Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Today -100: June 15, 1911: Of Fisk, ammo and cat chicks

At the commencement ceremony at Fisk University, a negro college, a letter from President Taft is read: “I am not one of those who believe that it is well to educate the mass of negroes with academic or university education.” He did know he was writing to a university, didn’t he? And one with negro students at that? “On the contrary, I am firmly convinced that the hope of the negro is in his industrial education throughout the South, and in teaching him to be a better farmer, a better carpenter, a better machinist, and a better blacksmith than he is now; and to make more blacksmiths and more good farmers than there now are among the negroes. But I have studied the matter considerably, and have also become convinced that it is necessary to have a few...” Just a few, mind... “...high-class negro universities for those who are to be the leaders of the race and who are to figure prominently in a professional way – their ministers, their physicians, their lawyers, and their teachers – because we have got to treat the race as distinct from the white.” He goes on to praise the quality of Fisk, which “is proved not only by an examination of its college statistics, but by the testimony of the best white men in the community where it exercises its influence.” Well, if the best white men in the community say so...

Teddy Roosevelt also sent a letter. He also said that more negroes needed industrial training than higher ed but that “a certain proportion of the race” should have the latter, but he somehow managed to say it without being such a condescending prick.

One possible reason the Mexican military performed so poorly against the rebels becomes clear from an inspection of army supplies at Juarez: really crap government-manufactured ammunition, containing so little powder that it couldn’t fire any distance at all. The stuff the rebels had, smuggled in from the US, was much better. Also, the federales had 200 80mm shells but 70mm mortars.

Headline of the Day -100: “Cat Hatches Chickens.” It must be true: a Baptist Sunday-school teacher in New Jersey says so. He will send the cat and her four chicks to President Taft as soon as they are old enough to travel, although what Taft is supposed to do with these miraculous creatures, I have no idea.

Reading further, I see that the cat is named Barney. I begin to distrust this Sunday-school teacher’s understanding of biology.

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