The Allegiance Academy: Gaudete et vinculae tua!
Of all of the prestigious schools of American wizardry, there are none with such a rebellious and turbulent history as the Allegiance Academy. Originally founded to host and protect black wizards and witches over the course of their education, the Allegiance Academy stands as a stony sentinel off the shores of Georgia. Built around the ruins of the pirated slave-ship Allegiance, the school was founded by four of the most powerful, and some detractors would say volatile mages of the 19th century: “Mother” Irma Cove, Tulia and Tybalt Le Loup, and the ever eccentric Catherine Valentine.
Though forgotten in muggle history books, the four founders of the Allegiance Academy were prominent leaders in the Underground Railroad.Tulia, Tybalt and Irma had all started their lives as slaves (Irma having actually be the muggle-born daughter of Madame Valentine’s personal servant) and while they came to their magic through separate routes, they nonetheless dedicated their lives to the salvation of other black men and women kept in bondage.
Of especial interest to them were those poor children born into slavery who possessed magical talent. Such children, either muggle-born or conceived from the rape of a muggle mother by her wizarding owner, had an especially precarious place in society. Those whites who believed blacks were even capable of magic did not believe they deserved it, and saw wizards and witches amongst the slaves as grave dangers. Those allowed to live past their first manifestation of magic were usually kept ignorant of their powers, and kept bound by unbreakable vows that reduced them below even the roughest muggle. A slave so bound had not freedom, and was forced to always speak the truth and report dangers of their masters. Many a potential revolt was defused by a slave forced to betray their fellows, despite their best attempts to disobey. Shunned by both sides, such wizards and witches often gave in to despair.
The founders of the Allegiance Academy worked hard to find these children before their masters did, and abscond with them before such bindings could be put in place. But as time went on, and the number of free children with magical talent grew, the founders realized their was a problem. It would be more than 100 years before the Randolph-Peyton Institute would be forced to accept black students, and while the Salem Institute was more sympathetic, it was none the less the type of sympathy they preferred to keep at one removed. Even free-born blacks in the north had a higher bar to meet to obtain a place in New England’s prestigious academy than their white counterparts. Valentine did what she could to place the children in friendly homes, and those who seemed in control of their powers were allowed to stay with their families, but there was always a chance that such a child, under the stress of flight to the north, would loose control of their magic and expose the whole party.
So Irma Cove hatched a daring scheme. Taking a party of trusted allies, she boarded the muggle slave-ship, The Allegiance, and quelled the crew through magic. As she charted their course due south, Tybalt and Tulia ran ahead of them, in the form of hawk and wolf, and gathered all of the wizarding children they’d freed from slavery. On the way south the Allegiance took on these children, and bore them down to a small island off the coast of Georgia. Located east of the St. Andrew Sound a stretch of water charmingly referred to as “The Hole,” this island had long been shunned as a cursed and haunted place by muggles and wizard alike.
Using their magic the wizards set the ship on the center of the island, and around it they raised their school. Tybalt Le Loup, master of transfiguration, spent the next five years shifting the stones of the island around the pirated ship until the fortresslike edifice of the Allegiance Academy stood strong and broad against the southern horizon. Its defenses were potent and varied. Not only was it protected by its thick walls, powerful wardings, and obscure African sorcery (taught to Tybalt and Tulia by their uncle, the famous Le Loup), the school also and four massive cannons liberated by Irma shortly before the Civil War, and a host of tamed sharks (said to be the transfigured slavers that once crewed the Allegiance).
Shortly after its founding, the Allegiance Academy became the first and only school to technically be at war with the American Wizarding Confederation. For more than half a century, from its founding in 1839 until its official recognition in 1901, the school was a rogue organization under siege, and a polarizing point in the politics of the mainland. Today the Allegiance Academy is a strong contender for greatness, easily challenging RPI and SI for national recognition and prestige. It maintains its looming presence, and at its heart the slave ship remains, complete with iron chains and billowing sails: a constant reminder to its students, lest they forget the history of oppression and struggle that forged their proud alma mater.
Despite its apparent gloom and doom, the Allegiance Academy remains a place of safety and comfort to its students, and all those who remain oppressed.