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132 THE CLASS STRUGGLE for providing the requisite buildings and equipment for teaching these eminently necessary branches. Until now no federal provision similar to the grants in aid to education, long since established in Great Britain, have ever been made by our federal government.
The Negroes have never been welcomed in the labor movement. There has been a vicious circle. As agricultural workers entering industry they have often unconsciously injured white union men in two ways at once. They have deprived strikers of the chance to return to their previous workplaces, and at the same time have shared, by their mere entrance into the situation, in crippling or killing the labor organization responsible for the strike. Their numbers in industry are now such that they can neither be ignored nor dealt with in detail, so the orthodox unions are doing to them what for several years they have done to women wage earners, lang uidly going through the motions of organizing them.
Not until Negro men do what white women are doing, will they cease to makethe labor situation worse for themselves and their fellow workers. They, too, must form organizations and use their growing numbers, and the political power which they command in the Northern States, to get besides collective bargaining, all the slender statutory protection of labor which the courts allow to stand.
The northward migration into industry of Negroes (of. whom there were 8, 000, 000 in the rural Southern States to be drawn upon. the increase of women engaged in manufacture, and the reduction in their legal protection previously believed to be in force, were well under way before the United States entered the war. The muster of children into industry was, as we shall see, active from the first.
The Drive Against Education New York City, in the Fall of 1914, led by example the movement which is still increasing against popular education.
Under the pretext of reforming the city finances, appropriaCHANGING LABOR CONDITIONS 133 tions for new school buildings ceased. few old buildings were remodeled or were enlarged, but the attempt to give every child a school seatwas openly abandoned for the first time smce New York City adopted public schools. The theory was promulgated ofiicially that teachers should work longer hours and children should have less instruction and more supervised play.
New York City policy of crowding out school children by administrative action, like Connecticut reactionary judicial and legislative procedure in regard to nightwork of women in factories, was an omen. No sooner did the United States enter the war than bills Were introduced in state legislatures to exempt children, boys and girls alike, from school attendance in the Spring and Fall from the 12th birthday on, ostensibly towork on farms, the summer vacation being prolonged for this purpose to cover the months from April lst to Nov. lst. In the propaganda for thus robbing the children of the birthright of school life which is theirs as future American citizens, eminence wasrachieved by John Finley, Commissioner of Education of New York State who, in May 1917, supported an evil bill to so exempt children, and sailed for France soon after Governor Whitman had signed it, delegating to subordinates the task of drawing up the regulations for the guidance of local school authorities and the safeguarding of the children which the new law itself made his duty. In consequence of the agitation in this matter and of ambiguous instructions from state officials, schools in rural sections of New York were generally demoralized.
The standard of elementary education was lowered for great numbers of boys and girls, and many educational authorities of the richest and industrially most highly developed state in the Union were revealed as the enemies of the children.
Foremost among the agitators for the reactionary law for long vacations were certain state educational authorities who, at a public hearing before Governor Whitman, at Albany, made the statement that already many boys had left school under the prom