"Your letter and recommendations have been received. If you take an interest in the elevation of the colored people, and are anxious to do good. I think I can give you and excellent chance – I will engage you but cannot tell where I shall assign you until later. Our salary is from $500.00 to $600.00 including every thing for a year of about nine months, and an opportunity to fill your crown with stars. I will assign you to a professorship in one of our colleges where you will find a fine opportunity for usefulness. Let me hear your decision at an early day."
The Freeman's Aid Society was founded in 1859, before general emancipation, by a group of Protestant churches in the North. It recruited teachers and provided housing and a small salary for them to teach in southern schools (including colleges) for both freedmen (men and women) and their children. Part of the idea was to provide everything the faculty members needed - shelter, food, etc. - and a small salary so they could concentrate on teaching. Efforts were accelerated with the end of the war and general emancipation, so within 3 months of Southern surrender, it had 52 teachers for 5,000 students in 59 schools. By the turn of the century, minority literacy had increased greatly, but Jim Crow laws kept African Americans from voting (often by requiring something involving money - land ownership, poll taxes - in short supply in minority communities).
Richard Sutton Rust was a Methodist preacher, abolitionist, educator, writer, etc. He was secretary of the Freedman's Bureau and one of the founders of the Freedman's Aid Society. Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, named for him, is the oldest historically African American Methodist college.
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