The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 402 pages of information about The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861.
power.[2] Rev. C.C.  Jones[3] believed that only an inconsiderable fraction of the slaves could read.  Witnesses to the contrary, however, are numerous.  Abdy, Smedes, Andrews, Bremer, and Olmsted found during their stay in the South many slaves who had experienced unusual spiritual and mental development.[4] Nehemiah Adams, giving the southern view of slavery in 1854, said that large numbers of the slaves could read and were furnished with the Scriptures.[5] Amos Dresser, who traveled extensively in the Southwest, believed that one out of every fifty could read and write.[6] C.G.  Parsons thought that five thousand out of the four hundred thousand slaves of Georgia had these attainments.[7] These figures, of course, would run much higher were the free people of color included in the estimates.  Combining the two it is safe to say that ten per cent. of the adult Negroes had the rudiments of education in 1860, but the proportion was much less than it was near the close of the era of better beginnings about 1825.

[Footnote 1:  Arfwedson, The United States and Canada, p. 331.]

[Footnote 2:  See their pamphlets, addresses, and books referred to elsewhere.]

[Footnote 3:  Jones, Religious Instruction of Negroes, p. 115.]

[Footnote 4:  Redpath, The Roving Editor, p. 161.]

[Footnote 5:  Adams, South-Side View of Slavery, pp. 52 and 59.]

[Footnote 6:  Dresser, The Narrative of Amos Dresser, p. 27; Dabney, Journal of a Tour through the United States and Canada, p. 185.]

[Footnote 7:  Parsons, Inside View of Slavery, p. 248.]



While the Negroes of the South were struggling against odds to acquire knowledge, the more ambitious ones were for various reasons making their way to centers of light in the North.  Many fugitive slaves dreaded being sold to planters of the lower South, the free blacks of some of the commonwealths were forced out by hostile legislation, and not a few others migrated to ameliorate their condition.  The transplanting of these people to the Northwest took place largely between 1815 and 1850.  They were directed mainly to Columbia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Greenwich, New Jersey; and Boston, Massachusetts, in the East; and to favorable towns and colored communities in the Northwest.[1] The fugitives found ready helpers in Elmira, Rochester, Buffalo, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Gallipolis, Portsmouth, Akron, and Cincinnati, Ohio; and Detroit, Michigan.[2] Colored settlements which proved attractive to these wanderers had been established in Ohio, Indiana, and Canada.  That most of the bondmen in quest of freedom and opportunity should seek the Northwest had long been the opinion of those actually interested in their enlightenment.  The attention of the colored people had been early directed to this section as a more suitable place for their elevation than the jungles of Africa selected by the American Colonization Society.  The advocates of Western colonization believed that a race thus degraded could be elevated only in a salubrious climate under the influences of institutions developed by Western nations.

Project Gutenberg
The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook