Education History of the Negro

Education History of the Negro


ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes



Up From Slavery: A Documentary History of Negro Education

Compiled By Rudolph Lewis

An international anti-slavery society was planned by William Phillips, George Thompson, and William Garrison



Interest of the Moravians

in the Education of Negroes Reported, 1842


The Moravian or United Brethren were the first who formally attempted the establishment of Missions, exclusively to the Negroes.

A succinct account of their several efforts down to the year 1790, is given in the report of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen, at Salem N. C., October 5th 1837; by Rev. J. Renatus Schmidt, and is as follows:

“A hundred years have now elapsed since the Renewed Church of the Brethren first attempted to communicate the Gospel to the many thousand Negroes of our land. In 1737 Count Zinzendorf paid a visit to London, and formed an acquaintance with General Oglethorpe and the Trustees of Georgia, with whom he conferred on the subject of the mission to the Indians, which the Brethren had already established in that Colony, (in 1735.) Some of these gentlemen were associates under the will of Dr. Bray, who had left funds to be devoted to the conversion of the Negro slaves in South Carolina; and they solicited the Count to procure them some missionaries for this purpose. 

On his objecting that the Church of England might hesitate to recognize the ordination of the Brethren’s missionaries, they referred the question to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Potter, who gave it as his Opinion, ‘that the Brethren being members of an Episcopal Church whose doctrines contained nothing repugnant to the Thirty-nine Articles, ought not to be denied free access to the heathen.’ This declaration not only removed all hesitation from the minds of the trustees as to the present application; but opened the way for the labors of the Brethren amongst the slave population of the West Indies;–a great and blessed work, which has, by the gracious help of God, gone on increasing even to the present day.

“The same year Brother Peter Boehler was deputed to commence the desired mission, with Brother George Schulius as his assistant. They set out by way of London, in February 1738, and repaired, in the first instance, to Georgia, hoping to be provided with means for the prosecution of their journey by the colony of the Brethren already established there. Obstacles however being interposed, through the interested views of certain individuals, this mission failed and our Brethren, settling at Purisburg, took charge of the Swiss Colonists and their children in that town; Georgia not being at that period a slave-holding Colony. 

In 1739, Schulius departed this life. Peter Boehler emigrated in 1740, to Pennsylvania, with the whole Georgia Colony, of which he was minister; because they were required to bear arms, in the war against the Spaniards, which had recently broken out. In 1747 and 1748 some Brethren belonging to Bethlehem, undertook several long and difficult journies through Maryland, Virginia, and the borders of North Carolina, in order to preach the Gospel to the Negroes, who, generally speaking, received it with eagerness. . . .

“At the request of Mr. Knox, the English Secretary of State, an attempt was made to evangelise thc Negroes of Georgia. In 1774 the brethren, Lewis Muller, of the Academy at Niesky, and George Wagner, were called to North America, and in the year following, having been joined by brother Andrew Broesing of North Carolina, they took up their abode at Knoxborough, a Plantation so called from its proprietor, the gentleman above mentioned. They were however almost constant sufferers from the fevers which prevailed in those parts, and Muller finished his course in the October of the same year. He had preached the Gospel with acceptance to both whites and blacks, yet without any abiding results. The two remaining brethren being called upon to bear arms on the breaking out of the war of independence, Broesing repaired to Wachovia, in North Carolina, and Wagner set out in 1779 for England.”

Charles C. Jones, The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States (Savannah: Thomas Purse, 1842), pp.30-34.

*   *   *   *   *

The Legislature of Virginia Provides for a Young Slave To Be Taught, 1842 

Whereas, it appearing to the general assembly that Henry Juett Gray, of the county of Rockingham, a blind youth of reputable character and exemplary deportment, who has made considerable progress in scientific attainments, is desirous of qualifying himself to become a teacher of the blind; and that in order to his comfort and extensive usefulness, it is necessary that he should have the services of a servant capable of reading and writing, which object cannot be permanently secured otherwise than by the education of a young slave named Randolph, the property of said Henry Juett: and it further appearing that Robert Gray, the father of. said Henry Juett, is willing to indemnify the public against any possible injury which might be apprehended from the misconduct of said slave:

1. Be it therefore enacted, That it shall be lawful for the said Henry Juctt Gray, or any friend for him, to employ from time to time any competent white person or persons to teach the said slave Randolph reading and writing, and for such white persons or persons so to teach said slave without incurring any of the penalties prescribed by law in such cases:

Provided, however, that this act shall be of no force or effect until the said Robert Gray, or some other responsible person, shall execute before the county court of Rockingham county bond with two or more sufficient sureties, payable to the sitting justices thereof, and their successors, in a penalty to be fixed by said court, but not less than double the value of said slave at mature age, and conditioned for indemnifying the commonwealth and the citizens thereof against any improper use of said slave of the art of reading and writing, and for the sale and removal of said slave by said Henry Juett Gray, or any future proprietor thereof, beyond the limits of this commonwealth, in the event of his conviction of any crime, unless the judgment of conviction shall have the effect of preventing such sale or removal; which bond may be sued on and prosecuted from time to time, in the names of said justices, for the use of the commonwealth, or any citizen thereof aggrieved, for the recovery of any damages which may be sustained by reason of any breach of the condition thereof: 

And provided also, That to give effect to this act, the county court of Rockingham county shall be satisfied and cause it to be certified of record, that the said slave is a boy of good moral character and correct deportment: And provided moreover, That the general assembly reserves to itself full power to alter, modify or repeal this act at any time hereafter, and to require the sale and removal of said slave beyond the limits of this commonwealth.

2. This act shall be in force from the passing thereof.

Acts of Virginia, 1841-42, p. 164


Chapter VI. “The Instruction of Negroes.” In Edgar W. Knight.. A Documentary History of Education in the South before 1860. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, 1953

Chapter 10 “Up From Slavery: Educational and other Rights of Negroes.” In Edgar W. Knight and Clifton L. Hall. Readings in American Educational History. New York Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1951.

Many states had laws prohibiting the education of blacks; here black youngsters are turned away at the school door

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King’s birthday ended up becoming a national holiday (“The Last Holiday because America can’t afford to have another national holiday”), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon’s violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King’s assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *


*   *   *   *   *




10 January 2012






Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.