Play: Admiring the Waitress

In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,

“We wear the mask that grins and lies.” — Paul Laurence Dunbar

One can subscribe to one of three “Cultures:” an African, a European or an Asian culture. The African culture alone will bring Africans harmony. It is also the most foreign culture to African people in general. A phenomenon such as admiring a waitress has a cultural expression in African culture that differs from its cultural expression in European culture. This play distinguishes the two and the unhappiness it will cause.

Play: Admiring the Waitress
By Onitaset Kumat

Zala: Will I be invited to your wedding?
Katimo: Dear wife, I beg your pardon?
Zala: I see you ogling the waitress. I now only wonder whether you will invite me to the wedding.
Katimo: A man must know when to engage or disengage. Now is the time for the latter.
Zala: Why? I am just asking a question. Will I be invited?
Katimo: (aside) Alas I am weak. (to Zala) There will be no wedding for I am married to you.
Zala: Oh am I in your way?
Katimo: Why do you do this?
Zala: Do what? Ask questions?
Katimo: Can we just enjoy our dinner?
Zala: And the view, I’m sure?
Katimo: You will hurt me.
Zala: And you do not think I am hurt? I’m sitting with my so-called husband and every time the waitress comes by, he sits straight, follows her with his eyes, smiles from ear-to-ear and speaks with an awkward elation, I’m supposed to be fine and dandy about that?
Katimo: Let’s just eat.
Zala: No answer my question. Answer my question. Put down your fork and answer my question.
Katimo: What question?
Zala: You made me forget.
Katimo: As did I. All for the better. Do you want to get our food wrapped up?
Zala: You want me to call that pretty waitress over for you?
Katimo: We can wait. This is a restaurant. Someone will come.
Zala: So true. Here’s your ring. You can give it to her when she comes. That cheap thing spoiled my fingers anyway.
Katimo: You are so hurtful. As I recall, you picked out our rings.
Zala: My mistake.
Katimo: I am hurt.
Zala: As am I. You want me to sit here and be pleasant as you flirt with our waitress right under my nose.
Katimo: I have nothing to say.
Zala: Should I be her?
Katimo: What is the big problem?
Zala: Are you going to sit here and deny that you were looking at the waitress, that you were fixing your posture, that you were smiling, joking, laughing with our waitress?
Katimo: I do not remember the posture change, but of course I smiled, joked and laughed with the waitress.
Zala: I can’t deal with this. If you want a divorce, the office is open on Monday.
Katimo: So this is it?
Zala: You want to be with another woman. I won’t stop you.
Katimo: But I never said that.
Zala: Well, actually you did.
Katimo: Woe is me.
Zala: Yes, “woe” to you as you do me wrong. I do not understand men.
Katimo: You do not understand Africa.
Zala: How dare you?
Katimo: Degrees and complexion notwithstanding, you are the Western woman. Yes, I did look at the African Sister, yes I did smile, joke and laugh, and maybe I did fix my posture, yet in doing any of these things how am I any different from you, who admires the infant in the kente cloth, puts up posters of our ancestors or beholds a scholar and revels in the opportunity to sit at the scholar’s feet? You admire Africans who are young, who are old, who have passed on, yet when the African is your contemporary, you are unable to accept that I can admire him or her, nevermind that the young will age, the old were young and the ancestors once walked this earth as do you and I! Yes, I admire the waitress! She has the bearings of a Queen: Africa marks her jaw, her posture, and yes her butt! She is beautiful, regal and a Sister! Why should I be harassed for loving my continent? For loving my people? For loving myself? Can I not, one who was harshly removed from his continent, return in any capacity, even socially? Must I forever be bound by my oppression where within my marriage I am an enemy and outside of my marriage I am without friends?
Zala: I do not want you as an enemy and I want you to have friends. I just think you would prefer to be with another woman.
Katimo: Another Western response. The trouble is we are in the West, but we do not need to be of the West. You are of the West. In the West, Love is a commitment to one’s Lover. For the Westerner that union is more than any other. In Africa, Love is a commitment to Order. For us, Beauty is Divine and Ancestral and we are awed by its representations wherever and whenever. You show your African Love for the young, the scholastic, the ancestors and so forth; but to your contemporary and me, you show Western Love. Western Love will never resonate with an African, and as you brought up divorce, removed your ring, ruined our date through it, I will leave you to silence and concentration on this matter.
Zala: Where are you going?
Katimo: If the waitress were a young girl, you would hold her in high esteem. If she were an elder, you would fancy her striking! If she were a scholar, you would purchase her wares. If she were an ancestor, you would have a poster of her. But as she is your age, you hate that I give her the respect deserving of the Queen. You want the respect of a Queen all to yourself and you will do the deeds of a Westerner, who has never had a Queen, to achieve that respect. I go to pay this bill. I will wait outside until you are ready to show African Love.
Zala: Wait! I will come with you. I want to tell the waitress that she is a very beautiful Queen. And I wish to compliment the Chef!
Katimo: Now what do you mean by that? (smiling)
Zala: Oh Katimo! (they both laugh)

“The Radical Way” by Claude McKay

In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,

“The problem with Europeans and Asians is Europeans and Asians; the solution for Africans is Africans!” — Onitaset Kumat

“We have been lied to” is the understatement of our generation. We have not only been lied to, we have been lied to about us. We have no idea who we were. None. Least of all we African Nationalists. In 1929 Claude McKay wrote “The Radical Way.” A fool would say “he was ahead of his time;” the wise, “on time.” I give homage to him. This poem befits our classics. In the end it speaks bluntly to reality. In not excelling in the modern world we saved ourselves from Europeans and Asians, our perennial problems. Please enjoy this 1929 classic published in Banjo, Editions Rieder, Paris, 1929.

The Radical Way
by Claude McKay

A black man, despite his education,
is able to preserve the closest relations
with the rhythm of the primitive life of the earth
And may be his failure in the organization
Of the modern world
Was the true force that saved him
From the miserable thing
Commonly known as the Whites

The Combinatorics of Blackness

In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,

“The first concerning the ‘secrets’: all cognition comes from inside; we are therefore initiated only by ourselves, but the Master gives the keys.” — African Proverb

What does an all-Black Public School and a Plantation have in common? White Masters, White Teachings and Black Disciples! In every learning environment there are three components: The Master, the Teachings, and the Disciple. Each component has two varieties: Black (Order) or White (Disorder). Three components with two varieties each equate to eight different learning environments. Yet which learning environment is most frequent for African people in America? Black Masters and Black Teachings? No.

In the following article, I review the eight different learning environments, their frequencies and whether they are Black or White. What one learns is the Blackness or Whiteness of a learning environment depends not on its Disciples but on its Masters and Teachings, yet we call schools “Black” when their leadership and lessons are White. We need a better grasp of reality.

The Combinatorics of Blackness
By Onitaset Kumat

Black Master, Black Teachings, Black Disciples

Frequency: Uncommon
Rating: Black (Order)
Examples: African Initiation Camp
Comment: Though uncommon, this learning environment is the only Black Learning Environment for Black people. Every Black Person should Seek or Develop an institution with a Black Master, Black Teachings and Black Disciples. Absent of this, our people are immersed in White Learning Environments. Members of the African Blood Siblings create Meetings and Community Centers which provide Black Learning Environments to Black people. See here for a template of our Meetings.

Black Master, Black Teachings, White Disciples

Frequency: Very Rare
Rating: Black (Order)
Examples: Ancient African Public Universities
Comment: One of Aesop’s Fables, sometimes named “The Cat-Maiden,” relates the story of a Cat turned into a Maiden. Though she gave the appearance of a Maiden, at the sight of a mouse she pounced. The moral was Nature never changes. Whereas Ancient African Universities were Black Learning Environments for White people, the nature of Whites never changed. In Ancient Greece Imhotep was worshipped as a Black God. The Ancient Greeks also slaughtered our Ancient Ancestors. This learning environment should be avoided.  White people in Black Learning Environments began the Great Race War.

Black Master, White Teachings, Black Disciples

Frequency: Very Common
Rating: White (Disorder)
Examples: African-Run Religious Institutions
Comment: The Church, the Mosque, the Synagogue, the Public School katha wa katha are each White Learning Environments, the Black Pastor, Iman, Rabbi, or Teacher notwithstanding. In the West, this White Learning Environment is very common. White Teachings abound in Black Communities, particularly through so-called Religious and so-called Educational Institutions. These are there to produce disorder in our Communities.  For instance, kneeling before a White looking Man and calling him your “Divine” Master is a sure sign of a defeated Black Race.  In Africa the proverb “When the ax entered the forest, the trees said, “Look, the handle is one of us!”” can be used to reflect the religiously devout.

Black Master, White Teachings, White Disciples

Frequency: Very Rare
Rating: White (Disorder)
Examples: Ancient African Rulers in Europe
Comment: While Very Rare there were periods of time when Africans ruled in Europe or Asia or the Americas and instead of continuing our Ancient practices they did according to the locals. Whereas the Moors, some Ancient Roman Emperors or even some Renaissance leaders were African, these are examples of White Learning Environments given their White Teachings.

White Master, Black Teachings, Black Disciples

Frequency: Very Rare
Rating: White (Disorder)
Examples: European Rulers in Ancient Africa
Comment: European Rulers in Ancient Africa happened as well as African Rulers outside of Africa, and certainly some European Rulers did as the locals did. Yet notwithstanding, a White Master makes a White Learning Environment. Even surrounded with African Influence, these Europeans have their Nature which will be against ours.

White Master, Black Teachings, White Disciples

Frequency: Common
Rating: White (Disorder)
Examples: European Secret Societies
Comment: European Secret Societies are Common and utilize Black Teachings for their Order. Despite the Black Teachings, however, these are White Learning Environments, obviously corrupted by the Disorder of the European Masters.

White Master, White Teachings, Black Disciples

Frequency: Very Common
Rating: White (Disorder)
Examples: Public Schools in Predominately Black Areas
Comment: Public Schools whether with Black or White teachers are White Learning Environments. It’s more likely that the teacher will be White than Black however. Despite that the Teachings and the Masters are White, many of our people are convinced that this is a Black Learning Environment. For example, we refer to a Public School with a Predominately Black Population as a Black School. This is far, far from the truth. It’s a White School. If the Master and the Teachings are White, it’s one of the Whitest Schools one can have.  Similar White Learning Environments with White Masters, White Teachings and Black Disciples are Plantations and Prisons.  In modern lingo “Prison culture” is Black yet clearly the whole system is White.  We are confused.

White Master, White Teachings, White Disciples

Frequency: Very Common
Rating: White (Disorder)
Examples: Public Schools in Predominately White Areas
Comment: While very common, this is irrelevant to the Black experience. White Master, White Teachings, White Disciples, it’s White. It’s worth noting that the existence of this school was challenged by integrationists, welcoming the Disorder of Whites into Black Life. A sad struggle in our history that costs us Africa.

Single, Double or Triple Oppression of the African Woman?

In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,

“The best and shortest road towards knowledge of truth is Nature.” — African Proverb

If a domestic cat could go to a European or Asian school, she would be taught that her oppressions are triple: sex, class, race.  True.  A domestic cat is treated differently if she be female or if he be male.  True.  A domestic cat is treated differently depending on her Master’s (Employer’s) wealth or her lack of a direct Master.  True.  A domestic cat would be treated differently if she were not even a cat, but a dog or a turtle.  But in the end the domestic cat will only return to its natural order through other cats.  The educated fool-cat will reason that as a woman she suffers an oppression similar to the Race of her Master’s women and die trying to seek to communicate to those women her struggle and distancing herself from her Brother-cats.  The African man and woman do not need this Mis-Educated outlook.  We need to realize that our oppression is singular: Racial.  The following article elaborates further.

Single, Double or Triple Oppression of the African Woman?
By Onitaset Kumat

On the physiological level, there are dis-eases and there is Cancer.  An empowered immune system eradicates both, yet the two are not one and the same.  One is a mutant.  A systematic error.  An irredeemable flaw.  On the physical level, Cancer is the Occidental (European) and Oriental (Asian).  We, the Original (Africans), are the immune system.

It has been stated that the African Woman is twice-oppressed.  She is oppressed Racially and also Sexually.  Some may go so far as to say she is further oppressed Classically.  The idea being shared is that the African Woman is thrice-oppressed.  Depending on who is asked, the statement has its merits.  “Sexism” they would reason has a hold on African, Asian and European women.  “Classism” has a hold on the lower-classes.  “Racism” has a hold on Africans and Asians.  All said, the African woman must be afflicted by all three.  And if she be affected by all three, she can find alliances near anywhere and everywhere.  For sharing “Sexist” oppression she, Asian and European women share a “struggle?”  And sharing “Classist” oppression, she and the lower-classes share a “struggle.”  And sharing “Racist” oppression, she and “people of color” share a “struggle.”  This is far from the truth.

In the natural order, male and female share different roles as according to their natural roles.  This natural role is expressed in the natural habitat of the species.  Nothing in its natural state is oppressed.  Female lions, for instance, hunt for the food and care for the young near exclusively yet they are not oppressed; and Male lions, defend against hyena attacks near exclusively yet they are not oppressed either.  The natural order also has class differences or roles for each class yet no species is oppressed in its natural state.  In hyena societies, for instance, there is a “queen-mother” with more privileges than other females.  Neither the Queen-Mother nor her Sisters are oppressed.  What could oppress the Lion or Hyena is to live in an unnatural state, like Zoo Lions live.  But this unnatural state would be “Racial Oppression” and nothing more.  It would be Zoo Lions being forced into the race mores (which are sexual and classical) of a Race of Humans (usually Europeans and Asians.)  Much like domestic pets are racially oppressed and can not find any like struggle across racial boundaries with their oppressors (the female cat’s oppression is no different from the male’s.)

When we look upon the claim of Sexism or Classism among Europeans and Asians, we quickly see that in their natural state that is how they treat themselves and propagate.  Said differently, the Asian and European do not face “Sexist” oppression or “Classist” oppression.  What’s known as Patriarchy or Caste (Sexual and Classical Oppression respectively), for instance, has been their way of life from their inception; just as physiologically, Cancer does not harm itself but behaves a certain way and that way is its way.  Neither “Sexism” nor “Classism” are terms to use for the African or non-African’s condition, “Racism” is the only real oppression on African people, men or women.  For what’s known as “Sexism” and “Classism” are only cultural habits of European and Asian Races, much like what’s oppressing the Zoo Lion or the domestic feline is the cultural habits of European and Asian Races.  What’s more, the imposition of another Race’s culture on women equally harms men and imposing another Race’s culture on the lower-class equally harms the upper-class.  Cancer harms the whole system, like Europeans and Asians harm the whole Earth.

The African Woman faces a Single Oppression–Racial Warfare, sometimes called “Racism.”  And only African people are Oppressed today.  Therefore, to eradicate Racism by the African Man’s side will be the sole gesture which can return the African woman to the throne of Earthly Harmony.  For an African Woman to see an alliance outside of the African Man is for an Immune System to see an alliance with Cancer.  One Oppression: Racism.  One Partner for the African Man and Woman: Themselves.  We share two enemies: Europeans and Asians.  We have one goal: Abibifahodie (African Liberation)!  The day when the domestic cat chooses her Master over her brother or sister needs to be over.  It’s upon those under Racial Oppression to create their Armies to end it!  Men and Women of our Race join the African Blood Siblings today!

“Self-Reliance” by Booker T. Washington

In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,

“The negro has within him immense power for self-uplifting, but for years it will be necessary to guide and stimulate him.”
— Booker T. Washington

In our canon of ancestors Booker T. Washington is underrated. Surely, he has his weaknesses, yet his strengths make him a worthwhile inspiration, particularly in this age. Too many among us make today a day of talking, yet Booker’s life was one of doing. In the following article, you read of where our people were and where Booker brought many. The from is little different from today–Brothers and Sisters tout degrees without an African Education–yet where Booker took so many is rarely seen today–Brothers and Sisters developing Communities. One can see that Booker T. Washington wasn’t that supportive of traditional African Spirituality or keen on “Occidentalism.” Notwithstanding, this article deserves the attention of those who, like Marcus Garvey himself, need to see something positive.

By Booker T. Washington

When a mere boy, I saw a young colored man, who had spent several years in school, sitting in a common cabin in the South, studying a French grammar. I noted the poverty, the untidiness, the want of system and thrift, that existed about the cabin, notwithstanding his knowledge of French and other academic subjects. Another time, when riding on the outer edges of a town in the South, I heard the sound of a piano coming from a cabin of the same kind. Contriving some excuse, I entered, and began a conversation with the young colored woman who was playing, and who had recently returned from a boarding-school, where she had been studying instrumental music among other things. Despite the fact that her parents were living in a rented cabin, eating poorly cooked food, surrounded with poverty, and having almost none of the conveniences of life, she had persuaded them to rent a piano for four or five dollars per month. Many such instances as these, in connection with my own struggles, impressed upon me the importance of making a study of our needs as a race, and applying the remedy accordingly.

Some one may be tempted to ask, Has not the negro boy or girl as good a right to study a French grammar and instrumental music as the white youth? I answer, Yes, but in the present condition of the negro race in this country there is need of something more. Perhaps I may be forgiven for the seeming egotism if I mention the expansion of my own life partly as an example of what I mean. My earliest recollection is of a small one-room log hut on a large slave plantation in Virginia. After the close of the war, while working in the coal-mines of West Virginia for the support of my mother, I heard in some accidental way of the Hampton Institute. When I learned that it was an institution where a black boy could study, could have a chance to work for his board, and at the same time be taught how to work and to realize the dignity of labor, I resolved to go there. Bidding my mother good-by, I started out one morning to find my way to Hampton, though I was almost penniless and had no definite idea where Hampton was. By walking, begging rides, and paying for a portion of the journey on the steam-cars, I finally succeeded in reaching the city of Richmond, Virginia. I was without money or friends. I slept under a sidewalk, and by working on a vessel next day I earned money to continue my way to the institute, where I arrived with a surplus of fifty cents. At Hampton I found the opportunity—in the way of buildings, teachers, and industries provided by the generous—to get training in the class-room and by practical touch with industrial life, to learn thrift, economy, and push. I was surrounded by an atmosphere of business, Christian influence, and a spirit of self-help that seemed to have awakened every faculty in me, and caused me for the first time to realize what it meant to be a man instead of a piece of property.

While there I resolved that when I had finished the course of training I would go into the far South, into the Black Belt of the South, and give my life to providing the same kind of opportunity for self-reliance and self-awakening that I had found provided for me at Hampton. My work began at Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1881, in a small shanty and church, with one teacher and thirty students, without a dollar’s worth of property. The spirit of work and of industrial thrift, with aid from the State and generosity from the North, has enabled us to develop an institution of eight hundred students gathered from nineteen States, with seventy-nine instructors, fourteen hundred acres of land, and thirty buildings, including large and small; in all, property valued at $280,000. Twenty-five industries have been organized, and the whole work is carried on at an annual cost of about $80,000 in cash; two fifths of the annual expense so far has gone into permanent plant.

What is the object of all this outlay? First, it must be borne in mind that we have in the South a peculiar and unprecedented state of things. It is of the utmost importance that our energy be given to meeting conditions that exist right about us rather than conditions that existed centuries ago or that exist in countries a thousand miles away. What are the cardinal needs among the colored people in the South, most of whom are to be found on the plantations? Roughly, these needs may be stated as food, clothing, shelter, education, proper habits, and a settlement of race relations. The seven millions of colored people of the South cannot be reached directly by any missionary agency, but they can be reached by sending out among them strong selected young men and women, with the proper training of head, hand, and heart, who will live among these masses and show them how to lift themselves up.

The problem that the Tuskegee Institute keeps before itself constantly is how to prepare these leaders. From the outset, in connection with religious and academic training, it has emphasized industrial or hand training as a means of finding the way out of present conditions. First, we have found the industrial teaching useful in giving the student a chance to work out a portion of his expenses while in school. Second, the school furnishes labor that has an economic value, and at the same time gives the student a chance to acquire knowledge and a skill while performing the labor. Most of all, we find the industrial system valuable in teaching economy, thrift, and the dignity of labor, and in giving moral backbone to students. The fact that a student goes out into the world conscious of his power to build a house or a wagon, or to make a harness, gives him a certain confidence and moral independence that he would not possess without such training.

A more detailed example of our methods at Tuskegee may be of interest. For example, we cultivate by student labor six hundred and fifty acres of land. The object is not only to cultivate the land in a way to make it pay our boarding department, but at the same time to teach the students, in addition to the practical works, something of the chemistry of the soil, the best methods of drainage, dairying, the cultivation of fruit, the care of livestock and tools, and scores of other lessons needed by a people whose main dependence is on agriculture. Notwithstanding that eighty-five per cent of the colored people in the South live by agriculture in some form, aside from what has been done by Hampton, Tuskegee, and one or two other institutions practically nothing has been attempted in the direction of teaching them about the very industry from which the masses of our people must get their subsistence. Friends have recently provided means for the erection of a large new chapel at Tuskegee. Our students have made the bricks for this chapel. A large part of the timber is sawed by students at our own sawmill, the plans are drawn by our teacher of architecture and mechanical drawing, and students do the brick-masonry, plastering, painting, carpentry work, tinning, slatting, and make most of the furniture. Practically, the whole chapel will be built and furnished by student labor; in the end the school will have the building for permanent use, and the students will have a knowledge of the trades employed in its construction. In this way all but three of the thirty buildings on the grounds have been erected. While the young men do the kinds of work I have mentioned, the young women to a large extent make, mend, and launder the clothing of the young men, and thus are taught important industries.

One of the objections sometimes urged against industrial education for the negro is that it aims merely to teach him to work on the same plan that he was made to follow when in slavery. This is far from being the object at Tuskegee. At the head of each of the twenty-five industrial departments we have an intelligent and competent instructor, just as we have in our history classes, so that the student is taught not only practical brick-masonry, for example, but also the underlying principles of that industry, the mathematics and the mechanical and architectural drawing. Or he is taught how to become master of the forces of nature so that, instead of cultivating corn in the old way, he can use a corn cultivator, that lays off the furrows, drops the corn into them, and covers it, and in this way he can do more work than three men by the old process of corn-planting; at the same time much of the toil is eliminated and labor is dignified. In a word, the constant aim is to show the student how to put brains into every process of labor; how to bring his knowledge of mathematics and the sciences into farming, carpentry, forging, foundry work; how to dispense as soon as possible with the old form of ante-bellum labor. In the erection of the chapel just referred to, instead of letting the money which was given us go into outside hands, we make it accomplish three objects: first, it provides the chapel; second, it gives the students a chance to get a practical knowledge of the trades connected with building; and third, it enables them to earn something toward the payment of board while receiving academic and industrial training.

Having been fortified at Tuskegee by education of mind, skill of hand, Christian character, ideas of thrift, economy, and push, and a spirit of independence, the student is sent out to become a centre of influence and light in showing the masses of our people in the Black Belt of the South how to lift themselves up. How can this be done? I give but one or two examples. Ten years ago a young colored man came to the institute from one of the large plantation districts; he studied in the class-room a portion of the time, and received practical and theoretical training on the farm the remainder of the time. Having finished his course at Tuskegee, he returned to his plantation home, which was in a county where the colored people outnumber the whites six to one, as is true of many of the counties in the Black Belt of the South. He found the negroes in debt. Ever since the war they had been mortgaging their crops for the food on which to live while the crops were growing. The majority of them were living from hand to mouth on rented land, in small, one-room log cabins, and attempting to pay a rate of interest on their advances that ranged from fifteen to forty per cent per annum. The school had been taught in a wreck of a log cabin, with no apparatus, and had never been in session longer than three months out of twelve. With as many as eight or ten persons of all ages and conditions and of both sexes huddled together in one cabin year after year, and with a minister whose only aim was to work upon the emotions of the people, one can imagine something of the moral and religious state of the community.

But the remedy. In spite of the evil, the negro got the habit of work from slavery. The rank and file of the race, especially those on the Southern plantations, work hard, but the trouble is, what they earn gets away from them in high rents, crop mortgages, whiskey, snuff, cheap jewelry, and the like. The young man just referred to had been trained at Tuskegee, as most of our graduates are, to meet just this condition of things. He took the three months’ public school as a nucleus for his work. Then he organized the older people into a club, or conference, that held meetings every week. In these meetings he taught the people in a plain, simple manner how to save their money, how to farm in a better way, how to sacrifice,—to live on bread and potatoes, if need be, till they could get out of debt, and begin the buying of lands.

Soon a large proportion of the people were in condition to make contracts for the buying of homes (land is very cheap in the South), and to live without mortgaging their crops. Not only this: under the guidance and leadership of this teacher, the first year that he was among them they learned how, by contributions in money and labor, to build a neat, comfortable schoolhouse that replaced the wreck of a log cabin formerly used. The following year the weekly meetings were continued, and two months were added to the original three months of school. The next year two more months were added. The improvement has gone on, until now these people have every year an eight months’ school.

I wish my readers could have the chance that I have had of going into this community. I wish they could look into the faces of the people and see them beaming with hope and delight. I wish they could see the two or three room cottages that have taken the place of the usual one-room cabin, the well-cultivated farms, and the religious life of the people that now means something more than the name. The teacher has a good cottage and a well-kept farm that serve as models. In a word, a complete revolution has been wrought in the industrial, educational, and religious life of this whole community by reason of the fact that they have had this leader, this guide and object-lesson, to show them how to take the money and effort that had hitherto been scattered to the wind in mortgages and high rents, in whiskey and gewgaws, and concentrate them in the direction of their own uplifting. One community on its feet presents an object-lesson for the adjoining communities, and soon improvements show themselves in other places.

Another student who received academic and industrial training at Tuskegee established himself, three years ago, as a blacksmith and wheelwright in a community, and, in addition to the influence of his successful business enterprise, he is fast making the same kind of changes in the life of the people about him that I have just recounted. It would be easy for me to fill many pages describing the influence of the Tuskegee graduates in every part of the South. We keep it constantly in the minds of our students and graduates that the industrial or material condition of the masses of our people must be improved, as well as the intellectual, before there can be any permanent change in their moral and religious life. We find it a pretty hard thing to make a good Christian of a hungry man. No matter how much our people “get happy” and “shout” in church, if they go home at hight from church hungry, they are tempted to find something before morning. This is a principle of human nature, and is not confined to the negro.

The negro has within him immense power for self-uplifting, but for years it will be necessary to guide and stimulate him. The recognition of this power led us to organize, five years ago, what is now know as the Tuskegee negro Conference,—a gathering that meets every February, and is composed of about eight hundred representative colored men and women from all sections of the Black Belt. They come in ox-carts, mule-carts, buggies, on muleback and horseback, on foot, by railroad; some traveling all night in order to be present. The matters considered at the conferences are those that the colored people have it within their power to control: such as the evils of the mortgage system, the one-room cabin, buying on credit, the importance of owning a home and of putting money in the bank, how to build schoolhouses and prolong the school term, and how to improve their moral and religious condition.

As a single example of the results, one delegate reported that since the conferences were started five years ago eleven people in his neighborhood had bought homes, fourteen had got out of debt, and number had stopped mortgaging their crops. Moreover, a school-house had been built by the people themselves, and the school term had been extended from three to six months; and with a look of triumph he exclaimed, “We is done stopped libin’ in de ashes!”

Besides this negro Conference for the masses of the people, we now have a gathering at the same time know as the Workers’ Conference, composed of the officers and instructors in the leading colored schools of the South. After listening to the story of the conditions and needs from the people themselves, the Workers’ Conference finds much food for thought and discussion.

Nothing else so soon brings about right relations between the two races in the South as the industrial progress of the negro. Friction between the races will pass away in proportion as the black man, by reason of his skill, intelligence, and character, can produce something that the white man wants or respects in the commercial world. This is another reason why at Tuskegee we push the industrial training. We find that as every year we put into a Southern community colored men who can start a brick-yard, a sawmill, a tin-shop, or a printing-office,—men who produce something that makes the white man partly dependent upon the negro, instead of all the dependence being on the other side,—a change takes place in the relations of the races.

Let us go on for a few more years knitting our business and industrial relations into those of the white man, till a black man gets a mortgage on a white man’s house that he can foreclose at will. The white man on whose house the mortgage rests will not try to prevent that negro from voting when he goes to the polls. It is through the dairy farm, the truck garden, the trades, and commercial life, largely, that the negro is to find his way to the enjoyment of all his rights. Whether he will or not, a white man respects a negro who owns a two-story brick house.

What is the permanent value of the Tuskegee system of training to the South in a broader sense? In connection with this, it is well to bear in mind that slavery taught the white man that labor with the hands was something fit for the negro only, and something for the white man to come into contact with just as little as possible. It is true that there was a large class of poor white people who labored with the hands, but they did it because they were not able to secure negroes to work for them; and these poor whites were constantly trying to imitate the slave-holding class in escaping labor, and they too regarded it as anything but elevating. The negro in turn looked down upon the poor whites with a certain contempt because they had to work. The negro, it is to be borne in mind, worked under constant protest, because he felt that his labor was being unjustly required, and he spent almost as much effort in planning how to escape work as in learning how to work. Labor with him was a badge of degradation. The white man was held up before him as the highest type of civilization, but the negro noted that this highest type of civilization himself did not labor; hence he argued that the less work he did, the more nearly he would be like a white man. Then, in addition to these influences, the slave system discouraged labor-saving machinery. To use labor-saving machinery intelligence was required, and intelligence and slavery were not on friendly terms; hence the negro always associated labor with toil, drudgery, something to be escaped. When the negro first became free, his idea of education was that it was something that would soon put him in the same position as regards work that his recent master had occupied. Out of these conditions grew the Southern habit of putting off till to-morrow and the day after the duty that should be done promptly to-day. The leaky house was not repaired while the sun shone, for then the rain did not come through. While the rain was falling, no one cared to expose himself to stop the leak. The plough, on the same principle, was left where the last furrow was run, to rot and rust in the field during the winter. There was no need to repair the wooden chimney that was exposed to the fire, because water could be thrown on it when it was on fire. There was no need to trouble about the payment of a debt to-day, for it could just as well be paid next week or next year. Besides these conditions, the whole South, at the close of the war, was without proper food, clothing, and shelter,—was in need of habits of thrift and economy and of something laid up for a rainy day.

To me it seemed perfectly plain that here was a condition of things that could not be met by the ordinary process of education. At Tuskegee we became convinced that the thing to do was to make a careful systematic study of the condition and needs of the South, especially the Black Belt, and to bend our efforts in the direction of meeting these needs, whether we were following a well-beaten track, or were hewing out a new path to meet conditions probably without a parallel in the world. After fourteen years of experience and observation, what is the result? Gradually but surely, we find that all through the South the disposition to look upon labor as a disgrace is on the wane, and the parents who themselves sought to escape work are so anxious to give their children training in intelligent labor that every institution which gives training in the handicrafts is crowded, and many (among them Tuskegee) have to refuse admission to hundreds of applicants. The influence of the Tuskegee system is shown again by the fact that almost every little school at the remotest cross-roads is anxious to be known as an industrial school, or, as some of the colored people call it, an “industrious” school.

The social lines that were once sharply drawn between those who labored with the hand and those who did not are disappearing. Those who formerly sought to escape labor, now when they see that brains and skill rob labor of the toil and drudgery once associated with it, instead of trying to avoid it are willing to pay to be taught how to engage in it. The South is beginning to see labor raised up, dignified and beautified, and in this sees its salvation. In proportion as the love of labor grows, the large idle class which has long been one of the curses of the South disappears. As its members become absorbed in occupations, they have less time to attend to everybody else’s business, and more time for their own.

The South is still an undeveloped and unsettled country, and for the next half century and more the greater part of the energy of the masses will be needed to develop its material opportunities. Any force that brings the rank and file of the people to a greater love of industry is therefore especially valuable. This result industrial education is surely bringing about. It stimulates production and increases trade,—trade between the races,—and in this new and engrossing relation both forget the past. The white man respects the vote of the colored man who does $10,000 worth of business, and the more business the colored man has, the more careful he is how he votes.

Immediately after the war, there was a large class of Southern people who feared that the opening of the free schools to the freedmen and the poor whites—the education of the head alone—would result merely in increasing the class who sought to escape labor, and that the South would soon be overrun by the idle and vicious. But as the results of industrial combined with academic training begin to show themselves in hundreds of communities that have been lifted up though the medium of the Tuskegee system, these former prejudices against education are being removed. Many of those who a few years ago opposed general education are now among its warmest advocates.

This industrial training, emphasizing as it does the idea of economic production, is gradually bringing the South to the point where it is feeding itself. Before the war, and long after it, the South made what little profit was received from the cotton crop, and sent its earnings out of the South to purchase food supplies,—meat, bread, canned vegetables, and the like; but the improved methods of agriculture are fast changing this habit. With the newer methods of labor, which teach promptness and system, and emphasize the worth of the beautiful,—the moral value of the well-painted house, and the fence with every paling and nail in its place,—we are bringing to bear upon the South an influence that is making it a new country in industry, education and religion.

Volume 80, Number 478, pp. 194-198