Political rights to African Americans
The Reconstruction era that followed that saw granting of civil and political rights to African Americans who had spent many years in servitude and oppression by the white Americans especially plantation owners. Even after the civil wars and emancipation of the African Americans, their social welfare did not improve. The African American children were denied education. This chapter notes that the introduction of the public schools was a step towards freedom for the African Americans. African American children flocked to school with zeal because most of them viewed education as a means to end their suffering and servitude. However, the author notes that some of the African-Americans were skeptical on education and perceived it as white people thing only.
The author agrees that the introduction of the public schools marked a significant post reconstruction achievement. However, the author argues that the goals of this noble work were not achieved because of the high illiteracy level amongst the African Americans today. The author claims that if the Negro public school system had been sustained the African-Americans today could boast a high level of literacy. The author argues that because of the public school's system of the 488,070 free African Americans in America 32,269 were attending school by 1860. However, in slave states only 3,651 African Americans could go to school, and they were supported by free African Americans. The reason for the small number of slaves who could attend schools at the time was due to the severity of the laws that aimed at keeping the African Americans in white people plantations and industries.
In North Carolina, Edward Stanley as the governor shut down a Negro public school with the aim of restoring the previous order. As the governor, Edward forbade the public schools for the slaves, and it was a crime to teach slaves to read and write. Despite the emphasis on general education and existence of elaborate plans for education in some states, they were ignored, and the public education for all at the public expense was an idea developed by the African Americans. In general, the Constitution had established the public schools, but there were no allocations for the programs which hindered their operations. Also, when a public school system was developed in 1839, the appointed superintendent over the program noted that there was no demand for public schools. The reason for poor enlistment in public schools was the poor support received from the government, and a burden of support was expected from the local authorities. In Georgia and Mississippi, there were plans for public education, but little was achieved due to the mismanagement of the funds because many white children were ignorant of education. In Alabama and North Carolina there were systems to support white people public education but due to lack of unity among planters to accept taxation for public education the system did not work.
Lack of willingness of the property owners to be taxed to support public education system was a significant obstacle towards the realization of public education. Moreover, white laborers in most states did not demand education in which they had accepted subordination to the slave holders and only wanted to get out of servitude to become slave holders themselves. In the south, public schools were driven by the demand of education by the black folks who had witnessed the ignorance of the white people and how education was a stepping stone for wealth and power. The planters resisted the education of the slaves and the white people more because of fear of losing a grip on them and perceived that move as a disaster and waste of private property.
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