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over that building like they do now, and part of my work was to
carry water from the faucet in the basement and distribute it in
the pitchers and buckets in 24 rooms. I did a lot of shoeshining
for the college boys in that dormitory too.

"The biggest kick I got out of life in those days was
running after the fire engines that were pulled by colored men.
They had white fire companies and colored fire companies, and they
even had their separate engine houses. I didn't bother after the
white folks' engines. One day when a fire broke out and a crowd of
us lit out to see the excitement, a little colored boy got in the
way of one of the trucks and was knocked down. His head was badly
crushed and one of his ears was cut off. That taught us a lesson
about getting in front of fire engines.

"I was 17 years old when I entered Tuskegee Institute with
my mind fully made up to learn all I could about working with iron.
I meant to be a blacksmith, and I wanted to be as good one as that
college could turn out. When I was convinced that field was over-
crowded I chose the brickmason trade instead. It's a good thing I
took that course, for the blacksmith business has gone down steadily
since automobiles have been taking the place of horses. However,
if a man's a good welder he can still get some work to do, but a
jack-leg ain't able to earn much at any trade. You've got to be
good if you're to get a chance to earn much these days. I didn't
graduate at Tuskegee, for I was only there three years. At different
times while I was there President McKinley and Mr. George Foster
Peabody visited the school.


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