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Page 23 of Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 21-24, 1926

Part of Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal

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A FIFTY YEAR SURVEY By DR. C. H. PARRISH, F. R. G. S. President of Simmons University, Louisville, Ky. Antidating-Our Teachers Association was organized in 1877. Dean Paul W. L. Jones of K. N. L I. and Mr. A. S. Wilson, our Secretary call attention to the fact that schools for free negroes existed in Kentucky as early as 1827. City authorities here and there, particularly in Lexington, Louisville and Covington, per- mitted schools to be conducted for a few months during the year. The teachers were free negroes who had managed to learn some- how, gaining a fair knowledge of the three R's, reading, writing and arithmetic. Prior to 1837 free negroes paid their taxes, al- though, the State conducted no schools for the training of their children. By act of the State Legislature, February 8, 1839, the Common School law was so amended as to exempt from taxation for school purposes, property of free negroes. Pay schools taught by both negroes and whites were conducted for negro children in the years preceding the Civil War. By acts of the General Assembly, February 6, 1866, a school system for negroes was provided. All taxes derived from colored people for taking care of such schools as were established, were under supervision of white Trustees. Negroes were employed as teachers and required to hold certificates. Very poor schools were had and these only in the large centers of negro populations. The rural districts were almost without schools. Then, too, the taxes were provided equally between the negro schools and paupers. The term three months and teacher's salaries were meager. Among the early teachers of this period were W. N. Steward, Lexington, Ky.; William Gibson, Sr., Rev. Henry Adams, Louisville; Charles V. Vaughn, Rev. Francis Boyd. Berea College opened its doors to negro students in the fall 1866. Hundreds of young men and women who had longed for better school advantages entered Berea, and went out from every nook and corner teaching others what they had learned. In 1868 the State law touching negro schools was so amended that no part of the tax derived from negroes could be used for schools, till all paupers were provided for. This retarded the growth of the schools already existing, and these schools could not have continued their work, had not salaries of teachers been supplemented by dona- tions from white friends and extra pay from negroes whose chil- dren were of school age, and a number of friends from the North that came to the South as missionaries. Says Dean Jones: "Detesting solitude, delighting in village life and anxious about the education of their children and welfare of their churches, negroes in Central Kentucky and few localities in other parts of the State built small towns that served as centers 23

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