[Langston, Ok. 1925]. ,41pp., plus photograph portrait frontispiece of the author's wife. Original brown leatherette, blindstamped title on front cover. Minor edge wear. Small ink stamp on each pastedown, slightly over-opened after frontispiece, else internally clean. Very good plus. Item #3248
An inscribed copy of a rare title written by Isaac William Young, president of the Colored Agricultural and Normal University, known today as Langston University, the only HBCU in Oklahoma. Young's inscription on the front free endpaper reads, "Faithfully Isaac W Young 1925." Isaac W. Young was Oklahoma's only African American otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) and the state's most prominent civil rights leader in the 1920s and '30s, known locally as the "Father of Black Democracy." In the present work, Young's only book, he argues that the origin of class and racial strife is economic, caused by the struggle for food. Young contends that this disharmony could be overcome through fellowship and culture. In his Foreword, Young writes: "This little book is the outcome of my serious consideration of the economic struggle and contentions existing within the human family the world over.... In my humble judgement...the struggle is largely economic.... Under the influence of a wholesome fellowship of love and a high and cultured sense of right this condition cannot long exist.... Class against class, caste against caste, creed fighting creed, race against race...all become points of contention, battlegrounds for economic conflict." In his "Philosophy of Life, Food, Fellowship and Culture," Young also points out the importance of organization, education, opportunity, service, grace, and performance in life. He ends the work with a notable bit of optimism: "Then to live truly and happily one must, like God, scatter sunshine as he goes, giving sparkle to the eye, majesty to our presence and joy to our associations. We must live to bless mankind and teach it that: 'Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal.'" Young includes a portrait of his wife, Adelia as a frontispiece, and adds a note following the title page informing the reader that the portrait was included as a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary gift "in loving remembrance of her helpfulness and counsel." A graceful work by an important African American figure. OCLC reports just four institutional copies, at Yale, Howard, Oberlin College, and the author's home base, Langston University.