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    CASTE IN INSTITUTIONS DEVOTED TO THE EDUCATION
  --  OF THE COLORED RACE.   Table of Contents     CASTE IN THE COLORED COLLEGES.

Mossell, N.F.
The Work of Afro-American Women

- CASTE IN INSTITUTIONS DEVOTED TO THE EDUCATION -- OF THE COLORED RACE.
- SELF-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO.


SELF-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO.

A Successful Alabama School.

I came to Tuskegee, a characteristic Southern village of about 3000 inhabitants, for the sake of seeing the most successful effort of the Negro at self-education in this country. I speak here of one large school which has been under Negro control from its inception, at which everything is done neatly, thoroughly, and with intelligent despatch. That school is the Tuskegee Normal Colored School. Here you have a small Hampton, which was founded, and has always been manned by the colored race.

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This Baby Hampton has come into existence mysteriously, and almost as suddenly as did Aladdin's Palace.-- Chicago Inter-Ocean .

In answer to the third objection, the colored man silently points to like institutions among the whites, of like grade, with the same number of graduates and the same number of years of growth, with their array of recruits from their own ranks, and he obstinately holds, in the face of the facts brought out by this survey, either the institutions for colored people are educationally a failure, or caste prejudice bars the doors against their colored graduates.

The fourth objection--the poverty that prevents endowments--must also fade to less brightness in the face of the substantial aid secured for Fisk University through the Jubilee Singers, and to Lincoln University and Hampton Institute through the eloquent discussions on the Negro problem, delivered from time to time by their graduates.

The last objection, that the Negro has a lack of confidence in himself and race, may appear at first sight to have some foundation, as the teachings of Slavery went far to engender a distrust in the minds of the race concerning their own abilities; but this lack of confidence has been met by ministers, lawyers, and physicians of the race, and has given way to an earnest pride in their success, and the belief that the presence

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of a fair percentage of colored men in the responsible position of Professors in these institutions would have beneficial results, and constitute one of the strongest reasons the alumni have for desiring this new departure in the management of such institutions.

The recent series of articles. "On the Negro," appearing in the N. Y. Independent , show conclusively that the Negro has confidence in himself and his race, and in their ultimate success. A gradually developed but wide-spread feeling of dissatisfaction concerning this state of affairs has been coming to the surface in the alumni meetings of the various institutions for the last five years. In the case of Lincoln, Howard, Hampton and Biddle, the discussions have become public, the feeling has run high, and in each case the local press and best thinkers of both races are on the side of the alumni.

In the late discussion at Howard University, Washington, D. C., upon the filling of a vacancy occurring in the faculty, in answer to the spirit of opposition shown, said Senator Hoar: "I think the interests of the colored race will be much promoted as its members take the place of honor, requiring capacity, in other pursuits outside of politics."

Rev. Dr. Francis Grimke, in reviewing the circumstances of that hour, exclaims: "It was a spectacle which I shall never forget; I saw Gen. Kirkpatrick, an ex-Confederate

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General, an ex-slaveholder, a member of the Democratic party, pleading for the appointment of a black man as Professor of Greek, under the very shadow of the nation's capitol, while old Abolitionists were diligently seeking to propagate the damnable heresy that it was immodest and presumptuous for black men to aspire to such positions, and by their voice and vote showing that they were determined to discourage as far as possible such aspiration. An ex-confederate General, an ex-slaveholder, a member of the Democratic party, and yet the most pronounced advocate of Negro advancement, on the Trustee Board of a black institution, made up largely of Northern men and Republicans! An ex-slaveholder, and yet, with the most advanced ideas, with the clearest conception of the true policy to be pursued in the management of such institutions." The closing words of his address on that memorable occasion were these--turning to his white brethren, he said: "We must decrease in these institutions, but they must increase."

The last arraignment of this spirit of caste was at the alumni meeting of Lincoln University, held June, 1886. The matter had been broached to the faculty and trustees repeatedly. The name of a thoroughly competent member of the alumni was presented to the faculty for professor, to fill a certain vacancy. The fullest endorsement accompanied the recommendation

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of the alumni, but the whole matter was treated with bitter contempt, not even receiving a reply. A member of the Board of Trustees, when approached on the subject, admitted that possibly in the far future colored men would occupy such positions at Lincoln, but for the present it was not the policy of the institution. "The faculty of Lincoln," said he, "are as one family, and the admission of a colored professor and his family would be objectionable." On one occasion a young man, a graduate of this institution, being requested to speak, at the commencement exercises, broached the subject, offering to give $700 towards the endowment of a certain chair if occupied by a colored man. The speech was resented by the faculty, and the speaker was given to understand that the trustees and not the alumni made the appointments, and that hereafter he would not be invited to speak.

This state of affairs was freely commented upon by the alumni, and has created an actual enmity between the opposing forces. The alumni have endeavored to find the actual sentiment of the local clergy, and the wealthy patrons and friends of education on the matter; the following interviews give a partial idea of the real state of feeling regarding the matter:--

Boston , June 21, 1886.

Sir :-- Referring to your note of the 17th inst., upon the question of caste in colored institutions, I can

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answer in three words. I see no reason why a colored man, whose talents, requirements, and conduct entitle him to a position socially and intellectually in scientific institutions, should not be received and in the same way as if he were not colored.

Yours truly,

Benj. F. Butler.

If the equity of the well-worn balancer, cęteris paribus (all the other qualifications on a par), be admitted, expressed or understood, then colored men and women should have a preference in every colored institution. We go further, in non-essentials a slightly imperfect par should not amount to a perfect bar.

--Editor St. Joseph's Advocate, Baltimore, Md.

The following is the opinion of Geo. D. McCreary, a resident of Philadelphia, who has given largely to educational institutions;--

"My opinion is that the question of color should not enter into the management of the Lincoln or other educational institutions for colored students, and if fully qualified for the positions, no objection should be made to their becoming members of the faculties or trustees after graduation. The opposition to such a policy is indicative, either that the work of the institution is not thorough and the graduates only superficially educated, or is based on the low plane of objection on account of color, with perhaps the desire on

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the part of the incumbents to keep the places for themselves by preventing competition."

The following is an editorial comment from the Philadelphia Press , of June, 1886:--


    CASTE IN INSTITUTIONS DEVOTED TO THE EDUCATION
  --  OF THE COLORED RACE.   Table of Contents     CASTE IN THE COLORED COLLEGES.