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rant laborers have a good chance to take Even in the better ordered country districts refuge. And to all this must be added the of the south the free movement of agricultural obvious fact that a slave ancestry and a sys

laborers is hindered by the migration agent tem of unrequited toil have not improved the laws. The Associated Press informed the efficiency or temper of the mass of black world not long since of the arrest of a young laborers. Nor is this peculiar to Sambo—it white man in south Georgia who represented has in history been just as true of John and the “ Atlantic Naval Supplies Company,” and Hans, of Jacques and Pat, of all ground-down who “was caught in the act of enticing hands peasantries. Such is the situation of the from the turpentine farm of Mr. John Greer.” mass of the Negroes in the Black Belt to-day, The crime for which this young man was and they are thinking about it. Crime and a arrested is taxed $500 for each county in which cheap, dangerous socialism are the inevitable the employment agent proposes to gather results of this pondering. I see now that

I see now that laborers for work outside the state. Thus the ragged black man sitting on a log, aimlessly Negroes' ignorance of the labor market outside whittling a stick. He mutters to me with the his own vicinity is increased rather than diminmurmur of many ages when he says: “White ished by the laws of nearly every southern state. man sit down whole year; Nigger work day Similar to such measures is the unwritten and night and make crop; Nigger hardly gits law of the back districts and small towns of bread and meat; white man sittin' down gits the south, that the character of all Negroes all. It's wrong.”

unknown to the mass of the community must A modern laboring class in most lands be vouched for by some white man. This is would find a remedy for this situation in really a revival of the old Roman idea of the migration. And so does the Negro, but his patron under whose protection the new-made movement is restricted in many ways. freedman was put. In many instances this

In considerable parts of all the gulf states, system has been of great good to the Negro, and especially in Mississippi, Louisiana and and very often, , under the protection and Arkansas, the Negroes on the plantations in guidance of the former master's family or the back country districts are still held other white friends, the freedman progressed at forced labor practically without wages. in wealth and morality. But the same system Especially is this true in districts where the has in other cases resulted in the refusal of farmers are composed of the more ignorant whole communities to recognize the right of a class of poor whites, and the Negroes are be- Negro to change his habitation and to be yond the reach of schools and intercourse master of his own fortunes. A black stranger with their advancing fellows. If such a peon in Baker County, Georgia, for instance is liable should run away, the sheriff, elected by white to be stopped anywhere on the public highway suffrage, can usually be depended on to catch and made to state his business to the satisthe fugitive, return him and ask no questions. faction of any white interrogator. If he fails If he escape to another county, a charge of to give a suitable answer or seems too inpetty thieving, easily true, can be depended dependent or “sassy” he may be arrested or on to secure his return. Even if some un summarily driven away. duly officious person insist upon a trial, neigh As a result of such a situation arose, first, borly comity will probably make his conviction the Black Belt and, second, the Migration to sure, and then the labor due the county can Town. The Black Belt was not, as many easily be bought by the master.

assumed, a movement towards fields of labor Such a system is unusual in the more under more genial climatic conditions ; it was civilized parts of the South, or near the large primarily a huddling together for self-protowns and cities; but in those vast stretches tection; a massing of the black population for of land beyond the telegraph and newspaper mutual defense in order to secure the peace the spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment is and tranquility necessary to economic advance. sadly broken. This represents the lowest This movement took place between emancieconomic depths of the black American pation and 1880 and only partially accompeasant and in a study of the rise and plished the desired results. The rush to town condition of the Negro freeholder we must since 1880 is the counter movement of men trace his economic progress from this modern disappointed in the economic opportunities of serfdom.

the Black Belt.

In Dougherty County, Georgia, one can see Now it happens that both master and man easily the results of this experiment in huddling have just enough argument on their respective for protection. Only ten per cent. of the adult sides to make it difficult for them to underpopulation was born in the county, and yet the stand each other. The Negro dimly personiblacks outnumber the whites four or five to fies in the white man all his ills and misforone. There is undoubtedly a security to the tunes; if he is poor it is because the white blacks in their very numbers—a personal free man secures the fruits of his toil; if he is dom from arbitrary treatment, which makes ignorant it is because the white man gives him hundreds of laborers cling to Dougherty in neither time nor facilities to learn. And, inspite of low wages and economic distress. deed, if any misfortune happens to him it is But a change is coming, and slowly but surely because of some hidden machinations of "white even here the agricultural laborers are drifting folks.” On the other hand the masters and to town and leaving the broad acres behind. the masters' sons have never been able to see Why is this? Why do not the Negroes be why the Negroes, instead of settling down to come landowners and build up the black be day laborers for bread and clothes, are inlanded peasantry, which has for a generation fected with a silly desire to “rise" in the and more been the dream of philanthropist world, and are sulky, dissatisfied and careless and statesman ?

where their fathers were happy and dumb and This is the question which this paper seeks faithful.

faithful. “Why! these niggers have an easier to answer; it seeks to trace the rise of the time than I do," said a puzzled Albany merblack freeholder in one county of Georgia's chant to his black customer. “Yes," he reBlack Belt, and his struggle for survival, to plied, “and so does yo' hogs.” picture present conditions and show why mi Looking the county black population gration to town is the Negro's remedy. To as a whole, we might attempt to divide it the car-window sociologist, to the man who roughly into social classes. Forty-four famseeks to understand and know the south by ilies, all landowners, from their intelligence, devoting the few leisure hours of a holiday trip property and home life would correspond to to unraveling the snarl of centuries—to such good middle class people anywhere. Seventymen very often the whole trouble with the six other families are honest working people black field-hand may be summed up by Aunt of fair intelligence. One hundred and twentyOphelia's word: “Shiftless !” And yet they five families fall distinctly below the line of are not lazy, these men ; they work hard when respectability and should be classed with the they do work, and they work willingly. They lewd, vicious and potentially criminal. This have no sordid selfish money-getting ways but leaves the mass of the population, 1,229 famrather a fine disdain for mere cash. They'll ilies composed of the poor, the ignorant, the loaf before your face and work behind your plodding toilers and shiftless workers—honest back with good-natured honesty. Their great and well-meaning, with some, but not great, defect as laborers lies in their lack of incentive sexual looseness, handicapped by their history to work beyond the mere pleasure of physical and present economic condition. exertion. They are careless because they The class lines are by no means fixed and have not found that it pays to be careful; immutable. A bad harvest may ruin many they are improvident because the improvident of the best and increase the numbers of the ones of their acquaintance get on about as worst. well as the provident. Above all they cannot The croppers are entirely without capital, see why they should take unusual pains to even in the limited sense of food or money, make the white man's land better or to take to keep them from seed-time to harvest. All more care of his mule and corn.

they furnish then is labor; the landowner furOn the other hand the white land-owner nishes land, stock, tools, seed and house, and argues that any attempt to improve these la- at the end of the year the laborer gets from borers by increased responsibility or higher a third to a half of the crop. Out of his wages or better homes or land of their own share, however, comes payment and interest would be sure to result in failure. He shows for food and clothing advanced him during the his northern visitor the scarred land; the year. Thus we have a laborer without capital ruined mansions, the worn-out soil and mort and without wages, and an employer whose gaged acres and says, “This is Negro freedom!” capital is largely his employees' wages. It is

an unsatisfactory arrangement both to hirer the year varying from $30 to $60, out of and hired, and is usually in vogue on poor which the supplies must be paid for with inland with hard-pressed owners.

terest. About 18 per cent. of the population Above the croppers come the great mass of belong to this class of semi-metayers, while the black population who work the land on 22 per cent. are laborers paid by the month their own responsibility, paying rent in cotton or year and either “furnished” by their own and supported by the crop mortgage system. savings or perhaps more usually by some merAfter the war this system was attractive to chant who takes his chances of payment. the freedmen on account of its larger freedom Such laborers receive 35 cents to 40 cents a and its possibilities for making a surplus. day during the working season. They are But with the carrying out of the crop-lien usually young unmarried persons, some being system, the deterioration of the land and the

women, and when they marry they sink to slavery of debt, the position of the metayers the class of metayers, or, more seldom, behas sunk to a dead level of practically unre come renters. warded toil. Formerly all tenants had some The renters for fixed money rentals are the capital, and often considerable, but absentee first of the emerging classes and form 4.6 per landlordism, rack-rent and falling cotton, have cent. of the families. The sole advantage of stripped them well nigh of all, and probably this small class is their freedom to choose not over half of them in 1898 owned mules. their crops, and the increased responsibility The change from cropper to tenant was ac which comes through having money transaccomplished by fixing the rent. If, now, the tions. While some of the renters differ little rent fixed was reasonable, this was an incen- in condition from the metayers, yet on the tive to the tenant to strive. On the other whole they are more intelligent and responsihand, if the rent was too high, or if the land ble persons and are the ones who eventually deteriorated, the result was to discourage and become landowners. check the efforts of the black peasantry. Landholding in this county by Negroes has There is no doubt that the latter case is true; steadily increased. They held nothing in thus in Dougherty county every economic 1870, but in 1880 they had 2,500 acres. By advantage of the price of cotton in the 1890 this had increased to 10,000 acres, and market and of the strivings of the tenant, has to 15,000 acres in 1898, owned by 81 families. been taken advantage of by the landlords and Of the 185 Negro families who at one time or merchants, and swallowed up in rent and in- another have held land in this county during terest. If cotton rose in price, the rent rose the last thirty years, I held his land 25 to even higher. If cotton fell the rent remained, 30 years ; 4 held their land 20–25 years; 12 or followed reluctantly. If a tenant worked

If a tenant worked held their land 15-20 years; 12 held their hard and raised a large crop, his rent was land 10-15 years; 41 held their land 5-10 raised the next year. If that year the crop years, and 115 held their land 1-5 years. failed, his corn was confiscated and his mule Most of those in the shorter period still hold sold for debt. There were, of course, excep their land, so that the record is not complete. tions to this—cases of personal kindness and If all the black landowners who had ever forbearance, but in the vast majority of cases held land here had kept it or left it in the the rule was to extract the uttermost farthing hands of black men, the Negroes would have from the mass of the black farm laborers. owned nearer 30,000 acres than the 15,000

The result of such rack-rent can only be they now hold. And yet these 15,000 acres evil—abuse and neglect of the soil, deteriora are a creditable showing—a proof of no little tion in the character of the laborers, and a weight of the worth and ability of the Negro widespread sense of injustice. On this low people. If they had been given an economic plane half the black population of Dougherty start at emancipation, if they had been in an county-perhaps more than half the black enlightened and rich community which really millions of this land—are to-day struggling desired their best good, then we might per

A degree above these we may place those haps call such a result small or even insignifilaborers who receive money for their work. cant. But for a few thousand ignorant field Some receive a house with perhaps a garden hands in the face of poverty, a falling market, spot, their supplies of food and clothing ad- and social stress to save and capitalize $200,vanced and certain fixed wages at the end of ooo in a generation has meant a tremendous

effort. The rise of a nation, the pressing 49 families ; 40 to 250 acres, 17 families; forward of a social class, means a bitter strug 250 to 1,000 acres, 13 families; 1,000 or gle—a hard and soul-sickening battle with the more acres, 2 families. Now in 1890 there world such as few of the more favored classes were forty-four holdings, but only nine of know or appreciate.

these were under forty acres. The great inOut of the hard economic conditions of crease of holdings then has come in the this portion of the Black Belt only six per buying of small homesteads near town, where cent. of the population have succeeded in their owners really share in the town life. emerging into peasant-proprietorship, and

peasant-proprietorship, and This then is a part of the rush to town. And these are not all firmly fixed, but grow and for every landowner who has thus hurried shrink in number with the wavering of the away from the narrow life and hard conditions cotton market. Fully 94 per cent. have of country life how many field hands, how struggled for land and failed, and half of many tenants, how many ruined renters have them sit in hopeless serfdom. For these joined that long procession ? Is it not strange there is one other avenue of escape toward compensation? The sin of the country diswhich they have turned in increasing numbers, tricts is visited on the town, and the social namely, migration to town. A glance at the sores of city life to-day may, here in Dougherty distribution of land among the black owners county and perhaps in many places, near and curiously reveals this fact. In 1898 the far, look for their final healing without the holdings were as follows: Under 40 acres, city walls.







F all the differences in this land of chairman of the committee, are as follows:

contrast, none are more remarkable Of ninety-five buildings over two stories high,

than those in the education of our only twenty-seven had good fire-escapes. children. The contrast extends to the school- One hundred and thirty-six buildings had an houses. Side by side with buildings almost aggregate of 346 cesspools in playgrounds, ideal in sanitary construction and equipment cleaned irregularly, and those in connection stand others that defy hygienic laws in almost with ten buildings were never cleaned. The every respect. The purpose of the present Board of Health had repeatedly condemned the paper is to relate some facts in regard to the sanitaries in 126 schools, and of these twentyactual American schoolhouse, and to describe two were old-style yard vaults. Only fortybriefly an ideal one.

two out of sixty-nine schools reported satisInvestigation of the condition of Boston factory ventilation. In sixteen buildings the schoolhouses was begun in 1895 by a com- ventilating shaft entered the attic, which in mittee of the Collegiate Alumnæ, and reports some cases was kept closed. Only thirteen were made by them, and also by an expert buildings reported the required initial aircommittee appointed by Mayor Quincy. Some space, 250 cubic feet per pupil. Twentyof the results of this investigation, cited from seven has less than 150 cubic feet per pupil. an article by Mrs. Allen Upton Pearmain, The law requires thirty cubic feet of air

supply per minute. Six rooms were found defects more concretely. The following is a that supplied less than eight cubic feet per single illustration: minute, fifteen supplied from eight to nineteen School 37. At Peach and Carlton streets. cubic feet. Many rooms had insufficient or “End of upper hall is used for class-room. In improperly regulated light. Some on account three rooms there are more pupils than desks. of the proximity of neighboring buildings Twenty-five of the twenty-eight rooms are dereported not enough light at any time in any

ficient in air space.

Halls and class-rooms are room.

papered. The closets for the pupils are in the Another member of the committee, Mrs.

basement; those for the teachers at the end of

the cloak-rooms. These basement rooms have Richards of the Massachusetts Institute of

very little light and no ventilation whatever. The Technology, estimated that if the laws were

flues that were built to conduct the air from enforced as strictly in respect to schoolhouses

those rooms open into the grade-rooms and in as to private houses and places of business, the room above. At times it was necessary to there would be 20,000 children on the streets dismiss the pupils, on account of the nausea of Boston on account of the closing of un- brought on by this foul air. Until this year the sanitary buildings. The expert commission system of ventilation was practically useless, and appointed by the Mayor made a similar the air throughout the building was bad. There report. They referred to the use of certain were many complaints of headache, drowsiness school buildings as a disgrace to the city,

and defective power of attention due to the bad

air. Relief had been asked for many times, and said :

but only this summer has this school been pro"Inside the buildings are constantly met con vided with what is hoped will prove an adequate ditions showing lack of expert knowledge and system of ventilation. This school is very crowdjudgment in permitting certain things to be done ed. Some rooms are so crowded with desks that in the way they are, and in continuing old meth children are almost in contact with the steam ods that would not be allowed an instant in pro pipes. In others, two children must occupy a gressive private work. If cases like these came single seat, or three a double one, while others within the observation of the Health Department, sit on the teacher's platform. The ends of the in their inspection of private houses, alterations upper hall are partitioned off for class use. Masses would be peremptorily ordered, with the alterna of clothing, often wet, hang in the halls diffusing tive of closing the building against all occupation.” odors throughout the building, while in four Since the report of the investigation of the

rooms, as stated, the children's wraps are hung

on the walls underneath the blackboards. These Collegiate Alumnæ many improvements have

rooms are so filled with children that those in the been made, but the conditions are still far seats nearest the walls must sit almost in contact from ideal.

with these wraps.

In winter waterproofs, umFollowing the example of Boston a com brellas, etc., must also lie on the floors. It is a mittee of the School Association of the city condition which a proper regard for school hy. of Buffalo made a similar investigation. This giene would not allow for a day.” committee, of which Dr. F. M. McMurry, A more recent report by the same Associanow of Columbia University, was the chair tion (1899) notes improvement, and yet man, reported schoolhouses “for years over enumerates among still existing defectscrowded,” buildings rented “practically unfit overcrowding, defective plumbing, unsatisfor school use," twenty-five annexes in use, factory ventilation, inadequate light, schools “more than one-half of the schools using without fire-escapes and “ten pasteboard rooms that were never intended for that annexes still in use.” purpose,"—attics, halls, basements, cloak Time would fail to tell of the investigations rooms, etc., lack of seats, more pupils than of the Arundel Good Government Club in desks, lack of air space in the majority of Baltimore and of the Collegiate Alumnæ in rooms, in some rooms not more than sixty- Oakland, Cal., and of other special studies. eight to eighty-three cubic feet per pupil, They show that neglect of school hygiene is instead of 250 required, seventeen schools confined to no section of the country. Even with no system of ventilation, insufficient in the city of Washington, where one might light, wraps hung in the schoolroom, few suppose plenty of money for school purposes adjustable seats and desks, and those in the would be available, the sanitary conditions are same room usually of about the same size. not ideal as shown by an investigation made The report of individual schools shows the by the Committee on Education of the Civic

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