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Cayton's weekly. (Seattle, Wash.) 1916-1921, June 22, 1918, Image 4

Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87093353/1918-06-22/ed-1/seq-4/

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"Is gwine i<» mak ;i college graduate out
of <l;i1 hoy of mine/ said ;i Mississippi col
ored man i<> liis former mistress and her
children, in reply to a question Prom her
,is io what lie wanted his sou to be, now
thai he w;is Tree. The declaration of the
colored man hroughi such vociferous laughter
io Hi-' eyes <»r the entire family that the
tears si re;imed from their eyes which so
nellled Hie colored null) thai he actually
shed a tear over his discomfiture.
".Make a college graduate out of that little
kinky headed nigger would be equal to try
ing to make a college graduate out of a
halioon," she lirnily hut kindly informed
him. Instead of Spoiling that hoy with book
learning you gel you some land and put him
io work, and to prove io you that my heart
is iii the righi place, I will vent you a piece
of ground and you can j;o to fanning on
your own hook.''
The above conversation took place the next
year after the colored folks of the South
h;id been emancipated, when to open a school
For colored children would have resulted in
the opener being visited by a mob and his
or her <le;iili the result. Something, how
ever, had given thai black man the idea that
I lie school house avouUl follow the fla^
(freedom) and he dropped the subject as
soon as he could, lest he get himself into
trouble, bill the idea became more firmly
lixed in his heart and, like Gallileo, he
whispered to himself, "and yet I'll do it."
Time moved on and the little black boy
was eight years of age, when his father
heard that two white women from Wiscon
sin. .Miss (Mark and Miss Helen, had opened
,i pay school for colored children in a town
some forty miles away.
"Do you vvnni to ixo to town tomorrow?"
the lather asked of the little black lad.
Though he had never seen a town, living
forty miles in the country, as he did, yet
he had heard great wonders about town
and was delighted to yet an opportunity to
see the town. What was in the mind of
the ambitions father Avas not known to any
of his neighbors or by his "ol' missus," but
the boy piled onto the bales of cotton and
with his father began the long trip, which
took a day and part of a night. The other
children envied him of "gwine to town"
and threw rocks at him on his way to the
"' waggin."
Town w.is finally reached and after the
mules had been put away for the night the
Father and the boy sought a place to sleep.
A Former slave From the same plantation as
Father and son had hailed from, had moved
to ihis town, after the emanicpation, and
he pried with joy I<> see the father and son
and cooked them a good supper after 10
o'clock p. in. By this time the lad felt
like dying, lie was so tired and sleepy, and
did not know when he was put 1 obed. But
not so with "papy an' tinker Ik", and in
after years the father told the son, lie and
his Friend sat up all night talking of liis
"(the hoy's) future. Town was a wonder-
Ful sighi to this little half wild black boy
and he followed his father about the streets
Ihe next day with fear and trembling. The
father bought liiiu many little things in Ilie
shape of clothing and the boy thought of
how he would lord i! over the other
""chillim" when he returned home. It was
about dark when father and son returned
to his Friend's home and after the two men
and the wife had whispered together "in
de kitchin"' the Father called his son 1o him
and asked, "would you like to live in
town.'" ""Vas. sir." promptly replied the
little fellow, thinking that daddy would be
also there, hut when he saw a great big
tear in daddy's eyes he realized that,
"'daddy was gwine to leave me" and he
cried ;is if his little heart would break, hut
daddy was soon lost in the darkness and
the hoy cried himself to sleep that night.
"Inker Ik an' Aunt Laur," for the next
two or three days, honeyed him ".jes like
daddy" and it was not long before the
little fellow seemed as content as if at
home. lie saw boys and <rirls o'omo- to
school and asked one morning the privilege
of going with them, which was denied, but
the following Monday morning Unker Ik
told him he might go to school and even
went with him. The lad Avas sent to Miss
Helen's room, where the A, li, C's were
taught, but after a day there he was pro
moted to Miss (lark's room because he
not only knew his letters, but could spell
as high in Webster's blue back speller to
By some manner Uncle Jim, the boy's
father, had learned to read the Bible and
though he read the "spelling book" with
difficulty, yet he did so and had taught
little Jim, not only his letters, but to spell.
This however, was against the laws of the
land and Uncle Jim would have had a peck
of trouble had it gotten to the "whit folks"
On his return to the plantation anxious
inquiries wore made about little Jim, but
Uncle Jim made no further explanation than
that little Jim was "^wine to live with Ik
til de waggin went back to town." Even
his former mistress did not mistrust the
fact, that the little darky was in school.
for she had no idea that even a Yankee
would teach a "nigger school."
For some reason little Jim did not return
to the plantation -when the wagon went to
town again and his stay was prolonged a
year and then some. His father came to see
him whenever he could leave the farm and
though separated, absence made the heart
grow fonder and a visit by the father was
a well of happiness for the son and vice
After graduating from Miss ITellen's
room, little Jim, lie was now known as
Jimmy, stood in line with men and women
and spelled words of three and four syl
ables, which had been missed by the men
and women above him, and Jimmy went
ahead. Miss (Mark was a teacher that
pushed those who could be pushed and
Jimmy seemed to be one of such pupils. The
year and a half he was in town he pushed
along and when he returned to the coun
try he could read in the Fourth reader. At
that time only spelling and reading were
taught to colored children.
The community was surprised to discover
little Jim had been going" to school and the
colored men and women were delighted to
hear him read the little stories in his read
ers. Little or nothing was said about it
among the white folks. Apparently Jim
my had gotten all the education he would
ever get and for the next two years he
worked on the farm from daylight until
dark and came dangerously close to forget
ting all he had learned.
Hut time was bringing great changes
among' the colored folks of the South and
first a subscription school for the colored
children in that community were operated
and then public schools were opened and
to all of these -Jimmy was pushed. He made
rapid progress and soon became of much
help to his father, who by that time was
operating" a large plantation. Perchance
there came a young many to that com
munity one Christmas on a visit, who
had been to college, and he told Jimmy's
father all about how it was operated and
in an hour's time that father made up his
mind to make good his threat and the next
day Jimmy was headed for the State Uni
versity. Though a fairly bright country lad
in books at college, he was a mere baby in
books. All he had done had to be done
over and being eighteen years of age, it was
rather humiliating.
.Months and even years rolled by. but
Jimmy stuck to his text. First he changed
his name from Jimmy to -James ({-. Con
once when some one asked his father, was
Mr. -J. Gillespie Contassell in. the old gen
tleman seemed to have no idea of whom
he was inquiring, and replied, he don't live
And now, -i. Gillespy Contassel had fin
ished his course at college, and went to an
adjoining county to teach school. Taking
the examination at the same time as himself
was a matter of fact young white girl and
she got stuck on an example, which the
young black man observed, and. unobserved,
worked it out for her. She told her mother
and oldest sister of the incident, described
the colored man and repeated his name.
After lunch J, (Jillespie Conitassell was al
most frightened to death to see two white
women point him out to an accompanying
white man with, "that's him," whereupon
mother, son and daughter rushed to Jim and
greeted him more as a lon*j-lost brother than
anything else. "And black papy kept his
word and gave his little kinky headed boy
a 'college education,' and here he is. This
is my daughter, who, like yourself, is going*
to teach school." The eyes of the two met
and the girl blushed while Jim looked
sheepish. She knew that she would not have
gotten a certificate had not this man clan
destinely assisted her, but custom forbade
her to show any signs of appreciation. There
was still another tie that bound that white
girl and "black" boy together —they were
first cousins and a strong family resembl
ance was plain to be seen.
"No, I will not go home with you, but I
will come to your home later on," was his
reply to ol' Missus' invitation to pro home
with them, who now lived in this town,
which he did and for once the matter of
color difference was wiped completely out.
Uncle Jim had been successful in farming
and when ol' Miss Liza found herself in
financial entanglements he went to her res
cus and saved the old slave estate from
financial wreck, much of the obligations
having- come down from slavery time, the
purchase of himself being- a part of the en
cumbrance. As J. Gillespy Contassel, who
was an expert mathematician, fig-ured out
the entanglements of 01' Miss Liza with
Uncle Jim looking- on smiling, 01 Miss Liza
broke the silence by saying, "Black
Pappy, its him who laughs last who laughs
best, all of us now appreciate the boy you
promised to give a college edication, despite
the fact thirty years ago we laughed our
sides sore at the joke."
Again the eyes of the young white girl
and the young black "boy" met and, per
haps, if the truth had been told, another tie
had developed greater than either appreci
ation or kinship, but J. Ciillespie Contassell
was full of common sense and if he did not
wholly smother his feelings he did much
in that direction. It was not long- after that
when J. Gillespy Gontassell announced to
his aged father: "I am going to take Horace
Greely's advice and go West," which he
did and to the acquaintances of his boyhood
days he was forever lost, but periodically
there came to the address of J. fiillespy
Contassell a souvenir card apparently ad
dressed by a lady, and the writer was not
known to the receiver, yet it was lovingly
Washing-ton, in and for the County of King.
In the Matter of the Dissolution of Toyo Shokai, a
corporation.—No. 128072. Notice of Dissolution of
Notice is hereby Riven that Toyo Shokai, a Wash
ing-ton corporation, with headquarters at Seattle, has
petitioned the Kins County Superior Court for au
thority to disincorporate and dissolve.
Notice is hereby given that said application will
be heard in Department No. 1, of the King- County
Superior Court on the 2Sth day of May. 1918.
Datd at Seattle, Wash., March 29th, 1918.
County Clerk.
By W. F. HATT,
• 316 Pacific Block.
Phone Beacon 912 1261 Main
Rooms by Day or Week. Well kept and highly
sanitary. Steam heated.
Mrs. T. H. Jones.
Phone Beacon 29 1236 Main
Three story concrete building. Steam heated.
Beautifully furnished.
W. E. Vrooman Jennie Vrooman
Phone Main 5964 1034 Jackson
Regular Dinner from 4 to 8 P. M.
We give Special Attention to Theatre parties
J. C. Garner and E. T. Palmer, Props.
Phone 2647 1034 Jackson
Tailors and Cleaners
Clothes called for and delivered.
Hats retrimmed and blocked.
H. S. Frazier C. W. Curtest

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