At the University of North Carolina a significant racial controversy has arisen. When Thomas Hocutt, a negro, audaciously applied for admittance to the school of pharmacy last March, he was rejected on a technicality. The North Carolina Agency for the Advancement of the Colored Race has taken up his cause, and is asking that colored students either be allowed to enter state professional schools or that money be provided for those wishing to attend institutions outside the state.
This is a departure from the usual Southern custom of quieta non movere in interracial matters. The notorious inequality of educational opportunities in the South is not realized by the Northerner. Nor is it generally comprehended this side the Mason-Dixon line that state institutions in the South, however liberal, cannot, with the present temper of feeling against the negro, dare to open their gates to him. Regardless of what constitutes ideal justice, any attempt at mixing the races in so crucial a concern as education would be certain to arouse a resentment both bitter and dangerous. Even if the colored student were tolerated by the whites, his plight would be made unbearable by social barriers erected around him. His theoretical right to learn, like his theoretical right to vote, avail him nothing.
In view of this, it has been evidenced that the intelligent Southern negro far prefers to attend school with his fellows. It is only by the erection of a separate system of professional institutions, far more adequate and complete than that now existing, that he can be given the training to which he has a constitutional claim.