"THE UNFORTUNATE RESULT OF THE DOMINANCE OF THE SINGLE IDEA OF THE NEGRO UPON POLITICS HAS BEEN TO BENUMB THE SOUTH INTELLECTUALLY; TO STIFLE FREE THOUGHT AND FREE SPEECH": FIRST EDITION OF FOLLOWING THE COLOR LINE, 1908
BAKER, Ray Stannard. Following the Color Line. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1908. Octavo, original gilt-stamped brown cloth. $850.
First edition of this collection of articles about a journalist's travels through America investigating Black life and racism, including first-person coverage of the 1906 Atlanta race riots and lynchings on both sides of the color line, with dozens of photographic illustrations.
"This book is a treatise on negro citizenship in the American democracy and its purpose is to make a clear statement of the exact conditions and relationships of the negro in American life. The author has endeavored to see every problem, not as a northerner or a southerner, but as an American… He does not look upon the negro as a menial in the south, nor as a curiosity in the north, but as a plain human being, animated with his own hopes, depressed by his own fears, and meeting his own problems" (The Joliet Illinois Herald, contemporary review). Although white journalist Ray Stannard Baker's language and opinions occasionally reflect the racist climate in which he lived, he was a leading progressive and muckraker. Activists including Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Jane Addams praised his articles for their no-holds-barred reporting of events such as the 1906 Atlanta race riots. While Baker was anxious not to offend his Southern readers, he nevertheless reported horrifying events in the Southern states, often pointing out the mental, governmental, and social weaknesses caused by racism. Rather than offering avenues for change, Baker settled on the idea that only the passage of time would put an end to the worst of America's racism. Small bookseller ticket.
Interior generally fine, only minor rubbing mainly to extremities, cover gilt bright. A handsome near-fine copy.