J. W. (John William) Gibson.

Progress of a race; or, The remarkable advancement of the American negro, from the bondage of slavery, ignorance, and poverty ot the freedom of citizenship, intelligence, affluence, honor and trust online

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Online LibraryJ. W. (John William) GibsonProgress of a race; or, The remarkable advancement of the American negro, from the bondage of slavery, ignorance, and poverty ot the freedom of citizenship, intelligence, affluence, honor and trust → online text (page 1 of 26)
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HOW many people know that there are Negroes who
are paying more than $100,000 a year income tax?
Or that a Negro is among the foremost American
critics of current verse ? Or that a Colored man won the
first scholarship granted an American composer of music
by the French School of Musical Studies in Paris ? Or that
Chicago's first settler wasji_Negro _? Or that a regiment of
Colored soldiers in the late war won more decorations for
bravery than any other American unit ?

America has failed to understand a loyal and dependable
group consisting of 12,000,000 of her own citizens.
Frederick Douglass, Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Cole-
ridge-Taylor are names unknown to the millions of her
school children.

To them this book is dedicated, that they may read and
learn, and thus come to a wholesome understanding and
appreciation of what has been accomplished in spite of the


Successor to Booker T. Washington as Principal of Tuskegee


!C> C. M. Bnttey.



No race in such a limited period and under such trying
circumstances has ever made more progress than has
been made by the Negro in the United States of America.
Instead of being discouraged over the conditions over
which he had no control, the Negro has simply faced the
situation, forged ahead, and written on the pages of his-
tory a record which has challenged the attention and
respect of the entire civilized world.

It is significant that just at this time a great deal of at-
tention is being given to the matter of not merely record-
ing the stories of Negro progress, but also placing them
before the public. I am certain that such printed records
will serve to inspire the future generations of the Negro
as well as to enlighten the children of other races as to the
history of colored people, thereby giving them a larger
and more sympathetic view of all human problems. It is
for that reason that I believe that the revised edition of
the "Progress of a Race," which the publishers^ are pre-
paring, will fill a much needed want. Divided into three
great major topics, Education,. Business and Religion,
this story of Negro progress should commend itself
to the American reading public, and I bespeak for this
volume a most cordial and favorable consideration.



March 30, 1920.






















Abbott, Robert S

Allen, B. D

A. M. E. Church, Atlanta
Anderson, Madam M. B..
Atlanta Baptist Seminary.

Atlanta University

Atwell, E. T

Ballard Drug Store

Banks, Charles

Banks, W. R

Baptizing Negro Soldiers.

Battle Scenes 159

Benedict College

Bethel A. M. E. Church..

Bethune, Mary M

Binga, Jesse

Bold Stroke for Freedom,


Bond, Scott

Boston Massacre

Bowen, John W

Bowles, Eva D

Boyd Building

Boyd, R. H

Braithwaite, William S...

Brawley, Benjamin

Brooks, W. H

Brown, Charlotte H

Brown, John

Bruce, Mrs. J. B

Bruneau, P.

Burleigh, H. T

Calhoun, Mrs. C. M

Camphor, A. P


130 Capturing Slaves 4 1

272 Carney, Wm. H 1 18

327 Carter, James G 30

207 Centerville Industrial In-

350 stitute 291

303 Chestnut, Charles W 358

168 Clinton, George W 312

250 Clinton A. M. E. Church. 315

256 Coleridge-Taylor, H 174

272 Collins, Cleoto J 183

161 Cotter, Joseph S., Jr 353

-163 Crogman, Wm. H 358

301 Croix de Guerre 152

317 Davidson, Henry 272

194 Davis, B. J 361

230 Daytona Normal Institute


98 Delegates to Republican

334 Convention, 1920 21, 145

60 Desperate Conflict, A 94

334 Dogan, M. W 358

194 Douglass, Frederick 226

240 DuBois, W. E. B 367

334 Dudley, J. B 358

340 Emma Brick Works 304

340. Europe, Jimmie 157

340 Fierce Encounter with

191 Bloodhounds 123

88 Fifteenth, The Old 154

191 Fisk University 292

180 Gale, George W 21

340 Garrett, Thomas 91

281 Garrison, Wm. Lloyd 75

334 General Grant 1 1 1




Gilbert, John W 377

Gilliam, C. W 263

Grandchildren of Slaves . . 56

Green, John P 377

Greene, B. A 221

Greene, S. M 377

Hampton Institute 293

Harmon, J. H 377

Harrison, Wm 377

Hawkins, Mason A 388

Hayes, Roland W 170

Hayward, Col. Wm. ... 151-154

Holsey, Albon L 210

Hope, John 388

Hubbard, W. M 272

Hudson, Henry C 388

Jackson, R. R 397

James & Allen Drug Co.. 249

Jason, W. C 397

Johnson, General Ed 127

Johnson, James W 391

Jones, Edward P 323

Jones, Judge Scipio A 361

Josenberger, Mrs. M. S... 207

Kemp, Wm. Paul 397

Kenney, John A 397

Knox, George L 397

Lane College 288

Lewis, Wm. H 388

Lincoln, Abraham 106

Logan, Warren 168

Malone, Annie M 201

Masonic Temple, Jackson-
ville 213

Melden, Charles M 305

Miller, J. E 272

Minton, Henry M 417

Montgomery, Isaiah T.2I, 256

Moore, L. B 409

Morris Brown College 297

Morris, E. C 417

Moton, Robert R


Mound Bayou Cotton Gin 221
Mound Bayou Cotton Co. 254
Mound Bayou Oil Mill... 252
Mound Bayou State Bank 254
Myrtilla Miner Normal... 283
National Baptist Publish-
ing House 320

Nelson, Alice M. Dunbar. 415
New Orleans University. . 298
Odd Fellow Block, Atlanta 216
Officers' Training Camp.. 149
Okalona Industrial School 274

On Picket Duty 115

Pace, Henry H 238

Palmer Memorial Institute 286

Penn, I. G 417

Perry, Herman E 417

Phillips, C. H 311

Phillips, Wendell 78

Pickens, Wm 238

Piney Woods School 295

Poro College 203

Powell, A. C 421

Proctor, H. H 421

Pythian Temple, Louisville 216
Pythian Temple, New

Orleans 213

Red Cross Nurses 155

Republican Convention

Delegates 21

Resurrection of Henry

Box Brown 99

Revels, Hiram R 31

Roberts, Eugene P 421

Roberts, James T 263

Robert Hungerford Nor-
mal . . 281



Rodgers, M. M 421

Roman, Charles V 437

Rosenwald, Julius 168

Roosevelt 168

Ruffin, Mrs. J. St. P 180

Rust College 286-464

Scott, Bishop I. B 308

Scott, Emmett J 168-428

Slave, An Ex- 35-36-38

Slaves, Capturing 41

Slave Traders 32-38

Smith, Robert L 437

Still, Charity 101

Still, William 96

Stringing Wire on the

Marne 148

Stowe, Harriet Beecher ... 83

Sumner, Charles 81

St. Luke Penny Savings

Bank 205

Smith Memorial College.. 277

Talbert, Mrs. Mary 180

Tenth Cavalry 148

Terrell, Marv Church .... 191

Texas College 298

Tulane, Victor Hugo 437

Tuskegee Institute 278-279

Valentine, Win. R 437

Vincent, Dr. V. Conrad.. 146
Virginia Union University


Walker, Madam C. J 207

Washington, Mrs. B. T... 176
Washington, Booker T. . . 191

White, Clarence C 172

Williams, A. Wilberforce. 451

Williams, Bert 131

Williams, R. A 451

Williams, W. T 451

Williams, Mrs. S. F 191

Wilson, Henry 86

Wood, Charles W 451

Work, Monroe N 451

Wounded Heroes 157

Wright, A. Wilberforce.. 457

Yates, Mrs. J. Salone 180

Young, Col. Charles 459



Among the sayings of our race.

Suggestive and surpi ising,
That fill a most exalted place,

Is, "Tell them we are rising!"

The question asked for right and truth,
What to the North your greeting?

The answer from a Negro youth
"Tell them we are rising!"

Within Atlanta's classic halls,

This youth, self-sacrificing,
Wrote high his name upon her walls,

His motto: "We are rising!"

Out in the world he makes his mark,

Danger and fear despising,
E'er soaring upward like the lark.

My brethren: "We are rising!"

He meets the foe with voice and pen.

With eloquence surprising!
Give us a chance, for we are menl

Most surely we are rising!

Rising to take our place beside

The noble, the aspiring;
With energy and conscious pride,

To the best things, we're rising!

Within the class-room is his place,

Greek, Latin, criticising,
To raise the youthful of his race,

And show the world we're rising!

Go forth, my friend, upon your way,

Each obstacle despising,
Prove by your efforts every day

To all that we are arising!

In farming, trade and literature,

A people enterprising!
Our churches, schools, and home life pure,

Tell to the world we're rising!

NOTE. About a score of years since. Gen. O. O. Howard, then con-
nected with the Freedman's Bureau, on visiting one of the colored schools
in Georgia, asked the children: "What message shall I take from j ou to the
people of the North?" An intelligent boy answered promptly: ''Tell them
we are rising!" The boy was Richard Wright, of Augusta, Ga, who has
since graduated from Atlanta University, ably filled the editorial chair,
and is now President of the State Normal School, of College, Georgia.




Unity of the Race. Attempts have been made in
the past to prove that the Negro is not a human being.
Jn this age of the world such a preposterous idea does
not receive countenance. The remarkable progress of
the Negro and the rapid disappearing of race 'malice
and prejudice, have made this theory so absurd that
to-day no one can be found to advocate it. It is, how-
ever, to be noted that as late as 1868 a minister of the
South advocated this theory. Arguing from this stand-
point he says, "Half an eye tells us the fate of the
Negro on this continent is fixed, his doom is irrevocably
sealed, he is out of his natural condition to which he
aspires. If he is separated from man he sinks speedily
to savage cannibalism. Men cannot refute the fixed
decree of Omnipotence ; nothing but the power of God
can save the Negro from extinction. Four millions of
blacks are doomed to extinction. The history of the
Negro proves that he does not, never did possess, a self-
directing, independent mind. The white man regards
him as a natural, lawful slave, the Negro admits the
fact and instinctively seeks the condition of slavery to

Of One Blood. Why should we here refer to this
theory so absurd and contradictory to all history?
Not that we place any confidence in any of the argu-
ments, nor that we will refute the arguments, they
need no refutation ; but that the young man of to-day,
who is an American citizen, may know something of
the tendency of the times when slavery existed.



To-day 'the universal belief is that God "Created of
one blood all nations of man to dwell on the face of
the earth." The unity of the race is demonstrated
with emphasis in the possible and actual assimilation of
all the races in the one man, and is distinctly shown in
the personalities and careers of men like Benjamin
Banneker, Frederick Douglass, and Alexander Dumas.

No Inferior Races. God did not create an inferior
race ; there are races with inferior conditions, and these
may be black or white, but, says Dr. Blyden, "There
is no absolute or essential superiority on the one side,
i/or absolute or essential inferiority on the other.
Man is a unity in the plan of salvation. No man is too
inferior to be saved. In all the wondrous work of
creation the making of man is God's crowning act, and
whoever has His image has infallible credentials of his
high origin and sonship. Man is our universal repre-
sentative head and from him all peoples sprung. God
never made a superior race nor an inferior one ; and
there is nothing in the heavens above, nor in the earth
beneath, that can substantiate any such doctrine,
"For God hath made of one blood all nations of men
to dwell upon the face of the earth. ' '

The Curse Theory. Failing to establish the theory
that the Negro is not a human being, we find an attempt
on the part of those who would have held* the Negro in
perpetual slavery to show that he belongs to an inferior
race. That against him an irrevocable curse has been
pronounced. But the remarkable advancement of the
race in all lines of activity has dispelled even the
doubts of those who "hoped against hope" that this
might be the case, and has scattered the mists of
unbelief that rose above the horizon of a few of the
Anglo-Saxon race.


Base of Arguments. Such arguments are based
upon passages of the scripture in which Noah cursed
Canaan in these words: "Cursed be Canaan, a ser-
vant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Blessed
be the Lord God of Shein, and Canaan shall be his.
servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell "
in the tents of Shem and Canaan shall be his servant."
If this were a prophecy then the argument might have
some weight, but it is considered a prophecy only by a
very few writers, and these are those who would sub*
stantiate preconceived opinions thereby. The best
evidence of a prophecy is its fulfillment. This state-
ment was never fulfilled either in the case of Canaan,
whose descendants have often conquered and been
among the powerful nations of olden times, nor of
Shem and Japheth, whose descendants were frequently
enslaved. The Hebrews were in bondage in Egypt
for centuries, they were the descendants of Shem;
Egypt was peopled by the Children of Ham.

The Proper Interpretation. We have neither incli-
nation nor time to spend on extended argument against
this theory so contradictory to all facts revealed by
the light of true history and now no longer a question
of debate, and yet a statement is necessary for the
information of the youth who knows nothing of slavery,
and the arguments and the attempts to hold in per-
petual bondage a race destined to play an important
part in the civilization and Christianization of the
world. Noah was once a preacher of righteousness,
but he afterward became drunk on the wine that he
made. The exposure to which he was subjected by his
drunken condition caused him in his irritable and self-
defensive mood to utter these words, which cannot in
any sense be prophetic. The best argument against


. this theory is the remarkable progress of the race and
the moral and intellectual condition of the best of the
race in these closing years of the nineteenth century.

Josephus says: "The children of Ham possessed
the land from Syria to Amanus, and the mountains of
Libanus, seizing upon all the maritime ports and keep-
ing them as their own. Of the four sons of Ham, time
has not at all hurt the name of Cush, for the Ethiopians
over whom he reigned are even at this day, both by
themselves and by all men in Asia, called Cushites. "

Herodotus. Herodotus states that Cambyses at-
tempted to conquer Ethiopia but failed. He succeeded
in conquering Egypt, but he found the Ethiopian equal
to the Egyptian in refinement and intelligence and
superior in military skill. Cambyses attempted, by
means of spies and by means of various designs, to
entrap and enslave the Ethiopian, but was forced to
return to Egypt with but a remnant of his army.

The Case Stated. Rev. Norman Wood puts it thus .
"Whereas, Noah got drunk and cursed Canaan, an
innocent party; and whereas, this curse was never
fulfilled; therefore, all to whom these presents may
come, greeting: Pagan, infidel, or pirate, are hereby
empowered to kidnap and to enslave all the sable
Africans who are descendants from Cush. We are here
reminded of the statement of Liliuokalani, the recent
dethroned queen of Hawaii, that the best blood of the
English flowed in her veins, because her grandfather
devoured Captain Cook."

The Color Theory. Another argument in support
of the curse of Noah is the color of the African. This
argument also fails utterly when we take into account
tne climatic influence. Climate, and climate alone, is
*he sole canse. The predominant color of the inhabit-


ants of the tropical regions of Asia and Africa is black,
while the whites are found in the temperate and cold
regions. We see and admit the change which a few
years produce in the complexion of a Caucasian going
from our northern latitude into the tropics. If a few
years make such great changes why shall we hesitate
to recognize the changes of centuries and ages?

Plants and Animals. There is perhaps no better
evidence of the influence of climate upon man than to
witness its effects upon plants and animals. The flowers
of the north are almost invariably white, while the
arctic rabbit is spotless white, and the fox and polar
bear are either white or pale yellow. The lack of color
in the northern regions of animals which possess color
in more temperate regions can be attrib'.: f ed only to
change of climate. The common bear is differently
colored in different regions. The dog lo ;s its coat in
Africa, and has a smooth skin.

Gradations of Color. Let us survey the gradations
of color on the continent of Africa itself. The inhabit-
ants of the north are whitest; and, as we advance
southwards towards the line, we find in those coun cries
in which the sun's rays fall more perpendicularly, the
complexion gradually assumes a darker shade. And
the same men whose color has been rendered black by
the powerful influence of the sun. if they remove to
the north, gradually become white (I mean their pos-
terity), and eventually lose their dark color.

Caucasians. The Portuguese, who planted them-
selves on the coast of Africa a few centuries ago, have
been succeeded by descendants blacker than many
Africans. On the coast of Malabar there are two
colonies of Jews, the old colony and the new, separated

2 Aug. 23


by color and known as the "black Jews" and the
"white Jews."

The old colony are the black Jews, and have been
longer subjected to the influence of the climate. The
hair of the black Jews is curly, showing a resemblance
to the Negro. The white Jews are as dark as the
Gypsies, and each generation is growing darker.

Dr. Livingstone say; "I was struck with the
appearance of the people in Londa and the neighbor-
hood; they seemed more slender in form and their
color a lighter olive than any we had hitherto met. ' '

Lower down the Zambesi, the same writer says:
"Most of the men are muscular, and have large,
ploughman hands. Their color is the same admixture,
from very dark to light olive, that we saw in Londa. ' '

Equator to Polar Circles. Under the equator we
have the deep black of the Negro, then the copper or
olive of the Moors of northern Africa; then the Span-
iards and Italian, swarthy compared with other Euro-
peans ; the French, still darker than the English, while
r.he fair and florid complexion of England and Germany
passes more northerly into the bleached Scandinavian

From Inland to Coast. As we go westward we ob-
serve the light color predominating over the dark ; and
then, again, when we come within the influence of the
dampness from the sea air, we find the shade deepened
into the general blackness of the coast population. ' '

If these opinions, given by the best authorities, mean
anything, and if we shall credit them as having any
value, then the color line can be drawn only where
there is deep-seated prejudice.

Black, a Mark of Reproach. Prof. Johnson, in his
school history, justly says: "Black is no mark of re-


proach to people who do not worship white. The West
Indians in the interior represent the devil as white.
The American Indians make fun of the 'pale face' and
so does the native African. People in this country have
been educated to believe in white because all that is
good has been ascribed to the white race, both in pic-
tures and words. God, the angels and all the prophets
are pictured white, and the devil is represented as

Ideals of Negro. The ideals of the Negro are the
ideals of the white man. The two races are both edu-
cated to one standard, that is, the white man's
standard. While the white man would have the Negro
adopt his standard, at the same time there are those
who would repel him ; somewhat like putting on steam
and throttling the valve. True manhood knows no
color. While the ideals are the same, the standards
the same, let all, black and white, aim to attain to a
virtuous manhood that would impress itself upon
mankind and make men more and more to see the
ideals shine out in the lives of all true leaders.

God Knows Best. George Williams says: "It is
safe to say that when God dispersed the sons of Noah
he fixed the 'bounds of their habitation,' and that
from the earth and sky the various races have secured
their civilization. He sent the different nations into
separate parts of the earth. He gave to each its racial
peculiarities and adaptability for the climate into which
it went. He gave color, language, and civilization;
and, when by wisdom we fail to interpret his
inscrutable ways, it is pleasant to know that 'he work-
eth all things after the counsel of his own mind.' "

Antiquity. It is difficult to find a writer on ethnol-
ogy or Egyptology who doubts the antiquity of the


Negroes as a distinct people from the dawn of history
down to the present time. They are known as dis-
tinctly as any of the other families of men. Negroes
are represented in Egyptian, paintings. They formed
the strength of the army of the King of Egypt. They
came against the King of Rehoboam as well as the
armies of Sesostris and Xerxes.

John P. Jefferis, who is not friendly to the Negro,
in his criticism nevertheless makes this statement:
"Every rational mind must readily conclude that the
African race has been in existence as a distinct people
over four thousand two hundred years, and how
long before that period is a matter of conjecture only
there being no reliable data on which to predict a
reliable opinion. ' '

Further Evidence. Further evidence in favor of
the antiquity of the Negro is found in Japan and East-
ern Asia. In these large, magnificent temples, hoary
with age, are found idols that are exact representations
of woolly-headed Negroes; other inhabitants of the
country have straight hair. But why accumulate evi-
dence, when monuments, temples and pyramids rise
up to declare the antiquity of the Negro race?

The Word Negro. The word Negro is a name given
to a considerable branch of the human family possess-
ing certain physical characteristics which distinguish it
in a very marked degree from the other branches or
varieties of mankind. "It is not wise," says George
Williams, "for intelligent Negroes in America to seek
to drop the word 'Negro.' It is a good, strong and
healthy word, and ought to live. It should be covered
with glory ; let Negroes do it. ' '

The Term Negro. The term, Negro, is properly
applied to the races inhabiting that part of Africa lying

B 3


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between latitude 10 degrees north and 20 degrees
south and to their descendants in the old and new
world. It does not include the Egyptians, Berbers,
Abyssinians, Hottentots, Nubians, etc., although in
some writings it comprises these and other dark-
skinned nations. One characteristic, however, the
crisp hair, belongs only to the true Negro.

Africa for the Negroes. Centuries of effort and
centuries of corresponding failure have fully demon-
strated that the white man cannot colonize the largest
part of the great continent of Africa. It seems that, in
the providence of God, this great and glorious conti-
nent is chiefly for the colored races, and especially for
the Negro. Is it not possible that this great continent
with its millions of Negroes occupying the most fertile
portions, and in all more than one-half of the conti-
nent, is to be enlightened, civilized and Christianized
by the American Negro?

Deportation. Let it not be understood that the pre -
ceding paragraph argues in favor of deportation of the
American Negro to Africa. This is impossible, but
that the American Negro has a part in the elevation of
the black brother of the dark continent is as true as
that the Caucasian of America has a part in the Chris-

Online LibraryJ. W. (John William) GibsonProgress of a race; or, The remarkable advancement of the American negro, from the bondage of slavery, ignorance, and poverty ot the freedom of citizenship, intelligence, affluence, honor and trust → online text (page 1 of 26)