The Two Classes

September 10, 1898


John Mitchell, Jr. recognizes there are both good and bad blacks as there are good and bad whites.


The Richmond, Va., Religious Herald says:

“‘What about the Negro problem?’ asks one of our Massachusetts friends. Well, that problem is a big one, and it covers so wide a space and is modified by so many different conditions that it is by no means the same problem everywhere. For instance, one of our correspondents writes: Last summer, in Virginia, and then a week in the country, some twelve miles from the village. The problem was amazingly different in the two localities. The Negroes near the village were, upon the whole, as worthless, idle, thievish, lying vagabonds as ever worried the decent people of any community that I have ever known; those in the country, only twelve miles away, were about the best Negroes in the South, so far as my knowledge extends.”

This observation is true, and has been so ever since the first ship-load of our people were landed in this country.

The worthless white elements infest every locality and what to do with them is the question.

The dissatisfaction that exists among us relative to treatment is that the average white man will discriminate between the bad and the good of his own people, but insists upon putting us together and gauging our standard of fitness by the class of worthless people to whom our contemporary refers.

The better class of our people are as much opposed to this draw-back in our communities as are the better class of the white people.

The religious, moral, straightforward elements of our people are in line with the upper, right-thinking element of the white.

We insist that we shall be recognized and our best elements taken as the standard rather than the worst.
About this article

Location on Page

Upper Left Quadrant

Contributed By

Cali Hughes


“The Two Classes,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed July 24, 2021,