The Institute for Colored Youth (ICY) was a Quaker-run secondary school devoted to training African Americans to become teachers. Post-Civil War, Philadelphia’s schools were segregated, leaving African Americans with limited access to education. This explains why, at twenty-four years of age, Emilie Davis took school so seriously, attending classes regardless of the weather and even when her classroom was not heated. This lesson will look at the challenges Emilie, and other African American students, faced when trying to gain an education.
In this lesson, students will learn more about the rigorous education at the Institute for Colored Youth, as well as read primary sources relating to graduates of the Institution. Sources include a poem written about Caroline Le Count, a graduate of the Institute for Colored Youth, a teacher, and an activist in the fight for equal rights. To learn more about the Institute for Colored Youth, visit https://exhibits.library.villanova.edu/institute-colored-youth.