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among the vulgar rich and apartment habitant we see dangers to the city children.

In the midst of this situation of a city speeded-up, tense, nervous, excitable, where the automobile is the symbol of speed, where the movie is the passive and the jazz music and dance the active antidote for the present-day nervousness, I am inclined to think that most people have what my Irish neighbor said the doctor told her she had, "Shure, the doctor says I have nervous perspiration on the brain.”

To my mind the danger of disintegration of the home does not come from the social institutions set up to meet the great need for social life in crowded homes and districts, but it comes from the disintegrating forces inherent in the modern industrial city. We see a new attitude which has developed through the education of women and their political equality with men; also, scientific thought has greatly changed the home concept. I believe there is a growing sense of partnership between parents, while in habit clinics and preschool nurseries even for the children of mothers who are not working we discover this new attitude and desire to understand the children and work for prevention rather than cure. The conflict of youth today is significant of this new home concept.

The economic basis of the family is changing. The economic pressure on the family, the desire of the mother to live her own individual life while she is a mother and housekeeper, the pressure of the growing American standard of living, the longing to own one's home-all of these are demands upon the limited income of the working father of a family, and require more and more that the mother shall earn her share. The children of workingmen's families, as soon as the law permits, also must enter the wage-earning world. In thinking of the home and the adjustment of the home to community interests, these things must all be considered. Much as we hope for the economic independence of women, we cannot help but discern signs of the disintegrating influence on the family of a mother who works at night and of a father's wage that cannot meet the present needs of this growing standard of living.

To get back to my own preserves, for I have lived for over thirty years in a crowded, working people's neighborhood and have watched the young people grow up in this unnatural environment for their play spirit, I am bound to confess that I see no way out for the families of the tenement house except to have provided for them recreational opportunities in community centers, settlements, churches, and playgrounds. When I say recreational opportunities I mean very serious ones as well as gay ones, for work as well as for play, for the whole family: father, mother, and children. I believe that every well-ordered settlement and community center does provide this integrating force for the tenement house or the middle-class flat residents in our cities.

No one who knows the facts can think for a moment that the offering of a center could be a danger if the whole family is welcome. There the children



find an outlet for their bursting life; the adolescents find expression for emotions which, if repressed at that impressionable age, become dangerous to their physical and moral health. We must keep the boy and girl of the city busy at constructive work or play; we must even offer amusement to the benumbed father and mother; we must give to the whole family a variety of choices for recreational purposes.

The young need the rough-and-tumble games, competitive sports, quiet occupations, self-expression in music, singing, drama, pageantry, drawing, painting, modeling, etc. I believe that not only Tony, but Fauntleroy of the apartment, needs every kind of activity offered him. Of course Fauntleroy generally gets his normal chance during vacation time away from the city, but Tony must stay on in his sordid surroundings.

As far as I know, settlements do their best to serve the family life, and I find that community centers, at least in Chicago, with women of settlement experience and social training at the head, are doing a valuable service for the whole family and the community. In these centers a community council of mothers and fathers is first organized, and then, out of their needs and demands, comes the service of the center. It brings in the whole family; each need is responded to.

I feel that every settlement and neighborhood center should have its socialized neighborhood visitor who keeps the home and the settlement in constant touch with each other; indeed, every school must have its socially trained visiting teacher to fill this need.

The settlement keeps alive reverence for the parents and loyalty to the home by understanding clearly the past of the old-country father and mother, by being familiar with their national songs, their folk music and folk dances, and their beautiful handiwork, so to appreciate them that reverence is conserved in the mind of the new-country children who find their outside life so foreign to all that the mother and father understand. I believe that in every center this oldcountry connection should be recognized and brought out in the most attractive way. The settlement and the center should stand in such relationship to the family life that the highest ambitions of the parents should be strengthened and the new-country standards interpreted to them.

One amusing, though sad, case was that of a very fine type of Polish mother whose daughter was in high school and was thoroughly Americanized. The mother came to the settlement in great distress, saying that her daughter threatened to leave home unless she changed a rug she had purchased. She wept bitterly and said that she had paid good money for the rug and it was very beautiful. It was of a great big dog lying down. The daughter said it was old-fashioned, and nobody had such rugs any more, and she would not have it. The oldand new-country taste clashed to such an extent that the estrangement was getting to be serious. The settlement called in the high school girl and made her see

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that good taste in rugs was not worth a break between a mother and a daughter who should try to understand each other.

This is only one case of many. Sometimes the strain is due to the old-country notion that all the money earned by the children should go to the parents. Should the daughter go out to entertainments, or should the boy be out after dark? These questions are constantly irritating the homes of the simple, oldcountry parents. They seem quite helpless in the grip of the American ideas of independence. To keep in the children's mind a feeling of reverence for the father and mother and to encourage patience on both sides of the domestic controversy is the duty of the social center to the family peace.

I should feel most depressed if I had not seen in my long experience cases in which the mother, with the finest ideals of her own home life, kept her whole family in the straight and narrow way. I am thinking of my Irish neighbor, Mrs. O'Mara, with her nine children and husband who were always compelled to live in a house that was "in the courts." Others were not available because no one wanted to rent to so large a family. Mrs. O'Mara was a very bad housekeeper, but one of the wisest and sweetest of mothers. Even though the family had the Irish sense of hospitality, there was no room for any social life within the four small rooms as her children grew older. The settlement was to them their social center. The children at an early age belonged to clubs, and while the mother had no time to belong to any organization, she was in constant touch with the settlement and always knew where her boys and girls were. If she felt at all suspicious, she would saunter into the settlement to see if John or Pat or Nora were there. In spite of poverty and this overcrowded condition, that family has grown up without any serious problems among these boys and girls. What they would have done for social life if the settlement had not been there their mother says she does not know, and I am sure I do not know.

The home is the natural mating place for young people, but what chance is there in these overcrowded houses? They must turn to the dance hall or to some commercial center. In one dance hall in Chicago, and not one of the worst by any means, there were seven marriages in one week, all of the couples having met in this dance hall, the manager told me. Surely one does not need any more arguments to push the idea of opening more and more centers such as Miss Merrill has given us in the public schools of Chicago, where the neighborhood itself is responsible for the center, and where the social demands are met by a very natural and spontaneous response on the part of the community

I have no fears for the provision made by centers and settlements; I have fears only if we leave to commercialized interests the providing of an outlet for social instinct and the great need for recreational activity.


E. Franklin Frazier, Director, Atlanta School of Social
Work, Atlanta

It is the object of this paper to give an account of the Negro family in the small town of the South. This account, while necessarily including a brief memtion of the important historical factors in the situation, will concern itself mainly with the present economic and social forces affecting the integration of this primary social group.

Even the briefest account of the family life of the Negro must include a consideration of the history back of the present Negro family. This history naturally divides itself into three periods: Africa, slavery, and freedom. While the African period, it must be remembered, does not claim our attention because an unbroken social tradition still affects the present formation of the Negro family -although traces of the African tradition were detected in marriage ceremonies near the opening of the present century—it is necessary to call attention to this period because of subsequent events. In Africa the Negro lived under regulated sex relations which were adapted to his social and physical environment. It was through the destruction in America of these institutionalized sex relations that slavery was able to bring about complete subordination. The consequent sexual anarchy that prevailed in slavery must be taken into account in any attempt to study family life among Negroes, especially in the rural South. This holds even when we take into consideration the capricious sentiment of masters who, in spite of the absence of legal authority, kept families together. On the other hand, the ideal of the monogamous family, while out of the question in the case of the field hands, where both sexes were herded in small huts, was often set at nought in the house of the master. Thus the Negro emerged from slavery burdened with 250 years of sexual promiscuity and debauchery. Since emancipation, the Negro family, while it has shown remarkable progress toward integration, has been subject to the same influences which are tending to destroy the semi-patriarchal family in America.

From the foregoing brief sketch of historical considerations we pass on to statistics concerning the Negro population in the small towns. A census analysis2 of forty-four villages in eleven southern states showed that among Negroes the proportion between ten and thirty years of age is 4.4 per cent higher than the corresponding group among the whites. This fact indicates the place which the small town plays in the life of the Negro, for the age pyramid for the villages generally is normal, while the age pyramid for Negroes shows somewhat the same distortion for the age group between twenty and thirty as the cities. It is

"The Negro Family," Atlanta University Publications No. 13, p. 21.

'C. Luther Fry, A Census Analysis of Southern Villages. New York: Institute of Social and Religious Research.

generally in the small town that the younger Negroes find an escape from the dulness and economic pressure of the country and at the same time lead a life free from the more exacting demands of the cities. From the same source1 we get figures relating to the marital conditions. While among Negro men we find the proportion of single men 1 per cent higher and the proportion of married men 3.5 per cent lower than among whites, among the Negro women we find both the proportion of married and single less than among white women. Of especial importance to us is the fact that the proportion of married Negro women is 6 per cent lower than the proportion of this class among the whites. Below we shall call attention to the significance of this fact. The proportion of widowed and divorced among Negroes is higher in both sexes than among the whites. Among the Negroes the proportion of divorced men is four times as large and the proportion of divorced women twice as large as among the whites. These figures give an indication of the extent of family disorganization among Negroes in the small towns.

The economic basis of Negro life in the small town and its influence upon family life will next engage our attention. The economic position of the Negro farmers, the majority of whom are the poorest types of tenants, has a direct influence upon the population of the towns. There is a constant pressure upon the means of subsistence that is relieved either by the high death-rate or migration to the towns as the first station on the way to the cities. Although many of the older farmers give up the struggle and move to town, where they find work in sawmills and as laborers, it is mainly the children who migrate to the towns because of the economic pressure in the country. The decrease in the proportion of Negro women in agriculture from 52.2 per cent in 1910 to 39 per cent in 1920, and the increase of the proportion in domestic service during the same period from 42.4 per cent to 50.3 per cent, indicates the movement toward the town, although the absolute number in domestic service had declined. The new opportunities for Negro women in northern cities can account for this decline. The analysis of the occupation of Negro women in the forty-four towns of the South showed that 81.1 per cent of those employed were in domestic and personal service. Moreover, we find that the proportion of Negro women at work in the towns is slightly higher than in population as a whole. These women are employed chiefly as cooks, washerwomen, and nurses. Their wages range from $1.50 to $2.50 per week. The occupational class in which we find the largest number of Negro men is manufacturing and mechanical pursuits. The proportion is about twice as high as in the country as a whole. The reason for this is because the Negro artisan in the small town of the South has retained more of his former hold on trades than in the large cities. Negro bricklayers receive 80 cents per hour. The next-largest occupational group is agriculture, in which 22.4 per cent are engaged. Many of these are neither farm owners nor tenants, * Op. cit.

* See Charles S. Johnson, "The Negro Migrations," The Modern Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 4.

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