Reconstruction Period Research Forum
Reconstruction - LOC
"Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877" -- A FREEDMEN's Primer on the LOC Learning Page.
This site also contains some of the First Hand accounts of the agents and field workers. One such account is from a teacher in a South Louisiana 'school house' ...
"Did well enough till it rained, since then have walked three miles a day, ankle deep in thick black mud that pulls off my shoes. Nothing to eat but strong pork and sour bread. Insulted for being a `nigger teacher.' Can't buy anything on credit, and have'nt a cent of money. The school shed has no floor, and the rains sweep clean across it, through the places where the windows should be. I have to huddle the children first in one corner and then in another to keep them from drowning or swamping. The Provost Marshal won't help me. Says 'he don't believe in nigger teachers--did'nt 'list to help them.' The children come rain or shine, plunging through the mud--some of them as far as I do. Pretty pictures they are. What shall I do? If it will ever stop raining I can get along."
Still more insights into the difficulty of both teachers and students...
"I have, in vain, attempted to form a night school. I never dared take more than two pupils, because some of the officers are so opposed to the instruction of negroes. One use to let his dogs loose after supper to bite the night-scholars, till I told him I would kill them if they bit my pupils. A great many would come to night-school only they are afraid."
And finally, this report from a place I know well:
"In Thibodeaux the school-house has been broken open, on successive nights, for months past, the furniture defaced, the books destroyed and the house made untenable by nuisance. Bricks and missiles have been hurled through the windows, greatly risking limb and life, and making general commotion. Complaint after complaint has not yet afforded relief or protection. . . . " ¹
Note: The Learning Pages are presented for the secondary / high school education level. Still, these pages offer a very good bare bones INTRO into a complicated and emotional period in our country's history. (imho)
¹ "Report of the Board of Education for Freedmen, Department of the Gulf, for the year 1864. New Orleans: Printed at the Office of the True Delta. 1865", from African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress, [onine at loc web site, "American Memory" at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/aap/aaphome.html.]
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