Daughter of the Revolution: The Major Nonfiction Works of Pauline E. Hopkins

By Pauline E. Hopkins; Ira Dworkin | Go to book overview

I.
The Growth of the Social Evil
among All Classes and Races in America

Nineteen hundred and three. Our days are gliding swiftly by; let us resolve to do what we can the coming year for the substantial up-building of the race while time remains. Today is ours; tomorrow is uncertain.

As we look over the record of the year just closed we note with pain the growth of crime. Thugs galore; “cold-fingered” girls plying their nefarious calling in every large city of the Union. Once the time was that Chicago had a virtual monopoly of the street highway business, but New York and Boston are pushing Chicago to the rear. And the haunt of the strange woman, a veritable mouth of hell to the multitude. What infamy, disease, degradation and death these vices inflict upon us! How they blight and curse the lives of the innocent and helpless! What a load of shame they place upon a community!

How the changes have been rung upon the depravity of the Negro since the entrance of the twentieth century, and the charge has been boldly made by the great majority, including a respectable showing among his own race, that he is the most depraved of criminals. The females of our race, in particular, suffer from the most malicious slander, and none protest against the outrage upon a worthy class of citizens. How much we suffer through the tyranny of prejudice. How much more we suffer through the force of example. How much we suffer through the power of bad counsel coming from those virtually above us.

They who hang their heads in shame, in view of the advancing demoralization of modern civilized life, and turn away with horror-struck faces, look back to social caste prejudice which has closed the avenues of profitable employment in the face of certain races and reconsider the conclusions made against the Negro.2

God knows the Negro is guilty of many sins, and has contributed his share to the world's misery, for, being human, he is susceptible to the same temptations that beset the rest of the human family, but many of his moral lapses are the result of inherited traits inbred by slavery. Out of that dreadful condition there was no escape for the female slave but into the cold embraces of death; and the victims were born into that condition; they did not enter into it voluntarily, as do the wretched inmates the dens of infamy in our great cities.

2. Wendell Phillips, “Woman's Rights” (1851), in Speeches, Lectures, and Letters (Boston: Lee and Shepard,
1872), 32.

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