White Officers and Colored Troops – Part III

Lead: On July 18, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry led a daring assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina. It was the largest civil war engagement involving black troops

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.               

Content: The 54th Massachusetts Infantry was made up of black troops and white officers. It was one of the first regiments formed after the U.S. government authorized the enlistment of African Americans. It was Federal policy, however, that they had to be led by white officers. Early in 1863 Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts, an abolitionist and advocate of African American enlistment, began organizing the unit. He was committed to forming a model regiment and offered command to Robert G. Shaw, a battle-tested, well-educated, young officer from a prominent Boston abolitionist family. Shaw accepted, earned the respect of his regiment, which included former slaves, free blacks and the most well known of their recruits – Lewis and Charles Douglass – the sons of abolitionist militant Frederick Douglass. Under Shaw’s command, the regiment was organized, disciplined, and operated on the assumption that the notion blacks could not fight on a par with white troops was inaccurate and emerged from social bigotry.

White Officers and Colored Troops – Part II

Lead: In the uncertain year of 1863 during the Civil War, the Federal government established the Bureau of Colored Troops. Its goal: recruit, enlist, and muster African Americans into the army.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.               

Content: Up until the Civil War, blacks were not permitted officially to serve in the Army. With the passage of the Militia Act in 1862 (which allowed them to be used in military service) and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect in early January, 1863, northern white public prejudice against black military service began to break down. Whites began to show a willingness to tolerate the enlistment of black troops – particularly as the need for manpower in the Union Army escalated after the heavy body count in 1862.

White Officers and Colored Troops – Part I

Lead: On July 17, 1862, during the Civil War, the U.S. Congress passed the Militia Act. African-Americans became an official part of the Federal military establishment.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Under a 1792 law, blacks officially were barred from army service, not permitted to enlist. Despite this prejudice blacks had served in both the American Revolution and would serve in the War of 1812. In mid-1862, the Lincoln Administration, sensing the need to expand strengthen the Union Army, took the first steps allowing blacks to enter service. The Militia Act permitted colored soldiers to serve in “any military or naval service for which they may be found competent.”

Harriet Tubman III

Lead: In 1861, hard against the onset of the American Civil War, Underground Railroad leader, Harriet Tubman, despite the danger, continued her crusade for freedom.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the time the American Civil War broke out, Harriet Tubman, a former slave, was well known for her successful forays into the south where she rescued hundreds of slaves. Between 1850 and 1860 she was a leader or "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of antislavery activists, who facilitated passage of freedom for fugitive slaves in the South. Tubman, herself, took great risks on nineteen rescue missions - all of which were successful.

Harriet Tubman II

Lead: In 1850 Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave, began a series of return visits to the South. There she gathered other slaves and guided them to freedom.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Tubman was born into slavery on the eastern shore of Maryland.
In 1849 at the age of 29, she rode the Underground Railroad to Philadelphia. There she met William Still, the antislavery activist and one of the founders of this secret effort to bring slaves out of the South. She worked hard to familiarize herself with the Underground Railroad operation and the routes it followed and became trained as a "conductor."

Harriet Tubman I

Lead: In 1849, Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in Maryland. Over many years she became a prominent leader of that network set up to free slaves, the Underground Railroad.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Tubman was born about 1820 on the eastern shore of Maryland to plantation slave parents, Harriet Greene and Benjamin Ross. One of eleven children, she was named Araminta Ross, but was called by her mother’s name. Harriet was hired out as a house slave at age five and throughout her childhood was subjected to cruel treatment.

Education Under Jim Crow II

Lead:  Gradually the South began to climb out of the devastation of the Civil War. By 1900 even public education was making progress, but that was only for white students.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Educational philanthropic foundations such the Peabody Fund, the Slater Fund, and the General Education Board had made some progress in jump starting public education in the South in the decades spanning the turn of the twentieth century. These foundations offered challenge grants to communities willing to commit local taxes and contributions to the construction and maintenance of public schools which would operate for a certain number of months during the year. Not surprisingly, however, the vast majority of schools constructed in the early years were white schools. It was era of Jim Crow and white political leaders were in the business of suppressing the aspirations of black Americans. Schools that elevated their status hardly fit into the plan. Black public education was far behind.

Education Under Jim Crow I

Lead: During the early decades of the twentieth century, educational opportunities for African American children in the South were meager. Community leaders had to be creative.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the late 1800s industrial and commercial prosperity in the United States produced a significant number of entrepreneurs with enormous personal fortunes. Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Harrison, Huntington, Vanderbilt are the names that immediately come to mind. Their accumulation of wealth led to the establishment of many philanthropic foundations and one of the favored objects for giving was education. In 1867 the Peabody Fund was established to promote public education in the South. It is considered by scholars to be one of the first truly modern philanthropies because of the way it went about giving its money.