The Education Of The Negro Prior To 1861
Carter Godwin Woodson

Part 4 out of 7

Planters themselves sometimes saw to the education of their slaves.
Ephraim Waterford was bound out in Virginia until he was twenty-one on
the condition that the man to whom he was hired should teach him to
read.[1] Mrs. Isaac Riley and Henry Williamson, of Maryland, did not
attend school but were taught by their master to spell and read but
not to write.[2] The master and mistress of Williamson Pease, of
Hardman County, Tennessee, were his teachers.[3] Francis Fredric began
his studies under his master in Virginia. Frederick Douglass was
indebted to his kind mistress for his first instruction.[4] Mrs.
Thomas Payne, a slave in what is now West Virginia, was fortunate
in having a master who was equally benevolent.[5] Honorable I.T.
Montgomery, now the Mayor of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, was, while a
slave of Jefferson Davis's brother, instructed in the common branches
and trained to be the confidential accountant of his master's
plantation.[6] While on a tour among the planters of East Georgia,
C.G. Parsons discovered that about 5000 of the 400,000 slaves there
had been taught to read and write. He remarked, too, that such slaves
were generally owned by the wealthy slaveholders, who had them
schooled when the enlightenment of the bondmen served the purposes of
their masters.[7]

[Footnote 1: Drew, _A North-Side View of Slavery_, p. 373.]

[Footnote 2: Ibid., p. 133.]

[Footnote 3: Ibid., p. 123.]

[Footnote 4: Lee, _Slave Life in Virginia and Kentucky_, p. x.]

[Footnote 5: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 368.]

[Footnote 6: This is his own statement.]

[Footnote 7: Parsons, _Inside View_, etc., p. 248.]

The enlightenment of the Negroes, however, was not limited to what
could be accomplished by individual efforts. In many southern
communities colored schools were maintained in defiance of public
opinion or in violation of the law. Patrick Snead of Savannah was sent
to a private institution until he could spell quite well and then to
a Sunday-school for colored children.[1] Richard M. Hancock wrote of
studying in a private school in Newbern, North Carolina;[2] John S.
Leary went to one in Fayetteville eight years;[3] and W.A. Pettiford
of this State enjoyed similar advantages in Granville County during
the fifties. He then moved with his parents to Preston County where he
again had the opportunity to attend a special school.[4] About 1840,
J.F. Boulder was a student in a mixed school of white and colored
pupils in Delaware.[5] Bishop J.M. Brown, a native of the same
commonwealth, attended a private school taught by a friendly woman of
the Quaker sect.[6] John A. Hunter, of Maryland, was sent to a school
for white children kept by the sister of his mistress, but his second
master said that Hunter should not have been allowed to study and
stopped his attendance.[7] Francis L. Cardozo of Charleston, South
Carolina, entered school there in 1842 and continued his studies until
he was twelve years of age.[8] During the fifties J.W. Morris of the
same city attended a school conducted by the then distinguished Simeon
Beard.[9] In the same way T. McCants Stewart[10] and the Grimke
brothers [11] were able to begin their education there prior to

[Footnote 1: Drew, _Refugee_, p. 99.]

[Footnote 2: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 406.]

[Footnote 3: Ibid., p. 432.]

[Footnote 4: Ibid., p. 469]

[Footnote 5: Ibid., p. 708.]

[Footnote 6: Ibid., 930.]

[Footnote 7: Drew, _Refugee_, p. 114.]

[Footnote 8: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, 428]

[Footnote 9: Ibid., p. 162]

[Footnote 10: Ibid., p. 1052]

[Footnote 11: This is their own statement.]

More schools for slaves existed than white men knew of, for it was
difficult to find them. Fredrika Bremer heard of secret schools for
slaves during her visit to Charleston, but she had extreme difficulty
in finding such an institution. When she finally located one and
gained admission into its quiet chamber, she noticed in a wretched
dark hole a "half-dozen poor children, some of whom had an aspect that
testified great stupidity and mere animal life."[1] She was informed,
too, that there were in Georgia and Florida planters who had
established schools for the education of the children of their slaves
with the intention of preparing them for living as "good free human
beings."[2] Frances Anne Kemble noted such instances in her diary.[3]
The most interesting of these cases was discovered by the Union Army
on its march through Georgia. Unsuspected by the slave power and
undeterred by the terrors of the law, a colored woman by the name of
Deveaux had for thirty years conducted a Negro school in the city of

[Footnote 1: Bremer, _The Homes of the New World_, vol. ii., p. 499.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 491; Burke, _Reminiscences of Georgia_, p.

[Footnote 3: Kemble, _Journal_, etc., p. 34.]

[Footnote 4: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 340.]

The city Negroes of Virginia continued to maintain schools despite
the fact that the fear of servile insurrection caused the State to
exercise due vigilance in the execution of the laws. The father of
Richard De Baptiste of Fredericksburg made his own residence a school
with his children and a few of those of his relatives as pupils.
The work was begun by a Negro and continued by an educated
Scotch-Irishman, who had followed the profession of teaching in his
native land. Becoming suspicious that a school of this kind was
maintained at the home of De Baptiste, the police watched the place
but failed to find sufficient evidence to close the institution before
it had done its work.[1]

[Footnote 1: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 352.]

In 1854 there was found in Norfolk, Virginia, what the radically
proslavery people considered a dangerous white woman. It was
discovered that one Mrs. Douglass and her daughter had for three years
been teaching a school maintained for the education of Negroes.[1] It
was evident that this institution had not been run so clandestinely
but that the opposition to the education of Negroes in that city had
probably been too weak to bring about the close of the school at an
earlier date. Mrs. Douglass and her pupils were arrested and brought
before the court, where she was charged with violating the laws of the
State. The defendant acknowledged her guilt, but, pleading ignorance
of the law, was discharged on the condition that she would not commit
the same "crime" again. Censuring the court for this liberal decision
the _Richmond Examiner_ referred to it as offering "a very convenient
way of getting out of the scrape." The editor emphasized the fact
that the law of Virginia imposed on such offenders the penalty of one
hundred dollars fine and imprisonment for six months, and that its
positive terms "allowed no discretion in the community magistrate."[2]

[Footnote 1: Parsons, _Inside View of Slavery_, p. 251; and Lyman,
_Leaven for Doughfaces_, p. 43.]

[Footnote 2: _13th Annual Report of the American and Foreign
Antislavery Societies_, 1853, p. 143.]

All such schools, however, were not secretly kept. Writing from
Charleston in 1851 Fredrika Bremer made mention of two colored
schools. One of these was a school for free Negroes kept with open
doors by a white master. Their books which she examined were the same
as those used in American schools for white children.[1] The Negroes
of Lexington, Kentucky, had in 1830 a school in which thirty colored
children were taught by a white man from Tennessee.[2] This gentleman
had pledged himself to devote the rest of his life to the uplift of
his "black brethren."[3] Travelers noted that colored schools were
found also in Richmond, Maysville, Danville, and Louisville decades
before the Civil War.[4] William H. Gibson, a native of Baltimore, was
after 1847 teaching at Louisville in a day and night school with
an enrollment of one hundred pupils, many of whom were slaves with
written permits from their masters to attend.[5] Some years later W.H.
Stewart of that city attended the schools of Henry Adams, W.H. Gibson,
and R.T.W. James. Robert Taylor began his studies there in Robert
Lane's school and took writing from Henry Adams.[6] Negroes had
schools in Tennessee also. R.L. Perry was during these years attending
a school at Nashville.[7] An uncle of Dr. J.E. Moorland spent some
time studying medicine in that city.

[Footnote 1: Bremer, _The Homes of the New World_, vol. ii., p. 499.]

[Footnote 2: Abdy, _Journal of a Residence and Tour in U.S.A_.,
1833-34, p. 346.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid_., pp. 346-348.]

[Footnote 4: Tower, _Slavery Unmasked_; Dabney, _Journal of a Tour
through the U.S. and Canada_, p. 185; _Niles Register_, vol. lxxii.,
p. 322; and Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 631.]

[Footnote 5: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 603.]

[Footnote 6: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 629.]

[Footnote 7: _Ibid._, p. 620.]

Many of these opportunities were made possible by the desire to
teach slaves religion. In fact the instruction of Negroes after the
enactment of prohibitory laws resembled somewhat the teaching of
religion with letters during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Thousands of Negroes like Edward Patterson and Nat Turner learned
to read and write in Sabbath-schools. White men who diffused such
information ran the gauntlet of mobs, but like a Baptist preacher of
South Carolina who was threatened with expulsion from his church, if
he did not desist, they worked on and overcame the local prejudice.
When preachers themselves dared not undertake this task it was often
done by their children, whose benevolent work was winked at as an
indulgence to the clerical profession. This charity, however, was
not restricted to the narrow circle of the clergy. Believing with
churchmen that the Bible is the revelation of God, many laymen
contended that no man should be restrained from knowing his Maker
directly.[1] Negroes, therefore, almost worshiped the Bible, and
their anxiety to read it was their greatest incentive to learn. Many
southerners braved the terrors of public opinion and taught their
Negroes to read the Scriptures. To this extent General Coxe of
Fluvanna County, Virginia, taught about one hundred of his adult
slaves.[2] While serving as a professor of the Military Institute
at Lexington, Stonewall Jackson taught a class of Negroes in a

[Footnote 1: Orr, "An Address on the Need of Education in the South,

[Footnote 2: This statement is made by several of General Coxe's
slaves who are still living.]

[Footnote 3: _School Journal_, vol. lxxx., p. 332.]

Further interest in the cause was shown by the Evangelical Society
of the Synods of North Carolina and Virginia in 1834.[1] Later
Presbyterians of Alabama and Georgia urged masters to enlighten their
slaves.[2] The attitude of many mountaineers of Kentucky was well set
forth in the address of the Synod of 1836, proposing a plan for the
instruction and emancipation of the slaves.[3] They complained that
throughout the land, so far as they could learn, there was but one
school in which slaves could be taught during the week. The light
of three or four Sabbath-schools was seen "glittering through the
darkness" of the black population of the whole State. Here and there
one found a family where humanity impelled the master, mistress, or
children, to the laborious task of private instruction. In consequence
of these undesirable conditions the Synod recommended that "slaves be
instructed in the common elementary branches of education."[4]

[Footnote 1: _African Repository_, vol. x., pp. 174, 205, and 245.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, vol. xi., pp. 140 and 268.]

[Footnote 3: Goodell, _Slave Code_, pp. 323-324.]

[Footnote 4: _The Enormity of the Slave Trade, etc_., p. 74.]

Some of the objects of such charity turned out to be interesting
characters. Samuel Lowry of Tennessee worked and studied privately
under Rev. Mr. Talbot of Franklin College, and at the age of sixteen
was sufficiently advanced to teach with success. He united with the
Church of the Disciples and preached in that connection until 1859.[1]
In some cases colored preachers were judged sufficiently informed,
not only to minister to the needs of their own congregations, but to
preach to white churches. There was a Negro thus engaged in the State
of Florida.[2] Another colored man of unusual intelligence and much
prominence worked his way to the front in Giles County, Tennessee. In
1859 he was the pastor of a Hard-shell Baptist Church, the membership
of which was composed of the best white people in the community. He
was so well prepared for his work that out of a four days' argument
on baptism with a white minister he emerged victor. From this
appreciative congregation he received a salary of from six to seven
hundred dollars a year.[3]

[Footnote 1: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 144.]

[Footnote 2: Bremer, _Homes of the New World_, vol. ii., pp. 488-491.]

[Footnote 3: _The Richmond Enquirer_, July, 1859; and _Afr.
Repository_, vol. xxxv., p. 255.]

Statistics of this period show that the proportionately largest number
of Negroes who learned in spite of opposition were found among the
Scotch-Irish of Kentucky and Tennessee. Possessing few slaves, and
having no permanent attachment to the institution, those mountaineers
did not yield to the reactionaries who were determined to keep the
Negroes in heathendom. Kentucky and Tennessee did not expressly forbid
the education of the colored people.[1] Conditions were probably
better in Kentucky than in Tennessee. Traveling in Kentucky about this
time, Abdy was favorably impressed with that class of Negroes who
though originally slaves saved sufficient from their earnings to
purchase their freedom and provide for the education of their

[Footnote 1: In 1830 one-twelfth of the population of Lexington
consisted of free persons of color, who since 1822 had had a Baptist
church served by a member of their own race and a school in which
thirty-two of their children were taught by a white man from
Tennessee. He had pledged himself to devote the rest of his life to
the uplift of his colored brethren. One of these free Negroes in
Lexington had accumulated wealth to the amount of $20,000. In
Louisville, also a center of free colored population, efforts were
being made to educate ambitious Negroes. Travelers noted that colored
schools were found there generations before the Civil War and
mentioned the intelligent and properly speaking colored preachers,
who were bought and supported by their congregations. Charles Dabney,
another traveler through this State in 1837, observed that the slaves
of this commonwealth were taught to read and believed that they were
about as well off as they would have been had they been free. See
Dabney, _Journal of a Tour through the U.S. and Canada_, p. 185.]

[Footnote 2: Abdy, _Journal of a Tour_, etc., 1833-1834, pp. 346-348.]

It was the desire to train up white men to carry on the work of their
liberal fathers that led John G. Fee and his colaborers to establish
Berea College in Kentucky. In the charter of this institution was
incorporated the declaration that "God has made of one blood all
nations that dwell upon the face of the earth." No Negroes were
admitted to this institution before the Civil War, but they came in
soon thereafter, some being accepted while returning home wearing
their uniforms.[1] The State has since prohibited the co-education of
the two races.

[Footnote 1: Catalogue of Berea College, 1896-1897.]

The centers of this interest in the mountains of Tennessee were
Maryville and Knoxville. Around these towns were found a goodly number
of white persons interested in the elevation of the colored people.
There developed such an antislavery sentiment in the former town that
half of the students of the Maryville Theological Seminary became
abolitionists by 1841.[1] They were then advocating the social uplift
of Negroes through the local organ, the _Maryville Intelligencer_.
From this nucleus of antislavery men developed a community with ideals
not unlike those of Berea.[2]

[Footnote 1: Some of the liberal-mindedness of the people of Kentucky
and Tennessee was found in the State of Missouri. The question of
slavery there, however, was so ardently discussed and prominently kept
before the people that while little was done to help the Negroes, much
was done to reduce them to the plane of beasts. There was not so much
of the tendency to wink at the violation of the law on the part of
masters in teaching their slaves. But little could be accomplished by
private teachers in the dissemination of information among Negroes
after the free persons of color had been excluded from the State.]

[Footnote 2: _Fourth Annual Report of the American Antislavery
Society_, New York, 1837, p. 48; and the _New England Antislavery
Almanac_ for 1841, p. 31.]

The Knoxville people who advocated the enlightenment of the Negroes
expressed their sentiment through the _Presbyterian Witness_. The
editor felt that there was not a solitary argument that might be urged
in favor of teaching a white man that might not as properly be urged
in favor of enlightening a man of color. "If one has a soul that will
never die," said he, "so has the other. Has one susceptibilities of
improvement, mentally, socially, and morally? So has the other. Is one
bound by the laws of God to improve the talents he has received from
the Creator's hands? So is the other. Is one embraced in the command
'Search the Scriptures'? So is the other."[1] He maintained that
unless masters could lawfully degrade their slaves to the condition of
beasts, they were just as much bound to teach them to read the Bible
as to teach any other class of their population.

[Footnote 1: _African Repository_, vol. xxxii., p. 16.]

But great as was the interest of the religious element, the movement
for the education of the Negroes of the South did not again become a
scheme merely for bringing them into the church. Masters had more
than one reason for favoring the enlightenment of the slaves. Georgia
slaveholders of the more liberal class came forward about the middle
of the nineteenth century, advocating the education of Negroes as a
means to increase their economic value, and to attach them to their
masters. This subject was taken up in the Agricultural Convention
at Macon in 1850, and was discussed again in a similar assembly
the following year. After some opposition the Convention passed a
resolution calling on the legislature to enact a law authorizing the
education of slaves. The petition was presented by Mr. Harlston, who
introduced the bill embodying this idea, piloted it through the lower
house, but failed by two or three votes to secure the sanction of the
senate.[1] In 1855 certain influential citizens of North Carolina[2]
memorialized their legislature asking among other things that the
slaves be taught to read. This petition provoked some discussion, but
did not receive as much attention as that of Georgia.

[Footnote 1: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, p. 339]

[Footnote 2: _African Repository_, vol. xxxi., pp. 117-118.]

In view of this renewed interest in the education of the Negroes
of the South we are anxious to know exactly what proportion of
the colored population had risen above the plane of illiteracy.
Unfortunately this cannot be accurately determined. In the first
place, it was difficult to find out whether or not a slave could read
or write when such a disclosure would often cause him to be dreadfully
punished or sold to some cruel master of the lower South. Moreover,
statistics of this kind are scarce and travelers who undertook to
answer this question made conflicting statements. Some persons of that
day left records which indicate that only a few slaves succeeded in
acquiring an imperfect knowledge of the common branches, whereas
others noted a larger number of intelligent servants. Arfwedson
remarked that the slaves seldom learned to read; yet elsewhere
he stated that he sometimes found some who had that ability.[1]
Abolitionists like May, Jay, and Garrison would make it seem that the
conditions in the South were such that it was almost impossible for a
slave to develop intellectual power.[2] Rev. C.C. Jones[3] believed
that only an inconsiderable fraction of the slaves could read.
Witnesses to the contrary, however, are numerous. Abdy, Smedes,
Andrews, Bremer, and Olmsted found during their stay in the South
many slaves who had experienced unusual spiritual and mental
development.[4] Nehemiah Adams, giving the southern view of slavery
in 1854, said that large numbers of the slaves could read and
were furnished with the Scriptures.[5] Amos Dresser, who traveled
extensively in the Southwest, believed that one out of every fifty
could read and write.[6] C.G. Parsons thought that five thousand
out of the four hundred thousand slaves of Georgia had these
attainments.[7] These figures, of course, would run much higher were
the free people of color included in the estimates. Combining the two
it is safe to say that ten per cent. of the adult Negroes had the
rudiments of education in 1860, but the proportion was much less than
it was near the close of the era of better beginnings about 1825.

[Footnote 1: Arfwedson, _The United States and Canada_, p. 331.]

[Footnote 2: See their pamphlets, addresses, and books referred to

[Footnote 3: Jones, _Religious Instruction of Negroes_, p. 115.]

[Footnote 4: Redpath, _The Roving Editor_, p. 161.]

[Footnote 5: Adams, _South-Side View of Slavery_, pp. 52 and 59.]

[Footnote 6: Dresser, _The Narrative of Amos Dresser_, p. 27; Dabney,
_Journal of a Tour through the United States and Canada_, p. 185.]

[Footnote 7: Parsons, _Inside View of Slavery_, p. 248.]



While the Negroes of the South were struggling against odds to acquire
knowledge, the more ambitious ones were for various reasons making
their way to centers of light in the North. Many fugitive slaves
dreaded being sold to planters of the lower South, the free blacks of
some of the commonwealths were forced out by hostile legislation,
and not a few others migrated to ameliorate their condition. The
transplanting of these people to the Northwest took place largely
between 1815 and 1850. They were directed mainly to Columbia and
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Greenwich, New Jersey; and Boston,
Massachusetts, in the East; and to favorable towns and colored
communities in the Northwest.[1] The fugitives found ready helpers
in Elmira, Rochester, Buffalo, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
Gallipolis, Portsmouth, Akron, and Cincinnati, Ohio; and Detroit,
Michigan.[2] Colored settlements which proved attractive to these
wanderers had been established in Ohio, Indiana, and Canada. That most
of the bondmen in quest of freedom and opportunity should seek the
Northwest had long been the opinion of those actually interested in
their enlightenment. The attention of the colored people had been
early directed to this section as a more suitable place for their
elevation than the jungles of Africa selected by the American
Colonization Society. The advocates of Western colonization believed
that a race thus degraded could be elevated only in a salubrious
climate under the influences of institutions developed by Western

[Footnote 1: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 32.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, pp. 32 and 37.]

The role played by the Negroes in this migration exhibited the
development of sufficient mental ability to appreciate this truth.
It was chiefly through their intelligent fellows that prior to the
reaction ambitious slaves learned to consider the Northwest Territory
the land of opportunity. Furthermore, restless freedmen, denied
political privileges and prohibited from teaching their children, did
not always choose to go to Africa. Many of them went north of the Ohio
River and took up land on the public domain. Observing this longing
for opportunity, benevolent southerners, who saw themselves hindered
in carrying out their plan for educating the blacks for citizenship,
disposed of their holdings and formed free colonies of their slaves in
the same section. White men of this type thus made possible a new era
of uplift for the colored race by coming north in time to aid the
abolitionists, who had for years constituted a small minority
advocating a seemingly hopeless cause.

A detailed description of these settlements has no place in this
dissertation save as it has a bearing on the development of education
among the colored people. These settlements, however, are important
here in that they furnish the key to the location of many of the early
colored churches and schools of the North and West. Philanthropists
established a number of Negroes near Sandy Lake in Northwestern
Pennsylvania.[1] There was a colored settlement near Berlin
Crossroads, Ohio.[2] Another group of pioneering Negroes emigrating
to this State found homes in the Van Buren township of Shelby County.
Edward Coles, a Virginian, who in 1818 emigrated to Illinois, of which
he later became Governor, made a settlement on a larger scale. He
brought his slaves to Edwardsville, where they constituted a community
known as "Coles' Negroes."[3] The settlement made by Samuel Gist, an
Englishman possessing extensive plantations in Hanover, Amherst, and
Henrico Counties, Virginia, was still more significant. He provided in
his will that his slaves should be freed and sent to the North. It was
further directed "that the revenue from his plantation the last year
of his life be applied in building schoolhouses and churches for their
accommodation," and "that all money coming to him in Virginia be
set aside for the employment of ministers and teachers to instruct
them."[4] In 1818, Wickham, the executor of this estate, purchased
land and established these Negroes in what was called the Upper and
Lower Camps of Brown County, Ohio.

[Footnote 1: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 249.]

[Footnote 2: Langston,_From the Virginia Plantation to the National
Capitol_, p. 35.]

[Footnote 3: Davidson and Stuve,_A Complete History of Illinois_, pp.
321-322; and Washburne, _Sketch of Edward Cole, Second Governor of
Illinois_, pp. 44 and 53.]

[Footnote 4: _History of Brown County_, pp. 313 _et seq._; and Lane,
_Fifty Years and over of Akron and Summit County, Ohio_, pp. 579-580.]

Augustus Wattles, a native of Connecticut, made a settlement of
Negroes in Mercer County early in the nineteenth century.[1] About the
year 1834 many of the freedmen, then concentrating at Cincinnati, were
induced to take up 30,000 acres of land in the same vicinity.[2] John
Harper of North Carolina manumitted his slaves in 1850 and had them
sent to this community.[3] John Randolph of Roanoke freed his slaves
at his death, and provided for the purchase of farms for them in
Mercer County.[4] The Germans, however, would not allow them to take
possession of these lands. Driven later from Shelby County[5] also,
these freedmen finally found homes in Miami County.[7] Then there was
one Saunders, a slaveholder of Cabell County, now West Virginia, who
liberated his slaves and furnished them homes in free territory. They
finally made their way to Cass County, Michigan, where philanthropists
had established a prosperous colored settlement and supplied it
with missionaries and teachers. The slaves of Theodoric H. Gregg
of Dinwiddie County, Virginia, were liberated in 1854 and sent to
Ohio,[7] where some of them were educated.

[Footnote 1: Howe, _Ohio Historical Collections_, p. 356.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 356.]

[Footnote 3: Manuscript in the hands of Dr. J.E. Moreland.]

[Footnote 4: _The African Repository_, vol. xxii., pp. 322-323.]

[Footnote 5: Howe, _Ohio Historical Collections_, p. 465.]

[Footnote 6: _Ibid._, p. 466.]

[Footnote 7: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 723.]

Many free persons of color of Virginia and Kentucky went north about
the middle of the nineteenth century. The immediate cause in Virginia
was the enactment in 1838 of a law prohibiting the return of such
colored students as had been accustomed to go north to attend school
after they were denied this privilege in that State.[1] Prominent
among these seekers of better opportunities were the parents
of Richard De Baptiste. His father was a popular mechanic of
Fredericksburg, where he for years maintained a secret school.[2] A
public opinion proscribing the teaching of Negroes was then rendering
the effort to enlighten them as unpopular in Kentucky as it was in
Virginia. Thanks to a benevolent Kentuckian, however, an important
colored settlement near Xenia, Greene County, Ohio, was then taking
shape. The nucleus of this group was furnished about 1856 by Noah
Spears, who secured small farms there for sixteen of his former
bondmen.[3] The settlement was not only sought by fugitive slaves
and free Negroes, but was selected as the site for Wilberforce

[Footnote 1: Russell, _The Free Negro in Virginia_, Johns Hopkins
University Studies, Series xxxi., No. 3, p. 492; and _Acts of the
General Assembly of Virginia_, 1848, p. 117.]

[Footnote 2: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 352.]

[Footnote 3: Wright, "Negro Rural Communities" (_Southern Workman_,
vol. xxxvii., p. 158).]

[Footnote 4: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, p. 373; and
_Non-Slaveholder_, vol. ii., p. 113.]

During the same period, and especially from 1820 to 1835, a more
continuous and effective migration of southern Negroes was being
promoted by the Quakers of Virginia and North Carolina.[1] One of
their purposes was educational. Convinced that the "buying, selling,
and holding of men in slavery" is a sin, these Quakers with a view to
future manumission had been "careful of the moral and intellectual
training of such as they held in servitude."[2] To elevate their
slaves to the plane of men, southern Quakers early hit upon the scheme
of establishing in the Northwest such Negroes as they had by education
been able to equip for living as citizens. When the reaction in the
South made it impossible for the Quakers to continue their policy of
enlightening the colored people, these philanthropists promoted the
migration of the blacks to the Northwest Territory with still greater
zeal. Most of these settlements were made in Hamilton, Howard, Wayne,
Randolph, Vigo, Gibson, Grant, Rush, and Tipton Counties, Indiana, and
in Darke County, Ohio.[3] Prominent among these promoters was Levi
Coffin, the Quaker Abolitionist of North Carolina, and reputed
President of the Underground Railroad. He left his State and settled
among Negroes at Newport, Indiana.[4] Associated with these leaders
also were Benjamin Lundy of Tennessee and James G. Birney, once a
slaveholder of Huntsville, Alabama. The latter manumitted his slaves
and apprenticed and educated some of them in Ohio.[5]

[Footnote 1: Wright, "Negro Rural Communities" (_Southern Workman_,
vol. xxxvii., p. 158); and Bassett, _Slavery in North Carolina_, p.

[Footnote 2: A Brief Statement of the Rise and Progress of the
Testimony, etc.]

[Footnote 3: Wright, "Rural Negro Communities in Indiana" (_Southern
Workman_, vol. xxxvii., pp. 162-166); and Bassett, _Slavery in North
Carolina_, pp. 67 and 68.]

[Footnote 4: Coffin, _Reminiscences_, p. 106.]

[Footnote 5: Birney, _James G. Birney and His Times_, p. 139.]

The importance of this movement to the student of education lies in
the fact that it effected an unequal distribution of intelligent
Negroes. The most ambitious and enlightened ones were fleeing to free
territory. As late as 1840 there were more intelligent blacks in the
South than in the North.[1] The number of southern colored people who
could read was then decidedly larger than that of such persons found
in the free States. The continued migration of Negroes to the North,
despite the operation of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, made this
distribution more unequal. While the free colored population of the
slave States increased only 23,736 from 1850 to 1860, that of the
free States increased 29,839. In the South only Delaware, Georgia,
Maryland, and North Carolina showed a noticeable increase in the
number of free persons of color during the decade immediately
preceding the Civil War. This element of the population had only
slightly increased in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee,
Virginia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia. The
number of free Negroes of Florida remained practically constant. Those
of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas diminished. In the North, of
course, the tendency was in the other direction. With the exception of
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, which had about the same
free colored population in 1860 as they had in 1850, there was a
general increase in the number of Negroes in the free States. Ohio
led in this respect having had during this period an increase of

[Footnote 1: Jones, _Religious Instruction of the Negroes_, p. 115.]

[Footnote 2: See statistics on pages 237-240.]

On comparing the educational statistics of these sections this truth
becomes more apparent. In 1850 there were 4,354 colored children
attending school in the South, but by 1860 this number had dropped
to 3,651. Slight increases were noted only in Alabama, Missouri,
Delaware, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia. Georgia
and Mississippi had then practically deprived all Negroes of this
privilege. The former, which reported one colored child as attending
school in 1850, had just seven in 1860; the latter had none in 1850
and only two in 1860. In all other slave States the number of pupils
of African blood had materially decreased.[1] In the free States there
were 22,107 colored children in school in 1850, and 28,978 in 1860.
Most of these were in New Jersey, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania,
which in 1860 had 2,741; 5,671; 5,694; and 7,573, respectively.[2]


STATE Population Males Females Total Males Females Total

Alabama 2,265 33 35 68 108 127 235
Arkansas 608 6 5 11 61 55 116
California 962 1 0 1 88 29 117
Connecticut 7,693 689 575 1,264 292 273 567
Delaware 18,073 92 95 187 2,724 2,921 5,645
Florida 932 29 37 66 116 154 270
Georgia 2,931 1 0 1 208 259 467
Illinois 5,436 162 161 323 605 624 1,229
Indiana 11,262 484 443 927 1,024 1,146 2,170
Iowa 333 12 5 17 15 18 33
Kentucky 10,011 128 160 288 1,431 1,588 3,029
Louisiana 17,462 629 590 1,219 1,038 2,351 3,389
Maine 1,356 144 137 281 77 58 135
Maryland 74,723 886 730 1,616 9,422 11,640 21,062
Massachusetts 9,064 726 713 1,439 375 431 806
Michigan 2,583 106 101 207 201 168 369
Mississippi 930 0 0 0 75 48 123
Missouri 2,618 23 17 40 271 226 497
New Hampshire 520 41 32 73 26 26 52
New Jersey 23,810 1,243 1,083 2,326 2,167 2,250 4,417
New York 49,069 2,840 2,607 5,447 3,387 4,042 7,429
North Carolina 27,463 113 104 217 3,099 3,758 6,857
Ohio 25,279 1,321 1,210 2,531 2,366 2,624 4,990
Pennsylvania 53,626 3,385 3,114 6,499 4,115 5,229 9,344**
[** was 6,344 in error.**]
Rhode Island 3,670 304 247 551 130 137 267
South Carolina 8,960 54 26 80 421 459 880
Tennessee 6,422 40 30 70 506 591 1,097
Texas 397 11 9 20 34 24 58
Vermont 718 58 32 90 32 19 51
Virginia 54,333 37 27 64 5,141 6,374 11,515
Wisconsin 635 32 35 67 55 37 92
District of
Columbia 10,059 232 235 467 1,106 2,108 3,214
Minnesota 30 0 2 2 0 0 0
New Mexico 207 0 0 0 0 0 0
Oregon 24 2 0 2 3 2 5
Utah 22 0 0 0 1 0 1

Total 434,495 13,864 12,597 26,461 40,722 49,800 90,522

See Sixth Census of the United States, 1850.]

[Footnote 2: See statistics on pages 237-240.]

The report on illiteracy shows further the differences resulting from
the divergent educational policies of the two sections. In 1850 there
were in the slave States 58,444 adult free Negroes who could not read,
and in 1860 this number had reached 59,832. In all such commonwealths
except Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi there was an
increase in illiteracy among the free blacks. These States, however,
were hardly exceptional, because Arkansas and Mississippi had suffered
a decrease in their free colored population, that of Florida had
remained the same, and the difference in the case of Louisiana was
very slight. The statistics of the Northern States indicate just the
opposite trend. Notwithstanding the increase of persons of color
resulting from the influx of the migrating element, there was in all
free States exclusive of California, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan,
Ohio, and Pennsylvania a decrease in the illiteracy of Negroes. But
these States hardly constitute exceptions; for California, Wisconsin,
and Minnesota had very few colored inhabitants in 1850, and the others
had during this decade received so many fugitives in the rough that
race prejudice and its concomitant drastic legislation impeded the
educational progress of their transplanted freedmen.[1] In the
Northern States where this condition did not obtain, the benevolent
whites had, in cooeperation with the Negroes, done much to reduce
illiteracy among them during these years.


+----- +----- +------ +-------- +------- +----
Males | Males
Females | Females
Total | Total
---------------- +-------- +----- +------- +------- +------- +-------
Alabama 2,690 48 65 114 192 263 455
Arkansas 144 3 2 5 10 13 23
California 4,086 69 84 153 497 207 704
Connecticut 8,627 737 641 1,378 181 164 345
Delaware 19,829 122 128 250 3,056 3,452 6,508
Florida 932 3 6 9 48 72 120
Georgia 3,500 3 4 7 255 318 573
Illinois 7,628 264 347 611 632 695 1,327
Indiana 11,428 570 552 1,122 869 904 1,773
Iowa 1,069 77 61 138 92 77 169
Kansas 625 8 6 14 25 38 63
Kentucky 10,684 102 107 209 1,113 1,350 2,463
Louisiana 18,647 153 122 275 485 717 1,202
Maine 1,327 148 144 292 25 21 46
Maryland 83,942 687 668 1,355 9,904 11,795 21,699
Massachusetts 9,602 800 815 1,615 291 368 659
Michigan 6,797 555 550 1,105 558 486 1,044
Minnesota 259 8 10 18 6 6 12
Mississippi 773 0 2 2 50 60 110
Missouri 3,572 76 79 155 371 514 885
New Hampshire 494 49 31 80 15 19 34
New Jersey 25,318 1,413 1,328 2,741 1,720 2,085 3,805
New York 49,005 2,955 2,739 5,694 2,653 3,260 5,913
North Carolina 30,463 75 58 133 3,067 3,782 6,849
Ohio 36,673 2,857 2,814 5,671 2,995 3,191 6,186
Oregon 128 0 0 2 7 5 12
Pennsylvania 56,949 3,882 3,691 7,573 3,893 5,466 9,359
Rhode Island 3,952 276 256 532 119 141 260
South Carolina 9,914 158 207 365 633 783 1,416
Tennessee 7,300 28 24 52 743 952 1,695
Texas 355 4 7 11 25 37 62
Vermont 709 65 50 115 27 20 47
Virginia 58,042 21 20 41 5,489 6,008 12,397
Wisconsin 1,171 62 50 112 53 45 98


Colorado 46 No returns
Dakota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
District Columbia 11,131 315 363 678 1,131 2,224 3,375
Nebraska 67 1 1 2 6 7 13
Nevada 45 0 0 0 6 1 7
New Mexico 85 0 0 0 12 15 27
Utah 30 0 0 0 0 0 0
Washington 30 0 0 0 1 0 1

Total 488,070 16,594 16,035 32,629 41,275 50,461 91,736

See Seventh Census of the United States, vol. 1.]

How the problem of educating these people on free soil was solved can
be understood only by keeping in mind the factors of the migration.
Some of these Negroes had unusual capabilities. Many of them had
in slavery either acquired the rudiments of education or developed
sufficient skill to outwit the most determined pursuers. Owing so
much to mental power, no man was more effective than the successful
fugitive in instilling into the minds of his people the value of
education. Not a few of this type readily added to their attainments
to equip themselves for the best service. Some of them, like Reverend
Josiah Henson, William Wells Brown, and Frederick Douglass, became
leaders, devoting their time not only to the cause of abolition, but
also to the enlightenment of the colored people. Moreover, the free
Negroes migrating to the North were even more effective than the
fugitive slaves in advancing the cause of education.[1] A larger
number of the former had picked up useful knowledge. In fact, the
prohibition of the education of the free people of color in the South
was one of the reasons they could so readily leave their native
homes.[2] The free blacks then going to the Northwest Territory proved
to be decidedly helpful to their benefactors in providing colored
churches and schools with educated workers, who otherwise would have
been brought from the East at much expense.

[Footnote 1: Howe, _The Refugee from Slavery_, p. 77.]

[Footnote 2: Russell, _The Free Negro in Virginia_ (Johns Hopkins
University Studies, series xxxi., No. 3, p. 107).]

On perusing this sketch the educator naturally wonders exactly what
intellectual progress was made by these groups on free soil. This
question cannot be fully answered for the reason that extant records
give no detailed account of many colored settlements which underwent
upheaval or failed to endure. In some cases we learn simply that a
social center flourished and was then destroyed. On "Black Friday,"
January 1, 1830, eighty Negroes were driven out of Portsmouth, Ohio,
at the request of one or two hundred white citizens, set forth in an
urgent memorial.[1] After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of
1850 the colored population of Columbia, Pennsylvania, dropped from
nine hundred and forty-three to four hundred and eighty-seven.[2] The
Negro community in the northwestern part of that State was broken up
entirely.[3] The African Methodist and Baptist churches of Buffalo
lost many communicants. Out of a membership of one hundred and
fourteen, the colored Baptist church of Rochester lost one hundred and
twelve, including its pastor. About the same time eighty-four members
of the African Baptist church of Detroit crossed into Canada.[4] The
break-up of these churches meant the end of the day and Sunday-schools
which were maintained in them. Moreover, the migration of these
Negroes aroused such bitter feeling against them that their
schoolhouses were frequently burned. It often seemed that it was just
as unpopular to educate the blacks in the North as in the South. Ohio,
Illinois, and Oregon enacted laws to prevent them from coming into
those commonwealths.

[Footnote 1: Evans, _A History of Scioto County, Ohio_, p. 613.]

[Footnote 2: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 249.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid_., p. 249.]

[Footnote 4: _Ibid_., p. 250.]

We have, however, sufficient evidence of large undertakings to educate
the colored people then finding homes in less turbulent parts beyond
the Ohio. In the first place, almost every settlement made by the
Quakers was a center to which Negroes repaired for enlightenment.
In other groups where there was no such opportunity, they had the
cooeperation of certain philanthropists in providing facilities for
their mental and moral development. As a result, the free blacks had
access to schools and churches in Hamilton, Howard, Randolph, Vigo,
Gibson, Rush, Tipton, Grant, and Wayne counties, Indiana,[1] and
Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties, Illinois. There were colored
schools and churches in Logan, Clark, Columbiana, Guernsey, Jefferson,
Highland, Brown, Darke, Shelby, Green, Miami, Warren, Scioto, Gallia,
Ross, and Muskingum counties, Ohio.[2] Augustus Wattles said that with
the assistance of abolitionists he organized twenty-five such schools
in Ohio counties after 1833.[3] Brown County alone had six. Not many
years later a Negro settlement in Gallia County, Ohio, was paying a
teacher fifty dollars a quarter.[4]

[Footnote 1: Wright, "Negro Rural Communities in Indiana," _Southern
Workman_, vol. xxxvii., p. 165; Boone, _The History of Education in
Indiana_, p. 237; and Simmons, _Men of Mark_, pp. 590 and 948.]

[Footnote 2: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 948; and Hickok, _The Negro in
Ohio_, p. 85.]

[Footnote 3: Howe, _Historical Collections of Ohio_, p. 355.]

[Footnote 4: Hickok, _The Negro in Ohio_, p. 89.]

Still better colored schools were established in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, and in Springfield, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio.
While the enlightenment of the few Negroes in Pittsburgh did not
require the systematic efforts put forth to elevate the race
elsewhere, much was done to provide them educational facilities in
that city. Children of color first attended the white schools there
just as they did throughout the State of Pennsylvania.[1] But when
larger numbers of them collected in this gateway to the Northwest,
either race feeling or the pressing needs of the migrating freedmen
brought about the establishment of schools especially adapted to their
instruction. Such efforts were frequent after 1830.[2] John Thomas
Johnson, a teacher of the District of Columbia, moved to Pittsburgh
in 1838 and became an instructor in a colored school of that city.[3]
Cleveland had an "African School" as early as 1832. John Malvin, the
moving spirit of the enterprise in that city, organized about that
time "The School Fund Society" which established other colored schools
in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Springfield.[4]

[Footnote 1: Wickersham, _Education in Pennsylvania_, p. 248.]

[Footnote 2: _Life of Martin R. Delaney_, p. 33.]

[Footnote 3: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 214.]

[Footnote 4: Hickok, _The Negro in Ohio_, p. 88.]

The concentration of the freedmen and fugitives at Cincinnati was
followed by efforts to train them for higher service. The Negroes
themselves endeavored to provide their own educational facilities in
opening in 1820 the first colored school in that city. This school
did not continue long, but another was established the same year.
Thereafter one Mr. Wing, who kept a private institution, admitted
persons of color to his evening classes. On account of a lack of
means, however, the Negroes of Cincinnati did not receive any
systematic instruction before 1834. After that year the tide turned in
favor of the free blacks of that section, bringing to their assistance
a number of daring abolitionists, who helped them to educate
themselves. Friends of the race, consisting largely of the students of
Lane Seminary, had then organized colored Sunday and evening schools,
and provided for them scientific and literary lectures twice a week.
There was a permanent colored school in Cincinnati in 1834. In 1835
the Negroes of that city contributed $150 of the $1000 expended for
their education. Four years later, however, they raised $889.03 for
this purpose, and thanks to their economic progress, this sacrifice
was less taxing than that of 1835.[1] In 1844 Rev. Hiram Gilmore
opened there a high school which among other students attracted P.B.S.
Pinchback, later Governor of Louisiana. Mary E. Miles, a graduate
of the Normal School at Albany, New York, served as an assistant of
Gilmore after having worked among her people in Massachusetts and

[Footnote 1: _Ibid._, p. 83.]

[Footnote 1: Delany, _The Condition of the Colored People_, etc.,

The educational advantages given these people were in no sense
despised. Although the Negroes of the Northwest did not always keep
pace with their neighbors in things industrial they did not permit
the white people to outstrip them much in education. The freedmen
so earnestly seized their opportunity to acquire knowledge and
accomplished so much in a short period that their educational progress
served to disabuse the minds of indifferent whites of the idea that
the blacks were not capable of high mental development.[1] The
educational work of these centers, too, tended not only to produce men
capable of ministering to the needs of their environment, but to serve
as a training center for those who would later be leaders of their
people. Lewis Woodson owed it to friends in Pittsburgh that he became
an influential teacher. Jeremiah H. Brown, T. Morris Chester, James T.
Bradford, M.R. Delany, and Bishop Benjamin T. Tanner obtained much
of their elementary education in the early colored schools of that
city.[2] J.C. Corbin, a prominent educator before and after the Civil
War, acquired sufficient knowledge at Chillicothe, Ohio, to qualify in
1848 as an assistant in Rev. Henry Adams's school in Louisville.[3]
John M. Langston was for a while one of Corbin's fellow-students at
Chillicothe before the former entered Oberlin. United States Senator
Hiram Revels of Mississippi spent some time in a Quaker seminary in
Union County, Indiana.[4] Rev. J.T. White, one of the leading spirits
of Arkansas during the Reconstruction, was born and educated in Clark
County in that State.[5] Fannie Richards, still a teacher at Detroit,
Michigan, is another example of the professional Negro equipped
for service in the Northwest before the Rebellion.[6] From other
communities of that section came such useful men as Rev. J.W. Malone,
an influential minister of Iowa; Rev. D.R. Roberts, a very successful
pastor of Chicago; Bishop C.T. Shaffer of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church; Rev. John G. Mitchell, for many years the Dean of
the Theological Department of Wilberforce University; and President
S.T. Mitchell, once the head of the same institution.[7]

[Footnote 1: This statement is based on the accounts of various
western freedmen.]

[Footnote 2: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 113.]

[Footnote 3: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 829.]

[Footnote 4: _Ibid._, p. 948.]

[Footnote 5: _Ibid._, p. 590.]

[Footnote 6: _Ibid._, p. 1023.]

[Footnote 7: Wright, "Negro Rural Communities in Indiana," _Southern
Workman_, vol. xxxvii., p. 169.]

In the colored settlements of Canada the outlook for Negro education
was still brighter. This better opportunity was due to the high
character of the colonists, to the mutual aid resulting from the
proximity of the communities, and to the cooeperation of the Canadians.
The previous experience of most of these adventurers as sojourners in
the free States developed in them such noble traits that they did not
have to be induced to ameliorate their condition. They had already
come under educative influences which prepared them for a larger task
in Canada. Fifteen thousand of sixty thousand Negroes in Canada in
1860 were free born.[1] Many of those, who had always been free, fled
to Canada[2] when the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made it possible
for even a dark-complexioned Caucasian to be reduced to a state of
bondage. Fortunately, too, these people settled in the same section.
The colored settlements at Dawn, Colchester, Elgin, Dresden, Windsor,
Sandwich, Queens, Bush, Wilberforce, Hamilton, St. Catherines,
Chatham, Riley, Anderton, Maiden, Gonfield, were all in Southern
Ontario. In the course of time the growth of these groups produced a
population sufficiently dense to facilitate cooeperation in matters
pertaining to social betterment. The uplift of the refugees was made
less difficult also by the self-denying white persons who were their
first teachers and missionaries. While the hardships incident to this
pioneer effort all but baffled the ardent apostle to the lowly, he
found among the Canadian whites so much more sympathy than among the
northerners that his work was more agreeable and more successful than
it would have been in the free States. Ignoring the request that the
refugees be turned from Canada as undesirables, the white people of
that country protected and assisted them.[3] Canadians later underwent
some change in their attitude toward their newcomers, but these
British-Americans never exhibited such militant opposition to the
Negroes as sometimes developed in the Northern States.[4]

[Footnote 1: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 222.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, pp. 247-250.]

[Footnote 3: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, pp. 201 and 233.]

[Footnote 4: _Ibid._, 233.]

The educational privileges which the refugees hoped to enjoy in
Canada, however, were not easily exercised. Under the Canadian law
they could send their children to the common schools, or use their
proportionate share of the school funds in providing other educational
facilities.[1] But conditions there did not at first redound to the
education of the colored children.[2] Some were too destitute to
avail themselves of these opportunities; others, unaccustomed to this
equality of fortune, were timid about having their children mingle
with those of the whites, and not a few clad their youths so poorly
that they became too unhealthy to attend regularly[3]. Besides, race
prejudice was not long in making itself the most disturbing factor.
In 1852 Benjamin Drew found the minds of the people of Sandwich much
exercised over the question of admitting Negroes into the public
schools. The same feeling was then almost as strong in Chatham,
Hamilton, and London[4]. Consequently, "partly owing to this
prejudice, and partly to their own preference, the colored people,
acting under the provision of the law that allowed them to have
separate schools, set up their own schools in Sandwich and in many
other parts of Ontario"[5]. There were separate schools at Colchester,
Amherstburg, Sandwich, Dawn, and Buxton[6]. It was doubtless because
of the rude behavior of white pupils toward the children of the blacks
that their private schools flourished at London, Windsor, and other
places[7]. The Negroes, themselves, however, did not object to the
coeducation of the races. Where there were a few white children
in colored settlements they were admitted to schools maintained
especially for pupils of African descent.[8] In Toronto no distinction
in educational privileges was made, but in later years there
flourished an evening school for adults of color.[9]

[Footnote 1: Howe, _The Refugees from Slavery_, p. 77.]

[Footnote 2: Drew said: "The prejudice against the African race is
here [Canada] strongly marked. It had not been customary to levy
school taxes on the colored people. Some three or four years since a
trustee assessed a school tax on some of the wealthy citizens of that
class. They sent their children at once into the public school. As
these sat down the white children near them deserted the benches: and
in a day or two the white children were wholly withdrawn, leaving the
schoolhouse to the teacher and his colored pupils. The matter was
at last 'compromised': a notice 'Select School' was put on the
schoolhouse: the white children were selected _in_ and the black were
selected _out_." See Drew's. _A North-side View of Slavery_, etc., p.

[Footnote 3: Mitchell, _The Underground Railroad_, pp. 140, 164, and

[Footnote 4: Drew, _A North-side View of Slavery_, pp. 118, 147, 235,
and 342.]

[Footnote 5: _Ibid_., p. 341.]

[Footnote 6: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 229.]

[Footnote 7: _Ibid_., p. 229.]

[Footnote 8: _First Annual Report of the Anti-slavery Society of
Canada_, 1852, Appendix, p. 22.]

[Footnote 9: _Ibid_., p. 15.]

The most helpful schools, however, were not those maintained by the
state. Travelers in Canada found the colored mission schools with
a larger attendance and doing better work than those maintained at
public expense.[1] The rise of the mission schools was due to the
effort to "furnish the conditions under which whatever appreciation
of education there was native in a community of Negroes, or whatever
taste for it could be awakened there," might be "free to assert itself
unhindered by real or imagined opposition."[2] There were no such
schools in 1830, but by 1838 philanthropists had established the first
mission among the Canadian refugees.[3] The English Colonial Church
and School Society organized schools at London, Amherstburg, and
Colchester. Certain religious organizations of the United States sent
ten or more teachers to these settlements.[4] In 1839 these workers
were conducting four schools while Rev. Hiram Wilson, their inspector,
probably had several other institutions under his supervision.[5] In
1844 Levi Coffin found a large school at Isaac Rice's mission at Fort
Maiden or Amherstburg.[6] Rice had toiled among these people six
years, receiving very little financial aid, and suffering unusual
hardships.[7] Mr. E. Child, a graduate of Oneida Institute, was later
added to the corps of mission teachers.[8] In 1852 Mrs. Laura S.
Haviland was secured to teach the school of the colony of "Refugees'
Home," where the colored people had built a structure "for school and
meeting purposes."[9] On Sundays the schoolhouses and churches were
crowded by eager seekers, many of whom lived miles away. Among these
earnest students a traveler saw an aged couple more than eighty
years old.[10] These elementary schools broke the way for a higher
institution at Dawn, known as the Manual Labor Institute.

[Footnote 1: Drew, _A North-side View of Slavery_, pp. 118, 147, 235,
341, and 342.]

[Footnote 2: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 229.]

[Footnote 3: _Father Henson's Story of His Own Life_, p. 209.]

[Footnote 4: _First Annual Report of the Anti-slavery Society of
Canada_, 1852, p. 22.]

[Footnote 5: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 199.]

[Footnote 6: "While at this place we made our headquarters at Isaac J.
Rice's missionary buildings, where he had a large school for colored
children. He had labored here among the colored people, mostly
fugitives, for six years. He was a devoted, self-denying worker, had
received very little pecuniary help, and had suffered many privations.
He was well situated in Ohio as pastor of a Presbyterian Church, and
had fine prospects before him, but believed that the Lord called him
to this field of missionary labor among the fugitive slaves, who
came here by hundreds and by thousands, poor, destitute, ignorant,
suffering from all the evil influences of slavery. We entered into
deep sympathy with him and his labors, realizing the great need there
was here for just such an institution as he had established. He had
sheltered at his missionary home many hundred of fugitives till other
homes for them could be found. This was the great landing point, the
principal terminus of the Underground Railroad of the West." See
Coffin's _Reminiscences_, p. 251.]

[Footnote 7: _Ibid_., pp. 249-251.]

[Footnote 8: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 202.]

[Footnote 9: Haviland, _A Woman's Work_, pp. 192, 196, 201.]

[Footnote 10: Haviland, _A Woman's Work_, pp. 192, 193.]

With these immigrants, however, this was not a mere passive
participation in the work of their amelioration. From the very
beginning the colored people partly supported their schools. Without
the cooeperation of the refugees the large private schools at London,
Chatham, and Windsor could not have succeeded. The school at Chatham
was conducted by Alfred Whipper,[1] a colored man, that at Windsor by
Mary E. Bibb, the wife of Henry Bibb,[2] the founder of the Refugees'
Home Settlement, and that at Sandwich by Mary Ann Shadd, of
Delaware.[3] Moreover, the majority of these colonists showed
increasing interest in this work of social uplift.[4] Foregoing their
economic opportunities many of the refugees congregated in towns of
educational facilities. A large number of them left their first abodes
to settle near Dresden and Dawn because of the advantages offered
by the Manual Labor Institute. Besides, the Negroes organized "True
Bands" which effected among other things the improvement of schools
and the increase of their attendance[5].

[Footnote 1: Drew, _A North-side View of Slavery_, p. 236.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid_., p. 322.]

[Footnote 3: Delany, _The Condition of the Colored People_, etc.,

[Footnote 4: Howe, _The Refugees from Slavery_, pp. 70, 71, 108, and

[Footnote 5: According to Drew a True Band was composed of colored
persons of both sexes, associated for their own improvement. "Its
objects," says he, "are manifold: mainly these:--the members are to
take a general interest in each other's welfare; to pursue such plans
and objects as may be for their mutual advantage; to improve all
schools, and to induce their race to send their children into the
schools; to break down all prejudice; to bring all churches as far as
possible into one body, and not let minor differences divide them; to
prevent litigation by referring all disputes among themselves to a
committee; to stop the begging system entirely (that is, going to the
United States and thereby representing that the fugitives are starving
and suffering, raising large sums of money, of which the fugitives
never receive the benefit,--misrepresenting the character of the
fugitives for industry and underrating the advance of the country,
which supplies abundant work for all at fair wages); to raise such
funds among themselves as may be necessary for the poor, the sick,
and the destitute fugitive newly arrived; and prepare themselves
ultimately to bear their due weight of political power." See Drew, _A
North-side View of Slavery_, p. 236.]

The good results of these schools were apparent. In the same degree
that the denial to slaves of mental development tended to brutalize
them the teaching of science and religion elevated the fugitives in
Canada. In fact, the Negroes of these settlements soon had ideals
differing widely from those of their brethren less favorably
circumstanced. They believed in the establishment of homes, respected
the sanctity of marriage, and exhibited in their daily life a moral
sense of the highest order. Travelers found the majority of them
neat, orderly, and intelligent[1]. Availing themselves of their
opportunities, they quickly qualified as workers among their fellows.
An observer reported in 1855 that a few were engaged in shop keeping
or were employed as clerks, while a still smaller number devoted
themselves to teaching and preaching.[2] Before 1860 the culture of
these settlements was attracting the colored graduates of northern
institutions which had begun to give men of African blood an
opportunity to study in their professional schools.

[Footnote 1: According to the report of the Freedmen's Inquiry
Commission published by S.G. Howe, an unusually large proportion of
the colored population believed in education. He says: "Those from the
free States had very little schooling in youth; those from the slave
States, none at all. Considering these things it is rather remarkable
that so many can now read and write. Moreover, they show their esteem
for instruction by their desire to obtain it for their children. They
all wish to have their children go to school, and they send them all
the time that they can be spared.

"Canada West has adopted a good system of public instruction, which
is well administered. The common schools, though inferior to those of
several of the States of the United States, are good. Colored children
are admitted to them in most places; and where a separate school is
open for them, it is as well provided by the government with teachers
and apparatus as the other schools are. Notwithstanding the growing
prejudice against blacks, the authorities evidently mean to deal
justly by them in regard to instruction; and even those who advocate
separate schools, promise that they shall be equal to white schools.

"The colored children in the mixed schools do not differ in their
general appearance and behavior from their white comrades. They are
usually clean and decently clad. They look quite as the whites; and
are perhaps a little more mirthful and roguish. The association
is manifestly beneficial to the colored children." See Howe, _The
Refugees_, etc., p. 77.]

[Footnote 2: Siebert, _The Underground Railroad_, p. 226.]



The development of the schools and churches established for these
transplanted freedmen made more necessary than ever a higher education
to develop in them the power to work out their own salvation. It
was again the day of thorough training for the Negroes. Their
opportunities for better instruction were offered mainly by the
colonizationists and abolitionists.[1] Although these workers had
radically different views as to the manner of elevating the colored
people, they contributed much to their mental development. The more
liberal colonizationists endeavored to furnish free persons of
color the facilities for higher education with the hope that their
enlightenment would make them so discontented with this country
that they would emigrate to Liberia. Most southern colonizationists
accepted this plan but felt that those permanently attached to this
country should be kept in ignorance; for if they were enlightened,
they would either be freed or exterminated. During the period of
reaction, when the elevation of the race was discouraged in the North
and prohibited in most parts of the South, the colonizationists
continued to secure to Negroes, desiring to expatriate themselves,
opportunities for education which never would have been given those
expecting to remain in the United States.[2]

[Footnote 1: The views of the abolitionists at that time were well
expressed by Garrison in his address to the people of color in the
convention assembled in Philadelphia in 1830. He encouraged them to
get as much education as possible for themselves and their offspring,
to toil long and hard for it as for a pearl of great price. "An
ignorant people," said he, "can never occupy any other than a degraded
place in society; they can never be truly free until they are
intelligent. It is an old maxim that knowledge is power; and not only
is it power but rank, wealth, dignity, and protection. That capital
brings highest return to a city, state, or nation (as the case may
be) which is invested in schools, academies, and colleges. If I had
children, rather than that they should grow up in ignorance, I would
feed upon bread and water: I would sell my teeth, or extract the blood
from my veins." See _Minutes of the Proceedings of the Convention for
the Improvement of the Free People of Color_, 1830, pages 10, 11.]

[Footnote 2: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, pp.
213-214; and _The African Repository_, under the captions of
"Education in Liberia," and "African Education Societies," _passim_.]

The policy of promoters of African colonization, however, did not
immediately become unprogressive. Their plan of education differed
from previous efforts in that the objects of their philanthropy were
to be given every opportunity for mental growth. The colonizationists
had learned from experience in educating Negroes that it was necessary
to begin with the youth.[1] These workers observed, too, that the
exigencies of the time demanded more advanced and better endowed
institutions to prepare colored men to instruct others in science and
religion, and to fit them for "civil offices in Liberia and Hayti."[2]
To execute this scheme the leaders of the colonization movement
endeavored to educate Negroes in "mechanic arts, agriculture, science,
and Biblical literature."[3] Exceptionally bright youths were to
be given special training as catechists, teachers, preachers, and
physicians.[4] A southern planter offered a plantation for the
establishment of a suitable institution of learning,[5] a few masters
sent their slaves to eastern schools to be educated, and men organized
"education societies" in various parts to carry out this work at
shorter range. In 1817 colonizationists opened at Pasippany, New
Jersey, a school to give a four-year course to "African youth" who
showed "talent, discretion, and piety" and were able to read and
write.[6] Twelve years later another effort was made to establish a
school of this kind at Newark in that State,[7] while other promoters
of that faith were endeavoring to establish a similar institution at
Hartford, Connecticut,[8] all hoping to make use of the Kosciuszko

[Footnote 1: _African Repository_, vol. i., p. 277.]

[Footnote 2: _African Repository_, vol. ii., p. 223.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._, vol. xxviii., pp. 271, 347; Child, _An Appeal_,
p. 144.]

[Footnote 4: _African Repository_, vol. i., p. 277.]

[Footnote 5: _Report of the Proceedings at the Organization of the
African Education Society_, p. 9.]

[Footnote 6: _African Repository_, vol. i., p. 276, and Griffin, _A
Plea for Africa_, p. 65.]

[Footnote 7: _African Repository_, vol. iv., pp. 186, 193, and 375;
and vol. vi., pp. 47, 48, 49, and _Report of the Proceedings of the
African Education Society_, p. 7.]

[Footnote 8: _Ibid_., pp. 7 and 8 and _African Repository_, vol. iv.,
p. 375.]

[Footnote 9: What would become of this plan depended upon the changing
fortunes of the men concerned. Kosciuszko died in 1817; and as Thomas
Jefferson refused to take out letters testamentary under this will,
Benjamin Lincoln Lear, a trustee of the African Education Society, who
intended to apply for the whole fund, was appointed administrator of
it. The fund amounted to about $16,000. Later Kosciuszko Armstrong
demanded of the administrator $3704 bequeathed to him by T. Kosciuszko
in a will alleged to have been executed in Paris in 1806. The bill was
dismissed by the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, and the
decision of the lower Court was confirmed by the United States Supreme
Court in 1827 on the grounds that the said will had not been admitted
to probate anywhere. To make things still darker just about the
time the trustees of the African Education Society were planning to
purchase a farm and select teachers and mechanics to instruct the
youth, the heirs of General Kosciuszko filed a bill against Mr.
Lear in the Supreme Court of the United States on the ground of the
invalidity of the will executed by Kosciuszko in 1798. The death of
Mr. Lear in 1832 and that of William Wirt, the Attorney-General of
the United States, soon thereafter, caused a delay in having the case
decided. The author does not know exactly what use was finally made of
this fund. See _African Repository_, vol. it., pp. 163, 233; also 7
Peters, 130, and 8 Peters, 52.]

The schemes failed, however, on account of the unyielding opposition
of the free Negroes and abolitionists. They could see no philanthropy
in educating persons to prepare for doom in a deadly climate. The
convention of the free people of color assembled in Philadelphia in
1830, denounced the colonization movement as an evil, and urged their
fellows not to support it. Pointing out the impracticability of such
schemes, the convention encouraged the race to take steps toward its
elevation in this country.[1] Should the colored people be properly
educated, the prejudice against them would not continue such as to
necessitate their expatriation. The delegates hoped to establish a
Manual Labor College at New Haven that Negroes might there acquire
that "classical knowledge which promotes genius and causes man to soar
up to those high intellectual enjoyments and acquirements which place
him in a situation to shed upon a country and people that scientific
grandeur which is imperishable by time, and drowns in oblivion's cup
their moral degradation."[2]

[Footnote 1: Williams, _History of the Negro Race_, p. 67.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 68; and _Minutes of the Proceedings of the
Third Convention for the Improvement of the Free People of Color_, pp.
9, 10, and 11.]

Influential abolitionists were also attacking this policy of the
colonizationists. William Jay, however, delivered against them such
diatribes and so wisely exposed their follies that the advocates
of colonization learned to consider him as the arch enemy of their
cause.[1] Jay advocated the education of the Negroes for living
where they were. He could not see how a Christian could prohibit or
condition the education of any individual. To do such a thing was
tantamount to preventing him from having a direct revelation of God.
How these "educators" could argue that on account of the hopelessness
of the endeavors to civilize the blacks they should be removed to a
foreign country, and at the same time undertake to provide for them
there the same facilities for higher education that white men enjoyed,
seemed to Jay to be facetiously inconsistent.[2] If the Africans could
be elevated in their native land and not in America, it was due to the
Caucasians' sinful condition, for which the colored people should not
be required to suffer the penalty of expatriation.[3] The desirable
thing to do was to influence churches and schools to admit students of
color on terms of equality with all other races.

[Footnote 1: Reese, _Letters to Honorable William Jay._]

[Footnote 2: Jay, _Inquiry_, p. 26; and _Letters_, p. 21.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._, p. 22.]

Encountering this opposition, the institutions projected by the
colonization society existed in name only. Exactly how and why the
organization failed to make good with its educational policy is well
brought out by the wailing cry of one of its promoters. He asserted
that "every endeavor to divert the attention of the community or even
a portion of the means which the present so imperatively calls for,
from the colonization society to measures calculated to bind the
colored population to this country and seeking to raise them to a
level with the whites, whether by founding colleges or in any other
way, tends directly in the proportion that it succeeds, to counteract
and thwart the whole plan of colonization."[1] The colonizationists,
therefore, desisted from their attempt to provide higher education for
any considerable number of the belated race. Seeing that they could
not count on the support of the free persons of color, they feared
that those thus educated would be induced by the abolitionists to
remain in the United States. This would put the colonizationists in
the position of increasing the intelligent element of the colored
population, which was then regarded as a menace to slavery.
Consequently these timorous "educators" did practically nothing
during the reactionary period to carry out their plan of establishing

[Footnote 1: Hodgkin, _Inquiry into the Merits of the Am. Col. Soc._,
p. 31.]

Thereafter the colonizationists found it advisable to restrict their
efforts to individual cases. Not much was said about what they were
doing, but now and then appeared notices of Negroes who had been
privately prepared in the South or publicly in the North for
professional work in Liberia. Dr. William Taylor and Dr. Fleet were
thus educated in medicine in the District of Columbia.[1] In the
same way John V. DeGrasse, of New York, and Thomas J. White,[2] of
Brooklyn, were allowed to complete the Medical Course at Bowdoin in
1849. Garrison Draper, who had acquired his literary education at
Dartmouth, studied law in Baltimore under friends of the colonization
cause, and with a view to going to Liberia passed the examination of
the Maryland Bar in 1857.[3] In 1858 the Berkshire Medical School
graduated two colored doctors, who were gratuitously educated by the
American Colonization Society. The graduating class thinned out,
however, and one of the professors resigned because of their

[Footnote 1: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, and
_African Repository_, vol. x., p. 10.]

[Footnote 2: _Niles Register_, vol. lxxv., p. 384.]

[Footnote 3: _African Repository_, vol. xxxiv., pp. 26 and 27.]

[Footnote 4: _Ibid._, p. 30.]

Not all colonizationists, however, had submitted to this policy of
mere individual preparation of those emigrating to Liberia. Certain of
their organizations still believed that it was only through educating
the free people of color sufficiently to see their humiliation that a
large number of them could be induced to leave this country. As long
as they were unable to enjoy the finer things of life, they could not
be expected to appreciate the value and use of liberty. It was
argued that instead of remaining in this country to wage war on its
institutions, the highly enlightened Negroes would be glad to go to a
foreign land.[1] By this argument some colonizationists were induced
to do more for the general education of the free blacks than they
had considered it wise to do during the time of the bold attempts at
servile insurrection.[2] In fact, many of the colored schools of the
free States were supported by ardent colonizationists.

[Footnote 1: Boone, _The History of Education in Indiana_, p. 237; and
_African Repository_, vol. xxx., p. 195.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 195.]

The later plan of most colonizationists, however, was to educate the
emigrating Negroes after they settled in Liberia. Handsome sums
were given for the establishment of schools and colleges in which
professorships were endowed for men educated at the expense of
churches and colonization societies.[1] The first institution of
consequence in this field was the Alexander High School. To this
school many of the prominent men of Liberia owed the beginning of
their liberal education. The English High School at Monrovia, the
Baptist Boarding School at Bexley, and the Protestant Episcopal High
School at Cape Palmas also offered courses in higher branches.[2]
Still better opportunities were given by the College of West Africa
and Liberia College. The former was founded in 1839 as the head of a
system of schools established by the Methodist Episcopal Church in
every county of the Republic.[3] Liberia College was at the request
of its founders, the directors of the American Colonization Society,
incorporated by the legislature of the country in 1851. As it took
some time to secure adequate funds, the main building was not
completed, and students were not admitted before 1862.

[Footnote 1: _African Repository_, under the caption of "Education in
Liberia" in various volumes; and Alexander, _A History of Col._, pp.
348, 391.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._, p. 348.]

[Footnote 3: Monroe, _Cyclopaedia of Education_, vol. iv., p. 6.]

Though the majority of the colored students scoffed at the idea of
preparing for work in Liberia their education for service in the
United States was not encouraged. No Negro had graduated from a
college before 1828, when John B. Russworm, a classmate of Hon. John
P. Hale, received his degree from Bowdoin.[1] During the thirties
and forties, colored persons, however well prepared, were generally
debarred from colleges despite the protests of prominent men. We have
no record that as many as fifteen Negroes were admitted to higher
institutions in this country before 1840. It was only after much
debate that Union College agreed to accept a colored student on
condition that he should swear that he had no Negro blood in his

[Footnote 1: Dyer, Speech in Congress on the Progress of the Negro,

[Footnote 2: Clarke, _The Condition of the Free People of Color_,
1859, p. 3, and the _Sixth Annual Report of the American Antislavery
Society_, p. 11.]

Having had such a little to encourage them to expect a general
admission into northern institutions, free blacks and abolitionists
concluded that separate colleges for colored people were necessary.
The institution demanded for them was thought to have an advantage
over the aristocratic college in that labor would be combined with
study, making the stay at school pleasant and enabling the poorest
youth to secure an education.[1] It was the kind of higher institution
which had already been established in several States to meet the needs
of the illiterate whites. Such higher training for the Negroes was
considered necessary, also, because their intermediate schools were
after the reaction in a languishing state. The children of color were
able to advance but little on account of having nothing to stimulate
them. The desired college was, therefore, boomed as an institution to
give the common schools vigor, "to kindle the flame of emulation,"
"to open to beginners discerning the mysteries of arithmetic other
mysteries beyond," and above all to serve them as Yale or Harvard did
as the capstone of the educational system of the other race.[2]

[Footnote 1: _Proceedings of the Third Convention of Free People of
Color held in Philadelphia in 1836_, pp. 7 and 8; _Ibid., Fourth
Annual Convention_, p. 26; _Proceedings of the New England Antislavery
Society_, 1836, p. 40.]

[Footnote 2: _Minutes and Proceedings of the Third Annual Convention
of the Free People of Color_, 1836; Garrison's Address.]

In the course of time these workers succeeded in various communities.
The movement for the higher education of the Negroes of the District
of Columbia centered largely around the academy established by Miss
Myrtilla Miner, a worthy young woman of New York. After various
discouragements in seeking a special preparation for life's work, she
finally concluded that she should devote her time to the moral and
intellectual improvement of Negroes.[1] She entered upon her career in
Washington in 1851 assisted by Miss Anna Inman, a native of New York,
and a member of the Society of Friends. After teaching the girls
French one year Miss Inman returned to her home in Southfield, Rhode
Island.[2] Finding it difficult to get a permanent location, Miss
Miner had to move from place to place among colored people who were
generally persecuted and threatened with conflagration for having a
white woman working among them. Driven to the extremity of building
a schoolhouse for her purpose, she purchased a lot with money raised
largely by Quakers of New York, Philadelphia, and New England, and
by Harriet Beecher Stowe.[3] Miss Miner had also the support of Mrs.
Means, an aunt of the wife of President Franklin Pierce, and of United
States Senator W.H. Seward.[4] Effective opposition, however, was not
long in developing. Articles appeared in the newspapers protesting
against this policy of affording Negroes "a degree of instruction so
far above their social and political condition which must continue in
this and every other slaveholding community."[5] Girls were insulted,
teachers were abused along the streets, and for lack of police
surveillance the house was set afire in 1860. It was sighted, however,
in time to be saved.[6]

[Footnote 1: O'Connor, _Myrtilla Miner_, pp. 11, 12.]

[Footnote 2: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 207.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._, 1871, p. 208.]

[Footnote 4: _Ibid._, pp. 208, 209, and 210.]

[Footnote 5: _The National Intelligencer._]

[Footnote 6: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 209.]

Undisturbed by these efforts to destroy the institution, Miss Miner
persisted in carrying out her plan for the higher education of colored
girls of the District of Columbia. She worked during the winter, and
traveled during the summer to solicit friends and contributions to
keep the institution on that higher plane where she planned it should
be. She had the building well equipped with all kinds of apparatus,
utilized the ample ground for the teaching of horticulture, collected
a large library, and secured a number of paintings and engravings with
which she enlightened her pupils on the finer arts. In addition to the
conventional teaching of seminaries of that day, Miss Miner provided
lectures on scientific and literary subjects by the leading men of
that time, and trained her students to teach.[1] She hoped some day to
make the seminary a first-class teachers' college. During the Civil
War, however, it was difficult for her to find funds, and health
having failed her in 1858 she died in 1866 without realizing this

[Footnote 1: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 210.]

[Footnote 2: Those who assisted her were Helen Moore, Margaret Clapp,
Anna H. Searing, Amanda Weaver, Anna Jones, Matilda Jones, and Lydia
Mann, the sister of Horace Mann, who helped Miss Miner considerably
in 1856 at the time of her failing health. Emily Holland was her firm
supporter when the institution was passing through the crisis, and
stood by her until she breathed her last. See _Special Report of the
U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 210.]

Earlier in the nineteenth century the philanthropists of Pennsylvania
had planned to establish for Negroes several higher institutions.
Chief among these was the Institute for Colored Youth. The founding
of an institution of this kind had been made possible by Richard
Humphreys, a Quaker, who, on his death in 1832, devised to a Board
of Trustees the sum of $10,000 to be used for the education of the
descendants of the African race.[1] As the instruction of Negroes was
then unpopular, no steps were taken to carry out this plan until 1839.
The Quakers then appointed a Board and undertook to execute this
provision of Humphreys's will. In conformity with the directions of
the donor, the Board of Trustees endeavored to give the colored
youth the opportunity to obtain a good education and acquire useful
knowledge of trades and commercial occupations. Humphreys desired that
"they might be enabled to obtain a comfortable livelihood by their
own industry, and fulfill the duties of domestic and social life
with reputation and fidelity as good citizens and pious men."[2]
Accordingly they purchased a tract of land in Philadelphia County and
taught a number of boys the principles of farming, shoemaking, and
other useful occupations.

[Footnote 1: Wickersham, _History of Education in Pa._, p. 249.]

[Footnote 2: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 379.]

Another stage in the development of this institution was reached in
1842, the year of its incorporation. It then received several small
contributions and the handsome sum of $18,000 from another Quaker,
Jonathan Zane. As it seemed by 1846 that the attempt to combine the
literary with the industrial work had not been successful, it was
decided to dispose of the industrial equipment and devote the funds of
the institution to the maintenance of an evening school. An effort at
the establishment of a day school was made in 1850, but it was not
effected before 1852. A building was then erected in Lombard Street
and the school known thereafter as the Institute for Colored Youth was
opened with Charles L. Reason of New York in charge. Under him the
institution was at once a success in preparing advanced pupils of
both sexes for the higher vocations of teaching and preaching. The
attendance soon necessitated increased accommodations for which Joseph
Dawson and other Quakers liberally provided in later years.[1]

[Footnote 1: _Special Report of the United States Com. of Ed._, 1871,
p. 380.]

This favorable tendency in Pennsylvania led to the establishment of
Avery College at Alleghany City. The necessary fund was bequeathed by
Rev. Charles Avery, a rich man of that section, who left an estate of
about $300,000 to be applied to the education and Christianization of
the African race.[1] Some of this fund was devoted to missionary
work in Africa, large donations were made to colored institutions of
learning, and another portion was appropriated to the establishment
of Avery College. This institution was incorporated in 1849. Soon
thereafter it advertised for students, expressing willingness to make
every provision without regard to religious proclivities. The school
had a three-story brick building, up-to-date apparatus for teaching
various branches of natural science, a library of all kinds
of literature, and an endowment of $25,000 to provide for its
maintenance. Rev. Philotas Dean, the only white teacher connected with
this institution, was its first principal. He served until 1856 when
he was succeeded by his assistant, M.H. Freeman, who in 1863 was
succeeded by George B. Vashon. Miss Emma J. Woodson was an assistant
in the institution from 1856 to 1867. After the din of the Civil War
had ceased the institution took on new life, electing a new corps of
teachers, who placed the work on a higher plane. Among these were Rev.
H.H. Garnett, president, B.K. Sampson, Harriet C. Johnson, and Clara
G. Toop.[2]

[Footnote 1: _African Repository_, vol. xxxiv., p. 156.]

[Footnote 2: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 381.]

It was due also to the successful forces at work in Pennsylvania that
the Ashmun Institute, now Lincoln University, was established in that
State. The need of higher education having come to the attention of
the Presbytery of New Castle, that body decided to establish within
its limits an institution for the "scientific, classical, and
theological education of the colored youth of the male sex." In 1853
the Synod approved the plans of the founders and provided that the
institution should be under the supervision and control of the
Presbytery or Synod within whose bounds it might be located. A
committee to solicit funds, find a site, and secure a charter for the
school was appointed. They selected for the location Hensonville,
Chester County, Pennsylvania.[1] The legislature incorporated the
institution in 1854 with John M. Dickey, Alfred Hamilton, Robert P.
DuBois, James Latta, John B. Spottswood, James Crowell, Samuel J.
Dickey, Alfred Hamilton, John M. Kelton, and William Wilson as
trustees. Sufficient buildings and equipment having been provided by
1856, the doors of this institution were opened to young colored men
seeking preparation for work in this country and Liberia.[2]

[Footnote 1: Baird, _A Collection_, etc., p. 819.]

[Footnote 2: _Special Report of the United States Com. of Ed._, 1871,
p. 382.]

An equally successful plan of workers in the West resulted in the
founding of the first higher institution to be controlled by Negroes.
Having for some years believed that the colored people needed a
college for the preparation of teachers and preachers, the Cincinnati
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in session in 1855
appointed Rev. John F. Wright as general agent to execute this design.
Addressing themselves immediately to this task Rev. Mr. Wright and his
associates solicited from philanthropic persons by 1856 the amount of
$13,000. The agents then made the purchase payment on the beautiful
site of Tawawa Springs, long known as the healthy summer resort near
Xenia, Ohio.[1] That same year the institution was incorporated as
Wilberforce University. From 1856 to 1862 the school had a fair
student body, consisting of the mulatto children of southern
slaveholders.[2] When these were kept away, however, by the operations
of the Civil War, the institution declined so rapidly that it had to
be closed for a season. Thereafter the trustees appealed again to the
African Methodist Episcopal Church which in 1856 had declined the
invitation to cooeperate with the founders. The colored Methodists had
adhered to their decision to operate Union Seminary, a manual labor
school, which they had started near Columbus, Ohio.[3] The proposition
was accepted, however, in 1862. For the amount of the debt of $10,000
which the institution had incurred while passing through the crisis,
Rev. Daniel A. Payne and his associates secured the transfer of
the property to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. These new
directors hoped to develop a first-class university, offering courses
in law, medicine, literature, and theology. The debt being speedily
removed the school showed evidences of new vigor, but was checked in
its progress by an incendiary, who burned the main building while the
teachers and pupils were attending an emancipation celebration at
Xenia, April 14, 1865. With the amount of insurance received and
donations from friends, the trustees were able to construct a more
commodious building which still marks the site of these early

[Footnote 1: _The Non-Slaveholder_, vol. ii., p. 113.]

[Footnote 2: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, pp.

[Footnote 3: _History of Greene County, Ohio_, chapter on Wilberforce;
and _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed._, 1871, p. 373.]

[Footnote 4: _The Non-Slaveholder_, vol. ii., p. 113.]

A brighter day for the higher education of the colored people at home,
however, had begun to dawn during the forties. The abolitionists
were then aggressively demanding consideration for the Negroes. Men
"condescended" to reason together about slavery and the treatment of
the colored people. The northern people ceased to think that they had
nothing to do with these problems. When these questions were openly
discussed in the schools of the North, students and teachers gradually
became converted to the doctrine of equality in education. This
revolution was instituted by President C.B. Storrs, of Western Reserve
College, then at Hudson, Ohio. His doctrine in regard to the training
of the mind "was that men are able to be made only by putting youth
under the responsibilities of men." He, therefore, encouraged the free
discussion of all important subjects, among which was the appeal of
the Negroes for enlightenment. This policy gave rise to a spirit of
inquiry which permeated the whole school. The victory, however, was
not easy. After a long struggle the mind of the college was carried by
irresistible argument in favor of fair play for colored youth. This
institution had two colored students as early as 1834.[1]

[Footnote 1: _First Annual Report of the American Anti-Slavery
Society_, p. 42.]

Northern institutions of learning were then reaching the third stage
in their participation in the solution of the Negro problem. At first
they had to be converted even to allow a free discussion of the
question; next the students on being convinced that slavery was a sin,
sought to elevate the blacks thus degraded; and finally these workers,
who had been accustomed to instructing the neighboring colored people,
reached the conclusion that they should be admitted to their schools
on equal footing with the whites. Geneva College, then at Northfield,
Ohio, now at Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, was being moved in this

[Footnote 1: _First Annual Report of the American Anti-slavery
Society_, 1834. p. 43.]

Lane Seminary, however, is the best example of a school which passed
through the three stages of this revolution. This institution was
peculiar in that the idea of establishing it originated with a
southerner, a merchant of New Orleans. It was founded largely by funds
of southern Presbyterians, was located in Cincinnati about a mile from
slave territory, and was attended by students from that section.[1]
When the right of free discussion swept the country many of the
proslavery students were converted to abolition. To southerners it
seemed that the seminary had resolved itself into a society for the
elevation of the free blacks. Students established Sabbath-schools,
organized Bible classes, and provided lectures for Negroes ambitious
to do advanced work. Measures were taken to establish an academy for
colored girls, and a teacher was engaged. But these noble efforts put
forth so near the border States soon provoked firm opposition from
the proslavery element. Some of the students had gone so far in the
manifestation of their zeal that the institution was embarrassed by
the charge of promoting the social equality of the races.[2] Rather
than remain in Cincinnati under restrictions, the reform element of
the institution moved to the more congenial Western Reserve where a
nucleus of youth and their instructors had assumed the name of Oberlin
College. This school did so much for the education of Negroes before
the Civil War that it was often spoken of as an institution for the
education of the people of color.

[Footnote 1: _Ibid_., p. 43.]

[Footnote 2: _First Annual Report of the American Anti-Slavery
Society_, p. 43.]

Interest in the higher education of the neglected race, however, was
not confined to a particular commonwealth. Institutions of other
States were directing their attention to this task. Among others were
a school in New York City founded by a clergyman to offer Negroes an
opportunity to study the classics,[1] New York Central College at
McGrawville, Oneida Institute conducted by Beriah Green at Whitesboro,
Thetford Academy of Vermont, and Union Literary Institute in the
center of the communities of freedmen transplanted to Indiana. Many
other of our best institutions were opening their doors to students of
African descent. By 1852 colored students had attended the Institute
at Easton, Pennsylvania; the Normal School of Albany, New York;
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine; Rutland College, Vermont; Jefferson
College, Pennsylvania; Athens College, Athens, Ohio; Franklin College,
New Athens, Ohio; and Hanover College near Madison, Indiana. Negroes
had taken courses at the Medical School of the University of New York;
the Castleton Medical School in Vermont; the Berkshire Medical School,
Pittsfield, Massachusetts; the Rush Medical School in Chicago; the
Eclectic Medical School of Philadelphia; the Homeopathic College of
Cleveland; and the Medical School of Harvard University. Colored
preachers had been educated in the Theological Seminary at Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania; the Dartmouth Theological School; and the Theological
Seminary of Charleston, South Carolina.[2]

[Footnote 1: Simmons, _Men of Mark_, p. 530.]

[Footnote 2: These facts are taken from M.R. Delany's _The Condition,
Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United
States Practically Considered_, published in 1852; the _Reports of
the Antislavery and Colonization Societies_, and _The African

Prominent among those who brought about this change in the attitude
toward the education of the free blacks was Gerrit Smith, one of
the greatest philanthropists of his time. He secured privileges for
Negroes in higher institutions by extending aid to such as would open
their doors to persons of color. In this way he became a patron of
Oneida Institute, giving it from $3,000 to $4,000 in cash and 3,000
acres of land in Vermont. Because of the hospitality of Oberlin to
colored students he gave the institution large sums of money and
20,000 acres of land in Virginia valued at $50,000. New York Central
College which opened its doors alike to both races obtained from him
several donations.[1] This gentleman proceeded on the presumption that
it is the duty of the white people to elevate the colored and that the
education of large numbers of them is indispensable to the uplift of
the degraded classes.[2] He wanted them to have the opportunity for
obtaining either a common or classical education; and hoped that they
would go out from our institutions well educated for any work to
which they might be called in this country or abroad.[3] He himself
established a colored school at Peterboro, New York. As this
institution offered both industrial and literary courses we shall
have occasion to mention it again. Both a cause and result of the
increasing interest in the higher education of Negroes was that these
unfortunates had made good with what little training they had. Many
had by their creative power shown what they could do in business,[4]
some had convinced the world of the inventive genius of the man of
color,[5] others had begun to rank as successful lawyers,[6] not a
few had become distinguished physicians,[7] and scores of intelligent
Negro preachers were ministering to the spiritual needs of their
people.[8] S.R. Ward, a scholar of some note, was for a few years the
pastor of a white church at Courtlandville, New York. Robert Morris
had been honored by the appointment as Magistrate by the Governor of
Massachusetts, and in New Hampshire another man of African blood had
been elected to the legislature.[9]

[Footnote 1: _Special Report of the U.S. Com. of Ed_., 1871, p. 367.]

[Footnote 2: _African Repository_, vol. x., p. 312.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid_., p. 312.]

[Footnote 4: Among these were John B. Smith, Coffin Pitts, Robert
Douglas, John P. Bell, Augustus Washington, Alexander S. Thomas, Henry
Boyd, P.H. Ray, and L.T. Wilcox.]

[Footnote 5: A North Carolina Negro had discovered a cure for
snakebite; Henry Blair, a slave of Maryland, had invented a
corn-planter; and Roberts of Philadelphia had made a machine for
lifting railway cars from the tracks.]

[Footnote 6: The most noted of these lawyers were Robert Morris,
Malcolm B. Allen, G.B. Vashon, and E.G. Walker.]

[Footnote 7: The leading Negroes of this class were T. Joiner White,
Peter Ray, John DeGrasse, David P. Jones, J. Gould Bias, James Ulett,
Martin Delany, and John R. Peck. James McCrummill, Joseph Wilson,
Thos. Kennard, and Wm. Nickless were noted colored dentists of

[Footnote 8: The prominent colored preachers of that day were Titus
Basfield, B.F. Templeton, W.T. Catto, Benjamin Coker, John B. Vashon,
Robert Purvis, David Ruggles, Philip A. Bell, Charles L. Reason,
William Wells Brown, Samuel L. Ward, James McCune Smith, Highland
Garnett, Daniel A. Payne, James C. Pennington, M. Haines, and John F.

[Footnote 9: Baldwin, _Observations_, etc., p. 44.]

Thanks to the open doors of liberal schools, the race could boast of a
number of efficient educators.[1] There were Martin H. Freeman, John
Newton Templeton, Mary E. Miles, Lucy Stratton, Lewis Woodson, John
F. Cook, Mary Ann Shadd, W.H. Allen, and B.W. Arnett. Professor C.L.
Reason, a veteran teacher of New York City, was then so well educated
that in 1844 he was called to the professorship of Belles-Lettres and
the French Language in New York Central College. Many intelligent
Negroes who followed other occupations had teaching for their
avocation. In fact almost every colored person who could read and
write was a missionary teacher among his people.

[Footnote 1: James B. Russworm, an alumnus of Bowdoin, was the first
Negro to receive a degree from a college in this country.]

In music, literature, and journalism the Negroes were also doing well.
Eliza Greenfield, William Jackson, John G. Anderson, and William Appo
made their way in the musical world. Lemuel Haynes, a successful
preacher to a white congregation, took up theology about 1815. Paul
Cuffee wrote an interesting account of Sierra Leone. Rev. Daniel
Coker published a book on slavery in 1810. Seven years later came
the publication of the _Law and Doctrine of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church_ and the _Standard Hymnal_ written by Richard Allen.
In 1836 Rev. George Hogarth published an addition to this volume and
in 1841 brought forward the first magazine of the sect. Edward W.
Moore, a colored teacher of white children in Tennessee, wrote an
arithmetic. C.L. Remond of Massachusetts was then a successful
lecturer and controversialist. James M. Whitefield, George Horton,
and Frances E.W. Harper were publishing poems. H.H. Garnett and J.C.
Pennington, known to fame as preachers, attained success also as
pamphleteers. R.B. Lewis, M.R. Delany, William Nell, and Catto
embellished Negro history; William Wells Brown wrote his _Three Years
in Europe_; and Frederick Douglass, the orator, gave the world his
creditable autobiography. More effective still were the journalistic
efforts of the Negro intellect pleading its own cause. [1] Colored
newspapers varying from the type of weeklies like _The North Star_ to
that of the modern magazine like _The Anglo-African_ were published in
most large towns and cities of the North.

[Footnote 1: In 1827 John B. Russworm and Samuel B. Cornish began the
publication of _The Freedom's Journal_, appearing afterward as
_Rights to All_. Ten years later P.A. Bell was publishing _The Weekly
Advocate_. From 1837 to 1842 Bell and Cornish edited _The Colored
Man's Journal_, while Samuel Ruggles sent from his press _The Mirror
of Liberty_. In 1847, one year after the appearance of Thomas Van
Rensselaer's _Ram's Horn_, Frederick Douglass started _The North Star_
at Rochester, while G. Allen and Highland Garnett were appealing to
the country through _The National Watchman_ of Troy, New York. That
same year Martin R. Delany brought out _The Pittsburg Mystery_, and
others _The Elevator_ at Albany, New York. At Syracuse appeared The
_Impartial Citizen_ established by Samuel R. Ward in 1848, three years
after which L.H. Putnam came before the public in New York City with
_The Colored Man's Journal_. Then came _The Philadelphia Freeman_,
_The Philadelphia Citizen_, _The New York Phalanx_, _The Baltimore
Elevator_, and _The Cincinnati Central Star_. Of a higher order was
_he Anglo-African_, a magazine published in New York in 1859 by Thomas
Hamilton, who was succeeded in editorship by Robert Hamilton and
Highland Garnett. In 1852 there were in existence _The Colored
American_, _The Struggler_, _The Watchman_, _The Ram's Horn_, _The
Demosthenian Shield_, _The National Reformer_, _The Pittsburg
Mystery_, _The Palladium of Liberty_, _The Disfranchised American_,
_The Colored Citizen_, _The National Watchman_, _The Excelsior_,
_The Christian Herald_, _The Farmer_, _The Impartial Citizen_, _The
Northern Star_ of Albany, and The _North Star_ of Rochester.]



Having before them striking examples of highly educated colored men
who could find no employment in the United States, the free Negroes
began to realize that their preparation was not going hand in hand
with their opportunities. Industrial education was then emphasized as
the proper method of equipping the race for usefulness. The advocacy
of such training, however, was in no sense new. The early anti-slavery
men regarded it as the prerequisite to emancipation, and the


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