African American History Final Take Home Exam

African American History Final Take Home Exam - 1 Yontii...

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1 Yontii Wheeler Professor Curtin Final Take Home Exam African American History December 10, 2009 African-American History Final Take Home Exam Black Leadership Under Segregation Throughout the civil rights movement and before, there was an emergence of many talen- ted, civil rights leaders that were faithfully devoted to improving the social and economic condi- tions of African-Americans in the United States. Paul Robeson emerged as on of the most talen- ted orators, linguists, activist, and performers of this time. His work in the United States, Europe, and Africa concentrated on rights for the working class, speaking out against racial oppression, and learning about the colonialism and how its negative affects can be reversed. Paul Robeson was also a controversial figure in regards to his alleged affiliation with the Communist party. However, he shared views with prominent African-American activists as well as had some op- posing opinions. Paul Robeson, a staunch believer in black pride and the education of African-Americans about Africa, was also convinced that one of the only ways blacks could affect change in the United States was through mass organization and mobilization, a belief he shared with Ida B. Wells. In Here I Stand, Paul Robeson stated, “What power do we ourselves have? We have the power of numbers, the power of organization, and the power of spirit” (92). Paul Robeson later mentioned the Montgomery bus boycott. He proclaimed that the reasons for it’s success lay in the fact that blacks in Montgomery organized themselves to make whites notice them. Ida B. Wells, an anti-lynching crusader and activist, also advocated mobilization. In Finkenbine’s, Primary Sources in American Past, Ida B. Wells is quoted as to have said, “The appeal to the white man’s pocket has ever been more effectual than all the appeals ever made to his con-
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2 science. ...By the right exercise of power as the industrial factor of the South, the Afro-American can demand and secure his rights, the punishment of lynchers and a fair trial for accused rapists” (Finkenbine, 120). Ida B. Wells and Paul Robeson both recognized that for blacks to make a real impression and affect the lives of whites, which could in turn force them to treat blacks as equals, blacks needed to mobilize and organize as one united group of people. Ida B. Wells advocated asserting economic pressures on institutions that discriminated against blacks by boycotting street cars and businesses, leaving towns that discriminated against blacks, boycotting separate train cars, and self-defense. The similarities between her beliefs and Paul Robeson’s beliefs, as well as actions are evident. Paul Robeson, after being denied work in American plays, went to England where he received critical acclaim and popularity. Robeson re- fused to act in plays where he was cast in stereotypical roles usually designated for blacks so that they could look inferior. This is similar to Ida B. Well’s conviction to boycott any white busi-
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African American History Final Take Home Exam - 1 Yontii...

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