PROGRESS OF THE NEGRO. ~ Defined in Address Last Night by W. T. Vernon.

February 3, 1908

Defined in Address Last Night by
W. T. Vernon.

In an address delivered to negroes at Allen chapel last night, W. T. Vernon of the United States treasury department said that the possibilities of the negro are encouraging to all those who desire a better era for these people. He claimed that the negro appreciates all the opportunities which may be opened to him. He declared that with the negro's freedom was made the most radical change in social order.

"The passage of the war amendments was necessary and just," said Mr. Vernon. "They prohibited peonage, defined citizenship, provided for the penalization of any state which should disenfranchise its citizens, and provided against this injustice on account of color. Then came the upward struggle of 4,000,000,000 people and as a result of such legislation and protection, the race has made achievements unparalleled in the world's history by any race similarly environed. From 1870 to 1900 the illiteracy of the face was decreased 43 per cent. At the close of the civil war the negro was without a home. In 1900, thirty-five years later, 372,414 were owners of homes of which 225,156 were free from incumbrance. He has nearly 30,000 school teachers, 500 young negroes pursuing special courses in the greatest institutions of learning in this and foreign countries, and he is paying taxes on quite $800,000,000 worth of property.

"Unbiased men will admit that such a record deserves encouragement, and gives just ground for the belief that he is daily becoming an appreciated, potent factor for good.

"The South today is struggling industrially with the rest of the world. The building up of this section can not be accomplished without the labor of the negro. These people, discriminated agaisnt, with thier schools diminishng, are not given an opportunity to do the best within them, and thus give to their country the splendid efforts which they could otherwise give. Blind indeed to right and justice -- blind to the best interests of our country is he who denies to any class of our citizens that which he asks for himself. As a race we must remember that education, sobriety, thrift and energy are the qualities which will give us success, permanent and lasting.

"While seeking industrial opportunity and progress in the business world, the spiritual side, which has to do with literature, art, science, culture and soul growth, should not be neglected. Here in the midst of a growing developing population, with less racial antagonisms and discriminations than are found elsewhere, I believe the race can rise to its highest possibilites. I would advice that we remain here and work out our destiny."

At Lincoln high school, Nineteenth and Tracy, Mr. Vernon addressed the colored Y. M. C. A. yesterday afternoon.