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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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schools nor educators for the whites, at present, are in full sympathy with him; and that he must either abandon his own state of things which he finds around him, and which he is pledged to change and better, or cease to receive culture from such sources, since their whole tendency is to change him, not his condition—to educate him out of his sympathies, not to quicken and warm his sympathies, for all that is of worth to him is his elevation, and the elevation of his people.
We are fully inclined to the latter opinion. We are more than persuaded. in looking over the whole subject, that the force of circumstances compels the regulation of schools by us to supply a deficiency produced by our condition; that it should be our special aim, to so direct instructors, regulate books and libraries; in fine, the whole process of instruction to meet entirely our particular exigencies, continuing so long, only, as such exigencies exist.
Your Committee on Education will however place this subject fully before you.
But we go farther; we go beyond the school-room. We would approach the fire-side, and would remind you that something more definite must be done there, than has yet been accomplished. With all the precepts and examples of the whites before us, it is but too apparent that we have made too little progress in the fireside culture of our youth; and it is equally apparent that this neglect enters too largely into all the ramifications of our social state, affecting its present and prospective advancement. With a badly fireside trained youth, added to indifferent or objectionable school culture, such as has educated them out of their humanity, what progress, we ask, can a people expect to make, in a community like ours? From the fireside we must receive and teach the greatlessons of self-confidence, self-dependence, perseyerance, energy, and continuity. Implements such as these are more precious than rubies. They will seek for us, and make us seek for, and engage in proper callings, such as tend to elevate. They will discourage in us all such as tend to humiliate, depress, and degrade. Employments have much more to do with the moulding and stamping the character of a people than we have yet calculated for. implements such as we have just mentioned will enable us to carve out, unaided, our own road, and walk securely in it.
The possession of means itself is but second in importance to proper employments for our youth, such as mechanism, art, commerce, agriculture, &c., since these not only produce wealth, but develop also the man. Without agriculture, without mechanism, without art, without commerce, without education, without knowledge or appreciation, of the press, what can a people do? What power or influence can they wield? What progress can they make? The great gulf into which a large portion of our youth fall, and not unfrequently sink, too, beyond recovery, or even human reach, is between the school-room and their majority, so to speak,and this for the want mainly of such employments as we have just stated. Unsettled in purpose, and unstable in habits, not yet inured to proper labor, a large majority of our youth become enfeebled both in mind and body, and equally shackled in character. They have emerged from homes surrounded by so few attractions, that they
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