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 11 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 11 of 22)
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Central Texas Academy
Houston Academy
Hearne Academy
Pine Valley Institute


Pine Valley.

West Virginia

Virginia Seminary and College
Union Industrial Academy
Keysville Industrial Institute
Halifax Institute
Spiller Academy

Bluefield Institute
West Virginia Institute Farm

Port Conway.

Kanawha county.


Hope Institute. ".
Rick s Institute
Jordan s Industrial School
Miss De Laney s School
Queenstown Institute . .

Lagos, W. Africa.
Cape Mount.
Blantyre,W. C. A.
South Africa.

Total number of schools.

107 | Valuation of property

$ (500,000


Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans

The income, valuation and enrollment of the Negro Baptist schools
areas follows; these schools, except the ones starred, are supported
almost entirely by Negroes; the full names are given in the preceding

in all de



Alabama Baptist


" 83 "

$ 00,000

$ 16,000 77
"l ,250 OO

Baptist N. and I



1,400 00
3,700 00

Baptist Institute
Baton Rouge



3,725 00

Bertie Academy



620 00
2,850 25




950 00





2,150 00

2,500 00

Cen. C. College
Cen M. (College




4,000 00
2,500 00

Oen. T. Academy
Cen Louisiana




2,500 00
1,085 00




1,000 00




750 00
2,150 00




900 00

Florida Baptist



21,000 00
1,000 00
2,700 00

Houston Academy
Howe B. B
Inst. C




10 500

10,000 00
500 00
3,900 00
8,360 00
1,900 00







3,050 00
4,000 00
1,200 00
1,600 00
2,975 00

Nelson Merry
New Home
New Berne



"8,800 66
890 00

"2,065 66

Pine Valley



1,400 00
1,975 00
1,350 00

"966 23




1,600 00

S E Baptist



"727" 25
1,744 00

S. Illinois P
*State University


30, 606

750 00

Thirteenth District
Union Ind
Virginia Seminary




1,500 00
1,700 00

"i,iio 6o

16,000 00

Walker Baptist
\Vestern College




"5,666 66




1,150 00

Total . . .


8 787.377

$ 148,883 50

The above schools and others supported partially by Negro Baptists
reported in 1906:

Schools 85

Teachers, males 249

Teachers, females 364

Total 613

Total students 16,664

"Reports from the field indicate progress. The educational work, especially
in Louisiana, is taking on new life. Baton Rouge College, Coleman Academy
and a half dozen others in that state, are doing most excellent work, and the
people give them a support unprecedented. The colored people of North Caro
lina and South Carolina, each, gave some time ago $6,000 to educational work
the former for the erection of an industrial hall at Shaw University, Raleigh,
and the latter for Convention Hall, Benedict College, Columbia. Kentucky,
Alabama and Georgia are now making great efforts to raise several thousand
dollars to secure equal amounts from the Mission Society of New York for
building purposes. The Florida Baptist Academy, Jacksonville, has just com
pleted a boys dormitory at a cost of $4,000. With the exception of $1,500, the
colored Baptists of the state raised it. The enrollment for the year shows an
increase of students.

"The American Baptist Home Mission Society has done systematic educa
tional and mission work among colored Baptists of the South for more than
forty years. The society also aids a few of the schools owned by Negro Bap

"All together, the society aids in the support of forty-four missionaries and
244 teachers. The missionaries are distributed in fifteen states and territories,"

(b) Aid to Private Schools.

There are numbers of private schools established by churches and
benevolent societies for Negroes. A special canvass was made of these
late in 1907 to see how far Negroes supported them.

The United States Bureau of Education in its report for 1905 lists 161
private schools for Negroes in the United States. Of these 74 of the
largest and most important have given us figures showing:

(a) The total cost of maintaining the institution for the last nine
years (1898-91906-7), including (except where noted) the cost of the
boarding department, and not including new buildings.

(b) The total cash payments made to the institutions, including pay
ments for board, where the boarding department was conducted by
the institution, but not including payments for books, clothes, travel,

(c) The cash value of students work, as estimated by the institution.
This must be, of course, a very indefinite figure, but as nearly all the
janitor work of these schools is done by students, and also some pro
ductive industries are carried on, some account must be made.

According to these reports the total cost of these 74 schools has been,
so far as reported, $11,537,099 for nine years; missing figures would
bring this total up to $11,610,000. Of this Negroes have paid in cash
$3,358,667, or 28.9 per cent, and in cash and work $5,187,269, which is 44.6
per cent of the total cost.

The figures by institutions follow:

Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans


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S ]

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5 21


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fiq ui

88 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans

From this it is clear that primary and grammar schools for Negroes
are being supported very largely by Negroes themselves nearly
all the institutions whose students pay 50 per cent or more of the cost
in cash being really schools of this character. The schools for higher
training collect a smaller proportion of cash from their students, and
the industrial schools the smallest proportion. But the latter schools
receive a very large payment in work from students.

Beside these schools there are several hundreds of private and unre
corded primary schools conducted each year by Negroes in different
localities, and a fairly widespread system of supplementing the public
school funds. No data of these schools are available, but the following
instance in Virginia is instructive:

A statistical side-light with respect to eleven of these (Virginia) counties is
that Mr. T. C. Walker personally supervised the collection of $1,685 from the
people, by which 77 schools had their terms prolonged from one to two months,
and permanent improvements were made to the amount of $400. Similar in
character was the work of Mr. Fitch, who led the people in twelve school dis
tricts to raise the sum of $398, by which their school terms were lengthened.*

The visitor of the General Educational Board makes this report:
In the rural districts it is the Negro who must lengthen the term and pro
vide better houses. Often it is necessary for him to build the house, while the
school authorities pay for the teacher. Sometimes rent is received from these
buildings, but more often, particularly in the far South, none is received.
Accomac county, in Virginia, for instance, owns scarcely one-third of the
school houses in use in the county. At convenient points throughout the
county, however, Negroes have purchased land and erected in most cases a
church, a hall for secret society purposes, and a school house. In some places
the hall serves as a school house. So closely are these schools and churches
associated that nearly every school is known by the name of the church near
it. First Baptist, Ebenezer, etc., are the names commonly applied to the
schools. The property is usually owned by the entire Negro community. This
condition is common in the South. Such a contribution to Negro education is
so closely associated with public education that it frequently escapes notice.

The way most in vogue at present for supplementing public education in
the South, among whites especially, is through local taxation, together with
the consolidation of schools. North Carolina is doubtless in the front in this
educational revival in the South. Here they have built, on an average, a
school house a day for the last two years. This movement, however, has
affected the Negro but little as the Superintendent of Public Instruction in
formed me. The Negro is hardly in a position now to benefit by political
methods. He is not consulted nor always included, in communities even
where local taxation is adopted by the whites. He does not, of course, under
such circumstances pay the local tax. He generally uses another method for
raising money in the interest of his schools. Here, as in many other phases
of Negro life, the church is the agency employed. Through religious denomi
nations the Negro is doing most toward supplementing his elementary public
education. This sometimes results in undue multiplicity of schools, but there
are not wanting instances where communities, regardless of the various relig
ious faiths, unite in the support of a single school

* Hampton Negro Conference, No. 8, p. 33.

Schools 89

The Baptist associations of Northern Georgia, and the churches and indi
viduals of half a dozen counties made Jeruel Academy a possibility. They
have given it property valued at $6,000, and of the running expenses for 1902
and 1903, amounting to $3,565, Negroes paid $3,189.19. The only outside aid,
amounting to $500, comes from the Home Mission Society.

The Americus Institute, situated in the very heart of the black belt of Geor
gia, represents even better the possibilities of the Negroes along the line of
self-help. In its present organization this school is only seven years old.
Prior to that, however, an effort had been made to establish a school there, but
owing to the dishonesty of a white man employed as agent the people sus
tained a loss of $1,000 in cash and eleven acres of land, besides another loss of
$275 stolen by a dishonest clerk of the association. Nevertheless, in seven
years Mr. M. W. Reddick, the principal, has built up a school with property
worth $7,000. This has practically all come through the small contributions
of the Negroes themselves. He collects from the neighborhood, through
various Baptist oganizations, churches and individuals, about $1,000 yearly.
Mr. Reddick and his teachers go out to the various churches to collect the
monthly contributions. Thus the school and the idea of education are kept in
the minds of the people, who are being educated to habits of giving and to a
feeling of ownership and pride in their local institutions

Alabama also furnishes excellent examples of this community spirit in edu
cation. The Mt. Meigs Institute, of which Miss Cornelia Bowen is principal,
has acquired property valued at $7,000. This has come largely from the earn
ings of the Negroes thereabouts. One building was erected by the colored
people themselves at a cost of $2,000, and for two years they supported the
school entirely, paying $1,000 and $1,200 a year, respectively. Though this is a
poor community, they still pay $700 a year tuition. Within five miles of this
institution is another bearing the suggestive title, "The People s Village
School." Miss Georgia Washington, who received her training at Hampton,
is the principal. Here the whole community is organized for educational
purposes and for the economic and religious ends as well. For instance, they
not only conduct the school, but build churches, act as a land company, holding
320 acres of land for sale, and are buying and operating a cotton-gin. The
school is really the center and inspiration of the whole movement. As a result
of it, good homes are being established and land has been acquired. The
school has property valued at $4,000, which consists of four buildings and 27 H
acres of land. It is owned and controlled by a board of trustees, all of whom are
local colored men excepting two whites. Each family sending children are
required to pay $4.37 yearly regardless of the number of children. In this way
$500 has been collected this year. Thus this poor community of Alabama Ne
gro farmers and laborers is making possible a schooling for their children
such as a pretentious town might envy ; for, in addition to sound elementary
literary training, these pupils are taught sewing, cooking, general housework,

and theoretical and practical agriculture

With this group should be mentioned Alabama Baptist University, con
trolled by Negroes, who raise annually $10,925 out of the $12,905 needed, and

which has property valued at $40,000, largely acquired by Negroes

The Negroes of Montgomery, Ala., paid $6,000 for the land on which the
State Normal School in that city stands, and presented it unconditionally to
the State Board of Education. They reserved only one acre, which, however,
the school is allowed to use. The Negroes of that city also pay annually to
this school in tuition $1,000 which is used to employ teachers for the primary
work, thus supplementing the school facilities of the city. Two of the school

90 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans

houses used by Montgomery for colored schools are also the property of

In the public schools in Selma which, by the way, is one of the best as regards
both building and work which I have seen south of the Potomac, the pupils
pay one dollar a year as a contingent fund for incidentals, furnish all mate
rials for the work in both literary and manual training, and provide shades
and curtains for the windows, piano and organ, pictures for the building, and
books for the library. Florida and other Southern states furnish examples
similar to these

To overcome these poor conditions, and to provide reasonably ample oppor
tunities for effective training, the Negroes are working in several different
directions. They are not only supplementing the public funds and length
ening the school term, but are establishing private schools and consolidating
with the public schools nearby; they are building independent private
schools; and they are supporting in larger measure the great schools estab
lished by Northern philanthropy. One of the most conspicuous cases of con
solidating with the public school is furnished by the Keyesville Industrial
School in Charlotte county. This is an industrial school, founded in 1898 and
supported almost entirely by Negroes, through the Baptist organizations of
that neighborhood. They have a plant, including 100 acres of land, worth
$2,>00. They have domitory accommodations for 30 boarding students and a daily
attendance of 185 pupils. The curriculum includes such instruction as will fit a
pupil to enter Virginia Union University, with which school it is affiliated, and
such manual and industrial training as will fit them for useful lives and for
trade schools like Hampton. This school succeeded in having the pubic school
and the public funds placed in its hands. It gets only the $175 formerly given
by the county to the public school, but it gives the children a term of seven
instead of five months, and it pays two well-trained teachers of its own ap
pointing $20 each and board per month instead of $15 and $20, respectively,
without board, as was the case formerly. The children are better housed and
better taught and maintain higher attendance than was known before, to say
nothing of having the benefit of effective manual training. This is made pos
sible by the contributions of Negroes to this school. It is a positive effort on
the part of the Negroes thereabout (70,000 within a radius of 75 miles) to im
prove their educational facilities. Through the Baptist Associations, Sunday
school contributions, churches, tuition and board from pupils, this community
pays into the school nearly $2,000 yearly. The only support of any magnitude
received from outside is $200 annually from the Baptist Home Mission Society.
Keyesville Institute is but one of a group of half a dozen schools of its kind
scattered around in the counties of Virginia.

The Halifax Institute at Houston, in a neighboring county, is another
school conducted in about the same fashion as the one at Keyesville, though
it is not so large or successful. The community is not yet so well organized
for educational work, but the school is now in competent hands and will suc
ceed. Here, too, the county nearby has been consolidated with the private
school and gains thereby several months in length. The Negroes raise $470
annually for the support of this work.

The Pittsylvania Institute, in Pittsylvania county, another of these Baptist
schools, furnishes one of the best illustrations of what a well organized, earnest
community may do towards improving the schools. The county schools there
about were, as usual, poor. The nearest boarding school is at Lynchburg,
thirty miles away. The people, small farmers owning from ten to 200 acres,
decided to have a school. These chose a board of trustees and last year, 1903,

Schools 91

founded their school; they acquired 2> acres of land for $1 50 and erected a
building for $1,000. This is two and a half stories high and contains three
class rooms and eight bed rooms. The financial statement for 1903-4 reads as
follows :


From Associations $ 456.62

From tuition 447.12

From board 903.00

Total $ 1,806.74


Salaries $ 390.00

Fuel 46.78

Paid on building 800.00

Board 903.00

Tola] $ 2,139.78

This leaves a debt of $333.04 on the building. So certain are they that this
will be paid that they are planning another $1,000 building, to be ready for use
in October. These people have not asked for a cent outside of their own
neighborhood. They say they prefer to see what they can do before asking
for aid. I met the principal, a well educated Christian gentleman, in Danville,
Va., and heard of this school for the first time. It has a preparatory course of
three years, a normal course of three more, and an academic course of three
years for those wishing to enter college. This first year they enrolled ninety-
four pupils. They have not absorbed the public school for there is none
within two miles.*

(c) Aid to Public Schools.

As to Negro support of public schools we can best repeat the conclu
sions of the Atlanta University Conference of 1901:

In nearly all of the states there are a few town and city systems which are
often not included in the State school report, where the cost of Negro schools
is more nearly equal to that of the whites and where, consequently, the Ne
groes contribute proportionately less. Since, however, over 70 per cent of the
Negroes live in the country, this affects comparatively few. With this excep
tion, then, it can be said that apparently Negroes contributed to their schools
as follows for 1899 :

Total cost $ 4,675,504100 per cent.

Paid by Negroes, direct taxes 1,336,21*1

Paid by Negroes, indirect taxes 2,426,226

Estimated total $ 3,762,61779.4 " "

Paid by white taxes 912,88720.6 " "

In the past the Negroes have undoubtedly contributed a considerably larger
proportion than this. For instance, in Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky,
they contributed more than the total cost of their schools for several years. In
all the other states the tendency has been to use first indirect taxation for
schools and then to add direct taxation until today a large proportion of the
taxes are direct. Now the indirect taxation fell more largely on the Negroes
than the direct, since they are renters and consumers rather than landowners.
If Georgia be taken as a typical state in this respect, then the conclusion of
the Conference, held last May, is true, viz : That in the years 1870 to 1899 the
Negro school systems of the former slave states have not cost the white tax
payers a cent, except possibly in a few city systems :

Cost of Negro schools, 1870-1899. . . $69,11(58,671.48

Estimated total direct school taxes paid by Negroes, 1870-1899.$ 25,000,000.00
Indirect taxes and pro rata share of endowments. . . . 45,000,000.00

Approximate total, 1870-1899 $ 70,000,000.00

* Report of Hampton Conference, No. 8, pp. 67, 68-70-76.

92 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans

This statement when first made was received with some incredulity and
criticism, and probably will be now. This is simply because of the careless
statement that schools have been "given" the Negro without effort, which
has been so often reiterated.*

Section 11. Beneficial and Insurance Societies

No complete account of Negro beneficial societies is possible, so large
is their number and so wide their ramification. Nor can any hard and
fast line between them and industrial insurance societies be drawn
save in membership and extent of business. These societies are also
difficult to separate from secret societies ; many have more or less ritual
work, and the regular secret societies do much fraternal insurance busi

An account of the secret and beneficial societies in several towns of
various sizes and in different localities will give some idea of the dis
tribution of these organizations :

Xenia, Ohio, (2,000 Negroes)

The church does not, however, occupy the social life of the Negroes as com
pletely as formerly, or as is now the case in some Southern towns. The home
is fast becoming among the more intelligent classes in Xenia the real social
unit. But, leaving aside the home, next to the church are the secret orders.
There are eleven Negro lodges in Xenia, namely : Wilberforce Lodge, No. 21,
of Free and Accepted Masons, having 48 members; Lincoln Chapter, No. 2, of
Royal Arch Masons, having 18 members ; Xenia Commandery, No. 8, of Knights
Templars, having 20 members; Damon Lodge, No. 29, of Knights of Pythias,
having 70 members ; Toussaint Lodge of G. U. Order of Odd Fellows ; Daniel s
Post of Grand Army of the Republic ; Daniel s Corps, No. 228, of Women s Re
lief Corps; Eastern Star Lodge, No. 2; Bell of Ohio D. T. Tabernacle, No. 511;
Mount Olive Lodge, No. 25, of Good Samaritans, and a lodge of Knights of
Tabor, t

Baltimore, Md., (1890 67,000 Negroes)

There is probably no city in the land where there are as many societies
among the colored people as in Baltimore, and several of the large societies
which have spread far and wide, north and south, had their origin here.
Nearly all of the societies are beneficial, but they may be divided in general
into two classes, those beneficial merely and those with secret features. In
order to help one another in sickness and provide for decent burial, through a
system of small but regular payments, beneficial societies were formed among
little groups of acquaintances or fellow laborers. In Baltimore they date back
to 1820, and were afterwards specially exempted from the state laws forbidding
meetings of colored people. Twenty-five, at least, had been formed before the
war ; from 1865 to 1870, seventeen or more were formed ; since 1870, twenty or
more have been added, several as late as 1884 and 1885. The number of mem
bers vary from a dozen to over 100.

In 1884 was held a meeting of many connected with these societies to arouse
a more general interest in the work, and very interesting reports were pre
sented. Forty of them gave an aggregate membership of over 2,100. Nearly

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 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 11 of 22)