Fifty-seven per cent of the Negro race are engaged in agricultural pursuits, and 31 per cent are engaged in personal service. Therefore, 88 per cent of the wage-earners of the race in the South are engaged in these two pursuits, or, in other words, 88 per cent of the wage-earners of the race have opportunity for profitable employment.
Where the masses of the Negroes are found and can get paying work, as they can in the South, there we must expect the greatest prosperity among Negroes. Our expectation is highly gratified in this case in the South. No doubt if the ninety-two per cent Negro population were to exchange places with the eight per cent, the opportunities now held out in the South would be transferred to the North. Our opportunities over those enjoyed by our Northern brethren are the creatures of accidents rather than of our meritorious invention.
The opportunities to win character and wealth afforded the Negroes of the South by agriculture and domestic service are probably better than are enjoyed by any other class of people in the world. The field is broad and ripe and the Negro must now see and seize these opportunities or they will pass from the race forever. No peasant population ever had more favorable environments. The Negro does not only do four-fifths of the agricultural labor of the South, but he has the opportunity to own four-fifths of the land he cultivates. This opportunity is not enjoyed by any other peasant class in the world. As I see it, the greatest success for the Negro race in America lies in the farm. There he meets the least resistance and obtains the greatest sustenance. There color prejudice is almost unknown, while everywhere in the mechanic arts, prejudice is bitter, competition is sharp, and the chances for success are small. This is a matter which the Negro must seriously consider now, or weep over his procrastination. The drift to the cities to exchange the free, honest, healthful, plenteous conditions of farm life for the miserable slums, sin, and squalor of city life must be checked. Our boys and girls must be educated for the farm.
It would be hard to find a people better suited for domestic and personal service than the Negro. In all the elements which are necessary for personal and domestic service, the Negro cannot be excelled. He is not treacherous. He forms no plots and schemes to entrap his master. He resorts to no violent incendiary measures of avenging himself against his master, but he humbly and tamely submits to the conditions, ever looking for betterment through superhuman agencies. If the South would only look this matter squarely in the face, it would admit that it has the best service on earth, and would vote liberal appropriations for the development of Negro education of every character.
It may seem to persons not informed incredible, but it is no less a fact that where racial prejudice runs highest in the South and the demarcation between the races is most distinct along social lines, there the Negro is most prosperous, and, strange to say, advances most rapidly in material wealth. Self-help, self-dependence, faith in self, seem to spur to success as nothing else does. The drug store is the creature of Anglo-Saxon prejudice in denying Negroes accommodations at the soda-water fountains run by white men. In a score of channels the Negro is pushed on to success by Anglo-Saxon discrimination. What seems a curse is in reality a blessing to the race. Anglo-Saxon prejudice forces the Negro to take advantage of his great opportunity to get rich.
WHAT IS THE NEGRO TEACHER DOING IN THE MATTER OF UPLIFTING HIS RACE?
BY PROF. A. ST. GEORGE RICHARDSON.
PROF. ARTHUR ST. GEORGE RICHARDSON.
Far out in mid-Atlantic ocean about 700 miles east of New York lies the group of sunny isles known as the Bermudas. On one of these beautiful coral formations called St. Georges was born, July 5, 1863, the subject of this writing. Arthur was sent to Canada in 1878 to attend the public schools of St. Johns, N. B. Being an apt pupil he soon finished the curriculum of studies of the grammar schools and in 1880 entered the high school from which in three years' time he was graduated.
Not considering his education complete at this point, Arthur matriculated at the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton, in the fall of the same year, being the first and only colored young man to enter this institution of higher learning. As in the high school so now in college young Arthur distinguished himself among his classmates by winning a scholarship and at times leading his class in Greek. He was graduated from the university with honors in classics, June, 1886.
He was then elected principal of the Wilberforce Collegiate Institute at Chatham, Ont., where he served one year, increasing the attendance, and greatly improving the work of the school. The following year, 1887, he returned to his native home and visited his parents from whom he had been separated nine years. The next year after his return to Canada he was invited by Bishop W. J. Gaines to come to Georgia and assume the principalship of Morris Brown College in Atlanta. After much hesitancy, Mr. Richardson accepted the invitation and took charge of Morris Brown College when it was a school of small proportions and modest pretensions. Here Professor Richardson served ten successive years, each year adding something to the fame and increasing popularity of the school.
In 1898 he was offered the Presidency of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla., by Bishop W. J. Gaines, who felt that the educational work in Florida then needed just such a person as Professor Richardson had proven himself to be in Georgia. Resigning his position in Atlanta he came to Florida and at once set to work to restore Edward Waters College to the confidence of the people. In a year's time the school was again assuming the flourishing condition that it once had.
The great fire of Jacksonville, May 3, 1901, caused him to lose all his possessions in the destruction of the college buildings, nevertheless he has held on unflinchingly to the work and at great sacrifice and loss has kept the school together, and is now serving his fourth year at the head of this institution.
An examination into the earliest records of history will reveal a fact that is not observant to the casual reader—that man, as an individual, has ever been groping in darkness, seeking hither and thither to find a ray of light that would safely guide him and lead him through the mystic vale of doubt and uncertainty—be a "light to his pathway, a lantern to his feet."
To this end he has lent all his energies and directed all his forces. Long and tedious have been the ways and the journeys, yet onward and upward has he continued to travel, through storm and tempest, amid trials and vexations, until finally, after many centuries of progressive endeavor and honorable achievements, he has reached the loftiest pinnacle of fame, and there, on its rugged summit, has inscribed in letters of gold the result of his many conquests in literature, science and art, in religion, philosophy and commerce.
We use the generic term man as embracing all the various descendants of the sons of Noah. For each race-variety has in its turn played its part in producing the high degree of civilization that it is now our heritage and privilege to enjoy. Each has been an important factor in the development of some element that is essentially its own.
In thus reviewing the early history of the world we also find that the peoples who sat in darkness were brought to the light only through the agency of the teachers of the times in which they lived. Who made Egypt renowned? Were they not her great teachers, whose pupils came from far and near to learn, as it were, the foundation steps of our great civilization? Who in China is better known to the world than the great teacher Confucius? Who gave to Greece her renown for philosophy and art? Was it not Aristotle and Plato? Mention Rome, and the names of Quintilian and Cicero are recalled to our minds as the foremost educators. The Israelites had their prophets to instruct them, until the Great Teacher came to earth to enlighten all mankind. What was best and noblest in the systems of the famous teachers before the advent of Christ was crystallized into the method adopted by the Son of Man. He came to elevate the whole man, to shed light into his whole being—his mind, his body, and his soul.
Many and various have been the devices of mortal man to imitate the plan of the Master; and yet, after centuries of earnest endeavor, we have but recently begun to recognize the fact that complete success in the education of man lies in the secret of training the whole man—mind, body and soul.
Passing over the long period of scholastic apathy in European history, we come to a more recent epoch of intellectual awakening in the founding of great universities and stately colleges. These several institutions, through the instructions given by their most eminent teachers, have of themselves made the respective places of their establishment famous in both hemispheres.
Between the periods of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars in America, educational interests seemed to be centered mainly in the cultivation of the intellect as the only part of man that required special training.
The abolition of slavery and the consequent endeavor to enlighten the freedmen gave rise to a new phase of educational activity. This new ideal was the training of the body and the soul along with that of the mind. This system naturally reduced the length of time usually devoted to mind culture in proportion as time was required for the training of the hand and the cultivation of the moral side of man.
Foremost among the early teachers to inaugurate this system were Mrs. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Mrs. Sarah J. Early, and Bishop John M. Brown. As a result of their efforts in this direction we have Wilberforce University, the first school by Negro teachers to follow the plan of the Great Teacher. Since the establishment of Wilberforce in the North, many similar institutions have been founded in order to give the "brother in black" an opportunity to show to the world what the Negro teacher is doing and can do towards uplifting his race.
It is a difficult matter to estimate the good that a true teacher can do, be he of whatever race-variety. But to calculate on the noble work of the majority of the self-sacrificing and virtuous Negro teachers is a task beyond the ability of man. Bishop Daniel A. Payne, the apostle of an educated ministry, is known throughout the country for the noble work he did in teaching the people at large as well as his immediate pupils both how to live and how to die. Almost every educated Negro preacher has at some period of his scholastic career served in the capacity of a teacher, and therefore, after his advent to the gospel, ministry has continued to instruct the people under the same principles of teaching.
To be a teacher in the strict sense of the word requires the possession of certain qualities of mind and soul, and the power to exercise these qualities in such a manner as to awaken in the mind of another thoughts similar to those of the person assuming to teach, and thereby causing the mental activity on the part of the learner to become knowledge and power. We, therefore, hold that the Negro teacher has acted along the method here described, and has thus been the means of enlightening the masses of the colored people that lay claim to any degree of education whatever. What the Negro teacher has accomplished has been done not from a selfish motive or a mercenary point of view, but primarily because he has endeavored to do his part toward elevating the race with which he is identified. If it is true that the salvation of the Negro lies in his being educated, then to the Negro teacher must be attributed the greater portion of his salvation.
Again, the majority of the Negro teachers are Christian men and women of high moral character, and as such are shining lights in the community in which they may be engaged in teaching. The good they thus do is not confined to the school or class-room, but permeates every sphere of society, ennobling and enriching the thoughts and minds of all with whom they may have dealings, both by their chaste conversation and by their upright and godly lives. The Negro teacher, therefore, wields an influence for good, not only by precept, but what is considered far better, also by example. Furthermore, the Negro teacher in the day school invariably becomes a teacher in the Sunday-school of the town where he happens to be living. And here again he exerts a power for good, confirming and strengthening the teachings of the past week.
Aside from his professional duties, the Negro teacher is often called upon to decide on matters of grave importance. In many cases he is the attorney for individuals who are unable to secure the services of a competent lawyer. In this capacity he often acts as justice of the peace, as well as a peacemaker, thereby allaying strife and contention. From early morn till late at night the Negro teacher is besieged by questions of every sort and kind, which he must satisfactorily answer to the benefit of the inquirer, be he farmer or blacksmith, preacher or vagrant. In fact, the Negro teacher in the rural districts answers the purposes of a bureau of information.
Such is the lot of the average Negro teacher. That there are exceptions need not here be stated. From what he has done on a small scale may be inferred what is being done on a larger basis of operation by the best and most renowned of the Negro teachers.
In nearly every Southern state of the Union may be found some one or two famous educators and teachers of Negro descent. Prof. Jno. R. Hawkins of North Carolina, Commissioner of Education of the A. M. E. Church, has established Kittrell College. Prof. J. C. Price gave us Livingston College in North Carolina. Prof. E. A. Johnson of Virginia has written a worthy history of the Negro race, now in use as a text-book in many public schools. In South Carolina we find results of the great work in science by Prof. J. W. Hoffman. Georgia is proud of Prof. R. R. Wright, President of the State Industrial College at Savannah, orator and historian; also Prof. W. H. Crogman, scholar and author. In Florida the names of Prof. T. de S. Tucker, Prof. T. V. Gibbs, and Prof. T. W. Talley stand high as eminent scholars and professional teachers. Alabama is rich in having the foremost men of the race as her great teachers—Prof. B. T. Washington, founder and principal of Tuskegee Institute, and Prof. W. H. Councill, President of the State Normal and Industrial College at Normal. And thus we might mention each state and her eminent Negro teachers; but it is not necessary; the above suffices our purpose. And yet we would not conclude without referring to the noble work of Prof. W. S. Scarborough, of Wilberforce, Ohio. He has gone a step beyond the ordinary and given us a Greek text-book that has been adopted in many schools. Moreover, his contributions to the leading magazines and periodicals are eagerly sought and read by the best scholars of the day, without reference to race.
With this accumulated force of intelligence, radiating its numerous beams of light in every section of the land, one need not seek far to find an answer to the query: "What is the Negro teacher doing in the matter of uplifting his race?"
As we endeavored to show in the beginning that it was through the instrumentality of their teachers that many countries acquired fame and gave to posterity a name honorable and glorious, so now the Negro teacher in his weak strength is laying the foundation for successive generations to build upon—a foundation more durable than stone or granite, more valuable than rubies or diamonds—the cultivation of the morals, the training of the hand, and the enlightenment of the mind. With an informed mind, a skillful hand, and an upright conduct, there is no reason why the Negro should not take his place upon the stage of action; play well his part in the drama of life, and meritoriously receive the plaudits of the gazing nations of the world.
WHAT IS THE NEGRO TEACHER DOING IN THE MATTER OF UPLIFTING HIS RACE?
BY PROF. E. L. BLACKSHEAR.
PROF. E. L. BLACKSHEAR.
Prof. E. L. Blackshear was born in Montgomery. Ala., in 1862. He was educated in the negro public schools of Montgomery. So rapid had been his progress that he graduated from Tabor College at the age of eighteen.
Prof. Blackshear is now principal of Prairie View State Normal School and Industrial College of Texas.
The following is the testimony of Prof. Blackshear concerning his grandmother. These words give us a glimpse of the bright side of slave life, and of the ideal "mammy" of the ante-bellum Southern plantation home.
"My grandmother was a remarkable woman. She idolized my mother, the only child that slavery had allowed her to keep. When grandma was sold from Georgia to Alabama, the humanity of her Georgia owners caused them to sell mother and child to the same people.
"My grandmother, although ignorant, had a profound belief in education. But if she knew absolutely nothing of the world of letters, she had something as good, perhaps better—a warm, honest, loving heart and Christian principles. She had genuine hatred for dirt and disorder, a regard, amounting to a fearful reverence, for white people of 'quality,' and a great and ill-disguised contempt for common, shiftless, 'darkies,' and low-bred whites. She was the best type of the faithful and efficient slave. But it was as a cook that 'Grandma's' reputation was known in two States. To my youthful imagination she was a magician; things she cooked for the white folks seemed so good to me. I think now of the batter-cakes, the light rolls, the syllabub, the sally-lunn, the ship-ships and the wafers grandma made. The light-bread she made is made no more. It is a lost art, an art that died with grandma."
When the Negroes were set free the first aim of thousands was to learn to read and write. Gray-haired veterans of the plantations sat side by side in the day schools as well as in the night schools with the smallest pickaninnies. And all seemed eager to learn the mysterious arts of the schoolroom. The school-book, in the eyes of the unlettered slave, was a sort of fetich to which he attributed the power of the white man. The young slave could follow his master to the door of the schoolhouse, but thus far and no farther. The mysterious rites and ceremonies which went on within were forbidden him. Human nature has ever been curious to know that the knowledge of which is prohibited, and so the slave had a great curiosity to master the printed page and to be admitted to the privileges of the schoolroom. It was not surprising that the whole race tried to go to school, and it need not surprise us if, in the enthusiasm for book-learning, from which the race had been so strictly debarred, too much stress may have been placed on mere book learning and too much confidence placed in the formal processes of the schoolroom. But, better even this exaggerated enthusiasm than indifference to all education of the schoolroom. The race would soon learn that the blue-back Webster's Speller was not the magic wand that would turn all troubles and difficulties into success and prosperity; that the ability to spell B-a-Ba, k-e-r-ker, baker, would buy no bread of the baker; while the power to read, "Do we go up by it!" with painful praiseworthy effort, would help the ex-slave but little as he strove to "go up by" the dangers ahead of him.
But they went to school, all of them at first, or all that could possibly do so, either by day or by night. It is not recorded that the chickens of that time had rest, but it must be that they did, for verily, in the first mad rush of letters, even chickens must have been forgotten by a race whose predilection for them has furnished the point for many a joke, as well as the occasion for painful if not indignant regret on the part of those whose fowls may have been abstracted. And it is a hopeful sign for the future of the Negro that while his first wild enthusiasm for the school-house has been moderated, his real desire for educational improvement continues strong and steady. He will go to school—the public school—when he can, and the higher institutions for his race are all filled to their capacity and are expanding. Will not this thirst for knowledge on the part of a so lately savage race bear good fruit both for the Negro and for humanity?
But who were to teach these black fanatics, seeking initiation for the first time, in the long and gloomy history of their race, into the mysteries, elusinian, of a modern, and, to them, totally foreign cult? A faithful band of Christian missionary white women gave answer by coming in the face of an inevitable social ostracism to light the torch of thought in a region hitherto unblessed by a single ray of education's light. The first Negro schools were taught by these white ladies at Charleston, at Atlanta, at Montgomery, at New Orleans, at Austin, and at the other great centers of the South's Negro population. The success of the first labors of this devoted band led to the foundation of permanent institutions for the elementary and later for the normal and collegiate instruction of the Negro youth. At Nashville, at Atlanta, at Raleigh, at Memphis, and at New Orleans institutions were founded which have become great schools and have contributed beyond measure to the process of civilizing the Negro as a mass—a process confessedly still far from completion. Complicated and annoying as the race problem assuredly is and will be for years to come at the South, it would be far worse—much farther away from even a hopeful degree of solution—but for the work done by the missionary colleges.
The missionary schools, of which Fisk, Atlanta, Straight, Roger Williams and Central Tennessee may be taken as types, furnished the first Negro school teachers and the Negro owes to these schools, founded and maintained in the spirit of the purest Christian philanthropy, a debt he can never repay in either kind or equivalence. The nearest like payment he can make is to imitate the beautiful, pure, devoted, lives of the missionary teachers. Too much cannot be said in praise of their labors. Perhaps if only the missionary Christian teachers had come and the political missionaries had remained at home, all might have been better.
But the missionary schools could reach but few. How was the great mass of the colored population to be educated? This was the question, and it was a most serious one. But the answer came not from the federal government, as some expected—that source from which so many had looked to get the mythical "mule" and the legendary "forty acres"—it came from the South, from the wasted resources of the former master. History furnishes no precedent as it affords no parallel to the action of the ex-slaveholders—a dominant race—in entering at once—before any opportunity had been afforded for recuperation from the losses of the Civil War—on the expensive work of giving a public school system to their former slaves—now technically, at least, their political equals. And nothing can be gained by the Negro in refusing gratitude to the South for this most magnanimous act and policy. An instance of this unselfish policy of the South in its attitude toward Negro education is seen in the history of Texas, the most liberal as well as the most progressive of the Southern commonwealths. The Constitutional Convention of 1876, which of course was Democratic, framed the present state constitution of Texas, and in it absolutely equal provision is made for both the elementary and the higher education of the Negro youth of Texas. And it is to the credit of Texas as an enlightened state as well as fortunate for her Negro population, that in the distribution of the magnificent school fund of the state, no discrimination is made between the races.
The Negro public schools are doing a great work for the elevation of the colored people. In a silent, unobtrusive way, these schools are leavening the thought and life of the race. The status and progress of the Negro are too commonly gauged by the deeds of the loafing and criminal element. The honest, law-abiding Negro who has a home, is getting a little property, has a small bank account, and is educating his children to useful citizenship, attracts little or no attention. But a race that has in a generation since chattel slavery gotten property worth by reliable estimate upward of $400,000,000 has been doing something. All of such a race are not either lazy, vicious, or immoral. The public school is doing effective work for the Negroes of the South in awakening in them a desire for better ways of living and higher ideals of conduct. Much remains to be done but that already accomplished is an earnest of better work yet to be done.
The Negro public school teacher has been more than a mere schoolkeeper. No class of educators in any race has done more, all things considered. The colored teacher has been a herald of civilization to the youth of his people. His superior culture and character have acted as a powerful stimulus to the easily roused imagination of the colored youth, and the black boy feels, in the presence of the black "professah," to him the embodiment of learning, that he too can become "something." At first he does not know what that something is, but he determines to be "somebody" and to make a place and a standing for himself in the world. In this way the colored school teacher is leading his race "up from slavery;" that is from the slavery of ignorance and superstition, of intellectual and moral inertia, of aimlessness and shiftlessness, into the freedom of intelligence, of energy, ambition and industry. Lincoln removed the formal yoke of a legal bondage, but the colored teacher is helping his race to get free a second time from a bondage just as galling—the bondage of intellectual and moral blindness and of industrial independence. Booker T. Washington is such a teacher—a teacher, indeed, and the leader of a race. And what Mr. Washington, himself a product of the missionary schools, is doing in a large way as the teacher and leader of the entire Negro race in America, hundreds, yea, thousands, of colored teachers in city and village, in the malarial river bottoms and among the pine-clad hills, are doing in a local but no less effective, though less comprehensive way. These colored men and women, many of whom are people of genuine culture and character, are giving their lives to the upbuilding of a race. And it is for them a labor of love.
These teachers teach by example as well as by precept. Their homes are models in neatness and refinement that are readily imitated by the other colored people of the community. It is to the credit of the colored teacher that he is, with rare exceptions, a model in his moral conduct and home life, and sets a high standard for his race, which they invariably—some of them—seek to follow. The colored teacher, too, has always been conservative and has been the wise adviser of his people. Himself dependent on the sentiment of the best white people of the community, he has usually won the confidence and respect of the white people, and they in turn have given him their moral support in the work of improving the minds, morals, and habits of the Negro youth of the community. In this way it is throughout the entire South—the best white people of the community by maintaining public schools for the Negro youth and by co-operation with the colored teacher, and often by personal interest in the work of both teacher and pupil, are actually aiding most effectively if not really directing the educational development of the colored race.
It is also greatly to the credit of the colored teacher in the South that he has not gotten above his race or tried to leave them, but has remained at his post and in his place doing the duty Providence has assigned and content to leave results to God and the future.
WHAT IS THE NEGRO TEACHER DOING IN THE MATTER OF UPLIFTING HIS RACE?
BY T. W. TALLEY.
PROF. THOMAS WASHINGTON TALLEY.
Thomas Washington Talley is a native of Bedford County, Tenn. His boyhood was spent upon his father's farm where he imbibed a love for nature. Some of the experiments made by him, as a child, with some of the lower animals, have proven most valuable aids in answering scientific problems encountered in later years.
In 1883 he entered the preparatory department of Fisk University, and after three years of study was admitted to college.
He began teaching in the public schools of his native state at the age of twelve. By teaching during his summer vacations, and by obtaining state scholarships through competitive examinations, he secured the larger portion of the means necessary for his support in college. He graduated from the classical course of Fisk University in 1890, receiving the degree of A. B. From 1890 to 1891 he was a member of the Fisk University Jubilee Singers, who raised funds for the building of the Fisk Theological Seminary. In this company it was his duty aside from singing, to present the needs of the school. This he did with much eloquence and his appeals were always answered by liberal contributions.
In 1892 he received the degree A. M. from his alma mater for special work done in Natural Philosophy, Latin and German.
On October 1, 1896, he matriculated in the Graduate Department of Central Tennessee College (now Walden University), having spent the two preceding summers in resident work along the lines indicated by his courses of study in the institution. He selected courses leading to the degree of Doctor of Science.
He has been chiefly engaged in educational work and has held the following positions: Instructor in Mathematics and Music, Alcorn A. & M. College, Westside, Miss., two years; Professor of Natural Sciences, five years, and Vice-President two years in the State N. & I. College, Tallahassee, Fla. He at present occupies the chair of Natural Philosophy and General, Analytical and Industrial Chemistry in the Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Ala.
He is a member of the American Ornithologists Union, the Michigan Ornithological Club, a Vice-president of the Florida Audubon Society, and a Fellow of the American Negro Academy. He is considered an authority in Biology and Chemistry.
As soon as the clouds of the Civil War had cleared from our country and the Negro had become a free man, the question immediately presented itself as to how he could be made worthy of citizenship and capable of exercising the rights and privileges of free government.
Free government exists through intelligence and integrity in citizens. The whole system of slavery in which the Negro had been schooled was such as to leave him without either intelligence or integrity. It rather taught him that deception was a better way to recognition than decency; and that whatever supplied his wants, regardless of its nature, was the means to be used. As the Negro stepped forth from the darkness of bondage into the light of freedom, the eye of his mind accustomed to the blackest and lowest was not ready to exercise the function thus suddenly thrust upon it. It was blinded and needed treatment that it might be so reconstructed as to guide and lead aright in this new atmosphere to which it had suddenly gained admission. The Negro came from slavery in want of training, and training is requisite to citizenship.
A man, to be trained symmetrically, must be trained mentally, morally and physically. Although this symmetrical training is much a result of personal effort, the effort must be directed by an intelligent, interested teaching. It is to such teaching that the Negro school teacher has directed and is directing his efforts.
The first schools established distinctively for Negroes in our country were supported and taught by philanthropic white people of the North. At the date of the founding of these schools there were practically no Negro teachers, but in these institutions, fostered by consecrated white men and women, Negro boys and girls began to receive training through which they developed into the first teachers of the race.
These schools, begun by philanthropy (although at first they did primary work) have developed into the Negro colleges, normal schools and industrial schools of the South. These schools of higher learning are still manned largely by white men and women. Thus the work of the Negro teacher is almost entirely limited to a few state colleges and to the public schools of the Southern cities and of the country districts. The especial point of excellence which characterizes the work of the Negro teacher is its interestedness. Whatever may be the sentiment in other sections, in the South—the real home of the Negro—every Negro's standing is gauged by the standing of the whole race in case of those who are most kindly disposed to him, while those who are illy disposed judge all by the lowest of the race. There is little or no recognition of individual merit except in so far as it meets the approval of his Southern white neighbor. Such being the case, the Negro teacher, realizing that their own elevation comes only through and in so far as the whole race is elevated, have a double stimulus for zealously doing their best work; first their love for the race which naturally springs up between those of the same blood and of the same descent, and second a selfish reason—their personal elevation, which only comes through the elevation of the whole race. Such interested teaching is not without its effect. Illiteracy is disappearing from day to day. A consultation of the latest census reports, and a contrasting of them with those previously taken, will show that the Negro has wiped out some of his illiteracy and is increasing in wealth, intelligence, etc.—yes, in all that which will finally force his recognition as a full-fledged American citizen without any "ifs," except that he be as any other man in possessions, in mind, and in character.
The Negro teachers are more and more studying the needs of their race and are shaping their work to meet the demands of the times. The Negro race formerly sang, and still sings, with much fervor of spirit: "You may have all this world; Give me Jesus." In the days of its ignorance, the Negro race observed this beautiful song in letter, but not in spirit. The Negro teachers have caught the spirit and are beginning to spread it among the ignorant masses. These teachers go into the Sunday schools and there teach the race to keep the spirit, "You may have all this world; Give me Jesus." They teach them that Christ is far above and is to be preferred to the whole world, but they also teach them that which is equally good, and that is, getting a hold on a portion of the goods of this world is a splendid preparation for getting a hold upon the things which lead up to heaven. In other words, the Negro teachers have become the great preachers of wealth getting, not because they would have the race carnally-minded, but because they know that no race of paupers can ever amount to anything or enjoy the full rights of citizens.
To the end of replenishing the empty treasury of the race the Negro teachers are encouraging their fellows to gain a skillful use of the hand. Many of them are enthusiastic to the extent that they would see every Negro school in the land teaching skill in the trades and in the tilling of soil. In this movement for the education of the hand the Negro teacher is meeting with encouragement on all sides. Such an education cannot fail to work great benefit for the race, and help to give it standing. Given an intelligent Negro mass, masters of the trades and of science of agriculture, there need be no fear for the Negro's future. The only mistake which it seems that the Negro teachers may possibly make at this time is, that having pictured in their minds the benefit of having a mass skilled in industry, and noting the present popularity of industrial training, they may lose sight of the fact that the skilled hand must be backed by and rest upon a mind trained to logical thinking. Industrial training does much indeed toward mental training, but by no means does it, nor can it, do all. There is quite a tendency at present aside from industrial training to limit the mental training of the race to the "3 r's," viz., reading, writing and arithmetic. The highest industrial attainment is not possible with such a limitation. The making, the repairing and the manipulation of machinery calls for a knowledge of natural philosophy and higher mathematics. The masterly tilling of the soil demands one learned in chemistry and botany—botany, which we know is not even a stranger to Latin. So we might go through every industry and point out that its perfection is conditioned on the highest mental training. Let the Negro teacher, while loving industrial training for his race, not learn to despise that which appears on the surface to be merely a mental gymnastic, but which, when examined more carefully, proves to be that only which furnishes a condition for the best and the highest even in that which he may most love.
Since social conditions in the South are such as to necessitate a system of separate schools for whites and Negroes, and since this necessitates the establishment of a large number of extra schools, it inevitably results in the shortening of school terms and the cutting down of the salaries of teachers. I have found some Negro country schools in Alabama paying the teachers from twelve to fifteen dollars per month, and the length of the school term was only four months. In these cases I did not find the teachers worrying over the small salary, but they were working to have the Negro patrons, from their own scanty purses, lengthen the school term. In not a few cases the Negro teachers observed were thus lengthening out the school term from one to two months every year.
The Negro teacher is also here and there founding institutions of higher learning. He is getting a hold on the churches, the state, benevolent societies, and individuals, and is causing them to contribute money and goods to educational centers which are to prove most potent levers in lifting the race to a higher level.
The fact that at present a large number of the states of the Union are basing suffrage upon an educational qualification enhances the value of the literary work to be done by the Negro teacher. In some states in the South the educational qualification is avowedly adopted by the whites to eliminate the Negro from the body politic. The Negro teachers are not sleeping over the interests of their race in this matter. They are working quietly, but earnestly. Most of them have the resolution which I heard expressed during the past summer by a Negro country school teacher, viz.: "I intend that all my pupils shall learn to read, write, and have the qualifications for voting if nothing more."
This, then, is what the Negro teacher is doing in the matter of uplifting his race: he is giving to it literary training, teaching it to skillfully use the hand, and encouraging it to accumulate property. He is lengthening school terms and founding institutions of learning. He is entering into the inner life of his people; and is implanting ideas and ideals there which will make them strong and respected by all the races of mankind.
WHAT IS THE NEGRO TEACHER DOING IN THE MATTER OF UPLIFTING HIS RACE?
BY PROF. H. L. WALKER.
PROF. H. L. WALKER, A. B.
Prof. H. L. Walker was born near the city of Augusta, Ga., in the year of 1859. His parents, Wesley and Adline Walker, were the property of slave owners to whom they rendered allegiance until 1864 and 1865, when Sherman took his triumphal march through Georgia and the Carolinas. At the fall of the Confederacy young Henry went with his parents to Wilmington, N. C., where they spent about a year, during which time young Henry for the first time saw the inside of a school, taught by those pioneering teachers from the North. At the close of this year the family left Wilmington and went to Augusta, Ga., which city has been the scene of our subject's boyhood and the basis of his literary career. The public schools of Augusta were completed by 1874 and upon the recommendation of all of his teachers young "Henry," as he was familiarly called, was matriculated at the Atlanta University, one of the most noted of Negro colleges in the South. In this institution he studied for eight years, coming out in 1882 with the class honor and the degree of A. B. His parents died during his early boyhood, even before he had entered the Atlanta University, so that in his efforts to complete his collegiate career he had to rely largely upon his own resources, and the very kind assistance of his foster parents, and other friends whose protege he was.
Prepared for his life work, he left school in June, 1882, and was immediately elected principal of the Mitchell Street Graded School, Atlanta, Ga., his examination papers being the best offered for this position. In the following month—July—he was also elected President of the Georgia State Teachers' Association for Colored Teachers, of which body more will be said later. As a student at College our subject was studious, popular with professors and students, and acquired that assiduity and strict adherence to business that has since characterized all his subsequent life. In the profession of teaching he continued to rise higher and higher each year, holding positions of trust and honor under each of the State's superintendents of education down to the present incumbent. For eighteen years he has held sway in the public school of the city of Augusta, during which time Mr. Walker has officered the Second Ward Grammar School, the famous Ware High School and at present the First Ward High School, which position he still fills with dignity and credit to himself and race. As Peabody expert, Mr. Walker, by appointment of the successive State superintendents of education, has occupied the lecture platform in all parts of the State, with the best lecturers, white and Colored, that money could command, and they have all cheerfully conceded his ripe ability to master and handle successfully such subjects as have been assigned him from year to year. As a practical school man and well-informed scholar, Mr. Walker is always at home. As a Peabody lecturer he has often been pronounced one of the best in the State. Every Summer his services are in demand in various parts of the State. For ten years Mr. Walker was the honored President of the Georgia State Teachers' Association, Colored, and no man has since filled that honored chair whose administration has in any way rivaled the success of Mr. Walker. During his ten years the association was built up as it has never been since. The intelligence of the State—white and Colored—came together in these annual meetings and made this gathering of educators and leaders the most representative body in the State.
Mr. Walker is easy of address and modest in all things, never contending for honors. Several years ago, at its annual exercises, his alma mater conferred upon him the degree of A. M. as a deserved tribute and recognition of the literary work he has accomplished. As a polished orator Mr. Walker has been heard with profit and delight in all parts of the State. Some of his addresses before the State Teachers' Association are considered real gems of literature.
After a lapse of some thirty-eight years, or a little better than a generation, we are asking the question, "What is the Negro Teacher doing in the matter of uplifting his race?" In so brief a period of years it would seem to savor of arrogance to ask a question so seemingly fraught with significance, so inopportune and, too, about a people so recently freed from bondage that they have not yet had the time to grow a generation of teachers. It took England more than a generation to grow an Arnold at Rugby. It took France more than several generations to produce a Guizot, and Pestalozzi, whose reputation as a teacher widens with the universe, is the product of years of experimental accumulations of Swiss ingenuity. And yet it may be pardonable arrogance on our part to say that at this first milestone in our educational career we pause here long enough to take an inventory of what the Negro teacher has done and is still doing in the matter of uplifting his people. In the pioneering or experimental period of Negro education there were no Negro teachers, but it is safe to say that as early as 1875 a few Negroes, daring to rush in where angels would fear to tread, began the profession of school teaching. It is from this date that we may safely begin to reckon the services of the Negro teachers as a class. I make bold to lay down the proposition that wherever God has ordained intellect that intellect is capable of the highest development; for mental ability is a divine endowment. The intellect may be the possession of an Indian, a Mongolian, an Arab, a Negro, a Hindoo or a Caucasian. Textures may differ, but all mental organisms are the same in color, fiber, and mode of operation and development. It must then follow that the proper training of the intellect must produce the same results upon all races when properly applied. That training which has made the Mongolian, or the German, or the Caucasian race great and powerful will of necessity, under similar conditions, produce like results in the Negro race. Let us now see what the facts show. It is largely through the instrumentality of our schools that Negroes have been taught to place a higher and a proper valuation upon their citizenship, and the importance of the ballot when it is wielded for the maintenance and perpetuation of good government. As a class of citizens Negroes are peaceable and law-abiding, and must not be reckoned with the migratory hordes of anarchists, nihilists, and the wreckers of law and order that infest our Eastern and Western shores. In our schools, too, Negroes have learned that it is theirs to petition respectfully for the enjoyment of their rights, and the redress of grievances so often unjustly imposed upon them. In the last two decades the influence of the schools, colleges and industrial institutions and seminaries of all kinds has wrought wonderful changes in the home life of the Negro race. Purer homes now abound; intemperance is giving way to sobriety and economy; love and order have driven out hate and confusion; the golden rule and the Bible are taken as the measurement of conduct; and, where-ever Negro communities are found, cozy little cottages, and often palatial homes with thoughtful and convenient appointments, have taken the place of the very many little one-room huts in which all the whole range of domestic life was wont to be performed. In these new homes a better and more intelligent class of children is being reared to fit in the scheme of our advancing civilization. These are very hopeful signs of a better generation and a brighter day for the American Negro.
Our Negro teachers and leaders have instilled into the race a desire for the accumulation of property and wealth, and the keeping of bank accounts. "Put money in thy purse," "Put money in thy purse." This advice from Shakespeare is ripening in the minds of all thoughtful Negroes, and the results are being universally manifested. In the United States the valuation of Negro property runs far into the millions. In the state of Georgia alone Negroes are paying taxes on $15,629,811 worth of property; of this amount $1,000,000 represents the increase of a single year—1900 to 1901.
In the domain of literature and the varied professions the education of the Negro has furnished us as lawyers, Hon. D. Augustus Straker, Detroit, Michigan; Hon. R. B. Elliott, late of Columbia, South Carolina; Hon. Jno. R. Lynch, Washington, D. C., paymaster United States Army; Hon. J. W. Lyons, Augusta, Georgia, register Treasury, Washington, D. C.; Hon. H. M. Porter, Augusta, Georgia, lawyer at the bar.
As statesmen Negro education has produced Hon. Frederick Douglass, "The old man eloquent," late of Washington, D. C.; Hon. B. C. Bruce, ex-registrar Treasury, late of Washington, D. C.; Hon. Geo. W. Murray, ex-member Congress, Columbia, D. C.; Hon. Geo. H. White, ex-member Congress, North Carolina.
As poets, Mrs. Frances E. N. Harper and Paul Lawrence Dunbar are samples of a splendid class.
As musicians it might suffice to say that Blind Tom, Black Patti and Madam Selika are only samples of a large class.
Negro education has furnished us pulpits better filled with intelligent men, devout and pious; and with modern churches that are in harmony with the Christian demands of the age. In the Ecumenical Conference recently held in London, the Negro clergy represented there were from all parts of the civilized world, and the high tribute paid to their ability and ecclesiastical character was the comment of all the English papers. Our bishops and eminent pulpit divines are largely young men, the product of our Negro schools. Dr. C. T. Walker, now of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, New York, and the foremost pulpit orator in all the Baptist ranks, perhaps, is a native of Georgia soil, and a product of our Georgia schools. But I must not prolong this account with a long list of bishops, D. D's., LL. D's., M. D's., diplomats, artists, painters, mechanics, inventors, and successful business men, who are the product of Negro education, but before closing this humble effort it is but proper that we should make mention of some of the men who are universally regarded as masters in the profession of teaching, and who in themselves are great benefactors of the Negro race. The following educators have wrought much in the matter of elevating their race in all the essentials of right-living. The most conspicuous figure just now in the firmament of Negro educators is President Booker T. Washington, who has at his command both the hand and the heart of the American people. The far-reaching influences of his work at Tuskegee, Alabama, where, perhaps, more than 1,300 Negro youths are taught all the useful and honorable methods of labor, are too well understood to merit further comment here. President J. H. Lewis, president of Wilberforce University, Ohio, has and is still doing a work that will tell on ages and tell for God in the matter of developing Negro ability along the lines of higher intellectual manhood. Prof. R. R. Wright, president of the State Industrial College, Savannah, Georgia, is a pioneer in the work of uplifting the Negro youth, and his excellent work recently begun at the state college is already teeming with fruit. Miss Lucy C. Laney is a woman of rare and well-developed intellectual attainments. The Haines Normal and Industrial School, with all of its influence for good, will ever be an imperishable monument to her memory. Her reputation as a woman of ability and culture is universal. Prof. W. H. Council, of Alabama, is hardly second to President B. T. Washington in his noble work in Alabama of uplifting Negro youth.
In professors, W. S. Scarborough, who holds the chair of Latin and Greek in Wilberforce University, Ohio; Prof. W. H. Crogman, chair of Latin and Greek, Clark University, Atlanta, Georgia; Prof. Kelly Miller, chair of mathematics, Howard University, Washington, D. C.; Prof. J. W. Gilbert, chair of Latin and Greek, Paine College, Augusta, Georgia; and Prof. W. E. B. DuBois, chair of science and economics, Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia, we have the ripest examples of high-class scholarship. These men, steeped in the love and sciences of all ages and people, have won respect and recognition in all the institutions, and among all educators of world-wide reputation, both European and American. They are only samples of a large class of educated Negroes who have given a very high literary tone to Negro intelligence. In an account like this, which necessarily must be brief, it must not be expected that we could elaborate into details about any one of the features above mentioned. In mentioning them thus briefly it is only our purpose to call attention to the great work now being accomplished by the Negro teachers.
In closing these brief lines it might be well to consider several charges made against the educated Negro. It is charged that education teaches Negroes how to commit crime, etc. Because some educated Negroes commit crime and do wrong that is no more of an argument against the education of the Negro race than it would be an argument against the education of the Caucasian race, because some educated white men commit crime and do wrong. If a man has indigestion from eating the wrong kind of food that ought not to be taken as an argument against eating. Educated Negroes as a class are among our best American citizens.
Again, there are still some "back numbers" belonging to the old school of thought who still charge a lack of ability on the part of Negro scholars to absorb and assimilate the same amount of intelligence that the Caucasian race does.
In our humble school career in the state of Georgia we have sat on the same seat with the boys and girls of the Caucasian race, and, often, in the recitation room, under the same professor in the higher classics and sciences, we have shared the same book with them, and yet at the time of reckoning term standing we have seen those white professors give the members of these mixed classes their class rating in their various subjects, and the average percentage of Caucasian and Negro pupils in all these subjects would be a matter of significant comment.
In many instances like these, both in the North and South, the ability of our Negro scholars is so forcibly demonstrated; and what the Negro teachers may yet do for their race and for civilization will be left as a rich inheritance for the enjoyment of an advancing civilization. Of all teachers it may be said that he who shapes a soul and fits it for an eternal habitation in the blissful Beyond has erected for himself a monument that eclipses in grandeur and architectural beauty all the conceptions of a Solomon, though Solomon was the wisest of men.
IS THE NEGRO NEWSPAPER AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE ELEVATION OF THE NEGRO?
BY DR. D. W. ONLEY.
DR. D. WATSON ONLEY.
Dr. D. Watson Onley, the eldest child of John E. and Mary J. R. Onley (nee Wheele), was born in Newark, N. J. When but two years old his parents moved to Brooklyn, N. Y. He was early taught to read and write by his mother, afterward he was sent to the Raymond Street public school, Prof. Chas. A. Dorsey, principal. Here he showed a capable mind, by his easy mastery of all the subjects assigned him, and by his standing among his fellows.
At the age of thirteen, by force of circumstances, his progress in school was checked, his parents having changed residence, going to Florida, transferred him to entirely new scenes, environments and conditions. After attending school in Jacksonville, Fla., for three years, he entered the college preparatory course of Atlanta University.
In 1876, returning North, he entered and took a collegiate course in Lincoln University, after which he took two years' technical course in Boston, Mass.
In 1880 he married an accomplished young lady of one of the first families of Charleston, S. C., Miss Ella L. Drayton. Two charming and accomplished daughters of this happy union are Charlotte E. and Mary M., the elder one a graduate of the Normal school at Washington, D. C., and a teacher in its public school. The younger daughter is at present a pupil in Normal School.
In 1885 he returned to Jacksonville, Fla., began business as architect and builder. After three years of prosperous business, he launched upon the world the first steam saw and planing mill, owned and operated entirely by colored men to manufacture lumber in all its forms for house building. The plant grew rapidly, increasing in facilities and continued prosperous until by the hand of an incendiary it was swept by fire. The State Normal and Industrial College of the State needing a practical and efficient man to take charge of their technical department, solicited his services, where he taught all branches of architectural and mechanical drawing, manual training, uses and care of wood-working machinery and steam engine.
Not being thoroughly satisfied with his surrounding conditions, he struck out for a new line of work, that of dentistry, which, after three years of hard study, struggle and sacrifice, with the cares and responsibilities of a family upon him all the while, he finished at Howard University, dental department, and immediately opened an office in Washington, D. C. where he enjoys a lucrative practice. His life has been a busy one, and his success only represents what many have accomplished who have on hand a good stock of push.
In answer to this question I would say that the press next to the school has done more for the intellectual advancement, hence, elevation, of the Negro, than anything else. When I say press, I mean specifically the Negro press, which is an integral part of the American press of the country. It is his positive mouthpiece, effective when other audiences are denied him. Before Negro newspapers, the Negro had nothing to set forth his claims and true status. The race consequently speaks through the press to plead its cause.
Reviewing the history and growth of the Negro press of this country since it was launched by John B. Russwurm in New York City, March 30, 1827, to the present, comparing style of form, character of matter, increase of circulation, widespread and universal interest, the great host of contemporaries that have joined in making a vast throng of channels through which we can advocate our cause without fear of having it misrepresented or smoothed over, but bringing forth our opinions to truly enlighten the world. The general support given speaks volumes for the good it has done in elevating the Negro.
In conducting the Negro newspaper of to-day as compared with fifteen years ago there is a marked change. The success then in maintaining and increasing the circulation depended largely in appealing to the vanities of the subscribers in parading their name in print, calling attention to many things of no consequence to the public, less to themselves; but to-day in a very large degree that is changed; it has become distasteful, which is a very healthful sign along the lines of improvement of taste.
While it is true the majority of Negroes care little but for local news, doings of their own race, care but little for the news of the great wide world, it must be conceded a step far in the right direction if they can be interested at all. The Negro press, like all others, had to begin at the bottom and grow, not patterned particularly after any other paper, but fashioned to suit the tastes, conditions and interests of its customers. It is the privilege of the editor, not only to shape public opinion, pointing out the policy that alone will conserve to our best and lasting interest, but to develop the tastes, and so elevate the race which he serves. Through the press the editor sees that the interests, as far as our freedom and rights are concerned, are in no wise abridged, circumscribed or destroyed. In a large measure this has been one of the great benefits to the race; through the medium of the press we have been awakened to our condition, and our rights, and we jealously guard and clamor for their enjoyment and recognition. Although dark clouds of prejudice and lawlessness obscure our pathway, yet we are surely though slowly moving on in the pathway already blazed before us.
In the hands of the Negro, the press has been an educator to the whites as well as to the Negro, reflecting his manhood and capacity; this, too, has elevated the Negro's appreciation of manhood and appreciable standing among men.
Before Negro newspapers we were unknown in history, art and science. Like the Negro exhibits at all the great fairs, they have served to open the eyes of the blind, and to remove an ignorant prejudice which was against us.
To-day we find the leading journals of this country clipping and editorially commenting upon topics discussed and articles appearing originally in Negro newspapers, and more than this, find the Negro newspapers for sale on the principal stands where newspapers are to be had, indicating the demand. In this city it would be hard not to find the "Colored American" and "Washington Bee" at the newsdealer's. "Yes, we keep them," I have heard to the query about the above papers; "they are good sellers." Now what is true in this city is no doubt true in other places where the local papers have secured recognition from their standing and worth.
The Negro newspaper has taken such a stand that its columns are read by white patrons, many of whom take pride and interest in noting the advancement of their brother in black.
Many newspapers published by whites have taken advantage of this condition, and the Negro's interest in the press, and have set aside columns devoted to his individual interest; have procured competent Negro reporters to gather all facts and doings of the race of special interest to it, and are published daily.
This has increased the circulation by thousands of new subscribers who eagerly seek to know just what is going on among them. The causes of non-support of the Negro press is no argument that the press has not been elevating, nor any argument against its possibilities. This is largely a condition due to poverty, illiteracy and inferiority of paper, but time will bring about a change. In the hands of the Negro the press has been a success. Failure in management and poor financial profit have been to one and all engaged in the pursuit, yet the net result shows success, not failure; and its success demonstrates the possibilities of the race, notwithstanding the lack of encouragement.
IS THE NEGRO NEWSPAPER AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE ELEVATION OF THE NEGRO?
BY WALTER N. WALLACE.
WALTER N. WALLACE.
Walter N. Wallace, the organizer of the Colored Co-operative Publishing Company, of Boston, Mass., publishers of the "Colored American Magazine" and many other race publications, was born at Boydton, Mecklenburg County, Va., in 1874.
His mother was Nannie J. Ellerson, who has the distinction of being one of the first graduates of the Hampton Normal School. Mr. Wallace is the oldest grandchild of that institution. His father Merritt Wallace was also a student of Hampton, and after leaving that school he settled in Boydton, in educational work, where he became one of the most prominent and energetic citizens of his community. He was at one time Deputy Treasurer and Commissioner of Revenue for the county.
At nine years of age Mr. W. Wallace was sent to school in Richmond, where he completed the grammar course, then spending two years preliminary training at the High, before entering the State College (Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institution, at Petersburg), where he spent another two years. While at this college he was prominent in athletics and a member of the institute band.
Later, determining upon the study of medicine, he entered the Leonard Medical College, where he spent two years in theory, then turning his face northwards he came to Boston in 1896, where he secured a position as prescription clerk in a prominent drug store, there becoming more practically acquainted with medicines.
In May, 1901, he launched his pet scheme, the "Colored American Magazine," and under his editorial care there is now no question of its future, as it has passed far beyond the experimental stage, and is now an assurity.
The confidence which has been displayed by him and his associates in the belief "that a man is what he makes himself," is wonderful, for they have, through strenuous effort, brought the magazine up to an actual circulation of over twenty thousand copies per month, with a steady increase each month, besides publishing many Race books, which are the equal of any in merit and mechanical makeup.
Personally, Mr. Wallace is of a kind and modest disposition and hardly realizes that he has accomplished within such a short while a thorough new departure in Negro journalism. If ever persuaded to forget for a moment, and be drawn from his business cares, you will find him a pleasant entertainer, both in music and conversation, for beneath his seeming austere countenance there lies an urbane streak of humor, piquant with wit and pleasant cynicisms, much to be enjoyed.
In its entirety, yes. The power of the press is indisputable. To the Negro youth of the land it should be put, as a beneficent educator, next to our schools. In its pages they should be able to read the good being accomplished by our prominent race-men in this glorious fight now on; this will cultivate a desire to emulate them. They will read of the bad being daily done and will learn to abhor such dastardly actions. With such a mission to perform our newspapers should contain the essence of truth and good and sensible instructions; for its power of assimilating bad influences is equal to the good which would accrue.
The Negro journal is an important factor, because it is a source through which the younger generation should and must become acquainted with the good accomplished by members of the race, with the possible exception of a favored few whom the ordinary press seems to think is all that is worth speaking of. Important because the rank and file is utterly ignored and positively unnoticed by the American white press (except as an example of the demonstrative inability to be an intelligent and thrifty citizen), and from which they pick from day to day the lowest as a type of Negro capabilities.
In order to fully explain the position taken in this matter we will be compelled to deviate from the main question.
To rightly diagnose the cause, for the seemingly apathetic manner in which the race appreciates its journals we must place the blame upon the right parties.
A few hundred dollars, a set of type and a press do not make a newspaper. A man with an education does not always make an editor. Many of our editors grow discouraged over their failure to arouse a support to their journals, blaming the race for non-appreciation, when the fault lies with themselves. Do they give their readers news? If a local sheet, they deal in stale generalities. If a general sheet, they confine themselves to locals of no general interest.
Let our journals arise, procure competent help, give the news, regardless of class, as the newspaper is for the masses. Make a business of the paper, run it on strict business plan, have good printing, be careful with proofs, avoid all mistakes as nearly as possible; study their patrons' tastes and cater to them, for it is not dealing fairly to require the masses to purchase for race pride when they should receive the worth of their money.
Petty animosities should not fill their pages with vituperation, which is shocking to refined sensibilities; neither should the reading public be forced to search for original matter with a microscope. He should ever be on the alert to champion the Negro's cause and never wholly sink his originality within the narrow confines of party bounds. Stand up for truth, and censure wherein, in his wide judgment, he feels it necessary so to do. Never let his paper travel in a rut, plenty of room for expenditure of gray matter.
We have many Negro journals which should be a source of pride to the race at large, others, we are sorry to say, do not deserve support and should make room for those which do.
A press association should be formed and the happenings sent from one to the other and used in brief by out-of-town journals and be fully detailed by local journals. More unity is needed and is a thing to be encouraged and maintained. Our journals depend too much upon chance MSS. than upon active reporters for their news.
Much could be said of the many sacrifices and labors of many of our editors, but we believe that the most good can be accomplished by fewer and better newspapers, than with "quantity without quality."
In our article we place great stress upon truth; we believe the goal for which all the Negro journals are laboring is to find "the means for the best good of the race," and way waste energy in useless toil?
IS THE NEGRO NEWSPAPER AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE ELEVATION OF THE NEGRO?
BY RICHARD W. THOMPSON.
RICHARD W. THOMPSON.
Richard W. Thompson stands in the front rank of those who are making history for the Negro race in this century. A native of Kentucky, he has spent most of his life in Indiana and was educated in the common and high schools of Indianapolis. His career of thirty-five years is quite an interesting one, abounding in well-directed efforts that have done much to give character and dignity to the Afro-American youth of the land. At an early age he evinced a remarkable aptitude for public affairs, and at school showed proficiency of the highest order in such studies as political economy, civil government, history, literature. He was especially happy in the art of English composition, his papers on current problems attracting wide attention in his home community. Losing his father when very young, he was largely dependent upon his own exertions for a livelihood and throughout his school days worked at a variety of pursuits.
In 1879 he became associated with Messrs Bagby & Co., in the publication of The Indianapolis Leader, the first journalistic venture launched in the Hoosier State, and later on mastered the trade of printing. Taking as naturally to newspaper work as "a duck to water," he made himself an indispensable quantity on the Leader staff and at seventeen, was city editor. At the same time in connection with his school duties, he kept books for Dr. F. M. Ferree, secretary of the Marion County Board of Health. When The Indianapolis World was launched in 1883, Mr. Thompson took charge of the city department and at different times during the palmy days of that sheet, held nearly every position on it from work at the case to foreman of the mechanical department and managing editor. He was the first managing editor of The Indianapolis Freeman, in which position he was a marked success. Later, as editor of the Washington Colored American, he won national fame as an accomplished journalist, a graceful, versatile and forcible writer and a clear and courageous thinker upon all questions that affect the Negro's social, political and industrial development. He leads rather than follows popular sentiment, and at no time while the editorial tripod was in his hands did he take a stand upon any issue that failed to meet the hearty endorsement of the race and which was not accepted as the expression of the best thought and principle of our people. In argument his style is logical and conservative. As a spicy paragrapher, originator of attractive news features, and as a keen observer of popular tastes, he has few equals and no superiors in the army of Afro-American journalists. He has done special work for prominent papers of both races, and furnished much "copy" for private individuals, always giving complete satisfaction.
Mr. Thompson has been fortunate in the matter of official recognition. At the age of fifteen he served as page in the Indiana Legislature, being the first colored boy so appointed. After attaining his majority he became a clerk in the Marion County Auditor's office, and in 1888 he led a class of seventy-five in a civil service examination, earning an appointment as letter carrier. He came to Washington in 1894 and was appointed clerk in the counting division of the Government Printing Office, enjoying the distinction of being the first colored man to be assigned to a clerical position in that department. Mr. Thompson is now connected with the United States Census Bureau and is regarded as a faithful and efficient assistant.
Busy as Mr. Thompson must necessarily be, he has time to aid in promoting race movements and organizations, being an active spirit in the National Afro-American Council, the Pen and Pencil Club, and St. Luke's P. E. Church. He is now serving his third term as President of the Second Baptist Lyceum, a cosmopolitan debating forum that has won a national reputation.
The question is both pertinent and timely. In the past two decades the necessity for the preacher, the teacher, the lawyer, and the doctor has not been open to dispute. Every father and mother, no matter what their social standing or their worldly means, have striven honestly, faithfully and persistently to enroll their favorite boy in the ranks of one or the other of these callings, as if they were the only open highways toward distinction, or the goal denominated "success."
In contemplating the professions which make for racial grandeur, racial opportunities, and protection from assault, many of us forget the importance of the Negro press as a factor in the elevation of the masses. It is not too much to say, in this connection, that of the primary levers to which the race must look for support, none contribute more toward endurance, permanency, and virility than the press. We have the pulpit, the schoolhouse, the field of politics, and the arena of business. Each has its bearing in the development of a larger life and a more perfect manhood for the Afro-American; but, conceding all due respect to the noble men and women who stand in the vanguard of each of these missions, no one of them is more potent or far reaching in its effect than the press. From the pulpit comes the precepts that direct moral and religious thought; the schoolhouse stands for a broader intellectual culture; the field of politics gives us our practical experience in the science of government, affording us an opportunity for actual participation in the shaping of legislation and in giving vitality to public policies. The press, however, occupies a most unique position with reference to all of them. It is the fulcrum upon which all these activities must depend for useful service. The press is the concentrated voice of the masses; the mouthpiece of the age; the universal censor—directed by popular opinion—from whose verdict there is no appeal. The press is the medium through which the great work of the church is disseminated over land and sea, and gives to the world the sweetening influence that the spoken word offers only to a single parish. It magnifies the labors of educational leaders and is itself an indispensable adjunct to the growth of intelligence. In the political field the press has long been recognized as an institution more powerful than any individual, and from the post of messenger or handmaiden of the people—a mere purveyor of current happenings—it has come to be the master mind in the economy of nations. To the business world it is a "guide, counselor and friend," and correctly analyzes the ingredients that bring material prosperity to the civic organization, of which all of us are a part. That distinguished autocrat of autocrats, Napoleon, once exclaimed, with a bitterness born of impending destruction: "Hostile newspapers are more to be feared than bayonets." And why not? It holds in its grasp the power of life and death, success and failure, happiness and misery.
These facts amply justify the assertion that the Negro newspaper is an all-important factor in the elevation of the race. Caucasian journals, while general in their news features, too often lack breadth in their opinion department, when the race question is a burning issue, just as religious denominations, the trades and political parties require "class" papers for the exploitation of their particular lines of thought, the Negro has found that only through his own "class organ" can he obtain a sturdy defense of his character, the record of his laudable achievements, and the advocacy of his rights as a man and a citizen. So the Negro journal came, and it is here to stay. The Negro journal had its origin in the direst necessity, and that necessity was never more apparent than at the opening of the twentieth century when the Declaration of Independence seems not broad enough to include the colored American, when the Constitution of the United States is perverted from the sacred intent of its framers and the spirit of disfranchisement is rampant throughout the land.
This demand for a Negro journal was first met between 1827 and 1834 by unpretentious sheets in and about New York City. But it was not until 1847 that race journalism became a positive factor, when that intrepid spirit, Frederick Douglass, launched "The North Star." This great man built up a circulation upon two continents and wielded an influence not exceeded by any subsequent race venture. That paper blazed a wide path, and in its path followed enterprise after enterprise, developing the sentiment for liberty and keeping in touch with the newer requirements of the hour. No reliable census of the many race journals has been kept. They have sprung from every state and section, but their span of life in most cases has been so brief and sporadic that only rough estimates have been attempted. To-day, perhaps, three hundred are in existence, a few taking high rank in literary quality—others struggling desperately for maintenance. The majority are printed at a positive loss, as regards dollars and cents. It is doubtful if any of the survivors are supported exclusively from revenues derived from subscriptions and advertising. It is a stinging indictment of our much-lauded "race pride" that the greater proportion of our Negro journalists are compelled to depend for a living upon teaching, preaching, law, medicine, office-holding, or upon some outside business investment. In character and make-up, these papers are as widely varied as the localities and environments from which they spring. Many are crude specimens of the "art preservative," dealing heavily in "boiler plate"—to use a professional term—and very lightly in original matter. A few have taken steps out of the beaten path and are giving striking evidence of what the resourceful and energetic Negro journalist could do under circumstances more encouraging. Our editors are, for the most part, men of strong personality, with standing and influence in their respective "bailiwicks." Without notable exception they speak for manhood, for race elevation, and for material development in every avenue of industry.
How many of us have paused and candidly considered just what Negro journalism is doing for the uplift of the masses? Notwithstanding the hard fact that the editorial work of many writers is done late at night, after protracted hours of labor in other fields; and notwithstanding that where a journalist is able to give his entire time to the business, he is often sole solicitor, clerk, compositor, pressman, collector, office boy, and editorial staff combined—despite all these disadvantages, the beneficent effect of the Negro press is felt all over the land. The dozens of able men and women who are engaged in this noble work, most of them doing so at a tremendous sacrifice, are true patriots, bearing burdens from which the timid shrink, leading cheerily where none but the brave dare follow, contending with malicious opposers, every inch of ground, this sturdy band struggles on year after year, hoping patiently for the "joy that cometh in the morning." Through their efforts Negro writers have been given a fair hearing, and, while the Caucasian journal is giving space to the police court episodes of our lower orders, the alert Negro sentinel finds in the church, the schoolroom, the inventor's studio, the author's desk, and in honorable political or social station, a most fertile field for his operations. Negro newspapers have aroused in us the commercial and industrial spirit, and are giving employment to hundreds of young colored men and women as bookkeepers, stenographers and canvassers. They are lending practical aid in solving the race's labor problem by yearly instructing and providing employment to printers, book-binders, pressmen and other artisans. They are building up a market for Negro labor, and neutralizing to a great extent the baleful influence of the trades unions' hostility. The Negro editor has increased the self-respect of the race by collating and publishing the creditable achievements of our people, furnishing a periodical compendium of history and placing the Negro in his most favorable light before the critics of the world. The truly representative Negro journal reflects the sober judgment of the race upon topics of general interest. It largely fixes our status as thinkers and philosophers of the times. The rights of no people can be ruthlessly invaded whose press is fearless, pure, upright, and patriotic. No people can forever be denounced as ignorant, vicious, and shiftless who support a press that is intelligent, moral, and thrifty.
Let it be remembered here, however, that the picture has its somber tints. Negro journalism, speaking generally, is not a paying investment. The fault does not lie wholly with either the public or the publisher. As a mass we are not a reading people and the bulk of us neither know nor appreciate the value of the work that the race paper is doing. Some of us take and pay for Caucasian journals for their news features—which is eminently fitting and proper—but the Negro journal should not be made to suffer in the unequal competition, for the latter fills a want which the former cannot or does not reach. One dollar to the race paper is often worth as much as ten to the wealthy corporation behind our great metropolitan dailies. It is not alone our illiterates who fail to support our journals. The educated classes are not as loyal to the cause as their means, learning, political interest and race pride suggest that they should be. True, it frequently happens that our papers fall into the hands of characterless adventurers who are "anything for a dollar," and it is felt that the best method of rebuking their self-constituted and erratic leadership is to treat them with silent contempt. To this no thinker can offer a reasonable objection. A journal that does not represent the highest impulses of a community does not deserve support. The personal organ, the scandalmonging sheet, the political and social blackmailer, the confidence-destroying campaign dodger, and the subsidized traitor to racial manhood are all under a ban, and should have no place in the homes of self-respecting Negroes. In this category should also be classed the colorless journal, that smirks in the recesses of cowardice. We should be faithful, however, to those that are honest and straightforward. We should strengthen their arms by our moral and financial resources. Booker T. Washington aptly points out how difficult it is for a needy man to resist the temptation of the bribe-giver, and tells pathetically of the uphill work of making a Christian out of a hungry mortal. Support the right kind of editors and the result will be a press that is progressive, healthful, and fearless—an institution of which all may justly be proud.
Is the ideal race journal attainable? I say, YES—when the two elements necessary to the transaction—the public and the publisher—are able to meet on a common ground, in the spirit of co-operation and fair dealing. The chasm between the journalist and his rightful constituency must be bridged by mutual confidence and mutual sympathy, or neither can reap the great benefits that lie in concentration of forces.
The ideal journal is that one which places racial weal above private gain—which exalts patriotism above pelf. It is controlled by men big enough and broad enough to eschew petty personalities and to avoid cheap sensationalism. It is piloted by men who breathe the atmosphere of freedom, whose inspiration is not drawn from the committee rooms of political parties, and whose course is not dictated by scheming politicians. It is the antithesis of sycophancy. The ideal journal is backed up by men who are far-sighted enough to perceive that success through trickery is short lived, and that character is the only foundation upon which an enduring structure can be built. It is conducted by men who know by experience that genuine worth will ultimately be appreciated, and that refined taste, sound judgment, and a saving sense of proportion will produce a newspaper that may stand as a model to posterity.
Journals of this type, sincere, earnest, and consistent—and in the future their names will be legion—are without question the key-stone in the arch of those forces which make for the permanent elevation of the Negro people. Such journals are prime factors in the race problem.
ARE OTHER THAN BAPTIST AND METHODIST CHURCHES ADAPTED TO THE PRESENT NEGRO?
BY REV. GEORGE F. BRAGG, JR.,
REV. GEORGE F. BRAGG, JR.
George Freeman Bragg, Junior, Priest and Rector, was born in Warrenton, N. C., January 25, 1863. Shortly after his birth his parents, George F. and Mary Bragg, removed to Petersburg, Va. It was in this latter place that their son was reared and educated; remaining there until ordained to the Episcopal Ministry, he left to take charge of his first work in Norfolk, Va. Mr. Bragg was educated, first, in the Episcopal Parochial School, then in the St. Stephen's Normal School, and in the Bishop Payne Divinity School, all of Petersburg, Va. His education, however, was supplemented by private tuition by a master in languages, under whom he studied Latin, Greek, Hebrew and philosophy. In 1881 he was appointed a page in the Virginia Legislature, and a little later, by the Speaker, promoted as the postmaster of that body. In 1882, though not of age, he founded and edited the "Virginia Lancet," the first Colored weekly published in the "Black Belt" of Virginia. This newspaper he conducted for some four or five years, and on January 12, 1887, in St. Stephen's Church, Petersburg, Va., he was ordained Deacon by Bishop Whittle of Virginia. He immediately left for Norfolk, Va., where he began his ministry at the head of the little Episcopal Mission of that city. He remained in Norfolk for nearly five years, and during that time formally organized Grace Church, secured the lot, built a new church and rectory and improved the old school building. A very large day Industrial School was carried on by Mr. Bragg in connection with his work. While here, in June, 1887, Governor Fitzhugh Lee, of Virginia, appointed him one of the State's Trustees of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, where he served for four years, resigning only because of leaving the State.