Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/819

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EDUCATION OF OUR COLORED CITIZENS.

spark of the savage, which struck fire only by direct contact and after much friction. Organized enthusiasm is the electric light with the whole energy of the battery behind it. It is this organized enthusiasm of many people in many places which has made Hampton what it is. General Armstrong's genius has lain in understanding how to utilize emotion to be sure that it turned a crank and did not escape in steam. For twenty-five years he has toiled and thought and fought for the school—now traveling hither and yon through the North to collect funds, and then flying back to inspire and direct the work at the South. No man could stand such a strain forever, and last year, in Boston, paralysis laid its warning hand on that tireless brain and said, "Be still!" But nothing short of death itself can enforce that command. The brain and voice are busy still, but not with their oldtime energy. Now he is calling for aid. "He has," as Mrs. Julia Ward Howe said, "been through two wars—the war of fire and bloodshed, and the war of faith and zeal." Now he is struck down, like Moses, at the entrance to the promised land of success, and asks only to see into it.

To each age its own problems. The men and women of General Armstrong's generation were carried above and beyond themselves by the impulse of a great, soul-stirring cause. The young people of to-day can never know the electric thrill of patriotism which ran through the country in successive shocks from the first gun echoing from Sumter to the solemn day of Lincoln's death. But there is a heroic work for them to do:

"New occasions teach new duties,

Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still and onward,

Who would keep abreast of truth."

"The Boys in Blue did a fearful but necessary work of destruction," said Lincoln of the heroes of Gettysburg. "It is for us to finish what they began. Their task was destruction; ours is construction. Theirs was the emancipation of the slave; ours the enlightenment of the citizen." So widespread has been the feeling of the dignity and worth of the work done in this great cause at Hampton, that it has taken form in an association bearing the name of the founder of the school, and known as the Armstrong Association. Its whole purpose is to support the industrial education of the negro and, incidentally, of the Indian. It aims to be national, not sectional, and should prove a strong bond between North and South. It does not propose to contribute a cent toward philanthropy or charity at the South. Hampton Institute is no more a charitable institution than Yale or Harvard. It is a noble educational plant insufficiently endowed. Its alumni are poor;