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The Colorado statesman. [volume] (Denver, Colo.) 1895-1961, December 16, 1916, Image 1

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How The War
Brings Oppor
tunities to the
Negro Race
■OBODY thought of predicting
that war in Europe would ex
tend itself into the Negro prob-
lem of the United States. But the war
cut off the supply of foreign imigrant
labor. Now labor agents are repre
senting that Northern industries can
ÜBe 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 colored la
borers the coming year, and evidences
of a large migration have already ac
cumulated. It was reported to a re
cent Negro conference in Washington
that more than 500,000 Negroes had
come North in the last six months.
Savannali alone is said to have lost
3,000 colored males ranging from 16 to
60 years of age. In an effort to stop
the exodus, Montgomery, Ala., authori
ties passed an ordinance providing
fines and imprisonment of anybody
convicted of enticing, persuading or
influencing any laborer to leave that
city for employment at any other
place. Various Southern papers advo
cate legislation against "unscrupulous”
labor agents, and call for measures to
prevent migration. With some excep
tions the Southern press advises the
Negro that in the long run he is better
off in the South than anywhere else,
and fears the loss of colored labor as
a very serious disturbance of indus
trial conditions.
The Macon, Ga„ Telegraph criticizes
petty police persecution of Negroes as
a contributing cause of the local exo
dus which it calls the most pressing
thing before the state today.
“We must have the Negro in the
South. The black man is fitted by na
ture, by centuries of living in it, to
work contentedly, effectively and
healthily during the long summers of
semi-tropical and tropical countries.
He has been with us so long that our
whole industrial, commercial and agri
cultural structure has been built on a
black foundation. It is the only labor
we have, it is the best we possibly
could have —if we lose it, we go bank
rupt! ”
A considerable redistribution of the
Negro race throughout the states is an
unexpected phenomenon of far-reach
ing importance. This new form of the
Negro issue is widely discussed. The
Negro’s migration will not only be his
"second emancipation,” according to
the Chicago Herald, but “it may be the
prelude to a new emancipation for the
“The feeling of race antagonism in
the South will inevitably be relieved.
Furthermore, the Southern states will
necessarily progress along mechan
ical and industrial lines. The fact
that labor in the South has been cheap
has retarded both the Negro and the
whites. Labor-saving machinery has
not been installed as rapidly as in
other sections where human effort
meant the expenditure of more dol
lars. The wage competition with the
North, now feared, will have whole
some results. The process of dividing
large farms and of attracting immi
grant settlers is likely to be enhanced.
Altogether a new civilization may be
The gist of much Northern comment
is expressed by the Dayton, 0., News,
which admits that there is a good deal
to be said on both sides of the ques
tion as to whether it is better for the
colored man to leave the South. “But
the only thing the South can consist
ently do to meet the competition of
the North in the matter of induce
ments to the Negro is to pay as good
wages and to furnish as good working
conditions as the Northern employer.”
The dominant note in Negro com
ment on the significance of the exodus
is emphasis upon the big opportunity
that has been opened to the colored
race. But bitterness is not absent. A
New York Age editorial reads:
“We have pointed out that the Ne
gro does not remain where he is un
justly and brutally treated because he
is indifferent to that treatment. He
COMPANY will be open
every evening next week
until 10 o’clock for the ac
commodation of its patrons
and the advantage afford
ed Xmas shoppers. See
ad. elsewhere in this paper.
remains there because economic ne
cessity compels him to do so. And
whenever economic opportunities open
for him elsewhere he will leave.
“These opportunities are now open
ing for him in the North, and it will
take something more than ‘exodus
laws’ to keep him from leaving the
South. It will take a willingness on
the part of the Southern white people
to accord the Negro better treatment;
and that means better wages, better
schools, better police protection, less
police persecution, less brutal and un
necessary discrimination, and a stamp
ing out of lynching. In a word, it
means the treatment of the Negro as
a fellow human being and an Amer
ican citizen.”
The letter of a Florida colored man
to the Montgomery, Ala., Advertiser
contains these paragraphs:
“Why should the South raise such
objections to the jobless man seeking
the manless job, especially when it has
held that jobless man up to the ridi
cule of the world as trifling, shiftless
and such a burden to the South?
"Now that the opportunity has come
to the Negro to relieve the South of
some of its burden, and at the same
time advance his own interest, a great
hue and cry is started that it must not
be allowed, an I the usual and foolish
- TrisL jou vvis-r,
■ mVJrr — -v —< — .Vi— '■''
method of repressive legislation is
brought into play.
"The Macon Telegraph says of the
Negro exodus: ‘lf we lose it, we go
bankrupt.’ Yet it is the same paper
that only a few months ago was ad
vocating the sending of 100,000 Ne
groes into Mexico to conquer the ‘mon
grel breed,’ and at the same time rid
the South of that many worthless Ne
groes. How different the song now.
“The world war is bringing many
changes and a chance for the Negro
to enter broader fields. With the
‘tempting bait' of higher wages, short
er hours, better schools and better
treatment, all the preachments of the
so-called ‘race-leaders’ will fall on deaf
The most comprehensive expression
of hope for the Negro raised by the
direct and indirect effects of the war
appears in an article by Wilson Jef
ferson contributed to the N. Y. Even
ing Post. While the war lasts and in
the following years of necessary re
construction work in Europe, foreign
workers will be kept over there. Con
sequently our source of unskilled la
bor supply must be the over-plentiful
Negro labor of the South, according to
Mr. Jefferson. The Southern wage
has been low because colored labor
was so plentiful. The migration will
react on Southern conditions.
“In the South the poorer whites will
be forced to do some of the harder
tasks of the shop and field, and will
be forced to do what they have never
hitherto done: fit themselves for
house work and other work calling for
more or less personal service. And it
will all work to the Negroes gain. The
employer will not be able to get along
without the help of both, and the
white worker will not be willing to
work for the Negro wage.
"Some of the trades in the South
offer an example of white and Negro
co-operation. In them Negro and white
unions affiliate for their mutual pro
tection. As a consequence, in the
building trades, for example, the wage
compares favorably with the scale in
other parts of the country. Among
unskilled workers there will be unions
and affiliations of a similar nature,
and a much higher wage scale will
prevail as a result.”
Nothing has hampered the Negro as
a race more than the inability of its
great body of workers to make a de
cent living, Mr. Jefferson insists. He
believes that most people do not real
ize how indifferent the average South
ern employer has been to the needs of
his workmen. “The laws give these
men absolutely no protection. The
bulk of them are as capable and live
as clean lives as do a corresponding
class among any people. They are as
ambitious. Given a fair chance they
will no doubt prove more efficient as
all-around workers than any class of
foreigners we might import.’ While
the white South has been willing to
feed and praise the Negroes, “as ser
vants,” says Mr. Jefferson, it has
never been willing to pay them very
much in wages.
“The one and two-room hut has
grown out of this state of affairs. If,
as it often happened, the black man
rebelled, he was always taunted with
the more or less truthful assertion
that the North and West did not want
him an«l his ‘ways.’ What was not
told him was that the black man’s
'ways’ were largely a result of the
white man’s ways. But more and more
he is finding this out for himself. He
is rapidly learning that S4O a month
and regular habits are infinitely bet
ter than sls or S2O a month and irreg
ular habits. In short he is learning
to be willing to cast off the loose
methods of the South for ‘Yankee’
wayß because of the difference it
makes in his pay-roll and In his condi
tion of living.
“To get a glimpse of the possibili
ties wrapped up in Negro labor one
has only to Investigate the more pro
gressive of the manufacturing cities
of the South. Birmingham, Ala., de
pends most wholly upon the Negro for
its unskilled and semi-skilled labor.
Nashville, Atlanta, Memphis and Jack
sonville do likewise. But in all of
these towns, save in some instances
in Birmingham, wages are too low,
housing conditions are poor, and the
advantages for recreation and pleas
ure exceedingly limited.”
Furthermore Mr. Jefferson argues
that American employers can trust
Negro employes.
“The Negro represents the sanest,
safest group—too safe, we some
times —in this country, and he has
proved it on more than one occasion.
He can be trusted. Many of the em
ployer class have had their eyes
opened with respect to much of our
foreigi>born labor. A great deal of it
is much too keen (to use our Ameri
can expression) for ordinary, every
day uses. Even with less effective re
sults to begin with, the Negro in the
end would prove more tractable, and,
what is more important, more genu
inely interested in the advancement
and prosperity of his employer.”
Unforeseen, the way is opening for
the Negro to win a better place and
hold it on industrial and economic
grounds in this country. In Europe,
too, the war has brought the blacks
of the Britisluand French colonies to
the front, not merely as fighters but
“apt and tractable” industrial workers.
From the shaking up of race relations
the world over, Negroes, Mr. Jefferson
thinks, may reasonably expect an open
and avowed policy of help and uplift
long waited for. —Current Opinion.
CLAUS STORE. will be
open Thursday. Friday and
Saturday evenings of next
week until 10 o’clock for the
benefit of their customers
and others of the public.
Shop early and secure your
Xmas goods in time. See
ad. elsewhere in this paper.
New York, Dec. 4.—A few
earnest Negro-music students
have studied the man—so broad,
genial and human—carefully and
thoroughly. Some Negroes have
real musical accomplishments.
Harry T. Burleigh, a pupil of
Dvorak, is baritone soloist at St.
George’s church, New York city,
sings in the choir of the Jewish
temple, Forty-fourth street and
Fifth avenue, and is musical edi
tor at Ricordi’s. Mr. Burleigh’s
songs are published by Ricordi
Co., G. Schirmer, the leading
pnblisher of America, and Presser
of Philadelphia.
Grand Rapids, Mich.,—Miss
Mary Bagby, who claims to have
several times made a circuit of
the globe, and to be the only Col
ored nurse to have done, so was
married recently. She is a na
tive of Alabama and her spouse,
acknowledges sixty-one years,
also hails from the “Sunny-
South.” All the countries now
at war are well known to Mrs.
The colored waiters lost out in
San Francisco restaurants, just
as we predicted they would says
the Portland, Ore., Advocate,
when the bosses and the striking
white waiters patched up the
differences. For that prediction
we were criticised severely by
some of those who threw up po
sitions at the risk of losing the
old standby, the Portland hotel.
Jackson, Tenn.,—A mob of one
hundred or more white people
gathered, bent on lynching Wal
ter Elkins, who had struck a
white fellow workman on the
head with an iron bar. Both
men are employed at the Illinois
Central shops. Spurred on by
their wives a number of mem
bers of the race armed themselves
with Winchesters and revolvers,
buckled their belts around their
waists and went to the home of
Elkins, where they guarded him
thru the night. The mob started
towards the home but when told
a hot reception was awaiting
them turned back.
James Reese Europe and or
chestra entertained the prisoners
at Sing Sing on Saturday, De
cember 2. It was the first enter
tainment ever given in the pris
on chapel to the prisoners by Ne
gro performers, and Warden
Derrick is reported as saying that
it was one of the best. All who
took part served without compen
sation, and the company was
composed of the following sing
ers and instrumentalists: Mr.
and Mrs. Clarencs Jackson, Mme.
Lulu Robinson Jones, Miss Leah
Kate Walker, Scott Burdette,
Joe Meyers, Joseph Lymas, Wm.
H. Hicks, Noble L. Sissle, Eubie
Blake, Wilbur White, George
Jones, Jr., Buddy Gilmore, Opal
Cooper and Mr. Europe.
Savannah, Ga., Dec. 12. —
About 350 men affiliated with the
International Longshormen’s as
soiation, quit work today when
their demands for higher wages
were refused. The men have re
ceived from 16J to 18 cents an
hour and 22 cents for overtime.
They demand 20 cents and 25
cents for overtime.
Chicago, 111. —Because the Na
tional Defense Act, which be-
KV /
co u/rrpiY
NO 18.
came a law July 1, 1916, prohi
bits the wearing of uniforms sim
ilar to the United States army
uniforms by any person not in
the army, it has been necessary
for General Robt. R. Jackson,
commanding the Uniform Rank,
Knights of Pythias, to issue or
ders to companies of the Uniform
Rank, Calanthe Drill Corps, Ca
det Companies and bands speci
fying changes necessary to be
made in the Pythian uniform so
that it will not conflict with this
new law.
The wearing of knaki and olive
drab uniforms is prohibited, and
the insignias of rank must be re
moved from the officer’s uni
forms. New insignias will have
to be designed. The dress uni
forms and white uniforms will
remain the same, omitting insig
nia of rank, and there will be no
change in the caps, hemlets,
belts, swords and sabers.
Elizabeth, N. C. —If the man
who assaulted and robbed Mrs.
Frank G. Congleton, a white wo
man of this town, of $702 on
Saturday night, November 25,
had been more careful in putting
on his disguise, it is quite pro
bable that the Negroes here
would have received rough treat
from the white people. She was
robbed by a man with a black
face but white hands.
Mrs. Congleton and husband
did not believe in banks and
their savings were carried by the
woman in a wallet concealed in
her bosom. As she was enroute
home about 8:30 that night the
highwayman met her and thrust
a pistol in her face, demanding
her money. From a pocket in
her blouse he secured $7, but ev
idently having some knowledge
of the hiding place of her savings
he knocked her down, chocked
her and tore from the inside of
her bodice and wallet with $695.
Mrs. Congleton didn’t recog
nize him, but she declared to the
authorities that while the man’s
face was black his hands were
the hands of a white man.
The police put dogs on the man’s
trail and he was tracked to the
Norfolk Southern depot, where
the trail was lost.
Columbus, N. Mexico. —Lieu-
tenat-Colonel Chas. Young has
been assigned to the 10th Caval
ry. This is the first record of a
member of the Race a Liet. Col
onel being assigned to a line or

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