18??: The sexual status of the Negro, past and present

In his pamphlet “The sexual status of the Negro, past and present,” Henry McHatton of Macon, GA, ¬†outlines the dominant view of black immorality, particularly in the cities. Focusing in particular on the spread of venereal disease, McHatton argues that black men and women were healthier and more moral in slavery: “No race of human beings ever lived as healthy a life as the plantation negro in the South and in Cuba,” he insists (6). He also bemoans the improper education of freedmen: “You will find the houses of prostitution full of colored ladies who can read, write, play the piano, and possibly have a rudimentary knowledge of Latin and Greek, because they are unfitted by their education for airthing [sic] else. You will find our jails and chain-gangs full of colored gentlemen, with the same amount and type of education, because they think a man of education should not work, and they try to make a living by petty forgeries and confidence games on the less highly educated of their race,” he writes (8).