Anthropology at the Washington Meeting for 1911

Anthropology at the Washington Meeting for 1911

Science Magazine
Volume 35, Number 904 (1912-04-26)
pages 665-676
DOI: 10.1126/science.35.904.665

George Grant MacCurdy (1863-1947), Assistant Professor of Archæology
Yale University

The annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association was held in the United States National Museum, Washington, D. C., December 27-30, 1911, in affiliation with Section H of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Folk-Lore Society. The attendance was good and the program exceptionally long and interesting. The most important features were the two symposia: (1) “The Problems of the Unity or Plurality and the Probable Place of Origin of the American Aborigines, ” discussed by J. W. Fewkes, A. Hrdlieka, W. H. Dall, J. W. Gidley, A. H. Clark, W. H. Holmes, Alice C. Fletcher, Walter Hough, Stansbury Hagar, A. F. Chamberlain and R. B. Dixon; and (2) “Culture and Environment,” discussed by J. W. Fewkes, Clark Wissler, Edward Sapir and Robert H. Lowie. The first of these two discussions is printed in full in the January-March issue of the Anthropologist, and the second will appear in the April-June issue. Dr. J. Walter Fewkes presided at the six sessions in charge of the American Anthropological Association; also at the single session of the American Folk-Lore Society, in the absence of Professor Henry M. Belden, president of that society. Professor George T. Ladd, vice president of Section H, was chairman of the single session in charge of the section. The social functions to which members of the affiliated societies were invited included: a reception by Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Woodward at the Carnegie Institution, a reception at the New National Museum, and the opening of the Corcoran Gallery of Art…

…Some Aspects of the Negro Problem: ALBERT ERNEST JENKS, University of Minnesota.

Immigration.—Since we have a serious negro problem is it reasonable that this problem be made more difficult by admission into the United States each year of an increasing number of un-Americanized immigrant alien negroes.

There are no United States laws against such immigration. Just short of 40,000 such persons have come to this country in the last ten years; in 1911 we received 6,721. They come from near at hand-three fourths coming from the West Indies. The West Indies have nearly 6,000,000 negroes, any of whom may come to the United States. America debars oriental peoples, not because they are inferior, but because they and their culture are so different from American people and culture. For the same reason we should exclude the “African black.” He should also be excluded because his admission is unfair to the white and also to the negro American-since he makes even more difficult one of America’s most perplexing problems.

Miscegenation.—There are two forms of negro-white miscegenation: (1) Legal marriage, permitted permitted in twenty-three states where the unions are largely between negro men and white women; (2) illegal, more or less temporary unions, usually between white men and negro women. Investigation in a certain area shows that 65 per cent. of the white wives of negro men are foreign born girls—usually of Teutonic peoples. Over two per cent. of children are born to these marriages. The result of both these forms of miscegenation is an increasing number of mulattoes cemented by color and prejudice to the negro race, while by inheritance they are endowed to a considerable degree with Anglo-Saxon initiative, will, ideals and desire for a square-deal—which, because of their color, they can seldom get. These mulattoes are the migrants in the north and west of the United States; they are more migrant than the restless, foot-free white American. The mulatto is the chief factor in the negro problem; the problem is bound to increase, then, in geographic area, in number of discontented negroes, and in its intensity, hand in hand with the increased flow of Anglo-Saxon blood into the veins of this new American man. All forms of miscegenation between the two races should be made a felony, punishable for one offence; and the father of children born to one white and one negro parent should be held to support and educate such children.

Who is a Negro?—The negro should be defined uniformly, so that there would be no question of the legal and racial status of any given person, no matter in what commonwealth he may be. To-day there is no such uniformity of laws.

Murderous Race Riots.—The white man ‘s passion against the offending, or suspected, negro is often nothing short of blood vengeance against the negro race. This is seen in the fact that assault against the virtue of a white woman is only one of some three dozen offences for which negroes are annually lynched. In many of these lynchings and burnings murder is not committed in the frenzy of the moment; the mob starts out to lynch or burn-the crime is premeditated. If America is to train her annual armies of immigrant recruits into law-respecting and law-abiding citizens, she must punish to the limit necessary all participants in murderous race riots.

Education.—Each negro child should have, so far as public and private schools are concerned, an equal opportunity with the white child to make of himself all that he is capable of being.

Investigation.—A commission should be selected to study every aspect of the negro problem. This commission might well be financed by private funds so as to keep it from the almost certain bias of politics and sectionalism…

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