The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973 Page: 398
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ings or lands held in trust for the same by any person . . . and to use the
same or appropriate the proceeds derived therefrom to the education of the
To institute organized Negro education, however, the Bureau needed
more than Congressional action.
Several factors militated against the concept and the reality of educa-
tion for the freedmen. In the state of Texas, as well as in the rest of the
South, massive Negro illiteracy contributed largely to the problem. Of
the more than 18o,ooo Negroes in Texas in 186o-nearly one-fourth of
the total population-only 11 free blacks out of a total of 355 are re-
corded as having attended any school in that year, and none of the
slaves are recorded as having attended. No real "public school" system
existed even for whites-more than 18,000 white adults were reported as
illiterate in 186o-and attempts to institute any form of Negro educa-
tion were bound to encounter widespread opposition from the white
The white people of Texas, like those in most of the South, largely
opposed Negro education because they feared education would exacer-
bate the difficulty of "keeping the nigger in his place." Education, many
of them reasoned, would make the Negro arrogant, stubborn, and re-
sentful of what they thought his rightful place of social and political
inferiority in southern society. Whites also were afraid that school at-
tendance would interfere with the freedmen's work habits. Further-
more, was it not true that the Negro was "uneducable"? Had it not been
"proven" that he was "inherently" an intellectual inferior to the white
man? Was it not correct that Negro civilization, both in Africa and
America, had failed, at least by Anglo-Saxon standards, to produce any-
thing of cultural or technical significance? Many whites, northerners as
well as southerners, pondered these questions and "facts" and came to
the conclusion that Negro education was an impossibility.4
Although Texas's black population was smaller than most of the
other southern states, she was at a disadvantage in obtaining teachers
because of the region's geographic position in relation to the North,
2 The Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America
from December, 1865, to March, 1867, Vol. XIV (Boston, 1868), 176.
3 U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States- z86o. Population (Washington,
1864), 476-483; Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Negro Population, 179o-
1915 (Washington, 1918), 57.
4 Claude H. Nolen, The Negro's Image in the South: The Anatomy of White Supremacy
(Lexington, 1967), 104-log09; Alton Hornsby, Jr. (ed.), In the Cage: Eyewitness Accounts of
the Freed Negro in Southern Society, z877-1929 (Chicago, 1971), 1o-16.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973, periodical, 1973; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/m1/454/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.