« ForrigeFortsett »
skill and dexterity foster and facilitate industry. Industrial education has already served to dignify labor and increase its efficiency. It was a grateful surprise to me to observe such work and its results in Mississippi, the State where I had least expected it. I have seen ng ladies' college in the South, or the whole country, where so liberal and thorough provisions are made for industrial education as at Columbus, Mississippi. This institution, started and supported by the State, only six years ago, so manifestly met a felt want that at the outset it was filled to its utmost capacity. While its primary purpose is a thorough collegiate education, industrial training is made essential and very prominent, in order to fit women for special lines of work, and open to them new avenues to lucrative employment and to usefulness. The industrial department is unusually comprehensive: industrial and decorative art, repousse, art needle-work, bookkeeping, telegraphy, phonography, typewriting, printing, cutting and making dresses, cooking, laundry work, and housekeeping. By the liberality of the State, tuition is free, and board at cost, which, by reason of the housework done by the students, is very low. President Jones says (as the result of his five years of observation here): “The acquirement of skill and dexterity in some useful craft has an evident educational value for these young ladies, and thereby intellectual work becomes more cheerful, hopeful, and successful.” The number in attendance when I visited this institution was about 400. They were manifestly enthusiastic in their work, and especially appreciated these facilities and opportunities for industrial training, evidently feeling that they were the favored daughters of Mississippi, while so many applicants had been rejected for want of room. The rapid growth and great success of this college have exceeded the expectations of its friends, and made it a model for other States.
The Tougalow University in Mississippi, founded twenty years ago by the American Missionary Association, for colored youth of both sexes, has given such prominence to industrial training that its graduates are nized as an uplifting force among their own people. I have heard from white citizens in central Mississippi, strong testimony as to the valuable lessons which Tougalow University has given to the farmers and planters in varied husbandry, and in stock-raising. The ability, skill, and self-reliance, of some female graduates were cited, six years ago, as an effective argument in favor of opening by the State the Ladies' College, at Columbus. Mississippi has also an Agricultural-Mechanical College, which is already regarded as a great success, especially in its devotion to the interests of agriculture; so that, for want of room, it has twice the number of applicants that can be received.
The best provision for manual training is found at Tulane University, New Orleans, under the wise administration of President Wm. Preston Johnson. Though it is but five years since the institution was established, here are already the broadest foundations for industrial education among the whites to be found in the South. President Johnson says: “In our special condition in Louisiana, where manual training has been almost wholly neglected, and where the demands are urgent for an education that will enable our more intelligent youth to take the lead in industrial enterprises of every kind, we are pursuing a policy, which, though practical, is neither sordid nor narrow, but essentially liberal and wise. Manual training is an integral part of the general education offered our pupils, thus securing the benefits of physical training, directing these at the same time to useful ends. Hence manual training is made compulsory on all students who enter the high-school and college mechanical course. This compulsory feature, which recognizes labor, dignifies it. It is not intended to teach trades to young men, but to make them experts in the principles and handicraft of wood-work, iron-working, and machine construction. The appliances in our workshops are as nearly perfect, and the scheme of instruction is as thorough, as in any institution in the United States, so that our students may be better prepared for the battle of life, and with a higher conception of the dignity of labor."
40-N. E. A.
Coming from a representative of an eminent and aristocratic family of the South, this advocacy of the dignity of labor, and of the importance of industrial education as the means of creating that sentiment, is striking and hopeful. These arguments and their successful application in the Tulane University have exerted a wide influence in the South. The first year that manual training was made obligatory, only six malcontents, out of about 200, resigned rather than submit to do "work beneath a gentleman." Since that first year, there has been no opposition or objection to such work. My space forbids describing or even naming all the colleges and schools now giving manual training. Ten Southern States have organized an agricultural and mechanical department in connection with their State universities. Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas now support separate agricultural and mechanical colleges. The admirable industrial department of Washington University, St. Louis, is well known. The Miller Institute, in Albemarle county, Virginia, and the School of Technology, at Atlanta, Georgia, are among the leading new institutions of this kind.
The need of industrial education at the South is greatest with the colored people. Freedom brings its perils as well as privileges. To them as slaves, labor was menial and demeaning, and a life of ease and indolence was their ideal of freedom. For them it is a long step to reach the true idea of the dignity of labor, and its vital relations to thrift and virtue, and to all human excellence and progress. Emancipation meant a millennium of ease, as well as of independence. They did not realize that voluntary industry and virtue are as near akin as idleness and crime. In slavery there was little chance or motive for economy, thrift, or foresight; for self-support was unnecessary, if not impossible. Take no thought for the morrow, was literally the rule. The horizon was bounded by to-day. Corn, cotton, tobacco, or sugar being
the staples, the great majority, as field hands, had only simple and monotonous work, and learned to do nothing else. Hence they need industrial training far more than the whites. The whole South is now learning the need of more diversified husbandry, as well as more varied trades and manufactures. The colored youth in schools, and especially in the many excellent institutions aided by Northern philanthropy, like Fisk University in this city (Nashville), should be prepared to be leaders in this great move
It is a good sign, that they are beginning to feel its importance, and take to tools easily and eagerly. In many happy instances I have seen how skilled industry tells on their manhood, on their self-respect, self-reliance, and self-support. When among the colored people one hears touching stories of toils, struggles and successes told with such an air of conscious triumph as wins your admiration of their genuine heroism, for true heroes are often found in the humblest walks of life.
I was specially interested in hearing one of the ablest and most influential editors in the whole South say: “The hope of the colored man in the South lies in education, especially in agricultural, mechanical, and technical education. Great strides have been made by the colored race during the last few years, and now their advancement goes hand in hand with the advancement and prosperity of the whole Southern country.”
No institution has done so much to achieve this great result, and to promote this sentiment, as the Normal and Agricultural Institute, at Hampton, Virginia. The
power of industrial education to elevate such a race has had a better and fuller illustration than was ever given elsewhere in the same limits of time. A review of the last twenty years' work at Hampton shows most remarkable results in both industrial and school training. As one of the trustees at the outset, I know well its early history, and have watched its later progress with increasing interest. There has here been a close interdependence between the shop and the school-room. Every scholar is required to learn some productive trade or industry, and all receive fair wages for their work. Many poor students pay their own way. Thus, last year about 500 students earned and were paid nearly $50,000. These earnings are a moral as well as material advantage to them. The prime question is not, what the student can do for the shop and the farm, but what they can do for him in increasing his productive power. Thus many poor students who pay their school-bills in labor, make their poverty a means of grace, for through this training in self-help come skill, character, conscious power, and success. The influence of Hampton is not measured by the statistics of its 600 students, or over 600 graduates, or its 2,000 stưdents not completing ihe full course, nor by the 800 teachers it has sent out, or the 25,000 youth who now come annually under their instructions. Hampton's best influence has been in two other and most important lines. It is recognized as a model for the scores of kindred schools since established so widely through the South. Still more: Hampton has demonstrated to the country the value of the union of work and study, of industrial training and education, especially for the elevation of the colored race. The income of the Slater Fund is given only to those schools which provide industrial training. The income of the Daniel Hand Fund, of a million, is devoted to primary, industrial, and normal education. That fund should be recognized as a child of Hampton. Mr. Hand has often told me that it was the success of Hampton, and the prominence there given to industrial education, that first determined the object of his benefaction. The training there given in varied husbandry and constructive carpentering has led a large proportion of its graduates to acquire land and build homes, and their prosperity, compared with the ignorant people around them, furnishes practical and needed object lessons. Skilled industry will tend to improve their homes, so often dismal, dirty, one-room cabins, where, herding like beasts, the decencies of life cannot be. One of their most urgent needs is the improvement of their homes, if that rich Saxon word may be applied to their wretched huts, often with no chance for light or air, except through an open door, or the chinks in the rough boards.
In all ages, and in all lands, the dwellings of the people have been the index of their barbarism or the measure of their civilization. Christianity has ever marked its triumphs over paganism by improving the homes of its converts. That will prove a practical gospel that shall help the colored people to realize that the chief privilege of life is the creation of happy, tasteful homes. When such is one's ideal, and his home becomes his pet and pride, life has higher significance and value. Such an ideal brings new cheer and inspiration for one's daily duties.
Industrial training will lead to the more general ownership of land, as well as homes. The negro is getting a passion for the acquisition of land, which ought to be encouraged to the utmost; for when he has gained a homestead, he has given bonds to society for good behavior. When he carries the rewards of honest toil to his own house, he and his gain a new lesson of self-respect. The negroes already own over three million acres of land. Even this wide domain is not a tithe of what they need, and will have— for the acquisition of land is the new rage with the race. The vast majority are still ignorant, poor, landless hirelings and unskilled laborers. Instead of the evils at first apprehended from multiplying small holdings, the best people in the South now admit that here is a new element of prosperity to the negro, and of security to all.
It is a fact of immense significance, that public sentiment in the South is turning in favor of both the education and manual training of the negroes. The Southern people are the natural friends and helpers of the freedmen. Once enlisted, they can help in this work as no outsiders can do. The gift of seventeen millions of dollars from the North since the war, for the education of the negro, is a grand record of Christian philanthropy; but Southern tax-payers are doing still more by maintaining 16,000 free colored
schools, at an annual cost of over three millions of dollars. Since 1868 the Southern States have appropriated $37,000,000 to support common and normal schools for colored people. Of this sum, over ninety per cent. has come out of the pockets of the whites. Instead of reproaches for the dead issues of the past, let us, forgetting those things that are behind, press forward to those better things that are before. This great work is only just begun, and there is an urgent demand for all that both the North and South can do. Never before in the history of the world did any Christian nation have within itself so large and promising a field of truly missionary work, the opportunity of uplifting such a mass of ignorance, and yet so accessible — speaking the same language-s0 plastic, docile, and receptive.
THE PROGRESS OF MANUAL TRAINING.
In reporting upon the progress made in manual training during the past year, Mr. WOODWARD said that he should refer only to such institutions as had inaugurated manual work since the San Francisco meeting.
First comes the splendidly-equipped Cogswell Polytechnic College, in San Francisco itself, which has had a most successful year.
In Oakland, California, Mr. Crawford has introduced manual training into his large private school.
In Salt Lake City, a course in manual training has been added to the academy, with good results.
Springfield, Massachusetts, has greatly enlarged its facilities for manual training, and has introduced a high order of drawing.
In the public schools of Beardstown, Illinois, regular manual training has been introduced.
In each of the cases mentioned, a graduate of the St. Louis school has been employed.
St. Paul, Minnesota; Albany, New York; Peoria, Illinois; the high school of Des Moines, Iowa; and numerous agricultural and mechanical colleges of high-school grade, have opened manual-training departments.
The State Commissioner appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania has recommended that manual-training classes be organized in connection with all high schools in the State.
Movements are on foot in a hundred towns and cities, to the same end. The great and most serious difficulty in all such cases, is the lack of properly-trained teachers. There is to-day in session in Toledo a small summer school, in which experienced teachers are learning the nature and methods of teaching manual training.
Mr. Woodward urged all the friends of manual training to cultivate fel