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Pittsburgh African Education Society minutes
Cited in Dorothy Porter, ed.
EARLY NEGRO WRITING, 1760-1837. (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1995.)
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Document Description
As more and more blacks became free during the early nineteenth century, freed people, often with the support of the church, organized education societies throughout the Northern States. In mission statements and constitutions like the one formulated by the Pittsburgh African Education Society, founding members expressed a belief that education was the path to black equality.

At a meeting of the colored people of the city and vicinity of Pittsburgh, convened at the African Church, on the evening of the 16th Jan. 1832-J.B. Vashon was appointed Chairman, and Lewis Woodson, Secretary.

The object of the meeting being stated by the chairman-after some further deliberation, the following Preamble and Constitution were adopted:


WHEREAS, ignorance in all ages has been found to debase the human mind, and to subject its votaries to the lowest vices, and most abject depravity-and it must be admitted, that ignorance is the sole cause of the present degradation and bondage of the people of color in these United States-that the intellectual capacity of the black man is equal to that of the white, and that he is equally susceptible of improvement, all ancient history makes manifest; and, even modern examples put beyond a single doubt.

WE, THEREFORE, the people of color, of the city and vicinity of Pittsburgh, and State of Pennsylvania, for the purpose of dispersing the moral gloom that has so long hung around us, have, under Almighty God, associated ourselves together, which association shall be known by the name of the Pittsburgh African Education Society, which shall have for the direction of its government the following


Recorded in Dorothy Porter, ed. Early Negro Writing 1760-1837.

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