Slavery • US has the eighth largest Black population in the world • Slavery began in 1619 with 20 Africans in Jamestown as indentured servants • 1660’s British colonies passed laws • Blacks became slaves for life • Interracial marriage was forbidden • Children of slaves bore the status of the mother regardless of father’s race
Slave Codes • Both contemporary institutional and individual racism, central in today’s conflicts, have their origins in the institution of slavery • Legal and protected by the US Constitution as interpreted by the US Supreme Court • Slavery in US rested on 5 central conditions: • Slavery was for life • Status was inherited • Slaves were considered mere property • Slaves were denied rights • Coercion was used to maintain the system
1 Could not marry or meet with a free Black • 2. Marriage between slaves not legally recognized • 3. Slave could not legally buy or sell anything except by special arrangement • 4. Slave could not possess weapons or liquor • 5. Slave could not quarrel with or use abusive language toward Whites • 6. Slave could not possess property (including money), except as allowed by his or her owner
7. Slave could make no will, nor could he or she inherit anything • 8. Slave could not make a contract or hire him or herself out • 9. Slave could not leave a plantation without a pass noting his or her destination and time of return • 10. No one, including Whites, was to teach a slave (and in some areas even a free Black) to read or write or to give a slave a book, including the Bible
11. Slave could not gamble • 12. Slave had to obey established curfews • 13. Slave could not testify in court except against another slave • Rules varied by state and were not always enforced • Violations dealt with in a variety of ways • Mutilation and branding • Imprisonment was rare; most were whipped • Owner immune from prosecution for physical abuse
Most slaves were from Northwestern African societies and were diverse in: • language • kinship systems • economic systems • political systems • Slavery and its justifying ideology emerged out of Western Colonialism • Ideology of slavery and the slave codes were invented primarily to maintain the subjugation of Africans
African Americans and Africa • Survival of African culture documented in: • Folklore • Religion • Language • Music • Afrocentric perspective • Argues that some aspects of African culture, such as art forms, have so permeated Western culture that we mistakenly believe origins are European
Attack on Slavery • Slavery as an institution was vulnerable to outside opinion • Abolitionists • Whites and free Blacks who opposed slavery • Did not believe in racial equality; i.e., Abraham Lincoln • Spoke out against slavery and the harm to the nation • Slaves revolted • Between 40,000 and 100,000 escaped from South • Fugitive slave acts provided for return, even those who reached free states
Not all attempted to escape because failure meant death • Resisted through passive resistance • Feigned clumsiness or illness • Pretended not to understand, see, or hear • Ridiculed Whites with mocking subtle humor that owners did not comprehend • Destroyed farm implements and committed similar acts of sabotage
Slavery’s Aftermath • The period of reconstruction 1867-1877 • Military Governors • Black participation in the political process • Fifteenth Amendment ratified 1870 • The emergence of segregation laws (Jim Crow) • Supreme court decisions and segregation • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) • Williams v. Mississippi (1898) • White primary elections
Reparations For Slavery • Slavery Reparation • Refers to the act of making amends for the injustice of slavery • What form should reparation take? • An official apology • Financial compensation • Corporations that benefit from slavery and financial compensation • Congressman John Conyers (Detroit) • Commission to study appropriate remedies
Absence of an official apology angers many African Americans • In 1990’s, documentation emerged that private companies that still exist benefited from slavery • Railroads • Insurance Companies • Attitudes divided along racial lines on government cash payments • Most African Americans and some citizens disappointed by unwillingness to debate issue in Washington, D.C.
The Challenge of Black Leadership • Booker T. Washington • Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama • Politics of Accommodation • Approach to White supremacy • Forgo social equality until Whites saw Blacks were deserving • Essential theme was compromise • Self help and economic self determination • Congratulated by President Grover Cleveland • Organization became the Urban League
W.E.B. DuBois • Born to a free family in Massachusetts • First African-American to receive a Doctorate from Harvard • Niagara Movement • Racism as the problem of Whites • Advocated the policy of the talented tenth • Most outspoken critic of Booker T. Washington • Organization became the NAACP
Niagara Movement • DuBois criticized Washington’s influence in Washington, D.C. • Washington’s power being used to stifle African Americans who spoke out against the politics of accommodation • Washington caused the transfer of funds from academic programs to vocational education • Washington’s statements encouraged Whites to place the burden of the Black’s problems on the Blacks themselves
DuBois advocated theory of the talented tenth as alternative • Privileged Blacks, 1/10th must serve the other 9/10th of the Black population • African American education should be academic to improve their positions • Invited 29 Blacks for strategy session near Niagara Falls • Encountered difficulty gaining financial support and recruiting of prominent people
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 1909 • Consisted of Blacks and Whites • Founded by the leaders of the Niagara Movement • Marked the merging of White liberalism and Black militancy
Reemergence of Black Protest • World War II signaled improved economic conditions for Whites and Blacks • Efforts by Blacks to contribute to the war effort at home hampered by discrimination • Philip Randolph • Threatened march on Washington in 1941 • President Roosevelt responded by issuing executive order • Fair Employment Practices Commission set precedent for federal intervention in job discrimination
The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) 1942 • Founded to fight discrimination with nonviolent direct action • Restrictive Covenant • A private contract entered into by neighborhood property owners stipulating that property could not be sold or rented to certain minority groups • Declared unconstitutional in 1948 • Military desegregated by President Truman in 1948
The Civil Rights Movement • Desegregation of public schools. • De jure segregation • Segregation that results from children being assigned to schools specifically to maintain racially separate schools • NAACP - Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, and U. S. Supreme Court decision • Marked the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement • James Meredith (1962) University of Mississippi
Civil Disobedience • Based on the belief that people have the right to disobey the law under certain circumstances • Widely used by Martin Luther King, Jr. • Active non violent resistance to evil • Win friendship and understanding of opponents • Attack forces of evil rather than people doing evil • Accept suffering without retaliation • Refusing to hate the opponent • Acting with the conviction that the universe is on the side of justice
Urban Violence and Oppression • Explaining Violence • Riff-Raff/Rotten Apple Theory • Riot participants were mostly unemployed youth with criminal records • Discredited the rioters and left the barrel of apples, White society, untouched • Relative Deprivation • The conscious feeling of a negative discrepancy between legitimate expectations and present actualities • Rising Expectations • Refers to the increasing sense of frustration that legitimate needs are being blocked
Black Power • Born not of Black but of White violence • Phrase frightened Whites and offended Blacks • Black leaders feared Whites would retaliate more violently • Stokely Carmichael • Rejected the goal of assimilation in favor of solidarity • Black Panther Party • Founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California in October 1966
The Religious Force • Black leaders emerged from the pulpits • Churches served as the basis for community organization in neighborhoods abandoned by businesses and even government • Religion always a source of political change and spiritual strength from slavery to the present • Most African Americans are overwhelmingly Protestant • The Nation of Islam, or Black Muslims, has attracted a large number of followers and received the most attention
Discuss the institution of slavery based on the sociological perspectives of symbolic interaction, conflict theory, and functionalism?
If civil disobedience is nonviolent, why is so much violence associated with it?
Describe the importance of the conflict between DuBois and Washington regarding academic and vocational programs and what it meant for the future of African Americans.
Why has religion proved to be a force for both unity and disunity among African Americans?
Growing numbers of Blacks are immigrating to the United States from the Caribbean and the African continent. What impact may this have on what it means to be Black or African American in the United States? What would the social construction of race say about this development?
Throughout their history in America, the people known as African Americans today have had other titles of identification. They were Negroes, then Colored, Black during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, and now African American. America has many immigrants from Africa, some of whom are White, and can also be called African American. What does this mean to the descendants of American slaves? What title can they develop that will distinguish them from immigrant African Americans, Black or White?