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THE FOLLOWING IS MEANT TO SUPPLEMENT THE OTHER TWO ITEMS ON NEGRO HISTORY (that covering materials 1860-1900 and that dealing with 1900 the 1960’s) and to round out information on the location and operation of the Jackson Freedom Schools.



As presently planned, the schools will meet at the following locations:


Blair Street AME Zion Church, No. Blair and Davis St.

Cades Chapel, M.B. Church; Bailey and Ridgeway (1000 Ridgeway)

New Bethel AME Church; 2202 Decatur St.

Pratt M.E. Methodist Church; beyond the Short St. office (starts here on Monday,

August 10—will use Pearl St. Church until then)

St. John M.B. Church; 2839 Comfort St.

St. Peter’s Missionary Baptist; 125 East South St. near West St.

New Hope A.M.E. Church; Vine and Bonita Sts. in Tougaloo.

Mount Nebo Baptist Church; on Tupelo Street.


I)          The work in Negro History should begin with a discussion of African origins, culture, and patterns. What attributes of the African past particularly deserve attention? What motivated European slave traders to make their incursions into the African continent? What degree of cooperation and resistance did they meet? (The Project library has some copies of a very fine U.S. History text, Malone and Rauch, to which teachers may refer for general background on European policies and rivalries in the 16th century and in colonial times that followed.)


Comparisons here with the situation of enslavement discussed in the curriculum on Nazi Germany will prove helpful.


II)        What were conditions for the Negroes first brought to the New World? Note the contradiction—still unresolved—in the fact that 1619 saw BOTH the introduction of slavery and of representative government (House of Burgesses) into the American colonies. In what ways were conditions for the Negroes similar to and different from those of the indentured servants who were white?


Note that the repression of the Negro, legally, began to take shape during the last third of the 17th century in the southern colonies. What had economic and political patterns among the dominant white community to do with this important transition?


Note the several instances of repression in northern colonies during the first half of the 18th century when whites there succumbed to fear and to rumors of a Negro uprising (cf. especially the situation in New York).


What groups sought to soften and improve the Negroes’ lot? Discuss role of the Quakers in the Middle Colonies and their belief in brotherhood and non-violence.


How did New England merchants in their patterns of trade contribute to the increase of slavery in the colonies?


III) Era of the American Revolution:

What difference existed for the Negro in North and in South America so far as the attitude of the whites and of white religious groups were concerned?

In discussing the American Revolution and the successful break from England note the difficulty of reconciling slavery with the positions taken in the Declaration of Independence. What forced Jefferson to remove his criticism of slavery from the draft of the Declaration of Independence before it could be adopted by the Continental Congress? Here it might be appropriate to examine the persistent problems of effecting reform, especially interracial reform, in light of the political power structure in which southern whites played and continued to play so dominant and strategic a role. If the southern whites have not been sufficiently amenable to redress of racial suppression, how can the system itself conceivably be altered? What is the hope of generating political strength by Negroes themselves within the South to assure action regionally which will have an impact upon national political balance? What can the Freedom Democratic Party accomplish, and how can the students help?

At about this same period, what was the status and conduct of Negroes elsewhere in the western hemisphere? Here stress the work of Toussaint L’Ouverture and his colleagues in Haiti.

What did the Constitutional Convention do about slaves? What stipulations were made about counting Negroes for taxation and for representation? What agreement was reached on the slave trade at the 1787 Convention?


IV) 1800 to the Civil War:

What proposals were advanced to rectify the slavery problem? What was the Colonization Society? How effective was that as a remedy to the contradictions inherent in maintaining slavery in a democratic society? Do examples of withdrawal still persist in the suggestions current today?

Building upon the spirit of the French Revolution and ideals of the Enlightenment in late 18th century, what had the several European nations done about slavery and the slave trade by the first third of the 19th century? How far behind these sentiments and actions was the American society?

What explained the intensified development of American slavery in the early 19th century? What explained the altered economic patterns that aggravated the plight of the slaves. Here consider the impact of increased cotton production encouraged by western migration. What aspects of political and economic competition added to enmity between the sections? How did the role of the federal government prove insufficient to allay the impending crisis? Consider the Missouri Compromise, the Mexican War, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas Nebraska Act. How did the supreme Court reflect the political and economic balance of the day in its Dred Scott decision?


AGAIN: what is the price of having the Negroes’ lot left to the determination of others who control the power structure?


What groups refused to acquiesce in the slavery situation

                        Here discuss     the Abolitionists

                                                the pre-Civil War slave revolts

                                                the birth of the Republican party .

                                                the Underground Railroad.


With the coming of the Civil War, what hopes existed for a full reconciliation of the racial problem in America?

What inherent weaknesses persist in the assumption that others, no matter how well intentioned, can adequately secure true freedom for the Negro? What can and must the minority group do on its own behalf?



As the discussions progress over time, particular attention should be given to prominent Negroes who DID perform heroic and notable acts in their own interests and to the betterment of a democratic society.


Attention should also be paid to the effects of various institutions, the church, the political parties, the economic patterns and system, and so forth upon the interracial issue.


In what ways have whites helped or failed to help the Negro over time?





The document is from:

SNCC, The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Papers, 1959-1972 (Sanford, NC: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1982) Reel 39, File 166, Page 0140.

The original papers are at the King Library and Archives, The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Atlanta, GA