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on the states of the South. Nature was so lavish in her gifts to this section in soil and in climate, in water and in mineral, in field and in forest, that our people may have been somewhat excusable in not fully realizing the necessity of providing ample educational facilities for their children.
During most of the period since the South began constructing a system of public schools, our people have depended largely on the state governments to furnish the revenue. In recent years most of the southern states have come to know that while the state as a unit of government should furnish its part by taxation for the maintenance of a system of public education, the county as a unit should furnish its part and the school district should furnish its part. You, my fellow-teachers, from the North and from the East and from the West, come from sections where the smaller divisions like the district and the county raise by taxation the greater part of the evenues for the support of the public schools; but we in Alabama, the home of William L. Yancy, have been such strong “States' Rights Democrats” that we believed in letting the state do nearly everything, while we as individuals returned the favor in full by continuing to vote the Democratic ticket. We now realize that democracy and home rule ought to have taught us long ago to let the counties and the school districts assist the state government in maintaining a system of public education.
These brief, passing references bring to our minds a review only of those greater movements in educational developments which have transformed the old South into the South of today. These changes, these evidences of marvelous growth, inspire us with hope and courage and confidence for the future. Of achievement, the schools of the Southland could sing a won
. drous story; but they look not to the past, they look to the future.
Another cause for gratification is the fact that all our educational problems and our educational institutions may be unaffected in future by sectional lines; because all sectional lines are wiped out now. They are always wiped out every time the North and the South participate in a public meeting. The latest proof that those sectional lines are almost completely obliterated was offered a few days ago when the metropolis of the South, New Orleans, situated almost in sight of the Panama Canal, was really seriously considered as a competitor with San Francisco, three thousand miles away, as the "logical point" for holding the Panama Exposition.
Another important fact in connection with the growth of education in the South is the apparent admission on the part of most of the philanthropists of the North that the native white man of the South understands the negro better than they do. In providing for the negro youth a commonschool education together with an industrial training we earnestly desire the sympathy and co-operation of the North, but not its advice. We welcome its benefactions, but not the absolute direction of these expenditures.
You of the North and you of the East and you of the West have your problems of foreign immigration. We sympathize with you, but we know you can solve these problems better without our advice. We are not familiar with the difficulties, while you are. Why should we of the South undertake to advise you on a subject which from the very nature of things you know more about than we do? In like manner we probably understand better than you do the problems of the South..
But best of all, my brothers, we are coming really to understand and to appreciate each other. We of the South and you of the North are coming to feel that your heroes and our heroes are the heritage of a common country. The deeds of your brave men and of our brave men, of your chieftains and of our chieftains, are transmitted as a glorious legacy to the children of America. To the keeping of the American school teacher is committed not only the destiny of individuals but the ideals of the nation. May he be true to his trust and equal to his responsibility.
B. THE IDEALS OF ITS PEOPLE
It was a great son of the South who in 1776 penned that immortal Declaration which proclaimed to the world the ideals of a new nation and set Liberty Bell ringing thru all times and to all lands the notes of freedom, liberty, the rights and powers of the people. Eleven years later another great son of the South wrote, “We, the people of the United States." While he wrote representing the whole people he had behind him a southern ancestry and training and was influenced by southern ideals and traditions. Owing to the strength of the South at the time of the Constitutional Convention, and owing to the character of the men who represented the southern colonies, the expression of political ideals set forth in the Constitution was dominantly southern. Southern thought and southern ideals played leading parts in laying the foundation and in raising the superstructure of our nation.
We, the people of the South, are of the people of the United States and hold with you of the East and North and West those ideals which have given individuality and character to this nation and made it a power for good in the world and which have directed the course of our national life and made the form of our government a model for other nations to imitate.
The South has held these national ideals more sacred and inviolate than any other section of the country, for the South is essentially conservative and holds dear the foundation principles enunciated by the makers of the Constitution and applied by the builders of our nation. It has cherished and kept these ideals and its people have ever been ready to live and labor or fight and die, if need be, for their protection and maintenance.
In times past to some the South has seemed a problem and its people a
peculiar people. To these the North has appeared to represent the nation. It is true, due to causes well known to all, that no southern man has been the executive head of the nation in many years, but it should be recalled that before 1860 nine of the fifteen presidents were from the South and in other branches of the national government the South contributed its due share of leaders. But a better day dawns when the South shall come again into its own in national leadership and be represented in the highest offices in the government. The next Speaker of the House is a man of southern blood. Within the past few weeks a great son of Louisiana has been appointed head of the national judiciary by a great son of Ohio. The American ideals, they are the ideals of the people of the Southland.
The ideals of the people of the South! A mighty theme, its vastness appalls me as does my inability to treat it in any adequate way in this brief paper. For the South is a mighty empire stretching from beyond the Potomac to far El Paso, from the Ohio to the Florida Keys, with a population of 30,000,000. Geographically, the South is diverse with its Coastal Plain, Appalachian region, great and alluvial river valleys, and wide prairies and plateaus; with its cotton areas, its tobacco areas, its sugar areas, its rice and tea areas, its corn areas, its great forests and wealth of coal and iron and petroleum. Historically, the South is no less complex with its Col al period, the Ante Bellum period, the period of War and Reconstruction, and the New South which is just now emerging with a wealth of ideals inherited from each epoch of the Old South. A history, long, complex, romantic, and tragic, wrought by a people of many nationalities and of different bloods, by Cavaliers of Maryland and Virginia, Huguenots of the Carolinas, the Scotch Irish of the mountain and interior states, the Spanish from Florida to Mexico, the French of all this lower coast and especially of Louisiana, the Germans in Texas, by thousands of Indians and millions of negroes.
The South believes that differences exist among men due to nature, to economic and social conditions, and to social heredity, and that these differences should be recognized in the treatment of the different classes. These differences are recognized in most countries of the earth including the leading nations of western Europe. An erroneous conception of democracy and a faulty psychology have led a portion of the people of our country into an attempt to treat all men alike. The Indians must be given the white man's education and social order and transformed into white Indians. That the Indian is not a white man with a red skin has been learned at an enormous cost in dollars and a frightful waste of energy and life. When the negro slaves were freed, they became, to some, white men with black skins, so that all that was needed to make them equal to the whites was to give them the white man's privileges and the white man's education. This attempt has likewise failed. The same faulty notions led to an attempt to give the country child the same education as the city child, the trades
man's son the same as the son of his rich employer, the girls and women the same education as the boys and men, the illiterate adult the same as the child in the first grade. The failure of all these attempts, together with the teachings of modern psychology and sociology, has brought the whole country to accept the doctrine that differences do exist among men and that men should be treated accordingly.
While the South has not been free from mistakes in education it has stood for vocational education, for agricultural schools in the country, for differences in education due to sex, and, in the main, for separate colleges for men and women, and for an education for the negro suited to his nature and social and economic needs.
Eighty-five per cent of the people of the South live in the country and by farming. Their ideals are naturally the ideals of field and farm. Conditions in the North tended toward commerce, toward organization, toward cohesion and centralization, and toward the development of great cities and the submergence of the individual. In the South, due to separateness on farms and plantations and the absence of great cities, the tendencies were toward individualism and guarding rights.
Measured by the standard of dollars, the South has lagged behind. But the South has not cared so much for storing up wealth. “The South," says Dixon, “is raising men rather than money." Channing said, speaking of the Virginians, "They love money less than we do. . . . . Patriotism is not tied to their purse strings.” The South has been criticized for being slow, for lacking the hurry and bustle of the North and West. The South takes time to cultivate those individual graces and social virtues which have made the southern woman and the southern man famous the world over and purchased for the South a reputation for unequaled hospitality. It is a wealth of worth rather than a worth of wealth that is characteristic of southern ideals. To be able to produce a character like that of Robert E. Lee is esteemed of greater importance than to produce an army of millionaires.
The South stands for the development of the individual, for his integrity, for the individual's personal worth. This individualism is needed in social progress to oppose the centralizing tendency of the North.
A kindred ideal for which the South stands and has stood thru all the years is that of local self-government. This Anglo-Saxon principle is dear to our hearts. Of it President Dabney says, “The South's best contributions to the cause of democracy was its ideal of local self-government." With this ideal goes the ideal of the integrity of the state. The people of the South stand and have stood for the indestructibleness of the states and for their rights to govern themselves. The war between the states settled once for all that this is to be “an indestructible union of indestructible states."
Life on the farms and plantations tended to magnify the home. The
planter belonged to an aristocratic class and was proud of the blood in his veins. The plantation afforded all the necessities of life and many of the luxuries, so that life in the plantation home was almost ideal. The ideal of home is strong in the Southland, family ties are close, and social position and leadership depend more on one's family than on wealth or political or professional position. If the home is a mighty influence for good in the preservation of a nation, the Southland has contributed and will contribute more than its share.
With the love of home and family naturally goes a reverence for the past. For
in the land ob cotton,
Old times dar am not forgotten. No, old times are not forgotten in the South. Thousands of families lost their wealth during the War and have never been able to regain the standards of living to which they were accustomed. To all such the glorious days of the distant past are sacred memories. In wealth and in strength of her manhood the South is just now abreast of the mark she had reached in 1860. Many states have lost rank which they can never regain. Under these circumstances it is but natural that old times should not be forgotten. Then there were great principles contended for by our fathers, and national leaders went up from the South and great names were common in those days. Why should the South forget the glories of the past? It is learning to forget many of its dark hours, but it will never forget its heroes and the principles for which they stood.
The South is said to be conservative and exclusive and more or less suspicious of strangers. If the South were ever suspicious of strangers that day is now past. If this suspicion existed it was pathological and absolutely foreign to native southern character, for the typical Southerner is of simple and straightforward mind with an open-handed hospitality unsurpassed. While the South is loyal and true to its friends, the warmth of its welcome and the genuineness of its hospitality to strangers stand out as conspicuous expressions of the ideals of her people.
During the dark hours of the War and the darker days of Reconstruction the South had many experiences with strangers which taught her that strangers meant danger. The attempt to force a solution of southern problems by a method and on a pattern foreign to southern ideals and experiences crystallized the South into the "solid "South and dried up for a season the natural springs of hospitality in southern breasts. But the North has learned that these problems cannot be so solved and that southern men with southern methods must work threm cut. Force has been replaced by education and by constitutional provisions regulating the franchise. Thus peace, security, prosperity, and an opportunity to develop in its own way have been guaranteed to each race. This has put the South at ease and has started again the native springs of hospitality to strangers. Rooted