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Address of Grover Cleveland and Booker T. Washington

among our people and show them how to lift themselves up.
That, that is the great problem before us.  Can this be done?  If
in the providence of God the Negro got any good out  of slavery he
got the habit of work.  As is true of any race, we have a
class about bar rooms and street corners, but the rank and file of
the Negro race works from year to year.  Whether the call for labor
comes from the cotton fields of Mississippi, the rice swamps of the
Carolinas, or the sugar bottoms of Louisiana, the Negro answers
that call.  Yes, toil is the badge of all his tribe, but the trouble
centers here: by reason of his ignorance and want of training he
does not know how to utilize the results of his labor.  His earnings
go for high rents, in mortgages, whiskey, snuff, cheap jewelry;
clocks are often bought on the installment plan for $12 and $14,
when everything else in the cabin is not worth that much money,
and in five cases out of ten, not a single member of the family
can tell nine o'clock from twelve o'clock.
    Ten years ago there went out from one of the institutions in
the South, fostered and helped by your generosity, a young man
into one of these plantation districts, where  he found  conditions
such as I have described.  He took three month's public school
course as a nucleus for his work. Then he organized the older
people into a club that came together every week. In these meet-
ings, in a plain, common-sense manner. he taught the people
thrift, how to economize, how to stop mortgaging their crops. how
to live on bread and potatoes, if need be, till they could get out
of debt, showed them  how  to take the money that  they had
hitherto scattered to the wind and concentrated it in the direction
of their industrial, educational and religious uplifting.  Go with
me to that community to-day and I will show you a people full of
hope and delight. I will show you a people almost wholly free
from debt, living on well cultivated farms of their own, in cottages
with two and three rooms, schools lasting eight months, taught in
a nice, comfortable, frame school house.  Go with me into their
Church and their Sunday-School, through the model farm and
house of this teacher. and I will show you a community that has
been redeemed, revolutionized in industry, education, and relig-
ion by reason of the fact that they had this leader. this guide, this
objectlesson to show them how to direct their own efforts.


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Address of Grover Cleveland and Booker T. Washington


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