Chapter 16: coloured people at school.
At the time of my first visit to Virginia
, the Negro had been free about a year, and in the freshness of his freedom showed a spring and go that hinted, not at physical vitality only, but at a power of moral progress.
Sam, the waiter, sat up half his night over book and slate.
Harry, the labourer, squatted on a waste, and wrung his maize and onion from a blasted heath.
Sam walked with me one evening to a score of Negro cabins, where, in dens and garrets, we saw woolly pates bending over desks and dirty fingers pointing at A B C. No city in Virginia
had then a public school for either White
; but the enfranchised Negro seemed resolved to have such schools as he could make.
His schools were small and rude; but the beginnings of many great things have been small and rude.
What seemed of consequence was the impulse.