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February 27, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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I AGE BS ,Vedn(,sdav, ]%,A:~l'ttt:l, ry 2i, ~t)~ 8 LIFE PIRI I of JEFFERSON and FARMER'S AI)VOCATE RAY SMOCK e case Long criticized for not battling Jim Crow head-on, the educator deserves praise during Black History Month SHEPHERDSTOWN - Dur- ing Black History Month you will see stories featuring a pantheon of great African-Americans who have made history and championed great causes. Harriet Tubman is remem- bered for helping escaped African- Americans escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad; Freder- ick Douglass, born enslaved, was a champion of the abolitionist move- ment, W.E.B. Du Bois is remem- bered for his great scholarship, his poetry, as well as his work for civil rights when he edited the NAACP's publication The Crisis. We also hon- or more recent heroes of the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, Med- gar Evers, Malcohn X, and theman who captured the hearts and souls of Americans of all races, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We also remember leading fig- ures in sports, the arts, music, and science, like the great jazzman Louis Armstrong, the magnificent singers Marian Anderson, and Ella Fitzgerald, athletes like Jesse Ow- ens and Muhammad All, the writer Ralph Ellison, the agricultural sci- entist George Washington Carver, and Dr. Charles R. Drew, who pio- neered in blood transfusions and the storage of blood, that helped revolu- tionize the field. The 2016 Hollywood movie, "Hidden Figures," reminded us that a group of unsung black wom- en working for NASA during the Mercury missions, served as human computers, solving complex mathe- matical trajectories for space flights in the days before electronic com- puters. One great black leader that is of- ten forgotten during Black Histo- ry Month is a man that I spent al- most 20 years of my life studying: Booker T. Washington, the black educator and founder of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He is forgot- ten largely because our idea of how we define great leadership changes with the passage of time, and as we move into different eras with differ- ent challenges. We want our heroes to be heroic, to fight against injustice; to stand up for what is right. Washington was the best known black leader dur- ing the era of Jim Crow segrega- tion, when African-Americans lived in a state of second-class citizenship and where the only way to survive was to find ways to accommodate to white supremacy. Washington is not a hero to some people today because his public strategy was to accommodate to Jim Crow, to accept "half a loaf' and to work within a highly charged world where blacks had few civil rights and limited opportunities for ad- vancement. The man who would become the single most famous African-Amer- ican of his time was born in slav- ery in 1856 on a farm in Virginia. He was just a young boy when the slaves were freed. After the Civ- il War his mother, half-brother and sister moved to Malden in Kanawha County just two years after West Vir- ginia became a state. They were met in Malden by Washington's step-fa- ther, who had earlier escaped from slavery and settled in near Charles- ton where he worked in the area coal mines and salt furnaces. Young Booker could not tell the difference between being a slave and being free because at 9 years of age he was working at the Kanawha Salines along the banks of the Ka- nawha River packing salt in barrels. The reddish colored salt was famous for its purity and it was used exten- sively in the meat packing industry in Cincinnati. There was one thing that saved Washington. He saw a black man who could read, and he instantly saw the power that man had to be a spokesman for those who could not read, and also because that man could leam things because he could read. Education was his road out of the salt furnaces and on to larger things. He went to Hampton Institute, a school set up by Civil War general, Samuel Chapman Armstrong, and then returned to Malden as a teach- er. He became known locally as a good public speaker and white pol- iticians, seeking to have West Vir- ginia's capital moved from Wheel- ing, enlisted him to give speeches in favor of moving the capital to Charleston. This was his introduc- tion to the world of politics. In 1881, some white leaders in Tuskegee, Ala sought Armstrong's help in locating a school princi- pal for a new school they hoped to build for black students. They thought Armstrong would recom- mend a white teacher, but he said the best man for the job was Wash- ington, and with this recommenda- tion Washington went to Tuskegee, found no school there, no books, but only a desire to create a school. Washington over the next decade built the Tuskegee Institute into the premiere school for blacks in the South. The students built the school. They learned how to become brick masons by making bricks and erect- ing brick buildings. They became carpenters, and all sorts of crafts- men, and they learned science, math and history too. His fame as an educator attract- ed the attention of top politicians in the nation and Washington became an adviser to President Theodore Roosevelt and later President Wil- liam H. Taft on politics issues in the South. His school received funds from some of the leading philan- thropists of the day, including the wealthiest man in America, Andrew Carnegie. But as Washington's career and his fame increased, the plight of most black people was getting worse as racial segregation and discrimina- tion increased in America. In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation in public transportation was constitutional. By the turn of the 20th century, candidates for of- (See BOOKER Page B9) KITTY SAVAGE Last * " ceK, our youngest daughter wrote a paragraph about what she wants to be when she grows up: "I want to be a school secretary. I could work with the princi- pal, which would be fun. I could also use the computer and the security system." Later, the weight of this dream job sunk in. She!s 8 and wants to use the secu- rity system at her school, to monitor the video camer- as placed around for suspi- cious activity and to oversee which visitors can be safely buzzed into a building filled with tiny children. I'm thankful these mea- are - sures are in place to protect our children. Last week was another somber reminder of how dangerous schoolscan be. As a parent with children in three different school buildings, I'm heartbroken. I'm scared that tragedies like this continue to hap- pen in our nation's schools. I don't profess to have the answers, although, I'm sure there's more than one that's needed. What I do know is that in every reported tragedy at a school at least one school staff member is remembered as a hero. Every time, at least one valiantly puts his or her body in the line of fire to save the lives of their students. For those brave adults, it's what they were put on this earth do. Teach- ers dedicate themselves not only to educate, but to also protect and love our children when we can't be there. One look at what's cur- rently happening in West Virginia tells you it's often a thankless job. Most teach- ers would, without a second thought, take a bullet to save a child. They teach them, they worry about them, they celebrate them, and they protect them. Consistent- ly, teachers and school ser- vice personnel give our chil- dren their best and make them their No. 1 priority. Shouldn't West Virginia's legislators do the same for them? There's still time to advertise in the Upcoming Celebrating Jefferson County's Honor Roll Students - the beautiful keepsake special section that every proud parent and grandparents looks for! Ads for every budget (black and white, spot color or full color) - and we can design your ad at no extra charge! registered in a that requires an annual safety inspection. To view more Did YOU Know'swmt 0urwebsitewww. : :::: charlestownwv.us. ":'~:":':"""C". :,::.:::.::::. *~:i! Phone: 304-725-2311 101 E. Washington St./P0 Box 14 Charles Town, WV 25414-0014 www.charlestownwv.us Gifts of appreciated assets, such as stocks, are an excellent way for you to help B0ys& Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle These gifts will not affect your cash flow. To learn more about