"Dr. William Bishop rose to speak to the County School Commissioners, the first time that an African American had ever addressed them. Bishop asked the commissionsers to help save the financially troubled Stanton School, built in 1865 by Annapolis blacks for their children. Contributions from parents and northern freedmen's aid societies sustained the school for a few years but northerners had lost interest by 1869. In spite of his pleas for money from tax revenues to pay teachers, buy books, and fix the roof, the Commissioners granted the school only $83, not nearly enough to keep Stanton School open."

Dr. William Bishop (1849-1904), an early graduate of Howard University Medical School and a trustte of Stanton School in Annapolis.

​Joseph L. Browne, "'The Expenses Are Bourne by the Parents': Freedmen's Schools in  Southern Maryland," Maryland Historical Magazine, ​Volume 86 (Winter 1991).

Joseph L. Browne,"'An Earnest Interest in the Schools': The Struggle for Educational Opportunity in Anne Arundel County, 1869-1889," Anne Arundel County History Notes, Volume XXV (January and April , 1994)

Joseph L. Browne, "'To Bring Out the Intellect of the Race': An African American Freedmen's Bureau Agent in Maryland," Maryland Historical Magazine, Volume 104 (Winter 2009).

            The Freedmens's Struggle to Create Schools in Maryland, 1864-1889

Stories of Maryland and Washington, D.C. History

                     ​​John H. Butler, African Americdan Freedmen's Bureau Agent in Maryland

​The Prince Frederick African American school in Calvert County, Maryland. In the late 1860s the Freedmen's Bureau provided the lumber for the school, but the black community had to build and furnish it. At first, northern Freedmen's aid societies paid for the teacher. The State took over funding for teacher salaries in 1873, but not for buildings.

The National Labor Union, launched in 1866, refused to admit unions with African American members. In response Butler helped to organize a national  convention of skilled African-American workers (pictured above). The delegates created the first national organization of unions for black workers., and they chose Butler to serve on the five-member Executive Committee.

"Between 1864, when slavery ended, and 1867, the courts forced as many as 10,000 black children in Maryland into apprenticeships, thus restoring a form of bondage, which denied the children any opportunity for schooling...." 

"In addition to bearing the cost of desks, benches, hauling and construction labor, the Bureau expected the school trustees to pay for plastering...."

"By 1869 black communities operated and supported nine schools in Anne Arundel and seven schools in Calvert counties.

The Struggle for Educational Opportunity in Anne Arundel County, 1869-1889

                             Dr. Joseph L. Browne     jlbrowne41@gmail.com       720883-7079

                                  Freedmen's Schools in Southern Maryland

John H. Butler (1826-1904) accomplished many things in his life, all intended for what a newspaper called "the uplift ofthe race." 

  • founder and primary investor in the Douglass Institute, the first meeting hall for all African American organizations  in Baltimore, 1864
  • founder of  three primary schools and one high school for Baltimore's African- American children, 1864-65
  • promoter and supporter for black communities that built African American schools in eleven Maryland counties (1867-1869)
  • Superintendent,  Freedmen's Bureau Schools in Maryland (1870)
  • founder, Colored National Labor Union, 1869
  • member, Board of Trustees, Baltimore Normal School for the education of black teachers, 1867-1904 
  • Maryland delegate, National Civil Rights Convention, 1873​​
  • In ​Baltimore, a leader of civil rights, Masonic, and cultural organizations, a public school advocate for African American students and teachers, and a successful businessman, 1864-1904