The Journal of Negro History, Volume 8, 1923

The Journal of Negro History, Volume 8, 1923


Author: Various
African Americans — Periodicals
The Journal of Negro History, Volume 8, 1923
Transcriber’s Note:
Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies. Most notably, in Issue No. 2, April, 1923, spelling errors found in Paul Cuffe’s own writings (e.g., travel journals, letters, will, etc.) are left as published. Text that has been changed is noted at the end of this ebook.

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.






No. 1. January, 1923

L. P. Jackson: The Educational Efforts of the Freedmen’s Bureau and Freedmen’s Aid Societies in South Carolina, 1862-1872 1
G. R. Wilson: The Religion of the American Negro Slave: His Attitude toward Life and Death 41
G. Smith Wormley: Prudence Crandall 72
Documents: 81
Extracts from Newspapers and Magazines.
Anna Murray-Douglass—My Mother as I Recall Her.
Frederick Douglass in Ireland.
Book Reviews: 108
Bragg’s The History of the Afro-American Group of the Episcopal Church; Haynes’s The Trend of the Races; Hammond’s In the Vanguard of a Race; The Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago.
Notes: 115
Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History 116

No. 2. April, 1923

J. W. Bell: The Teaching of Negro History 123
Paul W. L. Jones: Negro Biography 128
George W. Brown: Haiti and the United States 134
H. N. Sherwood: Paul Cuffe 153
Documents: 230
The Will of Paul Cuffe.
Book Reviews: 233
Wiener’s Africa and the Discovery of America; Detweiler’s The Negro Press in the United States; McGregor’s The Disruption of Virginia; Johnston’s A Comparative Study of the Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages.
Notes: 243

No. 3. July, 1923

T. R. Davis: Negro Servitude in the United States 247
Gordon B. Hancock: Three Elements of African Culture 284
J. C. Hartzell: Methodism and the Negro in the United States 301
William Renwick Riddell: Notes on the Slave in Nouvelle France 316
Documents: 331
Banishment of the Free People of Color from Cincinnati.
First Protest against Slavery in the United States.
A Negro Pioneer in the West.
Concerning the Origin of Wilberforce.
Communications: 338
A Letter from Mr. J. W. Cromwell bearing on the Negro in West Virginia.
A Letter from Dr. James S. Russell giving Information about Peter George Morgan of Petersburg, Virginia.
A Letter from Captain A. B. Spingarn about early Education of the Negroes in New York.
Book Reviews: 346
Jones’s Piney Woods and its Story; Johnson’s American Negro Poetry; Rhodes’s The McKinley and Roosevelt Administrations; Gummere’s Journal of John Woolman.
Notes: 351
The Spring Conference 353

No. 4. October, 1923

Albert Parry: Abram Hannibal, the Favorite of Peter the Great 359
Alrutheus A. Taylor: The Movement of the Negroes from the East to the Gulf States from 1830 to 1850 367
Elizabeth Ross Haynes: Negroes in Domestic Service in the United States 384
Documents: 443
Documents and Comments on Benefit of Clergy as applied to Slaves, by Wm. K. Boyd.
Communications: 448
A Letter from A. P. Vrede giving an Account of the Achievements of the Rev. Cornelius Winst Blyd of Dutch Guiana.
A Letter from Captain T. G. Steward throwing Light on various Phases of Negro History.
Book Reviews: 455
Frobenius’s Das Unbekannte Africa; Oberholtzer’s History of the United States since the Civil War; Lucas’s Partition of Africa; Jackson’s Boy’s Life of Booker T. Washington.
Notes: 465
Annual Report of the Director for the Year 1922-23 466


Vol. VIII., No. 1         January, 1923.



Slavery in the United States was abolished by force of circumstances. The appeal to arms in April, 1861, was made by the North for the purpose of saving the Union, but only within a few months after the breaking out of hostilities “what shall we do with the slaves within our lines” was the cry heard from all sections of the invaded territory. Deserted by their masters or endeavoring to obtain freedom, the Negroes came into the Union camps in such large numbers that humanitarian as well as military reasons demanded that something be done to change their status and alleviate their physical suffering.[2] In the absence of a uniform national policy on the matter, the several commanding generals settled the question according to their own notions. Butler, at Fortress Monroe, for example, refused to return the group of fugitive slaves and cleverly styled them “contraband of war.”

It was under these circumstances that voluntary benevolent associations or freedmen’s aid societies sprang up in quick succession all over the North as agencies first to relieve physical suffering and finally to administer to the religious and educational needs of the blacks and white refugees. Missionary efforts were rapidly pushed by them to all Confederate States just as fast as the Union armies advanced into the invaded territory. These private philanthropic efforts which began in 1861 finally led toward the close of the war to the establishment by the United States Government of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands—an agency which carried on the work already begun by the societies and at the same time cooperated with them until changed conditions were reached about 1870.
The military event in South Carolina which called forth immediate relief was the capture of Hilton Head and the adjacent sea islands on November 7, 1861, by Commodore Dupont and General T. W. Sherman.[3] The agencies formed to succor the blacks on these islands were the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society, the New York National Freedmen’s Relief Association, and the Pennsylvania Freedmen’s Relief Association. These several bodies were non-sectarian in character. Cooperating with them were some regular church organizations.
At some time during the seven years existence of the Freedmen’s Bureau it embraced a six-fold program: (1) distributing rations and medical supplies; (2) establishing schools and aiding benevolent associations; (3) regulating labor contracts; (4) taking charge of confiscated lands; (5) administering justice in cases where blacks were concerned, and (6) the payment of bounties to soldiers. The societies likewise exercised various physical functions, but it is only the educational activities of all parties concerned that are of primary interest here.
The chosen period of ten years, 1862-1872, represents a rise and fall. During the war the non-sectarian societies operated with all the vigor that the military situation would permit. At its close in 1865 and lasting through 1866 their greatest efforts were expended. Beginning about 1867, signs of retrenchment appear; and in 1868 their operations practically cease. At the same time, both as a cause and as a result of the dissolution of the non-sectarian societies, the church organizations took up the work and carried it not only until the end of this decade but down to the present time. The Freedmen’s Bureau, as guardian over all, had no funds the first year or two, but in 1867 and especially in 1868 and 1869 when the societies weakened, it did its greatest work. After 1870 the Freedmen’s Bureau had but a nominal existence. By Congressional action the institution expired in 1872. With this ending and one or two important developments by the church organizations in 1871 and 1872, this essay likewise closes.
This educational campaign is thus one conducted by outside parties. The several organizations adopted the policy of “no distinction on account of race or color”; but, inasmuch as the schools were conducted primarily for the blacks, these ten years represent an effort for this race with automatically very little attention to the native whites. The subject, then, lends itself to the following organization: The Port Royal Experiment, the organization and relationship, the establishment and work of schools, the difficulties and complications, and self-help and labor among the freedmen.

The Port Royal Experiment

The sea islands of South Carolina are located between Charleston and Savannah on the Atlantic seaboard. In the group connected with the capture of Hilton Head are St. Helena, Port Royal, Morgan, Paris and Phillips. Collectively, as a military designation, these were known as Port Royal. On these islands in 1861 there were about nine thousand slaves,—the lowest in America.[4] As laborers on the cotton and rice plantations these slaves for generations had been removed from all the influences that tended to elevate the bondmen elsewhere. They were densely illiterate, superstitious and in general but little removed from African barbarism.[5] To add to the general low stage of these slaves their language was a jargon hardly understandable by those who came to teach them.[6] For example, some of them would say: “Us aint know nothin’ an’ you is to larn we.”
Upon the capture of Hilton Head by the Federals, the white masters fled to Charleston and the up-country and abandoned all of their property.[7] The control of abandoned property at this time rested with the Treasury Department. Accordingly, Secretary Chase sent Edward L. Pierce, of Milton, Massachusetts, to Port Royal to report on the amount of cotton and also to make recommendations for its collection and sale. The findings of Pierce together with that of Sherman in command of the military forces introduce us to our main story. At the suggestion of Chase, Pierce and Sherman sent appeals broadcast to the North for the immediate relief of the abandoned slaves. In February, 1862, Sherman issued this General Order No. 9: “The helpless condition of the blacks inhabiting the vast area in the occupation of the forces of this command, calls for immediate action on the part of a highly favored and philanthropic people…. Hordes of totally uneducated, ignorant and improvident blacks have been abandoned by their constitutional guardians, not only to all the future chances of anarchy and starvation, but in such a state of abject ignorance and mental stolidity as to preclude all possibility of self-government and self-maintenance in their present condition…. To relieve the Government of a burden that may hereafter become insupportable … a suitable system of culture and instruction must be combined with one providing for their physical wants. In the meanwhile … the service of competent instructors will be received whose duties will consist in teaching them, both young and old, the rudiments of civilization and Christianity.”[8]
In response to this appeal there was organized in Boston, on February 7, 1862, the Boston Education Commission, later known as the New England Freedmen’s Aid Society or the New England Society, and on the twenty-second of the same month, at a mass meeting held at the Cooper Institute in New York City, the New York National Freedmen’s Relief Association was organized. At this meeting the following rules were adopted with reference to the abandoned slaves:

1. “They must be treated as free men.
2. “They must earn their livelihood like other freemen and not be dependent upon charity.
3. “Schools and churches shall be established among them, and the sick shall be cared for.”[9]

Following in the wake of Boston and New York came Philadelphia in March with the Port Royal Relief Committee, later known as the Pennsylvania Freedmen’s Relief Association or the Pennsylvania Society. Carrying out the resolutions mentioned above, there assembled on the third of March, 1862, at the port of New York, a party of fifty-three teachers and superintendents of labor, including twelve women, who set sail on the same day for Port Royal.[10] The salaries of these persons were to be paid by their respective societies, while transportation and military protection were afforded by the United States Government. Following this original party in March and April, came twenty more representatives from the New England Society and likewise added increments from New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere all through the year. In the Fall the American Missionary Association of New York added a corps of thirty-one teachers. It must be remarked at this point that these individuals represented the flower of New England culture. The first party, “Gideonites” as they were called, was made up in part of recent graduates of Harvard, Yale, Brown and the divinity schools of Andover and Cambridge.[11] Furthermore, they were sent forward on their mission by William Cullen Bryant, William Lloyd Garrison, Francis G. Shaw and Edward Everett Hale, with the sanction and close cooperation of the Secretary of the Treasury, S. P. Chase.
The voluntary steps taken by these parties attracted considerable attention and concern from the best minds of Europe, as well as the United States. Articles on the subject appeared in English and French periodicals.[12] The result of these efforts to aid and elevate the sea island Negroes was to be considered as an index as to their ability to learn and likewise would indicate the possibility of general development of slaves in other States. The labors of the United States Government and the societies here, therefore, came to be known as the “Port Royal Experiment.”
The United States Government and the regulation of the abandoned territory for three years, until the close of the war, underwent a number of changes. Prior to the arrival of the Gideonites on March 9th, the territory was controlled by the special cotton agent, E. L. Pierce, as directed by the Treasury Department. In June, in response to Congressional action, control passed to the War Department. Pierce was displaced and Major Rufus Saxton was made the administrator with headquarters at Beaufort on Port Royal. His duties were to supervise the growth and sale of cotton, to regulate labor, to direct the activities of new comers and settle them at suitable points over the several islands. At the same time the military forces stationed at Hilton Head passed successively under the command of Sherman and General David Hunter.
Pursuant to the Congressional Act of June 7, 1862, “for the collection of direct taxes in insurrectionary states” the abandoned property was bought in by the United States Government and private individuals. In September, 1863, the Government relinquished its purchases whereby the “freedmen,” as they were now called, could buy property in twenty-acre lots and at the same time establish school farms of six thousand acres, the proceeds from which were to be used for educational purposes. According to the plan laid out by Pierce, the islands were divided into four districts which contained a total of one hundred and eighty-nine plantations.[13] Over each district was placed a general superintendent with a local superintendent for each plantation. W. C. Gannet and John C. Zachas of the New England Society were placed in charge of the schools.[14]
School work had already begun prior to the arrival of the main party through the initiative taken by Pierce and his coworkers. On the eighth of January, 1862, Rev. Solomon Peck, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, established a school for the contrabands at Beaufort. Another was opened at Hilton Head by Barnard K. Lee of Boston the same month.[15] In February there was organized still another at Beaufort, which was taught for a short while by an agent of the American Missionary Association.[16] In estimating what was accomplished by these preliminary disorganized efforts we can assume that it was no more than learning the alphabet.

After their arrival in March those persons who had come in the capacity of teachers began their work imme

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The Journal of Negro History, Volume 8, 1923
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