The very language of our subject assumes that the Negro is entitled to religious, political and civil rights, and limits our task to showing the extent these rights have been conceded to him by the American white man. In considering this, as well as other subjects that concern the race, it is well to bear in mind the fact that men make conditions and conditions also make men. The truth of this statement is strikingly demonstrated in the reactionary influence which slavery had upon the American white man. The chains that bound the Negro and made him a chattel, also fettered the mind and soul of the white man and caused him to become narrow and selfish. Lincoln's proclamation gave freedom alike to slave and master, and now the progress made by each along all lines of human development will depend upon the extent he leaves behind slavery conditions and thinks on purer and higher things. Living in the past, meditating upon the time when he was owner of men and women, the white man must still be a slaveholder. If he can not hold in subjugation human beings, he will arrogate unto himself the rights of others and use them to further his own selfish ends. The Negro also must get away from slavery conditions, if he hopes ever to be a man in the truest sense of the word and have accorded him the rights of a man. Time and growth are determining factors in what is known as the Negro problem. The white man must grow out of, and above, his prejudice, learn to measure men by their manly and Christian virtues rather than by the color of their skin and the texture of their hair. The Negro must devote himself to character-making, wealth-getting, and to the faithful performance of all duties that belong to him as a man and a citizen, for, he may only hope to receive his rights to the extent that he impresses the white man that he is worthy and deserving of them. We repeat, it will take time to accomplish these things, but when they are accomplished, rights which now the white man withholds, and which it seems he will never concede, will, like Virgil's golden branch, follow of their own accord. Viewing the subject in the light of the above stated facts, we believe that much progress was made by the American white man in the nineteenth century along the line of conceding to the Negro his religious, political, and civil rights.
In fact, the progress made in this direction stands without a parallel in the annals of history. It surpasses the most sanguine expectation of the Negro's friends, and even of the Negro himself. Although the white man is not entirely rid of his prejudice in religion and the color line is written over the entrance to many of his temples of worship, yet he recognizes the Negro as a man and a brother and accords to him religious rights and privileges. The Negro worships God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and the laws of the land protect him in this worship. He is a potent factor in all religious and reformatory movements and works side by side with his brother in white for the overthrow of vice and sin and for the hastening of the time when man and nations shall live and act in harmony with the principles of the Christian religion. He sits in the councils of the leading denominations of the country and assists in making their laws and determining their polity. He is accorded a place on the programs of the different young people's gatherings and is listened to with the same attention which other speakers receive. He bears fraternal greetings from his to white denominations, and is courteously received and royally entertained. In international assemblies and ecumenical conferences he enjoys every right and receives the same attention that others enjoy and receive.
But this progress is further evidenced by the profound interest manifested by the white man in the Negro's religious and moral development and by the strong pleas on the part of the nation's best and ablest men for the complete obliteration of the color line in religion and for dealing with the Negro as with any other man. Millions of dollars have been given for the building of churches and schools and hundreds of noble men and women have toiled and suffered that the Negro might be elevated. The bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, representing two and a half million members, said in their address to the General Conference, at Omaha, in 1892: "We have always affirmed them (the Negroes) to be our brothers of the same blood and stock of all the races which compose one common humanity. As such, we have claimed for them the same rights and privileges which belong to all other branches of the common family."
His political rights. He, who but yesterday was a slave, is now a citizen, clothed with the elective franchise. This is marvelous, and all the more so, because the ballot is a wonderful force. It is the ground element of our American civilization. In its exercise the poor man counts as much as the rich, the ignorant as much as the learned, and the black as much as the white. Indeed, the free and untrammeled use of the ballot makes its possessor a veritable sovereign and gives him power over men and their possessions. Opinion is divided as to the wisdom of giving the Negro citizenship at the time it was given him. We think no mistake was made. It came at the time the Negro needed it most. It was the weapon with which he defended himself when he had but few friends. The Negro has not been a failure in politics. The very leaders who urge our young men to let alone politics, will, on the other hand, point out Bruce, Douglass, Pinchback and others as the most worthy and conspicuous characters of the race. That a reaction has set in, and the Negro is being deprived of the ballot, should occasion no alarm and little surprise.
The grandfather clause in the different state constitutions will serve as a check to the white man's progress along educational lines, but a spur to urge us on. These seeming setbacks in the concession of political rights I count as progress, and place it to the white man's credit.
The decision of the Supreme Court at Washington against the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 has had its effect, and to-day we find the Negro more discriminated against in his civil than in any other class of rights. Then, too, the social bugbear has had much to do with this discrimination. However, progress has been made. It has been slow, of course, because of the channel (public opinion) through which it has been compelled to come. In many sections of the country the Negro enjoys the most of his civil rights. He is admitted to the hotels, theaters, and other public places, and on public conveyances he is furnished fair accommodations. We believe in the ultimate triumph of right. Let us be patient. There is a disposition on the part of the better class of white people to do the fair and just thing by the Negro. This class will continue to increase, and some day the Negro will enjoy all of his rights, and our fair country will indeed be the land of the free, as well as the home of the brave.
THE NEGRO AS A LABORER.
BY N. W. HARLLEE.
N. W. HARLLEE, A. M., A. B.
The subject of this sketch was born a slave in Robeson county, near Lumberton, North Carolina, July 15th, 1852. His father was a Methodist preacher who exhorted the plantation slaves, and was noted as "a natural mathematician." His mother was deeply religious.
Mr. Harllee is a self-made man, for he taught himself to read and write after being taught to spell about a third through Webster's blue-back spelling book, and with this small beginning he laid the foundation for a collegiate education and for the active work of life.
In 1881 he was elected register of deeds in Richmond county, N. C., where he had taught school for a number of years, and in 1882 was appointed United States postal clerk on the Carolina Central Railway and transferred to Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railway, which position he held till 1885. In 1879 he was graduated at the Biddle University, Charlotte, N. C., with honors. In 1885 he went to Texas and engaged in the profession of teaching, and served for a number of years as principal of the Grammar School No. 2 of Dallas, Texas. Afterward he was promoted to the principalship of the Colored High School of the Dallas City Public Schools, which position he now holds.
Professor Harllee has taken an active part in the educational work of his state, and has served as president and secretary of the Teachers' State Association of the state of Texas; he has also held the position of Superintendent of the Colored Department of the Texas State Fair for eight years, and still holds that position. He is a practical staff reporter on the Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Tex.
Mr. Harllee was married to Miss Florence Belle Coleman of Dallas, Tex., 1891, and has three children, Lucretia, Chauncey Depew and Norman W., Jr.
He is author of "Harllee's Tree of History," a new and graphic method of teaching history; also Harllee's "Simplified Long Division," a new graphic method of teaching long division; also Harllee's "Diagram System of Geography."
He has for a number of years advocated the establishment of a State University for the youth of Texas, and is also working with the Rev. W. Lomas and D. Rowens to establish an industrial school for his people at Dallas.
He is also chairman of the Y. M. C. A. board of education of Dallas, and along with Messrs. Rice, Darrell, Polk, Weems and Anderson is conducting a successful Y. M. C. A. night school for all ages and sexes.
For two hundred and fifty years the American Negro has been a drawer of water and a hewer of wood. He felled the trees and turned the forest into fields of cotton and corn; he drained the swamps and turned them into fields of rice; he graded the highways and made them possible for railroad transit and traffic. In summer he was to the white man, his owner, an umbrella; in winter, to the same owner, he was his winter wood, and always a ready servant with hand and brawn, as bread and meat and shelter.
The question of labor is one of bread and meat. To the bread-winner it means much; to the unemployed it often lends a charm for crime; for after all, the unemployed needs food, clothing, medicine, a shelter and employment alike for body and mind.
But the subject of labor is not a new one, and, indeed, it has been made a question of many complex phases introduced by prejudice from white trade unions. Also, climate makes an important factor, hence the different sections of our country employ to a large extent different kinds of labor, suited to the prevailing industries, thrift and enterprises.
We may consider at once the two general classes of labor, the crude and the skilled. For generations the black man, as a crude laborer, raised "King Cotton" in the cottonfields of the South. He has had no competition as a crude laborer; he still holds a trust on the fleecy staple; his right there is none to dispute.
But to-day a new and brighter era opens before us. We are to manufacture cotton as well as raise it. We are to advance and keep pace with the mental training of our children and provide employment for them in every avenue. As the Turk weaves his carpet and darns his shawl and as the Chinese prepares his silk, so the black youth must be trained to change cotton into cloth.
Trained hands and trained minds are inseparable companions. If we educate our boys and girls, we create in them a desire, we thrust upon them a stimulus which pushes them out into the active world, and, if only with polished brain and soft hands, they wander from place to place seeking the shady side of active, stern reality.
Since we, by educating our boys and girls, create new appetites, new desires, new activities, we set in motion new forces; then we ought the more to create new enterprises, open new avenues, establish new business or improve the old so as to meet the new relations, the awakened appetites, the growing activities and the employment of the new forces in the culture of cotton and the establishment of cotton mills.
We commit a crime by creating appetites and then failing to appease them.
The education of our children should no longer be a mere theory, but a matter of real practical nature, such as will benefit the bread-winner, the home-seeker, the higher citizenship, the welfare of the greatest number.
While I favor the higher education of the youth of the nation, I also think the youth ought to learn trades, to wear the overalls at the forge, at the work-bench, to adjust the machinery in the work-shop and the factory. I would have the youth able to design and build a house as well as to live in one, to raise potatoes as well as to eat them, to produce as well as consume. For many years the great majority of the youth must be common laborers, whatever their education, whatever their social condition or station; then it follows as the day follows the night that they should be educated with the trend of the mind and in connection with environment.
In the days of slavery many of our young men and women were trained along certain lines; the young men such as skilled carpenters, blacksmiths, stone masons, bricklayers, and the like, and the young women were trained in dressmaking and the like, and these boys and girls grew up having a kind of monopoly in their respective lines, although controlled by their owners. But for a quarter of a century very little attention has been paid to trade learning in many sections of the South.
This condition confronts us to-day; however, it is claimed that it is no fault of the children that they do not learn trades, and it is further urged by many parents that the blame does not lie at their hands; but that it is the fault of the times, of conditions and circumstances; and still others claim that the trade unions are the main cause. Many claim that, if their children are trained along certain lines, they will be debarred by the opposition of the trade unions. But these excuses seem too trivial. The opposition of the labor organizations should urge greater activity in superior trade learning in every pursuit, so that when the white striker walks out of the shops the black man, skilled, trusted and tried, should walk in and demonstrate his ability to do better and more work than the outgoing striker.
We are to take no steps backward in industrial and intellectual progress in the opening days in the dawn of the new century. A thinking people is a prosperous people. We are to be measured by what we can accomplish, not by the color of the skin, the texture of the hair, the color of the eye or the contour of the head. But we are to be measured as skilled farmers, mechanics, printers, artists and scholars.
This age demands substantial progress in every department of industry, in the home, at the fireside, in the shop and on the farm. To labor with skill, to facilitate and hasten its benign results with trained hands and cultivated brain, must ever be the fiery incentive of our people, in order that they may keep abreast of the times in all practical operations as skilled laborers, and, as such, vindicate their usefulness as citizens.
As laborers and citizens, the black face must stand for integrity in the community, the emblem of sterling worth, the black diamond intrinsic in value.
The time has come when one person ceases to employ another because he is of color, but he employs the one who can give more than value received. The race needs to bring the hand and the head nearer together.
The boy who has completed a college education should, in the course of time, raise more corn to the acre, if he be a farmer, than his uneducated father; for his knowledge of geology should better fit him to know the condition and nature of the soil; if a mechanic, his knowledge of geometry and of physics should enable him to be an adept.
The question of labor during the last few years has become, in many respects, intensely sectional. North of Mason and Dixon's line, the color of the skin has to do with the employment of the colored man along certain lines of skilled labor. While this is true in the South, the prejudice is not so rank as in the North, except where the colored laborer comes in contact with the Yankee or the foreigner.
THE NEGRO AS A LABORER.
BY PROF. R. G. ROBINSON, B. L.
PROF. R. G. ROBINSON.
Prof. R. G. Robinson, B. L., the subject of our sketch, was born in Hamilton, Bermuda Islands, B. W. I., February 16, 1873. In pursuit of education he came to the United States at the early age of eleven, going directly to New Hampshire. In the fall of '85 he entered Dow Academy in Franconia, N. H. By economy and thrift he maintained himself in this institution for eight years, graduating in 1893, second in his class. During this course he was several times elected president of the Autonomation Literary Society. His conduct and standing was very tersely stated by one of his professors, when he said that "he was courteous and obliging under all circumstances, clear and logical in his deductions and conscientious as a Christian."
He immediately entered Dartmouth College in the class of '97. During his college course he was prominent in athletics, at the same time holding a good position in his class. Despite the fact he was one of the two colored men in a class of a hundred and twenty-eight, yet at the close of Freshman year he was unanimously elected class auditor for the ensuing year. He was a charter member of the Ruskin Society, a society for the cultivation of the histrionic art in Dartmouth College. In 1897 Dartmouth gave him the degree of Bachelor of Letters. Says President Tucker of Dartmouth: "He is a man of clear and earnest purpose, possessing tact and good executive ability."
After graduation he was elected to the chair of English language and literature in the Tuskegee Institute, but resigned at the close of the year and was elected principal of one of the city schools of Montgomery, Ala., which position he held until elected by the Freedmen's Aid and Southern Educational Society as principal of the La Grange Academy, La Grange, Ga.
In 1899 he was married to Lily Belle, the daughter of Wm. Hill, the wealthy truck gardener of Montgomery. Mrs. Robinson is a graduate of the A. & M. College at Normal, Alabama. They have a son, Mason Francis.
Prof. Robinson has a brother who is a member of the Boston Bar. He graduated from Dow Academy in Franconia, N. H., in 1893; attended Oberlin College and received the degree of LL. B. from Boston University. In 1898 he was a member of the Boston Common Council.
So artful is nature that she does not permit man to break one of her laws for his pleasure without a sacrifice on his part; that for every action there is a corresponding reaction; and so the laws of compensation hold good in the dealings of man with man, races with races, and nations with nations. Slavery, as ignominious as it was, had a dual effect. The master race, forming what might be termed a landed aristocracy, looked upon manual labor as degrading; while it of necessity became the natural sphere of the weaker. Thus the spirit of work became engrafted into the very being of the Negro. This is the path all races have trod.
The basis of the South's industrial system was Negro labor; and although the Emancipation Proclamation changed the whole structure from a base of slave labor to that of free labor, nevertheless the Negro remained virtually in the same position, but with enlarged opportunities. This was a legacy greater than the ballot, for it is vastly more important to a man to be able to earn an honest living than to be privileged to cast a ballot, and doubly so if the element of doubt as to its being counted enters into the privilege. It was a cruel change from that of an irresponsible creature to that of a man clothed with the responsibility of self-support and of American citizenship—a change that would have staggered any race, but the Negro has acted nobly his part.
To say that the Negro is a valuable citizen, and a necessity in the development of the South, is to put it mildly. It can best be appreciated when we remember that since the war the Negro has earned seventy-five billions of dollars, and out of this vast amount he has saved the pitiful sum of five hundred millions; thus contributing to the wealth of the South seventy-four billions and a half of dollars. It is estimated that four-fifths of the labor done in the South is done by the Negro. The theory advanced by those who claim themselves to be immunes from that dreaded disease of Negrophobia is, that the industrial education of the Negro will inevitably inspire a similar movement for the industrial training of the poor whites, and the resultant competition means a further complication of the race problem, which will only be solved by the ultimate separation of the races. This theory is as unique as it is original, and bids fair to revolutionize the laws of economics. But to the contrary the laws of trade and labor are as imperious as all the enactments of necessity. The South is fast regaining her lost treasures and bids fair to become not only an agricultural section, but with her wonderful oil and mineral resources to be the rival of the North. Coupled with her wonderful resources is the free Negro labor, which is the cheapest in the world outside of Asia, and will not only be in demand but will ultimately enter into all industries, driving all before it. It is a certainty that capital will inevitably seek and secure the cheapest labor. Besides cheapness, other qualifications have made, and will continue to make, him indispensable to the South's development and make him far superior to the foreign element for which a few seem to clamor.
Coming out of slavery ignorant, irresponsible, no name, no home, no "mule," there is no better way to measure the influence of Christian education than by the increased ability to earn, to save and to wisely invest money. The spirit of home-getting and the eagerness for education are very hopeful signs. We proudly quote from a lengthy editorial in a recent issue of the Atlanta Constitution: "The building up of wealth follows a sharpening of intellect. If the untutored colored man of the past quarter of a century could amass nearly a half a billion of dollars, why may not the educated Negro, during the next quarter of a century, quadruple the amount?"
As a skilled laborer it will take time for the race to make a mark, because here he will meet with sharper competition. This is the opportunity of the industrial school. The lack of sufficient numbers of skilled colored mechanics and because of the existence of prejudice, the employer shows timidity in attempting to supplant white labor with Negro labor. This fear will decrease as the supply increases. We indorse industrial training for the masses, but as efficient as it is, it is not sufficient. The tendency of these schools is to make the training of the hand of primary importance and that of the brain secondary. This might suffice for a while, but in this age of progress, of invention, when the genius of the age seems to have directed all its power to the invention of labor-saving machines, the demand for brainy mechanics is increasing so rapidly that the industrial school of to-day will wake up to-morrow only to find itself behind the times.
The Northern section of our country, with its large manufacturing interests and the constant demand for skilled labor, has encouraged the combining of labor into trades unions as a means of protection against the encroachments of capital. Because of the social side of these organizations the Negro has been debarred, with some exceptions. The unions will operate against him just as long as the interests of the unions are not in jeopardy and the supply of skilled colored mechanics is insufficient. But in the South, where Negro labor is plenty and agriculture is the chief occupation, the Negro will always have a practical monopoly, and his opportunities in all the trades in the North, as well as in the South, will increase in proportion as he becomes an educated, thrifty, law-abiding land-owner. The time has come when the Negro can no longer afford to play upon the sympathies of his friends, but as a man among men he must be pre-eminently fitted for his place; fitted in intellect, in the knowledge of his craft and in sobriety.
As a common laborer the Negro in his ignorance has had to battle against great odds. Too often his employer, who built the courts, run them and owns them, but who made the Negro shoulder the expense, feeling that he has the right of way and in his eagerness to get something for nothing, has forced the Negro through necessity to do the very thing for which he condemns him. Despite these great odds, industry and uprightness in any man, be he white or black, makes him a valuable member of any community.
THE NEGRO AS A LABORER.
BY MISS LENA T. JACKSON.
LENA TERRELL JACKSON, M. A.
Lena Terrell Jackson was born December 25, 1865, in Gallatin, Sumner County, Tenn. Her father died in her early childhood; hence the responsibility of her support and education fell upon her mother.
This mother determined to give her daughter the advantage of a good education. Accordingly at the age of seven years the daughter was placed in a private school and remained there until the autumn of 1876, when, having finished the course of study in the private school, she was entered as a pupil in the Belle View City School and remained there three consecutive years.
She completed the course of study in the Nashville City Schools in June, 1879. In September, 1879, she entered the Middle Preparatory Class of Fisk University and remained at Fisk six years, graduating from the Collegiate Department in 1885.
During the six years spent at Fisk she taught school during the summer months in the rural districts and with the money thus earned helped to support her mother and maintain herself in school. She also assisted her mother in her family work after school hours.
After graduation, in 1885, she was elected as a teacher in the Nashville Public Schools, having resigned two similar positions, the one at Birmingham, Ala., and the other at Chattanooga, Tenn., to accept the Nashville appointment.
In 1894 she was assigned to the Junior Grade in the colored High School and two years later to the Chair of Latin in the High School, which position she is still filling.
Following out the principles of economy that are so thoroughly inculcated in the minds of Fisk students, her first thought after completing her course of study was turned towards the acquisition of real estate and the purchase of a home for her mother, who through so many struggles and sacrifices had made it possible for her to obtain a college education.
Her hopes in this direction have been realized to some extent; and she has secured not only a home, but considerable other real estate.
The wide scope of this subject, and the limited time given for research, together with the absence of statistics, make it impossible at this time to present more than a brief sketch. I propose to continue my research and investigation and at some later date to present the subject in a very much enlarged form, giving the condition of the Negro as a laborer in all the leading cities of the United States. In the present sketch mention will be made of only a few cities.
The Southern cities, with their stately residences and business houses that were constructed in ante-bellum days, bear emphatic testimony to the skill of the Negro in the mechanic arts. All of the labor of the South at that time was done almost exclusively by the Negro. Plantation owners trained their own blacksmiths, wheelwrights, painters and carpenters. The Negro was seen as a foreman on many Southern plantations during ante-bellum days. Education has greatly improved his ability to labor, and to-day in every vocation he is found as a laborer, competing successfully with other laborers. Notwithstanding the fact that prejudice and labor organizations are arrayed against him, the character of his work is such, and his disposition as a laborer such, that his services will always be in great demand.
Negro laborers are given employment on large buildings alongside of white laborers, and generally give entire satisfaction. In the city of Nashville, Tenn., during the present year, in the construction of the Polk Flats, two Negro laborers were employed with a number of white laborers; a strong pressure was brought to bear upon the foreman to displace the two Negro laborers and fill their places with white men. The request was promptly denied. This is conclusive proof that had the character of the Negroes' work not been eminently satisfactory the reverse would have been the result.
The Negro is found in all the occupations that are characteristic of a progressive people, namely, barbers, blacksmiths, brick and stone masons, carpenters, coachmen, domestic servants, firemen, farm laborers, mail carriers, merchants (grocers), millers, shoemakers and repairers, waiters, nurses, seamstresses, housewives, washerwomen and milliners.
Trades and Industries.—As stone and brick masons the wages range from $2 to $3 per day. Huntsville, Ala., has a brickyard that is owned and controlled by Negroes. This firm secures the contract for a large number of houses in Huntsville and the adjoining towns.
There is a town in the northern part of Virginia in which the entire brickmaking business is in the hands of a colored man, a freedman, who bought his own and his family's freedom, purchased his master's estate, and eventually hired his master to work for him. He owns a thousand acres or more of land and considerable town property. In his brickyard he hires about fifteen hands, mostly boys from sixteen to twenty years of age, and runs five or six months a year, making from 200,000 to 300,000 brick. Probably over one-half the brick houses of the place are built of brick made in his establishment, and he has repeatedly driven white competitors out of business.
As firemen the Negro has shown himself courageous and faithful to his trust. During a great fire in Nashville, Tenn., a few years ago, it was conceded by all that the progress of a disastrous fire was checked and much valuable property saved by the heroic efforts of the colored fire company. Unfortunately, however, the captain of the company and two of his comrades were sacrificed. In all the large cities colored fire companies are to be found, and in every case they are making a good record.
In some sections of Texas and Mississippi Negro plantation owners are often found.
Just after the close of the war the highest ambition of the Negro was the ministry. But there has been a remarkable change in that direction and Negroes are now found in all the professions. The Negro physician has made an enviable record. One of the leading surgeons in the West is a colored physician. He is the founder of a large hospital in a western town, and is also surgeon-in-chief of one of the largest hospitals in the country. The Negro has also gained some distinction at the bar. A large number of Negroes are teachers, and an increasing number of these are young women.
Clerical Work.—Negroes are given employment as clerks in the government service at Washington, D. C. There is a large number of railway-mail clerks, with salaries ranging from one thousand to fifteen hundred dollars a year. Nashville, Tenn., has three mail clerks who have held their respective routes for more than ten years.
Common Laborers.—This class includes porters, janitors, teamsters, laborers in foundries and factories. The usual wages paid for this class of work is $1 a day.
The barbering and restaurant businesses, toward which the Negro naturally turned just after emancipation, for which their training as home servants seemed especially to fit them, are not so largely followed now owing to the fact that the best talent of the race have entered the professions. Yet, however, in some places the Negro restaurant keeper does a thriving business. In Chicago, Illinois, there were two fine up to date restaurants which did a good business. One of these employed white help exclusively.
The Negro blacksmiths and wheelwrights do a good business, sometimes taking in from $5 to $8 a day.
As shoemakers and repairers, and furniture repairers and silversmiths, the Negro is successful, and is kept busy. In painting there is a colored contractor in Nashville who does business on a large scale. He is proprietor of his own shop, employs a large number of men, and secures the contract for a large number of fine dwellings. His patronage is confined mostly to white people.
Nashville has a steam laundry owned and operated entirely by colored men, and it has a large white patronage. In the rural districts most of the Negroes devote themselves to farming, either working on the farms of others or are themselves proprietors of farms.
Domestic Service.—In this field of labor both men and women are found. The average wages paid the men is $15 a month and board. The women receive from $5 to $12 a month, according to age and work. In addition to their wages they also receive lodging, cast-off clothes, and are trained in matters of household economy and taste. At present there is considerable dissatisfaction and discussion over the state of domestic service. Many Negroes often look upon menial labor as degrading and only enter it from utter necessity, and then as a temporary make-shift. This state of affairs is annoying to employers who find an increasing number of careless and impudent young people who neglect their work, and in some cases show vicious tendencies.
The low schedule for such work is due to two causes: One is, that from custom many Southern families hire help for which they cannot afford to pay much; another reason is that they do not consider the service rendered worth any more. This may not be the open conscious thought of the better elements of such laborers, but it is the unconscious tendency of the present situation, which makes one species of honorable and necessary labor difficult to buy or sell without loss of self-respect on one side or the other.
Day Service.—A large number of single women and housewives work out regularly in families, or take washing into their homes; and, like house servants, are paid by the week, or if they work by the day from 30 to 50 cents a day. This absence of mothers from home not only occasions a neglect of their household duties but also of their children, especially of girls. Aside from house servants and washerwomen, many of the women are seamstresses and readily find employment in white families. Some do a remunerative business in their own homes. The Negro woman is especially successful as a trained nurse, and a considerable number of the brightest and most intelligent among the young women are entering upon that calling. Conclusion.—The closing years of the nineteenth century indicate remarkable advancement on the part of the Negro in all industrial lines; but the twentieth century will doubtless furnish opportunities which will enable him to carry these beginnings to their legitimate fruition.
THE NEGRO AS A CHRISTIAN.
BY REV. WILLIAM E. PARTEE, D. D.
WILLIAM E. PARTEE, D. D.
Rev. William E. Partee, D. D., was born at Concord, N. C., of Christian parents in the year 1860 and at an early age placed in the common schools of his native town. He was left an orphan at the age of ten, but by determination and the help of friends he gained an education. When but sixteen years of age he taught a country school. He was graduated from the collegiate and theological departments of Biddle University and was licensed to preach in 1883 and ordained in 1884 by the Presbytery of Catawba and entered upon his life work by serving as pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church at Concord, N. C., for more than three years, among his early playmates and companions.
In the year 1887 he took charge of a mission church and school at Gainesville, Fla., serving acceptably in that work for more than four years and standing faithfully by his people during that memorable epidemic of yellow fever in 1888. In 1892 he was called to the pastorate of Laura Street Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Fla., which position he occupied for nearly seven years. During two years of that time he was also principal of one of the city graded schools. In 1896 he was sent as commissioner from the Presbytery of East Florida to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church at Saratoga.
In 1898 he resigned from his work in Jacksonville to take charge of the First Presbyterian Church of Richmond, Va. Thus he has been engaged for many years in the active work of the ministry, always doing earnest and faithful work and held in high esteem by the people of every community in which he has labored.
He was married in 1886 to Miss Edith I. Smith, of Lynchburg, Va., who proved a worthy and efficient helper in his work, and uncomplainingly shared with him the trials and vicissitudes which fall to the preacher's lot in life for fourteen years. Then the Master called her to rest from her labors.
To form a correct estimate of the Negro as a Christian we must take into account the "depths from which he came."
Back of his forty years of freedom lie more than two hundred years of bondage, in which he was forced to obey the will of another absolutely and kept in ignorance. All real manhood was repressed and every ambition curbed. Though under the control of the Christian Church and people of the South, and living on the farms and in the homes and families of their masters, mingling in their lives and their society, and subject to their moulding influence, yet, as a rule, the moral principles and qualities necessary to a religious life were not taught him, neither was he encouraged to cultivate them.
There was no lawful marriage, no true home, but husband and wife were the property of a master who used or abused either as he chose; their children grew up under the same conditions and were encouraged or forced into unchastity, lying, stealing and betraying of one another under the teaching that there was no moral wrong to them since they were the property of another who was responsible for their acts. There could be no growth in morals, and there can be no true religion without morals. To say the least they came out of bondage with a dwarfed moral nature, and to this day suffer more or less from the effects of it. The carnality of slavery has not yet ceased to bear fruit, as we all know. Ever and anon it shows itself in those horrible acts which the newspapers report in full.
It takes long and weary years to root out of a race or nation evils that have become fixed in its nature. But while there is much to be deplored as to laxity in morals among the masses there has been constant and steady improvement in this regard. It is no doubt true that any race, kept in bondage under similar conditions, and for the same length of time as the Negro was, would come out of it in no better condition, and would, perhaps, show no better record in forty years than this race has shown, and especially so if that bondage were preceded by heathenism.
Dr. Haygood has said, "The hope of the African race in this country is largely in its pulpit. No people can rise above their religion; no people's religion can rise above the doctrines preached and lived by their ministry."
The Negro began almost unaided and alone in this particular. As to their religion they were very largely left to themselves during slavery. Their ministers were ignorant and unlettered. Many of them were pious, but many were ungodly and unscrupulous. So theirs was a religion largely without the Bible. It consisted of bits of Scripture here and there, of glowing imaginations, of dreams and of superstitions; yet it was the best they knew.
Then many years of freedom had passed by before fully equipped ministers could be provided them. During those years faithful servants of God, unlettered, did their best to be the true religious leaders of the people (all honor to them), but they necessarily came short in many respects and could not carry the people up to the higher plane of religious life.
With these things before our minds we say that the race has shown a remarkable growth in the essentials of true Christian manhood. Their notions may, in some things, be crude; their conceptions of truth may be realistic; they may be more emotional than ethical; they may show many imperfections in their religious development; nevertheless is it true that their religion is their most striking formative characteristic. So susceptible are they that no other influence has had so much to do in shaping their better character, and what they are to become in their future development will be largely determined by their religion.
While in their church and social life there are some elements of evil and superstition, some of which are the inheritance of past ages in the fatherland, while others have been developed in this country by the conditions of life during the years of slavery, still any fairminded person who takes the pains to correctly inform himself will acknowledge that these are being gradually but surely eradicated.
As a Christian he commends himself in his faith and devotion. Though his religion may sometimes be defective in its practical application to the principles of right conduct and living, God, heaven, hell and the judgment day are realities to him. He believes the truths of the Bible to be real, and thus he is sound in the faith so far as he understands it, and that is more than can be said of many who are better informed than he. What a rare thing to find one an infidel! Where can you find a people more susceptible to religious teaching?
The emotional nature is highly developed, and they are quick to respond to whatever appeals to their sympathies and affections. Emotion has its place in religion and is not to be ignored, but to be properly used and controlled and directed. To move any one we must first reach the feelings; if these can be aroused they may develop into a conviction that the subject of them should adopt a given course of action, and he accordingly does so. I am not sure after all that we should seek to repress such to any great extent. It may be a point in his favor, for since he is easily and powerfully impressed by strong appeals, he is the more readily brought under the influence of the wise teacher or leader. It is true in some cases that mere physical excitement is mistaken for being "filled with the spirit," and thus some swing to the extreme in this direction. It is noticeable, however, that this is being rapidly outgrown and more self-control is being practiced. After all it does seem that being easily moved and swayed may furnish the lever by which the wise and prudent may begin to lift them to the higher ground of religious life. No doubt in most cases there is deep down beneath the easily overwrought feelings a true religious disposition, with much spirituality and divine energy.
Benevolence is rightly regarded as an important matter in Christian living. In proportion to his means the Negro excels in this. Hundreds of churches, and many schools and colleges have been built out of their poverty. To sum up and place on record their gifts for the extension of Christ's kingdom would perhaps show to the world an unequalled record of self-sacrifice and devotion to a cause. Show that a cause is a worthy one and they are ready to give according to their ability to help that cause. To give help to ministers of the gospel and other Christian workers is not only regarded as a duty but as an honor and a pleasure. On the whole they are kind at heart, generous to the distressed, obliging and considerate. Love to friends and forgiveness of enemies are marked characteristics.
The statement has been often made that loose notions as to morals are held. To some extent this may be true. Let us bear in mind that the large majority are poor and are common laborers, and more than half the race are illiterate. Compare them with this class of any race in this or any other country and I dare say they will suffer but little by the comparison. Some have made much of the fact that in many places whole families by necessity live in one or two-room cabins. While this is unfortunate and to be regretted, it is nevertheless true that you can find even in such conditions in the majority of instances that purity and virtue are as much respected as among those who live in roomy homes where every privacy is afforded. They are not any worse, certainly, and, perhaps, are better in this respect than the multitudes of other races who live in the cellars and attics of crowded tenements in our great cities.
Let us not make the mistake of including all in one general class, and that the worst, but while acknowledging that there is great room for improvement, let us recognize in the vast mass of multitude who, in education, morals and religion, are the equals of any people.
The correspondence between the profession of the heart and the outward life is often not what it should be, but is not that true also of many Christians of any race? There are Christians of highest education who enjoy abundant and varied opportunities of enlightenment and culture who fail to show in all their outward life what they profess in their heart to be. Some do fall into the error of trying to separate between the religion of the heart and that of the life, but generally they are learning the better way. Where so large a percentage of the people cannot read and write, how can you expect of them the highest degree of moral and religious life? Taking into account the disadvantages and limitations under which they labor, you rather wonder that they have reached so high as they have in Christian living. We must consider the past history of the race, its present disadvantages, environment and opportunity, if we would justly estimate its Christianity. We must base our judgment upon the developed Negro if we would be fair. Education helps us to be better Christians just as it helps others and, and as we get more knowledge of Bible truths such as education can give us we will be better Christians. Educated ministers are fast displacing the uneducated, and those whose moral and Christian character fall below the standard are being crowded out, and schools and colleges are sending out every year hundreds of educated Christian men and women who raise the standard of right living in any community where their lot is cast.
The material prosperity of the Negro may be placed in evidence as to his Christianity. With all the odds against them and starting up from absolute poverty, the race now owns farms, homes, schools, churches, bank accounts and personal property amounting to five hundred and fifty million dollars. It is remarkable that this has been acquired in forty years. God's word teaches that nations prosper in material things as they get close to God.
Thus looking upon the brighter side we are led to commend in many things the Christianity of the Negro race and to believe that as a people higher ground is aimed at. Though yet a long way off from perfection, yet ever onward and upward are they tending.
THE NEGRO AS A CHRISTIAN.
BY REV. L. B. ELLERSON, A. B., A. M.
REV. L. B. ELLERSON.
Rev. L. B. Ellerson, A. M., was born at Cheraw, S. C., in 1869. Mr. Ellerson's father having died when the son was but an infant, Mr. Ellerson was left to be reared under the fostering care of his mother alone. He spent his youthful days in the public schools of his native town until he was sixteen years old. At that time he was happily converted to Christ and received the impressions that he was called to the gospel ministry. At the same time he united with the Presbyterian Church. In 1886, Mr. Ellerson entered Biddle University at Charlotte, N. C., to pursue such a course as would prepare him for the ministry. He remained at Biddle University until 1893, when he graduated from the classical course with honor, taking the Philosophical Oration. In '92 Mr. Ellerson was the successful contestant for the medal given by the Alumni to the Junior Class. During his course at Biddle, Mr. Ellerson spent his summer vacations, teaching in the district schools of North and South Carolina. In June, 1893, Mr. Ellerson was employed to do missionary work near Asheville, N. C. He continued in this work until September, 1893, at which time he entered the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church at Princeton, N. J., for the purpose of completing his course for the ministry. During the first two years of his course of Theology at Princeton he continued to come South in summer and engage in teaching during vacations. He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1896. He and two others being the only colored students in a class of sixty-nine young men. Besides keeping up the studies of the last year, Mr. Ellerson supplied the pulpit of Dwight's Chapel at Englewood, New Jersey. Here he remained until September, 1896, when he came to South Carolina and was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry by the Fairfield Presbytery, the same Presbytery having licensed him the preceding year.
During Rev. Ellerson's course at Princeton he was at one time engaged to supply the pulpit of Siloam Presbyterian Church at Elizabeth, N. J. At another time he was employed to assist the Rev. H. G. Miller, pastor of Mt. Taber Presbyterian Church, in New York City, during the illness of the pastor. Upon his ordination by Fairfield Presbytery in 1896, Rev. Ellerson was placed in charge of the church and school work at Manning, S. C. Here he worked very successfully preaching and teaching until November, 1898, when he was called to the pastorate of Berean Presbyterian Church at Beaufort, S. C. At the same time he was made principal of Harbison Institute. Rev. Ellerson labored with a marked degree of success on the Beaufort field from November, 1898 to April, 1901, when he was urged to accept a call from the Laura Street Presbyterian Church at Jacksonville, Fla., where he is at present prosecuting the work of his church with success. For a young man of his age, Rev. Ellerson evidently stands high in the estimation of his fellow Presbyters. This is evinced by the fact that he has already filled some of the highest offices in the gift of his brethren. In 1898 he was unanimously chosen moderator of Fairfield Presbytery at Camden, S. C. In 1899 he was made the choice of Atlantic Synod for moderator at Columbia, S. C., and in 1900 he was unanimously elected to represent the Presbytery of Atlantic in the General Assembly which met in St. Louis, Mo.
He has filled each of these offices with credit and ability. The degree of A. M. was conferred upon him by Biddle University, his Alma Mater in 1900.
If it is true that man is naturally a religious being, then it is pre-eminently true in the case of the Negro. If the Negro is anything at all he is religious. It matters not in what walk of life you find him or what may be his personal or individual character, it is a very rare case indeed when you find a Negro who indulges in doubt as to the existence of a supreme being or the existence of a future state of rewards and punishments. With him these are fixed points of belief. But as much as may be justly said regarding the Negro's natural piety, it must be observed and admitted by all who know the Negro best that his religion is very much defective in its practical application to the principles of right conduct and living. And this, we perceive, is the main point at issue, for when we discuss the Negro as a Christian we must of necessity feel called upon to distinguish between his native piety and his applied Christianity. We wish it understood, too, that the general observations made here refer to the masses of Negroes rather than to the individual.
We unhesitatingly affirm that individuals of our race have risen to as true and as high a Christian status as has mankind anywhere. And although we know and confess that the masses of our race have not yet come up to the genuine standard of the New Testament Christianity—even in apprehension—yet it must be observed that their religion contains many features that are highly commendable. Chief among these features are, first, his simple, child-like, unwavering faith in God. Nor can this condition be wholly attributed to ignorance or thoughtlessness, as some might hold; for, indeed, we have produced some men of as rare ability as move among the human throng; yet it is almost as difficult to find an atheist, an agnostic, or an infidel of any sort among us as it is to find a "needle in a haystack." The Negro believes in the God of the Bible.
Second. Because the Negro is naturally emotional he is usually earnest and fervent in the exercise of his religious worship, as far as that goes. He likes the strong, passionate appeal which for the time being, at least, tickles him into laughter or moves him to tears and sweeps him off his feet in its flight. The earnestness and fervency are all right but too often these run to the extreme and so constitute by far too large a portion of his Christianity.
Third. Again, the Negro's religion is characterized by benevolence. I believe that history has no record of a people who, out of their want and poverty, have given so much to benevolent causes as have the Negroes in this country. Is it not wonderful to reckon the millions of dollars that have been given by us for erecting and maintaining church edifices, schools and other benevolent institutions since emancipation? It is perfectly safe to affirm that no people have exceeded us along this line. But with all of these good things that can be justly said to the credit of our religion, the fair-minded must still admit that when we come to the daily application of the principles and practices of Bible Christianity we are lacking. If this be true, there is a cause. What is it? We believe that the cause was stated in part when we referred to the natural emotional element in our makeup. That element too often causes us to run off with the sentiment, having left the substance behind. Another cause, and, perhaps the main one, is to be found doubtless in the same way in which we find the causes of defects in our race along other lines, i. e., from defective leadership and instruction along this particular line. We would be understood. The crying need of our race to-day is and has been a competent ministry to lead and instruct the masses in the application of the principles of right life and conduct from the standpoint of Bible Christianity. To-day the church, especially in our race, is the center of both our social and Christian life. Like priests, like people. All honor to the pioneers who did their best in their circumstances and who served well their day and generation. But this is another age; this, a brighter day—one that demands improvement along all lines, and especially in the pulpit of my race. The pew is advancing, hence the pulpit had better push on. The key to the situation, then, is nothing more nor less than a more consecrated and intelligent Christian ministry for our race throughout the length and breadth of this land. And we are hopeful; for the "signs of the times" portend the coming of better things. Already bright streaks of gray high up upon the eastern horizon herald the dawn of a new and brighter day. Every branch of the Christian church in our race is putting forth strenuous efforts to supply the pulpits of the race with competent ministers. Let this glorious day be hastened and soon Ethiopia will stretch out her hands to God.
THE NEGRO AS A CHRISTIAN.
BY REV. WALTER H. BROOKS, D. D.
REV. WALTER H. BROOKS, D. D.
Rev. Walter H. Brooks, D. D., has a very unusual and interesting history. He was born a slave in Richmond, Va., August 30, 1851, his parents belonging to different masters. In 1859 his mother's master died, and arrangements were made to sell her and her six children, she being allowed to select a purchaser if she could find one. Through a white friend his father bought Dr. Brooks' mother, together with two of the youngest children. Walter H. Brooks and an elder brother were bought by a large tobacco manufacturing firm in Richmond. In 1861 the breaking out of the war affected the tobacco trade, and many of the tobacconists were obliged to sell or hire out their slaves. Walter and his brother David were hired by their mother, who, each quarter of the year, managed to pay the amount agreed upon. For the next three years both of the boys worked, thereby aiding their mother in paying their hire. After the war Walter H. Brooks, for a short time, attended a primary school in Richmond, taught by a young lady from the North.
In October, 1866, he had received one year's instruction when he went to Lincoln University, Chester County, Pa. He remained there seven years, graduating in 1872, and then entered a theological class for one year. During the second year of his seminary life he was converted and became an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He expected to become a Presbyterian preacher, but in 1873 his ideas having made him a subject to baptism, he joined the First African Baptist Church of Richmond, Va.
For a short time he was a clerk in the postoffice at Richmond, Va., but in 1874, having resigned his position, he entered the service of the American Baptist Publication Society in the State of Virginia. Having been ordained in December, 1876, in April, 1877, he accepted the pastorship of the Second Baptist Church of Richmond, Va., where he succeeded in paying off the entire debt of the church. In June, 1880, he was sent as a delegate for the Virginia Baptist State Convention to the Baptist General Association in session at Petersburg, and he was the first Colored delegate received by that body. In September, 1880, he resigned the charge of the church and went to New Orleans, La., to commence work in the American Baptist Publication Society's employ, but his wife's failing health caused him to return to Virginia in 1882.
In November, 1882, he was called to the pastorship of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church of Washington, D. C., where he has been ever since.
Roger Williams University, Nashville, Tenn., and State University, Louisville, Ky., both honored him with the title of Doctor of Divinity; while his alma mater, in June, 1883, conferred upon him the degree of M. A.
Recently he was elected a trustee of the United Society of Christian Endeavor, to represent the Colored Baptists of the world.
Dr. Brooks has distinguished himself as a temperance advocate, and for a number of years has been the Chaplain of the Anti-Saloon League of the District of Columbia.
His article, printed some years since in the "National Baptist" of Philadelphia, Pa., on "George Liele, the Black Apostle," and his more recent paper on the "Beginnings of Negro Churches in America," have won for him many praises.
For twenty-eight years Dr. Brooks has been in public life, and his power as a speaker still gives him a commanding influence in the pulpit and on the platform.
Dr. Brooks married Miss Eva Holmes, of the family of Rev. James H. Holmes, of Richmond, Va., and this union resulted in the birth of ten children—eight of whom are living, four boys and four girls—the oldest born being 27 years of age, the youngest four years.
The Christian religion is eminently adapted to the wants of humanity. It has always had a charm for lowly and oppressed peoples. It was, therefore, the one thing, above all others, which gave comfort and hope to the American Negro during the night of his long bondage.
The story of the enslavement and marvelous deliverance of God's ancient people; of Daniel, the prophet, and the Hebrew youths, whom God protected and honored in the house of their bondage; the psalms of David, the sweet singer of Israel; the inspired narratives of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God; the Biblical account of the faith, sufferings and triumphs of the apostles; and the manifold promises of God, made to all who served Him in truth, and patiently wait for their fulfillment, could not fail in influencing the conduct and life of America's Negro slaves. It was in circumstances like these the Christian Negro, many years ago, sang out his hopes, his sorrows, and his soul-yearnings in melodies peculiarly his own, whose plaintive strains have been echoing around the globe for a generation and more.
The balm of Gilead was never so soothing to the wounds of an Israelite as the Gospel of Jesus Christ was, in the dark days of slavery, to the oppressed and sorrowing soul of the unfortunate Negro. It is not surprising, therefore, that at least one-fourth of the entire Negro population of the country was devout Christians forty years ago, while the entire Negro population was nominally believers in the living and true God, and in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Whether the Negro Christian has lost some of his old-time love for Christ, and his zeal for the sanctuary, is, in the minds of some, an open question. We, however, believe that the Savior and the sanctuary are dearer to the Negro than ever. Indeed, so far as the census, which was taken by the United States in 1890, proves anything as to the matter of religion, the Negro is the most religious citizen of the country. Here is an extract from that report: "The Negro population of the country, exclusive of Indian territory and Alaska, according to the census of 1890, is 7,470,040. As the churches report 2,673,197 Negro communicants, exclusive of Indian territory and Alaska, it follows that one person in every 2.79 of the Negro population is a communicant. Excluding Indian Territory and Alaska, the total population is 62,622,250, and the total of communicants 20,568,679. The proportion here is 1 communicant in every 3.04 of the population. In other words, while all denominations have 328.46 communicants in every 1,000 of the total population, the colored organizations reported have 357.86 communicants in every 1,000 of the Negro population." According to this showing, more than a third of the entire Negro population of the country was enrolled as active members of the churches, ten years ago. At the same time, less than a third of the white population was connected with the churches of the land.
It remains to be seen whether the census of the United States, which is now in process of completion, will show any change in the relative strength of the Negro and white churches of the country.
It is certain that the Negro Christian is displaying commendable zeal in erecting spacious houses of worship; in acquiring school property; in giving the Gospel to the heathen in Africa, and in other parts of the world; in raising funds for the cause of education, and in providing himself with a religious literature of his own making.
In the quality of his religion, we dare say, there is room for improvement. But the changes mostly needed for his highest good are intellectual, material, social, commercial and political in nature, rather than religious.
The Negro Christian is as a rule as good as he knows how to be. He often errs, not knowing the Scriptures. He sometimes plunges headlong into the ditch of shame, because his spiritual adviser and instructor is a "blind leader of the blind."
Christian schools, however, are giving us better leaders every year, and the time is hastening when the Negro Christian of America shall be respected and loved because of his intelligence, his Christian piety, his zeal for God's cause, his manly bearing, his general worth as a moral and material contributor to the well being, both of the state and of the country which claim him as a citizen, and because of his excellent spirit and gentlemanly deportment.
THE NEGRO AS A CHRISTIAN.
BY REV. H. H. PROCTOR.
REV. HENRY H. PROCTOR, B. A.
Henry Hugh Proctor was born near Fayetteville, Tennessee, December 8, 1868. After completing the public school course of his native town he studied in Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn., from which school he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, June, 1891. That fall he entered the Divinity School of Yale University, graduating three years later. He was assigned by the faculty to the post of honor among the chosen orators of the class. He at once entered upon the pastorate of the First Congregational Church of Atlanta, Ga.
Mr. Proctor has lectured extensively in many parts of the country, his best-known lecture being "The Black Man's Burden." He has been active in preventing legislation in Georgia adverse to the colored race, especially measures designed to restrict the franchise and cut down public school facilities of the Negro. He is correspondent for a number of Northern periodicals, and extracts from his sermons are published weekly in the "Atlanta Constitution," the leading daily of the South. At his recent seventh anniversary as pastor many letters of congratulation came from all parts of the country, one being from Principal Booker T. Washington, whose esteem and friendship he enjoys.
In the historic development of Christianity race and religion have had a reciprocal relation. Conversion has involved a mutual conquest. The religion has modified the race, and the race has modified the religion. Every race that has embraced Christianity has, by developing that element of truth for which it has affinity, brought to the system its own peculiar contribution.
In the Semitic race, the high priest of humanity, Christianity, was born. "Salvation is of the Jews." Israel's code of ethics was the highest known to antiquity. It was but natural that the Hebrew should leave upon the new-born system the impress of his genius for ethics.
Hellenism may be regarded as the complement and contrast of Hebraism. Hebraism revealed the transcendence of Jehovah. Hellenism declared the divinity of man. The Greek, pre-eminent, in philosophy as a pagan, became, as a Christian, pre-eminent in theology. He blended the complemental conceptions of divinity and humanity. If the contribution of the Hebrew was ethical, that of the Greek was theological.
The Latin mind, practical rather than speculative, political rather than theological, established the Civitas Dei where once stood the Civitas Roma. This ecclesiastical masterpiece of human wisdom "may still exist in undiminished vigor," says Macaulay, "when some traveler from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's." Truly the Church of Rome has left upon Christianity an ineffaceable political impress.
The Teutonic mind—fresh, vigorous, even childlike in its simplicity and love of reality, accustomed to enjoy the freedom peculiar to lands where the national will is the highest law—would not brook the inflexible dogmatism of the Greek nor the iron ecclesiasticism of the Roman. The Teuton loved liberty in religion as well as in other things, and asserted his right to stand before his God for himself. The free spirit revealed in Christianity through Luther can never die. "Christianity as an authoritative letter is Roman; as a free spirit it is Teutonic."
The Saxon, pre-eminent in capacity for developing ideas, has so assimilated Christianity as to become its noblest representative. Enterprise and energy, vigor and thrift, striking characteristics of this great race, are becoming part and parcel of our Christianity. This is the missionary age, and it is the enterprising Saxon, unchecked and undaunted by sword, flame or flood, that is encircling the globe with a girdle of divine light.
And yet our Christianity is not complete. Notwithstanding its moral stamina, its philosophic basis and its organic solidarity, its free spirit and its robust energy, do we not feel there is something lacking still? Does not our Christianity lack in its gentler virtues? To what nation shall we look for the desideratum? Shall it not be to the vast unknown continent? If the Jew has modified our religion by his ethics, the Greek by his philosophy, the Roman by his polity, the Teuton by his love of liberty, and the Saxon by his enterprise, shall not the African, by his characteristic qualities of heart, bring a new and peculiar contribution to Christianity?
The Negro is nothing if not religious. His religion touches his heart and moves him to action. The result of his peculiarly partial contact with Christianity in America is but an earnest of what his full contribution may be confidently expected to be. The African's mission in the past has been that of service. "Servant of all" is his title. He has hewn the wood and drawn the water of others with a fidelity that is wonderful and a patience that is marvelous. As an example of patient fidelity to humble duty he stands without a peer.
His conduct in the late war, which resulted in his freedom, was as rare a bit of magnanimity as the world ever saw. The helpless ones of his oppressor in his power, he nobly stayed his hand from vengeance. And at last, when he held up his hands that his bonds might be removed, his emancipator found them scarred with toil unrequited, but free from the blood of man save that shed in open, honorable battle.
His religious songs are indicative of his real character. These songs embodied and expressed the only public utterance of a people who had suffered two and a half centuries of unatoned insult, yet in them all there has not been found a trace of ill will. History presents no parallel to this. David, oppressed by his foes, called down fire, smoke and burning wind to consume his enemies from the face of the earth. But no such malediction as that ever fell from the lips of the typical American slave; oppressed, like the Man of Sorrows, he opened not his mouth.
Truth is stranger than fiction. Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom" was more than a character of fiction. He was a real representative of the Christian slave. Recall that scene between Cassy and Uncle Tom. Unsuccessful in her attempts to urge him to kill their inhuman master, Cassy determines to do it herself. With flashing eyes, her blood boiling with indignation long suppressed, the much-abused Creole woman exclaims: "His time's come. I'll have his heart's blood!" "No, no, no," says Uncle Tom; "No, ye poor lost soul, that ye must not do! Our Lord never shed no blood but his own, and that he poured out for us when we was his enemies. The good Lord help us to follow his steps and love our enemies." Uncle Tom's words are not unworthy of immortality.
"Howe'er it be, it seems to me, 'Tis only noble to be good; Kind hearts are more than coronets, And simple faith than Norman blood."
Humility, fidelity, patience, large-heartedness, love—this is Africa's contribution to Christianity. If the contribution of the Saxon is Pauline, that of the African is Johanine. Paul, with his consuming energy, carrying the Gospel to the uttermost parts, stands for the white man; John, the man of love, leaning on his Master's bosom, is typical of the black. The white man and the black are contrasts, not contraries; complementary opposites, not irreconcilable opponents.
The Jew has given us ethics; the Greek, philosophy; the Roman, law; the Teuton, liberty. These the Saxon combines. But the African—"latest called of nations, called to the crown of thorns, the scourge, the bloody sweat, the cross of agony"—the African, I say, has the deep, gushing wealth of love which is yet to move the great heart of humanity.
THE NEGRO AS A CHRISTIAN.
BY REV. S. KERR.
REV. S. KERR.
To give anything like a true sketch of Mr. Kerr's life and labors both in and out of the ministry would fill a good-sized volume rather than a page of this book, as his life has been replete with thrilling, romantic incidents. The Rev. Mr. Kerr graduated with honors, having received the degree of A. B. from Rawden College, Leeds, England. He returned at once to the West Indies, where he labored three years.
In 1859 he did extensive missionary work in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where, in 1860, he accepted the appointment of Registrar of Births and Deaths. In 1863 he accepted the appointment of Assistant Master of the Government Schools at Grand Turk, and was afterwards appointed Head Master. In 1864 he filled the dual role of Inspector of Schools and missionary, and he passed unscathed through the great hurricane of 1866 which devastated the whole colony, destroyed all the schools and public buildings, as well as 2,500 dwelling houses, including Mr. Kerr's personal property. In 1867 he was sent as missionary to Hayti, where, as everywhere, he did good work. In 1873 he was appointed professor in the National Lyceum College for boys and young ladies, where he did effective and extensive missionary work in Cape Hatien, Grande Riviere and Dondon, and maintained considerable influence with the Haytien officials and authorities.
In 1880 he was advanced to the Priesthood of the Episcopal Church of America, by the Rt. Rev. J. Th. Holly, D. D., LL. D., Bishop of Hayti. In 1882 he was delegated to represent the Episcopal Church in the United States, and to collect funds for the building of the same in Hayti. On landing in New York, his reception by Bishop Horatio Potter was cordial in the extreme—the same by Bishops Littlejohn, of Long Island; T. A. Starkey, of Northern New Jersey; T. M. Clark, of Warwick, R. I.; M. A. De Wolf Howe, Central Pennsylvania; William C. Doane, Albany; Alfred Lee, Primate, Delaware; W. B. Stevens, Pennsylvania; H. A. Neely, of Maine; A. C. Coxe, Western New York. He occupied the pulpits of the leading Episcopal Churches in New York—Old Trinity, Grace Church, St. Chrysostom's, St. Paul's, St. Philip's and others. The leading churches in Brooklyn, Yonkers, Newport, R. I., Newark, N. J., Orange, N. J., Syracuse, Saratoga Springs, Utica, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Newburg, Poughkeepsie, Sing Sing, Barrytown, Tarrytown, Philadelphia, Germantown, Ashebourne, Reading, Cheltenham and many others.
In 1883 be was sent to Jamaica, W. I., and the following year he was appointed by the Provincial Synod (under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel—London. Eng.) Rector of the Panama Railroad Church and Arch-deacon of the Church of England Mission, and Chaplain to the Panama Canal Company. In 1889 he made an extensive missionary tour through Central America, where he performed religious services at the opening of the Nicaragua Canal, coming in touch with several Indian tribes, and gaining considerable knowledge of their manners and customs in their crude condition.
In 1890 he returned to the West Indies and was transferred to the Diocese of Florida and made Rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Key West, where he has a large parish and congregation and where he is highly esteemed by all classes, white and colored.
My purpose in writing upon this subject is to investigate God's disciplinary and retributive economy in races and nations, with a hope of arriving at some clear conclusion concerning the Negro as a Christian.
First, it may be just and proper to view the races of mankind in respect to growth and mastery. The principles of growth and mastery in a race, a nation, or a people, are the same all over the globe. The same great agencies needed for one quarter of the globe, and in one period of time, are needed for all quarters of the globe, for all people and for all time, and consequently needed for this American nation.
The children of Africa in America are in no way different from any other people in respect to Christianity. Many of the differences of races are accidental and oftentimes become obliterated by circumstances, position and religion.
Go back to a period in the history of England, when its rude inhabitants lived in caves and huts, when they fed on bark and roots, when their dress was the skins of animals. Then look at the eminent Englishman of the present day—cultivated, graceful, refined, Christianized. When we remember that his distant ancestors were wild and bloody savages, and that it took centuries to change his forefathers from rudeness and brutality into enlightened, civilized Christians, there is no room to doubt the susceptibility of the Negro to Christianity.
The same great general laws of growth continue unchangeable. The Almighty neither alters nor diminishes these laws for the convenience of a people, of whatever race they may be. The Negro race is equally susceptible of growth in Christianity as in civilization.
At once the question arises—Is the Negro race doomed to destruction? Or, does it possess those qualities which will enable it to reach a high degree of moral and Christian civilization? To the first of these questions I reply that the Negro race is by no means doomed to destruction. It is now over five hundred years since the breath of the civilized world touched powerfully, for the first time, the mighty masses of the pagan world in America, in Africa and the isles of the sea, and we see everywhere that the weak heathen tribes of the earth have gone down before the civilized world; tribe and nation have dispersed before its presence. The Iroquois, the Pequods, the brave Mohawks, the once refined Aztecs and others have gone, nevermore to be ranked among the tribes of men. In the scattered islands of the Pacific seas, like the stars of the heavens, the sad fact remains that from many of them their populations have departed like the morning cloud. They did not retain God in their knowledge. Just the reverse with the Negro. Destructive elements, wave after wave, have swept over his head, yet he has stood unimpaired.
Even this falls short of the full reality of the Negro as a Christian, for civilization at numerous places has displaced ancestral heathenism, and the standard of the cross, uplifted on the banks of its great river, showing that the heralds of the cross have begun the glorious conquests of their glorious King. Vital Christian power has become the property of the Negro. Does God despise the weak? No, the Providence of God intervenes for the training and preservation of such people.
But has the Negro race any of those qualities which emanate from Christianity? Let us see. The flexibility of the Negro character is universally admitted. The race is possessed of a nature more easily moulded than that of any other class of men. Unlike the Indian, the Negro yields to circumstances and flows with the current of events, hence afflictions, however terrible, have failed to crush him; his facile nature wards them off, or else through the inspiration of hope their influence is neutralized. These peculiarities of the Negro character render him susceptible to imitation. Burke tells us that "imitation is the second passion belonging to society, and this passion arises from much the same cause as sympathy." This is one of the strongest links of society. It forms our manners, our opinions, our lives. Indeed, civilization is carried down from generation to generation, or handed over from a superior to an inferior, by means of imitation. A people devoid of imitation is incapable of progress or advancement, and must retrograde. If it remains stagnant, it must of necessity bring its own decay. The quality of imitation has been the grand preservative of the Negro in all lands. Indeed, the Negro is a superior man to-day to what he was three centuries ago.
I feel fortified in the principles I have advanced by the opinions of great, scrutinizing thinkers. In his treatise on Emancipation, written in 1880, Dr. Channing says: "The Negro is one of the best races of the human family; he is among the mildest and gentlest of men; he is singularly susceptible to improvement." Kinmont declares in his "Lecture on Man" that "The sweet graces of the Christian religion appears almost too tropical and tender plants to grow in the soil of the Caucasian mind; they require a character of the human nature of which you can see the rude lineaments in the Ethiopian, to be implanted in and grow naturally and beautifully withal." Adamson, the traveler who visited Senegal in 1754, said: "The Negroes are sociable, humane, obliging and hospitable, and they have generally preserved an estimable simplicity of domestic manners. They are distinguished by their tenderness for their parents, and great respect for the aged—a patriarchal virtue which, in our day, is too little known." Dr. Raleigh, also, at a great meeting in London, said: "There is in these people a hitherto undiscovered mine of love, the development of which will be for the amazing welfare of the world. * * * Greece gave us beauty; Rome gave us power; the Anglo-Saxon unites and mingles these, but in the African people there is the great gushing wealth of love, which will develop wonders for the world."
I feel that the Almighty, who is interested in all the great problems of civilization, is interested in the Negro problem. He has carried the Negro through the wilderness of disasters, and at last put him in a large open place of liberty. There is not the shadow of a doubt that this work which God has begun, and is carrying on, is for the mental and spiritual elevation of the Negro.
DOES THE NORTH AFFORD TO THE NEGRO BETTER OPPORTUNITIES OF MAKING A LIVING THAN THE SOUTH?
BY REV. J. H. ANDERSON.
REV. J. H. ANDERSON, D. D.
Rev. J. H. Anderson was born June 30, 1848, in Frederick, Md. Dr. Anderson is what is called a self-made man, he having attended school only six months in his life and studied a short time under a private tutor. By hard, persistent efforts and close application to books, Dr. Anderson has risen to a point in scholarship and prominence that only a few college Negroes have reached. He is noted as a pulpit orator and platform speaker. He has attained to some prominence as a writer and takes front rank as a preacher in his denomination. For his scholarly attainments and usefulness as a minister of the gospel, Livingstone College conferred upon him, in 1896, the degree of doctor of divinity. Dr. Anderson was one of those heroic liberty-loving souls who went to the battlefield in the Civil War to fight for their and their race's freedom.
Colonization is a condition of cosmopolitan society as it is of races. As "birds of a feather flock together," so the different races in the American civilization form settlements or colonies, as far as possible. The truthfulness of this statement is seen in the thickly-settled German, Irish, Jewish and Italian communities in the North. Their race affinities produce natural and social relations promotive of their varied interests. The Negro's civil and social privileges are more restricted in the South than in the North, owing to which fact the Negroes of the South are more united than the Negroes of the North. In the North a few individuals may rise to intellectual, professional, business and mechanical distinctions, but from general employment in the skilled industries, business enterprises and political preferment he is debarred, and, being cheaply and conveniently accommodated in almost every respect by the whites, he is not under the same necessity as the Southern Negro to establish and operate business enterprises. It is rather inconvenient to establish and maintain Negro business enterprises and schools in the North, for the reason that there are no thickly settled communities. A Negro lawyer, doctor, dressmaker, music teacher, hair dresser and mechanic do well in some instances, because they receive patronage from the whites. It is not so much the prejudice of the whites nor the indifference of the Negro as it is the peculiar conditions of the North that prevent the Negro from enjoying the business enterprises and founding race institutions. The few new institutions and even churches in the North are largely sustained by donations from the whites. Renting houses and purchasing property and living in the North are commensurate with the large scale and competition along all lines of industry, and social life is so active that the most rigid economy and business tact are essential to success in any kind of business in the North.
The Negro who embarks in business in the North has not only to compete with his own people, but with the shrewd Yankee, who seeks to monopolize all interests that have money in them. The Negro of the North for the most part appears to be content with his superior civil and social privileges. He breathes the air with more perfect liberty, enjoys life free from violence, is vindicated and redressed at law and recognized in his citizen rights, and, like the Pharisee, thanks God that he is not like the ex-slave of the South, and this is the height of his ambition. Three-fourths of the freeholding and tax-paying Negroes in the North are from the South, and Southern Negro labor is preferred in the North as in the South. Waiters, domestic servants, janitors, teamsters, laundry men and coachmen from the South can find employment in the North. Any industrious Southern Negro can find common labor to do in the North.
Before the formation of labor unions and federations in the North, the Negro skilled laborer found employment, but after deciding to exclude the Negro from membership these unions became an effective dictating power to employ when Negroes applied to them for work.
The tax-payers in many Northern sections favor mixed schools because it is less expensive to have them. They would not be justified in maintaining separate schools for the few Negro pupils. Of course, race favoritism, competition and prejudice, combine to exclude Negro teachers, and yet a few Negro teachers are employed to teach in the mixed schools. That Negro children, procuring their education by Negro teachers in the Negro schools, can better appreciate race efficiency and dignity there can be no question. The Northern Negro is ill fitted for living in the South, it being difficult for him to adapt himself to the conditions of the South, yet it is quite easy for the Southern Negro to adapt himself to the North where full and free expression is equally accorded to all, and where no legal discriminations are made and where the social question is left for adjustment by the parties nearest concerned. In the North the Negro has the opportunity of advocating the interests of his Southern brother in a way that would not be tolerated in the South, and thus the Northern Negro can assist in the formation of a proper sentiment in his favor. The Northern Negro is, therefore, a necessity to the Southern Negroes, and vice versa. The Negro's destiny is to be worked out in the South because he has greater numerical strength and superior advantages in the South, notwithstanding the civil, social and legal restrictions upon him. The lesson of self-dependence and self-effort is forced upon the Southern Negro as not upon the Northern Negro.
When the Southern Negro was emancipated, his first thought was education, and, adhering steadfastly to this idea, he has made a progressive education since his emancipation that has astounded the civilized world. No school-loving race can be kept down or back. Brought here a heathen, the Negro soon exchanged fetichism for Christianity, and, having been trained in the school of servile labor for centuries, he learned how to labor so that when his emancipation came he was prepared to strike out on lines of self development, and he has made in thirty-six years a progress in the acquisition of wealth that is without a parallel in history.
The prejudices of the whites against the Negro have rather helped him, in that they have stimulated him to make greater efforts to reach the independence of the white man.
Having lived in both sections of our country, I am prepared to say that the Negro can do better towards working out his destiny in the South than in the North.
DOES THE NORTH AFFORD TO THE NEGRO BETTER OPPORTUNITIES OF MAKING A LIVING THAN THE SOUTH?
BY PROF. W. H. COUNCILL.
PROF. W. H. COUNCILL, PH. D.
W. H. Councill was born in Fayetteville, N. C., in 1848, and was carried to Alabama by the traders in 1857, through the famous Richmond Slave Pen. In Alabama he worked in the fields with the other slaves. He is a self-made man, having had only few school advantages. He attended one of the first schools opened by kind Northern friends at Stevenson, Ala., in 1865. Here he remained about three years, and this is the basis of his education. He has been a close and earnest student ever since, often spending much of the night in study. He has accumulated quite an excellent library, and the best books of the best masters are his constant companions, as well as a large supply of the best current literature. By private instruction and almost incessant study, he gained a fair knowledge of some of the languages, higher mathematics, and the sciences. He was Enrolling Clerk of the Alabama House of Representatives in 1872-4. He was appointed by President Grant Receiver of the Land Office for the Northern District of Alabama in 1875. He was founder and editor of the "Huntsville Herald" from 1877 to 1884. He founded the great educational institution, Normal, of which he is president, and has been for a quarter of a century. He read law and was admitted to the Supreme Court of Alabama in 1883. But he has never left the profession of teaching, although flattering political positions have been held out to him. He has occupied high positions in church and other religious, temperance, and charitable organizations, and has no mean standing as a public speaker.
Prof. Councill has traveled quite extensively in Europe, and was warmly received and entertained by the Hon. W. E. Gladstone and His Majesty, King Leopold, of Belgium.
And thus by earnest toil, self-denial, hard study, he has made himself, built up one of the largest institutions in the South, and educated scores of young people at his own expense.
Prof. Councill is proud to be known as a friend to Africa. He is co-operating with Bishop Turner in the redemption and civilization of that continent. Normal, under Prof. Councill, is educating native Africans for this purpose. He has received the degree of Ph. D. from Morris Brown College.
Prof. Councill is author of "The Lamp of Wisdom." He writes extensively for the leading magazines and newspapers of the country.
A comparison of the opportunities which different sections hold out to any class of our fellow citizens should not be regarded as hostile criticism. No man, no country suffers by the truth.
We cannot answer this question by yes or no. The North affords the better opportunities in some things, while in others the South gives the Negro the better opportunity for making a living. If we are correct in putting a broad and educated mind as the foundation for every useful superstructure, we are forced to admit that the opportunity for laying this foundation is better in the North, where a century of thought on popular education has developed the finest public school system in the world. While this brings the Northern Negro in contact with the great Anglo-Saxon mind, and fits him for making a living and for business in that atmosphere, he has to undergo a kind of mental acclimatization before he can effectively and usefully enter into work in the South, where the atmosphere at every turn is different from that in the North. For twenty-five years I have been brought in direct contact with Negroes reared or educated in the North, and I do not recall one who did not have to un-Northernize himself in many respects before he could harmonize to usefulness in the South. It is to the credit of our Northern brethren that they are thus willing to sacrifice a part of their individualism in order to serve their race in the South. In my long experience I have not met a quarter dozen who have not cheerfully put aside their selfishness for the common good of their associates and their work. Indeed, I have found my Northern brethren more willing and helpful in this regard, perhaps, than Southern Negroes, who are more self-assertive and persistent in their make-up, a spirit imbibed from the general character of independence and domineering found in the South. But the Southern Negro, reared in harmony with Southern institutions, having assimilated prejudices and counter-prejudices, can use to greater advantage his small amount of education and training.
In a country where competition is sharp, as in this country, and where any kind of excitement is resorted to in order to give advantage to the competitors, the minority race, especially in inferior circumstances, must suffer along lines of battle for bread in which, the masses engage. Thus it is, while the Northern Negro enjoys high privileges of an intellectual character among the classes, he is bumped, shunned, and pushed to the rear among the quarreling, scrambling masses.
There are scattered far and wide a few Negroes in the North who are doing well in business. They get the patronage of their white neighbors. There are few communities in the North where the Negro population is strong enough to support a Negro in business, if the race lines were drawn in business. I think the voluntary collections of like tribes and races of men, as Italians, Jews, Chinese, Poles, Norwegians, Swedes, and the like, in settlements in our large cities and some country districts, show clearly the gregarious disposition of like peoples; and from time out of mind each tribe, clan or race, has depended upon itself for patronage and support. In order for the Negro to succeed in any considerable degree in business in the North, it would be necessary to increase the Negro population in that section. As I have intimated above, there are few fields for operation in the North for Negroes, regardless of their ability to succeed, for there are few cases where Negro patronage is not limited to the Negro population. While occasionally a few Negroes may get patronage from the other clans and tribes it is nevertheless true that as a general rule the aim is to keep the trade in the family, as it were. Every whip of tribal differentiation and prejudice is applied to enforce a rigid observance of this general rule. I think that we may logically conclude that the opportunity for that training and education which could make the Northern Negro immediately useful to the mass of the race, and the opportunity to gather material wealth, are not ideal in the North.
Ninety-two per cent of the Negro population reside in the South, where slavery left them. Under normal conditions there should be ninety-two per cent of Negro wealth, thrift and energy in the South. The opportunity to accumulate wealth and the accumulation are different. The Southern Negro is a wealth producer. He does four-fifths of the agricultural labor of the South and thereby adds four-fifths to the wealth of the South derived from agriculture, the leading Southern industry. If the whole of the billion dollars to the credit of the Negro race were placed to the credit of the Southern Negro alone, it would be less than half of what he should have saved since the war. The Negroes of the South handle more money than New England did one hundred years ago, and yet New England would be glad to place her barrels of gold and silver at nominal interest—so rich has she grown, although in the chilly winds of the Northeast.
The opportunities for the Southern Negro are as good for material gain as are enjoyed by any other people in this country. The census of 1890 shows two hundred and twenty-four occupations followed by the wage-earners of the United States. The Negroes are represented in every one of these occupations—grouped under five heads: Professional, Agriculture, trade and transportation, manufactures and personal service. The Southern Negro, while not in all of them, occupies in the South the vantage ground in those that bring the most independence in living. We must not forget that agriculture is what we might call the staple industry of the South.
I am indebted to Hon. Judson W. Lyons, register of the United States Treasury, for the following statistics, showing the wonderful influence of Negro labor in the commercial industries of the world: More cotton is exported from the United States than any other article. In the last ten years, 30,000,000,000 pounds of cotton, valued at $225,000,000 have been exported. The United States produces more cotton than all the balance of the world. The cotton manufactories of Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, and Italy depend upon our cotton exports. Ten years ago, $354,000,000 were invested in cotton manufactories, employing 221,585 operatives, who received for wages $67,489,000 per annum. The South produced from 1880 to 1890, 620,000,000 bushels of corn, 78,000,000 bushels of wheat, and 97,000,000 bushels of oats. The Negro performed four-fifths of the labor of the South, as we have seen. Therefore, his share in the average annual production in the last ten years would be 6,988,000 bales of cotton, valued at $209,640,000. In the last ten years the Negro's part of the production of corn, wheat, oats and cotton was $431,320,000 per annum. The entire cotton acreage of the South would form an area of 40,000 square miles. Negro labor cultivates 32,000 square miles of this space.