Mr. Richardson's Report Creation of the Savanah Education Association January 2, 1865 AMA 19332-19335
Dear Bro. Stricty: the following is a verbative copy of the originals. I have no way of filling the blanks. Bro. Alvord who I suppose is now in N. Y. will doubtless add any explanations desired. I.P. W.
Savannah Ga January 2nd / 65
Pursuant to arrangment a meeting of the colored citizens of Savannah was held in the 1st African Baptist Church. Rev. W. J. Campbell Pastor 3 p.m. the house was filled to over-flowing and hundreds were unable to gain admission. The meeting was presided over by Rev. Garrison Frazier, by whom it was called to order. The hymn commencing "Blow ye the trumpet blow" accompanied by the organ was sang after which prayer was offered by Rev. J. Cox, after which the hymn My Country tis of thee was sung.
The President then introduced Rev. M. French Chaplain U.S.A. the Rev. Gentleman spoke as some length and commanded the closest attention and elicited the heartiest responses throughout his entire address. He attributed the blessing of Liberty just received by the people to the goodness of God and exhorted the people in leaving their former masters to do it in kindness. He urged the necessity of making use of their liberty in such a manner as would be commendable. He warned them against falling a prey to idleness and vice. Cited the condition and progress of the people of Port Royal as an encourgement to Freedmen and former masters. Rev. James Lynch was next introduced he said that his heart was full, he could consume hours in expression, but as he expected to remain sometime yet and there was a distinguished gentleman present the Rev. Mr. Alvord, Sec of American Tract Society he was happy to introduce him as a substitute.
Rev. Mr. Alvord expressed himself as being hopeful for the future of the colored people of Savannah, in years past he had lived among them he knew their intelligence and moral worth they need not be afraid. God would take care of them. He wanted them to begin to do for themselves, they were not babes to be carried or rocked in cradles, but men who could develop themselves, now is the time for action. Rev. James Lynch announced that it was desired that the Official Boards of the different colored churches remain after the meeting he had assured Rev. Mr. Alvord that persons could be found.among the colored people who would teach schools if organized.
After saying the benediction was announced by Rev. Mr. Hinston.
At the close of the above exercises the the Officers of the various colored churches met. Rev. Garrison Frasier in the chair who opened by prayer. Rev. Mr. Alvord then spoke of the importance of commencing schools immediately and perfecting an organization for that purpose. On motion of Abraham Brooks (?) resolved that the Official Boards of the colored Churches of this city with their Pastor's constitute an Educational Association. On motion of Andrea (?) Neil resolved that an executive committee of nine be appointed and that Rev. J. Lynch during his stay in the City cooperate with the committee.
The following were appointed Revs Jame Lynch, J. Cox, W. L. Campbell, J. Houston, J. Brown, Charles Bradwell, J. Porter, Scipio Quarterman, J. Mills, Wm. Rose. On motion of _____ resolved that the executive committee meet at the First African Baptist Church Jan 3rd at 3 1/2 o'clock p.m. and that each member of the committee present three candidate for the position of teachers from which they(?) number should be selected. On motion resolved that the executive committee with Mr. French and Alvord see Gen. Geary at the earliest moment and secure association in S. c. and Florida. After which a well drafted constitution was presented as the basis of the proposed ass. and after some discussion was unaminiously adopted.
I copy one or two articlea art 8 - Any person may become a yearly member of this ass. by paying the sum of three dollars and a monthly tribute of twenty five cents, a life member by the payment of ten dollars, and the same amount monthly___________ Art. 13th - This association may cooperate with any ass organized in the Loyal States, for the education of freedmen.
Thereas this association may need protection from Government and more advanced teachers then of themselves they are able furnish and wereas the American Missionary Associat from its long tried antislavery character, has our entire confidence, therefore resolved that we hereby respectfully invite the patronage and assistance of the American Missionary Association in the great work, now evolving upon us.
In reply to the above Rev. W. T. Richardson thanked the people for their expressions of esteem and confidence in the Am Miss Ass and pledged their aid and cooperation in this work.
At this point of the meeting a call was made by the chairman for the people to come forward with their names and money.
The scene was novel and intensely interesting. Men and women came to the table with a grand rush much like the charge of union soldiers on a rebel battery.
Fas as their names could be written by a swift penmen, the Greenbacks were laid upon the table in sums from one to ten dollars, untill the pile footed up the round sum of seven hundred and thirty dollars as the cash receipt of the meeting.
Grand rally of the children Tuesday morning we met some five hundred of them in the lecutre room of the church. After the proper arrangement were made they were marched forth through the streets of the city to the buildings assigned for schools. This army of colored children moving through the streets seemed to excite feeling and interest, second only to that of Gen Shermans army.
Such a gathering of Freedman's sons and daughters that proud City had never seen before.
Many of the people rushed to the doors and windows of their houses, wondering what these things could mean. This they were told is the onward march of Freedom.
A goodly number of these children we found were able to read and spell, others evinced considerable knowledge of arithmatic, Geography, and writing.
The project is very encouraging for the free schools of Savannah. Fifteen colored teachers are already engaged in these schools and other teachers from the north will soon join them in this noble work.
Ample buildings have been granted by Brig Gen John W. Geary commanding the City who has evinced much interest in the success of this school.
An interesting fact Free schools in the slave market! One of the buildings now used for colored schools was used as "Brycens Slave Mart," )as the sign over the door indicates, untill the taking of the city by the union forces. It is a three story brick building fronting on market square, and contains two large rooms on the second and third floors about thirty by fifty feet. The upper one has strongly grated windows in which the poor slaves have often been confined - there to be bought and sold, as the beast of the fields
Wm Richardson's Report of doings at Savannah Geo, Jan 2 of 65