I doubt that much reliance can safely be placed upon mere ability to read and write a little as a means of saving any race. Education should go further. One of the weaknesses in the Negro's present condition grows out of failure, in the early years of his freedom, to teach him, in connection with thorough academic and religious branches, the dignity and beauty of labor, and to give him a working knowledge of the industries by which he must earn a subsistence. But the main question is: What is the present tendency of the race, where it has been given a fair opportunity, and where there has been thorough education of hand, head and heart? This question I answer from my own experience of nineteen years in the heart of the South, and from my daily contact with whites and blacks. In the first place, the social barrier prevents most white people from coming into real contact with the higher and better side of the Negro's social life. The Negro loafer, drunkard and gambler can be seen without social contact. The higher life cannot be seen without social contact. As I write these lines I am in the home of a Negro friend, where in the matter of cleanliness, sweetness, attractiveness, modern conveniences and other evidences of intelligence, morality and culture, the home would compare favorably with that of any white family in the neighborhood; and yet this Negro home is unknown outside of the little town where it exists. To really know the life of this family, one would have to become a part of it for days, as I have been. One of the most encouraging changes that have taken place in the life of the Negro race in the past thirty years is the creation of a growing public sentiment which draws a line between the good and bad, the clean and unclean. This change is fast taking place in every part of the country. It is one that cannot be accurately measured by any table of statistics. To be able to appreciate it fully, one must himself be a part of the social life of the race.
As to the effect of industrial education in the solution of the race problem, we should not expect too much from it in a short time. To the late General S. C. Armstrong, of Hampton Institute, in Virginia, should be given the credit, mainly, for inaugurating this system of education. When the Hampton Institute began the systematic, industrial training of the Negro, such training was unpopular among a large class of colored people. Later, when the same system was started by me at the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, in Alabama, it was still unpopular, especially in that part of the South. But the feeling against it has now almost disappeared in all parts of the country, so much so that I do not consider the opposition of a few people here and there as of material consequence. Where there is one who opposes it there are thousands who indorse it. So far as the colored people are concerned, I consider that the battle for this principle has been fought and the victory won. What the colored people are anxious about is that, with industrial education, they shall have thorough mental and religious training, and in this they are right. For bringing about this change in the attitude of the colored people, much credit should be given to the John F. Slater Fund, under the wise guidance of such men as Mr. Morris K. Jesup and Dr. J. L. M. Curry, as well as to Dr. H. B. Frissell, of the Hampton Institute. That such institutions for industrial training as the Hampton Institute and the Tuskegee Institute are always crowded with the best class of Negro students from nearly every state in the Union, and that every year they are compelled to refuse admission to hundreds of others, for lack of room and means, are sufficient evidence that the black race has come to appreciate the value of industrial education. The almost pathetic demand of the colored people for the industrial education in every corner of the South is added evidence of the growing intelligence of the race. In saying what I do in regard to industrial education, I do not wish to be understood as meaning that the education of the Negro should be confined to that kind alone, because we need men and women well educated in other directions; but for the masses industrial education is the supreme need. I repeat that we must not expect too much from this training, in the redemption of a race, in the space of a few years.
There are few institutions in the South where industrial training is given upon a large and systematic scale, and the graduates from these institutions have not had time to make themselves felt to any very large extent upon the life of the rank and file of the people. But what are the indications? As I write, I have before me a record of graduates, which is carefully compiled each year. Of the hundreds who have been trained at the Tuskegee Institute, less than five per cent have failed because of the any moral weakness. These graduates, as well as hundreds of other students who could not remain to finish the course, are now at work in the schoolroom, in the field, in the shop, in the home, or as teachers of industry, or in some way they are making their education felt in the lifting up of the colored people. Wherever these graduates go, they not only help their own race, but, in nearly every case, they win the respect and confidence of the white people.
Not long ago I sent a number of letters to white men, in all the Southern states, asking, among others, this question: "Judged by actual observation in your community, what is the effect of education upon the Negro?" In asking this question, I was careful to explain that by education I did not mean a mere smattering, but a thorough education of the head, heart and hand. I received about three hundred replies, and there was only one who said that education did not help the Negro. Most of the others were emphatic in stating that education made the Negro a better citizen. In all the record of crime in the South, there are very few instances where a black man, who has been thoroughly educated in the respects I have mentioned, has been ever charged with the crime of assaulting a woman. In fact, I do not know of a single instance of this kind, whether the man was educated in an industrial school or in a college.
The following extracts from a letter written by a Southern white man to the Daily Advertiser, of Montgomery, Alabama, contain most valuable testimony. The letter refers to convicts in Alabama, most of whom are colored:
"I was conversing not long ago with the warden of one of our mining prisons, containing about 500 convicts. The warden is a practical man, who has been in charge of prisoners for more than fifteen years, and has no theories of any kind to support. I remarked to him that I wanted some information as to the effect of manual training in preventing criminality, and asked him to state what per cent of the prisoners under his charge had received any manual training, besides the acquaintance with the crudest agricultural labor. He replied: 'Perhaps about one per cent.' He added: 'No; much less than that. We have here at present only one mechanic; that is, there is one man who claims to be a house painter.'
"'Have you any shoemakers?'
"'Never have had a shoemaker.'
"'Have you any tailors?'
"'Never have had a tailor.'
"'Never have had a printer.'
"'Never have had a carpenter. There is not a man in this prison that could saw to a straight line.'"
Now, these facts seem to show that manual training is almost as good a preventive for criminality as vaccination is for smallpox.
We can best judge further of the value of industrial and academic education by using a few statistics bearing upon the state of Virginia, where graduates from the Hampton Institute and other schools have gone in large numbers and have had an opportunity, in point of time, to make their influence apparent upon the Negro population. These statistics, based on census reports, were compiled mainly by persons connected with the Hampton Negro Conference:
"Taking taxation as a basis, the colored people of the State of Virginia contributed, in 1898, directly to the expenses of the State government, the sum of $9,576.76, and for schools $3,239.41 from their personal property, a total of $12,816.17; while, from their real estate, for the purpose of the commonwealth there was paid by them $34,303.53, and for schools $11,457.22, or a total of $45,760.75—a grand total of $58,576.92.
"The report for the same year shows them to own 987,118 acres of land, valued at $3,800,459, improved by buildings valued at $2,056,490, a total of $5,856,949. In the towns and cities, they own lots assessed at $2,154,331, improved by buildings valued at $3,400,636, a total of $5,554,976 for town property, and a grand total of $11,411,916 of their property of all kinds in the commonwealth. A comparative statement of different years would doubtless show a general upward tendency.
"The counties of Accomac, Essex, King and Queen, Middlesex, Mathews, Northampton, Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland, Gloucester, Princess Anne and Lancaster, all agricultural, show an aggregate of 114,197 acres held by Negroes in 1897, the last year accounted for in official reports, against 108,824 held the previous year, an increase of 5,379, or nearly five per cent. The total valuation of land owned by Negroes in the same counties for 1897, is $547,800, against $496,385 for the year next preceding, a gain of $51,150, or more than ten per cent. Their present property, as assessed in 1897, was $517,560, in 1896, $527,688, a loss of $10,128. Combining the real and personal property for 1897, we have $1,409,059, against $1,320,504 for 1896, a net gain of $88,555, an increase of six and one-half per cent.
"The records of Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Princess Anne, Northumberland, Northampton, King and Queen, Essex, and Westmoreland, where the colored population exceeds the white, show that the criminal expense for 1896 was $14,313.29, but for 1897 it was only $8,538.12, a saving of $5,774.17 to the State, or a falling off of forty per cent. This does not tell the whole story. In the first named year twenty-six persons were convicted of felonies, with sentences in the penitentiary, while in the year succeeding only nine, or one-third as many, were convicted of the graver offences of the law."
According to these returns, in 1892, when the colored people formed 41 per cent of the population, they owned 2.75 per cent of the total number of acres assessed for taxation, and 3.40 per cent of the buildings; in 1898, although not constituting more than 37 per cent of the population (by reason of white immigration), they owned 3.23 per cent of the acreage assessed, and 4.64 per cent of the buildings—a gain of nearly one-third in six years.
According to statistics gathered by a graduate of the Hampton Institute, in twelve counties in Virginia, there has been in the part of the state covered by the investigation an increase of 5,379 acres in the holdings of colored people, and an increase of $51,150 in the value of their land. In nine counties there has been a decrease in the number of persons charged with felonies and sent to the penitentiary from twenty-six in 1896 to nine in 1897.
I do not believe that the Negro will grow weaker in morals and less strong in numbers because of his immediate contact with the white race. The first class life insurance companies are considered excellent authorities as to the longevity of individuals and races; and the fact that most of them now seek to insure the educated class of blacks, is a good test of what these companies think, of the effect of education upon the mortality of the race.
The case of Jamaica, in the West Indies, presents a good example by which to judge the future of the Negro of the United States, so far as mortality is concerned. The argument drawn from Jamaica is valuable, chiefly because the race there has been free for sixty-two years, instead of thirty-five, as in our own country. During the years of freedom, the blacks of Jamaica have been in constant contact with the white man. Slavery was abolished in Jamaica in 1838. The census of 1844 showed that there were 364,000 Negroes on the island. In 1871 there were 493,000, and in 1891 there were 610,597. In a history of Jamaica written by Mr. W. P. Livingston, who spent ten years studying the conditions of the island, we find that, immediately after emancipation on the island, there was something of the reaction that has taken place in some parts of our country; but that recently there has been a settling down to real, earnest life on the part of a large proportion of the race. After calling attention to certain weak and unsatisfactory phases in the life of the Jamaica Negro, Mr. Livingston says:
"This, then, is the race as it exists to-day, a product of sixty years of freedom; on the whole, a plain, honest, Anglicized people, with no peculiarity except a harmless ignorance and superstition. Looking at it in contrast with what it was at the beginning of the period, one cannot but be impressed with the wonderful progress it has made; and where there has been steady progress in the past, there is infinite hope for the future. * * * The impact of Roman power and culture on the northern barbarians of the United Kingdom did not make itself felt for three hundred years. * * * Instead of dying off before civilization, he (the Negro) grows stronger as he comes within its best influences."
In comparing the black race of Jamaica with that of the United States, it should be borne in mind that the Negro in America enjoys advantages and encouragements which the race in Jamaica does not possess.
What I have said, I repeat, is based largely upon my own experience and observation, rather than upon statistics. I do not wish to convey the impression that the problem before our country is not a large and serious one; but I do believe that in a judicious system of industrial, mental and religious training we have found the method of solving it. What we most need is the money necessary to make the system effective. The indications are hopeful, not discouraging; and not the least encouraging is the fact that, in addition to the munificence of Northern philanthropists and the appropriations of the Southern state governments from common taxation, with the efforts of the Negro himself, we have now reached a point at which the solution of this problem is drawing to its aid some of the most thoughtful and cultured white men and women of the South, as is indicated by the article to which I have already referred, from the pen of Professor John Roach Straton.
WILL THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO SOLVE THE RACE PROBLEM?
BY PROF. J. R. HAWKINS.
JOHN RUSSELL HAWKINS.
John Russell Hawkins, the oldest son of Ossian and Christiana Hawkins, was born in the town of Warrenton, Warren County, North Carolina, on May 31, 1862. At the age of six years, he began attending the public school of his native town and made rapid progress in his studies.
When old enough to help his father work, he had to stop attending school regularly and apply himself to work on his father's farm. In the mean time, he kept up studies by attending night school and employing private tutors. At the age of fifteen, he went with four members of the highest class in the regular graded school to take the public examination for school teacher. Of the five examined, he made the highest grades and received an appointment as assistant teacher in the same school where he had received his first training.
In 1881, he left home and went to Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va., where he spent one year in special study preparatory for business.
In 1882, he left Hampton and accepted a position in the Government service, as railway postal clerk, on the line between Raleigh, N. C., and Norfolk, Va. Here he soon made a record that classed him among the best clerks in the service. In 1885, Mr. Hawkins returned to his native town and was elected as principal of the graded school. Here he spent two years teaching and reading law under private tutors.
In 1887, he was asked to go to Kittrell, N. C., to fill the position as business manager and treasurer of Kittrell College, then known as Kittrell Normal and Industrial Institute. So acceptably did Mr. Hawkins fill this position that in 1890 he was elected to the Presidency of Kittrell College, which position he has filled with credit.
During the first eight years of his work at Kittrell, he developed that work so rapidly that the trustees deemed it wise to accept his recommendations and broaden the work so as to cover a regular college course. Mr. Hawkins has always been an ardent advocate of higher education for the Negro and worked hard to fit himself for giving such advantages to his students. For five years he spent his summers in the North, where he could get the best school advantages and keep himself in touch with best school methods.
Mr. Hawkins has been one of the most successful educators of the South and has raised large sums of money by public canvass among the philanthropists of the country. In his native State, North Carolina, he is a recognized leader among his people, and by his ability and standing has won the confidence and respect of all classes. A ripe scholar, a deep thinker, a ready writer and a polished orator, his services are almost constantly in demand. Indeed, it has been said of him that he is one of the finest public speakers on the stage. He speaks with such power of conviction as to touch the heart of his audiences and at once lead them into the subject under consideration with interest and profit.
In 1896 he was elected by the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church as Commissioner of Education and filled that office so acceptably that at the end of his first term in 1900, he was re-elected by acclamation. He is regarded as among the strongest laymen in his church and one of the best financiers of the race.
One of the finest qualities of Mr. Hawkins is his devotion to his family and his high ideals in home life.
In 1892 he married Miss Lillian M. Kennedy, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, whose companionship and devotion has been a most important factor in contributing to her husband's success. They are the happy parents of two children, a girl and a boy, and are pleasantly located at Kittrell, N. C., in a very beautiful home.
Every nation of recognized merit and ability, chronicled in the world's history, is proud to revert to some special feature of its life, and point with pride to some one thing that has given character to its institutions and added to its national glory. As far back as history runs, we find nations, classes and races, pointing out different things as the stronghold, the ground work, the pillars on which their fame rests.
The thing to which the Negro can point with most pride, is the activity and progress made in the development of an ideal home life and the providing of a liberal education for his people. Indeed, it is worthy of note, that in both church and state, there is a growing interest in behalf of extending to all classes the privileges and benefits of at least a limited education. Nations that once thought of nothing but war and conquest are throwing their influence in the scale of popular education.
Countries that have long wielded the scepter of power, and held thousands subject to the will and opinion of one man or set of men, are being aroused to the importance of individual thought and individual responsibility. Churches and organizations that necessarily began their work with one or two as leaders, who had to do the thinking for hundreds of others, are now turning their attention to the work of training and developing the faculties and character of each one so as to enable him to think and act intelligently for himself; this is the spirit of the present age. In this lies the hope and destiny of all classes and all races.
Hence, if there be any particular problem as connected with the Negro race, in my opinion the solution of that problem will come only by following the rule of action applied to the uplifting and development of others.
The Negro is no new specie of nature; he is no new issue in the category of life; no new element in the citizenship of this country, and needs no special prescription to suit his needs. His case is one common to a people whose surroundings and environments have placed, or caused them to be placed, in a dependent attitude, and his only hope for rising above the common level of a menial slave is to so husband his resources as to change these environments and become the master of, rather than the helpless creature, of circumstances. The faithful pioneers who carried the torch of knowledge into darkened regions and cheered the lives of thousands with rays of hope and promise, opened the way for the liberation of great forces that had long lain dormant and smothered. Knowledge has been the torch in the civilizer's hand, and carrying this still we can find treasures still unearthed and truths still unlearned.
The glories already achieved in the field of science, art and literature have but aroused us to seek for still greater honors. The ray of light that has fallen across our pathway, giving hope and promise of better and brighter things further on, has but fired the zeal within us, and there is no way of satisfying this burning zeal save the feasting on the coveted goal—the riches and beauties of wisdom. One writer says: "As long as one's mind is shrouded in ignorance he is but the tool of others, and the victim of foolishness and gross absurdities. He will never experience those pleasures which come from a well-directed train of thought and which is akin to the dignity of a high nature. On the other hand, the person whose mind is illumined with the light of knowledge, and whose soul is lit up, is introduced as it were into a new world. He can trace back the stream of time to its commencement, and gliding along its downward course, can survey the most memorable events and see the dawnings of Divine Mercy and the manifestations of the Son of God in our nature." 'Tis not enough to know that we have faculties. 'Tis not sufficient to say that there lives in us the power to see, to hear, to feel, to reason, to think and to act; we must develop these powers until we can feel the benefit of the blessings that come from their use. We will never be able to reason for ourselves unless we learn to think for ourselves. The thinking mind is the active mind, and the active mind is the growing mind; the growing mind moves the man, and the man that moves helps to move the world. He moves step by step from the common level of events to things of greater height. He rises from pinnacle to pinnacle, never ceasing, never tiring, never stopping, ever growing, ever moving, ever rising till he finds the fountain head of all truth and all virtue. We are now face to face with a new order of things. Under this new regime we witness the foreshadowing of a higher sense of civilization, a higher standard of morals, a broader field of culture and a purer realm of thought.
Indeed, we are only in the shadow of this great light. 'Tis not the promise alone that brightens our sky. The dawn has appeared. The music of the morn has already been heard, and nations are awaking and rushing to crowd around the altar as worshippers at the shrine of learning. What lover of letters would doubt for a moment that if Thomas Carlyle could re-enter the world of letters and dignify the profession with the fertility of his brain, instead of captivating the world with his beautiful outline of heroes and hero worship, he would summon all his powers as an agency to do reverence, as a worshipper at the shrine, not of things material, not of men, but of ideas. This is the school to which we are crowding. In the development of our educational system we are enabled to find the highest ideals and center our thoughts on the highest and purest standard of life.
Only those who think, or those who seek to know the virtues of intelligence, and to enjoy the beauties of a pure and ideal life, can enter into the spirit of rejoicing over the approach of the time when each person will be measured by what is represented in his ability to exert a potent influence in shaping the destiny of things and helping to mold public sentiment. The mind can no more be allowed to remain dormant or inactive than the turf of the field, or the muscles of the body. It must be stirred up; it must be awakened from its stupor and quickened into a newness of life.
The opportunity for this general awakening was denied our parents, who were the victims of slavery, and they suffered the loss of the prestige and influence that naturally follows; but what was lost to our ancestry must be redeemed to posterity. We must center our work in the youth of our land and give them the broadest, deepest and highest training. The most liberal education should be provided for all. An education free from bias, free from proscription, free from any label that will mark them as Negro laborers, as Negro mechanics, as Negro scholars, but an education that will mark them as artisans, as skilled mechanics, as scholars, thinkers, as men and women with master minds and noble souls. In this will we find the reward for our labors and the hope of the race. I agree with the writer who says: "There is nothing to be compared with the beauty of an excellent character and the usefulness of a noble life. To the unlimited, unfettered spirit of man's mind that can rise above the mountain peaks and sweep across the ocean bounds. To that unequaled beauty of a pure and spotless soul. The whole earth, with all its beauties of art and skill, are counted as naught in the sight of God, as compared with a living creature, that represents in his body the image of his Creator, and in his mind and soul the divine principles of the mystery, the power, and glory of His Son."
'Tis not enough to know that schools and colleges exist, and to boast of the advantages, and opportunities afforded us. We must lay hold upon them and become a part of them. We must, by our own efforts, out of our own means, build, own and control our own institutions for the training of our youths, and then establish enterprises of business for the practical display and use of the training received.
The great trouble about our system of education is that the masses have not yet felt the real good of it. To some it is no good, because they have simply gotten enough to misuse. You cannot satisfy a man's appetite by stopping him at the door of your dining room, where he can get only a smell of the dinner while he sees others eating. Of course he would turn away in disgust and call it all a farce. You cannot teach a man to swim by stopping him at the water's edge. You cannot convince a man that he is at the top of a mountain when you stop him at the base, where he can look up and see others above him; and you cannot show a man the virtue of education when you stop him at the school house door and deny him entrance while others crowd by and pass through. Let him in. Open the doors wide and let all come in and sit down to the intellectual feast. We want to bring the people out into the middle of the stream, into the deep water where they can be borne up by the strong tide of intellect and follow the current of popular ideas.
We must take them up and away from the foot of the mountain, place them on top, where they can bask in the sunlight of intelligence, where the atmosphere is pure and the virtue of education beams in every eye. God made man in his own image, prepared him a body, arranged for his food and raiment, stretched nature before him, and then commissioned him to go forth and subdue, replenish and have dominion over all. Yea more than this. He endowed man with reasoning faculties and for these faculties fixed no bounds; but left them to work out their own destiny and achieve their own triumphs.
I do not believe God intended for man's mind to remain undeveloped. He did not intend that His creatures should forever remain ignorant and shrouded in ignorance. Wherever He places talents there he expects to find evidence of growth and increase. Hence it is our duty to educate and prepare all for the intelligent use of what God has given them. If we expect to have a part in shaping events in this life; if we expect to be numbered among the learned, the strong, the molders of public sentiment, the masters of things material, free from abject menial servitude, we must educate the people.
Let this idea run all through our schools until it permeates the life of every boy, every girl, every man, every woman; making its influence felt in every home, every clime and among all nations.
WILL THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO SOLVE THE RACE PROBLEM?
BY PROF. KELLEY MILLER.
It is a hopeful sign when those who are vitally concerned in the outcome of the Negro problem are guided in their discussion by the light of evidence and argument, and are not impelled to foregone conclusions by transmitted prejudice and traditional bias. The article of Professor John Roach Straton in the North American Review for June, 1900, is notable for its calm, dispassionate, argumentative treatment, and for its freedom from rancor and venom. His conclusions, therefore, if erroneous, are all the more damaging because of the evident sincerity and helpful intention of the author.
With much erudition and argumentative skill Professor Straton sets forth the proposition that education has failed to check the Negro's degenerating tendencies or to fit him for his "strange and abnormal environment."
There are two leading divisions of the race problem:
1. The development of a backward race.
2. The adjustment of two races with widely divergent ethnic characteristics.
These two factors are, in the mind of many, antagonistic to each other. The more backward and undeveloped the Negro, the easier is the process of his adjustment to the white race; but when you give him "Greek and Latin and eyeglasses" frictional problems inevitably arise. Under slavery this adjustment was complete, but the bond of adjustment was quickly burst asunder when the Negro was made a free man and clothed with full political and civil privilege. The one great question which so far remains unanswerable is, can the two be readjusted on terms of equality? The solution of social problems belongs to the realm of statesmanship, philanthropy and religion. The function of education is to develop latent faculties. It was a shallow philosophy which prophesied that a few years of schooling on the part of the Negro would solve the race question. If the education of the colored man has not worked out the fulfillment which its propounders prophesied, it simply proves them to be poor prophets. The Negro, too, believed that if he could only learn to read and write, and especially if he could go to college, that he would be relieved of every incumbrance that beset him. Education was looked upon as an end and not as an agency. As his friends were destined to disappointment, the Negro himself was doomed to humiliation and chagrin. Education creates as many problems as it solves. It is both static and dynamical. When Professor Straton says, therefore, that education has not solved the race problem, he utters a truism. But if he means to imply that it has not had a wholesome effect upon the life of the Negro, his conclusion verges upon the absurd.
We are apt to be misled by the statistics showing the decline of illiteracy among Negroes. All those who can read and write are set apart as educated persons, as if this mere mechanical information had worked some great transformation in their nature. The fact, is a very small per cent of the race is educated in any practical or efficient sense. The simple ability to read and write is of the least possible benefit to a backward race. What advantage would it be to the red Indians to be able to trace the letters of the English alphabet with a pen, or to vocalize the printed characters into syllables and sentences? Unless the moral nature is touched and the vital energies aroused there would be no improvement in conduct or increase in practical efficiency. Education has a larger function for a backward than for a forward race. To the latter it merely furnishes a key to an existing lock, while to the former it must supply both lock and key. The pupil who is already acquainted with the nature and conditions of a problem may need only a suggestion as to a skillful or lucky combination of parts in order to lead to its solution; whereas to one ignorant of the underlying facts and factors such suggestion would be worse than useless.
Even much of the so-called higher education of the Negro has been only a process of artificially forcing a mass of refined information into a system which had no digestive or assimilative apparatus. Such education produces no more nourishment or growth than would result from forcing sweetmeats down the throat of an alligator. Of education in its true sense the Negro has had very little. The great defect of the Negro's nature is his lack of individual initiative, growing out of his feeble energy of will. To overcome this difficulty, his training should be judiciously adapted and sensibly applied to his needs. Industrial training will supply the method and the higher culture the motive.
Professor Straton tells us that $100,000,000 have already been expended upon the education of this race. Princely as this sum seems to be, it is nevertheless utterly insignificant when compared with the magnitude of the task to which it has been applied. The city of New York alone spends $15,000,000 annually for educational purposes. And yet if we are to believe the rumors of corruption and the low state of municipal morality it will be seen that education has not yet done its perfect work in our great metropolis. Then why should we rave at the heart and froth at the mouth because a sum of money, scarcely equal to a third of the educational expenditure of a single American city, though distributed over a period of thirty years and scattered over a territory of a million square miles, has not completely civilized a race of 8,000,000 degraded souls?
The whites maintain that they impose taxes upon themselves for the education of the blacks. This is only one of the many false notions of political economy which have done so much to blight the prosperity of the South. Labor pays every tax in the world; and although the laborer may not enjoy the privilege of passing the tribute to the tax taker, he is nevertheless entitled to share in all of the privileges which his toil makes possible. And besides children are not educated because their parents are taxpayers, but in order that they may become more helpful and efficient members of the community. It would be wisdom on the part of the South to place the future generations under bonded debt, if necessary, for the education of its ignorant population, white and black. This would be far more statesmanlike than to transmit to them a legacy of ignorance, degradation and crime. Pride in a political theory should no longer prevent the appeal to national aid to remove the threatening curse.
Professor Straton underestimates the effect of culture upon a backward race when he minimizes the value of individual emergence. The individual is the proof of the race. The conception of progress has always found lodgment in the mind of some select individuals, whence it has trickled down to the masses below. May it not be that the races which have withered before the breath of civilization, have faded because they failed to produce individuals with sufficient intelligence, courage and good sense to wisely guide and direct their path? What names can the red Indian present to match Benjamin Banneker or Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass or Paul Laurence Dunbar? The Negro has contributed four hundred patented inventions to the mechanical genius of his country; how many has the aborigine contributed? The congressional library has collected fourteen hundred books and pamphlets by Negro authors. These works are, of course, in the main, commonplace or indifferent. But a people who have the ambition to write poor books will soon gain the ability to make good ones. Have any of the vanished races shown such aptitude for civilization? But these are exceptions. So are the eminent men of any race. When the exceptions become too numerous it is rather poor logic to urge them in proof of the rule. It is also a mistake to suppose that these picked individuals are without wholesome influence upon the communal life. They are diffusive centers of light scattered throughout the whole race. These grains of leaven will actually leaven the whole lump.
"We take these savages from their simple life and their low plane of evolution and attempt to give them an enlightenment for which the stronger races have prepared themselves by ages of growth." There is in this utterance a tinge of the feeling which actuated the laborers who had borne the heat and burden of the day when they objected to the eleventh hour intruders being received on equal terms with themselves. One answer suffices for both: "Other men have labored, and ye are entered into their labors." It is true that the Negro misses evolution and his adjustment to his environment is made the more difficult on that account. Education, therefore, is all the more essential and vital. The chasm between civilization and savagery must be bridged by education. The boy learns in a few years what it took the race ages to acquire. A repetition of the slow steps and stages by which progress has been secured is impossible. Attachment to civilization must take place at its highest point, just as we set a graft upon the most vigorous and healthy limb of a tree, and not upon a decadent stem. Must the Negro dwell for generations upon Anglo-Saxon stems and Cancerian diction before he is introduced to modern forms of English speech? The child of the African slave is under the same linguistic necessity as the offspring of Depew and Gladstone. He must leap, instanter, from primitive mode of locomotion to the steamboat, the electric car and the automobile. Of course many will be lost in the endeavor to sustain the stress and strain. Civilization is a saver of life into life and death into death. Japan is the best living illustration of the rapid acquisition of civilization. England can utilize no process of art or invention that is not equally invaluable to the oriental islanders. This has been accomplished by this young and vigorous people mainly through the education of picked youth. Herein lies the only salvation of the Negro race.
In the meantime the dual nature of the solution and its relative importance to both races is clearly indicated by Voltaire, the great French savant: "It is more meritorious and more difficult to wean men from their prejudices than to civilize the barbarian."
WILL THE EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO SOLVE THE RACE PROBLEM?
BY C. H. TURNER.
PROF. CHARLES HENRY TURNER, M. S.
Charles Henry Turner was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, February 3, 1867. Both parents were of Negro descent. His mother was a Kentucky girl and his father a Canadian. Both parents were temperate and Christian in habits. Neither parent was college-bred, yet Charles' father was a well-read man, a keen thinker, and a master of debate. He had surrounded himself with several hundred choice books and one of the earliest ambitions of Charles was to learn to read these books.
The only education of our subject was obtained in the excellent public schools of Cincinnati, Ohio. From the Walnut Hills District School Charles passed to the Gaines High School, from which he graduated valedictorian of his class. From High School he passed to the University of Cincinnati, from which he graduated in 1891 with the B. S. degree, and in 1892 with the M. S. degree.
When a youth in college, Charles hoped some day to be the head of a technological or agricultural school for Negroes, and much time and money was expended mastering those essentials that the head of a school should know. That youthful day dream has never been realized, but Charles has been an active teacher for years. Even before graduation he taught one year in the Governor Street School at Evansville, Indiana, and occasionally taught, as a substitute, in the public schools of Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1891 to 1893 he was assistant in Biology at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then he has been Professor of Biology at Clark University, South Atlanta, Ga. In 1901 he was dean of the Georgia Summer School.
By training Prof. Turner is a biologist who has contributed his mite towards the advancement of his favorite science. In the following list of some of the principal publications of Prof. Turner, those marked with an asterisk are contributions to biology.
*Morphology of the Avian Brain; "Jour. of Comp. Neur." (1891), 100 pp. 8 pls.
*A Few Characteristics of the Avian Brain. "Science" (1891).
*Psychological Notes on the Gallery Spider. "Jour. of Comp. Neur." (1892).
*Notes on the Clodocera, Ostracoda and Rotifera of Cincinnati. "Bull. Sci. Lab. of Den. Univ." (1892), 17 pp., 2 pls.
*Additional Notes on the Clodocera and Ostracoda of Cincinnati, 18 pp., (1893), 2 pls. Ibid.
*Notes on the American Ostracoda. Ibid, 11 pp., 2 pls.
*Preliminary Note on the Nervous System of the Genus Cypris. "Jour. Comp. Neur." (1893), 5 pp., 3 pls.
*Morphology of the Nervous System of Cypris. Ibid, (1896), 24 pp., 6 pls.
*Synopsis of the Entomostraca of Minnesota, etc., C. L. Herrick and C. H. Turner (1895), 525 pp., 81 pls. [C. H. Turner is only part author of this.]
Numerous abstracts and translations from German and French published in the Jour. of Comp. Neur.
Reason for Teaching Biology in Negro Schools. "Southwestern Christian Advocate" (1897).
Object of Negro Memorial Day (1899).
New Year Thoughts About the Negro. "Southwestern Christian Advocate" (1899).
*Notes on the Mushroom Bodies of the Invertebrates. "Zoological Bulletin" (1899), 6 pp., 6 figs.
*A Male Erpetocypris Barbatus, Forbes. "Zool. Bulletin" (1899).
*Synopsis of North American Invertebrates. V. Fresh-Water Ostracoda. "Amer. Naturalist" (1899), 11 pp.
Living Dust. "Southwestern Christian Advocate" (1901), xiii chapter.
*The Mushroom Bodies of the Crayfish and their Histological Environment. "Jour of Comp. Neur." (1901), 50 pp., 4 pls.
The War of the rebellion is over, Negro slavery in America is no more, and the days of reconstruction have passed into history.
Dr. DuBois in speaking of that period wrote: "Amid it all two figures ever stand to typify that day to coming men: the one a gray-haired gentleman, whose fathers had quit themselves like men, whose sons lay in nameless graves; who bowed to the evil of slavery because its abolition boded untold ill to all; who stood at last, in the evening of life, a blighted, ruined form, with hate in his eyes. And the other a form black with the mist of centuries, and aforetime bent in love over the white master's cradle, rocked his sons and daughters to sleep, and closed in death the sunken eyes of his wife to the world; aye, too, had laid herself low to his lusts, and borne a tawny man child to the world, only to see her dark boy's limbs scattered to the winds by midnight marauders riding after niggers. These were the saddest sights of that woeful day; and no man clasped the hands of these two passing figures of the present-past, but hating they went to their long home, and hating their children's children live to-day."
Would some power had clasped the hands of these "two fleeting figures of the present-past!" Then those "marauders chasing niggers" would have been subdued and there would not be so many bloody threads in the weft of the history the New South has been weaving.
The "gray-haired gentleman" has left a grandson who has all the culture and education money and thrift can buy. He is thrifty and enterprising, law-abiding and conscientious. He has inherited prejudices, yet he is sincere. He loves the South no less than did his grandfather; but he loves the Union more. He would die to save the Union; he lives to glorify the South. He is known as the new Southerner and he is evolving a New South.
The "marauder chasing niggers" has left a grandson who is illiterate, uncultured and thriftless. He despises manual labor, but is too poor and too ignorant to live without doing it. Unfit to be the associate of the new Southerner, and feeling himself too superior to mingle with Negroes, he broods over his hardships and bemoans his fate. He is a Negro hater and thirsts for the excitement of a lynching bee. This condoned clog to the progress of Southern civilization is known as white trash.
The "form black with the mist of centuries" has left two grandsons.
One is a thrifty, law-abiding gentleman; too thrifty to be a beggar and too busy acquiring an education or accumulating wealth or educating his race to be a loafer or criminal. In his home are all the comforts of modern life that his purse can afford. He loves his country and his Southland, and is educating his children to do likewise. He even contributes his mite to the literature, science and art of to-day. He is modest and retiring and is known as the new Negro.
The other grandchild is a thriftless loafer. He is not willing to pay the price of an education; but he likes to appear intellectually bright and entertaining. He often works, but merely to obtain the means for gratifying his abnormally developed appetites. He laughs, he dances, he frolics. He knows naught of the value of time nor of the deeper meanings of life. In the main he is peaceable and law-abiding; but, under the excitement of the moment, is capable of even the worst of crimes. This thriftless slave of passion, this child-man, this much condemned clog to the progress of Southern civilization is called the vagrant Negro.
Prejudice is older than this age. A comparative study of animal psychology teaches that all animals are prejudiced against animals unlike themselves, and the more unlike they are the greater the prejudice. A comparative study of history teaches that races are prejudiced against races unlike themselves, and the greater the difference the more the prejudice. Among men, however, dissimilarity of minds is a more potent factor in causing prejudice than unlikeness of physiognomy. Races whose religious beliefs are unlike the accepted beliefs of our race we call heathens; those whose habits of living fall below the ideals of our own race we call uncivilized. In both cases we are prejudiced. When a highly civilized race is brought in contact with another people unlike it in physiognomy but in the same stage of intellectual advancement, at first each is prejudiced against the other; but when they become thoroughly acquainted prejudice gives way to mutual respect. For an example of this recall the relations of the nations of Europe to the Japanese.
The new Southerner is prejudiced against the new Negro because he feels that the Negro is very unlike him. He does not know that a similar education and a like environment have made the new Negro and himself alike in everything except color and features. Did he but know this he and the new Negro would join hands and work for the best interest of the South and there would be no Negro problem. At present he does not and cannot know this, for the white trash and vagrant Negro form a wedge separating the new Southerner from the new Negro so completely that they cannot know each other. Every unmentionable crime committed by the vagrant Negro, every lynching bee conducted by white trash, every Negro disfranchisement law passed by misguided legislators, every unjust discrimination against the Negro by the people drives this wedge deeper and deeper.
Render this wedge so thin that it will no longer be a barrier and the Negro problem is solved. This cannot be done by banishing white trash and the vagrant Negro; for that is neither possible nor practicable. The only way to accomplish the thinning of this wedge is to transform a large number into the new Southerners and the new Negroes. Will education do this?
In order to transform the majority of white trash and vagrant Negroes into new Southerners and new Negroes it will be necessary to instill into them the following regenerating virtues:
1. The manners of a gentleman. Not the swagger of the dude nor the cringing of a scapegoat, but the manners of a being permeated with the Golden Rule.
2. Cultured homes. Not necessarily extravagant mansions, but comfortable dwellings, wherein impoliteness, intemperance, slander and indecent tales have given place to politeness, temperance, intelligent conversation and refined pleasantries.
3. Business honesty. Not only punctual in the payment of debts, but also truthful in making sales.
4. Thrift. Not the ability to hoard as a miser does, but the ability to spend one's earnings economically, to purchase property and to lay by a little for a rainy day.
5. Christian morality. Not the ability to shout well, and pray well and testify well, but the ability to live the Christ life.
6. The ability to do something well that the world desires bad enough to be willing to pay a good price for it. This includes not only mechanical but also commercial and scholastic achievements.
7. Ability to lead in the light of modern civilization.
8. Love for justice and contempt for lawlessness.
Experience and thought convince me that the "highest education" is the only agency that will instill all of these virtues into a people without detriment to the multitudes that are forced to stop school before graduation. Highest education is a new phrase; but can we not truthfully say that there are three system of education in the world to-day: the lower or industrial education, the higher education and the highest education?
In each of these three systems the student begins his education by an attempt to master the English branches, and in each attention is given to developing the moral side of the pupil.
In the lower or industrial education, parallel with the elementally English training, or after its completion, the student learns how to work at one or more trades, but he gets no training in the higher English branches nor in languages nor science. This system may instill into students the majority of the regenerating virtues mentioned above, but it is impossible for this system to impart the ability to lead in the light of modern civilization. Without this virtue one is not fit to lead in this strenuous age. A race without competent leaders is doomed, and any system of education which does not furnish such leaders is defective and doomed. It has been well said that the advocates of the lower or industrial education are welding a chain that will bind the race in industrial servitude for ages.
In the higher education, after completing an elementary English training, the individual takes a collegiate course in science, literature, history and language; but no attention is given to industrial training. Such a course does instill into those who complete it all of the regenerating virtues mentioned above; but how about the multitudes that necessity forces to drop out before the course is completed? It is a sad, sad fact that the taste they have had of something different renders them not content to be servants, yet their training is not sufficient to enable them to be anything else.
In the highest education a thorough training is given in the common English branches, but parallel with it instruction is imparted in the care and practical use of tools. The elementary course is followed by a secondary course, in which, along with instruction in the elements of languages, literature and sciences, is given a thorough training in some trade. Above this come the colleges and technological schools, wherein the pupil specializes according to his natural tastes. In its ability to instill into those who complete it the regenerating virtues mentioned above this highest education ranks with the higher education. In this respect neither is superior to the other. But when it comes to fitting those who stop before the complete course has been mastered to successfully fight the battle of life, then highest education is infinitely superior to the higher education. Indeed it is the only education that helps abundantly not only the graduates, but also those unfortunate legions that drop out while yet undergraduates.
In attempting to solve the Negro problem, the industrial or lower education has been tried on the Negro and found wanting; the higher education has been tried upon both races and has succeeded but little better than the lower education; if we will cast aside our prejudices and try the highest education upon both white and black, in a few decades there will be no Negro problem.
Clark University, December 1, 1901.
WHAT ROLE IS THE EDUCATED NEGRO WOMAN TO PLAY IN THE UPLIFTING OF HER RACE?
BY MRS. R. D. SPRAGUE.
ROSETTA DOUGLASS SPRAGUE.
The subject of this sketch was born in New Bedford, Mass., June 24, 1839. She is the oldest child and the only living daughter of the late Frederick Douglass. At the age of five years she moved with her parents to Lynn, Mass., where the first narrative of Frederick Douglass, written by himself, was published. Its publication attracted widespread notice and stirred the ire of slaveholders in the vicinity from which he escaped. His many friends fearing for his safety arranged to send him abroad.
His wife has often told of the demonstrative and enthusiastic young father catching up his infant daughter and fervently thanking God that his child was born free and no man could separate them. Among the many friends who were solicitous for the family were two maiden ladies, Abigail and Lydia Mott of Albany, New York, who were cousins of Lucretia Mott, the well-known philanthropist and friend of the Negro. These women, who conducted a lucrative business on Broadway, opposite Bleeker Hall, were also staunch Abolitionists. Being anxious for the welfare of the little six-year-old daughter of Douglass, they sought the privilege of caring for her while the father was abroad. The wife and three sons remained at their home in Lynn during the father's absence. Mrs. Sprague has frequently spoken of her stay with the Motts, who were in good circumstances, and with their one servant lived in comfort. Their little charge was amply provided for, and was made contented and happy. She had a time for play and a time for study. Miss Abigail gave her instruction in reading and writing and Miss Lydia taught her to sew.
At the age of seven Rosetta wrote her first letter to her father, and when her eighth birthday had passed she made a shirt to give him on his return from England. At this early age the child was painfully conscious of the trials and misery resulting from slavery. Many slaves had sought and obtained shelter with the Motts, and the anxious moments of their stay made a deep impression on her childish mind.
After the establishment of the "North Star," by her father in Rochester, N. Y., in 1847, the family were reunited in that place, a governess secured and for several months the children pursued their studies at home. Later the father was convinced that as he was a taxpayer he ought to avail himself of the privilege of the public schools: and, accordingly, sent his sons there. But the little daughter was sent to a private school but recently opened for girls. Tuition was paid in advance, the little girl was sent, but never saw the inside of the school-room nor met any of the pupils. Finally she with her brothers attended the public schools until the year 1850, when the Board of Education decided that Colored children should no longer be permitted to remain in the public schools. At the next meeting of the Board Mr. Douglass and some Anti-Slavery friends were present to debate the question why such distinction should be made. As the result of that conference the doors were opened to Colored children in that city.
Rosetta being the only girl of color in her room was subjected for a time to such indignities as only the vulgar are capable of inflicting. Her complaints pained her fond father, but his counsel was, "Daughter, I am sending you to school for your benefit; see to it that you are punctual in attendance, that you do not offend in your demeanor and cope with the best of them in your lessons—and await the results." The daughter strove to obey, and soon found herself appreciated by her teachers, who classed her as one of their best pupils. Her companions also changed and sought her aid in the preparation of their lessons. At the age of eleven years Rosetta became her father's assistant in the library. She copied for him, wrapped, addressed and mailed eight hundred copies of the "North Star" each week.
Rosetta Douglass married December 24, 1863, Nathan Sprague, who, like her father, had been a victim of the slave-holding power.
The problems of life are manifold. Wherever we turn questions of moment are presented to us for solution and settlement. At no period in the history of the American Negro has his status as a man and an American citizen been so closely scrutinized and criticised as at the present time.
The galling chain and merciless lash were the instruments used to accomplish the humiliation and degradation of the African. Avarice was the factor in the composition of the character of a large number of the white men of America that wrought such ravishes in the well-being of the African.
To-day, after the short space of thirty-six years has passed over him, from the deep degradation of centuries the descendants of these Africans are wrestling with the situation as it exists to-day. Through the avarice of the white man in the past the black man's physical, moral and mental development was sacrificed. To-day egotism stalks abroad to crush, if possible, his hopes and his aims, while he is struggling from the effects of his thraldom.
This latter process is more subtle in its operation—placing, as it does, a weapon that can with confidence be used by the most inferior and degraded ones of the white race—so that color and not character is made the determining factor of respectability and worth, and as the target is to the archer, so is the Negro to the white man.
Notwithstanding that the presentation of such facts are not flattering to the white man or pleasurable to the black man, they are facts which are to be considered.
Rapid changes have already been wrought in the condition of the American Negro. His capabilities and possibilities as a factor in the nation have been marked and encouraging, and yet there are labors to be performed to further obtain and maintain his position in the land of his birth. The Negro is but a man, with the frailties that bound humanity, and cannot be expected to rid himself of them in any way different from methods adopted for the betterment of mankind generally. In view of much that has inspired the friends of the Negro in the years now past with faith in him and the interest and belief in him of his numerous friends at the present time, he is still an object of hatred to a considerable number of his fellow citizens.
Ages of deception, vice, cruelty and crime, as practiced by the Caucasian upon the African in this land, would in itself produce fruit in kind. We would submit a suggestion to those who are disposed to criticise very closely and to condemn in strong terms the delinquencies of the Negro. Allow the Negro two hundred and fifty years of unselfish contact to offset the two hundred and fifty years of Caucasian selfishness, and be as assiduous in his regeneration as you were in his degradation—then judge him.
The twentieth century in its infancy is striving to grasp what it pleases to call the Negro problem, when it is in reality only a question as to whether justice and right shall rule over injustice and wrong to any and every man regardless of race in this boasted land of freedom. The Negro is made the test in everything pertaining to American civilization. Its high principles of religion, politics and morals all receive a shock when a Negro's head appears, upsetting all theories and in a conspicuous manner proving that the structure of American civilization is built higher than the average white man can climb. At this stage of Afro-American existence the question is asked, "What role is the educated Negro woman to play in the uplifting of her race?"
As this is unquestionably the woman's era, the question is timely and proper. Every race and nation that is at all progressive has its quota of earnest women engaged in creating for themselves a higher sphere of usefulness to the world—insisting upon the necessity of a higher plane of integrity and worth—and thus the women of the Negro race should be no exception in this land of our birth. Feeling thus, this particular woman, previous to the question above presented, has already in considerable numbers formed various associations tending to the amelioration of existing conditions surrounding her race. The most notable of them is "The National Association of Colored Women," for several years presided over by Mrs. Mary Church Terrell of Washington, D. C., but now under the guidance of Mrs. J. Salome Yates, a woman of refinement, culture and education and an earnest worker in the cause of the advancement of the race. It is with pride I point to this body of women, as its scope is far-reaching, being composed of organizations from every part of the country.
There is no woman, certainly no woman in the United States, who has more reason to desire and more need to aspire for better opportunities for her brothers and herself than the Negro woman in general and the educated Negro woman in particular.
Avarice and egotism have done and is doing its work in retarding, but not entirely subjugating, the advances that a respectable number of the race are making.
The task that confronts the thoughtful woman as she surveys the field in which she must labor is not a reassuring one. It will be through a slow process that any good will be accomplished.
Much patient and earnest endeavor on the part of our women—a strong missionary spirit needs to be exhibited before any appreciable results may be reached. It will require the life work for many years to rescue even a fractional part from the condition of to-day. Not only has the Negro race to be uplifted but the white race need to stand on a stronger platform than that of egotistical display of virtues which are not wholly theirs.
As long as they deny to the Negro the fact of his brotherhood and his consequent rights as a man, they are false to their God, and to the nation. Happily for us there have been a considerable number of the white race who are mindful of what is due to those of a race whose tendencies are upward and onward.
It is with feelings of deep gratitude, love and respect when we reflect upon the great work that was accomplished in the nineteenth century for the Negro by the truly great and good men and women of the white race. Now the twentieth century is confronted with the fact that there is more work yet to do, and the Negro has his part to bear in it. The progress of the race means much to the Negro woman, and as she goes forth adding her best energies to the uplifting of her people the work in itself will react upon her, and from a passive individual she will be a more alert and useful factor in the regeneration of her race and to the social system at large.
How to begin the work in a systematic manner for the further advancement of a people struggling amidst so much that is discouraging is puzzling to the would-be reformers within our own ranks. We would have the Negro, now that the mantle of freedom is thrown over him, and also as an acknowledged citizen, to fully understand and appreciate the fact that now that his destiny is in his own hands that he must make of himself a potential value.
In order to emphasize himself as a factor of value he must place himself in touch with the highest and best thought of past and present times.
Barring the barriers that avarice has placed in our way in the past or the growing egotism of our brothers in white at this stage of our progress, the women of the Negro race should put themselves in contact with all the women of this land and espouse all worthy efforts for the advancement of the human race.
The educated Negro woman will find that her greatest field for effective work is in the home. The attributes that are necessary in forming an upright character are each of them facts, the acceptance of them making or marring the character as they are accepted or ignored.
In view of this thought I cannot see that any different role should be adopted by us than by women in general in this land.
Industry, honesty and morality are the cardinal attributes to become acquainted with in forming an irreproachable character, and each and all of them must be dwelt upon in the home. Already the mothers all over the country are uniting themselves in the one thought—the home. No less should our women esteem it essential to place themselves in line with the progressive mothers in our common country. In advancing such a thought we are confronted with the fact that the development of the homes of this land has not been a day's work, and the improvement of the character of the homes will test the energies of the women who preside over them. The home life of the Negro has taken on a new significance during the past thirty or more years, and the zeal required to show the parents to-day their duties in the rearing of their children should be untiring. We have a few among us that are interested workers for the maintenance of good government in the home.
We would that in every city, town and village, where any number of the race reside, they would form aid societies for the maintenance of kindergartens and industrial schools, as well as to aid those already established, and before the twentieth century has reached its quarter century mark "The Colored Woman's Aid Societies" would have an astonishing effect on the manners and morals of those who come under its benefits.
It is a source of regret and deep concern to a number of our women that there is so little attention paid to the labors of "The Woman's Christian Temperance Union," when we reflect that through the medium of rum, and, I may add, red beads, African homes were devastated. We wonder at the apathy of our women in the matter of temperance. The homes of the race can but be humble and poverty-stricken so long as the men and women in them are intemperate. The educated women among us need to set the pace in discountenancing the social glass in their homes. In this transition stage toward a higher plane of civilization we need every faculty pure and undefiled to do the work that will lift us to a merited place in our land. Surely our women must see the necessity of urgent endeavor against a traffic fraught with so much that is inimical to the promotion of good citizenship and purer and better homes.
From the word of God we receive decided instructions against strong drink, as in the instance of the instructions concerning the character of John—his work was to be such that all his energies were to be called in action, and there was to be no weakening of them. "He was to be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink." We have a great work to perform in meeting the demands of the hour, requiring all the energy possible of a brain unclouded—pure and unsullied. The motto of the National Association of Colored Women, "Lifting as we climb," is in itself an inspiration to great activity in all moral reforms; and with a spirit of devotion for the welfare of humanity we embrace the work of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in their motto, "For God and Home and Native Land."
If the educated Negro woman will rally to the support of the principles involved in the organizations already presented in this paper, I think they will be amply repaid in the results accruing from their labors.
WHAT ROLE IS THE EDUCATED NEGRO WOMAN TO PLAY IN THE UPLIFTING OF HER RACE?
BY MRS. MARY CHURCH TERRELL,
PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLORED WOMEN.
MRS. MARY CHURCH TERRELL.
In all matters affecting the interests of the women of her race, Mrs. Mary Church Terrell, of Washington, D. C., is a leading spirit. Three times in succession she was elected President of the National Association of Colored Women by most flattering majorities. When, according to the provision of the constitution, which limits the term of officers, Mrs. Terrell could not be re-elected president, she was made Honorary President.
She has twice been invited to address the National Woman Suffrage Association at its annual convention in Washington. Her public utterances have always made a profound impression on her hearers and no speakers associated with her have received more applause from audiences or higher praise from the public press than herself. Not many years ago when Congress, by resolution granted power to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia to appoint two women on the Board of Education for the public schools, Mrs. Terrell was one of the women appointed. She served in the board for five years with great success and signal ability.
Mrs. Terrell is the only woman who has ever held the office of President of the Bethel Literary and Historical Association at Washington, the foremost and oldest Lyceum established and controlled by colored people in America. Her splendid work as presiding officer of this organization had much to do with her other subsequent success in attaining similar positions in other bodies of deliberation.
Mrs. Terrell's life has been an interesting one. She was born in Memphis, Tenn., of well-to-do parents.
She graduated at Oberlin College in 1884 with the degree of A. B. In 1888 she received the degree of A. M. from Oberlin. She was for a while a teacher at Wilberforce University at Xenia, Ohio. In 1887 she was appointed teacher of languages in the Colored High School at Washington. She went abroad for further study and travel in 1888 and remained in Europe two years, spending the time in France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. She resumed her work in Washington in 1890. In 1891 she was offered the registrarship of Oberlin College, being the first woman of her race to whom such a position was ever tendered by an institution so widely known and of such high standard. This place was declined because of her approaching marriage. In 1891 she was married to Mr. Robert H. Terrell, who is a graduate of Howard College and who was recently appointed by President Roosevelt to a Federal Judgeship in the District of Columbia, being one of the two colored men first to receive this high distinction. Mrs. Terrell has a daughter whom she has named Phyllis, in honor of Phyllis Wheatley, the black woman whose verses received the commendation of George Washington and many other distinguished men of her time.
Mrs. Terrell is now engaged by a lecture bureau. She has traveled extensively in the West, speaking before large audiences and everywhere her talks have received the highest praise. The Danville, Ill., "Daily News," speaking of her address before the Chautauqua of that town, says:
"Mrs. Terrell's addresses are the pure gold with less dross of nonsense than any lecturer that has come upon the stage at this Chautauqua. From the first word to the last she has something to say, and says it as a cultured lady in the best of English, which has no tinge of the high falootin or the sensational. Such speakers are rare. She should be paid to travel as a model of good English and good manners."
Mrs. Terrell's eloquent utterances and chaste diction make a deep impression, which must have influence in the final shaping of the vexed problems that confront the Negro race in this country. Her exceptional attainments and general demeanor are a wonderful force in eradicating the prejudice against colored women. She is making an opening for her sisters as no one else is doing or has over done.
Should any one ask what special phase of the Negro's development makes me most hopeful of his ultimate triumph over present obstacles, I should answer unhesitatingly, it is the magnificent work the women are doing to regenerate and uplift the race. Judge the future of colored women by the past since their emancipation, and neither they nor their friends have any cause for anxiety.
For years, either banding themselves into small companies or struggling alone, colored women have worked with might and main to improve the condition of their people. The necessity of systematizing their efforts and working on a larger scale became apparent not many years ago and they decided to unite their forces. Thus it happened that in the summer of 1896 the National Association of Colored Women was formed by the union of two large organizations, each of which has done much to show our women the advantage of concerted action. So tenderly has this daughter of the organized womanhood of the race been nurtured and so wisely ministered unto, that it has grown to be a child hale, hearty and strong, of which its fond mothers have every reason to be proud. Handicapped though its members have been, because they lacked both money and experience, their efforts have, for the most part, been crowned with success in the twenty-six States where it has been represented.
Kindergartens have been established by some of our organizations, from which encouraging reports have come. A sanitarium with a training school for nurses has been set on such a firm foundation by the Phyllis Wheatley Club of New Orleans, Louisiana, and has proved itself to be such a blessing to the entire community that the municipal government has voted it an annual appropriation of several hundred dollars. By the Tuskegee, Alabama, branch of the association the work of bringing the light of knowledge and the gospel of cleanliness to their poor benighted sisters on the plantations has been conducted with signal success. Their efforts have thus far been confined to four estates, comprising thousands of acres of land, on which live hundreds of colored people, yet in the darkness of ignorance and the grip of sin, miles away from churches and schools.
Plans for aiding the indigent, orphaned and aged have been projected and in some instances have been carried into successful execution. One club in Memphis, Tennessee, has purchased a large tract of land, on which it intends to erect an old folk's home, part of the money for which has already been raised. Splendid service has been rendered by the Illinois Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, through whose instrumentality schools have been visited, truant children looked after, parents and teachers urged to co-operate with each other, rescue and reform work engaged in, so as to reclaim unfortunate women and tempted girls, public institutions investigated, garments cut, made and distributed to the needy poor.
Questions affecting our legal status as a race are sometimes agitated by our women. In Tennessee and Louisiana colored women have several times petitioned the legislature of their respective States to repeal the obnoxious Jim Crow car laws. In every way possible we are calling attention to the barbarity of the convict lease system, of which Negroes and especially the female prisoners are the principal victims, with the hope that the conscience of the country may be touched and this stain on its escutcheon be forever wiped away. Against the one room cabin we have inaugurated a vigorous crusade. When families of eight or ten men, women and children are all huddled promiscuously together in a single apartment, a condition common among our poor all over the land, there is little hope of inculcating morality and modesty. And yet in spite of the fateful heritage of slavery, in spite of the manifold pitfalls and peculiar temptations to which our girls are subjected, and though the safeguards usually thrown around maidenly youth and innocence are in some sections entirely withheld from colored girls, statistics compiled by men not inclined to falsify in favor of my race show that immorality among colored women is not so great as among women in some foreign countries who are equally ignorant, poor and oppressed.
Believing that it is only through the home that a people can become really good and truly great the National Association has entered that sacred domain. Homes, more homes, better homes, purer homes is the text upon which sermons have been and will be preached. There has been a determined effort to have heart to heart talks with our women that we may strike at the root of evils, many of which lie at the fireside. If the women of the dominant race, with all the centuries of education, culture and refinement back of them, with all the wealth of opportunity ever present with them, feel the need of a mother's congress, that they may be enlightened upon the best methods of rearing their children and conducting their homes, how much more do our women, from whom shackles have but yesterday been stricken, need information on the same vital subjects. And so the association is working vigorously to establish mothers' congresses on a small scale, wherever our women can be reached.
From this brief and meager account of the work which has been and is still being accomplished by colored women through the medium of their clubs, it is easy to observe how earnest and effective have been their efforts to elevate their race. No people need ever despair whose women are fully aroused to the duties which rest upon them and are willing to shoulder responsibilities which they alone can successfully assume. The scope of our endeavors is constantly widening. Into the various channels of generosity and beneficence we are entering more and more every day.
Some of our women are now urging their clubs to establish day nurseries, a charity of which there is an imperative need. Thousands of our wage-earning mothers with large families dependent almost entirely upon them for support are obliged to leave their children all day, entrusted to the care of small brothers and sisters, or some good-natured neighbor who promises much, but who does little. Some of these infants are locked alone in the room from the time the mother leaves in the morning, until she returns at night. Not long ago I read in a Southern newspaper that an infant thus locked alone in a room all day, while its mother went out to wash, had cried itself to death. When one reflects upon the slaughter of the innocents which is occurring with pitiless persistency every day and thinks of the multitudes who are maimed for life or are rendered imbecile because of the treatment received during their helpless infancy, it is evident that by establishing day nurseries colored women will render one of the greatest services possible to humanity and to the race.
Nothing lies nearer the heart of colored women than the children. We feel keenly the need of kindergartens and are putting forth earnest efforts to honey-comb this country with them from one extremity to the other. The more unfavorable the environments of children the more necessary is it that steps be taken to counteract baleful influences upon innocent victims. How imperative is it then that as colored women we inculcate correct principles and set good examples for our own youth whose little feet will have so many thorny paths of temptation, injustice and prejudice to tread. So keenly alive is the National Association to the necessity of rescuing our little ones whose evil nature alone is encouraged to develop and whose noble qualities are deadened and dwarfed by the very atmosphere which they breathe, that its officers are trying to raise money with which to send out a kindergarten organizer, whose duty it shall be to arouse the conscience of our women and to establish kindergartens wherever means therefor can be secured.
Through the children of to-day we believe we can build the foundation of the next generation upon such a rock of morality, intelligence and strength, that the floods of proscription, prejudice and persecution may descend upon it in torrents and yet it will not be moved. We hear a great deal about the race problem and how to solve it. The real solution of the race problem lies in the children, both so far as we who are oppressed and those who oppress us are concerned. Some of our women who have consecrated their lives to the elevation of their race feel that neither individuals nor organizations working toward this end should be entirely satisfied with their efforts unless some of their energy, money or brain is used in the name and for the sake of the children.
The National Association has chosen as its motto: Lifting as We Climb. In order to live strictly up to this sentiment, its members have determined to come into the closest possible touch with the masses of our women, through whom the womanhood of our people is always judged. It is unfortunate, but it is true, that the dominant race in this country insists upon gauging the Negro's worth by his most illiterate and vicious representatives rather than by the more intelligent and worthy classes. Colored women of education and culture know that they cannot escape altogether the consequences of the acts of their most depraved sisters. They see that even if they were wicked enough to turn a deaf ear to the call of duty, both policy and self-preservation demand that they go down among the lowly, the illiterate and even the vicious, to whom they are bound by the ties of race and sex, and put forth every possible effort to reclaim them. By coming into close touch with the masses of our women it is possible to correct many of the evils which militate so seriously against us and inaugurate the reforms, without which, as a race, we cannot hope to succeed.