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might be very greatly extended. The graduates of New Orleans have "made good," and the strong religious emphasis in the work of the school has sent them out to lead lives of unselfish service.

Built on the foundations of the past, New Orleans College faces tremendous needs. There is every reason to believe that her day of usefulness is only well begun.

For some years the school has been under the experienced leadership of the Rey. Charles M. Melden, Ph.D., who, raised in the North, has devoted much of his life to the service of the Negro in the South. He was for a number of years the very efficient president of Clark University. He is author of a book on the American Negro entitled From Slave to Citizen."

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CHAPTER VIII

THE HEART OF THE “BLACK BELT”

Rust College, Haven Institute, and Central Alabama

Institute JUDGED from the standpoint of complexion, the State of Mississippi represents the blackest part of the so-called Southern “black belt." More than fifty-two per cent of the people of the State are colored, making a total of nearly a million Negroes in the State. In 1910 the rate of illiteracy among the Negroes of Mississippi over ten years of age was 356 to every thousand. Most of these people live in the country, for there are few cities in the

State. The largest place in the State has a population of only 23,000. The State is almost entirely flat, the highest point rising to an altitude of only a little more than seven hundred feet. The rural public schools of the State are conspicuous either for their absence or for the fact of their impoverished condition and the brevity of their sessions. Mississippi probably spends less per capita for the education of its white children than

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PRESIDENT
M. S. DAVAGE

any other State in the Union, yet even that meager amount represents a per-capita expenditure five and one half times greater than that spent for the education of its Negro children.

RUST COLLEGE

In the northeastern part of the State, on what is said to be the highest point of land in the State, stands Rust College. The campus is an unusually attractive one, set off by broad expanses of green, beautiful shade trees, well laid out drives, and number of college buildings, one central structure, two other buildings used for purposes of instruietion, Rust Home, a model home for girls operated by the Woman's Home Missionary Society, and a home for the president. Tennis courts and croquet and ball grounds are spots of pronounced activity during recreation hours. After visiting some of the dilapidated buildings and neglected spots devoted to public school purposes in the State, a view of Rust campus is like the view of an oasis in a desert. Rust College has indeed been a spot of refreshment during the years of the past, and the contribution which the school has made to the life of Mississippi is too large for computation.

EARLY DAYS AT THE SCHOOL

This school was opened in Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church in Holly Springs in 1867. The Rev. A. C. McDonald served as the first president. A considerable piece of ground was purchased soon

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RUST COLLEGE The Central Building and Some of the Students in Action

after, and the first college building was erected. The school was called Shaw University, in honor of the Rev. S. P. Shaw, who made a liberal donation toward the work. It was afterward changed to Rust University in order to avoid confusion with another school known as Shaw University. It is now commonly known as Rust College. The original charter was granted May 26, 1870.

When the first building was going up, a wind storm came along and blew down the partly raised structure. The building went up in spite of this fact, and it is still standing. A bell was installed in connection with it, and when it sounded for the first time an old colored woman shouted aloud with joy. In all her life up to that time the only bell she had heard had been the plantation bell calling the slaves to work. Now to have a real bell calling black boys and girls to school was an experience so profound and epoch-making as to be well worth shouting about.

Not all of the pupils of those early days were boys and girls, however. Grown men and women came out of slavery into the school, and small boys might have been seen seated on the laps of old men on the campus helping them to master their lessons.

THE WORK OF THE SCHOOL From the beginning the school has maintained an Elementary Department, the poor public school facilities of the State for Negroes rendering this a practical necessity. The Secondary Department

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