Over the years, scholars have considered the differences between Southern states and Northern states’ treatment of slaves. Although there were some differences, many scholars speculate that many slaves were treated as unequal or abused in the Northern states and even in Canada. As a result, some differences between the states can be seen, such as during the Civil War; however, many similarities remained including poor education.
In the North during the Civil War, the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was comprised of African-American soldiers. For this regiment, the soldiers were trained to fight; however, they often lacked pay, shoes, and food compared to the white Northern troops. The regiment had to not only fight against the South, but also against the racist attitudes of the North. Despite these struggles, they still overcame and played in important role in the Civil War.
This was not the only example of maltreatment that the African-Americans confronted during the Civil War. Unfortunately, in the North, only a few schools for African-American children existed and few would hardly be considered “educational” today. For example, even in Canada, teachers of African-American children would not educate the students. There are even stories of the teachers being intoxicated while teaching.
Therefore, although differences existed in the North, such as actually having an African-American regiment, the slaves still had to confront many barriers. Some of the slaves continued heading North into Canada for hopes of a better future while others (if they financially were able) left America altogether and went to France for more freedom.
Bodden, Donna, and Eleanor Lang. The Eloquent War: Personal and Public Writings from the Civil War. St. James, NY: Brandywine, 1999. Print.