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We Will Be Satisfied With Nothing LessThe African American Struggle for Equal Rights in the North during Reconstruction$
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Hugh Davis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450099

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450099.001.0001

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The Crusade for Equal Access to Public Schools, 1864–1870

The Crusade for Equal Access to Public Schools, 1864–1870

(p.72) 3 The Crusade for Equal Access to Public Schools, 1864–1870
We Will Be Satisfied With Nothing Less

Hugh Davis

Cornell University Press

This chapter studies the efforts of northern black activists to end racial segregation within and, in some states, exclusion from, public schools across the North during the mid- and late 1860s. It analyzes divisions within the movement over whether, and to what degree, the desegregation of public schools would serve the best interests of African Americans, and explains how and why most northern blacks sought to gain equal educational opportunities. Unlike their agitation on the suffrage issue, which drew their focus increasingly toward congressional action and national politics, northern black activists' assault on racial segregation within, and exclusion from, public schools required that they concentrate on discriminatory laws at the state and local levels, since nearly all Americans assumed that the federal government should play virtually no role in public education.

Keywords:   racial segregation, public schools, desegregation, northern blacks, African Americans, education policy, social policy, discriminatory laws, state law

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