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State Politics and the Fate of African American Public Schooling in Florida, 1863-1900


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STATE POLITICS AND THE FATE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOLING IN FLORIDA, 1863-1900 By SHERYL MARIE HOWIE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Sheryl Marie Howie

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................iv CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 EDUCATION IN FLORIDA.....................................................................................13 Responding to the Demand for Education for Freed Slaves, 1863-1867...................14 Political Response to Educational Demands, 1865-1867...........................................19 Factionalism in the Republican Party, 1868-1872......................................................24 Implementing Public Schooling for All Children, 1868-1876...................................26 Political Frustration and the Accomplishments in Education, 1872-1876.................35 Election Results of 1876 and the End of Reconstruction...........................................39 Education Objectives Altered for African Americans, 1877-1886............................43 Democrats and the Legalization of Segregation, 1882-1900......................................47 Unequal Opportunities in Education for African Americans, 1886-1900..................50 William Sheats and the Orange Park Normal and Industrial School..........................54 3 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION...........................................................................63 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................68 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................74 iii

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Education STATE POLITICS AND THE FATE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOLING IN FLORIDA, 1863-1900 By Sheryl Marie Howie August 2004 Chair: Sevan Terzian Major Department: Educational Leadership, Policy, and Foundations The purpose of my study was to examine the influence Republican Party factionalism and discriminatory education legislation had on the development of a public education system for African Americans between 1863 and 1900. From 1863 to 1868, Floridas government was controlled by former Confederates and secessionists who passed laws that reinforced the conditions of slavery, if not the institution. The Reconstruction Act of 1867 removed these government leaders, and ushered in an era of Republican rule and paternalistic compassion for freed slaves. From 1868 to 1876, Republicans and Northerners sympathetic to the plight of African Americans established formal education systems for blacks. The Freedmens Bureau, Northern benevolent societies, and local citizens worked to establish public schools for all children. Initially, Northern educators espoused an academically rigorous curriculum for black schools; but the disintegration of the Freedmens Bureau, and dramatically reduced funding from benevolent societies, forced educators to compromise iv

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education, and to accept the growing vocational and agricultural education for blacks. Southern whites resisted funding schools for blacks, and state educators and legislators conceded to segregated schools, to increase the attendance of whites in public schools. Factions within the Republican Party, however, prevented unity, and resulted in the lost election of 1876. The fate of African Americans was surrendered to Southern white Democrats. Under Democratic legislators, civil rights for blacks quickly diminished. Segregation was legalized, and education funding for black schools was reduced; but funding increased to white schools. With unequal funding, the development of black schools lagged behind that of white schools. Vocational and agricultural education for blacks replaced the academically rigorous curriculum in black schools. With the passage of stricter certification laws, reduced funding to black schools, and a less academically rigorous curriculum, it became more difficult for black teachers to pass the examination requirements for state certification. In 1896, many black schools were unable to open because of a lack of teachers. The inability of the Republican Party to unify during Reconstruction, and legislation that legalized segregation, increased requirements for teachers, and reduced funding to black schools combined to prevent the establishment of a formal education system for blacks that would provide equal educational opportunities. v

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION On Friday, April 10, 1896, the Clay County Sheriff (under the direction of the Florida State Superintendent of Education, William N. Sheats) arrested B. D. Rowlee, the principal of Orange Park Normal and Industrial School in Orange Park, Florida, along with five teachers and the pastor of the Orange Park Congregational Church. They were not taken to jail, but were required to post bail by the following Monday. Their crime: teaching young people of two races under the same roof. 1 This action by Sheats is one example of the restrictions some Southern whites imposed on education for blacks. White Floridians like Sheats believed in the innate inferiority of African Americans, and supported legislation to prevent the mixing of the races. Education for freed slaves met with resistance from many Southern whites; but from 1868 to 1876, Northern and Southern Republican leaders attempted to establish a system of education for all of Floridas children. With both state and federal support, education advocates worked diligently to expand educational opportunities for the freed slaves. These efforts were disrupted, however, by the disbandment of the Freedmens Bureau, the withdrawal of federal troops, and the proliferation of factions within the Republican Party. In the mid 1870s, Floridas government came under Democratic control, slowing the process of 1 Arrest of Our Teachers in Orange Park, Florida, in The American Missionary 50 (May 1896): 146-147; State of Florida v. B.D. Rowly [sic], Julia E. Rowly [sic], Edith M. Robinson, Hellen [sic] S. Loveland, O.S. Dickinson, T.S. Perry, Miss A.M. Ball, Indictment, Circuit Court Minute Book #2, 293 (Records of the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Clay County Courthouse, April 6, 1896). 1

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2 education for black children. As Democrats regained control of state and district school superintendent offices, an already segregated school system became even more unequal. In this study, I examined the public school system established for African Americans in Florida, focusing specifically on the attitudes and influence of Northern and Southern educators, the political power struggles within the Republican Party leading to the fumbled election of 1876, and the white supremacist actions of members in the Democratic Party that obstructed the development of an academically rigorous education system for blacks in Florida. State and county superintendent reports and letters from school administrators and teachers suggest that the segregation of schools began during Reconstruction, and that the education system established for Floridas black children after Reconstruction was not equal to the education offered to white children. In addition, the later reports indicate that state teacher training for blacks did not prepare them academically to help nurture future political and economic leaders among their black students, greatly hindering the advancement of African Americans in Florida. From 1865 to 1868, the Florida legislature (consisting mainly of ex-Confederate officers and soldiers) passed laws and policies aimed at dominating the freedmen and discouraging northern philanthropic organizations from opening schools for blacks. These legislators abolished slavery in name only, creating Black Codes that legalized violence and intimidation against blacks. The intervention of the United States government helped facilitate a Republican government in Florida, one that supported black enfranchisement and education for all children, regardless of color. The Republican-led government appointed state and district superintendents of public schools who bolstered the efforts of educators to establish a public education system for all of

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3 Floridas children. The Freedmens Bureau, benevolent societies from the North, and local residents worked to provide school buildings and hire teachers. The Republican Party, however, was unable to provide the unifying force needed to sustain political power. The divisions among Radical Republicans, Loyalist Republicans, and Conservative Republicans were so strong that the Republican Party lost the election of 1876 to Democrats. Beginning in 1877, Floridas black and moderate/liberal white influence in politics and education rapidly declined. In addition, Jim Crow laws and increased intimidation prevented political action among blacks. Laws initiated by Superintendent Sheats in 1895 made teacher certification requirements more demanding, and prohibited the instruction of black and white children in the same schools. The latter restriction was directed specifically at the Orange Park School, and of its policy of not turning any child away, regardless of color. The state action against the Orange Park School was not an isolated incident, but part of the discriminatory political policies of white supremacist government officials. A growing animosity among many whites toward education for blacks, pressure from the local and state governments, and a fire that burned most of the Orange Park school buildings forced the school to eventually close, leaving the state with only one teacher education institute for blacksthe Colored Normal School in Tallahassee. These events frustrated the development of teacher education and institutions of higher education for blacks in Florida, and ultimately weakened the educational opportunities for Floridas black children. 2 2 See Florida Constitution, 1865, Art. IV, Sec. 4, Sec. 5, Art. VI, Sec. 1, Art. IX, Sec. 1, Art. XVI, Sec. 3; William W. Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida (New York: Columbia University, 1913); Jerrell H. Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet: Florida in the Era of Reconstruction, 1863-1877 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1974); Joe M. Richardson, Christian Abolitionism: The American Missionary Association and the Florida Negro, in the Journal of Negro Education 40 (Winter 1971): 35-44; Canter Brown, Jr., Floridas Black Public Officials,

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4 Historical Framework Since my study focuses on politics and education in Florida, it depends mainly on Florida sources. However, the historical framework of Reconstruction and Post-reconstruction forms an important foundation. The historical analysis of Reconstruction has produced multiple conclusions, with a changing cast of heroes and villains. The traditional interpretation of Reconstruction that dominated the first half of the twentieth century depicted Radical Republicans and carpetbaggers as invading the south and using illegal means to create a black supremacist government, thereby maintaining control over Southern whites. William Davis book The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida aligned with this conservative pro-south theory. Davis interpreted the return of southern conservatives to government in 1876 as a restoration of state control. 3 Challenges to this interpretation of history came from historians who were more sympathetic to the Republican cause, like W.E.B. DuBois and Francis Simpkins. In a speech to the American Historical Association, DuBois noted that the accomplishments of Southern Reconstruction governments included a democratic government, new social legislation, and free public schools. He recognized the financial problems these governments created, but argued they were due to black leadership that was ignorant of legislative processes and easily swayed by opportunistic whites. 4 Economic historians were also more sympathetic to 1867-1924 (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1998); Joe Richardson, Nest of Vile Fanatics: William N. Sheats and the Orange Park School, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 68 (April 1986): 394-407. 3 See Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, 1913. 4 See W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America (New York: Russell and Russell, 1973); Francis B. Simpkins, The South Old and New: A History, 1820-1947 (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1947); W.E.B. DuBois, Reconstruction and its Benefits in The American Historical Review 15 (July 1910): 795-799.

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5 Republicans and characterized the era as tragic but necessary to move the national economy forward. Howard K. Beale emphasized the need to stop passing judgments on persons and to begin studying forces. 5 He examined the Civil War and Reconstruction from a national perspective, identifying the changes in political, economic, and social institutions. Although Beale and historians like him recognized the impact national expansion had on events of the late nineteenth century, Eric Foner later concluded that they ignored the dominant race issue in favor of economic interpretations. 6 During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, historians revisited Reconstruction history. Revisionist historians reinterpreted Reconstruction politics and concentrated on the lives of southern blacks, concluding that the progress made during this era was positive and forward-looking. For revisionists, Radical Republicans and freedmen were the heroes. James McPherson compared Black Power of the 1960s with the desire that blacks had during Reconstruction to gain more control over and participation in political, economic, and social institutions, including education. Although some historians questioned this new interpretation, it was the post-revisionists who disputed the revisionist theory and questioned if there had been any real political, economic, or social change for blacks during Reconstruction. In Origins of the New South, C. Vann Woodward condemned the south for its inability to solve economic, political, and social problems originating in slavery and racism. He argued that there was no new south and chronicled its deficiencies. Woodward and other post-revisionists viewed blacks during Reconstruction as passive victims, arguing that the North was not strongly committed to 5 Howard K. Beale, On Rewriting Reconstruction History in The American Historical Review 45 (July 1940): 810. 6 Eric Foner, Reconstruction Revisited in Reviews in American History 10 (Dec. 1982): 82.

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6 the freedmen, which was demonstrated by the disbanding of the Freedmens Bureau in 1872, and the final removal of federal troops in 1877. More recently, historians have emphasized that the roles played by Moderate Republicans were more influential than those of Radical Republicans in changing policy and law in favor of black enfranchisement. Although the new laws aided blacks and whites, historians like Jerrell Shofner argued that moderate Republican governments were more concerned with maintaining national ties and upholding the Constitution. 7 The study of the history of education in the South appears to follow the same historical framework as Reconstruction history. In his book Public Education in the South, Edgar Knight analyzed the progress of education by examining the influence politics, economics, religion, and social structures had on education. He argued that education in the South after Reconstruction was subordinated to less worthy interests as a result of ills which had their beginnings in reconstruction. 8 Regarding Reconstruction in Florida, Knight said, The complete control of the State by people who were unsympathetic if not hostile to Southern sentiment accounted in very large measure for the failure of the school system to grow and develop. 9 In a footnote, he claimed that the appointment of Jonathan C. Gibbs to state superintendent further served to alienate 7 James M. McPherson, White Liberals and Black Power in Negro Education, 1865-1915 in The American Historical Review 75 (June 1970): 1357-1386; C. Vann Woodward, Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1971); Jerrell H. Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet: Florida in the Era of Reconstruction, 1863-1877 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1974). 8 Edgar W. Knight, Public Education in the South (Boston, MA: Ginn and Company, 1922): 337. 9 Ibid., 358-359.

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7 Floridians. What he failed to note is that during Reconstruction, nearly 49% of Floridians were African Americans, most in support of Gibbs as superintendent. 10 Robert Morris provided a more balanced historical perspective in Reading, Riting, and Reconstruction, which focused on the northern influence on education in the South from the early years of the Civil War through 1870, when the Freedmens Bureau withdrew from educational activity. Morris attempted to reconcile the negative attitudes toward northern teachers, held by historians like Knight, with the more idealistic writings of historians like W.E.B. DuBois. He noted that the idealism and lofty goals of northern teachers were tempered by pragmatism and an awareness of the need for sectional accommodation. 11 Morris examination of the actions of governments and communities, and more specifically of teachers in the classroom, was reflective of revisionist history, which is most evident in his analysis of the positive influence of northern benevolent societies. His coverage of Florida education is minimal, as is the case with most education historians, but this may be due to his claim that education in Florida from the Civil War to 1870 was developing more slowly than in most other southern states. Ronald Butchart echoed the sentiments of post-revisionist historians in his book, Northern Schools, Southern Blacks, and Reconstruction. He explored the expectations of northern white educators with those of southern blacks, indicating that their objectives were not always in agreement. Butchart acknowledged both the compassion and paternalism of benevolent societies and northern educators. He provides even less coverage of Florida 10 Ibid; Campbell Gibson and Kay Jung, Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States (Washington, D.C.: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, 2002). 11 Robert C. Morris, Reading, Riting, and Reconstruction (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1976): x.

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8 education than Morris, not even mentioning Gibbs and his contributions to education. James Anderson offered an extensive history of African American education from 1860 to 1935, and supported Butcharts argument that northern educators and southern blacks did not agree on the goals of education. According to Anderson, African Americans readily accepted help from the Freedmens Bureau, benevolent societies, and even Southern whites, but the values of self-help and self-determination motivated African American aspirations to control their own education. 12 These historians considered important issues in education for African Americans in the South after the Civil War, but rarely, if ever, included information on Florida. Examining education from the state and local perspective is necessary, however, since education in the United States is controlled almost entirely by state and local governments. Demographics, economics, activities of northern philanthropic organizations, and attitudes of government officials and the local population all contributed to the nature of public education in the South. The extent and interactions of these elements created distinct problems for each state government. Nita Katharine Pyburn offered the only comprehensive history of education in Florida. Using primary sources, including legislation, superintendent reports, and newspaper accounts, she examined the development of education from 1822 to 1903. Pyburn discussed the contributions of private academies prior to and after the Civil War, but did not mention the work of the American Missionary Association or the National Freedmens Relief Association of New York, both of great importance to the 12 Ronald E. Butchart, Northern Schools, Southern Blacks, and Reconstruction (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980): 104, 126, 129, 168; James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1988): 5.

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9 development of education in Florida during Reconstruction. The data cited are extensive, but she provides no critical analysis and viewed Floridas education system after the Civil War as an extension of the system established before the war. In addition, the only differentiation she made between black and white schools involved budget expenditures and population. Pyburn gave no indication that there was any evidence that blacks and whites in Florida were educated differently. 13 As with all historical research, it is impossible to account for every political, economic, and social aspect of a time period, and especially one as complicated as American Reconstruction. Since education systems in the United States have traditionally been controlled by state and local governments, with little intervention from the federal government, this paper refers to the education systems in other states only when they contribute to the depiction of education in Florida. In addition, this paper does not examine the plight of poor white children in Florida, which James M. Denham attempted in his study of the culture of the Florida cracker through the accounts of travelers. According to Denham, most poor whites in Florida had a strong loyalty to popular democracy, a hatred of American Indians, and a firm sense of racial superiority over blacks. Poor whites were not usually treated well by wealthy plantation owners, and did not consider themselves Confederates, but their disdain for government interference may have prevented them from aligning with the Union. Admittedly, poor whites were, in some cases, worse off than some blacks. They were not, however, deliberately excluded from voting, nor were they intimidated by violence to stay away from the polls. The poll tax was not a direct act against poor whites, although it may have affected some who did vote. Laws were not passed to deliberately prevent poor white 13 Nita Katharine Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education in Florida, 1822-1903 (Tallahassee, FL: The Florida State University, 1954)

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10 children from attending schools. In the United States, and especially in the South, skin color was a strong determinant as to how you were treated and what rights you were granted. 14 The purpose of this paper is to examine two key trends reflected in pivotal events in the history of education in Florida between 1863 and 1900: Republican Party factionalism that prevented any unifying effort to protect the rights of blacks, and discriminatory political and education policies intended to segregate and disenfranchise blacks. The foundation of any education system determines its ability to provide a future generation with the knowledge necessary to participate in the economic, political, and social aspects of society. By examining how political actions and officials influenced the establishment of a public education system for African Americans in Florida, we can better assess the contributions of this system to the democratic ideal of equal educational opportunities for all citizens. By drawing on the work of historians and educators, and on public and private records left behind by those who experienced Reconstruction, this paper attempts to frame some of the frustrations that drove the policy and the people during a very volatile time in Floridas history. The establishment of an equal public education system in Florida during Reconstruction was undermined by the political actions of Republican officials. When the Republican Party organized in 1867, the only objective its members agreed on was the abolition of slavery. Radical Republicans were divided into two factionsConservative Radical Republicans and Liberal Radical Republicans. The Conservative Radical Republicans endorsed enfranchisement, full civil rights for blacks, and peaceful 14 James M. Denham, The Florida Cracker Before the Civil War as Seen Through Travelers Accounts in The Florida Historical Quarterly 72 (April 1994): 453-468; C. Vann Woodward, The Burden of Southern History (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1993): 104-107

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11 opposition to the Black Codes. The Liberal Radical Republicans supported enfranchisement and civil rights, but also approved of redistribution of property to blacks, by violent means if necessary. Moderate Republicans were also divided into two factionsthe Conservative Republicans and the Loyalist Republicans. Conservative Republicans sought a close alliance with local and federal white power, and supported a gradual admission of blacks into the political arena. Loyalist Republicans advocated enfranchisement and civil rights, but were led by local white men instead of the northern men of the Conservative Radical faction. While no faction was exclusively black or white, and members shifted alliances frequently, the radical elements attracted more blacks and the moderate elements drew more whites. The result of these factions, however, was an unstable Republican Party, which greatly hindered the goals of those who supported equal educational opportunities for African Americans. Most public school superintendents who served between 1868 and 1876 advocated equality in education, which required a government that supported this philosophy. Most white Democrats in Florida, however, were not inclined to support education for blacks. The inability of Republicans to unify once they gained political representation eventually led to the Partys demise, and halted the work of educators to further the cause of equal educational opportunities for Floridas black children. A legacy of the Republican government during Reconstruction was the segregation of public schools. Due to white sentiment and the desire of educators for all children to attend public schools, Republican state officials agreed to allow segregation in districts and towns that opposed mixed schools. When Democrats gained political power in 1877, segregation of schools soon became a requirement of all schools in the state. Legal

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12 segregation and white resistance to public funding of black schools gave opportunity to unequal funding for African American education. In addition, laws initiated by State Superintendent Sheats stipulated uniform teacher examinations and limited the duration of second and third class teacher certifications. Teachers with second and third class certificates had to progress to a higher class certificate within two years or lose certification. Both black and white educators complained that these new requirements would greatly decrease the number of teachers and the number of schools in operation, but black teachers and schools were affected more severely. Most black and white teachers from the state were products of the state schools. White students, however, had more secondary schools and colleges available to them for teacher training than black students. Sheats reported in 1896 a total of ten public and private institutes of higher education, and about eighteen public and private secondary schools that provided teacher training for white students. In contrast, black students had one public and one private institute of higher education, and only one high school for blacks. 15 The lack of opportunities for teacher training for blacks, the more stringent teacher certification requirements, and the segregation of schools created a pattern of unequal education for African Americans in Florida. African Americans were required to pass the same teacher examinations as whites, but were not provided the same opportunities for teacher education. Without state and local government officials supportive of equal education for blacks and whites, formal education for African Americans suffered in Florida. 15 Lincoln Academy in Tallahassee and Union Academy in Gainesville, both schools for African Americans, provided two-month teacher courses to prepare teachers for certification examinations. They were not considered secondary schools since neither offered coursework for students above the eighth grade.

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CHAPTER 2 EDUCATION IN FLORIDA Before Florida became a state in 1845, the territorial government passed legislation for private academies, apprenticeships, and schools for the destitute. An act passed in 1834 authorized a lottery to raise funds for maintaining a school in St. Augustine that had previously been sponsored by the Spanish government. Based on government records, there was much discussion about the importance of education. In November 1844 however, there were only four free schools in Florida with a total of fifty students. There were a number of academies, which were attended by those students whose families could afford the tuition. From 1858 to 1860, the state paid teachers at thirty-three schools in seven counties. Most of the schools were in session for three months and had less than forty students. Although there is no indication that the students at these schools were all white, southern states did not take on the responsibility of educating black children before Reconstruction since most at this time were children of slaves. 16 In addition, prior to the Civil War there were laws against teaching slaves how to read; however, the decision to educate slaves was often left to their owners. Rebecca Hooks, a former slave from Lake City, Florida, was a house servant and the offspring of her master, and as a result was taught to read and write along with the white children of the house. Her 16 Nita Katherine Pyburn, Documentary Historyof Education in Florida, 1822-1860 (Tallahassee, FL: The Florida State University Press, 1951): 15-18, 80; Nita Katherine Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education in Florida, 1822-1903 (Tallahassee, FL: The Florida State University, 1954), 4-23; Curtis L. Stevens, The Rise and Development of Universal Education in Florida During Reconstruction (Masters thesis, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College, 1953): 2-16. 13

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14 step-father was allowed to buy books for Rebecca, which he did with some of the money he earned from selling corn whiskey. Douglas Dorsey, a former slave to a family in Suwannee County, Florida, had the responsibility of carrying the schoolbooks for the masters children. Willie Matair, one of the masters sons, taught Douglas the alphabet and numbers. 17 When the masters wife found out, she struck Douglas across the face and threatened to cut off his right arm if he was caught reading or writing. She then severely whipped both boys. Andrew Simms, a slave living on the William Driver plantation in Florida, said: The old Master say we can teach ourselves but we can't do it. Old Klem Bowman owned the place next door to Mister Driver. If he catch his slaves toying with the pencil, why, he cut off one of their fingers. 18 Prior to Reconstruction, education for blacks and poor whites in Florida was very limited, or nonexistent. 19 Responding to the Demand for Education for Freed Slaves, 1863-1867 After the Civil War, the commitment of many blacks to education and their desire to be politically informed indicated the importance they placed on enfranchisement. Education, especially learning how to read and write, was necessary to read voting ballots and employee contracts. According to an interview with Willis Williams, a former slave from Tallahassee, blacks showed a great interest in education. He remembered schools first being taught by Northern white women, but than replaced by blacks who had gained only rudimentary knowledge during slavery. As a young woman, Amanda McCray remembered attending a school where a white teacher taught her how to read. She said 17 Library of Congress, Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves, The Federal Writers Project, 1936-1938, vol. 3 (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Manuscript Division, 1941), 95-96. 18 Ibid., 296. 19 Ibid., 172-175; Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education, 4-23.

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15 black teachers soon replaced the white teachers, but the instruction was basically the same. According to McCray, black teachers were revered by black children and many black girls expressed a desire to teach, especially since this was one of the few employment opportunities open to black women. 20 In 1865, there were already schools for blacks operating in Florida and taught by both blacks and whites. The American Missionary Association (AMA) and the National Freedmans Relief Association of New York (NFRA), both non-denominational benevolent societies, were two of the organizations that established schools prior to 1865. These schools were open to all children, but most white parents refused to send their children to schools with blacks. Without an organized government and with support from the Freedmens Bureau, northern benevolent societies were able to open schools in the south, even when challenged by the white community. 21 The main work of the AMA was Christian missionary and educational undertakings throughout the United States and around the world. In 1861, the AMA sent missionaries and teachers to aid the black population in areas of the south controlled by northern troops. AMA leaders believed no race should be dependent upon another for development, and their objective was to cultivate leaders from the black community, who would then help protect the rights of their fellow African Americans. To reach this goal, the organization 20 Stevens, The Rise and Development of Universal Education, 57-59; Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 4-11; Gerald Schwartz, An Integrated Free School in Civil War Florida in The Florida Historical Quarterly 61 (October 1982): 159; Library of Congress, Slave Narratives, 212-216, 347-354. 21 Butchart, Northern Schools, 3-21; John T. Foster, Jr., & Sarah Whitmer Foster, Aid Societies were not Alike: Northern Teachers in Post-Civil War Florida, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 73 (January 1995): 308-324; Joe M. Richardson, A Northerner Reports on Florida, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 40 (April 1962): 381-390; Schwartz, An Integrated Free School, 157-158.

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16 emphasized training blacks to be teachers. AMA officers advocated a broad liberal education for blacks similar to that of northern schools, and established in their first schools a liberal arts curriculum. Religion may not have been a subject of study in all AMA schools, nonetheless, teachers often emphasized the responsibility that blacks had to God, country, family, and community. Topics such as patriotism, thrift, punctuality, honesty, and industry were the underlying messages delivered through the AMA curriculum. 22 The NFRA was organized to provide missionaries and educators in the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. With the cooperation of the United States government, the organization sent supplies, teachers, and plantation superintendents, including William Channing Gannett from Harvard Divinity School, to participate in the Sea Island experiment. Its purpose was to help ex-slaves on the islands learn the rudimentary arts of civilized life. 23 The NFRA, like the AMA, viewed slaves as inferior due to the conditions of slavery, but believed that with education they could overcome the ill-effects of slavery. In Florida, the NFRA sponsored Chloe Merrick and Cornelia Smith in 1863 to teach a black school in Fernandina. They divided the school into three academic levels and found the students learned very quickly. They soon had over 100 students and opened a second school, hiring two assistants. Merrick and Lizzie Smith took one school with 130 students, and Smith and 22 Augustus F. Beard, A Crusade of Brotherhood: A History of the American Missionary Association (Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1909; reprint, New York: The AMS Press, 1972), 23-32; Constitution, in The American Missionary 32 (January 1878): 27-28. 23 Morris, Reading, Riting, and Reconstruction, 3-12; Butchart, Northern Schools, 3-19.

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17 Miss Harris had the other school with about 125 students attending. Merrick also opened an orphanage, purchasing an abandoned plantation with the help of the Freedmens Bureau. 24 Another NFRA school, taught by Mrs. Loveridge and Miss Abbie Burch, had both black and white students, and Catherine Bent taught black students in Gainesville. The NFRA also had schools in Micanopy, Ocala, Silver Springs, Sumterville, Palatka, and Lake City. When the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (Freedmens Bureau) arrived in Florida, President Andrew Johnson ordered the return of abandoned lands to the original owners. The plantation where Merricks orphanage was located was returned to its owner, which caused tension between the Freedmens Bureau and the NFRA. When the NFRA lost funding due to differences between the secular and religious societies that supported them, it had to close some of its schools in Florida. In June 1866 the NFRA had thirteen schools, one orphanage, twenty-seven teachers, and over 1,600 students in Florida. By 1869, there were only five NFRA teachers in Florida, and their financial support had been assumed by the black communities. 25 The first AMA teacher in Florida is believed to have been in St. Augustine in 1863. By 1865 there were AMA schools in Key West, Jacksonville, Strawberry Mills, and on a plantation south of Jacksonville along the St. Johns River. Schools in Tallahassee, Ocala, Monticello, Gainesville, and Magnolia soon followed. Like the NFRA teachers, AMA teachers found themselves with more students than they could accommodate. Carrie Blood in Monticello taught a total of 255 students in her day, night, and Sabbath schools. Maggie Gardner and Emma Eveleth taught 108 students in a dilapidated building in 24 Foster & Foster, Aid Societies Were Not Alike, 308-324; Sarah Whitmer Foster & John T. Foster, Jr., Chloe Merrick Reed: Freedoms First Lady in The Florida Historical Quarterly 71 (Jan. 1993): 280-300. 25 Foster & Foster, Aid Societies Are Not Alike, 308-324

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18 Gainesville. Harriet Greely, an AMA teacher in Jacksonville, had sixty-one students ranging in age from twenty to seventy-five. She found that young, black males were interested in night school so they could learn to read the names on voting ballots. The AMA teachers were paid through contributions to the association and initially not assisted by the state or county governments. 26 Although the first AMA schools were elementary schools, which blacks of all ages attended, AMA teachers and agents soon realized that both graded and secondary schools would be needed within a few years. Most AMA teachers believed African Americans could learn as well as or better than most white students. Due to their enthusiasm for learning, most black students advanced quickly and were in need of higher levels of instruction in a short time. AMA administrators did not consider missionary schools a permanent solution to the educational needs of blacks in the south. The AMA hoped to turn management of primary schools over to state and local governments, but this was not always successful. Much of the south was economically devastated by the war and was not capable of sustaining the expense of schools. In addition, many southern whites were resistant or outright hostile to black education, especially when taught by northern whites who advocated freedom and equality for freedmen. 27 26 Joe Richardson, Christian Reconstruction: The American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks, 1861-1890, (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1986): vii, 38-39; H. Greely to G. Whipple, 23 January 1865, 9 May 1867 (Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm, 148D. 27 Richardson, Christian Reconstruction, 37, 112-115, 190-193, 218-222; Clara M. DeBoer, His Truth is Marching On: African Americans Who Taught the Freedmen for the American Missionary Association, 1861-1877 (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995): 7-10; Stevens, The Rise and Development of Universal Education, 2, 25-28; Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 21-23.

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19 Freed slaves demonstrated a great desire for education and quickly filled schools established by Northerners. Northern philanthropic organizations and educators understood how education contributed to the economic, political, and social well-being of society, and attempted to establish a formal education system for Floridas children, specifically for African Americans. Their success was dependent, however, on a state government supportive of their efforts. Political Response to Educational Demands, 1865-1867 Southern whites responded to the outpouring of educational opportunities for freed slaves with considerable political restraint. After the war, Southern state governments were reestablished under President Johnsons Reconstruction plan, and in October 1865 the Florida Legislature convened to write a new constitution. William Marvin, a former federal district attorney and judge and the newly appointed governor of Florida, had opposed secession but was not in favor of equality for blacks. Although he cooperated with federal agents to bring about fair treatment of blacks, he also supported legislative policies that legalized violent and oppressive acts. Marvin recommended to legislators a vagrancy law that would ensure the control of former slaves. According to this law, a citizens complaint to a court official would lead to the arrest of any able-bodied person who was wandering or strolling about. 28 In addition, former slaves who entered into a contract with white plantation owners could be charged with vagrancy if they were disrespectful, insolent, or refused to work. He charged the convention with the responsibility of protecting the rights of freedmen, but not extending to them the right to vote, which won him support from former slave owners and secessionists. The majority of the delegates at the convention were former Confederate officers and soldiers, and legislation reflected the attitudes of southern 28 Florida, Laws of Florida, (1865-1866): 62.

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20 plantation owners and secessionists. The expected victories of African Americans as a result of the Civil War were not evident from what was written in the constitution. The constitution did abolish slavery, but it also stated that only white men could be elected as state and local representatives, only white men could serve on juries, and qualified electors were limited to free white males over the age of twenty-one. With the vote limited to white males, the state elections of November 1865 resulted in a large majority of ex-Confederates and secessionists and a very small contingency of Unionists in the state assembly. 29 In that year, David Walker, a conservative and former member of the Whig Party, ran unopposed for governor of Florida. Walker was a state senator in 1845 and opposed secession but supported the state after its withdrawal from the Union. In his first address to the Florida assembly, Walker clarified his position regarding the rights of African Americans by admitting he could not in good conscience give blacks the right to vote. The prospects of black enfranchisement appeared unlikely, since nearly all local and state offices were held by ex-Confederate officers and soldiers or sympathizers to secession. 30 The 1865 Florida elections brought complaints from Republicans in the United States Congress. In a speech before the Senate, Charles Sumner (Rep., Mass.), an avid abolitionist, condemned the elections in Florida: We have the [Florida] constitution itself which this recent pretended convention has undertaken to put forward a constitution which, after recognizing the abolition of slavery and therefore the citizenship of those who were once slaves, proceeds 29 Joe M. Richardson, Christian Abolitionism: The American Missionary Association and the Florida Negro, in the Journal of Negro Education 40 (Winter 1971): 35-44; Florida Constitution, 1865, Art. IV, Sec. 4, Sec. 5, Art. VI, Sec. 1, Art. IX, Sec. 1, Art. XVI, Sec. 3; Joe Richardson, Black Codes, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (April 1968): 366-380; Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 34-45; Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, 361-367. 30 Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, 409-411; Stevens, The Rise and Development of Universal Education, 40; Eric Foner, Reconstruction: Americas Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (New York: HarperCollins First Perennial Classics 1989): 254-261.

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21 actually to decree their disenfranchisement; and Senators are expected to recognize such an instrument as a republican form of governmentan instrument that begins with the denial of equality to nearly one-half of its citizens! 31 Sumners accusations were echoed by Radical Republicans in Congress, but were ignored by Florida legislators, and they voted in 1866 against ratification of the 14 th Amendment, which recognized African Americans as full citizens. Although the Amendment did not guarantee voting privileges, it penalized states that did not extend these rights, and prohibited from state or national office any person who previously engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the federal government or aided those who did. This constraint eliminated nearly all of the southern political leaders from running for office. 32 The political office restrictions, heated antagonism between President Johnsons support of state rights, and the U.S. Congress advocating full citizenship for African Americans sent mixed messages to state legislators and military commanders. When Johnson removed military courts from the southern states, handing law enforcement back to the state courts, many thought this meant the end of military rule. Surprisingly, however, Governor Walker emphasized in speeches that military rule remained in effect, and he fully cooperated with Major General John G. Foster, commander of occupation forces in Florida. It was the sentiments and rulings of many local judges and juries that provoked accusations of racial bias from Foster and other federal agents. 33 Racial bias became even more explicit when a conservative majority at the legislative session of 1866 passed the Black Codes, which were laws aimed specifically 31 Congressional Globe, Senate, 39 th Congress, 1 st Session, 312-313. 32 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 46-47. 33 Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, 409-411; United States Constitution, Amendment XIV, Sections 1-3; Foner, Reconstruction, 254-261; Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 46-47.

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22 at controlling the black population. These laws, which defined an African American as one who was at least one-eighth black, forbade African Americans from carrying firearms, allowed courts to apprentice children of vagrants and indigent parents, prohibited interracial marriage, regulated work contracts that favored employers, and enforced a vagrancy law that allowed the courts to sell for labor anyone convicted of vagrancy who could not pay the $500 bond. In addition to jail sentences and fines, whippings and the pillory were included as appropriate punishments for crimes. Colonel Thomas Osborn, a Freedmens Bureau agent, objected, and argued that these laws violated the constitutional rights of blacks. When the Florida attorney general John B. Galbraith declared some of the laws unconstitutional, legislators amended them to include whites, but most of the laws applied almost entirely to African Americans. 34 The Freedmens Bureau tried to control the movement of blacks by keeping them on the plantations as paid workers, both for their own safety and for the economic recovery of the state. Military officials worried that former slaves would leave the plantations without having a way to support themselves financially. By contracting with plantation owners, freed slaves would at least be employed and not fall victim to the vagrancy laws. Freedmens Bureau agents mediated contracts and disputes between former slaves and the white plantation owners. Many plantation owners were notorious for violating contracts, but the agents found the contract disputes easier to resolve than large numbers of unemployed blacks that the federal government would need to support. 35 34 Foner, Reconstruction, 199-200; Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 51-57. 35 Morris, Reading, Riting, and Reconstruction, 27-29; Edward K. Eckert, Contract Labor in Florida During Reconstruction in The Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (July 1968): 35-51; Frederick B. Rosen, The Development of Negro Education in Florida During Reconstruction: 1865-1877 (Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 1974), 48-50.

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23 In 1866, representatives from the Freedmens Bureau recommended separate schools for blacks with white teachers. The Florida legislature complied and a bill was passed making segregated schools legal in Florida and operated at no cost to the state. Funding would be provided through a one-dollar tax on every adult black male and through fees paid by teachers for teaching licenses. Included in this bill were stipulations on the licensing of teachers, which gave control of licensure to the state government, an action taken to prevent white northern teachers from teaching in the state. Blacks in Florida had very little money, but many found a way to pay the one-dollar tax. The funds from this tax, however, were misdirected by state legislators into the state general fund and never allocated to the black schools. 36 In demanding tuition, the state government under Governor Walker severely limited the ability of blacks to acquire a formal education. The Black Codes made it easier for freed slaves to be accused of vagrancy and other illegal acts, thereby subjecting them to work without pay. President Johnsons policy of Reconstruction only encouraged the disenfranchisement of African Americans and angered many Republicans in the U.S. Congress. The national elections of 1866 resulted in a Congress dominated by Radical Republicans who favored enfranchisement of African Americans. Against the wishes of Johnson, these men launched the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which reinforced military rule in the south, required ratification by southern states of the 14 th Amendment, and ordered southern states to write new constitutions, which Congress had to approve before being recognized by the Union. The new constitutions had to extend voting privileges to African Americans and be 36 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 56-57.

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24 approved by a majority of registered voters in each state. The federal government assumed the responsibility of registering voters throughout the south. 37 Under the leadership of white Democrats and former Whigs, Florida legislators passed laws that discriminated against freed slaves and discouraged education for African Americans, eliminating slavery in name only. The intervention of the United States Congress eliminated these legal restraints and prepared the way for a government that was more sympathetic to the needs of African Americans. Factionalism in the Republican Party, 1868-1872 In preparation for the upcoming election, the Republican Party began organizing in Florida, but the results produced a splintered party. Initially, these factions may have been advantageous to the Republican Party since each segment was located in a different part of the state and solicited political participation in those areas. The Conservative Radical Republicans, located in Middle Florida and supported by the Baptist church, endorsed enfranchisement and equal rights for blacks. Their philosophy of peaceful opposition to Floridas Black Codes stood in stark contrast to the Liberal Radical Republicans militant stance. Located in West Florida and backed by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the Liberal Radical Republicans endorsed education, enfranchisement, civil rights, and the redistribution of property, by violent means if necessary. They also extracted commitments from blacks not to vote for any southern whites. Loyalist Republicans were based in Jacksonville and advocated enfranchisement and civil rights for blacks, but their leadership consisted more of local men instead of the northern transplants of the Conservative Radical Republicans. Conservative Republicans wanted an even closer alliance with local and federal white 37 Foner, Reconstruction, 275-277.

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25 power, espousing the need for a gradual admission of blacks into the political arena. The leadership of Harrison Reed, a former federal postal agent, gave them a statewide influence. Each Republican Party faction rallied both black and white Republicans to vote, but they also reinforced ongoing internal party antagonism. The Republican Partys inability to unify once it had gained political representation would eventually lead to its demise as a political power. 38 Despite the Republican Party divisions, a slight majority of Florida voters, including African Americans, approved a constitutional convention, and in January of 1868, Republican and Democratic delegates gathered in Tallahassee. Republicans held a large majority but were evenly split between moderates and radicals. Consequently, the factionalism demonstrated during campaigning persisted throughout the convention. Little was accomplished during the first two weeks of the convention as radicals and moderates vied for power and political control, often resorting to physical violence. It was only with the intervention of federal troops that the legislators were able to attend to the business of government. This only served to embarrass the party and fuel arguments from Democrats that blacks were not capable of political participation. 39 In February 1868, the new constitution was approved by Florida voters and Harrison Reed, a Conservative Republican, was elected governor. The new constitution gave him generous authority for appointments to most state and local government positions, and while Reed did appoint black Republicans to offices, including Jonathan C. Gibbs as Secretary of 38 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 143-144; Cantor Brown, Jr., Floridas Black Public Officials 1867-1924 (Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 1998): 1-9. 39 Stevens, The Rise and Development of Universal Education, 47-48; Richard L. Hume, Membership of the Florida Constitutional Convention of 1868: A Case Study of Republican Factionalism in the Reconstruction South, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 51 (July 1972): 2-19; Shofner, Nor Is It Over, 178-189; Brown, Floridas Black Public Officials, 10-13.

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26 State, he did not relinquish control of any commission to any blacks and most major appointments were reserved for Northerners. To establish support for the new government, Reed appointed both Democrats and Conservative Republicans to state office, which alienated some Radical and Moderate Republicans. In addition, because federal law prohibited state elected representatives to hold more than one office, Reeds appointments prevented some state elected representatives, mainly Radical Republicans, from serving in the offices for which they were elected. Angered by Reeds appointments, Republicans accused him of various crimes and voted to impeach him from office, but the senate refused to act and adjourned without voting on the impeachment charges. This was the first of four impeachment attempts on Reed, which only served to further divide Republicans and provided Democrats an opportunity to malign and embarrass the state government. 40 In the 1870 elections, both Republicans and Democrats committed fraud, some poll inspectors delaying identification of voters until the polls closed and others stuffing the ballot box. The illegal activities of Republican Party members and the ongoing bitter competition between Republicans frustrated both black and white constituents. 41 The inability of the Republican Party to unite politically could leave the rights of freed slaves to the mercy of a state government unfriendly to African Americans. Implementing Public Schooling for All Children, 1868-1876 Despite the party divisions and infighting that frustrated attempts to establish a stronger Republican government, education policy moved forward during these early years of Reconstruction. The new constitution provided a broader framework for public education in Florida than any previous action by the state. Legislators extended education 40 Brown, Floridas Black Public Officials, 15-17, 92; Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 198-224. 41 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 213-214, 225-231.

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27 to all the children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference, and this was to be accomplished through a uniform system of Common Schools, and a University that would be free to all between the ages of four and twenty-one. 42 To receive state education funds, counties or school districts were required to raise at least one-half of the amount apportioned by the state to each county for that year, and to maintain a public school for at least three months out of the year. The amount of money appropriated to each county from the common school fund would be in proportion to the number of children in the eligible age range. Funding would come from property taxes, proceeds from federal and state land sales, fines collected by the state, donations by individuals for education, and through a per capita tax. Legislators also established the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, who would oversee all aspects of the state common schools and the university. 43 Although Reeds education policy favored all children, in 1869 he recommended that the state provide no money for education, as required by the constitution, since funds were not available. Most counties could not raise or collect the tax money needed to support common schools, and white residents were not inclined to pay taxes for schools that would educate black students. In addition, Floridas economy had not recovered from the war and a poor crop season in 1867 required the federal government to allocate rations. Despite the financial obstacles, the newly appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction, C. Thurston Chase, was determined to create a public school system that would rival those of the North. Chase began his time in office by examining the public 42 Florida Constitution, 1868, Art. VIII. 43 Florida Constitution, 1868, Art. VIII; Thomas Cochran, The History of Public School Education in Florida (Lancaster, PA: New Era Printing Company 1921): 34-48; Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education, 88-97.

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28 schools of the most approved systems of the older states within the Union and determined the best attributes to emulate in Florida. 44 With funds difficult to find at home, he turned to groups like the Freedmens Bureau and the AMA to help finance schools. Barnas Sears, the General Agent of the Peabody Fund, offered over $6,600 to the Florida public schools. Chase noted in his 1870 report that Sears wished all the towns which we aid to come into your system of legal public schools. 45 Normally, the amount allowed by the Peabody Fund would have been $2,000, but Sears said Floridas public school system was more advanced than most southern states, so he awarded them more money. The Peabody Fund was used to support segregated urban schools with a population of at least 100 students, and with at least one teacher for every fifty students. The Peabody Fund concentrated funding on schools for white students, arguing that the aid provided through the Freedmens Bureau and philanthropic organizations were meeting the educational needs of black children. In this way, Sears and the Peabody Fund supported segregation of schools in the south. The Peabody Fund did benefit some black schools, but the majority of the money, about 93%, went to white schools. 46 Chase was influential in government policy and encouraged legislation that accepted responsibility for teachers of freedmen who had been employed by the state but had not been paid, as was the agreement with the previous administration. His greatest praise went 44 Cochran, History of Public School Education in Florida, 49-78; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1869), 3-8; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Education (1870), 3, 14; Richardson, Christian Reconstruction, 110. 45 Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Education (1870), 48. 46 Ibid., 14; F. Bruce Rosen, The Influence of the Peabody Fund on Education in Reconstruction Florida, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 55 (January 1977): 311-321; Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 280-281.

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29 to the teachers from Northern benevolent societies who came at a time when freed children were cast suddenly at the threshold of a new life, unused to the responsibilities and ignorant of the duties thus thrust upon them. 47 Chases comments and requests for AMA teachers are not surprising since he had received a paid appointment in 1867 to the AMA bureau as special agent for school construction. His correspondence with AMA officials requesting teachers for Florida schools indicates Chases continued relationship with the AMA. He forwarded two requests from Marion County, one for four teachers and another for seven teachers. Chase also gave a positive progress report on three AMA teachers previously sent to Florida and teaching in public schools. In the late 1860s, the AMA began transferring management of its established schools to the state. Chase reported that in October of 1869 there were about 100 active schools in Florida. By January 1870 there were 250 schools with a total student population of about 7,500. The increase in the number of schools may be partly due to better reporting by county superintendents, since many took office for the first time late in 1869 and were unable to collect data in time for that years report. 48 One AMA school that shared funding with Duval County and the Freedmens Bureau was Stanton Normal School in Jacksonville. Lucelia E. Williams served as principal of the school for seven years, two of those under the auspices of the AMA. According to the 1869 teacher reports, the Freedmens Bureau owned the building that housed the school and the Duval County School Board provided some funding. In 1869, the school had six teachers and 382 students enrolled, three of them white. In the early 47 Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1869): 3-8. 48 Cochran, History of Public School Education in Florida, 49-78; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1869): 3-8; Butchart, Northern Schools, 103-104; C. T. Chase, Tallahassee, to E. P. Smith, New York, 22 December 1869 (Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm, 148E; Richardson, Christian Abolitionism, 35-44.

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30 1870s, the AMA experienced a decrease in contributor funding and attempted to consolidate the work being done by the association. When the Freedmens Bureau left Florida in 1876, Stanton Normal School closed due to lack of funding. 49 In the 1868 summer session of the state assembly, Chase pushed for more extensive education laws. Included in his legislation was a bill that removed the required oath teachers had to take prior to being certified and prohibited books of a sectarian nature. 50 The oath had been required to prevent northern teachers from being licensed to teach in Florida. Prior to the vote on the bill, Democrat Alexander L. McCaskill inserted a section that would allow counties and districts to create segregated public school systems without losing state funding and that would prohibit black teachers from teaching white students in any public school or state university. The bill was indefinitely postponed by a close vote of 11-10, but it is unclear whether the dissenters were against racially mixed schools or against prohibiting black teachers to teach white children. 51 A similar bill was introduced and passed in 1869. Although the bill did not mandate segregated schools, it did give counties the right to create separate schools for blacks and whites, thereby leaving the issue of school segregation to the counties. Most Southern whites did not accept mixed schools and refused to send their children to schools attended by blacks. Granting school districts the power to segregate schools was a compromise made by educators hoping that more white children would attend 49 Teachers Monthly School Report, Stanton Normal School, 1869 (Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm, 148D, 148E; Lucelia E. Williams, in The American Missionary, 89 (March 1896): 89; Arthur White, State Leadership and Black Education in Florida, 1876-1976 in Phylon 42 (2d Qtr. 1981): 168-171. 50 Florida, Journal of the Senate for the First Session, Fifteenth Legislature (1868), 225. 51 Ibid.

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31 public schools. In addition to creating schools, the state and county superintendents were given the power to certify teachers. There were three levels of teacher certification, but the county boards of public instruction determined the requirements for each level. Certificates would be granted to graduates of the Department of Teaching at the State University (which was not in operation at that time) or to successful teachers. Candidates also had to maintain a good moral character, possess the skills necessary to manage a school or classroom, and take the oath prescribed by the state Constitution. Teachers were charged one dollar for the certificates, and county superintendents were given the authority to revoke certification after giving proper notice to the teacher and instructions on how to appeal the decision. 52 Officials with the AMA complained that the teacher licensing acts of 1866 and 1869 restricted the work of their teachers in Florida. Most northern teachers had the necessary teacher training to pass a certification exam, but taking the oath to uphold the laws of Florida might have been a concern for teachers who considered themselves residents of their former states. In addition, the authority given to county boards of public instruction for certification requirements was very broad. There were no statewide certification criteria, therefore, each county board of public instruction could determine who was qualified to teach. Since board members were selected by the county superintendent, and the superintendents were appointed by the governor, there was probably legitimate concern from the AMA when Governor Reed appointed many conservatives to local offices. Although Reeds appointees may have supported public education, they may not have supported northern teachers. During these early years of 52 Florida, Laws of Florida (1869), Chapter 1686, Sections 13, 19, 23-27; Richard B. Drake, Freedmens Aid Societies and Sectional Compromise in The Journal of Southern History 29 (May 1963):179-180.

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32 public education, however, there were no known cases of teachers who were denied certification or charged with violating the requirements. According to Chase, county officials were notoriously inattentive regarding their duties. Some county commissioners refused to impose a school tax, and county superintendents neglected to appoint and organize school boards. Their negligence may have worked in favor of the AMA and other benevolent societies, but it inhibited the advancement of the public education system. 53 After Chases death in 1870, Henry Quarles was appointed to finish the term as state superintendent. Quarles cited money as the main barrier to the establishment of a statewide public education system. Owners of large plantations refused to pay taxes to support schools for their former labor force. According to Quarles, few of the over 250 schools in the state would rank above good common schools, and he recommended that schools prepare students to enter college or business. 54 Quarles stated that the absence of a state teachers college, non-uniform textbooks, lack of qualified teachers, and short school terms hindered the work of the common schools. He intended to meet with state educators to discuss ways to improve the education system, but his term ended and Governor Reed appointed Rev. Charles Beecher, the younger brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, as state superintendent. 55 53 Florida Constitution, 1868, Art. VIII, Sec. 4, 14, 19; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1870): 5, 7; Stevens, The Rise and Development of Universal Education, 81-82. 54 Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1871), 5. 55 Ibid., 5-9; Forrest Wilson, Crusader in Crinoline: The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe (New York: J.B. Lippencott Co. 1941): 38-39, 585-586.

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33 Like Chase, Beecher depended on the AMA to supply teachers. In a letter to Rev. George Whipple of the AMA, Beecher requested four teachers for Manatee County, needing them to be full of the spirit of the cross. 56 A Mrs. Cedarholm accepted one of these positions, but was under the impression she would be teaching black children. According to Beecher, there were not enough black children in Manatee County to open a state supported black school and the whites being much democrats are not over friendly. 57 Apparently, Manatee County officials chose to segregate schools, as state law allowed. Florida law also permitted students from one county to go to school in another county, if there were not enough students in their county to warrant a school. Cedarholm suggested this action, but Beecher felt it best, probably due to white sentiment in Manatee County, for her to teach elsewhere and suggested she relocate to Tampa, where she could teach black children. 58 Although Beecher was supportive of schools for blacks, he was not willing to overrule the wishes of local powers, even if it resulted in the neglect of education for some black children. The attitude of Manatee County whites toward AMA teachers and schools for black children was not unusual. Letters written by Northern teachers continually stressed the disparaging treatment they received from both Southern and newly-arrived Northern whites. White communities refused to board teachers or lease buildings for their schools, and some teachers found the black families more welcoming. Teachers were threatened by local whites, some by armed mobs. The AMA advised 56 C. Beecher, Tallahassee, to G. Whipple, New York, 24 July 1872 (Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm 148E. 57 Ibid. 58 C. Beecher, Tallahassee, to G. Whipple, New York, 29 October 1872, (Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm 148E.

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34 teachers to let the Freedmens Bureau or the military handle cases of attack, but it did not profess to be a pacifist organization. Teachers often armed themselves with weapons sent from the AMA New York office and depended on the black community for protection. 59 With each new election, AMA teachers and civil rights supporters feared that government leadership would revert back to the Black Codes and oppression that existed prior to the Congressional Reconstruction Act. In 1872, an AMA teacher in Gainesville expressed her fear in a letter to Erastus Cravath, Field Secretary of the AMA. But we tremble when we think what it will be, if the democrats get into power, which I hope the Lord will prevent. We know what they have done when in power and we have no reason to think they are any better now. The lawwhich is down in black and whiteis that if a colored man steal a chicken he shall be whipped and one who has been whipped shall be disfranchised. In that way they would deprive the colored man of his vote. These one-sided laws were made since the war, when the democrats were in power, and there are men in this place who helped to get them up. And they pretend to be great friends to the colored people, but let them get into power again and these laws would be enforced, then the colored man would find, to his sorrow, who were his friends. 60 Northern teachers may have been most knowledgeable regarding the local problems faced by blacks and their supporters. Their physical presence prior to Congressional Reconstruction allowed teachers to witness some of the cruel acts of discrimination perpetuated against blacks. The discrimination and contempt shown to teachers by the white community reinforced teachers beliefs that African Americans had few friends in the South. Without a strong state government that protected the rights of African Americans, Northern teachers worried that the state would revert back to the Black Codes. 59 Florida, Laws of Florida (1869), Chapter 1686, Section 35; Richardson, Christian Reconstruction, 219-220; Joe M. Richardson, We Are Truly Doing Missionary Work: Letters from American Missionary Association Teachers in Florida, 1864-1874, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 54 (October 1975): 179-196. 60 E.B. Eveleth, Gainesville, to E.M. Cravath, New York, 29 October 1872, (Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm 148E.

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35 Political Frustration and the Accomplishments in Education, 1872-1876 The threat of losing the 1872 election to the Democrats was very real. Conservative Republicans had grown weary of the fighting within their own party and wanted a government that would advance economic development. As Republicans gathered in Tallahassee in August 1872 for their party convention, Radical Republicans from Leon County were noticeably absent. When the state central committee for the Republican Party decided that both gubernatorial candidates from Leon County should appear on the convention ballot, Leon County Radical Republicans refused to attend the convention. Without the support of Leon Countys large black population, Republicans could lose control of the state government. The vote for the Republican candidate for governor shifted between Ossian B. Hart and Marcellus L. Stearns, both considered Loyalist Republicans. Hart, an associate justice on the Florida Supreme Court, supported emancipation and the intervention of the Freedmens Bureau in legal cases, which made him a favorite among blacks. As a native Floridian and former slaveholder, however, he appealed more to Loyalist and Conservative Republicans. Stearns was a former Union soldier and bureau agent and, as Speaker of the House, he had opposed Governor Reeds policies and supported the impeachment attempts on Reed. When Stearns won the convention nomination, blacks who favored Hart decided to leave in protest. To prevent another division in the party, Stearns quickly withdrew in favor of Hart. In response to his sacrifice for the party, Stearns was then nominated for lieutenant governor. 61 The Democrats viewed the division of Leon County Republicans as an opportunity to gain some of the black vote. Democrats agreed to meet with blacks who had left the Republican Party to form the Liberal Republican Party. William D. Bloxham was the only 61 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 276-280.

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36 nominee about whom both sides could agree. After heated arguments, a majority of Liberal Republicans voted to support the Democratic ticket, which included Bloxham for governor and Robert W. Bullock for lieutenant governor. Liberal Republicans who voted against the ticket left the convention in disgust, complaining that too much had been conceded to the Democrats. Despite the divisions in the Republican Party, Hart and Stearn won and Republicans retained a small majority in both the senate and the house. The rigors of campaigning were difficult for Hart and he contracted pneumonia, from which he never recovered. His death in March 1874 elevated Stearns to the office of governor. 62 From the election of Hart to the election of 1876, the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction underwent a high turnover rate, with four men holding the position. Charles Beecher was replaced in 1873 by former Secretary of State Jonathan C. Gibbs. Gibbs was a national leader in education and was invited to speak on education in the south at the thirteenth annual meeting of the National Education Association in Elmira, New York. At this event, he argued for continued free education for blacks. 63 Justice and equity demand that the magnitude of the education wants of the Southern States, and its intrinsic importance to the whole country, be laid before the public mind from time to time, that men everywhere may understand that the education of the mass is indissoluble from a healthy condition of free government. The desire on the part of the colored people to obtain a knowledge of letters is truly astonishing; and this desire is sustained by persistent effort. We are sending daily to the North, West and East for competent teachers, and the supply is not equal to the demand. The four millions of newly enfranchised citizens demand in the name of justice the nations solemn contract, that our national schools of learning be free to all classes of our citizens without distinction of race or color. 64 As the former secretary of state and the current superintendent of public instruction, Gibbs was fully aware of the fragile state of the Republican Party in Florida. Schooling 62 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 280-287. 63 Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education, 98-101. 64 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1874): 63-74.

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37 for African Americans, especially for those without means to pay, could be endangered if political power was lost to Democrats. Superintendent Gibbs recommended that the county school boards be reduced from five to three members to save the state money. He also reminded the legislature that county clerks were still not reporting the quarterly fines that belonged to the school fund, as required by law. Furthermore, Gibbs urged the state legislature to create and fund a teachers institute as soon as possible due to the constant demand for teachers. Although this did not happen during his tenure, he was involved in the decision to locate the Florida State Agricultural College in Alachua County. He also compiled a list of state approved textbooks to help guide teachers when choosing books for their classrooms. From 1871 to 1873, the number of pupils in the state increased by about 12,000, and the resulting problems were reflected in reports from county superintendents. Four counties reported they could not hire enough teachers due to a lack of funds, and five counties reported building new schools to accommodate additional students. 65 Gibbs report indicated that many school districts chose to segregate schools. Dennis Eagan, the school superintendent from Madison County, said he did not usually get involved with the hiring of teachers at white schools, although he stated that all teachers had to pass the certification examination. He reported two black schools in his district, both sponsored and taught by the AMA, and noted that white Northern teachers had become more acceptable and were able to find accommodations with respectable families. Manatee County Superintendent J.F. Bartholf also reported a black school sponsored by the AMA, as did the superintendent from St. Johns County. C.E. Harvey reported from Jackson County that Mr. L.M. Gamble, chairman of the board of 65 Ibid., 1-60

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38 education, donated forty acres for a colored school in Bethlehem. 66 It is not entirely clear if both blacks and whites chose to segregate their schools, but the divisions were clearly made based on skin color. On August 14, 1874, Gibbs suffered a stroke in his office. He was taken to his home where he died later that day. His apparent good health fueled rumors of poison, but it was never proven. Secretary of State Samuel B. McLin was appointed as Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction by Governor Stearns and quickly went to work encouraging the improvement of school buildings. He believed the environment and facilities of the school building and grounds affected how well students learned. McLin also addressed the issue of uniform textbooks after hearing complaints from school officials and teachers regarding the various textbooks children brought to class. McLin believed it would be more effective if schools or counties chose their textbooks, and encouraged the superintendents to select the best method for adopting uniform textbooks. He also urged the state to improve the efficiency of county superintendents by requiring in-service training, thereby improving their ability to evaluate teachers. McLins term ended and he was replaced in 1875 by Rev. William Watkin Hicks, who converted to the Republican Party after the appointment. The quick turnover of superintendents during these later years of Republican rule made it difficult to maintain consistent work in Floridas education system. The needed improvements in teacher training, standardized textbooks, and school buildings were never fully addressed due in part to the brief tenure of superintendents. This instability was a reflection of the state government. 67 66 Ibid., 43 67 Brown, Floridas Black Public Officials, 31; Joe M. Richardson, Jonathan C. Gibbs: Floridas Only Negro Cabinet Member, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 42 (April 1964): 364-369.

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39 Although most legislation enacted between 1868 and 1876 supported enfranchisement for blacks and education for all children, Republican factions increased animosity within the Party and frustrated both politicians and voters. Education for African Americans gained momentum due in part to government officials who supported equal educational opportunities for blacks and whites. The desire for white support of public education compelled educators to submit to racist attitudes of the white communities, and segregation of schools was allowed under Florida law. A weak Republican Party, however, jeopardized the ability of government officials sympathetic to the needs of blacks to maintain a strong influence in education policy, which threatened the achievements made in education for African Americans. Election Results of 1876 and the End of Reconstruction The threat of Democratic control of the state government due to Republican factionalism was very real. Fearing the outcome of the 1876 election, Dennis Eagan, chairman of the State Republican Executive Committee, urged voters to unite: The enemy is in the field, and hopes to benefit by divisions in our ranks. 68 With forty-seven percent of the state population African American and only 2,000 whites in the Republican Party, unity among Republicans was necessary to maintain government control. 69 In 1876, Governor Marcellus Stearns was nominated for a second term amid violent opposition from several county representatives who were denied access to the convention due to their support for Republican state Senator Simon B. Conover. Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education in Florida, 106-108; Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 295-296. 68 To the Republican in Florida, Daily Florida Union, 30 June 1876. 69 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 288-289.

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40 Conovers constituents held their own convention, and both conventions sent delegates to the national convention. Fearing a loss of Republican representatives in the federal and state governments, Republicans from the national party convinced Conover to withdraw from the race. Conover publicly requested that all voters support the Republican ticket, but his followers continued their attacks on Stearns. Many black politicians were angered by the actions of Northern white Republicans. Fuller M. White, the county commissioner in Jackson County from 1872 to 1875, was quoted as advising the negroes of Jackson county [sic] to throw off the white carpetbaggers and organize a colored mans party. 70 African Americans were growing tired of the unfulfilled promises made by Florida politicians from the north, and encouraged blacks to vote for southern blacks or whites loyal to the federal government. 71 Democrats nominated George F. Drew for governor. Drew was a lumber mill owner from Madison County who moved to the south from New Hampshire prior to the Civil War. Although he claimed to be a unionist during the war, he had sold bridge timbers from his lumber mill in Georgia to the Confederate army, which increased his favor among Floridas white conservatives. 72 Tensions were high during the election, with fraud, bribery, and intimidation used by both parties to gain votes. Federal troops were stationed throughout Florida during the elections in an attempt to prevent violent acts against voters. Although the elections of 1876 were less violent than previous ones, they were never more volatile, 70 As quoted in Brown, Floridas Black Public Officials, 138. 71 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 300-313; Bess Beatty, John Willis Menard: A Progressive Black in Post-Civil War Florida in The Florida Historical Quarterly 59 (October 1980): 124-144. 72 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 300-313.

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41 resulting in Democrats and Republicans contesting nearly all county returns. With thirty-eight county returns needing review due to accusations of voter fraud, the election board realized it would not meet the December 6 deadline for the electoral votes to be cast. The national election, however, was now dependent on the results from the Florida elections. 73 With the arrival of national representatives from both the Republican and Democratic Parties, Tallahassee became the focal point of the nation. Narrowing the major disputes to nine counties, the election board, consisting of two Republicans and one Democrat, concentrated on resolving the allegations in these counties. When the examination was completed and the votes counted, Republicans Rutherford Hayes and William A. Wheeler were declared winners of the electoral votes for United States President and Vice President respectively; Democrats George F. Drew and Noble A. Hull were named governor and lieutenant governor respectively. Appeals to the Florida Supreme Court by the Republican Party in Florida did not change the outcome. 74 The end of Reconstruction ushered in an era of rapidly declining opportunities for African Americans. The Compromise of 1877 brought Hayes, a Republican, into the White House in exchange for the removal of federal troops from the South and the surrender of southern state governments to white Democrats. Prior to the 1876 election, Northerners had grown tired of the negro problem. The withdrawal of the Freedmens Bureau followed by the decline in funding from philanthropic organizations, and the repeal of the Southern Homestead Act of 1866 indicated 73 Jerrell Shofner, Florida in the Balance: The Electoral Ballot of 1876 in The Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (October 1968): 123-151. 74 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 310-331.

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42 declining interest in the conditions of blacks in the South. In 1877, with Democrats in positions of political power, Southern governments reduced taxes, opposed compulsory education laws, and prevented further development of universal education. Wages for laborers were reduced, the movement of blacks restricted, more oppressive labor contracts initiated, and vagrancy laws reappeared. In Florida, Governor Drew and Democratic legislators reduced taxes, closed the penitentiary, and discontinued funding for the Agricultural College. The tax decrease was reversed two years later due to fiscal problems, and the college was reopened. African Americans suffered most by these policy changes, but advances made during Reconstruction could not be halted entirely. 75 Southern whites realized that they could not do away with the education of African Americans, but they reduced funding to black schools and increased funding to white schools. In an effort to control education for blacks, Southern whites redirected educational goals toward the Hampton-Tuskegee vocational model. Public education for blacks became education for field labor and unskilled positions. For Southern whites, universal education was not conceived of as transforming the social position of any labouring class but a means to make society run more efficiently. 76 White Southerners were dependent on an illiterate work force and were agreeable to a public education system that relegated blacks to the lower rungs of a social class system. 77 75 Foner, Reconstruction, 567-568; Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 22-23. 76 Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 80. 77 Foner, Reconstruction, 590-591, 602; Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 81-83.

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43 Education Objectives Altered for African Americans, 1877-1886 Governor Drew stated in his address to the 1877 Florida assembly that blacks would become good citizens through education, and that schools were cheaper than poor houses and prisons. Drew appointed Democrat William P. Haisley as Superintendent of Public Education. Haisley was the first to uphold a legislative act that required regular meetings with the county superintendents and other school officers. In addition, he created a state curriculum and held the first institute for training black and white teachers. Since the state lacked a normal school, the Peabody Fund, which had shifted its primary funding to normal education, offered three two-year scholarships to prospective Florida teachers to attend the Normal Department at Nashville University. In 1879, they awarded seven scholarships to Florida students. These were offered only to white teachers, however, and Haisley believed black teachers also needed training to teach in the black schools. He obtained a state grant for black teachers to attend two Florida graded schools for blacks: Lincoln Academy in Tallahassee and Union Academy in Gainesville. The two-month normal programs at the academies could not offer the same education as a two-year program at Nashville University, but they were the best the state had to offer. Along with increased teacher training, Haisley also reduced education expenditures by decreasing the number of members on county school boards, which had been recommended by Gibbs, and he reduced funding for subdistricts. This funding would eventually be redirected to rural schools. Since the densely populated subdistricts usually had a larger black population, however, this meant less money for black schools. 78 The 78 Leedell W. Neyland, State-Supported Higher Education Among Negroes in the State of Florida in The Florida Historical Quarterly 43 (October 1964): 106-107; Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education, 122; Cochran, History of Public Education in

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44 slow decline in educational opportunities for blacks had begun and, as predicted by the AMA teacher, blacks were now finding out who their friends were. Like superintendents before him, Haisley voiced a concern for the lack of qualified teachers and the absence of a state normal school. As he organized teacher institutes, Haisley also pushed for legislation that would mandate the establishment of two state normal schools. His first success was in 1880 at East Florida Seminary located in Gainesville where a Normal Department was established. In 1883, a second Normal Department opened at the West Florida Seminary located in Tallahassee; however, both schools were for white students only. Haisleys successor, E.K. Foster, continued the teachers institutes, conducting five for whites and two for blacks in 1883. In that same year, the Florida legislature appropriated $1,000 for teacher institutes and summer normal schools. It was Albert J. Russell, however, who began the institutes in earnest. 79 Many teachers in Florida were products of the growing number of graded and secondary schools, including Duval High School in Jacksonville (white), Tampa Institute in Tampa (white), Lincoln Academy in Tallahassee (colored), and Union Academy in Gainesville (colored). 80 In 1884, Russell organized two-month normal schools for black teachers at both Lincoln and Union Academies. A total of forty-seven teachers attended each school, eleven receiving second class teaching Florida, 58-69, 74-75; Richardson, Christian Abolitionism, 41-42; White, State Leadership and Black Education in Florida, 168-169. 79 Florida, Laws of Florida (1881), Chapter 3282; Florida, Journal of the Senate for the Ninth Session (1877), 48; Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1882): 20; Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education, 122. 80 According to state superintendent reports, there were no senior high schools for African Americans in Florida in 1900. As of 1906, there was only one senior high schoolLincoln Academy in Tallahassee. In 1922, Union Academy taught grades 1-9. See Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1900, 1909, 1922) for Florida.

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45 certificates and forty receiving third class certificates. No teachers from these schools received a first class teaching certificate. Russell also held oneand two-week teacher institutes for both black and white teachers (at different times) in Quincy, Tallahassee, and Madison. An institute for blacks was held in Lake City, and one for whites in Polk County. The Normal Department at the East Florida Seminary already had fifteen graduates teaching in the state, and there were twenty-five more enrolled in 1883. West Florida Seminary had just awarded its first two students with state teaching licenses. By 1885, the seminaries had a total of ninety-six students enrolled in their normal departments. Both departments offered white students a two-year program, and graduates were awarded a state license of instruction, which allowed them to teach in the state of Florida for life. 81 This inequality of educational opportunity created obstacles not only for black teachers, but also for the schools where they taught. Most black teachers were not being offered the same education and training as white teachers, and this was reflected in the state teacher examinations and the awarding of teaching certificates. Since black teachers were only welcome as teachers in black schools, the students in these schools would not receive the same education as students in schools with teachers who had received a normal school education. As a result, African Americans completing the two-month normal programs in schools like Lincoln and Union Academies would be inadequately prepared for the certification examinations and would obtain the lowest class of 81 Pyburn, The History of the Development of a Single System of Education in Florida, 120-125; Murray D. Laurie, Union Academy: A Freedmens Bureau School in Gainesville, Florida in The Florida Historical Quarterly 65 (October 1986): 164-175; Neyland, State Supported Higher Education, 106-108; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1883-1884), 7-15.

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46 certification. 82 This pattern would only serve to perpetuate the disparity between black and white educational opportunities, and would contribute to the political and economic limitations of future African Americans. Nearly every southern state had universities or normal schools for blacks, but in 1884 there were none in Florida. The American Missionary Association had sponsored Stanton Normal School near Jacksonville, but it closed in 1876. Stanton Normal School was the academic equivalent of a high school, and the AMA hoped to offer college level courses as the students progressed, similar to what it had done in other states. 83 AMA officers had long held the belief that higher education constituted the only venue through which African Americans could properly prepare for careers as teachers, ministers, lawyers, doctors, and politicians, which AMA officials believed would prepare them to take leadership roles among their own people. Benevolent societies may have believed that African Americans were just as capable of academic success as whites, but they were reluctant to give control of black schools to African Americans. By 1877, most benevolent societies were more conservative in their ideology and compromised to accommodate sectional differences. This meant, however, accepting segregation of schools in the South and refocusing efforts to include vocational and agricultural education for blacks. Integrating blacks into white society was no longer the goal of 82 Florida, Laws of Florida (1887), Chapter 3962, Sec. 1-4, Chapter 3809. 83 Schools the AMA helped establish were Fisk University and LeMoyne-Owen College in Tennessee, Talladega College in Alabama, Straight (now Dillard) College in Louisiana, Berea College in Kentucky, Atlanta University in Georgia, Tougaloo University in Mississippi, Avery Institute in South Carolina, Huston-Tillotson College in Texas, the Theological Department at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Hampton University in Virginia. Their influence at Hampton was reduced considerably when AMA officers opposed the pedagogical ideas of Hamptons leader, Samuel C. Armstrong; Joe M. Richardson, Christian Reconstruction: The American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks, 1861-1890, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986): 121-140.

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47 many Northern educators, and most benevolent societies accepted and supported the pattern of inequality in the public education system of the South. 84 Beginning with Republican leaders, segregation became the expectation in Florida schools. Although laws demanding separate schools had not been passed, and there may have been some mixed race schools in Florida, the state and county superintendents acted in ways that advocated a racially separate education system to satisfy both blacks and whites. In addition, laws regulating the separation of the races appeared more frequently after 1880. With increased support for segregated schools, teacher training for African Americans became imperative. State legislators, however, did not support teacher training for blacks, as reflected in state expenditures for black schools. 85 Democrats and the Legalization of Segregation, 1882-1900 In the 1882 elections, Democrats retained the governors office and won heavy majorities in the House and Senate. Voters also approved a constitutional convention, selecting only seven blacks as delegates to the convention. In comparison, the 1868 constitutional convention had nineteen black delegates. The convention delegates quickly reduced the rights of African Americans by authorizing the legislature to demand a poll tax and by mandating racial segregation in public schools. The poll tax, which prohibited anyone from voting who had not paid the tax in the previous two years, threatened the 84 E.M. Cravath, The Higher Education of the Negro, The American Missionary 36 (December 1882): 370-372; Beard, A Crusade of Brotherhood, 145-162; McPherson, White Liberals and Black Power, 1359-1360; Drake, Freedmens Aid Societies, 180-186; Butchart, Northern Schools, 206-207. 85 White, State Leadership and Black Education in Florida, 169; Florida, Laws of Florida (1881), Chapter 3283; Florida, Laws of Florida (1883), Chapter 3446, 3447, 3448; Florida, Laws of Florida (1869), Chapter 1686, Sections 23-27.

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48 voting rights of many poor Floridians, a large portion of whom were black. This would ensure a white majority at the polls. 86 This was the first constitution to distinguish explicitly between education for black and white children: White and colored children shall not be taught in the same school, but impartial provision shall be made for both. 87 Although segregated schools were probably preferred by most whites in Florida, the legal act to separate the races reinforced racist attitudes, and laws were passed to control blacks politically, economically, and socially. Other changes were more subtle, like the language used to determine the type of schools the state would provide. In the 1868 Constitution, the state had provided education for all children residing within the state without distinction or preference. 88 The new constitution simply stated, The legislature shall provide for a uniform system of public free schools, and shall provide for the liberal maintenance of the same. 89 Provisions made for the education of black teachers were, in reality, only small gestures. The new constitution required the state government to establish, maintain, and manage no more than two state normal schools as the interests of public education may demand. 90 Since the state already had two Normal Departments at the East and West Florida Seminaries, it was questionable whether they would provide one for black 86 Brown, Floridas Black Public Officials, 144-145; Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. VI, Sec. 8, Art. XII, Sec. 114. 87 Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. XII, Sec. 12. 88 Florida Constitution, 1868, Art. VIII, Sec. 1. 89 Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. XII, Sec. 1. 90 Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. XII, Sec. 14.

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49 teachers. Although this did not prevent private organizations from opening a normal school in the state, the fact that the two existing state schools were all white meant that in 1885 there was no state sponsored normal school for blacks. In addition, the 1885 constitution and laws passed in 1886 amended education laws and strengthened laws regarding certification requirements for teachers. Making teacher certification requirements more stringent without providing adequate teacher training for all teachers seemed an unreasonable action against black teachers and schools. From 1881 to 1884, the number of teachers in the state of Florida increased by 24%. 91 During those same years, the number of teachers holding first class certifications, which was the most demanding level, increased by only 1%. Second class certifications increased by 3% and third class certifications decreased by 7%, but the number of uncertified teachers increased by 3%. The language used and most of the laws passed prior to 1877 worked for blacks, but the language and laws after 1877 worked against them, changing de facto segregation to de jure segregation. The Republican Party, once thought the savior of the freedmen, was now powerless to prevent racially discriminatory legalization. 92 The 1886 elections decreased further the representation of blacks and Republicans in state government. Many counties that previously elected blacks to state offices elected whites to the assembly. The House and Senate consisted of many young politicians who advocated white supremacy and supported laws that would ensure white control. By 91 These numbers include the 28 counties that reported data for 1881, 1882, and 1884. 92 Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. VI, Sec. 8, Art. VIII, Sec. 6; Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1881-1882): 4, 8; Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1884): 24.

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50 1890, blacks had lost power in state government and retained little power locally. 93 Moderate Republicans, still upset with the lack of Party unity, attempted to gain political control by uniting with Democrats to form the Independent Party. Florida farmers, mostly Democrats, were angered by the government sale of lands to northern railroad investors and the high tariffs on shipping. Radical Republicans and Democrats attacked the members of the Independent Party, but this once again split the Republican Party. The Independent candidate running for governor won more votes than the Republican candidate, but this only elevated factionalism in the Republican Party. Many rural Republican voters, victimized by threats of violence and disenchanted with a party that could not deliver on its promises, stayed away from the polls or voted for Democrats. 94 Republican leaders could no longer rally voters to the polls. Unequal Opportunities in Education for African Americans, 1886-1900 State Superintendent Russells report of 1887 reflected the changes in the new constitutiondata were now presented for White and Colored public schools and students. In that year, Dade, Holmes, Manatee and Pasco Counties reported having no black teachers, and Manatee and Pasco reported no schools for blacks. The five black schools in Dade and the one in Holmes were being taught by white teachers. In 1886, there were a total of 540 black teachers and 1,715 white teachers in the state. H.N. Felkel, the Principal Institute Instructor for the teacher training institutes held in 1886, reported that there were many teachers with little or no teacher training. Felkel said the purpose of the teacher institutes was to provide a uniform curriculum and stimulate interest in education. State Superintendent Russell organized an institute in DeFuniak Springs, 93 Brown, Floridas Black Public Officials, 55-69; Florida, Laws of Florida (1887), Chapter 3742. 94 Brown, Floridas Black Public Officials, 60-61.

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51 Walton County, which was about 100 miles west of Tallahassee and 75 miles east of Pensacola. About 300 teachers attended, but there is no indication if this was a mixed race institute. Of the twelve Florida counties within a 100 mile radius of DeFuniak Springs, there were a total of 317 white teachers and 128 black teachers (26 of them in Leon County and 32 in Gadsden County). 95 The institute in DeFuniak Springs was free, but teachers were responsible for all other expenses. Since black teachers were paid less than white teachers, it may have been more difficult for black teachers to attend the institutes. Of the five counties with the greatest number of black teachers, Alachua (50), Marion (41), Madison (38), Duval (32), and Gadsden (32), only one was within 100 miles of the institute. As a compromise, Russell held one-week institutes for black teachers in Nassau and Madison counties, and two-week institutes for black teachers in Leon and Columbia counties. White teachers were also offered oneand two-week institutes in Santa Rosa, Holmes, Brevard, Nassau, Baker, Bradford, Madison, Calhoun, and Polk counties. In addition, nine white high schools offered teacher education courses and the graduates were employed as teaching assistants in the primary grades. There were apparently no high schools for African Americans in operation at this time, although Union and Lincoln Academies, neither yet offering education through grade twelve, offered six-week normal courses to African American teachers. 96 In 1886 there were 141 teacher candidates enrolled at the East and West Seminaries, nearly 40% above enrollment for the year before. Although the normal 95 There are now fourteen counties within a 100 mile radius of DeFuniak Springs; Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1887): 3-14, 18. 96 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1887): 3-14, 18; Laurie, Union Academy, 164-175.

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52 institutes for blacks reached more teachers than the Normal Departments in the East and West Seminaries, they were in no way equivalent in instruction. The seminaries offered two-year programs covering not only academic subjects included in the teacher certification examinations, but also courses specific to the profession of teaching. The summer normal schools and teacher institutes were opportunities to share professional knowledge, but not extensive enough to improve academic knowledge required to pass certification examinations. 97 The two state normal schools were finally opened in October 1887, beginning a two-year teacher education program in each. Felkel was named president of the white school and Thomas DeSaille Tucker was president of the black school. The White Normal School in DeFuniak Springs opened with fifty-two students, and the Colored Normal School in Tallahassee opened with forty-seven students. Graduates obtained a life certificate of the first class that allowed them to teach anywhere in the state without having to renew their certification. 98 Most students entering these schools, however, needed remedial work before they could begin the academic studies for the normal school level. The need for remedial work among the states most promising scholars is indicative of the level of education Floridas public schools were able to provide. Prior to the opening of the normal schools, most of the students admitted would have found positions as teachers with only a basic education. According to the superintendents report of 1890, the White Normal School had dormitories for both male and female students, but the Colored Normal School did not. The inadequate housing and 97 Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1883-1884), 7-15; Neyland, State Supported Higher Education, 105-106. 98 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1889-1900), 15.

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53 employment opportunities for black students prompted Tucker to request relocating the school to Highland where they would have ample buildings and land for farming. Although he did not believe in a strict agricultural or vocational education, Tucker knew farmland would provide food for the schools, thereby decreasing the need for students to find work outside of the school. The Morrill Act of 1890 provided the funds needed to relocate the school. 99 Even if these schools were identical in every respect, the educational opportunities for prospective white teachers in Florida far outweighed those for blacks. In addition to the increased number of white high schools providing normal school courses, the Florida Normal School and Business Institute in White Springs, incorporated in 1887, was a private school for white students. Completion of their state approved teaching program would confer first class teaching certificates to all graduates without examination. In 1889, the state appropriated $5,000 to this school in exchange for free tuition for one white female and one white male student from each senatorial district. 100 The legal segregation of schools was a continuation of Reconstruction education policy, but created more problems for black teachers and students due mainly to unequal funding of schools. Since blacks were forced to attend and teach black schools, these schools had to be prepared to educate future teachers. Two of the oldest black schools in the stateLincoln and Union Academieswere still graded schools and did not yet offer secondary level courses. Graduates from the black graded schools received no more than an 99 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1887), 3-17; Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1889-1900): 15-20; Neyland, State Supported Higher Education, 106-112. 100 Florida, Laws of Florida (1889), Chapter 3869.

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54 eighth-grade education. Normal institutes and summer normal schools were not a substitute for two-year normal programs offered almost exclusively to white students. William Sheats and the Orange Park Normal and Industrial School Recognizing the need for teacher training for blacks in Florida, the AMA attempted once more to open an institution of higher education. After Stanton Normal School closed in 1876, the AMA had very little activity in Florida. In 1881, the organization provided support for a Fernandina minister and in 1884 for two teachers in St. Augustine. The Orange Park Normal and Industrial School, both a day and a boarding school, opened in 1891 with a principal and seven teachers. Located on the St. Johns River in Orange Park, Clay County, land was donated by the town with the understanding that children from the town would be able to attend, whether black or white. The AMA agreed and the school opened with twenty-six students, seventeen of whom were boarders. Four months later there were seventy-eight students, forty boys and thirty-eight girls. The closing ceremonies for the first year included recitations, displays of academic and manual work, and a student debate over the education of girls, which concluded with the decision that a family with one girl and one boy should educate the girl since the boy had a better chance of obtaining an education on his own. The racially mixed audience was impressed by the accomplishments of the students, which improved the schools reputation among white families. From 1892 to 1895, attendance was about 100 students annually. To accommodate state regulations and community attitudes, the children were racially separated, with blacks and whites assigned to different floors in the boarding house. Everyone ate in the same room, but blacks and whites sat at different tables. The only time blacks and whites were together was in the classroom and when the boys played games on their own. Although the AMA and the community appeared content with this

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55 arrangement, state officials were less supportive. The school caught the attention of State Superintendent Sheats, whose actions were greatly influenced by his fears of interracial marriage and his insistence that the preservation of the white race was paramount to maintaining social order. 101 In 1895, under the leadership of Sheats, teacher certifications became more stringent and were standardized for all districts. The certification for the third class required examinations in orthography, reading (both oral and written), arithmetic, English, grammar, composition, United States history, geography, physiology, and theory and practice of teaching. The average passing grade for all exams was sixty percent with a grade of no less then forty percent in any one subject area. The second class certification required examinations in the same subject areas as a third class certification but with a passing grade of seventy-five percent and with a grade of no less then fifty percent in any one subject area. The first class certification required the same examinations as the third and second class but added examinations in civil government, algebra, and physical geography. 102 The average passing grade for all exams was eighty percent with a grade of no less then sixty percent in any one subject. Only the state superintendent could award a state 101 New Appointments, The American Missionary, 35 (February 1881): 45; List of Missionaries and Teachers, The American Missionary, 37 (February 1883): 44; List of Missionaries and Teachers, The American Missionary, 38 (February 1884): 47; List of Missionaries and Teachers, The American Missionary, 39 (February 1885): 45; Orange Park Normal and Industrial School, in The American Missionary, 46 (May 1892): 152-153; Orange Park, Fla, in The American Missionary, 46 (June 1892); 192-194; G. S. Dickerman, Orange Park, Fla in The American Missionary, 46 (July 1892): 234-235; B. D. Rowlee, Normal and Manual Training School, Orange Park, Fla in The American Missionary 49 (August 1895): 263-264; Joe M. Richardson, The Nest of Vile Fanatics: William N. Sheats and the Orange Park School, in The Florida Historical Quarterly, 64 (April 1986): 400-401. 102 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1895-1896): 23-26.

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56 teaching certificate, and eligible teachers had to have at least 24 months of teaching experience and hold a first class certification. Third class certificates were good for two years only in the county they were issued. Second class certificates were good for three years and first class certificates for four years, both of which could be accepted by any county superintendent. All graduates from the state normal schools earned a first class certification without having to take the examination. Teachers with third and second class certifications had to prove they were working toward a first class certification and sit for exams before their certification expired. If satisfactory progress was not made, the superintendent could revoke their certification. 103 Creating uniform teacher examinations would have been a positive step in public education except for the unequal educational opportunities offered future black teachers. Most of the teachers in Florida were products of a high school education and possibly some teacher training. To pass the certification exams, however, teachers would need additional education. Black teachers had fewer opportunities than white teachers for continuing education since there was only one normal school available to them and there were fewer normal institutes organized for blacks, and they usually met for shorter sessions. In the 1895-96 school year, 116 schools did not open due to a teacher shortage. Most were black schools. 104 In 1896, county superintendents reported schools not opening due to a lack of teachers. Superintendent A.M.C. Russell, from Hernando County, said uniform examinations improved the quality of teachers but our negro population has suffered on 103 Florida, Laws of Florida (1895): Chapter 4331. 104 Butchart, Secondary Education and Emancipation, 162-163; Neyland, State-Supported Higher Education, 106-107; Extracts from Address by Miss Helen S. Loveland, in The American Missionary 50 (January 1896): 19.

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57 account of failures of negro teachers to pass. 105 From 1893 to 1896, Hernando County conducted eight teachers institutes and summer normal schools annually. Seven schools in Clay County were without teachers and Liberty County could not meet the needs of the black schools due to lack of teachers. With fewer educational opportunities for black teachers, stricter certification requirements, and less funding for urban schools where large majorities of blacks lived, education for blacks was greatly hindered. Separate was certainly true, but equality was not to be found. According to one AMA teacher from Orange Park: Theoretically, in the United States all men, whether white or black, enjoy equal civil liberties; practically, in the South, they do not. 106 The legislation that gave Sheats national attention made it a penal offense for any school, private or public, to instruct or board students of the two races together. This law, passed in 1895, greatly impacted the AMA normal school in Orange Park. AMA officials argued that the Sheats Law was passed specifically against the Orange Park School, since they claimed there were no other schools in the state in which both races attended. In addition, Sheats was interfering in the choices made by a community to sponsor a private school. When the Orange Park School reopened after winter break in 1896, the staff and students continued classes as before, but waited expectantly for arrests to be made. Sheats adhered to the letter of the law and in April 1896 had the principal and teachers arrested. The AMA hired lawyers and took the case to the Florida courts, arguing the law was a violation of the 14 th Amendment and discriminated against teachers by restricting them in a way that no other profession 105 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, (1895-1896): 264. 106 Ibid.; Richardson, The Nest of Vile Fanatics, 394-407; Extracts from Address by Miss Helen S. Loveland, 20.

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58 was restrictedone based entirely on race. The courts agreed, and a telegram arrived during the AMA convention in October 1896 that stated, Sheats law this day declared unconstitutional and void. When read before the convention the audience was carried off its feet, applauding what they considered a triumph for Christian religion and Christian civilization. 107 It appears that the only strong argument Sheats had against the school was that both black and white children attended the school, although they were kept separate in every area except the classroom. Whether he had the legal right to interfere with a private school, funded entirely by private donations and approved by the community, was questionable and reveals his obsessive nature regarding mixed-race schools. The Orange Park School reopened in December of 1896, but under much different circumstances. White parents were no longer comfortable sending their children to the school. In 1897, Sheats tried to convince the legislature to close the Orange Park School, stating he had evidence that the school was manipulating the attendance of unsuspecting white children. A. F. Beard, the newly-appointed principal of the school, responded to Sheats request for information on the school for the 1896 superintendents report with a reiteration of the schools original goals, the excellent reputation of AMA schools in the south, and a reminder that state funds were never used to maintain the school. Beard stated that the number of students was increasing until the events of last year, indicating the detrimental affect the law and arrest had on the school. 108 The 1898 superintendents report on the Orange Park School noted a student population of 103, 107 Florida, Laws of Florida (1895): Chapter 4335; White, State Leadership and Black Education in Florida, 168-171; Our Orange Park School and the Florida Persecution, in The American Missionary, 50 (December, 1896): 379-380. 108 Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1896): 188

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59 seventy-five of whom were boarders. The Green Cove Springs Junior High School for blacks, a free public school, opened in 1906, possibly reducing the number of black students at Orange Park. A decrease in attendance due to the intervention by Sheats, attitudes among whites in the community, and a fire that destroyed most of the buildings combined to close Orange Park Normal and Industrial School, leaving the state with only one normal school for African Americans. 109 In his report of 1900, Sheats indicated there were normal schools at Florida State Agricultural College, John B. Stetson University in Deland, and Rollins College in Winter Park. However, these were schools for whites only. In addition to these schools, there were other schools of higher education for whites: Florida Conference College in Leesburg had a normal course in place, Florida Normal School and Business Institute in White Springs received state funding for some of its normal school students, and Jasper Normal Institute in Jasper already had fifty-five graduates in 1896. 110 With fewer educational opportunities available to African Americans, teachers for black schools would continue to be supplied by black graded schools, like Lincoln and Union Academies. The education received by black teachers would not be equivalent to the education received at the normal schools in colleges and universities available to white students. Based on these different levels of education, the knowledge black teachers took into their classrooms would be limited in comparison to the knowledge attained by white 109 Richardson, The Nest of Vile Fanatics, 394-407; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1896): 186-189, (1898): 257-258, (1906): 38-40. 110 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1887), 3-17, 18, 22; Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1894-1896)102-184; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1900), 91-99, 117-138; Sidney Johnston, The Historic Stetson University Campus in Deland, 1884-1934, in The Florida Historical Quarterly 70 (January 1992): 281-304.

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60 teachers. Due to no fault of their own, both black teachers and black students would be denied the same education as white teachers and white students. Sheats continued the tradition of teacher institutes, conducting eleven for white teachers and three for black teachers over the summer of 1899. He organized the three black institutes in counties with the highest numbers of black teachers, but decided that there were not enough black teachers in other counties to warrant the expense of additional institutes. Since all fourteen institutes presented the exact same information, Sheats claimed that there was not the slightest discrimination in the conduct of the [institutes] for white and black. 111 Sheats said, The schools were designed to impart professional instruction, and not intended to take the place of the regular work of secondary or Normal Schools, or to be used merely as helps in securing teachers certificates. 112 According to Sheats, the institutes and summer normal schools were opportunities to share professional knowledge, not classes to increase the knowledge base of future and current teachers with second and third grade certificates who needed to text for a higher class certificate. In the same report, however, Sheats contradicted himself, stating that the teacher institutes and summer normal schools were a replacement for those who could not attend normal schools or colleges and the only hope of reaching them is through the medium of the short term Schools for Teachers. 113 Although a greater percentage of black teachers (25%) attended the institutes than white teachers (18%), this could be because some white teachers spent summers out of the state and were not available to attend. The more obvious indicators of lessening support for 111 Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1900), 122. 112 Ibid., 119. 113 Ibid., 123-124.

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61 black teachers are the certifications awarded and the cost per pupil for education. In 1898, of the 2,124 white teachers employed by the state, 520 (24%) held a life or first-class teaching certificate, 1,135 (53%) held a second-class certificate, and 469 (22%) held a third-class certificate. Of the 662 black teachers, 31 (5%) held a first-class teaching certificate (none held a life certificate), 330 (50%) held a second-class certificate, and 301 (45%) held a third-class certificate. Of the white teachers, 259 (12%) had graduated from a normal school, while only 54 (8%) of the black teachers had a normal school education. 114 With few opportunities for black teachers to obtain a normal school education or attend college, less funding for black graded schools, and the additional demands of Sheats uniform examination law, one wonders how black teachers would gain the knowledge needed to pass the examination for a first-class certificate. In 1873, Gibbs had reported that state expenditures for education per pupil were about $2.23. In 1887, Russell reported it to be about $3.46 per pupil. In 1900, Sheats reported the expenditure per pupil as about $6.03. He was the first superintendent to break down education expenditures per pupil by race. In 1900, the average state expenditure for white students was $7.78/pupil, and for black students $3.20/pupil. The cost per county varied greatly, with Jefferson County showing the greatest disparity, $8.93/white student and $1.19/black student. Holmes County showed the greatest consistency, spending $2.63/white student and $2.51/black student. Taylor County spent no money on black students. The 61 black children of school age either attended white schools or, more likely, did not attend school in that county. The counties with the greatest numbers of black students showed the greatest disparities in how much they spent per pupil. These per pupil expenditures provide some explanation for the difference 114 Ibid., 91-99, 117-138.

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62 in the illiteracy rate between black and white children. According to the 1900 census, 4% of white children between the ages of ten and twenty-one were illiterate, compared to 20% of black children in the same age range. 115 These numbers indicated the need for increased efforts to educate black teachers and children. The attitude of racial superiority held by Sheats and many other whites, however, prevented them from identifying some of the real problems in Floridas education system: a lack of adequate teacher education for African Americans, reduced funding for African American schools, and teacher certification requirements that demanded a level of education unavailable to most African Americans in Florida. 115 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1873), 24; Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1887), 18, 22; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1900), 84, 86, 88, 112-115

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CHAPTER 3 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION State legislative policies after 1876 and the brewing Republican factionalism prior to that year proved a double-edged sword against Florida blacks. Although policy during Reconstruction helped enfranchise and educate blacks, these advances were continually threatened by antagonistic factionalism within the Republican Party. As many legislators and school superintendents worked hard to bring about some form of equality in educational opportunities for blacks, Republicans worked just as hard to disrupt the unity within their own party. Once Democrats gained the political majority in 1877, Republicans were practically powerless to stop any legislation that disenfranchised blacks and resumed some of the oppressive, discriminatory practices of antebellum Florida. Laws written by state superintendents of public education and passed by state legislators legalized the segregation of schools, created stricter teacher certification requirements, provided less funding for black schools and gave fewer educational opportunities for prospective and employed black teachers. By 1898, white students had the White Normal School, Normal Departments in the East and West Seminaries, Jasper Normal Institute, Florida Conference College, Rollins College, and John B. Stetson University for teacher education. African American students had only Orange Park Normal and Industrial School in Orange Park, the nascent Cookman Institute in Jacksonville, and the Colored Normal School in Tallahassee, which, after 1890, received nearly all of its financial support from the federal government under the Morrill Act of 1890. As a proponent of the Hampton-Tuskegee vocational and agricultural 63

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64 education for blacks, Sheats insisted that the president of the Colored Normal School change the curriculum to focus on industrial and normal school education. Colored Normal School President Thomas DeSaile Tucker disagreed. Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Tucker had graduated from Oberlin College in 1886. He had taught public school and practiced law before accepting the presidency at the Colored Normal School. Tucker believed that a rigorous literary foundation was necessary for all students, while Sheats argued that practical agricultural and mechanical education should be emphasized. The White Normal School provided its students with a liberal education, with the blessing of Sheats. 116 In 1900, Sheats charged Tucker with serious negligence in running the school and convinced the state board of education to have him removed. Tucker defended himself against the accusations, but the board sided with Sheats. Tucker was replaced by Nathan B. Young, an Oberlin graduate and professor at Georgia State College. After Young took over as president, he reorganized the curriculum to accommodate the desires of Sheats. Although the normal school was a priority, especially with the growing numbers of black children in the state, the curriculum was no longer the rigorous liberal one offered by Tuckers educational ideology or by the White Normal School. 117 Without proper training, fewer black teacher candidates could pass the certification examinations and black schools would not have adequate numbers of teachers. 118 Although the racially motivated attitudes and actions of the Democratic Party were not the fault of a splintered Republican Party, the responsibility for the loss of 116 Neyland, State-Supported Higher Education Among Negroes, 110-122. 117 Ibid.; Florida, Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1900), 196-202. 118 Richardson, The Nest of Vile Fanatics, 394-407; Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (1898), 3.

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65 political power that allowed the Democrats to gain control and create policy that disenfranchised blacks and weakened their educational opportunities can be blamed in part on both black and white Republicans. From 1868 to 1876, the Florida legislature, while under the care of representatives who recognized the need for education for blacks, supported efforts by benevolent societies and the Freedmens Bureau to help the state of Florida establish a system of education for all of its children. State educators conceded to optional segregated schools hoping to increase the number of white children attending public schools. Free public schools, however, were not fully accepted by whites until after Reconstruction. By then, Northern educators and defenders of African American education had surrendered to a less academically rigorous education for blacks. In a region rooted in the exploitation of a social minority, schools were unable to teach the equality, freedom, and liberty underlying the U.S. Constitution. Education should have been the center of the attack on inequality and racism, but it instead surrendered to the enemy. The allowance for segregated schools soon became a legal demand under Floridas Democrats, and consequently provided opportunities for increased unequal funding of schools. The lack of teacher education for African Americans, and the segregation and certification laws passed after the government returned to Democrats, made it more difficult for black teachers to obtain certification or to continue teaching, thereby denying qualified black teachers for black schools. Ironically, the decision by the Florida Supreme Court that declared illegal the forced segregation of blacks and whites at the Orange Park School was decided after the United States Supreme Court handed down a different

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66 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson. As an Orange Park teacher observed: Almost every day brings some illustration that though slavery is dead its barbarism survives. 119 The depiction of Radical Republicans as the redeemers of blacks in the South does not account for the variety of political priorities in Reconstruction Era Florida. Most Moderate Republicans in Florida did not want immediate enfranchisement of blacks but a gradual transition that would eventually give them rights as citizens. This was in strong contrast to the Liberal Radical Republicans who not only demanded enfranchisement but also full civil rights and redistribution of land. These factions within the Republican Party included both black and white members, many of whom were willing to transfer allegiance to another faction when it suited their goals. As illustrated at the conventions, maintaining power and control within the party was more important than the unity necessary to win elections. Compromise was not an alternative for some of these men. Once in office, most Republicans continued to work against their own party, frustrating attempts to move policy and the state toward a more equal society. The inability of the Republican Party to unite for the purpose of making life better for blacks prevented them from being a force for change. This is most notably reflected in the racially unequal education system established by Democrats after the election of 1876, and most notably during the reign of Superintendent Sheats. With the Republicans unable to maintain political power, Democrats were free to create policy and pass legislation that diminished the rights of blacks. To be sure, most blacks and liberal white educators were aware of the link between education and enfranchisement. If a man could not read the names on a ballot, how would he know for whom to cast his vote? By attacking education for blacks, Democrats could keep most 119 Extracts from Address by Helen S. Loveland, 380.

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67 blacks illiterate and unable to vote, thereby halting their liberation from the trappings of slavery, if not the institution. The foundation built by Republicans for the education of African Americans in Florida may have been segregated, but the school superintendents attempted to equalize funding and supported an educated teaching force. When Democrats assumed the role of foundation builders, they chose to focus on segregation, creating a system that was unequal and that did not support equal educational opportunities for everyone. What was reflected in the actions of many white Democrats and Republicans, however, was the belief that the races needed to be kept separate, and for many, the belief that blacks were innately inferior to whites.

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LIST OF REFERENCES Primary Sources Arrest of Our Teachers in Orange Park, Florida, The American Missionary 50 (May 1896): 146-147. Beecher, C., Tallahassee, to G. Whipple, New York, 24 July 1872, 29 October 1872. Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville. Microfilm. Chase, C.T., Tallahassee, to E. P. Smith, New York, 22 December 1869. Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville. Microfilm. Cravath, E.M. The Higher Education of the Negro. The American Missionary 36 (December 1882): 370-372. Congressional Globe, Senate, 39 th Congress, 1 st Session, 312-313. Constitution. The American Missionary 32 (January 1878): 27-28. Dickerman, G.S. Orange Park, FL. The American Missionary 46 (July 1892): 234-235. Eveleth, E.B., Gainesville, to E.M. Cravath, New York, 29 October 1872. Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville. Microfilm. Extracts from Address by Miss Helen S. Loveland. The American Missionary 50 (January 1896): 18-20. Florida Constitution, 1865, 1868, 1885. Florida, Journal of the Senate for the First Session. 1868. Florida, Journal of the Senate for the Ninth Session. 1877. Florida, Laws of Florida, 1869, 1881, 1883, 1887, 1889, 1895. Florida, Report of the Superintendent of Public Education 1869, 1870, 1871, 1873, 1874, 1881-1882, 1882, 1883-1884, 1887, 1894-1896, 1896, 1898, 1900, 1906. 68

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69 Greely, H. to G. Whipple, 23 January 1865, 9 May 1867, Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville. Microfilm. Henry, G., Florida, Letter from Rev. Geo. Henry, in The American Missionary 34 (February 1880) 48-49. Infamous Fraud in Jackson County. The Daily Florida Union 13 November 1876. List of Missionaries and Teachers. The American Missionary 37 (February 1883): 44. List of Missionaries and Teachers. The American Missionary 38 (February 1884): 47. List of Missionaries and Teachers. The American Missionary 39 (February 1885): 45. Lucelia E. Williams. The American Missionary 89 (March 1896): 89. New Appointments. The American Missionary 35(February 1881): 45. Normal and Manual Training School, Orange Park Fla. The American Missionary 49 (August 1895): 263-264. Orange Park, FL. The American Missionary 46 (June 1892): 192-194. Orange Park Normal and Industrial School. The American Missionary 46 (May 1892): 152-153. State of Florida v. B.D. Rowly [sic], Julia E. Rowly [sic], Edith M. Robinson, Hellen S. Loveland, O.S. Dickinson, T.S. Perry, Miss A.M. Ball, Indictment, Circuit Court Minute Book #2, 293. Records of the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Clay County Courthouse, April 6, 1896. Microfilm. Teachers Monthly School Report, Stanton Normal School, 1869. Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville. Microfilm. To the Republican in Florida. Daily Florida Union, 30 June 1876. U. S. Constitution, Amendment XIV, Sections 1-3. United States Library of Congress. Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews With Former Slaves. The Federal Writers Project: 1936-1938. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Manuscript Division, 1941. Accessed on April 28, 2004, from http://memory.loc.gov/. United States Senate. Congressional Globe. 39 th Congress, 1 st Session.

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70 Secondary Sources Anderson, James D. The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1988. Beale, Howard K. On Rewriting Reconstruction History. The American Historical Review 45 (July 1940): 807-827. Beard Augustus F., A Crusade of Brotherhood: A History of the American Missionary Association. Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1909; reprint, New York: The AMS Press, 1972. Beatty, Bess. John Willis Menard: A Progressive Black in Post-Civil War Florida. The Florida Historical Quarterly 59 (October 1980): 124-144. Brown, Cantor, Jr. Floridas Black Public Officials: 1867-1924. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1998. Butchart, Ronald E. Northern Schools, Southern Blacks, and Reconstruction: Freedmens Education, 1862-1875. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980. Cochran, Thomas. The History of Public School Education in Florida. Lancaster, PA: New Era Printing Company, 1921. Davis, William W. The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida. New York: Columbia University, 1913. DeBoer, Clara M. His Truth is Marching On: African Americans Who Taught the Freedmen for the American Missionary Association, 1861-1877. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995. Denham, James M. The Florida Cracker Before the Civil War as Seen Through Travelers Accounts. The Florida Historical Quarterly 72 (April 1994): 453-468. Drake, Richard B. Freedmens Aid Societies and Sectional Compromise. The Journal of Southern History 29 (May 1963): 175-186. DuBois, W.E.B. Reconstruction and its Benefits. The American Historical Review 15 (July 1910): 781-799. _________. Black Reconstruction. New York: Russell and Russell, 1973. Eckert, Edward K. Contract Labor in Florida during Reconstruction. The Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (July 1968): 35-51.

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71 Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: Americas Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: HarperCollins First Perennial Classics, 1989. Foster, Jr., John T. and Sarah Whitmer Foster. Chloe Merrick Reed: Freedoms First Lady. The Florida Historical Quarterly 71 (January 1993): 280-300. _________. Aid Societies Were Not Alike: Northern Teachers in Post-Civil War Florida. The Florida Historical Quarterly 73 (January 1995): 308-324. Gibson, Campbell and Kay Jung, Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States (Washington, D.C.: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, 2002); available from http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0056.html accessed 2 June 2004. Hume, Richard L. Membership of the Florida Constitutional Convention of 1868: A Case Study of Republican Factionalism in the Reconstruction South. The Florida Historical Quarterly 51 (July 1972): 2-3. Johnson, C., The Amistad Case and its Consequences in U.S. History [article online] New Orleans: Amistad Research Center, 2000, accessed 16 March 2003; available from http://www.tulane.edu/~amistad/; Internet. Johnston, Sidney. The Historic Stetson University Campus in Deland, 1884-1934. The Florida Historical Quarterly 70 (January 1992): 281-304. Knight, Edgar W. Public Education in the South. Boston, MA: Ginn and Company, 1922. Laurie, Murray D. Union Academy: A Freedmens Bureau School in Gainesville, Florida. The Florida Historical Quarterly 65 (October 1986): 164-175. McCandless, A.T., The Past in the Present: Womens Higher Education in the Twentieth-Century American South. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1999. McPherson, James M. White Liberals and Black Power in Negro Education: 1865-1915. The American Historical Review 75 (June 1970): 1357-1386. Morris, Robert C. Reading, Riting, and Reconstruction: The Education of Freedmen in the South, 1861-1870. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1981. Neyland, Leedell W. State Supported Higher Education Among Negroes. The Florida Historical Quarterly 43 (October 1964): 106-123. Pyburn, Nita Katherine. The History of the Development of a Single System of Education in Florida, 1822-1903. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University, 1954.

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72 Richardson, Joe M. A Northerner Reports on Florida. The Florida Historical Quarterly 40 (April 1962): 381-390. __________. Jonathan C. Gibbs: Floridas Only Negro Cabinet Member. The Florida Historical Quarterly 42 (April 1964): 364-369. __________. Black Codes. The Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (April 1968): 366-380. __________. Christian Abolitionism: The American Missionary Association and the Florida Negro. Journal of Negro Education 40 (Winter 1971): 35-44. __________. We Are Truly Doing Missionary Work: Letters from American Missionary Association Teachers in Florida, 1864-1874. The Florida Historical Quarterly 54 (October 1975): 179-196. __________. The Nest of Vile Fanatics: William N. Sheats and the Orange Park School. The Florida Historical Quarterly 64 (April 1986): 394-407. __________. Christian Reconstruction: The American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks, 1861-1890. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1986. Rosen, Frederick B. The Development of Negro Education in Florida During Reconstruction: 1865-1877. PhD Dissertation, University of Florida, 1974. Rosen, F. Bruce. The Influence of the Peabody Fund on Education in Reconstruction Florida. The Florida Historical Quarterly 55 (January 1977): 311-321. Shofner, Jerrell H. Florida in the Balance: The Electoral Ballot of 1876. The Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (October 1968): 123-151. __________. Nor Is It Over Yet: Florida in the Era of Reconstruction, 1863-1877. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1974. Simpkins, Francis B. The South Old and New: A History, 1820-1947. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1947. Stevens, Curtis L. The Rise and Development of Universal Education in Florida During Reconstruction. Masters thesis, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College, 1953. White, Arthur. State Leadership and Black Education in Florida, 1876-1976. Phylon 42 (2d Qtr. 1981): 168-171. Wilson, Forest. Crusader in Crinoline: The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe. New York: J.B. Lippencott Co., 1941.

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73 Woodward, C. Vann. Origins of the South: 1877-1913. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1971. __________. The Burden of Southern History. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1993.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sheryl Marie Howie received a Master of Arts in Education, in social foundations from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. She received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in history from Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, Virginia. She completed the teacher education program at Virginia Wesleyan College, and received her Virginia teacher certification for secondary social studies education. 74


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Title: State Politics and the Fate of African American Public Schooling in Florida, 1863-1900
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Copyright Date: 2008

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STATE POLITICS AND THE FATE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN
PUBLIC SCHOOLING INT FLORIDA, 1863-1900













By

SHERYL MARIE HOWIE


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS IN EDUCATION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004




























Copyright 2004

by

Sheryl Marie Howie

















TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

AB STRAC T ................ .............. iv

CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......

2 EDUCATION INT FLORIDA .............. ...............13....


Responding to the Demand for Education for Freed Slaves, 1863-1867 ...................14
Political Response to Educational Demands, 1865-1867 ................ ............... .....19
Factionalism in the Republican Party, 1868-1872.................. ..............2
Implementing Public Schooling for All Children, 1868-1876 ................... ...............26
Political Frustration and the Accomplishments in Education, 1872-1876 .................35
Election Results of 1876 and the End of Reconstruction ................. ............... .....39
Education Objectives Altered for African Americans, 1877-1886 ............................43
Democrats and the Legalization of Segregation, 1882-1900. ................... ................. 47
Unequal Opportunities in Education for African Americans, 1886-1900 .................. 50
William Sheats and the Orange Park Normal and Industrial School ................... .......54

3 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION ................. ...............63................

LIST OF REFERENCE S ................. ...............68................

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............74....
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Education

STATE POLITICS AND THE FATE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN
PUBLIC SCHOOLING INT FLORIDA, 1863-1900

By

Sheryl Marie Howie

August 2004

Chair: Sevan Terzian
Maj or Department: Educational Leadership, Policy, and Foundations

The purpose of my study was to examine the influence Republican Party

factionalism and discriminatory education legislation had on the development of a public

education system for African Americans between 1863 and 1900. From 1863 to 1868,

Florida' s government was controlled by former Confederates and secessionists who

passed laws that reinforced the conditions of slavery, if not the institution. The

Reconstruction Act of 1867 removed these government leaders, and ushered in an era of

Republican rule and paternalistic compassion for freed slaves.

From 1868 to 1876, Republicans and Northerners sympathetic to the plight of

African Americans established formal education systems for blacks. The Freedmen's

Bureau, Northern benevolent societies, and local citizens worked to establish public

schools for all children. Initially, Northern educators espoused an academically rigorous

curriculum for black schools; but the disintegration of the Freedmen' s Bureau, and

dramatically reduced funding from benevolent societies, forced educators to compromise










education, and to accept the growing vocational and agricultural education for blacks.

Southern whites resisted funding schools for blacks, and state educators and legislators

conceded to segregated schools, to increase the attendance of whites in public schools.

Factions within the Republican Party, however, prevented unity, and resulted in the lost

election of 1876. The fate of African Americans was surrendered to Southern white

Democrats .

Under Democratic legislators, civil rights for blacks quickly diminished.

Segregation was legalized, and education funding for black schools was reduced; but

funding increased to white schools. With unequal funding, the development of black

schools lagged behind that of white schools. Vocational and agricultural education for

blacks replaced the academically rigorous curriculum in black schools. With the passage

of stricter certification laws, reduced funding to black schools, and a less academically

rigorous curriculum, it became more difficult for black teachers to pass the examination

requirements for state certification. In 1896, many black schools were unable to open

because of a lack of teachers.

The inability of the Republican Party to unify during Reconstruction, and

legislation that legalized segregation, increased requirements for teachers, and reduced

funding to black schools combined to prevent the establishment of a formal education

system for blacks that would provide equal educational opportunities.















CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

On Friday, April 10, 1896, the Clay County Sheriff (under the direction of the

Florida State Superintendent of Education, William N. Sheats) arrested B. D. Rowlee, the

principal of Orange Park Normal and Industrial School in Orange Park, Florida, along

with five teachers and the pastor of the Orange Park Congregational Church. They were

not taken to jail, but were required to post bail by the following Monday. Their crime:

"teaching young people of two races under the same roof."l This action by Sheats is one

example of the restrictions some Southern whites imposed on education for blacks. White

Floridians like Sheats believed in the innate inferiority of African Americans, and

supported legislation to prevent the mixing of the races. Education for freed slaves met

with resistance from many Southern whites; but from 1868 to 1876, Northern and

Southern Republican leaders attempted to establish a system of education for all of

Florida' s children. With both state and federal support, education advocates worked

diligently to expand educational opportunities for the freed slaves. These efforts were

disrupted, however, by the disbandment of the Freedmen' s Bureau, the withdrawal of

federal troops, and the proliferation of factions within the Republican Party. In the mid

1870s, Florida' s government came under Democratic control, slowing the process of



S"Arrest of Our Teachers in Orange Park, Florida," in The American Mlissionary 50 (May 1896):
146-147; State of Florida v. B.D. Rowly [sic], Julia E. Rowly [sic], Edith M. Robinson, Hellen
[sic] S. Loveland, O.S. Dickinson, T.S. Perry, Miss A.M. Ball, Indictment, Circuit Court Minute
Book #2, 293 (Records of the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Clay County Courthouse,
April 6, 1896).









education for black children. As Democrats regained control of state and district school

superintendent offices, an already segregated school system became even more unequal.

In this study, I examined the public school system established for African

Americans in Florida, focusing specifically on the attitudes and influence of Northern and

Southern educators, the political power struggles within the Republican Party leading to

the fumbled election of 1876, and the white supremacist actions of members in the

Democratic Party that obstructed the development of an academically rigorous education

system for blacks in Florida. State and county superintendent reports and letters from

school administrators and teachers suggest that the segregation of schools began during

Reconstruction, and that the education system established for Florida' s black children

after Reconstructionn was not equal to the education offered to white children. In addition,

the later reports indicate that state teacher training for blacks did not prepare them

academically to help nurture future political and economic leaders among their black

students, greatly hindering the advancement of African Americans in Florida.

From 1865 to 1868, the Florida legislature (consisting mainly of ex-Confederate

officers and soldiers) passed laws and policies aimed at dominating the freedmen and

discouraging northern philanthropic organizations from opening schools for blacks.

These legislators abolished slavery in name only, creating Black Codes that legalized

violence and intimidation against blacks. The intervention of the United States

government helped facilitate a Republican government in Florida, one that supported

black enfranchisement and education for all children, regardless of color. The

Republican-led government appointed state and district superintendents of public schools

who bolstered the efforts of educators to establish a public education system for all of










Florida's children. The Freedmen's Bureau, benevolent societies from the North, and

local residents worked to provide school buildings and hire teachers.

The Republican Party, however, was unable to provide the unifying force needed to

sustain political power. The divisions among Radical Republicans, Loyalist Republicans,

and Conservative Republicans were so strong that the Republican Party lost the election

of 1876 to Democrats. Beginning in 1877, Florida' s black and moderate/liberal white

influence in politics and education rapidly declined. In addition, Jim Crow laws and

increased intimidation prevented political action among blacks. Laws initiated by

Superintendent Sheats in 1895 made teacher certification requirements more demanding,

and prohibited the instruction of black and white children in the same schools. The latter

restriction was directed specifically at the Orange Park School, and of its policy of not

turning any child away, regardless of color. The state action against the Orange Park

School was not an isolated incident, but part of the discriminatory political policies of

white supremacist government officials. A growing animosity among many whites

toward education for blacks, pressure from the local and state governments, and a fire

that burned most of the Orange Park school buildings forced the school to eventually

close, leaving the state with only one teacher education institute for blacks--the Colored

Normal School in Tallahassee. These events frustrated the development of teacher

education and institutions of higher education for blacks in Florida, and ultimately

weakened the educational opportunities for Florida's black children.2



SSee Florida Constitution, 1865, Art. IV, Sec. 4, Sec. 5, Art. VI, Sec. 1, Art. IX, Sec. 1, Art. XVI,
Sec. 3: William W. Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida (New York: Columbia
University, 1913); Jerrell H. Shofn~er, Nor Is It Over Yet: Florida in the Era ofReconstruction,
1863-1877 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1974); Joe M. Richardson, "Christian
Abolitionism: The American Missionary Association and the Florida Negro," in the Journal of
Negro Education 40 (Winter 1971): 35-44; Canter Brown, Jr., Florida 's Black Public Officials,









Historical Framework

Since my study focuses on politics and education in Florida, it depends mainly on

Florida sources. However, the historical framework of Reconstruction and Post-

reconstruction forms an important foundation. The historical analysis of Reconstruction

has produced multiple conclusions, with a changing cast of heroes and villains. The

traditional interpretation of Reconstruction that dominated the first half of the twentieth

century depicted Radical Republicans and "carpetbaggers" as invading the south and

using illegal means to create a black supremacist government, thereby maintaining

control over Southemn whites. William Davis' book The Civil War andReconstruction in

Florida aligned with this conservative pro-south theory. Davis interpreted the return of

southern conservatives to government in 1876 as a restoration of state control.3

Challenges to this interpretation of history came from historians who were more

sympathetic to the Republican cause, like W.E.B. DuBois and Francis Simpkins. In a speech

to the American Historical Association, DuBois noted that the accomplishments of Southemn

Reconstruction governments included a democratic government, new social legislation, and

free public schools. He recognized the financial problems these governments created, but

argued they were due to black leadership that was ignorant of legislative processes and

easily swayed by opportunistic whites.4 Economic historians were also more sympathetic to



1867-1924 (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1998); Joe Richardson, "Nest of Vile
Fanatics: William N. Sheats and the Orange Park School," in The Florida Historical Ottarterly 68
(April 1986): 394-407.

SSee Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, 1913.

4 See W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America (New York: Russell and Russell, 1973);
Francis B. Simpkins, The South Old and New: A History, 1820-1947 (New York: A.A. Knopf,
1947); W.E.B. DuBois, "Reconstruction and its Benefits" in The American Historical Review 15
(July 1910): 795-799.










Republicans and characterized the era as tragic but necessary to move the national economy

forward. Howard K. Beale emphasized the need "to stop passing judgments on persons and

to begin studying forces."' He examined the Civil War and Reconstruction from a national

perspective, identifying the changes in political, economic, and social institutions. Although

Beale and historians like him recognized the impact national expansion had on events of the

late nineteenth century, Eric Foner later concluded that they ignored the "dominant race

issue in favor of economic interpretations."6

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, historians revisited Reconstruction

history. Revisionist historians reinterpreted Reconstruction politics and concentrated on

the lives of southern blacks, concluding that the progress made during this era was

positive and forward-looking. For revisionists, Radical Republicans and freedmen were

the heroes. James McPherson compared Black Power of the 1960s with the desire that

blacks had during Reconstruction to gain more control over and participation in political,

economic, and social institutions, including education. Although some historians

questioned this new interpretation, it was the post-revisionists who disputed the

revisionist theory and questioned if there had been any real political, economic, or social

change for blacks during Reconstruction. In Origins of the New .South, C. Vann

Woodward condemned the south for its inability to solve economic, political, and social

problems originating in slavery and racism. He argued that there was no "new south" and

chronicled its deficiencies. Woodward and other post-revisionists viewed blacks during

Reconstructionn as passive victims, arguing that the North was not strongly committed to


5 Howard K. Beale, "On Rewriting Reconstruction Historv" in The American Historical Review
45 (July 1940): 810.

6 Eric Foner, "Reconstruction Revisited" in Reviews in American History 10 (Dec. 1982): 82.









the freedmen, which was demonstrated by the disbanding of the Freedmen' s Bureau in

1872, and the final removal of federal troops in 1877. More recently, historians have

emphasized that the roles played by Moderate Republicans were more influential than

those of Radical Republicans in changing policy and law in favor of black

enfranchisement. Although the new laws aided blacks and whites, historians like Jerrell

Shofner argued that moderate Republican governments were more concerned with

maintaining national ties and upholding the Constitution.7

The study of the history of education in the South appears to follow the same

historical framework as Reconstruction history. In his book Public Education in the

Snlub, Edgar Knight analyzed the progress of education by examining the influence

politics, economics, religion, and social structures had on education. He argued that

education in the South after Reconstruction was "subordinated to less worthy interests as

a result of ills which had their beginnings in reconstruction."" Regarding Reconstruction

in Florida, Knight said, "The complete control of the State by people who were

unsympathetic if not hostile to Southern sentiment accounted in very large measure for

the failure of the school system to grow and develop."9 In a footnote, he claimed that the

appointment of Jonathan C. Gibbs to state superintendent further served to alienate





SJames M. McPherson, "White Liberals and Black Power in Negro Education, 1865-1915" in
The American Historical Review 75 (June 1970): 1357-1386: C. Vann Woodward, Origins of the
New South, 1877-1913 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1971); Jerrell H.
Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet: Florida in the Era ofReconstruction, 1863-1877 (Gainesville:
University of Florida Press, 1974).

8 Edgar W. Knight, Public Education in the South (Boston, MA: Ginn and Company, 1922): 337.

9 Ibid., 358-359.









Floridians. What he failed to note is that during Reconstruction, nearly 49% of Floridians

were African Americans, most in support of Gibbs as superintendent.10

Robert Morris provided a more balanced historical perspective in REading~. 'Riting,

an2dReconstruction, which focused on the northern influence on education in the South from

the early years of the Civil War through 1870, when the Freedmen' s Bureau withdrew from

educational activity. Morris attempted to reconcile the negative attitudes toward northern

teachers, held by historians like Knight, with the more idealistic writings of historians like

W.E.B. DuBois. He noted that the "idealism and lofty goals" of northern teachers were

"tempered by pragmatism and an awareness of the need for sectional accommodation."l

Morris' examination of the actions of governments and communities, and more specifically

of teachers in the classroom, was reflective of revisionist history, which is most evident in

his analysis of the positive influence of northern benevolent societies. His coverage of

Florida education is minimal, as is the case with most education historians, but this may be

due to his claim that education in Florida from the Civil War to 1870 was developing more

slowly than in most other southern states.

Ronald Butchart echoed the sentiments of post-revisionist historians in his book,

Northern Schools, Southel~ nI Blacks, an2dReconstruction. He explored the expectations of

northern white educators with those of southern blacks, indicating that their obj ectives were

not always in agreement. Butchart acknowledged both the compassion and paternalism of

benevolent societies and northern educators. He provides even less coverage of Florida


'o Ibid: Campbell Gibson and Kay Jung, Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By
Race, 1 790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions,
Divisions, and States (Washington, D.C.: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, 2002).

SRobert C. Morris, Reading, 'Riting, and Reconstruction (Chicago, IL: The University of
Chicago Press, 1976): x.










education than Morris, not even mentioning Gibbs and his contributions to education. James

Anderson offered an extensive history of African American education from 1860 to 193 5,

and supported Butchart' s argument that northern educators and southern blacks did not

agree on the goals of education. According to Anderson, African Americans readily

accepted help from the Freedmen' s Bureau, benevolent societies, and even Southemn whites,

but the "values of self-help and self-determination" motivated African American aspirations

to control their own education.12

These historians considered important issues in education for African Americans in

the South after the Civil War, but rarely, if ever, included information on Florida.

Examining education from the state and local perspective is necessary, however, since

education in the United States is controlled almost entirely by state and local

governments. Demographics, economics, activities of northern philanthropic

organizations, and attitudes of government officials and the local population all

contributed to the nature of public education in the South. The extent and interactions of

these elements created distinct problems for each state government.

Nita Katharine Pyburn offered the only comprehensive history of education in

Florida. Using primary sources, including legislation, superintendent reports, and

newspaper accounts, she examined the development of education from 1822 to 1903.

Pyburn discussed the contributions of private academies prior to and after the Civil War,

but did not mention the work of the American Missionary Association or the National

Freedmen' s Relief Association of New York, both of great importance to the


12 Ronald E. Butchart, Northern Schools, Southern Blacks, and Reconstruction (Westport, CT:
Greenwood Press, 1980): 104, 126, 129, 168; James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the
South, 1860-1935 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1988): 5.









development of education in Florida during Reconstruction. The data cited are extensive,

but she provides no critical analysis and viewed Florida' s education system after the Civil

War as an extension of the system established before the war. In addition, the only

differentiation she made between black and white schools involved budget expenditures

and population. Pybumn gave no indication that there was any evidence that blacks and

whites in Florida were educated differently.13

As with all historical research, it is impossible to account for every political, economic,

and social aspect of a time period, and especially one as complicated as American

Reconstruction. Since education systems in the United States have traditionally been

controlled by state and local governments, with little intervention from the federal

government, this paper refers to the education systems in other states only when they

contribute to the depiction of education in Florida. In addition, this paper does not examine the

plight of poor white children in Florida, which James M. Denham attempted in his study of

the culture of the Florida crackedt' through the accounts of travelers. According to Denham,

most poor whites in Florida had a strong loyalty to popular democracy, a hatred of American

Indians, and a firm sense of racial superiority over blacks. Poor whites were not usually treated

well by wealthy plantation owners, and did not consider themselves Confederates, but their

disdain for government interference may have prevented them from aligning with the Union.

Admittedly, poor whites were, in some cases, worse off than some blacks. They were not,

however, deliberately excluded from voting, nor were they intimidated by violence to stay

away from the polls. The poll tax was not a direct act against poor whites, although it may

have affected some who did vote. Laws were not passed to deliberately prevent poor white

13 Nita Katharine Pyburn, The History of the Development ofa Single System of Education in
Florida, 1822-1903 (Tallahassee, FL: The Florida State University, 1954)









children from attending schools. In the United States, and especially in the South, skin color

was a strong determinant as to how you were treated and what rights you were granted.14

The purpose of this paper is to examine two key trends reflected in pivotal events in

the history of education in Florida between 1863 and 1900: Republican Party

factionalism that prevented any unifying effort to protect the rights of blacks, and

discriminatory political and education policies intended to segregate and disenfranchise

blacks. The foundation of any education system determines its ability to provide a future

generation with the knowledge necessary to participate in the economic, political, and

social aspects of society. By examining how political actions and officials influenced the

establishment of a public education system for African Americans in Florida, we can

better assess the contributions of this system to the democratic ideal of equal educational

opportunities for all citizens. By drawing on the work of historians and educators, and on

public and private records left behind by those who experienced Reconstruction, this

paper attempts to frame some of the frustrations that drove the policy and the people

during a very volatile time in Florida's history.

The establishment of an equal public education system in Florida during

Reconstructionn was undermined by the political actions of Republican officials. When the

Republican Party organized in 1867, the only obj ective its members agreed on was the

abolition of slavery. Radical Republicans were divided into two factions-Conservative

Radical Republicans and Liberal Radical Republicans. The Conservative Radical

Republicans endorsed enfranchisement, full civil rights for blacks, and peaceful

14 JanleS M. Denham, "The Florida Cracker Before the Civil War as Seen Through Travelers
Accounts" in The Florida Historical Quarterly 72 (April 1994): 453-468: C. Vann Woodward,
The Burden of Southern History (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1993): 104-
107









opposition to the Black Codes. The Liberal Radical Republicans supported

enfranchisement and civil rights, but also approved of redistribution of property to blacks,

by violent means if necessary. Moderate Republicans were also divided into two

factions--the Conservative Republicans and the Loyalist Republicans. Conservative

Republicans sought a close alliance with local and federal white power, and supported a

gradual admission of blacks into the political arena. Loyalist Republicans advocated

enfranchisement and civil rights, but were led by local white men instead of the northern

men of the Conservative Radical faction. While no faction was exclusively black or

white, and members shifted alliances frequently, the radical elements attracted more

blacks and the moderate elements drew more whites. The result of these factions,

however, was an unstable Republican Party, which greatly hindered the goals of those

who supported equal educational opportunities for African Americans. Most public

school superintendents who served between 1868 and 1876 advocated equality in

education, which required a government that supported this philosophy. Most white

Democrats in Florida, however, were not inclined to support education for blacks. The

inability of Republicans to unify once they gained political representation eventually led

to the Party's demise, and halted the work of educators to further the cause of equal

educational opportunities for Florida' s black children.

A legacy of the Republican government during Reconstruction was the segregation

of public schools. Due to white sentiment and the desire of educators for all children to

attend public schools, Republican state officials agreed to allow segregation in districts

and towns that opposed mixed schools. When Democrats gained political power in 1877,

segregation of schools soon became a requirement of all schools in the state. Legal










segregation and white resistance to public funding of black schools gave opportunity to

unequal funding for African American education. In addition, laws initiated by State

Superintendent Sheats stipulated uniform teacher examinations and limited the duration

of second and third class teacher certifications. Teachers with second and third class

certificates had to progress to a higher class certificate within two years or lose

certification. Both black and white educators complained that these new requirements

would greatly decrease the number of teachers and the number of schools in operation,

but black teachers and schools were affected more severely.

Most black and white teachers from the state were products of the state schools. White

students, however, had more secondary schools and colleges available to them for teacher

training than black students. Sheats reported in 1896 a total of ten public and private

institutes of higher education, and about eighteen public and private secondary schools that

provided teacher training for white students. In contrast, black students had one public and

one private institute of higher education, and only one high school for blacks." The lack of

opportunities for teacher training for blacks, the more stringent teacher certification

requirements, and the segregation of schools created a pattern of unequal education for

African Americans in Florida. African Americans were required to pass the same teacher

examinations as whites, but were not provided the same opportunities for teacher education.

Without state and local government officials supportive of equal education for blacks and

whites, formal education for African Americans suffered in Florida.




'5 Lincoln Academy in Tallahassee and Union Academy in Gainesville, both schools for African
Americans, provided two-month teacher courses to prepare teachers for certification examinations.
They were not considered secondary schools since neither offered coursework for students above
the eighth grade.















CHAPTER 2
EDUCATION INT FLORIDA

Before Florida became a state in 1845, the territorial government passed legislation

for private academies, apprenticeships, and schools for the destitute. An act passed in

1834 authorized a lottery to raise funds for maintaining a school in St. Augustine that had

previously been sponsored by the Spanish government. Based on government records,

there was much discussion about the importance of education. In November 1844

however, there were only four free schools in Florida with a total of fifty students. There

were a number of academies, which were attended by those students whose families

could afford the tuition. From 1858 to 1860, the state paid teachers at thirty-three schools

in seven counties. Most of the schools were in session for three months and had less than

forty students. Although there is no indication that the students at these schools were all

white, southern states did not take on the responsibility of educating black children before

Reconstruction since most at this time were children of slaves.16

In addition, prior to the Civil War there were laws against teaching slaves how to

read; however, the decision to educate slaves was often left to their owners. Rebecca Hooks,

a former slave from Lake City, Florida, was a house servant and the offspring of her master,

and as a result was taught to read and write along with the white children of the house. Her


16 Nita Katherine Pyburn, Documentary HistorvqfEditcation in Florida, 1822-1860 (Tallahassee,
FL: The Florida State University Press, 1951): 15-18, 80: Nita Katherine Pyburn, The History qf
the Development qfa Single System qf Editcation in Florida, 1822-1903 (Tallahassee, FL: The
Florida State University, 1954), 4-23: Curtis L. Stevens, "The Rise and Development of
Universal Education in Florida During Reconstruction" (Masters thesis, Florida Agricultural and
Mechanical College, 1953): 2-16.










step-father was allowed to buy books for Rebecca, which he did with some of the money he

earned from selling comn whiskey. Douglas Dorsey, a former slave to a family in Suwannee

County, Florida, had the responsibility of carrying the schoolbooks for the master' s children.

Willie Matair, one of the master' s sons, taught Douglas "the alphabet and numbers.""

When the master' s wife found out, she struck Douglas across the face and threatened to cut

off his right arm if he was caught reading or writing. She then severely whipped both boys.

Andrew Simms, a slave living on the William Driver plantation in Florida, said: "The old

Master say we can teach ourselves but we can't do it. Old Klem Bowman owned the place

next door to Mister Driver. If he catch his slaves toying with the pencil, why, he cut off one

of their fingers." I Prior to Reconstruction, education for blacks and poor whites in Florida

was very limited, or nonexistent.19

Responding to the Demand for Education for Freed Slaves, 1863-1867

After the Civil War, the commitment of many blacks to education and their desire

to be politically informed indicated the importance they placed on enfranchisement.

Education, especially learning how to read and write, was necessary to read voting ballots

and employee contracts. According to an interview with Willis Williams, a former slave

from Tallahassee, blacks showed a great interest in education. He remembered schools

first being taught by Northemn white women, but than replaced by blacks who had gained

only rudimentary knowledge during slavery. As a young woman, Amanda McCray

remembered attending a school where a white teacher taught her how to read. She said


'7 Library of Congress, "Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From
Interviews with Former Slaves," The Federal Writers Project, 1936-1938, vol. 3 (Washington,
D.C.: Library of Congress Manuscript Division, 1941), 95-96.

's Ibid., 296.

19 Ibid., 172-175: Pyburn, The History qf the Develop~ment qfa Single System ofEducation, 4-23.










black teachers soon replaced the white teachers, but the instruction was basically the

same. According to McCray, black teachers were revered by black children and many

black girls expressed a desire to teach, especially since this was one of the few

employment opportunities open to black women.20

In 1865, there were already schools for blacks operating in Florida and taught by

both blacks and whites. The American Missionary Association (AMA) and the National

Freedman' s Relief Association of New York (NFRA), both non-denominational

benevolent societies, were two of the organizations that established schools prior to 1865.

These schools were open to all children, but most white parents refused to send their

children to schools with blacks. Without an organized government and with support from

the Freedmen's Bureau, northern benevolent societies were able to open schools in the

south, even when challenged by the white community.21

The main work of the AMA was Christian missionary and educational undertakings

throughout the United States and around the world. In 1861, the AMA sent missionaries and

teachers to aid the black population in areas of the south controlled by northern troops.

AMA leaders believed no race should be dependent upon another for development, and their

obj ective was to cultivate leaders from the black community, who would then help protect

the rights of their fellow African Americans. To reach this goal, the organization



20 Stevens, "The Rise and Development of Universal Education," 57-59; Anderson, The
Education of Blacks in the South, 4-11; Gerald Schwartz, "An Integrated Free School in Civil
War Florida" in The Florida Historical Quarterly 61 (October 1982): 159; Library of Congress,
"Slave Narratives," 2 12-2 16, 347-3 54.

21 Butchart, Northern Schools, 3-21; John T. Foster, Jr., & Sarah Whitmer Foster, "Aid Societies
were not Alike: Northern Teachers in Post-Civil War Florida," in The Florida Historical
Quarterly 73 (January 1995): 308-324; Joe M. Richardson, "A Northerner Reports on Florida," in
The Florida Historical Quarterly 40 (April 1962): 381-390; Schwartz, "An Integrated Free
School," 157-158.










emphasized training blacks to be teachers. AMA officers advocated a broad liberal

education for blacks similar to that of northern schools, and established in their first schools

a liberal arts curriculum. Religion may not have been a subj ect of study in all AMA schools,

nonetheless, teachers often emphasized the responsibility that blacks had to God, country,

family, and community. Topics such as patriotism, thrift, punctuality, honesty, and industry

were the underlying messages delivered through the AMA curriculum.22

The NFRA was organized to provide missionaries and educators in the Sea Islands off

the coast of South Carolina. With the cooperation of the United States government, the

organization sent supplies, teachers, and plantation superintendents, including William

Channing Gannett from Harvard Divinity School, to participate in the Sea Island experiment.

Its purpose was to help ex-slaves on the islands leamn the "rudimentary arts of civilized

life."23 The NFRA, like the AMA, viewed slaves as inferior due to the conditions of slavery,

but believed that with education they could overcome the ill-effects of slavery. In Florida, the

NFRA sponsored Chloe Merrick and Comelia Smith in 1863 to teach a black school in

Femandina. They divided the school into three academic levels and found the students

learned very quickly. They soon had over 100 students and opened a second school, hiring

two assistants. Merrick and Lizzie Smith took one school with 130 students, and Smith and










22Augustus F. Beard, A Crusade ofBrotherhood: A History of the American Ab~ssionary
Association (Boston: The Pilgrim Press, 1909; reprint, New York: The AMS Press, 1972), 23-32;
"Constitution," in The American Mlissionary 32 (January 1878): 27-28.

23Morris, Reading, 'Riting, and Reconstruction, 3-12: Butchart, Northern Schools, 3-19.









Miss Harris had the other school with about 125 students attending. Merrick also opened an

orphanage, purchasing an abandoned plantation with the help of the Freedmen' s Bureau.24

Another NFRA school, taught by Mrs. Loveridge and Miss Abbie Burch, had both

black and white students, and Catherine Bent taught black students in Gainesville. The

NFRA also had schools in Micanopy, Ocala, Silver Springs, Sumterville, Palatka, and

Lake City. When the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen' s

Bureau) arrived in Florida, President Andrew Johnson ordered the return of abandoned

lands to the original owners. The plantation where Merrick' s orphanage was located was

returned to its owner, which caused tension between the Freedmen's Bureau and the

NFRA. When the NFRA lost funding due to differences between the secular and religious

societies that supported them, it had to close some of its schools in Florida. In June 1866

the NFRA had thirteen schools, one orphanage, twenty-seven teachers, and over 1,600

students in Florida. By 1869, there were only five NFRA teachers in Florida, and their

financial support had been assumed by the black communities.25

The first AMA teacher in Florida is believed to have been in St. Augustine in 1863.

By 1865 there were AMA schools in Key West, Jacksonville, Strawberry Mills, and on a

plantation south of Jacksonville along the St. Johns River. Schools in Tallahassee, Ocala,

Monticello, Gainesville, and Magnolia soon followed. Like the NFRA teachers, AMA

teachers found themselves with more students than they could accommodate. Carrie

Blood in Monticello taught a total of 255 students in her day, night, and Sabbath schools.

Maggie Gardner and Emma Eveleth taught 108 students in a dilapidated building in

24 Foster & Foster, "Aid Societies Were Not Alike," 308-324; Sarah Whitmer Foster & John T.
Foster, Jr., "Chloe Merrick Reed: Freedom's First Lady" in The Florida Historical Quarterly 71
(Jan. 1993): 280-300.

25 Foster & Foster, "Aid Societies Are Not Alike," 308-324










Gainesville. Harriet Greely, an AMA teacher in Jacksonville, had sixty-one students

ranging in age from twenty to seventy-five. She found that young, black males were

interested in night school so they could learn to read the names on voting ballots. The

AMA teachers were paid through contributions to the association and initially not

assisted by the state or county governments.26

Although the first AMA schools were elementary schools, which blacks of all ages

attended, AMA teachers and agents soon realized that both graded and secondary schools

would be needed within a few years. Most AMA teachers believed African Americans could

leamn as well as or better than most white students. Due to their enthusiasm for learning,

most black students advanced quickly and were in need of higher levels of instruction in a

short time. AMA administrators did not consider missionary schools a permanent solution to

the educational needs of blacks in the south. The AMA hoped to tumn management of

primary schools over to state and local governments, but this was not always successful.

Much of the south was economically devastated by the war and was not capable of

sustaining the expense of schools. In addition, many southern whites were resistant or

outright hostile to black education, especially when taught by northern whites who

advocated freedom and equality for freedmen.27





26 JOe Richardson, Christian Reconstruction: The American Mlissionary Association and Southern
Blacks, 1861-1890, (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1986): vii, 38-39; H. Greely to G.
Whipple, 23 January 1865, 9 May 1867 (Special Collection, P.K. Yonge Library, University of
Florida, Gainesville) microfilm, 148D.

27Richardson, Christian Reconstruction, 37, 112-115, 190-193, 218-222: Clara M. DeBoer, His
Truth is Mlarching On: African Americans Whno Taught the Freedmen for the American
Missionary Association, 1861-1877 (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995): 7-10: Stevens,
"The Rise and Development of Universal Education," 2, 25-28: Anderson, The Education of
Blacks in the South, 21-23.









Freed slaves demonstrated a great desire for education and quickly filled schools

established by Northerners. Northern philanthropic organizations and educators

understood how education contributed to the economic, political, and social well-being of

society, and attempted to establish a formal education system for Florida' s children,

specifically for African Americans. Their success was dependent, however, on a state

government supportive of their efforts.

Political Response to Educational Demands, 1865-1867

Southern whites responded to the outpouring of educational opportunities for freed

slaves with considerable political restraint. After the war, Southemn state governments were

reestablished under President Johnson' s Reconstruction plan, and in October 1865 the

Florida Legislature convened to write a new constitution. William Marvin, a former federal

district attorney and judge and the newly appointed governor of Florida, had opposed

secession but was not in favor of equality for blacks. Although he cooperated with federal

agents to bring about fair treatment of blacks, he also supported legislative policies that

legalized violent and oppressive acts. Marvin recommended to legislators a vagrancy law

that would ensure the control of former slaves. According to this law, a citizen' s complaint

to a court official would lead to the arrest of any "able-bodied person who was wandering or

strolling about."28 In addition, former slaves who entered into a contract with white

plantation owners could be charged with vagrancy if they were disrespectful, insolent, or

refused to work. He charged the convention with the responsibility of protecting the rights

of freedmen, but not extending to them the right to vote, which won him support from

former slave owners and secessionists. The maj ority of the delegates at the convention were

former Confederate officers and soldiers, and legislation reflected the attitudes of southern

28 Florida, Laws ofFlorida, (1865-1866): 62.










plantation owners and secessionists. The expected victories of African Americans as a result

of the Civil War were not evident from what was written in the constitution. The

constitution did abolish slavery, but it also stated that only white men could be elected as

state and local representatives, only white men could serve on juries, and qualified electors

were limited to free white males over the age of twenty-one. With the vote limited to white

males, the state elections of November 1865 resulted in a large majority of ex-Confederates

and secessionists and a very small contingency of Unionists in the state assembly.29

In that year, David Walker, a conservative and former member of the Whig Party,

ran unopposed for governor of Florida. Walker was a state senator in 1845 and opposed

secession but supported the state after its withdrawal from the Union. In his first address

to the Florida assembly, Walker clarified his position regarding the rights of African

Americans by admitting he could not in good conscience give blacks the right to vote.

The prospects of black enfranchisement appeared unlikely, since nearly all local and state

offices were held by ex-Confederate officers and soldiers or sympathizers to secession.30

The 1865 Florida elections brought complaints from Republicans in the United States

Congress. In a speech before the Senate, Charles Sumner (Rep., Mass.), an avid

abolitionist, condemned the elections in Florida:

We have the [Florida] constitution itself which this recent pretended convention has
undertaken to put forward a constitution which, after recognizing the abolition of
slavery and therefore the citizenship of those who were once slaves, proceeds


29 JOe M. Richardson, "Christian Abolitionism: The American Missionary Association and the
Florida Negro," in the Journal ofNegro Education 40 (Winter 1971): 35-44; Florida Constitution,
1865, Art. IV, Sec. 4, Sec. 5, Art. VI, Sec. 1, Art. IX, Sec. 1, Art. XVI, Sec. 3; Joe Richardson,
"Black Codes," in The Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (April 1968): 366-380; Shofner, Nor Is It
Over Yet, 34-45; Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, 361-367.

30 Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, 409-411; Stevens, "The Rise and
Development of Universal Education," 40; Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America 's Unfinished
Revolution, 1863-1877 (New York: HarperCollins First Perennial Classics 1989): 254-261.









actually to decree their disenfranchisement; and Senators are expected to recognize
such an instrument as a republican form of government-an instrument that begins
with the denial of equality to nearly one-half of its citizens!31

Sumner' s accusations were echoed by Radical Republicans in Congress, but were ignored

by Florida legislators, and they voted in 1866 against ratification of the 14th Amendment,

which recognized African Americans as full citizens. Although the Amendment did not

guarantee voting privileges, it penalized states that did not extend these rights, and

prohibited from state or national office any person who previously engaged in

insurrection or rebellion against the federal government or aided those who did. This

constraint eliminated nearly all of the southern political leaders from running for office.32

The political office restrictions, heated antagonism between President Johnson's

support of state rights, and the U.S. Congress advocating full citizenship for African

Americans sent mixed messages to state legislators and military commanders. When

Johnson removed military courts from the southern states, handing law enforcement back

to the state courts, many thought this meant the end of military rule. Surprisingly,

however, Governor Walker emphasized in speeches that military rule remained in effect,

and he fully cooperated with Maj or General John G. Foster, commander of occupation

forces in Florida. It was the sentiments and rulings of many local judges and juries that

provoked accusations of racial bias from Foster and other federal agents.33

Racial bias became even more explicit when a conservative maj ority at the

legislative session of 1866 passed the Black Codes, which were laws aimed specifically


31 COngressional Globe, Senate, 39th COngress, 1st Session, 312-313.

32 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 46-47.

33 Davis, The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, 409-41 1; United States Constitution,
Amendment XIV, Sections 1-3; Foner, Reconstruction, 254-261; Shofn~er, Nor Is It Over Yet, 46-
47.









at controlling the black population. These laws, which defined an African American as

one who was at least one-eighth black, forbade African Americans from carrying

firearms, allowed courts to apprentice children of vagrants and indigent parents,

prohibited interracial marriage, regulated work contracts that favored employers, and

enforced a vagrancy law that allowed the courts to sell for labor anyone convicted of

vagrancy who could not pay the $500 bond. In addition to j ail sentences and fines,

whippings and the pillory were included as appropriate punishments for crimes. Colonel

Thomas Osborn, a Freedmen' s Bureau agent, obj ected, and argued that these laws

violated the constitutional rights of blacks. When the Florida attorney general John B.

Galbraith declared some of the laws unconstitutional, legislators amended them to

include whites, but most of the laws applied almost entirely to African Americans.34

The Freedmen's Bureau tried to control the movement of blacks by keeping them on

the plantations as paid workers, both for their own safety and for the economic recovery of

the state. Military officials worried that former slaves would leave the plantations without

having a way to support themselves financially. By contracting with plantation owners,

freed slaves would at least be employed and not fall victim to the vagrancy laws.

Freedmen' s Bureau agents mediated contracts and disputes between former slaves and the

white plantation owners. Many plantation owners were notorious for violating contracts, but

the agents found the contract disputes easier to resolve than large numbers of unemployed

blacks that the federal government would need to support.35



34Foner, Reconstruction, 199-200: Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 51-57.

35Morris, Reading, 'Riting, and Reconstruction, 27-29; Edward K. Eckert, "Contract Labor in
Florida During Reconstruction" in The Florida Historical Quarterly 47 (July 1968): 35-51;
Frederick B. Rosen, "The Development of Negro Education in Florida During Reconstruction:
1865-1877 (Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 1974), 48-50.









In 1866, representatives from the Freedmen's Bureau recommended separate

schools for blacks with white teachers. The Florida legislature complied and a bill was

passed making segregated schools legal in Florida and operated at no cost to the state.

Funding would be provided through a one-dollar tax on every adult black male and

through fees paid by teachers for teaching licenses. Included in this bill were stipulations

on the licensing of teachers, which gave control of licensure to the state government, an

action taken to prevent white northern teachers from teaching in the state. Blacks in

Florida had very little money, but many found a way to pay the one-dollar tax. The funds

from this tax, however, were misdirected by state legislators into the state general fund

and never allocated to the black schools.36 In demanding tuition, the state government

under Governor Walker severely limited the ability of blacks to acquire a formal

education. The Black Codes made it easier for freed slaves to be accused of vagrancy and

other illegal acts, thereby subj ecting them to work without pay.

President Johnson' s policy of Reconstruction only encouraged the disenfranchisement

of African Americans and angered many Republicans in the U. S. Congress. The national

elections of 1866 resulted in a Congress dominated by Radical Republicans who favored

enfranchisement of African Americans. Against the wishes of Johnson, these men launched

the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which reinforced military rule in the south, required

ratification by southern states of the 14th Amendment, and ordered southern states to write

new constitutions, which Congress had to approve before being recognized by the Union.

The new constitutions had to extend voting privileges to African Americans and be


36 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 56-57.









approved by a maj ority of registered voters in each state. The federal government assumed

the responsibility of registering voters throughout the south.37

Under the leadership of white Democrats and former Whigs, Florida legislators

passed laws that discriminated against freed slaves and discouraged education for African

Americans, eliminating slavery in name only. The intervention of the United States

Congress eliminated these legal restraints and prepared the way for a government that

was more sympathetic to the needs of African Americans.

Factionalism in the Republican Party, 1868-1872

In preparation for the upcoming election, the Republican Party began organizing in

Florida, but the results produced a splintered party. Initially, these factions may have

been advantageous to the Republican Party since each segment was located in a different

part of the state and solicited political participation in those areas. The Conservative

Radical Republicans, located in Middle Florida and supported by the Baptist church,

endorsed enfranchisement and equal rights for blacks. Their philosophy of peaceful

opposition to Florida' s Black Codes stood in stark contrast to the Liberal Radical

Republicans' militant stance. Located in West Florida and backed by the African

Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the Liberal Radical Republicans endorsed

education, enfranchisement, civil rights, and the redistribution of property, by violent

means if necessary. They also extracted commitments from blacks not to vote for any

southern whites. Loyalist Republicans were based in Jacksonville and advocated

enfranchisement and civil rights for blacks, but their leadership consisted more of local

men instead of the northern transplants of the Conservative Radical Republicans.

Conservative Republicans wanted an even closer alliance with local and federal white

37 Foner, Reconstruction, 275-277.










power, espousing the need for a gradual admission of blacks into the political arena. The

leadership of Harrison Reed, a former federal postal agent, gave them a statewide

influence. Each Republican Party faction rallied both black and white Republicans to

vote, but they also reinforced ongoing internal party antagonism. The Republican Party's

inability to unify once it had gained political representation would eventually lead to its

demise as a political power.38

Despite the Republican Party divisions, a slight maj ority of Florida voters,

including African Americans, approved a constitutional convention, and in January of

1868, Republican and Democratic delegates gathered in Tallahassee. Republicans held a

large maj ority but were evenly split between moderates and radicals. Consequently, the

factionalism demonstrated during campaigning persisted throughout the convention.

Little was accomplished during the first two weeks of the convention as radicals and

moderates vied for power and political control, often resorting to physical violence. It

was only with the intervention of federal troops that the legislators were able to attend to

the business of government. This only served to embarrass the party and fuel arguments

from Democrats that blacks were not capable of political participation.39

In February 1868, the new constitution was approved by Florida voters and Harrison

Reed, a Conservative Republican, was elected governor. The new constitution gave him

generous authority for appointments to most state and local government positions, and while

Reed did appoint black Republicans to offices, including Jonathan C. Gibbs as Secretary of


38Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 143-144; Cantor Brown, Jr., Florida 's Black Public Officials 1867-
1924 (Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 1998): 1-9.

39Stevens, "The Rise and Development of Universal Education," 47-48: Richard L. Hume,
"Membership of the Florida Constitutional Convention of 1868: A Case Study of Republican
Factionalism in the Reconstruction South," in The Florida Historical Ottarterly 51 (July 1972): 2-19:
Shofner, Nor Is It Over, 178-189: Brown, Florida 's Black Public Officials, 10-13.









State, he did not relinquish control of any commission to any blacks and most maj or

appointments were reserved for Northemners. To establish support for the new government,

Reed appointed both Democrats and Conservative Republicans to state office, which

alienated some Radical and Moderate Republicans. In addition, because federal law

prohibited state elected representatives to hold more than one office, Reed's appointments

prevented some state elected representatives, mainly Radical Republicans, from serving in

the offices for which they were elected. Angered by Reed' s appointments, Republicans

accused him of various crimes and voted to impeach him from office, but the senate refused

to act and adj oumned without voting on the impeachment charges. This was the first of four

impeachment attempts on Reed, which only served to further divide Republicans and

provided Democrats an opportunity to malign and embarrass the state govemment.40

In the 1870 elections, both Republicans and Democrats committed fraud, some poll

inspectors delaying identification of voters until the polls closed and others stuffing the

ballot box. The illegal activities of Republican Party members and the ongoing bitter

competition between Republicans frustrated both black and white constituents. 41 The

inability of the Republican Party to unite politically could leave the rights of freed slaves

to the mercy of a state government unfriendly to African Americans.

Implementing Public Schooling for All Children, 1868-1876

Despite the party divisions and infighting that frustrated attempts to establish a

stronger Republican government, education policy moved forward during these early

years of Reconstruction. The new constitution provided a broader framework for public

education in Florida than any previous action by the state. Legislators extended education

40 Brown, Florida 's Black Public Officials, 15-17, 92; Shofn~er, Nor Is It Over Yet, 198-224.

41 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 213-214, 225-231.









to "all the children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference," and this

was to be accomplished through a "uniform system of Common Schools, and a

University" that would be free to all between the ages of four and twenty-one.42 To

receive state education funds, counties or school districts were required to raise at least

one-half of the amount apportioned by the state to each county for that year, and to

maintain a public school for at least three months out of the year. The amount of money

appropriated to each county from the common school fund would be in proportion to the

number of children in the eligible age range. Funding would come from property taxes,

proceeds from federal and state land sales, fines collected by the state, donations by

individuals for education, and through a per capital tax. Legislators also established the

office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, who would oversee all aspects of the state

common schools and the university.43

Although Reed's education policy favored all children, in 1869 he recommended

that the state provide no money for education, as required by the constitution, since funds

were not available. Most counties could not raise or collect the tax money needed to

support common schools, and white residents were not inclined to pay taxes for schools

that would educate black students. In addition, Florida' s economy had not recovered from

the war and a poor crop season in 1867 required the federal government to allocate

rations. Despite the financial obstacles, the newly appointed Superintendent of Public

Instruction, C. Thurston Chase, was determined to create a public school system that

would rival those of the North. Chase began his time in office by examining the public

42 Florida Constitution, 1868, Art. VIII.

43 Florida Constitution, 1868, Art. VIII; Thomas Cochran, The History of Public School
Education in Florida (Lancaster, PA: New Era Printing Company 1921): 34-48; Pyburn, The
History of the Development ofa Single System ofEducation, 88-97.









schools of the "most approved systems of the older states" within the Union and

determined the best attributes to emulate in Florida.44

With funds difficult to find at home, he turned to groups like the Freedmen's

Bureau and the AMA to help finance schools. Bamnas Sears, the General Agent of the

Peabody Fund, offered over $6,600 to the Florida public schools. Chase noted in his 1870

report that Sears wished "all the towns which we aid to come into your system of legal

public schools."45 Normally, the amount allowed by the Peabody Fund would have been

$2,000, but Sears said Florida' s public school system was more advanced than most

southern states, so he awarded them more money. The Peabody Fund was used to support

segregated urban schools with a population of at least 100 students, and with at least one

teacher for every fifty students. The Peabody Fund concentrated funding on schools for

white students, arguing that the aid provided through the Freedmen's Bureau and

philanthropic organizations were meeting the educational needs of black children. In this

way, Sears and the Peabody Fund supported segregation of schools in the south. The

Peabody Fund did benefit some black schools, but the maj ority of the money, about 93%,

went to white schools.46

Chase was influential in government policy and encouraged legislation that accepted

responsibility for teachers of freedmen who had been employed by the state but had not

been paid, as was the agreement with the previous administration. His greatest praise went


44 COchran, History qf Public School Education in Florida, 49-78: Florida, Rep~ort qf the
Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1869), 3-8: Florida, Rep~ort qf the Sup~erintendent qfPublic
Education (1870), 3, 14: Richardson, Ci he mate r Reconstruction, 110.

45 Florida, Rep~ort qf the Sup~erintendent qfPublic Education (1870), 48.

46 Ibid., 14: F. Bruce Rosen, "The Influence of the Peabody Fund on Education in Reconstruction
Florida," in The Florida Historical Ottarterly 55 (January 1977): 311-321: Anderson, The
Education qf Blacks in the South, 280-281.









to the teachers from Northern benevolent societies who "came at a time when freed children

were cast suddenly at the threshold of a new life, unused to the responsibilities and ignorant

of the duties thus thrust upon them."47 Chase' s comments and requests for AMA teachers

are not surprising since he had received a paid appointment in 1867 to the AMA bureau as

special agent for school construction. His correspondence with AMA officials requesting

teachers for Florida schools indicates Chase' s continued relationship with the AMA. He

forwarded two requests from Marion County, one for four teachers and another for seven

teachers. Chase also gave a positive progress report on three AMA teachers previously sent

to Florida and teaching in public schools. In the late 1860s, the AMA began transferring

management of its established schools to the state. Chase reported that in October of 1869

there were about 100 active schools in Florida. By January 1870 there were 250 schools

with a total student population of about 7,500. The increase in the number of schools may be

partly due to better reporting by county superintendents, since many took office for the first

time late in 1869 and were unable to collect data in time for that year' s report.48

One AMA school that shared funding with Duval County and the Freedmen's

Bureau was Stanton Normal School in Jacksonville. Lucelia E. Williams served as

principal of the school for seven years, two of those under the auspices of the AMA.

According to the 1869 teacher reports, the Freedmen's Bureau owned the building that

housed the school and the Duval County School Board provided some funding. In 1869,

the school had six teachers and 3 82 students enrolled, three of them white. In the early


47 Florida, Report qf the Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1869): 3-8.

48 COchran, History qf Public School Education in Florida, 49-78: Florida, Report qf the
Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1869): 3-8: Butchart, Northern Schools, 103-104; C. T.
Chase, Tallahassee, to E. P. Smith, New York, 22 December 1869 (Special Collection, P.K.
Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm, 148E: Richardson, "Christian
Abolitionism," 35-44.









1870s, the AMA experienced a decrease in contributor funding and attempted to

consolidate the work being done by the association. When the Freedmen's Bureau left

Florida in 1876, Stanton Normal School closed due to lack of funding.49

In the 1868 summer session of the state assembly, Chase pushed for more extensive

education laws. Included in his legislation was a bill that removed the required oath

teachers had to take prior to being certified and prohibited books of a "sectarian

nature."so The oath had been required to prevent northern teachers from being licensed to

teach in Florida. Prior to the vote on the bill, Democrat Alexander L. McCaskill inserted

a section that would allow counties and districts to create segregated public school

systems without losing state funding and that would prohibit black teachers from teaching

white students in any public school or state university. The bill was indefinitely

postponed by a close vote of 11-10, but it is unclear whether the dissenters were against

racially mixed schools or against prohibiting black teachers to teach white children."

A similar bill was introduced and passed in 1869. Although the bill did not

mandate segregated schools, it did give counties the right to create separate schools for

blacks and whites, thereby leaving the issue of school segregation to the counties.

Most Southern whites did not accept mixed schools and refused to send their children

to schools attended by blacks. Granting school districts the power to segregate schools

was a compromise made by educators hoping that more white children would attend



49 Teacher's Monthly School Report, Stanton Normal School, 1869 (Special Collection, P.K.
Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm, 148D, 148E: "Lucelia E.
Williams," in The American Mlissionary, 89 (March 1896): 89: Arthur White, "State Leadership
and Black Education in Florida, 1876-1976" in Phylon 42 (2d Qtr. 1981): 168-171.

"0 Florida, Journal of the Senate for the First Session, Fifteenth Legislature (1868), 225.

51 Ibid.










public schools. In addition to creating schools, the state and county superintendents

were given the power to certify teachers. There were three levels of teacher

certification, but the county boards of public instruction determined the requirements

for each level. Certifieates would be granted to graduates of the Department of

Teaching at the State University (which was not in operation at that time) or to

successful teachers. Candidates also had to maintain a good moral character, possess

the skills necessary to manage a school or classroom, and take the oath prescribed by

the state Constitution. Teachers were charged one dollar for the certificates, and

county superintendents were given the authority to revoke certification after giving

proper notice to the teacher and instructions on how to appeal the decision.52

Officials with the AMA complained that the teacher licensing acts of 1866 and

1869 restricted the work of their teachers in Florida. Most northern teachers had the

necessary teacher training to pass a certification exam, but taking the oath to uphold

the laws of Florida might have been a concern for teachers who considered themselves

residents of their former states. In addition, the authority given to county boards of

public instruction for certification requirements was very broad. There were no

statewide certification criteria, therefore, each county board of public instruction could

determine who was qualified to teach. Since board members were selected by the

county superintendent, and the superintendents were appointed by the governor, there

was probably legitimate concern from the AMA when Governor Reed appointed many

conservatives to local offices. Although Reed's appointees may have supported public

education, they may not have supported northern teachers. During these early years of

52 Florida, Laws of Florida (1869), Chapter 1686, Sections 13, 19, 23-27; Richard B. Drake,
"Freedmen's Aid Societies and Sectional Compromise" in The Journal of Southern History 29
(May 1963):179-180.










public education, however, there were no known cases of teachers who were denied

certification or charged with violating the requirements. According to Chase, county

officials were notoriously inattentive regarding their duties. Some county

commissioners refused to impose a school tax, and county superintendents neglected to

appoint and organize school boards. Their negligence may have worked in favor of the

AMA and other benevolent societies, but it inhibited the advancement of the public

education system. 53

After Chase's death in 1870, Henry Quarles was appointed to Einish the term as

state superintendent. Quarles cited money as the main barrier to the establishment of a

statewide public education system. Owners of large plantations refused to pay taxes to

support schools for their former labor force. According to Quarles, few of the over 250

schools in the state "would rank above good common schools," and he recommended that

schools prepare students to enter college or business.54 QUarTIS stated that the absence of

a state teacher' s college, non-uniform textbooks, lack of qualified teachers, and short

school terms hindered the work of the common schools. He intended to meet with state

educators to discuss ways to improve the education system, but his term ended and

Governor Reed appointed Rev. Charles Beecher, the younger brother of Harriet Beecher

Stowe, as state superintendent."





53 Florida Constitution, 1868, Art. VIII, Sec. 4, 14, 19: Florida, Report qf the Superintendent qf
Public Instruction (1870): 5, 7: Stevens, "The Rise and Development of Universal Education,"
81-82.

54 Florida, Report qf the Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1871), 5.

55 Ibid., 5-9; Forrest Wilson, Crusader in Crinoline: The 12fe qfHarriet Beecher Stowe (New
York: J.B. Lippencott Co. 1941): 38-39, 585-586.









Like Chase, Beecher depended on the AMA to supply teachers. In a letter to Rev.

George Whipple of the AMA, Beecher requested four teachers for Manatee County,

needing them to be "full of the spirit of the cross."56 A Mrs. Cedarholm accepted one of

these positions, but was under the impression she would be teaching black children.

According to Beecher, there were not enough black children in Manatee County to open a

state supported black school and "the whites being much democrats are not over

friendly."" Apparently, Manatee County officials chose to segregate schools, as state

law allowed. Florida law also permitted students from one county to go to school in

another county, if there were not enough students in their county to warrant a school.

Cedarholm suggested this action, but Beecher felt it best, probably due to white sentiment

in Manatee County, for her to teach elsewhere and suggested she relocate to Tampa,

where she could teach black children."

Although Beecher was supportive of schools for blacks, he was not willing to

overrule the wishes of local powers, even if it resulted in the neglect of education for

some black children. The attitude of Manatee County whites toward AMA teachers and

schools for black children was not unusual. Letters written by Northern teachers

continually stressed the disparaging treatment they received from both Southern and

newly-arrived Northern whites. White communities refused to board teachers or lease

buildings for their schools, and some teachers found the black families more welcoming.

Teachers were threatened by local whites, some by armed mobs. The AMA advised


56 C. Beecher, Tallahassee, to G. Whipple, New York, 24 July 1872 (Special Collection, P.K.
Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm 148E.

57Ibid.

58C. Beecher, Tallahassee, to G. Whipple, New York, 29 October 1872, (Special Collection, P.K.
Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm 148E.










teachers to let the Freedmen's Bureau or the military handle cases of attack, but it did not

profess to be a pacifist organization. Teachers often armed themselves with weapons sent

from the AMA New York office and depended on the black community for protection.59

With each new election, AMA teachers and civil rights supporters feared that

government leadership would revert back to the Black Codes and oppression that existed

prior to the Congressional Reconstruction Act. In 1872, an AMA teacher in Gainesville

expressed her fear in a letter to Erastus Cravath, Field Secretary of the AMA.

But we tremble when we think what it will be, if the democrats get into power,
which I hope the Lord will prevent. We know what they have done when in power
and we have no reason to think they are any better now.... The law--which is
down in black and white-is that if a colored man steal a chicken he shall be
whipped and one who has been whipped shall be disfranchised. In that way they
would deprive the colored man of his vote.... These one-sided laws were made
since the war, when the democrats were in power, and there are men in this place
who helped to get them up. And they pretend to be great friends to the colored
people, but let them get into power again and these laws would be enforced, then
the colored man would find, to his sorrow, who were his friends.60

Northern teachers may have been most knowledgeable regarding the local problems faced

by blacks and their supporters. Their physical presence prior to Congressional

Reconstruction allowed teachers to witness some of the cruel acts of discrimination

perpetuated against blacks. The discrimination and contempt shown to teachers by the white

community reinforced teachers' beliefs that African Americans had few friends in the South.

Without a strong state government that protected the rights of African Americans, Northemn

teachers worried that the state would revert back to the Black Codes.



59 Florida, Laws of Florida (1869), Chapter 1686, Section 35; Richardson, I he stern,,
Reconstruction, 219-220: Joe M. Richardson, "We Are Truly Doing Missionary Work: Letters
from American Missionary Association Teachers in Florida, 1864-1874," in The Florida
Historical Ouarterly 54 (October 1975): 179-196.

61) E.B. Eveleth, Gainesville, to E.M. Cravath, New York, 29 October 1872, (Special Collection,
P.K. Yonge Library, University of Florida, Gainesville) microfilm 148E.









Political Frustration and the Accomplishments in Education, 1872-1876

The threat of losing the 1872 election to the Democrats was very real. Conservative

Republicans had grown weary of the fighting within their own party and wanted a

government that would advance economic development. As Republicans gathered in

Tallahassee in August 1872 for their party convention, Radical Republicans from Leon

County were noticeably absent. When the state central committee for the Republican

Party decided that both gubernatorial candidates from Leon County should appear on the

convention ballot, Leon County Radical Republicans refused to attend the convention.

Without the support of Leon County's large black population, Republicans could lose

control of the state government. The vote for the Republican candidate for governor

shifted between Ossian B. Hart and Marcellus L. Steams, both considered Loyalist

Republicans. Hart, an associate justice on the Florida Supreme Court, supported

emancipation and the intervention of the Freedmen' s Bureau in legal cases, which made

him a favorite among blacks. As a native Floridian and former slaveholder, however, he

appealed more to Loyalist and Conservative Republicans. Steams was a former Union

soldier and bureau agent and, as Speaker of the House, he had opposed Govemnor Reed' s

policies and supported the impeachment attempts on Reed. When Stearns won the

convention nomination, blacks who favored Hart decided to leave in protest. To prevent

another division in the party, Stearns quickly withdrew in favor of Hart. In response to

his sacrifice for the party, Stearns was then nominated for lieutenant governor.61

The Democrats viewed the division of Leon County Republicans as an opportunity to

gain some of the black vote. Democrats agreed to meet with blacks who had left the

Republican Party to form the Liberal Republican Party. William D. Bloxham was the only

61 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 276-280.









nominee about whom both sides could agree. After heated arguments, a majority of Liberal

Republicans voted to support the Democratic ticket, which included Bloxham for governor

and Robert W. Bullock for lieutenant governor. Liberal Republicans who voted against the

ticket left the convention in disgust, complaining that too much had been conceded to the

Democrats. Despite the divisions in the Republican Party, Hart and Steam won and

Republicans retained a small majority in both the senate and the house. The rigors of

campaigning were difficult for Hart and he contracted pneumonia, from which he never

recovered. His death in March 1874 elevated Steams to the office of govemor.62

From the election of Hart to the election of 1876, the office of Superintendent of

Public Instruction underwent a high turnover rate, with four men holding the position.

Charles Beecher was replaced in 1873 by former Secretary of State Jonathan C. Gibbs.

Gibbs was a national leader in education and was invited to speak on education in the

south at the thirteenth annual meeting of the National Education Association in Elmira,

New York. At this event, he argued for continued free education for blacks.63

Justice and equity demand that the magnitude of the education wants of the Southemn
States, and its intrinsic importance to the whole country, be laid before the public
mind from time to time, that men everywhere may understand that the education of
the mass is indissoluble from a healthy condition of free govemnment.... The desire on
the part of the colored people to obtain a knowledge of letters is truly astonishing; and
this desire is sustained by persistent effort. We are sending daily to the North, West
and East for competent teachers, and the supply is not equal to the demand.... The
four millions of newly enfranchised citizens demand in the name of justice the
nation' s solemn contract, that our national schools of leaming be free to all classes of
our citizens without distinction of race or color.64

As the former secretary of state and the current superintendent of public instruction,

Gibbs was fully aware of the fragile state of the Republican Party in Florida. Schooling


62 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 280-287.
63 Pyburn, The History of the Develop~ment ofa Single System ofEducation, 98-101.
64 Florida, Rep~ort of the State Sup~erintend'ent ofPublic Instruction (1874): 63-74.









for African Americans, especially for those without means to pay, could be endangered if

political power was lost to Democrats.

Superintendent Gibbs recommended that the county school boards be reduced from

five to three members to save the state money. He also reminded the legislature that county

clerks were still not reporting the quarterly fines that belonged to the school fund, as

required by law. Furthermore, Gibbs urged the state legislature to create and fund a teacher' s

institute as soon as possible due to the constant demand for teachers. Although this did not

happen during his tenure, he was involved in the decision to locate the Florida State

Agricultural College in Alachua County. He also compiled a list of state approved textbooks

to help guide teachers when choosing books for their classrooms. From 1871 to 1873, the

number of pupils in the state increased by about 12,000, and the resulting problems were

reflected in reports from county superintendents. Four counties reported they could not hire

enough teachers due to a lack of funds, and five counties reported building new schools to

accommodate additional students.65

Gibbs' report indicated that many school districts chose to segregate schools.

Dennis Eagan, the school superintendent from Madison County, said he did not usually

get involved with the hiring of teachers at white schools, although he stated that all

teachers had to pass the certification examination. He reported two black schools in his

district, both sponsored and taught by the AMA, and noted that white Northern teachers

had become more acceptable and were able to find accommodations with respectable

families. Manatee County Superintendent J.F. Bartholf also reported a black school

sponsored by the AMA, as did the superintendent from St. Johns County. C.E. Harvey

reported from Jackson County that Mr. L.M. Gamble, chairman of the board of

65 Ibid., 1-60









education, donated forty acres for a "colored school in Bethlehem."66 It is not entirely

clear if both blacks and whites chose to segregate their schools, but the divisions were

clearly made based on skin color.

On August 14, 1874, Gibbs suffered a stroke in his office. He was taken to his home

where he died later that day. His apparent good health fueled rumors of poison, but it was

never proven. Secretary of State Samuel B. McLin was appointed as Acting Superintendent

of Public Instruction by Govemnor Steams and quickly went to work encouraging the

improvement of school buildings. He believed the environment and facilities of the school

building and grounds affected how well students learned. McLin also addressed the issue of

uniform textbooks after hearing complaints from school officials and teachers regarding the

various textbooks children brought to class. McLin believed it would be more effective if

schools or counties chose their textbooks, and encouraged the superintendents to select the

best method for adopting uniform textbooks. He also urged the state to improve the

efficiency of county superintendents by requiring in-service training, thereby improving

their ability to evaluate teachers. McLin's term ended and he was replaced in 1875 by Rev.

William Watkin Hicks, who converted to the Republican Party after the appointment. The

quick tumover of superintendents during these later years of Republican rule made it

difficult to maintain consistent work in Florida' s education system. The needed

improvements in teacher training, standardized textbooks, and school buildings were never

fully addressed due in part to the brief tenure of superintendents. This instability was a

reflection of the state govemment.67


66 Ibid., 43

67Brown, Florida 's Black Public Qflicials, 3 1: Joe M. Richardson, "Jonathan C. Gibbs: Florida's
Only Negro Cabinet Member," in The Florida Historical Quarterly 42 (April 1964): 364-369.










Although most legislation enacted between 1868 and 1876 supported

enfranchisement for blacks and education for all children, Republican factions increased

animosity within the Party and frustrated both politicians and voters. Education for

African Americans gained momentum due in part to government officials who supported

equal educational opportunities for blacks and whites. The desire for white support of

public education compelled educators to submit to racist attitudes of the white

communities, and segregation of schools was allowed under Florida law. A weak

Republican Party, however, j eopardized the ability of government officials sympathetic

to the needs of blacks to maintain a strong influence in education policy, which

threatened the achievements made in education for African Americans.

Election Results of 1876 and the End of Reconstruction

The threat of Democratic control of the state government due to Republican

factionalism was very real. Fearing the outcome of the 1876 election, Dennis Eagan,

chairman of the State Republican Executive Committee, urged voters to unite: "The

enemy is in the Hield, and hopes to benefit by divisions in our ranks."68 With forty-seven

percent of the state population African American and only 2,000 whites in the Republican

Party, unity among Republicans was necessary to maintain government control.69

In 1876, Governor Marcellus Stearns was nominated for a second term amid

violent opposition from several county representatives who were denied access to the

convention due to their support for Republican state Senator Simon B. Conover.



Pyburn, The History qf the Develop~ment qfa Single System ofEducation in Florida, 106- 108:
Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 295-296.

68 "LTo the Republican in Florida," Daily Florida Union, 30 June 1876.

69 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 288-289.









Conover' s constituents held their own convention, and both conventions sent delegates

to the national convention. Fearing a loss of Republican representatives in the federal and

state governments, Republicans from the national party convinced Conover to withdraw

from the race. Conover publicly requested that all voters support the Republican ticket,

but his followers continued their attacks on Stearns. Many black politicians were angered

by the actions of Northern white Republicans. Fuller M. White, the county commissioner

in Jackson County from 1872 to 1875, was quoted as advising "the negroes of Jackson

county [sic] to throw off the white carpetbaggers and organize a colored man' s party."70

African Americans were growing tired of the unfulfilled promises made by Florida

politicians from the north, and encouraged blacks to vote for southern blacks or whites

loyal to the federal government."

Democrats nominated George F. Drew for governor. Drew was a lumber mill

owner from Madison County who moved to the south from New Hampshire prior to the

Civil War. Although he claimed to be a unionist during the war, he had sold bridge

timbers from his lumber mill in Georgia to the Confederate army, which increased his

favor among Florida' s white conservatives.72

Tensions were high during the election, with fraud, bribery, and intimidation

used by both parties to gain votes. Federal troops were stationed throughout Florida

during the elections in an attempt to prevent violent acts against voters. Although the

elections of 1876 were less violent than previous ones, they were never more volatile,



70 As quoted in Brown, Florida 's Black Public Officials, 138.

71 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 300-313: Bess Beatty, "John Willis Menard: A Progressive Black
in Post-Civil War Florida" in The Florida Historical Ouarterly 59 (October 1980): 124-144.

72 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 300-313.










resulting in Democrats and Republicans contesting nearly all county returns. With

thirty-eight county returns needing review due to accusations of voter fraud, the

election board realized it would not meet the December 6 deadline for the electoral

votes to be cast. The national election, however, was now dependent on the results

from the Florida elections.73

With the arrival of national representatives from both the Republican and

Democratic Parties, Tallahassee became the focal point of the nation. Narrowing the

maj or disputes to nine counties, the election board, consisting of two Republicans and

one Democrat, concentrated on resolving the allegations in these counties. When the

examination was completed and the votes counted, Republicans Rutherford Hayes and

William A. Wheeler were declared winners of the electoral votes for United States

President and Vice President respectively; Democrats George F. Drew and Noble A. Hull

were named governor and lieutenant governor respectively. Appeals to the Florida

Supreme Court by the Republican Party in Florida did not change the outcome.74

The end of Reconstruction ushered in an era of rapidly declining opportunities

for African Americans. The Compromise of 1877 brought Hayes, a Republican, into

the White House in exchange for the removal of federal troops from the South and the

surrender of southern state governments to white Democrats. Prior to the 1876

election, Northerners had grown tired of the "negro problem." The withdrawal of the

Freedmen's Bureau followed by the decline in funding from philanthropic

organizations, and the repeal of the Southern Homestead Act of 1866 indicated


73 Jerrell Shofner, "Florida in the Balance: The Electoral Ballot of 1876" in The Florida
Historical Quarterly 47 (October 1968): 123-151.

74 Shofner, Nor Is It Over Yet, 310-331.









declining interest in the conditions of blacks in the South. In 1877, with Democrats in

positions of political power, Southern governments reduced taxes, opposed

compulsory education laws, and prevented further development of universal

education. Wages for laborers were reduced, the movement of blacks restricted, more

oppressive labor contracts initiated, and vagrancy laws reappeared. In Florida,

Governor Drew and Democratic legislators reduced taxes, closed the penitentiary, and

discontinued funding for the Agricultural College. The tax decrease was reversed two

years later due to fiscal problems, and the college was reopened. African Americans

suffered most by these policy changes, but advances made during Reconstruction

could not be halted entirely."

Southern whites realized that they could not do away with the education of African

Americans, but they reduced funding to black schools and increased funding to white

schools. In an effort to control education for blacks, Southern whites redirected

educational goals toward the Hampton-Tuskegee vocational model. Public education for

blacks became education for field labor and unskilled positions. For Southern whites,

"universal education was not conceived of as transforming the social position of any

labouring class... but a means to make society run more efficiently."76 White Southerners

were dependent on an illiterate work force and were agreeable to a public education

system that relegated blacks to the lower rungs of a social class system.n7






75Foner, Reconstruction, 567-568: Anderson, The Education qf Blacks in the South, 22-23.

76 Anderson, The Education qf Blacks in the South, 80.

77Foner, Reconstruction, 590-591, 602; Anderson, The Education qf Blacks in the South, 81-83.









Education Objectives Altered for African Americans, 1877-1886

Governor Drew stated in his address to the 1877 Florida assembly that blacks

would become good citizens through education, and that schools were cheaper than poor

houses and prisons. Drew appointed Democrat William P. Haisley as Superintendent of

Public Education. Haisley was the first to uphold a legislative act that required regular

meetings with the county superintendents and other school officers. In addition, he

created a state curriculum and held the first institute for training black and white teachers.

Since the state lacked a normal school, the Peabody Fund, which had shifted its primary

funding to normal education, offered three two-year scholarships to prospective Florida

teachers to attend the Normal Department at Nashville University. In 1879, they awarded

seven scholarships to Florida students. These were offered only to white teachers,

however, and Haisley believed black teachers also needed training to teach in the black

schools. He obtained a state grant for black teachers to attend two Florida graded schools

for blacks: Lincoln Academy in Tallahassee and Union Academy in Gainesville. The

two-month normal programs at the academies could not offer the same education as a

two-year program at Nashville University, but they were the best the state had to offer.

Along with increased teacher training, Haisley also reduced education expenditures by

decreasing the number of members on county school boards, which had been

recommended by Gibbs, and he reduced funding for subdistricts. This funding would

eventually be redirected to rural schools. Since the densely populated subdistricts usually

had a larger black population, however, this meant less money for black schools.'" The




78 Leedell W. Neyland, "State-Supported Higher Education Among Negroes in the State of
Florida" in The Florida Historical Quarterly 43 (October 1964): 106-107; Pyburn, The History qf
the Develop~ment qfa Single System qfEditcation, 122: Cochran, History of Public Education in










slow decline in educational opportunities for blacks had begun and, as predicted by the

AMA teacher, blacks were now Einding out who their friends were.

Like superintendents before him, Haisley voiced a concern for the lack of qualified

teachers and the absence of a state normal school. As he organized teacher institutes,

Haisley also pushed for legislation that would mandate the establishment of two state

normal schools. His first success was in 1880 at East Florida Seminary located in

Gainesville where a Normal Department was established. In 1883, a second Normal

Department opened at the West Florida Seminary located in Tallahassee; however, both

schools were for white students only. Haisley's successor, E.K. Foster, continued the

teacher' s institutes, conducting fiye for whites and two for blacks in 1883. In that same

year, the Florida legislature appropriated $1,000 for teacher institutes and summer normal

schools. It was Albert J. Russell, however, who began the institutes in earnest.79

Many teachers in Florida were products of the growing number of graded and

secondary schools, including Duval High School in Jacksonville (white), Tampa

Institute in Tampa (white), Lincoln Academy in Tallahassee (colored), and Union

Academy in Gainesville (colored).so In 1884, Russell organized two-month normal

schools for black teachers at both Lincoln and Union Academies. A total of forty-

seven teachers attended each school, eleven receiving second class teaching


Florida, 58-69, 74-75: Richardson, "Christian Abolitionism," 41-42; White, "State Leadership
and Black Education in Florida," 168-169.

79 Florida, Laws qf Florida (1881), Chapter 3282: Florida, Journal qf the Senate for the Ninth
Session (1877), 48: Florida, Report qf the State Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1882): 20:
Pyburn, The History qf the Development qfa Single System qfEditcation, 122.

"0 According to state superintendent reports, there were no senior high schools for African
Americans in Florida in 1900. As of 1906, there was only one senior high school--Lincoln
Academy in Tallahassee. In 1922, Union Academy taught grades 1-9. See Report of the
Superintendent of Public Instruction (1900, 1909, 1922) for Florida.










certificates and forty receiving third class certificates. No teachers from these schools

received a first class teaching certificate. Russell also held one- and two-week teacher

institutes for both black and white teachers (at different times) in Quincy, Tallahassee,

and Madison. An institute for blacks was held in Lake City, and one for whites in Polk

County. The Normal Department at the East Florida Seminary already had fifteen

graduates teaching in the state, and there were twenty-Hyve more enrolled in 1883.

West Florida Seminary had just awarded its first two students with state teaching

licenses. By 1885, the seminaries had a total of ninety-six students enrolled in their

normal departments. Both departments offered white students a two-year program, and

graduates were awarded a state license of instruction, which allowed them to teach in

the state of Florida for life.8

This inequality of educational opportunity created obstacles not only for black

teachers, but also for the schools where they taught. Most black teachers were not being

offered the same education and training as white teachers, and this was reflected in the

state teacher examinations and the awarding of teaching certificates. Since black teachers

were only welcome as teachers in black schools, the students in these schools would not

receive the same education as students in schools with teachers who had received a

normal school education. As a result, African Americans completing the two-month

normal programs in schools like Lincoln and Union Academies would be inadequately

prepared for the certification examinations and would obtain the lowest class of




st Pyburn, The History qf the Development qfa Single System qf Editcation in Florida, 120- 125:
Murray D. Laurie, "Union Academy: A Freedmen's Bureau School in Gainesville, Florida" in
The Florida Historical Ottarterly 65 (October 1986): 164-175: Neyland, "State Supported Higher
Education," 106-108: Florida, Report qf the Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1883-1884), 7-
15.










certification.82 This pattern would only serve to perpetuate the disparity between black

and white educational opportunities, and would contribute to the political and economic

limitations of future African Americans.

Nearly every southern state had universities or normal schools for blacks, but in

1884 there were none in Florida. The American Missionary Association had sponsored

Stanton Normal School near Jacksonville, but it closed in 1876. Stanton Normal School

was the academic equivalent of a high school, and the AMA hoped to offer college level

courses as the students progressed, similar to what it had done in other states.83 AMA

officers had long held the belief that higher education constituted the only venue through

which African Americans could properly prepare for careers as teachers, ministers,

lawyers, doctors, and politicians, which AMA officials believed would prepare them to

take leadership roles among their own people. Benevolent societies may have believed

that African Americans were just as capable of academic success as whites, but they were

reluctant to give control of black schools to African Americans. By 1877, most

benevolent societies were more conservative in their ideology and compromised to

accommodate sectional differences. This meant, however, accepting segregation of

schools in the South and refocusing efforts to include vocational and agricultural

education for blacks. Integrating blacks into white society was no longer the goal of


82 Florida, Laws of Florida (1887), Chapter 3962, Sec. 1-4, Chapter 3809.

83 Schools the AMA helped establish were Fisk University and LeMoyne-Owen College in
Tennessee, Talladega College in Alabama, Straight (now Dillard) College in Louisiana, Berea
College in Kentucky, Atlanta University in Georgia, Tougaloo University in Mississippi, Avery
Institute in South Carolina, Huston-Tillotson College in Texas, the Theological Department at
Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Hampton University in Virginia. Their influence at
Hampton was reduced considerably when AMA officers opposed the pedagogical ideas of
Hampton's leader, Samuel C. Armstrong; Joe M. Richardson, Christian Reconstruction: The
American Missionary Association and Southern Blacks, 1861-1890, (Athens: University of
Georgia Press, 1986): 121-140.










many Northern educators, and most benevolent societies accepted and supported the

pattern of inequality in the public education system of the South.84

Beginning with Republican leaders, segregation became the expectation in Florida

schools. Although laws demanding separate schools had not been passed, and there may

have been some mixed race schools in Florida, the state and county superintendents acted in

ways that advocated a racially separate education system to satisfy both blacks and whites.

In addition, laws regulating the separation of the races appeared more frequently after 1880.

With increased support for segregated schools, teacher training for African Americans

became imperative. State legislators, however, did not support teacher training for blacks, as

reflected in state expenditures for black schools."

Democrats and the Legalization of Segregation, 1882-1900

In the 1882 elections, Democrats retained the governor' s office and won heavy

maj orities in the House and Senate. Voters also approved a constitutional convention,

selecting only seven blacks as delegates to the convention. In comparison, the 1868

constitutional convention had nineteen black delegates. The convention delegates quickly

reduced the rights of African Americans by authorizing the legislature to demand a poll

tax and by mandating racial segregation in public schools. The poll tax, which prohibited

anyone from voting who had not paid the tax in the previous two years, threatened the





84 E.M. Cravath, "The Higher Education of the Negro," The American M~issionary 36 (December
1882): 370-372; Beard, A Crusade ofBrotherhood, 145-162; McPherson, "White Liberals and
Black Power," 1359-1360; Drake, "Freedmen's Aid Societies," 180-186; Butchart, Northern
Schools, 206-207.

85 White, "State Leadership and Black Education in Florida," 169; Florida, Laws ofnlorida
(1881), Chapter 3283; Florida, Laws ofnlorida (1883), Chapter 3446, 3447, 3448; Florida, Laws
ofnlorida (1869), Chapter 1686, Sections 23-27.









voting rights of many poor Floridians, a large portion of whom were black. This would

ensure a white majority at the polls.86

This was the first constitution to distinguish explicitly between education for

black and white children: "White and colored children shall not be taught in the same

school, but impartial provision shall be made for both.""' Although segregated schools

were probably preferred by most whites in Florida, the legal act to separate the races

reinforced racist attitudes, and laws were passed to control blacks politically,

economically, and socially. Other changes were more subtle, like the language used to

determine the type of schools the state would provide. In the 1868 Constitution, the

state had provided education for all children residing within the state "without

distinction or preference."s The new constitution simply stated, "The legislature shall

provide for a uniform system of public free schools, and shall provide for the liberal

maintenance of the same."89

Provisions made for the education of black teachers were, in reality, only small

gestures. The new constitution required the state government to establish, maintain, and

manage no more than two state normal schools "as the interests of public education may

demand."90 Since the state already had two Normal Departments at the East and West

Florida Seminaries, it was questionable whether they would provide one for black



86 Brown, Florida 's Black Public Officials, 144-145; Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. VI, Sec. 8,
Art. XII, Sec. 114.

87 Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. XII, Sec. 12.

88 Florida Constitution, 1868, Art. VIII, Sec. 1.

89 Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. XII, Sec. 1.

90 Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. XII, Sec. 14.









teachers. Although this did not prevent private organizations from opening a normal

school in the state, the fact that the two existing state schools were all white meant that in

1885 there was no state sponsored normal school for blacks. In addition, the 1885

constitution and laws passed in 1886 amended education laws and strengthened laws

regarding certification requirements for teachers. Making teacher certification

requirements more stringent without providing adequate teacher training for all teachers

seemed an unreasonable action against black teachers and schools. From 1881 to 1884,

the number of teachers in the state of Florida increased by 24%.91 During those same

years, the number of teachers holding first class certifications, which was the most

demanding level, increased by only 1%. Second class certifications increased by 3% and

third class certifications decreased by 7%, but the number of uncertified teachers

increased by 3%. The language used and most of the laws passed prior to 1877 worked

for blacks, but the language and laws after 1877 worked against them, changing de facto

segregation to de jure segregation. The Republican Party, once thought the savior of the

freedmen, was now powerless to prevent racially discriminatory legalization.92

The 1886 elections decreased further the representation of blacks and Republicans

in state government. Many counties that previously elected blacks to state offices elected

whites to the assembly. The House and Senate consisted of many young politicians who

advocated white supremacy and supported laws that would ensure white control. By





91 These numbers include the 28 counties that reported data for 1881, 1882, and 1884.

92 Florida Constitution, 1885, Art. VI, Sec. 8, Art. VIII, Sec. 6: Florida, Rep~ort qf the State
Sup~erintend'ent qfPublic Instruction (188 1-1882): 4, 8: Florida, Rep~ort qf the State
Sup~erintend'ent qfPublic Instruction (1884): 24.









1890, blacks had lost power in state government and retained little power locally.93

Moderate Republicans, still upset with the lack of Party unity, attempted to gain political

control by uniting with Democrats to form the Independent Party. Florida farmers, mostly

Democrats, were angered by the government sale of lands to northern railroad investors

and the high tariffs on shipping. Radical Republicans and Democrats attacked the

members of the Independent Party, but this once again split the Republican Party. The

Independent candidate running for governor won more votes than the Republican

candidate, but this only elevated factionalism in the Republican Party. Many rural

Republican voters, victimized by threats of violence and disenchanted with a party that

could not deliver on its promises, stayed away from the polls or voted for Democrats.94

Republican leaders could no longer rally voters to the polls.

Unequal Opportunities in Education for African Americans, 1886-1900

State Superintendent Russell's report of 1887 reflected the changes in the new

constitution--data were now presented for "White" and "Colored" public schools and

students. In that year, Dade, Holmes, Manatee and Pasco Counties reported having no

black teachers, and Manatee and Pasco reported no schools for blacks. The five black

schools in Dade and the one in Holmes were being taught by white teachers. In 1886,

there were a total of 540 black teachers and 1,715 white teachers in the state. H.N. Felkel,

the Principal Institute Instructor for the teacher training institutes held in 1886, reported

that there were many teachers with little or no teacher training. Felkel said the purpose of

the teacher institutes was to provide a uniform curriculum and stimulate interest in

education. State Superintendent Russell organized an institute in DeFuniak Springs,

93 Brown, Florida 's Black Public Officials, 55-69; Florida, Laws of Florida (1887), Chapter 3742.

94 Brown, Florida 's Black Public Officials, 60-61.










Walton County, which was about 100 miles west of Tallahassee and 75 miles east of

Pensacola. About 300 teachers attended, but there is no indication if this was a mixed

race institute. Of the twelve Florida counties within a 100 mile radius of DeFuniak

Springs, there were a total of 3 17 white teachers and 128 black teachers (26 of them in

Leon County and 32 in Gadsden County).95

The institute in DeFuniak Springs was free, but teachers were responsible for all

other expenses. Since black teachers were paid less than white teachers, it may have

been more difficult for black teachers to attend the institutes. Of the five counties with

the greatest number of black teachers, Alachua (50), Marion (41), Madison (3 8), Duval

(32), and Gadsden (32), only one was within 100 miles of the institute. As a

compromise, Russell held one-week institutes for black teachers in Nassau and

Madison counties, and two-week institutes for black teachers in Leon and Columbia

counties. White teachers were also offered one- and two-week institutes in Santa Rosa,

Holmes, Brevard, Nassau, Baker, Bradford, Madison, Calhoun, and Polk counties. In

addition, nine white high schools offered teacher education courses and the graduates

were employed as teaching assistants in the primary grades. There were apparently no

high schools for African Americans in operation at this time, although Union and

Lincoln Academies, neither yet offering education through grade twelve, offered six-

week normal courses to African American teachers.96

In 1886 there were 141 teacher candidates enrolled at the East and West

Seminaries, nearly 40% above enrollment for the year before. Although the normal

95 There are now fourteen counties within a 100 mile radius of DeFuniak Springs: Florida, Report
of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1887): 3-14, 18.

96 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent ofPublic Instruction (1887): 3-14, 18: Laurie,
"Union Academy," 164-175.









institutes for blacks reached more teachers than the Normal Departments in the East and

West Seminaries, they were in no way equivalent in instruction. The seminaries offered

two-year programs covering not only academic subj ects included in the teacher

certification examinations, but also courses specific to the profession of teaching. The

summer normal schools and teacher institutes were opportunities to share professional

knowledge, but not extensive enough to improve academic knowledge required to pass

certification examinations.97

The two state normal schools were Einally opened in October 1887, beginning a

two-year teacher education program in each. Felkel was named president of the white

school and Thomas DeSaille Tucker was president of the black school. The White

Normal School in DeFuniak Springs opened with fifty-two students, and the Colored

Normal School in Tallahassee opened with forty-seven students. Graduates obtained a

"life certificate of the first class" that allowed them to teach anywhere in the state without

having to renew their certification.98 Most students entering these schools, however,

needed remedial work before they could begin the academic studies for the normal school

level. The need for remedial work among the state's most promising scholars is

indicative of the level of education Florida' s public schools were able to provide. Prior to

the opening of the normal schools, most of the students admitted would have found

positions as teachers with only a basic education. According to the superintendent's

report of 1890, the White Normal School had dormitories for both male and female

students, but the Colored Normal School did not. The inadequate housing and


97 Florida, Report qf the Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1883-1884), 7-15: Neyland, "State
Supported Higher Education," 105-106.

98 Florida, Report qf the State Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1889-1900), 15.










employment opportunities for black students prompted Tucker to request relocating the

school to Highland where they would have ample buildings and land for farming.

Although he did not believe in a strict agricultural or vocational education, Tucker knew

farmland would provide food for the schools, thereby decreasing the need for students to

find work outside of the school. The Morrill Act of 1890 provided the funds needed to

relocate the school.99

Even if these schools were identical in every respect, the educational opportunities for

prospective white teachers in Florida far outweighed those for blacks. In addition to the

increased number of white high schools providing normal school courses, the Florida

Normal School and Business Institute in White Springs, incorporated in 1887, was a private

school for white students. Completion of their state approved teaching program would

confer first class teaching certificates to all graduates without examination. In 1889, the state

appropriated $5,000 to this school in exchange for free tuition for one white female and one

white male student from each senatorial district.1oo

The legal segregation of schools was a continuation of Reconstruction education

policy, but created more problems for black teachers and students due mainly to unequal

funding of schools. Since blacks were forced to attend and teach black schools, these

schools had to be prepared to educate future teachers. Two of the oldest black schools in the

state--Lincoln and Union Academies--were still graded schools and did not yet offer

secondary level courses. Graduates from the black graded schools received no more than an




99 Florida, Report qf the State Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1887), 3-17: Florida, Report
qf the State Superintendent qf Public Instruction (1889-1900): 15-20: Neyland, "State Supported
Higher Education," 106-112.

'00 Florida, Laws qfnlorida (1889), Chapter 3869.










eighth-grade education. Normal institutes and summer normal schools were not a substitute

for two-year normal programs offered almost exclusively to white students.

William Sheats and the Orange Park Normal and Industrial School

Recognizing the need for teacher training for blacks in Florida, the AMA attempted

once more to open an institution of higher education. After Stanton Normal School closed

in 1876, the AMA had very little activity in Florida. In 1881, the organization provided

support for a Fernandina minister and in 1884 for two teachers in St. Augustine. The

Orange Park Normal and Industrial School, both a day and a boarding school, opened in

1891 with a principal and seven teachers. Located on the St. John's River in Orange Park,

Clay County, land was donated by the town with the understanding that children from the

town would be able to attend, whether black or white. The AMA agreed and the school

opened with twenty-six students, seventeen of whom were boarders. Four months later

there were seventy-eight students, forty boys and thirty-eight girls. The closing

ceremonies for the first year included recitations, displays of academic and manual work,

and a student debate over the education of girls, which concluded with the decision that a

family with one girl and one boy should educate the girl since the boy had a better chance

of obtaining an education on his own. The racially mixed audience was impressed by the

accomplishments of the students, which improved the school's reputation among white

families. From 1892 to 1895, attendance was about 100 students annually. To

accommodate state regulations and community attitudes, the children were racially

separated, with blacks and whites assigned to different floors in the boarding house.

Everyone ate in the same room, but blacks and whites sat at different tables. The only

time blacks and whites were together was in the classroom and when the boys played

games on their own. Although the AMA and the community appeared content with this










arrangement, state officials were less supportive. The school caught the attention of State

Superintendent Sheats, whose actions were greatly influenced by his fears of interracial

marriage and his insistence that the preservation of the white race was paramount to

maintainmng social order.'"

In 1895, under the leadership of Sheats, teacher certifications became more

stringent and were standardized for all districts. The certification for the third class

required examinations in orthography, reading (both oral and written), arithmetic,

English, grammar, composition, United States history, geography, physiology, and theory

and practice of teaching. The average passing grade for all exams was sixty percent with

a grade of no less then forty percent in any one subj ect area. The second class

certification required examinations in the same subj ect areas as a third class certification

but with a passing grade of seventy-five percent and with a grade of no less then fifty

percent in any one subj ect area. The first class certification required the same

examinations as the third and second class but added examinations in civil government,

algebra, and physical geography.102

The average passing grade for all exams was eighty percent with a grade of no less

then sixty percent in any one subj ect. Only the state superintendent could award a state



'ni '.Nc\l Appointments," The Anzerican hissionary, 35 (February 1881): 45: "List of
Missionaries and Teachers," The Anzerican hissionary, 37 (February 1883): 44: "List of
Missionaries and Teachers," The Anzerican hissionary, 38 (February 1884): 47: "List of
Missionaries and Teachers," The Anzerican hissionary, 39 (February 1885): 45: "Orange Park
Normal and Industrial School," in The American M~issionary, 46 (May 1892): 152-153: "Orange
Park, Fla," in The American M~issionary, 46 (June 1892); 192-194: G. S. Dickerman, "Orange
Park, Fla" in The American Mlissionary, 46 (July 1892): 234-235; B. D. Rowlee, "Normal and
Manual Training School, Orange Park, Fla" in The American M~issionary 49 (August 1895): 263-
264; Joe M. Richardson, "The Nest of Vile Fanatics: William N. Sheats and the Orange Park
School," in The Florida Historical Quarterly, 64 (April 1986): 400-401.

'02 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent ofPublic Instruction (1895-1896): 23-26.









teaching certificate, and eligible teachers had to have at least 24 months of teaching

experience and hold a first class certification. Third class certificates were good for two

years only in the county they were issued. Second class certificates were good for three

years and first class certificates for four years, both of which could be accepted by any

county superintendent. All graduates from the state normal schools earned a first class

certification without having to take the examination. Teachers with third and second class

certifications had to prove they were working toward a first class certification and sit for

exams before their certification expired. If satisfactory progress was not made, the

superintendent could revoke their certification.103

Creating uniform teacher examinations would have been a positive step in public

education except for the unequal educational opportunities offered future black teachers.

Most of the teachers in Florida were products of a high school education and possibly

some teacher training. To pass the certification exams, however, teachers would need

additional education. Black teachers had fewer opportunities than white teachers for

continuing education since there was only one normal school available to them and there

were fewer normal institutes organized for blacks, and they usually met for shorter

sessions. In the 1895-96 school year, 116 schools did not open due to a teacher shortage.

Most were black schoolS.104

In 1896, county superintendents reported schools not opening due to a lack of

teachers. Superintendent A.M.C. Russell, from Hernando County, said uniform

examinations improved the quality of teachers but "our negro population has suffered on

'03 Florida, Laws ofnlorida (1895): Chapter 4331.

104 Butchart, "Secondary Education and Emancipation," 162-163; Neyland, "State-Supported
Higher Education," 106-107; ''Extracts from Address by Miss Helen S. Loveland," in The
American M~issionary 50 (January 1896): 19.









account of failures of negro teachers to pass."'os From 1893 to 1896, Hernando County

conducted eight teachers' institutes and summer normal schools annually. Seven schools

in Clay County were without teachers and Liberty County could not meet the needs of the

black schools due to lack of teachers. With fewer educational opportunities for black

teachers, stricter certification requirements, and less funding for urban schools where

large maj orities of blacks lived, education for blacks was greatly hindered. Separate was

certainly true, but equality was not to be found. According to one AMA teacher from

Orange Park: "Theoretically, in the United States all men, whether white or black, enj oy

equal civil liberties; practically, in the South, they do not."106

The legislation that gave Sheats national attention made it a penal offense for

any school, private or public, to instruct or board students of the two races together.

This law, passed in 1895, greatly impacted the AMA normal school in Orange Park.

AMA officials argued that the Sheats Law was passed specifically against the Orange

Park School, since they claimed there were no other schools in the state in which both

races attended. In addition, Sheats was interfering in the choices made by a community

to sponsor a private school. When the Orange Park School reopened after winter break

in 1896, the staff and students continued classes as before, but waited expectantly for

arrests to be made. Sheats adhered to the letter of the law and in April 1896 had the

principal and teachers arrested. The AMA hired lawyers and took the case to the

Florida courts, arguing the law was a violation of the 14th Amendment and

discriminated against teachers by restricting them in a way that no other profession


'05 Florida, Report of the State Superintendent ofPublic Instruction, (1895-1896): 264.

106 Ibid.: Richardson, "The Nest of Vile Fanatics," 394-407; '-E\1t;racts from Address by Miss
Helen S. Loveland," 20.









was restricted--one based entirely on race. The courts agreed, and a telegram arrived

during the AMA convention in October 1896 that stated, "Sheats law this day declared

unconstitutional and void." When read before the convention the "audience was

carried off its feet," applauding what they considered a triumph for "Christian religion

and Christian civilization."'o7 It appears that the only strong argument Sheats had

against the school was that both black and white children attended the school, although

they were kept separate in every area except the classroom. Whether he had the legal

right to interfere with a private school, funded entirely by private donations and

approved by the community, was questionable and reveals his obsessive nature

regarding mixed-race schools.

The Orange Park School reopened in December of 1896, but under much different

circumstances. White parents were no longer comfortable sending their children to the

school. In 1897, Sheats tried to convince the legislature to close the Orange Park School,

stating he had evidence that the school was manipulating the attendance of unsuspecting

white children. A. F. Beard, the newly-appointed principal of the school, responded to

Sheats' request for information on the school for the 1896 superintendent's report with a

reiteration of the school's original goals, the excellent reputation of AMA schools in the

south, and a reminder that state funds were never used to maintain the school. Beard

stated that the "number of students was increasing until the events of last year,"

indicating the detrimental affect the law and arrest had on the school.'0s The 1898

superintendent' s report on the Orange Park School noted a student population of 103,

'07 Florida, Laws qfnlorida (1895): Chapter 4335; White, "State Leadership and Black Education
in Florida," 168-171; "Our Orange Park School and the Florida Persecution," in The American
Missionary, 50 (December, 1896): 379-380.

'0s Florida, Report qf the Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1896): 188









seventy-five of whom were boarders. The Green Cove Springs Junior High School for

blacks, a free public school, opened in 1906, possibly reducing the number of black

students at Orange Park. A decrease in attendance due to the intervention by Sheats,

attitudes among whites in the community, and a fire that destroyed most of the buildings

combined to close Orange Park Normal and Industrial School, leaving the state with only

one normal school for African AmericanS.109

In his report of 1900, Sheats indicated there were normal schools at Florida State

Agricultural College, John B. Stetson University in Deland, and Rollins College in

Winter Park. However, these were schools for whites only. In addition to these schools,

there were other schools of higher education for whites: Florida Conference College in

Leesburg had a normal course in place, Florida Normal School and Business Institute in

White Springs received state funding for some of its normal school students, and Jasper

Normal Institute in Jasper already had fifty-five graduates in 1896.110 With fewer

educational opportunities available to African Americans, teachers for black schools

would continue to be supplied by black graded schools, like Lincoln and Union

Academies. The education received by black teachers would not be equivalent to the

education received at the normal schools in colleges and universities available to white

students. Based on these different levels of education, the knowledge black teachers took

into their classrooms would be limited in comparison to the knowledge attained by white



109 Richardson, "The Nest of Vile Fanatics," 394-407; Florida, Report qf the Superintendent qf
Public Instruction (1896): 186-189, (1898): 257-258, (1906): 38-40.

110 Florida, Report qf the State Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1887), 3-17, 18, 22: Florida,
Report qf the State Superintendent qfPublic Instruction ( 1894- 1896) 1 02- 184: Florida, Report qf
the Superintendent qf Public Instruction (1900), 91-99, 117-138: Sidney Johnston, "The Historic
Stetson University Campus in Deland, 1884-1934," in The Florida Historical Quarterly 70
(January 1992): 281-304.









teachers. Due to no fault of their own, both black teachers and black students would be

denied the same education as white teachers and white students.

Sheats continued the tradition of teacher institutes, conducting eleven for white

teachers and three for black teachers over the summer of 1899. He organized the three

black institutes in counties with the highest numbers of black teachers, but decided that

there were not enough black teachers in other counties to warrant the expense of

additional institutes. Since all fourteen institutes presented the exact same information,

Sheats claimed that "there was not the slightest discrimination in the conduct of the

[institutes] for white and black."ll Sheats said, "The schools were designed to impart

professional instruction, and not intended to take the place of the regular work of

secondary or Normal Schools, or to be used merely as helps in securing teachers'

certificates."112 According to Sheats, the institutes and summer normal schools were

opportunities to share professional knowledge, not classes to increase the knowledge base

of future and current teachers with second and third grade certificates who needed to text

for a higher class certificate. In the same report, however, Sheats contradicted himself,

stating that the teacher institutes and summer normal schools were a replacement for

those who could not attend normal schools or colleges and "the only hope of reaching

them is through the medium of the short term Schools for Teachers."113

Although a greater percentage of black teachers (25%) attended the institutes than

white teachers (18%), this could be because some white teachers spent summers out of the

state and were not available to attend. The more obvious indicators of lessening support for

"'Florida, Report of the Superintendent ofPublic Instruction (1900), 122.

112 Ibid., 119.

113 Ibid., 123-124.









black teachers are the certifications awarded and the cost per pupil for education. In 1898, of

the 2,124 white teachers employed by the state, 520 (24%) held a life or first-class teaching

certificate, 1,135 (53%) held a second-class certificate, and 469 (22%) held a third-class

certificate. Of the 662 black teachers, 31 (5%) held a first-class teaching certificate (none

held a life certificate), 330 (50%) held a second-class certificate, and 301 (45%) held a third-

class certificate. Of the white teachers, 259 (12%) had graduated from a normal school,

while only 54 (8%) of the black teachers had a normal school education.114 With few

opportunities for black teachers to obtain a normal school education or attend college, less

funding for black graded schools, and the additional demands of Sheats' uniform

examination law, one wonders how black teachers would gain the knowledge needed to pass

the examination for a first-class certificate.

In 1873, Gibbs had reported that state expenditures for education per pupil were

about $2.23. In 1887, Russell reported it to be about $3.46 per pupil. In 1900, Sheats

reported the expenditure per pupil as about $6.03. He was the first superintendent to

break down education expenditures per pupil by race. In 1900, the average state

expenditure for white students was $7.78/pupil, and for black students $3.20/pupil. The

cost per county varied greatly, with Jefferson County showing the greatest disparity,

$8.93/white student and $1.19/black student. Holmes County showed the greatest

consistency, spending $2.63/white student and $2.51/black student. Taylor County spent

no money on black students. The 61 black children of school age either attended white

schools or, more likely, did not attend school in that county. The counties with the

greatest numbers of black students showed the greatest disparities in how much they

spent per pupil. These per pupil expenditures provide some explanation for the difference

114 Ibid., 91-99, 117-138.










in the illiteracy rate between black and white children. According to the 1900 census, 4%

of white children between the ages of ten and twenty-one were illiterate, compared to

20% of black children in the same age range. 11

These numbers indicated the need for increased efforts to educate black teachers

and children. The attitude of racial superiority held by Sheats and many other whites,

however, prevented them from identifying some of the real problems in Florida' s

education system: a lack of adequate teacher education for African Americans, reduced

funding for African American schools, and teacher certification requirements that

demanded a level of education unavailable to most African Americans in Florida.































" t Florida, Report of the State Superintendent ofPublic Instruction (1873), 24; Florida, Report of
the State Superintendent ofPublic Instruction (1887), 18, 22; Florida, Report of the
Superintendent ofPublic Instruction (1900), 84, 86, 88, 112-115















CHAPTER 3
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

State legislative policies after 1876 and the brewing Republican factionalism prior

to that year proved a double-edged sword against Florida blacks. Although policy during

Reconstruction helped enfranchise and educate blacks, these advances were continually

threatened by antagonistic factionalism within the Republican Party. As many legislators

and school superintendents worked hard to bring about some form of equality in

educational opportunities for blacks, Republicans worked just as hard to disrupt the unity

within their own party. Once Democrats gained the political maj ority in 1877,

Republicans were practically powerless to stop any legislation that disenfranchised blacks

and resumed some of the oppressive, discriminatory practices of antebellum Florida.

Laws written by state superintendents of public education and passed by state legislators

legalized the segregation of schools, created stricter teacher certification requirements,

provided less funding for black schools and gave fewer educational opportunities for

prospective and employed black teachers.

By 1898, white students had the White Normal School, Normal Departments in the

East and West Seminaries, Jasper Normal Institute, Florida Conference College, Rollins

College, and John B. Stetson University for teacher education. African American students

had only Orange Park Normal and Industrial School in Orange Park, the nascent Cookman

Institute in Jacksonville, and the Colored Normal School in Tallahassee, which, after 1890,

received nearly all of its financial support from the federal government under the Morrill

Act of 1890. As a proponent of the Hampton-Tuskegee vocational and agricultural









education for blacks, Sheats insisted that the president of the Colored Normal School change

the curriculum to focus on industrial and normal school education. Colored Normal School

President Thomas DeSaile Tucker disagreed. Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Tucker had

graduated from Oberlin College in 1886. He had taught public school and practiced law

before accepting the presidency at the Colored Normal School. Tucker believed that a

rigorous literary foundation was necessary for all students, while Sheats argued that practical

agricultural and mechanical education should be emphasized. The White Normal School

provided its students with a liberal education, with the blessing of Sheats. 116

In 1900, Sheats charged Tucker with serious negligence in running the school and

convinced the state board of education to have him removed. Tucker defended himself

against the accusations, but the board sided with Sheats. Tucker was replaced by Nathan

B. Young, an Oberlin graduate and professor at Georgia State College. After Young took

over as president, he reorganized the curriculum to accommodate the desires of Sheats.

Although the normal school was a priority, especially with the growing numbers of black

children in the state, the curriculum was no longer the rigorous liberal one offered by

Tucker' s educational ideology or by the White Normal School." Without proper

training, fewer black teacher candidates could pass the certification examinations and

black schools would not have adequate numbers of teachers."

Although the racially motivated attitudes and actions of the Democratic Party

were not the fault of a splintered Republican Party, the responsibility for the loss of



116 Neyland, "State-Supported Higher Education Among Negroes," 110-122.

117 Ibid.: Florida, Report qf the State Superintendent qfPublic Instruction (1900), 196-202.

''s Richardson, "The Nest of Vile Fanatics," 394-407; Florida, Report qf the Superintendent qf
Public Instruction (1898), 3.










political power that allowed the Democrats to gain control and create policy that

disenfranchised blacks and weakened their educational opportunities can be blamed in

part on both black and white Republicans. From 1868 to 1876, the Florida legislature,

while under the care of representatives who recognized the need for education for

blacks, supported efforts by benevolent societies and the Freedmen's Bureau to help the

state of Florida establish a system of education for all of its children. State educators

conceded to optional segregated schools hoping to increase the number of white

children attending public schools. Free public schools, however, were not fully

accepted by whites until after Reconstruction. By then, Northern educators and

defenders of African American education had surrendered to a less academically

rigorous education for blacks. In a region rooted in the exploitation of a social minority,

schools were unable to teach the equality, freedom, and liberty underlying the U.S.

Constitution. Education should have been the center of the attack on inequality and

racism, but it instead surrendered to the enemy.

The allowance for segregated schools soon became a legal demand under Florida's

Democrats, and consequently provided opportunities for increased unequal funding of

schools. The lack of teacher education for African Americans, and the segregation and

certification laws passed after the government returned to Democrats, made it more

difficult for black teachers to obtain certification or to continue teaching, thereby denying

qualified black teachers for black schools. Ironically, the decision by the Florida Supreme

Court that declared illegal the forced segregation of blacks and whites at the Orange Park

School was decided after the United States Supreme Court handed down a different









ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson. As an Orange Park teacher observed: "Almost every day

brings some illustration that though slavery is dead its barbarism survives."119

The depiction of Radical Republicans as the redeemers of blacks in the South does

not account for the variety of political priorities in Reconstruction Era Florida. Most

Moderate Republicans in Florida did not want immediate enfranchisement of blacks but a

gradual transition that would eventually give them rights as citizens. This was in strong

contrast to the Liberal Radical Republicans who not only demanded enfranchisement but

also full civil rights and redistribution of land. These factions within the Republican Party

included both black and white members, many of whom were willing to transfer

allegiance to another faction when it suited their goals. As illustrated at the conventions,

maintaining power and control within the party was more important than the unity

necessary to win elections. Compromise was not an alternative for some of these men.

Once in office, most Republicans continued to work against their own party, frustrating

attempts to move policy and the state toward a more equal society. The inability of the

Republican Party to unite for the purpose of making life better for blacks prevented them

from being a force for change. This is most notably reflected in the racially unequal

education system established by Democrats after the election of 1876, and most notably

during the reign of Superintendent Sheats.

With the Republicans unable to maintain political power, Democrats were free to

create policy and pass legislation that diminished the rights of blacks. To be sure, most

blacks and liberal white educators were aware of the link between education and

enfranchisement. If a man could not read the names on a ballot, how would he know for

whom to cast his vote? By attacking education for blacks, Democrats could keep most

119 ~.E1.Einact from Address by Helen S. Loveland," 380.









blacks illiterate and unable to vote, thereby halting their liberation from the trappings of

slavery, if not the institution. The foundation built by Republicans for the education of

African Americans in Florida may have been segregated, but the school superintendents

attempted to equalize funding and supported an educated teaching force. When

Democrats assumed the role of foundation builders, they chose to focus on segregation,

creating a system that was unequal and that did not support equal educational

opportunities for everyone. What was reflected in the actions of many white Democrats

and Republicans, however, was the belief that the races needed to be kept separate, and

for many, the belief that blacks were innately inferior to whites.
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Sheryl Marie Howie received a Master of Arts in Education, in social foundations

from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. She received a Bachelor of Liberal

Arts in history from Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, Virginia. She completed the

teacher education program at Virginia Wesleyan College, and received her Virginia

teacher certification for secondary social studies education.