A Pow-wow Over the Mixed School Question-The Negroes Carry the Day

April 8, 1868


Talk of mixed schools occurred yesterday in the Convention. Many white Radicals did not take to this proposal and warned black citizens to not violate a white man's right.


A Pow-wow Over the Mixed School Question-The Negroes Carry the Day.-Yesterday was decidedly the liveliest day of the whole session of the Convention. The fatal issue-that of forcing mixed schools-was brought suddenly forth, and not a little consternation seemed to have been created in the Radical ranks by Bayne's ill-advised and injudicious (radically speaking) proposition to force mixed schools. Much feeling was developed among the white Radicals, who made bold enough to warn the negroes not to tread upon the rights of the white man while asserting their own. This sudden freak of independence rather astonished the dark-skinned brethren, and a corresponding amount of feeling on the other extreme was exhibited by them, Matters grew alarming for the carpetbaggers, and for a while a separation seemed imminent. The remark of Brother Hodges that without the negroes the Radical party in this State would hardly be a skeleton startled them by its truthfulness, and Kelso's wild attack upon his so-called friends brought the plausible Porter to his feet. His slightly diluted and rather non-committal substitute for the original proposition of Bayne gave promise for a while of compromise, but Mr. E. Gibson joined issue with the negroes, and soon even Oily Gammon was discomfited, despite his fustian and spreadeagle effort at conciliation. The breach was wide when the Convention adjourned, and of course a caucus must be held. It was held, and much was the squabbling therein. The negroes were implacable, and would bear of nothing short of Bayne's proposition. The whites seemed ready to yield everything to them, and preached love and a willingness to grant them every right that whites enjoy, but brought forward Porter's substitute as a matter of policy and compromise. It was fully discussed, and when the caucus adjourned, the indications were that Porter's substitute would receive a majority of the Radical votes.
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“A Pow-wow Over the Mixed School Question-The Negroes Carry the Day,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 28, 2023, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/967.