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.
should be separate schools as it was whether or not the people of color should be educated.  The dispersed condition of their children made it impossible for the State to provide for them in special schools the same educational facilities as those furnished the youth of Caucasian blood.  Chicago tried the experiment in 1864, but failing to get the desired result, incorporated the colored children into the white schools the following year.[2] The State Legislature had sufficient moral courage to do away with these caste distinctions in 1874.[3]

[Footnote 1:  Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, Const. of Illinois.]

[Footnote 2:  Special Report of U.S.  Com. of Ed., 1871, p. 343.]

[Footnote 3:  Starr and Curtis, Annotated Statutes of Illinois, ch. 105, p. 2261.]

In other States of the West and the North where few colored people were found, the solution of the problem was easier.  After 1848 Negroes were legal voters in the school meetings of Michigan.  Colored children were enumerated with others to determine the basis for the apportionment of the school funds, and were allowed to attend the public schools.  Wisconsin granted Negroes equal school privileges.[1] After the adoption of a free constitution in 1857, Iowa “determined no man’s rights by the color of his skin.”  Wherever the word white had served to restrict the privileges of persons of color it was stricken out to make it possible for them not only to bear arms and to vote but to attend public schools.[2]

[Footnote 1:  Special Report of the U.S.  Com. of Ed., 1871, p. 400.]

[Footnote 2:  Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Iowa, 1857, p. 3 of the Constitution.]



The following resolutions on the subject treated in this part (the instruction of Negroes) are from the works of Dr. Cotton Mather.—­Bishop William Meade.

1st.  I would always remember, that my servants are in some sense my children, and by taking care that they want nothing which may be good for them, I would make them as my children; and so far as the methods of instituting piety into the mind which I use with my children, may be properly and prudently used with my servants, they shall be partakers in them—­Nor will I leave them ignorant of anything, wherein I may instruct them to be useful to their generation.

2d.  I will see that my servants be furnished with bibles and be able and careful to read the lively oracles.  I will put bibles and other good and proper books into their hands; will allow them time to read and assure myself that they do not misspend this time—­If I can discern any wicked books in their hands, I will take away those pestilential instruments of wickedness.

3d.  I will have my servants present at the religious exercises of my family; and will drop, either in the exhortations, in the prayers or daily sacrifices of the family such pages as may have a tendency to quicken a sense of religion in them.

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