The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 341 pages of information about The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861.

[Footnote 1:  Davis was a logical antislavery agitator.  He believed that if the slaves had had the means of education, if they had been treated with humanity, making slaves of them had been no more than doing evil that good might come.  He thought that Christianity and humanity would have rather dictated the sending of books and teachers into Africa and endeavors for their salvation.]

[Footnote 2:  Benjamin Rush was a Philadelphia physician of Quaker parentage.  He was educated at the College of New Jersey and at the Medical School of Edinburgh, where he came into contact with some of the most enlightened men of his time.  Holding to the ideals of his youth, Dr. Rush was soon associated with the friends of the Negroes on his return to Philadelphia.  He not only worked for the abolition of the slave trade but fearlessly advocated the right of the Negroes to be educated.  He pointed out that an inquiry into the methods of converting Negroes to Christianity would show that the means were ill suited to the end proposed.  “In many cases,” said he, “Sunday is appropriated to work for themselves.  Reading and writing are discouraged among them.  A belief is inculcated among some that they have no souls.  In a word, every attempt to instruct or convert them has been constantly opposed by their masters.”  See Rush, An Address to the Inhabitants, etc., p. 16.]

[Footnote 3:  Meade, Sermons of Rev. Thomas Bacon, pp. 81-97.]

[Footnote 4:  Wesley, Thoughts upon Slavery, p. 92.]

William Pinkney, the antislavery leader of Maryland, believed also that Negroes are no worse than white people under similar conditions, and that all the colored people needed to disprove their so-called inferiority was an equal chance with the more favored race.[1] Others like George Buchanan referred to the Negroes’ talent for the fine arts and to their achievements in literature, mathematics, and philosophy.  Buchanan informed these merciless aristocrats “that the Africans whom you despise, whom you inhumanly treat as brutes and whom you unlawfully subject to slavery with tyrannizing hands of despots are equally capable of improvement with yourselves."[2]

[Footnote 1:  Pinkney, Speech in Maryland House of Delegates, p. 6.]

[Footnote 2:  Buchanan, An Oration on the Moral and Political Evil of Slavery, p. 10.]

Franklin considered the idea of the natural inferiority of the Negro as a silly excuse.  He conceded that most of the blacks were improvident and poor, but believed that their condition was not due to deficient understanding but to their lack of education.  He was very much impressed with their achievements in music.[1] So disgusting was this notion of inferiority to Abbe Gregoire of Paris that he wrote an interesting essay on “Negro Literature” to prove that people of color have unusual intellectual power.[2] He sent copies of this pamphlet to leading men where

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