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In the mid-eighteenth century, a group of English and American philanthropists known as the Associates of Dr. Bray chartered several charity schools dedicated to educating and Christianizing slave children. The Bray schools were among the first of their kind. The unique nature of the Associates’ project makes it well worth the attention of modern social and religious historians. It is known that each of the first two schools received the same collection of literature upon their founding. The contents of those documents can tell us much about the Associates’ motivations for undertaking such an extraordinary project, as well as the majority view among them concerning slaves, theology, and education. To confirm this, I conducted literary analyses of selections from that literature. Those selections were as follows: Part II of Rev. Thomas Bacon’s Two Sermons, Preached to a Congregation of Black Slaves; Part IV of Bacon’s Four Sermons, upon the Great and Indispensable Duty of All Christian Masters to Bring Up Their Negro Slaves in the Knowledge and Fear of God; Henry Dixon’s The English Instructor; and The Book of Common Prayer. Each text was examined in the broader context of Anglican history and theology and of American and English social and religious history. I also cross-examined my findings with the Associates’ personal correspondence and other peer-reviewed biographical studies.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Oconee

  • Event location
    • Library Technology Center 369

  • Event date
    • 24 March 2017

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Karen Redding; George Justice, PhD