ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE STATE
IN THE 1870s, Joseph E. Brown presided over the Atlanta Board of Education. Though the former governor's jurisdiction had shrunk, his concept of public education had grown. In 1858 Brown had called for common schools for "every free white child in the State" and had asserted, "Let there be no aristocracy there but an aristocracy of color and of conduct." In his new position, Brown declared that schools were designed for "all the children of the city, both rich and poor, white and colored."14
New currents in postwar Georgia, as elsewhere in the South, reshaped elementary schooling and higher education. After serious disruption throughout the years of war and Reconstruction, educational services expanded until, by the late 1880s, they had far outstripped their prewar dimensions, even for whites. As in the case of the welfare institutions, however, even more striking changes took place as blacks entered Georgia's schools both as students and as teachers, albeit on a segregated basis. All these changes came in the face of a serious decline in the nontax public revenue that had facilitated the prewar rise in Georgia's social spending.
No smooth development of a new, biracial public school system occurred. In 1865, the system of public schools white Georgians had enjoyed at the beginning of the war lay in shambles, and whites did not anticipate that blacks would be included when schools were restored. How to provide schools even for whites was not at all clear, but economic devastation had contradictory effects. Financial support for any school system became more difficult to secure, yet many parents could no longer afford to send their children to private schools. Thus a broader base of support for public spending on education developed.
Congressional legislation declared blacks to be citizens and gave black men the vote. Traditional arguments regarding the necessity for educating voters now applied to blacks as well as whites, and the votes blacks now enjoyed gave them purchasing power in the political marketplace. Moreover, the Civil
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: From Slave South to New South:Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia. Contributors: Peter Wallenstein - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1987. Page number: 152.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.