Emancipation and Reconstruction: African American Education, 1865–1919

Joy Ann Williamson-Lott, Linda Darling-Hammond and Maria E. Hyler

in The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195188059
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Emancipation and Reconstruction: African American Education, 1865–1919


Emancipation and the end of the Civil War forced the nation to grapple with the question of how to integrate and adjust these new black citizens into the fabric of America. Blacks pushed forward toward racial equality. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments provided them first-class citizen status, and with Reconstruction era elections, blacks gained significant political power in some states and worked to institutionalize their constitutional rights and privileges. One of their primary interests was the building of a system of public schools that would advance the political, social, and economic interests of the black community. Black legislators helped to create a strong common school system for both races, a new phenomenon in the southern United States where public schooling had been nonexistent. With Emancipation, African Americans initiated “an educational revolution in the American South.” Freed slaves mobilized to establish and operate schools. Sympathetic northern whites funded many of these schools, but many more were community schools established and run by blacks.

Keywords: African American education; racial equality; black citizens; political power; constitutional rights; American South

Article.  8703 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Politics and Law

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