Building upon Cultural Capital: Thomas Jefferson Ferguson and the Albany Enterprise Academy in Southeast Ohio, 1863-1886

By Randolph, Adah Ward | The Journal of African American History, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Building upon Cultural Capital: Thomas Jefferson Ferguson and the Albany Enterprise Academy in Southeast Ohio, 1863-1886


Randolph, Adah Ward, The Journal of African American History


Whereas, we, a portion of the free colored citizens of the State of Ohio, [believe] that the time has come for us to define our views and positions in regard to our political, social, educational and religious elevation, and... to direct our earnest attention to the education of our youth....

Convention of the Colored Citizens of Gallia County,

Frederick Douglass Paper, 1852, p. 3.

According to V. P. Franklin, cultural capital and social capital can be important elements in bringing about "community revitalization." (1) "From the early nineteenth century, black mutual benefit societies and social and fraternal organizations sponsored business enterprises that were collectively owned and provided much needed social services to members of the black community." (2) Within the African American context, cultural capital can be defined as "the sense of group consciousness and collective identity that serves as an economic resource to support collective economic or philanthropic efforts." (3) Within such a culturally aware group, cultural capital assists African Americans in defining their "collective identity," while "complex social networks" help to create and maintain economic resources to support collective advancement. (4)

Cultural capital was formed from the philosophical underpinnings within the African American community and was responsible for the creation of the institutions for themselves and the community that they valued. It served to support collective philanthropic or charitable efforts, and "became the backbone for social and economic development." (5) It represented "a deep race consciousness" and clear understanding of what it means to be African American. (6) This consciousness also served as a vehicle for other programs for "racial uplift" and was essential to create and support institutions to actualize their dreams and aspirations. One such institution among many was and is the all-black school.

In the nineteenth century, African Americans who were considered "free" were often caught between a rock and a hard place. They were free, but in some northern states such as Ohio, their citizenship rights were circumvented by the so-called "Black Laws." Yet, African Americans sought to establish viable communities, and more importantly, schools for the education of their youth. But one must ask, Why did African Americans establish separate educational institutions, particularly in free states such as Ohio? What resources did they use? What were the purposes of these educational institutions? This essay attempts to describe the efforts of free African Americans in southeast Ohio to pursue educational advancement using social and cultural capital. Whereas African Americans did create their own schools, the question still remains, Why did they have to use cultural capital and social capital in a free state committed to "free universal common schooling"?

THE LAW AND THE EDUCATION OF BLACKS IN OHIO

In 1804, the first "Black Laws were passed in Ohio. Black laws or codes limited blacks participation in social, economic, political, and educational institutions in Ohio. The laws resulted from the discord among Ohio whites over the advancing antislavery movement, the state's entrance into the Union without slavery, and differences among whites over the place of Africans in American society. In Ohio, racial beliefs, opinions, and attitudes were often divided along geographical lines. Race relations in southeast Ohio, because of its close proximity to slave states Kentucky and Virginia, typified these divisions over the rights of African Americans in Ohio and throughout the United States.

Whereas the Ohio constitution in 1803 established funds for public schools, these institutions did not really begin to appear until 1825. By 1827, white sentiment against the possible inclusion of African Americans was evident. In an 1827 editorial printed in the Ohio State Journal, the anonymous author argued, "If we enlighten their [African Americans'] minds by education, what a new world of misery does open to their view.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Building upon Cultural Capital: Thomas Jefferson Ferguson and the Albany Enterprise Academy in Southeast Ohio, 1863-1886
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?