Schooling the Freed People

Teaching, Learning, and the Struggle for Black Freedom, 1861-1876

By Ronald E. Butchart

336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones, 11 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-0729-0
    Published: February 2013
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-9934-2
    Published: September 2010
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7970-7
    Published: September 2010

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Awards & distinctions

2011 Outstanding Book Award, History of Education Society

2012 William A. Owens Award, University of Georgia Research Foundation

Honorable Mention, 2011 Avery O. Craven Award, Organization of American Historians

Conventional wisdom holds that freedmen's education was largely the work of privileged, single white northern women motivated by evangelical beliefs and abolitionism. Backed by pathbreaking research, Ronald E. Butchart's Schooling the Freed People shatters this notion. The most comprehensive quantitative study of the origins of black education in freedom ever undertaken, this definitive book on freedmen's teachers in the South is an outstanding contribution to social history and our understanding of African American education.

About the Author

Ronald E. Butchart is professor of history and education and affiliate faculty in the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Georgia. He is a leading authority on the history of African American education.
For more information about Ronald E. Butchart, visit the Author Page.


"This work promises to long be a touchstone for scholars and students of post-Civil War black education, of Reconstruction broadly, and of blacks' transition to actual freedom."--Library Journal

"[Butchart] poignantly portrays both the freedmen's enthusiasm for learning and the intensity of white resistance to black education. . . . A meticulously researched piece of scholarship of importance to specialists. Recommended."--Choice

"Schooling the Freed People is both comprehensive and engaging, offering a definitive social history within a narrative that never loses the voices of educators and learners." --The North Carolina Historical Review

“An invaluable addition to the historiography of African American education during and after the Civil War. To date, this text offers the most in-depth analysis of the teachers of freed people.”--American Historical Review

“In this concise, cogently argued book, Ronald E. Butchart presents a convincing new portrait of the women and men who served as teachers of freedpeople across the American South during Reconstruction.”--Journal of Southern History

“Butchart has written an important study. . . . It will deepen our understanding of these transformative events for years to come.”--Journal of American History