Again, after sixty years, America has come to a place of choice between cooperation, for the general welfare and permanent progress, and conflict that may give temporary relief. The nation has an opportunity to demonstrate practically that race relations in community life can be thoroughly settled through understanding, justice, and goodwill. The contacts, or lack of them, between Negro and white citizens, North and South, furnish the concrete conditions which make our choices definite and clothe our contributions to world problems of the color line in flesh and blood and personality.

Among the many historical elements that have lingered from the past and those that confront us now, the following are of prime importance to a present-day consideration of racial relations.

First, the slave was emancipated and started on the road to freedom.

Second, the master was liberated and given an opportunity to become an employer of free labor.

Third, the slave plantation crumbled. The tenant plantation with its share croppers, its cash renters, its share-cash tenants, and its large number of day laborers - "farm hands" - has replaced the older system. The struggling Negro farm owner has appeared and made remarkable advancement both in landholding and in methods of farming.

Fourth, the movement of white people and Negroes to urban centers has developed and increased. Large town and city Negro populations dependent upon labor by the day, week, or month grow steadily.

Fifth, the relations between white and Negro races began to undergo changes, especially in three aspects: (a) The older generation for the most part retained the mental attitude growing out of the relations of the past. In the South to-day many individual Negroes put their trust in their "white folks" as in no others. These white people in turn believe in and have regard for "their Negroes" as for no others. (b) A generation of Negroes who know not slavery has grown up with an increasing race consciousness and aspiration for American opportunities. (c) The descendents of the non-slave-holding white people now make up the majority of the population of the Southern states and have come into power of two kinds: they have acquired a large share in the increasing industrial occupations and a large voice in civic and political matters.

Sixth, with the race consciousness of the Negro gradually rising like the tides of the sea, has come a restlessness under the existing restrictions, limitations, and racial discriminations.

Seventh, the races have been drawing apart: a cleavage from the cradle to the grave. Separate neighborhoods in cities and impersonal relations on large plantations and in large industrial operations where both races are employed are only the larger outlines of a more detailed segregation that ramifies in many directions. In city and in country communities, Negroes and white people attend different churches. In the last fifty years, Negroes have built up national and international church organizations managed and controlled by Negroes. Separation in schools, public and private, except in most Northern states, is well-nigh universal. There have grown up the mission colleges and secondary schools for the Negro youth, fostered by the Church educational and home mission boards. In the Southern states, on all railroad trains there are separate cars or compartments in cars for white and colored passengers. State laws or local ordinances require separation regulations on street-cars. The old feeling of dependence of man upon master is rapidly disappearing on the Negro side, and the old feeling of paternal protectiveness is disappearing on the white side of the line. Many white people and Negro people, especially women and children, spend weeks, months, and even years without any personal contact with those of the op-posite race. In many places Negroes are buried in separate cemeteries.

The changed situation and the resulting feelings, attitudes, and habits were very concretely set forth in statements made by a Negro man and a white man in Mississippi.1 The Negro was a man of mixed blood, a country preacher, and he gave this account of the change as illustrated in the three generations of his own family: "My father was born and brought up as a slave. He never knew anything else until after I was born. He was taught his place and was content to keep it. But when he brought me up, he let some of the old customs slip by. I know there are certain things that I must do, and I do them, and it doesn't worry me; yet in bringing up my own son, I let some more of the old customs slip by. He has been through the eighth grade; he reads easily. For a year I have been keeping him from going to Chicago ; but he tells me this is his last crop, that in the fall he's going. He says: 'When a young white man talks rough to me, I can't talk rough to him. You can stand that; I can't. I have some education, and inside I have the feelin's of a . . . man. I'm going.'"

1U. S. Dept. of Labor, Negro Migration in 1916-17, pp. 33-34, report of R. H. Leavel, "The Negro Migration from Mississippi".

Compare this account with that given by the white man, a leading political thinker in Mississippi, of the changed attitude in three generations of his own family: "My father owned slaves. He looked out for them; told them what to do. He loved them, and they loved him. I was brought up during and after the Civil War. I had a 'black mammy' and she was devoted to me and I to her; and I played with Negro children. In a way I'm fond of the Negro; I understand him, and he understands me; but the bond between us is not as close as it was between my father and his slaves. On the other hand, my children have grown up without black playmates and without a 'black mammy.' The attitude of my children is less sympathetic toward Negroes than my own. They don't know each other".

One writer has called public opinion "one of the lieutenants of God." There is a white world of opinion concerning the Negro and how he should be treated. There is a Negro world of public opinion about itself, about white people, and about how Negroes should act toward them. A look into those two worlds briefly will serve as an introduction to the treatment of the subject.