Full Title: The Chicago Race Riots, July, 1919 by Carl Sandburg, Walter Lippmann
Location: Google Books Date: 1919
MR. JULIUS ROSENWALD INTERVIEWED
At Sears, Roebuck & Co., where the volume of business is $200,000,000 a year, where they send out 8,000, ooo copies a year of the most widely circulated book in the United States—the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogue —there sits in the administration office the president of the company, Julius Rosenwald.
In the midst of an array of wall photographs of Greek parthenons and Egyptian sphinxes there is a large photograph of Booker T. Washington, the negro race leader. Near at hand is a remarkable collection of books on the race question.
“If we say the negro must stay in slums and shall not invade white residence districts, then we shall have to make more stringent health laws to protect us from the evils that go with slums,” said Mr. Rosenwald. “If we say the negro must continue to live in slums, we must prepare for a brighter crime rate.
“They came here because we asked them to come, because they were needed for industrial service. There is no solution for the problem apparent now. That is all the more reason both sides must be fair. It will do no good to see red.
“With immigration restricted, it will be necessary for business to seek another source of labor supply. This exists in the colored population. When they settle here and become workers in the community they have a right to a place to live amid conditions that insure health and sanitation.
“I know from experience that the negroes are not anxious to invade white residence districts any more than white people are willing that they should come.”
The face of Julius Rosenwald softened.
“The negro is the equal of the white man in brains,” said Mr. Rosenwald. “I have talked with men who said they started with a theory that the negro is inferior, but when the facts were arrived at, there was no other conclusion to be derived from those facts than that the colored man is the equal in intelligence of the white man.
“I attended the graduation ceremonies of this year’s class at Hampton institute in May, the fifty-first anniversary of this negro institution. I heard Columbus K. Simango tell ‘The South African’s Story.’ Here he was, straight from the jungles of Africa, a full blooded negro who came direct from Melsetter, South Rhodesia, to Hampton institute. His speech, his markings in classes, his general behavior showed intelligence and competency. He is a specimen of what can be accomplished by education.
“He didn’t know he wanted an education till he met a missionary who told him about Hampton. He walked 200 miles to a port, and was started for America three times and then turned back by authorities. He arrived in America a grown young man, unable to read or write. And now he is able to pass any college examinations in America.
“Another speaker was a Fisk university man, Isaac Fisher. He has taken thirty-two prizes offered by newspapers and magazines in competitions open to all without regard to color. While living in Arkansas, he wrote to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat the twelve best reasons why Missouri is the best state to live in, and was awarded the prize. Everybody’s Magazine had a contest with 3,000 competitors, and the award of $1,000 was made to Isaac Fisher, a type of the pure negro, a little thin fellow who is all intelligence.”
Mr. Rosenwald quoted Walter Hines Page, a southerner, ambassador to Great Britain during the late war, “The most expensive thing we can do is not to educate the negro.”
He quoted Booker Washington, from memory, as saying that in some southern states it was found that $16 per capita was spent on the education of white children in the public schools and $1.29 yearly on the colored (children, and Washington’s comment that such a dis- ^. parity presumed too much on the intelligence of the eager [blacks.
There are now more than 300 Rosenwald rural schools in operation in southern states, 300 more partially established and 400 others projected. They are maintained by three contributors, Mr. Rosenwald, state treasuries and miscellaneous donors.