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:  Flint, Recollections of the Last Ten Years, p. 345.]

Later the problem of educating Negroes in this section became more difficult.  The trouble was that contrary to the stipulation in the treaty of purchase that the inhabitants of the territory of Louisiana should be admitted to all the rights and immunities of citizens of the United States, the State legislation, subsequent to the transfer of jurisdiction, denied the right of education to a large class of mixed breeds.[1] Many of these, thanks to the liberality of the French, had been freed, and constituted an important element of society.  Not a few of them had educated themselves, accumulated wealth, and ranked with white men of refinement and culture.[2]

[Footnote 1:  Laws of Louisiana.]

[Footnote 2:  Alliot, Collections Historiques, p. 85; and Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. iv., pp. 320 and 321; vol. xii., p. 69; and vol. xix., p. 126.]

Considering the few Negroes found in the West, the interest shown there in their mental uplift was considerable.  Because of the scarcity of slaves in that section they came into helpful contact with their masters.  Besides, the Kentucky and Tennessee abolitionists, being much longer active than those in most slave States, continued to emphasize the education of the blacks as a correlative to emancipation.  Furthermore, the Western Baptists, Methodists, and Scotch-Irish Presbyterians early took a stand against slavery, and urged the masters to give their servants all the proper advantages for acquiring the knowledge of their duty both to man and God.  In the large towns of Tennessee Negroes were permitted to attend private schools, and in Louisville and Lexington there were several well-regulated colored schools.

Two institutions for the education of slaves in the West are mentioned during these years.  In October, 1825, there appeared an advertisement for eight or ten Negro slaves with their families to form a community of this kind under the direction of an “Emancipating Labor Society” of the State of Kentucky.  In the same year Frances Wright suggested a school on a similar basis.  She advertised in the “Genius of Universal Emancipation” an establishment to educate freed blacks and mulattoes in West Tennessee.  This was supported by a goodly number of persons, including George Fowler and, it was said, Lafayette.  A letter from a Presbyterian clergyman in South Carolina says that the first slave for this institution went from York District of that State.  The enterprise, however, was not well supported, and little was heard of it in later years.  Some asserted it was a money-making scheme for the proprietor, and that the Negroes taught there were in reality slaves; others went to the press to defend it as a benevolent effort.  Both sides so muddled the affair that it is difficult to determine exactly what the intentions of the founders were.[1]

[Footnote 1:  Adams, Anti-slavery, p. 152.]

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