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Who were they, and how could they respond so liberally to this great cause? The first man to give $1,000 was James H. Tilgham, of Chicago. Mr. Tilgham was born back in the days of slavery, 1844, in Washington, D. C.
For some fifteen years this man was driven hither and thither, seeking work, seeking some place to settle down and make good. Now he was in New Orleans working under the Reconstruction Government; now back in Washington, first in Government work, and then learning the trade of decorator; now in Boston as a waiter in the Harvard diningroom. Finally, in 1881, he went to Chicago and, after some struggle, began his work as messenger, first to Carter H. Harrison, Sr., then to Engineer Clark, of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern and Rock Island Railroad system, then to the Chicago Telephone Company, with which he has been employed since 1901.
In giving his $1,000 Mr. Tilgham said: "Many years ago, when I left my Eastern home, a mere boy, I landed in Chicago without friends and hardly a dollar I could call my own.
I began to search here and there for a home and a place to work. After a time I was successful, but even then I did not get a desirable place where a young man can feel homelike and happy: It was during
served as my desk; then I bought a few pencils and some paper, opened my office, began business, and reported for work every morning promptly at or before nine o'clock. The first thing I did my secretary and I—was to bow down by the side of that table and ask Almighty God to help me to succeed in this work. And I want to tell you that from that day until the present time there has never been a day in the National Baptist Publishing Board but what every employee working there has been ordered to shut down the presses, stop whatever they are doing, and at 9:30 each morning enter the chapel and thank God for his goodness and ask for guidance during that day. When I first started into this printing enterprise at Nashville, I lived in that little room; I had left my family in San Antonio, Texas. There, beside the open fireplace, I slept, I prayed to God for success, and laid my plans for the future. I was my own cook and servant girl. The problem of the Negro servant girl had not entered my household. My breakfast consisted of a cup of coffee, some rye bread toasted on the coals, and a nickel's worth of bologna sausage.
This is the type of life story back of nearly every large as well as small sum paid from the Negro purse in all those campaigns. it has been with Thomas E. Lassiter, of Atlantic City, New Jersey, again a man who started with nothing, but who now, through hard work and self-control, is worth some $50,000. His wife, a hairdresser, is, I am
told, worth in her own name almost as much as her husband.
Again, there is Mrs. C. J. Walker, of Indianapolis, who not many years ago left the farm in Louisiana for the wash-tub, left the wash-tub for the kitchen, and then left the kitchen for business. She, too, was in the $1,000 class of donors. In all these instances of $1,000 Negro donors in that of Mr. Preston Taylor, a wealthy undertaker of the same city; of the Rev. William Beckam and Mr. Henry Allen Boyd, also of Nashville; of Mrs. Daisy Merchant, of. Cincinnati, who gave $1,200; of Dr. E. P. Roberts, of New York; of Mr. Henry T. Troy, of Los Angeles, California-in all these cases the money has been literally wrung from the respective occupations by hard work, under trying circumstances and the greatest amount of personal restraint...
That most of the showing in building Young Men's Christian Associations should have been made among Negroes of the North is to me a matter of marked significance. In the first place, these buildings themselves provide places of welcome where
they are most needed. Year by year our boys get into Northern cities. Often they are in schools and work on trains or steamboats in summer to earn their tuition for the next year. The Northern city gets
attractive to them. They decide to stay there. But in too many cases this decision is the end of all that was hopeful in the young man's career. He misses the best people and gets among the easy-going. He gets into a hotel, where money comes easily and regularly. Coming easily, it goes easily. The Young Men's Christian Association in these cities will lead him among different companions and keep in him the ambition he set out with.
It is sometimes said that the Young Men's Christian Association weakens the influence of the church. This was not so in the case of the Negro. In many instances the persons who contributed the most in effort and money to make the erection of these buildings possible were men who had not been counted as particularly religious men. In a great number. of cases, after the building campaigns were over, they connected themselves with the