The work which I have described she did every year that I was at Hampton. As soon as it was learned that he was not an American Negro, all the signs of indignation disappeared. They seemed happy only when they were helping the students in some manner. It was soon learned that he possessed considerable education, and he was engaged by the coloured people to teach their first school. I have no idea, as I have stated elsewhere, who my grandmother was.
In 1881 he was selected to head the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, a new teacher-training school for blacks, which he transformed into a thriving institution, later named Tuskegee University. There was practically no apparatus in the schoolhouses, except that occasionally there was a rough blackboard. One of the things that impressed itself upon me deeply, the second year, was the unselfishness of the teachers. In the darkness of the mine I noiselessly crept as close as I could to the two men who were talking. He also owned or financially supported many black newspapers. Several days passed before anything more was heard about the matter. At the time I went to Alabama the coloured people were taking considerable interest in politics, and they were very anxious that I should become one of them politically, in every respect.
For some minutes there was great rejoicing, and thanksgiving, and wild scenes of ecstasy. If I had been compelled to pay the seventy dollars for tuition, in addition to providing for my board, I would have been compelled to leave the Hampton school. After I had worked in the salt-furnace for some time, work was secured for me in a coal-mine which was operated mainly for the purpose of securing fuel for the salt-furnace. Sometimes, after I had secured some one to teach me at night, I would find, much to my disappointment, that the teacher knew but little more than I did. Cleveland I became impressed with his simplicity, greatness, and rugged honesty. While speaking of changes in public sentiment, I recall that about ten years after the school at Tuskegee was established, I had an experience that I shall never forget.
All the other passengers except myself were whites. During this period not a few coloured people lost their lives. At that time he was paralyzed to the extent that he had lost control of his body and voice in a very large degree. When I reached there, tired, hungry, and dirty, it was late in the night. The work was not easy in either place, but in all my teaching I never taught pupils who gave me such genuine satisfaction as these did. For some time she did not refuse to admit me, neither did she decide in my favour, and I continued to linger about her, and to impress her in all the ways I could with my worthiness. In meeting men, in many places, I have found that the happiest people are those who do the most for others; the most miserable are those who do the least.
It was hard for me to understand how any individuals could bring themselves to the point where they could be so happy in working for others. I worked long enough to earn money for my breakfast, and it seems to me, as I remember it now, to have been about the best breakfast that I have ever eaten. Cleveland has not only shown his friendship for me in many personal ways, but has always consented to do anything I have asked of him for our school. Never did I receive an order with more delight. The things that they disliked most, I think, were to have their long hair cut, to give up wearing their blankets, and to cease smoking; but no white American ever thinks that any other race is wholly civilized until he wears the white man's clothes, eats the white man's food, speaks the white man's language, and professes the white man's religion. In fact, the greater part of the education I secured in my boyhood was gathered through the night-school after my day's work was done.
The schools were in session from three to five months. Later, and especially since the war, the term seems to be used wholly in a political sense - that is, to designate the counties where the black people outnumber the white. My experience with them, as well as other events in my life, convince me that the thing to do, when one feels sure that he has said or done the right thing, and is condemned, is to stand still and keep quiet. I found that this man had made a contract with his master, two or three years previous to the Emancipation Proclamation, to the effect that the slave was to be permitted to buy himself, by paying so much per year for his body; and while he was paying for himself, he was to be permitted to labour where and for whom he pleased. To meet this cash payment, as I have stated, I had just fifty cents when I reached the institution. At that time those cakes seemed to me to be absolutely the most tempting and desirable things that I had ever seen; and I then and there resolved that, if I ever got free, the height of my ambition would be reached if I could get to the point where I could secure and eat ginger-cakes in the way that I saw those ladies doing.
The slave system on our place, in a large measure, took the spirit of self-reliance and self-help out of the white people. In all my efforts to learn to read my mother shared full my ambition, and sympathized with me and aided me in every way that she could. This was my first experience in finding out what the colour of my skin meant. When freedom came, he was still in debt to his master some three hundred dollars. Suppose that some months before the opening of the Atlanta Exposition there had been a general demand from the press and public platform outside the South that a Negro be given a place on the opening programme, and that a Negro be placed upon the board of jurors of award. Judging from my personal acquaintance with Mr.
I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed. These were the men who wrote to General Armstrong for a teacher. Second, at Hampton, for the first time, I learned what education was expected to do for an individual. I had to pay a visit to each family and take a meal with each, and at each place tell the story of my experiences at Hampton. Landry Parish, Louisiana and beyond, St. On Sundays I taught two Sunday-schools, one in the town of Malden in the afternoon, and the other in the morning at a place three miles distant from Malden. Mackie, the lady principal, asking me to return to Hampton two weeks before the opening of the school, in order that I might assist her in cleaning the buildings and getting things in order for the new school year.