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In Kentucky the average wages of the colored teachers exceed that of the white. This results from the colored districts being larger than the white districts, containing more children, and therefore drawing more of the State money, which is applied exclusively to the payment of the district teacher.
TIIE SOURCES OF SUPPORT OF COLORED PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
In all the fornier slave States, except Delaware and Maryland, the annual State school revenue is apportioned impartially among all the children of the State without regard to color, so much per capita to each child. In Maryland the State school tax is apportioned among the white schools only, but a special appropriation is made from the State Treasury for the colored schools, sufficient to make the colored per capita of State moneys practically equal to that of the white. For the year 1888-89 the colored schools of Maryland received about $100,000 from this source.
Now, as to local funds. Throughout the rural districts of the South the colored people are dependent chiefly upon this State apportionment, which is by law devoted mainly, if not exclusively, to the payment of teachers' salaries. Any additional sum required for building, repairs, fuel, or incidental expenses, or for lengthening the short school term which the State apportionment can only afford, must be raised by themselves. In the larger and more progressive cities, on the other hand, the city appropriation for schools is general, and is allotted to the various public schools, white and colored, according to the neeils of each, in the judgment of the local school authorities. The State of Kentuck', however, has enacted that no white person shall be (locally) taxed for the support of a coored school, or vice rersa. In that State the colored schools have their own trustees and district boundaries, forming an absolutely distinct system.
It is difficult, as a general thing, to determine the amounts expended for white and colored schools in cities, as these sums are not reported separately. The following instances, however, may be noted:
Richmond, Va., received from the State in 1887–88 the sum of $28,855, of which the colored share, according to school population, was about $12,000; yet tho city paid to colored teachers, not including principals, that year $33,513, the excess (amount. ing to over $20,000), coming from the general city appropriation, and this in addition to whatever amount was expended for colored buildings, etc.
Birmingham, Ala, received in 1888–89, from the State for its colored schools, and from colored poll taxes, $2,092. It paid for colored teachers' salaries alone $6,250, the excess being furnished by the city; so for Selma and some other cities of Alabama.
Wilmington, Del., in 1887-88 expended $18,745 upon colored schools, of which abont $6,000 was for building. This amount apparently all came from the general funds of the city; at most, only an insignificant sum was received from any other sonrce.
City Superintendent W. F. Slaton, of Atlanta, says (1883):
"The Gray Street school for colored children, built and equipped during the past year, is in my opinion the best schoolhouse in Atlanta. It was built on the most modern plan; wisely arranged in regard to the admission of light; furnished with Snead's system of heating and ventilating; furnished with Andrew's best desks; supplied with maps, charts, and other aids in teaching."
State Superintendent Pickett, of Kentucky, states in his report for 1838–89 that "the receipts and expenditures of the white and colored schools are not kept sepa. rate in a number of the cities," which would seem to indicate that the Kentucky law referred to above was not observed in those cities, but that the school funds were common to both races.
Delaware makes a more meager provision for the education of colored children than any other State. There the funds raised by taxation under the State law are not apportioned impartially to the children of the State; but the taxes levied upon each race are applied to the support of schools for their own children exclusively, so that the tax upon the real and personal property and poll of colored persons is “Bet apart as a separate and distinct fund for the support and maintenance of colored schools, and the white tax is reserved for the white schools.
Moreover, the proceeds of the State School Fund are appropriated to white schools exclusively. For the colored schools an appropriation is made direct from the State treasury. This appropriation for colored schools has been increased from $2,400 in 1881 to about $5,000 in 1888.
Both the taxes levied upon colored persons and the State appropriation for colored schools are paid over to the Treasurer of the African School Society, which society, under the law, distributes it among the colored schools of the State; and by an arrangement with the county superintendents much of the work of supervising the colored schools has been left in the hands of Mr. H. C. Conrad, treasurer and actuary of the African School Society.
The amount of money actually raised for the schools of each race in 1886 (the latest year available), together with the number of white and colored children, is as follows:
The white schools thus received in appropriations and taxes more than five times as much per capita of the school population as the colored schools.
The total receipts, moreover, would allow an average of $139 to each white school and $104 to each colored school.
Regarding the status of the colored schools of Delaware, Superintendent L. I. Handy, of Kent County, says in his report:
“According to an understanding among the county superintendents, we have left much of the work of supervising negro schools in the hands of Mr. H.C. Conrad, of Wilmington. I have, however, devoted some personal attention to those schools in Kent County, as well as exercised a general supervision over them. On my round of visits to the white schools I have occasionally called at negro schools, and have found then in as good condition as could be expected under the
circumstances. All that I have visited were entirely primary in their work. For a detailed report of these schools I must refer you to Mr. Corrad; but I desire to express the opinion that the law in regard to negro schools, passed at the last session of tho legislature, and the money now appropriated by the State, are sufficient for present requirements. I say this, feeling a deep interest in the education of negro children, anıl appreciating the importance to the whole commonwealth of elevating in every possible way the negro race, which has been thrust into our midst by the hand of a ruthloss past. It would be most unfortunate for the negro schools if they should become a bone of contention between the political parties. In advising that the present status be left unaltered at this time, I speak as a sincere friend of the negro schools. A system of good schools among the negroes can not be quickly created; it must grow. Although fully appreciating the services which Mr. Conrad has rendered the state by his labors in behalf of the negro schools, it is my intention, if the law remains unchanged and I continue in office another year, to relieve him of responsibility in regard to the negro schools of Kent County.
Where do the State funds come from? It has been stated above that in each of the Southern States, except Delaware and Maryland, the annual State fund is apportioned impartially among the white and colored children. It becomes desirable to know how much of these funds comes from colored sources. Unfortunately this is difficult to determine. The annual State fund in these States is derived in the main from the income of permanent funds, direct appropriations by the States, and taxes on property or polls, by far the major part of which, except poil taxes, would seem to come from the white population.
As regards North Carolina, State Superintendent S. M. Finger, in addressing the school oflicers, says: “But perhaps you say the negroes are in the way. Do you know that, including poll tax which they actually pay, fines, forfeitures, and penalties, tho negroes fornish a large proportion of the money that is applied to their public schools ? "
In 1882, Gustavus J. Orr, then State Superintendent of Georgia, undertook an elaborate investigation, in order to determine the exact truth in this matter, and reached a conclusion regarding that State similar to that indicated by Superintendent Finger for North Carolina. Ile found that out of $151,000 paid to colored teachers by the State, $145,000 might be considered as having been contributed, directly or indirectly, by the colored people. But he called attention to another feature of the question, which must be taken into consideration, siz, that the negroes furnished nothing else toward the payment of the public expenses; or, as Superintendent Orr expressed it: “The white people, who really hold all the power of the State government in all its departments, allowed the negroes for the support of their schools more than the whole amount paid by them for all purposes, and then took upon themselves all the other expenses of the Government." And again : “It is true that colored people contribute nearly all of what is paid [by the State) for the education of their children, as has been already shown; bat they are made to do this, as has also been shown, by so selecting the sources of school revenue as to put all that they pay into the school fund.” It must be acknowledged that if a due proportion of the colored poll taxes, fines, etc., were applied to other (or gencral) objects, their school moneys would have to be supplemented by just so inuch from funds proceeding from the white people; and the State of Georgia, in relieving the colored people of these general public charges, virtually applies to their education to this extent funds raised from the whites.
In Kontucky there were collected from the colored people for State taxes in 1884–85, $13,988; there were disbursed by the State for colored schools the same year $137,851, leaving $123,863 as the "amount paid by white taxpayers to equalize the per capita.
It may be stated in this connection that the same year (1884–85), the colored people raised in the "counties” in Kentucky, by local taxation and subscriptions, $19,210, and in 1888–89, $29,044, which may be taken as a measure of their ability and inclination to raise local funds, and of the progress they have made in these particulars.
State Superintendent J. Desha Pickett says, of their effort to supplement the funds of the State: “This is primne proof of intelligent interest and of genuine progress in their system of common schools. The colored people of the Commonwealth are wide awake under the beneficent provisions in the new order of things.
Other proofs are presented of progress in the colored schools, which must certainly be a subject of congratulation to every thoughtful citizen of the Commonwealth, in view of the facts that the colored man is here to stay, and that the State is heavily taxed for his improvement." "That a race of people, descended a few generations back from serpent worshipers in the wilds of Africa, within less than a score of years after being freed, and out of a mass of illiterates hundreds of thousands strong, bave a regularly organized system of education, conducted by more than a thousand teachers, men and women of their own race, with thrice as many trustees, and only white boards and superintendencies, county and State, is another marvel in the history of ethics, ethnology, and the education of nations. It speaks well for that race; and it speaks eloquently for Kentucky, and for the spirit of progress, not only in Kentucky, but, hopefully, throughout the South. It is the promise of a new era in the history of humanity.
GENERAL CONDITION AND PROGRESS OF THE COLORED PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
The great obstacle to the progress of the country colored schools is the poverty of the people. The State furnishes enough to pay the teacher for a two to four months' term; all the other funds, for building schoolhouses and maintaining the schools, they must generally raise themselves. On account of the lack of means the colored people are put to all sorts of shifts for buildings, often using churches, sometimes putting up with the most miserable accommodations or going without a school altogether. Such reports as the following are frequent: “Schoolhouses bad ;” “The greatest trouble is want of money to build houses ;” “The problem of comfortable houses for them is hard to solve;” “The colored schools of this county are at a low ebb, with no houses, and the people unable to build ;” “It is almost impossible for them to build schoolhouses; “They are too poor to build by taxation;” “Few have any tax-list, except a poli; hence the law allowing a tax to build is, for them, practically no tax at all." No doubt in some cases the want of suitable school buildings is a result of indolence or a lack of appreciation of the benefits of education, but there can be no doubt that poverty is the prevailing cause.
Other obstacles to negro education are the lack of qualified teachers and the size of the colored school districts, the latter especially in those States having a sparse colored population. Lewis County, Ky., 800 square miles in extent, forms a single colored school district. Of course in such a case it is not possible to locate the schoolhouse so that more than a few of the children can attend. The others are entirely deprived of school privileges. This condition of affairs-lorg distances to school — is of frequent occurrence, and it is not easy to imagine any remedy that can be devised to meet it. It ie a condition of affairs that obtains in any thinly settled country, though bearing with special hardships upon the colored people, who are virtually deprived of the resource of home education.
With all these difficulties, however, the outlook is full of promise. It is only by comparing the present with the past-the schools of to-day with the condition of a people emerging from a state of human bondage and dense ignorance-that a proper estimate may be made of the ground that has been gained. Thirty years ago it was frequently an indictable offense to “teach or cause to be taught any slave or free person of color to read or write." As late as 1863, in the State of Delaware, a positive enactment was made against all assemblages for the instruction of colored people.
Now nearly one and a quarter million colored pupils daily attend the public schools and receive the rudiments of education, mainly at the expense of the white people of the South,
Further improvement is to be looked for on the lines already laid down. The teaching force is improving each year. The various colored normal, secondary, and superior institutions furnish their annual contingent to swell the ranks of the teachers. “The standing of their teachers in point of morals and learning is constantly. growing better.” “There is trouble securing teachers who can pass required examinations, but they are doing better on this point, and it is thought this impediment will soon disappear.” Except in the event of assistance being granted by the Federal Government, it is to themselves that the colored people of the rural districts must look for means to supplement the State funds and to improve and extend their present school system. Sigus are not wanting that substantial progress is being made in this direction. With the bettering of their material condition comes a fuller desire for intellectual training.
The reports of Superintendent Pickett, .of Kentucky, furnish the most definite information on this point. One county superintendent says: “The (colored) cominon schools are improving in every respect. T'he grade of teachers is much better, schoolhouses are being improved, the people see that they can not get along without the common schools, but rely too much on the public fund."
Another: “Without education themselves, the colored people, with a devotion truly heroic and a self-sacrifice truly philanthropic, are making an effort to obtain for their children those blessings they have not enjoyed."
Another: “During the year a good schoolhouse has been built, and the interest is greatly increased.
Another: "The attendance during the last school year was better than ever before. A greater number of schoolhouses was built, and a larger amount supplementing the teachers'salaries was raiseci than ever before."
Another: "The colored people are laboring with commendable zeal to improve their schools.
Taxes have been levied in three districts to improve the houses.”
THE NEGRO SCHOOLS OF MISSOURI.
The following information regarding negro education in Missouri is taken from the report of State Superintendent W. E. Coleman (1888-89):
"The negro schools are gradually increasing in numbers and efficiency. This may be attributed to the fact that, in addition to the teachers supplied by Lincoln institute and the bigh schools in the larger cities of the State, many educated negroes come to Missouri in search of positions as teachers, who have been educated in Northern States, in the same schools with the white children, but who are not permitted to teach in said States.
“Missouri has now more than 700 negro teachers einployed in her public schools. These, of course, teach only negro children; but this is 700 more negro teachers than are employed in seven of the Northern States, and, in fact, more than are employed in the public schools of all the old free States.
“Experience has proven that those negroes who have lived in the South, and who are well educated, made better teachers than those who have lived altogether in the North. They get along better with both the whites and the negroes.
“Our law-makers have favored the negro children by legislation. While they do not have, as a general rule, so well-equipped schoolhouses, they are granted special privileges in other particulars that are denied to the white children of the district. To form a district for white children requires thirty children of school age; but if there are fifteen colored children in any school district the board is required and compelled to maintain a separate school for them for the same length of time the school for the wbile children is in session. White children who have no school facilities, wbo live in unorganized territory, if they attend a public school, have to pay tuition, while, at the same time, their parents are con pelled to pay a four-mill school tax which goes to the organized districts of the county; but negro children, in a district with less than fifteen negro children by the last enumeration, are permitted to go to any negro school in the county free, and the district in wbich tl:ey reside must pay their tuition. This is not a privilege only; it is an absolute right they have under the law. Still we have a few negro fanatics, agitators, and would-be philanthropists, who are continually trying to stir up confusion and contention becanse a few negro children happen to live in districts remote from a negro school. They grow furious if the children have to walk two or three miles, while there are ten times as many white children who walk as far, and some farther, to attend their own district schools. The question is often asked, “How do the negro children learn ?" Are they as apt as the white children? No, might be given as a definite answer; but that does not satisfy. The truth is there are not 1,000 full-blooded African children in the schools of this state. The negro population of Missouri is an amalgamated
race of people, in which the genuine negro and the Caucasian races have been mixed; and it is a fact, that can not be consistently denied, that when you have the opportunity to test the ability of the negro school children from six years old until they reach twenty it will become apparent that as they advance in the grades, from the primary department to graduation in the high school, the African cbaracteristics drop out and the Caucasian predominate, thereby showing conclusively that the African is not capable of receiving and utilizing the school advantages afforded him with the readiness and to the extent of the Caucasian. Among the 700 negro teachers in Missouri, there are not ten of purely African antecedents.
“There are still a few communities in which the freeholders prefer to rent and lease their lands to negroes rather than to have white tenants occupy them, but who do everything in their power to deprive the negroes of their legal rights relative to schools and school privileges. The negroes are poor and can not afford to go to law, but submit, and their children are thereby defrauded out of their just rights, rights which are guarantied to them by the laws of the State. My theory is that any community that prefers negro tenants should be compelled to support good schools for the children of such negro tenants."
CAPACITY OF THE NEGRO FOR EDUCATION.
The question of the capacity of the negro to receive education, which Superintendent Coleman touches upon in the preceding extract, has been often discussed. Mr. W. H. Baker, superintendent of tho public schools of Savannah, Ga., asserted upon this point:' “I desire to have it known that, as a result of my observation, which has been extensive, I am convinced that the colored people are exceedinglý anxious to educate their children. The colored children in the schools of this city are making rapid progress. They not only show ability for learning what are termed the elementary branches, but seem to grasp without difficulty those studies which are included in the curriculum of what is classed as secondary education. I write this because for many years I held a contrary opinion."
The superintendent of Fleming County, Kentucky, reports: "The children advanced as rapidly as did those of the average white schools. Experience is teaching that the colored children can be almost as well educated, and in nearly the same time, as the white;" and from another county comes the following: "Colored people are taking more interest and advancing more rapidly in common school education than the whites”; and again: “ The colored people greatly appreciate school privileges, and have made greater progress, under the circumstances, than have the whites."
John B. Cary, late superintendent of the public schools of Richmond, Va., in his account of the twentieth anniversary of the Richmond Colored Normal School, said: “As the subjects indicate, the exercises were of an interesting character, and clearly refuted the idea of those who maintain that the negro is incapable of mental culture, When it is known that our colored schools correspond in grades, instruction, and discipline with the white, subject to the same rules and regulations, it will be conceded, I think, that the people of Richmond are doing their full duty by them.”
TABLE 4.- Amount and disposition of the sums disbursail from the Slater fund from 1883
to 1889, inclusire.