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T H E P R E S E N T S IT U A T IO N A N D T H E O U T L O O K

Basil M. Manly, Joint Chairman, National W ar Labor Board, Washington


W e are about to enter a period of the m ost acute industrial u nrest and
the m ost bitter industrial controversy th at the A m erican nation has ever
known. Unless effective and radical steps are taken to bring about a better
understanding between labor and capital and to establish an equitable basis
fo r orderly industrial progress, we are certain to see w ithin the next year
strikes and mass movements o f labor beside which all previous American
strikes will pale into insignificance.
Since the signing of the arm istice we have had a large number of small
strikes and a few g reat spectacular strikesthe Seattle strike, the New
Y ork harbor strike, the Lawrence strike, the garm ent trad e strikes, the Toledo
strike, and a num ber of others of lesser consequence. But these have been
so limited in comparison with the labor upheavals in other countriesin
England, in Germany, in Canada, in A ustralia and in the A rgentinethat
there has been a public disposition to regard the industrial situation with
complacency and to assume that, having passed through the first part of the
period o f transition w ithout serious industrial disturbances, we were about to
enter an era of industrial peace.
B ut those who take this complacent attitude are deceiving themselves.
Since the arm istice A m erican labor has been waiting, w atchfully waiting.
It has been w aiting because the outstanding leader o f the A m erican labor
movement, Samuel Gompers, was on an im portant Governm ent mission in
Europe. I t has been w ating because the A m erican labor movement, expect
ing the w ar to continue much longer, had not form ulated its definite policy
before the signing of the arm istice. L abor has been w aiting also fo r the
completion of the demobilization o f troops and fo r the transition of o u r
factories from w ar production to peace production.
T he period of w aiting is now nearly completed. Demobilization is nearing
an end. O ur industries are beginning to swing into th eir norm al production
and next week, here in A tlantic City, there may be form ulated, at the Con
vention of the American Federation of Labor, a definite policy fo r the
A m erican labor movement.
I am m aking no threat th at Bolshevism or Spartacanism is about to sweep
the U nited States. T he American labor movement will not go Bolshevik
unless it is driven to that course by the goadings of selfish and unenlight
ened capitalists and capitalistic agents.
Those who regard the A m erican industrial situation with complacency
ignore both the psychology of the w orkers and the compelling facts. The
w orkers of the Allied w orld have been told th at they were engaged in a w ar
fo r dem ocracy; that out o f the ruins of the w ar would arise a new and m ore
beautiful w orld. They are asking now, W here is that democracy fo r which
we fought? W hen are we to enter into this new w orld with its g reater re
g ard fo r the rights o f the common man ? T hey see no change fo r the better,
but they find themselves in conditions in some respects w orse than those
against which they protested before we entered the w ar.
The masses o f the people are being rapidly disillusioned, and when the
people lose their illusions there is danger ahead. They have seen the prices
o f nearly every commodity, including rents, advance beyond the increases
which they have secured in th eir weekly wages since the beginning of the
w ar so that they are now actually able to buy less o f the necessaries o f life
than before the w ar began. T here are exceptions, it is tru e, w here the per
centage of wage increase has been greater, but if you will examine these cases
o f unusual wage increases as I have exam ined them you will find th a t in
a m ajority of instances those increases have come to groups o f w orkers
433
434 INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

w ho a re adm itted, even by th e ir em ployers, to have been m iserably u n d er


paid d u rin g the pre-w ar period.
D uring the w ar, it is tru e, th e increases in prices w ere in a m easure
com pensated fo r to the w age earn ers by th e g re a te r steadiness o f employment
and by the frequency o f opportunities fo r overtim e, as well as fo r large
earnings a t piece w ork. B ut th a t tim e is now past and th e m asses o f
A m erican w orkers, I say w ith some degree o f assurance, a re actually able to
purchase less of the necessaries and com forts o f life w ith th e w ages which
they receive today th an they w ere able to buy w ith th e w ages which they
received before the beginning o f th e w orld w ar.
N o hope is held out to them o f relief fro m this condition thro u g h a rapid
o r even a g radual recession o f prices. Ju d g e G ary tells us th a t prices will
rem ain high over a long period of years. O tto H . K ahn, th e spokesm an fo r
th e A m erican bankers, tells us th e sam e thing, and Ju liu s H . Barnes, form erly
an o perator in th e Chicago g ra in pit and now successor to H e rb e rt H oover,
tells us th at there is no hope fo r cheaper bread.
W ho Profited From the War?
B ut it is n o t m erely th a t th e cost o f living is high an d beyond the
capacity o f the w age ea rn e rs pocket book. T h is m ight be endured w ith
some degree of patience and fo rtitu d e if th e people who toil believed th a t no
one w as profiting fro m th e ir necessities an d th a t all w ere b earing the
burden alike. B ut they have seen w ith th eir ow n eyes and h eard w ith th e ir
ow n ears o f unconscionable profiteering by A m erican corporations during
th e w ar and they know th a t th a t sam e profiteering is now continuing u n
abated. I have ju s t com pleted a study o f th e earnings o f eighty-tw o rep re
sentative A m erican corporations, a reco rd o f w hose profits is available fo r
each year fro m 1911 thro u g h 1918. T h is is n ot a list selected e ith er be
cause th e profits w ere larg e o r because th e profits w ere sm all. I t is a list o f
all the corporations w hose earnings covering this en tire period w ere avail
able to me. A com pilation o f these figures show s th a t th e sam e eighty-tw o
corporations which, in the p re-w ar years, had an average n e t incom e o f 325
m illion dollars had n et incom es in 1916 am ounting to m ore th a n a billion
dollars, in 1917 o f 975 m illion an d in 1918 o f 736 m illion. T h e w ar profits
o f these 82 corporations alone w ere, th erefo re, in 1918 m ore th a n 400 million
dollars, including the w ar taxes. T h is is a fte r th e deduction o f every dollar
o f state and federal taxes and the deduction o f every conceivable charge
w hich these companies could devise fo r reducing an d concealing th eir ap
p arent profits.
I am convinced as a resu lt o f my study th a t th e actu al profits even a fte r
th e paym ent of tax es in 1917 and 1918, w ere ju s t as g re a t as in 1916, the
difference being accounted fo r by th e fa c t th a t in 1917 an d 1918 these corpo
ratio ns set up all kinds of excessive reserves fo r depreciation, am ortization,
and o th er unspecified and fan cifu l contingencies fo r the purpose o f evading
tax atio n and concealing th eir excessive earnings fro m the public and th e ta x
collector.
But even taking the figures as they stand we find th a t these eighty-tw o
corporations earned, net, a fte r paying all taxes, including the excess profit tax,
$3.00 in 1916 and 1917 fo r every dollar w hich they earned in th e p re-w ar
period and over $2.00 in 1918 fo r every dollar earned in the p re-w ar period.
T h is is profiteering w ith a vengeance and th e profiteers m ay w ell trem ble
lest the people may avenge them selves fo r this sham eless exploitation during a
period of the n ations g reatest necessity.
Price Reductions M ust Precede Wage Reductions
A nd yet, w ith th e people and p articu larly the w o rk ers in th is state o f
exasperation as a result o f th e ir daily struggle w ith an u n ju stly inflated
PRESENT SITUATION AND THE OUTLOOK MANLY 435

cost o f living, attem pts are already being made by selfish and foolish em
ployers to reduce wages. Sometimes these attem pts to reduce wages are
made directly, but fa r m ore often by the device o f shutting down the plants
fo r a short period to repair the ravages o f high speed w ar production and
then employing new men at reduced rates. A nd the burning shame of it is
th a t in many instances these new men who are being hired a t reduced wages
are our soldiers, the gold striped veterans o f the g reat w ar, who retu rn to
A m erica ignorant of the new wage levels and are easily m ade the dupes o f
unscrupulous and unpatriotic employers.
T h ere were indications at the recent convention of the N ational A sso
ciation of M anufacturers th at a concerted movement to reduce wages would
be made by a large group o f A m erican m anufacturers. These people who
banqueted so sum ptuously at the W aldorf-A storia while they concocted their
plans fo r w idespread reductions in wages were playing w ith dynamite, and
dynamite infinitely m ore dangerous, both to the capitalists and to the public,
than all the May Day bombs o f the A narchists.
A m erican labor, w hether organized or unorganized, will bitterly and
effectively resist any such attem pt to reduce wages until the price level has
dropped fa r low er than it is today. Labor knows its advantages and it
knows now, as it has never know n before, its stupendous power. All intelli
gent labor leaders know, even if the m anufacturers appear not to know,
th at fo r the next generation there is to be a w orld wide labor shortage
and that this shortage is alm ost certain to be greatest in America. They
know that m ore than seven million men were killed in the w ar and that
even a greater num ber w ere incapacitated. They know th a t the ravages of
disease and starvation have killed at least th irty million people. T hey know
th at there has been virtually no im m igration to the U nited States since
July, 1914, and that there is likely to be little in the years to come. They
know th at em igrants are leaving the U nited States in such g reat numbers
th at the A m erican B ankers A ssociation has passed resolutions directing
national attention to this phenomenon.
W ise men know also th at the labor m ovem ent has greatly increased
its strength in recent years. A t least tw o million men have been added to
the ranks of organized labor in A m erica during the w ar. A million have
been organized on the railroads alone and m ore than a million have been
added to the unions affiliated with the A m erican Federation of L abor in other
branches of industry.
Labors N ew Status
A m erican labor is m ore conscious than ever before o f its power and
o f its rights. It will demand the abolition of age old injustices. L abor has
been in the harness for untold centuries. The harness has become heavy
and galling, but labor does not now ask th a t the harness be lightened o r th a t
the share of oats and hay be enlarged. L abor now dem ands the right to
climb into the drivers seat and help control the m achinery w hich drives
the lum bering chariot o f m odern industry.
T he president o f the U nited States and all other enlightened citizens
recognize that this new status which labor is dem anding will either be
granted graciously or will be won a fte r industrial battles o f a severity and
extent which wise men seek to avoid. But individual employers and financiers
are still unenlightened. They believe th at w hat has been will be and th at
there is no new thing under the sun. In a recent issue o f Law and Labor,
the organ of the A m erican A nti-Boycott A ssociation, it is shown th at one-
th ird of its m em bership of American m anufacturers are opposed to any
form of collective dealing w ith th eir own employes, even though they are
unorganized and have no assistance from outside trad e unions o r labor
leaders. T he N ational Association o f M anufacturers apparently expects
4 36 INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEUS

to return to antebellum standards. T h e slave owners of the South might


ju st as well have expected to have their slaves back after the Civil W ar as
fo r American employers to expect to retu rn to the position of industrial
absolutism which the m ajority of them occupied before the world war.
T here is an active minority of pow erful capitalists and employers intent
upon establishing in the United States a dictatorship of the plutocracy. T here
is an equally active and even m ore determ ined minority on the labor side
intent upon establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat. N either can suc
ceed except by w recking the existing industrial and social structure of the
U nited States. W e cannot have either a dictatorship of the plutocracy or
a dictatorship of the proletariat except upon the ruins of American industry.
I f we are to save ourselvesif we are to save American productive industry
and American social life from disaster, we m ust find a method and a means
of orderly progress to the new status and new conditions which the workers
of America have been promised and now. demand.

N o H ope f o r P ro g ress T hrough C ongress


T his does not seem to be possible through o ur existing political institu
tions. T here is no hope for orderly industrial and social progress through
the present Congress. The 66th Congress of the U nited States is the least
enlightened, the most reactionary Congress th at this generation has known.
I do not except even the dark days o f Cannonism and the Payne-A ldrich
tariff. The present Congress contains as many hard-shelled fossils as Can
non and Aldrich numbered among their supporters. But this Congress has
no group of young, hard hitting progressives such as threatened to depose
Cannon from the speakers chair and all but defeated Aldrich in the Senate.
The progressives now in Congress are relatively old men, tired with twenty
years of hard fighting. They have not quit fighting and they have not lost
their ideals, but they have lost their old punch and aggressiveness.
T here is another reason why we can hope for nothing through the
ordinary political machinery. T h at is the Espionage Law, which has te rro r
ized countless thousands into ignominious silence. T he Espionage A ct was
bad enough under w ar conditions. It is infinitely worse to continue it on
the statute books since the signing of the armistice. I t will be an outrageous
invasion of the most sacred rights of Americans to enact any such legisla
tion to apply to peace times. But I am inform ed th at a m ajority of the
reactionaries of the H ouse and Senate are intent upon the enactment of
statutes o f suppression and oppression m ore stringent even than the w ar
time Espionage Act. I have faith th at President W ilson will veto any such
Federal legislation. B ut I see, with equally g reat alarm , that some of the
states have already enacted vicious legislation of this character and I am
inform ed th at the predatory interests are determ ined and have the power
to put such bills through the legislatures of perhaps a m ajority of the
states and to secure their approval by the governors of those states.
T he suppression o f free discussion during a critical period such as we
are now entering upon is of the greatest danger to the very life of the nation.
T here must be a safety valve of free speech and free assemblage if we are
to escape the destructive explosions which a policy of suppression and coer
cion will render inevitable. T he present Espionage Act should be immediately
repealed and every state should purge its statute books of every such act
limiting the rights o f its citizens.

A N ational Industrial Conference


A lthough the possibility of orderly industrial and social progress through
o ur political institutions thus seems to be remote, it is nevertheless possible
th a t we will find other means o f reaching the same end. W h at we need
PRESENT SITUATION AND THE OUTLOOK MANLY 437

is a national understanding, not o f politicians but o f people. T h ere is no


reason w hy such an understanding as is necessary to avert the catastrophe
which seems to be im pending cannot be reached by those leaders w ho much
m ore directly and truly represent the people than the men w ho sit in Congress.
I mean that through a national con feren ce o f the representatives o f labor
and o f capital, with proper representation o f those public grou ps w hich have
no direct affiliation w ith o r dependence upon either labor o r capital, an
effective understanding can be reached w hich will provide the means fo r
ord erly progress tow ard better conditions and better relations betw een all
groups o f A m erican society.
T h is is the m ethod which England was fo rce d to adopt when, a ccording
to F rank A . V anderlip, she was threatened w ith im pending revolution. L lo y d -
G eorge did n o t then g o to Parliam ent f o r a solution. Instead he sum m oned
an industrial parliam ent made up o f several hundred leaders o f British
industry. T h ey reached an understanding and the British revolu tion was
averted.
Som e weeks a go the cables carried an intim ation that P resident W ilson
contem plated the a doption o f som e such m ethod o f dealing with the indus
trial situation in the U nited States. It is true that this was n ot specifically
confirm ed by the President's m essage to C ongress, but a message to Congress
was obviou sly n o place f o r the P resident to reveal any plans w hich he
might have f o r such an extra-legal m ethod o f procedure.
I do not doubt, th erefore, that when the President returns and finds the
nation co n fron ted , as it seems n ow inevitable that it w ill be, w ith actual
o r im pending industrial con troversies w hich threaten national stagnation, he
w ill turn to the device which has p roved so effective in England and summon,
first, a small co n fe re n ce o f the outstanding leaders o f A m erican labor and
capital and then a great industrial con gress em bracing leaders fro m all
industries and fro m all sections o f the country.
W e are told by pessimists that such con feren ces and such a con gress
w ould result o n ly in endless talk and final disagreem ent. I cannot accept
that view . I cannot believe that the great A m erican financiers are such
fo o ls that they w ill risk the possible destruction o f all that they possess
and con trol rather than make con cession s w hich w ill satisfy the fair-m inded
m a jority w h o fo rm the strength o f the A m erican labor m ovem ent. N o r do
I believe that the leaders o f A m erican labor w ill put forw a rd such unreason
able dem ands that an agreem ent w ill be im possible. I f this congress w ere
to be m ade up o f provincial labor leaders and o f em ployers w hose know ledge
and interest does n ot extend beyond the fron t d oors o f their ow n small
shops, agreem ent m ight be difficult, i f n ot im possible, but if the con feren ce
and congress are made up, as I trust they w ill be, o f men accustom ed to
deal w ith large affairs in a large way, I am confident that the result will be
an understanding and an enunciation o f principles and policies fa r m ore
effective f o r ord erly progress than any legislation.
I lo v e A m erica. I fo resee troublous times co n fro n tin g her, but I have
faith in the A m erican people and am confident that ou t o f the turm oil and
dissension w hich are ahead w ill com e a better understanding am on g all
grou ps and all classes, fro m w hich will be evolved a life o f greater co m fo rt
and happiness f o r all the people o f A m erica and an enduring basis f o r that
citizenship which alone makes a nation truly great.

in f o r m a l d is c u s s io n

Others who took part in this feature o f the discussion w ere: H enry Richm ond,
D etroit; P ro f. Francis T yson, Pittsburgh; H. H . Jacobs o f M ilwaukee, and M r. Manly.
T H E N E G R O IN I N D U S T R Y

Eugene Kinckle Jones, General Secretary, National League on Urban Condi


tions Among Negroes, N ew York

Am erica's greatest problem is again staring the Am erican people in the


fa c e l Tem porarily, during the war period, through sheer necessity and
because o f the great emergency, it was overshadow ed by the greatest acute
problem , we as a people had been forced to tackle that is how most
effectively to destroy German militarism.
T he Greatest A m erican P roblem is called the N egro problem, but in
reality it is the problems o f the N egro problem s which are difficult, but no
m ore difficult o f solution than the same problem s am ong the white people
o f A m erica, except fo r the attitude o f the public mind towards them.
O f these many questions called problems that demand thought and action,
there is none that is m ore significant, more fundamental, in fact, more
important than that o f em ploym ent! In seeking a jo b or looking forw a rd to
advancement in one's jo b , the N egro must always consider one element that
is the fact that he happens to be blessed with a pigment and physiological
peculiarities adapted by nature to the peculiar clim atic conditions o f the
original habitat o f his forefathers. A n y discussion o f the N egro in industry,
must in the beginning take this into account.
W e all will admit readily, that the most serious problem that Am erican
people are actually facing and attempting to solve, is that o f the proper
adjustm ent o f labor in its relation to capital.
It is not the mere fact that men must w ork or do w ork, that makes
the problem ; all men should w o rk ; most men must w ork. T h e problem is
serious because men are beginning to exercise som e ch oice as to the kind
o f w ork they wish to d othe amount o f com pensation they expect the
advancement they feel they should be assured the hours during which they
are required to w ork and the conditions generally under which they are
employed.
Negro in a Vicious Circle

W ith the N egro in industry, these also are the important factors with
special emphasis on his ability to exercise some ch oice as to the kind o f w ork
he will d o ; in his ow n particular case the task ever b efore him is that o f
extending the variety o f occupations which he is permitted to enter. Indus
trially, his affliction is a vicious circle. H e is afraid to prepare him self fo r
more skilled and selected w ork fo r fear he will not get itand is told that
he cannot get it because he is not equal to it.
T here are a few fundamental facts that I should like fo r you to keep in
mind during the discussion o f this su b ject:
F ir s t N egroes are listed as engaged in gainful occupations in a larger
proportion than the white population, because few er o f them, especially
w om en, have sufficient incomes to remain idle.
Second. They are usually employed in the m ost unskilled and menial
labor and are considered fresh when they succeed in getting into a superior
type o f w ork or aspire to advancement.
T h ird : W hen given an opportunity, they can make g o o d and, in fact,
have made g o o d in every line o f w ork they have been allow ed to attempt,
whether semi-skilled o r skilled, professional or highly specialized.

438
NEGEO IN INDUSTRY JONES 439

F o u rth : T h ey secure this opportunity once in a great w h ile ; occasionally


because em ployers wish to be fair and ju st to their men regardless o f color.
M ore often it com es because o f a scarcity o f white labor and when the
pocketbook o f the em ployer is threatened either with a loss o r a reduction
o f profits.
W ar Gives N egro Chance
D uring the war, N egro men (an d w om en, t o o ) have had their largest
opportunities in the big industrial plants o f the north, due to the departure
o f im migrant labor, many o f w hom w ent into the service o f their mother
country o r w ere drawn into the m ore skilled w ork which was opened up
during the war. T h e testim ony o f many o f the em ployers was to the effect
that they foun d the N egroes rather inexperienced, frequently undependable,
o f a roam ing nature easily tempted to change their places o f em ploym ent
on account o f such inducement as small increases in wages, shorter hours and
easier w ork. (V e r y similar to the testim ony given throughout the war about
white labor.)
On the other hand, how ever, sufficient testimony is available to prove
conclusively that the N egro labor on the w hole was fou n d to be extrem ely
prom ising. T h ey w ere loyal to their em ployers. In fact, they to o lf p ro
prietary interest in their em ployers plants. They w ere American to the core,
and their great advantage was their ability to speak and understand English.
T h ey w ere n ot easily inflamed against their em ployers fo r im agined griev
ances, and at least they earned what should not have been necessary fo r them
to g o so far to merit real op p ortu n ity!
Further testimony discloses that N egro labor is easily managed. N o m ore
easily, I should say, than the average Am erican laborer, but easily managed
if a touch o f human kindness is m ingled with the spirit o f ju stice and fair
play, which means that the men are given a reasonable wage, hours and con
ditions o f labor that are human and an opportunity to advance in their w ork.
M ost o f the men w h o proved unreliable did so because they had no
hope on the job, o r had been chosen from a grou p o f idle loafers in some
southern city o r com m unity w here real opportunity fo r training fo r the
N egro is unknown.
But, you w ill say, A m erican em ployers do not readily, in the m ajority
o f cases, offer these rewards to white men, unless the men organize and
demand through collective bargaining a fairer return from their investment
o f brain and brawn.
Trade Unions Need Negro Membership
T h is naturally brings up the question as to the relationship between
organized white groups o f laborers and colored w orkingm en. Y ou will say
that all men w ho w ork have a com m on cause and should co-operate to the
end that as strong and as solid a fron t as possible may be made b efore recal
citrant em ployers. But in ord er to have a clear understanding o f the situation,
the fo llo w in g facts should not be ignored.
1. N egroes are n ot usually w elcom ed in the highly organized trades;
and when they are, through the favor o f the circum stances, they are the so-
called scabs o f these trades. T h e unions have refused to accept them as
m em bers and, on the other hand, brand them as scabs fo r w orking at a low er
wage. C olored men are told that they are disliked because they are scabs and
they organize and pass resolutions in the effort to get adm ission into the
unions fo r the colored men. T h e national and international councils in form
us that there is n o discrim ination recognized In the constitutions o f these great
labor organizations, but in the n ext breath adm it that they cannot control
their locals and the locals continue in their w ork o f discrimination.
2. N egroes are mainly engaged in the unskilled and sem i-skilled trades
and in dom estic service, which has always proved difficult o f organization.
440 INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

Surely, the plight o f the N eg ro w orkingm an seems im possible, but the hand
o f P roviden ce is unerring and unexpected fo rce s are at w o rk to bring to
the N e g ro the opportunity he deserves and should have.
I have already m entioned the w ar situation, through which many o p p o r
tunities w ere given to the N egro, and n ow w e have b efore us the great em igra
tion o f foreign ers fro m ou r shores and the con current evidences o f the great
increase o f business and industry o f the reconstruction period. W e are told
that in the very first nine m onths o f the present Federal fiscal year, the em i
gration fro m ou r shores exceed ed the im m igration by 300,000. W e are told by
C ol. A rthu r W o o d s , w ho is n o w w ork in g on the em ploym ent situation in con
nection with the W a r D epartm ent, that in the fall there w ill be a shortage o f
7,000,000 m en in industry. Perhaps, again, there will be a new dem and fo r
N e g ro labor in lines w here his capacities have already equipped him but
w here the dem and has been withheld f o r reason o f prejudice.

Law o f Supply and Demand Befriends Race


I am optim istic enough to believe that the N eg ro is finding and will find
in the^future many friends w ho are anxious to give him a fair and square deal
in industry. But I believe that the best frien d the N eg ro has is the law o f
supply and dem and, w hich will run its cou rse regardless o f the prejudices
o f man.
W e are o fte n told that the N e g ro in the south is listless, undependable,
w orth little and, th erefore, paid little fo r his services. W e fou n d during the
w ar that this rum or was mere rum or, f o r with the reduction in the supply
o f this so-called unreliable labor, w ages w ent up, less idleness was n oticed
and N egroes fo u n d themselves w alking with their heads a little higher and
their am bition stimulated. W e all kn ow h ow slow the South has been in
the developm ent o f industry and in the adoption o f im proved m ethods o f
farm ing, w ithout w hich the dem ands f o r available labor supply o f N egroes in
the south cou ld n ever be raised to its proper p o in t; the result being that
b efo re the w ar many N egroes w ere em ployed at seventy-five cents and $1.00
per day f o r exactly the cam e w ork that men up north received fro m $2.50
to $4.00 per day. M en in great num bers are frequently used to do w ork
in the south which on e o r tw o men w ith m odern m achinery cou ld do m ore
adequately, and thus furnish w ork fo r m any m ore in addition.
^I feel that there will be an added step tow ards im provem ent in this sit
uation w ith the com in g period o f prosperity.

A Program f o r Improvement
Criticism s o f the con dition, w ithout suggesting possible rem edies, w ould
on ly add to the difficulties o f the situation unless by giving the facts to others
better qualified to suggest solutions their interest will be stim ulated to action.
I suggest, h ow ever, the f o llo w in g :
1. T h at those w h o kn ow the situation w ill m ake it very clear to all
persons w h o entertain the over-em phasized thought that to give the N egro
opportunity w ill advance the so-called desire f o r social equality f o r the
N e g ro that the N egroes are a great deal less con cerned about this bug-bear
than those w ho talk about it. In fact, but seldom d o I hear N egroes dis
cussing the question on e w ay o r the other. I am rather in clined to feel
that in m ost problem s w here racial and religious and other grou p antipathies
are felt, this underlying thought o r subconscious feelin g is allow ed to go
w ithout o u r daring to m ention it k n ow in g all the tim e that it is the funda
mental cause o f so much feelin g and m isunderstanding.
2. In the second place, ou r cou ntry dem ands, fo r its fu ll developm ent,
the utilization o f the greatest and m ost effective man p ow er w hich its citi-
NEGRO IN INDUSTRY JONES 441

zens can muster. This power should be exacted o f them, based upon just and
square dealings with all, to the end that their greatest capacities may be
developed and used. It is not to the best interest o f our country that 11,000,-
000 o f our population are, regardless o f capacity or inclination, relegated to
the most menial positions in the community. Science, experience and ob
servation have taught us that it is possible, and often does happen, that the
best individuals along certain lines may just as well be o f one race as o f
another, be it a pugilist, a musician, a painter, a riveter or a writer.
3. I should think that in order to develop N egro workers to their great
est efficiency in our large industrial plants, N egro welfare workers snould
be employed who will look after the complaints and grievances o f the m en;
see that they are given decent houses and proper recreation and that their
increased efficiency is encouraged by offering them advancement from
time to time in their several positions, which positions are guaranteed to
them indefinitely, based only upon merit.
4. Again, the U. S. Employment Service and the state employment
service, where such exists, should be used to the fullest extent in connecting
competent Negroes up with good jobs. And wherever it is possible, private
organizations should be organized or encouraged to promote a better under
standing o f the possibilities o f N egro laborers, to the end that larger op
portunity and more promising openings are given to them. W e should use
our influence to encourage employers to back up this most democratic agency
that our government has yet developed. (I refer to the U. S. Employment
Service.) This practical experiment in democracy will be successful only
if the employers, as well as the employees and the examiners o f the service
believe in the spirit o f fair play in which the service was created.
5. Trade unions must understand that they cannot get their full return
from their efforts with one-tenth o f the country's man power arbitrarily
shut out o f the movement. Competitors at a lower wage are unavoidably
created thereby.
Again, the Negroes have their lesson to learn. N o people have risen^ to
positions o f respect in the world without determination, study, preparation
and hard work. W e should not be satisfied with simply the presentation
o f good reasons why we are not more efficient, m ore favorably recognized,
more advanced in industry. Efficiency will only be recognized when we pre
pare ourselves in our industrial schools and as apprentices fo r work which
is valued.
I f we create for our people the reputation fo r thrift, reliability, depend
ability and soberness, we will be in demand. The world reorganized in this
new era on the basis o f peace, good will, hard work, big business, inter
nationalism, is bound to recognize real worth in one race or another re
gardless o f the ravings o f the junkers, and it will not be necessary to
depend on a great visionary revolution in the future or a miracle wrought
from Heaven fo r the industrial millennium to come. It will be within the
reach o f every man if he will but accept it.
This program is being follow ed by the National Urban League through
thirty-two affiliated organizations in as many cities.

IN FO R M A L DISCUSSION
Answering interrogation, Mr. Jones* explained that within the last year almot 20
men and at least 2 women to his knowledge had been employed by industrial concerns.
Mr. William A . A ery o f Hampton Institute said that the prevalent idea about the
Negros habit o f squandering money was not justified by tne facts, that the great
majority o f colored people were saving money and putting it into the education o f their
children and purchasing homes. He pleaded for a right social attitude and for giving the
NoteUncorrected by speaker.
442 INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEM

Negro a chance to make good. M r, O. G. Ftnkelstein o f Chicago reported interviewing


managers o f various industries and finding that most o f them claimed that they could
not get along with colored workers because they were unstable and unreliable.
Speaking o f this point, Air. Jones explained that this attitude o f the colored worker
was due to his not having a substantial future ahead o f him. H e said the most radical
labor organizations have been most favorable to the colored worker. Asked whether
there might ever be a Zionist Movement among the Negroes, the speaker said he hoped
not because the Negroes were thoroughly American. The Liberian migration experiment
proved that they do not care to migrate.
Others who participated in the informal discussion w ere: Mrs. Lyman, Chicago;
Mary C. W iggin, Boston; Dr. Griel, New Y ork ; Harry L. Lurie, Detroit; Elizabeth R.
Adams, W ashington; Dorothy C. Paulin, Pittsburgh, and Miss Rexowski, Washington.

H E A L T H IN S U R A N C E

John A . Lapp, Managing Editor o f M odern Medicine and Specialist f o r the


National Catholic War Council, Formerly Director Ohio
Health and Old A g e Insurance Commission
W henever a number o f people are subjected to a com m on risk which
may entail loss upon them, the insurance principle may be applied if the risk
is measurable. Since most o f the risks which people run have been found
by experience to be measurable, insurance has com e to be applied in many
different fields. Insurance is merely a distributor o f loss. It is based upon
fairly exact calculations. Fire insurance measures the loss from fires and
fixes the premium which each dollars worth o f property should be taxed
as a premium to cover possible loss. M arine insurance measures the loss
from shipping disasters and fixes the premiums that are necessary. L ife
insurance measures the number o f deaths that are going to occu r in each
age group and fixes the premium to cover the loss. N um erous other form s
o f insurance have been devised, including insurance against hail, tornadoes,
accidents, burglary, plate glass breakage, fidelity and others. Insurance is
well established as a business proposition. V ery few business men fail to
protect themselves against serious loss o f property. W h en insurance is con
ceived o f as a universal matter applying to all people and all losses o f a
certain kind, it is even simpler o f application and m ore businesslike than
the voluntary form s o f property insurance with which w e are m ore familiar.
W e are com ing to recognize the fact that when the people o f an entire
state are subjected to certain risks which are measurable, it is g ood business
to organize insurance through the instrumentality o f the state, measure the
risk and pay the losses which happen at random to this individual o r that.
W e have used this principle fo r many years without recognizing it as social
insurance. Nearly every state provides a fund by the taxation o f dogs, from
which the losses to sheep ow ners are paid. W e have established the principle
in insurance o f bank deposits now in fo rce in a number o f states whereby a
fund is collected from the banks in order to pay the losses to depositors
through bank failures. Still later, w e have applied in som e states the same
principle by the collection o f funds from a tax on agricultural lands to pay
the losses from hail. N orth Dakota and South Dakota have done this on a
statewide basis, as have also some o f the Canadian northwest provinces.
Lastly, we have recognized that statewide insurance o f laborers against
accident is a simple, practicable and certain w ay o f distributing the econom ic
shock o f accident. In a fe w states this principle is applied through the crea
tion o f a single state fund from which the unfortunate victims o f accidents
draw a part o f their compensation and are provided with m edical and
surgical care.
These simple statements o f the application o f the insurance principle
voluntarily and also on a social basis are made here f o r the purpose o f
clarifying our thinking at the outset on the subject o f health insurance.
T h ey are too often overlooked. Som e folks would make us believe that the