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James Redpath
Schools in Charleston
March 9, 1865

The Freedmen's Record


March 9, 1865.

Dear Madam, — Col. Woodford, commander Port of Charleston, appointed me Superintendent of Public Jurisdiction of
this city, and gave me possession of all the School buildings, which were formally opened last Saturday, March 4th. Of
course, I received all white, black, and yellow children alike, and, after encountering considerable opposition, the plan is
working well. About three hundred white children are attending school, and over one thousand two hundred colored.

The two largest schools in the city are overflowing; I am obliged to have separate rooms, and white teachers for the
white children,—but all our friends here regard it as a great victory to our cause, to have succeeded in getting the two
classes into the same building. It gives us five schools, well furnished and amply supplied with certain classes of books ;
but above all, it is a great step toward destroying the prejudice against the colored people. All the colored people are
delighted at this arrangement, — or rather they are in ecstasy about it. Mr. Newcombe and Mr. Gilbert Pillsbury, agreed
to pay the salaries of the teachers (there are forty-two engaged), and Gen. Saxton authorized me to grant one ration to
each teacher.

The teachers are nearly all of Charleston,— about twenty-five colored, the balance white, — but there are only two very
efficient: your teacher, Mr. A. T. Morse, and Mr. Newcombe.

I took this position simply to break down prejudice against the loyalists of Charleston : every one of the old citizens
predicted an utter failure, — but our Boston system, slightly modified, hat succeeded.

Six or eight teachers will come down from Hilton Head next week ; but we need more, especially of those competent to
teach the more advanced classes. We ought to open a third school on Monday; but we have no one sufficiently
talented and competent otherwise to take charge of it as Principal.

Col. Woodford at first offered me the superintendence of the colored schools; but I gave him my reasons for refusing to
have any thing to do with separate schools, in a municipality in which colored people had been taxed to build and
support buildings into which their children were

never admitted. He carefully thought over my statement, and adopted the method I urged on him, and he has acted
manfully.

You can be sure of having two thousand pupils here. The adults want to have a class. I think the first night school would
have five hundred pupils, " from eighteen to eighty ;" but the school buildings are not lighted with gas, and I want to try
to get the educated colored people to run these schools on their own account. Respectfully yours,

James Redpath
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