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Black and White Land, Labor, and Politics in the South   By: (1856-1928)

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In discussing the political and industrial problems of the South, I base my conclusions upon a personal knowledge of the condition of classes in the South, as well as upon the ample data furnished by writers who have pursued, in their way, the question before me. That the colored people of the country will yet achieve an honorable status in the national industries of thought and activity, I believe, and try to make plain.

In discussion of the land and labor problem I but pursue the theories advocated by more able and experienced men, in the attempt to show that the laboring classes of any country pay all the taxes, in the last analysis, and that they are systematically victimized by legislators, corporations and syndicates.

Wealth, unduly centralized, endangers the efficient workings of the machinery of government. Land monopoly in the hands of individuals, corporations or syndicates is at bottom the prime cause of the inequalities which obtain; which desolate fertile acres turned over to vast ranches and into bonanza farms of a thousand acres, where not one family finds a habitation, where muscle and brain are supplanted by machinery, and the small farmer is swallowed up and turned into a tenant or slave. While in large cities thousands upon thousands of human beings are crowded into narrow quarters where vice festers, where crime flourishes undeterred, and where death is the most welcome of all visitors.

The primal purpose in publishing this work is to show that the social problems in the South are, in the main, the same as those which afflict every civilized country on the globe; and that the future conflict in that section will not be racial or political in character, but between capital on the one hand and labor on the other, with the odds largely in favor of nonproductive wealth because of the undue advantage given the latter by the pernicious monopoly in land which limits production and forces population disastrously upon subsistence. My purpose is to show that poverty and misfortune make no invidious distinctions of "race, color, or previous condition," but that wealth unduly centralized oppresses all alike; therefore, that the labor elements of the whole United States should sympathize with the same elements in the South, and in some favorable contingency effect some unity of organization and action, which shall subserve the common interest of the common class.

T. THOMAS FORTUNE. New York City, July 20, 1884.


I Black 1 II White 6 III The Negro and the Nation 13 IV The Triumph of the Vanquished 19 V Illiteracy Its Causes 28 VI Education Professional or Industrial 38 VII How Not to Do It 55 VIII The Nation Surrenders 62 IX Political Independence of the Negro 67 X Solution of the Political Problem 79 XI Land and Labor 89 XII Civilization Degrades the Masses 96 XIII Conditions of Labor in the South 107 XIV Classes in the South 120 XV The Land Problem 133 XVI Conclusion 145 Appendix 151

On a summer day, when the great heat induced a general thirst, a Lion and a Boar came at the same moment to a small well to drink. They fiercely disputed which of them should drink first, and were soon engaged in the agonies of a mortal combat. On their suddenly stopping to take breath for the fiercer renewal of the strife, they saw some vultures in the distance, waiting to feast on the one which should fall... Continue reading book >>

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