My Deliverance From
(And My Escape From Prison)

Dateline: 31 January 2016 AD

The Entrance to Auburn State Prison

Today is the third anniversary of my deliverance from wage slavery. Longtime readers already know my story, but I’ll be recollecting it here, again and again, in one way or another, every January 31st, for as long as I keep cranking out these blog posts. 

As far as life stories go, this one is pretty simple. No one will be making any movies about it. But if you were me, you would know it’s actually a remarkable unfolding of events as well as the fulfillment of a long-held hope.

The backstory is pertinent. It begins around the end of 1998 and into 1999. That was when I experienced the most significant personal crisis of my life. 

To that point, I had worked a couple decades in the building trades and had done pretty well at it. By “pretty well” I mean that I managed to support my family of five without my wife needing to work outside the home, I had almost no debt, and I had some money saved. 

Then it all fell apart.

A business venture I had invested my money and time into did not pan out. I was discouraged. I lost my drive and my focus. Over a period of months, my savings dwindled to nothing. I cashed in my retirement account. I had bills to pay, and a family to support. I became depressed.

When God chooses to humble a man, He knows exactly how to tailor that humbling experience to best make His point. When my savings were all tapped out, and the reality of my situation hit me, I was broken.

I remember the breaking point very well. Fact is, I’ll never forget it. I believe the biblical term for my condition at that time would be a “bruised reed.” When the breaking point came, I wasn’t praying for God to bless me anymore. I was on my face before Him, expressing angst and emotion like I had never known before in my life. What had I done wrong? Why was this happening to me? What should I do? Please help me!

It was then that God impressed upon me something that totally changed my life. The message that permeated my consciousness at that time is that God gives, and God takes… as it pleases Him to do. He’s in charge, not me. He doesn’t exist to serve me, I exist to serve him. He doesn’t need me, I need Him. My life is not my own, it’s His. When the full realization of those fundamental truths came, I repented of ever thinking otherwise—and of ordering my life with an attitude contrary to those truths.

My purpose in life became more focused on not striving for money and material comforts, but to strive instead for a life of greater obedience to Him; to live each day ever-cogent of God’s grace, faithfully dependent on God’s grace, and to pursue a lifestyle and attitude that is more pleasing in His sight. I now understand the deliberate pursuit of this kind of obedience can be summed up in the word, “sanctification.” Properly understood, sanctification is the intentional lifelong pursuit of a Christ-like attitude and character.

I was justified (saved) from the consequences of sin by God’s grace when I came to Christ at 13 years of age. But my Christian walk had not matured like it should. Oh, I thought it had. But God thought otherwise.

There is a familiar Bible verse (Romans 8:28) that took on a new meaning to me at that time in my life. It goes like this…

“…all things work together for good to them that love God…”

The natural understanding of the word “good” in that verse is decidedly self centered. We love to define good by translating it into concepts of personal health, happiness, ease, comfort, and prosperity. But could it be that translation totally misses the point?

Could it be that our definition of good can veer away from God’s definition of good? 

Could it be that “good” is more properly defined as God’s sovereign plan and will? And that our purpose is to serve that good, even if it means to suffer various trials and tribulations in this life (even unto death)? Well, I do think so, and this could take us into a much deeper theological discussion, but I need to get back on track with my story. Suffice it to say, I had a different perspective on life and my relationship to God after my bruised reed experience.

It was only a couple days after my humbling when I got a phone call, right out of the blue (as they say). It was a man I had worked for in the past. He knew nothing of my situation. He called to see if I would be interested in working as a teacher’s assistant in the building trades program at the local vocational school. 

I immediately saw this as God opening a door for me, and I said I was interested. Then he apologetically informed me that the job only paid $12,000 for the school year. Apparently, the school couldn’t find anyone else to fill the position for so little money. Classes were starting in less than a week. I took the job. (I’ve written about my experience as a government school teacher AT THIS LINK).

A couple weeks before the school year ended, with no job prospects, and not knowing for sure what I would be doing to earn money for the summer months, I got a call from the local maximum security state prison in Auburn, NY. They wanted to interview me for a job as a supervisor in their industry program.

That was another “out of the blue” event. I did’t really desire a job at the prison, and didn’t expect to get one. But, nearly a year before, on the advice and direction of an old friend who worked in the prison, I had filled out a two-page “test” and mailed it to Albany.

I went to the interview and got the job. One week before the school year ended, I started the prison job. My income would be multiple times what it was at the school. In time, I came to realize that getting the job I got was something pretty special. You have to know someone to get that kind of job. The only person I knew was my friend, Jerry. He made it happen. He was an instrument of God’s grace. I was very thankful.

Click this picture for a much larger arial view of Auburn State Prison

In my wildest dreams I never imagined that I would ever work in a maximum security state prison. Never. But the job came so easily, and paid so well, and I knew God had orchestrated it. I knew that was where He wanted me. It was the spring of 2000.

I won’t go into the dynamics and culture of working in a prison, except to say it’s a difficult place— it is an ongoing daily clash of bureaucratic foolishness, incompetence, and puffed-up egos (and that isn’t taking into account the convicts). 

Only once did I write here about My Non-Agrarian Day Job when I was working at the prison. I wrote that seven years into my “sentence,” and six years before my escape. It’s interesting to look back on that essay from my perspective now. 

Even more interesting is to read my blog post from last year titled, My Close Call With A Notorious Mob Hit-Man.

I never felt like prison was a good fit for me. There were a few really low points, which I would classify under the heading of “Failure of Character” on my part. Or, perhaps, “Total Failures in The Pursuit of Sanctification” would be a better description. Or, maybe just “Learning Experiences.” Whatever the case, I’d like to forget them. I certainly won’t be writing about them. 

Nevertheless, like I said, I was thankful to be there. In the final analysis, having an enjoyable and fulfilling job is totally beside the point when you have a family to support. Getting the bills paid is what matters more, especially once you've had the experience of not having enough money to pay your bills. I suspect some people reading this can relate to that.

So, I was a wage slave in “the system,” and I was prepared to put in the minimum of 20 years so I could retire with a decent pension. However, my long-held, independent-minded, entrepreneurial inclinations did not leave me when I took that prison job. 

It so happens that there is a lot of idle time in prison. I was able to do my job, and still have an abundance of time for myself— time to think, to sketch and resketch drawings of ideas, to write, to read, to pray, and to plan my escape.

At first, I didn’t realize I was planning my escape. I thought I was laying the groundwork for a small, home publishing business that I could establish while “doing time” in prison, then work at when I retired, after 20 years. With that thought in mind I self-published 100 copies of “Anyone Can Build A Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker.” That was March of 2002.

The book was not an instant success. But, slowly and surely, it started to get some notice. By the time I began writing this blog in June of 2005, the book had sold a few thousand copies. It was bringing in some money, all of which I invested back into the fledgling part-time business. 

I wrote five more books while I was in prison, and I started selling chicken plucker parts, along with some other down-to-earth products. I learned how to develop my own web sites using the Blogger format (totally free), and how to incorporate PayPal order buttons into the sites. When I did that, the business took off.

Around 2010 I realized that I couldn’t possibly continue operating my Planet Whizbang home business while working full time at the prison job. But the mail order business was not making enough money for me to feel comfortable leaving the security of a government job. 

And that’s when the state of New York, faced with budget problems, offered employees like me the option of reducing their work hours by up to 40%, and still keep their job. My pay would be reduced accordingly, but that didn’t matter. I could work 3-1/2 days a week and still keep my job. I filled out the paperwork as soon as I learned about it. I saw this part-time option as a Godsend, literally.

The Whizbang business continued to bring in more money every year. And then one of the guys I worked with told me that I could retire from state “service” at 55 years of age, and collect a pension. He said my pension wouldn’t be very much with only 13 years on the job, but it might be enough to pay for health insurance. I looked into the specifics, and he was right. I started thinking very seriously about “retiring.” And that's what I did.

On January 31, 2013, I walked out of Auburn State Prison for the last time—a free man. It was the happiest day of my life. 

Some of my co-workers in prison couldn’t understand why I would leave such an easy job that paid so well. Almost no one leaves before getting at least their 20 years in. I heard stories about a few that did leave, then regretted their decision in later years.

But I knew it was my time to get out, just as I knew it was my time to take the job 13 years earlier. I knew God was in it. I knew He had orchestrated the events. 

I also knew that I would never be able to retire and receive a decent pension; I would have to work harder than ever, and for the rest of my able days. But I don’t see than as a bad thing when I’m doing creative, entrepreneurial work with a home business. 

Now, here's the point of this lengthy story… 

When I worked hard and strived for material success with a self-centered heart, I failed miserably. Other people can do that and meet with great success. But that was not my path. God works in different people’s lives in different ways. 

I've learned that there is a big difference between working with a striving, self-centered heart, and working with an attitude of diligence, combined with patience and faithful contentment, trusting God to lead and provide, as it pleases Him, in accordance with His good plans. 

Believe it or not, having a successful, home-based mail order business was the desire of my heart going all the way back to when I was 16 years old. By the grace of God, it took me 39 years to get here, and I had a lot to learn along the way. The measure of material prosperity I now have is modest, but sufficient. It didn't come all at once. Everything came gradually. It came with hard work. And it came so surprisingly and satisfyingly after "success" was no longer my central focus. 

I’ve rambled on too long, but I want to say this, and I mean it…. 

This whole dream-come-true home business could easily meet with some disaster. Which is to say, God could take it away from me. And if that happens, I would be disappointed, but I don't believe I would be devastated. I know God would provide in some other way. I’ve seen Him do it in my life before.

I’ll close with the Bible verse that I think most sums up my whole attitude about life and business...

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

That comes from Proverbs Chapter 3. The Book of wisdom. Indeed.

Rethinking Elderberry Tincture
(The Tincture-Berry Concept)

Dateline: 25 January 2016 AD

Alcohol-soaked elderberries

I've written here in the past about my desire to grow medicinal elderberry cultivars and make elderberry tincture for my family. The journey started back in the spring of 2014 when I planted four seedlings on the edge of my garden, and it has come to reality this winter with three quarts of alcohol-soaked elderberries, like you see in the picture above.

The usual procedure when making tincture is to drain off the infused alcohol after a few months in the jar. Then to squeeze out the berries to get every last possible drop of the valuable tincture. I did that with the quart jar of Brandy-infused berries I made last August...

A dropper bottle of elderberry tincture in January. Notice the pruned and stake-tied elderberry bushes in the background.

It's nice to have little dropper bottles of tincture like that.  BUT squeezing tincture out of the berries is a messy job, and it occurred to me that I was doing something that isn't really necessary. Here's what I mean...

The half-gallon jar of Everclear-infused berries I made last August is now setting on our kitchen counter. On top of the lid is a bottle dropper. When we feel like we need a little tincture (like, after a sneeze or upon feeling like our cold-resistance is low), we simply open the jar and get some tincture with the dropper. 

As we have done this, the liquid level in the jar has dropped below the berry level. Seeing that, I got the obvious idea of just eating a partial spoonful of the berries. Why not? They're full of tincture and full of berry. Except for an occasional bit of berry stem, it's ALL good.

So now I'm thinking that there is no good reason to squeeze out the berries just to get liquid. Why can't I put berries and tincture juice together into smaller jars with an opening large enough to fit a spoon into? I'm envisioning 4oz canning jars, Like This....

If you missed my past blog posts on growing elderberries and making tincture, here are some pictures...

The Old-Timer's
Poultry Library

Dateline: 22 January 2016 AD

I'm pleased to announce that I've just put the finishing touches on The Old-Timer's Poultry Library. The library is 35 old poultry books, converted to PDF file and compiled onto a high-quality USB flash drive. You simply plug the flash drive into your computer and all the books are right there for you.

The poultry library will sell for $16.95. But it is now available for a limited time at the introductory price of only $11.95.

It is more expensive to put a collection of pdf books on a flash drive, as opposed to a CD, but a flash drive is easier to use and makes the books available to you much faster. 

You can learn all about the Old-Timer's Poultry Library, and see all the books that are in the library at my Agriphemera web site. Here's the link: The Old-Timer's Poultry Library.

If you have an interest in raising poultry, and you have an interest in old ways, you'll really appreciate this new resource.

I like this old picture. 
It comes from one of the books in 
The Old-Timer's Poultry Library.

Remarkable Principles From
The Farmer's Conference
(of 1904)

Dateline: 20 January 2016 AD

In This Previous Post, and This Previous Post I introduced you to Booker T. Washington’s little-known book, Working With The Hands. You will be hard pressed to find any other internet discussion or even a mention of this book. I believe it is almost a lost volume. 

You will also be hard pressed to find any in-depth internet explanation or discussion of the Tuskegee Institute as it was when Booker T. Washington ran the place. 

I’m starting to realize that Booker T. Washington’s opinions and writings (aside from his autobiography, Up From Slavery) would not be popular among the vast majority of black Americans of today. His approach to educating and elevating his race are profoundly contrary to our current-day narrative. 

I’m pretty sure that most of the mainstream black “leaders” of our time would rather that no blacks of today knew anything about what Booker T. Washington wrote on the subject of race relations. And his thoughts about how to help his people help themselves would be looked at as outdated and archaic.

But I’m of the mind that Booker T. Washington knew better than any mainstream black leader of today how to best lead his race into true freedom. Washington’s teachings on this subject are distilled into a “declaration of principles” in his book, Working With The Hands. These principles are a summation of the objective of the annual “Farmer’s Conference” (also referred to as the “Tuskegee Negro Conference”).

Here is what Washington has to say about the Conference in “Working With The Hands”…

The purpose of the Tuskegee Negro Conference is to help the farmers who are too old, or too bound down by their responsibilities, to attend schools or institutes; to do for them in a small way, what Tuskegee and other agencies seek to do for the younger generation. 
Coloured men and women make long and expensive journeys to be present, coming from all the Southern and several of the Northern states. They have found that their money is not wasted, for they learn much by seeing what has been done at the school, from the advice of experts, but more especially by the exchange of opinions and by comparing experiences in their own field of work. These meetings are not for whining or complaints. Their keynote is hopeful courage. To look up and not down, forward and not backward, to be cheerful and mutually helpful, is the golden rule of the conference.
It was decided from the first to confine the proceedings to matters which the race had closely within its control, and to positive, aggressive effort, rather than to mere negative criticisms and recitations of wrongs. I wanted these coloured farmers and their wives to consult about the methods and means of securing homes, of freeing themselves from debt, of encouraging production, of paying their taxes, of cultivating habits of thrift, honesty, and virtue, of building school-houses, and securing education and high Christian character, of cementing the friendships between the races.
In these conventions, as in other ways, we have tried to keep alive the feeling of hope and encouragement. We have seen darker days than these, and no race that is patient, long-suffering, industrious, economical, and virtuous, no race that is persistent in efforts that make for progress, no race that cultivates a spirit of good-will toward all mankind, is left without reward.
The Farmers’ Conference each year adopts a declaration of principles, which sums up its objects in such words as these:
Our object shall be to promote the moral, material, and educational progress of this entire community. Believing, as we do, that we are our own worst enemies, we pledge, here and now, from this time forth, to use every effort—
** To abolish and do away with the mortgage system just as rapidly as possible.
** To raise our food supplies, such as corn, potatoes, syrup, peas, hogs, chickens, etc., at home rather than to go into debt for them at the store.
** To stop throwing away our time and money on Saturdays by standing around towns, drinking and disgracing ourselves in many other ways.
** To oppose, at all times, the excursion and camp-meeting, and to try earnestly to secure better schools, better teachers, and better preachers.
** To try to buy homes, to urge upon all negroes the necessity of owning homes and farms, and not only to own them, but to beautify and improve them.
** Since the greater number of us are engaged in agriculture, we urge the importance of stock and poultry raising, the teaching of agriculture in the county schools, the thorough cultivation of a small acreage, rather than the poor cultivation of a large one, attention to farm work in winter, and getting rid of the habit of living in one-room houses.
** We urge more protection of life and property, better homes for tenants, and that home life in the country be made more attractive, all this with the view of keeping such great numbers of our people out of the large cities.
** In connection with the better schools and churches, we emphasize the need of careful attention to the morals of our ministers and teachers, and all others acting in the capacity of leaders.
** Prosperity and peace are dependent upon friendly relations between the races, and to this end we urge a spirit of manly forbearance and mutual interest.

The chapter then goes on to give many examples of Conference attendees who, in spite of the cultural limitations they faced, were making great progress in breaking free from the ignorance, debt slavery, material dependencies, race hostilities, and bad personal habits that conspired to oppress them.

Now, here's the amazing thing about the above passage, and the Declaration of Principles...

I believe the wisdom of those principles and objectives (that were set forth for a recently-enslaved race seeking to achieve security, self respect and meaning) are, for the most part, still wise and appropriate today—112 years after they were written. 

Furthermore, I believe the wisdom of those principles is applicable to ALL Americans in this day and age, not just black Americans.

And, amazingly, I see those principles as a reflection of the same things that I have advocated in this Deliberate Agrarian blog for the past 11 years. Fundamentally, they are Christian-agrarian principles. 

An Unexpected Surprise
From China
The Folly Of
Leaving The Land

Dateline: 18 January 2016 AD

(click for an enlarged view)

One of the nice things about having my Planet Whizbang business is that I can help my local economy by purchasing materials from, and hiring the services of, local businesses. I make it a point to do that as much as I possibly can. 

One local business that I have worked closely with for many years is a small, rural machine shop. It's operated by a husband and wife in a barn by their house. I was visiting with my machine-shop friends last week and they told me the following story....

Last summer they bought a plastic picnic table. It was made in China. When they opened the box, they found the tools pictured above. Evidently, one of the workers at the factory left his tools in the box, and they were inadvertently packaged up.

One tool is a hammer and the other is like a small hatchet. As you can see, they are surprisingly primitive (being handmade out of scrap material) and have been heavily used.

There is surely a story behind the two tools. One can't help wonder what the working conditions in the plastic picnic table factory are like, and if the loss of these two tools was a great personal crisis for some poor worker. 


Those two tools prompted me to ruminate on the socioeconomic transformation that has taken place in China in recent decades, and the current crisis that so many people in China are currently facing. It is worth understanding, and there is a very valuable lesson for us Westerners in the understanding....

Starting in the 1970s Chinese technocrats made a conscious decision to transition the country from an agrarian civilization to an industrial civilization. It began with the development and expansion of infrastructure, urban housing, and factories. 

The many jobs in construction drew millions of poor agrarian workers out of their rural villages. Then, as the industrialization of the nation progressed, hundreds of millions more rural people migrated to the urban centers to work in the factories. This migration is explained in this sobering and insightful article from The NY Times: Leaving The Land: China's Great Uprooting

The millions of rural-to-urban migrants were not so much forced from their villages as they were lured. The following quotes come from another internet article on this subject...

In the interviews, we asked each of the migrant workers the question of why they first decided to migrate out of the village. Instead of having been pushed by harsh economic times in the village, it turns out many were pulled by opportunity and the excitement of city life.

Many interviewees also mentioned the attraction of city life, broadcast as exceptional and exotic by both earlier migrants returning to the village and the media, as a primary motivator in their decision to migrate. A related motivator is the desire for material things and luxury items available only to urban workers. 

It was the Pied Piper of materialism that drew so many poor migrants away from the land, into the cities. This is the pattern that every industrialized nation has followed. But, for many, the dream of a better life away from their rural villages has been an illusion....

Having migrated after limited years of schooling, migrants face high pressure from work, low satisfaction in terms of their wages, unsure self-identification (villager or citizen), and an overall lack of happiness.

The tragic string of 13 suicides in a factory owned by one of China's largest employers of rural migrant workers.... in Shenzhen City brought the challenges of these .... migrants into focus.

Many of the urban workers in China are now 2nd generation migrants. They are not as inured to hard physical work as their agrarian-raised parents. Thus...

For many years, rural-to-urban migration was associated with a tolerance of any task work: Migrants never complained about poor or unfair treatment. With new-generation migrants, however, this characterization is far from reality. Since life in the villages has been generally improved in most places and land has become increasingly scarce, the only child (or one of the only two children) of a rural family is no longer used to heavy agricultural work at home. As a result, they tend to choose light labor jobs, are highly preferential in the work they choose, and are more likely to switch jobs if they feel they are being treated too harshly.
The major noneconomic reasons for changing jobs included harsh or unfair treatment by management, being overworked with insufficient pay, a desire to learn more skills and techniques, and for individual development. 

And now, to make matters worse, China's economy is faltering. This is front-page news. Industrial "progress" in China is slowing down. The whole world, including China, is slipping into an economic recession at best, and more likely a long depression. 

Hundreds of millions of Chinese people who have left the land in past decades, and who are now crammed into urban centers, will lose their jobs. 

Without land to work, without the know-how to work the land they don't have, without the tools to work the land they don't have, without the hardened bodies needed to live off the land, these people are in a very bad situation.

They left the relative security of an agrarian lifestyle on the land and gave their lives to the pursuit of the industrial dream. As previously noted, it was a pipe dream for many, but it's now about to become a hellish reality. 

Having no job in the urban-industrial world is far more of a crisis than having a job you don't like.

The wicked little secret about the industrial dream is that it always eventually comes to an end. Industrialism is always a boom and bust scenario. And those people who leave the security of the land, always put themselves and their families at risk. 

I feel bad for the millions of poor urban Chinese who have become helpless dependents on a socioeconomic system that is going belly up. But I feel even more sorry for millions of Americans who have also become helpless dependents on such a system.

If you are among this dependent class, I urge you to seriously consider your personal dependencies in light of emerging economic realities. Remember, industrial systems of support always eventually fail.


More NYT Articles On This Subject

Whizbang Cider—Part 2
Pressing The Apple Mash
(Now On YouTube)

Dateline: 15 January 2016 AD

Last October I managed to get Whizbang Cider: Part 1—Grinding Apples To Mash put together and uploaded to YouTube.  And today (three months later) I finally got Whizbang Cider: Part 2—Pressing The Apple Mash on YouTube. 

It took 18 hours for the film to upload. I could have done it faster, but the image quality would have been less. 

The film is nearly a half hour long, but anyone who has an interest in making their own apple cider should find the video  very informative and inspiring. 

My Whizbang cider-making system is the least expensive, easiest to use, and most efficient home-scale cider making system out there. I say that having used and studied other home-scale cider making equipment since the late 1970s.  

Even if you already have one of the more common, heavy, traditional-style cider presses, you can greatly increase the efficiency of the unit by pressing a rack-and-cloth "cheese" in your tub (as I show in the video above). And, of course, there is no easier, faster way to grind apples to mash than in a homemade Whizbang apple grinder.

Making cider is a great family and community activity. And now is the time to be thinking, planning, and preparing for cider season 2016.


The following picture was sent to me a couple years ago by a chap in the UK. Note the rock wall (I love rock walls) and the four "cider smiles." Also, these cider makers chose to build and press a "cheese" without  the support of a tub.

Those young folks had a lot of fun and made a great memory around the work of making apple cider.

"Free" Education
And Some Historical Perspective

Dateline: 13 January 2016 AD

I recently heard about a study that found many college students these days are seriously lacking in critical thinking skills. The amazing interview above is clear and compelling (and embarrassing) evidence of this.

College student Keely Mullen is spearheading a protest movement to get the the government to provide free college tuition, and forgive all student loan debt

At 40 seconds into the interview, Neil Cavuto asks her who is going to pay for it. Her confusion is truly a LOL moment.

Kelly's halting response reflects the standard non-thought of a rising new generation of socialist-indoctrinated, government-dependent, debt-slaves.

She could have easily turned the tables on Cavuto by telling him that such a massive government give-away program could be funded the same way Cavuto's generation has managed to fund so many "free lunch" government giveaways...

Simply borrow the money and have future generations labor to pay it off though high and onerous taxation. 

"Why should your generation be able to spend so much money it doesn't have and the my generation can't, Neil?" 

"That's just not fair."

"It's also very intolerant."

I looked on the internet to see if maybe I could learn more about Keely Mullen. I found This Web Page with some background. It appears that she has grown up in a relatively wealthy, and profoundly confused environment. I wish her nothing but the best.


Some historical perspective is useful at times like this....

As I mentioned a few blogs back, I have recently read "Working With The Hands" by Booker T. Washington. The book discusses Washington's work at establishing the Tuskegee Institute back in the early years of the 20th century.

Most of the students at Tuskegee were dirt-poor black men and women. They were the children of former slaves. Some of them could afford to pay the $8 a month tuition to the school, but many could not. So Tuskegee came up with a plan for "free" tuition. 

Students who were accepted to the school on the free tuition plan signed a contract agreeing to work for the school, where needed, for 10 hours a day. In return, they received room and board and attended night classes for two hours each evening (after working a 10 hour day).

(click picture to see enlarged view)

The 10 hours of work was in the school's farm, or making bricks, or building school buildings, or building roads, or whatever needed to be done.

(click picture to see enlarged view)

These "night students" also accumulated credits for their hours of work. After one or two years of earning credits and going to night classes, the student could then enroll in the "regular day school" where they would be employed with their hands, working only two days out of the week and spending four days in the classroom.

(click picture to see enlarged view)

Booker T. Washington writes in his book...

"I have been asked many times about the progress of the students in the night school as compared with those in the day school. In reality, there is little difference. A student who studies two hours at night and works with his hands ten hours during the day, naturally covers less ground in the text-books than the day student, yet in real sound growth and the making of manhood, I question whether the day student has much advantage over the student in the night school. There is an indescribable something about work with the hands that tends to develop a student's mind. The night-school students take up their studies with a degree of enthusiasm and alertness that is not equalled in the day classes."

(click picture to see enlarged view)

Another quote from the book...

"One of the advantages of the night school at Tuskegee is in the sifting-out process of the student body. Unless a student has real grit in him and means business, he will not continue very long to work with his hands ten hours a day for the privilege of studying two hours a night. Though much of the work done by students at an industrial school like Tuskegee does not pay, the mere effort at self-help on the part of the student is of the greatest value in character building."

(click picture to see enlarged view)

Booker T. Washington was a big advocate of the whole concept of "self-help" by working with the hands, avoiding debt, and being a person of high character. These concepts are becoming more and more alien in our modern culture. 

"When any people, regardless of race or geographical location, have not been trained to habits of industry, have not been given skill of hand in youth, and taught to love labour, a direct result is the breeding of a worthless idle class..."

"If a community has been educated exclusively on books and has not been trained in habits of applied industry, an unwholesome tendency to dodge honest productive labour is likely to develop."

—Booker T. Washington