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Tuskegee & Its People: Their Ideals and Achievements   By: (1856-1915)

Book cover

First Page:

Compliments of


Principal Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute Tuskegee Institute, Alabama


[Illustration: BOOKER T. WASHINGTON.]






Published June, 1905


In a general way the reading public is fairly well acquainted with the work of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, but there is continued demand for definite information as to just what the graduates of that institution are doing with their education.

That inquiry is partly answered by this book. The scope of the Tuskegee Institute work is outlined by the chapters contained in Part I, while those of Part II evidence the fact that the graduates of the school are grappling at first hand with the conditions that environ the masses of the Negro people.

At the school, in addition to the regular Normal School course of academic work, thirty six industries are taught the young men and women. These are: Agriculture; Basketry; Blacksmithing; Bee keeping; Brickmasonry; Plastering; Brick making; Carpentry; Carriage Trimming; Cooking; Dairying; Architectural, Freehand, and Mechanical Drawing; Dressmaking; Electrical and Steam Engineering; Founding; Harness making; Housekeeping; Horticulture; Canning; Plain Sewing; Laundering; Machinery; Mattress making; Millinery; Nurse Training; Painting; Sawmilling; Shoemaking; Printing; Stock raising; Tailoring; Tinning; and Wheelwrighting.

Since the founding of the institution, July 4, 1881, seven hundred and forty six graduates have gone out from the institution, while more than six thousand others who were not able to remain and complete the academic course, and thereby secure a diploma, have been influenced for good by it.

The school has sought from the very beginning to make itself of practical value to the Negro people and to the South as well. It has taught those industries that are of the South, the occupations in which our men and women find most ready employment, and unflinchingly has refused to abandon its course; it has sought to influence its young men and women to live unselfish, sacrificing lives; to put into practise the lessons taught on every side that make for practical, helpful every day living.

In the main those who go out from Tuskegee Institute, (1) follow the industry they have been taught, (2) teach in a public or private school or teach part of the year and farm or labor the rest, (3) follow housekeeping or other domestic service, or (4) enter a profession or the Government service, or become merchants. Among the teachers are many who instruct in farming or some industry; the professional men are largely physicians, and the professional women mostly trained nurses. Dr. Washington, the Principal of the school, makes the unqualified statement: "After diligent investigation, I can not find a dozen former students in idleness. They are in shop, field, schoolroom, home, or the church. They are busy because they have placed themselves in demand by learning to do that which the world wants done, and because they have learned the disgrace of idleness and the sweetness of labor."

No attempt has here been made to represent all of the industries; no attempt has especially been made to confine representation to those who are working at manual labor. The public, or at least a part of it, somewhat gratuitously, has reached the conclusion that Tuskegee Institute is a "servant training school," or an employment agency. That is a mistaken idea.

The object of the school is to train men and women who will go out and repeat the work done here, to teach what they have learned to others, and to leaven the whole mass of the Negro people in the South with a desire for the knowledge and profitable operation of those industries in which they have in so large a measure the right of way... Continue reading book >>

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