Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 58
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
meeting, prompting the Citizen to comment, "the 'heft' of religious element in this county
seems to abide with the colored people, judging from the time and attention given to religious
matters." Later that year, the black Methodist Episcopal congregation in Columbus, which
also operated a school, purchased a lot on the northwest side of town and began construction
of a new church. It was completed in 1877. Meanwhile at Oakland, on November 25, 1876,
an apparently non-denominational group which called itself the Freedmen's Church bought a
one-acre site for their church. Almost a year to the day later, on November 24, 1877, the
African Methodist Episcopal congregation at Weimar bought two lots, one for a church and
one for a parsonage, from Jackson and Peirce. As they did when they gave the white
Methodists a lot a few weeks earlier, Jackson and Peirce cited "a desire we have to promote
[the] cause of morality & religion & to enhance the interests of Weimar." This time, how-
ever, they gave nothing away, charging $75 for the two lots. Still, the Weimar AME congre-
gation had entered into competition with Weimar's white Methodists in the race to build the
first church in town. 74
Perhaps because churches tended to be racially segregated, or perhaps be-
cause religious activity was of little consequence to them, conservative whites seem to have
been unconcerned about religion in the black community. Education, however, was another
matter. There was certainly some sentiment against educating blacks; and there was strong
sentiment against educating them in conjunction with whites. So it was that, between 1869
and 1871, when the state made another of its several attempts to establish free public schools,
schools which would admit both black and white children, resistance was widespread. Both
the constitution adopted by the state in 1869, which mandated the creation of a public school
system, and the law of August 13, 1870, which authorized each county to assess taxes to
fund the construction of schools and provided that public school teachers were to be paid
from the long-established state school fund, failed. It was not until after the law of April 24,
1871, which allowed counties to maintain as well as construct schools with taxes, and which
made attendance compulsory by declaring that, with some exceptions, the parents of school-
age children who did not attend a public school for at least four months were guilty of a
misdemeanor, that such schools became common. For persons in Colorado County, the most
notable exception to the compulsory attendance rule was the provision that exempted chil-
dren "who received regular instruction from any private teacher having a proper certificate
of competency," for private schools could be racially segregated. The Colorado Citizen,
74 Colorado Citizen, September 2, 1875, August 3, 1876, November 16, 1876, May 10, 1877;
Colorado County Deed Records, Book S, pp. 665, 666, Book T, p. 262, Book W, p. 368. Weimar's St.
James African Methodist Episcopal Church's own history states that the congregation was estab-
lished in February 1874; however no mention of its existence before 1877 could be located (see Mary
Hinton, Weimar, TexasFirst 100 Years 1873-1973 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1973), p. 134).
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/58/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.