Jim Crow/ Gilded age 1876-1910

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  • The 'Gilded Age'/Jim Crow: 1876-1910
    • Jim Crow Laws-
      • Why they came about-
        • Came from Black codes
        • Powers given to individual states under Const facilitated intro of Jim Crow laws.
          • Individual states controlled voting, education, transport and law enforcement.
        • To discriminate against blacks and in favor of segregation.
      • Segregation-
        • The segregation of schools, houses and public facilities spread quickly after 1865.
        • Between 1881-1915, S states passed laws that insisted on seperation of whites and blacks in trains, streetcars, stations, theaters  churches, parks, schools, restaurants, and cemeteries.
        • Whites were not to use black prostitutes.
        • Textboooks for use in white schools were not to be stored with textbooks for blacks schools.
        • Whites and Blacks forbidden to play checkers with each other.
      • Jim Crow laws demonstrated Black legal inequality.
      • Who was Jim Crow-
        • An early 1830's comic, black faced minstrel character, developed by a white performing artist that proved to be very popular with white audiences. When, after Reconstruction S sttaes introduced laws that legalised segregation these were known as Jim Crow laws.
    • Supreme Court and Blacks-
      • PLESSY v FERGUSON- 1896
        • What happened?
          • Homer Plessy- shoemaker/carpenter; black grandparents- looked white; boarded white carriage for black activists who wanted to test whether the Louisiana separate car law was constitutional.
            • He was arrested and his lawyers argued his arrest violated the 13th Amendment and 14th Amendment.
              • However, judge ruled in favor of state rights. -Separate but equal was not against the 14th amendment.
                • The Louisiana supreme court upheld decision approving separate carriages.
      • The S ignored the US Constitution with the collusion of the supreme court.
        • Did not prevent S states spending 10 times more on white schools than on black.
        • Did not prevent S states from not upholding the 15th Amendment, which said blacks should be able to vote.
    • Interpretations of the Reconstruction afterwards-
      • W.E.B Du Bois and Marxist interpretation:
        • Marxist historian- Believes that history has been deeply shaped by economic circumstances. Influence by the ideology of philosopher Karl Marx.
        • Late 1870s-1950s: N + S historians wrote about R with presumption of black racial inferiority. i.e James Ford Rhode (1928).
          • Black historians (W.E.B Du Bois) naturally disagreed with Rhodes view. -Du Bois view: class struggle + racial tensions, behind white efforts to keep B's down in R and after R. (1935)
            • Historians disliked this marxist view.
      • Was Reconstruction successful?
        • Eric Foner  1988 said yes because blacks participated in S politics.
        • Richard Ranson said yes because  blacks did much better economically than most historians have thought.
        • James McPherson (1998) saw Reconstruction as a worthy experiment by the federal government.
        • W.A Dunning 1907 said it was a failure because S whites suffered at the hands of incompetent black politicians and corrupt hard N politicians Kenneth stampp and john Hope Franklin, writing in the 1960s said it was a failure but from the black viewpoint as blacks remained second-class citizens.
      • Black  Historian who fought for the N: George Washington Williams
        • He blamed the failure of Reconstruction on 'an ignorant black majority, without competent leaders' who had been unable to rule 'an intelligent caucasion minority ' 1883
      • President Grant's vice-president Henry Wilson:
        • Wilson blame S W racists for the fact that B political participation did not last.
        • Would be biased and not blame Grant or republicans for failure of Reconstruction.
        • Historians say Grant was more supportive of black improvment than once thought-
          • Wilson ommited, Republicansin N were tired of S and black problems and Grant was forced to withdraw federal troops from S.
    • Erosion of  Black Freedoms in South after 1877-
      • The federal government in Washington wanted to concentrate on the N rather than racial problems in S.
      • The Constitution gave the S states power over voting, transport, law enforcement, which enabled segregation to spread and work.
      • Republican voters were mostly N's and N's were sick of S's 'black question'.
      • S Whites used violence and intimidation against blacks.
      • Most  S's and some N's believed blacks were inferior and did not deserve equality.
      • Most S's either resented blacks as possible rivals for jobs or wanted to exploit blacks as cheap labour.
      • The Supreme Court did nothing to ensure that the 14th and 15th amendment were upheld.
    • Lynching-
      • LYNCHING: Unlawful killing (usually hanging of blacks on trees)
      • Between 1885-1917, 2734 blacks were lynched in USA.
        • Those responsible for lynchings were never bought to justice- widespread support for their actions.
          • Blacks had no legal protection.
    • Blacks response to their deteriorating situation-
      • Co-operation:
        • The people's party (populists) established  1892- fusion with   blacks and republicans against democrats.
        • 1894 North Carolina Populist-Republican co-operation got 1000 blacks in office.
          • The people's party (populists) established  1892- fusion with   blacks and republicans against democrats.
          • 1898, Red Shirts from Democratic party used intimidation racist slurs to end co-operation. 'Fusion'
            • Blacks were depicted as rapists, Whites rioted in  Wilmington and ensured some blacks were expelled and all blacks were disenfranchised.
              • President McKinley (Republican) rejected appeals for help.
        • Key date- North Carolina 'experiment in biracial democracy'1894-1898
      • Emigration and migration:
        • It was hard for blacks to leave the S-
        • Because they only had basic agricultural skills and their illiteracy made migration to N cities frightening prospect esp as N employers and unions excluded black labor.
        • However, N migration was very popular.
          • 1880-1900: Chicago's B population - 6480 to 30,150.
        • Some S B's moved west: Oklahoma, 25 all-black towns were founded.
        • Others moved to Africa to establish their own nation- however it was expensive and impractical.
      • Political Protest:
        • Throughout S B's held 'Indignation meetings'; formed equal rights leagues,filed lawsuits to combat discrimination an boycotted newly-segregated public transport in 25 states.
        • Going against accommodationist Douglass- T. Thomas Fortune created the Afro-american league. In 1890
          • Afro-American League 1890, Aims:
            • 1- To promote black economic and educational progress.
            • 2. To unite blacks in protest against injustice.
          • The League was killed off by 1893; because of death of president and other factors such as divisions within the league.
        • Not surprisingly B's thought accommodation was better than this.
      • Accommodationisim:
        • Believed the best way for blacks to survive was to accept the status quo and make the most of their economic opportunities.
        • Strongest supporters of this were teachers and ministers [black] because they were motivated by the need for continued white support for black schools + colleges.
          • Ministers because they often interpreted white supremacy as God's  punishment for blacks not focusing on religion.
  • Accommodationists- Those who favored initial black economic development rather than, political, social, legal equality.
    • Accommodationisim:
      • Believed the best way for blacks to survive was to accept the status quo and make the most of their economic opportunities.
      • Strongest supporters of this were teachers and ministers [black] because they were motivated by the need for continued white support for black schools + colleges.
        • Ministers because they often interpreted white supremacy as God's  punishment for blacks not focusing on religion.
  • Frederick Douglass
    • 1818-1895
    • 1818; born in Maryland, the son of a black slave mother and a white father.
    • 1830; Learnt to read and write, despite laws against slave literacy.
    • 1838; escaped from slavery. Settled in N Massachusetts.
    • 1841; Joined and became a prominent speaker for anti-slavery movement. White abolitionist told him to speak less intelligently as people could not believe he had been a slave.
    • 1845; Wrote his autobiography Narrative of the life of Fredrick Douglass, ETC
      • This made him the most famous black person in the world (Blight 1993)
    • 1847; Edited weekly reform journal
    • 1852; wrote novel: The Heroic Slave, showed his conviction for slaves rebel for freedom.
    • 1856; Endorsed Republicans.
    • Spoke widely in favor of L's E.P in 1863, but scolded L about discrimination of black troops in Union army.
    • 1865- campaigned for equal citizenship for blacks.
    • 1877Criticized for failing to criticise the R's abandonment of the Reconstruction experiment.
    • 1877-81- Us Marshal for the District of Columbia.
    • 1882- When his first wife died he married a white woman which annoyed blacks and whites.
    • 1890s- Denounced lynching, disenfranchisement and segregation in S.

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