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.

[Footnote 1:  Jay, An Inquiry, etc., p. 26.]

It resulted then that even in those States to which free blacks had long looked for sympathy, the fear excited by fugitives from the more reactionary commonwealths had caused northerners so to yield to the prejudices of the South that they opposed insuperable obstacles to the education of Negroes for service in the United States.  The colored people, as we shall see elsewhere, were not allowed to locate their manual labor college at New Haven[1] and the principal of the Noyes Academy at Canaan, New Hampshire, saw his institution destroyed because he decided to admit colored students.[2] These fastidious persons, however, raised no objection to the establishment of schools to prepare Negroes to expatriate themselves under the direction of the American Colonization Society.[3]

[Footnote 1:  Proceedings of the Third Annual Convention for the Improvement of the Free People of Color, p. 14.]

[Footnote 2:  Fourth Annual Report of the American Antislavery Society, p. 34.]

[Footnote 3:  Alexander, A History of Colonization on the Western Continent, p. 348.]

Observing these conditions the friends of the colored people could not be silent.  The abolitionists led by Caruthers, May, and Garrison hurled their weapons at the reactionaries, branding them as inconsistent schemers.  After having advanced the argument of the mental inferiority of the colored race they had adopted the policy of educating Negroes on the condition that they be removed from the country.[1] Considering education one of the rights of man, the abolitionists persistently rebuked the North and South for their inhuman policy.  On every opportune occasion they appealed to the world in behalf of the oppressed race, which the hostile laws had removed from humanizing influences, reduced to the plane of beasts, and made to die in heathenism.

[Footnote 1:  Jay,_An Inquiry_, etc., p. 26; Johns Hopkins University Studies, Series xvi., p. 319; and Proceedings of the New York State Colonization Society, 1831, p. 6.]

In reply to the abolitionists the protagonists of the reactionaries said that but for the “intrusive and intriguing interference of pragmatical fanatics"[1] such precautionary enactments would never have been necessary.  There was some truth in this statement; for in certain districts these measures operated not to prevent the aristocratic people of the South from enlightening the Negroes, but to keep away from them what they considered undesirable instructors.  The southerners regarded the abolitionists as foes in the field, industriously scattering the seeds of insurrection which could then be prevented only by blocking every avenue through which they could operate upon the minds of the slaves.  A writer of this period expressed it thus:  “It became necessary to check or turn aside the stream which instead of flowing healthfully upon the Negro is polluted and

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