Warning: Because of the context of the era, you will read outdated terms no longer used to describe Black or African American people, including “colored” and “negro”. Prior to Daniel G. Fowle being elected as governor of North Carolina in 1888, in 1865, he was appointed to serve as a judge on the state’s supreme court by Governor W.W. Holden. However, after only serving a year as a supreme court judge, Fowle stepped down so as not to be forced to carry out federal orders during the Reconstruction period.
“The Negro Question”
Mountain Park Hotel, Hot Springs, NC, September 4, 1889-[Special]-Governor Daniel G. Fowle of this State has been spending a number of days at this hotel enjoying, what he says is the pleasantest summer resort in the South. In conversation with your correspondent the Governor gave utterance to his opinion concerning the negro exodus from North Carolina, and said that his opinion was the opinion of the people of the State generally. It is, to the effect, that the quicker North Carolina gets rid of the negro population, just so soon will she be able to induce hardy white men from the North, West, and other sections of the union to come in here and settle. But so long as 500,000 to 600,000 negroes live here, outside white men will not come into any great extent. The Northern man does not like the negro as a neighbor, a competitor in labor or in business. In fact, he thought the Southerners like the colored man even better than do the people of the North.
“We know,” the Governor continued, “that a negro will work as little as he possibly can. He has no desire to accumulate money. Brain work is his last ambition, To develop our resources we must have men of energy and thrift. Though the Anglo-Saxon race has some of the meanest characteristics humanity is heir to, it also has some of the noblest traits. Its energy is unquestioned and from our mountains this energy can wrest the valuable elements to the betterment and enrichment of the commonwealth. I should not care to see the negro population leave in a body. The present looked for exodus is about 50,000 a year, and during my administration I shall give the negro every facility in my power to travel to other States. Of course, I shall not want this to occur to the detriment of any particular section. North Carolina is the white man’s country. The negro does not thrive in its mountains and bracing air. He is better fitted for work in the lowlands, where the climate is warmer than in these parts.”
Speaking of the coming of the Northern man to the South the Governor said: “A great deal of ignorance exists in the North, not only about the resources down this way, but about the attitude of the Southern people toward Northern men who come here. The narrow prejudices supposed to have been produced in the minds of Southerners by the war, against the people of the North, and popularly believed to still exist, despite the volume which have been spoken and written to the contrary, may be the means of retarding a larger influx of Northerners. But I am positive that no prejudicial feeling does exist in the mind of any true Southerner.
I know that the Northern men who come here are received cordially and are welcomed upon the same plane socially and in a business way as they would be welcomed in the North. People from the North are surprised at our resources, and they are pleased with the cordiality they find on every hand among the Southern people.”…
Citation: “The Negro Question,” The Daily Citizen, Asheville, NC, September 5, 1889, Edition 1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. North Carolina Newspapers, DigitalNC. https://newspapers.digitalnc.org/lccn/sn91068075/1889-09-05/ed-1/seq-1/. Accessed 23 September 2023.
- What is one reason Governor Fowle gives about why he thinks Black people should leave North Carolina? How could this be a decision-making factor for Black people during this time?
- If 500,000-600,000 Black people were to leave North Carolina during this time period, explain the effects it might have on the state’s economy and communities.
- What prejudices of Northerners against Southerners might Governor Fowle be referring to?
Utterance: vocal expression
Exodus: a large departure of people
Induce: to persuade or influence someone to do something
Hardy: capable of enduring difficult conditions
Thrift: using resources and money carefully
Anglo-Saxon: someone of English descent
Wrest: take by force
Commonwealth: majority of the population
Detriment: causing harm or damage
Prejudice: biased or judgemental opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience
Retard: delay or hold back in terms of progress
Influx: arrival or entry of large numbers of people
Cordial: warm and friendly