Joseph E. Callaway.

The road to righteous judgement; a brief on the negro question online

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^The Road to Righteous

A Brief On the Negro


Printed 1922, Arkadelphia, Ark.

Copyright 1922
By J. E. Callaway


NOV 10*22


No apology is offered for the
sentiments herein expressed. Tho
writer was born and reared in the
South, and after an experience of
more than twenty-five years at th^
bar, where a large part of the litiga-
tion concerned negroes, he feels at
liberty to offer a suggestion which
might aid in the solution of Ameri-
ca's biggest problem. It is to that
end that these thoughts are directed.

J. E. C.
Arkadelphia, Arkansas,
November 1, 1922.

"The Road to Righteous

SINCE the begiuuingofbistory, races, nations
and communities bave bad problems witb
whicb to deal. Tbe Egyptians bave ever
wrestled witb tbe river Nile. Invasions by
armed foes were tbe constant dread of ancient
and medieval cities and means by wbicb to
successfully resist tbese attacks was tbe up-
permost tbougbt in tbe minds of tbeir inbab-
itants. For centuries the Englisb speaking
people lived in continuous dread of re-concur-
rences of tbe cbolera plague, wbicb often de-
populated cities, and it is witbin tbe memory
of tbe present generation that tbe dread spec-
tre of yellow fever always haunted tbe soutb
temperate zone of tbe Western Hemispbere,
Happily for bumanity, tbese troubles and dif-
ficulties bave been reduced to a minimum,
wbere not completely overcome.

The tariff, immigration, and otber economic
and political issues bear tbeir relative impor-

''The Road to Righteous Judgment'

tauce to the Aiuerican public. Each subject
receives much thought from its respective
champions both of the public press and the
platform, but the life or destiny of our coun-
try does not de]->end upon any one or all of
these issues.

Immigration is perhaps the weightiest of
the above questions, but its seriousness does
not consist so much in the nationality of the
immigrant, but in what his political creed
may be. The most important question v\iiich
can ever confront any people is the fate of
their children and what shall be their moral
intellectual and physical complexion. Noth-
ing so touches the instincts of the human
heart as the welfare of the children for whom
tlie fathers and mothers are responsible.
Therefore the purity of the blood and racial
integrity of our offsprings are of greater im-
portance than any legislation which touches
only the tem.poral affairs of life.

''The Road to Righteous Judgment'^

America is now confronted witli many
problems. World peace is far from an ac-
complished fact. The troubles between labor
and capital, like the poor, we have with us al-
ways. The liquor question will not down.
The so-called Japanese menace while allayed
for a time will continue to ^e a bugaboo in
the mind of the Jingo. Many disquieting is-
sues of lesser importance are magnified in
the minds of the people to the extent of the
zeal manifested by the individual in whose
brain the particular subject finds lodgment.
Man is indeed a strange animal whose phy-
chosis can not be accounted for. He can sleep
over a smouldering volcano undisturbed by
real dangers and at the same time have night-
mares over imaginary foes and evils which
never materialize and which have no exist-
ence in fact. Present and imminent dangers
are frequently given the least thought, and
those evils which are sometimes considered

"The Road to Righteous Judgment''

permanent receive tlie least attention, how-
ever insidious they may be.

Sociologists have theorized and speculat-
ed and politicians have covered the subject
with blandishments, yet no sane or practical
solution has been proposed touching the eter-
nal question which is ever pressing itself upon
the American public and particularly in the
southern states, — the negro, his place, social
status and destiny.

When the slave trader introduced the
African into the American colonies an epoch
was created in American history. The negro
slave was not responsible for being here. He
was a victim of intrigue and treachery, and
humanity was outraged when he was torn
from his native shore and thrust into bondage
in a foreign land. After centuries of slavery
which could not be justified in law or morals,
he was ruthlessly thrown upon his own re-
sources among his former masters under the

The Road to Righteous Judgment'^

gnise of freedom. Struggling with adversity,
and a prey to the unscrupulous, he has blund-
ered along the highway called citizenship for
nearly three score years. No race has ever
deserved greater solicitude at the hands of its

^N'o two races have ever possessed greater
dissimilarity than the Ethiopian and the
Anglo-Saxon. It is taught by certain evolu-
tionists that the straight hair of the chimpan-
zee is maintained through the development of
man as he has progressed upward from the
lower order, and is evidence of his simian an-
cestory, or that he has descended from the
monkey. In this theory the negro is not taken
into account. He stands as the only species
which walks upright, with hair of a kinkiness
which sometimes causes it to be referred to as
wool. It cannot be said that the torrid
climate from which he came, produced this
phenomena, because it is not evident in any

''The Road to Righteous Judgment'^

other animal life by which he is snrrouuded.
The conclusion is inescapable tliat he was
created in a class to himself, and has so re-
mained to this day. The color, cranial and
other physiological differences between the
white man and the negro, create a gulf lii
racial matters which no etlinologist can bridge.

The practical traits of the white man are
absent in the negro. Temperamentally they
are as nnlike as their colors. The negro is
more inclined toward mysticism and the oc-
cult. He thrives in lodges and secret socie-
ties wliere symbols and mysteries of the im-
agination hold high carnival. The tendency
of the white man, regardless of circumstances,
is upward, for aggression and development.
The tendency of the negro, except where in-
spired by the white man's example, is down-
ward, toward idleness and lethargy.

F. Manetta, an eminent student of the
American negro, found negro cliildren in tlie


^'TUe Road to Righteous Jiidgmenf^

H i w u w— »»— »«»— m I I H I I I II 1 I w n I n H I I M a

southern states to be mentally alert and
bright, sometimes precocious, only to become
dull upon approaching the adolescent period.
This he did not attribute to environment or
lack of opportunity, but to the form and
structure of the cranium which did not admit
of cerebral growth. However, prodigies were
occasionally found among them who had a
genius for rythm, as in the case of ''Blind
Tom'' whose instinctive knowledge of sound
charmed his hearers in piano music upon the
American stage for nearly a generation.

Among races the wider the diversity of col-
or, the greater the danger of friction and the
less the inclination to fraternize. This is one
of the immutable laws of nature. Caste and
social distinction between white people and
negroes is not only marked in this country but
also in European and South American coun-
tries. Chile, and other nations of South Amer-
ica, have large negro populations but no at-

'T?i€ Road to Righteous Judgment'

tempt is made there to educate or prepare them
for citiznship as in this country. In those
countries they are regarded as a menial and
subject race, ordained by nature as bearers of
burdens and the serv^ants of their superiors.

History records no instance where two peo-
ples of such divergent types as the negro and
the Anglo-Saxon have dwelt harmoniously to-
gether in the same land on equal terms. If
such were possible intermarriages and amal-
gamation would be the inevitable result.
Especially to the Southerner such a course is
unthinkable and abhorrent. Nothing could be
more repulsive. WTien he gravitates racially
his desire is upward as every instinct of his
nature demands.

Social equality with the negroid neces-
sarily implies an invitation to the negro into
the home of the white man. An invitation in-
to the home implies an equality of race and
blood. An equality of race and blood implies

^^The Road to Righteous Judgment^'

an invitation to marry his daughters. Such
intermarriage would mean the destruction
of the white race and the ideals for which it
has striven since the white man first appeared
upon the earth. At the confluence of the Miss-
issippi and Ohio rivers a stream of blue is
blended with a stream of murky yellow. The
purity of one is contaminated by the other and
a degeneration of the whole is the result.
Shades of our forefathers deliver us!

The social barrier between the negro and
the white man can never be removed in the
South, and the negro here must forever remain
socially an Ishmaelite. As a result of this his
position in the political and commercial world
must be negligible. He will not be looked up-
on by his white neighbor as other than a
hewer of wood and a drawer of water, irre-
spective of what his education may be or what
he may think of himself. The door of hope
for him to social recognition is closed. It

^'Tlie Road to Righteous Judgtnent'^

was closed by the Creator in tlie production of
two types of man so divergent. No one slionld
appreciate this more than the black man him-
self, as he certainly must know tliat he cannot
over-ride distinctions made by nature. All
Caucasian races are a unit in tliis view.

The American Indian possessed qualities
of mind and imagination which have never
been approached by his African contemporary.
His crude flights into the realm of poesy in-
dicated a bright intellect altho untrained.
Under stress of conditions and pent up emo-
tions there came from him outbursts of elo^
quence and oratory which Tliomas Jefferson
classed with the classics of the ancient world
and betokened an undeveloped power, which
if trained, would have nothing superior in any
race. The Indian sought no social recogni-
tion at the hand of the ^'paleface." He prefer-
red to remain an Indian and desired no asso-
ciation outside of his tribe or race. He was

'^Th^ Road to Righteous Judgmenf^

for more than tw^o centuries the chief problem
in American politics until the country finally
awoke to a realization that he should be a
ward of the government and not a citizen.
The Indian question no longer concerns us.
It has long been settled wisely and well, and
£;11 thanks are due those wise and patriotic
statesmen of another generation who met and
grappled with the question like men until a
proper status was found for the red man and
his destiny in America fixed.

The negro has never been understood by the
people of the northern and eastern states.
This ignorance has been due to lack of contact
with him and lack of knowledge of his char-
acteristics. The literature of those sections,
and especially prior to the American civil
war, disclosed an utter misconception of his
nature. Their writers dwelt upon the negro's
supposed wrongs and oppression in the South
and wreathed into fantasy the sufferings of

^^The Road to Righteous Judgment^'

the female slave who was pictured as an Aph-
rodite in the hands of tormentors. Longfel-
low, Lowell, and other lesser lights continual-
ly revelled in pictures of Prometheus bound to
the rock.

During the world war the exodus of ne-
groes from the Southern states to the north
and mid-west was large. They went to better
not only their financial condition, but in the
firm belief that the northern man was their
friend. They no doubt expected courtesies to
which they were not accustomed and had illu-
sioned reasons for these expectations. Certain
prominent daily newspapers of the city of
Chicago had prior thereto taken the lead as
unrelenting critics of the southern white man
for his attitude tow^ard the negro. Bitter and
vindicative articles and editorials had from
time to time filled the columns of these journ-
als, and their criticism was of an intolerant
nature. Alas, forsooth, a rude awakening was

^'The Road to Righteous Judgment^'

in store for Africanus, upon reactiing tlie
''Windy City." Upon his advent there in
numbers violent race riots were staged upon
the slightest pretext. In many instances he
was a victim of maltreatment and brutality
merely because of his color. From his recep-
tion at the hands of his supposed friends it
soon became apparent that the negro is bet-
ter off where he is best known and understood.
Ohio, President Harding's home state, during
the first year of his administration, came in-
to the limelight and obtained its share of ad-
vertising as an unhealtliy place for the ^'color-
ed brother" to sojourn. The state of Kansas
soon followed in a similar demonstration and
disgraced itself by mobs and race riots. Okla-
homa, a mid-west state, next came upon the
scene in an attempt to ''ouj- Herod Herod" in
racial conflagration.

President Harding in his first message to
Congress declared that "Congress ought to

''The Road to Righteous Judgmenf^

wipe the stains of barbaric lynching from the
banners of a free and orderly representative
government.'' These are fine words, and every
American citizen with patriotic blood in
his veins heartily applauds the Pi^esident for
the sentiments. But in order to *'wipe the
stain" the cause must first be removed, and
Mr. Harding offers no remedy for removing
the cause. After saying that we face the fact
that millions of people of African descent are
among our population, the President adds:

''It is unnecessary to recount the diffi-
culties incident to this condition, or to empha-
size the fact that it is a condition which cannot
be removed. There has been suggested, how-
ever, that some of the conditions might be
ameliorated by a humane and enlightened con-
sideration of it, a study of its many aspects,
and an effort to formulate, if not a policy, at
least a national attitude of mind calculated to
bring :about most satisfactory possible adjust-
meiit of relations between the races and of

'^The Road to Righteous Judgment'^

»— »lfW H I H M II W 11 II ■ I t II I H ■ H— IM^ Wll I I M— II— ■

each race to the national life. One proposal
is the creation of a commission embracing rep-
resentatives of both races to study and report
on the entire subject. The proposal has real
merit. I am convinced that in mutual tolera-
tion, understanding, charity, recognition of the
interpendence of the races and the mainten-
ance of the rights of citizenship, lies the road
to righteous judgment."

Mr. Harding's words sound a note of des-
pair. H^ sees "a condition which cannot be
removed," from his viewpoint. He seems to
realize that if every suggestion offered in his
message is scrupulously followed that only
some of the difficulties '^might be amelior-
ated." As a thinking man, he of course real-
izes that they will not be removed, and that
during the possible ''amelioration" for the
time being, racial differences and antipathies
are only slumbering, and subject to be aroused
to frenzy at any time and at any place where
there is contact between the races. Indeed

^'TJie Road to Righteous Judgment^'

he might as well have used the language of
Grover Cleveland who said:

"There is one problem in American life
for which I see no solution. It is the race
problem, the negro question."

The theory upon which the American gov-
ernment is founded, is that every citizen shall
have an equal chance in deciding economic
and political questions. This carries with it
the right to help govern and constitute the
judiciary. The right to the ballot is tanta-
mount to the right to hold office and adminis-
ter the affairs of state. The white man does
not regard the negro as possessing the racial
or social fitness to govern the Anglo-Saxon or
Caucasian. It would be a waste of mental
tissue to argue that these functions should
be exercised by the Afro- American in this
country. A sympathetic regard and attitude
toward the negro in this respect seems to be
as far as any section of our country is willing

The Road to Righteous Judgment'^

to go, regardless of loud protestations in his
belialf in those portions of the country where
he does not dwell. The native born American
citizen of the white race will not look upon
his country as other than the white man's in-
heritance. This sentiment prevails not only
in the southern states but throughout the na-
tion and wherever the stars and stripes may

The ballot in the hands of the negro has
proven his worst enemy. He is, and will con-
tinue to be, the tool of designing politicians
wherever he may hold the balance of power.
'\Miere his vote is not needed no political
party desires to be burdened with his aid.
This is shown by the growth of the ^'lily-
white" faction in one of our great political

President Lincoln gravely doubted the
wisdom of enfranchisement of the negro and

^The Road to Righteous Judgment'^

did not favor a step so extreme. During agi-
tation by radicals in Louisiana for negro fran-
chise Mr. Lincoln wrote Governor Hahn in
1864 saying,

^^I barely suggest for your private consid-
eration wbetber some of the colored people
may be let in, — as for instance the very intel-
ligent and especially those who have fought
gallantly in our ranks."

When the fifteenth amendment to our
Federal constitution was adopted, Lincoln was
dead. This amendment is sweeping in its
character and gave to every negro male of
voting age the right to the ballot, which he
yet possesses. If Mr. Lincoln had been alive
at the time of this amendment's adoption,
there is no reason to believe that he would
have changed the opinion expressed by him to
Governor Hahn of Louisiana in 1864.

In groping for a solution, certain theo-
rists, or dreamers maintain that in the edu-

^'Tlie Road to Riglitcous Judgment''^

nation of the negro lies tlie panacea for our
present ills. That by the elevation of his in-
tellectual, moral and spiritrtal tone lie will be-
come a better citizen with liio^her ideals and a
greater respect for the law. This is indeed
good and admirable as far as it goes, but does
not touch the seat of the trouble. Besides the
plan might work backward by creating greater
competition between the races, produce fric-
tion and arouse the blacks to greater aspira-
tions for social equality with the whites. In-
deed, the negro is entitled to all the education
he can assimilate and which he can adapt to
his surroundings, but under present condi-
tions, higher education for him will not cuie
present evils or extricate him from his environ-
ments. Education cannot eliminate racial
distinctions; one might as well undertake to
remove the slant from the Chinaman's eye by
that means.

One of the products of the fifteenth

^'The Road to RigJiteous Judgmenf^

amendment to the Federal constitution was
tlie drafting- of negro soldiers for the world
war. From a legal standpoint, no other
course was ojjen. If a citizen and a voter,
he was properly required to bear arms for his
country. Some made excellent records, but
the general result or effect in the minds of
man}' persons, w^as harmful in that it gave the
negro soldier an exalted view of his impor-
tance and unduly elevated the impressions of
the race at large as to their political and so-
cial status. Decorations for merit or achieve-
ment during the war caused the colored recip-
ient to no longer regard himself as inferior to
the white man, but to entertain stifled hopes
of an elevated social position. In many in-
stances, it vras noted that a resentment was
aroused in his breast against the race at whose
table he could not hope to sit or with whose
daughters he could never expect to associate.
On the Congo river in Africa, tribal wom-

'The Road to Righteous Judgment

en have been known to be assaulted by male
gorillas. Their form and symmetry evidently
appear to the beast more attractive than
the female of his species, and his lust leads him
to risk dangers which even hunger will not do.
It is the old story of the feminine attraction
w^hich detained Julius Caesar in Egypt and
for which Mark Anthony paid the price at the
shrine of the Egyptian queen.

To the potent negro male the figure of the
white woman seems to appeal. Social bar-
riers preclude the possibility of him enjoying
her society or ever claiming her as his own.
The statutes of all southern states forbid mar-
riages between white persons and those of Af-
rican blood. His passions are aroused and
his lust fired. He knows the chances he is
taking, but beastly instincts urge him on and
the woman is in his forcible embrace. The
community is aroused and a lynching follows.
These occurences have become so common

^'The Road to Righteous Judgment'^

that they barely receive a lieadline in tlie
newspapers of the day. In each instance, not
only is punishment meted out to the brute but
the moral tone of the citizenship is lowered.
Disrespect for the law in these cases is in-
creasing and our social fabric threatened. No
people can violate or trample underfoot the
law in one instance without impairing their
usefulness to uphold its majesty on other oc-
casions. If the culprit were the only victim
of the mob's vengeance, there would be added
weight to the argument that the outraged
woman should not be further humiliated by
having to testify at the trial of her assailant.
The people of the so-called ''black belt" of the
South are the greatest victims of these trage^
dies, but the occurances will increase in other
portions of the country as the black popula-
tions disseminates. The error lies in the con-
tact of the two races and their mingling to-
gether in industry and commerce. Temptation

''The Road to Righteous Judgment'^

is the basis of these assaults, and will continue
until the two races are segregated.

The present head of TusSegee Institute,
who is Booker Washington's successor, some
time ago was reported as having warned his
people through the public press, that social
equality with the whites can never become a
reality. The institution over which he pre-
sides is largely fostered by the money of
white men, and no expression other than one
in keeping with the white man's view would
be consistent, from that institution. Yet, un-
less ambition is indeed a glorions cheat, there
inevitably lurks in the mind and heart of every
educated product of Tuskegee Institute, a
secret longing to become the social equal of
any other race among whom he dwells. Other-
wise education is to him a failure and mean-

No race or people can be at its best while
handicapped by unnatural conditions. That

^'The Road to Righteous Judgment'

tlie negroes are handicapped by living among
the whites cannot be questioned. Likewise,
that the white man is also in a measure, hand-
icapped goes without saying. The best in
each race can never develop or be brought out
while subject to racial differences and antag-
onisms. It is an unsound sociological condi-
tion which does not permit or encourage the
highest ideals in every person living under the
same government, and every rule of reason and
principle of logic suggest their separation
when this cannot be done.

'There is an abiding menace to each race
while living together. This was voiced by
Representative Garrett of Tennessee in De-
cember, 1921, when in the lower house of Con-
gress while discussing a proposed anti-lynch-
iiig bill he said:

"Many of you gentlemen do not know
what it is to live in a section in which your
wife dare not travel a^ne for a distance of a

''The Road to Righteous Judgment'

mile through wood or field. You do uot
kuow what it is to raise a daughter amid a a
environment where from the very time of her
reaching the age of ten, so long as she lives,
the sword of Damocles hangs over her head.'*

Commenting on the Tulsa (Oklahoma)


Online LibraryJoseph E. CallawayThe road to righteous judgement; a brief on the negro question → online text (page 1 of 2)