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The Education of Blacks in the South

James D. Anderson writes in his introduction to The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935: “The history of American education abounds with themes that represent the inextricable ties between citizenship in a democratic society and popular understanding". A well written research paper would include Anderson’s book The Education of Blacks in the South and it is exhaustive in its scope, placing black education into a larger historical context of American education.  Topics include:The Education of Blacks in the South

  1. Ex-Slaves and the Rise of Universal Education in the South
  2. The Hampton Model of Normal School Industrial Education
  3. Education and the Race Problem in the New South: The struggle for ideological hegemony
  4. Normal School and County Training Schools
  5. Common Schools for Black Children: The second crusade
  6. The Black Public High School and the Reproduction of Caste in the Urban South
  7. Training the Apostles of the Liberal Culture: Black Higher Education

Education of Blacks and Emancipation

Slaves achieved emancipation around the same time that “public educational systems were being developed into their modern form”.  However, the waning days of Reconstruction witnessed the complete disenfranchisement of blacks in the South, creating Jim Crow conditions that would exist for another century.  As an oppressed class of citizens, black public education took a completely different course then that of mainstream America. But according to American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Organization many changes are taking place for the better.

In the South, these two forces were subtler than the physical restrictions of Jim Crow.  It is easy to take away a man’s freedom of movement, his access to the organs of government (voting, holding office), and his ability to share in the material property of modern life (separate but equal was anything but equal), but it is entirely different matter of trying to take away one’s education.  A person cannot be made to forget how to read.  Southern whites may have been able to deny funding to black schools, restrict black schools to the worst possible buildings with ancient books and poorly trained teachers, but they could not take away the process of education


Education Clauses

Many freedmen were able to obtain “educational clauses” in their sharecropping contracts.  Anderson, in The Education of Blacks in the South, quotes Frank B. Chase, Freedman’s Bureau superintendent of education in Louisiana: “But the planter was only willing to have colored teachers employed, thinking that such schools would amount to little or nothing.  In this they are mistaken, as many of the most prosperous schools in the State are taught by competent colored teachers”.

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