Hungry for freedom and knowledge, enslaved Blacks engaged in a massive general strike against slavery by transferring their labor from the Confederate planter to the Northern invader, and this decided the Civil War. In 1865, the North conquered the South, and slavery officially ended. Having been starved of the opportunity to learn to read or write, the recently emancipated Blacks were eager to learn. Within a year after slavery ended, however, Florida and other Southern states enacted laws to ensure the continuation of the vestiges of slavery in the United States. The legacy of slavery and racism evolved into an equally insidious system by controlling opportunities available to Blacks. Although the South seemed to guide the construction of the development of this new system to control Blacks, the North was complicit as well. This legacy was particularly evident in education. Even after slavery, white-dominated political bodies enacted laws to prevent or interfere with the opportunities for Blacks to obtain an education. White obstruction to Black education existed at all levels, including in higher education. Driven to learn, newly freed Blacks, often with the help of others, founded their own higher educational institutions, which are now called historically Black colleges and universities. From their inception to the present, these schools have embraced educating all who knocked on their doors, including whites, without regard to race or color. This should be modeled in American education where race and color continue to slam doors to Black education.
Jennifer M. Smith & Elliot O. Jackson, 14 Fla. A&M U. L. Rev. 103 (2021).