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Proceedings of the Colored National Convention, held in Franklin Hall, Sixth Street, Below Arch, Philadelphia, October 16th, 17th and 18th, 1855.
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Committee are of the opinion, that to teach even a few of the trades, much more will be required than will be easily within our reach, and for which a fair return will be received. Besides it will be conceded, that unless a youth acquire a profession congenial to his mental and physical abilities, and to his tastes, the trade thus acquired will avail him but little. For says an author of some note, "The proper choice of a profession is one of the most important steps in life." If but few trades can be taught, owing to limited capital or other causes, this institution can be of use but to few; for if within the circle of professions taught in the institution, a pupil can find none suited to his peculiar demands, it would be worse than useless, and a loss of time and means, to endeavor to acquire one in which his nature forbids he should excel.
Thus we believe that our demand for a variety of employments, is only limited by the trades themselves.
Again, the plan of an industrial school combines the mental culture with mechanical training, which we conceive to be in part going over the ground already occupied. We have institutions of learning of the first stamp open to us, where the rising generation can draw from the fountains of knowledge side by side with the most favored of the land, and at the same time by their contact and influence help materially to do away with that deep-rooted prejudice of which we so bitterly complain. The Industrial School being necessariIy (if not in theory, yet in fact) a complexional institution, must foster distinctions, and help to draw more definitely (so far as educational privileges are involved) those lines of demarkation which we have labored and still are endeavoring to eradicate.
The question will also arise, is it possible in the period allotted for a collegiate course, to afford time sufficient for the acquirement of a trade in such a thorough manner as to enable the learner to compete successfully with those who have been trained by the usual method? The time generally considered necessary to learn a mechanic art, is from three to five years,
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