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JOURNAL OF EDUCATION.
GOLDENERA, VOL. XLVI. SAN FRANCISCO: SEPTEMBER, 1900.
New SERIES: VOL, V
A Trip to the National Educational Association.
BY THOS. J. KIRK.
SACRAMENTO, CAL., August 17, 1900. Editor Western Journal of Education, San Francisco :— Having returned on the 13th instant from my southern and eastern trip, I notice in the August number of the JOURNAL that you have promised your readers an account of my journey. So I presume I cannot, if I would, avoid making some report.
We went to Charleston by the southern route, thru El Paso and New Orleans, and whoever would see Dixie, particularly southern Texas and Louisiana, in the luxuriance of summer vegetation, see the rice fields, the sugar cane and cotton plantations in their greatest beauty, should always choose that extreme southern route, - the “Sunset Route." I said we" Mrs. Kirk accompanied me.
We found the heat and dust no worse going that way than we did returning home over a route fifteen hundred miles further north.
I cannot conceive of the valley of the Amazon under the equatorial sun being richer or more rank in plant and tree growth than is that portion of the country thru which the Southern Pacific passes for two hundred or more miles before reaching New Orleans. The elements for the most exuberant growth, soil, heat, and moisture, are there in superabundance, and the sunshine between showers is sufficient to give to all the richest color of green.
New Orleans is a busy mart and our school geography pictures of it with scores of darkies among the cotton bales, watermelons and molasses barrels along the river front, with steamboats on the river and in the distance, are true to life. Canal Street, into which nearly all other streets run, is much wider than Market Street in San Francisco, and thru the center of it, separating street-car tracks and driveways, extends a beautiful grass plot, wbich adds much to the adornment of the city.
The street cars seem to do the most thriving business after nightfall, for that is the time the women and children come out to ride. Whether for looks or for comfort or both, all the women remove their hats and bonnets while taking these evening rides. I do not claim to be a judge of womanly
beauty, I think all women beautiful; but my wife remarked that those New Orleans women had the fairest and most lovely complexions of any class of women she ever saw.
From New Orleans, Montgomery was on our way, and we stopped there for no other reason than that we were told that Montgomery is a typical old Southern city, and we wanted to visit such a place, and so we found it. We were there over Sunday, and after church we went to see the home of Jefferson Davis and to the Capitol building, which for a few months during 1861 was the meeting place of the Contederate Congress. The janitor in charge was an old battle-scarred Confederate, a type of that numerous class in the South that admit defeat, but spurn the idea of having been conquered in the War of the Rebellion.
He pointed out to us the brassplate at the front door of the Capitol which has been laid in the stone step upon which Jefferson Davis stood when he took the oath of office as President of the Southern Confederacy; also the room, with glass doors, which has been sacredly set apart for the personal effects of Mr. Davis. In it were seen an old-fashioned bedstead, a writing table, several other articies of furniture, a sword of Mexican War record, his last suit of Confederate gray, a military hat, and other pieces of wearing apparel. We were surprised to find how the memory of Davis is cherished all thru the South.
From Montgomery we went to Tuskegee, about thirty miles distant, to visit the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, founded and presided over by Booker T. Washington, the famous colored educator. The visit to this place afforded us, I think, more interest and educational profit than anything else on our somewhat extended southern and eastern trip.
Mr. Washington himself, tho informed of our coming, was obliged to be absent. His talented wife and his brother received us and showed us all that we could observe in one day, in a manner so courteous, so gracious, and yet so unostentatious that will cause the remembrance of this visit to be one of the most pleasant recollections in our lives.
I feel that I cannot so well describe the work that is being done there as was described by Major W. W. Screws in 1898 in the Montgomery Advertiser, and believing that the teachers and school officials of California will be interested to learn somewhat in detail what Booker T. Washington, an exslave, has accomplished, and with his able assistants he is now doing in a special manner for the colored people and the cause of general education in the South, I will ask that you print Major Screws' report.
I can verify every statement that he makes, and would state that since 1898 several important features in methods and three or four large brick buildings to meet the growing demands have been added. The attendance, too, has increased by two or three hundred. I will mention the very commodious church lately built and Huntington Hall, the latter largely the gift of Mrs. Collis P. Huntington for the use of women students, was nearing completion at the date of our visit. The fact that all buildings and all improvements are the work of the students should constantly be kept in mind.
“In the early part of the year 1881, there came to Tuskegee a very quiet, unassuming colored man, for the purpose of establishing an institution for the education of the colored boys and girls. From the day of his arrival, when he had only modest surroundings, until the present, when his name and that of the institution over which he presides is known over the entire continent, Booker T. Washington has had the absolute confidence of the white people of that community. There is never a word of barsh criticism of him or his methods. He has been singularly imbued with a desire to cultivate good relations between the two races, and to be of lasting benefit to his own people. He is succeeding in both undertakings. There is nothing of the agitator about him. His ways are those of pleasantness and peace, and as far as his voice and example prevail, there will always be the best of feeling between this white and black people of the country. Fred Douglass and some other colored men have figured as orators and officeholders, but it is no exaggeration to say that Booker T. Washington far surpasses any of them who have at all figured in a public way. He does something for his people and his country, while the others have done mostly for themselves. The modest colored man of Tuskegee deserves to be classed as the foremost man of his race in the world. Evidence of his earnestness and sincerity of purpose is furnished by an incident that occurred not long ago. His salary is fixed by the board of trustees, several of whom are prominent citizens of Tuskegee. In view of the immense amount of work he was doing, it was thought proper to increase his salary. When informed of this action, he promptly declined it, saying that the amount he was receiving was ample compensation, and that he did not desire any more.
“The people of the late slave states have to contend with the race question, and whoever pursues a course and policy calculated to remove difficulties, and to establish kind relations, is a public benefactor. No free people will remain in ignorance, and it has long since been demonstrated that the Negroes will receive such education as opportunity offers. Alabama makes no discrimination in the distribution of school money, for it is paid out per capita, and every school child, whether white or black, gets the benefit of the sum to which entitled. It is a blessing for the control of the colored schools to fall into such hands as Booker T. Washington. It can be said to his credit that colored teachers are found all over Alabama who were educated at his institution, and in every instance the white people commend them for instilling correct notions into their pupils and for impressing upon them the fact that they cannot prosper unless the white neighbors prosper and unless a proper understanding exists between them. It is infinitely better to have teachers who have such notions, than those who would seek to create prejudice, which would inevitably lead to trouble.
“As stated at the outset, this institution began operations in 1881, and with only one small frame building. The Advertiser has published a great deal about it in the last few years, and is readers are fairly well acquainted with its object and scope. In a brief way a pre-entation is here made of what is now being done at this institution :
“The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute has, up to date, enrolled 987 students. This does not include the Primary Department, known as the Model School, which has an enrollment of 235. The work carried on at the institution is a high English course, combined with the industrial training, so arranged and correlated that one department does not interfere with the other, but aims to assist the other in every feature. The institution now has eighty-six officers and teachers in the various academic and industrial departments. There are over eight hundred boarders in the institution, about three-fifths males and two-fifths females.
“The property consists of 2,300 acres of land and forty-five buildings, large and small. The large buildings are Phelp's Hall, the Bible Training Department; Porter Hall, containing dormitories and recitation-rooms; Science Hall, containing recitation-rooms and dormitories ; Cassedy Hall, where most of the shops are located ; Alabama Hall, the largest of all the buildings, containing the large dining-room and sixty-five rooms for girls. The Seniors' Home, Willow Cottage, and the Annex are also used for girls' dormitories. The Agricultural Hall contains recitation-rooms and dormitories for boys. The large auditorium, which is now nearing completion, is the finest structure on the grounds. There are a number of small cottages used for male students' dormitories, and teachers and officers' residences. The laundry is 42 x 64 feet and three stories high. The first floor is used for assorting and washing the clothes; the third story is used as a laundryroom. All of the largest buildings are built of brick manufactured by the students on the school grounds, and all the work done in constructing buildings on the grounds, - both large and small, – is done by the students, under their different instructors.
“From the beginning, the industrial work has been empbasized, to prepare tradesmen, who have been elevated to a very high point among their different trades. The government of the institution bas felt that in order to put the Negro race on its proper footing in the South, and ir order that they may hold their own,' that they must be well educated in industrial pursuits, and that they should be carried as fast as their ability would allow them, in order that they might become leaders in the various sections of the South. The industries taught at the institution for the male pupils are as follows :
“ Tailoring, where all the uniforms are made for the students, citizens' suits for teachers and a great number of the people in the town of Tuskegee.
“ Harness-making in all of its branches, from the common farm harness to the highest grade of coach and express harness. In this department thirteen pupils are being instructed daily. Ready sale is found in tbe surrounding country for all the goods manufactured, and some orders are received from a distance.
". The shoe making department, which keeps constantly employed sixteen pupils, is receiving more orders than it can fill, from teachers, students, and citizens.
The tinning department is where all of the tinware for the institution is made ; also there is a great demand from both the people in the town and the surrounding country for tinware manufactured in it. At present only thirteen pupils receive instruction in it. This department also does all the tin-roofing for the institution.
“The painting department is kept busy painting buggies and carriages manufactured at the institution for sale, keeps up the repair work, and paints all of the new buildings as fast as they are constructed on the grounds. There is a great demand on it from the citizens of the town to paint buggies, carriages, etc.
" The wheelwright department has eighteen pupils working at present, and has completed already this year six new wagons, which have all been sold. It turns out a large number of wagons, buggies, phaetons, dumpcarts, wheelbarrows, hand-carts, and other work in that line, besides doing a great deal of repairing for the country people.
“The blacksmith department is where all of the carriages, buggies, wagons, wheelbarrows, and other new work from the wheelwright department is ironed off. It also does extensive horseshoeing for people in town. In fact, it is the only shop in this locality where first-class horseshoeing is done. The students are not only taught the principles of how to make and put on a shoe, but are taught the anatomy of a horse's foot. This shop is 66x40 feet, and contains eleven forges and all the improved apparatus for a well equipped shop. It has sold wagons in several of the adjacent states.
“The foundry, which was started only three years ago, is now coming to the front. It has two small cupolas with a capacity to hold 125 pounds of melted iron each. It makes all of the small castings used in the institutions, such as andirons, window-weights, etc. Castings for six small three-horse power engines and two pumps have been made in this department.
"The machine shop, which was started two years ago, has a good outfit for turning out machinery, such as engines, pumps, etc., and does a great deal of repair work on engines, pumps, and other kinds of machines for the surrounding country. Nine pupils are daily instructed in the various lines of such work in this department.
“The carpentry. department, which is, perbaps, the largest department connected with the institution, gives daily instruction to thirty-seven young men in the line of house-building and making furniture of different kinds. In fact, it furnishes all the furniture for the students' dormitories, and tables and seats for the various recitation-rooms. All of the wood work done on the different buildings, from the beginning of the institution, has been done by this department.
“The institution owns a well-equipped sawmill. It cuts its own timber, and hauls it to the mill to be sawed up and used in the construction of the various buildings and furniture for the institution. Eleven pupils receive instruction in this kind of work daily.
"At the brickyard all of the brick used in the various buildings on the grounds are made, and on an average 10,000 are sold to the people every month in various sections of the county. An order has just been received from a gentleman in town for 150,000 brick with which to construct a two