African Americans who pursued higher education in antebellum America often faced harassment and violence. Historians link the struggle over African American education with broader protest strategies, with African American men taking center stage. This essay enlarges the narrative on African American education and social protest by examining how young African American women students contested racism and white supremacy. Focusing on the controversy that surrounded the first high school for young African American women in New England, this essay argues that young African American women deployed an ethic of Christian love as a form of social protest. These women named racial prejudice as anti-Christian while also advocating for a just and loving nation inclusive of African Americans. Though white opposition eventually shuttered the school, this essay shows how African American women's activism in the antebellum era is part of a longer genealogy of social protest.


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pp. 652-676
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