HotFreeBooks.com
Booker T. Washington - Builder of a Civilization
by Emmett J. Scott and Lyman Beecher Stowe
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6
Home - Random Browse

OBSERVATIONS

1. Physical. (a) Cleanliness of premises. (b) Keeping up repairs.

2. Teaching. (a) Methods of instruction. (b) Books used, etc., that is, are they up to date. (c) To what extent correlation is being carried out. (d) Visiting teachers might give some definite demonstrations in methods, etc. (e) Special meetings with the faculty should be held.

3. Financial. (a) To what extent does the school keep up with its accounts so that its receipts and expenditures can be easily ascertained?

4. Community work. (a) Extension activities carried on by the school, (b) The efficiency of these activities.

5. Attendance. (a) Number of students enrolled on date of visit. (b) Number in attendance on date of visit. (c) What efforts are being made to get the students to enter at the beginning of the term and remain throughout the year?

SUGGESTIONS

1. Before concluding its visit the committee should make, to proper persons in the school, suggestions concerning the improving of the teaching and of other things as may be necessary.

2. If committee makes a second visit, see to what extent the suggestions of the previous visit have been carried out.

REPORT

After each visit a written report by the committee covering all of the above shall be sent to Principal Washington.

To all the graduates of the Institute Mr. Washington sent a circular letter on the first of each year in which frequently he told them of the progress that had been made by the school during the year in improvements, number of students enrolled, etc., and asked them in turn to answer a list of questions about their life and work, or sometimes in such letters he merely wished them success and gave them some practical advice. The 1913 letter which follows is an example of the latter:

Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, January 1, 1913.

Dear Mr. (or Miss) Blank:

I take this opportunity to send you greetings, to inquire how you are getting along, and to express the hope that in every way you are prospering. If, however, you are having discouragements, I trust that you are meeting them bravely. If you have difficulties, or are laboring under disadvantages, use them as stepping-stones to success.

I again call your attention to the importance of keeping in touch with the Institute. Keeping your address on file with us and sending a report of your work will assist in doing this. I enclose herewith a blank for that purpose. Visits to the school should also be made from time to time. You should begin to prepare now to be here during the coming commencement exercises in May in order that you may see what is being done at the institution and to meet your former classmates. Already the officers of the General Alumni Association have begun preparations for your welcome.

I urge upon you the importance of keeping up the habit of study and of reading good books and papers. The accompanying circular on "How to Buy Books" gives valuable suggestions about how to secure the best books cheaply. I take this occasion to inform you that already we are making preparations for our 1913 Summer School. It is hoped that every graduate who is teaching will attend this or some other good summer school.

I trust that wherever you are located you will do all that you can for community uplift. Be active in church and Sunday-school work, help to improve the public schools, assist in bettering health conditions, help the people to secure property, to buy homes and to improve them. In doing all these things, you will be carrying out the Tuskegee idea.

Very truly yours,

[Signed] BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

The questions were slightly varied from year to year. The following were those sent out with the 1915 letter—the last to bear the signature of the Institute's founder.

Please favor me by answering these questions and returning the blank as soon as you receive it.

1. Your full name when at Tuskegee?

2. What year were you graduated from Tuskegee?

3. Your present home address?

4. If you are not at home, your temporary address for the winter of 1915-1916?

5. If you have married, your wife's name before marriage? Was she ever a student at Tuskegee? Is she living?

6. Your present occupation? If in educational work, give your position in the school.

7. How long have you followed it?

8. What are your average wages or earnings per day, week, or month?

9. What other occupation have you?

10. Average wages per day, week, or month at this occupation?

11. Kind and amount of property owned?

12. Tell us something of the work you are doing this year. (We will also be pleased to receive testimonials from white and colored persons concerning your work).

13. We especially wish to get in touch this year with as many of our former students as possible. Please give present addresses and occupations of all of these that you can.

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

Tuskegee Institute, Alabama.



As previously mentioned the relationship between Mr. Washington and his Trustees was at all times particularly friendly and harmonious. While they were always directors who directed instead of mere figureheads, they nevertheless were broad enough and wise enough to give the Principal a very free rein. Preeminent among the able and devoted Trustees of Tuskegee was the late William H. Baldwin, Jr. In order to commemorate his life and work the William H. Baldwin, Jr., Memorial Fund of $150,000 was raised by a committee of distinguished men, with Oswald Garrison Villard of the New York Evening Post as chairman, among whom were Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, and Charles W. Eliot, and placed at the disposal of the Tuskegee Trustees. A bronze memorial tablet in memory of Mr. Baldwin was at the same time placed on the Institute grounds. At the ceremony at which this tablet was unveiled and this fund presented to the Trustees, Mr. Washington said in part, in speaking of his relations with Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Baldwin's relations to Tuskegee:

"Only those who are close to the business structure of the institution could really understand what the coming into our work of a man like William H. Baldwin meant to all of us. In the first place, it meant the bringing into our work a certain degree of order, a certain system, so far as the business side of the institution was concerned, that had not hitherto existed. Then the coming of him into our institution meant the bringing of new faith, meant the bringing of new friends. I shall never forget my first impression. I shall never forget my first experience in meeting Mr. Baldwin. At that time he was the General Manager and one of the Vice-Presidents of the Southern Railway, located then in its headquarters in the city of Washington. I remember that, a number of days previous, I had gone to the city of Boston and had asked his father if he would not give me a line of introduction to his son, about whom I had already heard in Washington. Mr. Baldwin's father readily gave me a line of introduction and I went in a few days after that and sought out Mr. Baldwin in his Washington office and he looked through this letter of introduction, read it carefully, then he looked me over, up and down, and I asked him if he would not become a trustee of this institution. After looking me over, looking me up and down for a few seconds or a few minutes longer, he said, 'No, I cannot become a trustee; I will not say I will become a trustee because when I give my word to become a trustee it must mean something.' He said, 'I will study the institution at Tuskegee, I will go there and look it over and after I have found out what your methods are, what you are driving at—if your methods and objects commend themselves to me, then I will consent to become a trustee.' And I remember how well—some of the older teachers and perhaps some of the older students will recall—that upon one day, when we were least expecting it, he stopped his private car off here at Chehaw and appeared here upon our grounds, and some of us will recall how he went into every department of the institution, how he went into the classrooms, how he went through the shops, how he went through the farm, how he went through the dining-room; I remember how he went to each table, and took pieces of bread from the table and broke them and examined the bread to see how well it was cooked, and even tasted some of it as he went into the kitchen. He wanted to be sure how we were doing things here at Tuskegee. Then after he had made this visit of examination for himself, after he had studied our financial condition, then after a number of months had passed by, he consented to permit us to use his name as one of our Trustees, and from the beginning to the end we never had such a trustee. He was one who devoted himself night and day, winter and summer, in season and out of season, to the interests of this institution. Now, having spoken this word, you can understand the thoughts and the feelings of some of us on this occasion as we think of the services of this great and good man.

"It is one of the privileges of people who are not always classed among the popular people of earth to have strong friends for the reason that nobody but a strong man will endure the public criticism that so often comes to one who is the friend of a weak or unpopular race. This, in the words of another, is one of the advantages enjoyed sometimes by a disadvantaged race."

Naturally no account of Booker Washington's administration of the great institution which he built would be complete without some mention of Mrs. Washington's part in her husband's work. Aside from her duties as wife, mother, and home maker—duties which any ordinary woman would find quite exacting enough to absorb all her time, thought, and strength particularly in view of the fact that a wide hospitality is part of the role—Mrs. Washington, as director of women's industries, is one of the half-dozen leading executives of the institution. In addition to her many and varied family and official duties at the Institute Mrs. Washington has always been a leader in social service and club work among the women of her race throughout the country, and has besides all this come to be a kind of mother confessor, advisor, and guide to hundreds of young men and women. We will conclude this chapter by quoting in large part an article written by Mr. Scott and published some years ago in the Ladies' Home Journal, which describes how and when Mrs. Washington entered her husband's life and work and the part she played in his affairs:

"Even before the war closed there came to the South on the heels of the army of emancipation an army of school teachers. They came to perfect with the spelling-book and the reader the work that the soldiers had begun with the sword. It was during this period in the little straggling village of Macon, Miss., that a little girl, called then Margaret Murray, but who is known now as Mrs. Booker T. Washington, was born. When she grew old enough to count she found herself one of a family of ten and, like nearly all children of Negro parentage, at that time, very poor.

"In the grand army of teachers who went South in 1864 and 1865 were many Quakers. Prevented by the tenets of their religion from entering the army as soldiers these people were the more eager to do the not less difficult and often dangerous work of teachers among the freedmen after the war was over.

"One of the first memories of her childhood is of her father's death. It was when she was seven years old. The next day she went to the Quaker school teachers, a brother and sister, Sanders by name, and never went back home to live.

"Thus at seven she became the arbiter of her own fate. The incident is interesting in showing thus early a certain individuality and independence of character which she has exhibited all through her life. In the breaking or loosening of the family relations after the death of her father she determined to bestow herself upon her Quaker neighbors. The secret of it, of course, was that the child was possessed even then with a passion for knowledge which has never since deserted her. Rarely does a day pass that Mrs. Washington amid the cares of her household, of the school, and of the many philanthropic and social enterprises in which she takes a leading part, does not devote half or three-quarters of an hour to downright study.

"And so it was that Margaret Murray became at seven a permanent part of the Quaker household, and became to all intents and purposes, so far as her habits of thought and religious attitude are concerned, herself a Quaker.

"'And in those early days,' says Mrs. Washington, laughing, 'I learned easily and quickly. It was only after I grew up that I began to grow dull. I used to sit up late at night and get up early in the morning to study my lessons. I was not always a good child, I am sorry to say, and sometimes I would hide away under the house in order to read and study.'...

"When Margaret Murray was fourteen years old the good Quaker teacher said one day, 'Margaret, would thee like to teach?' That very day the little girl borrowed a long skirt and went downtown to the office of Judge Ames, and took her examination. It was not a severe examination. Judge Ames had known Margaret all her life and he had known her father, and in those days white people were more lenient with Negro teachers than they are now. They did not expect so much of them. And so, the next day, Margaret Murray stepped into the schoolroom where she had been the day before a pupil and became a teacher....

"Then Margaret heard of the school at Nashville—Fisk University—and she went there. She had a little money when she started to school, and with that and what she was able to earn at the school and by teaching during vacations she managed to work her way as—what was termed rather contemptuously in those days—a 'half-rater.' It was not the fashion at that time, in spite of the poverty of the colored people, for students to work their way through school.

"In those days very little had been heard at Fisk of Tuskegee, of Hampton, or of Booker T. Washington. Students who expected to be teachers were looking forward to going to Texas. Texas has always been more favorable to Negro education than other Southern States and has always got the best of Negro public school teachers.

"But upon graduation day, June, 1889, Booker T. Washington was at Fisk, and he sat opposite Margaret Murray at table. About that time it was arranged that she should go to Texas, but, without knowing just how it came about, she decided to go to Tuskegee and become what was then called the Lady Principal of the school. Mrs. Washington has been at Tuskegee ever since.

"Mrs. Washington's duties as the wife of the Principal of the Tuskegee Institute are many and various. She has charge of all the industries for girls. She gives much time to the extension work of the school, which includes the 'Mothers' meetings' in the town of Tuskegee and the 'plantation settlement' nearby. Her most characteristic trait, however, is a boundless sympathy which has made her a sort of Mother Confessor to students and teachers of the Institute. All go to her for comfort and advice.

"The 'mothers' meetings' grew out of the first Tuskegee Negro Conference held at Tuskegee in February, 1892. Mrs. Washington, as she sat in the first meeting of Negro farmers and heard what they had to say, was impressed with the fact that history was repeating itself. Here again, as in the early days of the woman's suffrage movement, women had no place worth mentioning in the important concerns of life outside the household. While there were many women present at this first conference, they did not seem to realize that they had any interest in the practical affairs that were being discussed by their sons and husbands. While her husband was trying to give these farmers new ideas, new hopes, new aspirations, the thought came to Mrs. Washington that the Tuskegee village was the place for her to begin a work which should eventually include all the women of the county and of the neighboring counties. The country colored women crowd into the villages of the South on Saturday, seeking to vary the monotony of their hard and cheerless lives. Mrs. Washington determined to get hold of these women and utilize the time spent in town to some good purpose. Accordingly, the first mothers' meeting was organized in the upper story of an old store which then stood on the main street of the village. The stairs were so rickety that the women were almost afraid to ascend them. It answered the purpose temporarily, however, and there was no rent to pay. How to get the women to the meeting was, for a time, a question. For fear of opposition Mrs. Washington took no one into her confidence except the man who let her have the room. She sent a small boy through the streets with the instruction to go to every colored woman loitering about the streets and say: 'There is a woman upstairs who has something for you.' Mrs. Washington says: 'That first meeting I can never forget. The women came, and each one, as she entered, looked at me and seemed to say, 'Where is it?' We talked it all over, the needs of our women of the country, the best way of helping each other, and there and then began the first mothers' meeting which now has in its membership two hundred and twenty-nine women.'...

"Mrs. Washington asked some of the teachers at Tuskegee to begin to help these people (the people of the country districts surrounding the school). At first they went to the plantation (selected for the purpose) on Sundays only. Mrs. Washington selected what seemed to be the most promising cabin and asked the woman who lived there if she could come to that house the next Sunday and hold a meeting. When the party went down early the next Sunday morning a stout new broom was taken along. Making the woman a present of the broom, it was suggested that all take a hand in cleaning the house a little before the people should begin to come. The woman took the broom and swept half of the room, when Mrs. Washington volunteered to finish the job.

"She had not gone far along on her half before the woman was saying: 'Oh, Mis' Washington, lemme take de brom an' do mah half ovah.' Mrs. Washington says: 'I have always thought that that one unconscious lesson in thoroughness was the foundation of our work on that plantation.'...

"Not the least of the duties which fall to Mrs. Washington is that of caring for the distinguished people who visit the Tuskegee Institute. The Tuskegee rule that everything must be in readiness for the inspection of visitors, as much so in the kitchen as in any other department of the school, prevails in her home also.

"An interesting part of this home life is the Sunday morning breakfast. The teachers have slept later than usual, and, through the year, when Mr. Washington is at home, they are invited in groups of three and four to share this morning meal. In this way he keeps in personal touch with each of his teachers; he knows what they are doing; he hears their complaints, if they have any; he counsels with them; they 'get together.'

"Mrs. Washington's labors for the good of her people are not confined to the school. She is (has been) president of the Southern Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, editor of the official organ of the National Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, of which she is also an officer. She is a frequent contributor to the newspapers and magazines. (Mrs. Washington has since served two terms as president of the National Federation of Colored Women's Clubs.)

"Mr. Washington's own estimate of his wife's helpfulness to him may be gathered from his tribute in his widely read autobiography, 'Up from Slavery': 'She is completely one with me in the work directly connected with the school, relieving me of many burdens and perplexities.'"



CHAPTER TWELVE

WASHINGTON: THE MAN

Just as in the first chapter we sought to show the man in the making, so in this last chapter we shall seek to picture him as he became in the full fruition of his life. In the fully developed man of the last decade of his life we find the same traits and qualities which began to show themselves in those early years of constant struggle and frequent privation. There is the same intense mental and physical activity; the same readiness to fight against any odds in a good cause; the same modesty, frankness, open-mindedness, and passion for service.

One of the many illustrations of this intense activity was shown in a trip he made to Atlanta, Ga., three or four years before he died. Even at this time his strength had begun to wane. In accordance with his unfailing practice he got up at six o'clock in the morning, and after visiting his poultry and his beloved pigs, mounted his horse and rode over farms and grounds inspecting crops and buildings and what-not until eight o'clock, when he went to his office and attacked his huge morning's mail. After dictating for an hour or more he left his office just in time to catch a train which brought him to Atlanta at two o'clock in the afternoon. At the station he shook hands with four hundred people who had gathered to meet him. As he went along the streets to the Government Building he shook hands with many others who recognized him in passing. At the Government Building he shook hands with another large group assembled there to meet him. After the dinner tendered him by some of the leading individuals and associations among the Negroes of the city he posed for his photograph with a group of those at the dinner. He then made a tour of the city by motor, during which he visited three or four schools for Negroes and at each made a half-hour speech into which, as always, he threw all the force and energy there was in him.

After supper that evening he addressed twelve hundred people in the Auditorium Armory, speaking for an hour and a half. From the armory he went to a banquet given in his honor where he gave a twenty-minute talk. He did not get to bed until one o'clock. Four hours later he took a return train which brought him back to the school by ten-thirty. He went at once to his office and to work, working until late in the afternoon when he called for his horse and took his usual ride before supper. After supper he presided at a meeting of the Executive Council and after the Council meeting he attended the Chapel exercises. After these exercises were over at ten o'clock he made an inspection on foot of various parts of the buildings and grounds before going to bed. By just such excessive overwork did he constantly undermine and finally break down his almost superhuman strength and powers of endurance. This he did with an obstinate persistence in spite of wise and increasingly urgent warnings from physicians, friends, and associates. Where his own health was concerned he obdurately refused to listen to reason. It would almost seem as though he had deliberately chosen to put forth herculean efforts until he dropped from sheer exhaustion rather than to work with moderation for a longer span of life.

Booker Washington was a man who thought, lived, and acted on a very high plane. He was, in other words, an idealist, but unlike too many idealists he was sternly practical. His mind worked with the rapidity of flashes of lightning, particularly when he was aroused. This led him at times to feel and show impatience in dealing with slower-minded people, particularly his subordinates. He was often stirred to righteous indignation by injustice, but always kept his temper under control. He had a lucid mind which reasoned from cause to effect with machine-like accuracy. His intuitions were amazingly keen and accurate. In other words, his subconscious reasoning powers were very highly developed. Consequently his judgments of men and events were almost infallible. Although practically devoid of personal vanity, he was a very proud and independent man, and one who could not brook dictation from any one or bear to be under obligation to any one. He had the tenacity of a bulldog. His capacity for incessant work and his unswerving pursuit of a purpose once formed, were a constant marvel to those who surrounded him. While he was without conceit or vanity he had almost unlimited self-confidence. While it cannot be said that he overrated his own abilities, neither can it be said that he underrated them. His sympathies were easily aroused and he was abnormally sensitive, but he never allowed his emotions to get the better of his judgment. He forgave easily and always tried to find excuses for people who wronged, insulted, or injured him. In repartee he could hold his own with any one and enjoyed nothing more than a duel of wits either with an individual or an audience.

Less than a month before he died, when he was wasted by disease and suffering almost constant pain, he received this letter of appeal from Madame Helena Paderewski:

New York, October 26, 1915.

MY DEAR MR. WASHINGTON: I am writing you a very personal letter on a subject that is close to my heart, and I know the message it carries will find a response in your generous sympathy. It is with great pleasure that I recall our meeting, some years ago, and I have watched the success of your work among your people with sincere satisfaction, for I have always been an advocate of the principles for which you stand, the uplift of the colored race.

It is because I know you have ever directed your broad influence toward the most worthy causes that I am asking you in the name of the starving babies and their helpless mothers, to tell your people that we need them in our work of sending food and medicines to Poland. We need, my dear sir, even the smallest contribution that your beloved followers may offer, and I beg of you to make an appeal to your people. Tell them, for they may not all know as well as you, yourself, that it was a Pole—Kosciusko—who, in addition to fighting for American liberty, gave that which he needed himself to help the colored race. As you will recall, after refusing the grant of land offered him in recognition of his services in the War of the Revolution, he returned to Poland, not wishing to accept a reward for doing what he considered a sublime duty to those in need. Later, after eight years, when he again visited America, he was given a pension as General in the American Army. With the back pay during his absence, the sum amounted to about $15,000. Although poor himself, he felt deep compassion for the neglected colored children and, with the money given him, he established the first school in America devoted exclusively to the education of the colored youth.

I am sure you know the story in all its details, but I desire the colored people of America to know that to-day the descendants of the man who—unasked—aided them—plead for a crust of bread, a spoonful of milk for their hungry children. Tell them this and God will bless and prosper you in your telling and them in their giving. Do not think that small amounts are useless—five cents may save a life. I am sending Mr. Paderewski's appeal, but conditions, to-day, are worse now than when it was written. Will you help Poland? Will you do it now?

Please reply to Hotel Gotham.

Yours in work for humanity,

[Signed] HELENA PADEREWSKI.

Dr. Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee, Alabama.

In spite of disease, pain, and weakness—in spite of the fact that he must have realized that his remaining time for his own chosen work had narrowed down to a matter of weeks—he instantly responded to this appeal. Immediately he sent Madame Paderewski's letter to the Negro press of the entire country with this explanatory note:

MADAME PADEREWSKI'S APPEAL FOR POLISH VICTIMS

Madame Helena Paderewski, wife of the famous pianist, has addressed a letter to Dr. Booker T. Washington, of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, making an appeal for the Polish victims of the European War. The letter is sent to the press with the thought that there may be those among the Negro people who may feel disposed to respond to Madame Paderewski's appeal.

An organization known as the Polish Victims' Relief Fund has been organized, with headquarters in Aeolian Building, 35 West Forty-Second Street, New York City. Madame Paderewski's letter follows, etc.

Immediately after Mr. Washington's death Mrs. Washington received the following note from Madame Paderewski:

New York, November 15, 1916.

Mrs. Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee, Alabama.

MY DEAR MRS. WASHINGTON: It was with a feeling of personal loss that I read this morning of the death of Dr. Washington. I have always admired his courage and wonderful ability, and his passing at this time brings a double sorrow, for in this morning's mail I received a copy of the Tuskegee Student containing my letter and appeal to Dr. Washington. I wish it had been possible for me to have thanked him for what he has done, but I am sure that the Heavenly Father will bless this and the many other good works with which he was connected.

I desire you to know how much I appreciate the kindness of Dr. Washington and how highly I esteemed him. Please accept my deep sympathy and believe me,

Very sincerely yours,

[Signed] HELENA PADEREWSKI.

Although apparently indifferent to the treatment he received from those about him Booker Washington was in reality, as has been said, unusually sensitive. No matter what his engagements he always insisted upon being at home with his wife and children on Thanksgiving Day and on Christmas. One Christmas, about ten years ago, it so happened that no Christmas presents were provided for him. The children gave presents to one another and to their mother and she to them, but through oversight there were no presents for Mr. Washington. Mrs. Washington says that after the presents had been opened her husband drew her aside and said in broken tones: "Maggie, they've not given me a single Christmas present!" From then on Mrs. Washington saw to it that the children remembered their father at Christmas.

In Birmingham, Ala., about three years before his death, he and his secretary entered an office building one day to call on one of the Tuskegee Trustees whose office was on the top floor. When they looked for an elevator they were referred by the hall man to the elevator for colored people. On this elevator was a sign reading, "For Negroes and Freight." His secretary expected him to comment on this, but he said nothing and seemed hardly to notice it. That evening, in addressing a great audience of both races in one of the big theatres of the city, he was urging the Negroes to look upon their Southern white neighbors as their friends and to turn to them for advice when he said very slowly and distinctly: "I visited, this morning, a building which had on the elevator for colored people a sign reading, 'For Negroes and Freight.' Now, my friends, that is mighty discouraging to the colored man!" At this not only the colored people, but the white people sprang to their feet and shouted, many of them, "You're right, Doctor!" "That's mean!" "That's not fair!" and other such expressions.



Every morning before breakfast when at home Mr. Washington would visit his chickens, pigs, and cows. He said of finding the newly laid eggs: "I like to find the new eggs each morning myself, and am selfish enough to permit no one else to do this in my place. As with growing plants, there is a sense of freshness and newness and restfulness in connection with the finding and handling of newly laid eggs that is delightful to me. Both the realization and the anticipation are most pleasing. I begin the day by seeing how many eggs I can find or how many little chicks there are that are just beginning to creep through the shells. I am deeply interested in the different kinds of fowls, and always grow a number of different breeds at my own home."

But none of the animals interested him and aroused his enthusiasm as did the pigs. He always kept on his own place some choice specimens of Berkshires and Poland Chinas at whose shrine he worshipped each morning. Also he always insisted that the swine herd of the Institute be kept recruited up to full strength and in fact considerably beyond full strength in the opinion of the Agricultural Director who in vain protested that it was not profitable to keep so large a herd. It would be interesting to know whether the great economic importance of the pig to his race was at the bottom of Booker Washington's fondness for the animal.

After breakfast he mounted his horse and made a round of the Institute farms, truck gardens, dormitories, and shops before going to his office and attacking his huge correspondence. This correspondence, both in its dimensions and catholicity, was typical of the man. His daily incoming mail amounted to between 125 and 150 letters. The outgoing ran to between 500 and 1,000 letters daily—in large part, of course, "campaign letters,"—as he called them, letters seeking to interest new friends in the work of the Institute, and others keeping in touch with friends already interested, etc. His advice, opinion, or comments were sought on every conceivable subject both by serious and sensible men and women and by cranks of both races. Hundreds of the humbler people of his own race were constantly applying to him for information and advice as to whether it would be profitable to start this or that business venture, or whether or not it would be possible to establish a school in this or that community, and how they should set about it.

Booker Washington's sense of justice was unquenchable. While at Coden-on-the-Bay, near Mobile, Ala., in September, 1915, snatching a few days of rest and recreation as a palliative for the insidious disease which was so soon to end his life, he was distressed by a newspaper report of the killing of a number of Haitians by United States Marines. He read the report in a Mobile paper late one afternoon on his return from a fishing trip. He went to bed but could not sleep. The misfortunes of the turbulent little black republic seethed through his mind. Early in the morning, while his companions were still sleeping, he awakened the inevitable stenographer and dictated an article counselling patience in dealing with the unfortunate little country. This article, dictated by a dying man on the impulse of the moment, briefly recites the history of Haiti from the period over a hundred years ago when the people of the island wrested their liberty from France under the leadership of Toussaint L'Ouverture, up to the present time. He then says in part:

"Associated Press dispatches a few days ago stated that forty or fifty Haitians had been killed on Haytian soil in one day by American marines and a number of marines wounded. To every black man in the United States this dispatch brought a feeling of disappointment and sorrow. While, as I have stated, the United States, under the circumstances, was compelled to take notice of conditions in Haiti and is being compelled to control matters, largely because of the fault of the Haitians, I had hoped that the United States would be patient in dealing with the Haitian Government and people. The United States has been patient with Germany. It has been patient in the Philippines. It has been exceedingly patient in dealing with Mexico. I hope this country will be equally patient and more than patient in dealing with Haiti—a weaker and more unfortunate country!

"I very much wish that it might have been possible for the United States to have taken a little more time in making known to the Haitians the purposes we have in mind in taking over the control of their custom houses and their governmental affairs. While everything that we intend to do, and have in mind to do, is perfectly plain to the officials of the United States, we must remember that all this is not perfectly plain to the Haitians. It would have been worth while, in my opinion, before attempting arbitrarily to force Haiti to sign the treaty put before its officials, to have spent a little time and a little patience in informing the Haitian people of the unselfish benevolence of our intentions. They, in time, would have understood why it is necessary to intervene in their affairs.

"Another reason, in my opinion, why patience may be manifested in this matter is that the treaty, even at the best, cannot be ratified by the United States Senate until it meets in regular session in December, unless the President calls it in special session earlier.

"I confess that while I am unschooled in such matters, since reading the treaty the Haitians have been told they must ratify, it seems to me rather harsh and precipitate; one cannot be surprised that the Haitians have hesitated to agree to all the conditions provided for in this treaty. No wonder they have hesitated when they have had so little time in which to understand it, when the masses of the Haitian people know little or nothing of what the treaty contemplates.

"The way matters are now going, there is likely to be bitterness and war. The United States, in the end, will conquer, will control, will have its way, but it is one thing to conquer a people through love, through unselfish interest in their welfare, and another thing to conquer them through the bullet, through the shotgun. Shooting civilization into the Haitians on their own soil will be an amazing spectacle. Sending marines as diplomats and Mauser bullets as messengers of destruction breed riot and anarchy, and are likely to leave a legacy of age-long hatreds and regrets.

"I also hope the United States will not pursue a mere negative policy in Haiti, that is, a policy of controlling the customs and what-not, without going further in progressive, constructive directions. In a word, the United States now has an opportunity to do a big piece of fine work for Haiti in the way of education, something the island has never had. I hope some way will be provided by which a portion of the revenues will be used in giving the people a thorough, up-to-date system of common school, agricultural, and industrial education. Here is an excellent opportunity for some of the young colored men and women of the United States who have been educated in the best methods of education in this country to go to Haiti and help their fellows. Here is an opportunity for some of the most promising Haitian boys and girls to be sent to schools in the United States. Here is an opportunity for us to use our influence and power in giving the Haitians something they have never had, and that is education, real education. At least 95 per cent. of the people, as I have said, are unlettered and ignorant so far as books are concerned."

Booker Washington's self-control was never more needed than on an occasion at Tuskegee described by T. Thomas Fortune, the Negro author and publicist. A Confederate veteran who had lost an arm fighting for the Confederacy and who had served for a number of years in Congress was on the program to speak at a Tuskegee meeting. This Confederate veteran had a great liking for Mr. Washington and believed in his ideas on the importance of industrial education for the colored people. Mr. Fortune says:

"John C. Dancy, a colored man, at that time Collector of Customs at Wilmington, N.C., was to speak first, the Confederate veteran second, and I was to follow the latter. Mr. Dancy is an unusually bright and eloquent man. Mr. Dancy paid a glowing tribute to the New England men and women who had built up the educational interest among the colored people after the war, of which Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes are lasting monuments. Mr. Dancy had plenty of applause from the great concourse of countrymen, but his address made the white speaker furious. When the former Congressman was called upon to speak he showed plainly that he was agitated out of his self-restraint. Without any introductory remarks whatever, he said, as I remember it:

"'I have written this address for you,' waving it at the audience, 'but I will not deliver it. I want to give you niggers a few words of plain talk and advice. No such address as you have just listened to is going to do you any good; it's going to spoil you. You had better not listen to such speeches. You might just as well understand that this is a white man's country, as far as the South is concerned, and we are going to make you keep your place. Understand that. I have nothing more to say to you.'

"The audience was taken back as much by the bluntness of the remarks as if they had been doused with cold water. Indignation was everywhere visible on the countenances of the people. But Mr. Washington appeared unruffled. On the contrary, his heavy jaw was hard set and his eyes danced in a merry measure. It was a time to keep one's temper and wits, and he did so, as usual. Without betraying any feeling in the matter, and when everybody expected him to announce the next speaker, he said:

"'Ladies and Gentlemen: I am sure you will agree with me that we have had enough eloquence for one occasion. We shall listen to the next speaker at another occasion, when we are not so fagged out. We will now rise, sing the doxology, and be dismissed.'

"The audience did so, but it was the most funereal proceeding I had ever witnessed upon such an occasion. Mr. Washington's imperturbable good nature alone saved the day."

Some time after President Roosevelt had begun to consult Booker Washington on practically all his appointments and policies which particularly affected the relations between the races, and after several Southern white men had been given Federal appointments on Mr. Washington's recommendation, the bitterness against him grew so intense, especially among the "Talented Tenth" element of the Northern Negroes, that he decided to meet a group of their leaders face to face, and have it out. Accordingly, through Mr. Fortune, he arranged to meet a number of these men at a dinner at Young's Hotel in Boston. Mr. Fortune thus describes what took place:

"At the proper time, when the coffee and cigars were served, I arose and told the diners that Dr. Washington had desired to meet them at the banquet table and at the proper time to have each one of them express freely his opinion of the race question, and how best the race could be served in the delicate crisis through which it was then passing. Each of the speakers launched into a tirade against Dr. Washington and his policies and methods, many of them in lofty flights of speech they had learned at Harvard University. The atmosphere was dense with discontent and denunciation.

"The climax was reached when William H. Lewis, the famous Harvard football coach, told Dr. Washington to go back South, and attend to his work of educating the Negro and 'leave to us the matters political affecting the race.' Every eye was upon Dr. Washington's face, but none of them could read anything in it; it was as inscrutable as a wooden Indian's. When every one of them had had his say, I called upon Dr. Washington to respond to the speakers who had unburdened themselves. Dr. Washington rose slowly, and with a slip of paper in his hand, said:

"'Gentlemen, I want to tell you about what we are doing at Tuskegee Institute in the Black Belt of Alabama.'

"For more than a half-hour he told them of the needs and the work without once alluding to anything that had been said in heat and anger by those to whom he spoke. He held them close to him by his simple recital, with here and there a small blaze of eloquence, and then thanking them for the candor with which they had spoken, sat down. They were all disappointed, as they expected that he would attempt to excuse himself for the things they had complained of."

At the time of Mr. Washington's death, the same William H. Lewis, who told him at this time to go back to the South and attend to his work and "leave to us the matters political affecting the race," said of him:

"Words, like tears, are vain and idle things to express the great anguish I feel at the untimely death of Booker Washington. He was my friend who understood me and believed in me. I did not always believe in him because I did not understand him. I first saw and heard him when a junior at Amherst in the early 90's, when he spoke at Old John Brown's church in Springfield, where I journeyed to hear him. I could not then appreciate his love for the Southern people and his gospel of work. I even doubted his loyalty to his race. When I came to Boston I joined in with his most violent and bitterest critics. The one thing that I am so thankful for is that I early saw the light and came to appreciate and understand the great work of Booker T. Washington.

"I have just finished reading an old letter from him, date, October 1, 1901, in which he said: 'The main point of this letter is to say I believe that both you and I are going to be in a position in the future to serve the race effectually, and while it is very probable that we shall always differ as to detailed methods of lifting up the race, it seems to me that if we agree in each doing our best to lift it up the main point will have been gained, and I am sure that in our anxiety to better the condition of the race there is no difference between us, and I shall be delighted to work in hearty cooperation with you.'

"Since then, I have known him intimately and well. He was unselfish and generous to a fault; he was modest yet masterful; he was quiet yet intense; his common sense and sagacity seemed uncanny, such was his knowledge of human nature. His was a great soul in which no bitterness or littleness could even find a lurking place. His was the great heart of Lincoln, with malice toward none and charity for all. He loved all men and all men loved him.

"My humble prayer is that his torch has lighted another among the dark millions of America, to lead the race onward and upward."

Booker Washington's insistence that the classrooms, shops, and farms were for the development of the students rather than the students for their development was well illustrated by a remark he once made to Bishop William Lawrence of Massachusetts when the Bishop was visiting the Institute. In reply to Bishop Lawrence's question as to whether he had chosen the best available land for his agricultural work, he said, "No, sir, I chose pretty nearly the poorest land I could find. I chose land on which men would have to spend all their energies to bring out the life in the land. They work here under the hardest conditions. When they go out to other lands—to their own lands, perhaps—they won't find any worse land to till. If they find any better land the difference will be all gain for them."

Perhaps more remarkable than any or all of his achievements was the fact that Booker Washington was a gentleman. It would be difficult to find a man who better conformed to the exacting yet illusive requirements of that term. He had not only the naturalness and the goodness of heart which are the fundamentals, but he had also the breeding and the polish which distinguish the finished gentleman from the "rough diamond." This fact about Booker Washington has been well described by Hamilton Wright Mabie in an article entitled: "Booker T. Washington: Gentleman," in which he says in part:

"Booker Washington became one of the foremost men in America; he was heard on great occasions by great audiences with profound attention; he was a writer and speaker of National position, the founder of a college, and the organizing leader of a race in ideas and industry. These were notable achievements; but there was another achievement which was in its way more notable. Without any advantages of birth or station or training, a member of an ostracized race, with the doors of social life closed in his face, Dr. Washington was a gentleman. I recall two illustrations of this quality of nature, often lacking in men of great ability and usefulness. The first was in Stafford House, London, the residence of the Duke of Sutherland. The older Duke was the lifelong friend of Queen Victoria; and once, when she was going to Stafford House, she wrote the Duke that she was about to leave her uninteresting house for his beautiful palace. Nothing could be more stately than the great hall of Stafford House, with its two marble stairways ascending to the galleries above; and when the Duchess of Sutherland, standing on the dais from which the stairs ascended, received her guests she reminded more than one of her guests of the splendid picture drawn by Edmund Burke of Marie Antoinette moving like a star through the palace of Versailles. On that evening Dr. Washington was present. At one time in one of the rooms he happened to be talking with the duchess and two other women of high rank, two of them women of great beauty and stateliness. There were some people present who were evidently very much impressed by their surroundings. Booker Washington seemed to be absolutely unconscious of the splendor of the house in which he was, or of the society in which for the moment he found himself. Born in a hut without a door-sill, he was at ease in the most stately and beautiful private palace in London.

"On another occasion there was to be a Tuskegee meeting at Bar Harbor. The Casino had been beautifully decorated for a dance the night before. The harbor was full of yachts, the tennis courts of fine-looking young men and women; it was a picture of luxury tempered with intelligence. Mr. Washington was looking out of the window. Presently he turned to me and said, with a smile, 'And last Wednesday morning I was eating breakfast in a shanty in Alabama; there were five of us and we had one spoon!'"

At the time of his stay in London, during which this reception at Stafford House took place, he was given a luncheon by a group of distinguished men to which Mr. Asquith, the Prime Minister, was invited. In reply, Mr. Asquith sent this note:

10 Downing Street, Whitehall, S.W. 26th September, 1910.

DEAR SIR: I much regret that my engagements do not allow me to accept your invitation to be present at the luncheon which it is proposed to give in honor of Mr. Booker T. Washington. I feel sure, however, that he will be welcomed with a cordiality which his persistent and successful labors in the cause of the education of the American Negro deserve, especially at the hands of English men, whose difficulties in many parts of the Empire have been helped toward a solution by the results of his work.

Yours faithfully,

[Signed] H.H. ASQUITH.

While at home, no matter how pressed and driven with work, Booker Washington snatched an hour or so every day for hunting or riding. This daily exercise became a fetich with him which he clung to with unreasonable obstinacy. He would frequently set off upon these hunts or rides in so exhausted a condition that obviously their only effect could be worse exhaustion. His intense admiration for Theodore Roosevelt probably had its influence, conscious or unconscious, in strengthening his devotion to violent outdoor exercise.

Whatever he was doing or wherever he was, his mind seemed constantly at work along constructive lines. At the most unexpected times and places he would suddenly call the inevitable stenographer and dictate some idea for an article or address or some plan for the improvement of Tuskegee or for the betterment of the whole race in this or that particular. He would sometimes reduce his immediate subordinates to the verge of despair by pouring out upon them in rapid succession constructive suggestions each one of which meant hours, days, and even weeks of time to work out, and then calling for the results of all before even one could be fairly put into effect. This tendency became particularly marked in his closing years when the consciousness of an immense amount of work to be done and a short and constantly lessening period in which to do it must have become an obsession and almost a nightmare to him.

He would sometimes wound the feelings of acquaintances and friends, particularly his teachers, by passing them on the street and even looking at them without recognition. This naturally was not intentional, nor was it because his mind was wool-gathering, but merely because he was thinking out some idea with which the people and events immediately about him had for the moment no connection and were consequently totally obliterated from his consciousness.

Mr. Washington's strength of will and determination were never better shown than in the closing hours of his life. When he was told by his doctors at St. Luke's Hospital, New York, whither he had been taken by the New York trustees of the Institute after his final collapse, that he had but a few hours to live, he insisted upon starting for home at once. His physicians expostulated and warned him that in his condition he could not reasonably expect to survive the journey. He insisted that he must go and be true to his oft-repeated assertion, "I was born in the South, I have lived and labored in the South, and I expect to die and be buried in the South." This remark, when sent out in the Associated Press dispatches announcing his death, touched the South as nothing else could have. No Negro was ever eulogized in the Southern press as he was. Long accounts of his career and death with sympathetic and appreciative editorial comments appeared in most of the Southern papers.

One of the doctors who was called in to attend him at the time he was taken to the hospital remarked that it was "uncanny to see a man up and about who ought by all the laws of nature to be dead." In this condition, then, he set out upon the long journey from New York to Tuskegee. When the party reached the Pennsylvania Station an invalid's chair was awaiting him, but he declined to use it, and leaning on the arms of his companions walked or rather tottered to his seat in the train. As soon as the train began to move Southward a slight invigoration of triumph seemed to come over him which increased as the journey continued, until at its close he seemed stronger than when he started. All along the way he would inquire at frequent intervals what point they had reached. The reaching and passing of each important station such as Greensboro, Charlotte, and Atlanta he would seem to score up in his mind's eye as a new triumph. And when finally he reached Chehaw, the little station five miles from Tuskegee, he was fairly trembling with eager expectancy. As we have said, he reached Tuskegee apparently stronger than when he left New York and strong enough to enjoy the final triumph of his indomitable will over his overworked and weakened body. The next morning, November 14, 1915, he was dead.

Of the myriads of tributes to Booker Washington by white men and black both North and South, which were spoken from platforms and pulpits and printed in newspapers and periodicals throughout the length and breadth not only of America but the world, there are two which we feel irresistibly compelled to use in concluding this chapter and book. One is the tribute of a former student, Isaac Fisher, president of the Tuskegee Alumni Association, speaking for the graduates at the memorial exercises held at Tuskegee on December 12, 1915; the other is the tribute of one of his teachers, Clement Richardson, head of the division of English, speaking in effect for the Tuskegee teachers in an article published in the Survey of December 4, 1915.

At this memorial meeting, after being introduced by Seth Low, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, as the representative of the Tuskegee Alumni Association, Mr. Fisher said:

"Mr. Chairman: The greatest citizens of this nation have paused long enough to pay tributes of honor to the memory of Dr. Washington; and to-night some of the world's most distinguished citizens are present to say their words of love for the departed chieftain whose body lies in a grave just outside of those walls. In the presence of these great men I do not see why you have asked me, one of the least of all, to add my simple praise.

"But I can say that no persons have sustained so great a loss as have the members of the Tuskegee Alumni Association; and I come to bear testimony to the depth and sincerity of their grief.

"There is a story which has not yet been told, in connection with the spread of industrial education in the South and throughout the entire country. I must tell that story here before I can make clear just how great is the Alumni's loss.

"In telling of the spread of industrial education, during the past twenty-five years, we seem not to know that the work has been difficult and prosecuted at great sacrifice on the part of the Tuskegee graduates who have sought to interpret Dr. Washington's theory that economic fitness was the basis of racial growth in many other directions.

"The people did not take kindly to this form of education, believing that it was the same old slavery from which we have emerged under a new name; and the Tuskegee graduates have prosecuted their work in the face of the misrepresentations, prejudice, opposition, and ridicule of those of their own race who could or would not understand the spirit of industrial education—a spirit broader and finer than the phrase suggests. More than this: in the communities where they have worked it has been the fashion to permit our graduates to do the difficult tasks and carry all the burdens of leadership; but if there were any honors to be bestowed, they were given to the graduates of other schools.

"Being human and denied those honors and public marks of esteem which always gladden the heart, these Tuskegee men and women have often grown discouraged and have been tempted to lay down their work. But like Daniel, when those gloomy hours came, they have turned their faces toward Jerusalem, to Tuskegee, over which the great spirit of Dr. Washington brooded and lived; and from this place he has sent back to them whenever they have called, encouragement, counsel, and help.

"Sometimes they have been so depressed that they have come to Tuskegee just to see and talk with their prophet once more and to be baptized again in his sweet and noble spirit. Many times we have seen them here and wondered at their presence. They were here to receive comfort, and to hear Mr. Washington say in his own convincing manner: 'It has been my experience that if a man will do the right thing and go ahead, everything will be all right at last.' And these men and women who have sat at his feet and who trusted him have gone back to their work with new and increasing strength.

"But now Dr. Washington is gone, and the graduates of the school will never again receive his counsel and encouragement, however gloomy their paths may be. That is the measure of our loss.

"And yet our Principal is not buried out yonder. It is his tired body which is resting just beyond that wall; but he is not buried in that grave. The real Dr. Washington is buried in the graduates who sat at his feet and imbibed his spirit, and he lives in them.

"King David, pondering over God's mercies and goodness to him, thinking of how he had been taken from minding sheep and placed upon the throne of Israel; and how God had guided and protected him and made his name great in the earth, exclaimed reverently, one day, 'What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits unto me?' and he answered his question, in part, by saying: 'I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all the people.'

"If all our graduates could speak to-night, they would have me pay their vows of gratitude for the opportunity to make blessed and beautiful their lives, given by our great teacher; and they would have me give public assurance of their fealty to the work for which Mr. Washington gave his life.

"And so, Mr. Chairman, in the name of the Alumni Association and in the spirit of him whose body lies buried just beyond those walls, I pledge you and the Trustees the loyalty of the Tuskegee graduates to whatever work they are called in connection with the realization of Dr. Washington's great purpose. I pledge you their support in the work which you have come to Tuskegee to perform; because we are learning self-government and wish to help prove to the world that we can pass the succession to the Principalship here without revolution. By this time to-morrow night another prophet will have been raised up to serve in the room of the great founder of this school. I want you, Sir, and the Board of Trustees to know that when the proclamation is made that 'The King is Dead!' our Alumni Association will be ready to reply: 'Long Live the King!' and we will faithfully, honestly, and loyally support the person you elect to succeed our great father, whoever that person may be.

"In the furtherance of Dr. Washington's work, the graduates stand ready to say:

"'I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, O'er the mountain, or plain, or sea; I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord; I'll be what you want me to be.'"

In the Survey article, after briefly describing the ups and downs of Mr. Washington's long fight against a breaking constitution, Mr. Richardson says:

"With such perpetual rallying power who could cope? A latent feeling crept among many that he was immune to pain as he had been to insult and abuse. You know he could steer on over an insult and never see it. Some of us shook our heads and said, 'Why he is good for ten years yet.' Seeing that he thus defied nerves and baffled pain, we hoped. It was in the hour of hope that the last stroke came, and we felt that pulling at the throat which we should have felt had he gone by sudden accident.

"How Tuskegee took Dr. Washington's death can probably best be appreciated by an account of what his life meant among his teachers. Officially he was a stern and exacting task master. A tireless worker himself, he imposed heavy tasks upon others. In the home, however, he had a genius for cheering by little kindnesses and by a thoughtful word. Now he would send around a basket of vegetables from his garden, now a cut of one of his pigs which he had killed and in which he took great delight.

"People who sent books and pictures to Tuskegee can hardly realize what a double pleasure they were shipping: the pleasure they gave him and others through him. He would have the boxes opened and books and pictures brought in to his office. Then from all his heaps of correspondence, from business engagements, from matters of national importance, he would turn aside and go through these himself, culling them out. He would sort a pile here for this family; one there for another, according to what he considered would suit each. Many a time one could scarcely find a place to step in his office for the pictures and books. In all things he received, but to share.

"Then he had a way of kicking organizations to pieces for a few minutes. If some rural school had a creditable exhibit he would order that the senior class, 150 strong, should be taken there, whether it was one mile or ten miles away. He would order the class out to see how some poor, illiterate farmer had raised a bumper crop of peas, corn, sugar cane, and peanuts, how he surrounded himself with conveniences, both inside and outside the home. Now he would declare a half holiday; now he would allow the students to sleep a half-hour later in the morning.

"In the same way the teachers would get an outing once or twice a year, sometimes at night, sometimes in the day. As the teachers are on duty for both day and night school, and as the students usually rise at 5:30 and breakfast at 6, these little breaks were windfalls. They sent each one back to his labors with a smile. He knew the value of change and the psychology of cheer. No wonder then that when death closed his eyes both teachers and students went about heavy of limb and with eyes that told too plainly what the heart felt.

"Just as he touched the students and teachers with little thoughtful deeds so he touched the town and State, both white and black. One feature of his funeral illustrated how complete had been his triumph over narrow prejudices. He was always talking about the white man up the hollow, back in the woods. How many times have I heard him urge picturesquely upon gatherings of teachers to 'win that old fellow who, when you begin to talk Negro education and Negro schoolhouse, scratches his head, leans to one side, and looks far away. That's the man,' he would say, 'that you've got to convince that Negro education is not a farce.'

"Well, that man was at Booker T. Washington's funeral. He came there on foot, on horseback, in buggies, in wagons. He was there in working clothes, in slouched hat, with no collar.

"During the service I chanced to stand near the end of the platform. Pretty soon I felt a rough brushing against my elbow. As I turned I saw a small white child, poorly clad, being thrust upon the end of the flower-laden platform. Then followed an old white man, collarless, wearing a dingy blue shirt and a coat somewhat tattered. After him came two strapping fellows, apparently his sons. All grouped themselves there and listened eagerly, freely spitting their tobacco juice on the platform steps and on the floor.

"How thankful would Dr. Washington have been for their presence. What a triumph! Ten years ago those men would not stop at the school. They cursed it, cursed the whole system and the man at the head of it. But quietly, persistently, he had gone on with that everlasting doctrine that service can win even the meanest heart, that an institution had the right to survive in just so far as it dovetailed its life into the life of all the people. Beautiful to behold, to remember forever; there was no race and no class in the Tuskegee chapel on Wednesday morning, November 17th; heart went out to heart that a common friend had gone.

"Broken as everybody is over the loss, no one is afraid. No panic as to the future of the school disturbs the breasts of the 190 odd teachers here. In the first place, poor as most of us are, we are ready to suffer many a privation before we see the institution slip back the slightest fraction of an inch. All these years it has been on trial, on record. It has been a test, not of a mere school, but of a race. A tacit pledge—not a word has thus far been spoken—has gone out among us that it shall remain on record, that it shall stand here as a breathing evidence that Negroes can bring things to pass.

"Back of this is the unshaken faith in our Board of Trustees. I doubt if such another board exists. It is made up of white men and black men, of men of the North and men of the South. There is not a figurehead among them. Though intensely engaged they go into the details of the workings of the school, getting close to the inner workings and to the lives of the teachers and students.

"Finally, we are confident that the public will have a good deal to say before Tuskegee is let die. The beaten path has been made to her door. Her methods have not only been commended but adopted wholly or in part both in this country and in other lands. Her use is undisputed. She takes students almost literally out of the gutter, puts them on their feet, and sends them out honest, peaceful, useful citizens. This is the ideal for which Dr. Washington struggled, and over which his life-cord snapped too soon.

"For the same ideal the people at Tuskegee, though broken in spirit, are willing to spend themselves; for they are confident that their cause is just and that the world is with them."

THE END



THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS GARDEN CITY, N.Y.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6
Home - Random Browse