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Turns of the Centuries Exhibit > Native American Indians 1880-1920 > Two Worlds
This theme in other eras: 1680-1720 | 1780-1820 | 1880-1920



sharpened stakes which were


to be used in marking off


the little patches of ground.


Over in the institute’s de-


partment of agricultural sci-


ence I found Professor Good-


rich—a man deeply versed in


the chemistry of soils and all


the methods of the acricul-


tural experimentalist—giv-


ing a part of his time on a


holiday to the kindly task


of working out on paper the


planting scheme for the


Whittier children’s gardens,


in order that the best prac-


tical and educational results


might be obtained.


A large part of the secret


of the future unlocking of the


South’s vast possibilities of

rying on the various branches of work, to-

wealth and culture and happiness lies in the thor-

gether with the wives and children of some of

ough and contented acceptance of agriculture by

the corps. The general population estimate as

the colored race. Generally speaking, the young

given above does not include the 500 or 600

colored people of the South associate farm and

colored children enrolled in the Whittier School.

plantation life with the most repellent drudgery.

These come from the humble homes of the sur-

And so they look instinctively toward the gre-

rounding neighborhood, and are taught by the

garious life of towns, with the accompaniment of

most approved methods and the most kindly and

the good clothes and the luxuries that do not go

accomplished body of teachers, who carry them

with the old tumble-down cabin of the farming

from the kindergarten through successive grades,

life that they have known. Nevertheless farm-

all on a plan of object-teaching that never for

ing must go on in the South, and the negro race

one minute loses sight of the general condi-

must continue to do the bulk of the farm work.

tions under which these children have been

The negro’s best chance for the advancement of

born and the range of social and industrial

his personal fortunes now lies in the purchase and

possibilities that the future has in store for them.

cultivation of a piece of land. A large part of

There are small school


children in thrifty Northern


communities who do not


greatly need to be taught in


the schools to save their pen-


nies. But no lesson is more


needed among the negroes of


the South ; and the children


of the Whittier School are


bank depositors in connection


with the Penny Provident


Fund system of New York.


In the present month of


April every one of them will


spend a part of the school


day out of doors working in


a little garden plot. Mean-


while, as a part of the shop


work I found last month that


these tiny children, girls as


well as boys, had been en-


gaged in fashioning the


(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.

Two Worlds : Moving Between Worlds


American westward expansion and settlement continued to devastate Native societies and economies. In the west, settlers, speculators and the United States government dispossessed Native people of millions of acres of traditional homelands and vital resources. Poverty, disease, despair and alcoholism took a heavy toll among those forced onto small reservations. By the 1880s, American reformers were drawing attention to the plight of the Native peoples of the west. Speeches, letters and books like Helen Hunt Jackson's A Century of Dishonor informed readers of the poor treatment Indians had received at the hands of the United States government. Most humanitarians believed that the only way to ensure the survival of Native Americans was to educate and assimilate them into white culture and society. Children and young people, reformers reasoned, would be most likely to assimilate successfully. The main vehicle in this process was the boarding school. Such schools endeavored not only to educate but also to indoctrinate students in white culture and society. Their goal was, as the founder of the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania put it, to "kill the Indian, save the man."

The best intentions of their founders and supporters notwithstanding, these schools witnessed scenes of incalculable misery. Dozens of schools housed thousands of bewildered and desperately homesick children wrenched not only from their families but from their cultures, as well. Many fell victim to dangerous illnesses and died. Those who returned home struggled to reconcile their boarding school education and experiences with reservation life and culture. Others were cut permanently adrift from their families and heritage. The most successful students adapted and integrated elements of white society and education into their own languages, beliefs and traditions.

The Hampton Institute in Virginia was founded in 1868 to educate freedmen after the Civil War. It began admitting Native American students in 1878. According to a report published in 1901, its purpose was "to train academic and industrial teachers for the Indian and Negro races, and to fit young men and women to become skilled craftsmen. Much stress is laid upon land-buying, home-life, and agricultural pursuits." Like those attending similar institutions, Hampton students faced the difficult challenge of acclimating to a new culture, language and expectations.


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"Learning By Doing At Hampton"

creator   American Monthly Review
date   1900
location   New York
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Books/Booklet
accession #   #L01.005.06ex

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"Learning By Doing At Hampton"

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