By 1880, exactly half the states outside the old South had introduced compulsory education legislation, the first being Massachusetts (1852). The primary driver was the assimilation of migrant populations (and an attendant suspicion of religious school alternatives); General Richard Henry Pratt championed the extension of education (to achieve assimilation) to Native Americans. The banning of child-labour often reinforced the legislation. The South, with a political ruling class antithetic to the assimilation of its black population, lagged behind: compulsory education was introduced first in Delaware (1907), and finally in Mississippi in 1918. The introduction of laws did not mean compulsory education was enforced, or adequately funded. A fundamental aspect of the Jim Crow Laws introduced throughout the South (1895–1910) was to undermine most potential routes for black advancement, including funding for their segregated black schools and libraries, and the availability of training for black teachers and other professionals.
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