The Crux Of The Negro Question -- By: Henry A. Stimson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 059:236 (Oct 1902)
Article: The Crux Of The Negro Question
Author: Henry A. Stimson


The Crux Of The Negro Question

Rev. Henry A. Stimson

The ultimate solution of the negro question unquestionably lies in the movement for general education which appears now to be so widely felt in the South. A larger intelligence will help to a better understanding, as well as furnish the means by which the race level will be raised. It was in this conviction that Northern philanthropists, more than half a century ago, began to give money liberally to plant educational institutions for the colored people in the South, and in the same conviction others founded and endowed similar institutions for the whites. The enterprise undertaken by Mr. Robert C. Ogden, which has drawn forth the splendid gift of Mr. Rockefeller, has already given an impulse to the movement which gives promise of greatly quickening its development and of securing for it much-needed recognition both at the South and the North. The foundations may now be regarded as thoroughly laid, and steady progress may be anticipated. Every dollar expended for the higher education of the negro has justified itself in proving the possibilities of the race and supplying both the inspiration and the teachers for the mass.

Meanwhile a modus vivendi between the races that shall remove unnecessary obstacles and conserve all progress is greatly required. Inasmuch as economic conditions are primary in all human society, the crux of the negro question, for the time being, lies in them. As there are conditions in which the sound body is essential to the sound

mind; so it is true, that while, in their last analysis, socia questions must be carried back to their ethical and religious relations, and these may be held as ultimate, nevertheless, for the time being, the economic question may be all-important, and alone furnish the conditions under which the others can be reached and accorded their free action.

Unique as is the situation in the United States, it is not so exceptional as to close the door to lessons which are to be learned from the experience of other lands. The social question, regardless of questions of color, has always been a bar to the adjustment of difficulties between labor and capital. In England, a half-century ago, when Mr. J. P. Mundella, the well-known member of Parliament, was seeking to establish Boards of Conciliation between employers and laborers, he encountered the same difficulty which is occasioning us so much trouble in America. Employers refused to meet delegates from their workmen and to sit in council with them, lest it would lead to the demand for a social intercourse which they were not willing to yield. If they were to sit at a council-table with their men, they thought they would be expected eventually...

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