ieve any negro lad of his ears if they chanced to meet with him. Such were the last repellent phases of that phase of that now obsolete world of slavery in Old Virginia as Booker Washington remembers them.
In our common, everyday talk we are accustomed to say that the darkest hour of night precedes the dawn of day. It was so in this instance. The time of Booker Washington's birth, and for some years after, was apparently the darkest period in the history of the slaves of the Southern States. For long the negroes of the plantations not only grew up quite illiterate--it was a punishable offence for them to make any endeavour to learn to read, or for anyone to attempt to teach them. Not very long before the Fugitive Slave Law had found a place in the Statute Book of the Republic, and this Act made it illegal for any fugitive slave to find either shelter or aid in any State of the Union. Then, just about the same time, the American Chief-Justice had, in his official capacity, declared that nowhere in any o
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