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These cheering occurrences, these demonstrations of capacity, give us the greatest encouragement in the large work which is before this Academy. Let us enter upon that work, this year, with high hopes, with large purposes, and with calm and earnest persistence. I trust that we shall bear in remembrance that the work we have undertaken is our special function; that it is a work which calls for cool thought, for laborious and tireless painstaking, and for clear discrimination; that it promises nowhere wide popularity, or, exuberant eclat; that very much of its ardent work is to be carried on in the shade; that none of its desired results will spring from spontaneity; that its most prominent features are the demands of duty to a needy people; and that its noblest rewards will be the satisfaction which will spring from having answered a great responsibility, and having met the higher needs of a benighted and struggling Race.


[1] _Baptism_, for well nigh a century, was denied Negro slaves in the colonies, for fear it carried emancipation with it. Legislation on Education began at a subsequent date. In 1740 it was enacted in SOUTH CAROLINA: "Whereas, the having slaves taught to write or suffering them to be employed in writing, may be attended with great inconvenience, Be it enacted, That all and every person or persons whatsoever who shall hereafter teach or cause any slave or slaves to be taught to write, or shall use or employ any slave as a Scribe in any manner of writing, hereafter taught to write; every such person or persons shall forever, for every such offense, forfeit the sum of 100 current money."

The next step, in South Carolina, was aimed against mental instruction of _every kind_, in reading and writing.

A similar law was passed in Savannah, Georgia. In 1711, in the Colony of Maryland, a _special enactment_ was passed to bar freedom by baptism and in 1715, in South Carolina! See "_Stroud's Slave Laws_."

[2] At the time when France was on the eve of plunging deeply into the slave trade and of ruining her colonies by the curse of Slavery, the ABBE GREGOIRE stept forth in vindication of the Negro, and published his celebrated work--"The Literature of Negroes." In this work he gives the names and narrates the achievements of the distinguished Negroes, writers, scholars, painters, philosophers, priests and Roman prelates, in Spain, Portugal, France, England, Holland, Italy and Turkey who had risen to eminence in the 15th century.

Not long after BLUMENBACH declared that "entire and large provinces of Europe might be named, in which it would be difficult to meet with such good writers, poets, philosophers, and correspondents of the French Academy; and that moreover there is no savage people, who have distinguished themselves by such examples of perfectibility and capacity for scientific cultivation: and consequently that none can approach more nearly to the polished nations of the globe than the Negro."

[3] "Oberlin College" in Ohio was the first opening its doors to the Negro in 1836.

[4] "I am not so old as some of my young friends may suspect, but I am too old to go into the business of 'carrying coals to Newcastle.' * * * *

The colored citizen of the U. S. has already graduated with respectable standing from a course of 250 years in the University of the old-time type of Manual labor. The South of to-day is what we see it largely because the colored men and women at least during the past 250 years, have not been lazy 'cumberers of the ground,' but the grand army of laborers that has wrestled with nature and led these 16 States out of the woods thus far on the highroad to material prosperity. It is not especially necessary that the 2,000,000 of our colored children and youth in the southern common schools should be warned against laziness, and what has always and everywhere come of that since the foundation of the world."

The Rev. A. D. Mayo, M. A., LL. D.

Address before State Teachers' Association (Colored) Birmingham, Ala.

[5] I owe Mr. Anderson an apology for omitting this references to his book on the delivery of this address. It was prepared while its author was in a foreign land; but had passed entirely from his memory in the preparation of this address.

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