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. ...Show more