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Stone Collection: Volume 16 - Item 15
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Alfred H. Stone Collection
Volume: 16

15. W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, The Conservation of Races, Occasional Papers, no. 2 (Washington, DC: American Negro Academy, 1897). (16 p.)

Unapologetic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of African Americans. The author does not mince words. “Unless we conquer our present vices they will conquer us; we are diseased, we are developing criminal tendencies, and an alarming large percentage of our men and women are sexually impure” (emphasis in original). Mr. Stone has marked this passage as well as many others throughout the pamphlet, including these with special emphasis. “If this [the observation that people naturally separate into different races] is true, then the history of the world is the history, not of individuals, but of groups, not of nations, but of races, and he who ignores or seeks to override the race idea in human history ignores and overrides the central thought of all history.” Also, “If we carefully consider what race prejudice really is, we find it, historically, to be nothing but the friction between different groups of people; it is the difference in aim, in felling, in ideals of two different races; if, now, this difference exists touching territory, laws, language, or even religion, it is manifest that these people cannot live in the same territory without fatal collision; but if, on the other hand, there is substantial agreement in laws, language and religion; if there is a satisfactory adjustment of economic life, then there is no reason why, in the same country and on the same street, two or three great national ideals might not thrive and develop, that men of different races might not strive together for their race ideals as well, perhaps even better than in isolation.” Finally, “We believe that the first and greatest step toward the settlement of the present friction between races—commonly called the Negro Problem—lies in correction of the immorality, crime and laziness among the Negro themselves, which still remains as a heritage from slavery.”