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Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report
			
4                              REPORT OF

a desire to read. Books, so long withheld by slavery, are received and
studied by them as though they were the token and pledge of their eman-
cipation. They will not be satisfied, nor should we, till every school, and
camp, and regiment is supplied with school books, Bibles, and Testaments.
It is cause for gratitude, and an assurance of security, and may well be
an incentive to the most active charity, that, as they come forth from
their long night of thralldom to take a new position in the world, this
people manifest this passion to read.
    A school, to attain the highest results among the freedmen, must be
adapted to their condition, and even comprehend more in some respects
than among us.  They must learn from the teacher a great many things
essential to their elevation which, in a free community, our sons and
daughters learn in the home and from society.  The teachers who labor
among them, under the auspices of our Commission, are expected not only
to teach reading, writing, and other useful branches, but also to give such
instructions in ordinary domestic and industrial habits as will make them
neat in their homes, economical in their customs, and thrifty in their
pursuits.  Our schools hereafter will be furnished with thread, needles,
thimbles, and the like, as regularly as with books, pens, and paper, that
the teachers may devote some time each day to teaching the females such
homely and practical branches as cutting, and making, and even mending
clothes.
             Number and Location of Teachers.
   We have commissioned some sixty teachers, most of them females,
though we may not have had in the field at any one time more than
about half that number. These, because of circumstances beyond our
control, have been scattered over a considerable portion of the Mississippi
Valley. They have labored in schools at Cairo, Columbus, Kentucky,
Island No. 10, Memphis, President's Island, Camp Holly Springs, Helena,
Milliken's Bend, Vicksburg, Natchez, Little Rock, Arkansas, Nashville,
Murfreesboro, Clarksville, Fort Donelson, and Gallatin, Tennessee, and in
several colored regiments on the Mississippi and in Tennessee. Besides
the means expended in employing, transporting and providing for these
teachers, we have furnished 41,185 new and 628 old school books, 1,515.
slates, and a considerable quantity of paper, pens, and pencils. We have
furnished books to several colored regiments, and at times to schools of
other societies.
                        Industrial Schools.
   We have taken steps to establish an "Industrial school"' at Memphis.
Such schools will be efficient in the elevation of this people.  In them the
women and girls can be taught to sew neatly and well, and to cut and
make necessary articles of clothing.  By compensating them for this
labor they may begin to provide for themselves by their own industry.
Place these schools under the direction of competent persons, and large
quantities of new goods might there be made into garments, and second-
hand clothing repaired and refitted so as to render it far more serviceable
than if distributed as received. By proper and energetic movements in
this direction these schools would, after a little time, become so effective
as to relieve from a double task many of those societies of noble women
in the North, who, prompted by feelings of humanity and patriotism, are
dividing their increased labors between the soldier and the freedmen. The
careful habits, the notions of economy, and the feelings of self-reliance
developed by such schools, will be an incalculable blessing to many,
besides those who are employed and instructed in them.  In fact, these
schools are indispensable to the highest results of Christian benevolence
in behalf of the freed people.  One or more should be established and
supported in every camp, and supplied with plain materials for the manu-
facture of the most needful clothing, bedding, etc.




			
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Western Freedmen's Aid Commission, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report


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