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The broad ax. (Salt Lake City, Utah) 1895-19??, December 07, 1895, Image 1

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024055/1895-12-07/ed-1/seq-1/

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Vol. I.
No. 15.
Monument of Their Progress, as
seen at the Great Cotton Exposi
tion. From a Village in Savage
Life, to Banking, Invention and
Fine Arts.
The thousands of visitors at the
i Atlanta Cotton States Exposition,
are struck with surprise andwon-
fderment at the magnitude and
uniqueness of the exhibit of the
negroes at this great show of the
South. Many who come from the
Northern states, or from foreign
lands, expected to find the colored
people's department filled with evi
dences of a rude and barbarous race.
But all such were pleasantly disap
pointed; on the contrary they had
the opportunity of beholding a
characteristic Dahomey village,
placed in contrast with the achieve
ments of the race, in civilization, in.
literature, in industrial lines, in
finance and in the high arts.
The building set apart for the
exhibits of the negroes, was planned
and constructed by members of
that race, and all the different
departments are in charge I of
colored people. The chief aim has
been to show the capabilities and
ingenuity of the race, even in an
uncivilized state, and also to show
their skill and intellectual progress
when surrounded by the advantages
of the whites.
The village representing the low
est savage life of darkest Africa,
with its half-clothed, unkempt
natives, proves a wonderful contrast
with the surrounding evidences of
culture and refinement of the Ameri
can negroes. The exhibit also con
tains many things from Africa,
showing what the race is. capable of
even, without, the aid of high civil-,
ization. There is a large collection
of curios, gathered from the
natives, of Monrovia and. Sierra
Leone. Some.of these specimens
of handicraft are .really works of
art, and excelleat examples: of their
powers, of invention; others prove
their ianate belief in a higher
power, while all are. interesting'
when shown J in connection with the
advance of the race in this country
Among the hundreds of specimens
of, the primitive state, is a beauti
ful' quilt, made by a native African.
This ssiaple of- needle work.is made
of raboffhite, and green, silk, xep-!
reseating the cofE6e tree in. blooa.
There is also a sacradjobe made of
fiax, waichvk .worn by 4h$ .twe
priests. . It . similar to a surplice,
aad m embroidered with figures,
each of which has some special
A prayer it engraved on a smooth
board, in curious hieroglyphics, only
understood by a favored few. Evi
dence of their superstition is shown
by peculiar charms, such as a bit of
fur worn on the arm, to guard
against the dangers of war; others
worn on the neck, and still others
around the waist. There are spoons
to be carried by each individual,
for fear of being conjured by using
that of another. Slave whips, with
knotted leather straps, curious
needle-books, handbags, leather
water bottles, an African war-drum,
or "tom-tom," powder horns,
swords, war knives, immense hats
for both men and women, and
bracelets made of black porcelain
and elephant hoofs. But their
greatest skill is shown in hand
woven mattings, luxurious ham
mocks, carved calabashes, used as
dishes, and carved canes.
Near to this exhibit, is a corner
reserved for the work of the ex
slaves of this country. There is a
large display of canned fruits, pre
serves, jellies and pickles, delicious
in appearance and the work of one
woman. A beautiful Mosaic table,
constructed of thirty-five kinds of
wood, from Georgia, and contains,
in all 736 pieces. A white spread
has been knitted from common
wrapping twine, which came arouad
packages from time to time; not a
piece was bought. A "tidy," made
on tne same plan, witn colored
twine, nicely shaded. A silk quilt,
made by a woman 70 years of age,
is composed of at least 1000
pieces. The Bible quilt, made by
a poor, ignorant slave, who could
not read, and whose knowledge of
the Bible was from the stories told
her by others. Each square repre
sents one of these stories, and it is
not only curious, but amusing, to
see the impressions these stories
made upon the- mind of one who
could not understand them.
There are specimens of the in
tensity of the colored boy. Oae
of these is a miniature brick house,
the bricks themselves having been
made by the young builder.
Another little house is made of
corn stalks- by a Tennessee hoy,
who had never lived in a' city. The
house represents an elegant cottage
with mansard roof and famished
with corn-stalk furniture.. Tne en-
, - . ; i- . -J
tjre woos. occpA .a. yr L Aw
construction, all being Bade with a
tex cent pockgtknie. Asmall en
gine made by a boy from Athens,
Ga-jH, perfect in every detail, being
a locomotive about seven, feet-&H
length, aad carrying 100 pounds
of steam. A bicycle is exhi
bited, every part of which is
made by a Virginia boy, thia being
one of the three which he has
turned out. He seems to have
wonderful inventive genius, as he
has no tools or machinery to work
with, save those he makes himself,
on the farm he lives.
"W. B. Smith, also of Virginia,
has built a model of the United
States gunboat Raleigh, which
compares well with those shown in
the government building.
The exhibits of the schools take
up the majority of the space, as it
is through them thatt the average
negro has developed into a pro
gressive citizen. These displays
are the products of students,
showing their varied talents. It is
a surprise to find there are so many
and such different kinds of schools
in the South. Among the many,
we mention the Spelman Seminary,
a training school for nurses. The
negro is naturally a good nurse
being gentle, apt and sympathetic.
The exhibit consists of a daintily
furnished room, with an attendant
as an example of their proficiency
in that line.
Each southern state,is represented
by its schools, besides several from
the district of Columbia. The
Hampton Normal and Agricultural
Institute has the largest and finest
exhibit of all, and is, perhaps, the
leading colored school in the
world. The principle upon which
it is founded, is that of "self help,"
and it is evident from what is seen
here, that there is no department,
either in the industrial or academic
line, that is not thoroughly taught.
A large glass case contains speci
mens of scientific farming; there
are also, profuse samples of oats,
corn, sugar cane, cotton, vegetables
and canned fruits. Samples of
brickmaking, complete sets of hand
carved furniture, carriages, and
wagons.from the wheelwright shop,
steel tools of all kinds from the
blacksmith shop, tin sets and kitchen
utensils from the tin shop, also
shoes, harness, readymade clothing.
ladies' dresses and all kinds of fancy
work. There are also exhibits show
ing the work of the theological and
medical schools; and also copies of
books" written and printed by the
members of the colored race.
In literature the proof of their
intellectual abUifies is shown by
the books published by thenu iince
the .war, there bebg overJBSoks'
publishedjwhose atthorship was.nn
kaown; a number of which weat
through several' editions .upon their
own merits, so it cannot be said
that sentiment ruled their reading.
In ah exhibit marked "miscellan
eous' are some seventy volumes,
all written by colored men and
women. The few items mentioned
here, will give but a feeble idea of
the magnitude of the display from
the various schools, which are under
the exclusive control, and for the
exclusive benefit of the negro race.
The abilities of the colored men
as financiers, are a matter of sur
prise to many of the visitors, and
the exhibits of banking houses
attract much attention. There is a
noted one from Richmond, Va.,
and gives interesting information
as to its financial condition. Tuis
is the first colored savings bank;
was founded by "W. "W. Browne, of
Georgia, and reports a surplus of
$25,000, and over $60,000 to the
credit of its depositors. Another
is in the South Carolina depart
ment that of the South Carolina
Banking Association, of Florence.
In a portion of the building, is
an exhibit of the patents of col
ored men. This is said not to do
them justice, as much more could
have beeen added to this depart
ment. However, a number of suc
cessful inventions are shown, that
have brought their inventors a
handsome return. Among them is
the Reynolds' car ventilator, which
is used on the Pullman cars; a fire
escape ladder; a lubricator; an
overshoe for horses, and an evap
orating pan for hot air registers.
The art exhibit is very fine, in
deed, and would do credit to any
race of people on earth. There are
large collections of crayons, pas
tels and oil paintings, prominent
among which are portraits of Fred.
Douglass and Blanche K. Bruce,
and a painting of a French battle
field called ,'Abandoned.,' A dis
play of photography, by Daniel
Freeman, commands the admiration
of all visitors.
In sculpture, real art is shown in
a number of- pieces. Of those
showing rare talent, is W. C. Hill,
as he never had a lesson given him.
"The negro with chains broken'
"The obstinate shoe," and the bust
of "Douglass," all works of his.
hands, receive much, praise. A
bust of Charles Sumner, is pointed
out with pride, as the work -of E.
Lewis, a colored sculptor of un
usual talent, who know residing! in
A painting, by H. O. Tanner
now of Paris, receives many, com
pliments. In the, North Carolina.
exhibit . is a painting, entitled
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