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Ira AldridgeIra Aldridge
Charles C. AndrewsCharles C. Andrews
Samuel E. CornishSamuel E. Cornish
Alexander CrummellAlexander Crummell
Henry Highland GarnetHenry Highland Garnet
James McCune SmithJames McCune Smith
John TeasmanJohn Teasman

Charles C. Andrews

The schoolmaster of the New York African Free School for over twenty years, Andrews is a somewhat controversial figure. Because the Manumission Society chose to hire Andrews, a white man, to replace the school's former schoolmaster, the black John Teasman, some historians see Andrews as an instrument of the Manumission Society's mixed feelings towards African American students. Andrews did certainly offend some members of the black community. In 1831, he was forced to resign.

Accounts vary about the reason for Andrews's abrupt choice to leave a job he had held for over twenty years. At least one historian suggests that Andrews whipped a black student for calling a black man a "gentleman," outraging parents who saw this act as both abusive and indicative of Andrews's belief that no black person could ever claim such a title of gentility. Several accounts attribute Andrews's resignation to the ire caused by his favorable attitude towards colonization. Such views were highly controversial at the time, and most black New Yorkers were firmly against the policy. (Notably, several of Andrews's former students, including Henry Highland Garnet and Alexander Crummell, were supporters of colonization.)

Yet the condemnation of Andrews was far from unanimous in the black community. Former student James McCune Smith speaks fondly of his former schoolteacher, arguing that he "held that his pupils had as much capacity to acquire knowledge as any other children," and that the students were "the object of his constant labors." "This [the resignation and disgrace that accompanied it] was a sore trial for the 'old scholars' whose attachment to their teacher was strong and ardent." Smith also suggested that Andrews's old students came to his aid after his resignation, At any rate, Andrews was later installed in a high school for black students—a school later attended by his former student at the New York African Free School, Henry Highland Garnet, among others.