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African American baseball players from Morris Brown College

[Detail] African American baseball players from Morris Brown College

Common sense in common schooling: a sermon: by Alex. Crummell, rector of St. Luke's Church, Washington, D.C.

Alexander Crummell (1819-1898) offers in this 1886 sermon a plan for the beginning and sustaining at home the education of children.

Let me briefly set before you some of these rules:

First of all, secure for your children an acquaintance with reading writing, arithmetic, and geography. When well grounded in these studies, which is ordinarily at 12 or 13, then ascertain whether your children are fitted for the higher branches. If you yourself are educated, form your own judgement; if not, get the advice of a well-qualified friend, or the opinion of your minister, or take counsel of the child's schoolmaster. If convinced that the child gives promise of superiority, keep it at school, give it the best opportunities, and labor hard to make your child a thorough scholar.

(2) On the other hand, if you find your child has but ordinary capacity, take it from school and put it at an early day to work. If you don't you will not only waste time but you are likely to raise up a miserable dolt or a lazy dandy. Such a child, brought up to fruitless inactivity, dawdling for years over unappreciated culture, will, likely as not never want to work for his living, may turn out a gambler or a thief, and in the end may disgrace your name or break your heart. Don't keep your children too long as school; don't think too much about the book and and so little about labor. Remember that the end of all true education is to learn to do duty in life and to secure an honorable support and sustenance.

And here (3) let me press upon you the importance of training your children in industrial habits at home during the period of their school life. Going to school should never prevent a girl from learning to sew, to cook, to sweep, bed-making, and scrubbing the floor; nor a boy from using a hammer, leaning the yard, bringing in coal, doing errands, working hard to help his mother, or to assist his father. Home work, moreover, is the natural antidote to the mental strain,and oftentimes the physical decline which, in these days, comes from the excess of study, which is the abnormal feature of the present school system.

From labor health, from health contentment flows.

Full text (Library of Congress/Daniel A.P. Murray Pamphlet Collection)