ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes



In all seriousness, however, we congratulate our citizens upon a “good riddance of bad baggage” in the reported departure of these impudent missionaries. Of all the insults to which the Southern people have been subjected, this was the heaviest to bear . . . to have sent among us a lot of ignorant, narrow-minded, bigoted fanatics 

Schoolhouse and chapel at the Trent River settlement.  


Up From Slavery

A Documentary History of Negro Education

Compiled By Rudolph Lewis

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The Northern Teacher in the South after 1865 

During the last years of the Civil War and throughout the period of reconstruction several thousand Northern teachers, selected and supported by aid Societies and educational associations, entered the South and established schools for Negroes and whites. Abolitionist in sentiment and equalitarian in practice, these men and women represented a philosophy which was anathema to the Southern whites, and the program which they introduced met with hearty and active opposition.

Immediately after the collapse of the Confederacy many Southern leaders advocated the education of the freedmen, but they insisted that such education be carried out by the Southerner rather than by the “Yankee schoolmarm.” As the political controversy progressed from bitterness to violence the Northern teacher became the object of social ostracism, persecution, and physical assault.

Henry L. Swint, The Northern Teacher in the South, 1862-1870 (Nashville, Tenn., Vanderbilt University Press, 1941). Preface. The documents that follow in this section are drawn largely from this work with the permission of the author and publisher.

Swint estimates that the expenditure for Northern teachers in the South from 1862 to 1870 was between five million and six million dollars. In freedmen’s schools in the South in 1869, two years after the beginning of Congressional Reconstruction, there were 9,500 teachers, most of them from Northern States. Among the organizations that were active in relief, religious and educational work in the South during the years following the end of the war were the American Union Commission; New England Freedmen’s Aid Society; Pennsylvania Freedmen’s Relief Association: National Freedmen’s Relief Association of New York; Western Freedmen’s Aid Society; American Freedmen’s Union Commission; American Missionary Society; Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Chauch; Boston Educational Commission; Indiana Freedmen’s Aid Commission; Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends; Friends’ Association of Philadelphia for the Relief of Colored Freedmen, all at which seem to have cooperated with the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen’s Bureau), created in the War Department, March 3, 1865.

The Penn School for black children on St. Helena’s, South Carolina, was established and operated by Quakers after the Civil War.

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A Virginia Editor Objects to Northern Teachers, 1866 

They are gone or going.–The only joy of our existence in Norfolk has deserted us. The “negro school-marms” are either gone, going, or to go, and we don’t much care which, whereto, or how–whether it be to the more frigid regions of the Northern zone, or to a still more torrid climate; indeed, we may say that we care very little what land they are borne to, so not again to “our’n,” even though it be that bourn whence no traveler returns. Our grief at their departure is, however, lightened somewhat by the recollection of the fact that we will get rid of an abominable nuisance.

Our only fear is that their departure will not be eternal, and like other birds of prey they may return to us in season, and again take shelter, with their brood of black birds, under the protecting wings of that gobbling and foulest of old fowls, the well known buzzard yclept Freedmen’s Bureau.

In all seriousness, however, we congratulate our citizens upon a “good riddance of bad baggage” in the reported departure of these impudent missionaries. Of all the insults to which the Southern people have been subjected, this was the heaviest to bear . . . to have sent among us a lot of ignorant, narrow-minded, bigoted fanatics, ostensibly for the purpose of propagating the gospel among the heathen, and teaching our little negroes and big negroes, and all kinds of negroes, to read the Bible and show them the road to salvation . . . but whose real object was to disorganize and demoralize still more our peasantry and laboring population. .

We hail with satisfaction the departure of these female disorganizers, and trust no favoring gale will ever return them to our shores, and that their bureau and other furniture may soon follow in their wake.

Norfolk Virginian, July 2, 1866. Swint. op. cit., pp. 105-06.

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The Ku KIux Klan Warns a Northern Teacher, 1868

You are a dern aberlition puppy and scoundrel if We hear of your name in the papers again we will burn your hellish house over your head cut your entrals out.

The K K s are on your track and you will be in hell in four days if you don’t mind yourself, mind that you don’t go the same way that G.W.A. went some night

Yours in hell


Freedmen’s Record, IV (May. 1868), pp. 80-81. Swint, op. cit., p. 108. Swint says that · ‘G.W.A.” referred “to G. W. Ashburn, prominent Radical politician in Georgia, who was murdered in Jonesboro, Georgia.”

A political cartoon attacking the KKK. The caption reads: “Reforming . . . colored voters (in the ) south.”

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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

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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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

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

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update 22 July 2008



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