19th-Century Black Children Faced Threats, Obstacles In Pursuit Of An Education
It was nearly impossible for black children to achieve academic success before slavery was abolished in the United States, but those who did signaled the promise and possibility of a viable future.
As children, they attended the New York African Free School -- an experimental institution created to give slaves and free people of color access to education and the tools to become productive members of society.
Garnet and Smiths' achievements, both political and academic, helped shape the national conversation as the U.S. grew out of slavery and into a free country.
- Anna Mae Duane, associate professor of English at the University of Connecticut; and author of "Educated for Freedom: The Incredible Story of Two Fugitive Schoolboys Who Grew Up to Change a Nation"
- Crystal Webster, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, February 20.