Freedmen’s Schools

According to one historian’s description of a typical freedmen’s school, lessons began at 10 a.m. in a classroom decorated with portraits of Lincoln, Garrison, and Whittier. On the blackboard the teacher wrote words of encouragement: “Knowledge is power. Try, try again.” Students studied reading, writing, and arithmetic using Clark’s First Lessons in English Grammar and Towle’s Speller. They also learned geography and held a question-and-answer session on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The school day ended with singing at 2:30 p.m.

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