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for the broadest human fellowship challenged and often giving way before the imperious assertions of the caste spirit.
A race closely intermixed with another superior to it in numbers, wealth, and intelligence,-a self-conscious and self-assertive race,-suffers at many points. There are abuses tolerated by law; infractions and evasions of law; semi-slavery under the name of peonage; impositions by the landlord and the creditor. There are unpunished outrages, let one typical case suffice: a negro farmer and produce dealer, respected and esteemed by all, in place of a rude shanty puts up a good building for his wares; the word goes round among the roughs, "that nigger is getting too biggity,” and his store is burned, -nobody surprised and nobody punished. Then there is the chapter of lynchings: First, the gross crime of some human brute, then a sudden passionate vengeance by the community; the custom spreads; it runs into hideous torture and public exultation in it; it extends to other crimes; it knows no geographical boundaries but spreads like an evil infection over the country—but most of its victims are of the despised race.
Against the worst outrages the best men of all sections are arrayed in condemnation and resistance. But of its own essential and final social superiority the white South brooks no question. It expects its social code to be observed by the nation's representatives. It forgets that the nation's representatives are cognizant of the general code of the civilized world,—that breeding, manners, and intelligence, constitute the gentleman. So when President Roosevelt entertains as his guest the foremost man of the negro race, easily one of the foremost half-dozen men in the country,the white South indulges in a mood which to the rest of the world can only appear as prolonged hysteria.
Before this whole wide range of the unjust treatment of the black race in America, the observer is sometimes moved to profound discouragement. “Was it all for nothing?” he asks, “have all the struggle and sacrifice, the army of heroes and martyrs, brought us to nothing better than this?” But such discouragement overlooks the background of history, and the vital undergrowth of to-day. We see the present evils, but we forget the worse evils that preceded. Turn back sixty years,-read, not Uncle Tom's Cabin if you distrust fiction, but Fanny Kemble's Life on a Georgia Plantation, or Frederick Law Olmsted's volumes of travels. Glean from the shelves of history a few such grim facts, and let imagination reconstruct the nether world of the cotton and sugar plantations, the slave market, and the calaboose; the degradation of women; the hopeless lot to which • 'peared like there warn't no to-morrow”,—and see how far our world has moved into the light since those days. A race is not developed in an hour or a decade or a generation.
In the present are facts of solid reassurance, in that the best spirit of the South is facing the besetting ills, is combating them, and being thus aroused must eventually master and expel the evil spirit. The South has a burden to carry which the North does not easily realize. There the negro is not a remote problem of philanthropy; he is not represented by a few stray individuals; it is a great mass, everywhere present, in its surface manifestations often futile, childish, exasperating; shading off into sodden degradation; as a whole, a century or several centuries behind its white neighbors. To get on with it peaceably, to rightly apportion with it the opportunities and the burdens of the community, to keep the common movement directed upward,—this demands measureless patience, forbearance, wisdom, and persistence. Against the more flagrant abuses,
the leaders of Southern society are making strong head. Governor Vardaman of Mississippi, though a reactionary as to negro education, has struck terror to the hearts of the lynchers. The attitude of the official class in certain peonage cases is thus described by Carl Schurz: “These crimes were disclosed by Southern officers of the law, the indictments were found by Southern grand juries, verdicts of guilty were pronounced by Southern petty juries, and sentence was passed by a Southern judge in language the dignity and moral feeling of which could hardly have been more elevated." As to disfranchisement on grounds of race, representative Southerners are anxious to demonstrate that the only real disqualification is for ignorance and unfitness; and we must look to them to give practical effect to their professions, which can be done if the existing statutes are applied in a spirit of justice. It is especially as to education that the better sentiment and purpose of the South is apparent. The heavy cost of maintaining public schools for the blacks has been steadily met. It is estimated by the United States Commission of Education that for this purpose since the beginning $132,000,000 has been spent. The reactionaries in education, like Governor Vardaman, seem to be overborne by the progressives like Governor Aycock of North Carolina. There is a notable growth of the higher order of industrial schools, mainly as yet by private support, but with a general outreaching of educational leaders toward more practical and efficient training for the common body at the common expense. In the general discussion of race matters, in periodicals and books, the old passionate advocacy is in a degree giving place to broader and saner views. Such writers are coming to the front as John S. Wise, with his frank criticism of the political Bourbons and his forward look; and Edgar Gardner Murphy, whose book The Present South is full of the modern spirit. There
are others, especially among educators, not less pronounced and serviceable in the forward movement. It is in these quarters, and not among politicians or party newspapers, that we must look for the brightening day.
But it is to be recognized that a right solution of the South's difficulties will not be reached without a sharp and prolonged antagonism between the good and the evil tendencies. Mr. Schurz states the case none too strongly: “Here is the crucial point: There will be a movement either in the direction of reducing the negroes to a permanent condition of serfdom—the condition of the mere plantation hand, alongside of the mule, practically without any rights of citizenship—or a movement in the direction of recognizing him as a citizen in the true sense of the term. One or the other will prevail.” And he adds, “No doubt the most essential work will have to be done in and by the South itself. And it can be.”
When President Hayes withdrew the Federal troops from the South, it marked the formal restoration of that local self-government which is a vital principle of the American Union. Of slower, deeper growth, has been the spirit of mutual good-will and confidence, with the free concession to each member of its individual life. Numberless delicate cords have been reuniting the severed sections. Railways, commerce, literature, the tides of business and pleasure travel, the pressure of common problems, the glory of common achievements, the comradeship of the blue and the gray on Cuban battlefields, the expositions of industry, the throb of human feeling as the telegraph tells its daily story of heroism or tragedy-all have done their part. It is by their nobler interests that the sections are most closely united. Beyond the squabbles of politicians is the power of such conferences as those of the Southern Education Commission, where meet the best brains and consciences, the
gifts of the liberal, the plans of the wise, and the energy of the stout-hearted.
The education of a slave into a man, the harmonizing of two races, the common achievement of a great national life, -it is a long work, but it moves on.
"Say not, The struggle naught availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain,
And as things have been they remain.
“For while the tired waves vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not through eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
But westward, look, the land is bright!”