Raymond Patterson – The Negro and His Needs (1911)

From Raymond Patterson’s book The Negro and His Needs (1911), the foreward of which was written by none other than William Howard Taft:

Probably no white man ever did or ever will fathom the depths and the shallows of the real negro’s character and disposition. One frequently hears Southern people who have been “raised” by old-time mammies and who played in childhood with little black companions say with despairing frankness, “I’ve been watching the negro all these years, but I don t know him any better now than I did in the first place.” Surely if the Southerners admit that the negro is a mystery to them, growing no more intelligible as the days go by, Northern people must be prepared for many race traits which cannot be accounted for by ordinary theorists.

The fact that seems generally forgotten by white people both North and South is that the negro is of a childhood race. The dark continent of Africa was evidently passed by in the march of civilization, and while the Caucasian and Mongolian races were striving painfully upward, the black race remained painfully near the starting-point.

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