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This Day in Georgia History

December 22, 1829

Act Outlawed Teaching Blacks to Read or Write

Gov. George Gilmer signed an act forbidding the teaching of slaves or free blacks to read or write. The law was enacted following the appearance in Savannah of copies of David Walker’s Appeal–a Sept. 1829 pamphlet advocating slave resistance published by a black abolitionist in Boston. According to Georgia’s new law, a slave or free black caught teaching another slave or free black to read or write faced punishment of a fine and/or whipping. For whites, the punishment was a fine up to $500 and/or imprisonment.