First Annual Report of the Educational Commission for Freedmen
Boston: Prentiss & Deland, May 1863.
Boston: Prentiss & Deland, May 1863. First Edition. Original printed wrappers with title to front. Faint foldline down the center, apparent on front wrap and all pages. Spine sound and textblock holding tight. Internally a clean, complete copy of this important activist work reporting on the educational systems being built for the benefit of freedmen in South Carolina, one of the first regions liberated by the Union forces. Last appearing at auction in 1904, this report is scarce both in the trade and at institutions.
A commission overseen by women and men with a belief in the importance of educating former enslaved persons both in liberal and practical fields that were previously inaccessible. In its history of the organization and its Port Royal Experiment, the pamphlet explains that the goal in "teaching the rudiments of education ...and organizing industry" was to develop "a self-sustaining and industrious community" of freedmen farming plantation land abandoned by white southerner enslavers during Reconstruction. Within the slim pamphlet are the commission's constitution as well as its officers and committees, which oversaw the hiring and compensation of teachers, development of curricula, and even critical physical needs such as the supplying of clothing. Reports on progress and budgetary usage are also included for each committee. According to this first report, "about three thousand children" had been enrolled in schools and "about two thousand acres were purchased by the freedmen themselves." An important document that acknowledges the deep and long-term disadvantages and systemic racism created through enslavement.
Sabin 25739. McPherson 371. Near Fine (Item #2814)