"An Undoubted Right"
Harper's Weekly, May 30, 1874, page 451 (Editorial)
There is one kind of civil right which the strictest constitutional interpretation will not deny to the colored citizens of the Southern States, and that is the right of educating their own children at their own expense, assisted by the voluntary aid of others. This is what William Craft, whose story was very familiar during the Fugitive Slave Act excitement twenty-three years ago, proposes to do in South Georgia. His object is to give the poor country colored children a chance at the rudiments of education. Mr. Craft and his wife and son have bought a plantation or farm of 1800 acres about twenty miles from Savannah, to which families with children will remove, hiring part of the land and paying a portion of the crop toward the school, while the children will work upon the land to raise grain and vegetables for their own use. Mr. Craft in 1871 tried a similar experiment upon another spot, advanced the money, and secured a good crop; but the Ku-Klux destroyed the buildings and the harvest. Several gentlemen in Boston, in New York, and elsewhere have subscribed to further a project which is in such capable hands; and whoever is disposed may address Mr. Craft at 252 West Twenty-sixth Street, New York.
Harper's Weekly, May 30, 1874, page 451 (Editorial)


Editor George William Curtis considered education to be of the utmost importance for individuals, women, minorities, and the entire nation. In this brief commentary he solicits contributions for the establishment of a private school for Southern blacks. His reference to strict constitutional interpretation is a veiled criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Slaughterhouse Cases (1873), which limited the federal government’s authority under the 14th Amendment to enforce civil rights. The destruction of the original school points to the fact that black schools were a key target of arson by the Ku Klux Klan and other racist, paramilitary organizations.


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