Whatever may be our just grievances in the southern states, it is fitting that we acknowledge that, considering their poverty and past relationship to the Negro race, they have done remarkably well for the cause of education among us. That the whole South should commit itself to the principle that the colored people have a right to be educated is an immense acquisition to the cause of popular education.
Fannie Barrier Williams (1855–1944), African American advocate of civil rights and women's rights. As quoted in Black Women in Nineteenth-Century American Life, ch. 3, by Bert James Loewenberg and Ruth Bogin (1976).
Born in Brockport, New York, to a distinguished free African American family, Williams had taught school in the South before marrying a Chicago attorney. This is from "Religious Duty to the Negro," an 1893 speech she made in Chicago before the World's Parliament of Religions.