Comparative Essay

Comparative Essay - Timothy Chandler HY 320 Comparative...

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Timothy Chandler HY 320 Comparative Essay The post Civil War era brought rapid change in America. The victorious north already ahead in pre-war industrialization surged ahead of the defeated and mostly agrarian south. This change could be seen also in the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement which would take place a century later. The seeds of the movement were being planted in the differing opinions of the two early leaders of the movement. The leaders shared a common goal but fiercely disagreed in the manner of attaining the goals. The problem of black leadership during the twenty years between 1895 and 1915 will be covered in this comparative essay. The issues raised by the celebrated debate between Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois will be its central theme. For two decades Washington established a dominant tone of graduated accommodation among blacks, only to find in the latter half of this period that the leadership was passing to more militant leaders such as W. E. B. DuBois. During the four decades following reconstruction, the position of blacks in America deteriorated. The hopes and aspirations of the freedmen for full citizenship rights were shattered after the federal government betrayed the black man and restored white supremacist control to the South. Blacks were left at the mercy of ex-slaveholders and former Confederates, as the United States government adopted a laissez-faire policy regarding the “Negro problem” in the South. The era of Jim Crow brought to the American Negro disfranchisement, social, educational and occupational discrimination, mass mob violence, murder, and lynching. Black people were deprived of their civil and human rights and reduced to a status of quasi-slavery or “second- class” citizenship. Strict legal segregation of public facilities in the southern states was strengthened in 1896 by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Plessy vs. Ferguson case. Racists, northern and southern, proclaimed that black people were subhuman, barbaric, immoral, and innately inferior, physically and intellectually, to whites—totally incapable of functioning as an equal in white civilization. Also during this time, a main obstacle confronting black leadership was how to attain equal citizenship for the black American. The main differences between sections of the movement were the details and the methods used to attain said goals. The majority argued that it was important to receive civil rights first then other rights would come later. Some black leaders urged blacks to become skilled workers first and then when they became irreplaceable in a Southern economy that is when they should demand equal rights. Some blacks suggested physical violence or revolution would be the best method of provoking change. Some blacks were encouraged to move to Africa. The overwhelming majority however suggested that blacks use tactics that promote peace and democracy to change the conditions they find undesirable. Leaders on both sides did agree that the quest for rights would be gradual.
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This essay was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course CSE 390 taught by Professor Yi during the Spring '08 term at Alabama.

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Comparative Essay - Timothy Chandler HY 320 Comparative...

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