Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
THE NEGRO IN AMERICA

The Negro as an American Race Problem. In his volume on The American Race Problem, Professor Reuter presents the thesis that "the social situation resulting from the presence of ten million Negroes in a population preponderantly and increasingly white is commonly accepted as America's greatest social problem." Certainly there is a general consensus of opinion that the Negro in America constitutes at least one of our most important problems. In the preceding chapter some of the fundamental backgrounds of race study were presented and reference was made to the Negro as one of the leading racial elements in this country. In our chapter on the social population we shall study the problem of Negro migration, alongside other migratory movements, and shall give some of the general facts regarding the movement of Negro population. In the present chapter, although we shall present as many factual considerations as space will permit, our main emphasis will be upon the importance of objective study and scientific portraiture of the Negro as he is in the United States to-day. Following the method of the previous chapter on race, we shall begin by stating briefly the size and extent of the situation in the United States.

The Negro Population in the United States. The Negro population in the United States is approximately ten per cent of the total, the 1920 Census reporting 10,463,131, or 9.9 per cent. The exhaustive study of the distribution, classification and character of this population would itself constitute a major task. Since this chapter was begun two volumes dealing entirely with the American Negro have appeared, Dowd The Negro in American Life having appeared in the fall of 1926, and Reuter The American Race Problem in January, 1927. Other special volumes will be listed at the end of the chapter for further study, so that here we shall present only certain of the larger fundamental factors. One important factor is the slowing down of the Negro population's rate of growth alongside its actual increase in numbers. In 1880,

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