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Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.

1899VA-State-Hampton_Proceedings (61).pdf

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60

and the teacher can easily make their history and manufacture a part of geography, history, mathematics, civics, etc. Through the right presentation of the subject should come sympathy with a respect for labor.

"Every task, however simple, sets the soul that does it free."

——————

NEGRO BUSINESS ENTERPRISES OF HAMPTON.

BY HARRIS BARRETT.

If I were requested to give a name in the present age—a name that would indicate the influence that predominates in our national life, I would choose the designation, "The Business Age." Almost all occupations, trades, and professions bow at the shrine of business; there are those who see in this a menace to our government and institutions, but this I will not attempt to discuss. Do we contemplate war with a foreign nation? No steps can be taken till the question is decided as to what effects such a war will have upon business; questions of morality, of the righteousness of such a war, of national dignity, are all subordinate to the settlement of that question. Having declared such a war, would we finance it? Then we must appeal to the magnates of Wall Street and other centres to float our bonds. Would we clothe the army we put into the field? A Wanamaker or an Ogden must be consulted; and in order to feed the army we are at the mercy of the Armours and Swifts of our country.

The necessaries of life, our rights, our pleasures, and almost our very existence are in the hands of the business men of to-day; we need only to look around us for a verification of this assertion and however unpleasant the fact may be, it is nevertheless true, that, that group or race of people who control any considerable part of the business(and thus incidentally the wealth) of our country are those who will come the nearest to being accorded the privileges and rights due to citizens under our government.

It is here, it seems to me, the Negro is weakest; and almost largely because he is not and never has been an appreciable factor in the business life of various communities in which he lives or in the business life of the country at large, that he pleads, implores, demands in vain that he be accorded many of the commonest rights accorded to other people without question.

The reasons for the Negro's failure to take a higher place in the business world are not far to seek. It has taken many centuries

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