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Ferrer, Francisco (1859-1909)
"When the masses become better informed about science, they will feel less need for help form supernatural Higher Powers. The need for religion will end when man becomes sensible enough to govern himself."

-- Francisco Ferrer


Francesco Ferrer i Guàrdia was a Catalan free-thinker and anarchist. He was born in Allela (a small town near Barcelona) to Catholic parents. A follower of Spanish republican leader Ruiz Zorilla, Ferrer was exiled to Paris with his wife and children in 1885. Divorcing in 1899, he remarried a wealthy Parisian teacher shortly thereafter.

In 1901 he returned to Spain and opened la Escuela Moderna (The Modern School) to teach middle-class children (then) radical social values. In 1906 he was arrested on suspicion of involvement with Mateu Morral's attack on King Alphonso XIII and released uncharged over a year later. His school failed and closed while he was incarcerated.

Early in the summer of 1908, after his release from jail, he wrote the story of the Modern School. The work was entitled The Origins and Ideals of the Modern School and was translated into English by Joseph McCabe and published by the Knickerbocker Press in 1913.

Following the declaration of martial law in 1909 during the Tragic Week, he was arrested and executed without any proof by firing squad at Montjuich Fortress in Barcelona on October 12.

Shortly after his execution, numerous supporters of Ferrer's ideas in the United States formed what were called Modern Schools, or Ferrer Schools, modeled after la Escuela Moderna. The first and most notable Modern School was formed in New York City in 1911.

Quotations

"It is a conspicuous fact in our modern Christian society that as a result and cumulation of our partriarchal development, the woman does not belong to herself.... Man has made her a perpetual minor."

"When thier god and his exploiters cease to be adored and served, we shall live like comrades in mutual affection."

"I desire that on no occasion ... shall demonstrations of a political or religious character be made before my remains."

"Let no more gods or exploiters be served Let us learn rather to love one another."

 
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