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The Negro Problem

The Negro Problem

4.5 2
by Booker T. Washington

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I Industrial Education for the Negro
_Booker T. Washington_ 7

II The Talented Tenth
_W.E. Burghardt DuBois_ 31

III The Disfranchisement of the Negro
_ Charles W. Chesnutt_ 77

IV The Negro and the Law
_Wilford H. Smith_



I Industrial Education for the Negro
_Booker T. Washington_ 7

II The Talented Tenth
_W.E. Burghardt DuBois_ 31

III The Disfranchisement of the Negro
_ Charles W. Chesnutt_ 77

IV The Negro and the Law
_Wilford H. Smith_ 125

V The Characteristics of the Negro People
_H.T. Kealing_ 161

VI Representative American Negroes
_Paul Laurence Dunbar_ 187

VII The Negro's Place in American Life at the Present Day
_T. Thomas Fortune_ 211

_Industrial Education for the Negro_


Principal of Tuskegee Institute

The necessity for the race's learning the difference between being
worked and working. He would not confine the Negro to industrial life,
but believes that the very best service which any one can render to what
is called the "higher education" is to teach the present generation to
work and save. This will create the wealth from which alone can come
leisure and the opportunity for higher education.

One of the most fundamental and far-reaching deeds that has been
accomplished during the last quarter of a century has been that by which
the Negro has been helped to find himself and to learn the secrets of
civilization--to learn that there are a few simple, cardinal principles
upon which a race must start its upward course, unless it would fail, and
its last estate be worse than its first.

It has been necessary for the Negro to learn the difference between being
worked and working--to learn that being worked meant degradation, while
working means civilization; that all forms of labor are honorable, and all
forms of idleness disgraceful. It has been necessary for him to learn that
all races that have got upon their feet have done so largely by laying an
economic foundation, and, in general, by beginning in a proper cultivation
and ownership of the soil.

Forty years ago my race emerged from slavery into freedom. If, in too many
cases, the Negro race began development at the wrong end, it was largely
because neither white nor black properly understood the case. Nor is it
any wonder that this was so, for never before in the history of the world
had just such a problem been presented as that of the two races at the
coming of freedom in this country.

For two hundred and fifty years, I believe the way for the redemption of
the Negro was being prepared through industrial development. Through all
those years the Southern white man did business with the Negro in a way
that no one else has done business with him. In most cases if a Southern
white man wanted a house built he consulted a Negro mechanic about the
plan and about the actual building of the structure. If he wanted a suit
of clothes made he went to a Negro tailor, and for shoes he went to a
shoemaker of the same race. In a certain way every slave plantation in the
South was an industrial school. On these plantations young colored men and
women were constantly being trained not only as farmers but as carpenters,
blacksmiths, wheelwrights, brick masons, engineers, cooks, laundresses,
sewing women and housekeepers.

I do not mean in any way to apologize for the curse of slavery, which was
a curse to both races, but in what I say about industrial training in
slavery I am simply stating facts. This training was crude, and was given
for selfish purposes. It did not answer the highest ends, because there
was an absence of mental training in connection with the training of the
hand. To a large degree, though, this business contact with the Southern
white man, and the industrial training on the plantations, left the Negro
at the close of the war in possession of nearly all the common and skilled
labor in the South. The industries that gave the South its power,
prominence and wealth prior to the Civil War were mainly the raising of
cotton, sugar cane, rice and tobacco. Before the way could be prepared for
the proper growing and marketing of these crops forests had to be cleared,
houses to be built, public roads and railroads constructed. In all these
works the Negro did most of the heavy work. In the planting, cultivating
and marketing of the crops not only was the Negro the chief dependence,
but in the manufacture of tobacco he became a skilled and proficient
workman, and in this, up to the present time, in the South, holds the lead
in the large tobacco manufactories.

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The Negro Problem (An African American Heritage Book) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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