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The Southern South : Social History Albert Bushnell Hart

The Southern South : Social History

Albert Bushnell Hart

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THE negro problem in the South cannot be solved, nor is much light thrown upon it by the conditions of the race elsewhere. The immediate and pressing issue is the widespread belief that the great numbers of them in the South are an unsatisfactoryMoreTHE negro problem in the South cannot be solved, nor is much light thrown upon it by the conditions of the race elsewhere. The immediate and pressing issue is the widespread belief that the great numbers of them in the South are an unsatisfactory element of the population. The total Negroes in the United States in 1900, the last available figures, was 8,834,000. They are, however, very unequally distributed throughout the Union- in twenty Northern states and territories there are only 50,000 altogether- in the states from Pennsylvania northward there are about 400,000- from Ohio westward about 500,000- while in the one state of Georgia there are over a million- 7,898,000 lived in the fifteen former slaveholding states- 7,187,000 in the eleven seceding states- and 5,055,000 in the seven states of the Lower South. At the rate of increase shown during the last forty years there will soon be 10,000,000 in the South alone. These figures have since 1900 been somewhat disturbed by the natural growth of population and by the interstate movement, so that the proportion of blacks in the North is doubtless now a little larger- but the fact remains that the habitat of the black is in the Southern States. Even there, great variations occur from state to state, and from place to place. In Briscoe County, Texas, there are 1,253 Whites and not a single Negro- in Beaufort County, S. C., there are 3,349 Whites and 32,137 Africans- on the island of St. Helena in this last county are 8,700 colored and 125 white people- and on Fenwick’s Island there are something like 100 Negroes and not a white person.As between country and city, the Negro is a rural man- the only Southern cities containing over 50,000 of them in the Lower South are New Orleans and perhaps Atlanta- in the former slaveholding states out of 8,000,000 Negroes only about 1,000,000 lived in cities of 8,000 people and upwards, which is less in proportion than the Whites. In a very black district like the Delta of the Mississippi they form a majority of the city population. In 72 of the Southern places having a population of 2,500 or more at least half the population is African- but their drift cityward is less marked than that of the white people, eighty-five per cent of all the Negroes live outside of cities and towns. The Negroes have no race tradition of city life in Africa, are no fonder than Whites of moving from country to city, and throw no unendurable strain on the city governments.A favorite assertion is that the American Negroes are either dying out or nearing the point where the death-rate will exceed the birth-rate. Hoffmann, in his “Race Traits,” has examined this question in a painstaking way, and proves conclusively that both North and South the death-rate of the black race is much higher than that of the Whites. In Philadelphia, for instance, the ratios are 30 to 1,000 against 20 to 1,000. Upon this point there are no trustworthy figures for the whole country- but an eighth of the Negroes live in the so-called “registration area,” which includes most of the large cities- and in that area the death-rate in 1900 is computed at 30 to 1,000 for Negroes and 17 to 1,000 for the Whites. This excess is largely due to the frightful mortality among negro children, which is almost double that among Whites in the same community. In Washington in 1900 one fifth of the white children under a year old died and almost one half of the colored children.The Southern South : Social History, The Southland, Immigration, Negro Life, Crime and its Penalties, Postulates of the Problem, Moral Remedies