OHS home

Ohio Historical Society / The African American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920








10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39 
PreviousPrevious Item Description Next Next
"The Negroes of Xenia, Ohio: A Social Study (1830-1900)." Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor
versity.  There have been lectures in this school by some of the best
thinkers of Ohio, and though a fee was attached they were very largely
attended.  There  are among the Negroes very clearly defined social
grades so far as the highest and lowest elements are concerned.       In
the highest grade is the educated Negro, and home-owning Negro.        A
number of these are of free birth and some of several generations
of freedom, though these qualifications are not the only criteria for
entrance into this class.  These people comprise in general the teach-
ers and other professional classes, the entrepreneurs, and a few porters
and artisans.  These are divided into smaller circles of more or less
exclusiveness.  It is this class which has in general the confidence of
the community of whites.  They are attendants at the university
extension lecture courses, the Y. M. C. A. courses, and take some part
in various movements for the betterment of the city.  Most of their
soils and daughters go to the high school and some go to college or
normal school.  The lowest class is composed chiefly of the late immi-
grants from  the South.  They are  poor and ignorant though not
vicious.  Being used to crowding in close quarters they generally con-
tinue the same manner of living.  Together with them are some of the
native-born Negroes.  It was this class which voted alnlost solidly for
whisky in the recent  prohibition election when every ward in the city
went "dry" except the Fourth Ward, which is inhabited allllost exclu-
sively by Negroes.  Between these two classes, which have  )lit little
contact with each other in a social way, is the great mass of Negro
laborers, domestic servants, and families that "take in washing,"
shading atmost imperceptibly from the lowest to the highest type of
  As to the future of the race, the Negroes of Xenia are of a hopeful
iiiood almost to a unit.  The degree  of hope is different, and the
reasons upon which it is based vary greatly among different types of
persons.  There still exists the sentimental hope which seems to have
but little rational basis, but this is very limited and confined to the
more ignorant part of the older element.  Among the more thoughtful
there is much discontent and restlessness on account of their condition.
This is of the helpful sort, however, in that it is the result of increas-
ing intelligence and responsibility and reflection upon the condition
and environment of Negroes and methods of bettering these.  Under
it all there is a very encouraging kind of hopefulness.
  The contact with the whites seems to be characterized by fairnes
and frankness, though it can not be said that the element of racial
prejudice does not exist.  Most of the whites draw a distinction
between the ignorant Negro and the intelligent Negro, and their treat-
ment is in accordance with this distinction.    The investigator, though
a Negro, received the most cordial assistance of all the white persons
with whom this study brought him in contact.
  This paper would be incomplete without a word concerning Wilber-


Download High Resolution TIFF Image
PreviousPrevious Item Description Next Next

OHS Archives/Library Pamphlet Collection

"The Negroes of Xenia, Ohio: A Social Study (1830-1900)." Bulletin of the Bureau of Labor


Issue Number:  48


http://www.ohiohistory.org || Last modified
Ohio History Center 800 E. 17th Ave. Columbus, OH 43211 © 1996-2011 All Rights Reserved.