A meeting in the interests of the Tuskegee Industrial Institute was held in Sanders Theatre last night. After brief introductory speeches by Dr. Peabody and Dean Shaler, Mr. Booker T. Washington, the principal of the Tuskegee school was introduced.
Mr. Washington began his address by taking up and discussing three of the plans which have been suggested as solutions of the negro problem: -- exportation of the negroes to Liberia, restriction to reservations, and the assimilation of the negro with the white race. All these plans he showed to be visionary and impossible of execution. The negroes came to this country at the invitation of the whites, not like the whites themselves in 1492, "against the protest of the leading citizens of the country;" they have come to stay, and the problem of the negro people must be taken up as involving a people that will be a permanent part of the American population.
Mr. Washington told the story of his early life, his work in the West Virginia coal mines, of the first information of the Hampton Institute that came to him, his journey there and his reception. At Hampton he was given the chance to work for his education, and there he made the resolution that he would devote the education and training he received to the service of his people in the far South. In 1881 the school at Tuskegee was started in the combined accommodations of a shanty and a hen-house. The school has grown now to an institution with 86 instructors and 1100 pupils, who represent 27 different states and territories and several foreign nations. On the school grounds are over forty buildings, all but four of which were planned and constructed by the students of the institute. There are twenty-eight different industries in constant operation, and through these the young colored men and women earn the money which pays for their schooling, and at the same time are learning scientifically trades that will serve them in after life.
The aim of the Tuskegee Institute is to train the young Southern Negroes as intelligent and capable farmers and artisans, and to teach them to regain the industrial supremacy which in their ignorance they lost after the war. It is in this effort to raise the industrial status, and with it the mental and moral conditions of the negro race, that the Institute appeals for the co-operation and aid of those who regard the interests of the black people and the interests of the whole country, which for good or evil, must be indissolubly intertwined with them.