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The Road to True Freedom: African American Alternatives in the New South - Essay Example

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Reconstruction after the deadly civil war in America gave the African Americans hope of achieving full equality and citizenship but these hopes were dashed by the end of reconstruction. Though the blacks had achieved civil and political rights through the thirteenth, fourteenth…
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The Road to True Freedom: African American Alternatives in the New South
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Download file to see previous pages The Southern states also disfranchised the blacks through violence and intimidation and sometimes lynching. Between 1889 and 1900, 1357 lynching was conducted (p. 30). The New South thus was far from achieving equality and many opinions on how African Americans could best achieve equality in the United States were put forward. This paper will focus on the competing views of five spokespersons enumerated in this chapter: Ida Wells, Booker T. Washington, Henry Turner, W.E.B DuBois, and Frances Harper.
Ida B. Wells in the United States Atrocities argued that those who discriminated the African Americans deserved severe punishment but since this was not forthcoming especially due to laxity of laws, public sentiment was to be used to demand action. Those who watched Afro-Americans being discriminated and kept silent were to be considered as “accomplices, accessories and equally guilty” of that action (p. 40). She advocated adopting the model of withdrawing labour from whites businesses and farms. Since the South economy depended on black labour, it would suffer tremendously if labour were to be removed. She asserted that “the white man’s dollar is his god” to show how important labour was for business. She gave an example of Memphis where business stagnated due to people leaving the city in thousands thus withdrawing labour. She also advocated for boycotts to force whites to negotiate their equality such as in Kentucky. The African American press was to be an important tool for championing black rights.
Booker T. Washington in the Atlanta Exposition Address in 1895 argued that the Negro race comprised a high proportion of population (one-third) hence deserved recognition and enjoyment of full rights as whites. However, unlike Wells he argued that blacks have to earn their rights through struggle rather than force. This is a process that entails beginning from the bottom and progressing through life by working hard. In ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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