Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/813

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EDUCATION OF OUR COLORED CITIZENS.

character by eliminating the idea of moral responsibility. No soul, no sin. If the marriage tie may be broken at the will of the master, assuredly it will be at the pleasure of the slave. If the servant is a chattel, there is force in his logic that in converting chicken into slave, he is only changing the form of property. The virtues of the slave are unquestioning obedience and passive resignation. The fundamental virtues of the freeman are self-assertion and active, unflinching resistance to any attack on his rights.

The close of the war saw millions of slaves suddenly enfranchised. How were they to be safely translated from one condition to another, to enjoy liberty without running into license, to defend themselves without offending others—in a word, to become good citizens? To the great good fortune of the negro the contraband camp at Hampton, Va., was placed under the control of General Samuel C. Armstrong—a man fitted for his position, not only by having served in the war as a leader of black troops, but by having passed his boyhood as the son of a missionary in the Hawaiian Islands. Through this early training he had an opportunity of studying close at hand the evolution from barbarism of a dark-skinned Polynesian people strongly resembling in many ways the negro in America.

Describing his early experiences, he wrote, years afterward: "On horseback and in canoe tours with my father and alone around those grandly picturesque volcanic islands, inspecting schools and living much among the natives (then generally Christianized), I noticed how easily the children learned from books, how universally the people attended church and had family prayers—always charmingly hospitable; and yet that they lived pretty much in the old ways, all in one room, including the stranger within their gates, who usually had, however, the benefit of the raised end and a curtain. They seemed to have accepted, but not to have fully adopted, Christianity; for they did not have the conditions of living which make high standards of morality possible."

While heartily in sympathy with the effort to Christianize these people, he was forced to see and deplore the process of pietizing without moralizing, which was repeated later under his eye in the camp-meetings of the South. No heathen is so difficult to deal with, as the negro who has run through the whole gamut of religious experience and still retains his original weakness for pilfering watermelons.

General Armstrong's scientific study of the negro led him early to the belief that the only hope for the black lay, not in being helped, but in being taught to help himself; not in being pauperized, but in being civilized. He made up his mind that any sys-