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Horace Mann
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Educator
    (May 4, 1796-August 2, 1859)
    Born in Franklin, Massachusetts
    Politician and educational reformer
    Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1827-33) and Senate (1833-37)
    Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education (1837-48)
    US Representative from Massachusetts (1848-53)
    President of Antioch College (1853-59)
    Called 'the father of American public education'
    Ironically, growing up he never had more than six weeks of schooling in a year.
    He spent his honeymoon investigating schools in Europe.
    His opposition to having public schools provide religious instruction led one minister to call him 'a grand instrument in the hands of free thinkers, atheists and infidels.'
    He agreed to become president of Antioch College only after unsuccessfully running for governor of Massachusetts.
    Despite his sporadic schooling, he enrolled in Brown University and graduated in only three years as valedictorian of his class.
    He took a 50% pay cut to join the Board of Education.
    By the time he left the Board, the state legislature had more than doubled its school appropriations, teacher salaries had increased more than 50%, and the state had established its first schools for training teachers.
    While serving in Congress, he volunteered as a lawyer for two men charged with theft for aiding 76 slaves in an attempt to escape from the District of Columbia to free territory.
    His message in his last commencement address, 'Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity,' was adopted as the motto of Antioch College.

Credit: C. Fishel


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