17-08c - 92 XVII. Expanding Horizons, 1929-1954 Overview...

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XVII. Expanding Horizons, 1929-1954 Overview The principal expansion of African American horizons during this period was in terms of international consciousness. Although Black leaders had long been interested in European colonialism in Africa and in Pan Africanism , the growing involvement of the United States in world affairs brought a heightened awareness of the ideologies of fascism and Communism , as well as of the rising aspirations of African and Asian peoples and their demands for an end to European colonial control. Many Black Americans ceased to think of themselves as simply a minority within the United States, and began to think of themselves as part of a worldwide majority of peoples of color. This new consciousness affected the philosophy and rhetoric of civil rights advocates, the content and ideology of Black education, and the styles of African American artists, writers, and musicians. African Americans began to achieve prominence in several major areas of American life, most notably in the areas of athletics and entertainment. While both White and Black Americans were forced by world events such as World War II and the Cold War to think more about what was going on outside of their country, the Black worldview was different. When African Americans looked at the world, they tended to see things more in terms of race. For them, the global supremacy of the White man that had begun 500 years before with Columbus was coming to an end, and all over the world Colored peoples were challenging the domination of Europeans and Euro Americans. At the same time, many of the trends described in the previous chapter continued. African Americans continued to leave the rural South for the big cities of the North. Black urban political power continued to increase, although not in proportion to the increase in the number of Black voters. The NAACP gradually chipped away at the doctrine of separate-but- equal through a series of court decisions and laid the legal groundwork for the landmark decision of 1954. For those who left the poverty and oppression of the rural South for the big cities of the North, the fulfillment of their expectations was mixed. The “Promised Land” allowed some to advance and achieve a better life. But the deeply-rooted racism of American society placed impediments in their paths, and some 92
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found their hopes and dreams frustrated by the more subtle, but nonetheless real, de facto discrimination of the North. Thus, while a significant number of Black Americans found a measure of security and happiness in the new urban environment, many found that the move from plantation to ghetto simply meant the exchange of one form of racism for another. The experiences of African American migrants to the cities was in marked contrast to the migrants from Europe, who were being rapidly assimilated into the mainstream of American society. The rising standard of living and the benefits of an open, democratic society offered much more to the European ethnic groups in the cities than to
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course HS 101 taught by Professor Jones during the Summer '10 term at Montgomery College.

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17-08c - 92 XVII. Expanding Horizons, 1929-1954 Overview...

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