Two an education system for Blacks in the

Two Hundred Forty-six.  This number represents the number of years
that Africans spent as slaves in America. 
During this time-period, slaves would endure physical and mental abuse designed
to keep them as a source of free labor primarily in the American South.  It would take a Civil War which proved to be
the deadliest war in America’s history for slaves to gain their freedom.  After the Civil War slaves found themselves
in an unprecedented situation.  No longer
under the control of Southern plantation owners, what were there plans for a
new future of freedom?  With this newly
earned freedom what was the next step for slaves?  I will examine education and its role in
seeking equality for former slaves.

               As
I began exploring the role of education I analyze my first source an article
written by David Tyack and Robert Lowe, The
Constitutional Moment:  Reconstruction
and Black Education in the South.1

The authors focus their research on
the participants involved in establishing an education system for Blacks in the
South during the Reconstruction Era.  The
article also discusses the different methods used by each group to create an
educational system.  Although a system
was developed for blacks this article details some of the obstructions that
were faced in the creation of an educational platform in the South.

               When
it comes to developing their topic, I think the authors did a great job in
describing the different parties who were in favor of the pro-education
process, which included Blacks, former Abolitionist, and Republican
Lawmakers.  I also thought the article
went in-depth detailing the various reasons that each group felt that establishing
an educational system was necessary to the South.  I did have questions as to what part these
differences may have played in this process and if it had any bearing on
Southerners regaining control over government. 
The article also gives examples of different locales throughout the
South that faced similar obstacles to obtaining free and equal education for
the children of the South.   I believe
that the reason the author researched this topic was to show the correlation
between education and equality.

               I
would have to say that the method of study used was qualitative.  I believe that an article such as this, the
qualitative method would be your choice for conducting research.  Primarily because the researcher is relying
on historical documents to support their topic and these documents may be the
best source to demonstrate what the actual participants may have been thinking.  As
I continued to read the article I realized that the author does show a bias in
their article.  The article focuses on
the reasons why education was important to pro-education groups from that
time-period it does not give equal evidence to support why White Southerners
were opposed to an education system that included Blacks.  I do not think the authors purposely left out
views of these White Southerners, I just think the focus of the article was to
document the move to create an educational platform for Blacks in the South.

I shift my attention on the results
of the authors’ conclusion and if they have included evidence to support their
conclusion.  In the epilogue, the authors
suggest that law is being used as an instrument of inequality in the South in
terms of educational opportunities for African Americans.  In this case I would define the results as
any example that shows how lawmakers used the law to create inequality and more
specifically what law was created that caused inequality.

In the beginning
of the article, the authors give examples as how Radical Republicans and freed
Blacks used their influence to create an educational foundation in the early
stages of Reconstruction.  The authors
demonstrate this by including evidence of the legislation that was passed such
as the requirement of Confederate States to include a provision in their state
constitutions that would establish a free and public education system.  The article while it does mention different
means as to how Southern Whites began the discrepancy in school systems between
blacks and whites, it does not in my opinion give ample citations to clearly
demonstrate this.

In the conclusion
for this article, Tyack and Lowe tell us that law is used by the will of the
people who control legislation and Southern Whites used the law to strengthen
the inequalities that existed prior to Reconstruction.  This sentiment can be summed up when they
write “Law responds to the demands placed on the legal system by the groups
that constitute society and thus provides a map of patterns of power”.2  I think this statement reinforces the citations
that the authors use by showing us how groups that were pro-education in the
South used their influence to create legislation that sought education as a
means for African Americans to establish equality.  The article also cites examples of how Radical
Republicans made the inclusion of a provision that would require Confederate
States to include a free and public education system as criteria for
readmission to the Union.  These
provisions show us that at that point of time the lawmakers were able to create
law that would help in leveling out the inequalities that existed in the
South.  I feel the article is a contrast
to the authors’ conclusion, I feel the article primarily gives evidence to the
ability and desire of pro-education group’s creation of an equal educational
system.

In my research, looking at other
articles that dealt with the pursuit of education among former slaves, I find
that most other writers agree that the period of Reconstruction was a small
opportunity of time that was available to setup an educational system that
would truly help ex-slaves reach a level of equality in America.  In its failure to do so, African Americans
saw their access to the political arena minimized and subsequently remain under
a Southern mentality that resembled pre-Civil War era.

               The
second source that I chose to examine is an article written by Ronald E.
Butchart and Amy F. Rolleri, Secondary
Education and Emancipation:  Secondary
Schools for Freed Slaves in the American South, 1862-1875.3  The research for this article focuses on the
creation of higher education for blacks, curriculum being taught, and the
proliferation of higher education institutions in the American South.  In doing their research the authors do a great
job of detailing the development of institutions of higher education and the
differences in the curriculum being taught. 
By discussing the curriculum that is being taught, Butchart and Rolleri display
specific subject matter that was important to former slaves, such as teacher
training and ministerial education.  This
research clearly points out the demand for education that existed throughout
the South.  By discussing the curriculum
being offered, Butchart and Rolleri reinforce the argument of Tyack and Lowe and
their assertion behind the reasoning of former slaves seeking education.

               The
authors use a qualitative method of research evidenced by incorporating the
themes of pioneers of black higher education and outlining the reasons for
creating institutions can be clearly shown when Butchart and Rolleri write, “creating
institutions of secondary and higher education spoke to a longing for autonomy
and freedom from white control.  To train
teachers and ministers was to prepare leadership for their own people”.4
 The authors also include an appendix which
list the dates when institutions for black higher education were established,
this use of qualitative research strengthens the writers’ argument for the
demand of education by showing the rapid growth by which these institutions
were being opened.  Another example of
the qualitative research that was conducted is by going into detail of the
various types of institutions that were available for freedmen and how the
curriculum being taught varied.  The
limitations of the research can best be summed up by Butchart and Rolleri when
they write “while historians have detailed the South’s history of emerging
systems of primary schooling and of black higher education during the Civil War
and Reconstruction, black secondary education as a specific institutional form
has been ignored.”5  Here the author admits that there has not
been significant studies which examine this topic, however I would have liked
to hear the authors’ opinion as to why this topic is ignored and the importance
of researching it. 

               The
author provides ample amount of evidence to support their conclusions.  Education was highly sought after by former
slaves and the curriculum offered by higher institutions of learning clearly
supports their topic.  I do find it worth
mentioning that the authors mentions the differences that exist in the groups
that were establishing the educational institutions.  As mentioned in the previous source, the
African American, the radical Republican and the different philanthropist all
had their different reasons as to creating an educational platform for the former
slaves.

               Former
slaves wanting a better way of life is no secret, it is a comment that should
be obvious to anyone reading it.  The
fact that former slaves would choose education as a vehicle to gaining equality
is worth noting.  It is interesting that
an uneducated people would see education as a necessary tool to even the
playing field.  The fact that a people
who were subjected to slavery for such a long period of time could organize
themselves and setup a framework of education in such a short period of time is
truly amazing.  Even though American
Southerners would eventually curtail a lot of the progress made by freedmen,
the establishment of an educational would create an avenue in which former
slaves could better themselves.  I would
argue that had freedmen been giving the opportunity to continue the process of
creating education and receive equal funding of all the public education the
debates that we continue to have today over racial equality may not exist.

 

1 Tyack, David, and Robert Lowe. “The Constitutional
Moment: Reconstruction and Black Education in the South.” American
Journal of Education 94, no. 2 (n.d.): 236-256. SocINDEX
with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed January 24, 2018).

2 Tyack,
David, and Robert Lowe. “The Constitutional Moment: Reconstruction and
Black Education in the South.” American Journal of Education 94,
no. 2 (n.d.): 236-256.

3 Butchart, Ronald E., and Amy F. Rolleri. 2004.
“Secondary Education and Emancipation: Secondary Schools for Freed Slaves
in the American South, 1862-1875.” Paedagogica Historica:
International Journal Of The History Of Education 40, no. 1-2:
157-181. ERIC, EBSCOhost (accessed January 27,
2018).

4 Butchart,
Ronald E., and Amy F. Rolleri. 2004. “Secondary Education and
Emancipation: Secondary Schools for Freed Slaves in the American South,
1862-1875.” Paedagogica Historica: International Journal Of The
History Of Education 40, no. 1-2: 157-181.

5 Butchart,
Ronald E., and Amy F. Rolleri. 2004. “Secondary Education and
Emancipation: Secondary Schools for Freed Slaves in the American South,
1862-1875.” Paedagogica Historica: International Journal Of The
History Of Education 40, no. 1-2: 157-181. ERIC, EBSCOhost (accessed
January 27, 2018).