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W. E. B. Du Bois (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Some Efforts of American Negroes For their Own Social Betterment. Report of an Investigation under the Direction of Atlanta University; Together with the Proceedings of the Third Conference for the Study of the Negro Problems, Held at Atlanta University, May 25-26, 1898
Atlanta: Atlanta University Press, 1898.


Bound with the proceedings of the Third Conference for the Study of Negro Problems held at Atlanta University in May 1898, this is a report on the "organized life of American Negroes." The study centers on church, secret society, and other beneficial activities in Washington DC, Petersburg VA, Augusta GA, Atlanta GA, Mobile AL, Bowling Green KY, Clarkesville TN, Fort Smith AK, and Galveston TX. The report first details and charts church work. It then describes secret societies and their finances. The report goes into some detail on beneficial and insurance societies, charting their financial accounting and giving examples of typical societies. It also gives examples and financial figures on cooperative business endeavors. In all, the report identifies 236 organizations dedicated to the "betterment" of African Americans. It also points out that social change depends on the efforts of the African American community and calls for more study of African American economic conditions nationwide.

The second part of the book contains the Proceedings of the Conference. It provides details on conference sessions and the persons involved in them, as well as a list of resolutions adopted by the conference. Appended to these proceedings are abstracts of six papers delivered at the conference. They are:

"The Church as an institution for social betterment," by Henry Hugh Proctor

"Secret and beneficial societies of Atlanta, Georgia," by H. R. Butler

"Organized efforts of the Negro for social betterment in Petersburg, Virginia," by James M. Colson

"Work of the Woman's League, Washington DC," by Helen A. Cook

"Carrie Steele orphanage of Atlanta, Georgia," by Minnie L. Perry

"Mortality of Negroes," by L. M. Hershaw

Christopher Hill

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