Essay on Black Education in New York City during the 1830s

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An 1831 editorial in The Liberator made the perceptive observation that “a line, almost impassable, [was] drawn between the two races.”One might say that the “problem of the color line” had actually been identified over seventy years before W. E. B. Du Bois diagnosed it in 1903.The same editorial continued, “by law, or by custom, in much . . . of the country, [blacks] are in a great measure deprived of the lessons of education.In most . . . states they cannot vote, or be chosen to office.If aliens, they cannot be naturalized. . . . [Blacks] cannot mingle in society with . . . whites.”[i]Blacks were treated as second-class citizens.However, by the early 1830s northern blacks were deciding, whether it was in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, …show more content…
Even though many of the societies were short lived and their educational activities even more brief, collectively they represented a movement among free blacks, unprecedented to that time, to better their lives and achieve a more complete freedom[ii] through education.While there were African American groups in New York that had been established previously, the proliferation of organizations during the 1830s would give the decade particular significance in terms of educational attainment, institution building, and community development.

For blacks before the Civil War, attaining literacy was often fraught with incredible obstacles.There were too few schools and qualified teachers. White literary

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