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"The accounts of the successful strivings of Negroes for enlightenment under most adverse circumstances read like beautiful romances of a people in an heroic age".
The adverse circumstances to which Woodson refers occurred during the antebellum period, from the beginning of slavery to the Civil War. In this work he chronicles the educational endeavors of Africans in America during this timeframe. He does so with the hope of Ònarrating in brief how benevolent teachers of both races strove to give antebellum Negroes the education through which many of them gained freedom in its highest and best sense.
First published in 1919.
“Powerful people cannot afford to educate the people that they oppress, because once you are truly educated, you will not ask for power. You will take it.”