W.E.B. Du Bois


June 1, 1912

By a vote of 203 against 133, the German Reichstag has declared that marriages between Germans and native women in the colonies are legal. This is a triumph of sheer decency. It does not compel any German to marry a black or a brown woman. If Germans do not want a mixed mulatto progeny they may let the native woman alone. The law simply says that a marriage in fact is a marriage in law; that the virtue of a colored woman in the German colonies is to receive legal protection.

The simplest and barest demand of even half-civilized justice was not easily carried. It took the strength of Socialists and Catholics, fighting against the strongholds of German culture—the liberals and the aristocracy. Here were found the upholders of the dirtiest blot of modern white contact with backward races—the blot which makes the white Christian Church of the South to-day the strongest upholder of the system which denies all protection in law and custom to the helpless black girl before the lust of the white man.


For attribution, please cite this work as:
Du Bois, W.E.B. 1912. “Decency.” The Crisis 4 (2): 77.