Essay about Inclination of Literacy

Submitted By grace13181
Words: 2174
Pages: 9

The Inclination of Literacy in America “Past and Present” Literacy among American people is important because it affects our economy and day to day living greatly. Literacy has grown significantly over the years in America. Literacy has gone from denying a certain ethnic groups of people of being educated to educating an integrated classroom and work place full of technology. Literacy carries us through our day to day living. In the past years, people were denied jobs and many other luxuries of life because they were denied literatcy. In our present time, Americans have the opportunity to become literate. You also have those Americans get lost with the standards of literacy today; those reasons may be because of lack of knowledge and resource do to the digital divide in America. In the past years, literacy meant the capacity to speak and sing, to use spoken language in a skill full way was for public purposes. Just being able to mark an "X" on at time made one literate. African- American who could read and write during this time were considered valued members of the slave community. In 1740 South Carolina enacted another response to the events that occurred at Stono by passing one of the earliest laws prohibiting teaching a slave to read or write. In other parts of the South the mid-eighteenth century saw an expansion of earlier laws forbidding the education of slaves. With no formal education, slaves in both the rural and urban South often found other paths to learn (pbs.org). On plantations the pursuit of education became a community effort. Meaning that slaves learned from parents, spouses, family members, and fellow slaves and very few were even personally instructed by their masters or hired tutors. In the North, where black education was not prohibited, African-Americans had much more access to formal schooling and were more likely to have basic reading and writing skills than Southern blacks. Quakers played an important part elevating literacy rates among Northern blacks by promoting education programs in the years before and after the Revolutionary War. By 1860, less than eight percent of Black Bostonians were illiterate, while only an estimated five percent of the overall African-American population could read. In the nineteenth century, the American classroom was sparsely decorated and furnished. School design was simple, expressing the frugality of a largely rural, agricultural economy. In 1890’s rural communities had few resources to expend on education, and there was a lack of what was needed to be available for schools. Most of the time schools would be open only for a few months out of the year, usually when children were not needed to work at home or on the farm. In the one-room schoolhouse sat students of all ages and abilities. The teacher was usually a single woman. In some cases the students were older than the teacher. Using only the most basic resources, which where slate, chalk, and a few books teaching and learning consisted mainly of literacy, penmanship, arithmetic, and “good manners.” Recitation, drilling, and oral quizzes at the end of the day were the norm in classrooms across America. The power of community and the high value placed on education are evident in the shared efforts involved in maintaining the schools. Farmers supplied materials that would be needed for the school room. Such materials would be wood or other fuel for the stove to keep the schoolroom warm in the winter. The children’s parents built school desks and took turns cleaning and stocking the stable that housed the horses the children used to get to and from school each day. Teachers often lived with local families, rotating from household to household. The first literacy movement was in large part an adult literacy crusade. Children attended schools, but educating adults was at least as great a concern. The most immediate educational need in the former slave states was to help…