Permission to Remain among Us: Education for Blacks in Oberlin, Ohio, 1880-1914

Permission to Remain among Us: Education for Blacks in Oberlin, Ohio, 1880-1914

Permission to Remain among Us: Education for Blacks in Oberlin, Ohio, 1880-1914

Permission to Remain among Us: Education for Blacks in Oberlin, Ohio, 1880-1914

Synopsis

Waite details the history of the community of Oberlin, Ohio, which demonstrated a commitment to the education of blacks during the antebellum period that was rare at the time. By the end of Reconstruction, however, black students at Oberlin were becoming segregated, and events at the college influenced the rest of the community, with neighborhoods, houses of worship, and social interaction becoming segregated. Waite suggests that Oberlin's history mirrors the story of race in America.

Excerpt

The community of Oberlin, Ohio, located in the northeast corner of the state, holds an important place in the history of U.S. education. It was founded in 1833 as an evangelical community in part for the purpose of creating a school to educate ministers and teachers to save the “Godless West.” The college and town were founded together, thus the community of Oberlin was both the college and the town. In the early nineteenth century this new colony of Oberlin was both progressive and perfectionist. It was a community that embraced progressive and unpopular ideas yet was conceived out of a perfectionist evangelical movement. From the school’s inception in 1833, women students were educated in the same classrooms as men. This was, for the time, unique, as the majority of women who were educated during the antebellum period attended New England female seminaries in small numbers. The notion of women and men learning together was overwhelmingly discouraged. Although a woman was not eligible to earn an A.B. degree at Oberlin until 1837, the “Ladies Course of Study” closely followed that of the classical college curriculum.

Further, in 1834 (one year after its founding), the trustees and faculty of Oberlin Collegiate Institute agreed to admit students “irrespective of

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