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This is frequently the source of even pulmonary consumption, which disease is to-day the black man's scourge.
According to Hoffman, over 25 per cent of the negro children born in Washington City are admittedly illegitimate. According to a writer quoted in Black America, “in one county of Mississippi there were during twelve months 300 marriage licenses taken out in the county clerk's otfice for white people. According to the proportion of population there should have been in the same time 1,200 or more for negroes. There were actually taken out by colored people just 3.” James Anthony Froude asserts that 70 per cent of the negroes in the West Indies are born in ille. gitimacy. Mr. Smeeton claims that “in spite of the increase of education there has been no decrease of this social cancer.” My attention has been called to a resort in Nashville, within less than two blocks of the public square, where a large number of abandoned women and profligate men often congregate in the underground basement, which is lighted and ventilated only through the pavement grating; and thero in debauchery anıl carousal they make the night buleons until almost morning. What are they sowing but disease, and what can they reap but death?
It is true that much of the moral laxity which exists among us to-day arose out of slavery. It is due to a system which winpped women, which dispensed with the institution of marriage, which separated wives from their busbands and assigned them to other men, which ruthlessly destroyed leinale virtue, and which niade helpless women the abject tools of their masters. This is the correct explanation of our social status to-day, but to explain it is not to excuse it. It is no longer our misfortune, as it was before the war; it is our sin, the wages of which is our excessive number of deaths. Always and everywhere, moral leprosy means physical death. Wherever the colored people are guilty of the imporalities of which James Anthony Froude and W. L. Clowes of the London Times accuse them, if they continue in them they will be destroyed by them, root and branch. Rome was destroyed because the Empire had no mothers, and Babylon was blotted out because she was the mother of harlots."
A few years ago I said, in a sermon at Fisk University, that wherever the AngloSaxon comes into contact with an inferior race the inferior race invariably goes to the wall. I called attention to the fact that, in spite of humanitarian and philanthropic efforts, the printing press, the steam engine, and the electrii motor in the hands of the Anglo-Saxon were exterminating the inferior races more rapidly and more surely than shot and shell and bayonet. I mentioned a number of rices that have perished, not because of destructive wars and pestilence, but because they were unable to live in the environment of a nineteenth century civilization; races whose destruction was not due to a persecution that came to them from withont, but to a lack of moral stamina within; races that perished in spite of the humanitarian and philanthropic efforts that were put forth to save them.
To that utterance let me now add this thought: That where shot and shell and bayonet and the printing press and the steam engine and the electric motor have slain their thousands, licentious men, unchaste women, and impure homes bare slain their tens of thousands; and I speak the words of soberness and truth when I say that if the charges of sexual immoralities brought against us are true, wuless there be wrought a social revolution among 18 the hand writing of our destruction even now may be seen on the wall. The history of nations teaches us that neither war nor famine nor pestilence exterminates them so completely and rapidly as do sexual vices.
If the cause of our excessive death rate be, in its ultimate analysis, moral rather than sanitary, then this fact ought to appear not only m our vital, but in our criminal statistics as well. Professor Starr, of Chicago University, claims that in the State of Pennsylvania, where there is little opportunity to assert that the courts are prejudiced against colored criminals, though the negroes form only 2 per cent of the population, yet they furnish 16 per cent of the male prisoners and 34 per cent of the female. The race has such great privileges in Chicago and it is dealt with so fairly and justly that the colored people themselvos have denominateil it the “Negroes' Heaven;" and yet, according to Professor Starr, while the negroes form only if per cent of the population of Chicago they furnish 10 per cent of the arrests. I am convinced that the immorality which accounts for these criminal con«litions is also responsible for the race's physical status; and if we are to strike at the root of the matter, it will not be at sanitary regulations, but at social reoonstruction and moral regeneration,