15-08d - XV. Black Americans Create A World, 1865-1915...

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XV. Black Americans Create A World, 1865-1915 Overview In the half century between the Civil War and World War I, antiblack racism in the world was at its peak. It took the form of colonialism in Africa, and various replacements for slavery in the United States. Africans in traditional cultures tried military resistance to European imperial forces, almost always without success. But increasingly, Africans who learned the ways of the White man began to organize for greater self-determination and cultural pride. In the United States, Black Americans dealt with white rejection by creating their own social, economic and cultural institutions. Although the spiritual basis was almost always Christianity, Black clergymen declared that people of African ancestry were just as capable of understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ as people of European ancestry. In addition to institutions that paralleled those of the Whites, they began to create jazz, a whole new styles of music that soon became recognized throughout the world as distinctively American. And increasingly, a few of them began to recognize their cultural roots in Africa. Following the Civil War, most African Americans followed the advice of Frederick Douglass by seeking political power within the Republican Party. But as the years passed, they were increasingly eliminated from politics. By the turn of the century, African strategies for living in White America fell into three major categories: migration, conciliation, and agitation. Education One of the few lasting benefits of the Freedmen’s Bureau was in the field of education, for which the newly-emancipated people displayed a deep thirst. African Americans of all ages flocked to the new schools as soon as they were opened during and after the Civil War. Southern Whites generally regarded them with distrust, and subjected the Northern-born teachers to social ostracism, and sometimes the schools themselves to physical destruction. Gradually, however, the Euro American teachers and administrators in the African American schools accommodated themselves to Southern society. They practiced Jim Crow in their relationships with Black faculty and students, and ceased their advocacy of civil rights enforcement. Most significantly, however, most of them came to espouse a curriculum and educational philosophy that would not place
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African Americans in competition with Whites, who were beginning to enjoy the benefits of public grade school and postsecondary education. Most of the so-called “colleges” for African Americans were actually called institutes, which trained students for lower-level vocational work and primary school teaching. Basic concepts of citizenship, political democracy, and social criticism were absent from the announced curriculum, as was advanced education in the physical and biological sciences. One of the first well-known advocates of this approach was Samuel Chapman Armstrong , the White principal of Hampton Institute. He was soon eclipsed by his celebrated former pupil,
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15-08d - XV. Black Americans Create A World, 1865-1915...

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