Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

demand has arisen that such training be provided by the public schools and that “special industrial schools adapted to the prevailing industry of each district should be established in all industrial centers."

It is the idea of man in relation to social wealth — that is to say, the standpoint of the economist — that is paramount in the public mind.

Production, the gaining of control over environment, is of great import in the social life; yet a question of equal importance arises as to the manner in which man functions as a producer. If an industrial education is to produce mechanical workmen able to comprehend only the immediate processes with which they are concerned, the individual producer is narrowed in his conceptions and barred from that element of intelligent appreciation that comes from work executed with a full realization of its social value and meaning. The division line is between the man taught a “trade,” capable of following it automatically, and the industrially educated individual who has a clear insight into the whole industrial process, its origin and development, and who with this knowledge is able to secure a degree of pleasure in the execution of his work.

From the educational standpoint it is clear that in fitting men to assume a place in society, to share in its industrial life, the individual to be educated must be taken into consideration, the development of his powers and inclinations. This psychological phase cannot be either neglected or made subordinate.

Aside from the individual, there is a distinct social effect. If a class of artisans for economic purposes only is produced, there must result eventually a form of social stagnation, since the creative activity will make no advance under a mechanical régime. The present industrial period in its reaction from the older classical education shows a tendency to move to the other extreme, and give to men only a bare training of the hand that possesses no meaning to them other than the increased power it gives to create goods.

Many southern educators have recognized the result of this * Report of Commissioner of Education, 1901, Vol. II, p. 512.

25

attitude toward manual training. The demand is made on the part of some that there should be at least a thorough secondary training before there is any specializing along industrial lines.

I agree fully with those who stand for the importance of technical education in the South, whether it be along agricultural, mechanical, commercial, scientific, or pedagogical lines. But I submit that in order to get the practical benefit of the scientific instruction offered by the colleges there must be a certain mental preparedness which cannot be gained short of a high-school course.

Further, the position is held by others that, while perfection of production is desirable, this should be accompanied by greater attention to the problem of proper distribution, if education is to develop all the members in a democratic society and thus make for social progress.

There remains one other phase of the industrial development - the relation of the cotton-mill to the school problem. Whereever the factory system, with its various processes, many of them adapted to slight strength and requiring little more than a guiding power, has grown up, there has arisen the question of the labor of little children. The South faces this problem, and speaks for itself as to its conditions through one of its representative men, Mr. J. Y. Joyner : 26

Reports from twenty-three counties in which cotton-mills are located show, in the cotton-mill districts, a total white school population of 33,280, a total enrolment of 14,449 white children in the schools of these districts, and a total average daily attendance of 9,014. Only about two-fifths of these children, then, ever attend school, and only about one-fourth of the children of the factory districts in the schools, three-fourths of them out of school. This is the average. In many districts the attendance was much lower than this.

The time for action has arrived. In the face of these facts, legislation lipon this question should be delayed no longer. No human-hearted man can longer turn a deaf ear to the cry of the factory children. The strong arm of law must intervene. I earnestly recommend, therefore, the enactment of a law that shall accomplish the following purposes :

1. That no child under twelve years of age shall be employed or allowed to work in any cotton-mill or factory of any sort.

25 P. H. SAUNDERS, University of Mississippi, in School Review, February, 1903.

Superintendent of public instruction, North Carolina.

20

a

2. That no child under fourteen years of age who cannot read and write shall be employed or allowed to work in any cotton-mill or factory of any sort.

3. That no child under fourteen years of age shall be employed or allowed to work at ght in any cotton-mill or actory of any sort.

To make fully effective such a law, some legislation looking to compelling these children to attend the schools while in session ought to be enacted.

Far be it from me to recommend aught that would needlessly retard the splendid industrial development of this state, but industrial development bought with the blood of children is too dear. Dwarfed minds, shriveled bodies, and impoverished souls are too great a price to pay for anything on earth."

Professor P. P. Claxton, chief of the Bureau of Investigation and Information of the Southern Education Board, makes this statement :

I know a mill town with a school population of more than nine hundred and an average daily attendance of less than one hundred and fifty at its eight months of public school. There is no other school in the town. In the middle of this town I have seen boys and girls not yet nine years old working at midnight.

In reference to Columbus, Ga., Carleton B. Gibson, superintendent of schools, says:

In this town of Columbus, which is a manufacturing town, we have ? factory population of several thousand. Of these people who work in the mills there are perhaps one thousand children whom we have not yet been able to bring into our public schools in the absence of any compulsoryeducation law.

The following table shows the age at which the labor of children is prohibited in factories and the age for compulsory school attendance in ten of the southern states, wherever such laws exist:

Age at which Labor in Factories

is Prohibited

Age of Compulsory
School Attendance

Virginia....
West Virginia.
Tennessee..
South Carolina.
Georgia..
Alabama.
Florida..
Louisiana.
Kentucky
North Carolina..

No law
12 years
14 years
No law
No law
No law
No law
14, girls, 12, boys
No legislation on the subject
No legislation on the subject

No law
8-14 years
No law
No law
No law
No law
No law
No law
7-14 years
No law

» Report of Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Carolina, 1901.

V.

In discussing the question of child labor in the South it must be remembered that it is largely northern capital that is behind the southern cotton-manufacturing industry, and that is increasing at the expense of child labor. Social preservation alone would demand that the South protect its children from conditions that must bring physical and mental deterioration and premature death.

NEGRO EDUCATION. In approaching the subject of negro education, the student of sociology finds himself in a much-debated field. Many assertions have been made, but slight proof has been furnished, in these discussions of the negro problem. The topic has been one difficult to divest of personality and to treat in a scientific manner. It is encouraging to note that the subject is passing into a new phase; that careful and able studies of the negro race are being carried on under the direction of the Department of Labor. A demand has arisen for accurate data, that can be obtained only through these sociological and ethnological investigations, before theorizing is carried any farther. Atlanta University forms also a center of such investigations. These are under the direction of Professor W. E. B. DuBois, “a careful, accurate student of the race problem, who is doing more than any other worker in the field to supplant by scientific method guesswork and vagaries he approaches the subject with the best approved methods of sociological inquiry.” 28

The extent of the education of the negro race during the period of slavery is difficult to state. How far they acquired a knowledge of reading and writing will never admit of accurate estimation. Some slaveholders taught their slaves to a slight degree, but it seems fair to conclude that the number doing so was very small. Where it was done it was in direct opposition to the laws of the southern states.

While there had existed a few schools for negroes before 1830, practically all these were closed after that date, owing to the fact that slavery was becoming a decidedly important factor in the industrial world. It was perceived that the educating of

Report of Department of Interior, 1901, Vol. I, p. 772.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the negro would threaten the permanency of the institution of slavery.

In 1832 the law in Alabama provided that Any person or persons who shall attempt to teach any free person of color or slave to spell, read, or write shall, upon conviction thereof by indictment, be fined in a sum not less than $250 and not more than $500.

The law of 1829 in Georgia provided for a punishment of fine, whipping, or imprisonment for teaching a negro to read or write. The states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, and Virginia enacted laws forbidding the teaching of negroes. Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee excluded them from the schools.

While the northern states enacted no laws forbidding the teaching of negroes, there was much hostility to any such movement, and mob violence arose against colored schools in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

In 1865 the Freedman's Bureau took form. This bureau was the most active agent in founding the common-school system of the South.

In providing education for the colored children, it has become the settled policy of the South that equal but separate schools be furnished for the two races. The law of the state of Florida is representative of the laws of the other southern states: “White and colored children shall not be taught in the same school, but impartial provision shall be made for both.” 29

How far these equal facilities are provided for the two races is shown by the following statistics:

SCHOOL EXPENDITURE OF SIXTEEN FORMER SLAVE STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF

COLUMBIA,

EXPENDITURE FOR EACH

RACE

SCHOOL POPULATION FOR

EACH Race

EXPENDITURE PER CAPITA OF SCHOOL POPU

LATION

YEAR

White

Colored

White

Colored

White Colored

1.81

1895-96...
1897-98.

$24,432,222
24,765,544

$5,011,362
6,451,937

5,679,755
5,828,980

2,761,205
2,844,570

4.30
4.25

2.27

20 School Laws, 1897, p. 12.

« ForrigeFortsett »