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Race and the American Dream

Race and the American Dream - Race of a Dream Andre Akins...

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Race of a Dream Andre Akins June 19, 2007 HIST 1320.501
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The idea that an individual can achieve prosperity through hard work, determination, and courage is the American dream. This idea has attracted people from all over the world in pursuit of this dream. Many have found that it is intended and only attainable by white men, maybe more familiar with this belief are the African Americans of the post Civil War era. The opinions presented in the arguments of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and other prominent people illustrate the philosophy that race plays the biggest role in achieving prosperity in America. Literature and speeches from historical figures display the conflict of ones race with attaining the American Dream. Following the end of the Civil War the South was left to reform their economy and overall way of living. With the end of slavery, the role of the American Negro was debated. While many people questioned Blacks’ mental intelligence some southern whites realized African American’s importance to the success of the South. In 1886 Henry Grady, editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution , addressed such ideas in his famous speech “The New South.” 1 In his speech Grady addressed blacks in the south as the most prosperous black population in the country. He even goes to the extent saying that African Americans had the protection of their laws, access to their schools, and full friendship of white southerners 2 . With such a positive look on race relations in the South, it seemed as though Africans Americans were closer to achieving 1 Grady, Henry. “The New South.” In Voices of the American People , ed. Michael Boezi, 29-31. New York: Pearson Longman, 2006.
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