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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.
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ties for 1897, is $547,800 against $496,385 for the year next preceding, a gain of $51,150 or more than ten percent. Their personal property as assessed in 1897 was $517,560, in 1896, $527,688, a loss of $10,128. Combining the real and personal property for '97 we have $1,409,059, against $1,320,504 for '96, a net gain of $88,555, an increase of 6 1/2 percent. What does this increase in this accumulation of taxable values show? You would reply, a more conservative citizenship. Do the facts uphold this opinion?
The records of Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Princess Anne, Northumberland, Northampton, King and Queen, Essex, and Westmoreland, where the colored population exceeds the white, show that the criminal expense for 1896 was $14,313.29, but for 1897 it was only $8,538.12, a saving of $5,774.17 to the state, or a falling off of 40 percent. This does not tell the whole story. In the first named year 26 persons were convicted of felonies with sentences in the penitentiary, while in the year succeeding only 9, or one third as many, were convicted of the graver offences of the law.
A statistical side-light with respect to eleven of these counties is that Mr. T.C. Walker personally supervised the collection of $1,685 from the people, by which 77 schools had their terms prolonged from one to two months, and permanent improvements were made to the amount of $400. Similar in character was the work of Mr. Fitch who led the people in twelve school districts to raise the sum of $398, by which their school terms were lengthened. These counties are all in the tide-water section of Virginia where the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute is located, and where its ex-students and graduates are more numerous than those of all the higher institutions of learning combined.
Over against this record of these typical agricultural counties in which the colored population equals or exceeds the white, it was the purpose of the committee to make a similar statement for Richmond, Petersburg, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Portsmouth, and Staunton in order to contrast the tendencies of city and country life; but the Auditor of Public Accounts of whom the inquiry was made, clearly mistook my meaning and forwarded data for both races for the localities and the years named. As it was received only this week it was too late to have the mistakes corrected, and the comparison incorporated in this report.
City life gives rise to enterprises impossible in rural communities. Important among these are the mutual or industrial insurance societies that solve problems incident upon excessive
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