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Up From Slavery an Autobiography, By Booker T. Washington

Up From Slavery an Autobiography, By Booker T. Washington

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Sections

  • By Booker T. Washi !"o
  • #o "e "s
  • Pre$a%e
  • I "ro&'%"io
  • #ha("er I. A S)a*e A+o ! S)a*es
  • #ha("er II. Boyhoo& ,ays
  • #ha("er III. The S"r'!!)e For A E&'%a"io
  • #ha("er IV. He)(i ! O"hers
  • #ha("er V. The Re%o s"r'%"io Perio&
  • #ha("er VI. B)a%k Ra%e A & Re& Ra%e
  • #ha("er VII. Ear)y ,ays A" T'ske!ee
  • #ha("er VIII. Tea%hi ! S%hoo) I A S"a-)e A & A He .Ho'se
  • #ha("er I/. A 0io's ,ays A & S)ee()ess Ni!h"s
  • #ha("er /. A Har&er Task Tha Maki ! Bri%ks Wi"ho'" S"ra1
  • #ha("er /I. Maki ! Their Be&s Be$ore They #o')& Lie O The+
  • #ha("er /II. Raisi ! Mo ey
  • #ha("er /IV. The A")a "a E0(osi"io A&&ress
  • #ha("er /V. The Se%re" O$ S'%%ess I P'-)i% S(eaki !
  • #ha("er /VI. E'ro(e
  • #ha("er /VII. Las" Wor&s

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Slavery: An Autobiography by
Booker T! "a#hington
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Title: Up From Slavery: An Autobiography
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UP FROM SLAVERY:
AN
AUTOBIOGRAPHY
By Booker T. Washi!"o
Thi# volume i#
%e%icate% to my "ife
<argaret 9ame#
"a#hington
An% to my Brother 9ohn
8! "a#hington
"ho#e patience
fi%elity
an% har% $ork have gone
far to make the
$ork at Tu#kegee
#ucce##ful!

#o"e"s
Preface
Introduction
UP FROM SLAVERY
Chapter I. A Slave Among Slaves
Chapter II. Boyhood Days
Chapter III. The Struggle For An Education
Chapter I. !elping "thers
Chapter . The #econstruction Period
Chapter I. Blac$ #ace And #ed #ace
Chapter II. Early Days At Tus$egee
Chapter III. Teaching School In A Sta%le And A !en&!ouse
Chapter I'. An(ious Days And Sleepless )ights
Chapter '. A !arder Tas$ Than *a$ing Bric$s +ithout Stra,
Chapter 'I. *a$ing Their Beds Before They Could -ie "n Them
Chapter 'II. #aising *oney
Chapter 'III. T,o Thousand *iles For A Five&*inute Speech
Chapter 'I. The Atlanta E(position Address
Chapter '. The Secret "f Success In Pu%lic Spea$ing
Chapter 'I. Europe
Chapter 'II. -ast +ords
Pre$a%e
This volume is the outgro,th of a series of articles. dealing
,ith incidents in my life. ,hich ,ere pu%lished consecutively
in the "utloo$. +hile they ,ere appearing in that maga/ine I
,as constantly surprised at the num%er of re0uests ,hich came
to me from all parts of the country. as$ing that the articles %e
permanently preserved in %oo$ form. I am most grateful to the
"utloo$ for permission to gratify these re0uests.
I have tried to tell a simple. straightfor,ard story. ,ith no
attempt at em%ellishment. *y regret is that ,hat I have
attempted to do has %een done so imperfectly. The greater part
of my time and strength is re0uired for the e(ecutive ,or$
connected ,ith the Tus$egee )ormal and Industrial Institute.
and in securing the money necessary for the support of the
institution. *uch of ,hat I have said has %een ,ritten on %oard
trains. or at hotels or railroad stations ,hile I have %een ,aiting
for trains. or during the moments that I could spare from my
,or$ ,hile at Tus$egee. +ithout the painsta$ing and generous
assistance of *r. *a( Bennett Thrasher I could not have
succeeded in any satisfactory degree.
I"ro&'%"io
The details of *r. +ashington1s early life. as fran$ly set
do,n in 23p from Slavery.2 do not give 0uite a ,hole vie, of
his education. !e had the training that a coloured youth
receives at !ampton. ,hich. indeed. the auto%iography does
e(plain. But the reader does not get his intellectual pedigree.
for *r. +ashington himself. perhaps. does not as clearly
understand it as another man might. The truth is he had a
training during the most impressiona%le period of his life that
,as very e(traordinary. such a training as fe, men of his
generation have had. To see its full meaning one must start in
the !a,aiian Islands half a century or more ago.4 There
Samuel Armstrong. a youth of missionary parents. earned
enough money to pay his e(penses at an American college.
E0uipped ,ith this small sum and the earnestness that the
underta$ing implied. he came to +illiams College ,hen Dr.
*ar$ !op$ins ,as president. +illiams College had many good
things for youth in that day. as it has in this. %ut the greatest
,as the strong personality of its famous president. Every
student does not profit %y a great teacher5 %ut perhaps no young
man ever came under the influence of Dr. !op$ins. ,hose
,hole nature ,as so ripe for profit %y such an e(perience as
young Armstrong. !e lived in the family of President !op$ins.
and thus had a training that ,as ,holly out of the common5 and
this training had much to do ,ith the development of his o,n
strong character. ,hose originality and force ,e are only
%eginning to appreciate.
7 For thi# intere#ting vie$ of <r!
"a#hington># e%ucation 6
am in%ebte% to )obert 5! +g%en E#?!
5hairman of the Boar%
of Tru#tee# of 8ampton 6n#titute an% the
intimate frien% of
General Arm#trong %uring the $hole perio%
of hi# e%ucational
$ork!
In turn. Samuel Armstrong. the founder of !ampton
Institute. too$ up his ,or$ as a trainer of youth. !e had very
ra, material. and dou%tless most of his pupils failed to get the
greatest lessons from him5 %ut. as he had %een a peculiarly
receptive pupil of Dr. !op$ins. so Boo$er +ashington %ecame
a peculiarly receptive pupil of his. To the formation of *r.
+ashington1s character. then. ,ent the missionary /eal of )e,
England. influenced %y one of the strongest personalities in
modern education. and the ,ide&reaching moral earnestness of
6eneral Armstrong himself These influences are easily
recogni/a%le in *r. +ashington to&day %y men ,ho $ne, Dr.
!op$ins and 6eneral Armstrong.
I got the cue to *r. +ashington1s character from a very
simple incident many years ago. I had never seen him. and I
$ne, little a%out him. e(cept that he ,as the head of a school
at Tus$egee. Ala%ama. I had occasion to ,rite to him. and I
addressed him as 2The #ev. Boo$er T. +ashington.2 In his
reply there ,as no mention of my addressing him as a
clergyman. But ,hen I had occasion to ,rite to him again. and
persisted in ma$ing him a preacher. his second letter %rought a
postscript7 2I have no claim to 1#ev.12 I $ne, most of the
coloured men ,ho at that time had %ecome prominent as
leaders of their race. %ut I had not then $no,n one ,ho ,as
neither a politician nor a preacher5 and I had not heard of the
head of an important coloured school ,ho ,as not a preacher.
2A ne, $ind of man in the coloured ,orld.2 I said to myself2a
ne, $ind of man surely if he loo$s upon his tas$ as an
economic one instead of a theological one.2 I ,rote him an
apology for mista$ing him for a preacher.
The first time that I ,ent to Tus$egee I ,as as$ed to ma$e
an address to the school on Sunday evening. I sat upon the
platform of the large chapel and loo$ed forth on a thousand
coloured faces. and the choir of a hundred or more %ehind me
sang a familiar religious melody. and the ,hole company
8oined in the chorus ,ith unction. I ,as the only ,hite man
under the roof. and the scene and the songs made an impression
on me that I shall never forget. *r. +ashington arose and as$ed
them to sing one after another of the old melodies that I had
heard all my life5 %ut I had never %efore heard them sung %y a
thousand voices nor %y the voices of educated )egroes. I had
associated them ,ith the )egro of the past. not ,ith the )egro
,ho ,as struggling up,ard. They %rought to my mind the
plantation. the ca%in. the slave. not the freedman in 0uest of
education. But on the plantation and in the ca%in they had
never %een sung as these thousand students sang them. I sa,
again all the old plantations that I had ever seen5 the ,hole
history of the )egro ran through my mind5 and the
ine(pressi%le pathos of his life found e(pression in these songs
as I had never %efore felt it.
And the future9 These ,ere the am%itious youths of the race.
at ,or$ ,ith an earnestness that put to shame the conventional
student life of most educational institutions. Another song
rolled up along the rafters. And as soon as silence came. I
found myself in front of this e(traordinary mass of faces.
thin$ing not of them. %ut of that long and unhappy chapter in
our country1s history ,hich follo,ed the one great structural
mista$e of the Fathers of the #epu%lic5 thin$ing of the one
continuous great pro%lem that generations of statesmen had
,rangled over. and a million men fought a%out. and that had so
d,arfed the mass of English men in the Southern States as to
hold them %ac$ a hundred years %ehind their fello,s in every
other part of the ,orldin England. in Australia. and in the
)orthern and +estern States5 I ,as thin$ing of this dar$
shado, that had oppressed every large&minded statesman from
:efferson to -incoln. These thousand young men and ,omen
a%out me ,ere victims of it. I. too. ,as an innocent victim of it.
The ,hole #epu%lic ,as a victim of that fundamental error of
importing Africa into America. I held firmly to the first article
of my faith that the #epu%lic must stand fast %y the principle of
a fair %allot5 %ut I recalled the ,retched mess that
#econstruction had made of it5 I recalled the lo, level of
pu%lic life in all the 2%lac$2 States. Every effort of philanthropy
seemed to have miscarried. every effort at correcting a%uses
seemed of dou%tful value. and the race friction seemed to
%ecome severer. !ere ,as the century&old pro%lem in all its
pathos seated singing %efore me. +ho ,ere the more to %e
pitiedthese innocent victims of an ancient ,rong. or I and men
li$e me. ,ho had inherited the pro%lem9 I had long ago thro,n
aside illusions and theories. and ,as ,illing to meet the facts
face to face. and to do ,hatever in 6od1s name a man might do
to,ards saving the ne(t generation from such a %urden. But I
felt the ,eight of t,enty ,ell&nigh hopeless years of thought
and reading and o%servation5 for the old difficulties remained
and ne, ones had sprung up. Then I sa, clearly that the ,ay
out of a century of %lunders had %een made %y this man ,ho
stood %eside me and ,as introducing me to this audience.
Before me ,as the material he had used. All a%out me ,as the
indisputa%le evidence that he had found the natural line of
development. !e had sho,n the ,ay. Time and patience and
encouragement and ,or$ ,ould do the rest.
It ,as then more clearly than ever %efore that I understood
the patriotic significance of *r. +ashington1s ,or$. It is this
conception of it and of him that I have ever since carried ,ith
me. It is on this that his claim to our gratitude rests.
To teach the )egro to read. ,hether English. or 6ree$. or
!e%re,. %utters no parsnips. To ma$e the )egro ,or$. that is
,hat his master did in one ,ay and hunger has done in another5
yet %oth these left Southern life ,here they found it. But to
teach the )egro to do s$ilful ,or$. as men of all the races that
have risen have ,or$ed.responsi%le ,or$. ,hich IS education
and character5 and most of all ,hen )egroes so teach )egroes
to do this that they ,ill teach others ,ith a missionary /eal that
puts all ordinary philanthropic efforts to shame.this is to
change the ,hole economic %asis of life and the ,hole
character of a people.
The plan itself is not a ne, one. It ,as ,or$ed out at
!ampton Institute. %ut it ,as done at !ampton %y ,hite men.
The plan had. in fact. %een many times theoretically laid do,n
%y thoughtful students of Southern life. !andicrafts ,ere
taught in the days of slavery on most ,ell&managed
plantations. But Tus$egee is. nevertheless. a %rand&ne, chapter
in the history of the )egro. and in the history of the $nottiest
pro%lem ,e have ever faced. It not only ma$es 2a carpenter of
a man5 it ma$es a man of a carpenter.2 In one sense. therefore.
it is of greater value than any other institution for the training
of men and ,omen that ,e have. from Cam%ridge to Palo Alto.
It is almost the only one of ,hich it may %e said that it points
the ,ay to a ne, epoch in a large area of our national life.
To ,or$ out the plan on paper. or at a distancethat is one
thing. For a ,hite man to ,or$ it outthat too. is an easy thing.
For a coloured man to ,or$ it out in the South. ,here. in its
constructive period. he ,as necessarily misunderstood %y his
o,n people as ,ell as %y the ,hites. and ,here he had to
ad8ust it at every step to the strained race relationsthat is so
very different and more difficult a thing that the man ,ho did it
put the country under lasting o%ligations to him.
It ,as not and is not a mere educational tas$. Any%ody could
teach %oys trades and give them an elementary education. Such
tas$s have %een done since the %eginning of civili/ation. But
this tas$ had to %e done ,ith the ra,est of ra, material. done
,ithin the civili/ation of the dominant race. and so done as not
to run across race lines and social lines that are the strongest
forces in the community. It had to %e done for the %enefit of the
,hole community. It had to %e done. moreover. ,ithout local
help. in the face of the direst poverty. done %y %egging. and
done in spite of the ignorance of one race and the pre8udice of
the other.
)o man living had a harder tas$. and a tas$ that called for
more ,isdom to do it right. The true measure of *r.
+ashington1s success is. then. not his teaching the pupils of
Tus$egee. nor even gaining the support of philanthropic
persons at a distance. %ut thisthat every Southern ,hite man of
character and of ,isdom has %een ,on to a cordial recognition
of the value of the ,or$. even men ,ho held and still hold to
the conviction that a mere %oo$ education for the Southern
%lac$s under present conditions is a positive evil. This is a
demonstration of the efficiency of the !ampton&Tus$egee idea
that stands li$e the demonstration of the value of democratic
institutions themselvesa demonstration made so clear in spite
of the greatest odds that it is no longer open to argument.
Consider the change that has come in t,enty years in the
discussion of the )egro pro%lem. T,o or three decades ago
social philosophers and statisticians and ,ell&meaning
philanthropists ,ere still tal$ing and ,riting a%out the
deportation of the )egroes. or a%out their settlement ,ithin
some restricted area. or a%out their settling in all parts of the
3nion. or a%out their decline through their neglect of their
children. or a%out their rapid multiplication till they should
e(pel the ,hites from the Southof every sort of nonsense under
heaven. All this has given place to the simple plan of an
indefinite e(tension among the neglected classes of %oth races
of the !ampton&Tus$egee system of training. The 2pro%lem2 in
one sense has disappeared. The future ,ill have for the South
s,ift or slo, development of its masses and of its soil in
proportion to the s,ift or slo, development of this $ind of
training. This change of vie, is a true measure of *r.
+ashington1s ,or$.
The literature of the )egro in America is colossal. from
political oratory through a%olitionism to 23ncle Tom1s Ca%in2
and 2Cotton is ;ing2a vast mass of %oo$s ,hich many men
have read to the ,aste of good years <and I among them=5 %ut
the only %oo$s that I have read a second time or ever care again
to read in the ,hole list <most of them %y tiresome and
un%alanced 2reformers2= are 23ncle #emus2 and 23p from
Slavery25 for these are the great literature of the su%8ect. "ne
has all the %est of the past. the other foreshado,s a %etter
future5 and the men ,ho ,rote them are the only men ,ho
have ,ritten of the su%8ect ,ith that perfect fran$ness and
perfect $no,ledge and perfect poise ,hose other name is
genius.
*r. +ashington has ,on a ,orld&,ide fame at an early age.
!is story of his o,n life already has the distinction of
translation into more languages. I thin$. than any other
American %oo$5 and I suppose that he has as large a personal
ac0uaintance among men of influence as any private citi/en
no, living.
!is o,n teaching at Tus$egee is uni0ue. !e lectures to his
advanced students on the art of right living. not out of te(t&
%oo$s. %ut straight out of life. Then he sends them into the
country to visit )egro families. Such a student ,ill come %ac$
,ith a minute report of the ,ay in ,hich the family that he has
seen lives. ,hat their earnings are. ,hat they do ,ell and ,hat
they do ill5 and he ,ill e(plain ho, they might live %etter. !e
constructs a definite plan for the %etterment of that particular
family out of the resources that they have. Such a student. if he
%e %right. ,ill profit more %y an e(perience li$e this than he
could profit %y all the %oo$s on sociology and economics that
ever ,ere ,ritten. I tal$ed ,ith a %oy at Tus$egee ,ho had
made such a study as this. and I could not $eep from
contrasting his $no,ledge and enthusiasm ,ith ,hat I heard in
a class room at a )egro university in one of the Southern cities.
,hich is conducted on the idea that a college course ,ill save
the soul. !ere the class ,as reciting a lesson from an a%struse
te(t&%oo$ on economics. reciting it %y rote. ,ith so o%vious a
failure to assimilate it that the ,aste of la%our ,as pitiful.
I as$ed *r. +ashington years ago ,hat he regarded as the
most important result of his ,or$. and he replied7
2I do not $no, ,hich to put first. the effect of Tus$egee1s
,or$ on the )egro. or the effect on the attitude of the ,hite
man to the )egro.2
The race divergence under the system of miseducation ,as
fast getting ,ider. 3nder the influence of the !ampton&
Tus$egee idea the races are coming into a closer sympathy and
into an honoura%le and helpful relation. As the )egro %ecomes
economically independent. he %ecomes a responsi%le part of
the Southern life5 and the ,hites so recogni/e him. And this
must %e so from the nature of things. There is nothing artificial
a%out it. It is development in a perfectly natural ,ay. And the
Southern ,hites not only so recogni/e it. %ut they are imitating
it in the teaching of the neglected masses of their o,n race. It
has thus come a%out that the school is ta$ing a more direct and
helpful hold on life in the South than any,here else in the
country. Education is not a thing apart from lifenot a 2system.2
nor a philosophy5 it is direct teaching ho, to live and ho, to
,or$.
To say that *r. +ashington has ,on the gratitude of all
thoughtful Southern ,hite men. is to say that he has ,or$ed
,ith the highest practical ,isdom at a large constructive tas$5
for no plan for the up&%uilding of the freedman could succeed
that ran counter to Southern opinion. To ,in the support of
Southern opinion and to shape it ,as a necessary part of the
tas$5 and in this he has so ,ell succeeded that the South has a
sincere and high regard for him. !e once said to me that he
recalled the day. and remem%ered it than$fully. ,hen he gre,
large enough to regard a Southern ,hite man as he regarded a
)orthern one. It is ,ell for our common country that the day is
come ,hen he and his ,or$ are regarded as highly in the South
as in any other part of the 3nion. I thin$ that no man of our
generation has a more note,orthy achievement to his credit
than this5 and it is an achievement of moral earnestness of the
strong character of a man ,ho has done a great national
service.
+alter !. Page.
UP FROM SLAVERY
#ha("er I. A S)a*e A+o!
S)a*es
I ,as %orn a slave on a plantation in Fran$lin County.
irginia. I am not 0uite sure of the e(act place or e(act date of
my %irth. %ut at any rate I suspect I must have %een %orn
some,here and at some time. As nearly as I have %een a%le to
learn. I ,as %orn near a cross&roads post&office called !ale1s
Ford. and the year ,as >?@? or >?@A. I do not $no, the month
or the day. The earliest impressions I can no, recall are of the
plantation and the slave 0uartersthe latter %eing the part of the
plantation ,here the slaves had their ca%ins.
*y life had its %eginning in the midst of the most misera%le.
desolate. and discouraging surroundings. This ,as so. ho,ever.
not %ecause my o,ners ,ere especially cruel. for they ,ere
not. as compared ,ith many others. I ,as %orn in a typical log
ca%in. a%out fourteen %y si(teen feet s0uare. In this ca%in I
lived ,ith my mother and a %rother and sister till after the Civil
+ar. ,hen ,e ,ere all declared free.
"f my ancestry I $no, almost nothing. In the slave 0uarters.
and even later. I heard ,hispered conversations among the
coloured people of the tortures ,hich the slaves. including. no
dou%t. my ancestors on my mother1s side. suffered in the
middle passage of the slave ship ,hile %eing conveyed from
Africa to America. I have %een unsuccessful in securing any
information that ,ould thro, any accurate light upon the
history of my family %eyond my mother. She. I remem%er. had
a half&%rother and a half&sister. In the days of slavery not very
much attention ,as given to family history and family
recordsthat is. %lac$ family records. *y mother. I suppose.
attracted the attention of a purchaser ,ho ,as after,ard my
o,ner and hers. !er addition to the slave family attracted a%out
as much attention as the purchase of a ne, horse or co,. "f
my father I $no, even less than of my mother. I do not even
$no, his name. I have heard reports to the effect that he ,as a
,hite man ,ho lived on one of the near&%y plantations.
+hoever he ,as. I never heard of his ta$ing the least interest in
me or providing in any ,ay for my rearing. But I do not find
especial fault ,ith him. !e ,as simply another unfortunate
victim of the institution ,hich the )ation unhappily had
engrafted upon it at that time.
The ca%in ,as not only our living&place. %ut ,as also used
as the $itchen for the plantation. *y mother ,as the plantation
coo$. The ca%in ,as ,ithout glass ,indo,s5 it had only
openings in the side ,hich let in the light. and also the cold.
chilly air of ,inter. There ,as a door to the ca%inthat is.
something that ,as called a door%ut the uncertain hinges %y
,hich it ,as hung. and the large crac$s in it. to say nothing of
the fact that it ,as too small. made the room a very
uncomforta%le one. In addition to these openings there ,as. in
the lo,er right&hand corner of the room. the 2cat&hole.2a
contrivance ,hich almost every mansion or ca%in in irginia
possessed during the ante&%ellum period. The 2cat&hole2 ,as a
s0uare opening. a%out seven %y eight inches. provided for the
purpose of letting the cat pass in and out of the house at ,ill
during the night. In the case of our particular ca%in I could
never understand the necessity for this convenience. since there
,ere at least a half&do/en other places in the ca%in that ,ould
have accommodated the cats. There ,as no ,ooden floor in
our ca%in. the na$ed earth %eing used as a floor. In the centre of
the earthen floor there ,as a large. deep opening covered ,ith
%oards. ,hich ,as used as a place in ,hich to store s,eet
potatoes during the ,inter. An impression of this potato&hole is
very distinctly engraved upon my memory. %ecause I recall that
during the process of putting the potatoes in or ta$ing them out
I ,ould often come into possession of one or t,o. ,hich I
roasted and thoroughly en8oyed. There ,as no coo$ing&stove
on our plantation. and all the coo$ing for the ,hites and slaves
my mother had to do over an open fireplace. mostly in pots and
2s$illets.2 +hile the poorly %uilt ca%in caused us to suffer ,ith
cold in the ,inter. the heat from the open fireplace in summer
,as e0ually trying.
The early years of my life. ,hich ,ere spent in the little
ca%in. ,ere not very different from those of thousands of other
slaves. *y mother. of course. had little time in ,hich to give
attention to the training of her children during the day. She
snatched a fe, moments for our care in the early morning
%efore her ,or$ %egan. and at night after the day1s ,or$ ,as
done. "ne of my earliest recollections is that of my mother
coo$ing a chic$en late at night. and a,a$ening her children for
the purpose of feeding them. !o, or ,here she got it I do not
$no,. I presume. ho,ever. it ,as procured from our o,ner1s
farm. Some people may call this theft. If such a thing ,ere to
happen no,. I should condemn it as theft myself. But ta$ing
place at the time it did. and for the reason that it did. no one
could ever ma$e me %elieve that my mother ,as guilty of
thieving. She ,as simply a victim of the system of slavery. I
cannot remem%er having slept in a %ed until after our family
,as declared free %y the Emancipation Proclamation. Three
children:ohn. my older %rother. Amanda. my sister. and
myselfhad a pallet on the dirt floor. or. to %e more correct. ,e
slept in and on a %undle of filthy rags laid upon the dirt floor.
I ,as as$ed not long ago to tell something a%out the sports
and pastimes that I engaged in during my youth. 3ntil that
0uestion ,as as$ed it had never occurred to me that there ,as
no period of my life that ,as devoted to play. From the time
that I can remem%er anything. almost every day of my life had
%een occupied in some $ind of la%our5 though I thin$ I ,ould
no, %e a more useful man if I had had time for sports. During
the period that I spent in slavery I ,as not large enough to %e
of much service. still I ,as occupied most of the time in
cleaning the yards. carrying ,ater to the men in the fields. or
going to the mill to ,hich I used to ta$e the corn. once a ,ee$.
to %e ground. The mill ,as a%out three miles from the
plantation. This ,or$ I al,ays dreaded. The heavy %ag of corn
,ould %e thro,n across the %ac$ of the horse. and the corn
divided a%out evenly on each side5 %ut in some ,ay. almost
,ithout e(ception. on these trips. the corn ,ould so shift as to
%ecome un%alanced and ,ould fall off the horse. and often I
,ould fall ,ith it. As I ,as not strong enough to reload the
corn upon the horse. I ,ould have to ,ait. sometimes for many
hours. till a chance passer&%y came along ,ho ,ould help me
out of my trou%le. The hours ,hile ,aiting for some one ,ere
usually spent in crying. The time consumed in this ,ay made
me late in reaching the mill. and %y the time I got my corn
ground and reached home it ,ould %e far into the night. The
road ,as a lonely one. and often led through dense forests. I
,as al,ays frightened. The ,oods ,ere said to %e full of
soldiers ,ho had deserted from the army. and I had %een told
that the first thing a deserter did to a )egro %oy ,hen he found
him alone ,as to cut off his ears. Besides. ,hen I ,as late in
getting home I $ne, I ,ould al,ays get a severe scolding or a
flogging.
I had no schooling ,hatever ,hile I ,as a slave. though I
remem%er on several occasions I ,ent as far as the schoolhouse
door ,ith one of my young mistresses to carry her %oo$s. The
picture of several do/en %oys and girls in a schoolroom
engaged in study made a deep impression upon me. and I had
the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this ,ay
,ould %e a%out the same as getting into paradise.
So far as I can no, recall. the first $no,ledge that I got of
the fact that ,e ,ere slaves. and that freedom of the slaves ,as
%eing discussed. ,as early one morning %efore day. ,hen I ,as
a,a$ened %y my mother $neeling over her children and
fervently praying that -incoln and his armies might %e
successful. and that one day she and her children might %e free.
In this connection I have never %een a%le to understand ho,
the slaves throughout the South. completely ignorant as ,ere
the masses so far as %oo$s or ne,spapers ,ere concerned. ,ere
a%le to $eep themselves so accurately and completely informed
a%out the great )ational 0uestions that ,ere agitating the
country. From the time that 6arrison. -ove8oy. and others
%egan to agitate for freedom. the slaves throughout the South
$ept in close touch ,ith the progress of the movement. Though
I ,as a mere child during the preparation for the Civil +ar and
during the ,ar itself. I no, recall the many late&at&night
,hispered discussions that I heard my mother and the other
slaves on the plantation indulge in. These discussions sho,ed
that they understood the situation. and that they $ept
themselves informed of events %y ,hat ,as termed the 2grape&
vine2 telegraph.
During the campaign ,hen -incoln ,as first a candidate for
the Presidency. the slaves on our far&off plantation. miles from
any railroad or large city or daily ne,spaper. $ne, ,hat the
issues involved ,ere. +hen ,ar ,as %egun %et,een the )orth
and the South. every slave on our plantation felt and $ne, that.
though other issues ,ere discussed. the primal one ,as that of
slavery. Even the most ignorant mem%ers of my race on the
remote plantations felt in their hearts. ,ith a certainty that
admitted of no dou%t. that the freedom of the slaves ,ould %e
the one great result of the ,ar. if the northern armies
con0uered. Every success of the Federal armies and every
defeat of the Confederate forces ,as ,atched ,ith the $eenest
and most intense interest. "ften the slaves got $no,ledge of
the results of great %attles %efore the ,hite people received it.
This ne,s ,as usually gotten from the coloured man ,ho ,as
sent to the post&office for the mail. In our case the post&office
,as a%out three miles from the plantation. and the mail came
once or t,ice a ,ee$. The man ,ho ,as sent to the office
,ould linger a%out the place long enough to get the drift of the
conversation from the group of ,hite people ,ho naturally
congregated there. after receiving their mail. to discuss the
latest ne,s. The mail&carrier on his ,ay %ac$ to our master1s
house ,ould as naturally retail the ne,s that he had secured
among the slaves. and in this ,ay they often heard of important
events %efore the ,hite people at the 2%ig house.2 as the
master1s house ,as called.
I cannot remem%er a single instance during my childhood or
early %oyhood ,hen our entire family sat do,n to the ta%le
together. and 6od1s %lessing ,as as$ed. and the family ate a
meal in a civili/ed manner. "n the plantation in irginia. and
even later. meals ,ere gotten %y the children very much as
dum% animals get theirs. It ,as a piece of %read here and a
scrap of meat there. It ,as a cup of mil$ at one time and some
potatoes at another. Sometimes a portion of our family ,ould
eat out of the s$illet or pot. ,hile some one else ,ould eat from
a tin plate held on the $nees. and often using nothing %ut the
hands ,ith ,hich to hold the food. +hen I had gro,n to
sufficient si/e. I ,as re0uired to go to the 2%ig house2 at meal&
times to fan the flies from the ta%le %y means of a large set of
paper fans operated %y a pulley. )aturally much of the
conversation of the ,hite people turned upon the su%8ect of
freedom and the ,ar. and I a%sor%ed a good deal of it. I
remem%er that at one time I sa, t,o of my young mistresses
and some lady visitors eating ginger&ca$es. in the yard. At that
time those ca$es seemed to me to %e a%solutely the most
tempting and desira%le things that I had ever seen5 and I then
and there resolved that. if I ever got free. the height of my
am%ition ,ould %e reached if I could get to the point ,here I
could secure and eat ginger&ca$es in the ,ay that I sa, those
ladies doing.
"f course as the ,ar ,as prolonged the ,hite people. in
many cases. often found it difficult to secure food for
themselves. I thin$ the slaves felt the deprivation less than the
,hites. %ecause the usual diet for slaves ,as corn %read and
por$. and these could %e raised on the plantation5 %ut coffee.
tea. sugar. and other articles ,hich the ,hites had %een
accustomed to use could not %e raised on the plantation. and
the conditions %rought a%out %y the ,ar fre0uently made it
impossi%le to secure these things. The ,hites ,ere often in
great straits. Parched corn ,as used for coffee. and a $ind of
%lac$ molasses ,as used instead of sugar. *any times nothing
,as used to s,eeten the so&called tea and coffee.
The first pair of shoes that I recall ,earing ,ere ,ooden
ones. They had rough leather on the top. %ut the %ottoms.
,hich ,ere a%out an inch thic$. ,ere of ,ood. +hen I ,al$ed
they made a fearful noise. and %esides this they ,ere very
inconvenient. since there ,as no yielding to the natural
pressure of the foot. In ,earing them one presented and
e(ceedingly a,$,ard appearance. The most trying ordeal that I
,as forced to endure as a slave %oy. ho,ever. ,as the ,earing
of a fla( shirt. In the portion of irginia ,here I lived it ,as
common to use fla( as part of the clothing for the slaves. That
part of the fla( from ,hich our clothing ,as made ,as largely
the refuse. ,hich of course ,as the cheapest and roughest part.
I can scarcely imagine any torture. e(cept. perhaps. the pulling
of a tooth. that is e0ual to that caused %y putting on a ne, fla(
shirt for the first time. It is almost e0ual to the feeling that one
,ould e(perience if he had a do/en or more chestnut %urrs. or a
hundred small pin&points. in contact ,ith his flesh. Even to this
day I can recall accurately the tortures that I under,ent ,hen
putting on one of these garments. The fact that my flesh ,as
soft and tender added to the pain. But I had no choice. I had to
,ear the fla( shirt or none5 and had it %een left to me to
choose. I should have chosen to ,ear no covering. In
connection ,ith the fla( shirt. my %rother :ohn. ,ho is several
years older than I am. performed one of the most generous acts
that I ever heard of one slave relative doing for another. "n
several occasions ,hen I ,as %eing forced to ,ear a ne, fla(
shirt. he generously agreed to put it on in my stead and ,ear it
for several days. till it ,as 2%ro$en in.2 3ntil I had gro,n to %e
0uite a youth this single garment ,as all that I ,ore.
"ne may get the idea. from ,hat I have said. that there ,as
%itter feeling to,ard the ,hite people on the part of my race.
%ecause of the fact that most of the ,hite population ,as a,ay
fighting in a ,ar ,hich ,ould result in $eeping the )egro in
slavery if the South ,as successful. In the case of the slaves on
our place this ,as not true. and it ,as not true of any large
portion of the slave population in the South ,here the )egro
,as treated ,ith anything li$e decency. During the Civil +ar
one of my young masters ,as $illed. and t,o ,ere severely
,ounded. I recall the feeling of sorro, ,hich e(isted among
the slaves ,hen they heard of the death of 2*ars1 Billy.2 It ,as
no sham sorro,. %ut real. Some of the slaves had nursed 2*ars1
Billy25 others had played ,ith him ,hen he ,as a child. 2*ars1
Billy2 had %egged for mercy in the case of others ,hen the
overseer or master ,as thrashing them. The sorro, in the slave
0uarter ,as only second to that in the 2%ig house.2 +hen the
t,o young masters ,ere %rought home ,ounded. the sympathy
of the slaves ,as sho,n in many ,ays. They ,ere 8ust as
an(ious to assist in the nursing as the family relatives of the
,ounded. Some of the slaves ,ould even %eg for the privilege
of sitting up at night to nurse their ,ounded masters. This
tenderness and sympathy on the part of those held in %ondage
,as a result of their $indly and generous nature. In order to
defend and protect the ,omen and children ,ho ,ere left on
the plantations ,hen the ,hite males ,ent to ,ar. the slaves
,ould have laid do,n their lives. The slave ,ho ,as selected
to sleep in the 2%ig house2 during the a%sence of the males ,as
considered to have the place of honour. Any one attempting to
harm 2young *istress2 or 2old *istress2 during the night
,ould have had to cross the dead %ody of the slave to do so. I
do not $no, ho, many have noticed it. %ut I thin$ that it ,ill
%e found to %e true that there are fe, instances. either in
slavery or freedom. in ,hich a mem%er of my race has %een
$no,n to %etray a specific trust.
As a rule. not only did the mem%ers of my race entertain no
feelings of %itterness against the ,hites %efore and during the
,ar. %ut there are many instances of )egroes tenderly carrying
for their former masters and mistresses ,ho for some reason
have %ecome poor and dependent since the ,ar. I $no, of
instances ,here the former masters of slaves have for years
%een supplied ,ith money %y their former slaves to $eep them
from suffering. I have $no,n of still other cases in ,hich the
former slaves have assisted in the education of the descendants
of their former o,ners. I $no, of a case on a large plantation
in the South in ,hich a young ,hite man. the son of the former
o,ner of the estate. has %ecome so reduced in purse and self&
control %y reason of drin$ that he is a pitia%le creature5 and yet.
not,ithstanding the poverty of the coloured people themselves
on this plantation. they have for years supplied this young
,hite man ,ith the necessities of life. "ne sends him a little
coffee or sugar. another a little meat. and so on. )othing that
the coloured people possess is too good for the son of 2old
*ars1 Tom.2 ,ho ,ill perhaps never %e permitted to suffer
,hile any remain on the place ,ho $ne, directly or indirectly
of 2old *ars1 Tom.2
I have said that there are fe, instances of a mem%er of my
race %etraying a specific trust. "ne of the %est illustrations of
this ,hich I $no, of is in the case of an e(&slave from irginia
,hom I met not long ago in a little to,n in the state of "hio. I
found that this man had made a contract ,ith his master. t,o or
three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation. to the
effect that the slave ,as to %e permitted to %uy himself. %y
paying so much per year for his %ody5 and ,hile he ,as paying
for himself. he ,as to %e permitted to la%our ,here and for
,hom he pleased. Finding that he could secure %etter ,ages in
"hio. he ,ent there. +hen freedom came. he ,as still in de%t
to his master some three hundred dollars. )ot,ithstanding that
the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any o%ligation
to his master. this %lac$ man ,al$ed the greater portion of the
distance %ac$ to ,here his old master lived in irginia. and
placed the last dollar. ,ith interest. in his hands. In tal$ing to
me a%out this. the man told me that he $ne, that he did not
have to pay the de%t. %ut that he had given his ,ord to the
master. and his ,ord he had never %ro$en. !e felt that he could
not en8oy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise.
From some things that I have said one may get the idea that
some of the slaves did not ,ant freedom. This is not true. I
have never seen one ,ho did not ,ant to %e free. or one ,ho
,ould return to slavery.
I pity from the %ottom of my heart any nation or %ody of
people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of
slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of
%itterness against the Southern ,hite people on account of the
enslavement of my race. )o one section of our country ,as
,holly responsi%le for its introduction. and. %esides. it ,as
recogni/ed and protected for years %y the 6eneral 6overnment.
!aving once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and
social life of the #epu%lic. it ,as no easy matter for the country
to relieve itself of the institution. Then. ,hen ,e rid ourselves
of pre8udice. or racial feeling. and loo$ facts in the face. ,e
must ac$no,ledge that. not,ithstanding the cruelty and moral
,rong of slavery. the ten million )egroes inha%iting this
country. ,ho themselves or ,hose ancestors ,ent through the
school of American slavery. are in a stronger and more hopeful
condition. materially. intellectually. morally. and religiously.
than is true of an e0ual num%er of %lac$ people in any other
portion of the glo%e. This is so to such an e(tent that )egroes
in this country. ,ho themselves or ,hose forefathers ,ent
through the school of slavery. are constantly returning to Africa
as missionaries to enlighten those ,ho remained in the
fatherland. This I say. not to 8ustify slaveryon the other hand. I
condemn it as an institution. as ,e all $no, that in America it
,as esta%lished for selfish and financial reasons. and not from
a missionary motive%ut to call attention to a fact. and to sho,
ho, Providence so often uses men and institutions to
accomplish a purpose. +hen persons as$ me in these days ho,.
in the midst of ,hat sometimes seem hopelessly discouraging
conditions. I can have such faith in the future of my race in this
country. I remind them of the ,ilderness through ,hich and out
of ,hich. a good Providence has already led us.
Ever since I have %een old enough to thin$ for myself. I have
entertained the idea that. not,ithstanding the cruel ,rongs
inflicted upon us. the %lac$ man got nearly as much out of
slavery as the ,hite man did. The hurtful influences of the
institution ,ere not %y any means confined to the )egro. This
,as fully illustrated %y the life upon our o,n plantation. The
,hole machinery of slavery ,as so constructed as to cause
la%our. as a rule. to %e loo$ed upon as a %adge of degradation.
of inferiority. !ence la%our ,as something that %oth races on
the slave plantation sought to escape. The slave system on our
place. in a large measure. too$ the spirit of self&reliance and
self&help out of the ,hite people. *y old master had many
%oys and girls. %ut not one. so far as I $no,. ever mastered a
single trade or special line of productive industry. The girls
,ere not taught to coo$. se,. or to ta$e care of the house. All
of this ,as left to the slaves. The slaves. of course. had little
personal interest in the life of the plantation. and their
ignorance prevented them from learning ho, to do things in
the most improved and thorough manner. As a result of the
system. fences ,ere out of repair. gates ,ere hanging half off
the hinges. doors crea$ed. ,indo,&panes ,ere out. plastering
had fallen %ut ,as not replaced. ,eeds gre, in the yard. As a
rule. there ,as food for ,hites and %lac$s. %ut inside the house.
and on the dining&room ta%le. there ,as ,anting that delicacy
and refinement of touch and finish ,hich can ma$e a home the
most convenient. comforta%le. and attractive place in the
,orld. +ithal there ,as a ,aste of food and other materials
,hich ,as sad. +hen freedom came. the slaves ,ere almost as
,ell fitted to %egin life ane, as the master. e(cept in the matter
of %oo$&learning and o,nership of property. The slave o,ner
and his sons had mastered no special industry. They
unconsciously had im%i%ed the feeling that manual la%our ,as
not the proper thing for them. "n the other hand. the slaves. in
many cases. had mastered some handicraft. and none ,ere
ashamed. and fe, un,illing. to la%our.
Finally the ,ar closed. and the day of freedom came. It ,as
a momentous and eventful day to all upon our plantation. +e
had %een e(pecting it. Freedom ,as in the air. and had %een for
months. Deserting soldiers returning to their homes ,ere to %e
seen every day. "thers ,ho had %een discharged. or ,hose
regiments had %een paroled. ,ere constantly passing near our
place. The 2grape&vine telegraph2 ,as $ept %usy night and day.
The ne,s and mutterings of great events ,ere s,iftly carried
from one plantation to another. In the fear of 2Ban$ee2
invasions. the silver,are and other valua%les ,ere ta$en from
the 2%ig house.2 %uried in the ,oods. and guarded %y trusted
slaves. +oe %e to any one ,ho ,ould have attempted to distur%
the %uried treasure. The slaves ,ould give the Ban$ee soldiers
food. drin$. clothinganything %ut that ,hich had %een
specifically intrusted to their care and honour. As the great day
dre, nearer. there ,as more singing in the slave 0uarters than
usual. It ,as %older. had more ring. and lasted later into the
night. *ost of the verses of the plantation songs had some
reference to freedom. True. they had sung those same verses
%efore. %ut they had %een careful to e(plain that the 2freedom2
in these songs referred to the ne(t ,orld. and had no
connection ,ith life in this ,orld. )o, they gradually thre,
off the mas$. and ,ere not afraid to let it %e $no,n that the
2freedom2 in their songs meant freedom of the %ody in this
,orld. The night %efore the eventful day. ,ord ,as sent to the
slave 0uarters to the effect that something unusual ,as going to
ta$e place at the 2%ig house2 the ne(t morning. There ,as little.
if any. sleep that night. All as e(citement and e(pectancy. Early
the ne(t morning ,ord ,as sent to all the slaves. old and
young. to gather at the house. In company ,ith my mother.
%rother. and sister. and a large num%er of other slaves. I ,ent to
the master1s house. All of our master1s family ,ere either
standing or seated on the veranda of the house. ,here they
could see ,hat ,as to ta$e place and hear ,hat ,as said. There
,as a feeling of deep interest. or perhaps sadness. on their
faces. %ut not %itterness. As I no, recall the impression they
made upon me. they did not at the moment seem to %e sad
%ecause of the loss of property. %ut rather %ecause of parting
,ith those ,hom they had reared and ,ho ,ere in many ,ays
very close to them. The most distinct thing that I no, recall in
connection ,ith the scene ,as that some man ,ho seemed to
%e a stranger <a 3nited States officer. I presume= made a little
speech and then read a rather long paperthe Emancipation
Proclamation. I thin$. After the reading ,e ,ere told that ,e
,ere all free. and could go ,hen and ,here ,e pleased. *y
mother. ,ho ,as standing %y my side. leaned over and $issed
her children. ,hile tears of 8oy ran do,n her chee$s. She
e(plained to us ,hat it all meant. that this ,as the day for
,hich she had %een so long praying. %ut fearing that she ,ould
never live to see.
For some minutes there ,as great re8oicing. and
than$sgiving. and ,ild scenes of ecstasy. But there ,as no
feeling of %itterness. In fact. there ,as pity among the slaves
for our former o,ners. The ,ild re8oicing on the part of the
emancipated coloured people lasted %ut for a %rief period. for I
noticed that %y the time they returned to their ca%ins there ,as
a change in their feelings. The great responsi%ility of %eing
free. of having charge of themselves. of having to thin$ and
plan for themselves and their children. seemed to ta$e
possession of them. It ,as very much li$e suddenly turning a
youth of ten or t,elve years out into the ,orld to provide for
himself. In a fe, hours the great 0uestions ,ith ,hich the
Anglo&Sa(on race had %een grappling for centuries had %een
thro,n upon these people to %e solved. These ,ere the
0uestions of a home. a living. the rearing of children.
education. citi/enship. and the esta%lishment and support of
churches. +as it any ,onder that ,ithin a fe, hours the ,ild
re8oicing ceased and a feeling of deep gloom seemed to
pervade the slave 0uarters9 To some it seemed that. no, that
they ,ere in actual possession of it. freedom ,as a more
serious thing than they had e(pected to find it. Some of the
slaves ,ere seventy or eighty years old5 their %est days ,ere
gone. They had no strength ,ith ,hich to earn a living in a
strange place and among strange people. even if they had %een
sure ,here to find a ne, place of a%ode. To this class the
pro%lem seemed especially hard. Besides. deep do,n in their
hearts there ,as a strange and peculiar attachment to 2old
*arster2 and 2old *issus.2 and to their children. ,hich they
found it hard to thin$ of %rea$ing off. +ith these they had spent
in some cases nearly a half&century. and it ,as no light thing to
thin$ of parting. 6radually. one %y one. stealthily at first. the
older slaves %egan to ,ander from the slave 0uarters %ac$ to
the 2%ig house2 to have a ,hispered conversation ,ith their
former o,ners as to the future.
#ha("er II. Boyhoo& ,ays
After the coming of freedom there ,ere t,o points upon
,hich practically all the people on our place ,ere agreed. and I
found that this ,as generally true throughout the South7 that
they must change their names. and that they must leave the old
plantation for at least a fe, days or ,ee$s in order that they
might really feel sure that they ,ere free.
In some ,ay a feeling got among the coloured people that it
,as far from proper for them to %ear the surname of their
former o,ners. and a great many of them too$ other surnames.
This ,as one of the first signs of freedom. +hen they ,ere
slaves. a coloured person ,as simply called 2:ohn2 or 2Susan.2
There ,as seldom occasion for more than the use of the one
name. If 2:ohn2 or 2Susan2 %elonged to a ,hite man %y the
name of 2!atcher.2 sometimes he ,as called 2:ohn !atcher.2 or
as often 2!atcher1s :ohn.2 But there ,as a feeling that 2:ohn
!atcher2 or 2!atcher1s :ohn2 ,as not the proper title %y ,hich
to denote a freeman5 and so in many cases 2:ohn !atcher2 ,as
changed to 2:ohn S. -incoln2 or 2:ohn S. Sherman.2 the initial
2S2 standing for no name. it %eing simply a part of ,hat the
coloured man proudly called his 2entitles.2
As I have stated. most of the coloured people left the old
plantation for a short ,hile at least. so as to %e sure. it seemed.
that they could leave and try their freedom on to see ho, it felt.
After they had remained a,ay for a ,hile. many of the older
slaves. especially. returned to their old homes and made some
$ind of contract ,ith their former o,ners %y ,hich they
remained on the estate.
*y mother1s hus%and. ,ho ,as the stepfather of my %rother
:ohn and myself. did not %elong to the same o,ners as did my
mother. In fact. he seldom came to our plantation. I remem%er
seeing his there perhaps once a year. that %eing a%out
Christmas time. In some ,ay. during the ,ar. %y running a,ay
and follo,ing the Federal soldiers. it seems. he found his ,ay
into the ne, state of +est irginia. As soon as freedom ,as
declared. he sent for my mother to come to the ;ana,ha
alley. in +est irginia. At that time a 8ourney from irginia
over the mountains to +est irginia ,as rather a tedious and in
some cases a painful underta$ing. +hat little clothing and fe,
household goods ,e had ,ere placed in a cart. %ut the children
,al$ed the greater portion of the distance. ,hich ,as several
hundred miles.
I do not thin$ any of us ever had %een very far from the
plantation. and the ta$ing of a long 8ourney into another state
,as 0uite an event. The parting from our former o,ners and
the mem%ers of our o,n race on the plantation ,as a serious
occasion. From the time of our parting till their death ,e $ept
up a correspondence ,ith the older mem%ers of the family. and
in later years ,e have $ept in touch ,ith those ,ho ,ere the
younger mem%ers. +e ,ere several ,ee$s ma$ing the trip. and
most of the time ,e slept in the open air and did our coo$ing
over a log fire out&of&doors. "ne night I recall that ,e camped
near an a%andoned log ca%in. and my mother decided to %uild a
fire in that for coo$ing. and after,ard to ma$e a 2pallet2 on the
floor for our sleeping. :ust as the fire had gotten ,ell started a
large %lac$ sna$e fully a yard and a half long dropped do,n the
chimney and ran out on the floor. "f course ,e at once
a%andoned that ca%in. Finally ,e reached our destinationa little
to,n called *alden. ,hich is a%out five miles from
Charleston. the present capital of the state.
At that time salt&mining ,as the great industry in that part of
+est irginia. and the little to,n of *alden ,as right in the
midst of the salt&furnaces. *y stepfather had already secured a
8o% at a salt&furnace. and he had also secured a little ca%in for
us to live in. "ur ne, house ,as no %etter than the one ,e had
left on the old plantation in irginia. In fact. in one respect it
,as ,orse. )ot,ithstanding the poor condition of our
plantation ca%in. ,e ,ere at all times sure of pure air. "ur ne,
home ,as in the midst of a cluster of ca%ins cro,ded closely
together. and as there ,ere no sanitary regulations. the filth
a%out the ca%ins ,as often intolera%le. Some of our neigh%ours
,ere coloured people. and some ,ere the poorest and most
ignorant and degraded ,hite people. It ,as a motley mi(ture.
Drin$ing. gam%ling. 0uarrels. fights. and shoc$ingly immoral
practices ,ere fre0uent. All ,ho lived in the little to,n ,ere in
one ,ay or another connected ,ith the salt %usiness. Though I
,as a mere child. my stepfather put me and my %rother at ,or$
in one of the furnaces. "ften I %egan ,or$ as early as four
o1cloc$ in the morning.
The first thing I ever learned in the ,ay of %oo$ $no,ledge
,as ,hile ,or$ing in this salt&furnace. Each salt&pac$er had
his %arrels mar$ed ,ith a certain num%er. The num%er allotted
to my stepfather ,as 2>?.2 At the close of the day1s ,or$ the
%oss of the pac$ers ,ould come around and put 2>?2 on each
of our %arrels. and I soon learned to recogni/e that figure
,herever I sa, it. and after a ,hile got to the point ,here I
could ma$e that figure. though I $ne, nothing a%out any other
figures or letters.
From the time that I can remem%er having any thoughts
a%out anything. I recall that I had an intense longing to learn to
read. I determined. ,hen 0uite a small child. that. if I
accomplished nothing else in life. I ,ould in some ,ay get
enough education to ena%le me to read common %oo$s and
ne,spapers. Soon after ,e got settled in some manner in our
ne, ca%in in +est irginia. I induced my mother to get hold of
a %oo$ for me. !o, or ,here she got it I do not $no,. %ut in
some ,ay she procured an old copy of +e%ster1s 2%lue&%ac$2
spelling&%oo$. ,hich contained the alpha%et. follo,ed %y such
meaningless ,ords as 2a%.2 2%a.2 2ca.2 2da.2 I %egan at once to
devour this %oo$. and I thin$ that it ,as the first one I ever had
in my hands. I had learned from some%ody that the ,ay to
%egin to read ,as to learn the alpha%et. so I tried in all the
,ays I could thin$ of to learn it.all of course ,ithout a teacher.
for I could find no one to teach me. At that time there ,as not a
single mem%er of my race any,here near us ,ho could read.
and I ,as too timid to approach any of the ,hite people. In
some ,ay. ,ithin a fe, ,ee$s. I mastered the greater portion
of the alpha%et. In all my efforts to learn to read my mother
shared fully my am%ition. and sympathi/ed ,ith me and aided
me in every ,ay that she could. Though she ,as totally
ignorant. she had high am%itions for her children. and a large
fund of good. hard. common sense. ,hich seemed to ena%le her
to meet and master every situation. If I have done anything in
life ,orth attention. I feel sure that I inherited the disposition
from my mother.
In the midst of my struggles and longing for an education. a
young coloured %oy ,ho had learned to read in the state of
"hio came to *alden. As soon as the coloured people found
out that he could read. a ne,spaper ,as secured. and at the
close of nearly every day1s ,or$ this young man ,ould %e
surrounded %y a group of men and ,omen ,ho ,ere an(ious
to hear him read the ne,s contained in the papers. !o, I used
to envy this manC !e seemed to me to %e the one young man in
all the ,orld ,ho ought to %e satisfied ,ith his attainments.
A%out this time the 0uestion of having some $ind of a school
opened for the coloured children in the village %egan to %e
discussed %y mem%ers of the race. As it ,ould %e the first
school for )egro children that had ever %een opened in that
part of irginia. it ,as. of course. to %e a great event. and the
discussion e(cited the ,ildest interest. The most perple(ing
0uestion ,as ,here to find a teacher. The young man from
"hio ,ho had learned to read the papers ,as considered. %ut
his age ,as against him. In the midst of the discussion a%out a
teacher. another young coloured man from "hio. ,ho had %een
a soldier. in some ,ay found his ,ay into to,n. It ,as soon
learned that he possessed considera%le education. and he ,as
engaged %y the coloured people to teach their first school. As
yet no free schools had %een started for coloured people in that
section. hence each family agreed to pay a certain amount per
month. ,ith the understanding that the teacher ,as to 2%oard
1round2that is. spend a day ,ith each family. This ,as not %ad
for the teacher. for each family tried to provide the very %est on
the day the teacher ,as to %e its guest. I recall that I loo$ed
for,ard ,ith an an(ious appetite to the 2teacher1s day2 at our
little ca%in.
This e(perience of a ,hole race %eginning to go to school
for the first time. presents one of the most interesting studies
that has ever occurred in connection ,ith the development of
any race. Fe, people ,ho ,ere not right in the midst of the
scenes can form any e(act idea of the intense desire ,hich the
people of my race sho,ed for an education. As I have stated. it
,as a ,hole race trying to go to school. Fe, ,ere too young.
and none too old. to ma$e the attempt to learn. As fast as any
$ind of teachers could %e secured. not only ,ere day&schools
filled. %ut night&schools as ,ell. The great am%ition of the
older people ,as to try to learn to read the Bi%le %efore they
died. +ith this end in vie, men and ,omen ,ho ,ere fifty or
seventy&five years old ,ould often %e found in the night&
school. Some day&schools ,ere formed soon after freedom. %ut
the principal %oo$ studied in the Sunday&school ,as the
spelling&%oo$. Day&school. night&school. Sunday&school. ,ere
al,ays cro,ded. and often many had to %e turned a,ay for
,ant of room.
The opening of the school in the ;ana,ha alley. ho,ever.
%rought to me one of the $eenest disappointments that I ever
e(perienced. I had %een ,or$ing in a salt&furnace for several
months. and my stepfather had discovered that I had a financial
value. and so. ,hen the school opened. he decided that he
could not spare me from my ,or$. This decision seemed to
cloud my every am%ition. The disappointment ,as made all the
more severe %y reason of the fact that my place of ,or$ ,as
,here I could see the happy children passing to and from
school mornings and afternoons. Despite this disappointment.
ho,ever. I determined that I ,ould learn something. any,ay. I
applied myself ,ith greater earnestness than ever to the
mastering of ,hat ,as in the 2%lue&%ac$2 speller.
*y mother sympathi/ed ,ith me in my disappointment. and
sought to comfort me in all the ,ays she could. and to help me
find a ,ay to learn. After a ,hile I succeeded in ma$ing
arrangements ,ith the teacher to give me some lessons at
night. after the day1s ,or$ ,as done. These night lessons ,ere
so ,elcome that I thin$ I learned more at night than the other
children did during the day. *y o,n e(periences in the night&
school gave me faith in the night&school idea. ,ith ,hich. in
after years. I had to do %oth at !ampton and Tus$egee. But my
%oyish heart ,as still set upon going to the day&school. and I
let no opportunity slip to push my case. Finally I ,on. and ,as
permitted to go to the school in the day for a fe, months. ,ith
the understanding that I ,as to rise early in the morning and
,or$ in the furnace till nine o1cloc$. and return immediately
after school closed in the afternoon for at least t,o more hours
of ,or$.
The schoolhouse ,as some distance from the furnace. and as
I had to ,or$ till nine o1cloc$. and the school opened at nine. I
found myself in a difficulty. School ,ould al,ays %e %egun
%efore I reached it. and sometimes my class had recited. To get
around this difficulty I yielded to a temptation for ,hich most
people. I suppose. ,ill condemn me5 %ut since it is a fact. I
might as ,ell state it. I have great faith in the po,er and
influence of facts. It is seldom that anything is permanently
gained %y holding %ac$ a fact. There ,as a large cloc$ in a
little office in the furnace. This cloc$. of course. all the hundred
or more ,or$men depended upon to regulate their hours of
%eginning and ending the day1s ,or$. I got the idea that the
,ay for me to reach school on time ,as to move the cloc$
hands from half&past eight up to the nine o1cloc$ mar$. This I
found myself doing morning after morning. till the furnace
2%oss2 discovered that something ,as ,rong. and loc$ed the
cloc$ in a case. I did not mean to inconvenience any%ody. I
simply meant to reach that schoolhouse in time.
+hen. ho,ever. I found myself at the school for the first
time. I also found myself confronted ,ith t,o other difficulties.
In the first place. I found that all the other children ,ore hats or
caps on their heads. and I had neither hat nor cap. In fact. I do
not remem%er that up to the time of going to school I had ever
,orn any $ind of covering upon my head. nor do I recall that
either I or any%ody else had even thought anything a%out the
need of covering for my head. But. of course. ,hen I sa, ho,
all the other %oys ,ere dressed. I %egan to feel 0uite
uncomforta%le. As usual. I put the case %efore my mother. and
she e(plained to me that she had no money ,ith ,hich to %uy a
2store hat.2 ,hich ,as a rather ne, institution at that time
among the mem%ers of my race and ,as considered 0uite the
thing for young and old to o,n. %ut that she ,ould find a ,ay
to help me out of the difficulty. She accordingly got t,o pieces
of 2homespun2 <8eans= and se,ed them together. and I ,as
soon the proud possessor of my first cap.
The lesson that my mother taught me in this has al,ays
remained ,ith me. and I have tried as %est as I could to teach it
to others. I have al,ays felt proud. ,henever I thin$ of the
incident. that my mother had strength of character enough not
to %e led into the temptation of seeming to %e that ,hich she
,as notof trying to impress my schoolmates and others ,ith
the fact that she ,as a%le to %uy me a 2store hat2 ,hen she ,as
not. I have al,ays felt proud that she refused to go into de%t for
that ,hich she did not have the money to pay for. Since that
time I have o,ned many $inds of caps and hats. %ut never one
of ,hich I have felt so proud as of the cap made of the t,o
pieces of cloth se,ed together %y my mother. I have noted the
fact. %ut ,ithout satisfaction. I need not add. that several of the
%oys ,ho %egan their careers ,ith 2store hats2 and ,ho ,ere
my schoolmates and used to 8oin in the sport that ,as made of
me %ecause I had only a 2homespun2 cap. have ended their
careers in the penitentiary. ,hile others are not a%le no, to %uy
any $ind of hat.
*y second difficulty ,as ,ith regard to my name. or rather
A name. From the time ,hen I could remem%er anything. I had
%een called simply 2Boo$er.2 Before going to school it had
never occurred to me that it ,as needful or appropriate to have
an additional name. +hen I heard the schoolroll called. I
noticed that all of the children had at least t,o names. and
some of them indulged in ,hat seemed to me the e(travagance
of having three. I ,as in deep perple(ity. %ecause I $ne, that
the teacher ,ould demand of me at least t,o names. and I had
only one. By the time the occasion came for the enrolling of
my name. an idea occurred to me ,hich I thought ,ould ma$e
me e0ual to the situation5 and so. ,hen the teacher as$ed me
,hat my full name ,as. I calmly told him 2Boo$er
+ashington.2 as if I had %een called %y that name all my life5
and %y that name I have since %een $no,n. -ater in my life I
found that my mother had given me the name of 2Boo$er
Taliaferro2 soon after I ,as %orn. %ut in some ,ay that part of
my name seemed to disappear and for a long ,hile ,as
forgotten. %ut as soon as I found out a%out it I revived it. and
made my full name 2Boo$er Taliaferro +ashington.2 I thin$
there are not many men in our country ,ho have had the
privilege of naming themselves in the ,ay that I have.
*ore than once I have tried to picture myself in the position
of a %oy or man ,ith an honoured and distinguished ancestry
,hich I could trace %ac$ through a period of hundreds of years.
and ,ho had not only inherited a name. %ut fortune and a proud
family homestead5 and yet I have sometimes had the feeling
that if I had inherited these. and had %een a mem%er of a more
popular race. I should have %een inclined to yield to the
temptation of depending upon my ancestry and my colour to do
that for me ,hich I should do for myself. Bears ago I resolved
that %ecause I had no ancestry myself I ,ould leave a record of
,hich my children ,ould %e proud. and ,hich might
encourage them to still higher effort.
The ,orld should not pass 8udgment upon the )egro. and
especially the )egro youth. too 0uic$ly or too harshly. The
)egro %oy has o%stacles. discouragements. and temptations to
%attle ,ith that are little $no,n to those not situated as he is.
+hen a ,hite %oy underta$es a tas$. it is ta$en for granted that
he ,ill succeed. "n the other hand. people are usually
surprised if the )egro %oy does not fail. In a ,ord. the )egro
youth starts out ,ith the presumption against him.
The influence of ancestry. ho,ever. is important in helping
for,ard any individual or race. if too much reliance is not
placed upon it. Those ,ho constantly direct attention to the
)egro youth1s moral ,ea$nesses. and compare his
advancement ,ith that of ,hite youths. do not consider the
influence of the memories ,hich cling a%out the old family
homesteads. I have no idea. as I have stated else,here. ,ho my
grandmother ,as. I have. or have had. uncles and aunts and
cousins. %ut I have no $no,ledge as to ,here most of them are.
*y case ,ill illustrate that of hundreds of thousands of %lac$
people in every part of our country. The very fact that the ,hite
%oy is conscious that. if he fails in life. he ,ill disgrace the
,hole family record. e(tending %ac$ through many
generations. is of tremendous value in helping him to resist
temptations. The fact that the individual has %ehind and
surrounding him proud family history and connection serves as
a stimulus to help him to overcome o%stacles ,hen striving for
success.
The time that I ,as permitted to attend school during the day
,as short. and my attendance ,as irregular. It ,as not long
%efore I had to stop attending day&school altogether. and devote
all of my time again to ,or$. I resorted to the night&school
again. In fact. the greater part of the education I secured in my
%oyhood ,as gathered through the night&school after my day1s
,or$ ,as done. I had difficulty often in securing a satisfactory
teacher. Sometimes. after I had secured some one to teach me
at night. I ,ould find. much to my disappointment. that the
teacher $ne, %ut little more than I did. "ften I ,ould have to
,al$ several miles at night in order to recite my night&school
lessons. There ,as never a time in my youth. no matter ho,
dar$ and discouraging the days might %e. ,hen one resolve did
not continually remain ,ith me. and that ,as a determination
to secure an education at any cost.
Soon after ,e moved to +est irginia. my mother adopted
into our family. not,ithstanding our poverty. an orphan %oy. to
,hom after,ard ,e gave the name of :ames B. +ashington.
!e has ever since remained a mem%er of the family.
After I had ,or$ed in the salt&furnace for some time. ,or$
,as secured for me in a coal&mine ,hich ,as operated mainly
for the purpose of securing fuel for the salt&furnace. +or$ in
the coal&mine I al,ays dreaded. "ne reason for this ,as that
any one ,ho ,or$ed in a coal&mine ,as al,ays unclean. at
least ,hile at ,or$. and it ,as a very hard 8o% to get one1s s$in
clean after the day1s ,or$ ,as over. Then it ,as fully a mile
from the opening of the coal&mine to the face of the coal. and
all. of course. ,as in the %lac$est dar$ness. I do not %elieve
that one ever e(periences any,here else such dar$ness as he
does in a coal&mine. The mine ,as divided into a large num%er
of different 2rooms2 or departments. and. as I never ,as a%le to
learn the location of all these 2rooms.2 I many times found
myself lost in the mine. To add to the horror of %eing lost.
sometimes my light ,ould go out. and then. if I did not happen
to have a match. I ,ould ,ander a%out in the dar$ness until %y
chance I found some one to give me a light. The ,or$ ,as not
only hard. %ut it ,as dangerous. There ,as al,ays the danger
of %eing %lo,n to pieces %y a premature e(plosion of po,der.
or of %eing crushed %y falling slate. Accidents from one or the
other of these causes ,ere fre0uently occurring. and this $ept
me in constant fear. *any children of the tenderest years ,ere
compelled then. as is no, true I fear. in most coal&mining
districts. to spend a large part of their lives in these coal&mines.
,ith little opportunity to get an education5 and. ,hat is ,orse. I
have often noted that. as a rule. young %oys ,ho %egin life in a
coal&mine are often physically and mentally d,arfed. They
soon lose am%ition to do anything else than to continue as a
coal&miner.
In those days. and later as a young man. I used to try to
picture in my imagination the feelings and am%itions of a ,hite
%oy ,ith a%solutely no limit placed upon his aspirations and
activities. I used to envy the ,hite %oy ,ho had no o%stacles
placed in the ,ay of his %ecoming a Congressman. 6overnor.
Bishop. or President %y reason of the accident of his %irth or
race. I used to picture the ,ay that I ,ould act under such
circumstances5 ho, I ,ould %egin at the %ottom and $eep
rising until I reached the highest round of success.
In later years. I confess that I do not envy the ,hite %oy as I
once did. I have learned that success is to %e measured not so
much %y the position that one has reached in life as %y the
o%stacles ,hich he has overcome ,hile trying to succeed.
-oo$ed at from this standpoint. I almost reached the conclusion
that often the )egro %oy1s %irth and connection ,ith an
unpopular race is an advantage. so far as real life is concerned.
+ith fe, e(ceptions. the )egro youth must ,or$ harder and
must perform his tas$s even %etter than a ,hite youth in order
to secure recognition. But out of the hard and unusual struggle
through ,hich he is compelled to pass. he gets a strength. a
confidence. that one misses ,hose path,ay is comparatively
smooth %y reason of %irth and race.
From any point of vie,. I had rather %e ,hat I am. a mem%er
of the )egro race. than %e a%le to claim mem%ership ,ith the
most favoured of any other race. I have al,ays %een made sad
,hen I have heard mem%ers of any race claiming rights or
privileges. or certain %adges of distinction. on the ground
simply that they ,ere mem%ers of this or that race. regardless
of their o,n individual ,orth or attainments. I have %een made
to feel sad for such persons %ecause I am conscious of the fact
that mere connection ,ith ,hat is $no,n as a superior race
,ill not permanently carry an individual for,ard unless he has
individual ,orth. and mere connection ,ith ,hat is regarded as
an inferior race ,ill not finally hold an individual %ac$ if he
possesses intrinsic. individual merit. Every persecuted
individual and race should get much consolation out of the
great human la,. ,hich is universal and eternal. that merit. no
matter under ,hat s$in found. is. in the long run. recogni/ed
and re,arded. This I have said here. not to call attention to
myself as an individual. %ut to the race to ,hich I am proud to
%elong.
#ha("er III. The S"r'!!)e For
A E&'%a"io
"ne day. ,hile at ,or$ in the coal&mine. I happened to
overhear t,o miners tal$ing a%out a great school for coloured
people some,here in irginia. This ,as the first time that I had
ever heard anything a%out any $ind of school or college that
,as more pretentious than the little coloured school in our
to,n.
In the dar$ness of the mine I noiselessly crept as close as I
could to the t,o men ,ho ,ere tal$ing. I heard one tell the
other that not only ,as the school esta%lished for the mem%ers
of any race. %ut the opportunities that it provided %y ,hich
poor %ut ,orthy students could ,or$ out all or a part of the
cost of a %oard. and at the same time %e taught some trade or
industry.
As they ,ent on descri%ing the school. it seemed to me that
it must %e the greatest place on earth. and not even !eaven
presented more attractions for me at that time than did the
!ampton )ormal and Agricultural Institute in irginia. a%out
,hich these men ,ere tal$ing. I resolved at once to go to that
school. although I had no idea ,here it ,as. or ho, many
miles a,ay. or ho, I ,as going to reach it5 I remem%ered only
that I ,as on fire constantly ,ith one am%ition. and that ,as to
go to !ampton. This thought ,as ,ith me day and night.
After hearing of the !ampton Institute. I continued to ,or$
for a fe, months longer in the coal&mine. +hile at ,or$ there.
I heard of a vacant position in the household of 6eneral -e,is
#uffner. the o,ner of the salt&furnace and coal&mine. *rs.
iola #uffner. the ,ife of 6eneral #uffner. ,as a 2Ban$ee2
,oman from ermont. *rs. #uffner had a reputation all
through the vicinity for %eing very strict ,ith her servants. and
especially ,ith the %oys ,ho tried to serve her. Fe, of them
remained ,ith her more than t,o or three ,ee$s. They all left
,ith the same e(cuse7 she ,as too strict. I decided. ho,ever.
that I ,ould rather try *rs. #uffner1s house than remain in the
coal&mine. and so my mother applied to her for the vacant
position. I ,as hired at a salary of D@ per month.
I had heard so much a%out *rs. #uffner1s severity that I ,as
almost afraid to see her. and trem%led ,hen I ,ent into her
presence. I had not lived ,ith her many ,ee$s. ho,ever.
%efore I %egan to understand her. I soon %egan to learn that.
first of all. she ,anted everything $ept clean a%out her. that she
,anted things done promptly and systematically. and that at the
%ottom of everything she ,anted a%solute honesty and
fran$ness. )othing must %e sloven or slipshod5 every door.
every fence. must %e $ept in repair.
I cannot no, recall ho, long I lived ,ith *rs. #uffner
%efore going to !ampton. %ut I thin$ it must have %een a year
and a half. At any rate. I here repeat ,hat I have said more than
once %efore. that the lessons that I learned in the home of *rs.
#uffner ,ere as valua%le to me as any education I have ever
gotten any,here else. Even to this day I never see %its of paper
scattered around a house or in the street that I do not ,ant to
pic$ them up at once. I never see a filthy yard that I do not
,ant to clean it. a paling off of a fence that I do not ,ant to put
it on. an unpainted or un,hite,ashed house that I do not ,ant
to paint or ,hite,ash it. or a %utton off one1s clothes. or a
grease&spot on them or on a floor. that I do not ,ant to call
attention to it.
From fearing *rs. #uffner I soon learned to loo$ upon her
as one of my %est friends. +hen she found that she could trust
me she did so implicitly. During the one or t,o ,inters that I
,as ,ith her she gave me an opportunity to go to school for an
hour in the day during a portion of the ,inter months. %ut most
of my studying ,as done at night. sometimes alone. sometimes
under some one ,hom I could hire to teach me. *rs. #uffner
al,ays encouraged and sympathi/ed ,ith me in all my efforts
to get an education. It ,as ,hile living ,ith her that I %egan to
get together my first li%rary. I secured a dry&goods %o(.
$noc$ed out one side of it. put some shelves in it. and %egan
putting into it every $ind of %oo$ that I could get my hands
upon. and called it my 2li%rary.2
)ot,ithstanding my success at *rs. #uffner1s I did not give
up the idea of going to the !ampton Institute. In the fall of
>?EF I determined to ma$e an effort to get there. although. as I
have stated. I had no definite idea of the direction in ,hich
!ampton ,as. or of ,hat it ,ould cost to go there. I do not
thin$ that any one thoroughly sympathi/ed ,ith me in my
am%ition to go to !ampton unless it ,as my mother. and she
,as trou%led ,ith a grave fear that I ,as starting out on a
2,ild&goose chase.2 At any rate. I got only a half&hearted
consent from her that I might start. The small amount of money
that I had earned had %een consumed %y my stepfather and the
remainder of the family. ,ith the e(ception of a very fe,
dollars. and so I had very little ,ith ,hich to %uy clothes and
pay my travelling e(penses. *y %rother :ohn helped me all that
he could. %ut of course that ,as not a great deal. for his ,or$
,as in the coal&mine. ,here he did not earn much. and most of
,hat he did earn ,ent in the direction of paying the household
e(penses.
Perhaps the thing that touched and pleased me most in
connection ,ith my starting for !ampton ,as the interest that
many of the older coloured people too$ in the matter. They had
spent the %est days of their lives in slavery. and hardly e(pected
to live to see the time ,hen they ,ould see a mem%er of their
race leave home to attend a %oarding&school. Some of these
older people ,ould give me a nic$el. others a 0uarter. or a
hand$erchief.
Finally the great day came. and I started for !ampton. I had
only a small. cheap satchel that contained a fe, articles of
clothing I could get. *y mother at the time ,as rather ,ea$
and %ro$en in health. I hardly e(pected to see her again. and
thus our parting ,as all the more sad. She. ho,ever. ,as very
%rave through it all. At that time there ,ere no through trains
connecting that part of +est irginia ,ith eastern irginia.
Trains ran only a portion of the ,ay. and the remainder of the
distance ,as travelled %y stage&coaches.
The distance from *alden to !ampton is a%out five hundred
miles. I had not %een a,ay from home many hours %efore it
%egan to gro, painfully evident that I did not have enough
money to pay my fare to !ampton. "ne e(perience I shall long
remem%er. I had %een travelling over the mountains most of the
afternoon in an old&fashion stage&coach. ,hen. late in the
evening. the coach stopped for the night at a common.
unpainted house called a hotel. All the other passengers e(cept
myself ,ere ,hites. In my ignorance I supposed that the little
hotel e(isted for the purpose of accommodating the passengers
,ho travelled on the stage&coach. The difference that the colour
of one1s s$in ,ould ma$e I had not thought anything a%out.
After all the other passengers had %een sho,n rooms and ,ere
getting ready for supper. I shyly presented myself %efore the
man at the des$. It is true I had practically no money in my
poc$et ,ith ,hich to pay for %ed or food. %ut I had hoped in
some ,ay to %eg my ,ay into the good graces of the landlord.
for at that season in the mountains of irginia the ,eather ,as
cold. and I ,anted to get indoors for the night. +ithout as$ing
as to ,hether I had any money. the man at the des$ firmly
refused to even consider the matter of providing me ,ith food
or lodging. This ,as my first e(perience in finding out ,hat
the colour of my s$in meant. In some ,ay I managed to $eep
,arm %y ,al$ing a%out. and so got through the night. *y
,hole soul ,as so %ent upon reaching !ampton that I did not
have time to cherish any %itterness to,ard the hotel&$eeper.
By ,al$ing. %egging rides %oth in ,agons and in the cars. in
some ,ay. after a num%er of days. I reached the city of
#ichmond. irginia. a%out eighty&t,o miles from !ampton.
+hen I reached there. tired. hungry. and dirty. it ,as late in the
night. I had never %een in a large city. and this rather added to
my misery. +hen I reached #ichmond. I ,as completely out of
money. I had not a single ac0uaintance in the place. and. %eing
unused to city ,ays. I did not $no, ,here to go. I applied at
several places for lodging. %ut they all ,anted money. and that
,as ,hat I did not have. ;no,ing nothing else %etter to do. I
,al$ed the streets. In doing this I passed %y many food&stands
,here fried chic$en and half&moon apple pies ,ere piled high
and made to present a most tempting appearance. At that time it
seemed to me that I ,ould have promised all that I e(pected to
possess in the future to have gotten hold of one of those
chic$en legs or one of those pies. But I could not get either of
these. nor anything else to eat.
I must have ,al$ed the streets till after midnight. At last I
%ecame so e(hausted that I could ,al$ no longer. I ,as tired. I
,as hungry. I ,as everything %ut discouraged. :ust a%out the
time ,hen I reached e(treme physical e(haustion. I came upon
a portion of a street ,here the %oard side,al$ ,as considera%ly
elevated. I ,aited for a fe, minutes. till I ,as sure that no
passers&%y could see me. and then crept under the side,al$ and
lay for the night upon the ground. ,ith my satchel of clothing
for a pillo,. )early all night I could hear the tramp of feet over
my head. The ne(t morning I found myself some,hat
refreshed. %ut I ,as e(tremely hungry. %ecause it had %een a
long time since I had had sufficient food. As soon as it %ecame
light enough for me to see my surroundings I noticed that I ,as
near a large ship. and that this ship seemed to %e unloading a
cargo of pig iron. I ,ent at once to the vessel and as$ed the
captain to permit me to help unload the vessel in order to get
money for food. The captain. a ,hite man. ,ho seemed to %e
$ind&hearted. consented. I ,or$ed long enough to earn money
for my %rea$fast. and it seems to me. as I remem%er it no,. to
have %een a%out the %est %rea$fast that I have ever eaten.
*y ,or$ pleased the captain so ,ell that he told me if I
desired I could continue ,or$ing for a small amount per day.
This I ,as very glad to do. I continued ,or$ing on this vessel
for a num%er of days. After %uying food ,ith the small ,ages I
received there ,as not much left to add on the amount I must
get to pay my ,ay to !ampton. In order to economi/e in every
,ay possi%le. so as to %e sure to reach !ampton in a reasona%le
time. I continued to sleep under the same side,al$ that gave
me shelter the first night I ,as in #ichmond. *any years after
that the coloured citi/ens of #ichmond very $indly tendered
me a reception at ,hich there must have %een t,o thousand
people present. This reception ,as held not far from the spot
,here I slept the first night I spent in the city. and I must
confess that my mind ,as more upon the side,al$ that first
gave me shelter than upon the recognition. agreea%le and
cordial as it ,as.
+hen I had saved ,hat I considered enough money ,ith
,hich to reach !ampton. I than$ed the captain of the vessel for
his $indness. and started again. +ithout any unusual
occurrence I reached !ampton. ,ith a surplus of e(actly fifty
cents ,ith ,hich to %egin my education. To me it had %een a
long. eventful 8ourney5 %ut the first sight of the large. three&
story. %ric$ school %uilding seemed to have re,arded me for all
that I had undergone in order to reach the place. If the people
,ho gave the money to provide that %uilding could appreciate
the influence the sight of it had upon me. as ,ell as upon
thousands of other youths. they ,ould feel all the more
encouraged to ma$e such gifts. It seemed to me to %e the
largest and most %eautiful %uilding I had ever seen. The sight of
it seemed to give me ne, life. I felt that a ne, $ind of
e(istence had no, %egunthat life ,ould no, have a ne,
meaning. I felt that I had reached the promised land. and I
resolved to let no o%stacle prevent me from putting forth the
highest effort to fit myself to accomplish the most good in the
,orld.
As soon as possi%le after reaching the grounds of the
!ampton Institute. I presented myself %efore the head teacher
for an assignment to a class. !aving %een so long ,ithout
proper food. a %ath. and a change of clothing. I did not. of
course. ma$e a very favoura%le impression upon her. and I
could see at once that there ,ere dou%ts in her mind a%out the
,isdom of admitting me as a student. I felt that I could hardly
%lame her if she got the idea that I ,as a ,orthless loafer or
tramp. For some time she did not refuse to admit me. neither
did she decide in my favour. and I continued to linger a%out
her. and to impress her in all the ,ays I could ,ith my
,orthiness. In the meantime I sa, her admitting other students.
and that added greatly to my discomfort. for I felt. deep do,n
in my heart. that I could do as ,ell as they. if I could only get a
chance to sho, ,hat ,as in me.
After some hours had passed. the head teacher said to me7
2The ad8oining recitation&room needs s,eeping. Ta$e the
%room and s,eep it.2
It occurred to me at once that here ,as my chance. )ever did
I receive an order ,ith more delight. I $ne, that I could s,eep.
for *rs. #uffner had thoroughly taught me ho, to do that
,hen I lived ,ith her.
I s,ept the recitation&room three times. Then I got a dusting&
cloth and dusted it four times. All the ,ood,or$ around the
,alls. every %ench. ta%le. and des$. I ,ent over four times ,ith
my dusting&cloth. Besides. every piece of furniture had %een
moved and every closet and corner in the room had %een
thoroughly cleaned. I had the feeling that in a large measure
my future depended upon the impression I made upon the
teacher in the cleaning of that room. +hen I ,as through. I
reported to the head teacher. She ,as a 2Ban$ee2 ,oman ,ho
$ne, 8ust ,here to loo$ for dirt. She ,ent into the room and
inspected the floor and closets5 then she too$ her hand$erchief
and ru%%ed it on the ,ood,or$ a%out the ,alls. and over the
ta%le and %enches. +hen she ,as una%le to find one %it of dirt
on the floor. or a particle of dust on any of the furniture. she
0uietly remar$ed. 2I guess you ,ill do to enter this institution.2
I ,as one of the happiest souls on Earth. The s,eeping of
that room ,as my college e(amination. and never did any
youth pass an e(amination for entrance into !arvard or Bale
that gave him more genuine satisfaction. I have passed several
e(aminations since then. %ut I have al,ays felt that this ,as the
%est one I ever passed.
I have spo$en of my o,n e(perience in entering the
!ampton Institute. Perhaps fe,. if any. had anything li$e the
same e(perience that I had. %ut a%out the same period there
,ere hundreds ,ho found their ,ay to !ampton and other
institutions after e(periencing something of the same
difficulties that I ,ent through. The young men and ,omen
,ere determined to secure an education at any cost.
The s,eeping of the recitation&room in the manner that I did
it seems to have paved the ,ay for me to get through !ampton.
*iss *ary F. *ac$ie. the head teacher. offered me a position
as 8anitor. This. of course. I gladly accepted. %ecause it ,as a
place ,here I could ,or$ out nearly all the cost of my %oard.
The ,or$ ,as hard and ta(ing %ut I stuc$ to it. I had a large
num%er of rooms to care for. and had to ,or$ late into the
night. ,hile at the same time I had to rise %y four o1cloc$ in the
morning. in order to %uild the fires and have a little time in
,hich to prepare my lessons. In all my career at !ampton. and
ever since I have %een out in the ,orld. *iss *ary F. *ac$ie.
the head teacher to ,hom I have referred. proved one of my
strongest and most helpful friends. !er advice and
encouragement ,ere al,ays helpful in strengthening to me in
the dar$est hour.
I have spo$en of the impression that ,as made upon me %y
the %uildings and general appearance of the !ampton Institute.
%ut I have not spo$en of that ,hich made the greatest and most
lasting impression on me. and that ,as a great manthe no%lest.
rarest human %eing that it has ever %een my privilege to meet. I
refer to the late 6eneral Samuel C. Armstrong.
It has %een my fortune to meet personally many of ,hat are
called great characters. %oth in Europe and America. %ut I do
not hesitate to say that I never met any man ,ho. in my
estimation. ,as the e0ual of 6eneral Armstrong. Fresh from
the degrading influences of the slave plantation and the coal&
mines. it ,as a rare privilege for me to %e permitted to come
into direct contact ,ith such a character as 6eneral Armstrong.
I shall al,ays remem%er that the first time I ,ent into his
presence he made the impression upon me of %eing a perfect
man7 I ,as made to feel that there ,as something a%out him
that ,as superhuman. It ,as my privilege to $no, the 6eneral
personally from the time I entered !ampton till he died. and
the more I sa, of him the greater he gre, in my estimation.
"ne might have removed from !ampton all the %uildings.
class&rooms. teachers. and industries. and given the men and
,omen there the opportunity of coming into daily contact ,ith
6eneral Armstrong. and that alone ,ould have %een a li%eral
education. The older I gro,. the more I am convinced that there
is no education ,hich one can get from %oo$s and costly
apparatus that is e0ual to that ,hich can %e gotten from contact
,ith great men and ,omen. Instead of studying %oo$s so
constantly. ho, I ,ish that our schools and colleges might
learn to study men and thingsC
6eneral Armstrong spent t,o of the last si( months of his
life in my home at Tus$egee. At that time he ,as paraly/ed to
the e(tent that he had lost control of his %ody and voice in a
very large degree. )ot,ithstanding his affliction. he ,or$ed
almost constantly night and day for the cause to ,hich he had
given his life. I never sa, a man ,ho so completely lost sight
of himself. I do not %elieve he ever had a selfish thought. !e
,as 8ust as happy in trying to assist some other institution in
the South as he ,as ,hen ,or$ing for !ampton. Although he
fought the Southern ,hite man in the Civil +ar. I never heard
him utter a %itter ,ord against him after,ard. "n the other
hand. he ,as constantly see$ing to find ,ays %y ,hich he
could %e of service to the Southern ,hites.
It ,ould %e difficult to descri%e the hold that he had upon the
students at !ampton. or the faith they had in him. In fact. he
,as ,orshipped %y his students. It never occurred to me that
6eneral Armstrong could fail in anything that he undertoo$.
There is almost no re0uest that he could have made that ,ould
not have %een complied ,ith. +hen he ,as a guest at my home
in Ala%ama. and ,as so %adly paraly/ed that he had to %e
,heeled a%out in an invalid1s chair. I recall that one of the
6eneral1s former students had occasion to push his chair up a
long. steep hill that ta(ed his strength to the utmost. +hen the
top of the hill ,as reached. the former pupil. ,ith a glo, of
happiness on his face. e(claimed. 2I am so glad that I have
%een permitted to do something that ,as real hard for the
6eneral %efore he diesC2 +hile I ,as a student at !ampton. the
dormitories %ecame so cro,ded that it ,as impossi%le to find
room for all ,ho ,anted to %e admitted. In order to help
remedy the difficulty. the 6eneral conceived the plan of putting
up tents to %e used as rooms. As soon as it %ecame $no,n that
6eneral Armstrong ,ould %e pleased if some of the older
students ,ould live in the tents during the ,inter. nearly every
student in school volunteered to go.
I ,as one of the volunteers. The ,inter that ,e spent in
those tents ,as an intensely cold one. and ,e suffered
severelyho, much I am sure 6eneral Armstrong never $ne,.
%ecause ,e made no complaints. It ,as enough for us to $no,
that ,e ,ere pleasing 6eneral Armstrong. and that ,e ,ere
ma$ing it possi%le for an additional num%er of students to
secure an education. *ore than once. during a cold night. ,hen
a stiff gale ,ould %e %lo,ing. our tend ,as lifted %odily. and
,e ,ould find ourselves in the open air. The 6eneral ,ould
usually pay a visit to the tents early in the morning. and his
earnest. cheerful. encouraging voice ,ould dispel any feeling
of despondency.
I have spo$en of my admiration for 6eneral Armstrong. and
yet he ,as %ut a type of that Christli$e %ody of men and
,omen ,ho ,ent into the )egro schools at the close of the ,ar
%y the hundreds to assist in lifting up my race. The history of
the ,orld fails to sho, a higher. purer. and more unselfish class
of men and ,omen than those ,ho found their ,ay into those
)egro schools.
-ife at !ampton ,as a constant revelation to me5 ,as
constantly ta$ing me into a ne, ,orld. The matter of having
meals at regular hours. of eating on a ta%lecloth. using a
nap$in. the use of the %ath&tu% and of the tooth&%rush. as ,ell
as the use of sheets upon the %ed. ,ere all ne, to me.
I sometimes feel that almost the most valua%le lesson I got at
the !ampton Institute ,as in the use and value of the %ath. I
learned there for the first time some of its value. not only in
$eeping the %ody healthy. %ut in inspiring self&respect and
promoting virtue. In all my travels in the South and else,here
since leaving !ampton I have al,ays in some ,ay sought my
daily %ath. To get it sometimes ,hen I have %een the guest of
my o,n people in a single&roomed ca%in has not al,ays %een
easy to do. e(cept %y slipping a,ay to some stream in the
,oods. I have al,ays tried to teach my people that some
provision for %athing should %e a part of every house.
For some time. ,hile a student at !ampton. I possessed %ut
a single pair of soc$s. %ut ,hen I had ,orn these till they
%ecame soiled. I ,ould ,ash them at night and hang them %y
the fire to dry. so that I might ,ear them again the ne(t
morning.
The charge for my %oard at !ampton ,as ten dollars per
month. I ,as e(pected to pay a part of this in cash and to ,or$
out the remainder. To meet this cash payment. as I have stated.
I had 8ust fifty cents ,hen I reached the institution. Aside from
a very fe, dollars that my %rother :ohn ,as a%le to send me
once in a ,hile. I had no money ,ith ,hich to pay my %oard. I
,as determined from the first to ma$e my ,or$ as 8anitor so
valua%le that my services ,ould %e indispensa%le. This I
succeeded in doing to such an e(tent that I ,as soon informed
that I ,ould %e allo,ed the full cost of my %oard in return for
my ,or$. The cost of tuition ,as seventy dollars a year. This.
of course. ,as ,holly %eyond my a%ility to provide. If I had
%een compelled to pay the seventy dollars for tuition. in
addition to providing for my %oard. I ,ould have %een
compelled to leave the !ampton school. 6eneral Armstrong.
ho,ever. very $indly got *r. S. 6riffitts *organ. of )e,
Bedford. *ass.. to defray the cost of my tuition during the
,hole time that I ,as at !ampton. After I finished the course at
!ampton and had entered upon my life,or$ at Tus$egee. I had
the pleasure of visiting *r. *organ several times.
After having %een for a ,hile at !ampton. I found myself in
difficulty %ecause I did not have %oo$s and clothing. 3sually.
ho,ever. I got around the trou%le a%out %oo$s %y %orro,ing
from those ,ho ,ere more fortunate than myself. As to clothes.
,hen I reached !ampton I had practically nothing. Everything
that I possessed ,as in a small hand satchel. *y an(iety a%out
clothing ,as increased %ecause of the fact that 6eneral
Armstrong made a personal inspection of the young men in
ran$s. to see that their clothes ,ere clean. Shoes had to %e
polished. there must %e no %uttons off the clothing. and no
grease&spots. To ,ear one suit of clothes continually. ,hile at
,or$ and in the schoolroom. and at the same time $eep it clean.
,as rather a hard pro%lem for me to solve. In some ,ay I
managed to get on till the teachers learned that I ,as in earnest
and meant to succeed. and then some of them ,ere $ind
enough to see that I ,as partly supplied ,ith second&hand
clothing that had %een sent in %arrels from the )orth. These
%arrels proved a %lessing to hundreds of poor %ut deserving
students. +ithout them I 0uestion ,hether I should ever have
gotten through !ampton.
+hen I first ,ent to !ampton I do not recall that I had ever
slept in a %ed that had t,o sheets on it. In those days there ,ere
not many %uildings there. and room ,as very precious. There
,ere seven other %oys in the same room ,ith me5 most of
them. ho,ever. students ,ho had %een there for some time.
The sheets ,ere 0uite a pu//le to me. The first night I slept
under %oth of them. and the second night I slept on top of them5
%ut %y ,atching the other %oys I learned my lesson in this. and
have %een trying to follo, it ever since and to teach it to others.
I ,as among the youngest of the students ,ho ,ere in
!ampton at the time. *ost of the students ,ere men and
,omensome as old as forty years of age. As I no, recall the
scene of my first year. I do not %elieve that one often has the
opportunity of coming into contact ,ith three or four hundred
men and ,omen ,ho ,ere so tremendously in earnest as these
men and ,omen ,ere. Every hour ,as occupied in study or
,or$. )early all had had enough actual contact ,ith the ,orld
to teach them the need of education. *any of the older ones
,ere. of course. too old to master the te(t&%oo$s very
thoroughly. and it ,as often sad to ,atch their struggles5 %ut
they made up in earnest much of ,hat they lac$ed in %oo$s.
*any of them ,ere as poor as I ,as. and. %esides having to
,restle ,ith their %oo$s. they had to struggle ,ith a poverty
,hich prevented their having the necessities of life. *any of
them had aged parents ,ho ,ere dependent upon them. and
some of them ,ere men ,ho had ,ives ,hose support in some
,ay they had to provide for.
The great and prevailing idea that seemed to ta$e possession
of every one ,as to prepare himself to lift up the people at his
home. )o one seemed to thin$ of himself. And the officers and
teachers. ,hat a rare set of human %eings they ,ereC They
,or$ed for the students night and day. in seasons and out of
season. They seemed happy only ,hen they ,ere helping the
students in some manner. +henever it is ,rittenand I hope it
,ill %ethe part that the Ban$ee teachers played in the education
of the )egroes immediately after the ,ar ,ill ma$e one of the
most thrilling parts of the history off this country. The time is
not far distant ,hen the ,hole South ,ill appreciate this
service in a ,ay that it has not yet %een a%le to do.
#ha("er IV. He)(i! O"hers
At the end of my first year at !ampton I ,as confronted
,ith another difficulty. *ost of the students ,ent home to
spend their vacation. I had no money ,ith ,hich to go home.
%ut I had to go some,here. In those days very fe, students
,ere permitted to remain at the school during vacation. It made
me feel very sad and homesic$ to see the other students
preparing to leave and starting for home. I not only had no
money ,ith ,hich to go home. %ut I had none ,ith ,hich to go
any,here.
In some ,ay. ho,ever. I had gotten hold of an e(tra. second&
hand coat ,hich I thought ,as a pretty valua%le coat. This I
decided to sell. in order to get a little money for travelling
e(penses. I had a good deal of %oyish pride. and I tried to hide.
as far as I could. from the other students the fact that I had no
money and no,here to go. I made it $no,n to a fe, people in
the to,n of !ampton that I had this coat to sell. and. after a
good deal of persuading. one coloured man promised to come
to my room to loo$ the coat over and consider the matter of
%uying it. This cheered my drooping spirits considera%ly. Early
the ne(t morning my prospective customer appeared. After
loo$ing the garment over carefully. he as$ed me ho, much I
,anted for it. I told him I thought it ,as ,orth three dollars.
!e seemed to agree ,ith me as to price. %ut remar$ed in the
most matter&of&fact ,ay7 2I tell you ,hat I ,ill do5 I ,ill ta$e
the coat. and ,ill pay you five cents. cash do,n. and pay you
the rest of the money 8ust as soon as I can get it.2 It is not hard
to imagine ,hat my feelings ,ere at the time.
+ith this disappointment I gave up all hope of getting out of
the to,n of !ampton for my vacation ,or$. I ,anted very
much to go ,here I might secure ,or$ that ,ould at least pay
me enough to purchase some much&needed clothing and other
necessities. In a fe, days practically all the students and
teachers had left for their homes. and this served to depress my
spirits even more.
After trying for several days in and near the to,n of
!ampton. I finally secured ,or$ in a restaurant at Fortress
*onroe. The ,ages. ho,ever. ,ere very little more than my
%oard. At night. and %et,een meals. I found considera%le time
for study and reading5 and in this direction I improved myself
very much during the summer.
+hen I left school at the end of my first year. I o,ed the
institution si(teen dollars that I had not %een a%le to ,or$ out.
It ,as my greatest am%ition during the summer to save money
enough ,ith ,hich to pay this de%t. I felt that this ,as a de%t of
honour. and that I could hardly %ring myself to the point of
even trying to enter school again till it ,as paid. I economi/ed
in every ,ay that I could thin$ ofdid my o,n ,ashing. and
,ent ,ithout necessary garments%ut still I found my summer
vacation ending and I did not have the si(teen dollars.
"ne day. during the last ,ee$ of my stay in the restaurant. I
found under one of the ta%les a crisp. ne, ten&dollar %ill. I
could hardly contain myself. I ,as so happy. As it ,as not my
place of %usiness I felt it to %e the proper thing to sho, the
money to the proprietor. This I did. !e seemed as glad as I ,as.
%ut he coolly e(plained to me that. as it ,as his place of
%usiness. he had a right to $eep the money. and he proceeded to
do so. This. I confess. ,as another pretty hard %lo, to me. I
,ill not say that I %ecame discouraged. for as I no, loo$ %ac$
over my life I do not recall that I ever %ecame discouraged over
anything that I set out to accomplish. I have %egun everything
,ith the idea that I could succeed. and I never had much
patience ,ith the multitudes of people ,ho are al,ays ready to
e(plain ,hy one cannot succeed. I determined to face the
situation 8ust as it ,as. At the end of the ,ee$ I ,ent to the
treasurer of the !ampton Institute. 6eneral :.F.B. *arshall. and
told him fran$ly my condition. To my gratification he told me
that I could reenter the institution. and that he ,ould trust me
to pay the de%t ,hen I could. During the second year I
continued to ,or$ as a 8anitor.
The education that I received at !ampton out of the te(t&
%oo$s ,as %ut a small part of ,hat I learned there. "ne of the
things that impressed itself upon me deeply. the second year.
,as the unselfishness of the teachers. It ,as hard for me to
understand ho, any individuals could %ring themselves to the
point ,here they could %e so happy in ,or$ing for others.
Before the end of the year. I thin$ I %egan learning that those
,ho are happiest are those ,ho do the most for others. This
lesson I have tried to carry ,ith me ever since.
I also learned a valua%le lesson at !ampton %y coming into
contact ,ith the %est %reeds of live stoc$ and fo,ls. )o
student. I thin$. ,ho has had the opportunity of doing this
could go out into the ,orld and content himself ,ith the
poorest grades.
Perhaps the most valua%le thing that I got out of my second
year ,as an understanding of the use and value of the Bi%le.
*iss )athalie -ord. one of the teachers. from Portland. *e..
taught me ho, to use and love the Bi%le. Before this I had
never cared a great deal a%out it. %ut no, I learned to love to
read the Bi%le. not only for the spiritual help ,hich it gives. %ut
on account of it as literature. The lessons taught me in this
respect too$ such a hold upon me that at the present time. ,hen
I am at home. no matter ho, %usy I am. I al,ays ma$e it a rule
to read a chapter or a portion of a chapter in the morning.
%efore %eginning the ,or$ of the day.
+hatever a%ility I may have as a pu%lic spea$er I o,e in a
measure to *iss -ord. +hen she found out that I had some
inclination in this direction. she gave me private lessons in the
matter of %reathing. emphasis. and articulation. Simply to %e
a%le to tal$ in pu%lic for the sa$e of tal$ing has never had the
least attraction to me. In fact. I consider that there is nothing so
empty and unsatisfactory as mere a%stract pu%lic spea$ing5 %ut
from my early childhood I have had a desire to do something to
ma$e the ,orld %etter. and then to %e a%le to spea$ to the ,orld
a%out that thing.
The de%ating societies at !ampton ,ere a constant source of
delight to me. These ,ere held on Saturday evening5 and
during my ,hole life at !ampton I do not recall that I missed a
single meeting. I not only attended the ,ee$ly de%ating society.
%ut ,as instrumental in organi/ing an additional society. I
noticed that %et,een the time ,hen supper ,as over and the
time to %egin evening study there ,ere a%out t,enty minutes
,hich the young men usually spent in idle gossip. A%out
t,enty of us formed a society for the purpose of utili/ing this
time in de%ate or in practice in pu%lic spea$ing. Fe, persons
ever derived more happiness or %enefit from the use of t,enty
minutes of time than ,e did in this ,ay.
At the end of my second year at !ampton. %y the help of
some money sent me %y my mother and %rother :ohn.
supplemented %y a small gift from one of the teachers at
!ampton. I ,as ena%led to return to my home in *alden. +est
irginia. to spend my vacation. +hen I reached home I found
that the salt&furnaces ,ere not running. and that the coal&mine
,as not %eing operated on account of the miners %eing out on
2stri$e.2 This ,as something ,hich. it seemed. usually
occurred ,henever the men got t,o or three months ahead in
their savings. During the stri$e. of course. they spent all that
they had saved. and ,ould often return to ,or$ in de%t at the
same ,ages. or ,ould move to another mine at considera%le
e(pense. In either case. my o%servations convinced me that the
miners ,ere ,orse off at the end of the stri$e. Before the days
of stri$es in that section of the country. I $ne, miners ,ho had
considera%le money in the %an$. %ut as soon as the professional
la%our agitators got control. the savings of even the more
thrifty ones %egan disappearing.
*y mother and the other mem%ers of my family ,ere. of
course. much re8oiced to see me and to note the improvement
that I had made during my t,o years1 a%sence. The re8oicing on
the part of all classes of the coloured people. and especially the
older ones. over my return. ,as almost pathetic. I had to pay a
visit to each family and ta$e a meal ,ith each. and at each
place tell the story of my e(periences at !ampton. In addition
to this I had to spea$ %efore the church and Sunday&school. and
at various other places. The thing that I ,as most in search of.
though. ,or$. I could not find. There ,as no ,or$ on account
of the stri$e. I spent nearly the ,hole of the first month of my
vacation in an effort to find something to do %y ,hich I could
earn money to pay my ,ay %ac$ to !ampton and save a little
money to use after reaching there.
To,ard the end of the first month. I ,ent to a place a
considera%le distance from my home. to try to find
employment. I did not succeed. and it ,as night %efore I got
started on my return. +hen I had gotten ,ithin a mile or so of
my home I ,as so completely tired out that I could not ,al$
any farther. and I ,ent into an old. a%andoned house to spend
the remainder of the night. A%out three o1cloc$ in the morning
my %rother :ohn found me asleep in this house. and %ro$e to
me. as gently as he could. the sad ne,s that our dear mother
had died during the night.
This seemed to me the saddest and %lan$est moment in my
life. For several years my mother had not %een in good health.
%ut I had no idea. ,hen I parted from her the previous day. that
I should never see her alive again. Besides that. I had al,ays
had an intense desire to %e ,ith her ,hen she did pass a,ay.
"ne of the chief am%itions ,hich spurred me on at !ampton
,as that I might %e a%le to get to %e in a position in ,hich I
could %etter ma$e my mother comforta%le and happy. She had
so often e(pressed the ,ish that she might %e permitted to live
to see her children educated and started out in the ,orld.
In a very short time after the death of my mother our little
home ,as in confusion. *y sister Amanda. although she tried
to do the %est she could. ,as too young to $no, anything a%out
$eeping house. and my stepfather ,as not a%le to hire a
house$eeper. Sometimes ,e had food coo$ed for us. and
sometimes ,e did not. I remem%er that more than once a can of
tomatoes and some crac$ers constituted a meal. "ur clothing
,ent uncared for. and everything a%out our home ,as soon in a
tum%le&do,n condition. It seems to me that this ,as the most
dismal period of my life.
*y good friend. *rs. #uffner. to ,hom I have already
referred. al,ays made me ,elcome at her home. and assisted
me in many ,ays during this trying period. Before the end of
the vacation she gave me some ,or$. and this. together ,ith
,or$ in a coal&mine at some distance from my home. ena%led
me to earn a little money.
At one time it loo$ed as if I ,ould have to give up the idea
of returning to !ampton. %ut my heart ,as so set on returning
that I determined not to give up going %ac$ ,ithout a struggle.
I ,as very an(ious to secure some clothes for the ,inter. %ut in
this I ,as disappointed. e(cept for a fe, garments ,hich my
%rother :ohn secured for me. )ot,ithstanding my need of
money and clothing. I ,as very happy in the fact that I had
secured enough money to pay my travelling e(penses %ac$ to
!ampton. "nce there. I $ne, that I could ma$e myself so
useful as a 8anitor that I could in some ,ay get through the
school year.
Three ,ee$s %efore the time for the opening of the term at
!ampton. I ,as pleasantly surprised to receive a letter from my
good friend *iss *ary F. *ac$ie. the lady principal. as$ing
me to return to !ampton t,o ,ee$s %efore the opening of the
school. in order that I might assist her in cleaning the %uildings
and getting things in order for the ne, school year. This ,as
8ust the opportunity I ,anted. It gave me a chance to secure a
credit in the treasurer1s office. I started for !ampton at once.
During these t,o ,ee$s I ,as taught a lesson ,hich I shall
never forget. *iss *ac$ie ,as a mem%er of one of the oldest
and most cultured families of the )orth. and yet for t,o ,ee$s
she ,or$ed %y my side cleaning ,indo,s. dusting rooms.
putting %eds in order. and ,hat not. She felt that things ,ould
not %e in condition for the opening of school unless every
,indo,&pane ,as perfectly clean. and she too$ the greatest
satisfaction in helping to clean them herself. The ,or$ ,hich I
have descri%ed she did every year that I ,as at !ampton.
It ,as hard for me at this time to understand ho, a ,oman
of her education and social standing could ta$e such delight in
performing such service. in order to assist in the elevation of an
unfortunate race. Ever since then I have had no patience ,ith
any school for my race in the South ,hich did not teach its
students the dignity of la%our.
During my last year at !ampton every minute of my time
that ,as not occupied ,ith my duties as 8anitor ,as devoted to
hard study. I ,as determined. if possi%le. to ma$e such a record
in my class as ,ould cause me to %e placed on the 2honour
roll2 of Commencement spea$ers. This I ,as successful in
doing. It ,as :une of >?E@ ,hen I finished the regular course
of study at !ampton. The greatest %enefits that I got out of my
my life at the !ampton Institute. perhaps. may %e classified
under t,o heads7
First ,as contact ,ith a great man. 6eneral S.C. Armstrong.
,ho. I repeat. ,as. in my opinion. the rarest. strongest. and
most %eautiful character that it has ever %een my privilege to
meet.
Second. at !ampton. for the first time. I learned ,hat
education ,as e(pected to do for an individual. Before going
there I had a good deal of the then rather prevalent idea among
our people that to secure an education meant to have a good.
easy time. free from all necessity for manual la%our. At
!ampton I not only learned that it ,as not a disgrace to la%our.
%ut learned to love la%our. not alone for its financial value. %ut
for la%our1s o,n sa$e and for the independence and self&
reliance ,hich the a%ility to do something ,hich the ,orld
,ants done %rings. At that institution I got my first taste of
,hat it meant to live a life of unselfishness. my first $no,ledge
of the fact that the happiest individuals are those ,ho do the
most to ma$e others useful and happy.
I ,as completely out of money ,hen I graduated. In
company ,ith other !ampton students. I secured a place as a
ta%le ,aiter in a summer hotel in Connecticut. and managed to
%orro, enough money ,ith ,hich to get there. I had not %een
in this hotel long %efore I found out that I $ne, practically
nothing a%out ,aiting on a hotel ta%le. The head ,aiter.
ho,ever. supposed that I ,as an accomplished ,aiter. !e soon
gave me charge of the ta%le at ,hich their sat four or five
,ealthy and rather aristocratic people. *y ignorance of ho, to
,ait upon them ,as so apparent that they scolded me in such a
severe manner that I %ecame frightened and left their ta%le.
leaving them sitting there ,ithout food. As a result of this I ,as
reduced from the position of ,aiter to that of a dish&carrier.
But I determined to learn the %usiness of ,aiting. and did so
,ithin a fe, ,ee$s and ,as restored to my former position. I
have had the satisfaction of %eing a guest in this hotel several
times since I ,as a ,aiter there.
At the close of the hotel season I returned to my former
home in *alden. and ,as elected to teach the coloured school
at that place. This ,as the %eginning of one of the happiest
periods of my life. I no, felt that I had the opportunity to help
the people of my home to,n to a higher life. I felt from the
first that mere %oo$ education ,as not all that the young people
of that to,n needed. I %egan my ,or$ at eight o1cloc$ in the
morning. and. as a rule. it did not end until ten o1cloc$ at night.
In addition to the usual routine of teaching. I taught the pupils
to com% their hair. and to $eep their hands and faces clean. as
,ell as their clothing. I gave special attention to teaching them
the proper use of the tooth&%rush and the %ath. In all my
teaching I have ,atched carefully the influence of the tooth&
%rush. and I am convinced that there are fe, single agencies of
civili/ation that are more far&reaching.
There ,ere so many of the older %oys and girls in the to,n.
as ,ell as men and ,omen. ,ho had to ,or$ in the daytime
and still ,ere craving an opportunity for an education. that I
soon opened a night&school. From the first. this ,as cro,ded
every night. %eing a%out as large as the school that I taught in
the day. The efforts of some of the men and ,omen. ,ho in
many cases ,ere over fifty years of age. to learn. ,ere in some
cases very pathetic.
*y day and night school ,or$ ,as not all that I undertoo$. I
esta%lished a small reading&room and a de%ating society. "n
Sundays I taught t,o Sunday&schools. one in the to,n of
*alden in the afternoon. and the other in the morning at a
place three miles distant from *alden. In addition to this. I
gave private lessons to several young men ,hom I ,as fitting
to send to the !ampton Institute. +ithout regard to pay and
,ith little thought of it. I taught any one ,ho ,anted to learn
anything that I could teach him. I ,as supremely happy in the
opportunity of %eing a%le to assist some%ody else. I did receive.
ho,ever. a small salary from the pu%lic fund. for my ,or$ as a
pu%lic&school teacher.
During the time that I ,as a student at !ampton my older
%rother. :ohn. not only assisted me all that he could. %ut
,or$ed all of the time in the coal&mines in order to support the
family. !e ,illingly neglected his o,n education that he might
help me. It ,as my earnest ,ish to help him to prepare to enter
!ampton. and to save money to assist him in his e(penses
there. Both of these o%8ects I ,as successful in accomplishing.
In three years my %rother finished the course at !ampton. and
he is no, holding the important position of Superintendent of
Industries at Tus$egee. +hen he returned from !ampton. ,e
%oth com%ined our efforts and savings to send our adopted
%rother. :ames. through the !ampton Institute. This ,e
succeeded in doing. and he is no, the postmaster at the
Tus$egee Institute. The year >?EE. ,hich ,as my second year
of teaching in *alden. I spent very much as I did the first.
It ,as ,hile my home ,as at *alden that ,hat ,as $no,n
as the 2;u ;lu( ;lan2 ,as in the height of its activity. The 2;u
;lu(2 ,ere %ands of men ,ho had 8oined themselves together
for the purpose of regulating the conduct of the coloured
people. especially ,ith the o%8ect of preventing the mem%ers of
the race from e(ercising any influence in politics. They
corresponded some,hat to the 2patrollers2 of ,hom I used to
hear a great deal during the days of slavery. ,hen I ,as a small
%oy. The 2patrollers2 ,ere %ands of ,hite menusually young
men,ho ,ere organi/ed largely for the purpose of regulating
the conduct of the slaves at night in such matters as preventing
the slaves from going from one plantation to another ,ithout
passes. and for preventing them from holding any $ind of
meetings ,ithout permission and ,ithout the presence at these
meetings of at least one ,hite man.
-i$e the 2patrollers2 the 2;u ;lu(2 operated almost ,holly
at night. They ,ere. ho,ever. more cruel than the 2patrollers.2
Their o%8ects. in the main. ,ere to crush out the political
aspirations of the )egroes. %ut they did not confine themselves
to this. %ecause schoolhouses as ,ell as churches ,ere %urned
%y them. and many innocent persons ,ere made to suffer.
During this period not a fe, coloured people lost their lives.
As a young man. the acts of these la,less %ands made a
great impression upon me. I sa, one open %attle ta$e place at
*alden %et,een some of the coloured and ,hite people. There
must have %een not far from a hundred persons engaged on
each side5 many on %oth sides ,ere seriously in8ured. among
them 6eneral -e,is #uffner. the hus%and of my friend *rs.
iola #uffner. 6eneral #uffner tried to defend the coloured
people. and for this he ,as $noc$ed do,n and so seriously
,ounded that he never completely recovered. It seemed to me
as I ,atched this struggle %et,een mem%ers of the t,o races.
that there ,as no hope for our people in this country. The 2;u
;lu(2 period ,as. I thin$. the dar$est part of the
#econstruction days.
I have referred to this unpleasant part of the history of the
South simply for the purpose of calling attention to the great
change that has ta$en place since the days of the 2;u ;lu(.2
To&day there are no such organi/ations in the South. and the
fact that such ever e(isted is almost forgotten %y %oth races.
There are fe, places in the South no, ,here pu%lic sentiment
,ould permit such organi/ations to e(ist.
#ha("er V. The Re%os"r'%"io
Perio&
The years from >?GE to >?E? I thin$ may %e called the
period of #econstruction. This included the time that I spent as
a student at !ampton and as a teacher in +est irginia. During
the ,hole of the #econstruction period t,o ideas ,ere
constantly agitating in the minds of the coloured people. or. at
least. in the minds of a large part of the race. "ne of these ,as
the cra/e for 6ree$ and -atin learning. and the other ,as a
desire to hold office.
It could not have %een e(pected that a people ,ho had spent
generations in slavery. and %efore that generations in the
dar$est heathenism. could at first form any proper conception
of ,hat an education meant. In every part of the South. during
the #econstruction period. schools. %oth day and night. ,ere
filled to overflo,ing ,ith people of all ages and conditions.
some %eing as far along in age as si(ty and seventy years. The
am%ition to secure an education ,as most praise,orthy and
encouraging. The idea. ho,ever. ,as too prevalent that. as
soon as one secured a little education. in some une(plaina%le
,ay he ,ould %e free from most of the hardships of the ,orld.
and. at any rate. could live ,ithout manual la%our. There ,as a
further feeling that a $no,ledge. ho,ever little. of the 6ree$
and -atin languages ,ould ma$e one a very superior human
%eing. something %ordering almost on the supernatural. I
remem%er that the first coloured man ,hom I sa, ,ho $ne,
something a%out foreign languages impressed me at the time as
%eing a man of all others to %e envied.
)aturally. most of our people ,ho received some little
education %ecame teachers or preachers. +hile among those
t,o classes there ,ere many capa%le. earnest. godly men and
,omen. still a large proportion too$ up teaching or preaching
as an easy ,ay to ma$e a living. *any %ecame teachers ,ho
could do little more than ,rite their names. I remem%er there
came into our neigh%ourhood one of this class. ,ho ,as in
search of a school to teach. and the 0uestion arose ,hile he ,as
there as to the shape of the earth and ho, he could teach the
children concerning the su%8ect. !e e(plained his position in
the matter %y saying that he ,as prepared to teach that the earth
,as either flat or round. according to the preference of a
ma8ority of his patrons.
The ministry ,as the profession that suffered mostand still
suffers. though there has %een great improvementon account of
not only ignorant %ut in many cases immoral men ,ho claimed
that they ,ere 2called to preach.2 In the earlier days of freedom
almost every coloured man ,ho learned to read ,ould receive
2a call to preach2 ,ithin a fe, days after he %egan reading. At
my home in +est irginia the process of %eing called to the
ministry ,as a very interesting one. 3sually the 2call2 came
,hen the individual ,as sitting in church. +ithout ,arning the
one called ,ould fall upon the floor as if struc$ %y a %ullet. and
,ould lie there for hours. speechless and motionless. Then the
ne,s ,ould spread all through the neigh%orhood that this
individual had received a 2call.2 If he ,ere inclined to resist the
summons. he ,ould fall or %e made to fall a second or third
time. In the end he al,ays yielded to the call. +hile I ,anted
an education %adly. I confess that in my youth I had a fear that
,hen I had learned to read and ,rite very ,ell I ,ould receive
one of these 2calls25 %ut. for some reason. my call never came.
+hen ,e add the num%er of ,holly ignorant men ,ho
preached or 2e(horted2 to that of those ,ho possessed
something of an education. it can %e seen at a glance that the
supply of ministers ,as large. In fact. some time ago I $ne, a
certain church that had a total mem%ership of a%out t,o
hundred. and eighteen of that num%er ,ere ministers. But. I
repeat. in many communities in the South the character of the
ministry is %eing improved. and I %elieve that ,ithin the ne(t
t,o or three decades a very large proportion of the un,orthy
ones ,ill have disappeared. The 2calls2 to preach. I am glad to
say. are not nearly so numerous no, as they ,ere formerly. and
the calls to some industrial occupation are gro,ing more
numerous. The improvement that has ta$en place in the
character of the teachers is even more mar$ed than in the case
of the ministers.
During the ,hole of the #econstruction period our people
throughout the South loo$ed to the Federal 6overnment for
everything. very much as a child loo$s to its mother. This ,as
not unnatural. The central government gave them freedom. and
the ,hole )ation had %een enriched for more than t,o
centuries %y the la%our of the )egro. Even as a youth. and later
in manhood. I had the feeling that it ,as cruelly ,rong in the
central government. at the %eginning of our freedom. to fail to
ma$e some provision for the general education of our people in
addition to ,hat the states might do. so that the people ,ould
%e the %etter prepared for the duties of citi/enship.
It is easy to find fault. to remar$ ,hat might have %een done.
and perhaps. after all. and under all the circumstances. those in
charge of the conduct of affairs did the only thing that could %e
done at the time. Still. as I loo$ %ac$ no, over the entire period
of our freedom. I cannot help feeling that it ,ould have %een
,iser if some plan could have %een put in operation ,hich
,ould have made the possession of a certain amount of
education or property. or %oth. a test for the e(ercise of the
franchise. and a ,ay provided %y ,hich this test should %e
made to apply honestly and s0uarely to %oth the ,hite and
%lac$ races.
Though I ,as %ut little more than a youth during the period
of #econstruction. I had the feeling that mista$es ,ere %eing
made. and that things could not remain in the condition that
they ,ere in then very long. I felt that the #econstruction
policy. so far as it related to my race. ,as in a large measure on
a false foundation. ,as artificial and forced. In many cases it
seemed to me that the ignorance of my race ,as %eing used as
a tool ,ith ,hich to help ,hite men into office. and that there
,as an element in the )orth ,hich ,anted to punish the
Southern ,hite men %y forcing the )egro into positions over
the heads of the Southern ,hites. I felt that the )egro ,ould %e
the one to suffer for this in the end. Besides. the general
political agitation dre, the attention of our people a,ay from
the more fundamental matters of perfecting themselves in the
industries at their doors and in securing property.
The temptations to enter political life ,ere so alluring that I
came very near yielding to them at one time. %ut I ,as $ept
from doing so %y the feeling that I ,ould %e helping in a more
su%stantial ,ay %y assisting in the laying of the foundation of
the race through a generous education of the hand. head. and
heart. I sa, coloured men ,ho ,ere mem%ers of the state
legislatures. and county officers. ,ho. in some cases. could not
read or ,rite. and ,hose morals ,ere as ,ea$ as their
education. )ot long ago. ,hen passing through the streets of a
certain city in the South. I heard some %ric$&masons calling
out. from the top of a t,o&story %ric$ %uilding on ,hich they
,ere ,or$ing. for the 26overnor2 to 2hurry up and %ring up
some more %ric$s.2 Several times I heard the command. 2!urry
up. 6overnorC2 2!urry up. 6overnorC2 *y curiosity ,as
aroused to such an e(tent that I made in0uiry as to ,ho the
26overnor2 ,as. and soon found that he ,as a coloured man
,ho at one time had held the position of -ieutenant&6overnor
of his state.
But not all the coloured people ,ho ,ere in office during
#econstruction ,ere un,orthy of their positions. %y any
means. Some of them. li$e the late Senator B.;. Bruce.
6overnor Pinch%ac$. and many others. ,ere strong. upright.
useful men. )either ,ere all the class designated as
carpet%aggers dishonoura%le men. Some of them. li$e e(&
6overnor Bulloc$. of 6eorgia. ,ere men of high character and
usefulness.
"f course the coloured people. so largely ,ithout education.
and ,holly ,ithout e(perience in government. made
tremendous mista$es. 8ust as many people similarly situated
,ould have done. *any of the Southern ,hites have a feeling
that. if the )egro is permitted to e(ercise his political rights
no, to any degree. the mista$es of the #econstruction period
,ill repeat themselves. I do not thin$ this ,ould %e true.
%ecause the )egro is a much stronger and ,iser man than he
,as thirty&five years ago. and he is fast learning the lesson that
he cannot afford to act in a manner that ,ill alienate his
Southern ,hite neigh%ours from him. *ore and more I am
convinced that the final solution of the political end of our race
pro%lem ,ill %e for each state that finds it necessary to change
the la, %earing upon the franchise to ma$e the la, apply ,ith
a%solute honesty. and ,ithout opportunity for dou%le dealing or
evasion. to %oth races ali$e. Any other course my daily
o%servation in the South convinces me. ,ill %e un8ust to the
)egro. un8ust to the ,hite man. and unfair to the rest of the
state in the 3nion. and ,ill %e. li$e slavery. a sin that at some
time ,e shall have to pay for.
In the fall of >?E?. after having taught school in *alden for
t,o years. and after I had succeeded in preparing several of the
young men and ,omen. %esides my t,o %rothers. to enter the
!ampton Institute. I decided to spend some months in study at
+ashington. D.C. I remained there for eight months. I derived
a great deal of %enefit from the studies ,hich I pursued. and I
came into contact ,ith some strong men and ,omen. At the
institution I attended there ,as no industrial training given to
the students. and I had an opportunity of comparing the
influence of an institution ,ith no industrial training ,ith that
of one li$e the !ampton Institute. that emphasi/es the
industries. At this school I found the students. in most cases.
had more money. ,ere %etter dressed. ,ore the latest style of
all manner of clothing. and in some cases ,ere more %rilliant
mentally. At !ampton it ,as a standing rule that. ,hile the
institution ,ould %e responsi%le for securing some one to pay
the tuition for the students. the men and ,omen themselves
must provide for their o,n %oard. %oo$s. clothing. and room
,holly %y ,or$. or partly %y ,or$ and partly in cash. At the
institution at ,hich I no, ,as. I found that a large portion of
the students %y some means had their personal e(penses paid
for them. At !ampton the student ,as constantly ma$ing the
effort through the industries to help himself. and that very
effort ,as of immense value in character&%uilding. The students
at the other school seemed to %e less self&dependent. They
seemed to give more attention to mere out,ard appearances. In
a ,ord. they did not appear to me to %e %eginning at the
%ottom. on a real. solid foundation. to the e(tent that they ,ere
at !ampton. They $ne, more a%out -atin and 6ree$ ,hen
they left school. %ut they seemed to $no, less a%out life and its
conditions as they ,ould meet it at their homes. !aving lived
for a num%er of years in the midst of comforta%le surroundings.
they ,ere not as much inclined as the !ampton students to go
into the country districts of the South. ,here there ,as little of
comfort. to ta$e up ,or$ for our people. and they ,ere more
inclined to yield to the temptation to %ecome hotel ,aiters and
Pullman&car porters as their life&,or$.
During the time I ,as a student at +ashington the city ,as
cro,ded ,ith coloured people. many of ,hom had recently
come from the South. A large proportion of these people had
%een dra,n to +ashington %ecause they felt that they could
lead a life of ease there. "thers had secured minor government
positions. and still another large class ,as there in the hope of
securing Federal positions. A num%er of coloured mensome of
them very strong and %rilliant,ere in the !ouse of
#epresentatives at that time. and one. the !on. B.;. Bruce. ,as
in the Senate. All this tended to ma$e +ashington an attractive
place for mem%ers of the coloured race. Then. too. they $ne,
that at all times they could have the protection of the la, in the
District of Colum%ia. The pu%lic schools in +ashington for
coloured people ,ere %etter then than they ,ere else,here. I
too$ great interest in studying the life of our people there
closely at that time. I found that ,hile among them there ,as a
large element of su%stantial. ,orthy citi/ens. there ,as also a
superficiality a%out the life of a large class that greatly alarmed
me. I sa, young coloured men ,ho ,ere not earning more
than four dollars a ,ee$ spend t,o dollars or more for a %uggy
on Sunday to ride up and do,n Pennsylvania Avenue in. in
order that they might try to convince the ,orld that they ,ere
,orth thousands. I sa, other young men ,ho received seventy&
five or one hundred dollars per month from the 6overnment.
,ho ,ere in de%t at the end of every month. I sa, men ,ho
%ut a fe, months previous ,ere mem%ers of Congress. then
,ithout employment and in poverty. Among a large class there
seemed to %e a dependence upon the 6overnment for every
conceiva%le thing. The mem%ers of this class had little
am%ition to create a position for themselves. %ut ,anted the
Federal officials to create one for them. !o, many times I
,ished then. and have often ,ished since. that %y some po,er
of magic I might remove the great %ul$ of these people into the
county districts and plant them upon the soil. upon the solid
and never deceptive foundation of *other )ature. ,here all
nations and races that have ever succeeded have gotten their
start.a start that at first may %e slo, and toilsome. %ut one that
nevertheless is real.
In +ashington I sa, girls ,hose mothers ,ere earning their
living %y laundrying. These girls ,ere taught %y their mothers.
in rather a crude ,ay it is true. the industry of laundrying.
-ater. these girls entered the pu%lic schools and remained there
perhaps si( or eight years. +hen the pu%lic school course ,as
finally finished. they ,anted more costly dresses. more costly
hats and shoes. In a ,ord. ,hile their ,ants have %een
increased. their a%ility to supply their ,ants had not %een
increased in the same degree. "n the other hand. their si( or
eight years of %oo$ education had ,eaned them a,ay from the
occupation of their mothers. The result of this ,as in too many
cases that the girls ,ent to the %ad. I often thought ho, much
,iser it ,ould have %een to give these girls the same amount of
maternal trainingand I favour any $ind of training. ,hether in
the languages or mathematics. that gives strength and culture to
the mind%ut at the same time to give them the most thorough
training in the latest and %est methods of laundrying and other
$indred occupations.
#ha("er VI. B)a%k Ra%e A&
Re& Ra%e
During the year that I spent in +ashington. and for some
little time %efore this. there had %een considera%le agitation in
the state of +est irginia over the 0uestion of moving the
capital of the state from +heeling to some other central point.
As a result of this. the -egislature designated three cities to %e
voted upon %y the citi/ens of the state as the permanent seat of
government. Among these cities ,as Charleston. only five
miles from *alden. my home. At the close of my school year
in +ashington I ,as very pleasantly surprised to receive. from
a committee of three ,hite people in Charleston. an invitation
to canvass the state in the interests of that city. This invitation I
accepted. and spent nearly three months in spea$ing in various
parts of the state. Charleston ,as successful in ,inning the
pri/e. and is no, the permanent seat of government.
The reputation that I made as a spea$er during this campaign
induced a num%er of persons to ma$e an earnest effort to get
me to enter political life. %ut I refused. still %elieving that I
could find other service ,hich ,ould prove of more permanent
value to my race. Even then I had a strong feeling that ,hat our
people most needed ,as to get a foundation in education.
industry. and property. and for this I felt that they could %etter
afford to strive than for political preferment. As for my
individual self. it appeared to me to %e reasona%ly certain that I
could succeed in political life. %ut I had a feeling that it ,ould
%e a rather selfish $ind of successindividual success at the cost
of failing to do my duty in assisting in laying a foundation for
the masses.
At this period in the progress of our race a very large
proportion of the young men ,ho ,ent to school or to college
did so ,ith the e(pressed determination to prepare themselves
to %e great la,yers. or Congressmen. and many of the ,omen
planned to %ecome music teachers5 %ut I had a reasona%ly fi(ed
idea. even at that early period in my life. that there ,as a need
for something to %e done to prepare the ,ay for successful
la,yers. Congressmen. and music teachers.
I felt that the conditions ,ere a good deal li$e those of an
old coloured man. during the days of slavery. ,ho ,anted to
learn ho, to play on the guitar. In his desire to ta$e guitar
lessons he applied to one of his young masters to teach him.
%ut the young man. not having much faith in the a%ility of the
slave to master the guitar at his age. sought to discourage him
%y telling him7 23ncle :a$e. I ,ill give you guitar lessons5 %ut.
:a$e. I ,ill have to charge you three dollars for the first lesson.
t,o dollars for the second lesson. and one dollar for the third
lesson. But I ,ill charge you only t,enty&five cents for the last
lesson.2
3ncle :a$e ans,ered7 2All right. %oss. I hires you on dem
terms. But. %ossC I ,ants yer to %e sure an1 give me dat las1
lesson first.2
Soon after my ,or$ in connection ,ith the removal of the
capital ,as finished. I received an invitation ,hich gave me
great 8oy and ,hich at the same time ,as a very pleasant
surprise. This ,as a letter from 6eneral Armstrong. inviting me
to return to !ampton at the ne(t Commencement to deliver
,hat ,as called the 2post&graduate address.2 This ,as an
honour ,hich I had not dreamed of receiving. +ith much care I
prepared the %est address that I ,as capa%le of. I chose for my
su%8ect 2The Force That +ins.2
As I returned to !ampton for the purpose of delivering this
address. I ,ent over much of the same groundno,. ho,ever.
covered entirely %y railroadthat I had traversed nearly si( years
%efore. ,hen I first sought entrance into !ampton Institute as a
student. )o, I ,as a%le to ride the ,hole distance in the train.
I ,as constantly contrasting this ,ith my first 8ourney to
!ampton. I thin$ I may say. ,ithout seeming egotism. that it is
seldom that five years have ,rought such a change in the life
and aspirations of an individual.
At !ampton I received a ,arm ,elcome from teachers and
students. I found that during my a%sence from !ampton the
institute each year had %een getting closer to the real needs and
conditions of our people5 that the industrial reaching. as ,ell as
that of the academic department. had greatly improved. The
plan of the school ,as not modelled after that of any other
institution then in e(istence. %ut every improvement ,as made
under the magnificent leadership of 6eneral Armstrong solely
,ith the vie, of meeting and helping the needs of our people
as they presented themselves at the time. Too often. it seems to
me. in missionary and educational ,or$ among
underdeveloped races. people yield to the temptation of doing
that ,hich ,as done a hundred years %efore. or is %eing done
in other communities a thousand miles a,ay. The temptation
often is to run each individual through a certain educational
mould. regardless of the condition of the su%8ect or the end to
%e accomplished. This ,as not so at !ampton Institute.
The address ,hich I delivered on Commencement Day
seems to have pleased every one. and many $ind and
encouraging ,ords ,ere spo$en to me regarding it. Soon after
my return to my home in +est irginia. ,here I had planned to
continue teaching. I ,as again surprised to receive a letter from
6eneral Armstrong. as$ing me to return to !ampton partly as a
teacher and partly to pursue some supplementary studies. This
,as in the summer of >?EA. Soon after I %egan my first
teaching in +est irginia I had pic$ed out four of the %rightest
and most promising of my pupils. in addition to my t,o
%rothers. to ,hom I have already referred. and had given them
special attention. ,ith the vie, of having them go to !ampton.
They had gone there. and in each case the teachers had found
them so ,ell prepared that they entered advanced classes. This
fact. it seems. led to my %eing called %ac$ to !ampton as a
teacher. "ne of the young men that I sent to !ampton in this
,ay is no, Dr. Samuel E. Courtney. a successful physician in
Boston. and a mem%er of the School Board of that city.
A%out this time the e(periment ,as %eing tried for the first
time. %y 6eneral Armstrong. of educating Indians at !ampton.
Fe, people then had any confidence in the a%ility of the
Indians to receive education and to profit %y it. 6eneral
Armstrong ,as an(ious to try the e(periment systematically on
a large scale. !e secured from the reservations in the +estern
states over one hundred ,ild and for the most part perfectly
ignorant Indians. the greater proportion of ,hom ,ere young
men. The special ,or$ ,hich the 6eneral desired me to do ,as
to %e a sort of 2house father2 to the Indian young menthat is. I
,as to live in the %uilding ,ith them and have the charge of
their discipline. clothing. rooms. and so on. This ,as a very
tempting offer. %ut I had %ecome so much a%sor%ed in my ,or$
in +est irginia that I dreaded to give it up. !o,ever. I tore
myself a,ay from it. I did not $no, ho, to refuse to perform
any service that 6eneral Armstrong desired of me.
"n going to !ampton. I too$ up my residence in a %uilding
,ith a%out seventy&five Indian youths. I ,as the only person in
the %uilding ,ho ,as not a mem%er of their race. At first I had
a good deal of dou%t a%out my a%ility to succeed. I $ne, that
the average Indian felt himself a%ove the ,hite man. and. of
course. he felt himself far a%ove the )egro. largely on account
of the fact of the )egro having su%mitted to slaverya thing
,hich the Indian ,ould never do. The Indians. in the Indian
Territory. o,ned a large num%er of slaves during the days of
slavery. Aside from this. there ,as a general feeling that the
attempt to educate and civili/e the red men at !ampton ,ould
%e a failure. All this made me proceed very cautiously. for I felt
$eenly the great responsi%ility. But I ,as determined to
succeed. It ,as not long %efore I had the complete confidence
of the Indians. and not only this. %ut I thin$ I am safe in saying
that I had their love and respect. I found that they ,ere a%out
li$e any other human %eings5 that they responded to $ind
treatment and resented ill&treatment. They ,ere continually
planning to do something that ,ould add to my happiness and
comfort. The things that they disli$ed most. I thin$. ,ere to
have their long hair cut. to give up ,earing their %lan$ets. and
to cease smo$ing5 %ut no ,hite American ever thin$s that any
other race is ,holly civili/ed until he ,ears the ,hite man1s
clothes. eats the ,hite man1s food. spea$s the ,hite man1s
language. and professes the ,hite man1s religion.
+hen the difficulty of learning the English language ,as
su%tracted. I found that in the matter of learning trades and in
mastering academic studies there ,as little difference %et,een
the coloured and Indian students. It ,as a constant delight to
me to note the interest ,hich the coloured students too$ in
trying to help the Indians in every ,ay possi%le. There ,ere a
fe, of the coloured students ,ho felt that the Indians ought not
to %e admitted to !ampton. %ut these ,ere in the minority.
+henever they ,ere as$ed to do so. the )egro students gladly
too$ the Indians as room&mates. in order that they might teach
them to spea$ English and to ac0uire civili/ed ha%its.
I have often ,ondered if there ,as a ,hite institution in this
country ,hose students ,ould have ,elcomed the incoming of
more than a hundred companions of another race in the cordial
,ay that these %lac$ students at !ampton ,elcomed the red
ones. !o, often I have ,anted to say to ,hite students that
they lift themselves up in proportion as they help to lift others.
and the more unfortunate the race. and the lo,er in the scale of
civili/ation. the more does one raise one1s self %y giving the
assistance.
This reminds me of a conversation ,hich I once had ,ith the
!on. Frederic$ Douglass. At one time *r. Douglass ,as
travelling in the state of Pennsylvania. and ,as forced. on
account of his colour. to ride in the %aggage&car. in spite of the
fact that he had paid the same price for his passage that the
other passengers had paid. +hen some of the ,hite passengers
,ent into the %aggage&car to console *r. Douglass. and one of
them said to him7 2I am sorry. *r. Douglass. that you have
%een degraded in this manner.2 *r. Douglass straightened
himself up on the %o( upon ,hich he ,as sitting. and replied7
2They cannot degrade Frederic$ Douglass. The soul that is
,ithin me no man can degrade. I am not the one that is %eing
degraded on account of this treatment. %ut those ,ho are
inflicting it upon me.2
In one part of the country. ,here the la, demands the
separation of the races on the railroad trains. I sa, at one time
a rather amusing instance ,hich sho,ed ho, difficult it
sometimes is to $no, ,here the %lac$ %egins and the ,hite
ends.
There ,as a man ,ho ,as ,ell $no,n in his community as
a )egro. %ut ,ho ,as so ,hite that even an e(pert ,ould have
hard ,or$ to classify him as a %lac$ man. This man ,as riding
in the part of the train set aside for the coloured passengers.
+hen the train conductor reached him. he sho,ed at once that
he ,as perple(ed. If the man ,as a )egro. the conductor did
not ,ant to send him to the ,hite people1s coach5 at the same
time. if he ,as a ,hite man. the conductor did not ,ant to
insult him %y as$ing him if he ,as a )egro. The official loo$ed
him over carefully. e(amining his hair. eyes. nose. and hands.
%ut still seemed pu//led. Finally. to solve the difficulty. he
stooped over and peeped at the man1s feet. +hen I sa, the
conductor e(amining the feet of the man in 0uestion. I said to
myself. 2That ,ill settle it52 and so it did. for the trainman
promptly decided that the passenger ,as a )egro. and let him
remain ,here he ,as. I congratulated myself that my race ,as
fortunate in not losing one of its mem%ers.
*y e(perience has %een that the time to test a true gentleman
is to o%serve him ,hen he is in contact ,ith individuals of a
race that is less fortunate than his o,n. This is illustrated in no
%etter ,ay than %y o%serving the conduct of the old&school type
of Southern gentleman ,hen he is in contact ,ith his former
slaves or their descendants.
An e(ample of ,hat I mean is sho,n in a story told of
6eorge +ashington. ,ho. meeting a coloured man in the road
once. ,ho politely lifted his hat. lifted his o,n in return. Some
of his ,hite friends ,ho sa, the incident criticised +ashington
for his action. In reply to their criticism 6eorge +ashington
said7 2Do you suppose that I am going to permit a poor.
ignorant. coloured man to %e more polite than I am92
+hile I ,as in charge of the Indian %oys at !ampton. I had
one or t,o e(periences ,hich illustrate the curious ,or$ings of
caste in America. "ne of the Indian %oys ,as ta$en ill. and it
%ecame my duty to ta$e him to +ashington. deliver him over to
the Secretary of the Interior. and get a receipt for him. in order
that he might %e returned to his +estern reservation. At that
time I ,as rather ignorant of the ,ays of the ,orld. During my
8ourney to +ashington. on a steam%oat. ,hen the %ell rang for
dinner. I ,as careful to ,ait and not enter the dining room until
after the greater part of the passengers had finished their meal.
Then. ,ith my charge. I ,ent to the dining saloon. The man in
charge politely informed me that the Indian could %e served.
%ut that I could not. I never could understand ho, he $ne, 8ust
,here to dra, the colour line. since the Indian and I ,ere of
a%out the same comple(ion. The ste,ard. ho,ever. seemed to
%e an e(pert in this manner. I had %een directed %y the
authorities at !ampton to stop at a certain hotel in +ashington
,ith my charge. %ut ,hen I ,ent to this hotel the cler$ stated
that he ,ould %e glad to receive the Indian into the house. %ut
said that he could not accommodate me.
An illustration of something of this same feeling came under
my o%servation after,ard. I happened to find myself in a to,n
in ,hich so much e(citement and indignation ,ere %eing
e(pressed that it seemed li$ely for a time that there ,ould %e a
lynching. The occasion of the trou%le ,as that a dar$&s$inned
man had stopped at the local hotel. Investigation. ho,ever.
developed the fact that this individual ,as a citi/en of
*orocco. and that ,hile travelling in this country he spo$e the
English language. As soon as it ,as learned that he ,as not an
American )egro. all the signs of indignation disappeared. The
man ,ho ,as the innocent cause of the e(citement. though.
found it prudent after that not to spea$ English.
At the end of my first year ,ith the Indians there came
another opening for me at !ampton. ,hich. as I loo$ %ac$ over
my life no,. seems to have come providentially. to help to
prepare me for my ,or$ at Tus$egee later. 6eneral Armstrong
had found out that there ,as 0uite a num%er of young coloured
men and ,omen ,ho ,ere intensely in earnest in ,ishing to
get an education. %ut ,ho ,ere prevented from entering
!ampton Institute %ecause they ,ere too poor to %e a%le to pay
any portion of the cost of their %oard. or even to supply
themselves ,ith %oo$s. !e conceived the idea of starting a
night&school in connection ,ith the Institute. into ,hich a
limited num%er of the most promising of these young men and
,omen ,ould %e received. on condition that they ,ere to ,or$
for ten hours during the day. and attend school for t,o hours at
night. They ,ere to %e paid something a%ove the cost of their
%oard for their ,or$. The greater part of their earnings ,as to
%e reserved in the school1s treasury as a fund to %e dra,n on to
pay their %oard ,hen they had %ecome students in the day&
school. after they had spent one or t,o years in the night&
school. In this ,ay they ,ould o%tain a start in their %oo$s and
a $no,ledge of some trade or industry. in addition to the other
far&reaching %enefits of the institution.
6eneral Armstrong as$ed me to ta$e charge of the night&
school. and I did so. At the %eginning of this school there ,ere
a%out t,elve strong. earnest men and ,omen ,ho entered the
class. During the day the greater part of the young men ,or$ed
in the school1s sa,mill. and the young ,omen ,or$ed in the
laundry. The ,or$ ,as not easy in either place. %ut in all my
teaching I never taught pupils ,ho gave me much genuine
satisfaction as these did. They ,ere good students. and
mastered their ,or$ thoroughly. They ,ere so much in earnest
that only the ringing of the retiring&%ell ,ould ma$e them stop
studying. and often they ,ould urge me to continue the lessons
after the usual hour for going to %ed had come.
These students sho,ed so much earnestness. %oth in their
hard ,or$ during the day. as ,ell as in their application to their
studies at night. that I gave them the name of 2The Pluc$y
Class2a name ,hich soon gre, popular and spread throughout
the institution. After a student had %een in the night&school
long enough to prove ,hat ,as in him. I gave him a printed
certificate ,hich read something li$e this7
2This is to certify that :ames Smith is a mem%er of The
Pluc$y Class of the !ampton Institute. and is in good and
regular standing.2
The students pri/ed these certificates highly. and they added
greatly to the popularity of the night&school. +ithin a fe,
,ee$s this department had gro,n to such an e(tent that there
,ere a%out t,enty&five students in attendance. I have follo,ed
the course of many of these t,enty&five men and ,omen ever
since then. and they are no, holding important and useful
positions in nearly every part of the South. The night&school at
!ampton. ,hich started ,ith only t,elve students. no,
num%ers %et,een three and four hundred. and is one of the
permanent and most important features of the institution.
#ha("er VII. Ear)y ,ays A"
T'ske!ee
During the time that I had charge of the Indians and the
night&school at !ampton. I pursued some studies myself. under
the direction of the instructors there. "ne of these instructors
,as the #ev. Dr. !.B. Frissell. the present Principal of the
!ampton Institute. 6eneral Armstrong1s successor.
In *ay. >??>. near the close of my first year in teaching the
night&school. in a ,ay that I had not dared e(pect. the
opportunity opened for me to %egin my life&,or$. "ne night in
the chapel. after the usual chapel e(ercises ,ere over. 6eneral
Armstrong referred to the fact that he had received a letter from
some gentlemen in Ala%ama as$ing him to recommend some
one to ta$e charge of ,hat ,as to %e a normal school for the
coloured people in the little to,n of Tus$egee in that state.
These gentlemen seemed to ta$e it for granted that no coloured
man suita%le for the position could %e secured. and they ,ere
e(pecting the 6eneral to recommend a ,hite man for the place.
The ne(t day 6eneral Armstrong sent for me to come to his
office. and. much to my surprise. as$ed me if I thought I could
fill the position in Ala%ama. I told him that I ,ould %e ,illing
to try. Accordingly. he ,rote to the people ,ho had applied to
him for the information. that he did not $no, of any ,hite man
to suggest. %ut if they ,ould %e ,illing to ta$e a coloured man.
he had one ,hom he could recommend. In this letter he gave
them my name.
Several days passed %efore anything more ,as heard a%out
the matter. Some time after,ard. one Sunday evening during
the chapel e(ercises. a messenger came in and handed the
general a telegram. At the end of the e(ercises he read the
telegram to the school. In su%stance. these ,ere its ,ords7
2Boo$er T. +ashington ,ill suit us. Send him at once.2
There ,as a great deal of 8oy e(pressed among the students
and teachers. and I received very hearty congratulations. I
%egan to get ready at once to go to Tus$egee. I ,ent %y ,ay of
my old home in +est irginia. ,here I remained for several
days. after ,hich I proceeded to Tus$egee. I found Tus$egee to
%e a to,n of a%out t,o thousand inha%itants. nearly one&half of
,hom ,ere coloured. It ,as in ,hat ,as $no,n as the Blac$
Belt of the South. In the county in ,hich Tus$egee is situated
the coloured people outnum%ered the ,hites %y a%out three to
one. In some of the ad8oining and near&%y counties the
proportion ,as not far from si( coloured persons to one ,hite.
I have often %een as$ed to define the term 2Blac$ Belt.2 So
far as I can learn. the term ,as first used to designate a part of
the country ,hich ,as distinguished %y the colour of the soil.
The part of the country possessing this thic$. dar$. and
naturally rich soil ,as. of course. the part of the South ,here
the slaves ,ere most profita%le. and conse0uently they ,ere
ta$en there in the largest num%ers. -ater. and especially since
the ,ar. the term seems to %e used ,holly in a political
sensethat is. to designate the counties ,here the %lac$ people
outnum%er the ,hite.
Before going to Tus$egee I had e(pected to find there a
%uilding and all the necessary apparatus ready for me to %egin
teaching. To my disappointment. I found nothing of the $ind. I
did find. though. that ,hich no costly %uilding and apparatus
can supply.hundreds of hungry. earnest souls ,ho ,anted to
secure $no,ledge.
Tus$egee seemed an ideal place for the school. It ,as in the
midst of the great %ul$ of the )egro population. and ,as rather
secluded. %eing five miles from the main line of railroad. ,ith
,hich it ,as connected %y a short line. During the days of
slavery. and since. the to,n had %een a centre for the education
of the ,hite people. This ,as an added advantage. for the
reason that I found the ,hite people possessing a degree of
culture and education that is not surpassed %y many localities.
+hile the coloured people ,ere ignorant. they had not. as a
rule. degraded and ,ea$ened their %odies %y vices such as are
common to the lo,er class of people in the large cities. In
general. I found the relations %et,een the t,o races pleasant.
For e(ample. the largest. and I thin$ at that time the only
hard,are store in the to,n ,as o,ned and operated 8ointly %y
a coloured man and a ,hite man. This copartnership continued
until the death of the ,hite partner.
I found that a%out a year previous to my going to Tus$egee
some of the coloured people ,ho had heard something of the
,or$ of education %eing done at !ampton had applied to the
state -egislature. through their representatives. for a small
appropriation to %e used in starting a normal school in
Tus$egee. This re0uest the -egislature had complied ,ith to
the e(tent of granting an annual appropriation of t,o thousand
dollars. I soon learned. ho,ever. that this money could %e used
only for the payment of the salaries of the instructors. and that
there ,as no provision for securing land. %uildings. or
apparatus. The tas$ %efore me did not seem a very encouraging
one. It seemed much li$e ma$ing %ric$s ,ithout stra,. The
coloured people ,ere over8oyed. and ,ere constantly offering
their services in any ,ay in ,hich they could %e of assistance
in getting the school started.
*y first tas$ ,as to find a place in ,hich to open the school.
After loo$ing the to,n over ,ith some care. the most suita%le
place that could %e secured seemed to %e a rather dilapidated
shanty near the coloured *ethodist church. together ,ith the
church itself as a sort of assem%ly&room. Both the church and
the shanty ,ere in a%out as %ad condition as ,as possi%le. I
recall that during the first months of school that I taught in this
%uilding it ,as in such poor repair that. ,henever it rained. one
of the older students ,ould very $indly leave his lessons and
hold an um%rella over me ,hile I heard the recitations of the
others. I remem%er. also. that on more than one occasion my
landlady held an um%rella over me ,hile I ate %rea$fast.
At the time I ,ent to Ala%ama the coloured people ,ere
ta$ing considera%le interest in politics. and they ,ere very
an(ious that I should %ecome one of them politically. in every
respect. They seemed to have a little distrust of strangers in this
regard. I recall that one man. ,ho seemed to have %een
designated %y the others to loo$ after my political destiny.
came to me on several occasions and said. ,ith a good deal of
earnestness7 2+e ,ants you to %e sure to vote 8es1 li$e ,e
votes. +e can1t read de ne,spapers very much. %ut ,e $no,s
ho, to vote. an1 ,e ,ants you to vote 8es1 li$e ,e votes.2 !e
added7 2+e ,atches de ,hite man. and ,e $eeps ,atching de
,hite man till ,e finds out ,hich ,ay de ,hite man1s g,ine to
vote5 an1 ,hen ,e finds out ,hich ,ay de ,hite man1s g,ine
to vote. den ,e votes 1(actly de other ,ay. Den ,e $no,s ,e1s
right.2
I am glad to add. ho,ever. that at the present time the
disposition to vote against the ,hite man merely %ecause he is
,hite is largely disappearing. and the race is learning to vote
from principle. for ,hat the voter considers to %e for the %est
interests of %oth races.
I reached Tus$egee. as I have said. early in :une. >??>. The
first month I spent in finding accommodations for the school.
and in travelling through Ala%ama. e(amining into the actual
life of the people. especially in the court districts. and in
getting the school advertised among the class of people that I
,anted to have attend it. The most of my travelling ,as done
over the country roads. ,ith a mule and a cart or a mule and a
%uggy ,agon for conveyance. I ate and slept ,ith the people.
in their little ca%ins. I sa, their farms. their schools. their
churches. Since. in the case of the most of these visits. there
had %een no notice given in advance that a stranger ,as
e(pected. I had the advantage of seeing the real. everyday life
of the people.
In the plantation districts I found that. as a rule. the ,hole
family slept in one room. and that in addition to the immediate
family there sometimes ,ere relatives. or others not related to
the family. ,ho slept in the same room. "n more than one
occasion I ,ent outside the house to get ready for %ed. or to
,ait until the family had gone to %ed. They usually contrived
some $ind of a place for me to sleep. either on the floor or in a
special part of another1s %ed. #arely ,as there any place
provided in the ca%in ,here one could %athe even the face and
hands. %ut usually some provision ,as made for this outside
the house. in the yard.
The common diet of the people ,as fat por$ and corn %read.
At times I have eaten in ca%ins ,here they had only corn %read
and 2%lac$&eye peas2 coo$ed in plain ,ater. The people seemed
to have no other idea than to live on this fat meat and corn
%read.the meat. and the meal of ,hich the %read ,as made.
having %een %ought at a high price at a store in to,n.
not,ithstanding the face that the land all a%out the ca%in homes
could easily have %een made to produce nearly every $ind of
garden vegeta%le that is raised any,here in the country. Their
one o%8ect seemed to %e to plant nothing %ut cotton5 and in
many cases cotton ,as planted up to the very door of the ca%in.
In these ca%in homes I often found se,ing&machines ,hich
had %een %ought. or ,ere %eing %ought. on instalments.
fre0uently at a cost of as much as si(ty dollars. or sho,y
cloc$s for ,hich the occupants of the ca%ins had paid t,elve or
fourteen dollars. I remem%er that on one occasion ,hen I ,ent
into one of these ca%ins for dinner. ,hen I sat do,n to the ta%le
for a meal ,ith the four mem%ers of the family. I noticed that.
,hile there ,ere five of us at the ta%le. there ,as %ut one for$
for the five of us to use. )aturally there ,as an a,$,ard pause
on my part. In the opposite corner of that same ca%in ,as an
organ for ,hich the people told me they ,ere paying si(ty
dollars in monthly instalments. "ne for$. and a si(ty&dollar
organC
In most cases the se,ing&machine ,as not used. the cloc$s
,ere so ,orthless that they did not $eep correct timeand if they
had. in nine cases out of ten there ,ould have %een no one in
the family ,ho could have told the time of day,hile the organ.
of course. ,as rarely used for ,ant of a person ,ho could play
upon it.
In the case to ,hich I have referred. ,here the family sat
do,n to the ta%le for the meal at ,hich I ,as their guest. I
could see plainly that this ,as an a,$,ard and unusual
proceeding. and ,as done in my honour. In most cases. ,hen
the family got up in the morning. for e(ample. the ,ife ,ould
put a piece of meat in a frying&pan and put a lump of dough in
a 2s$illet.2 as they called it. These utensils ,ould %e placed on
the fire. and in ten or fifteen minutes %rea$fast ,ould %e ready.
Fre0uently the hus%and ,ould ta$e his %read and meat in his
hand and start for the field. eating as he ,al$ed. The mother
,ould sit do,n in a corner and eat her %rea$fast. perhaps from
a plate and perhaps directly from the 2s$illet2 or frying&pan.
,hile the children ,ould eat their portion of the %read and
meat ,hile running a%out the yard. At certain seasons of the
year. ,hen meat ,as scarce. it ,as rarely that the children ,ho
,ere not old enough or strong enough to ,or$ in the fields
,ould have the lu(ury of meat.
The %rea$fast over. and ,ith practically no attention given to
the house. the ,hole family ,ould. as a general thing. proceed
to the cotton&field. Every child that ,as large enough to carry a
hoe ,as put to ,or$. and the %a%yfor usually there ,as at least
one %a%y,ould %e laid do,n at the end of the cotton ro,. so
that its mother could give it a certain amount of attention ,hen
she had finished chopping her ro,. The noon meal and the
supper ,ere ta$en in much the same ,ay as the %rea$fast.
All the days of the family ,ould %e spent after much this
same routine. e(cept Saturday and Sunday. "n Saturday the
,hole family ,ould spent at least half a day. and often a ,hole
day. in to,n. The idea in going to to,n ,as. I suppose. to do
shopping. %ut all the shopping that the ,hole family had
money for could have %een attended to in ten minutes %y one
person. Still. the ,hole family remained in to,n for most of
the day. spending the greater part of the time in standing on the
streets. the ,omen. too often. sitting a%out some,here
smo$ing or dipping snuff. Sunday ,as usually spent in going to
some %ig meeting. +ith fe, e(ceptions. I found that the crops
,ere mortgaged in the counties ,here I ,ent. and that the most
of the coloured farmers ,ere in de%t. The state had not %een
a%le to %uild schoolhouses in the country districts. and. as a
rule. the schools ,ere taught in churches or in log ca%ins. *ore
than once. ,hile on my 8ourneys. I found that there ,as no
provision made in the house used for school purposes for
heating the %uilding during the ,inter. and conse0uently a fire
had to %e %uilt in the yard. and teacher and pupils passed in and
out of the house as they got cold or ,arm. +ith fe,
e(ceptions. I found the teachers in these country schools to %e
misera%ly poor in preparation for their ,or$. and poor in moral
character. The schools ,ere in session from three to five
months. There ,as practically no apparatus in the
schoolhouses. e(cept that occasionally there ,as a rough
%lac$%oard. I recall that one day I ,ent into a schoolhouseor
rather into an a%andoned log ca%in that ,as %eing used as a
schoolhouseand found five pupils ,ho ,ere studying a lesson
from one %oo$. T,o of these. on the front seat. ,ere using the
%oo$ %et,een them5 %ehind these ,ere t,o others peeping over
the shoulders of the first t,o. and %ehind the four ,as a fifth
little fello, ,ho ,as peeping over the shoulders of all four.
+hat I have said concerning the character of the
schoolhouses and teachers ,ill also apply 0uite accurately as a
description of the church %uildings and the ministers.
I met some very interesting characters during my travels. As
illustrating the peculiar mental processes of the country people.
I remem%er that I as$ed one coloured man. ,ho ,as a%out
si(ty years old. to tell me something of his history. !e said that
he had %een %orn in irginia. and sold into Ala%ama in >?H@. I
as$ed him ho, many ,ere sold at the same time. !e said.
2There ,ere five of us5 myself and %rother and three mules.2
In giving all these descriptions of ,hat I sa, during my
mouth of travel in the country around Tus$egee. I ,ish my
readers to $eep in mind the fact that there ,ere many
encouraging e(ceptions to the conditions ,hich I have
descri%ed. I have stated in such plain ,ords ,hat I sa,. mainly
for the reason that later I ,ant to emphasi/e the encouraging
changes that have ta$en place in the community. not ,holly %y
the ,or$ of the Tus$egee school. %ut %y that of other
institutions as ,ell.
#ha("er VIII. Tea%hi! S%hoo)
I A S"a-)e A& A He.Ho'se
I confess that ,hat I sa, during my month of travel and
investigation left me ,ith a very heavy heart. The ,or$ to %e
done in order to lift these people up seemed almost %eyond
accomplishing. I ,as only one person. and it seemed to me that
the little effort ,hich I could put forth could go such a short
distance to,ard %ringing a%out results. I ,ondered if I could
accomplish anything. and if it ,ere ,orth ,hile for me to try.
"f one thing I felt more strongly convinced than ever. after
spending this month in seeing the actual life of the coloured
people. and that ,as that. in order to lift them up. something
must %e done more than merely to imitate )e, England
education as it then e(isted. I sa, more clearly than ever the
,isdom of the system ,hich 6eneral Armstrong had
inaugurated at !ampton. To ta$e the children of such people as
I had %een among for a month. and each day give them a fe,
hours of mere %oo$ education. I felt ,ould %e almost a ,aste
of time.
After consultation ,ith the citi/ens of Tus$egee. I set :uly H.
>??>. as the day for the opening of the school in the little
shanty and church ,hich had %een secured for its
accommodation. The ,hite people. as ,ell as the coloured.
,ere greatly interested in the starting of the ne, school. and
the opening day ,as loo$ed for,ard to ,ith much earnest
discussion. There ,ere not a fe, ,hite people in the vicinity of
Tus$egee ,ho loo$ed ,ith some disfavour upon the pro8ect.
They 0uestioned its value to the coloured people. and had a
fear that it might result in %ringing a%out trou%le %et,een the
races. Some had the feeling that in proportion as the )egro
received education. in the same proportion ,ould his value
decrease as an economic factor in the state. These people
feared the result of education ,ould %e that the )egroes ,ould
leave the farms. and that it ,ould %e difficult to secure them for
domestic service.
The ,hite people ,ho 0uestioned the ,isdom of starting this
ne, school had in their minds pictures of ,hat ,as called an
educated )egro. ,ith a high hat. imitation gold eye&glasses. a
sho,y ,al$ing&stic$. $id gloves. fancy %oots. and ,hat notin a
,ord. a man ,ho ,as determined to live %y his ,its. It ,as
difficult for these people to see ho, education ,ould produce
any other $ind of a coloured man.
In the midst of all the difficulties ,hich I encountered in
getting the little school started. and since then through a period
of nineteen years. there are t,o men among all the many
friends of the school in Tus$egee upon ,hom I have depended
constantly for advice and guidance5 and the success of the
underta$ing is largely due to these men. from ,hom I have
never sought anything in vain. I mention them simply as types.
"ne is a ,hite man and an e(&slaveholder. *r. 6eorge +.
Camp%ell5 the other is a %lac$ man and an e(&slave. *r. -e,is
Adams. These ,ere the men ,ho ,rote to 6eneral Armstrong
for a teacher.
*r. Camp%ell is a merchant and %an$er. and had had little
e(perience in dealing ,ith matters pertaining to education. *r.
Adams ,as a mechanic. and had learned the trades of
shoema$ing. harness&ma$ing. and tinsmithing during the days
of slavery. !e had never %een to school a day in his life. %ut in
some ,ay he had learned to read and ,rite ,hile a slave. From
the first. these t,o men sa, clearly ,hat my plan of education
,as. sympathi/ed ,ith me. and supported me in every effort. In
the days ,hich ,ere dar$est financially for the school. *r.
Camp%ell ,as never appealed to ,hen he ,as not ,illing to
e(tend all the aid in his po,er. I do not $no, t,o men. one an
e(&slaveholder. one an e(&slave. ,hose advice and 8udgment I
,ould feel more li$e follo,ing in everything ,hich concerns
the life and development of the school at Tus$egee than those
of these t,o men.
I have al,ays felt that *r. Adams. in a large degree. derived
his unusual po,er of mind from the training given his hands in
the process of mastering ,ell three trades during the days of
slavery. If one goes to&day into any Southern to,n. and as$s for
the leading and most relia%le coloured man in the community. I
%elieve that in five cases out of ten he ,ill %e directed to a
)egro ,ho learned a trade during the days of slavery.
"n the morning that the school opened. thirty students
reported for admission. I ,as the only teacher. The students
,ere a%out e0ually divided %et,een the se(es. *ost of them
lived in *acon County. the county in ,hich Tus$egee is
situated. and of ,hich it is the county&seat. A great many more
students ,anted to enter the school. %ut it had %een decided to
receive only those ,ho ,ere a%ove fifteen years of age. and
,ho had previously received some education. The greater part
of the thirty ,ere pu%lic&school teachers. and some of them
,ere nearly forty years of age. +ith the teachers came some of
their former pupils. and ,hen they ,ere e(amined it ,as
amusing to note that in several cases the pupil entered a higher
class than did his former teacher. It ,as also interesting to note
ho, many %ig %oo$s some of them had studied. and ho, many
high&sounding su%8ects some of them claimed to have
mastered. The %igger the %oo$ and the longer the name of the
su%8ect. the prouder they felt of their accomplishment. Some
had studied -atin. and one or t,o 6ree$. This they thought
entitled them to special distinction.
In fact. one of the saddest things I sa, during the month of
travel ,hich I have descri%ed ,as a young man. ,ho had
attended some high school. sitting do,n in a one&room ca%in.
,ith grease on his clothing. filth all around him. and ,eeds in
the yard and garden. engaged in studying a French grammar.
The students ,ho came first seemed to %e fond of
memori/ing long and complicated 2rules2 in grammar and
mathematics. %ut had little thought or $no,ledge of applying
these rules to their everyday affairs of their life. "ne su%8ect
,hich they li$ed to tal$ a%out. and tell me that they had
mastered. in arithmetic. ,as 2%an$ing and discount.2 %ut I soon
found out that neither they nor almost any one in the
neigh%ourhood in ,hich they had lived had ever had a %an$
account. In registering the names of the students. I found that
almost every one of them had one or more middle initials.
+hen I as$ed ,hat the 2:2 stood for. in the name of :ohn :.
:ones. it ,as e(plained to me that this ,as a part of his
2entitles.2 *ost of the students ,anted to get an education
%ecause they thought it ,ould ena%le them to earn more money
as school&teachers.
)ot,ithstanding ,hat I have said a%out them in these
respects. I have never seen a more earnest and ,illing company
of young men and ,omen than these students ,ere. They ,ere
all ,illing to learn the right thing as soon as it ,as sho,n them
,hat ,as right. I ,as determined to start them off on a solid
and thorough foundation. so far as their %oo$s ,ere concerned.
I soon learned that most of them had the merest smattering of
the high&sounding things that they had studied. +hile they
could locate the Desert of Sahara or the capital of China on an
artificial glo%e. I found out that the girls could not locate the
proper places for the $nives and for$s on an actual dinner&ta%le.
or the places on ,hich the %read and meat should %e set.
I had to summon a good deal of courage to ta$e a student
,ho had %een studying cu%e root and 2%an$ing and discount.2
and e(plain to him that the ,isest thing for him to do first ,as
thoroughly master the multiplication ta%le.
The num%er of pupils increased each ,ee$. until %y the end
of the first month there ,ere nearly fifty. *any of them.
ho,ever. said that. as they could remain only for t,o or three
months. they ,anted to enter a high class and get a diploma the
first year if possi%le.
At the end of the first si( ,ee$s a ne, and rare face entered
the school as a co&teacher. This ,as *iss "livia A. Davidson.
,ho later %ecame my ,ife. *iss Davidson ,as %orn in "hio.
and received her preparatory education in the pu%lic schools of
that state. +hen little more than a girl. she heard of the need of
teachers in the South. She ,ent to the state of *ississippi and
%egan teaching there. -ater she taught in the city of *emphis.
+hile teaching in *ississippi. one of her pupils %ecame ill
,ith smallpo(. Every one in the community ,as so frightened
that no one ,ould nurse the %oy. *iss Davidson closed her
school and remained %y the %edside of the %oy night and day
until he recovered. +hile she ,as at her "hio home on her
vacation. the ,orst epidemic of yello, fever %ro$e out in
*emphis. Tenn.. that perhaps has ever occurred in the South.
+hen she heard of this. she at once telegraphed the *ayor of
*emphis. offering her services as a yello,&fever nurse.
although she had never had the disease.
*iss Davidon1s e(perience in the South sho,ed her that the
people needed something more than mere %oo$&learning. She
heard of the !ampton system of education. and decided that
this ,as ,hat she ,anted in order to prepare herself for %etter
,or$ in the South. The attention of *rs. *ary !emen,ay. of
Boston. ,as attracted to her rare a%ility. Through *rs.
!emen,ay1s $indness and generosity. *iss Davidson. after
graduating at !ampton. received an opportunity to complete a
t,o years1 course of training at the *assachusetts State )ormal
School at Framingham.
Before she ,ent to Framingham. some one suggested to
*iss Davidson that. since she ,as so very light in colour. she
might find it more comforta%le not to %e $no,n as a coloured
,omen in this school in *assachusetts. She at once replied that
under no circumstances and for no considerations ,ould she
consent to deceive any one in regard to her racial identity.
Soon after her graduation from the Framingham institution.
*iss Davidson came to Tus$egee. %ringing into the school
many valua%le and fresh ideas as to the %est methods of
teaching. as ,ell as a rare moral character and a life of
unselfishness that I thin$ has seldom %een e0ualled. )o single
individual did more to,ard laying the foundations of the
Tus$egee Institute so as to insure the successful ,or$ that has
%een done there than "livia A. Davidson.
*iss Davidson and I %egan consulting as to the future of the
school from the first. The students ,ere ma$ing progress in
learning %oo$s and in development their minds5 %ut it %ecame
apparent at once that. if ,e ,ere to ma$e any permanent
impression upon those ,ho had come to us for training ,e
must do something %esides teach them mere %oo$s. The
students had come from homes ,here they had had no
opportunities for lessons ,hich ,ould teach them ho, to care
for their %odies. +ith fe, e(ceptions. the homes in Tus$egee in
,hich the students %oarded ,ere %ut little improvement upon
those from ,hich they had come. +e ,anted to teach the
students ho, to %athe5 ho, to care for their teeth and clothing.
+e ,anted to teach them ,hat to eat. and ho, to eat it
properly. and ho, to care for their rooms. Aside from this. ,e
,anted to give them such a practical $no,ledge of some one
industry. together ,ith the spirit of industry. thrift. and
economy. that they ,ould %e sure of $no,ing ho, to ma$e a
living after they had left us. +e ,anted to teach them to study
actual things instead of mere %oo$s alone.
+e found that the most of our students came from the
country districts. ,here agriculture in some form or other ,as
the main dependence of the people. +e learned that a%out
eighty&five per cent of the coloured people in the 6ulf states
depended upon agriculture for their living. Since this ,as true.
,e ,anted to %e careful not to educate our students out of
sympathy ,ith agricultural life. so that they ,ould %e attracted
from the country to the cities. and yield to the temptation of
trying to live %y their ,its. +e ,anted to give them such an
education as ,ould fit a large proportion of them to %e
teachers. and at the same time cause them to return to the
plantation districts and sho, the people there ho, to put ne,
energy and ne, ideas into farming. as ,ell as into the
intellectual and moral and religious life of the people.
All these ideas and needs cro,ded themselves upon us ,ith
a seriousness that seemed ,ell&nigh over,helming. +hat ,ere
,e to do9 +e had only the little old shanty and the a%andoned
church ,hich the good coloured people of the to,n of
Tus$egee had $indly loaned us for the accommodation of the
classes. The num%er of students ,as increasing daily. The more
,e sa, of them. and the more ,e travelled through the country
districts. the more ,e sa, that our efforts ,ere reaching. to
only a partial degree. the actual needs of the people ,hom ,e
,anted to lift up through the medium of the students ,hom ,e
should education and send out as leaders.
The more ,e tal$ed ,ith the students. ,ho ,ere then
coming to us from several parts of the state. the more ,e found
that the chief am%ition among a large proportion of them ,as
to get an education so that they ,ould not have to ,or$ any
longer ,ith their hands.
This is illustrated %y a story told of a coloured man in
Ala%ama. ,ho. one hot day in :uly. ,hile he ,as at ,or$ in a
cotton&field. suddenly stopped. and. loo$ing to,ard the s$ies.
said7 2" -a,d. de cotton am so grassy. de ,or$ am so hard.
and the sun am so hot dat I %1lieve dis dar$y am called to
preachC2
A%out three months after the opening of the school. and at
the time ,hen ,e ,ere in the greatest an(iety a%out our ,or$.
there came into mar$et for sale an old and a%andoned
plantation ,hich ,as situated a%out a mile from the to,n of
Tus$egee. The mansion houseor 2%ig house.2 as it ,ould have
%een called,hich had %een occupied %y the o,ners during
slavery. had %een %urned. After ma$ing a careful e(amination
of the place. it seemed to %e 8ust the location that ,e ,anted in
order to ma$e our ,or$ effective and permanent.
But ho, ,ere ,e to get it9 The price as$ed for it ,as very
littleonly five hundred dollars%ut ,e had no money. and ,e
,ere strangers in the to,n and had no credit. The o,ner of the
land agreed to let us occupy the place if ,e could ma$e a
payment of t,o hundred and fifty dollars do,n. ,ith the
understanding that the remaining t,o hundred and fifty dollars
must %e paid ,ithin a year. Although five hundred dollars ,as
cheap for the land. it ,as a large sum ,hen one did not have
any part of it.
In the midst of the difficulty I summoned a great deal of
courage and ,rote to my friend 6eneral :.F.B. *arshall. the
Treasurer of the !ampton Institute. putting the situation %efore
him and %eseeching him to lend me the t,o hundred and fifty
dollars on my o,n personal responsi%ility. +ithin a fe, days a
reply came to the effect that he had no authority to lend me the
money %elonging to the !ampton Institute. %ut that he ,ould
gladly lend me the amount needed from his o,n personal
funds.
I confess that the securing of this money in this ,ay ,as a
great surprise to me. as ,ell as a source of gratification. 3p to
that time I never had had in my possession so much money as
one hundred dollars at a time. and the loan ,hich I had as$ed
6eneral *arshall for seemed a tremendously large sum to me.
The fact of my %eing responsi%le for the repaying of such a
large amount of money ,eighed very heavily upon me.
I lost no time in getting ready to move the school on to the
ne, farm. At the time ,e occupied the place there ,ere
standing upon it a ca%in. formerly used as a dining room. an
old $itchen. a sta%le. and an old hen&house. +ithin a fe, ,ee$s
,e had all of these structures in use. The sta%le ,as repaired
and used as a recitation&room. and very presently the hen&house
,as utili/ed for the same purpose.
I recall that one morning. ,hen I told an old coloured man
,ho lived near. and ,ho sometimes helped me. that our school
had gro,n so large that it ,ould %e necessary for us to use the
hen&house for school purposes. and that I ,anted him to help
me give it a thorough cleaning out the ne(t day. he replied. in
the most earnest manner7 2+hat you mean. %oss9 Bou sholy
ain1t g,ine clean out de hen&house in de day&time92
)early all the ,or$ of getting the ne, location ready for
school purposes ,as done %y the students after school ,as over
in the afternoon. As soon as ,e got the ca%ins in condition to
%e used. I determined to clear up some land so that ,e could
plant a crop. +hen I e(plained my plan to the young men. I
noticed that they did not seem to ta$e to it very $indly. It ,as
hard for them to see the connection %et,een clearing land and
an education. Besides. many of them had %een school&teachers.
and they 0uestioned ,hether or not clearing land ,ould %e in
$eeping ,ith their dignity. In order to relieve them from any
em%arrassment. each afternoon after school I too$ my a(e and
led the ,ay to the ,oods. +hen they sa, that I ,as not afraid
or ashamed to ,or$. they %egan to assist ,ith more
enthusiasm. +e $ept at the ,or$ each afternoon. until ,e had
cleared a%out t,enty acres and had planted a crop.
In the meantime *iss Davidson ,as devising plans to repay
the loan. !er first effort ,as made %y holding festivals. or
2suppers.2 She made a personal canvass among the ,hite and
coloured families in the to,n of Tus$egee. and got them to
agree to give something. li$e a ca$e. a chic$en. %read. or pies.
that could %e sold at the festival. "f course the coloured people
,ere glad to give anything that they could spare. %ut I ,ant to
add that *iss Davidson did not apply to a single ,hite family.
so far as I no, remem%er. that failed to donate something5 and
in many ,ays the ,hite families sho,ed their interest in the
school.
Several of these festivals ,ere held. and 0uite a little sum of
money ,as raised. A canvass ,as also made among the people
of %oth races for direct gifts of money. and most of those
applied to gave small sums. It ,as often pathetic to note the
gifts of the older coloured people. most of ,hom had spent
their %est days in slavery. Sometimes they ,ould give five
cents. sometimes t,enty&five cents. Sometimes the
contri%ution ,as a 0uilt. or a 0uantity of sugarcane. I recall one
old coloured ,omen ,ho ,as a%out seventy years of age. ,ho
came to see me ,hen ,e ,ere raising money to pay for the
farm. She ho%%led into the room ,here I ,as. leaning on a
cane. She ,as clad in rags5 %ut they ,ere clean. She said7 2*r.
+ashin1ton. 6od $no,s I spent de %es1 days of my life in
slavery. 6od $no,s I1s ignorant an1 poor5 %ut.2 she added. 2I
$no,s ,hat you an1 *iss Davidson is tryin1 to do. I $no,s you
is tryin1 to ma$e %etter men an1 %etter ,omen for de coloured
race. I ain1t got no money. %ut I ,ants you to ta$e dese si(
eggs. ,hat I1s %een savin1 up. an1 I ,ants you to put dese si(
eggs into the eddication of dese %oys an1 gals.2
Since the ,or$ at Tus$egee started. it has %een my privilege
to receive many gifts for the %enefit of the institution. %ut never
any. I thin$. that touched me so deeply as this one.
#ha("er I/. A0io's ,ays A&
S)ee()ess Ni!h"s
The coming of Christmas. that first year of our residence in
Ala%ama. gave us an opportunity to get a farther insight into
the real life of the people. The first thing that reminded us that
Christmas had arrived ,as the 2foreday2 visits of scores of
children rapping at our doors. as$ing for 2Chris1mus giftsC
Chris1mus giftsC2 Bet,een the hours of t,o o1cloc$ and five
o1cloc$ in the morning I presume that ,e must have had a half&
hundred such calls. This custom prevails throughout this
portion of the South to&day.
During the days of slavery it ,as a custom 0uite generally
o%served throughout all the Southern states to give the
coloured people a ,ee$ of holiday at Christmas. or to allo, the
holiday to continue as long as the 2yule log2 lasted. The male
mem%ers of the race. and often the female mem%ers. ,ere
e(pected to get drun$. +e found that for a ,hole ,ee$ the
coloured people in and around Tus$egee dropped ,or$ the day
%efore Christmas. and that it ,as difficult for any one to
perform any service from the time they stopped ,or$ until after
the )e, Bear. Persons ,ho at other times did not use strong
drin$ thought it 0uite the proper thing to indulge in it rather
freely during the Christmas ,ee$. There ,as a ,idespread
hilarity. and a free use of guns. pistols. and gunpo,der
generally. The sacredness of the season seemed to have %een
almost ,holly lost sight of.
During this first Christmas vacation I ,ent some distance
from the to,n to visit the people on one of the large
plantations. In their poverty and ignorance it ,as pathetic to
see their attempts to get 8oy out of the season that in most parts
of the country is so sacred and so dear to the heart. In one ca%in
I notice that all that the five children had to remind them of the
coming of Christ ,as a single %unch of firecrac$ers. ,hich
they had divided among them. In another ca%in. ,here there
,ere at least a half&do/en persons. they had only ten cents1
,orth of ginger&ca$es. ,hich had %een %ought in the store the
day %efore. In another family they had only a fe, pieces of
sugarcane. In still another ca%in I found nothing %ut a ne, 8ug
of cheap. mean ,his$ey. ,hich the hus%and and ,ife ,ere
ma$ing free use of. not,ithstanding the fact that the hus%and
,as one of the local ministers. In a fe, instances I found that
the people had gotten hold of some %right&coloured cards that
had %een designed for advertising purposes. and ,ere ma$ing
the most of these. In other homes some mem%er of the family
had %ought a ne, pistol. In the ma8ority of cases there ,as
nothing to %e seen in the ca%in to remind one of the coming of
the Saviour. e(cept that the people had ceased ,or$ in the
fields and ,ere lounging a%out their homes. At night. during
Christmas ,ee$. they usually had ,hat they called a 2frolic.2 in
some ca%in on the plantation. That meant a $ind of rough
dance. ,here there ,as li$ely to %e a good deal of ,his$ey
used. and ,here there might %e some shooting or cutting ,ith
ra/ors.
+hile I ,as ma$ing this Christmas visit I met an old
coloured man ,ho ,as one of the numerous local preachers.
,ho tried to convince me. from the e(perience Adam had in the
6arden of Eden. that 6od had cursed all la%our. and that.
therefore. it ,as a sin for any man to ,or$. For that reason this
man sought to do as little ,or$ as possi%le. !e seemed at that
time to %e supremely happy. %ecause he ,as living. as he
e(pressed it. through one ,ee$ that ,as free from sin.
In the school ,e made a special effort to teach our students
the meaning of Christmas. and to give them lessons in its
proper o%servance. In this ,e have %een successful to a degree
that ma$es me feel safe in saying that the season no, has a
ne, meaning. not only through all that immediate region. %ut.
in a measure. ,herever our graduates have gone.
At the present time one of the most satisfactory features of
the Christmas and Than$sgiving season at Tus$egee is the
unselfish and %eautiful ,ay in ,hich our graduates and
students spend their time in administering to the comfort and
happiness of others. especially the unfortunate. )ot long ago
some of our young men spent a holiday in re%uilding a ca%in
for a helpless coloured ,omen ,ho ,as a%out seventy&five
years old. At another time I remem%er that I made it $no,n in
chapel. one night. that a very poor student ,as suffering from
cold. %ecause he needed a coat. The ne(t morning t,o coats
,ere sent to my office for him.
I have referred to the disposition on the part of the ,hite
people in the to,n of Tus$egee and vicinity to help the school.
From the first. I resolved to ma$e the school a real part of the
community in ,hich it ,as located. I ,as determined that no
one should have the feeling that it ,as a foreign institution.
dropped do,n in the midst of the people. for ,hich they had no
responsi%ility and in ,hich they had no interest. I noticed that
the very fact that they had %een as$ing to contri%ute to,ard the
purchase of the land made them %egin to feel as if it ,as going
to %e their school. to a large degree. I noted that 8ust in
proportion as ,e made the ,hite people feel that the institution
,as a part of the life of the community. and that. ,hile ,e
,anted to ma$e friends in Boston. for e(ample. ,e also ,anted
to ma$e ,hite friends in Tus$egee. and that ,e ,anted to ma$e
the school of real service to all the people. their attitude to,ard
the school %ecame favoura%le.
Perhaps I might add right here. ,hat I hope to demonstrate
later. that. so far as I $no,. the Tus$egee school at the present
time has no ,armer and more enthusiastic friends any,here
than it has among the ,hite citi/ens of Tus$egee and
throughout the state of Ala%ama and the entire South. From the
first. I have advised our people in the South to ma$e friends in
every straightfor,ard. manly ,ay ,ith their ne(t&door
neigh%our. ,hether he %e a %lac$ man or a ,hite man. I have
also advised them. ,here no principle is at sta$e. to consult the
interests of their local communities. and to advise ,ith their
friends in regard to their voting.
For several months the ,or$ of securing the money ,ith
,hich to pay for the farm ,ent on ,ithout ceasing. At the end
of three months enough ,as secured to repay the loan of t,o
hundred and fifty dollars to 6eneral *arshall. and ,ithin t,o
months more ,e had secured the entire five hundred dollars
and had received a deed of the one hundred acres of land. This
gave us a great deal of satisfaction. It ,as not only a source of
satisfaction to secure a permanent location for the school. %ut it
,as e0ually satisfactory to $no, that the greater part of the
money ,ith ,hich it ,as paid for had %een gotten from the
,hite and coloured people in the to,n of Tus$egee. The most
of this money ,as o%tained %y holding festivals and concerts.
and from small individual donations.
"ur ne(t effort ,as in the direction of increasing the
cultivation of the land. so as to secure some return from it. and
at the same time give the students training in agriculture. All
the industries at Tus$egee have %een started in natural and
logical order. gro,ing out of the needs of a community
settlement. +e %egan ,ith farming. %ecause ,e ,anted
something to eat.
*any of the students. also. ,ere a%le to remain in school %ut
a fe, ,ee$s at a time. %ecause they had so little money ,ith
,hich to pay their %oard. Thus another o%8ect ,hich made it
desira%le to get an industrial system started ,as in order to
ma$e it availa%le as a means of helping the students to earn
money enough so that they might %e a%le to remain in school
during the nine months1 session of the school year.
The first animal that the school came into possession of ,as
an old %lind horse given us %y one of the ,hite citi/ens of
Tus$egee. Perhaps I may add here that at the present time the
school o,ns over t,o hundred horses. colts. mules. co,s.
calves. and o(en. and a%out seven hundred hogs and pigs. as
,ell as a large num%er of sheep and goats.
The school ,as constantly gro,ing in num%ers. so much so
that. after ,e had got the farm paid for. the cultivation of the
land %egun. and the old ca%ins ,hich ,e had found on the
place some,hat repaired. ,e turned our attention to,ard
providing a large. su%stantial %uilding. After having given a
good deal of thought to the su%8ect. ,e finally had the plans
dra,n for a %uilding that ,as estimated to cost a%out si(
thousand dollars. This seemed to us a tremendous sum. %ut ,e
$ne, that the school must go %ac$,ard or for,ard. and that
our ,or$ ,ould mean little unless ,e could get hold of the
students in their home life.
"ne incident ,hich occurred a%out this time gave me a great
deal of satisfaction as ,ell as surprise. +hen it %ecame $no,n
in the to,n that ,e ,ere discussing the plans for a ne,. large
%uilding. a Southern ,hite man ,ho ,as operating a sa,mill
not far from Tus$egee came to me and said that he ,ould
gladly put all the lum%er necessary to erect the %uilding on the
grounds. ,ith no other guarantee for payment than my ,ord
that it ,ould %e paid for ,hen ,e secured some money. I told
the man fran$ly that at the time ,e did not have in our hands
one dollar of the money needed. )ot,ithstanding this. he
insisted on %eing allo,ed to put the lum%er on the grounds.
After ,e had secured some portion of the money ,e permitted
him to do this.
*iss Davidson again %egan the ,or$ of securing in various
,ays small contri%utions for the ne, %uilding from the ,hite
and coloured people in and near Tus$egee. I thin$ I never sa,
a community of people so happy over anything as ,ere the
coloured people over the prospect of this ne, %uilding. "ne
day. ,hen ,e ,ere holding a meeting to secure funds for its
erection. an old. ante&%ellum coloured man came a distance of
t,elve miles and %rought in his o(&cart a large hog. +hen the
meeting ,as in progress. he rose in the midst of the company
and said that he had no money ,hich he could give. %ut he had
raised t,o fine hogs. and that he had %rought one of them as a
contri%ution to,ard the e(penses of the %uilding. !e closed his
announcement %y saying7 2Any nigger that1s got any love for
his race. or any respect for himself. ,ill %ring a hog to the ne(t
meeting.2 Iuite a num%er of men in the community also
volunteered to give several days1 ,or$. each. to,ard the
erection of the %uilding.
After ,e had secured all the help that ,e could in Tus$egee.
*iss Davidson decided to go )orth for the purpose of securing
additional funds. For ,ee$s she visited individuals and spo$e
in churches and %efore Sunday schools and other organi/ations.
She found this ,or$ 0uite trying. and often em%arrassing. The
school ,as not $no,n. %ut she ,as not long in ,inning her
,ay into the confidence of the %est people in the )orth.
The first gift from any )orthern person ,as received from a
)e, Bor$ lady ,hom *iss Davidson met on the %oat that ,as
%ringing her )orth. They fell into a conversation. and the
)orthern lady %ecame so much interested in the effort %eing
made at Tus$egee that %efore they parted *iss Davidson ,as
handed a chec$ for fifty dollars. For some time %efore our
marriage. and also after it. *iss Davidson $ept up the ,or$ of
securing money in the )orth and in the South %y interesting
people %y personal visits and through correspondence. At the
same time she $ept in close touch ,ith the ,or$ at Tus$egee.
as lady principal and classroom teacher. In addition to this. she
,or$ed among the older people in and near Tus$egee. and
taught a Sunday school class in the to,n. She ,as never very
strong. %ut never seemed happy unless she ,as giving all of her
strength to the cause ,hich she loved. "ften. at night. after
spending the day in going from door to door trying to interest
persons in the ,or$ at Tus$egee. she ,ould %e so e(hausted
that she could not undress herself. A lady upon ,hom she
called. in Boston. after,ard told me that at one time ,hen *iss
Davidson called her to see and send up her card the lady ,as
detained a little %efore she could see *iss Davidson. and ,hen
she entered the parlour she found *iss Davidson so e(hausted
that she had fallen asleep.
+hile putting up our first %uilding. ,hich ,as named Porter
!all. after *r. A.!. Porter. of Broo$lyn. ).B.. ,ho gave a
generous sum to,ard its erection. the need for money %ecame
acute. I had given one of our creditors a promise that upon a
certain day he should %e paid four hundred dollars. "n the
morning of that day ,e did not have a dollar. The mail arrived
at the school at ten o1cloc$. and in this mail there ,as a chec$
sent %y *iss Davidson for e(actly four hundred dollars. I could
relate many instances of almost the same character. This four
hundred dollars ,as given %y t,o ladies in Boston. T,o years
later. ,hen the ,or$ at Tus$egee had gro,n considera%ly. and
,hen ,e ,ere in the midst of a season ,hen ,e ,ere so much
in need of money that the future loo$ed dou%tful and gloomy.
the same t,o Boston ladies sent us si( thousand dollars. +ords
cannot descri%e our surprise. or the encouragement that the gift
%rought to us. Perhaps I might add here that for fourteen years
these same friends have sent us si( thousand dollars a year.
As soon as the plans ,ere dra,n for the ne, %uilding. the
students %egan digging out the earth ,here the foundations
,ere to %e laid. ,or$ing after the regular classes ,ere over.
They had not fully outgro,n the idea that it ,as hardly the
proper thing for them to use their hands. since they had come
there. as one of them e(pressed it. 2to %e educated. and not to
,or$.2 6radually. though. I noted ,ith satisfaction that a
sentiment in favour of ,or$ ,as gaining ground. After a fe,
,ee$s of hard ,or$ the foundations ,ere ready. and a day ,as
appointed for the laying of the corner&stone.
+hen it is considered that the laying of this corner&stone
too$ place in the heart of the South. in the 2Blac$ Belt.2 in the
centre of that part of our country that ,as most devoted to
slavery5 that at that time slavery had %een a%olished only a%out
si(teen years5 that only si(teen years %efore no )egro could %e
taught from %oo$s ,ithout the teacher receiving the
condemnation of the la, or of pu%lic sentiment,hen all this is
considered. the scene that ,as ,itnessed on that spring day at
Tus$egee ,as a remar$a%le one. I %elieve there are fe, places
in the ,orld ,here it could have ta$en place.
The principal address ,as delivered %y the !on. +addy
Thompson. the Superintendent of Education for the county.
A%out the corner&stone ,ere gathered the teachers. the
students. their parents and friends. the county officials,ho
,ere ,hiteand all the leading ,hite men in that vicinity.
together ,ith many of the %lac$ men and ,omen ,hom the
same ,hite people %ut a fe, years %efore had held a title to as
property. The mem%ers of %oth races ,ere an(ious to e(ercise
the privilege of placing under the corner&stone some momento.
Before the %uilding ,as completed ,e passed through some
very trying seasons. *ore than once our hearts ,ere made to
%leed. as it ,ere. %ecause %ills ,ere falling due that ,e did not
have the money to meet. Perhaps no one ,ho has not gone
through the e(perience. month after month. of trying to erect
%uildings and provide e0uipment for a school ,hen no one
$ne, ,here the money ,as to come from. can properly
appreciate the difficulties under ,hich ,e la%oured. During the
first years at Tus$egee I recall that night after night I ,ould roll
and toss on my %ed. ,ithout sleep. %ecause of the an(iety and
uncertainty ,hich ,e ,ere in regarding money. I $ne, that. in
a large degree. ,e ,ere trying an e(perimentthat of testing
,hether or not it ,as possi%le for )egroes to %uild up and
control the affairs of a large education institution. I $ne, that if
,e failed it ,ould in8ure the ,hole race. I $ne, that the
presumption ,as against us. I $ne, that in the case of ,hite
people %eginning such an enterprise it ,ould %e ta$en for
granted that they ,ere going to succeed. %ut in our case I felt
that people ,ould %e surprised if ,e succeeded. All this made a
%urden ,hich pressed do,n on us. sometimes. it seemed. at the
rate of a thousand pounds to the s0uare inch.
In all our difficulties and an(ieties. ho,ever. I never ,ent to
a ,hite or a %lac$ person in the to,n of Tus$egee for any
assistance that ,as in their po,er to render. ,ithout %eing
helped according to their means. *ore than a do/en times.
,hen %ills figuring up into the hundreds of dollars ,ere falling
due. I applied to the ,hite men of Tus$egee for small loans.
often %orro,ing small amounts from as many as a half&do/en
persons. to meet our o%ligations. "ne thing I ,as determined to
do from the first. and that ,as to $eep the credit of the school
high5 and this. I thin$ I can say ,ithout %oasting. ,e have done
all through these years.
I shall al,ays remem%er a %it of advice given me %y *r.
6eorge +. Camp%ell. the ,hite man to ,hom I have referred to
as the one ,ho induced 6eneral Armstrong to send me to
Tus$egee. Soon after I entered upon the ,or$ *r. Camp%ell
said to me. in his fatherly ,ay7 2+ashington. al,ays remem%er
that credit is capital.2
At one time ,hen ,e ,ere in the greatest distress for money
that ,e ever e(perienced. I placed the situation fran$ly %efore
6eneral Armstrong. +ithout hesitation he gave me his personal
chec$ for all the money ,hich he had saved for his o,n use.
This ,as not the only time that 6eneral Armstrong helped
Tus$egee in this ,ay. I do not thin$ I have ever made this fact
pu%lic %efore.
During the summer of >??F. at the end of the first year1s
,or$ of the school. I ,as married to *iss Fannie ). Smith. of
*alden. +. a. +e %egan $eeping house in Tus$egee early in
the fall. This made a home for our teachers. ,ho no, had %een
increase to four in num%er. *y ,ife ,as also a graduate of the
!ampton Institute. After earnest and constant ,or$ in the
interests of the school. together ,ith her house$eeping duties.
my ,ife passed a,ay in *ay. >??H. "ne child. Portia *.
+ashington. ,as %orn during our marriage.
From the first. my ,ife most earnestly devoted her thoughts
and time to the ,or$ of the school. and ,as completely one
,ith me in every interest and am%ition. She passed a,ay.
ho,ever. %efore she had an opportunity of seeing ,hat the
school ,as designed to %e.
#ha("er /. A Har&er Task
Tha Maki! Bri%ks Wi"ho'"
S"ra1
From the very %eginning. at Tus$egee. I ,as determined to
have the students do not only the agricultural and domestic
,or$. %ut to have them erect their o,n %uildings. *y plan ,as
to have them. ,hile performing this service. taught the latest
and %est methods of la%our. so that the school ,ould not only
get the %enefit of their efforts. %ut the students themselves
,ould %e taught to see not only utility in la%our. %ut %eauty and
dignity5 ,ould %e taught. in fact. ho, to lift la%our up from
mere drudgery and toil. and ,ould learn to love ,or$ for its
o,n sa$e. *y plan ,as not to teach them to ,or$ in the old
,ay. %ut to sho, them ho, to ma$e the forces of natureair.
,ater. steam. electricity. horse&po,erassist them in their la%our.
At first many advised against the e(periment of having the
%uildings erected %y the la%our of the students. %ut I ,as
determined to stic$ to it. I told those ,ho dou%ted the ,isdom
of the plan that I $ne, that our first %uildings ,ould not %e so
comforta%le or so complete in their finish as %uildings erected
%y the e(perienced hands of outside ,or$men. %ut that in the
teaching of civili/ation. self&help. and self&reliance. the
erection of %uildings %y the students themselves ,ould more
than compensate for any lac$ of comfort or fine finish.
I further told those ,ho dou%ted the ,isdom of this plan.
that the ma8ority of our students came to us in poverty. from the
ca%ins of the cotton. sugar. and rice plantations of the South.
and that ,hile I $ne, it ,ould please the students very much to
place them at once in finely constructed %uildings. I felt that it
,ould %e follo,ing out a more natural process of development
to teach them ho, to construct their o,n %uildings. *ista$es I
$ne, ,ould %e made. %ut these mista$es ,ould teach us
valua%le lessons for the future.
During the no, nineteen years1 e(istence of the Tus$egee
school. the plan of having the %uildings erected %y student
la%our has %een adhered to. In this time forty %uildings.
counting small and large. have %een %uilt. and all e(cept four
are almost ,holly the product of student la%our. As an
additional result. hundreds of men are no, scattered
throughout the South ,ho received their $no,ledge of
mechanics ,hile %eing taught ho, to erect these %uildings.
S$ill and $no,ledge are no, handed do,n from one set of
students to another in this ,ay. until at the present time a
%uilding of any description or si/e can %e constructed ,holly
%y our instructors and students. from the dra,ing of the plans
to the putting in of the electric fi(tures. ,ithout going off the
grounds for a single ,or$man.
)ot a fe, times. ,hen a ne, student has %een led into the
temptation of marring the loo$s of some %uilding %y leadpencil
mar$s or %y the cuts of a 8ac$&$nife. I have heard an old student
remind him7 2Don1t do that. That is our %uilding. I helped put it
up.2
In the early days of the school I thin$ my most trying
e(perience ,as in the matter of %ric$ma$ing. As soon as ,e
got the farm ,or$ reasona%ly ,ell started. ,e directed our ne(t
efforts to,ard the industry of ma$ing %ric$s. +e needed these
for use in connection ,ith the erection of our o,n %uildings5
%ut there ,as also another reason for esta%lishing this industry.
There ,as no %ric$yard in the to,n. and in addition to our o,n
needs there ,as a demand for %ric$s in the general mar$et.
I had al,ays sympathi/ed ,ith the 2Children of Israel.2 in
their tas$ of 2ma$ing %ric$s ,ithout stra,.2 %ut ours ,as the
tas$ of ma$ing %ric$s ,ith no money and no e(perience.
In the first place. the ,or$ ,as hard and dirty. and it ,as
difficult to get the students to help. +hen it came to
%ric$ma$ing. their distaste for manual la%our in connection
,ith %oo$ education %ecame especially manifest. It ,as not a
pleasant tas$ for one to stand in the mud&pit for hours. ,ith the
mud up to his $nees. *ore than one man %ecame disgusted and
left the school.
+e tried several locations %efore ,e opened up a pit that
furnished %ric$ clay. I had al,ays supposed that %ric$ma$ing
,as very simple. %ut I soon found out %y %itter e(perience that
it re0uired special s$ill and $no,ledge. particularly in the
%urning of the %ric$s. After a good deal of effort ,e moulded
a%out t,enty&five thousand %ric$s. and put them into a $iln to
%e %urned. This $iln turned out to %e a failure. %ecause it ,as
not properly constructed or properly %urned. +e %egan at once.
ho,ever. on a second $iln. This. for some reason. also proved a
failure. The failure of this $iln made it still more difficult to get
the students to ta$e part in the ,or$. Several of the teachers.
ho,ever. ,ho had %een trained in the industries at !ampton.
volunteered their services. and in some ,ay ,e succeeded in
getting a third $iln ready for %urning. The %urning of a $iln
re0uired a%out a ,ee$. To,ard the latter part of the ,ee$.
,hen it seemed as if ,e ,ere going to have a good many
thousand %ric$s in a fe, hours. in the middle of the night the
$iln fell. For the third time ,e had failed.
The failure of this last $iln left me ,ithout a single dollar
,ith ,hich to ma$e another e(periment. *ost of the teachers
advised the a%andoning of the effort to ma$e %ric$s. In the
midst of my trou%les I thought of a ,atch ,hich had come into
my possession years %efore. I too$ the ,atch to the city of
*ontgomery. ,hich ,as not far distant. and placed it in a
pa,n&shop. I secured cash upon it to the amount of fifteen
dollars. ,ith ,hich to rene, the %ric$ma$ing e(periment. I
returned to Tus$egee. and. ,ith the help of the fifteen dollars.
rallied our rather demorali/ed and discouraged forces and
%egan a fourth attempt to ma$e %ric$s. This time. I am glad to
say. ,e ,ere successful. Before I got hold of any money. the
time&limit on my ,atch had e(pired. and I have never seen it
since5 %ut I have never regretted the loss of it.
Bric$ma$ing has no, %ecome such an important industry at
the school that last season our students manufactured t,elve
hundred thousand of first&class %ric$s. of a 0uality sta%le to %e
sold in any mar$et. Aside from this. scores of young men have
mastered the %ric$ma$ing trade%oth the ma$ing of %ric$s %y
hand and %y machineryand are no, engaged in this industry in
many parts of the South.
The ma$ing of these %ric$s taught me an important lesson in
regard to the relations of the t,o races in the South. *any
,hite people ,ho had had no contact ,ith the school. and
perhaps no sympathy ,ith it. came to us to %uy %ric$s %ecause
they found out that ours ,ere good %ric$s. They discovered
that ,e ,ere supplying a real ,ant in the community. The
ma$ing of these %ric$s caused many of the ,hite residents of
the neigh%ourhood to %egin to feel that the education of the
)egro ,as not ma$ing him ,orthless. %ut that in educating our
students ,e ,ere adding something to the ,ealth and comfort
of the community. As the people of the neigh%ourhood came to
us to %uy %ric$s. ,e got ac0uainted ,ith them5 they traded ,ith
us and ,e ,ith them. "ur %usiness interests %ecame
intermingled. +e had something ,hich they ,anted5 they had
something ,hich ,e ,anted. This. in a large measure. helped
to lay the foundation for the pleasant relations that have
continued to e(ist %et,een us and the ,hite people in that
section. and ,hich no, e(tend throughout the South.
+herever one of our %ric$ma$ers has gone in the South. ,e
find that he has something to contri%ute to the ,ell&%eing of the
community into ,hich he has gone5 something that has made
the community feel that. in a degree. it is inde%ted to him. and
perhaps. to a certain e(tent. dependent upon him. In this ,ay
pleasant relations %et,een the races have %een simulated.
*y e(perience is that there is something in human nature
,hich al,ays ma$es an individual recogni/e and re,ard merit.
no matter under ,hat colour of s$in merit is found. I have
found. too. that it is the visi%le. the tangi%le. that goes a long
,ays in softening pre8udices. The actual sight of a first&class
house that a )egro has %uilt is ten times more potent than
pages of discussion a%out a house that he ought to %uild. or
perhaps could %uild.
The same principle of industrial education has %een carried
out in the %uilding of our o,n ,agons. carts. and %uggies. from
the first. +e no, o,n and use on our farm and a%out the
school do/ens of these vehicles. and every one of them has
%een %uilt %y the hands of the students. Aside from this. ,e
help supply the local mar$et ,ith these vehicles. The supplying
of them to the people in the community has had the same effect
as the supplying of %ric$s. and the man ,ho learns at Tus$egee
to %uild and repair ,agons and carts is regarded as a %enefactor
%y %oth races in the community ,here he goes. The people
,ith ,hom he lives and ,or$s are going to thin$ t,ice %efore
they part ,ith such a man.
The individual ,ho can do something that the ,orld ,ants
done ,ill. in the end. ma$e his ,ay regardless of race. "ne
man may go into a community prepared to supply the people
there ,ith an analysis of 6ree$ sentences. The community may
not at the time %e prepared for. or feel the need of. 6ree$
analysis. %ut it may feel its need of %ric$s and houses and
,agons. If the man can supply the need for those. then. it ,ill
lead eventually to a demand for the first product. and ,ith the
demand ,ill come the a%ility to appreciate it and to profit %y it.
A%out the time that ,e succeeded in %urning our first $iln of
%ric$s ,e %egan facing in an emphasi/ed form the o%8ection of
the students to %eing taught to ,or$. By this time it had gotten
to %e pretty ,ell advertised throughout the state that every
student ,ho came to Tus$egee. no matter ,hat his financial
a%ility might %e. must learn some industry. Iuite a num%er of
letters came from parents protesting against their children
engaging in la%our ,hile they ,ere in the school. "ther parents
came to the school to protest in person. *ost of the ne,
students %rought a ,ritten or a ver%al re0uest from their parents
to the effect that they ,anted their children taught nothing %ut
%oo$s. The more %oo$s. the larger they ,ere. and the longer the
titles printed upon them. the %etter pleased the students and
their parents seemed to %e.
I gave little heed to these protests. e(cept that I lost no
opportunity to go into as many parts of the state as I could. for
the purpose of spea$ing to the parents. and sho,ing them the
value of industrial education. Besides. I tal$ed to the students
constantly on the su%8ect. )ot,ithstanding the unpopularity of
industrial ,or$. the school continued to increase in num%ers to
such an e(tent that %y the middle of the second year there ,as
an attendance of a%out one hundred and fifty. representing
almost all parts of the state of Ala%ama. and including a fe,
from other states.
In the summer of >??F *iss Davidson and I %oth ,ent )orth
and engaged in the ,or$ of raising funds for the completion of
our ne, %uilding. "n my ,ay )orth I stopped in )e, Bor$ to
try to get a letter of recommendation from an officer of a
missionary organi/ation ,ho had %ecome some,hat
ac0uainted ,ith me a fe, years previous. This man not only
refused to give me the letter. %ut advised me most earnestly to
go %ac$ home at once. and not ma$e any attempt to get money.
for he ,as 0uite sure that I ,ould never get more than enough
to pay my travelling e(penses. I than$ed him for his advice.
and proceeded on my 8ourney.
The first place I ,ent to in the )orth. ,as )orthampton.
*ass.. ,here I spent nearly a half&day in loo$ing for a coloured
family ,ith ,hom I could %oard. never dreaming that any hotel
,ould admit me. I ,as greatly surprised ,hen I found that I
,ould have no trou%le in %eing accommodated at a hotel.
+e ,ere successful in getting money enough so that on
Than$sgiving Day of that year ,e held our first service in the
chapel of Porter !all. although the %uilding ,as not completed.
In loo$ing a%out for some one to preach the Than$sgiving
sermon. I found one of the rarest men that it has ever %een my
privilege to $no,. This ,as the #ev. #o%ert C. Bedford. a
,hite man from +isconsin. ,ho ,as then pastor of a little
coloured Congregational church in *ontgomery. Ala. Before
going to *ontgomery to loo$ for some one to preach this
sermon I had never heard of *r. Bedford. !e had never heard
of me. !e gladly consented to come to Tus$egee and hold the
Than$sgiving service. It ,as the first service of the $ind that
the coloured people there had ever o%served. and ,hat a deep
interest they manifested in itC The sight of the ne, %uilding
made it a day of Than$sgiving for them never to %e forgotten.
*r. Bedford consented to %ecome one of the trustees of the
school. and in that capacity. and as a ,or$er for it. he has %een
connected ,ith it for eighteen years. During this time he has
%orne the school upon his heart night and day. and is never so
happy as ,hen he is performing some service. no matter ho,
hum%le. for it. !e completely o%literates himself in everything.
and loo$s only for permission to serve ,here service is most
disagreea%le. and ,here others ,ould not %e attracted. In all
my relations ,ith him he has seemed to me to approach as
nearly to the spirit of the *aster as almost any man I ever met.
A little later there came into the service of the school another
man. 0uite young at the time. and fresh from !ampton. ,ithout
,hose service the school never could have %ecome ,hat it is.
This ,as *r. +arren -ogan. ,ho no, for seventeen years has
%een the treasurer of the Institute. and the acting principal
during my a%sence. !e has al,ays sho,n a degree of
unselfishness and an amount of %usiness tact. coupled ,ith a
clear 8udgment. that has $ept the school in good condition no
matter ho, long I have %een a%sent from it. During all the
financial stress through ,hich the school has passed. his
patience and faith in our ultimate success have not left him.
As soon as our first %uilding ,as near enough to completion
so that ,e could occupy a portion of it,hich ,as near the
middle of the second year of the school,e opened a %oarding
department. Students had %egun coming from 0uite a distance.
and in such increasing num%ers that ,e felt more and more that
,e ,ere merely s$imming over the surface. in that ,e ,ere not
getting hold of the students in their home life.
+e had nothing %ut the students and their appetites ,ith
,hich to %egin a %oarding department. )o provision had %een
made in the ne, %uilding for a $itchen and dining room5 %ut
,e discovered that %y digging out a large amount of earth from
under the %uilding ,e could ma$e a partially lighted %asement
room that could %e used for a $itchen and dining room. Again I
called on the students to volunteer for ,or$. this time to assist
in digging out the %asement. This they did. and in a fe, ,ee$s
,e had a place to coo$ and eat in. although it ,as very rough
and uncomforta%le. Any one seeing the place no, ,ould never
%elieve that it ,as once used for a dining room.
The most serious pro%lem. though. ,as to get the %oarding
department started off in running order. ,ith nothing to do ,ith
in the ,ay of furniture. and ,ith no money ,ith ,hich to %uy
anything. The merchants in the to,n ,ould let us have ,hat
food ,e ,anted on credit. In fact. in those earlier years I ,as
constantly em%arrassed %ecause people seemed to have more
faith in me than I had in myself. It ,as pretty hard to coo$.
ho,ever. ,ithout stoves. and a,$,ard to eat ,ithout dishes. At
first the coo$ing ,as done out&of&doors. in the old&fashioned.
primitive style. in pots and s$illets placed over a fire. Some of
the carpenters1 %enches that had %een used in the construction
of the %uilding ,ere utili/ed for ta%les. As for dishes. there
,ere too fe, to ma$e it ,orth ,hile to spend time in
descri%ing them.
)o one connected ,ith the %oarding department seemed to
have any idea that meals must %e served at certain fi(ed and
regular hours. and this ,as a source of great ,orry. Everything
,as so out of 8oint and so inconvenient that I feel safe in saying
that for the first t,o ,ee$s something ,as ,rong at every
meal. Either the meat ,as not done or had %een %urnt. or the
salt had %een left out of the %read. or the tea had %een
forgotten.
Early one morning I ,as standing near the dining&room door
listening to the complaints of the students. The complaints that
morning ,ere especially emphatic and numerous. %ecause the
,hole %rea$fast had %een a failure. "ne of the girls ,ho had
failed to get any %rea$fast came out and ,ent to the ,ell to
dra, some ,ater to drin$ and ta$e the place of the %rea$fast
,hich she had not %een a%le to get. +hen she reached the ,ell.
she found that the rope ,as %ro$en and that she could get no
,ater. She turned from the ,ell and said. in the most
discouraged tone. not $no,ing that I ,as ,here I could hear
her. 2+e can1t even get ,ater to drin$ at this school.2 I thin$ no
one remar$ ever came so near discouraging me as that one.
At another time. ,hen *r. Bedford,hom I have already
spo$en of as one of our trustees. and a devoted friend of the
institution,as visiting the school. he ,as given a %edroom
immediately over the dining room. Early in the morning he ,as
a,a$ened %y a rather animated discussion %et,een t,o %oys in
the dining room %elo,. The discussion ,as over the 0uestion as
to ,hose turn it ,as to use the coffee&cup that morning. "ne
%oy ,on the case %y proving that for three mornings he had not
had an opportunity to use the cup at all.
But gradually. ,ith patience and hard ,or$. ,e %rought
order out of chaos. 8ust as ,ill %e true of any pro%lem if ,e
stic$ to it ,ith patience and ,isdom and earnest effort.
As I loo$ %ac$ no, over that part of our struggle. I am glad
to see that ,e had it. I am glad that ,e endured all those
discomforts and inconveniences. I am glad that our students
had to dig out the place for their $itchen and dining room. I am
glad that our first %oarding&place ,as in the dismal. ill&lighted.
and damp %asement. !ad ,e started in a fine. attractive.
convenient room. I fear ,e ,ould have 2lost our heads2 and
%ecome 2stuc$ up.2 It means a great deal. I thin$. to start off on
a foundation ,hich one has made for one1s self.
+hen our old students return to Tus$egee no,. as they often
do. and go into our large. %eautiful. ,ell&ventilated. and ,ell&
lighted dining room. and see tempting. ,ell&coo$ed foodlargely
gro,n %y the students themselvesand see ta%les. neat
ta%lecloths and nap$ins. and vases of flo,ers upon the ta%les.
and hear singing %irds. and note that each meal is served
e(actly upon the minute. ,ith no disorder. and ,ith almost no
complaint coming from the hundreds that no, fill our dining
room. they. too. often say to me that they are glad that ,e
started as ,e did. and %uilt ourselves up year %y year. %y a slo,
and natural process of gro,th.
#ha("er /I. Maki! Their Be&s
Be$ore They #o')& Lie O
The+
A little later in the history of the school ,e had a visit from
6eneral :.F.B. *arshall. the Treasurer of the !ampton
Institute. ,ho had had faith enough to lend us the first t,o
hundred and fifty dollars ,ith ,hich to ma$e a payment do,n
on the farm. !e remained ,ith us a ,ee$. and made a careful
inspection of everything. !e seemed ,ell pleased ,ith our
progress. and ,rote %ac$ interesting and encouraging reports to
!ampton. A little later *iss *ary F. *ac$ie. the teacher ,ho
had given me the 2s,eeping2 e(amination ,hen I entered
!ampton. came to see us. and still later 6eneral Armstrong
himself came.
At the time of the visits of these !ampton friends the
num%er of teachers at Tus$egee had increased considera%ly.
and the most of the ne, teachers ,ere graduates of the
!ampton Institute. +e gave our !ampton friends. especially
6eneral Armstrong. a cordial ,elcome. They ,ere all surprised
and pleased at the rapid progress that the school had made
,ithin so short a time. The coloured people from miles around
came to the school to get a loo$ at 6eneral Armstrong. a%out
,hom they had heard so much. The 6eneral ,as not only
,elcomed %y the mem%ers of my o,n race. %ut %y the
Southern ,hite people as ,ell.
This first visit ,hich 6eneral Armstrong made to Tus$egee
gave me an opportunity to get an insight into his character such
as I had not %efore had. I refer to his interest in the Southern
,hite people. Before this I had had the thought that 6eneral
Armstrong. having fought the Southern ,hite man. rather
cherished a feeling of %itterness to,ard the ,hite South. and
,as interested in helping only the coloured man there. But this
visit convinced me that I did not $no, the greatness and the
generosity of the man. I soon learned. %y his visits to the
Southern ,hite people. and from his conversations ,ith them.
that he ,as as an(ious a%out the prosperity and the happiness
of the ,hite race as the %lac$. !e cherished no %itterness
against the South. and ,as happy ,hen an opportunity offered
for manifesting his sympathy. In all my ac0uaintance ,ith
6eneral Armstrong I never heard him spea$. in pu%lic or in
private. a single %itter ,ord against the ,hite man in the South.
From his e(ample in this respect I learned the lesson that great
men cultivate love. and that only little men cherish a spirit of
hatred. I learned that assistance given to the ,ea$ ma$es the
one ,ho gives it strong5 and that oppression of the unfortunate
ma$es one ,ea$.
It is no, long ago that I learned this lesson from 6eneral
Armstrong. and resolved that I ,ould permit no man. no matter
,hat his colour might %e. to narro, and degrade my soul %y
ma$ing me hate him. +ith 6od1s help. I %elieve that I have
completely rid myself of any ill feeling to,ard the Southern
,hite man for any ,rong that he may have inflicted upon my
race. I am made to feel 8ust as happy no, ,hen I am rendering
service to Southern ,hite men as ,hen the service is rendered
to a mem%er of my o,n race. I pity from the %ottom of my
heart any individual ,ho is so unfortunate as to get into the
ha%it of holding race pre8udice.
The more I consider the su%8ect. the more strongly I am
convinced that the most harmful effect of the practice to ,hich
the people in certain sections of the South have felt themselves
compelled to resort. in order to get rid of the force of the
)egroes1 %allot. is not ,holly in the ,rong done to the )egro.
%ut in the permanent in8ury to the morals of the ,hite man. The
,rong to the )egro is temporary. %ut to the morals of the ,hite
man the in8ury is permanent. I have noted time and time again
that ,hen an individual per8ures himself in order to %rea$ the
force of the %lac$ man1s %allot. he soon learns to practise
dishonesty in other relations of life. not only ,here the )egro
is concerned. %ut e0ually so ,here a ,hite man is concerned.
The ,hite man ,ho %egins %y cheating a )egro usually ends
%y cheating a ,hite man. The ,hite man ,ho %egins to %rea$
the la, %y lynching a )egro soon yields to the temptation to
lynch a ,hite man. All this. it seems to me. ma$es it important
that the ,hole )ation lend a hand in trying to lift the %urden of
ignorance from the South.
Another thing that is %ecoming more apparent each year in
the development of education in the South is the influence of
6eneral Armstrong1s idea of education5 and this not upon the
%lac$s alone. %ut upon the ,hites also. At the present time
there is almost no Southern state that is not putting forth efforts
in the direction of securing industrial education for its ,hite
%oys and girls. and in most cases it is easy to trace the history
of these efforts %ac$ to 6eneral Armstrong.
Soon after the opening of our hum%le %oarding department
students %egan coming to us in still larger num%ers. For ,ee$s
,e not only had to contend ,ith the difficulty of providing
%oard. ,ith no money. %ut also ,ith that of providing sleeping
accommodations. For this purpose ,e rented a num%er of
ca%ins near the school. These ca%ins ,ere in a dilapidated
condition. and during the ,inter months the students ,ho
occupied them necessarily suffered from the cold. +e charge
the students eight dollars a monthall they ,ere a%le to payfor
their %oard. This included. %esides %oard. room. fuel. and
,ashing. +e also gave the students credit on their %oard %ills
for all the ,or$ ,hich they did for the school ,hich ,as of any
value to the institution. The cost of tuition. ,hich ,as fifty
dollars a year for each student. ,e had to secure then. as no,.
,herever ,e could.
This small charge in cash gave us no capital ,ith ,hich to
start a %oarding department. The ,eather during the second
,inter of our ,or$ ,as very cold. +e ,ere not a%le to provide
enough %ed&clothes to $eep the students ,arm. In fact. for
some time ,e ,ere not a%le to provide. e(cept in a fe, cases.
%edsteads and mattresses of any $ind. During the coldest nights
I ,as so trou%led a%out the discomfort of the students that I
could not sleep myself. I recall that on several occasions I ,ent
in the middle of the night to the shanties occupied %y the young
men. for the purpose of confronting them. "ften I found some
of them sitting huddled around a fire. ,ith the one %lan$et
,hich ,e had %een a%le to provide ,rapped around them.
trying in this ,ay to $eep ,arm. During the ,hole night some
of them did not attempt to lie do,n. "ne morning. ,hen the
night previous had %een unusually cold. I as$ed those of the
students in the chapel ,ho thought that they had %een
frost%itten during the night to raise their hands. Three hands
,ent up. )ot,ithstanding these e(periences. there ,as almost
no complaining on the part of the students. They $ne, that ,e
,ere doing the %est that ,e could for them. They ,ere happy
in the privilege of %eing permitted to en8oy any $ind of
opportunity that ,ould ena%le them to improve their condition.
They ,ere constantly as$ing ,hat they might do to lighten the
%urdens of the teachers.
I have heard it stated more than once. %oth in the )orth and
in the South. that coloured people ,ould not o%ey and respect
each other ,hen one mem%er of the race is placed in a position
of authority over others. In regard to this general %elief and
these statements. I can say that during the nineteen years of my
e(perience at Tus$egee I never. either %y ,ord or act. have
%een treated ,ith disrespect %y any student or officer connected
,ith the institution. "n the other hand. I am constantly
em%arrassed %y the many acts of thoughtful $indness. The
students do not seem to ,ant to see me carry a large %oo$ or a
satchel or any $ind of a %urden through the grounds. In such
cases more than one al,ays offers to relieve me. I almost never
go out of my office ,hen the rain is falling that some student
does not come to my side ,ith an um%rella and as$ to %e
allo,ed to hold it over me.
+hile ,riting upon this su%8ect. it is a pleasure for me to add
that in all my contact ,ith the ,hite people of the South I have
never received a single personal insult. The ,hite people in and
near Tus$egee. to an especial degree. seem to count it as a
privilege to sho, me all the respect ,ithin their po,er. and
often go out of their ,ay to do this.
)ot very long ago I ,as ma$ing a 8ourney %et,een Dallas
<Te(as= and !ouston. In some ,ay it %ecame $no,n in
advance that I ,as on the train. At nearly every station at ,hich
the train stopped. num%ers of ,hite people. including in most
cases of the officials of the to,n. came a%oard and introduced
themselves and than$ed me heartily for the ,or$ that I ,as
trying to do for the South.
"n another occasion. ,hen I ,as ma$ing a trip from
Augusta. 6eorgia. to Atlanta. %eing rather tired from much
travel. I rode in a Pullman sleeper. +hen I ,ent into the car. I
found there t,o ladies from Boston ,hom I $ne, ,ell. These
good ladies ,ere perfectly ignorant. it seems. of the customs of
the South. and in the goodness of their hearts insisted that I
ta$e a seat ,ith them in their section. After some hesitation I
consented. I had %een there %ut a fe, minutes ,hen one of
them. ,ithout my $no,ledge. ordered supper to %e served for
the three of us. This em%arrassed me still further. The car ,as
full of Southern ,hite men. most of ,hom had their eyes on
our party. +hen I found that supper had %een ordered. I tried to
contrive some e(cuse that ,ould permit me to leave the
section. %ut the ladies insisted that I must eat ,ith them. I
finally settled %ac$ in my seat ,ith a sigh. and said to myself.
2I am in for it no,. sure.2
To add further to the em%arrassment of the situation. soon
after the supper ,as placed on the ta%le one of the ladies
remem%ered that she had in her satchel a special $ind of tea
,hich she ,ished served. and as she said she felt 0uite sure the
porter did not $no, ho, to %re, it properly. she insisted upon
getting up and preparing and serving it herself. At last the meal
,as over5 and it seemed the longest one that I had ever eaten.
+hen ,e ,ere through. I decided to get myself out of the
em%arrassing situation and go to the smo$ing&room. ,here
most of the men ,ere %y that time. to see ho, the land lay. In
the meantime. ho,ever. it had %ecome $no,n in some ,ay
throughout the car ,ho I ,as. +hen I ,ent into the smo$ing&
room I ,as never more surprised in my life than ,hen each
man. nearly every one of them a citi/en of 6eorgia. came up
and introduced himself to me and than$ed me earnestly for the
,or$ that I ,as trying to do for the ,hole South. This ,as not
flattery. %ecause each one of these individuals $ne, that he had
nothing to gain %y trying to flatter me.
From the first I have sought to impress the students ,ith the
idea that Tus$egee is not my institution. or that of the officers.
%ut that it is their institution. and that they have as much
interest in it as any of the trustees or instructors. I have further
sought to have them feel that I am at the institution as their
friend and adviser. and not as their overseer. It has %een my aim
to have them spea$ ,ith directness and fran$ness a%out
anything that concerns the life of the school. T,o or three times
a year I as$ the students to ,rite me a letter criticising or
ma$ing complaints or suggestions a%out anything connected
,ith the institution. +hen this is not done. I have them meet
me in the chapel for a heart&to&heart tal$ a%out the conduct of
the school. There are no meetings ,ith our students that I en8oy
more than these. and none are more helpful to me in planning
for the future. These meetings. it seems to me. ena%le me to get
at the very heart of all that concerns the school. Fe, things
help an individual more than to place responsi%ility upon him.
and to let him $no, that you trust him. +hen I have read of
la%our trou%les %et,een employers and employees. I have
often thought that many stri$es and similar distur%ances might
%e avoided if the employers ,ould cultivate the ha%it of getting
nearer to their employees. of consulting and advising ,ith
them. and letting them feel that the interests of the t,o are the
same. Every individual responds to confidence. and this is not
more true of any race than of the )egroes. -et them once
understand that you are unselfishly interested in them. and you
can lead them to any e(tent.
It ,as my aim from the first at Tus$egee to not only have the
%uildings erected %y the students themselves. %ut to have them
ma$e their o,n furniture as far as ,as possi%le. I no, marvel
at the patience of the students ,hile sleeping upon the floor
,hile ,aiting for some $ind of a %edstead to %e constructed. or
at their sleeping ,ithout any $ind of a mattress ,hile ,aiting
for something that loo$ed li$e a mattress to %e made.
In the early days ,e had very fe, students ,ho had %een
used to handling carpenters1 tools. and the %edsteads made %y
the students then ,ere very rough and very ,ea$. )ot
unfre0uently ,hen I ,ent into the students1 rooms in the
morning I ,ould find at least t,o %edsteads lying a%out on the
floor. The pro%lem of providing mattresses ,as a difficult one
to solve. +e finally mastered this. ho,ever. %y getting some
cheap cloth and se,ing pieces of this together as to ma$e large
%ags. These %ags ,e filled ,ith the pine stra,or. as it is
sometimes called. pine needles,hich ,e secured from the
forests near %y. I am glad to say that the industry of mattress&
ma$ing has gro,n steadily since then. and has %een improved
to such an e(tent that at the present time it is an important
%ranch of the ,or$ ,hich is taught systematically to a num%er
of our girls. and that the mattresses that no, come out of the
mattress&shop at Tus$egee are a%out as good as those %ought in
the average store. For some time after the opening of the
%oarding department ,e had no chairs in the students1
%edrooms or in the dining rooms. Instead of chairs ,e used
stools ,hich the students constructed %y nailing together three
pieces of rough %oard. As a rule. the furniture in the students1
rooms during the early days of the school consisted of a %ed.
some stools. and sometimes a rough ta%le made %y the
students. The plan of having the students ma$e the furniture is
still follo,ed. %ut the num%er of pieces in a room has %een
increased. and the ,or$manship has so improved that little
fault can %e found ,ith the articles no,. "ne thing that I have
al,ays insisted upon at Tus$egee is that every,here there
should %e a%solute cleanliness. "ver and over again the
students ,ere reminded in those first yearsand are reminded
no,that people ,ould e(cuse us for our poverty. for our lac$ of
comforts and conveniences. %ut that they ,ould not e(cuse us
for dirt.
Another thing that has %een insisted upon at the school is the
use of the tooth&%rush. 2The gospel of the tooth&%rush.2 as
6eneral Armstrong used to call it. is part of our creed at
Tus$egee. )o student is permitted to retain ,ho does not $eep
and use a tooth&%rush. Several times. in recent years. students
have come to us ,ho %rought ,ith them almost no other article
e(cept a tooth&%rush. They had heard from the lips of other
students a%out our insisting upon the use of this. and so. to
ma$e a good impression. they %rought at least a tooth&%rush
,ith them. I remem%er that one morning. not long ago. I ,ent
,ith the lady principal on her usual morning tour of inspection
of the girls1 rooms. +e found one room that contained three
girls ,ho had recently arrived at the school. +hen I as$ed
them if they had tooth&%rushes. one of the girls replied.
pointing to a %rush7 2Bes. sir. That is our %rush. +e %ought it
together. yesterday.2 It did not ta$e them long to learn a
different lesson.
It has %een interesting to note the effect that the use of the
tooth&%rush has had in %ringing a%out a higher degree of
civili/ation among the students. +ith fe, e(ceptions. I have
noticed that. if ,e can get a student to the point ,here. ,hen
the first or second tooth&%rush disappears. he of his o,n
motion %uys another. I have not %een disappointed in the future
of that individual. A%solute cleanliness of the %ody has %een
insisted upon from the first. The students have %een taught to
%athe as regularly as to ta$e their meals. This lesson ,e %egan
teaching %efore ,e had anything in the shape of a %ath&house.
*ost of the students came from plantation districts. and often
,e had to teach them ho, to sleep at night5 that is. ,hether
%et,een the t,o sheetsafter ,e got to the point ,here ,e could
provide them t,o sheetsor under %oth of them. )aturally I
found it difficult to teach them to sleep %et,een t,o sheets
,hen ,e ,ere a%le to supply %ut one. The importance of the
use of the night&go,n received the same attention.
For a long time one of the most difficult tas$s ,as to teach
the students that all the %uttons ,ere to %e $ept on their clothes.
and that there must %e no torn places or grease&spots. This
lesson. I am pleased to %e a%le to say. has %een so thoroughly
learned and so faithfully handed do,n from year to year %y one
set of students to another that often at the present time. ,hen
the students march out of the chapel in the evening and their
dress is inspected. as it is every night. not one %utton is found
to %e missing.
#ha("er /II. Raisi! Moey
+hen ,e opened our %oarding department. ,e provided
rooms in the attic of Porter !all. our first %uilding. for a
num%er of girls. But the num%er of students. of %oth se(es.
continued to increase. +e could find rooms outside the school
grounds for many of the young men. %ut the girls ,e did not
care to e(pose in this ,ay. ery soon the pro%lem of providing
more rooms for the girls. as ,ell as a larger %oarding
department for all the students. gre, serious. As a result. ,e
finally decided to underta$e the construction of a still larger
%uildinga %uilding that ,ould contain rooms for the girls and
%oarding accommodations for all.
After having had a preliminary s$etch of the needed %uilding
made. ,e found that it ,ould cost a%out ten thousand dollars.
+e had no money ,hatever ,ith ,hich to %egin5 still ,e
decided to give the needed %uilding a name. +e $ne, ,e could
name it. even though ,e ,ere in dou%t a%out our a%ility to
secure the means for its construction. +e decided to call the
proposed %uilding Ala%ama !all. in honour of the state in
,hich ,e ,ere la%ouring. Again *iss Davidson %egan ma$ing
efforts to enlist the interest and help of the coloured and ,hite
people in and near Tus$egee. They responded ,illingly. in
proportion to their means. The students. as in the case of our
first %uilding. Porter !all. %egan digging out the dirt in order to
allo, the laying of the foundations.
+hen ,e seemed at the end of our resources. so far as
securing money ,as concerned. something occurred ,hich
sho,ed the greatness of 6eneral Armstrongsomething ,hich
proved ho, far he ,as a%ove the ordinary individual. +hen ,e
,ere in the midst of great an(iety as to ,here and ho, ,e
,ere to get funds for the ne, %uilding. I received a telegram
from 6eneral Armstrong as$ing me if I could spend a month
travelling ,ith him through the )orth. and as$ing me. if I
could do so. to come to !ampton at once. "f course I accepted
6eneral Armstrong1s invitation. and ,ent to !ampton
immediately. "n arriving there I found that the 6eneral had
decided to ta$e a 0uartette of singers through the )orth. and
hold meetings for a month in important cities. at ,hich
meetings he and I ,ere to spea$. Imagine my surprise ,hen the
6eneral told me. further. that these meetings ,ere to %e held.
not in the interests of !ampton. %ut in the interests of
Tus$egee. and that the !ampton Institute ,as to %e responsi%le
for all the e(penses.
Although he never told me so in so many ,ords. I found that
6eneral Armstrong too$ this method of introducing me to the
people of the )orth. as ,ell as for the sa$e of securing some
immediate funds to %e used in the erection of Ala%ama !all. A
,ea$ and narro, man ,ould have reasoned that all the money
,hich came to Tus$egee in this ,ay ,ould %e 8ust so much
ta$en from the !ampton Institute5 %ut none of these selfish or
short&sighted feelings ever entered the %reast of 6eneral
Armstrong. !e ,as too %ig to %e little. too good to %e mean. !e
$ne, that the people in the )orth ,ho gave money gave it for
the purpose of helping the ,hole cause of )egro civili/ation.
and not merely for the advancement of any one school. The
6eneral $ne,. too. that the ,ay to strengthen !ampton ,as to
ma$e it a centre of unselfish po,er in the ,or$ing out of the
,hole Southern pro%lem.
In regard to the addresses ,hich I ,as to ma$e in the )orth.
I recall 8ust one piece of advice ,hich the 6eneral gave me. !e
said7 26ive them an idea for every ,ord.2 I thin$ it ,ould %e
hard to improve upon this advice5 and it might %e made to
apply to all pu%lic spea$ing. From that time to the present I
have al,ays tried to $eep his advice in mind.
*eetings ,ere held in )e, Bor$. Broo$lyn. Boston.
Philadelphia. and other large cities. and at all of these meetings
6eneral Armstrong pleased. together ,ith myself. for help. not
for !ampton. %ut for Tus$egee. At these meetings an especial
effort ,as made to secure help for the %uilding of Ala%ama
!all. as ,ell as to introduce the school to the attention of the
general pu%lic. In %oth these respects the meetings proved
successful.
After that $indly introduction I %egan going )orth alone to
secure funds. During the last fifteen years I have %een
compelled to spend a large proportion of my time a,ay from
the school. in an effort to secure money to provide for the
gro,ing needs of the institution. In my efforts to get funds I
have had some e(periences that may %e of interest to my
readers. Time and time again I have %een as$ed. %y people ,ho
are trying to secure money for philanthropic purposes. ,hat
rule or rules I follo,ed to secure the interest and help of people
,ho ,ere a%le to contri%ute money to ,orthy o%8ects. As far as
the science of ,hat is called %egging can %e reduced to rules. I
,ould say that I have had %ut t,o rules. First. al,ays to do my
,hole duty regarding ma$ing our ,or$ $no,n to individuals
and organi/ations5 and. second. not to ,orry a%out the results.
This second rule has %een the hardest for me to live up to.
+hen %ills are on the eve of falling due. ,ith not a dollar in
hand ,ith ,hich to meet them. it is pretty difficult to learn not
to ,orry. although I thin$ I am learning more and more each
year that all ,orry simply consumes. and to no purpose. 8ust so
much physical and mental strength that might other,ise %e
given to effective ,or$. After considera%le e(perience in
coming into contact ,ith ,ealthy and noted men. I have
o%served that those ,ho have accomplished the greatest results
are those ,ho 2$eep under the %ody25 are those ,ho never
gro, e(cited or lose self&control. %ut are al,ays calm. self&
possessed. patient. and polite. I thin$ that President +illiam
*c;inley is the %est e(ample of a man of this class that I have
ever seen.
In order to %e successful in any $ind of underta$ing. I thin$
the main thing is for one to gro, to the point ,here he
completely forgets himself5 that is. to lose himself in a great
cause. In proportion as one loses himself in the ,ay. in the
same degree does he get the highest happiness out of his ,or$.
*y e(perience in getting money for Tus$egee has taught me
to have no patience ,ith those people ,ho are al,ays
condemning the rich %ecause they are rich. and %ecause they do
not give more to o%8ects of charity. In the first place. those ,ho
are guilty of such s,eeping criticisms do not $no, ho, many
people ,ould %e made poor. and ho, much suffering ,ould
result. if ,ealthy people ,ere to part all at once ,ith any large
proportion of their ,ealth in a ,ay to disorgani/e and cripple
great %usiness enterprises. Then very fe, persons have any
idea of the large num%er of applications for help that rich
people are constantly %eing flooded ,ith. I $no, ,ealthy
people ,ho receive as much as t,enty calls a day for help.
*ore than once ,hen I have gone into the offices of rich men.
I have found half a do/en persons ,aiting to see them. and all
come for the same purpose. that of securing money. And all
these calls in person. to say nothing of the applications
received through the mails. ery fe, people have any idea of
the amount of money given a,ay %y persons ,ho never permit
their names to %e $no,n. I have often heard persons
condemned for not giving a,ay money. ,ho. to my o,n
$no,ledge. ,ere giving a,ay thousands of dollars every year
so 0uietly that the ,orld $ne, nothing a%out it.
As an e(ample of this. there are t,o ladies in )e, Bor$.
,hose names rarely appear in print. %ut ,ho. in a 0uiet ,ay.
have given us the means ,ith ,hich to erect three large and
important %uildings during the last eight years. Besides the gift
of these %uildings. they have made other generous donations to
the school. And they not only help Tus$egee. %ut they are
constantly see$ing opportunities to help other ,orthy causes.
Although it has %een my privilege to %e the medium through
,hich a good many hundred thousand dollars have %een
received for the ,or$ at Tus$egee. I have al,ays avoided ,hat
the ,orld calls 2%egging.2 I often tell people that I have never
2%egged2 any money. and that I am not a 2%eggar.2 *y
e(perience and o%servation have convinced me that persistent
as$ing outright for money from the rich does not. as a rule.
secure help. I have usually proceeded on the principle that
persons ,ho possess sense enough to earn money have sense
enough to $no, ho, to give it a,ay. and that the mere ma$ing
$no,n of the facts regarding Tus$egee. and especially the facts
regarding the ,or$ of the graduates. has %een more effective
than outright %egging. I thin$ that the presentation of facts. on
a high. dignified plane. is all the %egging that most rich people
care for.
+hile the ,or$ of going from door to door and from office
to office is hard. disagreea%le. and costly in %odily strength. yet
it has some compensations. Such ,or$ gives one a rare
opportunity to study human nature. It also has its
compensations in giving one an opportunity to meet some of
the %est people in the ,orldto %e more correct. I thin$ I should
say the %est people in the ,orld. +hen one ta$es a %road
survey of the country. he ,ill find that the most useful and
influential people in it are those ,ho ta$e the deepest interest
in institutions that e(ist for the purpose of ma$ing the ,orld
%etter.
At one time. ,hen I ,as in Boston. I called at the door of a
rather ,ealthy lady. and ,as admitted to the vesti%ule and sent
up my card. +hile I ,as ,aiting for an ans,er. her hus%and
came in. and as$ed me in the most a%rupt manner ,hat I
,anted. +hen I tried to e(plain the o%8ect of my call. he
%ecame still more ungentlemanly in his ,ords and manner. and
finally gre, so e(cited that I left the house ,ithout ,aiting for
a reply from the lady. A fe, %loc$s from that house I called to
see a gentleman ,ho received me in the most cordial manner.
!e ,rote me his chec$ for a generous sum. and then. %efore I
had had an opportunity to than$ him. said7 2I am so grateful to
you. *r. +ashington. for giving me the opportunity to help a
good cause. It is a privilege to have a share in it. +e in Boston
are constantly inde%ted to you for doing our ,or$.2 *y
e(perience in securing money convinces me that the first type
of man is gro,ing more rare all the time. and that the latter
type is increasing5 that is. that. more and more. rich people are
coming to regard men and ,omen ,ho apply to them for help
for ,orthy o%8ects. not as %eggars. %ut as agents for doing their
,or$.
In the city of Boston I have rarely called upon an individual
for funds that I have not %een than$ed for calling. usually
%efore I could get an opportunity to than$ the donor for the
money. In that city the donors seem to feel. in a large degree.
that an honour is %eing conferred upon them in their %eing
permitted to give. )o,here else have I met ,ith. in so large a
measure. this fine and Christli$e spirit as in the city of Boston.
although there are many nota%le instances of it outside that city.
I repeat my %elief that the ,orld is gro,ing in the direction of
giving. I repeat that the main rule %y ,hich I have %een guided
in collecting money is to do my full duty in regard to giving
people ,ho have money an opportunity for help.
In the early years of the Tus$egee school I ,al$ed the streets
or travelled country roads in the )orth for days and days
,ithout receiving a dollar. "ften as it happened. ,hen during
the ,ee$ I had %een disappointed in not getting a cent from the
very individuals from ,hom I most e(pected help. and ,hen I
,as almost %ro$en do,n and discouraged. that generous help
has come from some one ,ho I had had little idea ,ould give
at all.
I recall that on one occasion I o%tained information that led
me to %elieve that a gentleman ,ho lived a%out t,o miles out
in the country from Stamford. Conn.. might %ecome interest in
our efforts at Tus$egee if our conditions and needs ,ere
presented to him. "n an unusually cold and stormy day I
,al$ed the t,o miles to see him. After some difficulty I
succeeded in securing an intervie, ,ith him. !e listened ,ith
some degree of interest to ,hat I had to say. %ut did not give
me anything. I could not help having the feeling that. in a
measure. the three hours that I had spent in seeing him had
%een thro,n a,ay. Still. I had follo,ed my usual rule of doing
my duty. If I had not seen him. I should have felt unhappy over
neglect of duty.
T,o years after this visit a letter came to Tus$egee from this
man. ,hich read li$e this7 2Enclosed I send you a )e, Bor$
draft for ten thousand dollars. to %e used in furtherance of your
,or$. I had placed this sum in my ,ill for your school. %ut
deem it ,iser to give it to you ,hile I live. I recall ,ith
pleasure your visit to me t,o years ago.2
I can hardly imagine any occurrence ,hich could have given
me more genuine satisfaction than the receipt of this draft. It
,as %y far the largest single donation ,hich up to that time the
school had ever received. It came at a time ,hen an unusually
long period had passed since ,e had received any money. +e
,ere in great distress %ecause of lac$ of funds. and the nervous
strain ,as tremendous. It is difficult for me to thin$ of any
situation that is more trying on the nerves than that of
conducting a large institution. ,ith heavy o%ligations to meet.
,ithout $no,ing ,here the money is to come from to meet
these o%ligations from month to month.
In our case I felt a dou%le responsi%ility. and this made the
an(iety all the more intense. If the institution had %een
officered %y ,hite persons. and had failed. it ,ould have
in8ured the cause of )egro education5 %ut I $ne, that the
failure of our institution. officered %y )egroes. ,ould not only
mean the loss of a school. %ut ,ould cause people. in a large
degree. to lose faith in the a%ility of the entire race. The receipt
of this draft for ten thousand dollars. under all these
circumstances. partially lifted a %urden that had %een pressing
do,n upon me for days.
From the %eginning of our ,or$ to the present I have al,ays
had the feeling. and lose no opportunity to impress our teachers
,ith the same idea. that the school ,ill al,ays %e supported in
proportion as the inside of the institution is $ept clean and pure
and ,holesome.
The first time I ever sa, the late Collis P. !untington. the
great railroad man. he gave me t,o dollars for our school. The
last time I sa, him. ,hich ,as a fe, months %efore he died. he
gave me fifty thousand dollars to,ard our endo,ment fund.
Bet,een these t,o gifts there ,ere others of generous
proportions ,hich came every year from %oth *r. and *rs.
!untington.
Some people may say that it ,as Tus$egee1s good luc$ that
%rought to us this gift of fifty thousand dollars. )o. it ,as not
luc$. It ,as hard ,or$. )othing ever comes to me. that is
,orth having. e(cept as the result of hard ,or$. +hen *r.
!untington gave me the first t,o dollars. I did not %lame him
for not giving me more. %ut made up my mind that I ,as going
to convince him %y tangi%le results that ,e ,ere ,orthy of
larger gifts. For a do/en years I made a strong effort to
convince *r. !untington of the value of our ,or$. I noted that
8ust in proportion as the usefulness of the school gre,. his
donations increased. )ever did I meet an individual ,ho too$ a
more $indly and sympathetic interest in our school than did *r.
!untington. !e not only gave money to us. %ut too$ time in
,hich to advise me. as a father ,ould a son. a%out the general
conduct of the school.
*ore than once I have found myself in some pretty tight
places ,hile collecting money in the )orth. The follo,ing
incident I have never related %ut once %efore. for the reason
that I feared that people ,ould not %elieve it. "ne morning I
found myself in Providence. #hode Island. ,ithout a cent of
money ,ith ,hich to %uy %rea$fast. In crossing the street to see
a lady from ,hom I hoped to get some money. I found a %right
ne, t,enty&five&cent piece in the middle of the street trac$. I
not only had this t,enty&five cents for my %rea$fast. %ut ,ithin
a fe, minutes I had a donation from the lady on ,hom I had
started to call.
At one of our Commencements I ,as %old enough to invite
the #ev. E. +inchester Donald. D.D.. rector of Trinity Church.
Boston. to preach the Commencement sermon. As ,e then had
no room large enough to accommodate all ,ho ,ould %e
present. the place of meeting ,as under a large improvised
ar%our. %uilt partly of %rush and partly of rough %oards. Soon
after Dr. Donald had %egun spea$ing. the rain came do,n in
torrents. and he had to stop. ,hile someone held an um%rella
over him.
The %oldness of ,hat I had done never da,ned upon me
until I sa, the picture made %y the rector of Trinity Church
standing %efore that large audience under an old um%rella.
,aiting for the rain to cease so that he could go on ,ith his
address.
It ,as not very long %efore the rain ceased and Dr. Donald
finished his sermon5 and an e(cellent sermon it ,as. too. in
spite of the ,eather. After he had gone to his room. and had
gotten the ,et threads of his clothes dry. Dr. Donald ventured
the remar$ that a large chapel at Tus$egee ,ould not %e out of
place. The ne(t day a letter came from t,o ladies ,ho ,ere
then travelling in Italy. saying that they had decided to give us
the money for such a chapel as ,e needed.
A short time ago ,e received t,enty thousand dollars from
*r. Andre, Carnegie. to %e used for the purpose of erecting a
ne, li%rary %uilding. "ur first li%rary and reading&room ,ere
in a corner of a shanty. and the ,hole thing occupied a space
a%out five %y t,elve feet. It re0uired ten years of ,or$ %efore I
,as a%le to secure *r. Carnegie1s interest and help. The first
time I sa, him. ten years ago. he seemed to ta$e %ut little
interest in our school. %ut I ,as determined to sho, him that
,e ,ere ,orthy of his help. After ten years of hard ,or$ I
,rote him a letter reading as follo,s7
Decem%er >@. >AJJ.
*r. Andre, Carnegie. @ +. Fifty&first St.. )e, Bor$.
Dear Sir7 Complying ,ith the re0uest ,hich you made of me
,hen I sa, you at your residence a fe, days ago. I no, su%mit
in ,riting an appeal for a li%rary %uilding for our institution.
+e have >>JJ students. ?G officers and instructors. together
,ith their families. and a%out FJJ coloured people living near
the school. all of ,hom ,ould ma$e use of the li%rary %uilding.
+e have over >F.JJJ %oo$s. periodicals. etc.. gifts from our
friends. %ut ,e have no suita%le place for them. and ,e have no
suita%le reading&room.
"ur graduates go to ,or$ in every section of the South. and
,hatever $no,ledge might %e o%tained in the li%rary ,ould
serve to assist in the elevation of the ,hole )egro race.
Such a %uilding as ,e need could %e erected for a%out
DFJ.JJJ. All of the ,or$ for the %uilding. such as %ric$ma$ing.
%ric$&masonry. carpentry. %lac$smithing. etc.. ,ould %e done
%y the students. The money ,hich you ,ould give ,ould not
only supply the %uilding. %ut the erection of the %uilding ,ould
give a large num%er of students an opportunity to learn the
%uilding trades. and the students ,ould use the money paid to
them to $eep themselves in school. I do not %elieve that a
similar amount of money often could %e made go so far in
uplifting a ,hole race.
If you ,ish further information. I shall %e glad to furnish it.
Bours truly.
Boo$er T. +ashington. Principal.
The ne(t mail %rought %ac$ the follo,ing reply7 2I ,ill %e
very glad to pay the %ills for the li%rary %uilding as they are
incurred. to the e(tent of t,enty thousand dollars. and I am
glad of this opportunity to sho, the interest I have in your
no%le ,or$.2
I have found that strict %usiness methods go a long ,ay in
securing the interest of rich people. It has %een my constant
aim at Tus$egee to carry out. in our financial and other
operations. such %usiness methods as ,ould %e approved of %y
any )e, Bor$ %an$ing house.
I have spo$en of several large gifts to the school5 %ut %y far
the greater proportion of the money that has %uilt up the
institution has come in the form of small donations from
persons of moderate means. It is upon these small gifts. ,hich
carry ,ith them the interest of hundreds of donors. that any
philanthropic ,or$ must depend largely for its support. In my
efforts to get money I have often %een surprised at the patience
and deep interest of the ministers. ,ho are %esieged on every
hand and at all hours of the day for help. If no other
consideration had convinced me of the value of the Christian
life. the Christli$e ,or$ ,hich the Church of all denominations
in America has done during the last thirty&five years for the
elevation of the %lac$ man ,ould have made me a Christian. In
a large degree it has %een the pennies. the nic$els. and the
dimes ,hich have come from the Sunday&schools. the
Christian Endeavour societies. and the missionary societies. as
,ell as from the church proper. that have helped to elevate the
)egro at so rapid a rate.
This spea$ing of small gifts reminds me to say that very fe,
Tus$egee graduates fail to send us an annual contri%ution.
These contri%utions range from t,enty&five cents up to ten
dollars.
Soon after %eginning our third year1s ,or$ ,e ,ere surprised
to receive money from three special sources. and up to the
present time ,e have continued to receive help from them.
First. the State -egislature of Ala%ama increased its annual
appropriation from t,o thousand dollars to three thousand
dollars5 I might add that still later it increased this sum to four
thousand five hundred dollars a year. The effort to secure this
increase ,as led %y the !on. *.F. Foster. the mem%er of the
-egislature from Tus$egee. Second. ,e received one thousand
dollars from the :ohn F. Slater Fund. "ur ,or$ seemed to
please the trustees of this fund. as they soon %egan increasing
their annual grant. This has %een added to from time to time
until at present ,e receive eleven thousand dollars annually
from the Fund. The other help to ,hich I have referred came in
the shape of an allo,ance from the Pea%ody Fund. This ,as at
first five hundred dollars. %ut it has since %een increased to
fifteen hundred dollars.
The effort to secure help from the Slater and Pea%ody Funds
%rought me into contact ,ith t,o rare menmen ,ho have had
much to do in shaping the policy for the education of the
)egro. I refer to the !on. :.-.*. Curry. of +ashington. ,ho is
the general agent for these t,o funds. and *r. *orris ;.
:essup. of )e, Bor$. Dr. Curry is a native of the South. an e(&
Confederate soldier. yet I do not %elieve there is any man in the
country ,ho is more deeply interested in the highest ,elfare of
the )egro than Dr. Curry. or one ,ho is more free from race
pre8udice. !e en8oys the uni0ue distinction of possessing to an
e0ual degree of confidence of the %lac$ man and the Southern
,hite man. I shall never forget the first time I met him. It ,as
in #ichmond. a.. ,here he ,as then living. I had heard much
a%out him. +hen I first ,ent into his presence. trem%ling
%ecause of my youth and ine(perience. he too$ me %y the hand
so cordially. and spo$e such encouraging ,ords. and gave me
such helpful advice regarding the proper course to pursue. that
I came to $no, him then. as I have $no,n him ever since. as a
high e(ample of one ,ho is constantly and unselfishly at ,or$
for the %etterment of humanity.
*r. *orris ;. :essup. the treasurer of the Slater Fund. I refer
to %ecause I $no, of no man of ,ealth and large and
complicated %usiness responsi%ilities ,ho gives not only
money %ut his time and thought to the su%8ect of the proper
method of elevating the )egro to the e(tent that is true of *r.
:essup. It is very largely through this effort and influence that
during the last fe, years the su%8ect of industrial education has
assumed the importance that it has. and %een placed on its
present footing.
#ha("er /III. T1o Tho'sa&
Mi)es For A Fi*e.Mi'"e
S(ee%h
Soon after the opening of our %oarding department. 0uite a
num%er of students ,ho evidently ,ere ,orthy. %ut ,ho ,ere
so poor that they did not have any money to pay even the small
charges at the school. %egan applying for admission. This class
,as composed of %oth men and ,omen. It ,as a great trial to
refuse admission to these applicants. and in >??H ,e
esta%lished a night&school to accommodate a fe, of them.
The night&school ,as organi/ed on a plan similar to the one
,hich I had helped to esta%lish at !ampton. At first it ,as
composed of a%out a do/en students. They ,ere admitted to the
night&school only ,hen they had no money ,ith ,hich to pay
any part of their %oard in the regular day&school. It ,as further
re0uired that they must ,or$ for ten hours during the day at
some trade or industry. and study academic %ranches for t,o
hours during the evening. This ,as the re0uirement for the first
one or t,o years of their stay. They ,ere to %e paid something
a%ove the cost of their %oard. ,ith the understanding that all of
their earnings. e(cept a very small part. ,ere to %e reserved in
the school1s treasury. to %e used for paying their %oard in the
regular day&school after they had entered that department. The
night&school. started in this manner. has gro,n until there are at
present four hundred and fifty&seven students enrolled in it
alone.
There could hardly %e a more severe test of a student1s ,orth
than this %ranch of the Institute1s ,or$. It is largely %ecause it
furnishes such a good opportunity to test the %ac$%one of a
student that I place such high value upon our night&school. Any
one ,ho is ,illing to ,or$ ten hours a day at the %ric$&yard. or
in the laundry. through one or t,o years. in order that he or she
may have the privilege of studying academic %ranches for t,o
hours in the evening. has enough %ottom to ,arrant %eing
further educated.
After the student has left the night&school he enters the day&
school. ,here he ta$es academic %ranches four days in a ,ee$.
and ,or$s at his trade t,o days. Besides this he usually ,or$s
at his trade during the three summer months. As a rule. after a
student has succeeded in going through the night&school test.
he finds a ,ay to finish the regular course in industrial and
academic training. )o student. no matter ho, much money he
may %e a%le to command. is permitted to go through school
,ithout doing manual la%our. In fact. the industrial ,or$ is
no, as popular as the academic %ranches. Some of the most
successful men and ,omen ,ho have graduated from the
institution o%tained their start in the night&school.
+hile a great deal of stress is laid upon the industrial side of
the ,or$ at Tus$egee. ,e do not neglect or overloo$ in any
degree the religious and spiritual side. The school is strictly
undenominational. %ut it is thoroughly Christian. and the
spiritual training of the students is not neglected. "ur preaching
service. prayer&meetings. Sunday&school. Christian Endeavour
Society. Boung *en1s Christian Association. and various
missionary organi/ations. testify to this.
In >??@. *iss "livia Davidson. to ,hom I have already
referred as %eing largely responsi%le for the success of the
school during its early history. and I ,ere married. During our
married life she continued to divide her time and strength
%et,een our home and the ,or$ for the school. She not only
continued to ,or$ in the school at Tus$egee. %ut also $ept up
her ha%it of going )orth to secure funds. In >??A she died. after
four years of happy married life and eight years of hard and
happy ,or$ for the school. She literally ,ore herself out in her
never ceasing efforts in %ehalf of the ,or$ that she so dearly
loved. During our married life there ,ere %orn to us t,o %right.
%eautiful %oys. Boo$er Taliaferro and Ernest Davidson. The
older of these. Boo$er. has already mastered the %ric$&ma$er1s
trade at Tus$egee.
I have often %een as$ed ho, I %egan the practice of pu%lic
spea$ing. In ans,er I ,ould say that I never planned to give
any large part of my life to spea$ing in pu%lic. I have al,ays
had more of an am%ition to D" things than merely to tal$
AB"3T doing them. It seems that ,hen I ,ent )orth ,ith
6eneral Armstrong to spea$ at the series of pu%lic meetings to
,hich I have referred. the President of the )ational
Educational Association. the !on. Thomas +. Bic$nell. ,as
present at one of those meetings and heard me spea$. A fe,
days after,ard he sent me an invitation to deliver an address at
the ne(t meeting of the Educational Association. This meeting
,as to %e held in *adison. +is. I accepted the invitation. This
,as. in a sense. the %eginning of my pu%lic&spea$ing career.
"n the evening that I spo$e %efore the Association there
must have %een not far from four thousand persons present.
+ithout my $no,ing it. there ,ere a large num%er of people
present from Ala%ama. and some from the to,n of Tus$egee.
These ,hite people after,ard fran$ly told me that they ,ent to
this meeting e(pecting to hear the South roundly a%used. %ut
,ere pleasantly surprised to find that there ,as no ,ord of
a%use in my address. "n the contrary. the South ,as given
credit for all the praise,orthy things that it had done. A ,hite
lady ,ho ,as teacher in a college in Tus$egee ,rote %ac$ to
the local paper that she ,as gratified. as ,ell as surprised. to
note the credit ,hich I gave the ,hite people of Tus$egee for
their help in getting the school started. This address at *adison
,as the first that I had delivered that in any large measure dealt
,ith the general pro%lem of the races. Those ,ho heard it
seemed to %e pleased ,ith ,hat I said and ,ith the general
position that I too$.
+hen I first came to Tus$egee. I determined that I ,ould
ma$e it my home. that I ,ould ta$e as much pride in the right
actions of the people of the to,n as any ,hite man could do.
and that I ,ould. at the same time. deplore the ,rong&doing of
the people as much as any ,hite man. I determined never to
say anything in a pu%lic address in the )orth that I ,ould not
%e ,illing to say in the South. I early learned that it is a hard
matter to convert an individual %y a%using him. and that this is
more often accomplished %y giving credit for all the
praise,orthy actions performed than %y calling attention alone
to all the evil done.
+hile pursuing this policy I have not failed. at the proper
time and in the proper manner. to call attention. in no uncertain
terms. to the ,rongs ,hich any part of the South has %een
guilty of. I have found that there is a large element in the South
that is 0uic$ to respond to straightfor,ard. honest criticism of
any ,rong policy. As a rule. the place to criticise the South.
,hen criticism is necessary. is in the Southnot in Boston. A
Boston man ,ho came to Ala%ama to criticise Boston ,ould
not effect so much good. I thin$. as one ,ho had his ,ord of
criticism to say in Boston.
In this address at *adison I too$ the ground that the policy
to %e pursued ,ith references to the races ,as. %y every
honoura%le means. to %ring them together and to encourage the
cultivation of friendly relations. instead of doing that ,hich
,ould em%itter. I further contended that. in relation to his vote.
the )egro should more and more consider the interests of the
community in ,hich he lived. rather than see$ alone to please
some one ,ho lived a thousand miles a,ay from him and from
his interests.
In this address I said that the ,hole future of the )egro
rested largely upon the 0uestion as to ,hether or not he should
ma$e himself. through his s$ill. intelligence. and character. of
such undenia%le value to the community in ,hich he lived that
the community could not dispense ,ith his presence. I said that
any individual ,ho learned to do something %etter than
any%ody elselearned to do a common thing in an uncommon
mannerhad solved his pro%lem. regardless of the colour of his
s$in. and that in proportion as the )egro learned to produce
,hat other people ,anted and must have. in the same
proportion ,ould he %e respected.
I spo$e of an instance ,here one of our graduates had
produced t,o hundred and si(ty&si( %ushels of s,eet potatoes
from an acre of ground. in a community ,here the average
production had %een only forty&nine %ushels to the acre. !e had
%een a%le to do this %y reason of his $no,ledge of the
chemistry of the soil and %y his $no,ledge of improved
methods of agriculture. The ,hite farmers in the
neigh%ourhood respected him. and came to him for ideas
regarding the raising of s,eet potatoes. These ,hite farmers
honoured and respected him %ecause he. %y his s$ill and
$no,ledge. had added something to the ,ealth and the comfort
of the community in ,hich he lived. I e(plained that my theory
of education for the )egro ,ould not. for e(ample. confine him
for all time to farm lifeto the production of the %est and the
most s,eet potatoes%ut that. if he succeeded in this line of
industry. he could lay the foundations upon ,hich his children
and grand&children could gro, to higher and more important
things in life.
Such. in %rief. ,ere some of the vie,s I advocated in this
first address dealing ,ith the %road 0uestion of the relations of
the t,o races. and since that time I have not found any reason
for changing my vie,s on any important point.
In my early life I used to cherish a feeling of ill ,ill to,ard
any one ,ho spo$e in %itter terms against the )egro. or ,ho
advocated measures that tended to oppress the %lac$ man or
ta$e from him opportunities for gro,th in the most complete
manner. )o,. ,henever I hear any one advocating measures
that are meant to curtail the development of another. I pity the
individual ,ho ,ould do this. I $no, that the one ,ho ma$es
this mista$e does so %ecause of his o,n lac$ of opportunity for
the highest $ind of gro,th. I pity him %ecause I $no, that he is
trying to stop the progress of the ,orld. and %ecause I $no,
that in time the development and the ceaseless advance of
humanity ,ill ma$e him ashamed of his ,ea$ and narro,
position. "ne might as ,ell try to stop the progress of a mighty
railroad train %y thro,ing his %ody across the trac$. as to try to
stop the gro,th of the ,orld in the direction of giving man$ind
more intelligence. more culture. more s$ill. more li%erty. and in
the direction of e(tending more sympathy and more %rotherly
$indness.
The address ,hich I delivered at *adison. %efore the
)ational Educational Association. gave me a rather ,ide
introduction in the )orth. and soon after that opportunities
%egan offering themselves for me to address audiences there.
I ,as an(ious. ho,ever. that the ,ay might also %e opened
for me to spea$ directly to a representative Southern ,hite
audience. A partial opportunity of this $ind. one that seemed to
me might serve as an entering ,edge. presented itself in >?AK.
,hen the international meeting of Christian +or$ers ,as held
at Atlanta. 6a. +hen this invitation came to me. I had
engagements in Boston that seemed to ma$e it impossi%le for
me to spea$ in Atlanta. Still. after loo$ing over my list of dates
and places carefully. I found that I could ta$e a train from
Boston that ,ould get me into Atlanta a%out thirty minutes
%efore my address ,as to %e delivered. and that I could remain
in that city %efore ta$ing another train for Boston. *y
invitation to spea$ in Atlanta stipulated that I ,as to confine
my address to five minutes. The 0uestion. then. ,as ,hether or
not I could put enough into a five&minute address to ma$e it
,orth ,hile for me to ma$e such a trip.
I $ne, that the audience ,ould %e largely composed of the
most influential class of ,hite men and ,omen. and that it
,ould %e a rare opportunity for me to let them $no, ,hat ,e
,ere trying to do at Tus$egee. as ,ell as to spea$ to them
a%out the relations of the races. So I decided to ma$e the trip. I
spo$e for five minutes to an audience of t,o thousand people.
composed mostly of Southern and )orthern ,hites. +hat I said
seemed to %e received ,ith favour and enthusiasm. The Atlanta
papers of the ne(t day commented in friendly terms on my
address. and a good deal ,as said a%out it in different parts of
the country. I felt that I had in some degree accomplished my
o%8ectthat of getting a hearing from the dominant class of the
South.
The demands made upon me for pu%lic addresses continued
to increase. coming in a%out e0ual num%ers from my o,n
people and from )orthern ,hites. I gave as much time to these
addresses as I could spare from the immediate ,or$ at
Tus$egee. *ost of the addresses in the )orth ,ere made for
the direct purpose of getting funds ,ith ,hich to support the
school. Those delivered %efore the coloured people had for
their main o%8ect the impressing upon them the importance of
industrial and technical education in addition to academic and
religious training.
I no, come to that one of the incidents in my life ,hich
seems to have e(cited the greatest amount of interest. and
,hich perhaps ,ent further than anything else in giving me a
reputation that in a sense might %e called )ational. I refer to
the address ,hich I delivered at the opening of the Atlanta
Cotton states and International E(position. at Atlanta. 6a..
Septem%er >?. >?A@.
So much has %een said and ,ritten a%out this incident. and
so many 0uestions have %een as$ed me concerning the address.
that perhaps I may %e e(cused for ta$ing up the matter ,ith
some detail. The five&minute address in Atlanta. ,hich I came
from Boston to deliver. ,as possi%ly the prime cause for an
opportunity %eing given me to ma$e the second address there.
In the spring of >?A@ I received a telegram from prominent
citi/ens in Atlanta as$ing me to accompany a committee from
that city to +ashington for the purpose of appearing %efore a
committee of Congress in the interest of securing 6overnment
help for the E(position. The committee ,as composed of a%out
t,enty&five of the most prominent and most influential ,hite
men of 6eorgia. All the mem%ers of this committee ,ere ,hite
men e(cept Bishop 6rant. Bishop 6aines. and myself. The
*ayor and several other city and state officials spo$e %efore
the committee. They ,ere follo,ed %y the t,o coloured
%ishops. *y name ,as the last on the list of spea$ers. I had
never %efore appeared %efore such a committee. nor had I ever
delivered any address in the capital of the )ation. I had many
misgivings as to ,hat I ought to say. and as to the impression
that my address ,ould ma$e. +hile I cannot recall in detail
,hat I said. I remem%er that I tried to impress upon the
committee. ,ith all the earnestness and plainness of any
language that I could command. that if Congress ,anted to do
something ,hich ,ould assist in ridding the South of the race
0uestion and ma$ing friends %et,een the t,o races. it should.
in every proper ,ay. encourage the material and intellectual
gro,th of %oth races. I said that the Atlanta E(position ,ould
present an opportunity for %oth races to sho, ,hat advance
they had made since freedom. and ,ould at the same time
afford encouragement to them to ma$e still greater progress.
I tried to emphasi/e the fact that ,hile the )egro should not
%e deprived %y unfair means of the franchise. political agitation
alone ,ould not save him. and that %ac$ of the %allot he must
have property. industry. s$ill. economy. intelligence. and
character. and that no race ,ithout these elements could
permanently succeed. I said that in granting the appropriation
Congress could do something that ,ould prove to %e of real
and lasting value to %oth races. and that it ,as the first great
opportunity of the $ind that had %een presented since the close
of the Civil +ar.
I spo$e for fifteen or t,enty minutes. and ,as surprised at
the close of my address to receive the hearty congratulations of
the 6eorgia committee and of the mem%ers of Congress ,ho
,ere present. The Committee ,as unanimous in ma$ing a
favoura%le report. and in a fe, days the %ill passed Congress.
+ith the passing of this %ill the success of the Atlanta
E(position ,as assured.
Soon after this trip to +ashington the directors of the
E(position decided that it ,ould %e a fitting recognition of the
coloured race to erect a large and attractive %uilding ,hich
should %e devoted ,holly to sho,ing the progress of the )egro
since freedom. It ,as further decided to have the %uilding
designed and erected ,holly %y )egro mechanics. This plan
,as carried out. In design. %eauty. and general finish the )egro
Building ,as e0ual to the others on the grounds.
After it ,as decided to have a separate )egro e(hi%it. the
0uestion arose as to ,ho should ta$e care of it. The officials of
the E(position ,ere an(ious that I should assume this
responsi%ility. %ut I declined to do so. on the plea that the ,or$
at Tus$egee at that time demanded my time and strength.
-argely at my suggestion. *r. I. 6arland Penn. of -ynch%urg.
a.. ,as selected to %e at the head of the )egro department. I
gave him all the aid that I could. The )egro e(hi%it. as a ,hole.
,as large and credita%le. The t,o e(hi%its in this department
,hich attracted the greatest amount of attention ,ere those
from the !ampton Institute and the Tus$egee Institute. The
people ,ho seemed to %e the most surprised. as ,ell as
pleased. at ,hat they sa, in the )egro Building ,ere the
Southern ,hite people.
As the day for the opening of the E(position dre, near. the
Board of Directors %egan preparing the programme for the
opening e(ercises. In the discussion from day to day of the
various features of this programme. the 0uestion came up as to
the advisa%ility of putting a mem%er of the )egro race on for
one of the opening addresses. since the )egroes had %een as$ed
to ta$e such a prominent part in the E(position. It ,as argued.
further. that such recognition ,ould mar$ the good feeling
prevailing %et,een the t,o races. "f course there ,ere those
,ho ,ere opposed to any such recognition of the rights of the
)egro. %ut the Board of Directors. composed of men ,ho
represented the %est and most progressive element in the South.
had their ,ay. and voted to invite a %lac$ man to spea$ on the
opening day. The ne(t thing ,as to decide upon the person ,ho
,as thus to represent the )egro race. After the 0uestion had
%een canvassed for several days. the directors voted
unanimously to as$ me to deliver one of the opening&day
addresses. and in a fe, days after that I received the official
invitation.
The receiving of this invitation %rought to me a sense of
responsi%ility that it ,ould %e hard for any one not placed in
my position to appreciate. +hat ,ere my feelings ,hen this
invitation came to me9 I remem%ered that I had %een a slave5
that my early years had %een spent in the lo,est depths of
poverty and ignorance. and that I had had little opportunity to
prepare me for such a responsi%ility as this. It ,as only a fe,
years %efore that time that any ,hite man in the audience might
have claimed me as his slave5 and it ,as easily possi%le that
some of my former o,ners might %e present to hear me spea$.
I $ne,. too. that this ,as the first time in the entire history of
the )egro that a mem%er of my race had %een as$ed to spea$
from the same platform ,ith ,hite Southern men and ,omen
on any important )ational occasion. I ,as as$ed no, to spea$
to an audience composed of the ,ealth and culture of the ,hite
South. the representatives of my former masters. I $ne,. too.
that ,hile the greater part of my audience ,ould %e composed
of Southern people. yet there ,ould %e present a large num%er
of )orthern ,hites. as ,ell as a great many men and ,omen of
my o,n race.
I ,as determined to say nothing that I did not feel from the
%ottom of my heart to %e true and right. +hen the invitation
came to me. there ,as not one ,ord of intimation as to ,hat I
should say or as to ,hat I should omit. In this I felt that the
Board of Directors had paid a tri%ute to me. They $ne, that %y
one sentence I could have %lasted. in a large degree. the success
of the E(position. I ,as also painfully conscious of the fact
that. ,hile I must %e true to my o,n race in my utterances. I
had it in my po,er to ma$e such an ill&timed address as ,ould
result in preventing any similar invitation %eing e(tended to a
%lac$ man again for years to come. I ,as e0ually determined to
%e true to the )orth. as ,ell as to the %est element of the ,hite
South. in ,hat I had to say.
The papers. )orth and South. had ta$en up the discussion of
my coming speech. and as the time for it dre, near this
discussion %ecame more and more ,idespread. )ot a fe, of
the Southern ,hite papers ,ere unfriendly to the idea of my
spea$ing. From my o,n race I received many suggestions as to
,hat I ought to say. I prepared myself as %est I could for the
address. %ut as the eighteenth of Septem%er dre, nearer. the
heavier my heart %ecame. and the more I feared that my effort
,ould prove a failure and a disappointment.
The invitation had come at a time ,hen I ,as very %usy ,ith
my school ,or$. as it ,as the %eginning of our school year.
After preparing my address. I ,ent through it. as I usually do
,ith those utterances ,hich I consider particularly important.
,ith *rs. +ashington. and she approved of ,hat I intended to
say. "n the si(teenth of Septem%er. the day %efore I ,as to start
for Atlanta. so many of the Tus$egee teachers e(pressed a
desire to hear my address that I consented to read it to them in
a %ody. +hen I had done so. and had heard their criticisms and
comments. I felt some,hat relieved. since they seemed to thin$
,ell of ,hat I had to say.
"n the morning of Septem%er >E. together ,ith *rs.
+ashington and my three children. I started for Atlanta. I felt a
good deal as I suppose a man feels ,hen he is on his ,ay to the
gallo,s. In passing through the to,n of Tus$egee I met a ,hite
farmer ,ho lived some distance out in the country. In a 8esting
manner this man said7 2+ashington. you have spo$en %efore
the )orthern ,hite people. the )egroes in the South. and to us
country ,hite people in the South5 %ut Atlanta. to&morro,. you
,ill have %efore you the )orthern ,hites. the Southern ,hites.
and the )egroes all together. I am afraid that you have got
yourself in a tight place.2 This farmer diagnosed the situation
correctly. %ut his fran$ ,ords did not add anything to my
comfort.
In the course of the 8ourney from Tus$egee to Atlanta %oth
coloured and ,hite people came to the train to point me out.
and discussed ,ith perfect freedom. in my hearings. ,hat ,as
going to ta$e place the ne(t day. +e ,ere met %y a committee
in Atlanta. Almost the first thing that I heard ,hen I got off the
train in that city ,as an e(pression something li$e this. from an
old coloured man near %y7 2Dat1s de man of my race ,hat1s
g,ine to ma$e a speech at de E(position to&morro,. I1se sho1
g,ine to hear him.2
Atlanta ,as literally pac$ed. at the time. ,ith people from
all parts of the country. and ,ith representatives of foreign
governments. as ,ell as ,ith military and civic organi/ations.
The afternoon papers had forecasts of the ne(t day1s
proceedings in flaring headlines. All this tended to add to my
%urden. I did not sleep much that night. The ne(t morning.
%efore day. I ,ent carefully over ,hat I planned to say. I also
$neeled do,n and as$ed 6od1s %lessing upon my effort. #ight
here. perhaps. I ought to add that I ma$e it a rule never to go
%efore an audience. on any occasion. ,ithout as$ing the
%lessing of 6od upon ,hat I ,ant to say.
I al,ays ma$e it a rule to ma$e especial preparation for each
separate address. )o t,o audiences are e(actly ali$e. It is my
aim to reach and tal$ to the heart of each individual audience.
ta$ing it into my confidence very much as I ,ould a person.
+hen I am spea$ing to an audience. I care little for ho, ,hat I
am saying is going to sound in the ne,spapers. or to another
audience. or to an individual. At the time. the audience %efore
me a%sor%s all my sympathy. thought. and energy.
Early in the morning a committee called to escort me to my
place in the procession ,hich ,as to march to the E(position
grounds. In this procession ,ere prominent coloured citi/ens in
carriages. as ,ell as several )egro military organi/ations. I
noted that the E(position officials seemed to go out of their
,ay to see that all of the coloured people in the procession
,ere properly placed and properly treated. The procession ,as
a%out three hours in reaching the E(position grounds. and
during all of this time the sun ,as shining do,n upon us
disagreea%ly hot. +hen ,e reached the grounds. the heat.
together ,ith my nervous an(iety. made me feel as if I ,ere
a%out ready to collapse. and to feel that my address ,as not
going to %e a success. +hen I entered the audience&room. I
found it pac$ed ,ith humanity from %ottom to top. and there
,ere thousands outside ,ho could not get in.
The room ,as very large. and ,ell suited to pu%lic spea$ing.
+hen I entered the room. there ,ere vigorous cheers from the
coloured portion of the audience. and faint cheers from some of
the ,hite people. I had %een told. ,hile I had %een in Atlanta.
that ,hile many ,hite people ,ere going to %e present to hear
me spea$. simply out of curiosity. and that others ,ho ,ould
%e present ,ould %e in full sympathy ,ith me. there ,as a still
larger element of the audience ,hich ,ould consist of those
,ho ,ere going to %e present for the purpose of hearing me
ma$e a fool of myself. or. at least. of hearing me say some
foolish thing so that they could say to the officials ,ho had
invited me to spea$. 2I told you soC2
"ne of the trustees of the Tus$egee Institute. as ,ell as my
personal friend. *r. +illiam !. Bald,in. :r. ,as at the time
6eneral *anager of the Southern #ailroad. and happened to %e
in Atlanta on that day. !e ,as so nervous a%out the $ind of
reception that I ,ould have. and the effect that my speech
,ould produce. that he could not persuade himself to go into
the %uilding. %ut ,al$ed %ac$ and forth in the grounds outside
until the opening e(ercises ,ere over.
#ha("er /IV. The A")a"a
E0(osi"io A&&ress
The Atlanta E(position. at ,hich I had %een as$ed to ma$e
an address as a representative of the )egro race. as stated in the
last chapter. ,as opened ,ith a short address from 6overnor
Bulloc$. After other interesting e(ercises. including an
invocation from Bishop )elson. of 6eorgia. a dedicatory ode
%y Al%ert !o,ell. :r.. and addresses %y the President of the
E(position and *rs. :oseph Thompson. the President of the
+oman1s Board. 6overnor Bulloc$ introduce me ,ith the
,ords. 2+e have ,ith us to&day a representative of )egro
enterprise and )egro civili/ation.2
+hen I arose to spea$. there ,as considera%le cheering.
especially from the coloured people. As I remem%er it no,. the
thing that ,as uppermost in my mind ,as the desire to say
something that ,ould cement the friendship of the races and
%ring a%out hearty cooperation %et,een them. So far as my
out,ard surroundings ,ere concerned. the only thing that I
recall distinctly no, is that ,hen I got up. I sa, thousands of
eyes loo$ing intently into my face. The follo,ing is the address
,hich I delivered7
*r. President and 6entlemen of the Board of Directors and
Citi/ens.
"ne&third of the population of the South is of the )egro race.
)o enterprise see$ing the material. civil. or moral ,elfare of
this section can disregard this element of our population and
reach the highest success. I %ut convey to you. *r. President
and Directors. the sentiment of the masses of my race ,hen I
say that in no ,ay have the value and manhood of the
American )egro %een more fittingly and generously
recogni/ed than %y the managers of this magnificent
E(position at every stage of its progress. It is a recognition that
,ill do more to cement the friendship of the t,o races than any
occurrence since the da,n of our freedom.
)ot only this. %ut the opportunity here afforded ,ill a,a$en
among us a ne, era of industrial progress. Ignorant and
ine(perienced. it is not strange that in the first years of our ne,
life ,e %egan at the top instead of at the %ottom5 that a seat in
Congress or the state legislature ,as more sought than real
estate or industrial s$ill5 that the political convention or stump
spea$ing had more attractions than starting a dairy farm or
truc$ garden.
A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly
vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel ,as seen a
signal. 2+ater. ,ater5 ,e die of thirstC2 The ans,er from the
friendly vessel at once came %ac$. 2Cast do,n your %uc$et
,here you are.2 A second time the signal. 2+ater. ,ater5 send
us ,aterC2 ran up from the distressed vessel. and ,as ans,ered.
2Cast do,n your %uc$et ,here you are.2 And a third and fourth
signal for ,ater ,as ans,ered. 2Cast do,n your %uc$et ,here
you are.2 The captain of the distressed vessel. at last heading
the in8unction. cast do,n his %uc$et. and it came up full of
fresh. spar$ling ,ater from the mouth of the Ama/on #iver. To
those of my race ,ho depend on %ettering their condition in a
foreign land or ,ho underestimate the importance of
cultivating friendly relations ,ith the Southern ,hite man. ,ho
is their ne(t&door neigh%our. I ,ould say7 2Cast do,n your
%uc$et ,here you are2cast it do,n in ma$ing friends in every
manly ,ay of the people of all races %y ,hom ,e are
surrounded.
Cast it do,n in agriculture. mechanics. in commerce. in
domestic service. and in the professions. And in this connection
it is ,ell to %ear in mind that ,hatever other sins the South
may %e called to %ear. ,hen it comes to %usiness. pure and
simple. it is in the South that the )egro is given a man1s chance
in the commercial ,orld. and in nothing is this E(position
more elo0uent than in emphasi/ing this chance. "ur greatest
danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom ,e may
overloo$ the fact that the masses of us are to live %y the
productions of our hands. and fail to $eep in mind that ,e shall
prosper in proportion as ,e learn to dignify and glorify
common la%our and put %rains and s$ill into the common
occupations of life5 shall prosper in proportion as ,e learn to
dra, the line %et,een the superficial and the su%stantial. the
ornamental ge,ga,s of life and the useful. )o race can
prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a
field as in ,riting a poem. It is at the %ottom of life ,e must
%egin. and not at the top. )or should ,e permit our grievances
to overshado, our opportunities.
To those of the ,hite race ,ho loo$ to the incoming of those
of foreign %irth and strange tongue and ha%its of the prosperity
of the South. ,ere I permitted I ,ould repeat ,hat I say to my
o,n race7 2Cast do,n your %uc$et ,here you are.2 Cast it
do,n among the eight millions of )egroes ,hose ha%its you
$no,. ,hose fidelity and love you have tested in days ,hen to
have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides. Cast
do,n your %uc$et among these people ,ho have. ,ithout
stri$es and la%our ,ars. tilled your fields. cleared your forests.
%uilded your railroads and cities. and %rought forth treasures
from the %o,els of the earth. and helped ma$e possi%le this
magnificent representation of the progress of the South.
Casting do,n your %uc$et among my people. helping and
encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds. and to
education of head. hand. and heart. you ,ill find that they ,ill
%uy your surplus land. ma$e %lossom the ,aste places in your
fields. and run your factories. +hile doing this. you can %e sure
in the future. as in the past. that you and your families ,ill %e
surrounded %y the most patient. faithful. la,&a%iding. and
unresentful people that the ,orld has seen. As ,e have proved
our loyalty to you in the past. nursing your children. ,atching
%y the sic$&%ed of your mothers and fathers. and often
follo,ing them ,ith tear&dimmed eyes to their graves. so in the
future. in our hum%le ,ay. ,e shall stand %y you ,ith a
devotion that no foreigner can approach. ready to lay do,n our
lives. if need %e. in defence of yours. interlacing our industrial.
commercial. civil. and religious life ,ith yours in a ,ay that
shall ma$e the interests of %oth races one. In all things that are
purely social ,e can %e as separate as the fingers. yet one as
the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.
There is no defence or security for any of us e(cept in the
highest intelligence and development of all. If any,here there
are efforts tending to curtail the fullest gro,th of the )egro. let
these efforts %e turned into stimulating. encouraging. and
ma$ing him the most useful and intelligent citi/en. Effort or
means so invested ,ill pay a thousand per cent interest. These
efforts ,ill %e t,ice %lessed2%lessing him that gives and him
that ta$es.2
There is no escape through la, of man or 6od from the
inevita%le7
The la$# of changele## ju#tice bin%
+ppre##or $ith oppre##e%@
An% clo#e a# #in an% #uffering joine%
"e march to fate abrea#t!
)early si(teen millions of hands ,ill aid you in pulling the
load up,ard. or they ,ill pull against you the load do,n,ard.
+e shall constitute one&third and more of the ignorance and
crime of the South. or one&third its intelligence and progress5
,e shall contri%ute one&third to the %usiness and industrial
prosperity of the South. or ,e shall prove a verita%le %ody of
death. stagnating. depressing. retarding every effort to advance
the %ody politic.
6entlemen of the E(position. as ,e present to you our
hum%le effort at an e(hi%ition of our progress. you must not
e(pect overmuch. Starting thirty years ago ,ith o,nership here
and there in a fe, 0uilts and pump$ins and chic$ens <gathered
from miscellaneous sources=. remem%er the path that has led
from these to the inventions and production of agricultural
implements. %uggies. steam&engines. ne,spapers. %oo$s.
statuary. carving. paintings. the management of drug&stores and
%an$s. has not %een trodden ,ithout contact ,ith thorns and
thistles. +hile ,e ta$e pride in ,hat ,e e(hi%it as a result of
our independent efforts. ,e do not for a moment forget that our
part in this e(hi%ition ,ould fall far short of your e(pectations
%ut for the constant help that has come to our education life.
not only from the Southern states. %ut especially from )orthern
philanthropists. ,ho have made their gifts a constant stream of
%lessing and encouragement.
The ,isest among my race understand that the agitation of
0uestions of social e0uality is the e(tremest folly. and that
progress in the en8oyment of all the privileges that ,ill come to
us must %e the result of severe and constant struggle rather than
of artificial forcing. )o race that has anything to contri%ute to
the mar$ets of the ,orld is long in any degree ostraci/ed. It is
important and right that all privileges of the la, %e ours. %ut it
is vastly more important that ,e %e prepared for the e(ercises
of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory
8ust no, is ,orth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend
a dollar in an opera&house.
In conclusion. may I repeat that nothing in thirty years has
given us more hope and encouragement. and dra,n us so near
to you of the ,hite race. as this opportunity offered %y the
E(position5 and here %ending. as it ,ere. over the altar that
represents the results of the struggles of your race and mine.
%oth starting practically empty&handed three decades ago. I
pledge that in your effort to ,or$ out the great and intricate
pro%lem ,hich 6od has laid at the doors of the South. you
shall have at all times the patient. sympathetic help of my race5
only let this %e constantly in mind. that. ,hile from
representations in these %uildings of the product of field. of
forest. of mine. of factory. letters. and art. much good ,ill
come. yet far a%ove and %eyond material %enefits ,ill %e that
higher good. that. let us pray 6od. ,ill come. in a %lotting out
of sectional differences and racial animosities and suspicions.
in a determination to administer a%solute 8ustice. in a ,illing
o%edience among all classes to the mandates of la,. This. this.
coupled ,ith our material prosperity. ,ill %ring into our
%eloved South a ne, heaven and a ne, earth.
The first thing that I remem%er. after I had finished spea$ing.
,as that 6overnor Bulloc$ rushed across the platform and too$
me %y the hand. and that others did the same. I received so
many and such hearty congratulations that I found it difficult to
get out of the %uilding. I did not appreciate to any degree.
ho,ever. the impression ,hich my address seemed to have
made. until the ne(t morning. ,hen I ,ent into the %usiness
part of the city. As soon as I ,as recogni/ed. I ,as surprised to
find myself pointed out and surrounded %y a cro,d of men
,ho ,ished to sha$e hands ,ith me. This ,as $ept up on every
street on to ,hich I ,ent. to an e(tent ,hich em%arrassed me
so much that I ,ent %ac$ to my %oarding&place. The ne(t
morning I returned to Tus$egee. At the station in Atlanta. and
at almost all of the stations at ,hich the train stopped %et,een
that city and Tus$egee. I found a cro,d of people an(ious to
sha$e hands ,ith me.
The papers in all parts of the 3nited States pu%lished the
address in full. and for months after,ard there ,ere
complimentary editorial references to it. *r. Clar$ !o,ell. the
editor of the Atlanta Constitution. telegraphed to a )e, Bor$
paper. among other ,ords. the follo,ing. 2I do not e(aggerate
,hen I say that Professor Boo$er T. +ashington1s address
yesterday ,as one of the most nota%le speeches. %oth as to
character and as to the ,armth of its reception. ever delivered
to a Southern audience. The address ,as a revelation. The
,hole speech is a platform upon ,hich %lac$s and ,hites can
stand ,ith full 8ustice to each other.2
The Boston Transcript said editorially7 2The speech of
Boo$er T. +ashington at the Atlanta E(position. this ,ee$.
seems to have d,arfed all the other proceedings and the
E(position itself. The sensation that it has caused in the press
has never %een e0ualled.2
I very soon %egan receiving all $inds of propositions from
lecture %ureaus. and editors of maga/ines and papers. to ta$e
the lecture platform. and to ,rite articles. "ne lecture %ureau
offered me fifty thousand dollars. or t,o hundred dollars a
night and e(penses. if I ,ould place my services at its disposal
for a given period. To all these communications I replied that
my life&,or$ ,as at Tus$egee5 and that ,henever I spo$e it
must %e in the interests of Tus$egee school and my race. and
that I ,ould enter into no arrangements that seemed to place a
mere commercial value upon my services.
Some days after its delivery I sent a copy of my address to
the President of the 3nited States. the !on. 6rover Cleveland.
I received from him the follo,ing autograph reply7
6ray 6a%les. Bu//ard1s Bay. *ass..
"cto%er G. >?A@.
Boo$er T. +ashington. Es0.7
*y Dear Sir7 I than$ you for sending me a copy of your
address delivered at the Atlanta E(position.
I than$ you ,ith much enthusiasm for ma$ing the address. I
have read it ,ith intense interest. and I thin$ the E(position
,ould %e fully 8ustified if it did not do more than furnish the
opportunity for its delivery. Bour ,ords cannot fail to delight
and encourage all ,ho ,ish ,ell for your race5 and if our
coloured fello,&citi/ens do not from your utterances gather
ne, hope and form ne, determinations to gain every valua%le
advantage offered them %y their citi/enship. it ,ill %e strange
indeed.
Bours very truly.
6rover Cleveland.
-ater I met *r. Cleveland. for the first time. ,hen. as
President. he visited the Atlanta E(position. At the re0uest of
myself and others he consented to spend an hour in the )egro
Building. for the purpose of inspecting the )egro e(hi%it and
of giving the coloured people in attendance an opportunity to
sha$e hands ,ith him. As soon as I met *r. Cleveland I
%ecame impressed ,ith his simplicity. greatness. and rugged
honesty. I have met him many times since then. %oth at pu%lic
functions and at his private residence in Princeton. and the
more I see of him the more I admire him. +hen he visited the
)egro Building in Atlanta he seemed to give himself up
,holly. for that hour. to the coloured people. !e seemed to %e
as careful to sha$e hands ,ith some old coloured 2auntie2 clad
partially in rags. and to ta$e as much pleasure in doing so. as if
he ,ere greeting some millionaire. *any of the coloured
people too$ advantage of the occasion to get him to ,rite his
name in a %oo$ or on a slip of paper. !e ,as as careful and
patient in doing this as if he ,ere putting his signature to some
great state document.
*r. Cleveland has not only sho,n his friendship for me in
many personal ,ays. %ut has al,ays consented to do anything I
have as$ed of him for our school. This he has done. ,hether it
,as to ma$e a personal donation or to use his influence in
securing the donations of others. :udging from my personal
ac0uaintance ,ith *r. Cleveland. I do not %elieve that he is
conscious of possessing any colour pre8udice. !e is too great
for that. In my contact ,ith people I find that. as a rule. it is
only the little. narro, people ,ho live for themselves. ,ho
never read good %oo$s. ,ho do not travel. ,ho never open up
their souls in a ,ay to permit them to come into contact ,ith
other souls,ith the great outside ,orld. )o man ,hose vision
is %ounded %y colour can come into contact ,ith ,hat is
highest and %est in the ,orld. In meeting men. in many places.
I have found that the happiest people are those ,ho do the most
for others5 the most misera%le are those ,ho do the least. I
have also found that fe, things. if any. are capa%le of ma$ing
one so %lind and narro, as race pre8udice. I often say to our
students. in the course of my tal$s to them on Sunday evenings
in the chapel. that the longer I live and the more e(perience I
have of the ,orld. the more I am convinced that. after all. the
one thing that is most ,orth living forand dying for. if need
%eis the opportunity of ma$ing some one else more happy and
more useful.
The coloured people and the coloured ne,spapers at first
seemed to %e greatly pleased ,ith the character of my Atlanta
address. as ,ell as ,ith its reception. But after the first %urst of
enthusiasm %egan to die a,ay. and the coloured people %egan
reading the speech in cold type. some of them seemed to feel
that they had %een hypnoti/ed. They seemed to feel that I had
%een too li%eral in my remar$s to,ard the Southern ,hites. and
that I had not spo$en out strongly enough for ,hat they termed
the 2rights2 of my race. For a ,hile there ,as a reaction. so far
as a certain element of my o,n race ,as concerned. %ut later
these reactionary ones seemed to have %een ,on over to my
,ay of %elieving and acting.
+hile spea$ing of changes in pu%lic sentiment. I recall that
a%out ten years after the school at Tus$egee ,as esta%lished. I
had an e(perience that I shall never forget. Dr. -yman A%%ott.
then the pastor of Plymouth Church. and also editor of the
"utloo$ <then the Christian 3nion=. as$ed me to ,rite a letter
for his paper giving my opinion of the e(act condition. mental
and moral. of the coloured ministers in the South. as %ased
upon my o%servations. I ,rote the letter. giving the e(act facts
as I conceived them to %e. The picture painted ,as a rather
%lac$ oneor. since I am %lac$. shall I say 2,hite29 It could not
%e other,ise ,ith a race %ut a fe, years out of slavery. a race
,hich had not had time or opportunity to produce a competent
ministry.
+hat I said soon reached every )egro minister in the
country. I thin$. and the letters of condemnation ,hich I
received from them ,ere not fe,. I thin$ that for a year after
the pu%lication of this article every association and every
conference or religious %ody of any $ind. of my race. that met.
did not fail %efore ad8ourning to pass a resolution condemning
me. or calling upon me to retract or modify ,hat I had said.
*any of these organi/ations ,ent so far in their resolutions as
to advise parents to cease sending their children to Tus$egee.
"ne association even appointed a 2missionary2 ,hose duty it
,as to ,arn the people against sending their children to
Tus$egee. This missionary had a son in the school. and I
noticed that. ,hatever the 2missionary2 might have said or
done ,ith regard to others. he ,as careful not to ta$e his son
a,ay from the institution. *any of the coloured papers.
especially those that ,ere the organs of religious %odies. 8oined
in the general chorus of condemnation or demands for
retraction.
During the ,hole time of the e(citement. and through all the
criticism. I did not utter a ,ord of e(planation or retraction. I
$ne, that I ,as right. and that time and the so%er second
thought of the people ,ould vindicate me. It ,as not long
%efore the %ishops and other church leaders %egan to ma$e
careful investigation of the conditions of the ministry. and they
found out that I ,as right. In fact. the oldest and most
influential %ishop in one %ranch of the *ethodist Church said
that my ,ords ,ere far too mild. ery soon pu%lic sentiment
%egan ma$ing itself felt. in demanding a purifying of the
ministry. +hile this is not yet complete %y any means. I thin$ I
may say. ,ithout egotism. and I have %een told %y many of our
most influential ministers. that my ,ords had much to do ,ith
starting a demand for the placing of a higher type of men in the
pulpit. I have had the satisfaction of having many ,ho once
condemned me than$ me heartily for my fran$ ,ords.
The change of the attitude of the )egro ministry. so far as
regards myself. is so complete that at the present time I have no
,armer friends among any class than I have among the
clergymen. The improvement in the character and life of the
)egro ministers is one of the most gratifying evidences of the
progress of the race. *y e(perience ,ith them. as ,ell as other
events in my life. convince me that the thing to do. ,hen one
feels sure that he has said or done the right thing. and is
condemned. is to stand still and $eep 0uiet. If he is right. time
,ill sho, it.
In the midst of the discussion ,hich ,as going on
concerning my Atlanta speech. I received the letter ,hich I
give %elo,. from Dr. 6ilman. the President of :ohns !op$ins
3niversity. ,ho had %een made chairman of the 8udges of
a,ard in connection ,ith the Atlanta E(position7
:ohns !op$ins 3niversity. Baltimore.
President1s "ffice. Septem%er KJ. >?A@.
Dear *r. +ashington7 +ould it %e agreea%le to you to %e one
of the :udges of A,ard in the Department of Education at
Atlanta9 If so. I shall %e glad to place your name upon the list.
A line %y telegraph ,ill %e ,elcomed.
Bours very truly.
D.C. 6ilman
I thin$ I ,as even more surprised to receive this invitation
than I had %een to receive the invitation to spea$ at the opening
of the E(position. It ,as to %e a part of my duty. as one of the
8urors. to pass not only upon the e(hi%its of the coloured
schools. %ut also upon those of the ,hite schools. I accepted
the position. and spent a month in Atlanta in performance of
the duties ,hich it entailed. The %oard of 8urors ,as a large
one. containing in all of si(ty mem%ers. It ,as a%out e0ually
divided %et,een Southern ,hite people and )orthern ,hite
people. Among them ,ere college presidents. leading scientists
and men of letters. and specialists in many su%8ects. +hen the
group of 8urors to ,hich I ,as assigned met for organi/ation.
*r. Thomas )elson Page. ,ho ,as one of the num%er. moved
that I %e made secretary of that division. and the motion ,as
unanimously adopted. )early half of our division ,ere
Southern people. In performing my duties in the inspection of
the e(hi%its of ,hite schools I ,as in every case treated ,ith
respect. and at the close of our la%ours I parted from my
associates ,ith regret.
I am often as$ed to e(press myself more freely than I do
upon the political condition and the political future of my race.
These recollections of my e(perience in Atlanta give me the
opportunity to do so %riefly. *y o,n %elief is. although I have
never %efore said so in so many ,ords. that the time ,ill come
,hen the )egro in the South ,ill %e accorded all the political
rights ,hich his a%ility. character. and material possessions
entitle him to. I thin$. though. that the opportunity to freely
e(ercise such political rights ,ill not come in any large degree
through outside or artificial forcing. %ut ,ill %e accorded to the
)egro %y the Southern ,hite people themselves. and that they
,ill protect him in the e(ercise of those rights. :ust as soon as
the South gets over the old feeling that it is %eing forced %y
2foreigners.2 or 2aliens.2 to do something ,hich it does not
,ant to do. I %elieve that the change in the direction that I have
indicated is going to %egin. In fact. there are indications that it
is already %eginning in a slight degree.
-et me illustrate my meaning. Suppose that some months
%efore the opening of the Atlanta E(position there had %een a
general demand from the press and pu%lic platform outside the
South that a )egro %e given a place on the opening
programme. and that a )egro %e placed upon the %oard of
8urors of a,ard. +ould any such recognition of the race have
ta$en place9 I do not thin$ so. The Atlanta officials ,ent as far
as they did %ecause they felt it to %e a pleasure. as ,ell as a
duty. to re,ard ,hat they considered merit in the )egro race.
Say ,hat ,e ,ill. there is something in human nature ,hich
,e cannot %lot out. ,hich ma$es one man. in the end.
recogni/e and re,ard merit in another. regardless of colour or
race.
I %elieve it is the duty of the )egroas the greater part of the
race is already doingto deport himself modestly in regard to
political claims. depending upon the slo, %ut sure influences
that proceed from the possession of property. intelligence. and
high character for the full recognition of his political rights. I
thin$ that the according of the full e(ercise of political rights is
going to %e a matter of natural. slo, gro,th. not an over&night.
gourd&vine affair. I do not %elieve that the )egro should cease
voting. for a man cannot learn the e(ercise of self&government
%y ceasing to vote. any more than a %oy can learn to s,im %y
$eeping out of the ,ater. %ut I do %elieve that in his voting he
should more and more %e influenced %y those of intelligence
and character ,ho are his ne(t&door neigh%ours.
I $no, coloured men ,ho. through the encouragement. help.
and advice of Southern ,hite people. have accumulated
thousands of dollars1 ,orth of property. %ut ,ho. at the same
time. ,ould never thin$ of going to those same persons for
advice concerning the casting of their %allots. This. it seems to
me. is un,ise and unreasona%le. and should cease. In saying
this I do not mean that the )egro should truc$le. or not vote
from principle. for the instant he ceases to vote from principle
he loses the confidence and respect of the Southern ,hite man
even.
I do not %elieve that any state should ma$e a la, that permits
an ignorant and poverty&stric$en ,hite man to vote. and
prevents a %lac$ man in the same condition from voting. Such a
la, is not only un8ust. %ut it ,ill react. as all un8ust la,s do. in
time5 for the effect of such a la, is to encourage the )egro to
secure education and property. and at the same time it
encourages the ,hite man to remain in ignorance and poverty. I
%elieve that in time. through the operation of intelligence and
friendly race relations. all cheating at the %allot&%o( in the
South ,ill cease. It ,ill %ecome apparent that the ,hite man
,ho %egins %y cheating a )egro out of his %allot soon learns to
cheat a ,hite man out of his. and that the man ,ho does this
ends his career of dishonesty %y the theft of property or %y
some e0ually serious crime. In my opinion. the time ,ill come
,hen the South ,ill encourage all of its citi/ens to vote. It ,ill
see that it pays %etter. from every standpoint. to have healthy.
vigorous life than to have that political stagnation ,hich
al,ays results ,hen one&half of the population has no share
and no interest in the 6overnment.
As a rule. I %elieve in universal. free suffrage. %ut I %elieve
that in the South ,e are confronted ,ith peculiar conditions
that 8ustify the protection of the %allot in many of the states. for
a ,hile at least. either %y an education test. a property test. or
%y %oth com%ined5 %ut ,hatever tests are re0uired. they should
%e made to apply ,ith e0ual and e(act 8ustice to %oth races.
#ha("er /V. The Se%re" O$
S'%%ess I P'-)i% S(eaki!
As to ho, my address at Atlanta ,as received %y the
audience in the E(position %uilding. I thin$ I prefer to let *r.
:ames Creelman. the noted ,ar correspondent. tell. *r.
Creelman ,as present. and telegraphed the follo,ing account
to the )e, Bor$ +orld7
Atlanta. Septem%er >?.
+hile President Cleveland ,as ,aiting at 6ray 6a%les to&
day. to send the electric spar$ that started the machinery of the
Atlanta E(position. a )egro *oses stood %efore a great
audience of ,hite people and delivered an oration that mar$s a
ne, epoch in the history of the South5 and a %ody of )egro
troops marched in a procession ,ith the citi/en soldiery of
6eorgia and -ouisiana. The ,hole city is thrilling to&night ,ith
a reali/ation of the e(traordinary significance of these t,o
unprecedented events. )othing has happened since !enry
6rady1s immortal speech %efore the )e, England society in
)e, Bor$ that indicates so profoundly the spirit of the )e,
South. e(cept. perhaps. the opening of the E(position itself.
+hen Professor Boo$er T. +ashington. Principal of an
industrial school for coloured people in Tus$egee. Ala. stood
on the platform of the Auditorium. ,ith the sun shining over
the heads of his auditors into his eyes. and ,ith his ,hole face
lit up ,ith the fire of prophecy. Clar$ !o,ell. the successor of
!enry 6rady. said to me. 2That man1s speech is the %eginning
of a moral revolution in America.2
It is the first time that a )egro has made a speech in the
South on any important occasion %efore an audience composed
of ,hite men and ,omen. It electrified the audience. and the
response ,as as if it had come from the throat of a ,hirl,ind.
*rs. Thompson had hardly ta$en her seat ,hen all eyes ,ere
turned on a tall ta,ny )egro sitting in the front ro, of the
platform. It ,as Professor Boo$er T. +ashington. President of
the Tus$egee <Ala%ama= )ormal and Industrial Institute. ,ho
must ran$ from this time forth as the foremost man of his race
in America. 6ilmore1s Band played the 2Star&Spangled
Banner.2 and the audience cheered. The tune changed to
2Di(ie2 and the audience roared ,ith shrill 2hi&yis.2 Again the
music changed. this time to 2Ban$ee Doodle.2 and the clamour
lessened.
All this time the eyes of the thousands present loo$ed
straight at the )egro orator. A strange thing ,as to happen. A
%lac$ man ,as to spea$ for his people. ,ith none to interrupt
him. As Professor +ashington strode to the edge of the stage.
the lo,. descending sun shot fiery rays through the ,indo,s
into his face. A great shout greeted him. !e turned his head to
avoid the %linding light. and moved a%out the platform for
relief. Then he turned his ,onderful countenance to the sun
,ithout a %lin$ of the eyelids. and %egan to tal$.
There ,as a remar$a%le figure5 tall. %ony. straight as a Siou(
chief. high forehead. straight nose. heavy 8a,s. and strong.
determined mouth. ,ith %ig ,hite teeth. piercing eyes. and a
commanding manner. The sine,s stood out on his %ron/ed
nec$. and his muscular right arm s,ung high in the air. ,ith a
lead&pencil grasped in the clinched %ro,n fist. !is %ig feet
,ere planted s0uarely. ,ith the heels together and the toes
turned out. !is voice range out clear and true. and he paused
impressively as he made each point. +ithin ten minutes the
multitude ,as in an uproar of enthusiasmhand$erchiefs ,ere
,aved. canes ,ere flourished. hats ,ere tossed in the air. The
fairest ,omen of 6eorgia stood up and cheered. It ,as as if the
orator had %e,itched them.
And ,hen he held his dus$y hand high a%ove his head. ,ith
the fingers stretched ,ide apart. and said to the ,hite people of
the South on %ehalf of his race. 2In all things that are purely
social ,e can %e as separate as the fingers. yet one as the hand
in all things essential to mutual progress.2 the great ,ave of
sound dashed itself against the ,alls. and the ,hole audience
,as on its feet in a delirium of applause. and I thought at that
moment of the night ,hen !enry 6rady stood among the
curling ,reaths of to%acco&smo$e in Delmonico1s %an0uet&hall
and said. 2I am a Cavalier among #oundheads.2
I have heard the great orators of many countries. %ut not
even 6ladstone himself could have pleased a cause ,ith most
consummate po,er than did this angular )egro. standing in a
nim%us of sunshine. surrounded %y the men ,ho once fought to
$eep his race in %ondage. The roar might s,ell ever so high.
%ut the e(pression of his earnest face never changed.
A ragged. e%ony giant. s0uatted on the floor in one of the
aisles. ,atched the orator ,ith %urning eyes and tremulous face
until the supreme %urst of applause came. and then the tears ran
do,n his face. *ost of the )egroes in the audience ,ere
crying. perhaps ,ithout $no,ing 8ust ,hy.
At the close of the speech 6overnor Bulloc$ rushed across
the stage and sei/ed the orator1s hand. Another shout greeted
this demonstration. and for a fe, minutes the t,o men stood
facing each other. hand in hand.
So far as I could spare the time from the immediate ,or$ at
Tus$egee. after my Atlanta address. I accepted some of the
invitations to spea$ in pu%lic ,hich came to me. especially
those that ,ould ta$e me into territory ,here I thought it ,ould
pay to plead the cause of my race. %ut I al,ays did this ,ith the
understanding that I ,as to %e free to tal$ a%out my life&,or$
and the needs of my people. I also had it understood that I ,as
not to spea$ in the capacity of a professional lecturer. or for
mere commercial gain.
In my efforts on the pu%lic platform I never have %een a%le
to understand ,hy people come to hear me spea$. This
0uestion I never can rid myself of. Time and time again. as I
have stood in the street in front of a %uilding and have seen
men and ,omen passing in large num%ers into the audience
room ,here I ,as to spea$. I have felt ashamed that I should %e
the cause of peopleas it seemed to me,asting a valua%le hour
of their time. Some years ago I ,as to deliver an address %efore
a literary society in *adison. +is. An hour %efore the time set
for me to spea$. a fierce sno,&storm %egan. and continued for
several hours. I made up my mind that there ,ould %e no
audience. and that I should not have to spea$. %ut. as a matter
of duty. I ,ent to the church. and found it pac$ed ,ith people.
The surprise gave me a shoc$ that I did not recover from
during the ,hole evening.
People often as$ me if I feel nervous %efore spea$ing. or else
they suggest that. since I spea$ often. they suppose that I get
used to it. In ans,er to this 0uestion I have to say that I al,ays
suffer intensely from nervousness %efore spea$ing. *ore than
once. 8ust %efore I ,as to ma$e an important address. this
nervous strain has %een so great that I have resolved never
again to spea$ in pu%lic. I not only feel nervous %efore
spea$ing. %ut after I have finished I usually feel a sense of
regret. %ecause it seems to me as if I had left out of my address
the main thing and the %est thing that I had meant to say.
There is a great compensation. though. for this preliminary
nervous suffering. that comes to me after I have %een spea$ing
for a%out ten minutes. and have come to feel that I have really
mastered my audience. and that ,e have gotten into full and
complete sympathy ,ith each other. It seems to me that there is
rarely such a com%ination of mental and physical delight in any
effort as that ,hich comes to a pu%lic spea$er ,hen he feels
that he has a great audience completely ,ithin his control.
There is a thread of sympathy and oneness that connects a
pu%lic spea$er ,ith his audience. that is 8ust as strong as
though it ,as something tangi%le and visi%le. If in an audience
of a thousand people there is one person ,ho is not in
sympathy ,ith my vie,s. or is inclined to %e dou%tful. cold. or
critical. I can pic$ him out. +hen I have found him I usually go
straight at him. and it is a great satisfaction to ,atch the
process of his tha,ing out. I find that the most effective
medicine for such individuals is administered at first in the
form of a story. although I never tell an anecdote simply for the
sa$e of telling one. That $ind of thing. I thin$. is empty and
hollo,. and an audience soon finds it out.
I %elieve that one al,ays does himself and his audience an
in8ustice ,hen he spea$s merely for the sa$e of spea$ing. I do
not %elieve that one should spea$ unless. deep do,n in his
heart. he feels convinced that he has a message to deliver.
+hen one feels. from the %ottom of his feet to the top of his
head. that he has something to say that is going to help some
individual or some cause. then let him say it5 and in delivering
his message I do not %elieve that many of the artificial rules of
elocution can. under such circumstances. help him very much.
Although there are certain things. such as pauses. %reathing.
and pitch of voice. that are very important. none of these can
ta$e the place of soul in an address. +hen I have an address to
deliver. I li$e to forget all a%out the rules for the proper use of
the English language. and all a%out rhetoric and that sort of
thing. and I li$e to ma$e the audience forget all a%out these
things. too.
)othing tends to thro, me off my %alance so 0uic$ly. ,hen
I am spea$ing. as to have some one leave the room. To prevent
this. I ma$e up my mind. as a rule. that I ,ill try to ma$e my
address so interesting. ,ill try to state so many interesting facts
one after another. that no one can leave. The average audience.
I have come to %elieve. ,ants facts rather than generalities or
sermoni/ing. *ost people. I thin$. are a%le to dra, proper
conclusions if they are given the facts in an interesting form on
,hich to %ase them.
As to the $ind of audience that I li$e %est to tal$ to. I ,ould
put at the top of the list an organi/ation of strong. ,ide&a,a$e.
%usiness men. such. for e(ample. as is found in Boston. )e,
Bor$. Chicago. and Buffalo. I have found no other audience so
0uic$ to see a point. and so responsive. +ithin the last fe,
years I have had the privilege of spea$ing %efore most of the
leading organi/ations of this $ind in the large cities of the
3nited States. The %est time to get hold of an organi/ation of
%usiness men is after a good dinner. although I thin$ that one of
the ,orst instruments of torture that ,as ever invented is the
custom ,hich ma$es it necessary for a spea$er to sit through a
fourteen&course dinner. every minute of the time feeling sure
that his speech is going to prove a dismal failure and
disappointment.
I rarely ta$e part in one of these long dinners that I do not
,ish that I could put myself %ac$ in the little ca%in ,here I ,as
a slave %oy. and again go through the e(perience thereone that I
shall never forgetof getting molasses to eat once a ,ee$ from
the 2%ig house.2 "ur usual diet on the plantation ,as corn
%read and por$. %ut on Sunday morning my mother ,as
permitted to %ring do,n a little molasses from the 2%ig house2
for her three children. and ,hen it ,as received ho, I did ,ish
that every day ,as SundayC I ,ould get my tin plate and hold it
up for the s,eet morsel. %ut I ,ould al,ays shut my eyes ,hile
the molasses ,as %eing poured out into the plate. ,ith the hope
that ,hen I opened them I ,ould %e surprised to see ho, much
I had got. +hen I opened my eyes I ,ould tip the plate in one
direction and another. so as to ma$e the molasses spread all
over it. in the full %elief that there ,ould %e more of it and that
it ,ould last longer if spread out in this ,ay. So strong are my
childish impressions of those Sunday morning feasts that it
,ould %e pretty hard for any one to convince me that there is
not more molasses on a plate ,hen it is spread all over the
plate than ,hen it occupies a little cornerif there is a corner in a
plate. At any rate. I have never %elieved in 2cornering2 syrup.
*y share of the syrup ,as usually a%out t,o ta%lespoonfuls.
and those t,o spoonfuls of molasses ,ere much more
en8oya%le to me than is a fourteen&course dinner after ,hich I
am to spea$.
)e(t to a company of %usiness men. I prefer to spea$ to an
audience of Southern people. of either race. together or ta$en
separately. Their enthusiasm and responsiveness are a constant
delight. The 2amens2 and 2dat1s de truf2 that come
spontaneously from the coloured individuals are calculated to
spur any spea$er on to his %est efforts. I thin$ that ne(t in order
of preference I ,ould place a college audience. It has %een my
privilege to deliver addresses at many of our leading colleges
including !arvard. Bale. +illiams. Amherst. Fis$ 3niversity.
the 3niversity of Pennsylvania. +ellesley. the 3niversity of
*ichigan. Trinity College in )orth Carolina. and many others.
It has %een a matter of deep interest to me to note the
num%er of people ,ho have come to sha$e hands ,ith me after
an address. ,ho say that this is the first time they have ever
called a )egro 2*ister.2
+hen spea$ing directly in the interests of the Tus$egee
Institute. I usually arrange. some time in advance. a series of
meetings in important centres. This ta$es me %efore churches.
Sunday&schools. Christian Endeavour Societies. and men1s and
,omen1s clu%s. +hen doing this I sometimes spea$ %efore as
many as four organi/ations in a single day.
Three years ago. at the suggestion of *r. *orris ;. :essup.
of )e, Bor$. and Dr. :.-.*. Curry. the general agent of the
fund. the trustees of the :ohn F. Slater Fund voted a sum of
money to %e used in paying the e(penses of *rs. +ashington
and myself ,hile holding a series of meetings among the
coloured people in the large centres of )egro population.
especially in the large cities of the e(&slaveholding states. Each
year during the last three years ,e have devoted some ,ee$s to
this ,or$. The plan that ,e have follo,ed has %een for me to
spea$ in the morning to the ministers. teachers. and
professional men. In the afternoon *rs. +ashington ,ould
spea$ to the ,omen alone. and in the evening I spo$e to a large
mass&meeting. In almost every case the meetings have %een
attended not only %y the coloured people in large num%ers. %ut
%y the ,hite people. In Chattanooga. Tenn.. for e(ample. there
,as present at the mass&meeting an audience of not less than
three thousand persons. and I ,as informed that eight hundred
of these ,ere ,hite. I have done no ,or$ that I really en8oyed
more than this. or that I thin$ has accomplished more good.
These meetings have given *rs. +ashington and myself an
opportunity to get first&hand. accurate information as to the real
condition of the race. %y seeing the people in their homes. their
churches. their Sunday&schools. and their places of ,or$. as
,ell as in the prisons and dens of crime. These meetings also
gave us an opportunity to see the relations that e(ist %et,een
the races. I never feel so hopeful a%out the race as I do after
%eing engaged in a series of these meetings. I $no, that on
such occasions there is much that comes to the surface that is
superficial and deceptive. %ut I have had e(perience enough not
to %e deceived %y mere signs and fleeting enthusiasms. I have
ta$en pains to go to the %ottom of things and get facts. in a
cold. %usiness&li$e manner.
I have seen the statement made lately. %y one ,ho claims to
$no, ,hat he is tal$ing a%out. that. ta$ing the ,hole )egro
race into account. ninety per cent of the )egro ,omen are not
virtuous. There never ,as a %aser falsehood uttered concerning
a race. or a statement made that ,as less capa%le of %eing
proved %y actual facts.
)o one can come into contact ,ith the race for t,enty years.
as I have done in the heart of the South. ,ithout %eing
convinced that the race is constantly ma$ing slo, %ut sure
progress materially. educationally. and morally. "ne might ta$e
up the life of the ,orst element in )e, Bor$ City. for e(ample.
and prove almost anything he ,anted to prove concerning the
,hite man. %ut all ,ill agree that this is not a fair test.
Early in the year >?AE I received a letter inviting me to
deliver an address at the dedication of the #o%ert 6ould Sha,
monument in Boston. I accepted the invitation. It is not
necessary for me. I am sure. to e(plain ,ho #o%ert 6ould
Sha, ,as. and ,hat he did. The monument to his memory
stands near the head of the Boston Common. facing the State
!ouse. It is counted to %e the most perfect piece of art of the
$ind to %e found in the country.
The e(ercises connected ,ith the dedication ,ere held in
*usic !all. in Boston. and the great hall ,as pac$ed from top
to %ottom ,ith one of the most distinguished audiences that
ever assem%led in the city. Among those present ,ere more
persons representing the famous old anti&slavery element that it
is li$ely ,ill ever %e %rought together in the country again. The
late !on. #oger +olcott. then 6overnor of *assachusetts. ,as
the presiding officer. and on the platform ,ith him ,ere many
other officials and hundreds of distinguished men. A report of
the meeting ,hich appeared in the Boston Transcript ,ill
descri%e it %etter than any ,ords of mine could do7
The core and $ernel of yesterday1s great noon meeting. in
honour of the Brotherhood of *an. in *usic !all. ,as the
super% address of the )egro President of Tus$egee. 2Boo$er T.
+ashington received his !arvard A.*. last :une. the first of his
race.2 said 6overnor +olcott. 2to receive an honorary degree
from the oldest university in the land. and this for the ,ise
leadership of his people.2 +hen *r. +ashington rose in the
flag&filled. enthusiasm&,armed. patriotic. and glo,ing
atmosphere of *usic !all. people felt $eenly that here ,as the
civic 8ustification of the old a%olition spirit of *assachusetts5
in his person the proof of her ancient and indomita%le faith5 in
his strong through and rich oratory. the cro,n and glory of the
old ,ar days of suffering and strife. The scene ,as full of
historic %eauty and deep significance. 2Cold2 Boston ,as alive
,ith the fire that is al,ays hot in her heart for righteousness
and truth. #o,s and ro,s of people ,ho are seldom seen at
any pu%lic function. ,hole families of those ,ho are certain to
%e out of to,n on a holiday. cro,ded the place to overflo,ing.
The city ,as at her %irthright fete in the persons of hundreds of
her %est citi/ens. men and ,omen ,hose names and lives stand
for the virtues that ma$e for honoura%le civic pride.
Battle&music had filled the air. "vation after ovation.
applause ,arm and prolonged. had greeted the officers and
friends of Colonel Sha,. the sculptor. St. 6audens. the
memorial Committee. the 6overnor and his staff. and the
)egro soldiers of the Fifty&fourth *assachusetts as they came
upon the platform or entered the hall. Colonel !enry -ee. of
6overnor Andre,1s old staff. had made a no%le. simple
presentation speech for the committee. paying tri%ute to *r.
:ohn *. For%es. in ,hose stead he served. 6overnor +olcott
had made his short. memora%le speech. saying. 2Fort +agner
mar$ed an epoch in the history of a race. and called it into
manhood.2 *ayor Iuincy had received the monument for the
city of Boston. The story of Colonel Sha, and his %lac$
regiment had %een told in gallant ,ords. and then. after the
singing of
<ine eye# have #een the glory
+f the coming of the (or%
Boo$er +ashington arose. It ,as. of course. 8ust the moment
for him. The multitude. sha$en out of its usual symphony&
concert calm. 0uivered ,ith an e(citement that ,as not
suppressed. A do/en times it had sprung to its feet to cheer and
,ave and hurrah. as one person. +hen this man of culture and
voice and po,er. as ,ell as a dar$ s$in. %egan. and uttered the
names of Stearns and of Andre,. feeling %egan to mount. Bou
could see tears glisten in the eyes of soldiers and civilians.
+hen the orator turned to the coloured soldiers on the
platform. to the colour&%earer of Fort +agner. ,ho smilingly
%ore still the flag he had never lo,ered even ,hen ,ounded.
and said. 2To you. to the scarred and scattered remnants of the
Fifty&fourth. ,ho. ,ith empty sleeve and ,anting leg. have
honoured this occasion ,ith your presence. to you. your
commander is not dead. Though Boston erected no monument
and history recorded no story. in you and in the loyal race
,hich you represent. #o%ert 6ould Sha, ,ould have a
monument ,hich time could not ,ear a,ay.2 then came the
clima( of the emotion of the day and the hour. It ,as #oger
+olcott. as ,ell as the 6overnor of *assachusetts. the
individual representative of the people1s sympathy as ,ell as
the chief magistrate. ,ho had sprung first to his feet and cried.
2Three cheers to Boo$er T. +ashingtonC2
Among those on the platform ,as Sergeant +illiam !.
Carney. of )e, Bedford. *ass.. the %rave coloured officer ,ho
,as the colour&%earer at Fort +agner and held the American
flag. In spite of the fact that a large part of his regiment ,as
$illed. he escaped. and e(claimed. after the %attle ,as over.
2The old flag never touched the ground.2
This flag Sergeant Carney held in his hands as he sat on the
platform. and ,hen I turned to address the survivors of the
coloured regiment ,ho ,ere present. and referred to Sergeant
Carney. he rose. as if %y instinct. and raised the flag. It has %een
my privilege to ,itness a good many satisfactory and rather
sensational demonstrations in connection ,ith some of my
pu%lic addresses. %ut in dramatic effect I have never seen or
e(perienced anything ,hich e0ualled this. For a num%er of
minutes the audience seemed to entirely lose control of itself.
In the general re8oicing throughout the country ,hich
follo,ed the close of the Spanish&American ,ar. peace
cele%rations ,ere arranged in several of the large cities. I ,as
as$ed %y President +illiam #. !arper. of the 3niversity of
Chicago. ,ho ,as chairman of the committee of invitations for
the cele%ration to %e held in the city of Chicago. to deliver one
of the addresses at the cele%ration there. I accepted the
invitation. and delivered t,o addresses there during the :u%ilee
,ee$. The first of these. and the principal one. ,as given in the
Auditorium. on the evening of Sunday. "cto%er >G. This ,as
the largest audience that I have ever addressed. in any part of
the country5 and %esides spea$ing in the main Auditorium. I
also addressed. that same evening. t,o overflo, audiences in
other parts of the city.
It ,as said that there ,ere si(teen thousand persons in the
Auditorium. and it seemed to me as if there ,ere as many more
on the outside trying to get in. It ,as impossi%le for any one to
get near the entrance ,ithout the aid of a policeman. President
+illiam *c;inley attended this meeting. as did also the
mem%ers of his Ca%inet. many foreign ministers. and a large
num%er of army and navy officers. many of ,hom had
distinguished themselves in the ,ar ,hich had 8ust closed. The
spea$ers. %esides myself. on Sunday evening. ,ere #a%%i Emil
6. !irsch. Father Thomas P. !odnett. and Dr. :ohn !. Barro,s.
The Chicago Times&!erald. in descri%ing the meeting. said
of my address7
!e pictured the )egro choosing slavery rather than
e(tinction5 recalled Crispus Attuc$s shedding his %lood at the
%eginning of the American #evolution. that ,hite Americans
might %e free. ,hile %lac$ Americans remained in slavery5
rehearsed the conduct of the )egroes ,ith :ac$son at )e,
"rleans5 dre, a vivid and pathetic picture of the Southern
slaves protecting and supporting the families of their masters
,hile the latter ,ere fighting to perpetuate %lac$ slavery5
recounted the %ravery of coloured troops at Port !udson and
Forts +agner and Pillo,. and praised the heroism of the %lac$
regiments that stormed El Caney and Santiago to give freedom
to the enslaved people of Cu%a. forgetting. for the time %eing.
the un8ust discrimination that la, and custom ma$e against
them in their o,n country.
In all of these things. the spea$er declared. his race had
chosen the %etter part. And then he made his elo0uent appeal to
the consciences of the ,hite Americans7 2+hen you have
gotten the full story of the heroic conduct of the )egro in the
Spanish&American ,ar. have heard it from the lips of )orthern
soldier and Southern soldier. from e(&a%olitionist and e(&
masters. then decide ,ithin yourselves ,hether a race that is
thus ,illing to die for its country should not %e given the
highest opportunity to live for its country.2
The part of the speech ,hich seems to arouse the ,ildest and
most sensational enthusiasm ,as that in ,hich I than$ed the
President for his recognition of the )egro in his appointments
during the Spanish&American ,ar. The President ,as sitting in
a %o( at the right of the stage. +hen I addressed him I turned
to,ard the %o(. and as I finished the sentence than$ing him for
his generosity. the ,hole audience rose and cheered again and
again. ,aving hand$erchiefs and hats and canes. until the
President arose in the %o( and %o,ed his ac$no,ledgements.
At that the enthusiasm %ro$e out again. and the demonstration
,as almost indescri%a%le.
"ne portion of my address at Chicago seemed to have %een
misunderstood %y the Southern press. and some of the Southern
papers too$ occasion to criticise me rather strongly. These
criticisms continued for several ,ee$s. until I finally received a
letter from the editor of the Age&!erald. pu%lished in
Birmingham. Ala.. as$ing me if I ,ould say 8ust ,hat I meant
%y this part of the address. I replied to him in a letter ,hich
seemed to satisfy my critics. In this letter I said that I had made
it a rule never to say %efore a )orthern audience anything that I
,ould not say %efore an audience in the South. I said that I did
not thin$ it ,as necessary for me to go into e(tended
e(planations5 if my seventeen years of ,or$ in the heart of the
South had not %een e(planation enough. I did not see ho,
,ords could e(plain. I said that I made the same plea that I had
made in my address at Atlanta. for the %lotting out of race
pre8udice in 2commercial and civil relations.2 I said that ,hat is
termed social recognition ,as a 0uestion ,hich I never
discussed. and then I 0uoted from my Atlanta address ,hat I
had said there in regard to that su%8ect.
In meeting cro,ds of people at pu%lic gatherings. there is
one type of individual that I dread. I mean the cran$. I have
%ecome so accustomed to these people no, that I can pic$
them out at a distance ,hen I see them el%o,ing their ,ay up
to me. The average cran$ has a long %eard. poorly cared for. a
lean. narro, face. and ,ears a %lac$ coat. The front of his vest
and coat are slic$ ,ith grease. and his trousers %ag at the $nees.
In Chicago. after I had spo$en at a meeting. I met one of
these fello,s. They usually have some process for curing all of
the ills of the ,orld at once. This Chicago specimen had a
patent process %y ,hich he said Indian corn could %e $ept
through a period of three or four years. and he felt sure that if
the )egro race in the South ,ould. as a ,hole. adopt his
process. it ,ould settle the ,hole race 0uestion. It mattered
nothing that I tried to convince him that our present pro%lem
,as to teach the )egroes ho, to produce enough corn to last
them through one year. Another Chicago cran$ had a scheme
%y ,hich he ,anted me to 8oin him in an effort to close up all
the )ational %an$s in the country. If that ,as done. he felt sure
it ,ould put the )egro on his feet.
The num%er of people ,ho stand ready to consume one1s
time. to no purpose. is almost countless. At one time I spo$e
%efore a large audience in Boston in the evening. The ne(t
morning I ,as a,a$ened %y having a card %rought to my room.
and ,ith it a message that some one ,as an(ious to see me.
Thin$ing that it must %e something very important. I dressed
hastily and ,ent do,n. +hen I reached the hotel office I found
a %lan$ and innocent&loo$ing individual ,aiting for me. ,ho
coolly remar$ed7 2I heard you tal$ at a meeting last night. I
rather li$ed your tal$. and so I came in this morning to hear
you tal$ some more.2
I am often as$ed ho, it is possi%le for me to superintend the
,or$ at Tus$egee and at the same time %e so much a,ay from
the school. In partial ans,er to this I ,ould say that I thin$ I
have learned. in some degree at least. to disregard the old
ma(im ,hich says. 2Do not get others to do that ,hich you can
do yourself.2 *y motto. on the other hand. is. 2Do not do that
,hich others can do as ,ell.2
"ne of the most encouraging signs in connection ,ith the
Tus$egee school is found in the fact that the organi/ation is so
thorough that the daily ,or$ of the school is not dependent
upon the presence of any one individual. The ,hole e(ecutive
force. including instructors and cler$s. no, num%ers eighty&
si(. This force is so organi/ed and su%divided that the
machinery of the school goes on day %y day li$e cloc$,or$.
*ost of our teachers have %een connected ,ith the institutions
for a num%er of years. and are as much interested in it as I am.
In my a%sence. *r. +arren -ogan. the treasurer. ,ho has %een
at the school seventeen years. is the e(ecutive. !e is efficiently
supported %y *rs. +ashington. and %y my faithful secretary.
*r. Emmett :. Scott. ,ho handles the %ul$ of my
correspondence and $eeps me in daily touch ,ith the life of the
school. and ,ho also $eeps me informed of ,hatever ta$es
place in the South that concerns the race. I o,e more to his
tact. ,isdom. and hard ,or$ than I can descri%e.
The main e(ecutive ,or$ of the school. ,hether I am at
Tus$egee or not. centres in ,hat ,e call the e(ecutive council.
This council meets t,ice a ,ee$. and is composed of the nine
persons ,ho are at the head of the nine departments of the
school. For e(ample7 *rs. B.;. Bruce. the -ady Principal. the
,ido, of the late e(&senator Bruce. is a mem%er of the council.
and represents in it all that pertains to the life of the girls at the
school. In addition to the e(ecutive council there is a financial
committee of si(. that meets every ,ee$ and decides upon the
e(penditures for the ,ee$. "nce a month. and sometimes
oftener. there is a general meeting of all the instructors. Aside
from these there are innumera%le smaller meetings. such as that
of the instructors in the Phelps !all Bi%le Training School. or
of the instructors in the agricultural department.
In order that I may $eep in constant touch ,ith the life of the
institution. I have a system of reports so arranged that a record
of the school1s ,or$ reaches me every day of the year. no
matter in ,hat part of the country I am. I $no, %y these reports
even ,hat students are e(cused from school. and ,hy they are
e(cused,hether for reasons of ill health or other,ise. Through
the medium of these reports I $no, each day ,hat the income
of the school in money is5 I $no, ho, many gallons of mil$
and ho, many pounds of %utter come from the dairy5 ,hat the
%ill of fare for the teachers and students is5 ,hether a certain
$ind of meat ,as %oiled or %a$ed. and ,hether certain
vegeta%les served in the dining room ,ere %ought from a store
or procured from our o,n farm. !uman nature I find to %e very
much the same the ,orld over. and it is sometimes not hard to
yield to the temptation to go to a %arrel of rice that has come
from the store,ith the grain all prepared to go in the potrather
than to ta$e the time and trou%le to go to the field and dig and
,ash one1s o,n s,eet potatoes. ,hich might %e prepared in a
manner to ta$e the place of the rice.
I am often as$ed ho,. in the midst of so much ,or$. a large
part of ,hich is for the pu%lic. I can find time for any rest or
recreation. and ,hat $ind of recreation or sports I am fond of.
This is rather a difficult 0uestion to ans,er. I have a strong
feeling that every individual o,es it to himself. and to the
cause ,hich he is serving. to $eep a vigorous. healthy %ody.
,ith the nerves steady and strong. prepared for great efforts
and prepared for disappointments and trying positions. As far
as I can. I ma$e it a rule to plan for each day1s ,or$not merely
to go through ,ith the same routine of daily duties. %ut to get
rid of the routine ,or$ as early in the day as possi%le. and then
to enter upon some ne, or advance ,or$. I ma$e it a rule to
clear my des$ every day. %efore leaving my office. of all
correspondence and memoranda. so that on the morro, I can
%egin a )E+ day of ,or$. I ma$e it a rule never to let my
,or$ drive me. %ut to so master it. and $eep it in such complete
control. and to $eep so far ahead of it. that I ,ill %e the master
instead of the servant. There is a physical and mental and
spiritual en8oyment that comes from a consciousness of %eing
the a%solute master of one1s ,or$. in all its details. that is very
satisfactory and inspiring. *y e(perience teaches me that. if
one learns to follo, this plan. he gets a freshness of %ody and
vigour of mind out of ,or$ that goes a long ,ay to,ard
$eeping him strong and healthy. I %elieve that ,hen one can
gro, to the point ,here he loves his ,or$. this gives him a
$ind of strength that is most valua%le.
+hen I %egin my ,or$ in the morning. I e(pect to have a
successful and pleasant day of it. %ut at the same time I prepare
myself for unpleasant and une(pected hard places. I prepared
myself to hear that one of our school %uildings is on fire. or has
%urned. or that some disagreea%le accident has occurred. or that
some one has a%used me in a pu%lic address or printed article.
for something that I have done or omitted to do. or for
something that he had heard that I had saidpro%a%ly something
that I had never thought of saying.
In nineteen years of continuous ,or$ I have ta$en %ut one
vacation. That ,as t,o years ago. ,hen some of my friends put
the money into my hands and forced *rs. +ashington and
myself to spend three months in Europe. I have said that I
%elieve it is the duty of every one to $eep his %ody in good
condition. I try to loo$ after the little ills. ,ith the idea that if I
ta$e care of the little ills the %ig ones ,ill not come. +hen I
find myself una%le to sleep ,ell. I $no, that something is
,rong. If I find any part of my system the least ,ea$. and not
performing its duty. I consult a good physician. The a%ility to
sleep ,ell. at any time and in any place. I find of great
advantage. I have so trained myself that I can lie do,n for a
nap of fifteen or t,enty minutes. and get up refreshed in %ody
and mind.
I have said that I ma$e it a rule to finish up each day1s ,or$
%efore leaving it. There is. perhaps. one e(ception to this.
+hen I have an unusually difficult 0uestion to decideone that
appeals strongly to the emotionsI find it a safe rule to sleep
over it for a night. or to ,ait until I have had an opportunity to
tal$ it over ,ith my ,ife and friends.
As to my reading5 the most time I get for solid reading is
,hen I am on the cars. )e,spapers are to me a constant source
of delight and recreation. The only trou%le is that I read too
many of them. Fiction I care little for. Fre0uently I have to
almost force myself to read a novel that is on every one1s lips.
The $ind of reading that I have the greatest fondness for is
%iography. I li$e to %e sure that I am reading a%out a real man
or a real thing. I thin$ I do not go too far ,hen I say that I have
read nearly every %oo$ and maga/ine article that has %een
,ritten a%out A%raham -incoln. In literature he is my patron
saint.
"ut of the t,elve months in a year I suppose that. on an
average. I spend si( months a,ay from Tus$egee. +hile my
%eing a%sent from the school so much un0uestiona%ly has its
disadvantages. yet there are at the same time some
compensations. The change of ,or$ %rings a certain $ind of
rest. I en8oy a ride of a long distance on the cars. ,hen I am
permitted to ride ,here I can %e comforta%le. I get rest on the
cars. e(cept ,hen the inevita%le individual ,ho seems to %e on
every train approaches me ,ith the no, familiar phrase7 2Isn1t
this Boo$er +ashington9 I ,ant to introduce myself to you.2
A%sence from the school ena%les me to lose sight of the
unimportant details of the ,or$. and study it in a %roader and
more comprehensive manner than I could do on the grounds.
This a%sence also %rings me into contact ,ith the %est ,or$
%eing done in educational lines. and into contact ,ith the %est
educators in the land.
But. after all this is said. the time ,hen I get the most solid
rest and recreation is ,hen I can %e at Tus$egee. and. after our
evening meal is over. can sit do,n. as is our custom. ,ith my
,ife and Portia and Ba$er and Davidson. my three children.
and read a story. or each ta$e turns in telling a story. To me
there is nothing on earth e0ual to that. although ,hat is nearly
e0ual to it is to go ,ith them for an hour or more. as ,e li$e to
do on Sunday afternoons. into the ,oods. ,here ,e can live
for a ,hile near the heart of nature. ,here no one can distur% or
ve( us. surrounded %y pure air. the trees. the shru%%ery. the
flo,ers. and the s,eet fragrance that springs from a hundred
plants. en8oying the chirp of the cric$ets and the songs of the
%irds. This is solid rest.
*y garden. also. ,hat little time I can %e at Tus$egee. is
another source of rest and en8oyment. Someho, I li$e. as often
as possi%le. to touch nature. not something that is artificial or
an imitation. %ut the real thing. +hen I can leave my office in
time so that I can spend thirty or forty minutes in spading the
ground. in planting seeds. in digging a%out the plants. I feel
that I am coming into contact ,ith something that is giving me
strength for the many duties and hard places that a,ait me out
in the %ig ,orld. I pity the man or ,oman ,ho has never
learned to en8oy nature and to get strength and inspiration out
of it.
Aside from the large num%er of fo,ls and animals $ept %y
the school. I $eep individually a num%er of pigs and fo,ls of
the %est grades. and in raising these I ta$e a great deal of
pleasure. I thin$ the pig is my favourite animal. Fe, things are
more satisfactory to me than a high&grade Ber$shire or Poland
China pig.
6ames I care little for. I have never seen a game of foot%all.
In cards I do not $no, one card from another. A game of old&
fashioned mar%les ,ith my t,o %oys. once in a ,hile. is all I
care for in this direction. I suppose I ,ould care for games no,
if I had had any time in my youth to give to them. %ut that ,as
not possi%le.
#ha("er /VI. E'ro(e
In >?AK I ,as married to *iss *argaret :ames *urray. a
native of *ississippi. and a graduate of Fis$ 3niversity. in
)ashville. Tenn.. ,ho had come to Tus$egee as a teacher
several years %efore. and at the time ,e ,ere married ,as
filling the position of -ady Principal. )ot only is *rs.
+ashington completely one ,ith me in the ,or$ directly
connected ,ith the school. relieving me of many %urdens and
perple(ities. %ut aside from her ,or$ on the school grounds.
she carries on a mothers1 meeting in the to,n of Tus$egee. and
a plantation ,or$ among the ,omen. children. and men ,ho
live in a settlement connected ,ith a large plantation a%out
eight miles from Tus$egee. Both the mothers1 meeting and the
plantation ,or$ are carried on. not only ,ith a vie, to helping
those ,ho are directly reached. %ut also for the purpose of
furnishing o%8ect&lessons in these t,o $inds of ,or$ that may
%e follo,ed %y our students ,hen they go out into the ,orld
for their o,n life&,or$.
Aside from these t,o enterprises. *rs. +ashington is also
largely responsi%le for a ,oman1s clu% at the school ,hich
%rings together. t,ice a month. the ,omen ,ho live on the
school grounds and those ,ho live near. for the discussion of
some important topic. She is also the President of ,hat is
$no,n as the Federation of Southern Coloured +omen1s Clu%s.
and is Chairman of the E(ecutive Committee of the )ational
Federation of Coloured +omen1s Clu%s.
Portia. the oldest of my three children. has learned
dressma$ing. She has unusual a%ility in instrumental music.
Aside from her studies at Tus$egee. she has already %egun to
teach there.
Boo$er Taliaferro is my ne(t oldest child. Boung as he is. he
has already nearly mastered the %ric$mason1s trade. !e %egan
,or$ing at this trade ,hen he ,as 0uite small. dividing his
time %et,een this and class ,or$5 and he has developed great
s$ill in the trade and a fondness for it. !e says that he is going
to %e an architect and %ric$mason. "ne of the most satisfactory
letters that I have ever received from any one came to me from
Boo$er last summer. +hen I left home for the summer. I told
him that he must ,or$ at his trade half of each day. and that the
other half of the day he could spend as he pleased. +hen I had
%een a,ay from home t,o ,ee$s. I received the follo,ing
letter from him7
Tus$egee. Ala%ama.
*y dear Papa7 Before you left home you told me to ,or$ at
my trade half of each day. I li$e my ,or$ so much that I ,ant
to ,or$ at my trade all day. Besides. I ,ant to earn all the
money I can. so that ,hen I go to another school I shall have
money to pay my e(penses.
Bour son.
Boo$er.
*y youngest child. Earnest Davidson +ashington. says that
he is going to %e a physician. In addition to going to school.
,here he studies %oo$s and has manual training. he regularly
spends a portion of his time in the office of our resident
physician. and has already learned to do many of the studies
,hich pertain to a doctor1s office.
The thing in my life ,hich %rings me the $eenest regret is
that my ,or$ in connection ,ith pu%lic affairs $eeps me for so
much of the time a,ay from my family. ,here. of all places in
the ,orld. I delight to %e. I al,ays envy the individual ,hose
life&,or$ is so laid that he can spend his evenings at home. I
have sometimes thought that people ,ho have this rare
privilege do not appreciate it as they should. It is such a rest
and relief to get a,ay from cro,ds of people. and handsha$ing.
and travelling. to get home. even if it %e for %ut a very %rief
,hile.
Another thing at Tus$egee out of ,hich I get a great deal of
pleasure and satisfaction is in the meeting ,ith our students.
and teachers. and their families. in the chapel for devotional
e(ercises every evening at half&past eight. the last thing %efore
retiring for the night. It is an inspiring sight ,hen one stands on
the platform there and sees %efore him eleven or t,elve
hundred earnest young men and ,omen5 and one cannot %ut
feel that it is a privilege to help to guide them to a higher and
more useful life.
In the spring of >?AA there came to me ,hat I might descri%e
as almost the greatest surprise of my life. Some good ladies in
Boston arranged a pu%lic meeting in the interests of Tus$egee.
to %e held in the !ollis Street Theatre. This meeting ,as
attended %y large num%ers of the %est people of Boston. of %oth
races. Bishop -a,rence presided. In addition to an address
made %y myself. *r. Paul -a,rence Dun%ar read from his
poems. and Dr. +.E.B. Du Bois read an original s$etch.
Some of those ,ho attended this meeting noticed that I
seemed unusually tired. and some little time after the close of
the meeting. one of the ladies ,ho had %een interested in it
as$ed me in a casual ,ay if I had ever %een to Europe. I replied
that I never had. She as$ed me if I had ever thought of going.
and I told her no5 that it ,as something entirely %eyond me.
This conversation soon passed out of my mind. %ut a fe, days
after,ard I ,as informed that some friends in Boston.
including *r. Francis :. 6arrison. had raised a sum of money
sufficient to pay all the e(penses of *rs. +ashington and
myself during a three or four months1 trip to Europe. It ,as
added ,ith emphasis that ,e *3ST go. A year previous to this
*r. 6arrison had attempted to get me to promise to go to
Europe for a summer1s rest. ,ith the understanding that he
,ould %e responsi%le for raising the money among his friends
for the e(penses of the trip. At that time such a 8ourney seemed
so entirely foreign to anything that I should ever %e a%le to
underta$e that I did confess I did not give the matter very
serious attention5 %ut later *r. 6arrison 8oined his efforts to
those of the ladies ,hom I have mentioned. and ,hen their
plans ,ere made $no,n to me *r. 6arrison not only had the
route mapped out. %ut had. I %elieve. selected the steamer upon
,hich ,e ,ere to sail.
The ,hole thing ,as so sudden and so une(pected that I ,as
completely ta$en off my feet. I had %een at ,or$ steadily for
eighteen years in connection ,ith Tus$egee. and I had never
thought of anything else %ut ending my life in that ,ay. Each
day the school seemed to depend upon me more largely for its
daily e(penses. and I told these Boston friends that. ,hile I
than$ed them sincerely for their thoughtfulness and generosity.
I could not go to Europe. for the reason that the school could
not live financially ,hile I ,as a%sent. They then informed me
that *r. !enry -. !igginson. and some other good friends ,ho
I $no, do not ,ant their names made pu%lic. ,ere then raising
a sum of money ,hich ,ould %e sufficient to $eep the school
in operation ,hile I ,as a,ay. At this point I ,as compelled to
surrender. Every avenue of escape had %een closed.
Deep do,n in my heart the ,hole thing seemed more li$e a
dream than li$e reality. and for a long time it ,as difficult for
me to ma$e myself %elieve that I ,as actually going to Europe.
I had %een %orn and largely reared in the lo,est depths of
slavery. ignorance. and poverty. In my childhood I had suffered
for ,ant of a place to sleep. for lac$ of food. clothing. and
shelter. I had not had the privilege of sitting do,n to a dining&
ta%le until I ,as 0uite ,ell gro,n. -u(uries had al,ays seemed
to me to %e something meant for ,hite people. not for my race.
I had al,ays regarded Europe. and -ondon. and Paris. much as
I regarded heaven. And no, could it %e that I ,as actually
going to Europe9 Such thoughts as these ,ere constantly ,ith
me.
T,o other thoughts trou%led me a good deal. I feared that
people ,ho heard that *rs. +ashington and I ,ere going to
Europe might not $no, all the circumstances. and might get
the idea that ,e had %ecome. as some might say. 2stuc$ up.2
and ,ere trying to 2sho, off.2 I recalled that from my youth I
had heard it said that too often. ,hen people of my race
reached any degree of success. they ,ere inclined to unduly
e(alt themselves5 to try and ape the ,ealthy. and in so doing to
lose their heads. The fear that people might thin$ this of us
haunted me a good deal. Then. too. I could not see ho, my
conscience ,ould permit me to spare the time from my ,or$
and %e happy. It seemed mean and selfish in me to %e ta$ing a
vacation ,hile others ,ere at ,or$. and ,hile there ,as so
much that needed to %e done. From the time I could remem%er.
I had al,ays %een at ,or$. and I did not see ho, I could spend
three or four months in doing nothing. The fact ,as that I did
not $no, ho, to ta$e a vacation.
*rs. +ashington had much the same difficulty in getting
a,ay. %ut she ,as an(ious to go %ecause she thought that I
needed the rest. There ,ere many important )ational 0uestions
%earing upon the life of the race ,hich ,ere %eing agitated at
that time. and this made it all the harder for us to decide to go.
+e finally gave our Boston friends our promise that ,e ,ould
go. and then they insisted that the date of our departure %e set
as soon as possi%le. So ,e decided upon *ay >J. *y good
friend *r. 6arrison $indly too$ charge of all the details
necessary for the success of the trip. and he. as ,ell as other
friends. gave us a great num%er of letters of introduction to
people in France and England. and made other arrangements
for our comfort and convenience a%road. 6ood&%ys ,ere said
at Tus$egee. and ,e ,ere in )e, Bor$ *ay A. ready to sail the
ne(t day. "ur daughter Portia. ,ho ,as then studying in South
Framingham. *ass.. came to )e, Bor$ to see us off. *r. Scott.
my secretary. came ,ith me to )e, Bor$. in order that I might
clear up the last %it of %usiness %efore I left. "ther friends also
came to )e, Bor$ to see us off. :ust %efore ,e ,ent on %oard
the steamer another pleasant surprise came to us in the form of
a letter from t,o generous ladies. stating that they had decided
to give us the money ,ith ,hich to erect a ne, %uilding to %e
used in properly housing all our industries for girls at
Tus$egee.
+e ,ere to sail on the Friesland. of the #ed Star -ine. and a
%eautiful vessel she ,as. +e ,ent on %oard 8ust %efore noon.
the hour of sailing. I had never %efore %een on %oard a large
ocean steamer. and the feeling ,hich too$ possession of me
,hen I found myself there is rather hard to descri%e. It ,as a
feeling. I thin$. of a,e mingled ,ith delight. +e ,ere
agreea%ly surprised to find that the captain. as ,ell as several
of the other officers. not only $ne, ,ho ,e ,ere. %ut ,as
e(pecting us and gave us a pleasant greeting. There ,ere
several passengers ,hom ,e $ne,. including Senator Se,ell.
of )e, :ersey. and Ed,ard *arshall. the ne,spaper
correspondent. I had 8ust a little fear that ,e ,ould not %e
treated civilly %y some of the passengers. This fear ,as %ased
upon ,hat I had heard other people of my race. ,ho had
crossed the ocean. say a%out unpleasant e(periences in crossing
the ocean in American vessels. But in our case. from the
captain do,n to the most hum%le servant. ,e ,ere treated ,ith
the greatest $indness. )or ,as this $indness confined to those
,ho ,ere connected ,ith the steamer5 it ,as sho,n %y all the
passengers also. There ,ere not a fe, Southern men and
,omen on %oard. and they ,ere as cordial as those from other
parts of the country.
As soon as the last good&%ys ,ere said. and the steamer had
cut loose from the ,harf. the load of care. an(iety. and
responsi%ility ,hich I had carried for eighteen years %egan to
lift itself from my shoulders at the rate. it seemed to me. of a
pound a minute. It ,as the first time in all those years that I
had felt. even in a measure. free from care5 and my feeling of
relief it is hard to descri%e on paper. Added to this ,as the
delightful anticipation of %eing in Europe soon. It all seemed
more li$e a dream than li$e a reality.
*r. 6arrison had thoughtfully arranged to have us have one
of the most comforta%le rooms on the ship. The second or third
day out I %egan to sleep. and I thin$ that I slept at the rate of
fifteen hours a day during the remainder of the ten days1
passage. Then it ,as that I %egan to understand ho, tired I
really ,as. These long sleeps I $ept up for a month after ,e
landed on the other side. It ,as such an unusual feeling to
,a$e up in the morning and reali/e that I had no engagements5
did not have to ta$e a train at a certain hour5 did not have an
appointment to meet some one. or to ma$e an address. at a
certain hour. !o, different all this ,as from the e(periences
that I have %een through ,hen travelling. ,hen I have
sometimes slept in three different %eds in a single nightC
+hen Sunday came. the captain invited me to conduct the
religious services. %ut. not %eing a minister. I declined. The
passengers. ho,ever. %egan ma$ing re0uests that I deliver an
address to them in the dining&saloon some time during the
voyage. and this I consented to do. Senator Se,ell presided at
this meeting. After ten days of delightful ,eather. during ,hich
I ,as not seasic$ for a day. ,e landed at the interesting old city
of Ant,erp. in Belgium.
The ne(t day after ,e landed happened to %e one of those
num%erless holidays ,hich the people of those countries are in
the ha%it of o%serving. It ,as a %right. %eautiful day. "ur room
in the hotel faced the main pu%lic s0uare. and the sights
therethe people coming in from the country ,ith all $inds of
%eautiful flo,ers to sell. the ,omen coming in ,ith their dogs
dra,ing large. %rightly polished cans filled ,ith mil$. the
people streaming into the cathedralfilled me ,ith a sense of
ne,ness that I had never %efore e(perienced.
After spending some time in Ant,erp. ,e ,ere invited to go
,ith a part of a half&do/en persons on a trip through !olland.
This party included Ed,ard *arshall and some American
artists ,ho had come over on the same steamer ,ith us. +e
accepted the invitation. and en8oyed the trip greatly. I thin$ it
,as all the more interesting and instructive %ecause ,e ,ent
for most of the ,ay on one of the slo,. old&fashioned canal&
%oats. This gave us an opportunity of seeing and studying the
real life of the people in the country districts. +e ,ent in this
,ay as far as #otterdam. and later ,ent to The !ague. ,here
the Peace Conference ,as then in session. and ,here ,e ,ere
$indly received %y the American representatives.
The thing that impressed itself most on me in !olland ,as
the thoroughness of the agriculture and the e(cellence of the
!olstein cattle. I never $ne,. %efore visiting !olland. ho,
much it ,as possi%le for people to get out of a small plot of
ground. It seemed to me that a%solutely no land ,as ,asted. It
,as ,orth a trip to !olland. too. 8ust to get a sight of three or
four hundred fine !olstein co,s gra/ing in one of those
intensely green fields.
From !olland ,e ,ent to Belgium. and made a hasty trip
through that country. stopping at Brussels. ,here ,e visited the
%attlefield of +aterloo. From Belgium ,e ,ent direct to Paris.
,here ,e found that *r. Theodore Stanton. the son of *rs.
Eli/a%eth Cady Stanton. had $indly provided accommodations
for us. +e had %arely got settled in Paris %efore an invitation
came to me from the 3niversity Clu% of Paris to %e its guest at
a %an0uet ,hich ,as soon to %e given. The other guests ,ere
e(&President Ben8amin !arrison and Arch%ishop Ireland. ,ho
,ere in Paris at the time. The American Am%assador. 6eneral
!orace Porter. presided at the %an0uet. *y address on this
occasion seemed to give satisfaction to those ,ho heard it.
6eneral !arrison $indly devoted a large portion of his remar$s
at dinner to myself and to the influence of the ,or$ at
Tus$egee on the American race 0uestion. After my address at
this %an0uet other invitations came to me. %ut I declined the
most of them. $no,ing that if I accepted them all. the o%8ect of
my visit ,ould %e defeated. I did. ho,ever. consent to deliver
an address in the American chapel the follo,ing Sunday
morning. and at this meeting 6eneral !arrison. 6eneral Porter.
and other distinguished Americans ,ere present.
-ater ,e received a formal call from the American
Am%assador. and ,ere invited to attend a reception at his
residence. At this reception ,e met many Americans. among
them :ustices Fuller and !arlan. of the 3nited States Supreme
Court. During our entire stay of a month in Paris. %oth the
American Am%assador and his ,ife. as ,ell as several other
Americans. ,ere very $ind to us.
+hile in Paris ,e sa, a good deal of the no, famous
American )egro painter. *r. !enry ". Tanner. ,hom ,e had
formerly $no,n in America. It ,as very satisfactory to find
ho, ,ell $no,n *r. Tanner ,as in the field of art. and to note
the high standing ,hich all classes accorded to him. +hen ,e
told some Americans that ,e ,ere going to the -u(em%ourg
Palace to see a painting %y an American )egro. it ,as hard to
convince them that a )egro had %een thus honoured. I do not
%elieve that they ,ere really convinced of the fact until they
sa, the picture for themselves. *y ac0uaintance ,ith *r.
Tanner reenforced in my mind the truth ,hich I am constantly
trying to impress upon our students at Tus$egeeand on our
people throughout the country. as far as I can reach them ,ith
my voicethat any man. regardless of colour. ,ill %e recogni/ed
and re,arded 8ust in proportion as he learns to do something
,elllearns to do it %etter than some one elseho,ever hum%le
the thing may %e. As I have said. I %elieve that my race ,ill
succeed in proportion as it learns to do a common thing in an
uncommon manner5 learns to do a thing so thoroughly that no
one can improve upon ,hat it has done5 learns to ma$e its
services of indispensa%le value. This ,as the spirit that inspired
me in my first effort at !ampton. ,hen I ,as given the
opportunity to s,eep and dust that schoolroom. In a degree I
felt that my ,hole future life depended upon the thoroughness
,ith ,hich I cleaned that room. and I ,as determined to do it
so ,ell that no one could find any fault ,ith the 8o%. Fe,
people ever stopped. I found. ,hen loo$ing at his pictures. to
in0uire ,hether *r. Tanner ,as a )egro painter. a French
painter. or a 6erman painter. They simply $ne, that he ,as
a%le to produce something ,hich the ,orld ,anteda great
paintingand the matter of his colour did not enter into their
minds. +hen a )egro girl learns to coo$. to ,ash dishes. to
se,. or ,rite a %oo$. or a )egro %oy learns to groom horses. or
to gro, s,eet potatoes. or to produce %utter. or to %uild a
house. or to %e a%le to practise medicine. as ,ell or %etter than
some one else. they ,ill %e re,arded regardless of race or
colour. In the long run. the ,orld is going to have the %est. and
any difference in race. religion. or previous history ,ill not
long $eep the ,orld from ,hat it ,ants.
I thin$ that the ,hole future of my race hinges on the
0uestion as to ,hether or not it can ma$e itself of such
indispensa%le value that the people in the to,n and the state
,here ,e reside ,ill feel that our presence is necessary to the
happiness and ,ell&%eing of the community. )o man ,ho
continues to add something to the material. intellectual. and
moral ,ell&%eing of the place in ,hich he lives is long left
,ithout proper re,ard. This is a great human la, ,hich cannot
%e permanently nullified.
The love of pleasure and e(citement ,hich seems in a large
measure to possess the French people impressed itself upon
me. I thin$ they are more noted in this respect than is true of
the people of my o,n race. In point of morality and moral
earnestness I do not %elieve that the French are ahead of my
o,n race in America. Severe competition and the great stress
of life have led them to learn to do things more thoroughly and
to e(ercise greater economy5 %ut time. I thin$. ,ill %ring my
race to the same point. In the matter of truth and high honour I
do not %elieve that the average Frenchman is ahead of the
American )egro5 ,hile so far as mercy and $indness to dum%
animals go. I %elieve that my race is far ahead. In fact. ,hen I
left France. I had more faith in the future of the %lac$ man in
America than I had ever possessed.
From Paris ,e ,ent to -ondon. and reached there early in
:uly. 8ust a%out the height of the -ondon social season.
Parliament ,as in session. and there ,as a great deal of gaiety.
*r. 6arrison and other friends had provided us ,ith a large
num%er of letters of introduction. and they had also sent letters
to other persons in different parts of the 3nited ;ingdom.
apprising these people of our coming. ery soon after reaching
-ondon ,e ,ere flooded ,ith invitations to attend all manner
of social functions. and a great many invitations came to me
as$ing that I deliver pu%lic addresses. The most of these
invitations I declined. for the reason that I ,anted to rest.
)either ,ere ,e a%le to accept more than a small proportion of
the other invitations. The #ev. Dr. Broo$e !erford and *rs.
!erford. ,hom I had $no,n in Boston. consulted ,ith the
American Am%assador. the !on. :oseph Choate. and arranged
for me to spea$ at a pu%lic meeting to %e held in Esse( !all.
*r. Choate $indly consented to preside. The meeting ,as
largely attended. There ,ere many distinguished persons
present. among them several mem%ers of Parliament. including
*r. :ames Bryce. ,ho spo$e at the meeting. +hat the
American Am%assador said in introducing me. as ,ell as a
synopsis of ,hat I said. ,as ,idely pu%lished in England and
in the American papers at the time. Dr. and *rs. !erford gave
*rs. +ashington and myself a reception. at ,hich ,e had the
privilege of meeting some of the %est people in England.
Throughout our stay in -ondon Am%assador Choate ,as most
$ind and attentive to us. At the Am%assador1s reception I met.
for the first time. *ar$ T,ain.
+e ,ere the guests several times of *rs. T. Fisher 3n,in.
the daughter of the English statesman. #ichard Co%den. It
seemed as if %oth *r. and *rs. 3n,in could not do enough for
our comfort and happiness. -ater. for nearly a ,ee$. ,e ,ere
the guests of the daughter of :ohn Bright. no, *rs. Clar$. of
Street. England. Both *r. and *rs. Clar$. ,ith their daughter.
visited us at Tus$egee the ne(t year. In Birmingham. England.
,e ,ere the guests for several days of *r. :oseph Sturge.
,hose father ,as a great a%olitionist and friend of +hittier and
6arrison. It ,as a great privilege to meet throughout England
those ,ho had $no,n and honoured the late +illiam -loyd
6arrison. the !on. Frederic$ Douglass. and other a%olitionists.
The English a%olitionists ,ith ,hom ,e came in contact never
seemed to tire of tal$ing a%out these t,o Americans. Before
going to England I had had no proper conception of the deep
interest displayed %y the a%olitionists of England in the cause
of freedom. nor did I reali/e the amount of su%stantial help
given %y them.
In Bristol. England. %oth *rs. +ashington and I spo$e at the
+omen1s -i%eral Clu%. I ,as also the principal spea$er at the
Commencement e(ercises of the #oyal College for the Blind.
These e(ercises ,ere held in the Crystal Palace. and the
presiding officer ,as the late Du$e of +estminster. ,ho ,as
said to %e. I %elieve. the richest man in England. if not in the
,orld. The Du$e. as ,ell as his ,ife and their daughter.
seemed to %e pleased ,ith ,hat I said. and than$ed me heartily.
Through the $indness of -ady A%erdeen. my ,ife and I ,ere
ena%led to go ,ith a party of those ,ho ,ere attending the
International Congress of +omen. then in session in -ondon.
to see Iueen ictoria. at +indsor Castle. ,here. after,ard. ,e
,ere all the guests of her *a8esty at tea. In our party ,as *iss
Susan B. Anthony. and I ,as deeply impressed ,ith the fact
that one did not often get an opportunity to see. during the
same hour. t,o ,omen so remar$a%le in different ,ays as
Susan B. Anthony and Iueen ictoria.
In the !ouse of Commons. ,hich ,e visited several times.
,e met Sir !enry *. Stanley. I tal$ed ,ith him a%out Africa
and its relation to the American )egro. and after my intervie,
,ith him I %ecame more convinced than ever that there ,as no
hope of the American )egro1s improving his condition %y
emigrating to Africa.
"n various occasions *rs. +ashington and I ,ere the guests
of Englishmen in their country homes. ,here. I thin$. one sees
the Englishman at his %est. In one thing. at least. I feel sure that
the English are ahead of Americans. and that is. that they have
learned ho, to get more out of life. The home life of the
English seems to me to %e a%out as perfect as anything can %e.
Everything moves li$e cloc$,or$. I ,as impressed. too. ,ith
the deference that the servants sho, to their 2masters2 and
2mistresses.2terms ,hich I suppose ,ould not %e tolerated in
America. The English servant e(pects. as a rule. to %e nothing
%ut a servant. and so he perfects himself in the art to a degree
that no class of servants in America has yet reached. In our
country the servant e(pects to %ecome. in a fe, years. a
2master2 himself. +hich system is prefera%le9 I ,ill not
venture an ans,er.
Another thing that impressed itself upon me throughout
England ,as the high regard that all classes have for la, and
order. and the ease and thoroughness ,ith ,hich everything is
done. The Englishmen. I found. too$ plenty of time for eating.
as for everything else. I am not sure if. in the long run. they do
not accomplish as much or more than rushing. nervous
Americans do.
*y visit to England gave me a higher regard for the no%ility
than I had had. I had no idea that they ,ere so generally loved
and respected %y the classes. nor that I any correct conception
of ho, much time and money they spent in ,or$s of
philanthropy. and ho, much real heart they put into this ,or$.
*y impression had %een that they merely spent money freely
and had a 2good time.2
It ,as hard for me to get accustomed to spea$ing to English
audiences. The average Englishman is so serious. and is so
tremendously in earnest a%out everything. that ,hen I told a
story that ,ould have made an American audience roar ,ith
laughter. the Englishmen simply loo$ed me straight in the face
,ithout even crac$ing a smile.
+hen the Englishman ta$es you into his heart and
friendship. he %inds you there as ,ith cords of steel. and I do
not %elieve that there are many other friendships that are so
lasting or so satisfactory. Perhaps I can illustrate this point in
no %etter ,ay than %y relating the follo,ing incident. *rs.
+ashington and I ,ere invited to attend a reception given %y
the Du$e and Duchess of Sutherland. at Stafford !ousesaid to
%e the finest house in -ondon5 I may add that I %elieve the
Duchess of Sutherland is said to %e the most %eautiful ,oman
in England. There must have %een at least three hundred
persons at this reception. T,ice during the evening the Duchess
sought us out for a conversation. and she as$ed me to ,rite her
,hen ,e got home. and tell her more a%out the ,or$ at
Tus$egee. This I did. +hen Christmas came ,e ,ere surprised
and delighted to receive her photograph ,ith her autograph on
it. The correspondence has continued. and ,e no, feel that in
the Duchess of Sutherland ,e have one of our ,armest friends.
After three months in Europe ,e sailed from Southampton
in the steamship St. -ouis. "n this steamer there ,as a fine
li%rary that had %een presented to the ship %y the citi/ens of St.
-ouis. *o. In this li%rary I found a life of Frederic$ Douglass.
,hich I %egan reading. I %ecame especially interested in *r.
Douglass1s description of the ,ay he ,as treated on ship%oard
during his first or second visit to England. In this description he
told ho, he ,as not permitted to enter the ca%in. %ut had to
confine himself to the dec$ of the ship. A fe, minutes after I
had finished reading this description I ,as ,aited on %y a
committee of ladies and gentlemen ,ith the re0uest that I
deliver an address at a concert ,hich ,as to %egin the
follo,ing evening. And yet there are people ,ho are %old
enough to say that race feeling in America is not gro,ing less
intenseC At this concert the !on. Ben8amin B. "dell. :r.. the
present governor of )e, Bor$. presided. I ,as never given a
more cordial hearing any,here. A large proportion of the
passengers ,ere Southern people. After the concert some of the
passengers proposed that a su%scription %e raised to help the
,or$ at Tus$egee. and the money to support several
scholarships ,as the result.
+hile ,e ,ere in Paris I ,as very pleasantly surprised to
receive the follo,ing invitation from the citi/ens of +est
irginia and of the city near ,hich I had spent my %oyhood
days7
Charleston. +. a.. *ay >G. >?AA.
Professor Boo$er T. +ashington. Paris. France7
Dear Sir7 *any of the %est citi/ens of +est irginia have
united in li%eral e(pressions of admiration and praise of your
,orth and ,or$. and desire that on your return from Europe
you should favour them ,ith your presence and ,ith the
inspiration of your ,ords. +e must sincerely indorse this
move. and on %ehalf of the citi/ens of Charleston e(tend to
your our most cordial invitation to have you come to us. that
,e may honour you ,ho have done so much %y your life and
,or$ to honour us.
+e are.
ery truly yours.
The Common Council of the City of Charleston.
By +. !erman Smith. *ayor.
This invitation from the City Council of Charleston ,as
accompanied %y the follo,ing7
Professor Boo$er T. +ashington. Paris. France7
Dear Sir7 +e. the citi/ens of Charleston and +est irginia.
desire to e(press our pride in you and the splendid career that
you have thus far accomplished. and as$ that ,e %e permitted
to sho, our pride and interest in a su%stantial ,ay.
Bour recent visit to your old home in our midst a,o$e ,ithin
us the $eenest regret that ,e ,ere not permitted to hear you
and render some su%stantial aid to your ,or$. %efore you left
for Europe.
In vie, of the foregoing. ,e earnestly invite you to share the
hospitality of our city upon your return from Europe. and give
us the opportunity to hear you and put ourselves in touch ,ith
your ,or$ in a ,ay that ,ill %e most gratifying to yourself. and
that ,e may receive the inspiration of your ,ords and
presence.
An early reply to this invitation. ,ith an indication of the
time you may reach our city. ,ill greatly o%lige.
Bours very respectfully.
The Charleston Daily 6a/ette. The Daily *ail&Tri%une5
6.+. At$inson. 6overnor5 E.-. Boggs. Secretary to 6overnor5
+m. *.". Da,son. Secretary of State5 -.*. -a Follette.
Auditor5 :.#. Trotter. Superintendent of Schools5 E.+. +ilson.
e(&6overnor5 +.A. *acCor$le. e(&6overnor5 :ohn I.
Dic$inson. President ;ana,ha alley Ban$5 -. Prichard.
President Charleston )ational Ban$5 6eo. S. Couch. President
;ana,ha )ational Ban$5 Ed. #eid. Cashier ;ana,ha )ational
Ban$5 6eo. S. -aidley. Superintended City Schools5 -.E.
*c+horter. President Board of Education5 Chas. ;. Payne.
,holesale merchant5 and many others.
This invitation. coming as it did from the City Council. the
state officers. and all the su%stantial citi/ens of %oth races of
the community ,here I had spent my %oyhood. and from ,hich
I had gone a fe, years %efore. un$no,n. in poverty and
ignorance. in 0uest of an education. not only surprised me. %ut
almost unmanned me. I could not understand ,hat I had done
to deserve it all.
I accepted the invitation. and at the appointed day ,as met at
the rail,ay station at Charleston %y a committee headed %y e(&
6overnor +.A. *acCor$le. and composed of men of %oth
races. The pu%lic reception ,as held in the "pera&!ouse at
Charleston. The 6overnor of the state. the !on. 6eorge +.
At$inson. presided. and an address of ,elcome ,as made %y
e(&6overnor *acCor$le. A prominent part in the reception ,as
ta$en %y the coloured citi/ens. The "pera&!ouse ,as filled
,ith citi/ens of %oth races. and among the ,hite people ,ere
many for ,hom I had ,or$ed ,hen I ,as a %oy. The ne(t day
6overnor and *rs. At$inson gave me a pu%lic reception at the
State !ouse. ,hich ,as attended %y all classes.
)ot long after this the coloured people in Atlanta. 6eorgia.
gave me a reception at ,hich the 6overnor of the state
presided. and a similar reception ,as given me in )e,
"rleans. ,hich ,as presided over %y the *ayor of the city.
Invitations came from many other places ,hich I ,as not a%le
to accept.
#ha("er /VII. Las" Wor&s
Before going to Europe some events came into my life
,hich ,ere great surprises to me. In fact. my ,hole life has
largely %een one of surprises. I %elieve that any man1s life ,ill
%e filled ,ith constant. une(pected encouragements of this
$ind if he ma$es up his mind to do his level %est each day of
his lifethat is. tries to ma$e each day reach as nearly as possi%le
the high&,ater mar$ of pure. unselfish. useful living. I pity the
man. %lac$ or ,hite. ,ho has never e(perienced the 8oy and
satisfaction that come to one %y reason of an effort to assist in
ma$ing some one else more useful and more happy.
Si( months %efore he died. and nearly a year after he had
%een stric$en ,ith paralysis. 6eneral Armstrong e(pressed a
,ish to visit Tus$egee again %efore he passed a,ay.
)ot,ithstanding the fact that he had lost the use of his lim%s to
such an e(tent that he ,as practically helpless. his ,ish ,as
gratified. and he ,as %rought to Tus$egee. The o,ners of the
Tus$egee #ailroad. ,hite men living in the to,n. offered to run
a special train. ,ithout cost. out of the main stationCheha,.
five miles a,ayto meet him. !e arrived on the school grounds
a%out nine o1cloc$ in the evening. Some one had suggested that
,e give the 6eneral a 2pine&$not torchlight reception.2 This
plan ,as carried out. and the moment that his carriage entered
the school grounds he %egan passing %et,een t,o lines of
lighted and ,aving 2fat pine2 ,ood $nots held %y over a
thousand students and teachers. The ,hole thing ,as so novel
and surprising that the 6eneral ,as completely overcome ,ith
happiness. !e remained a guest in my home for nearly t,o
months. and. although almost ,holly ,ithout the use of voice
or lim%. he spent nearly every hour in devising ,ays and means
to help the South. Time and time again he said to me. during
this visit. that it ,as not only the duty of the country to assist in
elevating the )egro of the South. %ut the poor ,hite man as
,ell. At the end of his visit I resolved ane, to devote myself
more earnestly than ever to the cause ,hich ,as so near his
heart. I said that if a man in his condition ,as ,illing to thin$.
,or$. and act. I should not %e ,anting in furthering in every
possi%le ,ay the ,ish of his heart.
The death of 6eneral Armstrong. a fe, ,ee$s later. gave me
the privilege of getting ac0uainted ,ith one of the finest. most
unselfish. and most attractive men that I have ever come in
contact ,ith. I refer to the #ev. Dr. !ollis B. Frissell. no, the
Principal of the !ampton Institute. and 6eneral Armstrong1s
successor. 3nder the clear. strong. and almost perfect
leadership of Dr. Frissell. !ampton has had a career of
prosperity and usefulness that is all that the 6eneral could have
,ished for. It seems to %e the constant effort of Dr. Frissell to
hide his o,n great personality %ehind that of 6eneral
Armstrongto ma$e himself of 2no reputation2 for the sa$e of
the cause.
*ore than once I have %een as$ed ,hat ,as the greatest
surprise that ever came to me. I have little hesitation in
ans,ering that 0uestion. It ,as the follo,ing letter. ,hich
came to me one Sunday morning ,hen I ,as sitting on the
veranda of my home at Tus$egee. surrounded %y my ,ife and
three children7
!arvard 3niversity. Cam%ridge. *ay F?. >?AG.
President Boo$er T. +ashington.
*y Dear Sir7 !arvard 3niversity desired to confer on you at
the approaching Commencement an honorary degree5 %ut it is
our custom to confer degrees only on gentlemen ,ho are
present. "ur Commencement occurs this year on :une FH. and
your presence ,ould %e desira%le from a%out noon till a%out
five o1cloc$ in the afternoon. +ould it %e possi%le for you to %e
in Cam%ridge on that day9
Believe me. ,ith great regard.
ery truly yours.
Charles +. Eliot.
This ,as a recognition that had never in the slightest manner
entered into my mind. and it ,as hard for me to reali/e that I
,as to %e honoured %y a degree from the oldest and most
reno,ned university in America. As I sat upon my veranda.
,ith this letter in my hand. tears came into my eyes. *y ,hole
former lifemy life as a slave on the plantation. my ,or$ in the
coal&mine. the times ,hen I ,as ,ithout food and clothing.
,hen I made my %ed under a side,al$. my struggles for an
education. the trying days I had had at Tus$egee. days ,hen I
did not $no, ,here to turn for a dollar to continue the ,or$
there. the ostracism and sometimes oppression of my race.all
this passed %efore me and nearly overcame me.
I had never sought or cared for ,hat the ,orld calls fame. I
have al,ays loo$ed upon fame as something to %e used in
accomplishing good. I have often said to my friends that if I
can use ,hatever prominence may have come to me as an
instrument ,ith ,hich to do good. I am content to have it. I
care for it only as a means to %e used for doing good. 8ust as
,ealth may %e used. The more I come into contact ,ith
,ealthy people. the more I %elieve that they are gro,ing in the
direction of loo$ing upon their money simply as an instrument
,hich 6od has placed in their hand for doing good ,ith. I
never go to the office of *r. :ohn D. #oc$efeller. ,ho more
than once has %een generous to Tus$egee. ,ithout %eing
reminded of this. The close. careful. and minute investigation
that he al,ays ma$es in order to %e sure that every dollar that
he gives ,ill do the most goodan investigation that is 8ust as
searching as if he ,ere investing money in a %usiness
enterpriseconvinces me that the gro,th in this direction is most
encouraging.
At nine o1cloc$. on the morning of :une FH. I met President
Eliot. the Board of "verseers of !arvard 3niversity. and the
other guests. at the designated place on the university grounds.
for the purpose of %eing escorted to Sanders Theatre. ,here the
Commencement e(ercises ,ere to %e held and degrees
conferred. Among others invited to %e present for the purpose
of receiving a degree at this time ,ere 6eneral )elson A.
*iles. Dr. Bell. the inventor of the Bell telephone. Bishop
incent. and the #ev. *inot :. Savage. +e ,ere placed in line
immediately %ehind the President and the Board of "verseers.
and directly after,ard the 6overnor of *assachusetts. escorted
%y the -ancers. arrived and too$ his place in the line of march
%y the side of President Eliot. In the line there ,ere also
various other officers and professors. clad in cap and go,n. In
this order ,e marched to Sanders Theatre. ,here. after the
usual Commencement e(ercises. came the conferring of the
honorary degrees. This. it seems. is al,ays considered the most
interesting feature at !arvard. It is not $no,n. until the
individuals appear. upon ,hom the honorary degrees are to %e
conferred. and those receiving these honours are cheered %y the
students and others in proportion to their popularity. During the
conferring of the degrees e(citement and enthusiasm are at the
highest pitch.
+hen my name ,as called. I rose. and President Eliot. in
%eautiful and strong English. conferred upon me the degree of
*aster of Arts. After these e(ercises ,ere over. those ,ho had
received honorary degrees ,ere invited to lunch ,ith the
President. After the lunch ,e ,ere formed in line again. and
,ere escorted %y the *arshal of the day. ,ho that year
happened to %e Bishop +illiam -a,rence. through the
grounds. ,here. at different points. those ,ho had %een
honoured ,ere called %y name and received the !arvard yell.
This march ended at *emorial !all. ,here the alumni dinner
,as served. To see over a thousand strong men. representing all
that is %est in State. Church. %usiness. and education. ,ith the
glo, and enthusiasm of college loyalty and college
pride.,hich has. I thin$. a peculiar !arvard flavour.is a sight
that does not easily fade from memory.
Among the spea$ers after dinner ,ere President Eliot.
6overnor #oger +olcott. 6eneral *iles. Dr. *inot :. Savage.
the !on. !enry Ca%ot -odge. and myself. +hen I ,as called
upon. I said. among other things7
It ,ould in some measure relieve my em%arrassment if I
could. even in a slight degree. feel myself ,orthy of the great
honour ,hich you do me to&day. +hy you have called me from
the Blac$ Belt of the South. from among my hum%le people. to
share in the honours of this occasion. is not for me to e(plain5
and yet it may not %e inappropriate for me to suggest that it
seems to me that one of the most vital 0uestions that touch our
American life is ho, to %ring the strong. ,ealthy. and learned
into helpful touch ,ith the poorest. most ignorant. and
hum%lest. and at the same time ma$e one appreciate the
vitali/ing. strengthening influence of the other. !o, shall ,e
ma$e the mansion on yon Beacon Street feel and see the need
of the spirits in the lo,liest ca%in in Ala%ama cotton&fields or
-ouisiana sugar&%ottoms9 This pro%lem !arvard 3niversity is
solving. not %y %ringing itself do,n. %ut %y %ringing the
masses up.
If my life in the past has meant anything in the lifting up of
my people and the %ringing a%out of %etter relations %et,een
your race and mine. I assure you from this day it ,ill mean
dou%ly more. In the economy of 6od there is %ut one standard
%y ,hich an individual can succeedthere is %ut one for a race.
This country demands that every race shall measure itself %y
the American standard. By it a race must rise or fall. succeed or
fail. and in the last analysis mere sentiment counts for little.
During the ne(t half&century and more. my race must
continue passing through the severe American cruci%le. +e are
to %e tested in our patience. our for%earance. our perseverance.
our po,er to endure ,rong. to ,ithstand temptations. to
economi/e. to ac0uire and use s$ill5 in our a%ility to compete.
to succeed in commerce. to disregard the superficial for the
real. the appearance for the su%stance. to %e great and yet
small. learned and yet simple. high and yet the servant of all.
As this ,as the first time that a )e, England university had
conferred an honorary degree upon a )egro. it ,as the
occasion of much ne,spaper comment throughout the country.
A correspondent of a )e, Bor$ Paper said7
+hen the name of Boo$er T. +ashington ,as called. and he
arose to ac$no,ledge and accept. there ,as such an out%urst of
applause as greeted no other name e(cept that of the popular
soldier patriot. 6eneral *iles. The applause ,as not studied
and stiff. sympathetic and condoling5 it ,as enthusiasm and
admiration. Every part of the audience from pit to gallery
8oined in. and a glo, covered the chee$s of those around me.
proving sincere appreciation of the rising struggle of an e(&
slave and the ,or$ he has accomplished for his race.
A Boston paper said. editorially7
In conferring the honorary degree of *aster of Arts upon the
Principal of Tus$egee Institute. !arvard 3niversity has
honoured itself as ,ell as the o%8ect of this distinction. The
,or$ ,hich Professor Boo$er T. +ashington has accomplished
for the education. good citi/enship. and popular enlightenment
in his chosen field of la%our in the South entitles him to ran$
,ith our national %enefactors. The university ,hich can claim
him on its list of sons. ,hether in regular course or honoris
causa. may %e proud.
It has %een mentioned that *r. +ashington is the first of his
race to receive an honorary degree from a )e, England
university. This. in itself. is a distinction. But the degree ,as
not conferred %ecause *r. +ashington is a coloured man. or
%ecause he ,as %orn in slavery. %ut %ecause he has sho,n. %y
his ,or$ for the elevation of the people of the Blac$ Belt of the
South. a genius and a %road humanity ,hich count for
greatness in any man. ,hether his s$in %e ,hite or %lac$.
Another Boston paper said7
It is !arvard ,hich. first among )e, England colleges.
confers an honorary degree upon a %lac$ man. )o one ,ho has
follo,ed the history of Tus$egee and its ,or$ can fail to
admire the courage. persistence. and splendid common sense of
Boo$er T. +ashington.
+ell may !arvard honour the e(&slave. the value of ,hose
services. ali$e to his race and country. only the future can
estimate.
The correspondent of the )e, Bor$ Times ,rote7
All the speeches ,ere enthusiastically received. %ut the
coloured man carried off the oratorical honours. and the
applause ,hich %ro$e out ,hen he had finished ,as vociferous
and long&continued.
Soon after I %egan ,or$ at Tus$egee I formed a resolution.
in the secret of my heart. that I ,ould try to %uild up a school
that ,ould %e of so much service to the country that the
President of the 3nited States ,ould one day come to see it.
This ,as. I confess. rather a %old resolution. and for a num%er
of years I $ept it hidden in my o,n thoughts. not daring to
share it ,ith any one.
In )ovem%er. >?AE. I made the first move in this direction.
and that ,as in securing a visit from a mem%er of President
*c;inley1s Ca%inet. the !on. :ames +ilson. Secretary of
Agriculture. !e came to deliver an address at the formal
opening of the Slater&Armstrong Agricultural Building. our
first large %uilding to %e used for the purpose of giving training
to our students in agriculture and $indred %ranches.
In the fall of >?A? I heard that President *c;inley ,as
li$ely to visit Atlanta. 6eorgia. for the purpose of ta$ing part in
the Peace :u%ilee e(ercises to %e held there to commemorate
the successful close of the Spanish&American ,ar. At this time
I had %een hard at ,or$. together ,ith our teachers. for
eighteen years. trying to %uild up a school that ,e thought
,ould %e of service to the )ation. and I determined to ma$e a
direct effort to secure a visit from the President and his
Ca%inet. I ,ent to +ashington. and I ,as not long in the city
%efore I found my ,ay to the +hite !ouse. +hen I got there I
found the ,aiting rooms full of people. and my heart %egan to
sin$. for I feared there ,ould not %e much chance of my seeing
the President that day. if at all. But. at any rate. I got an
opportunity to see *r. :. Addison Porter. the secretary to the
President. and e(plained to him my mission. *r. Porter $indly
sent my card directly to the President. and in a fe, minutes
,ord came from *r. *c;inley that he ,ould see me.
!o, any man can see so many people of all $inds. ,ith all
$inds of errands. and do so much hard ,or$. and still $eep
himself calm. patient. and fresh for each visitor in the ,ay that
President *c;inley does. I cannot understand. +hen I sa, the
President he $indly than$ed me for the ,or$ ,hich ,e ,ere
doing at Tus$egee for the interests of the country. I then told
him. %riefly. the o%8ect of my visit. I impressed upon him the
fact that a visit from the Chief E(ecutive of the )ation ,ould
not only encourage our students and teachers. %ut ,ould help
the entire race. !e seemed interested. %ut did not ma$e a
promise to go to Tus$egee. for the reason that his plans a%out
going to Atlanta ,ere not then fully made5 %ut he as$ed me to
call the matter to his attention a fe, ,ee$s later.
By the middle of the follo,ing month the President had
definitely decided to attend the Peace :u%ilee at Atlanta. I ,ent
to +ashington again and sa, him. ,ith a vie, of getting him
to e(tend his trip to Tus$egee. "n this second visit *r. Charles
+. !are. a prominent ,hite citi/en of Tus$egee. $indly
volunteered to accompany me. to reenforce my invitation ,ith
one from the ,hite people of Tus$egee and the vicinity.
:ust previous to my going to +ashington the second time.
the country had %een e(cited. and the coloured people greatly
depressed. %ecause of several severe race riots ,hich had
occurred at different points in the South. As soon as I sa, the
President. I perceived that his heart ,as greatly %urdened %y
reason of these race distur%ances. Although there ,ere many
people ,aiting to see him. he detained me for some time.
discussing the condition and prospects of the race. !e
remar$ed several times that he ,as determined to sho, his
interest and faith in the race. not merely in ,ords. %ut %y acts.
+hen I told him that I thought that at that time scarcely
anything ,ould go father in giving hope and encouragement to
the race than the fact that the President of the )ation ,ould %e
,illing to travel one hundred and forty miles out of his ,ay to
spend a day at a )egro institution. he seemed deeply
impressed.
+hile I ,as ,ith the President. a ,hite citi/en of Atlanta. a
Democrat and an e(&slaveholder. came into the room. and the
President as$ed his opinion as to the ,isdom of his going to
Tus$egee. +ithout hesitation the Atlanta man replied that it
,as the proper thing for him to do. This opinion ,as
reenforced %y that friend of the race. Dr. :.-.*. Curry. The
President promised that he ,ould visit our school on the >Gth
of Decem%er.
+hen it %ecame $no,n that the President ,as going to visit
our school. the ,hite citi/ens of the to,n of Tus$egeea mile
distant from the school,ere as much pleased as ,ere our
students and teachers. The ,hite people of this to,n. including
%oth men and ,omen. %egan arranging to decorate the to,n.
and to form themselves into committees for the purpose of
cooperating ,ith the officers of our school in order that the
distinguished visitor might have a fitting reception. I thin$ I
never reali/ed %efore this ho, much the ,hite people of
Tus$egee and vicinity thought of our institution. During the
days ,hen ,e ,ere preparing for the President1s reception.
do/ens of these people came to me and said that. ,hile they did
not ,ant to push themselves into prominence. if there ,as
anything they could do to help. or to relieve me personally. I
had %ut to intimate it and they ,ould %e only too glad to assist.
In fact. the thing that touched me almost as deeply as the visit
of the President itself ,as the deep pride ,hich all classes of
citi/ens in Ala%ama seemed to ta$e in our ,or$.
The morning of Decem%er >Gth %rought to the little city of
Tus$egee such a cro,d as it had never seen %efore. +ith the
President came *rs. *c;inley and all of the Ca%inet officers
%ut one5 and most of them %rought their ,ives or some
mem%ers of their families. Several prominent generals came.
including 6eneral Shafter and 6eneral :oseph +heeler. ,ho
,ere recently returned from the Spanish&American ,ar. There
,as also a host of ne,spaper correspondents. The Ala%ama
-egislature ,as in session in *ontgomery at this time. This
%ody passed a resolution to ad8ourn for the purpose of visiting
Tus$egee. :ust %efore the arrival of the President1s party the
-egislature arrived. headed %y the governor and other state
officials.
The citi/ens of Tus$egee had decorated the to,n from the
station to the school in a generous manner. In order to
economi/e in the matter of time. ,e arranged to have the ,hole
school pass in revie, %efore the President. Each student carried
a stal$ of sugar&cane ,ith some open %olls of cotton fastened to
the end of it. Follo,ing the students the ,or$ of all
departments of the school passed in revie,. displayed on
2floats2 dra,n %y horses. mules. and o(en. "n these floats ,e
tried to e(hi%it not only the present ,or$ of the school. %ut to
sho, the contrasts %et,een the old methods of doing things
and the ne,. As an e(ample. ,e sho,ed the old method of
dairying in contrast ,ith the improved methods. the old
methods of tilling the soil in contrast ,ith the ne,. the old
methods of coo$ing and house$eeping in contrast ,ith the ne,.
These floats consumed an hour and a half of time in passing.
In his address in our large. ne, chapel. ,hich the students
had recently completed. the President said. among other things7
To meet you under such pleasant auspices and to have the
opportunity of a personal o%servation of your ,or$ is indeed
most gratifying. The Tus$egee )ormal and Industrial Institute
is ideal in its conception. and has already a large and gro,ing
reputation in the country. and is not un$no,n a%road. I
congratulate all ,ho are associated in this underta$ing for the
good ,or$ ,hich it is doing in the education of its students to
lead lives of honour and usefulness. thus e(alting the race for
,hich it ,as esta%lished.
)o,here. I thin$. could a more delightful location have %een
chosen for this uni0ue educational e(periment. ,hich has
attracted the attention and ,on the support even of
conservative philanthropists in all sections of the country.
To spea$ of Tus$egee ,ithout paying special tri%ute to
Boo$er T. +ashington1s genius and perseverance ,ould %e
impossi%le. The inception of this no%le enterprise ,as his. and
he deserves high credit for it. !is ,as the enthusiasm and
enterprise ,hich made its steady progress possi%le and
esta%lished in the institution its present high standard of
accomplishment. !e has ,on a ,orthy reputation as one of the
great leaders of his race. ,idely $no,n and much respected at
home and a%road as an accomplished educator. a great orator.
and a true philanthropist.
The !on. :ohn D. -ong. the Secretary of the )avy. said in
part7
I cannot ma$e a speech to&day. *y heart is too fullfull of
hope. admiration. and pride for my countrymen of %oth
sections and %oth colours. I am filled ,ith gratitude and
admiration for your ,or$. and from this time for,ard I shall
have a%solute confidence in your progress and in the solution
of the pro%lem in ,hich you are engaged.
The pro%lem. I say. has %een solved. A picture has %een
presented to&day ,hich should %e put upon canvas ,ith the
pictures of +ashington and -incoln. and transmitted to future
time and generationsa picture ,hich the press of the country
should spread %roadcast over the land. a most dramatic picture.
and that picture is this7 The President of the 3nited States
standing on this platform5 on one side the 6overnor of
Ala%ama. on the other. completing the trinity. a representative
of a race only a fe, years ago in %ondage. the coloured
President of the Tus$egee )ormal and Industrial Institute.
6od %less the President under ,hose ma8esty such a scene as
that is presented to the American people. 6od %less the state of
Ala%ama. ,hich is sho,ing that it can deal ,ith this pro%lem
for itself. 6od %less the orator. philanthropist. and disciple of
the 6reat *aster,ho. if he ,ere on earth. ,ould %e doing the
same ,or$Boo$er T. +ashington.
Postmaster 6eneral Smith closed the address ,hich he made
,ith these ,ords7
+e have ,itnessed many spectacles ,ithin the last fe, days.
+e have seen the magnificent grandeur and the magnificent
achievements of one of the great metropolitan cities of the
South. +e have seen heroes of the ,ar pass %y in procession.
+e have seen floral parades. But I am sure my colleagues ,ill
agree ,ith me in saying that ,e have ,itnessed no spectacle
more impressive and more encouraging. more inspiring for our
future. than that ,hich ,e have ,itnessed here this morning.
Some days after the President returned to +ashington I
received the letter ,hich follo,s7
E(ecutive *ansion. +ashington. Dec. FK. >?AA.
Dear Sir7 By this mail I ta$e pleasure in sending you
engrossed copies of the souvenir of the visit of the President to
your institution. These sheets %ear the autographs of the
President and the mem%ers of the Ca%inet ,ho accompanied
him on the trip. -et me ta$e this opportunity of congratulating
you most heartily and sincerely upon the great success of the
e(ercises provided for and entertainment furnished us under
your auspices during our visit to Tus$egee. Every feature of the
programme ,as perfectly e(ecuted and ,as vie,ed or
participated in ,ith the heartiest satisfaction %y every visitor
present. The uni0ue e(hi%ition ,hich you gave of your pupils
engaged in their industrial vocations ,as not only artistic %ut
thoroughly impressive. The tri%ute paid %y the President and
his Ca%inet to your ,or$ ,as none too high. and forms a most
encouraging augury. I thin$. for the future prosperity of your
institution. I cannot close ,ithout assuring you that the
modesty sho,n %y yourself in the e(ercises ,as most
favoura%ly commented upon %y all the mem%ers of our party.
+ith %est ,ishes for the continued advance of your most
useful and patriotic underta$ing. $ind personal regards. and the
compliments of the season. %elieve me. al,ays.
ery sincerely yours.
:ohn Addison Porter.
Secretary to the President.
To President Boo$er T. +ashington. Tus$egee )ormal and
Industrial Institute. Tus$egee. Ala.
T,enty years have no, passed since I made the first hum%le
effort at Tus$egee. in a %ro$en&do,n shanty and an old hen&
house. ,ithout o,ning a dollar1s ,orth of property. and ,ith
%ut one teacher and thirty students. At the present time the
institution o,ns t,enty&three hundred acres of land. one
thousand of ,hich are under cultivation each year. entirely %y
student la%our. There are no, upon the grounds. counting large
and small. si(ty&si( %uildings5 and all e(cept four of these have
%een almost ,holly erected %y the la%our of our students.
+hile the students are at ,or$ upon the land and in erecting
%uildings. they are taught. %y competent instructors. the latest
methods of agriculture and the trades connected ,ith %uilding.
There are in constant operation at the school. in connection
,ith thorough academic and religious training. thirty industrial
departments. All of these teach industries at ,hich our men and
,omen can find immediate employment as soon as they leave
the institution. The only difficulty no, is that the demand for
our graduates from %oth ,hite and %lac$ people in the South is
so great that ,e cannot supply more than one&half the persons
for ,hom applications come to us. )either have ,e the
%uildings nor the money for current e(penses to ena%le us to
admit to the school more than one&half the young men and
,omen ,ho apply to us for admission.
In our industrial teaching ,e $eep three things in mind7 first.
that the student shall %e so educated that he shall %e ena%led to
meet conditions as they e(ist no,. in the part of the South
,here he livesin a ,ord. to %e a%le to do the thing ,hich the
,orld ,ants done5 second. that every student ,ho graduates
from the school shall have enough s$ill. coupled ,ith
intelligence and moral character. to ena%le him to ma$e a living
for himself and others5 third. to send every graduate out feeling
and $no,ing that la%our is dignified and %eautifulto ma$e each
one love la%our instead of trying to escape it. In addition to the
agricultural training ,hich ,e give to young men. and the
training given to our girls in all the usual domestic
employments. ,e no, train a num%er of girls in agriculture
each year. These girls are taught gardening. fruit&gro,ing.
dairying. %ee&culture. and poultry&raising.
+hile the institution is in no sense denominational. ,e have
a department $no,n as the Phelps !all Bi%le Training School.
in ,hich a num%er of students are prepared for the ministry and
other forms of Christian ,or$. especially ,or$ in the country
districts. +hat is e0ually important. each one of the students
,or$s half of each day at some industry. in order to get s$ill
and the love of ,or$. so that ,hen he goes out from the
institution he is prepared to set the people ,ith ,hom he goes
to la%our a proper e(ample in the matter of industry.
The value of our property is no, over DEJJ.JJJ. If ,e add to
this our endo,ment fund. ,hich at present is D>.JJJ.JJJ. the
value of the total property is no, D>.EJJ.JJJ. Aside from the
need for more %uildings and for money for current e(penses.
the endo,ment fund should %e increased to at least DK.JJJ.JJJ.
The annual current e(penses are no, a%out D>@J.JJJ. The
greater part of this I collect each year %y going from door to
door and from house to house. All of our property is free from
mortgage. and is deeded to an undenominational %oard of
trustees ,ho have the control of the institution.
From thirty students the num%er has gro,n to fourteen
hundred. coming from t,enty&seven states and territories. from
Africa. Cu%a. Porto #ico. :amaica. and other foreign countries.
In our departments there are one hundred and ten officers and
instructors5 and if ,e add the families of our instructors. ,e
have a constant population upon our grounds of not far from
seventeen hundred people.
I have often %een as$ed ho, ,e $eep so large a %ody of
people together. and at the same time $eep them out of
mischief. There are t,o ans,ers7 that the men and ,omen ,ho
come to us for an education are in earnest5 and that every%ody
is $ept %usy. The follo,ing outline of our daily ,or$ ,ill
testify to this7
@ a.m.. rising %ell5 @.@J a.m.. ,arning %rea$fast %ell5 G a.m..
%rea$fast %ell5 G.FJ a.m.. %rea$fast over5 G.FJ to G.@J a.m..
rooms are cleaned5 G.@J. ,or$ %ell5 E.KJ. morning study hours5
?.FJ. morning school %ell5 ?.F@. inspection of young men1s
toilet in ran$s5 ?.HJ. devotional e(ercises in chapel5 ?.@@. 2five
minutes ,ith the daily ne,s52 A a.m.. class ,or$ %egins5 >F.
class ,or$ closes5 >F.>@ p.m.. dinner5 > p.m.. ,or$ %ell5 >.KJ
p.m.. class ,or$ %egins5 K.KJ p.m.. class ,or$ ends5 @.KJ p.m..
%ell to 2$noc$ off2 ,or$5 G p.m.. supper5 E.>J p.m.. evening
prayers5 E.KJ p.m.. evening study hours5 ?.H@ p.m.. evening
study hour closes5 A.FJ p.m.. ,arning retiring %ell5 A.KJ p.m..
retiring %ell.
+e try to $eep constantly in mind the fact that the ,orth of
the school is to %e 8udged %y its graduates. Counting those ,ho
have finished the full course. together ,ith those ,ho have
ta$en enough training to ena%le them to do reasona%ly good
,or$. ,e can safely say that at least si( thousand men and
,omen from Tus$egee are no, at ,or$ in different parts of the
South5 men and ,omen ,ho. %y their o,n e(ample or %y direct
efforts. are sho,ing the masses of our race no, to improve
their material. educational. and moral and religious life. +hat
is e0ually important. they are e(hi%iting a degree of common
sense and self&control ,hich is causing %etter relations to e(ist
%et,een the races. and is causing the Southern ,hite man to
learn to %elieve in the value of educating the men and ,omen
of my race. Aside from this. there is the influence that is
constantly %eing e(erted through the mothers1 meeting and the
plantation ,or$ conducted %y *rs. +ashington.
+herever our graduates go. the changes ,hich soon %egin to
appear in the %uying of land. improving homes. saving money.
in education. and in high moral characters are remar$a%le.
+hole communities are fast %eing revolutioni/ed through the
instrumentality of these men and ,omen.
Ten years ago I organi/ed at Tus$egee the first )egro
Conference. This is an annual gathering ,hich no, %rings to
the school eight or nine hundred representative men and
,omen of the race. ,ho come to spend a day in finding out
,hat the actual industrial. mental. and moral conditions of the
people are. and in forming plans for improvement. "ut from
this central )egro Conference at Tus$egee have gro,n
numerous state and local conferences ,hich are doing the same
$ind of ,or$. As a result of the influence of these gatherings.
one delegate reported at the last annual meeting that ten
families in his community had %ought and paid for homes. "n
the day follo,ing the annual )egro Conference. there is the
2+or$ers1 Conference.2 This is composed of officers and
teachers ,ho are engaged in educational ,or$ in the larger
institutions in the South. The )egro Conference furnishes a
rare opportunity for these ,or$ers to study the real condition of
the ran$ and file of the people.
In the summer of >AJJ. ,ith the assistance of such
prominent coloured men as *r. T. Thomas Fortune. ,ho has
al,ays upheld my hands in every effort. I organi/ed the
)ational )egro Business -eague. ,hich held its first meeting
in Boston. and %rought together for the first time a large
num%er of the coloured men ,ho are engaged in various lines
of trade or %usiness in different parts of the 3nited States.
Thirty states ,ere represented at our first meeting. "ut of this
national meeting gre, state and local %usiness leagues.
In addition to loo$ing after the e(ecutive side of the ,or$ at
Tus$egee. and raising the greater part of the money for the
support of the school. I cannot seem to escape the duty of
ans,ering at least a part of the calls ,hich come to me
unsought to address Southern ,hite audiences and audiences of
my o,n race. as ,ell as fre0uent gatherings in the )orth. As to
ho, much of my time is spent in this ,ay. the follo,ing
clipping from a Buffalo <).B.= paper ,ill tell. This has
reference to an occasion ,hen I spo$e %efore the )ational
Educational Association in that city.
Boo$er T. +ashington. the foremost educator among the
coloured people of the ,orld. ,as a very %usy man from the
time he arrived in the city the other night from the +est and
registered at the Iro0uois. !e had hardly removed the stains of
travel ,hen it ,as time to parta$e of supper. Then he held a
pu%lic levee in the parlours of the Iro0uois until eight o1cloc$.
During that time he ,as greeted %y over t,o hundred eminent
teachers and educators from all parts of the 3nited States.
Shortly after eight o1cloc$ he ,as driven in a carriage to *usic
!all. and in one hour and a half he made t,o ringing addresses.
to as many as five thousand people. on )egro education. Then
*r. +ashington ,as ta$en in charge %y a delegation of
coloured citi/ens. headed %y the #ev. *r. +at$ins. and hustled
off to a small informal reception. arranged in honour of the
visitor %y the people of his race.
)or can I. in addition to ma$ing these addresses. escape the
duty of calling the attention of the South and of the country in
general. through the medium of the press. to matters that
pertain to the interests of %oth races. This. for e(ample. I have
done in regard to the evil ha%it of lynching. +hen the
-ouisiana State Constitutional Convention ,as in session. I
,rote an open letter to that %ody pleading for 8ustice for the
race. In all such efforts I have received ,arm and hearty
support from the Southern ne,spapers. as ,ell as from those in
all other parts of the country.
Despite superficial and temporary signs ,hich might lead
one to entertain a contrary opinion. there ,as never a time
,hen I felt more hopeful for the race than I do at the present.
The great human la, that in the end recogni/es and re,ards
merit is everlasting and universal. The outside ,orld does not
$no,. neither can it appreciate. the struggle that is constantly
going on in the hearts of %oth the Southern ,hite people and
their former slaves to free themselves from racial pre8udice5
and ,hile %oth races are thus struggling they should have the
sympathy. the support. and the for%earance of the rest of the
,orld.
As I ,rite the closing ,ords of this auto%iography I find
myselfnot %y designin the city of #ichmond. irginia7 the city
,hich only a fe, decades ago ,as the capital of the Southern
Confederacy. and ,here. a%out t,enty&five years ago. %ecause
of my poverty I slept night after night under a side,al$.
This time I am in #ichmond as the guest of the coloured
people of the city5 and came at their re0uest to deliver an
address last night to %oth races in the Academy of *usic. the
largest and finest audience room in the city. This ,as the first
time that the coloured people had ever %een permitted to use
this hall. The day %efore I came. the City Council passed a vote
to attend the meeting in a %ody to hear me spea$. The state
-egislature. including the !ouse of Delegates and the Senate.
also passed a unanimous vote to attend in a %ody. In the
presence of hundreds of coloured people. many distinguished
,hite citi/ens. the City Council. the state -egislature. and state
officials. I delivered my message. ,hich ,as one of hope and
cheer5 and from the %ottom of my heart I than$ed %oth races for
this ,elcome %ac$ to the state that gave me %irth.
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This volume is dedicated to my Wife Washington H. Washington fidelity, far to make the successful. Margaret James And to my Brother John Whose patience, and hard work have gone work at Tuskegee

Contents
Preface Introduction Chapter I. Chapter II. Chapter III. Chapter IV. Chapter V. Chapter VI. Chapter VII. Chapter VIII. Chapter IX. Chapter X. Chapter XI. Chapter XII. Chapter XIII. Chapter XIV. Chapter XV. Chapter XVI. Chapter XVII. UP FROM SLAVERY A Slave Among Slaves Boyhood Days The Struggle For An Education Helping Others The Reconstruction Period Black Race And Red Race Early Days At Tuskegee Teaching School In A Stable And A Hen-House Anxious Days And Sleepless Nights A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw Making Their Beds Before They Could Lie On Them Raising Money Two Thousand Miles For A Five-Minute Speech The Atlanta Exposition Address The Secret Of Success In Public Speaking Europe Last Words

Preface

This volume is the outgrowth of a series of articles, dealing with incidents in my life, which were published consecutively in the Outlook. While they were appearing in that magazine I was constantly surprised at the number of requests which came to me from all parts of the country, asking that the articles be permanently preserved in book form. I am most grateful to the Outlook for permission to gratify these requests. I have tried to tell a simple, straightforward story, with no attempt at embellishment. My regret is that what I have attempted to do has been done so imperfectly. The greater part of my time and strength is required for the executive work connected with the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, and in securing the money necessary for the support of the institution. Much of what I have said has been written on board trains, or at hotels or railroad stations while I have been waiting for trains, or during the moments that I could spare from my work while at Tuskegee. Without the painstaking and generous assistance of Mr. Max Bennett Thrasher I could not have succeeded in any satisfactory degree.

Introduction
The details of Mr. Washington's early life, as frankly set down in "Up from Slavery," do not give quite a whole view of his education. He had the training that a coloured youth receives at Hampton, which, indeed, the autobiography does explain. But the reader does not get his intellectual pedigree, for Mr. Washington himself, perhaps, does not as clearly understand it as another man might. The truth is he had a training during the most impressionable period of his life that was very extraordinary, such a training as few men of his generation have had. To see its full meaning one must start in the Hawaiian Islands half a century or more ago.* There Samuel Armstrong, a youth of missionary parents, earned enough money to pay his expenses at an American college. Equipped with this small sum and the earnestness that the undertaking implied, he came to Williams College when Dr. Mark Hopkins was president. Williams College had many good things for youth in that day, as it has in this, but the greatest was the strong personality of its famous president. Every student does not profit by a great teacher; but perhaps no young man ever came under the influence of Dr. Hopkins, whose whole nature was so ripe for profit by such an experience as young Armstrong. He lived in the family of President Hopkins, and thus had a training that was wholly out of the common; and

Ogden. Washington's education. Hopkins and General Armstrong. Washington to-day by men who knew Dr." I wrote him an apology for mistaking him for a preacher. He had very raw material. Esq. and doubtless most of his pupils failed to get the greatest lessons from him." I said to myself"a new kind of man surely if he looks upon his task as an economic one instead of a theological one. then. and persisted in making him a preacher..'" I knew most of the coloured men who at that time had become prominent as leaders of their race. his second letter brought a postscript: "I have no claim to 'Rev. I had occasion to write to him. * For this interesting view of Mr. I had never seen him. and I had not heard of the head of an important coloured school who was not a preacher. I was the only white man under the roof. and the scene and the songs made an impression on me that I shall never forget. Washington arose and . except that he was the head of a school at Tuskegee. and the whole company joined in the chorus with unction.this training had much to do with the development of his own strong character. the founder of Hampton Institute. In turn. Mr. so Booker Washington became a peculiarly receptive pupil of his. I got the cue to Mr. and I knew little about him. Washington's character. Hopkins. Booker T. Samuel Armstrong. Alabama. whose originality and force we are only beginning to appreciate. Washington. and I addressed him as "The Rev. and the choir of a hundred or more behind me sang a familiar religious melody. To the formation of Mr. and the wide-reaching moral earnestness of General Armstrong himself These influences are easily recognizable in Mr. went the missionary zeal of New England. Washington's character from a very simple incident many years ago. I sat upon the platform of the large chapel and looked forth on a thousand coloured faces. The first time that I went to Tuskegee I was asked to make an address to the school on Sunday evening. but I had not then known one who was neither a politician nor a preacher. influenced by one of the strongest personalities in modern education. took up his work as a trainer of youth. "A new kind of man in the coloured world. But when I had occasion to write to him again. but. Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hampton Institute and the intimate friend of General Armstrong during the whole period of his educational work. I am indebted to Robert C. as he had been a peculiarly receptive pupil of Dr." In his reply there was no mention of my addressing him as a clergyman.

and that had so dwarfed the mass of English men in the Southern States as to hold them back a hundred years behind their fellows in every other part of the worldin England. too. but of that long and unhappy chapter in our country's history which followed the one great structural mistake of the Fathers of the Republic.asked them to sing one after another of the old melodies that I had heard all my life. And as soon as silence came. I held firmly to the first article of my faith that the Republic must stand fast by the principle of a fair ballot. I saw again all the old plantations that I had ever seen. These thousand young men and women about me were victims of it. thinking not of them. I. and was willing to meet the facts face to face. who had inherited the problem? I had long ago thrown aside illusions and theories. and the race friction seemed to become severer. Before me was the material he had used. Every effort of philanthropy seemed to have miscarried. every effort at correcting abuses seemed of doubtful value. thinking of the one continuous great problem that generations of statesmen had wrangled over. And the future? These were the ambitious youths of the race. All about me was the . I had associated them with the Negro of the past. Who were the more to be pitiedthese innocent victims of an ancient wrong. But on the plantation and in the cabin they had never been sung as these thousand students sang them. in Australia. but I recalled the wretched mess that Reconstruction had made of it. The whole Republic was a victim of that fundamental error of importing Africa into America. or I and men like me. but I had never before heard them sung by a thousand voices nor by the voices of educated Negroes. and to do whatever in God's name a man might do towards saving the next generation from such a burden. and the inexpressible pathos of his life found expression in these songs as I had never before felt it. the cabin. Then I saw clearly that the way out of a century of blunders had been made by this man who stood beside me and was introducing me to this audience. Another song rolled up along the rafters. Here was the century-old problem in all its pathos seated singing before me. and a million men fought about. I recalled the low level of public life in all the "black" States. I was thinking of this dark shadow that had oppressed every large-minded statesman from Jefferson to Lincoln. not the freedman in quest of education. the whole history of the Negro ran through my mind. was an innocent victim of it. I found myself in front of this extraordinary mass of faces. the slave. not with the Negro who was struggling upward. But I felt the weight of twenty well-nigh hopeless years of thought and reading and observation. for the old difficulties remained and new ones had sprung up. They brought to my mind the plantation. and in the Northern and Western States. at work with an earnestness that put to shame the conventional student life of most educational institutions.

Time and patience and encouragement and work would do the rest. It was not and is not a mere educational task. It had to be done. For a coloured man to work it out in the South. But Tuskegee is. done within the civilization of the dominant race. To teach the Negro to read. without local . But to teach the Negro to do skilful work. but it was done at Hampton by white men. For a white man to work it outthat too. The plan had. is an easy thing. and where he had to adjust it at every step to the strained race relationsthat is so very different and more difficult a thing that the man who did it put the country under lasting obligations to him. it makes a man of a carpenter. therefore. in its constructive period. It is almost the only one of which it may be said that it points the way to a new epoch in a large area of our national life. and most of all when Negroes so teach Negroes to do this that they will teach others with a missionary zeal that puts all ordinary philanthropic efforts to shame. Such tasks have been done since the beginning of civilization. It is on this that his claim to our gratitude rests.indisputable evidence that he had found the natural line of development. It had to be done for the benefit of the whole community. where. and so done as not to run across race lines and social lines that are the strongest forces in the community. which IS education and character.responsible work.this is to change the whole economic basis of life and the whole character of a people. and in the history of the knottiest problem we have ever faced. as men of all the races that have risen have worked. It is this conception of it and of him that I have ever since carried with me. It was then more clearly than ever before that I understood the patriotic significance of Mr. Anybody could teach boys trades and give them an elementary education. Handicrafts were taught in the days of slavery on most well-managed plantations. or at a distancethat is one thing. To make the Negro work. It not only makes "a carpenter of a man. from Cambridge to Palo Alto. It was worked out at Hampton Institute. whether English. moreover. a brand-new chapter in the history of the Negro. that is what his master did in one way and hunger has done in another. it is of greater value than any other institution for the training of men and women that we have. yet both these left Southern life where they found it. He had shown the way. in fact. The plan itself is not a new one. nevertheless. But this task had to be done with the rawest of raw material. he was necessarily misunderstood by his own people as well as by the whites. or Hebrew. Washington's work. butters no parsnips. been many times theoretically laid down by thoughtful students of Southern life." In one sense. To work out the plan on paper. or Greek.

but thisthat every Southern white man of character and of wisdom has been won to a cordial recognition of the value of the work. The future will have for the South swift or slow development of its masses and of its soil in proportion to the swift or slow development of this kind of training. the other foreshadows a better future. Washington has won a world-wide fame at an early age. The literature of the Negro in America is colossal. All this has given place to the simple plan of an indefinite extension among the neglected classes of both races of the Hampton-Tuskegee system of training. Washington's work. Consider the change that has come in twenty years in the discussion of the Negro problem. then. This change of view is a true measure of Mr. or about their rapid multiplication till they should expel the whites from the Southof every sort of nonsense under heaven. and a task that called for more wisdom to do it right. No man living had a harder task. not his teaching the pupils of Tuskegee. and the men who wrote them are the only men who have written of the subject with that perfect frankness and perfect knowledge and perfect poise whose other name is genius. Washington's success is. Mr. One has all the best of the past. in the face of the direst poverty. or about their decline through their neglect of their children. The true measure of Mr. Two or three decades ago social philosophers and statisticians and well-meaning philanthropists were still talking and writing about the deportation of the Negroes. His story of his own life already has the distinction of . The "problem" in one sense has disappeared. for these are the great literature of the subject. but the only books that I have read a second time or ever care again to read in the whole list (most of them by tiresome and unbalanced "reformers") are "Uncle Remus" and "Up from Slavery". done by begging. or about their settling in all parts of the Union. even men who held and still hold to the conviction that a mere book education for the Southern blacks under present conditions is a positive evil. and done in spite of the ignorance of one race and the prejudice of the other.help. or about their settlement within some restricted area. This is a demonstration of the efficiency of the Hampton-Tuskegee idea that stands like the demonstration of the value of democratic institutions themselvesa demonstration made so clear in spite of the greatest odds that it is no longer open to argument. from political oratory through abolitionism to "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Cotton is King"a vast mass of books which many men have read to the waste of good years (and I among them). nor even gaining the support of philanthropic persons at a distance.

what they do well and what they do ill." The race divergence under the system of miseducation was fast getting wider. Education is not a thing apart from lifenot a "system.translation into more languages. is to say that he has worked with the highest practical wisdom at a large constructive task. and I suppose that he has as large a personal acquaintance among men of influence as any private citizen now living. what their earnings are. There is nothing artificial about it. than any other American book. His own teaching at Tuskegee is unique. Such a student. I asked Mr. Such a student will come back with a minute report of the way in which the family that he has seen lives. the effect of Tuskegee's work on the Negro. and the whites so recognize him. Washington years ago what he regarded as the most important result of his work. will profit more by an experience like this than he could profit by all the books on sociology and economics that ever were written. Under the influence of the HamptonTuskegee idea the races are coming into a closer sympathy and into an honourable and helpful relation. And the Southern whites not only so recognize it. To say that Mr. He lectures to his advanced students on the art of right living. As the Negro becomes economically independent. I think." nor a philosophy. It is development in a perfectly natural way. with so obvious a failure to assimilate it that the waste of labour was pitiful. but straight out of life. or the effect on the attitude of the white man to the Negro. not out of textbooks. It has thus come about that the school is taking a more direct and helpful hold on life in the South than anywhere else in the country. it is direct teaching how to live and how to work. Here the class was reciting a lesson from an abstruse text-book on economics. Then he sends them into the country to visit Negro families. for no plan for the up-building of the freedman could succeed . he becomes a responsible part of the Southern life. and I could not keep from contrasting his knowledge and enthusiasm with what I heard in a class room at a Negro university in one of the Southern cities. and he replied: "I do not know which to put first. and he will explain how they might live better. He constructs a definite plan for the betterment of that particular family out of the resources that they have. if he be bright. Washington has won the gratitude of all thoughtful Southern white men. I talked with a boy at Tuskegee who had made such a study as this. reciting it by rote. which is conducted on the idea that a college course will save the soul. but they are imitating it in the teaching of the neglected masses of their own race. And this must be so from the nature of things.

Of my ancestry I know almost nothing. I do not know the month or the day. when we were all declared free. and the year was 1858 or 1859. This was so. not because my owners were especially cruel. A Slave Among Slaves I was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County. I was born in a typical log cabin. as compared with many others. and in this he has so well succeeded that the South has a sincere and high regard for him. and remembered it thankfully. Page. and even later. no . My life had its beginning in the midst of the most miserable. for they were not. The earliest impressions I can now recall are of the plantation and the slave quartersthe latter being the part of the plantation where the slaves had their cabins. Virginia. I was born near a cross-roads post-office called Hale's Ford. desolate. He once said to me that he recalled the day. To win the support of Southern opinion and to shape it was a necessary part of the task. UP FROM SLAVERY Chapter I. As nearly as I have been able to learn. about fourteen by sixteen feet square. I heard whispered conversations among the coloured people of the tortures which the slaves. I think that no man of our generation has a more noteworthy achievement to his credit than this. including. In this cabin I lived with my mother and a brother and sister till after the Civil War. when he grew large enough to regard a Southern white man as he regarded a Northern one. It is well for our common country that the day is come when he and his work are regarded as highly in the South as in any other part of the Union. however. but at any rate I suspect I must have been born somewhere and at some time. In the slave quarters. and it is an achievement of moral earnestness of the strong character of a man who has done a great national service. and discouraging surroundings. I am not quite sure of the exact place or exact date of my birth. Walter H.that ran counter to Southern opinion.

the naked earth being used as a floor. my ancestors on my mother's side. and all the cooking for the whites and slaves my mother had to do over an open fireplace. which was used as a place in which to store sweet potatoes during the winter. something that was called a doorbut the uncertain hinges by which it was hung. mostly in pots and "skillets. the "cat-hole. about seven by eight inches. which I roasted and thoroughly enjoyed. I do not even know his name. He was simply another unfortunate victim of the institution which the Nation unhappily had engrafted upon it at that time. In addition to these openings there was. in the lower right-hand corner of the room. There was no cooking-stove on our plantation. My mother was the plantation cook. since there were at least a half-dozen other places in the cabin that would have accommodated the cats. made the room a very uncomfortable one. In the case of our particular cabin I could never understand the necessity for this convenience. I have heard reports to the effect that he was a white man who lived on one of the near-by plantations. attracted the attention of a purchaser who was afterward my owner and hers. The cabin was without glass windows. suffered in the middle passage of the slave ship while being conveyed from Africa to America. and also the cold. had a half-brother and a half-sister. I suppose. Her addition to the slave family attracted about as much attention as the purchase of a new horse or cow. chilly air of winter. I remember. because I recall that during the process of putting the potatoes in or taking them out I would often come into possession of one or two. and the large cracks in it. it had only openings in the side which let in the light. Of my father I know even less than of my mother."a contrivance which almost every mansion or cabin in Virginia possessed during the ante-bellum period. . In the days of slavery not very much attention was given to family history and family recordsthat is. but was also used as the kitchen for the plantation. The cabin was not only our living-place. In the centre of the earthen floor there was a large. deep opening covered with boards. There was a door to the cabinthat is.doubt. My mother. I have been unsuccessful in securing any information that would throw any accurate light upon the history of my family beyond my mother. the heat from the open fireplace in summer was equally trying. The "cat-hole" was a square opening. black family records. There was no wooden floor in our cabin. But I do not find especial fault with him. An impression of this potato-hole is very distinctly engraved upon my memory. Whoever he was. I never heard of his taking the least interest in me or providing in any way for my rearing. She. provided for the purpose of letting the cat pass in and out of the house at will during the night. to say nothing of the fact that it was too small." While the poorly built cabin caused us to suffer with cold in the winter.

sometimes for many hours. when I was late in . almost without exception. Amanda. or. and at night after the day's work was done. till a chance passer-by came along who would help me out of my trouble. I would have to wait. it was procured from our owner's farm. I cannot remember having slept in a bed until after our family was declared free by the Emancipation Proclamation. I was asked not long ago to tell something about the sports and pastimes that I engaged in during my youth. however. my older brother. and the corn divided about evenly on each side. My mother. She snatched a few moments for our care in the early morning before her work began. Besides. The time consumed in this way made me late in reaching the mill. and awakening her children for the purpose of feeding them. As I was not strong enough to reload the corn upon the horse. carrying water to the men in the fields. on these trips. of course. no one could ever make me believe that my mother was guilty of thieving. we slept in and on a bundle of filthy rags laid upon the dirt floor. almost every day of my life had been occupied in some kind of labour. I was always frightened. and often I would fall with it. though I think I would now be a more useful man if I had had time for sports. which were spent in the little cabin. One of my earliest recollections is that of my mother cooking a chicken late at night. but in some way. and by the time I got my corn ground and reached home it would be far into the night. or going to the mill to which I used to take the corn. I should condemn it as theft myself. This work I always dreaded. the corn would so shift as to become unbalanced and would fall off the horse. once a week. From the time that I can remember anything. The heavy bag of corn would be thrown across the back of the horse. Three childrenJohn. and I had been told that the first thing a deserter did to a Negro boy when he found him alone was to cut off his ears. to be ground. my sister. During the period that I spent in slavery I was not large enough to be of much service. The hours while waiting for some one were usually spent in crying. and myselfhad a pallet on the dirt floor. I presume. had little time in which to give attention to the training of her children during the day. The mill was about three miles from the plantation. still I was occupied most of the time in cleaning the yards. The road was a lonely one. But taking place at the time it did. If such a thing were to happen now.The early years of my life. and for the reason that it did. Some people may call this theft. were not very different from those of thousands of other slaves. and often led through dense forests. The woods were said to be full of soldiers who had deserted from the army. to be more correct. She was simply a victim of the system of slavery. How or where she got it I do not know. Until that question was asked it had never occurred to me that there was no period of my life that was devoted to play.

During the campaign when Lincoln was first a candidate for the Presidency. and the mail came once or twice a week. were able to keep themselves so accurately and completely informed about the great National questions that were agitating the country. and that freedom of the slaves was being discussed. These discussions showed that they understood the situation. This news was usually gotten from the coloured man who was sent to the post-office for the mail. that the freedom of the slaves would be the one great result of the war. Often the slaves got knowledge of the results of great battles before the white people received it. Every success of the Federal armies and every defeat of the Confederate forces was watched with the keenest and most intense interest. miles from any railroad or large city or daily newspaper. completely ignorant as were the masses so far as books or newspapers were concerned. I now recall the many late-at-night whispered discussions that I heard my mother and the other slaves on the plantation indulge in. every slave on our plantation felt and knew that. though other issues were discussed. and I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise. I had no schooling whatever while I was a slave. In this connection I have never been able to understand how the slaves throughout the South. knew what the issues involved were. and others began to agitate for freedom. when I was awakened by my mother kneeling over her children and fervently praying that Lincoln and his armies might be successful. In our case the post-office was about three miles from the plantation. Even the most ignorant members of my race on the remote plantations felt in their hearts. Though I was a mere child during the preparation for the Civil War and during the war itself. and that one day she and her children might be free. though I remember on several occasions I went as far as the schoolhouse door with one of my young mistresses to carry her books. the slaves on our far-off plantation. and that they kept themselves informed of events by what was termed the "grapevine" telegraph. The picture of several dozen boys and girls in a schoolroom engaged in study made a deep impression upon me. So far as I can now recall. the first knowledge that I got of the fact that we were slaves. the slaves throughout the South kept in close touch with the progress of the movement. with a certainty that admitted of no doubt. the primal one was that of slavery. if the northern armies conquered.getting home I knew I would always get a severe scolding or a flogging. When war was begun between the North and the South. Lovejoy. was early one morning before day. From the time that Garrison. The man who was sent to the office .

were of wood. and in this way they often heard of important events before the white people at the "big house. and I then and there resolved that. and the family ate a meal in a civilized manner. often found it difficult to secure food for themselves. I remember that at one time I saw two of my young mistresses and some lady visitors eating ginger-cakes. Sometimes a portion of our family would eat out of the skillet or pot. I think the slaves felt the deprivation less than the whites. Naturally much of the conversation of the white people turned upon the subject of freedom and the war. It was a piece of bread here and a scrap of meat there. while some one else would eat from a tin plate held on the knees. Many times nothing was used to sweeten the so-called tea and coffee. and other articles which the whites had been accustomed to use could not be raised on the plantation. in the yard. but the bottoms. Of course as the war was prolonged the white people. to discuss the latest news. Parched corn was used for coffee. and besides this they were very . in many cases. When I walked they made a fearful noise." as the master's house was called. sugar. On the plantation in Virginia. At that time those cakes seemed to me to be absolutely the most tempting and desirable things that I had ever seen. after receiving their mail. They had rough leather on the top. The first pair of shoes that I recall wearing were wooden ones. and a kind of black molasses was used instead of sugar. the height of my ambition would be reached if I could get to the point where I could secure and eat ginger-cakes in the way that I saw those ladies doing. and often using nothing but the hands with which to hold the food. tea. and God's blessing was asked. and I absorbed a good deal of it. The whites were often in great straits. I was required to go to the "big house" at mealtimes to fan the flies from the table by means of a large set of paper fans operated by a pulley. because the usual diet for slaves was corn bread and pork. but coffee. and the conditions brought about by the war frequently made it impossible to secure these things. I cannot remember a single instance during my childhood or early boyhood when our entire family sat down to the table together. which were about an inch thick. meals were gotten by the children very much as dumb animals get theirs. The mail-carrier on his way back to our master's house would as naturally retail the news that he had secured among the slaves. It was a cup of milk at one time and some potatoes at another. and these could be raised on the plantation.would linger about the place long enough to get the drift of the conversation from the group of white people who naturally congregated there. When I had grown to sufficient size. if I ever got free. and even later.

inconvenient, since there was no yielding to the natural pressure of the foot. In wearing them one presented and exceedingly awkward appearance. The most trying ordeal that I was forced to endure as a slave boy, however, was the wearing of a flax shirt. In the portion of Virginia where I lived it was common to use flax as part of the clothing for the slaves. That part of the flax from which our clothing was made was largely the refuse, which of course was the cheapest and roughest part. I can scarcely imagine any torture, except, perhaps, the pulling of a tooth, that is equal to that caused by putting on a new flax shirt for the first time. It is almost equal to the feeling that one would experience if he had a dozen or more chestnut burrs, or a hundred small pin-points, in contact with his flesh. Even to this day I can recall accurately the tortures that I underwent when putting on one of these garments. The fact that my flesh was soft and tender added to the pain. But I had no choice. I had to wear the flax shirt or none; and had it been left to me to choose, I should have chosen to wear no covering. In connection with the flax shirt, my brother John, who is several years older than I am, performed one of the most generous acts that I ever heard of one slave relative doing for another. On several occasions when I was being forced to wear a new flax shirt, he generously agreed to put it on in my stead and wear it for several days, till it was "broken in." Until I had grown to be quite a youth this single garment was all that I wore. One may get the idea, from what I have said, that there was bitter feeling toward the white people on the part of my race, because of the fact that most of the white population was away fighting in a war which would result in keeping the Negro in slavery if the South was successful. In the case of the slaves on our place this was not true, and it was not true of any large portion of the slave population in the South where the Negro was treated with anything like decency. During the Civil War one of my young masters was killed, and two were severely wounded. I recall the feeling of sorrow which existed among the slaves when they heard of the death of "Mars' Billy." It was no sham sorrow, but real. Some of the slaves had nursed "Mars' Billy"; others had played with him when he was a child. "Mars' Billy" had begged for mercy in the case of others when the overseer or master was thrashing them. The sorrow in the slave quarter was only second to that in the "big house." When the two young masters were brought home wounded, the sympathy of the slaves was shown in many ways. They were just as anxious to assist in the nursing as the family relatives of the wounded. Some of the slaves would even beg for the privilege of sitting up at night to nurse their wounded masters. This tenderness and sympathy on the part of those held in bondage was a result of their kindly and generous nature. In order to defend and protect the women and children who were left on the plantations when the white males went to war, the slaves

would have laid down their lives. The slave who was selected to sleep in the "big house" during the absence of the males was considered to have the place of honour. Any one attempting to harm "young Mistress" or "old Mistress" during the night would have had to cross the dead body of the slave to do so. I do not know how many have noticed it, but I think that it will be found to be true that there are few instances, either in slavery or freedom, in which a member of my race has been known to betray a specific trust. As a rule, not only did the members of my race entertain no feelings of bitterness against the whites before and during the war, but there are many instances of Negroes tenderly carrying for their former masters and mistresses who for some reason have become poor and dependent since the war. I know of instances where the former masters of slaves have for years been supplied with money by their former slaves to keep them from suffering. I have known of still other cases in which the former slaves have assisted in the education of the descendants of their former owners. I know of a case on a large plantation in the South in which a young white man, the son of the former owner of the estate, has become so reduced in purse and selfcontrol by reason of drink that he is a pitiable creature; and yet, notwithstanding the poverty of the coloured people themselves on this plantation, they have for years supplied this young white man with the necessities of life. One sends him a little coffee or sugar, another a little meat, and so on. Nothing that the coloured people possess is too good for the son of "old Mars' Tom," who will perhaps never be permitted to suffer while any remain on the place who knew directly or indirectly of "old Mars' Tom." I have said that there are few instances of a member of my race betraying a specific trust. One of the best illustrations of this which I know of is in the case of an ex-slave from Virginia whom I met not long ago in a little town in the state of Ohio. I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labour where and for whom he pleased. Finding that he could secure better wages in Ohio, he went there. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars. Notwithstanding that the Emancipation Proclamation freed him from any obligation to his master, this black man walked the greater portion of the distance back to where his old master lived in Virginia, and placed the last dollar, with interest, in his hands. In talking to me about this, the man told me that he knew that he did not have to pay the debt, but that he had given his word to the

master, and his word he had never broken. He felt that he could not enjoy his freedom till he had fulfilled his promise. From some things that I have said one may get the idea that some of the slaves did not want freedom. This is not true. I have never seen one who did not want to be free, or one who would return to slavery. I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extent that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slaveryon the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motivebut to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose. When persons ask me in these days how, in the midst of what sometimes seem hopelessly discouraging conditions, I can have such faith in the future of my race in this country, I remind them of the wilderness through which and out of which, a good Providence has already led us. Ever since I have been old enough to think for myself, I have entertained the idea that, notwithstanding the cruel wrongs inflicted upon us, the black man got nearly as much out of slavery as the white man did. The hurtful influences of the institution were not by any means confined to the Negro. This was fully illustrated by the life upon our own plantation. The whole machinery of slavery was so constructed as to cause labour, as a rule, to be looked upon as a badge of degradation, of inferiority. Hence labour was something that both races on the slave plantation sought to escape. The slave system on our

plastering had fallen but was not replaced. The slave owner and his sons had mastered no special industry. On the other hand. to labour. had mastered some handicraft. had more ring. clothinganything but that which had been specifically intrusted to their care and honour. When freedom came. All of this was left to the slaves. In the fear of "Yankee" invasions. The slaves would give the Yankee soldiers food. sew. there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. they had sung those same verses before. The "grape-vine telegraph" was kept busy night and day. took the spirit of self-reliance and self-help out of the white people. there was wanting that delicacy and refinement of touch and finish which can make a home the most convenient. and the day of freedom came. The news and mutterings of great events were swiftly carried from one plantation to another. True. and attractive place in the world. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. As a result of the system. Finally the war closed. Now they gradually threw off the mask. in many cases. but not one. ever mastered a single trade or special line of productive industry. there was food for whites and blacks. and none were ashamed. Freedom was in the air. were constantly passing near our place. and on the dining-room table. but inside the house. weeds grew in the yard. had little personal interest in the life of the plantation. comfortable." buried in the woods. fences were out of repair.place. except in the matter of book-learning and ownership of property. The slaves. Woe be to any one who would have attempted to disturb the buried treasure. Deserting soldiers returning to their homes were to be seen every day. Others who had been discharged. They unconsciously had imbibed the feeling that manual labour was not the proper thing for them. and few unwilling. The night before the eventful day. and had been for months. drink. the silverware and other valuables were taken from the "big house. Withal there was a waste of food and other materials which was sad. and were not afraid to let it be known that the "freedom" in their songs meant freedom of the body in this world. the slaves were almost as well fitted to begin life anew as the master. and lasted later into the night. My old master had many boys and girls. and had no connection with life in this world. or whose regiments had been paroled. As a rule. As the great day drew nearer. We had been expecting it. The girls were not taught to cook. and their ignorance prevented them from learning how to do things in the most improved and thorough manner. window-panes were out. and guarded by trusted slaves. word was sent to the . in a large measure. or to take care of the house. but they had been careful to explain that the "freedom" in these songs referred to the next world. the slaves. It was bolder. gates were hanging half off the hinges. It was a momentous and eventful day to all upon our plantation. doors creaked. so far as I know. of course.

to gather at the house. even if they had been sure where to find a new place of abode. She explained to us what it all meant. In fact. who was standing by my side. I think. To this class the . or perhaps sadness. leaned over and kissed her children. of having to think and plan for themselves and their children. and the establishment and support of churches. After the reading we were told that we were all free. but rather because of parting with those whom they had reared and who were in many ways very close to them. citizenship. But there was no feeling of bitterness. for I noticed that by the time they returned to their cabins there was a change in their feelings. Was it any wonder that within a few hours the wild rejoicing ceased and a feeling of deep gloom seemed to pervade the slave quarters? To some it seemed that. sleep that night. the rearing of children. while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. The most distinct thing that I now recall in connection with the scene was that some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer. In a few hours the great questions with which the Anglo-Saxon race had been grappling for centuries had been thrown upon these people to be solved. they did not at the moment seem to be sad because of the loss of property. They had no strength with which to earn a living in a strange place and among strange people. For some minutes there was great rejoicing. There was a feeling of deep interest. In company with my mother.slave quarters to the effect that something unusual was going to take place at the "big house" the next morning. where they could see what was to take place and hear what was said. but not bitterness. and thanksgiving. now that they were in actual possession of it. their best days were gone. These were the questions of a home. I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paperthe Emancipation Proclamation. and a large number of other slaves. but fearing that she would never live to see. My mother. As I now recall the impression they made upon me. All as excitement and expectancy. and could go when and where we pleased. Some of the slaves were seventy or eighty years old. There was little. Early the next morning word was sent to all the slaves. freedom was a more serious thing than they had expected to find it. old and young. The great responsibility of being free. It was very much like suddenly turning a youth of ten or twelve years out into the world to provide for himself. there was pity among the slaves for our former owners. The wild rejoicing on the part of the emancipated coloured people lasted but for a brief period. seemed to take possession of them. on their faces. a living. if any. that this was the day for which she had been so long praying. education. of having charge of themselves. brother. All of our master's family were either standing or seated on the veranda of the house. and sister. I went to the master's house. and wild scenes of ecstasy.

which they found it hard to think of breaking off. Chapter II. This was one of the first signs of freedom. I remember seeing his there perhaps once a year. especially. Boyhood Days After the coming of freedom there were two points upon which practically all the people on our place were agreed. deep down in their hearts there was a strange and peculiar attachment to "old Marster" and "old Missus. he seldom came to our plantation. by running away ." But there was a feeling that "John Hatcher" or "Hatcher's John" was not the proper title by which to denote a freeman. When they were slaves. during the war." the initial "S" standing for no name. and a great many of them took other surnames. that being about Christmas time. and so in many cases "John Hatcher" was changed to "John S. one by one. and I found that this was generally true throughout the South: that they must change their names. did not belong to the same owners as did my mother. it being simply a part of what the coloured man proudly called his "entitles. If "John" or "Susan" belonged to a white man by the name of "Hatcher." There was seldom occasion for more than the use of the one name. most of the coloured people left the old plantation for a short while at least.problem seemed especially hard. stealthily at first. so as to be sure. In some way. Lincoln" or "John S. With these they had spent in some cases nearly a half-century. it seemed. that they could leave and try their freedom on to see how it felt. Gradually. the older slaves began to wander from the slave quarters back to the "big house" to have a whispered conversation with their former owners as to the future. Sherman. and that they must leave the old plantation for at least a few days or weeks in order that they might really feel sure that they were free. who was the stepfather of my brother John and myself. returned to their old homes and made some kind of contract with their former owners by which they remained on the estate. In some way a feeling got among the coloured people that it was far from proper for them to bear the surname of their former owners." or as often "Hatcher's John. a coloured person was simply called "John" or "Susan." and to their children." sometimes he was called "John Hatcher. many of the older slaves." As I have stated. Besides. In fact. and it was no light thing to think of parting. My mother's husband. After they had remained away for a while.

What little clothing and few household goods we had were placed in a cart. and shockingly immoral practices were frequent. I do not think any of us ever had been very far from the plantation. Just as the fire had gotten well started a large black snake fully a yard and a half long dropped down the chimney and ran out on the floor. and in later years we have kept in touch with those who were the younger members. he sent for my mother to come to the Kanawha Valley. and my mother decided to build a fire in that for cooking. and he had also secured a little cabin for us to live in. the present capital of the state.and following the Federal soldiers. and as there were no sanitary regulations. Our new house was no better than the one we had left on the old plantation in Virginia. which was several hundred miles. and afterward to make a "pallet" on the floor for our sleeping. One night I recall that we camped near an abandoned log cabin. The parting from our former owners and the members of our own race on the plantation was a serious occasion. fights. Often I began work as early as four o'clock in the morning. the filth about the cabins was often intolerable. Our new home was in the midst of a cluster of cabins crowded closely together. my stepfather put me and my brother at work in one of the furnaces. gambling. At that time salt-mining was the great industry in that part of West Virginia. which is about five miles from Charleston. It was a motley mixture. Of course we at once abandoned that cabin. in one respect it was worse. and most of the time we slept in the open air and did our cooking over a log fire out-of-doors. At that time a journey from Virginia over the mountains to West Virginia was rather a tedious and in some cases a painful undertaking. All who lived in the little town were in one way or another connected with the salt business. As soon as freedom was declared. Though I was a mere child. Drinking. quarrels. My stepfather had already secured a job at a salt-furnace. in West Virginia. he found his way into the new state of West Virginia. We were several weeks making the trip. Finally we reached our destinationa little town called Malden. and the little town of Malden was right in the midst of the salt-furnaces. In fact. Each salt-packer had . Notwithstanding the poor condition of our plantation cabin. Some of our neighbours were coloured people. and the taking of a long journey into another state was quite an event. we were at all times sure of pure air. it seems. The first thing I ever learned in the way of book knowledge was while working in this salt-furnace. but the children walked the greater portion of the distance. From the time of our parting till their death we kept up a correspondence with the older members of the family. and some were the poorest and most ignorant and degraded white people.

I would in some way get enough education to enable me to read common books and newspapers. and sympathized with me and aided me in every way that she could. At that time there was not a single member of my race anywhere near us who could read." "ca. About this time the question of having some kind of a school opened for the coloured children in the village began to be discussed by members of the race. for I could find no one to teach me. In all my efforts to learn to read my mother shared fully my ambition. If I have done anything in life worth attention. she had high ambitions for her children. and after a while got to the point where I could make that figure.his barrels marked with a certain number. which contained the alphabet. and a large fund of good. but in some way she procured an old copy of Webster's "blue-back" spelling-book. How I used to envy this man! He seemed to me to be the one young man in all the world who ought to be satisfied with his attainments. of course. it was. followed by such meaningless words as "ab. that. As soon as the coloured people found out that he could read. and I was too timid to approach any of the white people. Though she was totally ignorant. As it would be the first school for Negro children that had ever been opened in that part of Virginia. if I accomplished nothing else in life. within a few weeks. a newspaper was secured. when quite a small child. and I soon learned to recognize that figure wherever I saw it. a young coloured boy who had learned to read in the state of Ohio came to Malden. and the . and I think that it was the first one I ever had in my hands. Soon after we got settled in some manner in our new cabin in West Virginia. to be a great event. common sense. and at the close of nearly every day's work this young man would be surrounded by a group of men and women who were anxious to hear him read the news contained in the papers. I determined. In some way. I mastered the greater portion of the alphabet. From the time that I can remember having any thoughts about anything. The number allotted to my stepfather was "18.all of course without a teacher." "ba. so I tried in all the ways I could think of to learn it. How or where she got it I do not know. hard." At the close of the day's work the boss of the packers would come around and put "18" on each of our barrels. I had learned from somebody that the way to begin to read was to learn the alphabet. I feel sure that I inherited the disposition from my mother. I recall that I had an intense longing to learn to read." "da. In the midst of my struggles and longing for an education." I began at once to devour this book. I induced my mother to get hold of a book for me. which seemed to enable her to meet and master every situation. though I knew nothing about any other figures or letters.

another young coloured man from Ohio. and so. hence each family agreed to pay a certain amount per month. Day-school. but night-schools as well. As yet no free schools had been started for coloured people in that section. In the midst of the discussion about a teacher. I had been working in a salt-furnace for several months.discussion excited the wildest interest. in some way found his way into town. Sunday-school. he decided that he could not spare me from my work. As I have stated. not only were day-schools filled. With this end in view men and women who were fifty or seventy-five years old would often be found in the nightschool. I applied myself with greater earnestness than ever to the mastering of what was in the "blue-back" speller. it was a whole race trying to go to school. The most perplexing question was where to find a teacher. Few people who were not right in the midst of the scenes can form any exact idea of the intense desire which the people of my race showed for an education. This was not bad for the teacher. to make the attempt to learn. Few were too young. The disappointment was made all the more severe by reason of the fact that my place of work was where I could see the happy children passing to and from school mornings and afternoons. however. It was soon learned that he possessed considerable education. Despite this disappointment. Some day-schools were formed soon after freedom. . with the understanding that the teacher was to "board 'round"that is. were always crowded. anyway. I determined that I would learn something. The great ambition of the older people was to try to learn to read the Bible before they died. The opening of the school in the Kanawha Valley. As fast as any kind of teachers could be secured. night-school. and often many had to be turned away for want of room. I recall that I looked forward with an anxious appetite to the "teacher's day" at our little cabin. but his age was against him. This experience of a whole race beginning to go to school for the first time. presents one of the most interesting studies that has ever occurred in connection with the development of any race. and he was engaged by the coloured people to teach their first school. but the principal book studied in the Sunday-school was the spelling-book. and none too old. however. for each family tried to provide the very best on the day the teacher was to be its guest. The young man from Ohio who had learned to read the papers was considered. This decision seemed to cloud my every ambition. spend a day with each family. and my stepfather had discovered that I had a financial value. when the school opened. who had been a soldier. brought to me one of the keenest disappointments that I ever experienced.

It is seldom that anything is permanently gained by holding back a fact. and I had neither hat nor cap. in after years. After a while I succeeded in making arrangements with the teacher to give me some lessons at night. will condemn me. My own experiences in the nightschool gave me faith in the night-school idea. but since it is a fact. nor do I recall that either I or anybody else had even thought anything about the need of covering for my head. I found myself at the school for the first time. with the understanding that I was to rise early in the morning and work in the furnace till nine o'clock. I got the idea that the way for me to reach school on time was to move the clock hands from half-past eight up to the nine o'clock mark. and to help me find a way to learn. There was a large clock in a little office in the furnace. and return immediately after school closed in the afternoon for at least two more hours of work. and the school opened at nine. I suppose. I began to feel quite uncomfortable. I might as well state it. and she explained to me that she had no money with which to buy a "store hat. I have great faith in the power and influence of facts. The schoolhouse was some distance from the furnace. after the day's work was done. To get around this difficulty I yielded to a temptation for which most people. and locked the clock in a case. I simply meant to reach that schoolhouse in time. I found myself in a difficulty. In the first place." which was a rather new institution at that time among the members of my race and was considered quite the thing for young and old to own. and sought to comfort me in all the ways she could. of course. Finally I won. But my boyish heart was still set upon going to the day-school. I put the case before my mother. In fact. but that she would find a way to help me out of the difficulty. I did not mean to inconvenience anybody. with which. But. however. I had to do both at Hampton and Tuskegee. I do not remember that up to the time of going to school I had ever worn any kind of covering upon my head. and as I had to work till nine o'clock. She . when I saw how all the other boys were dressed. till the furnace "boss" discovered that something was wrong. I also found myself confronted with two other difficulties. This clock. and was permitted to go to the school in the day for a few months.My mother sympathized with me in my disappointment. These night lessons were so welcome that I think I learned more at night than the other children did during the day. and I let no opportunity slip to push my case. As usual. of course. When. I found that all the other children wore hats or caps on their heads. and sometimes my class had recited. This I found myself doing morning after morning. all the hundred or more workmen depended upon to regulate their hours of beginning and ending the day's work. School would always be begun before I reached it.

and some of them indulged in what seemed to me the extravagance of having three. I have always felt proud that she refused to go into debt for that which she did not have the money to pay for. when the teacher asked me what my full name was.accordingly got two pieces of "homespun" (jeans) and sewed them together. but fortune and a proud family homestead. because I knew that the teacher would demand of me at least two names. The lesson that my mother taught me in this has always remained with me. I calmly told him "Booker Washington. and by that name I have since been known. or rather A name. More than once I have tried to picture myself in the position of a boy or man with an honoured and distinguished ancestry which I could trace back through a period of hundreds of years. and I have tried as best as I could to teach it to others. I have noted the fact. When I heard the schoolroll called. My second difficulty was with regard to my name. I noticed that all of the children had at least two names. that my mother had strength of character enough not to be led into the temptation of seeming to be that which she was notof trying to impress my schoolmates and others with the fact that she was able to buy me a "store hat" when she was not. and yet I have sometimes had the feeling . have ended their careers in the penitentiary. I need not add." Before going to school it had never occurred to me that it was needful or appropriate to have an additional name. By the time the occasion came for the enrolling of my name. but never one of which I have felt so proud as of the cap made of the two pieces of cloth sewed together by my mother. an idea occurred to me which I thought would make me equal to the situation. Since that time I have owned many kinds of caps and hats. but without satisfaction. but as soon as I found out about it I revived it. but in some way that part of my name seemed to disappear and for a long while was forgotten. whenever I think of the incident. From the time when I could remember anything. and I was soon the proud possessor of my first cap. and who had not only inherited a name." I think there are not many men in our country who have had the privilege of naming themselves in the way that I have. and I had only one. while others are not able now to buy any kind of hat. I was in deep perplexity. and so. I have always felt proud. and made my full name "Booker Taliaferro Washington. I had been called simply "Booker. that several of the boys who began their careers with "store hats" and who were my schoolmates and used to join in the sport that was made of me because I had only a "homespun" cap. Later in my life I found that my mother had given me the name of "Booker Taliaferro" soon after I was born." as if I had been called by that name all my life.

however. if too much reliance is not placed upon it. I would find. much to my disappointment. Often I would have to walk several miles at night in order to recite my night-school lessons. it is taken for granted that he will succeed. My case will illustrate that of hundreds of thousands of black people in every part of our country. and my attendance was irregular. I should have been inclined to yield to the temptation of depending upon my ancestry and my colour to do that for me which I should do for myself. or have had. When a white boy undertakes a task. is of tremendous value in helping him to resist temptations. the greater part of the education I secured in my boyhood was gathered through the night-school after my day's work was done. and compare his advancement with that of white youths. The time that I was permitted to attend school during the day was short. I had difficulty often in securing a satisfactory teacher. no matter how dark and discouraging the days might be. In a word. the Negro youth starts out with the presumption against him. The Negro boy has obstacles. if he fails in life. I have no idea. and that was a determination to secure an education at any cost. The very fact that the white boy is conscious that. and especially the Negro youth. and temptations to battle with that are little known to those not situated as he is.that if I had inherited these. There was never a time in my youth. It was not long before I had to stop attending day-school altogether. do not consider the influence of the memories which cling about the old family homesteads. that the teacher knew but little more than I did. extending back through many generations. Those who constantly direct attention to the Negro youth's moral weaknesses. but I have no knowledge as to where most of them are. and had been a member of a more popular race. too quickly or too harshly. . people are usually surprised if the Negro boy does not fail. is important in helping forward any individual or race. In fact. when one resolve did not continually remain with me. The influence of ancestry. I have. he will disgrace the whole family record. The fact that the individual has behind and surrounding him proud family history and connection serves as a stimulus to help him to overcome obstacles when striving for success. I resorted to the night-school again. discouragements. Years ago I resolved that because I had no ancestry myself I would leave a record of which my children would be proud. and devote all of my time again to work. after I had secured some one to teach me at night. Sometimes. On the other hand. The world should not pass judgment upon the Negro. as I have stated elsewhere. who my grandmother was. and which might encourage them to still higher effort. uncles and aunts and cousins.

and then. Looked at from this standpoint. or of being crushed by falling slate. The mine was divided into a large number of different "rooms" or departments. with little opportunity to get an education. I almost reached the conclusion that often the Negro boy's birth and connection with an . They soon lose ambition to do anything else than to continue as a coal-miner. was in the blackest darkness. and this kept me in constant fear. I do not believe that one ever experiences anywhere else such darkness as he does in a coal-mine. my mother adopted into our family. to spend a large part of their lives in these coal-mines. young boys who begin life in a coal-mine are often physically and mentally dwarfed. There was always the danger of being blown to pieces by a premature explosion of powder. To add to the horror of being lost. as a rule. and. In later years. I used to picture the way that I would act under such circumstances. and all. I confess that I do not envy the white boy as I once did. Many children of the tenderest years were compelled then. at least while at work. Governor. Washington. notwithstanding our poverty. as I never was able to learn the location of all these "rooms. Accidents from one or the other of these causes were frequently occurring. or President by reason of the accident of his birth or race. Bishop. After I had worked in the salt-furnace for some time.Soon after we moved to West Virginia. I would wander about in the darkness until by chance I found some one to give me a light." I many times found myself lost in the mine. Work in the coal-mine I always dreaded. in most coal-mining districts. I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. and. of course. and it was a very hard job to get one's skin clean after the day's work was over. to whom afterward we gave the name of James B. I have often noted that. an orphan boy. One reason for this was that any one who worked in a coal-mine was always unclean. The work was not only hard. sometimes my light would go out. He has ever since remained a member of the family. as is now true I fear. if I did not happen to have a match. I used to try to picture in my imagination the feelings and ambitions of a white boy with absolutely no limit placed upon his aspirations and activities. what is worse. and later as a young man. I used to envy the white boy who had no obstacles placed in the way of his becoming a Congressman. Then it was fully a mile from the opening of the coal-mine to the face of the coal. work was secured for me in a coal-mine which was operated mainly for the purpose of securing fuel for the salt-furnace. how I would begin at the bottom and keep rising until I reached the highest round of success. In those days. but it was dangerous.

and mere connection with what is regarded as an inferior race will not finally hold an individual back if he possesses intrinsic. With few exceptions. so far as real life is concerned. not to call attention to myself as an individual. recognized and rewarded. while at work in the coal-mine. that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race.unpopular race is an advantage. on the ground simply that they were members of this or that race. But out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass. . I have always been made sad when I have heard members of any race claiming rights or privileges. and at the same time be taught some trade or industry. a member of the Negro race. Every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law. regardless of their own individual worth or attainments. but the opportunities that it provided by which poor but worthy students could work out all or a part of the cost of a board. he gets a strength. The Struggle For An Education One day. I had rather be what I am. I heard one tell the other that not only was the school established for the members of any race. This was the first time that I had ever heard anything about any kind of school or college that was more pretentious than the little coloured school in our town. From any point of view. in the long run. is. a confidence. but to the race to which I am proud to belong. individual merit. that merit. or certain badges of distinction. In the darkness of the mine I noiselessly crept as close as I could to the two men who were talking. Chapter III. I have been made to feel sad for such persons because I am conscious of the fact that mere connection with what is known as a superior race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless he has individual worth. which is universal and eternal. the Negro youth must work harder and must perform his tasks even better than a white youth in order to secure recognition. This I have said here. than be able to claim membership with the most favoured of any other race. no matter under what skin found. I happened to overhear two miners talking about a great school for coloured people somewhere in Virginia.

I had not lived with her many weeks. must be kept in repair. I heard of a vacant position in the household of General Lewis Ruffner. I cannot now recall how long I lived with Mrs. I continued to work for a few months longer in the coal-mine. I remembered only that I was on fire constantly with one ambition. however. Mrs. about which these men were talking. This thought was with me day and night. I had heard so much about Mrs. Ruffner had a reputation all through the vicinity for being very strict with her servants.As they went on describing the school. however. and that at the bottom of everything she wanted absolute honesty and frankness. was a "Yankee" woman from Vermont. that I do not want to call attention to it. During the one or two winters that I was with her she gave me an opportunity to go to school for an . first of all. that she wanted things done promptly and systematically. the owner of the salt-furnace and coal-mine. or how I was going to reach it. Viola Ruffner. and especially with the boys who tried to serve her. the wife of General Ruffner. every door. Ruffner before going to Hampton. At any rate. While at work there. or how many miles away. it seemed to me that it must be the greatest place on earth. Nothing must be sloven or slipshod. Ruffner I soon learned to look upon her as one of my best friends. Mrs. I never see a filthy yard that I do not want to clean it. she wanted everything kept clean about her. but I think it must have been a year and a half. I resolved at once to go to that school. and trembled when I went into her presence. that the lessons that I learned in the home of Mrs. I was hired at a salary of $5 per month. or a grease-spot on them or on a floor. although I had no idea where it was. When she found that she could trust me she did so implicitly. Ruffner's house than remain in the coal-mine. I soon began to learn that. Few of them remained with her more than two or three weeks. and so my mother applied to her for the vacant position. or a button off one's clothes. Ruffner were as valuable to me as any education I have ever gotten anywhere else. Even to this day I never see bits of paper scattered around a house or in the street that I do not want to pick them up at once. Ruffner's severity that I was almost afraid to see her. After hearing of the Hampton Institute. that I would rather try Mrs. and that was to go to Hampton. They all left with the same excuse: she was too strict. an unpainted or unwhitewashed house that I do not want to paint or whitewash it. before I began to understand her. I here repeat what I have said more than once before. every fence. I decided. a paling off of a fence that I do not want to put it on. From fearing Mrs. and not even Heaven presented more attractions for me at that time than did the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia.

At that time there were no through trains connecting that part of West Virginia with eastern Virginia. and so I had very little with which to buy clothes and pay my travelling expenses. and called it my "library.hour in the day during a portion of the winter months. and she was troubled with a grave fear that I was starting out on a "wild-goose chase. others a quarter. The small amount of money that I had earned had been consumed by my stepfather and the remainder of the family." Notwithstanding my success at Mrs. or of what it would cost to go there. The distance from Malden to Hampton is about five hundred miles. I secured a dry-goods box. and most of what he did earn went in the direction of paying the household expenses. Perhaps the thing that touched and pleased me most in connection with my starting for Hampton was the interest that many of the older coloured people took in the matter." At any rate. and hardly expected to live to see the time when they would see a member of their race leave home to attend a boarding-school. cheap satchel that contained a few articles of clothing I could get. and thus our parting was all the more sad. She. knocked out one side of it. Mrs. They had spent the best days of their lives in slavery. One experience I shall long . but most of my studying was done at night. or a handkerchief. I had no definite idea of the direction in which Hampton was. I had only a small. and the remainder of the distance was travelled by stage-coaches. Ruffner always encouraged and sympathized with me in all my efforts to get an education. My mother at the time was rather weak and broken in health. sometimes under some one whom I could hire to teach me. I had not been away from home many hours before it began to grow painfully evident that I did not have enough money to pay my fare to Hampton. and I started for Hampton. was very brave through it all. where he did not earn much. Some of these older people would give me a nickel. Ruffner's I did not give up the idea of going to the Hampton Institute. with the exception of a very few dollars. as I have stated. Finally the great day came. but of course that was not a great deal. In the fall of 1872 I determined to make an effort to get there. however. My brother John helped me all that he could. sometimes alone. It was while living with her that I began to get together my first library. I do not think that any one thoroughly sympathized with me in my ambition to go to Hampton unless it was my mother. Trains ran only a portion of the way. I got only a half-hearted consent from her that I might start. and began putting into it every kind of book that I could get my hands upon. for his work was in the coal-mine. although. I hardly expected to see her again. put some shelves in it.

I shyly presented myself before the man at the desk. with my satchel of clothing for a pillow. Virginia. after a number of days. I had not a single acquaintance in the place. I was everything but discouraged. about eighty-two miles from Hampton. late in the evening. This was my first experience in finding out what the colour of my skin meant. but I had hoped in some way to beg my way into the good graces of the landlord. and so got through the night. it was late in the night. the man at the desk firmly refused to even consider the matter of providing me with food or lodging. The difference that the colour of one's skin would make I had not thought anything about. Nearly all night I could hear the tramp of feet over . I did not know where to go. till I was sure that no passers-by could see me. In some way I managed to keep warm by walking about. unpainted house called a hotel. I applied at several places for lodging. nor anything else to eat. I was completely out of money. and I wanted to get indoors for the night. At last I became so exhausted that I could walk no longer. All the other passengers except myself were whites. After all the other passengers had been shown rooms and were getting ready for supper. hungry. and. and that was what I did not have.remember. but they all wanted money. I came upon a portion of a street where the board sidewalk was considerably elevated. I was hungry. I waited for a few minutes. I reached the city of Richmond. In my ignorance I supposed that the little hotel existed for the purpose of accommodating the passengers who travelled on the stage-coach. for at that season in the mountains of Virginia the weather was cold. In doing this I passed by many food-stands where fried chicken and half-moon apple pies were piled high and made to present a most tempting appearance. At that time it seemed to me that I would have promised all that I expected to possess in the future to have gotten hold of one of those chicken legs or one of those pies. and then crept under the sidewalk and lay for the night upon the ground. When I reached Richmond. I had been travelling over the mountains most of the afternoon in an old-fashion stage-coach. By walking. But I could not get either of these. begging rides both in wagons and in the cars. I walked the streets. the coach stopped for the night at a common. When I reached there. in some way. when. and dirty. and this rather added to my misery. Without asking as to whether I had any money. I was tired. Just about the time when I reached extreme physical exhaustion. I had never been in a large city. Knowing nothing else better to do. being unused to city ways. My whole soul was so bent upon reaching Hampton that I did not have time to cherish any bitterness toward the hotel-keeper. It is true I had practically no money in my pocket with which to pay for bed or food. I must have walked the streets till after midnight. tired.

and started again. I continued to sleep under the same sidewalk that gave me shelter the first night I was in Richmond. I went at once to the vessel and asked the captain to permit me to help unload the vessel in order to get money for food. It seemed to me to be the largest and most beautiful building I had ever seen. I worked long enough to earn money for my breakfast. I felt that I had reached the promised land. with a surplus of exactly fifty cents with which to begin my education. The captain. a white man. as I remember it now. and that this ship seemed to be unloading a cargo of pig iron. As soon as possible after reaching the grounds of the Hampton Institute. brick school building seemed to have rewarded me for all that I had undergone in order to reach the place. I thanked the captain of the vessel for his kindness.my head. To me it had been a long. consented. agreeable and cordial as it was. When I had saved what I considered enough money with which to reach Hampton. This reception was held not far from the spot where I slept the first night I spent in the city. but I was extremely hungry. and it seems to me. and I resolved to let no obstacle prevent me from putting forth the highest effort to fit myself to accomplish the most good in the world. I presented myself before the head teacher . who seemed to be kind-hearted. eventful journey. to have been about the best breakfast that I have ever eaten. After buying food with the small wages I received there was not much left to add on the amount I must get to pay my way to Hampton. If the people who gave the money to provide that building could appreciate the influence the sight of it had upon me. Many years after that the coloured citizens of Richmond very kindly tendered me a reception at which there must have been two thousand people present. The sight of it seemed to give me new life. as well as upon thousands of other youths. The next morning I found myself somewhat refreshed. and I must confess that my mind was more upon the sidewalk that first gave me shelter than upon the recognition. As soon as it became light enough for me to see my surroundings I noticed that I was near a large ship. In order to economize in every way possible. because it had been a long time since I had had sufficient food. but the first sight of the large. I continued working on this vessel for a number of days. Without any unusual occurrence I reached Hampton. they would feel all the more encouraged to make such gifts. threestory. so as to be sure to reach Hampton in a reasonable time. My work pleased the captain so well that he told me if I desired I could continue working for a small amount per day. This I was very glad to do. I felt that a new kind of existence had now begunthat life would now have a new meaning.

and over the table and benches. every piece of furniture had been moved and every closet and corner in the room had been thoroughly cleaned. I reported to the head teacher. Take the broom and sweep it. For some time she did not refuse to admit me. and I could see at once that there were doubts in her mind about the wisdom of admitting me as a student. I swept the recitation-room three times. I knew that I could sweep. of course. the head teacher said to me: "The adjoining recitation-room needs sweeping. "I guess you will do to enter this institution. Never did I receive an order with more delight. I felt that I could hardly blame her if she got the idea that I was a worthless loafer or tramp. and never did any youth pass an examination for entrance into Harvard or Yale that gave him more genuine satisfaction. When she was unable to find one bit of dirt on the floor. Then I got a dustingcloth and dusted it four times. I have spoken of my own experience in entering the Hampton Institute. After some hours had passed. if I could only get a chance to show what was in me. Having been so long without proper food. and I continued to linger about her. In the meantime I saw her admitting other students. and desk. but I have always felt that this was the best one I ever passed. She went into the room and inspected the floor and closets. but about the same period there were hundreds who found their way to Hampton and other institutions after experiencing something of the same . I have passed several examinations since then.for an assignment to a class. every bench. make a very favourable impression upon her. a bath. had anything like the same experience that I had. or a particle of dust on any of the furniture. and to impress her in all the ways I could with my worthiness. for I felt. for Mrs. Perhaps few. I went over four times with my dusting-cloth. that I could do as well as they. When I was through." It occurred to me at once that here was my chance. Ruffner had thoroughly taught me how to do that when I lived with her. table. I had the feeling that in a large measure my future depended upon the impression I made upon the teacher in the cleaning of that room. The sweeping of that room was my college examination. She was a "Yankee" woman who knew just where to look for dirt. deep down in my heart." I was one of the happiest souls on Earth. I did not. All the woodwork around the walls. then she took her handkerchief and rubbed it on the woodwork about the walls. Besides. if any. she quietly remarked. neither did she decide in my favour. and a change of clothing. and that added greatly to my discomfort.

and had to work late into the night. teachers. The sweeping of the recitation-room in the manner that I did it seems to have paved the way for me to get through Hampton. It has been my fortune to meet personally many of what are called great characters. the head teacher. The older I grow. At that time he was paralyzed to . both in Europe and America. Miss Mary F. and industries. In all my career at Hampton. of course. rarest human being that it has ever been my privilege to meet. I shall always remember that the first time I went into his presence he made the impression upon me of being a perfect man: I was made to feel that there was something about him that was superhuman. Her advice and encouragement were always helpful in strengthening to me in the darkest hour.difficulties that I went through. but I have not spoken of that which made the greatest and most lasting impression on me. The work was hard and taxing but I stuck to it. because it was a place where I could work out nearly all the cost of my board. I have spoken of the impression that was made upon me by the buildings and general appearance of the Hampton Institute. Armstrong. while at the same time I had to rise by four o'clock in the morning. I gladly accepted. and ever since I have been out in the world. and given the men and women there the opportunity of coming into daily contact with General Armstrong. Fresh from the degrading influences of the slave plantation and the coalmines. Mackie. in order to build the fires and have a little time in which to prepare my lessons. and that was a great manthe noblest. class-rooms. it was a rare privilege for me to be permitted to come into direct contact with such a character as General Armstrong. One might have removed from Hampton all the buildings. The young men and women were determined to secure an education at any cost. the head teacher to whom I have referred. and that alone would have been a liberal education. Miss Mary F. proved one of my strongest and most helpful friends. I refer to the late General Samuel C. how I wish that our schools and colleges might learn to study men and things! General Armstrong spent two of the last six months of his life in my home at Tuskegee. the more I am convinced that there is no education which one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women. It was my privilege to know the General personally from the time I entered Hampton till he died. I had a large number of rooms to care for. offered me a position as janitor. was the equal of General Armstrong. and the more I saw of him the greater he grew in my estimation. Instead of studying books so constantly. This. Mackie. in my estimation. but I do not hesitate to say that I never met any man who.

The winter that we spent in those tents was an intensely cold one. the former pupil. exclaimed. "I am so glad that I have been permitted to do something that was real hard for the General before he dies!" While I was a student at Hampton. encouraging voice would dispel any feeling of despondency. cheerful. Notwithstanding his affliction. When he was a guest at my home in Alabama. As soon as it became known that General Armstrong would be pleased if some of the older students would live in the tents during the winter. The history of . It was enough for us to know that we were pleasing General Armstrong. during a cold night. he was constantly seeking to find ways by which he could be of service to the Southern whites. When the top of the hill was reached. he worked almost constantly night and day for the cause to which he had given his life. because we made no complaints. There is almost no request that he could have made that would not have been complied with. nearly every student in school volunteered to go. I was one of the volunteers. our tend was lifted bodily. In fact. with a glow of happiness on his face. He was just as happy in trying to assist some other institution in the South as he was when working for Hampton. when a stiff gale would be blowing. The General would usually pay a visit to the tents early in the morning.the extent that he had lost control of his body and voice in a very large degree. and was so badly paralyzed that he had to be wheeled about in an invalid's chair. I never heard him utter a bitter word against him afterward. and that we were making it possible for an additional number of students to secure an education. or the faith they had in him. I have spoken of my admiration for General Armstrong. and his earnest. and yet he was but a type of that Christlike body of men and women who went into the Negro schools at the close of the war by the hundreds to assist in lifting up my race. he was worshipped by his students. I never saw a man who so completely lost sight of himself. In order to help remedy the difficulty. More than once. the dormitories became so crowded that it was impossible to find room for all who wanted to be admitted. the General conceived the plan of putting up tents to be used as rooms. steep hill that taxed his strength to the utmost. On the other hand. Although he fought the Southern white man in the Civil War. It would be difficult to describe the hold that he had upon the students at Hampton. I recall that one of the General's former students had occasion to push his chair up a long. and we suffered severelyhow much I am sure General Armstrong never knew. and we would find ourselves in the open air. I do not believe he ever had a selfish thought. It never occurred to me that General Armstrong could fail in anything that he undertook.

not only in keeping the body healthy. while a student at Hampton. but in inspiring self-respect and promoting virtue. as I have stated. I was expected to pay a part of this in cash and to work out the remainder. In all my travels in the South and elsewhere since leaving Hampton I have always in some way sought my daily bath. in addition to providing for my board. If I had been compelled to pay the seventy dollars for tuition. as well as the use of sheets upon the bed. Usually. S. the use of the bath-tub and of the tooth-brush. I got around the trouble about books by borrowing . to defray the cost of my tuition during the whole time that I was at Hampton. Life at Hampton was a constant revelation to me. I had no money with which to pay my board. was constantly taking me into a new world. of course. To meet this cash payment. very kindly got Mr. After having been for a while at Hampton. This I succeeded in doing to such an extent that I was soon informed that I would be allowed the full cost of my board in return for my work. Morgan several times. I would have been compelled to leave the Hampton school. I sometimes feel that almost the most valuable lesson I got at the Hampton Institute was in the use and value of the bath. Aside from a very few dollars that my brother John was able to send me once in a while. except by slipping away to some stream in the woods. This. After I finished the course at Hampton and had entered upon my lifework at Tuskegee.. purer. but when I had worn these till they became soiled. of eating on a tablecloth. however. so that I might wear them again the next morning. To get it sometimes when I have been the guest of my own people in a single-roomed cabin has not always been easy to do. The matter of having meals at regular hours. I have always tried to teach my people that some provision for bathing should be a part of every house. The cost of tuition was seventy dollars a year. I had just fifty cents when I reached the institution. For some time. I possessed but a single pair of socks.the world fails to show a higher. General Armstrong. of New Bedford. and more unselfish class of men and women than those who found their way into those Negro schools. I found myself in difficulty because I did not have books and clothing. I had the pleasure of visiting Mr. I was determined from the first to make my work as janitor so valuable that my services would be indispensable. using a napkin. Mass. was wholly beyond my ability to provide. I learned there for the first time some of its value. I would wash them at night and hang them by the fire to dry. however. were all new to me. Griffitts Morgan. The charge for my board at Hampton was ten dollars per month.

however. I was among the youngest of the students who were in Hampton at the time. When I first went to Hampton I do not recall that I had ever slept in a bed that had two sheets on it. there must be no buttons off the clothing. what a rare set of human beings they were! They . and have been trying to follow it ever since and to teach it to others. There were seven other boys in the same room with me. The sheets were quite a puzzle to me. and no grease-spots. Many of them had aged parents who were dependent upon them.from those who were more fortunate than myself. when I reached Hampton I had practically nothing. The great and prevailing idea that seemed to take possession of every one was to prepare himself to lift up the people at his home. to see that their clothes were clean. Most of the students were men and womensome as old as forty years of age. while at work and in the schoolroom. and then some of them were kind enough to see that I was partly supplied with second-hand clothing that had been sent in barrels from the North. No one seemed to think of himself. The first night I slept under both of them. In those days there were not many buildings there. To wear one suit of clothes continually. And the officers and teachers. As I now recall the scene of my first year. Everything that I possessed was in a small hand satchel. and. too old to master the text-books very thoroughly. Without them I question whether I should ever have gotten through Hampton. Nearly all had had enough actual contact with the world to teach them the need of education. I do not believe that one often has the opportunity of coming into contact with three or four hundred men and women who were so tremendously in earnest as these men and women were. of course. and it was often sad to watch their struggles. most of them. These barrels proved a blessing to hundreds of poor but deserving students. and some of them were men who had wives whose support in some way they had to provide for. In some way I managed to get on till the teachers learned that I was in earnest and meant to succeed. and room was very precious. but by watching the other boys I learned my lesson in this. they had to struggle with a poverty which prevented their having the necessities of life. and the second night I slept on top of them. students who had been there for some time. besides having to wrestle with their books. Shoes had to be polished. My anxiety about clothing was increased because of the fact that General Armstrong made a personal inspection of the young men in ranks. Every hour was occupied in study or work. Many of the older ones were. but they made up in earnest much of what they lacked in books. Many of them were as poor as I was. was rather a hard problem for me to solve. As to clothes. and at the same time keep it clean.

after a good deal of persuading. and pay you the rest of the money just as soon as I can get it. but I had none with which to go anywhere. as far as I could. He seemed to agree with me as to price. Helping Others At the end of my first year at Hampton I was confronted with another difficulty. This cheered my drooping spirits considerably. I will take the coat. It made me feel very sad and homesick to see the other students preparing to leave and starting for home. however. Chapter IV. Early the next morning my prospective customer appeared. secondhand coat which I thought was a pretty valuable coat. he asked me how much I wanted for it. and I tried to hide. in order to get a little money for travelling expenses.worked for the students night and day. one coloured man promised to come to my room to look the coat over and consider the matter of buying it. in seasons and out of season. and this served to depress my spirits even more. I wanted very much to go where I might secure work that would at least pay me enough to purchase some much-needed clothing and other necessities. I made it known to a few people in the town of Hampton that I had this coat to sell. The time is not far distant when the whole South will appreciate this service in a way that it has not yet been able to do. In some way. from the other students the fact that I had no money and nowhere to go." It is not hard to imagine what my feelings were at the time. I had gotten hold of an extra. and will pay you five cents. but I had to go somewhere. Most of the students went home to spend their vacation. I not only had no money with which to go home. With this disappointment I gave up all hope of getting out of the town of Hampton for my vacation work. After looking the garment over carefully. I had no money with which to go home. and. They seemed happy only when they were helping the students in some manner. but remarked in the most matter-of-fact way: "I tell you what I will do. In a few days practically all the students and teachers had left for their homes. cash down. Whenever it is writtenand I hope it will bethe part that the Yankee teachers played in the education of the Negroes immediately after the war will make one of the most thrilling parts of the history off this country. This I decided to sell. . I had a good deal of boyish pride. I told him I thought it was worth three dollars. In those days very few students were permitted to remain at the school during vacation.

I confess. and told him frankly my condition. were very little more than my board. for as I now look back over my life I do not recall that I ever became discouraged over anything that I set out to accomplish. I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed. and that I could hardly bring myself to the point of even trying to enter school again till it was paid. This lesson I have tried to carry with me ever since. I finally secured work in a restaurant at Fortress Monroe. I think. I will not say that I became discouraged. It was hard for me to understand how any individuals could bring themselves to the point where they could be so happy in working for others. new ten-dollar bill. General J. One day. Marshall. and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed. Before the end of the year. During the second year I continued to work as a janitor. This I did. however. To my gratification he told me that I could reenter the institution. I could hardly contain myself.After trying for several days in and near the town of Hampton. I was so happy. I found considerable time for study and reading. during the last week of my stay in the restaurant. This. The wages. I think I began learning that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others. As it was not my place of business I felt it to be the proper thing to show the money to the proprietor. I owed the institution sixteen dollars that I had not been able to work out. and in this direction I improved myself very much during the summer. who has had the opportunity of doing this . he had a right to keep the money. When I left school at the end of my first year. was the unselfishness of the teachers. One of the things that impressed itself upon me deeply. as it was his place of business. was another pretty hard blow to me. I also learned a valuable lesson at Hampton by coming into contact with the best breeds of live stock and fowls. The education that I received at Hampton out of the textbooks was but a small part of what I learned there. No student. the second year.B. and he proceeded to do so. At the end of the week I went to the treasurer of the Hampton Institute. I felt that this was a debt of honour. and went without necessary garmentsbut still I found my summer vacation ending and I did not have the sixteen dollars. I found under one of the tables a crisp. I determined to face the situation just as it was. I economized in every way that I could think ofdid my own washing. and between meals. At night. He seemed as glad as I was. and that he would trust me to pay the debt when I could. but he coolly explained to me that.F. It was my greatest ambition during the summer to save money enough with which to pay this debt.

not only for the spiritual help which it gives. Miss Nathalie Lord. but now I learned to love to read the Bible.. In either case. Whatever ability I may have as a public speaker I owe in a measure to Miss Lord. In fact. These were held on Saturday evening. from Portland. Before this I had never cared a great deal about it. of course. supplemented by a small gift from one of the teachers at Hampton. one of the teachers. When she found out that I had some inclination in this direction. before beginning the work of the day. but was instrumental in organizing an additional society. Few persons ever derived more happiness or benefit from the use of twenty minutes of time than we did in this way. I not only attended the weekly debating society. I always make it a rule to read a chapter or a portion of a chapter in the morning. it seemed. At the end of my second year at Hampton. no matter how busy I am. About twenty of us formed a society for the purpose of utilizing this time in debate or in practice in public speaking. Simply to be able to talk in public for the sake of talking has never had the least attraction to me. my observations convinced me that the . and articulation. usually occurred whenever the men got two or three months ahead in their savings. she gave me private lessons in the matter of breathing. and that the coal-mine was not being operated on account of the miners being out on "strike. and then to be able to speak to the world about that thing. The debating societies at Hampton were a constant source of delight to me. they spent all that they had saved. and would often return to work in debt at the same wages. or would move to another mine at considerable expense. to spend my vacation.could go out into the world and content himself with the poorest grades. when I am at home. I was enabled to return to my home in Malden. I consider that there is nothing so empty and unsatisfactory as mere abstract public speaking. Perhaps the most valuable thing that I got out of my second year was an understanding of the use and value of the Bible. West Virginia. Me. by the help of some money sent me by my mother and brother John. taught me how to use and love the Bible." This was something which. but from my early childhood I have had a desire to do something to make the world better. During the strike. but on account of it as literature. The lessons taught me in this respect took such a hold upon me that at the present time. When I reached home I found that the salt-furnaces were not running. emphasis. I noticed that between the time when supper was over and the time to begin evening study there were about twenty minutes which the young men usually spent in idle gossip. and during my whole life at Hampton I do not recall that I missed a single meeting.

much rejoiced to see me and to note the improvement that I had made during my two years' absence. and sometimes we did not. I had always had an intense desire to be with her when she did pass away. and at various other places. the sad news that our dear mother had died during the night. I knew miners who had considerable money in the bank. and I went into an old. Sometimes we had food cooked for us. Before the days of strikes in that section of the country. of course. I did not succeed. when I parted from her the previous day. and everything about our home was soon in a . that I should never see her alive again.miners were worse off at the end of the strike. and it was night before I got started on my return. There was no work on account of the strike. My mother and the other members of my family were. the savings of even the more thrifty ones began disappearing. Besides that. Our clothing went uncared for. I had to pay a visit to each family and take a meal with each. For several years my mother had not been in good health. In addition to this I had to speak before the church and Sunday-school. In a very short time after the death of my mother our little home was in confusion. was too young to know anything about keeping house. She had so often expressed the wish that she might be permitted to live to see her children educated and started out in the world. The thing that I was most in search of. although she tried to do the best she could. though. I could not find. Toward the end of the first month. When I had gotten within a mile or so of my home I was so completely tired out that I could not walk any farther. work. About three o'clock in the morning my brother John found me asleep in this house. as gently as he could. abandoned house to spend the remainder of the night. to try to find employment. over my return. and especially the older ones. and broke to me. and my stepfather was not able to hire a housekeeper. This seemed to me the saddest and blankest moment in my life. was almost pathetic. I went to a place a considerable distance from my home. and at each place tell the story of my experiences at Hampton. The rejoicing on the part of all classes of the coloured people. but I had no idea. but as soon as the professional labour agitators got control. I spent nearly the whole of the first month of my vacation in an effort to find something to do by which I could earn money to pay my way back to Hampton and save a little money to use after reaching there. One of the chief ambitions which spurred me on at Hampton was that I might be able to get to be in a position in which I could better make my mother comfortable and happy. I remember that more than once a can of tomatoes and some crackers constituted a meal. My sister Amanda.

if possible. but my heart was so set on returning that I determined not to give up going back without a struggle. in order that I might assist her in cleaning the buildings and getting things in order for the new school year. dusting rooms. Ever since then I have had no patience with any school for my race in the South which did not teach its students the dignity of labour. Mackie. Notwithstanding my need of money and clothing. Miss Mackie was a member of one of the oldest and most cultured families of the North. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter from my good friend Miss Mary F. It was hard for me at this time to understand how a woman of her education and social standing could take such delight in performing such service. but in this I was disappointed. putting beds in order. in order to assist in the elevation of an unfortunate race. together with work in a coal-mine at some distance from my home. and assisted me in many ways during this trying period. and this. During these two weeks I was taught a lesson which I shall never forget. Three weeks before the time for the opening of the term at Hampton.tumble-down condition. the lady principal. At one time it looked as if I would have to give up the idea of returning to Hampton. asking me to return to Hampton two weeks before the opening of the school. During my last year at Hampton every minute of my time that was not occupied with my duties as janitor was devoted to hard study. I was very anxious to secure some clothes for the winter. I was very happy in the fact that I had secured enough money to pay my travelling expenses back to Hampton. and she took the greatest satisfaction in helping to clean them herself. except for a few garments which my brother John secured for me. enabled me to earn a little money. and what not. Ruffner. I knew that I could make myself so useful as a janitor that I could in some way get through the school year. I was determined. My good friend. It gave me a chance to secure a credit in the treasurer's office. I started for Hampton at once. Once there. This was just the opportunity I wanted. and yet for two weeks she worked by my side cleaning windows. Before the end of the vacation she gave me some work. always made me welcome at her home. to whom I have already referred. It seems to me that this was the most dismal period of my life. to make such a record in my class as would cause me to be placed on the "honour . Mrs. She felt that things would not be in condition for the opening of school unless every window-pane was perfectly clean. The work which I have described she did every year that I was at Hampton.

I have had the satisfaction of being a guest in this hotel several times since I was a waiter there. for the first time. This was the beginning of one of the happiest periods of my life. I was completely out of money when I graduated. free from all necessity for manual labour. But I determined to learn the business of waiting.C. At Hampton I not only learned that it was not a disgrace to labour. I had not been in this hotel long before I found out that I knew practically nothing about waiting on a hotel table. I now felt that I had the opportunity to help the people of my home town to a higher life. easy time. I learned what education was expected to do for an individual. He soon gave me charge of the table at which their sat four or five wealthy and rather aristocratic people. strongest. was. and most beautiful character that it has ever been my privilege to meet. General S. I secured a place as a table waiter in a summer hotel in Connecticut. however. The head waiter. Armstrong. As a result of this I was reduced from the position of waiter to that of a dishcarrier. but learned to love labour. I felt from the first that mere book education was not all that the young people of that town needed. In company with other Hampton students. I began my work at eight o'clock in the .roll" of Commencement speakers. supposed that I was an accomplished waiter. not alone for its financial value. The greatest benefits that I got out of my my life at the Hampton Institute. leaving them sitting there without food. at Hampton. My ignorance of how to wait upon them was so apparent that they scolded me in such a severe manner that I became frightened and left their table. I repeat. who. At that institution I got my first taste of what it meant to live a life of unselfishness. and did so within a few weeks and was restored to my former position. Before going there I had a good deal of the then rather prevalent idea among our people that to secure an education meant to have a good. the rarest. my first knowledge of the fact that the happiest individuals are those who do the most to make others useful and happy. This I was successful in doing. in my opinion. It was June of 1875 when I finished the regular course of study at Hampton. and managed to borrow enough money with which to get there. Second. and was elected to teach the coloured school at that place. At the close of the hotel season I returned to my former home in Malden. may be classified under two heads: First was contact with a great man. perhaps. but for labour's own sake and for the independence and selfreliance which the ability to do something which the world wants done brings.

The efforts of some of the men and women. and to keep their hands and faces clean. I gave private lessons to several young men whom I was fitting to send to the Hampton Institute. I taught the pupils to comb their hair. It was while my home was at Malden that what was known as the "Ku Klux Klan" was in the height of its activity. In all my teaching I have watched carefully the influence of the toothbrush. and I am convinced that there are few single agencies of civilization that are more far-reaching. My day and night school work was not all that I undertook. When he returned from Hampton. and to save money to assist him in his expenses there. this was crowded every night. as well as their clothing. It was my earnest wish to help him to prepare to enter Hampton. and he is now holding the important position of Superintendent of Industries at Tuskegee. not only assisted me all that he could. being about as large as the school that I taught in the day. but worked all of the time in the coal-mines in order to support the family. and the other in the morning at a place three miles distant from Malden. as well as men and women. one in the town of Malden in the afternoon. it did not end until ten o'clock at night. I was supremely happy in the opportunity of being able to assist somebody else. especially with the object of preventing the . for my work as a public-school teacher. who in many cases were over fifty years of age. which was my second year of teaching in Malden. This we succeeded in doing. Without regard to pay and with little thought of it. He willingly neglected his own education that he might help me. and. as a rule. a small salary from the public fund. John. During the time that I was a student at Hampton my older brother. however.morning. to learn. were in some cases very pathetic. In addition to this. James. I established a small reading-room and a debating society. On Sundays I taught two Sunday-schools. I gave special attention to teaching them the proper use of the tooth-brush and the bath. Both of these objects I was successful in accomplishing. through the Hampton Institute. I did receive. From the first. I taught any one who wanted to learn anything that I could teach him. The "Ku Klux" were bands of men who had joined themselves together for the purpose of regulating the conduct of the coloured people. I spent very much as I did the first. In addition to the usual routine of teaching. In three years my brother finished the course at Hampton. who had to work in the daytime and still were craving an opportunity for an education. that I soon opened a night-school. There were so many of the older boys and girls in the town. we both combined our efforts and savings to send our adopted brother. The year 1877. and he is now the postmaster at the Tuskegee Institute.

The "patrollers" were bands of white menusually young menwho were organized largely for the purpose of regulating the conduct of the slaves at night in such matters as preventing the slaves from going from one plantation to another without passes. the darkest part of the Reconstruction days. During this period not a few coloured people lost their lives. because schoolhouses as well as churches were burned by them. The "Ku Klux" period was. I have referred to this unpleasant part of the history of the South simply for the purpose of calling attention to the great change that has taken place since the days of the "Ku Klux. but they did not confine themselves to this. however." To-day there are no such organizations in the South.members of the race from exercising any influence in politics. General Ruffner tried to defend the coloured people. in the main. There are few places in the South now where public sentiment would permit such organizations to exist. I think. many on both sides were seriously injured. among them General Lewis Ruffner. the acts of these lawless bands made a great impression upon me. Viola Ruffner. As a young man. I saw one open battle take place at Malden between some of the coloured and white people. more cruel than the "patrollers. and many innocent persons were made to suffer. They corresponded somewhat to the "patrollers" of whom I used to hear a great deal during the days of slavery. They were. and the fact that such ever existed is almost forgotten by both races. were to crush out the political aspirations of the Negroes. that there was no hope for our people in this country. and for this he was knocked down and so seriously wounded that he never completely recovered. Like the "patrollers" the "Ku Klux" operated almost wholly at night. There must have been not far from a hundred persons engaged on each side. when I was a small boy. Chapter V. The Reconstruction Period The years from 1867 to 1878 I think may be called the period of Reconstruction. the husband of my friend Mrs. and for preventing them from holding any kind of meetings without permission and without the presence at these meetings of at least one white man." Their objects. During . It seemed to me as I watched this struggle between members of the two races. This included the time that I spent as a student at Hampton and as a teacher in West Virginia.

as soon as one secured a little education. most of our people who received some little education became teachers or preachers. something bordering almost on the supernatural. in the minds of a large part of the race. and. The ambition to secure an education was most praiseworthy and encouraging. at least. While among those two classes there were many capable. In every part of the South. and before that generations in the darkest heathenism. however. At my home in West Virginia the process of being called to the ministry was a very interesting one. still a large proportion took up teaching or preaching as an easy way to make a living. of the Greek and Latin languages would make one a very superior human being. I remember that the first coloured man whom I saw who knew something about foreign languages impressed me at the time as being a man of all others to be envied. could at first form any proper conception of what an education meant. Without warning the one called would fall upon the floor as if struck by a bullet. according to the preference of a majority of his patrons. during the Reconstruction period. though there has been great improvementon account of not only ignorant but in many cases immoral men who claimed that they were "called to preach. One of these was the craze for Greek and Latin learning. or. in some unexplainable way he would be free from most of the hardships of the world. was too prevalent that. however little. earnest. I remember there came into our neighbourhood one of this class. and would lie there for hours. The idea. There was a further feeling that a knowledge. Naturally. and the other was a desire to hold office. Usually the "call" came when the individual was sitting in church. at any rate. were filled to overflowing with people of all ages and conditions." In the earlier days of freedom almost every coloured man who learned to read would receive "a call to preach" within a few days after he began reading. Many became teachers who could do little more than write their names. He explained his position in the matter by saying that he was prepared to teach that the earth was either flat or round. schools. godly men and women. The ministry was the profession that suffered mostand still suffers. both day and night. speechless and motionless. and the question arose while he was there as to the shape of the earth and how he could teach the children concerning the subject. It could not have been expected that a people who had spent generations in slavery. some being as far along in age as sixty and seventy years. Then the news would spread all through the neighborhood that this .the whole of the Reconstruction period two ideas were constantly agitating in the minds of the coloured people. who was in search of a school to teach. could live without manual labour.

The central government gave them freedom. as I look back now over the entire period of our freedom. When we add the number of wholly ignorant men who preached or "exhorted" to that of those who possessed something of an education. and a way provided by which this test should be made to apply honestly and squarely to both the white and black races. I had the feeling that mistakes were being made. it can be seen at a glance that the supply of ministers was large. I confess that in my youth I had a fear that when I had learned to read and write very well I would receive one of these "calls". In fact. and later in manhood. my call never came. so far as it related to my race. for some reason. I cannot help feeling that it would have been wiser if some plan could have been put in operation which would have made the possession of a certain amount of education or property. The improvement that has taken place in the character of the teachers is even more marked than in the case of the ministers. I felt that the Reconstruction policy. and perhaps. at the beginning of our freedom. I repeat. While I wanted an education badly. those in charge of the conduct of affairs did the only thing that could be done at the time. after all. to fail to make some provision for the general education of our people in addition to what the states might do. some time ago I knew a certain church that had a total membership of about two hundred. to remark what might have been done. Though I was but little more than a youth during the period of Reconstruction. and I believe that within the next two or three decades a very large proportion of the unworthy ones will have disappeared. and under all the circumstances. he would fall or be made to fall a second or third time. and that things could not remain in the condition that they were in then very long. During the whole of the Reconstruction period our people throughout the South looked to the Federal Government for everything. a test for the exercise of the franchise. are not nearly so numerous now as they were formerly. Still.individual had received a "call. But. in many communities in the South the character of the ministry is being improved. I had the feeling that it was cruelly wrong in the central government. In the end he always yielded to the call. I am glad to say. This was not unnatural. was in a large measure on . very much as a child looks to its mother. Even as a youth. but. so that the people would be the better prepared for the duties of citizenship. and the calls to some industrial occupation are growing more numerous." If he were inclined to resist the summons. or both. and the whole Nation had been enriched for more than two centuries by the labour of the Negro. The "calls" to preach. and eighteen of that number were ministers. It is easy to find fault.

the mistakes of the Reconstruction period will repeat themselves. Some of them. The temptations to enter political life were so alluring that I came very near yielding to them at one time." Several times I heard the command. was artificial and forced. Many of the Southern whites have a feeling that. were strong. if the Negro is permitted to exercise his political rights now to any degree. Neither were all the class designated as carpetbaggers dishonourable men. I felt that the Negro would be the one to suffer for this in the end. Some of them. Not long ago. and that there was an element in the North which wanted to punish the Southern white men by forcing the Negro into positions over the heads of the Southern whites. Governor!" "Hurry up. upright. and many others. and wholly without experience in government. and whose morals were as weak as their education. of Georgia. for the "Governor" to "hurry up and bring up some more bricks. and county officers. were men of high character and usefulness. head. like exGovernor Bullock.a false foundation. just as many people similarly situated would have done. by any means. Of course the coloured people. I heard some brick-masons calling out.K. who. Besides. and he is fast learning the lesson that he cannot afford to act in a manner that will alienate his Southern white neighbours from him. made tremendous mistakes. so largely without education. and soon found that he was a coloured man who at one time had held the position of Lieutenant-Governor of his state. More and more I am convinced that the final solution of the political end of our race . but I was kept from doing so by the feeling that I would be helping in a more substantial way by assisting in the laying of the foundation of the race through a generous education of the hand. like the late Senator B. the general political agitation drew the attention of our people away from the more fundamental matters of perfecting themselves in the industries at their doors and in securing property. Governor!" My curiosity was aroused to such an extent that I made inquiry as to who the "Governor" was. because the Negro is a much stronger and wiser man than he was thirty-five years ago. Bruce. I do not think this would be true. I saw coloured men who were members of the state legislatures. and heart. when passing through the streets of a certain city in the South. In many cases it seemed to me that the ignorance of my race was being used as a tool with which to help white men into office. in some cases. But not all the coloured people who were in office during Reconstruction were unworthy of their positions. useful men. Governor Pinchback. could not read or write. from the top of a two-story brick building on which they were working. "Hurry up.

They knew more about Latin and Greek when they left school. and I had an opportunity of comparing the influence of an institution with no industrial training with that of one like the Hampton Institute. and that very effort was of immense value in character-building. I remained there for eight months. but they seemed to know less about life and its conditions as they would meet it at their homes. At Hampton the student was constantly making the effort through the industries to help himself. Any other course my daily observation in the South convinces me. wore the latest style of all manner of clothing. and after I had succeeded in preparing several of the young men and women. unjust to the white man. like slavery. solid foundation. books. The students at the other school seemed to be less self-dependent. and will be. I found that a large portion of the students by some means had their personal expenses paid for them. a sin that at some time we shall have to pay for. on a real. Having lived for a number of years in the midst of comfortable surroundings. and they were more inclined to yield to the temptation to become hotel waiters and Pullman-car porters as their life-work. will be unjust to the Negro. to enter the Hampton Institute. the men and women themselves must provide for their own board. A large proportion of these people had . in most cases. clothing.C. They seemed to give more attention to mere outward appearances. besides my two brothers. and unfair to the rest of the state in the Union. At the institution at which I now was. where there was little of comfort. and room wholly by work. In a word. they did not appear to me to be beginning at the bottom. During the time I was a student at Washington the city was crowded with coloured people. to the extent that they were at Hampton. to take up work for our people. after having taught school in Malden for two years. At the institution I attended there was no industrial training given to the students. In the fall of 1878. or partly by work and partly in cash. At this school I found the students. many of whom had recently come from the South. to both races alike. D.problem will be for each state that finds it necessary to change the law bearing upon the franchise to make the law apply with absolute honesty. I derived a great deal of benefit from the studies which I pursued. that emphasizes the industries. were better dressed. and I came into contact with some strong men and women. they were not as much inclined as the Hampton students to go into the country districts of the South. and without opportunity for double dealing or evasion. I decided to spend some months in study at Washington. had more money. while the institution would be responsible for securing some one to pay the tuition for the students. and in some cases were more brilliant mentally. At Hampton it was a standing rule that.

I saw men who but a few months previous were members of Congress. there was also a superficiality about the life of a large class that greatly alarmed me. whether in the languages or mathematics. All this tended to make Washington an attractive place for members of the coloured race. where all nations and races that have ever succeeded have gotten their start. upon the solid and never deceptive foundation of Mother Nature. and have often wished since. then without employment and in poverty. and still another large class was there in the hope of securing Federal positions. the Hon. The public schools in Washington for coloured people were better then than they were elsewhere. On the other hand. The members of this class had little ambition to create a position for themselves. but one that nevertheless is real. was in the Senate. B.K. I often thought how much wiser it would have been to give these girls the same amount of maternal trainingand I favour any kind of training. they knew that at all times they could have the protection of the law in the District of Columbia. and one. When the public school course was finally finished. they wanted more costly dresses. the industry of laundrying. How many times I wished then. worthy citizens. I took great interest in studying the life of our people there closely at that time.a start that at first may be slow and toilsome. Others had secured minor government positions. their ability to supply their wants had not been increased in the same degree. I saw other young men who received seventyfive or one hundred dollars per month from the Government. Then. but wanted the Federal officials to create one for them. I saw young coloured men who were not earning more than four dollars a week spend two dollars or more for a buggy on Sunday to ride up and down Pennsylvania Avenue in. Later. too. These girls were taught by their mothers. in order that they might try to convince the world that they were worth thousands. In a word. I found that while among them there was a large element of substantial. more costly hats and shoes. Bruce. while their wants have been increased. that gives strength and culture to . Among a large class there seemed to be a dependence upon the Government for every conceivable thing. these girls entered the public schools and remained there perhaps six or eight years. their six or eight years of book education had weaned them away from the occupation of their mothers.been drawn to Washington because they felt that they could lead a life of ease there. who were in debt at the end of every month. in rather a crude way it is true. A number of coloured mensome of them very strong and brilliantwere in the House of Representatives at that time. that by some power of magic I might remove the great bulk of these people into the county districts and plant them upon the soil. The result of this was in too many cases that the girls went to the bad. In Washington I saw girls whose mothers were earning their living by laundrying.

but I had a feeling that it would be a rather selfish kind of successindividual success at the cost of failing to do my duty in assisting in laying a foundation for the masses. but I refused. Charleston was successful in winning the prize. even at that early period in my life.the mindbut at the same time to give them the most thorough training in the latest and best methods of laundrying and other kindred occupations. my home. still believing that I could find other service which would prove of more permanent value to my race. The reputation that I made as a speaker during this campaign induced a number of persons to make an earnest effort to get me to enter political life. Black Race And Red Race During the year that I spent in Washington. industry. As for my individual self. and property. that there was a need for something to be done to prepare the way for successful lawyers. Even then I had a strong feeling that what our people most needed was to get a foundation in education. At the close of my school year in Washington I was very pleasantly surprised to receive. the Legislature designated three cities to be voted upon by the citizens of the state as the permanent seat of government. This invitation I accepted. but I had a reasonably fixed idea. As a result of this. during the days of slavery. Congressmen. from a committee of three white people in Charleston. and is now the permanent seat of government. who wanted to . there had been considerable agitation in the state of West Virginia over the question of moving the capital of the state from Wheeling to some other central point. I felt that the conditions were a good deal like those of an old coloured man. or Congressmen. and spent nearly three months in speaking in various parts of the state. it appeared to me to be reasonably certain that I could succeed in political life. Chapter VI. At this period in the progress of our race a very large proportion of the young men who went to school or to college did so with the expressed determination to prepare themselves to be great lawyers. an invitation to canvass the state in the interests of that city. only five miles from Malden. and many of the women planned to become music teachers. Among these cities was Charleston. and music teachers. and for some little time before this. and for this I felt that they could better afford to strive than for political preferment.

I went over much of the same groundnow. inviting me to return to Hampton at the next Commencement to deliver what was called the "post-graduate address. In his desire to take guitar lessons he applied to one of his young masters to teach him. I found that during my absence from Hampton the institute each year had been getting closer to the real needs and conditions of our people. regardless of the condition of the subject or the end to be accomplished." Soon after my work in connection with the removal of the capital was finished. however. I hires you on dem terms. covered entirely by railroadthat I had traversed nearly six years before. The plan of the school was not modelled after that of any other institution then in existence. I chose for my subject "The Force That Wins. but. At Hampton I received a warm welcome from teachers and students. Now I was able to ride the whole distance in the train. that the industrial reaching. in missionary and educational work among underdeveloped races." Uncle Jake answered: "All right. I will have to charge you three dollars for the first lesson. people yield to the temptation of doing that which was done a hundred years before. I will give you guitar lessons. I was constantly contrasting this with my first journey to Hampton. boss. that it is seldom that five years have wrought such a change in the life and aspirations of an individual. without seeming egotism. as well as that of the academic department. Too often. or is being done in other communities a thousand miles away. and one dollar for the third lesson. This was not so at Hampton Institute. not having much faith in the ability of the slave to master the guitar at his age. I received an invitation which gave me great joy and which at the same time was a very pleasant surprise. had greatly improved. With much care I prepared the best address that I was capable of. . but the young man. when I first sought entrance into Hampton Institute as a student." As I returned to Hampton for the purpose of delivering this address.learn how to play on the guitar. sought to discourage him by telling him: "Uncle Jake. Jake. two dollars for the second lesson. But. The temptation often is to run each individual through a certain educational mould. This was a letter from General Armstrong. I think I may say." This was an honour which I had not dreamed of receiving. But I will charge you only twenty-five cents for the last lesson. boss! I wants yer to be sure an' give me dat las' lesson first. but every improvement was made under the magnificent leadership of General Armstrong solely with the view of meeting and helping the needs of our people as they presented themselves at the time. it seems to me.

the greater proportion of whom were young men. It was not long before I had the complete confidence . and a member of the School Board of that city. I tore myself away from it. he felt himself far above the Negro. rooms. but I had become so much absorbed in my work in West Virginia that I dreaded to give it up. One of the young men that I sent to Hampton in this way is now Dr. there was a general feeling that the attempt to educate and civilize the red men at Hampton would be a failure. But I was determined to succeed. and so on. Aside from this. I was again surprised to receive a letter from General Armstrong. and had given them special attention. with the view of having them go to Hampton. a successful physician in Boston. The Indians. Samuel E. Soon after my return to my home in West Virginia. where I had planned to continue teaching. for I felt keenly the great responsibility. owned a large number of slaves during the days of slavery. largely on account of the fact of the Negro having submitted to slaverya thing which the Indian would never do. I knew that the average Indian felt himself above the white man. He secured from the reservations in the Western states over one hundred wild and for the most part perfectly ignorant Indians. At first I had a good deal of doubt about my ability to succeed. Courtney. in addition to my two brothers.The address which I delivered on Commencement Day seems to have pleased every one. However. The special work which the General desired me to do was to be a sort of "house father" to the Indian young menthat is. and many kind and encouraging words were spoken to me regarding it. I was to live in the building with them and have the charge of their discipline. asking me to return to Hampton partly as a teacher and partly to pursue some supplementary studies. by General Armstrong. This was in the summer of 1879. and. This fact. of course. Few people then had any confidence in the ability of the Indians to receive education and to profit by it. in the Indian Territory. About this time the experiment was being tried for the first time. I took up my residence in a building with about seventy-five Indian youths. General Armstrong was anxious to try the experiment systematically on a large scale. Soon after I began my first teaching in West Virginia I had picked out four of the brightest and most promising of my pupils. I did not know how to refuse to perform any service that General Armstrong desired of me. I was the only person in the building who was not a member of their race. and in each case the teachers had found them so well prepared that they entered advanced classes. led to my being called back to Hampton as a teacher. clothing. This was a very tempting offer. it seems. On going to Hampton. All this made me proceed very cautiously. of educating Indians at Hampton. They had gone there. to whom I have already referred.

and the more unfortunate the race. the Negro students gladly took the Indians as room-mates.of the Indians. How often I have wanted to say to white students that they lift themselves up in proportion as they help to lift others. where the law demands the separation of the races on the railroad trains. Douglass straightened himself up on the box upon which he was sitting. and not only this. were to have their long hair cut. I have often wondered if there was a white institution in this country whose students would have welcomed the incoming of more than a hundred companions of another race in the cordial way that these black students at Hampton welcomed the red ones. When some of the white passengers went into the baggage-car to console Mr. and one of them said to him: "I am sorry. It was a constant delight to me to note the interest which the coloured students took in trying to help the Indians in every way possible. I found that they were about like any other human beings. At one time Mr. I found that in the matter of learning trades and in mastering academic studies there was little difference between the coloured and Indian students. in order that they might teach them to speak English and to acquire civilized habits. but those who are inflicting it upon me. and professes the white man's religion. but these were in the minority. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment. that you have been degraded in this manner. and replied: "They cannot degrade Frederick Douglass. to give up wearing their blankets. in spite of the fact that he had paid the same price for his passage that the other passengers had paid. Whenever they were asked to do so. I think. When the difficulty of learning the English language was subtracted. eats the white man's food. on account of his colour. The soul that is within me no man can degrade." In one part of the country. speaks the white man's language. There were a few of the coloured students who felt that the Indians ought not to be admitted to Hampton. Douglass. Mr. to ride in the baggage-car. and was forced. and the lower in the scale of civilization. They were continually planning to do something that would add to my happiness and comfort. but I think I am safe in saying that I had their love and respect. but no white American ever thinks that any other race is wholly civilized until he wears the white man's clothes. Douglass was travelling in the state of Pennsylvania." Mr. and to cease smoking. the more does one raise one's self by giving the assistance. Frederick Douglass. Douglass. The things that they disliked most. that they responded to kind treatment and resented ill-treatment. I saw at one time a rather amusing instance which showed how difficult it . This reminds me of a conversation which I once had with the Hon.

This is illustrated in no better way than by observing the conduct of the old-school type of Southern gentleman when he is in contact with his former slaves or their descendants. I said to myself. the conductor did not want to insult him by asking him if he was a Negro. meeting a coloured man in the road once. ignorant.sometimes is to know where the black begins and the white ends. I had one or two experiences which illustrate the curious workings of caste in America. During my journey to Washington. at the same time. When the train conductor reached him. for the trainman promptly decided that the passenger was a Negro. In reply to their criticism George Washington said: "Do you suppose that I am going to permit a poor. in order that he might be returned to his Western reservation. Finally. with my charge. An example of what I mean is shown in a story told of George Washington. on a steamboat. The man in charge politely informed me that the Indian could be served. and hands. and let him remain where he was. when the bell rang for dinner. he stooped over and peeped at the man's feet. The official looked him over carefully. My experience has been that the time to test a true gentleman is to observe him when he is in contact with individuals of a race that is less fortunate than his own. nose. lifted his own in return. and get a receipt for him. however. deliver him over to the Secretary of the Interior." and so it did. "That will settle it. At that time I was rather ignorant of the ways of the world. the conductor did not want to send him to the white people's coach. I was careful to wait and not enter the dining room until after the greater part of the passengers had finished their meal. I never could understand how he knew just where to draw the colour line. The steward. When I saw the conductor examining the feet of the man in question. who politely lifted his hat. but that I could not. but who was so white that even an expert would have hard work to classify him as a black man. Then. if he was a white man. This man was riding in the part of the train set aside for the coloured passengers. There was a man who was well known in his community as a Negro. I had been directed by . and it became my duty to take him to Washington. examining his hair. Some of his white friends who saw the incident criticised Washington for his action. who. to solve the difficulty. One of the Indian boys was taken ill. he showed at once that he was perplexed. I went to the dining saloon. I congratulated myself that my race was fortunate in not losing one of its members. eyes. If the man was a Negro. seemed to be an expert in this manner. coloured man to be more polite than I am?" While I was in charge of the Indian boys at Hampton. since the Indian and I were of about the same complexion. but still seemed puzzled.

to help to prepare me for my work at Tuskegee later. The work was not easy in either place. in addition to the other far-reaching benefits of the institution. and mastered their work thoroughly. At the end of my first year with the Indians there came another opening for me at Hampton. The occasion of the trouble was that a dark-skinned man had stopped at the local hotel. after they had spent one or two years in the nightschool. They were so much in earnest that only the ringing of the retiring-bell would make them stop . They were good students. and I did so. or even to supply themselves with books.the authorities at Hampton to stop at a certain hotel in Washington with my charge. however. In this way they would obtain a start in their books and a knowledge of some trade or industry. on condition that they were to work for ten hours during the day. and the young women worked in the laundry. General Armstrong had found out that there was quite a number of young coloured men and women who were intensely in earnest in wishing to get an education. At the beginning of this school there were about twelve strong. He conceived the idea of starting a night-school in connection with the Institute. As soon as it was learned that he was not an American Negro. but in all my teaching I never taught pupils who gave me much genuine satisfaction as these did. seems to have come providentially. The man who was the innocent cause of the excitement. but said that he could not accommodate me. found it prudent after that not to speak English. developed the fact that this individual was a citizen of Morocco. which. earnest men and women who entered the class. General Armstrong asked me to take charge of the nightschool. During the day the greater part of the young men worked in the school's sawmill. and that while travelling in this country he spoke the English language. and attend school for two hours at night. They were to be paid something above the cost of their board for their work. into which a limited number of the most promising of these young men and women would be received. though. The greater part of their earnings was to be reserved in the school's treasury as a fund to be drawn on to pay their board when they had become students in the dayschool. but who were prevented from entering Hampton Institute because they were too poor to be able to pay any portion of the cost of their board. Investigation. I happened to find myself in a town in which so much excitement and indignation were being expressed that it seemed likely for a time that there would be a lynching. but when I went to this hotel the clerk stated that he would be glad to receive the Indian into the house. all the signs of indignation disappeared. An illustration of something of this same feeling came under my observation afterward. as I look back over my life now.

One night in the chapel. Frissell. and they added greatly to the popularity of the night-school. These gentlemen seemed to take it for granted that no coloured man suitable for the position could be secured. One of these instructors was the Rev. under the direction of the instructors there.studying. and they were expecting the General to recommend a white man for the place. as well as in their application to their studies at night. and is in good and regular standing. These students showed so much earnestness. the opportunity opened for me to begin my life-work. Within a few weeks this department had grown to such an extent that there were about twenty-five students in attendance. After a student had been in the night-school long enough to prove what was in him. 1881. In May. near the close of my first year in teaching the night-school.B. now numbers between three and four hundred. Dr. that I gave them the name of "The Plucky Class"a name which soon grew popular and spread throughout the institution. and is one of the permanent and most important features of the institution. General Armstrong referred to the fact that he had received a letter from some gentlemen in Alabama asking him to recommend some one to take charge of what was to be a normal school for the coloured people in the little town of Tuskegee in that state. after the usual chapel exercises were over. I have followed the course of many of these twenty-five men and women ever since then. which started with only twelve students. I pursued some studies myself. both in their hard work during the day. and often they would urge me to continue the lessons after the usual hour for going to bed had come. Early Days At Tuskegee During the time that I had charge of the Indians and the night-school at Hampton." The students prized these certificates highly. The night-school at Hampton. I gave him a printed certificate which read something like this: "This is to certify that James Smith is a member of The Plucky Class of the Hampton Institute. H. General Armstrong's successor. in a way that I had not dared expect. the present Principal of the Hampton Institute. and they are now holding important and useful positions in nearly every part of the South. The next day General Armstrong sent for me to come to his . Chapter VII.

the term was first used to designate a part of the country which was distinguished by the colour of the soil. though. Before going to Tuskegee I had expected to find there a building and all the necessary apparatus ready for me to begin teaching. being five miles from the main line of railroad. In some of the adjoining and near-by counties the proportion was not far from six coloured persons to one white. and naturally rich soil was. It was in the midst of the great bulk of the Negro population. with which it was connected by a short line. I began to get ready at once to go to Tuskegee. earnest souls who wanted to secure knowledge. and. I did find. for the reason that I found the white people possessing a degree of . one Sunday evening during the chapel exercises. Accordingly. where I remained for several days.hundreds of hungry. that he did not know of any white man to suggest. that which no costly building and apparatus can supply. I told him that I would be willing to try. and was rather secluded. he wrote to the people who had applied to him for the information. Some time afterward. Tuskegee seemed an ideal place for the school. In substance. In this letter he gave them my name. Several days passed before anything more was heard about the matter.office. Washington will suit us. but if they would be willing to take a coloured man. asked me if I thought I could fill the position in Alabama. the town had been a centre for the education of the white people. nearly one-half of whom were coloured. Later. I have often been asked to define the term "Black Belt. and consequently they were taken there in the largest numbers. To my disappointment. In the county in which Tuskegee is situated the coloured people outnumbered the whites by about three to one. to designate the counties where the black people outnumber the white. the part of the South where the slaves were most profitable. the term seems to be used wholly in a political sensethat is." There was a great deal of joy expressed among the students and teachers. these were its words: "Booker T. and especially since the war. he had one whom he could recommend. At the end of the exercises he read the telegram to the school. much to my surprise. and since. after which I proceeded to Tuskegee. and I received very hearty congratulations. dark. I went by way of my old home in West Virginia. During the days of slavery. This was an added advantage. Send him at once." So far as I can learn. It was in what was known as the Black Belt of the South. of course. I found nothing of the kind. The part of the country possessing this thick. I found Tuskegee to be a town of about two thousand inhabitants. a messenger came in and handed the general a telegram.

one of the older students would very kindly leave his lessons and hold an umbrella over me while I heard the recitations of the others. degraded and weakened their bodies by vices such as are common to the lower class of people in the large cities. They seemed to have a little distrust of strangers in this regard. that on more than one occasion my landlady held an umbrella over me while I ate breakfast. buildings. I recall that during the first months of school that I taught in this building it was in such poor repair that. also. The task before me did not seem a very encouraging one. together with the church itself as a sort of assembly-room. I found that about a year previous to my going to Tuskegee some of the coloured people who had heard something of the work of education being done at Hampton had applied to the state Legislature. For example. or apparatus. and we keeps watching de white man till we finds out which way de white man's gwine to . It seemed much like making bricks without straw. through their representatives. in every respect. In general. whenever it rained. My first task was to find a place in which to open the school. came to me on several occasions and said. We can't read de newspapers very much. and they were very anxious that I should become one of them politically. but we knows how to vote. however. that this money could be used only for the payment of the salaries of the instructors.culture and education that is not surpassed by many localities. for a small appropriation to be used in starting a normal school in Tuskegee. At the time I went to Alabama the coloured people were taking considerable interest in politics. I remember. with a good deal of earnestness: "We wants you to be sure to vote jes' like we votes. I soon learned. and that there was no provision for securing land. and I think at that time the only hardware store in the town was owned and operated jointly by a coloured man and a white man. Both the church and the shanty were in about as bad condition as was possible. who seemed to have been designated by the others to look after my political destiny. the most suitable place that could be secured seemed to be a rather dilapidated shanty near the coloured Methodist church. After looking the town over with some care. The coloured people were overjoyed. This request the Legislature had complied with to the extent of granting an annual appropriation of two thousand dollars. While the coloured people were ignorant. as a rule. an' we wants you to vote jes' like we votes. I recall that one man." He added: "We watches de white man. the largest. they had not. and were constantly offering their services in any way in which they could be of assistance in getting the school started. This copartnership continued until the death of the white partner. I found the relations between the two races pleasant.

frequently at a cost of as much as sixty dollars.vote. and in getting the school advertised among the class of people that I wanted to have attend it. however. and the race is learning to vote from principle. In the plantation districts I found that. as I have said. either on the floor or in a special part of another's bed. in their little cabins. as a rule. who slept in the same room. in the case of the most of these visits. The common diet of the people was fat pork and corn bread. Den we knows we's right. an' when we finds out which way de white man's gwine to vote. early in June. The first month I spent in finding accommodations for the school. 1881." I am glad to add. for what the voter considers to be for the best interests of both races. I saw their farms. everyday life of the people. In these cabin homes I often found sewing-machines which had been bought. having been bought at a high price at a store in town. den we votes 'xactly de other way. I had the advantage of seeing the real. with a mule and a cart or a mule and a buggy wagon for conveyance. The people seemed to have no other idea than to live on this fat meat and corn bread. Since. The most of my travelling was done over the country roads. that at the present time the disposition to vote against the white man merely because he is white is largely disappearing. or others not related to the family. and in travelling through Alabama. and that in addition to the immediate family there sometimes were relatives. I ate and slept with the people. examining into the actual life of the people. They usually contrived some kind of a place for me to sleep. their schools. the whole family slept in one room. At times I have eaten in cabins where they had only corn bread and "black-eye peas" cooked in plain water. I reached Tuskegee.the meat. or were being bought. or to wait until the family had gone to bed. in the yard. but usually some provision was made for this outside the house. notwithstanding the face that the land all about the cabin homes could easily have been made to produce nearly every kind of garden vegetable that is raised anywhere in the country. on instalments. and the meal of which the bread was made. or showy clocks for which the occupants of the cabins had paid twelve or . and in many cases cotton was planted up to the very door of the cabin. On more than one occasion I went outside the house to get ready for bed. their churches. Rarely was there any place provided in the cabin where one could bathe even the face and hands. there had been no notice given in advance that a stranger was expected. Their one object seemed to be to plant nothing but cotton. especially in the court districts.

in town. and was done in my honour. the whole family remained in town for most of the day. of course. One fork. was rarely used for want of a person who could play upon it. Still. On Saturday the whole family would spent at least half a day. The mother would sit down in a corner and eat her breakfast. All the days of the family would be spent after much this same routine.fourteen dollars. proceed to the cotton-field. Frequently the husband would take his bread and meat in his hand and start for the field. when I sat down to the table for a meal with the four members of the family. when the family got up in the morning. there was but one fork for the five of us to use. to do shopping. Naturally there was an awkward pause on my part. the wife would put a piece of meat in a frying-pan and put a lump of dough in a "skillet. At certain seasons of the year. so that its mother could give it a certain amount of attention when she had finished chopping her row. In the case to which I have referred. eating as he walked. and a sixty-dollar organ! In most cases the sewing-machine was not used. as a general thing. where the family sat down to the table for the meal at which I was their guest. except Saturday and Sunday. and in ten or fifteen minutes breakfast would be ready. when meat was scarce. the clocks were so worthless that they did not keep correct timeand if they had. These utensils would be placed on the fire." as they called it. In the opposite corner of that same cabin was an organ for which the people told me they were paying sixty dollars in monthly instalments. The noon meal and the supper were taken in much the same way as the breakfast. The breakfast over. while there were five of us at the table. for example. I noticed that. perhaps from a plate and perhaps directly from the "skillet" or frying-pan. The idea in going to town was. it was rarely that the children who were not old enough or strong enough to work in the fields would have the luxury of meat. In most cases. in nine cases out of ten there would have been no one in the family who could have told the time of daywhile the organ. Every child that was large enough to carry a hoe was put to work. I could see plainly that this was an awkward and unusual proceeding. I remember that on one occasion when I went into one of these cabins for dinner. while the children would eat their portion of the bread and meat while running about the yard. spending the greater part of the time in standing on the . the whole family would. I suppose. but all the shopping that the whole family had money for could have been attended to in ten minutes by one person. and often a whole day. and with practically no attention given to the house. and the babyfor usually there was at least one babywould be laid down at the end of the cotton row.

not wholly by the work of the Tuskegee school. but by that of other institutions as well. except that occasionally there was a rough blackboard. I have stated in such plain words what I saw. and behind the four was a fifth little fellow who was peeping over the shoulders of all four. What I have said concerning the character of the schoolhouses and teachers will also apply quite accurately as a description of the church buildings and the ministers. behind these were two others peeping over the shoulders of the first two. I found that there was no provision made in the house used for school purposes for heating the building during the winter. and poor in moral character. sitting about somewhere smoking or dipping snuff. and teacher and pupils passed in and out of the house as they got cold or warm. I met some very interesting characters during my travels. As illustrating the peculiar mental processes of the country people. and consequently a fire had to be built in the yard. the women." In giving all these descriptions of what I saw during my mouth of travel in the country around Tuskegee. "There were five of us. Two of these. More than once. I asked him how many were sold at the same time. to tell me something of his history. With few exceptions. myself and brother and three mules. I remember that I asked one coloured man. I found that the crops were mortgaged in the counties where I went. were using the book between them. He said. With few exceptions. mainly for the reason that later I want to emphasize the encouraging changes that have taken place in the community. and. Sunday was usually spent in going to some big meeting. I recall that one day I went into a schoolhouseor rather into an abandoned log cabin that was being used as a schoolhouseand found five pupils who were studying a lesson from one book. I found the teachers in these country schools to be miserably poor in preparation for their work. and sold into Alabama in 1845. I wish my readers to keep in mind the fact that there were many encouraging exceptions to the conditions which I have described. too often. and that the most of the coloured farmers were in debt. as a rule. on the front seat. who was about sixty years old. . The schools were in session from three to five months. He said that he had been born in Virginia. The state had not been able to build schoolhouses in the country districts. while on my journeys. There was practically no apparatus in the schoolhouses. the schools were taught in churches or in log cabins.streets.

with a high hat. after spending this month in seeing the actual life of the coloured people. a showy walking-stick. and the opening day was looked forward to with much earnest discussion. The work to be done in order to lift these people up seemed almost beyond accomplishing. and that it would be difficult to secure them for domestic service. as the day for the opening of the school in the little shanty and church which had been secured for its accommodation. something must be done more than merely to imitate New England education as it then existed. in order to lift them up. imitation gold eye-glasses. there are two men among all the many friends of the school in Tuskegee upon whom I have depended . fancy boots.Chapter VIII. as well as the coloured. In the midst of all the difficulties which I encountered in getting the little school started. They questioned its value to the coloured people. a man who was determined to live by his wits. and it seemed to me that the little effort which I could put forth could go such a short distance toward bringing about results. It was difficult for these people to see how education would produce any other kind of a coloured man. There were not a few white people in the vicinity of Tuskegee who looked with some disfavour upon the project. I saw more clearly than ever the wisdom of the system which General Armstrong had inaugurated at Hampton. The white people who questioned the wisdom of starting this new school had in their minds pictures of what was called an educated Negro. and what notin a word. I felt would be almost a waste of time. were greatly interested in the starting of the new school. I wondered if I could accomplish anything. These people feared the result of education would be that the Negroes would leave the farms. and had a fear that it might result in bringing about trouble between the races. I set July 4. After consultation with the citizens of Tuskegee. kid gloves. and since then through a period of nineteen years. Of one thing I felt more strongly convinced than ever. and each day give them a few hours of mere book education. The white people. I was only one person. and that was that. To take the children of such people as I had been among for a month. 1881. Teaching School In A Stable And A Hen-House I confess that what I saw during my month of travel and investigation left me with a very heavy heart. Some had the feeling that in proportion as the Negro received education. in the same proportion would his value decrease as an economic factor in the state. and if it were worth while for me to try.

I was the only teacher. and had had little experience in dealing with matters pertaining to education. sympathized with me. A great many more students wanted to enter the school. Lewis Adams. Campbell is a merchant and banker. The greater part of the thirty were public-school teachers. One is a white man and an ex-slaveholder. The students were about equally divided between the sexes. Mr. I believe that in five cases out of ten he will be directed to a Negro who learned a trade during the days of slavery. Campbell was never appealed to when he was not willing to extend all the aid in his power. and some of them were nearly forty years of age. but in some way he had learned to read and write while a slave. but it had been decided to receive only those who were above fifteen years of age. George W. and who had previously received some education. whose advice and judgment I would feel more like following in everything which concerns the life and development of the school at Tuskegee than those of these two men. one an ex-slaveholder. the prouder they felt of their accomplishment. The bigger the book and the longer the name of the subject. From the first. derived his unusual power of mind from the training given his hands in the process of mastering well three trades during the days of slavery. Adams was a mechanic. Mr. I have always felt that Mr. harness-making. and how many high-sounding subjects some of them claimed to have mastered. and had learned the trades of shoemaking. Most of them lived in Macon County. Mr. and of which it is the county-seat. and the success of the undertaking is largely due to these men. in a large degree. Some . and tinsmithing during the days of slavery. Mr. In the days which were darkest financially for the school. He had never been to school a day in his life. With the teachers came some of their former pupils. and when they were examined it was amusing to note that in several cases the pupil entered a higher class than did his former teacher. one an ex-slave. and asks for the leading and most reliable coloured man in the community. from whom I have never sought anything in vain. It was also interesting to note how many big books some of them had studied. and supported me in every effort. On the morning that the school opened. Campbell. I mention them simply as types. Mr. These were the men who wrote to General Armstrong for a teacher. the county in which Tuskegee is situated. these two men saw clearly what my plan of education was. Adams. If one goes to-day into any Southern town. thirty students reported for admission. I do not know two men. the other is a black man and an ex-slave.constantly for advice and guidance.

filth all around him. it was explained to me that this was a part of his "entitles. This they thought entitled them to special distinction. Davidson. so far as their books were concerned. and weeds in the yard and garden. Notwithstanding what I have said about them in these respects. I had to summon a good deal of courage to take a student who had been studying cube root and "banking and discount. and one or two Greek. said that. In fact. one of the saddest things I saw during the month of travel which I have described was a young man. as they could remain only for two or three months. or the places on which the bread and meat should be set. with grease on his clothing." and explain to him that the wisest thing for him to do first was thoroughly master the multiplication table. however. . I have never seen a more earnest and willing company of young men and women than these students were. They were all willing to learn the right thing as soon as it was shown them what was right. who had attended some high school. Miss Davidson was born in Ohio. I soon learned that most of them had the merest smattering of the high-sounding things that they had studied. I found that almost every one of them had one or more middle initials. In registering the names of the students. When I asked what the "J" stood for. was "banking and discount. I was determined to start them off on a solid and thorough foundation. At the end of the first six weeks a new and rare face entered the school as a co-teacher. sitting down in a one-room cabin. The number of pupils increased each week. who later became my wife. in the name of John J. but had little thought or knowledge of applying these rules to their everyday affairs of their life. and tell me that they had mastered. This was Miss Olivia A. until by the end of the first month there were nearly fifty. One subject which they liked to talk about. they wanted to enter a high class and get a diploma the first year if possible.had studied Latin. in arithmetic. Jones. I found out that the girls could not locate the proper places for the knives and forks on an actual dinnertable." Most of the students wanted to get an education because they thought it would enable them to earn more money as school-teachers. The students who came first seemed to be fond of memorizing long and complicated "rules" in grammar and mathematics." but I soon found out that neither they nor almost any one in the neighbourhood in which they had lived had ever had a bank account. While they could locate the Desert of Sahara or the capital of China on an artificial globe. Many of them. engaged in studying a French grammar.

No single individual did more toward laying the foundations of the Tuskegee Institute so as to insure the successful work that has been done there than Olivia A. The attention of Mrs. since she was so very light in colour. Miss Davidson and I began consulting as to the future of the school from the first. The students were making progress in learning books and in development their minds. When little more than a girl. bringing into the school many valuable and fresh ideas as to the best methods of teaching. one of her pupils became ill with smallpox. she at once telegraphed the Mayor of Memphis.. offering her services as a yellow-fever nurse. Tenn. after graduating at Hampton. she might find it more comfortable not to be known as a coloured women in this school in Massachusetts. of Boston.and received her preparatory education in the public schools of that state. Mary Hemenway. Miss Davidson came to Tuskegee. she heard of the need of teachers in the South. Hemenway's kindness and generosity. She at once replied that under no circumstances and for no considerations would she consent to deceive any one in regard to her racial identity. received an opportunity to complete a two years' course of training at the Massachusetts State Normal School at Framingham. if we were to make any permanent impression upon those who had come to us for training we must do something besides teach them mere books. and decided that this was what she wanted in order to prepare herself for better work in the South. Miss Davidson. With few exceptions. Through Mrs. The students had come from homes where they had had no opportunities for lessons which would teach them how to care for their bodies. When she heard of this. the homes in Tuskegee in which the students boarded were but little improvement . She heard of the Hampton system of education. although she had never had the disease. as well as a rare moral character and a life of unselfishness that I think has seldom been equalled. Before she went to Framingham. While teaching in Mississippi. Miss Davidson closed her school and remained by the bedside of the boy night and day until he recovered. While she was at her Ohio home on her vacation. the worst epidemic of yellow fever broke out in Memphis. Soon after her graduation from the Framingham institution. Miss Davidon's experience in the South showed her that the people needed something more than mere book-learning. that perhaps has ever occurred in the South. Davidson. Later she taught in the city of Memphis. She went to the state of Mississippi and began teaching there. some one suggested to Miss Davidson that. but it became apparent at once that. was attracted to her rare ability. Every one in the community was so frightened that no one would nurse the boy.

We wanted to teach them what to eat. while he was at work in a cotton-field. and yield to the temptation of trying to live by their wits. as well as into the intellectual and moral and religious life of the people. What were we to do? We had only the little old shanty and the abandoned church which the good coloured people of the town of Tuskegee had kindly loaned us for the accommodation of the classes. We found that the most of our students came from the country districts. who were then coming to us from several parts of the state. who. de cotton am so grassy.upon those from which they had come. and at the time when we were in the greatest anxiety about our work. and the sun am so hot dat I b'lieve dis darky am called to preach!" About three months after the opening of the school. where agriculture in some form or other was the main dependence of the people. The more we saw of them. we wanted to be careful not to educate our students out of sympathy with agricultural life. looking toward the skies. to only a partial degree. We learned that about eighty-five per cent of the coloured people in the Gulf states depended upon agriculture for their living. All these ideas and needs crowded themselves upon us with a seriousness that seemed well-nigh overwhelming. and at the same time cause them to return to the plantation districts and show the people there how to put new energy and new ideas into farming. thrift. and economy. together with the spirit of industry. This is illustrated by a story told of a coloured man in Alabama. We wanted to teach the students how to bathe. how to care for their teeth and clothing. and how to eat it properly. suddenly stopped. and the more we travelled through the country districts. so that they would be attracted from the country to the cities. The more we talked with the students. said: "O Lawd. Aside from this. the more we found that the chief ambition among a large proportion of them was to get an education so that they would not have to work any longer with their hands. the more we saw that our efforts were reaching. that they would be sure of knowing how to make a living after they had left us. and how to care for their rooms. The number of students was increasing daily. we wanted to give them such a practical knowledge of some one industry. . the actual needs of the people whom we wanted to lift up through the medium of the students whom we should education and send out as leaders. one hot day in July. Since this was true. We wanted to give them such an education as would fit a large proportion of them to be teachers. and. de work am so hard. We wanted to teach them to study actual things instead of mere books alone.

an old kitchen. Although five hundred dollars was cheap for the land. and who sometimes helped me. that our school had grown so large that it would be necessary for us to use the hen-house for school purposes. I confess that the securing of this money in this way was a great surprise to me." as it would have been calledwhich had been occupied by the owners during slavery. The stable was repaired and used as a recitation-room. But how were we to get it? The price asked for it was very littleonly five hundred dollarsbut we had no money. Up to that time I never had had in my possession so much money as one hundred dollars at a time. as well as a source of gratification. but that he would gladly lend me the amount needed from his own personal funds. Marshall. it seemed to be just the location that we wanted in order to make our work effective and permanent. he replied. Within a few days a reply came to the effect that he had no authority to lend me the money belonging to the Hampton Institute. putting the situation before him and beseeching him to lend me the two hundred and fifty dollars on my own personal responsibility. and we were strangers in the town and had no credit. formerly used as a dining room. The owner of the land agreed to let us occupy the place if we could make a payment of two hundred and fifty dollars down. and the loan which I had asked General Marshall for seemed a tremendously large sum to me. The fact of my being responsible for the repaying of such a large amount of money weighed very heavily upon me. and that I wanted him to help me give it a thorough cleaning out the next day. with the understanding that the remaining two hundred and fifty dollars must be paid within a year. I recall that one morning. In the midst of the difficulty I summoned a great deal of courage and wrote to my friend General J. Within a few weeks we had all of these structures in use. I lost no time in getting ready to move the school on to the new farm. it was a large sum when one did not have any part of it. a stable.F.B. boss? You sholy ain't gwine clean out de hen-house in de day-time?" . when I told an old coloured man who lived near. had been burned. and very presently the hen-house was utilized for the same purpose. At the time we occupied the place there were standing upon it a cabin. After making a careful examination of the place.there came into market for sale an old and abandoned plantation which was situated about a mile from the town of Tuskegee. in the most earnest manner: "What you mean. and an old hen-house. The mansion houseor "big house. the Treasurer of the Hampton Institute.

I determined to clear up some land so that we could plant a crop. In the meantime Miss Davidson was devising plans to repay the loan. Washin'ton. God knows I spent de bes' days of my life in slavery. Besides. that failed to donate something." She made a personal canvass among the white and coloured families in the town of Tuskegee. that touched me so deeply as this one. it has been my privilege to receive many gifts for the benefit of the institution. Several of these festivals were held. In order to relieve them from any embarrassment. Sometimes the contribution was a quilt." she added. so far as I now remember. and most of those applied to gave small sums. but I wants you to take dese six eggs. but never any. until we had cleared about twenty acres and had planted a crop. like a cake. When they saw that I was not afraid or ashamed to work. As soon as we got the cabins in condition to be used. It was often pathetic to note the gifts of the older coloured people. She hobbled into the room where I was. what I's been savin' up. each afternoon after school I took my axe and led the way to the woods. an' I wants you to put dese six eggs into the eddication of dese boys an' gals. She was clad in rags. We kept at the work each afternoon. and they questioned whether or not clearing land would be in keeping with their dignity.Nearly all the work of getting the new location ready for school purposes was done by the students after school was over in the afternoon. I knows you is tryin' to make better men an' better women for de coloured race." Since the work at Tuskegee started. I noticed that they did not seem to take to it very kindly. I think. I recall one old coloured women who was about seventy years of age. She said: "Mr. they began to assist with more enthusiasm. but. or "suppers. that could be sold at the festival. . or pies. Sometimes they would give five cents. but they were clean. but I want to add that Miss Davidson did not apply to a single white family. or a quantity of sugarcane. God knows I's ignorant an' poor. who came to see me when we were raising money to pay for the farm. bread. leaning on a cane. "I knows what you an' Miss Davidson is tryin' to do. and got them to agree to give something. It was hard for them to see the connection between clearing land and an education. Of course the coloured people were glad to give anything that they could spare. A canvass was also made among the people of both races for direct gifts of money. and in many ways the white families showed their interest in the school. When I explained my plan to the young men. many of them had been school-teachers. and quite a little sum of money was raised. Her first effort was made by holding festivals. most of whom had spent their best days in slavery. I ain't got no money. a chicken. sometimes twenty-five cents.

Chapter IX. Anxious Days And Sleepless Nights
The coming of Christmas, that first year of our residence in Alabama, gave us an opportunity to get a farther insight into the real life of the people. The first thing that reminded us that Christmas had arrived was the "foreday" visits of scores of children rapping at our doors, asking for "Chris'mus gifts! Chris'mus gifts!" Between the hours of two o'clock and five o'clock in the morning I presume that we must have had a halfhundred such calls. This custom prevails throughout this portion of the South to-day. During the days of slavery it was a custom quite generally observed throughout all the Southern states to give the coloured people a week of holiday at Christmas, or to allow the holiday to continue as long as the "yule log" lasted. The male members of the race, and often the female members, were expected to get drunk. We found that for a whole week the coloured people in and around Tuskegee dropped work the day before Christmas, and that it was difficult for any one to perform any service from the time they stopped work until after the New Year. Persons who at other times did not use strong drink thought it quite the proper thing to indulge in it rather freely during the Christmas week. There was a widespread hilarity, and a free use of guns, pistols, and gunpowder generally. The sacredness of the season seemed to have been almost wholly lost sight of. During this first Christmas vacation I went some distance from the town to visit the people on one of the large plantations. In their poverty and ignorance it was pathetic to see their attempts to get joy out of the season that in most parts of the country is so sacred and so dear to the heart. In one cabin I notice that all that the five children had to remind them of the coming of Christ was a single bunch of firecrackers, which they had divided among them. In another cabin, where there were at least a half-dozen persons, they had only ten cents' worth of ginger-cakes, which had been bought in the store the day before. In another family they had only a few pieces of sugarcane. In still another cabin I found nothing but a new jug of cheap, mean whiskey, which the husband and wife were making free use of, notwithstanding the fact that the husband was one of the local ministers. In a few instances I found that the people had gotten hold of some bright-coloured cards that had been designed for advertising purposes, and were making

the most of these. In other homes some member of the family had bought a new pistol. In the majority of cases there was nothing to be seen in the cabin to remind one of the coming of the Saviour, except that the people had ceased work in the fields and were lounging about their homes. At night, during Christmas week, they usually had what they called a "frolic," in some cabin on the plantation. That meant a kind of rough dance, where there was likely to be a good deal of whiskey used, and where there might be some shooting or cutting with razors. While I was making this Christmas visit I met an old coloured man who was one of the numerous local preachers, who tried to convince me, from the experience Adam had in the Garden of Eden, that God had cursed all labour, and that, therefore, it was a sin for any man to work. For that reason this man sought to do as little work as possible. He seemed at that time to be supremely happy, because he was living, as he expressed it, through one week that was free from sin. In the school we made a special effort to teach our students the meaning of Christmas, and to give them lessons in its proper observance. In this we have been successful to a degree that makes me feel safe in saying that the season now has a new meaning, not only through all that immediate region, but, in a measure, wherever our graduates have gone. At the present time one of the most satisfactory features of the Christmas and Thanksgiving season at Tuskegee is the unselfish and beautiful way in which our graduates and students spend their time in administering to the comfort and happiness of others, especially the unfortunate. Not long ago some of our young men spent a holiday in rebuilding a cabin for a helpless coloured women who was about seventy-five years old. At another time I remember that I made it known in chapel, one night, that a very poor student was suffering from cold, because he needed a coat. The next morning two coats were sent to my office for him. I have referred to the disposition on the part of the white people in the town of Tuskegee and vicinity to help the school. From the first, I resolved to make the school a real part of the community in which it was located. I was determined that no one should have the feeling that it was a foreign institution, dropped down in the midst of the people, for which they had no responsibility and in which they had no interest. I noticed that the very fact that they had been asking to contribute toward the purchase of the land made them begin to feel as if it was going to be their school, to a large degree. I noted that just in proportion as we made the white people feel that the institution was a part of the life of the community, and that, while we wanted to make friends in Boston, for example, we also wanted

to make white friends in Tuskegee, and that we wanted to make the school of real service to all the people, their attitude toward the school became favourable. Perhaps I might add right here, what I hope to demonstrate later, that, so far as I know, the Tuskegee school at the present time has no warmer and more enthusiastic friends anywhere than it has among the white citizens of Tuskegee and throughout the state of Alabama and the entire South. From the first, I have advised our people in the South to make friends in every straightforward, manly way with their next-door neighbour, whether he be a black man or a white man. I have also advised them, where no principle is at stake, to consult the interests of their local communities, and to advise with their friends in regard to their voting. For several months the work of securing the money with which to pay for the farm went on without ceasing. At the end of three months enough was secured to repay the loan of two hundred and fifty dollars to General Marshall, and within two months more we had secured the entire five hundred dollars and had received a deed of the one hundred acres of land. This gave us a great deal of satisfaction. It was not only a source of satisfaction to secure a permanent location for the school, but it was equally satisfactory to know that the greater part of the money with which it was paid for had been gotten from the white and coloured people in the town of Tuskegee. The most of this money was obtained by holding festivals and concerts, and from small individual donations. Our next effort was in the direction of increasing the cultivation of the land, so as to secure some return from it, and at the same time give the students training in agriculture. All the industries at Tuskegee have been started in natural and logical order, growing out of the needs of a community settlement. We began with farming, because we wanted something to eat. Many of the students, also, were able to remain in school but a few weeks at a time, because they had so little money with which to pay their board. Thus another object which made it desirable to get an industrial system started was in order to make it available as a means of helping the students to earn money enough so that they might be able to remain in school during the nine months' session of the school year. The first animal that the school came into possession of was an old blind horse given us by one of the white citizens of Tuskegee. Perhaps I may add here that at the present time the school owns over two hundred horses, colts, mules, cows, calves, and oxen, and about seven hundred hogs and pigs, as well as a large number of sheep and goats.

. we finally had the plans drawn for a building that was estimated to cost about six thousand dollars. he insisted on being allowed to put the lumber on the grounds. The school was not known. When the meeting was in progress. but she was not long in winning her way into the confidence of the best people in the North. after we had got the farm paid for. an old. Miss Davidson decided to go North for the purpose of securing additional funds. large building. After we had secured some portion of the money we permitted him to do this. One day. He closed his announcement by saying: "Any nigger that's got any love for his race. with no other guarantee for payment than my word that it would be paid for when we secured some money. ante-bellum coloured man came a distance of twelve miles and brought in his ox-cart a large hog. After having given a good deal of thought to the subject. the cultivation of the land begun. we turned our attention toward providing a large. For weeks she visited individuals and spoke in churches and before Sunday schools and other organizations. each. toward the erection of the building.The school was constantly growing in numbers. substantial building. When it became known in the town that we were discussing the plans for a new. so much so that. and often embarrassing. She found this work quite trying. when we were holding a meeting to secure funds for its erection. Notwithstanding this. and that our work would mean little unless we could get hold of the students in their home life. and that he had brought one of them as a contribution toward the expenses of the building. After we had secured all the help that we could in Tuskegee. I told the man frankly that at the time we did not have in our hands one dollar of the money needed. but we knew that the school must go backward or forward. I think I never saw a community of people so happy over anything as were the coloured people over the prospect of this new building. but he had raised two fine hogs." Quite a number of men in the community also volunteered to give several days' work. he rose in the midst of the company and said that he had no money which he could give. a Southern white man who was operating a sawmill not far from Tuskegee came to me and said that he would gladly put all the lumber necessary to erect the building on the grounds. Miss Davidson again began the work of securing in various ways small contributions for the new building from the white and coloured people in and near Tuskegee. One incident which occurred about this time gave me a great deal of satisfaction as well as surprise. will bring a hog to the next meeting. This seemed to us a tremendous sum. or any respect for himself. and the old cabins which we had found on the place somewhat repaired.

and not to work. since they had come there. working after the regular classes were over. but never seemed happy unless she was giving all of her strength to the cause which she loved. Perhaps I might add here that for fourteen years these same friends have sent us six thousand dollars a year. and also after it. of Brooklyn.The first gift from any Northern person was received from a New York lady whom Miss Davidson met on the boat that was bringing her North. and when we were in the midst of a season when we were so much in need of money that the future looked doubtful and gloomy. and taught a Sunday school class in the town. after Mr. the same two Boston ladies sent us six thousand dollars. afterward told me that at one time when Miss Davidson called her to see and send up her card the lady was detained a little before she could see Miss Davidson. They fell into a conversation. she would be so exhausted that she could not undress herself. A lady upon whom she called. While putting up our first building. though. As soon as the plans were drawn for the new building. "to be educated. in Boston. as lady principal and classroom teacher. the need for money became acute. at night. On the morning of that day we did not have a dollar. She was never very strong. Two years later. which was named Porter Hall. Porter. as one of them expressed it. after spending the day in going from door to door trying to interest persons in the work at Tuskegee. when the work at Tuskegee had grown considerably.H. I had given one of our creditors a promise that upon a certain day he should be paid four hundred dollars. N. I noted with satisfaction that a sentiment in favour of work was gaining ground." Gradually. The mail arrived at the school at ten o'clock. she worked among the older people in and near Tuskegee. In addition to this. Miss Davidson kept up the work of securing money in the North and in the South by interesting people by personal visits and through correspondence.. Often. They had not fully outgrown the idea that it was hardly the proper thing for them to use their hands. and in this mail there was a check sent by Miss Davidson for exactly four hundred dollars. Words cannot describe our surprise. For some time before our marriage. This four hundred dollars was given by two ladies in Boston. At the same time she kept in close touch with the work at Tuskegee.Y. the students began digging out the earth where the foundations were to be laid. who gave a generous sum toward its erection. I could relate many instances of almost the same character. and when she entered the parlour she found Miss Davidson so exhausted that she had fallen asleep. or the encouragement that the gift brought to us. After a few . A. and the Northern lady became so much interested in the effort being made at Tuskegee that before they parted Miss Davidson was handed a check for fifty dollars.

Waddy Thompson. I knew that if we failed it would injure the whole race. in a large degree. because bills were falling due that we did not have the money to meet. the county officialswho were whiteand all the leading white men in that vicinity. and a day was appointed for the laying of the corner-stone. when bills figuring up into the hundreds of dollars were falling due. however. without being helped according to their means. it seemed. can properly appreciate the difficulties under which we laboured. at the rate of a thousand pounds to the square inch.weeks of hard work the foundations were ready." in the centre of that part of our country that was most devoted to slavery. in the "Black Belt. I believe there are few places in the world where it could have taken place. the students. I never went to a white or a black person in the town of Tuskegee for any assistance that was in their power to render. I knew that in the case of white people beginning such an enterprise it would be taken for granted that they were going to succeed. the scene that was witnessed on that spring day at Tuskegee was a remarkable one. I applied to the white men of Tuskegee for small loans. because of the anxiety and uncertainty which we were in regarding money. month after month. In all our difficulties and anxieties. All this made a burden which pressed down on us. but in our case I felt that people would be surprised if we succeeded. During the first years at Tuskegee I recall that night after night I would roll and toss on my bed. that only sixteen years before no Negro could be taught from books without the teacher receiving the condemnation of the law or of public sentimentwhen all this is considered. I knew that the presumption was against us. of trying to erect buildings and provide equipment for a school when no one knew where the money was to come from. Perhaps no one who has not gone through the experience. together with many of the black men and women whom the same white people but a few years before had held a title to as property. Before the building was completed we passed through some very trying seasons. that at that time slavery had been abolished only about sixteen years. More than a dozen times. . sometimes. as it were. More than once our hearts were made to bleed. the Superintendent of Education for the county. we were trying an experimentthat of testing whether or not it was possible for Negroes to build up and control the affairs of a large education institution. I knew that. The principal address was delivered by the Hon. without sleep. When it is considered that the laying of this corner-stone took place in the heart of the South. The members of both races were anxious to exercise the privilege of placing under the corner-stone some momento. their parents and friends. About the corner-stone were gathered the teachers.

After earnest and constant work in the interests of the school. I think I can say without boasting. I shall always remember a bit of advice given me by Mr. Portia M. together with her housekeeping duties." At one time when we were in the greatest distress for money that we ever experienced. Smith. while performing this service. at Tuskegee. From the first. but to have them erect their own buildings. Soon after I entered upon the work Mr. and was completely one with me in every interest and ambition. taught the latest and best methods of labour. During the summer of 1882. This made a home for our teachers. at the end of the first year's work of the school. Va. and that was to keep the credit of the school high. was born during our marriage. She passed away. my wife most earnestly devoted her thoughts and time to the work of the school. This was not the only time that General Armstrong helped Tuskegee in this way. I was determined to have the students do not only the agricultural and domestic work. We began keeping house in Tuskegee early in the fall. W. I placed the situation frankly before General Armstrong. of Malden. 1884. however. and this. Campbell. so that the school would not only . before she had an opportunity of seeing what the school was designed to be. my wife passed away in May. we have done all through these years. Campbell said to me. My plan was to have them. I do not think I have ever made this fact public before. Washington. always remember that credit is capital. One thing I was determined to do from the first. Without hesitation he gave me his personal check for all the money which he had saved for his own use. A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw From the very beginning. to meet our obligations. the white man to whom I have referred to as the one who induced General Armstrong to send me to Tuskegee. My wife was also a graduate of the Hampton Institute. One child. who now had been increase to four in number.often borrowing small amounts from as many as a half-dozen persons. I was married to Miss Fannie N. in his fatherly way: "Washington. George W. Chapter X.

As soon as we . Mistakes I knew would be made. when a new student has been led into the temptation of marring the looks of some building by leadpencil marks or by the cuts of a jack-knife." In the early days of the school I think my most trying experience was in the matter of brickmaking. from the cabins of the cotton. but beauty and dignity. and rice plantations of the South. until at the present time a building of any description or size can be constructed wholly by our instructors and students. Not a few times. how to lift labour up from mere drudgery and toil. As an additional result. that the majority of our students came to us in poverty. have been built. That is our building. hundreds of men are now scattered throughout the South who received their knowledge of mechanics while being taught how to erect these buildings. counting small and large. steam. without going off the grounds for a single workman. and would learn to love work for its own sake. but I was determined to stick to it. I told those who doubted the wisdom of the plan that I knew that our first buildings would not be so comfortable or so complete in their finish as buildings erected by the experienced hands of outside workmen. My plan was not to teach them to work in the old way. self-help. sugar. Skill and knowledge are now handed down from one set of students to another in this way. I felt that it would be following out a more natural process of development to teach them how to construct their own buildings. but the students themselves would be taught to see not only utility in labour. and all except four are almost wholly the product of student labour. but that in the teaching of civilization. At first many advised against the experiment of having the buildings erected by the labour of the students. in fact. I helped put it up. would be taught.get the benefit of their efforts. water. the erection of buildings by the students themselves would more than compensate for any lack of comfort or fine finish. but to show them how to make the forces of natureair. but these mistakes would teach us valuable lessons for the future. I have heard an old student remind him: "Don't do that. and that while I knew it would please the students very much to place them at once in finely constructed buildings. horse-powerassist them in their labour. and self-reliance. During the now nineteen years' existence of the Tuskegee school. from the drawing of the plans to the putting in of the electric fixtures. electricity. In this time forty buildings. I further told those who doubted the wisdom of this plan. the plan of having the buildings erected by student labour has been adhered to.

the time-limit on my watch had expired. however. This time. In the midst of my troubles I thought of a watch which had come into my possession years before. with which to renew the brickmaking experiment. however. particularly in the burning of the bricks. I am glad to say. in the middle of the night the kiln fell. Most of the teachers advised the abandoning of the effort to make bricks. and I have never seen it since. also proved a failure. We needed these for use in connection with the erection of our own buildings. we directed our next efforts toward the industry of making bricks. The failure of this kiln made it still more difficult to get the students to take part in the work. but I have never regretted the loss of it. I secured cash upon it to the amount of fifteen dollars. We began at once. we were successful. Several of the teachers. In the first place. because it was not properly constructed or properly burned. This. It was not a pleasant task for one to stand in the mud-pit for hours. . There was no brickyard in the town." but ours was the task of making bricks with no money and no experience. and it was difficult to get the students to help." in their task of "making bricks without straw. but there was also another reason for establishing this industry. with the mud up to his knees. with the help of the fifteen dollars. More than one man became disgusted and left the school. on a second kiln. Toward the latter part of the week. but I soon found out by bitter experience that it required special skill and knowledge. This kiln turned out to be a failure. After a good deal of effort we moulded about twenty-five thousand bricks. and put them into a kiln to be burned.got the farm work reasonably well started. and in some way we succeeded in getting a third kiln ready for burning. I took the watch to the city of Montgomery. I returned to Tuskegee. which was not far distant. for some reason. The burning of a kiln required about a week. and in addition to our own needs there was a demand for bricks in the general market. I had always supposed that brickmaking was very simple. We tried several locations before we opened up a pit that furnished brick clay. Before I got hold of any money. rallied our rather demoralized and discouraged forces and began a fourth attempt to make bricks. when it seemed as if we were going to have a good many thousand bricks in a few hours. and placed it in a pawn-shop. and. I had always sympathized with the "Children of Israel. volunteered their services. who had been trained in the industries at Hampton. The failure of this last kiln left me without a single dollar with which to make another experiment. For the third time we had failed. When it came to brickmaking. their distaste for manual labour in connection with book education became especially manifest. the work was hard and dirty.

The supplying of them to the people in the community has had the same effect as the supplying of bricks. scores of young men have mastered the brickmaking tradeboth the making of bricks by hand and by machineryand are now engaged in this industry in many parts of the South. I have found. in a large measure.Brickmaking has now become such an important industry at the school that last season our students manufactured twelve hundred thousand of first-class bricks. and buggies. helped to lay the foundation for the pleasant relations that have continued to exist between us and the white people in that section. In this way pleasant relations between the races have been simulated. no matter under what colour of skin merit is found. and every one of them has been built by the hands of the students. we got acquainted with them. carts. it is indebted to him. and the man who learns at Tuskegee to build and repair wagons and carts is regarded as a benefactor . but that in educating our students we were adding something to the wealth and comfort of the community. of a quality stable to be sold in any market. The making of these bricks caused many of the white residents of the neighbourhood to begin to feel that the education of the Negro was not making him worthless. We now own and use on our farm and about the school dozens of these vehicles. We had something which they wanted. from the first. The making of these bricks taught me an important lesson in regard to the relations of the two races in the South. dependent upon him. My experience is that there is something in human nature which always makes an individual recognize and reward merit. They discovered that we were supplying a real want in the community. or perhaps could build. As the people of the neighbourhood came to us to buy bricks. came to us to buy bricks because they found out that ours were good bricks. in a degree. that goes a long ways in softening prejudices. Wherever one of our brickmakers has gone in the South. we help supply the local market with these vehicles. that it is the visible. Aside from this. the tangible. we find that he has something to contribute to the well-being of the community into which he has gone. too. and perhaps. Our business interests became intermingled. and which now extend throughout the South. they traded with us and we with them. Aside from this. something that has made the community feel that. The same principle of industrial education has been carried out in the building of our own wagons. This. to a certain extent. The actual sight of a first-class house that a Negro has built is ten times more potent than pages of discussion about a house that he ought to build. they had something which we wanted. and perhaps no sympathy with it. Many white people who had had no contact with the school.

and proceeded on my journey. Besides. In the summer of 1882 Miss Davidson and I both went North and engaged in the work of raising funds for the completion of our new building. it will lead eventually to a demand for the first product.by both races in the community where he goes. Greek analysis. If the man can supply the need for those. representing almost all parts of the state of Alabama. the school continued to increase in numbers to such an extent that by the middle of the second year there was an attendance of about one hundred and fifty. the better pleased the students and their parents seemed to be. One man may go into a community prepared to supply the people there with an analysis of Greek sentences. This man not only refused to give me the letter. no matter what his financial ability might be. the larger they were. must learn some industry. The more books. I talked to the students constantly on the subject. I thanked him for his advice. except that I lost no opportunity to go into as many parts of the state as I could. The community may not at the time be prepared for. The people with whom he lives and works are going to think twice before they part with such a man. I gave little heed to these protests. but advised me most earnestly to go back home at once. and including a few from other states. By this time it had gotten to be pretty well advertised throughout the state that every student who came to Tuskegee. Quite a number of letters came from parents protesting against their children engaging in labour while they were in the school. or feel the need of. then. Notwithstanding the unpopularity of industrial work. and not make any attempt to get money. Most of the new students brought a written or a verbal request from their parents to the effect that they wanted their children taught nothing but books. The individual who can do something that the world wants done will. make his way regardless of race. but it may feel its need of bricks and houses and wagons. for the purpose of speaking to the parents. About the time that we succeeded in burning our first kiln of bricks we began facing in an emphasized form the objection of the students to being taught to work. and with the demand will come the ability to appreciate it and to profit by it. for he was quite sure that I would never get more than enough to pay my travelling expenses. On my way North I stopped in New York to try to get a letter of recommendation from an officer of a missionary organization who had become somewhat acquainted with me a few years previous. and showing them the value of industrial education. . Other parents came to the school to protest in person. and the longer the titles printed upon them. in the end.

Bedford.. Students had begun coming from quite a distance. where I spent nearly a half-day in looking for a coloured family with whom I could board. We were successful in getting money enough so that on Thanksgiving Day of that year we held our first service in the chapel of Porter Hall. This was Mr. and where others would not be attracted. quite young at the time. During this time he has borne the school upon his heart night and day. and looks only for permission to serve where service is most disagreeable. He has always shown a degree of unselfishness and an amount of business tact.The first place I went to in the North. and the acting principal during my absence. and what a deep interest they manifested in it! The sight of the new building made it a day of Thanksgiving for them never to be forgotten. a white man from Wisconsin. coupled with a clear judgment. although the building was not completed. he has been connected with it for eighteen years. and fresh from Hampton. who now for seventeen years has been the treasurer of the Institute. During all the financial stress through which the school has passed. Robert C. and in that capacity. He had never heard of me. who was then pastor of a little coloured Congregational church in Montgomery. As soon as our first building was near enough to completion so that we could occupy a portion of itwhich was near the middle of the second year of the schoolwe opened a boarding department. Before going to Montgomery to look for some one to preach this sermon I had never heard of Mr. Bedford. and in such increasing numbers that we felt more and more that . I was greatly surprised when I found that I would have no trouble in being accommodated at a hotel. that has kept the school in good condition no matter how long I have been absent from it. was Northampton. his patience and faith in our ultimate success have not left him. Bedford consented to become one of the trustees of the school. It was the first service of the kind that the coloured people there had ever observed. for it. In looking about for some one to preach the Thanksgiving sermon. Mass. Mr. I found one of the rarest men that it has ever been my privilege to know. without whose service the school never could have become what it is. and is never so happy as when he is performing some service. never dreaming that any hotel would admit me. Warren Logan. He completely obliterates himself in everything. no matter how humble. and as a worker for it. This was the Rev. Ala. A little later there came into the service of the school another man. In all my relations with him he has seemed to me to approach as nearly to the spirit of the Master as almost any man I ever met. He gladly consented to come to Tuskegee and hold the Thanksgiving service.

in that we were not getting hold of the students in their home life. At first the cooking was done out-of-doors. The most serious problem. Any one seeing the place now would never believe that it was once used for a dining room. It was pretty hard to cook. although it was very rough and uncomfortable. not knowing that I was where I could hear her. or the salt had been left out of the bread. When she reached the well. . In fact. or the tea had been forgotten. Some of the carpenters' benches that had been used in the construction of the building were utilized for tables. Everything was so out of joint and so inconvenient that I feel safe in saying that for the first two weeks something was wrong at every meal. Again I called on the students to volunteer for work. She turned from the well and said." I think no one remark ever came so near discouraging me as that one. in the most discouraged tone. was to get the boarding department started off in running order. this time to assist in digging out the basement. and in a few weeks we had a place to cook and eat in. because the whole breakfast had been a failure. and this was a source of great worry. As for dishes. in those earlier years I was constantly embarrassed because people seemed to have more faith in me than I had in myself. but we discovered that by digging out a large amount of earth from under the building we could make a partially lighted basement room that could be used for a kitchen and dining room. Either the meat was not done or had been burnt. No one connected with the boarding department seemed to have any idea that meals must be served at certain fixed and regular hours. Early one morning I was standing near the dining-room door listening to the complaints of the students. in the oldfashioned.we were merely skimming over the surface. with nothing to do with in the way of furniture. and awkward to eat without dishes. No provision had been made in the new building for a kitchen and dining room. and with no money with which to buy anything. The complaints that morning were especially emphatic and numerous. however. though. We had nothing but the students and their appetites with which to begin a boarding department. primitive style. she found that the rope was broken and that she could get no water. in pots and skillets placed over a fire. without stoves. One of the girls who had failed to get any breakfast came out and went to the well to draw some water to drink and take the place of the breakfast which she had not been able to get. This they did. The merchants in the town would let us have what food we wanted on credit. there were too few to make it worth while to spend time in describing them. "We can't even get water to drink at this school.

The discussion was over the question as to whose turn it was to use the coffee-cup that morning. when Mr. convenient room. Bedfordwhom I have already spoken of as one of our trustees. I am glad to see that we had it. I am glad that our students had to dig out the place for their kitchen and dining room. But gradually. He seemed well pleased with our . I am glad that our first boarding-place was in the dismal." It means a great deal. and vases of flowers upon the tables. we brought order out of chaos. and damp basement. he was given a bedroom immediately over the dining room. and go into our large. too. well-cooked foodlargely grown by the students themselvesand see tables. Marshall. and welllighted dining room. and note that each meal is served exactly upon the minute. I am glad that we endured all those discomforts and inconveniences. Had we started in a fine. and hear singing birds. He remained with us a week. Chapter XI. beautiful. and built ourselves up year by year. just as will be true of any problem if we stick to it with patience and wisdom and earnest effort. Making Their Beds Before They Could Lie On Them A little later in the history of the school we had a visit from General J. well-ventilated. and a devoted friend of the institutionwas visiting the school. neat tablecloths and napkins. ill-lighted.F. often say to me that they are glad that we started as we did. Early in the morning he was awakened by a rather animated discussion between two boys in the dining room below. with no disorder. they. I think. by a slow and natural process of growth.At another time. I fear we would have "lost our heads" and become "stuck up. as they often do. the Treasurer of the Hampton Institute. who had had faith enough to lend us the first two hundred and fifty dollars with which to make a payment down on the farm. When our old students return to Tuskegee now. to start off on a foundation which one has made for one's self. and with almost no complaint coming from the hundreds that now fill our dining room. and made a careful inspection of everything. One boy won the case by proving that for three mornings he had not had an opportunity to use the cup at all. As I look back now over that part of our struggle. and see tempting. with patience and hard work.B. attractive.

and from his conversations with them. and that only little men cherish a spirit of hatred. Before this I had had the thought that General Armstrong. a cordial welcome. In all my acquaintance with General Armstrong I never heard him speak. He cherished no bitterness against the South. came to see us. With God's help. The General was not only welcomed by the members of my own race. Mackie. having fought the Southern white man. But this visit convinced me that I did not know the greatness and the generosity of the man. about whom they had heard so much. I learned that assistance given to the weak makes the one who gives it strong. rather cherished a feeling of bitterness toward the white South. no matter what his colour might be. I refer to his interest in the Southern white people. and still later General Armstrong himself came. and wrote back interesting and encouraging reports to Hampton. and was happy when an opportunity offered for manifesting his sympathy. and the most of the new teachers were graduates of the Hampton Institute. by his visits to the Southern white people. They were all surprised and pleased at the rapid progress that the school had made within so short a time. This first visit which General Armstrong made to Tuskegee gave me an opportunity to get an insight into his character such as I had not before had. The coloured people from miles around came to the school to get a look at General Armstrong. . and that oppression of the unfortunate makes one weak. that he was as anxious about the prosperity and the happiness of the white race as the black. At the time of the visits of these Hampton friends the number of teachers at Tuskegee had increased considerably. A little later Miss Mary F. and resolved that I would permit no man. but by the Southern white people as well. It is now long ago that I learned this lesson from General Armstrong. to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. From his example in this respect I learned the lesson that great men cultivate love. I pity from the bottom of my heart any individual who is so unfortunate as to get into the habit of holding race prejudice. especially General Armstrong.progress. in public or in private. a single bitter word against the white man in the South. I soon learned. I am made to feel just as happy now when I am rendering service to Southern white men as when the service is rendered to a member of my own race. I believe that I have completely rid myself of any ill feeling toward the Southern white man for any wrong that he may have inflicted upon my race. and was interested in helping only the coloured man there. We gave our Hampton friends. the teacher who had given me the "sweeping" examination when I entered Hampton.

All this. makes it important that the whole Nation lend a hand in trying to lift the burden of ignorance from the South. room. not only where the Negro is concerned. but equally so where a white man is concerned. besides board. bedsteads and mattresses of any kind. The white man who begins by cheating a Negro usually ends by cheating a white man. and washing. except in a few cases. but also with that of providing sleeping accommodations. with no money. it seems to me. The wrong to the Negro is temporary. which was fifty dollars a year for each student. In fact. the more strongly I am convinced that the most harmful effect of the practice to which the people in certain sections of the South have felt themselves compelled to resort. in order to get rid of the force of the Negroes' ballot. he soon learns to practise dishonesty in other relations of life. for some time we were not able to provide. Soon after the opening of our humble boarding department students began coming to us in still larger numbers. For weeks we not only had to contend with the difficulty of providing board. but upon the whites also. we had to secure then. During the coldest nights I was so troubled about the discomfort of the students that I . We charge the students eight dollars a monthall they were able to payfor their board. This small charge in cash gave us no capital with which to start a boarding department. and in most cases it is easy to trace the history of these efforts back to General Armstrong. We also gave the students credit on their board bills for all the work which they did for the school which was of any value to the institution.The more I consider the subject. These cabins were in a dilapidated condition. but in the permanent injury to the morals of the white man. is not wholly in the wrong done to the Negro. At the present time there is almost no Southern state that is not putting forth efforts in the direction of securing industrial education for its white boys and girls. This included. as now. but to the morals of the white man the injury is permanent. The cost of tuition. I have noted time and time again that when an individual perjures himself in order to break the force of the black man's ballot. Another thing that is becoming more apparent each year in the development of education in the South is the influence of General Armstrong's idea of education. and this not upon the blacks alone. We were not able to provide enough bed-clothes to keep the students warm. and during the winter months the students who occupied them necessarily suffered from the cold. fuel. The weather during the second winter of our work was very cold. wherever we could. For this purpose we rented a number of cabins near the school. The white man who begins to break the law by lynching a Negro soon yields to the temptation to lynch a white man.

On the other hand. seem to count it as a privilege to show me all the respect within their power. I almost never go out of my office when the rain is falling that some student does not come to my side with an umbrella and ask to be allowed to hold it over me. Notwithstanding these experiences. I . During the whole night some of them did not attempt to lie down. In regard to this general belief and these statements. Often I found some of them sitting huddled around a fire. One morning. Three hands went up. In some way it became known in advance that I was on the train. Not very long ago I was making a journey between Dallas (Texas) and Houston. They knew that we were doing the best that we could for them. While writing upon this subject. when I was making a trip from Augusta. it is a pleasure for me to add that in all my contact with the white people of the South I have never received a single personal insult. there was almost no complaining on the part of the students. trying in this way to keep warm. when the night previous had been unusually cold. being rather tired from much travel. and often go out of their way to do this. with the one blanket which we had been able to provide wrapped around them. both in the North and in the South. I asked those of the students in the chapel who thought that they had been frostbitten during the night to raise their hands. I can say that during the nineteen years of my experience at Tuskegee I never. The white people in and near Tuskegee. Georgia. to an especial degree. The students do not seem to want to see me carry a large book or a satchel or any kind of a burden through the grounds. I am constantly embarrassed by the many acts of thoughtful kindness. I have heard it stated more than once. numbers of white people.could not sleep myself. that coloured people would not obey and respect each other when one member of the race is placed in a position of authority over others. They were happy in the privilege of being permitted to enjoy any kind of opportunity that would enable them to improve their condition. for the purpose of confronting them. including in most cases of the officials of the town. came aboard and introduced themselves and thanked me heartily for the work that I was trying to do for the South. On another occasion. to Atlanta. At nearly every station at which the train stopped. In such cases more than one always offers to relieve me. When I went into the car. They were constantly asking what they might do to lighten the burdens of the teachers. either by word or act. I rode in a Pullman sleeper. I recall that on several occasions I went in the middle of the night to the shanties occupied by the young men. have been treated with disrespect by any student or officer connected with the institution.

I tried to contrive some excuse that would permit me to leave the section. These meetings. This embarrassed me still further. it seems. where most of the men were by that time. because each one of these individuals knew that he had nothing to gain by trying to flatter me. and it seemed the longest one that I had ever eaten. There are no meetings with our students that I enjoy more than these. came up and introduced himself to me and thanked me earnestly for the work that I was trying to do for the whole South. These good ladies were perfectly ignorant. to see how the land lay. soon after the supper was placed on the table one of the ladies remembered that she had in her satchel a special kind of tea which she wished served. and in the goodness of their hearts insisted that I take a seat with them in their section. but the ladies insisted that I must eat with them. or that of the officers. I had been there but a few minutes when one of them. I have further sought to have them feel that I am at the institution as their friend and adviser. and to let him know that you trust him.found there two ladies from Boston whom I knew well. however." To add further to the embarrassment of the situation. and as she said she felt quite sure the porter did not know how to brew it properly. she insisted upon getting up and preparing and serving it herself. It has been my aim to have them speak with directness and frankness about anything that concerns the life of the school. After some hesitation I consented. "I am in for it now. In the meantime. I finally settled back in my seat with a sigh. From the first I have sought to impress the students with the idea that Tuskegee is not my institution. nearly every one of them a citizen of Georgia. Two or three times a year I ask the students to write me a letter criticising or making complaints or suggestions about anything connected with the institution. and that they have as much interest in it as any of the trustees or instructors. The car was full of Southern white men. When I have read of . Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him. This was not flattery. and none are more helpful to me in planning for the future. without my knowledge. it had become known in some way throughout the car who I was. and said to myself. it seems to me. I decided to get myself out of the embarrassing situation and go to the smoking-room. enable me to get at the very heart of all that concerns the school. I have them meet me in the chapel for a heart-to-heart talk about the conduct of the school. but that it is their institution. sure. and not as their overseer. ordered supper to be served for the three of us. When we were through. most of whom had their eyes on our party. When this is not done. of the customs of the South. When I found that supper had been ordered. When I went into the smokingroom I was never more surprised in my life than when each man. At last the meal was over.

I now marvel at the patience of the students while sleeping upon the floor while waiting for some kind of a bedstead to be constructed. for our lack of comforts and conveniences. of consulting and advising with them. the furniture in the students' rooms during the early days of the school consisted of a bed. For some time after the opening of the boarding department we had no chairs in the students' bedrooms or in the dining rooms. . and has been improved to such an extent that at the present time it is an important branch of the work which is taught systematically to a number of our girls. I have often thought that many strikes and similar disturbances might be avoided if the employers would cultivate the habit of getting nearer to their employees. and letting them feel that the interests of the two are the same. however. as it is sometimes called. and this is not more true of any race than of the Negroes. and sometimes a rough table made by the students. The plan of having the students make the furniture is still followed. I am glad to say that the industry of mattressmaking has grown steadily since then. but that they would not excuse us for dirt. some stools. The problem of providing mattresses was a difficult one to solve. Over and over again the students were reminded in those first yearsand are reminded nowthat people would excuse us for our poverty. and that the mattresses that now come out of the mattress-shop at Tuskegee are about as good as those bought in the average store. It was my aim from the first at Tuskegee to not only have the buildings erected by the students themselves. and the bedsteads made by the students then were very rough and very weak.labour troubles between employers and employees. We finally mastered this. and you can lead them to any extent. or at their sleeping without any kind of a mattress while waiting for something that looked like a mattress to be made. but to have them make their own furniture as far as was possible. Let them once understand that you are unselfishly interested in them. As a rule. by getting some cheap cloth and sewing pieces of this together as to make large bags. Instead of chairs we used stools which the students constructed by nailing together three pieces of rough board. and the workmanship has so improved that little fault can be found with the articles now. In the early days we had very few students who had been used to handling carpenters' tools. These bags we filled with the pine strawor. One thing that I have always insisted upon at Tuskegee is that everywhere there should be absolute cleanliness. Every individual responds to confidence. pine needleswhich we secured from the forests near by. but the number of pieces in a room has been increased. Not unfrequently when I went into the students' rooms in the morning I would find at least two bedsteads lying about on the floor.

We bought it together. he of his own motion buys another.Another thing that has been insisted upon at the school is the use of the tooth-brush. No student is permitted to retain who does not keep and use a tooth-brush. not one button is found to be missing. I went with the lady principal on her usual morning tour of inspection of the girls' rooms. Chapter XII. is part of our creed at Tuskegee. I am pleased to be able to say. to make a good impression. With few exceptions. "The gospel of the tooth-brush. We found one room that contained three girls who had recently arrived at the school. in recent years. They had heard from the lips of other students about our insisting upon the use of this. It has been interesting to note the effect that the use of the tooth-brush has had in bringing about a higher degree of civilization among the students. I remember that one morning. Absolute cleanliness of the body has been insisted upon from the first. whether between the two sheetsafter we got to the point where we could provide them two sheetsor under both of them. not long ago. and that there must be no torn places or grease-spots. and often we had to teach them how to sleep at night. The students have been taught to bathe as regularly as to take their meals. The importance of the use of the night-gown received the same attention. When I asked them if they had tooth-brushes. that is. when the first or second tooth-brush disappears. and so. has been so thoroughly learned and so faithfully handed down from year to year by one set of students to another that often at the present time. pointing to a brush: "Yes. when the students march out of the chapel in the evening and their dress is inspected." as General Armstrong used to call it. one of the girls replied. if we can get a student to the point where. sir. as it is every night. they brought at least a tooth-brush with them. yesterday. This lesson we began teaching before we had anything in the shape of a bath-house. For a long time one of the most difficult tasks was to teach the students that all the buttons were to be kept on their clothes. That is our brush." It did not take them long to learn a different lesson. Raising Money . Naturally I found it difficult to teach them to sleep between two sheets when we were able to supply but one. Several times. Most of the students came from plantation districts. students have come to us who brought with them almost no other article except a tooth-brush. This lesson. I have not been disappointed in the future of that individual. I have noticed that.

at which meetings he and I were to speak. Although he never told me so in so many words. still we decided to give the needed building a name. I received a telegram from General Armstrong asking me if I could spend a month travelling with him through the North. We knew we could name it. The students. of both sexes. so far as securing money was concerned. something occurred which showed the greatness of General Armstrongsomething which proved how far he was above the ordinary individual. in honour of the state in which we were labouring. to come to Hampton at once. that these meetings were to be held. in proportion to their means. if I could do so. Porter Hall. We could find rooms outside the school grounds for many of the young men. and that the Hampton Institute was to be responsible for all the expenses. Again Miss Davidson began making efforts to enlist the interest and help of the coloured and white people in and near Tuskegee. further. But the number of students. began digging out the dirt in order to allow the laying of the foundations. continued to increase. When we were in the midst of great anxiety as to where and how we were to get funds for the new building. and asking me.When we opened our boarding department. as well as a larger boarding department for all the students. As a result. and hold meetings for a month in important cities. we found that it would cost about ten thousand dollars. not in the interests of Hampton. as well as for the sake of securing some immediate funds to be used in the erection of Alabama Hall. On arriving there I found that the General had decided to take a quartette of singers through the North. We decided to call the proposed building Alabama Hall. but in the interests of Tuskegee. even though we were in doubt about our ability to secure the means for its construction. our first building. Very soon the problem of providing more rooms for the girls. for a number of girls. and went to Hampton immediately. After having had a preliminary sketch of the needed building made. They responded willingly. When we seemed at the end of our resources. as in the case of our first building. I found that General Armstrong took this method of introducing me to the people of the North. A weak and narrow man would have reasoned that all the money which came to Tuskegee in this way would be just so much . We had no money whatever with which to begin. we provided rooms in the attic of Porter Hall. but the girls we did not care to expose in this way. grew serious. Imagine my surprise when the General told me. Of course I accepted General Armstrong's invitation. we finally decided to undertake the construction of a still larger buildinga building that would contain rooms for the girls and boarding accommodations for all.

After considerable experience in coming into contact with wealthy and noted men. but none of these selfish or short-sighted feelings ever entered the breast of General Armstrong. He knew that the people in the North who gave money gave it for the purpose of helping the whole cause of Negro civilization. with not a dollar in hand with which to meet them. I recall just one piece of advice which the General gave me. When bills are on the eve of falling due. just so much physical and mental strength that might otherwise be given to effective work. and to no purpose. After that kindly introduction I began going North alone to secure funds. second. As far as the science of what is called begging can be reduced to rules. but for Tuskegee. At these meetings an especial effort was made to secure help for the building of Alabama Hall.taken from the Hampton Institute. He was too big to be little. Brooklyn. I would say that I have had but two rules. Meetings were held in New York. not for Hampton. what rule or rules I followed to secure the interest and help of people who were able to contribute money to worthy objects. The General knew. and at all of these meetings General Armstrong pleased. From that time to the present I have always tried to keep his advice in mind. although I think I am learning more and more each year that all worry simply consumes." I think it would be hard to improve upon this advice. In my efforts to get funds I have had some experiences that may be of interest to my readers. Time and time again I have been asked. for help. I have observed that those who have accomplished the greatest results are those who "keep under the body". but are always calm. and other large cities. He said: "Give them an idea for every word. too good to be mean. This second rule has been the hardest for me to live up to. too. During the last fifteen years I have been compelled to spend a large proportion of my time away from the school. together with myself. in an effort to secure money to provide for the growing needs of the institution. and. In both these respects the meetings proved successful. not to worry about the results. Boston. and not merely for the advancement of any one school. self- . and it might be made to apply to all public speaking. First. In regard to the addresses which I was to make in the North. it is pretty difficult to learn not to worry. always to do my whole duty regarding making our work known to individuals and organizations. are those who never grow excited or lose self-control. as well as to introduce the school to the attention of the general public. by people who are trying to secure money for philanthropic purposes. that the way to strengthen Hampton was to make it a centre of unselfish power in the working out of the whole Southern problem. Philadelphia.

I know wealthy people who receive as much as twenty calls a day for help. and polite. and because they do not give more to objects of charity. but who. patient." My experience and observation have convinced me that persistent asking outright for money from the rich does not. I have often heard persons condemned for not giving away money. My experience in getting money for Tuskegee has taught me to have no patience with those people who are always condemning the rich because they are rich. Very few people have any idea of the amount of money given away by persons who never permit their names to be known. I have usually proceeded on the principle that persons who possess sense enough to earn money have sense enough to know how to give it away. and that the mere making known of the facts regarding Tuskegee. there are two ladies in New York. Then very few persons have any idea of the large number of applications for help that rich people are constantly being flooded with. who. I have always avoided what the world calls "begging. they have made other generous donations to the school. and all come for the same purpose. In order to be successful in any kind of undertaking. More than once when I have gone into the offices of rich men. And they not only help Tuskegee. to lose himself in a great cause. secure help. if wealthy people were to part all at once with any large proportion of their wealth in a way to disorganize and cripple great business enterprises. In proportion as one loses himself in the way. In the first place.possessed. and especially the facts . and how much suffering would result. to say nothing of the applications received through the mails. were giving away thousands of dollars every year so quietly that the world knew nothing about it. whose names rarely appear in print. but they are constantly seeking opportunities to help other worthy causes. and that I am not a "beggar. Although it has been my privilege to be the medium through which a good many hundred thousand dollars have been received for the work at Tuskegee. As an example of this. that of securing money. And all these calls in person. have given us the means with which to erect three large and important buildings during the last eight years. I think that President William McKinley is the best example of a man of this class that I have ever seen. I think the main thing is for one to grow to the point where he completely forgets himself. to my own knowledge. those who are guilty of such sweeping criticisms do not know how many people would be made poor." I often tell people that I have never "begged" any money. Besides the gift of these buildings. in the same degree does he get the highest happiness out of his work. as a rule. that is. in a quiet way. I have found half a dozen persons waiting to see them.

and finally grew so excited that I left the house without waiting for a reply from the lady. He wrote me his check for a generous sum. Nowhere else have I met with. and costly in bodily strength. When one takes a broad survey of the country. I called at the door of a rather wealthy lady. rich people are coming to regard men and women who apply to them for help for worthy objects. Mr. Such work gives one a rare opportunity to study human nature. While I was waiting for an answer. usually before I could get an opportunity to thank the donor for the money. this fine and Christlike spirit as in the city of Boston. A few blocks from that house I called to see a gentleman who received me in the most cordial manner. In that city the donors seem to feel. for giving me the opportunity to help a good cause. he became still more ungentlemanly in his words and manner. on a high. disagreeable. in so large a measure. and was admitted to the vestibule and sent up my card. that is. When I tried to explain the object of my call.regarding the work of the graduates. but as agents for doing their work. and then. has been more effective than outright begging. said: "I am so grateful to you. I think that the presentation of facts. her husband came in. I think I should say the best people in the world. and that the latter type is increasing. dignified plane. . in a large degree. In the city of Boston I have rarely called upon an individual for funds that I have not been thanked for calling. that an honour is being conferred upon them in their being permitted to give. We in Boston are constantly indebted to you for doing our work." My experience in securing money convinces me that the first type of man is growing more rare all the time. I repeat that the main rule by which I have been guided in collecting money is to do my full duty in regard to giving people who have money an opportunity for help. although there are many notable instances of it outside that city. At one time. Washington. It also has its compensations in giving one an opportunity to meet some of the best people in the worldto be more correct. when I was in Boston. While the work of going from door to door and from office to office is hard. is all the begging that most rich people care for. he will find that the most useful and influential people in it are those who take the deepest interest in institutions that exist for the purpose of making the world better. more and more. and asked me in the most abrupt manner what I wanted. I repeat my belief that the world is growing in the direction of giving. before I had had an opportunity to thank him. It is a privilege to have a share in it. that. not as beggars. yet it has some compensations.

He listened with some degree of interest to what I had to say.. without knowing where the money is to come from to meet these obligations from month to month. to be used in furtherance of your work. It came at a time when an unusually long period had passed since we had received any money. in a large degree. the three hours that I had spent in seeing him had been thrown away. If I had not seen him. partially lifted a burden that had been pressing down upon me for days. After some difficulty I succeeded in securing an interview with him. but did not give me anything. to lose faith in the ability of the entire race. If the institution had been officered by white persons. and had failed." I can hardly imagine any occurrence which could have given me more genuine satisfaction than the receipt of this draft. would not only mean the loss of a school. In our case I felt a double responsibility. The receipt of this draft for ten thousand dollars. I recall with pleasure your visit to me two years ago. . but would cause people. I had followed my usual rule of doing my duty. might become interest in our efforts at Tuskegee if our conditions and needs were presented to him. officered by Negroes. Often as it happened. and when I was almost broken down and discouraged. On an unusually cold and stormy day I walked the two miles to see him. We were in great distress because of lack of funds. and this made the anxiety all the more intense. with heavy obligations to meet. which read like this: "Enclosed I send you a New York draft for ten thousand dollars. I should have felt unhappy over neglect of duty. that generous help has come from some one who I had had little idea would give at all. under all these circumstances. and the nervous strain was tremendous. Conn. I had placed this sum in my will for your school. It is difficult for me to think of any situation that is more trying on the nerves than that of conducting a large institution. when during the week I had been disappointed in not getting a cent from the very individuals from whom I most expected help. I recall that on one occasion I obtained information that led me to believe that a gentleman who lived about two miles out in the country from Stamford. it would have injured the cause of Negro education. Two years after this visit a letter came to Tuskegee from this man. but deem it wiser to give it to you while I live.In the early years of the Tuskegee school I walked the streets or travelled country roads in the North for days and days without receiving a dollar. I could not help having the feeling that. It was by far the largest single donation which up to that time the school had ever received. but I knew that the failure of our institution. Still. in a measure.

Huntington. he gave me two dollars for our school. For a dozen years I made a strong effort to convince Mr. Donald had begun speaking. to preach the Commencement sermon. the rain came down in torrents. but within a few minutes I had a donation from the lady on whom I had started to call. the place of meeting was under a large improvised arbour. for the reason that I feared that people would not believe it. At one of our Commencements I was bold enough to invite the Rev. Rhode Island. More than once I have found myself in some pretty tight places while collecting money in the North. while someone held an umbrella over him.From the beginning of our work to the present I have always had the feeling. Huntington gave me the first two dollars. No. Boston. I found a bright new twenty-five-cent piece in the middle of the street track. Huntington. He not only gave money to us. about the general conduct of the school.. I not only had this twenty-five cents for my breakfast. and he had to stop. but made up my mind that I was going to convince him by tangible results that we were worthy of larger gifts. Nothing ever comes to me. that the school will always be supported in proportion as the inside of the institution is kept clean and pure and wholesome. it was not luck. his donations increased. Winchester Donald. I noted that just in proportion as the usefulness of the school grew. When Mr. Some people may say that it was Tuskegee's good luck that brought to us this gift of fifty thousand dollars. . except as the result of hard work. Soon after Dr. It was hard work. Between these two gifts there were others of generous proportions which came every year from both Mr. which was a few months before he died. the great railroad man. The last time I saw him. he gave me fifty thousand dollars toward our endowment fund. In crossing the street to see a lady from whom I hoped to get some money. and lose no opportunity to impress our teachers with the same idea. D. as a father would a son. The first time I ever saw the late Collis P.D. without a cent of money with which to buy breakfast. and Mrs. One morning I found myself in Providence. I did not blame him for not giving me more. built partly of brush and partly of rough boards. that is worth having. The following incident I have never related but once before. rector of Trinity Church. but took time in which to advise me. Huntington. Huntington of the value of our work. Never did I meet an individual who took a more kindly and sympathetic interest in our school than did Mr. As we then had no room large enough to accommodate all who would be present. E.

carpentry. The money which you would give would not only supply the building. and the whole thing occupied a space about five by twelve feet. The first time I saw him. and we have no suitable reading-room. All of the work for the building. A short time ago we received twenty thousand dollars from Mr. to be used for the purpose of erecting a new library building. but we have no suitable place for them. and an excellent sermon it was. blacksmithing. 5 W. gifts from our friends.The boldness of what I had done never dawned upon me until I saw the picture made by the rector of Trinity Church standing before that large audience under an old umbrella. and the students would use the money paid to . Dr. brick-masonry. together with their families. and had gotten the wet threads of his clothes dry. he seemed to take but little interest in our school. and about 200 coloured people living near the school. saying that they had decided to give us the money for such a chapel as we needed. etc. etc. I now submit in writing an appeal for a library building for our institution. but I was determined to show him that we were worthy of his help. ten years ago. Such a building as we need could be erected for about $20. periodicals. Andrew Carnegie.. The next day a letter came from two ladies who were then travelling in Italy. After ten years of hard work I wrote him a letter reading as follows: December 15. Donald ventured the remark that a large chapel at Tuskegee would not be out of place. Donald finished his sermon. We have 1100 students. Carnegie's interest and help. in spite of the weather. would be done by the students. Mr. Dear Sir: Complying with the request which you made of me when I saw you at your residence a few days ago. 86 officers and instructors. Our graduates go to work in every section of the South. too. Our first library and reading-room were in a corner of a shanty. all of whom would make use of the library building. such as brickmaking.000 books. Fifty-first St.. Andrew Carnegie. It was not very long before the rain ceased and Dr.. 1900.000. It required ten years of work before I was able to secure Mr. New York. but the erection of the building would give a large number of students an opportunity to learn the building trades. and whatever knowledge might be obtained in the library would serve to assist in the elevation of the whole Negro race. After he had gone to his room. waiting for the rain to cease so that he could go on with his address. We have over 12.

If no other consideration had convinced me of the value of the Christian life. I have spoken of several large gifts to the school. In a large degree it has been the pennies. Principal. to the extent of twenty thousand dollars. the State Legislature of Alabama increased its annual appropriation from two thousand dollars to three thousand dollars. and I am glad of this opportunity to show the interest I have in your noble work. If you wish further information. who are besieged on every hand and at all hours of the day for help. and the missionary societies. It is upon these small gifts. These contributions range from twenty-five cents up to ten dollars. and the dimes which have come from the Sunday-schools. Booker T. Washington. First. that have helped to elevate the Negro at so rapid a rate. The next mail brought back the following reply: "I will be very glad to pay the bills for the library building as they are incurred. such business methods as would be approved of by any New York banking house. as well as from the church proper. but by far the greater proportion of the money that has built up the institution has come in the form of small donations from persons of moderate means. the nickels. I shall be glad to furnish it." I have found that strict business methods go a long way in securing the interest of rich people. It has been my constant aim at Tuskegee to carry out. that any philanthropic work must depend largely for its support. in our financial and other operations. In my efforts to get money I have often been surprised at the patience and deep interest of the ministers. Soon after beginning our third year's work we were surprised to receive money from three special sources.them to keep themselves in school. I do not believe that a similar amount of money often could be made go so far in uplifting a whole race. I might add that still later it increased this sum to four thousand five hundred dollars a year. The effort to secure this . the Christlike work which the Church of all denominations in America has done during the last thirty-five years for the elevation of the black man would have made me a Christian. This speaking of small gifts reminds me to say that very few Tuskegee graduates fail to send us an annual contribution. Yours truly. the Christian Endeavour societies. which carry with them the interest of hundreds of donors. and up to the present time we have continued to receive help from them.

trembling because of my youth and inexperience. as a high example of one who is constantly and unselfishly at work for the betterment of humanity. He enjoys the unique distinction of possessing to an equal degree of confidence of the black man and the Southern white man. This has been added to from time to time until at present we receive eleven thousand dollars annually from the Fund.F. Chapter XIII. and Mr. Two Thousand Miles For A Five-Minute Speech . an exConfederate soldier. as they soon began increasing their annual grant. M.L. I had heard much about him. I refer to because I know of no man of wealth and large and complicated business responsibilities who gives not only money but his time and thought to the subject of the proper method of elevating the Negro to the extent that is true of Mr. yet I do not believe there is any man in the country who is more deeply interested in the highest welfare of the Negro than Dr. but it has since been increased to fifteen hundred dollars. When I first went into his presence. The other help to which I have referred came in the shape of an allowance from the Peabody Fund. and been placed on its present footing. J. and spoke such encouraging words.increase was led by the Hon. who is the general agent for these two funds. that I came to know him then. Curry. Jessup. Slater Fund. I shall never forget the first time I met him. the treasurer of the Slater Fund. Second. Jessup.. Curry. Mr. and gave me such helpful advice regarding the proper course to pursue. as I have known him ever since. Foster. of Washington. or one who is more free from race prejudice. It was in Richmond. where he was then living. the member of the Legislature from Tuskegee. Va. he took me by the hand so cordially. Jessup. The effort to secure help from the Slater and Peabody Funds brought me into contact with two rare menmen who have had much to do in shaping the policy for the education of the Negro. Morris K. of New York. Dr. Morris K. we received one thousand dollars from the John F. Curry is a native of the South. I refer to the Hon. Our work seemed to please the trustees of this fund. It is very largely through this effort and influence that during the last few years the subject of industrial education has assumed the importance that it has. This was at first five hundred dollars.M.

we do not neglect or overlook in any degree the religious and spiritual side. In fact. Any one who is willing to work ten hours a day at the brick-yard. It was a great trial to refuse admission to these applicants. As a rule. where he takes academic branches four days in a week. This class was composed of both men and women. began applying for admission. after a student has succeeded in going through the night-school test.Soon after the opening of our boarding department. has grown until there are at present four hundred and fifty-seven students enrolled in it alone. with the understanding that all of their earnings. This was the requirement for the first one or two years of their stay. The night-school was organized on a plan similar to the one which I had helped to establish at Hampton. They were admitted to the night-school only when they had no money with which to pay any part of their board in the regular day-school. and in 1884 we established a night-school to accommodate a few of them. except a very small part. and study academic branches for two hours during the evening. It is largely because it furnishes such a good opportunity to test the backbone of a student that I place such high value upon our night-school. is permitted to go through school without doing manual labour. but who were so poor that they did not have any money to pay even the small charges at the school. It was further required that they must work for ten hours during the day at some trade or industry. and the . the industrial work is now as popular as the academic branches. and works at his trade two days. Besides this he usually works at his trade during the three summer months. They were to be paid something above the cost of their board. The night-school. started in this manner. While a great deal of stress is laid upon the industrial side of the work at Tuskegee. has enough bottom to warrant being further educated. but it is thoroughly Christian. At first it was composed of about a dozen students. or in the laundry. After the student has left the night-school he enters the dayschool. There could hardly be a more severe test of a student's worth than this branch of the Institute's work. The school is strictly undenominational. quite a number of students who evidently were worthy. through one or two years. were to be reserved in the school's treasury. No student. to be used for paying their board in the regular day-school after they had entered that department. no matter how much money he may be able to command. in order that he or she may have the privilege of studying academic branches for two hours in the evening. Some of the most successful men and women who have graduated from the institution obtained their start in the night-school. he finds a way to finish the regular course in industrial and academic training.

prayer-meetings. has already mastered the brick-maker's trade at Tuskegee. in a sense. Our preaching service. In 1889 she died. The older of these. In 1885. Miss Olivia Davidson. I have often been asked how I began the practice of public speaking. testify to this. was present at one of those meetings and heard me speak. to whom I have already referred as being largely responsible for the success of the school during its early history. During our married life she continued to divide her time and strength between our home and the work for the school. This address at Madison was the first that I had delivered that in any large measure dealt with the general problem of the races. the Hon. A few days afterward he sent me an invitation to deliver an address at the next meeting of the Educational Association.spiritual training of the students is not neglected. Wis. Without my knowing it. the President of the National Educational Association. During our married life there were born to us two bright. as well as surprised. On the evening that I spoke before the Association there must have been not far from four thousand persons present. Christian Endeavour Society. Thomas W. but were pleasantly surprised to find that there was no word of abuse in my address. Bicknell. Booker. A white lady who was teacher in a college in Tuskegee wrote back to the local paper that she was gratified. I accepted the invitation. This was. She not only continued to work in the school at Tuskegee. to note the credit which I gave the white people of Tuskegee for their help in getting the school started. Those who heard it seemed to be pleased with what I said and with the general position that I took. On the contrary. Sunday-school. In answer I would say that I never planned to give any large part of my life to speaking in public. These white people afterward frankly told me that they went to this meeting expecting to hear the South roundly abused. and I were married. . but also kept up her habit of going North to secure funds. and various missionary organizations. This meeting was to be held in Madison. It seems that when I went North with General Armstrong to speak at the series of public meetings to which I have referred. after four years of happy married life and eight years of hard and happy work for the school. Young Men's Christian Association. She literally wore herself out in her never ceasing efforts in behalf of the work that she so dearly loved. the South was given credit for all the praiseworthy things that it had done. the beginning of my public-speaking career. and some from the town of Tuskegee. beautiful boys. I have always had more of an ambition to DO things than merely to talk ABOUT doing them. there were a large number of people present from Alabama. Booker Taliaferro and Ernest Davidson.

I have found that there is a large element in the South that is quick to respond to straightforward. and that this is more often accomplished by giving credit for all the praiseworthy actions performed than by calling attention alone to all the evil done. the Negro should more and more consider the interests of the community in which he lived. He had been able to do this by reason of his knowledge of the chemistry of the soil and by his knowledge of improved methods of agriculture. While pursuing this policy I have not failed. The white farmers in the . honest criticism of any wrong policy. A Boston man who came to Alabama to criticise Boston would not effect so much good. I determined that I would make it my home. to the wrongs which any part of the South has been guilty of. As a rule. in relation to his vote. by every honourable means. and character. rather than seek alone to please some one who lived a thousand miles away from him and from his interests. In this address at Madison I took the ground that the policy to be pursued with references to the races was. at the same time. I early learned that it is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him. I said that any individual who learned to do something better than anybody elselearned to do a common thing in an uncommon mannerhad solved his problem. I spoke of an instance where one of our graduates had produced two hundred and sixty-six bushels of sweet potatoes from an acre of ground. of such undeniable value to the community in which he lived that the community could not dispense with his presence. in no uncertain terms. I determined never to say anything in a public address in the North that I would not be willing to say in the South. as one who had his word of criticism to say in Boston. through his skill. when criticism is necessary. in a community where the average production had been only forty-nine bushels to the acre. I think. deplore the wrong-doing of the people as much as any white man. In this address I said that the whole future of the Negro rested largely upon the question as to whether or not he should make himself. at the proper time and in the proper manner. and that in proportion as the Negro learned to produce what other people wanted and must have. regardless of the colour of his skin. to bring them together and to encourage the cultivation of friendly relations. is in the Southnot in Boston. that I would take as much pride in the right actions of the people of the town as any white man could do. intelligence.When I first came to Tuskegee. instead of doing that which would embitter. and that I would. in the same proportion would he be respected. I further contended that. the place to criticise the South. to call attention.

I explained that my theory of education for the Negro would not. and in the direction of extending more sympathy and more brotherly kindness. by his skill and knowledge. One might as well try to stop the progress of a mighty railroad train by throwing his body across the track. and came to him for ideas regarding the raising of sweet potatoes. more liberty. if he succeeded in this line of industry. had added something to the wealth and the comfort of the community in which he lived. more skill. one that seemed to me might serve as an entering wedge.neighbourhood respected him. presented itself in 1893. were some of the views I advocated in this first address dealing with the broad question of the relations of the two races. confine him for all time to farm lifeto the production of the best and the most sweet potatoesbut that. These white farmers honoured and respected him because he. A partial opportunity of this kind. in brief. I pity the individual who would do this. The address which I delivered at Madison. after looking over my list of dates and places carefully. for example. Still. Now. and that I could remain . however. or who advocated measures that tended to oppress the black man or take from him opportunities for growth in the most complete manner. When this invitation came to me. In my early life I used to cherish a feeling of ill will toward any one who spoke in bitter terms against the Negro. when the international meeting of Christian Workers was held at Atlanta. whenever I hear any one advocating measures that are meant to curtail the development of another. gave me a rather wide introduction in the North. I had engagements in Boston that seemed to make it impossible for me to speak in Atlanta. as to try to stop the growth of the world in the direction of giving mankind more intelligence. I pity him because I know that he is trying to stop the progress of the world. and because I know that in time the development and the ceaseless advance of humanity will make him ashamed of his weak and narrow position. that the way might also be opened for me to speak directly to a representative Southern white audience. he could lay the foundations upon which his children and grand-children could grow to higher and more important things in life. and since that time I have not found any reason for changing my views on any important point. Such. I know that the one who makes this mistake does so because of his own lack of opportunity for the highest kind of growth. Ga. before the National Educational Association. I found that I could take a train from Boston that would get me into Atlanta about thirty minutes before my address was to be delivered. and soon after that opportunities began offering themselves for me to address audiences there. more culture. I was anxious.

Those delivered before the coloured people had for their main object the impressing upon them the importance of industrial and technical education in addition to academic and religious training. September 18. The question.. The five-minute address in Atlanta. Ga. that perhaps I may be excused for taking up the matter with some detail. and a good deal was said about it in different parts of the country. My invitation to speak in Atlanta stipulated that I was to confine my address to five minutes. I spoke for five minutes to an audience of two thousand people.in that city before taking another train for Boston. All the members of this committee were white . composed mostly of Southern and Northern whites. The committee was composed of about twenty-five of the most prominent and most influential white men of Georgia. then. was whether or not I could put enough into a five-minute address to make it worth while for me to make such a trip. So I decided to make the trip. In the spring of 1895 I received a telegram from prominent citizens in Atlanta asking me to accompany a committee from that city to Washington for the purpose of appearing before a committee of Congress in the interest of securing Government help for the Exposition. The demands made upon me for public addresses continued to increase. as well as to speak to them about the relations of the races. The Atlanta papers of the next day commented in friendly terms on my address. at Atlanta. I gave as much time to these addresses as I could spare from the immediate work at Tuskegee. 1895. and which perhaps went further than anything else in giving me a reputation that in a sense might be called National. I now come to that one of the incidents in my life which seems to have excited the greatest amount of interest. and that it would be a rare opportunity for me to let them know what we were trying to do at Tuskegee. which I came from Boston to deliver. What I said seemed to be received with favour and enthusiasm. was possibly the prime cause for an opportunity being given me to make the second address there. I knew that the audience would be largely composed of the most influential class of white men and women. and so many questions have been asked me concerning the address. So much has been said and written about this incident. Most of the addresses in the North were made for the direct purpose of getting funds with which to support the school. coming in about equal numbers from my own people and from Northern whites. I felt that I had in some degree accomplished my objectthat of getting a hearing from the dominant class of the South. I refer to the address which I delivered at the opening of the Atlanta Cotton states and International Exposition.

and general finish the Negro Building was equal to the others on the grounds. it should. economy. skill. and character. I tried to emphasize the fact that while the Negro should not be deprived by unfair means of the franchise. This plan was carried out. and that back of the ballot he must have property. the question arose as to who should take care of it. My name was the last on the list of speakers. I had many misgivings as to what I ought to say. nor had I ever delivered any address in the capital of the Nation. and that it was the first great opportunity of the kind that had been presented since the close of the Civil War. and as to the impression that my address would make. With the passing of this bill the success of the Atlanta Exposition was assured. encourage the material and intellectual growth of both races. The Mayor and several other city and state officials spoke before the committee.men except Bishop Grant. intelligence. and myself. I spoke for fifteen or twenty minutes. with all the earnestness and plainness of any language that I could command. They were followed by the two coloured bishops. and in a few days the bill passed Congress. that if Congress wanted to do something which would assist in ridding the South of the race question and making friends between the two races. In design. I said that in granting the appropriation Congress could do something that would prove to be of real and lasting value to both races. and was surprised at the close of my address to receive the hearty congratulations of the Georgia committee and of the members of Congress who were present. Bishop Gaines. Soon after this trip to Washington the directors of the Exposition decided that it would be a fitting recognition of the coloured race to erect a large and attractive building which should be devoted wholly to showing the progress of the Negro since freedom. After it was decided to have a separate Negro exhibit. beauty. and would at the same time afford encouragement to them to make still greater progress. I remember that I tried to impress upon the committee. on the plea that the work at Tuskegee at that time demanded my time and strength. industry. . but I declined to do so. The Committee was unanimous in making a favourable report. and that no race without these elements could permanently succeed. political agitation alone would not save him. in every proper way. I said that the Atlanta Exposition would present an opportunity for both races to show what advance they had made since freedom. I had never before appeared before such a committee. It was further decided to have the building designed and erected wholly by Negro mechanics. While I cannot recall in detail what I said. The officials of the Exposition were anxious that I should assume this responsibility.

but the Board of Directors. Mr. and it was easily possible that some of my former owners might be present to hear me speak. Of course there were those who were opposed to any such recognition of the rights of the Negro. that this was the first time in the entire history of the Negro that a member of my race had been asked to speak from the same platform with white Southern men and women on any important National occasion. too. The receiving of this invitation brought to me a sense of responsibility that it would be hard for any one not placed in my position to appreciate. The two exhibits in this department which attracted the greatest amount of attention were those from the Hampton Institute and the Tuskegee Institute. . The Negro exhibit. since the Negroes had been asked to take such a prominent part in the Exposition. It was only a few years before that time that any white man in the audience might have claimed me as his slave. I knew. at what they saw in the Negro Building were the Southern white people. further. What were my feelings when this invitation came to me? I remembered that I had been a slave. composed of men who represented the best and most progressive element in the South. as a whole. It was argued. The people who seemed to be the most surprised. was large and creditable. that my early years had been spent in the lowest depths of poverty and ignorance. and in a few days after that I received the official invitation. and that I had had little opportunity to prepare me for such a responsibility as this. In the discussion from day to day of the various features of this programme. Va.. the directors voted unanimously to ask me to deliver one of the opening-day addresses. as well as pleased. the question came up as to the advisability of putting a member of the Negro race on for one of the opening addresses. had their way. The next thing was to decide upon the person who was thus to represent the Negro race. I knew. was selected to be at the head of the Negro department. I gave him all the aid that I could. I was asked now to speak to an audience composed of the wealth and culture of the white South. and voted to invite a black man to speak on the opening day. yet there would be present a large number of Northern whites. that such recognition would mark the good feeling prevailing between the two races. as well as a great many men and women of my own race. too. that while the greater part of my audience would be composed of Southern people.Largely at my suggestion. I. After the question had been canvassed for several days. Garland Penn. As the day for the opening of the Exposition drew near. the representatives of my former masters. the Board of Directors began preparing the programme for the opening exercises. of Lynchburg.

the day before I was to start for Atlanta. I had it in my power to make such an ill-timed address as would result in preventing any similar invitation being extended to a black man again for years to come. On the morning of September 17." This farmer diagnosed the situation correctly. I was also painfully conscious of the fact that. I am afraid that you have got yourself in a tight place. When I had done so. in what I had to say. there was not one word of intimation as to what I should say or as to what I should omit. in a large degree. I was equally determined to be true to the North. . and the more I feared that my effort would prove a failure and a disappointment. When the invitation came to me. Washington. and had heard their criticisms and comments. I felt a good deal as I suppose a man feels when he is on his way to the gallows.I was determined to say nothing that I did not feel from the bottom of my heart to be true and right. had taken up the discussion of my coming speech. together with Mrs. the heavier my heart became. and to us country white people in the South. the success of the Exposition. From my own race I received many suggestions as to what I ought to say. the Negroes in the South. as it was the beginning of our school year. North and South. but Atlanta. so many of the Tuskegee teachers expressed a desire to hear my address that I consented to read it to them in a body. and the Negroes all together. and she approved of what I intended to say. They knew that by one sentence I could have blasted. Washington and my three children. In this I felt that the Board of Directors had paid a tribute to me. since they seemed to think well of what I had to say. while I must be true to my own race in my utterances. After preparing my address. to-morrow. as I usually do with those utterances which I consider particularly important. the Southern whites. The papers. but as the eighteenth of September drew nearer. In a jesting manner this man said: "Washington. and as the time for it drew near this discussion became more and more widespread. I prepared myself as best I could for the address. as well as to the best element of the white South. On the sixteenth of September. I started for Atlanta. with Mrs. The invitation had come at a time when I was very busy with my school work. you will have before you the Northern whites. In the course of the journey from Tuskegee to Atlanta both coloured and white people came to the train to point me out. In passing through the town of Tuskegee I met a white farmer who lived some distance out in the country. I felt somewhat relieved. Not a few of the Southern white papers were unfriendly to the idea of my speaking. I went through it. you have spoken before the Northern white people. but his frank words did not add anything to my comfort.

I found it packed with humanity from bottom to top. Almost the first thing that I heard when I got off the train in that city was an expression something like this. When I entered the room. and there were thousands outside who could not get in. as well as with military and civic organizations.and discussed with perfect freedom. and during all of this time the sun was shining down upon us disagreeably hot. I also kneeled down and asked God's blessing upon my effort. that while many white people were going to be present to hear me speak. I always make it a rule to make especial preparation for each separate address. I had been told. Early in the morning a committee called to escort me to my place in the procession which was to march to the Exposition grounds. It is my aim to reach and talk to the heart of each individual audience. I care little for how what I am saying is going to sound in the newspapers. I went carefully over what I planned to say. and with representatives of foreign governments. I noted that the Exposition officials seemed to go out of their way to see that all of the coloured people in the procession were properly placed and properly treated. there was a still . simply out of curiosity. I'se sho' gwine to hear him. perhaps. In this procession were prominent coloured citizens in carriages. the heat. in my hearings. or to an individual. the audience before me absorbs all my sympathy. When I am speaking to an audience. and faint cheers from some of the white people. At the time. from an old coloured man near by: "Dat's de man of my race what's gwine to make a speech at de Exposition to-morrow. and to feel that my address was not going to be a success. together with my nervous anxiety. We were met by a committee in Atlanta. with people from all parts of the country. taking it into my confidence very much as I would a person. and well suited to public speaking. or to another audience. The afternoon papers had forecasts of the next day's proceedings in flaring headlines. The procession was about three hours in reaching the Exposition grounds. before day. and that others who would be present would be in full sympathy with me. made me feel as if I were about ready to collapse. Right here. No two audiences are exactly alike. I ought to add that I make it a rule never to go before an audience. what was going to take place the next day. When I entered the audience-room. at the time. as well as several Negro military organizations. on any occasion. while I had been in Atlanta. I did not sleep much that night. and energy. thought. there were vigorous cheers from the coloured portion of the audience. without asking the blessing of God upon what I want to say. When we reached the grounds. All this tended to add to my burden. The room was very large." Atlanta was literally packed. The next morning.

President and Gentlemen of the Board of Directors and Citizens. The following is the address which I delivered: Mr. and happened to be in Atlanta on that day. but walked back and forth in the grounds outside until the opening exercises were over. "I told you so!" One of the trustees of the Tuskegee Institute. So far as my outward surroundings were concerned. at least. the only thing that I recall distinctly now is that when I got up. As I remember it now. a dedicatory ode by Albert Howell. the President of the Woman's Board. was opened with a short address from Governor Bullock. or moral welfare of this section can disregard this element of our population and reach the highest success. especially from the coloured people. the sentiment of the masses of my race when I . and the effect that my speech would produce. Mr. President and Directors. Jr. civil." When I arose to speak. at which I had been asked to make an address as a representative of the Negro race.. Mr. After other interesting exercises. I saw thousands of eyes looking intently into my face. of hearing me say some foolish thing so that they could say to the officials who had invited me to speak. Joseph Thompson. "We have with us to-day a representative of Negro enterprise and Negro civilization. there was considerable cheering. The Atlanta Exposition Address The Atlanta Exposition. of Georgia. Jr. Baldwin. as well as my personal friend. that he could not persuade himself to go into the building. including an invocation from Bishop Nelson.larger element of the audience which would consist of those who were going to be present for the purpose of hearing me make a fool of myself. was at the time General Manager of the Southern Railroad. the thing that was uppermost in my mind was the desire to say something that would cement the friendship of the races and bring about hearty cooperation between them. or. He was so nervous about the kind of reception that I would have. as stated in the last chapter. No enterprise seeking the material. Chapter XIV. I but convey to you. and addresses by the President of the Exposition and Mrs. William H. Governor Bullock introduce me with the words. One-third of the population of the South is of the Negro race.

To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man. water. "Cast down your bucket where you are. and in the professions. "Water. and was answered. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear. Cast it down in agriculture. shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial. pure and simple. we die of thirst!" The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back. that a seat in Congress or the state legislature was more sought than real estate or industrial skill. that the political convention or stump speaking had more attractions than starting a dairy farm or truck garden. send us water!" ran up from the distressed vessel. who is their next-door neighbour. and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands. and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. cast down his bucket. it is not strange that in the first years of our new life we began at the top instead of at the bottom. "Water. Not only this. but the opportunity here afforded will awaken among us a new era of industrial progress. mechanics." A second time the signal. when it comes to business. in domestic service. the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. and it came up full of fresh. at last heading the injunction." The captain of the distressed vessel. "Cast down your bucket where you are. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a . sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. I would say: "Cast down your bucket where you are"cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded." And a third and fourth signal for water was answered. water. in commerce. it is in the South that the Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial world. A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. "Cast down your bucket where you are. It is a recognition that will do more to cement the friendship of the two races than any occurrence since the dawn of our freedom. Ignorant and inexperienced.say that in no way have the value and manhood of the American Negro been more fittingly and generously recognized than by the managers of this magnificent Exposition at every stage of its progress.

faithful. and heart. and unresentful people that the world has seen. . encouraging. so in the future. in our humble way. in defence of yours. helping and encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds. tilled your fields. and helped make possible this magnificent representation of the progress of the South. yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves. civil. While doing this. and brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth. And close as sin and suffering joined We march to fate abreast. watching by the sick-bed of your mothers and fathers. nursing your children. without strikes and labour wars. These efforts will be twice blessed"blessing him that gives and him that takes. you can be sure in the future. If anywhere there are efforts tending to curtail the fullest growth of the Negro. Effort or means so invested will pay a thousand per cent interest. law-abiding. let these efforts be turned into stimulating. commercial. builded your railroads and cities. and not at the top." There is no escape through law of man or God from the inevitable: The laws of changeless justice bind Oppressor with oppressed. were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race: "Cast down your bucket where you are. as in the past. Cast down your bucket among these people who have. cleared your forests. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past. In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers. and to education of head. make blossom the waste places in your fields. we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach. Casting down your bucket among my people. that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient.field as in writing a poem. interlacing our industrial. whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides. There is no defence or security for any of us except in the highest intelligence and development of all. To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits of the prosperity of the South. and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one. if need be. you will find that they will buy your surplus land. and making him the most useful and intelligent citizen." Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know. and run your factories. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities. hand. ready to lay down our lives. It is at the bottom of life we must begin.

No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. over the altar that represents the results of the struggles of your race and mine. buggies. sympathetic help of my race. you shall have at all times the patient. and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. we shall contribute one-third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South. I pledge that in your effort to work out the great and intricate problem which God has laid at the doors of the South. you must not expect overmuch. of factory. letters. has not been trodden without contact with thorns and thistles. steam-engines. but especially from Northern philanthropists. We shall constitute one-third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South. yet far above and beyond material benefits will be that . and art. carving. of mine. only let this be constantly in mind. as we present to you our humble effort at an exhibition of our progress. statuary. or we shall prove a veritable body of death. and drawn us so near to you of the white race. that. While we take pride in what we exhibit as a result of our independent efforts. In conclusion. while from representations in these buildings of the product of field. we do not for a moment forget that our part in this exhibition would fall far short of your expectations but for the constant help that has come to our education life. as it were. stagnating. newspapers. both starting practically empty-handed three decades ago. who have made their gifts a constant stream of blessing and encouragement. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house. retarding every effort to advance the body politic. paintings. books. The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly. Gentlemen of the Exposition. depressing. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours. and here bending. remember the path that has led from these to the inventions and production of agricultural implements. or one-third its intelligence and progress. Starting thirty years ago with ownership here and there in a few quilts and pumpkins and chickens (gathered from miscellaneous sources). of forest. or they will pull against you the load downward.Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward. as this opportunity offered by the Exposition. the management of drug-stores and banks. not only from the Southern states. may I repeat that nothing in thirty years has given us more hope and encouragement. but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercises of these privileges. much good will come.

and to write articles. I was surprised to find myself pointed out and surrounded by a crowd of men who wished to shake hands with me. At the station in Atlanta. Washington at the Atlanta Exposition. will bring into our beloved South a new heaven and a new earth. this week. I found a crowd of people anxious to shake hands with me. This. seems to have dwarfed all the other proceedings and the Exposition itself. The first thing that I remember. or two hundred dollars a night and expenses. after I had finished speaking. in a blotting out of sectional differences and racial animosities and suspicions. To all these communications I replied that my life-work was at Tuskegee. if I would place my services at its disposal for a given period. As soon as I was recognized. that. and that whenever I spoke it must be in the interests of Tuskegee school and my race. coupled with our material prosperity. and at almost all of the stations at which the train stopped between that city and Tuskegee." The Boston Transcript said editorially: "The speech of Booker T. The next morning I returned to Tuskegee. and that I would enter into no arrangements that seemed to place a mere commercial value upon my services. the editor of the Atlanta Constitution. the following. in a willing obedience among all classes to the mandates of law. this. and for months afterward there were complimentary editorial references to it. when I went into the business part of the city. The sensation that it has caused in the press has never been equalled. both as to character and as to the warmth of its reception. Clark Howell. to an extent which embarrassed me so much that I went back to my boarding-place. . until the next morning. telegraphed to a New York paper. Mr. ever delivered to a Southern audience. and editors of magazines and papers. This was kept up on every street on to which I went. in a determination to administer absolute justice. The papers in all parts of the United States published the address in full." I very soon began receiving all kinds of propositions from lecture bureaus. among other words. "I do not exaggerate when I say that Professor Booker T. I did not appreciate to any degree. Washington's address yesterday was one of the most notable speeches.higher good. let us pray God. the impression which my address seemed to have made. however. One lecture bureau offered me fifty thousand dollars. I received so many and such hearty congratulations that I found it difficult to get out of the building. and that others did the same. will come. to take the lecture platform. The whole speech is a platform upon which blacks and whites can stand with full justice to each other. was that Governor Bullock rushed across the platform and took me by the hand. The address was a revelation.

Later I met Mr. but has always consented to do anything I have asked of him for our school. This he has done. and if our coloured fellow-citizens do not from your utterances gather new hope and form new determinations to gain every valuable advantage offered them by their citizenship. Yours very truly. for that hour. He was as careful and patient in doing this as if he were putting his signature to some great state document. Grover Cleveland. When he visited the Negro Building in Atlanta he seemed to give himself up wholly. Washington.: My Dear Sir: I thank you for sending me a copy of your address delivered at the Atlanta Exposition. Your words cannot fail to delight and encourage all who wish well for your race. Cleveland. he visited the Atlanta Exposition.Some days after its delivery I sent a copy of my address to the President of the United States. for the purpose of inspecting the Negro exhibit and of giving the coloured people in attendance an opportunity to shake hands with him. October 6. 1895. Mass. whether it was to make a personal donation or to use his influence in securing the donations of others. both at public functions and at his private residence in Princeton. As soon as I met Mr. I have met him many times since then. and rugged honesty. and I think the Exposition would be fully justified if it did not do more than furnish the opportunity for its delivery. it will be strange indeed. Esq. and the more I see of him the more I admire him. Cleveland has not only shown his friendship for me in many personal ways. I have read it with intense interest. greatness. Cleveland I became impressed with his simplicity. when. I do not believe that he is . Judging from my personal acquaintance with Mr. At the request of myself and others he consented to spend an hour in the Negro Building. He seemed to be as careful to shake hands with some old coloured "auntie" clad partially in rags. for the first time. as if he were greeting some millionaire. the Hon. and to take as much pleasure in doing so. Many of the coloured people took advantage of the occasion to get him to write his name in a book or on a slip of paper. Buzzard's Bay. I thank you with much enthusiasm for making the address. Cleveland. I received from him the following autograph reply: Gray Gables. as President.. Mr. Grover Cleveland. to the coloured people. Booker T.

I often say to our students. in the course of my talks to them on Sunday evenings in the chapel. it is only the little. shall I say "white"? It could not be otherwise with a race but a few years out of slavery. Lyman Abbott. I think. Dr. but later these reactionary ones seemed to have been won over to my way of believing and acting. a race which had not had time or opportunity to produce a competent ministry. and the coloured people began reading the speech in cold type. if need beis the opportunity of making some one else more happy and more useful. In my contact with people I find that. giving the exact facts as I conceived them to be. and that I had not spoken out strongly enough for what they termed the "rights" of my race. and also editor of the Outlook (then the Christian Union). I recall that about ten years after the school at Tuskegee was established. the most miserable are those who do the least. since I am black. The coloured people and the coloured newspapers at first seemed to be greatly pleased with the character of my Atlanta address. then the pastor of Plymouth Church. who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other soulswith the great outside world. as well as with its reception. are capable of making one so blind and narrow as race prejudice. that met. so far as a certain element of my own race was concerned. of my race.conscious of possessing any colour prejudice. No man whose vision is bounded by colour can come into contact with what is highest and best in the world. the one thing that is most worth living forand dying for. asked me to write a letter for his paper giving my opinion of the exact condition. mental and moral. in many places. The picture painted was a rather black oneor. For a while there was a reaction. as a rule. and the letters of condemnation which I received from them were not few. . What I said soon reached every Negro minister in the country. who never read good books. While speaking of changes in public sentiment. narrow people who live for themselves. I have also found that few things. In meeting men. who do not travel. But after the first burst of enthusiasm began to die away. that the longer I live and the more experience I have of the world. I have found that the happiest people are those who do the most for others. of the coloured ministers in the South. the more I am convinced that. as based upon my observations. some of them seemed to feel that they had been hypnotized. I had an experience that I shall never forget. I wrote the letter. He is too great for that. if any. I think that for a year after the publication of this article every association and every conference or religious body of any kind. They seemed to feel that I had been too liberal in my remarks toward the Southern whites. after all.

The change of the attitude of the Negro ministry. in demanding a purifying of the ministry. During the whole time of the excitement. I think I may say. is so complete that at the present time I have no warmer friends among any class than I have among the clergymen. without egotism. and that time and the sober second thought of the people would vindicate me. or calling upon me to retract or modify what I had said. This missionary had a son in the school. My experience with them. September 30. is to stand still and keep quiet. as well as other events in my life. I have had the satisfaction of having many who once condemned me thank me heartily for my frank words. I received the letter which I give below. and through all the criticism. especially those that were the organs of religious bodies. I knew that I was right. and they found out that I was right. joined in the general chorus of condemnation or demands for retraction. time will show it.did not fail before adjourning to pass a resolution condemning me. and is condemned. President's Office. One association even appointed a "missionary" whose duty it was to warn the people against sending their children to Tuskegee. I did not utter a word of explanation or retraction. Gilman. whatever the "missionary" might have said or done with regard to others. and I have been told by many of our most influential ministers. 1895. In the midst of the discussion which was going on concerning my Atlanta speech. In fact. who had been made chairman of the judges of award in connection with the Atlanta Exposition: Johns Hopkins University. he was careful not to take his son away from the institution. so far as regards myself. Baltimore. and I noticed that. the President of Johns Hopkins University. . Many of the coloured papers. convince me that the thing to do. when one feels sure that he has said or done the right thing. the oldest and most influential bishop in one branch of the Methodist Church said that my words were far too mild. Many of these organizations went so far in their resolutions as to advise parents to cease sending their children to Tuskegee. Very soon public sentiment began making itself felt. While this is not yet complete by any means. If he is right. It was not long before the bishops and other church leaders began to make careful investigation of the conditions of the ministry. from Dr. The improvement in the character and life of the Negro ministers is one of the most gratifying evidences of the progress of the race. that my words had much to do with starting a demand for the placing of a higher type of men in the pulpit.

I accepted the position. Gilman I think I was even more surprised to receive this invitation than I had been to receive the invitation to speak at the opening of the Exposition. character. and material possessions entitle him to. A line by telegraph will be welcomed. but will be accorded to the Negro by the Southern white people themselves. that the opportunity to freely exercise such political rights will not come in any large degree through outside or artificial forcing.Dear Mr. moved that I be made secretary of that division. I think. Mr. to pass not only upon the exhibits of the coloured schools.C. I am often asked to express myself more freely than I do upon the political condition and the political future of my race. although I have never before said so in so many words. D. Thomas Nelson Page. Washington: Would it be agreeable to you to be one of the Judges of Award in the Department of Education at Atlanta? If so. It was to be a part of my duty. Yours very truly." to do something which it does not want to do. Among them were college presidents. leading scientists and men of letters. as one of the jurors. When the group of jurors to which I was assigned met for organization. and the motion was unanimously adopted. Let me illustrate my meaning. Suppose that some months before the opening of the Atlanta Exposition there had been a general demand from the press and public platform outside the South that a Negro be given a place on the opening programme. though. and spent a month in Atlanta in performance of the duties which it entailed." or "aliens. and that they will protect him in the exercise of those rights. there are indications that it is already beginning in a slight degree. These recollections of my experience in Atlanta give me the opportunity to do so briefly. In performing my duties in the inspection of the exhibits of white schools I was in every case treated with respect. I shall be glad to place your name upon the list. The board of jurors was a large one. containing in all of sixty members. that the time will come when the Negro in the South will be accorded all the political rights which his ability. and at the close of our labours I parted from my associates with regret. My own belief is. but also upon those of the white schools. It was about equally divided between Southern white people and Northern white people. who was one of the number. and specialists in many subjects. and that a Negro be placed upon the board of . Just as soon as the South gets over the old feeling that it is being forced by "foreigners. I believe that the change in the direction that I have indicated is going to begin. In fact. Nearly half of our division were Southern people.

and prevents a black man in the same condition from voting. intelligence. have accumulated thousands of dollars' worth of property. any more than a boy can learn to swim by keeping out of the water. for a man cannot learn the exercise of self-government by ceasing to vote. for the effect of such a law is to encourage the Negro to secure education and property. through the operation of intelligence and friendly race relations. which makes one man. Would any such recognition of the race have taken place? I do not think so. is unwise and unreasonable. for the instant he ceases to vote from principle he loses the confidence and respect of the Southern white man even. I do not believe that any state should make a law that permits an ignorant and poverty-stricken white man to vote. help. and at the same time it encourages the white man to remain in ignorance and poverty. I believe it is the duty of the Negroas the greater part of the race is already doingto deport himself modestly in regard to political claims. in the end. as well as a duty. I do not believe that the Negro should cease voting. through the encouragement. It will see that it pays better. I think that the according of the full exercise of political rights is going to be a matter of natural. slow growth. in time. or not vote from principle. Say what we will. but I do believe that in his voting he should more and more be influenced by those of intelligence and character who are his next-door neighbours. depending upon the slow but sure influences that proceed from the possession of property. recognize and reward merit in another. and high character for the full recognition of his political rights. not an over-night. I believe that in time. would never think of going to those same persons for advice concerning the casting of their ballots. and should cease. and advice of Southern white people. the time will come when the South will encourage all of its citizens to vote. and that the man who does this ends his career of dishonesty by the theft of property or by some equally serious crime. but who. all cheating at the ballot-box in the South will cease. to reward what they considered merit in the Negro race. It will become apparent that the white man who begins by cheating a Negro out of his ballot soon learns to cheat a white man out of his. from every standpoint. In saying this I do not mean that the Negro should truckle.jurors of award. gourd-vine affair. Such a law is not only unjust. regardless of colour or race. to have healthy. but it will react. at the same time. This. as all unjust laws do. there is something in human nature which we cannot blot out. vigorous life than to have that political stagnation which . The Atlanta officials went as far as they did because they felt it to be a pleasure. I know coloured men who. In my opinion. it seems to me.

free suffrage. Nothing has happened since Henry Grady's immortal speech before the New England society in New York that indicates so profoundly the spirit of the New South. with the sun shining over the heads of his auditors into his eyes. stood on the platform of the Auditorium. The whole city is thrilling to-night with a realization of the extraordinary significance of these two unprecedented events. except. the noted war correspondent. I believe in universal. Chapter XV. and the response was as if it had come from the throat of a whirlwind. for a while at least. tell. Washington. and a body of Negro troops marched in a procession with the citizen soldiery of Georgia and Louisiana. either by an education test. The Secret Of Success In Public Speaking As to how my address at Atlanta was received by the audience in the Exposition building. but I believe that in the South we are confronted with peculiar conditions that justify the protection of the ballot in many of the states. said to me. a property test.always results when one-half of the population has no share and no interest in the Government. they should be made to apply with equal and exact justice to both races. and telegraphed the following account to the New York World: Atlanta. I think I prefer to let Mr. September 18." It is the first time that a Negro has made a speech in the South on any important occasion before an audience composed of white men and women. perhaps. James Creelman. the successor of Henry Grady. "That man's speech is the beginning of a moral revolution in America. but whatever tests are required. As a rule. a Negro Moses stood before a great audience of white people and delivered an oration that marks a new epoch in the history of the South. Mr. When Professor Booker T. . Creelman was present. While President Cleveland was waiting at Gray Gables today. Ala. It electrified the audience. and with his whole face lit up with the fire of prophecy. to send the electric spark that started the machinery of the Atlanta Exposition. Principal of an industrial school for coloured people in Tuskegee. Clark Howell. the opening of the Exposition itself. or by both combined.

descending sun shot fiery rays through the windows into his face. and strong. President of the Tuskegee (Alabama) Normal and Industrial Institute. but the expression of his earnest face never changed. yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. with none to interrupt him. And when he held his dusky hand high above his head. with the heels together and the toes turned out. Then he turned his wonderful countenance to the sun without a blink of the eyelids. . The fairest women of Georgia stood up and cheered. There was a remarkable figure. His voice range out clear and true. who must rank from this time forth as the foremost man of his race in America. heavy jaws. As Professor Washington strode to the edge of the stage. and said to the white people of the South on behalf of his race. The tune changed to "Dixie" and the audience roared with shrill "hi-yis. Washington. and began to talk. The roar might swell ever so high. surrounded by the men who once fought to keep his race in bondage. tall. piercing eyes. and the whole audience was on its feet in a delirium of applause. and he paused impressively as he made each point. and I thought at that moment of the night when Henry Grady stood among the curling wreaths of tobacco-smoke in Delmonico's banquet-hall and said. with big white teeth. and moved about the platform for relief." Again the music changed." the great wave of sound dashed itself against the walls. the low. Gilmore's Band played the "Star-Spangled Banner. and a commanding manner. The sinews stood out on his bronzed neck. He turned his head to avoid the blinding light. A strange thing was to happen. bony. and his muscular right arm swung high in the air. "I am a Cavalier among Roundheads. "In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers. with a lead-pencil grasped in the clinched brown fist. with the fingers stretched wide apart. A great shout greeted him. A black man was to speak for his people." and the clamour lessened. this time to "Yankee Doodle.Mrs. Thompson had hardly taken her seat when all eyes were turned on a tall tawny Negro sitting in the front row of the platform. straight nose. All this time the eyes of the thousands present looked straight at the Negro orator. standing in a nimbus of sunshine. It was Professor Booker T. canes were flourished. Within ten minutes the multitude was in an uproar of enthusiasmhandkerchiefs were waved. hats were tossed in the air. high forehead." I have heard the great orators of many countries." and the audience cheered. straight as a Sioux chief. but not even Gladstone himself could have pleased a cause with most consummate power than did this angular Negro. It was as if the orator had bewitched them. determined mouth. His big feet were planted squarely.

ebony giant. watched the orator with burning eyes and tremulous face until the supreme burst of applause came. for this preliminary nervous suffering. I have felt ashamed that I should be the cause of peopleas it seemed to mewasting a valuable hour of their time. but. though. Most of the Negroes in the audience were crying. I accepted some of the invitations to speak in public which came to me. after my Atlanta address. An hour before the time set for me to speak. and for a few minutes the two men stood facing each other. Wis. Another shout greeted this demonstration. but after I have finished I usually feel a sense of regret. and that I should not have to speak. I went to the church. In answer to this question I have to say that I always suffer intensely from nervousness before speaking. People often ask me if I feel nervous before speaking. and found it packed with people. So far as I could spare the time from the immediate work at Tuskegee.A ragged. and have come to feel that I have really mastered my audience. because it seems to me as if I had left out of my address the main thing and the best thing that I had meant to say. perhaps without knowing just why. I not only feel nervous before speaking. since I speak often. or else they suggest that. they suppose that I get used to it. as I have stood in the street in front of a building and have seen men and women passing in large numbers into the audience room where I was to speak. In my efforts on the public platform I never have been able to understand why people come to hear me speak. Some years ago I was to deliver an address before a literary society in Madison. At the close of the speech Governor Bullock rushed across the stage and seized the orator's hand. hand in hand. and that we have gotten into full and . There is a great compensation. The surprise gave me a shock that I did not recover from during the whole evening. This question I never can rid myself of. or for mere commercial gain. and then the tears ran down his face. and continued for several hours. as a matter of duty. a fierce snow-storm began. Time and time again. I also had it understood that I was not to speak in the capacity of a professional lecturer. I made up my mind that there would be no audience. but I always did this with the understanding that I was to be free to talk about my life-work and the needs of my people. More than once. squatted on the floor in one of the aisles. especially those that would take me into territory where I thought it would pay to plead the cause of my race. that comes to me after I have been speaking for about ten minutes. just before I was to make an important address. this nervous strain has been so great that I have resolved never again to speak in public.

for example. that are very important. I think. Nothing tends to throw me off my balance so quickly. and all about rhetoric and that sort of thing. and in delivering his message I do not believe that many of the artificial rules of elocution can. from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. that he has something to say that is going to help some individual or some cause. There is a thread of sympathy and oneness that connects a public speaker with his audience. If in an audience of a thousand people there is one person who is not in sympathy with my views. that is just as strong as though it was something tangible and visible. help him very much. are able to draw proper conclusions if they are given the facts in an interesting form on which to base them. and so responsive. Chicago. To prevent this. and an audience soon finds it out. wants facts rather than generalities or sermonizing. I make up my mind. as is found in Boston. is empty and hollow. I can pick him out. cold. and pitch of voice. wide-awake. I find that the most effective medicine for such individuals is administered at first in the form of a story. as to have some one leave the room. that I will try to make my address so interesting. When I have an address to deliver. under such circumstances. business men. none of these can take the place of soul in an address. such as pauses. then let him say it. I do not believe that one should speak unless. It seems to me that there is rarely such a combination of mental and physical delight in any effort as that which comes to a public speaker when he feels that he has a great audience completely within his control. I have found no other audience so quick to see a point. New York. When one feels. when I am speaking. he feels convinced that he has a message to deliver.complete sympathy with each other. and I like to make the audience forget all about these things. Within the last few years I have had the privilege of speaking before most of the leading organizations of this kind in the large cities of the . as a rule. I believe that one always does himself and his audience an injustice when he speaks merely for the sake of speaking. deep down in his heart. That kind of thing. breathing. I like to forget all about the rules for the proper use of the English language. and Buffalo. As to the kind of audience that I like best to talk to. or is inclined to be doubtful. I have come to believe. I would put at the top of the list an organization of strong. such. Although there are certain things. Most people. that no one can leave. will try to state so many interesting facts one after another. too. although I never tell an anecdote simply for the sake of telling one. or critical. When I have found him I usually go straight at him. The average audience. and it is a great satisfaction to watch the process of his thawing out. I think.

United States. The best time to get hold of an organization of business men is after a good dinner, although I think that one of the worst instruments of torture that was ever invented is the custom which makes it necessary for a speaker to sit through a fourteen-course dinner, every minute of the time feeling sure that his speech is going to prove a dismal failure and disappointment. I rarely take part in one of these long dinners that I do not wish that I could put myself back in the little cabin where I was a slave boy, and again go through the experience thereone that I shall never forgetof getting molasses to eat once a week from the "big house." Our usual diet on the plantation was corn bread and pork, but on Sunday morning my mother was permitted to bring down a little molasses from the "big house" for her three children, and when it was received how I did wish that every day was Sunday! I would get my tin plate and hold it up for the sweet morsel, but I would always shut my eyes while the molasses was being poured out into the plate, with the hope that when I opened them I would be surprised to see how much I had got. When I opened my eyes I would tip the plate in one direction and another, so as to make the molasses spread all over it, in the full belief that there would be more of it and that it would last longer if spread out in this way. So strong are my childish impressions of those Sunday morning feasts that it would be pretty hard for any one to convince me that there is not more molasses on a plate when it is spread all over the plate than when it occupies a little cornerif there is a corner in a plate. At any rate, I have never believed in "cornering" syrup. My share of the syrup was usually about two tablespoonfuls, and those two spoonfuls of molasses were much more enjoyable to me than is a fourteen-course dinner after which I am to speak. Next to a company of business men, I prefer to speak to an audience of Southern people, of either race, together or taken separately. Their enthusiasm and responsiveness are a constant delight. The "amens" and "dat's de truf" that come spontaneously from the coloured individuals are calculated to spur any speaker on to his best efforts. I think that next in order of preference I would place a college audience. It has been my privilege to deliver addresses at many of our leading colleges including Harvard, Yale, Williams, Amherst, Fisk University, the University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley, the University of Michigan, Trinity College in North Carolina, and many others. It has been a matter of deep interest to me to note the number of people who have come to shake hands with me after an address, who say that this is the first time they have ever called a Negro "Mister."

When speaking directly in the interests of the Tuskegee Institute, I usually arrange, some time in advance, a series of meetings in important centres. This takes me before churches, Sunday-schools, Christian Endeavour Societies, and men's and women's clubs. When doing this I sometimes speak before as many as four organizations in a single day. Three years ago, at the suggestion of Mr. Morris K. Jessup, of New York, and Dr. J.L.M. Curry, the general agent of the fund, the trustees of the John F. Slater Fund voted a sum of money to be used in paying the expenses of Mrs. Washington and myself while holding a series of meetings among the coloured people in the large centres of Negro population, especially in the large cities of the ex-slaveholding states. Each year during the last three years we have devoted some weeks to this work. The plan that we have followed has been for me to speak in the morning to the ministers, teachers, and professional men. In the afternoon Mrs. Washington would speak to the women alone, and in the evening I spoke to a large mass-meeting. In almost every case the meetings have been attended not only by the coloured people in large numbers, but by the white people. In Chattanooga, Tenn., for example, there was present at the mass-meeting an audience of not less than three thousand persons, and I was informed that eight hundred of these were white. I have done no work that I really enjoyed more than this, or that I think has accomplished more good. These meetings have given Mrs. Washington and myself an opportunity to get first-hand, accurate information as to the real condition of the race, by seeing the people in their homes, their churches, their Sunday-schools, and their places of work, as well as in the prisons and dens of crime. These meetings also gave us an opportunity to see the relations that exist between the races. I never feel so hopeful about the race as I do after being engaged in a series of these meetings. I know that on such occasions there is much that comes to the surface that is superficial and deceptive, but I have had experience enough not to be deceived by mere signs and fleeting enthusiasms. I have taken pains to go to the bottom of things and get facts, in a cold, business-like manner. I have seen the statement made lately, by one who claims to know what he is talking about, that, taking the whole Negro race into account, ninety per cent of the Negro women are not virtuous. There never was a baser falsehood uttered concerning a race, or a statement made that was less capable of being proved by actual facts. No one can come into contact with the race for twenty years, as I have done in the heart of the South, without being convinced that the race is constantly making slow but sure progress materially, educationally, and morally. One might

take up the life of the worst element in New York City, for example, and prove almost anything he wanted to prove concerning the white man, but all will agree that this is not a fair test. Early in the year 1897 I received a letter inviting me to deliver an address at the dedication of the Robert Gould Shaw monument in Boston. I accepted the invitation. It is not necessary for me, I am sure, to explain who Robert Gould Shaw was, and what he did. The monument to his memory stands near the head of the Boston Common, facing the State House. It is counted to be the most perfect piece of art of the kind to be found in the country. The exercises connected with the dedication were held in Music Hall, in Boston, and the great hall was packed from top to bottom with one of the most distinguished audiences that ever assembled in the city. Among those present were more persons representing the famous old anti-slavery element that it is likely will ever be brought together in the country again. The late Hon. Roger Wolcott, then Governor of Massachusetts, was the presiding officer, and on the platform with him were many other officials and hundreds of distinguished men. A report of the meeting which appeared in the Boston Transcript will describe it better than any words of mine could do: The core and kernel of yesterday's great noon meeting, in honour of the Brotherhood of Man, in Music Hall, was the superb address of the Negro President of Tuskegee. "Booker T. Washington received his Harvard A.M. last June, the first of his race," said Governor Wolcott, "to receive an honorary degree from the oldest university in the land, and this for the wise leadership of his people." When Mr. Washington rose in the flag-filled, enthusiasm-warmed, patriotic, and glowing atmosphere of Music Hall, people felt keenly that here was the civic justification of the old abolition spirit of Massachusetts; in his person the proof of her ancient and indomitable faith; in his strong through and rich oratory, the crown and glory of the old war days of suffering and strife. The scene was full of historic beauty and deep significance. "Cold" Boston was alive with the fire that is always hot in her heart for righteousness and truth. Rows and rows of people who are seldom seen at any public function, whole families of those who are certain to be out of town on a holiday, crowded the place to overflowing. The city was at her birthright fete in the persons of hundreds of her best citizens, men and women whose names and lives stand for the virtues that make for honourable civic pride. Battle-music had filled the air. Ovation after ovation, applause warm and prolonged, had greeted the officers and friends of Colonel Shaw, the sculptor, St. Gaudens, the memorial Committee, the Governor and his staff, and the

as if by instinct. of course. The multitude. just the moment for him. In spite of the fact that a large part of his regiment was killed. "Three cheers to Booker T. feeling began to mount. and referred to Sergeant Carney. It was. the individual representative of the people's sympathy as well as the chief magistrate. who had sprung first to his feet and cried. in you and in the loyal race which you represent." then came the climax of the emotion of the day and the hour. as one person. saying. A dozen times it had sprung to its feet to cheer and wave and hurrah. quivered with an excitement that was not suppressed. simple presentation speech for the committee. who smilingly bore still the flag he had never lowered even when wounded. he escaped. after the battle was over. your commander is not dead.. in whose stead he served. after the singing of Mine eyes have seen the glory Of the coming of the Lord. and said.Negro soldiers of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts as they came upon the platform or entered the hall. who. to the colour-bearer of Fort Wagner. John M. of Governor Andrew's old staff. Carney. Booker Washington arose. shaken out of its usual symphonyconcert calm. he rose. of New Bedford. "Fort Wagner marked an epoch in the history of a race. began. Colonel Henry Lee. It was Roger Wolcott. and exclaimed. paying tribute to Mr. as well as the Governor of Massachusetts. and when I turned to address the survivors of the coloured regiment who were present. the brave coloured officer who was the colour-bearer at Fort Wagner and held the American flag. Though Boston erected no monument and history recorded no story. You could see tears glisten in the eyes of soldiers and civilians. The story of Colonel Shaw and his black regiment had been told in gallant words. Washington!" Among those on the platform was Sergeant William H. "The old flag never touched the ground. "To you. Governor Wolcott had made his short. to you. and raised the flag. as well as a dark skin. It has been my privilege to witness a good many satisfactory and rather sensational demonstrations in connection with some of . had made a noble. When the orator turned to the coloured soldiers on the platform. and then. When this man of culture and voice and power. Robert Gould Shaw would have a monument which time could not wear away. to the scarred and scattered remnants of the Fifty-fourth. and uttered the names of Stearns and of Andrew. Forbes. memorable speech. with empty sleeve and wanting leg. and called it into manhood." Mayor Quincy had received the monument for the city of Boston." This flag Sergeant Carney held in his hands as he sat on the platform. Mass. have honoured this occasion with your presence.

and praised the heroism of the black regiments that stormed El Caney and Santiago to give freedom to the enslaved people of Cuba. many foreign ministers. his race had chosen the better part. on the evening of Sunday. recounted the bravery of coloured troops at Port Hudson and Forts Wagner and Pillow. October 16. John H. The first of these. who was chairman of the committee of invitations for the celebration to be held in the city of Chicago. the unjust discrimination that law and custom make against them in their own country.my public addresses. and besides speaking in the main Auditorium. And then he made his eloquent appeal to the consciences of the white Americans: "When you have . and Dr. of the University of Chicago. the speaker declared. In the general rejoicing throughout the country which followed the close of the Spanish-American war. and it seemed to me as if there were as many more on the outside trying to get in. Barrows. Hodnett. forgetting. said of my address: He pictured the Negro choosing slavery rather than extinction. for the time being. I also addressed. besides myself. while black Americans remained in slavery. It was impossible for any one to get near the entrance without the aid of a policeman. many of whom had distinguished themselves in the war which had just closed. and the principal one. I accepted the invitation. Harper. In all of these things. For a number of minutes the audience seemed to entirely lose control of itself. This was the largest audience that I have ever addressed. that white Americans might be free. recalled Crispus Attucks shedding his blood at the beginning of the American Revolution. as did also the members of his Cabinet. President William McKinley attended this meeting. drew a vivid and pathetic picture of the Southern slaves protecting and supporting the families of their masters while the latter were fighting to perpetuate black slavery. rehearsed the conduct of the Negroes with Jackson at New Orleans. in any part of the country. I was asked by President William R. on Sunday evening. The Chicago Times-Herald. Father Thomas P. to deliver one of the addresses at the celebration there. were Rabbi Emil G. but in dramatic effect I have never seen or experienced anything which equalled this. peace celebrations were arranged in several of the large cities. that same evening. The speakers. two overflow audiences in other parts of the city. was given in the Auditorium. Hirsch. and delivered two addresses there during the Jubilee week. in describing the meeting. It was said that there were sixteen thousand persons in the Auditorium. and a large number of army and navy officers.

I said that I made the same plea that I had made in my address at Atlanta." I said that what is termed social recognition was a question which I never discussed. a lean. These criticisms continued for several weeks. I met one of these fellows. At that the enthusiasm broke out again. The President was sitting in a box at the right of the stage. and then I quoted from my Atlanta address what I had said there in regard to that subject. then decide within yourselves whether a race that is thus willing to die for its country should not be given the highest opportunity to live for its country. Ala. They usually have some process for curing all of the ills of the world at once. The front of his vest and coat are slick with grease. and wears a black coat. The average crank has a long beard. if my seventeen years of work in the heart of the South had not been explanation enough. I replied to him in a letter which seemed to satisfy my critics. published in Birmingham. poorly cared for.gotten the full story of the heroic conduct of the Negro in the Spanish-American war. after I had spoken at a meeting. until the President arose in the box and bowed his acknowledgements.. and some of the Southern papers took occasion to criticise me rather strongly. and his trousers bag at the knees. and as I finished the sentence thanking him for his generosity. the whole audience rose and cheered again and again." The part of the speech which seems to arouse the wildest and most sensational enthusiasm was that in which I thanked the President for his recognition of the Negro in his appointments during the Spanish-American war. When I addressed him I turned toward the box. narrow face. In meeting crowds of people at public gatherings. One portion of my address at Chicago seemed to have been misunderstood by the Southern press. I did not see how words could explain. and the demonstration was almost indescribable. I have become so accustomed to these people now that I can pick them out at a distance when I see them elbowing their way up to me. In this letter I said that I had made it a rule never to say before a Northern audience anything that I would not say before an audience in the South. I mean the crank. until I finally received a letter from the editor of the Age-Herald. I said that I did not think it was necessary for me to go into extended explanations. asking me if I would say just what I meant by this part of the address. from ex-abolitionist and exmasters. have heard it from the lips of Northern soldier and Southern soldier. there is one type of individual that I dread. for the blotting out of race prejudice in "commercial and civil relations. In Chicago. waving handkerchiefs and hats and canes. This Chicago specimen had a patent process by which he said Indian corn could be kept through a period of three or four years. and he felt sure that if .

In partial answer to this I would say that I think I have learned. At one time I spoke before a large audience in Boston in the evening. it would settle the whole race question. including instructors and clerks. and hard work than I can describe. In my absence. adopt his process. "Do not do that which others can do as well. and so I came in this morning to hear you talk some more. When I reached the hotel office I found a blank and innocent-looking individual waiting for me. It mattered nothing that I tried to convince him that our present problem was to teach the Negroes how to produce enough corn to last them through one year. whether I am at Tuskegee or not. who has been at the school seventeen years. Warren Logan. For example: Mrs. who handles the bulk of my correspondence and keeps me in daily touch with the life of the school. If that was done. he felt sure it would put the Negro on his feet. Washington." My motto. on the other hand. This council meets twice a week.the Negro race in the South would. Bruce. The number of people who stand ready to consume one's time. and are as much interested in it as I am. to no purpose. the Lady Principal." I am often asked how it is possible for me to superintend the work at Tuskegee and at the same time be so much away from the school. to disregard the old maxim which says. I rather liked your talk. is." One of the most encouraging signs in connection with the Tuskegee school is found in the fact that the organization is so thorough that the daily work of the school is not dependent upon the presence of any one individual. Emmett J. wisdom. Thinking that it must be something very important. Scott.K. and who also keeps me informed of whatever takes place in the South that concerns the race. in some degree at least. "Do not get others to do that which you can do yourself. The next morning I was awakened by having a card brought to my room. and by my faithful secretary. He is efficiently supported by Mrs. The whole executive force. The main executive work of the school. Another Chicago crank had a scheme by which he wanted me to join him in an effort to close up all the National banks in the country. is almost countless. Mr. and with it a message that some one was anxious to see me. now numbers eightysix. centres in what we call the executive council. the . as a whole. who coolly remarked: "I heard you talk at a meeting last night. and is composed of the nine persons who are at the head of the nine departments of the school. Mr. B. This force is so organized and subdivided that the machinery of the school goes on day by day like clockwork. I owe more to his tact. the treasurer. Most of our teachers have been connected with the institutions for a number of years. I dressed hastily and went down. is the executive.

such as that of the instructors in the Phelps Hall Bible Training School. that meets every week and decides upon the expenditures for the week. I have a strong feeling that every individual owes it to himself. Once a month. and then to enter upon some new or advance work. I make it a rule to clear my desk every day.widow of the late ex-senator Bruce. in the midst of so much work. and what kind of recreation or sports I am fond of. that is very satisfactory and inspiring. Aside from these there are innumerable smaller meetings. before leaving my office. and to the cause which he is serving. and why they are excusedwhether for reasons of ill health or otherwise. This is rather a difficult question to answer. and keep it in such complete control. I am often asked how. As far as I can. with the nerves steady and strong. Human nature I find to be very much the same the world over. but to so master it. and represents in it all that pertains to the life of the girls at the school. and to keep so far ahead of it. healthy body. if . I make it a rule to plan for each day's worknot merely to go through with the same routine of daily duties. My experience teaches me that. I know how many gallons of milk and how many pounds of butter come from the dairy. there is a general meeting of all the instructors. no matter in what part of the country I am. and sometimes oftener. what the bill of fare for the teachers and students is. In order that I may keep in constant touch with the life of the institution. prepared for great efforts and prepared for disappointments and trying positions. of all correspondence and memoranda. which might be prepared in a manner to take the place of the rice. or of the instructors in the agricultural department. In addition to the executive council there is a financial committee of six. I make it a rule never to let my work drive me. I have a system of reports so arranged that a record of the school's work reaches me every day of the year. and whether certain vegetables served in the dining room were bought from a store or procured from our own farm. in all its details. but to get rid of the routine work as early in the day as possible. Through the medium of these reports I know each day what the income of the school in money is. that I will be the master instead of the servant. is a member of the council. a large part of which is for the public. There is a physical and mental and spiritual enjoyment that comes from a consciousness of being the absolute master of one's work. I can find time for any rest or recreation. whether a certain kind of meat was boiled or baked. to keep a vigorous. I know by these reports even what students are excused from school. so that on the morrow I can begin a NEW day of work. and it is sometimes not hard to yield to the temptation to go to a barrel of rice that has come from the storewith the grain all prepared to go in the potrather than to take the time and trouble to go to the field and dig and wash one's own sweet potatoes.

I have so trained myself that I can lie down for a nap of fifteen or twenty minutes. Out of the twelve months in a year I suppose that. While my . I spend six months away from Tuskegee. and not performing its duty. I believe that when one can grow to the point where he loves his work. I prepared myself to hear that one of our school buildings is on fire. when some of my friends put the money into my hands and forced Mrs. I consult a good physician. I have said that I make it a rule to finish up each day's work before leaving it. I think I do not go too far when I say that I have read nearly every book and magazine article that has been written about Abraham Lincoln. or that some one has abused me in a public address or printed article. I try to look after the little ills. with the idea that if I take care of the little ills the big ones will not come. I like to be sure that I am reading about a real man or a real thing. he gets a freshness of body and vigour of mind out of work that goes a long way toward keeping him strong and healthy. or has burned. When I begin my work in the morning. In nineteen years of continuous work I have taken but one vacation. one exception to this. The ability to sleep well. at any time and in any place. and get up refreshed in body and mind. Fiction I care little for. the most time I get for solid reading is when I am on the cars. The only trouble is that I read too many of them. or to wait until I have had an opportunity to talk it over with my wife and friends. I expect to have a successful and pleasant day of it. for something that I have done or omitted to do. this gives him a kind of strength that is most valuable.one learns to follow this plan. Frequently I have to almost force myself to read a novel that is on every one's lips. I have said that I believe it is the duty of every one to keep his body in good condition. or for something that he had heard that I had saidprobably something that I had never thought of saying. When I have an unusually difficult question to decideone that appeals strongly to the emotionsI find it a safe rule to sleep over it for a night. When I find myself unable to sleep well. That was two years ago. There is. I know that something is wrong. Newspapers are to me a constant source of delight and recreation. or that some disagreeable accident has occurred. The kind of reading that I have the greatest fondness for is biography. but at the same time I prepare myself for unpleasant and unexpected hard places. perhaps. In literature he is my patron saint. on an average. If I find any part of my system the least weak. As to my reading. I find of great advantage. Washington and myself to spend three months in Europe.

although what is nearly equal to it is to go with them for an hour or more. once in a while. Somehow I like." Absence from the school enables me to lose sight of the unimportant details of the work. with my wife and Portia and Baker and Davidson. the shrubbery. But. in digging about the plants. and the sweet fragrance that springs from a hundred plants. but the real thing. To me there is nothing on earth equal to that. as we like to do on Sunday afternoons. surrounded by pure air. I feel that I am coming into contact with something that is giving me strength for the many duties and hard places that await me out in the big world. into the woods. what little time I can be at Tuskegee. and study it in a broader and more comprehensive manner than I could do on the grounds. In cards I do not know one card from another. is all I care for in this direction. after our evening meal is over. not something that is artificial or an imitation. except when the inevitable individual who seems to be on every train approaches me with the now familiar phrase: "Isn't this Booker Washington? I want to introduce myself to you. My garden. my three children. Few things are more satisfactory to me than a high-grade Berkshire or Poland China pig. When I can leave my office in time so that I can spend thirty or forty minutes in spading the ground. the flowers. I suppose I would care for games now . in planting seeds. I enjoy a ride of a long distance on the cars. and. when I am permitted to ride where I can be comfortable. and in raising these I take a great deal of pleasure. and into contact with the best educators in the land. the time when I get the most solid rest and recreation is when I can be at Tuskegee. where no one can disturb or vex us. Games I care little for. after all this is said. yet there are at the same time some compensations. or each take turns in telling a story. This is solid rest. and read a story. I have never seen a game of football. to touch nature. This absence also brings me into contact with the best work being done in educational lines. Aside from the large number of fowls and animals kept by the school. I pity the man or woman who has never learned to enjoy nature and to get strength and inspiration out of it. as often as possible.being absent from the school so much unquestionably has its disadvantages. the trees. The change of work brings a certain kind of rest. where we can live for a while near the heart of nature. I think the pig is my favourite animal. as is our custom. I keep individually a number of pigs and fowls of the best grades. I get rest on the cars. is another source of rest and enjoyment. also. A game of oldfashioned marbles with my two boys. can sit down. enjoying the chirp of the crickets and the songs of the birds.

Both the mothers' meeting and the plantation work are carried on. Aside from these two enterprises. the women who live on the school grounds and those who live near.. for the discussion of some important topic. and at the time we were married was filling the position of Lady Principal. and men who live in a settlement connected with a large plantation about eight miles from Tuskegee. Aside from her studies at Tuskegee. but that was not possible. I told him that he must work at his trade half of each day. She is also the President of what is known as the Federation of Southern Coloured Women's Clubs. she carries on a mothers' meeting in the town of Tuskegee. Tenn. Europe In 1893 I was married to Miss Margaret James Murray. twice a month. She has unusual ability in instrumental music. and he has developed great skill in the trade and a fondness for it. One of the most satisfactory letters that I have ever received from any one came to me from Booker last summer. she has already begun to teach there. and that the other half of the day he could spend as he pleased. Young as he is. in Nashville. Portia. who had come to Tuskegee as a teacher several years before. He says that he is going to be an architect and brickmason. Washington is also largely responsible for a woman's club at the school which brings together. and a plantation work among the women. the oldest of my three children. and is Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Federation of Coloured Women's Clubs. dividing his time between this and class work. relieving me of many burdens and perplexities. When I had . but also for the purpose of furnishing object-lessons in these two kinds of work that may be followed by our students when they go out into the world for their own life-work. Washington completely one with me in the work directly connected with the school. Chapter XVI. Booker Taliaferro is my next oldest child. a native of Mississippi. Mrs. not only with a view to helping those who are directly reached. Not only is Mrs. and a graduate of Fisk University. When I left home for the summer. He began working at this trade when he was quite small. children.if I had had any time in my youth to give to them. has learned dressmaking. he has already nearly mastered the brickmason's trade. but aside from her work on the school grounds.

It is an inspiring sight when one stands on the platform there and sees before him eleven or twelve hundred earnest young men and women. and their families. I want to earn all the money I can. even if it be for but a very brief while. My dear Papa: Before you left home you told me to work at my trade half of each day. and has already learned to do many of the studies which pertain to a doctor's office. Du Bois read an original sketch. Paul Lawrence Dunbar read from his poems. Booker. and one cannot but feel that it is a privilege to help to guide them to a higher and more useful life. In addition to going to school. In addition to an address made by myself. This meeting was attended by large numbers of the best people of Boston. and handshaking. I received the following letter from him: Tuskegee. Earnest Davidson Washington. and teachers. My youngest child. he regularly spends a portion of his time in the office of our resident physician.been away from home two weeks. I have sometimes thought that people who have this rare privilege do not appreciate it as they should. I always envy the individual whose life-work is so laid that he can spend his evenings at home.B. the last thing before retiring for the night. says that he is going to be a physician. . to be held in the Hollis Street Theatre. and Dr. The thing in my life which brings me the keenest regret is that my work in connection with public affairs keeps me for so much of the time away from my family. I like my work so much that I want to work at my trade all day. Another thing at Tuskegee out of which I get a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction is in the meeting with our students. Besides. Alabama. I delight to be. Your son. W. of all places in the world. in the chapel for devotional exercises every evening at half-past eight. Bishop Lawrence presided. Mr. where he studies books and has manual training. so that when I go to another school I shall have money to pay my expenses. Some good ladies in Boston arranged a public meeting in the interests of Tuskegee. where.E. and travelling. to get home. In the spring of 1899 there came to me what I might describe as almost the greatest surprise of my life. of both races. It is such a rest and relief to get away from crowds of people.

had raised a sum of money sufficient to pay all the expenses of Mrs. and I told her no. selected the steamer upon which we were to sail. Deep down in my heart the whole thing seemed more like a dream than like reality. one of the ladies who had been interested in it asked me in a casual way if I had ever been to Europe. and Paris. but later Mr. I believe. The whole thing was so sudden and so unexpected that I was completely taken off my feet. and when their plans were made known to me Mr. clothing. Garrison joined his efforts to those of the ladies whom I have mentioned. I had always regarded Europe. Luxuries had always seemed to me to be something meant for white people. and for a long time it was difficult for me to make myself believe that I was actually going to Europe. Garrison not only had the route mapped out. In my childhood I had suffered for want of a place to sleep. Every avenue of escape had been closed. At this point I was compelled to surrender. for lack of food. and poverty. At that time such a journey seemed so entirely foreign to anything that I should ever be able to undertake that I did confess I did not give the matter very serious attention.Some of those who attended this meeting noticed that I seemed unusually tired. and some little time after the close of the meeting. and shelter. much as I regarded heaven. I had not had the privilege of sitting down to a diningtable until I was quite well grown. They then informed me that Mr. And now could it be that I was actually . ignorance. with the understanding that he would be responsible for raising the money among his friends for the expenses of the trip. that it was something entirely beyond me. for the reason that the school could not live financially while I was absent. but a few days afterward I was informed that some friends in Boston. but had. A year previous to this Mr. Francis J. Garrison had attempted to get me to promise to go to Europe for a summer's rest. Each day the school seemed to depend upon me more largely for its daily expenses. I had been at work steadily for eighteen years in connection with Tuskegee. and some other good friends who I know do not want their names made public. She asked me if I had ever thought of going. Garrison. Higginson. while I thanked them sincerely for their thoughtfulness and generosity. and London. I could not go to Europe. including Mr. Henry L. and I told these Boston friends that. were then raising a sum of money which would be sufficient to keep the school in operation while I was away. It was added with emphasis that we MUST go. Washington and myself during a three or four months' trip to Europe. not for my race. and I had never thought of anything else but ending my life in that way. I replied that I never had. This conversation soon passed out of my mind. I had been born and largely reared in the lowest depths of slavery.

I feared that people who heard that Mrs. stating that they had decided to give us the money with which to erect a new building to be used in properly housing all our industries for girls at Tuskegee. and I did not see how I could spend three or four months in doing nothing. they were inclined to unduly exalt themselves. "stuck up. in order that I might clear up the last bit of business before I left. and while there was so much that needed to be done." I recalled that from my youth I had heard it said that too often. who was then studying in South Framingham. and this made it all the harder for us to decide to go. So we decided upon May 10. and we were in New York May 9. It seemed mean and selfish in me to be taking a vacation while others were at work. Then. I could not see how my conscience would permit me to spare the time from my work and be happy. to try and ape the wealthy. The fear that people might think this of us haunted me a good deal. and made other arrangements for our comfort and convenience abroad." and were trying to "show off. We were to sail on the Friesland. the hour of sailing. came to New York to see us off. and might get the idea that we had become. came with me to New York. Washington had much the same difficulty in getting away.. There were many important National questions bearing upon the life of the race which were being agitated at that time. Other friends also came to New York to see us off. Garrison kindly took charge of all the details necessary for the success of the trip. Good-bys were said at Tuskegee. as some might say. gave us a great number of letters of introduction to people in France and England. and in so doing to lose their heads. as well as other friends. Mass. Scott. ready to sail the next day. but she was anxious to go because she thought that I needed the rest. and the feeling which took possession of me when I found myself there is rather hard to describe. Two other thoughts troubled me a good deal. The fact was that I did not know how to take a vacation. We went on board just before noon. and then they insisted that the date of our departure be set as soon as possible. It was a . I had never before been on board a large ocean steamer. of the Red Star Line. too. my secretary. Mr. From the time I could remember. Washington and I were going to Europe might not know all the circumstances. and a beautiful vessel she was. My good friend Mr. when people of my race reached any degree of success.going to Europe? Such thoughts as these were constantly with me. We finally gave our Boston friends our promise that we would go. Just before we went on board the steamer another pleasant surprise came to us in the form of a letter from two generous ladies. Our daughter Portia. I had always been at work. Mrs. and he.

feeling, I think, of awe mingled with delight. We were agreeably surprised to find that the captain, as well as several of the other officers, not only knew who we were, but was expecting us and gave us a pleasant greeting. There were several passengers whom we knew, including Senator Sewell, of New Jersey, and Edward Marshall, the newspaper correspondent. I had just a little fear that we would not be treated civilly by some of the passengers. This fear was based upon what I had heard other people of my race, who had crossed the ocean, say about unpleasant experiences in crossing the ocean in American vessels. But in our case, from the captain down to the most humble servant, we were treated with the greatest kindness. Nor was this kindness confined to those who were connected with the steamer; it was shown by all the passengers also. There were not a few Southern men and women on board, and they were as cordial as those from other parts of the country. As soon as the last good-bys were said, and the steamer had cut loose from the wharf, the load of care, anxiety, and responsibility which I had carried for eighteen years began to lift itself from my shoulders at the rate, it seemed to me, of a pound a minute. It was the first time in all those years that I had felt, even in a measure, free from care; and my feeling of relief it is hard to describe on paper. Added to this was the delightful anticipation of being in Europe soon. It all seemed more like a dream than like a reality. Mr. Garrison had thoughtfully arranged to have us have one of the most comfortable rooms on the ship. The second or third day out I began to sleep, and I think that I slept at the rate of fifteen hours a day during the remainder of the ten days' passage. Then it was that I began to understand how tired I really was. These long sleeps I kept up for a month after we landed on the other side. It was such an unusual feeling to wake up in the morning and realize that I had no engagements; did not have to take a train at a certain hour; did not have an appointment to meet some one, or to make an address, at a certain hour. How different all this was from the experiences that I have been through when travelling, when I have sometimes slept in three different beds in a single night! When Sunday came, the captain invited me to conduct the religious services, but, not being a minister, I declined. The passengers, however, began making requests that I deliver an address to them in the dining-saloon some time during the voyage, and this I consented to do. Senator Sewell presided at this meeting. After ten days of delightful weather, during which I was not seasick for a day, we landed at the interesting old city of Antwerp, in Belgium.

The next day after we landed happened to be one of those numberless holidays which the people of those countries are in the habit of observing. It was a bright, beautiful day. Our room in the hotel faced the main public square, and the sights therethe people coming in from the country with all kinds of beautiful flowers to sell, the women coming in with their dogs drawing large, brightly polished cans filled with milk, the people streaming into the cathedralfilled me with a sense of newness that I had never before experienced. After spending some time in Antwerp, we were invited to go with a part of a half-dozen persons on a trip through Holland. This party included Edward Marshall and some American artists who had come over on the same steamer with us. We accepted the invitation, and enjoyed the trip greatly. I think it was all the more interesting and instructive because we went for most of the way on one of the slow, old-fashioned canalboats. This gave us an opportunity of seeing and studying the real life of the people in the country districts. We went in this way as far as Rotterdam, and later went to The Hague, where the Peace Conference was then in session, and where we were kindly received by the American representatives. The thing that impressed itself most on me in Holland was the thoroughness of the agriculture and the excellence of the Holstein cattle. I never knew, before visiting Holland, how much it was possible for people to get out of a small plot of ground. It seemed to me that absolutely no land was wasted. It was worth a trip to Holland, too, just to get a sight of three or four hundred fine Holstein cows grazing in one of those intensely green fields. From Holland we went to Belgium, and made a hasty trip through that country, stopping at Brussels, where we visited the battlefield of Waterloo. From Belgium we went direct to Paris, where we found that Mr. Theodore Stanton, the son of Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, had kindly provided accommodations for us. We had barely got settled in Paris before an invitation came to me from the University Club of Paris to be its guest at a banquet which was soon to be given. The other guests were ex-President Benjamin Harrison and Archbishop Ireland, who were in Paris at the time. The American Ambassador, General Horace Porter, presided at the banquet. My address on this occasion seemed to give satisfaction to those who heard it. General Harrison kindly devoted a large portion of his remarks at dinner to myself and to the influence of the work at Tuskegee on the American race question. After my address at this banquet other invitations came to me, but I declined the most of them, knowing that if I accepted them all, the object of my visit would be defeated. I did, however, consent to deliver an address in the American chapel the following Sunday

morning, and at this meeting General Harrison, General Porter, and other distinguished Americans were present. Later we received a formal call from the American Ambassador, and were invited to attend a reception at his residence. At this reception we met many Americans, among them Justices Fuller and Harlan, of the United States Supreme Court. During our entire stay of a month in Paris, both the American Ambassador and his wife, as well as several other Americans, were very kind to us. While in Paris we saw a good deal of the now famous American Negro painter, Mr. Henry O. Tanner, whom we had formerly known in America. It was very satisfactory to find how well known Mr. Tanner was in the field of art, and to note the high standing which all classes accorded to him. When we told some Americans that we were going to the Luxembourg Palace to see a painting by an American Negro, it was hard to convince them that a Negro had been thus honoured. I do not believe that they were really convinced of the fact until they saw the picture for themselves. My acquaintance with Mr. Tanner reenforced in my mind the truth which I am constantly trying to impress upon our students at Tuskegeeand on our people throughout the country, as far as I can reach them with my voicethat any man, regardless of colour, will be recognized and rewarded just in proportion as he learns to do something welllearns to do it better than some one elsehowever humble the thing may be. As I have said, I believe that my race will succeed in proportion as it learns to do a common thing in an uncommon manner; learns to do a thing so thoroughly that no one can improve upon what it has done; learns to make its services of indispensable value. This was the spirit that inspired me in my first effort at Hampton, when I was given the opportunity to sweep and dust that schoolroom. In a degree I felt that my whole future life depended upon the thoroughness with which I cleaned that room, and I was determined to do it so well that no one could find any fault with the job. Few people ever stopped, I found, when looking at his pictures, to inquire whether Mr. Tanner was a Negro painter, a French painter, or a German painter. They simply knew that he was able to produce something which the world wanteda great paintingand the matter of his colour did not enter into their minds. When a Negro girl learns to cook, to wash dishes, to sew, or write a book, or a Negro boy learns to groom horses, or to grow sweet potatoes, or to produce butter, or to build a house, or to be able to practise medicine, as well or better than some one else, they will be rewarded regardless of race or colour. In the long run, the world is going to have the best, and any difference in race, religion, or previous history will not long keep the world from what it wants.

consulted with the American Ambassador. Parliament was in session. Brooke Herford and Mrs. Mr. at which we had the privilege of meeting some of the best people in England. Washington and myself a reception. the Hon. James Bryce. Joseph Choate. In fact. Garrison and other friends had provided us with a large number of letters of introduction. Dr. Very soon after reaching London we were flooded with invitations to attend all manner of social functions. as well as a synopsis of what I said. I had more faith in the future of the black man in America than I had ever possessed. and Mrs. The love of pleasure and excitement which seems in a large measure to possess the French people impressed itself upon me. Herford gave Mrs. The meeting was largely attended. Severe competition and the great stress of life have led them to learn to do things more thoroughly and to exercise greater economy. Choate kindly consented to preside. Mr. In point of morality and moral earnestness I do not believe that the French are ahead of my own race in America. From Paris we went to London. including Mr. for the reason that I wanted to rest. This is a great human law which cannot be permanently nullified. I think. intellectual. I think they are more noted in this respect than is true of the people of my own race. who spoke at the meeting. whom I had known in Boston. and arranged for me to speak at a public meeting to be held in Essex Hall. will bring my race to the same point. There were many distinguished persons present. Throughout our stay in London Ambassador Choate was most . and reached there early in July. In the matter of truth and high honour I do not believe that the average Frenchman is ahead of the American Negro. and there was a great deal of gaiety. I believe that my race is far ahead. just about the height of the London social season. No man who continues to add something to the material. but time. and they had also sent letters to other persons in different parts of the United Kingdom. Dr. and a great many invitations came to me asking that I deliver public addresses. apprising these people of our coming. Neither were we able to accept more than a small proportion of the other invitations. and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is long left without proper reward.I think that the whole future of my race hinges on the question as to whether or not it can make itself of such indispensable value that the people in the town and the state where we reside will feel that our presence is necessary to the happiness and well-being of the community. The most of these invitations I declined. when I left France. The Rev. Herford. while so far as mercy and kindness to dumb animals go. among them several members of Parliament. was widely published in England and in the American papers at the time. What the American Ambassador said in introducing me.

and I was deeply impressed with the fact that one did not often get an opportunity to see. where. one sees the Englishman at his best. Both Mr. to see Queen Victoria. Fisher Unwin. At the Ambassador's reception I met. Anthony. both Mrs. Washington and I were the guests of Englishmen in their country homes. we were the guests for several days of Mr. I believe. and thanked me heartily. Clark. England. my wife and I were enabled to go with a party of those who were attending the International Congress of Women. which we visited several times. and that is. and Mrs. Washington and I spoke at the Women's Liberal Club. England. we were the guests of the daughter of John Bright. and the presiding officer was the late Duke of Westminster. whose father was a great abolitionist and friend of Whittier and Garrison. then in session in London. nor did I realize the amount of substantial help given by them. Clark. Unwin could not do enough for our comfort and happiness. during the same hour. at least. I was also the principal speaker at the Commencement exercises of the Royal College for the Blind. the richest man in England. Anthony and Queen Victoria. Joseph Sturge. for nearly a week. Before going to England I had had no proper conception of the deep interest displayed by the abolitionists of England in the cause of freedom. where. visited us at Tuskegee the next year. I talked with him about Africa and its relation to the American Negro. and other abolitionists. England. The home life of the . Frederick Douglass. with their daughter. and after my interview with him I became more convinced than ever that there was no hope of the American Negro's improving his condition by emigrating to Africa. Through the kindness of Lady Aberdeen. the daughter of the English statesman. T. I think. at Windsor Castle. Stanley. Mark Twain. who was said to be. we met Sir Henry M. It was a great privilege to meet throughout England those who had known and honoured the late William Lloyd Garrison. the Hon. Later. In the House of Commons. seemed to be pleased with what I said. In Bristol. and Mrs. two women so remarkable in different ways as Susan B. The Duke. On various occasions Mrs. These exercises were held in the Crystal Palace. that they have learned how to get more out of life. I feel sure that the English are ahead of Americans. of Street. The English abolitionists with whom we came in contact never seemed to tire of talking about these two Americans. Richard Cobden. In one thing. for the first time. now Mrs. We were the guests several times of Mrs. In Birmingham. we were all the guests of her Majesty at tea. if not in the world. In our party was Miss Susan B.kind and attentive to us. It seemed as if both Mr. as well as his wife and their daughter. afterward.

When the Englishman takes you into his heart and friendship. The average Englishman is so serious. This I did. I found. with the deference that the servants show to their "masters" and "mistresses. There must have been at least three hundred persons at this reception. Perhaps I can illustrate this point in no better way than by relating the following incident. as for everything else. in the long run. that when I told a story that would have made an American audience roar with laughter. at Stafford Housesaid to be the finest house in London. Mrs. My visit to England gave me a higher regard for the nobility than I had had. When Christmas came we were surprised and delighted to receive her photograph with her autograph on it. Washington and I were invited to attend a reception given by the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland. I was impressed. Another thing that impressed itself upon me throughout England was the high regard that all classes have for law and order. a "master" himself. Everything moves like clockwork. I am not sure if. I had no idea that they were so generally loved and respected by the classes. and we now feel that in the Duchess of Sutherland we have one of our warmest friends. to be nothing but a servant. nervous Americans do. too. nor that I any correct conception of how much time and money they spent in works of philanthropy. My impression had been that they merely spent money freely and had a "good time. Twice during the evening the Duchess sought us out for a conversation."terms which I suppose would not be tolerated in America. and so he perfects himself in the art to a degree that no class of servants in America has yet reached." It was hard for me to get accustomed to speaking to English audiences. . I may add that I believe the Duchess of Sutherland is said to be the most beautiful woman in England. and how much real heart they put into this work. and the ease and thoroughness with which everything is done. as a rule. in a few years. and is so tremendously in earnest about everything. In our country the servant expects to become. Which system is preferable? I will not venture an answer. and tell her more about the work at Tuskegee. they do not accomplish as much or more than rushing. The English servant expects. and she asked me to write her when we got home. the Englishmen simply looked me straight in the face without even cracking a smile.English seems to me to be about as perfect as anything can be. The correspondence has continued. he binds you there as with cords of steel. took plenty of time for eating. The Englishmen. and I do not believe that there are many other friendships that are so lasting or so satisfactory.

Mo. and the money to support several scholarships was the result. Professor Booker T. By W. May 16. Very truly yours. and desire that on your return from Europe you should favour them with your presence and with the inspiration of your words.. Louis. presided. which I began reading. And yet there are people who are bold enough to say that race feeling in America is not growing less intense! At this concert the Hon. France: . While we were in Paris I was very pleasantly surprised to receive the following invitation from the citizens of West Virginia and of the city near which I had spent my boyhood days: Charleston. Paris. Louis. Benjamin B. W. The Common Council of the City of Charleston. A few minutes after I had finished reading this description I was waited on by a committee of ladies and gentlemen with the request that I deliver an address at a concert which was to begin the following evening. that we may honour you who have done so much by your life and work to honour us. In this library I found a life of Frederick Douglass. This invitation from the City Council of Charleston was accompanied by the following: Professor Booker T. Odell. but had to confine himself to the deck of the ship. Washington. France: Dear Sir: Many of the best citizens of West Virginia have united in liberal expressions of admiration and praise of your worth and work. After the concert some of the passengers proposed that a subscription be raised to help the work at Tuskegee. Va. In this description he told how he was not permitted to enter the cabin. I became especially interested in Mr.After three months in Europe we sailed from Southampton in the steamship St. Washington. Jr.. Paris. A large proportion of the passengers were Southern people. Herman Smith. We are. Douglass's description of the way he was treated on shipboard during his first or second visit to England. Mayor. On this steamer there was a fine library that had been presented to the ship by the citizens of St. and on behalf of the citizens of Charleston extend to your our most cordial invitation to have you come to us. I was never given a more cordial hearing anywhere. the present governor of New York. We must sincerely indorse this move. 1899.

Trotter. Geo. Prichard. and from which I had gone a few years before. La Follette. Auditor. President Kanawha Valley Bank. Wm.Dear Sir: We. MacCorkle. not only surprised me. MacCorkle. ex-Governor. with an indication of the time you may reach our city.E. and that we may receive the inspiration of your words and presence. Superintended City Schools. presided. Yours very respectfully. unknown. Your recent visit to your old home in our midst awoke within us the keenest regret that we were not permitted to hear you and render some substantial aid to your work. and among the white people were many for whom I had worked when I was a boy.A.W. The next . Reid. and give us the opportunity to hear you and put ourselves in touch with your work in a way that will be most gratifying to yourself. ex-Governor. President Charleston National Bank. in poverty and ignorance. Geo. The Opera-House was filled with citizens of both races. Atkinson. Payne. This invitation. President Board of Education. L. and all the substantial citizens of both races of the community where I had spent my boyhood.M. and composed of men of both races. and at the appointed day was met at the railway station at Charleston by a committee headed by exGovernor W. Laidley. and an address of welcome was made by ex-Governor MacCorkle. Governor. S. wholesale merchant. but almost unmanned me. S. Chas. before you left for Europe. Ed. E. Cashier Kanawha National Bank. G. Dawson. The Governor of the state. desire to express our pride in you and the splendid career that you have thus far accomplished. Wilson. McWhorter. I accepted the invitation. the state officers. The Daily Mail-Tribune. W.L. L. Secretary of State. K. Dickinson. An early reply to this invitation. I could not understand what I had done to deserve it all. Secretary to Governor. Atkinson. The Charleston Daily Gazette.R. L. Couch. and ask that we be permitted to show our pride and interest in a substantial way. J. coming as it did from the City Council. we earnestly invite you to share the hospitality of our city upon your return from Europe.W. In view of the foregoing. A prominent part in the reception was taken by the coloured citizens. E. Boggs. the citizens of Charleston and West Virginia. John Q.A. President Kanawha National Bank. in quest of an education. M. The public reception was held in the Opera-House at Charleston.O. George W. the Hon. and many others. will greatly oblige. Superintendent of Schools.

he spent nearly every hour in devising ways and means to help the South. I believe that any man's life will be filled with constant. Chapter XVII. his wish was gratified. and a similar reception was given me in New Orleans. Last Words Before going to Europe some events came into my life which were great surprises to me. In fact. and the moment that his carriage entered the school grounds he began passing between two lines of lighted and waving "fat pine" wood knots held by over a thousand students and teachers. unselfish. Six months before he died. my whole life has largely been one of surprises. I pity the man. He arrived on the school grounds about nine o'clock in the evening. Atkinson gave me a public reception at the State House. and nearly a year after he had been stricken with paralysis. Some one had suggested that we give the General a "pine-knot torchlight reception. during this visit. Notwithstanding the fact that he had lost the use of his limbs to such an extent that he was practically helpless. unexpected encouragements of this kind if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day of his lifethat is. that it was not only the duty of the country to assist in elevating the Negro of the South. and he was brought to Tuskegee. Georgia. out of the main stationChehaw. General Armstrong expressed a wish to visit Tuskegee again before he passed away. He remained a guest in my home for nearly two months. At the end of his visit I resolved anew to devote myself more earnestly than ever to the cause which was so near ." This plan was carried out. which was presided over by the Mayor of the city. black or white. The whole thing was so novel and surprising that the General was completely overcome with happiness.day Governor and Mrs. Time and time again he said to me. The owners of the Tuskegee Railroad. who has never experienced the joy and satisfaction that come to one by reason of an effort to assist in making some one else more useful and more happy. Not long after this the coloured people in Atlanta. and. five miles awayto meet him. gave me a reception at which the Governor of the state presided. offered to run a special train. white men living in the town. although almost wholly without the use of voice or limb. without cost. Invitations came from many other places which I was not able to accept. but the poor white man as well. which was attended by all classes. tries to make each day reach as nearly as possible the high-water mark of pure. useful living.

Hampton has had a career of prosperity and usefulness that is all that the General could have wished for. and most attractive men that I have ever come in contact with. and almost perfect leadership of Dr. It seems to be the constant effort of Dr. May 28. and act. Would it be possible for you to be in Cambridge on that day? Believe me. This was a recognition that had never in the slightest manner entered into my mind. I said that if a man in his condition was willing to think. Frissell. with great regard. Washington. Under the clear. Dr. when I made my bed under a sidewalk. It was the following letter. tears came into my eyes. the trying days I had had at Tuskegee. gave me the privilege of getting acquainted with one of the finest. work. I refer to the Rev. which came to me one Sunday morning when I was sitting on the veranda of my home at Tuskegee. Our Commencement occurs this year on June 24. Eliot. days when I did not know where to turn for a dollar to continue the work . Charles W. 1896. and General Armstrong's successor. now the Principal of the Hampton Institute. Frissell to hide his own great personality behind that of General Armstrongto make himself of "no reputation" for the sake of the cause. The death of General Armstrong. Hollis B. As I sat upon my veranda. a few weeks later. strong. but it is our custom to confer degrees only on gentlemen who are present.his heart. most unselfish. surrounded by my wife and three children: Harvard University. and it was hard for me to realize that I was to be honoured by a degree from the oldest and most renowned university in America. My whole former lifemy life as a slave on the plantation. Frissell. More than once I have been asked what was the greatest surprise that ever came to me. I have little hesitation in answering that question. and your presence would be desirable from about noon till about five o'clock in the afternoon. my work in the coal-mine. President Booker T. I should not be wanting in furthering in every possible way the wish of his heart. my struggles for an education. Cambridge. with this letter in my hand. My Dear Sir: Harvard University desired to confer on you at the approaching Commencement an honorary degree. the times when I was without food and clothing. Very truly yours.

It is not known. who more than once has been generous to Tuskegee. I have always looked upon fame as something to be used in accomplishing good. after the usual Commencement exercises. upon whom the honorary degrees are to be conferred. Among others invited to be present for the purpose of receiving a degree at this time were General Nelson A. I never go to the office of Mr. In the line there were also various other officers and professors. Bell. at the designated place on the university grounds. This. I had never sought or cared for what the world calls fame.there. and those receiving these honours are cheered by the students and others in proportion to their popularity. In this order we marched to Sanders Theatre. Miles. the more I believe that they are growing in the direction of looking upon their money simply as an instrument which God has placed in their hand for doing good with. and . Dr. and directly afterward the Governor of Massachusetts. When my name was called. conferred upon me the degree of Master of Arts. the ostracism and sometimes oppression of my race. and the Rev. I care for it only as a means to be used for doing good. escorted by the Lancers. John D. those who had received honorary degrees were invited to lunch with the President. We were placed in line immediately behind the President and the Board of Overseers. without being reminded of this. careful. and the other guests.all this passed before me and nearly overcame me. I met President Eliot. I rose. and minute investigation that he always makes in order to be sure that every dollar that he gives will do the most goodan investigation that is just as searching as if he were investing money in a business enterpriseconvinces me that the growth in this direction is most encouraging. Rockefeller. The close. The more I come into contact with wealthy people. for the purpose of being escorted to Sanders Theatre. came the conferring of the honorary degrees. Bishop Vincent. At nine o'clock. where. the Board of Overseers of Harvard University. the inventor of the Bell telephone. Minot J. just as wealth may be used. arrived and took his place in the line of march by the side of President Eliot. on the morning of June 24. I am content to have it. clad in cap and gown. During the conferring of the degrees excitement and enthusiasm are at the highest pitch. until the individuals appear. I have often said to my friends that if I can use whatever prominence may have come to me as an instrument with which to do good. and President Eliot. in beautiful and strong English. Savage. it seems. is always considered the most interesting feature at Harvard. where the Commencement exercises were to be held and degrees conferred. After the lunch we were formed in line again. After these exercises were over.

strengthening influence of the other. through the grounds. with the glow and enthusiasm of college loyalty and college pride. General Miles. How shall we make the mansion on yon Beacon Street feel and see the need of the spirits in the lowliest cabin in Alabama cotton-fields or Louisiana sugar-bottoms? This problem Harvard University is solving. . During the next half-century and more. and myself. to share in the honours of this occasion. and education. Minot J. wealthy. We are to be tested in our patience. When I was called upon. and yet it may not be inappropriate for me to suggest that it seems to me that one of the most vital questions that touch our American life is how to bring the strong. among other things: It would in some measure relieve my embarrassment if I could. Savage. to disregard the superficial for the real. but by bringing the masses up. even in a slight degree. Church. our forbearance. in our ability to compete. This march ended at Memorial Hall. If my life in the past has meant anything in the lifting up of my people and the bringing about of better relations between your race and mine. Governor Roger Wolcott. Why you have called me from the Black Belt of the South. learned and yet simple. By it a race must rise or fall. Henry Cabot Lodge. is not for me to explain. the Hon. To see over a thousand strong men. high and yet the servant of all. those who had been honoured were called by name and received the Harvard yell. and learned into helpful touch with the poorest.were escorted by the Marshal of the day. our perseverance. succeed or fail. and at the same time make one appreciate the vitalizing. and in the last analysis mere sentiment counts for little. I think.is a sight that does not easily fade from memory. most ignorant. and humblest. In the economy of God there is but one standard by which an individual can succeedthere is but one for a race. our power to endure wrong. feel myself worthy of the great honour which you do me to-day. to succeed in commerce. to withstand temptations. Among the speakers after dinner were President Eliot. I assure you from this day it will mean doubly more. where the alumni dinner was served. where. business. at different points. to acquire and use skill. a peculiar Harvard flavour. from among my humble people. Dr. who that year happened to be Bishop William Lawrence. representing all that is best in State. This country demands that every race shall measure itself by the American standard. I said. to economize. my race must continue passing through the severe American crucible. the appearance for the substance. to be great and yet small.which has. not by bringing itself down.

and he arose to acknowledge and accept. A correspondent of a New York Paper said: When the name of Booker T. Harvard University has honoured itself as well as the object of this distinction. but the coloured man carried off the oratorical honours. Washington. whether his skin be white or black. persistence. This. Washington has accomplished for the education. is a distinction. and splendid common sense of Booker T. Washington is the first of his race to receive an honorary degree from a New England university. The applause was not studied and stiff. or because he was born in slavery. and a glow covered the cheeks of those around me. The correspondent of the New York Times wrote: All the speeches were enthusiastically received. sympathetic and condoling. A Boston paper said. it was the occasion of much newspaper comment throughout the country. good citizenship. alike to his race and country. whether in regular course or honoris causa. Every part of the audience from pit to gallery joined in. first among New England colleges. Washington is a coloured man. The university which can claim him on its list of sons. No one who has followed the history of Tuskegee and its work can fail to admire the courage. there was such an outburst of applause as greeted no other name except that of the popular soldier patriot. The work which Professor Booker T. the value of whose services. but because he has shown. it was enthusiasm and admiration. may be proud.As this was the first time that a New England university had conferred an honorary degree upon a Negro. It has been mentioned that Mr. in itself. and the . Washington was called. proving sincere appreciation of the rising struggle of an exslave and the work he has accomplished for his race. by his work for the elevation of the people of the Black Belt of the South. But the degree was not conferred because Mr. Another Boston paper said: It is Harvard which. General Miles. a genius and a broad humanity which count for greatness in any man. confers an honorary degree upon a black man. only the future can estimate. Well may Harvard honour the ex-slave. and popular enlightenment in his chosen field of labour in the South entitles him to rank with our national benefactors. editorially: In conferring the honorary degree of Master of Arts upon the Principal of Tuskegee Institute.

When I got there I found the waiting rooms full of people. but would help the entire race. that I would try to build up a school that would be of so much service to the country that the President of the United States would one day come to see it. Secretary of Agriculture. Georgia. I then told him. for eighteen years. When I saw the President he kindly thanked me for the work which we were doing at Tuskegee for the interests of the country. for the reason that his plans about going to Atlanta were not then fully made. and explained to him my mission. and in a few minutes word came from Mr. At this time I had been hard at work. Porter kindly sent my card directly to the President. but he asked me to call the matter to his attention a few weeks later. and still keep himself calm. trying to build up a school that we thought would be of service to the Nation. McKinley that he would see me. for the purpose of taking part in the Peace Jubilee exercises to be held there to commemorate the successful close of the Spanish-American war. the Hon. But. This was.applause which broke out when he had finished was vociferous and long-continued. Soon after I began work at Tuskegee I formed a resolution. but did not make a promise to go to Tuskegee. I went to Washington. if at all. the secretary to the President. in the secret of my heart. and do so much hard work. James Wilson. and that was in securing a visit from a member of President McKinley's Cabinet. I cannot understand. How any man can see so many people of all kinds. In the fall of 1898 I heard that President McKinley was likely to visit Atlanta. at any rate. He seemed interested. patient. together with our teachers. In November. . J. and I was not long in the city before I found my way to the White House. with all kinds of errands. briefly. He came to deliver an address at the formal opening of the Slater-Armstrong Agricultural Building. not daring to share it with any one. and fresh for each visitor in the way that President McKinley does. I confess. I got an opportunity to see Mr. and my heart began to sink. I made the first move in this direction. our first large building to be used for the purpose of giving training to our students in agriculture and kindred branches. for I feared there would not be much chance of my seeing the President that day. Mr. rather a bold resolution. the object of my visit. and I determined to make a direct effort to secure a visit from the President and his Cabinet. and for a number of years I kept it hidden in my own thoughts. Addison Porter. I impressed upon him the fact that a visit from the Chief Executive of the Nation would not only encourage our students and teachers. 1897.

while they did not want to push themselves into prominence. the thing that touched me almost as deeply as the visit . but by acts. J. a white citizen of Atlanta. because of several severe race riots which had occurred at different points in the South. and the coloured people greatly depressed. Charles W. The white people of this town. I went to Washington again and saw him. a prominent white citizen of Tuskegee. he seemed deeply impressed. discussing the condition and prospects of the race. and the President asked his opinion as to the wisdom of his going to Tuskegee. On this second visit Mr.By the middle of the following month the President had definitely decided to attend the Peace Jubilee at Atlanta. not merely in words. and to form themselves into committees for the purpose of cooperating with the officers of our school in order that the distinguished visitor might have a fitting reception. began arranging to decorate the town. When I told him that I thought that at that time scarcely anything would go father in giving hope and encouragement to the race than the fact that the President of the Nation would be willing to travel one hundred and forty miles out of his way to spend a day at a Negro institution. I think I never realized before this how much the white people of Tuskegee and vicinity thought of our institution. Just previous to my going to Washington the second time. Dr.L. he detained me for some time. dozens of these people came to me and said that. the white citizens of the town of Tuskegeea mile distant from the schoolwere as much pleased as were our students and teachers. While I was with the President. During the days when we were preparing for the President's reception. kindly volunteered to accompany me. I had but to intimate it and they would be only too glad to assist. I perceived that his heart was greatly burdened by reason of these race disturbances. if there was anything they could do to help. the country had been excited. This opinion was reenforced by that friend of the race. In fact. to reenforce my invitation with one from the white people of Tuskegee and the vicinity. Hare. or to relieve me personally. He remarked several times that he was determined to show his interest and faith in the race. including both men and women. Although there were many people waiting to see him. Without hesitation the Atlanta man replied that it was the proper thing for him to do.M. The President promised that he would visit our school on the 16th of December. a Democrat and an ex-slaveholder. When it became known that the President was going to visit our school. with a view of getting him to extend his trip to Tuskegee. As soon as I saw the President. Curry. came into the room.

displayed on "floats" drawn by horses. Following the students the work of all departments of the school passed in review. we arranged to have the whole school pass in review before the President. the old methods of cooking and housekeeping in contrast with the new. As an example. headed by the governor and other state officials. could a more delightful location have been chosen for this unique educational experiment. In order to economize in the matter of time. mules. . Nowhere. and has already a large and growing reputation in the country. which the students had recently completed. The morning of December 16th brought to the little city of Tuskegee such a crowd as it had never seen before. Just before the arrival of the President's party the Legislature arrived. the old methods of tilling the soil in contrast with the new. and is not unknown abroad. which has attracted the attention and won the support even of conservative philanthropists in all sections of the country.of the President itself was the deep pride which all classes of citizens in Alabama seemed to take in our work. and most of them brought their wives or some members of their families. I think. new chapel. I congratulate all who are associated in this undertaking for the good work which it is doing in the education of its students to lead lives of honour and usefulness. and oxen. This body passed a resolution to adjourn for the purpose of visiting Tuskegee. These floats consumed an hour and a half of time in passing. The Alabama Legislature was in session in Montgomery at this time. There was also a host of newspaper correspondents. thus exalting the race for which it was established. we showed the old method of dairying in contrast with the improved methods. but to show the contrasts between the old methods of doing things and the new. The citizens of Tuskegee had decorated the town from the station to the school in a generous manner. On these floats we tried to exhibit not only the present work of the school. among other things: To meet you under such pleasant auspices and to have the opportunity of a personal observation of your work is indeed most gratifying. McKinley and all of the Cabinet officers but one. the President said. Several prominent generals came. In his address in our large. Each student carried a stalk of sugar-cane with some open bolls of cotton fastened to the end of it. including General Shafter and General Joseph Wheeler. The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute is ideal in its conception. With the President came Mrs. who were recently returned from the Spanish-American war.

said in part: I cannot make a speech to-day. would be doing the same workBooker T. than that which we have witnessed here this morning. Some days after the President returned to Washington I received the letter which follows: . philanthropist. and transmitted to future time and generationsa picture which the press of the country should spread broadcast over the land. the coloured President of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. on the other. on one side the Governor of Alabama. a great orator. The problem. more inspiring for our future.To speak of Tuskegee without paying special tribute to Booker T. Washington's genius and perseverance would be impossible. I am filled with gratitude and admiration for your work. widely known and much respected at home and abroad as an accomplished educator. which is showing that it can deal with this problem for itself. A picture has been presented to-day which should be put upon canvas with the pictures of Washington and Lincoln. a most dramatic picture. The Hon. Washington. His was the enthusiasm and enterprise which made its steady progress possible and established in the institution its present high standard of accomplishment. and a true philanthropist. God bless the state of Alabama. God bless the orator. Long. and from this time forward I shall have absolute confidence in your progress and in the solution of the problem in which you are engaged. admiration. if he were on earth. has been solved. and pride for my countrymen of both sections and both colours. But I am sure my colleagues will agree with me in saying that we have witnessed no spectacle more impressive and more encouraging. We have seen floral parades. the Secretary of the Navy. a representative of a race only a few years ago in bondage. He has won a worthy reputation as one of the great leaders of his race. We have seen heroes of the war pass by in procession. John D. I say. and that picture is this: The President of the United States standing on this platform. God bless the President under whose majesty such a scene as that is presented to the American people. We have seen the magnificent grandeur and the magnificent achievements of one of the great metropolitan cities of the South. and he deserves high credit for it. Postmaster General Smith closed the address which he made with these words: We have witnessed many spectacles within the last few days. The inception of this noble enterprise was his. completing the trinity. and disciple of the Great Masterwho. My heart is too fullfull of hope.

in a broken-down shanty and an old henhouse. sixty-six buildings. Dec. kind personal regards. and all except four of these have been almost wholly erected by the labour of our students. With best wishes for the continued advance of your most useful and patriotic undertaking. entirely by student labour. John Addison Porter. believe me. always. thirty industrial departments. Let me take this opportunity of congratulating you most heartily and sincerely upon the great success of the exercises provided for and entertainment furnished us under your auspices during our visit to Tuskegee. The unique exhibition which you gave of your pupils engaged in their industrial vocations was not only artistic but thoroughly impressive. These sheets bear the autographs of the President and the members of the Cabinet who accompanied him on the trip. There are in constant operation at the school. counting large and small. Secretary to the President. To President Booker T. There are now upon the grounds. 1899. While the students are at work upon the land and in erecting buildings. one thousand of which are under cultivation each year. Ala. At the present time the institution owns twenty-three hundred acres of land. by competent instructors. Washington. Very sincerely yours. Tuskegee. Twenty years have now passed since I made the first humble effort at Tuskegee. and with but one teacher and thirty students. Every feature of the programme was perfectly executed and was viewed or participated in with the heartiest satisfaction by every visitor present. The tribute paid by the President and his Cabinet to your work was none too high. and the compliments of the season. The only difficulty now is that the demand for our graduates from both white and black people in the South is . without owning a dollar's worth of property. in connection with thorough academic and religious training. 23.Executive Mansion. for the future prosperity of your institution. the latest methods of agriculture and the trades connected with building. I think. All of these teach industries at which our men and women can find immediate employment as soon as they leave the institution. and forms a most encouraging augury. Dear Sir: By this mail I take pleasure in sending you engrossed copies of the souvenir of the visit of the President to your institution. I cannot close without assuring you that the modesty shown by yourself in the exercises was most favourably commented upon by all the members of our party. Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. they are taught. Washington.

especially work in the country districts. so that when he goes out from the institution he is prepared to set the people with whom he goes to labour a proper example in the matter of industry. we have a department known as the Phelps Hall Bible Training School. the endowment fund should be increased to at least $3. These girls are taught gardening. third. Cuba. Porto Rico. to enable him to make a living for himself and others. All of our property is free from mortgage. The greater part of this I collect each year by going from door to door and from house to house. Neither have we the buildings nor the money for current expenses to enable us to admit to the school more than one-half the young men and women who apply to us for admission.000. dairying. While the institution is in no sense denominational. From thirty students the number has grown to fourteen hundred. that every student who graduates from the school shall have enough skill. .000. second. we have a constant population upon our grounds of not far from seventeen hundred people.000. In our industrial teaching we keep three things in mind: first. in the part of the South where he livesin a word. In addition to the agricultural training which we give to young men. in order to get skill and the love of work. to be able to do the thing which the world wants done.so great that we cannot supply more than one-half the persons for whom applications come to us. we now train a number of girls in agriculture each year. bee-culture.000. coming from twenty-seven states and territories. In our departments there are one hundred and ten officers and instructors. Aside from the need for more buildings and for money for current expenses. and if we add the families of our instructors. fruitgrowing.700. the value of the total property is now $1. coupled with intelligence and moral character. and poultry-raising. and is deeded to an undenominational board of trustees who have the control of the institution. If we add to this our endowment fund. Jamaica. each one of the students works half of each day at some industry. and other foreign countries.000. to send every graduate out feeling and knowing that labour is dignified and beautifulto make each one love labour instead of trying to escape it.000.000. The value of our property is now over $700. What is equally important. which at present is $1. from Africa. that the student shall be so educated that he shall be enabled to meet conditions as they exist now. and the training given to our girls in all the usual domestic employments. in which a number of students are prepared for the ministry and other forms of Christian work. The annual current expenses are now about $150.

work bell.10 p. 8. devotional exercises in chapel.. and in forming plans for improvement.m. the changes which soon begin to appear in the buying of land.. morning study hours. 3. evening study hour closes. 7.m. 12..m.40.m. Washington. Out from this central Negro Conference at Tuskegee have grown numerous state and local conferences which are doing the same kind of work. warning retiring bell. and moral conditions of the people are.I have often been asked how we keep so large a body of people together. and is causing the Southern white man to learn to believe in the value of educating the men and women of my race.20 to 6. As a result of the influence of these gatherings. 6 p.m.20. and at the same time keep them out of mischief. dinner... 6.m.50. 8.30. by their own example or by direct efforts. 6 a.30 p..30 p.55.m.m. Ten years ago I organized at Tuskegee the first Negro Conference. Whole communities are fast being revolutionized through the instrumentality of these men and women. 7. class work closes. breakfast over. class work begins. We try to keep constantly in mind the fact that the worth of the school is to be judged by its graduates..25. 5. in education. . retiring bell. and moral and religious life. 8. 9." 9 a. morning school bell.30 p. men and women who.m. 7. mental. rising bell. who come to spend a day in finding out what the actual industrial.m. there is the influence that is constantly being exerted through the mothers' meeting and the plantation work conducted by Mrs. warning breakfast bell. work bell. breakfast bell.20 p. they are exhibiting a degree of common sense and self-control which is causing better relations to exist between the races. educational. together with those who have taken enough training to enable them to do reasonably good work. 6. 9..m..15 p. 8.. Wherever our graduates go. saving money. class work ends. evening prayers. 12..30 p. supper.m. 1 p.. There are two answers: that the men and women who come to us for an education are in earnest. class work begins. bell to "knock off" work. The following outline of our daily work will testify to this: 5 a. are showing the masses of our race now to improve their material. and that everybody is kept busy.m. and in high moral characters are remarkable.50 a.20 a.30 p.m.m.. evening study hours. 5.. inspection of young men's toilet in ranks. Aside from this. rooms are cleaned.m. What is equally important. This is an annual gathering which now brings to the school eight or nine hundred representative men and women of the race. 1..45 p. 8. "five minutes with the daily news. 6. we can safely say that at least six thousand men and women from Tuskegee are now at work in different parts of the South. Counting those who have finished the full course.50 a..m. improving homes..

Watkins.) paper will tell. who has always upheld my hands in every effort. During that time he was greeted by over two hundred eminent teachers and educators from all parts of the United States. Thirty states were represented at our first meeting. In the summer of 1900. there is the "Workers' Conference. Then Mr. arranged in honour of the visitor by the people of his race. I organized the National Negro Business League. escape the duty of calling the attention of the South and of the country in general. Then he held a public levee in the parlours of the Iroquois until eight o'clock. the following clipping from a Buffalo (N. This has reference to an occasion when I spoke before the National Educational Association in that city. I . I have done in regard to the evil habit of lynching. on Negro education. and in one hour and a half he made two ringing addresses." This is composed of officers and teachers who are engaged in educational work in the larger institutions in the South. which held its first meeting in Boston. the foremost educator among the coloured people of the world. through the medium of the press. T. and hustled off to a small informal reception. Nor can I. In addition to looking after the executive side of the work at Tuskegee. for example. with the assistance of such prominent coloured men as Mr. He had hardly removed the stains of travel when it was time to partake of supper.Y. Mr. Booker T. Thomas Fortune.one delegate reported at the last annual meeting that ten families in his community had bought and paid for homes. This. As to how much of my time is spent in this way. Out of this national meeting grew state and local business leagues. to as many as five thousand people. When the Louisiana State Constitutional Convention was in session. Washington was taken in charge by a delegation of coloured citizens. Washington. I cannot seem to escape the duty of answering at least a part of the calls which come to me unsought to address Southern white audiences and audiences of my own race. Shortly after eight o'clock he was driven in a carriage to Music Hall. and brought together for the first time a large number of the coloured men who are engaged in various lines of trade or business in different parts of the United States. and raising the greater part of the money for the support of the school. in addition to making these addresses. headed by the Rev. The Negro Conference furnishes a rare opportunity for these workers to study the real condition of the rank and file of the people. On the day following the annual Negro Conference. was a very busy man from the time he arrived in the city the other night from the West and registered at the Iroquois. as well as frequent gatherings in the North. to matters that pertain to the interests of both races.

because of my poverty I slept night after night under a sidewalk. As I write the closing words of this autobiography I find myselfnot by designin the city of Richmond. the support. This time I am in Richmond as the guest of the coloured people of the city. about twenty-five years ago. and from the bottom of my heart I thanked both races for this welcome back to the state that gave me birth. The state Legislature. the City Council. and state officials. the state Legislature. End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Up From Slavery: An Autobiography.wrote an open letter to that body pleading for justice for the race. the City Council passed a vote to attend the meeting in a body to hear me speak. In the presence of hundreds of coloured people. The day before I came. the struggle that is constantly going on in the hearts of both the Southern white people and their former slaves to free themselves from racial prejudice. The outside world does not know. by Booker T. as well as from those in all other parts of the country. Virginia: the city which only a few decades ago was the capital of the Southern Confederacy. and where. and came at their request to deliver an address last night to both races in the Academy of Music. This was the first time that the coloured people had ever been permitted to use this hall. and the forbearance of the rest of the world. which was one of hope and cheer. the largest and finest audience room in the city. also passed a unanimous vote to attend in a body. The great human law that in the end recognizes and rewards merit is everlasting and universal. In all such efforts I have received warm and hearty support from the Southern newspapers. and while both races are thus struggling they should have the sympathy. many distinguished white citizens. including the House of Delegates and the Senate. neither can it appreciate. Washington *** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK UP FROM SLAVERY: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY *** . there was never a time when I felt more hopeful for the race than I do at the present. Despite superficial and temporary signs which might lead one to entertain a contrary opinion. I delivered my message.

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