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[390]

Chapter 58: beginning of Howard University

In my earlier interviews with Mr. Stanton in May, 1865, I claimed that the education of the freedmen's children, and of adults, as far as practicable, was the true relief.

“Relief from what” asked Stanton, glancing toward me over his colored glasses.

“Relief from beggary and dependence,” I replied.

I had the same opinion with reference to our numerous “white refugees” of the South, though it was believed that they would naturally be incorporated in ordinary schools there without such prejudice to their interests as existed against the negro population.

Very soon all my assistants agreed with me that it would not be long before we must have negro teachers, if we hoped to secure a permanent foothold for our schools. This conclusion had become plain from the glimpses already given into Southern society. Naturally enough, the most Christian of the Southern people would prefer to have white teachers from among themselves. Feeling a sympathy for this seeming home prejudice, quite early in 1866, I tried the experiment in one State, in cooperation with the Episcopal Bishop of that State, to put over our school children Southern white teachers, male and female, but the bishop and I found that their faith in negro education

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