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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the State Colored Educational Convention Held at Frankfort, Kentucky, August 22, 1877
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6 PROCEEDINGS OF THE
MR. PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS OF THE CONVENTION: I am in favor of the organization of a Colored Teachers' State Educational Association for several reasons. And, first, I advocate it because of the importance of the great work of educating the people of this Commonwealth, with whom I am identified nationally and socially; and because such an organization would, in my judgment, diffuse a spirit of sympathy and co-operation which would render more efficient and thorough the progress of education among the colored people in our State. Wherever, in any community, an opportunity for acquiring an education is afforded, it is universally acknowledged to be the duty of the citizens of that community to avail themselves of that opportunity. Hence it follows that the judgment which enlightened humanity has passed upon ignorance is that it is a "malum in se." Since it is true that ignorance is an evil in itself, it follows that it is an evil still, it matters not in whom it may be found, nor what the cause of its existence may be.
But, lest my utterance be misunderstood, l will go further and say, that ignorance in those who have had the opportunity of obtaining knowledge is not only an evil, but it is a crime, and its possessor deserves the punishment which is almost sure to follow. Ignorance in those who have not had an opportunity for acquiring an education is still an evil, but not a crime with which they are chargeable. The sin of their ignorance lies not at their doors. For those who have been and are still thus unfortunate I have heartfelt, sincere, and unbounded sympathy, for I know that there are many pleasures which they can never feel—many flowers in God's intellectual garden whose beauty they can never see, whose fragrance they can never inhale; many fruits growing on the vast trees of knowledge whose sweetness: they can never taste. But I rejoice that the prospect is so bright for the coming of that day when in every county, township, and village of this beautiful and rich Commonwealth the portals of knowledge shall be opened; when an opportunity for acquiring a knowledge of the elements of a good English education shall be afforded to the humblest child of the State; when from Kentucky as a centre to earth's remotest bounds there shall spread the light of a new and more exalted life in the world of mind and heart.
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