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Themain argument of the paper, or its thesis, is that theAfrican-Americans continued to suffer from the evils of racialdiscrimination even as they struggled to prove themselves in thesphere of education. The author provides categorical pieces ofevidence that support this thesis. For instance, the White people inSimpsonville could not believe that a black man could teach the Whitestudents. The Black people, a good number of them who wereself-taught, went ahead to disapprove their adversaries by taking upthe roles of teaching in schools across America. But as the titlesuggests, “laboring under many difficulties’, they were fightinga system that had already marginalized. Statistics on the teachers byrace in the year 1868 is one of the many pieces of evidence thatdemonstrate the Blacks’ efforts to take up teaching roles in manyStates across the country, amidst rough rebellion from the Whites.

Thereading does highlight an aspect of “laboring under manydifficulties” that this report agrees with. In the wake of theabolishment of slavery, many White people did not accept the factthat the Black people had the intellectual capacity to progressindependently. For instance, the Black people faced aggression fromthe White people who could not welcome the reality that former slaveswere now teachers in schools.1The aggression and frustration of the White people facilitated theAmerican society’s social inequity. In some cases, this culminatedto frequent cases of assault, which threatened the Black people’seducation. The categorical arrangement of the authors’ argumentssupports the paper’s thesis that the Black people were laboringunder many difficulties following the abolishment of slavery inAmerica.


Williams, Heather Andrea. Self-Taught-African American Educationin Slavery and Freedom. London, UK The University of NorthCarolina Press, 2005.

1 Heather Andrea Williams, Self-taught-African American Education in Slavery and Freedom (London, UK The University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 121.