W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du Bois.

Economic co-operation among Negro Americans. Report of a social study made by Atlanta University under the patronage of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. together with the proceedings of the 12th Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, on Tuesday, May t online

. (page 1 of 22)
Online LibraryW. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du BoisEconomic co-operation among Negro Americans. Report of a social study made by Atlanta University under the patronage of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. together with the proceedings of the 12th Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, on Tuesday, May t → online text (page 1 of 22)
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The Atlanta University Publications, No. 12





A Social Study made by Atlanta
University under the patronage
of the Carnegie Institution of
Washington, D. C.


The Atlanta University Press


Jti ZA-AXl Z_A_Xi

I AM convinced myself that there is no more
evil thing in this present world than Race
Prejudice ; none at all. I write deliberately
it is the worst single thing in life now. It
justifies and holds together more baseness,
cruelty and abomination than any other sort
of error in the world. Thru its body runs the
black blood of coarse lust, suspicion, jealousy
and persecution and all the darkest poisons of
the human soul.

[ H. G. WELLS in the New York Independent]






Report of a Social Study made by Atlanta
University, under the patronage of the
Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C.,
together with the Proceedings of the 12th
Conference for the Study of the Negro
Problems, held at Atlanta University, on
Tuesday, May the 28th, 1907




The Atlanta University Press



b 1

V V 7ER ihnen (i. e. the Negroes of Africa) selbftan-
* * dige Erfindung und Eigenen Geschmack in ihren
Arbeiten abspricht, der verschliesst sein Auge absicht-
lich den offenkundigen Thatsachen, oder Mangel an
Kenntniss derselben macht ihn unfahig zum competenten
Beurtheiler. Soyaux.

A MONG the great groups of "natural" races, the
Negroes are the be& and keenest tillers of the

ground. Ratzel

" HE market is the center of all the more birring life
in [African] Negro communities, and attempts to
train him to culture have made the moft effedual art
from this tendency. Ratzel.




Resolutions of the Conference 4

Preface 5

Select Bibliography of Economic Co-operation among Negro Ameri
cans 6

Part I. The Background 10

Section 1. The Scope of this Study 10

Section 2. Africa 12

Section 3. The West Indies 18

Section 4. The Colonies 20

Part II. The Development of Co-operation 24

Section 5. An Historical Sketch 24

Section 6. The Underground Railroad 26

Section 1. Emancipation 32

Section 8. Migration 45

Part III. Types of Co-operation 54

Section 9. The Church 54

Section 10. Schools 73

Section 11. Beneficial and Insurance Societies . . . . 92

Section 12. Secret Societies 109 *

v Section 13. Co-operative Benevolence 128""

Section 14. Banks 134 ~

Section 15. Co-operative Business 149 #

Section 16. The Group Economy 179^

Section 17. The Twelfth Atlanta Conference 181


Resolutions of the Conference

The Conference regards the economic development of the Negro
Americans at present as in a critical state. The crisis arises not so
much because of idleness or even lack of skill as by reason of the fact
that they unwittingly stand hesitating at the cross roads one way
leading to the old trodden ways of grasping fierce individualistic com
petition, where the shrewd, cunning, skilled and rich among them will
prey upon the ignorance and simplicity of the mass of the race and get
wealth at the expense of the general well being; the other way leading
to co-operation in capital and labor, the massing of small savings, the
wide distribution of capital and a more general equality of wealth and
comfort. This latter path of co-operative effort has already been
entered by many; we find a wide development of industrial and sick
relief, many building and loan associations, some co-operation of arti
sans and considerable co-operation in retail trade. Indeed from the
fact that there is among Negroes, as yet, little of that great inequality
of wealth distribution which marks modern life, nearly all their eco
nomic effort tends toward true economic co-operation. But danger
lurks here. The race does not recognize the parting of the ways, they
tend to think and are being taught to think that any method which
leads to individual riches is the way of salvation.

The Conference believes this doctrine mischievously false, we believe
that every effort ought to be made to foster and emphasize present
tendencies among Negroes toward co-operative effort and that the
ideal of wide ownership of small capital and small accumulations
among many rather than great riches among a few, should persistently
be held before them.



W. E. B. DuBois.




This study, which forms the twelfth of the annual publications of
Atlanta University, and the second investigation of the new decade, is
a further carrying out of a plan of social study by means of recurring
decennial inquiries into the same general set of human problems. The
object of these studies is primarily scientific a careful search for truth
conducted as thoroughly, broadly, and honestly as the material re
sources and mental equipment at command will allow; but this is not
our sole object: we wish not only to make the Truth clear but to present
it in such shape as will encourage and help social reform. Our financial
resources are unfortunately meagre: Atlanta University is primarily a
school and most of its funds and energy go to teaching. It is, however,
also a seat of learning and as such it has endeavored to advance knowl
edge, particularly in matters of racial contact and development which
seemed obviously its nearest field. In this work it has received unusual
encouragement from the scientific world, and the published results of
these studies are used in America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Scarcely
a book on the Negro problem or any phase of it has been published in
the last decade which has not acknowledged its indebtedness to our

On the other hand, the financial support given this work has been
very small. The total cost of the twelve publications has been about
$13,000, or a little over $1,000 a year. The growing demands of the work,
the vast field to be covered and the delicacy and equipment needed in
such work call for far greater resources. We need, for workers, lab
oratory and publications, a fund of $6,000 a year, if this work is going
adequately to fulfill its promise. This year a small temporary grant
from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D. C., has greatly helped

In other years we have been able to serve the United States Bureau
of Labor, the United States Census, the Board of Education of the
English Government, many scientific associations, professors in nearly
all the leading universities, and many periodicals and reviews. May
we not hope in the future for such increased financial resources as will
enable us to study adequately this the greatest group of social problems
that ever faced America?

Select Bibliography of Economic Co-operation
Among Negro Americans

Alvord, J.W. Letters from the South relating to the condition of the Freedmen,

addressed to General Major O. O. Howard. 42 pp. Washington, 1870.
Fifth Seml-Annual Report on Schools for Freedmen. 55 pp. Washington, 1868.

Allen, Walter. Governor Chamberlain s Administration in South Carolina. 544 pp.
London and New York, 1888.

American Negro and his economic value. B.T. Washington. International Monthly ,

American Negro Artisan. T. J. Calloway. Cassier s Magazine, 25:435-45.

Allen, Richard. First Bishop of the A. M. E. Church. The life, experience and gos
pel labors of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen. Written by himself. Philadelphia,
1798. 69 pp., 8vo.

American Colonization Society. Annual reports of the American Society for the
colonizing of the Free People of color of the United States. Numbers 1-72, with
minutes of the meetings and of the board of directors. 1818-1889, 8v., 8vo.

Anderson, Matthew. Presbyterianism and its relation to the Negro. Philadelphia,

Arnett, B. W. The Budget for 1881-1884. 651 pp.
The Centennial Budget. 1887-1888. 589 pp.

The Budget, containing annual reports of the general officers, etc., 1885-6. 575 pp.
The Budget, 1891. 241 pp.
The Budget, 1901. 78pp.
The Budget of 1904. 873pp. Philadelphia.

Bacon, Benjamin C. Statistics of the colored people of Philadelphia. Phila., 1856.
Ibid. Second Edition with statistics of crime. Phila., 1859. 2 (1), 3-24 pp., 8vo.

Blyden, Edward Wilmot. Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race. Introduction
by Samuel Lewis. London, 1887 (4), vii (1), 428 pp., 12mo.

Boston, Mass., Grammar School Committee. Report of a special committee of the
grammar school board. Abolition of the Smith colored school. Boston, 1849.
71 pp., 8vo.

Brackett, Jeffrey Richardson. The Negro in Maryland. A study of the institution
of slavery. Bait., 1889 (5), 268 pp. (Johns Hopkins University Studies, extra
vol. 6),8vo.

Buecher, Carl. Industrial Evolution, translated by S. M.Wickett. 393pp. New York,

Bradford, Sarah H. Harriet, the Moses of Her People. 171 pp. New York, 1901.

Banks, Ohas. Negro Town and Colony. Mound Bayou, Miss. 10 pp.

Brooks, Chas. H. (Grand Secretary of the Order). The Official History and Manual
of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America. A Chronological Treat
ise, etc. 274pp. Philadelphia, 1902.

Boas, Franz. Commencement Address at Atlanta University, May, 1906. Atlanta

University Leaflet No. 19, 15 pp.
Colored People s Blue Book and Business Directory of Chicago, 111. 1905.

Colored men as cotton manufacturers. J. Dowd. Gunton s Magazine, 28:254-6.

Condition of the people of color in Ohio. With interesting anecdotes. Boston, 1839.
48 pp., 12mo.

Constitution of National Association of Colored Women. Tuskegee, 7 pp., 1898.

Constitution of the National League of Colored Women of the United States. Wash
ington, 1892.

College-bred Negro, Atlanta University Publication, No. 5. 115pp., 1900.

Bibliography 7

Oatto, W. T. History of the Presbyterian Movement. Phila., 1857, 8vo. A semi-cen
tenary discourse and history of the first African Presbyterian Church, Phila
delphia, May, 1857, from its organization, including a notice of its first pastor,
John Gloucester, also appendix containing sketches of all the colored churches
in Philadelphia.

Cincinnati convention of colored freedmen of Ohio. Proceedings, Jan. 14-19, 1852.
Cincinnati, 1852, 8vo.

Clark. Negro Mason in Equity.

Cromwell, John W. The Early Negro Convention Movement. The American Negro
Academy, Occasional Papers No. 9. 23 pp., Washington, 1904.

Campbell, Sir George. White and Black in the United States. 482 pp., London, 1879.

Delaney, Martin R. Condition, elevation, emigration and destiny of the colored
people of the United States. Phila., 1852. 215 pp., 12mo.

DuBois, W. E. B. The Negro in the Black Belt: Some Social Sketches. In the Bul
letin of the Department of Labor, No. 22.
Philadelphia Negro. 520pp. Philadelphia, 1899.

Denniker, J. The Races of Man. 611 pp., New York, 1904.

Eaton, John. Grant, Lincoln and the Freedmen. 331 pp., New York, 1907.

Edwards, Bryan. History, civil and commercial, of the British Colonies in West

Indies. 3 vol. London, 1807.

The Economic Position of the American Negro. Reprinted from Papers and Pro
ceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Asso
ciation, December, 1904.

Fourth Annual Report of the Colored Woman s League. 13 pp. Washington, Janu
ary, 1897.

Freedmen s Saving Bank. Bankers Magazine. 29:936; 86:14.

Freedmen at Port Royal. E. L. Pierce. Atlantic. 12:291.

Freedmen s Saving Bank. Old and New. 2:245.

Fletcher, Frank H. Negro Exodus. 24 pp., 8vo.

Games, W. J. African Methodism in the South. Atlanta, 1890.

Gannett, Henry- Occupations of the Negroes. Balti., 1895. 16pp., 8vo.

Garnett, Henry Highland. The past and present condition and the destiny of the
colored race. - Troy, 1848. 20 pp., 8vo. Plates.

Goodwin, M. B. History of schools for the colored population in the District of
Columbia. U. S. Bureau of Education. Special Report on District of Columbia
for 1869, pp. 199-300.

Grimke, Archibald H. Right on the Scaffold. Washington, r.toi. 27 pp., 8vo.

Grimshaw, Wm. H. Official History of Free Masonry, etc. New York, 1903. 392 pp.,

Georgia State Industrial College for Negroes. L. B. Ellis. Gunton s Magazine,

Gibbs, M. W. Shadow and Light. 372 pp., Washington, 1902.
-Garner, J. W. Reconstruction in Mississippi. 422 pp. New York, 1901.

Georgia Equal Rights Convention. 16 pp. Macon, February, 1906.

Grand United Order of Odd Fellows. Journal and Proceedings of General Meeting.
48 Reports, 1843-1907.

Howard, O. O. Autobiography. 2 vol. New York, 1907.

Hayford, Casely. Gold Coast Native Institutions. 418 pp. London, 1903.
t Hampton Conference Reports, Annually, 1897-1907.

Hickok, Chas. T. The Negro in Ohio, 1802-1870. A Thesis, etc. 182 pp. Cleveland,

Hilyer, Andrew F. The Twentieth Century Union League Directory. A Compila
tion of the .Efforts of the Colored People of Washington for Social Betterment.
174 pp. Washington, 1901.

Jones, Robert. Fifty years in the Lombard Street Central Presbyterian Church.
Phi la., 1894, 170pp.

Knights of Labor and Negroes. Public Opinion. 2:1.

Love, E. K. History of the First African Baptist Church. Savannah, 1889.

McPherson, J. H. T. History of Liberia. Balti., 1891. 61 pp., 8vo.

8 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans

Moore, J. J. History of the A. M. E. Z. Church. York, Pa., 1880.

Moreau de Saint Mery. Description Topographique, Physique, Civile, Politique, et
Hlstorique, de la Partie Francaise, de L isle Saint-Dominique. Vol. 2, 790 pp.
Philadelphia,, 1798.
Mossell, N. F. Mrs. Forerunners of the Afro- American Council. Howard Magazine.

Washington April, 1900.

-Negro in Business, Atlanta University Publication, No. 4. 78 pp. 1899.
.Negro Enterprise, B. T. Washington. Outlook. 77:115-8.
Negro as he really is, W. E. B. DuBois. World s Work. 2:848-66.
Negro Exodus, 1879, F. Douglass. American Journal of Social Science. 11:1.
Negro Exodus, 1879, R. T. Greener. American Journalof Social Science. 11 :22.
Negro Exodus, 1879, J. B. Runnion. Atlantic. 44:222.
Negroes in Baltimore, J. R. Slattery. Catholic World. 66:519.
Negro Exodus, 1879, J. C. Hartzell. Methodist Quarterly Review. 39:722.
Negro as a mechanic, R. Lowry. North American Review. 156:472.
Negroes an industrial factor, C. B. Spahr. Outlook. 62:31.
Negro In Business, I. T. Montgomery. Outlook. 69:738-4.
The Negro in the cities of the North, Charities. Vol. 15, No. 1. New York, October,


The Negro Common School, Atlanta University Publication, No. 6. 120 pp.. 1901.
The Negro Artisan, Atlanta University Publication, No. 7. 200 pp., 1902.
The Negro Church, Atlanta University Publication, No. 8. 212 pp., 1903.*
The Negroes of Farmville, Va. In Bulletin of the Department of Labor, No. 14.
Negroes of Xenia, Ohio. In Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor, No. 48.
Negroes of Sandy Spring, Md. In Bulletin of the Department of Labor, No. 32.
Negroes of Litwalton, Va. In Bulletin of the Department of Labor, No. 37.
^Negro Landholder of Georgia. In Bulletin of the Department of Labor, No. 35.
National convention of Colored men and their friends. Troy, N. Y., 1847, 38 pp., 8vo.
National convention of Colored men. Syracuse, N. Y., October 4-7, 1864. Boston,

1864. 62 pp., 8vo.
National convention of Colored men of America, 1869. Proceedings, Wash., 1869. 42

pp., 8vo.

Ohio anti-slavery convention. Putnam, Ohio. Report on the condition of the peo
ple of color, etc. 1835. N. Y., 1835. 24 pp., 8vo.

Proceedings of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the
Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the North
ern States. 3 Parts, 1486 pp. Washington, 1879-1880.

Platt, O. H. Negro Governors. In Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical So
ciety. Vol. 6. New Haven, 1900.
Prospectus of the Coleman Manufacturing Co., of Concord, N. C. 17 pp. Richmond,


Proceedings of the National Negro Business League, annually, 1900- 06.
Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, issued annually or

biennially, in the following states:

Alabama. Michigan.

Arkansas. Minnesota.

California. Mississippi.

Colorado. Missouri.

Connecticut. New Jersey.

District of Columbia. New York.

Delaware. Ontario (B. C.)

Florida. Oklahoma.

Georgia. Ohio.

Illinois. Pennsylvania.

Indiana. Rhode Island.

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Kansas. Tennessee.

Kentucky. Texas.

Liberia (Africa). Virginia.

Bibliography 9

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Maryland. West Virginia.

Official Proceedings of the Biennial Session of the Supreme Lodge of Knights of

Pythias. 18 reports, 1879-15)05.
Penn, 1. G., and J. W. E. Bowen, Editors. The United Negro: His Problems and His

Progress. Containing the Addresses and Proceedings of the Negro Young Peo
ple s Christian and Educational Congress, held August 6-11, 1902. 600 pp. At
lanta, 1902.
Pierce, Edward Lillie. The Negroes at Port Royal. Report to S. B. Chase, Sec. of

Treas. Boston, 1862. 36 pp., 12mo.

Ratzel, F. History of Mankind. 3 vol. New York, 1904.
Report of the Committee of Senate upon the Relations between Labor and Capital,

and Testimony taken by the Committee. 5 vol. Washington, 1885.
Report of Major General O. O. Howard, Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen

and Abandoned Lands, etc. 30 pp. Washington, 1869,
Report of the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the condition of affairs in the

late Insurrectionary States. ^Ku Klux Conspiracy). 13vol. Washington, 1872.
Social and Physical Condition of Negroes in Cities. Atlanta University Publication,

No. 2. 89 pp., 1897.
Some Efforts of Negroes for Social Betterment. Atlanta University Publication,

No. 3. 66 pp., 1898.

Social and Industrial Condition of the Negro in Massachusetts. 319 pp. Boston, 1904.
Siebert, Wm. H. Underground Railroad. 478 pp. New York, 1898.
Still, William. Underground Railroad Records. Hartford, Conn., 1886.
Schneider, Wilhelm. Die Culturfsehigkeit des Negers. 220 pp. Frankfurt, a. M.,

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Smedley, R. O. The Underground Railroad. Phila., 1883.
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Columbia, 1883. 6 pp., 8vo.
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districts of Philadelphia, 1849. 44 pp., 8vo.

Tuskegee cotton planters in Africa, J. N. Oalloway. Outlook. 70:772-6.
Tobin, Father. A Model Catholic Community of Colored People.
Upton, Wm. H. Negro Masonry. 264 pp. Cambridge, Mass., 1902.
Vass, S. N. The Progress of the Negro Race. 31 pp. Raleigh, 1906.
Village improvement among the Negroes, R. L. Smith. Outlook. 64:733-6.
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Citizens of the World, etc. 66 pp. Boston. Mass., 1829.
Williams, George W. History of the Negro Race in America. 2 vol. in one, 481 pp.,

611 pp. New York and London, 1882.

Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans

Part 1. The Background
Section 1 . The Scope of this Study

In 1898 the Atlanta Conference made a limited study entitled "Some
Efforts of American Negroes for their Own Social Betterment." The
present study is a continuation and enlargement of this initial study
made nearly ten years ago, with certain limitations and changes. The
question set before us in the present study is: How far is there and
has there been among Negro Americans a conscious effort at mutual
aid in earning a living? In answering this question we must first con
sider just how broad an interpretation we are giving to the phrase,
"earning a living." In a highly developed economic society like that
which surrounds us here in America and in other countries under the
lead of European civilization, the phrase "earning a living" is pretty
clear, because there are large numbers of persons engaged simply or
principally in that occupation ; and all persons recognize the efforts
toward earning a living as a distinct set of efforts in their general life.
It must be remembered, however, that this situation is, to an extent,
abnormal; that neither in the undeveloped races nor in the fully devel
oped Race, when it comes, will earning a living as such, occupy the
large space that it does today in human endeavor. Among the semi-civ
ilized races the work of getting the material things necessary for life is
looked upon as incidental to a great many other larger and, in their
opinion, better things, such as hunting, resting, eating and perhaps
carousing. So, too, in an ideal community, we would expect that the
purely economic efforts to supply human beings at least with the
necessities of life would occupy a comparatively small part of the com
munity for short spaces of time.

All this is trite, but we must not forget it, as we are apt to do, when
we come to study a group like of the Negro American, which has not
reached the economic development of the surrounding nation, and
which perhaps never will surrender itself entirely to the ideals of the
surrounding group. We must not expect, for instance, to find a sepa
rately developed economic life among the Negroes except as they
became under compulsion a part of the economic life of the nation
before emancipation ; and except as they have become since the eman
cipation, a part of the great working force. So far as their own inner
economic efforts are concerned we must expect in looking over their
history to find great strivings in religious development, in political life
and in efforts at education. And so completely do these cultural
aspects of their group efforts overshadow the economic efforts that at

Scope of the Study 11

first a student is tempted to think that there has been no inner economic
co-operation, or at least that it has only come to the fore in the last two
or three decades. But this is not so. While to be sure the religious
motive was uppermost during the time of slavery, for instance, so far
as group action among the Negroes were concerned, even then it had
an economic tinge, and more so since slavery, has Negro religion had
its economic side; so, too, the political striving after the war was a
matter even more largely of economic welfare than it was of political
preferment so far as the great mass of the race was concerned. And
then and now the strife for education is, if not primarily, certainly to a
very large extent an effort at earning a living in some manner which
will satisfy the higher cravings of the rising classes of Negroes. When,
therefore, we take up under the head of economic co-operation such
institutions as the church, such movements as the Exodus of 1879 and
the matter of schools, etc., it is from the economic side that we are
studying these things, and because this economic side was really of
very great importance and significance.

Then again we are studying the conscious effort in economic lines
not, primarily, so far as individual effort is concerned, but so far as
these efforts are combined in some sort of effort for mutual aid, that is:
it is a matter of group co-operation that we have before us. Now this
brings certain difficulties because a race in the state of development in
which the Negro American is today must of necessity depend tremend
ously upon the individual leader. He is in the period of special indi
vidual development, and while the group development is going on rap
idly, yet it is the individual as yet who stands forth. Consequently
very often we must touch upon individual effort and touch upon things
which strictly speaking are not co-operative, in the narrow sense, and
yet in the present state of Negro development they have a significance
which is co-operative, because the leader has been called forth by a
group movement and not simply for his own aggrandizement. In other
words, the kind of co-operation which we are going to find among the
Negro Americans is not always democratic co-operation; very often the
group organization is aristocratic and even monarchic, and yet it is co
operation, and the autocracy holds its leadership by the vote of the
mass, and even the monarch does the same, as in the case of the small
Baptist church.

Finally a study like this must throw great light upon the develop
ment of all social classes. We are apt to say that in Economics and in

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Online LibraryW. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du BoisEconomic co-operation among Negro Americans. Report of a social study made by Atlanta University under the patronage of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. together with the proceedings of the 12th Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, on Tuesday, May t → online text (page 1 of 22)