Reading

South Carolina Freedpeople Demand Education

In November 1865, a convention of freedmen met in Charleston, South Carolina to demand new rights for African Americans. Foremost among their demands was education for their children. The resolution here was issued by the convention. This is Handout 3.5 (p. 46) from The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy


Whereas, “Knowledge is power,” and an educated and intelligent people can neither be held in, nor reduced to slavery; Therefore [be it] Resolved, That we will insist upon the establishment of good schools for the thorough education of our children throughout the State; that, to this end, we will contribute freely and liberally of our means, and will earnestly and persistently urge forward every measure calculated to elevate us to the rank of a wise, enlightened and Christian people. Resolved, That we solemnly urge the parents and guardians of the young and rising generation, by the sad recollection of our forced ignorance and degradation in the past, and by the bright and inspiring hopes of the future, to see that schools are at once established in every neighborhood; and when so established, to see to it that every child of proper age, is kept in regular attendance upon the same.1

  1. Citations

Related Content

Reading
Race in US History

Taking Down the Confederate Flag

Learn about the recent debate over the Confederate flag in South Carolina following the murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2015.

Video
Race in US History
The Reconstruction Era

Introduction: A Contested History

Scholars discuss how and why the history of Reconstruction is so contested.

Reading
Race in US History

Freedmen's Bureau Agent Reports on Progress in Education

This is an excerpt from a January 1866 Freedmen’s Bureau report on the "wonderful state" of education for freedpeople in the South, written by Freedmen’s Bureau inspector John W. Alvord.

Lesson
Race in US History

Defining Freedom

Students examine how freed people in the United States sought to define freedom after Emancipation.

Search Our Global Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.