The separation of the races has more and more left Negroes in a group isolation. They have thus been thrown back upon their own leaders for knowledge and guidance. Negroes, too, both as individuals and in their organizations, are beginning to insist upon the privilege to choose their own leaders. They say only leaders of their choice can voice their wishes. Many of these leaders have been without the opportunity for training in the best and deepest things of our civilization. There is, however, an increasing number of consecrated Negro men and women of character who have a following of their own people and who are serving them faithfully. There are, of course, some without a well developed social conscience, who have more ability and shrewdness than character. White men have too frequently either used them for their own purposes or have been deceived by them as mediators between the races. The Negro needs leaders, sane and unselfish and trained in all the learning of the Egyptians, the Europeans, and the Americans, and in all the ideals of the Christ. For they not only lead ten millions of Negro Americans, they not only may become ambassadors to the black millions of Africa, but they are and will be among the mediators of the white and darker races in the most difficult problems mankind has to face in the future. The Christians of America have an unyielding obligation to open avenues of training for these leaders of the future.
The preceding discussion has tried to set before the view some of the habitual feelings, attitudes, and ways of acting of the Negro mind. Connected with these goes another racial characteristic of supreme significance in race relations. The long centuries of concentration by Negroes upon personal relations rather than property possessions, the responsiveness of their minds to "other regarding" impulses rather than the "self-regarding," have produced temperaments eminently ready to enter with unconscious self-forgetfulness into the purposes, plans, and aspirations of other peoples. Negro people readily subordinate their own economic and material cultural advantage to their pleasure in helping to advance other groups that have won their confidence, affection, and admiration. The rank and file of Negroes seem to have come to this spontaneously. The Negro has a self and a soul, of the depth and mystery of which a white observer becomes aware only once in a great while.1
It was upon such fertile soil as this that the seed of the missionary education of the past sixty years with its ideals of high thinking and unselfish living fell and brought forth fruit. A type of Negro has developed with an interracial mind and soul passionately responsive to ideals beyond the bartering commercialism of the hour. Most of his idealistic missionary teachers were far ahead of their times in practical application of ideals of interracial brotherhood and service. The Negro student whom they inspired is now trying, sometimes with heart-breaking rebuffs to his sincerity, to apply ideals imbibed from his teachers. He values truth more than tact and places downright honesty of dealing above diplomacy. He eschews the oldtime Negro's dissimulation and the white man's method of "gesturing" toward one thing when he intends to do another.
1 Murphy, E. G., Basis of Ascendency, pp. 79-81; Stribling, T. S., "West Indian Nights," New York Evening Post, March 25 and 31, 1922.
Many times this type of Negro finds himself in the Garden, his sometime fellow-workers gone, and the cohorts of the enemy or pseudo friends led by some Judas of his own race coming with the swords hidden behind fair words and friendly greetings that do not disguise to the penetrating soul the real purpose of the posse. Only those who have prayed while drops of sweat ran down, emerge from such experiences still calm of mind and possessed of soul. Some of them, like Peter of old, curse and swear and retaliate with the use of the sword. Others either die spiritually in despair or, in disgust, quit the quest for the higher achievements and become mere seekers after the lesser things offered by the material god, Money.
There is still such spontaneous altruism in the souls of black folk, in spite of the centuries of exploitation, that America may have a demonstration of the democratic cooperation the future holds for peoples and races which can share the purposes and aspiration each of the other. White Christians who long and strive for that better day will find allies among these dark skinned disciples. America, however, has to awake and remove the barriers to the development of the interracial mind of the Negro and the Caucasian. The Spirit that became flesh will then live reincarnate among them.