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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/465

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461
THE EDUCATION OF THE COLORED RACE

may enjoy the suffrage while the lower (the poor and illiterate) section of the white race is excluded therefrom. Thereby equal political rights are given to all. The southern states have thus through their own councils put into practise the very ideas that an unbiased writer, the great English political scientist and statesman, the Hon. James Bryce, advocated in his Romanes lecture, delivered at Oxford, June 7, 1902. By putting himself in this upper section, and not before then, can a colored man enjoy all the privileges of an American citizen. It remains that educational facilities be given him to accomplish this end. We claim that it is a primary duty of the federal government to aid the natives of its own states in becoming good citizens and that the "moral obligations" of this country must be first exercised within its own domains.

It has been shown above that the great masses of colored people live in rural districts. The Twelfth Census of the United States, Vol. V., pp. xciii, 4, 127, shows that in 1900 there were 732,362 farms operated by negroes in the south; that 150,000 southern negroes[1] owned their farms and that 28,000 more were part-owners. This shows a marked progress on the part of the negro farmer since the war.

It is clear that a good farmer increases the value of his own farm, and a good farm increases the value of the adjoining farms. Hence country property advances directly as the advance in intelligence of the agricultural laborer, and the advance in the intelligence of this laborer is made directly through the education of his children. Thus education makes labor more effective and thereby enhances the value of all farming lands. Viewed from its moral aspect, statistics have already been collected sufficient to show that the literate negroes are the least criminal.[2] It is practically axiomatic that among people closely identified the betterment of one race must also uplift the other, while the deterioration of the one must retard the progress of the other; and that either condition has a direct effect upon the nation at large. The danger of any commonwealth lies not in the education of any one class, but rather in the degeneracy of that class through lack of education; and the peril of the south is not in the rise and progress of the negro, but in his total downfall.[3]

  1. Booker T. Washington (Tradesman, Chattanooga, January 1, 1904, p. 99) claims almost double this number.
  2. Cf., for example, Clarence A. Poe, of Raleigh, N. C., in The Atlantic Monthly, February, 1904.
  3. It is easy to show the fallacy of an apprehension entertained by some people that the entire population of this country will eventually be "negroid." For suppose, as an extreme case, that five per cent, of the colored population were mulattoes (one half black, one half white); i. e., 19 blacks to one mulatto. (The true percentage is much smaller than the one assumed, which makes the hypothesis much in favor of the negroid proposition.) These mulattoes having