The first of these characteristic states of mind of the Negro in reaction to the white world may be termed a philosophy of everyday relations. From the Negro point of view the basis of communication is that of personal relations rather than economic connections. For example, the Negro worker often remains on the job because he likes "the boss" more than because he values the pay. The sympathetic understanding and treatment by the employer determine his likes and dislikes. Some employers who have recognized this fact have had large success in the management of Negro workers. One of the officials of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company once said, "We have our quar-termen and foremen understand that one of the first requisites in dealing with these men is the kindly word and the personal touch and interest." On another occasion, when a ship was being launched, a number of men from other jobs were standing around or upon the hull of the vessel enjoying the sight as the ship slid off the ways into the water. In reply to a question about the freedom of these men to watch the ceremonies, a foreman said, "Oh, they are free to do that if they like; these men feel at home here." For years that shipbuilding plant has had excellent response from its Negro workers ; and among the Negroes of the community, the president of the Company is the most popular white man.
This feeling about personal relations is one of the underlying mental factors in Negro migration from the South. The economic call of better wages in the North has been strong, but there have been other reasons than purely economic opportunity. Many left because the old personal relations between boss and workman, landlord and tenant, have been disappearing. Many Negroes no longer feel that there are those among their white neighbors who have a personal interest in their problems and who will see that they have more opportunities for a better, freer life. They have the tradition of finding these things in the North, in "God's Country," as some of them call it.1 Conversations with thousands of them in all walks of life, examination of their songs, their sayings of wit and wisdom, their letters,2 all bear out the fact that this feeling for friendly personal relations is a large factor in their migration to the North. They believe that their opportunities for obtaining such interest are better. Whether or not they find it is another matter; they believe they will, and so they move.