A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South by Adam Fairclough

By Adam Fairclough

In this significant project, civil rights historian Adam Fairclough chronicles the odyssey of black lecturers within the South from emancipation in 1865 to integration 100 years later. No publication earlier has supplied us with the complete tale of what African American lecturers attempted, completed, and did not do in teaching the Southern black inhabitants over this serious century.

This magisterial narrative bargains a daring new imaginative and prescient of black academics, equipped from the tales of genuine women and men, from lecturers in one-room shacks to professors in purple brick universities. Fairclough explores how lecturers encouraged and inspired generations of kids, instilling values and information that nourished racial satisfaction and a hope for equality. while, he indicates that they weren't simply educators, but additionally missionaries, politicians, neighborhood leaders, and racial diplomats. Black lecturers needed to negotiate consistently among the white professionals who held the handbag strings and the black community's grassroots resistance to segregated criteria and white strength. academics have been a part of, but in addition except, the bigger black inhabitants. frequently missed, and infrequently lambasted, via either whites and blacks, academics have been tireless foot infantrymen within the lengthy civil rights fight.

Despite most unlikely odds--discrimination, overlook, occasionally violence--black lecturers engaged in a continual and finally heroic fight to make schooling a method of liberation. A classification in their Own is integral for knowing how blacks and whites interacted and coexisted after the abolition of slavery, and the way black groups built and coped with the demanding situations of freedom and oppression.

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Additional info for A Class of Their Own: Black Teachers in the Segregated South

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E. Jones gave food to a “sick Confederate soldier” in return for lessons. As Union armies invaded the Confederacy, northern missionaries and teachers followed. At first the schools they opened were confined to patches of coast seized early in the war: Hampton and Norfolk, Virginia; New Bern, North Carolina; the sea islands of Port Royal, South Carolina. By the end of the war they were also operating in inland areas that covered large black populations. Under General John Eaton, more than one hundred instructors taught in fifty-one freedmen’s schools in — 34 — Freedom’s First Generation the cities of Memphis, Vicksburg, Little Rock, and Pine Bluff, as well as in plantation areas such as Davis Bend, Mississippi.

But the law, community disapproval, and occasional intimidation failed to prevent slaveholders from teaching slaves if they so desired. As Governor Hayne of South Carolina told Benjamin Morgan Palmer: “Well, Doctor, we are not afraid that you will teach them anything bad. ”11 Why did slaveholders teach slaves to read and write, or allow them — 31 — A Class of Their Own to acquire literacy on their own? Personal affection for certain house servants was one reason. Mulatto slaves were sometimes pampered by their white fathers.

The “goodwill” and “racial cooperation” that black teachers constantly invoked appeared to do little to weaken white supremacy. The recognition that whites accorded colored “professors” and “doctors” symbolized condescension, not respect. Teachers often acted as if they spoke for the black community, but many suspected them of looking out for their own self-interest. The vehement opposition that Booker T. Washington evoked among blacks exemplified the controversial nature of accommodationism. Teachers faced continual criticism that they were selling the race short and even betraying it.

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