The first field of occupations in historical importance is employment in Southern agriculture, principally in the raising of cotton, of corn, of sugar-cane, and of tobacco.

The second field is in Southern industry which has grown by leaps and bounds since 1880.1 Southern railroads, mills (except cotton mills), mines, and other industries are mainly supplied by Negro workers. The railroads of the South have Negro section gangs, station and terminal employees, Negro firemen, train porters, Pullman porters, and dining-car waiters. The coal and iron mines of the district centering at Birmingham, Ala., would stop at least for a time if deprived of their Negro laborers. Steel mills, iron foundries, shipyards, sawmills and lumber camps, cotton compresses and oil mills of the South look upon Negro brawn and sometimes the brain as their mainstay.

1 Haynes, George E., The Negro at Work in New York City, pp. 19-23; also Murphy, Edward G., Problems of the Present South, pp. 97-125.

The third large field of Negro labor, Northern industry, has undergone a great change during the past ten years. In 1910 the overwhelming majority of Negro wage earners in Northern industrial centers were restricted to personal and domestic service occupations. In a study of the "Negro at Work in New York City" in 1908-19101 it was found that about 70 per cent of Negro men and about 89 per cent of Negro women gainfully employed were working as elevator operators, porters, janitors, general houseworkers, cooks, maids, and as other domestic and personal servants. Such occupations for women as pressers, bushelers, and operators of power machines in clothing factories, and such, among men, as carpenters, bricklayers, and other workers in the erection of buildings were almost completely closed to Negroes. The World War brought a great change in this respect.

The tide of European immigrants who formerly supplied a large part of the unskilled and semiskilled labor during the War ceased to flow because many workers were called to the defense of their native lands. The captains of Northern industry looked South and beheld a surplus of Negro workers.2 Besides the normal excess of workers in proportion to jobs, thousands were unemployed in 1915 because of floods and droughts in several farming districts, because of the drop in cotton prices, and because of the depression in many Southern industries. Agents of industrial plants and railroads - the Pennsylvania, the Erie, the New York Central, and other railroads - went South to solicit laborers. The Negroes responded by the thousands. Census figures for 1920 show a net gain in the North and West of about 400,000 over 1910.

1 Haynes, G. E., work cited, pp. 72-77.

2 For a full discussion of Negro migration, see United States Department of Labor report, Negro Migration in I916-17, made from investigations on the ground in several states by R. H. Leavel, T. R. Snanely, T. J. Woofter, Jr., W. T. B. Williams, and Francis D. Tyson. See also articles by G. E. Haynes in Survey for Jan. 4 and May 4, 1918. Also "The Negro Migration of 1916-1918" by Henderson H. Donald, in Journal of Negro History, Vol. VI, No. 4, PP. 383-485.

At the meeting of the Home Missions Council1 in January, 1918, an official of the New York Central Railroad told his experiences in bringing Negro workers from the South:

"The early summer of 1916 the Chief Engineer found that the road was short five hundred track laborers and had been for two months. He called on me to study the matter and answer two questions: (1) Why can we not get men this year as in former years for our track work? (2) What must I do to get five hundred more men on our track at once?

"For a good many years we had been employing foreigners who had quite recently come from the south of Europe. Our track supervisors had generally a poor opinion of the American hobo. We had never used any Mexicans, Negroes, Japanese, or Chinese. I found out soon that our best city from which to secure these foreigners from the south of Europe was Chicago. I placed an order there with three of our most reliable labor agencies for fifty men each. They got for us but fifteen men in all in two weeks. I also visited Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis. I got reliable knowledge of the labor situation in Buffalo, Detroit, Kansas City, and Cairo.

"I then reported to the Chief Engineer as follows: 'You cannot get men this year as in former years because the kind of men you have hired heretofore have gone back to fight the battles of their mother countries in Europe. You are running your head against a stone wall. You must go where men can be hired in order to get five hundred men at once. There are two such places. One is the Pacific Coast, where American-born white men are now looking for work. But it is far to go. The other place is at the Ohio River and south of it. But in that southland the common laborer is the Negro. You have never had Negro labor on the tracks. Our foremen do not know how to handle Negroes. There are possible race problems. Do you want Negroes?' . . .

1 See Annual Report.

"In a few days he said to me: 'Go and get the Negroes.' We got five hundred Negroes on our track within thirty days. We continued in 1916 until we had brought fifteen hundred Negroes. We housed them in temporary houses, in the main. Some were in camp cars.

"No complaint of thieving or disorder or any misconduct was ever made by the citizens on our lines. The Negro was more orderly than the hobo or the Italian. He was cleaner than the Greek or Austrian. One of our veteran supervisors of track said: 'The Negro eats - the Italian does not. The Negro is big, he is good natured, and he speaks my language. I can get along with him.' At the close of the working season I asked the Chief Engineer how we had got along with Negro labor. He replied: 'How could we have got along without it?' . . .