African American Quest for Institutions of Higher Education Before the Civil War: The Forgotten Histories of the Ashmun Institute, Liberia College and Avery College

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This study advances the understanding of black education during the antebellum era. It investigates the important ideological divisions that drove access to higher education for African Americans : the African Colonization Movement (A.C.S.), 1817–1862; and the Abolitionist Movement, 1830–1865. This study also provides some of the actual histories of those individuals who succeeded in obtaining an education as well as the histories of the institutions that served them. This book contains nineteen black and white photographs.


“Irvine has given us more original insights into the history of education than I have seen in the scholarship of the last decade. Most of our colleagues are revising old narratives and revealing new details along the way; Irvine has opened an entirely new frontier filled with new actors. He has given us new leverage on early black education that is refreshing and exciting.” ­- Prof. Ronald E. Butchart, University of Georgia

“. . . offers readers a splendid analysis of the struggle faced by African-Americans, who saw the necessity of educating themselves. . .Irvine's study does much to redress the imbalance to our knowledge of ante-bellum educational history.” ­- Prof. Roland M. Baumann, Oberlin College

"In this book, the black silence is broken and the colonization schemers unmasked. In both the quality and quantity of the data, Dr. Russell W. Irvine reinvents our understanding of blacks and higher education in the 19th century. It is an extraordinarily important book for any scholar of American educational history to read." - Prof. Vanessa Siddle Walker, Emory University

"[This] book challenged a number of myths regarding Black intellectual capability. [There] were disproven with the cohesiveness of the collection of facts. [The author's] of the American Colonization records unveiled the predecessor of information of African American history. We know know where we are now but truly never had the opportunity until now to know how we got there. [The author] shines a light on the little-known historical facts." -- Prof. Mercedes E. Banks, Howard University

Table of Contents

by Vanessa Siddle Walker
Chapter Overviews

Chapter 1. The Early Period, 1816–1831
The African School, 1816–1826
The African Missionary School Society, 1828–1830
Of Messieurs John B. Russwurm and Edward A. Jones
Russwurm’s Colonization Conversion
Russwurm’s Final Months in the U.S.
Jones Takes His Leave
Chapter 2. Medical Education Provided by African Colonizationists, 1832–1862
The Services of Thomas Henderson, M.D.: A Flawed Medical Model
The Columbian Medical Department
James H. Fleet, Charles H. Webb, and Page Carter Dunlop
The Training of Drs. Samuel F. McGill and Dempsey R. Fletcher, by Maryland State Colonization Society: A More Perfect Model
The Berkshire Medical Institute, 1846–1858
The Yale Medical Institute, 1858–1862: The Final Chapter
Chapter 3. Stops on the Road to the Oberlin Collegiate Institute
African Colonization Movement and Black Activism
“The Negro College” Proposal
The New England Anti-Slavery Society, 1832
The Prudence Crandall School and Trial
The Noyes Academy, Canaan, New Hampshire
The Incorporators and Trustees of the Noyes Academy
Trustees of the Noyes Academy
The Noyes Academy
Demise of the Noyes Academy
Noyes Students and Their Teachers
Forging a Link: Arthur Tappan, the Lane Seminary, and the Oberlin Collegiate Institute
Chapter 4. An Engine for Colonization: The Ashmun Institute, 1853–1865
Articulating a Vision
The Long Shadow of Rev. John Leighton Wilson
The “Stated and Unstated Principles” of the Ashmun Institute
The American Colonization Society
Initial Organizational Activities
Colonization Activity within Pennsylvania
The Ashmun Institute is Launched
The Faculty of the Ashmun Institute
Armistead Miller: Its Most Celebrated Student
Ralph R. Gurley and The Ashmun Institute
Armistead Miller Encounters Free Blacks of Pennsylvania
Final Days
Leaving America: “Fanfare and Celebration”
Nathaniel Lindsey, the Forgotten Ashmun Student
Students Benjamin Boardley and Anthony Sherman
Summer 1860
The New York State Colonization Society
The Ashmun Institute in the 1860s
The Ascent of Rev. John Wynne Martin, D.D.
Chapter 5. Nation Building: The Origins and Development of Liberia College, 1849–1868
The Young Men’s Colonization Societies of New York and Pennsylvania
The Labor of Rev. Joseph Tracy
The Tadeusz Kosciuszko Affair
Simon Greenleaf of Harvard College
The New York State Colonization Society
In Search of Black Professors
On Building Liberia College
A Faculty Found
The Opening of Liberia College
Dissension at the College
Of Professor and President Martin Henry Freeman
Chapter 6. Charles Avery, Avery College, 1849–1870
Rev. Charles Avery (1784–1858)
The Colonization and Collegiate Movements
The Establishment of the Allegheny Institute and Mission Church
The Allegheny Institute Dubbed a “Caste Institution”
President Philotus Dean, 1850–1855
President Martin Henry Freeman, 1855–1863
President George Boyer Vashon, 1863–1868
President Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, D.D., 1868–1870
Garnet’s Inauguration
Visiting Dignitaries: General Oliver O. Howard and John M. Langston
President Garnet’s Faculty
Garnet and National Politics—The National Convention of 1869
Garnet on African Methodist Episcopal Church Pioneers
The A.M.E. Zion Annual Conference in Pittsburgh
Death of Julia Ward Williams Garnet
A Mission Fulfilled: End of the “American Anti-Slavery Society”
The Fifteenth Amendment Commemorative Meeting
The Avery College Commencement of 1870
Garnet’s Presidency Ends
Summary of Garnet’s Presidency
Avery’s Dream Flounders: Politics and the Avery Estate
Hampton Institute and the Avery Executors
Lincoln University and the Avery Executors
Wilberforce University and the Avery Executors
Chapter 7. Conclusion African Colonization Movement
Anti-Slavery Movement
Historical Mythology
Limitations and Recommendations for Future Research


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