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Schools for All

Schools for All: The Blacks and Public Education in the South, 1865--1877

William Preston Vaughn
Copyright Date: 1974
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Schools for All
    Book Description:

    Schools for Allprovides the first in-depth study of black education in Southern public schools and universities during the twelve-year Reconstruction period which followed the Civil War. In the antebellum South, the teaching of African Americans was sporadic and usually in contravention to state laws. During the war, Northern religious and philanthropic organizations initiated efforts to educate slaves. The army, and later the Freedmen's Bureau, became actively involved in freed-men's education. By 1870, however, a shortage of funds for the work forced the bureau to cease its work, at which time the states took over control of the African American schools.

    In an extensive study of records from the period, William Preston Vaughn traces the development -- the successes as well as the failures -- of the early attempts of the states to promote education for African Americans and in some instances to establish integration. While public schools in the South were not an innovation of Reconstruction, their revitalization and provision to both races were among the most important achievements of the period, despite the pressure from whites in most areas which forced the establishment of segregated education.

    Despite the ultimate failure to establish an integrated public school system anywhere in the South, many positive achievements were attained. Although the idealism of the political Reconstructionists fell short of its immediate goals in the realm of public education, precedents were established for integrated schools, and the constitutional revisions achieved through the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments laid the groundwork for subsequent successful assaults on segregated education.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6491-5
    Subjects: Education, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1. The Entering Wedge
    (pp. 1-23)

    Even before Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863,missionary-minded Yankees with strong antislavery, views saw a vast new field of endeavor in the education of several million illiterate blacks in the South. Northerners believed this task required their supervision, for Southern white control over black minds might produce dire consequences. The New England Freedmen’s Aid Society warned that unless the North maintained vigilant direction over black education, the victorious nation would waste a golden opportunity for implanting the seeds of liberty in the minds of freedmen. Not only must there be Yankee direction of schooling, but it should be New England...

  5. 2. Southern White Reaction
    (pp. 24-49)

    The response of Southern whites to the process of black education during and immediately after the Civil War produced two different but related controversies. The first and more intense argument concerned the selection of teachers for what became the bureauassociation schools, and whether these schools should be under the jurisdiction of Yankee “missionaries” or native Southern whites. The second controversy, when divested of emotional rhetoric, resolved itself to the more basic question of whether blacks should be educated at all.

    Those Northern teachers who came South after 1862 usually possessed strong humanitarian ideals of educating and uplifting a deprived, downtrodden...

  6. 3. Southern Public Schools & Integration
    (pp. 50-77)

    Although there were no tax-supported schools for slaves or free blacks in the South before 1860, some public schools existed for whites. By that year all Southern states except South Carolina had enacted constitutional provisions for public education, often optional rather than mandatory, and all made at least token efforts toward educating some white children at public expense. North Carolina and Louisiana organized the most comprehensive school systems, but these fell apart during the war.

    Perhaps because of its urban character, its long-standing commercial ties with the Northeast, and the high percentage of white citizens who had migrated from the...

  7. 4. Desegregation of Schools in Louisiana
    (pp. 78-102)

    Although all Southern states and the District of Columbia debated the mixed school issue during Reconstruction, only one state–Louisiana–went beyond token integration on the primary and secondary levels. Louisiana’s constitutional convention in February 1868, by a vote of 71–6, passed an education article (title VII, article 135) which provided that all children between six and twenty-one years of age be admitted to public schools without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. It emphasized that “there shall be no separate schools or institutions of learning established exclusively for any race by the state of Louisiana.”¹...

  8. 5. Integration in Public Higher Education
    (pp. 103-118)

    In contrast to public school systems, Southern public colleges and universities received little help from missionary teachers and Radical politicians during Reconstruction. The Freedmen’s Bureau and benevolent associations did aid in the creation of numerous private institutions of higher learning for blacks such as Atlanta, Fisk, and Howard universities, but usually took little interest in state-supported colleges unless these schools could be included in their plan of Reconstruction.

    Integration of state-supported colleges and universities was not usually a burning issue. In Arkansas the threat of racial mixing caused a brief flurry of controversy at the newly established (1872) Arkansas Industrial...

  9. 6. Congress & Integration
    (pp. 119-140)

    During the 1870s congressional Radicals led by Charles Sumner were interested in securing federal support for school integration throughout the nation and especially in the South. Although Southern Radicals had not been particularly successful in securing mixed school clauses in new state constitutions, certain Republicans in Washington attempted to do this when three former Confederate states applied for readmission to the Union. In 1870 the mixed school faction in Congress wished to incorporate guarantees for integrated schools in acts to readmit Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas. Much of their interest and concern resulted from the 1869 political campaign in Virginia where...

  10. 7. The Peabody Fund & Integration
    (pp. 141-160)

    In the decade following the Civil War, Southern school systems received vital financial assistance from a fund established in 1867 by the Northern philanthropist George Peabody.¹ The fund, as administered by the well-known educator and former college president Barnas Sears, was eventually distributed on a segregated basis, with no monies going to integrated schools. Although bitterly criticized by some Southern Radicals for promoting segregation and blocking integration, Sears and the Peabody Fund trustees insisted that they had to work within the realities of the Southern social system in order to secure the improvement and educational advancement of as many children...

  11. Bibliographical Essay
    (pp. 161-174)

    Since the preceding narrative has not concentrated on any individual, there is no single collection of personal papers and letters that is preeminent. The Charles Sumner Papers at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, were helpful in determining reactions of the general public to progressive stages of Sumner’s civil rights bill. These papers consist almost entirely of letters to Sumner. Most of the important papers of his authorship were published during or after his lifetime. Neither the Benjamin F. Butler Papers nor the William E. Chandler Papers provide insights or information on the political maneuverings behind the civil rights bill. There...

  12. Index
    (pp. 175-181)