The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 eBook

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the importation of slaves into Georgia “to bring them within the reach of those means of grace which would make them partake of a liberty far more precious than the freedom of body."[2] While on a visit to this country in 1740 he purchased a large tract of land at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, for the purpose of founding a school for the education of Negroes.[3] Deciding later to go south, he sold the site to the Moravian brethren who had undertaken to establish a mission for Negroes at Bethlehem in 1738.[4] Some writers have accepted the statement that Whitefield commenced the erection of a schoolhouse at Nazareth; others maintain that he failed to accomplish anything.[5] Be that as it may, accessible facts are sufficient to show that, unwise as was his policy of importing slaves, his intention was to improve their condition.  It was because of this sentiment in Georgia in 1747, when slavery was finally introduced there, that the people through their representatives in convention recommended that masters should educate their young slaves, and do whatever they could to make religious impressions upon the minds of the aged.  This favorable attitude of early Methodists toward Negroes caused them to consider the new churchmen their friends and made it easy for this sect to proselyte the race.

[Footnote 1:  Special Report of the U.S.  Com. of Ed., 1871, p. 374.]

[Footnote 2:  Ibid., p. 374.]

[Footnote 3:  Turner, The Negro in Pennsylvania, p. 128.]

[Footnote 4:  Equally interested in the Negroes were the Moravians who settled in the uplands of Pennsylvania and roamed over the hills of the Appalachian region as far south as Carolina.  A painting of a group of their converts prior to 1747 shows among others two Negroes, Johannes of South Carolina and Jupiter of New York.  See Hamilton, History of the Church known as the Moravian, p. 80; Plumer, Thoughts on the Religious Instruction of Negroes, p. 3; Reichel, The Moravians in North Carolina, p. 139.]

[Footnote 5:  Special Report of the U.S.  Com. of Ed., 1869, p. 374.]



In addition to the mere diffusion of knowledge as a means to teach religion there was a need of another factor to make the education of the Negroes thorough.  This required force was supplied by the response of the colonists to the nascent social doctrine of the eighteenth century.  During the French and Indian War there were set to work certain forces which hastened the social and political upheaval called the American Revolution.  “Bigoted saints” of the more highly favored sects condescended to grant the rising denominations toleration, the aristocratic elements of colonial society deigned to look more favorably upon those of lower estate, and a large number of leaders began to think that the Negro should be

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The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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