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[274] in Congress, and induced them to advocate a universal suffrage. Hostile spirits declared that if the negroes were allowed to read they would soon be permitted to vote. By their violence these men hastened the very consequences which they most feared.

It was only here and there that any of our schools had at this time passed beyond the rudiments. An extraordinary thirst for knowledge caused numerous night schools to be undertaken, particularly in Washington, and there were a few of an industrial character set on foot. In one of these quantities of garments were made, and in another quite a variety of clothing. A Washington teacher voiced a common sentiment in saying: “I have found the children very much like white ones in the matter of learning. Some are stupid and others are bright.” The negro children were then more eager for knowledge than ordinary white ones, being stimulated by their parents, to whom knowledge of books had hitherto been like forbidden fruit. Our inspectors, traveling constantly, found instances of what they called self-teaching, that is, persevering attempts on the part of adults to educate themselves. They entered some schools where colored men and women were trying to impart what little they knew to others, though they had hardly grasped the rudiments themselves. Their pupils were of all ages, and were separated into attentive groups. One group would have for a teacher a young man, another a woman or old preacher. These rude schoolrooms were discovered in cellars, sheds, or the corner of a negro meetinghouse. The improvised teacher would have the card alphabet in hand or a torn spelling book. All seemed full of enthusiasm with the knowledge which

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