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Schooling Citizens: The Struggle for African American Education in Antebellum America

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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 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 conclusion. Through the comparative 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.

39 review for Schooling Citizens: The Struggle for African American Education in Antebellum America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    A great and compelling read about the history of education in the US. So much of what we see today in both k-12 and higher education were caused by actions that took place leading up to and immediately after the Civil War. Even though it there was a lot of information to digest, it was a very easy book to get through. I liked it a lot!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    371.82996 M9133 2009

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Reid

    Excellent read! Can't wait for the next one, I feel as though this book is just a set-up for something much greater:) Excellent read! Can't wait for the next one, I feel as though this book is just a set-up for something much greater:)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Evans

    A fascinating and insightful account of early struggles for educational equality for African-Americans. Highly recommended for both scholars and general history readers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diana

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