The exercise of the franchise guaranteed by the Fifteenth Amendment has been one of the factors of the Negro's status as a citizen which has brought the most discussion, controversy, and friction. Whatever may have been the mistakes of the past, we cannot avoid facing the conditions of the present which are laden with the issues of the future. A leading Southerner has said in print: "We are agreed that there ought to be a limit on the right to vote and hold office; but we ought also to agree that whatever limitation is imposed should appeal to the sense of exact justice and fairness to all the persons involved." The most thoughtful citizens have expressed the view that any control of the franchise which does not administer its exercise justly without regard to race or sex will do more injury to the white citizens than to the black ones. Taxation without representation is as dangerous and as unjust now as ever.

The relation of the Negro to the constabulary and the courts is also vital for all. The ignorant, the weak, and thoughtless of any national or racial group in America probably suffers much injustice when in the hands of the average police and lower courts. To this is added, in the case of the Negro, suspicion which falls upon him because of his race. A murder, an assault, a burglary, or a robbery is committed in a community. A general presumption is that some one from among the Negroes did it. Upon the slightest suspicion a Negro may be arrested, lodged in jail, and, if he lacks influential white friends or the means to employ an able lawyer, held for weeks and months.1 He is sometimes taken and lynched without trial. The fee system, with its jus-

1 Hammond, L. H., In Black and White, pp. 46-52.

Negro Regiment, Returning from France, Marching on Fifth Avenue, New York City tices of the peace, petty magistrates, and constables, dependent for their pay upon their part of the fines and fees levied upon defendants, have been a source of continued abuse for many years in many communities. Added to this has been a widespread custom of handing over those convicted in trials before such petty courts, to planters, farmers, and others who pay their fines and court costs. They are allowed to hold the prisoners until they "work out" the amount paid for them often with the addition of the "keep" of the prisoner. Such a system leads to peonage and other evils.

The readiness and promptness of the Negro's response to the call of his country showed that he was filled with the same feeling of patriotism and was ready to make the same sacrifices as his white fellow-citizens in the cause of world freedom.

In some of the states the right of jury service irrespective of race is accorded citizens, but in others the question had not been settled in practise. In 1879, the right of Negro male citizens to serve on juries was fully established by the Supreme Court of the United States. A Negro named Strauder appealed for the removal of his case to the United States Circuit Court on the ground that he had been denied a trial by a freely chosen jury of his peers, because he had been convicted of murder by a jury from which colored men had been excluded. In deciding this case in favor of Strauder, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Fourteenth Amendment secures among other civil rights to colored persons charged with criminal offenses an impartial trial by jurors indifferently selected without discrimination against such jurors because of their color. The court held:

"That where the state statute secures to every white man the right of trial by jury selected from, and without discrimination against, his race, and at the same time permits or requires such discrimination against the colored man because of his race, the latter is not equally protected by law with the former. . . .

"The guarantees of life, liberty, and property are for all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States, or of any state, without discrimination against any because of their race. These guarantees, when their violation is properly presented in the regular course of proceedings, must be enforced in the courts, both of the nation and of the state, without reference to considerations based upon race."1

Another matter of transcending civic importance to every citizen is that of mob violence. This evil has grasped victims of other races in its clutches and has marked Negroes for particular attention. Mobs and lynch-ings, with the development of race riots, in later years, constitute a very great danger to all American life. In thirty years ending in 1920, 691 white men and 11 white women, 2,472 Negro men and 50 Negro women were lynched without trial. Less than one fifth of the Negro men were not even under suspicion of any kind of crime against women. Many of the Negroes were not charged with any crime at all. In a magazine article in 1912, Booker T. Washington said:2 "In short, it is safe to say that a large proportion of the colored persons lynched are innocent. ... In other cases it is known that where Negroes have committed crimes, innocent men have been lynched, and the guilty ones have escaped and gone on committing more crimes." The very foundations of law and government are challenged by this evil which makes the life and limb of Negro citizens unsafe. With such a citizenship status, the Negro arrived at the period of the World War.

1 Strauder vs. West Virginia, 100 U. S. 303.

2 Quoted in Scott and Stowe, Booker T. Washington, Builder of a Civilization, pp. 92-93.