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Full text of "The regeneration of Sam Jackson"

LC 2S5I 

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r^^ REGENERATION 



of S AM JACKSON 



^/ J. W. CHURCH 

Ant/ior of " THE CRUCIBLE" 



Education is a means to an end. The end should 
determine the means. The neglect of this is the rock 
upon which thousands are wrecked. 

S. C. Al^MSTROXG 



■'.'"■tit* 



7h 


e REGENERATION 


of 


SAM 


J AC 


K S O N 



By J . W . CHURCH 

Author <?/ " THE C R U C I B L E " 



The Press of 

The Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute 

Hampton, Virjrinia 

1911 



BOARD OF TRUSTEES ^ wi, 

Robert C, Ogden, President, New York 

Alexander McKenzie, Vice President, Cambridge, Mass. 

Francis G, Peabody, Vice President, Cambridge, Mass. 

HoLLis B. Frissell, Secretary, Hampton, Va. 

George Foster Peabody, New York 

Charles E, Bigelow, New York 

Arthur Curtiss James, New York 

William Jay Schieffelin, New York 

LuNSFORD L. Lewis, Richmond, Va. 

James W. Cooper, Hartford, Conn. 

William W.Frazier, Philadelphia 

Frank W. Darling, Hampton, Va. 

William Howard Taft, Washington, D. C. 

Clarence H. JCelsey, New Yorl^ , ; 

Samuel C. Mitchell, Columbia, "3. C. 



FORM OF BEQUEST 

I give and devise to the trustees of The Hampton Normal 
and Agricultural Institute, Hampton, Virginia, the sum of 
, , . . . . dollars, payable 



SEP m% 




SAiM JACKSON WAS LITERALLY "RAW MATERIAL' 



The Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute 

MOLLIS B. FRI'SSELL FRANK K, ROGERS HERBERT B. TURNER 

PRINCIPAL TREASURER CHAPLAIN 

Founded by Samuel Chapman Armstrong in 1868 for the prac- 
tical education of Negro and Indian youth. 

To make earnest, useful, Christian citizens, who will lead and 

teach their people, is its object. 
The needs of the school are many, and its support depends 

almost entirely upon private contributions. 
Any amount you may desire to contribute, no matter how 

small, will be gratefully received. 
In providing a Hampton scholarship for some deserving 

Negro boy or girJ, you will give your donation a human, 

personal element, as a record is kept for the donor of the 

student who receives the scholarship. 

One hundred dollars pays the tuition of a student for one 
year, including an academic and industrial scholarship. 

Thirty dollars will provide an industrial scholar&hip for one 

year. 
Seventy dollars will provide an academic scholarship for one 

year. 

A permanent industrial scholarship can be endowed for eight 
hundred dollars and a permanent academic scholarship 
for two thousand dollars. 

All contributions may be sent to the Treasurer, F. K. Rogers,. 
Hampton, Va., by whom they will be acknowledged. 




A DIRTY CABIN, SyUATTING IN A SUN-BAKED CLEARING 



The Regeneration of Sam Jackson 

By J. W. CHURCH 

Authnr of "The Crucible" 

If by any chance you live in the South, you know- 
Sam Jackson. 

That is, you knew him before he left his 
cabin in the "piney woods." Sam was born 
lucky, tho a most careful study of his early environment 
would fail to convince you of it. A dirty, unhealthy log cabin, 
squatting in a sunbaked clearing surrounded by a few acres of 




sickly cotton, a couple of razor-backed hogs, and a discouraged 
liound dog made up about all the landscape with which he 
was intimately familiar. Of course his own family added 
somewhat to the picturesqueness of the scene, there being 
about a dozen of them. Eating, cooking, and sleeping in the one 
room of the cabin, as they did, hardly served to inculcate any 
vary definite principles of cleanliness or morality in Sam, 

Not in his environment was he fortunate, but in the ac- 
cident that brought to the neglected, almost forgotten country 
school, three miles away, a teacher trained in the needs of his 
race, the spirit of service to his people strong within him. 

Yes, Sam was a little Negro. Just one of several millions 
in the Southern States, the present horizon of most of them. 











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SAM's school — NEGLECTED, ALMOST FORGOTTEN 



bounded by a log cabin, a patch of cotton, a country store, 
and a county jail. 

Sam's teacher wasn't strong on algebra or dead languages. 
Fairly good English and an ordinary working knowledge of 
arithmetic, together with a rather elementary education in 
geography and history, marked the sum total of his academic 
accomplishments. But, in spite of this, the little Negroes 
whom he taught — but that isn't what I want to tell you. 

For years he labored patiently with Sam, and, while the 
progress was slow, little by little he fanned a spark of desire 
in the boy's brain, so that one day Sam Jackson left the piney 
woods, and a few days later walked thru the gateway of 
Hampton Institute. 

Had you met him that eventful morning, you probably 
wouldn't have considered Sam worth troubling about. A 
poorly dressed, unalert black boy with a sullen face isn't 
particularly attractive. The suUenness, however, was only 
skin deep, and rather more of fright than anything else. Of 
what you call manners, that seem so simple and elemental, he 
had scant knowledge. Toothbrushes and " I beg your pardon'* 
are not an essential part of coaxing a quarter- bale of short 
staple, low-grade cotton out of a thin soil with the aid of a 
reluctant mule. 

But the boy was possessed of grim determination to 
learn, and Hampton Institute gave him a hearty welcome. 
Nowhere else in all the world have his needs, his particular 
needs, been the earnest study of hundreds of trained men and 
women for two-score years as at Hampton, and what they 



have accomplished is beyond any man's pen to describe. 
You can get an idea, tho, from what they did for Sam, how 
they did it, and the fruit it has borne. 

Let me' interpolate one thing right here, which has a very 
great bearing on your thought as you read this story. Hamp- 
ton's interest does not lie in the success or failure of the 
individual Negro. Service to the Negro race, the missionary 
spirit that makes a man or woman return in gratitude to the 
less fortunate to spread the knowledge given him or her, is 
Hampton's plea to its students and graduates. It succeeds 
too. 

Hampton Institute is nearing the half-century mark of its 
endeavor. Few, it any, of its graduates are rich ; less than 
two hundred have entered any profession save that of 
teaching, and none are in jail. And there have gone forth 
since 1870 nearly eight thousand graduates and undergrad- 
uates, imbued to the core with the Hampton spirit. 

Let's see how it worked with Sam, and why it's only fair 
to term him good raw material, for he was, literally. Morality, 
as we understand the term, was to him an unknown principle. 
Not immoral, but unmoral — the reason for morality had never 
been made clear to him. Physically and mentally he needed 
bathing, but, far more, to understand why. He was lazy. You 
need incessant practice in industry to make labor a habit, but 
at that, if you are set blindly at a task, the "why" unknown, 
it can never be congenial or competently done. He needed 
thrift, for his race, until recently without possessions, held 
little of value beyond the pleasure of the hour. And he 




LEARNING THE "\VH\ '" OF A PLOW 



needed a broader view of life, of the world, o£ the things 
worth while that study may bring. Morality, physical clean- 
liness, industry, thrift, a trade by which to work and earn and 
save, a knowledge of the dignity of labor, and a spirit of serv- 
ice to his race. These, then, were Sam Jackson's needs. A 
bit of a contract, you'll admit. Now I want to show you how 
it's done. 

You may know all about Hampton. You may even have 
been there. If so, you have seen and heard the truth of this 
story. If you haven't, there isn't much that's more important 
or worth while to know. 



Should you visit it to-day, you would find a beautiful in- 
dustrial village. Wide, spotless roads, shaded by giant elms 
and maples, wind hither and thither amid broad stretches of 
green lawn ; everywhere close-clipt hedges mark the approach 
to walks and private lawns ; everywhere are stately buildings 
and pretty cottages, now green with ivy, now half-hidden be- 
neath flowering, climbing vines. Thousands upon thousands 
of roses lend their perfume 1o the fragrant air, and over the 
famous Hampton Roads, whose blue waters lap the edges of 
the greensward, the cool, salt breeze of the Atlantic Ocean 
brings its health and vigor to the busy workers of Hampton. 

But glance backward a moment, to whence all this sprang. 
It will help you to understand it better. Forty- four years 
ago, this wondrous spot was a barren waste, the wreck of a 
plantation but lately ruined by the Civil War. There was no 
scent of roses in the air, no stately trees or vine- clad homes. 
Just a crude barracks, housing as best it might the infancy of 
a great institution. Here General Armstrong, with two 
teachers and fifteen pupils, the latter drawn from the 
thousands of half-clad, starved Negroes clustered under the 
frowning walls of Fortress Monroe, began the work of Hamp- 
ton Institute. It was a pitiable plight, that of these dazed 
freedmen at that time, unfit for the freedom so swiftly thrust 
upon them. Unable to earn their living, bewildered by the 
sudden destruction of the only sort of life to which they 
were accustomed, unable to return to the old, and incapable 
of living up to the new standards set for them. Volumes and 
an inspired pen could not adequately describe the work and 



II 



heroic self-sacrifice of General Armstrong and his little, brave- 
hearted band of workers who gave themselves gladly to the 
stupendous task of trying to teach another race that freedom 
was not license, but the opportunity to be of service to man- 
kind rather than a master. 

Stick by stick, stone by stone, Hampton Institute was 
built. With infinite patience, slowly, but steadily, the work 
went on. Few at first, but in ever increasing numbers, the 
Negro men and women came, and in turn went forth, and by 
their industry and lives proved Hampton's work to be good. 
Each succeeding year found a better knowledge of the prob- 
lems to be met, and new problems added to those already 
solved. Year by year was the equipment augmented, the 
power of the school increased, and a greater struggle necessary 
to pay the bills. 

A few years ago, when Sam Jackson arrived, he found 
awaiting him a master builder of human character, surround- 
ed by two hundred able assistants, and every mental and 
physical device to transform the sluggish raw material into an 
alert, well-disciplined, competent product of the greatest boon 
of this century, or any other, for that matter — practical indus- 
trial training. 

He found a dormitory, with spotless pine floors in rooms 
and halls, to be scrubbed until they shone : a room, cot, and 
bedding to be kept in perfect order ; a bathtub and toothbrush 
to be regularly employed. He found a uniform to wear and 
care for, and a battalion, without guns, to be sure, but with 
rigid discipline, to which he must conform. Tobacco, liquor, 

12 



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WHERE SAM LKARNKI) ORDER AND CLEANLINESS 

cards, and all dubious amusements were taboo. Courtesy be- 
tween the students themselves he found to be the order of 
each day. Just as the Negro is apt in vice, so is he to imitate 
and eventually absorb the better conduct of life, and Sam's 
new ideas of physical and moral cleanliness were so gradually 
absorbed that he scarcely noted the change. At five-thirty 
each weekday morning he rose and went directly from his 
breakfast to his work. There are fifteen trades to choose from 
at Hampton, and in each of these every step of the journey 
toward a skilled trade is carefully guided by patient, expert 
instructors. Always the " why " of a task is made clear, and 
over and over again the task must be done until there comes 
a perfect harmony between the workman and his trade. 



13 




SAM WAS TAUGHT THAT FARMING IS A SCIEA'CE 



Agriculture, in which millions of Negroes are employed 
throughout the South, and in which lies their greatest hope 
for material prosperity, is the goal toward which Hampton is 
striving. Each year sees a larger class entered in farming 
and greater results obtained. There have gone forth frora 
Hampton Institute in the past few years scores of agricultural 
workers, skilled in the trae science of the farm, whose little 
plantations in various parts of the South are by far the best 
of any, black or white, in the community where they live, and 
whose trained industry has won the admiration and respect 
of all with whom they come in neighborly contact. 

Sam Jackson worked hard all day, ate his supper at six 
o'clock, spent two hours, from seven until nine, in the class- 
rooms, and was entirely ready for bed when taps sounded at 
nine-thirty. 

H 



It wasn't all work, of course. There was no dearth of 
clean, muscle-building, eye-quickening athletics, nor of earn- 
est religious training. Under these ever-constant influences, 
the raw material began to develop morality and industry to a 
somewhat amazing degree. And as his labor, during the 
work years, brought him eight cents an hour, and his board 
cost him eleven dollars a month, thrift finally began to get a 
very fair stranglehold on Sam's natural inclination toward 
improvidence. His academic work, so regulated as to correlate 
with his industrial training, broadened his scope of thought, 
and aided him in finally comprehending that service, not 
selfishness, is the true basis for a permanent enjoyment of 
his newly awakened powers. 

Thus did Hampton solve the problem of Sam Jackson, 




BRICKLAYING AND M AT H E^^ATIC.S GO HANU IN HAND 

15 



and send forth, alert and vigorous, the ignorant, untrained 
Negro boy of four years past. 

■ There was one element in Sam's training I haven't men- 
tioned. It wasn't overlooked. Rather, it is of such tremendous 
importance^ that even when dealt with separately, only those 
who have visited Hampton Institute will understand. And 
they never forget it- It is the atmosphere, the real, tho intan- 
gible influence of self-sacrifice, devotion to cause and principle, 
of hundreds of men and women for half a century. 
It permeates the village, an all-encompassing atmosphere of 
cheerful earnestness, unceasing, patient endeavor, and honest 
content. And of this is born the "Hampton spirit," of which, 
every teacher and student is justly proud. 

In the files in the Bureau of Statistics are hundreds of 
sheets, covered thickly with the records of work done by 
those who have gone forth. Without having felt the Hampton 
spirit, some of the stories they tell seem well-nigh incompre- 
hensible. When you yourself have known it, then you 
understand. 

Now I want to leave Sam Jackson, who is Sally as well, 

and of whom nearly eight thousand have passed thro the re- 
fining crucible of Hampton, and talk with you about the 
really big question that lies back of it all. DOES IT PAY ? 

Eighteen years ago General Armstrong died, leaving 
Hampton Institute as a monument to his great task. Dr. H. B. 
Frissell, for many years his assistant, succeeded him, and un- 
der his guiding hand the work has gone steadily on. To-day 
the student roll numbers nearly one thousand, and the 



i6 



strengthening influence of the school is felt in nearly every 
state in the Union, but most of all where it is most needed, 
in the South. 

Few men, either North or South of Mason and Dixon's 
line, deny the seriousness of what is termed the Negro problem. 
Of theories as to its elimination or solution there are thou- 
sands, but every practical man, be he from the North or South, 
who has given the question sincere, earnest thought, agrees 




A BATTALION TO WHOSE RIGID DISCIPLINE HE MUST COXFt)KiM 

that in the last analysis it becomes a matter of education. 
Not some visionary scheme by which a wondrous latter-day 
miracle is to be wrought, nor a standard curriculum to which 
all Negroes, willy nilly, must fit or be fitted. Not in these, 
but in the sort of training Sam Jackson got, lies the future 
hope of the Negro race. 

If Hampton simply sent out into the world eight thousand 

17 



Negroes equipped to earn their own living by skillful indus- 
trial work, I would call it good, worthy, and let it go at that. 
But when the almost boundless ramifications of its work are 
known, when one thinks of the scores of little Hamptons its 
graduates and undergraduates have founded to spread its work 
as best they may, from Booker Washington at Tuskegee to 
many an unknown worker in some almost unknown village, 
yet one and all with the Hampton spirit strong within them, 
then does Hampton's work assume its proper importance in 
the world scheme of things worth while. 

In view of this, and much more that a volume could but 

inadequately tell, the question "Does it pay?" strikes you 
as rather absurd, doesn't it? Yet when you know the tre- 
mendous strain of meeting each year a deficit of more than 
one hundred thousand dollars, in order that the work may go 
on, that aid many not fail those whose need is dire, it ceases to 
be as absurd as you might think. Altho Hampton has the full 
moral support of the National Government, and of the state in 
which it is located, its income from these sources is relatively 
small. It is really a private institution, and must depend al- 
most entirely upon individual subscriptions for its existence. 
Its future lies entirely in the hands of the men and 
women of this country who believe in its work, and whose 
vision is sufficiently clear to see that in the regeneration of 
Sam Jackson lies not only the truest and best hope for the 
mental, moral, and physical prosperity of the Negro race, but 
an era of better understanding between black men and white, 
both of whose interests are best served by kindly considera- 
tion of each other's needs. 

i8 




THK FINISHED PRODUCT— ALERT, THOUGHTFUL, VIGOROUS- 
AN HONOR TO HIS RACE 



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019 601 604 1^ 



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