Title: Phelps-Stokes fellowship papers
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00076578/00001
 Material Information
Title: Phelps-Stokes fellowship papers
Physical Description: v. : ; 23cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Virginia
Publisher: University of Virginia
Place of Publication: Charlottesville Va
Publication Date: 1915-1950-
Subject: African Americans -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
African Americans -- History   ( lcsh )
African Americans -- Virginia   ( lcsh )
Dates or Sequential Designation: No.1-no.20.
General Note: At head of title: Publications of the University of Virginia.
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Resource Identifier: oclc - 01773235

Full Text

. '.-.i 6



Publications of the University of Virginia
Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers


The Negro in Charlottesville and

Albemarle County


*. ."* "*"
*.'* PHELPS-STOKES FELLOW, 1928-29".*' '..
..v.. .- ...-" ..
.. ... .

A Thesis Presented to the Academic Faculty


In Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts


As its title suggests, this paper is in no sense intended to
be of an intensive nature. It is, rather, the result of a "feeling-
around" process, an effort to learn something of the life of the
Negro in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and to point out
S for future holders of the Phelps-Stokes Fellowship of the Uni-
S versity of Virginia some lines along which they might profitably
study. Many of these will be suggested by the case histories
presented. This study is sociological, rather than economic in its
scope. It is an attempt to get at the way in which these people
live, and the attitudes which they have toward themselves and
other groups.
As this study was first planned it was to be based on a num-
ber of case histories drawn from clients of the Board of Public
Welfare. As it has developed, however, it includes data not di-
rectly connected with these cases. The method has been three-
fold: case study, personal interviews, and personal contacts in
various ways, such as the casual contacts of daily life.
I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to Dr. Floyd N.
House, not only for his help in planning this study and his super-
' vision of it, but for his kindness in suggesting to me that I should
undertake what has proved to be a study of great value to me.
I desire to thank Mr. Frank W. Hoffer for his guidance of
my first faltering steps in the undertaking of this study, and for
his many helpful suggestions as to sources and methods of ap-
proach to it.
I also owe thanks to Dr. Wilson Gee for his interest and for
the aid he has given. I am indebted to him for most of the
materials of the first, second and third chapters.
To Mrs. Lulie G. King, superintendent of the Board of
Public Welfare and executive secretary of the Albemarle County
Chapter of the Red Cross I am also indebted for much assistance.
I desire to thank those colored people of Charlottesville who
have given suggestions and data for this study. In order to avoid
the possibility of identification of the subjects of this study it has
seemed best to refrain from naming these colored people.


In conclusion I wish to thank those who have made it possible
for me to make this study and to assure them that I have ap-
preciated the opportunity it has afforded me.


PREFACE ...................... ..... ........ ........... 3
CHAPTER ONE.-Physical Setting ........................ 7
CHAPTER Two.-Brief History of the Negro in Charlottes-
ville and Albemarle County .......................... 11
CHAPTER THREE.-Areas Inhabited by Negro Families in
Charlottesville ..................................... 18
CHAPTER FOUR.-Migration and Change of Occupation...... 24
CHAPTER FIvE.-The Old and the New Negro............. 30
CHAPTER SIx.- Dark Life .............................. 43
CHAPTER SEVEN.- Conclusion ........................... 85
APPENDIX A.-Methods, Attitudes, and the Establishment of
Rapport ........................................ 86
APPENDIX B.-Histories of Junior Clubs.................. 88
APPENDIX C.-Tables-Population, Heads of Free Negro
Families in 1860, Agricultural Status ................. 90


Albemarle County is one of the richest counties of the State
of Virginia, and one of the most beautiful.
Taken as a whole, the county slopes gradually from the tops
of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest portion to the
banks of the James River, which is the southern boundary. This
slope is broken by hills and small mountain ranges. On all these
mountains the soil is rich and deep. Here is the home of the
Albemarle Pippin; and here also are other apples and peaches.
During the early spring there is no place more beautiful than the
Blue Ridge and Ragged Mountains. All along the slopes and in
every cove are apple trees in full bloom, and at the same time the
uncultivated areas are white and red with Dogwood and Red Bud
trees. Peaches are also grown on these slopes, and their bright
blooms precede the paler blooms of the apples by about two weeks.
Between the Blue Ridge and the Ragged Mountains we come
to the Piedmont Plateau, a broad, gently rolling country where
general farming is practiced. This plateau extends along the
northwest portion of the county at the foot of the Blue Ridge,
from Crozet to Ivy, especially along the creeks and rivers. It is
fertile soil, adaptable to a variety of crops. In "the old days"
much tobacco was grown on this land, but it is used now for
strawberries, wheat and corn, besides the fruit. Red apples, such
as the winesap, are successfully raised on this land.
Crossing the plateau we come to the Ragged Mountains, so
called because of their jagged appearance. This, like the Blue
Ridge, is apple country, the orchards almost covering the moun-
tains in places. This is the section supposed to be occupied by
the descendants of the Hessian soldiers, who are said to have set-
tled here after the Revolution. This is a country of poor people,
people who seem to wrest a living from the soil with great dif-
ficulty. The Ragged Mountains are on the border of Charlottes-
Immediately northeast of Charlottesville, along the banks of
the Rivanna and on the slopes that extend down to that river are


peach orchards. These are young orchards and the area in which
they are grown is not very great in extent, for the land becomes
more and more level and the soil is not adapted to the culture of
fruit. This land is spread out in large farms along the roads to
Stony Point and Richmond. Many of the homes are large and
beautiful, and the people prosperous and progressive. Shadwell
and Keswick are on the Richmond road and these two little towns
are famous as seats of wealth and social life. From here to the
edge of the county at Cobham, the farms are of this prosperous
type. These are general farms, with wheat and corn as specialties.
Another section of beautiful farms is the section southeast of
Charlottesville, extending from the foot of the Ragged Mountains
to the James River at Scottsville. This is the section of a soil
known as Penn Clay. The soil is deep on the hills and their slopes
are so gentle that it does not wash much. The farms are large,
the homes spacious and well cared-for. The outbuildings on these
farms are better kept and more attractive than the homes in some
In the southwest portion of the county are sandstone and
soapstone in large quantities, and these are quarried. At Alberene
and Esmont, there are such quarries, and the work in these is
the chief means of livelihood of the people in these sections. The
land is slightly hilly. Near Esmont, in the Green Mountain sec-
tion is a former stronghold of the old aristocracy, a section in
which many northerners now have estates. This is good farm
land and the farms have the same prosperous appearance as those
of the Scottsville and Keswick sections.
Fruit growing is the principal industry of Albemarle County.
The past few years have seen many changes in this regard. Apples
and peaches have taken the place of tobacco, and strawberries are
planted between the rows of peaches. There were in 1925, 72
acres of land in strawberries; in sweet potatoes and yams, 99
acres; in apples, 499,572 trees of bearing age and 175,706 of non-
bearing age. From the bearing trees there were 1,036,787 bushels
harvested in 1924 (apples). Of peaches there were 129,525
bushels harvested in 1929. On the slopes of the mountains and
hills there are grapes. This used to be one of the principal crops.
Today there are 13,273 vines of all ages.1

1Albemarle County Geography Supplement, published by Albemarle
County School Board, page 21.


These are only the principal crops. Statistics for other crops
can be obtained from the United States Agricultural reports for
Albemarle has always been known as an agricultural county
and so it still is. But during the past few years it has attracted
a number of industries. "A survey made in 1922 shows that
there are twenty-four industries in the county and that there are
1,202 people employed in the various plants."2 Silk mills, woolen
mills, lumber companies, quarries, flour mills, and two publishing
companies are some of these industries.
Charlottesville is the only city in the county, and Scottsville
the only incorporated town. But there are a number of small
towns and villages, the principal ones being Crozet, Esmont, and
Howardsville. In addition to these there are some smaller villages.
The life of the county at present centers in Charlottesville.
Here are located many of the industries that draw the people to
the cities from the country, and here the population is more con-
gested. Charlottesville is the center of the improved road systems
and of the bus lines, of which there are five main lines and a num-
ber of short lines. There are also some busses that carry school
children to and from school.3 These are all for white schools,
however. At present there are no busses for colored children.
The main lines of two railroads run through the county and
the city of Charlottesville, the Chesapeake and Ohio from north-
west to southeast, and the Southern from southwest to northeast.
These two roads connect Charlottesville with the west and with
Washington as well as with the Virginia cities of Richmond,
Roanoke, Norfolk and Lynchburg.
There are also hard roads connecting nearly all these points,
so that transportation is facilitated. The State is rebuilding old
roads and building new ones as fast as possible. This is of im-
mense value to the farmer and fruit grower of the county.
The Negroes, though they make up a considerable part of the
population of the county, are not, as a rule, the owners of large
farms. They have little part in the fruit industry except as work-
ers for the large landowner, and their most frequent type of em-
ployment here seems to be as pickers in the fall. They live,
typically, on a small patch of land in a "hollow" or on a hillside.

2United States Agricultural Reports, 1925.
3Albemarle County Geography Supplement, pages 21 and 25.


They do not depend on their own farms for their livelihood, but
work on their own land after the day's work for their employers
is done. Thus they do not share largely in the general prosperity
as a direct result of their own efforts.



The first settlers of Albemarle were not slaveholders. They
consisted of two groups: first, a group which came from James-
town, following the James upstream and then moving westward.
The next people were Scotch-Irish, who came from the Shenan-
doah Valley and settled in the northern part of the county. These
people had a few white male and female indentured servants
who had a certain number of years to serve and were then free.
These servants formed only a small part of the entire number of
people who first settled here. The territory of Albemarle County
was then a part of Goochland County, and "was carved out of
this county in 1744."1
These first settlers usually held only small tracts of land, such
as they could cultivate with a few servants. They planted corn
and other farm crops. England was calling for minerals and
timber but these were never exported on any large scale. Very
soon after their settlement a few men began to cultivate the Indian
tobacco that they found already there. One man experimented
with it until he succeeded in making a blend that was acceptable
to the English. This blend became more and more popular and
large plantations were cultivated. But the question of servants
to cultivate the plants was a pressing one. The term of the in-
dentured servant was short and he could not be compelled to serve
longer. He gained his freedom at the end of his term and then
he bought land and himself hired servants, thus becoming a rival
of his former master.
The situation was apparently saved when Negro slaves were
introduced in large numbers. The first of these were brought by
a Dutch ship in 1619. It is said that this was an accident, that
the ship had gone out in search of pirate loot, but not having found
any had taken aboard a cargo of Negroes. The master of the
.ship did not even know that his cargo would be acceptable to the
1Historical material from: Woodson, Carter G., "Free Negro Heads
of Families in the United States in 1830," and Wertenbaker, T. J.,
"'The Planters of Colonial Virginia."


colonies. These Negroes were sold to planters from Jamestown,
where they are thought to have landed. From then on slaves were
brought a few at a time, sometimes no more than twenty-six or
twenty-eight in a long period of time. About 1720, however, the
English gained some control of the African slave trade and then
slaves were imported into Virginia in large numbers. Their labor
was cheaper than that of servants and they had to serve for life.
Their children also were slaves, so that there was a natural in-
crease in numbers. They were taught the culture of tobacco and
they learned that one thing well. At first they were slow because
they were unused to that work and they had no language in com-
mon with their white masters. But when they had mastered the
language they became more efficient.
The large number of slaves that could be bought made the
rich man, who already had considerable land, buy more land and
more slaves. Thus he soon had a monopoly on the tobacco cul-
ture. The poor man and the ex-servant could not compete with
the large landholder and these two classes began to leave the
region in ever-increasing numbers. The increasing number of
slaves also reduced the amount of immigration, which before that
had been great. The immigrant could not compete with the labor
of slaves and he ceased trying to do so. The price of tobacco was
low and at one time there was an attempt to curtail the slave
trade. But this failed because the large landholder had more
power and he did not curtail his trade. Instead he increased his
holdings and bought more slaves so that he could make up in
quantity for the low price of his commodity.
Not all the poorer men migrated. A few held to their land
and gradually increased their holdings, buying slaves and thus
becoming rich as their competitors. Thus some who had been
poor rose to the class of the wealthy. Some others just held their
own for a time, but gradually became poorer and poorer. These
people hated the Negro because he was an unfair competitor, but
the Negro, on the other hand, looked down on this "poor white
Thus there had developed a system of four classes-the rich
planter with huge estates, the middle class who had risen to some
wealth by purchasing slaves and who constituted the bulk of the
population, the poor white, who lived as best he could but was in
misery most of the time, and the slave, who had made all this come
to pass but who was entirely unconscious of the thing that he had



The first Negroes brought to this country were not all slaves.
At least one is almost certain to have become himself a slave-
holder.2 These free Negroes were held in the same way as were
the indentured servants-they served a given time and were then
freed. When they were freed they took up land and themselves
employed servants. At the same time that they made restrictions
concerning slaves the colonists recognized free persons of color.
But the period during which it was possible for free Negroes to
be brought to Virginia as indentured servants ended at the close
of the seventeenth century and from then on the free Negro
population increased in the following ways: first, the children of
a free Negro were free; second, the children of a free white
woman or a white woman servant; third, the mulatto children of
free Negro mothers; fourth, children of free Negro and Indian
mixed parents; and fifth, the manumitted slaves were free.
In the early days of slavery no social distinction on account
of race existed. Indentured servants were not considered quite
the equals of their masters, but this seems to have been an
economic, not a race, distinction, since these servants were of the
same race as their masters. The early attitude toward the Negro
was built on this foundation, Dr. Woodson says, and was of the
same nature. It was only when fear of losing the racial purity
resulted in laws against intermarriage, which had been from the
beginning quite common, that racial prejudice grew up. Even
then it was a long time before the barrier was great enough to
prevent intermixing. It took a long time to degrade the status of
the Negro. Laws restricting manumission so that the free Negro
population would not grow were among the efforts to bring about
the degradation of status. Laws making marriage illegal, and
illegitimacy subject to fines, and making cohabitation with those of
the other race punishable in various ways; laws prohibiting
Negroes from holding slaves and from acquiring so much prop-
erty, and keeping him from entering certain trades where he
could make a living, were the final steps in his degradation. The
slave became merely property and the free Negro was only a step

2Woodson, Carter G., Introduction to "Free Negro Heads of
Families in the United States in 1830," pp. V and VI.


above the slave. The Indian had never been held of any account,
though he was always free.3
In the North, however, where emancipation had been accom-
plished, free Negroes increased. They were discriminated against
here also. Fugitives probably increased the number in the North.
But from 1830 to 1860 the increase of slaves was much more
rapid than that of free Negroes. The increase of the latter dur-
ing that time was, according to some accounts barely one per cent.
Just before the Civil War the right of the free Negroes to un-
restricted movement from place to place was curtailed and they
had to have passes just as the slaves did. The free Negroes were
also prohibited from gathering in groups for any purpose. Teach-
ing free Negroes in groups was also forbidden. Even private
teaching of this class was against the law and was punishable with
great severity.


In 1830 there were in Albemarle County 484 free Negroes,
with 84 free heads of Negro families. Some of these had slaves.
By 1860 the number of free Negroes in this county had increased
to 606.
Most of the free Negroes lived in cities where they had a
better opportunity than in the country to make a living and to
progress. These Negroes in Charlottesville seem to have been
well treated by the whites among whom they lived and with a cer-
tain class of whom they were on terms of some intimacy. One
woman of a free Negro family tells me how considerate of her a
certain very notorious woman always was. A white woman of
much prominence taught one of these free Negro children to read
and to card wool, though she warned the child not to let anyone
know she could read as it was worth the life of her benefactor
to have it known.
The free Negro in Charlottesville did not have much to do
with the slaves. He seemed to think he was better than the slave
and scorned him. He often owned his home and he had no trouble
buying the land that he wanted in the city, though in some cities
3Woodson, C. G., "Free Negro Heads of Families in the United
States in 1830"-Introduction, pp. I-XXI.


he was compelled to live in the worst places in town. The free
Negroes in Charlottesville seem to have been widely scattered.

At the close of the Civil War the whole slave population
were suddenly turned out to make their own homes. It was quite
natural, especially since restrictions on the locations in which they
could buy were immediately made, that they should make their
homes in districts already held by Negroes. This is exactly what
they did. Some other Negro sections have been settled as the
population outgrew its original quarters or families moved in order
to better their condition. The map shows Negro areas in Charlot-
tesville as they are today. In most of the regions they have simply
spread out, taking more room and living closer together. Some-
times, as is the case with what is now Commerce Street, the few
white families who had been in the neighborhood moved out and
left the colored in possession. In one neighborhood, the Negroes
acquired the land by the aid of one Negro with some money. This
man bought up a large section of city lots and sold them to
colored. This same man owned lots in Fifeville in which white
people live. His heirs still own these houses.
The location of colored settlements in the country can be
seen for the most part by noting the positions of the colored
schools. Occasionally one of these schools is located at a point
as nearly as possible equally distant from two or three colored
neighborhoods, but usually the school is near a colored settlement
or in the heart of one.
The story of the county seems to be much the same for the
various parts. There were a number of scattered farms owned
by free Negroes before the Civil War. These farms were usually
small and not of great consequence to the neighborhood. The
freemen did not have the money to buy large holdings but cul-
tivated a little corn and a little tobacco. This was all they had
been taught to do. They owned little log cabins with one, two or
three rooms. A three room cabin was a luxury. At the close of
the war the freed slaves were treated very differently by different
masters. Sometimes the master let his former slaves have some
land to cultivate "on shares." When they could they bought this


land. This is what happened in the district known as Porter's
Precinct. This land belonged to one man named Branch. His
freed Negroes bought from him after they had worked "on shares"
for five years.
Some masters were not so kind to their freedmen. They
turned them out with the understanding that they intended giv-
ing no help and these Negroes had more trouble finding homes.
One such group left the plantation in a body and settled together
on the land which they afterward bought. The master in this case
told his people, so one of them told me, that they were "as damn
free as he was" and that they could go out and take care of them-
selves as best they could. They seem to have done that well. The
little village which they own is on a hill and the homes of their
descendants are in good condition. The settlement is near an old
"pike" and the homes have been improved as the "good" road
brought traffic their way.
The village of Proffit is interesting in this regard. This land
was once a part of two large estates. One of the men, who owned
the land on one side of the road, failed and his land was sold.
The man who bought from the original owner sold to another man
who still owns a large estate. About six years after the flood of
1870, a colored man bought seventy-five acres from the man who
had bought it at auction when the first owner failed. This Negro
sold ten acres to a white man and the rest in small lots to colored
people. These people were the original settlers of the town which
was then called Egypt, later Bethel, and still later was named
Profit by the railroad people who bought their right of way from
a man of that name. Until the railroad was built this town had
no white inhabitants. There were white people on the outlying
farms, of course, but none in the town. When the railroad was
built there the white people came and now have a pleasant little
village. There are about fifteen or twenty colored families in the
town. These people do not own farms, but they have little truck
gardens which supply their own needs. They do not altogether
depend upon this for their living, however; they work in Charlot-
tesville and go back and forth to their homes.
This custom of working in town and living in the country
or in small villages seems to be a common practice among the
colored population of the county. One settlement was quite large
twenty years ago. Then it grew so small that the board thought
of closing the school. But during the last ten years it has in-


creased in size so that there are now twenty-three pupils in the
one-room school. The parents of these children work in Charlot-
tesville and "commute."
There are many empty houses and lonely chimneys among
these villages. These are not the houses left by their original
owners. The original owners of the Negro farms and settlements
did not migrate from Albemarle County as much as from some
others. But the old people have died and the young ones have
gone to the cities or have gone north. The old homes have been
allowed to fall to pieces. It is too far to come back to see about
them and they would not sell for much, so they are neglected.
These settlements are usually a bit off the main road. There
will be a few houses on the road, but to find the real village one
must cross fields and go up and down hills and through woods.
Then he will come out on some little houses, each in its hollow,
each with its patch of corn and its old Negro owner sitting in the
sun or out surveying his land. These old people love to talk about
the old times and one can while away many an interesting hour
hearing them tell of the customs and events of the old days. They
remember when Sheridan came through, and how they felt when
they knew that they were free. They remember the comparative
ease of the old life but they do not want it back again.
It has been suggested that these Negro-owned farms are al-
ways in hollows and on bad land. But they are as often on hills or
on the slope of a hill and the land is not always bad. They are
seldom well-to-do, but they had so little to start with and they
have never been able to get far enough ahead to acquire much.
Their children do not stay at home to lift the burden from the old
shoulders but go away to seek their fortunes in the city and leave
the old folks to farm their little plots.
Life here in the country is very simple. It is a matter of
getting up in the morning, eating a breakfast of corn bread and
bacon, doing whatever farm work the season demands, eating and
going to bed. But it is different for the man who works in town.
He must go to work, and, when he comes home, work in his garden
if he is to have any fresh vegetables.
Life for the Negro in Charlottesville is a very different mat-
ter. Charlottesville has its "moral regions" no less than the city
of larger dimensions and the Negro has his classes and his social
stratifications. These are easily traced by the districts in which the
people live. These are described in the following pages.



The old Scottsville Road, more correctly known as South
Sixth Street, is the slum of Charlottesville. Here are gathered
the poorest and most degenerate of Charlottesville's Negroes. The
street is low, a steep drop from Belmont, the southeast section
of the city. Just behind the houses on this street is a "branch,"
and extending toward Ridge Street is a valley so deep that it looks
as though it had been scooped out with a huge shovel. This
valley, between the branch and First Street, contains several small
industrial plants. There are houses on the two banks of the
stream-old and ugly. The entire area seems to be one of first
settlement. Here come the least desirable of the Negroes, and
here many of them stay.
The houses are merely two and three room shacks. They
contain no conveniences and practically no furniture. They are
owned by white people and are rented to these Negroes for from
five to nine dollars a month.
Life here is a very leisurely affair. At any time of day
or night one may walk here and find men and women standing on
the street doing nothing, children who should be in school playing
in streets or yards, which are nothing but tightly packed earth.
Here dwell the "Black Ulysses," the "Scarlet Sister Marys," the
loafers on Vinegar Hill.
Before the Civil War this region was sparsely settled. Some
three or four families of, free Negroes lived on the west side of
the street, and the east side, what is now known as Belmdnt, was
the plantation of one man. After the War, however, the families
who lived here sought more desirable locations, and this section
became the haunt of the degenerates of both black and white races.
This was the "red light district" and Negroes and whites lived
here side by side. Then the vice commission of the city waged
war on the district and forced the houses to close. The white
people moved out and for a little while the district was almost
empty. Then the houses were rented to the poorest class of
Negroes, and today it is almost exclusively a colored section.
Poverty, dirt, and vice live here together and the rate of illegit-



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imacy is high. Of three families that I know, two have four il-
legitimate children and the other three.
There is a small mission in this area, the preacher of the
"Church of God" (a colored man) having bought a house and
attempted to start a church. He has been in his present location
nearly five years and is apparently making no headway, never
having had more than five members in his church. Three of these
have gone away and there is no one left but his wife and himself.
He says he is not discouraged.
There is no paving on this street, and on wet days it is a
mire of red clay. There are two or three little stores here, run
by white men. At the entrance to the street there is a store kept
by a colored man.
Happy Hollow, between Ridge and First Streets, is a locality
of poor houses and poorer people. It received its name from the
care-free attitude of the Negroes who used to live there. The
story is that there used to be in the hollow a large tree from which
rope swings had been suspended. In these swings the children
played and they were so happy and care-free that they laughed
from beginning to end of the day. Their parents were almost
as happy and the place came to be known as Happy Hollow.
This hollow is contained in the pocket formed by the Oakwood
cemetery on one side, Ridge Street on another, Oak Street on a
third and Diggs Street on the fourth. Some of the houses are
of the poorest type and the district has a reputation only a little
less unsavory than that of the Old Scottsville Road.
Oak Street and First Street are both improved roads and
these two streets do not share the reputation of the rest of the
"Gas-house district" is in the other great hollow of the city.
Main Street is on a ridge almost as high as Ridge street. Im-
mediately north of the buildings on Main Street the ground falls
rapidly away, forming a deep hollow. It continues to slope for a
distance of about two blocks, where, at Williams Street, it flattens
out to form the bottom of a bowl. It gradually rises again toward
Preston Avenue, which is about three blocks northeast of Williams
Street. Preston Avenue might be said to form the other side of
the bowl, though this street is not as high as Main Street. The
bowl formed in this way is almost perfect, for on the east side
of the district is Second Street, northwest, and from this street
there is an abrupt dip to the lower end of Preston Avenue, which


forms a semicircle here. The fourth edge of the bowl is reached
after the gas-house is passed, Fifth Street, northwest, being the
boundary line here.
This bowl is filled with houses of almost every description,
but of one general character. They are better than the houses of
Happy Hollow and Scottsville Road, but many of them are not
attractive. There is this great difference between the houses of
the three districts-those in the "gas-house district" are usually
clean inside. The yards are not, as a rule, pleasant, though some
families plant shrubs and try to make their places attractive. The
rooms inside are swept and there is not that atmosphere of gloom
and filth about them that there is often about the first section we
saw. The people here are clean and seem more energetic. This is
the district of the washwoman and cook, though the homes of the
people who perform such services are by no means confined to this
area. There is not that atmsophere of hopelessness about the gas-
house district that seems to hover over the Scottsville Road dis-
trict. There is, however, a stream which leaves the gas-house,
carrying away the refuse from it, and making the entire bowl
smell of the gas. It is an unsightly and unsavory stream, and the
houses are built close beside it, so that at times it overflows into
the yards and even floods the first floors of the houses. This
stream runs along Williams Street and is lost near Preston Avenue.
The houses in this area are nearly all rented. There is here, also,
some evasion of law and of moral precepts, but the region can
hardly be called a vice area.
It is rather amusing to watch some of these houses. They
hang on the hillsides all the way from the lots just behind Main
Street down to the bottom of the bowl, and give the impression
that they are in momentary danger of sliding down on each other,
for they look as though they could not stand against the smallest
puff of wind.
Along Preston Avenue, from Commerce Street to the top of
the hill next the railroad, the houses are good and the yards well
kept. These houses are owned by the Negroes who live in them.
Some of the houses are old, some not so old, but they all show that
a more prosperous group of people live in them. Here are bloom-
ing flowers, painted houses, and cement walks. Not all the houses
are good, however, even here. At the intersection of Preston
Avenue and High Street there are two old houses of the poorer
type. They are swarming with children.


Across the street from these two houses is the Trinity Epis-
copal Church, a little gray building with a small rectory beside
it. This church is about ten years old, has sixteen members, and
holds regular services. It is almost overwhelmed by the large
number of Baptist churches but the rector says he intends to "hold
on and work."
Three of the five Baptist churches are in this district.'
In the days before the Civil War there were four or five
families of free Negroes living on Commerce Street. Some of
these families were slave holders. After the war many of the
freedmen settled around them and the few white families in the
neighborhood moved out.
All the area from Preston Avenue, at its lower end, to
Thirteenth Street, near the University, is one unbroken area. The
railroad cuts this area but does not seem to break it. From
Fourth Street, northwest, to Thirteenth, out Page Street to Tenth
is an area of one general type of people. They are prosperous,
clean, and more educated than many of the Negroes of the other
sections, some of them being graduates of good schools and col-
leges. On Page Street in this district is the house bought by the
colored women's clubs of the city as a community house and old
peoples' home. The house is at present too small for much use,
but the clubs are hoping to add to it and make it a really valu-
able institution. This area has a varying contour, but is for the
most part well elevated. The small section between Booker Street
and Forrest Street is known as Lincoln Heights.
From Main Street one goes south on Seventh Street to Oak,
and from Seventh Street east to Ridge Street. In this section are
the homes of many of those Negroes known among their own
people as the "four hundred." These houses are of good quality,
some of them unusually nice looking. They are lighted with elec-
tricity, heated with heatrolas, good stoves, or even with hot water
systems, have bathrooms, separate dining rooms and kitchens, and
comfortable furniture. Parlors are frequently furnished with
overstuffed suites. The mistresses of the houses are not un-
comfortable in the presence of white callers and can converse in-
telligently and pleasantly. If there are children the parents are
planning to send them to college, provided they wish to go, and
for this purpose both parents usually do some kind of work to
'See Chapter IV.


help earn the necessary income. In this area and in the one
described above, live preachers, doctors, dentists, insurance agents,
teachers, the well-to-do of all trades and professions. Vice is not
smiled upon or ignored in these regions. They are areas of high
respectability and high morality.
There are a number of outlying areas of intelligent and refined
colored people. One of these is Lankford Avenue. Here is one
of the best of the houses owned by colored people. It is a large
white house, trimmed in green. It is set in a well-planned yard,
surrounded by shrubs and flowers. There is a new double garage
at the back, an exceedingly nice looking building. This house was
not built for white people but for the present residents. It is as
pleasant inside as outside. The children of this family are in
school. The little girl, who is in high school, has had both piano
and voice lessons and she sings and plays quite well. She is a
typical high school girl.
The south end of Ridge Street is one of the places in which
free Negroes lived before the Civil War and where more of them
settled afterwards. The houses here are, most of them, in good
condition, and the people are of the better type.
Along the old "Barracks Road," which is really the north-
western end of Preston Avenue, is another of the old residence
districts of the respectable colored. These houses have been the
property of Negroes for many years. A park in this area has been
given to the Negroes. It is as yet undeveloped, but the people
hope that they can soon develop it.
"Gospel Hill," an area in which some free Negroes lived be-
fore the Civil War, is located in the triangular shaped section be-
tween the Chesapeake and Ohio and Southern Railways, west of
the Union Station. It is an area of respectable people, some of
whom own their homes while others rent the houses in which they
live. Lee Street, which is about on a level with the railroad, forms
the top of this "T" shaped district, while Twelfth Street forms
the other part. Twelfth Street slopes toward a valley in which
there are some Negro houses.
For a number of years the attention of some economists has
been centered on the noticeable and sometimes appalling depopula-
tion of rural areas. Study of the situation showed that these
people were leaving the country for the city in large numbers.
In the South, the Negro seemed to be particularly affected, hence


some special study was made of Negro migrations. Charlottes-
ville has been noticeably affected during the past few years and is
still receiving many colored people from the country. A brief
discussion of this migration is the subject of the fourth chapter.



One does not go into many of the Negro settlements in
Albemarle County without discovering that there are few young
people in these villages or on the farms of these communities.
Talking with the old people one learns that the reason for this is
that the young people have gone away to work and that the old
folk have themselves, at some time or another, lived elsewhere
than in their present homes.
Migrations of the Negro from the South have been the ob-
jects of some study. There seem to have been three of these
great migrations, the first to Texas and the North in 1870-80, the
second to Arkansas and the North in 1888-9, and the third chiefly
to the North and Middle West in 1916-17. Migration is still in
process. These three migrations are so close together and so
continuous that they are usually considered one, and are so
treated by most writers.
Albemarle has only a small foreign population. The people
are largely white and Negro. During the past few years there
have been many changes in the distribution of the population, but
the last census is for 1920. This census showed a total popula-
tion for the county alone of 26,005. For the city of Charlottes-
ville the total population was 10,688. The native white popula-
tion of the county alone was 18,239 and for the city of Charlottes-
ville, 7,635. The Negro population was more than one-fourth the
population for the county, being 7,569, and for the city of Charlot-
tesville it was 2,947. The total population for city and county was
36,693. Of this number 25,874 were native white and 10,516
were Negroes. In the ten years from 1910 to 1920 the total
population of the county had decreased by 3,866. The city of
Charlottesville had gained during the same time 3,923 persons.
The total population for county and city was practically unchanged,
the difference being a gain of 33 people in that ten years.
During the decade 1910-20 the white population of the county
decreased by 1,963 persons; the city of Charlottesville gained
3,506 persons and the entire county and city gained 1,719 people.


During this same decade the county decreased by 2,104 of its
Negro population; the city of Charlottesville gained 423 Negroes,
and the entire county and city lost 1,681 Negroes.
Any migration of people has both economic and social bases.
The two are so closely allied and so bound up with the whole
history of the people who take part in the migrations that it is
difficult, if not impossible, to know which is the stronger in-
fluence. Economic pressure and social pressure go hand-in-hand.
The people who take part in the migrations cannot tell the exact
reasons for their movements, but they do know that social condi-
tions were such as to cause unhappiness, that economic conditions
in their old habitat were discouraging, and that they hoped to
acquire new homes where opportunity was greater.
These causes were operative in the migrations of the Negroes.
During the World War the chief motive seems to have been
economic, and this seems to be the principal cause of the migra-
tions as they continue today.
The economic advantages of the Nbrth as contrasted with
those of the South were, in the eyes of the Negro, very great. In
the South the Negro had a small farm with poor soil, in a country
in which the soil had been depleted, before the Civil War, by the
one-crop methods of the tobacco-raising and cotton-culture
states. In the North there was. new Jand, and the West offered
great stretches of unti~le'flteli.t t4 l6.ha'almnost for the asking.
In the South, ala6, 'Jfr..at lohg time aftei' thle .Civil War, the im-
poverishmentt..ot i~e"white people made it imfpos 4dl.or them to
employ mdr.. than a sma.ll.plnuber of .the Negrow :while the
North aiR:West were: cli rjiri'g ,qr~i lrp'rers and payisig high
wages "to, tem. Moreover, hhe'epefiihn 6f the West demanded
large numbers of unskilled laborers to work on the railroads, and
before the Chinese coolies were brought to this country in large
numbers this work was calling for the sort of labor that the un-
trained Negro was well fitted to do. It is little wonder that many
of these people should have taken advantage of such open doors
and should have left the South in such numbers as to desert whole
villages, and cause the South to make efforts to restrain this whole-
sale migration. It is little wonder also that the North and West,
suddenly overwhelmed with a type of population new to them,
should have adopted some measures to prevent this influx and
should have developed a race prejudice from which they had here-
tofore been comparatively free. Just after the Civil War, also,


the North and West offered more occupational openings for the
Negro than the South could or would offer. Today the South
is not so restricted in the range of such openings as the North,
perhaps, but the wages are still higher in the North and op-
portunity seems greater.
During the World War the industrial North called almost
constantly for workers. The agricultural South needed few more
during the crisis than it had before. Industry always seems to
pay higher wages than agriculture and the Negro is not slow to
see his advantages in this. The conditions in Europe prevented the
usual flow of immigrants to America, and the Negro had an op-
portunity to fill the places these immigrants would otherwise have
filled. When the men of this country were called to the army the
Negro could also fill in where unskilled labor was called for. The
height which wages reached at that time is notorious.
At the same time there were social causes operating to bring
about this migration. After the Civil War the Negro felt that the
South was no place for the freed black man. He felt that he was
being bitterly hated and cruelly treated. He looked upon con-
ditions in the South as intolerable and he wanted to get away from
them. Then, too, in this early movement there was a widespread
realization that, whereas he had been very much restricted in his
movements, immediately hg gained hjs freedom he could go where
he pleased. Many.m1n w n, ered abduCF.tth country "trying it
out," as it were;"'IlT influences 6on'th '.Negto i. this regard are
much like.thb6..bf*o'ught to bear on the Euroc'penpeasant to bring
about migaiidn to this .country.. .Some, few Negto'es who had
gone op6tth and remake tle;e v'wroti letters back fo.d tse in the
South, picturing in glowingt tein t&e' glories of freed fn in the
North. Those who returned to visit told the same stories, em-
phasizing them by the prodigality with which they spent the money
they had earned in the North. Some sent home money in regular
amounts, amounts that to the poor Negro, looked larger than they
really were.
The Negro newspaper did much to increase this movement.
The Chicago Defender, always radical, painted in words of fire
not only the glories of the North but "the miseries and injustices
of the South." It urged the Negroes to "throw off the yoke of
oppression and take the life of freedom." It told stories of men
and women freezing to death in the South and of comfortable
firesides in the North, where men had enough money to buy fuel


in plenty. It made strenuous campaigns for the purpose of bring-
ing as many as possible from the South, and even set aside special
days on which great excursions would be made. The railroads
made special low rates and took hundreds at a time from their
southern to their northern stations. The labor agent had, as in
Europe, his part to play and he played it well, telling the people
of the marvelous opportunities for money and advancement in
the North.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, in his book on "Negro Migrations
During the War" gives one reason for the exodus of young people
that probably is as real as any today. The Negro who has made
good and won the respect of his white neighbors cannot hand down
that status to his son. His son is expected to be just like the
"common run" of Negro and is likely to be looked on with dis-
favor if he is not. The father who is ambitious for his children
therefore sends them away and keeps them away. One man relates
that he would not even let his son come home for the holidays
because of this attitude on the part of the people.
As a result of these conditions many Negroes left at once,
large numbers of them going on one train. Some southern villages
were almost deserted. Poor families took their few possessions
with them and never returned. Rich men sold their homes at
great loss, or, in many cases just deserted them. All, rich and
poor, were bound for "the promised land," singing hymns of joy
as they left. Many of these people did find places in the North
and many of them made good there, but some came back to the
South, finding the North too cold or not what they had pictured
it, and longing for the life of the South.
There is some unrest among the upper classes of the Negroes
because of social conditions of the South. But the chief cause of
the migration of young people today is the higher wages of the
North. It may be true, as has been said, that he has to work
harder for his wage in the North than in the South, but that is
not a consideration with the average young man or woman who
goes to stay.
The migration is at present affecting Negro girls more than
boys. For the farm girl there are three courses open: she may
marry, she may stay on the farm with her parents, .or, if she has
the necessary education, she may teach school. Failing these she
must go away to seek her fortune. There are more occupations
open to men than to women. Hence the man stands a better


chance whether he stays at home or goes away. Some change of
occupation is necessary to any farm boy or girl who migrates, since
it is obvious that he cannot have a farm in the city. It is a common
idea among boys and girls on the farm that there are countless
opportunities in the city, and, among colored people, that there is
almost nothing that the colored girl in the North cannot find to do.
But the list of available occupations is almost as limited for her
in the North as in the South. According to Dr. Wilson Gee's
study of "Rural Depopulation in Certain Tidewater and Piedmont
Areas of Virginia" there are only twenty occupations filled by
colored girls in the North, and of these, eleven are domestic in
character.1 Only three of these eleven were entered by the female
migrants to any great extent.
The changing division of labor has affected the Negro as it
has every group. The man who went to the city from the farm
knew only one way to earn his living. But there was no farm
work to be done in the city and he was forced into some other
occupation. He entered the ranks of the unskilled laborer. Some-
times he made himself a place in some one occupation and became
skilled in it. Sometimes he wandered from one employment to
another so that he knew something about many different occupa-
tions. Such a man is Gene, who is described in the following
chapter. These men usually come back to settle in the South for
a time and then begin their wanderings again. Some of those
Negroes who went North have studied in the schools and have
entered the professions as doctors or lawyers. Some of these
have stayed in the North but others have returned to practice in
the South. Their sons usually practice in the North.
The Negro slaves knew two things well-tobacco culture in
Virginia, and cotton culture in the cotton states. Today the
Negroes are farmers, but they also work in town. They have
added to their occupations as farmers that of "odd jobs men" in
the city. The city Negroes before the war, and for a time after
it, held such positions as house-men, gardener, butler, valet, cook,
barber, and preacher. Today they have added the professions, as
preacher, doctor, dentist, teacher, druggist, and such other oc-
cupations as carpenter, tailor, life insurance agent, mechanic,
1Gee, Wilson and Corson, J. J., 3rd, "Rural Depopulation in Cer-
tain Tidewater and Piedmont Areas of Virginia"-Published by The
Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, University of Virginia,
Institute Monograph No. 3, Table 25, p. 49.


cleaner, store-keeper, and "drummer." They continue to work in
the homes and gardens of white people.
The chief step upward for the women has been to positions
as teachers, as graduate nurses doing both private nursing and
public health work, as beauty specialist, and teachers of music.2
They also continue to work as seamstresses, cooks, laundresses,
and the like. Their opportunity to rise seems to lie in their
educational advantages, and they are taking hold of these as
drowning men clutch at straws.
2Several colored women of Charlottesville add to their incomes by
selling insurance.


Association with more people, and with people who have
high standards and ways of living, has brought many radical
changes in the life of the Negro. These changes can be observed
in the people who represent the two stages in his development. For
the Negro who has acquired new standards and new attitudes, Har-
lem has adopted the term "New Negro." The one who has not
changed radically in his attitudes and beliefs we may call the "Old
These two types of the Negro of today are so far apart that
they cannot understand each other. The New Negro has an at-
titude toward his own people and toward those of other races that
is radically different from the attitude of the Old Negro. The
Old Negro is willing to go on just as things are and to let matters
work out or fail to do so without his help. Trained to depend on
the white man, he continues to do so to a very great extent. Taught
to believe in the white man as the master of the black, he still looks
upon him as such, and his attitude toward the white man is likely
to be one of the utmost respect, often bordering on slavishness.
The Old Negro holds to many of the superstitions of his ances-
tors, afraid to let go of them, even in the cases where he really
has ceased to believe in them.
The New Negro is very different. To him his race is as
other races, a part of a great whole that makes up the world. His
destiny in this world is not yet clear, but the New Negro believes
that whatever it is to be the black man himself must work it out.
He believes in an essential equality of all races. He has lost all
the superstitions of his parents. He appreciates the advantages
of education and makes great efforts to get them. He feels the
need of race-consciousness and race-pride and he does all in his
power to foster them. He thinks the Negro is free from many
of the characteristics which he is said to have in larger measure
than the white man has them, but he also knows that the Negro
alone must prove it so. The New Negro has great pride in his
home, in his schools; in his clubs and churches. He lives a life of
variety and increasing intellectual activity. He is not merely an
imitator, he is a thinker. And he seeks recognition of that fact.


In order that the difference between these two types may be
seen, two character sketches are offered, on of the Old, and one
of the New Negro. The life of the Charlottesville Negroes is
pictured in these sketches of its different phases. This is not a
comprehensive study of this life but is presented merely to show
something about the way in which the New Negro really is living
among us.
It must, of course, be understood that there is no sharp divid-
ing line between the "old" and the "new" Negro. Nor are all
individuals of either class alike-there are as many different at-
titudes as there are people who possess them. This is true of any
group like the one we are discussing. There are shades of opinion
within each group, and there are other opinions that do not fit
into either group. Thus we cannot say that every "old Negro" is
like the woman discussed in the first sketch, nor that every "new
Negro'" is in all respects like the woman of the second. They
represent attitudes somewhat typical of the two opposing groups
so often referred to as "the old Negro" and "the new Negro."
Names of these people, as of all those in the case histories of
the following chapter, have been changed, in order to avoid iden-
tification and possible embarrassment to those who are discussed.


Louise is a woman brought up in the country near Charlottes-
ville. She went to school until she was in the fourth grade but at
ten years old she went out to work. From this time, she says, she
was "brought up like an orphan." She was independent from the
time she started to work. She married, when about eighteen, a
man of the same age. They came to Charlottesville to live, and
worked until they could buy their own home.
Both of them read and write. They take two papers, a Rich-
mond paper and a local one. The favorite reading matter is the
Bible; Louise "reads her Bible for an hour every night."
Louise and Branche, her husband, had one son who died of
heart trouble when he was about eighteen. Louise thinks this
was because he worked without sufficient rest when he was fireman
on an engine drawing troop trains. She has never collected her
pension, because she feels that, as he had no pleasure in life, she
should not take his money "and have a good time on it," as she


fears she might do. She thinks the money is being used in some
good way now. She is supporting her sister and her sister's five
children. This is so that this sister can stay at home to care for
their mother, who is an invalid. Louise goes, to see them every
Sunday. But this is the modern side of Louise's personality.
Louise believes in ghosts. Her explanation is that since
Christ rose from the dead and appeared to men, and since we are
to do as He did, we also lie in the grave three days and then rise
and appear. But we can appear only a certain number of times,
so that the longer it is between our appearances the better, since
the final appearance will thus be postponed.
Louise believes the Negro was created to serve the white
man. The white race was created first, she says, and then all the
colored races. So all these races are to serve the white man. It
is wrong for them to try to become as good as the white man be-
cause God did not intend them to be so. He sent them to be the
inferiors of the white race. Therefore He gave the white race
advantages that the colored races can never have, and they should
be satisfied with their lot. Since there will be no black angels,
the colored people will be white in Heaven.
The intermarriage between the two races will never go very
far, and she "wishes people would leave that alone and stop talk-
ing about it." It is impossible for white people to love colored.
The two are not made to mix. The only reason white ever marry
colored is to get the money the colored have.
Any sin is punished immediately, and usually rather spec-
tacularly. A colored man who made fun of the "five-cent nigger"
fell down the stairs the next day and was killed. That was the
direct act of God, punishing him for uttering idle words. And
the marriage of white and black people is often punished in similar
ways. She thinks that the black race was banished to Africa as
punishment to Cain, and they ought to go back there. They should
never have left in the first place and that they were compelled to
do so is part of the punishment of Cain. It is their duty to go
back there and live as God intended them to live-not to try to
be like the white people. They can never be like them anyway.
Th World War was brought on to us because men were so
evil. It was the direct punishment of God. He thought men
would reform after that but they are so blood-lusty that He is
going to send another war to punish and reform them. It may
be a race war, but if there is such a war the Negro will not fight

-*' f1 o
m ^*



against the white man but will fight for him as he has in other
Louise does not mingle with the people in Charlottesville, for
she thinks that we are not to be happy in this life. That will come
in the next life. She does not go to church because she did go
one day and the preacher said we did not need the Bible anymore
and preached from a text not contained within its pages. Neither
does she go to shows-she thinks they are wrong.
Louise and Branche both hold insurance. Branche is a Mason
and a member of the Knights of Pythias. Louise does not belong
to any club, did not even know there were any clubs of colored
women. She seemed much interested when I told her of them and
suggested that she join one. She will not do so, however, for it is
easier just to go on as she is.
It has been suggested that most Negroes of the "old school"
are regular attendants at church services. This is true, and it is
not the fact that Louise does not attend church that marks her as
of that type, but the reason that she gives for her lack of interest.
It is often in reasons, rather than in behavior alone, that we can
find the attitudes of the individual, even though these reasons may
be merely rationalizations. This is, I think, the case with Louise.
Whatever her real reasons may be, the one she gave is one that
would have been likely to call forth the same kind of behavior in
others of her type.

Harlem hates this term, but it is often applied to the modern
type of Negro. It is like this type to hate the term.
Vera Smith is a new Negro. She is not the child of wealthy
parents. Both of her parents were Negroes. She was born and
brought up in Charlottesville. Whereas many colored children go
to work at an early age, her father would not permit his daughters
to do so. When, at the age of eighteen, she asked to be permitted
to go to a large summer resort to act as waitress he flatly refused
to allow her to go. His reason was that the young girl at work
is unprotected, and he said he "would rather have her earn twenty-
five cents a day sewing in her own home than a large amount
where she would be unprotected." She was never permitted to
leave her home to work for anyone. When she became a woman
she went out to do dress-making, but here she was not in contact



with men while she was at work. It was that of which her father
was afraid.
She has three children, two of whom I have seen. They are
very attractive children, well dressed and well behaved.
These people live in their own home, which was built for
them. It is a large white house, in an attractive yard. The recep-
tion hall is well furnished with the usual furnishings of the modern
hall-console table with mirror over it, quiet rug, telephone, and
some good pictures. The living room, which opens off this hall
by double doors, is furnished in the same style and has a rug
matching the one in the hall. The floors of the house are hard
wood. I had a glimpse through glass doors of a dining room with
a polished table, a long buffet, and the other furnishings of any
good dining room. The whole atmosphere of this house is one
of quiet orderliness and pleasantness, despite the fact that one of
the children is a partial invalid. The Smiths hire a woman to care
for him when his mother is out.
Vera Smith is herself well dressed, a fine and capable woman.
Her husband owns his business and when he has to be away she
takes charge of it. She is busy also with her clubs. She and two
or three other women are the originators of the plan to buy and
establish a community house for their people. This house has
been bought and is in use most of the time. For a time it was used
as a dormitory for young girls who needed the protection of such
a home and of the matron who presides over it.
Vera Smith believes that all races are essentially equal. But
she does not wish the Negro to imitate the white man. In her ex-
perience she has seen many things done by white people, which
she thinks are not worthy of imitation. She says that the Negro
has the Bible and that this is his only necessary guide to conduct.
Not that she is narrow or superstitious; she is not. She simply
believes that her race should live to the best of their knowledge
and ability, and not according to the standards of white people.
She had an opportunity to take an extension course in Eng-
lish, and she availed herself of it. She speaks excellent English,
and uses an unusually extensive vocabulary. She wants to go to
school again when her children are grown, but thinks her present
duty is to them. She does not work much for other people, but
has plenty to do in caring for her own home, which is always in



This colored woman knows very well the attitude of the white
people to her own race. She knows that many white people con-
sider the Negroes all "dishonest." She resents this attitude but
thinks that the Negro himself must prove that it is not true. She
herself does not depend on white people, nor does she wish her
race to do so. She regrets the illegitimacy in her race but thinks
it is due to the lack of protection for the girls who work, poor
training on the part of their parents, and an attitude built up from
the days when it was a common practice to breed slaves like ani-
mals. She thinks the Negro is beginning to have higher ideals
for himself and for his race than he had a few years ago.
The children in this home will have every advantage that the
parents can give them. The little girl has had years of piano and
voice lessons. The children have planned to go to college and
have even chosen the college to which they will go. They are quiet,
courteous children, but not timid. They are comfortable in the
presence of grown people and can entertain them for their mother,
and be comfortable and well poised.


1. The Clubs
About twenty-five years ago a colored woman of Charlottes-
ville, being tired, as she said, of "just work, work. work from
morning till night with no change except sleep" called together ten
other women of like sentiments, and of these women organized
a club. They named their club for one of the great Negro
musicians, and have as their purpose the increase of their own
ability in sewing and in literary work, and, as is characteristic of
most Negro organizations, some work for those less fortunate than
themselves-"charity work," they called it. These women, almost
as soon as they were organized, joined the State Federation of
Colored Women's Clubs. The club was so well accepted among
their people that they soon had to limit their membership. They
set their number at twenty-four and others who wished to become
club members organized separate clubs. Then the State organiza-
tion sent into the field a club organizer. She organized more
women's clubs and formed a junior club of girls, from the age
of seven to the age for membership in a woman's club. This club


was too large and the age limit too inclusive, so one of the women
divided it, organizing another junior club. Today there are nine
women's clubs and two junior clubs, all members of the State
Federation. They also have their own city federation.
All but one of these clubs is named for some famous man or
woman of the Negro race. One of them is of a different type.
This is the Community Service Club, a civic organization, and
one which includes in its membership a few of the more prominent
of the colored men. This club, with the help of the other colored
clubs, and with some help from the white people of the town, has
bought and furnished a house on Page Street. The original inten-
tion was to make this a home for old people but it has been used
as a home for convalescents also. It is known as a community
house and will probably be used for that. It is at present too
small for use as a home for more than two people other than the
matron, but it is the hope of the people that they can soon en-
large it considerably.
There are over two hundred members in the eleven clubs of
the federation. There are also two card clubs and one dancing
club, but these latter three are not connected with the State Fed-
eration. The club life of the colored woman in Charlottesville is
her chief recreation, though the church is still of very great im-
portance to her. At her club she meets other women, she dis-
cusses the problems that confront her people, she finds complete
change from the daily work, she learns to think and to talk.
Though the amount of charity work these clubs can do is small,
owing to the small amount of dues that they pay yet it is of some
help not only to the poor but to the members of the clubs. Through
this work the women know the condition of a class of their own
people with whom they never have any direct contact if they can
avoid it. They also learn through their clubs the meaning of
cooperation. The club brings its members close together and
tends to offset the extreme individualism which appears to be
characteristic of the new Negro and has probably been one factor
in slowing his progress. Through the clubs, also, the homes of
the whole Negro group are improved, for one of their slogans is,
"Better Homes for Negroes" and this slogan has done much good
among the members and among those who see the improvements
they have made in their own homes. The motto of the State Fed-
eration is "Lifting as we Climb."


The women of the clubs in Charlottesville are very loyal to
their groups. The club is the center of their thoughts outside of
the day's work. They will stand with determination and per-
sistence against anything which they feel threatens their clubs.
The teachers of the city schools belong to these clubs and through
them they are able to pass on some of the advantages of education
that they have had.

2. The Classes

The Charlottesville Negroes are as distinctly divided into
classes as are the white people of the city. The upper classes do
not associate with the lower classes. One colored girl of the up-
per class said to me, "We feel sorry for them and we want to help
them but we don't want to have anything to do with them, any
more than you want to have anything to do with your lower class."
This attitude is characteristic of most of the upper class.
The lower class, on the other hand, are equally opposed to
contact with the upper classes. To one of them these people are
snobs and he does not like them. Teachers are necessary and are
somewhat admired but the other members of the class are ignored
as much as possible. The lower class lives its own life and does
not wish to be disturbed by anyone, least of all by uppishh" mem-
bers of his own race. His attitudes find a good parallel in the at-
titudes of the lower class white people toward the upper class.
The middle class Negro is, to the others, almost non-existent.
He does not cause any worry to the upper classes by his actions,
for they are not noticeably abnormal. He is the one class who has
most contact with white people, but as he is more passive in his
attitudes than the other two classes he does not cause much friction
between the races. He lives well enough so that his house is not
considered a disgrace, but he does not live so well as to arouse
either the envy of the lower classes or the admiration of the up-
per. Hence he is scarcely an object of consideration to either
class, and he is hardly more considered by the white people. We
are so prone to think of those who serve us as though they were
machines that this servant class of the Negroes is largely non-
existent to us unless something unusual makes us more aware of
them. It is the two classes who cause friction of whom we are
really conscious.


3. The Churches
In the church the Negro still finds his real joy. There are
in this city five Baptist churches and one Episcopal church for
Negroes. There was a Methodist church but it is now closed.
There is also a Holiness church, but as it has only two members
it is of no importance in the lives of the people. The Baptist
church is the real church of colored Charlottesville.
For some time after the Civil War the colored people of
Charlottesville continued to meet with the white people in the First
Baptist Church. But, as happened throughout the whole South,
the Negroes became resentful of being kept apart and they with-
drew and built their own church, the First Baptist Church, Colored.
This church, a rather large brick building, stands on the corner
of Main Street and Seventh Street, northwest. For some time this
was the only colored church. But this church soon split, and an-
other was built, Mount Zion Baptist, on Ridge Street, just off
Main. These two are the largest and the strongest of the colored
churches. After the Mount Zion Church had split off, the Ebene-
zer Baptist Church also split from First Church. This church is
on Fourth Street, at the head of Commerce Street, about a block
off Main. It has something over one hundred members. From
these churches have split Zion Union Baptist Church, which stands
on Fourth Street, across from the colored school, and Bethel Bap-
tist Institutional Church, another split from Mount Zion Church.
This church was organized about ten years ago by the man who
had been pastor of Mount Zion. When there was some discon-
tent with his services he took some of the members and built this
little church. It is a pretty little building, on the corner of Com-
merce and Fifth Streets.
These churches seem to get along easily together. They have
just completed a three weeks union revival service, in which the
meetings were held three nights at each church and in which the
pastors of the churches did the preaching.
The services at the First Church are unusually good. They
are much like those of good white churches. The music is by a
good, well trained choir and the pastor preaches a very good
sermon. The church is well organized on a firm financial basis
and has a good congregation.
The churches of the city do not touch the lowest class of
the Negroes at all. These people live without either the desire or


the compulsion of the church. But the other two classes are
reached and some good work is done among them. Frequently
socials and plays are given and these are well attended. At
Easter each of the three larger churches gave plays and on Easter
Sunday night First Church gave an excellent cantata. Their choir
was robed and the music was good.

4. The Schools
The colored school in the city has seven grades and a three
year high school. The high school added fourth-year work in
September, 1929. The first five grades are in the old building,
known as the Jefferson Grade School. The sixth and seventh
grades and the high school are in the new building which is called
Jefferson High School. The library of the grade school has be-
tween four and five hundred books. The one of the high school
has eight hundred seventeen. The curriculum of the high school
has no electives, and sixteen units are required for graduation.
In 1928-29 there were four teachers for the two grades in this
building and seven for the high school. One of the grade teachers
is also principal of the high school. The high school enrollment
is one hundred forty-seven.
A good deal of activity centers around the schools. The
grade school has a parents' club which meets at the school and at
which meetings the parents are instructed in the studies which the
children are pursuing, so that they will know how to help their
children. Those who cannot seem to grasp the work are asked
not to try to help the children. This mothers' group also does
some charity work. They buy some books for the poor, supply
milk to some undernourished children, and provide clothing for
those who need it. They also receive instruction in methods of
cleaning and improving their homes.
There is little trouble with discipline in these schools. The
principal of the grade school is often resorted to by parents who
cannot control their children and asked to punish them for the
parents; the wisdom of this may be questioned, but it is indicative
of the attitude that they have toward the teacher.
The high school has two principal organizations for the pupils.
The boys have a Hi-Y club which meets in the First Baptist
Church and is directed by the pastor of that church. There is
also a girls' glee club and a chorus for both boys and girls. In


the spring the children of both schools practice for their an-
nual May Day and Health Day programs. Patron's Day is
held the day after these celebrations are over. On this day the
schools are visited by the people, both white and colored, who are
interested and classes are held as usual to show them what work
is being done. There are, of course, exhibits of the best work
that has been done during the year. All city schools celebrate these
Many of the Negro children drop out of school as soon as
they are of the age to do so, but there are many others who stay
in school and graduate, and more of these are going to college
each year. The children of these people will have every advantage
that their parents can give them.

5. Other Activities
The moving pictures, the lodges, and dancing add further to
the life of the Negroes of Charlottesville. During one week, an
average week when there was no special feature at either of the
two theatres, there were 861 Negroes who attended the theatres.
On one recent Saturday night, when the Lafayette Theatre had
a western picture, there were 201 Negroes present.
The lodges, of which there are about ten among the colored
people of Charlottesville, give frequent dances and parties which
are well attended. These organizations are, of course, benevolent,
as well as social. They also have insurance companies for their
6. Segregation
Segregation of Negroes has been both voluntary and com-
pulsory. In the days before the Civil War the slave lived, of
course, on his master's estate, and contact with those of the estate
was natural. Little or nothing was thought of this at that time.
But when the Negro became the object of some dislike he also
became the object of aversion. Then he was restricted in the
place he should live as well as in the things he should do. At the
same time, or shortly after this, he began to see advantages in this
segregation, and not only to submit to it but in some measure to
seek it.
In Charlottesville there seems to be a custom which is more
strictly observed than in the rest of the South. The Negro who


works for a white family in Charlottesville does not live in the
same house with this family, but lives in the Negro section and
goes to and from the house as a man goes to and from his place
of business. This is not always the case. The map showing the
distribution of the members of the colored women's clubs shows
two members on Park Street, which is entirely a white street,
and one on Brandon Avenue, another street on which only white
people live. These three women live in the homes in which they
work. There are some others who do this, of course, but the
custom of living away from their places of work seems to be some-
what firmly established in the city.
In other parts of the South the custom seems to be that the
servants shall live in the same building with the family he serves.
In some houses servant's rooms are built with the houses, or rooms
are prepared somewhat removed from the rest of the house. This
is true of some houses in Charlottesville.
It is not only by the presence of the "Negro section" of a
southern town that one is made conscious of the segregation of
the Negroes. The practice extends to almost every phase of life.
In the theatres sections of the balcony or gallery are set apart for
Negroes, and a separate staircase provided in some theatres. The
admission fee is less for colored than for white adults in the
theatres of Charlottesville.
In street cars the rear seats are set apart for Negroes, though
the number of such seats varies according to the number of people
of both colors on the car at a given time. That is, if there are a
large number of white people in the car, and few Negroes, the
rear seats may be occupied by white persons. But if there is a
large number of colored, so that they need all the allotted space,
or more than that, and if the white people are few in number, the
Negroes are permitted to take seats in front of those regularly
held by them, provided that there are no white people so seated
that they would be behind the colored.
The so-called "Jim Crow car" is a regular feature of southern
railway trains. This is a coach reserved for Negroes. It is, as a
rule, the front section of the smoking car, but if the number of
Negroes usually traveling on the train warrants an additional
coach, it is placed in front of the regular "Jim Crow car." Busses
also have a means of segregating the Negroes. The large busses
have two doors and if a Negro signals the bus to stop the driver


leaves his wheel and opens a door in the rear of the bus. The
Negro then takes a seat at the rear of the car without having to
pass in front of white passengers.
Most of the business places operated by colored people in
Charlottesville are located on "Vinegar Hill," a segment of Main
Street just west of the Main "downtown" business district. There
are a few white stores among them, but the top of the hill on the
north side of the street is occupied by Negro shops and offices.
These places are patronized chiefly by Negroes, but there is no
effort to confine them to these stores and the Negroes are seen in
the stores at the foot of the hill as often as in those of their own
There are other common ways of maintaining segregation,
such as expecting Negroes to use the back door when they call at
the house of a white person for any reason, reserving special sec-
tions for them at circuses and the like, and sending them to the
gallery if they attend services at white churches. Their schools
are separate from those of the white children.
This segregation has resulted in the formation of Negro or-
ganizations, and has compelled them to depend on themselves.


If we wish to learn why a man is as he is we inquire into
his life, his way of getting on with his fellows, his profession,
his education, his successes and his failures. Almost any man's
life would be interesting. The lives of those whom we do not
know, about whom we have speculated and wondered are of espe-
cial interest to us and of especial significance. This is true of the
colored people who live near us. We are, and have long been,
very curious about them. We wonder why they are as they are
and if they are really so different from ourselves or if they are
not really like us in many ways. We are always wondering about
These stories are taken from the real life of one group of
these people-the group about whom our real curiosity centers.
There is another group of Negroes who are very unequally repre-
sented here. This group is important in the life of the whole
Negro group of the city but because they are so like ourselves I
have not emphasized this class. There is one story of this class,
and this one is typical of the whole class. There is little of the
morbid about the educated class of Negroes. They are just nor-
mal people.
The "fat young bucks of the wine-barrel room"' are the class
about whom the real interest of the average person centers when
he thinks of the Negro race. That class is here described in
stories of his type. Yet it will also be seen that they are not so
very different from the same class in any other racial group.
Nevertheless, here they are: in these stories of dark life, in Char-


It is never easy to place one's finger directly on the reasons
for any social phenomenon. This becomes still more difficult
-where a great difference in status between observed and observer
is involved. The position of the member of an unprivileged
1Vachel Lindsay-"Congo."


group living in the same community with a privileged group is
almost impossible for those of the latter group to grasp. The
very fact of their membership in the more fortunate class makes
them feel superior to the less fortunate group and closes doors of
In a case like the following, where we find poor early train-
ing, illiteracy, underprivilege, poverty, and then add such a phy-
sical and psychical handicap as blindness, it is difficult to see how
anything but dependency and some amount of degeneracy could
result. The influence of the simple fact of intermixture of the
blood of two races is too much a matter of dispute for us to lay
any emphasis on it here. But there is little room for doubt that
in this case there is a poor physical inheritance certainly as to
Robert's paternity, and probably also on his mother's side.
Whether or not such traits are inheritable through the germ
plasm, it is certain that they are transmissible through the cultural
pattern of the group of which the child is a member. Therefore,
in forming any judgment of this case, all these things must in
fairness be taken into consideration.
In addition to this it must be remembered that the church
and the organizations for character-building among the colored
people do not touch some lives at all. These untouched lives are
the ones most closely studied in the case histories that follow.
All names and other identifying data have been changed in
these case histories. If by chance any of the subjects should be
recognized, it is requested that there be no revelation of the fact
and no discussion of the histories with those concerned.
About a block from the gas-house, so near it that the "branch"
that carries away the refuse from it is only a few steps from
the door, and the air is full of the fumes of the gas, stands an
old red brick house. A lean-to of wood has been built onto the
house and is an entry-way both to the room upstairs and to the
front room downstairs. The yard is rather large, grown up in
long grass and weeds, and around the doorstep are bits of apple
and potato peelings. The windows have little glass in them,
but the house looks from the outside like what is known as a
"good" house for colored people. The door can be open from
the outside by turning a bent nail-in lieu of a doorknob.
As one enters the front door, the first thing that catches his
eye is a large brass bed, unmade, with dirty bed clothes. This
bed was a Christmas present to Robert from some white people.


The room in which the bed stands is fairly large, has a rough
floor which has been swept recently. Sometimes the room is in
order, sometimes not; it depends on whether or not Frances is at
home, or has gone to work that day. If she is at home the room is
clean, if not it is dirty. There is a small stove in this room, a
"King Heater," in which there is fire when company is expected
or when the children have to play in there. On one side of this
room is a door leading to the stairs and the passage mentioned
above. On the door hang the wraps of the family. Above the
stove, on a shelf, are several pictures of colored people, and one
large one of a very blonde white child. It is not known who this
child is, the picture seems to have been handed down without
Beside this shelf is a door leading to the kitchen, which is
also the dining room, as is usual in these houses. If the back
door is closed the kitchen is so dark that one's eyes have to become
accustomed to the gloom before he can see. The walls are black
with dust, and with coal smoke from the large coal range. When
the lamps are lit conditions are not improved, for they have no
chimneys, and the smoke and fumes of kerosene add to the gloom.
Behind the stove, around the pipe, a hole about a foot square
makes the stove smoke worse than it otherwise would. This
hole also lets in the cold air and the room is always cold even
with the fire burning. At one side of the kitchen is a small table
covered with oilcloth. There is also a small cupboard and one
chair. There are always tubs of water standing around, for
Frances washes almost every day.
The younger children are probably standing around the stove
or playing in the tub behind it, but they are sent upstairs to play
as soon as company comes.
The family consists of Robert, Frances, his wife, Maggie, a
girl who lives with them, six children of Robert and Frances,
and two of Maggie's.
The father of the family and the head of this house is a
blind man, named Robert Lucas. He is almost white and has the
features of the Anglo-Saxon. He is usually dressed in clothes
that are fairly good but very dirty. He wears an old slouch hat
over his soft, black hair. Were it not for his eyes Robert would
be a handsome man. His mouth is very sensitive. But Robert
has been totally blind for something over three years. His eyes


one bag of coal and he does not know he is getting this. A few
weeks later he came to her to ask help and she refused it. He
told some of his neighbors that "she cut his aid off because she
found him asleep." Robert was very angry about this affair, and,
as usual when he is drunk, said ugly things to his wife. She said
little to him but she told me that she was "in the notion to go
and leave him and the children."
It is Frances who keeps that home together. Her children,
the grown ones and the little ones, seem to love her. She seems
rather mild in temperament but the children obey her. She came
from the same little town from which Robert came, and has
known him almost all his life. She is considerably older than he.
She was first married, when she was very young, to a man of
about the same complexion as herself. She had three daughters
by this marriage, two of whom are married. Frances seems to
have been more carefully reared than her husband. She fre-
quently quotes her mother on moral matters. She says her mother
used to say that it was better to work and earn a little than to be
dependent on someone else. "Nobody else is going to take care
of you-you got to take care of yourself" is one of her favorite
quotations. She is very proud. She says that she was brought
up to look nice when she went out on the street and unless she
can look so she will not go out. She usually is clean and neat
when I have seen her in her home. The one family tradition
seems to be that there has been no illegitimacy in the immediate
family. Frances looks with disapproval on this irregularity,
though, like most colored people, she will not cause a child to
suffer because of it. She has in her home a girl who has three
illegitimate children, and though she disapproves of the girl she
will not "put her out on the street" and continues to take care of
the children, two of whom are in her home. She not only has
the affection of her own children but of her son-in-law. He says
that "she's his mama now," that he is "crazy about her" and that
he will always stay with her.
There is considerable trouble between Robert and his wife.
It seems to arise from two principal sources-his drinking and
the presence in the home of Maggie, the mother of the two il-
legitimate children. This girl came to stay with them until she
could find a place to live. But she has never found another place
and she remains here to create more trouble for Robert and
Frances. She is not willing to work much of the time, preferring,



Frances says, to run around with the men. Frances is not will-
ing to take care of her children in order to give her the time for
this pursuit. For a time after Maggie came to live with them
things seemed all right. Maggie would take care of the children
while Frances went out to work. She would get meals for Robert
and keep the house clean. But from the time she began to "run
with the men" Maggie ceased to be of help around the house.
She began to leave as soon as Frances had gone to work, leaving
the little children alone, and making it necessary for Robert to
get his own meals, if he could. She also teased Robert about his
blindness, calling him "old blin' this an' old blin' that." This
angered him but the chief trouble came when Maggie spoke in
the same manner to Frances. Up to this time she had been
respectful to Frances and so had been tolerated. But after her
third child was born she seemed to change in her manner toward
Frances. She asked Frances to take care of her children one
day and Frances refused. This made Maggie angry and she called
Frances names which insulted her and made Robert angry. They
asked the nurse to take the girl away and arrangements were
made to do this as soon as Maggie had been operated on. When
she left the hospital, however, she went back to Robert's, and
though he protested at first and asked that she be taken away, she
remains there.
Decisions concerning Maggie undergo frequent changes.
When she works around the house and leaves Frances free to go
out to work, or when Maggie goes to work on days that Frances
does not go, things seem to go "pretty smooth," as Frances says.
But when Maggie does not do the house work and goes off with
a man as soon as Frances leaves-then the Red Cross or the
Board of Public Welfare are asked to remove her.
The other divisive factor in the home is Robert's drinking
habits. At times, when he is drinking only a little, Frances ex-
cuses him with the remark that he was brought up to drink, "al-
ways has drunk and always will, she reckons." Then she pays
no attention to it. But once in a while Robert gets more than
usually drunk and then trouble begins. Whether or not Frances
really does say that she is "tired of living with ole blin' niggah"
I do not know, but it is his usual accusation and he accompanies
it with the remark that she "can go get another niggah, he has
plenty of folks to look after him." He knows, I suppose, that
they will never have anything to do with him, but he likes to


hold their close proximity up before Frances as a threat. At such
times also it is evident that there have been quarrels over Maggie.
On one occasion when Robert was very angry because he came
in drunk while I was there (he has always felt that I was "spying"
on him for the Red Cross), he said furiously, "You say Maggie's
my mistress-'course she's my mistress." How much truth there
is in that I cannot say, since it was spoken in great anger.
Frances has been very cooperative with the Board in trying
to get Robert to stop drinking. In fact she seems to cooperate
with them in every possible way. She is a much more intelligent
type than Robert. She is very firm with her children and usually
manages them quite well. Her oldest son, however, a boy now
about fourteen, she could not manage. He was, she said, very
mischievous and she could not prevent it. So she told the Juve-
nile Court judge to send him away. The child was boarded with
a family near Richmond for a time, but he has now been sent to
the reform school. This seems to make Frances feel very badly
but she has no apparent inclination to blame anyone else, nor to be
bitter about it. Her other children obey when she speaks. The
little two year old girl seems much the brightest of the children
but her mother has little faith in her ultimate destiny. She says
she is a "mean child" and that she will never be any good. She
probably will not be, for the natural activity in her, and any
ability that she may have, will never be developed in any good
way, but will probably be forced to take its expression in the
same way that Maggie's does. Frances says that she does not
believe in "cuffing children" and that she can usually manage them
in other ways than by whipping them.
Frances has more "schooling" than the others of her family.
She went to school until she was in the fourth grade. Then she
stopped and went to work, but she has continued to read and
write. She writes letters for her friends sometimes, when they
cannot write. She also writes to her son in the reform school.
But it is her home training which has seemed to be the greater
Robert seems unconcerned about his mixed blood. Frances
speaks of it without confusion if it is mentioned, though he him-
self never mentions it voluntarily. He thinks more about his
blindness, as most blind people do. About that he is sensitive.
Robert likes white people better than he does Negroes. He
says they are kinder to him, that he has many friends among them


and that they often give him things. He spent only forty-five
cents for Christmas, because he did not need to spend more. His
white friends sent him the Christmas things and he says they had
a fine Christmas.
In his imagination Robert is quite ambitious. How far this
would go if some of his ambitions could be realized is a matter
for speculation. He thinks the school for the blind is the most
wonderful thing in the world. He takes pride in the work that
he does and in teaching other unfortunates to bottom chairs. His
ambition is to have a shop in which he can work and in which he
can train other men, blind and lame, to do the work. He thinks
if he could get a little money to do this that he would be able to
do well and to hdlp the other men to do it. He would have to
have some one who could see to do the financial work, he knows,
but he thinks a lame man would do for that. He expresses much
appreciation of the help the Red Cross has given, but he con-
tinues to expect it. And when it is not forthcoming he is not so
Robert is frank about his drinking habits. He admits that
he drinks when he can get it and says that he does not intend to
stop. He thinks he has a right to drink if he wishes.
People frequently take advantage of Robert's blindness. He
says that he carries two qualities of broom, one of which has six
bunches of straws to a broom and the other four. The six-bunch
is more expensive than the four-bunch. He says that when he
is selling them people will tell him they want a four-bunch broom.
He has only his hands to tell him which is which and he lets them
select their own. They will take a six-bunch, pay for a four-
bunch and insist that they have taken a four-bunch. He also
has trouble in collecting the money for the chairs he bottoms.
He says that when chairs are ready the owners do not call for
them. Robert has no cart in which to carry them and he has to
depend on his boys, who should be in school to do this for him.
When he and the boys return the chairs the people tell him that
"they cannot pay him today." "They give me fifty cents or a
quarter and tell me to come back Saturday and they'll pay me.
But Saturday never comes." He says white and colored people
are equally at fault in this respect.
There seems to be no ground for expecting anything of this
home. Poverty, drinking on the part of the head of the family,
and blindness, lack of ambition, ignorance, almost illiteracy, low


standards of living, seem to offer little hope for any very bright
future. It might be that if Robert could have his shop, with some
reliable man to help him, he could really make good. But he has
no funds with which to start it and the Red Cross and the Board
of Public Welfare have no funds for anything of that kind, so
there seems no possibility of its realization. The children in that
home will probably grow up to the same sort of life that their
father has. Of such lives progress is not made.


Maggie May is the girl who lives near the gas-house, with
the family of Robert Lucas. She is a short, dark brown girl,
twenty-four years old. She was born and raised at Eastham, a
small town near Charlottesville. She appears somewhat feeble-
minded, but as she is quite deaf and has extremely bad eyes, it is
hard to be sure of this. She has never had an intelligence test.
Maggie lived with her parents until she was about fifteen years
old. At this time she had her first illegitimate child, a girl named
Dorothy. This is the child of a colored man named Brown.
Maggie's father tried to make her marry the man after Dorothy
was born but Maggie says, "He drank and I didn't want nothing
to do with him." So she refused. She went to Philadelphia to
work and stayed there until her parents sent for her to come home
and take care of them. She left the child with an aunt in Phila-
delphia and came back to Eastham to live. She lived with her
parents until both died, when she came to Charlottesville to live.
When Frances Lucas was in Eastham she met Maggie twice.
She asked her to "come to see her when she was in Charlottesville,"
an invitation lightly given but regretted.
When Maggie first came to Charlottesville she lived with a
family on Jefferson Street. She stayed here until her second baby
was born. This child is a sickly boy, two years old. He is the il-
legitimate son of a colored man. After the birth of this child
Maggie went to live with Robert. She intended to stay with
them only as long as it took her to find another home but satis-
factory arrangements were made with Frances and there she
stayed. She has never paid any board. She has helped around
the house when Frances was working but has never been very
industrious. On Thanksgiving Day, 1928, a third illegitimate child


was born, a boy, child of the same man who is father of the
second child. This man was recently married to another girl-
a few days before the second boy.was born. He lives only a few
doors from the house in which Maggie lives. Maggie has had an-
other child, who died at birth.
The aunt who has Dorothy recently wrote Maggie to come
and get the child as she did not have her anymore. Maggie says
that the sister of this aunt's husband took the child to live with
her. She said she would go and get the child but it would cost
twenty-two dollars and she has no way to get so much money.
She said that "if she could get a good job cooking she would
make good pay, and that she would get the child and make a home
for all of them." She would like to get someone to take care
of the children while she works. Her sister, who is a year younger
than Maggie, lives in New York. She tried to get Maggie to live
with them but Maggie worked there for a while and she did not
like the brickyard where her sister's husband works. That is
where they wanted her to work. The husband of this sister works
in New York only part of the year, and they are building a
house in the country near Eastham. When this is done they will
come there to live and the sister will stay here when her husband
is in New York. Maggie says she will live with them if the
house is big enough. It would be interesting to see if this is true
and if it works out. One would like to know if living in New
York has really made the sister as ambitious as this plan sounds.
Before her last baby was born Maggie seemed so stupid that
she appeared an imbecile. But after this child was born she seem-
ed brighter. She loves the hospital and has a habit of going there
for the slightest reason. One of the nurses told Frances, so
Frances says, that Maggie was crazy. The Public Health Nurse
has spoken to Maggie about going "to live at Petersburg if she
did not go to work." Maggie says "this is the place for crazy
people and that she is not going there because she is not crazy."
When some efforts to take Maggie to this colony failed she
was taken to the hospital here and sterilized. Her own consent to
this was obtained with little difficulty. After this operation she
was to have been taken to her aunt in Eastham but she returned
to Robert's home and there she remains. She has been working
lately and has caused little trouble.
Both of the children of this girl are sickly. The two-year-
old, George, has never been well. He has had to have special


care and this has been given by Frances. He is just now begin-
ning to learn to walk. The little baby has been having some sort
of a rash, which has to be treated at the hospital.
Maggie herself has not only bad eyes and ears, but she has
teeth that are suggestive of inherited syphilis. The physical con-
dition of her children is also suspicious. Frances says that some
"good people" told her that Maggie had had five or six miscar-
riages before she came to Charlottesville to live. Maggie says
this is not true.
It is this girl who is making so much trouble in Robert's
home. She loves to have a good time and is not over-burdened
with eagerness to be useful. She has been to school some, both at
Eastham and at Richmond when she stayed there for a time. But
she will never be a useful member of society.


"Black Ulysses"' is the wanderer type. Ignorant of the
things he should have been taught and sophisticated in the things
he should not have been taught, he wanders from state to state,
living one day at a time, never still very long, known to the police
wherever he has been, drinking, swearing, breaking all moral
precepts as he goes. "Wine, women and song" is his motto. He
never works if he can find any other way to eat, and he never
thinks of "rainy days." If he marries he is out of his sphere and
his family is not likely to benefit much by his parental control.
He spends his winters in jail if he cannot find more congenial
quarters, but he is out by early spring, off to new fields. In this
case the field is determined, I think, by the quality of the whiskey
he can buy.
The man we are studying in this sketch is less traveled than
some others. I know one old man who has been in twenty-five
states since he was freed. To many of these people freedom
meant just the chance to go where they wished without a pass,
with no one to say yes or no. And many of them took the op-
portunity to see the country.
Gene is what we should expect a person of his type and of
his training to be. He is no better and no worse than the aver-

10dum, Howard W., Rainbow Round My Shoulder.


age of his class. He is pleasant to talk with, can tell stories
which are very interesting if not very true, has a high opinion of
himself and his achievements, knows the use of just the right
flattering word to turn the torrent of wrath from himself, has
at his tongue's end all the excuses for not working and many
bright promises for the future, has no compunctions at all about
swearing to a known lie, and is yet a likeable sort of fellow. But
I should hesitate to anger him. The expression of his face warns
one immediately that in anger he would not be so pleasant a cus-
tomer. He would probably not hesitate to take the most ex-
treme measures to get his way. He should be as carefully handled
as a box of dynamite.
Gene Smith and his wife, Lucy, live in a double house near
the colored school. The house looks as though it were about to
roll down the hill on which it is built. It is of wood, painted red
long ago. There are no steps; and one climbs to the rickety
porch up a steep little path. Once inside the room one is at least
gratified to see that the young woman is a fair housekeeper. The
floor is clean and the bed made, the linen fairly clean. There is
a kitchen off this room, and a door from the kitchen opens onto a
vacant lot. In the same room with her parents, on a cot, sleeps
a child, the only child of these two. She is nine years old, has
been in school three years and is still in the first grade. Physically
she is large for her age, but she has a very dull face.
Gene was born in Georgia. He is an illegitimate child and
has one sister a year younger than he. "He never went to school
a day in his life." He said he "had to school his sister." He
went to work when he was about eight years old, carrying water
at a mining camp. He earned twenty-five cents a day at this.
He continued to work at odd jobs there until he was about fif-
teen. Then one night his mother's brother got out of the peni-
tentiary and came home. This man was drunk and tried to get
his sister (Gene's mother) to go out on the street with him.
When she refused he killed her with an axe. The next day Gene
left home and started his wandering. Gene is an example of
"Black Ulysses." He is a large, very dark man, as lazy as he
can be. He drinks almost continually. He talks rather well and
dances fairly well.
He went from Georgia to Florida, where he worked for a
time. Then he went to Kentucky and repeated the Florida ex-


periences. From here he went to West Virginia, but he does not
like West Virginia, because he says that the whiskey is made
with lye and that he burned his throat and stomach with it. Eight
years ago he came to Charlottesville. Here he "fell in with Robert
and his family." He had, he says, three hundred dollars but he
spent it all on Robert-"courting his daughter (she is not really
Robert's daughter but Frances' by her former husband) and
doing different things for him." He married this girl and they
live in the little red house on the side of the hill. He says he is
a stone mason and also learned from Robert how to trim trees.
He says, "I used to clean all the chimneys around here but I
taught some other men and soon they were all doing it and I lost
my work." He also knows everything about a drift-mine but
this work is so dangerous that he will not do it. If he cannot
find some work here he will go to West Virginia to work. He
would rather stay here, as his wife will not leave her mother.
Gene says he has been in jail here only once. He was ac-
cused of being drunk in a car with another man. The police came
and "got him out of bed at night and took him to the jail." The
next morning he was fined ten dollars but he says that though
he was drunk he was not in the car, and he thinks the fine was
unjust. He always goes home when he is getting drunk. "When
you see me running for home you know I'm getting drunk, but
when you see me walking you know I'm not drunk," he says.
He gets the favorite beverage for Robert to drink. He says he
will not get any for Robert anymore, but that he will drink all he
wants to. He argues that he and Robert are men now and that
if they want to drink they have a right to do so. Their favorite
drink is rubbing alcohol. That is what they had had when the
superintendent of the Board of Public Welfare called, and found
Robert drunk.
Lucy is a better type than her husband. She is like her
mother. She works steadily and is the support of her family. She
went to school until she was in the third grade. She did not like
school in town and would not go while she lived here, but when
she was with her aunt in the country she went willingly. She
seems ashamed of her child's inability to learn. She is a very
neat appearing woman, pleasant to talk to, and industrious. She
shows no resentment of Gene's idleness but "wishes he would get
a job." It appears to be an accepted thing in their class that the
woman is the family support and the man the supported. Lucy


does cooking and cleaning but would rather do washings if she
could get them.
The thing that Gene really likes best to do is stay around
crowds of young white men and dance for them. He says they
are all crazy about him and that they like him to be around them.
He does some errands for them. He says he is a fine dancer.
One could wish he had some other form of professional ability.

Desertion is a phenomenon so frequent among the Negroes
of Charlottesville as to be almost commonplace. It is not, how-
ever, peculiar to any one or two classes or races, but is to be found
in all.
In studies of desertion made in other communities deserters
of several different classes have been described. There is the
"periodic deserter," the man or woman who deserts his home
at somewhat regular intervals, usually coming back when his
period of restlessness is over. There is the man or woman who
habitually deserts in times of sickness. These deserters are most
often found among men-they desert every time their wives be-
come pregnant, staying away until the period of confinement is
over. Then there are permanent deserters, men or women who
simply become tired of conditions as they are, and seek relief in
flight. These individuals present distinct traits, traits which can
be discovered, however, only by study over a long period of time.1
Which of these types the subject in this report is, I cannot
tell certainly. But there are things in his attitude and in the
situation as it was when studied that make me feel that Jack is a
permanent deserter. He is firm in his expressions of independ-
ence, and though, when we interviewed him, he was not rude to
us, nor was he stubborn, yet there was an element of decision in
his attitude that made me certain that the situation was, so far as
he was concerned, settled satisfactorily, and that he had no in-
tention of changing his mind. Emily's attitude was much like
Jack's. The fact that the children are not Jack's makes it im-
possible to bring any pressure to bear upon him, and were this not
the case, I should doubt the wisdom of further interference. The
two have settled the matter to their own evident satisfaction and
it seems to me that it is best to leave it so.
1Colcord, Joanna C., Broken Homes.


Just around a bend in one of the main roads of the county
is a little church set on a hill. Next to it, barely visible from
the road, is an old, very dilapidated house. The yard is grown
up in tall grass, littered with refuse of various kinds, and, on one
call that I made, strewn with pieces of apple put there to dry.
The house has never been painted, has almost no glass in any of
the windows, and no one would dream that it was inhabited. But
here live Emily Smith and her family.
-Emily is a Negro woman about twenty-seven years old. She
is dark skinned, rather tall, with a face that expresses quick tem-
per. She has three children, the offspring of a husband now dead.
Emily has tuberculosis. She has been sick for over a year.
At the time this case was brought to my attention she had been
in bed for nine months. It had been reported that her husband
(her second husband) had deserted. The Board of Public Wel-
fare was helping the family with a grocery order. The Joint
Health Department, through the colored nurse, was caring for
the patient. The Community Service Club, an organization of
colored women, maintains a bed in the sanitorium for colored at
Burkeville, and they were taking steps to have Emily entered
here to have the free use of this bed for six months.
On my first visit we found Emily in bed. The bed was
filthy, and the patient very dirty. The room contained a small
wood stove which was smoking, with the lid off. There was a
chair in the room, near the stove. Other furnishing there was
none. Emily's mother was there and she was a very dirty, un-
intelligent looking woman. There were also two children in the
room, one standing beside the bed, the other, a little girl of four,
climbing over the bed and into her mother's arms.
Emily seemed anxious to cooperate in every way that she
could to help in her own cure. She had been told about the bed
at Burkeville, and when the colored nurse asked her if she was
willing to go, her answer was, "yes, anything to get well." Her
mother said she would help by taking the children. One girl, the
oldest, has been with an aunt in Pittsburgh for some time and is
going to school there.
It was the intention of the Board of Public Welfare to try
to get the help of the deserting husband in sending Emily to the
sanitorium. But they did not know where he was. When Emily
was questioned she said she did not know where he was, but that
he was "probably out hitting the rails somewhere." Her mother


also said that they had no idea as to his whereabouts. As the
nurse and I left the house, however, we saw an old man, to whom
we spoke. The nurse asked him if he knew Emily and he said
that he did. When he was questioned further he told this story:
Emily's first husband died about five years ago. For something
like three years before he died this boy, Jack Smith, had been
living with them. Three years ago, two years after her first hus-
band's death, Emily married Jack. Not long after that she was
taken sick. He had taken care of her until a few weeks before,
when he had deserted her. The old man said that he knew that
Jack was working in an apple orchard about a mile farther along
the road and that he had been there ever since he left his wife.
A few days later the Superintendent of the Board and I went
to this farm to see Jack. He was in the orchard and at first
refused to come up to the house to talk to us. His stepmother
finally persuaded him to come. He is a big, very black Negro, a
year or more younger than his wife. His story was that he had
"got out of trouble" after a year on the road. He came home in
August and found Emily sick. He had taken care of Emily just
as well as he could, obeying the doctor's orders and buying the
medicine for her. But they were always quarrelling. One night
about three weeks before he had gone to town to renew a pre-
scription for her. He told her that he was going to "stop by a
show and might be home late." She "got mad and told me she
didn't want me nor nothing' I had and that if I went I was never to
come back. When I'm ordered out of a place I go, and stay out,
and I stayed out of there," he said. When he came back from
town he went to his stepfather, on the farm at which we found
him, and there he had remained. He said that he loved the chil-
dren as though they were his own and that he still was fond of
Emily. He said that he would be glad to help her to go to the
sanitorium, but that she didn't want his help. He agreed to go to
see her and to try to straighten things out.
This man can neither read nor write. He said that his father
used to whip him to make him go to school but that he always
went to the creek and fished or did something else. He said that
Emily had always been "spoiled" and that her parents had not
made her mind.
The white people on this farm speak well of Jack, say that
he is a good boy and that his wife is to blame for the trouble.


His employer told us in Jack's presence that he did not blame him
at all for leaving her. Both Jack and the white people of the farm
said he was not going with other women.
A week later we called on Emily again. She had been to the
clinic but was to go back before she went to the sanitorium. .She
told us her side of the case. She said that she ordered Jack out
because he was "chasing around with other women." He had been
in jail several times since they had been married. He had "beat
up another girl just last week," she said, "and you could hear her
yell clear up here. It happened right down here in this road."
She also accused him of "pulling a gun on her." Her mother,
who was there at the time, said that she always spoke to him
when she saw him and that he spoke to her "just like always."
Emily had already sent her little girl to an aunt in the North
and had had a letter saying that the child was happy. Her
mother took the boy, a child about seven, and so all the children
were provided for by their mother, without the help of any or-
ganization. Jack did not make the promised call and Emily has
been in the sanitorium for some time.
This case seems to have been settled by the people concerned
to their mutual satisfaction. When Emily leaves the sanitorium
she hopes to get work and have all of her children in her own home
again and send them to school. She neither asks nor wants Jack's
help in this. They are not his children and she seems to feel that
she and they are better off without him.
Jack's jail record, his reputation for going with other women,
his wife's illness and quick temper, with, I should judge from what
I saw of them, the interference of her mother and sisters, have all
been factors in this case. It may also be, as has been suggested,
that Jack deserted in the hope that the "Red Cross" would take
care of his wife. Cases of desertion for this reason are quite
common, as are also cases of desertion due to the illness of the

Failure to provide for possible emergencies is a frequent
omission among a certain class of people. Foresight is not a
common characteristic of the human race. And the hardships of
widowhood where there is a large family to support and there
has been no provision for their future are well known.


In the case now to be presented there is such a lack of fore-
sight. Perhaps the same trait that caused this failure is also
responsible for the failure to control the oldest boy. This weak-
ness is apparent in the mother today and is reported to have been
present in the father. At any rate there is an obvious failure
either to be able to control the older children or to provide for
the future.
One is almost tempted to say that this family is better off
now that the father is dead than when he was living. They are
better off in a financial way, for though they have less money
they also have fewer members in the family, so that they really
have more money per person than before.
When this case was first opened the husband, Ernest Abbott,
was living. The woman who owns the house in which they live
reported to the Board of Public Welfare that the family was
very large, six months in arrears on the rent, and had other debts.
Ernest worked for a man in the city and this man said that Ernest
was a hard working man, sober and industrious. He earned fif-
teen dollars a week. It had come to the ears of Ernest's em-
ployer that the man was in debt and he had called him to his
office and advised him to get out of debt as soon as he could
and not to buy on credit. The family owed a doctor's bill of ten
dollars, a bill of eleven dollars to someone else, and some money
for fuel. The oldest child, a girl of sixteen, had tuberculosis and
had been in bed for a year. They had to buy milk for her. When
the worker interviewed Edna, the wife, Edna cried because of the
debts they owed.
This family had eight children at that time. (April 5, 1926).
A ninth child was born in December that year. The oldest child
had been sick a long time when the Public Health Nurse suc-
ceeded in persuading her mother to keep her in bed and give her
the proper care. It had taken constant persuasion to accomplish
this. The girl had improved rapidly at this time and the nurse
thought she would soon be able to go to school again.
Edna is a neat young colored woman, not at all a bad house-
keeper. The house is small and not in good condition but is kept
quite clean and orderly. The children are very thin and are all
over the place. At this time the Board of Public Welfare gave
the family four dollars a month and a grocery order for five
dollars a week. They promised to continue this until the family
should be independent, at the same time urging them to get all


debts paid and not run up any more. All reports of the family
were to the effect that the parents were honest and hard working
and that they were very deserving. It seemed to be the size of
the family that made things hard.
When the case was next reported it was just after the new
baby was born. Edna had pneumonia and the nurse reported that
the family needed help. A grocery order was sent at this time
and they seemed to get along until August, 1928.
Elizabeth, the oldest child, died in 1927, and the baby died of
pneumonia at the age of two months. In July, 1928, Henry, the
oldest child left, was sent to the reform school. He had been
guilty of "stealing cigarettes and things," his mother said. Then
in August of the same year Ernest was killed while working for
the city. Edna asked for some help. The Board responded with
a three dollar-a-week grocery order. In addition to that she re-
ceives $7.95 a week from the State as workman's compensation.
At the time of my first call this was the entire income for the
family. There are now six children at home. According to a
number of people of whom I inquired, this amount, about $45
per month, was enough to support the family well. But Edna
does not know how to manage. One of her neighbors says that
both she and her husband were "weakminded."
It was suggested to Edna that Henry be paroled on probation
to the officer and that he could go to work to help support the
family. But Edna thinks she could not manage him, and reminds
me that his father was living when he got into trouble and that "a
father can always make children mind better than a mother can."
So she decided that it would be better to leave Henry where he
is for the present. This is not a bad idea for he is in school and
may not have any more opportunity for that when he is out, for
he will be eighteen then. He was in the first year high school
when he was sent away. Edna says she writes to hiln regularly
but he does not often answer, though he says he is happy. Edna
is trying to teach her other children not to steal. She says that
they are good children but she "has to spank them a lot to keep
them so." They are aged 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 15. The eleven
year old boy is only in the second grade. His mother says "he
don't take to his books, but he's getting' along all right now."
Edna seems perpetually discouraged. She has some kidney
trouble, which makes it difficult for her to work, though she now
has one washing which pays her $1.50 per week. She always


looks very tired. She does not have any recreation, nor seem to
care for any. She says "her neighbors all tell her she ought to
get out more." She sends the children to the movies sometimes
but does not remember when she last went to one. She goes to
church socials when there are any, and when she has clothes to
wear, but that is seldom.
Edna remembers almost none of her childhood. She does
not know where she was born, but thinks the family moved soon
after that. She can remember only one other move they made
and that was to the house in which she still lives. She remembers
that they lived on a farm belonging to some white folks and that
she and her sister used to play with the white children. She
thinks her father paid rent for his house and made his living by
helping on the farm. She remembers him as a very stern man,
her mother as always joking. Edna went to school until she was
about thirteen. Then she had to stop to do the work at home,
for her mother went out to work and Edna was the oldest girl.
She was in the fifth grade when she stopped school. The woman
whose father owned the farm says that Edna's father was lazy
and thieving. She says that he had some timber from which he
was supposed to cut his firewood, but that instead of cutting his
own he would come at night and steal theirs. Edna's parents were
not superstitious and Edna laughs when I ask her if she believes
in ghosts. She said she didn't know anyone still believed in them.
Her father was a religious man and always said grace at meals.
Edna says that she says grace at the table.
These people live in a three room house for which they pay
$7 per month. The house has very smoky walls and is small but
is what is considered a "good house," that is, a fairly weather-
tight house. Like most houses of its class it is sparsely furnished
with the bare necessities. It has no conveniences, is heated with
little stoves and lighted with kerosene. It is in the section down
by the gas-house, a section not at all attractive but respectable.
Edna cannot tell a connected story, no matter how short.
She responds to direct questions with simple answers, gives no
leads and answers "yes" or "no" as often as she can. If one asks
a question that does not have a yes or no answer she usually says
"I don't know" or "I don't remember." She is supposed to report
to the "Red Cross" office on Saturdays and be taken to the bank
to deposit some money but she rarely does this. She belongs to


the Baptist Church but does not often go. The children are not
in Sunday school because they have no clothes to wear. They go
to school but do not do particularly well. One of the little girls
is very nervous but the doctor says she will outgrow this. The
children all have swollen glands in their necks and it has been
reported to me that there is some evidence of disease. This has
never been diagnosed. Edna does not make use of the clinic.
This woman will probably stay in the same place until she
dies. Her children will grow up and go to work, and, some day,
will marry. Then they will go to some other house to live and
continue to work and rear large families. None of them appear
to have any more spirit than their mother and they will probably
"just live until they die." It is the usual lot of that class. Edna
belongs to no club, is active in no church, and has no interests out-
side her home. She says she likes to read and that she reads the
daily paper and what books she can get hold of, but I have never
seen a book or paper in the house. When I call she is usually
washing and stops only to talk to me, wondering why I continue to

It is hardly to be expected that in a family where the chil-
dren are themselves illegitimate they will have any aversion to
this type of immorality. Family attitudes in the neighborhood
in which the family live who are the subjects of the following
study are lax in the "niceties" of life. There is no effort at neigh-
borhood control, the attitude being that what one's neighbor wishes
to do, he should be allowed to do. No one will give information
that he thinks will harm his neighbor, hence the influence of gossip
is weak, though the presence of this spirit is obvious in certain
persons. The family may be ever so critical of the children when
they are together, but if an outsider comes in, the family exhibits
considerable solidarity. These neighborhoods are not much
supervised by the police. I have never seen a policeman in the
district. There is criminality of other kinds than prostitution in
this district. Men and women are to be seen any time of the
day, idling on the street and in the yards. Young men are par-
ticularly conspicuous here. One morning I went to the district
about ten o'clock and saw five young men playing ball in the
street. The day was sunny and warm and they soon abandoned





their game for the more comfortable sport of sitting on the door-
step with a guitar, singing popular songs.
The people of this neighborhood have very low status among
both white and Negro population. Neither of these groups wish
to have anything to do with them and they are left to their own
devices and vices. The mere mention of the district causes a shud-
der in the upper classes of either race. All know the reputation
of the place and all shrink from it. Little good can be expected
to come out of such a neighborhood.
I was sent to investigate this case for the Board of Public
Welfare. They had been paying rent for these people but had
grown suspicious and stopped. That week one of the children had
come to ask for a grocery order and it had been given. Armed
with this information and with the knowledge that the house was
out on the Old Scottsville Road I went to seek the facts.
When I had gone about as far as I thought I should go I
asked a very pretty child whom I saw on the doorstep where Mary
Nicholas lived. She informed me that she would show me and
that Mary Nicholas was her mother. The child was very ob-
viously of white parentage on one side, and was attractive and
courteous. I followed her down a little alley to a typical Scotts-
ville Road house. She pushed open a door on the first floor and
called, "Mary, here's a lady to see you." Mary came out and with-
out waiting to ask me any questions told me to "Come up to my
mother's house." She led the way and we went back to the main
road to the house where I had first seen the little girl. Here I
was introduced to Jane, Mary's mother. As soon as she heard
our voices, another woman came down the stairs and was presented
as Jane's sister, Hannah. We went into a room to the left of
the hall, and there we sat to talk.
The room in which we sat was a bed-sitting room. It is
heated by a fireplace, in which on this raw January day were two
or three very small bits of wood such as one would usually use for
kindling. From time tor time Jane would go out and get another
little stick to put on the fire. I could feel no heat at all from it.
On the walls of the room were three large portraits-one of a girl
about eighteen, whom I afterward learned was Jane in her girl-
hood. She was a marked contrast to the woman who was talk-
ing to me. The girl in the picture was quite pretty and looked
happy. The woman before me was stooped and old, and she was
not at all an attractive woman. She looked discontented, as, in-


deed, she is. She is dirty and unkempt. Another picture was of
a little boy, son of Jane's daughter, Mary. The third was of a
man whom Jane said was her husband, but as she has never had
a husband I assume he is the father of one of her children. He
is now dead. There were, besides, two large religious pictures,
in the style of the old Catholic artists, and in very bright colors.
These pictures have never been referred to in my presence. On
a table were various "knicknacks," such as a large china Easter
egg with a scene painted on it, a very old pincushion, and a small
plate with some design on it. In a corner was an old organ, closed,
I should judge, these many years. The rest of the furniture con-
sisted of a straight chair, a rocker, a cot and a bed. Both cot
and bed had sheets on them, but they were far from clean. The
floor was rough wood, not very clean, but not strewn with refuse.
In fact I should judge that it is swept about once a week. There
was an old trunk at the foot of the bed, and this contained Jane's
In addition to the room we were in there is a kitchen, and
a room above in which Hannah lives. The roof of the house
leaks and there are no toilet facilities of any kind. They carry
water from the supply of any neighbor who will let them have it.
There is an outdoor toilet which is nothing but a small shed built
over a hole in the ground. The walls of the house are papered
with newspapers of ancient vintage. They are blackened with
smoke. The rent for this house is $5.50 per month.
These people, somewhat to my surprise, knew their ancestry
back to their grandparents, though they knew little about those
people. The story of this family follows:
Bolin Brooks came from Buckingham County and was
bought by a man in Albemarle. Bolin married Rose, a slave on
the estate of the man who bought him. They had a daughter,
Peggy, who married Andrew, a slave on an adjoining estate. Five
years after the war, Hannah was born to Peggy and Andrew. A
year or so later Jane was born, and then a boy. Hannah had two
illegitimate children both of whom died in infancy. Jane also
had two illegitimate children, Kate and Mary.
Jane says that her parents were very religious and that she
was brought up to be so. She and her sister did not go to school
more than a year altogether. When Jane was about thirteen she
went to work for her mother's former mistress and her mother
collected the child's wages. This white family was very religious,


had grace at meals, and held family prayer once a day, to which
the servants came. But the religion did not seem to affect Jane's
morals. She worked for a long time for a family from the North
and during this time she had two illegitimate children. While they
were still babies, Jane went North with the family for whom she
worked, as nurse to their child, leaving her own children in the
care of their grandmother. Jane returned to Charlottesville, but
she did not send for her children. She continued to work here,
always working for Northern people. She says that they "never
made her do anything she didn't want to do" but one cannot
imagine a "Yankee" who did not make people work. Jane is not
an ambitious woman and seems to feel that the world owes her a
living, hence her statement. The investigator was working for the
"Red Cross" and talking about work that Jane could do so that
she would not need the help of the county.
When Mary was about ten years old her grandmother died
and the two children came to live with their mother. Jane says
that Mary was so little that when she saw her coming down the
stairs alone she was afraid the child would fall. She did not put
the children in school. Kate was now about twelve years old.
She had been working "ever since I was big enough to stand at
the stove," she says. She immediately went to work. Kate loved
to cook and her mother, who is very proud of her, says that "she
can cook anything in the world you want; all you got to do is
tell her." Kate says the same thing. So Kate became partly
responsible for the support of the family. She is now about
twenty-six years old, was at work the first time I called and for
some time after that held the same position, in the country. But
Kate likes the city with its noises and excitements, so she gave
up her position when she began to have a bad boil on her leg.
She says she will go to work somewhere in town as soon as it gets
well. She was treating it with burnt linen when I saw it.
Mary never liked work. She was a stubborn child and did
not learn to cook as her sister did. She has never earned her liv-
ing. Her mother says that she has never been willing to listen
to advice, as her sister did. The evidences of strife between the
mother and the girl are the most noticeable behavior of the family
when she is with them. It has evidently been present all the girl's
life. Mary's face is stubborn, the whole attitude of her body is
stubborn and resisting. She and her mother argue from beginning
to end of a conversation as to which of them has a right to tell


the story. They argue about Mary's age. Mary claims that she
is twenty-four, Jane claims that she is only nineteen. Mary says
that she was sixteen when her first child was born, Jane says she
was not over eleven. As the child is nine years old the chances
are that Mary is more nearly right than her mother, although
Kate also contends that Mary is not over twenty now.
Whatever may be her exact age, Mary was still a child when
Gladys was born of a white father. Mary refuses to tell anything
about the affair except that she had known him for some time and
had gone out with him She says that he came to see her for a
time after Gladys was born and that she still sees him occasionally,
but that he is married now and she does not have anything to do
with him since "it don't pay to have no dealings with a married
man." But Mary's career was only started. Two years later she
had a son, this time by a colored man, now dead. Gladys is in
the fourth grade and her people are very proud of her. But she
seems to hold herself aloof from them and their real affection is
for the boy. They all say that they are "crazy about him" but
they say nothing of Gladys except that she is bright. She is a
quiet child, likes school, but appears to have no affection for her
people. Her attitude in the home is that of the stranger who comes
on an errand and is in a hurry to get away. I do not think she is
stubborn, but she simply has as little as possible to do with her
family. Jim has never been very strong and though he is seven
years old he has not started to school. Mary says she is going to
send him next year.
Mary and her family insist that Mary has heart trouble.
Something like a year ago she was examined by a doctor who
told her that she had heart trouble and ever since then she has
maintained that she has. The doctor said, when I questioned him,
that she had some trouble but that he could not tell whether it was
organic and so permanent, or functional, hence only temporary.
He asked that she come back to be re-examined. Doubt as to the
seriousness of her condition made us advise her to go to the clinic
for examination. This she refused to do. She said that she was
afraid to go to the hospital because there were so many men
there and she was alone. She said that she would go to her doc-
tor, a colored man, but she asked me to ask the Red Cross for a
grocery order for her before she went. Needless to say this was
not done.


A week or so after this, knowing that she had not gone to
the doctor, the Public Welfare superintendent and I went to the
house to see Jane. It appeared that Jane was behind on her rent
and that the Board wished to investigate. There was quite an
argument concerning this matter. Jane insisted that she was back
only a few weeks but the agent said she was six months in arrears.
This agent has had a quarrel with Jane before this and Jane does
all her business through a white friend of hers. She pays the
rent to this woman and the woman pays it to the agent and holds
Jane's receipts. Jane says she pays the whole amount regularly
but the woman says that she comes to her and gives her a quarter
or fifty cents once in a while and considers the rent paid.
When the argument concerning the rent was over Mary of-
fered to go with me to the hospital the next Saturday at ten
o'clock. At a few minutes before the hour I went to the house.
Mary was gone, her mother did not know where. I waited for
half an hour, her mother all the time berating the girl for not keep-
ing her promise and going to the clinic where she could get free
care. Finally I left, and in half an hour returned. There I found
Mary, who had run away as I had suspected. After much per-
suasion she consented to go with me. She dressed by putting on
a pair of badly run silk hose from her mother's trunk, and taking
off the stocking-top which she has made into a cap and habitually
wears on her head. She slipped a borrowed coat over her pink
voile dress (this was in February) and she was ready. At the
hospital she had to wait some time. I left her there not knowing
that the nurse was leaving. Mary was examined and the verdict
was that she was to return on the following Monday for treatment.
She could do light work, the doctors said. She was also to take
the children to the clinic on Tuesday. She has never done either
of those things and never intended to do so. Her mother says
she will never go to the hospital again, that she is afraid of it.
Mary has no intention of working, now or at any time. Kate
has paid Mary's rent for over a year and will continue to do so
because of the children. Mary used to live with her mother but
was moved to a house down the alley by the Welfare Board, ac-
cording to Jane. The Board has been trying to get her to move
back to her mother's house in order that there may be only one
rent to pay. Mary refuses to do this, and in that one thing Jane
agrees with her. Jane says that "the Red Cross moved her down
there and said that they were going to board me out, but they


never boarded me and Mary is going to stay where she is." Mary
and her children have the three room house to themselves at
present. A cousin stayed there for a while but she and her hus-
band have gone.
Mary's method of making her living is rather obvious. She
has never been without a male visitor at a single time that I have
called. She always leaves her house and takes me to her mother's
to talk. When I asked about the visitor she solemnly swore that
he was her cousin. The last time, however, I knew her cousin
was out of town. When I asked her why she didn't work and
pay her own rent instead of letting her sister do it she said that
she had never worked and never meant to. She said that if her
sister didn't want to pay her rent she needn't, that she could get
it all right.
About three weeks ago, Mary had her first introduction to the
city jail. According to her story she went to wash whiskey bottles
for a white woman. When she left the woman went to a store-
keeper near there and said that Mary had stolen twenty dollars
from her. The storekeeper said she had changed it at his store.
Mary says that that night the police came and got her and she
spent the night at the station-house. The next morning she had
her trial. She said that the woman had two witnesses, the store-
keeper who said that he "thought she had changed the money at
his store" (I am still quoting Mary) and the woman herself. She,
Mary, had no witnesses. So, very unjustly she thinks, she was
fined and in default of payment spent ten days in jail. She said
that she didn't mind being in jail, that she saw some nice people
there-"about a thousand of them, 'both white and colored, men
and women"-and that the only thing she minded was being there
when she hadn't done anything.
All of Mary's family defend her in this. Kate had never seen
me before but she knew who I was and as soon as she saw me
asked me to come in so that she could talk to me. Then she began
to berate the woman who had told lies on Mary. She said that
the woman "never saw twenty dollars" and that it was all a pack
of lies. Jane and Hannah were also in the room by that time
(they had not come in at first because they were angry that I had
been away so long, they said) and the three were all talking at
once. Finally Jane won out and thereafter held the floor most of
the time. She began every sentence with "Hesh now" even though
no one had spoken. It is always a contest in that house to see


who will tell the story and Jane usually wins. Jane also had a
private grievance. The Red Cross had made some investigation
of her financial affairs and that was very offensive to her. She
seemed satisfied with my explanation and let Kate finish her story,
which was simply that after Mary had been in jail over a week,
Kate went down and paid twenty-six dollars to get her out. The
family said that the white people in the neighborhood were all
very angry, insisting that Mary was innocent.
As I left the house I saw a man in ministerial dress. I spoke
to him asking him if he knew the family. He said that he knew
them well. He lives next door to them and has for five years. He
is the preacher of a very small church in the neighborhood and has
the services in his home, in the yard when the weather is fit. He
said he was sure Mary was guilty. He also said that when he had
services in his yard Jane's family would make as much noise as
possible and that one time someone in the family had thrown a
stone and hit a man. He kept the stone and put it in a "poke"
where he still has it. The next day Hannah came to his door and
said she just wanted to tell him that she did not throw the stone.
He has no hopes for the family, and says they "must be left to
the vengeance of the Lord."
There is a strong loyalty between the members of this family
when one of them is attacked. They seem to think that Mary
must be protected, even though she is not the favorite. They in-
sist that she is sick and that she cannot work. Kate says that
"Mary don't have to work while I can work. I guess I can pay
rent for my own sister and she don't have to come up here to live."
They feel that the Red Cross (the Negroes know only that name
for the Board of Public Welfare) are partial to the white people,
that they always have enough money for the white people and that
they know the white people can have anything they want. But
when a Negro is in need there is no money. The family resents
the efforts of the Red Cross to make them self-supporting, it be-
ing the duty of that organization to support those who do not wish
to support themselves. All efforts to give them pride in taking
care of themselves are useless.
The family is poverty stricken. Jane makes a total of $1.75
a week. Hannah makes $1.50, which is all she has. Kate sup-
ports the family with her earnings which vary according to the
position she has and the time she holds it. The Board pays a part
of Jane's rent but Jane does not know that and is not to know it



since it is felt that if she did know it she would entirely stop
making payments on it herself. None of the family are well and
there is.always money for medicine, though Jane knows something
of the art of herb-doctoring, I think. Now that Spring is here
perhaps she can cure them all-all except Mary, who will never
be well enough to work.

Feeblemindedness has often been given as the most frequent
factor in, if not the most potent cause of, illegitimacy and delin-
quency. Feebleminded parents and feebleminded children are not
likely to be law-abiding citizens. Even were they trained to be
they would not be as able to be so outside of institutions or of
communities where they would have only good influences. And
the feebleminded girl in the hands of a low class man is as help-
less as putty in the hands of a plumber.
The story of this family had to be built up entirely on the
statements of the girls themselves. And there is one talent that
these people have-they can make up interesting and plausible
stories as easily as the normal person tells the truth. This record
is taken very largely from the case as it was investigated by the
Board of Public Welfare. The only other person interviewed
was Annie, and her story in most instances agreed with that of
the Board.
It seems to me that little analysis of this case is needed. Ab-
solute lack of training in what we call morals, lack of parental
care of any kind, work from early childhood, no efforts at self
control and no teaching in it, no status in the community, in one
case the bad influence of a low class of white people, and minds
incapable of grasping any good that might have been offered to
them, made these girls "natural delinquents." The only place for
such girls is the colony for feebleminded or the reform school, if
the mentality is high enough to make some hope of change. Cer-
tainly the girls should all be sterilized. That they should be al-
lowed to reproduce their kind is a crime on the part of the state.
This preventive measure has been taken with many girls of ,this
type and is being taken more and more frequently. Its benefits
may be small to society as a whole but to the individual com-
munity they are greater. The practice should be more general, for
though feeblemindedness may not be inheritable, certainly the


feebleminded parents are not capable of training their children
Lizzie, Annie, and Hattie are the children of Sam and Min-
nie, both Negro, who lived in a little town not far from Richmond.
Sam seems to have been more experienced at letting other people
earn his living for him than at earning it himself. Minnie was
sick most of the time. They had in all seventeen children, ten of
whom are living. The oldest is a boy, now in the penitentiary.
When the youngest child was about one year old the mother died
of tuberculosis. Two girls died of the same disease a few months
later. When Minnie had been dead about a year the father
married again, so Annie says, and, placing the five girls with
colored families, without the trouble of an investigation of these
families, he took the boys with him and left town. Sometime
during the early years of the lives of the three girls with whom
we are to be concerned, the family moved to Charlottesville, so
that the girls went to school here.
Lizzie, the oldest of these three girls, went to school for four
years but could never get beyond the first grade. Annie says that
there was something wrong with her head, so she was sent away
to be taken care of. As a matter of fact, she was taken to the
colony for colored feebleminded, near Petersburg.
Annie, in school for about six years, was in the fourth grade
when she stopped. Hattie, the younger of the three, was in the
same grade at school, though she had not attended as long.
The first introduction the public authorities had to these girls
was when Hattie appeared in the office of the Board of Public
Welfare, saying that she had lost her job and wanted another one.
She had brought a friend with her. Hattie could not talk plainly,
though she was then about sixteen years old. She was told to come
back the next day and the superintendent would see what could be
done about it. The next day the chief of police called the office
of the Board to ask what to do with her. It seems she had gone
to him and had stayed at the station-house all night, crying and
screaming. She was taken to the clinic, where it was learned that
she had been there twice before, but nothing could be found to ac-
count for her actions. The examination this time was no more
revealing. At the recommendation of the colored nurse, Hattie
was taken to the house of a colored family whom the nurse knew
well as a respectable family who would give the girl good care.
But Hattie continued her crying and screaming, refusing to eat,


and insisting that she wanted to go to the reform school. The
people, in desperation, called the superintendent and asked her
what to do. She went to the home and, with the family, tried to
reason with the girl. The colored people said that, though they
could not afford to pay Hattie for her work, they would send
her to school, and feed and clothe her if she wanted to stay with
them. This had no effect on her. The superintendent, seeing that
she would not talk before so many people, took her for a ride. As
soon as they were out in the country she stopped the car and ques-
tioned Hattie. Hattie then told this story:
She had been working for a white woman with a large family,
and had done well. The family all liked her and the children were
especially fond of her. She was a good worker, so she had had no
trouble with her employer. But an aunt of Hattie's had seen the
girl, and for some reason had told her that she ought to be in
school, and that if she would leave her present position she, the
aunt, would find her a home and send her to school. Hattie left
with her aunt, but the next day she returned, saying that her aunt
could find no place for her. Mrs. Livingston had, however, hired
another girl and Hattie went to the Welfare Board for help.
When she had finished telling her story Hattie seemed to feel bet-
ter, and the superintendent persuaded her to go back to the colored
people who had offered to send her to school. Hattie seemed
happy at the idea of going to school and went back. Then the
superintendent called on Mrs. Livingston. She found her in a
nicely kept, fair sized house on a street which might be called a
"street in transition." It is a street on which some of the "best
people" have once lived but from which they have been moving
for some years, so that the people who now live there are of the
lower middle class. The house was full of children, the mother
a nervous woman who sat rocking a baby. She spoke to the chil-
dren in a sharp voice, and rocked the baby so hard that it seemed
as though the child must get sick.
Mrs. Livingston told the superintendent that she had taught
Hattie her alphabet, since she had never been to school. (She had
been in school, as we have seen.) She said she had told the girl's
father that she ought to be in school but he said that she needed
only to be able to count a little, and "that was all the education
she needed." He told Mrs. Livingston that he would come to col-
lect half of the girl's wages. He did come back at intervals and
get the money. Mrs. Livingston's report confirmed Hattie's. She


said the girl was a good worker and that the family were all very
fond of her. She had worked for them for sometime, until her
aunt had come, with the result we have seen. When she had
brought Hattie back to the Livingston home the child had begun
to cry and scream. She made so much noise that the neighbors
came over to see what was the matter. She had finally stopped
crying, but had refused to eat. Mrs. Livingston was worried
about her and told her that she must eat or leave. Hattie said she
would leave, but Mrs. Livingston called for Annie, who came and
tried to manage Hattie. She left, however, unable to do anything
with her. Mrs. Livingston then called the police and they took
Hattie to the station-house for the night. They took her clothes
also and the chief said he had never seen so many clothes, that
they filled two rooms at the station-house. The chief told the
superintendent that he knew the girl's father, that he had been
arrested but had gotten away, and that he was apparently feeble-
minded. He has been said to be a bootlegger, but Annie says he
is a doctor.
A few days after the conversation with Mrs. Livingston
Annie called at the office of the Board of Public Welfare, saying
that she thought it best that Hattie be removed from the colored
home where she was staying, since the woman of the house had to
go out to work at night and many men came to see her husband
while she was gone. When the woman was asked about this she
promised to take the girl with her when she went out after this.
She reported also that Mrs. Livingston had been trying to get
Hattie back to work for her, even going to the school to see her
and try to persuade her. Finally Hattie was taken back to Mrs.
Livingston's. (On the way Hattie whispered that she "wanted to
go to Sunday School.") But they seemed not to be able to get
.along so well. Another aunt of Hattie's tried to get the girl to go
with her. These relatives seem to be interested in Hattie only
because she is a good worker and their aim in getting her with
them seems to be to put her to work for them.
The next member of the family was introduced to the Board
through Annie. She brought Lizzie to the superintendent, evi-
dently in an effort to get her out of a difficulty. Lizzie was not
well and had been dismissed by her employer, who said that
though she thought the trouble was mental she could not have the
girl around. Suspicious of the girl, the superintendent questioned
her concerning her associates. At first Lizzie insisted that she


had seen no men, but Annie persuaded her to tell the truth, saying
"Why don't you tell her what is the matter with you? You know
you went out with that man." Lizzie was taken to the hospital
and examination showed that she was two months pregnant. A
few days later she brought on a miscarriage. After this she told
them that she had protested against going with the man, but he
had given her fifty cents and told her it was "all right." Then
she had been afraid to tell the truth. She was sent to the feeble-
minded colony as soon as she was able to go.
Not long after this episode it was learned that Annie and
Hattie were both at the hospital. Annie had a baby, and three
days later Hattie's child was born. This child was apparently
white. Mrs. Livingston heard of its birth and came to the hospi-
tal demanding to see it and saying that if it was 'white she was
going to kill it. She was not allowed to see it. The child was
adopted by a family outside the city.
When they left the hospital, Hattie and Annie were taken to
the colored home for convalescent girls. Hattie ran away once,
but soon came back to the home. She was taken to the juvenile
court and committed to the State Board of Public Welfare. She
told the judge that her first acquaintance with the man who was
the father of her child was when she was sent to his place of
work with a note from Mrs. Livingston. Soon after she had
delivered the note the man had come to the house and he and Mrs.
Livingston had gotten drunk together, after which Hattie was
forced to wait on them in Mrs. Livingston's bedroom. This had
continued for about a year, before he had made any advances to
Hattie. Then he had attacked her. She had asked her employer
for protection but had been told that it was all right and he would
not hurt her. He attacked her a second time, after which she
had left with her aunt. Knowledge of this and fear of confessing
it had, of course, been the cause of the girl's hysteria. She was
sent to the reform school and seemed glad to go. She objected
to paying the home the money she owed for her board, but she
was finally forced to pay seven dollars. She had only ten, and
this she drew from the bank under much pressure.
Annie is probably a typical common prostitute. She had no
trouble with her employer until it was discovered that she was
pregnant. Then she was discharged. She speaks with perfect
ease and frankness about herself. She says that she has been
doing this sort of thing since she was a child. She thinks nothing


of it, and sees no reason for shame or embarrassment. She has
never tried to save "herself from this sort of life, nor made any
struggle against it. Hattie did try to escape from the life but
unsuccessfully, for she did resist attack. Annie says that "no man
ever had to hold her."
These two girls are neat in appearance, good workers, and
not unattractive. They are dark brown in complexion, apparently
of pure Negro blood. Their school records show that they are
not able to do the ordinary work of the lower grades. Unable
and untrained to take care of themselves these girls are a burden
on society.


On the old Scottsville Road, only a few blocks from Main
Street, is a row of unpainted houses all more or less alike. In
one of these lives a family, or rather, two families, in the most
unspeakable filth. One of these families is composed of an old
crippled man and his two sons, grown men. The other family
is composed of a woman and her four illegitimate children, one
a boy about eight, another a girl about five, a little boy three and
a baby now about one year old. These children are so dirty that
to think of touching one of them is sickening. They wear no
clothing except a dress of some kind and this is stiff and black
with dirt. I have never seen them even partially clean. The three
year old has rickets and has never walked. He is also covered
with a black rash that looks like spots of coal soot all over him.
His skin is very dry and he just sits all day and makes no sound.
The mother of these children, Annie Brooks, is a short,
rather thick-set woman with a face as stolid and expressionless
as that of the little boy. She can neither read nor write, and has
never been to school. She works all day. The crippled man takes
care of her children.
Annie and her children live in one room of this house, a
stuffy little back room. This room contains no furniture except
a three-quarter bed, a stove, and a box that serves at once as table
and chair. There is a window beside the bed but it is so dirty that
one does not know it is there. I had been in the room twice before
I discovered it. On the other side of the room is another window
but it is against the wall of the house next door and is of no use
whatever. Below it stands a table which is always so covered with


a litter of everything that it can hardly be seen. The floor is
covered with dirt, and the room reeks with the most disgusting
odor. The door gives the only light and when it is closed the
room is in almost absolute darkness. The stove smokes abnomi-
nably and the children live in this air. The three-year-old boy had
pneumonia just after Christmas and when he was brought home
he lay on the bed and breathed in the smoke. James Allen, the
crippled man, sits on the bed all day and "nusses" the children.
He feeds them some horrible looking stew from tin dishes that
look as though they had never been washed, with spoons that bear
a close resemblance to the plates. He feeds the little sick boy
from a bottle. The hospital sends powdered milk for the two little
children, for the three-year-old boy still takes a bottle. This milk
is put on the stove in an open pan and allowed to stay there most
of the day. It is taken off and allowed to cool a little before the
children receive it. Sometimes James does not take the trouble
to put it in a bottle but feeds the children with a spoon from which
he first tastes the milk to see that it is not too hot.
The first time I saw this house James was sitting in the door
feeding one of the children. Annie was at work and would not
be back until eight o'clock that night except for a few minutes
at noon when she would come in and eat before she went to her
afternoon job. Nurse Green and I stepped to the door to ask
about the family. They were under her care. James seemed sul-
len and answered her questions only in monosyllables when he
answered at all. She told me afterward that she had ordered them
to clean up the place and that she had threatened to send the
health officer there if they did not do so. They never have cleaned
the house but, though they have been reported, the officer has never
been there. This threat was, I think, the reason for James' sul-
len appearance at that time.
James has only one leg-the other was cut off by a train.
When we asked him why he did not have a wooden leg so he
could work he said that he did not need to work, that his boys
could support him and he was needed to "nuss these children."
He says they are not his children, but he appears very devoted to
them. He has lived in this city for about fifteen years. He came
here from a northern county, where he was born. His parents
had been slaves in that county and had stayed there after they
were freed. James started to school when he was very small, he
says. He remembers that he went with his older sister. He stop-


ped at about thirteen years old and went to work, helping his
father on the farm which he worked as a "cropper." His father
never owned any land and James has never owned any. He says
he had a typical boy life, that his favorite pastime was playing
baseball with the other boys. He had two older sisters, one of
whom was twenty years older than he. She is dead. The other
lives in a city in Virginia. They correspond very little and have
not seen each other in the time he has been in Charlottesville.
James married young and had two daughters and two sons.
His wife died when his youngest child was four years old and
he kept the family together after that. He worked hard on the
farm to make a living for them. His two girls went to school
about four or five years each but the boys did not go at all. James
was lenient with his children, he says. He did not whip them
much because he "always remembered that they had no mother."
One of his daughters married a man in town but she never sees
her father and he says he has no wish to see her. They have not
seen each other since she was married.
When James decided to leave the country and come to town to
live he asked some friends of his who lived on "Graveyard Hill"
to "look out for him a place to live." They found him a house
in Happy Hollow and that is where the family lived until he
moved to this house a year and a half ago. He lost his leg riding
on the shifter of a train. He said he wanted to go to town and
did not want to walk. So he undertook to ride and was thrown
from the train at the Union Station. He was unconscious for
twenty-four hours. He lost his leg and three toes on the other
foot. He says that the side of his foot was "nubbed" so that he
can't walk even with his crutches.
James believes in ghosts. He says that each of us has two
"sperrits" one that goes to heaven when we die and the other, a
"ramblin' sperrit" stays near the body and annoys any whom God
wishes to punish for some wrong done the owner of the "sperrit.'
He will not go to the grave yard at night but says that he "gotta
be sure dead" when he goes there. He says he is afraid of being
buried before he is dead.
James is not particularly mobile. He has not been on Main
Street for two years and has not been in a neighbor's house for
more than that. He never leaves the room in which he takes care
of the children and says that he "don't believe in no running'
around, that it "don't do nobody no good to run around' but if he


didn't have these children to take care of he'd be running' around'
too." He used to drink but since the open saloon went out he
has not drunk. He said he just never thought of it any more,
that it was easy to stop.
Now that it is warm the room in which they live is full of
flies, the odor worse than ever and the whole place a menace to
the city. Nothing but burning it will ever remove the filth and
smells. In warm weather they are intolerable.
One of James' sons has a regular job but the other "just jobs
'roun' doin' what he can." This one is one of those to be seen
almost any time on the street.
It is difficult to find Annie at home. She is at work from
early morning till late evening unless she is out of a position, in
which case she is on the street looking for one. She had the
influenza just after Christmas and two children had pneumonia.
During the time that Annie was sick she lost her position. She
was not well for four or five weeks and the doctor told her not to
work. She was coughing badly but insisted she felt better. She
was looking for work constantly, so James said. While she was
out of work James' sons took care of the family. Their needs
are few.
Annie came here from Scottsville with her mother. Her
mother died here and then Annie came to live in the house in
which she now lives. She has been here for four years.
Annie is one of those people who make one wonder whether
poverty has made her what she is or what she is has made her poor.
She has never called on any agency for help. She says this is
because she is too proud, but it appears rather to be because she is
not concerned about the conditions under which she lives. She
has four illegitimate children, all children of different fathers.
That does not seem to worry her. She is more like a passive bit
of putty than anything I can think of. She is never quite alive.
She dresses with an evident intention of complying with custom,
not with any desire to appear well. She is never clean, but never
so dirty as she allows her children to be. The condition of her
house occasions her no anxiety whatever. Repeated orders to
clean up only fall on deaf ears.
I have never seen Annie smile. James seems to respect her,
calls her "Miss Annie" always. He appears to exert some in-
fluence over her, for he never leaves the room and she defers to
him in answer to every question asked. She seems afraid of him,


somewhat, though I have never been able to find out why. She
scarcely speaks while she is in the room with him.
Annie could not be called a "Scarlet Sister Mary" for she
lacks all the vitality of Julia Peterkin's heroine. She must simply
have been unconcerned as to what happened to her, as she seems
to be as to what happens to her children. She seems untouched
by civilization, passions of any kind, or anything else. She is
fond of her children, but with the fondness of being used to them.
All real affection that they receive is from James. Annie will
never rebel against anything. If she is put in jail she will not
make any effort to get out nor worry about what happens to the
children while she is there. She will never talk about injustice,
for she does not think about it. She is resigned to whatever
comes and will not make any effort to change or control her
destiny. If she were a slave she could not be more resigned and
docile. Perhaps her ancestry shows in this way.

At a club meeting one night I met a girl whom I liked as
soon as I saw her. I was trying to make the members of this club
understand why I was interested in studying their race, and I was
meeting some opposition. Just as I almost despaired of persuad-
ing them that I was not trying to do them harm by my work, this
girl spoke, and what she said was the turning point in that meet-
"I have studied Sociology," she said, "and I know what she
is trying to do. It is like this: people study other people in
Sociology so they can understand whether there is a difference
between them, and learn how to live together so that they'll all
be happier. It is a good thing that the University is interested in
us, because that is how they can find out what we really are. I
think we should help her to do this."
This is the girl whose history we are to trace. It is not fair
to any people to judge them by the worst element among them.
Every group has its good and its less good side. This is true of
Negroes no less than of white people. For that reason I have
sought to find out what the superior family among the Negroes
is like and why it is superior. The family I present here is dis-
tinctly superior, but it is not the only such family in the city. I
have chosen it because I think it is representative of the families of


its class, not because there is money there, for these people have
only what they earn. Yet they live well and have a good home.
They are hospitable and courteous, and they are successful in what
they undertake. They are a typical high class family of Charlottes-
ville colored people.
Names and streets are changed in this history, for like all
well-bred people these people are modest and dislike publicity.
Ernest Blake was a free-born Negro, a carpenter of some
ability. During the Civil War he served as cook in one of the
Southern regiments. After the War he returned to Charlottes-
ville and went on with his work. He joined the church soon after
he returned from the services of the soldiers, and became a deacon.
Ernest married Margaret Rolfe. Margaret's mother was a
slave, and her father the white master of her mother. There were
five children born to Ernest and Margaret, three of whom died,
and two lived.
Jack, the boy, worked in a family of white people from the
time he was a small boy until he grew up. On the death of his
employer he received some money, which was left to him by the
will of this man. It was not enough to live on but was a testimony
to the esteem in which the boy was held. After this Jack worked
in some capacity at the Library of Congress for many years. Then
he became ill and has not been able to work since.
Effie, Jack's sister, went to school in Charlottesville until she
had had all the work this school offered at that time. While she
was in school she also kept house for her father, for her mother
died when she was a child. Then she married Gregory Brown.
Gregory Brown was the son of James Brown, a brown-skin-
ned man, and Emily Anderson, a woman with very light skin.
There were seven children in this family. The oldest one is a
surgeon. He received his education in the North, practiced for
a time in Charlottesville but has practiced very successfully in
Charleston, West Virginia, for twenty-six years. He has ac-
cumulated considerable money and has taught his children to be
thrifty. One of his daughters is a teacher. Elizabeth, one of the
girls of this family (sister of Gregory) is a teacher in a col-
legiate institute. She teaches Domestic Art, and is married to a
professor in the institute. Another sister, Jane, married a colored
man in Charlottesville. This man has owned his home for over
thirty years. I have been in this home and have talked with Jane.
She is an interesting and intelligent woman, with high moral


standards. Her home is comfortable and has a radio and a piano,
electric lights, gas range, and all other of the more common
modern conveniences. She is the woman who organized the first
colored women's club in Charlottesville. She has a married
daughter in the North, and a son who is a dentist. This son is a
graduate of Howard University.
Another girl of this family was a hair dresser in New York
and married a successful chef there. Her husband is chef in one
of the hotels. They have plenty of money, own their home and a
good car and are very happy in the North. Her husband is from
Charlottesville. They have no children.
The other girl of this family lives in another northern town
and keeps a home for her son. Little is known of her.
Gregory was a very successful barber. He and Effie Blake
had five children, three of whom are living and two dead. The
oldest of these children (all are girls) finished the schools of
Charlottesville and went in training. The hospital closed while
she was here, before she had completed her work. Soon after that
she married a boy from Campbell County who had lived in Char-
lottesville most of his life. He is now the butler in a family in
a Pennsylvania city and has been with them for twenty-five years.
This family treat him with great affection and seem to prize his
services. His wife does not work, but keeps house for him. They
have one child, a boy, in high school.
Matilda Blake is principal of a high school in another city.
I have met her and found her cultured, bright, and a good teacher.
She is a graduate of Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute.
She went to high school there and to the normal. At that time
there was no college course offered at Hampton. Since an A. B.
degree has been granted at Hampton Matilda has gone to summer
school and taken extension courses, working toward her degree.
She said that when she was a child she determined to "go as high
as she could go" and she is still working to accomplish her ambi-
tion. She has a younger sister, Georgia, whom she sent to school.
Georgia went to Dunbar High School in Washington and then
graduated from Minor Normal there. She now teaches in a
county school in another county and has a number of opportunities
to go to city schools in the North, but she wishes to remain near
her people. These two girls are caring for their mother and for
two children of their mother's niece. Mrs. Blake's sister died
leaving two children and she helped her father to raise them and


send them to school. After she had married, one of them died,
leaving three children, a boy and two girls. The father of these
children paid for the oldest girl's education at Hampton. She is
now teaching in Maryland. The other two children are being
reared by Mrs. Blake, who reared their mother. The boy is a
junior in high school and the girl, eleven years old, is a freshman.
Matilda worked her way through school, for her father died
when she was a child. Together the two girls have cared for their
mother and these two children (their father is now paralyzed and
cannot work), have torn down their old home and rebuilt it, and
have kept the family comfortable. They live on one of the best
streets in the colored section. They were born there and have
never moved. Their home is a comfortable stucco house, rather
large, with hardwood floors, well furnished and with modern con-
veniences. Matilda teaches a class in her church, is leader of one
of the groups of the young peoples society, and has been secretary
and editress of her club. She is interested in her work and is
successful in it. She has taught in the same school for sixteen
years. She takes the Literary Digest, the town paper, three Negro
newspapers, and the magazines for teachers. She also buys the
women's magazines and the Washington Sunday papers. They
sometimes trade papers with their neighbors so that they see the
New York papers often.
These people are alive to the things that happen around them.
They think and read, and live worthwhile lives. They are doing
all in their power to educate their own group and they are normal-
ly happy in doing it. It is a delight to be in some of these homes,
to see that they are really making progress and that they are so
like other people.



In conclusion I should like to repeat what I have said in the
preface to this study-that it is intended only as an exploratory
study and to suggest lines along which further study might be
profitable. My own opinions regarding the Negro and the rela-
tions between the two races are of no consequence here, but I do
wish to say that I think there is much too strong a tendency to
judge the Negro by one class, and that class one of which the
Negro as a group is ashamed, and which is not at all representative
of what the race really is or is capable of doing. I think that any
further study should include the best as well as the worst elements
and that no judgment should be formed without serious considera-
tion of this best element. It is decidedly a reflection on the white
man to assume that any group could be as long among another as
the Negro has been among the Americans and be uninfluenced by
the better culture of the larger and stronger group.
I should also like to suggest one or two aspects of the prob-
lem which seems to me worth future consideration. One of these
is a study of the place of the "old families" of Negroes among
their own people. The "old family" of free born extraction seems
to play some role among them, but this study could not be in-
tensive enough to determine just what that role is. I believe it is
an important one. I should also like to see a study of the history
of the Negro in the county and city with emphasis on the cul-
tural aspects of the case. It should be an exhaustive and intensive
study of this field. The attitude of the Negro, like the attitude of
the white man, has undergone great changes in the past few
generations and it seems to me that to discover these changes and
their causes is a study worthy of considerable effort and would
constitute a real contribution to the science.


The most difficult part of this study, and the one which has
taken most time and thought has been the establishment of some
measure of "rapport" between the Negro and myself. They are
the most suspicious of people of those whom he thinks might
harm him-and any white man is of those. It is a mistake to
think that the Negro trusts the man from his own section of the
country more than the man from another-he distrusts the white
man because he is white and might do him harm. And it is
difficult to persuade him that any white man is really the friend
of the black man. He feels that "every man's hand is against him"
and he has the resulting "inferiority complex." The only way
this attitude could be successfully combatted was by direct and
repeated contact and discussion. It was early discovered that the
Negro had a tendency to say whatever he thought he was ex-
pected to say, unless the interviewer made it plain that the Negro
opinion was respected and that his attitude was understood and
not condemned. Then and only then did he say what he really
thought. The clubs formed a point of contact when once they
had been discovered, but that was only accidental. Every clue
had to be followed up and these had to be watched for, for one
never knew when he might miss something of vital importance.
Many fruitless visits were paid but many were made that were
not fruitless.
The Negro's attitude toward the white man is determined by
his class. The lower class hate him, the middle class are indif-
ferent to him since they accept life as they find it, and the upper
class are bitter against him. He never can get away from his
color. No matter what he does or where he goes it is forced upon
his actions. And he feels and hates this according to the amount
of culture he feels that he really possesses.
If it is true that the old people of the white group understood
and were more friendly to the Negro than the younger members
of this race, it is just as true that the older members of the Negro
group understood the white man better and were more friendly
toward him. The increasing tendency to segregate the Negro is


just as potent a factor in the Negro's attitude toward the white
man as it is in the white man's attitude toward the Negro. And
it is generally agreed that it is having a greater and greater in-
fluence in this direction.
The whole Negro group is becoming conscious of its need of
solidarity and through various agencies it is attaining this. It is
at the same time losing its sense of need of the direction of the
white man and the result is another factor in the widening of the
breach. The "we-group" and the "they-group" attitudes are be-
coming very powerful influences in their lives.
The Negro is hungry for the better things of life and any-
thing that will bring them he snatches eagerly. It is because of
this that he imitates the white man. The white has all the priv-
ileges, he thinks and so he imitates him to get them. And why
else have any of us made progress? Do we work because we love
to work? Do we spend hours in study only because we love to
study-simply for the sake of knowing things? Of course we do
not. The reason we do these things is expressed in one of the
most used and potent questions that we hear asked in this day:
"What will it get us?"


The two little histories presented here are of interest because
they are the work of two Charlottesville children.
Margaret Pennington is of pure Negro parentage. She can
trace her ancestry six generations and find no trace of white blood.
She is dark and bf quite Negroid features. She is, at the age of
eleven years, a freshman in high school. She is an A student in
every branch of work. Her favorite subject is mathematics,
though English runs it so close a second that she has difficulty in
deciding which will be her major in college. She has decided that
she will go for her first two years to a Negro college in West
Virginia. Her junior and senior years will be spent at Columbia.
Margaret is going to be a teacher. She decided that when she was
a very little girl and it is still her ambition.
Violet Coles is about fourteen. She is a sophomore in high
school. She is of very light complexion, tall and slim. She also
is going to college. She likes History and English and is a good
student. She has a very sweet voice, which she handles well.
She also plays quite well. She is friendly and sweet and seems
a very happy child.
Neither of these children had to be persuaded to write the
little histories for me. They knew what I intended to do with
them and they gave me their time and cooperation without per-
suasion either on my part or on the part of their mothers. Their
mothers are also the type who cooperate willingly and intelligently.

(Exactly as written)
History of the Lottie McAlpine Reid Club
The above named club was organized by our worthy State
Organizer, Mrs. L. B. Burns, at the home of my mother, Mrs.
D. F. Pennington, May 3, 1927, who has been our manager ever
since and has worked faithfully with us. This year and those
heretofore we have done much charity work for there is always
someone who needs our help. Last year we sent two delegates to
the State Federation at Portsmouth, Virginia, and sent $5.00 to
Peak's School for wayward girls and did many other things which


we could in our small way. This year we intend to do more. So
far we have given twenty-five cents a week to a poor girl for
milk every day at school, have given clothes to the poor and sent
fruit to the sick. This is the short history of our club.
Margaret E. Pennington (Age 11)
(This little girl is a Freshman in High School)

History of the Jane Peter Barrett Club
The club was first organized in the year of nineteen hundred
and twenty-one by Mrs. C. L. Okin and five other girls. It was
given the name "Busy Bee" Club. The name of the club was
changed in 1923, but we continued to do the same work. In 1924
Mrs. Barrett, the president of the State Federated Clubs, was here
in person and we presented a little pin to her as a token of her
splendid work in the State. In 1925 a program was rendered at
the First Baptist Church by our club and a cut glass set was
bestowed upon Mrs. Florence Coles for her service rendered to
the club. In 1927 the club was separated because of the large
number of members and a junior club was then formed. The
junior club was given the name of the Lottie Reid Club and we
retained our name. From the time of our organization we have
been doing missionary work in that we take fruit to the hospital at
Christmas time and one year we took it to the jail. In 1928 the
junior clubs of Charlottesville received the "Loving" cup for hav-
ing more juniors in the two clubs than in any other clubs in the
state. Lottie Reid Club keeps the loving cup half the year and
we the other half. We gave to the Old Folks Home a table in
1928. In September, 1928, our club celebrated its seventh an-
niversary at the Masonic Temple. A literary program was ren-
dered, refreshments were served and the rest of the evening was
spent in dancing.
Violot Coles.
(A Sophomore in High School)


Appendix C

Population of Charlottesville and Albemarle County by Decades
from 1790-1920

Census Year Population White Slave Free Negro

1790 12,585 6,835 5,579 171
1800 16,439 8,796 7,439 207
1810 18,268 8,642 9,226 400
1820 19,747 8,715 10,659 373
1830 22,618 10,455 11,679 484
1840 22,924 10,512 11,809 603
1850 25,800 11,875 13,338 587
1860 26,625 12,103 13,916 606
1870 27,544 12,550 .............. 14,994
1880 32,618 15,959 .............. 16,659
1890 32,379 18,252 .............. 14,126
1900 34,922 21,969 .............. 12,950
1910 36,636 24,434 .............. 12,197
1920 36,693 26,177 .............. 10,516

Charlottesville alone

1870 2,838 1,365 .............. 1,473
1880 2,076 .......... *
1890 5,591 3,062 .............. 2,528
1900 6,449 3,834 .............. 2,613
1910 6,765 4,236 .............. 2,524
1920 10,688 7,741 .............. 2,947

*Figurea not available.



Free Negro Population by Decades, 1790 to
and Charlottesville

1920, Albemarle County

Year Slave Free Negro

1790........... ... .......... 5,579 171
1800........... ............ 7,439 207
1810........................... 9,226 400
1820.......................... 10,659 373
1830. .......................... 11,679 484
1840........................... 11,809 603
1850........................... 13,338 587
1860........................... 13,916 606
1870 .... ..................... ................... 14,994
1880 ........................ ... ................... 16,659
1890 ........................ ... ................... 14,126
1900 ........................ ... ................... 12,950
1910 .......................... ................. 12,197
1920 ......................... ..................... 10,516

Charlottesville alone

1870 ........................ ..................... 1,473
1880 ........................ ..................... *
1890 .............................................. 2,528
1900 ............................................. 2,613
1910 ...........................................2,524
1920....... ............ ....................2,947

Illiteracy, 1920

County City Both

Native white...................... 5.1 1.1 3.8
Foreign born white ................ ............ 5.7 2.0
N egro............................ 20.1 16.0 18.9



Free Negro Heads of Families in Albemarle County, 1830

Number in family
Name of Head Age of Head (including slaves)

1. Batsy Battles. ................. 55-100 3
2. Braskin (?) Battles ............. 36- 55 8
3. Griffin Butler................... 55-100 2
4. Edward Battles................. 24- 36 5
5. Robert Battles................. 55-100 4
6. Roberson Bryant ............... 55-100 3
7. Allen Barnett .................. 36- 55 6
8. Zachariah Brock ................ 24- 36 1
9. Nelson Brock .................. 24- 36 3
10. John Bowles................... 24- 36 2
11. Fanny Barnett. ................ 30- 55 7
12. Elizabeth Barnett............... 36- 55 4
13. Elijah Battles.................. 24- 36 7
14. Bartlett Bowles............... 55-100 3
15. Robert Battles, Jr.............. 24- 36 6
16. Zachariah Bowles............... 55-100 5
17. Peter Bowles. .................. 36- 55 7
18. Griffin Butler, Jr................ 36- 55 5
19. Aaron Barker ................. 55-100 1
20. Reuben Coles ................. 36- 55 10
21. Charles A. Carver.............. 24- 36 5
22. Benjamin Cowan ............... 24- 36 3
23. Kipiah Davis .................. 36- 55 2
24. Clory Evans. .................. 55-100 7
25. Mariah Evans.................. 10- 24 3
26. Reuben Farrar ................ 55-100 7
27. James Farrar.................. 36- 55 5
28. Joseph Fosset .................. 36- 55 6
29. Daniel Farsley ................. 55-100 2
30. Kessiah Fortune ............... 55-100 5
31. Ezekiel Gardner ............... 36- 55 7
32. Jonathan Gowen ............... 24- 36 8
33. Joshua Gowen.................... 10- 24 5
34. Sherwood Gowen................ 55-100 10
35. John Gowen ................... 55-100 4
36. William Gowen ................ 36- 55 5
37. Rhoda Gowen ................. 36- 55 6
38. Daniel Gowen ................. 55-100 11
39. James Gowen.................. 24- 36 1
40. Susannah Gassaway............. 36- 55 8
41. Thomas Gowen................. 36- 55 4
42. Jesse Gowen.................... 36- 55 10
43. Henderson Gowen.............. 36- 55 2
44. Charles Harris................. 36- 55 11
45. Dinah Holland. ................. 36- 55 3
46. Peter Hemmings................ 55-100 5


Name of Head Number in family
Name of Head Age of Head includingn slaves

47. Francis Hatter ................ 24- 36 5
48. William Isaacs ................ 36- 55 7
49. Tucker Isaacs.................. 10- 24 1
50. Jane Isaacs..................... 24- 36 4
51. Rachel Isaacs .................. 36- 55 3
52. Sally Kinney................... 24- 36 3
53. Jane Kennedy ................. 24- 36 3
54. Betsy Kenny .................. 10- 24 5
55. Mariah Martin ................. 36- 55 6
56. Henry Man ................... 36- 55 3
57. Winnifred Midlebrook ........... 36- 55 3
58. Hastings Midlebrook ........... 24- 36 3
59. William Midlebrook............. 24- 36 8
60. Joshua Midlebrook ............ 24- 36 3
61. Sally Martin.................. 36- 55 6
62. Kitty Pleasants................. 10- 24 1
63. Elizabeth Randal................ 10- 24 9
64. Adam Rice..................... 36- 55 1
65. Susannah Scott................. 55-100 6
66. Lewis Spears .................. 24- 36 1
67. W illiam Spears................. 36- 55 1
68. Sampson Spears............... 36- 55 3
69. Richard Spinner ............... 55-100 1
70. Docial Spinks. ................. 24- 36 2
71. Henry Spears.................. 36- 55 12
72. William W. Spears ............. 10- 24 3
73. William Spinner .............. 24- 36 4
74. Jesse Scott .................... 36- 55 7
75. Harriet Salmon ................ 10- 24 7
76. Thomas Stars .................. 36- 55 6
77. Jonathon Tyree................ 55-100 6
78. Garrett Tyree .................. 24- 36 4
79. Noah Tate ..................... 36- 55 2
80. Willis Tate..................... 24- 36 6
81. William Tate ................... 55-100 6
82. Humphrey Watson............. 55-100 1
83. Marinda West ................. 10- 24 2
84. George Winibargo.............. 36- 55 1

From Carter G. Woodson, "Free Heads of Negro Families in the United States in 1930.'



Agricultural Status of the Negro in Albemarle County in 1925

1. Farms by Tenure
All white .................... 2,519
All colored ................... 860
Full ownership:
W hite ..................... 1,836
Colored.................... 693

Part owners:
White ................... .

W hite ....................

W hite ....................

Cash tenants:

White ....................
Colored ...................
Other tenants:
White ....................
Colored ...................
Per cent tenancy (total).......

2. Farm Population by Color

Y* Totals:
W hite ..................... 13,855
58 10 years old and over........10,275
8 Colored.......... .......... 4,458
4 10 years old and over........ 3,381
On owned farms:
442 White, 10 years old and over. 8,037
68 Colored, 10 years old and over. 3,085

On tenant farms-
64 White, 10 years old and over. 1,841
13 Colored, 10 years old and over. 216

From United States Census of Agriculture, 1925.


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