Trends in Social Work, 1874-1956: A History Based on the Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work

By Frank J. Bruno | Go to book overview

34 · AMERICA'S MINORITY GROUPS

TO PHILIP C. GARRETT ( 1834-1905) belongs the credit of having organized, in 1887 and in 1892, the only two Conference programs dealing with Indians and Negroes in the last century. A Philadelphia manufacturer who retired at forty- four, Garrett devoted the rest of his life to civic and social responsibilities. His first venture in Philadelphia as chairman of the committee to reform the Republican Administration did not, seemingly, appeal to him as an activity to be continued. Thereafter he was a member and served as president of the State Board of Public Charities, and as chairman of the State Lunacy Commission. Toward the end of his period of service he occupied himself primarily with the Indians, being a member of the Federal Board of Indian Commissioners. He was one of the organizers and president of the Mohawk National Indian Conference, which did so much to create a favorable public opinion in behalf of the Indian at the end of the last century.

At the Conference of 1887, his thesis was that while the Indian and the Negro may possibly be inferior, it is by no means certain that they are. He claimed that we have a special responsibility toward both of them: toward the Indian, because we have displaced him; and toward the Negro, because he is here through no wish of his own. He contrasted the white inhabitants of the country with these two races, pointing out that the white population represents a long tradition of Western European and Christian culture, while the Indian and the

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