Trying to Get an Education in the Country

“I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise.”(Washington). What Washington is trying to say in this quote is that to be able to get any type of education at all in a school house is like a once in a lifetime thing. Back in the slave times they didn’t really get an education. If they did it would be assumed that they were in a household to where they had to learn to cook and read from recipes.

One thing that people might not understand is that there were not only African Americans but, there were also Native Americans. Something else that isn’t recognized a lot is that of course the slaves were abused physically but, they were also psychological abused because, they were being denied of an education. This is a subject that people need to learn a little bit more about.

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The public needs to know if blacks got a education even though they were denied, were there schools they could attend and when did the schools become segregated and then integrated.

One question that probably isn’t asked a lot is, what was the slave owners stance on whether their slave got an education or not. The answer to this question would be that some slave owners wives would help their slaves learn to read the bible and sometimes let them go into plantation school. The reason for this is because in order for the slaves to be useful they needed to know how to read and or write to do their tasks.

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“My mistress took a fancy to me, and began to teach me some English words and phrases, for I only knew how to say ‘dis’ and ‘dat,’ ‘den’ and ‘dere,’ and a few such monosyllables.” (Francis). For example some slave owners actually taught their own slave how to read. Slaves managed to find a way to get education even though there were not very many opportunities.

Education most often consisted of on-the-job training in a variety of occupations.Whites were so scared that blacks were going to or might get ideas from reading. For example they might get an idea to run away or plan on attacking their holder. (Thirteen). Fanny Kemble said “ A slave ignorant; he eats, drinks, sleeps,labors, and is happy. He learns to read; he feels,thinks,reflects,and becomes miserable. He discovers himself to be one of a debased and degraded race, deprived of the elementary rights which God has granted to all men alike.” (Smith) What Kemble is trying to say is that if a slave finds out that they are being deprived of what they should be getting and that not only the labor should be fair but, also being in school and other things should be equal.

After asking if the slave owners allowed some slaves to learn someone might say “okay so later on were there schools for slaves?” The answer is yes, to some extent. The reason one would say some extent is because there were schools for blacks but, they were not favored by everyone. The first black school for girls opened and people were trying so hard to get rid of it, that they were attempting to burn it down just because they didn’t want blacks to get an education. In 1866 Mary Battey started a colored school even though there wasn’t that many people attending. The reason there wasn’t a lot of people was because, they might have been scared for their lives.

After knowing that there were public schools, one question that might be asked is when did the schools start becoming segregated. First, segregation is something that separates people by their race or color. Before 1950 segregation was a normal thing in the United States. Segregation had deprived minorities of their rights. Not only were the schools segregated but in the Northern and the Southern states the transportation, prisons and the army were also segregated.

Although some white Americans welcomed them, others used people’s ignorance, racism, and self-interest to sustain and spread racial divisions. Segregation made African Americans feel like they were inferior to the whites. Sometimes in the waiting rooms at places they would have chairs that said “whites only” and some that said “colored only”. Blacks and whites lived within close distances on farms and plantation. During the twentieth century people were working on legalizing school segregation. In doing this along came “Separate- but- Equal” doctrine (H.Charles,et al). The definition of “Separate-but-Equal” doctrine is racially segregated but ostensibly ensuring equal opportunities to all races.

People became dissatisfied with segregation and began to question the benefits of integration. Would allowing blacks and whites to mingle in the same schools,restaurants, and means of transportation be acceptable? Integration is the intermixing of people or groups that were previously segregated. Some might think that being integrated is better than being segregated but, some might think it’s the same. The reason in saying this is because when there is a school with someone that doesn’t like someone else there is a high chance of bullying. It would be like being a new kid at a school, not knowing anyone or even knowing what to do or where to go. Another thing that might be of interest is the transportation when there was integration. The blacks were allowed to use streetcars and the railroad. Sometimes the transportation companies liked integration, because they didn’t want to lose the blacks labor jobs.

Has complete integration been accomplished? In 1954 Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This case happened when a black railroad worker sued Topeka, Kansas to allow his daughter to attend a white school near their home. The case was presented by Thurgood Marshall,who later became the first Black Supreme Court Judge. Earl Warren was the Chief Justice and he declared that segregation violates the 14trh amendment of the constitution (Brown v. Board).

In summary although slaves were at first denied an education they were eventually able to attend a public school which was at first segregated and finally integrated in 1954. Some slave owners saw that slaves needed some training in order to do their tasks. In addition some were taught to read and write by their owners. Eventually there were schools for blacks, even though some whites did not favor it very much. In the late 19th century the concept “Separate but Equal” was decided. In 1954 America’s public schools had finally become integrated. With all this said, are schools and other public areas truly integrated today?

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Trying to Get an Education in the Country. (2021, Dec 09). Retrieved from

Trying to Get an Education in the Country

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