Lift Every Voice: African American Oratory, 1787-1900

By Philip S. Foner; Robert James Branham | Go to book overview

which the settlement will be made. Capital is entrenched behind ten centuries of law and conservatism, and controlled withal by the wisest and coolest heads in the world. The inequality of the forces joined will appear very obvious. Yet the potentiality of labor will be able to force concessions from time to time, even as the commoners of England have through centuries been able to force from royalty relinquishment of prerogative after prerogative, until, from having been among the most despotic of governments under Elizabeth, the England of today under Queen Victoria is but a royal shadow. So the time may come when the forces of labor will stand upon absolute equality with those of capital, and that harmony between them obtain which has been sought for by wise men and fools for a thousand years.■


113 HOW SHALL WE MAKE THE WOMEN OF OUR RACE STRONGER?

Olivia A. Davidson

A co-founder of Tuskegee Institute and a leading advocate and practitioner of educational reform, Olivia Davidson was born in 1854 and was raised in Ohio. She studied at the Albany Enterprise Academy and at the age of sixteen began her teaching career. After four years' work in the Memphis, Tennessee, school system, Davidson entered the senior class at Hampton Institute, from which she graduated in 1879. Booker T. Washington, a Hampton graduate, was the commencement speaker.

Two years later, Davidson moved to Tuskegee, where she not only taught but, as assistant principal, helped devise the curriculum and raise needed funds. Washington later observed that the early success of the school owed "more to Miss Davidson than to anyone else."* Following the death of Washington's first wife, he and Davidson married on August 11, 1886, a few months after she delivered an important speech to the members of the Alabama State Teachers' Association in Selma on April 21.

In her speech, Davidson depicts the true reformer as one who works

____________________
Booker T. Washington, The Story of My Life and Work ( Toronto: J. L. Nichols, 1900), 85.

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