Schooling Citizens: The Struggle For African American Education In Antebellum America

Paperback | December 6, 2013

byHilary J. Moss

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While white residents of antebellum Boston and New Haven forcefully opposed the education of black residents, their counterparts in slaveholding Baltimore did little to resist the establishment of African American schools. Such discrepancies, Hilary Moss argues, suggest that white opposition to black education was not a foregone conclusion. Through the comparative lenses of these three cities, she shows why opposition erupted where it did across the United States during the same period that gave rise to public education.

As common schooling emerged in the 1830s, providing white children of all classes and ethnicities with the opportunity to become full-fledged citizens, it redefined citizenship as synonymous with whiteness. This link between school and American identity, Moss argues, increased white hostility to black education at the same time that it spurred African Americans to demand public schooling as a means of securing status as full and equal members of society. Shedding new light on the efforts of black Americans to learn independently in the face of white attempts to withhold opportunity, Schooling Citizens narrates a previously untold chapter in the thorny history of America’s educational inequality.

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While white residents of antebellum Boston and New Haven forcefully opposed the education of black residents, their counterparts in slaveholding Baltimore did little to resist the establishment of African American schools. Such discrepancies, Hilary Moss argues, suggest that white opposition to black education was not a foregone conclu...

Hilary J. Moss is associate professor of history and black studies at Amherst College.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:290 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:December 6, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022610298X

ISBN - 13:9780226102986

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part 1: Education’s Inequity: New Haven, Connecticut
Chapter 1: The Emergence of White Opposition to African American Education
Chapter 2: Interracial Activism and African American Higher Education

Part 2: Education’s Enclave: Baltimore, Maryland
Chapter 3: Race, Labor, and Literacy in a Slaveholding City
Chapter 4: African American Educational Activism under the Shadow of Slavery

Part 3: Education’s Divide: Boston, Massachusetts
Chapter 5: Race, Space, and Educational Opportunity
Chapter 6: Common Schools, Revolutionary Memory, and the Crisis of Black Citizenship in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Conclusion: The Great Equalizer?

Appendix 1: Index of Occupational Categories
Appendix 2: Name, Occupation, and Address of Identifiable Petitioners Opposing the Proposal to Build a School for Black Children on Southack Street
 
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

‘There has been an immeasurable amount of research done on the educational history of African Americans, but until recently little attention has been paid to the education of African Americans during the antebellum era, particularly in the North. Hilary J. Moss’s evidentiary rich, meticulously researched, and masterfully written book is an important contribution on the subject. It illustrates the successes and challenges African Americans faced in primarily three locales—New Haven, Baltimore, and Boston. . . . Schooling Citizens should be read by anyone interested in nineteenth-century race relations, social history, or the educational history of African Americans. It seeks to address an inherent contradiction in the mythology of American education—that schools were accessible to all—and it demonstrates the complications race played in questions related to not only citizenship and schooling but also the meaning of democracy itself.”