In this Book

summary
In this previously untold story of African American self-education, Heather Andrea Williams moves across time to examine African Americans' relationship to literacy during slavery, during the Civil War, and in the first decades of freedom. Self-Taught traces the historical antecedents to freedpeople's intense desire to become literate and demonstrates how the visions of enslaved African Americans emerged into plans and action once slavery ended.

Enslaved people, Williams contends, placed great value in the practical power of literacy, whether it was to enable them to read the Bible for themselves or to keep informed of the abolition movement and later the progress of the Civil War. Some slaves devised creative and subversive means to acquire literacy, and when slavery ended, they became the first teachers of other freedpeople. Soon overwhelmed by the demands for education, they called on northern missionaries to come to their aid. Williams argues that by teaching, building schools, supporting teachers, resisting violence, and claiming education as a civil right, African Americans transformed the face of education in the South to the great benefit of both black and white southerners.



Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. 1 In Secret Places: Acquiring Literacy in Slave Communities
  2. pp. 7-29
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  1. 2 A Coveted Possession: Literacy in the First Days of Freedom
  2. pp. 30-44
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  1. 3 The Men Are Actually Clamoring for Books: African American Soldiers and the Educational Mission
  2. pp. 45-66
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  1. 4 We Must Get Education for Ourselves and Our Children: Advocacy for Education
  2. pp. 67-79
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  1. 5 We Are Striving to Dwo Buisness on Our Own Hook: Organizing Schools on the Ground
  2. pp. 80-95
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  1. 6 We Are Laboring under Many Difficulties: African American Teachers in Freedpeople’s Schools
  2. pp. 96-125
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  1. 7 A Long and Tedious Road to Travel for Knowledge: Textbooks and Freedpeople’s Schools
  2. pp. 126-137
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  1. 8 If Anybody Wants an Education, It Is Me: Students in Freedpeople’s Schools
  2. pp. 138-173
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  1. 9 First Movings of the Waters: The Creation of Common School Systems for Black and White Students
  2. pp. 174-200
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 201-202
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  1. Appendix: African Americans, Literacy, and the Law in the Antebellum South
  2. pp. 203-214
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 215-264
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 265-286
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 287-304
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469604848
Related ISBN(s)
9780807829202, 9780807858219, 9780807888971
MARC Record
OCLC
966766044
Pages
320
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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