African - American Civil Rights in the USA 1865-1992

African- American Civil Rights

 

Position in 1865 - 1900

·      4 million slaves at the start of the Civil War

·      Emancipated by the 13th amendment

·      Constitution says an African American is worth 2/3 of a white person

·      North don’t want blacks to be included in votes etc. – give South an advantage

·      States have the power to make their own legislation – dangerous for CR in South.

Options:

-       All former slaves should leave the USA

-       Should be given the same rights as whites

-       ‘Sharecropping’ – Former slaves returned to owners for a share of what was produced. Former slaves could move, marry and have children without them being taken away but still had limited liberty

LEGALLY FREE BUT NOT SEEN AS EQUAL

 

Violence and segregation increased markedly

 

Post- war period characterised by uncertainty

Ø  Govt. unsure of what to do with millions of free

Ø  White population unsure how to react to further equality

Ø  African Americans were uncertain of their role and how to press for equality

 

What’s going to change?

Factors

-       WW1 & 2

-       Great Migration

-       Jazz Age

Leaders

-       Du Bois

-       Washington

-       Marcus Garvey

-       Ida. B Wells

Organisations

-       Niagara – NAACP

-       SNCC

 

W.E.B Du Bois

 

-       Had an idea that there should be an elite called the ‘talented tenth’ to lead African Americans to equality and integration

-       Appalled by lynching – 1700 were lynched 1885- 1894

-       Accepted alliance with white supporters

-       Founder member and only AA to hold office in NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

-       Recognised progress in CR movement -  by 1913 AA owned 40,000 businesses, literacy rates of 70%

-       Organised protest walk in NY in 1917, anticipating later CR marches

-       After 1919 racial violence, interests shift to international affairs and pan- Africanism (belief of solidarity among Africans globally)

-       Focused attention on publicising Civil Rights through media e.g. wrote for Crisis magazine

-       Interest in pan- Africanism shared by Marcus Garvey – DuBois radical, but not as radical as Garvey’s belief in sending AA ‘back’ to Liberia

 

So What?

·      Showed the importance of the role of the press in publicising CR

·      Showed variation in individual leadership of CR

·      However his radicalism led him along different paths – e.g. pan- Africanism

·      Didn’t believe in collective action – thought an ‘elite’ group should push for rights (Talented Tenth)

·      Talented orator, motivated groups to be proactive – precursor to Martin Luther King’s work

·      Motivating through passionate rhetoric, better than ‘dry rationalism’ of Washington

·      Because of differences between him and Washington, CR movement lost out with split of supporters and diverging leadership

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