Peabody Education Fund - American Education
A philanthropic trust established in 1867 by Massachusetts financier and railroad magnate GEORGE FOSTER PEABODY to build schools and promote education in the south. Like many northerners after the Civil War, Peabody believed that the best way to teach the defeated South the error of its ways was to teach it northern values and culture, primarily through education in common schools. It was “up to the teacher to finish the job that the soldier had begun,” said one educator at the time, and hundreds of young, northern men and women marched south under the auspices of the Freedmen’s Bureau to educate freedmen. To help that work, Peabody established his fund “for the promotion and encouragement of intellectual, moral, or industrial education among the young of the more destitute portions of the southern and southwestern states of our Union; my purpose being that the benefits shall be distributed among the entire population without other distinction than their needs and the opportunities of usefulness to them.” The Peabody Fund’s major initial contribution was the establishment of the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee, which trained hundreds of teachers who fanned out across the South opening new schools. Other Peabody Fund gifts helped underwrite the founding of teacher training schools in Georgia and other states.