Document Set 1

Document Set 1 - History 109 Summer 2010 Document Set #1...

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History 109 Summer 2010 Document Set #1 Chapter 18: Frontiers of Change, Politics of Stalemate, 1865-1898 3. In his “Address at the Opening of the Atlanta Exposition”, Booker T. Washington advised his fellow black southerners that ‘progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges… must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing.’ Washington clearly believed that whites held power in the United States, and he counseled whites that by lifting up the lowest members of society (blacks), society as a whole would benefit. In 1895 when he gave this address, Southern blacks were generally uneducated and their work experience was primarily as unskilled laborers. In contrast, black Northerners who had been free for sometime were better educated and were achieving economic success and a better social position. Washington felt that education and training were critical to blacks obtaining better jobs that would help them move up the socio-economic ladder. Because blacks in the North had been more successful in reaching a higher social status, Washington’s premise that economic gains would lead to an improved social status did offer some genuine prospects for blacks. It was accurate for him to say that in order to enter the professions, blacks would need education and training. Some found this Atlanta Compromise to be accommodationist because Washington was saying in essence that when blacks become equal to whites in economic terms, they would naturally become equal in social terms. But, others such as W.E.B. Du Bois, recognized that the discrimination blacks were receiving was not purely economic based. A white bum would’ve been allowed to ride in a white passenger car whereas a wealthy black man would’ve been required to ride in the black passenger car. In proposing that blacks needed to improve and in giving credence to the assertion that blacks and whites were not equal, Booker T. Washington was giving whites an excuse for discrimination. 4. In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, Supreme Court Justice Brown defends the courts decision that allowed discrimination through a policy of ‘separate but equal’ and Justice Harlan provided the dissenting opinion. I agree with Justice Harlan’s belief that the black and white race are tied together in America and that the government should not permit the seeds of hatred to be planted. Justice Brown’s claim that hatred, or social prejudices cannot be eliminated with legislation is perhaps the most valid part of his opinion. However, the government does have the ability to create and enforce laws that discourage and minimize members of society from acting on any feelings of hatred they may have. Anti-discrimination laws have been successful in the areas of housing, school admittance, hiring, etc. But hatred still exists for some people and hatred of one class has been seen in America in regards to race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual preference. We even have hate crime laws that make it more of a crime to assault someone in a
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This note was uploaded on 08/06/2010 for the course HIST 109 taught by Professor Oscarcanedo during the Summer '09 term at Grossmont.

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Document Set 1 - History 109 Summer 2010 Document Set #1...

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