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Poe, Caroline (1832–unknown)

Juliana Barr Biography Entry

Caroline Poe, Black teacher, was born a slave in Tennessee in 1832. With her husband, Sebrem or Seben Poe, she had three children. In Marshall, Texas, she organized one of the two Freedmen's Bureau schools for Blacks in Harrison County and taught a monthly average of fifty students in 1868–69 despite the lack of support from the white community, the financial limitations of local Blacks struggling in a year of poor crops, and the absence of a salary from the bureau. In 1869, along with the other bureau teacher, William Massey, she helped found a new school building to replace the two rundown schoolhouses that had been the only places of education for Black children in Marshall. Despite the end of the bureau's educational efforts in Texas in 1870, the fall of 1871 found Caroline Poe back in the schoolroom as one of twelve teachers hired for Harrison County following the passage of the Texas public school law of 1871. She also played active roles in different organizations, including the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Colored Women's Christian Temperance Union in Texas, for which she was elected state organizer in 1887.

Randolph B. Campbell, A Southern Community in Crisis: Harrison County, Texas, 1850–1880 (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1983). Ruthe Winegarten, Black Texas Women: 150 Years of Trial and Triumph (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995).


  • Education
  • Educators
  • General Education
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Women

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Juliana Barr, “Poe, Caroline,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 20, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: