|American Union Questionaire to
G. L. Eberhardt
Superintendent of Schools
April 20, 1866
G. L. EBERHARDT, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS FOR GEORGIA.
Augusta, Ga., April 20,1866. Rev. Lyman Abbott, Gen. Sec. A. F. U. C.:
Dear Sir: I have your printed circular of no date in which you ask my careful consideration of eight (8) questions
1st. I think the distribution of clothing, by persons who will so discriminate as to give only to the actually needy, very
desirable, to all of whatever age or color; and, especially, to the decrepit.
3d. The fact that all articles of prime necessity are held at exorbitant rates in the South, and gome mean, mercenary
persons charge colored persons more than they do whites for the same articles, renders it very desirable that a store be
kept open for the sale of clothing, or other articles, provisions especially, at about cost. This would require much care
and discriminating judgment to prevent imposition— persons unworthily taking advantage of the liberality of such
3d. Teachers should by all means, where there are a sufficient number in one place to justify it, live together in 'a home
provided by the Association. The advantages, pecuniarily, are quite a consideration; but, socially, where the teacher is
among those who have no sympathy for him, or in his work, cannot well be over-estimated.
4th. In every locality there is more or less hostility to the education of the colored people, and to all who are engaged in
the work; but public sentiment is growing favorable thereto, perhaps as rapidly as we should expect, when we consider
fully the manner in which the whites have been taught to view the subject. In some places there is no opposition
manifested in overt acts ; while in others the schools are occasionally interfered with, but, in almost every instance, by
persons of little or no character, and whose ignorance is equal, perhaps, to that of the most imbruted freedman.
5th. There is no probability of the poor whites, adults or children, consenting to come to school with colored persons. No
case of the kind has been tried; but I am so well acquainted with public sentiment as to feel fully assured that such an
experiment would now, to say the least of it, be very impolitic and inexpedient. However remote such idea or design
might be from those attempting such a scheme, the frightful bugbear of social equality would at once be brought in
accusation against them, and thus impair or perhaps destroy their usefulness entirely.
6th. The establishment of schools for destitute whites will prove one of the most effective means that can be adopted to
remove opposition to schools for freed people; inasmuch as it will be indubitable proof that our sympathies and
benevolence, as we have always claimed, are not limited—are broad enough to embrace every creature, 6f wliatev*
race or color, that needs the aid of Christian love and charity.
7th. I can think of no changes which I deem essential in the business management of the Association. Let all endeavor
to grasp the work in all its length, breadth, and depth. Give us earnest, practical, conscientious, God-fearing teachers
and missionaries ; and, with the blessing of God, we can have no fear of the results of our labors.
8th. I am highly favorable to the plan of requiring all who are able to contribute to the support of the schools. All the
freed people are not only willing, but deem it a matter of pride and duty, to pay whatever their condition warrants for the
education of their children. Our great object is to place all, at the earliest day possible, in such a condition that they shall
be able to feel perfectly independent of the charity of friends; to control fully, justly, and efficiently their schools, and
whatever else is necessary to secure their individual rights and immunities; to add to the general prosperity of the
nation, and the permanency of our free institutions—to the full- and perfect triumph of truth and justice; and the widest
dissemination of the principles of universal brotherhood.
I have en leavored to answer your interrogatories carefully and conscientiously, and, inasmuch as I am tolerably
conversant with the topics they embrace, I hope I have answered them fully, clearly, and truth fully—in a manner that
shall prove instrumental, to some degree, in advancing the wise and benevolent objects of the Association, and the
common cause of humanity.
I am very truly yours,
G. L. Ebekhart,
State Superintendent of Freedmen's Schools, Augusta, Ga.