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Rethinking Race and the origins of a split among white v. black and black v. black
Professor Robert J. Norrell • Professor Norrell is the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Tübingen for 2010-2011. A native of Alabama, he earned the B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. Professor Norrell writes mainly about American race relations. In 2009 Norrell published a revisionist biography, Up from History: the Life of Booker T. Washington, to some acclaim.* In 2005 he published a well-reviewed interpretive synthesis of race relations in the twentieth-century United States,
PLEASE TAKE NOTE • Mr. Davison does not in any way endorse racism or racial stereotypes • Historically we must learn how these stereotypes take shape in our collective consciousness • Racism is learned behavior • We must therefore understand how it develops to avoid it developing again • How the “N word” became a dirty word!!
In the Beginning • Booker T. Washington v. George Washington Carver and W.E.B. DuBoise- 3 Men = 3 differing ideas
Lifting the Veil of ignorance or lowering it down over African Americans?
Lynching • Between 1889 and 1918, a total of 2,522 black Americans were lynched • Myth: punishment for rape but lynching mostly from conflicts over money • “The real purpose of these savage demonstrations is to teach the Negro that in the South he has no rights that the law will enforce. Samuel Hose was burned to teach the Negroes that no matter what a white man does to them, they must not resist.”--Ida Wells-Barnett
White supremacy in our culture is nothing new! • Minstrel shows • Thomas Rice singer and performer and his character “Jumpin’ Jim Crow.”
Minstrel race stereotypes Zip Coon the Dandy accompanied by Jim Crow (note the ill fitting clothing and the clownish tiny hat)
Tin Pan Alley Sheet music
Newspapers became more visual in the 1890s. Ads routinely appealed to race.
Question???? • Why do you think in this age of rapid industrialization and massive immigration that more and more people would discriminate against RACE?
Illustrated Police/ court columns
Thomas Dixon, novelist • Blacks as economic competitors
Film: Birth of a Nation • Based on Thomas Dixon’s best-selling racist fiction • First modern American film, 1915 • Huge audience
Amos ‘n’ Andy take racist images to radio
Ben Tillman, SC The Negro bears about him a birthright of inferiority that is as unalterable as eternity. [God] has also set his seal upon the Negro forever in his black skin, kinky hair,, thick lips, flat nose, double layer of skull . . . His stupid intellect is fulfilled in prophesy, uttered thousands of years ago, but no less true today. “A servant of servants shalt thou be.”
White nationalists • Blacks the enemy • No rights, no land, no decent job • No education • James K. Vardaman of Mississippi
Segregation Segregation an all encompassing system of white supremacy over blacks
Segregation’s components Disfranchisement Separation in public places Education discrimination Employment discrimination Some economic opportunities closed entirely to blacks Deference expected Police and courts treat blacks unfairly
Segregation by custom • blacks call at whites’ back door • don’t eat meals at the same table • blacks can’t try on clothes in stores • blacks don’t board streetcar or bus until all whites on • blacks supposed to step off sidewalk • blacks get no courtesy titles • segregated gates, pay windows, bathhouses at industrial plants. • separate Bibles in courtrooms
How were blacks disfranchised? • terrorism • changing polling places secretly • ballot box stuffing • Ballot boxes stolen • buying votes or paying some not to vote • complex ballot and secret ballot—Tennessee’s Dortch law • disqualification for petit crime
Constitutional disfranchisement • Defeat of Populists clears the way • whites remove blacks legally and constitutionally • 1890 Mississippi --literacy, $2 poll tax • Williams v. Mississippi, 1898 • 1895 SC constitution--literacy or property • 1898 Louisiana Grandfather clause
Constitutional disfranchisement • Property qualifications • Grandfather clause • Boards of registrars enforce character or understanding requirements. White vouchers. white primary • Louisiana black voters fell from 130k to 5k • Alabama black voters fell from 100+ to 3k
Economic Lives of African-Americans • declining black landownership • sharecropping: debt slavery • blacks lose hold on crafts • most urban blacks work in domestic service • competitive nature of black-white relations in the economic sphere • whites drive blacks out of better-paying industrial jobs • shut out of some industries--textiles, furniture
Economic Discrimination • blacks safe only in jobs whites don’t want--service or dirty, unskilled industrial jobs • service: washerwomen, maids, cooks, chauffeur, porter. Pay v. low. • blacks concentrated in timber, tobacco, mining industries. Southern industries have “negro” jobs • mechanization: “negro” jobs turned into white ones • unions white-dominated and mostly anti-black • AFL, construction trades exclusionary • railroad brotherhoods drive blacks out of jobs
Jim Crow laws • intermarriage outlawed, starting in 1870 • restaurants, hotels, parks, theatres • segregation laws, starting in 1875 • railroads 1880s • streetcars 1890s • toilets, drinking fountains, elevators in urban buildings after 1900
The first new building impressed one and all and fostered pride among students.
Tuskegee Institute: Large, beautiful campus with more than 20 impressive brick buildings