Monday, April 18, 2011

A SELF-HELP COLLEGE ON A FARM; part 2; Harriet S. Flagg; June 1919

Blackburn is not large. It has accommodations and equipment for about one hundred students. One large, brick building, built just after the Civil War, a science building, two retired Pullman sleeping cars used as dormitories, a barn and silo, with some poultry houses,complete the list. Fine old elms, maples, ash, oaks, add at the beauty of the 10-acre campus, which adjoins the prosperous prairie city of Carlinville. A seventy-acre farm, owned by the college, joins the campus on the north, and beyond this the college is working one hundred and twenty additional acres.

Blackburn College does more than "teach." It reaches out into lives with constructive, inspiring help. May I tell you the story of one of its students, Bob, as his friends call him?

When Bob was nineteen he was earning ninety dollars a month in a Pennsylvania coal mine. There was an accident and Bob lost his left arm. Through the long days he lay in the hospital thinking, "If I am to win out, I must get into a business or profession where I can use my head more than my hands. I must get an education. But how can I get it--now?

His family had no pull. He was poor. How was he, with one arm only, to get good-paying work, much less an education?

A friend told him of Blackburn College.

Bob wrote to Blackburn and the president replied, "Come along!"

Work was found for him. For a month he used a pick and shovel, holding his place with a gang of two-armed laborers. Then he rigged up an ingenious, arrangement on his left arm whereby he could punch rivets in an electric shop connected with a coal mine. A year ago he passed the Illinois state examination for mine inspector and was appointed to one of the Standard Oil Company's coal mines close to the college, at a salary of one hundred and seventy-five dollars a month. He attends college in the morning, spends the afternoons studying, snatches a few hours' sleep in the evening and begins his mine inspection tour at one o'clock in the morning.

Although sorely handicapped at the start, Bob is more than self-supporting. He has helped his family and has saved $2,200. With his savings and the education he has received at Blackburn, he is ready this fall to enter one of the large universities where he plans to begin the study of law.