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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the National Conference of Colored Men of the United States, Held in the State Capitol at Nashville Tennessee, May 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1879.
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simply for want of time and room. Indeed, I regret having to treat in the same manner some fifty or more like institutions, under the auspices of Methodist. Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal friends, &c., who have been quietly though earnestly pushing the cause of education effectively among the freedmen. Add to this list some seventeen theological schools, under the auspices of various denominations, namely : Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist, and a faint idea, at least, maybe gathered respecting the opportunity of the Negro to-day over his opportunity fifteen years ago, or before freedom was proclaimed.
Material might here be found for a large volume of rare interest and great value, and I trust the day is not far distant when a colored man of ability will engage in the work of diligently gathering these rich materials, and will bring forth in a manner not only creditable to himself and race, but will also do equal credit to the scores of worthy and faithful teachers.
Doubtless the time will come when an enterprising historian will take advantage of the opportunity to honor the heroic and brave Christian men and women who have faithfully labored in this mission.
Of two other universities not to allude to would be to leave my task very incomplete. I wish now to speak of Wilberforce University, at Xenia, O., and Lincoln University, Oxford, Chester county, Pa. Wilberforce is under the general conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and chiefly since its organization has been presided over by the senior Bishop of that denomination, Rev. D. A . Payne, D. D., in the success of which his whole being has been deeply interested, and to make this institution an honor and a powerful agency to the Negro of this country, especially that it might appear that a university could be conducted under the supervision of colored professors, and well-taught students graduated there, who need not be ashamed of their Alma Mater ; and the success has been highly gratifying in this respect. The classics are taught also algebra, arithmetic, geometry, grammar, geography, composition, music, &c. While it must be admitted that it has had many head winds to encounter, it has steadily been growing in interest and popularity, and is wielding a commendable influence. Professor B. F. Lee, one of its graduates, has been president ever since the resignation of Bishop Payne.
Lastly, I must conclude my notice of the opportunity offered our people, by various fountains of learning, sustained by philanthropic benevolence, by a brief description of that unrivaled school, Lincoln University. Having been more or less acquainted with its workings for the last twenty years, I can speak unhesitatingly. My oldest son graduated there ; also two of my nephews graduated in the collegiate course and likewise in the theological. I have been personally acquainted with most, if not all, of the professors, and have had great opportunity of becoming informed about them indirectly through many of the students and graduates, and all I need say, I have the very highest esteem for Lincoln University.
This following extract of a letter from the president, Rev. J. N. Rendall, D. D., received only a few days before I left Philadelphia, will indicate precisely what ideas are held by the president and faculty with regard to educating colored students, and to my mind the argument is unanswerable :
"Our desire and aim is to give to the colored youth who come to us every advantage in education which we ourselves possess. Whatever is good for our minds is good for them. If it quickens, if it sharpens, if it refines, if it enlarges the view, they need these benefits, and have an immediate use for them. It is a great mistake to imagine that the leaders in thought and in society among the colored people only need to know a little of arithmetic and of the other common branches. These are essential, but they are not all. Society is to be organized ; churches are to be
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