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86      THE CRISIS

at large, what there is in you and what you can do. After you have proved that, the battle will be half won."


The mayor was followed by the rabbi in whose synagogue the meeting was held. He was frequently interrupted by applause and an ovation was given him at the close of his speech.

Dr. Krauskopf spoke at some length of the persecution to which Jew had been subjected.

"You have met in other cities," he said. "You have gathered in other halls, but I doubt whether your welcome in any hall could have been as profound as it is here

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[[caption]] Photo by Gutekunst. 

within this temple dedicated to the worship of the One God by the people of Israel. There is no people who can feel as deeply the purpose which has moved you to organize this body as can the Jew. There is no people who can understand its motives as well as we can understand them; and there is no people who can sympathize as deeply with you as we can. There is not a problem of yours that has not been our problem, and that is not in parts of the world our problem to-day. There is no wrong that you have suffered and that you suffer to-day that we have not suffered and that we do not suffer to-day. There is not a restriction or oppression which you know which we do not know and have not known for centuries–for two thousand years and more, while yours are but two centuries and a half. We know the story by heart; we have good reason to know it; we are given little opportunity to forget it."


Mr. Henry W. Wilbur, of the Society of Friends, made the last speech of the evening.

Mr. Wilbur had recently returned from the South and spoke with deep feeling regarding
the difficulties confronting the Negro farmer and agricultural laborer.

"The place for any growing race," he said, "for any race which is in the process of getting its bearings, is the soil. But you will never keep the Southern colored man on the soil because the Southern or the Northern white man wants him there. You will only keep him on the soil when he believes that it is to his economic advantage to stay there; and at the present time it is not in the main to his economic advantage to stay there, for he is crippled from the time he begins until he ends. He has not an economic chance on the soil in the South to-day; and yet without him the South would agriculturally become a desert place.

"Now, what are we going to do about it? I have given some serious consideration to this problem. There are certain facts in relation to it which even professional agriculturists do not understand. In the first place. you must remember that the only available cheap agricultural land in this country to-day is in the South. The cheap lands of the Middle West have risen in value, have already been overcrowded, and are not in the market for the homesteader or the man of limited means. But there are thousands and thousands of acres of land in the South that are available at prices from $1 to $20 an acre, and these lands should be bought up at once in blocks by responsible, interested, sympathetic men and held, to be sold at cost on reasonable terms to Southern colored agriculturists. That is the proposition before the earnest business man with philanthropic tendencies to-day.

"I have said to you that the present time is not a prosperous one for the Negro in regard to land. That is true touching the masses. It is not true touching the educated colored man of the South. In spite of the drain of paying from 15 to 20 per cent. interest on borrowed money, in spite of the danger of the jail staring him in the face if he fails to meet his payments, in spite of all that, in every community of the South

THE N.A.A.C.P.     87

where I was there are colored men who have paid for their farms, paying these enormous rates of interest. and in spite of all the world, making good."


So the conference began and it continued to be interesting and instructive to the end. The second day was devoted to a discussion of the struggle for land and property and a discussion opened by Mr. Wilbur the previous evening and to the problem of work and wages.

The afternoon meeting was held in the Central Congregational Church, the Rev. Sydney Herbert Cox, minister of the church, presiding. President John Hope, of Atlantis Baptist College, gave an able talk. He showed how severe is the struggle to acquire land and how it demands overmuch from the family and cripples the children. He quoted cases in which children were taken early from school and deprived of an education in order that they might assist their fathers to obtain small, sometimes pathetically poor, farms. While the struggle for land continues to be so severe he felt the exodus of the Negro to the city unavoidable. 

Mr. John Mitchell, Jr., president of the Mechanics’ Bank of Richmond, described conditions of struggle and success that his important business position brought daily to his notice.

Mr. W. Ashbie Hawkins spoke upon segregation in Baltimore.

In the evening the Race Street Friends’ Meeting House was open to the conference, Bishop James S. Caldwell presiding. Professor Spingarn welcomed the gathering. Dr. Du Bois, who, owing a lecture to the Far West, was only able to be present for a few minutes at the opening meeting, had prepared a study by charts of the wages paid to colored people in various occupations. The charts were clearly and interestingly explained by Miss Jessie Fauset.

Dr. Mossell described his difficulty as a medical student in the University of Pennsylvania and the discrimination he found when he attempted to do hospital work. To quote his own words:

"Thirteen years after I graduated I decided to organize the Douglass Hospital that young colored women who desired to become nurses might have an opportunity for education, that young colored physicians might have hospital advantages, and that the worthy poor might go to an institution where they would feel that they were getting care and attention and were not segregated. Accordingly we organized an institution, the only one of its kind in the city, where there is no discrimination, where the staff is made up of both races, and where everyone has an equal opportunity."

Mrs. A. W. Hunton described the hopeless struggle that the colored girl or colored woman makes who tries to enter any of the channels of industry where women work in groups. Unable to enter factory or shop, forced, sometimes against her native ability, into the one pursuit open to her - domestic service - she becomes discontented and disheartened. Much of the immorality among young colored girls can be directly traced to their restricted economic opportunity.

Mrs. Hunton also described the successful professional woman. She told of the able colored women stenographers, busy that week in Philadelphia in the Y. W. C. A. campaign, whose work bore favorable comparisons with that of the white stenographers. Her beautiful presence and earnest manner, together with her able presentation of facts, marked her speech as an important event of the conference.

The meeting closed with a criticism of the white South by a son of the South and an old-time friend of the Northern radical, Mr. Joseph Manning, of Alabama.


Three prominent white Southerners took part in the conference: Dr. James H. Dillard, Dr. Howard Odum and Mrs. L. H. Hammond.

Dr. Dillard needed no introduction to his audience. His able service as administrator of the Jeanes Fund has made him well known to all those interested in the colored people's advancement. He spoke on rural conditions in the South, laying special stress on the unjust system of assessment by which the poor man with his small holding is taxed sometimes three times as much for the same amount of property as is the rich man with his large holding. He believed the land question to be the heart of the economic question and felt that the South must break up its large holdings and secure to the man who tills the soil the right to own the soil which he tills. Indeed, Dr. Dillard gave an able argument for the single tax.
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