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The American Negro

What He Was, What He Is

and What He May







At the request of members of my race in Cambridge and

Boston and several white friends, I have printed this
brief rejoinder to the false charges of Mr. William Hanni-
bal Thomas, the author of “ The American Negro.”
This address was hurriedly prepared in the midst of my
arduous work. There are omitted many detail facts,
statistics, reliable correspondence and logical deductions,
which I shall publish in a subsequent book, now in
preparation, entitled “ The American Negro.”
That the Negro race has been grossly misrepresented
and held up in ridicule goes without saying. When the
true facts are given, bearing upon the rise, and progress of
the American colored people, and their attitude and re-
lations to the American institutions and to other races,—
when Negroes are considered in their proper light, I be-
lieve a better feeling between the races will exist both in
the North and in the South.
The writer would ask the suspension of judgment on the
part of the American people until we are given a fair
trial. We also apologize for any harsh language used in
this address that may be contrary to literary etiquette.
Trusting that the reader may carefully read the state-
ments herein made, I submit it, for the good of the race.
Cambridge, Mass.

This pamphlet is written in defence of an oppressed

and struggling race, which has been maligned, abused,
condemned and outraged by an unscrupulous Negro author,
seeking notoriety and pecuniary gain by distorting the
truth and appealing to the white race prejudices against
the Negro.
The object of the author is to present facts as they exist
and, appealing to the unbiased conscience of the American
people, to deal fairly with the Negro as with all other
classes of American citizens.
A lie flies at swift speed upon the wings of the wind,
and seeks recognition regardless of consequences, while
the truth plods slowly onward, gradually gaining adher-
ents and admission against great odds.
That the Negro is the most discussed American goes
without saying ; he has been held up in all lights, dis-
cussed from every standpoint of human imagination, de-
cried by foes and defended by conscientious friends. The
Negro question has assumed a grave aspect, and calls for
much thought on the part of the American people. That
there is a vexed problem in dealing with the race no
thoughtful mind will deny, and to enter upon a discussion
of the facts respecting his political, civil, moral and reli-
gious status, demands unbiased investigation, studious
thought and grave consideration in order that just and
proper conclusions may be reached. To enter such a
peculiar sphere and deal justly requires a real knowledge
of the Negro, an unbiased statement of facts concerning
his characteristics, and a just comparison of him with
other races. In this spirit of faiiness, the careful study of

the Negro characteristics and his relation to the body

politic as stated in the recent publication of William Han-
nibal Thomas is reviewed and criticised.
Definition of Mr. Thomas'1 term “ Negro."" “ Any man
of whatever hue, who exhibits the traits which I shall
hereafter describe, is a Negro ; otherwise he is not.”
This is Mr. Thomas’ incorrect, unreasonable and im-
practicable appellation ascribed and attached to the Negro
whom he would malign and abuse. This is contrary to
all ethnological definitions applied to the Negro who is an
African or the descendant of an African race. It matters
not whether the characteristics of the person of African
descent are commendable or unfavorable, if he is of
African descent he is a Negro, and is so accepted by the
ethnological world.
To begin with, Mr. Thomas fixes certain low, base
characteristics, and selects a subject upon which he wishes
to wreak his vengeance ; that subject is the American
Negro? And why? Because' this race has been humil-
iated by slavery, decried by foes, oppressed by tyrants, and
are still being held up in false light before the civilized
world. It is popular to malign the Negro.
In his foreword, or introduction, Mr. Thomas relates
his history and lineage. Those of us who are personally
acquainted with him and with' ether members of his family,
have no doubts as to his Negro descent. He is, beyond
question, a Negro, and has always been classed as such.
His relations, however, with the Negro people, have been
of such a nature that he seems to have learned all that is
bad and but little that is good about them. Mr. Thomas
has aspired for race leadership, but being utterly deficient,
has failed of his attempt; disappointed and chagrined, he
has his vengeance in this hurl of vituperation and abuse
upon the race. A careful study of Mr. Thomas’ racial
relations proves him, beyond contradiction, a blank failure
as a lawyer, preacher and teacher. He has been a jack-at-

all-trades, and a success at none. As a lawyer he was not

successful at the bar ; as a preacher of the gospel of Christ
he was a miserable failure. Either of those professions
presented a broad field in which to operate upon subjects
of all classes and races. Why he should end his sphere
of usefulness along these lines and retire at so early an age,
is a mystery which he fails to make plain. We must con-
clude that he was evidently unfitted for this kind of life,
and was ordained to be an author. In this, he has reached
the goal of his ambition, giving us, in his foreword a fair,
impartial delineation of what he wishes to publish to the
It is my purpose to briefly criticise this book, which Mr.
Thomas sets forth as an encyclopedia of facts concerning
the American Negro. In doing so, I wish to state plainly
that I have no abuse to heap upon the author, with whom
I am personally acquainted, and entertain the most friendly
relations, socially and otherwise. I have read and carefully
reread every page and chapter in this book with considera-
ble interest, and propose to take up the subjects treated
under the chapters as he has outlined them, giving him
credit for statements of truth pro or con the American
Chapter i, treats on Alien Chattelism. In this chapter
Mr. Thomas writes upon the history of human chattelism
and concludes that when all facts incident thereto are
weighed and adjusted, that slavery has wrought as great
evil to the whites as to the blacks. The statement of
these facts is verified by every thoughtful, candid, unbiased
man or woman in the world. No human being is justified
in the sight of God in the extorting of the rights of his
fellow man, but, on the other hand, it is the duty of man
to do untoothers as he would have them do unto him.
However, in thissame chapter, he speaksof the lax moral-
ity of Negro women and their relations with white soldiery
during the Civil War. Mr. Thomas need not single out

the moral deprivation of the Negro women coming in con-

tact with white soldiers. This is no new thing. The
same state of moral affairs obtain, to our regret, with
soldiers during war times in every country, among all
peoples. It was so in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines
and in China. War is detrimental to morals among all
Chapter II. treats of Decretal Freedom. It is true that
the emancipation of the Negroes brought about a social
and economic revolution in the methods and habits of
Southern life, and introduced grave and disturbing issues
that have not, as yet, been amicably settled. The causes
for these conditions are truthfully delineated by the
author and Mr. Thomas could not but give credit to the
unparalled virtue of the negroes, in that but few of them,
men or women, who were living together as man and wife
under the regime of slavery, abandoned each other when
emancipation gave them the opportunity to sever such
relations. But their freedom gave them not only a sense
of personal ownership of their entire being, but the know-
ledge of conjugal duty, parental rights, filial obligations
and fraternal relations, which acquired greater coherency
as the stability and endurance of these relations became
more clearly manifest. Again he tells the truth when he
declares that the Negro cherishes no resentment towards
the whites, notwithstanding that race seems to be imbued
with a deliberate and set purpose to forego none of its
ancient customs. He states that he believes this problem
to be solvable, despite the national attitude of each race
toward existing misunderstandings. This, every fair-
minded white and black man believes, and it will come to
pass, when each side is ready to make substantial conces-
sions of justice one towards the other.
Chapter III. treats of 'Industrial Bondage. In this
chapter, at the outset, the author delineates the industrial
system of the South, its feudal method of enthralling the

new emancipated slaves. He depicts the present advan-

tages taken of the poor Negro tiller of the soil in the
farming and rural districts of the South.
No race has ever labored against harder odds than the
Negro laborers of the Southern plantations. The condi-
tions were such that they could not possibly rid them-
selves of these enthrallments. And yet, there are evident
signs of gradual emancipation manifestly shown by the
attitude of the Negro in purchasing farms, building
homes and becoming tax-payers and self-producing factors
in the same territory in which they were so long held as
vassals and chattels. The Negro is charged with being
an improvident spendthrift, and Mr. Thomas paints him
as a gaudy “dandy,” attired in flashy trinkets, etc.,
rarely exercising sound judgment in his expenditures. It
may be true that the majority of Negroes lack economy,
but they are not more extravagant than other people.
The Negro lives within as reasonable bounds of his in-
come as does other people. There are white people every-
where who are spendthrifts, idlers, etc., and whose
methods of life are as deplorably reckless as human beings
can descend to. With the open, manifest records of French
and American society life, it is wanton folly to speak of
Negro extravagance. Comparatively speaking, the Negro
has nothing to spend.
Mr. Thomas charges the Negro with incapability as a
worker. This charge he bases upon their profound igno-
rance of industrial possibilities and their abhorrence of
disciplinary methods. This charge, based upon the state-
ments made, is absolutely false. Efficiency, rightly con-
sidered, must be reckoned with the character of the work
to be performed ; this statement being true, three-fourths
of the Negroes' live in the South where a certain class of
labor is essential to produce the industry of that section.
Was it not found in the early stage of Southern develop-
ment that the Negroes were better adapted to perform the
work of that section. And is it not also true that the
Negroes perforin to-day more than two-thirds of the man-
ual labor of that rapidly developing section of our
country and have held their own in the production of the
raw materials of the South. Mr. Thomas ought to know,
as well as every well-informed man does know, that the
same methods of labor operations do not obtain in the
South as in the North. In one section raw material is
the industry, in the other the manufacture of this mate-
rial is the industry. The fact that the Negro contributes
his share in the production of the material, claims for him
the same consideration as is given to him who skillfully
moulds and shapes it to the required needs. The high de-
gree of proficiency in skilled labor required in the North
is not required in the South, hence the Negro’s capability
in this direction has never been tested, as a race. Neces-
sity is always the mother of invention. Abhorrence of
disciplinary methods is not to be considered in this rela-
tion whatever. Charges against the more intelligent
Negroes having a horror for work are unfounded and falla-
cious.’ There are among all races lazy, shiftless indi-
viduals, whose chief purpose is to live on their wits ; the
Negro is not excepted.
Mr. Thomas charges that the influx of Negroes into the
cities is to avoid manual labor and field work. The trend
of the age is toward mobilizing the cities. The census
shows that the greatest increase in onr American popula-
tion is in the cities. All classes are emigrating towards
the cities. There are many reasons for this growing de-
sire for city life,— better facilities and convenience of
contrivances along all lines are regarded more helpful
than those presented in the rural districts. Negroes are
Americans, and the very fact that they are moving in the
trend of American progression shows them to be in har-
mony with the spirit and genius of our cosmopolitan
civilization, and not in order to avoid work. Again, the

manifest desire on the part of the Negro to come to the

city where the problem of life is the more intricate and
complex, where he is forced into the cosmopolitan arena
of livelihood, shows him to be a willing contestant in the
battle with others of his fellow beings. It matters but.
little how the Negro gets North, no more than it does how
the Irish get here from Ireland, the Chinaman from his
far-off clime, or any other person of whatever nationality
from his country ; they are here, and for all intents and
purposes to better their condition. It is just as unfair to
charge the Negro with leaving the South and the country
to come to the North and to the city in order to avoid
labor, as it is to charge the Chinaman with leaving China
to avoid work. These kinds of charges and reasonings
are illogical and void of truth.
Mr. Thomas says when once the Negro leaves the South
and comes North he rarely returns thither. This is gen-
erally true of all races. It was true of those of our early
American fathers who left England, true of the Irish,
German, Chinese, etc. Self-preservation is the first law
of nature. A desire to aid their less fortunate brother
rarely recalls those of other nationalities to their former
The Exclusion of Negro Domestics From the
Homes of Northern Families, and Why ?
Mr. Thomas charges that the exclusion of Negro do-
mestics from white families is on account of Negro wo-
men’s amenableness to impure proposals from white men,
and Negro men’s viciousness and improper advances
towards the white female domestics. Here are dual im-
moral charges against each race too black and vulgar to
notice. But for the reason that Mr. Thomas is a scouring
seeker for foul atmosphere, one whose business it is, ap-
parently, to look for filth to besmirch Negro character,
we briefly offer a rejoinder. In the first place, Negro do-

niestics have not been excluded from the homes of the

best families of the Northern people. There are hundreds
of Negroes, both men and women, faithfully serving as all
classes of domestics, coachmen, valets, companions, pri-
vate secretaries, cooks, laundresses, maids, chefs, etc., and
there are continued demands for colored help. It may be
true that white servants, bootblacks, barbers, etc., are
more in evidence now than in years gone by. It is also
true that the Negroes have held their own along these
lines. But grant that white domestics are increasing in
the homes of the whites, does not this show that servants
are not confined to races, but to conditions ? The damn-
able charges of immorality and Negro viciousness is un-
worthy of notice. Human nature is the same the world
When Mr. Thomas rises above his prejudices and bias-
ness, he shows himself as a Negro able to state incontro-
vertible facts, but there is so much of the spirit of
chagrin and vindictiveness in him that he cannot write
long in this vein. He admits unfair racial prejudices, and
the exclusion of the Negro from many helpful sources of
life on account of his bare color, regardless of his intel-
lectual and moral fitness ; after which he blunders into
blind and limpid examples without reasonable comparisons.
Material Thrift.
The fourth chapter of this remarkakle book treats upon
the material thrift of the American Negro. Upon this
subject this Negro vilifyer seeks, as elsewhere, to hold up
the race as idlers, lazy mendicants, who have squandered
their opportunities in material accumulations. Mr.
Thomas states that the freedmen have not made the ad-
vance in material prosperity which we of right had ex-
pected of them. This is the idea of the man, who,
doubtless, has not contributed one single iota in this
direction. He says that the Negroes do not represent a

saving people. He quotes a few incorrect statistics, and

balances up the same, allowing to each individual Negro
* about $90 worth of property, or in other words, showing a
per capita saving of $2.60 a year since emancipation.
Even at this imperfect statement of the real facts in the
case, the Negroes’ material accumulations are in excess of
any other enslaved class of people, proscribed and circum-
stanced as they have been and even are to-day.
In answer to these false charges of Mr. Thomas, we will
simply place as a rejoinder the exhaustive discussion of
the economic value of the American Negroes by Mr.
Bridgeforth, published in the Ne?v York Age of Febru-
ary 28, 1901.
An Exhaustive Discussion of the Economic Value of
the Afro-American People by Mr. Bridgeforth.
Much has been said concerning the American Negro
and many questions have been asked, most of which have
been from a political, social, educational and religious
point of view; but little has been said or written about
him as a wealth-producer or as a factor therein. We can-
not find in any publication sufficient data to give us an
accurate knowledge of the American Negro as an eco-
nomical factor. Let us take what authentic data we can
gather from different sources, and see what light can be
brought to bear upon the point at issue. The American
people measure value in dollars and cents, but what stand-
ard shall we adopt to measure the value or non-value of
the Negro in the production of wealth ?
Let us look for a moment for a standard. Perhaps you
would say that the American Indian would make a splen-
did standard ; very well, let us see. The American In-
dian once owned this whole continent deeded to him by
nature, and had a population of great size, but to-day he
owns nothing. The Indians have melted away before

Anglo-Saxon blood as snow before the snn ; their popula-

tion has been reduced to only a few thousands, and these
few thousands cost the Government annually $12,784,676,
besides a standing guard. If we choose the Indian stand-
ard, it is clear that the Negro stands head and shoulders
above him. Let us go a step further for a just and accu-
rate standard. It seems that we are forced to call upon
the white man. Well, his shoulders are broad and he
never objects to serving in this capacity. But how shall
we get an average sample of the white man ? My instruc-
tion in chemistry impresses me that to have a sample that
can be analyzed with any degree of certainty as to the
whole field or bulk of material under consideration, we
must take a portion from all parts, thoroughly mix and
sample from the bottom. If such a sample could be taken
of the white man, what a mixture you would have. In
the South you would have the poor whites ; in Boston,
Americans ; in New York, Irish ; Ware, French ; Holy-
oke, Polanders; in Germantown, Germans. But it is
clear that it is impossible to get an accurate human stand-
ard to measure the economical value of the Negro, as
there are no two humans alike. But let us assume the
average white man as our standard. Now, our standard
being fixed, we are ready for comparison.
In the first place, how came the Negro in this country ?
The first cargo of Negroes was landed on the shores of
Virginia in 1620, by a Dutch man-of-war and bartered to
the colonists for food. This trade proved to be of such
economical value that Massachusetts legalized the slave
trade and slavery, but it was soon found to be unprofit-
able and slavery in the North was abolished, beginning in
Vermont, in 1777, and ending in New Jersey, in 1804. Is
it too much to assert that if the Negro had ever become
unprofitable in the South that all the forces of nature
would have fought against him, and his abode to-day
would have been somewhere else; but facts show that the
South fought for him. The North fought for him be-
cause he was a valuable servant and a man. The North
fought for the latter, for it must be clear to all that the
Negro was a full-fledged man before he got his freedom,
as shown by his achievements, namely : the English lan-
guage, Christian religion, and a fixture in American life
and politics. It is evident to all that it was from an
economic point that the Negro at great cost and risk of
life was brought from the shores of Africa to those of Vir-
ginia. The climate and natural conditions made slavery
in the North unprofitable and, as a consequence, many
were sold to slave holders further South, and it was in the
South that the great tragedy of American slavery was
played. It was in the South that the Negro has proved
to be of the greatest value and to-day the most useful.
It was in the South that the black man, under the guid-
ing hand of the white man, has slain the forest, drained
the swamps, diked the cities, built the railroads, and
made the whole southland to “ bloom as the rose.” The
Negro as an agricultural laborer in the South in the
ante-bellum days, was of the greatest value to the South
and North. He was the main factor in the production of
cotton, which greatly enriched the whole country, and
has held his record since the war. Many Negroes became
so skilled under the regime which declared a black man a
criminal who was seen with a book, as to become over-
seers, managers of cotton gins and saw mills. The Negro
was not only an agricultural laborer but he was an arti-
san. Every plantation has its blacksmith, carpenter,
wheelwright and mason. Many courthouses and public
buildings of wood and brick the old ex-slave can point to
and claim as the work of his own hands. There can be
no doubt as to the Negro’s value as a slave, because the
assessed value before the war was #3)500,000,000, nearly
twice as much as the general stock of money in the United
States, January 1, 1901, which was only $2,449,021,001.
But the great question seems to be about the Negro
since freedom. For this part of the discussion data are
more plentiful and reliable. How about the agricultural
laborer .of the present? Mr. Massey, of Friar’s Point,
Mississippi, says that “ The Negro is the most docile and
tractable of all laborers, and under proper management
the most content and profitable. Thriftlessness generally
ascribed to the Negro is more the fault of the employers
than of the laborer. It seems to me that this testimony
cannot be overvalued, and it is certainly easy to see how
many employers misuse Negro laborers because their
fathers misused the slaves. A Connecticut tobacco grower
testifies that of the many Negroes he had employed for a
number of years from Virginia all were reliable and effi-
cient workmen. Colonel Henry Stokes of Prince Edward
County, Virginia, showed that 20,000 hills of tobacco to
the hand were cultivated in contrast with only 10,000
hills under slavery, demonstrating that a free man is
worth twice as much as a slave.
The Negro in the cotton industry alone would make
him of great value not only to this country but to the
world, for it is estimated that the Negro raises 65 per
cent, of all the cotton in America, and 40 per cent, of all
the cotton raised in the world. Estimating from reports
which show that the annual yield of cotton in the United
States is from nine to eleven million bales. Taking the men
ten million, at $50 per bale, less $20 per bale for raising
and getting to market, would amount to $195,000,000
each year net and for thirty years $5,850,000,000 not taking
into account the value of cotton seed, which would more
than make up for low prices, and we all remember when
cotton sold for $70 and $80 per bale. These figures show
that if the Negro had saved only what he has produced
above cost, what he has made in the cotton industry, he
would be six times as wealthy as he is; for all the* pro-
perty owned by Negroes amounts to only about $995,-

500,000. But nevertheless, the Negro has produced it,

and it should be to his credit. Reliable testimony from
students that have gone out from Hampton and Tns-
keegee, who have had the practical and scientific work in
agriculture, proves that such students are turning to ac-
count manures and approved methods of farming, so that
an acre that used to bring only forty and seventy-five
bushels of potatoes now yields 150 to 250 bushels.
Professer Shaler of Harvard University says: “The
fact was and is that the Negro is a better laboring man in
the field than the white. Under the same conditions he
is more enduring, more contented and more trustworthy
than the men of our own race.” We, who have been in
the Southern cotton markets, have seen the busy cotton
buyers with pencil and paper proclaiming : “ Naught is
a naught, figer is a figer; money for the white man,
cotton for the nigger,” and we have seen both Jews and
Americans carrying out the same to the very letter; only
when they get through they have the money and cotton,
too, except that which might have clung to the old
colored man’s clothes. Not only in the cotton fields, but
in the rice and tobacco fields the Negro has been a valuable
laborer. He has for the last two decades been in great
demand in our phosphate mines in South Carolina, Ten-
nessee and Florida.
I have been asked, can the Negro do the manufacturing
work such as is demanded in our cotton mills at the
South? The most reliable testimony is from Mr. Gilbert
of Moodus, Connecticut, who runs several mills there, and
who has large capital invested in the southern cotton
mills. He says that Negro operators in the cotton mills
have proved a success. Why the Negro is not employed
more in the mills might easily be explained in that most
of our cotton mills in the South are controlled to a great
extent by Northern capitalists, who carry into the mills
Northern men for setting up machinery, who advocate

unions such as they shut the black man out with in many
parts of New England. To expect a Southern man to
compete with a Northern man who has watched spindles
all of his life would be as foolish as to expect a Northern
man to compete with the Southern man in “ picking or
hoeing cotton,” and we know that the process of weeding
and hoeing comes before the spinning. Those of us who
have raised cotton for quite a number of years know that
it is an essential process in the production of wealth from
that staple.
There can be no doubt as to the Negro being a wealth
producer as an agricultural laborer, and yet there are
other vocations in which his services are in great demand.
We find most all housework and cooking carried on in the
South by colored help; you can see him on every
“ Pullman car ; ” he is to be seen turning the brakes of
many of our Southern freight trains; some, I understand,
are firemen, and a few have been trusted to put their
hands on the “ sacred throttle.” In every daily paper
are to be found advertisements calling for colored men
and women to join the economic family in all parts of the
world, and in many honorable positions of trust. Even
the German government is calling him, and has sent some
of Mr. Washington’s students back to redeem Africa with
the cotton plant. There is no further need of evidence
for proof that he is a valuable agricultural laborer, but
most people have gotten the erroneous idea that anyone
can farm, while the truth is we have a less number of good
farmers than any other class of men. This can be shown
by taking the number of poor farmers and subtracting
them from the total number of good farmers. It is only
the thoughtful and observing man, who watches the sea-
sons, keeps his own books and a record of each field and
crops, who really prevents famines and starvation.
Get us for a moment look at the Negro in the business
world ; here we find him a patient competitor and a firm
believer in the doctrine of “ laisses faire ” (bands off.)
L,et the demand and supply control prices is what he
believes and practises. Many colored men have started in
business with a capital anywhere from $25 to $1,000, and
to-day in every city and town where the population is
large enough, we will find one, two, or a half dozen
business houses conducted on a recognized basis. The
following tables will show what the Negro is doing in
business in a few towns and cities in the United States,
prepared by Mr. Dubois of Atlanta University: Vicksburg,
Mississippi—Jewelers, 2 ; clothiers, 2; drygoods stores, 2;
newspapers, 2 ; drug stores, 2 ; undertakers, 1 ; uphol-
sterers, 1 ; butchers, 1; fish and oysters, 1 ; miscellaneous,
3. Montgomery, Alabama — Grocers, 6; drug stores, 2;
butcher, 1. Richmond, Virginia, Capital — Insurance and
banking, $75,000; fish dealers, $3,000; dry goods store,
$2,000; insurance society, $1,000 ; undertaker, $2,000;
undertaker, $10,000 ; photography, $1,500. Birmingham,
Alabama— Grocers, 8 ; barbers, 6 ; bankers and brokers,
5 ; druggists, 4 ; tailors, 4; plumbers, 8 ; photographers,
2 ; contractors, 9 ; silk culturist, 1 ; painters, 30; elec-
tricians, 19.
It is in Birmingham where there is one of the three
Negro banks, with a capital of $25,000. Birmingham has
a population of 20,000 colored and 5,000 are depositors in
this colored organization.
MOUND BAYOU, MISS. No. OK \ EARS IN Cap. Ass’d value in REAL
General Merchant IO f3,OOO
Merchant 8 1,000 2,000
General Merchant 2 300 5»ooo
Blacksmith 7 150 800
Merchant and Saw-mill 10 1,000 10,000
Grocery 14 1,500
Restaurant 10 1,200
Grocery I
9 >5oo
Druggist 5 1,000

Grocery 2 225
Furniture 7 3.°oo
Groceries 10 270
Groceries 4 3°°
Groceries H 3°°
Groceries 8 375
Groceries 12 1,000
Wood Yard 9 5°°
Meat Market 7 1,000
Barber Shop and Restaurant 9 5°°
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. Sales per year
Groceries LS00 $6,000
Meat Market 1,000 4,684 .
Meat Market 250 732
Groceries 4°° 1,500
General *5°
Stock Broker 3 2,500
Real Estate 5 10,000
Hotel LS00
Club House 2 700
Barber Shop 6 3,000
Saloon 2 1,000
Barber Shop 3 5°°
Restaurant 4 9°°
Restaurant 9 1,000
Newspaper 6 2,000
To be sure the capital invested is small, if compared
with the Besse, Mills & Co., Carnegie, Rockefeller or
Pullman; but let us not forget that these men started with
a capital less than the smallest business run by colored
men cited above. And would it be the height of folly to
prophecy that this century will bring forth her business
and financial directors as the past few years have given us
Bruce and White as statesmen and politicians, Du Bois
and Scarborough as scholars, Crummel and Derrick as
pulpit orators, and Washington and Price as educators?
In business as in other professions, a man’s education
determines in a great degree his success. It is the educated
man that looks ahead and keeps down famines and finan-
cial depressions ; it is the educated man who stands at the

head of business corporations and banks. An education

is first and essential in all the walks of life. Let us see
what the Negro has done in the educational field that
warrants for him a lasting place in our business of the
present and future. In thirty-five years the Negro has
has reduced his illiteracy by 45 per cent., according to
Professor W. H. Council in Forum, ’99, and his address, in
the West. There are 2,500,000 children in the common
schools ; students in higher institutions, 45,000 ; teachers,
35,000; students learning trades, 50,000; students pursu-
ing classical and scientific courses, 3,000. The Negro has
accumulated $15,000,000 worth of school property ;
$40,000,000; church property ; farms valued at
$450,000,000; homes, besides farms valued at $325,000,000;
personal property $165,000,000. On many of the farms
stands the old manor house to-day deeded to whom ? Not
to Mr. Samuel Horton, but to “ Sam Horton,” his old
ex-slave, without any education, only possessing a deal of
common sense, of which there is such scarcity all over the
world, with tact and industry, who has come into posses-
sion of a large plantation, aided by his true and sincere
white friends, to whom he often goes for advice and guid-
ance in law and business.
The Negro has raised $13,065,000 for his own education.
The taxable property of the Negro in Georgia is
$14,000,000 ; he owns in Georgia 1,605,000 acres of land.
The Negro in Virginia, according to reports made by
Hampton Institute, paid for the support of the government
$58,576.92 in 1898. The Negro owns one-twenty-sixth of
all the land in Virginia; he owns $11,431,916 worth of
taxable property in Virginia. The Negro bought in
one year (’96-’97) 5,367 acres of land, in fourteen counties
of Virginia; in the same year in the fourteen counties
the increase of personal property and real estate was
$88,554, or 6 1-5 per cent, increase over previous years.
The following questions were asked Southern men who

have had every opportunity to know the Negro, by Mr.

(i) Has education made the Negro a more useful
citizen ?
(2 ) Has it made him more economical and inclined to
acquire wealth ?
(3) Has it made him a more valuable workman,
especially when thought and skill are required ?
Out of 300 answers there was only one “ no.”
In one of the black belt countries, the Negroes held a
convention to see about getting more white people to live
among them ; one old gentleman who did not know of the
convention, on being told of the purpose of the meeting,
replied : “ For God’s sake, boys, don’t you know that we
niggers got just as many white people in this country as
we can support?” I believe that the Southern-white man
is the best friend that the Negro has in business. I further
believe that Northern competition is worse than what some
people call Southern prejudice. I most heartily agree
with the statement that the disfranchisement of the
colored man will stimulate him to accumulate wealth and
education, while the poor white man in the South will
sink lower in the scale of human existence.
Who are the wealth producers here in this common-
wealth ? Is it the capitalists ? Not entirely. Who then
can it be ? It is the plain and common people backed by
the capitalists ; the Italians, Polanders, French and Irish
and middle-class Americans. The capitalists alone pro-
duce no wealth ; they may invent machinery, but the
production of wealth lies largely in the hands of the
laboring classes ; without them the capitalist must sit
and build air castles with his money, and not mills and
shops. The capitalist may loan his money for interest to
whom, if not to the laboring classes? Who tills your
fields, runs your factories, saws your lumber, transports
your coal, builds your rpads, and runs your cars, except

the Italians, Polanders, French and Irish ? They are yonr

plain and common people, and in a great measure New
England’s wealth producers; but in the South the black
man and the poor whites are the plain people; without
them all business would stop, and the whole foundation of
society would be disastrously shaken. Some of you say
the Negroes are lazy and “ happy-go-lucky ” creatures;
I will admit that, but don’t we find the lazy and indigent
white man? What means that army of Aryan tramps?
You say that the Negro steals, and the percentage of
criminals is very large as compared with the white man ;
I will admit that because it is true, but have you forgotten
that one bank president of New York or Northampton
steals more in a few minutes than the 11,000,000 blacks
do in a decade? Yet the white man supports the govern-
ment, develops the country, accumulates property, educates
his family, and dies for the flag, and we must accept him
as a factor in the production of wealth. The American
Negro for the last few years in freedom, and even in
slavery, has done the same.
Mr, Thomas assumes the arrogant role of a dictator to
Congress and to the American people, as to the specific
methods of their treatment of and dealings with the
American Negro. If he were as influentially wise as he
professes to be, at least some of his suggestions would have
been considered, if not adopted, but a careful study of his
plans shows impracticability, and himself to be a wild
dreamer possessed of a disordered liver. He would hold up
the progressive South, with its growing industries, its in-
creased wealth since the War, as evidence of Negro degra-
dation and hopeless poverty, this thrift and progress having
pushed the Negro aside to relax into servile chattelism and
industrial annihilation.
Mr. Thomas, the close observer and philosopher of
Negro material failure, does not see that the freedom of
the slaves has impoverished the native whites of the South,


and further, that the real material development of that

section is practically the skill, genius and wealth of
Northern capitalists. Yet in the midst of this onward
progress the Negro has gained vantage ground, and is
keeping pace with the times, steadily increasing in wealth,
intelligence, morality and religion. With this array of
stubborn facts standing out in bold relief before the gaze
of the enlightened age, any man who takes such a pessi-
mistic view of the American Negro as does this author,
Mr. Thomas, proves himself to be a fool and a knave.
Characteristic Traits.
Chapter V. of this book treats of Negro Characteristics.
This chapter is the climax of the author’s villiany. I
don’t believe that William Hannibal Thomas wrote this
article. The contents herein stated ought and should be
suppressed, because they are lies of the blackest and most
damnable character. These statements respecting any
race of people are without comparison in the history of
nations. No atheist, infidel or sceptic has ever penned
such lines, nor has printer’s ink ever before in its history
stamped such infamy upon paper. It is worst than the
writings of Tom Paine, Bolling Brooke, Voltaire or Hume.
They are all angels of light to this vile dragon ; every
decent man and woman in the land should frown down
with contempt upon the author of such a production.
How a Negro man, born of Negro parentage, possessed of
Negro relatives, married to a Negro woman, could have
the brazen audacity to write such a chapter to be published
to the world, human intelligence fails to design. And yet
this is the chapter that has been given the most mention-
ings and greatest prominence in the public press of the
country. This we would verily regret were it not that
not a reputable newspaper of the country has endorsed the
sentiments, or characterized these statements as being the
truth, but on the other hand, the purported author has

been raked and vitrioled, branded and libelled as the Judas

Iscariot of the twentieth century. This Christian nation
should rise in its intelligent might and banish this infamous
production from every library where it has been placed.
Let us note a few of the many libellous charges herein
made against the American Negro. First — “ There must
be certain qualities inherent in the nature of the Negro
which differentiates him from other human kind as dis-
tinctly as either color or feature. The slave offspring,
however, underwent a physical transformation, and foreign
miscegenation, changed a sensuous, savage animal into a
rational human creature, with a possible attainment to
manhood and spiritual consciousness.” The Negro
represents an accentuated type of human degradation,”
What ethnological science has deduced these facts ? Did
not God create of one blood all the nations that dwell upon
the face of the earth? Where in all history do we find the
second creation of human beings by the Almighty ? Does
not the general sameness of human characteristics obtain
in all sentient beings? Does not soul thought obtain in
every human kind ? Are there not distinct differences to
be found in man and tbe lower order of animal creation ?
Does not the divine word of God verify the almighty acts
of creation? However distinct and diversified human in-
telligence of rational creatures, do we not, as a race
recognize human characteristics? Does not the genealogy
of the human race trace all classes of mankind back to one
human progeny or parentage? The facts of recorded
history, both sacred and profane, answer these questions
in the affirmative. Then, where does Mr. Thomas get a
foundation on which to rest these glaring falsified state-
ments? “ Thou art weighed in the balance and art found
wanting.” There is no degeneracy in the American
Negro. There is no manifestation of this characterized in
any of the spheres of existence ; but on the other hand he
has shown himself to be a progressive, sentient being, as
are all other types of the human race.
Mr. Thomas states that no man, white or black, is en-
titled to speak as an authority about the characteristics of
the freedmen unless he has an accurate knowledge of the
Negro people. If this be true, then Mr. Thomas himself
should hold his peace, for it is evident that his knowledge
of this race is very limited. He charges that the “Negro
has all the physical endowments of intellect, but he has a
mind that never thinks in complex terms, and that his
mind is wholly engrossed with units of phenomena, etc.”
This can be said of all ignorant people. We admit that
the masses of the Negro race are untrained intellectually,
because they have never had the opportunity to be trained.
Thirty odd years is no time to be allotted to a race for in-
tellectual development. The American Negro was enslaved
for more than 200 years, and ever since his emancipation
has been scattered, torn and peeled. The accuracy of
human knowledge, as is well known, depends on the num-
ber and quality of stored-up concepts, as this author states.
The Negro, like all other human beings, must be trained
to think and reason systematically. This is the purpose
of education.
Mr. Thomas charges the Negro as being imitative ; this
is true of all men. We do not deny the fact that there are
but few real scholars among the American Negroes. And
why? Because the Negro has never had the opportunity
to meditate studiously and acquire scholarship. His has
been a life of forced, hurried activity for livelihood and
existence. His schoolhouse since his emancipation has
been the menial spheres of arduous toil, hunger, want and
deprivation ; his preceptors, the bitter experience of con-
tact with the odds and ends of well-laid obstacles placed in
his way. And yet, with undisciplined preceptors, poverty,
humiliation and racial prejudices, Negroes have arisen
from the depth of ignorance and superstitious folly to the

sublime altitude of scholarship and intellectual proficiency.

Negro scholars have exerted strong intellectuality. Ban-
naker, the philosopher and astronomer; Payne, the
erudite, polished and refined theologian, scientist and
linguist, and a host of others can be reckoned among the
profound thinkers of the age. The American Negroes
have had no time to produce scholars. Not one in a
thousand has been privileged to study in the great institu-
tions of learning in this country or abroad for proficiency
in scholarship. The best informed among the race are
self-made men, who blazed and burned their way through
the forest of darkened hatred, and over the mountains of
stern and bitter opposition. Many of them have scaled
the height of acknowledged eminence, and are enrolled
among the galaxy of the brightest immortals of American
history. All things considered the American Negro can
present to the world to-day as many strong men and
women of intellect, with moral and true Christian character,
as any race upon the face of the earth, under like con-
ditions, Mr. Thomas’ false charges and vile vituperations
He charges the American Negro as being immoral, and
cites statements too ridiculous and vulgar to mention.
Everybody knows that there are vile characters in every
race; moral perfection does not obtain among human
creatures, as a rule. The good and the bad are found
among all people in every community. This is exemplified
each day of our lives. The columns of our daily papers
are charged full of accounts of crimes of all kinds and
immoral habits of people not confined to any special race.
Why this pessimistic saint should single out the American
Negroes as the greatest immoralists of the land, any fair-
minded man fails to see. This author can do himself
justice by plucking the immoral beam out of his own eye,
for he is not without fault along this line.
He speaks of the Negro spending and wasting time in

talking about one another. How trivial! The majority

of the people, white and black, intelligent and illiterate,
are guilty of the habit of backbiting one another.
He charges the Negro as being deceptive and dishonest.
The Negro is not an exception. Banks are robbed,
treasuries bankrupted, and thousands of other dishonest
practices are carried on by dishonest and deceptive white
He further charges the Negro with untidiness in their
homes, and uncleanliness with their persons. As a class *
of poor, laboring people, the Negroes will surpass, as a
rule, the majority of other similar classes in neatness and
cleanliness. If Mr. Thomas knows anything about Negroes
at all, he knows that even in the rural districts of the
South, where the Negroes live in large numbers in planta-
tion cabins, there, in their one-room huts, the rude floors
are neatly swept, and the simple furnishings kept in first-
class order. Of all the charges made against the Negroes
by many of the prejudiced whites of the South, Negro un-
cleanliness is exempt from the roll. The Negro, though
poor, is proud. I challenge a visit to Negro homes, rented
or otherwise, for verification of these statements.
Mr. Thomas charges that the Negro is superstitious, and
believes in hoodooism, and so forth. There are the super-
stitious among all races. .You will find nine white fortune
tellers, spiritualists, ventriloquists, and the like to one
Negro. These magic venders are attended by both races,
high and low, rich and poor. He further charges that the
Negroes are dying out for lack of cleanliness, etc. The
census shows that there are steady increases among the
Negro population of this country, and this one fact should
be borne in mind, — that Negro increase in population is
genuine American, while that of the whites consists of
emigration from every foreign clime.
In one place Mr. Thomas charges the Negro as being
void of humane feeling; then again, he states that the

“ Negroes passions are as fleeting as a summer shower,” —

He will forgive for injuries done and grievious indignities
heaped upon him.” How this Negro analytical detective
author has found such hidden, vile traits in his black
brother, undiscovered by the piercing and searching in-
vestigation of the white man who had nearly 300 years
study of the Negro, we fail to see. The Southern whites,
whose close and intimate relations with the Negroes existed
for more than 200 years, in the greatest hour of their try-
v ing ordeals, entrusted the Negroes of the South, under the
most peculiar conditions ever recorded in the annals of the
world’s history, with their all — wives, children, properties
and even their lives; yet not a single instance is recorded
where the Negroes breached a trust imposed in them; but
they were kind and humane to their families, and safely
guarded their possessions. These acts alone should silence
i forever the humane deceptive traits of the Negro.
Mr. Thomas asserts that the Negro lives in the past,
unconscious of the demands of the present, unaspiring as
to the future. The earliest struggles of the American
Negro to rise from his present humiliation and shame to
higher walks in life and nobler achievements, as are seen
by every observer of human events, should silence and
brand this statement as absolutely false.
It is also charged that the Negro is not amenable to
verbal suasion, therefore he should be exterminated. Then
Mr. Thomas has the unbounded audacity to ask, ‘‘ Is this
a barbarous suggestion?” It is a suggestion the most in-
#- ¥

humane, barbarous and infernal ever submitted to a Chris-

tian nation. Julian, the apostate, Nero, Trojan, nor any
of the terse persecutors <5f the early Christian Church have
not submitted a more wicked proposition. Think of it!
William Hannibal Thomas, a lawyer, teacher and so-
called minister of the gospel of the Christ, who came to
seek and to save the humble, ignorant and poor of all
nations, this fallen angel from the true height of his former

mission, would clothe himself in a murderous garb, go out

on the rampage and exterminate 10,000,000 struggling
people, for no other reason than for his unjust charge of
the Negro not being amenable to verbal suasion. This
demon, black, cold-hearted wretch in human form, should
bury his infamous being from the sight of intelligent,
sentient creatures, instead of putting on the market a
volume of contents of his contagious, wicked microbes.
His suggestion is both impracticable and impossible.
If the American Negro could endure the hardest oppression
and most cruel inflictions ever imposed upon a race, for
nearly 300 years, and amid it all gradually rise from the
deepest depths of degradation to membership in the Ameri-
can body politic, making themselves important factors in
the development of the greatest country, century aud
civilization of the world, it proves beyond the shadow of a
doubt their durability and capability for all future
emergencies. From less than twenty slaves a few hundred
years ago, they have grown to be 10,000,000 freedmen,
playing their part upon life’s highway with the cosmo-
politan races of the earth. The Negroes will never be
exterminated or annihilated. Such glibbering verbosity
is rot and nonsensical folly. And I thank God that no
such thoughts as these have any place in the hearts and
minds of the progressive Christian class of white people of
this country. This foolhardy suggestion of Mr. Thomas’,
like others that he has tried to impress upon the people of
this country, will be put aside to die without a creditable
Ethnic Beliefs.
Chapter VI. treats on the religious beliefs and practices
of the American Negro. Mr. Thomas begins his tirade
upon the sectarian freedman, as having no well-defined
ethical convictions, nor positive and steadfast notions re-
garding denominational distinctions, but will unite with
one or the other as caprice may incline. Social instincts,

he says, have much to do in promoting religious associa-

tion among Negroes. This may be also true of white
people. Denominational, Christian organizations are
made up and augmented and propagated by social relation-
ships. This is true with all churches and people. He
charges that the large multitudes enrolled under the
banner of Negro religion are to it a source of weakness
rather than strength. This is contrary to all ethical
teachings. He further states that the American Negro
religionist has made no important nor valuable contribu-
tion to American life or morals, thus failing to impress
contemporaneous Christian society with a considerate re-
gard for its leadership or admiration for its achievements.
Here, as elsewhere, Mr. Thomas proves himself very ig-
norant. Both Protestant and Catholic contemporaneous
Christian societies are in fraternal accord with Negro
Christian Endeavor, and commend and appreciate the
work their colored fellow Christians are striving to do.
This is clearly manifest in the appointment of Negro com-
mittee-men along side by side with the white Christian for
the anticipated work of the Ecumenical Council of the
World. Again, when the World’s Parliament of Religions
assembled in Chicago in 1893, Negro Christian leaders
were in evidence and played conspicuous parts in the
deliberations of that world-wide Congress, which was the
greatest religious gathering in the history of the world.
In the publication of the records of that great Parliament,
no race is given more prominence and is more highly com-
mended than the Negro race. This is recorded history.
(See World’s Parliament of Religions.) What about the
Y. P. S. C. E., Y. M. C. A., B. Y. P. U., and other
similar religious organizations where the white and colored
Christian religionists are working co-operatively, yet each
in their distinctive churches and among their specific
races? Suffice these facts to silence Mr. Thomas’ charges
as falsehoods ?

He further states that Negro religious belief enthralls

illiterate souls aud blindfolds consciences by its methods
of false scriptural exegesis, and cannot rid the Negro race
of its characteristic defects and appalling weaknesses at-
tached to them through inherited ignorance, inherited
laziness, inherited unbridled desires, inherited apathy and
cowardice. The American Negro Christian is perfectly
willing to rest his case with God Almighty and not with
the ethical interpretations of Mr. Thomas. This reformer
charges further that the Negro does not comprehend all
the principles of religion. There are thousands of whites
who do not comprehend these principles. He says, “ In
his native home the Negro was a fetish worshipper,” etc.
So were the Greeks, Chinese, Romans, Hindus, Anglo-
Saxons and other races. Every student of history knows
that from time immemorial races and nations have groped
in pagan darkness in search of true religious light, and
continued in this state until clearer and purer thought
was manifested to them through the gradual revelation of
divine agencies ; the Negroes are not exceptions.
Mr. Thomas, the preacher failure, like a raving maniac
makes an unmerciful and devilish attack upon the Negro
ministry. Before considering further his criminal charges
against this class of Negro leaders, let it be borne in mind
that this man, William Hannibal Thomas, professed re-
ligion, joined a Negro church, and swore allegiance to the
doctrines and principles of the African Methodist Epis-
copal Church, taking upon himself the sacred vow of its
ministry, whose garb he has worn for several years, and in
whose fold he still abides, having never relinquished his
claim nor disconnected himself from this Church and
ministry. He has proclaimed these ordinances from our
pulpits, and administered the rites of the Church to Negro
communicants. With these facts and conditions bearing
upon his own relations, we are a loss to locate the sense of
his integrity as a man,much less as a Christian. Surely this
man Thomas has masqueraded in a garment of seeming
righteousness, at the same time being an archangel of
fiendish diabolism. He is culpable enough to take unto
himself every charge that he has alleged to the Negro
ministry. He says, speaking of Negro preachers, “ These
Negro culprits are sinners fallen from grace.” Surely he
is the “ Lucifer ” of the crowd. But I thank God that
these false, ridiculous charges are untrue, and come from
a vile source. The American Negro ministry, as a whole,
needs no defence. What it has accomplished and is still
doing for the Christianizing, uplifting and betterment of
the Negroes and mankind cannot be told in words nor
described by pen ; eternity alone will tell the happy story.
This ministry has been called of God and commissioned
from above to go into all the world to preach the gospel
and discipline the people. The majority of them, like the
humble disciples of the lowly Nazarene, were poor and
unlearned ; yet they have had strong faith in God, be-
lieved the gospel they preached, and through their minis-
trations thousands have believed and are saved, and
millions to-day are striving to live holier and happier
lives. No class of public men are harder workers, more
self-sacrificing, and withal so poorly paid as the American
Negro preachers. Theirs is unlike the ministry of any
other race in this country. As a rule they minister to a
distinct class of people, whose relations and environments
are peculiar. They are not only preachers but teachers of
these people. The position of their ministry carries with
it the entire officiary of the church ; they stand in the
front rank ; not only do they plan, but they are the exe-
cutors of their plans for the success of the work of the
church. In the majority of cases they are held personally
responsible for every debt contracted and, for the general
actions of the Negroes of their respective communities.
Mr. Thomas charges them as being illiterate ; they are
generally regarded by all classes in every community as
the more intelligent and better informed of the race. Mr.
Thomas says they are “ immoral, cowardly monstrosi-
ties ” ; if so, why are they allowed such unrestricted free-
dom everywhere, by all races, especially in the South,
where Negro lawlessness is so little tolerated ? Not only
are they privileged to preach and minister to their own
people, but are admitted to the churches, pulpits and
homes of the white people of the South, and respected,
encouraged and helped in their work by the better classes
of both races. Americans are too devoted to the sanctity
of home life to allow such vile wretches as described by
Mr. Thomas free passports into their sacred domiciles.
The work of the American Negro ministry has been a
marvellous success. They have been the consoling com-
forters to the oppressed slaves in the darkest hours of their
night of affliction, — the star of hope pointing this race
upward and onward through all of their wilderness wan-
derings. They have ministered both to the master and the
slave. Like Moses, Joshua and Samuel of old, they have
led forth Israel from bondage into the promised land.
They have judged and ruled the people in righteousness.
Their mission is not yet ended. Mr. Thomas says that
the weakness of Negro leadership is emphasized by the
fact that race churches have not escaped the evils of
sectionalism ? Does he not know, too, that white
churches have not escaped sectionalism ? He further
argues that Negro churches should have superior white
Christian supervision, — which is impracticable and im-
possible. He believes in the abolishment of Negro
churches, and the segregation of Negro membership into
white churches,—a thing which is impossible and will
not work. The race question divided the Methodist
Episcopal and the Presbysterian churches. In fact, the
Negroes are not wanted in the white churches ; this has
been thoroughly demonstrated. On the other hand, the
Negroes do not desire to force themselves into these Chris-
tian bodies where they are not welcomed. Were the sug-
gestions of Mr. Thomas put into operation, there would
be a survival of race prejudices such as have not been man-
ifested since the emancipation. Each race is better
fitted to carry out its Christian endeavors, ministering to
its own people along lines of co-operated fraternalism.
Moral Lapses.
Under this caption Mr. Thomas charges that the freed-
men cling with greater obstinacy to their environing
conditions, and thus philanthropists have become dis-
couraged in aiding the Negro on account of his lack of
interest. This is a false charge. Manifest evidence shows
that the Negro is putting forth every possible effort to
break away from his former restraints, and is gradually
rising from poverty, ignorance and degradation. He is
not depending alone on external aid from the white
people, but is sacrificing much to help himself. Negroes
are building schools, educating their youths, fostering
charitable organizations, and are mustering to their aid all
the agencies commandable to help in this direction.
Mr. Thomas charges that Negro marriage is no barrier
to illicit sexual indulgence, that the Negro utterly
disregards his plighted betrothal. He says that Negro
women unresistingly betray their wifely honor to satisfy
a bestial instinct, etc. He follows this strain of vulgarity
to a disgusting finish. He says that Negro schools in the
South are immoral sanctuaries, and charge those in
authority as immoral brutes, etc. These infamous charges
are an outrage upon the fair womanhood of every race,
and are without comparison in the annals of history.
The blood of these defenceless martyrs will be required at
the hands of their infernal accuser before the bar of a just
God. It is an easy matter to besmirch character and
stigmatize an individual or a race. We will only remind
Mr. Thomas of the immortal words of Shakespeare on

character destroying, and the robbing of a good name.

Thousands of innocent mothers and daughters of Negro
descent throughout this broad land and the world, will
pass the name of William Hannibal Thomas down to their
unborn generations as the greatest foul destroyer of their
virtue and honor. Yea, this man may spend the balance
of his days feasting upon his ill-gotten gain, but the day
of retributive justice awaits him at some time and some-
where. Think of it ! Has there ever lived a man of any
race who has openly charged ninety per cent, of the women
of that race as being lascivious and immoral save this man,
William Hannibal Thomas? Thomas, dost thou charge
thy mother, sister and wife with these villainous accusa-
tions ? Wilt thou answer ?
Criminal Instincts.
In the eighth chapter of this remarkable encyclopedia
of libellous accusations, Mr. Thomas charges the Negro
with criminal instincts. Stealing is a crime as old as
man; from time immemorial, human beings have
extorted from one another through unfair means that
which rightfully belonged to somebody else. Instances
one after another are recorded in both sacred and profane
history of individuals, races and nations plundering and
taking by theft that which was not their own. This trait
is not confined to race or nationality. Stealing and down-
right robbery are daily occurrences practised among all
nations ; why single out the Negro as an exception ? We
would not condone the shortcomings of the Negro ; that
there are those among them guilty of pilfering, theft,
lying and other sinful practices goes without saying,
Negro thieves who are not content only with the stealing
of a pig or the lifting of a chicken from its roost, but
Negroes who would steal thousands and bankrupt the
country were it possible. 'At the same time there can
be found more white people stealing on larger scales, and

better skilled in the business. A rogue is a rogue be he

white or black. There is no white vice nor black vice.
Vice is vice and crime is crime, regardless by whom com-
Mr. Thomas states that crime is on the increase among
the freed people, and he bases this claim upon the state-
ment that seventy-five per cent, of the incarcerated
criminals of the South are Negroes. This is an incorrect
basis from which to reason. There is no law rightly
executed in the South where Negro interest is involved.
Feeling, prejudice and passion have the right of way.
The only way Negroes of the South cau stay clear of
criminal incarceration is to avoid friction and unpleasant
relations with the whites. Thousands of Negro prisoners
in the Southland to’day are serving terms in the chain
gang, and public works, and penitentiary, who are as
innocent as angels as far as the crime alleged against them
is concerned. They could not tell for what they are
accused and incarcerated.- Mr. Thomas seems to be
ignorant of a great many of the conditions still existing in
that section of our country where the freedmen live in
great numbers. There are hundreds of Southern whites
who are not far removed from heathen and pagan prac-
tices, and this class of white men exist almost entirely
upon oppressing, extorting and depriving Negroes. The
law of condemnation in the South, especially in the rural
districts, is made and executed upon Negroes. No man is
justified in'judging the criminalities of the freedmen from
Southern court records. The law is all one sided ; judges,
sheriffs, jurors, jailors and accusers are all white; the
* accused only is colored. True there are low, vicious, crimi-
nally inclined Negroes, the same as in other races.
Mr. Thomas charges the Negro man with vicious,
brutal habits of assaulting white women. This is a new
mania on the part of the Negro. For 250 years the Negro
had every opportunity to commit these false outrages, but

we find him not even inclined toward them ; yet, within

the past few years this new habit seems to dominate him.
This is a problem shrouded in mystery. There is some-
thing wrong somewhere. If the Negro is so brutal as to
commit these crimes upon white womanhood, why does
not the law making classes enact some severe legislation to
mote out speedy and just punishment to this class of crimi-
nals without enrolling themselves as barbarous and lawless
desperadoes, equally as guilty as the Negro accused
culprit? Why did not the Negroes, during war times,
when white women and children, the fair maidens upon
whom they attended and had every opportunity to commit
Joul acts, why did they not brutalize these white women
then? No, they would not, and thousands of the sable,
dusky sons of Ham would have poured out every drop of
blood coursing in their veins, to protect the virtue of the
white females, whom they felt it their duty to protect and
support. I don’t care what Mr. Thomas may charge or
how much he may malign the race, the Negro, as a rule,
has high respect for womanhood, and the leaders of this
race frown down upon crimes regardless by whom com-
mitted. He would justify his position by asking, “ If
these lynchings and so forth are not justified, why don’t
the Negroes rise up and resent them ? Why not band
themselves and wreak vengeance upon their accusers?”
Because, in the first place, this is impracticable and
impossible. They are poor and defenceless. However
justified, such an attempt under present conditions would
only militate against them. The Negro is a law abiding
citizen ; he is patient and long forbearing. Mr. Thomas
would try to force the idea that the Negroes of the South
are encouraged to commit crime, under the false delusion
that the Northern whites stand ready to support and defend
them. This is a lie. Every Negro of common sense in
the North, South, East and West knows that this race need
expect no redress from the white North. The Northern

white man and the Southern white man are united, one
and inseparable. We will not further the discussion of
the why and wherefore of this union. The Negro believes
that he must fight his own battles, live in peace with all
mankind, adapt himself to his surroundings, and make the
best possible out of life. But we conclude our rejoiner to
this chapter on criminal instincts by quoting the author’s
own words : “It is correct to say that fully ninety per
cent, of the freedmen are reasonably law abiding citizens.
They have the confidence and support of the orderly white
society, and are rarely molested by its lawless class.” He
further states, “ On the other hand, the most liberal
estimate will not allow the Negro criminal class to exceed
ten per cent, of the race.” He puts the white and black
criminal classes on par. This is his final summary, which
contradicts his former criminal charges. One can readily
see why Mr. Thomas has been a failure as a lawyer before
the bar, and a successful preacher in winning souls for
his Lord and Mastei.

Mental Training.
The ninth chapter of this book treats on mental train-
ing. Again this author condemns practically every
method that has been used, and even the present methods
in vogue, for lifting up the Negro. Everything is wrong
excepjt that .which he advocates. He charges gross de-
fects in the current school system, and states that
$100,000,000 have been spent by the South without mak-
ing any visible inroad on Negro illiteracy, or rather on
Negro obtuseness. As usual, Mr. Thomas is blinded to
every advance step of Negro progress, and fails to see that
Negro illiteracy has been reduced to 45 per cent. He ad-
vocates industrial education in one strain, and condemns
it as it now exists in the schools of the South. He op-
poses denominational schools, and charges that these col-
leges and universities are wasting a wealth of energy to

no good purpose. Notwithstanding over 5000 young

men and women are being daily trained in these schools
to do efficient work in all the avenues of life, with
thousands of graduates filling acceptably positions of
trust and honor, working daily among their people, en-
lightening and uplifting the Negroes in every section of
the Southland, still these worthy endeavors and accom-
plishments are of no avail as regarded by Mr. Thomas.
He also fails to see the self-sacrificing, independent striv-
ings of the Negroes in this direction to help themselves.
He attempts to outline a curriculum for teaching agri-
culture and every other thing which he designs the Negro
should know. The very things for which he condemns the
educators of the South for not doing are actually being
done in the schools scattered throughout that section of
our country. He charges that it is a fundamental mis-
take in educating the Negro along Anglo-Saxon lines, and
would therefore prescribe a distinct education for the
freedmen, which is altogether out of harmony with the
genius of our American institutions. Then he shows his
folly, on the other hand, in knocking the props from his
own logic, by commending a certain school in Kentucky
where white and Negro children are attending the same
school and receiving the same instruction, as being along
correct lines. Tuskeegee, Hampton Normal, Morris
Brown College, Georgia; Paul Quinn College, Texas;
Atlanta University, and a host of Southern schools, whose
work has been and is being highly commended and sup-
ported by the best educators and philanthropists of the
country, are utterly ignored by this pessimistic author.
He charges that all of these schools of prominence have
among their pupils young freedwomen sustaining immoral
relations with white men. This, Mr. Thomas cannot
substantiate. He says further that this is done with the
knowledge and consent of the school authorities. In all
candor, I ask William Hannibal Thomas of Everett,
Mass., does he mean to allege these base charges against
such honorable men as Dr. Bumstead of Atlanta Univer-
sity, Dr. Joshua H. Jones, President Wilberforce Univer-
sity ; Prof. Booker T. Washington of Tuskeegee Institute ;
Dr. Prissell of Hampton, and a number of institutions
under the control of the Congregational, Methodist,
Baptist and other denominations ? . Mr. Thomas, yon
have been heretotore hurling your damnable, false charges
in a promiscuous way ; we now demand of you to name
the schools, the professors and the young freedwomen so
gravely charged; can you? Will you name them? If
you don’t you prove yourself to be the most villainous
liar of the twentieth century.
Yon further charge that the preachers in charge of the
moral training of the Negroes, and the teachers engaged
in their mental instruction will steal from each other and
from the whites as readily as the most indigent freedman.
This statement includes some of the ablest and best men
and women in the country. Sir, it remains for you to
prove to the public that these persons are guilty of your
grave accusations. This base vilifier and race slanderer,
opposes co-education of the races on the one hand, and favors
it on the other, and goes on ad libitum with polywog con-
tradictions. He finally concludes this foul chapter on
mental training by declaring that everything, all efforts
and aids, have failed the American Negro.

Social Rights.
Mr. Thomas, in the tenth chapter of his book discusses
social rights, and makes a very strong, justifiable and
reasonable plea for the Negro’s social rights. He con-
fesses that there are white people in this country inferior
to the Negroes, which is generally admitted by the better
classes of both races. He, as all reasonable, fair-minded
Americans, believes that race discrimination, proscription
and oppression will eventually cease in this country.
Enfranchised Functions.

Chapter XT. treats upon the enfranchised functions of the

freedmen. I commend many of the true statements made
by the author relative to the enfranchised rights of the
Negro, and will state that the Negroes are not responsible
for the political conditions of the South. They offered
the Southern whites their support immediately following
the emancipation, but were rejected. The -white South is
to blame for the political disturbances and present un-
pleasant relations of that section, and should not blame
the Negro for their culpability. If it was a mistake to
enfranchise the freedmen, the whites of this nation made
the blunder and the Negroes should not bear the blame.
This nation should be both fair and manly and live up to
its contract, or dissolve partnership.
I hereby give notice that in my forthcoming book I
shall discuss the elective franchise of the freedman. Mr.
Thomas treats this subject in a manly way, and what he
says deserves careful reading and much thought.

Chimerical Expatriation.
In the twelfth chapter of his book, the author discusses
at length, in a very reasonable way, expatriation or Negro
emigration. This is discussed in a clear, logical manner,
and every Negro man should read and ponder his words.
The white people of this country, also, can find many
very helpful thoughts and suggestive methods in their
dealing with the race. Mr. Thomas admits that the
Negro is improving his condition in this country, and
should remain here and have the aid of the white man in
helping the race to higher and nobler achievements.

Feasible Regeneration.
Chapter XIII. treats on Feasible Regeneration. The
first charge Mr. Thomas makes under this caption, is that
the American Negro is in a low state of social develop-

ment and is self-content. In other words, the Negro is

in the lowest stage of degradation, and is content to re-
main there. This charge, as others of his fallacious
statements, is untrue. The Negro has adopted, after
careful experiences and observation, the same methods
for his uplifting as those operated' by the Anglo-Saxons.
What means the publication of 500 or more news-
papers, weekly and daily, dissimilating truth, advice, in-
struction and aspiration among the American freedmen,
the fostering of schools of every grade, the building of
churches, and the Christian disciplining of more than
four million communicants? What means the mighty
struggle for wealth on the part of these people, but an
earnest desire to rise ? What race or nation has doubled
its wealth within ten years but the Negro? Think of it !
The freedmen in Georgia alone own $17,415,350 worth of
property, and in Virginia these said to be contented
Negroes are acquiring property at the rate of more than
fifty thousand acres per year. No people in the history
of the world, under similar circumstances, have ever made
greater efforts to rise, notwithstanding Mr. Thomas’
claim of racial incapacity and all other deficiencies.
Mr. Thomas further charges that in the North, where
the best educational advantages are obtainable, there are
found some of the most ignorant and degraded Negroes.
This is also true of the white race ; some people of all
races are indifferent to any and all advantages. This
voluminous-fabulous author says, “ The Negro is the
waste product of American civilization.” A little learn-
ing is a dangerous thing is evidenced by the bold reckless
use of words and terms employed by Mr. Thomas. The
American Negro wants no props, but a fair chance in the
race of life. If this is accorded he will succeed.
National Assimilation.
The last chapter of this peculiar book treats on National

Assimilation. Mr. Thomas openly avows that the Negro

is opposed to American civilization. He says the freed-
man has not become assimilated and reckoned in the
general body politic. Be this true or false it is no fault of
the Negroes that they have been excluded. They have
made advances only to be repulsed by the whites; yet they
are more American than any other foreign class of
emigrants. Mr. Thomas charges that the Negro is inferior
to the white man. If this be true, man’s Creator is unjust,
and the blame rests with God. No self-respecting Negro
does or can feel that he is inferior to any man of any race,
but every sensible man should and ought to know and feel
that worth and fitness alone are the right standards of
measurement, and the just methods of comparison.
Mr. Thomas declares that the survival of the American
Negro is due to the fostering care with which slavery sur-
rounded him, but, says he, “ The Negro is a perishable
product who squanders his vital energies with reckless
abandon.” Think of the inconsistency of these state-
ments in the face of stubborn facts, which show that in-
stead of dying out within the last decade, the Negro has
almost doubled his numbers in this country. Mr. Thomas
charges that the material accumulation of individual
Negroes furnish no criterion of the material progress of the
race, etc. Now if the material accumulations of individual
Negroes furnish no criterion of the material progress of
the race, what does? By what process then can we
measure the white race? Every individual member of a
family is a part of that family, and all the parts make up
a whole. Divest a thing of its parts, and you have de-
stroyed the entire object; bring those parts together, and
you have the consummate whole. This is clear mathe-
matical reasoning. It must be concluded, therefore, that
the wealth of a country is computed upon the basis of the
individual citizens inhabiting their country; so we must
measure the progress of the Negro race by the progress the
individual members of this race have made. If there were
no Negroes in the country, there would be no Negro race,
but since there are individual Negroes in the country,
these individual Negroes considered together form a race.
But we need not further argue this point to contradict the
statement of the author. Like all the charges alleged
against us by this accuser, it is libellous and void of
reasonable foundation.
But why further pursue this declaimer of foul declara-
tions? Can we expect more from one whose own record
savors with such impurities as does his? Had William
Hannibal Thomas been a wise, discreet man, he would
have held his peace and remained in obscurity, at least
until he had fairly redeemed himself from the foul crimes
which besmirch his own personal character. But we are
told that “ murder will out ” ; the criminal cannot conceal
his guilt.
That the American people may know this Judas Iscariot
of the Negro race, the man who enters the twentieth
century with lying firebrands to destroy an innocent,
struggling people, we now turn on the search-light which
reveals the Col. William Hannibal Thomas, the author of
the “ American Negro,” the book of infamous villiany.
The following correspondence in the ‘‘Colored American ”
of Washington, D. C., April 13, 1901, will explain itself :
Western Theological Seminary, Alleghany, Pa.,
April 12, 1901.
Dear Sir .:—W. H. Thomas was a student in this
seminary between the years 1865 and 1868, and in the
latter year was dismissed because of criminal intercourse
with the woman he subsequently married. He first denied
the charges, but later confessed their truth, and was sent
out. I have just written out a transcript from the faculty
minutes for a lawyer in New Bedford, Mass., and mailed
them to him. Yours sincerely,
T. H. ROBINSON, President of Faculty.
Columbia, S. C., March i, 1901.
Dear Sir:—Referring to your letter of 21st ult., in
regard to Mr. W. H. Thomas, I hand you enclosed a letter
from Mr. E. W. Screven, who, at my request, has looked
up Mr. Thomas’ record. Hoping that the enclosed letter
will furnish you the desired information, I am,
Very truly yours,
(Signed) E. A. WEBSTER.
P. S. You are at liberty to make any use of this letter
you think proper.
Note. Webster is collector of the Port at Columbia,
S. C.
Columbia, S. C., March 1, 1901.
Dear Sir :—With reference to the career of Mr. W. H.
Thomas in South Carolina in the period of 1876, I would
say he was elected a member of the State Legislature in the
fall of 1876, and took his seat in that bod)' when it con-
vened at the Capitol on November 29 of that year.
Owing to political complications at that time there were
two rival organizations claiming to be the legal House of
Representatives, and Mr. Thomas gave allegiance to the
Mackey House, which was, shortly after its organization,
adjudged not to be the legal body by the Supreme Court
of the State, and after sitting just twenty-three days ad-
journed sine die. It never re-assembled.
I find by the reports of the proceedings of this body
that Mr. William H. Thomas was chairman of the com-
mittee on privileges and elections, and that during the
twenty-three days three reports were made by this com-
mittee. I find also that Mr. Thomas made one report to
the House on behalf of the Judiciary Committee, and
upon inquiry I learned that he was chairman of that
committee. All this information I got from the files of
the News and Courier whose reporter was present daily
and gave very full accounts of these proceedings. I can
find no journal of the House in the State library giving
any account of these proceedings of the Mackey House
and it is reasonable to assume that the legality of that
body never having been recognized, no record of its pro-
ceedings would be preserved by the State.
While in Newberry County a few days ago, at the
County seat, I took occasion to make inquiry as to the re-
cord of Mr. Thomas 'while a citizen of Newberry, and I
find that he was a trial justice in 1876. I also find that
Mr. William H. Thomas was indicted on May 9, 1877, for
“corruptly and fradulently ” seizing and selling property.
Mr. Thomas was bound over to appear at the general ses-
sions court, and bonded in the sum of $500, his bondsmen
being Elijah Phillips, Burrell M. Raines, Henry Kennedy
• and William H. Snead. When the Court convened Mr.
Thomas failed to appear, and these bondsmen were cited
by order of the court on the 17th of June, 1878, to make
payment of the bond, which they did.
A sealed sentence is now on file, Roll 1306, in the clerk’s
office at Newberry against Mr. William H. Thomas in
this case.
The case against Thomas was brought by a colored
man, J. H. Blease, who in the examination swears that a
bale of cotton valued at $42 was taken from him, and that
he has never seen the cotton from that day to this.
I saw Elijah Phillips, an honest and respected colored
blacksmith, doing business in the town of Newberry, and
he assures me that he and his associates on the bond of
Thomas paid the bond, and that they have never been
able to get any payment or reimbursement of any kind
from Thomas.
I saw Mr. R. E. Williams, a highly respected colored
citizen and former merchant of Newberry, who informs
me that he had endorsed for Mr. Thomas rent in the sum
of $84 which he had to pay, and that he has never re-
ceived any reimbursement from Thomas, although he has
many times requested payment of the debt.

I called Mr. Williams’ attention to the sweeping charges

made by Mr. Thomas against the virtue and morality of
the women of his race, and asked Mr. Williams how he
accounted for Mr. Thomas’ impression. He said that
Thomas was himself a lecherous character, and doubtless
drew his impressions from his personal and immediate
surroundings, which were horrible (Turing his residence in
Newberry. I found that Mr. Williams’ opinion was con-
curred in by all from whom I asked information.
Newberry, S. C., April i, 1901.
Dear Sir:—Your favor of 29th ult. received; will
send copy of record in the case of State vs. William Han-
nibal Thomas for $500. Your information as to the case
is correct. Respectfully,
New Bedford, Mass., April 5, 1901.
Friend Bruce:—Many thanks for documents you sent
and which I return herewith ; have got certified copy of
criminal court record complete in case of State vs. W. H.
Thomas. Have received from Dr. T. H. Robinson, presi-
dent of faculty of Western Theological Seminary, copy of
vote recorded in minutes April 17, 1868, showing Thomas
was expelled on forced confession, after strenuous denial,
of immoral conduct with a woman he afterward married,
and by whom he had a child in less than seven months.
It seems Thomas himself had informed shortly before on
another colored student and caused his expulsion, so the
faculty felt his own case peculiarly aggravated. The
same sneaking reptile then as now. Somehow they have
confounded William Henry Thomas, a MAN and min-
ister, with this libertine and criminal. That error they
must correct, and I know they will gladly do so.
With sincere regard,
Attorney and Counsellor at Law.

What the scriptures say to the critic :—“Therefore, thou

art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest;
for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself,
for thou that judgest doest the same things. . . Thou,
therefore, which teacheth another, teachest thou not thy
self? Thou that preachest a man should not steal; dost
thou steal. Thou that sayest a man should not commit
adultery, dost thou commit adultery ? Thou that abhorrest
idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?— Romans xi: i, 21-22.
No more need be said concerning “ Thomas ” ; his un-
enviable record speaks for itself, and if there is anything
in it of which he is particularly proud, he’s welcome to it
all. These disclosures will explain more fully than any
words of ours who this man is who has presumed to set
himself up as a critic and censor of the morals of the
Negro race. Discriminating people of whatever race will
be slow to attach much, if any, importance to the learned
deliverances of this “second Daniel come to judgment” to
be found in the autobiography of W. Hannibal Thomas.
His extreme modesty possibly prevented him from giving
his book its correct title. JOHN EDWARD BRUCE,
97 Orange Street, Albany, N. Y.

Poor, poor, William Hannibal Thomas. Thou art done

for! The people of the white race, whom thou sought to
please and cajole, will not have high regard for a writer
who has withdrawn himself from his own race, and has
gone outside of it to empha-size its weak points before an
audience of another color, even were the personal records
of that writer clean and spotless. But since thou are a
moral leopard, a traitor like Arnold, a betrayer worse
than Judas, it would have been better for thee hadst thou
never been born. Thou hast betrayed the innocent, —
give up the blood money, and go off and hang thyself:
die and be forgotten. For as a race the Negro shall not
become discouraged, nor cease its onward march with the
world’s progress of the twentieth century, for he has
learned- to labor and to wait. In God we trust.