N.P. Hertel, Jenkins & Co., 1905. 8 1/8” x 5¼”. Quarter leather over boards. Pp. 326. About good: backstrip perished; covers detached, worn and spotted; scattered small stains, light spotting and a few small tears.
This is a heavily illustrated book of stories and moral lessons for children written by an important African American author, pastor and educator, Silas X. Floyd.
Silas Xavier Floyd was born in Augusta, Georgia in 1869. By the age of 22 he was editor of the Augusta Sentinel newspaper and in 1892 he co-founded the Ne*ro Press Association of Georgia. He was also a schoolteacher, pastor at Augusta's Tabernacle Baptist Church and a prominent field worker with the International Sunday School Convention. He served as editor of The Voice of the Ne*ro, the early Atlanta African American periodical that served as a vehicle for W.E.B. DuBois in the beginnings of the Niagara movement. In 1915, Floyd was the corresponding secretary and the chairman of the publicity committee of the National Association of Teachers in Col*red Schools; he also served as editor of the organization's quarterly magazine. He was appointed secretary of the Col*red State Food Conservation Board of Georgia by Governor Hugh Dorsey in 1918 and was a noted civic and community leader. Floyd also authored a volume of sermons published by the American Baptist Publication Society as well as a biography of the leading African American Baptist preacher, Charles T. Walker.
In this work's introduction, Floyd avowed that he “endeavored to put into this book of stories for children only such things as might be freely admitted into the best homes of the land, and I have written with the hope that many young minds may be elevated by means of these stories and many hearts filled with high and holy aspirations.” He argued that “our nation has a right to expect that our boys and girls shall turn out to be good men and good women, and this book is meant to help in this process.”
The book has 100 short stories with a focus on optimism, hard work and determination in the face of prejudice and racial violence. There are discussions related to “going with the crowd,” “keeping one's engagements,” “aiming at something” and “purity of character.” A few pieces covered “Ne*ro heroes” such as Frederick Douglass and African American soldiers. One anecdote discusses Bragg Smith, a Black man in Columbus, Georgia to whom a monument was erected after he saved the life of a white city engineer.
The book also has over 50 illustrations by John Henry Adams. Adams was a graduate of the Drexel Institute of Philadelphia and, per this work, a young art instructor at Morris Brown College, “where he is loved and honored by all.” Adams illustrated four volumes of the NAACP journal The Crisis. He was also a journalist who reported for several newspapers and served as the editor of the “Ne*ro weekly” The Florida Sentinel.
An inspiring book of adages and wisdom aimed at African American children. OCLC shows 20 holdings. Good. Item #5194