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The Choctaw Freedmen and Oak Hill Industrial Academy

The aim of the Author in preparing this volume has been to put in a form, convenient for preservation and future reference, a brief historical sketch of the work and workers connected with the founding and development of Oak Hill Industrial Academy, established for the benefit of the Freedmen of the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, by the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., in 1886, when Miss Eliza Hartford became the first white teacher, to the erection of Elliott Hall in 1910, and its dedication in 1912; when the name of the institution was changed to “The Alice Lee Elliott Memorial.”

Voices from the Black Belt

In a discussion of the Negro problem it is eminently appropriate the Freedman and his neighbor be accorded the privilege of expressing their respective views. The thoughts expressed in this chapter have been gleaned principally from the columns of the Afro-American, a colored weekly, published by the faculty of Biddle University, Charlotte, North Carolina. The problem of the Negro relates to his capacity for improvement and self-support. Is the American Negro, after centuries of slavery that kept the race in an infantile condition, capable of development and self support? Over this question the people of our country have expressed differing opinions, many insisting that the servant condition is the better one for the American Negro. The Presbyterian Standard, published at Charlotte, N. C., a section of country in which the latter sentiment still prevails, recently bore this testimony to their progress. “While it is true of them as a mass that they are an infantile race, it is not true of them in many individual cases. There are thousands of them, who have advanced wonderfully during the last fifty years. They have made progress in every line. They are owning more farms every year, and in our cities they are buying homes, which sometimes would do credit to a more enlightened people. Their Churches are not only built in better taste, but their preachers are becoming better educated, and are exerting a stronger moral influence than ever before.” This frank statement fairly represents the sentiment of the thoughtful Christian people of the south. Some who have thought otherwise have been led to admit that, “while great advance has been...

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