New England Freedmen's Aid Society Boston Education Commission
New England Freedmen's Aid Society (most of this information from the First Annual Report through first officers) On Tuesday, February 4, 1862 in response to Pierce's letters the New England Freedmen's Aid Society was formed in Boston at the house of Rev. Jacob M. Manning. Rev. Edward Hale was elected chair and Edward Atkinson secretary. Hon. Gov. John A. Andrew was elected president of the society. The first general meeting was held in Old South Church on Sunday, February 16, 1862. The society would spread through New England with local branches ordganized (See list of Branch Societies)
William Endicott, Jr. was named treasurer, Edward Atkinson remained secretary, Mr. George B. Emerson headed up the committee to get teachers for $50 per month and expenses for the teachers. John Murray Forbes, Samuel Cabot, Jr., George Higginson, and Patrick Tracy Jackson, Jr. were active members. Edward Everett Hale was vice- president. By March 6 38 teachers had been hired and $5,367.55 raised.
Its aims were: to relieve bodily suffering to organize industry; give instructions in the rudiments of knowledge, morals, religion and civilized life; to inform the public of the needs, rights, capacities and disposition of the freedmen.
The teacher committee of the New England group was George B. Emerson, Le Baron Russell, Loring Lothrop, Charles F. Barnard, and H. F. Stevenson.
The meeting was organized by the choice of Rev. Edward E. Hale, as Chairman, and Edward Atkinson, as Secretary. Mr. Pierce's letter was then read by Rev. Mr. Manning, and a committee was appointed to prepare a plan of organization, and to nominate officers, to report at an adjourned meeting. The adjourned meeting was held at the rooms of the Young Men's Christian Union, on Friday, Feb. 7th, at 4 o'clock, p.m., when the following Constitution was adopted.
Constitution of the Educational Commission This organization shall be called the educational Commission.
I. The object of the Educational Commission shall be the industrial, social, intellectual, moral, and religious improvement of persons released from slavery in the course of the war for the Union.
II. The Educational Commission will employ as its laborers persons of undoubted loyalty to the Federal Government, who shall not permit their work to interfere with the proper discipline and regulation of the camps; and it will expect and gratefully welcome any facilities which the Government may be pleased to grant; such as passes for teachers and supplies; and rations and due protection for said teachers while engaged in their work.
III. The officers of the Educational Commission shall be a President, two or more Vice Presidents, a Secretary a Treasurer, and a General Committee.
IV. It shall be the duty of the President, Vice Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer, severally, to perform the services indicated by their titles, and usually devolving on such officers. They shall be members, ex officio, of the general Committee. The Treasurer shall be, ex officio, a member of the Finance Committee. He shall give such bonds as may be required by the General Committee.
V. In addition to the above-named ex officio members, the General Committee shall be composed of four Business Committees: a Committee on Correspondence, a Committee on Finance, A Committee on Finance, a Committee on Teachers, and a Committee on Clothing and Supplies.
VI. It shall be the duty of the Committee on Correspondence to confer with the Government, and with the accredited agents and officers of the Government in places to which the Commission may send its laborers; and also to endeavor, by such means as shall be deemed proper, to produce a wide-spread interest and secure a general cooperation in the work undertaken.
VII. It shall be the duty of the Committee on Finance to procure funds for the general objects of the Commission; all moneys, together with the names of the donors, to be placed in the hands of the Treasurer, who shall keep an account with each Business Committee, and report as required by the General Committee.
VIII. It shall be the duty of the Committee on Clothing to provide and forward garments and other articles necessary for the physical comfort of those whom the Commission is seeking to benefit; which supplies shall be distributed by the teachers, under such supervision as the Committee may designate.
X. The Business Committees shall each meet as often as the duties severally assigned them may require; they shall keep a record of their doings, and report to the Secretary of the Commission as the General Committee may require; they shall, in no instance, be composed of less than five persons; and a majority of any Committee shall be a quorum.
XI. The General Committee shall hold a meeting at least once each month, at which meeting it shall appropriate such funds as may be at the command of the Commission to the use of the several Business Committees, and all bills incured by the Business Committees shall be approved by the chairmen thereof before they are paid by the Treasurer. The General Committee, which shall be an Advisory Body for the Business Committees, shall also call special meetings at the request of any Business Committee, and its sense shall determine the course of action in all doubtful cases. The duty of filling vacancies for the time being, arranging for public meetings, and all other duties not specially assigned, shall devolve on the General Committee.
XII. The Education Commission shall hold an Annual Meeting, at such time and place as the General Committee may appoint; to hear reports, elect officers, and transact such other business as may come before it. The following shall be the mode of election, unless otherwise specially ordered. The President of the meeting shall appoint a Nominating Committee of not less than seven persons, and the nominations of said Committee shall be voted upon at a single ballot. The members of the Commission present at the Annual Meeting shall be a quorum, and this rule shall apply to any special meetings called by the General Committee.
XIII. Any person may be a member of the Educational Commission by a cash contribution to its funds of not less than five dollars annually.
XIV. This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote, at any regular meeting of the Commission, provided the motion to amend has been presented in writing at a previous meeting.
First Officers Chosen by the Society, February 1862 President, His Excellency John A. Andrew.
Vice Presidents. Rev. Jacob M. Manning. Rev. J. W. Parker, D.D. Rev. Edward E. Hale. Rev. James Freeman Clarke. Rev. F. D. Huntington, D.D. Hon. Jacob Sleeper. Rev. T. B. Thayer. Dr. Robert W. Hoofer.
Treasurer, Mr. William Endicott, Jr.
Secretary, Mr. Edward Atkinson.
Committee on Teachers. Mr. George B. Emerson. Dr. LeBaron Russell. Mr. Loring Lothrop. Rev. Charles F. Barnard. Mrs. Anna Lowell. Miss Hannah E. Stevenson. Mrs. Samuel Cabot, Jun. Mr. George Atkinson. Mr. Edward Jackson.
Committee on Clothing. Mrs. J. A. Lane. Mrs. William B. Rogers.
Committee on Finance. Mr. Edward Atkinson. Mr. Martin Brimmer. Mr. William Endicott, Jr Mr. James T. Fisher. Mr. William I. Bowditch.
Committee en Correspondence. Dr. Henry I. Bowditch. Prof. F. J. Child. Dr. Samuel Cabot, Jun. Miss Ellen Jackson. Miss Anna Loring.
The several Business Committees immediately entered upon their duties, and on the 3rd of March, 1862, less than four weeks from the organization of the Commission, thirty-one efficient teachers and superintendents sailed from New York for Port Royal.
Teacher Regulations The following are the regulations that they used with teachers. (The Freedmen's Record - Dec 1865) 1. All applications must be made in person at this Office, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 2 Transportation is furnished from Boston to the place of employment. 3. The salary of female Teachers is, usually, for the first year $20 per month, besides shelter and ration; of male Teachers $30 per month, besides shelter and ration. 4. Salary begins on leaving New York. 5. One month's salary in advance, if desired. 6. The Teacher will draw salary from the Treasurer of the Society.
By 1865 they would employ fifty-four teachers: nine men and forty-five women. Part of their efforts would be given to teach U.S.C.T units including the Fifth Cavalry Regiment (Mass) during its organization at Readville and the 86th U.S.C.T.
OFFICERS CHOSEN AT THE ANNUAL MEETING, MAY 27, 1863. President, His Excellency John A. Andrew.
Vice Presidents. Rev. Jacob M. Manning. Rev. Edward E. Hale. Rev. J. W. Pakker, D.D. Rev. James Freeman Clarke. Hon. Jacob Sleeper. Dr. Robert W. Hooper. Prof. William B. Rogers. Rev. William Hague, D.D. Rev. Edward N. Kirk, D.D. Rev. Andrew L. Stone. Edward L. Pierce, Esq.
Treasurer, William Endicott, Jun.
Secretary, Edward Atkinson.
Committee on Teachers. LeBaron Russell. Eoring Lothrop. George B. Emerson. Charles F. Barnard. Miss Hannah E. Stevenson.
Committee on Clothing and Supplies. Mrs. Samuel Cabot, Jun. Mrs. William B. Rogers. Mrs. J. A. Lane. George S. Winslow. George Atkinson.
Committee on Correspondence. Henry I. Bowditch. Francis J. Child. Samuel Cabot, Jun. Miss Ellen Jackson. Miss Anna Loring. Committee on Finance. Edward Atkinson. Martin Brimmer. William Endicott, Jun. James T. Fisher. William I. Bowditch. James M. Barnard. Charles R. Codman.
OFFICERS 1865 President, His Excellency John A. Andrew.
Vice-Presidents - Rev. Jacob M. Manning, Rev. Edward E. Hale, Rev. J. W. Parker D.D., Rev. J. F. Clarke, D.D., Hon. Jacob Sleeper, Dr. Robert W. Hooper. Prof., William B. Rogers, Rev. Wm. Hague, D.D.,
Treasurer. William Endicott, Jr., No. 33 Summer Street. Recording Secretary. Edward Atkinson, No. 40 State Street. Corresponding Secretary. Marshall G. Kimball, No. 8 Studio Building.
Committee on Teachers. Rev. John Parkman ... 8 Park Square. Miss H. E. Stevenson . . 8 Studio Building, Sec'y. Loring Lothrop 43 Pinckney Street. Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney . . Jamaica Plain. Mrs. Charles R. Lowell . . Cambridge. Mrs. James Haughtoh . . Boston. Rev. Charles Lowe . . . Somerville.
Committee on Clothing and Supplies. Mrs. Samuel Cabot .... No. 11 Park Square. Mrs. William B. Rogers . . No. 1 Temple Place. Mrs. J. A. Lane No. 623 Tremont Street. George S. Winslow ... No. 83 Water Street. Mrs. Abner L. Merrill . . 154 Newton Street. Committee on Correspondence. Francis J. Child .... Cambridge. Dr. H. I. Bowditch . . . No. 112 Boylston Street. Dr. Samuel Cabot .... No. 11 Park Square. Miss Ellen Jackson . . . No. 2 Hamilton Place. James B. Thaier .... 80 Court Street. J. A. Lane . . . ^. . . 623 Tremont Street.
Committee on Finance. Edward Atkinson .... No. 40 State Street. Martin Brimmer .... No. 48 Beacon Street. William Endicoit, Jun. . . No. 33 Summer Street. Mrs. George R. Russell . . No. 1 Louisburg Square. James M. Barnard . . . No. 97 State Street. Charles R. Codman . . . No. 33 School Street. E. W. Kinsley 37 Franklin Street.
Executive Committee. Rev. John Park Max ... 8 Park Square. Rev. Marshall G. Eimball . 8 Studio Building. Prof. F. J. Child .... Cambridge. William Endicott, Jun. . . No. 33 Summer Street.
All supplies for Freedmen should be addressed, "wellington Bro's & Co., 103 Devonshire Street, Boston, Mass. For N. E. F. A. Society. From ."
Each package should contain an invoice of the contents; and a duplicate copy should be sent by mail to Rev. M. G. K1MBALL,
8 Studio Building,
The Plantations on Sea Islands The Superintendents of Plantations were not funded by the society like the teachers. The Plantation Superintendents were government employees reporting directly to General Saxton. In the first year enough grain was raised to support the entire population on the Sea Islands until the next harvest, and also a sufficient amount of cotton, with that gathered from the crop of the previous year, to pay all the expenses of the Government incurred for the freedmen at that point.
The success of one of our superintendents, in conducting two of the largest plantations for the Government, was so great, that he has in connection with some friends at the north, purchased eleven plantations, comprising about 8,000 acres, and is carrying them on this season by means of the old men, the women, and the children, most of the young and able-bodied men being now enlisted in the army of the United States. (See Port Royal Experiment for more detail on troop recruitment) Edward S. Philbrick undertook this operation upon business principles, with strict justice and fair, honest treatment of the freedmen. It is intended to sell a large portion of the plantations thus purchased, to the freedmen at cost, as fast as they shall prove, by industry and frugality, that such a course will be beneficial to them.
Several plantations, amounting in all to about two thousand acres, were purchased by the freedmen themselves, at the Government sale for taxes, they having combined the small savings of last season's work for that purpose, and these freeholds are being cultivated this season, in corn and cotton, by these men who, less than two years since were slaves without hope of deliverance, the most isolated, and consequently the most ignorant of their class.
In March and April, 1862, twenty additional teachers and superintendents were sent out by the society. Brigadier General Rufus Saxton was appointed Military Governor, and the control and management of the plantations were under him. He appointed as superintendents, under his own direction, all those who had been found by experience best fitted for the duties, and allowed to the teachers every reasonable privilege and assistance. General Saxton was so well satisfied with the teachers and superintendents appointed by the Commission, and by the Societies of New York and Philadelphia, that he made a special request for more from the same sources, and declined to accept any who were not accredited to him by these associations. At his request, ten additional superintendents were sent out in July, and others were chosen, making in all a total of seventy-two sent to Port Royal by this society.Three teachers were sent by the Society in the first year to Craney Island and Norfolk, and one to Washington. Of the whole number sent to Port Royal by this Society after one year thirty-six still remain either as teachers or superintendents, or in other departments of the Government service. Of seven ladies sent out, four are now engaged in teaching. Their success in their schools has been entirely satisfactory, while the influence which their presence has exerted in elevating and refining the character of the people has been invaluable.
Expansion to the Mississippi Valley (from the 2nd Annual Report) About the end of November, the Rev. Mr. Fiske, under General Grant, and the Rev. Mr. Fisher, was chosen by General Schofield, to visit the East to solicit contributions for the relief of the destitute among the freed colored people of the Mississippi Valley, arrived in Boston, with letters to some of the officers of this Society. The contraband camps throughout the Valley were under the care of the agents of the Western Sanitary Commission, under whose instructions Mr. Fisher was acting, it was thought advisable, rather than to appropriate the funds of this Society for that object, made a special appeal to the public for money and clothing, to be forwarded to the Western Sanitary Commission, at St. Louis, for distribution by the hands of the agents of that organization. In response to that appeal the sum of $18,761.65 was collected, of which $6,881.07 was remitted in cash to the Western Sanitary Commission, to be expended in St. Louis in the purchase of supplies for immediate shipment down the Mississippi. The balance was laid out here in the purchase of 4,233 pairs of Shoes, 2,892 pairs of Stockings, 2,400 Gingham Handkerchiefs, 1,014 Woolen Shirts, 210 Woolen Overcoats, 1,148 Heavy Blankets, 786 Bed Sacks, and 4,867 yards of All-Wool Grey Flannel, and Negro Cloths. " There was also collected and forwarded through the same medium, 108 boxes and barrels of second hand-clothing." [Editor: Negro cloth This utility cloth was commonly known as "Negro cloth," and was a coarse, unbleached or brown-colored cotton.]
Expansion of Teachers in the 2nd Year Four had been laboring at Craney Island, Norfolk, and Washington, and they were looking hopefully for permission to open schools in North Carolina. This report 85 persons have been sent to the South under the commission of the Society: 18 superintendents of plantations, and 35 teachers, to the Port Royal islands ; 14 teachers to North Carolina; 10 to Virginia ; and 1 to D. C. Seven teachers were also dispatched, for a short term of service, to General Birney's camp near Bryantown, Maryland. Prom 15 to 18 were engaged in the instruction of soldiers of the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry, at Readville, Mass. These teachers were stationed as follows: at Beaufort, S. C, 5, Hilton Head, 1, St. Helena Island, 1; Newbern, N. C, 6, Plymouth, 1, Washington, 1, Roanoke Island, 1; Norfolk, Va., 10, Point Look-out, 2, Alexandria, 1; Washington, D. C, 1.
Report of operations of the New England Branch of the American Freedmans Union Commission, for the year ending 1st August, 1866 There lie before us, as we write, three letters, which give in such graphic contrast of light and shade a picture of the encouragements and discouragements of Southern laborers, that we are sure our readers will be interested in its transcription.
Many are the heroes, or rather heroines, of this pioneer work of civilization. The name of the one who forms the central figure in this picture is Miss Emily Hubbard, of Corning, N. Y., sustained by our auxiliary there. She reaches Petersburg early in October, armed with a letter to Capt. Barnes of that city, of the Bureau, who has proved himself our efficient coadjutor in the past. But Capt. Barnes has left the city. The building she expected to use for the school is otherwise occupied. A perfect stranger in a Southern city, without personal friends or public sympathy, her first impulse is to return to New York for instruction and assistance. But this she determines she will not do until every resource of self-help has failed her. First she applies to Major Stone of the Bureau. She is politely received, he is much Interested in the work, he will gladly do what he can, hut he has little information and no authority, he will write to Richmond for instructions. These presently come. If Major Stone will find a building, compute the sum needed for repairs and rent, and report to headquarters, Gen. Brown will decide whether to warrant the expenditure. After another week of waiting the building is fixed upon, and Gen. Brown written to. A few more days of delay and permission is received to rent it, and arrangements are almost completed for that purpose, when it is found, at the last moment, that it is already promised to gome one else. But meanwhile Miss Hubbard has not been idle.
She has called on the Rev. Mr. Williams, pastor of one of the colored churches. He receives her politely, examines her commission, and calls together a dozen of his leading members to meet her. Here too, however, her progress meets unexpected obstacles. Difficulties in some of the schools last year have discouraged the freedmen. Their Conference has recommended the churches not to rent any church buildings for school purposes, lest they be burned down, as many have been. The freedmen are inclined too to wait and let the Bureau provide for them if it will. But Miss Hubbard's enthusiasm is contagious. Their objections are overruled. The whole matter is laid before a church meeting. It is resolved to build. An unused part of the church-lot is appropriated for that purpose. A building committee is appointed, and the process of erection is immediately begun. Thus, after ten days or a fortnight, light begins to dawn. But what shall be done for a school-room while the building is going on? A second appeal is made to the church. It meets a ready response. On twenty-four hours' notice the church rents another building for present needs, and arrangements are perfected for at once opening the school. Meanwhile the New York Secretary, having learned the facts, has written to the Bureau for help, and, through his application and the active co-operation of Mr. Manly at Richmond, an order is at length secured authorizing Major Stone to provide school-rooms for five teachers. At the same time another church, stimulated by a generous emulation, takes measures also to build. Miss Hubbard announces her purpose to devote the building provided by the first church to a high-school, an intensely gratifying announcement to its patrons, who, without any clear conception of what a high-school is, are clear it must be a grand institution. They commence " lecterneenin" for the new school, and assert their belief that it will be a " mighty big one." The prospects justify their faith. It numbers at its beginning over one hundred pupils, with fifty in the night school, including a class of boys from eleven to fifteen years of age, and who work in the factories during the day. And Miss Hubbard now writes to us for more help to teach the rapidly increasing school, and to provide the new buildings when they are completed.
It is not often indeed that our teachers have this pioneer work to do, which is generally done for them by special agents or Bureau officers. But we commend the courage, pertinacity, and success of -Miss Hubbard to the consideration and for the imitation of all co-workers, and we are sure that her work, thus founded on the active participation of the colored people themselves, will prove immeasurably more valuable, because more permanent, than if she had built on any other foundation. Before this reaches the eye of our readers, we shall probably have eight teachers in Petersburg and two in Pocahontas.
TEACHERS FESTIVAL. (The American Freedmen, Vol 2, Number 5) We had the pleasure of attending last month the Teachers Festival of the Ne-w England Branch. It has become a fixed feature of that Society, and an admirable one.
The Fraternity Rooms, on Washington street, Boston, were well filled with teachers, members of the Soeiety and friends— a large proportion ladies. Col. Higginson presided admirably, and suffered no pauses, no breaks, no cessation of flow and sparkle of social life; ladies and gentlemen participated alike in the proceedings.
It was not a public meeting : it was a family gathering—brothers and sisters uniting after a year's separation—told each other their varied experiences. For it was almost wholly an "experience meeting." Flowers decorated the room, music enlivened the interval—everything seemed spontaneous. The programme, if indeed there was one, was kept out of sight.— After an hour or two of social interchange and brief narrations of teacher's experience, the body adjourned—the teachers taking deserved precedence—to the room above, where ample refreshments had been provided. -The most attractive address of the day was one from a gentleman who announced the receipt of a legacy which will leave the New England Society free from debt for the commencement of a new year.
This Society has done a noble work the past year, struggling against many discouragements, and promises itself a record as honorable in the year to come.