Letter Written by Mary L. Colvin to Flora October 22, 1898
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Winter Park, Fla. Oct. 22, 1898
I learned through Libbie Baker that the reunion would be in October, and now comes a letter from Lett, fixing the date. I fear a letter to either of them would not reach there in time, so I write to you.
I intended to have sent my contribution to the scholarship fund long before this, but different things have delayed me, and often when I have thought of it, I did not have the money at hand. I wish I could send more, but every dollar helps.
Since I have been in the South I can see the necessity for the education of the colored race better than I could possibly conceive it at the north. They are predominant everywhere. I do not think a northerner has never been south, can judge of conditions as they prevail here. What might seem a high handed outrage from one point of view, becomes an absolute necessity from another. Fore example- There is here in this little town a large colored population, who live in a section set aside for them, called Hannibal Square. The voters in the square outnumbered the white voters. The majority naturally join themselves to the Republican party and you can readily see what the result would be when they were controlled by a few ambitious politicians. A colored man who could neither read or write was elected Alderman. That simply gave one white man on the Board two votes. Things finally came to such a pass that the Democrats took the matter to the State Legislature and had Hannibal Square out out of Winter Park. About the only chance they have to vote is at the Presidential elections. Now if one were reading in a northern paper that such a thing had been done, one might feel that the colored people had suffered an injustice at the hands of the whites. Take the same conditions at the north, would not like action be taken?
In judging the colored people here in the south, we cannot compare them to the colored man of the north. Except in point of color and some national characteristics they are not alike. The colored man of the south is “suigeneris”. Good natured, improvident, needing someone to lean upon, no doubt many of them were better off in slavery, and yet what they are, slavery made them. Accustomed when slaves to being cared for, never having been allowed to think for themselves, forced almost, to be dishonest and untruthful, if there is anything in the law of heredity, is it any wonder they are what they are?
The Square furnishes help for the town. Winter is of course their harvest when they are employed as cooks and laundresses. Every morning you may see them going to their work always with their aprons, in various stages of cleanliness, already on. Their employers do not expect them to be honest, and no doubt many of them keep their families on what they take home.
I had a cook last winter that I think was honest. She was a devout Methodist, - could neither read or write. They do not expect to act as cooks and laundresses both, as Matilda said, “When I cooks, I cooks”, so of course she couldn’t wash, the services of another were needed for that. This Matilda had no family dependent on her, though one daughter who cooked never seemed to earn enough to keep her without her mother’s help. With rent to pay, nothing ahead and no chance for employment during the summer, I asked her how she was going to live. “O! I s’pects somehow.” She was not at all worried over the prospect.
|Title||Letter Written by Mary L. Colvin to Flora October 22, 1898|
|Subject||Colvin, Mary L. -- Correspondance -- American Letters|
|Description||A letter written by Mary L. Colvin to Flora on October 22, 1898. The letter described Mary's view that colored people should get an education in the south. Four pages.|
|Keyword||Mary L. Colvin; Flora; letter|
|No. of Pages||4|
Letter Written by Mary L. Colvin to Flora October 22, 1898for