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Shifting LoyaltiesThe Union Occupation of Eastern North Carolina$
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Judkin Browning

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834688

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877722_browning

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The Experience of Northern Benevolent Societies during Occupation

The Experience of Northern Benevolent Societies during Occupation

(p.105) Chapter 5 The Experience of Northern Benevolent Societies during Occupation
Shifting Loyalties

Judkin Browning

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter tells the story of how northerners discovered that the African Americans in coastal North Carolina shared an overwhelming desire to acquire literacy. Susan A. Hosmer, one of the first New England teachers to appear in New Bern, wrote in September 1863 that, for local blacks, learning to read “seems to be the height of their ambition.” Freedpeople held a deep, abiding resentment toward their former masters, who systematically prevented them from obtaining this measure of enlightenment. Among the many evils perpetrated on blacks under the peculiar institution, one former slave specifically identified what he considered the most egregious. “There is one sin that slavery committed against me, which I will never forgive,” he declared. “It robbed me of my education.”

Keywords:   northerners, African Americans, coastal North Carolina, literacy, Susan A. Hosmer

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