AF students 5

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AF students 5 - SATURDAY. JUNE II. 194 ; Mays African Students...
SATURDAY. JUNE II. 194 ; Mays African Students Should Ba Trained To the Maximum Of Their Abilities Ij IQU1MIM L MAYS - CTbn views exvrmme. ta thU aoium ar Uiom of th writer and 60 aot dmmmuUt azprcaa tin 1ltorta opinion of Th Pittsburgh Cournr. TIM aVUtors.) ' A FEW DAYS ago I sat ant" talked with an important gentleman about the urgerr. need of providing more oppor tunlties for African students tr study In this country. I war telling him of the letters I receive almost weekly . from Afrl - can students begging for a chance to come to this country for study. He said he had similar experi ence. We both agreed that it is heart breaking to receive such letters because in most Instances there Is nothing we can do about it Just now. This is true because most of the f: I V Dr. Mays the will become opportunity advertising is and he arm, of resourcefulness the cultured en - as economic African students who write need full financial assistance and also because it is not easy to equate their academic training with ours. We both agreed, though, that something must be done to assist worthy African students, who qualify, to study in America. But there was one point on which we did not agree. He frit that a study should be made of the situation in Africa from whence applications come in order to determine the nature of the education the African should receive here. His argument was that it would be fdtile to train an African for something in America if he were not allowed to exercise that skill or art on his return to Africa. My friend felt It would be frustrating to train an African beyond his African opportunities. On this point, we did not see eye to eye. Unless such a study was designed to enlarge the African's vocational and professional opportunities, it would probably be better that no such study were made. Who are we to place a limit on the develop ment of the mind? Who are we to decide what kind cf work an African should be trained to do? Who are we to say to an African student that he should be trained only to fit Into the existing pattern? a a a I AGREE THAT we should train people for the jobs that are now open to them. But I stubbornly insist that people should be trained for jobs that are not now open to them, but which may become open to them in the immediate or remote future.: Let us take a hypothetical case. Suppose there are no African engineers In certain areas in Africa! But suppose a brilliant African student comes to America with the ambition to be an engineer! Suppose there Is no doubt about his engineering ability! Should he be' denied the opportunity to study engineering Just because there are now no opportunities for African engineers in his native section of Africa? Nothing would be so cruel to an African as to try to - shape his mind to do only the jobs that are now available. I suppose I reacted almost instinctively to this point of view because at one time something similar was advocated for the Negro In America. Many well - meaning white people believed, that the Negro should be trained only in farming and in the industrial arts. Certainly no wise person would object to a student becoming skilled in farming and in the trades. But to say that he should as - - , pire only In these areas is to assume the role of omnipotence.'' Many American Negroes grad - uating from Northern high schools have been advised net to go to college and not to aspire to enter certain professions or vocations because there were no openings for Negroes in" those areas. But time and experience have proved that new opportunities have come to Negroes because they were pre - " pared In. advance of the openings. All peoples. Irrespective of race, must be trained beyond present opportunities. This is ' especially, true of racial and cul - tural groups that have been kept down and exploited. . a a a IT 18 SO EASY to get Into a vicious circle; to say that one need not train .for a certain job because he cannot get In and then turn around and say yu cannot get In because you are not trained. Let us see to it that African students who came to this country are not caught In this trap. Let them be trained acccordlnga to their ability and In keeping' with their ambition. I believe at one time, Percy Julian was advised, not to en - - ter the chemical field because - there 1 was no opening for Ne - :. groes In chemistry except teaching - la Negro schools. Suppose Percy Julian had heeded that - advice! Negro chemists are now be - ' lng accepted - la Industry and. - they can teach In both Negro and white colleges. Some one - ' might have advised Ralph. ' Bunche not to become efficient - . In political science and not to study colonial problems oa the theory that there would never. - be an opening for a Negro In - diplomatic circles. But it la - clear that Bunche was called to high service because he was prepared. If training the African's ' mind frustrates him a bit and - makes him dissatisfied with his lot to the end that he seeks to - : Improve It, that is all to the - good. This Is the way men .become free. t - : :

Clipped from
  1. The Pittsburgh Courier,
  2. 11 Jun 1949, Sat,
  3. Page 15

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