Francis Lewis Cardozo to Rev Geo Whipple Upper Education at Saxton School in Charleston S. C. May 18, 1866
American Missionary Association
Charleston SC May 18/66
Rev. Geo. Whipple
I received your letter inquiring about three young men in the school whom I wish to send North to obtain a collegiate education. They are interesting and deserving boys, and I hope the way will be made clear to obtain such an education as they desire.
The names of the young men are Arthur Ohear, who is 18 years of age, Joseph Wilkinson, who is 17, and Walter Jones, who is 15. When the classes were formed last October, they were placed in the First Class, under Miss Thayer. They had been at School for several years previously, being from among the free colored people, who were allowed to educate themselves.
These scholars made such rapid progress in their studies that they soon had to be separated into a division by themselves. During the Christmas vacation I thought they were advanced enough in their English studies to begin Latin, I therefore began to teach them Latin myself in the 1st Jan.
They are using Dr. Smiths (of London) Principles Latina edited by Dr. Disler, of Columbia College, and pu blushed by Mesars Harpers. This is a peculiarly excellent work, having written exercises in Latin-English and English – Latin connected with each of the principles of the Grammar. They have written 96 exercises, 48 Latin English and 48 English Latin.
They have first finished the Fourth Conjugation, Latin Voice, and have finished the written exercised at the bottom of page 68. They will be through the Grammar about the end of July. I have been this minute that you may see from a glance at the Grammar what remarkable progress they have made.
On their English studies they are beyond Decimals in Davis Arithmetic, reading Williams Fourth Reader, studying Blacks English Grammar, and in the highest (No. 5) Nineteenth series of Geographies. I think about the 1st August they will be enough advanced in their English studies, to devote the most of their time to Classical and Mathematical studies.
My object in having these boys go North is because all three of them aspire to the Ministry, and they possess such excellent moral and intellectual qualifications that I think it would be an act of benevolence to assist in preparing them for a field of usefulness that they are so well fitted to fill.
One of the young men Joseph Wilkinson was converted about a year ago and joined the Methodist church, his conduct is most exemplary, and beneficial to the rest of the scholars, I believe him a sincere Christian. He is decidedly the smartest of the three, being possessed of considerable oratorical talent. He spoke ? for Gen Scott, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau, and when he was done, the Gen. told him, if he continued to improve, he would equal Douglass, and become one of the speakers of the country.
The two other boys – Arthur Ohear, and Walter Jones have not yet made an open profession of religion, but their moral character is excellent, and they have been much impressed by the religious influences brought to bear upon them by Miss Thayer in her class, and she tells me she has no doubt that they will soon make an open profession of religion. …..
I have called upon the Parents and Guardians of the scholars, and asked them if they were willing to send their sons North, and assist in educating them. They expressed a perfect willingness to do so, and desire to know what would be the cost of an education, so as to decide to what extant they could assist. ……..
Yours Truly F. L Cardozo
Notes: Francis Lewis Cordozo (February 1, 1836 – July 22, 1903)
Francis Cardozo was the son of a free black woman, Lydia Weston, and a Portuguese-Jewish man, Isaac Cardozo or his brother Jacob Cardozo. Between the ages of five and twelve he attended a school for free blacks, then he spent five years as a carpenter's apprentice and four more as a journeyman Cardozo worked as a carpenter and a shipbuilder.
In 1858, he attended the University of Glasgow in Scotland where he graduated in 1861. He attended seminaries in Edinburgh and London. He was ordained a Presbyterian minister.
In 1864, he was pastor of the Temple Street Congregational Church in New Haven, Connecticut. He married Catherine Rowena Howell. In 1865, he became an agent of the American Missionary Association in Charleston, South Carolina. From 1871 to 1872 Cardozo was professor of Latin in Washington, D.C., at Howard University, where he was considered for the presidency in 1877.
The Saxton school later became the Avery Normal Institute, which educated African Americans.Cardozo was required to find a new location for the school. Cardozo learned that the Charles Avery estate planned to contribute $10,000 to establish a school in Atlanta. Cardozo hoped to be granted a similar sum from the trustees of the estate, but first he needed to win the backing of the governor and the mayor of Charleston. Cardozo called on his contacts in the black community and obtained the backing of the white establishment. In addition to monies granted by the Avery estate, Cardozo also received money from the Freedmen's Bureau. In April of 1867 Cardozo and his teachers moved to Bull Street and an elegant new building was built on the lot next door. The school was renamed the Avery Institute. A normal school, the Avery Institute retained a primary department mainly for the purpose of teacher training. In April of 1868 Cardozo handed over the reins of the school.
He was elected secretary of state of South Carolina in 1868, Cardozo became the first African American to hold a statewide office in the United States.
His younger brother was Thomas Cardozo who was the first principal of the Saxton School.
Rev. Francis Lewis Cardozo Principle of Saxton School Charleston, S. C.