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fixing salaries to be paid school teachers after the current fiscal year. To avoid confusion and inconvenience in the preparation of the budget and the making of contracts for the ensuing year, we have given immediate consideration to the

The mandate will issue forthwith to the end that prompt action may be taken by the court below.

case.

PROGRESS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR NEGROES IN UNITED STATES, 1870–1930

Prepared by the Research Division National Education Association

1. POPULATION IN 1870 AND 1930

Notwithstanding the prophecy of the Italian diplomat to the effect that in 50 years America will have a colored president, the attached charts indicate that the proportion of Negores in the general population is constantly becoming less important. In 1790 every fifth person in the United States was a Negro; in 1930 every tenth person is of the colored race. This represents a 50 percent decrease

in 140 years.

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FIGURE I.-Percent of total population represented by Negroes, 1790–1930.

1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880

16.0

18,1

Fifteenth census of the United States.

18.4

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Source:

More encouraging, perhaps, to the Italian diplomat would be an examination of the rates of increase in the Negro population. From 1870 to 1920 the excess of births over deaths among the Negroes brought about a progressive decrease in rate of growth. The uptake in the curve since 1920 is given no explanation by the Bureau of the Census. It is too soon to know whether or not this may indicate a change in trend.

It is worthy of note that at no time did the proportion of Negroes to whites increase. The fractional increase shown between 1870 and 1880 is explained by the Census Bureau as a faulty count at the end of the Civil War. The more accurate figure would probably have been slightly more than 13 percent.

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The actual figures for the growth of Negro school enrollment from 1850 to 1930 are given in table 1. These figures correspond to the percentages shown in figure TABLE 1.—Number of Negroes attending school in United States, 1850–1930 1 III, attached, which illustrates the marked increase in school attendance of the Negro population from less than 2 percent of the school-age population to 60 percent, or from 1 school-age child in every 50 to 30 in every 50. The curve, if corrected, would probably show no decreases at any time; as the curve stands, however, there are decreases from 1850 to 1900. This can be explained in two ways; (1) the 33 percent from 1850 is higher than the actual percentage because of the inclusion in that census of races other than Negroes; the actual count was high in the high twenty percents; (2) in 1900 the definition of school population was extended to include the twentieth year, hence the drop in percentages of both groups because of the high mortality of school population after the end of high

Year

Number

Year

Number

1850

1860.

1870.

26, 461
32, 629
180, 372
2 856, 123
986, 873

1900.
1910
1920
1930.

1,083, 516 1, 644, 759 2,030, 269 2, 477, 311

1880.

1890.

Percentage of the total Negro school population which these figures represent is shown on chart VI. ? Includes other races. Source: Fifteenth Census of the United States data for subsequent years on the basis of 18 States only, therefore not included.

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FIGURE III.-School attendance of the Negro population of school age and the average United States

population of school age, 1850-1930.

school. Were the chart corrected for these two changes it would become apparent that the Negro population has had an increasingly greater proportion of its group attending school every decade since 1850. More dramatically is this increase shown in table 2, where the percentage change is listed. Here it is apparent that, while the total school population grew almost constantly, its greatest increase was one of only 21 percent; but the Negro school population after the TABLE 2.-Approximate percentage changes in school attendance of Negroes and of

total school population, 1860-1930 Percentage

Percentage change, total

Negroes school popula

change, total school popula

Negroes tion

tion

Year

Year

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1860. 1870 1880 1890

9 -4 21 -5

0 500 230 -3

1900. 1910. 1920. 1930

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18
8
8

-3 45 20 16

00 000

Source: Computed from figure III.

Civil War had increases of 500 and 230 percent and even now has every decade increases in percentage attending school which are double the increases of the total population. These changes should be of interest to anyone who might wish to demonstrate comparative changes in Negro and total education.

Table 3 demonstrates ratios which are rarely called to attention but which, like the data above, show some educational comparisons which are favorable to TABLE 3.Ratio of enrollment in public school to school population in 18 States 1

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1 School population is here regarded as all those aged 5 to 17 years, hence the apparent discrepancy between these proportions and those shown on chart VI which considers school population as the 5- to 20-year group.

2 Data for 1935–36 will be available upon release from the Office of Education. Source: Statistics of State school systems for the various years.

BU. S. Average

Percent

80

U S. Average
Negro

U S. Average

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60

40

20

0 Urban

Rural

Rural

Farm Non-Farm FIGURE IV.-School attendance for urban and rural population, aged 5-20: 1930—United States average

and Negroes.

the Negroes. In 18 Southern States, from 1929 to 1934 in 2-year intervals, the white population of school age was enrolled in school in the ratio of 89, 92, and almost 83 percent. During the first years of the depression there was a noticeable drop in school enrollment. For the colored race, however, the prosperity period of 1929–30 (assuming the usual lag between economic reversals and school appropriations) showed only about 79 percent of the Negroes enrolled. The depression Percent of group population

81.4

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FIGURE V.-Illiteracy in the United States population (10 years of age and over) for Negroes and all classes:

1870-1930.

years, interestingly enough, showed a constant increase. Even in the depths of the depression, while white children were enrolling in smaller numbers, more Negro children were enrolling, so that the period demonstrates a 5 percent gain for Negroes and over a 6 percent loss for whites.

School attendance by urban-rural distribution is demonstrated in figure IV showing that the urban Negro and the rural-farm Negro come closer to approximating the United States average than does the rural nonfarm Negro. This is

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