What many former slaves wanted most, both for themselves and their children, was education. With their own resources and help from northern missionary groups and the government, freedpeople built and maintained schools and hired black teachers all across the South, sometimes in places that symbolized the old oppression, such as the Savannah slave market. Northern reformers prepared textbooks for freedmen and women, which often contained more than practical lessons. Besides instructions on spelling, reading, and pronunciation, this page from The Freedman’s Second Reader presented a “model” black household that exhibited the gentility of the northern middle-class ideal of the family.
Source: American Tract Society, The Freedman’s Second Reader (1865)—American Social History Project.