Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 25, 1951

The Negro Problem

David Lee, Newark, New Jersey

(Editor's Note: The writer of this article is a negro. He publishes The New Jersey Telegram, a negro newspaper. We feel that he speaks for the best interests of his race, and he brings to bear the right attitude in seeking to meet the admittedly difficult "negro problem.")

"I have just returned from an extensive tour of the South. In addition to meeting and talking with our agents and distributors who get our newspapers out to more than 500,000 readers in the South, I met both whites and negroes in the urban and rural centers.

"Because of these personal observations, studies, and contacts, I feel I can speak with some degree of authority I am certainly in a better position to voice an opinion than the negro leader who occupies a suite in a down-town New York hotel and bases his opinions on the South from distorted stories he reads in the negro press and in the Daily Worker.

"The racial lines in the South are so closely drawn and defined that there can be no confusion. When I am in Virginia or South Carolina, I don't wonder if I will not be served if I walk into a white restaurant. I know the score. However, I have walked into several right here in New Jersey where we have a civil-rights law, and have been refused service.

"The whites in the South stay with their own and the negroes do likewise. This one fact has been the economic salvation of the negro in the South. Atlanta, Georgia, compares favorably with Newark in size and population. Negroes there own and control millions of dollars worth of business. All of the negro business in New Jersey will not amount to as much as our race has in one city in Georgia. This is also true in South Carolina and Virginia.

"New Jersey today boasts of more civil-rights legislation than any other state in the union, and state government itself practices more discrimination than Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia. New Jersey employs one negro in the motor vehicle department. All the above mentioned states employ plenty.

"No matter what a negro wants to do, he can do it in the South. In Spartanburg, S. C., Ernest Collins, a young negro, operates a large funeral home, a taxicab business, a filling station, a grocery store, has several buses, runs a large farm and a night club.

"Mr. Collins couldn't do all that in New Jersey or New York. The only bus line operated by negroes in the South, the Safe Bus Company in Winston-Salem, N. C., owns and operates over a hundred buses. If a negro in New Jersey or New York had the money and attempted to obtain a franchise to operate a line, he would not only be turned down, but he would be lucky if he didn't get a bullet in the back.

"The attitude of the Southerners toward our race is a natural psychological reaction to the aftermath of the Civil War. Negroes were the properties of these people.

"Certainly you could not expect the South to forget this in 55 or even in 150 years. That feeling has passed from one generation to another, but it is not one of hatred toward the negro. The South just doesn't believe the negro has grown up. No section of the country has made more progress in finding a workable solution to the negro problem than has the South. Naturally, Southerners are resentful when the North attempts to ram a civil-rights program down their throats.

"The entire race problem in America is wrong. Our approach is wrong. We expend all our energies, and spend millions of dollars trying to convince white people that we are as good as they are, that we are an equal. Joe Louis is not looked upon as a negro, but as the greatest fighter of all time, loved and admired by whites in South Carolina as much as in Michigan. He convinced the world, not by propaganda and agitation, but by demonstration.

"Our fight for recognition, justice, civil rights, and equality should be carried on within the race. Let us demonstrate to the world by our living standards, our conduct, our ability and intelligence that we are the equal of any man, and, when we shall have done this, the entire world, including the South, will accept us on our own terms. Our present program of threats and agitation makes enemies out of our friends."