Negro Christian student conference (1914 : Atlanta.

John Tyler: his history, character, and position.. online

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Jl Solution of m negro Problem

Psycbologlcdlly gonsiderel

Cbe negro not "J! Beast."


The Franklin Printing and Publishing- Company


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TWO Codes Received

JUN 14 1904

Copyrtfht Entry


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Copyright, 1904,
By W. B. parks.

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Foreword.— Rev. C. E. Dowman, D.D., Ex-President
Emory College 1

Chicago Universitv Speech— " The Problem op the

Races." — Hon. John Temple Graves 5

'' Boston Banquet Speech." — Henry W. Grady 35

" But What op the Negro ? — Henry W. Grady 56

" What op the Negro ?" — Henry W. Grady 59

" Aged Ex- Slaves Gather at Home of Old Master." —

Robert Timmons 69

*•■ Races in Harmony ; South Safe as Home." — Ex-Gov-
ernor W. J. Northen 74

*' Must Put Down the Mob or be Put Down by It." —
Bishop AVarren A. Candler, D.D., LL.D 84

" Races Must Separate."— Bishop H. M. Turner, D.D.,
LL.D 90

•' Race Segregation."— Bishop L. H. Holsey, D.D 99

"Burden op the Negro Problem." — Richard H. Ed-
monds 120

" A Solution op the Negro Problem Psychologically
Considered; the Negro not a Beast." — Willis B.
Parks, M.D .... 128


Ex-President Emory College, Oxford.

The negro is with us, much has been said and writ-
ten, but the last word has not yet been spoken, for
"nothing is settled, till it is settled right." After the
strife of words and the ebullition of passion, right and
truth will remain. No doubt, much that was unwiso
and untrue has been said. Men have discussed this
question from the viewpoint of prejudice, passion, and
personal interest as well as from sincere, though often
misdirected philanthropy. But many of the highest
minds have carefully considered this problem ; some
are still seeking for a solution ; others have thought
it through, and from their premises have reached a


Dr. Willis B. Parks, the author of the essay which
closes this volume, has rendered a service to the think-
ing public by collecting and putting in permanent form
the mature thought of some of the leading men of both
races, as well as by his own contribution to the dis-
cussion of this question. The study of the negro from
a psychological standpoint, gives promise of a better
understanding of the peculiarities of his character and
conduct that have been difficult to explain, and fur-
nishes valuable suggestions of more intelligent meth-
ods for his improvement. The author, with scientific
candor and firmness, seeks to check any tendency to-
ward dehumanizing the negro by showing from the
application of the principles of psychology that he is
"not a beast," but a man.


The eloquent and big-hearted Henry W. Grady, and
the concise and briUiant John Temple Graves, need
no introduction or commendation. The pure and pa-
triotic William J. Northen enjoys the confidence of
all races and sections.

The masterful bishop of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South, Warren A. Candler, pleads for justice
toward the negro as opposed to the mob. The ear-
nest and observant bishop of the African Methodis!;
Church, Henry M. Turner, agrees that this question
can only be settled by the separation of the races, and
Rev. L. H. Holsey, D.D., the eloquent and big-
hearted bishop of the Colored M. E. Church, pleads
for the segregation of the race in some portion of our
national domain.

Richard H. Edmonds, editor of the "Manufacturers'
Record," an astute man of business, holds that if wily
politicians and sentimental philanthropists will let this
problem alone, the two races will probably work out
its solution.

Many say they are tired of this discussion — but cer-
tain things are true : The negro is here, and here to
stay, and so long as there is the want of perfect ad-
justment between him and the white race, there will
be the problem, and so long as there is a problem, there
will be a discussion.

The position of the negro race is more critical now
than at any former period of its history. During the
time immediately succeeding emancipation, there was
a kindly and sympathetic relation between the white
people of the South and their former slaves. But
with the passing of the old masters and the old serv-
ants, with the coming of generations who know noth-
ing of the sentiments of affection and gratitude grow-
ing out of the relations of domestic slavery, and who
have been reared under the influence of passion on


the one side and suspicion on the other, it was inevi-
table that the races should drift apart.

The Southern white man has easily lost confidence
in the negro. The increase of crime, the comparative
failure of education, the frequent divorcement of re-
ligion from morality, the menace to the safety of the
home and of innocent women from the rapist have
turned the feelings of many white men from sym-
pathetic helpfulness to strained toleration.

It would be putting the case very mildly to say that
the negro's most enthusiastic friends in the North are
disappointed in him. His moral and social progress
has not been what they expected as a result of their
investment of money and help. The laboring classes
of the North will not admit him. The doors of social
life are closed against him. Since the Southern States
have, as a matter of self-preser\^ation, practically elimi-
nated him from politics, whose afifection for "the man
and brother" was prompted by self-interest, has no
further use for him.

With the North indifferent and the South unsympa-
thetic, the negro would be crushed between the upper
and the nether millstone. But his future is in his own
hands. Content with his civil liberty, enjoying educa-
tional advantages at the cost of his white neighbors,
with a fair field for his industry, not excluded from
the ranks of skilled labor, with the fields, the forests,
the mines of the South, begging for him with the
monopoly of domestic service, he is in position to
make rapid progress in the accumulation of property,
the building of homes, and in the elevation of his so-
cial condition.

The South will not have him as a social equal nor
as a political master, but she needs him, and wants him
as a powerful factor in her industrial prosperity. His
labor augments her wealth, his growing demand for


the necessity of civilized life makes a market for her
products, his increase of population gives proportion-
ate influence in national legislation.

Bishop Galloway, one of the most eloquent preach-
ers of the Methodist church, said in a public address
a few months ago, that when the negro left the South
he would go with him, and the utterance was received
with enthusiastic applause.

The South is willing to give the negro a chance. As
the ward of the nation he has been spoiled ; as the
football of demagogues he has been corrupted. As
the pet of sentimental philanthropists he has been
placed in a false and dangerous position. As the prey
of the avaricious, his vices have been fostered for their

What the future has for him depends on himself.
The sky is clearing. The views of all sections and
parties are coming nearer together. The wisest men
of the negro race are recognizing the time basis of his
salvation. His best friends, who are among the white
people of the South, are ready to help him under prac-
tical ways.

What shall we do with him shall no longer be dis-
cussed. With equality before the law, with equity in
business, with sympathy in all his efforts to better his
condition on all proper lines, instead of being a
menace to our safety, a disturbing element in our
politics, and a peril to himself, he may become a race
unit in our great cosmopolitan national life, "sepa-
rate as the billows, but not as the sea," and under the
benign influence of the gospel of the Son of man, our
civilization may show the possibility of which has been
declared impossible — a superior and an inferior race
living and working together in true harmony and co-



(Chicago University Speech.)

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Permit me in the beginning to acknowledge the
courtesy which gives me access to a platform so noble
and to an audience so distinguished as this.

All sections of our common country pay tribute to
the merit and equipment of this splendid University.
Its work is playing a mighty part in the educational
uplift of the times. Its record has been notable among
the forces which have given us a reunited country.
The State and the section from which I come have
made their yearly vital contribution to its student-
roll, and the superb beneficence of the founder, joined
to the noble liberality of citizens of Chicago, and to
the consecrated talent and attainments of its faculty,
have made an institution so virile in life, so compre-
hensive in character, and so national in scope that it
has come, while yet in early youth, to be the alma
mater of the sections and the pride of the republic.

Fortunate am I, and happy, in that I bring the con-
victions of this hour to a platform so free, and to an
atmosphere so impartial. Questions of abstract policy
— problems of humanity — ^bearing a hint of section or
a complication of party are not for the ears of faction
or for the passions of politics. Upon the fierce and
heated bosom of established prejudice the cold stream
of reason falls too frequently to steam and hissing, and



men who have convictions that are rather definite
than popular, may thank God for the cahner air of
universities, and for the clear and unbiased minds of
students seeking truth. It is here, and here only, that
problems of duty and of destiny can find a fair hear-
ing and a free solution in the tranquil temper and un-
fettered vision of republican youth.

Upon this dear presumption I hasten to my work.

The problem which I bring to you to-day is yours
as well as mine. Whoever you are, and from what-
ever section you come, the problem is yours — inherited
from the fathers and handed down to the sons — with
complications increasing so rapidly, and difficulties
multiplying so fast that every instinct of prudence,
and every suggestion of safety plead for its prompt
and full consideration, while it may yet be solved — a
problem for the whole country, because it can not be
settled by a section ; and a problem for this generation,
because in this generation it must inevitably reach its
crisis and advance in promise or decline in evil pre-
sage to its conclusion.

The thinkers of the Old World, from Gladstone and
Bismarck, through James Bryce and Arthur Balfour,
to Chamberlain and Crispi, viewing our country from
the vantage ground of distance, have with one voice
proclaimed this the first and foremost problem of our
national life.

The thinkers of our own world, who see the prob-
lem clearly, are appalled at the comprehensive danger
of its elements, and amazed at the apathy of their
countrymen toward it.

Will you bear with me, then, while I state this prob-
lem briefly and as fairly as I can?

The Civil War of the sixties was the tragedy of the
nineteenth century. Its real cause dated back to con-
stitutional constructions, and to the irrepressible con-



flict over the nature of the compact framed by the
fathers. Its provoking incident, its precipitating
cause, was slavery.

A republic of white men, living in a country de-
veloped and established by sturdy colonists of the
Anglo-Saxon race, prospering under a constitution
framed by white men — for the author of the Declara-
tion was a slaveholder — flourishing magnificently un-
der institutions molded by their united brains, ce-
mented by their common blood, and sanctified by their
common patriotism — fell at outs over a black man
brought from savage Africa and sold from trading
ships to bondage and slavery, first in Alassachusetts,
and afterwards in the South. We do not halt here to
wrangle over the mooted responsibility of his bring-
ing, or the causes of his subsequent concentration in
one section of the country. He came, he drifted, and
he divided us. Agitators, sincere but passionate,
raised the question of his liberty. The sections divided
in interest and sentiment upon the issue, and over his
black body brethren of a white race and of a common
glorious heritage went to war.

Of equal valor, but of unequal numbers, the men
of the North and the men of the South grappled for
four years at each other's throats ; and for this black
man of Africa the white men of America sacrificed a
million heroic lives and spent $12,000,000,000 of their

Whether it were worth the colossal sacrifice, his-
tory, and one hundred thousand broken homes, must
in time declare. And whether the sacrifice were vain
and profitless, history and the unsolved problem must
also say.

From the unequal contest one section emerged vic-
torious, and the other section lingered solemn and
broken in defeat.


The first act of the victor was to free the slaves.
The next act of the victor was to make the black man,
just now a slave, a citizen and the equal of his master.
There were four million black men then. There are
nine million now, and seven million in the South.

Here, then, the equations start :

Two opposite, unequal, and antagonistic races are
set side by side for government and destiny. One of
these, by the record, is the strongest race on earth ;
the other, by the record, is the weakest race on earth.
One, a race whose achievements make, in large part,
the history of the world ; the other, a race which, in
all its annals, has written no history, built no monu-
ments, made no books, and recorded no achievement,
and whose only progress has been from contact with
the stronger race. One, a race, proud, progressive,
dominant, and historically free ; the other, a race that
came out of centuries of savagery into centuries of
slavery, and was transplanted in one tropical and un-
natural night from barbarism and slavery into liberty
and full equality. One, a live, vital, twentieth-century
race, pulsing the hope and progress of the world ; the
other, a race without a record, undeveloped, untrained,
but lately slaves, and at the utmost a seventh-century

There they are — master and slave, civilized and
half-civilized, strong and weak, conquering and servile,
twentieth-century and seventh-century — thirteen hun-
dred years apart — set by a strange and incomprehen-
sible edict of statesmanship or of passion, set by the
constitution and the law, the weakest race on earth
and the strongest race on earth, side by side, on equal
terms to bear an equal part in the conduct and re-
sponsibility of the greatest government the world ever


It was an experiment without a precedent in history
and without a promise in the annals of man.

Impracticable in abstract form, the proposition is
rendered impossible by its complications. The mas-
ter race keenly resents the sudden elevation and the
forced equality of their slaves. The victorious section
eagerly demands the trial, and desires the success of
its experiment. The master race, from long" contact
and close association, carries the ineradicable convic-
tion of the inherent and incurable inferiority and in-
capacity of the black man. The victor section, rea-
soning from abstract philanthropy at the distance of a
thousand miles, cherishes a fixed faith in the unity
of race and the equality of man. Sectional jealousies
■compass the experiment with bitterness. Partisan
politics complicate it with selfish schemes. Frequent
crimes and recurring violence distort it with passion.
And behind it all, openly confessed in one section, and
only half denied in the other section, there lives and
breathes in both races and in all sections, the deep, un-
circumscribed, and apparently ineradicable prejudice of
opposite races, w^hich renders union and sympathy and
full co-operation hopeless and out of the question for-

So that the problem is one of irreconcilable ele-
ments. It is one of impossible conditions. Stated in
a sentence, this is the problem : How the strongest of
races and the weakest of races, thirteen hundred years
apart in civilization, unequal in history and develop-
ment, incongruous, unassimilable and inherently an-
tagonistic, tossed between party schemes and sectional
jealousies, irritated by racial conflicts and misled by
mistaken philanthropy, can live on equal terms under
exactly the same laws, and share on equal terms in
the same government — when no other races, opposite
and antagonistic, have ever shared, in peace and tran-


quility, since the world be^an, any country or any
g-overnment created by God or fashioned by man.

This is the question that the times are called to an-
swer. This is the riddle that the twentieth century is
asked to read. This is the experiment that the tem-
porizing statesmanship of a civil revolution has forced
upon the age.

The statement of the proposition carries its condem-
nation, and the equations must be changed before the
problem can be solved.

The experiment has had thirty-eight years of trial,
backed by the power of the federal government and
by the sympathy of the world. It has failed. From
the beginning to the hour that holds us, it has failed.
The races are wider apart and more antagonistic than
they were in 1865. There is less of sympathy and
more of tension than the races have known since the
terrible days of reconstruction made chaos in the
South. The Fifteenth Amendment is practically re-
pealed. In nearly every State of his numerical habita-
tion, the negro is disfranchised under the forms of
law. In all the States where his ballot is a menace
to white supremacy, it is restrained. With all these
years, and all these forces at his back, there has been
an utter failure to establish the negro in a satisfactory
and self-reliant position under the law. Four decades
after his emancipation he is in point of fact less a free-
man and infinitely less a citizen than he was^ in 1868.
The tumult of the times about us proclaim the con-
tinued existence and the unreconciled equations of
the problem that he makes ; and in the common judg-
ment of mankind the legend, FAILURE, is written
large and lowering above the tottering fabric of his
civil rights.

And yet the experiment goes on. Unchanging and
unlearning, the republic gropes in solemn stupidity, in


helpless apathy, in misguided philanthropy, through
ceaseless complications and hopeless precedent to tlie
hopeless and preordained conclusion. The experiment

goes on.

I ask you, men and women of this University, to
consider with me the difficulties which this vast prob-
lem entails, and the mighty reasons which, for the
sake of both races, sternly and imperatively require its

To the white man this problem means division. It
imperils national unity. It always has done so. It
always will do so. From the Philadelphia conven-
tion to the present hour the negro has always been
a bone of contention. North, East and West, the sec-
tions tolerate in tranquility divisions of trade and sen-
timent, and clasp hands everywhere without suspicion
or distrust. But a Chinese wall of prejudice shuts
out the South on this question frorr^ the sympathy
of the American people, and although fraternal plati-
tudes may cross it, and political affiliations may scale
it, and commercial interchange may run its electric
wires under and above it, and although but recently
military loyalty has seemed to shatter it, this wall
stanjls, in the sight of God and of nations, and hedges
in the South as a separate and peculiar people, hin-
dered with misapprehension, held aloof in prejudice,
and fretted by a criticism which, if sometimes founded
in philanthropy, is too often expressed in passtbn and
answered in bitterness.

And so long as the problem stands the old slave
States of the South, unwillingly, protestingly, despair-
ingly, and yet inevitably, must be, and will be, the
continuing gap in the magnificent line of our national

To the white man of the South the problem hampers
its material development. It halts our growth. By


the records of the census it frightens immigration
from industrial competition with the negro. It largely
deters capital from investment in the shadow of an
unsolved problem. It makes a standard of labor that
prejudices all our Southern poor. against menial but
honorable service. It depresses agriculture on the
farms and property in the suburbs, and drives all who
can afford the change to the safety afforded by prox-
imity and police protection in the cities. The South
is unequaled in the four great basic raw materials of
coal, iron, cotton and lumber. And yet, while $ioo,-
000,000 of our money goes yearly to Europe at 4 per
cent., these great fields are scantily developed. And
thus, while one great section of our country is halted
in development, the free movement of men and money
in all sections is hindered toward the inviting field of

It is a problem of moral decay. It demoralizes pol-
itics. Wherever a black supremacy is threatened
through a black majority the black ballot is strangled
without reserve in the black hands that hold it against
the safety of the State. This is wrong. It is illegal.
It is monstrous. But it is true. It is true in Georgia.
It is true in South Carolina. Aye, and it would b'i
true in Massachusetts and in Illinois. Put yourself,
men of Illinois, in the place of the people you perhaps
condemn. Suppose that by the steady drift of emi-
gration the negro had come from the Sou^i to be a
majority in every congressional district, in every legis-
lative precinct, and in every municipal ward of Illinois.
Suppose that, realizing this majority, he had organ-
ized to utilize it. Suppose that you looked forward, in
the next election, not only to the probability, but to
the absolute certainty, that the next governor of Illi-
nois would be a negro ; that you would have two
negroes in the United States Senate to take the places


of Hopkins and of Cullom ; that you would have a
soHd negro delegation in Congress; a legislature at
Springfield looking like a blackbird pie ; negro judges
on the bench ; negro solicitors in your courts ; negro
mayors in your chairs, and a negro policeman on your
streets — let me ask you, man of Illinois, with your
pride in the past glories, and your confidence in the
future achievements of your historic State — let me ask
you, if, in the shadow of this threat and danger, the
streets of Springfield and Chicago, and the woods and
prairies of Illinois, would not be filled with eager
white men asking how the South suppressed the ne-
gro vote?

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Online LibraryNegro Christian student conference (1914 : AtlantaJohn Tyler: his history, character, and position.. → online text (page 1 of 13)