1897- Address Before the Woman’s Meeting

Lucy Laney seems to address the broader debates (Du Bois/Washington):

“For a long time many were disposed to think that the condition of most importance was politics, and for years politicians, honest and dishonest, ignorant and wise, struggled in vain to bring about that consummation devoutly to be wished, true manhood in our race. Some vainly hoped that miserable deformity wrongly called education, viz., the conning of a few facts from text-books was the condition to be complied with. Still another class said honestly and devoutly that the condition and the only condition to be met with was the development of our religious nature. A fourth class united the second and third conditions, and after somewhat modifying the third, gave to the world as the watchword of Negro development “the bible and the Spelling-book.” Any one of these made the rule of life, made the only condition to be met, has been to those who followed it an ignis fatuus, for it has misguided them and led them into dangerous places. Each by itself but a part of a grand total.” (55)

She also describes the role of motherhood as a tool of uplift:

“The chief joy of home is mother. You  may place upon the brow of a true mother the greenest laurel or you may give into her keeping the highest civic honors, but these to her will be found wanting if weighed in a balance over against her home. To her the blessedness of motherhood is the greatest joy, a crown more costly than pearls of royalty.” (56)

“Motherhood, honored by our blessed Master, is the crown of womanhood. This gives her not only interest in the home and society, but also authority. She should be interested in the welfare of her own and her neighbors’ children. To woman has been committed the responsibility of making the laws of society, making environments for children. She has the privilege and authority, God-given, to help develop into a noble man or woman teh young life committed to her care. There is no nobler work entrusted to the hands of mortals.” (56)

“Shall the boys be left to the tender training of the saloons and teh fascinations of women degraded by sin? God forbid it! Women of to-day awake to your responsibilities and privileges.” (57)