LC’s Commentary

Listen To The Voice of Reason

New Field Hands On The Horizon

 One of the ways that the Growers in the old South made sure that they had plenty field hands was to deny education to Blacks.  Southern growers felt that even a casual encounter with books would make the workforce more migratory and harder to handle. They also felt that Blacks who could read and write would not be willing to accept their figures at settlement time.  There was the feeling that education would make blacks restless, inquisitive, and harder to keep in their place. Bowing to pressure from blacks and some whites, blacks were eventually afforded a minimal amount of education. Though substandard by any stretch of imagination, the little education that blacks were afforded was instrumental in raising their expectations. The more they learned, the more they wanted to learn. Satisfaction with the status quo was replaced with a yearning to know more, earn more and a better life. For many years, there were those who thought that education was not a black thing. I gaze in wonderment at many of our black youngsters as they refuse to take advantage of something (education) so valuable and essential for one’s wellbeing. One may begin to think that many of our children are making great efforts to prove the assertion that education is not a black thing.  Entirely too many have pushed education aside in favor of folly. We cannot go back to the fields. Those jobs are being filled by others and, or mechanized.  Although we cannot go back to the fields, we can certainly go back to being an uneducated, uncouth and ignorant people.  We can go back to being completely at the mercy of the master as we once were.In 1899, the Governor to be of the State of Mississippi,(1904-1908) James K. Vardaman, said the following: “In educating the Negro, we implant in him all manners of aspirations and ambitions which we then refuse to allow him to gratify.  People talk about elevating the race with education. It is not only folly, but it comes pretty nearly being criminal folly. The Negro isn’t permitted to advance and their education only spoils a good field hand and makes a shyster lawyer or a fourth-rate teacher. It’s money thrown away.”  Young folks! Is getting an education pure folly and a waste of time and money? If the answer is no, then why do so many of you behave in a manner that suggests that that it is indeed a fact? Prove the masses wrong. Prove that getting an education is just as important to you as it was to your fore parents.  Sent  Saturday, July 01, 2006                                                                                            ______________________
Copyright 2006
This commentary written by L.C. Thornton, for The Peoples Voice Black Weekly News
For reprint permission contact:
L.C. Thornton at


July 1, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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