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13 January, 2012
The Education Of The Negro Prior To 1861|
by Woodson, Carter Godwin
|About two years ago the author decided to set forth in a small volume
the leading facts of the development of Negro education, thinking that
he would have to deal largely with the movement since the Civil War.
In looking over documents for material to furnish a background for
recent achievements in this field, he discovered that he would write
a much more interesting book should he confine himself to the
ante-bellum period. In fact, the accounts of the successful strivings
of Negroes for enlightenment under most adverse circumstances read
like beautiful romances of a people in an heroic age.
Interesting as is this phase of the history of the American Negro, it
has as a field of profitable research attracted only M.B. Goodwin, who
published in the Special Report of the United States Commissioner
of Education of 1871 an exhaustive "History of the Schools for the
Colored Population in the District of Columbia". In that same document
was included a survey of the "Legal Status of the Colored Population
in Respect to Schools and Education in the Different States". But
although the author of the latter collected a mass of valuable
material, his report is neither comprehensive nor thorough. Other
publications touching this subject have dealt either with certain
localities or special phases.
Yet evident as may be the failure of scholars to treat this neglected
aspect of our history, the author of this dissertation is far from
presuming that he has exhausted the subject. With the hope of vitally
interesting some young master mind in this large task, the undersigned
has endeavored to narrate in brief how benevolent teachers of both
races strove to give the ante-bellum Negroes the education through
which many of them gained freedom in its highest and best sense.
The author desires to acknowledge his indebtedness to Dr. J.E.
Moorland, International Secretary of the Young Men's Christian
Association, for valuable information concerning the Negroes of Ohio.
Washington, D.C. "June 11, 1919."