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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 22, 1901)
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Booker Washington's Work,
Tho Springfield, Mass., Republican contains an
interesting account of tlio last annual conference
at the Tuskegco Institute. For ton years this
conference has boon held at Tuskegco, Ala.,
and Bookor T. Washington has been its leading
spirit. Tho institute is really a part of tho edu
cational work which has made Mr. Washington
tho most conspicuous living member of his race.
Moro than two thousand negroes, representing
farmers and artisans as well as teachers and stu
dents, wore assomblcd in tho chapel and the time
was devoted to short speeches, caoh participant
presenting in a few words his own experience or
his views upon the subjects under discussion.
Mr. Washington reviewed the progress of the
colored raco during tho last half century and pre
dicted oven greater improvement during tho next
fifty years. Ho warned his hearers against self
indulgence and going into debt; and urged upon
them tho importance of saving their money and
buying a homo.
Reports wore presontod from other similar
sooioties; a Texan woman described a society
formed in her state, with twenty-five hundred
members, which had purchased fifty thousand
acres of land and was doing much to help poor
men to seouro homes.
Tho resolutions adopted by the conference
represent so well tho purpose and spirit of tho
gathering, as expressed by tho speeches, that they
are given in full:
1. "Wo have reached tho 10th annual session of
tho Tuskegco negr.o conference. During all tho years
since tho conferonce was started, we have clung
steadily to ita original purpose, namely, to encourage
tho buying of land, getting rid of the one-room cabin
and tho abuso of tho mortgage system, the raising
of food supplies, building better school houses, the
lengthening of tho school term and tho securing of
bettor teachers and preachers, tho doing away with
sectarian prejudice, tho improvement of the moral
condition of tho masses and the encouragement of
friendly relations between the races. In all these
particulars wo aro convinced from careful investiga
tion that substantial progress is constantly being
made by the masses throughout tho South.
3. Wo would urge our people not to become dis
couraged while tho raco is passing from what was
largely a political basis to an economic one, as a
foundation for citizenship.
8. Wo urge, since the country school is the back
bone of tho intelligence of tho masses, that no effort
bo spared to increase its efficacy. Any injury to the
country schools brings discontent to the people and
leads them to move to tho cities.
4. Statistics show that crime, as a rule, is not
committed by those who have received literary, moral
and industrial training.
5. Regardless of .how others may act, we urge
upon our raco a rigid observance of the law of the
land, and that we bear in mind that lawlessness
begets crime and hardens and deadens not only the
conscience of the law-breaker, but also the conscience
of the community.
6. Tho rapid riso in tho price of land throughout
the South makes it doubly important that we do not
delay in buying homes, and tho increased demand for
skilled workmen of every kind makes it necessary
that a larger proportion of our young people prepare
themselves for trades and domestic employment
before they are crowded out of these occupations.
7. Community and county fairs, as well as local
conferences and farmers' institutes, should be organ
ized as rapidly and widely as possible.
8. Wo call tho attention of our women, especial
ly, to the wealth there is for them in tho garden tho
cow the pi and the poultry-yard. '
f. We note with pleasure that landlords are
building better houses for their tenants. We feel
sure that all such improvements are a paying invest
ment from every point of view.
Mr. Washington's work is worthy of all com
mendation. His school, with thirteen hundred
students" and nearly a hundred teachers, is a splen
did monument to his own energy, ability and
lofty purpose, as well as proof that the negro's
hope lies in his intellectual and moral devel
opment. Kace prejudice and race pride are such that no
white man could do the work that Mr. Washing
ion is doing. No white man could so secure the
confidence of the negros or win their affection,
arid without confidence and affection little can be
done. It would be fortunate for the country if
Mr. Washington's work at Tuskegee could be
duplicated in othe southern states. Tho white
people of the south have thus far furnished
almost all tho money used in the education of the
negros and they have, of course, an immediate
and powerful interest in the uplifting of the race.
But the work which is being done by Bookor
Washington ought to appeal strongly to the
philanthropists of the North, many of whom
have been quick to condemn the southern whites,
but slow to aid them in solving the tremendous
problem which was thrown upon them by eman
Prof. Ross on Cheap Labor.
The dismissal of Prof. Ross from Stanford
University occurred before The Commoner- en
tered upon its journalistic career and its readers
may not have seen the speech which led Mrs. Stan
ford to demand his resignation.
She had been more or less hostile to him since
1896 because of his opposition to the gold stand
ard, and this hostility had been increased by the
i-Tofessor's advocacy of the municipal ownership
of municipal franchises; but the speech on coolie
labor was the last grievance, and, added to the
others, caused her to protest against his retention
as a member of the faculty.
It has been the custom of western railroads to
employ Asiatic labor, and Mrs. Stanford prob
ably felt that Mr. Ross' remarks were a reflection
upon her husband's business methods.
Of course, there is no excuse for her conduct
unless the university which she has so liberally
endowed was intended not for an 'institution of
learning, but as a literary bureau for the vindica
tion of Mr. Stanford's financial operations, but
aside from their bearing on the university contro
versy, Prof. Ross' words are valuable because
they present the Chinese question from his point
The speech was delivered in the city of San
Francisco and the following extract is taken
from the report given by Organized Labor:
But what American labor objects to is exposure
to competition with a cheaper man. The coolie can
not outdo him, but ho can underlive him. He can
not produce more, but he can consume less. The
Oriental can elbow the American to one side in the
common occupations because ho has fewer wants. To
lot him go on, to let the American be driven by coolie
competition, to check the American birth-rate in or
der that the Japanese birth-rate shall not be checked
to let an opportunity for one American boy be occu
pied by three Orientals so that the American will not
add that boy to his family, is to reverse the I rren
of progress, to commit race suicide, Everything w,
call progress lias helped to develop man vrho can pro
duce much and can consume much; it has abhorred
the cheap man. It has favored and fostered not tho
man of crude palate, of tough stomach, of low organ
ization, of few wants and of little intelligence and
energy, but tho superior man.
Starting with tho Oriental peoples of Egypt and
Babylonia, civilization has in 3,000 years swept around
the globe, insisting on better, finer and brainier men
as it went, and now by tho waters of the Pacific it is
face to face with peoples like the Chinese and Hindoos
and the Japanese, who are nearest to.reproducing the
economic conditions of those ancient peoples which
rocked the cradle of civilization.
Shall we allow the process of uplifting tho com
mon man to be defeated by this confrontation? Shall
wo suffer the work already done to be nullified?
Shall we look idly upon this inverted competition of
the cheap man and the dear man, the low-grade man
and the high-grade man, and allow tho survival of
the unfittest to proceed unchecked?
A policy of restriction on immigration is not, un
der such circumstances, unfair or predatory or blame
worthy. Remember, we do not assail tho Oriental
peoples. We do not propose to treat tho Orient as
the powers are treating China. We are not grObing
lands or seizing ports, or extorting railway contracts,
or forcing trade at the cannon's mouth. Wo enter
tain no emnity and cherish no designs against the
trans-pacific peoples. We hope they will prosper and
elevate their working people by the means vre have
used. But we are absolutely determined that Cali
fornia, the latest and loveliest seat of the Aryan
race, shall not become, if wo can help it, tho theater
of such a stern wolfish struggle for existence as pre
vails throughout the Orient.
As this week opened with St. Patrick's Day
it is appropriate that this number should contain
Moore's beautiful poem:
The Shamrock. ,
Through Erin's Isle,
To sport awhile, . Mia.
. As Love and Valor wandered, - &'
With Wit the sprite, if-
Whose quiver bright
A thousand arrows squandered.
Where'eer they pass,
A triple grass
Shoots up, with dew-drops streaming,
As softly green
As emeralds seen
Through purest crystal gleaming.
Oh, the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock!
Of bard and chief,
Old Erin's native Shamrock I
Savs Valor. " Rp.n '
They spring for me,
Those leafy gems of morning! "
Says Love, "No, no,
For me thftv rrrnrxr
My fragrant path adorning, n
But Wit perceives ' ;,
The triple leaves,
And cries, "Oh, do not sever
A type that blends
Three godlike friends,
Love, Valor, Wit forever! "
Oh, the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock!
Of bard and chief,
Old Erin's native Shamrock!
So firmlv fond
May last the bond
They wove that morn together,
And ne'er may fall
One drop of gall
On Wit's celestial feather.
May Love, as twine
ins uowers divine,
Of thorny falsehood weed 'em;
May Valor ne'er
His standard rear
" .. Against the cause of Freedoml
Uli, the Shamrock, tho green, immortal Shamrock!
Of bard and ohicf.
. Old Eriu'i nativ Shamrock
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