African American and American Society
HIS 206 – United States History II
African Americans and American Society
African Americans have come along way since 1877. During the 1800’s, Jim Crow laws were created to enforce racial segregation between African Americans and White people. Schools, parks, cemeteries, restaurants and more were part of the segregation that chose to keep blacks and whites from being treated equally. According to our textbook, Republicans redefined their alliances, more often than not siding with business and ignoring the plights of African Americans and workers.” (Barnes & Bowles, 2014, 3.1, para. 1) The experiences and beliefs that African Americans were faced with shaped them into strong people that fought to stand up for what they believe in and fight for equal rights and end segregation. Although it took an extremely long time, for the restrictions to be removed, it was worth the fight to end to segregation. While African Americans might have struggled to get where they are today, many laws were enforced to help American society gain equality for generations to come.
In 1920, following World War I, before “The New Negro” was established, African Americans were discriminated against and treated poorly. Over 4 million people served in the military and 13% of those served were African Americans. If someone is willing to fight and defend their country, they should be accepted and treated fairly regardless of the color of their skin. However, White people harassed and attacked African Americans mentally, physically and emotionally. The New Negro was important because, during the 1920’s, African Americans were going through a movement known as “The Harlem Renaissance” which was a positive change for African Americans through the body of art, music, and literature. According to the article by (Hart, 1921), “The 1920’s were marked by a flowering of cultural expressions and a proliferation of black self-help organizations that accompanied the era of the “New Negro”. The minister wanted to make a difference by defending black communities against white racists to show them that they should all be treated equally.
In the fall of 1874, Circuit County of Ohio County, West Virginia, a colored man named Strauder was indicted for murder and upon trial was convicted and sentenced. The fourteenth amendment allowed citizenship and the privileges of citizenship to any race including those of color, but withheld power to withhold from them the equal protection of the laws, and allowed Congress to gain power, using appropriate legislation.. A speech written in 1980 states
…the Fourteenth Amendment makes no attempt to enumerate the rights it is designed to protect. It speaks in general terms, and those are as comprehensive as possible. Its language is prohibitory; but every prohibition implies the existence of rights and immunities, prominent among which is an immunity from inequality of legal protection, either for life, liberty, or property. Any State action that denies this immunity to a colored man is in conflict with the Constitution. (Strauder v West Virginia, 1880)
In addition, Strauder was denied the rights to which he was entitled to under the Constitution of the United States. Strauder fought for what he believed in and was entitled to immunity due to the discrimination and unfair acts that were placed against him.
Spanning from the 1930’s to present day in Memphis, Tennessee Black southerners struggled through segregation and the black labor during the industrial era. The eBook called “Black Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle” is about the struggle that Black workers faced before the Civil Rights movement was passed in Congress. It describes the challenged and struggles they went through to raise their families through poverty, and during a globalized capitalist economy. However, in the end, African Americans pushed through everything, racism, poverty and more so that they could have the life they wanted, which gave them Civil Rights and Freedom.
During the mid 1960’s, in Claiborne County, Mississippi a woman named Emilye Crosby wanted to study the impact of the African American struggle of the national movement. Crobsy would use successful tactics, the role of leadership, and armed self-defense to determine the complicated roles that African Americans and Whites were faced with during the movement. Mrs. Crosby acted on local issues by studying Black activists and White Supremacy to better analyze the issues that were currently taking place. A highly effective boycott eventually caused the Supreme Court to affirm political protest. The NAACP leader Charles Evers, was able to gain a significant amount of support from the National NAACP, the segregationist Sovereignty Commission, and white liberals. Crosby worked hard to create traditional sources so that she could analyze the political and economic issues that existed during the postmovement period. Freedom movement was a struggle for small rural black communities. This event was historically significant because Crosby made an impact on the community due to a movement and the resilience of White Supremacy.
In conclusion, African Americans have been faced with many challenges such as slavery, not being allowed to vote, segregation, bus boycotts and more. All they wanted was to have freedom and to be treated equally and fairly just like any other American. Over time, freedom is still not something that many do not have. As Americans of the United States, we are given many rights of freedom such as Freedom of speech, Freedom of Press and more. The experiences and beliefs that African Americans were faced with shaped them into strong people that have fought to stand up for what they believe in and fight for equal rights and end segregation. Although, it took an extremely long time, for the restrictions to be removed, it was worth the fight to end to segregation. Although many African Americans have struggled to get where they are today, but many laws have been created and enforced to help American society gain equality for generations to come.
Barnes, L. & Bowles, M. (2014). The American story: Perspectives and encounters from 1877 [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/
Crosby, Emilye. Little Taste of Freedom : The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi, The University of North Carolina Press, 2005. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=427121.
Hartt, R. L. (1921, Jan. 15). “The new Negro”: “When he’s hit, he hits back!” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Independent, 76, 59-60. Retrieved from http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5127
Honey, M. K. (1999). Black Workers Remembe: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press.
Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 188
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