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First edition, 2000
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
(title page) The History of my Life and Work. Autobiography by Rev. M. L. Latta A.M., D.D.
(cover) History of my Life and Work. Autobiography by Rev. M. L. Latta A.M. D.D.
(spine) The Story of my Life and Work
Rev. M. L. Latta, A.M., D.D.
Introduction by Rev. George Daniel, D.D.
Illustrations by The Tucker Engraving Company
370 p., 19 ill.
Rev. M. L. Latta, A.M., D.D.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998
LC Subject Headings:
REV. M. L. LATTA AND WIFE.
[1st Frontispiece Image]
CHILDREN OF REV. M. L. LATTA.
[2nd Frontispiece Image]
[Title Page Image]
[Title Page Verso Image]
REV GEORGE DANIEL, D. D.
THE TUCKER ENGRAVING COMPANY.
In response to the earnest request of the author of this book, I have written these introductory words.
After carefully and deliberately reading the manuscript, what I have written expresses my own opinion of the book, uninfluenced by motives of friendship for the author, or any other consideration.
The book is powerful and inspiring, full of usefulness, with broad expansion to the human mind.
In my opinion, and with my broad experience in life, there has never been a book written in the interest of the colored race better calculated to improve the condition of the public in general, and to inspire to usefulness the colored people of the South. The book is written with excellent judgment and consummate skill.
The author has produced many interesting facts, which are calculated, in my opinion, to bring the races together in one common cause, home and abroad. I have read many manuscripts, but this I have just read appeals for
peace and justice with such force that the vilest man can not reject its pleadings. I feel safe in saying that the teaching herein involved will live and inspire its readers for centuries to come.
REV. GEORGE DANIEL, D. D.
After having a broad experience as to the duty of my fellowman, I offer no apology in sending forth the history of my life and work for the edification of my readers far and near.
No one knows the difficulties and obstacles that I have passed through in preparing this volume for the consideration of the people, home and abroad. I have tried from the very depths of my heart to elucidate the seeings and unseeings that I have come in contact with during my life; God knows that I have tried from the very depths of my heart to give a clean and unblemished record. If I have erred in preparing this volume, it has been an error of the tongue, and not of the heart.
I sincerely hope that those who may read these paragraphs will be inspired with new thoughts and ideas for usefulness. Be loyal to principle be true to thy fellowmen. Press forward to the high calling, be trustworthy in all of your obligations.
It has been my highest aim from my early dawn of existence to live for the betterment of
the people at large, and especially those that I come in contact with frequently.
Some of the history of my life and work was written in Boston, Mass., and some in Albany, N. Y. I have tried to present something to the public that would be worth of their attention. I hope something mentioned in this book will inspire them to a higher aim for usefulness, not only for themselves, but for their fellowmen.
In closing this preface, I must say a word in commending the public to the Creator of heaven and earth. If the history of my life and work is worth anything at all, it is the assistance that I have received from the Creator of heaven and earth. Let all men do their duty, but if grievances arise in the meantime, submit them to God, and God will adjust all things in the proper time.
M. L. LATTA.RALEIGH, N. C., June 15, 1903.
I was born in 1853, at Fishdam, on one of Cameron quarters, near Neuse River, about twenty-five miles from the city of Raleigh, N. C., as near as I can ascertain, as there were no records kept at that time.
I was a slave, and was only seven years old when my father died, leaving my mother and thirteen children. Soon after the war, my oldest brother was drowned, leaving the responsibility of supporting the family on my shoulders. I was hired out for several years for one dollar per month. My mother was so very poor that she was unable to send me through school. I had to work hard all day and get knots of lightwood to study my books by at night. We were not able to buy a horse, so I had to plow an ox. The only time I had to go to school was when the ground was too wet to plow.
I told my mother that I must attend some school, so I entered a free school that was near
our home. I attended that regular one session. I attended the free school off and on for about five or six years.
I was then beginning to get along in my 'teens, and I began to take an interest in politics. I would go in public places and stand upon a box and try to make speeches. Some of the people said that I would make a great man, and a great many of them said that I would turn out to be one of the biggest fools in the world.
I had to look after my mother's family, but being a lad, I was unable to provide for them properly. I had thirteen in the family to provide for, at the age of seventeen; we suffered sometimes for the want of food. I worked many a day without sufficient food. My mother would take a bone that had been boiled, and reboil it, and make corn dumplings out of it for us to eat. Some of us cried for bread, unable to get it.
At night and morning, my mother would take the husk that came from the corn, and make coffee from it, and we had to drink the coffee that was made from the husk without any sweetening in it.
My mother thought that she would take the business out of my hands and make a change and give it to my uncle. My uncle took us and made servants out of us for his own use, and told George W. Thompson, that had Cameron's Quarters
in charge, that we did not want to work. He said we claimed that we were not getting the proper compensation under his control.
Mother thought that she would change, and let me take the business in hand, as I had it at first. She said she had rather for us to eat bread and drink water, than to be whipped as we were.
When we could not get bread to eat for our meals, we ate parched corn.
My mother being a widow, people whipped us as they pleased. We had no father to care for us. I have cried many a day and said that God had forsaken us as a family. We worked hard, but seemed to realize very little.
I remember when I went out in the field as a slave before General Lee surrendered.
My mother would cook what little she had, and divide it among we children. I would be just as hungry when I got through eating, as I was when I commenced.
I went over to the overseer's house. I was acquainted with the cook there. I went to the door and watched her while she was setting the table. I noticed when the overseer and his family sat down to eat, I went and peeped in at the door, and I told the cook just to give me the bones and crusts. She poured them in my hat, and I ran home and divided them with the rest of the children, and she told me not to stay long, to come
back and bring her some water. She gave me the rest of the crusts of bread, and sometimes a cup of milk, and I told mother that "The Lord has been with me to-day."
Soon after mother had taken her business out of my uncle's hands, I managed it for her several years.
When I left for college, we were so we could have a plenty to eat, and arrange things very respectably to go to church. There were two brothers older than I; the elder one got drowned. The next oldest one was born first, but people said that I was the oldest.
I saw my adopted sister and her husband put upon the block and sold. That has been about forty years ago. I have not seen them nor heard from them since.
My father and mother were both members of the church; they taught us to serve God. Experience has taught me that serving God without work does not amount to anything, and working without serving God does not amount to anything.
I began taking interest in politics. I devoted my time to politics for several years. My friends wanted me to run for the Legislature, but I refused to accept the nomination for legislator. I gave the matter my undivided attention. I soon found that there was nothing in politics for colored people. Yet at that time the Republican party, that the colored people were so closely connected with, had control of the State.
I began to prophesy as to what would be the outcome of the whole matter; yet I was not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. I discovered through the telescope of time that the Democratic party would predominate in the future.
I advised my race (that came to me for advice) not to take any interest in politics, and if they did, to divide their votes equally between the two parties.
I, for myself, would not vote against either of the parties. I saw at that time that race prejudice had begun to accumulate and multiply, prejudice had begun to stretch its fatal wings across all of the Southern boundaries, in the hearts of the two races, extending to the Mason-Dixon line.
Along the political lines, I might emphasize for a moment and say I do not hold either one of the races particularly responsible for this detestable outcome of the condition of the two races, but I hold both races equally responsible.
I told my race at the time that the Democratic party would control the political forces in spite of the Federal Government, because they had the money and the brains.
Numbers of them have been to me and told me that the thing came just as I said. I told them to get religion, educate themselves, buy property, stay out of politics, and put money in the bank, and as soon as we as a race handle the silver dollar, often and freely we will get recognition without any trouble, for I have said in several of my speeches, if I should see a white man in heaven, I am satisfied that he would be there chasing a silver dollar, because he loves the mighty dollar. I told them as a race, if they would get the silver dollar, the white man would chase them, regardless of color or previous condition.
It has been over twenty years ago since I have taken any interest in any political campaign. My life has been so sweet to me since I have washed my hands from politics, I pray to the God of Heaven that all thoughts would be obliterated, to inspire a single thought that had the tendency to mislead me into politics again. I
HON. FREDERICK DOUGLASS
soon found out that we had nothing to interest ourselves in as a race. We are here among the predominant race. We must admit, in the first instance, that the Anglo-Saxon race owns everything in the Southern States. They own the land, they own the money, they own the railroads, and they outnumber us several times. We are but a few in number as a race. All I ask for as a member of the unfortunate race is the waste land, and ask them to give me an opportunity to build up the waste places. I admit that the colored people, as a race, are ignorant; they want to go too speedily.
Since Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation declaring that the negro race was free, they thought that they were just as good as any one else. That much was true. For an instance, you take a man that wants a job; he goes to a man of means and asks him for a job, notwithstanding that he is not as good as the man that has means. He is submissive, in other words, he is depending on that man that has means to get a job, and if he fails to satisfy the man that he asked for the job, unless he really needs it, the man refuses to give it to him. This is the position that the colored man is placed in. We, as a race, are depending almost entirely upon the sympathetic treatment of the predominant race that we live among.
Now, if my race will not be governed by my teaching, as I have so elaborately outlined to them as a race, the only way I see for them to do is to go back to their old original country. As Bishop Turner says, "We will have to go sooner or later and build up Africa, Egypt, Liberia, and other waste countries, formulate a government and enact laws upon the statute book that will be a credit to any nation." And let us as a race, if we go to Africa, bury ignorance, superstition, debauchery, and let the light of intelligence shine over the entire region of Africa. Let us as a race manage our legislative power with discretion, let all our actions be prudent, that other countries will spontaneously visit us and congratulate us, as to our wise management of our government affairs.
This history is to those that are not satisfied and want to try another country. I for myself am satisfied here. When I get dissatisfied here, I will go to Africa.
Remember, there have been many changes since 1620, when we sailed across the great Atlantic and other waters. Some of us have become red, some very yellow, and some of us almost white. Should we return to our old mother home, the sun would parch us very dark, as we were when we landed at Yorktown and other seaport towns.
Should we return, we would leave a portion of our relatives and friends here that took a part in changing our complexion.
I want the race to remember one thing, that the sun is very hot and parching in Africa. Those that want to return can do so, but I don't think that they can better their condition. For my part, I am satisfied here. I find that the Anglo-Saxon race is very kind to the colored race, and seem that they desire to see them better their condition as a rule. I find that they are very kind to them indeed. As I have forestated, the colored people as a race are ignorant. I am
satisfied that some of our white folks are too premature. Our race is ignorant, as a rule, with few exceptions. The white people say, as a race, "that they are more capable to make laws and control the country than the colored race." I admit that to be true, because the colored man has not had time to develop himself; he has been kept in servitude about two hundred and forty-five years.
It is said by many that the colored race is so easy to be contented with a very little. The colored people, as a race, don't seem to have much ambition about them. I claim that it must be the way they were taught in modern times.
For an instance, if a colored man buys a house and lot, as a rule it is just as high as he desires to get. As a rule, those that have become lawyers, doctors and ministers don't seem to have ambition to want to accumulate anything more. And when one becomes a bishop, or a moderator, they fold their arms and say that they are just as high as they desire to get.
If Rockefeller's wealth were tendered to them, they would say "that they would not have it."
It seems strange, but yet it is true, they inherited Easy Street by heredity. You can readily see that several centuries have to pass before the colored people can become a race. I will admit that we have some very bright talents among the race, but it is among the few and not the many.
My advice to them is to follow after a successful race in every particular.
I am satisfied that the day will come when they will wake up out of their stupidness and look above the dust, and look for a bright and prosperous future.
As a rule, the race goes almost crazy over religion, while other nationalities take it easy and quiet. You can readily see if the race had inherited the highest degree of civilization, they would not worship God so excitedly. You take the learned people that have inherited the highest degree of civilization: how modest they act in church and in State.
The paragraphs that I have mentioned above will show you that our race inherited their weakness by heredity. I hold that they are not in fault in every instance, but they need to be taught to act differently by some person that has been successful, like Mr. Fred. Douglas and Mr. Booker T. Washington. They can also consider the advice of the writer of this book.
Our race should not be so happy with so little.
I will admit that we all can not establish institutions and various enterprises, but we should not stop just as soon as we can read I John and II John, and get a house and lot, and other previous things, and then say we can compete with other nationalities that have established various
kinds of enterprises and accumulated millions of dollars. We should strive to get just what they have got.
We, as a race, ought to be proud of our color. The father of wisdom and wealth was a colored man. If any one doubts my statement, I refer you to the Bible. According to the Scriptures, King Solomon was said to be a colored man. There is no person that has lived since the days of Adam and Eve ever had the wisdom that King Solomon had. Notice him in his beauty and all of his royal kingdom. His wisdom was so broadly felt that queens across the waters came to learn of his excellent wisdom. Such excellent examples as King Solomon left behind him are worthy of any race to follow after.
I simply mention this to give stimulus to the race, for it is said that the race has no example to work from, because the leaders of the Babylonian history has excluded the colored race from all greatness as to promotion. Some go so far as to say that we never had any great leaders in ancient history nor modern history. I simply mention these facts because it is necessary that we should produce proofs to show that God, in His supreme wisdom and magnitude, has not entirely obliterated the promotion of the negro race.
I love the race because I am identified with it.
Not only do I love the race that I am identified with, but I love all races. It is said by many that the negro race's hope is obliterated in every instance, as to aspiring for great, grand and nobler things.
I endeavor to show to those that read and preserve the history of my life that these things can not bear to be tested in the golden balance. You will find in the history of my life that I have gone so far as to question the Creator of heaven as to the inability of the negro race.
MR. BOOKER T. WASHINGTON.
My cousin and I promised each other several years ago that we would work hard and take care of our money, to enter college. We worked several years, and at the end of each year our condition was the same. We were not able to enter college. When I entered college I was not able to pay my matriculating fees. I entered college with ten cents in my pocket, after paying my railroad fare. The rule was to pay your matriculating fees and other expenses at the expiration of the mouth. During the first month I entered college, I saw Professor Inserly, one of the professors from Boston. I asked him to give me something to do to help pay for my schooling. He gave me his room to keep in order, to pay towards my schooling. Professor Perry also gave me some work to do to help pay towards my schooling. I had only one suit of clothes when I entered college, and some of the advanced students gave me some of their clothes that had been worn, and I was very proud of them. The rule in college was that all of the scholars had to dress neatly before they went to breakfast. I was unable to dress neatly like the rest. I had to
remain in my room until all of the students had eaten breakfast. Then I went down to the dining hall and asked the cook in a sympathetic manner for something to eat. She responded to me by saying, "What are your reasons for not coming to breakfast when the others came?" I responded to her question by saying I was unable to dress neatly like the others did, for I went down in the dining hall one morning and all of the students laughed at me. I told her if she would save me something to eat every Sunday morning, I would bring her wood and water, and pick up some chips for her.
The rule was, at college, that there were fifteen minutes set apart for social hour, for the young men and young ladies. The young ladies would not allow me to walk with them; they said that I could not dress nice enough to walk on the lawn with them. I would go back to my room and get my books and study them. I asked the Lord if I would forever be in that condition.
I continued to study my books in season and out of season. While the rest would be playing on the campus and having a hallelujah time, I would confine myself to the study of my books.
I remained in that condition until the school session had expired. The scholars laughed and said I was an idiot; some said that I had a little more sense than an idiot.
After the session had expired, I returned home and opened a pay school, which amounted to ten or twelve dollars a month. I taught school at one of Cameron's Quarters. The people were so very poor that none of them were able to board me. I had to stay at each one of the scholars' homes a night, until I got around, and continued on. Some were able to pay me for their children's schooling, and some were not.
I found out at the expiration of a school's term that I would not be able to pay my term in college. I asked the Lord what must I do. I was bound to return to college. I listened for an answer, but the Lord did not answer me directly. I formulated a new plan. I went to the store and bought me about a bushel and a half of soda crackers and fifteen pounds of sugar and ten pounds of cheese, and put in my trunk, and carried it with me to college. I hired a room from one of my friends that I was acquainted with, and asked the president to let me stay with him. The president of the institution granted my request. I carried my trunk with my crackers, cheese and sugar, and put it in the room, and that was what I ate nearly all of the session. When the chapel bell rang for supper, breakfast and dinner, I went to my trunk and got my meals. I got so very tired eating such dry food until I did not know what in the world to do.
Sometimes I would get so very hungry, but I continued to eat what I had. Now and then I would ask my friends for a piece of meat and bread, and they would give it to me. Sometimes I would be reciting my subjects to my teacher, and I would be so very weak and hungry that I could not recite successfully. I was in that condition for several months.
I began to think that the Lord of heaven had forsaken me, and I had no friends on earth. I would write home to my people to send me some money, and they would send me five and ten cents, and oh! how glad I would be. I rejoiced to get five cents. I remember I looked up towards the heavens and prayed, and said the foxes in the woods had dens, the birds in the air had nests, and there was no place for the sinner man to rest his head. I remember I said, "Lord, hear my voice, let Thine ears be attentive to my supplications." I am satisfied that the Lord heard me, and gave consolation to a wounded heart, for I was fatherless and almost motherless, in the midst of a trying time. He made the ways possible for me.
I went to the president of the institution and told him how I had tried to make my way through school, and unless he assisted me in my struggle, I would be bound to return to my humble home and there remain until I could better prepare to
return to school again. The president told me it would not be long before I could teach school. "You go and bring your trunk over to the dormitory, and you can stay in school until the session expires; then you can go out and teach and pay the school."
And I felt that the Lord had taken pleasure in them that fear Him, and in those that hope in His mercy, and I was satisfied that I was one among that number. I remained in school during that session. The scholars would be out on the campus enjoying themselves, and I would confine myself to my studies in my room.
About a month before the school closed, Mr. Duckett, the Superintendent of Education, held an examination, and the president of the institution excused all of the scholars that he thought worthy of going before the board. Some of the students that went before the board laughed and said, "What is the president thinking about sending Latta before the board?" They said that they were satisfied that I would fall below zero. Mr. Duckett was one of the most rigid examiners that ever examined applicants for certificates in North Carolina. I do not think I am exaggerating, because I have kept in touch with the county superintendents since that period.
As near as I can recollect, there were between twenty and twenty-five students attending the
examination. We were on the examination almost a week, and I am sorry to say that every student, with the exception of four, made a failure. The successful ones were Dr. Williams, from Georgia; William Smith, from Tarboro, N. C.; a young lady from Lynchburg, Va., and your humble servant, from Raleigh, N. C. Dr. Williams received a second class certificate, William Smith received a third class certificate, the young lady a second class certificate, and I received a second class certificate.
After this the scholars began to assemble on the campus and say that I was not as big a fool as they thought. The President, Dr. Tupper, told the students, according to the time I had attended school, I had excelled the whole school. The scholars came to me and asked me how did I learn so fast and made such a poor appearance. I told them that men who expected to be great never put on airs to be seen, but proved that they were worthy of recognition by what they did.
After the close of the session I returned home and got a district school to teach. I taught three months and a half, and also taught night school at the same time. After paying my expenses, I had nearly a hundred dollars to return to school with. When I returned, I was able to dress very neatly indeed, and the young ladies received me very cordially on the green during social hour.
Before I taught school it was a common saying among the young ladies and young men, "Latta"; but after I returned with a hundred dollars it was "Mr. Latta" all over the campus. I would hear the young ladies saying among themselves, "I bet Mr. Latta will not go with you--he will correspond with me this afternoon." I paid no attention to it. I said to myself, "Don't you see what a hundred dollars will do?"
The next session I was again examined by Mr. Duckett and made first grade certificate. I taught four months the following year and made one hundred and sixty dollars. When I returned to school the next session all of the students, even the professors, would say, "Good morning, Professor Latta." All of the young ladies wanted to correspond with me. They said I was so fascinating, and that my promotion was not limited. Afterwards I was promoted to hear some of the classes in the institution, as an assistant teacher, and some of those very students that laughed when I entered college recited to me before I left.
I continued to study as I did before I received the first class certificate. I studied very hard, and stayed in school about two or three years after that, as a student, and also as an assistant teacher. I taught a class in arithmetic a whole session, and enjoyed it very much. I studied so
very hard and become so feeble that the doctor told me I must stop school.
I could not remain in school because I was overtaxed with the different subjects. I lacked almost a session of completing the different languages. The doctor said it would never do for me to attend school any longer. He said that I had enough to make out with if I never attended school another day. Had I remained in school another term I would have received my diploma.
I taught district schools, graded schools and academies. I was preparing to ask the President of the college to confer the degree of A. B. on me, excusing the few months I lost in school in completing the college course. But I continued to study at home in my room, without the knowledge of the doctor; and as I prepared myself the Lord sent an Angel to tell the President that he had completed his labor that He gave him to do, and he desired his presence around the throne. He was a faithful President, beloved by all that attended the school. He established the first institution of any note for the colored race in the Southern States. It was a sad day among the students when he said he had finished his course on earth and he desired to go home and rest from his labor.
President Tupper, of Shaw University, was a good man and a Christian hearted gentleman.
REV. M. L. LATTA.
WILLIAM MCKINLEY, Ex-President.
GROVER CLEVELAND, Ex-President.
REV. M. L. LATTA AND THREE OF HIS ADMIRABLE PRESIDENTS.
He was a great educator and quite a scholarly man. He was beloved by both white and colored. He had the largest funeral that has been known in Raleigh for forty or fifty years. The people mourned his departure for many days. He will forever live in the hearts of the people, and especially in the hearts of all of the students that attended Shaw University.
I taught public school about eighteen or twenty years; those for whom I taught said I was a very successful teacher. The schools I taught, as a rule, were very largely attended. I was very strict as a teacher. My pupils loved me as a parent.
I always had more schools offered me than I could teach. I would be teaching in one district, and the committee in an adjoining district would save their schools until I got through teaching in the other district.
After I got through teaching school I was employed as a sewing machine agent. I sold machines about fifteen months. I found it was very easy to make sales, but hard to collect money, yet I sold quite a number during my employment. I told the people that they could not keep house without having a machine in it, and the sisters would say to me, "Brother, is that true?" and I would say, "Yes, sister; no person can keep house successfully without a sewing machine in it."
It has been said by many that it was almost impossible for the negro race to do anything, and, as one member of the race, I determined, by God's help, to see if the alleged expression was really true. It is also said by the same accusers that God did not intend for the negro race to do as other nationalities. It has been so commonly spoken that God has no respect of persons. I prayed over the matter, considered it, and reconsidered it. Oh! how strange it seemed to me that a just God, that formed the heavens and the earth, and made every creeping thing--animals, man and beast! Oh! how strange it seemed to me to believe that a just God would make some races superior to others, and to stamp a seal of damnation upon a race eternally because their faces were black, and whatever they should undertake to do should fail! After studying carefully over the matter, I cried, because I knew we had a just God. It has been said that the race is prone to debauchery and detestable things in all of their actions; and yet when I read the Good Book I would see that God did not refer to
a man because his face was black. I had heard it said to be a member of the negro race was a disgrace to human sight, because they were vicious and were not capable of doing anything that had any responsibility in it. My heart bled within me. Again I went to the Bible to see if the race that I was identified with was so condemned and had nothing to aspire for, by reason of their condition and complexion. I got down upon my knees and prayed to God, and said, "Oh, Father of Heaven and God of Love, if this calamity is true it would have been better for us if we had never been born" After I arose from my knees, praying to God in whom there is no varying to the right nor the left, and who knows no man by his condition, but measures out truth, justice and righteousness to all men alike, I found that I had great peace. I found that the burdens of these accusations would have to be made from a source of God-like power before I could accept them.
I then determined that I would take up the great responsibility to prove what had been said was not true. I made up my mind that I would begin nothing small because it had been said that a member of the negro race could not start anything requiring extraordinary ability and carry it to success--especially if ten thousand
dollars or a hundred thousand dollars were involved.
I first thought that I would establish a university and connect it with some religious denomination. The second thought came to me, if I do that it will not begin to solve the negro problem, because the accusers would say, if it is connected with any particular denomination, that would not be evidence that a member of the colored race could do anything. They would say almost any denomination could form a combination and build an institution, because, if the colored denomination could not build the institution the white people of the same denomination would help them. The accusers would say it is easy to elect one of their members as president of the institution, and that is not sufficient evidence that the race can do anything of themselves.
The white people are not enemies to the colored people, when they find out that they are doing something to better their condition. When I started to erect this Latta University many of the colored people said it was too much for one man to do, and God did not intend for one man to do that much. They called meetings and held some indignation meetings, declaring that God would be angry if one man would attempt to do that much. They invited me to their meetings. I attended some of them, and they would elect one of their members chairman and one secretary, but they were all chairman and all secretary, for they all talked at the same time. They went so far as to say that the Governor of the State of North Carolina would not allow one man to do that much to solve the negro problem.
I started out with the purpose to erect an institution for educational purposes, non-sectarian as to its religious teaching. They said it was the biggest thing they ever heard of. I knew that they, as a race, were ignorant, but they were telling the truth in that particular. They asked the
Governor his opinion about the matter. He told them it was a very good thing if I could come out in it; but he said it was a mighty big undertaking. They called meetings for two years, until they got ashamed, and the white peopled laughed at them and said what big fools they were. They went so far as to have my name printed and circulated all over the city, saying that I was a fraud, and I never would build an institution, because they had not authorized me to build it. They said to build a non-sectarian institution I would have to go to the President of the United States and get license to build a school of that character.
The leading white people of the city told me to have them prosecuted for circulating such a paper against me without any foundation. None of them had given a dollar for the institution.
I laughed when I chanced to hear what they would say, because I knew that they were very ignorant; I knew that God had chosen some one to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and I had begun to think that He had chosen your humble servant to lead those ignorant people out of the second Egypt. One of the ablest lawyers in the city of Raleigh told me if I said so he would put the last one of them in the work house. I remember I repeated these words to Judge Strong, and told him I believed in what Davy Crockett said,
THE HOUSE IN NORTH CAROLINA WHERE REV. M. L. LATTA WAS BORN.
"First know that you are right and then go ahead." I further told him, if I would take time to fool with those ignorant colored people I would never build Latta University. In other words, I would never solve the negro problem, that I so earnestly desired to solve. I remember one morning early my physician that had been attending my family came by my home, on his way to see a patient a few doors above, and he saw my wife, as she was standing on the piazza, and he said to her, "Have you seen the papers this morning?" She replied, "No, sir; I have not seen them. What is in the papers so interesting?" His reply was, "Your husband is ruined forever. You ought to read the newspapers. Even your children and you are ruined." My wife began shedding tears, and said she wished I had never thought of building an institution. I came to the door to speak some words of consolation to her, and to tell her not to weep, because right would win. She said she wished that I had never seen an institution or heard of one, to have the people to talk about me that way. Some of her friends were visiting her at that time, and they came to the door and saw her weeping, and they began crying. It affected me so much that I almost shed tears myself. We had a sad home and there was no breakfast ate that morning. I knelt down upon
my knees and asked them to engage in prayer with me a few moments. I took the matter to God, and after I had prayed to Him I felt more determined than I did before that I would yet build that institution, in spite of men or devils.
In a few days my family became reconciled over the matter, and said, I will leave the matter with you and God. I did not attempt to erect an institution to make money out of it. My purpose from the beginning up until the present, as far as I have gone, was to prove that the negro race could do something, regardless of color or previous condition of servitude. I have always desired, from my youth, to do something worthy of speaking of, that would be a light to the race that I am identified with.
The white people of the city published it in their newspapers that my undertaking to build a non-sectarian institution was a worthy cause. They said that it was worthy of any one's consideration. They said they knew that it was a big undertaking. They further said, if I was successful I would have credit for doing more than any man they had ever heard of, having no means to start with. They said that the colored people were ignorant and for me not to pay any attention to them. I taught school and got money to start the institution. I found that we must have some aid to enable the students to
attend school at such rates as we do, and for that reason I had to ask the general public to help us in a small and humble way. After explaining my cause to the people, they said it was a good thing; but I found the people, as a rule, not very charitable. I found that I had to work hard enough, for ten dollars, to get a hundred and fifty dollars; but I determined, by the help of God, to accomplish my purpose.
The colored people that fought me in establishing the Latta University, and held indignation meetings against the fostering of the same, as soon as the school ran one session, came to me and said they were ignorant and were misled. They said that they had nothing against my building the institution; that they were misled by an ignorant preacher. They said if they had a plenty of such men as myself they would soon be equal to all other races. They said that I was the smartest man in the South, and not only the smartest man in the South, but the smartest man in the world. They said that no man on earth could build that institution as I did without means to start with, and they knew that I had no means to start with, and they did not want me to take all of that responsibility upon myself; they thought that I would make a failure, and it would be injurious to the race.
I had no person to give me an introduction to
the Northern men. I was a stranger among them all. I was not so fortunate as my friend, Booker T. Washington, in having a friend like General Armstrong to introduce me to friends in the North, East and West. I had no person to loan me a dollar to start with, I admit, as my white friends and colored friends said. We have a Board of Directors, and they tried to raise money, but they could not raise twenty-five dollars, and they said, "You will have to build this school or it will not be built." So I prayed and worked. I prayed in season and out of season, and worked in season and out of season.
The State has not given the school a dollar, but it does not charge any taxes on the school property. I would work hard all day, in a half run, and sometimes running. I would be so tired when I reached my hotel I could hardly eat my supper. Many times I would find it necessary to get up out of my bed at one o'clock or two o'clock in the morning to take a train to meet an appointment at nine o'clock in the morning. I never failed in being on time.
I desire to say a word concerning the lynchings in the Southern States, that our friends in the North, East and West hear so much of. I claim that it comes from ignorance among the colored people that such extreme depredations as assaulting white ladies of the South takes place. I am prepared to show you, in nine cases out of ten, it comes from ignorance. Education and sufficient moral training, with religion combined, are the only things that will stop it. I can say for this institution, as I have been the presiding officer ever since it has been founded, not a student that leaves the Latta University will ever be found guilty of such terrible conduct. I have talked with numbers of leaders that preside over various institutions, and they say not a single scholar that attended their schools have ever committed such crimes. We not only teach them intellectually, but we teach them how they must conduct themselves from a moral and social standpoint. We instill it so deeply in them until they never will forget it during life. In some instances I know several students that attended school who, when they came to school,
were so uncouth they would almost make you blush to see how they acted. After they remained in school and received its thorough training, they would lead prayer meeting and tell others how to conduct themselves in life.
I do not believe in lynch law; but such crimes as I have mentioned above are very shocking, and sometimes a party of men take the law in their own hands. My advice in such a case is to educate such ignorant people, make the law compulsory, compel everybody to attend school, and also make it compulsory for teachers to lecture along such lines, as we do in our colleges; and if these rules that I have just mentioned are strictly enforced, we will have no trouble in these extreme depredations.
I have noticed very carefully that men of means, as a rule, are doing very little good with their money. For instance, you take men like Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Carnegie. You will not find in a single instance that wealthy men like those give to any institution or any enterprise that is poor and needy and striving to come to the front. We must remember that we have to begin low to go high. I find those institutions that wealthy children attend are the ones wealthy men help. There is no argument that can be produced successfully to prove that such men as I
have mentioned are helping the poor. It seems that they prefer to give to institutions that really do not need their assistance. I have been trying to help the poor. Jesus Christ said on one occasion, "The poor ye have always with you."
MR. J. H. BIVANS, General Agent Latta University
MR. D. R. DAVIS, Former Gen. Agt. Latta University.
We have had thousands of students to attend the Latta University. Some were able to pay their schooling and some were not able to pay their matriculation fees. There have been several thousand pupils to attend this institution since it has been founded, and we have had to carry almost one-third of them because they were unable to pay their school bills. They promised to pay their bills if we would let them stay in school, and I am satisfied that the majority tried to pay; but they were unable to do so. I had to go in debt with the merchants of the city and buy provisions to run the school. Sometimes I would go in debt so very heavy until I would have to leave school during the school term and work, rain or shine, never stopping for sleet or snow, wind or rain, raising money to pay the bills of those that were not able to pay their own bills. We charged young men only six dollars and seventy-five cents and young ladies five dollars and seventy-five cents per month. We board them and teach them, for these amounts.
You can readily see that these amounts are not
half enough to run the school successfully. I would go up in town and see my grocerymen, and they would tell me that my bills were so very high they did not see how I ever would pay them. The bills would be so heavy, and I did not see any possible way to pay them, I could not sleep at night nor rest during the day. I many times knelt down upon my knees and shed tears, feeling that the responsibility was too heavy to carry. I remember saying several times that the responsibility was so heavy that I must decline to attempt to solve the negro problem any further. As a rule, I would remain at school during the session and go in debt several thousand dollars to run the school. As soon as school closed I would get the endorsement of the leading officers of the city and State as to the worthiness of my work, and I would take my little book in my hand, with tears in my eyes, and start out to get the necessary money. I did not know where I was going to get twenty-five cents from. I would tell the public what I was doing, and I tried to interest them to help me to meet the obligations necessary for me to meet, as to the expenses the students had incurred on the institution. I received amounts as small as twenty-five cents, and from that to a dollar. Some friends I interested enough to get five and ten dollars. Now and then some would give twenty
and twenty-five dollars. Some would receive me very cordially and others would receive me as if I were a rattlesnake. Some would treat me very uncouth indeed, and I've had some to order me out of their places of business. I went out, but kept right on at my work, because I knew that life and death was involved in my object. I knew that they treated Christ worse than they treated me, and when I would study over the matter and knew how they treated Jesus Christ, and yet He said they knew not what they did, it inspired me to push forward. I can not explain to the public just what I have gone through during the time that I have attempted to solve the negro problem. It would worry your patience to read the oppositions and obstacles that was put in the way to stop my progress to accomplishing my purpose.
My ambition is that this institution must live when Christ shall call me to appear before His throne to give an account of my mission on earth.
I sincerely hope that the institution may do good through all ages to come. I desire that the institution may be a monument to the fact that a member of the negro race has solved a serious and an important problem--one that all nations doubted as to its consummation.
It will be seen that the contributions of the people amounted to very little, and you can
readily see, if it meant anything, it meant work from the beginning and also ability to conduct and manage the affairs. I claim that the race problem is solved. I am satisfied that, after the general public reads the history of my life, they will say that it is the biggest undertaking of any one man in ancient or modern history.
Often my heart ached within me, and I shed tears time and again. I would walk along the road and weep. I would kneel down and pray, trying to find out if it was true that a just God would make a race and shut the doors of prosperity against them because their complexion was different from other nationalities. I said if I would manage the enterprise discreetly and be prudent in all of my actions, practice economy and be energetic, seeing that every dollar goes to its proper place--when I shall have exercised all of that care and discretion and attended to everything judiciously, and failed, then I would plainly see that God did not intend for the colored people to compete with other races.
But I can say, after undertaking such great responsibility, beyond all question, that we have a just God, and a man can accomplish just what he desires to accomplish and be second to none.
Now I can say, as Patrick Henry said, "I have but one lamp, by which my feet are guarded, and that is the lamp of experience." I could not
speak so determined on this matter as I do but for my experience, and, remember, experience is the thing after all.
In taking this task upon myself, it was not my purpose to assail any particular race; but after hearing so many accusations and criticisms that I had heard, I determined to see whether it was true or not. I am now satisfied that God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.
Read the history of the children of Israel when they were under the hard taskmasters of King Pharaoh in Egypt. It is said that the Israelites that were brought out of bondage, under the administration of King Pharaoh, are Hebrews. Some have said, it seems strange that God would allow the Israelites to suffer as long as they did, being persecuted and evil-treated, and also laboring under the influence of maltreatment, before Moses led them. from under the Egyptian's bondage. They say it is cruelty on the part of creation, and it is admitted by all of the Hebrews that the struggle for liberty away back in the Moses dispensation is what has made them the most successful nationalitythat is upon the globe to-day.
You might trace the Ethiopian race in the same way. A great many people have said that God was not just, allowing other nationalities to
predominate over them and hold them as slaves. I simply mention these statements to show that God works things to suit Himself, and if God, in His own mysterious ways, in managing things, has promoted the Hebrews to prosperity, then it is prima facie evidence that the same God that promoted the Hebrews will promote the negro race, if we will faithfully discharge every duty that devolves upon us.
Latta University is located in West Raleigh, N. C., one mile west from the capitol building. The location is the very best that could be desired for this school, being outside the busy city, but within easy reach by means of the electric street cars, which run near the institution. It is one of the largest schools in the South in every respect, having capacity to accommodate more than fourteen hundred students. We have twenty-three buildings on the campus.
Latta University was incorporated by the laws of North Carolina, February 15, 1894. The property of the University was purchased in 1891, and the school was founded in 1892. The institution is wholly non-sectarian in its religious instruction and influence, yet earnest attention is given to Bible study, applying its truths to daily life and conduct, that a thoroughly Christian character may be attained. It is open to all students of either sex.
The Industrial Department gives special opportunities to young men. By working on the industrial farm they receive all the privileges of the boarding department. Rooms, bedsteads
and mattresses are furnished free. Heat and light and washing also furnished free. The advantages of the Night School and the opportunity of earning from eight to ten dollars per month, to be placed to their credit account and applied to their board account, are open to all.
No student under sixteen years of age will have admission to the Industrial School. Students must be healthy and able to do farm work. Students who do not abide by the regulations, and who do not give satisfaction in their work, are not retained in school, and on being sent away forfeit their right to any part they may have earned.
All work, even that which is remunerative, is instructive and methodical and under experienced supervision. Those desiring to work enter the Industrial School, which runs ten months. Those who are not prepared go to the Night School and work out a part of their schooling. This is done so all persons can have an opportunity to get an education.
In some extreme cases, when we find that a worthy person desires to get an education and is deprived of necessary means, we make it convenient for them to work their way through school. Young men are taught to do all kinds of carpentry work and brick laying. Those who enter the Industrial School with the intention of working
their way through school, only have permission to attend the Night School, and they are required to pay $4.00 for incidental fees.
The school runs day and night. It will be optional with the school as to which department these students attend--day or night school. Both are taught by experienced teachers.
Young ladies who enter the Industrial Department are taught to do laundry and all kinds of house work.
There is no school for the benefit of the race which has had so humble an origin as this, and yet (if signs mean anything) it is destined to be one of the foremost for the elevation of our people.
This institution is for the race, and the first which has been organized under like circumstances, with a representative of the race at the head.
I can not forget to thank the generous white people of the "Old North State" and elsewhere who have so kindly helped me in this work, and, while thanking them for the past, I earnestly plead for their aid in the future, and for the cooperation of my own race.
When I shall have completed the task on earth which God gave me to do, and when He shall require my presence in heaven, to remain with Him forever, this school must be carried on for the
educational purposes for which it was founded. It must remain as Latta University, for educating and helping a weak race, and to remain as a monument to show the work that I have done for the race, and to show that I am not dead, but simply sleeping.
I am satisfied that my task will soon be ended on earth, and God will send an angel to summons me to appear before His throne. I hope to be able to look back over a well spent life and feel satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that I have faithfully discharged my duty in lifting up a fallen race and in doing good for the public in general whenever it has fallen to my lot.
I am satisfied that man can not compensate me for my services on earth, and, therefore, I am looking to God for reward for what I have done in the past and what I shall do in the future.
We had twenty-six buildings and lost three by fire. The library of the school was also burned.
I have made it a rule of my life, whenever a good cause is presented to me, to help it along. I never fail to do something for it, if I can. I find, in my experience, which is the only lamp that my feet are guided by, whenever a person wants to help lift up fallen humanity, and has not the means to make a great display like those that have plenty of means, that there is a combination formed under the same head, like the great monster, which is called "Trust."
I desire to say something concerning the Investigation Bureau in New York, as they call it, which I claim does not do any good, but pays men for nothing but to go around the country to find institutions that are just struggling for life, doing the best they can, with limited means. If they find an institution of that nature that can't sit alone, nor crawl, they report to a class of men who do not desire to help any such, but desire to give to enterprises that do not really need it. In other words, they do that to prevent giving to any cause, only a few dollars to the New York Investigation Bureau. If a person asks them to give to a cause, which is endorsed by the
leading men of the town or city from which they come, or to institutions endorsed by men that are filled with patriotism, men whose integrity is so high that they could not afford to give their sanction to a fraudulent purpose, men who are chosen among the people in the community in which they live to represent the people; and yet these fellows of the New York Investigation Bureau turn down these prominent men, such as our Mayors, Clerks, Judges, and even the Governor of our State. Is it just that the statements of these good, patriotic men should be repudiated, when they are disinterested, having only a desire to see a good cause promoted?
I am satisfied that I have done more good along the lines of education for the advancement of my race than any of these. I have had hundreds of orphan children in our institution and hundreds and thousands of others that needed help. Some have finished their education and some have not.
I have noticed very carefully as to the proficiency of the students of the Latta University. Of course they do not fail before the Board whenever they desire to teach a public school. Not only the graduates, but the students that desire to teach. Several hundred of them have made application to teach in the public schools, and they did not make a failure, for I have made it
a rule to keep in touch with the students that attend the institution and see that they are properly prepared.
I desire to call the reader's attention to these suggestions. Suppose, when we had two or three small school buildings, and the school was in its infancy, I should have stopped working then, simply because the Investigation Bureau said it was not worthy, for it helped students to pay their tuition?
I find that the majority of the people, as I present my cause and tell them, would say, whenever a cause is presented to me, endorsed by the leading people of the community, that is satisfactory, without receiving information from the Investigation Bureau. I claim that I have been the means of uplifting more ignorant people out of the gutter and promoting them to usefulness and a higher moral sentiment than all of the Investigation Bureaus in New York, or any other place. I am proud to say, by the help of the Creator of heaven and earth, by push and faith, by persistent efforts against all odds and attempts to demoralize me, I have succeeded. The institution has extended its wings with the intention to climb the topmost ladder. It has extended its breadth; it has closed the door of
seclusion and is aspiring to the noble efforts that makes the nation useful and great.
Surely the Investigation Bureau have not read the Commandments of God. If you educate and thoroughly train the mind of ten persons, you have done a remarkable deed.
I desire to call the attention of the Investigation Bureau to one grave fact: God told Lot that he would save the great cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if he would find ten just persons in them. We claim that we have not only made ten persons upright and good, but we have had several thousand to attend the Latta University, and the greater portion have been made good and just by the influence of the institution.
Thank God the University has prospered in its administration. The institution owns nearly three hundred acres of land on the suburbs of the city. A portion of the land cost four hundred dollars an acre, and we have been abundantly blessed. I visited all of the principal towns and cities of the Southern States. My purpose for doing so was to see if the white people were antagonistic to the colored people. I had an interview with all of the business white people. I presented my cause to them, and told them what I was doing. They said it was a good cause and worthy of support. I found that they were not antagonistic to the colored people, but willing to help them.
Of course the Southern people have not the money that our Northern, Eastern and Western people have; but they gave to me very liberally and treated me very nicely indeed. I knew that it was not a custom in the South for colored
people and white people to put up at a hotel together. Knowing this, I always went to some of the respectable colored people and stayed with them. I like the Southern white people for the independent stand they take. They come right out in plain English and say that they do not receive colored people in their hotels, for they say that they never were brought up to mingle with the colored people, and will not do so.
There is a big difference between the North and South concerning the colored people.
It is indiscreet to bring about social equality among the two races in the Southern States, because, in the first place, the colored man is ignorant, with few exceptions. In the second place, the colored people have not had time to develop themselves.
For my part, I do not want social equality, for I do not have time to enjoy social life with my own family as I would like to do. My advice to the colored people is to get the mighty dollar and buy property, and they will have all of the recognition that they want. The colored people, as a race, are the worst enemies to themselves. They are prejudiced towards each other. If one tries to go to the front the others will try to keep him back. These dispositions many of them inherited, and can not help it. I must say
this much for the white people of the South: if they see the colored man trying to do something to better his condition, they are willing to assist them, and not only willing to assist them, but they do assist them.
It will take several generations, as I have said, before the colored people, as a race, will be able to compete with other nationalities. It is not their fault, because they can not compete with other races, but the condition, that they are in as a race.
I was travelling through the West when establishing our institution, and remember that while lecturing and preaching at several churches to have preached in Cincinnati in one of the largest churches in that city. A very distinguished minister, pastor of the church--I can not think of his name at present--but his church gave me a hearty collection. They seemed to be very well pleased with my sermon, as if they enjoyed it. They took up a collection for me. I talked with the pastor for a few minutes, and told him that I would leave the next day for the city of Chicago. He told me to come to his study before I left, he wanted to see me. I went to his study, and he said to me, "You are engaged in a laudable cause. It is worthy of the consideration of any one." He gave me twenty dollars, and said, "I have read
ancient history and modern history, and that is the biggest undertaking for one without means I have ever read or heard of." He said, "My dear brother, when you get that institution in operation please write me, and I will send you a check for forty dollars." As much as to say that I would never complete my object. About fourteen months from the time I met him, the school opened with a very large attendance. I notified him, according to his request, and told him that we had opened school with a large number of students, and had erected six buildings on the campus. He said in the communication that he sent me: "I would not tell you what I thought when you and I were talking in my study. You have surprised me very much indeed. I thought it was entirely out of the question for you to accomplish such a great work without several thousand dollars to start with. Enclosed please find a check for forty dollars. I sincerely wish you much success in your worthy cause."
Since I have attempted to establish the Latta University I have visited almost every city and town in the United States; have had an interview with almost every leading business man in the city of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and in the city of San Francisco, Boston and Cincinnati, besides interviewing many business men in all
the important towns, cities and villages in the United States. My purpose for doing so was to present the negro problem, because I had made up my mind to study the negro problem thoroughly, if it cost my life. I desire to explain to the public how the people received me this side of Mason and Dixon's line and in the North, East and West. In some of the cities and towns of the North the hotels received me very cordially and some did not. After I completed my work during the day I would go to some hotel, and often would walk until 12 o'clock at night trying to get a place to stay. I would go to the hotel and tell the clerk that I wanted to be accommodated. The clerk would tell me that all of the rooms were occupied. I would go to another hotel, and the clerk would tell me the same. I would go to another and the clerk would tell me the same.
It appeared to me to be somewhat singular, and I made up my mind to notice and see if some one else would ask for accommodation. I stepped aside, about ten or twelve yards, and stood up beside a lamp post. At that time I was so fatigued I did not know what in the world to do. I made up my mind that I would have to go and ask the police for quarters. The last hotel that I went to was about one o'clock. A train
came in at 1.30 o'clock and about fifteen persons came to this hotel and asked for accommodations. When they went into the hotel I peeped in, but kept in the dark, so no one could see me. As soon as they got in the clerk gave them the register, and every one of them entered their names, and he told the porter to show them their rooms. I then went down the streets with tears in my eyes, to think how I was treated just because my face was not as white as those that came in on the late train.
I thought about what Fred. Douglas said, that he made up his mind to leave the Southern States for protection, in one of his great speeches in Boston, that I listened to very carefully. He said, when he got on the Potomac River the Northern people kicked him on the northern side and the Southern people kicked him on the southern side, and they kept him in the middle of the river all the time. Mr. Douglas said that the people would invite him to preach and a large audience would turn out to hear him, but when he got through preaching no one invited him home. He said he got so hungry that he did not know what to do. He said, "the foxes in the woods had dens and the birds in the air had nests, but poor sinner, man, had nowhere to rest his head." When I heard him make that
speech I had just strated out on my mission. In many places I visited there were no colored people, or, if there was, I did not know where they lived. I knew that they did not refuse me because I did not appear respectably, because I always made it a rule to appear well. I remember, in many instances, I would walk from one to two o'clock, meeting scarcely any one but the police, my heart heavy, body worn out and nowhere to rest my head.
I would think of what my friend Douglas had said when he made that speech. I said, surely, surely, I will never come to that.
I remember when, in one of the largest cities in the coal region, in the State of Pennsylvania, I looked up toward the heavens and said, "I am not even as comfortable as a dog, because the dog had a place to rest, but there was no place for poor me to rest my head." This is the history of my life all through the North, East and West, because I was identified with the Ethiopian race.
On one occasion I was travelling through the West, and a teacher of the institution that I preside over as President was with me. We stopped over at a town for three or four hours, where we had some business to attend to. I went to a very small house, called the Mansion House.
Nearly all boarding houses and hotels have liquor saloons attached to them. The clerk was selling whiskey to his customers. He saw us as we were coining towards this Mansion House, and he and his customers came to the window and stared at us as if we were a circus. The teacher and I went in the office. I asked the clerk would he let the teacher remain there two hours, until the arrival of the next train, as we were going to the West. He commenced talking to me, in the presence of the rest, and afterwards told me that he wanted to see me privately. He said the proprietor told him not to receive any colored folks, nor even let them go in his dining room. I knew that was too far from civilization. I asked him where was the proprietor, and he told me he was out at his livery stable. I went to the stable and saw the proprietor. He looked as if he did not want to see a colored man. I approached him, but found it was necessary to let him know just who I was. I told him we only wanted to stay two or three hours, until the arrival of the train. He told me to go back and see the clerk. I told him the clerk told me to come and see him. After I informed him who I was and told him my profession, his appearance changed, and he kindly consented for us to remain until the arrival of the train. His wife would hardly speak to the teacher during her stay; but her
little daughter stayed around her and tried to make it pleasant for her. The proprietor's wife saw that the little girl was interested very much in the teacher, and she, too, tried to make it agreeable for her. After we had taken dinner, we bade them good-bye.
I made over a hundred speeches in the North, East and West in the interest of the Latta University. The people received me very cordially indeed. They said that the cause was a worthy one and deserved the consideration of every one that was able to respond. They seemed to give very freely, but the amounts were so small that it did not do very much good. I studied over the matter with special interest. I said, if I depend on what I received I shall never accomplish my purpose. I worked all day and lectured at night, hardly taking time to eat a meal. I would take lunches with me and eat a square meal at night.
I began to realize that the amounts that I was receiving in the United States never would build an institution in the nineteenth century. I made up my mind, by Gods help, I would sail for Europe. I went across the Atlantic Ocean and landed at Liverpool. I did not remain in Liverpool very long. I went from Liverpool to London. I made the city of London my
headquarters. I was in the midst of strangers, no one to speak a word to encourage me. I saw a policeman and asked him to give me some information as to what hotel I could stop at. He did so. I asked him about several churches. He kindly located many of the churches for me. I went to a store and got a little book that contained the names of all the streets; then I commenced to walk up and down the streets and located the magnificent buildings that London has. I reached there on Saturday, and as I was walking up one of the streets I met a quiet looking gentleman. He asked me if I was not a stranger. I told him I was. He asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from America, and from the State of North Cadolina. After talking with him, I found that he was pastor of one of the largest churches in the city. He asked me if I was a minister of the gospel. I told him that I was. Then he invited me to his church, and asked me to be present at eleven o'clock. I was at the church at ten-forty o'clock. The Superintendent of the Sunday School met me at the door and ushered me in. He told me that the pastor of the church said that I would be present and speak for them at eleven o'clock. The pastor soon arrived. He received me very cordially. I preached at eleven o'clock.
REV. M. L. LATTA WHEN HE FIRST COMMENCED TO BUILD LATTA UNIVERSITY.
Before I began I told them of my mission, which they received very kindly and said it was a most laudable cause, and was worthy of support. We had a very large congregation. They took up a very good collection for me.
After services were over, we went into his study and had a very lengthy conversation. I told him of my work from its beginning. I thanked him very kindly for his kindness and liberality. His words were so inspiring and full of encouragement that they made my heart leap for joy.
I realized the fact that I was in a great city, with millions of people, and yet no one to speak to only as I could make myself known. The distinguished divine told me in our conversation that I should have his prayers during my stay in the city, and anything that he could assist me in he would. I told him that it had been said in America, because a colored man's face was dark, God did not intend for him to accomplish anything, where thousands of dollars were involved, and that my purpose was to see if it was true. That the question had been so often raised that God did not intend for a colored man to succeed in anything that required extraordinary ability, I made up my mind that I would start an enterprise that would require thousands of
dollars, and all the energy and push possible. In starting to establish the enterprise I had done so with all the ingenuity and skill I possessed, and had tried to manage the business in a discreet manner and be prudent in all of my actions. I also determined to practice all economy, and I believed from the beginning, when I shall have faithfully discharged all of these duties, and then make a failure, I would lose all faith in our great Creator.
The distinguished Divine suggested that we kneel down and pray. He prayed that God would strengthen me in my efforts. He said he was satisfied that God would properly settle the matter, because he felt sure God had no respect of persons.
After praying together, my friend suggested that I go to see Mr. Spurgeon and tell him what I was doing. I did so, and while in London made a talk to his people.
I spoke in quite a number of churches and lectured in many of the halls in that great city. Some of the wealthy people heard me speak and tell what I intended to do. I received letters from some of them, stating that they wanted to have a personal conversation with me. I went to see them, and in some cases made two or three calls before I could have a personal
interview with them. I explained my intention to their satisfaction, and they seemed to be very much interested and responded very liberally.
I remained in London nine months, and I do not think that I saw a dozen colored people in the immense city while I was there. I remained in London so very long that my hair began to grow long, and I needed shaving very bad indeed. I had an engagement to preach in one of the leading churches, and on Saturday afternoon I went to a barber shop to have my hair cut. As I went in I noticed that they looked at me very strangely, but they received me kindly. I told them that I wanted my hair cut. The proprietor undertook the job. They looked at each other and looked at my hair, then he commenced work. He trimmed awhile, and soon found out that my hair was tougher than the hair he had been cutting. He stopped and said, "I can not cut it; pay me for what have done, and I'll quit."
I said, no you must complete your contract. After awhile he got through, and declared it was the hardest half a day's work he had done for several months. He said he did not know there were people with such tough hair as that; if he had known it he would not have taken the job. When he got through the job I was about as much fatigued as he was.
I went over to France, and visited Paris and other leading cities. A distinguished gentleman went with me from London. He was my interpreter. I had not studied French enough to speak it clearly. We stopped at the same hotel. He could speak English and French also. He gave me lessons in French, and I soon learned how to ask and answer the important questions. I met some very wealthy people in that city. They received me very kindly wherever I went. I explained to them what I was trying to do, and they became interested, after hearing what I was doing.
I spent nine months in London, where I was most kindly received by the people of that great city, who contributed to my cause nine thousand two hundred and sixty dollars. My visit to Paris was limited to five weeks, where I realized one thousand two hundred and forty dollars. I was well pleased with my visit to these two great European cities.
I also visited several other countries while I was across the Atlantic. I was delighted with the kind treatment I received during my visit to foreign countries. I found no distinction in passing and repassing. I soon felt that I was perfectly at home.
I also received the kindest treatment in Canada on my visit to that country. When I
returned I was satisfied that the Lord had abundantly blessed my mission among strangers, whom I had never seen before. This thought gave me great consolation.
The only time I was reminded that my complexion was different from those that I came in contact with across the ocean was when I looked in the glass.
I am satisfied that we, as a race, can be respected among all nationalities, regardless of color or previous condition.
The people in the city of Raleigh, white and colored, respect me as a citizen. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. It is inspiring to me to know that both races, white and colored, seem to have utmost confidence in me; and yet it is very sad for me to know that the majority of the race that I am identified with conduct themselves so that the Anglo Saxon race have no confidence in them. I have often told my wife that the people have too much confidence in me. They would trust me for a hundred thousand dollars or more and depend on my honor to pay it. I told her the only thing I was afraid of was that they might induce me to go too far and might cause me to lose my reputation. A man without reputation had about as well to be in oblivion as to be living.
As a leader among my race, I endeavored to impress upon them, as a race, to be trustworthy and have self reliance. I also teach them to practice punctuality. My heart bleeds within me to know that many of them are wanting in punctuality. I am sorry to say, if they set a time to preach at eleven o'clock, it is often twelve-thirty before they commence; and if they say that they are going to preach at nine o'clock, it is frequently ten-thiry. I have always made it a rule, if I am going to preach or lecture, I will be there ten or fifteen minutes before time.
I told the students that attended the Latta University, where I have presided as president for ten long years or more, if I failed to be on time one minute, or unless I notify them, or unless it is inconvenient, I would give them ten dollars, and no one has yet found me one minute late. This is the kind of teaching that I impart to my race, and especially those that are under my supervision.
Taking everything into consideration I have nothing to say against my white friends in the
Southern State. They, as a race, do not want social equality. Neither do we.
It is needless to argue that a colored man cannot so conduct himself as to win recognition in the highest degree. One of the leading wholesale men in the city of Raleigh that furnishes supplies to the school that I preside over, said to my wife that "Dr. Latta can do what I can not do." She said in reply, "What is it that he can do that you can not do?" "Dr. Latta can ride on the railroads and give checks at his convenience for any ticket he desires to pay for."
It surprised me very much indeed to know that a member of the Anglo Saxon race had watched my actions and my dealings so closely. If the people would be trustworthy, as a rule, they could do the same.
I often wonder why it is that the railroads can not indulge people and depend on their honor in many instances; but the trustworthy are among the few.
It is inspiring to me to say that the railroads have indulged me for tickets, and I would rather my right hand was separated from my body before they, or any who indulge me, should lose a dollar.
I remember that we had a party of ten persons that we brought from the school to Philadelphia.
ORPHANAGE BAND, LATTA UNIVERSITY.
The day we started I asked the city passenger agent what time would the train arrive. He said that the train was an hour late, for me to come at one-twenty. He misquoted the time to me, and I arrived there ten minutes before he said for me to arrive, and just as I got in sight of the depot I heard the train as the whistle blew the station blow. We had to check the baggage, and the ticket agent was excited over the matter. We were trying to make the train, and he failed to put the number of tickets upon the party list. The conductor came around for the tickets, and he said to me, "You are short two tickets of the number you are required to have for your party." He said that he would have to collect the full fare. I said, in reply, as soon as we get to the next station I will wire the agent, because we have paid for all of the tickets. He said, "All right, I will wait until you get to the next station."
After he and I got through talking he went back into the parlor car and saw the general manager of that entire railroad system, one among the largest railroad systems in America. He said he told him that Dr. Latta had a party going to Philadelphia, and he lacked two tickets of having the required number. He told the General Passenger Agent that he would have to
collect the fare for the two unpurchased tickets. He said, "I do not know him. All I can do is to take his statement." The conductor said that the Passenger Agent said that he knew me, and any satement that I would make was true. He told him that Dr. Latta would not make an untrue statement. He said, "Go and add the two names to the party list--his statement must be correct, because he is all right."
The conductor came back into the car and looked at me a few minutes before he spoke.
I imagined he looked into my face to see whether I was a white man or a colored man.
He told me he saw the General Passenger Agent in the parlor car, who told him any statement that I made was true --that I would not make an untrue statement.
Inspiring emotions presented themselves to me and lighted up my heart like the lights in heaven that shine by night.
Several of my teachers and students were present and heard the statement that the General Passenger Agent conveyed to me by the conductor. I imparted these inspiring expressions to my teachers and students that were present.
I was not so very well acquainted with the General Passenger Agent, but knew his father very well, from whom he had doubtless learned of my trustworthiness.
I said to the teachers and students who were present: "Now let these inspiring expressions that you heard coming from the honorable Passenger Agent of this great railroad system be inspiring words of encouragement to you."
There is no mortgage on the school property; the school owes but a very little money. My purpose is to pay every dollar that the school owes during 1903, and by the help of God will do it. Those who read the history of my life and work will find that I believe in God indeed. I also believe in work; for no man can succeed unless he believes in God, and he must also believe in work, for one without the other is of little value.
I am sorry to say that the Federal Government pays no attention to the negro's interest in the United States. There is one important thing that fills my heart with gratitude, and that is that President Roosevelt does not hold the negro responsible for his color or condition. He desires to see all men treated alike, so far as justice is concerned. If the Chief Executive of these United States was to talk and act as some I know, opposing the negro's interest and privilege, I would say to the negro, as a leader, before the sun goes down behind the western horizon, to bundle up and leave these United States; because prejudice would be so great that we could
not remain here. But as long as the head of the Government seems to take an independent stand for justice, my advice to the race is to continue on until a change comes that will be calculated to force us away.
We have had an excellent corps of teachers. Mrs. Mary K. Smith was one of the brightest female teachers that has ever occupied a position in any school. It was very interesting to me to see her instruct her scholars how to solve hard problems. She was a graduate from St. Augustine College, Raleigh, N. C.
I claim that the history of my life and work is sufficient to solve the negro problem; that is, to prove that the negro can do something, even in the midst of opposition. God alone knows what I have experienced in establishing this institution. In the midst of so many obstacles I have worked hard, night and day, and trusted in God. He has been with me and will be until the end of my life.
Labor and capital seems to be at war all the time. Labor is the father of capital, and instead of conflicting interests, they should form a combination; they can not succeed and be antagonistic to each other.
I am satisfied that the time is near at hand when the two will meet and settle all grievances satisfactorily. It will cause distress among all nations as long as the two forces are antagonizing each other. It causes the country to suffer on account of the division between the two. There is no question about it, they must unite in one common cause. We can not go back on labor nor wealth. If labor and wealth would unite it would be much better for the country. A wealthy man's money perishes in his hand if he can not get labor.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. Let me illustrate: We have several hundred acres of land connected with the institution, and if we can not get labor, the land is worthless to us, for we could not think of paying one-tenth of its taxes.
So it can be seen that the two races are depending on each other for a livelihood.
The white race, as a rule, has the money; the colored race, as a rule, has the labor; so it is plain that each race is depending on the other. Our duty is to live friendly, as we are here together. Our interests are the same. The white race need not fear about social equality, for social equality never will be between the white race and the colored race.
The white people do not have social equality among themselves as a race; several distinctions are made among them as to social equality. There are also several distinctions made among the colored people as to social equality, but not so much as among the whites.
The white people are better informed how to classify themselves in society than the colored people are. This is the only safe guide by which we can succeed, and if we will follow this rule, God will be on our side, and we will be abundantly blessed as a people, because we will be following the Divine teaching, which all men must adhere to if they expect to prosper in life. These expressions are the golden rules, and we must follow them, for God has foreordained that we must follow them, so far as social equality is concerned. I would not have social equality
with either race, white or colored; the only ambition I have along that line is for the public to respect me on general principles. In dealing with the public I want them to treat me as a citizen in transacting business. This is all the social equality I want, or I ever asked for, or I ever will ask for.
I am teaching my race to act likewise. We should get along well together if we put what I have said into practice. We are here together, and it seems that we are here to stay. I tell my race that it is very indiscreet for us not to make friends with those we expect to live with. We admit that the colored people are ignorant as a race, and desire to go too fast. I claim that all they need is proper training and sufficient time for a thorough development; and I ask our white people as a race not to hold them responsible for their ignorance, but have patience and they will develop in some future day.
My heart almost bled within me when I stopped at Mr. Harrell's boarding house, which I have mentioned above. I told Mr. Harrell I did not have the money for mine and my wife's board and lodging. He said he had no confidence in the colored people as a rule, but there were exceptions to the rule. He said he had indulged quite a number of them, and they
failed to pay him. I told him that I would be sure to pay him in a day or two.
I went in the city and got up a day school and a night school. I told Mr. Harrell I would pay him some money the next week. I also told the furniture man the same thing, and also the gentleman that I rented the house from. I got up a very respectable school. The proceeds of the day and night school amounted to nine dollars a week. My scholars paid me in advance. I took some of the proceeds and paid Mr. Harrell, and he said he found out that I was trustworthy. He told me to come back and stay a month or two. I thanked him for his kindness and told him no. I went to the furniture man and paid him some money, and also paid the man I rented the house from. I paid the groceryman some on account. The nine dollars had about set me straight.
They all said that I was trustworthy, and said I had excelled all of the strangers that they had ever dealt with. They told me to come back and get anything that I wanted. They said that they were satisfied that I intended to do what was right; they invited me to come back and stop with them again. I felt proud to know that they had so much confidence in me. I continued to teach school for several months--day school and night school.
The parents and scholars all seemed to love me, and gave me a number of fine presents. A thought came to me during my teaching:--"if a man will do the will of God, whatever he puts his hands to will prosper."
I am satisfied that a man's work will follow him. My teaching to the colored people is, if they sow bad seeds, they may expect to reap bad fruit; and if they sow good seeds, they may expect to reap good fruit.
In an humble way I tried to set good examples for my race. I know that the colored people, as a race, are weak. God has chosen some among the race who are competent to teach them. No one can be successful as a teacher unless he practices what he preaches. God has chosen more teachers than one; He has chosen teachers among all races. Mr. Washington is doing a great work for his people, but yet the people find fault of him. They found fault of Jesus Christ, and we, as leaders, do not expect anything else, only for them to find fault of us. I believe in the motto of David Crocket: "First know that you are right, and then go ahead." I pay no attention to what my race say, because I know that they are not well developed as a race; and illiterate people will talk just to hear themselves talk. If I had paid any attention to what my
race said, Latta University would never have been built. They did all they could to prevent the establishment of the institution; they got down upon their knees and prayed to God that the school should not be built. God payed no attention to their prayers; God knew that their prayers were from an ignorant source. And He, in His supreme wisdom, ignored their prayers, and animated me in establishing the institution. I knew when I started to establish the institution that God was with me, for truth and justice will always be rewarded. God has promised those that uplift the weak and make them strong that He would abundantly reward them.
I desire to speak a word concerning our white people in the city of Raleigh, as to their attitude towards the colored people. I must say it is of the very kindest nature. In reality, there has not been a conflict between the two races in the city of Raleigh for twenty-five or thirty years. We have had no lynching in the city of Raleigh. Neither race would submit to it. We feel proud of the white people in the city of Raleigh, and the white people feel proud of us as a race.
I have heard the white people say on several occasions, when colored people come from other towns and act unbecoming, that "They are not our colored people, for they are well behaved, as a rule. We think well of the colored people who live here."
The trouble that they have with each other is very little; it does not amount to anything worth speaking of. In a few days you would never know that they ever had any trouble between themselves.
The city of Raleigh is a city that I feel proud of. I have been here almost twenty years. I
have visited every town and city in the United States. During my visits to the various cities and towns, I noticed carefully the relationship between the white and colored people. I scrutinized very closely, and I found the relationship in the city of Raleigh superior to any in the United States. Raleigh sets a good example for all of the Southern cities to follow.
I often get down on my knees and pray that such a spirit that has prevailed over the city of Raleigh will continue for centuries to come.
The ministers in the city of Raleigh, white and colored, and the Christian people, have had a great deal to do with the true spirit that has prevailed over Raleigh for over a quarter of a century.
Raleigh contains about fifteen thousand inhabitants within the corporate limits; the city in reality contains about thirty thousand inhabitants. The two races are just about equal in population.
Raleigh is an inland city. It is quite beautifully located. It is also a very healthy city. It is six miles from Neuse River. Railroad system is very good; you can leave the city about six times every day and night for all points north, west and east.
In former years there was not very much manufacturing done here, but lately it has become
quite a manufacturing city. It is also quite an enterprising city. It is increasing its number of enterprises every year. The people in the city of Raleigh, as a rule, have become very wealthy, especially the white people. It has not been as enterprising as some other cities in the State, but the people have seen the great necessity of having enterprises in the community, and they have determined to make the city of Raleigh second to none.
We have six banks in our city--the Raleigh National Bank, the Citizens National Bank, the Raleigh Savings Bank, the Dime Savings Bank, the Farmers' and Commercial Bank, and the North Carolina Trust Company. This is evidence that we have a plenty of money in our city, but it is hard to get.
Walter Raleigh, for whom the city was named, was a great man, according to history.
The city is improving very rapidly. It has many beautiful mansions, and fine, wide streets,
We have a Governor that we all feel proud of--a high-toned Christian gentleman. He is in favor of educating both races alike; he believes in the money being divided equally between the two races for educational purposes. He is a Governor for the people, regardless of races or sex. Gov. Aycock has given us a wise and excellent administration. When he made his inaugural
speech, he said: "I am a Governor for the people. I intend to see that the law is administered to every man alike." He showed in one of the greatest speeches that ever was delivered on such an occasion that he was in favor of protecting the weak man and the ignorant man, as well as those who were well up in life. No man in the State of North Carolina can justly find fault with his administration, for he has been wise and liberal in all of his acts. His intention has been, from beginning to end, to animate the State during his administration.
His people feel proud of him as a Governor of North Carolina. The colored race feels proud of him as their Governor. He is a man of patriotism.
I have been acquainted with the Governor whom I speak of over ten years. I found him to be a gentleman in the highest degree. I regret and sincerely believe that the State of North Carolina regrets, that his time is almost expired as the Chief Executive of the State.
We have six colleges in the city of Raleigh. Four white colleges--the Baptist Female University, St. Mary's, Peace Institute, and A. and M. College. We also have three colored colleges--Shaw University, St. Augustine's, and Latta University. This is sufficient to show that we believe in educating our people. Yet I believe
in compulsory education; I believe that we should make our State compulsory, as the Northern and New England States are. It will decrease crime and extend virtue in our beloved State. I truly hope that the men who are engaged in making laws for the State will force this measure sufficiently to make it a law, and place it upon our statute books, as a living monument through all ages to come. I admit without any hesitation that the other Southern States, like North Carolina, are becoming deeply interestted in education. I mean the leading educators for the people at large have not been interested in education. I am glad to know that the people are calling meetings all over the State of North Carolina to show that the proper interest is being taken along educational lines. I believe that the General Assembly of North Carolina will be asked next session to make education compulsory. If the measure falls to be presented to the General Assembly this session, I am positive it will be presented the ensuing session.
When I first left the city of Raleigh to establish the Latta University, I only had enough money to carry me to Norfolk. In riding in the car from Raleigh to Norfolk, my mind was overtaxed with grief. I wept bitterly, thinking why I ever thought of such a big undertaking, with no money to start with. I had a brother who was
living in Norfolk. I went out to his house and staid all night, with not a dollar in my pocket. I learned that there was a church in the city that had no pastor. A deacon lived not very far from my brother; he was the chairman of the board of deacons, and he gave me an appointment to preach at eleven o'clock. It was a very stormy morning, and also very rainy. I don't think I have ever seen it rain so much in all of the days of my life as it rained that day. But I told the deacon that I would be there at eleven o'clock. I went as I had promised. There were about a hundred people present, or more. They seemed to be very much pleased with my sermon. After I got through preaching, I lectured to them about five minutes. I told them that I was going to Boston with the intention of establishing an institution in Raleigh to be known as Latta University. They seemed to be very much interested. They gave me enough to carry me to the city of Boston. I went on Monday. I got on a boat that went by the way of Providence, R. I. I never had been on a boat before. After I got sixty or seventy miles from Norfolk, Va., I became very sick. I made up my mind that I could not live. There was a lady on the boat going from Norfolk to Boston; in order to stay with her folks, I got acquainted with her. I wrote my will, disposing of what little I had. I gave her
my address, and told her where my family lived, and asked her to convey the sad news to my family, if I should die. She said she would. I told her that I did not expect to live to get to Boston. I told her that I was satisfied that my mission on earth was ended. I was very ill for two days, and was unable to eat anything during the whole time. I became perfectly willing to die, but the good Lord spared me to reach Boston. When I reached that city I was a stranger; I never had been to Boston before. This lady had some people in Boston, and she told me that I could stop with them. She carried me to their house. I found that they had a very humble home. I spent two or three nights with them. I got acquainted with some of the colored people in the city, and lectured at some of the Sabbath schools, and I talked for them at one of their religious meetings. I heard of a place by the name of Tremont Temple, in Boston. Meetings were held there every Sunday. I inquired, to learn who was in charge of the meetings held there. I found that a druggist on Washington street, named Braggs, had charge of the meetings on Sunday. He was a very religious man, a quiet, high-toned gentleman. I got acquainted with him, and had quite a lengthy conversation with him, and I told him my intentions. He said we will have prayer before our lecture comes off.
I was present at the prayer meeting. He called upon me to lead in prayer. The prayer meeting was over in about fifteen minutes. After the prayer meeting was over, the lecture came off. We had a very large audience.
Dr. Bradley, from New York, the pastor of the second church in New York, was undoubtedly one of the most eloquent men I ever heard utter a sentence. He spoke at length upon great questions. After Dr. McCarther got through speaking, Mr. Bradley, who had charge of the meeting, introduced me as the next speaker. I spoke about forty minutes, and told them I must stop, because I had spoken longer than I intended to speak. They told me to proceed. I told them I must stop; I did not want to make them glad twice. I found that I could not give satisfaction unless I spoke longer than I had. I spoke twenty-five minutes longer, and they still wanted me to speak twenty-five minutes more. I declined to speak any longer.
After I got through speaking, Mr. Bradley asked. for a collection for me. I was well pleased with the collection. I was the only person in the hall that represented the colored race.
During my stay in Boston, I visited the hall on several occasions, and led prayer meetings for the pastor.
I had a very lengthy interview with Hon. Fred Douglas. I told him what I was trying to do, and I asked him to give me all of the information as to the generosity of the people north of the Mason and Dixon line. He said that he did not find them to be so very liberal. He said that he had traveled on several occasions with nothing to eat but what he could get here and there. He said it was true some would help him in case of emergency. He said sometimes he could not get a place to rest his head; that he would walk sometimes until one and two o'clock trying to get a place to rest his head. He said they would close the door in his face on account of the colored blood that was in his veins. I said to Mr. Douglas, "The colored people in the Southern States are laboring under misapprehensions, because the people in the North, as they understand, are very liberal to you." He said to me, "My son, they are laboring under a mistake. I got what I have by hard work, and not by gifts. Of course I lectured, and they paid me for lecturing. I also did manual labor. I would speak for them, and not a single person would ask me home to take a meal of victuals." He told me that he had established a newspaper in Rochester,
N. Y., and was very successful in the enterprise. He said he printed the Slavery News, and everyone was anxious to read the news of the Southern States. He said that he sold his papers faster than he could print them. That was the place he began to make his money. He said he began to realize that he was making something in the city of Rochester. In other places he just made about enough to pay traveling expenses. He said that he bought some government bonds and made from forty to fifty cents on the dollar. He said that he practised economy, and was very careful how he conducted his business, and made every dollar count. He said, "Son, you can see from my statement that I have made every dollar by hard work. I was surprised when I came North, because I had heard so much about the Northern people, that they were very willing to help the colored people because they had been oppressed. I soon found out that if a man expected to get a dollar in the North, he had to work for it. In many instances the people looked at me as if I was a rattle snake. I have had them to shut their doors in my face time and again; I would be riding in the car, and some of them could not get a seat, and three of them would try to sit on a seat, before they would sit beside me. They said that they delighted in hearing me speak and tell about the condition of the people in the South, but after I got through speaking it
seemed that they had no more use for me until they wanted to hear me speak again."
I am satisfied that Mr. Douglas' statement is true in every particular, because a gentleman told me in Salem, Mass., that his mother told him that she saw the conductor when he drug Mr. Douglas down the aisle of the car to prevent him from riding in there with the white people. I cheerfully testify to Mr. Douglas' statement by experience, because I was going from New York to Philadelphia on one occasion, on an express train. The train was about forty minutes late. A friend promised to meet me at the depot--a man of high rank--on some very important business. Two minutes before the train got to its destination, several white gentlemen went out on the platform, in other words, about a dozen. I got up then and went out on the platform to see if I could see my distinguished friend. The conductor came down the aisle of the car and never spoke to the white gentlemen, but, because my complexion was not as fair as the others, he told me I must go back in the car. Now if the people in the North will do such a thing as that in this enlightened age, you can just imagine how my friend Douglas was treated among those that he claimed to be his friends; before he went among them. I have been so badly treated along the same lines that language is not sufficient to express it; but I paid no attention in some instances,
but it continued so very long until it made me shed tears, before I had completed my object, for I had determined to finish my work in spite of opposition. I knew that I had a just God that stands at the end of the law for justice. The more opposition that I met with, the harder I worked. No man upon the face of God's green earth knows what I have gone through. God Himself only knows. I have been to quite a number of restaurants in the North, and asked the proprietors for admission to the dinner table, and at other meal times. The price, as a rule, was twenty-five or thirty-five cents, and they would charge me from seventy-five cents to a dollar for a meal of victuals to prevent me from taking one with them, because my complexion was of a dark shade. At the same time, others came in and took their meals at the regular price-- twenty-five cents.
The treatment that I have mentioned was in the North, East and West, where people declare that all men are equal, regardless of color or previous condition. It was not my purpose to enter into social equality. All I asked was reasonable accommodation.
I am sorry to say that the colored man has a great deal to do with his success, to overcome the prejudice that exists between the two races. Even in the North it is too grievous to endure, but I believe in the midst of opposition that the
INDUSTRIAL TRAINING DEPARTMENT.
colored people, as a race, can make themselves great and useful.
I have told those that I have come in contact with, the only one that they could hold responsible for the color of the different races is God, who knows nothing but truth and justice.
A distinguished doctor told me, in Worcester, Mass., if he was so fortunate as to get to heaven, he would tell God that He made a great mistake when He made the colored people of a different color from other nationalities, because it was calculated to create hatred and prejudice among the different nationalities.
I must say, without any hesitation, that the colored man is held more responsible for his complexion than any other nationality upon God's green earth. Quite a number of the members of my race have been to me, and told me that they could not succeed because their faces were of a dark color. I told them that they should not stop for that, for opposition was the step-stone to success.
I thought, when I started out to establish the Latta University, that a colored man could not be successful in anything he did, because he is identified with a weak race; but I worked in season and out of season, and I found that a man's destiny depends largely on his own exertions. I told my race, and I tell them now, first know that
they are right, and then go ahead, because I am satisfied, after having experienced what I have, that we have a just God.
I never will forget an expression of a gentleman from the State of Vermont. He said: "The colored people never would be a successful race until they could live in as large a house as any one." He said that they build themselves small houses, and it seemed that they were as contented as if they were in a house as large as the capitol of the State of North Carolina. There are about ten million of colored, and nearly seven million of them are living in log cabins, and as a rule the cabins have only one room. It is time now that the race should outlive anything of that kind. As long as they are contented in living in such conditions, the opposite race will not respect them. All races are judged largely by their surroundings.
The days of 1861, '62 and '63 have passed away. I remember, when I was a slave, I lived on a plantation where there were several thousand colored people. They all lived in log houses. It was not necessary to go to the door to tell when day broke--we could see between the logs. I remember when the moon was shining bright at night, I would get up out of my bed and make up a fire; the moon would be shining so bright through the cracks, I thought the sun was rising. We can excuse the colored people for the condition they were living in at that time, because they could not read nor write; they were so ignorant that they did not know one letter from another. My father and one or two others were the only ones that could read and write among several thousand people. Some of them were so uncivilized that they did not know that God made them. Each family was brought up in a log house; the houses were not cut off in rooms, so the public can readily see they were all ignorant, and we can not expect much from ignorant people. But it is time for us as a race to improve our condition, and forget the past and look forward to the future. It has become a very
common thing for our white friends to pass along the roads and see log cabins or small houses; if they look towards the east or west, or in any direction, and see a log cabin, they will say nobody lives there but colored people.
My advice to my race, if they want to live long, is to be decent, and take baths as often as possible. I never fail to take my bath if I have to go to the pond and break ice to take it. I have made up my mind that I can appear in the presence of an audience as pleasant as any one else. The colored people deserve credit for one thing--if they steal as a race, they do not steal anything larger than a chicken, or a ham of meat, or a thirty-five cent sack of flour, and now and then a dollar or two.
If they will follow the examples that I have set out for them, I am satisfied that the colored people will be a successful race. There is one great mistake that our race makes, and that is they talk too much; they injure themselves as a race by talking so much. They know everybody's business by their own, but they are not to blame. You can not expect much of ignorant people. They are beginning to learn better. The colored people as a race are very quick to be excited, but they can not be blamed for that, because it does not take much to excite illiterate people.
I am sorry to say that the colored people, with a few exceptions, are not careful as to how they
bring up their children. I remember on one occasion that the president of one of the leading banks in the city of Raleigh took his family out to ride one afternoon, not far from the Latta University. The children were so unruly that they threw stones at his carriage, and I think he told me that his daughter was struck with a stone. He said to me, "Don't you teach those people around your school better than that?" I told him that I tried to set the very best examples for them to follow. I told him I even talked to them, and told them to bring their children up as God would have them. I told them to take an example as to how I brought up my children. I told them if it was necessary to chastise their children and not permit them to interfere with the people going along the public road. I told them that they were responsible for the conduct of their children, and the damage the children did. I told them that people might pass the road ten thousand times, and my children would never interfere with them, for I did not allow them to interfere with white nor colored. My heart almost bleeds within me to live in a community where people are not interested in raising their children. I almost wept when the gentleman told me that the people that lived near me acted so uncouthly towards him and his daughter. If those children's parents had whipped them and
brought them up right, they would have suffered their right hands to be separated from their bodies before they would have acted that way.
I often ask God, Will our people ever be a race? They are so unreliable in their dealings. We who are trying to teach them have quite a responsibility upon ourselves. A people that have not experienced it, do not know what it is to teach an ignorant class of people. God will bring the race to the required standard, that they as a race may be respected among all nationalities. It may be several centuries, but I feel sure that the time will come.
The colored people as a race need to be thoroughly educated, not intellectually, but morally and socially. They need to educate themselves to be virtuous, and they should practice economy. The white people in the East, North and West so often meet me with the question about the colored race having no society. They say we don't care what a person does. If he gets in the penitentiary, or commits murder and accidentally gets clear, the race respects him just the same as if he had not committed a crime. They say we don't care what accident may happen to our race, we respect them as if they were kings and queens. We can not be a race and tolerate things of that kind. When our race looses their reputation, we must decline to visit them, or respect them; we
must act as our white friends do. It is our duty to teach our race to be virtuous as soon as we can. To be successful, our race will have to observe their teachings, and respect themselves, as the opposite race respect themselves along the lines that I have just mentioned; then we will be considered a successful race.
We must overcome these accusations before we can boast of our womanhood and manhood.
I claim that the colored people have been brought up like cattle, with nothing before them but ignorance to inspire them. That is the reason they are so slothful and careless along these lines. I have experienced these things myself to a great extent. I have learned that we must forget the past and look forward to the future. This is why I plead so hard for the race to be educated, and for compulsion, if necessary, if we are ever to have a prosperous country; no country can succeed in ignorance.
Our white friends are in debt to us for taking care of their homes, for tending their lands, for making things pleasant for their families during the days of rebellion. Our white friends homes were looked after with proper care. Not a single member of their families were hurt or molested. They went away and stayed four years. When they returned home, they found their families as they left them; they found their cribs full of
corn; they found chickens in the yeard, meat in their smoke houses. They found wheat in their graineries; they found the well of water in extra condition. They found Uncle John and Uncle Harry currying their horses; they found Uncle Sam making the fire; they found Uncle Henry drawing water. And every one was in his place only those that God had called to their eternal home were missing. They found that their families had not suffered for raiment nor food. They found that their buggies were in a splendid condition, and their horses curried nicely, for their families to ride to church. So you can see that the colored race have been beneficial to the white race. This is an evidence that we should live here together in peace. It shows that we, as a race, have been trustworthy, because we have been trusted to look after the interests of several hundred thousand families. We never betrayed our trust in those lonely hours of distress. We would have lost the last drop of blood that was in our veins for our masters. I don't think our white friends will ever forget those days. I candidly believe that we can get along together here in the South. Yet we are two different and distinct races. I will never forget the dark days of slavery when several thousands of the servants would run to the carriage to see their master and shake hands with him first. We loved our master,
and he loved us, because we were interested in his welfare. It is useless to tell me that our white friends have forgotten those days, when their families were left in the care of the negroes. We did not take anything that they left in our care, but proved ourselves honest to the end.
I am satisfied that those days will never be forgotten. I remember the history of slavery yet. I was but a small boy, and did not wear but one garment, and that was a shirt. I had to remain at home, while my mother would go to the field, until it was time for her to come home and nurse the baby. I remember when she returned, about ten or eleven o'clock, to get dinner, she would find us all crying for bread; she would come in and nurse the baby and give us all a piece of dry corn bread. I would enjoy it as if it were a piece of cake. I remember when the women did most of the plowing on the plantation. I remember when the overseer told them to go up to the lot and shell corn while they were resting. I remember when they were tied to the stake and whipped, and were washed with salt and water. I remember when they were put on the block and sold like cattle. I remember when it was a crime for a book to be caught in their hands. I remember when we would have colored overseers, and the colored overseers would whip more than the white ones. I remember when the men were put upon the
block, and sold from their wives, and numbers of them say that they have never seen them from that day until now. I remember when infants would be taken from their mothers' breasts and sold; the mother would be burdened down with tears. I remember when my adopted sister was sold. I never expected to see her again, unless I should be fortunate enough to see her in heaven. I also remember when it was a crime for the slaves to be caught out of their houses after half past seven o'clock at night; if they were caught out of their houses after that time, the patrollers would call them in and give them one hundred and fifty lashes. I remember when the young women worked until night, and had to spin two ounces of cotton when they went home. I remember when the patrollers would come around and examine the little children, and make them tell if there was any flour or sugar or spirits in the house, and if they found any in the house, they would take the head man of the house out and whip him. I remember when it was a crime for a colored man to eat a biscuit. I remember when the women had to shuck corn at midnight, the same as the men. I remember when they were preparing for war. I remember when General Lee surrendered. I can remember all of this, and it seems strange that our white friends have forgotten how we took care of their families
during the days of the rebellion. I remember when I had to boil peas for my master's cows, and when I did not get enough to eat I ate about as many peas as the cows ate, and instead of the cows getting fat, I got fat. I remembered when we had secret prayer meetings, and prayed to be delivered from slavery. I would hear my mother and father say the more they prayed, the worse they felt, until they made up their minds to pray without ceasing; that as soon as they got to the right point, they felt that they would be delivered. I remember I asked father and mother what they were hollering so loud about, and they said that they were praying to God to deliver them from slavery. My mother set up all night and cried because her adopted daughter was sold from her, and she would never see her again. I saw her crying, and I cried, too; when all of the children came in and saw mother and father crying, they would cry too. She was the oldest sister we had. I often find myself shedding tears about it now. My father tried to quiet us as much as he could, but he would soon find himself shedding tears, too. No one knows any thing about slavery but those who have experienced it. The only thing that made me oppose slavery so much was in seeing human beings upon the block and then sold. But some of us had very good masters. When my sister came to the house to get her clothes to
leave, we cried until we broke down. When she told my mother good-bye, it seemed as if she would faint. We children were equally as bad. My mother told her to pray, and if she never saw her any more in this world, she expected to meet her in heaven, where parting is no more. I remember the history of my father's illness. He was sowing grain in the month of November, got wet and came home, and was taken down with pneumonia, and he never went out of the house again, until he was carried out. He left twelve children for mother to look after. Our loving father was so very dear to us. He only lived a week after he was taken down; he died a month and four days to Christmas, which I will never forget. He taught us to say our prayers at night. He always would have a family prayer every Sunday morning, and every Sunday night. When he died my mother said she did not know how she would bring up her children. She was alone in the world, and all of her children were small, and no one to help her. She said she would do the best she could, because she knew the Lord would open the way for her. She said she would do her duty, and she was satisfied that God would do the rest.
This institution was founded by your humble servant. My wife deserves some of the credit for establishing it. She has been very much interested
in doing what she could to foster the institution. She has worked very hard indeed to help me accomplish my purpose. She said it was too big an undertaking at first, but after she saw that I intended to establish the institution in spite of men and devils, she made up her mind that she would do what she could. It has been quite a responsibility to carry, but we have carried it this far. It is estimated to be one of the foremost institutions in the country. I feel satisfied that what we have done has been done in an humble way. God has been good to us, and we intend to trust in Him until our mission here on earth ends.
We asked the Lord to strengthen us when we were in distress. He would not let our enemies swallow us up. We prayed to God that we would be successful in accomplishing the work that we were so devoted to, and I think about how much the Lord has done for us. He gave us strength and vigor and enabled us to do what He intended for us to do, and sometimes I feel that we have been so highly favored in doing what we are engaged in. I asked the Lord to make us fit subjects to serve Him as we ought. When I look back over what we have done, it seems almost impossible for me to have done so much with what help my wife gave me. I feel satisfied that God is in the work, and if we only trust in Him, we will accomplish our object.
I am satisfied that God loves a faithful servant. I have tried to make my life useful among my fellow men. I often get down on my knees and ask God to help me make my life spotless and useful to my fellowmen. The spirit of consolation revealed itself to me that the short time that I had spent on this earth has not been in vain, and I feel satisfied that God has not forsaken me.
Oh! how good it is to trust in the Lord and do our duty. We can do more than we have any idea that we can do. If anyone had told me that I could have done what I have done, I would not have believed it; but when you work and trust in the Lord you find a different thing altogether. God's ways are always good. God delights in helping those that are faithful. I do not know how to start about praising God as I ought. My teaching to those that I come in contact with, white or colored, is to serve God and do your duty, and you will succeed in spite of opposition.
Men and devils said I could not think of doing what I have done, but I paid no attention to them, but have done my duty, and God brought me through, contrary to their wishes. If all the world fails to praise God, I will praise Him, for He has heard my supplications at all times. I may not have received what I asked Him for directly, but I received it indirectly. What a man can do is not limited. If he will pursue the right
course and ask God to help him, he can do more than he has any idea of.
No man can do anything successfully unless God be his helper. The Apostle Paul says, "If God is for us, the world can not be against us." I know this to be true by self experience, for my enemies have hounded my tracks; but God has yet made ways possible for me. My enemies have set traps for me, and they have been caught in the traps themselves. They have laid burdens upon my shoulders that they were not willing to carry themselves, or even to touch with the tip ends of their fingers. I expect to ever serve my God. My enemies have persecuted me until I have wept bitterly. I do not claim any credit for what I have done; it is all due to God. I am no more than God's servant. He uses me as an instrument to accomplish His purposes.
I remember I told several ladies that they must pray, that God would be with them in time of distress. One of them said to me one day, "Surely, surely, you must pray, you must ask God abundantly to bless you, for He blesses you in all your efforts." I told her if she acted by her neighbors as God commanded her to do, she would get the right kind of a blessing, and if she did otherwise, she would get the wrong kind; for if a man's deeds are good, he gets good measure, and if they are bad, he gets bad measure.
God is a just God. He knows no wrong. If we would like to solve a hard problem, we must ask God to help us. God is used as auxiliary in the time of distress. I often wonder how men can fail to serve God. A man can build several institutions if he gets God on his side, for all things are possible with God.
Just what you think you can do, you can do it with God as your helper. He is willing and ever ready to help those who desire to help themselves. The confidence I have in God, ten thousand worlds like this could not change me. To see what God has enabled me to do seems almost impossible.
A man told me not to serve God. I think that he was worse than crazy. A man does not know what he can do until he starts, and starts right and trusts God, because God will help you in all your troubles. He has enabled me, when my enemies had laughed at me and criticized me. I knew that He was the same God that brought Daniel out of his troubles. I feel that He has brought me safe this far. I will trust in Him as long as He keeps breath in my body. He is so good to those that believe in Him. He is the only comforter that we have, those that trust in Him.
I do not expect to be in the world much longer, but I thank the Lord that I have been able to better
the condition of those that I have been connected with, regardless of color. My highest aim is to do good among all nationalities, for God has taught me to do so. No man can do anything unless God be with him, for we depend upon him for strength and vigor; nothing is too heavy for us to carry if God be with us. I often feel that I am not able to praise Him and serve Him as I ought to.
When I started the Latta University, I started to praying, and I have never stopped praying yet, and never expect to until I die, for I feel satisfied that God has blessed my efforts, and I feel that I am only an instrument that worketh through Him. I am interested in my God, because He has an interest in me, and I am sure that I could not have educated as many people as I have had not God been with me. I am sure He has been with me in all of my ups and downs. He fought my battles and gave me the victory over my enemies. I asked Him to help me to prove to the people at large that they can do something in the midst of opposition. The white race has not been my enemy, but they acted auxiliary. I find that they are in full sympathy with the colored race; they are willing to lend a helping hand. I know from whence I speak, because I have experienced what I say. We are here to help each other as a race. A people that are educated and possess
intelligence should not oppress the ignorant. I have heard my own race object to things that they knew nothing about, but God will adjust matters at the proper time. Of course ignorant people do not know when they are not doing right; they will cripple a good cause unbeknown to themselves, but God will so arrange in His wise discretion that the race will understand that when one establishes anything, that it is for the whole race's interest, for they are the ones that will receive the special benefit that is derived from any enterprise that is established by any colored person. Of course the race is ignorant in that light; they simply think the one that is establishing the enterprise is against their interest; of course that is for lack of knowledge; if they were well informed, they would not think nor act that way.
I have tried to spend my life in usefulness, to help those that I come in contact with. I have tried with all of mind and strength to impress this upon the minds of the race that I am identified with. I have told them in a hundred instances, if we ever expect to be a race, we will have to unite all of our forces. I am very much interested in the race for several reasons. The first is, that God did not give all men a talent alike. Those that He gave the greater talents, I am satisfied that it was given to them to
instruct others that are not capable of receiving the same degree of wisdom. I claim that it is the duty of all men to help others that are not as well informed as they are themselves--I mean those that have received the highest talents.
Some may be wise and prudent, and high up in society; but it seems, as a rule, that the entire race is judged by the inferior part. That is one reason why I have labored so hard to better the condition of the race that I am identified with. It is very unjust that we all should be judged alike. I have not asked God for a long life; but I have prayed to Him to spare my life, that I may be able to prove that a colored man can start out in life with nothing but his hands and what wisdom God has given him, and put those that are acquainted with him to wondering if it is possible that a man that has curly hair, and said to have a large nose and very large feet and hands, can do anything worthy the attention of the public. That has been my greatest ambition in life from my infancy up, until the present--to do what other races have done, and are yet doing. The Lord has spared me longer than I expected. I am satisfied that He has extended my life for several purposes, to prove to the race that we are not dead simply because we are weak.
God does not work like man. God works all
things together for His own glory. I have often wept about the condition of the colored race. I have taken their condition to God in prayer. I know that a great many of them do not do their duty as they should; a great many of the race are very lazy; they are prone to adversity, they seem to sit down on the stool of do-nothing, and say the white race will not recognize them because their faces are dark. I have told them in a hundred instances that they must not stop for that. If they will strive and do something, they will attract the attention of those who are against them, as they claim, on account of their color; they will not have time to pay any attention to their color. I tell the race, in the midst of opposition they can be great. No race nor individual has ever reached the required amount of greatness, unless they had thousands and thousands of obstacles to overcome. I have told my race, and I tell them now, what they do they will have to do it better than any other race, because they are weak and are considered inferior to other races; and if they prove that they can do better than those that criticize them, that will carry them to the front. Industry and skill are recognized everywhere.
I remember when I started out in life, and could do nothing that amounted to anything, no one recognized me, no one knew me; but
as soon as they found out that I could do fine mechanical work, and understood my business, and could make a dollar, and then know how to take care of it, the people began to recognize me as a citizen. No one need tell me that people will not recognize money and ability. I know by self experience that they will.
I must say that I get all of the recognition due me in traveling in the North, East and West, when the people know who I am. In my traveling I have watched to see if I could find anyone who was hastening through life as fast as I was. Often when I went into men's offices to see them on business, the clerks noticed me as I came up so hurriedly. I went in the office and had an interview with the proprietor, and after I had completed my business with him, I would go out as quickly as I came in. I was told that the clerks watched me as I went down the streets, and say they never saw a man hustle as I did. I told them that I had an important problem to solve, and they asked me what it was. I told them that I was trying to solve the negro problem. They told me I had quite a task on my hands; that it would make me scratch my head many times when it did not itch. They said, however, that there were some bright men among our people who had a natural gift of oratory, and could make very good speeches. I replied that it was
true, but that oratory alone was not sufficient to solve the problem--that while many of our people could talk well in public, that was about all they could do. What we needed was men who would be able to leave evidences of their usefulness for the benefit of posterity, as such men as Fred. Douglas and others had done. Our people must be more than orators. They must be business men; learn how to accumulate and how to save. When they do this, they will be recognized by the white race.
They must have their bank accounts and be interested in things worth thousands and millions of dollars. I told them that they would be recognized as a race, as the Spanish and Japanese are. One drawback is that we have nothing as a race. Another reason is, our faces are not light as other races. And still another reason is, we bear the odium of having been slaves. I tell my people to let fine speaking alone and build a solid foundation to stand upon.
I remember that I was in a bank in the city of Raleigh, and one of the cashier's looked at me and said: "If your race had the energy and push that you have, where would their progress stop? There would be no end to their success." He said, "You are a noble example for your race to follow; not for your race only, but for any race as well. We as business men in the city of
Raleigh have noticed your conduct; we have noticed your manner of atteending to business, and we have noticed your trustworthiness, and we have become very much interested in your way of doing business. If all of your race would act like you, there would not be any trouble in the city. We do not have much as it is, but there should not be any. You seem to be always busy, that the time you have is not sufficient to attend to your business in. It is strange to see a member of your race with so much push about them. I am glad to see that you want to carry your race to the front. I have heard a number of the business men of the city say the same thing. We were just talking about you a few moments before you came in. I must say that you are a credit to the race. I can't see the reason why you and your race can not be as useful and prosperous is any other. I am satisfied that if they will follow your advice and example, they will be as successful."
He asked me if I was a slave, and I told him that I was. He asked me if I did any work before the close of the war, and I told him that I did, but I was very young. He said I must have waited on my young master and followed his example. I told him that I did not wait on my master, but instead I had to boil peas for the cows, and that I ate about one-third
of the peas myself. He replied that I must have inherited my push and drive from some good source. He asked me if my parents were not half white, that I did not represent the African full blooded. I told him in reply that I found that the Africa race had the best of me, and that they claimed the benefit of my talent, if I possessed any.
He said: "You are the right man in the right place, and if you continue on imparting the same teaching to your race that you have been imparting, I don't see why they cant be a successful people. You have quite a responsibility upon you. I hope that I will be able to read the history of your life some day, because it will be worthy of anyone's attention. You have a good reputation up here in this city, and you should feel proud of it. It is an astonishing thing to me how quick you have established yourself in the confidence of the people of the city of Raleigh. I am satisfied that your reputation is the same everywhere. The people know you. I know the great struggle you have had in establishing the institution in West Raleigh, N. C. We know that the white people did not say anything against your undertaking. We knew that it was a good thing. We knew that your purpose was to uplift your race, and make them useful. We knew that to establish any kind of enterprise in the city of Raleigh, or
near the city of Raleigh, would be an improvement to the community in general. We said, as business men, that you deserve credit and should be encouraged. When I saw in the paper what your race had said about you, I examined the article very carefully. One of my friends was sitting near by, and asked me what I thought of the matter. I told him I had read it, and gave it my careful attention, and found no foundation for it. I told him that I considered it prejudice and jealously."
Before I was married, I purchased four small houses and lots--one in the city of Durham and two in Braggtown, and one in the city of Raleigh. I had to look after my mother and my brother and his family. The house I bought in Raleigh I had not paid for. I let my people live in all the houses I had, because it seemed that they did not have the ability to earn a dollar.
I taught school soon after I was married; my wife was one of my pupils. I remember one time when I came down on the car from Burlington, N. C., and several white people were in the car and a white man said, "What is that Negro sitting beside that white lady for." I said "That it was not my fault that I was sitting beside a lady that he called a white lady, and that I would not marry anyone but a member of my own race."
In a few months after that I came to the city of Raleigh; I arrived at the depot with sixty cents in my pocket. We were not able to ride out in East Raleigh, where I had purchased a house. My wife and I had to walk there, about a mile and a quarter.
The lady I purchased the house of had rented the place to help pay for it--she receiving the rent money, consequently I had only the sixty cents to pay for the dinner for myself and my wife.
We came to Raleigh with the intention of keeping house. I had attended school here, but was not acquainted with a single business man in the city. After we ate dinner, I had ten cents left. I walked up and down the street praying to God to give me help, and asked Him what I could do to make a start. I remember a man in the city who kept a furniture store; his name was Bagwell. I told him that I wanted some furniture, as we wanted to go to housekeeping in a few days, and he looked at me and said that he had never seen me before, and asked me if I was prepared to pay for the goods. I told him that I was not, but that I soon would be. He said his rule was that no one was to get anything from the store without paying ten per cent cash, and wanted to know if I could get any one to identify me. I told him that I could not, and he said he could not depart from his rule. I told him that there were exceptions in all rules. He looked at the floor for a few moments and I stood there before him praying to God that his heart might soften; and in a few moments he looked up and said, "You have a good face. I will draw up a
contract and give you a trial and see what you will do."
That was on Thursday, and he said the last of next week that I must make a payment on the goods. I told him that I would try to do so even if it was a small one. We remained there talking until nearly dark, and then I began to wonder where we were to stay over night, without a cent in our pockets.
I decided to go to a boarding house near the depot, owned by a man whose name was Harrell. I kept on praying that we might have success, but without my wife noticing it.
I knocked at his door with tears in my eyes, and was invited to enter. I could hardly steady my voice enough to speak, but finally I succeeded in letting him know that my wife and I had only ten cents. He scratched his head and said, "Only ten cents?" and I said, "Yes, sir; I have only ten cents; I had sixty cents when I came to Raleigh, but I paid fifty cents of it for our dinner." He said, "My brother, you are in a bad condition; have you any friends in town." I told him that I had none, but expected to make many. He asked me when I could pay him. I told him that with God's help I would pay him next week. We staid all night and he gave us our breakfast. I ate it with tears in my eyes. I hardly knew what course to pursue. I studied over the matter
and went to East Raleigh to see a man whose name was Mr. Holland, the husband of one of the ladies I purchased a house and lot from. He was acting as agent for some houses. I told him that I wanted to rent a house from him for my wife and I, and he said that he had several houses to rent. I told him that the house I had bought from his wife was rented out. He demanded one dollar and a half before I could have the keys. I told him that I had but ten cents in my pocket. He said that he would not vary from his rules. I told him that I would be sure to pay him the very next week. He decided to give me a trial, but said that he expected me to pay him at the end of the week. After I had spent several nights with Mr. Harrel, I went to the furniture man and told him to send the furniture I had bought from him to the house I had rented. I failed to order a table or any cooking utensils, so my wife and I had to eat from a dry goods box. I remember we borrowed two knives, two forks, two cups, two saucers, and two plates to eat from. We did not have very much to eat. We were located in a very uncivilized neighborhood, where the people were uneducated and uncouth. It seemed that they did not enjoy anything but fighting and quarreling. It was somewhat embarrassing to me. I believed in peace and quietness.
I remember on several occasions I would go out and tell them to be quiet and keep out of trouble, and keep from going to court. They paid very little attention to me, and said that I thought that I was a king among men, and that they were not going to look up to me as their king. They would be up at the magistrate office every day, and especially every Monday morning, when the magistrate would inflict a punishment upon them for their violation of law, and that would about take all the money they had made the past week.
I remember when I would go from my bed and stop them from fighting, the magistrate would send officers to prevent their getting killed and to watch over them. I remember once when I preached a sermon to them, trying to prevail on them to do better, they got so turbulant that I had to have several of them prosecuted.
They would come to my door and call me out and tell me that they heard that I had established a throne and that I was sitting upon it as a king, and they said my purpose was to rule them. I told them my purpose was not that, but that I desired to see them become a good, law abiding people, so they could save their money because they and their children needed every cent of it. They were so uncivilized that if I would walk upon the street they would deride me with
abusive language. I paid no attention to them, however, and I would continue to teach them every opportunity I got. I staid in that neighborhood for two years or more. I am glad to say that before I left there I lived in a better neighborhood in my life; the children attended Sabbath school, their parents attended church, and I held prayer meetings at my house, and they would come and take an active part. They seemed to have abandoned their bad habits of fighting and quarreling and going up before the magistrate, paying out their money every other day, and Monday morning especially. The community became perfectly quiet and peaceable.
I told these people that I hoped my stay in their neighborhood had not been in vain. They said that when I first came they despised me as if I had been a rattlesnake. They thought that I had been against them; they thought that I did it because I had an education and they did not; but they soon found out their mistake. My being in the neighborhood prevented a great many of them from taking one another's lives. No doubt several of them would have been killed. The court would have got most everything they made. They delighted in going to court, just to see which one could win. One of them said to me: "You told us that we never would be a race as long as we continued to act that way.
The courts continued to get our money so fast that we all got together and talked over the matter, and we said that Dr. Latta must be right, for the courts are getting our money, and what good does it do us. We are satisfied that we are the fools and that you are the wise man. We made up our minds that we would take your advice in the future."
When we left the neighborhood all of the people who lived near us shed tears and said that they were very sorry that we were going to leave them. One of the citizens in that neighborhood, after we moved, came out to the institution and said that they would give anything to have us move back. They said that they had such a quiet neighborhood while we stayed there, and a lady said that she and her husband had talked over the matter, and she told him that if he could induce me to move back, that it would do good, because the people were changing so fast, many strangers coming in, that they would ruin the place and the people that had reformed, for they were acting very badly again. Indeed they were not the same people that they were when I left them. She said that if I did not come back that she would have to sell her property and move away; that all of the people wanted me to come back, for I had proved a friend to them, and if I would move back that they would be governed
by what I said, because they believed me to be a God-sent friend. She came to see me several times, but I told her that my school was in such a condition that I could not move back and attend to my business successfully. Others also came to see me and tried to induce me to move back.
I felt proud to know that ray stay there had been a blessing instead of a curse. It makes me happy every time I hear anyone say that I have been the means of bettering the condition of anyone. My purpose is to do all the good I can while I remain on this earth, and especially among a weaker race. I love all nationalities regardless of color or condition. The world never will prosper as long as the different nationalities are enemies to each other. God never intended for us to confine our love and benefactions to any one people. It is foolish to think so. If we follow the teaching of God, we will do good to all nations, regardless of creed or color. God teaches us to love everybody.
I believe the day will come when the colored people as a race will become prosperous. My teachings to the race is to work and pray, and unless they do the race will never succeed. We must be governed by God's divine teachings in all of our deeds if we want to succeed.
We must not as a race be egotistical and
selfish. I have just as much sympathy for a poor, needy white man as I have for a colored man. We confine ourselves too closely to particular races. That will not do, for it is not God's teaching, for God loves us all and He commands us to love one another and keep His Commandments.
God made everything to suit Himself. He made a black horse, a white horse and a red horse; a white bird and a red bird. He also made a black man, a yellow man, a red man and a white man. Their treatment depends upon their own conduct. God thinks just as much of a black bird as He does of a red bird. He could have made all nations one color, but He made all of them different, for His own glory. I would like to find a man who is capable of explaining the reason God made those nations of a different color. I am satisfied that we will have to study the matter with a deeper interest in the future than we have in the past. We can differ as far as the east is from the west, so far as social equality is concerned and yet be more friendly to each other than we are. In one sense our interests are the same; we are depending upon each other for livelihood. Labor and wealth are the same. Labor is the basis of wealth. We admit that those who are fortunate enough to get wealth are much better off than
those who are unfortunate. The reason why there is more money among the white race is because they stick together and help each other, instead of trying to place obstacles in their way.
I told my friends I knew it was a big undertaking, and I wanted to undertake it myself; but if anyone has the courage to undertake such a responsibility, I say let him go on, the people ought to encourage him. A gentleman said he saw an article in the paper that when the colored people were against me they mentioned that I never had a dollar of their money in my possession. He continued: "I told my friends from the beginning to the end, that I saw that it was nothing but prejudice, and told them that those people ought to be punished for slandering a man's name in that way without a cause." I told my friends that was what has been keeping the race down for nearly forty years, when one would attempt to do anything, a thousand would rise up against him. I told him that they would never be a race until they united themselves together, and that I was glad that you paid no attention to opposition, and I told him that it seemed as if you did not mind what they did or said, but that you went right along with whatever you intended to do, and I told him that if you continued in your course one day you would be one of the greatest men among your race. He
said that he did not believe that he could endure all that you were enduring, and I told him I was satisfied that God was in your work and that you would accomplish your plans.
I remember that a gentleman living on the premises of James Dodd introduced me to a white friend living about three miles from the city, saying, "This is Dr. Latta, the founder of Latta University." And he answered, "So this is the founder of Latta University; well, well, well! I am greatly surprised; I have heard so much talk of this man; I have heard about his great work. I hear people talking about this great man, and when I met him I expected to find a man with a large stomach." I asked him why he thought so, and he said that all noted men that did not have large stomachs soon got them, and that he had been thinking all the time that a man could not do anything without a large stomach, and that I had surprised him; that he would never say again that a small man could not do anything. He said, "When I met you I expected to see a man weighing about two hundred and fifty to two hundred and seventy-five pounds; I shall tell my wife when I go back that I was badly deceived. I said I wanted to see the man that the people talked so much about; but when I met you I was so disappointed in you that I hardly know what to say. I had
been trying to do something myself for ten or fifteen years, and I thought the reason I could not do it was because I was a small man and had a small stomach. The people in our neighborhood think that a man can not do anything unless he is large and heavy built." This gentleman further remarked that he was very glad to have met me, that what I had done would encourage him in his efforts in life. He told me that the colored people were discussing my ability at a colored store about wo miles from the institution yesterday. Some said that I was inspired by God to do this work and some said it was not necessary to be inspired to accomplish the work I had done. He told them he had heard a great deal of talk about me and wanted to see me, and would go out of his way to do so. They said that I would meet a very pleasant man, but that you were generally very busy, and if you did not give me the proper attention that I might know that it was because of the overrush of business.
Latta University is located near Mr. James Dodd's plantation. When I first moved there I was informed that he was a very disagreeable man to live by, but I must say plainly and impartially that I have found it to be untrue, for I found Mr. Dodd to be an excellent neighbor. I lived beside him for four or five years before he
died. I never lived near a better person in my life; in fact, he was the best neighbor I ever had. I found him to be quite a business man; anything I wanted, all I had to do was to let him know it, and anything he wanted from me, all he had to do was to let me know it. Our wives got along together as if they had been acquainted all of their lives. A few years before he died he got quite interested in the school. I remember he and I walked over several acres of land near the school, and he said that he would like very much to give this whole plantation to the school.
A man is not judged in every instance by his color alone when a grave measure is pending before the country. I remember in the State of North Carolina, in the city of Durham, my white friends wanted to build a road, known as the Lynchburg and Durham Railroad, and according to the act of the Legislature it required two-thirds of the qualified voters to cast their votes before they could claim right of way, and the colored people in that part of the county declared that they would not support any measure that the Southern white people voted for, especially when all voted together. They declared that all such measures were Democratic measures, and if they voted for this one it would be injurious to their interests. They said as a race that any measure that the Democratic party might formulate was antagonistic to the colored race. The friends of the road claimed that the road would open up the country which was far from any other road, and prove beneficial to all the people.
The colored people called indignation meetings against the measure. They said they would not
support any such measure, especially when white people, who had been their political enemies, wanted them to vote for it. I was teaching school at that time, and the white people were very anxious to get a favorable vote on the proposition.
One of the leading white men of Durham sent me a letter, and asked me to canvass that county, and tell the colored people that they would not be hurt. And a white gentleman sent for me to come to Durham. Several of the distinguished gentlemen and I had a private interview. After they discussed the matter carefully, the chairman asked me to give my opinion concerning the question involved. I told them that I had carefully considered the matter with deep interest, and I had come to the conclusion that it could not injure the colored race, nor any other race, to build a railroad through that section of the country; that the people were deprived of railroad facilities, and the benefits that railroads rendered to all communities. I further told them that the people of that section should have had a railroad through that section twenty-five years ago. The distance from any town or city was about a hundred and some odd miles, through the valleys and hills. Thousands of the people in that section of the country had not even seen a railroad. The chairman of the meeting asked me
if he could secure my services to lecture through the section the railroad was to pass. I told them that the school I was teaching would be out in two weeks from that date, and as soon as the school closed I would accept the proposition tendered me.
Severy persons were chosen to speak in that part of the country concerning the railroad. I presume that the object of the speaking was to convince the colored people of the error of their opposition. But I spoke to the white people also. We canvassed the various counties together, and spoke from the same platform.
I remember I was speaking in the State of Virginia, not very far from Halifax Court House on one occasion, when I saw two log houses very near the place. I went to one of the cabins, and asked the gentleman of the house for some water, and he gave me some, and while I was there, we drifted into a conversation. He was a colored man. He asked, "What are you men doing up dar? I heard my wife say dat you men was just spoken to-day. She said you ones was spoken on getting a railroad." I asked him didn't they need a railroad through that part of the country. He said, "I never heard of a railroad." I said, "You never heard of a railroad before?" "No, son, I never heard o' dat before." He asked me would not everybody get killed if they put them railroad
cars there. I told him no, if they didn't get in the way of them. I asked him had he never been in a city. He said, "No, sir." I then asked him where did he get his supplies from to eat, and his clothing. He said, "Boss" had a store out there.
I went on about thirty miles from that place, and I saw a white man, and he asked me about the same thing the colored man did. He said that he was about sixty-eight years of age, and had never heard of a railroad. The greatest opposition we had in that section of the country was that the people were afraid that the railroad cars would run over them.
I was very sympathetic in my expressions towards them. I was very sorry to know that they were so ignorant and prejudiced.
The place that I have mentioned above reminded me of a howling wilderness in a far off land, before that railroad was built.
I remember on one occasion I was very hungry, and there was a log cabin down in the valley, and I went to that cabin to get a lunch, and as I approached the cabin, there was an old lady standing in the door; she was between fifty and sixty years of age. She said she heard that I had sold all of the negroes in Durham County, and had come to sell the negroes here. She said: "Brother, don't you know if you build a railroad
through this section of the country that we will get killed, for we have never heard of a railroad. I heard that you was a school teacher, and a preacher, too, and you should know better than to build a railroad. If you cut a railroad through this country, half of the people will get killed."
I went about twenty miles from the log cabin, where they had prayer meeeting, and it was largely attended. I made it convenient to attend the meeting. Some of them heard that I was there, and it went like a flash of lightning, and an immense crowd gathered, and instead of having a prayer meeting, as they gathered there for, they had an advisory meeting, and asked me to preside over it, which I declined to do. They elected one of their members as chairman, and one as secretary, and asked me to speak for them, and I accepted and explained to them all of the points that they desired to know. They asked in the outset some very severe questions, but said that they were willing to be goverened by anything that I would say concerning the railroad. Before I commenced my speech, the chairman of the committee, who was spokesman of the audience, asked me, if they built a railroad in that section of the country, if it would not be the means of destroying the lives of hundreds of people; and I asked him why he thought so. He said, "The people here have never heard of a train or a railroad."
I asked him how did he go from place to place, or from town to town; and he said that they did not go to town, as the boss always kept everything that they needed. I asked him if the boss sold them chickens, and he said that they raised their chickens; and I asked him how they got the chickens when they got out, and he said that they would get them from those that had them. I asked him if they paid money for the chickens to each other, and he said they did when they had the money, and when they did not have it, they would go between night and day.
Everywhere I spoke the people told me, after I got through speaking, that they would favor the railroad. I interested the audience so much that the chairman of the meeeting called a rising vote, and they voted almost unanimously in favor of the railroad. I stopped that night with the chairman of the meeting. I showed him that if we were successful in building the railroad in that part of the country, it would inspire the people; that it would be beneficial to that section of the country. Not only did I interest him, but I interested the people of that entire section. I pictured the different advantages that it would be to them. I showed them that they could build towns along the railroad, and sell their land at town prices. I also told them that it had been taking them a day and a half to go
to town and return, whereas they could go the same distance in an hour, and return. I also told them that they would be employed to cut the railroad through that section of the country, and they would reap the benefit from the results. I also told them, if they heard the train coming not to run up and down the railroad track--that I would be responsible for everyone that got hurt. I told them that they were laboring under a misapprehension; they thought that the train would leave the track and run people down. But I told them that was not the custom of the train at all. I told them if they would keep away from the railroad track when they heard the train coming, they would never be hurt. I told them I would give any one of them two hundred dollars if any one got hurt. They told me that was the kind of talk they liked to hear. They said that the matter was explained to them plainly and satisfactorily.
There was a large hall that I spoke at, on the railroad question. White and colored gathered there to hear me speak, and a great many of the white people thought to build a railroad through that section of the country would be damaging to their interests. Some of the people in that section of the country said they had never seen a railroad, and some went so far as to say they had never heard of one. Some of the white people
of that section went so far as to say they had never visited a town. That was my last speech on the railroad issue.
These meetings that I spoke at were mostly at night, but I also spoke during the day, with the other regular speakers. I told them at the hall not very far from Halifax Court House, that that was my last speech. But, surprising to me, the young people and old people prepared a reception and invited me. I went, and the house was packed. There were also some white people present. After I had enjoyed the reception, with delicious things before me, a thought came to me that my tour through that section of the country was just grand. Nearly every voter present promised to vote for the railroad measure.
The distinguished gentlemen and myself returned to the town of Durham after we completed our tour in that section of the country that it was proposed to build a railroad through. We discussed the subject, and I told them that I had satisfied both races that heard me speak in the mountains and the valleys that they should support the railroad measure. I also told the gentlemen that I was satisfied by a lesson of experience that any part of the country where railroads were not established, the people were in danger of heathenism, and a lesson of experience had taught me that any section of the country
MANUAL TRAINING DEPARTMENT.
where the people were deprived of railroads, they were ignorant of their rights as citizens. And all of the distinguished men expressed the opinion that we had won the day, and that the railroad measure would be carried on election day.
I was the only colored person employed to speak for the railroad in that part of the country.
The day of the election, those who did not have horses came in their ox carts to vote for the railroad. The measure was carried by an overwhelming vote. It was almost unanimous.
After the election, several of my friends made presents to me. Some of them presented gold-headed canes; some were presented to me by the colored people that I convinced that the railroad would not hurt them.
I remember, in the city of Raleigh, when the anti-prohibition movement started, an anti-prohibition agent waited upon me, and asked me how did I stand on the whiskey question. I told him that I was in favor of total abstinence, as far as the liquor question was concerned. I told him unless I had an opportunity to vote for a total abstinence, I would vote for whiskey to remain in the city and State. I told him my opinion was, if we simply remove whiskey out of the cities, it would do more injury than it would if it remained in the city, because we had officers in the city to see that the law was enforced, which they could not do if the liquor traffic was conducted outside of the city. After the committee heard my opinion, they solicited my time to canvas the city and State in the interest of anti-prohibition. I must say in the outset that I had a very little trouble with the colored people to get them to vote for anti-prohibition. They said to take whiskey out of the State was infringing upon their material rights that were granted to them in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States;
they said as a race that the wealthy people would have their whiskey by the barrel in their cellars, while they, as a race, would be unable to buy whiskey that way; that it would inflict an injury upon them, and therefore could not support a measure of that nature. A number of white men and colored men were chosen to make anti-prohibition speeches. I remember on several occasions, which was very much surprising to me, I was speaking in the city and out of the city, and in various places in the State. A great many women would tell me if we took whiskey out of the State, we would take their rights from them. I told them I could not agree with them, and my voice would ever be heard in the behalf of prohibition movements. I remember I spoke in a hall in the city of Raleigh, and a large audience came out to hear me speak in behalf of the liquor traffic. Most of the audience consisted of women. They said it was nothing but a Democratic clique. They said that the colored people were getting along too well for the white people, and the anti-prohibition movement was brought about to keep the colored people from getting along so well, because their husbands could go and buy whiskey the same as the white ladies' husbands, and that it was for nothing in the world but to stop them.
The speakers were divided equally--half
colored and half white. We spoke together from the same platform. We made various speeches, night and day. The people seemed to be very much interested in the measure. We advised them to support it; and the women seemed to be very much interested as well as the men.
The colored people held a meeting in one of the western towns in the State of North Carolina in the interest of anti-prohibition. I heard of the meeting, and I also visited it. Another speaker accompanied me, and we took seats in the rear. It seemed that no one knew who we were until the meeting was almost over. The men prayed, and the women prayed, that God would not take their rights from them. They said if whiskey be carried out of the State, it would deprive them of what God intended for them to have. They discussed the matter and rediscussed it; the chairman of the meeting discussed the matter, and called on others to discuss it. At length the chairman of the meeting would call on brother Isaac and brother John to lead in prayer, and after he had called on brother Isaac and brother John, he would call on Aunt Sally and Uncle Billy and Sister Milly to pray, and they prayed to God sincerely for justice and that they might maintain their rights. They also prayed that anti-prohibition would predominate all over the State.
My friend and I were very much interested in hearing their earnest prayers for the anti-prohibition movement to predominate all over the State.
The State went anti-prohibition by an overwhelming majority. After the election was over, I made up my mind that I never would make another anti-prohibition speech as long as God kept breath in my body.
In a few years from that time we had the question of State prohibition. I accepted an invitation to make a public speech in the State in the interest of total abstinence. I was very much pleased with the movement.
My friend, J. C. Price, one among the greatest orators I have ever heard utter a sentence, also consented to make public speeches through the State.
As soon as the Legislature granted what I requested at first, to make the whiskey question a State issue, I felt as if I was at home whenever it was convenient for me to make a prohibition speech.
The colored people accused me of selling their interests to the Democratic party, because I advised them to vote for whiskey to be carried out of the State of North Carolina. I proved to them that the majority of them had spent enough money for whiskey to buy them a neat house and lot. They said that they were satisfied that
it was nothing but a Democratic ticket. I told them that there were no politics involved in this measure, and that it was a measure that every good citizen should support. Of course some of the colored people were in favor of prohibition. I showed the women that their husbands made money and spent it for whiskey, and also showed their condition after they had spent all of their money for whiskey. They said that if prohibition movements prevailed, that their rights would be taken away from them; and I told them that if prohibition prevailed, that it would give them an opportunity to save money; and that I opposed local option, but was in favor of total abstinence as far as the liquor matter was concerned. The ministers in the city called meetings in various parts of the State, and prayed over the matter, that the prohibition movement would prevail. I also accepted invitations to speak in other States on the prohibition question. The prohibition movements predominated several times. The greatest trouble I had with the colored people was to satisfy them beyond a reasonable doubt that their rights would not be interfered with. I told them there was no politics in the measure, and that it was for the protection of wives, and for the protection of the public in general, and to strengthen Christianity and to aid education. I am sorry to say that the
prohibition movement was defeated by a very large majority. It is a hard thing to deal with ignorant people. I know by experience.
I remember that I used to hear colored people say when they worked on farms, with their landlord in the country, time and again, that they got nothing for their labor. They seemed to forget what they had taken up in supplies and money advances. During the year they would have to buy their meat, meal, molasses, sugar and coffee, and Aunt Sallie would have to have a couple of dresses for Sunday and several for Monday, and Uncle John would have to have a couple of suits for Sunday and the same for Monday; and his son Jerry would have to have the same number of suits, and his daughter Janie would have to have the same number of dresses, and all of their family would have to have suits likewise, and sometimes there were fourteen in the family, and sometimes the head of the family would go to the landlord and get money, and sometimes he would get as much as ten dollars. They would also have to buy shoes for their families, and you can readily see that the purchases that they made counted up in the aggregate. There was a common saying among the colored people, and is so until this day, that they have worked for Mr. Williams or Mr. Ray, and they have cheated them, and if a member of their race say that they
are going to work for Mr. Ray or Mr. Williams, they tell them not to do so, because they had worked all the year before and had been cheated out of their wages, and were not able to buy their children clothes, not even able to buy shoes for them to wear.
I simply mention this to show the public how dangerous ignorance is. Those colored people were not educated, they kept no accounts of their transactions, and of course the landlord kept account of everything he let them have. In many instances they got more than they worked for, and then they would say that the landlord had cheated them out of it. If the landlord got them a doctor, he had to stand for the doctor's bill also.
The only way to make that class of people know right from wrong is to educate them. I don't know of a better way to make them useful to themselves and to the country than to have compulsory education. I hope that the General Assembly will look at it in this light. I know the same by self experience. I thought the same way that these people did at one time. I thought right was wrong and that wrong was right, but I have learned better since I have come more in contact with business men, and learned business methods. Ignorance was the cause of those accusations against the landlords. I sincerely appeal
to all of the law-making powers in all the sections to enact laws compelling parents who fail to send their children to school, to make it a crime; for ignorance is a terrible monster, and must be conquered; and the only way to conquer it is to make education compulsory. There is no man or woman on earth that believes in all kinds of labor any more than I do, because Latta University was built by labor, and not by gifts, and I am glad it was not built by gifts, because it would not have been sufficient to solve the negro problem. It was built by energy and ability. I feel proud in saying it was built by labor. I believe in agriculture, mechanics, and all kinds of domestic service; and I also believe in professional service to some extent, but not to extremes. My teaching to the race is to learn to do the various kinds of mechanical work, and to do farm work if it is a necessity.
Almost every time I lecture in the chapel to the students, I tell them to learn how to dignify labor. I also tell them to remember that work is honorable. The majority of all of our great men start by dignifying labor. Labor is the first start towards promotion. It is a fact that can not be successfully denied. I have told my race in the past, and I tell them now, some of them ought to learn how to do domestic labor, for it is not disgraceful. If all would learn how to
dignify labor, and if we expect the colored people as a race to rise above their present condition, they must learn to labor and wait.
As I said in my speech in Pawtucket, R. I., the colored people as a race are weak, and their development must necessarily be slow, and will require patience and labor. The race should be dealt with kindly. They are weak as a race, and also ignorant, with a few exceptions. They think that because their faces are dark that everybody is against them. I have heard them say that God was against them.
I know that we ought to have ministers among the race, and we must have them. I believe in the teachings of the Bible. I believe that we ought to have some professional men among our race, but I will admit that we do not need but a very few, because they are not yet qualified for the professions. I teach them as a race to follow after a successful race.
I want the public to understand, pure and simple, those that read the sentences that are recorded in this book, that I believe in labor in its highest degree, in all of its forms of usefulness. I believe in moral persuasion to the colored people. I believe that will do them more good than any other teaching we can impart to them. I believe that the race ought to be encouraged along industrial lines.
There are thousands of colored people sitting upon the stool of do-nothing now. I remember on one occasion, in the State of Georgia, a colored man who was very wealthy said to me that he had educated two of his sons in the the State of Pennsylvania; he said that their ambition was to become teachers. He told me that they made application to teach in some of the high schools in the State of Pennsylvania after they had graduated. He said they went to the superintendent's office, and is they got to the door the private secretary met them. She conveyed their message to the superintendent. When she conveyed the message to the superintendent, she said that they are colored men, and the superintendent said that he did not want colored men to teach school, because it would not be agreeable. The wealthy colored man told me that he had spent over two thousand dollars on educating his two sons, and he said that after his sons conveyed that message to him, that nothing would induce him to educate his children again. He said that he was satisfied that their color was obnoxious and a curse to civilization. As I have said in the outset, we will have to be very careful how we deal with the negro problem--"convince a man against his will and he is of the same opinion still."
I will never forget the days of slavery. I remember that I saw the overseer when he tied my uncle to the whipping post, and every stroke the overseer would give him, the blood would come trickling down, and he would say in a very pitiful voice, "Oh! pray, master! Oh! pray, master!" And the master would tell him to hush his mouth. My father would be standing by shedding tears. If the overseer caught them crying, he would whip them also. You could see the little children standing by crying to see their fathers and mothers treated so. We had a white overseer that whipped a great deal, and when he died they appointed a colored one, and we thought that we would be treated better, but he was worse than the white one. You could hear him curse almost a mile, and he would whip some one every day of his life. I could see the children as they stood around, and see their mothers and fathers whipped, and I would cry myself. I remember my father and mother would get upon their knees and pray to have slavery abolished; they prayed constantly for freedom, and I heard them say that it seemed as if their prayers were not
answered, but they said that they would continue to pray until slavery was abolished. I remember when the women would get up before day and go to the barn and feed the horses, rain or shine, and if they would fail to be on time, the overseer would whip them. As a rule they did most of the plowing; they had all mules to plow. I remember that they would all hold prayer meetings every morning before the overseer would get up, some singing and some shouting, and if the overseer would hear them he would make them stop, and if they did not give a strict account of them selves he would whip the last one. If any of them would shout very loud and make a noise, he would have them sent for and whipped. He claimed that if they did not know any better, he would teach them better with a cowhide. I remember on several occasions I saw them put upon a block, and a man cried them off as if they were cattle, and as many as twenty-five or thirty would be sold at a time. I saw the speculators as they carried them away in their wagons; several wagons were filled to the utmost capacity. I saw the husbands as they shed tears, and said that they never expected to see their wives again in this world; and the wives would say the same thing, and the children would say the same thing about their mothers and fathers being sold from them, and would cry for a number of days. Some of
the children would grieve themselves to death when they were put upon the block and sold from their fathers and mothers, and would drop upon the floor as if they had been shot. I would hear the parents say, "Oh! my children, my children! I never expect to see them in this world again!" I would see the overseer standing there, and when they would cry out, he would lash them with his cowhide, but they would continue to cry out in agony, and he would continue to whip them. I was a lad, but I could not help from crying myself as the speculators started away with their children in the wagons, for you could hear them crying. I heard them as they would hollow out, "Goodby, mother, and goodby, father," and they would cry and wave their hands as far as they could be seen; and I have known of the parents to grieve themselves to death in their sorrow. You could see the old grandfathers and grandmothers down on their knees praying for the abolition of slavery.
They held secret meetings, and they knew if the overseer heard of it they would get a hundred lashes. Our master had a saying that if they did not suit him, he would put them in his pocket. He was fairly good himself, but he lived about twenty-five miles from his slaves. He lived in the city of Raleigh. He delighted in speculating; he would sell them for large sums of money
whenever he could. He did not sell because he needed the money, but because he loved to trade. He was very wealthy, and had several thousand slaves, but he would not allow any others to visit his slaves. He employed a minister to preach for them once a month, but they would hold their secret meetings between midnight and day. I remember that I would see my mother and father praying, asking the Lord to deliver them from slavery. Very seldom any Bibles could be found, for books were not allowed in the houses. We had to go to the overseer every week for our rations for the next week; it was four pounds of fat meat, a peck of meal, and now and then a bucket of black or red peas.
If they were caught out of their houses after half past seven, the patroller would whip them unless they gave a very satisfactory answer as to their business. They would go to the houses once a week, and if they found anything in them, they would whip the father, and if they thought the others were not telling the truth, they would whip them also. I remember when all the men and boys would wear wooden bottom shoes, as the master said that he was not able to buy leather ones.
When the colored people found that General Lee had surrendered, they woke up at midnight praying out that their prayers might be
answered. Husbands prayed that they might see their wives again, and the wives prayed that they might see their husbands again, and the children prayed that they might see their parents again, and also their sisters and brothers. They prayed several days and nights because they had been delivered. I would see the overseer go near them, but they would not say anything to them. The Yankees came through the plantations singing "Dixie." I heard the shouts all over the plantations, "We are free!" "Free from slavery!" "God has heard our prayers. We have been praying for twenty-five or thirty years that we should be free, and God has answered our prayers at His own appointed time; He has bursted the bonds of slavery and set us all free."
Some of the slaves would shout at the top of their voices, and some of them fasted three or four days, they were so glad that they were free from slavery. They went several days without eating or drinking, praising God for their freedom.
Five years ago I was in the city of New York. Professor King, one of the teachers of the Latta University, said that he thought that I ought to leave a record of what I had done for the race; he insisted on me writing the history of my life. I told him that I did not think that I had yet done enough to do so. He said to me, "If I had done what you have done, I would have wrote a history of my life several years ago." He wrote to all of the teachers of the Latta University to impress the importance upon me to write the history of my life and work. When I returned to the institution, several of the teachers prevailed with me to write the history of my life. After hearing their statements, I yet thought that I had not done enough to interest the public, or that the public would be especially benefitted. I refused on several occasions to write anything concerning myself. Professor King sent the second communication to the teachers, to see if he could possibly induce me to write the history. I told them to write the history of anyone's life meant something. I refused six long years before I
would comply with the request that was presented to me so many times by my teachers.
The members of the Board of Directors also insisted that I should write the history of my life. I refused them five years, and continued to refuse the request pressed by the faculty and teachers. I told them that I was not satisfied in my heart that I had done enough to leave such a record upon the pages of history for unborn generations to read.
I told them that during my life I had considered nothing so carefully as the request presented to me by the faculty and teachers, and also my family. I told them I did not posses the ability to undertake such a work. I told them that I considered such a task one of serious importance. I told them if I should every comply with the request made of me by my friends I must be satisfied beyound all question that the history of my life would be of importance to those who could spare the time to read it. I told them when I read the history of any individual's life, I wanted it to be calculated to inspire me to do something more than I had done in the past--that would be calculated to better the condition of my fellowmen. I told them that it was a great responsibility for anyone to take upon himself. I told them that I judged the public as I judged myself, as to reading the history of anyone's life. I told them
that I would not be interested in reading the history of anyone's life unless they had done enough to inspire my thoughts for usefulness and greatfulness.
Five years from the first meeting that they called to induce me to write the history of my life, four years and a half after the first meeting was called, I considered the matter with great interest. After considering it carefully, I told them if nothing would satisfy them but to write the history of my life's work, I would do so.
I hope that after the public shall have read this work they will get a few inspiring thoughts to en courage them to a higher aim in life. It has always been my purpose to live not only for self, but to live for the good of the people in general.
I had no State behind me to give me $2,000 and $3,000 a year. I remember saying when I first started the institution, if I could only get $5,000 or even $1,000, to start with, I would be safe. I have tried in my humble way to solve the negro problem, as I have said in others chapters of this work, not by gifts, but by work, energy and ability. People may say what they please, but the only true definition concerning the negro problem that I can find, is to do just what other nationalities have done, and are still doing-- that is, to start from nothing if you have nothing, and do something. I speak plainly and emphatically.
The only way to solve the Negro problem pure and simple is to start out in life with one dollar in your pocket. The question has been agitated all over America: Can the Negro start from nowhere and go somewhere? Has the Negro ability to amount to anything? Can the Negro conduct anything where $10,000 or $100,000 is involved?
I will admit that any one that is identified with the Negro race has a hard time, and a hard road to travel; one that is filled with thistles and all kinds of obstacles to prevent him from competing with other nationalities. It is true that I had no wealthy relatives or friends to borrow money from to help me to start this institution. Yet several persons who attended the Latta University and graduated have never paid a dollar. I hope even this very thought is calculated to inspire the public. I often wish, even in the midst of opposition, if I only could be fortunate enough to borrow a few thousand dollars. It would not have worked me go hard; but I am sorry to say that it was impossible for me to borrow even $10 in the beginning of the institution. I will leave the question with the public to consider with grave interest whether they think that the course I have pursued is any evidence that the Negro race is worthy of public recognition.
If I had been educated at one of the principal schools in my State, with several thousands of
dollars to start with, it would not have been such a grave responsibility for me to shoulder. I have no State behind me, no friend to look to but God himself. He on one hand, and obstacles on the other. I never will forget the passage of Scripture that I preached from, recorded by St. Paul. He used language like this: "If God be for you, the world can not be against you." These expressions, and many others, have encouraged me, even in the midst of opposition.
Some persons have asked me if this is not an individual institution. I have told them in reply that I built the institution by hard labor, for educational purposes; not only for my family and friends, but for all who wish to attend. They said it was a big undertaking. I told them my purpose in undertaking such a great responsibility was to show that the Negro race had some among them who could master the difficulties that confronted them, and that the institution was non-sectarian.
I told them my reason for selecting that plan was to start in a broad way; that I was satisfied that a very few of the American people would take such grave responsibility upon themselves. I told them, those who asked me, that the institution must remain "LATTA UNIVERSITY" for all ages to come, for educational purposes, and to prove that the Negro problem had been solved.
If the history of my life and work is not sufficient to solve the Negro problem, I ask the public to tell me what are the next steps to take to solve it. I must say right here I don't know of anything upon God's green earth that would render a greater responsibility upon any one than the one I have already undertaken. My purpose for doing what I have done is to prove to the race that they can do something, I don't care how poor they may be.
A gentleman told me in New York, two years ago, that Mr. Fred. Douglas was an able man. "I have heard him speak," he said; "he was eminent as a speaker; I would walk five miles at any time to hear him speak." He said the reason that Mr. Douglas was so smart, was that white blood circulated in his veins. I asked him what was he going to do with the black blood that was in his veins. He said that the white blood was so strong and predominant that the colored blood had become stagnant and inactive. I asked him if he thought that was possible. He said he did, because it had proven itself to be so in every instance. He said that no colored man could have done the work Mr. Fred. Douglas did, and accumulate the wealth that he had, because it was not so intended by the Creator.
I presented my work to him, and told him what I was trying to do. He said I had almost too
FORMER RESIDENCE OF REV. M. L. LATTA.
much black blood in my veins to accomplish what I was trying to accomplish, and so far as building an institution of learning, I had better stop. He advised me to leave New York on the first train that left for the South. He told me that he would pay my way back to Raleigh, N. C., if I would stop trying to build an institution of learning. I refused the proposition. He ran his hand into his pocket and told me that he would pay my way home if I would stop building the institution and give the struggle up. I told him that I could not accept the proposition, because I had an object in view. He asked me what object I had in view. I told him the Negro problem, which I have so often repeated. I asked him did he think if I was successful in establishing the institution, with no means and opposition on every side, would that be sufficient to prove that members of the Negro race could do something. He said it would, but he was satisfied that I could not do it. He said that my efforts were all wasted; that he did not think I was crazy, for a crazy man would not assume such responsibility; that he never heard of anything like this before; that it would take thousands of the members of my race to help me in establishing an institution of the kind I mentioned.
The gentleman paid for my dinner, and gave me five dollars. He said he did not give that to
help the institution, but he simply gave it to help me along, because he knew I was bound to fail. I told him there was a passage of Scripture recorded by St. Paul that inspired me to continue. He said that was a superstitious expression; that if I was going to be governed by what St. Paul said, and if that was the only foundation I had to rest upon, he would advise me to stop. He said the colored people risked their success almost exclusively upon the Bible; I was so much enthused over this matter he deemed it his duty to teach me better. He said it took thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars to build an institution of learning, and I did not have five dollars to start with. I told him that when I entered college I did not have but ten cents in my pocket. I heard him patiently and considered his suggestions. He thought he had convinced me of the folly of the enterprise, but I was of the same opinion still, and I went out and began work. I continued to work in season and out of season. I disturbed the people very much where I stopped--at private houses and hotels--getting up before day, going out of their houses or hotels, taking trains to reach my destination about eight or nine o'clock, to get to the place I intended to go to, so that I could see the parties I desired to see. I continued doing this all over the United States. Wherever I stopped, I would explain to
the people why I hustled so. They came to me in several instances and told me I out hustled anyone they had ever seen, and must have a great object in view. I told them I had, and that as soon as I got time I would explain the matter to them, and whenever I could make it convenient I would explain the object of my visit.
The gentleman who had the conversation with me in the city of New York, and told me he would pay my way home if I would only give up building the institution, I met two years later in the same city. He asked me what I had been doing the past two years. I told him that I had worked hard to establish the institution; I had been fairly successful, and that the school was in operation, and we had several buildings on the campus. He asked if it was really true. I told him it was true. He said I must be joking, but I assured him that I was not. He was sitting in his spring chair in his office, and he turned all around and looked at me about a minute before he spoke. I saw that he was very much surprised over the matter, and asked him, "What are you going to do with the colored blood now?" He said he did not examine me closely when I was here two years ago, but he found, by scrutinizing closely that I had more white blood in me than he thought; that he also found that I had Indian blood in me, too. I asked him in reply,
"What had Indians done?" He asked if I had ever read in history where Indians owned this country. I told him I had; but they had to give up this country and leave it, too, because they did not have the ability to maintain it. He said they had to leave it because they were overpowered. I said: "I refer you to the history of Africa, and you will find that the Negro race owns that country now. He said that the Indians were different altogether from the Negro race. I told him, if I understood the matter, both were different, but he would find more civilized Negroes than he would Indians. He said it is good to have white blood in one's veins. I told him "the Negro race claims me." He said, according to color they had the best right to me.
I went to the city of San Francisco. I found that the time was two hours and a half slower than our time here. I promised to preach at one of the largest churches on Sunday, at the usual hour. I was not accustomed to the slow time in San Francisco; and I got up and dressed and got ready for service before I found that the majority of the people had not got up for breakfast. I had the Eastern time, and I did not change my watch. I remember I went to the church, governed by my Eastern time, and found nobody there. I met a brother coming, and I asked him what was the matter. I told him that the minister promised to be at the church at ten o'clock, and I had been here waiting for a long while, and it is past ten o'clock, and he has not appeared yet. The brother said to me that it was not ten o'clock yet. He asked where was I from, and I told him from one of the Southern States. He asked me from what State; I told him the State of North Carolina. He asked me what time did I have; I told him that I had Washington time. He said, "The time here is two hours and a half later than
Washington time." I preached at 10:30 o'clock by their time, and by my time it was past twelve o'clock.
A gentleman said to me in the city of Chicago that he learned by some of his friends that I was in the city, in the interest of education, and that my intention was to establish an institution by the name of Latta University, in West Raleigh, N. C. He asked me how many thousand dollars I had to start with. I told him that I did not even have a thousand dollars. He was one of the leading Baptist ministers in the city. He said to me: "My brother, do you know how much money it takes to establish an institution of learning? You will find before you get through that you will need several thousand dollars. If you had $5,000,000 it would come in very handy for the endowment of the institution. My dear brother, I am a member of the Baptist Association, and when we want to establish an institution of learning like you speak of, we have aid from the entire denomination; then we have a hard time raising the money. I see that you are trying to establish an institution yourself. My dear brother, you will find before you get through that it is the hardest task you ever tried in your life. It is a greater responsibility than I would think about undertaking. I can not see to save my life what you were thinking about. You are undertaking too much."
He said he would not undertake that responsibility if he had ten thousand dollars to start with, because he knew what it would take to carry it on in the future. He said it was a laudible cause, but it is too big a thing for me; that he was afraid before I got through I would find it so; that he would like to encourage me in the laudable cause as much as he possibly could, but this undertaking was too much for one man.
He said: "If I had to start out as you are starting, I am satisfied that I would not raise money enough to build a house large enough for twenty persons to go to school in. What is your purpose in starting to build an institution of this kind? It requires so much work, energy and ability."
I said to him that the people said the Negro race could not do anything, and I made up my mind, by God's help, that I would attempt to solve the Negro problem; that it was a problem that was talked so much about. I told him I had heard of the inferiority of the Negro race all over the United States. Many people claim that the Negro race can not do anything that is worthy of consideration. I made up my mind, pure and simple, that if God gave me my health and strength, I would try to prove the contrary. My friend said: "My brother, don't you think you could have started something else that would not
require such a great responsibility? I am satisfied you could solve the problem without doing what you have started out to do. If you complete your object, it will be a wonderful achievement. I do not think that you would find another man in the United States who would even attempt to establish an institution of the character that you have mentioned to me. I will go further than that. I don't think that there is a man in the world that would attempt to take such a responsibility upon himself. If I had to work as hard as you have got to work, I would let the Negro problem go. I am glad to know that you have the ambition and the tact and manhood to do something that will promote the Negro race through all ages to come. I am a member of the white race, and I have often said I desired to see that problem solved."
He asked me did I think that to be a moderator of the Baptist Association would be sufficient to solve the Negro problem; or to be a bishop would be sufficient; or to be a member of Congress, or a member of the Legislature be sufficient to solve the Negro problem; or to be a member of the United States Senate; or to be a minister, would that be sufficient to solve the Negro problem? He asked me if a member of the race became very wealthy, would that be sufficient to solve the Negro problem?
I told him no; but I considered such promotions to be auxiliary, but not sufficient. I told him that I have had various conversations with Hon. Fred. Douglas concerning the Negro problem. Mr. Douglas said that he claimed that the Negro problem was solved; I told him that according to the history of his life he had done enough to solve the Negro problem; that I told Mr. Douglas that the public said that he is not a full Negro, and I asked him if a half Negro could do what he has done, what would a whole Negro do? I told him my purpose was to prove that the Negro race could do something in the midst of opposition.
We know that the Negro race possesses the land of Africa, and I am sorry to say that they are ignorant, and are not so prosperous as other nationalities. God had a purpose in placing the Negro race in the condition that they are now in. He knew what would befall the colored race before they knew it themselves. We can not tell God's reasons for placing the colored people in the condition that they are in in Africa. As far as I am concerned as a member of the race, I am satisfied with everything that God does; that he is wise and doeth all things well.
In the condition that the colored people are now placed, they have an opportunity to make a history for their race, to show how they have suffered, and at the end of their suffering what
they have accomplished in life. My teaching to the race is that all things work together for good, especially for those that fear God. I tell the race not to get discouraged because obstacles are in the way, but push forward, and the matter will be adjusted for the best interest of those that strive to accomplish something for the betterment of their condition. If we continue on striving in the right way, we will be equal with other nationalities, as far as doing good is concerned.
I struggled hard to get something for the support of the orphanage part of the school. There are a large number of orphans that attended the Latta University. I had no endowment for the institution. I studied night and day how to get money to run the school; not a single scholar paid a dollar for that department.
The Superintendent of the school took a band of small boys and played around the school and in the suburbs of the city, and in other different places, to try to get money to support the orphanage department. They played in the city of Raleigh. The white people in the city and on the suburbs gave very liberally indeed. I started this work in the South. My purpose for starting in the South was to see if the white people in the Southern States were generous to the colored people. I found them very liberal indeed.
When the Superintendent started out with the band of small boys I told him to notice and see which gave the most in proportion, the Southern white people or the Northern white people, and keep a record of it and present it to me.
He said he found that the white people in the Southern States gave just as large amounts as the white people in the North gave. He said they got along just as well with the white people in the South as they did in the North, and, if anything, better, because the Southern white people understood the condition of the colored people better than the North.
I was on my way to Boston in the interest of the school, when I met a gentleman, and told him what I was going for, and he told me that the people in Boston would not give a person as small amount as fifty cents; but when I reached Boston I found it different from what my friend told me. I found that twenty-five cents and fifty cents was the average amount. Now and then some one would give $5.00 and $10.00. I have visited all of the towns in the Southern States, and I find that they give just as much as the North.
The Southern people have been misrepresented. Of course we have some bad people everywhere; some would not treat Jesus Christ right if He was on earth. I have found the
Southern people very generous as a rule. When you come to consider the thing, pure and simple, you will find that the Southern white people are the best friends the Negro has. They deserve as much credit for the achievements that I have accomplished as the people in the North. It is true that the population in the North is much larger than the population in the Southern States, and of course the white people in the North have more money than the white people in the South. I must express myself right here as to how I have been received in my travelling around in different places, North and South, to see the business men. The Southern white gentlemen have received me more cordially than the white gentlemen in the North. It may be because the Southern people understand the colored people better; but I must explain the matter just as it is. Of course I have visited the Northern cities more than I have the Southern cities, because the Northern cities are much larger than the Southern cities and towns. If the colored people, as a rule, will attend to their own business they will find that the Southern man is their best friend, because he understands the condition of the colored people better than the North.
I am trying every day of my life to become more friendly to my Southern brothers than I ever have, because I expect to live with them. It
is very foolish for a man to make enemies with those he expects to live with.
I find every day of my life if a colored man conducts himself prudently and tries to get along and make himself useful and become a good citizen, the white people of the South are always ready to help him and indulge him in every possible way he can. I am very sorry that the colored people have been considering the white people in the South their bitter enemies. I consider it a matter of ignorance on the part of the colored people, because it does not take very much to mislead ignorant people.
I am glad to say that the race has begun to learn better. They have begun to learn that they have got to make friends with those they live with--not in Boston, not in Philadelphia, not in New York, not in Cincinnati nor Chicago, but they must learn that their interest is where they live. I am sorry to the very depths of my heart that the race has been misled from their own interest. We are as a weak race in the midst of a predominant race, and yet claiming our friends six or seven or eight hundred miles from us.
I desire to explain this matter so that the public can understand this. I desire to prove this matter to the public. Suppose we would claim the people that I have just mentioned, in New
York, Boston, Cincinnati and Chicago, to be our best friends, and we as a race would get into a riot with the Anglo-Saxon race. We know that they are the predominant race, and we are weak. They could massacre us before those that we claim to be our friends could come six or seven hundred miles or a thousand miles. So the public can readily see how important it is for a race to make friends with those they expect to live with, because if they want any assistance they will have to get it from those they live with. We can not get much from strangers. I find that the white people in the North do not deal enough with the colored people to get acquainted with them. Sometimes I see them look at a colored person as if they had never seen one before.
The Superintendent, after travelling through the North with his band, in the interest of the school, told me that he was convinced that the best friends that the Negro had was in the South. He said the donations that the Northern people gave the little boys were nothing but pennies, as a rule. He said they gave the little boys $5.00 in the North sometimes, and also in the South. He said he was going back home and see if he could not make better friends with the Suthern white people than he ever had; that he found out to work against those that he lived with was working against his own interest. He said that he
was never so surprised in all of his life when he reached the Northern cities to find that a colored man's show was ignored and that he was hampered.
He said a great many of the colored people North told him that they had mixed schools and all was on par. He said they rejoiced in having mixed schools and looked upon it as if it was an honor. He asked me what did I think of it. I told him that I did not think much of it; that I did not see how they could think it was a promotion, when they are refused accommodations at almost all of the hotels in the country. They are refused work in the various establishments North on account of their color. They are also denied the privilege of teaching public schools in the cities on account of their color. They are denied positions as servants when there are other white servants in the house.
I told him I had observed closely, and very closely, the condition of the colored people in the North and in the South, and I find that the condition of the Southern Negroes are better than the Northern Negroes. In fact the colored people in the South teaches all of the colored public schools and receives the money that is appropriated for their respective schools. The white people teach their public schools in the South and receive the money that is appropriated for their respective schools. You can see that that
brings the two races on par along that particular line.
The territory of the South is immense; it is not thickly settled. There are various opportunities for the colored people to develop themselves and buy homes, for there are a plenty of them.
We admit, for the sake of argument, that the South needs to be built up. The colored people in the North may say what they please, the South is the place for the Negro to develop himself, and if he developes himself he must go South, because all of the doors on this side of the Mason and Dixon line are not closed against the colored people. It is true that the colored people are ignorant. In the North they live in rented houses--nothing to do but now and then to get a job. The colored people have got to learn a lesson, and they had just as well commence learning it now. They have got to learn just like the white people have learned and yet are learning.
There is no honor in anything on earth unless you have property, the mighty dollar, and push and vim.
FACULTY AND STUDENTS.
A gentleman asked me what did I think was the cause of the war; if I did not think that slavery was the cause. And I told him that I thought it was part of it, but the starting point was the Union. The Union had threatened to divide itself into two sections; the Northern people were opposed to it from start to finish, but the Southern people were in favor of the division.
The North said we will not have any divisions in the Union; the South said we will have divisions. The North and South continued to agitate the question of division. In the North, slavery was not involved until a late period. Of course the slavery question was before the country, and one grievance brought on another, until they got the slavery question involved in the grievances. Slavery was not so interesting with most people until the Union question became the issue. Because, North and South both speculated on slaves. We will admit that some of the Western States would not tolerate slavery, because they said it was not profitable. Some of the people in the East told me that they owned
slaves, and sold them to the planters in the Southern States.
The Southern man is not solely responsible for slavery, for the North tried it, too, at one time. The State of Pennsylvania did not give up her slaves until 1757, if memory serves me right. New York gave up her slaves in 1753. So we can readily see that slavery was not the real cause of the war.
Most of our friends in the North thought, and still think, that it is not best for the two races to work together, especially in the cotton mills, or in any kind of manufacturing industry. The North became an industrial, manufacturing section long before the South was educated to that point. Those that had slaves sold them to the Southern planters. So we can readily see that one is almost as much responsible for slavery as the other.
The Southern man has got so used to the colored people that they just as soon work with them as not. I do not hold the North nor the South responsible for the mistakes that have been made in the past. I believe in forgetting much of the past and looking forward to the future.
I have worked hard in season and out of season, so as to set an example for the race that I am identified with. The only way that we can be independent as a race is to work hard and make
good use of what we earn, and not depend on any one. We, as a race, have got to work harder, and do more, than any other people, so as to be recognized. We are not responsible for our color, but we are held responsible. My reason for working so hard is to see if any member among our race could do enough to be recognized as other races. If what I have done is calculated to prove anything, it must show work. No one has given the institution anything save what I got in London and Paris, and yet with all the work that I have done, and all of the energy and ability I have manifested, and yet in the teeth of all that, I am held responsible, not only I, but all of the men that have tried to do something are held likewise, for their color. It is true that my white friends in my State, and in all other States where I am known, respect me just as highly as I desire to be, but still I am held responsible because my face is of a dark shade. I do not mind that. If I was as black as the hinges of midnight, I would aspire for the highest degree of civilization.
Another grand thought inspires me when I read the Good Book and find that King Solomon was a colored man. It seems to me the thoughts that I have just mentioned in the above sentence ought to be enough to inspire any race, even if they were in the jaws of seclusion. I teach the race that I am identified with, the more obstacles
that are in our way, we should be more determined to do something to overcome them, to prove to the world that we do not expect to remain in the rear all the days of our lives. We expect to be a successful race if it takes a century or two to prove it; that we expect to be a successful people, and be felt among other nations. We should trust in God and work, and we will be sure to come to the front. I feel satisfied that God will be with us if we faithfully discharge every duty that He has put before us. We must strive to be an enterprising race. We can accomplish whatever we desire. I don't care how low a man is in life, he can better his condition.
If we, as a race, want to be highly respected, we must be industrious, we must be able to possess property, and handle the mighty dollar. And if our race will be interested in what I have said, and put it in practice and strive to do and have as much as other nationalities, they will succeed. Prejudice and color will soon be cast into the sea of forgetfulness, from the very fact people will not have time to consider such things, but be thinking of the mighty dollar, and how to get it. Our race has the muscle and the brain, and they can make themselves intelligent, and have property and wealth as other races; and when they do, they will be respected as other races are respected and honored.
There is a great deal of talk about the lynchings in the South. The colored people North have often asked me to give them some information as to lynching colored people here. I told them, and I tell them now, if a colored man attends to his business in the South he never entertains a fear as to lynching. I am satisfied with the colored people as a race. I live in the Southern States. I feel that my life is much safer than the life of the President of the United States. The lynch law will soon be a thing of the past; no one gets lynched but bad people in the South. I hope that the public will understand that I am not in favor of lynching, but the crimes that those detestable people commit are very aggravating. In many instances those that do the lynching takes the law in their own hands. The crimes that the parties are accused of who are lynched are very aggravating. I wish to God that the matter could be adjusted without lynching; but since it can not, my advice to those that violate the law is not to commit such crimes, to stop and consider that they have done wrong. The same may be measured to them without having
the opportunity of going before a tribunal of justice and have the matter thoroughly investigated. My advice to them is not to run that risk, for they may not get the opportunity to have the matter investigated. My advice along that line is to educate the Negro thoroughly, make the superintendents see that the teachers lecture along those lines and warn them from committing crimes; not only heinous crimes, but any kind of crime, and as soon as they put this teaching into practice all crimes will diminish, and those capital offences will be buried in oblivion. Then civilization will stretch its wings all over the North and South, and peace, prosperity and happiness will prevail among the white and colored people North and South. Then we will have no North, no South--all of the people will come together and work for the interest of one common country; sectional lines will be obliterated forever and we will enjoy the highest degree of civilization and prosperity, but not until then.
I hope that the day will soon come when a man will not be held responsible for his color or nationality, but will be held responsible for the name that the public give him. I plead for justice to all and special privilege to none. We can be as far as the East is from the West so far as social gathering is concerned, and yet we can
respect each other as human beings, because we say that we love God and what He has made. If you go back on your fellowman because he is not made as you are, and not colored as you are, it is evidence that you do not appreciate what God has done. I ask, how can you love God and hate His subjects, without a cause? It is a matter that we should consider with great care, to see what a great responsibility rests upon any individual because God made them different from other races. So far as life companionship is concerned all men have a right to choose whom they want, and get those that they can get; but I think that the white race should choose among their race and the colored race choose among their race.
God put us all here together, and He put us here for a purpose. The interest of one race is the interest of the other. In one great sense the two races are embodied in one. The colored man says it is very unfortunate for him to be black. He says that he is deprived of the highest degree of civilization. We admit that it appears so, but God will adjust the matter at the proper time. God knows best.
I have been asked time and again while our country was being shocked because of the lynching of Negro citizens, to say something upon the subject through the press, and have been tempted
to do so. At the time of these lynchings, I kept silent, because I did not believe the public mind was in a condition to listen to a discussion of the subject in the calm judicial manner that it would be later, when there should be no undue feeling or excitement. In the discussion of this or any other matter, little good is accomplished unless we are perfectly frank. There is no white man of the South who has more sincere love for it than I have, and nothing could tempt me to write or speak that which I did not think was for the permanent good of all the people of the South.
Whenever adverse criticism is made upon the South, I feel it as keenly as any member of the white race can feel it. It is, therefore, my interest in everything which pertains to the South that prompts me to write as I do now.
While it is true that there are cases of lynchings and outrage in the Northern and Western States, candor compels us to admit that by far the most of the cases of lynchings take place in our Southern States, and that most of the persons lynched are Negroes.
With all the earnestness of my heart I want to appeal, not to the President of the United States, Mr. Roosevelt, not to the people of New York, nor of the New England States, but to the citizens of our Southern Statees, to assist in creating a public sentiment such as will make human life
just as safe and sacred here as it is, anywhere else in the world.
For a number of years the South has appealed to the North and to Federal authorities, through the public press, from the public platform, and most eloquently through the late Henry W. Grady to leave the whole matter of the rights and protection of the Negro to the South, declaring that it would see to it that the Negro would be made secure in his citizenship. During the last half dozen years the whole country, from the President down, has been inclined more than ever to pursue this policy, leaving the whole matter of the destiny of the Negro to the Negro himself, and to the Southern white people among whom the great bulk of the Negroes live. By the present policy of non-interference on the part of the North and the Federal Government, the South is given a sacred trust. How will she execute this trust? The world is waiting and watching to see. The question must be answered largely by the protection the South gives to the Negro, and the provisions that are made for the development of the Negro in the organic laws of the State. I fear that few people in the South realize to what extent the habit of lynching, or the taking of life without due process of law, has taken hold of us, and to what extent it is hurting us, not only in the eyes of the world, but in our own moral and material growth.
Lynching was instituted some years ago with the idea of punishing and checking outrage upon women. Let us examine the cold facts and see where it has already led us, and where it is likely further to carry us, if we do not rid ourselves of the habit. Many good people in the South, and also out of the South, have gotten the idea that lynching is resorted to for one crime only. I have the facts from an authoritative source. During 1900, 127 persons were lynched in the United States; of this number, 118 were executed in the South and 9 in the North and West. Of the total number lynched, 102 were negroes, 23 were whites, and 2 Indians. Now, let every one interested in the South, his country and the cause of humanity, note this fact--that only 24 of the entire number were charged in any way with the crime of rape; this is 24 out of 127 cases of lynching. Sixty-one of the remaining cases were for murder, 13 being suspected of murder, 6 for theft, etc. During one week last spring, when I kept a careful record, 13 negroes were lynched in three of our Southern States, and not one was even charged with rape. All of these 13 were accused of murder or house burning; but in none of the cases were the men allowed to go before a Court, so that their innocence or guilt might be proven.
When we get to the point where four-fifths of the people lynched in our country in one year are
lynched for some crime other than rape, we can no longer explain that the lynching was for one crime alone.
Let us take another year, that of 1902, for example. During last year (1902), 241 persons were lynched in the whole United States. Thirty-six of this number were lynched in Northern and Western States, and 205 in our Southern States. Of the 241 lynched in the whole country, 160 were Negroes, and five of these were women. The facts show that out of the 241 lynched in the entire country in 1892, but 57 were even charged with rape, or even attempted rape, leaving in that year alone 184 persons who were lynched for other causes than that of rape.
If it were necessary, I could produce figures for others years. Within a period of six years about 900 persons have been lynched in the Southern States. This is but a few hundred short of the total number of soldiers who lost their lives in Cuba during the Spanish-American war.
If we would realize still more fully how far this unfortunate habit is leading us, note the classes of crimes during a few months, which the local papers and Associated Press say that lynching has been inflicted for. They include murder, rioting, incendiarism, robbery, larceny, self-defence, insulting women, alleged stock poisoning,
malpractice, alleged barn burning, suspected robbery, race prejudice, attempted murder, horse stealing, and mistaken identity, etc.
The practice has grown until we are now at the point where not only blacks are lynched in the South, but white men as well. Not only this, but within the last six years at least half a dozen colored women have been lynched, and there are a few cases where Negroes have lynched members of their own race. What is to be the end of this? Besides this, every lynching drives hundreds of Negroes from the farming districts of the South, where their services are of great value to the country, into the already over-crowded cities.
I know that some will argue that the crime of lynching Negroes is not confined to the South. This is true, and no one can excuse such a crime as the shooting of innocent black men in Illinois, who were guilty of no crime except that of seeking labor; but my words just now are to the South, where my home is, and a part of which I am. Let other sections act as they will; I want to see our beautiful Southland free from this terrible evil of lynching. Lynching does not stop crime. In the Immediate section of the South, where a colored man recently committed the most terrible crime ever charged against a member of his race, but a few weeks previous to this, five colored men had been lynched for supposed
incendiarism. If lynching was a cure for crime, surely the lynching of five would have prevented another negro from committing a most henious crime a few weeks later.
We might as well face the facts bravely and wisely. Since the beginning of the world, crime has been committed in all civilized and uncivilized countries; and a certain extent of crime will always be committed, both in the North and in the South; but I believe that the crime of rape can be stopped. In proportion to the number and intelligence of the population of the South, there exists little more crime than in several other sections of the country; but because of the lynching habit we are constantly advertising ourselves to the world as a lawless people. We can not disregard the teachings of the civilized world for eighteen hundred years, that the only way to punish crime is by law. When we leave this dictum, chaos begins.
I am not pleading for the Negro alone. Lynching injures, hardens and blunts the moral sensibilities of the young and tender manhood of the South. This is not all. Every community guilty of lynching says in so many words to the Governor, to the Legislature, to the Sheriff, to the jury and to the Judge, "I have no faith in you, and no respect for you; we have no respect for the law which we helped to make."
In the South, at the present time, there is less excuse for not permitting the law to take its course, where a Negro is to be tried, than anywhere else in the world, for almost without exception the governors, the sheriffs, the judges, the juries and the lawyers are all white men, and they can be trusted, as a rule, to do their duty; otherwise it is needless to tax the people to support these officers. If our present laws are not sufficient to properly punish crime, let the laws be changed, but that the punishment may be by lawfully constituted authority is the plea I make. The history of the world proves that where law is most strictly enforced, there is the least crime; where people take the administration of the law into their own hands, is the most crime.
But there is another side. The white man in the South has not only a serious duty and responsibility, but the Negro has a duty and responsibility in this matter. In speaking of my own people, I want to be equally frank, but I speak with the greatest kindness. There is too much crime among us. The figures for a given period show that in the United States 30 per cent of the crime committed is by Negroes, while we constitute only about 12 per cent of the entire population. This proportion holds good not only in the South, but also in the Northern States and cities.
No race that is so largely ignorant, and so
lately out of slavery could, perhaps, show a better record, but we must face these plain facts. He is most kind to the Negro who tells him of his faults as well as of his virtues. A large amount of the crime among us grows out of the idleness of our young men and women. It is for this reason that I have tried to insist upon some industry being taught in connection with their course of literary training. The time has come when every parent, every teacher and minister of the gospel should teach with unusual emphasis morality and obedience to the law. At the fireside, in the school room, in the Sunday school, from the pulpit and the Negro press, there should be such a sentiment created regarding the committing of crime against women that no such crime shall be charged against any member of the race. Let it be understood for all time that no one guilty of rape can find sympathy or shelter with us, and that none will be more active in bringing to justice, through the proper authorities, those guilty of crime. Let the criminal and vicious element of the race have at all times our most severe condemnation. Let a strict line be drawn between the virtuous and the criminal. I condemn with all the indignation of my soul the beast in human form guilty of assaulting a woman. Let us all be alike in this particular.
We should not, as a race, become discouraged.
We are making progress. No race has ever gotten upon its feet without discouragements and struggles.
I should be a great hypocrite and a coward if I did not add that which my daily experience teaches me is true, namely, that the Negro has among many of the Southern whites as good friends as he has anywhere in the world. These friends have not forsaken us. They will not do so; neither will our friends in the North. If we make ourselves intelligent, industrious,, economical and virtuous, of value to the community in which we live, we can and will work out our own salvation right here in the South. In every community, by means of organized efforts, we should seek in a manly and honorable way the confidence, the co-operation, the sympathy of the best white people in the South, and. in our respective communities. With the best white people and the best black people standing together, in favor of law and order and justice, I believe that the safety and happiness of both races will be made secure.
In closing this chapter, repeat what I have said on another occasion: Those who fought for the freedom of the slaves performed their duty heroically and well, but a duty still remains for those who are left. The mere existence of law can not make an ignorant voter an intelligent
voter; can not make a dependent man an independent man; can not make one citizen respect another. These results will come to the Negro, as to all races, by beginning at the bottom and gradually working up to the highest possibilities of his nature.
In the economy of God there is but one standard by which the individual can succeed; there is but one for the race. In working out his own destiny, while the main burden of activity must be with the Negro, he will need in years to come the help, the encouragement, the guidance, that the strong can give to the weak.
I had a very lengthy conversation with a United States Senator in St. Louis, concerning the Negro problem. I introduced myself to him, and told him that I was from North Carolina, the city of Raleigh. He received me very cordially. During our conversation, he asked me if I was a missionary. I told him not solely so, but in part. At that time I had just commenced to establish the institution. I told him what I was doing, and my purpose was to establish a non-sectarian institution in the city of Raleigh.
"My friend, do you know it means something to establish an institution? I presume that you are a lunatic along that line."
I told him perhaps I was, but nevertheless that was my intention. He continued: "My friend, I am satisfied that you will never get the institution large enough to accommodate forty students. How much money have you got? It is just as impossible for you to start an institution with the limited means you have (if you have any) as it is for me to fly from here to Washington. But, my friend, I admire your pluck. I am glad to know that you are so ambitious, and so determined. If it was possible, I would ask the
U. S. Congress to give you $10,000 to aid you. Do you know it takes hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars to carry on an institution of the kind you mention? At least it should take that much to carry it on as it should be. Don't you think that it is unwise to assume such a responsibility? If you are, successful, I will rejoice at your achievements; but, my friend, you have undertaken something that I would not undertake, and yet I could put my hand on a hundred thousand dollars."
I told him that my purpose was to solve the Negro problem, if it cost me my life, because I had rather "wear out than rust out." He said: "I think you will wear out or rust out before you build that institution, because I never heard of anyone undertaking such a great work as that with no money to start with. Who do you expect to get the money from to build that institution?"
I told him I expected to get it by hard work, and I expected the benevolent people to give me enough to pay for that work.
He said: "You will have to value your work very high if you succeed. I am in sympathy with all such progressive movements. I know that your race has been oppressed; I know that they have not had justice, and they have been badly treated. I have always had sympathy for the colored man, because I know he is not responsible
for his condition. As a member of the United States Congress I have studied the colored question, but have been unable to suggest any solution to the problem. I will give you twenty dollars, but I think my twenty dollars will be lost. But for your zeal and earnest efforts in the cause you seem to be enthused over to such an extent, my conscience tells me that it is my duty to encourage you in this laudable cause. I bid you God-speed. I wish you all the success that could be wished an individual; but remember, your responsibility is too heavy for you; but if you can consummate your object, you deserve all the honor that has ever been conferred upon any human being. And I go further: you deserve more, because no one would undertake to do what you are doing. Take this twenty dollars, and let me know when you get the school in operation."
I worked in season and out of season for about eighteen months, then I sent him word that the school was in operation, and we opened with a good number of students. He asked how many students I could accommodate. I told him as many as a hundred. In the communication he sent me he said that he was greatly surpirsed, because he did not think I would ever accommodate twenty-five. He sent a check for three times as much as he gave, me the first time. He encouraged me in his communication very much.
I was in Pittsburg, Pa., in 1902, on some very important business, and I had an agent in the city at the same time in the interest of the school. My rule for my agents, when they go into a city canvassing, is to call upon the proper officers of the city and let them know just what they are doing. One of my agents failed to carry out my rules, and when he was in one of the business houses talking to the proprietor a policeman came in and asked him what he was doing, and he answered that he was canvassing in the interest of the Latta University in West Raleigh, N. C., and the policeman told him that he could not canvass any more and to follow him. He said that he had the seal of North Carolina on his paper; but the policeman paid no attention to that and locked him up in one of the stations. I was sitting down eating my supper in one of the boarding houses, when a friend came to me and told me what had happened. I was surprised. The assistant chief said that he had sent a man to notify me, but he had failed to do so. My general agent was with me when the news came, so I took him and we went down to the station. I
saw that the policeman was advanced in years, but he was very interesting. He tried to make it as pleasant for me as he could. He explained the matter in a sympathetic way, as if he regretted it very much. He said that he would give me all the particulars concerning the arrest. He said that the detective knew more about the case than he did, and that I might talk to him, but that it was very hard to locate him, as he was a very busy man, but he would be back there at half-past eight. It was then about seven o'clock. I insisted upon his calling up the detective on the telephone and see if he could not locate him. He finally consented, and told him that the President of the Latta University wanted to see him. I went back to the general police headquarters up in the city; that was about a mile and a half. I did not know the way, so I had to walk, and by the time I got there I was very much fatigued. I found some very sympathetic friends there, and some told me that I would have to wait until the next day before I could take any action. I met a very nice young man there, who told me that the matter was nothing and for me to go down to one of the cafes and I would find the judge that presided over the court. I thanked him very kindly for the interest that he manifested in the matter, and went to the cafe and asked the clerk what
MRS. M. K. SMITH, Teacher Latta University.
DOROTHY FUNDERBURK, Secretary.
time would the gentleman be in, and he said he would be there in about a half an hour. So I waited for him. In about five minutes I noticed a gentleman come in that was not dressed very fine, but he showed that he was a business man. The gentleman kept his eye on me, and at last he came to me and asked me who I wanted to see, and I told him, and also told him the particulars. He said the judge did not stay there, but that he came there sometimes, and that he was generally there before that time. My agent suggested that we wait a little longer, for he might be in, and I consented. In the meantime the agent said that he was very hungry, and he wanted to know if I was not hungry also. He ordered some oysters, which we enjoyed very much. It was getting along about ten o'clock, and I said that I was going to ask the clerk if he thought the judge would come. He seemed to be a very sympathetic man and desired to see every one satisfied, and I presume that he saw the matter was a very distressing one, for he said that we might be assured that he would be there tonight. At about a quarter of eleven the Judge came, and he was introduced to us by a colored man, and he said that he would see me in about five minutes. Then I explained the matter to him, and asked him to telephone to the station and authorize the Lieutenant to dismiss my
agent, because he was there by policeman's fault. He told me that he did not preside over the Court at the station; I told my agent that we had better return.
I made up my mind during the night that if that Court did not talk to suit me I thought I would take actions on the city for $10,000 damages. Some of the officers told me that the case would be heard at the Police Court an hour before the time was set for hearing cases. While I was sitting there, I asked the officer if there were any such cases of that kind heard there, and he said that the case was not on docket, and he said that the case would be tried where the agent was in jeopardy.
My agent and I ran out of the station, as we were misled as to the proper place where the case was to be tried. While we were waiting for the Judge to come, in walked the one who said that he did not try cases there, and I found out that he was the regular Judge on that circuit. He had quite a large docket to hear before he heard my agent; lastly his case came off.
I informed the Judge that by his permission I would appear as counsel for my agent, and defend him as best I could. The Judge kindly assented, and after the evidence was all in I addressed the Court for about an hour. I reminded him that my agent was ignorant of the law, and
that he had no desire or intention to violate it. That it was unnecessary for the officer to have so ruthlessly committed him to the lock-up, but should have quietly told him to desist from violating until he had complied with the local laws. That if the officer had done that, all this excitement need not have occurred. That the officer had seemed to be unnecessarily vigilant, and appeared, from his conduct, to have prejudice against the young man because he was colored. That we were in the city on a peaceful mission, were law-abiding citizens, and were perfectly willing-- indeed, anxious--to obey the law.
The Judge gave me his undivided attention, and seemed to be well pleased with my speech. When I had concluded I received the congratulations of every one present, including the officer who had made the arrest. The Judge, in announcing his decision, said that it was not necessary for me to have made such a long speech, that he would have dismissed the case after he had heard me fifteen minutes, but he was very much interested in my argument, therefore he would not interfere with me, and that he highly commended me for my argument, for it was all law and truth. He said that the case was dismissed, for in fact it was nothing, and all that interested him was sitting down and listening to me. The sergeants also commended me for my speech, and
said they wished I could come to Pittsburg and build an institution, for it was badly needed there. One of the officers came up and asked me if I was going to speak in the city before I left; he wanted to hear me speak. But I told him that I did not think so; but if I lectured in any hall he would see the account in the papers.
The detective told me he was very sorry the matter happened as it did, after hearing my speech. The officers told me that argument I made was very inspiring to the court, for they enjoyed it very much. I then shook hands with them all and bade them goodby.
I was in Detroit, Michigan, five years ago, in the interest of the institution. I met a distinguished Methodist minister after I arrived in the city, and he invited me to preach for him on Sunday. I told him that I was very much fatigued. I had just lectured the night before. He insisted on me very much; after considering the matter carefully, I finally accepted the invitation. I asked him what hour did service commence; he told me half past ten o'clock. At nine-fifteen I was present; he had a very large audience. He read the Scripture, and I led in prayer. The choir rendered some excellent music, after which he introduced me as the speaker of the
hour. I took my text in Job--"If a man dies, can he live again;" I had an immense audience to speak to. I had preached for several ministers before, and I had become somewhat familiar with white audiences. The audience sat very quiet and gave their undivided attention to the sentences that I uttered on that occasion. Hundreds of brothers and sisters came and grasped my hand. They told me in all the days of their lives they had never enjoyed a sermon any better than they did that one. The minister told me that he had not language to express his pleasure at hearing me preach on that occasion. The entire audience seemed to be enthused over the sermon. The minister invited me to be present that night at half past seven o'clock, and I told him that I had almost exhausted myself, but if he insisted I would speak for thirty minutes. He said he would thank me for even that time.
My text was in the first chapter of John. I preached thirty minutes. The audience gave me their undivided attention. They seemed to be very much pleased. When I had finished my sermon some of the leading officers of the church came to me; they said that they had heard that text preached from before, but they never thought so much could be gotten out of it, and they came to me and asked me to promise them that I would preach the same sermon again before I left the
city. I told them that I was very sorry, but I had other engagements, and I could not make my stay so very long. The minister also insisted that I preach the sermon again if I could possibly make it convenient. I regretted very much to decline the invitation extended, yet I had to do so. They took up two collections for me. Just before they took up the collections, I told the minister my mission. I told him that my visit to the West was in the interest of an institution in the South known as Latta University. I told him it was my purpose to enlarge the institution and make it worthy of the patronage of the people at large. I told him that it had been said so very many times that it was utterly impossible for a member of my race to do anything that was worthy of recognition. I told him that it was proper for him to investigate the matter and satisfy himself of the truthfulness of my statements. I thanked them kindly for the collections and liberal contributions.
The minister spoke about as follows. "The cause you are engaged in is a good one. Brother, will you ever get the institution large enough to hold fifty persons? Why I ask you is because the undertaking is such a big one. I am glad to know you have so much ambition, and desire to prove to the public that your race is anxious to improve their condition. I have often prayed
for the colored people that their condition might be improved as a race. I was just telling my wife a few days ago that the colored people were oppressed more than any race upon the globe, and how they existed as well as they did was a mystery to me. I told her that they were not responsible as a race for their color. I have often noticed that the Negro's color is often a drawback to his success in the pursuits of life. I do not think this thing will last always, for we have a just God, and God made you as well as He made me, and He made us all for a purpose. I delight in doing anything for the colored people that I can, because I know they have been misused, and they have been treated every way but the right way. Your cause is a good one, but you will not receive the money that you would receive, or the recognition that you would get, if you were a white man. It seems singular, but it is true."
I asked him did he think that the prejudice would ever be obliterated. He said: "My dear brother, do you want me to give you my candid opinion concerning the race prejudice? It may be modified to some extent, but to be obliterated, it will be centuries before it is done. I consider the prejudice that exists between the two races almost irreconcilable. I regret very much using this term, but it is true. I truly hope it is possible
that the result may change and prejudice may cease, and the two races brought closer together. One great misfortune is, your race, the colored people, have no government belonging to them; they are here among a predominant race, with nothing to substantuate any claims that they may make. If the colored people could be colonized in some territory, and become independent, then other nations would be bound to respect them; then color would be obliterated forever. The United States Congress should not hesitate to appropriate money sufficient to colonize a territory and try the experiment. The people can say just what they will or may, but so long as they are under the flag of the United States, they will be considered an inferior and unreliable race, and will never receive the recognition that other races receive. You and a few others may receive recognition enough to be considered citizens. Yet, in the midst of all of your greatness and promotion, you will never be recognized in the social walks of life. My brother, if I never see you any more in this world, remember these remarks that I have made are true."
Then he grasped my hand and told me goodby.
Four years ago I was in the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. A gentleman lectured there every Saturady night on astronomy. The secretary of the Y. M. C. A. made arrangements with me to speak concerning the Southern States, especially on the condition of the colored people. I have been asked several times for a copy of the speech I delivered on that occasion. We had an immense audience. The secretary introduced me as being one among the greatest orators in the Southern States. After he introduced me, I said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen:--It is with pride and a peculiar pleasure I grasp this opportunity to speak concerning the people of the Southern States, both white and colored. I desire to return thanks to the secretary for the kind words he spoke of me. I must say right here I feel my inability to even approach what he has said concerning my oratorical power. But, however, ladies and gentlemen, when anyone does the best he can, there is no more required of them. It is true that I am here alone in this immense audience, as far as color is concerned; but, however, I know that makes no difference with this intelligent and patriotic audience. I call your attention to this fact--if you think that I am a
member of the Anglo-Saxon race, I just want to correct that impression. But I am a member of God's great family.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard much of the condition of the Southern States. The only thing that will better the condition of the colored people in the Southern States is to strive to live friendly with those whom they expect to live with. When the proclamation was issued declaring them free as a race, they thought they had nothing to do.
"I will promise you in the outset I will make my speech as short as possible. I desire your undivided attention during my discourse. No doubt there are hundreds of people here within the sound of my voice who think that when President Abraham Lincoln issued. his proclamation that it freed the Negro in all parts of this country. No doubt a great many have thought, and think now, that the Negro problem had then been solved; but if you will give me your attention I will prove to you that the problem was just begun. I will outline to you the condition of things in the Southern States. Suppose you take the people in the mountains; there are hundreds of children there that have never seen a free school. They are known in the South as the mountain whites. In some mountain regions there are some colored people in the same condition. It
is said by many the only thing that they have been taught to glory in, was to indulge in corn whiskey that had been manufactured in the mountains. I have been informed by some of our friends that live near the mountains, that if they see a civilized person coming near them, they would run and get out of their presence. Their parents are said to be uncivilized, and they bring up their children likewise. This is in the western part of North Carolina. It is true that the white people excel the colored so far as education is concerned. I simply mention these facts to show the condition of both races.
"In the eastern part of the State the races are nearly equal in numbers. I was in the eastern part of the State of North Carolina, and I was informed while I was there that the people there lived on waste fish and had never attended a school in their lives. I do not mean all.
"I desire to call your attention to Mississippi. In the valley of Mississippi one-third of the people, especially the colored people, have not had the opportunity to attend school, on account of their parents being too poor to send them. I also wish to call your attention to the people in Alabama and Louisiana. They grow up in ignorance. They are in the same condition as the people on the mountains. They are not fit for good citizens. In some parts of the State of
Georgia and Tennessee, the people also are in the same condition, and a part of Virginia. And the State of South Carolina is 70 per cent behind all of the other Southern States.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I simply mention these facts to show you that the Negro problem has not been solved. No problem can be successfully solved when the people are yet in ignrance. Those that are prepared to uplift their fellow men, and do not render him assistance, are guilty of oppression to humanity. The divine record tells us to assist the weak in the time of distress. I have shown you the condition of the people in the Southern States. Nothing will uplift them but education. I appeal to you people of New England who are willing to do good.
"Now, if we must teach the mountain whites and Negroes that the corn whiskey is injurious to human beings, and all other kinds of intoxicating liquors are an abomination in the sight of God, but we can not do it without money. Those who have it by the dollars, put your hand in your pocket and take it out. Those who have it by the thousands, take it out; those who have it by the hundreds, take it out. Those who fail to put their hands in their pockets and bring out whatever they can, show that they are opposed to uplifting their fellowmen; and God will not bless them in the end.
"Much has been said concerning teaching the Negroes how to do various kinds of work. I want to say right here in the presence of this magnificent audience, that no man is more in touch with labor than I am. It is the duty of all men to dignify labor. Without labor no man will be able to reach the highest degree of success. I believe in starting at the beginning of life, and unless we do that we can not reach greatness.
"In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I claim that it is unwise to limit the professional aspirations so far as the Negro is concerned. Those who are stronger than the Negro will have to handle the Negro with care. He thinks that every other nation points the finger of scorn at him, because his face is dark, and if he is told that he is not capable of holding a position, you have inflicted a great wound upon him because he is weak. Thousands of Negroes of this country have learned to read and write. They have studied the history of learned men--Napoleon, Cæsar and Webster;--but I tell them in the midst of their high aspirations and magnificent thoughts to lay the foundation solid and pure, if they ever hope to succeed. If my memory serves me right, Virgil was worth over a million of dollars before he died. It is said by many that the white people in the Southern States are bitter enemies to the Negroes. I admit that the
relationship is not all right, but it can be bettered. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience, the only lamp by which all nations must be guided.
"I thank the Y. M. C. A. for their liberal collection and undivided attention they have given me."
Five years ago I made a speech in Minnesota. I was introduced by one of the leading teachers in the city. My subject was the Negro problem of the South. The gentleman who introduced me said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen:--It affords me great pleasure to introduce to you one of the distinguished sons from the other side of the Mason and Dixon line. I feel satisfied that the whole audience will be deeply interested and well entertained by the remarks of this distinguished Southern orator."
After the gentleman had introduced me, I arose and said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen:--The gentleman who Las just introduced me has done so in such flattering terms that I feel somewhat embarrassed; but, however, I will endeavor to entertain you for a short time.
"Ladies and gentlemen, my subject is the
Negro problem, not only of the South, but the Negro problem in general. I will admit in the outset that the Negro problem is a great problem to handle, and must be handled with care and special care. There is no race upon the continent that has suffered like the Negro race. I defy any man to find in history where any race has suffered as the race that I am identified with. But I want to say the suffering of the race is not sufficient to fold our hands and say that we can't do anything. Remember that opposition is the stepstone to success. I thank God that we have had oppositions in the pathway of life. It is an evidence that we have endured persecutions and have still kept our eyes open upon the road that leads to prosperity. I admit that three-fourths of the Negroes in the South are in gross ignorance, but education is one of the greatest remedies that can be used for their uplifting. The race insists that they must compete with other races if they want to enjoy the recognition that other races enjoy.
"The way to solve the Negro problem is to unite ourselves upon one great common cause, in unity and peace, and as soon as we do that we can establish various enterprises. We can put our girls in mills, we can put mills in operation, we can establish banks with cashiers and clerks, we can establish stores, we can establish wholesale
business houses, we can have our churches well decorated, we will not have to live in log cabins, we can live in large houses with six or seven rooms as well as in one room; we can be honored as high as any other nation, if we strive to complete our object along this line.
"It has been said that God did not intend for the Negro to do anything. I deny that. If this audience would convince me against my will that the colored man could not do anything, because his face is dark, 'I would be of the same opinion still.' I have tried for several long years to solve this problem. If, after I have discharged every duty and practiced economy, and then fail, I would feel that God was not a just God. But I want to say to you, ladies and gentlemen, during the last five years, in season and out of season, in the midst of false accusations, I have asked God's assistance. At the end of five years I have found Him to be a just God.
"I started to establish the institution for the advancement of my race. It has been said many times that it was impossible for the Negro race to achieve anything great. Let my work speak for itself. Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you by the help of God, the establishment of Latta University will be consummated. I am satisfied with the dealings I have had with God. I glory in opposition, especially when it makes
me work. I ant here to tell you we can rise as high as any race under the canopy of heaven. I am here to speak to the colored people, those who are present, concerning their future destiny. To hold the important positions that belong to the government (I desire to be frank with you) you will never hold the important positions as officers under the flag of the United States as a race. Some ask why. I will explain it to you candidly. In the first place, we are here among a dominant race. This race says, 'We whipped the Indians and inherited this beautiful land of ours. We are strong, we own everything; we protest as a race against the Negro holding offices of importance. If the Negro wants to hold high offices, they must go to Africa.' Very few men have got rich by holding offices. A few may have done so in this country. There is very little wealth and very little honor in office holding. If I could be President of the United States, I would refuse, because his life is always in jeopardy.
"At the time of the emancipation, our race had but a very little experience; they thought to preside over an office was the next thing to Jesus Christ. They would risk their lives for the honor; they would deprive their families of the necessities of life simply to hold an insignificant office. In some instances they thought that God would send money from heaven to support their families.
I remember I was teaching school in the small village of Morrisville, N. C. The people were very ignorant in that village. The people that I boarded with told me that the President had sent people out to divide up all the money in the banks, and every person would get their part and forty acres of land and a mule. I remember the lady asked me if I was going to teach school the next day. I told her I was. She said her husband was not going to work, because the men were coming to divide the money, and he would miss his share. She told me they had moved the capital from Washington, D. C., to the State of North Carolina.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you can see how ignorant the colored people were at the close of the rebellion.
"In conclusion, we must strive to compete with the different nations in thoughts. It may take a century or two to do so. Remember that the dominant race that we are now living with has been striving almost six thousand years, and are not thoroughly developed yet. If I had the powers of Demosthenes, with all of his eloquence, I would tell the entire nation that all races should work in harmony with each other; sectionalism must be buried, prejudice must be obliterated. Good will to all men and special privileges to none."
I was in the city of Worcester about two years ago. I was invited to preside over a public meeting; but it seemed that the president changed the program and notified the people that I would be present, and would speak. It was an immense audience. I enjoyed the meeting very much. I sat there quiet, and began to wonder what he invited me there for. The president did not call on me even to lead in prayer. He called on several of the members to lead in prayer. I still remained quiet. They carried on the meeting about forty minutes. The president called on the members to make short talks. I yet remained quiet. The meeting closed at the expiration of forty minutes. After the meeting had closed, the president came to me in surpirse, and said that after I had been invited to preside over the meeting he had been informed that I was a great speaker, and that he wanted to hear me. "I want you," said he "to speak for us and tell us the condition of the people in the South." I told him I was accustomed to changes, but some times the change might be too sudden. I accepted the invitation to speak. He introduced me to the audience, using these words:
"Brothers and Sisters:--I am more than proud of having the honor to introduce to you one of our distinguished friends from the South, president
of an institution of learning. When presidents are to speak, we expect to hear something great, so please give this gentleman your undivided attention."
I began my speech as follows:
"Ladies and Gentlemen:--It is with no small degree of pleasure that I have the opportunity of speaking to you on this occasion concerning the great problem known as the Negro problem. I assure you that I will not worry your patience on this occasion. I was asked in the outset to deal with the Negro problem. I want to say that the Negro problem is difficult to handle. It is true, ladies and gentlemen, my race has been deprived of civilization; they have been denied the right to compete with other nations. If you should ask me the reason that my face does not appear as light as yours, I would answer, it is God's doing, not ours. Let us be content with his work. Three-fourths of the colored people of the South have never enjoyed the necessities of life. Their parents are unable to send them to school. That is why we have to appeal to the North, East and West to maintain the Southern schools.
"Referring to the lynchings in the South: No doubt that some that has been lynched were innocent, but the parties that did the lynching thought they had the right parties. I long to
see the day come when the lynch law will be abolished.
"In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I have endeavored to picture out to you the condition of a weak race--the race that I am identified with. If such men as Webster, or William Lloyd Garrison, or Patrick Henry, with all of the eloquence they possessed during their lifetime, if they should have appealed to me to change my complexion, if it was possible, I would have said, let me remain as God made me. My teaching to my race is to inspire them for usefulness and greatness, that at God's appointed time no race will be judged according to their color, but will be judged according to their deeds. We may differ in color, but we are one people just the same. We all originated from one source. Yet we are divided into different sections. I long to see the day come when love and true friendship will prevail all over this land of ours. We must remember that we all were created from one source. My teaching to the race that I am identified with, is to work out their own salvation through trembling and fear; the great trying day will come when we will not be known as a distinct race. No prejudice will exist; no question will be asked as to different races; but all of the country will be known as one people. And success and happiness will prevail among all nations. If I
had the language of Demosthenes, I would prevail with the people to come together and unite upon one great common cause. I would get down on my knees and pray to God that no nation should be judged by their color, but by their deeds."
I would do the history of my life and work injustice if I failed to say something about the activity of the city of Philadelphia. I have been acquainted with Dr. Brooks for six or seven years. I have been all over the United States, and I have never known a gentleman to be so much interested in his work as Dr. Brooks. He has written one of the leading arithmetics in North America. It has been recognized as one of the most useful books in this country. Dr. Brooks is a high-toned Christian gentleman in every respect. I asked him how did he attend to so much business. He said he delighted in making himself useful. I have never been to his office but what he was as busy as he could be. Philadelphia ought to feel proud of having such a good superintendent. I do not blame them for holding on to such a man as Dr. Brooks. Traveling over the United States and other countries has given me a broad experience. I have never seen a man that worked so hard, in all the days of my life, as Dr. Brooks, Superintendent of Public Instruction. I have noticed from time
to time, when visiting his office, that he was more active than his clerks. I have nothing to say against his clerks; they seem to discharge all of their duties. Dr. Brooks is more advanced in years than they, but it seems to me he can turn around twice to their once. I have no doubt in my mind that he is one of the greatest workers of the age. I am satisfied when Philadelphia looses such a son as Dr. Brooks, they will deeply mourn their loss. I must say frankly there is no race prejudice in the heart of Dr. Brooks. I admire him for his expressions and the way he received me in his office. Dr. Brooks is one among the most enlightened men we have in our country. He has large experience as a teacher. He is a man of grand appearance; a deep thinker; in able writer, and a fine conversationalist. There are very few such men in Philadelphia as Dr. Brooks. God bless the high-toned Christian gentleman; may he live long and be useful as he has in the past, and at the end of his career God will abundantly reward him.
I will never forget the expressions of a firm in Bridgeport, Conn. I told them that I had purchased a very large farm, which cost me about ten thousand dollars. The firm was known as Bullock & Co. The senior member said to me that I had his sympathy; that I had taken upon myself a great responsibility, and that he would
give me some substantial aid before I left the city, and wished me great success in my work. He continued:
"There is no man on God's green earth who is more interested in the colored people than I am. You need not tell me your troubles, because I know them. They are many. I hope that you will be successful in your laudable undertaking, and that God may give you friends everywhere you go."
We had a very interesting conversation, and I told him I was trying to solve the Negro problem. He said that I had quite a task on my hands. He said he was sorry he could not do as much for me as he desired. I told him that the school was non-sectarian, and my reason for establishing such an institution was to try to solve the Negro problem. The gentleman said it was a very good spirit to have, but it was quite a responsibility. He was a very pleasant gentleman, easy to approach, and seemed to have no race prejudice. I found him to be a gentleman in the highest degree. He gave the school a contribution, and told me to see the business people of the city and he was satisfied they would respond likewise.
A minister of a colored church in Bridgeport gave my little orphanage boys a reception. They told me they made everything as pleasant as
REV. M. L. LATTA MAKING A SPEECH IN PAWTUCKET, R. I., AT Y. M. C. A.
they could for the little boys. The boys spent ten days in Bridgeport. The people were very hospitable to them.
In 1892, I delivered an address in the city of New York to a large white audience. My subject was education. I was introduced by one of the distinguished officers of the church. I was informed that he was a lawyer. He introduced me by using these complimentary remarks:
"Ladies and Gentlemen:--I am more than proud to seize this opportunity to introduce to you a distinguished friend who is engaged in educational work. I sincerely ask your undivided attention while he shall tell you of his work and his mission."
I spoke as follows:
"Ladies and Gentlemen.--I am more than glad to have the privilege of speaking to you on the educational question. The only way to make a nation great is to educate them and see that they are properly trained. To educate the people properly there is more than one duty involved. We must educate the hand, the heart and the head, so as to prepare them for usefulness. Without education no country can become successful. Show me a nation that has not been educated,
and I will show you a nation of vice. My advice to all governments is to see that the people are educated.
Cicero and Virgil, William Lord Garrison and great Noah Webster, also Patrick Henry and Queen Elizabeth, have left examples that will live through all ages to come. Those patriotic educated heroes I have just mentioned have done much for education. If I could report the eloquent expressions of William Lord Garrison, I would say to this country, educate your children, impart it to them as it was imparted to those heroes.
"Education and wealth go hand in hand. I say to the entire country, unless we educate the masses, we can not have a prosperous country. Education must predominate. There is no successful feature in ignorance. Ignorance must be buried with vice. It is dangerous to come in contact with ignorant people. If the people were educated in the Southern States, especially the colored people, ignorance would be diminished. Show me a city that is well developed along educational lines, and I will show you a successful people. Ignorance and prejudice will not prevail where the people are educated. Ignorance can not succeed in the midst of intelligence.
"In conclusion, I desire to picture to you the great need for education. No doubt the distinguished people that sit here and hear me utter
these sentences and appeal for assistance, say that intelligence shall prevail all over this country. If intelligence shall prevail in this country, put your hands in your pockets. You are an enemy to prosperity if you fail to do so. Come, help to bury strife and ignorance. I am talking to the people of the great city of New York. Ladies and gentlemen, I am not appealing to your prejudice, but I am appealing to your sympathy. As soon as we bury strife and sectionalism, and look to one great interest for the people, then happiness and greatness shall prevail all over the universe."
I have been visiting a town in Connecticut by the name of Danbury. A gentleman had been giving the school a contribution for several years. As I came down the street I saw him standing behind the counter, writing, I presume. He saw me, and told his clerk, if I asked for him, to tell me that he was gone to dinner. I saw him when he ran under the counter when I went in. I asked the clerk where the proprietor was. He told me that he had gone to dinner. Without my asking him, he said he would be gone about an hour. I told him I would wait. He said it is not necessary to wait; he may be gone over an hour. The proprietor was under the counter. I told
the clerk that I would wait two hours if necessary; that I was very much fatigued any way. It was then about a quarter after twelve. I took a seat as if I was going to stay there two hours, and drew a paper from my pocket, and commenced reading. The proprietor came from under the counter and cried out, "I can not do without my dinner two hours. I must have my dinner, and am going." I saw the proprietor a few days before I commenced writing the history of my life, and he told me what a close place I had him in. He asked me if I would mention in my book everything that happened in my travels. I told him that he would find in the history of my life that I mentioned how near he come missing his dinner.
I commenced writing the history of my life at the Latta University. Over one-third of it was written there. A portion of it was written in Harrisburg and Pittsburg, and a portion written in Philadelphia, and also a portion written in Bridgeport, Conn. My private secretary said, in taking notes, that she did not want to write the history of another person's life. She said it was too serious a matter for her; that it weighed upon her mind very deeply to see what a person had to endure in life. She said that she thought it was calculated to make her take such deep interest in studying the
history of human beings that it might injure her thinking faculties. She said she did not know that the history of any one's life contained so much. She said she never would undertake to write the history of her life if she thought it contained that much, because she thought it was enough to run a person crazy.
I have been asked by quite a number of people if I thought it was just for the colored people to be brought in America and be made slaves? A gentleman said to me, "If the colored people should have remained in Africa, there would not have been as many civilized as there are." He said, "Slavery was a curse in one sense, and a blessing in another; that if the colored people had remained in their own mother country no doubt they would have remained in gross ignorance, but since they were brought here and have learned the ways and the doings of a civilized nation it has instilled in them a different thought and a desire to do something, instead of remaining in heathenism all the days of their lives." He said that their condition was 90 per cent better than it would have been had they remained in Africa in gross ignorance. He said it was true that some of them have been mistreated and misused, but their condition as a race is far better than it was when they were in Africa; that he had thought over the matter, and after giving
it his careful consideration he believed that God was in the matter. He said he had often thought that the colored people had been treated wrong, and still thought so, but in the end it would be found that it is for their best interest. No race can succeed when they are in ignorance. True they have been deprived of education; they have been deprived of citizenship; they have have been deprived of the pursuit of happiness in many instances, yet I believe that it is for their best interest. If you look at it in the proper light you will come to the conclusion that God was in the movement. He said, "What do you think about the matter?" I replied, "I agree with you as to what you have said. Certainly it is true in the light you view it, but I think that the matter could be remedied." I told him that we all, as a people, owe this much to human nature. If we see a race of people ignorant and almost in a helpless condition, uncivilized and unfit for citizenship, the strong should help the weak. I told him if he would read the Divine History he would find what I have said in every instance to be true. I told him a better way would have been for a strong race of people to help the weaker in their midst. We make up money and have the gospel preached to the heathen, have them educated, and civilized, without going over there and making slaves of them, as we were
made slaves of in this country. I asked him did he think it was right for a strong race to make slaves of a weak race, simply because they were strong and powerful? He said he had not looked at it in that light, but he would agree I was right. I said we were brought here against our will and made slaves of and were deprived of citizenship and usefulness. It is right that we should be considered as a debased and inferior race because we have been deprived of citizenship, and not by our own acts or responsibility for being here. I said, for instance, suppose you would carry a man to your house against his will, and he did not want to go. In that case it appears to me that you would not treat him as well as he deserved because you forced him to go. I ask you, isn't it your duty to treat him just as kind as if he had gone willingly? This is the condition in which the colored people find themselves in this country. You can readily see that the colored man deserves good treatment, because he did not want to come here; he came here against his will; we are here among a powerful race, and have to depend largely upon the sympathy and Christianity of that race. We are here in the midst of an intelligent people. We claim, and we expect for intelligent men like you and others to see that right prevails. I tell my race that we are weak, but we are safe here among an intelligent and Christian people.
I remember that I had a conversation with a very distinguished gentleman in Paris, I had a very lengthy conversation with him. I found that his former home was in North America. He said that it had been years since he lived in North America, and he asked me the condition of America, in general. He asked me were there as much prejudice existing in North America as there was forty years ago. I told him that I thought that prejudice had somewhat diminished. He said, when he lived in North America there was too much prejudice existing between the two races. He said, he presumed the emancipation had changed things wonderfully; that he considered the North American people a great people, and as soon as prejudice ceased he believed the American people would be the leading nation upon the globe. He said that one reason why he left North America was on account of prejudice being so great. He said he was glad to know that the two races had begun to understand each other better, and had begun to find out that the interest of one race was the interest of another. He said that he was a man that believed very much in the Scriptures: that he believed that God was no respecter of persons, and all people ought to be judged according to the way they conducted themselves. He said North America was a great country, and it was a growing
country; it was increasing its wealth every day. No population on God's green earth is growing any faster than North America. He said he wanted to make it convenient to visit North America and see some of his old friends, but he presumed that a great many of them were dead, but it would be a great consolation to him to visit North American soil one more time in life. He mid be loved his former home.
"I told my wife." said he, "a few days ago, if the Lord would just spare me to go over in America and see my warm friends once more I would be satisfied the balance of my days. In the midst of all of the prejudice that exists in America, yet I love my former home."
"How do you like our country?"
"I told him I liked it very much, and said to him, since I have visited your city and several other parishes in your country I have been more than pleased with the excellent treatment that your people have tendered me. I found them very hospitable, generous, entertaining and magnificent in their performance in every instance. They treated me most kindly."
He said, "I am glad to know that you have, been so highly favored and admire our city so much. I am always glad to meet someone from my original home. Anything that I can do to make your stay pleasant here will be done with pleasure."
I thanked him for his kindness, but my time had expired. I bade him good-bye and left the city of Paris.
I would worry the patience of the public if I should attempt to give the full history of my life--even to give one-half of what I have experienced.
I have also paid strict attention to the presidents of the United States, particularly from the administration of President Grant. I admired the administrations of several Presidents. I will explain from President Grant's administration to the present time. I admired President Grant for the independent stand he took; not because he was a Republican, but because he was a President. When he found that a man or woman was fit for a position, he appointed them to that position, regardless of color or previous condition, and he did not allow bosses to dictate to him about appointing such and such a man to a position because his face was black. He was very discreet in all of his appointments. As a rule, both parties admired his administration. I advise my race now, and I also advised them in the past, that no race can accumulate anything that amounts to anything simply by holding a position in an office. As a rule, they simply get a living out of an office. A very few have become wealthy by holding public positions. That is one thing that our race has aspired to too much. They thought in the early days of freedom, and
as a great many of them are thinking now, that public offices were to be had for the asking. But I am glad to know that they have begun to find out that a very few men can get office and that none get rich by them. The public will have to make some allowance for the colored people, because they were all ignorant as a race; they thought the one that could talk the most and make the floweriest speech would be the one that would stand at the head of the race. But things have changed since that time; they have begun to find out that a man must have the mighty dollar to be recognized. They must also remember, as a race, that education and wealth must go hand in hand.
President Grant's administration was considered by all a very successful administration; both races admired him. He was loyal to his country; he was filled with patriotism. He was governed entirely by his convictions.
President Hayes was it very good president, but his administration was not admired as much as President Grant's. He had his own way of doing business; his administration was considered very successful. He was faithful to his duties.
I also noticed the administration of president Arthur. He was very quiet in his way and manner. He was loyal to his country. He did not
hate the people because they were of different color; he believed in exact justice to all and special privileges to none. He was really a better President than the people thought; he was governed by his convictions.
I also noticed the administration of Garfield, for the short term he served. President Garfield was an excellent President, one that the country would have been proud of if he had lived until the expiration of his term. He was a learned President, discreet in all of his dealings. He was a President for the people. If he had lived, the people claimed that he would have been one of the best Presidents that they have ever known. He was beloved by both parties. All nations mourned his death. He determined to do what was right. He was always on the alert for his country. His ruling was wise and discreet; he closed his eyes upon men as individuals, and seemed to put no man between him and justice. He was a self-made man, and he knew what the country needed. He strived in his short administration to please the people at large.
I admired President Cleveland, not because he was a Democrat, but because he possessed independent qualities that I admired very much indeed. When he made up his mind to do a thing, he did not allow any bosses around. It is true that the people said his administration was not
so fruitful as those of other Presidents, because the country said he believed in free trade, and the people at large said that was against the money power. But President Cleveland knew no man on account of his wealth or his color; he was a President for the people. He always took an independent stand for justice, and he did not allow any bosses to interfere. The colored people admit that he was a friend to them. If he thought that a colored man was capable of holding a position, he would appoint him in the midst of opposition. I have also been informed that when he and Mrs. Cleveland left the White House the colored people wept; they said their best friends had left them. President Cleveland believed in exact justice to all and special privileges to none. The people admired him very much for the independent stand he took. He knew no man by his color, but only by his conduct. He believed in giving honor to whom honor was due. As far as the races are concerned, he made very little difference, if any; he desired to treat all alike. His independence along that line will never be forgotten. President Cleveland was President two terms. He was President at one time, and was defeated afterwards; he became President again.
I knew President Harrison. I had a private
interview with him on several occasions. He was a very good President. He was a learned President, beloved by all save a few politicians who could not rule him, and made him do what they wanted him to do. During his administration the country was very prosperous. He was a very entertaining President. I saw him on one occasion shake the hands of several thousand people. I had the pleasure of speaking to an audience that Mrs. Harrison was president of. Mrs. Harrison received me very cordially. All of the servants at the White House dearly loved the President and Mrs. Harrison. He served as President four years, and ran the second time, but was defeated by President Cleveland. Mrs. Harrison was ill during his last campaign, and that was very unfortunate for him. He could not give his campaign the proper attention. President Harrison proved to the public in general that he was their President, regardless of parties. He was loyal to his country; he strove hard to give satisfaction to the public at large.
I also noticed the administration of President McKinley. Mr. McKinley was a learned President, beloved by all. The country claimed that he made one of the best Presidents that has ever been known in history. He was a Christian gentleman in the highest degree; he was a devoted husband; he was a successful President in almost
every particular. There was one thing that I did not admire about President McKinley--he was too easy about some things. Several people told me he did not take an independent stand, as President Cleveland did. I am satisfied that he desired equal justice to all and special privileges to none.
I am satisfied that the Presidents of the United States knew before they took their seats that they had one great problem to deal with, and that was and will be the Negro problem. It takes a President like Cleveland or Grant to deal with it, because it is a perplexing question, and is presented to every President.
President McKinley's intentions were good, but he was so conservative that the Negroes claimed that he handled their question almost too delicately. He was thoroughly competent to act in every time of need. He was President five years and a little longer. He was elected President of the United States by an overwhelming majority. He was very much devoted to his family. He was also loyal to his country. His servants spoke well of him as a high-toned Christian gentleman. I met him when he was Governor of the State of Ohio, and had a very lengthy interview with him, telling him what I was trying to do. He said it was a good cause, and he bade me God-speed, and substantially encouraged
me. He said I was engaged in a laudable cause, and he sincerely hoped that I would be successful. He received me very cordially. He was assassinated in the city of Buffalo, N. Y., where he made some of the most distinguished speeches that was ever known; he was an excellent orator. His death was mourned by the entire people of the United States.
I have also noticed the career of President Roosevelt. He has made an excellent President, so far as his administration has gone. A gentleman told me soon after Roosevelt had become President of the United States the people were afraid of him--afraid that he would put the country in war in less time than eighteen months; but he has proven himself to be one of the ablest Presidents that the country has ever known. He is a President in the time of need. I admire him for the independent stand he takes. When he makes up his mind about anything, it is settled; he don't allow bosses to come around and dictate to him. He seems to regard no man for his color or previous condition. He is a President for the people. He and President Cleveland lead in taking independent stands. Such Presidents are the safest to be at the head of a nation. If his term continues on is it has in the past, no President that has ever sat in the President's chair will excel him. He is a President
with a broad conservatism. His servants speak of him and Mrs. Roosevelt in the highest terms. He has proven to the country that if the people are in trouble, he is in trouble also. He is a patriotic President; has proved to be loyal to his country. A friend of mine told me that he was afraid that the President would run away with the government, and not make a successful President. He has told me since, if any thing, the country seemed to grow more prosperous every day.
I do not believe in colored people, as a race, seeking offices so much, but our President, who stands at the head of the race, should be careful, and very careful, how he deals with the Negro problem. As I have said in other paragraphs, the Negro Problem is an important one. I will admit that the colored man, as a rule, is not qualified to hold positions, as other races, but when you find one that is capable of holding an office, let the colored man have it. Nothing will suit him better than holding an office, so let him have it, regardless of color.
Dr. A. M. Barrett deserves much credit for what he has done. He labored hard to establish an institution near Pee Dee. The institution is worth several thousand dollars. The people said he was almost an idiot, but Dr. Barrett continued to work. He is doing a great deal of good. The institution is incorporated by the laws of North Carolina. When I heard of his attempt to establish an institution in that section of the country, I thought it was a very unwise undertaking. I was passing through that section of the country, and I saw the Industrial Collegiate Institute. I was so interested that I stopped over, and I found that Dr. Barrett's commencement was in session. I was requested to deliver an address on that occasion. I accepted the ininvitation, and spoke about an hour. I spent the night with Dr. Barrett. Next morning I looked around to see what he had done. I was surprised at the buildings that he had erected in such a short time.
Dr. Barrett is one of the ablest men we have in our country. He deserves great credit for what he has done. I have been informed that several
young men, and also young ladies, have completed their education at Dr. Barrett's collegiate institute. I was informed that he went over to Europe and raised a large amount of money for his school. The former Clerk of the Court at Rockingham told me that Dr. Barrett was one of the smartest men in that section of the country. What we need is many more such men as Dr. Barrett to aid in the training of our people.
He went to a place and established an institution where almost every one said it was impossible for a school to ever run one session successfully, but it seems that Dr. Barrett is up there to stay.
I admire Dr. Barrett for his ambition. He will leave a record that his children will be proud of. The white people in that section of the country speak of Dr. Barrett in the highest terms. I had interviews with quite a number of the business men, and they spoke words of praise of him. I tell my race if a person goes up in that section of the country and did not know that Dr. Barrett was a colored man, they would think that he was a white man, judging form the kind manner he was spoken of by the people. A man who has started from nothing and accomplished what Dr. Barrett has accomplished, deserves the support and confidence of his race. I wish to God that we had
several hundred such men as Dr. Barrett. If we did, we would soon get the recognition that is due us as a race. My heart leaped with joy when those white men spoke of Dr. Barrett in such high terms, because I am a member of the Negro race; and when one does something that is worth speaking of, it is an evidence that another member of the race can do something, too.
Dr. Barrett's school has been in operation about fifteen years. The school is incorporated by the laws of the State of North Carolina. He is a man of excellent ability, is very much interested in educating his race, and few men have worked harder than he has worked. I admire him for his pluck. I was at one of Dr. Barrett's business meetings, and it was conducted in a thoroughly business like manner. His officers were well trained, and transacted business in a very intelligent way. As soon as they got through I had to speak a word to encourage them, for the excellent manner in which they conducted their business affairs. I told Dr. Barrett if that was the way he had been conducting his affairs, I was not surprised at his building an institution in that desert land.
A gentleman told me in that country that he thought Dr. Barrett was out of his head. He said that no man with rational sense would attempt to build an institution that near Pee Dee,
and be successful; but he said he watched Dr. Barret's actions and movements, and soon found out that Dr. Barrett was determined to do something. He told me he said Dr. Barrett would make a failure, but Dr. Barrett did not pay any attention to what anyone said. He continued to build, and inside of two years he had the institution completed. He said the first year he had a large number of students, and the second year he had a still larger number. He told his friend that Dr. Barrett was the greatest worker in that section of the country, and he deserved. great honor for what he had done.
I had quite an interview with a distinguished lawyer in St. Paul, Minn., concerning the establishment of the Latta University, West Raleigh, N. C. I introduced myself to him, and he received me kindly. I told him my mission and my plans, but he said the responsibility was too great for any one man to carry out successfully. He said, though, he was willing to do anything for me while I was in the city of St. Paul. I found that he was a member of the Presbyterian church, and one of the elders. I arrived in the city on Saturday evening. He told me if I would return to his office the next day, he would go with me to the minister's residence, and introduce me to him. He said he was satisfied that the minister would be glad to have me preach
for him on Sunday night. When we called on the minister, he received me very cordially, and invited me in the parlor. We interested each other in talking on various subjects. He invited me to preach for him Sunday at ten-thirty o'clock; but I told him I would preach for him Sunday night at seven-thirty o'clock. On Sunday morning he notified his audience that he had a stranger from North Carolina to preach for him. He told them he wanted a large audience for me to speak to. I arrived at church at seven-fifteen. Nearly all the seats in the church were occupied. The choir rendered several pieces of music which were very interesting indeed. The minister prayed, and I read a passage of Scripture. After I read, the choir rendered another excellent piece, which I enjoyed. The minister then introduced me to the audience. My text was, "Oh! wretched man that I am." I preached about sixty minutes. My friend seemed to enjoy the sermon very much. It seemed as if the whole audience was deeply interested, after I fully explained the text. I had begun to get used to white audiences, because I had preached to so many. I had told the minister my mission before I left his residence, and refreshed his memory while the choir was rendering another excellent piece of music. He then called upon me to make a short address concerning my work.
I spoke to the audience about twenty minutes; they seemed very much interested in the work that I was engaged in. The minister called upon them to respond to my cause. He told them that he wanted the church to give the beloved visitor a hearty collection. They responded very liberally. I was highly pleased with the collection. The minister invited me to stay with him all night. I told him that I had promised the clerk that I would return to the hotel. I told him I would return the next day and have a talk with him. The minister told me anything that he could do to encourage me while I was in the city, he was at my service. He said: "The cause that you are engaged in is a worthy cause. It is worthy of any amount of money any one can give. Your race needs to be uplifted. If any race has been oppressed, it is the colored race. I am in full sympathy with you. I believe, in the midst of obstacles and oppressions, the Negro race will some day come to the front. There is no race that has suffered so much as your race has; your race is held responsible because their face is black. The Chinese, Turks, Cubans, and all the other races, seem to be preferred to the Negro race. The condition that the colored people have been placed in has been deplorable, and is until this day. You people are not responsible for your color, nor for your condition. The government
CHAPEL AND YOUNG MEN'S DORMITORY.
of this country does not treat the colored people as it ought to. The government allows too much distinction to be made, when it should be prohibited. I admire your pluck, but the responsibility is most too great; but I truly hope that you will be successful."
I told him my purpose was to solve the Negro problem. He continued, "My brother, the Negro problem is a very hard problem to solve."
I told him that I would agree with him, that the Negro problem is a very hard problem; but I had been told by so many that the Negro could not do anything that was worthy of the attention of the public, that I was determined to try to prove otherwise.
He said: "You are endeavoring to do what no one else has attempted to do; and if you accomplish your object it is sufficient to solve the Negro problem. Do you think you can build that institution? Have you really studied carefully the responsibility that you are now assuming? No person can deny that it is not a good cause. I presume your object for assuming such a great big undertaking is to prove to those that say your race is not capable of doing anything is untrue. I am aware of the fact that your race will have to do more than any other race to receive the recognition that other races receive, but God will adjust this matter at the proper time. You are
here as a race, and you are useful to this government. You pay your taxes to help support the government. You were useful in the time of war. I have heard war generals say there is no race upon the globe that are more useful and more determined in war than the colored race. They seem to be ready at the spur of a moment, waiting for orders, if necessary ready to shoot at their enemies. I have been informed that they are very useful in the Southern States. The white planters can not do without them. I was informed that they do the principal part of the work in the Southern States, and in the midst of all or their usefulness they are treated with austerity; they are misused, deprived of recognition as a race; they have to endure the hardships of the country. I have been informed if one is lynched there is no redress for him. The white people here in the West are prejudiced against the colored man. I can see it every day of my life. The reason prejudice is not so great here as it is in the South, there is not so many colored people here as there is in the Southern States. I have often prayed over the condition of the colored people, because I do not like to see any wrong inflicted on any race. Brother, I bid you God-speed in the laudable cause that you are now engaged in. If you have obstacles, you must work that much harder, because obstacles
produce inspiring thoughts. The next time you visit the city, call and see me, and I will try to get my congregation to do better."
I was well pleased with the liberality they showed me. It was very encouraging me to feel that they were interested in a cause that I was identified with.
I was asked several times while I was in the city of London to reproduce a copy of my speech in one of the largest halls in that city. I will endeavor to repeat my speech as near as possible. I said in substance:
"Ladies and Gentlemen:--It is with no small degree of pleasure that I appear before you on such an occasion as this, to present for your consideration the needs of a race that have been oppressed for almost three centuries.
"I may appear to you as a stranger, but in one sense I am not a stranger. The same God that created you for usefulness and greatfulness, made me for the same purpose. I am your relation--but far off, in one sense; but in the main I am not far off: because God made all human beings. I am talking to a people who are well acquainted with the requirements that are necessary to make a race successful. It is true that you are not well acquainted with the condition of the race that I represent. I say now, as I have said in several of my speeches, the interest of one nation is the interest of the entire people of the world. I am here to present to you the
cause of the Negro race for your careful consideration. No race on God's green earth has suffered as the Negro race has suffered and is still suffering. The magnificent race whom I greet with pleasure and pride will agree with me on this occasion. I ask the enlightened people of this country to produce history, if necessary, to prove to me that a race can be found that has suffered like the Negro race. It is true that the Negro race was in bondage over two hundred years, deprived of education, deprived of civilization, not only the first, the second and third degrees, but deprived wherever there was Negro blood. They were kept in ignorance and gross darkness, until some of them did not know one year from another. They were deprived of all rights and privileges that belong to civilization.
"Our people as a whole have not appreciated the great force of the word LIBERTY! Henry Clay said on one occasion, in making one of his most eloquent speeches, 'Give me liberty or give me death.' Cicero and Virgil, in all of their learning, probably never considered the value of that magnetic word.
"I want to say right here that the Southern white people, as a race, are not solely responsible for the condition of the race that I am identified with, because the speculating feature existed in nearly all of the States on the other side of the Atlantic.
"It was a crime for a book to be found in the hands of a slave. In many instances their treatment was such it made them almost become thieves. They knew nothing about Sabbath School and very little about church. They were deprived of all the privileges that other nations enjoyed to make them happy. The only way they kept their accounts was on a "count stick," and marked at every five notches, to keep their accounts correct.
"I appeal to your consideration for a helping hand along this line. I have been asked since I have been in the city of London, whether I believed in industrial work of all descriptions or not. I answer the question, yes. I believe in domestic work; I believe in industrial work; I believe in all kinds of work necessary in the pursuit of happiness. I ask you in the name of high heaven, are we responsible because our faces are not as light as yours? I have studied the history of the Negro race with care and interest. After coming to a final conclusion as to the Negro's destiny I compare him with the Israelites, and if we fail to have a good leader like Moses, or Joshua, the race's interest is gone forever.
"I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, shall we permit the race to be consigned to degradation, because prosperity and usefulness have been withheld from them? I am talking to a people who are the ancestors of the people of the country
from whence I came. I ask you not to condemn the colored people, because they have been deprived of what other races have enjoyed. Obstacles have been put in their way ever since their existence. I must say right here it is generally asserted in America that the people of Europe know no person by color, or condition, or nationality, but know all people by their merits. If the mother of this country, Queen Elizabeth, could speak, she would condemn any nation that attempted to hold any race responsible for color or previous condition or servitude. If all nations believe in God, they are in full touch with everything He has created on this green earth. I ask all the people to bury sectionalism, and come together as one great people, and consider the value of a race as to what they make themselves. The Chinese are not responsible because they are Chinese; nor the Indians because they are Indians; nor the Turks because they belong to the Turkish government. The German subjects are not responsible because they are of Germany; nor the white race or the Caucasians because they are of the Anglo-Saxon race. Nor is the Negro race responsible because he is called a Negro.
"There is one great, grave conclusion that all nations must come to sooner or later,--and that is that the interest of one people is the interest of all others. If there is depression in Europe,
the same depression to some extent is in the United States. If the depression is in Germany, the same depression is in China. If the depression is in France, the same depression, to some extent, will be in Mexico, because we are one people. We may differ as to social equality, but there is nothing to prevent us from living together in love and peace. Let us forget prejudice, superstition and everything that contains debauchery, and look forward to a bright future, because the interests of all peoples are eventually the same. It is the duty of all nations to uplift those that are in the gutter, and lend a helping hand. I wish to God that every ignorant person under the canopy of heaven could have their condition improved so that they could become useful members of society.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I desire to ask the question, How shall we do this? I will explain. In the first instance we must consider our duty towards our fellow man. No patriotic citizen, no one who has ever reached greatness, lived for himself alone. It is our duty to live for the betterment of our people in every good cause, let them come from the east, the west, the north, or the south. I long to see the day come when there will be no sectionalism, no races or national prejudices. God has made us one people in its truest sense.
"Since I have been in your city, I have made various inquiries along different lines to find out the condition of your country; in other words, to see if a member of my race could come over here and enjoy the highest degree of happiness, and leave your borders without being harmed. I have been in your city several mouths without being molested in any way; the people have received me very cordially. Several receptions have been given me since I arrived in the city of London. So you can readily see when I return to my home I can assure the American people that peace, harmony, sincerity, virtue and love exists in your country. I can also tell them that prejudice does not exist even in the smallest degree in this happy and prosperous country. If I had the wings of the eagle, and could fly across the briny ocean, I would tell my people that the mother country had received me. I have enjoyed my stay in your city in the highest degree.
"My teaching to the race that I am identified with is to lay a solid foundation on which to begin life. If it is necessary to be a woodcutter, it is no disgrace; if it is necessary to plow, it is no disgrace; if it is necessary to be a washerwoman, it is no disgrace; if it is necessary to be a carpenter, it is no disgrace; if it is necessary to become a farmer, it is no disgrace; if it is necessary to become a blacksmith, it is no disgrace; if it is necessary
to become a bricklayer, it is no disgrace; to become a school teacher, it is no disgrace; to become a lawyer it is no disgrace; if it is necessary to become a minister, it is no disgrace; if it is necessary to become president of an institution, it is no disgrace. All of the occupations that I have mentioned are equal in honor. It is no disgrace to perform any duty that I have mentioned; every one leads to success and prosperity if the duties are well performed. Statesmen, soldiers, poets, historians, ministers and teachers in all ages and in all countries have extolled the honor of labor. Without it, no greatness was ever achieved in field, forum or the pulpit..
"Queen Elizabeth, in her most successful administration did not repudiate labor, but contributed to it in its highest degree.
"In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I desire to express the profound hope that we may all unite in the one great cause of inculcating good feeling between all races; let us live together as God intended us to live; let us depart in good will towards each other, and if I never meet this audience again on earth, I will meet you in the sweet Eden that awaits us all."
Just before I left the city of London I was invited by a distinguished friend, a close relation to Queen Victoria, to make a speech. He told me there would be a meeting at one of the large halls in that city. I can't just think of the name of the hall. He invited me to be present. Several distinguished gentlemen spoke on that occasion. The distinguished friend that I have just mentioned presided over the meeting. There was an immense audience present. If memory serves me right, I was the only Negro in the hall. The gentleman came to me and asked me if I would make a speech concerning things in America. I told him I had already delivered one address, besides several sermons I had preached, and I thought that I would not speak again during my stay, as the time had almost expired. I accepted the invitation, however, and spoke. I was asked by a friend to send him a copy of the speech that I made on that occasion. I told him that I would send him a copy as near as I possibly could. The gentleman that presided over the meeting arose and introduced me to the audience. He said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen:--It affords me no small degree of pleasure to introduce to you one of the distinguished sons of North America; one, as I have been informed, who has delivered several addresses in the city, and they were considered among the ablest addresses that have ever
been delivered in London. Dr. Latta, from North America, the State of North Carolina, the city of Raleigh, will speak for you at this time."
My speech was as follows:
"Ladies and Gentlemen:--I consider this as one of the greatest honors I have ever enjoyed--that of speaking to such an immense audience as this, in the great city of London.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I feel somewhat embarrassed to follow the distinguished gentlemen who have just preceded me; however, I shall endeavor to do the best I can. You can not expect much from one who has been kept in servitude for over two hundred years. Of course you would not judge me to be two hundred years old. I mean my ancestors--the race that I represent in North America-- has been deprived of education and also of freedom for that length of time. I say this in the outset, to show you that you can not expect much from me on such an occasion as this. A race that has been oppressed as the Negro race in America has been, requires time for development, but the achievements of a quarter of a century have exceeded all expectations. We were brought to North America in 1620, against our will. We, as a race, were deprived of virtue and the pursuit of happiness. And yet I find in some parts of the country that to be a colored man, simply because his face is of a different shade, is regarded almost as a crime.
"I am not responsible, ladies and gentlemen, because we differ in color. We may differ as far as the cast is from the west, and the north is from the south, so far as social equality is concerned, but we can come together upon one common cause, and live together in peace and happiness, as God has intended from the earliest dawn of existence. What we need all over the universe, not only in America, but all over the world, is unity. I am speaking to an intelligent audience; I feel satisfied that you will agree with me. If you disparage the efforts that the Negro race has put into action, you have done an injury to their cause. Of course I will admit that the Negro race is a weak race. We, as a race, have been deprived of self-government, we have been deprived of liberty for several centuries. We have not had time for development. But I claim that the white people in North America are not solely responsible for the condition of the colored people. I hold that when one nation sees and knows the condition of a people that are oppressed, it is their duty to give a helping hand, for the betterment of their condition. We are here in this busy world not for the betterment of ourselves alone, but for the best interest of the entire people. It is wrong to draw a line of distinction on the ground of color and withhold your assistance that you might give for the
betterment of their condition and usefulness and greatfulness in this life. The needs of the colored people in America have not been properly represented. If a sympathetic people knew the necessities and the great wants that are so extensively needed, I feel satisfied that God would open the hearts of those that have got, and they would contribute without any hesitation.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I plead for exact justice to all nations, and special privileges to none. When one country is in poverty, the other countries feel the effect of that poverty.
"We claim that we are a patriotic people, and if we fail to manifest the proper interest in uplifting our fellowman, we are responsible to God. No people can boast of a prosperous country when their people are in distress.
"I challenge any man to tell me when races are divided that we can succeed as we ought. Let us forget the past and look forward to a bright future; let us judge our fellowman by what he merits, and not by oppression. The Good Book tells us what we measure to our friends, we will receive the same measurement. There are very few nations, according to history, but what claim that they have endured the burden of slavery to some extent. You take the Anglo-Saxon people across the great briny ocean; they say they, as a race, have experienced slavery as far as oppression
is concerned. Take the people in France; they say they have been acquainted with oppression as far as slavery is concerned. Take the ple here in your own country; they say they are acquainted with oppression as far as slavery is concerned. And all of the countries upon the globe claim the same to some extent. But there is no slavery, no oppression, that has been so deeply felt, so antagonizing, and has proven to be so injurious as the slavery the Negro has endured. It was almost unendurable. But my teaching to this oppressed race is, not to stop because we have been oppressed, but push forward and become useful; begin at the foot of the hill in life and lay a solid foundation; travel, if necessary, like the inch worm. Utilize all of our forces, expand our ideas, be trustworthy, accumulate wealth, be interested in the banks, be enterprising people, establish various kinds of industries.
"We must compete with other nationalities, learn all of the different trades; in fact, we must do everything any other nationality has done, or will do. It is true, ladies and gentlemen, as long as the Ethiopean race dwells under a flag that is controlled by a dominant race, they never will enjoy the blessings of the government in the highest degree. Ladies and gentlemen, because our faces are dark, because it is deeply imbedded
in the hearts of the Anglo-Saxon race in America that this is a white man's government, that they inherited this country from their ancestors who came across the great Atlantic Ocean and discovered this beautiful land. They say that their ancestors drove the Indians from this country, and it is theirs, both by inheritance and conquest.
"I don't care how high a, colored man may get in life, when he is bound to live under the flag of a country that was not inherited by his ancestors, to hold in important office at the seat of government is objected to. I don't care how dignified, how intelligent, or what position in life he may occupy, he is not tolerated.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I will ask you, in the name of high heaven, is there any justice in that? Who should we hold responsible for the color of men, or their condition that has been brought about by oppression? I mean their condition in this country. The race that held them in subjection is responsible for their condition. I am opposed to the colored people holding office under the flag of the great government of the United States. You might ask me why. I answer, when a colored man holds in office under the American flag, then exception and deception comes, and complaints that wrong has been perpetrated against the whites. And this would be so, even if he be appointed to the office by the President
of the United States. There is no toleration for a Negro in office. That is why I am opposed to the colored people holding office in the United States. Justice is not measured out in that direction. The greatest thing to make a nation grand is to educate an ignorant race, and for that race to accumulate wealth and to be interested in all public improvements.
"In conclusion, I appeal to you to uphold the government, and see that no wrong be perpetrated upon a race on account of color or previous condition.
"Every true, patriotic person who loves justice, desires to see it measured to all men alike. If necessary, we would get down on our knees and pray to God who controls the universe, that justice should be measured out to all nations alike.
"Mr. chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you kindly for the undivided attention that you have given me during my discourse, and I am sorry to have detained you as long as I have."
The gentleman that introduced me when I spoke a few days before was a close relation of the Queen. He asked me if I had been to the palace. I told him that I had not, but I had passed the palace. He said to me, "If you will come over a day before you leave the city, and call to see me, I will take you to the palace with me and introduce you to the Queen." I told him I would
do so, that I had heard a good deal about the royal throne, and I would be very much interested to see the palace. He said he thought I would, because the government was very different from ours.
I called at his residence as I had promised, and he went with me to the palace. The Queen knew him, of course. He was received very cordially. Everything shined so much like gold in the palace that I had to stop and think where I was. He introduced me to the Queen, and told her I was from North America. He told her that I spoke at a meeting he presided over, and he enjoyed my speech very much. He told her we had an immense audience, and all of the people were well pleased with the speech. The Queen said that she was more than glad to meet me, and she would have liked very much to have been present, and heard the speech that her cousin said I made. She said that no one sympathized with my people more than she. She said: "I am satisfied from what I have heard and read, you have been very much oppressed. I am glad that men like you and others are coming to the front, and are able to counsel your people for their best interest. I suppose your people are improving in America?" I told her that we, as a race, were improving slowly. She said that was the best way to improve, slow and sure. She said anything that
she could do for the betterment of our people, she was perfectly willing to do. She said our people deserved assistance from any source that could render it. She told me she hoped that would not be the last visit I would make to their city. I shook hands with her, and bade her good bye.
The distinguished friend carried me and showed me the different departments of the palace, and I bade him good-bye.
A brief sketch of my life, however, may not fail to interest some, and perhaps encourage the youth of my race to higher aspirations.
For years I have been requested by quite a number of people to write the history of my life and work, that it might be a living monument to my memory after my life's work shall have ended. I simply hope that my labor will not have been in vain.
I have tried to live and act for the betterment of the human family, not only the race that I am identified with, but for the entire people. Let them be far or near, I have the interest of my fellowman at heart. I have tried from the very depths of my heart to work for the upbuilding of my fellowman. I confess before my Creator--the Creator of heaven and earth--that I know no man, nor creed, nor color, nor condition, but know all men alike. I claim that it is wrong to live for one race alone. It is the duty of every patriotic citizen to live for the promotion of his country, and when we shall have done that we will have faithfully discharged the highest duty
required of man. We can do all this without interfering with social equality. That is a matter that will take care of itself. Let us wipe out sectionalism; let us live together as a God-fearing people, which is the highest duty that man owes to his country. I have tried to the best of my ability to spend my life in usefulness. Not for the good of myself and family alone, but for the good of the entire people. I love all good citizens, let them be where they may, since I know that God made them. If any human being fails to comply with this doctrine he is none of God's. All nations must respect the divine teachings of the Holy Bible, for it is the book of books.
I have made it a rule if I find anyone in distress to render them assistance. It made no difference to me what color they were, since I find in reading the Scriptures that God is no respecter of persons. I never will depart from the divine teachings of the Holy Scriptures. There is a great responsibility resting upon each and every one of us as to how we treat our fellowman. If a man is deprived of this world's goods we should not ostracise him simply because he can not compete with other men. People ought to be very careful how they conduct themselves, for God looks in the very depths of our hearts. No man can live happy that tries to live for
himself. It is the duty of those that have been fortunate in life, and have accumulated this world's goods abundantly, to assist those that naturally need their assistance. God did not give all men the same talent. It is the duty of all men to try to be self-sustaining, so as not to depend upon his neighbor, for it is better to help yourself than to depend on others. I know this by experience. But if you find that your fellowman seems to be honest and faithful, and trying to earn an honest living, and seems that he can not accumulate enough to support his family, if you can render him assistance or indulge him in some way, you have done a wonderful thing in the sight of God. It is our duty to assist every good cause that is worthy of consideration. I have tried from the very depths of my heart to put this in practice, and if I have erred it was an error of my head and not of my heart. My conviction has been, and I have endeavored to practice the Golden Rule, "To do unto all men as I would have them do unto me."
I feel satisfied that my career will soon end on earth. I desire to leave these thoughts upon record, so that those who read may fully understand my desires during my life. If my life has been spent in vain, it is an error of judgment, and not my heart. I have tried to better the condition of those that have been under my supervision. I have tried to prove a blessing to my
people instead of a curse. I have tried in every instance to be a law-abiding citizen. I believe in support of the Government. I believe in being loyal to principles. I believe in promotion for the entire people. I believe in the whole Bible and all of its teachings. I believe in being sincere in upholding the right thing. I believe in trustworthiness. I believe in the law of the land being upheld. I believe in equal justice to all, and special privilege to none.
In a year after I started to establish the Latta University I met a gentleman in Boston and he asked me if I had raised very much money, and I told him that I had not, and he told me his plan of raising money was, that when his friends had not the money to give him he got them to give him their cards and they promised to send him some money. I asked him if he thought this a very good way to raise money, and he said that he did. I told him that since he thought it such a good plan that I would try it myself.
In the city of Boston and the surrounding towns, several gentlemen gave me their names and promised to help the good work along. I told them my purpose was to establish the Latta University in North Carolina. They asked me if it was a religious institution, and I told them it was, but that it was non-sectarian. They asked me my purpose for establishing a non-sectarian institution. I told them my purpose was
YOUNG LADIES' DORMITORY.
to solve the Negro problem. So much had been said concerning the Negro problem, that I had made up my mind to see what there in it that rendered it so difficult to solve.
They readily gave me their cards and promised to send money without fail. I returned home, expecting that the money would come, according to the promises that I had received.
I formulated my plans to complete one of the buildings, that now stands on the campus, with the expectation of receiving the money that those friends promised to send to me. My private secretary wrote to them calling their attention to the promise they made me during my stay in Boston and in the surrounding towns. I bought ten dollars worth of stamps and notified all of the parties who had promised to send money by letter, and I received from the city of Boston and the surrounding towns, just ten cents. From a wealthy colored gentleman in Philadelphia I received one dollar. So after I was deceived so badly by those friends, I decided not to take any more promises, and if the people were not able to give me money, I told them that they could give it the next time they saw me. The stamps cost ten dollars and I had to pay my secretary at the same time; so we have to be very careful about how we deal with the public. What we need among all people is trustworthiness, true to
our obligations in every particular. After an experience of forty years, I can say without the fear of contradiction, that no person can say I have ever made promises that I have not come up to. I challenge any man upon the face of God's green earth, to say that I have ever failed to meet any obligations to any person, unless I notified the parties in time not to disappoint them.
Those people who promised to send me contributions thought they deceived me, but all people must remember that they cannot deceive God. To do anything secretly from my fellowmen is not the only thing that I fear, because I know that God understands all errors.
It is better for a man not to promise to do anything, than to promise and fail. Now if we obligate ourselves to do certain things, if we notify the party and assign our reasons for being unable to do so, we are not guilty, but if we fail to do so, we are guilty and responsible to God. A man ought to feel clear in his heart as to any obligation that he makes.
In the large experience that I have had during life, it has been my whole heart's desire to comply with all of the obligations that I have ever made. I hope that those who read the story of my life and works will cherish these thoughts.
In the community where I live, I challenge both races, white and colored, to tell me where I have made any promises that I have failed to
comply with, unless I have notified them of the same and given my reasons for it. I find it is the only way to be successful in life. Since I have been dealing with the public and held responsible for my doings, I have tried to set an example that can be recorded on the page of history for all time. It makes me feel very grateful when I hear my friends, on the right and on the left, and those I see every day, as I pass the street, and I hear them uttering these words: "There goes a man that is true to his obligations."
A gentleman in Raleigh, who is one of the foremost business men, said, "Dr. Latta is a good example for his race." I have tried to live such a life in my city, that whenever I want anything, that whether I have the money to spare or not, my friends send it to me, money or no money. I say now as I have said before, that my friends had too much confidence in me. My reason for feeling so is that I might be induced to yield to temptation. I hope that every person in the United States will read this book and see if I have left a good example upon record.
I hope it will be deeply impressed upon every reader's heart, and that it may serve to inspire the children and the widows, the lunitics and insane people. It has been my highest ambition in life to promote the interests of every one I come in contact with. I believe in elevating the people.
I wish to God that all sectionalism was obliterated and cast into a sea of forgetfulness. I believe in truth among all people, and I would not deceive an infant. I believe in telling the truth at all times and in every instance.
A friend of mine went to the business men in the city of Raleigh and carried them a paper to testify to my reliability, and some of the leading men signed the petition. All would have signed it had they been requested.
A man can be as poor as poor can be and yet have a good record for trustworthiness.
There has been much said concerning the unreliability of the Negro race. I am one of that race, and I defy a single individual to go to my home and find a person who will say that I am not reliable in every respect.
I hope my readers do not understand me to say that I have come up to all of my obligations. I may have come short of many, but not wilfully.
I feel sure that my life of usefulness will soon be over, but God knows the intention of the heart. I have done what I believed to be right.
On the fifteenth day of February, nineteen hundred and three, I was in Greenfield, and a gentleman and I were talking concerning the destiny of the Negro race, and one word brought on another, and words accumulated until we found ourselves in an animated conversation. We were talking about different institutions,
and the Latta University came up and we were discussing the different presidents at the heads of the different institutions, and we were talking about my visit in London and Paris and in the cities I visited during my stay across the Atlantic Ocean, and after hearing my statement as to how the friends received me, we talked quite awhile on the subject, and he looked in my face about a minute before replying and then he said, "You are extraordinarily clever; as clever a man as I have ever met." I asked him why he thought so. He said, "You possess a great deal of Anglo-Saxon blood, and it circulates in your veins."
I told him the Anglo-Saxon race claimed me, the Turks claim part of me, the Negroes claim me, the Indians claim me, and I expect the Chinese and Japanese will also claim me, and perhaps other races, but I think the Negro race has the best claim. However, this is a matter with God, who made all men in his own image.
I repeat what I have said in other paragraphs, that I believe in having a broad heart, and if I could I would grasp my arm around the whole world and protect them regardless of sectionalism. Truth and justice is what we need, and when this great prospect is manifested among the people to be loyal to each other and live for the material interests of each other, no nationality that lives under the canopy of heaven will be known as a separate people on account of color
or creed. For justice and truth will predominate all over the entire universe, and I truly hope the example that I have set will be sufficient to inspire those who read it.
I was talking to Dr. Blake, in the city of Springfield, in a building known as the Fuller Block, and he spoke some very inspiring words to me concerning the work that I have accomplished. Dr. Blake said that he was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt the great work that I had achieved was the tact and energy that I put into exercise, and that he enjoyed himself in talking to men. of renown, let. them be black or white. He said he knew no man so far as color was concerned, and that social equality was a matter which would take care of itself. Dr. Blake, in his interesting conversation, said it afforded him great pleasure to talk with men on such questions. I have been acquainted with Dr. Blake for several years and I have found him to be an excellent gentleman in every respect, far from prejudice, entertaining in his conversation. The conversation we had was very inspiring to me, and when I had departed from his office I continued to repeat the words that he uttered on that occasion. What we need is plenty of such men as Dr. Blake.
I have been acquainted with Professor Jacovis, one of the former teachers of Springfield, and an
excellent man, a fine conversationalist, and I have heard hundreds and hundreds of people speak of him in the highest terms. I consider such a gentleman as Professor Jacovis an honor in any city. His teaching and his high dignity will forever live. It must be inspiring to his children. May this useful man live long and continue to set examples that all should feel safe to follow. I have often said after I had taken my departure from his presence that he was one of the most devout Christians that I had ever met in all the days of my life.
A person can always better their condition. I remember several years ago that I took in my employ a young man, now acting as my general financial agent-- John Bivans. People said it was utterly impossible for me to get good out of him, and I replied that good came out of Nazareth; and they said that might be true, but that I could not make anything out of him. He has proven himself trustworthy. He is general manager or financier for the institution.
The people that he was brought up with say that he is a new John, and some say that he is a John who saw the forty and four thousand, there is such a change. I have tried to impart the best of teaching to the young man, and I have taken a special interest and found him to be trustworthy in all of his doings. Those that he was brought
up with say that they are unable to understand such a change, and do not believe that man alone could bring about such a change. The reason is that I have prayed unto God, and have worked, and I met some who believe very much in work, and if you do it dutifully, God will abundantly bless every effort that you make.
When you think a man's condition can not be bettered, it is the very time to improve it. I think myself that John Bivans' condition is wonderful, and it fills my heart with joy when I think about the great improvement which has taken place in him.
Never say you can not do anything, for a man can always do something.
I received my diploma at A. M. Barret's Collegiate Industrial Institute. Dr. Barrett, as President of the Institute, conferred the deegrees of A.M. and D. D. upon your humble servant. My former Alma Mater was Shaw University. I attended that University for nearly eight years, besides attending other schools.
I find the whites in the Southern States and the Northern people are very friendly to the colored people as a rule. My reason for saying that the Southern white people are better friends to the colored people than the Northern white people is because the colored people live with the white people in the Southern States, and for
that reason they have a better opportunity to understand them than the Northern whites; but I find the Northern white people very friendly as a rule.
D. R Davis was my former financial agent. He was quite a worker, and trustworthy in every sense of the word. He was of much use to the institution. He was most successful in whatever he attempted for the institution; he had its interest at heart. He interested the people in many ways, and compelled them to attend the school. A number of the students received diplomas by his excellent tact, which they would not have done but for his wise teaching.
It was not my purpose to worry the public, but I deemed it proper to impress upon the entire universe that broad experience of mine. I feel satisfied that these sentences will be the means of bettering the condition of thousands that will read the history of my life and works. I will leave the matter for my readers.
That God may replenish with refreshing memories the hearts of every individual who reads the History of My Life and Work, is my earnest prayer.
I remember that my wife and I were on an ocean steamer one night. It was very stormy weather, and we had to anchor out in the ocean between Boston and Norfolk. We became very seasick; one was not able to help the other. Our little nurse had to look after all of us. At one time the ocean was very rough. I remember as soon as I was better, I got down upon my knees and prayed to God that we might reach Norfolk safely. The little nurse was very dutiful in caring for the whole family.
I remember the captain said at one time that the boat was getting in a very dangerous condition, and some of the passengers began to shed tears. I remember that a minister on the boat said that we were just as near heaven by sea as we would be by land, but the passengers seemed to be very much excited. I remember some of the ladies commenced praying. After I got over my illness, I tried to speak words of consolation to the excited passengers. I told them that I did not anticipate any accident. I told them that I believed that we would land at Norfolk safely. I told them that the captain told me that he had examined everything that he thought was likely to give trouble, and found everything all right. It seemed at times that the boat would sink. At one time the captain thought that we could not escape.
There were several hundred passengers on the boat; the majority of them were women and children. The women kept so much noise that they excited their children, and the children began to scream as if in agony. I told them to do their duty, and we would land safely. There were two preachers on the boat, besides myself. The ladies seemed to stay very near the preachers, as if they thought that we had power to save them. I remember that the two ministers and I knelt down and prayed God's blessing and protection. It appeared to me that there was not a dry eye on the boat from Boston to Norfolk.
We blamed the captain for going to sea on such a stormy night as that was. It was one among the stormiest and darkest nights that I have ever witnessed in my life. It was entirely too risky to go out to but I remember that the captain said his duty called him and he had to obey.
The ministers and the captain seemed to get the passengers satisfied. I felt sure that God was with us. I will never forget my little nurse, and how she cared for my family when we were unable to care for ourselves. It seemed that God spared her from seasickness so that she could care for the rest of us.
Before we arrived at Norfolk, we recuperated and became quite well again. I remember the words I told the passengers after I had got over
the sickness. I told them these words: "There is nothing like trusting in the providence of God." The passengers said that they were glad to have preachers on the boat, because they gave them confidence in the providence of God.
At one time no one was able to serve meals. The matron and waiters were so excited that they could not control themselves. My wife said if she arrived home safe she never would take a trip on the ocean again. She said that the Atlantic Ocean from Boston to Norfolk was enough for her. I told her that I was going over to Europe again. I asked her would she like to go. She asked me how long would it take us to cross the Atlantic Ocean. I told her six days or more. She said that her late trip was quite enough for her. I told her that I was seasick while going over to Europe, but in coming back I was sick but a very little. Since that trip from Boston to Norfolk we cant get her near the ocean.
In traveling through various parts of Canada, my attention was often attracted to the way things were conducted in that country. I visited several Sabbath Schools during my tour, and I spoke at some of them. I also preached at several churches and lectured on several occasions. I found that their custom of managing affairs was quite different from the custom in the United States. I found them very friendly. They received me very cordially. They made everything
pleasant for me. There were more invitations extended to me than I could accept. The people seemed to be loyal to their convictions; they seemed to enjoy my visit, and made everything as pleasant as they could. I visited the principal cities and towns in Canada. The friendly spirit that seemed to exist in Canada filled my heart with gratitude. I remember that I said in several of my addresses to the people of Canada that we must have peace and unity; and the way to produce such a spirit was for the people to come in touch with each other. That was all that was needed to make a people happy and prosperous.
I had various conversations with the officers in Canada concerning the different nationalities in Canada. The officers told me that the law was administered to all alike. They told me that they intended to see that there was no partiality shown on account of race or color. They asked me how I liked the government of their country. I told them that I was exceedingly gratified at what I had seen of their country. I told them from what I had observed I was satisfied that their country was wisely governed. Some of the other officers learned that I was in the city and they sent for me to come over to the government building --that they desired to talk with me. I was treated very nicely by these officers. I
promised them that I would make another visit to their country.
I went over to Liverpool. I was invited to speak at a large meeting. Some of the distinguished gentlemen that were with me had told some of the leaders of the meeting that I was present. I was introduced to the chairman of the meeting. I spoke without any preparation for such an occasion, and to such a large audience. I was warmly greeted on that occasion. When I had finished my speech, the ladies and gentlemen cheered me and waved their handkerchiefs. I had conversations with distinguished friends in Canada concerning the government of the United States. We discussed the subject of my speeches in Europe, especially those made in London and Paris.
I deem it unnecessary for me to tax the minds of my readers with the lengthy conversations I had in Canada touching upon the same facts that I discussed in Paris and London. My purpose was to visit more countries than I did, but owing to the responsibilities that rested upon me so forcibly, and the nature of my business was so vitally important, and my presence was so urgently demanded at the institution, that I was compelled to return home as early as possible.
I told the people in Canada that I wanted to visit their country again as soon as I could make
it convenient. They treated me so very nicely during my stay, I never will forget the kind treatment that I received in the Dominion of Canada. Those that I met seemed to be very religiously inclined. I noticed that they were very attentive to their Sabbath School and church duties. I remember on one occasion I spoke at one church, and notice was given out by the pastor that I was an evangelist. I told the people that I was very sorry to know that the notice had gone out that I was an evangelist. The people gathered to hear me speak as if they were attending a camp-meeting. I told them that I was not an evangelist, but I would preach them the Scripture. I preached on Sunday. On Tuesday night following I was invited to speak to a special audience. The subject that I chose was "Inspiration." The audience seemed to be very much interested. They wanted me to designate a time when I would return and lecture for them again. I told them I could not positively say.
A friend of mine in Hartford, Conn., told me that the conductor that ran the train from Rockland to the main line, which is a branch, was a colored man. I told him I had some business over at Rockland, and I would be glad to meet him. I boarded the train and took a seat. I noticed the conductor to see how he was conducting himself. I paid strict attention to his
manner of conducting things. He conducted every thing so well that I was surprised at his manner. It seemed that he was perfectly at home. I rode on that train several times afterwards and I made it my business to notice his manner of doing business. He treated everybody so nice, and acted so genteel, it seemed that everyone admired him. It was a singular thing to see a colored conductor. I have traveled all over the United States and a great portion of Europe and Canada, and he was the only colored conductor I ever saw in my life. After I saw the way he managed the train, I said if some of the colored people had an opportunity to show their ability, they would not be objected to so many times as they are now. I was talking with one of the officials of the road concerning the ability of the colored conductor. He told me that he had been a conductor on that road for eight years, and that he was trustworthy and a gentleman in every respect. He told me that he had faithfully discharged every duty that had been assigned to him; that by his excellent conduct he had proven to the railroad officials that his race were competent to fill responsible positions. I told him that I was very sorry indeed that colored people who were capable and trustworthy are deprived of the opportunity of holding positions that will prove their ability and trustworthiness, but of
course not as much could be expected of colored people, as a race, as of the white race, because they have been so recently liberated from slavery. I told him it was true that some of the race wanted to go too fast; some of them want to hold positions when they were not competent to hold them. Ignorance is the cause of that. But there were some of the race who are competent in every way, and yet they are denied promotion to any important place of honor or trust. It is a custom in many sections of the country to object to colored people holding any position that amounts to anything. This is why I have taken the position I have on this question of office holding by the colored people of the South, either State or national. Those who desire to hold an office, if they have sense enough to hold one, ought to have sense enough to know that they will be objected to, as I have said before in this book. No colored man can hold an office in this country and be at ease in the position. The opposite race owns everything, comparatively speaking, in North America. So far as I am concerned, while here among the race, I am perfectly willing for the opposite race to control and take the responsibilities that will naturally rest upon them.
Let every man strive to become the most useful and indispensable man in his community. A
useless, idle class is a menace and a danger to good government. We must not depart from our country nor become discouraged, notwithstanding the way often seems dark and desolate. We must maintain faith in ourselves and in our country. This opens the line of work, the possibilities of which are most promising. The development of industrial life among the Negroes in the South by schools is essential to the growth of one element, and is remedying the evil of idleness. The new plan goes further and aids in developing the business instincts of the race, establishing Negroes in mercantile pursuits and in other ways making them important factors in the commercial circles of the country. Already there are many examples of the progress of the Negro in this direction. In Chicago is a large co-operative store, where groceries and meats are sold, while Philadelphia and Richmond each have a large department store conducted by Negroes. Nearly two hundred Negroes in Chicago alone are engaged in various lines of business. Still another example is found in the incorporation in New Jersey of an investment and supply company, in which the incorporators are Negroes. This company is authorized to furnish supplies to families, establish stores, deal in real estate without limit, and engage generally in commercial pursuits. It is stated in the papers that the
company will carry on a portion of its business in the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Wilmington, Del., and Richmond and Norfolk, Va., as well as in other places. The capitalization of this company is $75,000.
The Springfield Republican says: "The organization of the National Negro Business League by the great convention at Boston last year was one of the most important steps yet taken in the lifting of the Negro race to that equality proclaimed implicitly by the constitutional amendments which followed the war. Between one and two hundred delegates were present. The South, that made the Civil War for Negro slavery, was well represented; New England, New York, Pennsylvania, were the ruling factors in this congress of men opening a new stage in the progress of the Negro race. They came as Americans--and who has a better right than the Negro to that title? A few days ago a Southern white said that the Negroes had no country, no birthright, not reflecting that he has been given a country by arbitrament of war, and that his birthright, in a majority of cases, was quite as clearly traceable to white ancestry as his traducer's own. But the Negro race has been compelled to a solidarity which is rare in mixed races. The man or woman so white that no one
could guess from his hair or complexion the stain of black blood, perforce casts in his lot with the blackest Afro-American--and be it acknowledged that he does it proudly, for they are the warmest advocates of the Negro race. They feel, and they rightly feel, that the African descent is the more honorable."
How often have I wanted to say to white students that they lift themselves up in proportion as they help to lift others, and that the more unfortunate the race and the lower in the scale of civilization, the more does one raise himself by giving others assistance.
This reminds me of a conversation which I once had with the Hon. Frederick Douglas. At one time Mr. Douglas was traveling in the State of Pennsylvania, and was forced, on account of his color, to ride in the baggage car, in spite of the fact that he had paid the same fare as the other passengers. When some of the white passengers went to the baggage car to console Mr. Douglas, and one of them said to him, "I am sorry, Mr. Douglas, that you have been degraded in this manner." Mr. Douglas straightened himself up on the box upon which he was sitting, and replied: "They can not degrade Frederick Douglas; the soul that is within me, no man can
degrade. I am not the one that is being degraded on account of this treatment, but those who are inflicting it upon me."
My experience has been that the time to test a true gentleman is to observe him when he is in contact with individuals of a race that is less fortunate than his own. This is illustrated in no better way than by observing the conduct of the old-school type of a Southern gentleman when he is in contact with his former slaves or their descendants. An example of what I mean is shown in a story told of George Washington, who, meeting a colored man in the road once, who politely lifted his hat, lifted his own in return. Some of his white friends who saw the incident, criticized Washington for his action; in reply to their criticism, George Washington said, "Do you suppose that I am going to permit a poor, ignorant colored man to be more polite than I am."
I never will forget the interest that the leading editor of North Carolina, Mr. Daniels, took in me when I commenced to establish the Latta University. After he examined into the matter, and found that it was a worthy cause, he advocated it in his paper. He said it was worthy of the attention of any one that was able to respond. He said that it was a very wise movement, and
that the colored people in the entire State ought to take an interest in such a laudable cause. Mr. Josephus Daniels is a man of high reputation. He has done as much as anyone in the State for the advancement of his party. He is worthy of any position that is in the gift of his party. He takes an independent stand for what he thinks is right and just, and no one can change his mind. I admire him for the independent stand he takes. As a successful editor he has few equals, if any, in the Southern States. I have often said I hoped that the time would come when Hon. Josephus Daniels would be a member of the United States Congress. He is worthy of the position, and would fill it with credit to himself and party. I have been acquainted with Mr. Daniels for about fifteen years. I consider him one of the leading citizens of the State of North Carolina. He is an excellent speaker; he is a credit to the State. I consider him a very eminent gentleman. What we need is more such men as Mr. Daniels. He is like all other newspaper men: he publishes the news as he receives it. Mr. Daniels is regarded as one of the most successful newspaper men in the Southern States, and his party has the utmost confidence in him. I am not a politician, nor do I desire to be one. I speak of this from experience. The dealings that I have had with Mr. Daniels I found to be O. K. in every instance. I am glad to know that he is held as one of the
favorites among his party; he has established a reputation in the State of North Carolina that will live for centuries to come. His party is deeply in debt to him for the great interest that he has manifested in upbuilding its principles; he is a great worker; I always delight in speaking of a man that has achieved such greatness as Mr. Daniels. Let him be a Democrat or a Republican, it makes no difference with me. I don't know any man by his politics, but by his conduct and ability. If he is capable to fill the position that the public requires of him to fill, that is the kind of spirit that should prevail among Ameican citizens; and as soon as the entire people consider the great importance that this position carries with it, they will agree with me on the same subject.
The colored people in the city of Raleigh said that they could not understand how the white people were so interested in me, and spoke very favorably of Latta University. I told them the reason that the white people were with me was because they were satisfied that from the dealings that they had with me, that I would not do anything but the right thing. I told them that the white people were well informed, and they knew that all institutions had a tendency to improve the condition of the people in general--physically,
intellectually, morally, socially and religiously. They further know that educational institutions have a tendency to make people law-abiding citizens, and also to enhance the value of property in any locality where they are established.
Of course the colored people as a race do not fully comprehend the condition of affairs. They have not had the advantages of education that the whites have had, and therefore it is not expected that they should be as well informed. There are, however, some colored people in the South who, by diligence, have acquired good educations, and are as well informed as many of the whites. My remarks have reference to the race, as such.
I hope that the time will come when the colored people will not be prejudiced among themselves. It must be ignorance that causes the colored people to be such a hindering cause to the progress of each other. The white people, North and South, have been my best friends in establishing the Latta University. I truly hope that the colored people will try to make up their minds to live in peace with the Southern white people.
I am opposed to emigration if we can live in peace. It seems if I can live in the South in peace, and Mr. Washington can also live in peace with the Southern people, the rest might do the
PRESENT RESIDENCE OF REV. M. L. LATTA.
same. My advice to the race is to keep out of politics, if that will produce peace and unity, and see if we can't live together in harmony. The lawmakers can not make a law that will injure one man unless it injures the other. As I have before said, the interest of one race is the interest of the other. It seems strange for the two races to antagonize each other, when they have lived together so long. Any way to bring about a peace and unity that will continue perpetually, will be a blessing for the two races.
Christianity is one of the greatest helpmates to the peace problem between the two races that I can mention. All intelligent people among both races, as a rule, say that they fear God and are willing to abide by His teachings, and if that is true, what can hinder us from living together in peace? All nations must be submissive to the Supreme power that rules heaven and earth. The lawmaking power of the highest tribune in our country must be submissive to the Creator of this universe. It seems strange that the intelligent people of both races can not come together and settle all grievances that have a tendency to create prejudice and debauchery. I truly hope that we may outlive the prejudices that are existing between the two races.
My friends in the North that I meet very frequently ask me what will be the final solution of
the prejudice existing between white people and colored people of the South? It is getting to be as familiar an expression as it is for the sun to rise. No man feels the criticisms of the South more keenly than I, because I am one of the subjects of the Southern States. God knows that from the very depths of my heart, in any possible way that I can assist in bringing about peace between the two races, I am perfectly willing to do; because we must have peace if we are going to live together.
I don't care how low a man starts in life, he can improve his condition. I know it by self-experience, which is a lamp of surety. It is the only lamp by which my feet are guided.
I had an interview with an excellent friend of mine in the city of Albany, New York--Hon. John H. Lindsay, the manager of the New York Journal. It seems strange to see how he started in life. He said that his father was killed when he was a lad, because he differed with some parties politically; and he had to make his way through life the best way he could. He told me that he commenced blacking boots and shoes on the streets, and had no one to look after his material interests but himself. He was left alone, and he said he found that he had life's battle to fight; no one to speak even a kind word to him,
to encourage him; he thought that he was an outcast; never had the opportunity of attending school a day in his life; what education he received was by his own efforts after he got through blacking boots and shoes. He said he studied around the fireside; and once he thought he had just as well to give up life's battle as to try to do anything that was worthy of the consideration of the public. He was also a newspaper boy and an office boy. It seems so very strange to me to see how he has won his way to one of the most important positions that is occupied by the leading men of the country. In Albany this gentleman commands the highest respect from men of all parties, all denominations and all classes of the people. I have read after him time and again, and his writing is so learned, plain and simple, the sentences are so well constructed, I have been very enthused over them. I have read many newspapers and it is one of the most excellent that I have ever read. I asked him was it possible that he had not attended any school. He told me positively that he had never attended a school a single day in his life. I told him his was one among the most interesting cases that I had ever heard of in my broad experience; but after reflecting over the matter I can readily understand it, because a man can do just what he desires to do if he makes up his mind to do it. We
can be great if we desire to be great. In lecturing to my students, I endeavor to impress this fact on their minds. I tell them what men have done, they can do. I try from the very depths of my heart to impress upon their young minds that they, too, can do something if they determine to do it. I believe in promotion; I believe in being second to none. I have told them that they could be just as great as William L. Garrison, Cicero, Milton, Queen Elizabeth. Shakespeare, Queen Victoria (whom I had the honor of speaking to), Patrick Henry, Noah Webster, Frederick Douglas, J. C. Price, and other great men; some now living, like Mr. Booker T. Washington; like Henry Clay, the great American orator, and Washington, the father of our country, and David Crockett, the author of one of the greatest sentences that the English language contains. I have examined the English language with care, and special care, and I have not found a single sentence containing more for serious thought and observance than that never-dying motto of Davy Crockett: "First know that you are right, and then go ahead." To practice what he has said is the only way to be successful and useful, and when we shall have done that we can stare obstacles in the face, knowing that we have done our duty.
The convention that I referred to in another
place was one of such dignity and such seriousness, such clear-headed consideration of the situation--views being taken in broader fields of thought than those of the "Nigger haters"--has to win respect on all sides. And it will not be strange--indeed, it is to be expected --that the effect all over the country will be of the valuable sort. It is scarcely possible to underrate or condemn a class of people who have so evinced their ability to do what the white man especially prides himself on--the faculty of concentrated effort and the power of organization. This has been attained by the Negro under the most adverse circumstances. Even when he has been most favored he has been helped; he has helped himself; and with his small advantages he has made wonderful progress. He has the self-same spirit and purpose that actuates every American citizen, and is just as much an American and as much entitled to the blessings and honors of life as a descendant of the English Puritan or the French Huguenots, the Hollanders, the Scandinavian, and the German. And when we reflect upon the motley crowds from Southern Europe that have entered our country of late years, the comparison becomes absurd.
I was informed that the most interesting speech made at the Paris Exposition was made by Mr. A. J. Hillyer, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and a prominent citizen of the
national capital, who has compiled and published three editions of a directory of the colored business men and women of Washington; and founded and was first president of the Union League. Mr. Hillyer was appointed by the United States Commission to make up the figures of the Negro exhibit at the Paris Exposition, and thus he spoke, with a full knowledge, of the facts:
"By the census of 1890, it appears that twenty-five years after emancipation, the race had a representative in every business listed in the census schedules. The numbers engaged and the capital investetd in many branches were not imposing, but the beginning had been made. That census showed 20,020 persons of Negro descent in business. There were agents and collectors, auctioneers, bankers and brokers, druggists, dairymen, drygoods dealers, grocers, hotel keepers, liquor dealers, undertakers, officials of banks and insurance companies, journalists and publishers, builders and contractors, photographers, market men, printers, blacksmiths, watch and clock makers, and, of course, barbers. Outside of the business list over twenty thousand are to be numbered; over seventeen hundred barbers; next to these in numbers, caterers, hotel and restaurant men."
Mr. Hillyer noted a stove foundry in Tennessee, a cotton mill in North Carolina, a carriage factory in Ohio, and several brick-making plants
with large capital. He mentioned four banks, one in Birmingham, Ala.., one in Washington, D. C., and one in Richmond, Va.; nor is it true that the business patronage of these and other institutions is confined to the Negro. Giles B. Jackson, of Richmond, who spoke concerning the Negroes as real estate owners in that region, said that when the city of Richmond was unable, because of its poverty, to keep its white schools open, it applied to all of the white banks for money in vain. Then an appeal was made to the colored bank. "How much do you want?" was asked. The reply was, "Fifty thousand dollars." "You can have a hundred thousand," said the cashier, and this was the sum loaned. Mr. Jackson also said that one-twentieth of the real estate in Virginia is owned by the colored people.
Much has been said concerning the relationship between the colored people and the Irish people. The Irish people are accused of being the Negro haters. I repudiate that statement, because I have met the Irish people, and I find them just as pleasant people, as a rule, as any other nationality. I notice their conduct on account of the alleged prejudice they had toward the colored people. I find the Irish people are just as easy to get along with as any other nationality, if you treat them right. Some of my best friends are among the Irish people. I consider them, as a
rule, very hospitable people. They are like other nationalities--they have their faults. A great many people think because they are Irish they are prone to evil, and know nothing else. I am sorry to say they are misrepresented as much as the colored people are. I have dealt with quite a number of Irish people. I found them to be excellent citizens and good friends. To misrepresent people on account of their nationality is very wrong, and no intelligent reason can be given for any such accusations. I say here, as I have said in other parts of this book, if my memory serves me right, it is unjust to hold any class of people responsible for the way God made them. I consider it a very serious question to deal with. If the accusers would consider it carefully, they would not criticize any nationality on account of their condition or their names. Just as well criticize the Creator of heaven and earth for making a distinction between different nationalities. It seems strange to me how an intelligent people can afford to criticise what God has made for His own glory and purpose. Take the Chinese: they are all offensive race of people, but they are just like God made them. I have no prejudice against the Chinese. Because they confine themselves to laundry work should not deprive them of proper treatment. They are just as much entitled to respect for the kind of work they do as other
nationalities are respected for the kind of work they do. I respect all nationalities alike, because God made them. If I love God, I love everything that God has made. I can not see how others can say otherwise if they love God, for it is plain as plain can be. If a person hates what God has made, it is sufficient proof that he is not in accord with God.
There is a great deal said about the Jews not being so acceptable in some instances; but I have dealt with Jews very extensively. They are just as good a people as other nationalities if you understand them. They are very submissive people, easy to be controlled, do not believe in altercations. There is one thing we all have to agree to, as far as the Jews are concerned: they are law-abiding citizens as a rule; they never get in jail; they are considered to be good business people as a rule; they differ with other nationalities in some respects, but they are entitled to their opinions. They are a very shrewd class of people, as far as business is concerned. They are considered to be very successful people in business; they have a reputation of paying their true obligations. I consider that they are good citizens. I see no cause for prejudice simply because they are Jews. We as a nation must ignore that narrow way of thinking, because a man who is of a different nationality can't be a good citizen.
The Indians are considered to be uncivilized people, but they are just as good in their way of thinking as any other nationality. I have had some dealings with Indians. If you educate an Indian, he is all right; in fact, if you educate any nationality, and give them the proper training, they will make good citizens. It is wrong to hold any nationality responsible simply on account of their name; but hold them responsible for their individual conduct. I am satisfied that the time will come when people will be ashamed of holding others responsible on account of their nationality. It is too narrow minded for intelligent people to be engaged in.
All Southern States are doing much in the way of educating the people. Without disparaging the value of the learning obtained in our schools, how much of it goes to prepare the young for grappling with the conditions that surround them, or will help to make them masters or successful workers in the field of modern progress? Look at the vast wealth of undeveloped resources; look at the fertile fields or the worn land still giving evidence of the ignorant labor of the ante-bellum agricultural system. Will a knowledge of grammar, of Greek, or Latin, convert our coal, our iron and our timber into wealth, or make our fields bountiful with a harvest? The plain truth is that much of the learning obtained
in our schools is applied to unuseful purposes. We admit that high education is useful in some instances, and we can't get along well without it; we are bound to have a high education to dig up the words so deeply buried in our original language. But those who receive a high education must remember that it is as necessary to work with the muscle as with the mind. It is the duty of all people to learn how to dignify labor one way or the other. If it is inconvenient to dignify labor with our feet, we must dignify it with our hands, eyes, thoughts and brains. Labor can be dignified in many ways, because labor is the foundation of our existence. How can this country succeed without labor? In the meantime, we can not ignore the importance of education, because it is the key of high civilization. All men that have become great had to start at the foot of the ladder, with a well fixed purpose to dignify labor in the highest degree. As a rule all great men have to start that way; they have to work their way up in life by performing manual labor, and as they come up in life, inch by inch, then the demand for educated men is so great that they find higher and more dignified employment. But if you will investigate the way he came up in life, you will plainly see that he had to dignity labor in the start. As a rule, when a man gets up in life, and very well supplied with the world's
goods, he generally gives his children a high education, which he has a right to do if he so desires; but the public can plainly see that he had to start low to reach a high stand in life, and that is the way we all have to start at the beginning of life, and work our way up to the required standard in this commercial world. But it is the duty of all men, I don't care how high they get in life, to teach their children that it is necessary to dignify labor, for it is no disgrace. But we can not wisely ignore education, let it be high or low, because it is useful in all of its purposes. But the young minds should be taught that they will have to start at the lowest round of life to reach the highest position of citizenship. I teach my children that work is honorable, and if duty calls them to perform any requirement of labor, I tell them to accept it with pride. I believe in labor myself; I never expect to get too high to dignify labor.
I am not opposed to education in any degree. If a man can work himself up to get a high education I have not a word to say, but bid him God-speed. I am not prejudiced against high education to those that can afford it. We need a common education, and we also need a high education, because it would not be wise for all to get the same thing. If a man has a common education, and does not know language in the highest degree, he will have to go to a man of
high education, who can teach him. For that reason, the reader can readily see that I can not afford to oppose high education; in fact, I do not oppose either one or the other; but in the meantime we must let our young people know that labor must always be dignified. We can't dishonor labor unless we dishonor the one that intended it, and if people will consider labor from a common sense view, the more they labor in reason the longer they live, because it gives the mental forces something to subsist upon. I know that labor is the keystone of success.
It has been a strange thing to see ladies perform manual labor. Most of the work in the cotton mills is done by women. They also occupy positions as bookkeepers and clerks in stores. I have seen them also act as drummers, selling goods, and some perform manual labor in the fields, and some are excellent seamstresses, and some are artists, some are dentists, some lawyers, some doctors of medicine, some preachers, and some are teachers. There are also Queens among them, some presidents of institutions, and some barbers. I know of a lady that keeps a light house. Women are considered weak, and if they dignify labor, why should men refuse, when labor is the fundamental principle to success? We should train the young mind in the beginning that it is better to do common labor than to be idle, for no idle person ever succeeds. As a rule,
all idle persons prove themselves a disgrace to the community. The majority of our people are bound to labor; yes, over three-fourths of them are bound to labor. I thought once that ladies could not do much that was very notable.
I had several men take the pictures in this book for the engravers, and the men said they did the best they could, and the reader will find the last picture showing me delivering an address to a large audience to be the best picture. A lady took that picture. It is said by experts that her work is more attractive and more artistic than the work of the gentlemen; so I am convinced that ladies are not only useful in the house, but they are useful elsewhere. They are becoming to be more skillful, they are becoming more useful, they are producing more inspiring thoughts than some of the men are. I will never my that ladies can not do anything that is worthy of attention again. I am convinced. If they continue, they will be almost as skillful as men; they are very expert in what they can do; and they can do a great deal more than man of the men can do. It has been proven so in many instances. Of course I am opposed to woman suffrage. While they are capable of doing many good things which they have already done, it would be indiscreet to grant them the right of suffrage. I think when a man presents a bill in
the General Assembly of that line, he has about presented his last. We have a plenty of men to look after the suffrage of the country. Women do not desire to have a right of suffrage. No doubt you would find a great many women that would be more able to vote intelligently than men, but the majority of the women are not capable of voting intelligently. It is wrong to even agitate any such question. There are plenty of men to do the voting and to make laws to govern this country. They have been doing it for several hundred years, and they can continue to do it, and do it more intelligently in the future. I hope the day will come when the intelligent white people and colored people of the South will come together on one common cause, and understand each other as to formulating plans and rules and regulations that will stop this great outcry in the North, East and West that there is no harmony between the races in the South. It has become a common occurrence in meeting the people in the North, East and West to hear them ask: "Why don't you people live together in peace?" A gentleman of distinction told me that he looked upon the people in the Southern States as being lawless people. I feel such criticisms very keenly, because I am considered a member of the people in the Southern States. It is true I am in the South only about one-fourth
of my time, but I was born in the South, and when I hear the Southern people criticised it is not pleasant to me, because it is a natural thing for all people to defend their home.
Some of these good people in the North, East and West have talked about and prayed over this Southern question so much that it has almost become a part of the adopted prayer books.
We have some very intelligent white people in the Southern States, and some very intelligent colored people. It is not pleasant to be connected with a race, or a subject of any country, when criticism is so severe on account of the doings of a portion of the people.
A gentleman in Philadelphia told me that we needed more religion in the Southern States. He said that we had kept up so much disturbance in the Southern States that God had withdrawn the Good Spirit from us. A gentleman told me every time he read a newspaper he saw where we are killing each other by the wholesale. I know that we have some good white people in the Southern States, and I do not believe that they will allow this criticism to continue. I told the gentleman that I was willing to do all I could to stop any cause for such criticism. I told the gentleman that it was not our best white people that tolerated such doings. I am satisfied that the best remedy to be applied to prevent such a universal
criticism is to appeal to the Holy Spirit. No nation can succeed unless Christianity prevails. Can you show me a race that has ever been progressive without Christianity? I will refer you to the Indians. I will tell you the reason that the Indians have not been a progressive people. They know very little about God, and on the other hand they are in gross ignorance. If that will stop criticisms in the Southern States, I say let us all get religion. It is very annoying to a person everywhere he goes to be asked what will be the final fate of your people in the Southern States? Are they going to kill each other?
I know what Christianity will do by experience, for I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience, lighted by Christianity.
When I was far away from God, I was not particular as to what I did. If I did wrong in many instances, I paid no attention to it, because I had no God to fear. I would fear the common law, as a rule, before I would fear God. It is the same way with the people of this day that know nothing about God. They will obey the law of the land and omit the commandments of God; and as long as such antagonizing spirit prevails there will be war and strife among the people. The only way to stop it is for the people to become religious. When I came in the possession
of the wisdom of God and embraced a hope in Christ I would not do my fellowman an injury. My desire from that time until now has been to live in peace, and live beyond criticism. We must prove by our conduct that we are just as capable of outliving criticism is the Southern States as the people are in the North, East and West. I don't care how high a man may get in life; I don't care how much education he may have, he may have as much education as Blackstone had, Cicero had, or Noah Webster had, if he fails to have the grace of God, he has not been purified.
The two races in the Southern States are identified with each other, and they understand each other, except the prejudice that exists on account of color. It seems strange that all grievances and prejudice can not be buried. It can be buried, and I believe that the intelligent white people intend to see that it is buried, if we come together and consider the matter justly and fairly we can readily reach an agreement that will stop the mouths of our critics. Peace and unity is the only way by which any two races can succeed in living in harmony. We will have to depend largely upon the intelligent white people of the South to bring about a permanent agreement in this respect, because it seems that the white people in the North, East and West are
looking upon the people in the Southern States as unfair and unjust to the colored people. I feel satisfied that the leading white people in the South are too intelligent to let anything of that kind influence their action. Religion will be the greatest auxiliary to this cause that can be applied, but it is well to apply a little common sense in this instance to facilitate the movement. I am tired being met with the question as to what will be the final solution of the friction between the two races in the South. I believe we can arrange to live together in peace.
I was in the State of New Hampshire, in the city of Concord, in 1903, and in the month of February. The Legislature was in session. I was invited to speak before the Governor's Council. The Chairman of the Council introduced me. I never faced a finer set of gentlemen in all the days of my life. They received me very cordially. They seemed to be very much interested in what few remarks I made. Some of the members said that they regretted very much that I did not have time to make a lengthy speech.
One of my distinguished friends would not let me speak until all of the members of the Council were present. God bless the distinguished friend for the special interest that he took in me. I will never forget the kindness that the Governor's Council tendered me on that occasion. I felt, though, I was perfectly at home.
Some of the members of the General Assembly prevailed with me to remain over and speak for them the next day. It was inconvenient for me, which I regretted very much. I told the Governor's Council the history of my life and work
would be out in a few months, and I told them I wanted every one of them to have a copy of it so as to find how the two races were getting along in the Southern States, and to see what I have been trying to do for the good of my country and the development of my race for the last eleven years. They said they would like to have a copy very much indeed. I told them I thought it would be inspiring to them to find out what I have been doing for the development of an ignorant race. They encouraged me in my efforts, and bade me God's speed to continue on.
Concord is a very nice city, and the people are very friendly indeed. I have a number of friends in the city of Concord. There are a very few colored people in the State. During my visits there I have seen about a half dozen of colored people, but those that are there are treated very nicely from what I have learned. I regret very much that I could not stay longer in the city of Concord, because my stay was made so very pleasant. I saw nothing that represented prejudice during my stay, as far as the two races are concerned.
I went to the Adjutant-General's office. The members of his staff were in his office preparing to render some music on some occasion. They were so attractive in their appearance I asked them what would they charge me to become a member of their order.
A portion of the history of my life and work was written in Springfield, and a portion of it in Worcester, Massachusetts. A gentleman in New Hampshire said that he was satisfied that I had done enough to prove to the world that members of my race can do as much as members of other races can. He said there was, another problem to solve: How to bring about peace between the two races in the Southern States. He asked me what was my solution as to what will be the final result of the relationship that now exists between the two races the other side of Mason and Dixon's line. I told him that I sincerely hoped that the two races would learn to understand each other better and better each day of their lives, and come together in one common cause and settle all grievances that hall a tendency to create serious trouble. I told him I desired to mention some living facts that never will die concerning the two races in the South. I told him that many of these facts would be mentioned in the history of my life and work and be remembered when I am dead and gone. I told him my advice to the colored people was that if the time should come when the two races could not live together to select a committee of men of intelligence, and go to the United States Congress and ask Congress to colonize them in a territory, and let the colored people immigrate to that territory without having any serious trouble, and if the
United States Congress failed to do so, then the people of Great Britain would provide for them. I told him what some of the leading men in Europe, in the city of London, told me. This is what one of them said:
"If the colored people could not live in the South without being oppressed; and if after appealing to the American Congress no relief was afforded them, if they would appeal to Great Britain and agree to become subjects to the English Government, territory for their settlement would be given and they would receive the protection that other subjects received."
I told my distinguished friend I thanked him kindly for his advice, but I hoped that the time would never come when we would have to leave America; but if it did come, we would look him up, or someone else.
I hope the time will come, and come early, when the United States Government will become satisfied that the best thing to do for the colored people, and a good thing for the whites, is to set aside a portion of the public domain in the West for the exclusive use of the colored people, and afford them the means of emigrating and commencing life in a new country, where their ability for self-government can have a fair showing.
I had just as well to speak plain on this matter. I am satisfied that the time will come when the Government will be bound to act. I regret
to speak as I do. I do not expect to live to see it, but the time will be sure to come.
My advice to the race is, they anticipate that trouble will come. They had just as well make a start now, because they have to stand on their own merits in the future. The good colored people in North Carolina are judged by the bad ones. It shows very plainly that a colored man has very little protection, if any, under existing conditions in the Southern States, but I sincerely hope that peace and unity will prevail as long as the two races continue to live together.
So far as I am individually concerned it does not take much law to make me obey. I truly hope that no conflicts between the races will ever occur, but as a watchman on the wall I see trouble brewing in the no distant future. I sincerely appeal for peace, and want nothing but peace and justice.
I told my distinguished friend that this is the only way that the peace problem can be solved and preserved between the two races South of Mason and Dixon line. He agreed with me. He said that was the only way that the problem could be solved. He said: "I find from what you have done, and the statement that you make to me now, that you have nearly solved both of the important problems affecting the safety of your race."
I told him that, I had no prejudice against the white people in the Southern States, and wanted it to be understood that I was not encouraging immigration unless it became absolutely necessary. I told him, so far as I was individually concerned I could get along with the Southern white people forever; but I deemed it my duty, and not only my duty, but the duty of those that have been inspired with discretion, to look with a keen eye for the development and safety of a week race.
I claim that I have said enough in the history of m life and work to inspire any race upon God's green earth. I truly hope that those who read the sentiments expressed in this book will be imbued with new thoughts and new ideas for the betterment of the condition of the people in general, especially for friendly relationship between the two races in the Southern States.
In writing this book, my mind has been entirely free from prejudice towards any particular race. I have done what I claim to be my duty to give inspiring ideas in this book, to animate the weak, encourage the strong, and especially to promote causes that will be beneficial to all. I appeal for exact justice, and special privilege to none; and if what I say prevails we will have a glorious country.
One of my strongest desires, upon arrival in London, some years ago, was to hear the man of whom I had read so much. This desire was speedily gratified, and under circumstances which I knew would show the weak points of his character, if these were prominent. In looking over a morning newspaper I noticed that he was advertised to preach on a week-day in some obscure chapel. No one of whom I inquired could tell me anything about the place, but with the aid of a cabman it was found, and proved to be a small, dingy house, that would be crowded with an audience of four hundred. It was not more than half filled, and the few who were present were evidently plain people. Mr. Spurgeon was ffiteen minutes late, and I felt annoyed, supposing that he took advantage of his notoriety and popularity to consult his own convenience about his appointemnts. At length he appeared, walking briskly down the aisle, and ascended the pulpit. After spending a moment in prayer, he arose and in a perfectly simple and natural manner, as if he were speaking to a friend by his fireside, apologized for his tardiness. He said
that for the first time in his life he had failed to be prompt; but it was not his fault, for he had preached the night before in some country town, had taken the first train for the city, and had hurried from the station immediately to the meeting-house, without even going home to kiss his wife and little boys. Of course this put every one in good humor. He then began the services by singing, "Come holy spirit, heavenly dove." And I am not sure that he did not start the tune. However this may have been, his prayer struck upon my ear and heart as wonderful for its humility, earnestness, directness, and confidence. His reading of the Scriptures, with his brief commonsense remarks and expositions, added greatly to the interest of the hearer in the chapter selected; and the sermon that followed was certainly one of the best, in every respect, ever preached by uninspired man. If he had been preaching before the Queen and nobility of England, if he had been speaking to an audience of ten thousand, he could not have laid out greater strength, nor exhibited greater sincerity, greater intensity of interest in the delivery of his message, greater concern for the honor of his Lord and for the souls of his hearers. Leaving us an example that "ye should follow his steps," his text, and the teachings and life of Jesus Christ our Saviour were held up with singular clearness, and fidelity to the truth. The first part of his
discourse was doctrinal, and the second hortatory, or, as some call it, practical, although it was almost thoroughly practical, because so thoroughly doctrinal. I remember that one man arose, obviously in anger and slowly left the house, but turned now and then to look at the preacher. As he withdrew, Mr. Spurgeon reminded him of the sovereignty of God, and the sacrificial death of our Divine Redeemer as the only hope of the lost sinner, and then went on to urge us to walk like Him, and to walk worthy of Him, as His friends and representatives on the earth. The sermon was very searching to my own soul, and I determined to hear no one else during my stay in London. Nor did I hear anyone else, except one afternoon and one evening. I heard him in Exeter Hall. I heard him on my return from other countries in his own meeting-house, then just completed, and I never heard him without a little thank-offering of my own. While he was leading the vast congregation in prayer, pouring out his gratitude to God for all his manifold mercies, spiritual and temporal, I invariably sent up the incense of praise from my own heart in the words, "Thank God for Spurgeon!" Oh, how it comforted and strengthened me to see that brave witness standing there often amid reproach and ridicule and slander, telling "the old, old story," and bearing faithful witness to the truth, whether men would hear or forbear.
The following is an address delivered by Mr. Spurgeon to his present and former students. Because of its intrinsic merits, its stirring appeals, and its sensible presentation of vital themes, we could not bring our mind to consent to an abridgement. It is suitable for all Christian workers, nor can it fail to interest the general reader. Reading it originally, and again in proof, it has stirred our soul, and breathed upon as a benediction.
"I never needed help more than now, and never felt so utterly unfitted to give the keynote to the conference. As you grow more numerous, more gifted, and more experienced, I feel more and more my unworthiness to stand foremost and lead your ranks. However, I will trust in God and believe that He will, by His Holy Spirit, send a word that shall be encouraging and quickening.
"Years ago an eccentric Judge, known as Judge Foster, went upon circuit in extreme old age during a very hot summer, and one of the most sultry days of that summer he addressed the grand jury at Worcester in some such words as these: 'Gentlemen of the jury, it is very hot, and I am very old; you know your duties very well; go and do them.' Following his example, I feel
inclined to say to you: Gentlemen, here you are assembled. I have many infirmities to bear, and you will have great difficulty in bearing with my talk; you know your duties; go and do them. Action is better than speech. If I speak for an hour I shall scarcely be able to say anything more practical --you know your duties, go and do them. 'England expects every man to do his duty!' was the rousing signal of Nelson; need I remind you that our great Lord expects every one of His servants to occupy until He comes, and so to be a good and faithful servant? Go forth and fulfill your Master's high behest, and may God's spirit work in you the good pleasure of your Lord.
"Those who truly serve God are made to feel more and more forcibly that 'Life is real, life is earnest,' if it be in deed life in Christ. In times of great pain and weakness and depression, it has come over me to hope that if I should again recover I should be more intense than ever; if I could be privileged to climb the pulpit stairs again, I resolved to leave out every bit of flourish from my sermons, preach nothing but present and pressing truth, and hurl it at the people with all my might; my self living at high pressure, and putting forth all the energy that my being is capable of. I suppose you, too, have felt like this when you have been laid aside. You have said to yourselves: 'Playtime is over with us, we
must get to work. Parade is ended, now comes the tug of war. We must not waste a single moment, but redeem the time, because the days are evil.' When we see the wonderful activity of the servants of Satan, and how much they accomplish, we may well be ashamed of ourselves that we do so little for our Redeemer, and that little is often done so badly that it takes as long to set it right as we spent in the doing of it. Brethren, let us cease from regrets and come to actual amendment.
"A great German philosopher has asserted that life is all a dream. He says that 'it is a dream composed of a dream of itself.' He believes in no actual existence, not even in his own; even that he conceives to be but a thought. Surely some in the ministry must be disciples of that philosophy, for they are half asleep, and their spirit is dreamy. They speak of the eternal truth as though it were a temporary system of belief, passing away like all other visions of earth. They live for Christ in a manner which would never be thought of by a person who meant to make money, or to obtain a degree at the university. 'Why,' said one of a certain minister, 'if I acted with my business as he does in his ministry, I should be in the Gazette within three months.' It is an unhappy thing that there should be men calling themselves ministers of Christ, to whom
it never seems to occur that they are bound to display the utmost industry and zeal. They seem to forget that they are dealing with souls that may be lost forever or saved forever --souls that cost the Saviour's heart's blood. They do not appear to have understood the nature of their calling, or to have grasped the Scriptural idea of an ambassador for Christ. Like drowsy wagoners, they hope to get their team safely home, though they themselves are sound asleep. I have heard of ministers who are most lively when playing croquet or cricket, or getting up an excursion, or making a bargain. It was said of one in my hearing, 'What a fine minister he would have been if he had only been converted.' I heard it said of a very clever man, 'He would have been a great winner of souls if he had only believed in souls; but he believed in nothing.' It is said of the Russian peasants, that when they have done their work they will lie on the stove, or around it, and there sleep hour after hour; and there is a current opinion among them that they are only awake when they are asleep, and that their waking and working hours are nothing but a horrible dream. The moujik hopes that his dreams are facts, and that his waking sufferings are merely nightmares. May not some have fallen into the same notion with regard to the ministry? They are asleep upon realities, and
awake about shadows; in earnest about trifles, yet trifling about solemnities. What God will have to say to those servants who do their own work well and His work badly, I will not attempt to foreshadow. What shall be done to the man who displayed great capacity in his recreations, but was dull in his devotion, active out of his calling, and languid in it? The day shall declare it. Let its arouse ourselves to the sternest fidelity, laboring to win souls as much as if it all depends wholly upon ourselves, while we fall back in faith upon the glorious fact that everything rests with the eternal God. I see before me many who are fully aroused, and are eager in seeking the lost, for I speak to some of the most earnest spirits in the Christian church,-- evangelists and pastors, whose meat and drink it is to do the will of their Lord, but even these, who are most awaken, will not differ from me when I assert that they could be yet more aroused.
My brethren, when you have been at your best you might have been better. Who among us might not have had greater success if he had been ready to obtain it? When Nelson served under Admiral Hotham, and a certain number of the enemy's ships had been captured, the commander said: 'We must be contented; we have done very well.' But Nelson did not think so,
since a number of the enemy's vessels had escaped.
"Now," said he, "had we taken ten sail, and allowed the eleventh to escape when it had been possible to have got at her, I could never have called it 'well done.' If we have brought many to Christ we dare not boast, for we are humbled by the reflection that more might have been done had we been fitter instruments for God. Possibly some brother will say, 'I have done all that I could do.' That may be his honest opinion, for he could not have preached more frequently, or held more meetings. Perhaps it is true that he has held enough meetings, and the people have had quite enough sermons, but there might have been an improvement in the spirit of the meetings, and in the sermons, too. Some ministers might do more in reality if they did less in appearance. A Bristol Quaker-- and Quakers are very shrewd men--years ago stepped into an ale-house and called for a quart of beer. The beer frothed up, and the measure was not well filled. The friend said to the landlord, 'How much trade art thou doing?' 'Oh,' he answered, 'I draw ten butts of beer a month.' 'Do thee know how thee might draw eleven butts?' 'No, Sir; I wish I did.' 'I will tell thee, friend; thee can do it by filling thy pots.' To any brother who says, 'I do not know how I can preach more
gospel than I do, for I preach very often,' I would reply, 'You need not preach oftener, but fill the sermons fuller of gospel.' The Saviour at the marriagefeast said: 'Fill the water-pots with water.' Let us imitate the servants, of whom we read, 'They filled them up to brim.' Let your discourses be full of matter, sound, gracious and condensed. Certain preachers suffer from an awful flux of words; you can scarcely spy out the poor little straw of an idea which has been hurried down an awful Ganges or Amazon of words. Give the people plenty of thoughts, plenty of Scriptural, solid doctrine, and deliver it in a way which is growingly better, every day better, every year better, that God may be more glorified, and sinners may more readily learn the way of salvation. I shall now commend to you for the perfecting of your ministry five things, which should be in you and abound. You remember the passage which says, 'Salt, without prescribing how much.' There is no need for limiting the quantity of any of the matters now commended to you. Here they are --light, fire, faith, life, love. Their number is five. You may count them on your fingers; their value is inestimable; grasp them with firm hand, and let them be carried in your hearts. I commend to you most earnestly the acquisition and distribution of light. To that end we must first get the light. Get light even
of the commonest order, for all light is good. Education upon ordinary things is valuable, and I would stir up certain loitering brethren to make advance in that direction. Many among you entered the college with no education whatever; but when you left it you had learned enough to have formed the resolution to study with all your might, and you have carried it out. I wish that all had done so. It is a great advantage to a minister to commence his public life in a small village where he can have time and quiet for steady reading; that man is wise who avails himself of the golden opportunity. We ought not only to think of what we can not do for God, but of what we may yet be able to do if we improve ourselves. No man should ever dream that his education is complete. I know that my friend, Mr. Rogers, though he has passed his 80th year, is still a student, and perhaps has more of the true student spirit about him now than ever. Will any of the younger sort sit down in self-content? We shall continue to learn even in heaven, and shall still be looking deeper and deeper into the abyss of divine love; it were ill to talk of perfect knowledge here below. If a man says, 'I am fully equipped for my work, and need learn no more; I have moved here after having been three years in the last place, and I have quite a stock of sermons, so that I am under
no necessity to read any more,' I would say to him, 'My dear friend, the Lord give you brains, for you talk like one who is deficient in that department.' A brain is a very hungry thing indeed, and he who possesses it must constantly feed it by reading and thinking, or it will shrivel up or fall asleep. It is the child of the house-leech, and it crieth evermore, 'Give, give.' Do not starve it. If such mind-hunger never happens to you, I suspect you have no mind of any consequence. But, brethren, see to it that you have in a seven-fold degree light of a higher kind. You are to be, above all things, students of the Word of God. This, indeed, is a main point of your avocation. If we do not study Scripture and those books that will help us to understand theology, we are but wasting time while we pursue other researches. We should judge him to be a foolish fellow who, while preparing to be a physician, spent all his time in studying astronomy. There is a connection of some kind between stars and human bones; but a man could not learn much or surgery from Arcturus or Orion. So there is a connection between every sience and religion, and I would advise you to obtain much general knowledge; but universal imformation will be a poor substitute for a special and prayerful study of the Scriptures, and of the doctrines contained in the
revelation of God. We are to study men and our own hearts; we ought to sit as disciples in the schools of providence and experience. Some ministers grow fast because the Great Teacher chastens them sorely, and the chastening is sanctified; but others learn nothing by their experience, they blunder out of one ditch into another, and learn nothing by their difficulties but the art of creating fresh ones. I suggest to you all the prayer of a Puritan, who, during a debate, was observed to be absorbed in writing. His friends thought he was taking notes of his opponent's speech, but when they got hold of his paper, they found nothing but these words, 'More light, Lord! More light, Lord!' Oh, for more light from the great Father of lights! Let not this light be only that of knowledge, but seek for the light of joy and cheerfulness. There is power in a happy ministry. A lugubrious face, a mournful voice, a languor of manner--none of these commend us to our hearers; especially do they fail to attract the young. Certain strange minds find their happiness in misery, but they are not numerous. I once had a letter from one who told me that he came to the Tabernacle, but as soon as he entered he felt it could not be the house of God because there were so many present, and 'Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there he that find
it.' When he looked at me he felt sure that I was unsound, for I should not look so cheerful in the face, neither should I be so bulky in person, if I belonged to the tired people of God. Worst of all, when he looked round upon the congregation and saw their happy countenances, he said to himself, these people know nothing about the depravity of their hearts or the inward struggles of believers. Then he informed me that he wended his way to a very small chapel, where he saw a minister who looked as if he had been in the furnace, and though there were but eight persons present, they all looked so depressed that he felt quite at home.
The wise farmer will not only have a good garden and small fruit plantation, but will also plan to furnish as nearly as possible all the provisions for the family. Eggs and poultry of the very best can be had in the greatest abundance. Butter, milk and cream of the best quality, and always fresh and good, can be had in unlimited amounts, and these are costly luxuries in the city, and found in abundance and perfection only on the tables of the wealthy. Then the family meats can be home produced, for pork fed for lean is both wholesome and palatable and can be cured and kept the entire year. Fresh
IN THE AUDITORIUM AT LONDON, IN 1894.
beef can be had by exchanging with neighbors all winter, and can be dried for summer use; and an occasional lamb during the year will give variety to the home furnished meats. It seems to me to be one lame place in farm management that so many farmers buy at the groceries that which might be produced at half the cost and of far better quality at home. Too many farmers stop at the production of wheat, corn and grass, and when, as at present, wheat is fifty cents a bushel, pay the price of an acre of wheat for what they might have produced on twenty square rods. The wise farmer will produce a surplus of such things as his grocer will buy and sell him enough, so that at his monthly settlments the balance will be in his own favor, rather than in that of the grocer.
Even a small farm will furnish an abundance of family supplies, which often will be worth to the farmer more than eight per cent on the taxable value of the farm. I know a case in which the owner of a farm containing sixty acres of tillable land and thirty acres of pasture, kept an account of his sales, and made a yearly estimate of what the farm furnished his family for a series of years, and as this man was engaged in other work and hired all his farm work done, he could tell just what it cost to produce his crops. The statement rendered was for an average of ten
years. The farm was managed with reference to first supplying the family wants, and then to meet the labor expense and make a profit. Mixed farming was followed, and the sales were from fruit, potatoes, Irish and sweet, bay, clover, seed, a moderate amount of dairy and poultry products, pigs, an occasional cow, horse or mule, wheat, etc. The farm, tools and teams were valued on the tax duplicate at $3,500, but he made his estimate on a basis of a valuation of $4,000. For the ten years the average cash sales from this farm were $650. The average cost of labor $330, and this included board, for the help boarded themselves. This, deducted from the cash received, left $320, which is just eight per cent on the investment. He claimed, however, that this was less than half of his profit, and gave the following estimate of what the farm furnished his family each year:
The vegetable garden can be made the most attractive spot on the farm, and by far the most profitable, as under wise management a fourth of an acre of land will produce what will cost in the market more than $100 a year, and give a succession of choice, fresh vegetables from April to November, and the cellar stocked for winter. If the family is large, I would advise that a half acre be prepared for a garden spot, rather than less. Locate the home garden as convenient as possible to the house. This will save many steps, as for five months of the year something will be used from the garden every day, and the work can be done at odd moments without the loss of time necessary if one must go a long distance to the garden. Besides, a neat, well-kept garden is pleasant for the wife to look upon as she works in her kitchen. My garden comes to within twenty feet of the kitchen door, and I would not be willing to have it farther away. I prefer to locate the garden on land slightly sloping to the east or south, but no water should be allowed to flow over it from adjoining land. It should be thoroughly under-drained; nothing will pay better, and I would advise three-inch tile drains every thirty feet, or even closer, if the land is very heavy. Make it rich, if you are starting new and the land has not been manured before.
I would plow under a coat of manure, and then top dress after it was plowed, and after that give a light top dressing each year. On thoroughly drained land it pays to plow in the fall, and then, when the land dries off in the spring, a good harrowing with Acme disk or spring-tooth harrow, will give a perfect seed bed. It is wise to locate the garden on loamy, black land, if possible, as it is warmer and earlier than the light-colored clay soils; and if it must be located on a heavy clay spot, it will often pay to draw sand on it to temper it, and it will be a great help to occasionally grow a crop of clover and turn under on a part of the garden, as no other crop will so favorably affect the mechanical condition of the land, and it will add humus and nitrogen to the soil. The most important thing to be done is to get the garden clear of weed seed. This will reduce the labor of cultivating more than half, and add greatly to the appearance of the garden. The rule must be that no weed shall ever be allowed to go to seed in the garden. This is not a difficult rule to carry out, and after a few years brings its own reward. As a help to this, plant such crops as mature at the same time adjacent to each other, and as soon as they are past use, remove them and work the land thoroughly and plant something else. It pays to keep the land at work all summer growing useful crops, but
never pays to grow weed seed. For example: Early peas, lettuce, spinach and radishes are all past use in June, and about nine farmers out of ten leave this land to grow weeds for the rest of the summer. I plant these four early crops beside each other, and as soon as they are past use, clear the land and put in some later crop, such as late tomatoes, cabbage, sweet corn, beans, etc., etc. Many farmers do not know what crops will endure frost, and what will not. The following are all hardy, and we plant them just as early as our under-drained, fall-plowed land can be worked in the spring: Beets, lettuce, spinnach, onions, cress, celery, cabbage, radishes and peas, may all be planted early, and will not be injured if the ground feezes hard after they are planted, and slightly after they are up.
The first thing we use from the garden in the spring is rhubarb, early in April, and about the 20th of April we begin using asparagus, and continue until peas are in use, which is early in June. Lettuce, radishes, spinnach and cress are in use the first, and later we have a constant supply and succession of vegetables in great variety and abundance, and the garden furnishes fully half of our living. We plant peas about four times, which gives us a succession from the 1st of June till August. We plant the small early varieties of sweet corn in April, and continue to
plant in two or three weeks until July 4th, which gives us green corn for nearly one hundred successive days. Of small fruits, a few square rods in each of the following will furnish a succession for many weeks: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants and grapes. A small plot of each, well cared for, will give better results than twice as much neglected. Attention to these things will enable the farmer to enjoy in abundance luxuries which others who earn their living by their labor, and are nearly of the same means as the farmer, must use sparingly.
This is pre-eminently the business age. Never before have commercial schemes and undertakings assumed such vast proportions. Never before has the spirit of business permeated every avenue and relation of life as it does today. Business is king, and the man of affairs is to-day the moving figure on the world's stage. He has reduced commercial interests to a science, and has so advanced competition that high pressure is the rule, and unremitting watchfulness the price not only of success, but also of self-protection.
Every one is, sooner or later, swept into relations with this modern spirit of business. The day has gone by when men or women can, without
inevitable disaster, disregard the necessity or sufficient knowledge of how to transact ordinary business affairs. The constantly enlarging sphere of woman in modern days is making it increasingly important for them, as well as for men, to understand the forms and the processes of commercial life.
In the following pages the most important and the most commonly used of these forms are given, and in brief and ordinary language is also given a comprehensive explanation of the technical terms used in commercial law and in ordinary business affairs, to which is added a chapter on the wrong use of words. Among the subjects treated of are banking, including checks and promissory notes, days of grace in the different States, demand, payments, protest, guaranty and the presumptions of law, partnerships, including the relations and powers of partners, articles of partnership and dissolution of the relation. Special attention has been paid to the essentials of contracts, and to the requirements of the statute of frauds. Agency, special and general, powers of attorney, wills, duties of executors, deeds, and the rights of married women are also important matters which are here explained. The last mentioned subject is of especial importance to women, and includes the provisions of law in force in the several States of the Union in respect to this subject.
The experienced man of affairs will find these pages a convenient reference as to many points which he is apt to forget, and the novice will find herein an introduction to all the ordinary terms and transactions of business life.
I employed a teacher from Union, South Carolina, to teach in the Latta University. He came to the school and told me that he had shipped his house hold goods to Raleigh, N. C., on the Southern Railroad. He had taught school a week or more, and his goods failed to come. I wrote up to Union, S. C., to find out what was the matter. The Sheriff said he held the goods for non-payment of a note given by the said teacher. I sent a check to the Sheriff and paid the claim. I told the Sheriff, after he received his money, to see that the goods were shipped to Raleigh at once. The goods yet remained in the depot a week longer. I then wrote to the ticket agent and asked him what was the reason he failed to ship the goods. He said in reply that the railroad did not allow him to ship goods of that kind unless the freight was prepaid. I was satisfied that if the goods had been on the Seaboard road that they would have been shipped just as soon as I
notified the freight agent, and told him I would give them a check when the goods arrived.
I was very much gratified to know that the agent of the Southern road had the same confidence in me that the Seaboard agent had. I telephoned the agent at Raleigh, and told him to have the goods shipped, and I would give him a check when they arrived. In two days after I notified the agent, the goods arrived in the city of Raleigh, and I gave him a check for the goods, as I promised.
Little Falls, April 24.
SIR:--When in New York last fall, I called on Ella Wheeler Wilcox at her home on Fifteenth street. The "Negro question" was being much discussed there owing to the visit of Booker Washington to the White House, and his dining with the President. I was explaining to Mrs. Wilcox a theory I had for the solution of the Negro problem, and also the so-called servant question. The result of this conversation was the article writteen by Mrs. Wilcox, which I enclose, and which was published in The Evening Journal of November 11, 1901. I afterwards wrote out my ideas in more detail, intending to
have them published. To-day I was told by a friend who knew of my thoughts on this subject that an exact reproduction of my way for solving these questions had appeared in The Commoner of a recent date. I have not seen the article, but wishing to go on record as having an original and practical solution for the most important questions, and believing that the article will be of interest to your readers, I am enclosing it to you, with a request that you give it space in your esteemed paper, and am,
Very truly yours,
PHILO W. CASLER.
Mrs. Wilcox's article in Evening Journal, November 11, 1901:
"Mr. P. W. Casler, of Little Falls, N. Y., presents an excellent idea of the solution of the Negro question. He proposes that all the philanthropic people of both North and South unite in establishing training schools and industrial institutions where the colored people shall be taught how to work. This will solve both the Negro and the servant problems. It seems strange that no one has thought of it before in all these thirty odd years since the close of the Civil War. If the money which has been expended on useless and worse than useless efforts, in the majority of cases, to make the colored people self sustaining, had established cooking
schools, sewing schools and agricultural schools, where every branch of industry was taught systematically, what a perfected condition domestic service would be in to-day! What cooks, maids, waitresses, hair dressers, gardeners, butlers, coachmen and men and women of all work we would now be able to obtain from such institutions! We could, by this time, have supplied the whole country, and even foreign lands, with trained domestics born to serve-- and taught how to do it. Not long ago I received a most pathetic letter from a colored girl who had been educated just sufficiently to make her feel unfit for domestic service and unprepared for any other occupation. Besides, her color barred her from the benefits the education had been intended to bestow. She begged me to advise her, which I was unable to do. The only suggestion I could make was for her to use her education in making herself an exemplary domestic, but not having been trained in domestic labor, the advice would have been useless. There are thousands of young colored women to-day in this same situation, owing to the mistaken ideas of kindness and the impossible ideas of progress of Northern philanthropists. It is not too late to begin anew and establish an industrial academy where cooks and housekeepers shall be trained to purchase materials with wisdom, and use them with taste and
economy; where nurse maids shall be taught the rudiments of the kindergarten, and where ladies' maids may learn manicuring and hairdressing and massage. I venture to assert that such an institution would, in fifteen years' time, become famous the world over, and to be a graduate of it would be the colored man's and woman's greatest pride.
"Solutions of the two important questions, the Negro question of the South and the servant question of the North, has been sought for so diligently, and the questions have been the subjects of so much discussion, it is surprising that no one as yet has seen a practical and desirable solution can be found for both questions by educating the Negroes of the South to be the ideal servants they are capable of being for the positions in the North where good servants are so greatly needed and so difficult to find.
"That the Negro, male or female, when properly trained, is an ideal servant, no one that has had experience with them will dispute. In the North we see them as porters on sleeping cars, head waiters in the hotels, and female attendants in our best theatres. In these public places everyone who reads this will have noticed the perfect service they render, uniformly satisfactory
to all with whom they are brought in contact. Neither white man nor white woman could take the place of the porter on the sleeping cars and give such entire satisfaction. The colored people are the only class we have in this country who are by nature suited to service. Recognize this fact, and make the conditions such that service will be acceptable and desirable to them, and they will gladly become the servants they are capable of being, and the servant and Negro questions will be solved. The way to do this is to do for service what the training schools connected with our hospitals have done for nursing. Give it the dignity of a profession, and train the Negroes for proficient servants.
"Twenty-five or thirty years ago nursing was in the same chaotic state as domestic service is to-day. If one wanted a nurse, it was the matter of hunting up some woman generally past middle age who knew no more about scientific nursing as now understood, than do the colored race of the South now know about scientific housekeeping. It was considered demeaning to be a nurse. No one was proud of the calling. The Sarah Gamp type was the top-notch of the occupation. They knew more about taking care of number one than taking temperature, pulse, or respiration, and keeping an hourly record of symptoms and treatment, giving massage, using antiseptics
or anæsthetics. To-day we are willing that our daughters or sisters should belong to this noble, useful profession, which has made sickness almost a comfort or luxury, and no nurse is ashamed of her occupation. Many among them belong to families who would have thought it beneath one of their number, and particularly indelicate for a young woman, to become a professional nurse before the training school gave dignity and responsibility to the calling. Now we have nurses of education and refinement. Nearly all are young, because they make such good wives they are not allowed to grow old in their profession. Dignity is being given to nursing as I write by some of the ladies of the best English families who propose to form a worldwide federation of nurses.
All that has been done for nursing and nurses can be done for service and Negroes. Make service a profession, establish training schools where colored students of both sexes can be carefully trained and graduated as competent servants. Their pay, duties, privileges, habits and conduct regulated and defined. Provide them with a certificate of excellence, to be renewed each year, making a complete record of service, becoming more and more valued with each renewal. Make the penalty for failure to live up to the rules and requirements forfeiture of the
certificate and the withdrawal of the support of the school, which would mean that if a position were obtained at all it would be at a reduced rate of wages, and the offender would be forced back to the schools to commence over again, if worthy of a new trial. This would weed out the incompetents and elevate the character of the profession.
"There would be an unlimited demand for these graduates from the better class of employers, both North and South, and we would soon have a class of servants superior to those of any country. The Negroes would then be in demand, the congestion of the colored race in the South would be relieved. They would be distributed among our Northern homes, brought under the influence of the white people, and would be filling the niche they are best adapted to fill, in a way that would bring them credit and pride. They would be earning good pay, would be a necessary, respected, self-respecting class of citizens, able to support their own preachers, teachers, doctors and lawyers from those who might aspire to these professions in their own race. Communities of a better class of Negroes than any we now know would then grow up in all our Northern cities, educated in those useful domestic arts which would make them indispensible, as trained nurses are now indispensible to our physicians in serious cases.
"Before the war there was no Negro question, as we now understand it. Every Negro had his or her place, where they were needed and valued. Negroes were in demand, useful members of the community. It is only when there is a demand for them again that the Negro question will be solved. They can not for generations, if ever, mix with the whites as equals; our Northern mills, stores and offices are not open to them as to the whites, and may never be; but as trained servants, clean, skilled, reliable, efficient, there is not a Northern home where servants are needed that would not welcome them, and schools which could supply help of this kind would be flooded with applications for graduates. These schools should all be uniform in their code of instruction, examination and requirements, and, as suggested before, keep in touch with the graduate at all times, and create an advancing standard of excellence.
"Let it be once understood that after a certain standard of education in the primary schools had been attained, the students would be advanced to departments where thorough training for service would be given, and that the next step would be a highly remunerative position, and the schools would be filled with those who would be anxious to qualify themselves for an honorable and assured independent future, where they would be in
a position to do the greatest good for themselves and their race, where their merit would be the measure of their success, where they would be considered a boon and a blessing to the community instead of a blot and blight."
A few names of the warm supporters of the Latta University:
Mr. Charles Parker, Meridian, Conn.; Mr. M. E. Swift, Mr. William Brooks, Mr. J. Everett Conn, Mr. Edwin C. Harrington, Mr. J. Mossman, Benjamin K. Focht, Mr. J. P. Grossnor, Mr. S. Rein, Jesse G. Hawley Carrolle, George A. Zoogan, Messrs. Doherty and Wadsworth, Mr. Jno. H. Hopper, Foster M. Voorhees, J. M. Williams, F. P. Comstock, Janor Thunghort, R. T. Harris, J. R. Park, Jr., R. S. A. Twood, Thomas M. Brown, John I. Brown, Wm. J. Lindsey, Dr. M. Jackson, M. D., Edward B. Hodge, J. W. Wash, W. H. Slep, Geo. Resse & Co., G. M. Lowell, A. S. Wallace, J. R. Broon, Bridgeport Hydrantic Co., Edwin Hallor, W. L. Wovilbun, W. M. Brooks, J. E. Goffith, T. G. Burnham, Edward Brooks, C. B. M. Cankey, L. A. Gorjan, P. W. Shaffer estate, Jesse G. Haroley, G. R. Brown, A. F. Huston, Dr. W. F. Blake, Hugo Henry, C. A. Daniel, Jesse G. Hawley, C. P. Bullard, W. H. Lyon, John M. Marion, C. E. Parker, New Buryport; F. R. Cooley, R. T. Puntiss, W.
P. Blake, W. L. Woodbun, C. R. Hall, J. B. Right, Charles D. Houston, Charles Jacobus, Dr. W. Peal, R. T. Puntus, G. W. Crintus & Co., J. C. Brown, J. Everette Lane, Charles A. Chase, G. H. Cutting & Co., Adew. Huge, John M. Warren, Geo. F. Brooks, John W. Harring, The Mossman Wood Turning Co., Mrs. Samuel Patterson, W. H. C. Campbell, A. S. Wallace, D. Puique, Geo. M. Harris, W. W. Sherman, Chieser, Tweedy & Co., D. L. Goff, Royal Weaving Company, M. F. Kinyon, E. S. Ledanes, L. L. Pain, F. G. Perry, John S. Fray & Co., John S. Wolfe, G. H. McDowell, N. B. Powers, George A. Gorgas, John L. Rubil, Austin L. Loves, Clarence C. Day, T. W. Lane, W. L. Wood, Nangatuck; E. T. Norton, McGowan & McGowan, T. E. Neins, J. W. Harrington, H. E, Clap, Farwell Worsted Mills, Eagle Dye Works, Royal Weaving Company, Pawtucket, R. I.; Riley, French & Cliffon, R. S. A. Wood, C. S. Tappau, Clothing; Rumford Chemical Works, Raynerd Myers, Edward Adams, J. L. Clough, William T. Gable & Co., McKeesport Business College.
We are preparing to build several large brick buildings. A number of friends have sent checks to the institution to defray the current expenses. The money was very acceptable.