Literacy Instruction for Blacks in the South from 1830-1877

  • The Liberator

    The Liberator
    In 1830 William Lloyd Garrison started the abolitionist paper, The Liberator, and later in 1832 he helped form the New England Antislavery Society. "The first issue of The Liberator appeared on January 1, 1831. It was small, just four pages, and was printed on cheap paper with poor ink. Its message, however, was clear. The subject was ending slavery" (Thomas, 2010, p.28). Garrison, adamant about abolishing slavery, led campaigns for anti-slavery movements in the united States.
  • Lesson: The American Speller Book

    Lesson: The American Speller Book
    Sample lesson from The American Speller Book on blending and segmenting of phonics.
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    Exposure to Reading Instruction

    Even though some slave states outlawed the teaching of slaves how to read and write; mistresses aided in reading instruction for slaves."Jane Pyatt recalled that 'when I was a slave, I worked in the house with my mistress, and I was able to learn lots from her...although it was against the law to teach a slave, my mistress taught me alphabets'" (Cornelius, 1983, p. 176).
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    The American Speller Book

    Noah Webster created The American Speller Book in efforts to establish American culture and language."This account of a child's first reading lesson illustrates the usual method of initiating the pupil into the reading process. Learning the alphabet was considered the most important first step throughout this period" (Smith, 2002, p. 63). Slaveholders had access to the The American Speller Book and was able to use it to provide reading instruction for slaves.
  • Nat Turner Slave Rebellion https://www.pbs.org/video/african-americans-many-rivers-cross-classroom-nat-turner-rebellion

    Nat Turner Slave Rebellion https://www.pbs.org/video/african-americans-many-rivers-cross-classroom-nat-turner-rebellion
    Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, during August 1831 that killed from 55 to 65 people, at least 51 being white. Nat Turner was educated minster and a slave who was taught to read and write by his slave holder. "The majority of owners who taught slaves were concerned with Bible literacy, and connected their instruction with Christian worship and catechization" (Cornelius, 1983, p.171).
  • Uniform Public School Readers

    Uniform Public School Readers
    The McGuffey's Readers were the preferred series of books used for reading instruction in public schools between 1840-1880. The readers were the first to have a different series for each grade level of elementary education. "The readers came into immediate popularity and continued their strong hold on American public for the next 40 years..." (Smith, 2002, p. 97).
  • The Pioneer School of Freedom in New Orleans

    At attempt by slave and free Blacks to provide reading instruction for black children in the south prior to Emancipation Proclamation. "...but Alvord also discovered a system of what he chose to call 'native schools,'...Alvord discovered that 'no white man, before me, had ever come near them'" (Anderson, 1988, p. 6-7). Black schools were supported by efforts of Blacks to ensure literacy instruction is available to slave and free Blacks in the South.
  • Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The antebellum south established laws that banned the teaching of slaves how to read and write. "The former boundary was inscribed in legislation outlawing literacy training for slaves and, in many states, even for free blacks; it was policed aggressively by both literate and illiterate whites" (Butchart, 2007, p. 61). The 13th Amendment abolished slavery; therefore abolishing the prohibition of literacy for ex-slaves.
  • Black Codes

    Black Codes
    Black Codes were laws that restricted the newly found freedom of ex-slaves in Southern states after the 13th Amendment. The Kentucky Black Codes were used to segregate and discriminate against ex-slaves with laws that banned ex-salves from attending the same schools with white children. "The state legislature passed a law requiring a special two dollar tax for black males over the age of eighteen...other half to go toward a separate black school fund" (Forehand, 1996, p. 118).
  • The Freedmen's Bureau

    The Freedmen's Bureau
    The Freedmen Bureau was established to provide assistance to ex-slaves and impoverished whites in the Southern States after the Civil Rights Act 1866. The Freedmen Bureau provided relief aid to former slaves through food and housing, oversight, education, and health care. "Despite the hardship and poverty of their new and contested status, they demanded access to literacy, built schoolhouses, recruited teachers and attended schools..." (Butchart, 2007, p. 63)
  • Juneteenth: https://www.c-span.org/video/?324415-1/history-juneteenth

    Juneteenth: https://www.c-span.org/video/?324415-1/history-juneteenth
    Even though Emancipation Proclamation was signed 1863, the Executive Order had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce Emancipation Proclamation. In April of 1865, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. "The event became an annual celebration for African American communities in Texas, along with the neighboring states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.."(Hume and Arceneaux, 2008, p. 155).
  • Freedmen Schools

    Freedmen Schools
    Freedman Schools were founded to provide a system of universal, state-supported public education for ex-slaves in the South during the Reconstruction Era through building schools and providing instruction. The American Missionary Association employed teachers in Freedman Schools. "Modeled on the northern system of common schooling, these schools taught the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic as well as religious and moral values" (Bronan, 2016, p.722).
  • The Freedmen Speller, The Freedmen Second Book, The Freedman Third Book

    The Freedmen Speller, The Freedmen Second Book, The Freedman Third Book
    The American Tract Society for the American Missionary Association published a series of Freedmen textbooks exclusively used for literacy instruction in Freedman Schools. "Such readers as The Freedman Primer, The Freedmen Spelling Book, The Lincoln Primer, and the First, Second, and Third Freedmen's Readers contained social values designed to inculcate in the ex-slaves an acceptance of economic and racial subordination" (Anderson,1988 ,p. 30).
  • Plain Counsels for Freedmen

    Plain Counsels for Freedmen
    Plain Counsels for Freedmen is a Freedmen textbook written by Clinton B. Fisk, the assistant commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau for Kentucky and Tennessee, for the guidance of newly freed male slaves. Some freedmen’s textbooks even encouraged the freed people to continue working for their former masters. 'Do not think, that in order to be free, you must fall out with your old master, gather off your bundles and trudge off to a strange city'..."(Brosnan, 2016, p. 726).
  • Lesson: Freedmen Speller

    Lesson: Freedmen Speller
    Literacy instruction used in Freedmen Schools in the South.
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    The American Missionary Association (AMA) departs From The South

    When the AMA left the south, the planter's, who resisted blacks being literate, gained control of black education..."The planters' resistance virtually froze the ex-slaves's educational campaign in its mid-1870s position. 'At the beginning of the twentieth century'-,' wrote Horace Mann Bond, 'the condition of the schools for Negro children in the south was but slightly improved over their condition in 1875" (Anderson, 1988, p. 23).
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    Higher Education for Blacks in the South

    The American Missionary Association AMA, abolitionist group, promoted post-secondary education for Blacks in the south by the founding of nine predominantly black colleges: Atlanta University, Dillard University, Fisk University, Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), Howard University, Huston-Tillotson College, LeMoyne College (now LeMoyne-Owen College), Talladega College, and Tougaloo College.
  • KKK: Closing Black Schools in the South

    The rampant increase of white supremacy groups forced Black schools to close their door that resulted in the disruption of Blacks attaining literacy instruction in the south. "In Vaughan, Alambama, C. T. Williams could only sustain his school for one month in 1868; 'I closed from threats by K.Ks,' he reported, referring to actions of the terrorist Ku Klux Klan, whose members closed scores of black schools across the south" (Butchart, 2007, p. 67).
  • Campaign Against Blacks Formal Literacy Instruction

    Campaign Against Blacks Formal Literacy Instruction
    Southern Whites against literacy instruction for Blacks resulted in violent acts as a scare tactic to deter Blacks in the South from attending schools."The Thomas Nast cartoon that appeared in Harper's Weekly, 24 October 1874, depicts the southern white reaction to the ex-slave crusade for universal schooling. Note the fallen school book and the schoolhouse burning in the background while an ex-slave is being lynched" (Anderson, 1988, p. 24).
  • Work Cited

    Work Cited
    Anderson, J. (1988). The education of blacks in the south, 1860-1935. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press.
    Brosnan, A. (2016). Representations of race and racism in the textbooks used in southern black schools during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, 1861–1876. Paedagogica Historica, 52(6), 718.
  • Works Cited

    Works Cited
    Butchart, R. E. (2007) Remapping racial boundaries: teachers as
    border police and boundary transgressors in post-emancipation
    black education, USA, 1861-1876. Paedagogica Historica, 42(1),
    61-78.
    Cornelius, J. (1983). "We slipped and learned to read:" Slave
    Accounts of the Literacy Process, 1830-1865. Phylon, 44(3), 171-
    186.
  • Works Cited

    Works Cited
    Forehand, B. "Striking resemblance: Kentucky, Tennessee, Black
    Codes and readjustment, 1865-1866" (1996). Masters Theses
    & Specialist Projects. Paper 868. Retrieved from
    https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/theses/868 Hume, J., & Arceneaux, N. (2008). Public memory, cultural legacy,
    and press coverage of the Juneteenth revival. Journalism History,
    34(3), 155-162.
  • Work Cited

    Work Cited
    Smith, N. B., & Pearson, P. D. (2002). American reading
    instruction. Newark, Delaware: International Reading
    Association. Thomas, W. (2010). William Lloyd Garrison: a radical voice against

    slavery. St. Catharines, Ont: Crabtree Publishing.