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            Education has been very important in American society from the very start of the country as a new nation. As a matter of fact in the constitutions of the thirteen colonies they "deemed a system of free public schooling essential to democracy"(Fraser 18). An education was a necessity, something that everybody deserved. Yet when establishing these new institutions it was not made clear who everyone was. This issue was not even really dealt with until the common school period. In this essay I will show that education of the common school period did not include African Americans. I will show this first by discussing how slaves were not even aloud to read and write in the south, then by discussing the segregation of Boston Public Schools, and lastly by talking about how the issue was not resolved at the end of the common school era.
             When we look at the time period of the Common School Era, 1830-1860, we see that many African Americans at this time were slaves. They had no rights and were considered to be the property of their slave owners. In the southern states slaves were not allowed to learn to read or write. Many slave owners felt that there was no reason for their slaves to be literate because they were only needed to work in the fields and serve their masters. Furthermore there were laws in place that forbade African Americans from learning to read or write. These laws also gave harsh consequences for those people who taught any slaves to be literate. One law in particular "fined and flogged whites for teaching African-Americans to read or write"(laws.htm 5). In the common school period slaves were obviously not included in education, but there were also free African Americans that were not incorporated in the education of this period.
             In the United States "by 1810, 75 percent of blacks in the North were free. Between 1800 and 1855 the free black population in the nation's 15 largest cities increased six fold.

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