Last citizen; The second school house, part one
I have taught all kinds of students. I have taught. Students white students who are just stupid. I have taught white students who are very brainy and I've taught Negro students who were stupid and Negro students who were very young. Our nation needed beyond a shadow of doubt all the manpower and all of the vocational classification. There are some negroes who can make their most complete creative contributions to society by vocational. Education becoming skilled in certain certain trades. There are other negroes who could make a more constructive contribution to society by. The highest type of academic education. I am. I am. They use have been a few excerpts from three of many discussions which have been and are continuing to rage over the question of the education of the negro. Discussions. Having the root in many instances in the presence in many of our communities of a
second schoolhouse the colored schoolhouse. Join us in taking a look at the education of Negroes. As we continue to discuss the last citizen. The last citizen the Negro in America a series of programs devoted to the extension of our knowledge of the largest minority group in the United States its problems and the problems it poses to all Americans. The last citizen is produced by Radio Station WBA a Purdue University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The discussions on the producer of the series E-W Richter and Dr. Louis Schneider professor of sociology at Purdue University. Today's program the second schoolhouse. Part one. Here now is Mr. Richter. Today we want to begin an exploration of the problems in the field of education which the Negro
faces. Those problems are of course numerous and we must be prepared to find here also the usual interaction of various elements in the situation. Perhaps particularly in a field like education it's useful to look into historical backgrounds but before we do we can't help thinking of some things that we should expect almost anyone to think of spontaneously. The question of the negro's ability and evidently raises itself again and again in these programs and I think it might be instructive for us to listen to one more relevant opinion which we shall do in a moment. I think also it might be a good idea for us to have at least some brief statement of how the negro's background today bears on the efforts of others to help him in his educational endeavors and aspirations. Good enough. Let's begin then with a general statement by Dr. Ephraem Quinn Frazier well-known sociologist and chairman of the Department of Sociology at Howard University who gives us the following reflections on ability and aspirations when
it comes to differences that have been of racial meaning. I would say this first thing I want to say when you're talking about the relative ability of Negroes and whites in the United States you must always remember that when you speak of American Negro you would speaking of a person of mixed ancestry. Probably nearly 90 percent of the so-called Negroes in the United States have white ancestry as well as Negro ancestor and 27 percent of the negroes United States have Indian ancestry. So the so-called Negro in the United States is a sum as has been called a sociological Negro and not a biological negro. And when you're making measurements of abilities you've got to there's no way of on scrambling the eggs that already scrambled to see which part of him is Negro which part is white which part is Indian
for some other. I have taught all kinds of students I have taught students white students who are stupid. I've taught white students who are very brilliant. I've taught Negro students who were stupid and Negro students who were brilliant. But aside from such superficial and obvious differences I think that this is very important in discussing the education of the negro. One must take into consideration the level of aspiration. What does one aspire to. May I take myself as an example. Well I can remember that when I finished High eighth grade I was sent to a negro in our community who was thought to be a genius. Of course I've learned later he was
to advise me whether I should take all German when I entered high school and he said since you will never. Go to college you should take German and I went to high school and took German well after I got into high school. I found out that many of my teachers didn't have any more brains than I had and didn't have any more money and they had worked their way through college so I asked myself Who said I would never go to college. So I switched and took. The pad myself from college. When I finished college I thought I would probably not going to further but then I aspired to get a master's degree then after I got a master's degree. I aspired to get a doctor's degree and by that time I had I had set no limitations to what I should aspire to. Well I think I'm typical of many negroes and their attitude towards education. The level of aspiration is an important thing I know when I was a child. There are few Negroes ever
aspired to get a doctor's degree. Now many negroes aspire to get the Ph.D. and many of them are securing the Ph.D.. Now that I have any illusions about Ph.D. I don't mean to say that. That is an important thing. Now let us take a question like. A. Problem like this wrapped. In all the time they used to have counseled us who told Negro children that there was no use in aspiring to certain jobs as an architect or engineer and so forth and Negro children just wouldn't aspire to be architects and engineers. But with the opening up of new opportunities I don't think any vocational guidance person or counselor would dare tell a negro child today not to be aspired to be an architect or not to aspire. To be an engineer. I'm only citing
this to show you that the negro's aspirations. In education all what education means to him is not. A constant factor or an isolated factor. It's a function of his social position is a function of his social world is it is related to what it means to him. And so whether they grow so aspire. Educationally they show themselves right how stupid. They are all tied up with the social matrix. In which he spends the most significant part of his living Dr Fraiser the stresses the social world of the negro the matrix in which he must operate. There seems to be a large sensitivity today to the backgrounds from which the Negro come. A good many educators appear to be so sharply aware of the need for knowledge of the social matrix on this point I think it's worth our while to listen to some words by
Dr. Jerome de Holland president of Delaware State College. Words excerpted from an address to the National Urban League convention in Omaha Nebraska and recorded in the fall of one thousand fifty eight. It has been discovered that the teaching profession usually draws its recruits from a middle class stratum of society. Fortunately or unfortunately there are many more women than male teachers. Many of these teenagers have been reared in a sheltered and protective social environment and experience great difficulty in adjusting to the environmental customs and patterns of behavior of those young people from a lower economic social state. The difficulty is multiplied when placed in an ethnic frame of reference with all of the stereotypes and generalizations racially defined with this type of background a guidance counselor may be forced to re educate
himself or herself in terms of his own individual attitudes and idea. The negro population is becoming an urban population group. The growth is even more extensive than most persons actually realize. With the suburban word trend of a large segment of the non Negro population this has meant that the Negril family has moved into areas that were in the process of deteriorating and had been mainly circumscribed to a limited housing market. They're naturally following the usual social pathological problems associated with this type of living area without adding in to more details of this environmental condition with which you are perhaps familiar. I mention this situation because of the social psychological problems resulting which have an effect upon the vocational guidance program. This means that children coming from such an environment may have a
limited economic horizon. Which affects their overall schools are too Asian to be able to constructively work with this type of do. It is only possible through income pleat understanding and recognition of the general environment. A guy who's talked to me must be ever cautious of making generalizations which is easily done because of the limited limited horizon of some stew that is why I stress the individual concept of programming because each student deserves the opportunity to develop to the limit of his ability. Our nation needs beyond a shadow of doubt. All the carbide and man power in all of the vocational classification to utilize the easy method of group generalisations could be a serious threat to our future growth and security. A complete lack of upholding the moral responsibilities of the guidance program
and a role in the positive contribution which many young people get made in our society. Dr Fraiser the US gives us a sociologist opinion that the negro appears to shape up just as well as the white man in terms of ability. And he reflects that negro aspirations are in a process of change. The Negro lives in a social world that is itself changing and his aspirations are correspondingly affected. He aims today at educational goals that he would not have dreamt of a generation ago. And Dr. Holland gives us a clear idea of the need for shared consciousness of the negro's background on the part of those who want to deal with him effectively in the educational process. The things doctors Frazier and Holland point to suggest much that has figured prominently in the history of the education of the Negro in America. Can we begin to get a bit of an overview of that history. A brief exploration of the historical background of Negro Education is furnished in a slim volume by Dorothy Sterling and Donald Gross published in 1958
entitled tender warriors from which I'd like us to hear a passage. One hundred and twenty years before the Emancipation Proclamation. A colony of Georgia decreed penalties for anyone who should teach our cause slaves to be taught or employ them in any manner of writing whatsoever. Mississippi declared it unlawful for Negroes to assemble for educational purposes. South Carolina forbad the employment of negroes as clerks are salesmen and Georgia impose the fine on those employing slaves in setting up type or other labor about a printing shop requiring a knowledge of reading or writing by 1830 to a Virginia legislator was able to say we have as far as possible closed every avenue by which light may enter their minds. If we could but extinguish the capacity to see the light our work would be completed. They would be on the level with the beasts of the field.
Despite the vigilance of the masters however many slaves managed to acquire some education they crawled under the piazzas of the big house to eavesdrop as master read the newspaper aloud to Mistress. They borrowed young master speller and young mistresses slight and held secret schools in the piney woods or in their cheerless cabins. When asked how he learned to read one slave replied. I stole it in the nights are not all of the negroes education was stolen now and then human feelings broke through the prohibition. And a kind hearted mistress or religious minded master permitted a few privileged slaves to learn one or more of the three Rs. More often it was the platters children playing school who taught their colored companions the rudiments of arithmetic and their A B C. It appears then that despite the laws that we can get back to them in a moment despite the laws some slaves did manage to acquire at least the rudiments of education.
Do We however have any information about Negro literacy about this time of the Civil War. Oh yes and of course the data do show that the vast majority of Negroes were illiterate. The census of 1870 showed that more than 80 percent were illiterate. Well back to the laws again then. What were the motives of the slave holding whites and withholding education from the negroes. I don't doubt that one thing of importance was that many white slave holders felt that education would be a useless distraction. Most Negroes had to do hard work and certainly the average planter couldn't have felt that our slaves economic value or capacity to labor would be enhanced by our knowledge of the three Rs. Even though there were some skilled artisans whose work might well have been improved by at least a rudimentary education. However in this matter of motives also some of the most clearly had certain fears. It is wrong among the education of the negro in the American social order of Horace Mann Bund quote some of the ribosome of Georgia from the Congressional Globe of April 12th 1860 as
follows. There was no law in any southern state so far as I know that prohibits the education of black children even the slaves in the state of Georgia are educated to that extent. They are not permitted to be taught to write because that would be dangerous certainly for they might then carry on a correspondence and combine but they are permitted to be taught to read when they go to our Sunday schools. I would suggest that Senator Iverson was being a little over enthusiastic. We know that at the time the senator spoke in this way Georgia had explicit laws forbidding Negroes to write or read. But the son of the statement is interesting because of the fear it reveals that writing might lead to correspondence and via correspondence to conspiracy and revolt. In fact if the son of the had been able to foresee that abolitionist literature would be read by Negroes merely capable of reading he might have been far less inclined to take the indulgent attitude he apparently did toward teaching Negroes how to read the
insurrection is not Turner had been taught to read by his master. And of course since Turner's activity became a symbolic focus of Southern fears of rebellion this literacy of his greatly strengthened the hand of those who wanted laws against the education of Negroes. We have then the notions that education would be a useless distraction for slaves and gauge and hard labor. I had no need of any such thing. We also had the motive of keeping the slaves illiterate and ignorant to prevent them from combining with one another and from being exposed to possibly inflammatory ideas. I think we're going to add at least one more thing namely that the white simply in many cases wanted to maintain feelings of superiority over the negroes and thereby had a kind of vested interest in keeping them illiterate and ignorant so that the White Eagle could be enhanced than the white Southerner continued to be amused that negroes on Michael the English language. And what I've been really ignorant of rudimentary things well that seems to give us a fairly good outline of motivations. Aside from motivation as we've mentioned the laws perhaps it wouldn't
hurt to be a bit more detail about them. Well from a standard source on the education of the Negro in America I take a few pertinent facts in Georgia which we've already mentioned. A lot of 1770 prohibited teaching the slaves reading and writing under penalty of twenty pounds sterling for violation. Two generations later another law of the same state provide a lifeline or a whipping for teaching slaves reading or writing and in 1853 of third law repeated the stipulations of the previous ones. The Code of Virginia in 1849 made every gathering of negroes with the object of instruction in reading or writing an unlawful assembly. Punishment in case of violations was whipping for Negroes in the jail sentence and the fine of $500 for whites in North Carolina. There were similar provisions for whites and negroes who might collaborate in seeking to make the negro literate. South Carolina had a law on the matter passed in 1740 fines imprisonment and whipping with the punishments for activity that
assembled slaves free negroes and persons of color for the object of instruction in the confines of a secret place. Some of the laws were on the books of the states of Louisiana and Alabama. Horace Mann Bonn makes the inevitable comment that it is clear that these laws were intended to keep the social order in a state of rest. And he adds. Jefferson Davis reflected clearly the attitude of the antebellum period toward the education of Negroes. When he said that there was no objection to teaching them anything that did not come in conflict with the cherished institutions of the Old South. So we can say that the South was buying some of its own later problems. Had there been less illiteracy about Negroes the Reconstruction period might have been a lot easier in a number of ways for both whites and Negroes. But ironic isn't it. Yes and once the Civil War was over the education of the negro even when it was forthrightly accepted as desirable in principle presented numerous problems aside from the complicated politics of the matter. There were inevitably motives in operation that the day
must strike us as curious or even quaint. For example there was a passion manifested by some Negroes to learn Greek and Latin accomplishment in the classical times was sought as a symbol of the status of the educated gentleman. This is of course in some ways very understandable but also one avoided least seem threatening to numerous Southerners since it suggested not because of education that would make the Negro a better servant to a laborer but the kind that would teach him to rise out of his place. Yet the ideal of the educated gentleman was hardly one that was invariably helpful to the Negro in his urgent need for knowing and coming to terms with the realities of the reconstruction and post reconstruction world. I think men like Booker T Washington saw this quite clearly. Washington wanted to give the negro what he thought of as basic industrial skills. But Washington's motives were also mixed. In part his insistence on trade and industrial education very probably represented a conciliatory attitude toward whites who would have reacted quite adversely
to a forthright attempt to give the Negro a broad liberal education which might point to a state like that of the white man. There was also however something of a realistic motive in Washington's efforts. The negro had to face certain primary necessities in the way of making a living. This hasn't spared Washington the criticism of many Negroes and whites who feel that he was altogether too conciliatory. Nor does it change the fact that much actual negro industrial education was hopelessly out of date at the very time when it was being given. Well you just said Lou that whatever his motive was Booker T Washington was criticized by many not a kind of Clark Professor of Psychology at City College of New York who has done considerable research on the psychology of negroes as one of those who was very critical of Washington. Here are a few of his comments as we recorded them in his New York office. Well as far as I can see the education of Negroes is developing now in terms of the education of everybody. I think that the major mistake made by.
Booker T Washington was that he felt that there was some kind of special or peculiar education which should be provided for Negroes and his fans. I believe that Booker T Washington was a personification of the ultimate in segregated education. On the other hand DuBois in his insistence that may grow should be educated. In the same academic intellectual ways that whites were being educated. I think polls are a kind of problem that was just the OB first of Dubois's I think the matter is more intelligently discussed in terms of educating who what person. There are some negroes who can make their most creative contribution to society by vocational. Education. Becoming skilled in certain certain trades. There are other negroes who could make a
more constructive contribution to society by. The highest type of academic education I don't think that this is the either or. And to discuss it in terms of either or for Negroes in general is to fall into the trap of thinking of individuals in terms of their race rather than in terms of each individual's own picked peculiar talent or ability or intelligence level. Now maybe that this is a little unfair about two boys probably two boys was not talking about Negroes in general. He was talking about what he called the talented tenth. He has been criticized in terms of snobbery. If I were to be required to take my choice I would certainly identify myself more with the DuBois type of thinking than Lee. Booker T Washington type of thinking which I thought was a serious social mistake because he made segregation palatable and
acceptable he sowed the conscience of the white south. And my personal feeling is that the DuBois of the book the Washington type of thinking set back the progress of the negro considerably and we're just now attempting to undo the harm which I believe his type of thinking and those who think like him have done not was Doctor kind of Clark psychologist at City College of New York. We've covered a certain number of things regarding the history of Negro Education in America and we have briefly reviewed some pertinent attitudes in the field. We haven't been exhaustive of those. Well that's always impossible. However low aren't some of the social processes to which we have called attention before heavily involved in this field of education. I would surely start Sawant by way of example we've spoken about the self-fulfilling prophecy and this works in the field of education as in the others give the negro an inferior education such as he still so frequently gets and of course you get a not
particularly well educated move on the whole process often shapes up in this way. You may start with the premise that the negro can't do much of anything requiring real ability. Then you give him a low level education that you feel corresponds with his lack of genuine talent. He ends up a poorly educated man who in fact does not show high level appointments. And then you see and then you say you see I told you all along this loading of the dice is so crude and obvious as to require no for the coonhound. Again we've mentioned the spiral effect in the system of moving elements that constitute the significant things in the situation of the Negro in America. Education is surely one of the most significant. Improve the negro's education and you improve his health chances through the knowledge and sophistication that he acquires. You also may improve his occupation and chances you will improve what one might call his self presentation for years likely with an adequate education to speak more fluently and I correctly to make all around what we call colloquially a better impression.
And so you may strategically touch off an upward spiraling It seems to me that an upward spiral such as you describe below is in fact a process I've heard it repeatedly stated on good authority that the present demand for educated and well trained Negroes is considerable and that this is already having its affects for Negro welfare in a general way. There are grounds for some optimism I think but let's not forget a point that we made in an earlier program with respect to spiral phenomenon. It's still possible for disgruntled whites witnessing what is happening to try to arrest the forces in motion as it were from the outside. I make no pessimistic predictions but this is something to which we should certainly be alerted upwards. Spirals can be interfered with on the other hand it's possible to that upward spirals may work with such polymer and the fact that stepping in on them and reversing them may prove extremely difficult after a time. Well today we have been discussing the matter of opportunities and motivation and the education of the negro. Our thanks this week to Dr. ete
Franklin Frazier chairman of the Department of Sociology at Howard University Dr. Kenneth Clark of the City College of New York and Dr. Jerome B Holland president of Delaware State College for their contributions to today's program. Next week we continue with our discussion of Negro Education. But from a standpoint of legal actions leading ultimately to the Supreme Court School decision May 17th 1954 join us then won't you. As we continue to discuss the Negro in America the last citizen. Will. Go to a are. Beyond saying.
You have been listening to Dr. Lewis. Pastoral sociology at Purdue University and the program producer director W. Rick Davis. Said it. Was program work produced and recorded by WB with a university under a grant from the Educational Television Radio Shack. And is being distributed by the mag educational broadcast. This is the end I ybe Radio Network.
- Last citizen
- Producing Organization
- Purdue University
- WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program, the first of two parts, explores the state of education for African Americans.
- Series Description
- A series of programs devoted to exploring the problems facing African-Americans and how these issues impact all Americans.
- Broadcast Date
- Social Issues
- African Americans--Vocational education
- Media type
Guest: Clark, Kenneth Bancroft, 1914-2005
Guest: Frazier, E. Franklin, 1894-1962
Host: Schneider, Louis
Producer: Richter, E.W.
Producing Organization: Purdue University
Producing Organization: WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
Speaker: Holland, Jerome H., 1916-
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-50-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Last citizen; The second school house, part one,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-901zhn28.
- MLA: “Last citizen; The second school house, part one.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 8, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-901zhn28>.
- APA: Last citizen; The second school house, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-901zhn28