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Civilization the Primal Need of the Race The American Negro Academy. Occasional Paper No. 3   By: (1819-1898)

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The American Negro Academy

Occasional Papers, No. 3.

CIVILIZATION THE PRIMAL NEED OF THE RACE, The Inaugural Address,

ALEXANDER CRUMMELL,

MARCH 5, 1897.

AND

THE ATTITUDE OF THE AMERICAN MIND TOWARD THE NEGRO INTELLECT, First Annual Address,

DEC. 28, 1897,

BY

ALEXANDER CRUMMELL,

President of the American Negro Academy.

Price, Fifteen Cents.

WASHINGTON, D. C. PUBLISHED BY THE ACADEMY, 1898.

OCCASIONAL PAPERS.

No. 1. A Review of Hoffman's Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro. Kelly Miller 25 Cts.

No. 2. The Conservation of Races. W. E. Burghardt DuBois 15 Cts.

No. 3. (a) Civilization, the Primal Need of the Race; (b) The Attitude of the American Mind Toward the Negro Intellect. Alexander Crummell 15 Cts.

Orders filled through the Corresponding Secretary, J. W. Cromwell, 1439 Pierce Place, Washington, D. C.

Trade supplied through John H. Wills, 506 Eleventh Street, N. W., Washington, D. C.

CIVILIZATION, THE PRIMAL NEED OF THE RACE.

GENTLEMEN:

There is no need, I apprehend, that I should undertake to impress you with a sense either of the need or of the importance of our assemblage here to day. The fact of your coming here is, of itself, the clearest evidence of your warm acquiescence in the summons to this meeting, and of your cordial interest in the objects which it purposes to consider.

Nothing has surprised and gratified me so much as the anxiousness of many minds for the movement which we are on the eve of beginning. In the letters which our Secretary, Mr. Cromwell, has received, and which will be read to us, we are struck by the fact that one cultured man here and another there, several minds in different localities, tell him that this is just the thing they have desired, and have been looking for.

I congratulate you, therefore, gentlemen, on the opportuneness of your assemblage here. I felicitate you on the superior and lofty aims which have drawn you together. And, in behalf of your compeers, resident here in the city of Washington, I welcome you to the city and to the important deliberations to which our organization invites you.

Just here, let me call your attention to the uniqueness and specialty of this conference. It is unlike any other which has ever taken place in the history of the Negro, on the American Continent. There have been, since the landing of the first black cargo of slaves at Jamestown, Va., in 1619, numerous conventions of men of our race. There have been Religious Assemblies, Political Conferences, suffrage meetings, educational conventions. But our meeting is for a purpose which, while inclusive, in some respects, of these various concerns, is for an object more distinct and positive than any of them.

What then, it may be asked, is the special undertaking we have before us, in this Academy? My answer is the civilization of the Negro race in the United States, by the scientific processes of literature, art, and philosophy, through the agency of the cultured men of this same Negro race. And here, let me say, that the special race problem of the Negro in the United States is his civilization.

I doubt if there is a man in this presence who has a higher conception of Negro capacity than your speaker; and this of itself, precludes the idea, on my part, of race disparagement. But, it seems manifest to me that, as a race in this land, we have no art; we have no science; we have no philosophy; we have no scholarship. Individuals we have in each of these lines; but mere individuality cannot be recognized as the aggregation of a family, a nation, or a race; or as the interpretation of any of them. And until we attain the role of civilization, we cannot stand up and hold our place in the world of culture and enlightenment. And the forfeiture of such a place means, despite, inferiority, repulsion, drudgery, poverty, and ultimate death! Now gentlemen, for the creation of a complete and rounded man, you need the impress and the moulding of the highest arts... Continue reading book >>




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