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Warring for AmericaCultural Contests in the Era of 1812$
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Nicole Eustace and Fredrika J. Teute

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631516

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631516.001.0001

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“Can You Be Surprised at My Discouragement?”

“Can You Be Surprised at My Discouragement?”

Global Emulation and the Logic of Colonization at the New York African Free School

(p.331) “Can You Be Surprised at My Discouragement?”
Warring for America

Anna Mae Duane

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores the warring—and yet mutually constitutive—discourses of education and colonization through a particular focus on the New York African Free School (1787-1834), an institution designed by the New York Manumission Society to prepare black children for freedom. The school produced a remarkable roster of alumni, including Alexander Crummell, James McCune Smith, Henry Highland Garnet, Ira Aldridge, Patrick Reason and others. The development and curriculum of this school, when placed in context with early republican conversations about education, race and citizenship, provides a means of understanding how in the early decades of the nineteenth century, Enlightenment notions of a child’s malleability had become a means of determining whether non-white occupants of United States soil could be educated into citizenship, or whether they would have to be excised from the nation’s borders. Ultimately, this chapter attends to the conversations about black education that unfolded in the interplay between parents and administrators, and between students and the schoolwork those students were assigned, to better understand how and why colonization would emerge as the reigning antislavery philosophy during these years, and how African Americans engaged and eventually dismantled the racial logic underlying the American Colonization Society.

Keywords:   New York African Free School, NYAFS, Joseph Lancaster, black education, emulation, American Colonization Society, ACS

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