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South is doing its full share. In its histories, the note of provincialism still lingers,—inevitably, and not blamably. The Southern essayist or historian naturally gravitates to the past of his own section,-and naturally he seeks to vindicate his comrades or his ancestors, and to interpret the past from their standpoint. But, compared with the provincialism of the South of 1860, he is a cosmopolitan.
The new South is doing perhaps its best work in education. Its leaders are both raising and widening their standards,—they are reaching out toward modern and progressive ways, while they are trying to amplify their systems so as to include the whole youthful population. Their intelligence and enthusiasm are seen alike in the ancient universities like that of Virginia, in the younger colleges such as Roanoke and Berea, and in the leaders of the public schools. intelligence, enthusiasm, devotion,—all are needed, and all will be tasked to the utmost. For the education of the people's children, everywhere the most pressing of common concerns, and the most perplexing in the transition from old to new ideas and methods—bea's with especial weight and importunity upon the South. Its thinly-spread population, its still limited resources of finance, the presence of the two races with their separate and common needs,all set a gigantic task to the South, and one that calls for sympathy and aid from the nation at large.
EBB AND FLOW
Thus, in broadest outline, have the two races at the South been faring on their way. And now in recent years, under their separate development and with their close intermingling, have come new complications and difficulties. The tendency has been in some ways to a wider separation. The old relations between the household servants and their employers, often most kindly, and long continuing to link the two races at numberless points, have passed away with the old generation. Once the inmates of mansion and cabin knew well each other's ways. Now they are almost unacquainted. The aristocracy and its dependents had their mutual relations of protection and loyalty, and gracious and helpful they often were. Now comes democracy,—vigorous, jostling, self-assertive,—its true social ideal of brotherly comradeship being yet far from realization. The negro is in a doubly hard position; under democratic competition the weaker is thrust to the wall, yet he has not even the equality which democracy asserts, but is held in the lower place by caste. And so there is a new or a newly apparent aggression upon the weaker race.
Its most obvious form is the legal limitation of suffrage. The irregular and indirect suppression of the negro vote which had prevailed since the close of the Reconstruction period, was not thorough and sure enough to satisfy the white politicians. And the lawless habit which it fostered, and whose effects could by no means be confined to one race, alarmed the better classes. So from two directions
there was a pressure toward some restriction of the negro vote which should be both legal and effective. The movement became active about the year 1895, and accomplished its end in the States of Virginia, the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, by constitutional amendments. The qualifications thus prescribed are so various and so variously combined that a full statement here is forbidden by limits of space, but their general characteristics are these: The requirement (in Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana) of $300 worth of property; the payment of a poll tax (in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana); the ability to read and write (in North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana); the ability, if not to read, to understand and explain any section of the Constitution (in Virginia, Mississippi); regular employment in some lawful occupation, good character, and an understanding of the citizen's duties and obligations (Alabama).1
These restrictions apply in theory alike to both races. But exemption from them is allowed, and the suffrage is given, to certain classes: To all who served in the Civil War (Virginia, Alabama); to all who were entitled to vote on January 1, 1867, also to the sons (or descendants) of these two classes (Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana).
In these States, if these requirements are impartially enforced, the effect is to impose on the negroes a moderate property or intelligence qualification, or the two combined; and to give practically universal suffrage to the whites. This
1 In Maryland, an amendment prescribing a series of elaborate and vexing inquiries, investing the registration officers with judicial powers, and avowedly aiming at the elimination of the negro vote, was passed by the Legislature, at the instigation of Senator Gorman and against the opposition of a Democratic governor, and decisively rejected by the popular vote in November, 1905.
last feature, while essentially unfair, is a practical grievance to the negroes so long and only so long as the two races stand as directly opposed forces in politics. Otherwise it is questionable whether the class who are called on to earn the suffrage by intelligence or productive industry are not really as well off as the class to whom it is given regardless of merit.
But in its practical operation the system is so elasticand unquestionably was so designed—that it can be easily applied for the exclusion of a great part of those who nominally are admitted to the suffrage. The “character” and
understanding " tests leave virtually full power with the registration officers. There can be no reasonable doubt that in these six States the suffrage is virtually denied to negroes to an extent utterly beyond any fair construction of the law. Mr. Charles W. Chestnutt, in his paper on Disfranchisement, cites the case of Alabama, where the census of 1900 gave the negro males of voting age as 181,471, while in 1903 less than 3000 were registered as voters. And even in States like Georgia, where suffrage is by law universal, ways of practical nullification are often applied, as for example by exclusion from the nominating primaries, in which the results are principally determined.
Without the need of legal forms, there is a practically universal exclusion of all negroes from public offices, filled by local election or appointment, throughout most of the South. Their appointment to Federal offices in that region, though very rare, is always made the occasion of vehement protest.
The theory generally avowed among Southern whites, that the two races must be carefully kept separate, is apt to mean in practice that the black man must everywhere take the lower place. At various points that disposition encounters the natural and cultivated sentiments of justice,
benevolence, and the common good, and now one and now the other prevails. Thus, there have been efforts to restrict the common school education of the blacks. It has been proposed, and by prominent politicians, to spend for this purpose only the amount raised by taxation of the blacks themselves. There has appeared a disposition to confine their education to the rudimentary branches and to a narrow type of industrialism. Strong opposition has developed to the opening either by public or private aid of what is known as “liberal education" in the college or university sense. A flagrant instance of injustice is the enactment in Kentucky of a law prohibiting all co-education of the races -a law especially designed to cripple the admirable work of Berea College.
But the most serious obstacle to the black man, the country over, is the threatened narrowing of his industrial opportunities. Here has been his vantage-ground at the South, because his productive power was so great—by numbers and by his inherited and traditional skill,—that there was no choice but to employ him. At the North, where he is in so small a minority as to be unimportant, he has been crowded into an ever narrowing circle of employments. Precisely the same sentiment, though not so ingeniously formulated, which makes the white gentleman refuse to receive the black gentleman in his drawing-room, inclines the white carpenter or mason to refuse to work alongside of his negro fellow-laborer. Yet against this we have the accomplished fact, in the South, of black and white laborers actually working together, harmoniously and successfully, in most industries. We see the divided and wavering attitude of the trade-unions; some branches taking whites and blacks into the same society; others allying white societies and black societies on an equal footing; others refusing all affiliation; the earlier declarations of the national leaders