Despite the fact that blacks faced harsh discrimination and mistreatment by the dominant culture, especially during the nineteenth century and during the early part of the twentieth century, there were a select few who did not allow such treatment to stop them from making something of themselves. Some even pursued higher education and became scholars. The interpretation of the thirteenth amendment by black scholars has changed over the past three centuries, as it has held different meaning depending upon the time period in which the scholars lived.
One notable black scholar of the nineteenth century was Daniel Alexander Payne. Pain was born in Charleston South Carolina in 1811 to two free parents. Unfortunately, his father passed when he was four, and his mother followed five years later, leaving him to be raised by his great aunt for the remainder of his childhood. Pain was not left to chance, however, because his aunt saw to it that he would become a well accomplished man, despite the opposition that people of his time faced by the dominant culture and their efforts to marginalize blacks. Payne attended school for two years, and then he studied with Thomas S. Bunneau, who was his private tutor until the age of twelve, when he began working for a shoe merchant. Payne held two additional jobs after working for the shoe merchant—working in the field of carpentry at the age of thirteen and then as a Taylor—which then led to him opening up a school for black children at the age of nineteen. Unfortunately, an amendment to the act that was in relation to slaves and free people of color was passed, and this led to the closing of the school (Taylor).
Upon closing his school, Payne went north, determined to make something of himself. While in Gettysburg PA, he studied at the Lutheran seminary. Then, in 1837, he joined the Lutheran church, where he became an ordained minister. When Payne was ordained, he delivered a speech that spoke of how slave was a form of brutality and that it had to be abolished. During his time at the Lutheran church, Payne reopened a school for black children in 1840, picking up where he had left off in South Carolina before he had to move north. He remained with the Lutheran church for two more years, and then he joined the AMME church, where he helped to better their ministry, as well as the programs that dealt with foreign affairs. It was also at this church where he set up a program that aided runaway slaves, providing them with food and shelter along their journey to Canada, where they would be free of forced servitude (Taylor).
While he was successful in the north, he knew that he had to go back down south to finish where he had left off. When the 13th amendment was passed and ratified in 1865, he felt that it was possible to do such things, since there were no longer any restrictions on people of color, and this Constitutional amendment overthrew the earlier bill that was amended, which