Frederick Douglas once said: “True knowledge unfits a man to be a slave”—a maxim that the famous abolitionist demonstrated in his own life. But where might African Americans have access to the liberating influence of education when schools, especially those offering more than an elementary curriculum, prohibited their enrolling? In this presentation, Milton C. Sernett PhD tells the story of Beriah Green’s Oneida Institute in Upstate New York and his attempt to build a freedom school. During Green’s presidency (1833-1845), the radical abolitionist school enrolled more African Americans than any other institution of its time, including notables such as Alexander Crummell, Henry Highland Garnet, and Jermain Loguen. Crummell recalled spending three years of “perfect equality” at Green’s school.
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