Respond to at least (three) of the following six prompts. Be sure to use details and examples directly from the readings, lecture materials, class discussions, etc. to support your statements. Your responses should be numbered and should include the question. Be detailed and specific in your responses; get right to the point and do not generalize. Finally, be sure to revise and edit your post for organization, clarity, coherence, grammar, and mechanics before submitting it
1) Immediately following the Civil War, America enters a period of Reconstruction. Briefly describe that period and name what the various competing interests were; in other words, what did the south want? What did the north want? and What did Congress want? Addresss all three.
2) Define the “Negro problem.” How did Washington and Dubois differ in their views on racial uplift and in their solutions to the “Negro problem.” ( attachment )
3) The “Black Codes” were white southerners’ solution to the “Negro problem.” How did these laws impact the lives of newly freed Black people in the south? What are examples of modern day “Black Codes”? Name at least one and describe the effect it has on Black Americans (for example, “stop and frisk” or dress code policies).
( https://sites.google.com/a/email.cpcc.edu/black-codes-and-jim-crow/black-code-and-jim-crow-law-examples )
4) The “Freedom Amendments” were passed during Reconstruction. What were they and why were they critical to Black people’s fight for freedom and inclusion? What is the problem with the 13th amendment and the 15th amendment?
5) Ida B. Wells is considered to be one of the earliest advocates for criminal justice reform, especially in her fight to end lynching. In “The Red Record” She outlines very specifically the three main reasons for why lynching was used against Black people, and she skillfully refutes each reason, showing why it’s false. What does Wells say about lynching and what was her solution(s) to ending that practice?
6) Select a reading/author from the unit and discuss why or how that reading/author is an example of one or more of the rhetorical purposes we covered in the unit. Be specific! Name the rhetorical purpose(s) and use quotes or passages from the text to show how the reading/author demonstrates that purpose.
( https://www.facinghistory.org/reconstruction-era/presidential-reconstruction#:~:text=%28Johnson%20granted%20pardons%20to%20nearly%20all%20who%20applied.%29,required%20to%20allow%20African%20Americans%20to%20participate.%201 )
Racial Uplift Ideology in the Era of “the Negro Problem”
Kevin K. Gaines University of Michigan
National Humanities Center Fellow ©National Humanities
“How does it feel to be a problem,” the African American intellectual W. E. B. DuBois wondered in his 1903 classic The Souls of Black Folk. DuBois’s
question starkly captured the struggle of African Americans to forge and maintain a positive identity in a U.S. society that reduced their existence to
that singularly alienating phrase “the Negro problem.”
What historians refer to as racial uplift ideology describes the prominent response from Black middle-class leaders, spokespersons, and activists to
the crisis marked by the assault on the civil and political rights of African
Americans primarily in the U.S. South from roughly the 1880s to 1914. A generation earlier, the demise of slavery through emancipation had fueled
African Americans’ optimistic pursuit of education, full citizenship and economic independence, all crucial markers of freedom. But these
aspirations for social advancement, or uplift, came under assault by powerful whites seeking to regain control over African American labor. With the
withdrawal of federal troops from the south in 1877, southern white authorities banded together with impoverished whites under the banner of
white supremacy, and instituted a new system of racial subordination. Commonly known as Jim Crow, this system enforced by law and custom the
absolute separation of Blacks and whites in the workplace, schools, and virtually all phases of public life in the South.
The institution of Jim Crow state and local laws throughout the South gained the sanction of the federal government with the landmark Supreme Court
decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which used the rationale “separate but equal” to uphold a Louisiana statute mandating racial segregation in
railroad transportation. Jim Crow segregation confined the majority of African Americans to a state of economic peonage as agricultural workers,
making wage-earning jobs of the New South industrial order a whites-only economic preserve. Between 1890 and 1906, Blacks were eliminated from
the political arena as southern states amended their constitutions to deny Blacks the voting rights that had been guaranteed by the Fifteenth
Amendment (1870). Disfranchisement was enacted and enforced with thehttp://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DubSoul.htmlhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/freedom/1865-1917/essays/nadir.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/freedom/1865-1917/essays/nadir.htm
widespread use of violence, including lynching, to terrorize Blacks from
exercising political activism. As legally-sanctioned forms of racial exclusion, Jim Crow segregation and disfranchisement defined southern (and national)
politics well into the twentieth century, until the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Topeka Board of Education (1954) decision declared “separate but equal”
unconstitutional, and the Voting Rights Act (1965) outlawed restrictions on the suffrage.
Advocates of African American civil and political rights fought a lonely
struggle with few allies in a national climate of virulent anti-Black racism. White southern politicians and elite opinion leaders defended white
supremacy and proclaimed the moral, mental and physical depravity and
inferiority of Blacks from the press, pulpit, and university. The consensus was that Blacks were unfit for citizenship, and that plantation slavery, or the
neo-slavery of menial labor and sharecropping, was the natural state of Black people. Guided by southern apologists for lynching (the execution of
persons without benefit of trial by mobs), many whites, regardless of income or education, viewed the aspirations of Black men and women through the
warped lens of crude racial and sexual stereotypes that accused all Blacks of criminality and immorality.
Given the prevalence of such damning representations of Blacks, African
American leaders and public spokespersons, a growing, but small percentage
of the entire African American population, were under constant pressure to defend the image and honor of Black men and women. Black leaders in the
North were much freer to engage in political protest and condemn racial oppression in stronger terms than those leaders based in the South, where
political outspokenness could result in lynching or permanent exile. Not surprisingly, then, Black leaders differed on strategies for addressing “the
Negro problem.” So-called “radicals” advocated protest and agitation against lynching and disfranchisement, demanding full citizenship rights;
conservative leaders counseled accommodation, self-help, and the pursuit of property-ownership.
The issue of what sort of education was best suited for Blacks was a lightning rod of contention. Some leaders, based in the South, favored
industrial education, which emphasized manual training for agricultural and skilled jobs. Other Black leaders supported higher education for African
Americans, to ensure the development of a leadership and professional class. With opportunities for education of any sort limited by the white
South’s hostility, and with the preference of northern white-controlled philanthropy for industrial education, what were essentially complementary
forms of education became a source of intense conflict.http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/identity/text4/text4read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/politics/text5/text5read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/politics/text5/text5read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/institutions/text4/text4read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/institutions/text4/text4read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/politics/text6/text6read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/politics/text6/text6read.htm
Despite these political differences, Black leaders generally countered anti-
Black stereotypes by emphasizing class differences among Blacks, and their essential role as race leaders. From their perspective, to “uplift the race”
meant highlighting their function as elites to reform the character and manage the behavior of the Black masses. Against pervasive claims of Black
immorality and pathology, educated Blacks waged a battle over the representation of their people, a strategy with ambiguous implications and
results. They referred to themselves as a “better class” of Blacks, and demanded recognition of their respectability, and privileged status as agents
of Western progress and civilization. But in doing so, they ushered in a politics of internal class division (See also panel 53 in Jacob
Lawrence’s The Migration of the Negro.) that often seemed to internalize dominant notions of Black cultural depravity and backwardness even as they
sought to oppose racism. In other words, this method of opposing racism tacitly echoed dominant ideas of class and gender hierarchy. Their view that
social progress for Blacks was ideally measured in patriarchal terms of male-
headed families and homes produced tensions between educated men and women. Such expectations of female deference to male authority and
leadership were challenged by many educated Black women, such as Anna Julia Cooper and the anti-lynching activist and journalist, Ida B. Wells.
This version of racial uplift ideology as an anti-racist argument employed by
educated Blacks is best understood as a complex, varied and sometimes flawed response to a situation in which the range of political options for
African American leaders was limited by the violent and pervasive racism of the post-Reconstruction United States. By affirming their respectability
through the moralistic rhetoric of “uplifting the race,” and advocating the
moral guidance of the Black masses, African American middle-class leaders and spokespersons were marginalizing the idea of uplift in its more
democratic and inclusive sense of collective social advancement and demands for equal rights.
Many Black spokespersons sought to resolve this tension between individual
and group status by insisting that individual achievements benefited the entire race. However, many African American men and women interpreted
the rhetoric of uplift as a call to public service. They enacted ideals of self- help and service to the group in building educational, reformist social gospel
churches, civic and fraternal organizations, settlement houses, newspapers,
trade unions, and other public institutions whose constructive social impact exceeded the ideological limitations of uplift.
The mass migration of thousands of African Americans from the South to
northern cities during World War I provided new conditions and opportunities for social and political progress. The war had closed off immigration to thehttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/institutions/text5/text5read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/institutions/text5/text5read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/text6/text6read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/text10/text10read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/text10/text10read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/politics/text5/text5read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/institutions/text1/text1read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/institutions/text1/text1read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/institutions/text2/text2read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai2/institutions/text2/text2read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/community/text3/text3read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/migrations.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/migrations.htm
U.S. from southern and eastern Europe. Those immigrants had formed the
backbone of the industrial working class in the U.S., while 90 percent of the African American population remained in the South, confined to cotton
production on sharecropping plantations. Northern industrialists recruited African American labor en masse to solve the labor shortage caused by the
War’s cessation of immigration from Europe. And African American newspapers such as the Chicago Defender, covertly distributed below the
Mason-Dixon line, encouraged southern Blacks to leave behind poverty and brutality of Jim Crow for freedom, the right to vote, employment, and
educational opportunities in Northern cities. As early as the 1890s, Ida B. Wells and other African American leaders in the South had advocated out-
migration by Blacks as a means of protesting lynching and other forms of oppression, outraging southern authorities intent on keeping Blacks “in their
place” as a compliant and cowed agricultural work force. But World War I provided the catalyst for the northward migration for many thousands of
Black migration wrought profound transformations on African American
politics, society, culture and identity. African American leadership became more protest-oriented and ideologically diverse. Organizations such as the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) led by the Jamaican-
born Marcus Garvey attracted huge followings and gave voice to what many termed the “New Negro” spirit of protest and group assertiveness. As
thousands of African American migrants to cities competed with whites for scarce resources of jobs and housing, white mobs attacked African
Americans, leading to full-blown race riots. The “Red summer” of 1919 saw
outbreaks of urban disorder in many cities, including Chicago and Washington D.C. The African American press proudly reported that African
Americans exhibited the militancy of the New Negro in fighting back against these mob attacks. Black leaders spoke less of the crucial role of elites as
agents of racial uplift and increasingly embraced a politics of mass protest, labor organization, and economic analyses of the plight of African Americans.
In the realm of culture, new urban musical forms as the blues, gospel and jazz voiced the social outlook and aspirations of working class Blacks, and
increasingly came to define African American popular culture, even as some educated Blacks considered these musical styles controversial and not
refined enough to represent the race in a respectable manner.
Racial uplift ideology, the belief that educated, elite Blacks have a duty and
responsibility for the welfare of the majority of African Americans, remains an influential framework among African Americans for understanding the
challenges they continue to face. The persistence of racial stereotypes and prejudice fuels the perception among many Blacks that racist attitudes musthttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/text2/text2read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/twenty/tkeyinfo/garvey.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/text8/text8read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/text3/text3read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/text3/text3read.htmhttp://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/migrations/text5/text5read.htm
be countered by positive images and exemplary behavior by Blacks.
Moreover, the fragility of African American social progress and conservative attacks on civil rights reforms since the 1980s have contributed to a
renewed popularity of self-help ideology and efforts, as seen in the Million Man March of 1995. Despite the significant changes produced by the civil
rights movement, U.S. society remains deeply segregated, at the level of its schools, residential neighborhoods, and church life. Among African
Americans the divide in income, social class, and cultural values is arguably increasing. These conditions seem to assure the continued salience of racial
uplift ideology, though whether it assumes a liberal or conservative form depends on its larger sociopolitical context.