Newspaper Clippings for
13 January 1866
LETTER FROM FATHER DODGE
The Capacity of the Colored Person
to Receive Education
James Y. Cory-Dear Sir: Having had acquaintance with
people of African decent and enjoyed uncommon
opportunities to become acquainted with their normal
character, I feel constrained at the present time, when
there are so many conflicting opinions relative to their
capacity to occupy the position and perform the duties of
citizens, to state the honest convictions of my mind on
the subject. Having for more than forty years been
employed in teaching youth, and during most of that period
having had a small number of colored scholars with the
white, and for the last seven years of that period having
had charge of a school consisting of colored youth only, I
have observed their disposition and mental capacity in
close connection with white scholars. All my pupils,
without regard to color were subject to the same
discipline, and instructed in all branches of science
taught in common schools of New England, and I hesitate
not to say that I could discover no inferiority of
capacity in the colored youth to acquire knowledge of all
branches taught in my school.
It is said if they had ability like our whites they would
show it in the business and employments of society. But
it may justly be said in their defense that a most cruel
prejudice meets them at all the entries of honorable
employment. The mechanic will not take the colored boy as
an apprentice, though well qualified to acquire his trade.
I speak advisedly on this point, having made several
applications for colored born to those who professed great
friendship for the colored race; the reply invariably was
if I take a colored boy my present apprentices will not
work with him, and it will ruin my business.
Prejudice thrusts the colored race out of every honorable
employment and consigns them to the most menial offices in
society-- And then we wonder why he does not rise to
Break the galling chains of prejudice color, give the
African race a fair chance to show themselves, and they
will acquire in due time an honorable and useful position
in civilized community.
Wm. B. Dodge.
Millburn, Jan. 9th, 1866.