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Captive Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas

Captive Passage
has been made
possible in part by:
National Endowment for the Humanities
Recognition of
additional sponsors
for this exhibition
can be found by
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Legacy: Building New NationsCreating Institutions and Community
Africa's GiftsThe Black ChurchEducationFoodMusicA Lasting Legacy


"Zion" School for Colored Children, Charleston, South Carolina
"Zion" School for Colored Children, Charleston, South Carolina

Most blacks yearned for an education almost as much as for freedom, for they understood that only with an education could they live truly free, productive lives. After the Civil War, black and white teachers from the North and South worked with missionary organizations, churches, and schools to give newly freed African Americans the opportunity to learn. Former slaves of every age--grandparents and grandchildren alike--sat together in classrooms to obtain the skills they needed for a new life. Contributions from a range of organizations allowed 1,400 teachers to provide literacy and vocational education for 150,000 freedmen.

Two historically black U.S. colleges were established before the Civil War: Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1854 and Wilberforce University in Ohio in 1856. After the Civil War, many more black schools of higher education began to appear.

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