Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 64.djvu/260
256 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
tion to do the heavy farm work ; but closer examination will generally reveal the fact that an unduly large proportion of these negroes reside in the towns, while the white man still works the one-hundred-acre farm of his fathers. For instance, 32.3 per cent, of the population of the county of Spartanburg, S. C, is put down as negro; but the county seat alone, with a population of 11,395, contains 20 per cent, of the negroes of the entire county, and only 16 per cent, of the whites, and one may ride for hours through many of the townships and see scarcely a black face. And all this is true despite the fact, let it be noted, that during the last twenty years tens of thousands of whites and not one black have been drawn into the towns to man the twenty- eight cotton mills of the county, having an aggregate capital of ten millions of dollars. What negroes there are have largely come from the two counties on the south, which as early as 1850 had a majority of negro population.
It will be observed that only four counties of large negro population are also largely productive, of which one lies in the Flint river bottom in Georgia, being one of about two dozen spots of exceptional richness strewn midway across the state from the Savannah to the Chattahoo- chee; and three are in the Tensas bottom bordering the Mississippi in Louisiana; and the productiveness of these, it will be noticed, is exceeded by that of counties of large white population similarly situ- ated, as, e. g., Lafourche and Tangipahoa, La.
In conclusion, we may say that a careful study of the tables re- veals the facts, first, that the white tenant working for himself usually makes more than the negro tenant working for himself; and second, that in localities in which the large majority of the labor hired by white farmers is black, the production by white owners is generally less than that of white tenants doing their own work and tends to ap- proximate the production by black farmers. That is to say, white o-\vnership farming barely suffices to raise black labor to the level of the efficiency of white tenants.
I am concerned with the negro only in his bearing upon the present condition of southern agriculture, and do not intend the dark pictures I have drawn of his shortcomings as 'views' upon the race question. The best element of our colored people merit sincere praise for their progress; but it can not be denied that the great mass of the negro population, in its present condition, is a fearful incubus upon the industry of the south. To contend that the negro fills such a large part of our economy is not to prove his efficiency or his necessity; for ours is the only great country of the world that is not without his aid. The immediate need of the industry of the south regarding him, what- ever his final destiny, is to strengthen his character and raise his in- telligence to a point adequate to the proper performance of his eco- nomic functions.