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A. M. to Frederick Douglass, April 1, 1850


ALBANY, April 1, 1850.

MR. DOUGLASS: The North Star, being the herald for the oppressed, may give place for a passing notice of some "turn-ups" in our city, which are of interest to the friends of freedom. The colored people of this place, for some months past, have obtained the idea of the advantage of sending their children to the several District Schools. Perhaps the illumination from the North Star has done not a little to discover to them the disadvantage of being colonised to an exclusive school; at any rate, they have recently manifested a disposition to avail themselves of the benefits of the general school law.

About ten days since, that barefaced demon Prejudice was aroused in our august School Commissioners. Whether they were affected by the malignant poison of Webster's nefarious speech, or whether under Seward's most glorious vindication of the rights of the colored race, I know not; but soon after Seward's speech reached this city, orders were given for every colored child to be expelled from the school. Of course, the [ ] [line illegible] the mandate of the "powers that be." Consequently, every child of the proscribed caste was expelled at once; while the more fortunate pale-faced children were left in their exclusiveness, to acquire an education which is, by our free school laws, proffered to all without distinction of condition, caste, or color.

Several parents of the aggrieved party, conceiving the whole movement an [ero]gation of the Commissioners, promptly called on them to ascertain why their children were expelled from the schools. They were met as they might have with reason anticipated, cavalierly, and were most uncourteously told, that the admission of colored children into the schools with white children, favored amalgamation too much, and the Commissioners were determined to put a stop to it.

The colored people immediately held a meeting, drew up a protest, and presented it to the Commissioners, respectfully asking them to repeal their decision. One week from that day, they met again, expecting a report from the Commissioners, [which?] was not forthcoming; but they met the disappointment with a patient dignity which quite surprised me, and argued that the delay of answer was a favorable omen. The [?]was [?] Messrs. M'Intyre, Butler, Randolph, Topp and others, with great pertinency and ability.

The meeting adjourned, after unanimously resolving to test the question legally, if the Commissioners do not repeal their decision.

A most favorable aspect of the whole movement is, the united determination of the colored people to abandon their old colonised school.

One pleasing feature which characterised the meeting, was the acknowledgment of Woman's Rights.

A. M.


M., A.




A.M. to Frederick Douglass. PLIr: NS, 5 April 1850. Criticizes school segregation in Albany, New York.


This document was calendared in the published volume and has not been published in full before.


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