Training for Citizenship




September 18, 1913.— Ordered to be printed




Training boys for the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship has been undertaken in Winston-Salem, N. C., along rather broad and unique lines. After nearly a year's successful operation the Winston-Salem plan is worthy of careful consideration, and possibly of imitation. The principal characteristics of this plan are, first, cooperation between the public schools and the local board of trade; second, the establishment of a department of government and economics in the city high school; and third, the formation of a boys department, or a "Juvenile Club," as it is called, of the board of trade.


At the beginning of the 1912-13 school year, Supt. R. H. Latham, of the city schools, provided, as a part of the high-school curriculum, a course in government and economics open to the senior students, and placed the new department under the direction of the secretary of the board of trade,[1] who, with the approval of the board, had volunteered his services. Under this department, the students are taught the elements of government, special attention being given to analysis and comparison of the city, county, State, and Federal Governments. During the term ending with the Christmas holidays, mock elections were held, and the class was organized as city council, State general assembly, and as the Congress of the United States.

Immediately after Christmas a series of lectures treating of the fundamental principles of economics were arranged, and the attention of the students directed to the important industrial, commercial, and agricultural problems of this country, particularly the problems of the Southern States.

As a result of this work the boys developed a very active interest in public affairs, and to hold this interest and at the same time make the work of lasting value it was recognized that their historic and theoretical study of political and economic problems must in some way be connected with the practical, everyday experiences in the industrial centers. Winston-Salem being essentially a manufacturing community, the means of studying actual conditions was immediately available. As a feasible method of undertaking this it was suggested that there be organized a juvenile club of the board of trade and the establishment of a closer cooperation between the work of the high school and that of the board.


Having declared that "No commercial organization performs its legitimate functions unless it makes an effort to inculcate the principles of true citizenship in the minds of its members, and to advance the social conditions of the people always ahead of the march of industrial and commercial progress." the board of trade readily indorsed this plan to form a boys' division of the board, and authority was given the secretary to undertake its formation. The result is the Juvenile Club of the Winston-Salem Board of Trade.

Membership in the Juvenile Club is not limited to high-school boys, for it was thought best to open to all interested boys of the city a way to become identified with constructive and active civic work. To become a member of the club, however, the boy must be at least 14 years of age and under 21 years old. Another condition of membership is that the boy must subscribe to and recite from memory before the secretary of the board of trade the ancient Athenian oath, pledging himself to perform faithfully his civic obligations. This pledge is as follows:

We will never bring disgrace to this our city by any act of dishonesty or cowardice, nor ever desert our suffering comrades in the ranks. We will fight for the ideals and sacred things of the city, both alone and with many. We will revere and obey the city's laws and do our best to incite a like respect and reverence in those above us who are prone to annul or to set them at naught. We will strive unceasingly to quicken the public sense of civic duty. Thus, in all these ways, we will transmit this city not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.

A membership register is kept in which the boys sign their names after subscribing to and reciting this oath.

The boys have the privilege of attending all regular meetings of the board of trade, with the right to take part in debates, but without any voting power. They are assigned committee work, and special meetings are held for them twice a month or more frequent if the work demands it. Members of the Juvenile Club pay no fees.

The club has a membership of about 50 boys, the first member being enrolled October 14, 1912.

Every effort is made to properly train these boys for the duties of citizenship, to create in them respect for honest and efficient public service, and to actively interest them in the work of making Winston-Salem a better, greater, and more beautiful city in which to live.


The first employment of the members of the Juvenile Club has been in the recent industrial survey of Winston-Salem conducted by the board of trade. All of the boys selected to assist in this work were students in the department of government and economics of the high school. In this way the boys in the graduating class of the high school this year have been able to take part in an organized industrial investigation under proper authority.

In this work the boys visited the local manufacturing establishments and filled out a detailed industrial schedule, in the same manner as do special agents of the statistical bureaus of the Federal Government. They were held strictly responsible for the accuracy of their reports, and the statistical tables which have been prepared are compiled directly from their reports.

The general summary of the investigations made by the boys shows that for the calendar year 1912 there were 86 manufacturing establishments in operation in Winston-Salem turning out an annual product valued at $37,000,000 from raw materials costing about fifteen and a half millions of dollars. All establishments not strictly classified as manufacturing establishments by the Federal Bureau of the Census are omitted in this computation.

With a population estimated at only 35,000, this means that for every man, woman, and child in Winston-Salem more than $1,000 of wealth is annually manufactured.

According to the report of the boys, more than 12,000 persons are employed in the manufacturing industries of Winston-Salem, receiving for their labor nearly four and a half millions of dollars a year. The capital reported for these establishments is placed at $16,000,000.

To more clearly understand the scope of the work performed by the boys of the Juvenile Club in the industrial survey of the city, the following condensed table will be of assistance:

Statistical review of the manufacturing industries of Winston-Salem, N. C., calendar year 1912.
Number of establishments [2] 86
Capital invested Dec. 31 $10,000,000

Number of salaried employees 700
Number of traveling salesmen employed 400
Number of wage earners 11,000

Total persons employed 12,100

Amount of salaries paid $750.000
Salaries and fees paid traveling salesmen $630.000
Amount of wages paid $3,000.000

Total pay roll $4,380.000
Cost of raw materials used during year $15,500.000
Value of finished product $37,000.000
Cost of new buildings erected $300.000
Cost of improvements and repairs $125.000
Cost of power, heat, and light $300.000
Number of tons of coal consumed 50,000

This, the "Winston-Salem plan," as it may be termed, trains the boys of the city for citizenship; first, in the high school, where they are taught the principles of civil government and instructed in the theories and basic problems governing our economic order; second, in the Juvenile Club where they have the means of being identified with real work of municipal development, and to take part in actual social and industrial investigations. Under this plan, an opportunity is provided for the boys to study at close range the varied industries of the city under competent direction and in an official capacity.

In brief, the plan essays to teach the boys how to live and to equip them with an education by which they can make a living, which, in the end, is the real secret of practical training for intelligent citizenship.

  1. Mr. LeRoy Hodges, an economist and statistician of Petersburg, Va., was acting as secretary of the Winston-Salem Board of Trade at this time.
  2. Only establishments considered as manufacturing establishments according to the established classifications of the United States Bureau of the Census are included in this table.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1925. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).