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Proceedings of the State Conference of the colored men of Florida, held at Gainesville, February 5, 1884.

1884FL-State-Gainesville_Proceedings (13).pdf

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13

ments of the wicked that await man in the future states. He must be sobered and restored to his normal state first, which shows all the more strongly that temperance is an actual part of ministerial work. It is to be hoped that our ministry feels and rightly appreciates the weight of its responsibility as a potent factor in the advancement of civilization; and that is will spare no pains in the effort to perform its just part of that great work.

Education

The general diffusion of knowledge is one of the most powerful agencies of human progress. It enlightens the people in the more convenient methods of transacting business. It affords the benefits to be derived from the arts and literature of the world, past and present. Education leads men into channels of thought and familiarize them with the sciences, by which they become acquainted with the hidden forces of nature and enable them to turn those forces to the practical purposes of life. And it prepares men for acquiring a knowledge of those duties and responsibilities of citizenship which makes them useful members of the body politic.

Success in war depends largely upon the empowerment of a sufficient force to overcome the enemy. This is true of the alarming rate of illiteracy which the last census shows to exist in Florida. While success in dispersing it depends to a great extent upon the competency of the educators, yet it depends to a greater extent upon the employment of a sufficient number of them to do the work effectually.

The failure of the State government to provide ample facilities for this purpose constitutes a grave public grievance among us. Ours is a free government. The people are not compelled to bow at the behest of any one man, or any privileged class of men. Every man, whited and colored, is, in a measure, his own ruler, and we all unite, by means of ballot in exercising the power of sovereignty. Education is indispensable to the success of all form of government, but it is more so to a popular form of government, because experience has shown that good self-government is impossible without an intelligent and honest ballot. Hence the common school bears a most important relation to the welfare and prosperity of the commonwealth of Florida. It is the means by which education is spread among the masses, whose ballots are as effectual, under our system of government as those

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