North Carolina’s 1776 constitution guaranteed the state’s citizens a system of public education:
That a school or schools shall be established by the Legislature, for the convenient instruction of youth, with such salaries to the masters, paid by the public, as may enable them to instruct at low prices; and all useful learning shall be duly encouraged, and promoted, in one or more universities.
But although the legislature established the University of North Carolina in 1789, the first public school for younger students didn’t open until 1840. In the meantime, children were educated — if they were educated — in a patchwork of institutions. Paid tutors, community schools built by volunteers, private academies, boarding schools, and private colleges all played a role. In this chapter you’ll explore what education was like for young students in early nineteenth-century North Carolina — boys and girls, black and white — and what their education, or lack thereof, said about the values of North Carolinians.
- 5.1A free school in Beaufort
- 5.2Rules for students and teachers
- 5.3John Chavis opens a school for white and black students
- 5.4Education and literacy in Edgecombe County, 1810
- 5.5"For What Is a Mother Responsible?"
- 5.6The University of North Carolina opens
- 5.7Student life at UNC
- 5.8Cherokee mission schools
- 5.9A Bill to Prevent All Persons from Teaching Slaves to Read or Write, the Use of Figures Excepted (1830)
- 5.10Academies for boys and for girls
- 5.11First Year at New Garden Boarding School
- 5.12A timeline of North Carolina colleges (1766–1861)