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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/162

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

observer can not fail to remark their keen delight in music. Statistics on this, as on other facts, are lacking; hut from what I have been able to learn, it appears probable that a far greater proportion of the blacks are sensitive to musical effects than is the case with the white people. I have indeed never been able to find a black man who was so far lacking in this sensibility that he did not enjoy the songs of his people. It is not unlikely that close inquiry would show this to be a remarkable feature in this unexplored race. As yet little effort has been made to determine the true measure of this capacity of the negro for music. It may be that they can not attain to the higher levels of the art; yet it is perfectly evident that their voices are exceptionally good, and that they have a keen native sense of time and tune. The most effective dance music I have ever heard has been made by negroes who could not read a note. When we consider how large a place music has in our life, it is a fair suggestion that this quality of the black nature might well be made the subject of experiment.

Those who look closely at the conditions of the negroes of the South are led to the belief that the existing separation in sympathy of the races is not likely long to continue. The greater number of the negroes instinctively crave a protective relation with the whites. It is the ancient disposition of the weak man to lean upon the strong which has in all ages and lands determined the relations of folk. At present the two peoples are held apart by the memories of slavery, rather than by any real personal dislike—the race prejudice which so commonly separates the Northern white from the negro. As this temporary barrier wears down, we may hope to find a new form of association arising—one in which the negroes will seek and find their friends among the trusted men of the superior race. I have seen marks of this new relation here and there, not many nor very clear, but fairly indicative of what may come about, provided the political excitement is allowed to subside and the people of the South, black and white, make their adjustments according to their motives and capacities, with no reference to the Federal power.

At first sight it will appear to most of the Northern people overmuch to ask that the powers at Washington give up all efforts to deal with the needs of the negro folk—the so-called wards of the nation. Yet experience has shown the impracticability of the project of helping these negroes with the long arm of the Federal law. All that has been undertaken in this way has been fruitless or worse. The only chance for lifting the black man to the full status of the citizen is by leaving his future essentially in the hands of the masterful folk who alone can help him. We see that the ruling class in the South have a measure of interest in the status of the negro and an opportunity to benefit his state that can never belong to the people of the North.