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Proceedings of the National Conference of Colored Men of the United States, Held in the State Capitol at Nashville Tennessee, May 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1879.


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"Wherever," says a very able writer on medical statistics, "pauperism with its wants and misery prevails, there the mother is more likely to die in labor; there still births will be more frequent; there the deaths will be more numerous during infancy; there epidemics will rage with more violence; there the recoveries from sickness will be fewer, and death will usually happen at an earlier period of life." Now, then, if this be true, and I am satislied in my own mind it is with regard to the colored people of the United States, then it is not only with questions of political economy, but still more important ones, namely: The great questions of humanity and the perpetuation of our race that we have to deal. The colored population of the United States has steadily increased, from their first introduction up to the last census, at the following rate, commencing. with the census of 1790. At that time there were 757,208; in 1800, 1,002,037; 1810, 1,377,808; 1820, 1,771.231; 1830, 2,328,642; 1840, 2,873,648; 1850, 3,638,808; 1860, 4,441,830; 1870, 4,880,009. Here it will be seen that the colored population has nearly about doubled itself in every thirty years, and no doubt the census of 1880 will establish the fact that there are six millions of colored people in the United States, being nearly as many as the white population of the South at the breaking out of the late rebellion. If, then, they should increase at the same ratio that they have in times past, it will be seen that in 1910 there will be 12,000,000; in 1940, 24.000,000, and in 1970, 48,000,000.

Now, this estimate is made upon the increase of the colored people, as reported by the several censuses that have been made, under the most unfavorable circumstances to us. But when we shall have been emancipated from the bonds of caste, poveity, and ignorance of the laws of health, we shall be able to claim a much larger increase than that enumerated above. For if has been proven by the statistics of the District of Columbia, which are the most correct, as far as the colored people is concerned, that I have examined, that their natural increase is greater in proportion than that of the white population. From 1874 to 1878, the total number of births reported in the District of Columbia was, for the white population. 9,922; and, for the colored, 0.630 the former composing two-thirds of the population and the latter one-third. So you will see that although the white population is twice as large as the colored population, their birth rate was only one-third larger. Now this estimate does not include the still births, of which the colored people furnished two-thirds, but which, under good sanitary regulations, may be largely reduced. Now. our increase is a substantial one, and I make use of the word substantial because in the increase of the white population it must be taken into consideration that there is a large emigration from all parts of the world, and especially Ireland and Germany, which swells their increase to a great extent every year, and therefore every decade these are all put into the census, whereas nearly every colored person placed upon the census rolls is a genuine increase by birth.

Another fact established by the vital statistics of the District of Columbia, and that is. we compare favorably with the white population in morals, inasmuch as during the five years mentioned above there were reported 1,334 marriages among the whites, and 1,204 among the colored. It is impossible in a paper like this to give full statistics of the various diseases that afflict colored people mostly, or the percentage of deaths of the different diseases between white and colored, but I propose in another communication, at no distant day, to lay before the public more correct and full statistics, with some rules and directions for the preservation of health, which I hope may be of some benefit to mankind, and more especially to the emigrants to Kansas.

A. T. AUGUSTA . M. A., M. D.

Washington. D. C., May 1, 1879,

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