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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.
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with them; and so long as they are degraded we are degraded. If the parents cannot or will not bring up their children so that they can become good citizens, then it is clearly the duty of someone else to look after them. In the Virginia penitentiary there are 1259 colored persons to 287 whites; not one of the female prisoners is white, but of the whole number, 66 are colored women and girls. This shows that our homes are not what they should be; we must make home attractive to the young people, and keep them out of the streets. For those who have already joined the criminal classes, a place is provided where they can be reclaimed. In Hanover County stand ready and waiting 1382 acres of land, and large buildings with the proper equipment for teaching agriculture and the trades; let us see to it that this preparation is not in vain, that the children are there who ought to be there, and that the work is carried to a successful issue. Do not leave the matter to be attended to by white people alone. It is for us to take the burden upon our shoulders and push the good work forward."
Mrs. Bowser was followed by Mrs. Smythe, wife of Hon. John Smythe, who was the first to rouse the public to interest in the reformatory. Mrs. Smythe spoke of the work of the Colored Woman's League in Washington. By the efforts of this league, six kindergartens have been opened in connection with the colored public schools of that city while at the same time a normal training school for kindergartners has been maintained. The league has also lately taken up the wok of establishing day nurseries for neglected children.
PHILANTHROPY OF COLORED PEOPLE
Apropos of a remark made by a member of the conference to the effect that the $12,000 for the reformatory was "of course" the gift of a white man, Mrs. Attwell rose and said, "As long as forty years ago, Negroes in Philadelphia purchased a large tract of land for burial purposes on the cooperative plan. Also the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons in the same city, of which I am superintendent, was founded thirty-five years ago by Stephen and Harriet Smith, who gave in all $100,000 for land and buildings. Other gifts make the aggregate amount given by colored persons over $200,000. I do not in any way mean to make little of the larger sums and the devoted labors given by our white friends to this Home; but I wish to emphasize the fact that even in ante-bellum times Negroes were not only able to
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