Nathan B. Young and the Struggle over Black Higher Education

By Antonio F. Holland | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Summation of a Life

Any summation and assessment of Nathan B. Young's life and career must recognize that he had a well-developed philosophy of life and a strong value system. Young greatly valued family and held deep religious beliefs. Nathan Young also very much believed in equality of educational opportunity, race pride, public service, and the economic development of the black community.

Young believed that the first thing the schools should do for the race was to help its members become economically independent. Blacks had to be taught to work together, Young thought, because slavery had not been a good school for teaching either collective action or economic wisdom. Blacks had come out of slavery with nothing, and their poverty was compounded by their ignorance of reading, writing, and counting. These historical facts and Young's association with Booker Τ Washington and R. R. Wright encouraged him to promote the ideals of economic self-sufficiency, race pride, and public service as major aspects of his life.

After the Civil War, most blacks went into the same lines of work that they had performed in slavery. The vast majority had worked the land, so they now had to make a living as sharecroppers and renters. Of these agricultural workers, only a fortunate few managed to own their own farms. Other black workers who had been the house servants and former slave artisans followed their earlier

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