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