History of Higher Education for African Americans Report (Assessment)
Difficulties in Accessing Higher Education
Before the civil war, my access to higher education was limited because all blacks were slaves. As slaves, we were part of the property owned by our white masters. Therefore, we could not enjoy any of the elementary rights that other citizens enjoyed. We were not allowed to vote, go to school, or even walk freely around the country. That was the reason we did not access education by the early 1800s. The situation worsened when laws were passed in 1829, outlawing blacks from participating in all matters of formal education.
Even if I had the opportunity to participate in higher education, I could not have managed to take advantage of it since it was expensive, and I would have nothing to eat after school. None of the black families, especially in the South, owned anything or was wealthy enough to pay their school fees. Worse still, we always worked for our food. Therefore, going to school would bring about starvation.
In the late 1800s, many things changed in favor of blacks. Laws were passed, allowing us to vote and go to school. We were also triumphal when we got our freedom after the civil war. When we were granted freedom in 1865, many schools were opened throughout the country, specifically for freedmen. In addition, missionaries and other philanthropic groups volunteered to support our education. They taught us in schools and gave us financial support for our school fees. The Morrill Acts also gave us a huge opportunity to access a college education. Many colleges were opened, and we were admitted. The formation of the Freedmen’s Bureau was also very crucial in helping us access a college education. It catered for all our college needs.
Institutions of higher learning have radically changed. At the moment, they admit blacks as both students and employees. We can now access education and job opportunities. Many of my friends have been employed as cooks, tutors, and gardeners.
I am likely to participate in higher education because I want to use my hard-earned freedom to motivate my fellow freedmen. I am sure participating in higher education as a tutor will be a brilliant way to motivate other blacks who still believe they are not good enough for higher education.
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