Puslapio vaizdai

impossible to assess the issues at East ington police department. These reSt. Louis by a merely local study. It cords, it is asserted, show that the was part and parcel of our distinctly alleged "crime wave”, in that city comnational negro problem, of the settling prised four assaults upon women on of which we have never made even a June twenty-fifth, twenty-eighth and pretense. Then as always we did our thirtieth, and on July eighteenth. best to hush the hubbub for

ne mo

Three of these four crimes were probment, straightway proceeding to bury ably committed by one person, who was our heads in the sand and to main- already under arrest when the clash tain an out-of-sight-out-of-mind atti- came. In addition to these assaults, tude toward the problem until the red three similar offenses were committed orgies of Washington and Chicago in contiguous Maryland on July fifth, again brought us to attention.

twenty-first, and twenty-second by a Now less than ever can we treat mulatto. these race riots as local issues. They The Chicago situation aptly illusare interknit with the whole complex trates the course a race riot takes. The of post-war passions, prejudices, as- situation was packed with inflammable pirations and tendencies. The occasions material. An incident provided the for race riots are superficial and easily torch. A bathing-beach was the Saradetermined; the causes of race riots lie jevo of the conflict. Certain parts of deeper. It is these less obvious causes the shore were by tacit understanding, that must be determined and dealt with not by segragation ordinance, for the if we are to do more than bridge over use of negroes. On the Sunday afterrecurrent crises. It is suicidal fool's- noon of July twenty-seventh a negro play merely to drive the passions of a youth aboard a raft floated across the situation underground, there to gather custom-created line that separated the fresh strength for an even more serious colored from the white sections of the outbreak later. Here is a point at beach. Crowds of blacks were on one which we must refuse to fall victim to side of the line, crowds of whites on the our fatal facility for opportunism. other. With an accurately aimed rock Here is a clear test case of American a white man knocked the negro youth ability to take the long view, and from the raft. Negroes who attempted wrestle with the fundamentals of a to rescue the negro youth were prenational issue.

vented by white interference. The The daily and weekly press have negro youth was drowned. This white made unnecessary more than a brief interference with his attempted rescue reminder of the details of the recent precipitated the riot. Reliable inriots. Washington and Chicago at the formation indicates that a white patrolmoment of my writing are the most man, later suspended by the chief of dramatic points in the situation, but police, refused negro requests for the they are only part of a general situa- arrest of the negro youth's assailant. tion that has been for months growing The assailant was, however, captured tenser. Birmingham and Memphis by negroes, and other officers arrested trembled upon the verge of a race him. He was charged with murder, clash earlier in the year. Connecticut, and released under fifty-thousand dolGeorgia, Texas, Mississippi, South lar bail. The first blood drawn was Carolina, and Pennsylvania have had to that of a negro who was shot by a negro reckon with tense local situations. officer for having fired at a white The attempt on the part of many news- officer. The rioting spread from the papers to explain these outbreaks solely “black belt” into the four smaller negro on the basis of a colored "crime wave" colonies, blood being shed even in the is of course dismissed by all students of crowded loop district.

The negroes the situation either as superficial analys quite generally assert that the white sis or as deliberate distortion of facts. policemen as a body did their duty Several weekly periodicals have justly against serious odds. corrected these hasty conclusions by The details of the week of rioting are reference to the records of the Wash- the usual details and are not vital to


this study. It is the details of the the city. There are four other negro situation back of the week of rioting colonies in the city, but three of them that is vital. It is the soil out of which are small. That this doubling of the race riots grow that needs analysis. colored population, since it came at a Chicago is typical of the situation that time when the capital and energy of the exists in many, if not most, of our big city were unusually diverted from “welindustrial centers. I shall therefore fare work” by the demands of war and summarize the factors in the race situa- war production, resulted in serious contion generally prevailing in such cen- gestion, is not to be wondered at. In ters—factors that made possible the Chicago the main negro quarter hapChicago race riot, factors that will give pens to be at the old center of a growrise to still other riots unless decisively ing part of the city. It lies in a sort of and constructively handled.

pocket, sealed up by a thriving white

population around it that prevents the NEGRO MIGRATION NORTHWARD logical extension of the negro quarter

to meet the requirements of the expandIn the first place, the race situation ing colored population. in Northern industrial centers has been aggravated by the great influx of negro BLACK INVASION OF WHITE BLOCKS labor from the South during the war. The withdrawal of many white work- When thirty thousand additional nemen from industry for military service, groes attempted to crowd into this disthe return to their native lands of many trict, which was already congested with Italians and other South-European fifty thousand negroes, the inevitable laborers for war duty, and the practical happened. Negroes who had been recessation of immigration left Northern ceiving high wages in war industries industry short of labor supply. North- sought better living-quarters than the ern industry, facing the demand for congested district afforded. For the increased production, found itself with reason just stated, they could find better more work and fewer workmen. quarters only by invading white blocks. turned toward the negro labor of the In the process of getting into white South to help fill the gap. Attracted by blocks, the good temper of the negro high wages and influenced by direct was not exactly increased, for unscrupuappeals, something near a half million lous real-estate agents took advantage negro wage-earners moved North. This of his necessity by boosting both rentals is the first factor to reckon with in and purchasing prices, in some instudying the post-war race situation. stances from fifteen to twenty-five per

cent. above what white tenants or purINADEQUATE HOUSING

chasers would have to pay. Black as

well as white real-estate agents played This rush of negroes to industrial at this game of tribute. Certainly the centers created an acute housing prob- good humor of the white residents of lem. Housing conditions in the negro the invaded blocks was not heightened districts of our cities, with certain ex- as they watched the value of their ceptions, were none too good before the property, for white occupancy, slump. war; but the colored migrations have The usual race tension resulted. The brought about a lamentable congestion. bomb and the torch were brought into Take Chicago as a case in point. The play to discourage and discipline the results of the most reliable research to black invaders. In face of the indiswhich I have access indicate that the putable facts of inadequate housing colored population of Chicago has facilities and a veritable hell of condoubled within the last five years, gestion, it is unscientific, to say the having risen to the total of 125,000 or least, to leap to the conclusion that the possibly 150,000. Nine tenths of these

negro invasion of white districts has negroes are concentrated in Chicago's been prompted primarily by a pre"black belt,” which is a region of about sumptive desire for social equality or eight square miles on the south side of for the prestige that might attach to


such residence. That such motives using, with the demagogue's disregard prompted certain individual negroes of accuracy, the phrase "French-wommay not be questioned, but it savors too en-ruined" to describe the mass of remuch of the facile generalization of a turned negro soldiers. This wholesale politician's mind to see in social ambi

charge is manifestly unfair both to the tions the basic cause of this process. French woman and to the American

negro, but it rests upon the clear fact CONGESTION'S BRUTAL BREED that the American negro's social adven

tures in France have further compliAside from the fact that congestion cated our race problem. in the "black belts” has forced negroes

An interesting side-light on the to invade white districts in a search French attitude toward the negro has for better living facilities, among the just come to my attention through the negroes who remain in the "black belts” translation by Theodore Stanton of an the congestion breeds those vicious incident from pages 3730-2 of the and criminal qualities that readily un

"Journal Officiel” of the French leash in rioting. Graham Taylor, in

Chamber of Deputies for the sitting of "The Survey" for August 9, 1919, re- July 25, 1919. M. René Boisneuf, one fers to a recent investigation of two of the negro deputies of the Chamber, blocks in this district. These signifi- read an official communication, dated cant facts were uncovered. Eighty- last August, which Colonel Linard, three families lived in these two blocks. chief of the French military mission Ninety-six per cent. of the boys in with the American Army in France, these two blocks were truants. Seventy

addressed to French officers. The comtwo per cent. of these boys were munication attempted to interpret to retarded in their development. Thirty- French officers the attitude of the one of these families had been deserted white American officers toward the by the father. In twenty-eight of American negro officers, and to prethese families the fathers were scribe how French officers should act in confirmed drunkards. In twenty of

their relations with American negro these homes the mothers were heavy officers and American colored soldiers drinkers. In forty of these homes the in general in order to conserve Frenchmothers worked all day away from American harmony in the matter. The home. Fifty-one per cent. of these communication contained a long and homes were broken by death, desertion, explicit set of recommendations. The divorce, drink, promiscuous living, or tone of the communication is illustrated degeneracy. Good preparation indeed by this quotation: for the reckless brutality of a riot week. While criticizing brutality born American opinion is unanimous on this of congestion, it of course behooves "negro question” and permits no discussion white men from comfortable homes to of the matter.

The kindly spirit display a bit more self-control during which exists in France for the negro proa riot week.

foundly wounds Americans, who consider

it an infringement on one of their national TASTING THE WINE OF EQUALITY dogmas, and if observed by us will greatly

indispose American opinion toward us. .. Another matter to be taken into If French officers treat American negro account is the fact that our negro sol

officers as they treat French negro officers, diers tasted social equality in France. white American officers will warmly resent To them it was no doubt an exhilara- it. We should not sit at table with them ting wine, and many of them have and should avoid shaking hands with returned still flushed with its intoxica- them.

The merits of the American tion. In Europe they found a white at- negro troops should not be too much titude toward the negro different from praised, especially in the presence of the attitude they had known at home. Americans. There he was a white man with a black

Certain bitter partisans are M. Boisneuf paid a glowing tribute


to the American colored troops, and de- climate and Northern conditions. Neclared amidst enthusiastic applause groes who have moved North during that “in France no distinction is made the last five years say that letters from between her sons, no one asks whence their home-folk are filled with eager they come or who they may chance to inquiries about the possibility of the be.” The interpellation ended with the negro's adapting himself to the Northunanimous passage of this resolution: ern climate and of adjusting himself to

the social and industrial situation that The Chamber of Deputies, faithful to the prevails. The answers that the homeimmortal principles of the Rights of Man folk are receiving are giving the negro and the Citizen, reproving and condemning throughout the South a sense of the every prejudice of faith, caste, and race, possibility and freedom of movement affirms and proclaims the absolute equality that he has not had. This is a very of all men without distinction of origin or real psychological factor that introcolor in the enjoyment of the benefits and duces an element of restlessness into protection of all the laws of the land.

the race situation.


The subtle psychological influence of this French attitude on the minds of many of our returning negro soldiers is being played upon and appealed to by that element in negro leadership which has a hankering after social equality.


Then, too, the negro's race consciousness and race pride have been aroused by his record in the war both as soldier and as civilian. They look with pride upon the near four hundred thousand picked blacks that were drafted into the army and there played their part as Americans. They remember the part they played in essential war industries. They still feel the thrill of self-respect that came with their help in food conservation, the buying of liberty bonds and thrift-stamps, their contribution toward the Red Cross and other relief agencies. This freshened race consciousness has put a confident and aggressive tone into hitherto latent or feebly voiced aspirations.

Then, too, the old limitations, social and industrial, appear even more onerous to the negro as he throws them into contrast with the ideals of freedom, democracy and equality for which he was asked to fight during the war. The negro mind is to-day brooding over what it regards as an essential contradiction between our actions in race relations and our ideals in international relations. The negro is displaying that penchant for analogy to which I referred in the opening paragraph of this paper. This began early in the war.

R. H. Leavell, in a recent issue of “The Outlook,” recounts a conversation he had with a negro youth in Mississippi four months after the United States entered the war.

“What all dis wah in Europe about?” asked the negro youth.

“The object of this war," said Mr. Leavell, “is to make the world safe for democracy-in Europe."

A shrewdly intelligent negro teacher who was standing in the group hastened to translate the sentence into simpler words that might find readier comprehension in the youth's mind.

"That means that we are fighting to get freedom for the people in Europe. You are willing to fight, are n't you, to help them get it?"

"Yaas," was the quick reply, “but while I 'se fightin' I 'd like to get a little mo’ freedom fuh myself.”

This application of our war aims to the problem of his civic and social privi


Another factor entering into the changed attitude of the negro grows out of the fact that the colored migration into Northern industrial centers has shown the Southern negro that he can make a living in the North and that he can stand the Northern climate. Hitherto the rank and file of Southern negroes have been strangely tethered to the South by the fear of Northern

leges went on in the negro's mind throughout the war.


before closing this tabulation of the more obvious elements that enter into the race situation out of which riots are springing, and that fact is this: there is a changed attitude”on the part of the negro toward the question of methods for advancing his social and industrial interests. The Chicago “Defender,” which is a negro periodical, apropos of this says:

Another factor that figures in the race situation in certain cities, Chicago being a good instance, has grown out of the breaking up of the segregated vice districts. In Chicago, when these vice districts were broken up, many of the women moved southward toward and into the "black belt," where their promiscuous relations with blacks introduced two psychological factors, both of which have made for race tension. This mingling of black men and white women fanned alive in many black minds the social equality idea and produced a certain number of black braggadocios, whose swagger irritated the nearby whites. This black swagger and the white resentment were elements in the situation.

The younger generation of black men are not content to move along the lines of least resistance, as did their sires. ... We have little sympathy with lawlessness, whether those guilty of it be black or white, but it cannot be denied that we have much in justification of our changed attitude.


As white soldiers returned to Northern industrial centers, they found jobs they had held before the war being held by negroes. The white workmen were and are quite naturally impatient to step back into their old jobs. As we know, the problem of fitting our returning soldiers back into our industrial life is not an easy administrative task. In the very nature of the case the process will proceed at a rate discouragingly slow to the man waiting for a job. His impatience seems to take on a more aggressive character when the job is being held by a negro. This situation is further aggravated by the fact that many of the negro laborers are nonunion men, while the white men whom they displaced during the war are to a far greater degree union men. This fact figured distinctly in the situation in the Chicago Stock Yards district, where much non-union negro labor was employed during the war, and was found at work when whites returned from France.

W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, the brilliant, but bitter, negro editor of "The Crisis," has been lately indulging in unrestrained counsel of "fight” to his constituency. There is clear evidence that one wing of negro leadership is inclined to counsel violence if the aspirations of the race find the road toward realization blocked. These leaders would probably experience little difficulty in finding a casus belli in the present strained relations. I intend no wholesale charge that the negro leadership of the country has turned revolutionary. That is not true. But I must, in the interest of accuracy, list this germinal idea at work in the negro mind as one of the elements in our immediate race situation. There is being carried on, beyond doubt, a propaganda in behalf of the tactics of violence. This propaganda is fostered not only by one type of negro leader, but also by those social revolutionaries who vulture-like hover over every field of discontent. There is undoubtedly an attempt being made to capitalize colored disaffection in the interests of the social revolution.

Here, then, are the more important of the factors that enter into our postwar race problem in the United States:

(1). The great influx of Southern negro labor into Northern industrial centers.

(2) Inadequate housing facilities for the new negro population in the


One more fact should be mentioned

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