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Old News Stories
Guard Halts Teaching Black Boy, 1832

From The Cherokee Phoenix
New Echota
March 16, 1832

On last Thursday, a company of the Georgia Guard visited a school in this place, under the care of Miss Sawyer, a missionary under the American Board. It had been understood by, them that she had been giving instructions to a little black boy, and teaching him to read the bible. Miss Sawyer was warned, by a Sergeant who commanded the Guard, to forthwith desist from teaching the black boy. It appeared that at the last sitting of the Legislature of Georgia, an act was passed making it unlawful for any person to give instruction to any-black person in the State, under the penalty of not less than $1000, nor exceeding $5000, and imprisonment until the fine is paid, for every such offence. Whether Miss Sawyer had ever heard of the existence of such a law, before she took the boy into school, we are not able to say; but it is very likely she never had. She was promised to be arraigned at the next Superior Court in the newly formed city called "Cherokee,"on the 4th Monday in this month, providing she persists in teaching the boy.

The Guard arrested two young white men, a few miles from this place: Robert Agnew and Jack Murry; the former had been living in the neighborhood where he was arrested two or three years, the other lives on the Alabama side of the nation.

A young lady is teaching a poor little black boy to read the bible—the word of him who spoke as never man spoke—and she is forthwith visited by a ruffian Guard, with bayonets fixed, and ordered to desist. This, too, in a land of freedom!—in a country where the Guard has no legal right to remain an hour.

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