New York African Free Schools and Their Convention Legacies

School Legacies

engraved from a drawing taken by P. Reason, a pupil aged 13 years.

Front pages of the book The History of the New-York African Free Schools, From Their Establishment to the Present Time; Embracing a Period of More Than Forty Years (1830). Courtesy of the Archive.org.

There are many stories that could be told about the legacies of the New York African Free Schools. This section introduces the work of a women-led organization that assisted the NYAFS students in learning and growing into future leaders. The Dorcas Society was founded in 1828 by a group of women including, Margaret A. Francis and Henrietta Regulus Ray, with the intention of helping to clothe the children of the NYAFS. The work of the Dorcas Society directly contributed to the moral and intellectual wealth of their communities and promoted positive racial futurity. This section also introduces alumni, George Allen and Margeret Odle, who embodied the success of the Dorcas Society’s work outside the school in partnership with NYAFS’s curriculum. These two young students graduated from the NYAFS and went on to become prominent members of their Black communities.