Winner of the 1979 John Ben Snow Prize
“Written with grace and based upon impressive research, it treats black education within the context of an ever-shifting, but always complex, web of race relations and the changing legal and socioeconomic status of blacks.”—American Historical Review
“A first-rate piece of work…. Raises questions and defines issues on Afro-American education for years to come. I believe that this work will become a standard.”—Monroe Fordham, editor of Afro-Americans in New York Life and History
In this first comprehensive history of black education in New York State, Carleton Mabee contributes to a fuller understanding of the role blacks have played in American education. As he says in the final chapter, “This agonizing narrative, stretching over more than three centuries, reveals not only the severe limits as to what education by itself can achieve, but also significant improvement in the education of blacks—halting and limited improvement, to be sure, but nevertheless improvement, and thus can give us hope.” Mabee discusses colonial church-sponsored efforts to educate slaves, the work of nineteenth-century white abolitionists in promoting black education, and the role of both blacks and whites in developing public schools and other kinds of schools for blacks. Extensive research into primary sources provides new insights into the major nineteenth-century school issues as they related to blacks in the state. Mabee also examines the impact of the “Great Migration” of blacks into the state in the early twentieth century and the revival of segregated schools that followed.
Carleton Mabee was professor of history at State University of New York, College at New Paltz, and the author of American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F. B. Morse, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography, and Black Freedom: The Nonviolent Abolitionists from 1830 through the Civil War, for which he received the Anisfield-Wolf Award.
Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.