The Negro eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about The Negro.

What do Negroes themselves think of these their problems and the attitude of the world toward them?  First and most significant, they are thinking.  There is as yet no great single centralizing of thought or unification of opinion, but there are centers which are growing larger and larger and touching edges.  The most significant centers of this new thinking are, perhaps naturally, outside Africa and in America:  in the United States and in the West Indies; this is followed by South Africa and West Africa and then, more vaguely, by South America, with faint beginnings in East Central Africa, Nigeria, and the Sudan.

The Pan-African movement when it comes will not, however, be merely a narrow racial propaganda.  Already the more far-seeing Negroes sense the coming unities:  a unity of the working classes everywhere, a unity of the colored races, a new unity of men.  The proposed economic solution of the Negro problem in Africa and America has turned the thoughts of Negroes toward a realization of the fact that the modern white laborer of Europe and America has the key to the serfdom of black folk, in his support of militarism and colonial expansion.  He is beginning to say to these workingmen that, so long as black laborers are slaves, white laborers cannot be free.  Already there are signs in South Africa and the United States of the beginning of understanding between the two classes.

In a conscious sense of unity among colored races there is to-day only a growing interest.  There is slowly arising not only a curiously strong brotherhood of Negro blood throughout the world, but the common cause of the darker races against the intolerable assumptions and insults of Europeans has already found expression.  Most men in this world are colored.  A belief in humanity means a belief in colored men.  The future world will, in all reasonable probability, be what colored men make it.  In order for this colored world to come into its heritage, must the earth again be drenched in the blood of fighting, snarling human beasts, or will Reason and Good Will prevail?  That such may be true, the character of the Negro race is the best and greatest hope; for in its normal condition it is at once the strongest and gentlest of the races of men:  “Semper novi quid ex Africa!”


[110] Sir Harry Johnston estimates 135,000,000 Negroes, of whom 24,591,000 live in America.  See Inter-Racial Problems, p. 335.

[111] The South African natives, in an appeal to the English Parliament, show in an astonishing way the confiscation of their land by the English.  They say that in the Union of South Africa 1,250,000 whites own 264,000,000 acres of land, while the 4,500,000 natives have only 21,000,000 acres.  On top of this the Union Parliament has passed a law making even the future purchase of land by Negroes illegal save in restricted areas!

[112] The traveler Glave writes in the Century Magazine (LIII, 913):  “Formerly [in the Congo Free State] an ordinary white man was merely called ‘bwana’ or ‘Mzunga’; now the merest insect of a pale face earns the title of ‘bwana Mkubwa’ [big master].”

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The Negro from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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