% ~ re eT ah



Volume V

Number 7

Published by

The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History

1538 Ninth Street, N. W., Washington, D. C.

PURPOSE: To inculcate an appre- ciation of the past of the Negro.


Albert N. D. Brooks

Lois M. Jones

Florence R. Beatty-Brown

Carol W. Hayes

Esther Popel Shaw

Wilhelmina M. Crosson

Carter G. Woodson Managing Editor

The subscription fee of this paper is $1.00 a year, or 12 cents a copy; but, if taken in combinations of five or more copies and mailed to one person and in one package it may be obtained at the rate of 5 bulk subscriptions for $2.70; 10 for $5.40; 20 for $10.80, and so on. Published monthly except July, August and September, 1538 Ninth St., N. W.., Washington, D. C.

Entered as second class matter Octo- ber 31, 1937, at the Post Office at Wash- ington, D. C., under the Act of March 3, 1879.


EsTevaAnico, THE NEGRO EXPLORER By Annie E. Duncan WHEAT

THE Necro First to PRopucE


Tue LAND oF VISIONS UNLIMITED Necro History iy New YorkK CIty By Alice Citron


AMERICAN NEGRO SOLDIERY By Dr. De Haven Hinkson THE Necro TFACHER IN’ NATIONAL DEFENSE By Rhoza A. Walker Victor Sésour AND His Times By A. E. Perkins CELEBRATING





Book oF THE MonTH

| make medicine for him?”

Tue Nearo History BULLETIN


ATER! Water! I am so thirsty.”

The three men sittting by the feverish man merely looked at each other. Again the tortured man cried out as he tried in vain to raise himself:

“Look! here comes Narvaez and his men. See? My brother Hernando is with them carrying the flag of Spain.”

The men shook their heads. How they wished that Narvaez and his men were really there as they were the year before. But now, after frequent attacks by the Indians as well as suffering and hard- ships of all kinds, their comrades were all dead. Only the four of them were left, and one of them might soon be gone. What a piti- ful remnant of the gallant band of five hundred who had set out from Spain in 1527.

Finally Pedro spoke. “Let us leave Juan. He is out of his head, and will not live through the night.”

Manual joined in, “Yes, the Indians will hear him raving and may kill us all.”

“Would you leave our friend to die alone in this wild place?” cried Estevanico. “Besides, he might not die. By morning the medi- cine we have given him may make him better. Go if you will, but I will stay to care for him.”

The two Spaniards sat in shamed silence, knowing that Este- vanico was right.

The next day Juan was better, and at the end of the second day they moved slowly on, carrying the sick man. This they did until he was strong again, and at last they came to the coast of Texas.

For six years the explorers wandered about among the Indians, learning their languages and customs. Finally they were enslaved in an Indian village, and were given hard, dangerous tasks to do.

One evening the men of the tribe sorrowfully returned to the village from a hunting trip bearing their chief’s son who had be- come ill.

“Call the medicine man,” said the chief. “He will drive away the evil spirits that torture him.”

For three days there was a hush in the village while the medicine man used all his knowledge in trying to cure the youth, but he grew thinner and his eyes became brighter with fever. The sad old chief sat with heavy heart watching the restless boy. Slowly someone ap- proached him. It was Estevanico. He waited for the chief to look up, but he did not take his eyes from his son.

“We have seen many men like this, Chief, but all of them did not die,” said Estevanico after some minutes. Will you let us (Continued on page 150)


Apri, 1942


trinkets. With these to sell to the leaders

of fashion such traders may grow rich. The Spanish explorers accidentally came upon the new world in seeking a short route to the Indies to se- cure from the Far East trinkets and spices with the hope to enrich themselves by disposing of these valuables to the wealthy classes of Europe. When these adventurers finally reached America they heard of lands of precious metals and valuable pearls. They then set out upon further explora- tion to make themselves richer in a quicker way. If they could tap the sources of silver and gold, if they could find the wealthy Indian cities decorated with topaz and turquoise, they would be rich at once. Thus went Hernando Cortes into Mexico, and when he did not find what he wanted he pushed on to the next place with the assistance of his lieutenants, Orozco, Alvarado, Olid, Sandoval, Chico, Avalos, and Montejo.

Among the followers of Cortes was another sub- ordinate who was not so much concerned with Cor- tes’ conquest of the Aztecs in Mexico or with the strife and rivalry among the Spanish leaders them- selves. This other subordinate was a Negro. His mind ran toward practical things. In many of the expeditions and wars in that part the matter of food was often a problem. In that country grew maize, or Indian corn; and it became popular among the first European settlers in America because the soil and climate were better suited to maize than any other cereal. Maize was much easier to plant, to cultivate, to harvest, to grind, and to cook. At first the European adventurers relied mainly on rice.

This Negro, while ever facing the problem of food to be preserved and carried with men on the march, thought of an experiment. One day when given his allowance of rice, he found therein some colored grains which immensely interested him. He planted these seeds, cultivatd the plants which sprang therefrom, watched them as they flowered, and rejoiced when he saw the blossoms pass away

and signs of growing grain appear. At harvest

Se men spend years in quest of valuable

time others could rejoice with him, for he had dis- covered something more valuable than gold. He had proved that wheat could be produced in the new world. When the settlers finally saw that most of the fabulous riches sought for in America were like those at the end of the rainbow, they began to cultivate the soil. Wheat raising became common, and now that grain is the great product of America.

Wheat had long been cultivated in the old world. Its origin, however, is obscure. It is believed that it developed from a wild grass found im the hilly districts of southeastern Europe and Asia Minor. The plant has been improved by selection and cross- ing. Today wheat is a very different plant from what it was centuries ago. Various species now abound, namely, einkorn, emmer, macaroni wheat, Egyptian cone wheat, Polish wheat, Khorasan, and bread wheat, the most important of all. Bread wheat varies as Indian dwarf wheat, club wheat and dinkel, or spelt. The civilized world looks upon wheat as the most important of all cereals.

While wheat cannot be produced, harvested, and ground as easily as maize, it can be used for so many more purposes than maize and can be more easily preserved and transplanted. It was a lucky stroke, then, that this Negro so early demonstrated that wheat could be planted in America and thus turned the minds of goldseekers and adventurers toward the practical pursuits of life. The early settlers then saw how they could give up their search for sudden riches with which they might re- turn to Europe for a life of luxury. In America they could make a living and build new homes.

The first wheat area in what is now the United States was the district from Delaware and Mary- land to New York. Next developed a more pro- ductive area north of the Ohio River. Finally after the Civil War when there was a rush to the West the rich lands of the prairies became the wheat country; and today most of this grain grown in the United States is produced west of the Mis- sissippi. (Continued on page 150)

Tue Necro History BULLETIN


The Negro in the Southwestern part of the United States is a chapter of contacts with the Span- iards and Indians. We know that Negroes were with Columbus and accompanied practically all the Spanish explorers. Negroes went with Ayllon in 1526 as far north as Miguel, the present site of Jamestown in Virginia; with Ponce de Leon in Florida; and with De Soto on the Mississippi. The most romantic part of this history of the Negroes of this group, however, is the account of their crossing the Isthmus with Balboa to the Pacific, with Cortes to conquer Mexico and with Alarcon and Coro- nado to explore the present area of Arizona and New Mexico.

The picture is not clear without keeping in mind that the Spaniards not only wanted to claim the coun- try for their European sovereign under whom New Spain might be established in America but the in- dividuals participating in the ex- ploration hoped to find centers of fabulous wealth derived from an abundance of precious stones and metals. Certain Indians, the abo- rigines, they believed, had already exploited these and, therefore, could recline in luxury and ease in centers which rivaled the wealth and splendor of Europe. Cortes had failed to realize such a dream in his conquest of Mexico, but the end of the search was not yet.

Fortunately when the Spaniards decided to make the dash toward the north from their Mexican base they made the acquaintance of a most remarkable Negro, Estevani- co, or Little Stephen, sometimes re- ferred to also as Stephen Dorantes. This adventurer had survived the ill-fated Spanish expedition of Nar- was lost in the efforts to subdue the country between Florida and Mexico. Little Ste- phen had wandered around among the Indians for seven years in the wilderness where he posed as a doctor able to effect wonderful eures, Having learned both the




vaez which

customs and languages of the abo- rigines, he was the very man who the Spaniards believed should take charge of the expedition suecess- fully.

Little Stephen was asked in 1539 to lead the way into the interior in quest of the ‘‘Seven Cities.’’ It was rumored that the Indians lived there in riches and extravagance. If the news proved favorable as he proceeded toward the place he would send back an Indian with a large cross; if unfavorable with a small cross. Shortly a messenger re- turned to the base with a cross as tall as a man. The Spaniards virded themselves to advance to this vantage point; but, before they could arrive, Stephen, in try- ing to take possession without ade- quate force, had been overcome and killed. The Spaniards followed lat- er in sufficient numbers, however, to claim the country, but the fabu- lous riches were never found.

The Negroes with the Spaniards proved to be an enduring factor, al- though in numbers. There were not many settlers of any de- scription in those parts, for the Spaniards, like the French, seat- tered over large areas, establishing trading posts and burying plates of possession in the name of their sov- ereign, but they never sent a suffi- cient number of settlers to build up the country solidly and thus be able to withstand the attacks of other European adventurers who later disputed their claims. Yet wher- ever the Spaniards went they had a considerable number of Negroes with them Negroes taken from communities where they had been long settled in Spain or from set- tlements of West Africa which during those years maintained close connection with Spain and was econ- trolled in part by that country.

Why the Negroes played such a prominent part among the Span- iards may be explained by their at- titudes. The Spaniards, like most Latin people, do not show much race prejudice. They had slaves, but did not treat them so cruelly


as the English settlers did. The Spaniards, moreover, mterbred with Negroes and set their mulatto children free in order that they might live as full-fledged citizens. The British settlers were not so liberal, and tended to keep all Ne- groes on a level lower than that of the whites,

The French were likewise kind- ly disposed toward Negroes and showed them the same considera- tion which the blacks received from the Spaniards. Negroes went with the French from Canada down the Ohio and the Mississippi into Lou- isiana. These pioneers instructed the Negroes in their religion, gave them the rudiments of education, interbred with black people, as (lid the Spaniards, and freed their mulatto offspring which, in Louis- iana, especially in New Orleans, became that famous class known as the Creoles. Some of this class be- came slaveholding planters and merchants who rivaled the whites in wealth and aristocratic bearing. Not a few went to France to live.

When the Spaniards and the French gradually faded from the picture, yielding ground to strong- er powers coming into possession of Florida, Louisiana and Texas. the Negroes still had other friends beyond the frontier—the Indians. The Indians lost their hunting grounds east of the Mississippi, and on the other side of that stream they were pushed still farther back beyond the frontier. In this proc- ess of making early America the Negroes in considerable numbers remained with the Indians even in their last stand in the West.

Why the Negroes should take to the Indians or the Indians to the Negroes requires explanation. In the first place, both were considered as undesirables and were perse- cuted by the white settlers. The general opinion was that the only good Indian was a dead Indian, and the only good Negro was one who could be made to work. The first European settlers in America en-

(Continued on page 155)

i q

Aprin, 1942


One of the most picturesque fig- ures in American history was Ne- gro Abraham. He was an illiterate fugitive slave who won freedom by fleeing from Pensacola, Florida, to the Seminoles. Among them he be- came a great diplomat and leader under their chief known as Mi- canopy. Among the Seminoles his name was sometimes Yobly, but he was often referred to by such other titles as ‘‘Prophet,’’ ‘‘ principal counselor of his master,’’ ‘‘ prime minister and privy counsellor,’’ and ‘‘high chancellor and keeper of the king’s conscience.’’

How did this former slave thus rise so high from obscurity? In the first place, it was easier for a Negro to win recognition among the Indians than among the white settlers. The Indians had slaves and often took in Negro fugitives as slaves, but slavery among the Red Men meant nothing like hard work or cruelty. At best it was an attachment, the token of which was to present to the master some short service or a small part of what was obtained in hunting and cultivating the soil. Among the Indians it was difficult to distinguish between slaves and free persons; and those in bondage easily became free. By 1826 Negro Abraham had become free among the Seminoles and had attained the position of Micanopy’s interpreter.

Doubtless Abraham’s personal appearance had much to do with the favorable impression which he made. He was a man of distinctly Negroid features. He stood erect over six feet high, strongly though sparely built. He had a serious but pleasant and smiling face, Un- der his high and broad forehead showed penetrating eyes which in- dicated strong character. His words ‘‘ flowed like oil.’” Some who met Abraham left unfavorable im- pressions of his appearance because he always looked the part of a man who could not be handled in the fashion in which it was customary to treat the Indians. One writer said that he was ‘‘a perfect Talley- rand of the Savage Court in Flor- ida.”’

As the spokesman for the Semi- noles Abraham faced a serious task. The United States Government at that time was trying to induce the Seminoles to move to the territory on the other side of the Mississippi into what we now call Oklahoma and Kansas. The Seminoles might have been induced to go, but the Negroes living among them and the Negro maroons settled beyond the frontier opposed this transplanta- tion. In the rounding up of those to be removed the Negroes, both free and slave, in that region would be claimed by slaveholding agents. Only when assured that the Ne- groes would be allowed to go as free men without interruption would Abraham agree to removal.

Abraham consented to investi- gate the proposed new home pro- vided for in the Treaty of Payne’s Landing in 1832, but opposed re- moval without assurance of free- dom to all. Abraham was wise enough to know that the Seminoles would eventually be forced to the West, but he served effectively as a real diplomat in delaying matters until he secured the desired terms. Both the Seminoles and the Ne- groes were inalterably opposed to settlement among the Creeks from whom the Seminoles had long since seceded. The Creeks would want to dominate the Seminoles and en- slave the Negroes. In this region which Congress set apart as Indian Territory in 1834 lived also other Indians Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Quapaws; but the Seminoles feared the domination of the Creeks. With assurance against such a thing in the Treaty of Fort Dade in 1837 the Seminoles moved West in 1839 and Abraham went with them. He used his influence

‘to have the Seminoles accept what

he knew to be inevitable.

The United States Government, however, did not live up to its agreement. In the first place, the Seminoles were so settled in the West as to be subject to the Creeks. The Creeks enslaved the Negroes and permitted slave agents to claim others as fugitives and take them back to the cotton plantations. The

Seminoles and Negroes thus suf- fered for twenty years, until 1856, when the Seminoles were recog- nized as an independent tribe and some of these wrongs were righted. The efforts to adjust matters by agreements in 1845 and 1848 were not successful, and Micanopy, the chief friendly to the Negroes, died the latter year. The troubles of the Negroes on the frontier further inereased.


In such a state of affairs Negro Abraham had very little to do. The chief under whom he had served was followed by Jim Jumper, the tool of the Creeks. Coacoochee, a wise leader, who should have been chosen as Micanopy’s successor, de- cided that the best way out of the difficulty was to transplant to Mex- ico all Seminoles and Negroes who were dissatisfied with the turn things had taken. They departed September 10, 1850, and crossed Texas into Mexico. There they re- ceived a grant of land for protect- ing the border. Some authorities say that Abraham went to Mexico, where he served and died; and others say that he remained in In- dian Territory. Abraham has prob- ably been confused with Gopher John, another Negro leader, who succeeded Abraham as the inter-


preter of Micanopy. There is also the belief that Abraham went to Mexico with Coaeooechee and re- turned to Indian Territory after the death of that chieftain in 1857. The new agreement granting the Seminoles the independence which they had long sought made it con- for them to return. The Negroes as a majority, however, re- mained in Mexico until after the Civil War when their freedom was no longer questioned


Estevanico, the Negro Explorer

(Continued from page 146)

Wearily the old man dragged his eyes away from the boy and looked at the Negro. ‘‘You may try,’’ he said slowly.

Ystevanico hurried away to tell Manuel, Pedro, and Juan. ‘‘ This is our chance. If this favorite son gets well, we may be freed.’’

‘May the Holy Virgin protect him,’’ said Juan,

They gathered herbs and made potions for the Indian boy. They took turns watching over him and bathing him in cool water. Patient- ly they worked, and slowly the boy became quiet and drifted off to sleep. After that he gradually got better, and the happy chief knew that he would get well.

The news of the recovery spread to other villages and many Indians came long distances for the magic eures of the explorers. The four men traveled from tribe to tribe as medicine men, and life became much easier for them.

When they reached Mexico, they had a chance to return to Spain. All of them went except Este- vanico.

‘*T shall stay here and learn more about the languages and customs of the people,’’ he said as he bade them goodbye.

About a year later, a group of Spaniards planned to make an ex- pedition northward. They had heard of the ‘‘Seven Cities of Ci- bola,’’ where they would find vast treasures, enough gold, silver and precious stones to last them forever

They sent for Estevanico in 1539. Fray Marcos de Niza, their leader, said to him:

**You have traveled among the Indians for many years. You know their languages. Will you guide us through the country northward ?”’

**Yes, I will do it in the name of Spain.”’

‘*Good! Go ahead of us then for fifty or sixty leagues. Send us word if all is well and we shall follow.’’

And so it was agreed that crosses the size of the palm of the hand would be sent as a sign that all was well. If the news were very good, larger crosses would be sent.

Four days later as the Spaniards were making camp, they saw two Indians coming toward them. One was bearing a eross as tall as he. The explorers were elated.

‘‘Estevanico has sent news,’’ they cried.

‘*Great news indeed,’’ said the messenger. ‘‘ Ahead lie seven large cities with houses of stone and lime. They are not ordinary houses. Many of them are four stories high. You will find the doors trimmed in silver and turquoise.”’

Fray Marcos and his men pressed forward, and on the way, they re- ceived other crosses that Estevan- ico had sent back to them. When they reached the place where Este- vanico was supposed to meet them, however, they did not find him, He had gone on to Cibola, the seven cities of the Zuni Indians. There he had been set upon by the na- tives.

‘*l have come as a messenger from two white men,’’ Estevanico tried to explain. ‘‘One of them is skilled in the things of the heav- ens.”’

But not believing that the white men had sent a black man to rep- resent them, the Indians put him to death. When Fray Marcos heard what had happened, he and his men fled back to Mexico.

Not long afterward, other Span- iards came to the cities that Este- vanico had explored, and took them in the name of Spain. But the great treasures were only a dream.



Tue Necro History BULLETIN


The Negro First to Produce Wheat in America

(Continued from page 147)

The United States leads the world in the production of wheat. During normal times this country produces a little more than 18 mil- lion tons of the 105 or 106 million tons grown in the whole world. Next in rank of production appear Russia, Canada, France, India, Italy, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Australia, North Africa, Rumania, and Hungary. About two-thirds of the wheat produced in the United States is used to feed its own peo- ple, and a little more than a fifth is sold abroad. These figures have varied in recent years during which federal control has been in vogue.

In noting important develop- ments in our study of history we must not forget that Negro who opened this long chapter in the his- tory of the new world. To omit his story would give an incomplete history and deprive the public of the whole truth. This Negro pio- neer deserves an imposing monu- ment among the great agricultur- ists of our age.


APRIL, 1942


The Georgia planters objected to the presence of the Indians in the territory lying between that state and the Mississippi and finally in- fluenced the Federal Government to force them to leave for the other side of this stream. The fertile soil west of Georgia was needed to expand the cotton cultivation and make that crop king. The South had reaped great profits from the production of cotton on such new soil, and more of it they said they must have to build up that region which beeame Florida and Ala- bama. No planter had any thought about the welfare of the Negroes and Indians who would have to suffer in leaving their native soil to find new homes in an unknown wilderness. These two classes of the population were considered as savages—persons inferior to the planters and these ‘‘inferiors’’ had no rights which the other peo- ple should respect.

The Indians and Negroes bore it grievously that they had to move out to find new homes. It was eruel torture to force them to leave their familiar hunting grounds and to settle in a wilderness. Neither the Indians nor their enemies, how- ever, knew what lay in the un- broken wilderness. The fabulous treasures which the Spaniards had once sought in the Southwest had passed from their minds like a dream of a summer night, but be- neath the soil of the land on which the Indians and their Negro com- panions were forced to dwell was a real treasure—petroleum. Cotton had not yet fully had its day, but when its day was done as a result of the Civil War the country en- tered upon the new industrial era which brought us the opportunity of supplying the modern world with carbon oil.

Fortunately or unfortunately this oil could be pumped in large quantities from the very soil to which the Indians had been forced to. go many vears before. What,

then, would the American exploit- ers do to dislodge these Indians and Negroes and take possession of these oil fields. Here the ill-de- signing adventurers penetrating the West were puzzled. The Fed- eral Government had long been used in making treaties which it violated without hesitation as soon as a number of Americans found it to their advantage to dislodge the Indians. The Government often solemnly signed treaties with the Indians guaranteeing to them for- ever their present territory, but ‘*forever’’ meant simply as long as it was convenient to the Federal Government to stand by such a treaty. This dishonest diplomacy in dealing with the Indians had been carried so far, however, that the American people began to have a sense of shame for such a sean- dalous record. The Civil War, moreover, had brought about the emancipation of the Negroes, fol- lowed by guarantees in the War Amendments, especially the Four- teenth, which guaranteed that no citizen should be deprived of his life or property without due proc- ess of law.

To deprive the Negroes and In- dians of these lands newly adver- tised as most valuable methods be- vond the reach of the law had to be resorted to. By some sort of pur- chase a large tract in the center of Indian Territory was secured for settlement by migrants. The ex- ploiters rushed into Indian terri- tory by the thousands as soon as the Federal Government declared that area open for settlement in 1889. Uninhabited spots in the morning of almost any day became settlements of 25,000 and 30,000 in- habitants before night. Claims and counter claims were set up, and bloody conflicts ensued in the ef- fort to possess and dispossess. Those who survived the internecine strife and got their claims before the courts soon realized how hazard- ous was the administration of jus-

tice where courts had little to rely upon but personal evidence to de- termine priority and preemption. Fortunate were those in a position to employ able counsellors to ad- vance their cause. It was not ex- actly a case of selling justice, but the poor had much difficulty in overcoming the rich in the taking up of lands in the new region. These migrants fixed their eyes on other lands beyond the limits of the first purchase.

The poor Negroes involved in this rush suffered much worse than the Indians. Only those Negroes who had more Indian than Afri- can blood, or who had been so in- corporated into the tribes as to be essential to them had much of a chance to hold their lands. The Negroes, like the Indians, more- over, suffered in not being suffi- ciently alert as to the methods used by adventurers who induced them to make agreements which they did not understand. Negro orphans possessed of such lands were placed under guardians by decree of cor- rupt courts, and the guardians finally worked out schemes to ob- tain full possession of their prop- erty.

Another method frequently em- ployed was that of having a Negro property owner declared of un- sound mind when he was thor- oughly competent to handle his af- fairs. The guardian appointed by the court could then so administer the property as to deprive him al- together of it. Frequently Negro property owners in need borrowed money by unknowingly signing agreements which alienated their valuable possessions for small sums of fifty or a hundred dollars. The Negro did not realize what he had done until notified by the court to give up his property to the one who had deceived him. All these meth- ods, of course, were used in dispos- sessing the Indians, but much less so. Indians could be otherwise

(Continued on page 153)

Tue Necro History BULLETIN



ten by

following essays were writ- students of the graduating Public School 184 in re-

sponse to a contest conducted by

class of

our Association on the subject : The Importance of Negro History.

The by . Charles Phillips in 9B-1 was read at the graduation exercises and the award was a volume of Negro Makers of History. The next two essays re- awards of defense stamp booklets. We reprint these essays in honor of Negro History Week celebrated from February 8 to February 15. Mr, Norman London was faculty adviser.

Winning essay



The advancement of the Negro up to a few years ago was only given a brief account, if any, in

newspapers and books. The Asso-

ciation for the Study of Negro Life and History was organized in Chi- September 9, 1915, by Dr.

cago Carter G. Woodson. This associa- tion was organized so that other throughout the world would better understand the posi- tion of the Negro as a prominent factor in history.

The Negro race has not been given credit for what it has done in Africa, Europe and America. Long before the Negro was brought to America he had a history and still has not been surpassed by others



Historians say that Africans first discovered the use of iron; first domesticated the sheep, goat and cow. It was the Mossi tribe who first originated trial by jury.

When Europeans first began to enter Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries, they found the people there as far advanced in their po- litical and social organizations as the Europeans themselves were in the ninth century.

When the Negro came to Europe he showed his fine character by producing great men. Angelo Soli-


mann was honored as a general in the service of the Holy Roman Em- pire. Alexander Pushkin was one of the greatest writers of modern Russia. Alexander Dumas became one of France’s greatest authors who thrilled us with such novels as ‘‘Count of Monte Cristo,’’ ‘‘The Three Musketeers,’’ ‘‘The Corsi- can Brothers,’’ and scores of other stories.

In America, the Negro played his part, too. When Balboa discov- ered the Pacific he was accom- panied by 30 Negroes. When Cor- tes got control of Mexico there was a Negro with him who, finding in his rice a few grains of wheat, planted them, and success followed. The wheat grew, and thus this Ne- gro became the first to plant wheat in America.

The Negro in the crude parts of America was among those who cleared the forests, drained the swamps, tilled the soil, and brought forth rich harvest. The Negro in America took up trades which are still common today as carpenters, boatbuilders, blacksmiths and many other jobs where labor was needed.

The Negro race also gave forth great scientists as Lislet Geoffroy, a European, and George Washington


Carver, the chemist that found over 200 uses for the peanut. As in- ventors the race gave James For- ten, who perfected a machine for handling sails. Henry Blair pat- ented two corn harvesters. Jan Matzeliger invented the machine for making shoes. Many people to- day do not know that it was a Ne- gro by the name of Solomon Har- per who invented the aerial torpedo and patented it in 1911. The aerial bomb has just been put into use in this war. Solomon Harper also served in World War I and ad- vaneed to corporal, sergeant and later sergeant major. The Negro has shown that, if given a chance, he, too, can succeed in this world. CHARLES PHILLIPS


Through the years the public schools have turned out millions of able-bodied, well-taught, self- reliant men and women. They have taken up many interesting subjects. They have taught Latin, French, German, Spanish and numbers of other foreign languages. They have taught science and medicine. They have thrown light on mathematies and philosophy. They have made art known to the American peo- ple. Now they are planning to un- dertake a new subject. It is his- tory. Is history new? No, but Ne- gro history is a new and different subject. It is utterly important that this subject be taught not only to the American people but to all the world.

The American people have strug- gled through blood, toil and hard- ships to the proud moment where America stands today. And the Negroes, too, have struggled. Fred- erick Douglass, Booker T. Wash- ington and George Washington Carver are large figures in Negro history. Joe Louis, Paul Robeson and Marian Anderson are some modern figures. Behind all of these names is a story of struggle and

(Continued on page 153)

APRIL, 1942

The Land of Visions Unlimited

(Continued from page 151)

reached. To carry their point whites intermarried with the In- dians ; but race prejudice would not permit them thus to deal with the

Negroes, and there were not so

many Negro owners thus to dis-

pose of.

All Negroes, however, were not deprived of their lands. sons of African blood remained in possession of these properties long enough to see them exploited and to count themselves among the wealthy. A few Negroes of that region are still thus rated. These valuable lands, however, have not remained long with the original owners. Negroes, like so many In- dians who were first on the ground, had no knowledge of managing large fortunes, and had to be ad- vised by others who took their prop- erty as compensation for such ad- vice and management. Among the Indians of this day there were no leaders like Negro Abraham.

When the writer was in Okla- homa about eight vears ago, one of these former wealthy Negroes was pointed out to him as a man who once had so much money that he lighted his fifty-cent cigars with five-dollar bills. The writer met in Chicago about this time another of this wealthy class of Negroes. At the hotel where his family stopped they had the most expensive suite available, and they used three of the most costly automobiles on the market. These very Negroes have lost their possessions since that time and have had to seek relief.

This brings us to the most recent chapter in this drama. Neither the original settlers in the western oil area nor the Negroes who went with them to that region now possess most of the wealth of those parts. Some one in speaking of Texas, which has in its northeastern sec- tion a rich oil domain, said that the people of Texas are very poor. While they have a rich state it is owned in New York City. This is likewise the situation in the former Indian Territory which became

Some per-

Oklahoma in 1907. The rush brought adventurers who deprived the Negroes and Indians of their oil lands. but these exploiters were later swallowed up by the large combinations and trusts which now own practically all the property in the United States. In the midst of such powerful rivalry it was diffi- cult for an individual or small com- pany to bore for oil and, when dis- covered, sell it in competition with corporations which were in a posi- tion to dispose of theirs in such large quantities as to undersell the small operator, After facing this problem for a few years he usually sold out to some large company. Most of such holdings which are not now in the hands of the trusts are nevertheless leased by them to their advantage, since only through them can the individual reach the market.

Negro History in New York City

(Continued from page 152)

hardships, courage and determina- tion. The Negro has contributed a ereat deal to the making of Amer- ica. The study of Negro history in schools as a definite subject is a great necessity to the American people, and such knowledge will do much good for unity. CALVIN CHRISTIAN

The English Teacher in War Time

From Mr. Frank L. Hayes, of The Chicago Daily News, came the following on February 13, 1942: Dear Dr. Woodson:

May I eall your attention to the enclosed folder and particularly to the passage: ‘‘In the development of democratic unity we claim to rec- ognize the rights and contributions of minorities . . . especially the Ne- gro. ... A considerable proportion of the literature to be taught in the schools shall be chosen with its suit- ability for these purposes in mind ... Quoted from a statement of the Planning Commission of the National Council of Teachers of


English. Knowing that you have been a pioneer in advocating a part of this program, it occurs to me that perhaps you may care to offer comment for publication in a brief letter, two or three paragraphs. ”’

The significant paragraphs of the folder follow:

b) We seek to unify the entire Western Hemisphere by promoting greater understanding and appre- ciation of the culture and ideals of Central and South America and