Chapter 14 White Supremacy Triumphant: African Americans in the South in the Late 19th Century
I. Politics • End of Reconstruction • Black men forced out of office • Limited black participation in politics • No power over white people • Did not challenge white domination
African-American Representation in Congress, 1867–1900 Figure 14–1. African-American Representation in Congress, 1867–1900 Black men served in the U.S. Congress from Joseph Rainey’s election in 1870 until George H. White’s term concluded in 1901. All were Republicans.
Black Congressmen • Congressional districts • Oddly shaped by Democrats • Confined much of black population to one district • Usually represented by black Republican • Diluted black political strength • Wielded only limited power in Washington • No significant legislation to benefit black constituents
The Populist Party • The People’s Party • Serious challenge to Democrats and Republicans • Give government back to the people • Supported radical changes: • Government ownership: railroads, telegraph, telephone • Urged southern white and black men to join them • Southern Democrats outraged over appeals to black men • Black voters in a position to tip the political scales • Fraud, violence, and terror
Right to Vote • A rural black man “freely” exercises his right to vote. SOURCE: Library of Congress
II. Disfranchisement • Undermining black political power • Violence, intimidation, injustice • Southern Democrats hoped to end black voting • Sought ways to evade the Fifteenth Amendment • South Carolina - Eight Box Law • Primitive literacy test requiring voters to deposit separate ballots for separate election races in the proper ballot box. • Illiterate voters couldn’t identify the boxes unless white officials assisted them.
Mississippi • Mississippi constitutional convention, 1890 • Established voting requirements to disfranchise black men without violating the Fifteenth Amendments • Proof of residency • Payment of all taxes, including a $2 poll tax • Convictions • Crimes associated with black people: arson, petty theft, couldn’t vote • Crimes associated with white people: murder, rape, could vote • Literate - Understanding clause • Black college graduates often failed
Louisiana • Grandfather Clause • Permitted only those men who had been eligible to vote before 1867, or their fathers or grandfathers to vote • Disfranchised almost all black voters at once • 130,000 black men voted in 1896 • 1,342 black men voted in 1904
Jim Crow • Show character – Jump Jim Crow • Thomas “Daddy” Rice, 1830s and 1840s • Rice performed in black face - Ridiculed black people Unclear how it came to mean segregation • Segregation • Evolved slowly to enforce white control • Black people conformed • Churches and social organizations • Accepted separate seating in places previously closed • Segregation better than exclusion
Segregation of Railroads • Conflict • White southerners proximity to black people in public places and on passenger trains created tensions • Blacks with first-class tickets sent to second-class • The first segregation laws involved passenger trains • Tennessee, 1881 • Florida, 1887 • Railroads opposed • Maintaining separate cars was too expensive
Enforcing Segregation • To enforce segregation on a railroad coach, a rather shabbily attired conductor evicts a well dressed black man from a first class coach so that he will not pose a danger to a white woman and her child.
Plessy v. Ferguson • Louisiana required segregated trains, 1891 • Railroads and black people object • Challenged in court • Homer A. Plessy • U.S. Supreme Court, • 8-1 decision • Upheld state law--segregation--as constitutional, 1896 • Justice John Marshal Harlan - Fourteenth Amendment. “Separate but Equal” • Jim Crow laws become embedded in southern states
Segregation Proliferates • Proliferation • “White” and “colored” signs • Restrooms, drinking fountains • Separate Bibles for black and white witnesses • Oklahoma required separate phone booths, 1915 • School textbooks stored in separate facilities • “Separate but equal” • Inferior facilities or no facilities
IV. Racial Etiquette • Black and white people did not shake hands • Black people did not look directly into white peoples’ eyes • Black people stared at the ground to address white people • Black men removed their hats; white men did not • Black people went to the back door • Black men or boys must never look at white women • Black women could not try on clothing in white stores • White people did not use titles of respect • White customers always served first
Cool Down • Do you believe that the Plessy v. Ferguson was a constitutional decision? Explain. • For black southerners do you think that segregation or integration would’ve lead to a better life? Explain.
V. Violence • Rampant political and mob violence • Washington County, Texas, 1886 • Fight over ballot boxes in Republican precinct • White man dies in shotgun blast • Eight black men arrested • The Phoenix Riot, 1898 • The Wilmington Riot, 1898 • The New Orleans Riot, 1900
Lynching • 3,745 recorded lynchings between 1889 and 1932. Many more were unrecorded • Most in the South • Black men were the usual victims • Presumed threat posed to white women • Community participation • Few denunciations from white leaders • Savage and brutal
Lynching in the United States: 1889–1932 • Figure 14–2. Lynching in the United States: 1889–1932 • Depending on the source, statistics on lynching vary. It was difficult to assemble information on lynching, particularly in the nineteenth century. Not every lynching was recorded. SOURCE: The Negro Year Book, 1931–32, p. 293.
Lynchings Were Common • Lynchings were common and public events in the South at the turn of the century. Often hundreds of people took part in and witnessed these gruesome spectacles.
Rape • Abuse and harassment against black women • No statistics • But considered more common than lynching • Black men tried to protect black women • Refused to let them work as domestics for white men • White men considered black women inferior. – Believed that black women “invited white makes to take advantage of them. • Black women were not virtuous • Coleman Blease S.C. Gov. – 1913 – “I am of the opinion, as I have always been, and have very serious doubts as to whether the crime of rape can be committed upon a negro woman.”
VI. Migration • Late 19th century African Americans • Ninety percent of black Americans lived in the South, 1910 • Emigrants 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s • Africa • Kansas • Oklahoma • Arkansas
The Exodusters • Western migration • Encouraged by the Homestead Act and railroads • Between 1865-1880 • All black towns in Kansas, Nebraska, Indian territory • Southern migration • Many black people moved to southern villages • Urban areas offered more economic opportunities
African-American Population of Western Territories and States, 1880–1900 Map 14–1. African-American Population of Western Territories and States, 1880–1900 Although most African Americans remained in the South following the Civil War, thousands of black people moved west and settled on farms and ranches. Others migrated to small towns that were populated mostly by former slaves.
VIII. African American and Southern Courts • “Three days for stealing, eighty-seven days for being colored” • Judges were white men • Few black men served on juries • Few convictions for crimes on black people • Black people received larger fines than white people, and longer sentences
Convict leasing • Using black convicts as laborers • Lucrative enterprise • States encouraged more arrests • Businesses and planters leased convictsBuild railroads, drain swamps, cut timber • Worse than slavery • Blacks had no value at all • Widespread scandal forced states to outlaw leasing
Cool Down • Describe the quality of life for Black Southerners during this time period.