Monday, April 16, 2012

Blog #5 :Education...18th century

What was it like to be a slave in the 18th Century? This blog is a short summary of what slaves had to face when it came to education.

There were no free public schools that would allow slaves to learn to read or write in the south. The whites feared that if the slaves or colored people learned how to read or write, they could potentially ruin the slave system that was already established. In 1740, South Carolina passed a law that forbade anyone to teach or employ a slave to learn ,to write, and become a scribe. They would be charged with a fine of 100 pounds in current money.

However, there were brave people that risked their lives to teach the less fortunate. There was a night school that was established which was taught by John Chavis, I don't know if he was ever caught. There was also an unfortunate Margaret Douglass who did get caught and she was convicted and imprisoned for teaching black kids.

The first free school was established in New York City, in 1787. When it started, it was just a single room that had about forty children of slaves. Another six more schools emerged and in 1824 they were receiving public funding. The city of Boston was sued in 1849 for not accepting black children into their schools, "they lost but in 1855 the Massachusetts Legislature changed its policy and declared that "no person shall be excluded from a Public School on account of race, colour or prejudice."

"Mary Battey, created a school for black people in Andersonville . She wrote in December, 1866: "Our school begun - in spite of threatenings from the whites, and the consequent fear of the blacks - with twenty-seven pupils, four only of whom could read, even the simplest words. At the end of six weeks, we have enrolled eighty-five names, with but fifteen unable to read. In seven years teaching at the North, I have not seen a parallel to their appetite for learning, and their active progress... Their spirit now may be estimated somewhat, when I tell you that three walk a distance of four miles, each morning, to return after the five hours session. Several come three miles, and quite a number from two and two-and-a-half miles."

Although the places that still had slavery were trying to scare off people that wanted to teach,  the teachers still believed in the power of education and in the rights of the slaves.  That's why some were willing to risk their freedom as well to help the kids. When the schools were opened for the children of slaves; the students made a real effort in traveling to get an education. This shows their will and their desire to learn and that above all things is the most important. Education is the key to success. They all knew it, and that's why we are all here today as well. Education should not be restricted, everyone has the right to learn!

These quotes are from:


  1. Nice blog, I always like your blog, very clear and organized. Looks like during 1800s, there were also a lot of people fight for slaves. Education always the key lead people become successful and gain everything.

  2. I learn something EVERY time I read your blog posts :-)