H́nh ảnh trang

that not one in one thousand of them can read a page of Cireck or Latin that may be set before them. I offer to prit under their noses a page of Athesiarus or Horace (to any nothing of moro important classical authorn) and if they should be able to read and translate it at nighe I shall be genuinely surpriscil. Let the common reader who is a man of today make the icnt with this little bit of Latin versc:

"7.ergi momentum arrr perennins Regolique sile pyramidum altins."

1.et him ask some classicist to translate oft-hand this common school bey's ing from a most popular author and note whether tliey can place the author or translate the lines. Here is another :

l'or varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum, Tendimus in Lolium.

To speak in plain United States, when it comes to the wwwdeswat it will he found that those of us who argue in favor of the moulern discipline (in so far as we have any knowledge of classical literature) know more about them than those whose solc defence they are.

It is said by the classicists that a knowledge of Latin and Greek is necessary to an adequate comprehension of the finglish lange unge. But su is the knowledge of Sanscrit, Arabic, french muid Italinis. And when it comes in facility and clearners of expres. sion, it wil: he found that Huxley's prosc is superior to that of Matthew Arnold, and Brisbane's superior to that of any pro. fessor of the Latin langunge in Harvard or Yale. So much for the ghost fighters. Rrgmicscant in pace!

THE KNOWLEDGE WE NEED. Now, whnt is the knowledge which the New Negro needs most? He needs above all cisc a knowledge of the wider world and of the long past. But that is history, modern and ancient : History as written by Herodotus and John Bach McMaster; sociology not as conceived by Giddings, but as presented by Spencer and Ward, and anthroplology as worked out by Boas and Thoman. The Negro necdx airo the knowledge of the host thought; but thnt in liternture na conceived, not on a collection of flowers from the tree of life, but no Ita garnered fruit. And, finally, the Negro niecds a knowledge of his own kind, concerniing which we shall have something to say later. And the pur

poses of this knowledge? They are, to know our place in the human processus, to strengthen our minds by contact with the best and most useful thought-products cvolved during the long rise of man from anthropoid to scientist; to inspire our souls and to list our race industrially, comincrcially, intellectually to the level of the best that there is in the world about us. For never until the Negro's knowledge of nitrates and engineering, of chemistry and agriculture, of history, science and business is on a level, at least, tvith that of the whites, will the Negro be able to measure arms successfully with them.


The Negro in History and Civilization

(From Superman to Man, by J. A. Rogers.) This volume by Mr. Rogers is the greatest little book on the Negro that we remember to have read. It makes no great parade of being "scientific," as so many of our young writers do who seem to think that science consists solely in logical analysis. If science consists fundamentally of facts, of information and of principles derived from those facts, then the volume before us is one of the most scientific that has been produced by a Negro writcr. It sweeps the circle of all the social sciences. History, sociology, anthropology, psychology, economics and poli. tics--cven thcology--are laid under contribution and yield # store of information which is worked up into a presentation 80 plain and clear that the simplest can read and understand it, and yet so fortificd by proofs from the greatest standard authorities of the past and present that there is no joint in its armor in which the kcenest spear of a white scientist may enter.

Unlike an older type of scholar (now almost extinct) the author does not go to vapid verbal philosophers or devotional dreamers for the facts of history and ethnology. He goes to historians and ethnologists for them and to anthropologists for his anthropology. The result is information which stands the searching tests of any inquirer who chooses to doubt and investigate before accepting what is set before him.

From this book the unlearned reader of the African race can gather proof that his race has not always been a subject or inferior race. He has the authority of Professor Reisner, of Harvard; of Felix Dubois, Volney, Herodotus, Finot, Serri, the modern Egyptologists and the scholars of the white world who assembled at the Universal Races Congress in London in 1911, for the belief that his race has founded great civilizations, has ruled over arcas its large as all Europe, and was prolific in statesinėn, scientists, poets, conquerors, religious and political leaders, arts and crafts, industry and commerce when the white race was wallowing in barbarism or sunk in savagery. Here he can learn on good authority, from St. Jerome and Cicero, Herodotus and Ilomer down to the modern students of race history, that cannibalism has been a practise among white populations like the Scythians, Scots and Britons; that the white races have been slaves; that here in America the slavery of white men was a fact as late as the 191h century, and "according to Professor Cigrand, Grover (leveland's grandfather, Richard Falley, was an Irish slave in connecticut," In short, he will learn here, not that nie wspaper science which keeps even "educated" Americans so complacently ignorant, but the science of the scientists themselves. : He will learn all that this kind of science has to tell of the relative capacity and standing of the black and white racesand much of it will surprise him. But all of it will please and instruct.

The book also deals with the facts of the present position of the Negro in America and the West Indies; with questions of religion, education, politics and political parties, war work, lynching, miscegenation on both sides, the beauty of Negro women and race prejudice. And on everyone of these topics it gives a iminimum of opinion and a maximum of information. This information flows forth during the course of a series of disCuissions between an educated Negro Pullman porter and a Southern white statesman on a train running between Chicago and San Francisco. The superior urbanity of the Negro, coupled with his wider information and higher intelligence, eventually wirin over the caucasian to adinit that the whole mental attitude of himself and his race in regard to the Negro was wrong and based on nothing better than prejudice.

This conversational device gives the author an opportunity to present all the conflicting views on both sides of the Color Line, and the result is a wealth of information which inakes this book # necessity on the bookshell of everyone, Negro or Caucasian, who has some use fur knowledge on the subject of the Negro. The book is published by the author at 4700 State Street, Chicago


By W. E. B. Du Bois.

An unwritten law has existed for a long time to the effect that the critical estimates which fix the status of a book by a Negro author shall be written by white men. Praise or blamethe elementary criticism which expresses only the reviewer's feelings in reference to the book-has generally been the sole function of the Negro critic. And the results have not been good. For, in the first place, white critics (except in music). have been too prone to judge the product of a Negro author as Dr. Johnson judged the dancing dog : "It isn't at all like dancing; but then, one shouldn't expect more from a dog." That is why many Negro pocts of fifth grade mcrit are able to marshal: ecomiums by the bushel from friendly white critics who ought to know better. On the other hand, there is the danger of disparagement arising solely from racial prejudice and the Caucasian refusal to take Negro literary products seriously:

In cither casc thc work fails to secure consideration sulely on its mcrits. Wherefore, it is high time that competent appraisal of Negro books should come from "our side of the street." But, then, the Negro reading public should be taught what to expect, viz., that criticism is neither "knocking" nor "boosting"; but an attempt, in the first place, to furnish a correct and adequate idea of the scope and literary method of the book under review, of the author's success in realizing his objects, and of the spirit in which he does his work. In the second place, the critic should be expected to bring his own understanding of the subject matter of the book to bear upon the problem of enlightening the readers' understanding, that at the end the reader may decide whether the work is worth his particular while.

This book of Dr. Du Bois' is one which challenges the swing of scusuned judgment and appraisal. It challenges also free thinking, and plain npeaking For, at the very cutset. we find ourselves forced to demur to the publishers' ussumptions as to its author's status. "Even inore than the late Booker Washington, Mr. Du Bois is now chief spokesman of the two hundred million men and women of

[ocr errors]
« TrướcTiếp tục »