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a while ago.
you were in mine, knowing what I know now, don't you think I wouldn't help you, any of you, all of you. I have had men to come to me after I had started to this night school-it is just starting, that is all there is to it, and if you can get started you can go on-after I had started I had men like you, there weren't any Congressmenyes, there was one Congressman, too, United States Congressman J. J. McSwain, who told me if he could help me in any way he would do it, and I believe he will help me with this thing if he can, and I can not help but believe that you men will help us.
Now, after seeing and hearing what people have to say I know you can vote for it,
you can vote for it just as good as you can vote for money to be paid out for these things this gentleman spoke about
You can pay it out for us. We are a part of the Government. I want to ask you people to help us, to come across 50-50, and I will guarantee you will never regret it.
The CHAIRMAN. Are your father and mother living? Mr. Brown. No, sir; they have been dead 20 years. The CHAIRMAN. How old were you when they died? Mr. BROWN. About 30. The CHAIRMAN. Could your father and mother read and write! Mr. Brown. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Was there a school at this mill? Mr. BROWN. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. When was the first time you started to school at all?
Mr. BROWN. When they started this school at night. I never went to school a day before that in my life.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, you saw the need of education before you started to school?
Mr. Brown. Sure; but where could I get it working in the mill!
The CHAIRMAN. How many hours did you work when you went to work in the mill ?
Mr. BROWN. About 13 and 13 hours, when I was 10 and 12 and 15 years old.
Mr. RobsION. I notice that two or three of you came in here, and you all claim to come from the hill country of South Carolina. You don't lay it on the hills, do you, that you did not learn to read and write?
Mr. Brown. Not at all. Now, let me tell you
Mr. ROBSION. I want to ask this further question. Do the only people in South Carolina that can not read and write all come from the hills, and are all the folks from the plains and lowlands able to read and write?
Mr. BROWN. There are a whole lot of them that can not read and write.
Mr. Robson. I know in my State the men that live in the hills have more sense than the men who come from the lowlands. I don't want you to put all the ignorant people in the hills.
Mr. Brown. No, sir; not by any means." If they did a whole lot in North Carolina would be ignorant sure enough, for I have been up in some of the mountains there.
Miss GRAY. I might say that the group we have represented here came along before we had any labor laws.
Mr. RoBsion. You did just like we would do in Kentucky; if we wanted to make a good showing, we would go up in the hills and get the folks from the hills.
Miss GRAY. We have a swamp county represented, too; Mrs. Mishoe came from the swamps.
Mr. McSwain. Miss Gray, we were delighted in South Carolina that we had the Government child labor law, but I believe that has been declared unconstitutional. However, our mill men found by that time that child labor was not profitable, and they don't want them in the Mills. So we have a child labor law now in the State, and we are thankful to the National Government for pointing
Miss GRAY. That illustrates what we are trying to do. I was visiting one afternoon one of these schools where the teacher was teaching a group of mothers, and one little boy who came along with his mother insisted on staying. The teacher said “If you are going to stay, then sit down right here.” The mother was taking snuff. She had some snuff in her mouth, and she would do this way every once in a while over the little fellow's head [indicating). Finally little fellow looked up with the brightest face and said, "Ma, I wish you would aim a little higher; you are hitting my head every time.” Let us aim a little higher and give our people of the country, our people of the town, old and young, all alike, a chance. I thank you. [Applause.]
Miss WILLIAMS. Mr. Chairman, I wish to say to these friends of mine that we are very grateful to them for coming here and striking these telling blows for this bill. They are my people, with all the pride and traditions of my race.
The next speaker is Mr. John K. Norton, head of the research division of the National Education Association, a young man trained through many years of preparation and experience, and assisted by Dr. Margaret M. Alltucker, who will take care of the charts they will exhibit. He will now address you.
STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN K. NORTON.
Mr. NORTON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I want to take just long enough to present some charts and some tables for the record that will give some of the facts that are back of this bill, particularly relative to illiteracy and some of the other specific educational factors that this bill deals with. I want to present first some charts on illiteracy.
This first chart shows the rank of the United States in illiteracy among foreign nations. It was obtained only with considerable difficulty, by correspondence with the governments of other countries and by searches through various documents, and it represents
the best information I could get as to the amount of illiteracy in foreign countries, advanced countries. I would like to read one statement in connection with this that is taken from our own Federal census, the Thirteenth Census, volume 1, page 1139, which states that in some of the more advanced European countries illiteracy is so uncommon that questions regarding it are not included in the general census enumerations.
The CHAIRMAN. For the sake of the record, have you got these charts on a small scale to give to the stenographer, so that they may go into the record ? PERCENTAGE ILLITERATE
The percentages of illiteracy are for 10 of the most advanced nations and are the latest available. . Illiteracy igures directly comparable to those of our census are diffi. cult to obtain since, as the Federal census states, “in some of the more advanced European countries illiteracy is so uncommon that questions regarding it are not included in the general census enumerations."
Mr. NORTON. They are in the Senate hearings, and I think could be secured. I recently corrected the proofs.
You will notice that among the more advanced countries, with which we would like to compare the United States, that the United States stands tenth in the percentage of illiteracy, being exceeded by those that are given above it. [Indicating on chart.]
Mr. HASTINGS. Would it interrupt you to ask what you mean by illiteracy? Do you mean one who can not read or write or one who has not attained a certain grade?
Mr. NORTON. It means in most cases here the ability to read and write.
Mr. HASTINGS. That is what I wanted to know as to all of those figures.
Mr. NORTON. And a very conservative definition of reading and writing. The Federal census definition of illiteracy is "no schooling whatever.” That is, if you will consult the introduction to the section on illiteracy in the census report, you will find a statement something like this: "Illiterates are those persons who have had no schooling whatever."
That refers, of course, only to those 10 years of age and over, and most of these figures here refer to persons 10 years of age and over. In other words, it is a minimum definition of illiteracy.
If you raise the definition, as was done in the draft, to ability to write letters home and to read newspapers in English, illiteracy would come up to something like 25 per cent. That is, those who could not answer yes to the question whether they could read a newspaper or write a letter home constitute 25 per cent of our population.
The next table gives some outstanding facts on these 5,000,000 illiterates in the United States. In the United States at this time, according to the Federal census, there are 5,000,000 illiterates or 5,000,000 people who have had no schooling whatever. To be exact, there are 4,931,000 who are totally illiterate.
Of course there would be double this number who can read and write a little, but not enough to do it with facility. Then in this table more than half are native-born illiterates, over 3,000,000 of them (pointing out figures on chart].
So our illiteracy problem is not primarily brought in from foreign lands.
Of these three million, 1,800,000 [pointing to figures on chart] are negro, and 1,242,000 are native white illiterates.
You would probably have to double or treble that if you were to include those who have had inadequate schooling to fit them for citizenship in a great democracy. There are nearly half a million minor illiterates, between 10 and 21, which shows that within the last few years we have been manufacturing illiterates in our own country. In other words, this illiteracy does not all come down from previous generations.
Mr. HASTINGS. You say these last are between 10 and 21 years of age? Mr. NORTON. Yes; between 10 and 21.
This next chart goes a little more into detail; it presents illiteracy figures on the State basis. You will probably be interested to know the States that have the most illiterates. You will notice that two
of the first three States in the number of illiterates are Northern States, New York and Pennsylvania.
The lines are graphic representations of the number of illiterates in the different States. New York has far more illiterates than any other State in the Union, nearly half a million. Then comes Georgia, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and a number of the Southern States. Then some of our other States.
Mr. DOUGHTON. Are you still using the same definition as to illiteracy?
ILLITERATES IN UNITED STATES "NO SCHOOLING WHATEVER"
4931,905 TOTAL ILLITERATES
These figures are all from the Federal census. quoted from the census.
The three words at the top are also
Mr. Norton. Yes. I use that rather than the Army draft definition, because there is no question whatever about the people indicated by these figures being really illiterate; they are at the bottom in education; they can not even write their names in most
If I wanted to use the Army draft definition I could put this line way out here [indicating on chart). But this represents absolute illiteracy.
Mr. DOUGHTON. That gives numbers and not percentages?
Mr. Norton. These are numbers, yes; 425,000 in New York, representing those who have had "no schooling whatever." The quotation at the top of the chart is from the Fourteenth Census, volume 3, page 10.
Mr. DOUGHTON. That is for all ages?