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Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.

1899VA-State-Hampton_Proceedings (77).pdf

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76

In outlining any plan of operation the main object of which is to be the uplifting of the colored race, it is vitally necessary that every effort be made to embody in the plan such features as would in a measure enlist the sympathy and support of local interests, and draw public opinion into line with the movement.

In other words—make farming in the South so advantageous that hod-carrying in the North will, by comparison, lose some of its attractiveness—permit the Negro to acquire property, and with property, character—place him in a position to obtain through his own labor enough nutritious food to strengthen and sustain life—teach him the benefits of co-operation and the value of a dollar—and give him so much of interest and importance to look after in his own affairs that he will be less inclined to regard political power as essential to his betterment of the position. In short, reduce this end of the problem to a plain business proposition, and take the very lien system which is now dragging down multitudes to conditions of utter wretchedness and despair and make that same system the means of their deliverance.

To carry out such a project successfully would necessitate a carefully empowered organization, conducted on strict business principles, formulated upon a comprehensive scale and upon such lines as would warrant the admission of the most ignorant as participants without danger of serious imposition. As a suggestion for such a plan the following outline is submitted, with the thought that should it prove successful similar organizations could be formed throughout the various states in large sections of which agriculture is conducted chiefly by the Negro race. And while it may be adjudged as more than probable that applications for admission under the plan will be made principally by colored men, there shall be no such limitation, and the white man, if it appears to his advantage, will have the same opportunity as the Negro of participating therein.

PROCURE A LEGISLATIVE CHARTER FOR A

"CO-OPERATIVE LAND ASSOCIATION,"

WHICH ASSOCIATION SHALL HAVE TWO CLASSES OF MEMBERS:—

THE ACTIVE MEMBERS, AND

THE SUBSCRIBING MEMBERS,

and shall be governed and managed by the Board of seven Trustees therein named, who shall hold continuous succession, and the power to fill vacancies. The said Trustees shall choose by ballot the necessary officers.

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