To The Negro Population of the South; Win The War by Working Six Days Per Week

Identifier

TI00135

Description

RR Moton, principal of the Tuskegee Institute, calls on African-Americans to aid the war effort by working six days a week.

Source

National Archives and Records Administration 130/68/3/00 box #3 entry #5 "Negroes" folder

Publisher

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library

Language

English

Text

U. S. SATURDAY SERVICE LEAGUE

THE TUSKEGEE NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE

WIN THE WAR BY WORKING SIX DAYS PER WEEK

Tuskegee Institute, Ala.,

June 15, 1918,

TO THE NEGRO POPULATION OF THE SOUTH.

Twelve millions of us are being weighed in the balance. Thank God our feelings of patriotism are above question, but America wants to know, and the world wants to know if we can translate our feelings into action, into useful service and self control.

One hundred thirty seven thousand of our sons and brothers are already in arms fighting for our country. What will you do to help your country, and to help your sons and brothers on the battle field? Over there, their lives may be shuffed out by cannon shot at any minute. You are not exposed to danger. They are liable to suffer from hunger; you have food. Would you let a single American die from hunger when it is within your power to share a crust with him? yet every time you waste food, every time you neglect your garden and crop you are snatching bread out of the mouth of the American soldier.

In our work we have strayed far from the rulings of the Scripture, "Six days shalt thou labor and do all they work", not five; that is the word of God, and upon that word all that we are as a people has been built. Do you realize what you lose when you stop on Saturday? The average farmer plows four acres of land every day during cultivation for one month. If he lays off on Saturday he misses sixteen acres. If he runs two plows he misses thirty-two acres. In a great many cases our crops suffer because of lack of cultivation. If you work all day every Saturday, during crop season, you can double your amount of cultivation and increase very materially the yield of your corn and cotton.

Again thruout the Southland, Saturday is a day for breeding crime. The records of our police courts will show that fully two thirds of the crimes committed by our people are committed between Saturday and Monday. Our young men get into gambling on Saturday, fights, resulting in cutting and some times in killing, often occur at games and picnics on Saturday. A great many cases of immorality among our young people, as well as among our old people have their beginnings on Saturday. The Southern Negro wastes more of him money, money that ought to go to educating his children by loafing on Saturday. A great deal of our farm stock by hard driving and by neglect is killed directly or indirectly on Saturday.

Let us turn Saturday from a curse into a blessing by working all day, by saving our money, by keeping out of mischief, and by making more food to support our sons in fighting the battle of freedom. Our white friends can greatly help us in this. A few extra pennies will yield a hundred fold right now when crops need cultivating. They will save many heads of cattle and stock, which are neglected, and will bring forth a better workman on Monday morning. A little encouragement, a good day's outing when crops are laid by, will do much to make our people content to work on Saturday.

As a last word, I want to beg the ministers and leaders in every community in the South to discourage Saturday holidays, and especially Saturday picnics, in order that the people may save their money on the one hand and on the other, work their crops and supply food for our soldiers and those who are our Allies. May it never be said of any one of us, that our men at the front suffered because we would not feed them.

(Signed) R. R. Moton,
Principal.

Released by
T. M. Campbell, District Agent,
Tuskegee Institute, Ala.

Original Format

Letter

Files

T100135.pdf

Citation

Moton, Robert Russa, 1867-1940, “To The Negro Population of the South; Win The War by Working Six Days Per Week,” 1918 June 15, TI00135, Race and Segregation Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.