Freedmen's Schools

June 23, 1866, page 392

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Noon at the primary school for Freedmen, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Primary school for Freedmen, in charge of Mrs. Green, at Vicksburg, Mississippi

One of the most noticeable features of these schools for freedmen is the cleanliness and good clothing of a majority of the scholars. Of course there are ragged and rough specimens, but these are not the rule. It is one of the many evidences I have found in Mississippi of the general well-being of the negroes, and their capacity to take care of themselves. These scholars, embracing all ages from the grandma down to the infant, are attentive, and master their tasks without any appearance indicating that the labor is irksome. The lady teachers, with a little tact, do almost any thing with them; and, although all teaching is a wearisome business, I should judge that these people showed the average intelligence displayed in the New York public schools. The Superintendent of the schools, Chaplain Warren, considers that in all that pertains to language they are, perhaps, ahead of white children in quickness of apprehension. How far their capacity for education would carry them is doubtful. That these schools will vastly improve the colored people there is no room for doubt; the evidence is conclusive on that point.  The school-house is a dilapidated affair, and the owner is anxious to get it into his possession again. The location of the school will have to be changed.  The prejudice of the Southern people against the education of the negroes is almost universal.

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