Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom


Product Details

University of North Carolina Press
Publish Date
6.42 X 9.22 X 0.77 inches | 0.98 pounds

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About the Author

Heather Andrea Williams, a former attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and the New York State Attorney General's Office, is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


This book is a well-told story of a courageous people's quest to obtain an education.

"Louisiana HIstory"
A book that eloquently places African Americans at the center of the struggle for education.

"Reviews in American History"
ÝA¨ passionate historical analysis. . . . Upon finishing "Self-Taught" the reader will be changed.

"Black Issues Book Review"
This delightfully well-written and swift reading scholarly monograph may well be considered a classic in its field.

"Civil War Book Review"
Beautifully written and cogently argued, "Self-Taught" deserves the attention of all scholars interested in early history of African-American schools.

"Journal of Economic History"
"With great skill, Heather Williams demonstrates the centrality of black people to the process of formal education--the establishment of schools, the creation of a cadre of teachers, the forging of standards of literacy and numeracy--in the post-emancipation years. As she does, Williams makes the case that the issue of education informed the Reconstruction period--the two-cornered struggle between North and South over the rebuilding of Southern society, the three-cornered struggle between white Northerners, white Southerners, and black people over the nature of education, and the less well-known contest between black Northerners and black Southerners over the direction of African American culture. "Self-Taught is a work of major significance. (Ira Berlin, University of Maryland)"
[A] passionate historical analysis. . . . Upon finishing "Self-Taught" the reader will be changed.

"Black Issues Book Review"
"Provides a needed corrective to the existing literature. . . . [A] readable and carefully researched work. . . . Represents an important expansion of knowledge about Reconstruction, the South, the political and cultural struggles of African Americans, and the nation's educational system."
-- "North Carolina Historical Review"
"Groundbreaking. . . Williams marshals enormous primary evidence to reveal a previously untold story. . . . Ultimately, a book of triumphant reading--both enslaved and freedpeople's acts of reading."
-- "Southern Cultures"
"An original, informative, and moving account. . . . [A] major corrective study of the struggle of African Americans."
-- "Arkansas Historical Quarterly"