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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the Colored national convention, held in Rochester, July 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1853.
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22 shalt thou go" these bars of separation affect us severely, producing lethargy, depression, discouragement and seeming content--prohibiting, therefore, our ready entrance, or desire to enter into the operations of business or of fields of enterprize with that commanding spirit due to ourselves, and the age in which we live. We add very little to the great aggregate of production. As a whole, we constitute, to a very large extent, a body of consumers and nonproducers.
Even the intelligent foreigner, who, when cast upon our shore, is, at first, astonished at not finding us agriculturists, artisans, mediums of traffic-engaged only in few callings of an elevating character, soon settles down in the false conviction of our incapacity for these pursuits.
It is a too common opinion among us, that all the avenues to higher social state are closed against us, because those carved out by the whites are immeasurably closed.
We forget that we must open our own avenues, and that we must educate our own minds and the minds of our children to that end.
We forget, too, that wherever industry, tact and purpose have exhibited themselves on our part they have always been met by the same degree of favor and success from the community as any similar exhibition, as abundant evidences might be adduced to show.
We have said, that the children who cluster around the hearth stone of the colored American are illtrained; we add more : they are as yet ignorant of the uses of their own faculties, to say nothing of a knowledge of their application to specific and important measures. How intimately, therefore, is their proper education connected with our dearest relations to society.
Two distinct, yet inseparable branches of education must be undergone by our youth ere they are fitted for the work of social elevation that of the School-Room and that of the Fire-Side.
It is not our province to discuss either, briefly remarking upon each, so far only as they immedately bear upon our subject. In looking into the schoolroom, we can but approach this branch of education with some apprehensions, since the methods for the most successful culture of our children, in the opinions of many leading minds amongst us, is materially different. The two more prominent may be briefly pointed out. The one holds that no special organization for the culture of colored youth at this time are necessary; that precisely the same species of learning imparted to white youth will best serve for colored youth, that both schools and education, as at present constituted, especially for, and wholly directed by the whites, being so far superior; better training can be obtained therein than can be had in any that can be adapted to the especial wants of colored youth. On the other hand, it is held that colored youth is to be educated, so as to catch up in the great race we are running; and hence, schools must be adapted to so train him; not that he himself is so widely different from the white youth, but that the state of things which he finds around him, and which he must be qualified to change, is so widely different. The training, therefore, necessary to propel him, so that he can gain up with the whites, (as gain he must, or be utterly lost,) is to be obtained only in schools adapted to his wants; that neither
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