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Review Author(s): E. Franklin Frazier Review by: E. Franklin Frazier Source: American Sociological Review, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Aug., 1937), pp. 557-558 Published by: American Sociological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2084788 Accessed: 19-12-2015 22:31 UTC Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/ info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Sage Publications, Inc. and American Sociological Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to American Sociological Review. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Sat, 19 Dec 2015 22:31:13 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions BOOK REVIEWS 557 rationalizations about them, to say nothing of their own feelings of guilt, they will do something about the American Race Problem. They may even go so far as to make a speech somewhere. All of this may be very well but one suspects that the share cropper organizations and the industrial unions will dispel more race prejudice than all of the church study groups in the country. It would seem that Dr. Johnson missed an opportunity to give the religious folk a good stiff jolt on the race question. GEORGE E. SIMPSON Temple University TheNegro As Capitalist. A Study of Banking and Business Among American Negroes. By ABRAM L. HARRIS. Philadelphia: The American Academy of Political and Social Science, I936. Pp. 205. $2.75. The Negro Genius. A New Appraisal of the Achievement of the American Negro in Literature and the Fine Arts. By BENJAMIN BRAWLEY. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, I937. PP. 366. $2.50. In these two books,; we have thrown into sharp relief the contrast between two viewpoints which have characterized studies of Negro life. Professor Harris's book, a painstaking and objective study of Negro business, is representative of the growing number of competent Negro scholars who in studying the problems of the Negro utilize the same techniques and valuations as scholars in other fields. On the other hand, in Professor Brawley's book we have on the whole a sentimental evaluation of the Negro's achievement in art and literature, viewed from the standpoint of standards generally applied by sentimental whites and naive Negroes to the work of Negroes. Professor Harris's book is concerned primarily with the economic basis of the Negro middle class. Hence, it offers a critical evaluation of those programs-sponsored in the past by Booker Washington and today by DuBois-that are designed to achieve the Negro's economic salvation by building a separate economy. After giving a brief survey of the role of Negro labor in the evolution of capitalist economy and the accumulation of wealth among the free Negroes before the Civil War, the author shows how the ill-starred Freedmen's Bank left a legacy of middle-class ideals and training which found expression in the leadership of "the organization of fraternal insurance bodies and banks owned and managed by Negroes." This legacy expressed itself in the organization of the first Negro banks and in the preachments of Negro leaders from I 88o on that the masses seek their salvation through business enterprise. There was a high mortality among Negro banks, not to mention other types of business enterprises. In order "to determine the causes of the failure of the individual banks and the weaknesses of Negro banking generally," Professor Harris investigates, chiefly on the basis of bankruptcy proceedings, the organization, administration, and structure of over sixty banks in Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Sat, 19 Dec 2015 22:31:13 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW 5 58 His investigation revealed that in spite of individual cases of dishonesty the banks "had too large a capital structure for the amount of deposit business," that the ratio of loans and discounts to deposits was too high, and that the loans and discounts were secured by real estate or chattel property. Thus, the character of Negro banking has been determined by the position of the Negro in the economic system. The masses of the Negro workers bear the losses in the failure of these banks, whereas a relatively small white collar class is only temporarily benefited. Thus, the author rightly concludes that the economic foundation of the Negro middle class is insecure and that there is no hope of economic salvation through a segregated black economy. Professor Brawley's book is scarcely more than a catalogue of the Negro "geniuses" whose meagre achievements have been recounted so often that it is strange that the public still pays to read of them. Naturally, a book of this type contains no really critical evaluations of the works of those included. In fact, in the selection of those eligible to the rank of genius, one can detect the influence of intra- and inter-racial "politics." People without the slightest claim to literary or artistic achievements are placed in the pantheon of Negro "geniuses." For some strange reason, the author presents the thesis that the black or unmixed Negroes have produced the geniuses and the mulattoes the talented men and women. Without presenting a bit of evidence, he attempts to prove his thesis by asserting that the unknown authors of the Negro spirituals were unmixed Negroes! Yet, in his catalogue of Negro "geniuses," he has gone across the ocean and dragged in two mulattoes-Dumas and Pushkin-who, of course have a better claim to rank as geniuses than any of the American Negroes-pure or mixed-included in his list. Inasmuch as Professor Brawley ventured into the field of biological or sociological speculation about Negro genius, he might have attempted to account for the fact that no American Negro writer has shown the genius of Dumas or Pushkin. E. FRANKLIN FRAZIER Howard University We, the Tikopia. A sociological Study of Kinship in Primitive Polynesia. By RAYMOND FIRTH. With a preface by B. Malinowski. New York: American Book Co., I936. Pp. xxv+605. $6.oo. Black Civilization. A Social Study of an Australian Tribe. By W. LLOYD With an introduction by R. H. Lowie. New York: Harper and Brothers,I937. PP. xviii+594. $5.00. Both of these sturdy volumes describe the social life of primitive peoples in tropical Oceania. The Tikopia occupy a small island at the eastern extremity of the British Solomon Island Protectorate. They are Polynesians, numbering i200 individuals. Dr. Firth spent a year among them, pursuing his inquiries after the first few weeks in the native tongue. Although half the Tikopia are superficially Christianized, there are no white residents and these islanders, share with another group the distinction of maintaining X WARNER. This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Sat, 19 Dec 2015 22:31:13 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions