The critical role of education in the history of African Americans, Part l |

As a young enslaved boy in Baltimore, Frederick Douglass bartered pieces of bread for lessons in literacy. His teachers were white neighborhood kids, who could read and write but had no food.

By Jennifer Gamble-Theard, M. Ed., ASALH Historian

Dr. Carter G. Woodson once wrote: “If you teach a Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race.”

Having experienced a lack of education while he was a young child, Woodson understood very well the implications that were associated with the denial of access to education. After a keen observation of how slavery and its aftermath affected the multitude of Black people in America, he called attention to the critical situation that had resulted from persistently imposed racial…

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