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Proceedings of Consultation Convention of 350 leading Colored Men of Georgia. Held in Macon, Georgia, January 25th and 26th, 1888

1888GA-proceedings-13.pdf

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11

MINUTES OF CONSULTATION CONVENTION

much on condition that you raise so much. There is no tendency towards pauperization in that, it is for the interest of every state that the people of every town and county should be educated. It is for the interest of the whole country that the people of each state be educated; and why should not the nation help the states out of the common fund? Senator Vest in his recent speech in the United States Senate, in opposition to the Blair bill, said that the "enthusiasm which represented the bill as a panacea for all the evils which affected the body politic was both monstrous and fanatical." The people should see to it that such men stay at home. In petitioning Congress for national aid to education we are only joining in with citizens, who are agitating this great question. Senator Blair said, in advocacy of his bill: "Education, physical, intellectual and moral is the primal necessity. The fathers and founders of our government thought that a republic could stand only on the virtue and intelligence of its citizens." President Monroe said in 1870: "Let us, by alwise and constitutional measures, promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving liberties." The lamented Gerfield said: "All the constitutional power of the nation and of the state should be summoned to meet the danger by the saving influence of universal education." In a memorial to Congress, signed by Dr. Straiby, Dr. Hartzel, Dr. Moorehouse, Dr. Sheldon Jackson, Dr. J. L. M. Curry, agent of the Peabody fund, Prof. Painter, of Fisk University, and Prof. Armstrong, of Hampton Institute, they say that there should be help for the common schools. The safety of the republic is the supreme law of the land. They state to Congress that the help should be immediate and not remote; the fortunes of war and the necessity of legislative action, have made citizens of a large mass of ignorant men, whose votes are to shape, for weal or woe, the character of our laws. Education alone can convert this mass of ignorance an element of danger into one of the enlightened strength and safety. The same committee says the power to grant national aid to remove illiteracy is co-ordinate with the power that enfranchised the illiterate voter. Our late state school commissioner, the distinguished Dr. Gustavus J Orr, said before the United States Senate: Georgia has a school population of 434,444 and 198,000 of that number are colored, 86,000 colored children were in school that year, leaving more than 100,000 colored children out of school. Dr. Orr paid a glowing tribute to the colored man, for the progress made in the accumulation of property since emancipation and stated that Georgia for one was unable to educate her people, and that he believed the education of the masses to be greater than questions of commerce, than questions of currency, than questions of tariff, than questions of constitutional law; greater than any question that statesmanship will have to contend with and settle, because we make the people and without the people we can do nothing else." Many of our Southern Senators favor federal aid to education.

Senator Lamar, who has been recently elevated to the Supreme Bench, said in favor of this bill: "I regard it as the logical sequence and the practical continuance of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. It is fraught with unspeakable benefots to the entire population of the south, white and black." Senator Garland said: "I implore all sides to come together and vote for this bill to extirpate illiteracy" We should respect and honor the men who are interested in our progress and elevation irrespective of party; and we should remember that many of our Southern Senators and Congressmen are our true friends. Senator Pugh, of Alabama believed the subject of national aid to education be the most important measure before the Senate. Senator Vance, of North Carolina said: "I shall vote for the bill." Senator Brown, of Georgia said: "Without education the voter cannot be a safe intelligent voter. I am therefore very clearly of the opinion that there is no constitutional difficulty in the way of the passage of the bill." There are other Senators, such as Senator Jones, of Louisiana, George, of Mississippi, Ransom, of North Carolina, Jones and Call, of Florida, Riddleberger, of Virginia, Hampton, of South Carolina who said as a citizen, a patriot and a Senator, he would vote for national aid. Then there are Northern advocates: Senators Blair, Edmunds, Evarts, Sherman, Hoar, Miller and others. Is it not our duty as representatives of an oppressed people to urge our representative in Congress to do all in their power to secure an appropriation for national aid to education? And has not the time fully come for the Negro to rise from his long sleep and see about his interests? Does not our own professions, the claims of suffering humanity, the moral and intellectual culture of our people, and all that is sacred and dear to us call upon us to work, pray, talk, preach, and vote for

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