The African School and Educators, 19th Century
Long before great educators like Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois, lauded the importance of education, members of Hartford’s African American community organized to educate their children. In the 19th century they developed the African School. While it is difficult to know the specifics on the day to day curriculum instruction, the names of the distinguished faculty are available. Augustus Washington, a local daguerreotypist, taught at the school. His photos of prominent Hartford residents still circulate in a number of sources. Influenced by the colonization movement, Washington eventually moved his family to Liberia. Selah Africanus and Ann Plato were other prominent teachers at the school. While segregation reigned in Hartford, African Americans, in general, were also separated. The local city directory in the 1860s listed African Americans separately from white citizens. One of the most remarkable teachers to come out of Hartford in this period was Rebecca Primus. In fact, she taught children in southern schools during Reconstruction, one of the most volatile periods in U.S. history.