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W. E. B. Du Bois (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Economic Co-operation among Negro Americans. Report of a Study made by Atlanta University, under the Patronage of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C., together with the Proceedings of the 12th Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, on Tuesday, May the 28th, 1907
Atlanta, Ga.: The Atlanta University Press, 1907.

Summary

This report, connected with the 12th Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems (1907), is a continuation of the 1898 report, "Some Efforts of American Negroes for their own Social Betterment," made at the 3rd Conference. Introductory material to the report reviews the status of African Americans through research on Africa itself, the West Indies, and the Colonies, and how those different settings have affected the economic and social capabilities of the African people. The report then provides a history of cooperation among African Americans, describing its beginnings in the African church and its further progress as seen in the development of the Underground Railroad. Du Bois moves on to discuss the roles of emancipation, the Freedmen's Bureau, and migration.

Du Bois' report contains considerable detail about various types of economic cooperation. He analyzes African American churches by denomination, providing charts of growth, income, land values, assets, publications and so forth for the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African American Baptists, Zion Methodists, Colored Methodists, Methodists, and other minor denominations. The amount of information given for each denomination is directly proportional to the size and influence of the denomination. The report also deals extensively with education, describing several denominational efforts to establish schools in Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, the District of Columbia, and Louisiana. It lists monetary figures of school assets and contributions.

Du Bois includes some details on beneficial societies in Xenia OH, Baltimore MD, Petersburg VA, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, and Canada, including both insurance societies and other specific firms and agencies. The report provides information on the following secret societies: Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, United Brothers of Friendship, Elks, and Galilean Fishermen. The final part of the report gives specific examples of economic activity among African Americans, including benevolent organizations such as orphanages, hospitals, and cemeteries, and provides even more details on specific cooperative businesses such as the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Co.; the North Baltimore Permanent Building and Loan Association; the Afro-American Ledger; the Northwest Family Supply Co.; and the Home Shoe Company.

Appended to the report is the schedule of the Conference.

Christopher Hill

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