The Southern University Race Commission: A Personal Memoir by One of Its Members, James M. Farr


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The Southern University Race Commission: A Personal Memoir by One of Its Members, James M. Farr
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Farr, James Marion, 1874-
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Folder: University Archives Small Collections - James Marion Farr Manuscripts - Southern University Race Commission 1935-1938


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North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Alachua -- Gainesville

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University of Florida
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A Persona Maemir by One of Its

,Tas. Me PaRw

Dedioateid to the Memory


President Albert A* Murphree

at imogs dirsotion and with whose
advioe aend operationo my part of
this work was performed*.


tbhnologioal end Historioal Conditions ****, 1

The White and the Black Races in Amerioa ..** 1

The Race Commission Its Organaistion, Its
Personnel nd Its Procedure *,*****,******* 831

The WOrk of the Camission ................. 43

The Results Attained and the Outlook for
the Future *................................ 58












It is necessary to state that this monograph has been prepared

under the most difficult conditions. The author, on account of ill-health,

was retired from active work two years ago after nearly thirty-five years of

service in helping in the foundation and upbuilding of the University of

Florida. The work in hand was suggested by the Dean of the College, and was

begun when the author was physically unable even to-write.

It has been pursued in intervals when health permitted under

the most disadvantageous and discouraging oiroumstances. It has been found

impossible to procure any of the documents bearing on the matter and only the

most meager and vague replies from others associated with the author in the


Consequently, this can have little historical value save as

the recollections of events which occurred some years ago. So it is presented

only as the personal remembrances, opinions, and reflections which are present

in the mind of the author as he tries to recall the past.

No understanding of the significance of the work of the Southern

University Commission and the questions which it had to consider would be

intelligible without a discussion in broad terms of the ethnological and

historical conditions out of which its problems arose. These conditions go

back to the origins of the human race itself.

These are the differentiating characteristics upon which the

division into the five races are based two physical and transmitted physically

from parents to ohildi three non-physical and transmitted by absorption of the




1. The Divisions of the Human Race. The most important fact

about the human race (whether as a highly differentiated species of the animal

kingdom or as a separate and distinctive creation) is the fact that it is di-

vided into various branches which have characteristics that markedly distinguish

and differentiate them from each other.

(a) The most obvious of these is the difference in kin-pig-

mentation a difference which has given name to the five branches, i.e1, the

white; the yellow the brown; the red; the black races. This difference is,

of course, only "skin deep" a superficial difference resulting from climatic

differences. But it is very obvious to the eye A white man seeing for the

first time a Chinaman, an Indian, or a negro would observe little else in the

stranger than his markedly different color.

(b) The second difference is also a visible characteristic in

part and in part ascertained by scientific measurement. Differences in hair

the kinky "wool" of the negro, the straight black hair of the Indian; in nose

and lips; in shape and color of eyes these are observable and mark off to the

observer the difference in race* Cranial configuration is less observable but

is determined by measurement.

(o) The third difference is mental and moral. It is true that

the most microscopic comparison of the brains of the various branches of the

race would reveal no characteristic difference! but it is equally true that all

writers who have had anything to say on the subject recognize that the modes of

thought, the thought patterns that control and determine the thinking of the five

branches of the race are as distinctively and oharactertistioally different as

their physical appearance. This is equally true for their moral values and

"East is Bast and West is West
"And never the twain shall meet"*

(d) Closely allied to (o) is what may be called the "cultural

environment" into which each member of a race is born. By this is meant the

sum total of the patterns of action and thought, the manners and methods of

life the traditions, the beliefs, the ambitions, the ideals in fact, all the

non-physical surroundings which impinge on the human being and from which his

personality is developed as truly as his body is developed from the physical

environment Throughout countless ages, eaoh of the races has built up this

environment along divergent lines* Where there has been stability and oon-

tinuity of development, such as in China or in Western Europe from the early

Greoian beginnings, this has grown and solidified into a massive structure

from which one can scarcely escape. In a less organized and more unstable

society, this cultural environment is less developed, but its conditioning

power is nonetheless all powerful in forming the personality. The Red Man who

first faced the white man in America was as much the product of his cultural

environment as was the white man of his. The former's was less stable, less

complicated, less highly organized, but its conditioning force was equally

strong. The taboo of the least civilised people is as much a bar to its in-

fringement as is the religious or ethical belief of the most oivilised.

(e) Linguistio differences among the races are much less notice-

able than the above to the person untrained in philology, for to the untrained

mutual intelligibility is the one point observed* To an illiterate English-

speaking person Dutch sounds as "foreign" as Chinese i.e., they are both un-

intelligible to him. To the philologist, however, the inter-relations between

the languages of a given race and their common differences with the languages

of another are apparent,

Scientific study of the languages inside the social group has

been made only in oase of one the soeoalled Aryan languages of the br=anh of

the white race using them. The language of the individual is imposed from with-

out; he learns, no matter what the racial inheritance may be, the language spoken

in the environment in which he is reared* A Chinese child, whose ancestors for

a thousand years have spoken only Chinese, will, if reared in an English-speaking

country, speak English as naturally as the child of English parentage. While this

is true, the author is of the opinion, based only on personal observation and

with no oladm to soientifio accuracy, that there are slight structural differences

in the vocal apparatus of the races that make them into nations distinguishable

different* In my work with the Race Commission, I was brought into contact with

the most highly educated, the most cultivated, the most brilliant members of the

black race in Americoa Their English was better than my ownl but I am sure had

I heard their voices without seeing them I should have detected the negro intona-


(f) The habitat of the several races has, on the whole, been

fairly constant in historic times. The migrations and wanderings which largely

make up history have been inner-racial and oanfined within the limits of the

racial habitat* There are important exceptions, however, to this broad generali-

zation* These, in historic times, at least, are confined largely to the white

raoe their colonizations in the Americas, Africa and Australia* But on the

whole the raoes remain in the habitat where they are found at the beginning of

historical times the white race in Western Asia, northern Africa and Europe)

the yellow race in eastern Asial the brown race in the Pacific islands the

black race in Aentral and southern Afrioa, and the remnants of the Red race in the


These, then, are the differentiating characteristics upon which

the division into races is based. Two are physical and are transmitted physioals

ly, through the germ oell, from parents to child. Three are non-physioal and are

acquired from the cultural environment. The last is not exactly a oharaoteris-

tio as are the other. but, according to one school of thought, the condition-

ing element which brings them about the theory of the French oritio, Taine*

In this connection it must be borne in mind that each of these

races, in turn, has differentiated into various peoples, each of whom preserves

the racial characters and in addition develops others which distinguish from

other members of the same race the Semitic and Aryan peoples) the various black

peoples of Africa* These peoples, in their turn, develop into smaller aggregates

with again distinctive characteristics i.e., the Frenchman, the German, the

Englishman, eto., of western Eurppe each of them blending of the various physi-

oal and cultural streams of the Aryan*

Of course, this process of differentiation continues down from the

nation to the seotion, to the community, to the family, until it reaches the in-


To an observer, unfamiliar with the faoe, the raoitl oharacterts-

tics are so emphasized that the individual characteristics are entirely obscured.

You often hear the remark, "I can't tell one Chinaman from another." I have fre-

quently seen persons unfamiliar with the negro unable to distinguish one from

another, while to me, reared in the South, each negro is as distinctive as a white


The physical racial characteristics are capable of blending the

offspring of parents of two different races will be a hybrid the Eurasian, the

mulatto, etc. whetherr or not the Mendalian law of the transmission of

characteristics obtains is not (and probably cannot) be proved, it is highly

suggestive and has some data to confirm the view*

The mental, moral, and cultural characteristics also blend in

the individual if he be exposed simultaneously to both in his early youth.

The young North American Indian, growing up in the midst of his family who

still preserve the Indian culture and at the same time attending the American

school is a case in point a curious hybrid product of the two cultures. It is

useless to enter into the discussion as to what part heredity and environment

play in this blend the "doctors" disagree too much for the layman to have an

opinion. Unfortunately, however, this is the crux of the ultimate problem which

the Commission had to consider* The question is can the American cultural en-

vironment finally extinguish the original African culture which the present and

future negro ancestors brought over? The general opinion in the South is ex-

pressed in the saying "once a 'nigger', always a 'nigger'"* Within the racial

group we know this is not true. There are millions of descendants of the second,

third and fourth generations of Scandinavian, German, Irish, French, Italian,

eto., immigrants sho are as American as the descendants of the original colonial

English. Apparently, however, the Indian, the Japanese, the Chinese never be-

come assimilated*

One further generalization and this section of our report is

completed. Does there exist a deeP-seated an& ineradicable repulsion and antago-

nism between the races? If so, is it based upon physical differences alone or

upon those in conjuncture with cultural differences? Is it one phase of the

psychological law of conformity or uniformity the law that in its religious

aspect deluged Europe with blood, the law that makes one want to compel my

neighbor to refrain from the Sunday "movies", from taking a glass of beer

because I do not? Is it a part of the biological law of the antagonism of

species the dog chasing the oat, eto?

All of these lines of speculation finally work back philo-

sophioally to the futile speculation on the origin or origins of the human race.

Are we to aooept,either literally or figuratively, the aooount as given in Genesis -

a human raoe descended from Adam and Eve the theory of the unit origin of the

race? Or are we to surmise that the racial differences now observable go back to

differentiations begun in the obscure no-man's land of the "Missing link" the

stage between monkey and men?

2. Racial Juxtaposition and Its Result. The second general

consideration which conditioned our especial inquiry was what had happened when

two of these races had been brought, by the hand of fate, into intimate contact

through occupying the sane territory simultaneously. What is the reaction when

the two elements are poured into the same test-tube? Unfortunately, for our in-

quiry, there are only a few instances of this kind,

On the other hand, the pages of history are full of accounts of

this situation occurring among the various branches of the white raoe. European

history begins with the suooessive waves of Aryan Hellenes invading, conquering

and settling among the Mediterranean Cretans. In time the two peoples blended

and the Hellenes assimilated the more advanced Cretan-Egyptian oivilisation with

which they were brought into contact. With this impetus they developed the

splendid Greek oivilisation which is the basis of modern European oivilisation.

Next, the Roman power was extended over the Gallio territory and the Latin oul-

ture and language were imposed* Then, into this compound was poured the

Teutonio element and from this mixture was produced again a thorough assimila-

tion which results today in Italy, Spain and Franoe the so-called Latin races!

but in reality a blend of three distinct branches of the race. The English

situation is similar. Anglo-Saxon Englani was conquered by the Norman-Frenoh.

For awhile the two peoples lived side by side, hostile to each other* But this

soon oeased and again there was perfect assimilation* No Englishman today knows

what proportions of Norman and Anglo-Saxon blood flow in his veins. These

facts seem to indicate that, if two peoples of the same raoe oooupy the same

territory simultaneously, they finally merge physically and culturally into one


The other situation, where two peoples of different races oooupy

simultaneously the same territory, is limited* Outside of the Amerioas about

the only examples are the European colonies in Afrioa* A case in point is South

Africa. Here, a people of the most highly developed culture took possession of a

country ooupied by a different race of a much less developed culture, The Boers,

a Dutch people, had occupied adjacent territory. After a brief war, these latter

were conquered and incorporated into the growing commonwealth which now forms one

of the important divisions of the British nEpire* Here, we have a most instructive

situation for our inquiry two Teutonic peoples and a mass of negro and negroid

natives ooupying simultaneously the sam territory* While from the historical

point of view this situation has been short, still it seems to be stable and the

status quo will probably continue indefinitely, The two teutonio folk are rapidly

blending, and it is predictable that a South African folk with their blended physical

and cultural characteristics mingled will result* On the other hmnd, the black

raceremains, from the white standpoint, a lower and inferior raoe to be ruled over

with sternness and an even-handed justice which is the finest trait of the English

and which has made them the greatest colonising nation since the great days of the

Roman Empire. (It may be remarked here, in an aside, that modern England, and not

the modern Italy of Mussolini's ambitious dream, is the inheritor of the Roman tra-

dition*) Withgreat tolerance for their racial characteristics, with a sympathetic

attempt to understand and to adjust their rule to them, the white is gradual y in-

ouloating some of the fundamental mental and moral values of his race. Thete is,

7 1

however, no question of assimilation, of a blending of the two races. A stern

suppression of savagery, an insistence upon fair and honest treatment, but not the

slightest yielding from the status of the white as the superior olass govern-

mentally, socially, and in every aspect of life*

This has been, on the whole, the attitude of the other European

oolonising nations French, Italian, Spanish, German with less insistence on

justice and fair play for the native and more inclination toward partial assimi-

lation* It seems to be the opinion of observers that the Latin races have shown

a tendency toward assimilation with the black, absent from the Teutonic* This

tendency becomes more marked when we oome to America.

Turning to the Western Hemisphere, we find the conditions under

discussion occurring within recent historical times. Prior to Columbus's dis-

covery (from the European point of view) of the New World, there existed a fifth

raoe, unknowing and unknown to the other four the Red Man. The origins of

this race are lost in the obscurity of the past. Those who hold to the unit

origin of the human race and regard the plateaus of central Asia as its cradle

conjecture that the progenitors of these peoples crossed over from the extreme

northeastern tip of Asia to the extreme northwestern tip of North Amerioa in a

vague, indefinite past. The fantastic theory has been seriously advanced that

they are the descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel* All of which says

that there is no vestige of data upon which to form even a conjecture.

However, it is clear thab this race had had time to spread over

the American continent and to diversify into many and divergent peoples and

tribes, separated from each other by a vast variety of both physical and cultural

charaoteristios a red race whose distinguishing characteristics were wholly un-

oontaminated by any contact with the other four

The history of the invasion of these new lands by the European

nations Spain, Franoe, England is known to every aohool boy, Here we have

the condition we are examining two separate races simultaneously oooupying the

same territory, and we are interested in the result of this racial contact. The

results vary somewhat* In Central sad South America and the Caribbean islands,

especially Cuba, the Spaniards ruthlessly overran the country, and by their

superiority in war equipment soon made themselves rulers of a numerically vastly

superior population. The various nations of Central and South America emerged

and finally broke their connection with the mother country last of all Cuba -

through intervention of the. United States.

The surviving remnants of the original populations exist in three

ways. There is a partial asalgamation with the Spaniard mainly among the lower

classes giving rise to a hybrid whose physical and cultural characteristics are

distinctly a deterioration of the best in both raoes. There is a survival of

the aborigines in a servile class who have acquired in a lowered form some of the

characteristics of the white. In certain territory far from the seats of govern-

ment and inaccessible to troops, some of the natives have maintained a semi-

independence and preserved their racial characteristics.

On the North American continent, especially after the elimination

of the French from the northern and central parts an4the Spanish from the extreme

south, the situation is different. The English colonists, from their first foot-

hold on the extreme Atlantic seaboard, took possession of the land and eliminated

the Indian from it. The process of elimination is not one of which we can be

proud force and chicanery are largely the methods employed* As the republic

was formed and its expansion westward continued, this process of eliminating the

Indian continued. Today, we cover the continent from ocean to ocean, and a piti-

ful handful of the original inhabitants exist on reservations set apart for them

and under government tutelage* Under this process the finer elements of their


own culture are disappearing and their absorption of the white culture feeble*

The effect upon the white man's culture by this contact is almost inappreciable -

a few words added to his vocabulary (tomahmak, wigwam, eto)l5 a few praotioes

taken up, the use of tobaooo and Indian maize*

The advent of the negro in America and a review of the important

points in the resulting contact will form the second chapter of this discussion*

There is one further interesting situation with which the United

States was confronted recently the attempted economic invasion of our Pacific

coast by the Japanese. This olash of alien races was partly economic but under-

lying this was the fact that the yellow race was recognized as unassimilable*

Fortunately, by the good sense of the stateaman of both races, the situation

was (at least temporarily) adjusted* Whether or not the latent racial antagon-

iam may be aroused is a question for the future*

This examination of the faots of history seems to justify the

broad generalization that where two peoples of the same race, with similar

physical and cultural oharacteristios, oooupy simultaneously the same territory,

they invariably blend into one people that where two peoples of different races,

with dissimilar physical and cultural characteristics, simultaneously oooupy the

same territory they do not blend. One of two conditions prevails either one

race exterminates the other, or one becomes the ruling and dominant raoe, the

other the servile and dependent one* In this last situation the Anglo-Saxon and

the Latin have, as the dominant raoe, differed the one insisting on fair treat-

ment and amelioration the other selfishly exploiting and degrading the depend-

ant race*

Finally, it is unreasonable to think that the wider the di-

vergence of racial characteristics, the stronger the racial antagonism

and the lees ohanoe for assimilation. The greatest racial contrast, both

physically and culturally, ie between the white man ad the black man.



1. A Personal Note, As a preliminary to the discussion of

our immediate problem, it is only fair to the reader that I should make a state-

ment as to my personal relations to the subject in order that he be in position

to judge how far my bias, my early associations, my prejudices, if you will, have

colored my thinking or my statement of the facts.

I was born in 1874 in the little village of Union, South Carolina,

at that tire a typical Southern town of some 1,500 inhabitants of which over one-

third were negroes. My father, a graduate of the South Carolina Military Academy,

during the earlier stages of the "War Between the States", served in the Confederate

armies, after his graduation, as Captain of Company H, 15th Regiments He was

twice wounded Gettysburg and The Wilderness and carried to his grave, after

sixty years, a Northern bullet. My ancestors on the paternal side were of English

and Sootoh-Irish extraction and descendants of one of the original settlers in

Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, Colonel William Farr was on the staff

of General Francis Marion and was in command at the Battle of Cowpens. My

maternal ancestors came from Virginia at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Close relatives were intimately connected with the Secession of South Carolina

from the Union. William H* Gist was Governor of the state when the convention was

called, and States Rights Gist was Adjutant General of the state. The latter was

a brigadier-general in the Confederate armies and was killed while leading a

charge at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee.

My earliest memory is being seated on the post of our front gate,

and watching the red-shirt brigade of the county, led by my father, march by.


This was in 1876 and was a preliminary to the election which made General Wade

Hampton Governor and redeemed the state from carpet-bag and negro rule which had

followed the war.

There were two potent influences brought to bear upon me in

my early days. One was the ooterie of Confederate officers who were our near

neighbors the most distinguished of whom was General, afterwards Judge, Tnh

Wallace. These men frequently assembled in their offices, on the porches of

their old southern homes, and lived over the days of the war. Very often I was

with my father on these occasions and absorbed with greedy ears, as only the small

boy can, the tales of valor and heroism* I am free to confess that love for the

Confederate soldier and my pride in his acts has not diminished with the years.

The second influence was the fact that I, a motherless little

boy, was partly reared by the tender care and love of the old family servants -

especially old "Unole Wiley". This negro had, before the war, been ooaohman

for Uncle Nat and Aunt Betsy Gist) during the war, "body-servant" to General

S. R. Gist, bringing his dead body back home from the battle field and in my

childhood, lived with us, his principal occupation being me, This negro was

remarkable. I have often used him in my lectures to my classes on the Art of

Fiction as an apt illustration of the thesis that the yam-spinners' gift is an

inborn instinct entirely distinct from and independent of library aptitude and

training. I can recall, after more than fifty years, the many, many nights when

a group of us boys sat on our baok steps and listened to him as he spun his

yarns of "Fo' de Wah" and during the war* He spoke a broad, ungrammatical negro

dialect and could neither read nor write (a fact Ot which he was proud)l but never

since, in all my studies of literature, have I had my imagination and emotions

more thrilled. There was, in the old man, a feudal loyalty to the family to which

he belonged that has probably never been surpassed* Then, on stormy nights, I

would creep out to their house in the back yard where his sister, our cook,

would recount to us white children and her black progeny of the second genera-

tion the tales whioh Joel Chandler Harris (who probably got them in the same

fashion) has made famous in his Unole Remaus This influence also abides a

kindly affection for the old negroo

After finishing my local school, I entered Davidson College, the

old Presbyterian College of the South, and was oooupied with my academic work and

my association with boys most of whom had a similar heritage to my own. After

graduation, I, in 1895, entered the English Department of Johns Hopkins University

where I remained, with one year's absence on account of sioknesstill I received

my doctor's degree in 1901. Here, for the first time, I was brought into contact

with men from the North and the West as teachers and fellow-students, I still

recall the shook I experienced when I heard Professor Bright, the head of my depart-

ment, refer to the Confederate soldiers as "Rebels" Dear Dr. Bright He never

knew how narrowly he escaped having the heavy ink-stand which I had clasped in my

hand hurled at his innocent head. I hastily retired from the classroom, and it

took me several days to adjust myself to the situation. In this I was helped by

a number of friends among my fellow-students who came from all parts of the country *

one especially from the city "where the Lodges speak only to the Cabots, and the

Cabots speak only to God."

After receiving my degree, I was offered, through Professor Bright,

several positions in the North and West, and one in the South the English de-

partment of the A. & Me College of Florida, located at Lake City. This last

carried by far the least salary ($900 per annum). Professor Bright advised that

I accept this, both on aooount of my strong Southern bias, and because he foresaw

that soon Florida would need a modern state university. I accepted the position


and began my work which went on uninterruptedly until illness placed me on special


These seem to be the pertinent fats in my life experience which

tend to condition my thinking in regard to the race relationships in the South.

2. Slavery* Turning now from this personal sketch, to the con-

tact of white and black in America, we are faced at once with the general faot which

has been one of the conditions of human relationships beyond historic times the

institution of slavery* With the dsan of historic records we find that human

bondage, one human being owning another human being as chattel, like horse or dog,

was already established and familiars No one, so far as I knew, has attempted to

write a complete history of this human relationship, tracing it throughout all its

manifold ramifications and aspects as it comes down from the most anoaent times.

It has varied from the treatment of the cultured Greek slave by his Roman master,

a relationship based on mutual esteem and kindly consideration, to the unutterable

atrocities inflicted on galley slaves or workers in mines, Some of the most gracious

and some of the blackest pages in human history would have to be written.

It has been suggested that the origin of slavery was philanthropic,

that it was an amelioration of the prior practice of putting to death a conquered

people. In all the earlier ethical systems.- Jewish, Greek and Roman, Buddhistio,

Confusoian, Christian, there is no spoeifio oandemnation of slavery as sueh. In

all these systems the duty of justice, kindness, good will, even brotherly love is

inculcated as between man and man this holding, apparently, between master and manl

but in none of these systems, though the institution of slavery was familiar to all,

is it definitely condemned. It would seem that the same code which prescribed the

attitude of one free man to another equally applied to the master and his bond-slave*

In other words the inference is th thtthe institution per se involved no moral turpi-

tude but only its abuse. In a fairly extensive reading of history I have been able


to find no instance to the contrary before the middle of the eighteenth century,

The present day oonoept, so utterly aooepted by you and me, that slavery is

wrong is so fixed a part of our thinking that its oontradiotion is unthinkable.

It is hard for a generation reared in this atmosphere to realize that the best

thought of other generations was different* This can be paralleled by other

oases. You and I, reared in the atmosphere of religious tolerance find it hard

to realize that only a few centuries ago the best thinkers and the noblest char-

acters thought otherwise believed it was their highest duty to impose their

religious views upon others even at the point of the sword.

This view of slavery as unethical, wrong, abhorrent is only one

aspect of a more general movement which swept over Western Europe in the middle

of the eighteenth century a movement as olear and as important in conditioning

human thought and action in Europe as the Renaissanoe* I have called this move-

ment, for want of a better term, the Humanitarian movement. In literature it is

summed up in Burns' line "a man's a man for a' that." The concept that every

human being, by virtue of the fact that he is a human being, has certain inalien-

able rights rights summed up in our Declaration rights "to life, liberty and

the pursuit of happiness". It is a queer commentary on the inconsistency of

human thought that the rights of the negro slaves should have bean so blandly ig-

nored. This humanitarian movement resulted in the upheaval of the French Revo-

lutions was the philosophical basis of our own government) marked the beginnings

of the orderly democratization of the British governments and numerous efforts

to ameliorate the condition of the down-trodden.

About the opening of the nineteenth century, the British

conscience awoke to the enormity of slavery and especially of the slave-trade,

With their usual practical efficiency, onoe their minds and consciences were

olear, they set about remedying matters so far as it lay within. their power*

2. The Negro Slave in Spanish America. The importation of

negroes, captured in Africa and brought across the ocean in slave ships, began with

the Spaniards, especially in their island settlements, notably Cuba. The cause of

this is clear the Indian slaves who had been forced to the work, had been depleted

by harsh and oruel treatment. This exhaustion of the slave labor supply suggested

that the slave trade which had existed in Afrioa could profitably be turned to the

New World, So a slave trade with its organized equipment for procuring the negroes

and vessels for their transport grew up. The horrors of this trade have been

graphically depicted in history and fiction*

So the negro was introduced into Spanish territory and was

better equipped to withstand the labor and harsh treatment than was his Indian

predecessor. In course of time the slaves were liberated and there has been a

gradual blending of the races* This somewhat bizarre and nondescript racial muddle

is still, it seems to me in a very indeterminate condition* .Will there result a

fusion or amalgamation, physical and oultWal, of the two disparate races producing

a thorough assimilation uhich is equal or superior to its constituent elements? I

speak with due caution and with a sense of my own limited knowledge; but, so far as

my observation and knowledge extend, the answer seems to be clear. The partial

amalgamation ct the two races has produced, in Cuba, say, as an example, a spurious

hybrid, whioh is neither flesh nor fish nor good red herring but an ill-adjusted

and infusible mixture of the weaker aspects of both races*

3. The Negro Slave in English America* The discussion of

this phase of the subject naturally falls into four divisions: (a) the introduction

of negro slavery into the English colonies (b) the growth and expansion of the

institution in the ibuth and its decay and disappearaoI in the north) (o) the War

Between the States and the freeing of the negrol (d) the aftermath.

(a) The introduction of slavery into the colonies was due to

economic conditions. These colonies, founded in the seventeeth century, had

grown rapidly in population, in territory, and in economic activity, industrial

and agricultural, in the earlier decades of the eighteenth century* In the South,

espeoially,the opening up of large territory suitable for agriculture demanded a

body of laborers able. to stand the heat and the rough work of agriculture* The

Amerioan Spaniard had already solved this problem by the importation of the African

negro as slave* The practice had been carried over to the English Barbadoes. Many

of the early English settlers, owning slaves and familiar with the institution,

migrated to the colonial mainland, in some oases bringing their slaves and in all

oases a knowledge of its practice.

It is only just to the people of the South to state that at the

time negro slavery was introduced into America the humanitarian concept of human

rights which condemned slavery had not developed* Slaves were owned in the

Northern colonies and the New England sailors were active in the slave trade. Even

leaders of religious thought viewed it favorably, holding that it was the hand of

God bringing the benighted heathen to a Christian land that their Immortal asoul

might be saved*

The Northern and Southern colonies had begun their New World

life with an inherent difference brought over from AEgland. The Pilgrim Fathers

were the physical and cultural descendants of the Puritans, a bourgeois class who

fled to the New World to escape the religious persecutions of the monarob- and close-

ly akin to their fellows in England who, under Cromwell, set up the commonwealth

and beheaded the king. The settlers of the South were from the beginning sharply

divided into two classes* The landed gentry, allied to the English aristooraoy in

sentiment, came with grants of land or obtained them. The laboring olass, (artisans,

mechanics, agricultural workers) the indentured servants and undoubtedly a

considerable element of undesirables, The Government of the Southern Colonies

was given from the beginning a somewhat feudal oaste. An extreme example of this

was the document drawn up by the philosopher John Looke for the government and

social organization of the Carolina colony.

A second difference that was inherent in the situation developed

rapidly the North turned to industry and trades the South to agriculture.

These two differences, together with the olimatio difference -

the long, hot summers of the South, the harsh, rigorous winters of the North,-

are a full explanation of the fact that slavery grew and flourished in theSouth

and languished and died in the North. I state these facts at length and explicit-

ly, because, as a school boy, I studied histories of our country written by

Northern scholars whioh led one to believe that the sole reason why slavery ex-

isted in the South and not in the North was a moral one.

(b) The growth of slavery in the South was rapid* The landed

gentry, the planter olass, developed with large holdings of land and ever-inoreas-

ing bodies of slaves* Much has been written of this Southern culture its

generous living, its lavish hospitality, its courtesy and chivalry, and, I fear,

its fire-eating proclivities. Much Southern romance and poetry has probably

idealised and over-painted this pleasing picture* Beneath was the grim reality

of hordes of human beings held in bondage* Little of value has been written to

portray the life conditions of the vast majority of these slaves, those that

toiled in the fields under the sting of the overseer's lash to produce the rice,

the tobaooo, the cotton which supported the luxury of their masters. The senti-

ment and pathos of the attachment between master and servant is true, but true

only of a small olass of the slaves the house seri'antI. those whom oame into

close and intimate contact with their owners* Let me illustrate by a concrete

exmple. Mr. Nathaniel Gist was the largest landowner in Union County, South

Carolina. His agricultural activities covered many thousands of acres and he

owned over a thousand slaves. The slaves that oame into actual oontact with him,

whom he know individually, and who knew him, numbered less than one hundred.

The idealisations of the Southern writers are false but the picture

presented to the world of the conditions of Southern slavery in the pages of Mrs.

Stowe's UNCLE TOM'S CABIN are mdre false and infinitely more vicious. It is true

that the incidents narrated in this story oould be paralleled in the South; but

when the story purported to depict the typical and usual conditions of Southern

slavery it was a libelous falsehood*

The fact is that the slave who faithfully performed his duties was

treated with kindness adequately fed, clothed and housed, given ample leisure for

rest and amusement, his physical condition closely observed and oared for, and his

spiritual needs looked after. He was not allowed freedom of movement, liberty in

ohoioe of work and was, by custom and laws out off from the cultural life of the

white man, even to the point of forbidding him to learn to read and write.

This treatment of the negro slave rests upon two facts one economic

and a racial trait of the master. Economically the negro was a valuable piece of

property, and it was to the advantage of the owner that he be kept in good condition

to do his work and to propagate rapidly. The second was the inherent tendency of

the Anglo-Saxon towards a just and humane t itment of the dependent raoe*

That this is true is proved by the fact of the rapid increase in the

body of slaves an increase that soon made it desirable to acquire new lands. As

the frontier moved Westward it became more and more the practice for younger sons of

the slave-owning families to move on with the superfluous slaves where new land

could be obtained. To reour again to my concrete example, Mr. Thomas Gitt, one of

the sons of Nathaniel Gist, moved into Arkansas where his descendants still live.

This attempt to expand the slave-holding territory by the South and a

simultaneous expansion of free territory by the North brought on, naturally, the

first serious overt olash between the sections.

Just as slavery flourished in the South, so in the North there was

a growing sentiment against it. The Southern opinion that this opposition was due

to jealousy and latent antagonism may be partly true, but the larger truth is that by

this time the middle of the century the best thought of the world had condemned

slavery as opposed to its new concept of human rights. The South, economically oom-

mitted to slavery and more isolated from streams of world thought, had not as a whole

been influenced by this concept, though a considerable number of its best thinkers

were in favor of a gradual and orderly abolition of the institution. In the North

this new concept was seized on by a body of zealots and fanatics who were determined

to purge the nation of this horrible condition. That the abolitionists, Garrison

and his oonfreres, were earnest, sincere and right as to the principle is not to be

denied; that they were intemperate, sunrise and fanatical in their methods is equally


(o) The War Between the States, in itself, has little bearing on

our problem. The actual battles, the victories and defeats, as the forces in blue

and gray struggled for supremacy did not, while in progress, modify the status of

master and slave. It is needless here to enter into the controversy as to the

causes of the war, a controversy which has been carried on with acrimony for nearly

three quarters of a century. Why did the eleven slave-holding Southern States

seoede from the Union and form the Confederacy? Why did the Federal Government,

controlled by an administration elected by the vote of non-slave-holding states,

begin the war of aggression to force them back into the Union? Was it the old

antagonism brought from Ehgland? Was it the economic conflict between the indus-

trial and agrarian interests? Was it a conflict over slavery? Was it the result

of the clash of the fiery-tempered Southerner and the fanatical abolitionist?

Or was it political ambition and a desire for political dominance? Some future


historian, with broad enough vision and impartial enough judgment, will weigh these

questions and answer them in the light of truth. He is yet to be born. vei today

every honest thinker, North or South, must candidly own that he cannot be certain

that his judgment is not warped by bias and prejudice.

There is one outstanding fact of significance in this last phase of

Southern slavery. Practically the entire manhood of the South, its s'ooth-oheeked

boys and its gray-haired men, was drawn into the armies. In hundreds of thousands

of homes defenseless woman and children were at the mercy of the slaves. That no

servile insurrection occurred is one of the marvels of history* There are various

causes which contributed to this the nature of the negro the original fighting

instinct of the African tribesman atrophied through generations of enslavement his

lack of powers of organisation and concerted action still manifest among the tribes-

men today his ignorance and the fact that he was on the whole happy and contented

with his lot. It is not difficult to imagine what would have happened, if large

organized bodies of the slaves had arisen, slaughtering the women and children at

home ani cutting off the food supplies of the armies in the field.

Lincoln's a anoipation Proolamation was a war measure, designed to

stimulate and encourage such a move* It was ineffective until the surrender of Lee

at Appomatox, and the establishment by Federal troupe of what is known in the South

as the period of "oarpet-bag! rule*

It is idle to speculate as to what would have happened had the oon-

flict been postponed for another generation. The author is firmly of the opinion

that the leaders of thought in the South would have conformed to world opinion on the

evil of slavery as an ethical wrong and would have perceived that economically, while

it enabled a limited olass to live in luxury, it was detrimental to the best interests

of the whole population. However, the conflict occurred and the Southern armies,

after four years of her6io struggle, were overpowered.

(d) The aftermath of this conflict is the most important period in the history of

the relationship of the two races in the South. The decade from 1866 to 1876

determined the attitude Po the two towards each other and brought about the oomplica-

tions whioh have formed and are still forming a bar to the satisfactory adjustment of

racial relations. This period begins with the assassination of President Lincoln and

the loss of his leadership with its broad human sympathy and its homely oammon-sensel

the weakness of his successor and his inability to cope with the dominant element in

Congress; this dominant element in a Congress filled with the blackest hatred of the

white South and determined to inflict upon its bowed head the utmost humiliation and


The fourteenth amendment to the Federal Constitution was passed and

these ten years are the attempt to force on the South its literal and implied meanings.

The impartial historian of the future will condemn this pieoe of legislation as the

most unwise, the most unstatesmanlike enaOtment that way great legislative body has

ever perpetrated* It rests upon the fanatical seal of visionary idealists and the

hatred and thirst for revenge of a few leaders* The vast majority of Northern oiti-

sens were ignorant or indifferent to its animus and passively aoquiesoed in its at-

tempted enforcement.

It was an attempt to impose, by right of conquest and by force of

arms, the political dominance of the hordes of their just-liberated slaves, ignorant,

illiterate, removed only a step from their ancestral culture, over a highly oivilised

branch of the Anglo-Saxon white.

The broken and defeated Congderate soldiers returned to their homes

to find the economic foundations of their country crumbled to dust and their political

and social organizations blasted. Federal troops took possession of the conquered

territory, governments were set up by Federal appointment, the Freedman's Bureaus

were established, the "oarpet-baggers" and the missionaries looked in, the negroes

were given the ballot. Words fail to paint the horrors of the orgy that ensued

The psychological fact that explains the attitude of the Southern white towards the

negro is the fact that this experience burned into the depths of his soul an awful

dread of its recurrence. Unfortunately and erroneously, the negro bore the brunt

of his resenbment and fear. A calmer ad more dispassionate view sees that the

negro was simply the olub vwilded by those in power to wreak their vengeance, A full

understanding of the white man's reaction to the experience of these ten years is

necessary to understand the whole problem of racial adjustment in the South. His fear

of political dominance by the negro and his resentment at any attempt to break down

the social barriers between the races are a state of mind of the white South that

conditions its thoughts and actions wherever they are called in question. I san

speak with assurance on this point because I was born at the lose of the period and

absorbed its atmosphere with every breath of my youth.

The psychological reaction of the negro is much more difficult for

a white man to grasp and to deosribe* The modes of thought of the black race, no

matter if somewhat modified by the contacts he had with the white man, is basically

different* A second difficulty also arises here which complicates the whole matters

We have hitherto spoken of the slaves as descendants of the original blacks trans-

planted from Africa* That is not the oases From the introduction of the negro

there had been going on a certain amount of crossing between the two races, the

result of cohabitation between white men and negro women* Thus, instead of the two

olean-out and highly differentiated races the black and the white we have a

third, usually spoken of as the mulatto* While both the laws of the Southern states

and social practice classes all persons with negro blood, however.small the propor-

tion, as negroes, lam and social usage cannot nullify biology. These persons are a

hybrid mixture of the two races as far as their physical being is concerned. The

law and the social status, however, imposes upon them the same cultural environment

as that of the pure blood negro. As the mulattoes and negroes freely inter-marry,

there is a wide range of variation in the proportions of the mixture. On the whole

it is probable that the degree of akin pigmentation is a fair test but, if the

Mendelian law is applicable, by no means a sure and accurate one.

The action of the negroes in this period is, to me, a marvel of

restraint when we compare it with similar upheavals the French Revolution of the

eighteenth century, or the Russian of our own day. Backed by the power of the

Federal bayonets, urged on to seise political power by the "carpet-bag" regime,

stimulated to the assertion of economic rights by the Freedman's Bureau, inspired

with educational and social aspirations by the school teachers and "missionaries"

who flocked to their aid, the wonder is not that they indulged in excesses, but

that those excesses were not more violent and bloody* That their obedience to

and fear of their former masters could not be eradicated in a day is trues that'

the awe inspired by the Ku Klux Klan was a restraining force is clear, But this

comparative moderation can best be explained by the nature of the negro whose an-

cestral savagery had been modified by slavery and by contact with the white man's


The negroes were divided into three rather distinct olassess

(1) the field-hands, living on the plantations and having a limited range of ac-

quaintanceship ani intercourse with those of adjoining plantations (2) the house

servants, a small and select group, affectionately united to the masters whom they

personally served; (3) a group of urban negroes, living in the towns as artisans,

carpenters, masons, etao The first group reacted with docile conformity to the

views of their new friends) the second group clung with feudal loyalty to their

former owners) the third group furnished the aggressive leadership in the attempt

to establish the new order.

With 176, this period oomes to a close. The old leadership

with its ruthless hatred of the South had given place, in Congress, to younger

men less influenced by old antagonisms. The old dream of the idealists, of trans-

forming the negro-over-night into a oitisen capable of exercising his franchise

with intelligence and into a oivilised man capable of taking an equal part in the

complex society of hi. day, had faded with the futility of its accomplishment.

The bulk of northern voters were still more indifferent to the issue. It was

clearly seen that the status quo of this period could be maintained only by the

presence of large bodies of Federal groups in each state a costly proceeding

with little to be gained in returns

There is a story which gives a more explicit explanation

which I have never seen in print and tell for what it was worth. When I was a boy

(about ten, I think) General Hampton, the United States Senator, visited Union, S. C.,

and was entertained by my father* That evening a group of old Confederate soldiers

oase to pay their respects. As they sat chatting on our front poroh, the conversa-

tion naturally turned to the recovery of the state government, a movement in which

Senator Hampton was the leading figure* He stated,as I recall it, that Tilden,

the Demooratio candidate for the Presidency, had been elected, but had agreed to

the decision which placed his Republican opponent in the office in return for allow-

ing the Southern whites to reassume the governments of their states* I give this

story for what it is worth a.memory of a conversation heard in my boyhood some

fifty odd years ago*

The next period extends from the recovery of their state govern-

ments by the white people of the South to the organization of the Race Commission -

(1876-1911)* During this time various changes had occurred*

First, the Southern white determined that the negro should never

again threaten his political dominance, nor even hold a balance of power in

factional political struggles. To this end it was necessary to devise


methods to practically nullify the fourteenth amendment and various amendments

to State Constitutions were made and so administered that the blacks were excluded

fran the ballot. The negroes (as a whole) have accepted this status with apathetic

indifference, and apparently give no thought to the matter. Occasional rumbling of

threats of investigation were heard in Congress, but the North has acquiesced.

Along with this was his exclusion from office and jury duty.

To exclude the negro from anything like social contact with the

whites, the "Jim Crow" laws for public carriers were passed, and the negroes

were strictly segregated in the homes in all urban communities. In their contacts

the white man demanded a certain amount of deference, and often subservience, from

the negro.

Along with his freedom, the negro's economic right to his wage,

to aooumlation of property his legal right to a fair trial in the courts! his

right to a share (meager, it is true) in educational opportunity were not

questioned by the whites. In these matters the urban negro was favored* The

rural negro, remaining on the farms as tenant or share-oropper was ruthlessly ex-

ploited and his condition was little better than that of the serf.

Some important changes took place. There was a decided shift

from the rural districts to the urban. On the whole, the more independent, the

more enterprising, the more intelligent tended to seek the advantages offered

them in the cities and towns. Later, this was still further extended and large

numbers of negroes migrated to the North and West. The negro population, .as a

whole, was increasing, but not in proportion to the white i*.e., the percentage of

negroes to the total population was progressivtly decreasing.

An illiterate was being transOnrmcd into a literate.

Public schools were maintained and were, especially in the urban districts, largely

attended. Each of the states had one of the "Land Grant" colleges, supported in


part by Federal funds. Numerous private foundations, largely supported by Northern

philanthropists, existed. And several colleges, like Fiske, Howard, Hampton and

Tuskeegeq,were doing excellent work*

In every rural district there were emerging suooessful

and well-to-do farmers who owned their land* In every town there was a growing body

of intelligent, honest, industrious, law-abiding, home-owning negroes who commanded

the respect ani liking of the better element of the white race. There were, through-

out the country, small groups of highly educated and, in some oases, brilliantly en-

dowed negroes largely on the faculties of the colleges and in the larger cities of

the North. This last group constituted the mouth-piece adn intellectual leadership

of the roe. This leadership was divided into two opposed shoools of thought in their

philosophy of racial relations. The gifted writer, DuBose, represented one school

in its demand that the negro be given his full political and social rights, with no

compromise or conciliatory gesture towards the white. The other school of thought

was led by suoh men as Booker To Washington, Fisher, Moton, who were anxious to co-

operate with the Southern white to bring about friendly relations) to ameliorate

some of the worst conditions that handicapped their raoeb and to inouloate patience

and forbearance in minimizing race friction. They were willing to allow the politi-

oal situation to work itself out in time, and they denied emphatically any desire for

misnamed "social equality",

There existed, through the period, a smouldering antagoa-

ism between the races which burst into flames occasionally in race riots that re-

sulted in destruction of property and bloodshed. The lynching of negroes, some-

times with bestial brutality, primarily for rape or attempted rape on some white

woman, but frequently for much lesser offenses, occurred with alarming regularity

throughout the South.

The worst feature of the situation was that public

sentiment in the white South had placed an absolute taboo on any sane discussion

of the racial situation any oriticism of Southern action and any suggestions of

an amelioration of the negro's condition was met by a howl of execration. A

typical case came under my observation. Dr. Andrew Sledd, a former President of

the University of Florida and now a teacher in the Theological School of Enory

University, had this experiemse. From intimate personal knowledge I oan say that

he was one of the clearest thinkers in the South a man whose sense of right and

justice was abnormally keen, endowed with physioalaental and moral courage in an

extraordinary degree, given to espousing hopeless causes, and, I fear, with a de-

oided flair for courting martyrdom. At the time of this incident, he was professor

of Latin in the older Bnory of which his father-in-law, Bishop Candler, was Presi-


He wrote an article condemning in no uncertain terms

the practice of lynching negroes in the South. Unfortunately, this article was

printed in the Independent, a publication notoriously hostile to the South. At

first it passed unnoticed, but it was used by a Mrs* Felton for a sensational story

in the Atlanta Constitution in which, by misinterpretation and garbled quotation,

it was represented as a malignant and traitorous attack upon the FAir name of the

South. Throughout Georgia and the whole South indignation grew and Sledd was, in

the vernacular, the arch example of the "damned Yankeeized" Southern traitor. He

told me that for weeks he slept with a rifle beside him, expecting ny night a mob

would attempt to tar and feather lynch him* His connection with ]nory was injuring

the institution, and he was forced to resign.

These two chapters are not offered as an introduction,

but as an organic and integral part of any account of the Race Commission and its

work. They are primarily the facts, opinions and generalizations which were in my

own mind, and I am sure that they equally express the minds of the other members of

the Raoe Commission, We were a si~alarly homogeneous group in heredity

(excepting Professor Josiah Morse of the University of South Carolina, who was a

Jew), in youthful environment, in intellectual training, and in our oooupation.

This is confirmed by the harmony of our meetings and the unanimity of our de-





(A) The Founder of the Commission

No aooount of the Race Commission would begin without introducing

at once the man who conceived the idea, who brought the Commission into existence,

who found ways and means of financing its activities, and during its duration

served as its guide, mentor and friend* Dr. Jas. H. Dillard, a Virginian by birth,

began his career as a teacher in the Norfolk Academy. He became a professor in

Washington and Lee University and later in Tulane. In both institutions he was

recognized as a splendid teacher, a wise administrator and a profound student of

public affairs. From these academic and professional duties, he was invited to

become the administrative head of two large bequests by Northern philanthropists,

the Jeanes and Slater funds, the income from which was devoted to the furtheranoe

of negro education in the South* This was a happy choice and overcame the two

difficulties which had thwarted all Northern philanthropic efforts to aid the

negro their administration from a distance and by men with little or no knowl-

edge of either the negro, himself, or the whites by whom he was surrounded.

Through his administrative work, he was brought into daily oontaot

with the racial situation in every part of the South and received it from both

races alike* His body of observation and knowledge, his broad human sympathy

and understanding, his years of study and meditation equipped him with a grasp of

the subject of ramn4s relationships in the South that was not equalled by that of

any other man in America*

He saw clearly that little or no progress oould be made in

betterment of raoe relationships so long as resentment, fear and antagonism

between the races oonditibned all thinking on the subject. The silly senti-

mentality of idealists and "reformers", the vengeful mood of the politician,

the sullen resentment of the negro, the fear psychosis of the Southern white

had rendered all rational thinking impossible. Through this murky atmosphere

oould be heard the ballyhoo of the cheap-John politician the preservation of

white supremacy in the South, the guarding of the purity of Southern womanhood,

eteo, ad nauseam* What was needed was some olear, hard-headed facing of the

facts, some impartial and unbiased thinking in terms of a broad humanitarianism,

some candid and courageous utterance wMoh, by virtue of its source, could oom-

mand attention and respeCt. Dr. Dillard, a life-long member of white college

faculties and now being brought into daily contact with educators of the negro

race, naturally turned to this source for material. Be conceived the idea of

organizing a commission composed of one member from each of the eleven state:

universities of the South* He laid the plan before the presidents of these

institutions and they all agreed to cooperate with him in this undertaking.

(B) The University Presidents and the Appointment of the Commission.

Let me partially digress to throw further light on this situation.

I am speaking with simple knowledge and experience, having served as vice-president

and frequently as acting president of the University of Florida, when I say that

it is the duty of the president of a state university, which depends for its

financial support on legislative appropriations, to see that his institution

stands in favor with the voters and receives their unqualified support. If

the institution antagonised the feelings of the citizens and fell into disfavor

its inoome would be imperilled and maybe destroyed* Academio freedom is a

splendid theory and in an ideal community works, but in the praotioal adminis-

tration of a state university, it must be limited.

A few years prior to the formation of the Commission, the University

of Florida had had an experience of this kind* We had a young professor of

history, a native of Georgia, a graduate of Emory and a doctor of philosophy

from Harvard. He wrote an article comparing the statesmanship of Abraham

Lincoln and Jefferson Davis in which the ats of t he former were lauded and

those of the latter severely oriticised. He first read this paper before a

faculty alub. I recall that my comment was, "Beautiful English, Dr. Banks,

but rotten history" I learned that he intended having it printed and im-

mediately went to him to protest. I left him, thinking he had agree not to

publish. Shortly afterward, however, and on the eve of a legislative assembly,

it appeared in print* It caused a furor the Confederate veterans, the U.D.C.

and the public demanded I&s resignationand threats of legislative investiga-

tion were rife. I advised him to resign, and told him plainly that otherwise

he would seriously ripple the usefulness of the institution* He resigned and

the incident was closed*

I have introduced this incident to point out the fact that presidents

of the institutions, who were able, wise and conscientious administrators, were

aware of what they were committing themselves and their institutions to. That

they assented shows their moral courage, the broadness of their views, and also,

I t'ink, their confidence in the judgment of Dr. Dillard*

I well remember the day President Murphree received Dr. Dillard's

letter* That afternoon, as we were leaving Language Hall, he asked me to bring

Mrs. Farr over after supper as he had an important.matter to discuss. When we

were closeted in his study, he gave me Dr. Dillard's letter* I read it, getting

the gist of its propositions reread it more carefully took a few long puff of

my old cornoob pipe, and read it a third time. Then I turned to Murphree to hear

his view. Frankly, I had expected that he would agree with me in my first im-

pression that it was a dangerous proposition, loaded with dynamite, and that we

had better reject it.

One of the finest assets that Murphree brought to the task of es-

tablishing Florida's infant university was his acute sensitiveness to the politi-

oal atmosphere. Only those who went through that struggle can know how grueling

it was. His policy had always been to steer the University clear of any dangers

that might threaten its popularity with the oitisens of the state* Consequently,

I was surprised when I found that he, while fully aware of the danger in the situa-

tion, was, on the whole, inclined to aooept* After discussing the matter pro and

oon for several hours, we were interrupted by the entrance of our wives who insisted

that it was time that all honest people were at home and in bed. I left, with

the final suggestion that he get in touch with the presidents of the other insti-

tutions and learn their intentions*

So the matter rested, for a week or ten days* Then I was called to

his office and informed that, after corresponding with the other presidents, he

would accept Dr. Dillard's proposition. He added that they agreed that the crux

of the situation lay in choosing the right man from each faculty, one whose

judgment and discretion could be trusted* Then, with that charming smile and

manner which made President Murphree the best loved man in the state, he abruptly

asked, "Will you accept the appointment?" My first impulse was to refuse. I was

already carrying a larger load of work than any reasonable man should assume, gn

personal teaching, the supervision of the largest department of the University,

ohairmanship of several of the most important committees and a sharing with

President Murphree the burdens of the administration* I dreaded adding another

interest to my life that might make serious inroads on my time and energy. In

addition I dislike newspaper notoriety, am temperamentally opposed to visionary

idealists ard professional reformerss, and have no desire for the crown of mar-

tyrdom in an unpopular cause* However, when Murphree repeated, more emphatically

and a little more sternly, that he desired me to aooept, that ended the matter*

I aooepted. I may say that no regret, but only profound gratitude, is my portion

that the experiences gained by my association with the Race Commission have become

a part of my life.

(C) The organisation of the Commission.

As a preliminary to this part of this paper, let me repeat what I

have said in the Foreword this is not an historical document, with a detailed

and accurate chronology based upon a complete collection and survey of the doou-

mentary data. After an exhaustive and exhausting effort through the mails, ex-

tending over many wearymonths, I was unable to obtain one side item of value.

Even my own papers, bearing on it, were left at my office at the University

when I was taken ill, and, in preparing the office for oooupanoy by another, they

were lost or destroyed. So, by necessity and the force of unavoidable oiroum-

stances, I an relying wholly upon my memory a memory never good in retaining

accurate dates or names of persons and places, but tenacious in holding vivid

pictures of personalities and in preserving faots, opinions and generalizations.

I am writing from a sickbed, in a little cottage in the woods off the coast of

Florida with, I believe, only three books aacessible the Bible, last year's

Seminole and a Sears, Roebuok catalogue. At first, I was bitterly discouraged

and disappointed that I could not make this paper what I had projected; but

now as it develops in its present form I am convinced that what I an recording

is the significant and important aspect after all*

To resume the story After the various members of the Commission

had been chosen, a preliminary conference was called by Dr, Dillard to meet at

the Hotel Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee. It was, I think, during the

Christmas holidays of 1911, We all arrived during the course of the day and

were met by Dr. Dillard, who introduced us, all, I believe, perfect strangers

to each other. We collected around a large table for supper and the social

tone which characterised our hours of relaxation out of out formal meetings

was began. It consi sted mainly of anecdotes recounted by Dr. Dillard and

others from apparently inexhaustible stores* After this meal we assembled

in one of the private parlors and were called to order by the good doctor.

He gave us a brief, vigorous, clear aoount of what led to the forming of the

Commission, and suggested that we immediately effect a permanent organisation.

As we were strangers to eaoh other, we appealed to him for advice* He suggested

that we elect Professor Brough, head of the department of Sociology at the University

of Arkansas as chairman, and Professor Hundley, Associate Professor of Sociology at

the University of Virginia as secretary. Professor Brough assumed the chair, and

the Commission was in existence.

There was an expectant pause, and all eyes turned to Dr. Dillard

again# At this he defined his position tersely but vigorously* He was not a

member of the Commission. They were now responsible for their own work and

must in no sense be under his tutelage nor an organ to express his views) but,

if desired, he would always attend the meetings and be at their service. On

motion, he was elected honorary member and advisor of the Commission. Then the

conference was thrown open to suggestions from the members* We were a body of

school teachers inured, by daily routine, to interminable hours of Ceoturing

to olases. Talking was our profession, talking ably and authoritatively on

subjects of which we were master) talking still more fluently and verbosely

on subjects where it was necessary to oonoeal our ignorance. So we talked, -

talked singly, talked in groups, talked all at once. Then we talked more

and continued to talk as the hours sped by. Dr. Dillard sat by, patiently

listening with a a ile on his face* As the wee ama' hours approached, he

suggested we adjourn for the night, We dispersed through the corridors to

our rooms, still talking, and I have no doubt that some of us continued to

talk in our sleep*

As I lay awake, my mind was busy with the personnel of this

Commission of which I found myself a part. I regret that the name and per-

sonality of sone have entirely faded, and in other oases the personality is

still vivid while the nans escapes me. But my impression of the group as

a whole is clear. In many respects it was a singularly homogenous gathering*

All (with the exception of Morse of South Carolina) were from Southern stook,

all were born and reared in the South and attended Southern schools, all had

pursued advanced courses in the great institutions of the country, and all

were engaged in teaching in the state universities of the South. Their aoa-

demic fields were varied 8 in Soolology; 2 in Education; 1 eaoh in Economics,

Agriculture, Latin, Psychology, English and History. They were all men of

middle agel Dr. Sutton of Texas being the oldest, and Professor Hundley of

Virginia the youngest. All were men trained to scientific methods of thought,

and all were aooepting this mission with seal and earnestness.

We reassembled next morning; each of us, I think, with the con-

soiousness of the futility of the night's discussion* As is well-known, every

Southern man, old or young, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, oan talk fluently

on the social situation; and eaoh one confidently puts forward a solution of

its difficulties, ranging from disposing of the negro by massacre, deportation

to Africa, or segregation on government reservations, as with the IWdian, : -

to a future amalgamation of the races. We had been guilty of this very thing.

Now we settled down to serious discussion. One consideration emerged with

perfect unanimity our own woeful ignorance of the subject. When we oon-

trasted our years of study, of thought, of investigation that we had devoted

to our special fields of knowledge with the casual supeoricial observation

and the lack of careful and accurate investigation and of thought and medita-

tion that we had devoted to this, we realized that our first need was to edu-

oate ourselves. This was definitely determined that the year should be

spent as far as our other duties permitted, in gaining some real insight into

the situation* We agreed to read all the literature on the immediate subject,

and subject it to rigorous analysis and, as far as possible, to pursue the sub-

ject in its wider ramifications into the fields of ethnology, history, sociology,

psychology, and to aooompany this by a case study method in our immediate en-

vironment* Our second decision was that as we represented the educational leader-

ship of the whites, our closest point of contact with the negro would be through

his educational leadership) and in aooordanoe with this, that our next annual

meeting should be held at one of the leading colored colleges. The choice of

place and the arrangements for the meeting were referred to a committee composed

of Dr. Dillard and Professors Brough and Hundley. Besides these two formal

actions, two other steps had been taken, the members were becoming acquainted

and were finding that they could work in harmonious understandingS and by in-

formal discussion each of us individually found that the combined mind of the

Commission had raised many points for investigation and study that had not oo-

ourred to us separately*

The meeting adjourned in a mood of harmonious optimism. We left

Nashville for our respective homes, each of us determined, I am sure, to come

to the next meeting more adequately equipped for our work.

My activity along this line during the ensuing year was typical

(as I learned) of hat all the members of the Commission were doing, On my

return to Gainesville, I reported to President Murphree and was asked by him

to give a brief aooount of the meeting to the faculty* As soon as possible,

I procured personally and through library funds, an almost complete collection

of the literature on the subject and devoted much time to a thorough, systematic

study of its content. I began reading, on a somewhat ambitious scale, ethnologi-

oal, historical and psychological works that would throw light on racial condi-

tions, racial contats, racial struggles. I began my case study of the subject

with the material closest to hand my oooks He had been in my employ for

about fifteen years and was not only an excellent sook but an excellent man,

highly respected by both races in the community. Chisholm and I were not only

satisfied employer and employee, but were good friends. When he found that I

was serious in desiring him to discuss with me the multitude of questions in my

mind and to express himself with utmost candor, he complied. This was a liberal

education in itself* My infancy had been roared for by negroesl as a boy, I had

played with the negro children of my agej as a youth, I grew up among them) and

had, in my manhood, come into daily contact with them. But these frank talks with

my negro oook gave me more insight into the negro mind than all the forty previous

years had bestowed Through him I made ocataot with the leading negroes of the

town) a doctor, a dentist, the school principal, two leading preachers, and four

business men with sound commercial rating* From many years of handling college

boys, I had learned that like produces like) if you desired candor and truthful-

ness from them, you must give them candor and truthfulness. I applied this in

my talks with these negroes and got may oandid and truthful expressions of what

was in their minds in regard to race relationships.

I made a considerable examination of the living conditions of

the negro the conditions of the streets on which they lived, their homes

with their sanitation, their furniture, their amount of conveniences and onm-

forts, etoe I visited the school and, with the connivance of the principal,

was able to witness the teaching of classes without the knowledge of teacher

or pupil, I attended services in their church. And once, through the aid of a

friend on the police force, I witnessed a thrilling and exciting orap games

During the year I visited, on official business for the university,

several of the towns in the state and, so far as time and opportunity offered,

repeated these investigations* Throughout the year I was conducting week-end

classes in extension work in Jacksonville and had time and opportunity to con-

tinue these observations in one of the larger urban centers.

Along with this, I was also interested in one line of inquiry as

to the white race, I had learnedbfrom the standpoint of the University, that

the four powers that produced public opinion in America were the Press, the

Pulpit, the Politician and the Pedagogue* I was desirous of feeling out how

far they would go in helping to influence the people along lines indicated by

us* I talked with several editors and found them open-minded, mildly sympathetic

but absolutely averse to committing their papers to any stend* With sorrow, I

state the fact that I found the preachers willing to talk of brotherly love and

Christian duty, but when it came down to a discussion of racial relations, none

of them was willing to have the matter discussed in their churches. The poli-

ticians whom I encountered, with two notable exceptions, had closed minds.

Nothing that might interfere with their popularity with the masses could even be

thought about, much less discussed. The school teachers were by far the most

open-minded group, the most sympathetic and the most willing to cooperate in any

movement for the betterment of human relations.

I spent the rwamer vacation in my home town in South Carolina and had

opportunity to study a large agricultural negro population. I found a few farmers

who by intelligence, energy and thrift were suooessful, owvning their land and making

a good living a considerable number of wage-earners and tenant farmers, who were

in comfortable condition, an a mass of "share-oroppere", whose oonditionsphysi-

oally, economically and mentally, was deplorable*

When we met again in Atlanta for our conference at Howard University

we were a different set of men. Our ideas as to the nature of our work were be-

coming olearand definite methods of procedure and definite lines of action were

beginning to orystallizse



In this chapter, I shall not attempt to give a ohronologioally exaot ao-

oount of the various meetings of the Commission and the details of its transactions.

That method would not convey as true a picture of its work as an analysis of its

various activities and the import and scope of each the method I shall use.

These activities divide naturally into the collective acts of the Com-

mission as such, and the individual activities, each within his own territory, of

the members.

The collective acts were first, establishment of contact with the lead-

era of thought of the colored people of the Southj second, conferences in which the

large masses of data which we were aooumulating were assembled, analysed and evalu-

ated! third, the issuing through the press, from time to time, of manifestoes em-

bodying our findings and recommendations and, fourth, miscellaneous projects which

grew out of our work,

That the intellectual leadership of the colored people was concentrated

in the institutions of higher learning, was obvious* From these there were going

out,,each year, large numbers of graduates who were, as preachers, assohoolteaehers,

as business and professional men, becoming the leaders in their various communities.

In thl,.o centers were collected bodies of intelligent and highly educated negro men

and women who, through contact with their students, were brought into daily touthz

with the streams of thought and feeling which were flowing in the minds of Southern

negroes. They, in turn, were sending back, through their students, their owr

thoughts and oonolusionse So we, as college men, naturally turned to this quarter,

both as a means of learning what was in the mind of the colored man and as a means

of transmitting to him what was in ours* Thus began our series of annual meetings

at the various schools Howard, Fiske, Hampton and Tuskeegee.

Our experiences were so similar in all oases that they may readily be

discussed collectively Dr. Dillard and Professor Hundley chose the institution

and made preliminary arrangements for our reception, We were notified of the

time and plaoe of meeting, and assembled on the day appointed. After a short

conference at our hotel, we proceeded to the campus* In all oases we were met

by the administrative head with utmost cordiality, and the institution was put at

our command. We spent part of the morning in examining the plant, watching some

of the classes (Iwas particularly interested in the English instruction and litera-

ry equipment), attending the chapel assembly where one or more of us were asked to

address the student body* At noon we were seated in a private dining room and

served a delicious lunoh.

The vital part of the proceedings began in the afternoon and usually

extended far into the night the conference with the faculty of the institution.

We had discussed our attitude in these meetings, and a definite procedure and

policy had been formulated. We must take the initiative and state clearly why

we were there and the basis on which we desired the conference to be conducted*

Chairman Brough opened the meeting with a short address which, at one time, I

could repeat verbatim as I had helped him in its composition and had listened

to it often* The gist of it was as follows that we recognized that prejudice.

and antagonism partly biological, but intensified by the series of events which

had brought the races to their situation that the two were here commingled in

a common land and under a oomon government which would continue indefinitely

that it Was our belief that this antagomiom should be mininised and that a spirit

of good will should be promoted. To this he added that we, as a Commission, were

pledged to a soientifio, impartial study of ra6e relationships, freed as far as

humanly possible from all bias and prejudices that to this end we must have a true

and aacurate knowledge of what was in the negro heart and mind and had come to them

for its that we promised them absolute candor in discussing any and all phases

of the question and requested a reoiprooationj and, finally, that no offense

would be intended or taken at whatever should be Iluad The response was in-

statuaneous and emphatioe They were willing nay, eager for this opportunity,

and they promised to unfold their minds unreservedly.

A stenographio report of these oonferenons would fill volumes. Every

conceivable, and in some cases scarcely conceivable question was raised# Only

those questions of vital important that dwell in my memory oan be recounted*

One of the first questions raised was what was the oonoept of eaoh

raoe by the other, We told them that the average white man of the South regarded

the typical negro as lay, shiftless, irresponsible, dishonest and filthy. We

learned that the average negro regarded the typical white man as arrogant, tyran-

nical, unfair in his dealings, hypocritical in his religious professions and, on

occasion, lawless, brutal and blood-thirsty.

The question of the disfranchisement of the negro in the Southern

states was raised* Our views, as set forth in a preceding chapter, were pre-

sented* We acknowledged that there were groups of negroes who, by virtue of in-.

telligenoe and character, could be safely entrusted with the ballot, more so than

certain whites, but that any agitation of that aspect of the subject would be futile

and unwise* The North, at least negatively, had aoquiesoed in the disfranchise-

ment and the prevailing sentiment there was that the South should be allowed to

work out its wnm problem~ that no practical administrative machinery could be de-

vised for successful partial enfranchisement) that the color line was the only

feasible line to draw that any agitation of this issue would serve only to arouse

Southern antagonism and would destroy any chances for progress in other lines

We found their response ran from aoceptanoe of our view to the other extreme of

passionate demand that the fourteenth amendment should be enforced by the Federal

Government at any boost Hampton and Tuakeegee leaning toward the former, Howard

and Fiake to the latter view.

The so-called "sooial equality" question, the second point on which

Southern susceptibilities were extremely sensitive, was disoussedo My own contri-

bution was an attempt to point out that this term was a misnomer which obscured and

confused the real issue. "Equality" is a mathematical term x e y and no bias

or prejudice changes that fact. If two sooial groups, no matter of what race or

color, have similar oharacteristios of enlightenment, culture, refinement, tastes,

ideals, and what not that determine the eaoial scale, they are equal If one has

these qualities in a superior degree to another, they are not equal again race

or oolor not affecting the mathematics of the situation. A mere statement makes

this obvious. What the Southern white enforced was a ban on what should be correct-

ly called "social intermingling" both in its narrow sense of social intercourse

between individuals, families and groups and also in its wider public aspects of

separation in religion, education, location of homes, public carriers and hotels,

places of amusement and recreation. This attitude on the part of the Southern

white, was founded on one of the deepest instincts of the Anglo-Saxon race the

preservation of racial purity.

We found among these negro leaders a unanimous agreement that neither

for themselves personally,nor for their raoe, did they desire any social intercourse.

Nowhere did we hear an eoho of the strident shrieks of a DuBose because the Southern

whites had failed to accept him socially. When,at Hampton, I asked this direct

question of Major Moton he turned to me with a cheerful grin, and answered "Now,

look here, Dr. Farr, suppose I oame to Gainesville and you, through the kindness of

your heart, should ask me to dinner with your family and friends, don't you know you'd

embarrass me more than yourself? I should want to meet you in your office and

discuss matters of mutual interest, but as for an invitation to dinner t" and

he dismissed the matter with a shrug of his massive shoulders.

In matters of public intermingling, they showed no serious objection

provided, as was not the oase, that in such as were affected by law education,

public carriers, negro quarters, eto. adequate and reasonable provision for

the welfare of the negro should be made.

After this would follow a discussion of a rather formidable list of

grievances and injustices which were being inflicted on their race* First, and

the most embarrassing for us to face, was lynching. -At Tuskeegee we found a

complete list of the lynching of negroes by white mobs in the South, and a detailed

case-history of each, Many of them were for trivial offenses petty thievery,

impudencee" to a white man 4- and many where characterized by scenes of brutal

strooity. We offered no justification, defense or palliation, and freely acknowl-

edged that they were a horrid stain on our civilization which the law-abiding

citizens should stanp out*

Second, in importance, was the charge of unjust discrimination in

publicly supported provision for educational opportunity, We acknowledged that

it was a deplorable situation, but pointed out that there were many inherent dif-

ficulties, There were many intelligent oitisens, well-disposed to their race, who

honestly questioned the wisdom of trying to educate the negroes. I cited my own

father as an example, a deeply religious man whose life was devoted to community

service and whose kindness towards negroes was notorious. He died in the belief

that money expended on negro education was wasted and was positively harmful to the

race* Students of history will recall a similar attitude of a Colonial governor of

Virginia to the lower white classes of that state* There were serious financial

difficulties where white education itself was handicapped by the meagerness of

funds. In the black districts of South Carolina and Mississippi the situation was

hopeless. But that matters could, and, in the course of time, would improve was

our view.

This lias could be infinitely extended, but space forbids* Objection

was raised to the Eontemptious connotations contained in the term "nigger" as ap-

plied indiscriminately to all members of the race, no matter what their intellectual

or cultural standing to the practice of using abusive and profane language towards

negro laborers and domestic servants to the violation of negro women's virtue and

the lack of any method ct redress. These, and numerous other questions, ranging

from the serious to the trivial and puerile, were frankly discussed by both parties.

No body of white men, before or since, has had such an opportunity to gain an in-

sight into the minds of the leaders of the black race as had we.

We carried from these meetings not only a vast fund of information, but

an impression of a group of men and women of intelligence, thorough training, earnest,

sincere and upright a body that would not suffer seriously in comparison with a

similar group among the whites. Of them all, to me the outstanding personality was

Major Moton, then Commandant of cadets at bampton, later the suoeessor of Booker T.

Washington, at Tuskeegee. Physically, he was a splendid example of the negro at his

best intellectually keen, and his thought charaoterised by.a hard common-sense, moral-

ly serious and earnest, tinged by a fine sense of humor an impressive personality*

It is interesting to record that at our second meeting we had a self-

invited guest in the person of Dr* 8pingard of Columbia University, a leading mem-

ber ( I believe) of the Society for the Advancement of the Negro Race. He requested

passion to join us in our conferences. After some hesitation and debate we oon-

sented. He left the meetings, I am sure, much disgusted with our (to him) lukewarm

espousal of the negro cause and disgruntled that he had not been invited to air his

views for our benefits

After our adjournment, it happened that he and I were detained in Atlanta by our

trains. He invited me to supper and I gladly accepted. Over oigars and coffee

we discussed the situation for several hours. He appeared to me as an excellent

example of the idealistic visionary "reformer", a type that has done much harm and

little good because their fundamental defeat is a lack of hard, rugged "horse-

sense" The emotional appeal in the causes they espouse overpowers any sanity of

judgment they might possess. I enjoyed the experiene, but was not in the slight-

eat influenced by his views but rather confirmed in my own. I told him, laughingly,

as we parted, that I thought there was enough needing reform in his own little town

of New York to keep him occupied, and that any attempted intervention by himself or

his society with our work would be harmful*

One of our meetings stands apart from the others, and should be so recorded*

In the fall of 1914 the attention of the oomntry was concentrated on Europe, and the

front page of our press was almost entirely occupied by news from abroad* Our meet-

ings were losing their news value, and something was needed to stimulate public

interest. Dr* Dillard ani Professor Hundley arranged with Secretary Tumulty for an

interview with the President of the United States* President Wilson was of Southern

birth and a leader of the Demooratio party. His endorsement would not only call

public attention to us but would add prestige and official sanction*

We were notified of the arrangements and were called to meet during

the Ohristmas holidays* I left Jacksonville on a night of sweltering heat and arrived

next day in Washington to find the city in the clutches of a oold wave, the streets

covered with snow and iee. Our preliminary meeting was held in the New Willard and

was spent in listening to the address prepared by Dr, Brough for the occasion* It

was an excellent paper, setting forth our aims aid objects, which took something over

an hour to read* Most of us realized the absurdity of the situation the demands

on the President's time meant that only a few minutes could be allowed us. So

some of us oauoussed against Brough and agreed to whittle down his production. We

spent the evening and part of the next morning, each of us in turn getting him to

read parts and then advising strongly that certain paragraphs be omitted# By noon

we had suooeeded in reducing the document to a brief statement of about ten minutes'


When the time arrived we marched across to the White House grounds,

were halted in front of the executive offices for the press cameramen to "shoot" us,

and were marshalled into the outer executive office* After a brief delay, President

Wilson appeared from his inner office. We were in turn presented to him. It. happened

that I was the only member of the Commission who had previous personal acquaintance

with him. Be and I were fellow alumni of Bavidson College, North Carolina, and while

at Hopkins I had attended for several years courses of lectures which he oame from

Prinoeton to deliver. In addition, his maternal unole, Dr. James Woodrow, President

of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Columbia, South Carolina, and my father

had been lifelong friends* So, when he recognized me and made some personal inquiries

which showed that he placedd" me, I was greatly pleased and flattered and puffed up

over my associates* Introductions over, Brouih made his now shrunken speech and the

President replied in a simple, informal way, saying that he was sure that the Commission

was to be fully trusted to carry out its important task, and that we had his best

wishes in our work* He closed by telling us that once upon a time Charles Lamb

was asked by a friend if he did not hate a certain person. Lamb had replied

"Hate himt How could IT I know him." A better relation between the two races

should be based upon a better knowledge and understanding by each of the other. On

this note our interview with Woodrow Wilson ended. Both publicity and endorsement

had been attained*

While on this personal note, let me add an experience of ours at

Hampton. We met at Charlottesville, at that time Dr. Dillard's home, and from there

went to Richmond for a day' s sojourn. A brlilliant young writer on the staff of the

TIMES-DISPATCH had been assigned to cover our stay, He turned out to be Rion MoKissiok

who was born end reared in my native South Carolina town, and whose parents and mi16

were intimate friends He was also a "orony" 6f my ponfrere Hundley, They de.

oided that they would out the evening conference and show me the sights of the town,

Their idea of showing me the town seems to have been to induce me to drink, with

them, innumerable steins of Book beer, Now of all the devices which have been

perpetrated by the malicious ingenuity of men to torture his fellowman, the drink-

ing of Book beer is the sost devilish, I was determined not to be a spoil-sport,

so I quaffed with them stein after stein -(barrel after barrel, it seemed to me) of

the vile ooncootiapn With each stein the wheels within my head revolved with greater

rapidity I awoke in my hotel bed next morning with a bursting head and a consuming

thirst for cold water9 This Rion MoKissiok is now the distinguished and honored

head of the University of South Carolinat I give the incident to explain why Hundley

and I were absent from the conference and why the press aooount was meager.

Second, at each of our meetings we spent long hours in conference,

each of us bringing what he had garnered during the year to the common took. This

mass was collaborated and subjected to rigorous analysis and interpretation. Let

me give an example or two from my own contribution. The question as to racial mix-

ture had arisen what proportion of the negro race had white blood in its veins

and was the practice of miscegenation increasing or decreasing? I was spending the

three months of my summer vacation with my father in upper South Carolina with an

abundant leisure on my hands. It was the custom for practically the whole of the

negro population to flook to the county seat every Saturday. I prepared a scale of

skin pigmentation from the blaok through various degrees (eight) of mulatto,and every

Saturday for thrgg i6nth; I stood on the corner of the main street where all the

negroes passed during the day and tabulated my observations. Then I studied three


large negro families in the town whose ancestors had resided there froad early

Colonial times, acquiring much information from older members of both races as to

parentage. I founds on the whole, that the degree of pigmentation was a fairly

accurate measure of the proportions of the two bloodstreams. On the other hand, I

found some clear indications of the Mendelian lawe I found a negro youth with every

mark of pure African descent, skin, hair, eyes, mouthfingernails, ebo., who un-

doubtedly was half-white. I investigated the case of a young negress who had, I was

assured on the most reliable and confidential testimony, only one-eighth white

blood but who had moved to a neighboring town and for several years passed herself

off undetected as white. On one of the plantations I found an interesting oase.

A white man and a negress had cohabited for many years and had numerous progeny -

ten children. I was assured by the couple themselves, and by the concurrent testi-

mony of their relatives and neighbors, that there had never been the slightest sus-

picion of unfaithfulness on the part of the woman and that all the offspring were

undoubtedly his. The children presented a considerable range of color variation,

from black to the lighest mulatto. The father told me the black child was his

favorite because in character it was most like himself, The boy, in turn, married

a pure negro girl, and their child, only a few months old when I saw then, wan light


A tabulation of my statistiosby age as well as by color, seemed to in-

dioate that the mixture of the races was progressively declining. This was correlated

with a confidential questionnaire addressed to college boys, the answers to which

indicated that the practice was disappearing while we estimated that in our generation

it prevailed among twenty to thirty percent of our student bodies. These facts fell

in with our a prior considerations# the change in living conditions had rendered the

negro women less aooessible; the growing education and the social standards among the

negroes had raised appreciably the demand for sexual purity; and that opportunity for

the white man to gratify his instinct with his own race had increased.

With this determined, we felt that this particular question was oaring

for itself and needed no comment from us*

This is given in detail as an example of our procedure. Every question

that arose in our minds or that was suggested was studied patiently and thoroughly,

After several years of this work we felt we were in a position to speak with some

authority to the white citizens of the South.

Third, in contemplating our next step, we were acutely aware of the situ-

ation, that a taboo of silence on all racial matters hung over the South, that no

man, hitherto, no matter what his attainments or how high his standing, had been

able to speak out his mind if any criticism of the Southern whites was even inti-

mated. I have oited the experience of Dr. Andrew Sledd as a oase in point* None

of us craved the halo of martyrdom for himself nor desired to inflict injury upon

his institution* But the situation must be faced with whatever courage we possessed

and we must give to the public, regardless of personal consequence, our findings on

matters that we regarded as vital.

Dr. Dllard, a skilled publicist, had somewhat prepared the public by

judicious matter given to the press at our various meetings*

(a) We determined that we would seize the bull by the horns, that we

would subject our position to the most grueling test. We would issue a statement

embodying our views on lynching and our recommendations. These were clear and

positive in our minds. A committee was appointed toddraft the statement* As a

professional English teacher, I was given the task of drafting it* I did this and

submitted it to the committee who worked it over with meticulous oare, weighing

every word* Then it was submitted to the Commission and agala rirorked. At last

we felt that we had produced a document that stated exactly what was in our minds.

We denounced lynching as an act of mob violence, lawless, brutal and unreasonable*

It was a horrid stigma on the fair name of the South and brought us into disrepute,
"" T .... -- ..

among oivilized people. The blame was attached not only to the mobs who perpetrated

these crimes against humanity but also to communities and to the administrative

officers, state and county, which tolerated them. We called upon all decent ele-

ments of our oitisenry, all officials, all organs of public opinion, the press,

the pulpit, to unite to stamp out, by a development of popular sentiment and by the

strong arm of the law, this practice which was bringing shame and disgrace upon our

land, which was brutalising those engaged in it, and which was a sin against the

black race as members of the human fadmly

The document was then given to the Associated Press, and was first page

news in practically every newspaper in America*

We awaited the reaction of the South with anxiety* Had we suooeeded

in breaking the taboo that had throttled the South and prevented any open and fair

discussion? Would the politicians, the sensation mongers, the vicious try to arouse

and fan into flames of fury Southern resentment? Would we be met by howls of exeora-

tion, branded as traitors, subjected to ostracism and threatened with mob violence?

Nothing of this kind occurred* In every community the law-abiding and thoughtful

oitisens aooepted this statement as just. Commendation from press and pulpit poured

in. It was evident that a moral victory of first magnitude had been won*

(b) Education formed the theme of our second manifesto, issuedithe

following year. It pointed out the inadequacy of the provisions made for public

education of the negroes in schoolhouses, in the number and training of the teachers

and in length of school terms. It pointed out that the ftots showed that the old

idea, inherited from the period of slavery, was erroneous* Education was trans-

forming the negro from an economic and moral liability to an assets We advocated

better facilities for a common school education, leaning toward the vocational

side, with some provision for higher training for the professions, the ministry, and

teaching. We recommended that larger funds be expended and a greater interest taken.

(o) Our third utterance was on the sanitary and hygienic conditions* An investi-

gation by one of Ekefessor Hundley's classes was a vivid illustration of these

conditions* Early one morning the students scattered themselves throughout

Charlottesville and intercepted the negro cooks as they were going from their homes

to the kitchens of their white employers. Each was paid a small sun to allow the

student to take finger-nail parings. These were carried to the bacteriological

laboratory and subjected to analysis* It was found that these parings contained

enough deadly germs to poison a community ten times the sise* Attention was called

td the unsanitary conditions of the negro sections of the communities badly paved

and lighted streets, inadequate sewage disposal, the presence of filth, the poor

housing facilities and the squalor and dirt of their homes* We pointed out that

the preparation of our food, the washing of our clothes, the handling of our babies

and a hundred other matters were bringing us into daily intimate contact with them

Consequently, it was not only a matter of common humanity, in the case of the negro,

but one of self-preservation for us*

(d) Our last word to our fellow citizens was an appeal of a broader and more general

scope an appeal to the Anglo-Saxon spirit of fair play and justice to the depend-

ent race. The negwes were, by no fault or wish of their own, here and, so far as

human foresight could see, here to stay* To any thinking mind it was evident that

the welfare was mutually Inter-dependent whatever affected the one inevitably

affected the others If the negro were an economic liability, if he *ensumed more

than he produced, the white man paid the difference, If he were the carrier of

disease, he carried it to the white man's door. If his morals were low, this

lowered the moral tone of the whole community. The 00. of the two races was

inextricably bound together by theh1VdA of fate, and there was no escape from it.

We appealed to the self-interest, to the intelligent understanding

of sociological law, to the humanitarian spirit of the age, and to the principles

of the Christian religion which we professed* We, as the dominant race, older in

civilization, all powerful in political and economic matters, should feel the

noblesse oblige of the strong to the weak# We urged all right-thinking oitisens

to cultivate a spirit of tolerance, understanding and broad human sympathy and

good will toward the black man. We assured them that the negro leaders in the

South desired the aid of the Southern whites in their efforts to raise their race

rather than that of the sealous, but often ill-advised and harmful activities of


This summary of our four manifestoes gives the gist of what the Race

Commission had found to convey to the people of the South.

Fourth, for completeness, a few minor activities should be mentioned.

We were instrumental in having courses in race relations established in various

colleges azd universities, The course offered at the Y.M.O.A.,Oollege at Black

Mountain, North Carolina, and the text prepared by its president deserve especial

oomnendation. Several scholarships for graduate students who should speoialise

in this field were offered.

As the World War drew to a lose, there was widespread alarm through-

out the South on the prospective return of the negro soldiers. Clashes like that at

Brownsville, Texas, were recalled. Thousands of young negroes would come home with

their attitude changed by the consciousness that they had fought for their country

and by their experience in France where racial prejudice was weak. To meet this an

extension of our procedure was devised the establishment of inter-raoial committees,

influential whites and leading negroes, who oonjointly agreed, on the first indication

of trouble, to interpose and suppress it.

I had an amusing experience in this oonneotione That summer, while in

Union, South Carolina, I received a note from my colleague, Professor Morse, ask-

ing me to arrange a meeting for him of our citizens as he was engaged in organizing

them in the state. On the appointed day he addressed a representative audience which

I had assembled for himn An old farmer, a Confederate soldier of my father's regiment

had come to town and had imbibed somewhat freely* He strayed into the meeting, took

a rear seat and listened attentively. On adjournment he called me to one side and

said "Jim, that fellow's plumb right. We ought to get the Ku Klux Klan together

agin before them damn onery niggers came baokl"

The anticipated trouble did not occur, and it may be that discipline and

wider experience did much for these men.

A brief resume of the activities of the individual members of the

Commission will complete this chapter. Again, I use my own case as typical. At

the request of our professor of Sociology, I gave a series of talks each year to

his olass in racial relations. I found the students deeply interested and their

questions anl discussions illuminating. A newer generation, less biased by the old

antagonism and obsessions, was developing* I addressed the student body, both in the

regular and in the summer sessionsand found my views favorably received. Off the

campus, I was invited to address various oivio organizations, men and women, through-

out the state.

My position on the Commission became known to the negroes and I was

flooded with invitations to address them I accepted as many as my other duties

allowed. My first experience, at the Gainesville Sohool, was amusing* At its

graduation exercises, I delivered an address one night and on the following even-

ing an address by a colored teacher from Tuakeegee was given. On my night, ten

cents was charged for admission) on the negro's, twenty-five cents. My wife has

always insisted that it was a just evaluation of our relative importanoes

Our work was drawing to a close* At the meeting from which we issued

our last appeal, we were informed that the funds by which we had been financed were

exhausted. We faced the alternative of financing, either through our institutions

or personally, any further meetings or a disbanding* I have said nothing of the

source of the funds that had been used Dr. Dillard had preserved absolute silence

but some of us had oome to know that the souroe of our funds was the Phelps-

Stokes Foundation. I felt, ani found others of my associates agreeing, that

financial aid had been withdrawn because we had woefully failed to fulfill the

expectations of the administrators of this Foundation.

I was emphatically of the opinion, independent of financial con-

siderations, that it was time for disbandment of the Commission# Our work

had been done and further effort would be anti-olimaotio and useless. This

view unanimously prevailed. The Commission voted its dissolution.



Our work was ended and there remains only to summarize its results in

the life of the South and to offer some prognosis of possible future developments*

It is a commonplace of political history that freedom of thought, free-

dom of speech and freedom of discussion is the foundation on which a demoorasy must

rest* Where this obtains there is a free people) where it is absent tyranny of

some eort prevails. Since "oarpet-bag" days a ban of silence lay upon the South *

a taboo which, on pain of ostracism and even personal violence, prescribed that no

Southern white man should dare, in public utterance or in print, speak one word of

condemnation of Southern practices* He was a traitor to his country and a friend

to its enemies.

The most important, the most vital, the most far-reaching result of our

work was the breaking of this ban, successfully defying and forever destroying this

taboo. We branded lynching as barbarous and criminal, and called upon all oitisens

to suppress it with iron resolution* This required moral courage and we awaited the

reaction with anxiety. Soon it was apparent that we were justified, Our finding

was received wiktywhere with approval* The cheap politicians, the sensationalists,

the irreoonoilables were silenced. From row on the race question could be discussed.

As to our specific reoommendations, the facts indicate that they bore

and are still bearing fruit. Lynohings have shown a startling decrease in their

annual number. Law enforcement officers have shown themselves more willing to

forestall these occurrences and in oases to prevent them by armed force* Judges

and juries have omnvioted and punished their perpetrators.

Educational opportunity for the negro is slowly improv^g Larger funds

are provided. Better school houses are being built# The condition in Gainesville,

Florida, comes under my personal observation. The old wooden barn formerly used has

been replaced by an adequate brick building. County superintendents are super-

vising the work more closely and the personnel of the teaching force is improving.

Sanitary conditions are betters Gainesville again furnished a case

in point. Toda themain thoroughfare through the negro section is as well paved

and lighted as any street of the city,

As to our last recommendation, proof of a tangible nature is hard to

obtain* My own impression, from observation and discussion, is that in the last

quarter century some advance has been made, that the white man is beginning to feel

his civic duty and to evince willingness to aid in helping the negro.

The Commission was under no illusion as to these changes* We knew that

an over-night transformation was an idle dream, that it would be a slow, uphill,

toilsome process that would require generations for any large results* My belief

is that racial conditions are improved and that our work to this end had some bear-

ing on this improvements

To prophesy is a dangerous undertaking* What the future holds, no

man can foresee* That there will continue to be progressive and cumulative ad-

justment is my belief today, That.the mass of negroes will ever outgrow entirely

their African descent and become American oitisens,as have our Irish and German

and Italian immigrants, is improbable* That the white man will ever get rid of

his racial antagonism, his feeling of racial superiority, and lose his present

concept of negro character, is more than doubtful* But that within these limits

a better racial modus operandi oan be accomplished is my last thought on this subject*