Public Papers and Letters of Oliver Max Gardner: Governor of North Carolina, 1929-1933

By Edwin Gill; David Leroy Corbitt | Go to book overview

some of the things that are on my mind and close to my heart and which, I am sure, are today in the thoughts and close to the hearts of every good citizen, white or colored, of North Carolina.

You stand today at the close of another school year. Through the weeks and months that have just passed, you have, under the friendly and guiding influence of the devoted teachers of this splendid school, learned those lessons which should better equip you for the serious business of life and citizenship in a great and growing commonwealth. For the most of you this commencement only marks the temporary interruption of studies which will be resumed in the fall and which, let us hope, will never be wholly abandoned through life. Yet it is, in a very real sense, a time of spiritual and intellectual stock-taking; a time to think of the past and its accomplishments in terms of the future and its opportunities for achievement, development, and growth. It is a time for the appraisal of doubts and for the inventory of hopes. It is a time-- an eminently proper time--to look at life itself and examine its opportunities and promises in the light of those facts and circumstances favorable to, or hostile to, its own reasonable fulfillment and fruition.

Profoundly thrilling and significant things have been happening in connection with the recent progress of the Negro race in North Carolina. The statement, made a few years ago, by the Norfolk Journal and Guide, that so far as the Negro is concerned, the United States is divided into five parts--North, East, South, West, and North Carolina--is literally true. I do not believe--and I speak advisedly and with all the sincerity of which I am capable--that there is today any state in the American Union which, all things considered, offers the intelligent and industrious Negro finer opportunities for living a full and useful life than are offered by North Carolina.

-187-

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