I remember reading once that there were universities in India that were managed or run by the British, and that these schools permitted native Africans to attend. However, it was a long time ago and I can't find the source. (Of course, it's also possible that I imagined it all!) Can anyone help me identify any university level schools that would have accepted native African students during the early 1890's? It doesn't matter to me where they might have been located, but I would be particularly interested in any around the Africa region or possible England.
I tried looking at the biographies of known native Africans. An obvious starting point is Nelson Mandela, he went to the University of Fort Hare. Close but no cigar: that university was founded in 1916. However, his biography also mentions University of South Africa (founded as University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1876) and University of the Witwatersrand (founded as South African School of Mines in 1896). Mandela studied there half a century after the period you are asking about here but if one is to believe Wikipedia on this, there were no acceptance restrictions for black students before late 40's of 20th century. So at least theoretically native Africans were allowed to study there. To prove that it also happened practically one needs to actually find somebody who studied there during the period in question (e.g. Sol Plaatje had to resort to private lessons, no good).
Looking at personalities from Ghana, things first looked worse there. I could find lots of people who studied in Europe: Germany, France, England. For example J. Benibengor Blay who studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic in the 30's of the 20th century. Or Jacobus Capitein who studied at the University of Leiden in the 18th century. Then I found J.E. Casely-Hayford, looks like he attended Fourah Bay College in Freetown (Sierra Leone) somewhere around 1890. Seeing that this university existed since 1827 it must have been an obvious destination for native Africans looking for an education option. Africanus Horton and Samuel Ajayi Crowther attended the same university earlier. One of the sources for the Wikipedia article even says:
From 1827 to 1950 and from 1969 to the present, the majority of the faculty was African.
I looked some more but couldn't find any other university in West Africa, maybe Fourah Bay College was the only one at that time.
Demands for better public education were many. Employers wanted a better educated workforce, at least for the technical jobs. Classical liberals believed that public education was the cornerstone of any democracy. Our system of government could be imperiled if large numbers of uneducated masses voted unwisely.
Teaching America's Youth
Church leaders and modern liberals were concerned for the welfare of children. They believed that a strong education was not only appropriate, but an inalienable right owed to all. Furthermore, critics of child labor practices wanted longer mandatory school years. After all, if a child was in school, he or she would not be in the factory.
In 1870, about half of the nation's children received no formal education whatsoever. Although many states provided for a free public education for children between the ages of 5 and 21, economic realities kept many children working in mines, factories, or on the farm. Only six states had compulsory education laws at this point, and most were for only several weeks per year.
Massachusetts was the leader in tightening laws. By 1890, all children in Massachusetts between the ages of 6 and 10 were required to attend school at least twenty weeks per year. These laws were much simpler to enact than to enforce. Truant officers would be necessary to chase down offenders. Private and religious schools would have to be monitored to ensure quality standards similar to public schools. Despite resistance, acceptance of mandatory elementary education began to spread. By the turn of the century such laws were universal throughout the North and West, with the South lagging behind.
Under the laws of Jim Crow , the public schools in operation in the South were entirely segregated by race in 1900. Mississippi became the last state to require elementary education in 1918.
Other reforms began to sweep the nation. Influenced by German immigrants, kindergartens sprouted in urban areas, beginning with St. Louis in 1873. Demands for better trained teachers led to an increase in "normal" schools, colleges that specialized in preparation to teach. By 1900, one in five public school teachers had a degree.
More and more high schools were built in the last three decades of the 19th century. During that period the number of public high schools increased from 160 to 6,000, and the nation's illiteracy rate was cut nearly in half. However, only 4% of American children between the ages of 14 and 17 were actually enrolled.
Higher Education for All
Higher education was changing as well. In general, the number of colleges increased owing to the creation of public land-grant colleges by the states and private universities sponsored by philanthropists, such as Stanford and Vanderbilt.
Opportunities for women to attend college were also on the rise. Mt. Holyoke , Smith , Vassar , Wellesley , and Bryn Mawr Colleges provided a liberal arts education equivalent to their males-only counterparts. By 1910, 40% of the nation's college students were female, despite the fact that many professions were still closed to women.
Although nearly 47% of the nation's colleges accepted women, African American attendance at white schools was virtually nonexistent. Black colleges such as Howard , Fisk , and Atlanta University rose to meet this need.
President Garfield assassinated. President Garfield was shot on July 2 he died on September 19. Vice President Chester A. Arthur (Republican) succeeded Garfield as president.
Tuskegee Institute founded. Booker T. Washington became the first principal of Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, on July 4. Tuskegee became the leading vocational training institution for African-Americans.
Segregation of public transportation. Tennessee segregated railroad cars, followed by Florida (1887), Mississippi (1888), Texas (1889), Louisiana (1890), Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Georgia (1891), South Carolina (1898), North Carolina (1899), Virginia (1900), Maryland (1904), and Oklahoma (1907).
Civil Rights Act overturned. On October 15, the Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional. The Court declared that the Fourteenth Amendment forbids states, but not citizens, from discriminating.
Sojourner Truth dies. Sojourner Truth, a courageous and ardent abolitionist and a brilliant speaker, died on November 26.
A political coup and a race riot. On November 3, white conservatives in Danville, Virginia, seized control of the local government, racially integrated and popularly elected, killing four African-Americans in the process.
Lynchings. Fifty-three black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1883.
Cleveland elected president. Grover Cleveland (Democrat) was elected president on November 4.
Lynchings. Fifty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1884.
A black Episcopal bishop. On June 25, African-American Samuel David Ferguson was ordained a bishop of the Episcopal church.
Lynchings. Seventy-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1885.
The Carrollton Massacre. On March 17, 20 black Americans were massacred at Carrollton, Mississippi.
Labor organizes. The American Federation of Labor was organized on December 8, signaling the rise of the labor movement. All major unions of the day excluded black Americans.
Lynchings. Seventy-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1886.
Two of the first African-American banks. Two of America's first black-owned banks -- the Savings Bank of the Grand Fountain United Order of the Reformers, in Richmond Virginia, and Capital Savings Bank of Washington, DC, opened their doors.
Harrison elected president. Benjamin Harrison (Republican) was elected president on November 6.
Lynchings. Sixty-nine black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1888.
Census of 1890.
U.S. population: 62,947,714
Black population: 7,488,676 (11.9%)
The Afro-American League. On January 25, under the leadership of Timothy Thomas Fortune, the militant National Afro-American League was founded in Chicago.
African-Americans are disenfranchised. The Mississippi Plan, approved on November 1, used literacy and "understanding" tests to disenfranchise black American citizens. Similar statutes were adopted by South Carolina (1895), Louisiana (1898), North Carolina (1900), Alabama (1901), Virginia (1901), Georgia (1908), and Oklahoma (1910).
A white supremacist is elected. Populist "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman was elected governor of South Carolina. He called his election "a triumph of . white supremacy."
Lynchings. Eighty-five black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1890.
Grover Cleveland elected president. Grover Cleveland (Democrat) was elected president on November 8.
Lynchings. One hundred and sixty-one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1892.
The Pullman strike. The Pullman Company strike caused a national transportation crisis. On May 11, African-Americans were hired by the company as strike-breakers.
Lynchings. One hundred and thirty-four black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1894.
Douglass dies. African-American leader and statesman Frederick Douglass died on February 20.
A race riot. Whites attacked black workers in New Orleans on March 11-12. Six blacks were killed.
The Atlanta Compromise. Booker T. Washington delivered his famous "Atlanta Compromise" address on September 18 at the Atlanta Cotton States Exposition. He said the "Negro problem" would be solved by a policy of gradualism and accommodation.
The National Baptist Convention. Several Baptist organizations combined to form the National Baptist Convention of the U.S.A. the Baptist church is the largest black religious denomination in the United States.
Lynchings. One hundred and thirteen black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1895.
Plessy v. Ferguson. The Supreme Court decided on May 18 in Plessy v. Ferguson that "separate but equal" facilities satisfy Fourteenth Amendment guarantees, thus giving legal sanction to Jim Crow segregation laws.
Black women organize. The National Association of Colored Women was formed on July 21 Mary Church Terrell was chosen president.
McKinley elected president. On November 3, William McKinley (Republican) was elected president.
George Washington Carver. George Washington Carver was appointed director of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute. His work advanced peanut, sweet potato, and soybean farming.
Lynchings. Seventy-eight black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1896.
American Negro Academy. The American Negro Academy was established on March 5 to encourage African-American participation in art, literature and philosophy.
Lynchings. One hundred and twenty-three black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1897.
The Spanish-American War. The Spanish-American War began on April 21. Sixteen regiments of black volunteers were recruited four saw combat. Five black Americans won Congressional Medals of Honor.
The National Afro-American Council. Founded on September 15, the National Afro-American Council elected Bishop Alexander Walters its first president.
A race riot. On November 10, in Wilmington, North Carolina, eight black Americans were killed during white rioting.
Black-owned insurance companies. The North Carolina Mutual and Provident Insurance Company and the National Benefit Life Insurance Company of Washington, DC were established. Both companies were black-owned.
Lynchings. One hundred and one black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1898.
A lynching protest. The Afro-American Council designated June 4 as a national day of fasting to protest lynchings and massacres.
Lynchings. Eighty-five black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1899.
Census of 1900.
U.S. population: 75,994,575
Black population: 8,833,994 (11.6%)
Lynchings. One hundred and six black Americans are known to have been lynched in 1900.
A World's Fair. The Paris Exposition was held, and the United States pavilion housed an exhibition on black Americans. The "Exposition des Negres d'Amerique" won several awards for excellence. Daniel A. P. Murray's collection of works by and about black Americans was developed for this exhibition.
The following works were valuable sources in the compilation of this Time Line: Lerone Bennett's Before the Mayflower (Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 1982), W. Augustus Low and Virgil A. Clift's Encyclopedia of Black America (New York: Da Capo Press, 1984), and Harry A. Ploski and Warren Marr's The Negro Almanac (New York: Bellwether Co., 1976).
Education in Colonial America
One of the main objections people have to getting government out of the education business and turning it over to the free market is that “it simply would not get the job done.” This type of thinking is due, in large measure, to what one historian called “a parochialism in time,”  i.e., a limited view of an issue for lack of historical perspective. Having served the twelve-year sentence in government-controlled schools, most Americans view our present public school system as the measure of all things in education. Yet for two hundred years in American history, from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s, public schools as we know them to day were virtually non-existent, and the educational needs of America were met by the free market. In these two centuries, America produced several generations of highly skilled and literate men and women who laid the foundation for a nation dedicated to the principles of freedom and self-government.
The private system of education in which our forefathers were educated included home, school, church, voluntary associations such as library companies and philosophical societies, circulating libraries, apprenticeships, and private study. It was a system supported primarily by those who bought the services of education, and by private benefactors. All was done without compulsion. Although there was a veneer of government involvement in some colo nies, such as in Puritan Massachusetts, early American education was essentially based on the principle of voluntarism. 
Dr. Lawrence A. Cremin, distinguished scholar in the field of education, has said that during the colonial period the Bible was “the single most important cultural influence in the lives of Anglo-Americans.” 
Thus, the cornerstone of early American education was the belief that “children are an heritage from the Lord.”  Parents believed that it was their responsibility to not only teach them how to make a living, but also how to live. As our forefathers searched their Bibles, they found that the function of government was to protect life and property.  Education was not a responsibility of the civil government.
Education Began in the Home and the Fields
Education in early America began in the home at the mother’s knee, and often ended in the cornfield or barn by the father’s side. The task of teaching reading usually fell to the mother, and since paper was in short supply, she would trace the letters of the alphabet in the ashes and dust by the fireplace.  The child learned the alphabet and then how to sound out words. Then a book was placed in the child’s hands, usually the Bible. As many passages were familiar to him, having heard them at church or at family devotions, he would soon master the skill of reading. The Bible was supplemented by other good books such as Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, The New England Primer, and Isaac Watt’s Divine Songs. From volumes like these, our founding fathers and their generation learned the values that laid the foundation for free enterprise. In “Against Idleness and Mischief,” for example, they learned individual responsibility before God in the realm of work and learning. 
How skillfully she builds her cell,
How neat she spreads the wax
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labour, or of skill,
I would be busy too
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play
Let my first years be passed
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
Armed with love, common sense, and a nearby woodshed, colonial mothers often achieved more than our modern-day elementary schools with their federally-funded programs and education specialists. These colonial mothers used simple, time-tested methods of instruction mixed with plain, old-fashioned hard work. Children were not ruined by educational experiments developed in the ivory towers of academe. The introduction to a reading primer from the early 19th century testifies to the importance of home instruction.  It says: “The author cannot but hope that this book will enable many a mother or aunt, or elder brother or sister, or perhaps a beloved grandmother, by the family fireside, to go through in a pleasant and sure way with the art of preparing the child for his first school days.”
Home education was so common in America that most children knew how to read before they entered school. As Ralph Walker has pointed out, “Children were often taught to read at home before they were subjected to the rigours of school. In middle-class families, where the mother would be expected to be literate, this was considered part of her duties. 
Without ever spending a dime of tax money, or without ever consulting a host of bureaucrats, psychologists, and specialists, children in early America learned the basic academic skills of reading, writing, and ciphering necessary for getting along in society. Even in Boston, the capital city of the colony in which the government had the greatest hand, children were taught to read at home. Samuel Eliot Morison, in his excellent study on education in colonial New England, says: 
Boston offers a curious problem. The grammar (Boston Latin) school was the only public school down to 1684, when a writing school was established and it is probable that only children who already read were admitted to that . . . . they must have learned to read somehow, since there is no evidence of unusual illiteracy in the town. And a Boston bookseller’s stock in 1700 includes no less than eleven dozen spellers and sixty-one dozen primers.
The answer to this supposed problem is simple. The books were bought by parents, and illiteracy was absent because parents taught their children how to read outside of a formal school setting. Coupled with the vocational skills children learned from their parents, home education met the demands of the free market. For many, formal schooling was simply unnecessary. The fine education they received at home and on the farm held them in good stead for the rest of their lives, and was supplemented with Bible reading and almanacs like Franklin’s Poor Richard’s.
Some of our forefathers desired more education than they could receive at home. Thus, grammar and secondary schools grew up all along the Atlantic seaboard, particularly near the centers of population, such as Boston and Philadelphia. In New England, many of these schools were started by colonial governments, but were supported and controlled by the local townspeople.
In the Middle Colonies there was even less government intervention. In Pennsylvania, a compulsory education law was passed in 1683, but it was never strictly enforced.  Nevertheless, many schools were set up simply as a response to consumer demand. Philadelphia, which by 1776 had become second only to London as the chief city in the British Empire, had a school for every need and interest. Quakers, Philadelphia’s first inhabitants, laid the foundation for an educational system that still thrives in America. Because of their emphasis on learning, an illiterate Quaker child was a contradiction in terms. Other religious groups set up schools in the Middle Colonies. The Scottish Presbyterians, the Moravians, the Lutherans, and Anglicans all had their own schools. In addition to these church-related schools, private schoolmasters, entrepreneurs in their own right, established hundreds of schools.
Historical records, which are by no means complete, reveal that over one hundred and twenty-five private schoolmasters advertised their services in Philadelphia newspapers between 1740 and 1776. Instruction was offered in Latin, Greek, mathematics, surveying, navigation, accounting, bookkeeping, science, English, and contemporary foreign languages.  Incompetent and inefficient teachers were soon eliminated, since they were not subsidized by the State or protected by a guild or union. Teachers who satisfied their customers by providing good services prospered. One schoolmaster, Andrew Porter, a mathematics teacher, had over one hundred students enrolled in 1776. The fees the students paid enabled him to provide for a family of seven. 
In the Philadelphia Area
Philadelphia also had many fine evening schools. In 1767, there were at least sixteen evening schools, catering mostly to the needs of Philadelphia’s hard-working German population. For the most part, the curriculum of these schools was confined to the teaching of English and vocations.  There were also schools for women, blacks, and the poor. Anthony Benezet, a leader in colonial educational thought, pioneered in the education for women and Negroes. The provision of education for the poor was a favorite Quaker philanthropy. As one historian has pointed out, “the poor, both Quaker and non-Quaker, were allowed to attend without paying fees.” 
In the countryside around Philadelphia, German immigrants maintained many of their own schools. By 1776, at least sixteen schools were being conducted by the Mennonites in Eastern Pennsylvania. Christopher Dock, who made several notable contributions to the science of pedagogy, taught in one of these schools for many years. Eastern Pennsylvanians, as well as New Jerseyans and Marylanders, sometimes sent their children to Philadelphia to further their education, where there were several boarding schools, both for girls and boys.
In the Southern colonies, government had, for all practical purposes, no hand at all in education. In Virginia, education was considered to be no business of the State. The educational needs of the young in the South were taken care of in “old-field” schools. “Old-field” schools were buildings erected in abandoned fields that were too full of rocks or too overcultivated for farm use. It was in such a school that George Washington received his early education. The Southern Colonies’ educational needs were also taken care of by using private tutors, or by sending their sons north or across the Atlantic to the mother country.
A college education is something that very few of our forefathers wanted or needed. As a matter of fact, most of them were unimpressed by degrees or a university accent. They judged men by their character and by their experience. Moreover, many of our founding ‘fathers, such as George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Ben Franklin, did quite well without a college education. Yet for those who so desired it, usually young men aspiring to enter the ministry, university training was available. Unlike England, where the government had given Cambridge and Oxford a monopoly on the granting of degrees,  there were nine colleges from which to choose.
Although some of the colonial colleges were started by colonial governments, it would be misleading to think of them as statist institutions in the modern sense.  Once chartered, the colleges were neither funded nor supported by the State. Harvard was established with a grant from the Massachusetts General Court, yet voluntary contributions took over to keep the institution alive. John Harvard left the college a legacy of 800 pounds and his library of 400 books. “College corn,” donated by the people of the Bay Colony, maintained the young scholars for many years.  Provision was also made for poor students, as Harvard developed one of the first work-study programs.  And when Harvard sought to build a new building in 1674, donations were solicited from the people of Massachusetts. Despite the delays caused by King Philip’s War, the hall was completed in 1677 at almost no cost to the taxpayer. 
New Jersey was the only colony that had two colleges, the College of New Jersey (Princeton) and Queens (Rutgers). The Log College, the predecessor of Princeton, was founded when Nathaniel Irwin left one thousand dollars to William Tennant to found a seminary.  Queens grew out of a small class held by the Dutch revivalist, John Frelinghuyson.  Despite occasional hard times, neither college bowed to civil government for financial assistance. As Frederick Rudolph has observed, “neither the college at Princeton nor its later rival at New Brunswick ever received any financial support from the state.”  Indeed, John Witherspoon, Princeton’s sixth president, was apparently proud of the fact that his institution was independent of government control. In an advertisement addressed to the British settlers in the West Indies, Witherspoon wrote:  “The College of New Jersey is altogether independent. It hath received no favor from Government but the charter, by the particular friendship of a person now deceased.”
Based on the principle of freedom, Princeton under Witherspoon produced some of America’s most “animated Sons of Liberty.” Many of Princeton’s graduates, standing firmly in the Whig tradition of limited government, helped lay the legal and constitutional foundations for our Republic. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, was a Princeton graduate.
In addition to formal schooling in elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities, early America had many other institutions that made it possible for people to either get an education or supplement their previous training. Conceivably, an individual who never attended school could receive an excellent education by using libraries, building and consulting his own library, and by joining a society for mutual improvement. In colonial America, all of these were possible.
Consumer demand brought into existence a large number of libraries. Unlike anything in the Old Country, where libraries were open only to scholars, churchmen, or government officials, these libraries were rarely supported by government funds. In Europe, church libraries were supported by tax money as well, for they were a part of an established church. In America, church libraries, like the churches themselves, were supported primarily by voluntarism.
The first non-private, non-church libraries in America were maintained by membership fees, called subscriptions or shares, and by gifts of books and money from private benefactors interested in education. The most famous of these libraries was Franklin and Logan’s Library Company in Philadelphia, which set the pattern and provided much of the inspiration for libraries throughout the colonies.  The membership fee for these subscription libraries varied from twenty or thirty pounds to as little as fifteen shillings a year. The Association Library, a library formed by a group of Quaker artisans, cost twenty shillings to join. 
Soon libraries became the objects of private philanthropy, and it became possible for even the poorest citizens to borrow books. Sometimes the membership fee was completely waived for an individual if he showed intellectual promise and character. 
Entrepreneurs, seeing an opportunity to make a profit from colonial Americans’ desire for self-improvement, provided new services and innovative ways to sell or rent printed matter. One new business that developed was that of the circulating library. In 1767, Lewis Nicola established one of the first such businesses in the City of Brotherly Love. The library was open daily, and customers, by depositing five pounds and paying three dollars a year, could withdraw one book at a time. Nicola apparently prospered, for two years later he moved his business to Society Hill, enlarged his library, and reduced his prices to compete with other circulating libraries.  Judging from the titles in these libraries,  colonial Americans could receive an excellent education completely outside of the schoolroom. For colonial Americans who believed in individual responsibility, self-government, and self-improvement, this was not an uncommon course of study. Most lawyers, for example, were self-educated.
Sermons as Educational Tools
The sermon was also an excellent educational experience for our colonial forefathers. Sunday morning was a time to hear the latest news and see old friends and neighbors. But it was also an opportunity for many to sit under a man of God who had spent many hours preparing for a two, three, or even four hour sermon. Many a colonial pastor, such as Jonathan Edwards, spent eight to twelve hours daily studying, praying over, and researching his sermon. Unlike sermons on the frontier in the mid-19th century, colonial sermons were filled with the fruits of years of study. They were geared not only to the emotions and will, but also to the intellect.
As Daniel Boorstin has pointed out, the sermon was one of the chief literary forms in colonial America.  Realizing this, listeners followed sermons closely, took mental notes, and usually discussed the sermon with the family on Sunday afternoon. Anne Hutchinson’s discussions, which later resulted in the Antinomian Controversy, were merely typical of thousands of discussions which took place in the homes of colonial America. Most discussions, however, were not as controversial as those which took place in the Hutchinson home.
Thus, without ever attending a college or seminary, a church-goer in colonial America could gain an intimate knowledge of Bible doctrine, church history, and classical literature. Questions raised by the sermon could be answered by the pastor or by the books in the church libraries that were springing up all over America. Often a sermon was later published and listeners could review what they had heard on Sunday morning.
The first Sunday Schools also developed in this period. Unlike their modern-day counterparts, colonial Sunday Schools not only taught Bible but also the rudiments of reading and writing. These Sunday Schools often catered to the poorest members of society.
Modern historians have discounted the importance of the colonial church as an educational institution, citing the low percentage of colonial Americans on surviving church membership rolls. What these historians fail to realize, however, is that unlike most churches today, colonial churches took membership seriously. Requirements for becoming a church member were much higher in those days, and many people attended church without officially joining. Other sources indicate that church attendance was high in the colonial period. Thus, many of our forefathers partook not only of the spiritual blessing of their local churches, but the educational blessings as well.
Another educational institution that developed in colonial America was the philosophical society. One of the most famous of these was Franklin’s Junto, where men would gather to read and discuss papers they had written on all sorts of topics and issues.  Another society was called The Literary Republic. This society opened in the bookbindery of George Rineholt in 1764 in Philadelphia. Here, artisans, tradesmen, and common laborers met to discuss logic, jurisprudence, religion, science, and moral philosophy (economics). 
Itinerant lecturers, not unlike the Greek philosophers of the Hellenistic period, rented halls and advertised their lectures in local papers. One such lecturer, Joseph Cunningham, offered a series of lectures on the “History and Laws of England” for a little over a pound. 
By 1776, when America finally declared its independence, a tradition had been established and voluntarism in education was the rule. Our founding fathers, who had been educated in this tradition, did not think in terms of government-controlled education. Accordingly, when the delegates gathered in Philadelphia to write a Constitution for the new nation, education was considered to be outside the jurisdiction of the civil government, particularly the national government. Madison, in his notes on the Convention, recorded that there was some talk of giving the Federal legislature the power to establish a national university at the future capital. But the proposal was easily defeated, for as Boorstin has pointed out, “the Founding Fathers supported the local institutions which had sprung up all over the country.”  A principle had been established in America that was not to be deviated from until the mid-nineteenth century. Even as late as 1860, there were only 300 public schools, as compared to 6,000 private academies. 
A Highly Literate Populace
The results of colonial America’s free market system of education were impressive indeed. Almost no tax money was spent on education, yet education was available to almost anyone who wanted it, including the poor. No government subsidies were given, and inefficient institutions either improved or went out of business. Competition guaranteed that scarce educational resources would be allocated properly. The educational institutions that prospered produced a generation of articulate Americans who could grapple with the complex problems of self-government. The Federalist Papers, which are seldom read or understood today, even in our universities, were written for and read by the common man. Literacy rates were as high or higher than they are today.  A study conducted in 1800 by DuPont de Nemours revealed that only four in a thousand Americans were unable to read and write legibly.  Various accounts from colonial America support these statistics. In 1772, Jacob Duche, the Chaplain of Congress, later turned Tory, wrote: 
The poorest labourer upon the shore of Delaware thinks himself entitled to deliver his sentiments in matters of religion or politics with as much freedom as the gentleman or scholar . . . . Such is the prevailing taste for books of every kind, that almost every man is a reader and by pronouncing sentence, right or wrong, upon the various publications that come in his way, puts himself upon a level, in point of knowledge, with their several authors.
Franklin, too, testified to the efficiency of the colonial educational system. According to Franklin, the North American libraries alone “have improved the general conversation of Americans, made the common tradesmen and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to the stand so generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their privileges.” 
The experience of colonial America clearly supports the idea that the market, if allowed to operate freely, could meet the educational needs of modern-day America. In the nineteenth century, the Duke of Wellington remarked that “the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton and Cambridge.” Today, the battle between freedom and statism is being fought in America’s schools. Those of us who believe in Constitutional government would do well to promote the principle of com petition, pluralism, and government non-intervention in education. Years ago, Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the classroom will be the philosophy of the government in the next generation.”
1. Bertrand Russell, quoted in: Tim Dowley, ed., The History of Christianity (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman’s Pub. Co., 1977), p. 2.
2. Clarence B. Carson has emphasized this point in his The American Tradition (Irvington- on-Hudson: The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., 1964).
3. Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607-1789. (New York: Evanston and London: Harper and Row, 1970), p. 40.
6. Elizabeth McEachern Wells, Divine Songs by Isaac Watts (Fairfax, Va.: Thoburn Press, 1975), p. ii.
8. Eric Sloane, The Little Red Schoolhouse (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1972), p. 3.
9. Ralph Walker, “Old Readers,” in Early American Life, October, 1980, p. 54.
10. Samuel Eliot Morison, The Intellectual Life of New England (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1965), pp. 71, 72.
12. Louis B. Wright, The Cultural Life of the American Colonies (New York: Harper and Row Pub., Inc., 1957), p. 108.
15. Carl and Jessica Bridenbaugh, Rebels and Gentlemen (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 36.
17. Frederick Rudolph, The American College and University (New York: Random House, A Vintage Book, 1962), pp. 15-16.
21. Archibald Alexander, The Log College (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1968, First Published, 1851), pp. 14-22.
22. William H.S. Demarest, A History of Rutgers College, 1766-1924 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1924), p. 45.
24. John Witherspoon, “Address to the Inhabitants of Jamaica and Other West-India Islands, in Behalf of the College of New Jersey,” Essays upon Important Subjects, Vol. III (Edin burgh, 1805), pp. 312-318,328-330.
25. Max Farrand, ed., The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Berkeley, California, 1949), p. 86.
30. Daniel Boorstin, The Americans: The Colonial Experience (New York: Random House, Vintage Books, 1958), pp. 10-14.
31. This later became, of course, the American Philosophical Society.
35. Richard C. Wade, et. al., A History of the United States with Selected Readings, Vol. I (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1966, 1971), p. 398.
Click on this map to find museums or historical/cultural centers located in each geographic region that offer history-related school tour opportunities. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have school tour or field trip opportunities to add to our list.
Burke Museum – King County Field Trip/Seattle: The Burke Museum welcomes group visits by children and adults of all ages. There are several options for group visits: hands-on discovery tours, guided tours, and self-guided tours. Museum docents offer the inside story on the collections, the museum's fascinating history, and the many treasures on display. Students have a chance to handle real artifacts from other cultures, or scientific specimens from the museum's teaching collections. Reservations are required.
Cedar River Watershed Education Center – King County Field Trip/North Bend: The Cedar River Watershed Education Center offers free educational programs to schools and groups. Participants investigate the source of their drinking water and discover the importance of protecting and conserving this limited water supply for fish and people through hands-on activities. Topics include water quality, erosion, cultural history, and wildlife. Space is limited so reservations are required and sign-ups are on first-called, first-served basis. Bus subsidies are available for Seattle Public Schools.
Center for Wooden Boats – King County Field Trip/Seattle: The Center for Wooden Boats provides hands-on educational opportunities for a variety of age groups and curricular needs. These programs use the maritime environment at the CWB and classic wood boats to engage students in the Pacific Northwest’s unique culture, history and the natural world. Activities include trips in the traditional skin-on- frame Umiaq, toy boat building, canoe carving, and more.
Eastside Heritage Center - King County Field Trip/Bellevue: The Eastside Heritage Center has developed a series of guided tours that provide an opportunity to be immersed in the Eastside’s past and present. Visiting the following historical destinations with a trained educational representative of the EHC are available: Larsen Lake Cabin (Lake Hills Greenbelt), Winters House (Mercer Slough Nature Park), Cougar Mountain Regional Park and several historic Eastside schools. Reservations are required at least three weeks in advance. Groups supply their own transportation.
Experience Music Project /Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame – King County Field Trip: Education is a key focus for EMP|SFM, a cultural institution designed to explore the creative process and promote critical thinking. Field trips will help students K-12 and teachers to extend their learning experience above and beyond the classroom walls. A school visit to EMP|SFM gives students the chance to experience interactive exhibitions that highlight the nation's musical culture and history and the role of imagination in fictional literature and films. Hands-on, student-centered Investigation Workshops are designed to complement self-guided tours, and include museum admission. All workshops include a follow-up gallery connection and suggested activities for the classroom to enhance the museum experience.
Issaquah History Museum – King County Field Trip/Issaquah: The Issaquah History Museum offers school tours of the Gilman Town Hall Museum and the Issaquah Depot Museum by prescheduled appointment. Tours are tailored to meet the needs of the classroom and last from 45 minutes to an hour. Topics generally covered at the Gilman Town Hall include pioneer life, the nature of the community, and the general history of our town. Topics covered at the Issaquah Depot include the industrial revolution, travel and communication, and the early economic development of Issaquah. Tours are FREE for Issaquah School District groups (other groups pay $1 a child).
Klondike Gold Rush Museum – King County Field Trip/Seattle: Located in historic Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle, the Klondike Gold Rush Museum offers either an informal program or an organized curriculum-based program for school students. The informal program is offered Monday-Friday and includes videos of the Gold Rush and its connection to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. This tour also includes a gold panning demonstration. The curriculum-based program is offered during the school year for grades 3-5. This field trip lasts approximately 2 hours and reservations are required. Teacher workshop and student pre and post tour activities are provided.
Log House Museum – King County Field Trip/Seattle: Located near historic Alki Beach in West Seattle, the Log House Museum School Tour Presentations are a popular curriculum addition for many classes and home school programs. Tours generally run one hour. A 30 minute history and storytelling session by a trained educator highlights West Seattle’s early history. Next, tours walk one block to Alki Beach to put new knowledge of the history of the area in context with the real world.
Mary Olson Farm – King County Field Trip/Auburn: The White River Valley’s historic Mary Olson Farm is a unique educational experience for students of all ages. Through generous support from the Auburn Rotary Club and Auburn Soroptomists, the costs of admission and transportation to the Farm for EVERY Auburn School District first and sixth grade student for school year 2009-10 is covered. Interactive curriculum especially designed for grades K-2 and for grade 6 have been developed to introduce students to life on the farm and to the miracle of spawning salmon. Reservations are required.
Museum of Flight – King County Field Trip/Seattle: The Museum of Flight provides several options for student field trips. Flying Through Time is designed for elementary aged students and explores aviation history and technology with a tour through the Great Gallery. Specially designed booklets guide students to discover, question, and extend their thinking about the development of aviation. The Dream of Flight tour guides high school students through the milestones in the development of flight with exhibits in the Red Barn and the Great Gallery. Reservations are required and scholarships are available. Admission free for students under the age of 17.
Museum of History & Industry – King County Field Trip/Seattle: - Field trips are offered on-site at the museum for K-12 students. These field trips are designed around the Essential Seattle exhibit, showing how life in the Puget Sound region has changed through time. Three additional unique field trips are also available that allow students to analyze the Museum’s primary sources (artifacts, documents, photographs and exhibits) to explore the history of this region.
Neely Mansion – King County Field Trip/Auburn: - The Neely family were among the earliest settlers in the Kent area and played a major role in its development in the 1850s. Their farm consisted of 200 acres with a dairy and an orchard. The house has been restored to its former glory and is one of the few remaining examples of the many Victorian-style farmhouses that were once commonplace throughout the region. The Neely Mansion is listed on the National Register for Historic Places, the Washington State Register and is a designated King County landmark. Arrangements can be made for tours to schools and civic groups.
Nordic Heritage Center – King County Field Trip/Seattle: The Nordic Heritage Museum offers guided or self-guided school tours. Guided tours take place in the Dream of America exhibit and include a curriculum guide and a scavenger hunt for students. Students travel back to the nineteenth-century Scandinavia to begin the journey to America through the exhibit’s life-like settings and period artifacts. The voyage continues as students board a ship to cross the Atlantic, disembark at Ellis Island, and settle in the Pacific Northwest and Ballard, Seattle. The Nordic immigrant experience comes to life with this dynamic tour using role-playing and illustrative props. Reservations are required but tours are free for Seattle Public School groups.
Northwest African American Museum – King County Field Trip/Seattle: - NAAM offers docent-guided tours of its galleries to local school groups. These interactive and inquiry-based tours are offered throughout the year, providing an in-depth look at the history, art and culture of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Students explore the Journey Gallery with knowledgeable docents on a fascinating adventure through space and time, giving glimpses of the vibrant and exciting experiences of the African American community in the Northwest from 1790 to the present. Reservations required.
Northwest Railway Museum – King County Field Trip/ North Bend: The Northwest Railway Museum offers a fun and educational excursion into the past through the School Train program. This program is designed for 4th graders and targets 4th grade Washington State History and Social Studies requirements, but is adaptable for students in other age groups School Train departs from the Snoqualmie Depot and only operates in May each year for three two-hour sessions each day.
Northwest Seaport – King County Field Trip/Seattle: Northwest Seaport's historic vessels are located in Seattle's Lake Union Park, just north of downtown. The tugboat Arthur Foss, Lightship #83, and troller Twilight are moored on the Historic Ships Wharf with other vessels. Northwest Seaport has several opportunities to experience its historic vessels. Group tours of the tugboat Arthur Foss are available by appointment.
Shoreline Historical Museum – King County Field Trip/Seattle: Housed in the historic Ronald Elementary School, the Shoreline Historical Museum preserves, records and interprets the history of the Shoreline area and its relationship to the Northwest. The archive of 6000 photos and the collection of 5000 artifacts tell the story of local neighborhood development. School tours are scheduled by appointment.
Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum – King County Field Trip/North Bend: The Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, has served Fall City, Preston, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Cedar Falls and Snoqualmie Pass for nearly 50 years. Ada Snyder Hill came into the Valley in 1910 to teach school and early on began collecting the historic items. They were the nucleus for the present day collection that includes cherished artifacts and anecdotes from all corners of this region. A guided tour can provide a unique prospective on the evolving Snoqualmie Valley history to students.
Underground Tour – King County Field Trip/Seattle: Bill Speidel's Underground Tour is a guided walking tour beneath Seattle’s sidewalks and streets. Tours roam the subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle, while tour guides share stories, some of which our pioneers didn’t want you to hear. It’s history with a twist! The tour begins inside Doc Maynard’s Public House, a restored 1890s saloon then moves through historic Pioneer Square to three different sections of Seattle’s underground.
White River Valley Museum – King County Field Trip/Auburn: – White River Valley Museum’s trained museum educators conduct engaging school programs throughout the school year. These programs are interactive and inquiry-based, and all are aligned with both the Essential Academic Learning Requirements and the Grade Level Expectations for Washington State. Elementary students in grades 3-6 can explore relevant local historical themes through hand-on activities, use of primary sources, and group discussions. Museum educators will work with secondary students to design a program that meets specific needs or interests.
Wing Luke Asian Museum – King County Field Trip/Seattle: School tours visit the museum’s permanent exhibition, “Honoring Our Journey” along with changing special exhibits. Students will learn about the 200-year story of the immigration and settlement of Asians and Pacific Islanders to the Pacific Northwest. Docents engage students with first-hand stories, artifacts and photos, lively discussion, and multimedia and creative activities.
Leave No Stone Unturned: History Lessons for Rocky Beach Field Trip – King County Curriculum
African American Education in the 19th Century
Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, educating African Americans was not a priority of the white majority in the United States. Much of the country, especially the South, had firm laws against educating African Americans in order to protect the institution of slavery (Stowell). The dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the early part of the century brought with it the need for a cheap, educated labor force (Stowell 1922).
According to Frank Gilyard, early African American education in Berks County occurred in churches. The original meeting minutes of the Reading Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church from November 7, 1836, describe plans for building the church itself, which included a schoolroom. In Hopewell Furnace, William “Black Bill” Jacobs, the African American who had the longest employment at the Furnace (sixty years), claimed that “in his boyhood he had attended school in ‘Lloyd’s Baptist Church’” in Bethesda, Maryland (Walker 1974, 314).
Though some African Americans came to Hopewell already educated, those who weren’t had an opportunity to be educated in Hopewell Village alongside the children of their white neighbors. Wilkinson Hill, an African American laborer who worked at Hopewell Furnace in the 1840s, may have arrived with the ability to read and write already, and records show that at least two of his children attended the “subscription school,” a school people paid to attend. Another African American employee at Hopewell Furnace, Benjamin Hill, a hostler (stable boy), was paid to attend the Hopewell Village School from 1830 to 1834 (Walker 1974, 315-17).
By 1834, African American churches in Reading had been teaching Sunday school for nearly eleven years. Many Sunday schools included reading as part of the curriculum, for reading the Bible was believed to be requisite for a good Christian. In 1823, Reverend John F. Grier opened Reading’s first African American church, the First African Presbyterian Church, and supervised Sunday school there until he died in 1829. In 1834, sixteen-year-old Augustus T. Boas, who was white, became the first superintendent of the African Colored Sunday school at First African Presbyterian Church (McClellan 1957-58, 18).
Though Pennsylvania’s Free School Act was enacted in 1834 and Reading opened its first public school for white children the following year, Reading didn’t open its first public school for African American children until May 8, 1854. The school was located in the basement of the Second Presbyterian Church until it moved to a one-story building on North 10th Street between Walnut and Elm. The school, part of an African Methodist Church known as “The Ark,” was taught by an African American teacher, and had equipment and materials inferior to those of white schools. (McClellan 1957-58, 19).
When Reading school directors in 1873 called for a more modern building for the African American school, the A.H. Phillippi School was built. It housed forty-one students on two floors the upper floor housed primary students taught by a Miss Ware (an African American), while the older students were taught by principal and teacher Samuel G. Hubert (an African American) on the lower floor (Haupt 2002, 6).
Mr. Hubert lost his job after the Reading School District moved to integrate the schools. On December 23, 1876, the school board passed a resolution that threw “open the public schools of the city to colored and white children alike” (McClellan 1957-58, 20). The resolution also called for A.H. Phillippi School to close and for its students to report to assigned integrated schools. Forty-one students reported for the examinations that would place them in the appropriate grade at the new school. Of those, thirty-six were placed in primary grades, five in secondary, and none earned places in the “Intermediate Grammar” or high school level (McClellan 1957-58, 20-21). The fact that none qualified for high school was probably due to the “separate but not equal” level of the curriculum and the scarcity of supplies in the African American school. Into mid-century, African Americans could not find jobs in their fields because of discrimination, so students were discouraged from enrolling in college preparatory, commercial, or pre-nursing courses. Yet although only a few African Americans attended school between 1890 and 1920, many who did went on to become successful professionals.
The 1800s were a pivotal time for African American education in the country, with Pennsylvania a leader. The beginning of the century saw little to no schooling available to African Americans it ended with the integration of public schools. Education for African Americans was not yet even remotely equal to that provided for whites, but for those who believed that education was fundamental to progress, free public education was nothing short of a major victory.
5b. Indentured Servants
The growth of tobacco, rice, and indigo and the plantation economy created a tremendous need for labor in Southern English America. Without the aid of modern machinery, human sweat and blood was necessary for the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of these cash crops. While slaves existed in the English colonies throughout the 1600s, indentured servitude was the method of choice employed by many planters before the 1680s. This system provided incentives for both the master and servant to increase the working population of the Chesapeake colonies.
Virginia and Maryland operated under what was known as the " headright system ." The leaders of each colony knew that labor was essential for economic survival, so they provided incentives for planters to import workers. For each laborer brought across the Atlantic, the master was rewarded with 50 acres of land. This system was used by wealthy plantation aristocrats to increase their land holdings dramatically. In addition, of course, they received the services of the workers for the duration of the indenture.
This system seemed to benefit the servant as well. Each indentured servant would have their fare across the Atlantic paid in full by their master. A contract was written that stipulated the length of service &mdash typically five years. The servant would be supplied room and board while working in the master's fields. Upon completion of the contract, the servant would receive "freedom dues," a pre-arranged termination bonus. This might include land, money, a gun, clothes or food. On the surface it seemed like a terrific way for the luckless English poor to make their way to prosperity in a new land. Beneath the surface, this was not often the case.
Only about 40 percent of indentured servants lived to complete the terms of their contracts. Female servants were often the subject of harassment from their masters. A woman who became pregnant while a servant often had years tacked on to the end of her service time. Early in the century, some servants were able to gain their own land as free men. But by 1660, much of the best land was claimed by the large land owners. The former servants were pushed westward, where the mountainous land was less arable and the threat from Indians constant. A class of angry, impoverished pioneer farmers began to emerge as the 1600s grew old. After Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, planters began to prefer permanent African slavery to the headright system that had previously enabled them to prosper.
Most early Ohio settlers were involved in agriculture. As Ohio's population grew in the nineteenth century, many residents began to diversify their economic interests. Some Ohioans ventured into industrialization, but it is important to note that most early factories and industries grew out of Ohio's agricultural roots. For example, by the 1810s Dayton had a tobacco processing plant. Cincinnati became known as "Porkopolis" during the 1800s, once the city became the pork processing capital of the United States. Bezaleel Wells established a woolen mill in Steubenville in 1815, employing more than one hundred workers. Many manufacturers produced farming machinery, including Cyrus McCormick and Obed Hussey. McCormick invented the reaper, while Hussey developed an early version of the mower. Both of these men lived in Cincinnati during the 1830s. While some people developed new businesses, agriculture continued to dominate Ohio's economy.
Industries continued to grow as Ohio became more heavily populated and as available land became scarce. Production flourished in all types of factories and on farmlands as a transportation infrastructure came into existence. The first component of this system was paved roads and turnpikes. The National Road, the first paved (gravel) road to cross the Appalachian Mountains, connected Ohio with the East Coast by the late 1810s. These paved roads helped make transportation easier across the Appalachian Mountains, but most Ohio farmers who produced a surplus continued to sell their products locally or sent them down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. River traffic became even easier with the invention of steamboats. Canals arose during the 1820s and 1830s and diverted some of the traffic from the Ohio River especially in northern Ohio, where farmers sent their products across Lake Erie to the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal ended at the Hudson River in eastern New York, and provided a quick route to East Coast cities. The Ohio and Erie Canal also provided Ohioans with a navigable water route connecting the Ohio River and Lake Erie. By the 1840s and 1850s, railroads connected Ohio with much of the rest of the United States. While railroads cost more to ship people and goods, they could deliver people and items much more quickly than the canals. Railroads also were not limited by a water source like canals were. As a result of these advantages, railroads quickly supplanted the canals.
In addition to agricultural industries, a number of other industries began to emerge in Ohio in the nineteenth century. Coal mining began in Ohio during the 1810s and 1820s. Most of Ohio's coalmines existed in eastern and southern parts of the state. As steamboats became more popular, the demand for coal increased. Prior to 1828, most of these ships produced steam from firewood. Coal proved to be a more efficient source of power. Coal's importance continued to grow during the 1830s until the Civil War, especially as more steamboats appeared on the Ohio River and Lake Erie. The market for coal also increased with the arrival of the railroads and with more and more people moving away from agricultural to industrial work. Coal drove industrialization following the Civil War. In 1872, Ohio mines produced more than five million tons of coal. Production increased to ten million tons by 1886. By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the demand for coal began to decline. Oil and natural gas became more popular fuel sources, creating less pollution and increasing the efficiency of machinery.
Ohio also produced iron in the nineteenth century. Iron production during the early nineteenth century usually occurred on "plantations." These were relatively isolated communities established on land owned by an iron company. Usually, all of the items necessary to produce iron, limestone, timber, and iron ore were readily available. Once the workers exhausted their supply of these materials, the furnace would close and move to new ground with an ample supply of resources. Most of these furnaces produced pig iron, which would then be constructed into machinery, building supplies and kitchen items.
One of the first iron manufacturing establishments in Ohio was Hopewell Furnace. Established in 1804, Hopewell Furnace was located near Youngstown. The northeastern part of Ohio would emerge as the primary region for iron and steel production in the state during the second half of the nineteenth century, although southern Ohio also had its fair share of iron businesses especially in Gallia, Scioto, and Jackson Counties.
The owners of factories and mines tended to treat their workers poorly. Industrial wages tended to be very low, which meant that only poor people worked there. Some workers were German or Irish migrants. Due to ethnic discrimination, many of these people were denied better paying jobs. They worked long hours for little pay on the floors of the meatpacking plants and other factories. Industrial workers had no real opportunity to advance. Many of these workers paid exorbitant rent for apartments in the most downtrodden neighborhoods of cities. If they became injured on the job, their employers routinely fired them. The workers did not receive health insurance, worker's compensation, or retirement. If they could not work at the pace set by the employers, the bosses simply replaced the slow workers with younger, more productive ones. Because wages were so low, often entire families worked in factories. With more than one wage earner, a family could meet its basic needs. Not all people could afford land to become farmers, and industrial opportunities provided these people with means to support themselves.
Over time some industrial workers began to organize themselves to cope with their circumstances and push for improvement of their conditions. Mechanics' associations were organized labor organizations founded in individual communities in Ohio beginning in the 1810s and 1820s. A mechanic was a machinist, someone who worked in a factory in the 1800s. One association established in Dayton in 1813 was possibly the first labor organization in the state, but others began to emerge in urban areas as well. While the Ohio Mechanics Institute focused on education, mechanics' associations attempted to organize factory workers to obtain better pay and labor conditions in the workplace. In the first half of the nineteenth century, these organizations were usually unsuccessful in obtaining their aims, but they did provide some of the background for later labor unions. Mechanics' associations tended to not allow many immigrant groups or African Americans to join and therefore had limited membership. Each association tended to recruit its members from a specific trade.
By the mid to late nineteenth century, a number of Ohio cities had emerged as industrial centers, including Dayton, Springfield, Columbus, Akron, Toledo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. As a result, the populations of these cities had grown tremendously. Ohio became one of the wealthiest states in the United States. Industries encouraged many people to migrate to Ohio, both from other states and from abroad. This industrial growth was not without costs, however. As urban areas grew rapidly, city services were often not able to keep up with population increases. There was also a significant amount of political corruption in Ohio cities, leading to a push for reform during the Progressive era. As industries became more important to the state's economy, they also made Ohioans more susceptible to downturns in the national economy, such as panics and depressions. The Panic of 1819 provided an early warning of this consequence, but later economic problems in the 1870s and 1890s, as well as additional problems in the twentieth century, reinforced this lesson.
African American Occupations in the 1900s
As the last century began in 1900, Reading was ranked the 50th most populated city in the United States. The city’s 78,961 residents included a small minority of 534 African Americans. About 302 of them were employed in the fields of domestic and personal services. Others worked in trade, transportation, manufacturing, and professional vocations. Still others were barbers, postal carriers, waiters, cooks, molders, laborers, express men, hostlers, and foremen (Hemig 1979, 109).
According to the 1900 United States Census, the majority of the African Americans in Berks County had occupations such as day laborers, hod carriers, servants, hotel waiters, barbers, furnace workers, domestics, stablemen, hotel cooks/chefs, bootblacks , farmers/farm workers, porters, hairdressers, laundresses, hostlers , dressmakers, butlers, bricklayers, plasterers, railroad depot janitors, messengers, coachmen, stone masons, firemen, and cigar makers. Several held what would be considered professional occupations today, including a preacher (W. B. Brandon), dentist (Loma Blevens), music teacher (Mildred Templeton), massage physician (Dr. T. B. Robinson), and teacher (F. Lincoln Nelson). When viewing occupations in the early twentieth century, it is important to see them as they were understood at the time. In 1900, butlers, barbers, hairdressers, coachmen, hotel chefs, waiters, servants (in “better” homes), and dressmakers were considered “professionals.”
The 1900 census also listed an author, George Hannibal Temple. Temple was a poet, chair caner, and music teacher (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900). His collection of poems, The Epic of Columbus’ Bell and Other Poems, was published in 1900 by the Reading Eagle Press.
The 1910 Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory’s listings for Reading indicate that African Americans did not occupy uniformly menial jobs. The Directory lists one policeman, two letter carriers, and one fireman, as well as other forms of general employment, including domestic services, hotel workers, laborers, iron and steel workers, hod carriers and chauffeurs. The American Iron and Steel Company hired sixty African American men in the capacity of heaters and roughers , jobs considered skilled labor. Young boys were hired to top and thread nuts. The Willson Spectacle Company, lace factories, sugar factories, and hosiery mills hired African American girls. African American businesses listed in the Directory include one chiropodist, ten barber shops, one hair tonic manufacturer, one manicurist, two bootblack parlors, two restaurants, and four dray and express men (PA Negro Business Directory 1910).
Burton Cuyler had shoe shine parlors at 532 and 616 Penn Street, each containing five bootblack stands. Arthur Rothwell was a confectioner employed by Riggs Confection and Ice Cream it was reported that he made all of the ice cream and confections. Abel E. West, MD, passed the medical boards in Virginia and Pennsylvania in 1908 and opened offices at 323 Washington Street in 1909.
John Stokes, a Reading native, operated a five-chair barbershop in the Mansion House. All of the men in the Terry family were barbers: Charles and L. Randolph Terry operated a shop on Penn Square Lee B. Terry and his son, William Terry, had a shop at 857 Penn Street and Moses J. Terry, Jr., operated a shop at Reed and Court Street. Moses Terry’s son, L.R. Terry, took over his business and, along with his brother Charles H. Terry, opened a six-chair barbershop. Charles H. Terry also operated the Terry Hotel. Lee B. Terry was a barber who later became a member of the city police force. He also had a business cleaning straw and Panama hats at 323 Washington Street called James H.W. Harris & Sons.
The 1900 Census shows 27 African American barbers in Berks County. However, according to Reading historian Frank Gilyard, few barbers in the city would accept African American patrons because white customers would not patronize barbers who accommodated African Americans (Gilyard 2005). The number of barbers in Berks County continues to remain high today: the 2000 U.S. Census records 54 personal appearance workers, a category that includes barbers, hairdressers, and manicurists.
Lester Breininger, Robesonia historian and member of the Friends of the Robesonia Furnace, revealed that there were many African American workers at the Robesonia Iron Furnace who were well assimilated into the local community. There are no written records available because when Bethlehem Steel acquired the furnace in what Breininger calls a “hostile takeover,” the records were destroyed (Breininger 2005). Floyd Umbles, a former worker at the Robesonia Furnace, started working in 1917, at the age of twelve.
According to historian Frank Gilyard, during the Depression, African Americans were hired as W.P.A. workers to do construction work (Gilyard 2005). 1 African American workers helped build the Pagoda and Lindbergh Viaduct. The steel mills employed African American workers and the Reading Hospital had an African American doorkeeper/greeter as well as several housekeepers.
Self-employed African Americans had at least some work during the lean Depression years. Several had their own businesses as haulers of trash, wood, and coal. Many women took in laundry. Both women and men worked as servants, butlers, and chauffeurs in private homes. Gilyard remembers that there were mechanics and a blacksmith in Reading during this time. He also remembers Horace and Eloise Lloyd, who had a restaurant on Tulpehocken Street and also did catering (Gilyard 2005).
Lee Terry was a physician whose name first appears in Boyd’s Reading City Directory in 1929, located at 26 North Second Street. James F. Goodwin, also a physician, first appears in the Directory in 1938 with an office located at 508 Schuykill Avenue. Peter Smith, a dentist, is listed in 1950 with an office at 359 Penn Street (Boyd’s Reading City Directory 1929 1938 1950).
The U.S. Bureau of the Census 1920-1930 recorded African American music teachers and musicians. Gilyard recalls that in addition to Mildred Templeton, Pearl James and Frances Thomas were also music teachers in the first half of the century. James also directed dramas and musicals for the public (Gilyard 2005).
Due to the demand for steel, Reading became Pennsylvania’s third-largest manufacturing city in the early 1900s (“Berks County”). Gilyard states that the largest migration of African Americans was during and after World War I, due to the country’s high demand for steel. In Berks County, African Americans were recruited by the Carpenter Steel Company in Reading to help the war effort. The demand for African American workers in Berks County continued to grow during World War II (Gilyard 2005).
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census 1920-1930, in the 1920s and 1930s, the majority of the African American population was still employed in domestic and personal services the iron, steel, textile, railroad and metal industries and as general laborers. The Census also notes an insurance agent and realtor, as well as stenographers and typists. W. Justin Carter, Jr., practiced law in Reading, circa 1925. He was also active in the NAACP (Jackson, Jr. 2005).
In 1930, H. Alfred Farrell graduated from Reading High School and then from Lincoln University in Chester County. He subsequently joined the faculty at Lincoln University. Farrell had a distinguished career in education, teaching at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL Ohio State University Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO and Lincoln University in PA (Downey 2005).
World War II provided work in the many factories supporting the war effort. Porters and redcaps were hired at the Reading and Pennsylvania Railroads during this era, but generally, those who were not self-employed were limited to low-level jobs well into the 1940s (Gilyard 2005).
The 1940s and 1950s show more African Americans employed as practical nurses, elevator operators, industry foremen, gas station and parking lot attendants, salespersons, social workers, cab drivers, and truck drivers. Barbering was still a prominent occupation as well. In 1952 Frank Gilyard was hired as the first African American medical technician at St. Joseph’s Hospital (Gilyard 2005).
After the 1950s, the Census begins to show African Americans employed in manufacturing, and as clerks, bookkeepers, cab and bus drivers, mechanics, policemen, managers, foremen, salesmen, accountants, auditors, and nurses. There were still African Americans employed in service occupations, but the numbers were decreasing as more and more African Americans were able to find work in places that had previously been denied to them. While employed by the American Chain and Cable in the 1950s, Joseph “Bud” Haines was the first African American elected as a committeeman (a union position) in the 1970s, Haines worked for Brush Wellman and was made foreman over white employees (Haines 2005).
African American women also gradually moved into different fields during the 1950s. In the field of healthcare, African American women were accepted for nurse’s training, but served as nurse’s aids with much lower salaries Reading Hospital hired some African American dieticians and all of the local hospitals had begun to hire African Americans in the offices (McClellan 1957-58). The first African American teacher, Velma King Bannerman, was hired by the Reading school district in 1957.
Jeanette Johnson, in an article for the Historical Review of Berks County, notes that through the 1950s, most non-menial jobs were not available to African American women in Reading in spite of their education, finances, or qualifications: “Qualified Negro girls could find no hospital to take them for nurse’s training. Despite the sizable Negro population of Reading and the availability of highly qualified Negro college graduates, no Negro taught in the Reading School System” (J. Johnson 1957, 87).
However, as Johnson’s statistics (1957: 87, 91, 99, 100) suggest, little by little, the African American community began to make headway in various occupations:
1948 — Berks County courthouse hires an African American filing clerk and later a secretary.
1948 — The Heather Shop employs three African American females.
1948 —Reading City Hall employs an almost equal number of African Americans and whites. African Americans are hired in all classifications, including detective, maintenance/labor, machinist, and truck driver.
1949 — Community General Hospital hires its first African American intern.
1956 — Berkshire Knitting Mills opens its doors to anyone who is qualified. Forty-two African Americans are hired, mainly in production.
1956 — Pomeroys department store adds six African American holiday clerks for Christmas and retains one permanently in home furnishings.
1956 — Reading Hospital employs its first African American intern and many nurse’s aides.
1957 — St. Joseph Hospital has one African American registered nurse.
1957 — Community General Hospital has four African American interns, two staff doctors, one dietician, one practical nurse, two bookkeepers, and ten to twelve helpers.
1957 — Wernersville Hospital has two African American doctors, a dietician, and six female attendants. Berks Heim has no African American doctors or registered nurses, but has African American practical nurses, nurse’s aides, orderlies, and housekeepers.
Ella Bannister Ford, from Robesonia (western Berks County), was an administrator for the Federal Bureau of Strategic Service in Washington, DC. Other Robesonians include Mabel Gordon Valentine, a high school principal in West Chester, PA, and Brian Gibson, a noted baritone, who has toured the U.S. and internationally, and who currently teaches at the Wyomissing Institute (R. Johnson 1995).
The first two African American administrators in the Reading School District were Grace A. Jones, who became principal of Lauer’s Park Elementary School in 1968, and Mabel J. Davis, who became vice-principal of Reading High School in 1973 (Reading School District Directory 1968-69 1973-74). Today the Reading School District employs fifty-four African Americans at all levels of instruction and administration, including high school principal Wynton Butler, a Reading native (Law 2005) and Dean of Students Anthony Calloway.
The 2000 U.S. Census shows that African Americans are represented in many occupations in Berks County: financial managers, accountants, counselors and social workers, business specialists, management occupations, health technicians, nursing, food and beverage preparation, personal appearance workers, retail sales, customer service, secretaries, administrative assistants, and metal and plastic workers.
Despite these major gains, African Americans remain underrepresented in some occupations, for reasons beyond the scope of this article. There have never been more than a handful of African American attorneys practicing at the same time whose main place of employment is Berks County in 2005, there were only four African American attorneys who considered Berks their primary place of employment (Butler 2005).
In 1993, only four out of two hundred police officers were African American in 2005, five. Lieutenant Lionel B. Carter reports that only nineteen African Americans have been employed as police officers with the Reading Police Department. Carl E. Britt, a Police Defensive Tactics and Martial Arts Instructor and a fourth degree black belt, has been a police officer in Cumru Township since 1981. Officer Britt is one of only a handful, if not the only, African American police officer in Berks County outside the city of Reading (Carter 2005).
According to Reading Fire Chief William Rehr, several African Americans have served as volunteer firefighters in the city of Reading, including Elton Butler, Sr., and Elton Butler, Jr., with the Marion Fire Co. Randall Key, with the Reading Hose Co. Nathan Donaldson, with the Junior Co. Kerry Starks and Nelson Stubbs, with Schuylkill Co. Barry Lusane, with Keystone Co. and Courtney Horne, with Liberty Co. Lester “Butch” Spencer was a volunteer with the Washington Fire Company for several years (and also well known as a member of “The Sticky Buns,” a local dance band). Ralph Mickey was the only paid African American firefighter in Reading. Rev. Frank McCracken was the first African American Department Head of the Fire Department (until 1996, councilpersons were the heads of various city departments) (Rehr 2005).
A 2003 article in The DRUM notes the “glass ceiling” in the crafts, such as carpentry, plumbing, and brick masonry. Among the Berks African Americans identified in the article were one plumber, LeRoy Cunningham, and four electricians, Hampton Allen, Mark Burford, John Green, and Eric Towles (Amprey, Jr. 2003).
At the same time, several African American businesspeople who spoke to Reading Eagle reporter Tony Lucia in 2000 suggest that Berks County only let African Americans advance so far. They want to see more African Americans in the upper ranks of Berks County companies and on boards of directors. They believe that African Americans in Berks are not represented in businesses to the extent that they are nationwide (Lucia 2000). Although there are many African Americans in Berks County who own successful businesses, some of these entrepreneurs believe that “there is much room for improvement.” Many point to lingering stereotypes as a major obstacle, but also agree that these stereotypes can be overcome. Lillie Foster, co-owner with her husband, John. E. Foster, of Foster and Foster, a consulting firm in Douglassville, states, “you have to prove them [the stereotypes] wrong.” Hilda Letman, former owner of The Goddard School in Wyomissing, states, only part-joking, “In my field [childcare], at least they know that blacks do know how to take care of children” (Lucia 2000, 35).
Charlie G. Haynes has owned a barbershop, which he also uses as a school for barbers, in the 6th Ward for over fifty years. Haynes, a leading proponent of African American entrepreneurship, states in an article written by John F. Forester, Jr., “When people graduate from my school, they are thinking more about being employers than being employees” (Forester, Jr. 1996). Charles L. “Chick” Lee, Jr., business owner and president of the Berks Minority Development Council (MINDCO), stresses the need for organizations such as MINDCO. Philip White, owner of White Housecleaning Service, agreed, saying that MINDCO helped him get started and still provides assistance (Forester, Jr. 1996). In 2003 the African American Chamber of Commerce of Berks County was developed to assist African American businesses.
Other African American entrepreneurs include Nelson R. Stubbs who, after serving as a Marine, opened his own residential and commercial janitorial business in 1973. William E. “Gus” Giddens owns Gus’s Place, a restaurant in Reading. Grace Davies, owner of Grace’s Golden Comb beauty salon and co-founder of the Goddard School, left her husband and came to Reading at the age of twenty-one with three young children and only six dollars to her name (Lucia 1999). Trussie Baker, current president of the Reading chapter of the NAACP, is director/owner of T.R. Baker Funeral Home. Tonya A. Butler, Attorney-at-Law, has her own practice in Reading. Butler left a law firm in the suburbs to better serve the African American community in Reading (Butler). Zefflin Morrison, a Reading High graduate, owns Gentlemen’s Quarters Barber Shop, an upscale salon, and John King is owner/proprietor of Sharp Dressed Man men’s fashion.
This article provides only a general overview of trends in employment for African Americans in Berks County during the twentieth century. Although much progress has been made, there is still significant room for African American representation in various fields to increase throughout the twenty-first century.
About the author: Mary Ann Watts is a native of Harrisburg, Pa., who has lived in Berks County since 1969. She is a retired elementary school teacher who has taught in Harrisburg, Baltimore, MD and Reading, PA. She recently enrolled in the Professional Writing Course at Penn State University and was involved in the Writing History Program, which researched information about the African American presence in Berks County. Watts has always had an interest in writing and received a second place award for an essay she wrote in high school for the American Tuberculosis Society. More recently she has received awards for short stories written for contests sponsored by the Federation of Women’s Clubs.
A hod was wooden box with a pole attached beneath, used to carry bricks and mortar. A hod carrier was the person who carried the hod to the masons at a worksite.
A bootblack was a person who cleaned and polished shoes and boots for a living.
A hostler was someone employed in a stable to care for the horse.
A heater heated rivets in a charcoal furnace until they were white-hot he then tossed them in the air for cooling. The catcher would catch them in a metal cone with a handle, then remove them with tongs, place them in predrilled holes in iron or steel plate and the riveter would rivet them in.
A rougher observed the color of heated iron or steel, determined the rolling temperature and operated the rougher roll mill to reduce the metal to specified dimensions.
A dray is a heavy cart without sides, used for hauling.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of The Historical Review of Berks County
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What advanced educational opportunities were available to native Africans in the early 1890's? - History
The Chicago region served as home and trade center for various Native nations, including the Potawatomi, Miami, and Illinois, once powerful nations that experienced dramatic decline in the face of European expansion into their territories. Warfare and disease substantially diminished their numbers as well as their economic and military power by the early 1800s, and through a series of treaties they were forced to cede their lands to the American government, which then opened the land to settlement. In this way, the Native presence was significantly diminished in the region, yet never entirely eliminated. Native families and individuals lived among the new, non-Native settlements throughout the remaining years of the 1800s.
During the 1900s, many Native Americans moved from reservations and other rural communities to Chicago in pursuit of jobs and other opportunities. This movement was fueled in part by the federal government&aposs controversial “relocation program,” which helped move thousands of people to major urban areas, including Chicago, during the 1950s and 1960s.
Once in Chicago, facing an alien culture and new way of life, Native people often sought the company and social support of other Native Americans. Social clubs began to form, and in 1953 the American Indian Center was established to serve the cultural and social needs of this growing, albeit still relatively small population in comparison to other ethnic groups in the city.
The Native American population in the Chicago area was nearly 40,000 at the end of the twentieth century, representing close to one hundred different tribes from across the United States and Canada. Native people live throughout the Chicago area with the highest concentrations in Edgewater, Uptown, Rogers Park, and Ravenswood on the city&aposs North Side. They have formed an extensive network of organizations and programs that address a wide range of community needs and interests from health and education to employment and the arts. Many of the organizations were formed during the 1960s and 1970s when civil rights and social issues stood at the forefront of public consciousness, and federal resources were made available to encourage civic engagement. Its multitribal nature makes Chicago&aposs Native American community a richly diverse one that crosses different cultural traditions and languages. This diversity makes the community a unique place to bring people together to learn about and address issues affecting Native people nationally.
Although many families are now in their third and fourth generations of urban life, they continue to maintain ties to tribal communities where they have both extended family and formal tribal membership that provides certain rights and privileges within the tribe. Several tribal communities (Oneida, Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Ojibwa ) are located in Wisconsin within a half day&aposs drive from Chicago, enabling members of those tribes, in particular, to sustain involvement.