Slaves in the Cities Were More Likely Literate

Influenced by Church and City Life

5/4/20231 min read

Bible classes were widespread in the cities wherever there were church gatherings of free blacks. Clearly, the person who conducted the "clumsy oral" class was literate. The "knowledge of reading and writing would no doubt spread."

Even outside of church there were opportunities to read. "Newspapers abounded; signs lined streets and shops; books and pamphlets circulated freely."

"The increase of literacy among slaves, always higher in the cities than in the countryside, continued throughout the ante-bellum decades." Richard C. Wade