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The Call to Union

“…for that wisdom which is the fruit of counsel and for the strength which is the product of union.”

The Kappa Delta Society of Petersburg, a literary review society also referred to as the “KJ Society,”  was formed in February 1863. This group of educators authorized a delegate to represent the group at an organizing meeting of the Confederate Education Association to be held in September 1863 in Atlanta. The meeting, however, did not materialize.

The Petersburg group decided that their best efforts would be to form an association in Virginia, instead. An offer by the Petersburg educators to meet with their Richmond counterparts was issued on November 6, 1863.

That meeting was held in Richmond, and on Nov. 13, 1863, an invitation to attend a statewide organizational meeting in Petersburg on December 29 was issued by the joint committee.

Here are excerpts from a circular of invitation:

“…for communion and sympathy between fellow-sufferers…common distress and common embarrassments in our work, as well as new and great obligations to the public, arising from the new relations in which we are placed, are conceived, in the present juncture of affairs, to create a pre-eminent necessity for that wisdom which is the fruit of counsel and for the strength which is the product of union.”

Purposes of the convention:

          • “…endeavoring to provide suitable school books. Without relief in this direction, most of our schools, of all classes, must soon as certainly die, as flame dies without a supply of fuel.”

          • “…establishing some permanent channel of communications between teachers themselves and between them and the community, as a means of closer sympathy and communion, as well as of improvement and progress among both parties. Why should not so stupendous an interest send its weekly journal into every teacher’s study, and into every mansion and hamlet in the land? The people—the parents themselves have a vital interest in this cause, and are entitled to a free communication of our views: We ‘owe them a baptism.’”

The invitation continues:

“Few subjects are of more importance than that of ‘Common Schools.’ Many of the ‘citizen kings’ who, in after life, may wield a mighty influence over the destiny of their country emerge from those nurseries: Can we do nothing for their improvement?

“To facilitate these and other important objects which may be brought before the Convention, as well as to co-operate more effectually with similar movements in other parties of the Confederacy, it may be deemed expedient to organize a permanent State Educational Association. This would constitute it a relaying power, and would probably, give persistence and availing force to measures which, otherwise, however judicious and proper, might fail, merely because no first impulse could push them to their accomplishment.”

Committee from Richmond                          Committee from Petersburg
Wm. B. Johnson                                             A. J. Leavenworth
Rev. R. H. L. Tighe                                        Wm. T. Davis  
E. W. Cone                                                      Wm. B. Carr
D. Lee Powell

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