctuates, uniformly in the same direction, this simple 
parallelism of values constitutes, in itself, a proof of a relation- 
ship which may often be stated quantitatively, provided a suf- 
ficient number of cases are studied. 

This process of accurately measuring the quantitive relation- 
ship between a social force and a change in society is a great 

Appendix 189 

time-saver for the student. As Durkheim points out, it obviates 
the necessity of discussing minutely each of the possible causes. 
After their relative importance has been measured, attention can 
be centered on the forces which have the closest relationship 
to the change. 

The task of the Chapter on "Migrations of Countrymen" is 
of the kind which Durkheim had in mind when he outlined this 
method. At that time, however, the statistical method was 
relatively undeveloped. What he described was little more than 
a modification, by a more liberal use of mass data, of the logic- 
ians methods of reasoning. Since that date material contribu- 
tions have been made to the use of mathematical methods for 
attaining exactitude, and scientists have demonstrated the lvalue 
of the methods in Biology, Psychology, and Economics. Mod- 
ern sociologists are insistent that knowledge of the statistical 
method of induction is the most useful tool of the student of 
social science, but as yet, the application of statistics to social 
problems is in its infancy. 

Since the chapter on Movements of Countrymen demonstrates 
the practical use of correlation in measuring social relationships, 
it was thought advisable to include the fundamental steps in 
the logic of this method and a condensed mathematical deriva- 
tion of the Pearsonian coefficient in this appendix. 


General Measures — A method of measuring the relation be- 
tween two variables, or, to keep the terminology of the previous 
section,— of measuring the extent to which the presence or ab- 
sence of a certain element of a situation is coincident with cer- 
tain changes in the population, is herewith outlined. (For more 
technical treatments of the mathematics of correlation, see bib- 

1. The most widely known measure of a variable series is 
the arithmetic average, which is the sum of the individual mem- 
bers of the series divided by the number of cases. In Table 
17, the method of guessing the average was used. This is 
valid because the sum of a series of deviations from any quan- 
tity which we may guess, when divided by the number of cases 
in the series and added to the quantity guessed is equal to the 
true average. This makes it possible to guess a round number 
which greatly facilitates the calculation of deviations, and later 

190 Appendix 

correct the guess by a simple process. (Moore, — Forecasting 
the Yield and Price of Cotton p. 19. Theorem II.) 

2. The averages of two series, however, tell us very little. 
We need still another measure, in terms of which, we can tell, 
in each single case the proportion in which the variation of 
one observation from the average of its series stands to the 
variation of another observation from the average of its series. 
The best description of the need and derivation of such a meas- 
ure is found in Moore's "Forecasting the Yield and Price of 
Cotton," pages 20-22. 

"The arithmetical mean of the frequency distribution gives us 
one of the most important summary descriptions of the dis- 
tribution: it gives the centre of density of the distribution. 
But in economic, as well as in most other measurements, it is 
extremely important to know how the several observations are 
grouped about the arithmetical mean of the measurements, and 
a coefficient showing the manner of grouping is a measure of 
dispersion. Just as we found that the arithmetical mean of the 
measurements gives us an idea of the centre of the density 
of the measurements, so, as a measure of dispersion, we might 
take the arithmetical mean of the deviations of the magnitudes 
from the mean of the observations. But if we followed this 
plan, we should meet with an embarrassing difficulty: The 
deviations of the measurements from the arithmetical mean 
are some of them positive and some of them negative, and if 
we take account of the signs of the deviations, then, the sum 
of the deviations is zero. We therefore choose, as our measure 
of dispersion the square-root of the mean square of the devia- 
tions about the arithmetical mean of the observations and we 
call this measure the "standard deviation." The measure of the 
dispersion of a series of observations about its average is then 
derived by squaring the deviation of each observation, summing 
the squares and dividing by the number of observations and 
extracting the square root. With 2 as our symbol for "the sum 
of," and n for the number of cases, in a series whose individual 

2 X 2 
deviations are designed by Y, the standard deviation is: 

For the example the total of column 6, table 17 gives the 
sum of the squares of the population deviationsl56,428,000.When 
this sum is divided by n (100) and corrected for the difference 
between the guessed and true averages the result is 11,49,035. 

Appendix 191 

The square root of this quantity is 1220. With <jy as the 
symbol for the standard deviation of the Y series, the expres- 
sion is <jy equals 1220. Similarly from column 7, <jx equals 249. 

3. It was noted in the text that another useful measure in deter- 
mining whether or not high population increases were asso- 
ciated with high farm increases in individual cases is the 
product of the two deviations. These XY products are shown 
in column 5, table 17 and their corrected total after dividing 
by the number of counties is 246,210, i.e. 2xY=246,210. 

4. A coefficient expressing the sums of these deviation products 
in terms of the two standard deviations constitutes a measure 
of the real relationship between the two series which is duly 
weighted for each case. Provided a straight line is the best 
description of the distribution of the two series, the coeffi- 
cient which should be developed is one which will describe 
the best fitting straight line in terms of the deviation products 
and the standard deviations. 

Derivation (Based on the "Mathematics of correlation, Moore, 
Forecasting the Yield and Price of Cotton). — Two series of ob- 
servations are taken on the same cases. Example, let the coun- 
ties studied in Chapter II, Part II, be the cases and the first 
series of observations be on the increases in farms operated by 
Negroes, the second on increases in Negro population. Call one 
set of variables (the observations made on the increases in 
farms) x 1 , x 2 , x 3 , x„. Call the other set of variables, (the ob- 
servations made on the increases in population) y v y 2 , y 3 y„. 

Compute the averages of the two series and by subtracting the 
average from each individual observation, obtain the deviation of 
each observation from its average. (See table 17, columns II 
and III.) For the first series call these deviations X , X 2 , X 3 
. ...X n . For the second series call these deviations Y, Y , Y 3 
....Y n . i.e. 

x x — Av. x series=X 1 
x 2 — Av. x series=X 2 
y t — Av. y series=Y 1 
y 2 — Av. y series=Y 2 etc., etc. 

2. Plot the cases on a system of coordinates with the aver- 
ages of the two series as the zero point: (See Diagram III op- 
posite page.) That is, locate the intersection of the x and y 

192 Appendix 

axes at the mean of the systems, — the point whose co-ordin- 
ates from absolute zero are average x, average y. Plot the 
cases from this zero point in terms of their deviations from 
their averages. Each case is then represented by a point, whose 
distance from the vertical axis parallel to the horizontal axis is 
the deviation of the case from its x average and whose distance 
from the horizontal axis parallel to the vertical axis is the 
deviation of the case from the y average. In other words the 
coordinates of the points representing the n cases would be 

XjYj, X 2 Y 2 , X a Y 8 X„Y n . In Diagram III a typical point is 

marked P and the X and Y for this point shown graphically. 

3. The problem is then to "fit" a straight line to this scatter 
diagram of points which will describe the relationship between 
the X and Y series in the n cases studied. The best fitting 
straight line will be the one from which the average of the 
squares of the deviations of the n points will be a minimum. 
But the single point from which the average of the squares of 
the deviations of all the points is a minimum is the point 
whose coordinates are average x r average y, or the zero point 
in the diagram as we have constructed it. This may there- 
fore be assumed as a point on the best fitting line. (For the 
student who wishes a mathematical proof that this point lies 
on the best fitting line the proofs of Moore and Yule, are cited. 
Since this is proven in other derivations of the correlation co- 
efficient, it was deemed expedient to assume it 'here in the inter- 
ests of brevity and clearness.) 

4. Since the line passes through the zero point and has no 
intercept on either axis its equation will have the general form 
y equals mx, m being some constant which will express its slope. 

5. For the series of observations plotted along the horizon- 
tal axis as X , X 2 , X 8 ....X„, there will be a similar series of 
points on the line. In the terms of the equation of the line the 

abscissae of these points will be y' v y' 2 y' 3 y' n . These points 

will have the coordinates X^'g, X 2 y' 2 , X 3 y' 3 X n y'n. (See 

Key of Diagram III.) The equation may therefore be written 
y' equals mX. 

6. The vertical deviation of each point from the line will 
then be Y—y\ Y 2 — y' 2 , etc. (On Diagram III Yp— y'p=the 
line FP\) The problem is then to determine m so that, for 

Appendix 193 

all of the n observations of x, the sum of the corresponding 

(Y-yT , 

— ^r s will be a minimum, i.e. 

That —A X-L be a minimum. 

But substituting the value mX for y', the condition becomes: 

(1) That S(Y ~ mX)2 be a minimum. 


(2) Expanding (1) we have S ( y2 ~ 2mXY+m 2 X 2 ) which ^ 

m S Y 2 9™ SxY , m ,2X 2 

N N N 

2 Y 2 
But, by definition is <Ty 2 

V vj 

Similarly — — = a x 2 an d (3) 

becomes (4) <jy 2 — 2 m 5^X + m 2 <7x 2 

Call this equation tt. Now if m should increase by an 

infinitesimally small quantity, e, a new equation would result: 

(5) Y.' = (j y 2 -2(m+e)^M + (m+e)«cr x 2 


But for the original equation (4) ^ to be a minimum it 

must be less than (5) ^r and if e is such a small quantity 

that its square can be disregarded (5) becomes 
(6) Z = a y 2 — 2m^X — 2e?^X + m 8 <J 8 + 2mea x » 
If e is an infinitesimally small quantity then for all practical 

purposes X = Y_ and ~ = o. Subtract (4) from (6) and 

N N N 

the result is (7 ) V '~ V = — 2e 5^X + 2e(m ax 8 ), therefore: 

N N 


(8) 2e(max«-^p , )= o 

For (8) to be true a sufficient condition is that the coefficient 
of the constant 2e be zero, i. e. : 

mtf-^- Y = o or »«#*.£*£ or (9) m = |2? 
N N N <Jx 2 

The expression (9) gives us the slope of the line. But, since 

the coefficient desired was one expressed in terms of the two 

standard deviations, we may multiply both sides by 

194 Appendix 

(ID; m — = or m — - 

Cy <Jy n <7x a ay ay n ax ay 

which is called r, or the Pearsonian Coefficient of Correlation, 

and it determines the tangent of the angle which the best 

fitting straight lines makes with the x axis, expressed in terms 

of the standard deviations of the two series. 

2 YY 
Example: In table 17, ~~ is 246,210, ay is 1,220, and ax is 

249. ax ay is, therefore 303,500 and r = U6 > 210 = .811. 
' 303,500 

» PMJmiBLL EMUn; Willi lilt luiniulu r.C«-VV r thopvobablcerroj ' 

jtf jhr rn n ffi n i nn t , 111 1 i V V & x J U - \'~ m^ ±.141. Thk . 

rnpa^g tVint Mj\th akt , 1 1 ■ 1 1 r !Ji'/M<i tgrits " r ' 1 | " m hdata thguaaefficifin. t 

mi ^ht b ^ ^ fo p fh in %" ih i I iiiii , i fi TO ' 

Graphic Presentation. —The advantage of having the scale of 
Diagram III laid out in units proportional to the two standard 
deviations, i.e. of having the unit along the horizontal axis rep- 
resent an increase of 100 in farms, and the unit along the 

100 X 1220 

vertical axis represent an increase of - 

in population is now apparent. For as r is the tangent of 
the angle which the best fitting line makes the x axis, ex- 
pressed in terms of the standard deviations, then, when the 
scale is expressed in terms of the standard deviation, r has a 
direct relationship to the tangent of the angle. Then the 
straight line which is the linear representation of the coefficient 
of relationship .811 is plotted by passing a line through the zero 
point (located at the means of the systems) and the point 
whose coordinates are 1, .811. (For this method of graphic 
expression of correlation coefficients I am indebted to Mr. 
Frank A. Ross, of the faculty of Political Science, Columbia 
University.) This also explains why several correlation co- 
efficients may be presented on the same system of coordinates 
as in diagram II. In this diagram one unit on the x axis 
represents, in turn, increases of 100 in farms, share tenants, 
cash tenants, owners, and acres cultivated by laborer, while in 

each case the unit on the y axis is ?. In other 


words the units used are proportions instead of actual num- 
bers and since they are proportions they may be legitimately 
compared on the same scale, the real comparison being be- 
tween the slopes of the 5 regression lines. 




Correlation Between Increase in Negro Population and Increase in 
Negro Farmers — Rural Counties of Georgia. 

PT- % 
FT- w 
PP- Y,.v> 

Each dot represents a county increase in population and farmers. 


The author was born June 18th, 1893, in Macon, Georgia. 
His secondary education was received in Athens, Georgia. 
In 1912 he graduated from the University of Georgia with 
the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The following year was 
spent as Phelps-Stokes Fellow at the University of Georgia. 
The next three years were occupied in assisting in a study 
of Negro Education in the United States, which was under- 
taken cooperatively by the Phelps-Stokes Fund and the 
United States Bureau of Education. The academic year 
1916-17, which was. begun as Fellow of the American Uni- 
versity at Columbia University, was interrupted by the war. 
After preparing a report for the United States Depart- 
ment of Labor, on Negro Migration, the author entered the 
army, where he remained until the middle of 1919. For the 
last four months in France he was placed on detached ser- 
vice with the Army Educational Corps and attended lectures 
under Professor C. Bougie in Sociology and Professor A. 
Souchon in Rural Economy at the Sarbonne. His studies 
in the Faculty of Political Science of Columbia University 
were resumed in 1919-1920. He was lecturer in economics 
in Teachers' College for one term of that year. While in 
residence he took courses under Professors Franklin H. 
Giddings, R. E. Chaddock, Henry L,. Moore, R. S. Wood- 
worth and A. A. Tenney. He has assisted in the prepara- 
tion of "Negro Education in the United States" and has 
published "The Negroes of Athens, Georgia," and "Negro 
Migration, 1916-1917 — from Georgia and South Carolina."