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W. E. B. Du Bois (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963 and Augustus Granville Dill, 1881-1956
Morals and Manners among Negro Americans. Report of a Study Made by Atlanta University under the Patronage of the Trustees of the John F. Slater Fund; with the Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, held at Atlanta University, on Monday, May 26th, 1913.
Atlanta: The Atlanta University Press, 1914.

Summary

Published with the proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems in 1914, this report, compiled by W. E. B. Du Bois and Augustus G. Dill, attempts to make a scientific study of African American morals, especially in light of their slave heritage. The editors mailed surveys to four thousand individuals "...residing in all parts of the country and engaged in all walks of life. Ten per cent of those questioned made replies to this questionnaire, the answers coming from thirty states..."

Du Bois and Dill present several topics relating to the moral status of African Americans, primarily using extracts from survey responses as indicators of progress. For instance, on the topic of "Good Manners," the report cites 123 different answers from 29 different states. For "Sound Morals," the report uses illegitimate birth figures, numbers of black prisoners, crime rates, and survey responses. "Cleanliness" and "Personal Honesty" are treated the same way. For "Home Life," the report discusses the matriarchal structure of African society and blames slavery for the destruction of the African family. For the rest of the topics, "Rearing of Children," "Amusements for Young People," "Caring for Old People," "The Church," and "Present Conditions Compared with the Past," the editors allow the survey results—reported by state—to speak for themselves. The responses vary widely, though they are mostly positive.

Christopher Hill

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