The number of public schools in the South greatly increased after the Civil War, adding to the opportunities for girls to get an education and for women to teach.
Both the Freedmen’s Bureau (a government agency) and the American Missionary Association (a Protestant group) started many schools for newly freed African Americans, both children and adults.
By 1869 some 9,000 teachers, most of them women, were working in these schools. Both the teachers and the students, however, had to brave violent white mobs who opposed education for African Americans.
Lucy Stone was such an excellent student that she was invited to write a speech for her graduation from Oberlin College in 1847.
She refused because women were not allowed to present their own speeches; instead, her speech would have been given to a man to read.