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TWENTY-FIVE years ago, when a lad fifteen years old attending the public schools of Pennsylvania, in which State I was born and reared, certain ideas and sentiments caused me to secretly resolve that some day, when I had gotten together the necessary data, I would write just such a book as is contained herein. At the time that resolution was formed, I was attending the Darlington School in Middletown District, Delaware County over which Prof. A. G. C. Smith was Superintendent. And I remember with much gratefulness my first and last public school teachers, Misses Carrie V. Hamilton and Rebecca R. Crumley and Prof. Smith for their kind and frequent words to me as encouragement to continue my education after graduating from the public schools. My favorite study was the United States History, and even at the tender age of fifteen years, I was greatly surprised and Race pridely hurt not to find any history, except about slavery, in such books concerning the American Negro. I had such childish confidence in my school books and their authors that I felt sure if Negroes had fought and died in the several American wars; had become great poets, orators, artists, sculptors, etc., the histories I was studying would have mentioned such. I thought in doing that they would have been preserving United States valuable history more so than merely giving just credit to the Colored people who had made such history. I did not know that right then the attentions of many public school children in far away Europe were often called to the histories of such distinguished Colored Americans as Phyllis Wheatley, the poetess; Frederick Douglas, the orator; Henry O. Tanner, the artist; Edmonia Lewis, the sculptoress -- all of them having won recognition and fame in Europe as well as in America. My youthful ignorance, regarding the achievements of my race, is easily explained when it is taken into consideration that I was a farmer boy living far from libraries I had never seen and Negro histories I had never heard about. And the United States histories then used in the public schools had nothing in them to enlighten me on that subject. They misled and kept me, along with thousands of other Colored school children, in absolute ignorance relative to the progress and attainments of the American Colored people. So whenever our history classes went up to recite and my white classmates proudly went through the lessons about General George Washington, Noah Webster, Benjamin Franklin, Eli Whitney, Longfellow, etc., while I knew and could just as easily recite such history, nevertheless, my feelings of crushed race pride and mortification were beyond expression because not one thing could I proudly recite from my lessons about great things my people had accomplished in America. It is the same with the United States histories used in our public schools of today. They do not relate about Crispus Attucks, a Negro soldier and the first Colonist martyr to give his life for America in the Revolutionary War; nor about the Colored sailor, William Tillman, who received six thousand dollars from the Federal Government for recapturing a stolen schooner from the Rebels in the Civil War; nor about the Colored Registrars of the United States Treasury, B. K. Bruce, J. W. Lyons, W. T. Vernon and J. C. Napier, whose names, during different administrations covering a period of more than thirty years, appeared on all the United States paper money made and issued during that period; nor about Matthew A. Henson, who was with Commodore Peary when he (Peary) discovered the North Pole; nor about Booker T. Washington, one of the greatest orators America has ever produced and also builder of one of the most famous institutions of learning not only in America but in the world.

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  • We started tracking this book on April 7, 2020.
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