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|EDUCATION AMONG THE
Courtesy of Library of Congress,
Rare Book and
Special Collections Division, Ephemera Collection
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The Pennsylvania Freedmen's Relief Association was one
of many regional groups established after the Civil War with the aim of
assisting freed African Americans. This letter from the Pennsylvania
Association holds the education of former slaves to be a missionary
endeavor and urges readers to contribute funds to support teachers.
EDUCATION AMONG THE FREEDMEN Pennsylvania Branch of the
American Freedman's Union Commission.
PENNSYLVANIA FREEDMEN'S RELIEF ASSOCIATION
TO THE FRIENDS OF EDUCATION AMONG THE FREEDMEN,
As we enter upon our work for another year, we wish to present a
statement of our plans and wants to the people.
organizations throughout the country having the education of the
Freedmen in charge, have provided schools for 150,000 persons, in care
of fourteen hundred teachers. The expense of supporting these schools
has been borne by voluntary contributions.
It is frequently asked, Does
not the Government accomplish this work through the "Freedmen's Bureau?"
The simple answer, is No! The "Bureau" has no authority to employ
teachers. The representatives of the "Bureau," from the honored
Commissioner down to its humblest agent, have done all in their power to
co-operate with the people, North and South, to secure the advantages of
education to the children, both white and black; but more than this they
could not do.
To give expression to the desire of the people to meet
this great want, various "Freedmen's Associations" were organized during
the war in different parts of the East and West. During the present
year, the "American Freedmen's Union Commission" has been organized by
representatives of the various "Freedmen's Associations," in order to
secure unity of action among the friends of the cause.
The field of the
Pennsylvania Branch embraces Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey
and Delaware. This Branch has had sixty-five teachers laboring in
Washington, D.C., Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama,
during the past year. The women who have devoted themselves so earnestly
and successfully to secure supplies of clothing for the needy Freedmen,
have resolved to devote themselves this year to secure means for the
support of teachers. The response already received from auxiliaries are
This "Branch" is composed of representatives of the
various religious denominations, and while it is not sectarian in its
organization, plans, or movements, it aims to execute its trust on the
basis of religion, for the promotion of "freedom, industry, intelligence
and christian morality." Each teacher is expected to go to the field in
the missionary spirit.
Arrangements have been made to place all teachers
selected as representatives of individuals, churches, or communities, in
regular monthly correspondence with them respecting the interests of
schools committed to their care. By this means reliable information
will be more extensively diffused among the people, and a deeper
The teachers employed by this Association during the past
year were chiefly supported by a small number of gentlemen of
Philadelphia. The people everywhere feel that this ought not to be so.
It is a cause that is laid upon every true heart, and we ask a very
general cooperation in it.
Fifty dollars per month will support one
teacher. We ought to begin this school year with at least one hundred
teachers, supported by regular monthly contributions, according to the
ability of the people of every community in the States above named.
Shall this result be secured? We appeal to the clergy of every
denomination; we appeal to secure monthly subscribers. Let alert clubs
be organized among the children. Let sociables be held, and made
profitable for this object. Volunteer to do these things. Do not wait
for an agent to come along, as there is no time to lose. We urge you do
this by the highest considerations of patriotism, humanity and religion.
Communications may be addressed to E.W. Clark, No. 35 South Third
STEPHEN COLWELL, President. FRANCIS R. COPE, Vice President. ROBT. R.
CORSON, Corresponding Secretary. ELLIS YARNALL, Recording Secretary.
E.W. CLARK, Treasurer.