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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.
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education of colored children in the South, the work is only begun. Unless one visits the schools of the South he cannot conceive how great is the lack of the most ordinary education facilities, or how numerous are the disadvantages under which the teachers labor. Thousands are not reached at all, and others in such a meager way that hardly any good results can be seen from the work done.
It would be well for the conference to discuss the character of the education needed by our people in the South. How much of it shall be literary and how much industrial? We should inquire whether the results, after twenty five years, point to any special form of education as the best to be sought after. Some believe that manual training should find a place in all schools, because it goes to develop both the physical and mental nature. Others think that education should be entirely mental; but the question before us this morning is what sortof training is best for our own race in the Southland.
This conference should also express itself on the matter of proper equipment for the teacher. Let us have full and free discussion on this subject; by those who have taught in the schools, by those who have visited them; and by those who have only read about them. We want to know whether anything should be added to the general equipment of a teacher in order to fit him for this special work. In this matter of education it is important to be governed by business principles. The elements necessary for success in any business are also necessary for the success of a teacher. First we must clearly understand the work to be done; second, we must have a clear idea of the best means to be employed to do this work; and third, back of all must be a strong motive to do our work excellently well.
Again, we need suggestions as to how southern teachers can improve themselves and better their surroundings. Those who are teaching in cities in well equipped schools can have no conception of what the country teacher has to contend with. The work that moves me most is that done in backwoods districts where the teacher gets fifteen or twenty dollars a month for five months in the year, and has to board himself. He has no library, no newspapers, no person to whom he may talk about his perplexities. He is entirely divorced from anything that might help him, yet he labors on with cheer in his face if not in his heart. There are thousands of these men and women in the Southland, and there are many more woman than men. The women are
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