The American Negro: What He Was, What He Is, and What He May Become: A Critical and Practical Discussion by Thomas, William Hannibal
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The American Negro: What He Was, What He Is, and What He May Become: A Critical and Practical Discussion

The title of this work is sufficiently explicit, I take it, to leave no room for doubt as to its general character, though there is a disposition in some quarters to use other terms than negro to designate that class of our people derived from African origin. For ordinary purposes, the inhabitants of this country may be fairly divided into white and colored classes. Nevertheless, such racial grouping is neither an exact nor a true ethnological designation of the American people, for the reason that it does not agree with known facts. For example, many persons of negroid ancestry, but white in color, are classed with the white race in communities ignorant of their negro origin. On the other hand, many Italians, Portuguese, Mexicans, and Indians, are dark complexioned, but without the least strain of negro blood. Therefore, as there is such a thing as a distinctively negro people, and as it is in indisputable evidence that the American freed people were primarily derived from a genuine negro stock, there is ample warrant for using the terms negro and negroid in designating the person, as well as the forms of thought and action, characteristic of the descendants of such ancestors. The normal color of the negro is black, but that color is neither his exclusive property nor his only hue. As a matter of fact, variant shades of color are found in his racial existence. Hence, neither the phrase, "negro people," nor its kindred appellatives, as employed in these pages, are to be understood as invariably implying a black segment of mankind, but rather as a uniform designation of a pronounced set of characteristics, specifically exemplified in the physical, mental, and moral qualities of a type of humanity. Color, then, apart from defined negroid characteristics, in nowise enters into the questions under consideration, though the characteristics themselves are manifest in white, black, yellow, brown, and other variable tints of racial color. My contentions on this point are that any man, of whatever hue, who exhibits the characteristic traits which I shall hereafter describe is a negro; otherwise, he is not. For example, I have some relatives who are fair in color, but negroes in every sense of the word, and other relatives, who, though dark in complexion, are in other respects comparatively free from negro idiosyncrasies. I have also personal knowledge of many individuals, representing all shades of color, who are manfully engaged in a struggle to free themselves from all visible trace of racial traits. Having submitted these observations, I hope to have made it clear that this contribution to American sociology deals in a fundamental sense with specific traits of character, and with color only in so far as it is incidental to ethnological characteristics.

Binding Type: Paperback
Author: Thomas, William Hannibal
Published: 03/01/2014
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 9781496078537
Pages: 218
Weight: 0.78lbs
Size: 9.61h x 6.69w x 0.46d
Color: Blue, Purple, White
Size: 20, 24
Material: 100% Polyester