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ERIC Number: EJ1120017
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
Representations of Race and Racism in the Textbooks Used in Southern Black Schools during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1861-1876
Brosnan, AnneMarie
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v52 n6 p718-733 2016
During the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, 1861-1876, formerly enslaved men and women demanded access to education. Aided by northern white missionaries, free blacks and some southern whites, freed men and women throughout the American South built schoolhouses, hired teachers and purchased textbooks. Some of these textbooks were specifically created for the freed people, otherwise known as freedmen's texts or textbooks. Others were the same as those that were typically used in antebellum northern common schools. This article analyses the textbooks that were used in southern black schools between 1861 and 1876. In particular, it investigates how black people were portrayed in the textbooks and to what end. Ultimately, this article finds that in both sets of textbooks, black people were portrayed as racially inferior to whites. This, I argue, was principally done to maintain white supremacy. Recognising that textbooks are reflective of societal attitudes and values, such a portrayal suggests that the white Americans of this period subscribed to the notion that mankind was naturally divided into distinct racial groups and, more significantly, that whites were the inherently superior race. It also suggests that the powerful white Americans of this period were committed to perpetuating the racial subordination of black people, both before and after the Civil War period.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A