The Emergence of African American Literacy Traditions: Family and Community Efforts in the Nineteenth Century


The ways in which the African American community learned to be proficient readers and writers during the 19th century were diverse, however, the greatest impact on literacy acquisition came from family and community efforts. African American arts, churches, benevolent societies, newspapers, literacy societies, and formal and informal schools supported literacy growth, and literacy growth in turn gave rise to national and international African American literacy traditions. The underlying motivations that gave shape to the nature of their literacy behaviors and events within family and community contexts and within national and global context are examined in detail here.