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ERIC Number: EJ1144296
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1535-0584
Learning about Each Other: Two Teachers Negotiate Race, Class, and Gender in the Civil War South
Breitborde, Mary-Lou
American Educational History Journal, v40 n1 p37-57 2013
The Civil War ended slavery but not the pernicious inequality of power and status that still characterizes relations between black and white America. As soon as they could, with the help of presidents bent on appeasement and the benign neglect of northerners who had fought the war to preserve the union but not necessarily to invite former slaves into their town meetings and parlors, the "secesh" regained control of their state houses and created policies that set boundaries around the social, political, and educational progress of blacks. Schools like the Penn School on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, founded during the war as part of the Port Royal Experiment, were bulwarks against the antipathy of the "secesh" toward black literacy and economic and political freedom. The degree and nature of what the teachers learned was influenced by their race, gender, social class, and religious beliefs, as well as by their biographies and their particular interests and talents. This article will use the stories of two Penn School teachers--Laura Towne, the white founder of the school, and Charlotte Forten, its first black teacher--to address the ways in which race, class, and gender affected their negotiation of identity and their relationships with each other and the community. Their letters and journals illustrate the meanings they constructed of their experience and the steady and often difficult process of social interaction and personal change. They present, as well, a story of the weakening of social boundaries within a community informed by the shared experience of war.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Carolina
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A