Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/816

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plied the sturdy old doctor, "I don't see the necessity." Now, it is a cold fact in political economy that the killing off of one third of the black population at the South would probably prove a benefit to civilization. It would work like the thinning out of a forest jungle, leaving room for the sun and air to reach the survivors; but the law has not yet authorized this process of scientific weeding out of the unfittest. The question is not, Shall the negro poor live? but How shall they live? Pauperism does not stop procreation. The next generation will be called upon to solve our problem several times multiplied.

Pauperism not only breeds paupers: it kills thrift. Nothing is so extravagant as poverty. It is a universally acknowledged fact among shopkeepers at the South that the black customers are the best customers. None care so little what price is put upon an article, none inquire so little into intrinsic values, and none are so heedless of the adaptation of the purchase to the needs. Some wit has observed, on the difference between men and women as shoppers, that men will pay two dollars for a one-dollar article which they want, whereas women will pay one dollar for a two-dollar article which they don't want. The negro combines the weakness of both. Every traveler in the South smiles over the new buggy standing beside the shanty which owns neither stable nor horse; the gorgeous plush album, guiltless of pictures, but treasured in tissue paper by the poor woman who can scarcely make the rags meet across her breast. There is a humorous side to it, but there is a pathetic side, too, in that unquenchable thirst for beauty which is part of the Oriental nature. The negro really feels what the rest of us say in jest, "Give us the luxuries of life, and we'll do without the necessaries." Lazy, improvident, unpractical, the black man as a worker is brought into competition not only with the Southern whites, but with the Yankees—those Phœnicians of the "Western world who drive bargains as naturally as the negro drives a mule, who haggle over the price of a postage-stamp, who rise early and go to bed late out of breath from the pursuit of the nimble sixpence. The negro is a Rip Van Winkle who has suddenly waked into a dizzy world of prosperity and progress. He can not hope at present to compete for the prizes, but is he therefore to be counted out as a factor in the world's work? "Not so," says General Armstrong, and as a proof of it he points to the achievements of Hampton.

That school which first rose on his vision that summer night on the Mexican Gulf, now stretches its substantial arms of stone and brick and iron to the water's edge. Its smoking chimneys, its ringing forges, its whirr of wheels, all bespeak the busy life within. In each one of the forty buildings connected with the school some form of education is being carried on. At one angle